Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #14-Whom Shall I Fear?

       The Lord Is My Light and My Salvation

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The Lord is my light and salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

When I was a child, I was often fearful. There were so many scary things in the world it seemed to me. I was naturally timid and shy, and was nervous about being in new situations, being around strangers, bees and snakes, and many other things. One of the scariest times for me, however, was during thunderstorms. Oh my goodness, I hated thunderstorms! 

I remember one particular summer in West Virginia when we had a particularly bad number of storms. I must have been around eleven or twelve years old. The lightening would light up the sky and the thunder sounded so close it might have been coming through the front door! One such storm happened overnight and I remember waking up to a crashing thunderous sound and fire sparking outside the bedroom window. A bolt of lightening had hit some wires outside our home and the wires had hit the ground throwing sparks. I was terrified! I remember laying in bed trembling while my mother and older sister figured out what had happened and we waited for the line repairmen to come. It was such a relief to hear the thunder die down, see the lightening stop and hear the torrential rain slow to a gentle patter letting me know that the storm was ending. 

As an adult, I am not as troubled by those childhood fears. But, there are still storms in life which can cause great trepidation. Adults are not free from fearfulness and can often suffer greatly with worry, fear and doubt. Psalm 27 reminds us that the Lord is our stronghold. He protects us and walks with us through all of the storms of life. When dark storm clouds are on the horizon, the Lord is our light, shining through the darkest of days, bringing hope and salvation to us. The lightening bolts may streak the sky and the thunder may boom loudly....but we are safe in the Savior's arms!

                                           Blessings,
                                           Debbie



Friday, April 21, 2017

Can Your House Be Too Perfect?

Feeling Normal In A World Of House Perfection

         (Or...at least trying to feel normal)


Ok, I'll admit it right up front.  Today's post may sound a bit "snarky" (translation: irritable).  But, someone in blog world has to say it, so it may as well be me.  So here goes.  I live in a house that is not perfect. (Gasp!) And right now it is certainly not "photo worthy."  As we speak, I have dishes in the sink that need washed, dust behind my bedroom furniture, piles of music stacked on boards across saw horses in my living room that my husband has been trying to "organize" for several weeks now and, to top it all off, I have every piece of furniture covered in towels and blankets to protect them while we nurse our sick Gracie cat through mouth cancer. Sound delightful? Want to see pictures? No way! 

Writer S Block  I Am Not A Morning Person
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Guess you can say I'm in a cranky mood today! So, why my need to share all of this with you? I don't know about you, but I think we all (translation:me) need a dose of reality about homes and styling them. I love to read about beautiful homes and enjoy seeing them on blogs, but honestly, sometimes it can get a little discouraging. Everything looks just too perfect. I look at blog photos and there is  not a speck of dust to be found. The bedrooms look like they came out of a magazine, the children's play areas look like no toy is ever touched, the laundry areas don't show any dirty laundry, and the living rooms look like at any moment the doorbell could ring and guests would be ushered in to be offered a cold glass of tea and homemade cookies made in a spotlessly never used kitchen. Does anyone really live in these homes?

My husband and I have been blessed to own three homes during our married life and each one has been what is considered a "fixer upper."  As in.....the fixing upping continued from the moment we moved in until the day we sold the house. In other words, I have basically lived in construction zones for most of our 34 years of marriage. Our current home (and one that we plan to live in ad infinitum) was the one most in need of fixing up. Perhaps not the greatest plan for us as we entered the middle life years, but there you have it. Anyway, we are now fourteen years into the fixing upping and although most of the upstairs and the family room,  shop area, laundry area downstairs is pretty much done, we still have much left to do with the garage, dining room and staircase in our home. In other words, yes, we are still living in a construction zone much of the time. And, after fourteen years of living in the house, the painting that was done when we first moved in now needs redone. So....add that to the imperfection list. And yes, I will admit that I am envious of those who say they move into a house and it is now a year later and it is magazine photo perfect! (You may now picture me screaming and stomping my feet while wearing a bathrobe.) 

My husband, bless him, likes to do most of the fixing upping on his own. Which takes time....especially when there are other jobs to go to and other interests to be pursued outside of fixing up the house. I'm not complaining (well, maybe a little) ....we live a life full of blessings.  We are blessed to have a home.  But, sometimes, I just wish I could blink and everything in the house would look perfect.....just like in those magazine and blog photos. 

Being a perfectionist in a house of imperfection is not easy.  I struggle to see the "beauty" and not the dust bunnies, windows that need cleaning (which will last for all of two weeks, maybe) and sawdust from house projects. My husband has this amazing ability to look at all of the projects and "see" the final product. While, I look at the projects and "see" the weeks of work involved and the mess that will be created in the meantime. 

There is a life story to be told here and I am hoping and praying to be able to share it one day. Perhaps, I'll even write a book about it.  And, at some point in time, I plan to do a series on the blog about the work that has been done on our home. My husband really is an amazing do it yourselfer!

But, for now, I'm just going to whine a little.  And maybe go wash the dishes.  Perhaps vacuum some dust up.   It's Friday and I'm tired.   And cranky.   And my house is far from perfect.  But, it is a house that we live in.  Maybe, I'll just look at some pretty house pictures on the net.  And dream....

                       Can anyone out there relate? 

Until Next Time,
Debbie

Monday, April 17, 2017

How To Style A Maxi Dress and Sandals

Spring Maxi Dress and Skechers Wedge Sandals

(Not a sponsored or paid post)

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Hey Everyone! How was your Easter weekend? Ours was pretty good. We enjoyed Easter services so much. I directed choirs at our church while my husband played trumpet for a service at a different church. Busy, busy! The day was joyful as we remembered the true meaning of Easter. On a sadder note, Gracie took a bit of a downhill turn for a couple days and then rallied today and started eating again and acting like a "curious" cat. This weighs on our hearts and minds and kind of wears us out. But, we love her so we persevere in caring for her. 

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Let's change the subject and talk about something more fun and less depressing like how to style a maxi dress, shall we?  Maxis are still "in" this season. To be honest, I have had difficulty finding a maxi that wasn't too long on me and fit my body well. At 5'4", I'm right on the border between average and petite, so sometimes I feel that maxis  don't look quite right on me. When I saw this dress, however, I instantly loved the neckline, the color and the shoulder ties. When I held it up against me, the length seemed just right. So, I knew I had a winner!

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So, where did I find this beauty? I almost hate to tell you!  I'm probably the only blogger around who buys her clothing at drugstores! But, yes, I admit it.  I was browsing at my local drugstore and saw this dress. Now, I have looked for and tried on maxi dresses at many department stores and have never found one that worked for me. Go figure that the one I find that looks good and fits well comes from a drugstore! It just goes to show you that it's always good to keep your options open when it comes to clothing! And, because we have a discount card at this particular drugstore, (Rite-Aid), I got a nice discount on top of the already low price. I can live with that!

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When styling a maxi, shoes are important for both comfort and for giving a little extra height to the long skirt of the dress. Some folks like to wear flip flops or flatter sandals with a longer skirt. I prefer a little more height with a maxi. I love these Skechers Wedge Sandals and felt that the white color was perfect with the blue/white of this dress. These sandals are also a comfort sandal with a soft foot bed and plenty of ankle support. The height is just right in my opinion. 

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 The jewelry you choose to wear with a maxi can take it to either a dressier or a more casual look. I opted for a couple of faux diamond bracelets for a "fancier" look. 

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I also added a sparkly pair of Paparazzi earrings to complete the look. Our azaleas are blooming and are so beautiful. I love Springtime!


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I decided to use this pashmina scarf as a shawl to cover my shoulders for warmth. Again, this is a dressier look. A white sweater will also work well with this dress for a more casual look. 


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One final note about this dress, is that I appreciate the ruched bodice which is very "forgiving" in the stomach area. This style of dress is perfect for my pear shaped body. 

So, are you ready to look for a maxi dress?  Are you ready to go on the wild side and shop for clothing at drugstores? See what you would miss if you didn't read my blog?!  Many thanks to those of you who chimed in on my last style post to tell me which denim jacket you liked better. After checking comments on the blog, Google+ and Facebook, more folks liked the white jacket better than the blue, although it was pretty close! The white jacket was my favorite, although I have to tell you that the more I look at the blue denim jacket the better I like it! Glad I have a choice and can wear both at different times. 

I hope you will take a moment to leave me a comment. It makes my day! Do you wear maxi dresses?  How do you like to style them? I look forward to hearing from you.

Until Next Time,
Debbie
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                     Every body's different and that's OK!

*Not a sponsored or paid post. All writing/opinions are my own.
*Photography by William Ross. 
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #13-Thank You Notes

Thank You Notes

The Easter Cross
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He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. (Matthew 28:6)

When someone gives you a gift, how do you say thank you?  We offer thanks verbally, smile, hug the giver and sometimes even send a thank you note. We want to make sure we let the giver know that we appreciate what they have done for us and that their gift to us has meaning. Being thankful and showing gratitude for a gift is the right thing to do.

When I think of what Christ did for me on the cross....suffering and dying for my sins....I realize that it is a gift beyond any earthly gift that I could ever receive. It is certainly not a gift that I deserve. And yet that is the beauty of Christ's gift of forgiveness through death on the cross and resurrection. I don't deserve it and yet He offers it to me freely and with no strings attached. 

And because it is a gift of such magnitude, I want to say thank you. But a thank you note won't do it. Not this time. How do I say "thank you" to the Lord for His gift to me of eternal life? Psalm 103 points me in the right direction and serves as a "Thank You Note" to the Lord. 

"Praise the Lord, my soul;
   all my inmost being, praise His holy name"

I can never offer enough thanks for Christ's gift of salvation. But thanks be to God, I can praise the Lord with my life by loving and serving Him. 

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! 

Blessings,
Debbie


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Pink Spring Dress with Denim Jacket

   Flouncing About In Pink

(Disclaimer: No compensation has been received for brand names/companies mentioned in this post. I received discounts on sale items as a Walgreens discount card holder member.)

I'm coming to you today with a Spring dress in pink.  And just for fun, I'm styling it with two different denim jackets. I want you to tell me which you like best, OK?  I know which one I like best, but I'm not gonna tell today. First off, I'm showing the dress so you can see this beauty up close. 


Funny, while I was doing this style shoot today, I could hear my mother's voice inside my head saying, "You shouldn't be up flouncing about!"  This was her way of telling me, when I was little, that I needed to take things easy after being sick. Interesting, isn't it, how our parents' voices stay inside our heads no matter how old we are?  I'm so happy to be outside and feeling halfway decent, so yes, I am definitely flouncing about!


I found this sweet dress at Walgreens. In fact, I picked up about three clothing items while I was there.  The items were on sale for buy one at $9 get a second item half price.  I can live with that so I did a little shopping. This is not the first time that I have found either clothing items or accessories that I really like at Walgreens. The designs in pink and blue on this dress add to its interest and it is extremely comfortable and lightweight. The brand is west/loop and is distributed by WinWin Products. It's a 97% Polyester 3% Spandex dress that is machine washable. This dress can easily be worn as is or as a tunic with leggings, jeans or pants. It has one of those cross bars of fabric (keyhole type look) in the back which I think is pretty, but the top of my undergarment shows. Anyone have a good hint for hiding the top of my undergarment? If so, please tell me!


OK, so here is the dress with a white denim jacket.  I purchased both jackets you will see at Sears last summer and I have enjoyed them so much!  The brand for both jackets is Gloria Vanderbilt. These jackets are made of soft stretchy material unlike other jeans/denim type jackets that I have seen before. 


Here's the dress with the blue denim jacket.  These jackets are both so lightweight and comfortable. I'm so happy I bought two in these colors! 


You've seen these wedge slides by bernie mev on the blog before. These shoes have a cushioned wedge that goes through to the foot bed. Does that make sense? And the slide upper is a very soft fabric. So it's comfort from the get-go with these shoes. Pretty sure I bought these at DSW. bernie mev has tons of styles and colors that I love. I'll be looking into some other shoes by this brand for sure. 



And I wanted you to see a close-up of this pretty jewelry that goes great with the pink dress. The bracelet was my Colorado purchase last summer. No trip to Colorado for me this summer, so no new purchases from there. And I love these dangly earrings with pink, grey and creme color balls. I was on my way out of Stein Mart one day and picked these up on a whim. It was a good whim!  I have truly enjoyed both of these pieces of jewelry. 


OK, Ladies.....it's your turn!  Which jacket did you like best with the dress?  I can't wait to hear what you think.  I hope you are enjoying these lovely Spring days and taking every opportunity to be "flouncing about" this Spring!

Until Next Time,
Debbie


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Easter/Spring Tablescapes

Spring Comes to the Table


Hello, hello and Happy Spring!  Can you tell I'm feeling better?!  I'm finally on the mend and able to put together some Easter/Spring tablescapes for you. Let's begin on the dining table where I'm featuring a blue and white runner with white dinner plates and these aqua blue egg shaped appetizer plates with aqua linens. 


I also added the aqua blue drink glasses and the cute bunny name holder. All of the aqua blue items and the bunny place name holder were purchases at Target on the $3 dollar aisle. 


Here's a close-up of Mr. Bunny holding my Debbie nametag. At least I'll know where to sit!  (Wink, wink)


For the centerpiece, I added a ceramic rabbit and an aqua blue vase that I fell in love with at Target. Of course, my little Easter baskets have to be on the table. These were created by my mom and one of my sisters when they were doing crafts years ago. It just isn't Easter without these on the table!


I'm loving the lace on the edges of the napkins. So pretty!


Here's a look at the whole ensemble.  It's a table for two....in aqua blue for Spring!  What I like about the aqua colors is that they can be used for many tablescapes...think beach themes. I always like to use things I own for as many uses as possible, so, yes, expect to see these items used in other ways!! If I'm going to spend money...even on the $3 dollar aisle, I want my monies worth! Now, let's look at the foyer table and see how it is decked out.


I moved the rabbit and baskets to the foyer table along with some other pieces that say "Happy Easter."  


On the bottom shelf I used a clear glass vase with a yellow towel for "stuffing" and added some pretty flowers and Easter egg picks. 


I want you to notice the flat clear vase on the right in this pic. This was a gift years ago from my husband's Nana, who is, sadly, no longer with us. We loved her dearly. There is just room for one little "something" in this vase. I had never seen a flat vase like this before and I think it is so unique. My little "something" is a sparkly Easter egg pick. 


So, my Easter/Spring tablescapes are a combination of old and new, family mementos and blue!  I may not be running any races yet, (as if I ever did!!)  but, I am feeling better and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the prayers that got me here!  I'm ready for Easter and for Spring...and that, my friends, is a wonderful thing!

Do you like the tablescapes?  How are you decorating for Spring and/or for Easter?  Do you like blue on your table?  Hope you will leave me a message. It will make my day!

Until Next Time,
Debbie 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #12-God's Grace Is Sufficient

Finding Sufficient Grace 

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But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.    2 Corinthians 12:9 

How do we define the grace of God?  It is the assurance that God is always present with us to love and forgive.  We may turn from God, but God does not turn from us. God is ever present, ever working for His children's good. God's grace was exemplified by the life of Jesus here on Earth. Jesus chose to forgive rather than condemn, to heal rather than to hurt, to reach out rather than to push away. 

In the world in which we live, weakness is seen as a negative attribute. Being powerful goes to those who are strong, who can manipulate their way, who don't worry about morals or scruples. Winning is the thing that counts....at all costs. 

Jesus saw things differently. Our weaknesses are used by Jesus to become tools of power and perfection. It is not our own power and perfection, however, but God's power and perfection. Throughout the Bible are stories of people who were used by God who were less than perfect either mentally, physically or spiritually. The downcast, the poor, sinners, tax collectors, those who could not speak well, men and women, the sick, these are the people that God used in mighty ways. God's grace was sufficient for these people.

As we enter Holy Week and remember the passion of Christ, may we all know that our weaknesses are strengths in the eyes of God. God's grace truly is sufficient in our lives.

Blessings,
Debbie