Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Things this Friday

Here are 5 Things that caught my eye this week.

1.  Princess Kate and William and that beautiful baby boy. I loved her cream suit, too, by the way.

2. In 7 days, the red holiday Starbucks cups come back. Yes, I think that's a big deal and worth announcing.

3. Oh my goodness, where have I been? I love The Voice! I just found it a couple of weeks ago. We have been glued to this show on Monday and Tuesday. Who are your favorites?

courtesy NBC


4.  In case you may be wondering, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree will be lit this year on December 4th. I like to be in the know about these things.

5. And last, but not least, my kids brought this home to me yesterday. I love my old VHS copies, but I have to admit, I was thrilled to hold these dvds in my hand.

How about 1 more? #6....I might be just a little obsessed about Christmas magazines!

Have a great day!

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Friday, October 18, 2013

5 Fall Things That Make Me Happy Today

It really doesn't take a lot to make me happy, especially this time of year.

I hope these things make you smile today, too.

#1. I've never been here YET...but I am going to go someday!

Isn't that a beautiful sight?  NYC
If you've actually been here during the holidays, please tell me about it!

I never get tired of Charlie Brown's The Great Pumpkin

A lovely fall centerpiece


I love "You've Got Mail" and Tom Hanks in this role. He's just about perfect.

I love silverware. I have no idea why.
I especially like this centerpiece  with candles. I'm giving this one a try this year.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

*Images courtesy of Pinterest

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Decorating Inspiration Part 2

Part 1 can be viewed here.

Besides all the blogs I read and magazine clippings I've collected over the years, I also have books that I gain inspiration from for decorating. Most of these are available at the library, although I do own a few of the books. I've ordered one or two from ebay at very low prices.

One book I especially like for the holidays is the annual Christmas with Southern Living.  I always get this from the library. It has a lot of recipes, but my favorite parts are about decorating your home for the holidays. I get a lot of inspiration just looking through these books.

Courtesy: Amazon

I've mentioned my love of Nell Hills on another blog. She has just come out with a new book.


Some of her other books are:

Amazon - Great Christmas inspiration



I also picked this one up at the library recently. I love southern style! It's my favorite.


This one had a lot of nice photographs and it was only $4.00 for a hardback copy.

Amazon $4.00

I saw this lady (Carolyn Roehm) years ago on an Oprah program and never forgot her. She mesmerized me. She put together a beautiful fall table on the show and it has stuck with me all these years later. There is something about setting a table and making it beautiful that brings me so much joy. It's just something that God has placed on the inside of me.

Carolyn Roehm - Amazon

I'm sure I'm leaving out some good books, but these are the ones that came to mind today. If you have a favorite, I'd love to know about it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'd Like You to Meet...Sandra!

Guest Post #4

Dave and I have known Sandra and her wonderful husband, Quinby, for 25 years. We had just been married a week or so and were settling into an apartment at Teen Challenge, when I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door and  there stood the cutest couple you have ever seen. I still remember that Sandra was wearing a floral dress, bright red lipstick and she radiated FUN!

A few years later, they moved to Texas to care for Sandra's ailing mom. I was so sad to see them go. I didn't realize until later all the stress and strain Sandra had endured while her mom suffered through Alzheimer's. It truly takes a toll on the caregivers.

When our 4 year son passed away in 1996, Sandra and Quinby made the long drive back to Iowa so that Quinby could speak at his funeral. To say they are dear to our hearts is an understatement. 

Sandra is a lady you will never forget once you have met her. God often speaks to her about people that she meets so that she can minister to them. She is not afraid of anyone or anything because she knows that she serves a great big God. She will hold your hand when you need to cry, and laugh this wonderful, melodious laugh with you when you are happy.

And so, I'd like you to meet...Sandra.

Sandra Collier

Hi, my name is Sandra. I am an older woman now, but I have lived a full, delightful, and mostly fun-filled life. I have loved being a daughter, a wife, mother, grandmother, and a Great-Gran. I delighted in being called into the ministry of Teen Challenge where I became the Women's Program Director. Prior to this, we lived in Kauai, Hawaii, a most beautiful island.

As a child, I had the privilege of seeing Shirley Temple in movies at our theater. Her
movies changed a generation of little girls to have higher expectations of the way we dressed, talked, and behaved. My Mother could sew beautifully and could even make her own patterns, so I had the privilege of wearing the cutest dresses that seemed remarkably like Shirley Temple's dresses. Even my hair was often fixed like hers.

My Mother was unable to have more children, so she poured a great deal of her life into me. She made life fun for me, even when I might pick up some undercurrents in her life that were difficult. She was an amazing teacher, disciplinarian, and gave me a balanced, disciplined life. It must have broken her heart to hear me try to be my Dad's boy and curse just like him...but he was also an amazing man who provided well for us and loved to read and learn.

I so enjoyed being a teen in the 1950's. My Mother liked Elvis as much as the rest of my friends. American Bandstand was on TV each afternoon after school and she enjoyed all the music and dancing as well as I did. She was an encouraging Mother, a good cook, and so fun to be with.

After I married and began having children, what a wonderful Grandmother she became and was called Nana. Her food, her fun, and playful nature made her a delight for my children. As my children became teenagers things were still somewhat normal, but as they were going into college, we began noticing some strange behavior. We did not live nearby but, in fact, were in Hawaii when significant changes began happening.

As our children began to marry and have their children, my parents would visit them once in awhile. My Dad came to me with much anguish during one of those visits and for the first time voiced the need for help.

My husband and I were working in the Teen Challenge of the Midlands in Colfax, Iowa when it became obvious that my Dad was having a most difficult time with my Mother. Her behavior, and inability to perform normal, small tasks were overwhelming. So, after many tears and crying out to God....we laid down the ministry of loving on folks who had life controlling problems to descending into one of the most challenging, frustrating, heart breaking times of our lives... laying down of our lives so that my parents might survive.

Our lives were about to change as we began to deal with problems we had never faced in our entire lives. The friends of my parents did not understand what was happening to my Mother....some were compassionate, but some acquaintances began to blame my husband and me for the changes they saw in my Mother. They had no idea what Alzheimer's was and the devastation that the disease can bring.
Most people began to question us as if we were her problem, because she was so sweet and welcoming to all that came into the house...not realizing that she would become fearful of them and become so overwhelmed that she would say or do some bizarre things. We endured unbelievable words and behavior from her acquaintances. My Dad tried to help her and tried to let others know that we were helping them. Even one of her hairdressers told her that if all she says was true then I was not a good daughter and I could not possibly love her. My Mother believed her and I was treated like an enemy!

In the midst of all this, my husband was serving as an Assistant Pastor and we had the privilege of teaching about Marriage and Family. There was much love from so many and we were so refreshed when we were with them. They did not know what was happening in our daily routine of life. I certainly did not know how to share about my Mother without dishonoring her. The bottom line was I so wanted to run away to escape my pain! JUST IMAGINE, WANTING TO RUN AWAY FROM HOME AT AGE 50!

As the years went by, the thing that stands out the most for me, was how good a grandmother my Mother was. She so loved and enjoyed my children. However, my Mother and all who have loved her began to experience changes in their relationships with her. We now realize she was experiencing a slow, progressive brain dysfunction.

It was one of the most difficult times of my life and for all those who loved her. Much damage occurred in things that she thought and said to others about family and about situations that never really happened.

Our family is very thankful to our doctor who began an Alzheimer's Support Group for all of us who were trying to help our loved ones in this difficult time of their life. What a journey we have been on! Despair, sorrow, confusion, and then coping skills began to emerge. Prior to this, I had to battle thoughts of wanting to kill us all and seriously wanting to end my life. I thought I had been such a strong Christian woman! Support groups can be amazing as we honestly share with one another. Those who first attend will often appear to have been in an overwhelmed state of mind. To find others who are going through this same dilemma of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's, can bring such great relief.

I began meeting with God late at night and cried many tears for my poor, sweet Mother, for myself as her only child, for my grown children and my grandchildren. The Holy Spirit began showing Himself as My Comforter. Jesus became real to me as my Prince of Peace. I was reminded that our tears are important to Him and He puts them in His bottle! (Psalm 56:8)

Two songs at that particular time were so dear to me, encouraged me, and strengthened me. Andre Crouch had written one of them and I just know it as "Through it all, I have learned to trust in Jesus, I have learned to trust in God ." The other song comes from the Scripture in Deuteronomy 31:6...the words that so ministered to me were, "So be strong and take courage, and do not fear nor be dismayed, for the One who lives within you will be strong in you today!" And the music was amazing. These two songs helped to give me the strength I needed to carry on with loving my Mother and sharing encouraging words with her to the very end.

Alzheimer's Disease affects thinking and social abilities which can become severe enough to eventually interfere with daily functioning. It is the most common cause of dementia and can have a duration of from eight to twenty-five years. To my delight, I have heard a few testimonies of how God has been healing those with this that is exciting!!

My Dad did a most wonderful thing for me. He was in his 80's when he looked at me with piercing eyes blazing and said, Sandra, "You will never have Alzheimer's!" It was as if he pronounced a blessing upon me! Thank you, Daddy!!

After my mother's passing, we moved to Chattanooga, TN to work once again with a ministry so special to us - Teen Challenge of the Mid South. As my father's health began to fail, he moved from Texas into our home. We had the honor of caring for him until his passing.

If you are struggling today under the load of either caring for someone with Alzheimer's, or with being the primary caregiver for a loved one, I want you to know that God wants to carry your sorrow and comfort you. Ask Him to assist you and allow Him to do so.

The Alzheimer's Association has information to offer anyone needing up-too-date advice, materials, and information on finding a support group. Please take advantage of the help that is available.


You can see why we love Sandra so much! She is the most "real" person that I've ever met and will walk through fire for those she loves. She and Quinby now live in Iowa and are on staff with our church. They are loved by everyone in our congregation. We are so blessed to have them in our lives once again!

I've asked each lady for their favorite beauty product. Sandra's is Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum. She likes to apply this before putting on her make- up. Sandra has a beautiful complexion, so this is going on my list!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Little Pre-Thanksgiving Project

A few months ago, I purchased a large framed chalkboard from T.J. Maxx. It was at the back of the store and I instantly fell in love with the lovely green frame. I didn't buy it that day. I told Dave about it, though, and we went back a couple of days later. I knew it wasn't a necessity and talked myself out of buying it. When we got there, I couldn't find it and my heart sank. But then Dave reached over and said, "Look, here it is!" I so happily put it in my cart that day!

 I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I planned to write something pretty and holiday-ish on it and set it on a picture stand in our foyer. The problem was that it was almost impossible to write on,  I started looking around on Etsy and found a chalkboard print that I liked. The name of the store on Etsy was JoyfulArtDesign. I wrote Olivia and asked if it could be made a little larger in a downloadable format. I could then put it on a flash drive and take it to Staples and have it printed. Now, that sounds pretty tech savvy, doesn't it? ha! I really had to have her talk me through the process on an email. She was so patient and kind. My husband showed me how to use the flash drive and I was set.

Here is the finished product! Isn't it pretty?

 I handed over my flash drive to the Staples guy and in just a few minutes, I was holding this beautiful 24 x 36 print for under $3.00! (I asked for the engineering print). The downloaded version of the print was $6.00 which means this was all under ten dollars. Perfect!

The picture stand came from Hobby Lobby with a gift card a friend gave to me.

I added a simple garland that I picked up at Michael's for 50 % off and my foyer picture is ready!

I like our guests to feel special as soon as they walk in. If you are looking for something similar, go to and type in the name of her store JoyfulArtDesigns. She also has a facebook page under that name.

What kind of things do you like to use to welcome your guests?

Have a blessed and wonderful week! Happy Fall, y'all!

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

God is Present Even There

A couple of years back, my son and I were reading from his 5th grade science book. We began to read about the Mariana Trench - the very deepest area of the ocean. Even after we stopped in science for the day and went on to history, I held the book in my lap and continued reading. I was fascinated by the whole concept of this region in the ocean.

I don't like deep water and I've been only mildly interested in the ocean, so it is unusual that I was so intrigued by it. But the more I read about the Mariana Trench, the more I wanted to know.

Another subject that captured my interest during that same time was Mount Everest. You may wonder how these two places on the earth could possibly have held my attention for these past two years, but they have! God has been speaking to me through these two locations.

One day I was fiddling around with Google Earth on our computer. I decided to zoom in on Mount Everest - just to see what it would look like more than anything else. I have to tell you that in a way, I found it a little unsettling and scary. One moment I was looking at a grid map, and then within seconds I was zooming in incredibly fast and looking at the summit of Everest. I actually clicked off the picture for a second. I don't know if it would affect anyone else like that. All  I could think to myself was, "Oh my goodness, that mountain is so big. But ...God created that mountain. How big IS God?"

If you are a little on the geek side like me, let me share a few facts on Everest.

1. It is the earth's highest mountain at 29, 029 feet. Jets cruise at an altitude of 35,000 feet to give you a reference.
2.  660 have climbed Everest.
3. Over 200 people have died in the attempt.
4. Avalanches, rock slides, blizzards, falls, altitude sickness, freezing temperatures, and exhaustion are all risks of climbing Mt. Everest.
5. The most dangerous spot on Everest is known as the "death zone" at 26,000 feet. It is the place where oxygen is not high enough to sustain human life. The human body cannot acclimatize at this high altitude.
6. Almost no wildlife is found above 20,000 feet. But at 22,000 feet on Everest, there are some exceptions. The Himalayan jumping spiders eat insects blown by wind, the yellow billed choughs (a crow like bird) can be found there as well as the bar headed geese, which migrate over Everest as they head towards India.
7. You can see over 200 miles distance on a clear day upon Everest.

The "death zone" referred to earlier, at 26,000 feet, affects the human mind and body. Deaths are caused indirectly here because of making wrong decisions under the physical stress, and physical weakening leading to accidents.

People cannot live on Everest. It can be climbed if you are trained in endurance and have a skilled guide, oxygen, proper gear and clothing...but human life cannot be maintained there. It's dizzying height and existence simply point to a Creator.

Then on the other side of the spectrum, lies the Mariana Trench.  It is the deepest spot on earth - the lowest known point on the planet. It is located in the Pacific Ocean, east of the 14 Mariana Islands. The depth of the Mariana Trench is 36, 070 feet....this means that it is deeper than Everest is high! A further reference point is that the Titanic rests at 12, 400 feet. This trench is 7 miles beneath the surface of the water.

Here are a few more geek facts about the Mariana Trench.

1. There is some life at this part of the ocean, but understandably, they are called "fish oddities". For example, the angler fish that lives in the dark depths below, uses a bioluminescent (light) protrusion to attract  prey.

 2. Creatures from these depths, show an incredible resistance to temperature extremes by having different proteins which adapt to life under these conditions. This allows the animals to eat, process food, and reproduce.
3. No human life could withstand the pressure extremes of this depth.
4. Color is no longer visible to the human eye at this depth.

On these next few, remember that the depth of the trench is 36, 000 feet.
4. Submarines travel at a depth of about 800 feet, although some can go deeper.
5. At 3, 300 feet, you will see the last trickle of sunlight.
6. At 8, 200 feet is where you will find the deepest diving whale.

This helped me to better understand how deep this part of the ocean is.
James Cameron, who went down to the Mariana Trench in March 2012 in a specially designed submarine,  described it as the most isolated and desolate place he had ever been.

Human beings cannot live in the deepest depths of the ocean. They can possibly visit there using special equipment and submarines, but human life cannot exist there.

I'm sure you may be saying at this point, "Okay, nice science lesson." or "Who cares?"

Everytime God brought these 2 places to my mind, I thought the same thing.  I have enjoyed learning about them, but really, what was the point?

I kept thinking about Romans 8 which says,

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present, nor the future, nor any powers, neither HEIGHT NOR DEPTH nor anything else in ALL creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Why does God even mention height or depth in that paragraph? What is He wanting you and I to know?

Psalm 139 says:

"If I ascend up in heaven, thou art there. If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there."

No matter where you are and no matter what situation you are in, God is there.

Even where human life is not sustainable...He is there. No geographic height or depth can separate you from the love of God.

I'm not a scientist. I don't even like reading National Geographic. But God was showing me something about how GREAT and awesome He is. He is beyond the 29,000 feet of Everest and He is deeper than 7 miles below the surface of the ocean.

He isn't far removed from you, although I do understand that sometimes it feels that He is.

He has created such vast and awe inspiring places. Why does Everest exist? Why does the deepest part of the ocean exist? Do they exist just to point us to the One who made them and who wants us to know that we are infinitely more important than these objects He has created?

He wants you to know that He cares more about you and that nothing can separate you from His Love - not the highest heights and not the lowest depths- those things cannot separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. If you are going through something hard and you feel alone, He is there. If you feel you cannot bear another trial, He is there.

I think there is even more that God wants to show me about these two locations, but for now, I just want to say that no matter where you are...He is there. If you feel you are in the deepest depths and don't know where to turn...He is there for you.

He wants you to know.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fashion Fun Part 2

On the last post, I mentioned I was late getting on the fashion love train. I read several fashion blogs that have inspired me to step out a bit and try some new things. It also helps ( a lot!!) to have a 16 yr. old fashionista as a daughter.

One blog that I like is Pinterest Told Me To. Her blog is about finding inspiration pics on Pinterest that she duplicates with things out of her own closet. She writes nice long, informative posts about fashion and includes links for the items she finds. It is great for people like me who don't go to the mall very often. (If I do go to the mall, it is usually just to look around Pottery Barn! I've never been a big clothes shopper, but have started to like it a little bit more.)

One trend this fall is military jackets. I found these Pinterest photos recently that I liked.

Here's a couple of photos I took of myself yesterday. I found this jacket at Kohls in the Junior Department. It was about $30. The scarf is from TJ Maxx.

Scarf with jean jacket

Fashion can be a lot of fun. You can read more about how I came to enjoy playing around a little with fashion here. I do feel a little goofy taking my photo, but it does help me to see how something actually looks.

Have a great first week of October! I'm just starting to get my fall things out of storage and hope to post some photos next week.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Little Fashion Fun

I'm a little late on the fashion love train.

 I have a beautiful sixteen year old daughter who has a love for all things to do with fashion - clothing, jewelry, and shoes.  I have been fascinated by how she can take a handful of things into the dressing room and come out looking so beautiful. She often scours the racks and finds things on clearance. She knows what she likes and can put things together in the most unique ways. She has the knack. It is just something that never clicked for me at her age, although I wish it had. But now it's something I enjoy doing with her.

My youngest daughter...she is just wearing a sweatshirt and jeans here, but she is my fashionista.

Way back in high school, I was always kind of tall and lanky, with long arms and legs, and unmanageable hair - kind of like the girl in Princess Diaries. I actually looked very much like her back then, minus the glasses.  I just tried to survive in school! Fashion was just not my top priority. I also had minor scoliosis- you get the picture. lol

But now, after all these years, I have developed a liking for fashion thanks to my daughter and  blogs such as Pinterest Told Me To.  I've purchased some of her recommendations and have been so pleased and delighted when they have come in the mail. If you get a chance to read her blog, please do. I laugh and smile all the way through her posts. She is very entertaining and has so much knowledge about fashion and things that every woman should have in her closet. She finds photos on Pinterest for inspiration and then duplicates that look from things she already has at home.

Here I am now. A mom to six kids and have been married almost 25 years! But that's okay.  Fashion can be a lot of fun! I hope to grow in this area even more. Who knew I would be enjoying it so much?

Here is the inspiration picture from Pinterest. I love anything ruffle-y!  I have a similar shirt from Target and a navy blazer. I didn't have a necklace that big, but gave it a shot.

A bigger necklace would definitely work better.

And since I'm finally getting on board the fashion train, I thought I'd post 2 different photos. The Pinterest pics are below.



I really like the green and black combination, so I came up with something I had in the closet already.

I keep laughing at my hands in these photos. The famous words "man hands" from Seinfeld keep coming to mind, although I'm pretty sure this is just an optical illusion. Let's hope.

I told you this was fun! Poke around on Pinterest and pin some things that strike you as being pretty. Then check out your closet. You probably do have something very similar and can put an entire outfit together that you didn't even know that you had.

P.S. This is my most meaningful photo of all.