Thursday, August 9, 2012

Temptation and Fashion

My sister and I made a trip to the mall on the Fourth of July to check out the sales. We stopped first at H&M for their 75% off sale (there wasn’t really anything good) and then headed around the corner and into JC Penny. JC Penny has been pretty affordable since they switched their pricing policy but there are still certain brands there that will break the bank; unfortunately they are also the ones with the most beautiful clothing. As we browsed, we came to the section of one such brand of clothing named after a fruit—I’ll call it “avocado” to maintain anonymity. Within the borders of the display the bright summer colors shimmered temptingly above the cherry plank linoleum, and the blazers, dresses, skirts and accessories all beckoned to us like ripe fruit from an exotic jungle. The headless mannequins posed coquettishly in their exquisite outfits and invited us to join them in their trendy land of joy. Even the music in that section of the store was different; the happy, playful pop added to everything else gave us the impression of a shopper’s Garden of Eden.
“Look at the colors!” Isabel gasped, starting to inch toward the threshold of the display.
“Don’t do it,” I warned, “you know we can’t afford anything in that section!”
“I know.” She sadly conceded and turned away.
A few minutes later, I turned from the rack I was looking at to find Isabel; I looked to my left, then to my right—no Isabel. I turned around slowly dreading what I knew I would see. Sure enough, Isabel was prancing into the Avocado section to look at a leather bag that had caught her eye.
“Isabel!” I whisper-shouted, “I told you not to go in there!”
“I couldn’t help it! Look how beautiful it is!” she said, grinning as she held the bag in front of her.
It was beautiful. I skirted around the edge of the Avocado area to get a better look at the bags.
Look at it!” she held it towards me, “It would make a nice school bag…” she tempted.
I do need a school bag…” I thought “It’s…too expensive.” I said out loud. I was starting to lose my resolve. Isabel knew it too and smirked as she continued to prance about looking at the different clothing racks. I skirted back around the threshold, using all the will-power I could muster not to cross over.
“Look at the jewelry!” I breathed. Isabel grinned as she waved a striped blazer with peplum trim at me from inside the garden. I walked further along the border until I was in front of a mannequin wearing a pretty, green jersey summer dress. The mannequin was far enough forward that the edge of her dress was just outside of the boundaries of the Avocado section, hanging over into the walkway. I stared longingly at the fabric.
Go ahead,” the mannequin seemed to whisper, “touch it.”  I looked up at Isabel; she was still reveling in the world of succulent, jewel toned apparel. I looked back at the dress. Slowly I reached my hand toward the fabric “It’s not like I’m actually going inside…” I told myself.
Suddenly the music changed completely; what had been a light, inviting tune just seconds before was now a dark, tribal rhythm with a sinister voice speaking the lyrics: “Painted whores, sexual gladiators, fiercely old party children…”
Isabel and I looked up at each other. At that moment, I honestly expected a trap door to drop beneath her, or vines to shoot out of the floor and engulf her and turn her into a moss covered statue.
Get out.” I mouthed as I motioned her towards me. She darted toward the walkway and back over the border. I grabbed her arm and we both walked briskly away from the Avocado section as the sinister voice said Come to the light! Into the light! The invisible light.
“What on earth was that!?” I exclaimed.
“I don’t know,” Isabel whimpered, “it was like a devil party in there.”
I looked up at her, “I think you almost died just now.”
“I know.”
This is a true story. These events actually happened in the way that I have described them and it was legitimately creepy. 
It was reminiscent of the scene in the animated film "Anastasia" where Rasputin has his demons try to lure Anastasia into the ocean; or of the way the background music of a video game changes when you enter the boss chamber.
I looked up the song when we got home; it is “Invisible Light” by the Scissor Sisters and the entirety of the lyrics are just…spooky. I do not suggest listening to it.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Wind the Car and the Car Port: A story of Divine Protection

"Uh, Dad...we have a situation and it involves the wind, the car and the car port."

Tuesday was my Mom's birthday. To celebrate, my sister's fiancé, Ken, and our best friends, Sandra and her daughters Pamela and Paola, whom we have known our whole lives, were over to spend some time chatting and eating and having a good time. Around nine o'clock, my mom asked my brother to take our two Chihuahua puppies outside. He was about to open the door to go out with them when he decided to ask my mom for their leashes. Suddenly something hit the porch window hard and there was a loud bang and a crash outside. Paola and I heard the noise from the living room and turned to look at each other, concerned.
"What was that?" I shouted to the people in the kitchen. They didn't answer so we got up quickly and went into the kitchen.
"Something slammed into the house!" my mom said. She went outside to find what had hit the window and found a large stone on the ground in front of the porch window. Looking around to find out where it had come from, she saw that our garage port was missing. 
"The garage port flew! Our garage port is in the driveway!" My brother shouted.
Everyone in the kitchen looked at each other in astonishment. I went upstairs to tell my dad about what had happened and soon almost everyone was outside inspecting the damage. Outside the wind was blowing strongly and the rain, though light, was pretty cold. We saw that the garage port was bent on the driveway near the side of the house and one of the poles had gone through the front windshield of Ken's car. We all worked quickly trying to remove the tarp from the top of the garage port so that it would not be blown away by another gust of wind. Ken called his dad to tell him that there was a situation and ask him to drive over to our house while my dad inspected the car and the rest of us cut the tarp off of the bottom support beams of the garage port. We peeled the tarp off of the frame and dragged it out of the way and someone took pictures of the damage to the car. We checked the other cars and found that one of the cement blocks that had been used to anchor the garage port had made a large dent in the front corner of the hood of Sandra's car. Once we had removed the tarp and were sure that the port wouldn't blow away again we all went back inside and a had a time of prayer and gave thanks to God.
The garage port was ruined, a windshield needed to be replaced and a dent needed to be fixed, but the whole situation could have been infinitely worse. If anyone had been outside when the port flew, if Ken had been sitting in the car, if the rock had come crashing through the window -- these three 'if's would have had fatal results, but, glory to God, no one got so much as a scratch.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
- Psalm 91

Friday, December 23, 2011

Simple Stitched Notebooks

 Believe it or not, Christmas is here again. My Christmas break from college started on the 16th so when I got home there wasn't much time to get gifts together for my friends. I had already bought a few small things earlier in the year but I felt like my gifts still needed a little something, so I went searching through my brain (and Pinterest) for a quick and easy hand-made gift inspiration. I always like to add something handmade to gifts because it is an inexpensive way to add a personal touch and I have a lot more fun making things than I do buying things.
I ended up finding an idea in my brain for some monogrammed notebooks.

It doesn't look very Christmas-y out there. No snow yet.

I've made five notebooks so far and will probably end up making a few more before the season is over. I used regular printer paper for the pages and some letter size craft paper card stock for the cover. I cut everything in half down the short side so that I had 8 1/2" X 5 1/2" rectangles, then folded everything in half, put it all together, and  used a sewing machine to stitch along the fold to bind everything together. Once the notebooks were bound I embellished them by stitching on some fabric scraps and stamping the initial of the recipient on them.

Cute, huh? I'm hoping to still make a bigger, Listography-style one for my little sis' for Christmas (shh! don't tell!). Yes I realize that Christmas is only two days away. I'm on top of this.