The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Monday, January 28, 2013

White and Gold -- A Georgia Wedding

As I share images from this very special wedding, I will share the story of this lovely young woman I met many years ago.

When I met her, Joanna was only seven, but she immediately took up special residence in my heart.  My Jacob, just a little older than she, was having trouble making friends.  After the first homeschool event of that particular school year, he shared excitedly with me about how he had made a new friend, and her name was Joanna.  At home, I scoured our group's address directory to find a family with a girl named Joanna.  I thought I knew everyone in our group!  Then, I found their names--they had just joined.

I remembered meeting the mom when I drove to their house with a packet of information about our group (I was the contact person).  I had politely refused her friendly invitation to come in, since my four little guys were getting cranky and irritable from running errands half the day, so I never got to meet the rest of their family.  I determined to seek out that mom again!

The next time I saw that family, I introduced myself to the mother, Dee, and told her about Jacob making friends with Joanna.  We shared great conversation, and a beautiful friendship began.

I'm sure you've read Dee's name here before!  She is, after all, and for all intents and purposes, my sister--my little sister, to be exact.  Over the years, she became a true sister--very different from me in personality, but alike in all the ways that matter.  Her family became "siblings" to my family, and we spent countless hours together over the next nine years.

We biked to their house, played games together, laughed, cried, and shared meals together.   I had the special privilege for a season of tutoring Joanna in flute.  We worked together for one hour every Thursday, and payment was that Dee cooked dinner for both our families.  After tutoring, I ran out to pick up Fernando from work, and brought him back to dinner at the T. home.  Of course, we couldn't just eat and leave!  One must play games, sit and talk, laugh, all of it!  We usually didn't get home until 10:30 or 11:00 at night.  Our one-hour flute session turned into about seven hours of fun.  :)

Let me recount one of my favorite memories.  One day, we biked over, and my guys all ran off with J. and S.  Joanna, Dee, and I ended up in the kitchen.  I asked Dee, "So, what are we doing today?"

She replied, "Organizing my kitchen."  Yeah, she grinned when she said that.

I said, "Really??"  (Organizing is one of my favorite things to do.)

Joanna and I both grinned at each other.

Within fifteen minutes, here was the scene in the kitchen:  Dee sat happily at the kitchen table, working a crossword (or a Sudoku) and chatting away with Joanna and me.  Meanwhile, Joanna and I worked happily together, emptying cabinets, discovering three different open bags of flour, collecting all the spices together, and getting things in tip-top shape.  Can you see why Joanna was so special to me?  I just loved that girl, and over the years watched her grow into a beautiful, godly teenager.

Then, they moved away.

A few short years later, Joanna married Jonathan.  There was no way we'd miss the wedding.  This, after all, was family.

All six of us drove down to Georgia, got dressed for the wedding, and went to the church.  We sat in one row of chairs, somewhere in the middle on the bride's side.  No special seats, no place of honor.  This was to be expected, of course.  (I'm not vain!)  But it seemed odd, somehow.

We hadn't even seen them before the wedding!  Then, there was Dee in the doorway, all dressed up and so pretty as the mother of the bride!  I burst into tears; I was a mess already!  The bridesmaids and flower girl walked in, and then--there she was, with her dad, calm and radiant.

The ceremony came to an end.  The reception passed by just as quickly, so I sought Joanna out and gave her a hug.  One long, tender embrace which held the emotions of all those years of precious memories.  It wasn't enough.

Fernando got a hug, too.  :)

Then the reception hall emptied.  We were some of the last ones out; but, what a privilege to see the couple walking out of the church, hand-in-hand to the waiting crowd and to their car.

We watched from behind as Jonathan got Joanna settled in their car amid the cheers, laughter, and applause of the crowd.  Then they drove away.

She was gone.

I treasured all those memories as I silently said my goodbyes.  This daughter of my heart is no longer there; that season is over.  When I see her again, a new season will begin--I will call her friend.

Back to life,

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Going South in January

We just went south!  In a good way, really.  South is a great place to go in January.  :)

We visited our close friends who moved to Georgia.  Dee is really more like my little sister; we simply have different fathers and mothers.  But for all intents and purposes, she's my sister.  And her daughter got married.  So we drove down for a special wedding and a mini winter getaway.  (If you read my photography blog, you may have read about Joanna's wedding shower which was held up here in Chicagoland last autumn.)

We weren't sure where we were going to stay for the first few nights we were there.  Fernando had hotel points he could spend, but Dee and her family are pretty much super-well-loved wherever they've lived, and they had several friends who offered accommodations to anyone coming down for the wedding.  The R. family hosted us in the apartment above their garage.  We were simply amazed at this apartment retreat!

I spliced together several images to get the above panorama.  The apartment was simply beautiful, a sweet, cozy retreat.  I'd love to share it with you, via these photos.  :)

The eating area featured a sweet table, complete with table spread, place mats, and napkins.

This pretty little clock graced the desk at the entrance.

On the other side of the desk was an artful display for books, complemented by a nightlight lantern.  Sweet!

Opposite the entrance stood the bed, against the wall with a round hobbit-style window.

The nightstand.

The dresser.

I would have never thought to use plates to decorate.  :)

The bathroom was also beautifully decorated.

Seriously pretty towel bucket!  And with French!!  I loved it.

We never gave a thought to the fact that we were staying above the garage.  The R. family had gone all out to furnish and decorate this haven.  Kris (the wife) shared with me about how they had built the apartment for her husband's mother, but how she was never able to live there due to illness.  Instead, the R.'s have freely shared their haven, as they shared it with us.  Their generous gift of hospitality was indescribably appreciated by the six of us.

Back to life,

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Exploring My Shape -- Short Apple

A short apple.  That's what I figured out, anyway, through hours of intensive research late one night.  Well, two hours, anyway.  And as intense as one can get when one is tired but can't fall asleep.

Anyway, it comes down to this:  a short apple.  That's what my body type is, apparently.  An "apple" shape is not necessarily an overweight body, though I can stand to lose a few pounds.  Generally, it's one whose shoulder width is about the same as one's hips, who is fairly straight all the way down but with a larger bust.  Plus, the key--one who tends to gain weight primarily in the tummy.  Well, that's pretty much me.  Add the "short" in (I'm 5' 2") and I was all set with my "official shape."  Now to figure out what clothing styles look good on me...

The color part was easier--Fernando loves color, and I'm happy to oblige.  I've figured out that primary colors are best with my skin coloring, and bright colors work better than pale ones--though pastels are good if they're a "faded primary."  Here's a very recent pic of me (thanks, Danny!) to show you that "faded primary" pastels can look good.

As for style--well, that's a little more difficult.  I have five men in my life, and although they can tell me if they like something I'm wearing, they're useless when it comes to what actually looks good.  Fernando likes almost everything I wear (which is good, I suppose!)  What a pickle I'm in!

From my research, I've found that V-necks are better than rounded ones, and empire waistlines cover/hide the tummy.  Shirts whose hems fall at the hip line are good, as well as ones that flare out slightly at that point.  Also, A-line skirts are better than straight ones.  All of these style characteristics help give definition and curves to my body shape.  Several websites added shorter (as in above-knee-length) skirts to de-emphasize height, but that's just a little too short for me, generally speaking.  I'll stick with A-line skirts.  :)

Here are a few self-portraits, which frankly speaking, are rather scary to post.  I'm not the best-shaped person out there, duh.  However, these pictures have really helped me figure out what looks good, since I can see myself "outside of myself" and figure out if something looks good, and/or hides what needs to be hidden.  This has helped me on my quest to find the right clothing when I'm out shopping.

My analysis of the above Christopher & Banks top and skirt:   The skirt is not the best, since it has pockets, seams, and other bulk, but one must have a denim skirt, and it is an A-line and very comfortable.  The blouse is V-neck, and the seams and stitching along the front add shape to my waist.

My analysis:  The skirt is from Kohl's ($13 on sale with a coupon and my mom's senior discount!), and I found the top at Goodwill.  I love the flowing sleeves, which are 3/4 length, another favorite.  To compensate for the extremely low V-neck, I spent quite a few bucks on a bra that has a modesty panel in it.  I've tried layers, but don't look good in them; they just add bulk to my upper frame.  So the bra-with-panel works for those really low V-necks where I need a little more modesty, while still showing the V shape that adds shape to my figure.

Well, that's it for this little post.  I'll post more as I continue to get the confidence to take pictures of myself, and as I find clothing that works for my short apple figure.  See you at the store!

Back to life,

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