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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Back to Writing?

It is has really been a long time since I have stopped to write anything of any substance but the words have been taunting me lately, mostly in spurts in the car or when I am tied up with something and later I am too tired to capture them.

It has been a such a season of change (it seems it always is.)  My baby boy is experiencing his last year of high school with college in the cross hairs for next year.  I have almost melted down over this more than once; not because I don't want him to grow and go and experience all he was meant to but because I am selfish and fear life truly "alone."  I think about what it will be like to live without anyone coming home...just me and the dogs.  Yes, I know there are people who do it all the time and for years and years...but, honestly, I can't say I am looking forward to it.

Also, my current living situation is in flux as decisions about selling the house are in the air and although I try not to worry...worry comes.  If it were just me, it wouldn't be a bit deal; but it isn't just me...it is my son and our two fur-babies. Oh, and I am one of those people who doesn't like not knowing the plan.  I like plans.

One top of that, there are a couple of other area that I am  uncertain about and so my anxiety has been  having a fun time lately.  That is frustrating as I have been without the anxiety for quite a while until just lately and it has returned.  Maybe it is just part of who I am and I need to relax about not being able to relax?

Ultimately, over the last week or so I have realized that the last 6 years of stress and change have finally caught up with me and I am tired.  I am tired of things being hard. I just think it has been too long holding up all the loose ends.  I am also tired of people saying, "Wow, you have it so together!" when they never stop to get to know that I don't and that sometimes I need help too.  It is like you get criticized if you don't have it together so you smile and make sure it looks all together while inside you are criticizing yourself.  Crazy, huh?

I long for normal (what ever that is???) I long for loneliness to go away. I long for my family.  I long for something more and something less....peace and security mostly.




Saturday, October 12, 2019

Friday Fall Fashion!


My Fashion Friday Posts dried up about the time I got sick and tired of the endless Summer we seemed to be facing and I was pretty much sick and tired of all Summer Clothes!  Finally this week, a tiny resemblance of Fall came calling and just in time for the first Oyster Roast of the Season!  So I pulled out my boots, jeans and my go to favorite Fall/Winter color, Winter White and made the best of the nip in the air.  



Of course, it is never a bad time to add a few pearls 
and my now beloved Sheila Fagl hoops and bangle!



 All I can really add is....welcome Fall....
you  have been missed and are so welcome to stay a LONG while!



A Very, Very, Very belated Birthday Wish....

How can my baby boy be 18?  How could I have not blogged it about it even in the month it happened?  It just seems time is flying by and I am trying my best to catch a moment or two of these memories.  In early September my dear son managed to turn 18 on the same day Hurricane Dorien decided to come for a visit.  Needless to say it kind of changed our plans for the day but...it did not keep us from celebrating with the traditional Birthday Fancy Pie - oh, and he got his birthday off from school!


I just want to say that this young man amazes me with this wit, sharp mind and kind heart regularly.  He loves me but not near as much as I love him.  He and I have been through a lot together, shared more laughs that I can count, lots of adventures and even some tears but I am grateful for every moment together.  I am blessed. Happy belated birthday to my heart; may all your wishes and dreams come true!


Friday, August 30, 2019

Fashion Friday - Good Bye Summer (I just wish the heat were leaving!)

Well, today I decided I would celebrate the last of my "official" wearing of the white pants with a pop of color to end their season.  Why, of course, I don't wear white (except creamy winter white) after Labor Day!

And because we know truly is is all about the shoes, I pulled out a pair of my favorites:

So, there you have it...Fashion Friday and it is time to retire the white pants!


Saturday, August 24, 2019

BUSY...the word that will no longer be used...A Rant

Busy, is a word I have come to despise...whether someone else uses it or I use it.  I  realize we have culturally morphed this word from what was once a word people used to describe an activity that was unavoidable (i.e. work, an event, etc.) to a word that we use to avoid doing things we don't want to do.  Yes, there are times when we are legitimately "busy," but there are a heck of a lot of times when we use it as an excuse to avoid doing things we don't want to do.  Ultimately, I have learned that people find time to do the things and see the people who are truly important to them...no matter how "busy" they are.

So, I guess I have grown weary of hearing it as an excuse for bad or rude behavior. "I am so sorry I didn't call you back, I have been so BUSY!"  "Oh, I miss you and we really need to catch up, I have just been so BUSY."  "We will get together when things aren't so BUSY."  Yes, I am guilty of using these same excuses and honestly when I think about the big picture they were/are just excuses.  It made my lack of availability or interest sound valid.  As a culture we like to think busy makes us sound important and productive but as the saying goes, chaos does not equal productivity.

Also, it comes down to what is important to you and waving away a friend or family member because you are "busy" is just bogus.  We all know how to make time for those who we really want to spend time with.  It is all about choices.  Sadly, I think our world is continuing to isolate socially and the word busy has helped it along.

Now, I know that some people feel overwhelmed and so "busy" that they have no time for anyone or anything but what makes your "busy" more significant than my "busy?"  When a friend says to me, "Oh I have been so busy that I couldn't get back to you,"... barring a true emergency or an unique season of life, I have finally come to the conclusion I don't want/need to work that hard.   See, I am a single Mom, who works a demanding full time job, is involved in Bible Studies at my church, and several community organizations, not to mention keeping a household running...but I will still make time.  But, I am learning to protect my time so I have the time to make.  I am also learning that those who are always too "busy" aren't finding a place on my calendar...not because I am too busy but because time is precious and I don't want to chase people down to spend time with them.

When asked,  "How was your day?" I no longer say, "Busy."  I say full.  Yes, this is some what of a rant but I think we all need to determine are we really busy or are we just choosing to invest our time elsewhere and are we choosing wisely?


Friday, August 16, 2019

Fashion Friday, because we all have days like this...

I always  want to be positive and find the best in situations and today was no exception...but there is quite a bit of transparency here too!  Although, life can look pretty in blog land there are those days when we all get to have a gown that buttons up the back  kind of day and today was mine!. I want to be clear that I am real and not everything is pretty.   See, every day I don't get all "fixed up" and sometimes life decides what you wear and whether (or NOT) it is flattering or in your color! 
As you can see I "chose" a lovely loose, flowing and airy (because there are literally no buttons in the back just a couple of ties) dress that worked for a hot August Friday.  It even came with a faux designer print! What designer?  Your guess is a good as mine; maybe Dr. Feel-Good's Designer Duds?  I complemented my ensemble with a personalize bracelet that was  made just for me and "monogrammed,"off course!  But best of all was the lovely shoulder bag that I used to bring the whole outfit together.  It was personalized as well, and it  It really does finish the look off, doesn't it?  Oh, and if you are wondering... I think this Fashion Friday post is a testament of the versatility of a good, basic pair of platinum Jack Rogers as they go from beach to dinner and everywhere in between without without missing a beat!

See, transparent, not so pretty but positive!


Sunday, August 11, 2019

As Summer wanes - a recap.

I have alluded to the fact that this has been a bit of a crazy, unusual summer for me, but it really wasn't so much for me but my youngest son.  I have been waiting for his world to slow down a bit before I posted about all his adventures over the last couple of months.  This summer, the "last" summer before he graduates from high school, has been truly a summer of extraordinary experiences for him.  We knew going into the summer that there were a couple of fun things on the horizon but never, in our wildest dreams, did we see the special things that God would place in front of him.

First: Deep See Fishing with Gump
Almost as soon as school was dismissed for the Summer my parents came and my Dad and Mom  really wanted to do something special for my son. They planned a day of deep sea fishing.  Although, we found out - too late - that my Dad apparently does not have his sea legs, I am so glad my son got this special memory with his Gump.

Second:  Palmetto Boys State:
My son, my super amazing youngest son, was a delegate the American Legion's Palmetto Boys State Encampment.  It was quite an honor to represent his school among 1200 of the best and brightest South Carolina has to offer.  To say it was a week that changed his life would be an understatement.  It sounds cliche' but he learned so much and grew so much in 7 days I was amazed.  It was like watching God mold the clay as one might say.  Unlike some parents, I will brag that my son stayed in touch with me and kept me up to date as the week progressed and culminated with him being elected the 2019 Palmetto Boys State Lieutenant Governor (from 1200 other amazing young men!) and being inaugurated on the steps of the South Carolina State House Steps along with the current South Carolina Lieutenant Governor, Pamela Evette and South Carolina Governor, Henry McMaster.  If a race down Main Street in Columbia by almost 2000 (including Palmetto Girls State) outstanding young people and American Legion Staff and then being escorted down the Statehouse steps by the current Lieutenant Governor wasn't enough, my baby boy also was allowed to address the crowd of over 2000 people in attendance.  The icing on the cake came when he was selected as one of two delegates from our great State to represent South Carolina at the 2019 American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. for 8 days. Out of 20,000 young men across our nation he was one of 100 to be given this honor. Yes....I was/am a proud....VERY PROUD...Mama.


Picking my boy up and ready to have him home, at least for a few days!
Third: Puerto Rico
I think somewhere my sweet boy hit the summertime vacation jackpot when an out-of-the-blue invitation came for him to join a friend and his family in Puerto Rico. He had a wonderful vacation and a great deal of fun with his friend and his family.    I am so glad he got to experience and see new things and was able to see the beauty of Puerto Rico but also that there is great poverty and sadness as well. He text me at one point as he was seeing the differences within the culture, "the poverty here is insane."  Although he has been on mission trips and worked with Life Changers in areas that needed help this opened him up a little bit differently.  He was taken aback and it led us to some great discussions and thoughts on poverty here and in other areas of the world.  I am glad that even on holiday his heart was pricked and God was working.  I am so thankful to his friend's family for including him.

Fourth: Mission Trip with our Church to Chattanooga, TN
Yes, all these events were basically back to back. He was home packing just to turn around and head back out.  He also went on a much anticipated mission trip with our church to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  It was a week that really again had my young man looking at his heart and realizing life isn't fair for so many people.  He spent time working in a downtown soup kitchen, working in a warehouse and also spending lots of time in fellowship and studying with his youth group.  When he called during this time I could feel him struggling and God working.  It was a good week.  The only downside is he had to fly home a day early because he had to fly back out the next morning for Boy's Nation in Washington, D.C.!!!  Yes, this summer has needed a calendar all to itself!
Yes, that is my boy in the dumpster...don't say he isn't willing to get down and dirty to get a job done!

Fifth: 2019 American Legion Boy's Nation
I am not sure what I can truly say to explain this experience.  Of course, I wasn't there and have only heard lots and lots of amazing stories, but my son had a truly life altering week.  He learned, stretched and competed with the best of the best led by the best of the best.  Being one of 100 chosen from 20,000 young men across the Nation made for quite the young think tank.  I am proud of the hard work my son had to put in to attend and participate in Boy's Nation.  He had to draft, submit and defend a bill as an American Legion Senator and he was challenged by young men from all over this great Nation and opened his mind and heart to others like him and some very different.  To truly learn more about Boys Nation, check out this article about my young man that appeared on the front page of our local paper: Local Teen Headed to Washington, D. C..

So, yes, this has been the post to end all posts....more like a novella.  There have been a lot of exciting things going on around here and I have not be more humbled than by the proclamation that I received last week that my son proposed to the American Legion 2019 Boys Nation Legislature:


These few words might not see like they would mean a lot, but, as a single Mom who literally has to make every decision and deal with every detail they mean everything. It is just the two of us and a lot of the time I don't feel like I am getting it right, but either way I know I am blessed to have the opportunity to try.  I am so proud of my young man and all the work he has done and as he begins his Senior Year of High School....I can't wait to see what God has in store.


Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3 (NIV)


Friday, August 9, 2019

Fashion Friday - My favorite color!

Oops, I broke my streak last week!  It was an outfit repeat so I guess that happens.  This week to put an exclamation point on the end of the week I pulled out a simple dress in my favorite color that I just happen to have earrings from Pretty N Bliss in Florence, SC that coordinate perfectly!  I found this dress early in the summer at the Hair Shack and Clothing Boutique in Dillon, SC.  I love finding out of the way little boutiques with something that not everyone will have.  It was paired with my go-to nude pumps and  I also wore a ring passed down to me from my Mother for a splash of the ocean on my hand.   This is truly my favorite color.  I am drawn to it in my decor and my clothing and pretty much anything else.  I reminds me of the blue that can only be found in warm Caribbean waters...which my soul wouldn't mind seeing again soon.


Monday, August 5, 2019

Things We Surrender: A Lowcountry Novel by Heidi Hostetter - My Thoughts

I just finished up Things We Surrender: A Lowcountry Novel by Heidi Hostetter and I have to admit the cover of the book drew me in.  I was hot off Karen White's Tradd Street series when I saw this and I was still in a Charleston mood.  When am I not in a Charleston mood? 

I have read one prior book of Ms. Hostetter, The Inheritance, so her move to Charleston  interested me.  Honestly, I have a hard time not loving a book set where my heart loves, in the South Carolina Low Country. Things we Surrender follows a family of strong females (family by blood and friendship) as they rediscover their bonds and begin to heal from a lifetime of hurt and misunderstandings. It was a good start but I will be looking for a sequel as the author does leave a wide door at the end for an adventure for some Southern Belle's in Rome!

For a quick fun, read this is definitely worth picking up.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

Fashion Friday - Watermelon Red

Friday was a fun day as I had a Watermelon Social at a facility that I work with and so I pulled out all the red I could find to match my theme (and make any watermelon splatters less visible!)  The great thing about this outfit is nothing I am wearing is new!  I have had the top, shoes and accessories for several seasons but I think I have worn the top only 1 time the shoes only 1 time. I love the shoes but never seem to have anything to wear them with so Watermelon Social Friday they were called up for duty!  The Necklace I am wearing my sweet daughter,Piper Ellice, gave me many years ago and it has special significance in the number of stones.  The gorgeous ring I am sporting I found at an estate sale about 3 years ago and it was a steal! Of course, my bracelet stack is, of course, on duty too! 

Being dressed in so much red brought lots of  compliments all day on Friday and I think I might have to incorporate more of it into my wardrobe!  Hope y'all are having a great weekend!!!! 


Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Guests on South Battery (Book 5 from the Tradd Street Series) by Karen White - My Thoughst

I told you I have been reading again and completely understanding why I used to love it so very much.  It is the BEST escape from the world.  I can't watch a movie or television show and get the same escape.  Give me a good book and some time and I am truly in heaven.

This past week I dove back into the Tradd Street Series with the only book in the series I hadn't read.  Several years ago, when I was part of a book club, we read through this series up to the point there were no more books to read. So, imagine my excitement when I saw there was an addition to the series.

First, I should say I really like Karen White, as a writer, but I have liked some of the Tradd Series books more than others.  I liked ALL of them because they are set in the one city I have never lived in but have a great homesickness for....Charleston, South Carolina.  Normally I also don't read much that involves ghosts and spirits but these books have been an exception because I really like the history that is usually sprinkled in to spice the story lines up.  The Guest on South of Battery did not disappoint and actually finally, after four other books, began to warm my heart to the protagonist, Melanie Trenholm.

Though, Melanie is the main character of the series she was pretty much my least liked character and her peripheral characters, often in the form of ghosts or spirits who had lost their way, endeared the series to me. With this book Melanie was finally developed a with a bit more dimension and I think maybe I misjudged her.  IF you love the Low Country, beautiful, historic homes and, of course, Charleston and a ghost story or two...this just might be the series for you!


Weekend Wear and a little Wild Life Rangling!

Since DS2 was out of town, I decided I would head out after work on Friday to spend the weekend with my beautiful daughter and son-in-love.  I did snap a few picture of my weekend wear when we headed out for dinner on Saturday:
Of course, no pictures are complete without my gorgeous daughter!  We had a great, albeit quick, weekend together but I got to see all the redecorating that is going on at their house (it is going to look gorgeous to so keep an eye on her blog for the finished product as she has GREAT taste and a real talent for decorating!)

But, as usual, when she and I are together things can tend to, how should I say....go off course....
After dinner, we decided ice cream was probably a necessity so we popped over to the local Dairy Queen and low and behold what did we find lurking under a car but a teeny, tiny, very young kitten.  So, yes...that is us on the ground at 10:00 pm trying to rangle a feral kitty. He was really cute, and although neither of us really want a cat, we didn't want to let the little baby stay crying under this car.  Ultimately, after who knows how long, we did manage to get him away from the car but were unsuccessful in catching him.  I hope he finds his way back to where his Mommy is because he looked so skinny and young I can't imagine he was ready to be on his own. :-(


Fashion Friday - Frugalista Style!

I almost didn't get to  make a Fashion Friday as these photos were taken quickly, in the early morning, as I was rushing to get my DS2 to the airport before my work days started.  You may ask why I call this "Frugalista Style," it is because this is one of the fun outfits I have been wearing and it is almost exclusively a Cato Fashions find!  I love the pretty floral, flowy, top with extra cute details on the sleeves along with the stack of bracelets that include a coordinating tassel for this year's nod to the tassel trend.  The necklace that you can't really see is a another cute Cato find along with the hoop earrings that are all in rose gold. The pants are some that I love because they are "extra" with the detail at the hem and a tiny bit of bling which, as you know if you have been reading long, I just love.  Of course, I can't forget about the shoes because "it is all about the shoes..."  I was lucky enough to find the perfect blush pink pumps with the Marc Fisher Tuscany Pump!  They have come in so handy this season as that color seems to everywhere!

The only caveat I have about Cato Fashions is that they don't carry a lot of smaller sizes in my local stores.  The pants are actually a size too big but since the top is so flowy it isn't apparent.  I wish I could find more things in my size in store, rather than having to order to get the smaller sizes.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Fashion Friday!

Oh. My. Word. This week was unexpectedly crazy  and hopefully this weekend I can get around to blogging about all the excitement that is happening in my house. But, another Friday has rolled around and I didn't want to loose my streak (this making it an actual streak...2 is a streak, right?) of Fashion Friday blog posts!  So here is what got me through today:
We have had summer turned up high this week, complete with high temps and humidity, so today I grabbed a cute little Crown & Ivy sundress from Belk to make sure I didn't melt and paired it with my beloved neutral pumps and super deal Cato handbag (see last week's post for details.) Of course, no summer day is complete without some big, blingie sunglasses and anyone who knows me, knows I like my sunglasses to be a little bit "extra," unfortunately I do not remember where these came from.  For accessories, I did simple silver & crystal hoop earrings and my signature stack of bracelets.  You may question why I say my "signature" stack of bracelets but I have been wearing a stack of bracelets for more decades than I am willing to share....cloisonne bangles ring a bell with anyone?  Trust me when I say....I was the queen of the cloisonne bangle back in the day!.  
Happy Friday and I hope you dressed cute!


Friday, July 5, 2019

Fashion Friday

Oh,  FLASHBACK.... this post is like back in the day when I used to have the time, energy and interest in participating in OOTD (Outfit of the Day for those of you less informed social media types!)  I am doing my first - in a long time - Fashion Friday post! Since today was kind of a yucky day to work, as yesterday was a holiday and it felt like most of the world was still on holiday today, I needed a little extra giddy in my get up and go so I pulled out my current favorite dress.  Actually, most Fridays I think I need to pop it up a bit as the week has generally worn long and casual Friday doesn't do much for my hustle!
Right now I am loving this Ruffled Neck Juliette Swing Dress by Mudpie (it also comes in white and Navy but I just had to have this bright coral.)  It has a fun, full (i.e. non clingy) swing for these very hot South Carolina days along with the cutest big bow at the back of the neck that you, obviously can't see in these photos!  Being the less than tall girl that I am, I always try to add heels and nude ones really do elongate the leg and these Jessica Simpson Praylee Pumps have become the summer go to shoes...actually, I do nude heels year round and consider them a wardrobe staple. I also gave a nod to Sheila Fajl with my bangle and hoops. It took me a while to decide that I liked the brushed gold but now I am all in and love it!  To finish it off I am carrying a really cute, but but super, inexpensive handbag I found at Cato -  I just love a deal!  So here's to wrapping up the first week in July with a pop of color and a swing in my step!


Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe - My Thoughts

There was a time when I regularly did (and got paid) to do book reviews, but then a season arrived where I kind of stopped reading.  Yep, literally quit reading - at least for pleasure.  I think being back in school didn't help that as I spent a lot of time reading for school and not entertainment.  Last weekend, though, I picked up a book I had for along while but not read.  The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe just happened to be laying on my desk and calling my name.  Well, I now remember why I used to read so much...it is the best escape.  I will not forget that anytime soon. So here is my first (free) offering on a book....

I have always like Mary Alice Monroe and this book had enough information interwoven into the story about Monarch Butterflies that I now have a new interest in butterflies, much like I gained an interest in bee keeping after reading  Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees!  Weird?  Probably, but hey I love odd facts especially if you can weave some mystery and good story telling around them. 

Although The Butterfly's Daughter does weave lovely stories about butterflies in this story, it doesn't come close to the emotional pull of many of Monroe's other works .  The main character, Luz, just isn't developed enough to get invested in fully nor are any of the other characters, except possibly one who actually dies early on in the story.  It was an enjoyable read, because I like reading, but over all it wasn't Mary Alice Monroe's best offering by far.  Honestly, each turn in the book just left me hanging.  It was as if I needed more of the multiple story lines before the author was off dragging the shallow main character into another. In the end....I was just left feeling like I was read a book that wasn't finished. It was disappointing,  as I kept feeling like at any moment I was going to find the page that wouldn't let me put the book down, but it never came.  That being said, I know I will continue to follow Monroe as an author and look forward to reading another of her books where her characters have more depth and puts her talent as a writer more fully on display.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Back With A New Name, New Address and New Directions!

Photo from: Divas Can Cook

Welcome all ones of you that may still pop by here to see if I have posted anything!  Though since I have changed my domain name, you ones may have been lost...oh, my.  Nothing like starting from scratch?

Obviously, I have not posted in a very.long.time.  I had mentioned in previous posts that I had lost direction and motivation for the blog and writing in general. It has taken some time to start figuring it out. Be warned it is still a work in progress.  I *think* I have determined my direction(s) and part of it is embracing the season I am in and incorporating the things I love into the blog the way I did when I started blogging back in 2005. (YEP.....2005!)  I started blogging as a way of journaling what, at the time, was a busy life with words and photos and I think it is time to start again...just with my new 2.0 life.

My challenge has been to some degree that I no longer fit into the "Mommy or Wife" blog world and my crafting and decorating is sparse, but I still love my South and all it offers, from fashion and our special kind of Belle Beauty, to extraordinary sights and travel, beautiful homes (even if mine is a wreck!) shopping and lest we not forget our Southern Food (notice Biscuits is right there at the top!)  My family and fur babies are still very important to me but I only have one baby still in the nest and he turns 18 in 2 months....yes, you do hear a slight Mama Meltdown in the background.  I plan to figure out how to incorporate the new dynamics of family life into my blog since we are all in a different season and it is harder than when I had them all under my roof.  By the way, my beautiful and talented daughter, who is now married and blossoming into a wonderful woman still is active and blogging at Starting out Southern.

I invite you to join me in my new online journaling adventure and lets get to know one another, both new and old!  Happy Saturday and drop me a line or two if you happen to stop by to help keep my creative juices flowing.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Welcome to Michelle 2.0

I have taken quite the blogging hiatus as my life has been overwhelmed with so many other things and I had little time to devote to the blog.  Also, quite honestly, I felt a loss of direction or enthusiasm for blogging (something I am still working out.)  A lot changed...and as I am realizing...that never stops...change, I mean.  I do think I am getting better at rolling with the punches of change and have stopped hoping for some miracle to make life easier.

The good things are still good things and the bad things, well....they are still there.  The best we can do is the best we can do and that only comes with a big dose of humility, reality, acceptance and forgiveness.  So, I hope that I will find a reader or two to head back over and drop me a note every so often to let me know you are there!

Welcome to my life 2.0!