Pearls and plaid

LogoPearls and plaid are both very much on trend this season, but would you wear them together?

Just before leaving on our recent trip to BC, I hosted a cabi party. As hostess, in addition to other benefits, I was entitled to one piece of cabi jewelry at 50% off. I chose the Black Pearl Heritage Necklace.

When I opened the parcel that was waiting for me on my return, I happened to be wearing the black and white plaid shirt that I purchased for $3 at our local thrift store a couple of years ago. Trying on my new necklace resulted in an aha moment! I might never have thought to wear my new black pearls with my old plaid shirt, but I loved the dressy meets casual combination; the bit of boy meets girl trend that has been popular for the past couple of years.

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So, yes, I will wear pearls and plaid together!

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Capitalizing on the timeless elegance and edgy feel of black pearls, this single strand of faux pearls meets with a toggle closure and a cluster of silver-finished charms which can be worn in front or back. I’m certain that its versatility will make it a go-to piece in my wardrobe this season and for a long time to come.

 

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Renewal By Grace… hope for hurting wives

Renewal By Grace

About sixteen months ago, because of my involvement in similar ministries in the past, I was asked if I would consider helping put together a brand new online series for wives who are experiencing the heartache of their husbands’ past or present sexual betrayal. For more than a year, I’ve been working with a small group of similar minded women around the world to write and edit this new program. It’s been a long journey, but a very rewarding one and I’m delighted to announce that Renewal By Grace is finally up and running!

I would define sexual sin as any type of sexual expression outside the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage relationship. That could include adulterous affairs as well as other forms of infidelity including the use of pornography and masturbation for personal gratification. The emotional trauma that wives experience when they discover that their husbands have been engaging in these kinds of behaviours is often beyond description, but there is help and there is hope.

Given the secretive nature of sexual sin, exact figures are impossible to establish, but the numbers are overwhelming. If you are a wife who is hurting as the result of your husband’s sexual sin, you are not alone and I would urge you to consider signing up by clicking on the link in the first paragraph above. Renewal By Grace is a private place for you to find peace and understanding. You will work your way through a series of 100 short devotional lessons designed to help you find renewal, healing, and hope through the stories of real wives who have experienced many of the same thoughts and feelings as you. You can read one lesson each day or move through the program at whatever pace suits you best.

When you register with Renewed By Grace, you will be offered the option of having a prayer partner who will read your responses and give you feedback as she walks alongside you and offers you support. Each of these women has walked in your shoes and experienced your pain. Each has received training to prepare her to provide godly support and encouragement to the women she partners with. All correspondence between participant and prayer partner is completely confidential.

Will I wear them again?

LogoThere are many different ways that I could go with today’s post…I could write about where I get fashion inspiration from, I could talk about age appropriateness, or I could add to last week’s topic about resurrecting old fashion favourites. I think I’ll do all three!

I follow several fashion bloggers who write specifically for women over the age of 50. I’ve learned a great deal from them and this is not the first time I’ve taken inspiration from Alyson Walsh, writer of the blog, That’s Not My Age, and author of Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous and Know Your Style: Mix It, Match It, Love It. I love Alyson’s creative, casual style. On her blog, she recently wrote a post entitled Am I too old for dungarees? That sent me back to the storage room to dig out another of my old favourites that had been hiding there for years!

In case you’re wondering, Alyson is British and dungarees are what we on the North American side of the Pacific call overalls. I’ve loved overalls since infancy when, according to my mother, I called them “weewalls”.

As I mentioned last week, I try to adhere to the wisdom of getting rid of clothing that I haven’t worn for the past year or two, but there are certain pieces that I just can’t part with. My khaki overalls are one such item.

So, here we are, Alyson and I in our dungarees/overalls.

I’m sure I’ve had this pair for at least 20 years, probably longer. The last time I remember wearing them was around the house after abdominal surgery in 2006 because they were the most comfortable thing I could find! I know that they’d already been residing in the storage room for quite some time by then. I’m happy to report that they’re still as comfortable as ever.

The title of Alyson’s blog post asked the question “Am I too old for dungarees?” and I completely agree when she replies, “I’m not too old.” I’m delighted to live in a time when we no longer feel the need to adhere to rigid fashion and age appropriate rules. As far as I’m concerned, as long as something is comfortable, fits well, makes you feel confident and isn’t beyond the bounds of decency, I say wear it with pride regardless of what age you are!

I was astonished, however, at some of the responses to Alyson’s post. Apparently, there are women don’t share my love of overalls! “It’s not that you’re too old. It’s just that they’re unflattering. Gardening only attire.” said one. “I will leave these to the young and construction types. I’m sorry but they look ridiculous on anyone over thirty, unless you are going out to work on your car or into your garden.” said another. A third woman wrote, “At the end of the day, it does look like a factory uniform.” Thankfully, there were also many positive and complementary comments.

So will I resurrect my overalls and begin wearing them again, or will I hang them back in the storage room? I’m not sure. I may have to think on that for awhile!

Coastal adventure continued

On the west coast of Vancouver Island where we camped over the Thanksgiving weekend, more than half the days in October tend to be rainy ones. When the forecast promised sunshine on Saturday and rain on Sunday, we planned the weekend’s activities accordingly. Saturday morning found us back on the beach walking, playing, and searching for treasures washed up on the shore.

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Matt and Robin

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Adding to my shell collection

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Sam and his parachute man

Of course, a sandy beach like this one is an open invitation for castle building!

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is home to numerous hiking trails varying from easy loops of less than 1 km to the rigorous 75 km (46.6 mile) West Coast Trail that takes approximately a week to complete. For Saturday afternoon, we chose the popular Rainforest Trail. Made up of two loops, one on each side of the highway, this scenic 2 km trail took us deep into the forest away from the sound of traffic. The entire trail is a wooden boardwalk that protects the dense undergrowth while allowing hikers to enjoy the magnitude of the towering trees and massive ferns. Though not a difficult hike, there are over 700 stairs along the way!

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That’s a very big tree!

Though much of what is seen in the rainforest is huge, sharp eyes can also pick out many smaller things including a wide variety of mushrooms and other fungus. These ones, growing right in the campground were my favourites.

I almost expected to see a forest nymph or a smurf peeking out from beneath one of these!

As anticipated, Sunday was wet and drizzly. We spent the morning visiting the Kwisitis Visitor Centre learning about the history, people, and wildlife of the area. This small, free museum overlooks Wickaninnish Beach and is located on the site of the original Wickaninnish Inn.

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Rain or shine, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is absolutely stunning!

 

Coastal adventure

When our trip to Vancouver for my father’s surgery fell so close to Canadian Thanksgiving, our daughter-in-law suggested that we join them for their planned long weekend camping trip to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Not wanting to pull our trailer over the mountains to the coast and pay to take it across to the island on the ferry for just 3 nights of camping, we agreed but only if we could borrow a tent! Tofino in a tent in October? Some people thought we were crazy, but we’re always up for an adventure!

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I think it had been 25 years since the last time I slept in a tent, but we prepared well and were snug and warm in our cozy little cocoon. It wasn’t exactly ‘glamping’, but our air mattress almost filled the little tent and in addition to our sleeping bags, we had extra quilts and blankets for warmth. We even had a little space heater, but we barely used it! When it rained, as it was bound to do, we didn’t even get wet.

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Early Friday evening, we set up camp at Green Point Campground in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The campground is located on a bluff overlooking Long Beach.

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View from our campsite

As soon as we finished setting up camp, our grandsons and I headed for the beach. According to Parks Canada the official length of Long Beach is 16 km (almost 10 miles) but it’s really a series of beaches separated by rocky headlands. When the tide is out, as it was when the boys and I went down, the campground beach is a vast expanse of sand approximately 6.5 km (4 miles) long. “I feel so free!” exclaimed 9 year old Sam as he walked out onto the sand. I know exactly what he meant. It was amazing!

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Most amazing of all though was the spectacular sunset that followed! The sky was ablaze with colour as the sun slipped beneath the surface of the sea.

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Nate watching a Great Blue Heron

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Later we drifted off to sleep in our tiny tent listening to the sound of the surf. Ahhh… What bliss!

I’ll share more of our weekend adventure later in the week. In the meantime, I need to get organized for tomorrow morning’s departure. Sadly, the time has come to leave the coast behind and return to Alberta where snow has already fallen several times!

Resurrecting an old favourite

LogoIn last Friday’s post, I told you about a leopard print shirt that I almost gave away, but didn’t. I try to adhere to the wisdom of getting rid of things that I haven’t worn in the past year, but once in awhile old favourites take up long term residence on the hanging rack at the back end of our storage room and wait for a day when they might be resurrected and put back into use. This shirt was one of those. I have no idea how long I’ve had it, but I do remember ordering it from the Sears catalogue. That may even have been before the now defunct department store chain introduced online shopping in 1998! The fact that it was made in Canada is another indication of its age since it’s very hard to find anything that isn’t produced offshore anymore.

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Though animal prints are very much on trend this season, they are an enduring fashion that never really go out of style.

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I could dress the shirt up by wearing it with black pants and a dressier top, but I was going for a very casual look here. I folded back the cuffs and styled it with a well worn pair of Gap jeans, sneakers, and my 65 years bold t-shirt which is technically a lie now since today is my 66th birthday!

I’ve always preferred to wear this shirt as an unbuttoned third piece over a simple top. This breaks up the expanse of animal print which might otherwise be a bit overwhelming. Though the soft, velvet-like fabric is quite warm, it definitely wasn’t warm enough for the 4ºC (39º) afternoon when these pictures were taken! This was a very quick photo shoot and my photographer hubby was wearing a warm jacket. Perhaps the cold explains my clenched fists!

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Anniversary on Lonsdale

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In recent years, we’ve been coming to Vancouver at least twice a year. Dividing our time between my very elderly father, my mentally handicapped brother, and our oldest son, his wife, and their two growing boys always seems to be a balancing act. We planned our current trip specifically because my father was having minor surgery last Thursday. Thankfully, that went extremely well and as we did when we were last here in June, I decided that we ought to take a bit of time to enjoy the city. Of course, the fact that today is our 42nd wedding anniversary was also a good reason to do something a bit out of the ordinary!

Though we spent the first few days of this visit staying in one of the guest suites at the assisted living facility in Burnaby where my father lives, we relocated to our son’s home in North Vancouver on the weekend. After walking the boys to school this morning and then having a late breakfast, we headed off to spend a few hours exploring Lower Lonsdale.

With stunning mountain views in one direction and Burrard Inlet in the other, bustling Lonsdale Avenue is main street North Vancouver and Lower Lonsdale is its oldest neighbourhood. There past and present come together in a unique area bursting with shops, restaurants, cafés and pubs. At its heart is Lonsdale Quay.

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Lonsdale Quay Market has an abundance of unique shops and services selling everything from fresh seafood to authentic west coast art to kitchen ware and handmade chocolate. It’s also the northern terminus of the SeaBus, the passenger-only ferry that crosses the inlet and connects the North Shore to downtown Vancouver.

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After wandering the shops inside the market and enjoying a delicious lunch of fresh fish and chips overlooking the harbour, we made our way outside.

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Public art reflecting the heritage, culture, and environment of the area is found all over the city of North Vancouver. The 100 foot mural “Coastal Energy” on the side of Lonsdale Quay was designed by North Vancouver students in collaboration with local artist, Dennis Creighton.

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After leaving the Quay, we walked a few blocks up one side of Lonsdale Avenue and back down the other checking out a few of the shops and enjoying the character of the place.

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Then, anniversary or not, it was time to return to our real reason for being in Vancouver; time to pick up Dad and take him for a follow up appointment with his doctor. Thankfully, he is doing well!