Amazing grace

I didn’t mean to leave you in suspense. The loud sound I heard Thursday night was, in fact, the end of the mouse as we knew it. And I feel fine.

However, I still haven’t put anything back in the cabinet because we still need to confirm that he was acting alone.

So yesterday morning I drove to Georgetown to speak to a MOPS group at First Baptist Church. (MOPS stands for mothers of preschoolers as opposed to mothers against preschoolers which is what P likes to call it.) They asked me to come talk about fashion and had even put together a great fashion show with the help of Old Navy. They were all such cute girls and I had a great time with them.

On the way there I had almost two hours of uninterrupted car time. It’s a rare thing these days for me to be in the car for any length of time all by myself and I was thoroughly enjoying singing loudly and badly with no one to criticize me or ask if I’d please play You Belong With Me for the sixteenth time in a row.

As I settled into the drive I began to think about a lot of things. The last few months have been challenging for a variety of reasons that I won’t really get into. I know I always make life seem like it’s a laugh a minute around here because I am an optimist in spite of myself and have never been one to get into the gloom and doom of things for too long. Because you know what has never solved a problem in the history of the world? Whining and complaining.

It’s true. Otherwise I could have solved a lot of problems in the early to mid-nineties. And maybe last week.

A few weeks ago, I attended a simulcast taught by Beth Moore called So Long, Insecurity. One of the things she said resonated so strongly with me. “We will never be secure until we realize we are fully loved by God, no matter our failings.” That was it for me. That’s it. I struggle with grace. I struggle to comprehend that I am fully loved by God no matter how much I fail.

Because I know myself. I know all my weaknesses and failures. I know what I’ve done and what I regret and what I’ve been saved from. I know all the ways I continue to fail on a daily basis. And if I’m disappointed in myself, then how is God not disappointed in me? How does He look at me with unfailing love and hope that I’ll do better tomorrow but won’t love me any less if I don’t?

It doesn’t make sense.

Over the last few weeks God has shown His love to me in a hundred different ways, just small simple things that I probably wouldn’t have even noticed before but have seen with fresh eyes. There have been times when I’ve almost felt like it was too much. More than I deserved. But in each one I saw his grace and his love.

I don’t really think about Austin (Georgetown is right outside of Austin) being a city that holds a lot of memories for me. I’ve never lived there and for a long time my only real memory was a night in college that Gulley and I got in trouble at a karaoke bar on Sixth Street after we got a little too overzealous with the microphone while singing “Respect”. Aretha can do that to a person. So can alcohol.

But as I drove into town I saw the hotel where we stayed during a baseball tournament in college right after I’d broken off an engagement. I remembered how I used to drive to Austin and Georgetown during my first job out of college and how scared I was and unsure about the future. And then, as if on cue, a big semi-truck passed me on the road and it was a truck from the company where I worked before P and I got married. It was easily the worst job I’ve ever had. I sold doors. Can you even imagine? Doors. I sold doors for people who asked that their employees not speak to them in the office.

It was like God was giving me a condensed version of This Is Your Life. A reminder of some of the places I’ve been and how He’s seen me through each and every one. Confirmation that He was weaving together plans and purposes and a future that I couldn’t have imagined. And I felt Him say to me in the deepest part of my heart, “You are so much harder on yourself than I am.”

I am. I’m hard on myself. I get caught up in the comparison game and feel like everyone is loving better, living more purposefully, doing more significant things and has a better heart than I do. I give other people the benefit of the doubt, but I never give myself that same grace. And that’s what God spoke to me yesterday. Grace.

He has never once looked at me, shook his head and said, “Wow. What a failure. I should have gotten someone else to do that.” That’s not how He works.

I don’t know if any of us have the capability or the comprehension to ever fully grasp the love of God. It’s too big. It defies all human rules and understanding. But over the last few weeks I’ve listened to David Crowder’s song How He Loves about fifty-six times. There is a line that has stuck with me that says “if His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking”. And yesterday I think I sunk a little deeper.

But the tots were delicious (at least that’s what I heard)

Last Thursday night P and I watched the weather because it’s what we do. We even record the 6:00 evening news on the DVR specifically to watch the weather forecast so that we can watch it again on the 10:00 news and see if the forecast is the same as it was four hours earlier. The phrase you’re looking for is BIG NERDS.

But nothing really makes us happier than the opportunity to mock the weatherman. Which is why we were so happy when Thursday’s forecast (at both 6 and 10 o’clock) called for rain sometime between Friday and Tuesday. There is no other profession in the world that allows you to be that completely and totally vague.

“We project that fourth quarter earnings will be somewhere between four and sixty percent.”

So it should have come as no surprise that it was pouring down rain when we woke up Friday morning and continued to rain all day long. And it should come as even less as a surprise that I chose to spend most of the day curled up on the couch taking a nap. It was delightful. There was even thunder and lightning which, combined with torrential rain, is the weather trifecta for a big wanna be meteorologist nerd like myself.

And that’s the most exciting thing I have to report from the weekend.

Except for a little incident at Sonic on Sunday afternoon.

Y’all know I love the Sonic. I do. I love the Sonic.

After church on Sunday Caroline wanted to go swim at Mimi and Bops’ house even though it was completely cloudy outside and the pool was somewhere between I-would-rather-die and are-you-insane degrees. We called Gulley to see if Jackson wanted to join Caroline in her attempt to become a member of the Polar Bear Club and he said yes because kids are completely immune to things like frigid temperatures and the fact that swimming is more enjoyable when there is actually sunlight.

So I told Gulley we’d come pick him up right after we made an emergency stop at Sonic because I was completely out of Diet Coke. (Yes. I know I quit Diet Coke about a year ago. But sometimes a girl needs a Diet Coke. I try to practice moderation.) Caroline wanted a cherry slush, Jackson requested that we get him a Dr. Pepper and I decided to order some tater tots with a side of mozzarella sticks. For the children. I’m always thinking of the children.

I pulled up to the window to pay and swiped my debit card through that little debit card thing. The guy handed me our order and then asked me if the debit card thing showed that the purchase was approved. I told him it didn’t show anything, so he asked for my card and said he’d run it through himself.

Eight minutes later ( I KID YOU NOT BECAUSE I WAS LOOKING AT THE CLOCK IN MY CAR) he still had my debit card and had offered no explanation as to what was going on. Finally, he slid open the window and said, “Our credit card machine is down. I’m going to need you to pull over to the side and wait until it starts working again.”

“Umm. Do you have any idea when that’s going to be?”

“No, I have no idea. But I need you to pull over to the side and wait.”

“Okay, here’s the thing. I have somewhere I’m supposed to be. I can’t just wait here indefinitely until you get your credit card machine to work.”

(Granted, I don’t know that the pool at Mimi and Bops’ house really counts as somewhere I have to be. But I wasn’t entirely sure that the credit card machine wasn’t like the rain forecast and it might work anytime between now and next Thursday.)

“Well, do you have cash?”

“No. I don’t have cash because that’s what my debit card is for.”

(I figured he didn’t need to hear my entire history with cash and how I don’t really trust myself to carry cash because it disappears and I can’t account for its whereabouts.)

(P, I’m not talking about a lot of money. Just $15.00)

“You’re just going to have to wait.”

So in my sweetest voice I said, “Yeah, I’m going to need to talk to someone about another option because, as much as I love Sonic, I can’t really sit in your parking lot all day.”

Finally a manager appeared at the window and told me not to worry about it. They’d comp the charges. I explained that wasn’t really necessary because I visit the Sonic anywhere between two and six times a week and would be happy to pay them the money at my next visit. He said that would be fine and we drove away.

Caroline said, “Mama, why did he try to make us wait?”

“Well, because their machine is broken and they wanted us to wait until it was fixed.”

She said, “They must have not known you have an IMPATIENT GIRL in the back seat. I think they’re crazy.”

Exactly.

But now I feel like I have to make time to go back to Sonic later today and give them the five dollars I owe them. And maybe order some tater tots while I’m there as a way to say thank you for not making me wait in the parking lot yesterday.

Purely unselfish reasons that have nothing at all to do with the delicious crispiness of the Sonic tater tot.

Fashion Friday: Edition the search for a cute dress

I had all intentions of writing some kind of introduction to today’s Fashion Friday, but I’ve just finished watching Real Housewives of New York and I’m pretty sure I just heard the mouse trap go off. And P is already in bed.

I’m sitting here in a state of denial about what may or may not be going on in my kitchen. Which makes it hard to think about fashion or anything else for that matter. I’m just glad no one threw a piece of half-eaten toast at me.

I really didn’t know what I was going to talk about this week, but then I started seeing a lot of cute dresses online and thought that might work. So it’s all about the dress today.

1. Silk shutter pleat dress

I think this dress is gorgeous. It’s very dressy and is even described as a bridesmaid’s dress. All I can say is it doesn’t look like any bridesmaid dress I ever got to wear. Of course that’s directly related to the fact that most of my friends got married in the late ’90’s when we all thought our only option was to choose from the selection of bridesmaids’ dresses at the bridal store that they make you order three sizes up so they can charge you a sweet fortune for alterations.

Not that I’m still bitter about all the money I doled out on alterations and bad taffeta between 1997-2000.

So, yes, this could be gorgeous for a bridesmaid, but I also think it could just be a great dressy black dress to have in your closet for a special occasion.

2. Daytime jersey scoopneck dress

I know right now you’re wondering where all the pictures are. Apparently there are some websites that make their pictures unfriendly for downloading.

I really like this dress because it’s casual and comfortable, yet really pretty. It comes in several different colors, but I think I’d go with the navy and accessorize with silver sandals and some silver bangle bracelets.

3. Grecian green dress

I adore this dress. The green color is gorgeous and I think it would look so pretty with some great gold accessories.

4. Pearl eyelet dress

The white dress is really in right now. I think they look so great paired with nude wedge heeled sandals and turquoise jewelry.

This cap sleeved version by Nine West is another really great white dress with a different look.

5. Mia striped strapless dress

My friend Steph called me yesterday to let me know that Neiman’s is having a huge sale right now. Sure enough, I looked on their website and there are a lot of cute things that are 30% off, including this dress.

6. Daria dress

My friend Julie called me and we discussed the sale at Neiman’s and we also had a conversation about how we thought the maxi dress was going to be totally over by this summer. She even went so far as to give away her maxi dresses.

It turns out that we were wrong. The maxi dress is back and more popular than ever. However, we did agree that while the maxi dress is super comfortable and allows you to eat a lot of chips and guacamole in one sitting, it’s not necessarily the most flattering look in the world. Unless you happen to be six feet tall and weigh 100 pounds. In which case you need to quit reading this and go eat a cheeseburger.

7. Lucarne dress

I think this dress is just a fun dress for summer. I love the blue and orange together.

8. 100 tiers of solitude dress

Earlier this week, I saw a picture of Priscilla Shirer on her blog (Did you know she has a blog? She does!) and she had on this outfit that I adored. It was a dress in similar colors to this one, paired with white leggings and silver flats. Adorable.

The dress she had on was cuter than this one but I have no idea where she bought it. Actually I take that back because it just occurred to me that I could go back and look at her comments to see if someone asked her where it was from. The dress she had on was this one from Free People but she had a white t-shirt on under it. LOVE.

9. Smocked tank dress

This is the perfect dress to throw on all summer long. I think it’s so much better than a pair of shorts.

10. Nicole Miller aqua printed jersey dress

I’m a fan of Nicole Miller dresses because they always seem to fit so well. I thought this one was really cute which is really no surprise considering the color scheme.

11. Sundial sleeveless wrap dress

I could not be sorrier about the lack of pictures today. Serious technical difficulties.

However, please go look at this dress. You’ll be so glad you did. It’s darling.

12. Glazed fruit dress

Where do I even start with Anthropologie? I went over to their site hoping to find one dress to round out my list o’ twelve and found so much more.

Like this Island holiday dress

And this Endless chevrons dress

And then this Orange blossom dress

Dear Anthropologie,

You never write. You never call. You never even offer coupon codes for free shipping or 15% off. I really believe you think you’re better than me.

Yet I cannot quit you.

Love,
Melanie

Y’all have a great Friday.

For more thoughts on fashion, go visit Jo-Lynne. She’s talking about the importance of a good fit today.