Monday, November 12, 2018

Dressing the Part

So this coming weekend we will be in eastern NC for the wedding of our precious niece, Ashley.  She'll change her last name from Hawley to Bell and the excitement surrounding their big day is REAL!

They asked Uncle Frank to officiate and Aunt Sheri will be part of the cake serving team.  (Hopefully, I'm helping start the process and the actual servers will take over.  Otherwise, my inexperience with official cake slicing might leave us without enough cake to go around.  That would never do!)

This morning, between phone calls and emails, I've been trying on dresses to see what I have that might work.  The wedding is early evening so the attire will be on the dressier side; a little bling will definitely be in order.

As usual, I've taken photos of each outfit to send for evaluation by my daughters.  A couple were definite "NO's" but I took the pictures anyway because the look made me chuckle.  (One made me laugh out loud.  No sense groaning, right?!)

Based on how I'm feeling today, my preference would be to add some rhinestones to my favorite lounging pants and pair them with a billowy top.  But that's not happening.

I must admit I enjoyed pulling the dresses and skirts from the back of my guest closet.  Each one brought with it a sweet memory.  The burgundy, portrait collar top with a velvet belt is what I wore for Joy and John's wedding.

As I put it back on the hanger, I was lamenting aloud to myself that I should have gone with the larger size when I bought it because it would still fit well.  Upon checking the tag, I started laughing out loud because it appears I DID buy the larger size ten years ago as a point of comfort.  Oh well!

There's the dress the Hollis family bought for me when I was ordained into ministry.  A lovely navy blue number with just the right amount of dark sequins off-setting the front of the jacket.  Elegant and still understated.  I've cared for this dress and worn it for multiple events over the last eighteen years.

Disclaimer:  It's also a great "camouflage" style dress that has allowed for the ebbs and ummm, "flows" of my figure.

The dresses I wore for Meagan's and Kristin's weddings would not be warm enough.  And the thoughts of pairing them with my little purple hooded rain jacket for the evening didn't seem quite appropriate.

SIGH!

I'll probably just stick with the navy lace dress I've been wearing most lately.  It's structured but not at all form-fitting which fits my current situation quite well.  If you know what I mean.

So I've come away from my walk down the memory lane of clothing with a couple of thoughts:

  • Every decision has a consequence.  Every time I've disciplined myself with exercise and healthy eating, those same zippers have moved more easily.  Excusing myself has had the opposite and equal consequence.
  • I miss my mama.  I miss her today just as much as I did when she died ten years ago.  Putting on the ordination dress took me right back to her hugging me and telling me how proud she was.  Thankfully, I know I'll see her again some day and we'll never say another good-bye.
  • Taking care of what you DO have is important.  It's really not necessary for me to run out and spend money we don't have budgeted for a new dress when I already have just what I need tucked away in my own closet.  Traditional pieces you love and care for never go out of style.  (That truth goes for relationships as well!)
  • The REAL focus is important to remember.  This is a marvelous family celebration that will center on the joy of Ashley and her beloved, Cody.  Keeping that thought the focus, helps me choose from what I have and maintain a happy heart.  Hopefully, I'll have time to stand up tall and hold my breath for whatever picture they snap with the cake serving team.
I'll be sure to let you know what the girls decide to dress me in and how lovely the wedding was in a future post.


What about you?  Will you be attending a fall wedding?  Do you have favorite articles of clothing that stir memories? We'd love to hear about them in the comment section below.....






Monday, November 5, 2018

Need a Smile?

I dare you to read this post and not smile, chuckle or perhaps burst right out with a genuine, "BaHaHa!"  As usual, the funny came in the middle of some dark clouds.

Grayson Oliver Smith (newest member of our tribe) was in the hospital for three days last week.  The poor little guy kept having moments where he would choke and completely stop breathing from some unexplained blockage.

Doctors eventually concluded his breathing problems were stemming from an extremely severe form of acid reflux called "gerd."  Treatment steps are in place and he is already improving, thank Heaven.

Needless to say, Meagan and Nathan needed to focus solely on him.  So Noni and Papa stepped in to monitor the lives of Madison and Noah.  Now, please note my carefully chosen phrasing.  Noni and Papa weren't directing these two, we were on the scene to monitor and care for only.

Madison Riley is now 3.  She could have taken care of them both herself if only she were tall enough to reach the buttons on the microwave.  We were also considered helpful for the driving thing.  She can't reach those pedals yet either.

Noah is 5 and even as a first born, he's pretty content to go with the flow.  Madi, however, has a plan for everything and an opinion about everyone!  Frank says she's like me but I know the truth.  Her headstrong nature is a perfect blending of the determined natures found in both her parents.  (Notice how gracefully I dodged that bullet?!)

The first night, I went into their "sleep over" room (a.k.a. our guest room) around 9:30 to confirm both angels were sleeping.  I found Madison sitting up straight as an arrow having a conversation with her imaginary friends, Emily and Jemily.

She seemed completely alert. Noni, on the other hand, was already yawning, groggy and ready for her pillow.  What to do?

"Madi!"  I spoke in a strong, staccato whisper so as not to wake Noah. "Why are you still awake?"

(Why, oh why, do we ask silly questions at a time like this?  Is it because we adults can't evaluate the situation quickly enough?  Are we perhaps buying time for our tired brains to concoct a consequence?)

Madison sighed at my lack of understanding then responded in her matter-of-fact voice,  "I not sweepy, Noni!"  Well, yeah.  I guess that was obvious.

I responded to her rationale in my stern whisper, "Well, well, you just better lay down and go to sleep anyway."  Oh, that was brilliant.  Who else could ever have thought up with such a witty and compelling come back?

Fortunately for us, Nathan and Meagan are strong, no-nonsense parents when it comes to training their children to be obedient.  Madi laid down as I'd requested and that was that.  (Thank goodness.)

There were a few more times over the three days that Noah or Madi would "test the water" with Noni or Papa.  But each time we would quickly remind them we expected obedience just like Mom or Dad would say.  Once we established the same boundaries they have at home, everyone settled into a peaceful routine.

The one word that came back to me from my own days with toddlers was: CONSTANT.  The talking, the needing, the bickering, the exploring are constantly happening; simultaneously; at all points in the home; without ceasing.

Caring for multiple little ones does not afford the care-giver a break.  Ever!  Nap times and bedtimes are not breaks.  Those short hours are solely for the purpose of recharging the battery of the care-giver.

Usually, the littles wake up and immediately have some dream or some crisis which they need to describe to the care-giver . . . slowly; in great verbal detail.  And trust me, they know if you aren't really listening.  They will call you on it every time.

Without a doubt, one of my favorite moments happened as we lunched at Noah's restaurant of choice, Chick-fer-Ray.

He was pointing to the letters on his placemat and quoting corresponding scriptures he's been taught:
"A - All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Romans 3:23"  
"D - Depart from evil and do good. Psalm 34:14"

Madi did not intend to be left out.  She straightened up in her high chair then called out loud and clear in her sweet baby voice,
"A - If you ahr in twouble, dial 9 1 1!"

Can't make it up, friends.  Several people at the tables nearest us began to chuckle.  At first, she was offended then she flashed her biggest smile.  "Isn't she cute?!"  "How old is she?" 

I'll leave you with one more smile.

First, the background:  You may remember John and Joy recently had a loss in their family.  JJ, the dog who had been with them over ten years, passed away suddenly.  She had been a wonderful pet and it was a heart-wrenching time.

Because they are dog people, they soon began discussing what type dog they would next add to their family.  After much research, it was decided . . . a Great Dane!  Yep.  My daughter who has four children and works as care-giver for two others wanted a great dane.

They finally found the perfect puppy through a local breeder so they could meet the parents and have now added a great dane puppy to their household.  Are you ready for her name?  "KITTY."  Katherine the Great Dane will be referred to as Kitty.

Joy can hardly wait to be in a dog park or at a boat ramp and watch people's faces when she calls, "Here, Kitty!" and a monster great dane comes bounding in response.  That's my tribe for you.

Certainly hope this post gave you a smile or two.

Two important reminders today:
  1.   If you're in the U.S., be sure to prayerfully exercise your right to vote on November 6th.   
  2.   Our registration for the trip to Israel closes this week.  Let us know if you'd like more information.






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