Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fashion Backward

For years I've been a big fan of vintage clothing!! The workmanship, the detail, not so much the era of man-made fibers, but still the style. 

All things "old" become "new" again with each passing generation. So fun to watch the new take on old favorites. The exception to this rule for me would be anything in avocado green and bright orange. These two could easily stay old in my world. Fashion forward now means wearing recreations of the things our parents or grandparents wore. Isn't that actually fashion backward?

It reminds me of a verse in the Bible that says 'there is nothing new under the sun'. Now of course indoor plumbing in it's modern state is definitely 'new under the sun', but indoor plumbing is actually a concept from hundreds of years ago...just a bit different. No more public bath houses thank goodness!

Vintage fashion was so much more than just getting dressed though. People had few outfits, so they literally wore things out. Female dress was terribly involved, and always highlighted or hid the current social norm. Men's clothing was less involved, but wool ruled their world for years. How hot that must have been!

I see so many parallels between fashion trends and life. Where once what you had was what you had and you were thankful for it, created by master's in their crafts, we treated all things with value. Including people. Now though, clothes are readily available to the point that we require entire rooms in our homes to fit them, they aren't created by master craftsmen, and we seem to not value anything as we have access to everything. Including people.

We are so quick to expect others to care for what it ours - mechanics fix our cars and we get impatient with them when it takes longer than we think it should. Other's make our clothes and we get irritated with what it costs us. People upset us and we 'unfriend' them, divorce them, ignore them, or worse.

There is so little respect for mastering anything anymore. No one is given the chance to be the best, as it may make someone else feel bad. Yet we don't encourage those that don't excel at sewing to try cooking. We simply drop the standard for sewing. 

We don't respect people. We so fear what we can not understand or control, that we attempt to impose our beliefs on others, being so critical and judgmental that we miss the opportunity to learn empathy, patience, or kindness. Things become so extreme that people now argue over the smallest things, ignoring the big picture. 

Had this been the social norm even 100 years ago, our older homes, vintage clothes, antique furniture and classic cars would all be missing. Somehow though, they have withstood the test of time. Could it be that the care, respect, master workmanship, attention to detail, all played a role in their longevity?

Our oldest generations are living, while our youngest generations are dying. Hmmmm, could there be a correlation between the two? 

My vintage clothing collection requires special storage conditions. Some pieces simply can not be worn due to age. Heat, light, soap, water, etc... all can potentially damage the finest of my pieces. Hats have be guarded against moths, shoes are made with leather and must be carefully cleaned and oiled so they don't become brittle. 

Shouldn't everything in our life be handled with 'special care'? We complain about all the pollution, yet we refuse to go back to doing things they way they once were done - that takes too much time, we complain. Maybe we could just start wearing the same outfit's over and over - that makes us look poor, we complain. It seems that we really want in life is to have our cake and eat it too. We want fashion forward, while refusing to accept that fashion backward worked....we spend our time attempting to replicate the old and call it new. 

There is nothing new under the sun. It's all been done before in one form or another. It will be done again, and the pendulum will continue to swing. I can't wait for bustles to come back into style!! :D

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Adventures

It always amazes me how things in life work out. Sometimes it looks like everything is falling apart, or going wrong, or just won't fit together. Other times it looks like everything will fit together just perfectly! 

My favorite times are the fit perfectly times. They are comfortable, fun, exciting, refreshing, energizing - just great! The others, well, they tend to require growth, patience, endurance - generally less pleasant in the moment.

Somehow though, each of the events of our lives, will work themselves into a beautiful picture, if we let them. When we learn to let go, learn to fly, learn to let each series of events strengthen us or motivate us towards something so much more than it appears to be.

If you're a control freak, it's hard to fly. We tend to focus so much on the minor details, we miss the major opportunities. We tend to fear the spider's web. That deadly sticky place where we can't get free. So we do a major investigation ahead of time looking for any evidence that a spider is present in the room before we take off.

Even worse is when control freaks learn to fly! Everyone else panics!!! When a control freak finally let's go, jumps, and finds contentment, everyone else seems to want to ground them. If the control freak can fly, then no one else has an excuse to sit still!!

Maybe all of our life is supposed to just be a grand adventure, traveling to each new place, seeing new sights, flying into the best plan God has for each of us! What if we're really supposed to allow each new series of events to teach us something, grow, and fly off to share the news?

Truthfully, this is what most of us believe - but our lives never reflect what we believe. We get so stuck in the comfort & safety of talking about what we believe that we forget to LIVE it! We forget that we don't have to worry about all the prospective dangers, because if we're where we're supposed to be, it may not be SAFE, but it will be GOOD! 

I'm getting ready to take the leap & head into a place God has been 'nagging' me about for quite some time. I feel fearful & excited all at the same time. Fearful because it's all in His hands, excited because I'm so ready to fly! 

So here's to everyone sitting there waiting for comfort & peace before taking off! You can do it! I believe in you!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014


I think it's funny that I've never been good with huge transitions, yet my life has been full of all kinds of changes, transitions, etc....  Humorous guy God is, huh? 

Yet somehow this year has been full of little changes that created huge shifts and transitions in my life, and they all have worked together to produce some of the best stuff!!

First, a friend literally forced me off a fence I had been sitting on, not quite ready to get off of. Next, I let go of my own ideas of what my 'self' had to look like. Then there was the filling of my office with color, followed by adding color to every other room encouraging bright cheerful spaces. 

The front porch, yard and gardens were filled with plants outside of my comfort zone, and all added to the calypso vibe I really wanted to create. I also realized that my closet that had been filled with fairly neutral, safe clothing choices, had somehow morphed into a colorful, fun, eclectic blend of things I really liked!

At the same time I developed allergies, arthritis, and added about 15 laugh lines to my face. I guess the laugh lines are good, since they imply I was smiling, but any wrinkle is an unwanted wrinkle when you're my age!

All these things led to one big life altering change - no more enabling others, no more co-dependent behavior, and no more apologizing for things that I really have no control over. It's not my job to run around solving other people's problems or minimizing the consequences they may have to face for their choices.

A half year of transition, almost all of which was healthy and productive and scary and fun and freeing!! I still have half of a year left and can't see it being anything but more productive and fun!! Probably about the time I have to harvest my ambitiously planted garden I'll be less enthusiastic about productive, but until then....let the transitions come as they may! :D

Friday, May 9, 2014

Stuck in the Mud

I have this friend....just sounds like a personal message that is hiding behind the word 'friend' doesn't it? This time though, a genuine friend is involved. I want to share their story. I don't have their permission, BUT, their story is like so many that I am willing to bet many people will think it's their own. 

To be fair though, I'm going to call my friend Yellow. Yellow is my fave color and as we all know is the perfect shade when you don't know if it's a boy or a girl. I guess green works also when you don't know, but I like yellow better. 

Yellow is a dynamic person. Very smart, fun-loving, talented in so many ways. A laugh that makes others want to laugh, cares deeply about others. Likes to make people smile. Yellow is also a really messed up person, like all the rest of us.

Yellow has spent their entire life attempting to be what they weren't. They never put much effort into discovering God's best plan for their life. They just lived. They didn't think about where they were going, they just were. Every decision was made in the moment, regardless of what it may look like in the future.

Yellow also spent much of their life running from responsibility. Fearful of choosing anything in life that might extend beyond their reach and control, decisions just didn't get made really. When decisions were made, they benefited only Yellow, and anyone that questioned, well, they didn't find themselves on the list of people Yellow spoke too.

Now if you've read any of my blog posts, or know me at all, you know that I am a recovering control-freak! My life has been beyond the scope of my ability to control it from my literal conception. With so much out-of-control, I strove to find the things I could control...I just about destroyed myself attempting to create an orderly, clean, over-achievers life. So I get the whole "I must be in control" thing. I battle it daily and God has allowed me to face enough in my life that I just have to rely on Him to do His thing. 

Yellow on the other hand, never recognized this need to control their environment. Yellow thought they were an easy going person who just rolled with life. Exceptions were made in maybe 3 areas, but generally, Yellow thought they were pretty okey-dokey. Anyone else who knows Yellow will tell you that Yellow is a mega-control-freak, who lives on a very short fuse. However, Yellow's good-nature when in charge of life has always allowed them to get by. This is Yellow's other biggest challenge - being a people-pleaser to the point of pleasing no one. 

Until recently that is. See, Yellow took on a less-than-well-thought-out challenge. Yellow decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and make some pretty big decisions. Yellow didn't seek counsel, didn't take offered advice, didn't stop to think that maybe they didn't know it all. Yellow literally charged. Exhilaration followed! "Look how brave I am, look how smart I am, look at me!!! I will do what no one has done before!!! I can do it & I will be the best at it & everyone will admire me!!! I will be able to say I did it all by myself without any help & it will look exactly as I decide it will look."

If you're over the age of 30, you have probably learned that making decisions solely to have others admire you is the quickest way to destroy your life. If you're over 30 and don't know this, beware, you'll be learning it soon!

Yellow wanted to be brave, but deep inside, Yellow was covering up the fact that this was the first time bravery had ever been explored. In fact, Yellow was hiding some pretty big secrets. You know the kind. The secrets you think you're hiding from the rest of the world when really they already know? Turns out that Yellow was going to learn the hardest lesson we face as we grow up - you really aren't hiding the truth, it just hasn't been exposed yet.

Of course, the inevitable happens - a swift kick-in-the-pants from life. Yellow falls from exhilaration into a big muddy mess. Have you ever seen a muddy yellow before? It has to be one of the most unpleasant of all the colors! Even gray is better than yucky yellow!

Imagine the shock Yellow gets when they fall into this mud! Of course, Yellow has encountered dirt a few times before, but never mud. Mud is it's own thing. Mud has this way of sticking to you, helping you get stuck in it, dragging you down deeper, and generally just creating difficulties everywhere it is. You don't just shake off mud the way you do dirt. Mud STICKS!

Poor Yellow is now muddy, murky, yucky....and of course since Yellow is stuck in the mud, and hasn't ever had to be THIS brave, determined, creative, honest, or real before, Yellow just doesn't know what to do with themselves.

Many come along & try to help Yellow. They've been in the mud, they know how to get out. But Yellow decides that determination must mean doing it all on your own. Yellow can't accept the help or support offered because then Yellow would have to admit they weren't really in control of things. Not to mention the fact that Yellow trusts no one. 

Sadly the tale of Yellow ends badly. Stuck in the mud, murky and yucky, Yellow decides to live there. Obviously, Yellow finds themselves pretty alone. Most of us don't like living in the mud you see. We know it's danger. Yellow has tried to blame the mud, blame others, blame God, blame, blame, blame. Yellow can't quite figure out how to take honest responsibility for getting stuck. Yellow has lost all the good that was possible on the road to bravery. Yellow knows it too. It's part of what keeps Yellow in the mud - the recognition that staying there ultimately cost the best parts of life.

What makes this tale sad for me, is that in real life, not only have I personally been in the same place as Yellow, but I have many friends this story can apply too, to some degree. Thankfully, I don't live there anymore. Thankfully, many people I know are in the process of climbing out of the yuck. I hated the mud!

If only Yellow would have realized that life is totally about the journey, the growing, the joy you find in connecting with others, becoming who God meant for you to be all along. It's not about pleasing others or trying to have everyone admire you or your accomplishments. It's not even about proving that you can do it.

Life is about what I can do today to be who God made me to be. It's about finding appreciation for the sound of a gently falling rain on the roof that brings fresh green grass in the morning. It's about watching the crocus nudge their bright color out from the mud to say that spring is approaching. It's about being so thankful that you have one more day to live. It's about being grateful for your blessings. It's about learning to trust & love other people. It's about seeing that life is so short that not a moment should be missed. It's remembering the rainbow comes after the rain. The sun comes out again, the spring will come, the joy will be found. 

On our stormiest days it's easy to find ourselves in mud. Yellow should have taken the advice offered by others - throw it in 4-wheel drive & rock yourself on outta there! Instead Yellow has lost all that really matters, including themselves. 

I share the story of Yellow, mostly because I'm sad to see it happen. I share it also though as a reminder for everyone who is in the mud. You have a choice! You don't have to live there! You can be free to soar and fly and find who you were meant to be! You can get out & rebuild & grow & recover & find a peace & joy you've never had before. Yellow chose to lose everything - YOU don't have to make that choice! 

It doesn't matter why you're in the mud. Maybe someone did push you, but that doesn't mean you ought to stay there. Maybe you landed their own your own like Yellow, but you can get out. 

Throw it in 4-wheel drive & rock yourself on outta there!!! It's a beautiful day, full of possibilities!! 

Stuffed Mushrooms

'Tis the season for baking, cooking, roasts, etc… The cold weather always leads me into my kitchen, with a need to create hot, warm, fi...