Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Some Birthday Blessings

I love this because of the crown. I dubbed myself the Queen on my 50th.
Still trying to live up to it!

My birthday was Monday. And, like I do every year for a week or two before, I start dreading the day in anticipation and fear that it doesn't turn out great.

There is only one chance a year for it to be great, right?

There was a time in my childhood in the 60's, in the era of huge snowstorms and mounds and mounds of snow that my party would be cancelled due to bad weather. And some other times my day just didn't go very well or the way I wanted it to.

What is my excuse for still dreading it? I don't know and maybe I need to just get over myself. I think after this year I may have to. I am writing this blog post partly to document my day to remind myself how nice it was and partly to brag! And leave it to the Lord to use the events of the day and people in my life to help me do just that.....get over myself, I mean.

Birthday Blessing Number 1:

 My husband usually takes the day off for my birthday but since there is really nothing to do in the dead of winter on a Monday, he went to work. Besides being at work made him that much closer to the birthday cake he had to pick up. More on that later.

So I decided to take myself for some retail therapy on my birthday. I LOVE shopping by myself when I am serious about getting something new! I headed to the mall where I could hit the most stores in one place. I decided the sky was the limit and so I went to the really nice store that I got a birthday coupon for first. But my thrifty self just couldn't spend that kind of money on any of it, 15% off coupon or not. I moved on.

On my second stop I hit the jackpot! I fell in love with the Ralph Lauren sweater above because of it's retro, madras kind of colors and print and it is a hoodie......can't pass that up! It was on the rack marked 70% off the original price which happened to be $169. I figured with the discount it would be $50 and since it was my birthday and my first purchase, I said why not. When the clerk rang it up and took another 25% off, I was thrilled. Total...$39.48.

They tried to get someone to buy it at 50% off for $84.50. Thank you to all those who passed it by! I must say that it was quite a chore going through the racks and racks of clearance at Macy's, and a lot of other department stores, because the clothes were, well, HIDEOUS! It was just a sea of matronly prints and styles that I am just not ready to give in to yet. I am only 57 ya know! And yes, I was in the right department for my size and age!

I also found this cute dress for $20 from $80 and this boyfriend cardigan in soft pink for half price.

This last shirt is for my daughter Candice for her birthday. She loves owls. So cute! It fits me too though.....nah! It's for her.

A quick stop at Pier One, just because I always have to look, got me this really pretty scarf. I have seen these on Etsy and been coveting one for myself. For $15 on my birthday.....yes!

Birthday Blessing Number 2:

My blessings for the day started at 7:30 a.m. with a phone message from a dear friend whose birthday is a week later than mine. We are so looking forward to our celebration together again this year.

I arrived home from my shopping therapy to birthday greetings from another friend who just happened to be driving by when I was parking. We chatted and hugged and she was on her way. Such a nice surprise!

There were several phone messages with sweet birthday greetings from some unexpected people waiting for me. My email inbox was filled with greetings posted on my Facebook wall. Then my daughter Jena arrived, family in tow, to make dinner for me......my gift, along with the pretty frosted vase with my favorite Daisies. I received Mario's, a local Italian restaurant's newest cookbook, as a gift for Christmas from my son Michael so we thought it would be a good time to try some recipes. We had Portobello mille foglie with warm charred tomato vinaigarette and Fusilli cavolfiore. Yes, it was as gourmet and delicious as it sounds. Sorry, no pics!

My cake was phenomenal. It was just a short trip from work for my husband to Savoia's, an Italian bakery, to pick up a Cannoli Cake. This is what is left and it was so delicious.

My daughter Candice and granddaughter Cassidy joined us for cake and gave me my first Alex & Ani bracelet. It says Nana on the rose. So pretty!

Birthday Blessing Number 3:

My son Michael plays in a basketball league at our Community Center on Monday nights. He is a huge NBA fan and had been talking about how certain NBA players have been scoring 50 points a game. He told me he was going to score 50 points for my birthday. We all layered ourselves up to face the bitter cold and went off to his game. I am proud to say that he scored 4 baskets....8 points! My preemie son with mild cerebral palsy in his legs who was never supposed to run or play sports is now playing basketball, doing great and adding to his team's big win. I would love for the doctor who told us he would never run to see just how fast he CAN run up and down the court.

Birthday Blessing Number 4:

I never prayed for a good birthday. But the Lord knew what I needed to stop dreading the day and He delivered. He used the events of my day and the people in my life, from early morning straight through to 9 p.m. to accomplish just what I needed. He's like that you know.....He knows what you need before you do and He works it all for good. He loves to bless His children.

My day was so good. God IS so good!

AnnMarie xoxo

I am linking up to these great blog parties:

Inspiration Monday
Fluster's Creative Muster
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Wednesday's Adorned From Above
What's It Wednesday
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Share Your Cup Thursday
Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Anything Blue Friday

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Owls are Back

This is a cool 1970's string art wall hanging in shades of yellow and gold.

I would like to think they are, anyways!

There was this huge explosion of popularity for the cute horned nocturnal creature...the owl...back in the summer of 2012. I blogged about it then, sold many owls in my Etsy shop and then it seemed the craze kinda died out.

I think it is coming back. I just FEEL it.

I have been seeing so many owl items in the thrift stores lately. I couldn't resist acting on that feeling while treasure hunting this past week and picked up four vintage ones. A good move I thought, or maybe not so much?!

Are people sick of them and that is why they are donating them to thrift stores?! I'd like to think that their popularity is going to go outta sight again and then everyone is going to come to my shop to buy them!

Just because mine are so cool.

This unpredictability is why I don't usually go for trends or fads in collectibles! But I do like owls. Maybe I can single handedly rejuvenate their popularity!

My daughter has been collecting owls for over a year but says she is done with that. Every time I see her though she has a new owl something!

There is just something about owls and they are being made into everything imaginable.

I actually found an owl bracelet hanging on the jewelry rack AT A GROCERY STORE!

It is pretty fabulous....

My new owls are all different from each other. From kitschy to music making to useful...

This kitschy, blue and white owl planter with the nylon macrame hanger is the essence of kitsch from the late 60's - 80's. He is quite cute with plastic blue eyes and would be perfect for a porch or a blue and white kitchen.

Do you like to feed birds? This picture shows just how long the hanging cord is on this owl from the second owl picture above. It would be great to attach him high up in a tree to hang eye level where you could watch the birds fight over the seed. Or, it would make a great tea light candle holder for a porch.

How cute is this pair of owls (Mama and baby?) wind chime that is artist signed? It has a cute bird on a bell on the tag that hangs from the clapper.

Did you notice the brown, ugly grass and all around deadness in my yard? These owls brought a smile and anticipation of Spring just hanging them on the side porch.

This last owl is useful and very unique. It is a heavy, cast iron trivet with stained glass-like colors in it.

What treasures have you found lately?

AnnMarie xoxo

I am linking up with these great blog parties this week:

Monday, January 13, 2014

Take His Hand Into the New Year

It is January 13th and I am finally writing my New Year's post. I have been wanting to write this since I read the December 31st devotional in Our Daily Bread.

The image it left in my mind has become how I am looking ahead into the new year.....taking His hand in mine and following His lead.

The devotional talks about how when we are about to cross a busy street with a small child, we put our hand out and tell them to hold tight. We would never depend on their grasp to keep them safe.....it is our grip on their hand that holds them and keeps them safe.

In the same way, it is not our grip on God that keeps us safe and secure, but the power of Jesus' grip on us.

"28  I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one." John 10:28-30

Sometimes I wonder how people without a grip on Jesus' hand make it through each day. It is through our trials that we have to lean the most on Him. When we have made Him Lord of our lives, we know He is in it and taking care of everything whether we can see it or not. It is a huge burden lifted.

For the aunt whose niece is in a coma from a brain anuerism at 43 years old....

For the pastor and his wife whose son is facing criminal charges and jail time....

For a man fearful of the tests that may show medical issues....

In all these situations, Our Father is on one side and our Lord and Savior on the other, gripping on to our hands and not letting go.

Grab His strong hand....the hands that formed the oceans, that gave the sun it's light and the stars their brightness.....

.....and take it into this new year with a childlike grip so that you are assured that no matter what happens He has His firm grasp on you and will never let go.

"No, In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

AnnMarie  xoxo

P.S As I have been writing this my vehicle has been towed away on a flatbed after not starting this morning and being jumped by a roadside service. Thankfully it was in my driveway. I had a bunch of things  I had to do today, and some things I just wanted to do. I guess the Lord had other plans for me, as I was able to sit down and write this post.  Leaning on Him......

I am linking up with these great blog hops.....

Spiritual Sundays
Amaze Me Monday
Pin It Monday Hop
Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Button

I am thrilled to finally have a blog button!

After two years of blogging it just seemed the right time to finally get one. It will open up more doors for me in the blog world this year and that is what we want in a new year, right? To keep moving forward.

I would love for you to "grab" my button, if you are a follower, for easy access to all my upcoming posts.

Just copy and paste the code under the button on my sidebar here....

Are you ready for your own blog button? Erin created mine and she was wonderful to work with! She was very patient with me!

 Here's to a fun, productive post writing year to all of my bloggy friends!

AnnMarie xoxo

I am sharing with:

Anything Blue Friday