Monday, July 30, 2018

Celebrating My Third Blog Anniversary And a Giveaway!

Celebrating Three Years of Blogging!

It's party day, dear readers, as I prepare to celebrate three years of blogging! Hope you'll come to the party! And, just because I'm in a partyin' kind of mood, I am doing my first giveaway on the blog. Read to the end of this post for details of how to enter. You do like presents, don't you?!

My third year of blogging has brought some exciting posts and a few changes.

By far, one of my favorite posts was the three part series I did on styling my little black dress in formal, semi-casual and casual ways. These posts garnered a lot of interest. 

I also shared some favorite authors and books I enjoyed. 

And had the pleasure of meeting author Jan Karon and spending the evening with her at a local bookstore! (I'm still pinching myself to believe that this really happened!) Luckily, my dear friend was there to remind that it did, indeed, happen!

I dusted off my tiara for the Royal Wedding.

And tried my hand (or should I say feet?) at my first ever race for a good cause!

And, just for good measure, Mr.thisandthat and I welcomed these two fur cuties into our family. 

Many of my posts have remained predictable such as my ever-changing foyer stylings and attempts at tablescapes

While some of my style posts show me taking a few risks with fashion. 

My main goal, however, as a blogger continues to be to give my readers a little bit of this and that in my posts. Variety is truly the spice of life in my opinion!

There was a BIG change (at least for me) that happened in May with my blog. I switched my blog name back to its original blogspot address and gave up owning my own domain. In retrospect, I may have been a bit hasty in some of the decisions I made, but at the time, I was very concerned with the changes I kept reading about regarding the new European Union laws regarding privacy of information. I feel like I have done all I can to be "legal", though, and probably didn't need to be as concerned as I was. Changing back to my blogspot address has been nice in many ways. Will I ever own my own domain again? Or work with brands again? I'm not sure. I'm kind of in a holding pattern right now and we'll see what happens in the future. 

I do need your help, though. Switching back caused me to lose quite a number of followers on "Feedburner." So, if you could follow me by email (think of it as a blog birthday gift) I would surely appreciate it! Also, feel free to pin my photos for reference later! 

But, most of all-I hope you will leave me a comment. Let me know which post you enjoyed most this last year. What would you like to see more of in my posts? If I put together a book of my devotions I've written, would you be interested in buying it? Hope you will take a moment to share. I always love hearing from you!

And, now, for the giveaway news! In honor of my third blog anniversary, if you leave a comment on this post between the time this post airs (which is Monday, July 30th, 2018) and midnight on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018 eastern standard time, I will enter your name in a drawing for the beautiful necklace and earring set you see in the photo below (scarf not included). One entry per commenter and no spam comments will be entered! Comments must be made on this blog post and not on another type of social media. I will announce the winner in my blog post on Thursday, August 2nd, 2018,  and will ask the winner to private email me your address so I can send the necklace and earring set to you! Due to mailing costs, this giveaway is only open to folks who reside in the *contiguous United States. I apologize to any Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and European readers! There will be only one winner, so be sure to leave a comment!

Necklace approx. 18" long. Both pieces are hypoallergenic. 

And, as always, thank you for being a loyal reader to! 

Until Next Time,

*Contiguous United States refers to the 48 connected states including Washington, D.C. but excluding Alaska, Hawaii and off shore insular areas/territories. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Playing With Fashion

Fashion Should Be Fun!

Who out there likes to have fun with fashion? Really??  Me too!! Today's post is all about playing with fashion. Sort of like grown-up-girl-dress-up. So, how does one play with fashion you may ask? For me, it's taking a few reasonable risks with fashion and trying them out. I'm not a very risky person, though, so I have to kind of play it safe with fashion risk taking. I guess everyone has to define for themselves what amount of "risk taking," if any, they want to take with their fashion. 

Case in point, these earrings. I consider these a fashion risk for me. They are much larger and bolder than I usually wear. They are so much fun to wear, however!

I like the yellow yarn that is wrapped around the "dangle" part of the earring and the blue pom poms that hang down. This earring is colorful and cute and definitely different for me. I just got these yesterday at the local Rite Aid store which is going out of business and all their jewelry was 50% off. Since they were $3 to start with, I figured I could spend $1.50 on taking a risk with fashion! (Plus, they are hypoallergenic so they shouldn't turn my earlobes green!)

To further add to the risk taking of this outfit, I'm pairing a blue swing dress with white leggings and wearing tennis shoes. (I'm such a wild woman!) Not everyone I know dares to wear leggings with dresses or tennis shoes with dresses. But, I must tell you that this outfit was very comfy and my feet were happy the whole day! I wore this outfit to lunch and antiquing with a friend and was a happy camper. I do believe I will wear this exact outfit again! 

What do you think? Would you wear a similar outfit? And now, for something completely different for me with fashion risk taking. 

How about fishnet ankle socks with heels? Yeah, I know...this is a little risky. I can't say I dislike this look, however. 

What I don't like about this look is that my legs get chopped off between the edge of the dress' hemline and where the top of the ankle socks fall. But, I do like the pretty pearls at the top of the sock that makes the whole outfit "dressy." I would wear this outfit judiciously, however. Possibly out to a nice restaurant for dinner with my husband. Definitely not to's too different a look for me and I would probably feel awkward. 
I found a couple images of how others style this look. This style is quite popular and folks wear the fishnet ankle socks with flat shoes as well as heels. Some of the socks have pretty bows and other colors added in. If you visit the source links, you can see many styles. 

Since this look is what I would consider to be a "big" fashion risk for me, I kept the rest of my look toned down. No big jewelry or statement necklaces. One piece of "different" is enough for this outfit. I also was able to try out these fishnet socks for free as I had earned $5 in rewards at DSW and I used my reward to buy these socks. Again, just like with my pom pom earrings, I don't mind taking a fashion risk when I know I'm not out a lot of money!

So what do you think? Would you wear fishnet ankle socks? If so, how would you style them-with flats or with heels? 

I hope you will take a moment to share your thoughts on this post. And feel free to pin my photos! I do hope you are having fun with your fashion. After all, what's the fun of being over fifty if we can't take a few risks?!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Foyer Tablescape and A Welcome Garden

Something Old and Something New

I enjoy changing up the foyer table every once in awhile, so here is my latest tablescape. This is the "something old" part of the post since I change the table and share it with you fairly often. I'm also using some pieces that I picked up at Goodwill as well as pewter pieces that I have owned for many years-also a part of the "something old."

I started out using a "bird" type theme for this tablescape, but I think it is really more of a "woodland animals" type theme. Perhaps even an "enchanted forest" theme with the little wooden cottage. 

As I mentioned, I have owned these pewter pieces for many, many years. I can't even recall, now, when or where I got them. I just know I like them and it's fun to showcase them on the foyer table. 

The bird on the branch is so sweet next to the bunny and kitten.

I felt like the table needed a little something extra, so I added the photo album in the middle of the table. It has birdhouses all along the edges of the cover. 

And, I'm still enjoying the canvas blackboard sign on the bottom shelf of the foyer table. I don't know if these are still in stock, but if you are interested in one I bought it at Walmart. 

And now for the "something new" part of the post! Meet our newest furry family member-Garden! We adopted her from Brother Wolf (same shelter where we found Cassie) about 1 1/2 weeks ago. Her name is an unusual one and she was given the name by Brother Wolf. We just decided to stick with it. So, we welcome "Garden" to our family!

Garden is a smaller cat than Cassie, but don't let size fool you!  She is full of spunk and speed and is not afraid to let her presence be known! We are fairly certain that her mix includes some Siamese which asserts itself in her body build, the way she carries herself, her personality and the shrill "shriek" if things aren't going her way!

She is also a lap cat and loves to be a snuggle bunny-when it suits her! 

Poor Cassie had a look of alarm when we first brought Garden home and there have had to be some "adjustments" in our household with two cats living here. But, amazingly, the girls seem to be making peace with one another. 

And, our sweet Cassie is getting more used to the idea of being a "big sister" to Garden! 

Although, Cassie would like to remind everyone that she is #1 and will always "rule the roost" in this house! (Or, at least, have first dibs on the top of the perch!)

And if that isn't enough animal pics for you, I spied this lovely creature in our backyard today!

So tell me, what is old...or your life?  Do take a moment to share. I love to hear from you! 

By the way, are you following me by email so you never miss a post? It's easy and free. Just sign up on the sidebar of my blog. And please recommend to your friends so my reader numbers can grow. Thanks much!

Until Next Time,
*Photography by Debbie Ross

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Weekend Inspiration-Wisdom and Common Sense

Wisdom Is A Female Trait

Source: Clipart Panda

Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:7 (New Living Translation)

Have two goals: wisdom-that is, knowing and doing right--and common sense. Don't let them slip away, For they fill you with living energy, and are a feather in your cap. 
Proverbs 3:21-22 (Living Psalms and Proverbs)

Cling to wisdom-she will protect you. Love her-she will guard you.  
Proverbs 4:6 (Living Psalms and Proverbs)

I spent quite a bit of time today reading in Proverbs. I often turn to scriptures from this book when I am seeking answers and direction. Today, I was specifically looking for clarification for my writing life and, as with all aspects of my life, I turn to the Bible. I was drawn today to scriptures which specifically spoke to wisdom. It is always amazing to me how God points me in the right direction when I need it. I was also interested to see two other things pop out in these scriptures: the fact that wisdom is tied to common sense. And the fact that wisdom is given a female gender. 

I can't turn on the TV these days and hear all that is going on in our world without wondering what has happened to wisdom and, specifically, common sense. I won't get political here, but I'm sure you know whereof I speak. It gets a little depressing, I can tell you. The scriptures tell us that if we have wisdom and cling to it we are guarded and protected. But, we must fear the Lord and turn from evil. We must not be impressed by ourselves. We may think we are "smart" in the world's view and have all the answers, but we really don't. Only the Lord does. 
Wisdom is not just about knowing what is right, but also doing it. The two go hand in hand. As a Christian, I must ask myself this question: am I doing what I know is right?  And that can only come through time spent with the Lord, praying and reading scripture. 

We are told that wisdom and common sense will fill us with living energy. There is a freedom that comes in knowing that we are doing what is right. It feels "good" and "right" to us instead of feeling negative. 

I was impressed that wisdom was given a female gender in Proverbs when most of this book addresses "My son" or "Young Men."  Somehow, it feels good to have wisdom take on a feminine side. Perhaps that is what our world needs more of now-feminine wisdom, feminine leadership and feminine common sense. 

Today, as a writer, as a woman, I remember to be not wise in my own eyes-but to look for God's wisdom and common sense in my life. 

What are your thoughts on wisdom and common sense? Please feel free to share in a kind and thoughtful manner. 


Monday, July 16, 2018

My Latest Goodwill Acquisitions

Good Finds At Goodwill

Today I'm talking about shopping at Goodwill. Those of you who have read my blog awhile know that I love a good bargain. I'm pretty excited because I think I hit the jackpot today and I'm happy to share my purchases and my thoughts on Goodwill shopping with you. 

There's a lot on the blogs right now about folks who subscribe to services where they get a monthly "box" of clothing that a stylist has picked out for them. I haven't tried these subscription services for the same reason that I don't do a lot of online shopping. I still enjoy actually shopping in a store! I like touching the clothing, trying the clothing on and making my decisions knowing that I can wear my purchases the next day. No waiting for boxes to arrive that may or may not contain sizes and styles I can wear. Just my preference, I guess. I know others feel differently and that's ok. This top is a winner. I love the way it looks with my Vintage America Blues jeans and my wrap heels. The top didn't have a brand name so I can't link to anything for you. It's lightweight and airy and I know I will wear it frequently. I seem to be wearing sleeveless styles more this summer. 

I found this cold shoulder top by Cha Cha Vente and couldn't believe it! The bell sleeve t-shirt I showed you in an earlier post is also a Cha Cha Vente top and I wear it to death! I have found that this brand runs large so you may want to size down if you buy this brand. 

I love the swirls of color in this top. Both of the tops I've shown you so far have patterns that are subtle and read almost like a solid color. I like these types of patterns because I feel that I wear the pattern the pattern doesn't wear me. The wider shoulder straps on this cold shoulder top also mean that my bra straps won't show which is a nice feature. 

Next, we have this pretty blue Faded Glory brand peasant top. I bought the same top in dark purple/blue last summer at Walmart and was so pleased to find one today in blue and white. I don't believe this particular top had ever been worn. A nice feature of these peasant tops is that they include an attached tank to be worn underneath. The tank is attached with clear tabs on each shoulder. I cut the tabs on my purple/blue top so I can also wear the tank with other tops. I'll do the same with this one. I'm getting more bang for my buck that way-two tops but actually four pieces. 

I don't always hit the jackpot when I go to Goodwill.  Sometimes, I look and don't find anything I like that I would wear. I have also found that Goodwills can vary with the quality of clothing selections. If you have more than one Goodwill in your area it pays to visit them and look carefully at what they offer. You will soon figure out which ones are the best for good finds. Always check the clothing carefully for damage and stains. I don't know about the cost of the subscription boxes people get, but I do know that each of these tops I showed you cost $4 each! That's a bargain in my book! 

I also found this cute red straw purse for $3.75! I like its boxy style and it will be good not just for summer but for holiday time, as well! Straw purses are really trending this summer. 

And, I'm certain you'll be seeing these two pieces on a future tablescape! I did a post awhile ago on tips for shopping at Goodwill. If you missed it, or would like to review, be sure to visit the link. Have you shopped lately at Goodwill? Do you subscribe to any of the monthly subscription boxes? Which do you prefer? Which of my tops was your favorite? Hope you will take a moment to share. I guess you could say that Goodwill is my "subscription box" for good bargains!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Weekend Inspiration: Finding Serenity (Again)

The Serenity Prayer

Philippians 4:6-7
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I am halfway through teaching another online course through  Once again, the text for this course is Trevor Hudson's book, The Serenity Prayer. In this book, Trevor devotes one chapter to each line of the prayer and discusses its application in our lives as we search for serenity. Most people are very familiar with the first four lines of the prayer. But, perhaps you didn't realize that there are actually several more lines. Here is the entire text of the Serenity Prayer, believed to have been written by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference. 
Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world 
As it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right 
If I surrender to His Will; 
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life 
And supremely happy with Him 
Forever and ever in the next. 
It is a beautiful prayer and one that I return to time and again in my daily life. I do find it interesting (and ironic) that the time I have scheduled to teach this course inevitably always ends up being a time in my life when there is very little serenity. This is my third time teaching the course and, once again, this rings true. In previous posts I have mentioned a family member who recently had three surgeries. She continues to recuperate well, for which we are thankful, and relies heavily on my husband and I for emotional support. It has been a challenging time for all of us. In addition, there have been other calls on our time with house projects, decision making, this course I am now teaching and a "new addition" to our family. (More on that in a future post!) Perhaps you can relate to the busy-ness of life which can bring exhaustion and rob one of their serenity! 

In Trevor's book, when he discusses living one day at a time and enjoying one moment at a time, he talks about the difference between the words "nowhere" and "now here."  By the simple addition of just one space, we can focus on the present-on being "now here" rather than finding ourselves "nowhere" except in a ball of nervous frenzy! I have really thought a lot during this teaching session about the "now here" concept. We surely can't enjoy one moment at a time if we aren't focused on the here and now where we find our self. And there is almost always some small thing to enjoy, or at least to be thankful for, even when not so great things are happening. 

To illustrate this, Trevor tells the story of a man being chased by a bear off a cliff. The man sees a branch as he falls and clings to it for dear life. However, when he looks up, he sees that the bear is swatting at him from above and a mountain lion arrives below him and is lunging for him from below. To top it all off, he realizes a badger is gnawing away at the branch he is clinging to for dear life. Talk about a horrible scenario! As the man clings to the branch he looks over and notices hanging there the most beautiful strawberry he has ever seen. Hanging on with one hand, he reaches over, picks the strawberry, and puts it in his mouth. "Aah, delicious," he says, realizing that it is the most wonderful strawberry he has ever tasted!

Although I'm not sure that I would have even had the courage to let go of the branch long enough to reach for the strawberry, the point of this story is important to me. Even when life is most hectic, or everything seems to be going wrong, there just may be a strawberry hanging nearby if we can just breathe and notice it! And in that moment of noticing, there is serenity. 

So tell me, when have you found a "strawberry" hanging nearby when life was difficult? Hope you will take a moment to share. And, if you are interested, I will be teaching this course again in September. Check out for more info!


Monday, July 9, 2018

Embracing Your Clothing

How To Embrace Your Clothing

I had mentioned in my last post that I was really becoming a dresses girl this summer and was working on "embracing" my clothes. That got a couple of readers curious about what I meant by that phrase. I think all of us have unspoken "rules" that we follow with clothing. These personal rules are separate from following trends or liking a particular style. I'm talking about how you choose to wear your clothes and when. 

One unspoken rule that I followed for many years was that dresses were for dressy times, such as when I was going to work or a dressier event, and home and relaxation times were for jeans and t-shirts. I would never think of wearing a comfortable dress around the house or to the store because that broke my unspoken rule. 

Since, I've retired, however, I have begun to challenge some of these unspoken clothing rules. For one thing, since I'm no longer going out to work on a daily basis, the dresses I owned were hanging in my closet unworn. I liked those dresses and missed having opportunities to wear them. 

I also have begun to notice that dresses can by a very comfy choice since the looser styles don't bind around the waist like some pants do. Plus, many dresses can be styled multiple ways, with or without leggings, with casual or dressier shoes, using "fun" or more formal jewelry. The combinations truly are endless. Not to mention that dresses can also be much cooler to wear on hot days than pants or jeans. 

You may think it a bit strange when I say that I am "noticing" things about dresses after owning them and wearing them for years. But, I have discovered that because we all have these unspoken "clothing rules" that each of us follows, it can be challenging to break out of our usual ways of doing things to try something new. At first, breaking our personal clothing rules can feel really strange. It can also feel awkward the first time you wear a dress out to the grocery store or to run errands. You might feel "overdressed" or like you look "odd" to others. But when you think about it, who is it hurting? If you like a particular outfit that is not getting much wear, why not put it on to run errands? You bought it, paid for it and like it, so why not wear it? 

I'm not saying that we should put on evening gowns to go to the grocery store or scrub bathrooms in, but then again, would it make a difference if you did? Some of our clothes, shoes and jewelry hang, or are stored, in closets, drawers and jewelry boxes for years, never being worn because we say we don't have anyplace to wear them. I say we should "embrace" our clothes and enjoy them and wear them! Even if you change back into your jeans and t-shirts when you get back home. Even if you wear heels to the grocery store and bring along tennis shoes to change into to go to the library. Even if you wear your fancy pearl necklace with your jeans and top to go to a friend's house. The outfits you see in today's post are ones that I have been "embracing" multiple times this summer. 

How about you? What clothing, jewelry or shoes do you have that need to be "embraced" by you? What personal "clothing rules" do you follow? How do you break out of your clothing routine to try something new? Hope you will take a moment to leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,