Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are You a Scarf Person?

WIWW #17

pleated poppy

Jacket: Thrifted; Scarf: a street vendor; Top: Marshalls; Jeans: Walmart; Boots: Birthday gift

I'm starting to pull out the scarves.
Most of the time it's not really cold enough to wear scarves in California,
but I just pretend I'm in Boston, because I like them.

Have you seen the scarf video yet?
If you have ever wondered how to tie a scarf in a different way,
wonder no more!

Top: Marshalls; Tank: Nordstrom Rack; Jeans: Thrifted Tommy Hilfiger; Wedges: Clarks

Just when I think I can wear more scarves, it gets hot and I'm pulling out sandals again.
Sorry... I know I need to quit complaining!
I don't have to shovel snow... I am very grateful for that!!

Dress: Ross; Tights: Target; Same boots: Bandolino

This one is for Susan.  She read my last post and told me to post this outfit for WIWW.
So I found a pic I had with my parents.   
Aren't they cute?
They have been married for 57 years.
They live 8 houses up the street from me.
A lot of people think that is crazy.
I think it is awesome!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photo Op

 Do you have any holiday traditions?

We have this photo op thing that we do.

It always starts out pretty normally...

By the end, we may as well be on some ride at Disneyland.

It's pretty fun.

There's always some type of jumping involved.

My brother-in-law had to work, but he drove up unexpectedly after a 5 hour plane flight.

When he got here, he didn't ask about the turkey... 
he wanted to know if we already did the photos.
They are that much of a tradition.

We ended up taking photos with him the next day.

We're all giving him the thumbs up, cause he was in The Muppets.
It was the first time he wasn't a terrorist or a murder victim, so the kids got to go.
The movie was hilarious... we laughed ourselves silly.
Alvin is in the anger management scene, and you can see him in back of Jack Black
for all of about 3.7 seconds before the fight breaks out.

When we got back, he said I should take his new-to-him car on a "love cruise" with Patrick.
You are actually going to allow me to drive this? I asked.
He apparently hasn't read about my tendency to do donuts in vacant lots.

But who was I to argue with his wishes.
Ummm... this car has serious power.  
Could go 80 mph with just a slight tap on the gas pedal kind of power.
(Not that I did or anything.)
It was exhilarating!! 
Nothing against my sweet van, but I think I might need one of these, someday!
I think a Mustang would go really well with my ballet flats, don't you? 
It's a total mom car, right?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Pilgrim Josh and his friend Carissa

Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; 

let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!

Psalm 95:2

I hope you and your friends and loved ones have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fabulous Forty

WIWW # 16

pleated poppy

The Birthday Edition

Today is my birthday.  The BIG 4-0.  I've lived 4 decades.
I've reached fabulous forty!

Tunic: Ross; Belt: F21; Jeggings: Walmart; Shoes: Naturalizers

I stopped dying my hair last year.
Now I have my very own unplanned ombre treatment and I'm starting to sport a nice little streak of gray.
I earned every bit of my gray.

I might try and get a big enough streak going so  I can be like Stacy London.
She seems to be very comfortable with her gray.
I am 40 now... I can be comfortable, too.
Or I might go buy another box of color... I haven't decided yet.
But I can do what I want though, because I'm forty.

Pintuck Shirt: Kmart; Scarf: gift; Belt: Goodwill; Same Jeggings; Socks & Boots: Macy's

I now introduce you to the birthday boots.
Patrick asked me what I wanted for my fortieth.  If you could have anything, he said.
What I wanted was a healthy, healed mind and body... but the stores were fresh out.

So I opted for some sweet boots and knee socks..
These babies are leather, they are so comfy, and I want to wear them even when I sleep.
I wore them for the first time when I went with a November birthday bestie to see Wynonna on Sunday.
I felt sassy in my boots.
Wy actually mentioned that when you turn forty you get kinda sassy.
It's true.
I am way more sassy than when I was in my thirties.
The sass is literally oozing out of my boots as I write.

Shirt: Vintage thrifted; Skirt: Gap thrifted; Belt: Thrifted; Boots & Socks: Macy's

And this, my friends is my tribute to the year of my birth... 
Good old 1971
I feel oddly comfortable in this get up.
The 1970's school teacher look.
I don't know what people think of my big old collar, but I'm feeling groovy.

Groovy AND sassy.
Yes, the forties are going to be fabulous.

I tried to see if I could think of 40 things I've learned at forty.
If you'd like to read some midlife wisdom... here you go.

40 Things I've Learned at Forty

It's very serious and sage-like.
Kind of like Yoda or Gandalf, but in a 40-year-old woman way.
I wore a long, hooded tunic when I wrote it...
no I didn't, I wore pajamas.

40 Things I've Learned at Forty.

Today I am forty. 


I don't know.  

Only God knows the number of my days.  

I feel like I've been forty for a while, so I'm not mourning it or wearing a black "Over the Hill" hat or anything.  When I was 20 I thought I knew a whole lot.  The last 20 years, I realized I didn't know much of anything.  I decided to write down a few things I think I have learned.  In 20 more years, I may look back and laugh at this list.  But for now... these are some things I know.

1.  Life comes at us in seasons.  There is beauty in each one.  The secret is to find that beauty and to find contentment no matter which season you are in.  God has a purpose and a plan in each of them.  And if you don't like the season you are currently in, the leaves will change color soon enough.

2.  It's important to figure out who God made you to be, and then be that person.  Reflect His glory in the gifts He has given you.  To hide His light or try and be what someone else wants you to be is such a frustration and waste.

3.  A gift that shows you really know or are known by another is the very best kind of gift.  It's good to be known.  God gives the very best gifts, because He knows us best.

4.  Any money that you spend is an investment in something.  It's good to really think about the somethings that you are investing in and why.  Then you find out where your heart lies.

5.  It's never too late to learn something new.  Learning is an important part of being alive.  To approach learning with the wonder of a child is even more special.  Don't be afraid to say, "I did it!"

6.  When you admire someone, you should tell them.  Build them up, and they will feel encouraged. Otherwise, you may end up playing the comparison game in your head, and you'll end up tearing yourself down.  That's just lame.

7.  Smiling and making eye contact are good things.  Even when the other person doesn't smile back.  Maybe their smile is broken, and they just need help fixing it.  Be a smiler.

8.  Jesus didn't live out just grace or just truth.   He lived out both in equal measure.  So should we... oh, so should we.  Grace without truth is tolerance and truth without grace is legalism.  Tolerance and legalism both make me gag.  Jesus doesn't.

9.  Everyone is going through something difficult.  We all need kindness and grace and mercy and patience.  Lots of it.  Every day.  Every single day.

10.  Everyone has a story.  It's good to ask about people's stories, and then actively listen to what they have to say.  You might be surprised about what you learn and how it might change your opinion of that person.

11.  Our stories are all a part of His (God's) bigger story.  It's not all about us.  It's not all about me.  It just isn't. 

12.  Some of the worst words I can think of start with "P."  Procrastination, perfectionism, pride, porn, and people-pleasing.  They all rob us of joy and steal true intimacy with God and with others.  Jesus wants to set us free from these things.  He can.  He does.

13.  Getting started is usually the hardest part.  No matter what it is, just start.  Take the leap.  It's much easier after that.

14.  God is a good matchmaker.  Waiting on His timing is the hard part... but it's worth the wait.

15.  When you find the love of your life, you want to tell everyone you know how awesome that person is.  You throw away your "list."  You want to spend every moment you can getting closer and learning to love each other better.  If you keep doing this every year after you get married, you are in good shape.

16.  Marriage is good and marriage takes work.  If someone tells you they never have conflict in their marriage, stand back, because there is a passive aggressive pressure cooker just waiting to explode.  When two people become one, there's going to be conflict... you just have to keep working it out in love.

17.  Before you get married, Satan will try and tempt you to have sex.  After you get married, he will try and tempt you not to have sex.  Fight Satan... he is bad.

18.  Guys, especially husbands, need respect and support from women.  They are much more in need of encouraging words than we assume.  They need to be reminded that they "have what it takes" in Christ.  If you act like a woman on a sitcom or take the lead from the women of Wisteria Lane, you are going to get a baffoon for a man.

19.  There are only a few kindred spirits that will truly rejoice with you over your highs and stick by your side through your lows.   No matter what.  Treasure those people always... they are gifts.

20.  If you want to receive friendship, you have to give friendship.  For a friendship to bloom, you have to be vulnerable and let it open up.  Buds are pretty, but to see them open up and display their true beauty is a marvelous thing to behold.

21.  No friendship or husband is going to ever meet all your emotional and spiritual needs. Sometimes friendships endure for a lifetime.  Sometimes God brings specific friends into our lives during specific seasons.  Friendships change and grow, and some even run their course, so to speak.  None of them are everything we need... because Jesus is that complete friend.  He's the BFF.

22.  Christianity is about Christ.  It is about being redeemed by Him, receiving His love, grace and forgiveness, and loving others as He loves us.  It's about shining His truth and glory.  This can be done with or without organized programs... it's all about the focus.  Jesus.

23.  Satan will try to convince you that Christianity is about judging others, shame, works, and religiosity. He is dead wrong.  Why would Jesus sacrifice His life and be willing to die for stupid stuff like that? 

24.  Even if it seems like God has abandoned you, He is still there, walking you through the valleys.  That is where true faith, beyond sight comes into play.  That's where the 23rd Psalm becomes more than a Hallmark card.

25.  If you want to find out how selfish and impatient you really are, get married and have children.  Your husband and your children will teach you more than you ever thought possible about yourself and how much you need to grow.

26.  When your kids (or any kids for that matter) want to talk, sit down and really listen to them.  They have a lot to say.  They are special people.  Their enthusiasm is contagious.  Their eyes twinkle when they talk to you.

27.  Having perfectly well-behaved children who are always model students is overrated.  Children need a safe place to learn from their mistakes.  And relationships with God and others is far more important than anything they might portray on the outside with their temporal actions.  It's also kind of funny when they throw strained peas at you.  Don't lose your humor over the terrible two's.

28.  It's good to act like a child on a regular basis.  Star gaze, play games, build forts, fly paper airplanes, go on a rooster hunt, have a squirt gun war, and do spit takes at the park.  Smile and laugh and be silly.  You are never too old for that.

29.  When a day arrives when you think you've got things pretty together, fasten your seat belt and get ready for a crazy ride.  God has a lot more he wants you to learn.  Get ready to eat a good helping of humble pie.

30.  People who like to argue all the time and control things are usually the most insecure people.  They are hurting inside, and they are trying desperately to make sense of their world.  If you can see through what's happening on the outside, you may catch a glimpse of what's going on on the inside.

31.  Gifted writers and musicians have written amazing prose and lyrics to go with just about anything one could experience in life.  It helps to read them and listen to them to know you are not alone.  Sometimes they make you cry... it's good to let it out.

32.  The only book I've read that always seems to apply to where I am in life is the Bible.  The same passage can seem brand new and take on a totally different meaning ten years down the road.  It's living and active... it's The Word.  And it's good to never stop reading it.

33.  Success comes in many forms.  Don't measure your successes with someone else's yardstick.  Rejoice in what God has done in your life, and be equally as willing to rejoice in what He has done in the lives of others, too.  Realize He has different purposes in each of our lives.

34.  Holding tightly to money just makes you a hoarder.  Give freely and spend wisely.  Money can bring temporary happiness when you go out for some retail therapy, but learning to be a good steward of what is God's in the first place can bring true joy.

35.  Doctors know a lot, but they don't know everything.  Only you know what your body is experiencing.  Doing research and being an advocate for your own health and well being is important.  God is the ultimate healer.

36.  Try to be at peace with people as much as it depends on you.  When you have done all that you can, let it go.  The other person may not want to be at peace, and you just can't control that.  Don't stress over it.  It will eventually work out.

37.  It's good to hug people and cuddle often with your spouse and your children.  Appropriate physical touch is healing and comforting. Tickling is good, too.  My youngest always reminds me it's good for me as he sticks his little hand in my armpit!

38.  Sing and dance.  Don't give a hoot who's listening or watching.  Just sing and dance with all your might.  It makes you feel good.  Endorphins or something.

39.  Little family traditions and inside jokes are good.  They make you unique and connected.  They can be the simplest things.  They don't have to cost a thing.  Making memories is priceless.  Make memories.

40.  Don't stop living.  Fight against bitterness and disappointment.  Keep believing in God and His plan for your life.  Be the life giver that God created you to be.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tell Me Wy

While I was getting through a couple weeks of hideous, adjusting to new treatments, I read a couple books I had picked up at a recent library sale.  Tuesdays with Morrie was so sad, but inspiring and encouraging at the same time.

Next, I started reading Coming Home to Myself by Wynonna Judd.  I don't know what it is, exactly, but I'm totally fascinated by her.  I tend to get that way with country artists, even though I rarely listen to country music.  I guess I just find their journeys through life so riveting.  My mom recently told me that one of my ancestors had something or other to do with the founding of Nashville, so maybe it's in my blood somehow.  Who knew?  Wouldn't that be an interesting story to track back?  I wish I could be on Who Do You Think You Are.  I love all the historical detective work they do on that show.

Anyhow, as I was finishing up Wynonna's book over the weekend, I looked up her website to see if she was touring.  And guess what?  I found out she was going to be playing in the town right next to mine the very next day.  I got sooo excited!!  I started to cry, because I just felt like it was a gift.  

My sweet husband bought me some tickets and sent one of my besties, Deborah, and I off on a girls' night out!  Healthwise, I was so not up for it, but sometimes I've just got to escape and do something extraordinarily fun, no matter how much I'm going to pay for it the next day!

Wy was amazing!  Her voice is so strong and powerful and moving.  My favorite songs were "No One Else on Earth" and "Grandpa."  And she did a version of "I Can Only Imagine" that just gave me the shivers.  She is such an amazing and generous entertainer.  She's so quick on her feet and interacts with the audience a lot.  She is hilarious, too...  I was laughing all night long! 

And man does she have some sass and glitter.  I'm not generally into bling, but if I were an entertainer, I would totally sparkle it up like she does.  Her whole costume shimmered and her hair was full of massive amounts of some kind of fairy dust.  I think she's got a little Elvis in her, too!

After the show, we I decided to be a Juddhead and wait around by her bus.  Deb was totally awesome to go along with it.  The tour manager told us that she was already in the bus and wouldn't be coming out... we thought that might be just to throw us off.  But apparently that was the truth, and all we got to do was take photos with the bus and wave goodbye.  At least we tried!

Trust me... the bus is actually in the background!  And this is where I would have had her sign her autograph.  I didn't have a pen, but I made friends with "Sharpie Girl," and I know she would have let me borrow hers, cause we got tight waiting out there in the cold together!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Healthy Donuts

because I feel terrible, and  I need to laugh today.

This week has been hideous.  That is the clinical term.  I have a case of hideous that no one can seem to find the right treatment for.   Not even a prescription for more cowbell is going to cure it.

I have a friend who reminds me I need to laugh when the hideous gets this severe.  She reminded me again a couple of days ago.

There's nothing to laugh about, though.  Nothing.  It's all hideous, you know.

And then an old memory came to mind.

A couple summers ago, I was all bent out of shape because of a particular situation I had no control over.  It had to do with what I felt was bureaucracy and and injustice, and I was in a really bad mood about it, especially because it affected me so personally.  I was all perturbed and stressed out.

I happened to be on the way home from the library the day the frustration really peaked.  There is a huge vacant lot on the way home that's usually used for event parking.

It called to me...

And I turned in.

I'm not sure what came over me at that point, but I started doing donuts in the dirt and gravel.  Big billows of dust began swirling around me like my own personal tornado.  I began to laugh so hysterically, I cried.

Finally, I stopped.  Wasn't that awesome, I asked my kids, who were playing their Game Boys in the very back of the van.

What? they replied.  They hadn't even noticed my vehicular maneuvers and my sweet display of momentary insanity.

I just did donuts in the vacant lot, I said incredulously.

You're so weird, mom.

That's right, I replied.  So put down the video games, cause we're going to have a second round.

So off we went again with the 360's until Josh noticed a county vehicle barreling down the hill in the distance.

Uh, mom... I think you'd better leave now.

The county worker obviously thought I was some teenager who'd absconded with their mom's sweet van to go for a joy ride.  But there was no way he was going to put a damper on my hilarity and stress relieving endeavors.  So I pulled out of the vacant lot and drove home in a fit of laughter.

I just asked Josh if he remembered that day.

Yes, he said, grinning.  Mom, maybe you need to go to the library today.


I might just have to return some hideous and take care of some overdue laughter.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, 
and she laughs at the time to come.
Proverbs 31:25

Monday, November 7, 2011

Prayer Request

I had a really awful weekend. 

I'm not doing well at all. 

My new treatments are making me feel worse. 

I don't know what else to say, except that I really need prayer. 


Friday, November 4, 2011

A Friday Favorite

I found this amazing video thanks to my sweet bloggy friend,  Simply Sara.

It's a murmuration of thousands of starlings.

I keep thinking about it... I've just never seen anything quite like it before.

And it left me in awe of God's creation.

I hope you enjoy it and have a beautiful weekend.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Writer of my Days

For you formed my inward parts;
   you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

  My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
   the days that were formed for me,
   when as yet there was none of them.

I recently read these verses from Psalm 139.  Familiar verses I have read many time before, but this time they took on new meaning for me.  I began to think about them a lot.  And I came to a realization.

It takes only 9 months for God to form us in His image,
but it takes an entire lifetime for Him to conform us to His likeness.

Both are rather miraculous...  the God of the universe forming and conforming us. It is easier for me to see the miracle of a baby formed in God's image,  but I tend to get caught up in trials, and it's harder to see the miracle of God's conforming hand.  I become overwhelmed with the pain of trials, frustrated by the ways they seem to hold me back, and I question God's purposes in them.  I forget that when He was forming me, He was also writing out my days.  He formed me and knows my character intimately.  

He knows what kind of days I will need.  

Days that He will use to conform me more and more into His likeness.

Days that will teach me patience and compassion, 

goodness and faithfulness, 

humility and love.  

Days to cultivate His beauty in me.  

Days to cultivate joy in all circumstances.  

Days to garner gratitude and praise and generosity.

Days to grow forgiveness and mercy and grace. 

He has a whole book of days written for me.

And He has a whole book of days written for you.

What has the Author written in your book today? 
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