Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: Prayer For The New Year 2018

Pray Without Ceasing

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  (I John 5:14)

Dear God;
As we enter 2018 may we feel your presence with us. Show us the paths to walk on and keep us mindful of your will. Where there is sickness send healing; where there is despair send hope; where there is need send sustenance; where there is war send peace; where there is injustice send justice; where there is a turning away from faith in you send renewal of belief.   Show us how to be your people here on earth. Let our words be filled with kindness and let our hands be gentle. And in all things, may your truth be revealed and your holy will be done. Through Christ our Lord we pray. 


Blessings In The New Year,

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Royal Blue Fur Collar Cape for the New Year Celebration

Celebrating In Royal Blue

*Not a sponsored or gifted post. All writing and opinions are my own. 

How are you celebrating the New Year? Are you ringing in 2018 with a big party, a small celebration or a quiet evening at home? I'm celebrating by shopping my closet for a beautiful and warm royal blue fur collar cape.

The cape is made of fleece and the faux fur collar and unique square button at the neckline add a stylish touch. Unlike other capes I've seen, this cape also sports pockets!

Like I've mentioned on the blog before, the color blue just makes me happy whenever I wear it! I could have chosen other colors such as tan with a leopard color, red or even purple. But, this blue just kept calling my name when I finally made a decision to purchase after several months of looking at these capes at Cracker Barrel. 

I'm also really excited to share these Abella pumps, a recent DSW purchase, with you. I finally found a truly, truly comfortable pump that I can wear!! The rounded fabric toe, cushioned insole and low heel all work together to make a classy looking shoe that I can walk in without teeter tottering and being miserable! Such a great find at a reasonable price, plus I had a five dollar birthday coupon to reduce the price even more. Score!

The nice thing about capes is they can be dressed up or down with no problem. Go casual with jeans and boots or formal with dress pants or a fancy dress and heels. Capes are such a versatile piece to own. Go look in your closet. Do you have a cape? If not, no worries. You can get a similar look with a shawl or even a pashmina scarf or blanket scarf. And, if you're in the mood to shop, you can get this same cape on sale right now at Cracker Barrel. Check out my link above! 

You wanna know the best thing about capes? You can twirl in them! Wheee.......Happy New Year!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The In-Between Times and Ruminating

Between Christmas and New Years

Hello friends! These are the in-between times, that time between Christmas and New Years when I'm looking around the room at the unwrapped gifts and decorations still to be put away and thinking about the New Year yet to come. It seems to take too much effort right now to dive into switching house decor from Christmas to Winter. I'm really just in the mood to sit and ruminate a bit. Do you ever do that? Think about life and what has happened over the last year and wonder about the new year yet to come? I thought I would share a little bit of my ruminating with you. Perhaps you can identify with some of my musings.

  • My thoughts are with family members near and far. It was a joy to talk on the phone and Skype with those we love and miss on Christmas Day. Special thoughts and prayers are with a family member who faces yet another cancer surgery this Friday. Prayers are certainly appreciated for "L" this Friday.
  • I usually have settled on my new one perfect word by this time, but this year is different. I seem to have settled on not just one word but four words for 2018! I've always had difficulty narrowing it down to one, but usually have been able to do so. Or, at least I would go with a couple. But, not this year. I wonder what Thankful, Music, Commitment and Risk will mean to me in the New Year?!
  • I read a great article by a fellow blogger yesterday who talked about all of the link up parties she participates in during a week-well over 100! She graciously listed many of these parties. Do I want to take the time and energy to try to promote my blog THAT much? I already spend what I consider oodles of time on the computer, anyway. How is my time best spent?
  • And thinking of my blog.....I've been back and forth so many times over the past year debating changing platforms. But, for now, I'm sticking with Blogger. It's been good to me and I'll be good to it. There have been problems where people tell me they can't leave comments for some reason. I don't understand this and have no idea how to fix it. Any ideas out there in blog land??
  • I'm loving the new Magical Cat Series book I got for Christmas. You know there will be a future blog post about this book! 
  • And speaking of books, how wonderful was it that I got to meet two authors live in 2017?! But, sadly, I will never get to meet one of my all time favorite authors in real life--Dora Saint, AKA Miss Read. Her books never cease to give me joy and comfort when I read them. They are like old friends who I have not spoken to in awhile and yet when we talk it is like we were never apart. That's what I want to do for others when I write; provide them with joy and comfort and an "old friend" to visit with for awhile. Thank you dear, dear, Miss Read!
  • And along this same line of rumination....I've given quite a bit of thought to the message I want to get across to others with my blogging. Sort of a mission statement for my blog, if you will. My blog is certainly a little bit of this and that, as the name states. I've even considered changing the name under a new platform. But, you know, the name just fits me and what I do here. When people read my blog I want them to enjoy their time here and leave feeling good. Lifted up in Spirit, hopefully. Remembering that God loves them and is good....all the time....even when not so good things are happening in their lives. I'm fully aware that folks can go to plenty of other blogs and see amazing home decor, tablescapes and fashions that are styled by model looking women. In case you hadn't noticed...I'm not one of those blogs! (It's OK, you can laugh if you want!) But, I also realize that most folks, like me, work with what they have on hand in the cupboards, and shop from their closets and add or replace a few articles of clothing as they can or want to....or can afford to. I have no problem shopping at Goodwill or K-Mart or Walmart for clothing. But, I also appreciate other stores,as well, if I choose to shop there. I guess I figure that what's on our insides counts more than what's on our outsides. So much for my blog mission statement. 
  • I would miss blogging so much if I couldn't do it anymore! 

OK, that's enough ruminating for one post! What are you ruminating about today? Have you put away Christmas decor yet? Still enjoying the lights on the tree? Have you chosen a perfect word (or more) for 2018? Talk to me, friends! 

And remember, my upcoming courses through begin soon. My first course on "Finding Serenity" will begin January 8, lasting for two weeks and my second course "A Daily Dose of Faith, Hope and Love" will be offered February 5-9. This course is based on my very own curriculum, so I'm super excited about that! You can learn more and sign up by visiting and going to the course catalog or you can click on the course info on my blog sidebar! 

Sign up for a subscription to debbiethisandthat and you will never miss a post. Look for the subscription sign up on my sidebar. Follow me on Facebook and Pinterest. I love all of my readers wherever they find me! Have a wonderful day, friends!

Until Next Time,

Linking With:
Not Dressed As Lamb

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas To All!

I'm wishing all of my readers a very blessed and happy Christmas! I'll be enjoying Christmas for a few days but will return with more of Debbiethisandthat! 


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Shop Your Closet for Blue on Blue Layering

Layering Shades of Blue

Wearing blue always makes me feel happy. Blue is one of my all time favorite colors whether it be for clothing, furniture or other decor! I enjoy wearing layers of color and today's post is all about layers of blue.

Here, you can see I'm layering a navy turtleneck with a sky blue zip up vest and a medium blue patterned scarf. The blue jeans add another dimension of blue to the outfit. 

I tried just wearing the turtleneck with the vest but found that the scarf really pulled the look together. Go look in your closet for items that you have in different shades to see how you might create a layered look. How about shades of brown, pink, purple or red or green? Layering similar colors adds depth and texture to your style, so give it a try! Only 4 more days until Christmas! Time is flying by. I made it through the grocery store today and was determined to get every food item I needed for the holidays today because I know it gets crazier the closer it gets to Christmas day! It's a short and sweet post today, but I hope it gives you some ideas for layering color!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: A Gift In Story for My Readers

The following story is a fictional account of the true and historical birth of Christ and was written by Debbie Ross. No reproduction is allowed without permission of the author. The author is not intending to add to or take away in any form or fashion from the Holy Scriptures, but, rather, to bring the reader into a personal experience of the Holy birth. 

That Holy Night
By: Debbie Ross
(Copyright 2017)

Imagine, if you will, that it is the night of the Savior's birth and you are there in Bethlehem experiencing this night with Mary and Joseph. What would you see, hear, smell and experience on this night of all nights? Come with me to the manger and imagine what Mary might have experienced......

Mary moved wearily as she stepped foot into the stable the inn keeper had provided for them to sleep in for the night. Her feet ached and every bone in her body seemed to cry out as she gingerly lowered herself to the ground. The smell of hay, animal droppings and human sweat was pungent and mixed with the coolness of the air that surrounded her. Joseph had gone to fetch water and she took this moment of privacy to listen closely to her body. The hours of walking had tired her and the heaviness of the baby she carried within her belly caused her back to ache fiercely as it had several times over the last few weeks. Something felt different today, however. She had noticed the sharp pains several times on the walk today and had asked Joseph to pause long enough for her to catch her breath. He had been in a hurry to get to Bethlehem and find shelter for the night. She could not help but notice the worried expression on his face as he stopped to let her rest. He knew that their late arrival in the small town might mean difficulty in finding shelter and that had certainly been the case. His face held a deeper worry, however. As if he knew that her time was near. And now, as another spasm of pain racked her abdomen, she knew it too. 

This was not how it was supposed to be for a woman about to give birth. Where were the midwives, the gentle hands of other women rubbing her back, wiping her brow, comforting and encouraging her when the time came to push? Who would prepare the straw beneath her and place the bricks for her to squat on? Would she be able to catch the infant when he came forth? And how would the cord be cut? All of these questions bothered her as she struggled to find warmth and a comfortable position. Closing her eyes for a moment she fell into a fitful sleep. 

The hours seemed to move slowly as the night progressed and these questions came and went in her mind as she struggled to get through each spasm of pain and then find a comfortable position to rest. Joseph did his best to calm her but he was a man out of his element in a makeshift birthing room. He had tried to coax the inn keeper's wife to come, but there were so many people to attend to in the inn and her responsibilities were there, not here. She had supplied him with water and some food and had given him bands of cloth for when the baby came. He had a basic idea of what must be done and would do his best. He gazed at his wife as she slept for a few minutes. She was so young and this was her first child. How long would this take? He must have faith that the God of Abraham would care for them. Had an angel not appeared to him in a dream telling him not to fear and to take Mary as his wife even though she was with child? Had Mary not told him of her own visit from the angel telling her that her pregnancy was of the Holy Spirit and that the child to be born would be called the Holy Son of God? Mary had faith and he, Joseph, must continue to have faith that God would not forsake them. 

Mary's eyes fluttered open and for a moment gazed deeply into the eyes of Joseph. She knew that he had been thinking of all that had happened these last few months. He was a good man and had been willing to treat her kindly even when he thought this baby was from another man. Their God had spoken to each of them, though, sending angels to explain that this child was to be Holy. Joseph believed this and knew that Mary had not dishonored him. Joseph himself was a man of honor. He had not tried to know her after their marriage and would not until the birth of this child. Of this she had been certain. This man she loved was a good husband. Her mind tried to focus on this goodness as another spasm wracked her.

The pains were coming more often now, almost continuously and Mary's instincts brought her to her hands and knees to moan and rock as each contraction tore through her leading her to wonder if it was possible for a woman giving birth to break in half. Why, oh why, had Caesar Augustus ordered that a census be taken now of all times? But she knew there had been no other choice. Joseph was a descendant of David and they had to go to this, the ancestral hometown to be accounted for. What good did it do to wish otherwise? She thought, once more, of the words of the angel's visit and they became her mantra as she rocked and moaned. "Don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid." 

And then, instinctively she knew it was time. This child was ready to come forth. Sweat poured from her brow with exertion and her moans became cries. The lowing of the animals seemed to increase in volume as they joined Mary in the making of this most gutteral of all sounds. White light encompassed the stable and Joseph gasped at this moment of miracle. 

Mary leaned back in exhaustion and cradled the infant closely to her breast. Her eyes told her all she needed to know in this first moment of motherhood. Her son was beautiful and healthy and perfect in every way and she felt overwhelming spasms of love in her heart for this baby that was almost akin to the pains she had just experienced in birthing him. She pondered this as she gazed deeply into her son's eyes. How was it possible to feel love as pain? 

Joseph busied himself with removing the soiled hay and replacing it with clean. The sweetness of the hay filled the stable and he placed some extra in the manger so that his wife could place the sleeping infant there to rest. The animals were calmer, now that the birth cries had stopped, and they were settling down to sleep fully aware that all was well. But, what was this he heard? Voices and the sounds of feet running, pounding the ground, coming closer to the stable? Protectively, he moved in front of Mary and the baby his worried eyes scanning into the darkness for danger. And then, he relaxed as he saw not soldiers, but shepherds running towards him. He tried to quiet them as they entered the stable but they were overflowing with excitement as they gazed into the manger and saw the sleeping baby and looked over at his mother, exhausted but smiling and proud as they admired her child. The shepherds could not contain themselves as they told Mary and Joseph of the visit they had received from an angel announcing the birth of a baby who would be their Savior, their Messiah, and they would find him lying in a manger. And there had even been a choir of angels who had joined with the first angel in singing praises to God. These words tumbled forth from the shepherds as they gazed with delight at the family before them. At last, realizing that Mary needed rest, they departed determined to tell everyone along the way home what they had seen and heard and experienced that night. 

Quiet and calm had returned to the stable now. Joseph helped Mary to get as comfortable as possible on a bed of hay and prepared a bed of hay for himself to rest on, as well. Tomorrow would be busy and they must rest and be ready. But, for Mary, sleep did not come easily. Tired and sore as she was from her labor, she found her mind would not rest. So many miraculous things had happened to her these last months! Who would believe all of these events? Visits from angels, the joy of having this child-her son, the words of the shepherds tonight. It was too much to take in. She rose to check on her baby in the manger and felt the love swell within her heart again as she gazed on him. Her son....her holy the angel had foretold. She decided, in that moment, that perhaps these miraculous events should be kept safely in her heart, where she could ponder on them and learn from them. She had been told to not be afraid. And, for now, she would hold onto that. She, Mary, would raise this child with Joseph. They would have faith in the God of Abraham. And they would not be afraid. 

Her infant stirred in his manger bed and his tiny eyes opened to gaze at his mother's face. Mary looked upon him in adoration and as their eyes met, Mary felt within her that she was looking into the face of God. 


Blessings and Merry Christmas Dear Readers,

Linking With:
Blogghetti-Happiness is Homemade Link Party
Marilyn's Treats

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Friday, December 15, 2017

A Year After Retirement....Where Am I Now?

Where Is Life Taking Me?

I bet you were thinking this would be a Christmas post of some sort weren't you?! I hate to disappoint you, but today I'm thinking back to where I was almost a year ago as I prepared for a huge change in my life. Retirement! Can you believe it's almost a whole year? I sure can't. Where has the time gone? I met yesterday with the lovely ladies you see in the above picture. We are all retired Academically Gifted Specialists and we enjoy getting together every so often to visit and catch up. We had a great time together yesterday and I came home thinking about where I'm at now in the process of adjusting to retirement. 

If you were reading my blog last year at this time, you'll remember the butterfly themed retirement party the staff threw in my honor. What a special night that was!

It was a night of amazing decorations, scrumptious food, hugs and tears and friendship.
It was also a night of goodbyes to a way of life that had defined me for over 30 years. 

As much as I was looking forward to embracing a new beginning, I also struggled a bit with letting go of what was familiar to me. After all, I had been a teacher, in some form or fashion, for well over 35 years. I had taught music lessons and been in classrooms even while I was attending college in the late 70's and early 80's. And, if you really want to get technical, I taught my first violin lesson when I was in Jr. High to a classmate who wanted to learn how to play! So teaching goes WAY back for me! 

In many ways, this past year has been a time of new found freedom for me. 

I've been able to travel to visit with my family three times.

I've dabbled with crafts.

Tried my hand at creating wooden signs.

Worked at being creative with healthy meal preparation.

I've worked on creating storage areas and have cleaned out more closets than I care to talk about! (No pics of that, thank goodness!)

And, I was privileged to meet two of my favorite authors, while spending time with a dear friend. 


Of course, there were some not so good times this last year, as well.

The Mr. and I have had to say goodbye to two very beloved fur members of our family. We also have suffered the loss of a human family member and the illnesses of other family members. 

But, on a brighter note, we welcomed this sweet fur face into our family!


And, oh, there have been other adventures, as well. I don't want to bore you with all the details and too many pictures. But, I have enjoyed learning to ring bells at church, have had the privilege of bringing a sermon at my church and speaking at a prayer breakfast, have done a little choir directing and singing, and, yes, I've done a little teaching along the way, although mostly online. Before this post starts to sound too much like a newsy Christmas letter we receive in a Christmas card, however, just let me come to the real point of this post. And that is to say that, perhaps, the biggest thing I have learned from this almost first year of retirement is that maybe, just maybe, being a teacher doesn't define me as much as I thought it did. I am learning that there are other aspects of "being Debbie" that also define who I am. They just haven't had much opportunity to shine through over the years because teaching is so all encompassing that it can easily over shadow other things in life. 

So....where am I now? Well....

I'm learning new things about myself. I'm exploring ideas and trying out new adventures. Sort of like when you go shopping for a new coat. You try on one coat to see how it fits. If it doesn't fit well or you don't like how it looks you take it off and try on another. Sure, sometimes you make a purchase you wish you hadn't. But, you know what? You can just clean out that closet, give the items away that don't fit properly and go on with your life. I'm pretty much an expert on closet cleaning right now...closets in my house....and closets in my life. I'm still learning and growing and finding out things about Debbie that I didn't quite have the time or energy to figure out before. And, I'm not done yet. There is more to learn, things to try, ways to grow. With the Lord by my side, I move forward into the next steps as I prepare to enter the second year of retirement. I know that blogging will continue to be an important part of these next steps. Spending time with my readers, sharing my thoughts, writing.....this aspect of my life has brought so much pleasure and I am so grateful for the ability to blog and for all of you dear readers!

Are you contemplating retirement? Are you searching out new opportunities for growth or experiencing new adventures? Where are you now? Hope you'll take a moment to share. I so enjoy hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Linking With:
Marilyn's Treats-Thursday Favorite Things
Not Dressed As Lamb-Saturday Share Link Party

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wearing Leopard Print for Christmas

How To Wear Leopard Print For The Holidays

Hey friends! Have you been wondering where I've been the last few days? You may have heard that an unexpected BIG snowstorm came through our way last Friday. What was supposed to be light snowfall ended up being over a foot of snow in our area. I was sitting on the couch Friday evening working on the blog when boom, out went the lights, cable and internet. We were 24 hours without electricity but didn't get back our cable/internet until late last night. I've been in blog withdrawal not being able to blog posts for so many days! I missed you all and I hope you missed me!

I must tell you that today's outfit is right at the edge of my comfort level with style. I don't own a lot of leopard print, which is very popular now. One of my sisters gave me this top for Christmas a few years ago. I love that it is a soft fleece material, very warm and comfortable. It's JUST long enough to cover the important parts when I wear leggings, but it could be longer. I usually wear this top with jeans or pants, but I wanted to show you a holiday look so I'm wearing my red leggings. In this photo I added some extra holiday glam with a silver snowflake pin.

This pin is so delicate and sparkly. It's a great accessory for the holidays and winter. 

I'm tying the look together by wearing my black Skecher Go Walk booties. You have seen them on the blog before. My goal is to showcase a cheerful holiday look, but not to look like one of Santa's elves, HA! 

I like the addition of the neck scarf in this photo. The red of the scarf blends well with the red leggings. These leggings, btw are fleece lined and very warm and comfortable. I've had difficulty finding leggings that I can wear comfortably. For some reason, some leggings make my legs feel "weird" kind of like my skin is crawling, if that makes sense. I have discovered that the No Nonsense brand in cotton doesn't do that to me. This pair is not cotton and is the only non-cotton legging that I have found that works for me. I am fairly certain it is a No Nonsense pair. I don't have the original tags anymore. The official name for this color is "cranberry."

I thought you might enjoy seeing some pics I snapped during the big snow. The flakes were still coming down when I captured this Cardinal sitting in one of our backyard bushes. 

You've seen me pose on these rocks several times on the blog. Our driveway was deep in snow and the pine tree branches were hanging low! A large tree came down further down our road which caused the electricity/cable/ internet to be out. Our road was closed in that direction for a couple of days. 

You can tell I was shooting these out the front windows. There is more snow in the forecast for today. I'm hoping it amounts to very little as I have plans for tomorrow that I don't want to miss! We've had our Christmas about sunshine and warm temps now?!

How have you been? How is the weather where you are? Are you wearing festive outfits for the holidays? Hope you will take a moment to share! 

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Stylings In Brown with Knee High Boots

Comfortable Boots and Striped Long Vest

(Not a sponsored post)

Today's styling showcases a rich dark brown top, pants and boots with a grey/brown striped long fringed vest. You have seen the vest on the blog before when I styled a Southwestern look pairing the vest with corduroy pants. 

The stars of this style show, though, are my new Franco Sarto knee high boots. They are a recent birthday gift from the Mr. and I absolutely am thrilled with owning them! Not only are they stylish to look at but they are very comfortable! The gold buckles really add a nice touch to the overall look. I was lucky enough to find these on sale at Stein Mart, but the link I'm sharing is to Amazon. (Not an affiliate). When I bought these boots I told the Mr. that he had bought me my birthday gift and then I hid them away in my closet until my birthday came. We do this a lot for birthdays and Christmas. We each pick out our gift and then give it to each other to wrap for birthdays or Christmas! After almost 35 years of marriage, we have found this plan works well, although the element of surprise is taken away. We always like what we get, though!

The colors of the vest add such a nice contrast to all the brown. To me this is a perfect color combination together. 

This extra long Paparazzi necklace adds a touch of sophistication to the look. The necklace is called "Enmeshed in Elegance." The chunky brown bead bracelet adds nice balance, also. The boots and vest support chunkier and heavier jewelry. Balance is important when deciding what jewelry to pair with clothing. 

The Mr. did surprise me with some beautiful flowers for my special day. 

And he also brought home this decadent chocolate cake. Oh my, it was delicious!! And, definitely worthy of being called decadent! I haven't met chocolate I don't like, but this cake has quickly become my favorite chocolate delight. I wish you could smell the deep and rich chocolate aroma. 

What's happening in your world? Hope you will take a moment to share. I always enjoy hearing from you! 

And please don't forget that I will be teaching two upcoming classes through in January and February. You can read more about the courses by clicking on the sidebar links on my blog or by visiting and going to the course catalog. 

Until Next Time,

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Saturday Scriptures: Advent Book Review

"Not A Silent Night" 

by Adam Hamilton
I found a book in our church library a couple weeks ago which interested me. I thought it would be a good read for the Advent Season. It is entitled, "Not A Silent Night" and was written by Adam Hamilton. The book is composed of five chapters with each chapter focusing on the story of Christ as seen through the eyes of his mother, Mary. The chapters tell the story in reverse, starting with the crucifixion and ending with the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. I don't recall reading books by Adam Hamilton before and I have discovered that he is a prolific writer. His writing is interspersed with historical information and a large focus on the origin of words used in scripture and how these words are used in both the Old and New Testaments. For instance, he speaks of how the word "grace" is from a translation of one word in Greek which is kecharitomene. The root of this word is charis which is found in the following scripture: "God opposes the proud, but gives grace (charis) to the humble" (I Peter 5:5). Hamilton notes that this word appears 170 times in the New Testament in one form or another and 87 of those time, charis is translated as "grace." Now that I have discovered Adam Hamilton as an author, I intend to read more of his books. I like how he is able to take the scriptures and write about them in ways that relate to our modern times while adding in historical facts and explanations of Greek origins of words used. The emphasis on "grace" is so important as we reflect on Christ's coming to us.  The fact that I don't deserve God's grace and yet He gives it anyway is both humbling and joyful to contemplate. I highly recommend the reading of this book and others by Adam Hamilton. I'll leave you with Adam's final words in Chapter 4 of "Not A Silent Night."

Above all, remember during this special season that the blessed, God-favored, grace-filled life is sometimes difficult and challenging. It was not a silent night for Mary, and it may not be for us. But through it all, in the midst of adversity, God is at work. Trust in God. 


Linking With:
Not Dressed As Lamb