Monday, September 28, 2009

peopleofwalmart.com

Some laughs for your Monday.

peopleofwalmart.com

I know it might be offensive. But they're all actual pictures of actual people at actual Wal-marts. Reality can be offensive, but that doesn't change that it's reality... and that you will probably laugh at it.

I'm also labeling this post how not to wear... (that doesn't even need an explanation).
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A memo from the office of...

A memo from the Office of the First Lady:

cc: The President
      White House Residents
      White House Staff (of which there is currently none,
                                    but someday, hopefully, there will be)


This is to confirm that, effective immediately, the First Lady will not entertain homework inquiries or signature requests while in the lavatory. This has, up until this point, not been official White House policy, as it was thought to be naturally understood by all residents.

However, recent activity has revealed this to evidently NOT be a common understanding. Thus, henceforth, it shall be official White House policy to meet all such inquiries and requests with a non-response.

If the non-response fails in encouraging the perpetrator(s) to cease and desist such activities, extreme disciplinary measures will be taken.

Please note that this policy does not apply to inquiries or requests made by the First Lady while she is in the lavatory. All such communication shall receive a swift and clear response from the resident who is, at that time, within closest distance to the First Lady.

Thank you for your cooperation,
The Office of the First Lady
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2009 Emmy Fashion High(and low)lights


No, I didn't actually watch them. But I do enjoy perusing the web to see the dresses!


Drew totally aced it. ABsoLUTEly Gorg. Uh. Love it. And the bright lip with the pale dress? Totally unexpected and perfectly perfect.


This one, too. Adore the chunky cuffs & take-notice-shoulders. Crisp. Lovely. Probably the one you would find me in.


I thought the feathers were a nice touch. Different, unique. But, I would have gone with a different shoe.


She didn't hit it out of the park, but it's a solid double for sure. Very pretty. The hair was a refreshing, natural touch.


I really like the individuality of this. It has the beauty of a spanish princess, without going to extremes. Really very nice.


The only *appropriately* short dress I saw. But, the real gem of this outfit is the shoe!!! Oh, my GOSH! Do you SEE the exquisite craftsmanship? The sheer wonder of the silhouette? Mary-Louise. Can I have those? I mean, are you REALLY going to wear them again? Because I WILL!


People are missing the whole point of Sandra Oh's dress. I think it's very nice, a little safe, and that she should lose the belt. The outline also may have been nicer with a soft up-do. HowEVer, do you SEE that peep of pink poking out from beneath? Yes? Those are her SHOES! It would appear she had on pink shoes! I SO wish I could see them! That was absolutely brilliant. And nearly everyone probably missed it.


Okay, now. I take severe issue with this. My eyes have read numerous sites that say this falls into the "good" category. What the heck? She's like an early J-Lo! Once was enough, honey. Let's not revisit. I don't know. Maybe I'm being too harsh. If it was JUST the dress, paired with softer hair. Or keep the hair, but lose the bell sleeve and get some different (dangly?) earrings. Maybe... maybe.


I just don't need to see THAT much of you. I just don't. Stop the V at your sternum and it would make my good list.


Ummm... not sure what to say here... *crickets*... ummm... gee...


Eegaads!


Now, this really was sad for me. Christina is usually so lovely. I think I wore this for my high school jazz band performances, but in a tea length.


All. Sorts. Of. Wrong.
All. Sorts.


Ack! It's Elvira on her wedding day!


Shar, I'm so, so sorry. I really am, because you seem quite sweet. Whoever told you this was okay needs to be fired. I will fire them for you, if you'd like. Just give me their info. I really am sorry.


At first I thought she did it on purpose, because she's prone to that. But then I saw her smile, and I don't think so. That's not a confident, "Ha! Screw this! I'm going to make you all laugh!" kind of smile. It's an, "Uh, I'm not sure about this." smile. Please, someone find online where it says she wore this as a joke and post it here in my comments. Please?


I get it already! You voted for him! Okay!


Alright. So, I wasn't even going to post this because the whole point is so obviously to get attention, and I didn't want to dignify it with such. But, it just goes to show that, no matter how big the occasion, someone is ALWAYS going to do the equivalent of painting their body and running around naked just so people will take pictures. Ugh.

(all photos from...)

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Birthday Snow!

So, yesterday it kept snowing on and off. Nothing would stick, but it was fabulous. I kept running around in it and squealing, which I know is hard to imagine. I rarely EVER squeal about ANYthing.  =^)


Well, this morning when I got up to get Taylor out the door to school, I found, to my great joy and delight, that it had snowed even more whilst I was sleeping... and some of it was waiting on the patio for me to come say hello! Oh, wondrous day! There was much more squealing, and the thought that it may be somewhat dirty only flitted through my mind as I scooped finger-fulls onto my tongue. Fabulous.



And on my BIRTHday, no less! God is just so. stinking. cool. (I know this picture is blurry. I was excited! Isn't the little bird feeder cute? And we put the birdhouse down there at the request of the kids. They're desperately hoping birds will actually make their home in it. Desperately hoping.)


After Taylor was out the door, the other three got up and were completely overjoyed! Brit, who takes quite a bit after her mother, rushed outside in her jammies and to make a snowball... that is now sitting in our freezer.









It's not SUPER cold out, but the kids wanted to wear their winter coats to school. I thought that fitting, since they DO walk. We dug them out of the downstairs closet, and it was a good thing. When we went outside to do our morning prayer and kisses send-off, it started snowing again! The squealing re-commenced and tongues came out, trying to capture a few flakes.







I love snow on roofs, and took a picture of the house to file away that, yes, God did send me snow on my birthday. First time, ever. He loves me THAT much.

The clouds are clearing just a bit now, and I'm staring out my kitchen window as I type this at the white blanket on Pike's Peak. It is truly breathtaking.

It's going to be a good birthday.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

Help me!!! Which one shall I go with?
(click the pic to see them better)


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It's too late...

And I've already SEEN 27 Dresses, which I forgot. But I watched it anyway. And it has some good quotes, and is fine. Whatever. But... WHY do they always have sex beFORE even STARTing the relationship? What is up with that??!!!? And they make it seem all normal for everyone to go around having sex with everyone else without even really knowing them. Like that is how things SHOULD be. And it's NOT.

No wonder relationships in our society are royally screwed up. (Pun sort of intended.) No WONDER divorces abound and affairs are everyday. We follow what we are shown. Argue all you want, but we do.

And teenage girls are watching Gossip Girl and all these new vampire whatevers and thinking, "oooo... I want to be mysterious and adventurous and with-it." Then Hollywood comes out with all these romantic comedies alluding to everyone having a wee-bit-too-much to drink and "Whoops! My bossoms fall out!" And they think it's normal, that's what everyone must be doing. That's what you probably do to find the right guy, because, after all, it's what everyone is doing. Right?

No. This is ridiculous. And it's wrong. And I'm starting far too many sentences with "and." But we buy into it. And girls... and guys... do it. Because no one is telling them that self-control is a good thing. No one is saying, "It's better to wait. Don't give yourself away to everyone. Don't even give yourself away to THE one, until your wedding day." No one is saying that anymore!!!

Instead it's, "Well, they're going to do it anyway, so we may as well make sure they're 'safe.'" And by safe, all they mean is not getting pregnant or contracting any diseases. Except, really, they just mean the diseases part. Because, hey, anything "inconvenient" can just be "taken care of."

It's wrong. Say something, darn it!

But, out with the self-control. In with the anything-goes. Who are we to question someone else's actions? What's good for them is good for them. And what's good for me is good for me. And we should leave it at that. Because who the heck am I to tell someone else what is good for them. Right? I mean, that's what we're told.

Because no one talks about the consequences. No one talks about the counseling or the intimacy issues that follow after the ceremony because of the things you did before the ceremony. No one talks about the cynicism that comes because you've given your heart away piece by piece, bed by bed. No one talks about our instant gratification society being conditioned to want instant gratification in relationships. No one talks about any of that!

Ugh. This is ridiculous. And it's late, which makes me even more emotional about the whole thing. And the movie is cute. But, I'd appreciate leaving out the whole eye-roll-did-we-didn't-we-waking-up-the-next-morning-insinuation-that-we-had-sex thing. Because I get it. Teen girls get it. And they think it's normal.

And it tarnishes an otherwise perfectly fine movie.

Seriously.

Sex was created for something so perfectly beautiful. It is divinely inspired to be an amazing, intensely satisfying thing... in the right circumstances. And, just like that apple, we think, "But, I should have it NOW. I deserve it NOW. I mean, after all, why wait? It's not really THAT big of a deal."

And it is. And you won't realize it until after the fact that, yes, it is. And our world just keep turning. And we deal with the consequences. And some of us are thankful that we discover mercy and grace. And some of us grow even more cynical and ashamed.

And no one talks about the truth of it... except to make excuses.

Well, I'm talking. At least right now, I'm talking. Darn it.
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall-ish Decorating

What I WANT to do in this post is show you all the fun fall-inspired displays I have in MY house. I want to show you the brown leather charges I got for a steal at my favorite thrift store in San Luis Obispo shortly before we moved. I want to show you a table with beads woven through orange and yellow candles. I want to show you my finials (from same thrift store) piled high in baskets.

But, that's kind of hard to do when we're still trying to get settled. Yes, I said STILL. Now, if I look for an excuse put this in perspective, we haven't even had our household goods two months yet. It will be two months on the 22nd, WHIS IS ALSO MY BIRTHDAY which is on Tuesday.

So, in lieu of ME showing you MY fun fall stuff, I want to give you some links to more-amazing-bloggers-than-me who have some fun posts on this:


You can never go wrong with the Nester. Her Fall in 5 Minutes will get you inspiried.






And Thrifty Decor Chick always makes me want to run to Hobby Lobby and CREATE. Check out Creating a Warm Fall Glow... or gawk at the craftiness of her new dining room centerpiece.


I also adore going through all the incredible ideas on One Pretty Thing. Mind you, I've never actually DONE any of them. But I DO have a word document with my favorite links pasted into it so when I actually DO get around to doing them (maybe when we're settled), I'll still know where to find them. Because I have always... al.ways. wanted to upholster a headboard.

So, go. Check out some of that fun webby awesomeness. And pray for me that I'll figure out if I really want to put my white windows on a red dining room wall where I was going for a darker theme. I may wind up putting them on the yellow entryway wall. But... I do have lots of windows and that is a small space. OH, the huMANity of it all...
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Inspiration.

It comes in so many ways.

This. It makes me want to sit. To let the lyrics and the melodies flow out. To find the time.

It makes me wonder where the scraps of paper have gone with words hastily scribbled, the napkins defaced at restaurants when a chorus comes.

We choose the things we devote ourselves to...

...and sometimes we wonder if we've chosen the right things.

This makes me wonder.

Because you can't do all of everything all of the time. But, then again, maybe you can do some things some of the time, and other things the other some of the time... and maybe that can add up to doing everything at one point or another.

These are the things this makes me wonder. And I find myself inspired to find out.


Jared Anderson_People of Troy from Desperation Band on Vimeo.


**To hear and purchase Jared Anderson's music (which you really should go and listen to... because it's awesome... and he's written two of my most favorite songs EVer... that aren't even on an album... and aren't even on iTunes... but they should be... because they fall into the "EVer" category... and I sing harmony to them constantly... and sing them to other people... when they'll let me... and my kids sing them around the house... and substitute words like "pizza" for "Jesus"... and I'm good at rambling), visit iTunes.
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I couldn't resist

I don't mean any disrespect, but youtube has disabled all the embedding options on the Patrick Swayze/Time of My Life videos. I really WAS going to post the original (brings back all those high school feelings).

Then I came across this.

And I just couldn't resist. Hee-hee!

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Round the table...

...I sat, surrounded by so many hurting women. Women with stories. Women who were grieving. Women who were afraid to speak out, because what if no one else at the table related to what they were going through?

I watched as one grew brave and shared. Then another. Then another. It was a steamroller effect, as each realized they were not alone. They didn't go into great detail, because that would require another level of trust. But, I watched their shoulders straighten a bit as they shared and were not judged. I watched their eyes widen and grow a bit brighter as they realized there were others around them also struggling with their marriages. I watched protective crossed arms open up and reach out to touch an arm, give a hug, as they became aware of someone else's hurt and dire circumstances.

I watched wary, unsure women dissolve into loving, supportive ones.

This is the beauty of sharing life. This is the richness of community, the purpose of church, the desire of our hearts. Our tendency is to isolate, to pull away, to think we'll be judged, rejected, scorned for what we're facing. And, the sadness is that so many of us have experienced exactly that.

Which is why we're wary.

But, the beauty comes... the healing comes... the joy comes when we share anyway. Because our life isn't the only one changed when we engage. We change the lives of those around us.

I watched it happen last night. And as the sharing continues, another level of trust will be reached. Friendship will grow. Hearts will be mended. These women will march forward, leaning on each other.

That is the purpose of community. That is the purpose of church. Not mired tradition, but faith-filled freedom that brings restoration and full life. It is what we were created for.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Found it funny...

...that this morning I had a women's event planning meeting for New Life, and then went to lunch with some of the Colorado Springs girls. Then this afternoon I found myself at dinner with some of my Denver girls, before going to a women's event meeting at Crossroads.

God is so good.

And funny.

Wonderfully full day. I'm beat, but wonderfully full.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye's Idiocy & Women's Grace

I wish I could say that I'm shocked at Kanye's idiotic actions, but I'm not. What I loved was Taylor's composure under the moment...



...and the grace of Beyonce.




When is SOMEone going to let this man know he does NOT run the world, we do NOT hang on his every word, and... ironic, as this is currently being reflected in the state of our nation... the musical tastes of the few in power do NOT dictate the musical tastes of the majority???

This is a perfect example of women... in stilettos... exhibiting grace under pressure. Beautiful. Taylor swift is composed and confident beyond her years, and Beyonce just made me like her music a little more.

Bravo to two brave women. Well done.
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Friday, September 11, 2009

The Original


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

(Originally, this song played as soon as you came to this post. However, for the sake of the rest of my blog posts on the same page, I switched it to start when YOU click play. So, please, as you read this post... listen to this song.)

There is a place. It’s a place I’ve been. Where my heart is pounding. My ears hear, but they don’t hear. I’m aware of little around me, but aware of much within me. My skin tingles.

It’s a place where nothing else matters but what is going on right in that moment. Where the tears stream, and the laughter comes, and words roll off my tongue without care for who is around or who is listening. They are words that are not meant for those around me. They are spoken for Someone else.

Because it’s just the two of us in that place. Whether I’m on my feet with hands stretched as high as they can go.  Or I’m dancing. Or I’m on my knees, rocking back and forth in the waves of grace. Or I’m flat on my face because I’m so undone by love and mercy and all that surrounds me.

Everything that is counterfeit comes about because it is trying to copy an original.

I have experienced the Original.

If you have experienced a high that you think was so good… if you have gone bungee jumping… or done a certain drug… or raced and won… you’ve experienced an amazing high that is wonderful while it lasts… and you’re changed because you want more of it… you crave it…

But then it is gone.

There is an Original that does not leave. It does not fade. When you have encountered the Original, you are changed forever. Your heart yearns. You long. And you raise your hands. And tears flow. And laughter comes. And sometimes you stand. And sometimes you dance. And sometimes you kneel. And sometimes you can only help but crumble ‘til you’re flat on your face, body stretched on the ground.

All things counterfeit are trying to copy an original. The Enemy of this world tries so hard to copy the Original. He gives us temporary highs and makes us think THAT is what life is about.

But, I found the Original. I have found the One that does not fade, will never leave, is available any time.

My body will not be harmed. My finances will not fall to shreds. My family will not be hurt because I have devoted my life to chasing a high that leaves them behind.

Everything counterfeit hurts and harms and tears apart.


The Original mends and builds and brings together.

And those that have only experienced a counterfeit often look at those who have the Original and think, “They’re crazy. Look at them! But, I see something different. I see something I want. I see something attractive. But, they’re crazy! What are they talking about? Why are the acting this way?”

And they want it, but they’re unsure. And scared of what they will actually find if they get It.

What they don’t realize is, once you have It, you don’t care if others think you’re crazy or bizarre or whatever… because you have found the only thing that is REAL, the only thing that is TRULY LIFE. You have found the high, the rush that everything else tries to imitate.

Our world is fading. It is collapsing chasing after the counterfeit high.

I have the Original. I have experienced it firsthand.

Some of you see It it me. You know there is something different. You’re just not sure about having It for you.

Give in. Experience it for yourself. It’s real.

It’s the only thing that is.

He is the only thing that is.

I posted a video the other day. I embedded the song in this post. You know if it’s you I’m talking to, because your heart is beating faster and you’re thinking, “I should stop reading. This is silly. But, no! I want this. I need this. I’m not doing so hot on my own. This life is too much. Or it’s too little.” You know if this is you.

So, listen. Close your eyes. And give your life to the Only one who can give you this lasting rush, this peace and overwhelming high in the middle of the chaos. This joy that is indescribable, this laughter that comes from a place you didn’t know was in you… that wasn't in you before.

All it takes is saying, “Lord, I am Yours."

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rest

Turn off the other music at the bottom of the page. Click play. Listen. And breathe. And know.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On Moving and Friendship

It’s like dating… but a different kind.

Part of you wants to look right and say the right things and do the right things and not say the wrong things and laugh at the appropriate times and talk about the right subjects and…

But another part of you wants to be yourself. Fully. To look how you want to look and say what you’d like to say and do what you would normally do and laugh at the things that are funny and talk about whatever is on your mind, in your heart.

The one part of you just longs for acceptance.

The second part of you longs to be known for you, known for real, known by those you’re able to know.

And in the moving and the starting over and the process of friendship dating, I’ve found it incredibly important to be the second.

There is always something to be said for holding your tongue at appropriate times and being kind and polite. That is a lady’s wisdom.

But there is also something to be said for letting your laughter and your tears go… for being free in you… so you can find the ones you can be free with. That is a lady’s heart.

And the ones you find it with, you also find you never lose it with. Because once it’s gotten, it can’t be lost. That is the beauty and the truth of friendship.

**Remember to pause the music at the bottom of the page before you watch the clip.**
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Monday, September 7, 2009

President Obama's Back to School Speech


The President will deliver this speech to school children all across America on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009. I wanted to post it here, too. (Script from whitehouse.gov.)


Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event
Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009
The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today. 
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.   
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year. 
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn. 
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox. 
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve. 
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. 
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself. 
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide. 
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future. 
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy. 
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country. 
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in. 
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse. 
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right. 
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying. 
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future. 
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America. 
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall. 
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same. 
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it. 
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things. 
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK.  Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." 
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying. 
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in. 
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals. 
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. 
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?  
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. 
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Beauty

Life is messy, but that's what makes it so colorful. 
Without the one, we wouldn't have the other.
I dive into the mess, and my heart is full.
I laugh and I cry and I spread the color.






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Sunday, September 6, 2009

How NOT To Wear...

Nate is working tonight, so I'm sitting here in front of the computer flipping back through recent photos, getting all nostalgic and teary-eyed.

Except I came across a certain photo I took at the Santa Maria Rodeo, and now I'm just sick to my stomach. 

Seeing as how I saw today that Costco has in their fake Uggs (I would call them fuggs, but that sounds like a cuss word), I thought I would show you how NOT to wear your shearling-lined boots this fall/winter season...


For the love of all that is holy and true, please do not attempt either exhibit A or exhibit B.

And if, for some strange reason, you do get the urge to attempt exhibit B, please make sure your pants are not giving you an atomic wedgie.

(By the way, our Costco has in the caUTest gray color this year! I'll take a size 7... in that AND black.)

(Have I reminded you my birthday is coming up? This month? The 22nd? No? I forgot? Oh. Just checking.)
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I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog...

Ian wanted to be a part of my new blog feature so badly! So, we took a few pictures. I'm not sure he knows he didn't make the cut. But, he IS awfully cute...

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Ask Angela: Heels with Cargo Shorts

Auguste writes, My wife would like to know what kind of heels would go best with cargo shorts.

 So many women are unsure of HOW to wear heels with, really, any type of shorts that they avoid it altogether. However, this can bring a whole new layer to casual and dressy-casual, and should not be a lost opportunity in the summer months or warmer climates. But, done wrong, it can also look cheap and trashy. Eeeek! So, lets try to get this one right.

Cargo shorts tend to be a heavier weight, many with cuffs and pockets. To balance this out, you would wear a heavier looking heel. This doesn’t mean you need to feel like you’re wearing concrete blocks on your feet. It does mean you need to balance the chunkier look of the short.

I would recommend a wedge or a thick-strappy sandal with a stacked heel. I would NOT recommend a delicate looking heel with thin straps, as it would make the outfit look unbalanced. (However, with a dressy short, the later would be great.)

One thing to pay attention to is the length of your short. Cargo shorts come in many shapes and sizes. If they are a longer version, you shouldn’t be wearing any kind of shoe with straps around your ankle. That will visually cut your leg off at the strap and make you look shorter than you really are. Likewise, if you are naturally of a more demure stature, (Did you like how I carefully phrased that?) you should not be wearing anything around your ankle period. No matter the length of the short. It will make you look stubby. (Basically, with all outfits, the higher the heel, the more length will be added to your leg, making you appear taller and thinner.)


Lemme give ya some visuals... 








Notice how Jennifer Aniston (LOVE her!) balances the cargos with a chunkier heel, but switches to a more delicate with the dressier short. I swear, she gets it right almost every. single. time. That girl. We would be tiiight.

Now, because I have seen WAAAYYY too much of this lately, (Auguste, this has nothing to do with your question!)... whenEVer you are doing heels with ANY kind of short, PLEASE don't do this...


Waaayyy too short. Way. I don't care WHO you are. I don't want to be afraid that I'm about to see your lady business, AND the point of wearing heels with shorts is NOT to look like you just came off the stripper stage! All too often I see people forgetting this. It can turn trashy in an instant. Mid to upper thigh length is fine. Shorts that are even (or just about even) with your who-haa are not.



Thanks, Auguste, for submitting your question to Ask Angela! I hope I helped. 

Remember that you, too, can submit your question. Just click the cute little Ask Angela button over there in my sidebar.


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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Difference

I noticed this last night...

It's a good thing we don't marry someone who is exactly like us. Otherwise, who would help me straighten out my tube of toothpaste to get the last bit when I've made a crumpled mess of it? It's not that I originally set out to be a squeeze-the-tube-from-the-middle kind of person, I just don't want to take the time to roll it from the bottom.

This was one of our first discoveries as newlyweds. And, evidently, I don't keep the cap completely clean when putting toothpaste on my toothbrush. Nate does. He likes it clean.

We now have separate tubes. It works nicely. And I floss more often, because it sits right there.

If we just get frustrated with the differences we see in our spouse and think of them as annoying, we can miss how complimentary to us those differences can be. Because he lets me squeeze from the middle, and then straightens out the tube for me and gets the last little bit out when it's almost gone.  =^)
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Introducing...

**dramatic drum-roll, anticipation building, unknown announcers voice (With an English accent? Could we do that? Okay, good.)**

From deep within the recesses of the heart of Angela White… not very different from what you have already known for the past three and a half years as Diapers and Stilettos…

**dramatic drum-roll intensifies**

…but now with an entirely different name… because her children have not been in diapers for a very, very, veeeerrrryyyy long time…and she merely hasn’t had time to catch this blog name up with her life…

**dramatic drum-roll reaches peak of intensity**

but with her family's recent move... and the realization that she's entering a new phase of life... she has forged into the future to give you... right here… right now (How many of you just finished that line with Jesus Jones singing "watching the world wake up from history?")… fittingly at the beginning of her birthday month… I have the extreme honor and the deep privilege of introducing you to…

**a single cymbal rings out, drum-roll stops**

Stilettos and Grace!!! 


Ta-DA!!!!!

**cue triumphant trumpets and an exuberant crashing of cymbals**

Thank you!!! Thank you, very much!!!

**cue background applause (Whistles would be fun. And a few woo-hoo’s. Can we get some of those? Yes? Good.)**

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had to have a grand introduction, but you can easily look to the banner at the top of this page or the new URL and see I’ve finally accomplished what I’ve wanted to do forEVer. (Okay, maybe more like the past nine months. Which feels like forever. It’s like I was pregnant or something. Well, not quite. There wasn’t any physical pain… or uncomfortable doctor’s visits. Maybe that analogy is a bit lacking, eh?)

Stilettos and Grace! Yaaayyy!!!

I will STILL blog on fashion. (Duh.)

I will STILL blog on family. (Including my awesome hubby.)

I will STILL blog on faith.

I will STILL blog on heart issues.

I will STILL blog on random, silly things.

I will STILL continue my rampant use of ellipses, coupled with my all-too-often insertion of parentheses. (Because... I really do love them both...)

I will STILL use my punctuation and grammar in VERY rule-breaking ways to Emphasize. The. Point. I. Am. Making. Because, yes, I know the rules. (Degree: Writing and Literature. Get off my back about the ellipses and parentheses.) But, this is MY blog, and I want you to know exACTly how I’m SAYing certain things. (Voice modulation is very important in communication!!!)

But, I’m also going to have some added features you’ll notice in the coming months.

One of these is my new, fun, Ask Angela button you can see looking all cute and demure (ha!) at the top of my sidebar over there. I get fashion questions quite frequently from readers who want to know things like, “Angela, you say that hoop earrings and a bracelet will make any outfit better, but what about my favorite sweats?”

…or…

“Now, Angela, I know you talk about accentuating what we have and flattering our figure, but frankly I don’t want to accentuate any of me, and I don’t think anything can be flattered. So, what do I wear to my husband’s company party?”

…or…

“You silly woman! We can’t all wear heels! What is your DEAL?”


Well, now you can email me all those questions you’ve wanted to ask, but didn’t necessarily want to leave in the comments! I’ll try to get to them… as best as I can… (Did you catch that disclaimer?) right here on Stilettos and Grace. Just click the Ask Angela button and type away. If you don’t want me to refer to your name, just let me know that. AND, if you want to remain anonymous to yours truly, well… you’ll have to create an email that I’m not familiar with, then. (Sorry. Can’t help that one much.)

Also, you can now search my archives, powered by Google, to find something you know I wrote about but can't remember where. (I probably didn't tag it right. I'm sure it's me, not you.)

So, take your time. Check around. Some things are the same. Some things are new. This is a fun process, and I’m so honored to have you join me on it! But, don’t worry. For those of you who follow me at http://diapersandstilettos.blogspot.com, you still can. It will just be redirected here. And, if you want to go ahead and START following me, well, just mosey on over to that there sidebar and start!

And, if you have been so kind and gracious as to link to me on YOUR blog, can you just go in and change the name to Stilettos and Grace? The URL will still come to here, but you want to be all hip and current and with-the-new-name thing, don’t you?

So, come. Visit often. Join in the discussions. Email me your questions. Share the love. Remember that my birthday is on the 22nd and I’ve listed things I adore over there on the side. You can even follow me on twitter!

And… WELCOME…to Stilettos and Grace. Because life really IS a balancing act, but we CAN do it. Together.

Life. Full, It's what It's all about.

Love all of you. Bunches. And bunches. (I mean it.)
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