Big Mama Blog

Edition 5: Fashion Friday

On Wednesday, I met Gulley and AJ for lunch. We went to this little Mexican restaurant that we enjoy because they have the best migas tacos ever. And for those of y’all not familiar with the migas, it’s scrambled egg, cheese, and tortilla chips all cooked together and wrapped in a fresh flour tortilla.

I am fairly certain this taco is the answer to world peace.

Anyway, I like to order my taco with a side of refried beans. I enjoy dipping the cheese and egg combination into the refried beans. And that type of culinary dedication will probably make some cardiologist very wealthy some day. But in my defense, I drink a Diet Coke with this cholesterol-laden combo. I’m saving myself, like, 140 calories right there.

Maybe I’ve just never paid attention before, which is always a highly likely scenario, but when I got my check I realized that my side of order of refried beans cost $2.25. My taco cost $1.75.

How is a spoonful of smashed beans more expensive than an entire taco? Is there some kind of bean shortage that I’m not aware of? Is there a bean cartel that’s driving up the price of legumes?

And I obviously can’t get over it since I’m still talking about it almost 48 hours later. I realize I need to let it go and move on with my life. But seriously $2.25 for beans?

I realize that y’all are wondering how my highway robbery in the form of beans ties into Fashion Friday and, honestly, so am I. It’s a big leap from refried beans to fashion…but not as far as you may think.

And I have no idea what I’m talking about when I say that, it just sounds good.

I have decided that what my wardrobe is lacking, other than that coat from Anthropologie (I know. Stop with the coat already.), is some good accessories. I tend to go plain and simple. Diamond earrings, wedding ring, and an occasional necklace. That’s it.

The necklace decision is based on whether what I’m wearing looks good with one of the two necklaces I own that I actually like. It’s highly scientific.

So, I’ve been on the search for cute, CHEAP accessories. Sometimes quality counts, but right now I’m in search of quantity. Target and Forever 21 both have some good trendy jewelry for low, low prices. Yet, I sensed there was more out there.

It was this need that drove me to Walmart on Wednesday after the refried bean incident. I usually make it a policy to avoid Walmart like the plague because I feel it is an atmosphere similar to a carnival held in a parking lot. There may be some fun to be had, but you’re going to have to deal with a lot of carny-type folk to see it.

When I leave a Walmart I always feel like I need a good hot shower or perhaps to be hosed down with antiseptic.

However, I discovered that they have an impressive display of cheap jewelry. I bought the cutest pair of earrings that were on sale for $2.00. Granted, they may make my ears rot off, but what can you expect from a pair of earrings that cost less than a spoonful of refried beans?

Do y’all see what I just did there? I tied it all together.

On to the questions.

1. Amy asks: I found this dress at Target the other day, what can I wear with it other than the standard white button down shirt? Also, jewelry and shoe suggestions would be appreciated.

It may shock y’all to know that I would not wear a white button-down shirt under this dress. It’s too much bulk for me and I’d spend the day constantly running to the bathroom so that I could adjust the shirt under the dress. It’s not that I don’t like the look, it’s just never worked for me because I am compulsive.

I would wear a turtleneck or even just a long sleeve knit shirt under it. You could do black or charcoal gray, which is really in right now. And if you’re more adventurous than me, you could go for a color.

As for shoes, I would suggest tall black boots or black tights with some cute black shoes. I will tell you that the hem of this dress concerns me. As it appears on the model, it looks like a length that’s universally unflattering. Depending on where it hits you, you may want to have it hemmed to your knee or just right above your knee. It’s a much better look and won’t make your legs look frumpy and shapeless.

With jewelry, anything goes. I think you could wear a long, chain-type necklace or maybe some fun silver hoop earrings.

Consider the dress a blank slate. You can make it work with just about anything that appeals to you.

2. The Lucky One asks: Now you had to go open the whole foundation garmets can of goldfish … can you elaborate my dear?

Last week, I mentioned the importance of foundation garments if you’re going to attempt to wear a sweater dress. However, good foundation garments apply to any wardrobe choice. Ladies, I’m talking about lycra and spandex.

And yes, those words often have terrible implications and can trigger memories of almost passing out at a dear friend’s 40th birthday party because your stomach is being held in so tightly that breathing is a distant memory and you definitely shouldn’t have tried to eat that fifth or eighth stuffed mushroom, but you just couldn’t help yourself. All that is true. They can be the worst kind of evil, but they can also be the stuff that makes dreams come true.

Smooth lines and flat tummies under jersey dresses. Bras that make your girls look like they haven’t seen the ravages of motherhood. Skirts that appear to skim saddlebag-free hips.

It’s like Fantasy Island.

Tell me something that looks like this isn’t going to cure a multitude of sins.

But I’ll be honest. Use it sparingly. This kind of torture isn’t for everyday use. Save it for high school reunions, weddings, birthday parties. If you try to wear it everyday you will most certainly become angry and bitter.

And I don’t know what this has to do with anything, but it made me audibly gasp when I saw it.

Why does this woman dislike her unborn child this much? It hasn’t even kept her up at night for 4 straight years yet. Do not subject your unborn child to this kind of suck-innage.

Unless you want to pay for years of therapy later on.

3. Marcy asks: What should I do with all these bridesmaid dresses in my closet? I have about 10 of them and they’re taking up lots of room. I haven’t gotten rid of them b/c they each cost at least $150, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever wear them again. Should I just toss them?

Yes, yes you should.

Here’s what you need to ask yourself. If you were to all of a sudden find yourself invited to a Regatta Gala type thing, would you ever in a million years wear one of those dresses? I’m thinking DOUBTFUL.

I know that we are emerging into a friendlier bridesmaid dress era with dresses that are a little more fashion forward, but even so, no one is ever going to wear those dresses again. Have you ever seen any scenario where someone has on a fabulous dress and when complimented on it says, “Thank you. I wore this when I was a bridesmaid in my cousin Myrtle’s wedding. I just love teal!”

That’s what I thought.

But before you just throw them out, you may want to see if you can donate them. I know there is something called The Glass Slipper Project that looks for donated dresses that can be given to inner-city kids for prom dresses.

4. Yet another Amy asks: Maybe you could include the importance of lipstick in a future Fashion Friday? I could use the inspiration.

Mary Kate Olsen is a pretty girl. Here she is without lipstick.

Lipstick is your friend. Embrace it.

Y’all have a great Friday.

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My little pumpkin

This morning we took advantage of the 98% humidity and 90 degree temperatures and headed out for a morning of fun fall activities.

Nothing like a pumpkin patch complete with the smell of pumpkins rotting in the extreme heat.

It’s the smell of fall.

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It’s better than a cheap Harlequin romance novel

I feel fairly certain that half the free world reads Confessions of A Pioneer Woman, but if you belong to the other half, go read this. She’s been writing the story of how she met and fell in love with her husband.

I am seriously addicted to the story and wait for each installment like it’s a big bowl of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.

Maybe one of these days I’ll write about how P and I met and fell in love. Of course, it lacks some of the drama and suspense of Pioneer Woman’s story, but does involve raw chicken and possible salmonella poisoning. Just like all great love stories.

I’ll be back tomorrow with Fashion Friday.

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Let me tell you ’bout the birds and the bees

I made spaghetti last night, and Caroline helped me make a Caesar salad.

Then we all sat down to enjoy a family dinner. We were just like the Cleavers, although I’m not sure Ward and June ever had this discussion with Wally and Beaver.

“Mama, this bread is delicious. THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS DELICIOUS BREAD!”

“You’re welcome, Sweetie. Thank you for your good manners.”

“Daddy, did you know the firemen came to my school today? We saw the firetruck!”

“Wow! That’s great, Doodle.”

“Mama, how do babies come out of your tummy?”

Oh my word. I started to choke on my pasta. I thought P was going to have to heimlich some noodles.

“Do they come out of your mouth?”

Hmm.

Wasn’t I supposed to have a few more years to figure out this kind of stuff? I’m sweating. Is it hot in here?

Meanwhile, P is looking at me, beyond amused, like he can’t wait to hear my answer.

“Well (huge deep breath)…babies live in their mama’s tummy and when they’re ready to be born, they come out of her tee-tee.” (Do not judge me, internet. I’m fully aware the proper anatomical name is hoo-hah. We’ll teach her when the time is right.)

Caroline looked at me for what seemed like an eternity.

She finally said, “Oh Mama, that is yucky.”

And then she burst out in hysterical laughter as if to say, you people kill me with the kind of things you think I’ll believe.

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Wandering towards my own Canaan

I walked into church three weeks ago feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and impatient. I’m in the midst of some life changes right now and, while I trust God’s hand is in all of it, sometimes I lose sight of that.

When circumstances get too big or seem to be different than what I want, the doubts start creeping in. Thoughts of, what if this isn’t the right thing? What if I heard God wrong? What if I’ve quit my job and it was a mistake? I get scared. I’m not any different from anyone else. We all like to feel in control of every aspect of our lives, and it’s hard to let go and surrender that control.

It’s hard to say “I trust” no matter what.

Over the last year, I’ve had some fairly significant changes. I left a job that I’d been in for 10 years. As much as I don’t like to admit how much security I found in that job and my income, it’s the truth. I based a lot of my security on knowing what was going in our bank account every two weeks. I based a lot of security on insurance and 401k plans and my abilities.

So, when P and I decided that it was time to quit my job after a long series of circumstances, it was a big leap of faith. P’s business is seasonal and there is never any guaranteed income. Add to that a long, rainy summer and a back surgery and it’s enough to make me worry.

Three weeks ago, I walked into church feeling all those feelings. I grabbed a bulletin and saw that our pastor was starting a new series on destiny. Specifically, finding our God-given destiny. I wanted to cry.

The scripture passage he referenced that first week was Genesis 12:1-5, where the Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” I had just studied this same passage the week before in my “Woman’s Heart” Bible study and known then that God was speaking to me. So when my pastor started teaching from that very same chapter, I felt a little like God was holding a big megaphone and saying, “HEY, YOU. YES, YOU OF LITTLE FAITH. I HAVE A PLAN.”

Abram had no idea what God had in store for him. His mind couldn’t have even conceived what God was going to do, but yet he packed up his camels and what-have-you, loaded the family up and headed out towards a strange land. What made him do it? His faith. His faith that God wasn’t going to do him wrong. His faith that God wasn’t going to lead him to a place with no provision for him and his family. His faith in God’s promises.

What if Abram had stayed? What if he had decided the whole venture was just a little too risky? What if he chose to stick with what was familiar? I don’t know the answer to all that, other than knowing that God wouldn’t have been able to use him the way he did. Sure, God has a destiny for all of us, a plan that He has known since before we took a breath, but He never forces us to do anything. We take our own steps, whether they are towards His will or away from it.

The thing that’s scary is, sometimes the steps towards His will are the hardest of all because they require us to leave the familiar. Wasn’t it Loretta Lynn who said, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”? And yes, I just quoted Loretta Lynn (and really, I’m fairly certain the quote didn’t originate with her) because it’s part of my charm.

It’s all about faith. “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” Hebrews 11 even goes on to say how God used Abraham even though “he was as good as dead”. I’m not great, but I’m certainly doing better than that.

Anyway, that’s how I feel right now. I’m not sure where I am going. I know God has a plan. I’ve seen large pieces of that plan start to come together, but not as quickly as I’d like. It’s not on my timetable and I start to feel scared. I start to doubt. It starts to seem too good to be true.

That Sunday, my pastor said, “Faith recognizes that the voice of destiny is really the voice of God”. Then he asked us, “Do we believe that? Do we believe he cares enough?” And, at that moment, I realized the deeper question stirring inside of me was, do I believe God sees the value in me? The Sunday School answer is yes, but the reality is deeper than that.

Over the last few months as I’ve seen incredible things happen in my life and watched God put amazing pieces of the puzzle together, the question that has been gnawing away at the very heart of me is, who am I to deserve any of this? I am so flawed and so weak. Some days my faith wouldn’t even rate as average. I relate all to well to the man who asked Jesus to heal his son in Mark 9:23-24. Jesus told him everything is possible for him who believes and the father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

It makes me laugh because I relate to it all too well. How many times have I done the same thing, professed how much I believe and then prayed to overcome all my doubts in the same breath? Too many to count. Seriously. I am a weak vessel.

But, so was Abraham. And so was Moses. And so was King David. They all had moments of doubt, moments where they took matters into their own hands and tried their best to screw everything up. Yet, God had amazing plans for them. He used them in spite of their human limitations. Only God can do that. Only He can take the weak things of this world and use them for His plans and purposes.

He is the architect and the builder. My job is to take the step of faith, away from what I know and away from the security I cling to, towards what He is building with my life. He never promised it would be easy and He certainly never promised it would be on my timetable, He just promised that with Him all things are possible and He’ll be with me always.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

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