Monday, November 28, 2011

Gasping for Joy

Fear grips me. Unexpected events cause me to forget who He is and what He's promised.

"I am God and there is no other."

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name. You are mine."

"I will never leave you or forsake you."

My peace is so easily shattered when the idols I've established in the shrine of my life--security, comfort, control--topple from their pedestals. Faced with uncertainty, I believe the lie that God's good gifts only come in tidy, pleasant, easy to handle packages. Is He not good?

How can I forget the truth?

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

He alone can satisfy.

In your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The God of the universe has pursued a rebellious and stiff-necked people. I have never done anything to deserve his love, and can do nothing to stop it from continuing.

Be happy in him, O my heart, and in nothing but God,
for whatever a man trusts in,
from that he expects happiness.

Thou hast nothing of thine own but sin,

nothing to move God to be gracious,

or continue his grace towards thee.
If thou forget this thou wilt lose thy joy.

Look not below God for happiness;

fall not asleep in Delilah's lap.

Let God be all in all to thee,

and joy in the fountain that is always full

~taken from The Valley of Vision

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 21: Work it

The 21 Day Challenge has come to an end! I've learned quite a bit from the lovely ladies who've exposed themselves to the lens every day. It's been challenging, for sure, especially since I hate having my picture taken and have avoided it at all costs for the last 25 years. I've learned to wear a belt, do something different with my hair, and try mixing pieces. I've pulled jewelry out that has sat in my drawer for years. But mostly I've learned to be confident with what God's given me instead of yearning for what I'm not. It's been good.

But I can't say I'll be sorry to not have to photograph myself each and every day!

Day 21: Work it
Faded Glory tank (thrifted, $1.50), Kirra color block tank (thrifted, $1.50), Express sweater (thrifted, $4), Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (thrifted, $5), beaded earrings (thrifted, $1), hairclip borrowed from my tween, flower pin swiped from another thrifted blouse, Etienne Aigner sandals (TJ Maxx,)
Whole outfit without shoes=$13

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But the best thing of all was having my daughter tell me, "Mom, you're so beautiful." To raise a girl who knows that about herself long before she gets to be 40, who has the confidence that no matter what clothes or size or brand she wears she is precious in the eyes of God, is truly a worthy challenge.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 20: Sunday Shoes

Confession: I don't really have Sunday shoes. Jeans and a tee or a party dress are acceptable at our church, so all my shoes qualify.

This is an everyday casual summer outfit. I just added some dressier shoes and a fun bracelet.

Day 20:  Sunday Shoes
Gap tee & St. John's Bay skirt (thrifted), Walmart bracelet (borrowed from Sissy), Payless sandals


Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 19: Adorn your Head

So continuing on with this "new hair" thing, I tried another headband.

Day 19:  Adorn your head

I know I need jewelry, but it's a zillion degrees here today, and I just couldn't take it! I was just about melting while taking these pictures.


Odille blouse (thrifted)
Maidenform cami (thrifted)
Cherokee shorts (thrifted)
Mossimo flats (target)
Headband--piece of lace I removed from a piece of thrifted fabric
Earrings from Etsy--

On a family note, we took the kids on a field trip today. They had a ball climbing on tanks, touring museums, and playing in the water. Here are a few of my favorite shots:


Bubba directing the water in the fountain as if it's music.


L.B. dancing to his brother's music.


Another Christmas card photo reject. Thanks, Bozo boy.

Sissy and her daddy.

Ain't life grand? Today, it definitely was!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 18: Statement Jewelry

I don't have much in the way of jewelry, let alone statement jewelry. Most of what I own was purchased in my teen years, when dainty jewelry with argyle sweaters were popular.

My dad made these earrings for my mom in the 70's. I've claimed them as my own. I'd probably wear them more if they didn't resemble an ad for Oprah's magazine.


It's ridiculously hot today, and I'm preparing for company on top of teaching school, so the outfit is basic and cool.

Big Lots tee, handmade skirt (thrifted and altered), Mossimo flats (Target)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 17: Mend It

Thrift shopping is an adventure. Every trip has a story. Some are thrilling, like the pink cashmere sweater snagged for $2.99. Some are bizarre, like the slightly overweight man in line ahead of you with an armful of women's his size. And others are rather embarrassing. Like this one:

On "dollar shirt day," I was flipping through the t-shirts at my favorite local thrift and got all excited when I saw ol' Bill's face on a next-to-new tee with a pleasant cut in my size. "Yippee!" says the English teacher. "What fun for a buck!" It said something on the front about prose that I thought I'd look up later. Must be some literature thing I wasn't familiar with. So I grabbed it and added it to my loot. When I checked out, the clerk gave me a quizzical look and said, "How about 50-cents?" I looked back at her just as quizzically and answered, "Ok?"

When I got home, I looked up the phrase and understood. Oops! Not appropriate! Of course my husband, a friend who's a public school teacher, and another who's a computer geek knew right away what it said and meant. I was not to be deterred. I was not going to send it back to the thrift, or worse, put the greatest playwright of all time in the trash! So I fixed it! And I think Shakespeare himself would thank me.

Day 17:  Fix it

Shakespeare tee (now rated G)
J. Jill skirt (shortened and embroidery removed)
Keds slip-ons
Headband (handmade by someone or other)
Earrings (gift)

Oh, and I'm still working on that "new hair" thing. Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 16: Menswear

This was a fun challenge that reminded me of my working days. My office attire, even skirts and dresses, had a bit of a manly feel to it. Working in a publishing house where the managerial level was dominated by men, it was a struggle just to stay informed when you felt like a lot of business decisions were made in the men's room! You'd better not look or act like a girly-girl!


The high-waisted trousers define the waist, something my lower-rise jeans fail to do. No muffin top here!


These shoes have a fun story. I am part of the Freecycle loop in my area, and one Sunday someone was offering a bag of shoes in my size. The pick-up location was in an affluent area, so I figured, "What the heck. I can always donate them to the thrift store if there is nothing I want." Turns out it was a bag of expensive and barely worn shoes! A week or two later the same women posted more shoes. I got another 5 pair! Nothing like free Anne Klein, 9 West, Coach, etc.

Day 16:  Menswear

Merona shirt (thrifted), Talbots trousers (outlet), Anne Klein shoes (Freecycle), earrings (silver shop in Annapolis), ?? belt and bracelet (thrifted)

Of course I didn't wear this all day. I am a home school mom. I changed out the trousers for jeans and added a blue cardi. Gosh, I wear a lot of red and blue! Go here to see what others have cooked up.

21 Day Challenge

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 15: New Hair

I hate this look, but here it is:

Day 15:  New Hair

brown tee--Urban Behavior
blue tank--LOFT (75-cents!)

All thrifted except my Loch Ness Monster necklace from The Scottish Lion Imports. Clip borrowed from my tween.

There's not a lot of "new hair" choices for short-haired girls. Yes, I could have greased it all back or spiked it all up, but those were even scarier prospects. I see short-haired girls with clips and fancy hair pretties in their coifs all the time, but there is a reason I don't wear them: I look like a dork. And I post my dorky pictures on the internet. Yikes.


On another note, today is the first day of school here at our house. I've seen all of my children mature greatly over the summer and am looking forward to a fabulous year. It will be full. In addition to our usual craziness; I'm teaching junior high and senior high composition this at our home school consortium. May God use it all for His glory and our sanctification.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 14: Copycat

Sally McGraw at Already Pretty is the woman who turned me on to pursuing fashion just the way I am, without having to fix myself first. I didn't need a flatter stomach, whiter teeth, or better clothes to start enjoying the way I dress. What I had was, well, already pretty. And she is my inspiration for today's copycat look.

original photo here

Here's my version:

Day 14:  Copycat
Carol Little blouse (thrifted), LOFT dress--remix item--(thrifted), red Ropers (gift from the Texan the Christmas I married him)

21 Day Challenge

Day 13: Neutral with a Pop

I'm not sure that blue is "neutral," but it's the main color in my closet. Today's a busy Saturday--the last one before school starts--so no dressing up for me! And I'll probably be switching out the heeled sandals for flip flops before hitting Sam's Club. Just keeping it real.

Day 13: Neutral with a pop

J. Crew shirt (thrifted), Gap jeans (thrifted), H&M belt (thrifted), Mossimo sandals (Target)

Wow, look at those bags under my eyes! That's what's left over from my 11-year-old's sleepover birthday party last night. Nice.

21 Day Challenge

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 12: Jazz Up Your Jeans

Whew! I've made it halfway through the 21 Day Challenge!

21 Day Challenge

Today we're jazzing the jeans. Easy peasy. This is how you'll normally find me, cruising the grocery store or hanging out at the library.

Day 12: Jazz Up Your Jeans

?? blouse (thrifted), tank (Sears), J. Jill jeans (thrifted), Etienne Aigner sandals (TJ Maxx)

Gotta run! No time to wax eloquent. It's teacher meeting day at our consortium--school starts Monday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 11: Dress or Skirt

Today's challenge was not a problem for me. I love skirts and dresses in the summer. They're cool and breezy. I wore my remixed choice from day 1.

Day 11: Dress/skirt

Dress: LOFT (thrifted), tee: no-name (Big Lots), signal flag necklace from my childhood

To tell you the truth, I'm getting really tired of blogging about my clothes. And while it's forced me to be more thoughtful about what I put on, my default choice really is no nonsense sloppy! Today's outfit allows me to do both!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 10: Closet Orphan

I purposely don't have many "closet orphans." If I don't wear it, it gets donated. You know, out with the old, in with the new! And most of the things that I never wear, I've already worn this week!

However, there is this skirt. I love this skirt. It fits well, the print is great, today I wore it for a total of three hours in the car and one hour in a meeting before I took this picture, and it wrinkled minimally. Yet I never wear it.
Day 10:  Closet orphan

Studio M skirt (thrifted), ?? tee (Big Lots), Route 66 blouse (KMart), Mossimo sandals (Target)

Because I haven't found a top for it that suits me, it gets pushed to the back of my closet. I don't like the white; it's boring. I have a pink Eddie Bauer tee that perfectly matches, but style-wise it's a dud. I have to find it a mate! Probably not beige. Blue maybe?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 9: Monochrome

I was going to wear my turquoise velor sweatsuit, but my husband vehemently vetoed it. He says I look like and 80-year-old lady of Walmart! And since this whole thing was inspired by my true love, I decided to match the gray rainy weather.

Excuse the goofy facial expression; I have exactly no time to do this today! Must go grocery shopping, school supply shopping, get my hair cut...

Merona sweatshirt (hand-me-down), Hanes t-shirt skirt (thrifted), favorite earrings (gifted), bracelet made by Dad, shoes will be black Crocs Mary Janes for rainy weather

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 8: Dressy + Casual

Mixing dressy and casual seems like something only the rich and famous do, but I was pretty happy with the way this "cheap nobody" one turned out. The blouse is part of a 2-piece dress I bought for Pru and Eric's wedding years ago. I never wear it. I'm a home school mom; when do I get to dress up? This challenge forced it out of the closet orphan category.

I payed more than my usual thrift limit for the jeans, then had to have them professionally altered (they were out of my league), and I'm still not satisfied with their fit. They hug my thighs too much and are too loose at the waist. But again, here's a way I'm pleased to wear them.

Chadwicks blouse, Loft Jeans (thrifted, altered), Payless sandals, Avon necklace

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 7: Layer Accessories

I bought this dress for less than $10 a few years a go to wear to my 20th high school reunion. It hasn't come out of my closet since. I don't know why! It's made from material that I could wad in a ball, shove in a suitcase, and pull it out looking lovely as ever. At it's just about as comfortable as yesterday's pajamas.

Apostrophe Dress (Sears), Tahari wedges (TJ Maxx), scarf and pearl necklaces are high school remnants

For today's challenge I took a scarf and string of faux pearls, wound them together, and paired them with another faux pearl necklace to close up the neckline of my dress for church. Hopefully the black, blue, and purple didn't look too much like a bruise!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 6: Unconventional

We spent the day in the city, museum-ing it with my mom-in-law. I needed something comfortable enough to wear in the heat that would travel well and wouldn't wrinkle. Oh, and the challenge today was that it also be "unconventional."

So I choose my pj's. Yes, my pajamas, my nightgown, my granny housedress. (Ain't it cute! It has owls all over it.) And belted, of course!

t-shirt (Big Lots), Nick & Nora nightgown/jumper (Target $4.48 clearance), ?? belt (thrifted), Rockport sandals (thrifted), earrings (Mom's from the '70s)

Some people lounge around the house all day in their pj's, I wear them to town. People of Walmart, here I come!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 5: Belt it

If I am learning anything from this little experiment it is that I can be an adventurous dresser. I have never once tucked anything into these pants. Never. Now I know most people don't consider tucking in your shirt and belting your pants an adventure, but for me, it's almost over the top!

Horny Toad T-shirt (thrifted), a.n.a. shorts (thrifted and then altered), Abercrombie belt (thrifted), Mossimo sandals (Target), thrifted necklace, bracelet made by Dad

Moms don't have to be sloppy; who knew? I feel like a brand new woman!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 4: Color Blocking

I thought color blocking would be my easy day. I'm a naturally plain dresser--solid color t-shirt, solid color pants or skirt--but having to put it together thoughtfully was a different story.
It's warm in our neck of the woods and today's full of housework and errands, so this is my functional yet slightly whimsical attempt at color blocking.

2 pack t-shirts, layered (Big Lots clearance), Jones New York shorts (thrifted), Rockport sandals (Amazon), flower brooch (swiped from another thrifted blouse), prayer box necklace (gifted), earrings made by dear ol' Dad

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 3: Mix Patterns

Pattern mixing is a style that my junior high daughter loves. Stripes and polka dots, plaids and florals, rainbow high tops and sequins, she does it all. I, on the other hand, haven't pattern mixed since I was in the third grade. (Picture turtle necks with cute little whales on them and argyle sweaters.) In fact, when I looked in my closet, I realized I had little to mix because most of my clothes are solid colors. This is as mixed up as it gets.

Gingham shirt--Gap (thrifted), Brown flower tank (designed and sewn by me), Talbots jeans (thrifted), Abercrombie belt (thrifted), Madden Girl flats (thrifted), ?? necklace (thrifted), earrings from a local botique (gifted), bracelet made by dad

After trying it and seeing some of the fantastic ensembles others have put together, I think I'll be on the hunt for some great pieces to pattern mash next time I go thrift shopping.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 2: Tuck it

Route 66 eyelet shirt (Kmart), Gap pants (thrifted), Petite Sophisticate scarf (ancient!), Mossimo flats (Target), pearl earrings (, silver bracelet made by my dad in the 70's, beaded bracelet made by me
The whole idea of tucking took me out of my comfort zone. I'm not a tucker-in-er because I'm not a sucker-in-er. After birthing three kids, one of whom was over 9 lbs, my stomach muscles have pretty much given out. It doesn't matter how many crunches I do, by mid-afternoon, I'm poochy, and I hate sucking it in! But what this particular challenge did was show me via actual photographs that it's not that big of a deal. I can tuck in if I want to!

And that makes me a happy camper.

Day 1: Remix

Loft sundress, J. Jill cardi, Croft & Barrow sandals, unknown cami,belt & necklace
Remixing pieces is pretty easy for me because I don't own a huge amount of clothing. I've decided to remix the sundress in order to force myself to find other ways to wear it, hopefully extending its appearance into the fall.
To see what others are remixing, pop on over to Freckles in April.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Now for something completely different...

This has been a year of milestones to make a girl start feeling a bit geriatric. I hit the big 4-0. My eldest child became a teenager. I have more than one or two gray hairs. But what really started to make me feel ancient was my wardrobe. Somewhere along the mommy road I had stopped clothing myself and started just wearing clothes.

For a while I took on the long skirt/long hair of the patriocentric Christian camp. It was a bit like playing dress-up without the foofy princess dresses. Then I adopted the black or brown shirt/sweater/polartec with jeans look. Comfortable and easy, yes. Attractive, not so much. One day this spring, my husband mentioned he was glad I had ditched the frumpy home school mom uniform but wished I'd wear something as colorful and vivacious as I am. I took that as a challenge--to dress as me and make my husband smile.

So in order to have some accountability about actually taking off my workout clothes and putting on something creatively pleasing to my husband, I'm taking the 21 Day Challenge and putting it out there for all to see.

21 Day Challenge

There's only one catch--we ain't got no cash.

So how's this girl supposed to live out the remainder of her pre-walker days with any sense of personal style while raising a family on a ministry income? Thank the Lord for hand-me-downs, garage sales, and the thrift store! At least 95% of what you'll see on me will have been purchased off the rack by someone else. I'm not claiming it will be fashionable, just fun and spirited.
So here goes something completely different!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Le the Little Children Come to Me

If you have children, work with children, or even know children, you must read this post by Wendy Alsup.

It's all grace.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011