God Bless Us Every One

In browsing other blogs online, I stumbled onto a company called Warby Parker, a eyewear company that has a great concept: Get One, Give One.

For every pair of frames (lenses included), Warby Parker will donate a pair to a person in need. If you're a fan of TOMS, you'll know this idea.

So, not only does this company give, but they do so at a great price: $95 for frames AND lenses! They do this by not licensing big name brand names to attach to the frames, which saves on the bottom line. My current glasses are Nine West, which I didn't realize had nothing to do with the shoe line! I bought them because I liked the style, but could care less about the name on the side!

My prescription has changed within the last year, so I didn't see any reason not to try this company out. 

The way they work is, you browse online through their different styles (and there are recommendations based on face shape). You can then upload a photo to virtually try on, or you can request that up to 5 pair be sent to you for free. You then have 5 days to try on, and then ship them back in the pre-paid box. 

Seemed like a pretty good deal to me!

I guess I was in a "tortoiseshell" kind of mood, because all five frames I picked are those!

(I'll be honest, I just wanted to try the big geek glasses. I would never buy this pair!)

I probably should have fixed my hair for these. Or worn makeup. Or been Natalie Portman. But I decided to get....FINN! I'm excited to pay less than half what my old Nine West frames were, and know that I'm helping someone in need at the same time!
I wore them all day Friday and was highly impressed the quality and weight of all the frames, and the girls in my office had quite a fun time trying on all the different styles, too. 

(I haven't been compensated in any way for this post. Warby Parker isn't a sponsor of mine. I just think that they're cool.)


The Lights of Long Ago

First, an update from yesterday:

While I still stand by what I wrote, it can also be noted that yesterday was a very bad day, especially to be asking about Hope. The weight of all the life change hit a high level yesterday and seemed crushing in its force. 
So last night, as dinner was microwaving (yes, that's how I roll), I turned off the lights, opened my laptop to the Advent reading on Hope, and began reading to B. He lit the first purple candle as we read. 

"As the cry pierced the stillness, God’s light pierced the darkness, and we see that light as we light each candle." 

Tears flooded my eyes as I thought about that whisper of a candle flame, flickering intently, offering Hope. I thought about that time, when the Jewish people must have doubted every promise God ever gave them, as they saw the Romans take their land, and devalue their way of life. And just when it seemed to be over, a whisper of something in the wind changed everything. 

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

I was wrong when I said that I have found Hope in Community, or rather, incomplete. I have found Hope in the promises of God and the Messiah who lives, and also among His people. My people are here, somewhere. And when I find them, I'll be sure to let them know the hope that they carry with them. 

(Read the whole Advent entry we're reading here.)


A Place Called Home

Prompt: Community. 
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

With no real means around us, B and I have become each other's community. Which has brought us closer in ways we couldn't have imagined, but also, sometimes builds resentment. We've both been in town for a little over a month, but still don't have a solid community, "our people". We both miss having the people in our lives around whom we feel we can be ourselves.
Meanwhile, when friends from "home" call, we screen the calls because we both know we'll want to spend a lot of time catching up, but don't have the energy to say, "Yeah, things are great." Because they're not right now. Then sometimes, we do call friends at home, and they don't call back. They leave that call hovering in the air, not realizing what a lifeline that they could be. Not realizing that they are the semblance of community I feel I have right now. 
Things suck right now, honestly. And I'm tired of pretending that they don't. 
There's a sense on my part, something like "this should be the happiest time of your life!" But it's not. 
B and I just may be the two most miserable engaged people since the dawn of time. Me because I'm depressed, lonely and anxious, him because loving a depressed, anxious person is really hard and isolating. 
That we are insufficient for each other in this way is a complete truth, and we feel it churning the very ground beneath us. 
Last night, we went to Hobby Lobby and bought the items to make an advent wreath, knowing we'd have to catch up. We assembled the wreath, added the candles, and I pulled up the reading from the first Sunday to read. "Hope", it said. 
I felt anger. "Hope in what?" And then, I didn't want to talk about God anymore. I was angry for feeling like I'd been brought to this place only to die of loneliness. 
The wreath went unlit all night. 
It's in community that I have found hope. And without community, I feel hopeless. 

So my hope for 2011 is to find my people. Whoever they may be. 

What Can You do With a General?

Dec 6 Prompt: Make. 
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
Actually, the last thing I made last night was a dress refashion into a ruffled top. I took a dress that was too tight overall and had never been worn, despite good intentions. I thought about putting in the “donate” pile and then remembered some crafty blogs I’ve read lately that have refashioned tees and cardigans.
It felt pretty good to envision something like that and make it happen, even though there was a pretty intense 30 minutes in there, when I realized that I had sewed the back of the shirt to the front!
I’d love to start sewing more and have the ability to see something online and fashion it myself.


Let Yourself Go

Dec 5 Prompt: Let Go. 
What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
I think this year was the year of letting go. I realized, in many ways, that I’m a control-a-holic and now am hoping for a full recovery. This year, I also let go (or am learning to let go of)
  • Caring so much about what other people think
  • The place I called “home” for 30 years
  • Friends who are really acquaintances (in this era of facebook, my measurement is simple: do I know when your birthday is off the top of my head? If the answer is yes, we’re probably true friends)
  • The idea that a large, regular paycheck equals security
  • A church family that was wonderful but no longer a place I needed to be
  • Fearing conflict
  • The need to take offense on my own behalf 

Count Your Blessings

#reverb10 December 4
Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
To be honest, I’m not sure I did. This year, due to many factors, I felt my headspace shrinking, as I attempted to navigate the many life changes I encountered or am still encountering.
The one instance that stands out the most was a Sunday morning as I drove to church; I started thinking about B and his love for me and how I completely did not deserve it. (I had been pretty rotten to him at the time.) The sheer fact that he loves me even when I don’t deserve it BY CHOICE moved me to blubbery, unattractive tears. And then, no kidding, a rainbow popped out of the sky right in front of me. That was pretty wondrous.
In the past few weeks, I’ve endeavored to counter any sarcasm or snark I might normally put on my facebook wall with a status that is grateful for three things, no matter how small. I’m hoping this measure of gratitude reminds me that life, even in the crappy, unmoored moments, can be pretty wonderful.

I've Got my Love to Keep me Warm

The Daily #reverb10 (from, ahem...3 days ago)

Dec 3 Prompt: Moment
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

In my hometown of Tulsa, when snow falls, the city tends to shut down a bit (if not completely). Over a period of a few days, about eight inches of snow fell, blanketing the city in white fluff. B came over in his Jeep and we watched old movies while drinking tea to keep warm. After night fell, we bundled up in old mechanic’s overalls and went for a “snow walk”. 

We walked for about a mile through my neighborhood, snow still falling languidly all around. I remember my nose being cold, the snow crunching beneath my feet as we walked mitten in mitten, mostly in silence. We finally arrived at my neighborhood park, where we sat in the playhouse and stared dreamily at each other. It felt like we were the only two people in the world. And that was enough.


Let Yourself Go

You readers may be wondering how I can call this a fashion blog, if I never show you my outfits. Well, really, this is a "I-lost-my-camera-card" blog. But it's been found and I'll show you Days 1 & 2 from Dressember soon. Promise. Meanwhile, you can visit the Flickr page of all the other lovely ladies participating here.

Now for the daily reverb.
Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?
My immediate thought is that I overthink and worry about reader responses. But I think it's really insecurity. Mostly with the "fashion" blogging, I see other writers and think what I wore that day isn't anything to get excited about or worth blogging. I worry about my unfixed hair, the inevitable run in my tights, the fact that I gained 10 pounds this fall being incredibly evident. On a good day, I can find a dozen flaws. 
[Update] I just realized I didn't answer the last part of the question. Can I eliminate self-criticism? No. Should I ignore it? I think not, since these things do result in a well-written blog post. But I think, sometimes, in spite of any anxiety I feel, I should just say "Eff that" and write it anyway. The only way to get better, to feel confident, is to keep writing. 


The Best Things Happen When You are Dancing

So, all through the month of December, I'm doing two things.

1. I'm celebrating "Dressember", which means I'll be wearing a dress or skirt every day for 31 days. Tights are going to be my very best friend this month. 

2. As a way of reflecting on this past year, I'll be participating in reverb10, a blogging event that "is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations* for the year ahead".

*They call it "reverberations" I call it "hopes", for "manifests", "desires". Semantics, but it's a bit too much on the "do-it-yourself-good-vibes" side of things for my taste. I think I'll reserve the right to alter the prompts throughout.

Today's Prompt: December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Without a doubt, the word would be "Change". Within this past year, I've left a job, left a city, friends, family & familiar places in order to take on a new job in a new field. I've gotten engaged to the most wonderful man I could have ever imagined, we've slowly settled in our new home(s), and have begun the process of beginning to make new friends, new places, creating a family here. We tried (& failed) to buy a new home, and right now, I have no idea where I will be living in a month. 

I've had to stretch beyond the boundaries I thought I was capable of, be vulnerable in seeking help, and relinquish quite a bit of control. And I have to say, it's been hard at times. Recently, I've begun having panic attacks at least twice a week, but see those more as a symptom of letting go. 

To me, these attacks are a sign of a dependency on controlling every aspect of life. I'd rather put trust in God, but it's not my natural inclination. I'd like it to be. There's no reason I shouldn't live my life this way. Every need I've had has been met, and sometimes even before I have a chance to pray it. 

So, 2010 has been about change, for the better, I'm sure. And I'm thankful for it.