Monday, February 27, 2012

Sisters and Other Favorite Things

"My Sister My Friend.
Our lives were brought together by a greater plan,
but is by choice we became friends.
Only a sister can be the kind of friend who really knows you,
and loves and accepts you through it all.
Thank you for all that you are to my life...
You are my family, my sister, my friend.
I love you."

My two sisters and I had our "Sisters Get-Together" at my house this weekend.  Although we live in the same state and at the most 4 hours apart, we don't see each other that often and always look forward to our annual visit.  This year it was my turn and we had a great time.  Thank you, my precious sisters for being my family, my sister, my friend, and I do love you.

Favorite Things
While trying to inspire myself in my daily photo-taking goal for this month, I decided to snap some of my favorite things in my house and in my city.  This has been a fun exercise because it has demanded that I look at things from a more critical and hopefully a creative perspective.  These are just a few of my favorite, favorite things.

These are of my church, First Baptist.  I think it is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen.
 Steeple through the huge oaks
 Massive columns
Early springtime

 An aged grill fence around one of Shreveport's beautiful estates

 I loved the colors in this cabbage.  Note the drops of dew on the petals.

 My Andrea birds and antique "Alva" plate from England

 An antique with beautiful Italian marble that was given to me while in high school by a precious little Cajun lady

But, you understand although these are just a  few of my favorite things, they are just that - THINGS! My most favorite things are not things, but persons and relationships.  "The greatest of these is love!"

In the Bible Paul sought to address significant disagreements in the Corinthian church in chapter 13, by emphasizing that love is important over and above all other gifts and talents.  But this kind of love is no ordinary type of love, but "AGAPE" love, a love which is selfless, unconditional and voluntary.  This love does not seek it's own praise or pleasure, but instead defers to the welfare of others.  It is this love that is supreme, for one day faith and hope will no longer be necessary when we see God face to face, yet love will always endure.  For this I am most grateful.  These are my favorite things!

May you experience this amazing agape love in your life today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beauty Within

This morning as I was doing my early morning Bible study, I read this verse in James 1:5: 
"If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask Him, and He will gladly tell you, for He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him; He will not resent it."
I began thinking about this blog and how I feel the Lord has given me the opportunity to share with women (and possibly a few men) that He delights in beauty, both within and without.  That true beauty without can only come from a God-given beauty within - a beauty that comes from a heart completely surrendered to a Holy God.

The Lord has shown me this morning that I have concentrated on the beauty without and have neglected the within part.  Therefore, I have left you poorly clothed.

I am reading a book by David Platt entitled "Radical".  In this book Dr. Platt is challenging the Church to see our superficial religion and consider what a Radical Christianity is all about. The first step is to search your heart and ask if you have been saved from your sins by the free gift of grace that only God can give.  Let me quote for you a statement from this book:
"...that gift of grace involves the gift of a new heart.  New desires.  New longings.  For the first time, we want God.  We see our need for him, and we love him.  We seek after him, and we find him, and we discover that he is indeed the great reward of our salvation.  We realize that we are saved not just to be forgiven of our sins or to be assured of our eternity in heaven, but we are saved to know God.  So we yearn for him.  We want him so much that we abandon everything else to experience him.  This is the only proper response to the revelation of God in the gospel."
So, my question for you today is, do you know the God of the gospels?  Have you received Him?  If not, I invite you to trust in the Christ of the gospel and receive a new heart, a heart that is not only cleansed of sin but that now belongs to Him and longs for Him.  The new heart that shines HIS light and radiance through your life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
Maybe you just need to simply recover a passion for God's Word, as I do - and discover once again the reward that is found in simply knowing and experiencing HIM.
Psalm 139 - "O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me...I can never be lost to your Spirit!  I can never get away from my God!..You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  It is amazing to think about....How precious it is, Lord to realize that you are thinking about me constantly!...Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts.  Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life."  Living Bible
May God bless you today as you seek His face and what it truly means to be God's Special Lady.
(Picture by Randy LeBlanc - FBC Shreveport steeple)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Image - Clothing Capsules

I first learned about clothing capsules from Janet Wallach's book "Working Wardrobe" many years ago.  In fact, her book was first published in 1981, and yet her ideas are still as applicable as ever, even if the fashions she illustrates are a bit dated.  I have used her information in all of my seminars and have tried to implement her concept in my own wardrobe.


Have you ever stood in front of or in your closet and thought, "I don't have a thing to wear?"  I think most of us have experienced this frustrating moment.  Our closet is full and yet, nothing really works.  I hope my introducing some of the basic concepts from this book will give you the principles for putting together a workable wardrobe of your own.

The basic premise of the Capsule Concept is really simple. To quote the author, "The Capsule is an extended set of mix and match pieces, created by you and for you.  It can consist of as little as five or as many as twenty pieces.  The purpose is to give you flexibility as your needs require."

 The back cover gives a good summary of the book contents.

 Try to imagine how this Winter Capsule consisting of 12 pieces can make 48 different looks.

 This Gray/Brown color combination gives you an idea of color options.  Note that the beginning outfit may be the print skirt/blouse and all other pieces are taken from it.  This makes a great color inspiration from which to build.

Remember to always use the most appropriate color combinations from your Season.  For a Spring, this illustration would need to be the Primary Green and a true yellow or coral; Summers would use more pastel shades; Winters might want a Jewel-tone green with fushia or purple; Autumns would feel most comfortable in an olive with ginger, gold, or the new orange for the 2012 season.

Remember your clothing personality when putting together your Clothing Capsule.  It doesn't matter whether the colors are perfect, if the style is not suited for you and your body, then it just won't work. 

This particular 12-piece capsule idea can have as many as 72 different looks. 

I hope these illustrations from Janet Wallach's book give you some ideas for going out and making your own Clothing Capsules.  There are other plans out there that you may find more useful, but the object is to realize that you can MIX AND MATCH your clothes.  This is how you expand your wardrobe and spend less at the same time. (Let me know if you have questions.)

BUT first, you want to start with what you have!!!!

So, next time, we will talk about how to SHOP IN YOUR OWN CLOSET!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Status Update & Exercise

In this day and time, how is it possible for a whole section of a neighborhood to be without phone/internet service for almost a week?  Well, that has been the case in Twelve Oaks.  When there is no phone service we don't have internet service.  When there is no internet service, there is no updating blog postings.  Fortunately, full service was restored around noon today.

February Plans Status Update
I thought I would give you an update on my "February Plans" from my last posting.  I did find a new hairstylist!  YIPPEE for me!  Hubby introduced me to John at the gym last week, and he took one look at my hair, and moaned a bit and assured me short hair was his specialty.  I made an appointment that day.  I went today, and am very pleased.  So pleased in fact, that I made another appointment for 3 weeks away.  So, if you live in the Shreveport area, I recommend Alexander & Co. in Pierremont Common.

Handbell Choir:  I attended my first rehearsal yesterday, and remembered why I loved it years ago.  This will be something to look forward to each week.

Daily Picture Taking:  I've managed to take a picture almost every day.  I'll have to admit to needing a bit of inspiration for this one.

I'm still working on some of the other goals, but feel I'm making progress.  That's an accomplishment!

Since retiring, I've been going to the gym with hubby every weekday morning.  Now, you must understand that hubby was accustomed to opening the doors there at 5AM.  After a few weeks of this schedule, we had to have a come-to-Jesus meeting .  I told him that I didn't retire to continue being startled to death by an alarm at 4:30 every morning.   Being the sweet understanding, eager to please guy that he is, he did agree to sleep in three days a week.

On Tuesday and Thursday mornings we continue the alarm setting so that I can get to my Pilates class.  I really enjoy this class and feel it is helping to keep my aging, stenosis-inhabited back supported and moving.  Following this hour long class, I do water jogging and upper body work outs in the pool for an hour.  The other three days of the week, we do treadmill for 35 minutes, bikes for 15, then stretching, Pilates, and weights for an hour.

But, a couple weeks ago a Pilates buddy suggested we take a class of Body Pump and Ab Core at the local college one afternoon a week.  "Sure," I said, "Why not!"  So three of us started that class.  Now, I want to remind you that I am 67 years old with the mind of a 20 year old evidently.  When I'm not completely naked standing in front of a mirror, I have a particular vision of myself and it looks something like this:
motivation. putting it on my fridge

Well, need I say that 1.5 hours on Monday evenings in a dance studio with young college students pumping to loud, gyrating music has had an impact on how I now view myself?  When I can catch my breath, I realize the instructor and half the class has already moved to another stance and I'm still trying to make my muscles do the last one.  By this time, I'm a few routines behind and trying to remember which is my right and left side.

I told one of my co-hearts the other afternoon, that I think I'm really making progress until I have to do a crunch and actually see all that tummy fat still I'm having to crunch.  I'm assuring Dick that my six-pack is in there and just waiting to be revealed.  We both can hardly wait.

I read an article today from the Wall Street Journal, written by Jason Gay on the "27 Rules of Conquering the Gym."  Several of these rules are really good.  For instance, #3:
"Develop a gym routine.  Try to go at least three times a week.  Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditions.  After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies."
These are good ones too:
#18.  "Be cautious about any class with the words, "sunrise," "hell," or "Moby."
#26.  "A successful gym membership is like a marriage.  If it's good, you show up committed and ready for hard work.  If it's not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV."
So, based on what I've read and on my own personal experience, let me share a few suggestions for working out.
  • Don't buy $150 running shoes to spend 30 minutes on a treadmill set at 2 miles per hour.
  • Don't buy $100 yoga pants unless you are the instructor and weigh 100 lbs soaking wet and have zero fat.
  • Don't wear muscle shirts unless you have muscles
  • Don't wear short shorts unless you have two awesome gluteous maximus
  • If you are over 20 forget the "Bikini Body in 3 Weeks" workout
  • If you are over 50 come to gripes with the fact that there are NO secret weapons to fight cellulite.
I will close with my inspiration.  I understand with the hamstrings I have been given this is an impossibility, but nevertheless, I strive.