WELCOME! Thanks for stopping by today. We believe that women are the heart of the home. Uniquely created and positioned by God, no one can touch the heart of another like a woman. Together Melanie and Alisa offer inspiration and encouragement to women to pursue their potential, develop their creativity and embrace their place as the heart of the home.

Tuesday

Life Lines ~ Strength In The Strain ~ EDITED



"Strength in the Strain"

by Melanie Dorsey

The past 10 months have been challenging for our family. Job loss. Job find. Traumatic accident. Drastic paycut blamed on the economy. Waiting. Schooling issues. More waiting.




So many of you could post your own list of challenges that you have been facing as well.


But in the current of uncertainty I have to remember what I truly believe: Challenges are opportunities for growth.



I like this quote by John Maxwell: Change is inevitable; growth is optional.


In the midst of our challenges, will we look to see how the strain will ultimately be of benefit? Are we on the lookout for new buds of growth?



I've spent my early mornings reading from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. This particular devotion from August 2nd has had a profound effect on me.

Chambers writes, "God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength."


When I read that quote, I consider the other activity I have been doing daily. I started working out using The 30 Day Shred dvd. In 3 different circuits of the workout I do resistance moves. Sometimes the resistance is my body weight and other moves incorporate 5 lb weights. I can see muscles! I have more tone.






I am stronger.





In the strain of resistance I have developed strength. It is not an invisible, intangible strength. With the increase in strength there is a noticeable ease of stooping and rising, in carrying and in my level of endurance.



Psalm 29:11 tells us, "The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace."


I consider that God allows certain trials, certain challenges, into our lives as a means of strengthening us. Perhaps the strength we acheive in the strain comes from resisting the temptation to simply quit. To give up on pushing through the pressure of the weight is to give up on what is sure to be the result ~ growth.



As I push my body up from the floor in the strain of push-ups, and as I follow the trainer's instructions for pressing the 5 lb weights, the goal is not to go about my day doing push-ups nor is it to carry around 10 extra pounds.


No, the goal is to strengthen me to do real life.


James 1:2-4 instructs us thusly, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."


You see, the purpose of my workouts is not so I can do push-ups and lift weights. The purpose of my workouts is so that I am made stronger and healthier for life beyond my workouts.


When James writes that we may be perfect and complete, perfect carries the idea of being fully developed or mature. Complete underscores the thought of fullness and wholeness.


To count it all joy is not a giddy, emotional reaction rather it is a deliberate appraisal to see the strain from God's perspective.


The strain, the trial, the challenge results in the strength.


"The strain is the strength."
EDITED 1/14/09~
At the end of August my 12 year old son, Andrew Christopher Dorsey, was diagnosed with brain cancer. He passed from this earth to heaven on December 15. He is with Jesus and he is in our future! Currently I am trying to gain my strength again.

Friday

Life Lines "Mamaw Was a Firefighter"

My Mamaw was a firefighter.

In her 90’s, and legally blind, Mamie Parker Williams, “Mamaw Williams” to me, became an honorary member of her community's volunteer fire department. Still independent and living alone she grabbed her backyard garden hose to extinguish a fire in her outbuilding. A neighbor called the fire department and they took over in putting out the fire. Mamaw made the paper that week!





But long before Mamie wielded the water hose, she was wielding the Word. As a young woman Mamie accepted the call to ministry. Mamie taught Sunday School, played the organ and prayed with people. In her book, My Journey Home, she wrote, “I was always interested in missions and orphans. I taught my class with an emphasis on these two ministries as well. Often we would raise money to send to the church headquarters for missionaries and the orphanage.”

Her words are recorded in a national church publication, dated June 5, 1920, “My heart’s desire is to be a true and shining light for my Savior and lead lost souls to Him. I realize that the coming of Christ will not be long and Oh! How my heart aches for those that are lost. I want the power of God so that I can tell the lost world more about our precious Savior.”

Mamie meets the General.

In 1923 Mamie met a young preacher, General Grant Williams (his real name).
Arrested in 1921 for disturbing the peace while preaching on a front porch, a friend, knowledgeable in the law, advised him to plead guilty to the charge. Papaw pled guilty and the judge ordered Grant to pay a small fine. Realizing that he did not have the money and would have to go to jail, the judge passed around a hat in the courtroom to collect the money for the fine!

Mamie and Grant got married and spent the rest of their lives together in ministry.
I remember well the summer vacations and Christmas visits when all of the family members who had gathered to visit in Mamaw’s and Papaw’s living room would kneel in prayer. Mamaw was always the most vocal, her voice rising above the rest.
She prayed. She cried. She laughed. Mamaw had a way of “praying through.”
And at the age of 103, she went to meet the one "for whom her passion burned."
Yes, Mamaw was a firefighter. She fanned the fire of desire in my life for Jesus.
It was an occupational hazard.

Wednesday

Style File - Laying Your Wardrobe Foundation



In Proverbs, the Word tell us about this infamous example of womanhood. Although we don't know her name, she is often referred to simply as the Proverbs 31 woman. I have often thought about this woman. I've wondered what she looked like and what her name might have been. Clearly, of all the virtuous and capable women in the world, she surpassed them all. Verse 22 tells us that "She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns."
I love that verse! That verse speaks to me. You see for many years I felt that the talents and abilities that my Father had given me in the area of interior design and fashion were insignificant in the kingdom but one day this verse came alive to me. I realized that if this virtuous woman of Proverbs spent time and attention on her clothing and home decor, then I didn't need to feel quilty because of the desire I had in my heart to design - interiors and wardrobes. My hope is that I can offer you some practical advice and tips on creating beauty within your home and style within your wardrobe. We know that real beauty comes from within and I want to help reflect what's inside of you on the outside of you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The last time I posted a Style File, I spent time talking about how to edit your wardrobe. Today, I want to spend some time sharing some tips on laying the foundation for your wardrobe. The foundation of your wardrobe is built around those essential pieces that go with almost anything. These key pieces NEVER go out of style and are always chic. I like to think of these pieces as a blank canvas on which I can layer my own style by way of accessories.
Here I want to give you a workable list of the Top 10 pieces that every stylish woman must have in her closet:
  1. The Little Black Dress (LBD) - Legend tells us that Coco Chanel created the first LBD, however long before Coco Chanel debuted her version, women everywhere had found the versatile, comfortable and practical garment to be a must-have. Every woman needs a flattering version of the Little Black Dress hanging in her closet. It makes you look endlessly elegant. It never competes with you but always lets you shine. You can dress it up or dress it down. And let's not forget the slimming effect.
  2. A classic, tailored, White Shirt - The white shirt has been called the key to American style. It's the perfect pairing with your 9 to 5 business suit or your favorite jeans. It's simple. It's chic. It's forever practical and unpretentious. When I was working in the corporate world my favorite office attire was a classic white shirt, pearl choker, navy or black trousers and any one of my MANY jackets. It's effortless. Now that I'm out of the corporate arena, the white shirt and a classic cut jean or kahki pants is my go-to wardrobe.
  3. Cashmere cardigan or sweater - There is nothing more luxe than donning cashmere. No matter the weather, cashmere can be worn for any kind of occasion. I used to wonder what all the fuss was about but the first time I slipped on a cashmere sweater, I was hooked. Try a cashmere cardigan in a neutral shade over a dress, a tee, a button-down, or wear it alone. A turtle neck or sweater is great with jeans, skirts or pants.
  4. Trench Coat - preferrably Tan. Trench coats are the best. The add instant mystery and go with almost everything. If you need to dash out and the rain is pouring down, a classic trench coat will keep you dry as well as looking stylish. Even if you live in a warmer climate, having a trench coat in a lightweight fabric is a must. Designer Michael Kors is quoted as saying, "Put on a trench, you're suddently Audrey Hepburn walking along the Seine."
  5. Dark Washed Denim Jeans - It has been said that jeans are the most perfect clothing item ever invented. The majority of Americans own between 4-6 pairs of jeans! They are practical, simple, stylish and elegant. Finding a cut and style that flatters you is worth a day in the mall and the hassels of the dressing room. A dark wash is your best bet. They can go from the office to dinner out, from Saturday at home to a shopping trip with your BFF. Any outfit built around the jean seems more relaxed, more practical and unassuming than it would feel if you substituted black trousers for the jean.
  6. A classic Men's-style Watch - Women's watches are rather trendy and tend to change often but the allure of a classic men's-style watch will never dim. There's just something timeless about a classic, round-face, wrist watch. (No pun intended.) Seeing a man's watch on the elegant wrist of a women is ultra flattering. Finding a style that looks good can be a little bit of a search so I recommend going for a style with a classic leather strap.
  7. Diamonds - okay, quality fakes will do if your budget does not allow you to splurge at this time. You just can't go wrong with diamonds. A simply elegant pair of stud earrings or a classic tennis bracelet is perfect for anytime, day or night. No matter the season, diamonds are appropriate for both casual and dressy attire.
  8. Flats - Now, let me start by saying that EVEN if you are on the short side (like me), there will come a time when you MUST give your heels the boot for practicality. Thank God those times are few and far between for this 5 foot, nothing girl. Nothing looks more ridiculous than a girl trying to wear high-heels on terrain that is best navigated in flats. Find yourself a stylish pair that with go with your favorite jeans, pants and skirts and wear them with pride!
  9. A classic high-heel pump or sling-back - my choice is a classic black. It's the go-to shoe. I wear mine with suits, my LBD, flared jeans and trousers. I would be lost without my black sling-back. If you are short, I recommend opting for a sling-back instead of a closed in pump. Trust me - it will make your legs look longer. I also recommend buying two or even three pair if you find a style that feels great on your feet and flatters your foot. Remember, classics never go out of style and this one basic will be used over and over again!
  10. A GREAT Bag - Okay, I will admit it. My name is Alisa and I'm a Purse-aholic! Okay, enough said. The BAG - it's the one wardrobe piece where you can have fun. Lots and lots of fun! But just like the classic high-heel pump, a stylish lady needs three great bags that will carry her through every occasion. They are a Tote or Shoulder Bag. A Clutch. A medium-sized Handbag maybe one with a chain-link strap. The tote is for daytime and will carry almost everything. The clutch is for nighttime and will carry almost nothing. The handbag falls somewhere in between. Did you know that the handbag only became a female accessory at the beginning of the 1900s? Before then, only men carried a purse. Once ladies began to venture out on their own, the handbag became a symbol of independence.

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

When building the foundation of your wardrobe, the key to buying these pieces are to buy as "classic" as possible - nothing to bright, trendy or embellished. You can find these 10 items in all price ranges and qualities. Buy the best you can afford as these items will compose your blank canvas for years to come.

Until I see you again,

Happy Shopping!

~Alisa

Tampa Bay, we're coming your way!
Life & Style By God's Design Women's Conference Sept. 11- 12 ~ For more information go HERE.

Tuesday

Life & Style Women's Conference Coming to Tampa Bay

Life & Style By God's Design is coming to Tampa Bay in September!
The Women's Ministry Department of Harvest Temple Church of God in Largo, FL, is hosting a Life & Style Women's Conference September 11 & 12, '09.*

Discover your D.E.S.IG.N. with Life & Style Coaches Alisa Lucas-Brown and Melanie Dorsey. Life & Style topics speak to the spirit and heart of a woman, inspiring her to live and style her life according to the Master's Plan.

Life & Style Ministries offers real-life solutions for today's woman and home.
Sessions include:
Discover Your Design (personal & decor/fashion)
Escaping Eve
Salt - A Lifestyle Designed by God
Ignite Your Fire
Guard Your Heart
Noble Things
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For more information email us @ mylifeandstyle@aol.com or call Patty @ (727) 595-2034.
The $28 registration fee includes catered lunch & gift bag
Late registration after 8/16 is $35 and includes lunch but no gift bag.
Conference Date & Time
*September 11, Friday 7 - 9 p.m. & September 12, Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Harvest Temple
13301 Walsingham Road Largo, FL 33774
(727) 595-2034

video

Friday

Life Lines ~ "3 S's to Success"



“3 S’s to Success”
A Wife’s Guide to Helping Her Husband Gain the Winning Edge
by Melanie J. Dorsey

Would you like to know how you can help your husband win at life, love and lunch? There are 3 simple steps you can begin TODAY that will give your husband the winning edge.
The issues of life and love are obvious but, what you ask, does “lunch” have to do with anything?
“Lunch” refers to your husband’s job. Often in business, more is accomplished over a lunch or dinner meeting, than in a memo, fax or phone call. Besides, I like alliteration, so “lunch” it is!

So what’s the secret to your husband’s success? You are!
Recently I was reading through Proverbs 31, starting with verse 10: “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.”
Yes, I am quite familiar with that verse as it is often the theme of events from Mother’s Day to Ladies’ Luncheons. However, it is verse 11 that leapt off the page and smacked me in the head: “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.”
I carefully read it over and again. Yea, I even meditated upon it. As a wife who loves my husband, I certainly want him to lack nothing and gain all God has available for him. And apparently I have a huge part to play in that plan unfolding. As I pondered the truth of verse 11, the “3 S’s to Success” began to formulate.

S#1 Shhhhh…Keep his confidences. This means that those things that my husband confides in me are meant for me and me only. He is more likely to open up about his “stuff” if he knows that I will not share it with anyone else.

S#2 Sis Boom Bah! Be his number #1 fan. Since you married him, he must be exploding with good qualities. Why not remind him of them from time to time? You’ll build his confidence and make him glad he chose you!


S#3 Support him in being his best in a “no nag” kind of way. “Support” means to hold up or add strength to. You don’t need a definition of “nag.” We wives know full well what that means. We can do it with our eyes closed and one hand behind our back! If your current way of supporting your husband is not working, pray about a strategy that will work. A humble prayer for a Holy plan is an answered prayer.

When your husband feels safe with you, his chances of success skyrocket! Even when the issues of “life, love and lunch” don’t go according to his plan, he’ll still feel like a winner with a wife like you! And that’s a win~win situation.
I'd love to hear how you have incorporated one of the "S's" to bless your husband. Leave a comment to encourage all of us wives on the same path!
(If you don't have a blog, simply leave your comment "anonymously.")
Don't forget, I'm giving away 2 copies of The Husband Project by Kathi Lipp. Go HERE for more information.
Melanie

Thursday

Win "The Husband Project" book!


Would you like to take your marriage from "ordinary to amazing in just 21 days"?

Even if you have a GREAT marriage, there's always room for improvement, right?



Go HERE to see how you can win "The Husband Project" by Kathi Lipp. I have 2 copies that Kathi sent me to give away. How great is that?!

Even if you don't win, why not follow me HERE to do the 5 Day Mini Project? You'll get all the information you need to play along and really roll your husband's socks up and down!


And...come back here later for my article on "Helping Your Husband Gain the Winning Edge."

Wednesday

Life Lines ~ THANKS & PRAISE

It seems that the theme for my week has been PRAISE. My heart and mind have been parked on PRAISE & THANKS to God!

This scripture in particular has been on my mind: "Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107:8 NKJV)

The KJV uses "praise" in place of "thanks." Either way, thanksgiving and praise go hand in hand. Regardless of which you offer first, the other naturally follows! Try it. You'll see what I mean.


Many people are facing major decisions at this point in their lives. Of course, life is full of major DECISIONS. If you haven't had to make one, it just means you haven't lived very long. I just celebrated another birthday and I can tell you, I've lived long enough to have made a few major decisions! But like many of you, my husband and I are facing more ~ some of which will have to be made soon. Very soon.

I believe the reason the Spirit of God has placed the theme of PRAISE on my heart is because offering THANKS & PRAISE, regardless of your circumstances, prepares your heart to receive from God. To offer thanks & praise is a choice. A DECISION.

Consider these aspects of praise.

1 Chronicles 23:30 "...to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening..."
praise - halal (hah-lahl) Strong's #1984: To praise, to thank; rejoice, boast about someone. Halal is the root from which "hallelujah" is formed.


Psalm 63:3 "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You."
praise - shabach (shah-vahch) Strong's #7623: To commend, praise; to adore; to glory in something; to still, quiet, or pacify someone. Shabach goes in two directions, "praising" and "calming."


Psalm 100:4 - "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise."
praise - tehillah (te-hil-lah) Strong's #8416: A celebration, a lauding of someone praise-worthy; the praise or exaltation of God; praises, songs of admiration.


Ephesians 1:6 - "...to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved."
praise - epainos (ep-ahee-noss) Strong's #1868: Approbation, commendation, approval, praise. Epainos expresses not only praise for what God does for us, but also for who He is, recognizing His glory.

No matter what is going on in your life at this moment, offer THANKS & PRAISE to Him alone in whom you live and move and have your being.
My Prayer:

"Abba Father,
Your Word tells me, 'You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.'
Despite mounting opposition, I choose to offer You thanksgiving & praise. I thank you for Who You are, for What You do, for how You choose to move in my life and that of my family. It is You who puts the boundaries in place. It is You who shakes the earth out of its place and its pillars tremble. It is You I trust with my life.

I confess I do not always readily offer up praise & thanks to You. Help me to have a quick tongue to speak of Your goodness and your faithfulness. Assist me in forming the words to bless You and exalt You. Form in me a heart of worship, a spirit of joy and a mind to think on Your most excellent ways.
Today, LORD, I thank YOU. I praise YOU. I worship YOU.
In the Name of Jesus, I pray.
AMEN."
May your heart be full of thanks and your mouth filled with praise,
Melanie