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.
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.
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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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,
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.
A Wife’s Guide to Helping Her Husband Gain the Winning Edge
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.
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."
The liberation of my mind and heart was not accomplished overnight. Nevertheless, over time my thinking shifted, creating a new paradigm which in turn resulted in a softer, more pliable heart. I finally began to understand that a great deal of my hard work and effort toward doing good things was not always motivated out of a heart of love but from a place of fear.
My primary motivation for serving God had been to earn His approval. I was afraid that I might disappoint God and the prospect of disappointing Him was so unacceptable to me that I served Him from that mindset. Not until I finally began to grasp the depth of God’s love for me (for ME!), did I at long last relax in that love. I could breathe deeply and know that He loved me whether I performed successfully, failed miserably or, and this is key, whether I simply was.
Do you find yourself struggling with God's love for you? I believe that it is not until you understand that if there had only been you, God would still have sent His only begotten Son and Christ would still have willingly given His life for you. Just for you! Know it. Believe it. There is freedom in truth."And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" 1 John 4:16.
God moves on an eternal time table that is not always readily evident to His people. He works within seasons, and time frames for His own purposes. And yet, He is also a God of the suddenly. Don't be surprised when in a certain season, out-of-the-blue, comes one of God's suddenly~s.
When a suddenly occurs, it may be a bit of a shock but don't let it take you by surprise. Have you ever jumped into a pool on a summer's day? The cold water is shocking but you are not surprised by it.
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)
In this season, at this time, and for His purposes - go forth and plan, yield to His prevailing will, and do it all in the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do you express your love? What speaks "love" to you?
Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, describes "five distinctive languages that people use to express love."
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
As I am typing, my husband is washing dishes; that speaks love to me! Washing dishes is in the category of Acts of Service. However, the primary way I love to be loved is through Words of Affirmation. So if my husband were telling me the things he appreciates about me while washing the dishes, I would be over the moon!
In relationships, especially with those who live under our own roof, it strengthens the "love-ship" when we recognize and purposefully speak the love language of our loved ones. Start with your spouse. Do you remember The Adams Family? Whenever Morticia spoke French to her adoring husband, Gomez, he could hardly contain his affection for her! He loved it when she spoke French.
Whether you are fluent in a foreign language or only remember, "Donde esta el bano?" from your high school Spanish class, you can be fluent in the love language of the love of your life.
Want to take a quick quiz to determine your love language? Follow the link here. But don't stop there. Ask your husband to take it, too. Then start speaking your love language and with practice you'll be fluent in no time. Ooo la la!
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Proverbs 4:23 instructs, “Keep your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.”
To keep means to guard, protect and maintain. The first strategy in keeping your heart is to guard your heart. A guard is set in place to protect something of value.
Is anything more valuable than your heart—that which represents your inner self?
Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Who Switched Off My Brain? writes, concerning the heart, that science has caught up with the wisdom of Scripture. “Your heart is not just a pump; it also acts like a mini brain.”
As we look through Scripture, we often see the heart portrayed as the seat of thinking, emotion, and the dwelling place of the Lord and the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 23:7 records, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
In Luke 5:22 we read that Jesus perceived the thoughts of men and questioned what they were "reasoning" in their hearts.
Jesus said of Himself that He “searches the minds and hearts” Revelation 2:23.
"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" I Corinthians 3:16.
So how do you guard your heart?
Scripture indicates that by taking our requests to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, the result is peace—the guard of our heart.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Anxiety is a sure path to a troubled heart but there is an antidote to anxious thoughts. When fear threatens to hijack your heart and terrorize your thoughts, present your requests to God by means of prayer in an attitude of gratitude. In addition to making your requests, try asking God for a different perspective on the circumstances. Often a shift in viewpoint changes the whole picture!
Then, look for ways to be a blessing to someone despite your present situation. You don’t have to “have it all together” before you can be a godly influence on another.
Finally, give generously in the midst of a trying time. According to “Dr. Mel,”* generosity relaxes the tensed muscles and worry lines produced by anxiety.
So give! Give a donation, a smile, a kind word, a pan of brownies!
May the supernatural, impermeable, impenetrable peace of God guard your heart today.
Are you in a trying time? Need the peace of God to guard your heart? I'd love to pray for you. Just leave a comment or email me at email@example.com.
(*I'm not a real doctor, I just "play" one at home, thus my family's nickname for me. ;> )
The Bible teaches us to offer hospitality to others. In Titus, hospitality is one of the qualifications for church leaders. Paul said "He must be hospitable". What does that really mean today? With our lives filled to the brim and running over with so many things to do and responsibilities to fulfill, what and when do we have time to be "hospitable". The Living Bible sheds some light on this verse by saying "They must enjoy having guests in their home." Do you enjoy having guests in your home? I do! Having been raised in a Pastor's home, I grew up with guests in the house. Looking back on that experience, I believe it is what has made me love extending hospitality to others today.
The Bible is full of examples of others practicing hospitality. In verse 13 of Titus, the Living Bible says this, "When God's children are in need, you be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night." I think it's pretty clear that God wants us to "practice" offering hospitality to others. Hospitality is very different than entertainment. Entertainment seeks to amuse and divert one from routine. True hospitality seeks to minister to the needs of others.
Recently, I was talking to a man whose wife has been diagnosed with cancer. She has been going for weekly treatments and he is committed to staying right by her side. Obviously, others things aren't getting done. Like mowing the yard, cooking the meals, cleaning the house and other mundane but necessary chores to keep the home going. He shared with me that he was disappointed because so few of his "brothers and sisters in Christ" have called or offered help. I was mortified! I realized that I could do more! Even though our lives are full and at times hectic, I believe it is imperative that we look for and indeed seek out ways to offer hospitality. Many people won't ask for help but they will accept it if it is offered. I recently heard a Pastor say that "you are never closer to God than when you offer mercy and a helping hand to someone in need". God's heart beats with mercy and compassion. He desires us to be his hands and feet on this earth.
When I hear the word hospitality, I always think of hospital. What goes on in a hospital? Usually sick and injured people come to be restored and made whole again. What an incredible picture that presents for how we can offer up our home to be a place that can restore and offer wholeness to others through Christ Jesus. It is so true that we never know what shoes someone is walking in. They may desperately need someone to just share a meal with them, offer companionship or help carry their burden. My prayer is that we all begin "practicing" hospitality. Quit worrying that your house isn't perfect or you aren't a gourmet cook. Just extend the invitation and be yourself! Let God do the rest! His ability outshines ours every time!
From the Life & Style Session "Inspired Living". Do you have a story to tell about a time when someone offered hospitality to you when you needed it the most? I'd love to hear your story. Comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until I see you again,
Recently I heard that a woman I am acquainted with lost her teaching job ~ a job she was very good at. (I know because she taught my daughter.) The news hit her hard and out of the blue, and yet the same day I heard of her loss I marveled at her response. It was a Sunday morning and after hearing the news I watched as she lifted her hands in praise to God. Perhaps it was a sacrifice of praise I witnessed. Nevertheless I was blessed to see her praise God with the same passion week after week.
Her passionate response of praise influenced me and I rejoiced with her. In the midst of a trying time her praise sparked the praise in me. Praise because I have also been in trying times and yet have come out to wide open places with greener pastures. Praise because of the realization that although we cannot see around corners, God sees the end from the beginning. Praise because it is a sure pathway to the throne of God.
This praising woman unreservedly revealed her heart to all who would see. In the lean times or the mean times there is always a meanwhile. What will you do in your meanwhile? Will you offer praise to God? Or will you give Him the silent treatment?
A praising woman may never know whose life she influences. But there is always someone watching. So...influence for good!
Do you have a specific reason to praise God today? Do tell. You just may spark a praise in someone else today!
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- She only buys what flatters her figure and complements her coloring. In other words, she knows how to pass on the bargain and keep only those things that make her look good.
- She understands the importance of buying the quality pieces that will never go out of style such as the Little Black Dress or the perfectly tailored jacket. These become the "foundation" of her wardrobe.
- She knows what pieces to splurge on. These pieces will add panache to her basics and remain timeless season after season.
- She understands that SHOES and BAGS make the outfit.
- She knows how to add DRAMA with accessories.
- She understands how to mix and match, creating new ensembles on a whim.
- She realizes that style ISN'T about the money.
- She knows how NOT to be the victim of this year's trends.
- She is comfortable knowing that everyday is not a photo shoot.
- And MOST importantly, she understands that the FIT rather than the size or label is EVERYTHING!
Each Wednesday I will begin posting a detailed entry for each of these basics starting next week. If you would like to know more about Life and Style by God's Design or to schedule us for your next ladies event, go here.Until I see you again,
Sometimes our influence is felt more by what we don't say, what we don't do. In my role, I have often been a listening ear to those who would unburden themselves. I consider that a high and holy privilege. When someone chooses to be vulnerable and confide in you, it is of utmost importance that you discipline yourself to hold that confidence in trust.
You've heard the phrase, "a man's man." It's often used to describe the kind of man other men enjoy being around.
I want to be "a woman's woman." The kind of woman who protects and covers the "sisters." The kind of woman who keeps confidences close to the heart. The kind of woman who refuses to participate in gossip, foolish talk and vulgarities.
When you build up, refusing to knock down (no matter how subtly) you are a "woman's woman." When you encourage the giftings and abilities of other women, you are a "woman's woman." When you share good news, good opportunities, a good shoe sale or a good recipe, you are a "woman's woman."
In the Life & Style By God's Design women's conferences, I visit the lives of influential women throughout the Bible. I'd love to have your company on the journey as we discover how to be a woman of influence!
Interested in hosting a Life & Style By God's Design conference? Go here for more information.
- Classic - Your look is clearly traditional. You are inspired by historic homes and European aesthetics. Chippendale, Queen Anne, and Empire-style furniture in rich wood tones like cherry and mahogany naturally draw you in. You appreciate the quality of fine furnishings and fill your home with family heirlooms and antiques. Timeless color schemes such as blue and white with splashes of yellow or spring green with pink warm the interiors of your home making it comfortable and personally yours.
- Country or Cottage - You are drawn to comfortable spaces with timeless appeal. Your idea of the perfect room is well-worn furnishings that invite you to put your feet up! Your rooms aren't fussy or stuffy but warm, cozy and inviting. Preferred colors are rich cream, tan, combos like red, white and blue, and colors inspired by the great outdoors. Slipcovered or painted furniture is right up your alley.
- Contemporary - Open interiors and carefully edited surroundings speak to you. Unlike the classic style that finds beauty in layers of color and pattern, you crave sleek lines and simple profiles. Large doses of white (and every variation thereof) is liberally applied to walls. You add color by displaying important pieces of art or photography. Paintings are usually simple but sophisticated. Furniture is functional and clean. Every item has a purpose and every item has a place.
- Chic - You've got style and you like to show it! The lastest fashions find there way to your closet and the most up to date home decor finds its way to your rooms. Just like the Little Black Dress is your choice time after time, you like to start with the basics - a classic sofa that can be jazzed up on a whim with the trendiest shades of decorative pillows or throws - then add show-stopping accessories. You're not afraid of color and you take your cues from the fashion runway. You have a natural eye for mixing and matching. You know where to spend your money and where to invest in timeless style.
- Cultural - You love stylish spaces that overflow with exotic collections. You are drawn to far away places and love to travel or learn about the cultures of countries around the world. You choose colors that lean toward spicy, sophisticated tones, such as red, yellow, orange and brown. Earthy colors and ethnic accents define your personal style.
God has uniquely positioned us ladies to provide for our family's comfort and home life. We instinctively want to add color, softness and beauty to our surroundings. If you are interested in Discovering Your Design, I'd love to hear from you. E-mail me at MyLifeandStyle@aol.com with your questions or comments. To learn more about Life and Style by God's Design, follow the link.
It delights me when science catches up with the Bible! Many would agree that positive thinking is beneficial. I would add not only is it beneficial, it is necessary for ultimate health ~ spirit, soul and body!
Philippians 4:8 instructs us to "meditate on things that are of value and praiseworthy." Meditating is more than thinking, however. Meditating carries with it the idea of reflecting, muttering, pondering even sighing. That kind of "focused thinking" affects not only how our brains operate but is directly linked to all other functions of the body. Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of Who Switched Off My Brain?, writes, "What you think and feel prompts your hypothalamus to begin a series of chemical secretions that change the way you function...The hypothalamus gland is actually the facilitator and originator of emotions in response to life circumstances, such as fear, anxiety, stress, tension, panic attacks, phobia, rage, anger and aggression."
Psalm 1 tells us how to live a blessed life ~ meditate on God's Word day and night!
How is that possible? By filling your mind with God's Word, you filter every thought through God's Word. Reject thinking that is ungodly and that which does not reflect the principles of Scripture. Accept thinking that is in line with God's truths. Your thoughts impact your life because they are intricately linked with your emotions, attitudes and actions.
Dr. Leaf writes, "...the mind is a battleground, with ongoing conflict between toxic thoughts and good thoughts, thoughts that serve your mental and physical health well and thoughts that deplete your body and mind of health."
So serve yourself well today ~ meditate on those things that are true, noble, just, pure lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy! Do it for your mind, soul and body. It's a noble thing.
(From the Life & Style topic, "Noble Things.")
Life sessions consist of in-depth Bible teaching and speak to the spirit of a woman. Style sessions target a woman's heart through enhancing her home, her family and herself. Life and Style By God's Design offers real-life solutions for today's woman and home.
We believe the woman is the heart of the home and the home centers the family. Inspired women change homes. Changed homes inspire and influence nations.
Knowing your personality type, for example, is helpful in understanding why you say what you say and do what you do. There are four basic personality types which were observed and recorded by Hippocrates (450 B.C.): choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholy. I like the terms attributed to each by Florence Littauer: choleric – “power,”
sanguine – “popular,” phlegmatic – “peaceful” and melancholy – “perfect.”
While these basic types help our understanding of personalities, they should not be used to pigeon-hole yourself nor anyone you know. Most people are a mix of the types with one being dominant.
Another aspect of who you are is the spiritual gift or motivational gift in which God has endued you. These can be found in Romans 12:6-8.
You also have a love language which is how you prefer to receive love and how you most likely extend love.
And then there is your birth order. Did you know most presidents have been first borns while most politicians are middle children and the majority of successful sales people are the baby of the family?
While you may know another person who shares your dominant personality type, has a similar motivational gift and is in the same birth order as you, that person will not be a replica of you! You are unique. And no one can do a better job at being you than you!
So, be the best version of yourself you can possibly be. You’ll be happier for it and so will everyone who knows you.