Things I Love Thursday - Talbot's

This is not a fashion post.  In fact, it's not Friday, the day of the ubiquitous Fashion Friday posts.  Which I love. But today, on this Thursday, I love Talbot's because they've done a bold thing:

They are showing women who are... real women. You know, sorta like you and me.  Looky here:

OK so they're still thin and they're probably NOT poor, but look - wrinkles and NOT ridiculously stick thin!  Woohoo!!   Hey check out this brief video:

I don't know if Talbot's is pandering to the demographics of America. As far as I know, they're still trying to make a buck and so I know their first priority is not necessarily for the betterment of society.  I don't expect it to be and I really don't care.   In fact, I don't think they're the first ones to do this.  But every one that does, and stops women [and girls] from feeling inadequate, gets a Kudos from me!

Small steps.


All Ten

"And God spoke all these words, saying: 'I am the LORD your God…

ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'

TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'

THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'

FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'

FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'

SIX: 'You shall not murder.'

SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'

EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'

NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'

TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'

Not that people these days even respect the 10 Commandments.  The basis that we can buy into, all over the world, the basis for justice in almost all realms, is seen as "religious" and contrary to public display.

Number 4.  That's a kicker.   Nobody follows that anymore.  Never mind that the Sabbath was made for us.  That WE would rest physically, spiritually, emotionally from the struggles of Life.  And rest in Him.  A hundred reasons why we go out to eat, stop at the grocery store, travel, golf and what not (thereby making other people work.)  Not the least of which that Commerce demands that we work on Sunday, either overtly because everything is open on Sunday now, or covertly because they try to squeeze every ounce of life out of employees.  But keeping a day of rest?  It's right up there with 'do not murder.'

Hey, me too!  Yes, I just have to get ONE MORE THING for lunch or dinner or Monday morning. I find all sorts of reasons why I can do the VERY things I believe I shouldn't.

There are 10. Ten.  You can pick and choose the ones you like, but then, don't think of them as the Ten Commandments.  Call it your own Thing.


What I Wore Wednesday 04.18.12

What I Wore: Brown tunic top by Zara Collection over a leaf green cami.  Brown chinos by Lauren and brown patent/suede ankle boots by Bandolino, from a couple of winters ago.  It might be a bit too monochromatic, but I had my orange purse for a pop of color.  Matching necklace and drop earrings in pearl, pink and brown.
Where: An  Open House at a special school I was considering for our son.  I have to confess, I think the neckline is too low.  Next time, I think I'll wear a scarf.

What I Wore: i.e. denim jacket over classic men's oxford shirt from Talbot's, and khakis from Ann Taylor.  My most comfy shoes, by Privo.
Where: After taking all these photos, I realized how cold it was that day, so I quickly went in the house and changed out of the denim jacket and into a real coat!

What I Wore: One of my favorite tee shirts, which alas, needs to go onto the next life.  Worn with a lime green cardi by Jones NY over black skinny jeans.  Black patent wedges by Me Too.  I wore simple silver jewelry - oval hoop earring and bangle bracelet - to go with the large silver buckle on the cardi. 
Where: Church.

What I Wore:  Ribbon-edged black tee from Ann Taylor from several years ago, roll-up shorts in mustard from GAP last year, and new striped espadrilles - which I love love!  Simple silver jewelry.
Where:  It was 88 degrees today!  Changed into this to pick up the child from school.

Visit everyone else at The Pleated Poppy!



Religion is:
"I obey, therefore I am accepted."

Christianity is:
"I am accepted through what Jesus Christ did, therefore I obey."

Religion gives you control.  You can do, say, be on your terms.  You do your duty or desire, you've paid your dues.  Now you can get what is owed you.

Christianity is all about what God is doing in me, to me, by His Grace.  Now He can ask what He wants from me.


Truth often is.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. ~1 Peter 2:24
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ~Ephesians 2:8, 9


What I Wore Wednesday 04.11.12

What I Wore: Black empire-waist tee - my new favorite! with a black/gray/white silk scarf; tan boot-leg chinos by Mossimo for Target, and denim jacket by Arizona Jean Co.  [I have a dark wash denim jacket, too, but I thought this wash better balanced the tan pants.]  I wore black flat slip-on shoes. 
Where: Meeting with my pastor, and daily running around - errands, pick up child, etc.

What I Wore:  I know, isn't this an exciting outfit?  Hey, what's important is what I DIDN'T wear: sweat pants and an over-sized hoodie! [Didn't want someone to shoot me.] Again the tan chinos, with brown Privos, a pea green top and turquoise fleece jacket.  And make up.
Where: To a county park with my 9-year old son - to go down the playground fire pole - for him, that is! watch people fish, skip stones, walk around the lake.

What I Wore: Ann Taylor wool slacks in charcoal, with Aigner pumps, Talbot's  classic navy double-breasted blazer and Talbot's orchid classic shirt.  Bunch of silver jewelry, including my "dogwood" set.  [Hmmm - I think my jacket's too long.]
Where: Church on Easter Sunday

"Dogwood" earrings

What I Wore: Pinwale cord skirt by Old Navy, rust tee from Talbot's, animal print cardi by Rafaella.  Saddle color sling-backs by Karen Scott, silver tote by Tignanello, "dogwood" jewelry from TJMaxx.  It was a blustery, chilly day so I went a little Fallish.
Where: To chaperone my son's Chess club

Visit the other mom stylistas at The Pleated Poppy!


Finding His Way: Theology with The Boo

I was listening to NPR and they were talking about religion.  I love NPR, but when they talk about religion, it's usually what I consider the non-committal, embrace-the-world kind.  [Except that religion is about what you *believe,* which means there are things you *don't* believe.]  The woman they were interviewing said she didn't pray much anymore, but was "finding her own way."

Teaching Moment 101.

"Boo, when you get older, you'll meet people who say they are looking for God, but they are finding their own way..."

"But there's only One way, mom.  Jesus is the way."
I was proud of the brain-washing my church, his school and I have done.  Nothing is worth doing that isn't worth doing well, and all that.  Cuz you know, brain-washing is partly what good parenting is about.  [Chew with your mouth closed, wash your hair, clean your room...] If you let them "find their own way" as children, they'll get lost.  I wouldn't let him find his own way to the store let alone his own way to Eternity.  He may reject our faith one day, or find a different version.  He may say one day, "This is not the path I want," but he'll at least know that I knew the way and I carefully led him down the path that I thought was right.

"That's right, honey.  You don't have to look all over and get lost on your own, because the Bible tells us which way to go."

I continued, "Boo, way on the other side of things, you'll meet people who say you have to look for God a certain way, that you have to say certain words in a certain way in a certain place and tell you exactly what to do...."

He interrupted me:
"Like a bully!"
I was stunned.  Out of the mouth of babes.  Isn't it true?  Maybe everything you need to know, you really did learn in Kindergarten!  Or at least 4th grade.  My Boo has had a Bully in his class for the 3rd year in a row.  I would never wish this on my child, or any child, but here is where the Ugly has been transformed to Good.  My Aspie has learned what a Bully is.  Were it not for his [and my] suffering for 3 THREE three years, I'm not sure he'd know.

Bullies.  Bullies of the worst kind.  The ones that take the weak and the trusting.  The ones that blind you from Grace.  Not just the Koreshes and the Jeffs.  But also the more subtle; the ones that say your clothes have to be a certain color and a certain length; the ones that want to make God black & white and rules all over.

Moonie Wedding
I pray that you will recognize a Bully when you face one.  I hope you know that any God worth His salt doesn't boss you around and make you feel badly about yourself.  That a Good God doesn't bargain with you and make you do stuff to earn His love.


Finally...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.    ~ Philippians 4:8


What I Wore Wednesday 04.04.12

I am always surprised when it's Wednesday again!!  I don't have a lot to show you.  But I've put some Polyvore outfits together of the kinds of things I've been wearing.

What I Wore: It was one of those unseasonably warm days we had recently, so I didn't have to wear a jacket or sweater.  Banana Republic khakis, black silk blouse, a bunch of shiny silver jewelry and my lace-up wedge sandals by Moda International.
Where: Pre-theater party, before seeing a terrific local production of "Toys in the Attic" by Lillian Hellman.  It was a casual group at a friend's beautiful home in the country - something like 80 acres, 2 barns and a stream...  I didn't have to walk through the yard so, hence, the ridiculously high wedges!

Stuff I've been wearing, sorta, the basic jeans, tee and denim jacket.  I love me my denim jacket!


04.04.12 by blackbeltoma featuring a pima cotton tee

And on those warmer days, I got my shorts out.  I love navy and I especially love it with yellow.  I'm going to have to go shopping and get more!

WIWW 04.04.12


Encounter with the Mall Clerk

Went to the post office in the Mall.  The Clerk does not acknowledge me. She slouches over to the counter and barely asks what I want.  Her mannerisms display a clear lack or concern, as if she is bored and can't be bothered.  I ask if I should make the package smaller to lower the price and she sneers an answer.  Al-righty!  It doesn't matter what she said; it was how she said it.

I hold out $20.05 for the $9.05 bill. She cannot even look at my hand to notice that I am holding a nickle with the twenty. I tell her twice I have a nickle. She doesn't respond but finally throws the change she has started to count back into the till and takes the nickle from me.

OK, this lady needs some lessons in etiquette and...or... she must be having a bad day.

As I turn to leave, I hear this Clerk say to the Customer behind me, "Hiiii! How may I help you?" and I hear all manner of perkiness from said Clerk.

I wait for the Customer to come out. She is a lovely grandmother type. I approach her cautiously and say "Excuse me, I just want to check if I'm crazy. Do you think that lady was rude to me?" She agreed with me wholeheartedly that she was very rude to me, and even told me that she saw the clerk roll her eyes when she took the nickle from me.

I shopped a couple of minutes to think things through and pray.  First, approach the person who offended you.  As I approach the Clerk I can see she is already bristling. As I stand at the counter, she is brimming over with a double-shot of attitude. I say, "Do you remember me?" The disgust in her "yes" is palpable, as they say in bad novels. "I just wanted to know if I did or said something to offend you," to which she replied, "Oh I am just having a bad day."

"Well, that's what I thought, but then I saw how polite you were to the woman behind me and I just wanted to know if I offended you somehow." She repeatedly says that "everything's fine" and sorry if I was offended. Hmmm, call me cynical but I don't think she really meant it!  Not only was she [at least] rude, she was also a coward.

So, I spend a few minutes thinking some more, then I went to the Mall Office and shared the situation. It was obvious from the Mall Woman's expression that this was not the first complaint about said Clerk. She said she would take care of it, and she apologized to me.

So what do you think happened?
Need I tell you the Clerk was white?  

and that the grandmotherly Customer was also white?
I have so many friends that do not think East Asians are on the receiving end of prejudice or racism in all it's ugly glory.  How else could I interpret what happened?


The Value of Learning

Everywhere I turn, it seems, there is a discussion about what is really wrong with American education and What We Should Do About It. I, like others, think I have an answer.  Let's start by getting rid of the phrase:
I/he/she will never use it.

As in, "What's the point of learning _______ ? I/he/she will never use it!"  That would be for reading literature, learning algebra, dissecting a frog, or any endeavor that is not to someone's liking.  And really, on a day-to-day level, what more do you need than to know your letters, count your change and tie your shoelaces?  Hence, there is no respect for learning and no respect for intelligence.  [I could go off here on the deplorable state of Gifted education, but I won't.]  If you don't value something, why would you want it?  Why would you seek it?  Why would you encourage others to seek it?

We Americans, we're very practical.  My 4th grade son is learning about the western expansion.  It's like we've never gotten passed the 1800s.  Don't take anything ya can't use.  Ya might have to dump it before ya cross the O-hyer Rivah.  [I don't know what accent that is.  It might be Hollywood Westernese.]

Here's what every Korean knows: All knowledge and learning is good.  I'm not even sure they understand it; they just know it's true.  I'm sure it has to do with the Confucian thought brought from China.  I don't know much about it, like The Korean does, except this:  In the olden days, you rose in society by passing the National Civil Service Exam.  Even if you were born in the wrong class, you could be smart and diligent, learn, and take the test.  These tests were going on when Italy hadn't even had their Renaissance.  So, it's an understatement to say this is deeply rooted.  Americans think we can get ahead by being the next American Idol, buying lottery tickets or getting in the NBA.  In fact, when someone is getting a degree in English Literature, the first thing you're likely to hear is, "What is he/she going to do with that??"  or, "What a waste of his/her parents' money!"  But Koreans?  We get ahead by studying.  In fact, no matter what a Korean may think about a person, all you have to do is tell them he/she went to an Ivy League school and said Korean will stop saying anything except "Nnnng" and "Aaaah."  Tell them the person got a degree is Mathematics or Physics?  They'll swoon and want you to marry their son/daughter.

I'm sure there are theses about learning and the brain and all, but this, I know: 
Learning stuff makes your brain stronger.

Would you say to a fullback not to lift weights because he won't use barbells on the field?  Ridiculous, right?  Exercising your body prepares you to run faster, carry more, throw harder.  That's what your body is for: to DO stuff.  Your brain?  It's to THINK stuff.  To KNOW stuff.  Exercising your brain - the weightlifting with drills and memorization, music, poetry, the quadratic equation - primes your brain to think faster, learn more, solve harder problems.   And what if you learned something just for the beauty and appreciation of it?  It doesn't matter whether you're "smart" or not.  It applies to every brain. 

My college had a slogan, something like "We don't teach you how to do something; we teach you to do anything."  I love that.  That's why you learn stuff, not because you're going to use that particular task at your industrial, assembly line job.  With every formula you memorize, and solve, even incorrectly, you learn building block by building block the beginning of how philosophy, beautiful words, colors, animals, the stars -- are created, developed and understood.  You begin to understand not only the wonder and beauty of what you learn, but the very important lesson that THERE IS MORE.  And that maybe, you'll want to learn it.

There's a saying, "When I was young I thought I knew everything.  Now that I am old, I know I know nothing."  Or some such.  It's as important to know something as to know that there's more; that is, that you don't know everything.

We need to accept that learning is to be human, to be the best we can be.  We need to value learning just for what it is.  Our model for education is over a hundred  years old, designed to train our children for their city jobs in the factories of the Industrial Revolution.  Reading Riting Rithmatic.  Changing the system won't help until we change our heart.  Education is about strengthening the brain; that control center of our being:
Not just to do something, but to do anything.
We have to value learning.  Because everything you learn, you will use it.  Just not in the way you think.