Thursday, March 23, 2017

Home Alone and Looking Stylish

Styling In The Kitchen


Hello, hello!  Today, I'm coming to you from my kitchen where I am striving to be in style even though there is no one around to see...but me!  How do you feel about dressing stylishly and putting makeup and jewelry on when you are "home alone?" I'm of the opinion that it is nice to look stylish even when I'm doing chores in the kitchen. Since retirement, I have worked on "keeping myself up" during the day and not staying in my bathrobe all day. Now, there's nothing wrong with having a "jammy day" (or even several) but I seem to feel better about myself when I take the time to fix myself up a bit during the day. I'm not talking heels and pearls here...just stylish casual clothes that are comfortable. So today, I decided to leave on the casual, comfortable attire that I wore out earlier for a noonday lunch with friends.


This blue sweater is one of my favorites and I paired it with a tan faux turtleneck and my favorite skinny jeans. The butterfly necklace was a retirement gift from my colleagues. I'll work on a close-up in a future post so you can see the lovely detail.


My friends commented on my cute new tennis shoes when we were together earlier. These shoes remind me of the popular "Chucks" that are so in vogue right now. This style is a bit edgy and retro from the 80's. 


These are not Chucks, but are a brand I found recently at Walmart for only $5.87!  They have lots of colors and designs available. Check it out, ladies! And, I find them comfortable!


Why not look stylish in the kitchen?  Why not put on jewelry and/or makeup to wear just for you?  For me, looking put together for myself is a mood booster and helps me to feel ready for whatever chores and people come my way. 

How about you?  Do you like to look stylish even when no one is around to see you....except you?  I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Remember my goal for this year is to build readership and comments. Please take a moment to leave a comment. I love them and they make my day. And bonus points if you share my website with someone and introduce them to visiting debbiethisandthat.com!  (Big Smile!!)

Until Next Time,
Debbie



*Not a sponsored post. No compensation received for brands/stores mentioned. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #10-Finding Serenity

The Quest for Peace and Serenity


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6  (ESV)

It's something that can be so elusive, isn't it?  One moment you're feeling great, life is going swimmingly and the skies are blue and beautiful. Everything seems peaceful and serene. Then, in a heartbeat those wonderful feelings are gone. It could be due to a phone call or an unforeseen emergency or simply due to the worries and stress of the day. But, the result is that those blue skies vanish and you are left with butterflies in the stomach and questions of "why....why is this happening?" It seems like in our world today, finding...and keeping....peace and serenity is difficult to do. 

One of the thoughts I have been pondering lately is the idea that I too often rely on peace and serenity as being a feeling rather than being a belief. Perhaps this is part of what Jesus was referring to when he told his disciples the following:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27 (King James Version)

I am reminded in this scripture that the peace that Jesus offers is different from the peace the world offers. And the peace that the world offers usually comes with a feeling attached. Think of the following lines we often hear either on television or from someone around us:

"Don't leave your family uncared for in the event of your death. Buy this life insurance policy and have peace of mind in knowing that your family will be cared for."

"Try this new underarm deodorant and feel confident about being around other people."

"Try this sleep product and have peaceful sleep like you've never had before."

"Teeth not white enough? Use this product and you'll be confident with your smile and interaction with others."

"Get this free information kit on how to get a stable, secure retirement." 

All of these lines speak to finding some type of peace....whether it be the peace of financial security or the peace of self-confidence. And while financial security and self-confidence are certainly important issues....they still reflect feelings of peace that can be fleeting. The stock market falls, an unexpected bill comes, we make a social gaff that undermines our self-confidence....and that peace and serenity that we were feeling is gone. And we are back where we started.....looking for yet another avenue of peace and serenity in order to assuage our worry and uncertainty about life. 

This is what I'm talking about when I offer the idea that perhaps having peace and serenity isn't about having a certain feeling at all....but rather more about having a belief system in place that stands the test of time whether things are going right in our lives or going wrong in our lives.  

Have you heard of the Serenity Prayer? Of course you have! It's that simple prayer that we hear quoted so often:

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

This prayer is often used as part of twelve step programs and can be very instrumental in helping us think through the difficulties of life. But, did you know that there are actually more lines to this prayer? Trevor Hudson, a South African United Methodist Minister, has written a book called, "The Serenity Prayer a simple prayer to enrich your life."  I am having the joy of teaching this book via an online course through beadisciple.com this week and next week. In his book, Trevor takes each line of the Serenity Prayer, using the full text, and devotes a chapter to discussing the meaning of each line as it can be applied to our lives. He speaks of "growing the seed" of serenity in our lives and says that, "God's peace is a peace that goes beyond all human understanding. It cannot be grasped by the intellect alone but must be experienced in our hearts."  

I am slowly beginning to realize, that if I am to grow serenity in my life, I must come to terms with the idea of serenity not being a feeling....but rather a state of being. This doesn't mean that I will be walking around with a smile on my face all the time. And it doesn't mean that I'll feel happy all the time. And it certainly doesn't mean that everything in my life will just be hunky-dory all the time. But, what it does mean is that no matter what my circumstance....I will know that all is ultimately well because God is in control....not me.  

My serenity seed has been planted....and is slowly starting to grow. How about yours? 

Here is the full text of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace,
taking, as he did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it,
trusting that he will make all things right
if I surrender to his will--
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with him forever. 

Blessings As You Plant Your Seed of Serenity,
Debbie

*What are your thoughts about finding serenity? I hope you will share your thinking today! And please come back next Saturday for more about finding serenity. 

*This is not a sponsored post. The Serenity Prayer offers several theories of authorship including Boethius who lived in 500 CE and Reinhold Niebuhr who used this prayer in a chapel address in 1934. Some words in the prayer are also credited to Friedrick Oetinger. (Source of this information is The Serenity Prayer a simple prayer to enrich your life by Trevor Hudson.)





Thursday, March 16, 2017

Six Inspirations for An Early Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day
Public Domain Image


I celebrate my Irish heritage today by wishing all a Happy St. Patrick's Day! Yes, I know I'm a day early, but I thought you might want some inspiration for tomorrow. As a true "Mac" I am turning the blog green today by sharing with you all of the things I am currently enjoying that just happen to be green. Hope you enjoy!

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#1-My St. Patrick's Day look for tomorrow

You just knew I would include an outfit, right? This is my "wearin' of the green" look that I will be styling tomorrow. It was still freezing outside, so I didn't stay out long for photos. See that snow on the ground? I know some of you have much, much more snow than this! I've had this dress forever and still love it. It is a green/blue plaid. You'll see it up close in another photo later. I added the gold scarf for some contrast of color. 

#2-Weight Watchers Frozen Meals

I discovered this Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach frozen meal while I was still teaching. It was a quick and delicious lunch that was easy peasy to make in the microwave. I'm still enjoying these meals occasionally in retirement.


The riccota cheese sauce is really creamy and the green spinach adds to the flavor and healthiness of the dish. It's a little more sodium than I like, but the fat content and calories are not bad and I don't eat this every day. I've even used this as a side dish for Mr.thisandthat and I.

#3-Williams-Sonoma Hand Lotion

I bought this hand lotion before Christmas and have been enjoying it ever since. It is a purely decadent, rich and soothing hand lotion.


But, the best part of this lotion is the lovely evergreen scent. Whenever I use this lotion, I feel as if I am walking among green pine trees in the forest. Love that fresh, clean smell!!

#4-Spinach Salads

What could be healthier than a delicious green spinach salad? Add some green pepper, cucumber and carrot for color and you have a powerhouse of nutrients and goodness in a bowl! Yumm!

#5 New Green Recliners

Look at these lovely rocker/recliners that Mr.thisandthat and I purchased recently. When I sat in this recliner at the furniture store it was comfort at first sit! So much so, that Mr.thisandthat went back and got a matching one for himself. So now we can both recline in comfort. The color goes well with our other living room decor. 

#6-The Serenity Prayer Book

I began teaching an online course this week via beadisciple.com about this book entitled, "The Serenity Prayer a simple prayer to enrich your life," written by Trevor Hudson. What an awesome book and one that truly looks at ways to find serenity by contemplating the full text of the Serenity Prayer and its application in our lives. I'll be talking more about this book, and serenity, as part of my "Saturday Scriptures" series, so be sure to stop by the blog this Saturday for more on the Serenity Prayer. 
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So there you have it....six ways in which I am enjoying green as I celebrate St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. I hope that you enjoy a happy day tomorrow, as well, and I will leave you with a traditional Irish blessing.



free shamrock clipart
Public Domain Image

A Wish for a Friend                            
     Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
   Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

How do you plan to spend St. Patrick's Day? Please leave a comment below. Your thoughts are always welcome!

*No compensation was paid for brand names of items mentioned in this post. I am currently employed by beadisciple.com as an instructor. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tablescape Vignettes Transitioning Winter to Spring

Calling Spring....To The Tablescape Vignette


What has happened to our lovely Spring-like weather? In my neck of the woods we have recently had temps in the 70's and now today we are having snow showers and expecting really cold temperatures tonight. From the weather reports, I know that many of you readers are also experiencing cold and even blizzard-like conditions where you are. Brrr...I decided to call forth Spring (at least on the dining table) by creating some tablescape vignettes that call on Spring to come, while still giving a nod to the cold and snow that March often brings. 


Isn't my snow deer cute? I decided after Christmas to keep him on display and didn't pack him away with the other Christmas decorations. He has been gracing a table in our living room until today when I moved him to the dining table. I had removed the red and gold Christmas collar from around his neck leaving him pure white. I decided to give him a Spring collar using some wide ribbon covered with pastel blue stripes and flowers. Of course, he is a snow deer, so there are some snowballs piled up next to him to reflect that Winter's grip is not giving up quite yet!!

I borrowed this green vase from our collection of Blenko glass vases and water pitchers. We have several shades of green and I think this particular shade of green looks very Spring-like next to the snowballs and yellow placemat. Part of my decorating inspiration is to always use things I already have on hand whenever possible and to find ways to use decor in new ways. 


These colorful silk miniature carnations round out the look nicely. I love how the yellow carnations match with the yellow placemat. I added some white stems as well to reflect the snow today. I'm keeping in mind that this is a transitional vignette, so I am mixing seasons with the decor I am choosing to use. If you are thinking of creating a transitional season vignette of your own, consider how color combinations can compliment each other and how to incorporate something that hints of each season to the mix of whatever decor objects you choose to use. Now let's move on to another transitional vignette on the foyer table.


I'm not ready to move to Easter decorations yet, so once again, I am mixing seasonal decor options on the foyer table. My two lady snow-women are holding plants and spades, hinting that gardening weather is not too far away, even though there is still snow on the ground. The pastel colors the snow-women are wearing blend well with the pastel colors on the hearts sign. I used this little sign that I found at Goodwill as a Valentine decoration and its message is so relevant...."Love is patient and kind"....that message is always in season, yes?!


I have really been enjoying this butterfly sign in pastel blue that I purchased from A.C.Moore. The sign has wings protruding from the frame on each side. You can see part of a wing behind the snow-woman if you look closely. I like the sign's reminder to laugh. I haven't been kissed by a butterfly before, but I am hoping it may happen in the future!! 


I moved my wooden "with all my HEART" box to the bottom of the foyer table with the pink pastel heart for company. 


To me, creating a transitional vignette or tablescape means using some of the old while adding some of the new. Those times of "in-between" with the seasons can be a bit trying. I know I am pining for warm weather. We just have to be patient....and know that Spring is on its way!

How about you? Do you enjoy creating seasonal decor displays that transition between the seasons in your home? How is the weather where you are? C'mon....leave me a comment. I'm missing hearing from you!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

*All photos on this post taken by Debbie Ross. All vignettes/tablescapes on this post created by Debbie Ross. 

It's Freezing Out Here and She's Talking About Spring?!
*Linking with A Stroll Thru Life

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #9-Where Are You Being Sent?

         Where Is Jesus Sending You?

roadway-arrow-sign.jpg

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?" 
Jesus said, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world's Light."
He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man's eyes, and said, "Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam" (Siloam means "Sent"). The man went and washed--and saw.
(John Chapter 9 ) The Message

Can you picture the scene? Jesus and his disciples simply walking down a dusty street holding a conversation when Jesus spots a man blind from birth. The disciples immediately want to know where to lay blame for his blindness. After all, in their opinion, someone must be at fault for this man being born blind! But Jesus turns the tables on the disciples, pointing out to them that looking for someone to blame is wrong thinking. Looking for what God can do is right thinking. He then creates a paste of his spit and dirt, rubs it on the blind man's eyes and tells him to go wash it off. But Jesus doesn't tell the man to just go wash off the mud anywhere. No, he sends the man to a special place...the Pool of Siloam. And the scripture tells us that the very word "Siloam" means sent. So....Jesus sent the man to the pool....to be sent on a whole different mission.....Because, you see, the miracle didn't just stop at the Pool of Siloam after the man had washed his eyes and was able to see. Oh no...there is much more to come in Chapter 9 of the book of John. 

Remember, that Jesus told his disciples not to look for blame...but to look for what "God can do." And God certainly used this miracle of healing for so much more than just restoring this man's vision! You see, the chapter goes on to say that very soon afterward, folks in town got to talking. Even the man's relatives were trying to figure out how this miracle had happened. Some relatives decided he wasn't even the same man who had been blind! After years of seeing this blind man begging along the roadside, there was no way he could now see! Of course these doubters had to get the Pharisees involved and that began a series of grilling both the man and his parents as to whether or not he was indeed the blind man, and how this healing could have happened. They wanted to know where Jesus was located and who the blind man thought Jesus was. They didn't like any of his answers and, eventually, ended up throwing the poor man out into the street! Think about the upheaval in this man's life! He had already struggled his entire life due to blindness. He literally begged on the street for help. And then, when this miracle of miracles happens, and his sight is restored.....he is sent forth only to have his identity doubted and his words twisted by the Pharisees ending in being physically assaulted! 

There is so much to this particular scripture, that it is hard to know which direction to go with for a devotional. We could talk about the human penchant for trying to lay blame for events that happen, or the wonderful miracle of healing that God brought about for this man, or the inability of people to believe when something good happens, or the way people's words can be twisted when being questioned and the questioners don't like what they are hearing. But, I am choosing to focus, today,  on the idea that this man was "sent" by Jesus. You know, Jesus could have just touched him and healed him right there on the road. My goodness, remember the woman who simply touched the hem of His garment and was healed? And Jesus could have chosen to simply make the paste for the man's eyes and leave it there. But no....Jesus chose to send the man to the pool. And from there, the man went forth and spoke to others about Jesus. 

Now granted, it wasn't easy for this man. He was doubted and treated unkindly. But, through it all, he stayed true to the truth of what had happened to him. He gave Jesus the credit for the healing saying, "All I know is that I was blind, but now I see." And at the end of Chapter 9, Jesus uses this man's story to illustrate that blindness can come in many forms...including being blind to the truth when it is right in front of us. Here are Jesus' words:

"I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind."

As I read this scripture, I find myself dwelling on the idea of "being sent" by Jesus. Granted, I don't want to end up being interrogated and abused by the Pharisees. But, I hope that in whatever situation I am sent, I can take the lesson that Jesus speaks of in these scriptures. That I can see the clear distinctions of God's word clearly in the light of day. And, most of all, that I can ask the right question...What can God do in this situation? 

Where is Jesus sending you today? And what can God do as you go there? 


Blessings,
Debbie




Monday, March 6, 2017

White Pants, Sweater and Three Shoe Styles

Styling White Pants

No compensation has been paid for brand names mentioned in this post. All writing and opinions are my own. 


I was excited to finally find a white pair of slacks that I feel look good on me. I had already found a white pair of capris that I wore a lot last summer and I shared them already on the blog. If you missed those you can read that post here. While those capris were a Goodwill find, these white slacks were purchased at Stein Mart. I wanted to style them with a top that says "Springtime" so I went with this sweater paired with a back faux turtleneck. It may be March, but the weather today was cool, so the sweater/turtleneck combo felt good. What color name would you give to this sweater? My husband and I debated this. He thought it was red. I said it was in the pink family. After looking at color charts online, he decided the color was Cadmium Red and I say the color is Fuchsia. My husband was explaining that men and women see color differently due to the cone shape of our eyes. Interesting, huh? But, I am digressing from the point of this post, which is styling white pants. I am also styling the pants with three different styles of shoes to show the different possible looks that can be achieved. 


I don't know why every time I have tried on white slacks in the past, I just didn't like the way they looked on me. Perhaps it was the style of pant, I don't know. These were an instant hit when I tried them on a few months ago. The brand is Rafaella. I have several other Rafaella pants, as well,  and like all of them. This brand just seems to work for me. These slacks are "ankle grazers" so the shoe I wear needs to look good with this style. I recently purchased these flats and am quite pleased by the style and comfort of this shoe. They have memory foam insoles which are quite comfy. They look dressy and stylish with the white pants, in my opinion. I'm trying to find stylish looking flat shoes to wear with outfits. Those of you who follow my blog know that I give "time limits" to various shoes, especially heels which may be a "30 minute" only shoe! I've actually recently donated some of those "30 minute" shoes to Goodwill because, in all honesty, they aren't comfortable for long wear and why have clothes/shoes in the closet that aren't comfortable? So, you will see some flatter shoe styles on the blog in the future. 


I did keep a couple pairs of heels and this is one pair I kept. I don't recall where I purchased these, but the brand is Life Stride Velocity with memory foam. I love having shoes with memory foam for padding! The padding makes these shoes comfortable and I like that the heels are not too high so I don't wobble when wearing them. I have decided that stability is much more important than style! The open toe gives me more toe room, also. My feet are a bit wide at the toe area, so I have always liked open toe shoes for this reason.


These shoes really give a dressy look to the outfit. They look good with the "ankle skimmer" style of pant. 


And here we have a more casual look. I love these shoes and wear this style 90% of the time!  They are Danskin Now with memory foam (yes!!) and they come in an assortment of colors. I have them in gray, white, navy blue and melon. This is the way I styled the outfit to run errands today. Not as dressy as the other looks, but great for running around town. 


Add a couple of bracelets for the bling factor and you're good to go! You know my motto...accessories make the look!

OK...it's your turn! How do you like to style white pants? Are you a fan of flats, or do you prefer heels? What is your opinion of memory foam in shoes? I hope you will leave a comment. My goal for the blog is to increase both readership and the number of comments. I started 2017 strong, but the comments have been dropping off, so please take a moment, if you can, to talk to me. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

*See my "Who I Party With" tab for linkup info.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #8-Children of Light

Bathing In The Light

Shining Sun After The Storm
Public Domain Image

Jesus said, "For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn't destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don't know where you're going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You'll be children of light."
(John 12: 35-36 The Message)

God is God, 
  he has bathed us in light.
(Psalm 118:27  The Message)

In today's scripture from the book of John, Jesus is about to go into hiding as the Pharisees are already plotting to kill him. He has recently raised Lazarus from the dead and Mary has already annointed his feet with oil, much to the dismay of Judas Iscariot. The high priests are even plotting to kill Lazarus because so many Jews are believing in Jesus because of what Jesus has done in raising Lazarus from the dead. To further enrage the Pharisees, huge crowds are gathering and breaking off palm branches and waving them in the air as Jesus passes by while shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God's name! Yes! The King of Israel!" So many people who have witnessed these miracles of Jesus are spreading the word of what they have seen and their actions are causing this parade of praise to Jesus to occur, which is further enraging the Pharisees. And through all of this, the disciples are failing to notice the fulfillment of many scriptures. Jesus, always patient, tries to explain to them what it means to follow him. And it is during this time, that He speaks to his disciples of being children of light. I wonder if Jesus is recalling the passage from Psalm 118 when He teaches the disciples this lesson?

Have you ever watched children playing in water? Their faces are pure joy as they splash about tossing beach balls or floating on foam noodles. "Watch me, watch me!" they shout as they kick their feet with abandon, ducking their heads under water, float on their backs or cannonball off the side of the pool. Tired from their play, they reluctantly leave the water long enough to plop down on a towel and take a short rest. Leaning back to feel the sun on their faces, the sunlight shines down on them warming their tired muscles and giving them the youthful glow that children exude. In that moment, they look as if they are bathed in light. 

It's unfortunate that adults lose the ability and/or time to play as children do. Life responsibilities, jobs, traumatic events, bills to pay and dealing with the realities of the world takes its toll on adults. The "watch me, watch me," that we shouted exuberantly as children can become the cry of "help me, help me," as we deal with all that life has to offer. It is easy to forget during difficult times of life that we are called to be "children of light." 

A new practice that I have begun in my prayer life is visualization. As I pray for others, as well as for myself, I picture the person with the light of Jesus shining down on them. I see this light surrounding and enveloping the person sending God's love directly to them. It is a powerful practice that, I find, eases the anxiety I may feel about the situations or problems these people are facing. Even throughout the day, I can visualize God's light shining down on my family, friends, myself, the Earth, bathing everyone and everything in God's light. 

Remember the old Calgon bath products commercials back in the 70's? The lady looking frazzled from a stressful day would shout, "Calgon, take me away!" We would then see her relaxed in a tub full of bubbles, being bathed in calmness and peace. 

Life is not a Calgon commercial, though. Finding peace and calmness is not as easy as jumping into a tub filled with a certain bath product. The world is not an easy place. And if we are not careful, the darkness can destroy us. Jesus knew this. He, too, lived in dangerous and uncertain times. But in the midst of darkness, Jesus has prepared a way for us. It is a way of light. And as we walk in His light, the light shines through us, just like the child sunning by the poolside. God's light shines in us and through us, bathing us in light. And we are truly "children of light." May you experience this light of Jesus in your life today. 

Blessings,
Debbie

*Comments are alway welcome. I so enjoy your thoughts.