Two weirdos in a boat

15 May

We’re thinking of going to Colorado for the summer. I could work at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, and Adam will be able to play music for a living. This seems to have caused some consternation from our loved ones.

But going to Colorado would be a really fun thing for both of us. In fact, the most fun I have had as an adult is working at the Festival- I love being in costume! As I think about it, some of the best conversations and opportunities I’ve had with unbelievers, as well. And on top of that, the pay there was the best I have ever made. It is ironic that serving artichokes pays better that directing plays, but in fact it pays at least 4 times as much. Before tips.

As for Adam playing in Rock bands, it is a very easy (for him) way to make a significant amount of money in a few weeks, also. He can make a full-time income in just a couple nights a week. And the people he would be with are a mission field of their own! We both see this a challenge to put our faith in action.

We have a lot to offer the world, but we both feel we are squandering all our talents just trying to make a “living”. Making a living seems like a hollow goal, and one we have consistently failed at. We have tried working jobs and living like others do for the last 8 years, and become successively more poor and miserable. We have not made enough money to cover all our bills and buy food in over 4 years, and at times both of us were working jobs we really hated. Well, we just can’t do things we hate for not enough money any more. We feel we are taking a huge leap of faith to use our talents to make a living, instead of shoving them down and “just working”. We want to find out what God would have us do, and we feel sure that whatever He leads us to, it will be unconventional- but just right for us. We feel like he has freed us from our jobs, and we can now choose what we want to do with our lives.

About 6 months ago, we were talking about how we felt like our lives were a river, and so far we had been in innertubes, just floating where the river took us. Holding hands and watching the sky. Occasionally we flailed our arms wildly, but it didn’t help us get anywhere much. We discussed how what we needed was to get in a boat. To have some way of controlling the direction of our lives, and some protection from the rapids. Well, now we’re in our boat. We haven’t decided where we’re heading, but at least we’re not floating along , staring at the sky, wondering where we’re going, and bumping our butts on the rocks.

What we need most is prayer that we will see the doors God is opening for us, and that we would not be afraid to go through them! We’re setting out on a different path than even we expected, but as I told my mother, we’re weird, and for the first time, we like what we’re doing. 🙂

Day One

4 Apr

Yesterday I woke up and heard a rooster crowing. I don’t think the rooster actually woke me up, the dogs did that.  But I woke up, and rolled over to look out the window, and there was a rooster. And I thought, “I could get used to this.”

I got up, let out the boys, and made coffee, cornbread and bacon. After a week of packing, moving, stress and very little sleep, It was like a piece of heaven.

We’re staying for a month or so with friends at a homestead on the prairie. It is a small acreage with several houses, a huge garden, cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, and turkeys. And people. There are a couple of lovely, welcoming families with a passel of kids between them and one single fellow all residing here and helping each other out. One of the families is gone for a while and we’re staying in their house. Everyone is open, interesting, hardworking, and striving for a peaceful life. The word that comes to mind is idyllic.

Adam and I have always wanted to get off the beaten path. We’ve always craved the solitude that we creative types find necessary. We’ve always wanted more simplicity, to have more time for the things that matter to us- family, food, thinking, conversation. So we find ourselves here, as our jobs wind down and we look for a new place to put down roots, and we are content for the next few weeks to learn, to think, to pray, to just be. We’re nervous about what the future holds, since we have nothing more concrete than a vision- but we’re both excited and content. For the first time, we feel like we are heading the right direction.

Last night, I called Adam into the bedroom. Out the picture window, the sun was setting, and the high winds and dust made it possible to look right at the glowing, orange orb. As we watched, it sank behind the distant trees. It moved so quickly, it seemed as though we could feel the earth turning, with us on it.

Things I love to wear

17 Jan

In contrast to last week’s piece, I’ve been thinking about what I do look good in. And what I love. One thing I pride myself on when shopping is really challenging myself over whether I need something. But there are clear trends in my clothes, and well- so what? I mean, we all have things we like, right? And some things I just keep trying on, even though I already have one. Or more. A list of the things I apparently can’t live without:

1. Orange sweaters. I used to have four and now am down to one. I no longer need to keep myself from buying more of them. Yes!

2. Brown shirts. I am going to admit that I have four brown t-shirts, two tank tops, two sweaters, two cardigans, and a brand-new vintage blouse. And a couple of dresses. I like brown as a neutral to layer with almost any other color. I look good in brown!

3. Denim. I’ve got it all: skirts, jeans in tons of styles, vests, dresses. I just really like denim. I’ve been having a hard time reconciling myself to this one, because denim is such a casual fabric, and I really want to look more like a grown up. But, you know what- I like denim, so there.

4. I am tempted to add shirt-dresses. But can you really have too many shirt-dresses? I don’t think so. Let’s just say I have several.

So, what are you wearing everyday? I’m apparently wearing jeans and a brown top.

Things I will absoloutely not ever wear or even try on

12 Jan

I mean it. Even if they cost one dollar or are made of pure silk, these are the items I look stupid, mis-proportioned, or drab in, and I just won’t wear them. We’re all entitled to our Dislikes.

1. Wrap tops and mock wraps. We’ve covered this. (However, I reserve the right to return this item to my wardrobe if I ever have a bigger chest size. Much bigger.)

2. Leggings, “jeggings”, or footless tights. There could be no worse look for me. I might as well wear a flashing sign across my rear saying “wide load”. And my hips aren’t even that wide!
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Leggings are not the same as pants. I don’t care how skinny you are, no one wants to see that much of your butt. Tunic tops, People!

3. Pencil Skirts. While my sis looks flat fantastic in these, I have a tight-in-the-hips problem with pencil skirts that resembles the Leggings problem. I also tend to have a walking problem that is exaggerated by tightness around the knees. Avoiding pencil skirts makes me look better both walking and standing still! It will always be a-line for me.

4. Tailored shirts and Jackets. Unless they are actually hand made by someone for me personally. There is zero chance of the shoulders, bust, and arms all fitting at the same time. So why bother?

What about you? There’s something freeing about saying, “it’s not me, it’s that piece of clothing.” In order to find things you look good in, You have to really know what you look terrible in. And for me, It’s leggings.

On Time Spent Shopping

14 Dec

Lately, I’ve had a couple of people tell me that they could not shop like I do because they “don’t have that much patience”.

What?

I didn’t think it was that big a commitment of patience. I mean, shopping is fun, right? What could be more fun than spending hours hunting for that perfect bargain? The thrill of the hunt is as much fun as finally finding that perfect piece. I must admit that some people are more fun to shop with than others. My Sis and the Other Elisabeth top the list of people who are fun to shop with. We like to all go in the dressing room at once and alternately applaud or deride each others’ choices. We do this whether we are at a second-hand place or at the mall. The only way to make a day spent shopping with them better is to finish it off with Ken’s Mediterranean Pizza. Mmmmmm… artichoke hearts.

One time my sister-in-law and I spent an afternoon in the dressing room at Dillard’s simply because we had to waste some time on choir tour. A lot happened in there. We inadvertently learned a lot about fit. (And now that I think of it, that may be where I first learned about wrap tops- which she looks fantastic in and I, I repeat, Don’t.) Those dressing rooms are not really built for two. It was one of the hardest laughs I have ever had in my life. I don’t know who was more concerned, us, or the Hispanic guy who was in the outer hall giving opinions on his daughters’ outfit choices.

Yes, shopping is a fun experience- clothes shopping doubly so. It should be savored and shared with friends whenever possible. And followed by Pizza.

Back to the folks who think that second hand shopping is tedious.  So that means, normally, when these folks clothes shop, they spend as little time as possible looking at and trying on the actual clothes? This seemed incredulous to me, but then I watched another episode of that show on Cable, and I realized that yes, that is actually what a lot of people do. They blindly choose something that is “their size”, and hurry from the mirrors as fast as they can. If this were not so, we would not have TV shows where entire wardrobes are disposed of.

No matter where you buy your clothes, they are going to look better if you take your time choosing them. The quality and fit will improve even more if you are enjoying yourself while you try on, and your chances of looking stellar are improved even further by having a Really Good friend  (or Sister!) shopping with you.

So, if you have one of these friends, I’m sorry. I’m not really sure what to do for them, because you can’t make people change if they don’t want to. But you can go get them some pizza, and who knows! It might help.

Friday’s Find

10 Dec

Today I’ve got the awesome outfit I wore last Sunday on my birthday. We ran outside after church and Cat took my picture in which I was Freezing, but the light was better. Immediately after taking this we both sprinted for the nice, warm, house where we proceeded to talk louder than the football game until Adam suggested we go to lunch.

What is so awesome about his outfit is… Well there are a lot of awesome things about it. Let’s start at the top.

This top, as you can see, follows all the guidelines I outlined for myself in yesterday’s post. It has 1/2 sleeves instead of long or short, and it has that beautiful wide neckline. That sheen is because it’s satin. I may have featured it on the hanger before, and you may have noticed that It is actually a tunic top. It looks great over jeans as a tunic, but as you can see it is also fabulous tucked in!

The black belt Is also a thrift find, and it just makes everything better.

The skirt is probably the most awesome part. It is suede. I know, right!  Usually second-hand  leather skirts are frighteningly-dyed little biker-mini numbers, but this is gorgeous with zig-zag seaming above the knee to give it that swirl that looks so good on me.  And I actually needed a black skirt.

The boots were new to me, but hey you can’t have everything.

 

And now the Fabulous stats: While found at various Goodwills across the state and the nation (I think that belt came from Florida), the outfit (not including the boots) was under $10.

The blouse- new with tags on: $3.99

The belt: $.99

The skirt: $2.99

Add in the black hose and Voila! $10 outfit.

If the Blouse Fits…

9 Dec

I’ve been thinking about makeovers and how clothes fit. And I have come to this conclusion: Every woman feels like clothes don’t fit her. All of us. And it can’t be actually possible that nothing fits everyone because A) everyone is a different shape and B) some people look good in their clothes.

Clearly this reveals that we all have either deep psychological problems, or we all have something positive in common that is being twisted by society. I think I’ll leave that question alone. However, whatever the cause, I do have a solution to this problem and of course the solution is: Second Hand! Today I’ll just talk about tops.

Last week I went shopping and the revelation began as I stood in the dressing room, following all The Rules. I grabbed everything I liked and I tried it all on. And a fact congealed in my head. I don’t look good in v-necks. I was trying on a really pretty peacock blue sweater. And it looked terrible. Let me back up and give you a little extra info. I have:

  • Very broad shoulders
  • Long arms
  • A small bust
  • A really tiny waist
  • Comparatively large and LONG hips

Now, lots of people want to go on about me being skinny and hate me for that and I have two things to say to them. The first is: If you are so jealous of my waist, stop making fun of how I eat (I cook most of what we eat myself, and I eat a lot- it’s just more natural than what most people eat. So there.) And Secondly, I have just as many problems finding clothes as anyone else I know, so get over it. If you were built like me, you would be constantly frustrated by too-short blouses with too-short sleeves, too-big bust darts, and too-tight shoulders and armpits.

But I suddenly realised in the dressing room the other day what is right about my shape. I didn’t pick up even one wrap top to try on because I subconsciously knew that wrap tops look not only stupid on me, but they usually reveal my entire bosom. Not a look I am going for. But I look awesome in boat-neck tops. I look even better in round necklines with a gather above the bust. So what if I look limp and skinny in v-necks? So what if button-ups are loose in the bust and tight in the shoulders? I look Hot in tops with structured sleeves.

And speaking of sleeves, I prefer three quarter length. Long sleeves are not long enough. They always look just a smidge too short, and I am always tugging on them. And short sleeves are often too tight on my upper arms, causing a lot of discomfort and tightness both on the arms and across the back. But three-quarter sleeves are extremely flattering, not only to my long arms, but they end right at my waist, thus showing off my best asset. And they are so comfy because of my broad shoulders.

I realised that the wrap tops really don’t matter because I look really good in other things. I want everyone to share in this revelation of Fit that really does Flatter!

So here’s what I recommend. Go out to your local second-hand store and in addition to following The Rules, give yourself a top-half makeover. Make a point of trying on as many different styles of blouse and Tee as you can find. And instead of critiquing your shape, critique the tops! What fits and what doesn’t? Wrap tops, empire waists, darts, gathers, round, straight and v-necks. Long sleeves, short sleeves. Can’t go out shopping? Do what I’m planning this week: go into your closet and try on what you already have. Look at each one in the mirror. Pat yourself on the back for those good buys, then say good-bye to the ones that just don’t work.

And what I’d really like is for everyone to share what style looks good on their shape. Inquiring Minds want to know! Let’s share the encouragement.