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November 30, 2014

goodbye November

It seems my infrequent blog posts have served as a way to mark time this month.  I am either saying hello or goodbye to something.  I suppose that's reflective of this season of my life.  I have been both humbled and enlightened around every corner.

I shared with you earlier in the month that my brother is facing a critical illness and I am so overjoyed to report that the battle is going very well.  He is not quite midway through the process and his doctor is pleased with how things are progressing.

Watching him has reminded me of how precious this life, with all it's imperfections, is.  In my most childish moments I can be guilty of lamenting over the fact that my life didn't turn out just as I had planned, I can spend time in self pity and wallow in a bit of narcissistic "why me's".  Believing I know what's best and that I have control of things that I don't.

"Problems are a part of life.  They are inescapable: woven into the very fabric of this fallen world.  You tend to go into problem-solving mode all too readily, acting as if you have the capacity to fix everything. This is a habitual response, so automatic that it bypasses your conscious thinking.  Not only does this habit frustrate you, it also distances you from Me.".  Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Now I am making a more conscious effort not to go there.  To spend my time being thankful for all I do have instead of moaning about what I don't have or what didn't go according my plans.  I am asking my friends to pray for me to let go of disappointment, to not let it turn into bitterness and to embrace each day with a joy filled and thankful heart.

So as I say goodbye to November, I do so not clutching my hands trying to hold on or shaking my fist in frustration but with my arms wide open ready to embrace all the miracles that December has waiting.

xo, Patty

November 26, 2014

talking pies and fashion Wednesday

Is it weird that I love the day before Thanksgiving almost as much as Thanksgiving Day itself?  I think it's the anticipation of what's ahead.  The food and family and memories to be made.

Today is pie making day for me.  In my ongoing quest to master the art of crust making, I am trying the half butter, half shortening version making sure to use ice cold water and to chill the crust a half hour before assembling the pies.

I am making a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie for tomorrow.  Last year I tried a chocolate pecan pie and while it was good, it didn't quite seem the same.  I figure if I only make pecan pie once a year I'll stick with the classic version.  As for the pumpkin, I just use Libby's pumpkin pie mix in the can instead of adding my own spices to real pumpkin but my family thinks it's delicious that way so I'm good with that.

Now on to this weeks fashion challenge (which by the way has seriously cut into my consumption of pies)...

The challenge pieces were a white blouse, khaki pants, denim jacket and leopard flats.  Since we've been enjoying gorgeous weather in the upper 70's and low 80's, (I know, don't hate) I went with a denim vest instead of the jacket.  I added a mustard tank and the blue polka dot scarf.  I'd hoped to take a few more pictures this week but time just got away from me.  I'm sure you know how that goes.  Please take a minute and visit the other fashion challenge bloggers joining in at the link below.

Now it's your turn...  Any pie or fashion chatter on your mind?

xo, Patty

Deena | Joy | Dee | Leslie | Patty | Shawnee | Shaunta

November 24, 2014

before or after Thanksgiving...

It seems there are two camps on the whole decorating for Christmas issue...before or after Thanksgiving.  I say to each his own.

I have been fighting the urge to begin my Christmas decorating before Thanksgiving especially with all the creative inspiration that abounds at every turn but I have stuck to my guns but I have friends and family who have happily started readying their homes and I say hallelujah to that as well because I know I get to go and enjoy the fruit of their hard labors of love.  It takes them a good while to set all that splendor up and they want time to enjoy it before the holiday is over.

About ten years ago I started giving myself the first week of December to get all the decorating done for the Christmas holiday.  Prior to that I would find myself still decorating on Christmas Eve completely stressed out and having missed out on much of the celebration leading up to the big day.

As a full time working mom I only had the weekends to decorate, bake and create memories with my girls so I went full steam ahead sometimes even wrapping gifts on Christmas morning to be delivered later that day!

Now that I am able to be a full time stay at home wife and grandma I could easily begin the decor before December first but now I choose to wait for me.  The anticipation of pulling those boxes out after the Thanksgiving meal and leftovers are but a beautiful memory is my gift to myself.

I still give myself a one week time frame to get it all up but now when the end of the week comes, I can blow a collective sigh of relief and begin to enjoy the true celebration with my grand kids.  Sure, most years I don't put out as many decorations as I would like to but that's okay as long as the twinkle lights are glowing and the nativity scene has found it's special place no one seems to notice.

What they do notice is a wife/mom/grandma who is ready to be fully present for baking, movie watching and singing off key to all our favorite Christmas carols.  The trade off to a perfectly decked out home is totally worth it.

xo, Patty

November 19, 2014

catching up and a fashion challenge

I know some of you are already experiencing snow and all manner of wintery wonders but here in Southern California the weather has finally settled on gloriously autumnish.  I prepped the back garden with new pansies and fresh mulch before my daughters baby shower and it is still providing plenty of blooms and even some new growth.

I am thrilled to report that my brother is doing well.  The first portion of his procedure went beyond good and now we are just waiting for the second part next week.

I'm embarrassed to admit that my front porch is still sporting a bit of Halloween decor but I've decided at this point to just leave it until I decorate for Christmas next weekend.  It will be a small group for Thanksgiving and I know they won't mind the candy corn banner or a wayward spider or two out front on their way in the door.

I joined the nicest group of ladies in a fashion challenge called Build Your Wardrobe Basics.  It is a styling service put on by Alison from Get Your Pretty On and Cyndi from Walking in Grace and Beauty.  Basically you are given a list of clothing pieces to gather and they show you how to take those basic pieces and style them for 21 days.  This is my second challenge and I am hooked.  I found myself in a clothing rut and this has really jump started my desire to look nice for those who see me everyday in the same old capri pants and t-shirt.

I'm joining a group of bloggers in posting our thoughts and photos every Wednesday during the challenge.  This is only week one so I just have one outfit to show you today but next week I hope to have a few more.

The basic pieces on this day were, the chambray shirt, dressy black pants and black boots.  Since I was busy watching the baby all day, nice pants and heels were definitely not going to happen so I opted for boyfriend jeans and leopard flats.  (This is where I insert how awkward it is to take pictures of yourself and post them, trust me, this is definitely way out of my comfort zone.)

I layered a white sleeveless blouse and white camisole under the chambray shirt and added a belt to give the hint of waistline under the loose fitting top.  I chose some silver and black jewelry I already owned as well as a turquoise statement necklace to finish it off.

I can't tell you how much better I felt about myself just putting this little bit of effort into my appearance.

The link to the other bloggers doing the challenge is on my side bar.  Go over and take a look at what they did with the basics and leave them a few kind words while your there.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and I hope to be back soon.

xo, Patty

chambray shirt - Old Navy
leopard flats - Kohls

November 11, 2014

and sometimes life happens...

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you know how fond I am of lists and schedules.  I love to plan and organize and imagine what my days, weeks and months will look like.  I do not do well with the unexpected, hectic or chaotic, it makes me a bit unsettled and nervous.

I like to control what I can all the while knowing I am not really in control of anything and trusting completely in the One who is.

I am a firm believer in preparation for events and even the everyday.  I think most people appreciate knowing that their days have a certain order and familiarity to them, so I do my best to stay on top of things.  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes life happens.

This last month or so has had a lot of the "life happens" stuff in it.  Some of it fun, like baby showers, redecorating and babysitting but some of it has been hard to understand like watching my brother face a serious illness and courageously encouraging everyone around him as he does what is needed to beat it.  (He is undergoing intense treatment but the prognosis is good, thank God.)

I sent my sister in law a quick text of encouragement last week reminding her that before the foundation of the earth God knew that she and my brother would walk this walk and that He had spent her life equipping her and surrounding her with people to come along side her.  Today she paid back those encouraging words with a few of her own.  She said that God placed me within 10 minutes of the hospital that would be treating my brother to use me as a sweet blessing to them.  To be her feet for errands and her arms for additional comfort.

So if I am a bit spotty in my posts over the next month or so and you think of me, pray that all is well and that I can be what and where I am needed most and that I never lose sight of the Author and Perfecter of life.

xo, Patty

November 6, 2014

a little fall decor

It has been a busy couple of weeks as I prepare for my oldest daughters baby shower this weekend.  With just about everything ready to go I thought I'd share a couple of the fall touches I've added around the house starting with the mantel.

With the exception of a few colorful pumpkins and a new fall banner everything looks pretty much the same.  I did change out the artwork to this new thankful heart piece I created.

I also added a mixed media block to the top of the wine cupboard along with my favorite fall mug.

My daughter chose lavender and green as the colors in the girls room (the new baby and big sister will share a room) and requested new banners to hang over their beds so I decided to go with that color scheme for the shower.  I love the combo and can't wait to put it all together.  Hopefully I will remember to take a few pictures before the festivities begin.  No promises though...I always start out with the best intentions and get caught up in the moment and nary a photo is snapped.

Happy Friday all and have a wonderful Novemberisque weekend!

xo, Patty

* 5x7 prints of the thankful heart artwork and the fall banner are available in my etsy shop.