Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Opinions Wanted...

Ok, all my lovely fashionable friends... I have a question for you.

In about a month, we will be attending the wedding of a family member. In trying to find something to wear to this wedding, I have come to the conclusion that the things I imagine in my head do not exist- at least, not at a price I am willing to pay, so I may make myself something. I'm really liking the idea of coral lace - I've been wanting to do something with lace for a while now, and what better opportunity! 
I have a couple of ideas floating about in my pea-brain, but can't decide which one I want to pursue - that's where you come in!

Below is my Polyvore pic - kind of a rough draft of what I'm imagining using the available pics. 

Outfit 1 is a ruffled white top with coral lace pencil skirt - I would probably buy the top shown (I've been eyeing it anyway, and I have a 40% discount I could use), and make the skirt just a little less pencil-y and below the knee-ish.

Outfit 2 is a simple lace dress with white/cream cardigan/shrug. I was actually thinking more of a shrug with a drapey ruffle -  like this one, only with longer sleeves. I would probably make the skirt a little less gathered, probably either circular or a-line. 

So, here they are:

Coral Lace

Please offer any feedback/opinions/constructive criticism
you might have...unless it's mean, then kindly refrain
 - of course, I don't think any of my loyal readers would
have anything mean to say! :) If you think I should totally
ditch these ideas and go a totally different direction, by all means,
let me know that, too - just some guidelines: I'd like to stay in
the coral hues, and it is an outdoor wedding in June (in other words,
nothing too formal or stifling).
Alright - GO! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guest Post: How Are You Leading?

Well, check it out - we've got a new post from the hubby! :)
As before, he is submitting this blog post to fulfill an assignment for one of his classes - this time an Administration class. If, after reading, you would be willing to fill out a short questionnaire regarding this post, please let me know either here or on Facebook, and I will send you the link!

How Are You Leading?

I certainly do not claim to be an expert but I have watched people over the years and have recently learned a lot in my college studies. If this helps no one else, maybe it will serve to remind me of what and what not to be.

What are the marks of a good leader, and how do you measure their success? You might get about as many different answers as people you ask, but I want to look at a few that I think can be useful.

I. Integrity
Integrity is defined as “the state of being complete, unified”; this is when you are who you say you are no matter where you are or who you are with. If you have integrity you will not be divided or pretending, for that would just be duplicity and hypocrisy. To me this is actually kind of funny when you watch people who are different depending on what is going on; it seems like some will go along with the “crowd” when with them, but when at home you cannot get them to budge. If you don’t want to change why act like it when you’re around the “crowd” if you are not going to allow or implement it in your area? This sets a bad example to people that are watching. Keep your integrity at all cost so that people will know who you are and what to expect out of you.

II. Vision
You also need to have a vision and a plan to reach it. It is not good enough to just say, “I want to grow my church or Sunday School,” but how are you going to do it? I have now worked in route sales for a couple of years and I can tell you they are always looking to grow and developing plans for it, and they will ask you how you plan on doing that. You must have a plan of action or you will most likely not grow - or if you do it will not be much and not because of any effort. I heard someone say to find one or two areas that your church can focus on and then go for that. Not every church can have a nursing home ministry, or a children’s ministry - find something that will work for you and that the people will get excited about and involved in and then focus on that. If you take on too many projects you will run out of steam fast, and your crowd will get discouraged.

III. Example
Going along with those is that you need to lead by example. Don’t find a plan and then sit back and expect others to do it for you; people will do as people see. I have heard people say things like, “Well, they don’t seem to concerned with it, so why should I be?”  Obviously their “leader” was not leading by example. Some of the most effective leaders in the world are those who will get down with their people and do what needs done. They have good and dedicated followers because they know where their leader is going and they know that they will get involved in the task too, if need be.

Finally, I would ask: Are you moving forward or standing still? If you are standing still you are probably slowly dying out.
Let me try to apply this:
I love to play the games Monopoly and Risk (I have both of them on my iPad and will play a few rounds sometimes in the evening to wind down.) But I have learned what I think is a very valuable lesson; when I first got the games and started playing I would lose quite a bit, probably more than I was winning - ‘til I finally discovered how to win! How you win is to keep moving - keep reaching out, keep trying to gain more territory. If you simply try to hang on to what you have, you will die out and lose the game, but if you strive to reach out and gain more and take a little risk you can win most of the time. I have gotten now to where I will let the computer randomly select the territories and then see if I can win with what I have been given and most of the time I win.
I think this can be applied today in our churches and such; I hear people saying, “We need to preserve and hang on to what we have," and that is true, but if we do not reach out in some way to someone how will we ever grow? You cannot build anything by just holding on to what you have. Try to build a house by getting the lumber and just hanging on to it because you are afraid to use it; try to grow a garden without letting go of the seeds. To build anything up in life - not just a church, but anything - you have to push beyond what you have. Over the years I have watched people and heard them talk about how bad things are and things are just dying out, and then I watch and they seem to never do anything to correct the problem. Even worse, I have seen where sometimes someone will try to do something and will get stopped because that is ‘not how things are done‘. Again I refer to sales: we are always running new promotions and putting up fresh marketing material to catch peoples’ eye, because if you leave the same thing up all the time people will just overlook it. Sometimes, to catch people’s attention you have to do something a little different. In the end it is all about building the Kingdom and I think we should be willing to at least listen to and even try any idea (within reason) that might work to get people in.

Like I said, I am not an expert - I just have been observing and trying to learn, and it seems like if churches, Sunday Schools, Youth groups, etc. are not growing then we need to look at what we are doing and be willing to try something different if it will help grow the Kingdom.

~Bradley Davis

Monday, April 15, 2013

When Will Things Get Better? It May Be Up to You.

Not to belittle or laugh away the gravity of the situation in Boston - it is senseless and horrifying.


We must immediately do whatever necessary to have legislation introduced that will get bombs off the streets.

~Background checks on all those buying bomb making materials? Definitely...You say you're a gardener and you just want that fertilizer for your tomatoes? Likely story. We'll get back to you in six months and let you know if you passed the background check. In the mean time, your tomatoes will die, but that's okay - you can buy these GMO government-approved tomatoes instead...if you get sick from eating them, well,  Obama-Care will hasten your death for you.
~Limit the amount of bomb making materials that citizens can purchase? Why, certainly! You can buy four grains of fertilizer and no more; there's no reason why any normal, law abiding citizen should need any more fertilizer than that at one time.

We should not hesitate - the longer we wait to pass these bomb-control laws, the more innocent people will be harmed by illicit bombs! 

This is completely tongue-in-cheek - most will realize that. Like I said, the things that went on today in our country were horrible acts of violence toward innocent people. No one should have to fear dismemberment when they're out on the streets of their city.
But the facts are these: we (and by 'we' I mean the American people) rush to 'do something about guns' when a mentally unstable person goes and starts shooting in a school, but enacting more laws is not the answer -
Evil people do evil things.
This is fact.
Taking away a normal person's rights does not stop an evil person from committing evil - they just find another method of doing it.

Guns, bombs, knives, hammers, you name it - you can write laws banning all of them, but until you get rid of the evil in the hearts of those who would use them for harm, you cannot cure the problem.

Jesus is the only solution for violence in the world today.
Jesus can stop the violence in schools - if He was allowed there.
Jesus can stop the violence in our streets - but he's barely tolerated there.
Jesus can stop the apathy in our churches - if we'd let Him.

But it's too much trouble.

And so we whine about the pain and suffering around us. We beg our elected officials to 'do something' about it.

Because we don't want to take the time to get our hands dirty and reach out to the sin-ridden people in our cities; because we don't want to make the time to pray, fast and beseech almighty God to have mercy on our nation - because if we do, He might ask US to do something about it.

And that's too much trouble.

More government, more laws are not the answer.
More God is the answer - and until the Christians get up off of their self-righteous little backsides and learn to love people and help them out of their sin instead of judging them for doing what comes naturally to every human being that has no moral code to live by, nothing is going to get better.

In the words of a great children's book author:

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.”  (― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax)

If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 
 (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)

Note: I have no idea what the bombs used in the bombing today were made of - I just used fertilizer as an illustration because it is readily available in large quantities, and bombs can be made of it; I'm sure there are many other just-as-readily-available items that they make bombs out of as well. May as well make laws about those, too, while we're at it! :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Wreath Project

Alrighty, folks,
Do I have any Pinterest addicts up in here? Come on, step right up - don't be shy! :)

Hi. I'm Gillian. And I spend WAAAAAYYYYY too much time on Pinterest.

But where else would I find inspiration for projects like this one?

So, I was wandering about on Pinterest one day and I spied this wreath. 

"Why," I says to myself, "I could do that!"

So I pin it.

Now the wreath the I had on my door at the time, while nice enough, is kind of dark colors, a bit more suited for winter, and my door is a rather drab grayish teal color, so something was needing to change - it's spring after all! I can't do much about the door - we rent - so it was going to have to be the wreath!

Well, a few days after I pinned the image above, I was wandering around in Dollar Tree and saw the display of silk flowers which just happened to have some bright springy tulips on it. 

"Why," I says to myself, "I could make that wreath!"

So I picked up a few bunches of tulips and a roll of ribbon; then, while I was at Walmart, I grabbed a grapevine wreath and we were all set!

After about 30 minutes of snipping and wiring, this is what I came up with: 

Please, pardon the blurriness - my small people seem to enjoy putting fingerprints on my camera lens, which I don't usually discover until AFTER I take pictures - and find them all blurry in certain spots.

My biggest problem with it is that Walmart only the smaller size wreaths in at the time, and rather than wait or drive somewhere else to find a bigger one I just went with what they had - I'm impatient like that! :) It would look better if it was bigger, but it's a nice bright springy spot on an otherwise drab spot. 


Flowers: $4
Ribbon: $1
Wreath: Around $2.50 (don't remember exactly)
Total: $7.50

(I used a small amount of florists wire, but I normally have that on hand. I could have also used hot glue, but that would have required me figuring out what I did with it when we moved. Wire was easier.)

Obviously, you can tell if you really want to that it's made of el cheapo flowers - but for something that's going to hang outside in this Louisiana weather (which destroys things pretty rapidly), I'm not about to pay $5 a stem for nice flowers - I'm cheap like that.

Mostly, it's pretty and colorful - and that makes me happy!

Friday, April 5, 2013

This Is My Song!

I love music.

I know, big revelation...that should be pretty obvious to anyone who knows me - I mean, after all, my husband and I have been singing together pretty much since the day we met, we've been music ministers and song evangelists, and our cd collection pretty much would take over the house if we let it. It's not just a 'LIKE', it's pretty much our LIFE.

It's been a big part of my life from the time I was very small. Growing up, we had music playing in our house most of the time. My mother plays the piano, all of my siblings play instruments; by the time I left home we had not one, not two, but THREE pianos in our house. One was an upright grand that my mom has had for eons (it was so big and heavy my dad had to brace the floor in all of their homes to hold it- but boy did it have some resonance to it!), then when I was probably 8-10 they bought another smaller spinet-type upright for my sister to practice on, and when I was in my teens Dad rescued one from a college fraternity home that he was remodeling - a baby grand that had been trashed by the guys. They had it rebuilt and have it (and the others!) to this day. Many times Mom and I would each take a piano and play together.
But it wasn't just the instrumental music - we sang everything! It wasn't uncommon for us to ask each other questions in song - or to make up new (and often odd) words to an old song. On our 45+ minute trip to church three times a week, we'd take an old hymnal and sing the songs - if we didn't know them we'd learn them! 
Music was a way of life for us.

But there was one thing I never understood...

As much as we sang, played, made a joyful noise, etc. it always slightly puzzled me when Mom would start singing old hymns out of the blue.
She'd be minding her own business, maybe working around the house or in the garden, and you'd hear her start humming; after a while, you start to hear snippets of words coming through, then she'd break out in, "This is my Stoooory, this is my song! Praising my Saviour all the day long!" 

That song just didn't make much sense to me.

What was  the story?! WHY was she singing about 'praising the Saviour all the day long'?!

I wasn't exactly a heathen, folks. I grew up in church - at LEAST three times a week, every night during revival - if the doors were open, the Graham family was THERE. I knew the songs, I knew the stories.
But that song still didn't make sense.
It mostly aggravated me when she'd sing the lyrics wrong - maybe part of the third verse when she was singing the second verse, that sort of thing. But it didn't matter to her whether she sang it in the right order or not - she was just singing the words that meant something to her right then.

Fast forward a few years...

One day I learned the meaning in those words - and it's now one of MY favorite songs:

"Blessed Assurance - Jesus is mine!
Oh, what foretaste of Glory Divine!
I'm an heir of Salvation, purchase of Blood
Born of the Spirit, washed in His blood!"

I understand now - this IS my story!  Jesus IS mine! And because I'm an heir of Salvation I can praise my Saviour all the day long! I, who once longed for peace to come in all the jumbled chaos of my heart can sing it - and mean it -

"Perfect Submission, All is at rest!
I, in my Saviour, am happy and blest!"

Life's not always easy - we've had our share of very big problems. But God is gracious and merciful - and a very present help in time of trouble! And even in the trials I'm still blessed - and happy in my Saviour; even though I don't always understand how He's working, I know that He's working for my good.

And every once in a while, I'll be going along, minding my own business, maybe doing housework, maybe not, and I'll break out in a rousing chorus of,

"This is my Stoooory, This is my Sooooong!
Praising my Saviour all the day long!"

And my kids look at me like I just sprouted whiskers and a tail and say,
"Mom, could you stop singing - you're being too loud!"

And I just tell them, "Nope, can't do it!" 

Lord willing - They'll understand one day.