Sunday, January 23, 2022

Layering Gray on Black

 Favorite Colors Layered Together


Hello everyone!  Don't you love it when you put two colors you love together and the outfit just works? Me too. And that's what happened today when I layered various shades of gray with black. 


I find that I wear these dark gray jeans quite frequently. The black and white animal print zippered fleece is so cozy and warm over a black turtleneck. And since I was still just a little cold, I added my loose and slouchy gray sweater that I purchased last winter. The final touch were my gray booties over black socks. I'm as cozy as can be for the day and so very comfortable, as well. This is the time of year for layering. Pick colors you love and see how you can layer them together for a cozy and warm look. I'll bet the colors will work well together!

I was reading that the color gray can represent neutrality and balance, intellect and compromise. Gray is definitely a neutral color and can look great with so many colors and hues. What I read cautioned against wearing too much gray in the same outfit. But, I love wearing ALL gray to achieve a wonderful monochromatic style. 

What colors do you like to layer? Be sure to let me know in the comments. 

Until Next Time,
Debbie


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Matters of the Heart

 What Warms Your Heart?

Above all else, guard your heart
for everything you do flows from it. 
Proverbs 4:23

Hello everyone!  We're getting close to the time where we think about hearts, love, friendship, Valentines and even heart health.  So, today I'm thinking about what warms our hearts. Those things that make our hearts happy, nourish us and cause us to smile. Of course when we mention our "heart" it can have all sorts of meanings including our soul, our thinking, the love we feel and our actual biological heart. I thought I would share some things that warm my heart and I hope you will share as well in the comments. And I'll say up front that The Mr. my fur babies and family warm my heart, but I'm focusing on other things in this post.

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Tea
I'm an avid tea drinker and look forward to that first cup of the day as my time to wake up, have devotions and greet the new day. I continue to drink iced or cold tea throughout the day, Over the years, I have made the change to drinking mostly decaf tea as cold tea but my hot tea in the morning is definitely caff! I have read that tea is healthy for the heart. If so, I should have a very healthy heart!
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Reading
I was thinking the other day about the number of times each day I am involved in reading. And it's a lot! Whether I am reading a book, blogs I follow, emails, texts or some type of directions, I am an avid reader. I have a habit of re-reading favorite books over and over again and I will continue to do that, I'm sure. But, I am pleased that since Christmas I have read three totally new books and enjoyed them very much. I fell in love with books as a baby, memorizing nursery rhymes. And from the time I encountered Dick, Jane and Sally in first grade I have been a reader and hope to always be. My sweet mother was also an avid reader and even when she was suffering from dementia and really couldn't read anymore, she kept a "favorite" book in the bed with her. The pages were all crumpled and worn but it was her book. I wish my sisters and I had kept that book. Readers keep a good book by their side no matter what!
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Scriptures
For as long as I can remember, the Holy Scriptures have been a part of my life. As a small child, I learned about scriptures through stories of Jesus at my mother's knee, as well as in Sunday School. When I was in third grade, and considered able to read the scriptures on my own, my church presented me and the other third graders with a Bible. I still have that Bible. I try to read the Bible on a daily basis although I sometimes fail. But the scriptures always warm my heart, help me to grow as a Christian and keep me steady in my faith. And for that I am always grateful.
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Music
I am told that, as a baby, there were certain songs that I loved and would sing along with. As a youngster, I enjoyed singing hymns in church and can remember trying to learn how to sing harmony with the hymns. In third grade, I began taking violin lessons and continued lessons and playing all through public school and into college. After college, I taught music and played in a symphony here in Asheville. As a retiree, I began directing handbells at my church and also began taking flute lessons, something I have always wanted to do. I married a trumpet player and have supported him throughout our marriage as he has continuously played solos and in various brass groups and, along the way, I have become quite the lover of brass music. Throughout the day, I enjoy music playing on the radio. How could I ever not be a lover of music? It warms my heart. 
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Sweets
I had to chuckle just typing this. To say that I have a "sweet tooth" is putting it mildly. And in some ways that is really too bad. I lived all the way through my forties being able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted without gaining weight. And sweets figured prominently in what I wanted! But, oh my, when the fifties came along how times changed my friends! I had to rein in my love for sweets and that is just not fair at all! I love chocolate and that's a health food, right?! I typically have a little something every day. I try not to, but it's really hard. Sigh. 
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Shopping
Are you surprised by this? I have always enjoyed shopping and getting something new, or at least new-to-me, in terms of clothing and items for the house. It's always fun to think about how to style a new article of clothing or an accessory or what vignette I would like to create in what room of the house. Learning how to be a thifter has helped with the budget in terms of being a shopper. Years ago I had a friend, who has since moved away, and we would go to the mall most Tuesday evenings while our husbands were at band practice and eat pie (there's that sweet tooth again) and then go shopping. I didn't buy something every Tuesday, but it was fun to window shop. And eat pie. Sigh.
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Creating
One of the things I wanted to do in retirement was find new ways to be creative. And I think, for the most part, I have. I have tried a lot of ways of being creative and I don't think I am the typical creative person meaning that I'm not an artist or a quilter or someone who crochets or knits. I do things like writing my blog, journaling in various ways, decorating cards, making music and doing other little crafts from time to time. And, yes, coming up with vignettes is being creative. Styling outfits is creative. Just trying to do things in a "Debbie Way" is being creative. 
And warms my heart.
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Blogging
Well, you knew I had to add this to the list of what warms my heart, right?! It's funny. I go through phases with blogging where I just don't feel like I have a thing to say or I feel like I don't know what direction I'm going in with the blog or I feel like I look silly styling outfits. And then, I catch a second wind and start blogging away and it's just like new! And here I am still at it six years into this blogging adventure. This blog is something that is All Mine. I love being able to decide what goes into it. My dear friend, Sharon, noticed that I had changed the header and the background color recently. I like being in charge of making those changes. It keeps the blog fresh and helps me to feel that there is that "something new" to the blog. This has been the only time in my life that I have gotten to be the CEO of my own organization!
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And now it's your turn!
What warms your hearts?
Until Next Time,
❤Debbie❤

*Thank you to Carol at comfortspringstation.com for the use of the heart with tree inside. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Snowy Day

 Snowy Day In My Backyard


Hi everyone! It's a snowy day in my backyard today. Overnight Snowstorm Izzy came through and the white stuff has continued to fall throughout the day. We probably have around 7 inches on the ground right now. We've also had some sleet throughout the day. This was our backyard early this morning. 


And this was our front yard earlier today. It is all so very pretty. Days like this can make me feel kind of antsy. I don't like the feeling of being "snowed in" although I'm sure we could get out if we really had to. But, these type days are also great reminders to just hunker down and enjoy doing nothing. Read a good book, watch Hallmark and write a blog post! So far, we have been lucky in that we have kept power. Here's hoping we continue to keep power!

How do you spend snow days at your house? Would love to hear all about it!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

Sunday, January 9, 2022

What's In My Reading Basket

 Books I've Been Reading Lately


Hello everyone! I have been trying to widen my horizons lately with reading and have chosen some books that are new reads to me. After spending time re-reading my old favorite books these past months, it has been fun to branch out and try a couple new authors as well as a new book in a series I have followed in the past. I thought you might enjoy hearing what's in my reading basket. Perhaps you will get some ideas for a book you might enjoy.

1. "The Private Patient" by PD James 
This author was new-to-me and although it took me a few pages to get into the book, once I was in I was hooked!  This is a mystery about a woman who goes to a private clinic to have plastic surgery done and is then murdered. Everyone who is in service at the clinic is suspect and it is up to Commander Dalgliesh and his team to figure out who committed the murder. Along the way, the reader learns about the fascinating back stories of the inhabitants of the clinic as well as of Commander Dalgliesh. I believe that many of the books by PD James have been made into movies and some were shown on PBS. I would like to read more of the Commander Dalgliesh murder mysteries and will be looking for more in the series.

2. "Mr. Churchill's Secretary" by Susan Elia Macneal
This was another new-to-me author and the fact that the book was set in WWII with a strong female heroin reminiscent of Maisie Dobbs caused me to choose this book to read. The heroin is Maggie Hope who is hired to be a typist for Winston Churchill after Neville Chamberlain resigns as Prime Minister of England. Raised by her aunt in the US and a graduate of Wellesley, Maggie has forgone working on a graduate program in mathematics at M.I.T. in order to return to England, the land of her birth, and sell her grandmother's house. Instead, Maggie ends up remaining in England as the war is starting and shares the house with several female housemates. As the story unfolds, Maggie becomes embroiled in state secrets and espionage as she proves her worth, not just as a typist, but as a mathematician. 

I enjoyed this book to a point. The story kept my interest and I rooted for Maggie as she fought to be recognized for her intelligence in the "mans's world" that existed in the 1940's. However, some of the four letter words used throughout the book disturbed me as well as the true-to -life depictions and descriptions of torture, bombings and how Jewish people were treated in Germany and elsewhere during WWII. That was upsetting to read about. So, I found myself putting the book down during these sections. This is the first book in the "Maggie Hope" series. I will say that the next book in the series sounds interesting as it involves Maggie Hope working for MI5 in the Royal Palace while undercover as a math tutor for Princess Elizabeth. I may be looking for that one to read. 

3. "The Quiet Side of Passion" by Alexander McCall Smith
This is the book I am currently reading and is part of the Isabel Dalhousie series. I have enjoyed this series in the past but have not read the last few books. When I saw this one at the used book store I picked it up as a Christmas gift to myself and I am enjoying it immensely. 

Isabel Dalhousie is first introduced in the book, "The Sunday Philosophy Club." She is a philosopher who edits a magazine called, The Review of Applied Ethics. Now, she is also a wife and mother of two little boys and enjoys music, assisting her niece, Cat, at the delicatessen and solving issues and mild mysteries that involve the use of her philosophical skills. 

To me, all of the books in this series are what I consider a "gentle read" and I am happy to have this after the more intense read of the Maggie Hope book. I see there is another book in the series after this one so I hope to pick it up, as well. 

Hope this gives you some ideas for books you might enjoy reading! Let me know what books are in your reading basket in the comment section. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,
Debbie

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Featuring Purple In My Clothing

 When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple


So, are you familiar with the poem written by Jenny Joseph? If not, here is a portion. 

Warning
by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
 With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves


I hope you will look up this poem and read it in its entirety. (You might want to read it before you read my post). It's such a fun piece. I'm not certain why wearing purple is presented as such a scandalous thing in this poem. Or, why wearing red with purple should be even more so. The truth is, I love purple (and any shades derived from it) and have quite a few clothing items in my closet that are in the purple hues. Today, I'm going to share a few of those looks with you. 

Just because I want to. 

And because I love purple. 

And because you might like to add a little purple to your life. Maybe even mixed with a little red, who knows? 

But, I wouldn't spend your pension on brandy if I were you. That might not be such a good idea. 😉


You know, it's funny how things work out. One of my sisters gifted me with this lovely handbag for Christmas. It came with a scarf that matches the pattern on the pocket flap and a necklace that matches the color of the handbag. I love this bag! It's roomy and has helpful pockets and I wish I had it when I flew back in November. But, I digress. The handbag colors are also purple (you might call it mauve or plum) and I already had this purple jacket and the multi-color purple Skechers shoes and the outfit just kind of created itself!


I really didn't plan to wear mostly ALL purple shades that day but, somehow, it just happened without planning. When you have certain dominant colors in your closet they can show up at the same time for a party! As you can see, I even wore my purple sweater on this day. 


And can you see that I am wearing my amethyst ring, as well? 


Now, I didn't do any sitting on pavement or pressing alarm bells, but The Mr. and I did eat outside at a table on the pavement. This particular day was our anniversary and, because it was New Year's Day, many places weren't open. So, we ended up at a local sandwich shop. Really fancy way to celebrate 39 years, right?! But notice how the red in his shirt goes so nicely with the purple in my coat. See? Jenny Joseph knew what she was talking about!


I guess I could have run my stick along the fence railings seen in this picture. But, they were kind of covered in snow and I didn't want to mess up all that prettiness. I do like the effect of the lavender scarf against the purple coat, though. And the gray popping out looks good, too. Have you tried pairing gray with purple? 

Does wearing purple make up for the sobriety of my youth? Hmm...I doubt it. But, it does make me happy. Purple, in my opinion, is a very happy color. So, I enjoy wearing it often. 

I looked up meanings for the color purple and found that it denotes creativity and spirituality and, of course, is tied to royalty. It can have the effect of being uplifting and encouraging. And I have found that this color does uplift my mood when wearing it. 

If we remember our elementary school art classes, we know that mixing red and blue creates purple. So this color is tied closely and blends well with the other two. I do have a love for blue as you well know. And red has been calling my name a bit more lately. Perhaps that is because I'm becoming old?? Nah!!!!'

In my opinion, the "Warning" poem by Jenny Joseph reminds us, no matter what our ages, to have fun. Try new things, be bold, play with color. After all, if you are wearing purple and red, you definitely will be seen!

 So look in your own closet and see if there is a dominant color or two in there that YOU love to wear. What do those colors mean to you? Do they make you happy when you wear them? Have fun with color. And be sure to tell me about what you find in your closet in the comments section. 

But, for goodness sake, don't learn how to spit! Yuck!! (wink)

Until Next Time,
Debbie

*All writing in this post, with the exception of the brief poem excerpt by Jenny Joseph, is my own writing and my own opinions. 
*Photography by William Ross

Monday, January 3, 2022

Winter Decor and More

 Happy Winter


Hello everyone!  Sure hope you enjoyed your New Years Day and that 2022 is off to a great start for you!  Today, I'm sharing the winter decor/vignettes I have put out around the house. And why not share the winter decor right outside my window, as well?! We woke up to snow this morning and it is so very pretty. It's the kind of snow that coats the tree branches and fence posts but didn't stay long on the roads. We did have winds that brought down a tree and left us without power for several hours but that is all resolved now. I'll be sharing a few more snow pics as well as some more purple clothing in my next post this Friday so be sure to stop by for that. For now, let's look at some snowmen!


I've actually drastically reduced the number of snowmen I have, but I kept a few favorites to display in January and February. These are two of my favorites. I also brought out my little white light tree to give a little extra light in the living room during the dreary Winter months. It really helps to make the room more cheerful to have a little extra light. Especially since the Christmas trees have been put away until next year! 


And my Mitford Snowman is gracing the little table in the dining room, along with some bottle brush trees and wooden mittens. If I could go back in time, I would have gotten the other two Mitford snowmen, but I just went with this one. Oh well. I could look on Etsy if I am really interested in more "things." I pretty much have all I can keep up with now!


I decided to go with all sparkly and snowy on the foyer table. You have seen my "Let it snow" sign before and I added the sparkly stems in a vase and an icy looking snowflake. Of course, I had to have my polar bear snowglobe as part of this vignette. And please notice the lovely mat underneath this vignette. This was fashioned and quilted by my dear friend, Sharon, and given to me for Christmas. Isn't it beautiful?! It is actually a "mug and snack mat" and is meant to hold a mug and small snack. Hope you don't mind my using it on the foyer table, Sharon. I just love it!

For now, those are the items I have used for Winter decor. I hope to create a new winter wreath and, if I do, I will share that with you. I do hope that you are enjoying these first days of 2022. Take good care and let me know how you are doing. I love to read your comments!

Until Next Time,
Debbie


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

As The New Year Draws Near

🎆🎆🎆 Happy New Year 2022 🎆🎆🎆


Hello everyone!  I'm wishing you a very Happy New Year a few days early. I hope that you enjoyed Christmas Day in whatever form it took. I was (and still am) recovering from the bad cold I mentioned in my last post, so I stayed home and even missed the outdoor Christmas Eve service I was supposed to be at directing the handbell choir. It was a disappointment for sure but I didn't want to infect anyone else with my cold or possibly expose myself to any other germs, so I know it was the right choice. The Mr. and I opened our presents together and enjoyed good food throughout the day. We both saw our families via Zoom and FaceTime and those "visits" were blessings indeed! Believe it or not, our Christmas decorations are packed up and put away. I don't typically leave the decorations up until New Years since I put them up pretty early in November. I know lots of folks do but it somehow feels good, after Christmas Day, to put it all away and get the house back to a more normal feel. I can very easily go into a bit of a sadness around Christmas so this helps with that, as well. 

So, as I look toward 2022, I am really looking forward to better times for the whole world. A time when people are willing, and have the resources available, to get vaccinated and when Covid variants aren't popping up all the time. A time when it is not necessary for people to wear masks because Covid is no longer around to cause illness. A time when people around the world don't live in fear of war, sickness, hunger, poverty and there is peace for all. A time, personally, when I don't have fears about illnesses within my own family and worry over what the future will bring for my family. 

Even as I write this, I don't feel that all of this will happen in 2022. But, I pray that these times will come soon. I have faith that God is ultimately in control of all situations, both in my life and around the world. And I have spent some time, in recent weeks, pondering about how often I am like Thomas in the Bible who doubted that the disciples had seen Jesus until he was able to place his fingers in the holes in Jesus' hands and his hand in Jesus' side. The scripture that follows is from John Chapter 20.

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

The thing is, l have times of doubt, just like Thomas did. Perhaps you do too. But deep down, I know that God is faithful, even when bad things are happening all around us, or even, within our own lives. And so, I am listening to the words of Jesus, "Stop doubting and believe."

You all know that I typically choose a special word to reflect on throughout the new year. Some years the words seem to resonate in my life more than others. Last year my special word was "Intention." I tried to live with more intention in my life as I went about my daily activities. But I can't say that I have any big news to share from having had this as my word. Perhaps intention is still working itself into my being. 

This year's word has been popping up and being noticed by yours truly quite a bit in the last few weeks and that is usually a "sign" to me that this is a word that I need to pay attention to and incorporate more of in my life. And so, without further ado, here is my special word for 2022:


I think Hope is a perfect word for me to dwell on, both in my faith life and in my daily life during 2022. It is a perfect word to dwell on for the world as well. We must have Hope that times will be better and that God will bring us to better times. God brought forth Hope in the stable on Christmas when Jesus was brought into the world. God gave the world Hope when Jesus suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. And God still offers each of us Hope this day as the New Year of 2022 draws near. May each of you dear readers feel the Hope that God offers each of us through Jesus Christ. 

Last year, I began a new tradition of selecting a scripture, as well as a word, to dwell on in the new year and this year I am selecting a familiar verse from Jeremiah 29 verse 11. This verse speaks to having Hope.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Happy New Year And Many Blessings!
Until Next Time,
Debbie