Apr 12, 2011

Giving Myself a Break...

I've been talking about my need for white space (margin) in my life.  I've been doing a little better.  Part of the  need for margin is so we have time in our lives to rest or to be creative or to do things that are relaxing so we can restore body and soul.  Sometimes that means just giving ourselves permission to do what is pleasurable for ourselves. Everyone is different as to what form that might take.

Some of the things I miss when I allow myself to get too busied out with everyday life  are reading for pleasure, thrift store shopping, primping my house up, playing in my kitchen, and writing.  This past week I've done a little of all of these things.  In the process, I've regained a little of my sense of humor too.  That's a good thing.

Hubby and I took time out for a real date last Friday night.  After a nice steak dinner, we had the afterglow at our local Borders where I found the book of my dreams:

I've been having a lot of fun reading this book. Not only is it humorous, but I'm learning some good hints on how to dress to maximize what I have to work with.  Back when I had more time, I used to enjoy watching the TV show What Not to Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelley.  (I don't even know what channel it's on anymore.)  But instead of a $5000 shopping spree in New York City's best clothing stores, I headed on over to my favorite Salvation Army thrift shop yesterday and tried following the rules for my body shape.  I purchased four tops with V-necks and 3/4 sleeves similar to this Talbot's for $3 each:

While I was thrifting, I found a few other items.  I usually don't try to "bargain" at the thrift stores, but this time I did some "negotiating" just for the thrill of it~not at the Salvation Army store, but at another local thrift shop. This small wooden table, which I plan to use beside my chair in the family room, had a price tag of $7, and I was able to acquire it for merely $5.  All I need to do is cover the green paint with some barn red that we've used elsewhere in our kitchen.  I talked the store owner into giving me the blue painted frame for $1 instead of the $3 on the price tag, pointing out it was "just" a frame.  I plan to make a hair bow holder for my granddaughter as seen here.  The mug was unbeatable at 84 cents, a discount off the 99 cent price tag.  The mug is a Currier & Ives "The Homestead in Winter" design.  A friend had given me one for Christmas and so now hubby and I can drink hot chocolate next winter in matching mugs.  (After all, it's only 257 days till Christmas.)

Recently I was taken aback when visiting in a friend's home.  I noticed she had a bowl full of pretty Easter eggs sitting on her table.  I mean I temporarily became totally disoriented. (Remember I still have my Christmas cards in a basket on MY end table.)  Eventually I realized it is only two weeks 'till Easter and if I'm going to have any decorations out, I better get started.  So I dug out this wooden bunny that I had thrifted for a couple years ago, found these eggs and grass in a drawer and put it together in this cute basket I picked up yesterday for 49 cents.  (There, you can see the barn red paint I will use on the little table I just bought.)  Today I will change out the wreath on my front door for the one I made last spring, and I will hunt down the arrangement of daisys for my kitchen table. That will probably be the extent of my springtime decorating this year, but it will do.

As part of my "getting a grip" campaign, I finally got a much needed hair cut.  I've had trouble getting the cut I wanted and the last trip to the beauty shop was such a disaster, I let it grow out to be way too unmanageable. Hubby insisted on taking a photo this time for future reference.  It's still a little too short in places, but the general idea is there and I'm OK with it.

(An Ann Taylor thrifted V-neck)

In times of stress, I usually run to Jan Karon's novels.  She takes me into another world and I fantasize about living in a place like Mitford. Cynthia and Father Tim model for me the way I want to relate to people, with kindness and devotion.  Jan Karon's most recent book is on loan to me and I'm making time to read a little each day.

And to prove that I am regaining my sense of humor, I need to tell you a few family secrets.  Being Italian and all, we eat pasta of one kind or another frequently around here.  I try to have dinner ready when hubby walks in the door  when my priorities are not misplaced  as a rule.  Since he wears an ironed dress shirt to work, I've been making him take it off before he sits down to eat spaghetti sauce.  For a long time I've been saying that someone should make us some "adult" bibs.  Well, here they are:

When we were in South Carolina recently, my daughter-in-law handed these to me.  "You know how you're always saying you should have some adult bibs for when you eat spaghetti?  Well, a friend of mine makes these for the nursing home..."  We had a good laugh, and by golly, we've been using these things. They really make perfect sense!  (You ARE laughing, aren't you???)

But WAIT!  There's MORE!  Unbeknownst  to Ellie, I had already commissioned my cousin to make a custom spaghetti bib for hubby for his birthday last week.  She went all out, even making buttons out of clay that are plates of spaghetti & meatballs.  The "bow tie" is a napkin, and the little pocket holds wet naps. Along with the bib, hubby got a homemade spaghetti & meatball dinner.  You need to know that he is still speaking to me!

Our small group met this past Sunday evening, and I brought these "polka dot" cupcakes as a treat to honor Bob's birthday. They are really easy to make and taste so much better than a boxed mix.  (To find the recipe, you'll have to scroll through the post in the link, but you'll get there.)

So, you can see I've been doing some things I enjoy, and at a reasonable pace.  I've even had a couple of the grandkids over one-at-a-time and just for a couple of hours, because they too bring me much joy.

I hope you've enjoyed catching up with me, and I'm also in the process of catching up with MY blog reading.  I so appreciate the friendships and connections I've made through this amazing technology!  I don't take you for granted, gentle readers!  Are you preparing your hearts for a blessed Easter, friends?  In the midst of any chaos we may have going on in our lives, the words of Jesus still ring true...

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  John 10:9-10 NIV


Rebecca said...

Wow, Jacquelyn! You've really accomplished a lot and and apparently really enjoyed going it all! It was fun to see the results of all your creative work. I'm going to see if I can get that Jan Karon book. I like the title? (Is it one I need to read "in order" -- I mean, should I have read the ones before it to make any sense of it?)

Jacquelyn Stager said...

Rebecca, while some characters from previous books are mentioned, there is always context given so you can just pick this up and read it. This is the 2nd in the Father Tim series, but it starts right at the beginning of their trip to Ireland, so it's not like you'd be missing anything.

I am still having to "pace" myself as I don't feel totally "healthy" yet. I still have some "changes" to make for my overall well-being, but I'm working on it. I'm trying to watch the diet a little better-still need to get in exercise and more time for prayer & bible study. But God is good and I can REALLY sense His peace & grace.

Pat said...

Dearest Jacquelyn! You have written every thing that could have come out of my mouth...well most everything.LOL!
I'm feeling such a need to re-prioritize my life too and get back to those simple pleasures such as sewing, my home etc, everything you stated. I am denying myself my own quiet time by taking it up with less important and sometimes foolish things.
I must admit this 60th decade of my life seems to be the most difficult for me. I need to focus, focus, focus!
You are a sweet inspiration...may God richly bless you!

Jacquelyn Stager said...

Pat, this decade has been a challenge for me (and hubby) as well. As YOU have said before, we just don't have the same energy & stamina, and we have to pace ourselves. That has been a hard pill for me to swallow. And I find it takes me MUCH longer to bounce back from things like hosting a holiday dinner...which used to be a snap for me! BTW, as soon as I get to the store for my stuff, I'm making your chicken paprikosh! I'm very excited about that! Thanks for your kind words!

Diana said...

It's wonderful to hear that you've been ENJOYING yourself Jacquelyn! I too love thrifting and haven't been for some time.
Your husbands Spaghetti Bib is adorable and I think your new hair cut looks very nice!
Love Di ♥

Anonymous said...

Jacque - you are such a beautiful Christian woman! Thanks for sharing your world with all of us - great job thrift shopping - one of the things on my list of fun things to do!

Have a blessed day - enjoy each moment as a gift from God!


Bernie said...

I can't believe this, I found your post through Facebook and I love it.

So glad you are pacing yourself, it is harder to recover as we get a wee bit older.....me too!

Your grandchildren are adorable, I think I would love the Father Tim books and I would be as big as a house eating at your place. Those cupcakes and the spaghetti looks delicious.

Love your hair......:-)Hugs

Jacquelyn Stager said...

Bernie, I know you live in Canada. Are you Episcopalian by any chance? Father Tim is a (now) retired Episcopal priest in the novels...he married for the first time when he was like 60. The books are clean and I just love them!