Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rising To The Challenge

Sunday, I really moved out of my comfort zone.

The week before, two of the girls in my Sunday School class approached me after church with a challenge: "Miss J, we challenge you to wear something that's not black. Or white or gray. Or navy or tan. Something bright!" Okay! Can do!

Or not.'s harder than it looks. My entire wardrobe is black. Or white or gray. Or navy or tan. That's it. All I own are neutrals.

See, I'm in my in-between wardrobe right now--out of my big clothes but not yet to my final destination. I just need some things that will tide me over for now, and that will work with each other and in most environments. And that are on clearance. Ergo, all my clothes are cheap, mid-dressy neutrals. (Okay, it's also possible that I really like neutral colors. That may have played a part in wardrobe selection. But the cheap, available, flexible-ness-es definitely contributed.)

So....I had to go shopping. It had to be really cheap. As in, really, really cheap. As it so happened, I stopped by Sam's Club after church for some apples, and lo and behold, there was a really cute sheath dress--only one--and it was in my [new] size! AND, it was only eight bucks and some change!

Presto, chango! I own a sleeveless dress with a white base that is smothered in bright turquoise daisies. I love daisies.

Now, this is a substantial branching out for me, not just because of the color, but for several other reasons as well:
1. I haven't worn a sleeveless shirt since I was in middle school. Let's just say my arms aren't my favorite body part. But you know what? I'm thirty-{muffle, swish, rumple} and I just don't have enough time left on earth to worry about what you think about my upper arms, k? Plus, they look a heck of a lot better than they did a year ago, so! {wink}
2. I only just started wearing dresses again because, well, my legs weren't my favorite part of my body either. (You'll understand more if you read this, too.) With few exceptions, I stopped wearing dresses some many years ago.
3. I have--for the first time since I was a little girl--started going bare-legged [read: without hosiery]. I am surprised at how freeing it is! :-)

Milestones, all. However, with dress in hand, I have a new dilemma. I have nothing to wear on my feet. All the shoes I own are...neutrals. Black, mostly, with a few brown thrown in for good measure.

So my busy week takes over, and on Saturday night at 8:45 p.m. I find myself heading out the door to (hopefully) find shoes to go with my white-but-mostly-turquoise dress. I'm gonna have to take whatever I can find.

And what I find is clearance [yea!]. And it's also out of my comfort zone. See, until last summer, I didn't wear shoes that displayed my feet. Nope, didn't wear sandals at all. 'Cause my feet weren't my favorite part... Oh, you know? Well, I was also scarred by a stint selling specialty shoes in college. We won't go there now; you might be eating...

So my clearance shoes leave my feet nearly naked, but here is what I came up with:

So...the outfit is compiled. And when Sunday morning dawns (or a few hours later), I don my out-of-my-comfort-zone outfit and whisk off to meet my challengers.

And they don't show.

Nope. Didn't even bother to make to Sunday School that week. [Narrowing of the eyes here] I.will.find.them. In fact, I planned to go to their houses on Sunday afternoon. No kidding.

However, they were saved the horror by showing up for worship and seeing my glorious outfit there. [They were not, however, sufficiently impressed, IMHO.]

Wanna know the best part of the day? About five of the youth I work with found me after church to make sure I knew...that someone else was wearing the EXACT same dress that morning.

Lovely. Just lovely.

Secretly, I do think it looked better on me, though. After all, my outfit wasn't just a dress and some shoes. It was a trophy to how far I've come.

Reveling in the little things,

(c) 2008

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
--2 Corinthians 5:1-9


Rachel said...

I want to see the picture of the dress. As someone that has known you since your bare arms displaying Junior High years. That dress does not sound like you at all. I am so proud of you! It sounds really pretty - and it fit your cheap needs also- yeah!! Hmmm, I don't think I ever remember you wearing sandals. That is such a shame that they did not come to Sunday School. You are going to have to give an attendance award, or bake muffins (this time I suggest not baking year old ones - ha)

As for branching out - I do remember a toga worn to school one day in High School. Hmmm.

Congrates on the weightloss and the new dressage.

joyce said...

Too funny. And have you seen the new cake wrecks diet? Cakes made in the shape of heads. Hope it makes you smile.

Anonymous said...

This is a great story! Thanks so much for sharing. Just this morning I was telling my husband about all the "stipulations" you gave me about the bridemaid's dress you were going to wear to MY wedding. Yes that list did sleeveless, no sandals, and yes to panty hose. You do know that I love you so much that I worked hard to just please you on this matter :-). Look I guess I should have just waited longer in life to get married because you really are a free woman now! The only question i have for you...are you wearing toe nail polish yet?

By the way, I am so proud of you that you are making these amazing life changes that are not just outward, but coming from the wonderful One that has created you. Please come visit me so that I can see you again. I miss you so much! -- Your farout sister

Beth said...

you are so fun! love this post! I have to laugh!!! they weren't even there!!! AND someone else was wearing the dress!! too funny!!!
then, of course, you find verses to fit! i love you!!!
now take a pic of you in that dress! or make T do it!!! if you don't I will email her and she will do it without your consent.....scared yet?

Big Man for Jesus said...

And where is the pic? No bait and switch here, lady. Since I have known you through your neutral color era, I want to see what my sis looks like. We are so proud of you! Bare arms? Not believing till we see it. By the way, my wife has some killer toenail polish that would look smashing with your new shoes.

Anonymous said...

I have had this happen before so, with that I still think it's funny. I'm really sorry I've missed so much of your life and we were not the friends we thought we were. Get in touch with me, I would love to catch up with you because I remember you from your Turner years :) Merry Baker (Long)ring any bells? hope so check your myspace please or email me at

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

I'm catching up...

LOVE that you stepped out of your comfort zone and added color :)

Ever considered some red shoes with those black outfits?!? ;)