Friday, February 27, 2015

Farmwife Fashion: Episode One-Cute but NOT Cheap

Well, it isn't really episode one, but I'm too lazy to look back and see how many times I actually have posted Friday Fashion Fun, so we are starting FRESH today with a new little series with a new name!

(Isn't blogging fun? I can imagine all of you (5? 10? 1?) smiling and saying you are fine with that as we rub our hands together with the excitement of pretty clothes.)


I got a facebook message the other day telling me I should share some clothing that I think everyone should have in her closet. I was shocked and flattered that someone wanted fashion advice from me, but I also thought it would be fun. So here we go!

My Current Fab Fashion Finds-Pricey Edition..........

ONE......The Blardigan

I learned about this little jewel (stay with me here-it's a 6 degree of separation thing) from one of my best friends who received one from her daughter who read about it on the great fashion blog Pinterest Told Me To. Debbie told me I HAD to have one the first time I saw her wear hers. 

It is a little piece of fashion-heaven here on earth-versatile, comfortable, cute. The only draw back is the price. It is an expensive little thing but I think it is worth every penny because you will not want to take it off. I have worn my gobs in the month or so that I have owned it. 

I even had to set boundaries for myself.....

Susan-You CANNOT wear this half blanket/half cardigan every single day. 

The cost per wear will be a negative number before it is worn out. So see. It's basically free!

This cute blogger is wearing it very well!

I got mine from Nordstrom in white/pewter ombre.

Two........The booties

I started seeing these cuties on fashion bloggers and knew I wanted a pair. This was my first time wearing Sam Edelman shoes, but once again these pricey booties are worth the price to me. 

They are more fashion forward than the tall boots everyone and their dog (including me) has been wearing and wearing and wearing.

And they are comfortable-wear all day comfy, the first day out. Adorable with cropped and rolled jeans, I also think they will look great with a skirt or dress that is the right length.

Here they are in this little outfit which I am totally going to copy tomorrow.

I ordered mine from Amazon with free shipping and no tax. But now Illinois has changed all that and we are charged tax now. Thanks, Springfield.

Three......J Crew Military Jacket

I have pined for this jacket for several years, but I just couldn't justify shelling out the dough. I didn't know how much I would wear it and how versatile it would be. 

I finally bit the bullet when I found it at a J Crew outlet store with an additional percentage off. I think I paid around $75 or it. You can buy it 25% off here. If you look, you might find something similar at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I bought a similar sleeveless vest at a reasonable price at Marshalls that I have worn a bunch, too. 

And I am so glad I did. I have worn it several times and love how it ramps up an outfit and it is warm. So far, I have mainly worn it as I would a blazer, but I know I will enjoy it a lot this spring and fall as a lightweight coat.

I love the way this fashionista paired it with a skirt. I haven't done that yet, but now I will.

Four.....Black Leather Jacket

I bought a vegan black leather jacket at Marshalls last year and have worn the heck out of it. It keeps me warm and adds an extra sumthin' sumthin' to whatever I wear it with. I have worn it over dresses, with jeans, with skirts, blouses, sweaters, t-shirts. It is really a 3 season jacket for me. 

You need one!

Love this cool outfit from whowhatwear, don't you?

I really like this Topshop number and it is under $100 and is soooooo cute. 

Five......Gingham Shirt

If you don't have a gingham shirt, you must order one ASAP. They are the cutest things ever and for me, they are a neutral that can be mixed and matched with just about anything.

Mine is navy J Crew Outlet, but I think any color would be great. I've had mine for probably 3 years and it still looks great even though it has been laundered many times.

Don't know what to wear?

 Gingham Shirt + Just About Anything + Cute Shoes=READY!

I follow Mindy Mae's Market on Instagram. Do you?

I haven't ordered anything yet, but have been sorely tempted, especially by this.....

If you search pinterest for gingham shirts, you will get tons of outfit inspiration.

BTW-Look for me on insty under vintagefarmwife.

Well, ladies, that is it for today. I'd love to hear what you think about the five pieces I love from my own wardrobe that have become  go-to items. 

What are your closet favorites? Please share in the comment sections. 

Let's help each other avoid the frump and fashion-up! You can catch up with my other Friday Fashion Fun posts here.


Linking to....
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Theology of Anne Shirley

Nature comforts me.
 It is hard to believe that it has been well over a month since our dear baby sister went to be with Jesus, but time marches on. You can read a little about Amy's amazing life here.

I've spent a lot of time the past 30+ days thinking and grieving and processing what happened and I know I am not finished yet. All of us were given great advice by our cousin, Ted, who preached her service, when he told us to grieve as long as we needed, but let grief lead to gratitude for the time we spent with her and acknowledgment of God's grace through it all.

Grief. Gratitude. Grace.

I've been experiencing large doses of all three. Brad has taken wonderful care of me and I've been nice to myself, too. I've eaten Comfort Food and read Comfort Books.

I've picked up and discarded many books during this season, trying to occupy my mind. Some of them I would have read all the way through previously, but now they just seem stupid.

Or too preachy.

Or taking an outraged stand against something that just isn't that important.

However, being an avid reader, I needed a book to read, so I turned to an old favorite, Anne of Green Gables. I have loved Anne ever since first reading and discussing the whole series with my grandma. That was when my boys were small and I needed an escape from their escapades! Granddad had recently passed away and Grandma needed an escape too. 

I felt then and now that Anne and I were Kindred Spirits. She makes me smile.

Little did I know this time in my reading, I would discover the theology of Anne Shirley. And I like it! Her adorable ways of wording things were like little hugs for me.

Here are just a few of my favorite word hugs from book one as Anne begins to learn about her Heavenly Father:

Hug One-Her first prayer after being instructed by Marilla to thank God for her blessings and ask Him humbly for the things she wanted:

Gracious heavenly Father, I thank Thee for the White Way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters and Bonny and the Snow Queen. I'm really extremely grateful for them. And that's all the blessings I can think of just now to thank Thee for. As for the things I want, they're so numerous that it would take a great deal of time to name them all, so I will only mention the two most important. Please let me stay at Green Gables; and please let me be good-looking when I grow up. I remain, "Yours respectfully, "Anne Shirley.
Such a sweet trusting prayer from a little girl, don't you think?

 Hug Two- Anne's declaration about Diana's mother after the unfortunate incident when Anne accidentally got Diana intoxicated and tried desperately to apologize for it.

There is nothing more to do except to pray and I haven't much hope that that'll do much good because, Marilla, I do not believe that God Himself can do very much with such an obstinate person as Mrs. Barry.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have had similar feelings about people. True confession.

Hug Three-God really spoke to Anne through nature, just as He does to many of us.

Oh, Matthew,isn't it a wonderful morning? The world looks like something God had just imagined for His own pleasure, doesn't it? Those trees look as if I could blow them away with a breath-pouf! I'm so glad I live in a world where there are white frosts, aren't you?

Hug Four- Remember the night Anne saved Diana's little sister from croup? Diana's mom changed her opinion about Anne after that and decided the two girls could be friends again.
I assure you Marilla that I feel like praying tonight and I'm going to think out a special brand-new prayer in honor of the occasion.
Hug Five-Anne's take on the human condition....

There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne, it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting. 
Hug Six-and on their new young minister....
I liked him because his sermon was interesting and he prayed as if he meant it and not just as if he did it because he was in the habit of it......Mrs. Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister's family.
I laughed out loud at that one!

I would love to have a conversation with the author, Lucy Maude Montgomery, who must have been quite an astute person-studier. She understood people from the inside out. I recognized parts of myself in many of the characters and my friends, family and neighbors in others.

What makes people tick  never really changes. We are basically the same in our hearts whether we lived years ago or in the present technological age.

And that is why I enjoy reading.

I learn so much from observing the actions and words of others.

It makes me wonder the story my life is telling. Is it the story of a judgmental, self centered person or of a kind, warm-hearted person who brings out the best in others?

With God's help, I pray there is a little bit of Anne Shirley in even me!

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Friday, January 9, 2015

How to Live with Cystic Fibrosis

Our sister, Amy’s obituary gives the nuts and bolts of her life, but it doesn't begin to describe the real Amy- the daughter, sister, wife, aunt, or friend that she was to us.

Amy’s life started in a special way with her birth on Christmas Day, 1964. She was a beautiful healthy baby with parents and 2 sisters who were totally delighted with her. Unfortunately, early on it was evident that she was not the healthy child we all assumed her to be. After being ill many times, Amy was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 6 months, and our world was turned upside down. Doctors and nurses became not someone only seen for a yearly checkup, but a constant presence in her life. Often times, they became close friends that she stayed in touch with through email and Facebook.

In many ways, Amy was the perfect patient. Even as a very young child, she didn’t fuss about taking the nasty medicine she had to eat mixed in with applesauce or mashed potatoes before every meal or sleeping in her mist tent every night.  Her sweet personality served her very well as she followed the advice of her health care providers and did whatever they asked her to do.

CF was a very real part of her life, but it didn't define her. Mom and dad could have put her in a “bubble” but they ddidn't They allowed and encouraged her to live a normal life. She played summer ball, was in 4-H, took piano lessons, rode her bike, swam in the pond, had play dates with her friends, rode the 3 wheeler, and was active at church.  She even played the flute and marched with the band. Most people probably had no idea what a miracle and blessing it was for her to do all this because she never complained when she didn't feel well or used her illness as a way to avoid things she didn't want to do.

A sweet, nature- loving boy entered her life when his dad became the preacher at our church. Sparks flew early on between Robert and Amy and by the time they graduated from high school, it was evident they were a match. They were married June 14, 1986, and Amy could not have had a better husband. Robert loved her so well! He encouraged and supported her in whatever she wanted to do and we never heard him complain once as he became, not just a husband, but also joined Karen as her primary caregivers when her medical condition worsened.

He helped her live a fun and exciting life as they traveled all across the United States, including tent camping across the west with Karen and Kim and, most recently, gator riding with Brian, Melissa, and Cameron in the mountains of West Virginia this past summer. She even went parasailing once, something her scaredy- cat older sisters have never done! They spent many happy weekends camping at camp “Could-a-Guy” with the Griffeths and Kellers. Robert also shared her willingly with her closest friend, Amanda, as they antiqued and shopped till they dropped.

Even though Amy and Robert were unable to have children of their own, Amy was a baby magnet. She was crazy about her nephews, nieces, and the children of her friends, and the feeling was mutual. Most recently, she showered love and attention on her 4 great nieces and the Carr grandchildren.  I’m guessing she is rocking babies in heaven now.

A book could be written about her medical history, and we’re  sure her doctors learned much through her struggles that they will use to help others.  God brought her back from the brink of death many times and we are so grateful for the extra time with her that He granted us. She was eternally grateful to the donor whose lungs she received almost 19 years ago.

Amy was a walking miracle and such an encouragement to others suffering with medical conditions. We saw her smiling face and kind words uplift others many times. We are comforted and delighted that she was able to donate her eyes and someone else is seeing the world through them today. We hope God uses them to make a difference in the world.

Amy’s life is an example to all of us of how to wring the best out of the good days and face the difficult ones with dignity and strength.  She was dearly loved and will be sorely missed until we join her in heaven.
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

What to Do When you are Sick of Opinions

Warning: We interrupt this Advent season to present a post that is totally unrelated to anything festive or spendy. But I need to get this off my chest.

I've been worn out lately with my need to have opinions about things. Big things. Little things.

  • The Kardashian mom's hairstyle-even though it's cute, I don't want to look like HER. 
  • Mrs. Obama's lunch program.
  • The way Chris was "sexualized" during this season of The Voice. 
  • Immigration. I have a question. Why does everyone in the world want to be an American and those of us who were born in the country and are 3rd 4th or 5th generation Americans constantly complain about everything that is wrong with our country and government.?????? I am guilty myself.
  • Knit or Crochet?

I'm sick of wasting my brain cells and "thinking" time on crises that are none of my bizwax.

Yesterday, this was brought to my attention in a new way.

I spent the morning with my parents in a little waiting room in a hospital surgery center, waiting for my mom to have a procedure. (Thankfully, everything was fine. But we have to wonder if the hospital had an opening to fill, found a senior citizen who might need a test, and called and told them it was scheduled. Hmmm. Surely not, cynical self.)

A short wait turned into a long one and dad turned on the TV. (My parents just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and my dad's 85th birthday. You can read about it here..) These two are the original hard workers and watching the boob tube in the morning is just not in their regular routine- or mine.

Imagine our Shock and Awe when we discovered there was not one TV judge, but MANY.

Dad and I  watched with horror and, I must admit, a certain level of curiosity as these weirdos presented their cases before real-life judges in a courtroom. These cases involved friendship, condoms, hot sauce, bottle rockets, car payments, guitar classes, LA Lakers, hairless men, best friends, and a marriage proposal.

Who needs soap operas?

We laughed at them. We argued their points. We laid down the verdicts.

We agreed that we could never be real life judges because we have an aversion to stupidity.

I just about fell off my chair when I googled this morning and discovered all of these judges with their own TV shows:

Judge Alex
Judge Wapner's Animal Court
Judge David Young
Judge Hatchett
Judge Joe Brown
Judge Judy 
Judge Karen
Judge Maria Lopez
Judge Mathis
Judge Mills Lane
Moral Court
The People's Court
Power of Attorney

"Say What?"  she giggles in amazement.

I guess I am not the only one who is interested in judging and opinion-ing.

What is the deeper meaning of all of this? 

I'm beginning to wonder if all of this nosiness and concern and judgment of others  is really just an avoidance mechanism to keep from digging deep into our own messes. 

To avoid dealing with hard issues in our own hearts and minds.

Hmmm. What do you think?

The next time I spend a lot of words expressing opinions and listening to opinions and forming opinions, I'm going to pray and ask how all this relates to the condition of my heart. And then deal with it. 

Court dismissed.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

What to Buy for Christmas

Hello, Friends!

Hope you are having a wonderful advent season. I grew up in an evangelical church that didn't follow the "church" calendar, but it seems like this year all Christians are focusing on Advent. I'm glad, aren't you?

There are so many distractions that take our focus off the Christ child but keeping up with O Come Let Us Adore Him with She Reads Truth has really helped me.  (You could easily double up and catch up!)

I'm also focusing on the birth of our Savior in my Prairie Blessings Holy Yoga classes. (I'd love you to follow me on Facebook.) I'm loving my favorite Spotify playlists here, and here.

Gosh, I am sounding kind of bossy. Go here. Go here. Go there. Forgive me!

Many bloggers have posted gift giving guides and I know you don't really need help from little ole me, but just in case you have a few people left to buy for, here are 3 of my FAVORITE things right now.

Item One:  Before Amen by Max Lucado

I LOVE this book and it is changing and deepening my prayer life. Well, God is doing the work, but He is using the words of Max to facilitate. Prayer is becoming less "something I do because I feel like I should" and more "how could I not speak to my Heavenly Father". This is something I have struggled with well, forever.

There I said it.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

Prayer is conversation with God while driving to work or awaiting an appointment or before interacting with a client.

We speak. He listens. He speaks. We listen. This is prayer in its purest form. God changes his people through such moments.

Gratitude is a dialysis of sorts. It flushes the self-pity out of our systems.

You must get a copy and read it. Please.

Item Two: Holy Yoga TV

For a minimum donation of $10 per month, subscribers can have monthly access to 4 brand new Holy Yoga instructional videos as well as several from previous months. If you have always wanted to try it, here is your chance.  I love it! It is giving me a chance to take Christ-centered yoga classes from first rate instructors in my own home.

Did you know that Holy Yoga is considered the fastest growing "brand" of yoga? Woohoo! God is blessing!

Try it for a month and see for yourself. Of course, you will want to do it "live" if there is a teacher in your area!

Item 3: Uggs 

I can hardly believe I am suggesting this. I am a TJ Maxxinista and Target and outlet mall shopper. I rarely pay full price for anything, but I do enjoy clothes.

And I have cold feet.

Late last winter, I started reading reviews for Ugg boots-the exact boots that I had turned my nose up at because they are just so darn ugly.

And I have seen so many people wearing ugly knock-offs that were filthy and worn with pajama pants.

In public.

But, I went to the store and tried some on and they were so warm and toasty and the salesclerks assured me I would love them. I left the store without them because I just couldn't write that check for only 1 pair of shoes.

And then went back and bought them.

I love them. I wear them in the house almost all the time and now my feet are not freezing 24/7. I haven't gotten out my ugly rice sock and heated it in the microwave until it almost burns and the smoke detector goes off-not once.

My Uggs were pricey but my cold feet think they are worth every penny.

Over to you, girls! What are your top 3 gift suggestions?
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Monday, November 10, 2014

How To Plan An Anniversary Party

Earlier this fall we had a very special event here in the country. It involved many of my favorite things:

Good food.
Live music.
Fresh garden flowers.
And burlap.

We were blessed to honor and celebrate our parents, Ted and Alice, on their 60th wedding anniversary and my dad’s 85th birthday.

Sixty years with the same person. What an example and privilege!

When 50 years married rolled around, neither of them wanted the traditional-around-here- cake and punch reception. Instead, we all took a beach vacation together and had a great time.

Fast forward 10 years and their feelings changed. Realizing how rare and fortunate it is to be able to celebrate 60 years together and both still be in relatively good health, they happily agreed to a big blow-out this time.

We decided early in the year that we wanted to have a late summer hoedown in the beautiful park- like setting of my sister and brother –in-law’s backyard. And promptly put it on the back burner. That’s the way we roll.

As the summer breezed by, we finally “came-to” near the end of July and began to seriously plan and delegate responsibilities among we three sisters and my two ready and willing daughters-in-law. We decided who would be in charge of food, decorations, invitations, entertainment, and photography.

Coordinating an evening when the essential people were all available as well as the musicians and Rick, the BBQ Guy, was one of the more stressful parts of the whole thing! After much texting back and forth, we finally selected a date and kicked into high gear.

“A” started us off with the vibe we were looking for with some adorable invitations. They were just perfect. Originally, mom and dad thought the party would be just for family-around 100 people. The guest list kept growing and we ended up inviting over 200 people, and the majority of them came!

Sidebar: I wouldn't suggest doing the guest list and invites the way we did. We planned to only send paper  invitations to out-of-towners and those who were not on Facebook. We did the rest by private message since most of us planners ignore event invitations received on social media.

Disaster! It was hard for us to keep track of who we had actually invited, who had replied, who had read the message, etc.

For their 75th, we will send paper invitations to everyone.

We were so happy to have so many people who personally cared for our parents to provide the services we needed. The food was prepared with love and care and delicious BBQ sauce by the same community members who catered the high school graduation parties for our boys. They wheeled their smoker in the yard in the early morning hours and the food was SCRUMPTIOUS!

A family member prepared the delicious and beautiful cakes. We gave her free reign to decorate them however she wanted and we were so happy with the results. The cakes looked perfect and were so yummy that even skinny I-rarely-eat-dessert people had more than one piece. Good thing we ordered plenty!

We were able to borrow a tent and extra tables and chairs from church friends and family. Aren't we lucky to have friends who just happen to have their own tent? They like to have parties, obviously!

One of our cousins is in a blue-grass band, The Flat Mountain Boys, and their happy music provided the perfect background noise for all the visiting and reminiscing. Even though they were stuck on the “stage” most of the night, they played their hearts out and had a great time, too.

My mom is a "picture" person who has her walls covered with family photos, so we knew we needed to have some professional ones taken. Kristen, from Rake Photography, who is also my parents' neighbor, stayed from start to finish capturing so many things that we never would have been able to see while running around as hostesses. Her pictures were taken with love and it shows!

Our decorations really helped set the stage for a relaxed evening. Twinkling lights, mason jars, and burlap aided to the ambiance.

We used lots of garden flowers and "old stuff" from the family. whenever possible. My folks have really enjoyed all the cards they received.

We wanted to display some of my parents' wedding photos and my baby sister came up with these ideas. Aren't they adorable? She scanned the old photos, printed them, and stuffed some in jars that came from our mom or grandma's stash. 

Others were hung on this pallet "clothesline" with old pins. Amy made the burlap pennants and her husband drew the letters freehand-style. I would still be trying to get them all the same size and shape if I were doing it! You can get custom prints like these done on Shutterfly.

My parents are so cute, don't you think? They were married outside at her parents home in front of that cute little picket fence. And I love my mom's wedding suit and her going away dress.

Good food. Good music. Wonderful company. Laughing children. Cousins getting reacquainted and our children and grandchildren happily becoming friends, too. A hay ride. A photobooth.

Our goal was to have a FUN evening of food and fellowship with old friends, family, and neighbors. And to do it at a reasonable price.  I’m happy to report that we accomplished exactly that.

This turned out to be a perfect way to honor and celebrate our parents-our dad a Korean war veteran who still works hard on the farm everyday and is the rock of our family, and my mom, a retired elementary school secretary who delivers meals to shut-ins, is a hospice volunteer, gardens and quilts like a fool, and taught us all the gift of hospitality.

My parents have loved many, many people over the years and it was so fun to see that love returned to them on this happy night.

I'm working on the perfect ending to all this, a memory book that I will make on Shutterfly. I have used them several other times and I know that mom and dad will enjoy these pictures for years to come!

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