Open and Closed Gates

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On a recent trip to California, I was struck by the beauty of the entry gates to homes in Beverly Hills. They were just beautiful. I thought about installing a similar gate to the one pictured above at my home in Texas and how lovely that would be. I took several pictures of these gates with plans to post them in my blog. My intent was to discuss outdoor landscaping and the use of gates. However, divine inspiration has taken me elsewhere.

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One of the definitions of a gate, according to Miriam Webster, is “a movable barrier.” What gates or barriers in our lives are we striving to open? Is our heart set on opening a gate that the heavenly Father has closed to us. Do you ever wonder why after your best efforts that you cannot get that gate to open? We could be working hard to open a gate that will lead us to heartache, disappointment, or even danger. Further, this work takes us away from the plan that God has for our lives. And frankly, it takes us further away from God.

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It is hard in our limited knowledge to understand the wisdom of God’s ways. Therefore, we must trust that He loves us and wants what is best for us. He wants to bring us ever closer to Him. And at times that means, further away from any distractions or deterrents by keeping the gate closed. I encourage you to pray for your clarity in His guidance of you, such that you recognize when the gate is closed and turn away from it. Also, pray for peace in your heart to not question His judgment on closing it or leaving it closed. I want for us all to one day say, as Jacob did, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” (Genesis 28:17, NIV). For everything that we do should be focused on passing through those gates.

Facing the Summer Sun

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During the summer, I really enjoy jumping into the pool with my kids. Lying in my chaise pool-side, judging which of my sons makes a higher splash jumping into the pool is quite relaxing. However, this time of fun in the sun can be harmful to my skin, which calls for the use of sunscreen. Healthy skin is important for me and my family. I apply store brand sunscreen liberally on my boys and over most of my skin. However, for my face, neck, and upper chest, I give these areas extra special attention and protection. After all, sun damage in these areas are the most noticeable and difficult to hide. I  use La Mer Protecting Fluid on my face, neck, and upper chest.  It provides SPF 50 UV protection and is light enough to use everyday under makeup. I wear it on days that I plan to spend a significant amount of time in the sun, whether I am at the pool or just going about my everyday life. I love the light fresh smell of protective fluid. It works very well, too. As additional sun protection, I wear a fashionable hat to further minimize any potential sun damage. Enjoy the sun and protect your skin!

La Mer SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid, 1.7 oz. ($85.00)

La Mer SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid, 1.7 oz. ($85.00)

Sold on-line and in stores at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue

Happy Mother’s Day!

DSCF0750[1] It is a blessing to have a mother. I thank GOD for mine and all of the women that have mothered me, guided me, and simply loved me. I am a better mother for knowing all of you. I feel so blessed today as a daughter and a mother. The ability to pass on the love that was given to me to my children is amazing. That love can be life changing and reap blessings for generations to come.  I believe that my son’s description of a mom being an angel is the best and sweetest way that I can honor mine, as well. My mother is my angel, too. I love you MOM!  I hope that you and all of the moms have a “marvalous” day and know that your sacrifices and love are appreciated and shall not return to you void. Happy Mother’s Day!!

The Dallas Arts District

The children mimicking the pose of the La Nuit by Aristide Maillol ay the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas.

My children mimicking the pose of the La Nuit by Aristide Maillol ay the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas.

Today is a great day to check out the Dallas Arts District!

The Nasher Sculpture Center hosts Target First Saturdays, where admission is free of charge. There are activities for children and adults, for example tours of the center, scavenger hunt, and yoga on the lawn. Enjoy the morning at the Nasher and then stop by the Klyde Warren Park for lunch. There are several food truck with delicious snack and restaurant worth meals. The park is a beautiful green space nestled above a bustling highway below. Sitting on the green, you would be hard pressed to guess the freeway was below you.  There are often free vents at the park, as well.  After you have eaten and rested a bit, head for a short 2minute walk across from the park to the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA). General admission is free to the public. At 2:00pm every Saturday is the Spotlight at the DMA to showcase some of the highlights of the artwork and artifects displayed.

Theese are just a few ideas on how to enjoy the Dallas Arts District today. Design your own itinerary and check out some of the other venues in the district. I have listed the websites below for you. Have a “marvalous” Saturday.

 

The Dallas Arts District                     http://www.thedallasartsdistrict.org

The Nasher Sculpture Center            http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/

Klyde Warren Park                             http://www.klydewarrenpark.org

The Dallas Museum of Art                 http://www.dma.org

 

Spring Forward with Beautiful Skin

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When the weather starts to warm up, I get excited about unleashing myself from the bundles of winter clothes and boots. I am one of those southern belles who loves spring and summer fashions, like dresses, shorts, and sandals. One critical aspect of looking my best in these outfits is having healthy skin and manicured nails (hands and feet). I have a routine that makes it easy to keep my skin healthy that I want to share with you.  Following these three steps, using the products below, you, too, can have “marvalous” skin.

  1. Exfoliate! I exfoliate my skin at least 3 times a week. I  use the exfoliating gloves for my bath or shower. Note: The gloves are too harsh to be used on your face.
  2. Moisturize! Immediately after each bath or shower and before I dry off, I apply C. Booth bath and body oil from neck to toe. This technique helps to retain more moisture in my skin. Then I dry off removing most of the oil and leaving only a slight layer.
  3. Moisturize! Twice a week at night, also immediately after a bath or shower I treat only my feet and legs to Now Solutions coconut oil instead of the C. Booth body oil.

In the Spring, a few times a week, I replace my favorite scented lotion with the Jergens Natural Glow. During the summer, I use this product almost every other day. I love the healthy glow that it gives my skin.

You can find these products at the stores listed below:

The Body Shop Exfoliating  Gloves

The Body Shop Exfoliating Gloves

Exfoliating gloves – The Body Shop, Walmart, or any drug store

C. Booth Bath & Body Oil

C. Booth Bath & Body Oil

C. Booth bath and body oil – Ulta (www.ulta.com)

Now Solutions Coconut Oil

Now Solutions Coconut Oil

Now Solutions Coconut Oil – Whole Foods (www.wholefoodsmarket.com)

Jergens Natural Glow

Jergens Natural Glow

Jergens Natural Glow – Walmart or any drug store

 

 

 

 

Prey for me

Shoes of Prey

Have you ever found a pair of shoes that you love, but the store did not have your size? I hate when that happens. Well, ladies, no more. I have found a line of shoes, Shoes of Prey, sold at Nordstroms that solves that problem and more. Shoes of Prey, not only, offers beautiful shoes at reasonable prices, but they also offer custom options. Yes! You can custom design and order shoes to your taste and that are just your size. A Nordstrom stylist will work with you to choose the style, color, and heel height. The bad news is this is currently offered at only four of their stores in Paramus, NJ; Bellevue, WA; Newport Beach, CA; San Francisco, CA; and Arlington, VA. The good news is that more design studios are planned and you can purchase many of their ready to wear shoes in the stores and on-line. Check out the Nordstroms’ website (http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/shoes-of-prey?origin=leftnav) to see the lovely items below many more Shoes of Prey’s “marvalous” designs. There goes my lunch money.

Shoes of Prey 4        Shoes of Prey 6

Shoes of Prey 7   Shoes of Prey 3

Three Words

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I was surfing the web and came across a page that asked what you would tell your younger self in two words. I thought that was not enough and continued my web search. I found myself thinking more and more on that subject and decided to stop. If I could send a message back in time to my younger self, it would have three words, “do not settle.”

These 3 words could have infinite possibilities, such as…

Do not settle for giving less than your best.

Do not settle for less love than you deserve.

Do not settle for a life without Christ.

Do not settle for public acceptance as your self worth.

Do not settle for the easy road.

Do not settle for a life without peace.

Do not settle for daydreams. Make the dream your reality.

Do not settle for imitation anything. Get and have real love, real friendships, and a real life.

Do not settle for name brand. Be your own brand.

In many ways, I did not settle. In others, I wondered my potential service to God had I not chosen to settle. Thankfully, I am here to continue in my quest to not settle for less than giving God my best. I pray that you not settle for less, as well. Have a “marvalous” Monday.

 

 

 

Where’s Everyday?

In the past few weeks, I have taken an unexpected departure from posting in my blog. It started shortly after spring break in March. However, I am glad to be back. I thought that I would share with you some of the highlights and pictures during my hiatus.

Spring Break 2015 – New Orleans, Louisiana

It is always a pleasure to bring my family back to my home town, New Orleans, and visit with family. We enjoyed the drive from Dallas, stopping in Natchotiches, along the way. In New Orleans, we enjoyed a day at the Audobon Zoo, the French Quarter, Xavier Univeristy of Lousiana of which my husband and I are alumni. It was without a doubt a great time! I think we gained a few pounds from all of the good food, as well.

The boys having a great time at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, La.

The boys having a great time at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, La.

We love the giraffes. Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, La.

We love the giraffes.
Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, La.

Gotta see dem gators! Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, La.

Gotta see dem gators!
Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, La.

Goins’ Brothers Black and White Birthday Party – Dallas, Texas

I have the fortune of celebrating my sons’ birthday at the same time as they were born on the same day three years apart. I love picking a them for their parties. Since they are getting older, I wanted a them suitable to growing young men. I thought black and white was they way to go. All of the guests were asked to wear black and/ or white casual attire. I decorated the dining room and foyer, rented a Game Truck, and had kid-friendly and adult satisfying meals. It was fabulous!

Before the party.

Before the party.

Singing happy birthday to the boys.

Singing happy birthday to the boys.

Easter 2015 – Houston, Texas

Normally we spend Easter at home in Dallas. However, this year Easter weekend fell on the weekend of my sister Ardis’ fortieth birthday. So the family I and had a great Easter weekend and enjoyed the look of surprise on my sister’s face at Easter Sunday Brunch. That was a memorable day!

The boys looking out from the 5th floor hotel window above Dallas Street, Houston, TX

The boys looking out from the 5th floor hotel window above Dallas Street, Houston, TX

The Sam Houston Heritage Park in Downtown Houston, TX.

The Sam Houston Heritage Park in Downtown Houston, TX.

My beautiful sister, Ardis, my son, Solomon, and myself. We were enjoying her Easter surprise birthday brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel, Houston, TX.

My beautiful sister, Ardis, my son, Solomon, and myself. We were enjoying her Easter surprise birthday brunch at the Four Seasons Hotel, Houston, TX.

Everyone needs a rest at one time or another. Whether it be a few moments of quiet or a family vacation, it is needed to maintain balance in our busy lives. Allow your self that rest and it will make every day that follows more “marvalous.” Have a great weekend.

Belle Chambre

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My belle chambre and favorite room in my home is my bedroom. For the spring, I have removed the heavier comforter and replaced it with a lighter traditional bedspread. I maintain a consistent color scheme of black, cream, and gray, so that I do not have to change the entire room each season. In the spring, the cream becomes the dominant color. As for the bedspread, I love the look of a traditional colonial style bed with a lovely bedspread. It is both simple and elegant. For my husband’s preference the decorator pillows are kept to a minimum.

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I love mixing and matching pieces of furniture. For example, the side tables are not part of the bedroom suite for my particular bed. You may find it interesting some of the items that I keep at my bedside. For example, the highlighters, markers, and other writing utensils that I use with my kids and for jotting down ideas in my journal. I also have a few books that I like to look at from time to time as well as my favorite magazines.

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It is important to keep the items organized, so that I can maintain the peace and calm of the room. Monthly, I change out the magazines and only keep my absolute favorites. Eventually the favorites are replace by newer favorites. Last summer, I discovered Life Beautiful, a Christian magazine. I highly recommend it. The magazine is both beautiful in imagery and content.

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I hope that my belle chambre inspires some creative design in yours. Have a marvalous weekend!

Spring is here!

Today it is official. Spring 2015 is here! I am without a doubt a Spring/Summer/Fall girl. Winter is not my thing. I don’t like being cold, wearing layers, or drinking hot chocolate. I wish I did, but I don’t. In my southern way of thinking, February is the last month of the year that deserves to be cold and November is the first. Finally, spring is here! (Yes, I am excited.)

I look forward to outdoor activities in the warmer weather, for example hiking and playing in the park with my kids. I am also considering what will be my color theme for the plants in my yard.  There is so much to be excited over. I am so thankful to be here another year to enjoy it.

I posted some of my favorite pictures from a visit to the Dallas Arboretum in Spring of 2014. Wow! I cant’ believe it has been a year since my last visit. It is time for the family and I to go back and enjoy the gardens on a Saturday. I would like to go more often. There are activities, such as live music, pony rides, and areas the kids would love. Check the website below for more information. Enjoy and have a “marvalous” Friday!

The Dallas Arboretum:            http://www.dallasarboretum.org/

My handsome sons at the Dallas Arboretum 2014.

My handsome sons at the Dallas Arboretum 2014.

The floral peacock. Just beautiful at the Dallas Arboretum 2014.

The beautiful floral peacock at the Dallas Arboretum 2014. (Click on the photo once to enlarge, and then again to enlarge it to view the detail. It is “marvalous.”)

Everyday Marvalous on Twitter

I am expanding my reach to include twitter. Follow me @marvalousday for words of wisdom to encourage you in your pursuit of a beautiful and joyful life. See you in the Twitterverse.

Children and Chores

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My husband and I, like many parents, love to provide for our children an enjoyable life full of enrichment, love, and joy. However, overindulgence without responsibility will lead to entitlement attitudes and dependence. This is the opposite of what we intend to develop in our children by showering them with our love and gifts. One important tool to help your children grow to become responsible and self-reliant is to assign the children chores, even if you have a housekeeper.

There are some basic chores that my children are responsible for during the week, e.g. picking up their dishes after dinner. However, Saturday morning in my house is the “big clean”. I prepare a checklist and tell them specific times for when I will check their work. Honestly, I was a drill sergeant the first few weeks, when I started this process. However, over time as these chores became the standard, the drill sergeant starts to fade and resurfaces, only when necessary. I even give them a 30 minute warning before the big clean begins.

Some helpful hints to support your success on implementing chores for your children:

  1. Be consistent: Your children may not be willing participants at first. However, stick with it. Overtime, it will become the norm.
  2. Select age appropriate chores. For example, I limit access to areas, like toilet cleaning, due to risk of exposure to germs. For toddlers, it may be picking up toys. For school age children, you can add placing laundry in the correct location, cleaning the kitchen table, and picking up dishes.
  3. Be patient: Your child may not get it done right the first time. Teach them as you go along, while decreasing your involvement in the specific task.
  4. Be encouraging: If you have a negative attitude towards their work, so will they. Help them feel supported and appreciated for a true good effort. Also, when assessing the cleanliness of an area, be encouraging for recognizing good effort and coaching on specific ways to be more efficient or getting areas that were missed.
  5. Be firm: When the effort is lacking from your child, be firm and clear in your expectations followed up with consequences for disobedience.
  6. Make it fun: Play music, open the windows, sing songs, and even make a game of it.

You want your child to have a sense of pride of the work they completed. I love when my child says, “Mom, come look.” As I assess the space they have clean, I sense their feeling of accomplishment. I praise them for it, which is encouraging for them. I am not always sure, if I am doing the right thing. However, this is one area I am confident that I am. One added benefit for you is the additional help around the house. Now, that is marvalous!