Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Few Thoughts On Blogging, Negativity and Finding My Passion

Thinking Out Loud

Today is an anniversary of sorts. As of today, I have been blogging for one year and ten months. Just shy two months of the two year mark. And that's pretty significant in my book. I've seen bloggers start and stop within this time period. I've stuck with it and plan to continue to do so. It seems important to take stock, however, every now and again, on how things are going. I've been doing some thinking recently and rather than keeping all my thoughts inside my own brain, I'm going to do some thinking out loud. Feel free to join in with my thinking if you wish. Just, please do it kindly and without foul language. Which brings me to my first point.

I have been so blessed during my time blogging to receive such kind and supportive comments from so many people. Thank you! Each of your comments is a treasure to me. So why the above heading of negativity? Because out of all of the beautiful, wonderful, supportive comments there have been a few that have been, well.....ugly. And not just ugly. Vulgar. Mean spirited. Unkind. Isn't it interesting that out of all the wonderful comments I have received, I still remember the bad ones? And, interestingly enough, these comments have come from men. Why are they reading my blog anyway? I have spared you, my dear readers, from seeing the profanity and name calling by deleting said comments. It makes me wonder, though, why people are motivated to be mean. Is it just easy to sit behind a computer and type vulgarities knowing that the words don't have a face associated with them? Like everything else in the world, things can be used for good or for ill. Computers as well. It makes me think of young girls and women, however, and how they can be affected by such things. If I, a retired woman of a certain age, can be affected by ugly words, how more so will young girls and women who are still developing their self concepts about their brains and their bodies? 

We've heard a lot in recent times about the put downs of women for physical attributes, political opinions, etc. etc. This is nothing new, of course. These kinds of things have gone on throughout history. A new term has been coined most recently, however..."nasty women" who speak their thoughts. As I have pondered over the few, and yet unnerving, negative comments I have received on this blog, I wonder if the commenters would term me as a "nasty woman?" You see, I dare to speak my thoughts about many topics, including my faith. I dare to share my style in clothing and home decor. I dare to share my humor and my love for my husband and family. I dare to share my quirky sense of humor and my love for animals and my penchant for a touch of sarcasm. I dare to not be defined by age or by stereotypes of what women of a certain age should think or wear or be doing. I dare to continue to try new things, to express my thoughts and to evolve into the woman that God wants me to be. I dare to go forward, not backward, and to stand tall and to shout my truth....even if my voice quakes....or I am called a whore or told I don't know what the #@&% a blog is. (Yes, these were some of the comments.) I dare to not be silenced. Which is the point, in my opinion, of what calling women "nasty" is all about. 

As my thoughts have wandered in recent days about negativity in life and online, the story in the Bible of the woman caught in adultery keeps coming to mind. How she was dragged through the crowds and thrown down at the feet of Jesus with the crowds demanding that she be stoned to death. I can't help but wonder.....where was the man in this story that had committed adultery with her? Why wasn't he being dragged through the crowd to be stoned, as well? Did she carry the greater responsibility for the sin of adultery than he did? Why was it so easy for the crowd to want blood? To be mean? To hate? Of course, we know how Jesus responded. With quiet confidence he bent down to write in the sand and said, "Let those without sin cast the first stone." When all had left, He offered the woman forgiveness and compassion. Not hate. Not mean words. Only love. What would it be like if we lived in a world where there was no negativity? No hate? No stoning with words and meanness? What would it be like to live in a world that offered love like Jesus?

Finding My Passion
I am blessed to have found blogging to be a passion. The printed word is an amazing way to share my thoughts, ideas, photography, and life. It is also a risky venture, because in sharing these things I leave myself open to the thoughts and words of others. But, as with all things, there is risk and I am willing to accept that risk. Writing on my blog is one aspect of my life's passion. I also am passionate about reading, experiencing music in different forms and reveling in quiet thoughtfulness. I am passionate about reading Scripture, about teaching in new and different ways and about supporting my family and friends. Each new day brings new ways to discover new passions and new things about myself that have lied buried under the years of bureaucracy, rules and regulations and, yes, the negativity of living in this structured society of work. There are many ways to "stone" others, you see, and only one of these ways actually involves throwing rocks. The throwing of words is much more effective in controlling others and not nearly as messy to those who do the throwing. And, if the throwing can happen from behind the anonymity of a computer, even better, right?! Wrong.

You might think that I am defeated by the negativity. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Negativity can be a powerful motivator because, I must be doing something right or people wouldn't be riled up! Thinking for myself, standing up for what is right and following my God given passions for creativity is my way of being the woman God created me to be. Blogging is part of that creativity. It is a passion that I am blessed to enjoy and fully intend to continue. This "nasty woman" will not be silenced. And neither should you, dear readers.

Your turn do you view negativity in life? What are your passions? If you are a blogger, how do you handle negative and/or unkind comments? 

Until Next Time,

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #18-John 14 A Promise of Hope

A Promise of Hope

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. (John 14:1-3)

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the passing of my Mother. It seems fitting today to honor her and also to talk about her faith. She was a woman of strong Christian faith and she wasn't shy about sharing her beliefs. She lived her faith daily and taught all of her daughters about loving and serving the Lord. She had a personal relationship with Jesus and relied on Him through thick and thin. Today's verse from John 14 is so comforting when one has lost a beloved family member. I often wonder what my Mom is doing in Heaven. What special jobs has God given her to do? I know she is free from all pain and sorrow and is experiencing joy. I know that someday I will see her again. It's so hard to believe that it has been 21 years since I have spoken with her. We were always close and shared a love of books, jewelry and humor. Mom had a great sense of humor that bordered on the ornery side at times. As a family, we always enjoyed laughter. When my sisters and I had our "Sister's Lunch" a couple weeks ago, we laughingly remembered that we would always tease Mom about how she said "Amen" whenever she prayed. Her "Amen" always came out sounding like "Imen." She never believed us, though!

The message of John 14 is a message of hope that can extend to all of us. The hope is there for the taking. My Mother had that hope. And I know that when Jesus welcomed her to the room prepared just for her, Mom had a big smile on her face! Love you always, Mom!


Friday, May 26, 2017

John Denver Got It Right About Sunshine!

Sunshine On My Shoulder Makes Me Happy!

*All photography by Debbie Ross and property of If pinned/used, please give proper credit. 

John Denver got it right, my friends. A little sunshine on my shoulders does make this girl happy!  We have had so much rain of late, and I know that rain is necessary, but those dreary days were gettin' me down! 

I was so excited to see the sun that I grabbed my camera and wandered around outside in my bathrobe snapping photos of the sunlight glinting through the trees and other delights of nature on our property. Aren't you glad I didn't snap a pic of me in my bathrobe?!

We've had so much rain that the stream that runs through our property is a cascading waterfall right now.

I love the sound of the rushing water.

The mountain laurel is in bloom. Mr.thisandthat's favorite flower!

Our poor rhododendron bushes had beautiful blooms that got beaten down by the rain and by the tree that fell across our driveway a few nights ago. But, the petals on the ground are still beautiful.

My garden flowers are blooming beautifully right now. Fingers crossed that they continue to bloom and grow throughout the hot days of summer!

I take joy in looking at the rock formations.

And all of the greenery!

And the clear blue sky!! A little bit of Nature's eye candy for you today.

I am so blessed to live in such a park-like setting!

"God looked over everything He had made,
It was so good, so very good!"
Genesis 1:31
The Message

Until Next Time,

Monday, May 22, 2017

Color Block Dress Styled Two Ways

How To Style A Color Block Dress

Color block dresses are so popular right now and I was excited to find such a comfortable one to style for you. Made by Premise the soft t-shirt like material surrounds me in comfort and will be worn frequently this summer I know. I'm styling the dress two ways for you today.

First off is a more formal look with heels and a classy purse. The uneven hem adds interest to the classic dressy look.

These open toe pumps are one of the pairs of heels I kept when I did a shoe clean out awhile ago. The brand is Life Stride Velocity with memory foam and they are comfortable for wearing and walking. 

This unique purse is a thrifted find from Goodwill, but it was brand new and never used before. I have received numerous compliments on this purse since I have been carrying it. I love the clutch style with the unique handle and the embedded flowers that remind me of the sixties! 

For a more casual look I added white capris leggings and traded out the heels for my Skecher white wedge sandals. 

You have seen these shoes on the blog before. I said it before and I'll say it again. These shoes are soooo comfortable!

I chose bracelets that would coordinate well with the white/black/mist grey heather colors in the color block dress. These bracelets give a nod to those colors.

And I knew I couldn't go wrong with my Paparazzi wrap bracelet on my other wrist. 

Whether I'm looking for a dressy or a casual look, this color block dress will help me to go through the summer in style!

Like the look?  Feel free to pin my photos.  Also, hope you will leave a comment.  Do you like the color block style of dresses?  

Check out debbiethisandthat on Pinterest and Facebook.  Hope you'll follow me! And tell others about!

Until Next Time,

Linking with : Not Dead Yet Style. This will be included on my Link Party tab in the future.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #17-John 15:13 Laying Down Our Lives for Others

      How Do You Lay Down Your Life?
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

John 15:13

Sometimes particular scriptures come to mind and I wonder why. Today's scripture is an example of this. I was praying for guidance concerning what to write about for Saturday Scriptures and this scripture almost immediately popped into my head. But then, I wondered why it had popped into my head. What is its meaning for me and for you? It's wonderful when a scripture comes to my mind that applies to a situation that I am going through at the time, but today this didn't seem to be the case. To me, laying down your life has always meant dying. When Jesus spoke this scripture, He was referring to his imminent crucifixion. As I pondered this scripture, however, the thought occurred to me that perhaps there is more than one way to "lay down your life" for another person. Perhaps dying isn't always involved. Mothers lay down their lives for their children when they care for their children's needs over their own. Spouses lay down their lives when they provide care giving for their spouse rather than pursuing another activity. Friends lay down their lives for one another when they take time out of their busy schedules to be with one another. Family members lay down their lives when they give up personal time to interact and care for one another. Volunteers lay down their lives when they choose to do something for someone else that doesn't involve pay or personal gain. The list can go on and on of ways that one can "lay down their life" for others. Although the ultimate laying down of one's life is dying to save others, like Jesus did for us, I believe the Lord is reminding me that there are other ways, as well, to lay down one's life for another. And in whatever way we lay down our lives for others, we are giving of ourselves as an act of friendship and love. 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

There's No Place Like Home! Red Tunic Top and Flats

Home Sweet Home!

Hello, hello!  I'm back from my technology break and so happy to be able to create a new style post for you!  While I was on break, I took a little trip up to West Virginia to see my sisters and extended family members. I enjoyed seeing my family so much, but it was still good to pull into my driveway when the trip was over. 

I'm wearing red today because I feel like Dorothy from, "The Wizard of Oz."  Remember how she clicked her red heels together and chanted, "There's no place like home....there's no place like home?"  That's how I feel when I travel. When I'm away from my home here in Asheville, I miss Mr.thisandthat and my home and routine. But, when I'm home here in Asheville, I miss seeing my other family members. Have you ever read the book, "Sarah, Plain and Tall," by Patricia MacLachlan? There was also a movie made of this children's book. It's such a wonderful story about a mail order bride named Sarah who travels cross country by train to meet Jacob Witting and his two children to see if she can "make a difference." Sarah misses her life in Maine and the children worry that she won't stay in Kansas with them. At the end of the book Sarah reassures the children that she is staying and explains to them that, "there is always something to miss no matter where you are." That's how I feel about my home here in Asheville and my family home in West Virginia. 

One of my accessories today is this cute purse that was thrifted from Goodwill. The cherries and greenery go well with the red theme. 

This purse is handmade and so cleverly done. It contains several compartments and holds a lot for such a small purse. It can be carried as a clutch but also has a strap for over the shoulder. 

Other accessories include this unique silver chunk style bracelet from Target.

And a favorite silver bangle bracelet watch.

My backyard flower garden survived my being away for a few days. Although the bears pulled some of the stones loose and that will need to be repaired. At least the flowers were not trampled!

The porch flowers are doing well, also. This red tunic top is by Cupio and was purchased at Stein Mart. (Similar by Rafaella Studio here). The red shoes are Bandolino flats. (Similar by Kelly & Katie here.)

And now for a surprise. Meet my sisters!  From left to right is Barbara, Joyce, Sharon and Star. Since our Mom passed away 20 years ago, we have what we call a "Sister's Lunch" each time we get together. No husbands, children or grandchildren allowed....just us five sisters. It's always a precious time together when we have a Sister's Lunch and remember the special bond we share. 

I love my sisters and our time together at Olive Garden was a special afternoon indeed. I didn't snap any pics of the food, but it was yummy!

If only my red shoes were real magic shoes that I could click together at will and zap myself between West Virginia and Asheville whenever I wanted! But, alas, I have to be content with visits every so often. When I'm here I think of them there. And when I'm there I think of Mr.thisandthat and our life here. I guess Sarah was right. There's always something to miss no matter where you are!

Until Next Time,

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Greetings and A Message From Debbie

A Message From Debbie

Greetings dear readers! Did it get cold where you live this past weekend? I had to get out the sweaters again! Yikes! Where is our warm Spring weather? Just around the corner, I know. Just want to let you know that I will be taking a technology break for the next ten days or so. It's a healthy thing to do every once in awhile. But no worries, I'll be back with more great posts and Saturday Scriptures in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, have a great week and Happy Mother's Day to all of you awesome women out there. Whether you have given birth, adopted, are a pet parent or have cared for others, we women all "mother" in many different ways. 

Until Next Time,

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday Scriptures #16-Psalm 29 The Flat Tires and Rainstorms of Life

Finding Strength In a Rainstorm

Colorado Mountains from

God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.
Psalm 29: 11

Mountains always remind me of both God's strength and God's peace. High mountain peaks are so majestic rising above the land. I think of how throughout the centuries the mountains have been assaulted by the weathering of wind, rain and snow and yet still stand tall against all odds. Looking to the mountains reminds me of the words of Psalm 29 which speaks to the strength and peace that God gives to His people.

Yesterday was an incredibly rainy and windy day here. I traveled from our home to the Blue Ridge Parkway driving to an appointment with my husband. As I drove along, I suddenly noticed the tire pressure light come on and then a little later began to notice the vibration under the car that told me I had a flat tire. My first instinct was fear. It was raining and windy and I was driving alone on the Parkway with no place to get over. What was I supposed to do? Saying a quick prayer, I began looking for a pulloff. I knew just a little further down the road was a visitor center I could pull into. Would the car make it?  Driving and praying, I drove slowly until I saw the turn up ahead. Edging gently into the turn, I drove cautiously to a parking space, turned off the motor and got out of the car into the deluge to inspect the tire, which was indeed flat to the pavement. I quickly got back into the car and called my husband who turned around on his route to come help me. In a few minutes he arrived and endured the rain and wind whipping around him as he changed my tire. 

This was a mild inconvenience in the scheme of things that go on in our world. A flat tire is not the end of the world. But, I still felt God's strength and presence in that moment. It's scary when things don't go as planned. I certainly didn't expect to have a flat tire alone on the Parkway when I set out from my house. But, the truth is that in all of the "flat tires" of life, we are truly not alone. God's strength and peace are always with us in all of the rainstorms of life. I'm grateful for this knowledge. 


Friday, May 5, 2017

Jewelry from Katherines Corner

Sharing Some Blog Love and Beautiful Jewelry

(Not a sponsored post. All writing and opinions of my shopping experience are my own.)

Hello, Hello!  I'm excited today to share two of my favorite topics with you; namely beautiful jewelry and friendship! I inherited my love of jewelry from my Mother. She always wore lovely bracelets, earrings and rings and I certainly love to do the same! Recently, I decided to order some jewelry from a blogger friend of mine. Her name is Katherine of Katherines Corner. Her blog is full of lovely things and includes links to her online shop. I first met Katherine when I was a "newbie" blogger trying to learn how to join link parties. Katherine participates in several link parties throughout the week and I was happy to be able to link up on her blog. Then, she announced that she was going to be hosting a special blogger event series called, "Between the Lines, Bloggers 50 and Up You Should Be Following." I was thrilled when I told her of my interest and she accepted me! I was to write a post in which I answered Katherine's interview questions and include pictures and on my assigned date my post would appear on her blog along with four other bloggers. This series ran for over 12 weeks so there were LOTS of wonderful bloggers participating. Being so new, however, I had no idea how to do any of the "techie" things needed in order to get my post onto her blog. I was a bit panicky. But, wonderful Katherine took it all in stride and took care of all of us bloggers, even sending us the code necessary and writing out in detail what we needed to do in order to put the code in our posts correctly. I was so grateful I can tell you and so excited when my post came out! If you missed it you can read it here. Katherine has continued to be a supportive bloggie friend by continuing to answer questions for me as well as creating the "Between the Lines" Google+ community of which I am a member. Katherine sells many things in her online shop so please take a moment to browse and do some shopping. She also supports and partners with other artisans in her shop, as well. 

So, let's take a look at what I found in her shop! You all know I love Paparazzi jewelry and I was thrilled to see that Katherine's shop sells some Paparazzi. I am happy with all of my choices that you see here. Let me show you each bracelet up close. 

How beautiful is this Amethyst Flower Vintage Style Cuff bracelet? I fell in love with the delicate styling and purple flowers. Just lovely. 

And, I have been getting a lot of wear from this Paparazzi Boho style wrap bracelet. Unfortunately, I see this style is sold out on her site, but there are many other choices available. 

This gorgeous Paparazzi bracelet is called "Valley of Fire Turquoise."  The color combination is perfect for both Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter wear. I love versatile pieces and this one is definitely versatile. It is also available with orange beads if you prefer that color. 

And this lovely bangle bracelet was a "surprise" gift to me that Katherine included when she sent my order. How sweet!! I must tell you that I was so impressed by how professionally Katherine handled my order. When I finished placing my order, I immediately received an email receipt. I was emailed when the order was in route and I could track its progress if I wished. She estimated the time of my order's arrival to the day and even sent me an email once it was delivered confirming that it had arrived! Impressive! The jewelry arrived in lovely gift wrapped boxes and Katherine included a hand written note thanking me for my order. It was like Christmas morning! I truly felt special being treated in such a lovely manner. I do hope that you will take a moment to visit Katherines Corner to read her blog and visit her online shop. You won't be disappointed. I was not asked to do this post and was not compensated for doing this post. This post is my way of acknowledging the kindness Katherine has shown to this "newbie" blogger and my way of saying, "Thank you, Katherine." You will be seeing this lovely jewelry in many fashion posts to come!

Until Next Time,

*I have been experiencing some text issues in which my text all looks the same size on my end but when I publish the text may change size intermittently. I apologize for this. I haven't been able to fix the issue as yet.*

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Classic Styling in Black Slacks and Pink Blouse

Styling A Classic Look 

In the year and ten months since I have been blogging, I feel that I have been experimenting with different clothing styles. Some styles have worked for me and some I am still puzzling over. Today, I am returning to a classic style by wearing black slacks with a light pink blouse and black heels. 

I have been enjoying this pink thrifted blouse so much! It has the crisp, clean lines that give this blouse its classic look. Some extra interest is added with the cuff of the sleeves which has a unique split opening rather than cuff buttons.

The black slacks are ones I have had for awhile and enjoy wearing. The brand is Basic Edition and they have a stretch waistband which makes these slacks quite comfortable. Frankly, I don't understand those folks who think elastic waistbands are wrong for women to wear. I find them comfortable and forgiving if I am bloated. In addition, they don't "pooch out" at the middle like pants with a zipper and button tend to do. That "pooch" shows through on many tops and with an elastic waistband you don't have that worry. The heels are an exciting new find which I will share on another post. But, I will say they are comfortable pumps with more of a block heel than a spike heel at a reasonable height for walking.

Another style change I'm experimenting with are purses that don't hang off my shoulder but have either short handles for carrying or are clutch bags. This bag would be the latter. It's a sort of peachy/pink color on one side and tan on the other. It folds to show both colors and also has a fringe tassel accent. There is a story behind this clutch bag. I had seen a couple of these bags on display at one of our local Goodwill stores. The one I picked up had a $1 price tag on it. I thought that was an excellent find! However, when I went to the register to pay, I was informed that this was actually a "new" purse and someone had put a $1 price tag on it from something else and the actual price was $12. I kind of felt funny because I was afraid they thought I had switched the price tag but it wasn't me!! Anyway, I opted not to get the purse because I felt paying $12 at Goodwill was too much. I found myself thinking about this purse over the next few days, however, and even looked online at purses in this style. Of course, they cost much more than $12! Long story short, I went back a few days later and bought the purse! I'm happy I did because it is a style that I enjoy.
The necklace I'm wearing is Paparazzi in pink. The bracelet on my right wrist you have seen often. I love this pink wrap bracelet from Colorado and wear it frequently. I'm not going to tell you about the bracelets on my left wrist (which I took off for this picture) because I will be doing a special post on that jewelry this Friday! So, hope you will come back for that special post in which I will also tell you about a very special blogger friend of mine!
One thing I'm noticing in these pictures is that I can see the black color of the slacks showing under the light pink blouse. When I wore this same top with gray slacks that wasn't an issue. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say! Guess gray slacks might be a better option next time. Styling is hard isn't it? And, for me, finding the one "style" that I like is a little challenging as I get older and my body has changed and also as trends have changed. In my "younger" years, I always went for the tailored look more. While I still like tailored looks, I sometimes go in for the more "flowy" styles now. I'm always a little bit of this and that, aren't I? I really think I chose the right name for my blog, because this and that truly fits who I am! Although some of my style tastes have changed over the years, a crisp blouse and black pants with heels is a classic look that I feel is always in style and can be dressed up or down. Always a winner in my this and that book!

Do you like the classic look of a blouse with slacks? Do you like to try different style trends to see what suits your personal style? Hope you will take a moment to leave me a message. And....on a more personal note; thank you, dear readers, for your sweet support and comments with regard to our losing Gracie. Your comments have comforted me and will continue to do so in the coming days, weeks and months as we go forward without our girl.

Until Next Time,