Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday

This is a Wednesday kind of outfit.  It’s the middle day of the week, and I almost always hit the snooze at least 4 times…which means that is 36 minutes less to make coffee, breakfast, chose an outfit, make-up, hair, feed the puppies, let the puppies outside, pray, journal, read scripture, take pictures…and the list goes on.  I am a morning person, so that does help a little bit…just not on Wednesdays.  Most of my Wardrobe Wednesdays are written a week or so in advance, and then scheduled accordingly.  Not so much today.  Today is a Wednesday, in the true meaning, and all the matters, that come to reality on a Wednesday. 

This outfit is good for Wednesdays.  It is very comfortable and looks clean with the white and dark contrast.  Also, it is really comfortable.  With those things in mind, this skirt and top are absolutely comfortable.  This outfit is a Wednesday kind of outfit.  

The skirt is a jersey/tee shirt material.  It is a charcoal gray with a simple tribal like design.  The top of the skirt folds down like a pair of yoga pants…praise Jesus.  I purchased this skirt on clearance at Target, for about $10.   Since I am a petite height, I wear the skirt pretty high on my waist to avoid it dragging the ground when I walk.  This also creates a tiny waist line, with the top of the skirt drawing into the smallest part of my waist.  

The top tee shirt has a sheer top level, with a cotton stretch bottom.  This length of this shirt is rather short, you could call it a longer crop.  The crop works with the skirt so that I am not creating any material lines, aka seeing the hem line of the shirt through the skirt…like underwear lines.  Since the top is white, and parts of it are sheer I always wear a tank top underneath.  I like this specific tank because it has very dulled-fine lines of tan stripes, which mimics a hint of the brown in the skirt. It also gives a little more depth to the top without being too busy.  You can barely see the stripes, but just enough to make an impact.  It makes me smile.  The white top is from Old Navy, I have no recollection of the price or when I purchased it.  The tank top is from Banana Republic petite (2005).  I have actually cut the bottom of it to a crop, it has seen better days.  I do not wear the tank by itself, so it can hide its stains and jagged crop just fine. 

This necklace is a recent purchase.  It came with a pair of gold round earrings on clearance for $11 at Scheels.  I am surprised that I like the necklace as much as I do.  With the sharp triangular shapes it has a rather edgy feel, but the shine of the gold brings the edgy look to a more simple and classic design.  This necklace wears well with tee shirts and dresses, very versatile.  I am really thankful for it, it has been my go-to piece since I bought it.

The sandals are from our local Farm and Home Supply store.  I love this store!  They were $9.  Sure, they are not going to last very long, and they are obviously knockoff Birkenstock Arizona style sandals.  The caramel color brown is one of my favorites, and they are easy to slip on…perfect for a Wednesday.  They make any outfit look less ‘dressy’, and sometimes I am wanting that exact style.  Like today for example, because it is Wednesday.

Also, I hear that it is National Dog Day.  Dear Kingy, I love your cute big face and slobbery jaws.  Dear Sorepants, your cuddliness and grandpa attitude makes me so happy that you are my dog.  If you want to see a picture of my husband and I's puppers, click the About link at the top of this page.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Glorious Amen

Late, yet again to the coffee shop this morning.  Thoughts of guilt and lack of responsibility start throwing themselves around my mind while I try to catch every green light.  Then…I stop, I breathe, I open my eyes and let myself take in the morning.  It is cool, much cooler than yesterday morning.  A chill in the air prompted my attire to sweater and plaid.  The air still has that certain aroma that only autumn brings to the table.  The sun looks a little more golden in its rays, casting a warm tone on all that I see.  Thank you Lord God for… and I start naming the beauty, I call out the blessings.

My friend and I discuss our assigned chapter, remembering what struck us and consider ways we can apply what we have come to learn.  That is the hard question that is the harsh reality of knowledge…the second step of living out what was revealed.  I want to write down all the words that captivated my attention, I want to share every detail of what has started to change me, to type out every word I underlined. 

Listening to a classical playlist which helps me put my thoughts in order.  Eight chapters have lead us through simple ideas.  Grace.  Thanksgiving.  Joy.  This chapter spoke on trusting God, actively believing God, then thanking Him.  This chapter was beautiful, full of detailed pictures of what I have struggled with and then topped with such a bright light of Hope that I just sat there stunned. 

The counting of all blessings is ultimately summed up in One.  All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him.  For in Him all things were created, are sustained, having their being.  Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember.  To know how we can count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is really only One.  And the radical wonder of it stuns me happy, hushes me still; it’s all Christ.  Every moment, every event, every happening.  Its’s all in Christ and in Christ we are always safe and “how will he not also…? “ (pg. 155 – how will he not also - One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp) 

Exactly Ann, exactly! 

The truth of giving thanks to God for blessings, even in the hard times is monumentally simplistic.  In times of anger, sadness, loneliness, fear, anxiety, happiness, relaxation, peace, and in times of carelessness…calling out to God, knowing Him through Christ’s Grace, in each and every moment…saying Yes to Him, and feeling the flood of joy that surrounds Him.  Trusting Him when feelings lie. 

He is God, and that is such a High and Glorious AMEN.   

Thank you God, for my life in You…for that is the root of all thanksgivings. 

John 14:1 (ESV)

I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

John 6:29 (AMP)

29 Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].

Mark 16:16 (AMP)

16 He who believes [who adheres to and trusts in and relies on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] and is baptized will be saved [[a]from the penalty of eternal death]; but he who does not believe [who does not adhere to and trust in and rely on the Gospel and Him Whom it sets forth] will be condemned.

Romans 8:32 (ESV)

32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

2 Corinthians 1:20 (ESV)

20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

1 John 4:18 (ESV)

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Psalm 136:3-7 (ESV)

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
to him who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

Monday, August 24, 2015

Gold. Black & Brown

The cooler weather stayed longer than expected and my heart about pounded out of my chest all weekend!  The temperature this morning was in the 50s….deep breath.  Glorious.  On my way to work I even thought I smelled burning leaves in a distant neighborhood.  To celebrate the amazing blessing of current weather, I wanted to share a style change in my life and one that may stay a while.  


Black & Brown.

I had a conversation with my mother growing up, asking her why she wore gold jewelry.  I didn’t understand, gold jewelry was just so…out of style and…gold looking!  Oh, how my little uneducated eyes were so very blind.  Dear Ma Mere, I apologize for my lack of vision and style experience.  Something happened over the past 2 years that changed inside me, and gold became beautiful to me.  In a previous post, I confessed that I spurge on earrings and not so much on necklaces.  The earrings I wear the majority of the time are gold and I only have a couple of gold necklaces (owl earrings from Francesca's, studs from Scheels in above picture)  I received 3 amazing gold necklaces at a Christmas Party Jewelry swap a couple of years ago and I only have one left…I literally broke them from wear…it also could be the fact that we had a big, strong, energetic puppy named King at the time and those necklaces lost that battle.  King is now a big, strong, slobbery dog who I love to cuddle with, and he still breaks my jewelry if I am too careless (which happens often).  Maybe I should add gold necklaces to my Christmas list…only 4 months till Christmas Eve.  

Since I am giddy as a school girl over the extended weather sneak peek, this low side pony tail matched my mood to a T. I use a black velvet ribbon to hold up my hair instead of an elastic band.  This creates a softer pull on my hair, while still holding volume.  I make sure that the velvet side of the ribbon is touching my hair, and is tied very tight.  This will hold through out the day.  Also since a ribbon creates less tension, I do not get a head pressure that could result in a headache at the end of the day.  The lower pony tail maintains a long hairstyle, which is necessary for my look today.  This sweater is very neutral, and close to my skin color.  I need a darker color around my neckline to break up the common color.  This way, since I do not have a black or dark brown necklace, my hair acts as the divider line.

Sorry for the Selfie there was no time this morning for a tripod shot

I am not sure if it was ever ‘okay’ to wear black and brown together in the fashion world.  I love it so much that I probably will continue to break that style law, if indeed it has been written.  Obviously there are some blacks and some browns that look awful together, I’d say that if they are too close in shade then for goodness sake don’t wear them together.  A good caramel brown with black will always be lovely in my book.  

This is my new purse!  I had been on the lookout for a black and brown purse for fall and winter.  This one is from Walmart, it was on clearance for $7!!!  Not only does the brown color match my belt, it also matches a most of my brown shoes.  Also, since I've been able to wear my hair straight, I wear sunglasses with nose pieces.  If you have curly hair, you know the struggle with nose pieces.  These are my favorite sunglasses.  I have no idea where they are from because I sort of stole them from my husband. Sorry, Love.  

I believe this belt is from Goodwill, some years ago I was looking for waist belts and couldn't find any.  When I took a trip to a local Goodwill store, I looked in their belts.  Since the belts were so small, they had tons!  I am guessing that when people put them around their hips (not waist), obviously they did not fit and they put them back.  This belt was $2.  

These are my favorite work shoes.  They are from Aldo, and my husband bought them for me on sale for $25.  My sister in law, Ash, bought the gray pair...after seeing how lovely the gray looked on her I also purchased them in gray.  They are corduroy hidden wedges.  I do not have defined ankles, and these wedges help create a slimmer ankle.  They have a belt around the middle, and fan out making my ankle appear smaller than what it really is.  Since they are hidden wedges, my feet look tiny.  Double points!    

High today is 77 with a low of 52.  Praise the LORD O my soul!

Friday, August 21, 2015

First Sight of Fall

Yesterday the high was in the mid 70s, humidity was low and the air had a scent of excitement.  It lasted less than 24 hours, and summer temperatures settled back into our 10 day forecast.  My mother affectionately calls these days ‘sneak peeks’.  They come out of nowhere, you get a quick glimpse of what is to come in following season, and then just like that they fade into back into the normal routine.  My mother's birthday was yesterday and so with this in mind, I missed her a bit more than usual.  

There is a tree at my office that always shows the first sign of a change.  For weeks I have been searching its leaves...and finally I found it.  I love this part of living in the Midwest.  

May Autumn come soon and overstay its welcome until December 1st.  

I am ready for rainy days and overcast skies.  I am ready for that kind of beauty.  My longing for full sunshine usually appears in late February.  It takes a while for that to wear me down.  Mostly cloudy with a high of 60 degrees and 10 mph wind could be my favorite kind of weather.  The only problem I have with rainy days is that prefer them to be on days that I plan on being inside on a Saturday, or on a restful Sunday afternoon.  I promise I am not this high maintenance sounding...but it seems that the older I get, the more high maintenance I become.  This is a problem.  The other day I had a bottle of mousse and hairspray in my purse, I looked down and saw them sitting there acting like they belong...I thought to myself "Rae, who have you become?!"  Haa Haa!  They have not been in my purse sense then.  I use to be more of a hippie than I am now...O how people change.  That is something to think about. 

Praying for another weekend that seems longer than it should be.  Many Blessings!

Isaiah 55:8-13(ESV)

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday

This is one of the skirts I bought from a local Plato's Closet recently, Ann Taylor Loft brand, $10.  The snap button down jean shirt is from American Eagle Outfitters (2010).  I was working there part time, and took full opportunity of the employee discount.    The necklace is from a random antique store somewhere between Georgia, Arizona, and Illinois.  Sandals were purchased at a local DSW…clearance…80% off.  I bought the tank top at Banana Republic Petite (2005), also purchased under an employee discount when I was attending university. I just realized that I’ve had it for 10 years…when did that happen?!  Goodness.

I have only owned this skirt for less than a month and I have worn it about 4 different times, in 4 different ways.  I have worn it over a cotton black scoop neck short sleeve dress…with a black scoop neck tee, and with a black tank top.  The pattern and texture remind me of a classic kitchen apron, or a throw pillow at a cottage by the sea.  I love it because of the stripes, the pockets, the comfort, the fit, and the length…and because it was only $10. 

It took me a long time to figure out how to wear this jean shirt.  It is cut like a button down shirt, so it has a higher cut on the sides followed by a longer round seam in the front and back.  Since it is not a straight horizontal cut, it is hard for me to wear it not tucked in.  It doesn’t look clean to me.  Now, it looks great with tee shirts and jeans, but when I paired it with a skirt it looked like I didn’t know what I was doing…I couldn’t pull it off.  I think the length has something to do with it, it is just long enough to make my body shape look too rectangular.  It boxes my whole figure, and I need to have some kind of ‘in’ point, which means that I need my body lines to go into by body shape somewhere.  Also, the shirt is a smaller size and there were years that I couldn’t button it, and so I could only wear it as a jacket-shirt.  Life being as it has been I find myself in that size category, so I take full advantage. 

Most of my necklaces where gifts, or where purchased at an antique store.  I am horrible with necklaces, horribly selfish that is.  I splurge on studded earrings, but I can’t bring myself to buy a necklace for over $10…and even then I second guess it.  The good news is that a Charming Charlie’s is coming to my town!  I haven’t been in one since I was married, but man o man…I’m excited.  Not only that, but I know the lovely lady who will be in charge of the store…she is a Gem herself!  Love her!  So, I know the store will be fun, clean, organized, efficient, and beautiful…and the prices…swoon.  I know that I will be adding to my jewelry collection starting September. 

These sandals are great!  They zip up the back, so even though they fit tight, they are easy on and easy off.  I also like these because I can walk quickly in them since they are not floppy like regular sandals (aka...I have more security in my klutziness).  They look great with cuffed skinny jeans.  If you do not have a local DSW, I encourage you to shop there when you have a chance.  There are times when I do not find anything, and times when I find multiple pairs of shoes for a low, low, low, low, low, low, low price.  Granted, I only buy off the clearance.  Let me tell you the secret to my DSW shopping.  Upon arrival, I go directly to their clearance.  It’s usually in the back of the store.  They have the shoes separated by size.  They also have those sizes color coded by round stickers on each box.  Anywhere from 30%-70% are on a sign above the racks depicting what colors go with what percentage off.  The secret is this: there is a color that is not on that list…its yellow…and that equals 80% off.  I have trained my eyes to look for yellow stickers, once I find a yellow sticker, I THEN look at the shoe style.  If I do not find any yellow stickers that I like, I then look for the 70% off sticker, which I don’t really remember what color that is…but 70% off is still a great price.  Again, I look only at the sticker color, THEN I look at the shoe.  This is how I find shoes for $15 and under.  If they are boots, I spend a little more…depending on the brand and material I may spend up to $25…$30 has to be a pair that I just can’t believe where made they are so beautiful. 

I cannot believe I have had this tank top for 10 years.  It is just a ribbed tank top.  Black.  With a black ribbon detail around the neckline and arms.  My sophomore year of university I was hired at Banana Republic Petite in Plaza Frontenac located in St. Louis, MO.  That shopping center is something else.  It was a new environment that I had never been a part of.  It was beautiful, elegant, and such an adventure.  I did not work on the sales floor, I worked an early morning shift to put shipment up, and also late nights when we had a new store set up design.  At the time my style was…a bit homely.  Haa!  Yes Mom, you were right.  It took me many years to discover my style.  I would say not until 2009 did I really start to hone in my specific style.  Although, two of my winter coats I purchased during my time there.  I regret not buying this absolutely beautiful trench coat, thank you Jesus that you gave someone the idea to make that trench…it was so amazingly beautiful.  I tried it on, I remember.  Somehow it had a green pen mark line on the back (which would have come out)…so it was marked 70% off.  It fit my body as though it was designed for me.  There is a reason I didn’t buy it, but I have not seen a trench that beautiful, with that price sense.  Although that trench coat was beautiful, I have lived a very happy and blessed life without it.  Jesus Reigns.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sentimental on the Sidelines

Waiting for the game to start

I remember meeting my oldest nephew for the first time.  He was 3 years old.  My nerves were high as I watched my husband be the perfect fun loving uncle, and I...the clueless new wife and aunt.  My father was the youngest child in his family, my mother was the youngest in her family, and I am the youngest in my family.  I was the baby of the babies, I was the child of the children.  I think I was in college the first time I held a baby.  Children, toddlers, babies...I didn't know anything about them.  How to talk to them, how to hold them, how to act around them...I was feeling like a failure even before I started.  My nephew use to call me Aunt Ranchel, before his fantastic schooling corrected his cute childhood pronunciation.  I loved it.  

Children are amazing.  The things they say, and the amounts of information and speed that they can learn absolutely stuns me.  Not only that, but how quickly they grow seems to knock me sideways.  I saw them just last week, how are they that much smarter, that much taller?  Baffling.

This past weekend was my oldest nephews first football game.  How is he already in second grade?!  I am so proud of him.  During the length between 2 games, he made mistakes sure...but he learned what he needed to correct and applied the knowledge and was making blocks like you couldn't believe.  He listened, he cared, he worked hard, and he was praised by all his family members.  Half embarrassed, half joyful he stood there taking our cheers.  

It was a beautiful sight.  It was hot, humid, and clouds were scarce...and he played, and kept playing, getting better with each new play.  The whistle blew and he went after it, getting stronger every time. 

I couldn't help but get sentimental.  I couldn't help but feel proud.  I couldn't help but know there are lessons here that I need to search out, lessons that I need to take from my nephew.  Just because my 'enough' may be a small amount, and just because my 'all' may be drive has to take root and find a source that is much stronger that I.  When my enough finds its end, I call upon The One Whose Power Never Fails.  When my drive is poisoned with laziness, I confess sin and ask for a renewal from The One Who Reconciles and Recharges.  Christ Jesus is our Hope for every effort we can put forth.  He is our fuel and our fire.  He alone holds everything together.  Jesus Christ is our Constant Sustaining Resource.  There is always victory in His Name.

Colossians 1:15-23 (ESV)

The Preeminence of Christ

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven,making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ready for Weekend

This is my kit cat Scout.  I call her Scoutie, Pretty Kitty, Poutie, Pooper, and Baby Dragon.  Nicknames are for friends, so I give her a lot of them.  I became a dog person when my last name changed...before I got married I thought I may become the crazy cat lady on the street.  My husband was not a cat person...although Scoutie has acted in a manner that, in my husband’s eyes, deemed her worthy of some affection.  He likes her, how can you not?  She is fluffy, soft, and squishy. 

She is the kind of cat that will lay in your lap, but is still independent enough that she doesn't follow you around all the time.  She likes to sleep.  She goes outside, and has all of her claws.  She hasn't ruined any of our furniture.  Scoutie doesn't love our dogs, but tolerates them and always stands her ground.  Since our dogs are so jealous of our attention all the time, she only cuddles on my lap when they are not around.  So, I always make time for that.  Scoutie is quirky, and playful.  She is small for a kit cat.  Only being 3 years old, she weighs 9 lbs.  Her legs are really short, and I have no idea what all breeds she could be a mix of.  Maine Coon, Ragdoll, Munchkin, and who knows what else.  I think she is small because her mother wasn't even a year old when she got pregnant with her other brother and sisters.  She doesn’t purr very often, but when she does it is really soft and quiet.  She loves ribbon, things that roll, light spots, empty cardboard boxes, and fully decorated Christmas trees. 

Scoutie helps me relax.  She helps me smile more.  She helps me calm down.  She is a really laid back cat, and that helps me chill out.  She is my weekend during my weekday. 

Scoutie teaches me to rest well.  So often, I’m restless.  If not with anxiety, with guilt that I did not do ‘enough’.  I was speaking with my husband the other day about how I haven't ever really given 100% to anything.  I don’t think I have ever done something that someone could say to me “You did all that you could.”  Even saying, “You tried your best.”….I come up empty.  I always feel like I can do more, I could do more, I could be more.  Where is the standard with ‘enough’ or ‘best’?  When do you know you have done everything your body, mind, and spirit could do?  Is it physical?  Is it emotional?  Do you know it when you die?...Is that the moment that you know you gave it your ‘all’?  Is this level different for every person?  Are some able to do ‘all’ at a higher level than others?  Mentally, I don’t understand giving something the most you can give…doesn’t that need perfection to obtain?  How can an imperfect person give something to such a high standard and succeed?

My best is never enough, and even my best is tainted with the fact that I could probably do better. 

“And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.” – Mark 10:18

“And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good except God alone.” – Luke 18:19

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48

“For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.” – Hebrews 7:26

“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” – Hebrews 5:8-10

“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice.  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” – Deuteronomy 32:4

“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.” – Psalm 19:7-9

“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?” – Ezekiel 18:25

“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just.” – Ezekiel 33:17

Oh to rest in His Perfect, Unending, Constant, Lavished…Grace.  He is Perfect, and covers all of my past, present, and future imperfections.  Christ Jesus, help me release my control and fear of failure to depend on you Never Ceasing Grace.