Wednesday, September 25, 2013

...because it needs to be said.

I’ve been fighting the urge to write this post for what is probably years now…mostly because I don’t want to come off as a huge jerk.  However, I just feel like some things need to be said, and no matter how much I try to hold them back, maybe it will be heard by just one person…which is enough for me, at this point.

Are any of the rest of you startled about the constant posts on Facebook and Twitter, linking up to blog articles that are about any/all of the following subject matters?
“Don’t Judge Me Because I’m a Stay at Home Mom”
“Don’t Judge Me Because I’m a Career Woman”
“Don’t Judge Me Because I’m A Single and Childless Woman”
“Don’t Judge Me Because I’m Happily Married
My question is this: why do we feel as if we are being judged?  Is it because we feel like we aren’t living up to everyone else’s standards of what they think your life should look like?  Is it because of well-meaning comments that friends and loved ones can make about your current station in life, not knowing that it makes you question where you are and what you’re doing?  Is it because we allow society to let us know that the only thing that really matters is how many people “like” your Facebook statuses, or “favorite” your Twitter posts?  Are we living to please other people, or are we living the lives that we think that we should be?
I rarely get very “deep” in terms of thoughts and beliefs in this blog, and that’s basically because I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re not welcome here.  But I will say this:  I am a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan for me.  Is the plan that God has different than what my plans are/were?  Sure.  When I was in high school, I thought that I would be married with at least one kid by now.  But I’m not.  I’m single, I live in an apartment, I work 60 hours a week, and I am responsible for my own well-being and existence on this planet.  Often, people that are friends of mine have made comments about my life status – well-meaning comments, but comments that cause me to question what I’m doing with my life.  Here are some examples:
“Find a job that you love and that fulfills you – why aren’t you doing something you love that pays more?” – paraphrase of an actual conversation had with a friend while sharing my fears of being laid off
“See, this is why I think you should have kids!” – said to me while holding someone else’s baby
“Your sister is married…that has to be weird for you” – said to me on the phone shortly after my younger sister got hitched
You get the gist of what I’m saying, right?  But here’s where I’m going to divert away from where MOST of these articles that I’ve been reading lately are going.
WHY WOULD THESE QUESTIONS BOTHER ME?  They shouldn’t!  The plan God has for me doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else’s.  And that’s okay!  Not being married, being married, having children, and not having children do not make anyone better or worse than anyone else.  I shouldn’t have let these comments get to me, but they made me think – do these people pity me?  Is my life really not as great as I think it is?  Am I really to the point where I need to justify where I'm at in life to other people?
My life is perfect…for ME.  Why are we trying to fit into molds that we perceive to be “right” for our lives?  I’m single, I live in an apartment (with a wonderful roommate), I pay for my own things, and I am responsible for my own life.  I have two jobs in an economy where people are lucky to have one.  Am I rolling in money?  No.  Am I raising the next generation of young Americans?  No.  But that doesn’t make me and my life any less (or any more) important than anyone else’s.  I think it’s really arrogant to actually state “being married is the most fulfilling thing you can experience” or “being a mother is the most important job of all time” or “having the best career ever is the most amazing thing” or “being single totally outweighs being married and chained to someone else.”  Come on! 
The point of this post is this – instead of begging other people to not look down on whatever and whoever you are, QUIT WORRYING ABOUT WHAT EVERYONE ELSE THINKS AND BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.  I’m challenging myself to be the best version of Jenny that I can be.  I’m focusing on being a blessing in my relationships as a daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, etc.  I’m trying harder to use my gifts to the best of my abilities.  I’m challenging myself to be better at my devotions, and to pray about things instead of worry so much. 
I don’t have to be the best at everything…in life, sometimes you lose when you try things…and that’s okay.  In life, we aren’t entitled to have everyone think that we are the best at everything.  To be honest, that’s a LOT of pressure we are putting on ourselves.  I can’t decorate like Martha Stewart, I’m not as giving as Mother Teresa, I don’t have a job like Katie Couric, I can’t sing like Celine Dion, and I sure as heck don’t look like Adriana Lima in a bra and underpants.  But I’m pretty good at being me…so that’s what I’m going to stick with.  And the people who love me won’t care if I can’t do everything perfectly, no matter where I am in life.
How about you?



Monday, September 23, 2013

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cupcakes

What better way to kick off the first official day of fall than with delicious cinnamon pumpkin goodness. I baked these yesterday and they were gone by last night. The icing is so light and pairs so perfectly with the dense pumpkin cake that these are guaranteed to be an instant favorite.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease your cupcake tins (or just line them).

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 T butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
8 oz pumpkin (with pie spices)
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
Cream the butter and sugar together then beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla, pumpkin and oil.
Beat in the flour mixture alternating with the milk.

Bake cupcakes 28-30 minutes. Makes 20.

The Best Frosting EVER.

1 (8 oz) cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
2 cups heavy whipping cream

mix everything in a bowl except for cream, then slowly add heavy cream and whip until you have peaks.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chicken and Stuffing Shells

With the colder weather rapidly approaching, nothing makes me happier than true comfort food. I altered a recipe I found for Thanksgiving stuffed shells (using leftovers) that is to die for. It's cheesy and creamy and everything that makes you feel warm and cozy.

1 box of pasta shells
1 large can of chicken
1 box Stove Top stuffing


Friday, September 13, 2013

Photo Friday - Southern Gates

Just a quick post for photo Friday - here are a few of the gorgeous Southern Gates that Charleston is so famous for.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wholly Cow!

Labor Day has come and gone, marking the close to another incredible summer. Jenny planned another fabulous trip to Charleston, SC to end summer with a bang. If you ever happen to be in the area, you MUST take a little detour and go to this wonderful little ice cream shop we went to - Wholly Cow. It's at 159 Church Street (near Cumberland). It was one of the best scoops of ice cream I've ever had - soooo creamy and delicious! We actually had to go back the next day because once just wasn't enough :-) I had the double oreo (cookies and cream),

and Jenny had sea turtle (I think that's what it was called). Her's was adorable! There were little chocolate turtles in it!