Ramblography

Part ramble part rant; perhaps that’s what this is.  I’m short on energy. Not sad. Not unhappy either. But, certainly not motivated…or is it unmotivated? Or who really cares? Grammar-schmammar. I’ve not posted for a few days because I got nothing. I ask myself a lot why I even do this blog thing?  Part therapy. Part curiosity. Part creativity. Part expression. Only to find how really unoriginal. How meaningless. How uninteresting. How superficial. The stuff I really want to write, I do so with reservation, and far more rarely than it comes to me. Some of it….I can’t pen at all. How frustrating.  And then, I look around to others in my perceived blog genre…spending life on fashion and indulgence and I think, What is wrong with me? How insignificant. Who really cares? What does it really matter?  Clothes and shoes and stuff that is, after all, just stuff.  I can’t. How trivial. All this time…dedicated to the study and promotion of stuff. Moth eaten stuff

More pictures. More clothes. More recipes. More mommy tips. More fashion tips. More DIY. More Pinterest. More Follow. Like. Tweet. Share. Post. Pin. More hobbies with the end results pointing only inward. More look at me. More blah blah…pontificating, which leads me to observe more griping, more comparing, more lamenting….but not over things truly worthy of lament. Suddenly I’m in a full-on case of blogitis. Our generation is cyber drunk on self-indulgence. And rather than help an upcoming generation of disillusioned fashion monsters spending student loans on handbags it took me 5 years of savings from my corporate job to buy, I’m joining them in this forum of smoke and mirrors. Shame on me. Shame on us. Somebody press the purge button.

I’m sorry for the rant.

Truth is, all of this really stemmed from the simple fact that I just don’t want to post another thing about clothes….at least for now. 

The Girl In The Mirror.

Growing up, it seems like I recall my parents saying things like ” Take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror….”  when discussing matters of importance relating to navigation of choices with my moral compass.  Like any well-intentioned, parent-pleasing adolescent, I heeded the advice (to a fault, perhaps). Now, I find my thirty-five year-old self looking in the mirror quite frequently re-playing those conversations, but usually in a context far more vain. Instead of peering into the eyes of a young girl tortured by personal accountability, I find myself asking how in the world she got all the wrinkles!? I chastise her unmercifully about weight gain, tired eyes and the reasons why she refuses to make time for exercise. I point my finger accusing her of a cruel and disgusting misrepresentation of the truth.  But the truth is, reflections don’t lie.  After the emotional rant, I gain composure staring into the sink and back up again. She is still there. I can see that she is compassionate and confident even. She smiles back at me smugly. It’s clear she’s wondering why in the world I’d want to look like those  20-year-old gals anyway. After all, she reminds me,  “You weren’t comfortable with me then either.”

And in those moments of insecurity (and we all have them), I remember this old proverb…

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”.

It helps me.

Philly-sophical

Have you ever had something to say but felt restrained in the delivery?  So it is with me… my heart weighty for the families of Aurora, Colorado tonight. It’s both ironic and chilling for me to think that less than 2 months ago I was driving through that very suburb and passed the theatre several times over our 3 day visit.  Prior to that trip, I would have never even recognized Aurora on a map.  Life is very interesting.

So many things I’d like to share, but cannot. I traveled home today from a meeting in Philadelphia.  I managed to squeeze in a historical tour,  visiting the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and other  notable places.  Ate a cheese steak sans whiz and drank some really great coffee.  On nights like tonight you feel grateful for the day that climaxed over a simple afternoon cup of java. Simplicity…a welcomed gift.

Tomorrow, perhaps my words will be fluid, my thoughts conveyed clearly. But for now, I hold closely my airplane epiphany a little while longer.

Targetized.

I decided to take the kids on a field trip to Target today. What is it about that place? It just sucks the money right out of your purse. I needed nothing and ended up with Legos, Hello Kitty Sunglasses ( can you say SUCKER!!!!), a new crop of skin care products and this….

I thought it was a great score, especially considering that it’s the Xhiliration. This label, one I consider the teeny-bopper brand, is usually  hopeless for fitting the hips of this middle-aged woman who’s birthed two small calves.

The skin products were equally exciting.

I mean who doesn’t need body butter? Don’t answer that.

Three For Me.

Versatility is something we hear  much about in the world of wardrobe.  When convincing the hubby why a dress costs mucho dinero, I play the V. card. It’s the whole elevator speech, actually.

 “Honey, I mean, really this one dress is 3 different outfits….maybe more.Divide the price by 3 and it’s actually a better deal than Target” 


Try it! It works….

Exhibit A: Parameter Dress, Hattie’s Branches Fall 2010

Paired with a silk shell for a casual Friday look. Blouse, Hale Bob

Dinner out?  Hermes scarf turned  shrug.

Art Is Everywhere

Welcome to Aimee’s Friday Lesson in Art History:

Have you seen this picture?

That’s right, it’s Claude Monet’s “Water Lillies”

Have you ever seen a interpretation of it worn as a dress?

You have now. It’s FRIDAY! Let’s do this thing!

 

 

A Kind Word Is Sweeter Than Honey

Something cool…..

“I wanted to share just a moment of my amazing day with you, because a conversation you and I had one day came back to me. We are on a family trip in New York . My girls are in camp during the day and the friend we are staying with offered to pick them up so my husband and I could go into the city and not worry about getting back late. Neither of us have ever been to NYC. We arrive after a beautiful train ride in and start to discuss what we want to do and see. The shops are everywhere and seriously calling my name, but the moment i remember is you telling me about going to Paris and not wanting the shopping to take control over you seeing all there was to offer. So, we saw the city, loved it all and the only shop I went in was FAO Schwartz to bring each of my girls a small token from the big city. I am so grateful I didn’t spend my time, spending my money ( even though my hubby was very willing to let me ) and I am grateful for your wisdom you shared. I will treasure my memories of this wonderful day.”

This is a note I received from a special friend of mine yesterday.  The conversation, I’m sure, was one we had over a year ago.  It was incredibly heartwarming for me to hear that a story I shared was meaningful to her. It made me think of all the people who have impacted me with kind words of encouragement or inspiring stories. I wondered if I’ve been as diligent in expressing just how much to each of them.  The power of one encouraging word could make the difference for someone.  Do we really think about the long-term impact of our words?

For years, I was sharp-tongued, callous and hasty in delivering my short-tempered remarks. Recently, I was discussing this and talked with a friend about the time when I felt like God was dealing with me about my words.  He revealed to me that I’d yielded to a critical nature…..of myself, of situations, and even other people.  The critical spirit began to turn me away from optimism and more toward cynicism. My words often were poisonous and hurtful. One day, several months ago while I was vacuuming my floor,  I heard the still small voice, “You are an exhorter.”  Right. “Wrong girl”, I thought. “I’m just keepin’ it real. I’m just honest.”  I really didn’t see myself as an encourager at all. The cool thing about the whisper of God’s correction is that it’s so love-drenched when it comes, you want to cooperate and make the heart adjustment.  He doesn’t come beating you over the head with how rotten you are. He doesn’t fixate on your weakness, but rather exposes it gently by reminding you who of you are in Him. At that time, when revelation has come to us, we have a choice to cooperate or reject his chastening. He began to show me how a kind word turns away wrath, lifts one’s spirits and makes a difference.

I was reminded of this again when I received the note. One friend’s kind words lifted my spirits….reminded me that our words are powerful, and not delivered in vain. I should choose them carefully and use them to edify others.

Kinda Chevron?

I don’t consider myself an expert on anything.  I’m always embarrassed when people talk about my fashion sense and creativity.  My secret? I know what I like and I buy it. That is all. Although, the buying part has slowed down tremendously over the past 18 months. And just to demonstrate, allow me to make an expertless (made that word up, i think) commentary on my outfit. Might I suggest that this blouse counts as a Chevron pattern, only with a hint of tribal rebellion? Or perhaps it is an EKG reading?  Not mine, though. Mine’s a bit flat these days. Chronic fatigue. Let’s not travel that road, ok?  Actually, my husband would argue that I’ve maintained expert status in one area: hoarding really old accessories in hope for a vintage revival (or big bucks at the antique road show). Take for example, the handbag pictured below.  I hate to break the news to the new generation of orange-lovers, but this bag is circa 2002 and I carried it WAY before orange was hot (not groovy–that would have been the 60s, right?)

Anyway, this Kenneth Cole Reaction bag was purchased by me, coincidentally, during the same month it appeared in a popular fashion magazine.  I remember feeling like I’d secured the Heisman of handbags! I will never get rid of it. If it were possible, I’d call a taxidermist to stuff and mount this baby.

That is all for today.

Understated Comfort

“Life is a delicate balance of…

being brave but with vulnerability,

being transparent but with tempered words,

operating in authority without  being oppressive,

understanding a self-awareness that  enables us to prefer others,

loving correction like we love praise

dancing in creativity while respecting boundaries,

enjoying freedom without forfeiting reverence,

exchanging self-preservation for life in God.”

–Aimee, The Ponder-er

Welcome to another day of my random thoughts.  Beware of the picture below  Why? No makeup… über casual. So NOT fashionista. I’m wearing shorts that were jeans 2 weeks ago (my first DIY), shoes that I didn’t even know I’d like.  The shoe story is actually pretty strange.  I was trapped in Nordstrom Rack by Hurricane Debbie.  True to form, I was trying on a ridiculous selection of fancy-schmancy shoes, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a pair of camel colored Sperry’s. I heard myself saying “These would be great for the beach”.  Puzzled by this, I tried them on and purchased without hesitation. I passed on beaded sandals, metallic flip-flops and a variety of other summer shoes… all for a pair of boring boat shoes. Clearly Hurricane Debbie had stirred up far more than a windstorm and some rain. A few days later, I understood the lesson to be learned from, for me, an uncharacteristic pair of Docksiders…

“My soul really longs for understated comfort” 

If you are a person who feels fatigued from running the treadmill of life or suffocated by the need to succeed, let me encourage you with this:

Success is in the Rest.  

Whether you’re a college student, a professional, a mother, wife, friend, whatever…the pressures of life come to bear against us all. They try to choke our vision, to steal our joy and to paralyze us from walking fully in our destiny.  The weapon we can wield against this adversarial pressure is to partner with the Spirit of Grace by surrendering our plans to Him. We begin to exchange striving for trust, panic for hope, ambiguity for confidence in truth.  We fail miserably when we try to combat pressure with more responsibility, more activities, more distractions, vacations, or pretty things. If we “feel” more important in accordance to such standards of success, we begin to allow those things and the influencers behind them to define or establish our value at the expense of truth. Really, if we’d pull back from the hustle, get quiet before God, take off the masks and inquire of Him, we begin to see things beyond our understanding.  Suddenly, you learn you like boat shoes although you niche yourself in stilettos.  I say that in jest, but you get the point.

Are you resting in Him?

I’m just asking.  Let’s take off the masks. I mean, after all you’ve seen me with no makeup now. 🙂

Sunny Side Up

What could be more fun than a happy combo of Beach & Lilly Pulitzer!?  Thanks to Mayzie’s for my favorite summer dress! If  you only knew how lucky we were to snap these shots! 15 minutes on the beach in between dinner and a family auction. Anybody else know what it’s like to fight kids for photos? Fuh-get-abowt-it.

 

Fisher King

Nostalgia is often defined as a “sentimental yearning  for return to the past”, and though I rarely find myself  in such reflection, one week in particular prompts the journey down memory lane.  We’ve vacationed in Garden City Beach, SC with my family every year since I was born.  I’ve only missed a handful of reunions, and usually due to unavoidable circumstances. Last week we met again for a week of hugs and fun.   It’s amazing to think that my great-grandmother, “Mama Owens”, had 9 children. The remaining first generation and most of their descendants down to a fourth generation were represented throughout the week.  From all over the country we came together to honor our very special heritage.

The highlight of my trip was watching my son Owen fishing.  He is the most exuberant, passionate and heartfelt person when it comes to engaging in any activity that sparks his interest.  He gets more excited about birthdays, cousins, animals, or going places than any 5-year-old (well, at least for the next 19 days) I know.  He thinks big and makes bold declarations, believing that good things are always ahead for him. Over the past several weeks, we heard him make announcements about fishing…how many fish he would catch….how big they would be….how awesome his fishing pole is….how his Papa would fish with him–for 100 days, no less! You get the idea.  No question for him that it would be a profitable  and exciting experience!

So, you can imagine my delight in witnessing the manifestation of this grand experience. My little angler stood content alongside his Papa, pulling in a variety of  Whiting, Pompano, Ladyfish, Pinfish (can’t eat those). Sometimes, he’d tug in 2 at a time, the other fishermen staring in disbelief, because they were still waiting for a catch. We laughed as Uncle Russell threw his hands up, saying “I’m just gonna bait his hook!” We cheered, hollered, and acted the fool over even the smallest catch!  The beach audience stared amazed by his “luck”. Yeah…right.

Suppose I could learn much from Owen(who incidentally prayed for big fish weeks in advance) about the power of asking, believing, and pursuing with JOY! He blessed my heart the whole week. Clearly, I’d been taken to life lesson school by my young boy. And as I observed him, I had but one unspoken prayer…

“Lord, let the fish he catches only be a glimpse of what is to come for Your little guy. Let Him be a fisher of men in your kingdom. Nets full! “