Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #28: Peace in Tough Times and Happy Times

"Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."  (The Message-Selected verses from Romans Chapter 8)
What a world we live in, you know?  There is so much beauty and splendor at many places in our world while, at the same time, there is so much fear and war mongering and evil. It's a true dichotomy, this world we live in. Today, there are people experiencing their greatest joys while others are experiencing their deepest lows. Just this week in my own corner of the world, I have heard of people experiencing great happiness at becoming grandparents and celebrating birthdays and family gatherings, while I have also heard of people going through end of life cancer diagnosis and facing upcoming surgeries. It's a tough road to hoe sometimes, this life we live in this world. It's easy to get discouraged. And then, you turn on the TV and the news is even worse. You want to just throw up your hands and say, "What's the use?!" 

Today's scripture is comforting to me, because it reminds me that God's Spirit is right here beside us helping us along. When we grow weary and don't even know how to pray, God in Jesus does our praying for us. Each sigh, each groan is turned into prayer and is present before God. And here's the best part....the scripture tells us that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. That's a promise for those who are experiencing their deepest lows as well as those who are experiencing their greatest joys. 

In my daily devotional life, I often use the "Jesus Calling" series by Sarah Young. In today's devotion, Sarah writes the following thoughts that came to her from the Lord:

*"Come to me when you are weak and weary. Rest snugly in My everlasting arms. I do not despise your weakness, My child. Actually, it draws Me closer to you, because weakness stirs up My compassion-My yearning to help. Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been." 

These are beautiful words to hear at this time, in this world we live in. Whether your feet are weary today, or are dancing with joy.....may you know without a doubt that God's presence is with you, closer than your very breath.


*Brief excerpt taken from "Jesus Calling" August 12 devotional, written by Sarah Young, 2008 edition. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Remembering A Princess

Public Domain Source Wikimedia Commons
Something you may not know about me is that I am a huge fan of Princess Diana. We are hearing a lot about her in the media right now because, sadly, it is the 20th anniversary of her death. Her sons, William and Harry, are speaking out about their mother recently and honoring her memory. There are also TV specials airing this week about her life. So, I thought I would do my own tribute to this beautiful lady.
I own several books and magazines that I enjoy looking at about Princess Diana and I am equally besotted now with Catherine, Prince William's wife, and their sweet children, George and Charlotte. So any news about them always catches my eye. 

My interest in Diana goes waaaay back to when she and Prince Charles were first engaged. I can remember getting up at 5:00 a.m. on their wedding day and my Mom and I watched all of the wedding ceremony and festivities on television. It was so exciting! I thought she was the most beautiful bride ever! Of course, the 1980's found many brides trying to emulate her wedding style. When the Mr. and I were married in 1983 I had visions of looking just like Princess Diana in my wedding gown. What do you think?
Other than the fact that I didn't have the poofy sleeves, my train wasn't 25 feet long, I wasn't wearing a tiara and I wasn't holding flowers that looked like a shrub I think we were practically twins, don't you?! (Wink) Of course the Mr. and I weren't married at St.Paul's Cathedral in London, either. But, I do think I married a true prince. (Awwww....) We did have children as part of our wedding party just like Princess Diana, though. So, we did have that in common with our weddings. 

Diana's sense of style was gorgeous. She was always impeccably dressed in my opinion. And, of course, I admired her beautiful engagement ring which is now worn by Catherine. When Avon offered a look alike ring, I had to have one! I still enjoy wearing it.
Diana was beloved by many, but most of all by her boys, William and Harry. My heart broke for them when their mother died. They were so very young to lose her! I'm happy that they keep their mother's memory alive and that little Princess Charlotte has "Diana" as one of her names. I think sometimes of all that Diana missed out on in dying at such a young age. We never got to see a Diana in her 40's or 50's or a "Grandma" Diana. Her life, and early death, remind me that aging is a true privilege which not all get to enjoy. The night we learned she had passed in that tragic car accident, I was awake all night grieving. And, on the day of her funeral, I was up at the crack of dawn, just as I had been for her wedding day, determined to be "with her" just as I had been for her wedding. Diana was called a "people's princess" for a reason. She had a way of connecting with people through her eyes, her smile, her style....even when the people she connected with had never actually met her. I believe that is called, charisma. There has been lots written, and said, about Diana and what went on behind the scenes in her life in the palace. But, what I choose to remember is a beautiful young woman who, when thrust into the limelight, did her best to live her life with style and with love for her two sons. I know I'll be watching those television specials this week about Diana's life. Her life continues to give me hope that, just maybe, there's a little bit of princess in all of us ladies. 

Until Next Time,
Debbie 👑

Monday, August 7, 2017

Little Black Dress Semi-Casual Look #2

Semi-Casual Little Black Dress

(Not a sponsored post)
Photography by: William Ross

Are you ready to see how I took my little black dress to a semi-casual look? In my last fashion post, I showed you how I styled my LBD as a formal look. Today, stroll with me through Historic Biltmore Village in Asheville, NC as I share this second look of my series with you. We'll go by some shops first. 

For a semi-casual look, I decided to pair my LBD with a pair of polka dot ankle pants. The beauty of this little black dress is that it can also act as a tunic top. For comfort in strolling around, I wore comfortable flats. 

I rounded out the look with some fun Paparazzi jewelry; necklace/earring set in blue and a wrap bracelet. 

I got tickled posing for Mr.thisandthat who was my photographer for this photo shoot. He can always make me laugh!

I have to tell you how comfortable this entire outfit is to wear! As I shared earlier, my LBD was purchased at Stein Mart and is by Premise. I can tell you it traveled very well when the Mr. and I had to make an unexpectedly quick trip to Colorado recently. The ankle pants are Basic Editions brand purchased at K-Mart and the flats are Faded Glory brand from Walmart. So, the outfit overall is economical. 

The shoes are called a buckle toe flat which adds some unique style to this semi-casual look. The ankle pants have a flat waistband which is not only comfortable but also doesn't show through on the dress front like pants that have front zippers and buttons would. More and more I am moving to flat front pants whenever possible because I hate seeing the zipper/buttons showing through on my tops!

It was fun taking photos in front of the beautiful and historic All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village. This is the church where Cornelia Vanderbilt was married in 1924. Her father was George Vanderbilt who built the famous Biltmore Estate located here in Asheville. The Mr. is a good photographer, isn't he?! He catches all the right angles. 

If you ever visit Asheville, be sure to walk around Biltmore Village. The church and the shops are all right there. And it's especially pretty at Christmas time when Biltmore Village does a special "Dickens in the Village" celebration with roving musical groups, actors in costume from "A Christmas Carol," roasted chestnuts for sale and beautiful lights. 

So, to recap: How did I take my little black dress to a semi-casual style?

  • I used the dress as a tunic pairing it with polka dot ankle pants.
  • I wore flats rather than heels. However, the flats had a unique feature that took them to a level above casual with the addition of the buckle toe look.
  • I wore simple jewelry in colors that complimented the look. 
  • I wore my hair down rather than in an updo.
Join me next time for my final post of this three part series in which I will show you how I take my little black dress to a very casual style. Can't wait to see what you think!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday Scriptures # 27 Listening Before Speaking


Post this at all the intersections, dear friends. Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.  
James 1:19 (The Message)

How often do you find yourself speaking first, reacting with some type of emotional response second and then either not bothering to listen at all or listening only as a last resort? If you are like me, this order of communication can happen sometimes. 

I believe that, as humans, we all have a desire to be heard by those around us. Whether we are communicating with co-workers, family, friends or acquaintances, we all have the desire to make our thoughts and feelings known to others. But, I also know how easy it is to have miscommunication happen during a conversation. I know that there are times when someone is speaking, rather than my listening carefully to what they are saying, I am already formulating my response. My full attention is not being given to the speaker. And, often, my emotions can get in the way and cloud my ability to really "hear" what someone is actually saying. That means I might take offense when no offense is meant. I might become angry, even though the speaker is not trying to anger me. I might "hear" something, because of my emotional response, that was not meant to be interpreted in a negative way. Listening first, rather than last, is very important according to today's scripture.

As I think about this scripture from James, however, I not only think about human communications that I take part in, but also my communication with God. And I pause to ask myself some questions:

  • How often during my prayer time do I sit quietly to listen for God's voice rather than launching into my usual litany of requests and petitions?
  • And when I hear the voice of God speaking to me, how often do I act on what I hear? 
If you read on in this first chapter of James, the scriptures are quite clear on these points.

"Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!"

These words are important food for thought for me as I go forward in the days to come. I'm definitely posting these words at all of the intersections of my life. How about you? 


Thursday, August 3, 2017

How To Take A Little Black Dress To A Formal Style #1

(Not a Sponsored Post )

We hear so much about the importance of every woman having a "little black dress" in their closet. Recently, I had occasion to wear such a dress and guess who didn't have one? I had a winter black dress and  a black dress with white patterns on it and a couple of black skirts and black tops. But, a plain summer little black dress? Nah...not one to be found in my closet. 

So, to Stein Mart I headed figuring I could find something I needed there. And voila.....I brought home this perfect for me little black dress in a swing style. 

Since every woman has need of a little black dress at some point, I decided to style this dress three different ways for you. So, this post is #1 in the series and portrays a formal look for this dress. In future posts I'll show how to wear it semi-casual and very casual. 

These heels take this dress to a formal level in my opinion. You have seen these shoes on the blog before when I did my "killer shoes" post. These shoes wrap around my foot and zip in back of the heel, so they actually provide good support. I am considering having the heels cut down a bit as they are a little higher than I prefer. But, I do like the look at this height. 

I added to the formal look by wearing my hair in an updo using another of my hair pieces. You first saw one of my hair pieces in this earlier post about creating an updo
This hairpiece is longer and curlier than the previous one I showed you and attaches with a claw clip.
As I've mentioned before, hair pieces are an easy way to create updos and add hair and volume to your look very quickly. Bad hair days can become good hair days if you have a few of these babies on hand!

I added dressier jewelry with a black/silver tassel necklace, silver earrings, and my favorite double strand black bracelets on one arm and my white crystal studded bangle bracelet from Katherine's Corner on the other arm. 

When I went to Stein Mart, I probably tried on seven or eight little black dresses before I found the one that worked for me. If you check out Stein Mart's website, you will find several little black dresses in various styles. This is not a sponsored or gifted post. But, I figure there may be other ladies out there, like me, who suddenly find themselves in need of a little black dress and don't have one! So, perhaps the Stein Mart site will give you some ideas. 

So, to recap for this #1 post in my series. How did I take this little black dress to the formal level? 
  • Hair in an updo
  • Dressier jewelry
  • Dressy heels
  • Evening style clutch bag (see first image)
It's your turn! Do you have a little black dress in your closet? How do you take your dresses to a more formal level? Hope you will leave a comment. I look forward to showing you this dress again in future posts in a semi-casual and casual style.

Until Next Time,

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #25 Free Flowing Water

I have been drawn to water recently. When I look at artwork, see streams and hear fountains, the waters seem to speak to me. I don't quite understand why this is, but I am always curious when I feel drawn this way as I know God uses nature to speak to me at times. When I look at water, I ponder its flowing nature. Water is strong and can cut through objects in its path like a knife. It weathers and carves stones and cuts paths through valleys. Water is a life force. Humans and animals cannot survive without water. The human body is roughly 60-75% water. And yet, within each water droplet is a world within itself. I used to do a unit with my students in which they would "build" a water molecule. Within each water molecule there are two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Within a single drop of water there are billions of water molecules. Think of the number of water droplets there are within the oceans! Water can be found in various forms; solids, liquids, gases. These forms are all water and yet each is distinctive in its own right. I believe one reason that I have been fascinated by water recently is that it reminds me of the power of God. I am but a small part of this incredible world which was created by our Heavenly Father. As the greatest scientific mind of all, God fashioned everything in our world and our universe. And yet just as God fashioned the billions of molecules that exist within a single drop of water, God has fashioned and created all peoples. We are precious children of God cared for by our creator. As water can cut through stone, so can God's spirit cut through the hearts and minds of all people. We live in a world where there is much fear, evil, poverty, sadness and loss. As God knows about each molecule of water, every sparrow that falls, God also knows about each of His children. I believe His will is for us to have abundant life and to not suffer or have pain or do without the basic necessities of life. God knows when our hearts are touched with sorrow because a loved one has died. God's will is for us to love one another and to help others as we are able. We often hear the saying, "We are the hands and feet of Jesus here on Earth." My prayer is that just as water flows freely through streams, God's Holy Spirit will flow throughout our world's path bringing peace, healing and grace to all. And may my hands be one of the many human "molecules" who does His will. 

"You will make known to me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forever."
Psalm 16:11

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Celebrating My 2nd Blog Anniversary! And A Major Thank You!
There's two candles today and some delicious chocolate cake to celebrate my blog's second birthday! (Yes, the photo is a little bit Christmasy, but I'm using what I've got!) Woohoo....two years of blogging! Who would have thought? It seems like just yesterday that I sat down on the couch and nervously worked on setting up my Blogger blog. I thought my computer might explode if I did something wrong! My first post was a selfie I took at Mary's Lake in Colorado. And then, a few months later I moved on to becoming a dot com and became my own domain! It was such a proud day when I shared that post with you announcing my own domain. You've been with me as I have grown as a blogger, trying my hand at my first fashion posts, tablescape posts and sharing about books I love to read and I cannot tell you how much all of my readers mean to me. I absolutely couldn't do this blog without all of you! In my last post, I asked for feedback from my readers about whether you felt the blog should continue and what you liked best or didn't like about the blog. Your responses have been heart warming to me and have given me such encouragement to continue blogging. Thank You so very much! You readers told me that you like the variety of posts I offer with my blog and many of you mentioned that you like the addition of the Saturday Scriptures and would like to see that continue. Folks who access my blog from Google+ and Facebook chimed in, as well, offering encouragement. It meant so much to hear that you readers feel I am "genuine, relatable and authentic" and that you learn things or think about things after reading my posts. The act of blogging is a solitary endeavor but the community that comes from the interaction between the blogger and the readers is a HUGE gift. So, as I celebrate this, my second blog anniversary, I want to thank dear readers, for sticking with me and providing me, once again, with the encouragement to continue. You are my blog's birthday gift! And, yes, debbiethisandthat will continue! 

Until Next Time,