Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Scriptures In Song

Praying Through Beautiful Music

Today, for Saturday Scriptures, I'm sharing a beautiful song via YouTube. The amazing lyrics and music, performed here by Kim Walker-Smith (Jesus Culture),  provide a worship experience that leaves me feeling the power of the Holy Spirit.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Easy Christmas Tree Craft

Quick and Easy Christmas Crafts

felt Christmas trees

I know, I know.  It's only October and I'm talking Christmas, right?!  Truth be told, though, I created this craft awhile ago and I figured that folks might need to find a quick, easy craft that they can work on now so it's ready by Christmas decorating time, which isn't that far away! Folks, this is a truly easy Christmas tree craft that is right up this girl's alley! I love quick gratification and these Christmas trees are ready in an instant. I started by using stiff, sparkly felt squares in dark green and hand drew the tree outlines using a black permanent marker. After cutting out the trees I glued on colorful buttons using various sizes. A hole punch at the top for ribbon or a hanger and these ornaments are ready to hang on the tree!

I made five of these ornaments and plan to hang them on my "homespun" tree which I decorate each year with ornaments that are either homemade or look homemade. Each felt ornament is a little different, either in size or shape because I hand drew them. I think they will make a nice addition to my homespun tree. 

Here's a look at my homespun tree from a couple of years ago. Check out that post to see more Christmas decor!

Would you like to make these easy Christmas tree ornaments? Here's a recap of the supplies I used:

  • dark green sparkly stiff felt (I found pieces at Goodwill)
  • multi-color buttons (Come in packs at Walmart)
  • Clear Gel Tacky Glue (Walmart)
  • Black Sharpie marker
  • scissors and hole punch

Let me know if you try this craft. Are you doing any crafts (Christmas or otherwise) right now? Are you starting to think about Christmas? Hope you'll leave me a comment! Feel free to pin these images and please remember to recommend to all your friends! You won't ever miss a post if you subscribe to my blog. Just look for the subscription sign up on the right hand side of this post. Have a great day, everyone!

Until Next Time,

Monday, October 16, 2017

Things To Do On A Weekend

Weekend Fun

Ex Officio women's shirts

Happy Monday Y'All!  How about a recap of how I spent my weekend? Specifically, how I spent Saturday. It was a pretty fun day with several different activities to keep the Mr. and I busy. The pic of me above is from the Tour of Homes we went to in the later afternoon. But, let's start from the beginning, shall we?

The day began early at the Pumpkin Patch of my church. My church hosts an annual Fall Festival for the community each year. Aren't these pumpkins unique?!

Lots of "regular" pumpkins, too!

The Fall Festival boasted free food, a bake sale, crafts and a bouncy house for the kids.

And lots of good music, including my husband's brass quintet. 

That's the Mr. holding onto his music. It got a little windy while the group was playing! His group plays for this event each year.

After they were done performing, we headed out to lunch at a favorite local Mexican restaurant called, El Que Pasa. If you live in the Asheville area, give this place a try. It's muy delicious!!

After lunch, Mr.thisandthat and I headed out to tour a house featured in the Parade of Homes, which is held yearly around this time in Asheville. We aren't looking to buy a new house. We just enjoy getting inspiration and ideas from the homes we tour. Having renovated three homes over the years, keeping up with the latest building trends is always helpful.

I really appreciated the stonework, shutters and colors used on the facade of this recently built home.

Let's walk through this pretty blue front door and have a look around.

This is looking from the dining area into the living room area. The kitchen is to the right. Everything is very open in this house. So fresh and updated looking, isn't it? Love those shiny wood floors!

This is the formal dining room, although it was staged as an office. Guess this room could be used for either. I love, love, love those French doors!  We had French doors on our dining room entrance when we moved into our present home and the Mr. removed them because he said they blocked the entrance too much. Booo!!! (I want my French doors back!)

The master bedroom was quite large. Each bedroom was staged with beautiful bedding.

Take a look at the great soaking tub in the corner of the master bath.

I liked the green and white color scheme used in this smaller bedroom. The silver lamps add just the right touch. There is also lots of light coming in. 

I really like the pretty headboard in this third bedroom. And how unique are those bedside stands? 

There was even a fourth bedroom/bath on the upper level which we assumed would be used as guest quarters. What a nice addition guest quarters would be to a house, yes?

My favorite part of this new house, though, was this extra big walk in closet!  Love the space in here. We don't have a walk in closet in any of our bedrooms. Guess that's a good thing. Makes me keep the clothes to a reasonable minimum! You know what the best part of Saturday was, though?

Heading back to our own home! Nice as the home tour was, there truly is no place like your own home! As the sign in our family room says....

It was a pretty good weekend, all in all.  How about you?  Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: House Hunting

What Will Your Room Look Like?

"My Father's house are many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?"
John 14:2 NIV

We spent part of today looking at homes that were part of a local Tour of Homes. One thing I noticed was how many different rooms there were in these houses. Each room had a purpose and was decorated accordingly. The kitchen had kitchen items needed for cooking while the bedrooms had furniture used for sleeping. It would have looked odd to see a bed in the kitchen or a stove in the bathroom, wouldn't it? Those items would not fit in those particular rooms of a house. Their purpose could not be served well in those rooms. I came home from looking at these houses and thought about today's scripture from John 14. 

In this scripture, Jesus was reassuring the disciples that His Father's house has many rooms and that He was going to prepare a place in the house for each of them. Some translations use the word "mansions" rather than rooms. When I read this scripture, my imagination thinks about what my heavenly room might be like. I know that Jesus knows me inside out, much better even than I know myself, so I can rest assured that my heavenly room will be designed with me in mind and what is best for me inside. It really involves trusting in God to care for me, not just here on Earth, but in Heaven, as well.  The first verse of John 14 speaks to this idea of trust.

"Don't let this idea throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me."  (John 14:1 The Message)

Just as each room in the houses we saw today were there for a specific purpose, I can trust, along with the disciples, that Jesus will take care of my heavenly home, as well. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How To Wear Print Pants

Blue on Blue with Print Pants

Today's post is all about how to wear print pants without them wearing you. I've mentioned before that I have to be careful with prints and patterns because they can overwhelm me. I enjoy wearing print, however. I just need to wear it strategically.

You can see that the print on these blue and white Basic Editions pants is fairly small. Basically the pattern is little white dots, flowers and curly cues. I love these pants as they are quite comfortable and I do like the pattern. So, I kept the pattern from overwhelming me by keeping a solid color next to my face. As you can see, I'm wearing my blue swing dress as a tunic. I really like this look together and I can tell you it is a really comfortable combination.  

I decided to keep jewelry low-key as well, wearing simple gold hoop earrings and a favorite necklace. 

This is one of those necklaces that have several baubles hanging off at the end. I wanted you to see how pretty each bauble is and how unique the items are. There is a gold bird, pink rose, gold butterfly, blue and brown beads and a crystal. I absolutely LOVE this necklace and could not believe that I found it at Walmart for $5! IMO you would never guess it is a "cheap" necklace! It is not cheap looking. 

Today was one of those days when nothing wanted to go right about the photo shoot. The lighting wasn't right and I couldn't get the tripod set at the correct angle. Pure frustration. I actually tried to take photos last evening, but it was too dark. Sigh...the life of a blogger! I did catch some of our beautiful Fall foliage in these shots, so, if you don't like the outfit, just enjoy looking at the pretty leaves!

How do you like to wear print? Are the leaves pretty where you are? Hope you'll take a moment to leave me a comment. I love to hear from you!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: House Cleaning is Hard

Clean Up On Aisle Three
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 
Psalm 51:10 (KJV)

This week I have spent more time continuing to clean out "stuff" that has accumulated over the years. During my years of teaching, I had only enough time and energy for keeping up with the cleaning that had to be done like the usual laundry, vacuuming and mopping, cleaning toilets, etc. I thought I had done deeper clean outs during summers, but there are still so many things that have accumulated over the years and have become such a part of our house's "landscape" that I scarcely have noticed until I take the time now, in retirement, to do a really deep cleaning. To be honest, this is really hard work and I get discouraged easily. Trying to decide what things to keep and what to throw out or give away is not easy for me. Some items I use over and over and it is easy to find storage containers for those items. Other items, I like, but do not love, and yet it is hard to part with them. I especially struggle with letters, notes, cards and remembrances written or kept years and years ago from people I once knew who have either died or are long gone from my life. I sat on the floor yesterday re-reading Christmas letters that I had stuffed in an old address book written by a lovely woman I knew at a church years ago. This woman was a retired missionary, who supported me as a young woman working in the church on various projects and gave me her time, energy, wisdom and mentoring. The letters I had saved were not written to me personally, but were those newsy type of Christmas letters meant to be sent out to everyone you know, catching them up on what has happened in the previous year. She did write a personal line or two at the end of the letter to me and signed her name. These letters brought her to memory and I think that was my purpose in keeping them. What if I forget her? What if, in throwing these letters out, I also am throwing something away which will serve on some future day of bringing up her memory again? Clean up on aisle three is not so easy. It involves looking at things stored away on shelves and closets that bring up memories, digging through old boxes, and making decisions about what to keep and what needs to be let go. 

In a similar way, I sometimes need to do a clean up of my heart. What old hurts, irritations, thought patterns and grudges are lurking in the dusty boxes and shelves of my mind? I find myself wondering if there is a part of me that actually likes holding onto these old boxes of my mind that I don't really want to part with? After all, as long as these boxes are there, I can open them and take out the memories, hurtful and/or irritating as they may be, and ruminate over the hurts all over again. It would seem that clean up on aisle three of the heart is equally as hard to do as house cleaning. Can you relate?

My prayer today is that, like the psalmist, I can ask God to clean my heart and to renew a right spirit within me. With God's help, the clean up on aisle three of my heart does not have to be a frustrating experience, but rather an experience that brings renewal, calm and tranquility to my soul. 


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fall Decor Throughout The House

A Little Here, A Little There, Fall Decor is Everywhere!

Since we are now into October, I'm ready to add a little orange to my Fall decor. Usually, I focus on the foyer, but this year I decided to spread a little Fall all throughout the house. A little bit here, a little bit there...we'll start on the side table in our living room. I put together this flower arrangement using two Fall faux bushes from A.C. Moore. I saved this yellow container from a summer arrangement and added some pretty ribbon as an accent. 

I'm still enjoying the creme color pumpkins. This one has green sparkles on it that blend well with the green Blenko glass vases. Just a touch of Fall on the table makes all the difference!

Can you see the sparkles?

Now, let's head down to the fireplace wall in the family room. I love this Fall berry wreath so much that I leave it up year round. 

The colors are so rich and vibrant. The wreath looks good against the brick. 

Isn't this a sweet sign?  The art teacher made this for me when I retired from teaching. I wanted you to see it, even though technically it isn't a Fall decoration. 

Love the colors on this unique Fall hanger. This was a Secret Pal gift to me a couple years ago. 

I decided that, this year, my scarecrows would look good on this white shelf in the family room. They are typically displayed in the foyer, but it's good to change things up sometimes. 

Here we are in the foyer, now, with a beautiful Fall wreath on the door. Sorry these pics are a little dark. I was shooting these photos with flash after it was dark out.

The top of the foyer table is pretty much the same as you last saw it, with the addition of my favorite orange pumpkin with the weeping willow on the front. 

Another favorite of mine is this fabric pumpkin which I added to the bottom shelf of the foyer table. And notice another weeping willow on the wooden "Welcome Friends" pumpkin hanger. I have a thing for weeping willows. I think they are so pretty!

Fabric pumpkins are so popular right now, but I've actually owned this one for several years. 

So, that's my Fall decor...scattered throughout our home. I like being able to enjoy Fall as I move from room to room. This decor will be on display through Thanksgiving. I may add a couple of items that speak specifically to Thanksgiving, though. I want to have several weeks to enjoy these decorations before the big Christmas decorating starts! Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?! (Bite your tongue, right?!)

How are you decorating for Fall? Hope you will take a moment to leave a comment or thought. I love it when you do! Feel free to "pin" any of these photos. And, please remember to recommend to your friends!

Until Next Time,

Linking With:
Katherine's Corner-Thursday Favorite Things
Marilyn's Treats-Over The Moon Link Party

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Saturday Scriptures-The Blessings of Home

Finding A Peaceful Dwelling Place

Then my people will live in a peaceful habitation. And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places. (Isaiah 32:18)

My home is my safe space. It's where I feel most at peace when I am tired and stressed. I love the quiet and calm of our home and often longed to be there when I was still working. Now, in retirement, I am blessed to enjoy more time in my home and benefit from the respite of time spent here.

The concept of "home" is on my mind today. I spoke recently with a family member who will soon be moving into a new house. This person is in the throes of packing and preparing  and all that comes with making a move to a new house. It exhausts me to think about all of that and makes me glad that, for us, this is a time of being settled and not preparing to move. 

The thought occurs to me that there is a difference between a "house" and a "home."  Any dwelling can house a human being, but not every dwelling is a home. Many houses are filled with strife, arguing, dissension, instability and fear. They may be a structure that provides some aspect of shelter, but houses like this do not give the warmth and nurture that a true home provides for the people who live within. 

I am grateful that my house is also a home...a habitation where there is peace and security and undisturbed resting places. And I pray that your habitation is a "home" as well.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Plants That Bloom Forever

Plants Always In Bloom

*Disclaimer: I was gifted faux azalea plants from PermaLeaf® in return for this neutral review post. All writing and opinions are my own and my opinions are 100% honest.
Aren't these azaleas on my porch absolutely gorgeous?!  How is it possible that they are in bloom when Fall has arrived, you ask? I'll let you in on my secret. They're not real! These luscious blooms are artificial and were gifted to me compliments of PermaLeaf® . Their site states that they are a leader in the industry of manufacturing and selling artificial outdoor plants.
I must tell you that when my box of azaleas arrived I was so excited by not only the beauty of these artificial outdoor plants, but also the quality. I love the fact that these beauties are not only aesthetically pleasing but are also UV protected against fading and are maintenance free. What more could I ask for? No worries about fading blooms, dropping leaves or a need to water. That's a win, win in my book!
I wanted to show you some close-up shots so you can see just how real these faux outdoor plants look. Don't you just want to reach out and pick a bloom?!
I had joked with some family members recently about my frustrations over keeping flowers alive during the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons. I told them I was thinking of buying plastic flowers and sticking them in pots! Little did I know that I would have the opportunity to actually try my idea. But, folks, these are not like plastic flowers! The PermaLeaf® products are quality outdoor products that can be used in a variety of settings including porches, patios, containers, window boxes, hanging baskets, rooftops, balconies and more. PermaLeaf® also manufactures larger plant items such as privacy screens, topiaries and trees. The company states in their site that their outdoor plants are manufactured to stand up to the elements such as sun, snow, rain and wind. Since I just received my plants I cannot comment on this, but I plan to put my plants to the test with the coming seasons.
Visit their site to learn more about how PermaLeaf® artificial outdoor products can enhance the outdoor areas of your home or business! Why not have plants that are maintenance free and bloom all year long?! 

Let me know what you think about these beautiful azaleas! I look forward to hearing from you.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How Do You Dress A Pear?

Dressing A Pear Shaped Woman

(*All writing is my own and based on my own opinions. I am not a member of the health profession nor am I a professional stylist.)

KARL LAGERFELD PARIS Printed Pearl Neck Dress
KARL LAGERFELD PARIS Pearl Necklace Trapeze Dress

Now, I don't claim to be a style guru by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know, both by visual inspection and by looking at my measurements, that my body shape is a pear. I'm sure you have all heard of the different body shapes that women can have. Some are pears, some are apples, some are triangles or rectangles...the list goes on and on. I don't really like thinking of my body shape as a piece of fruit, to be honest. Or even as any shape at all. I'm just me. Debbie. And I want to look the very best I can. Period. Don't we all feel that way? 

Since I turned 50, eight years ago, I have noticed really major changes in my body. Sizes and clothing styles that used to fit well no longer do. Can anybody out there relate? I've spent quite a bit of time beating myself up about this, trying to figure out how to "change" myself back into my "old" body. And, to tell the truth, I found plenty to complain about in that "old" body, as well! Seems like I'm never satisfied, right?!

I'm going to tell you something now that I fully believe to be true. You may choose to agree or disagree but, for me, this is how I look at it. Women's bodies change as we age and that's the way it is. Now, I'm not saying that we have to be happy about all these changes. Nor, am I saying that we should stop taking care of our health. But, I am saying that the changes happen. And, speaking for myself here, I have become more at peace with my body by realizing that the changes that have occurred are just a normal part of aging. (I still reserve the right to complain now and then, however!) And being normal is OK. You see, it was a "shock" for me when I got real and began to "see" these changes. I honestly never thought I would gain unwanted pounds or have "sagging" skin or body parts that "drop" with gravity. Sounds silly, I know, but until it's easy to think it never will! There are those ladies, I know, who put in hours at the gym and seem to keep the svelte bodies they had in their 20's. But, for most of us, is that a reality? I know it isn't for me. I want to be healthy and able to move and take care of myself as I age, but hours and hours of exercise? Nah....never going to happen for me! And do I never want to enjoy cookies or brownies or ice cream? Do I want to chastise myself with every bite of sweets that I eat? Because, you see, that's what I was doing. And that isn't much fun or, even, respectful to myself. So, I am trying to revamp how I look at aging and the normal aspects of aging that come with it. I'm not trying to discourage anyone with these comments, by the way. I'm not planning to give in and start consuming gallons of ice cream and packs of cookies every day. And, yes, I'm going to keep trying to exercise moderately for my health. I'm just trying to get real with the fact that normal aging changes are just that.....normal. And, I don't have to be down on myself for something that is normal. And part of accepting these normal changes is dressing the body that I have now. And that brings me back to my original question: How do you dress a pear?
For me, it has taken a bit of trial and error over the last years figuring out what looks best on my body. And I haven't always gotten it right, and probably never will get it right all the time. But, that's OK too.  I've read a lot online about dressing pear shapes and two pieces of advice seem to make sense for me:

  • wear darker colors below the waist (as in darker pants/skirts)
  • wearing A-line dresses/tunics/tops is good for pear shaped women
You've seen me style several A-line swing type dresses and loose around the hip tops on the blog. They de-emphasize the hip/thigh area and fit well at the top. Pear shaped women tend to carry their weight around the lower stomach/hip/thigh area and so having looser fabric around these areas works well. 


I'm not wearing dark leggings here, but they are a solid color rather than a pattern which, in my opinion, would emphasize thigh size. The bold color top and the scoop neckline pulls the eye upward away from the hip area.

This dress is being worn as a tunic. It's a bold color which contrasts well with the darker leggings. The waist is cinched and flows into a full skirt, de-emphasizing the hip area. The scarf pulls the eyes upward away from the hip area.

This dress/tunic is less A-line but falls well below the hip area. The dark leggings pull the eye away from the hip area. Accessorizing with the hot pink scarf also pulls the eyes upward and away from the hip area.

Here, I'll add something that I've learned the hard way. A little loose, flowy material is good around the hips, but I have to be careful not to wear something that adds too much and actually makes me look bigger. 

Case in point:
While I really love the comfort and colors of this beautiful tunic top, I probably needed to buy a size smaller. It's a little too big around my shoulder area and the volume of material flowing around my hips actually enlarges that area. I'm not saying I'm getting rid of this top yet....but I may belt it if I wear it in the future. So, yes, flowiness and swing styles at the hips can be a good thing for pear shapes....but, sometimes, less is more with the flowiness!

Here's the same top belted and it looks much better. Rather than enlarging my hip area it flows gently around the hips and blends into the dark skirt. The scarf belt emphasizes my waist, which is a good thing for a pear.

I've really embraced the swing style (or trapeze as it is sometimes called) wearing them as both dresses and tunics. For me, I think I look best wearing solid color dresses, rather than prints. Some people wear prints well, but I feel that prints tend to wear me. So, I wear them strategically, in small doses, or not at all.

Here a monochromatic look pulls the style together. The silver necklace brings the eye upward. The upper part of the body is emphasized rather than the lower. I chose to wear black heels, but they kind of make my legs look shorter. Perhaps a nude pair would look better and elongate my legs rather than cutting them off at the ankles.

Same dress  worn as a tunic. There is pattern on the ankle pants, but the pattern is very subtle and adds to the look rather than taking away. I'm wearing the isn't wearing me.

This scarf kimono is patterned, but I am using it strategically to add a calming effect to the bold color of the dress. The pattern on the kimono is not large and adds an interesting color contrast to the dress. I'm not covered in pattern, but am using pattern as an accessory.

Here, I'm wearing a bold color with a self belt that cinches my waist comfortably. Not a lot of flowy material but enough to de-emphasize the hip area. The eye is pulled to the waist because of the self-belt.

You'll note that as I dress my pear shaped body, I've mentioned pulling the eye upward several times. Using belts, jewelry and emphasizing the top of the body or the waistline to pull the eye away from the hip area are great ways to dress a pear. Using pattern strategically is also helpful in this area. One more tip I'll share with you today is to choose tops that flow from directly under the bust line. 

This maxi dress has a v shaped neckline and is shirred at the shoulders which pulls the eye upward.

The wrapped v neck emphasizes a smaller bust and the waist falls directly from under the bustline with the dress material flowing gently around the hip area all the way down. Yes, this dress is a pattern, but the blue color overrides the pattern somewhat. The pattern is more subtle. I'm wearing the pattern, it isn't wearing me. I still don't think my best look is in patterns, but I like this dress. One of the wonderful things about being over 50 is breaking my own style rules!

Perhaps, if you too are a pear, there are some helpful ideas from this post you can take and use. I think I wrote this post for me, more than anyone else. It has been helpful to look back at my stylings and review the looks finding what worked for me and what didn't. Learning to dress our bodies and accepting our bodies as they are right now is, I believe, one key to feeling good about the aging process. Aging and the changes it brings are normal. I also believe that getting older is a gift that is not given to everyone. I want to embrace my aging in the healthiest possible way, not by letting myself go, but by being grateful that God has gifted me with more years to live on this Earth serving Him and enjoying my family, friends, nature, reading books, blogging and all of the wonderful things life has to offer. And while I'm not going to go overboard, I want to enjoy foods I love and not feel guilty about eating them. After all, pears go well with a lot of foods! (wink) 

At the end of the day, though, I believe that style is highly personal. We can read all the blog posts and magazines about what "goes" with certain body types, skin types, colors that are best and worst for us, etc. But, what is most important is how each of us as individuals feel about how we look. So take my writing with a grain of salt. If you look in the mirror and like what you're wearing, good for you! Wear it and feel good in it. After all, that's what I'm going to do!

And so, I end with a question for you. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your thoughts. It will make my day. Tell me, how do you dress a pear? 

Until Next Time,

*Source of dresses at top of page:

Linking With:
Elegantly Dressed and Stylish
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop
Living on Cloud Nine-Blended Blog Linkup