Monday, December 8, 2014

Covertogs: Modest Swimwear Online in New Zealand

Have you heard about Covertogs?

Covertogs swimwear started because owner/designer Karen couldn't find swimwear that she could get excited about. It was too skimpy or too frumpy, hard to get into and out of, and uncomfortable for day-long wear. Covertogs are her well-tested solution. It's a family-run business, with mum, daughters, and niece all involved in production and management.

The mix-and-match brand offers zip-front tops with three sleeve length options (cap, short, and below-elbow). The high-waisted leggings have two leg lengths (short or below-knee). They come in a range of colourful prints (on basic black) styled for a subtle slimming effect, and include XL sizes.

If you want active-wear that gives you
  • coverage,
  • comfort, and
  • a sense of modern style,
then maybe covertogs are for you.

Modest swimwear shopping options have come and gone in New Zealand since I started blogging here at Boutique Narelle seven years ago. I'm always sad to see them go, but I understand that our small population makes it difficult to support niche markets. I get excited when I discover another modest swimwear shopping option anywhere in the world, but especially when it's located in my own country.

If you hate having to pay the big shipping price from overseas modest swimwear sources, or you're keen to support Kiwi-made products, get your get-wet exercise-wear now at

Here's to more modest swimwear choices and greater demand for them all over the world!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Free Similcast: Leslie Ludy on True Purity and True Beauty

I'm delighted to announce a FREE SIMILCAST with bestselling author Leslie Ludy on 21 November 2014, 6-9pm MST. (That's Saturday, 2-5pm NZ time.)

Here's a sneak peek at what Leslie will be sharing.

SESSION ONE: true purity

In a generation of Christian young women who grew up with promise rings and abstinence pledges, why do purity commitments so often fail? In this powerful and inspiring session, Leslie will explore three key principles that mark the difference between true purity and counterfeit purity. You’ll gain a beautiful and practical vision for being set-apart in romance and relationships, experience restoration from past mistakes, and develop a Christ-enabled lifestyle of honor, faithfulness, and true purity.

SESSION TWO: true beauty

In today’s world, it’s all too easy to give lip-service to Christ while still living a self-centered existence. In this session, Leslie explores the difference between fitting Christ into your life and truly building your life around Him. You’ll discover the beauty, life, joy, and loveliness of Christ-centered femininity and learn what it means to be consecrated to Him in every aspect of your daily life.

Click here to tune in, and for more information about Set Apart Girl:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Style Transformation: how to simplify your life using the ten-item wardrobe

One of the very strange side effects of having too many clothes is that we still have nothing to wear!

We are operating under the misconception that the more clothes you have the easier it is to get ready in the morning, when actually the opposite is true. The less clothes you have, the less choice you have, the more thought and organization you put behind your wardrobe, the easier it is to get ready in the morning.

So how simple can you get?

Jennifer discovered the ten-item wardrobe concept while living in Paris with Madame Chic and her family. In this 13-minute TED talk she shares her endearing story, tips on how you can make a ten-item wardrobe work for you, and why living with fewer clothes can not only improve your style, but change your life.

Jennifer L. Scott is the internationally bestselling author of Lessons from Madame Chic and At Home with Madame Chic (Simon & Schuster) and creator of the blog The Daily Connoisseur. She is a contributing writer for Huffington Post Style and has been featured on CNN, BBC, and CBS News, and in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Newsweek, and The Daily Mail. She lives with her family in Santa Monica, California. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Modest Clothing: try on and buy at NZ event

The following modest clothing and footwear items are available for sale in New Zealand.

  • Autumn Glow silk shantung long dress, size 12, & separate hand-beaded & embroidered oriental tie belt
  • Garden Party floral print navy polyester long shirt-dress with matching nylon chemise, size 10
  • Safari Gold knit t-shirt with woven collar, embroidery, and modesty panel, size 10
  • Exclusive model designer Crushable Picture Hat in Timeless Wedgewood, 57cm interior band
  • 3 pairs sparkling, suede-soled dance shoes, sizes 38 and 39
  • 1 pair Diana Ferrari white leather loafer shoes with tan sole/heel, size 7 (38)

If you care to try them on, I (Narelle Worboys) will have them with me at the English Country Dance at the Reformed Church in Palmerston North on Saturday evening, 11th October. Come find me or my mother in the dressing room.

Below are more details about these items.

Understated style featuring crisp, top-stitched pleats, this lightweight, luscious dress can be worn to regular events such as church or a family dinner date, or fancied up for a more formal occasion.

Demonstrating careful attention to detail, this hand-made dress is lined and the pleats have been permanently pressed.

The sleeves come unadorned. You may wish to retain the simplicity of the dress without accents, or add a little more detail and shape, for which purpose I’ve included a complimentary set of buttons (black with gold rim), separately packed. The photos demonstrate two ways you could use them on the sleeves.

Note: See belt details below. Other accessories not for sale.


This fabulous tie belt (or obi) was hand-made in India. Densely worked in gold thread and studded with faux-amethyst beads in a pattern of flowers and leaves that form a rich oriental tapestry, the belt is capped at each end with a dual-toned fringed cord so you can tie it at your waist. Perfect for turning a simple gown into a stunning outfit.


While much of the fashion world is devoting itself to a flurry of super-short dresses, it's hard to find an ankle-length anything that also covers up top. We certainly give you the long option here.

This floral print polyester shirtdress is so easy to wear. With lots of dainty buttons all the way down the front preventing the placket gaping, back ties giving you the perfect fit, and a matching nylon chemise for modesty, you can wear this summery dress every day or add accessories and you’ve got an outfit suitable for a garden party.

It''s a classic that allows you the leeway to express yourself in modern or vintage styling.


Take the adventurous route with a cheery, stylish twist on the sporty collared tee, perfect for action and practical comfort.

Need a sporty tee that’s classier than a t-shirt? This short-sleeved top has stand-out style in an understated way. Get the comfort of cotton knit with the smartness of a collar, a practical inset panel to ensure there’s no cleavage-flashing when you lean forward, add some fancy top-stitching on the front panels, and you’ve got a simple but smart modest tee you’ll love wearing. No camisole required! Easy care, easy wear, with a touch of flare.

length from shoulder seam: 580mm


I’ve been reluctant to put this lovely hat up for sale, but I just don't have occasion to wear it any longer. It was fabulous during the wedding season of my life when friends and family were marrying off left, right, and center, and often outdoors.

This exclusive model Crushable Picture Hat is a wide-brim sun hat made of rayon jacquard, textured in a floral design with a hint of koru, featuring double-cord trim at crown. In a glowing wedgewood blue reminiscent of southern summer skies, lined with fern-leaf rayon jacquard, it’s a showcase of Kiwi elegance and natural beauty.

Size: Interior band 570mm | Crown depth: 84mm | Brim width: 138mm | Accessories included

The hat is comfortable, stylish, adaptable, and unique, a Boutique Narelle original designer creation. The crushable brim is wired, meaning you can shape it to get the look you want. Wear the organza Nella Flower in your hair, pin it to the hat, or weave the contrasting organza scarf in and out of the double-cord trim.

I wonder who will be the lady blessed to enjoy its company from now on...?

PST! There's still a length* of Timeless Wedgewood fabric for sale if you'd like to create a whole outfit.
*100% rayon jacquard with fern leaf print, 2.84meters (1390mm wide) of uncut fabric.

View more details about these stunning evening shoes in No More Sore of Silly Feet: How I Turned My Shoe Blues in Happy Feet.


Diana Ferrari ‘supersoft’ ladies white leather loafer shoes with a trans-seasonal silhouette

100% leather upper | heel elevation 20mm | pre-loved, lightly worn
tub of white Tana Weather Guard included

Diana Ferrari is an iconic Australian brand for women who like to be stylish, contemporary, and feminine.

For instructions on how to figure out your shoe size, see No More Sore of Silly Feet: How I Turned My Shoe Blues in HappyFeet.

Friday, September 26, 2014

NO MORE SORE OR SILLY FEET! How I Turned My Shoe Blues into Happy Feet

Have you ever been invited to dance but declined because you didn't have suitable shoes? Or maybe you accepted but felt awkward because your shoes fell off, hurt your feet, or just didn't look right with your outfit? I know how this feels, and I'm happy to tell you I've found a solution.

The next English Country Dance in Palmerston North (NZ) is on Saturday, 11th October, and in preparation for this, I'm offering 3 ladies the chance to make your feet happy and fabulous so you can trip the light fantastic with no regrets.

  • They're lined with leather or leatherette, meaning your feet can breathe, and they quickly mould to the shape of your foot.
  • They're soled with suede for slide without slipping.
  • They're so lightweight you'll hardly notice you're wearing them.
  • The narrow ankle strap provides elegant instep support.
  • The magic buckle allows speedy fastening and release of shoe straps.
  • They're remarkably cheap.

If you have size 39 feet (see shoe size chart), you have 2 styles to choose from. If you have size 38 feet, check out the snakeskin pair.  There are more photos and details below. You can order them now by emailing me and I'll mail them to you so you get a chance to wear them in before the dance. Or, if they haven't sold by Oct 11th, you can try them on before the dance and pay me for them there.


My feet are difficult to fit. They are narrow, have irregular length toes (second toe longer than big toe), and require arch support and good inner sole padding. I've tried so many types of shoes, but none have been quite right. I even researched custom-made shoes (expensive and unachievable for me).

For the last English Country Dance I was so desperate I tried tying my white leather pumps on with wide satin ribbon, mode a la ballet shoe. (That trick may work for some, but not those shoes.)

Then a fashion tip from a friend led me to an overseas online store that was offering everything I wanted in a shoe, including custom heel height, for an incredibly affordable price. The only thing I couldn't do was try on the shoes. How would I know if they were right for my complicated feet? Simple solution: order multiple sizes and styles, and sell off what doesn't work for my feet.

I ordered six pairs. One of those fits my feet. 1:6 is a unusually low ratio for me. I hope it's easier for you to find shoes that fit!

I wore my golden slippers around the house for an hour. Result: red dents and pain where my feet bent. Oh dear. I bolstered my courage and wore them again for an hour while teaching girls to waltz. But that time, no marks, no pain!

On the night of our bridal parade fundraiser, I wore them all evening (which included a waltz) and didn't think of my feet once. Except when people from old ladies to little girls exclaimed, "I LOVE your shoes!" When I got home after the show, I realized that I still had happy feet. That is the best dress shoe experience I've ever had!!!

And that's why I'm so excited about these shoes, why I'm delighted to give you the opportunity to have happy feet yourself. There are three styles and colours to choose from. First in, first served.

If you want them, email me now [ KyriellePublishing(at) ], or message me on Facebook.

With my best wishes for your own Happy Feet story!


Size 39 (see shoe size guide below), Heel Height 3.5cm, Upper Materials: Sparkling Glitter, Lining Materials: Leatherette, Outsole Materials: Real Leather.
Price: NZ$25 + $7 shipping (NZ only)

Size 39 (see shoe size guide below), Heel Height 5cm, real leather lining and outsole
Price: NZ$49 + $7 shipping (NZ only)

Size 38 (see shoe size guide below)
The heel and heel cup feature a bold snakeskin print in dark gold and black. The three main toe straps and the ankle strap are a burnt sienna, or coppery chocolate.
Heel Height 3.3cm, Upper & Lining Materials: Leatherette, Outsole Material: Real Leather
Price: NZ$59 + $7 shipping (NZ only)

Buy now. Email Narelle at KyriellePublishing(at), or message me on Facebook.


A size 39 shoe is
UK 6
AUS 7.5
JAP 24.5
The foot length is
9.5-9.6 inches or 24.1-24.5cm
The foot girth (around the widest part of the foot between pinky toe and joint of big toe) is
8.8-8.9 inches or 22.1-22.4 cm

A size 38 shoe is
USA 7.5
UK 5.5
JAP 24
The foot length is
9.3-9.4 inches or 23.6-24 cm
The foot girth (around the widest part of the foot between pinky toe and join of big toe) is
8.6-8.7 inches or 21.7-22 cm

You will need a sheet of paper, pencil, ruler, and measuring tape.

Step 1
Put a sheet of paper on the floor and place your bare foot flat on the paper. Hold the pencil upright against your foot and trace the outline of your foot. It is more accurate to measure while wearing the socks or stockings you will wear with the new shoes.

Step 2
Draw a straight line (parallel to the foot outline) at the back of the heel and again at the longest toe, and measure the distance between the two lines with your ruler. This is the length of your foot.

Step 3
To measure the girth of your foot, run your measuring tape around the widest part of your foot between the pinky toe and the joint of the big toe. Make sure your foot is flat on the paper.

Measure both feet, and select a shoe size that fits the longer, wider foot.

tags: women's child's sparkling glitter heels leather leatherette sandals modern latin ballroom pump with ankle strap buckle dance shoes

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spring Bridal Fling and a Leather Jacket

Here in New Zealand we're enjoying a patch of bursting springtime warmth, and this morning I went on an errand to town, feeling nifty in a monochromatic outfit topped with my thrifty faux-leather jacket. I was shopping for a bridal-looking gift bag.

I didn't find quite what I was looking for, but necessity does spark inspiration, and I came home eager to dig out the ribbons, paper, and glue gun for a shot at a pretty alternative to a bridal bouquet.

Why all this bridal talk? I'm involved in the local Girls' Brigade annual fundraiser for Operation Christmas Child, and IT'S A BRIDAL PARADE! I don't know how long it is since I first heard of such events and longed to attend...and then began to dream of participating. What's happening two days from now is that dream coming true.

I've spent the past four weeks in a whirl of organizing dresses, shoes, hair styles, music, and promotions. I stopped by here to say it's happening, and I hope you'll join in the fun via the photo album I've made public here.

At the parade rehearsal I wore "Bluebelle", a self-striped polyknit made for me last month by a friend. (Yes! Drapey knits can be modest!) I will be wearing an amazing (and modest) bridal gown on the night.

I found that the faux-leather jacket switched sweetly from daywear to evening wear. I'm happy to say I even have low-cost shoes to match (thanks to a friend going shopping for her wedding and sharing with me what she found).

Its ironic that when pondering my closet recently to judge whether its contents were earning their keep, I considered giving the jacket evacuation notice because I've only been able to wear it a couple of times since I bought it four years ago.

Then this week I wore it three days in a row, and I realized that all it needed was the right climate and the right dress to wear it with. Too warm for summer, not warm enough for winter, its an overlayer just right for sunny Spring days that are kept fresh by cool winds off the snow-combed ranges.

And do I love those handy jacket pockets...especially when wearing a dress that doesn't support convenient cavities.

Bridal hairstyle?...well, I'm still fiddling with that.

If you're in the Tararua this Wednesday evening, we hope you'll join us, 6:30pm at Knox Church, Dannevirke, for "Brides Through the Ages".

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dress Express: 3 steps to getting that "new dress" feeling


How do you feel when you get a new dress? Maybe like me, a little floaty and a lot smiley punctuated by extra twirls and peeks in the mirror?

When I got home from a church meeting, before I took off my outdoor layers, put on my apron, and put my hair up for the tasks of the day, I stopped to take some photos for you.

This dress is the result of me coming to an executive decision at the end of June, when I'd been back home after the fire for a few weeks.


I came to recognize three things.

1) I did not yet have the tools, space, and strength to sew for myself.
2) I was tired of making do with what I had.
3) I live frugally so I can pay for others to do what I can't, i.e. solve my problems. Result: I set out to find a local solution.*

*You may recall that two years ago I imported my Suzannah Solution from Australia to sew as many winter garments for me as she could manage in 18 days. I was desperate, she was available, God met my need.

Providentially, here in my own town I connected with an 80-something-year-old "Dorcas" who trained in tailoring and pattern drafting 60 years ago and has been sewing for community and missions ever since. Despite having a challenging remedial wedding dress situation on the go, she was willing to help me immediately.

I sketched what I wanted and discussed with her how we could make it work, and she did nearly everything following, including contributing some lining pieces from her own fabric stash. My replacement sewing machine arrived Thursday, August 21st , and I went to collect the dress the day after that. During the next week I acquainted myself with the new machine and put the finishing touches to the dress.

Bluebelle Bliss: the joy of a modest dress

Yes, a drapey knit fabric can look modest -- if it's gathered in the right places and appropriately lined!
Narelle is wearing:
  • "Bluebelle" Dress by Carol, self-striped polyester knit, lined with cotton knit(skirt) and miscellaneous polyester pieces (bodice)
  • Cotton Drill (Denim) Jacket from Ezibuy on clearance.
  • Suede Lace-Up Shoes, lined with lambs wool, handmade by Dannevirke's Cobbler Strong in the 1990s
  • Flip-brim "Charmagne" Cap by Narelle
  • Wool-blend Gloves from Victoria Hill
  • "Ivory Tower" Reversible Shoulder Bag by Narelle

Yes, I'm thankful to be prettily and elegantly clad, but just as much am I grateful for the opportunity to be invited into the home, life, and retrospectives of someone with such skill and experience.

She allowed me to explore and ask about her dedicated sewing space, a large closet in a spare bedroom, equipped with gown-length closet hanger poles at each end, fluorescent lighting above, vintage tailoring tools I've never heard of before (brilliant and desirable), a sturdy Husqvarna machine (only the second she has owned), and the sewing table her father commissioned a local carpenter to make for her over 60 years ago.

My Dress Express experience sparkled with her kindness and generosity.

I'm passionate about encouraging older women to share their knowledge and skills with those younger than they. It's foundational to why I run this blog. One of the things that drives me is my own need to know and learn. Another is that I recognize there are women and girls like me who want to know and learn, but who struggle to connect with or ask the women who can help.

I want to encourage you: if you have knowledge or a skill, find someone to share it with. Somewhere, there's a lady or a lassie longing to experience what you have to offer.

If you long to know or learn something in particular, I pray that you'll be led to connect with someone who can give you the answers. May you have the courage and tenacity to ask the questions that'll get her started in the sharing. God help you express your need so that you soon get to that "new dress" feeling--a little floaty and a lot smiley.

Here's to you and I learning to "dress express", and may we enjoy a lifetime of "new dress" adornment of lightness and joy.

Fiat lux!

Friday, August 8, 2014

random photos of Narelle's modest fashion life


In lieu of the BN modest fashion observations, tips, and promotions that I've planned to write in the past three months as we've plodded our way toward normality after our house fire (and for which I've even spent several hours at a time writing and preparing images but never managed to get one finished), here's a random sampling of photos that may or may not make it into a post in the future.


Narelle and Sarah: enjoying some fun during a joint creative project which we hope to post on YouTube. Guess who paints and who sings?
Spending time with family takes priority over web work. Any day.
Find a quiet corner with a baby and something to chew...bliss.
Narelle is very happy to get out of dark-coloured clothing required for soot-cleaning and into glad rags suitable for singing a program at Rahiri Retirement Home. The old folks love a modest and pretty dress as much as a sweet song. So does Narelle!

The scarf was a gift from Israel. It's made of net-fine wool, light yet remarkably warm, and a perfect accessory for the outfit Narelle last wore for her Princess Moment. See here for text and video:
Mum, this is for you: "It Will Be Worth It All" ~ Narelle and Sarah Worboys
Narelle and Sarah: we made a gift for our mother, and we've shared it on YouTube so you can bless your mother with it too. Go to
With limited choice in creative projects to occupy her during her 2-month sojourn at a motel, Narelle tries out a neckline alteration on her custom-made swimsuit from Simply Modest Swimwear.
 After the fire, Narelle is very thankful to have modest clothes and a clean place to launder them!
An unedited shot from a Fashion Fundraiser shoot (pre-fire) on a day that was plagued by lighting and focus troubles.
A shot for the BN Fashion Fundraiser that won't be used because the fleece jacket has now been sold.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Value of Remembering: why World War One matters to you and me

4 August 2014 marks 100 years since the beginning of World War I, and I believe there are two good reasons to pay attention to the commemorations.

A STARTLING MEMORIAL: Pictures taken at the Cenotaph after the Dawn Parade, ANZAC Day. I wouldn't normally pair aqua with fire-engine red, but it was just ten days after our house fire and I had little choice in what I could wear. The angora/wool hat and layers of wool and polar fleece kept me warm. The waterproof skirt kept me dry (and clean) when photographic urges brought me in contact with the ground. =)

What Made New Zealand a Nation ?

First, Britain’s declaration of war on Germany marked not only the beginning of New Zealand’s involvement in WWI as part of the British Empire, but also the birth of New Zealand as a nation.
Our national identity was forged during those traumatic years.

The values that held us together during war and built our society after it were, to quote the RSA*, "compassion, comradeship, courage and commitment". Do we want these values in our lives, in our neighbourhoods today? What are we doing to teach them, to exercise them, to honour them?

Do We Actually Value Values?

Second, the price of international peace and security was massive for a small and pioneering country such as we were in 1914. Our forebears gave much to secure freedoms they thought worthy of sacrifice. The tragedy is that subsequent generations have neglected to nurture these freedoms or deliberately sought to erode them.

Today, these centenary commemorations have a very personal application. Lest we forget and mourn our loss of freedom and righteous values, let's recognize and emulate the integrity of our forefathers. Faith, family, country. Are they still worth dying for?

What we're doing about it

Click this link  for more details on "Women of Courage", presented by Isabel and Narelle Worboys during the "WWI Commemorative Concert" at the Dannevirke Town Hall, 3 August 2014.

* "Declaration of WWI was birth of nation"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR GOD? How a coat can misrepresent your character

I used to wear a charcoal grey winter coat. It was a nice coat and I liked it.

One day at a cosy Girly Getaway gathering with a focus on clothing that works for you, an image consultant gave me an ivory wool coat to try on.

The other ladies gasped and said, “You look warmer!”

Did they mean my body temperature had just risen? No. They were commenting on my personality. The colour I was wearing meant that now, instead of cool and distant, I seemed friendlier and more approachable. My character hadn’t changed, but the way others read me was influenced by the colours I wore.
This was very motivating for me to learn more about the seasonal palette and how God has designed me to fit into it*. This also makes me wonder about the way we read God. How do we know His true character? Are we relying on the “coat” some person told us God wears? Or do we trust the Book He wrote for us about what He’s really like?

Here are some of my favourite things He tells us about Himself in His Word, the Holy Bible:

  • He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
  • The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. (Psalm 145:8)
  • For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
  • ...the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: (Jeremiah 32:18-19)
  • Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. (Psalm 18:35)
  • …let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them... (Psalm 5:11)
  • The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer**; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalm 18:2)

That’s the colour of my God. What colour is your God?

May your week be filled with the colours of truth and hope!

*My natural colouring looks at its best when arrayed from the Spring palette.

**God is indeed my deliverer. Want to hear how He delivered me three months ago? To play the video now, click here: BUMP in the Night: Supernatural Rescue from a Fire

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Beauty Tip for Glamor Girl [Modesty WOF]

Here’s a beauty tip noted upon encounter with a dust-robed Ford Thunderbird that didn’t quite live up the promise of its number plate.

When driving out to take the air,
O Glamor Girl, do have a care
The dust upon your pink
Has showered down the sink.
A luxury interior
Is best enhanced by clean exterior.
What fellow yearns for flirt and dirt,
Or wink and stink?
No gentleman, I think.
Be sure your feminigning ways
Are true to what your signage says.

I’ve had a good chuckle creating this poem and poster, but it’s also a good reminder to “put my car in” for a warrant of fitness. If I claim to be a modest woman, how well does my behaviour and appearance match this? What about my thought life, and the way I speak?

When I dress in the morning, what attitudes am I putting on? Am I grooming my soul with as much care as I groom my body? Or, conversely, am I so focused on my inner grooming that I neglect my outward appearance?

Perhaps I need to devote time to improving my presentation skills. Maybe I’ve been lazy in both beauty skill and modest attitude.

Like the mechanic at the garage, I run a check list and when I see something that could impede the safe and efficient running of my “vehicle”, I note it and take steps to repair or replace the problem parts.

This is your friendly W.O.F. reminder. Fiat lux! [Let there be light!] In God’s light, we shall see light.*
Best wishes,

*Psalm 36:9

Sunday, April 27, 2014

BURNED OUT: when the fiery furnace of TROUBLE gets even hotter

All the best laid plans can go AWOL when you blink, and that’s what happened to my intention to sew a month of fixes for my worn-out modest wardrobe.

My “blink” happened when our dishwasher caught fire in the middle of the night, 13th April 2014, and we were flame-and-smoked out of our home.** I had completed one sewing project that very afternoon, a nightdress pattern I’ve adapted to cope with inadvertent social situations. There are two reasons I’m thankful I wore it immediately.
  1. I was modestly covered when I had to leave the house in a hurry and watch the fire brigade rescue my worldy goods from destruction, and I wasn’t worried about tripping over the saggy-baggy knit in the dark, which I would have been in my 2-year-old nightdress.
  2. All my sewing equipment, paper patterns, and fabric that were laid out ready to start the next project were damaged by soot from the fire. Thus would have been my new nightie if I had left it out to admire it like I usually do with finished projects.

When your plans are halted so abruptly, and when you realized how near you came to losing your home and your life, it takes a long time to work through the shock and find a way back to routine. Any sort of routine. And you constantly have to extend grace to yourself (and the rest of family) while you work (and sleep) your way toward that goal.

There is frustration at every step, and extra obstacles on top of that. It’s taken three times longer than promised for our “emergency” dry cleaning, and there’s no sign of it yet. If I thought I was short of clothing three weeks ago, I’m even shorter now!

My peculiar health challenges, my location at the ends of the earth, and my preference for full length hems mean I can’t just go out and buy new clothes. It was ten days before I was able to borrow a sewing machine and get a sewing station set up in the motel where we’re camping while our house is cleaned and the kitchen rebuilt. Even then, it was a challenge getting patterns and fabric.

However, there is also blessing at every step. My sisters sent a Care Package of small, essential sewing tools, a treasure box of love notes from the children, food supplies (the ingredients that keep me well are hard to source), and the loan of a sister for three days to help me make new sewing patterns and cut out fabric.

Friends and strangers in our small town have reached out with kindnesses that warm our hearts. A footstool and fresh baking for Dad. Pre-prepared meals and kitchen space for Mum. A windproof jacket and a sewing gauge* for me.

*Not currently available in accessible shops.

A surprising blessing is that I’m just a block from the Cenotaph war memorial and I was able to walk to both the 5:30am Dawn Parade and 8:30am Civic Parade on 25th April, ANZAC Day. My camera and I lingered after each service, meaning I was able to enjoy a roaring sunrise in solitary splendour and capture photographs of the Cenotaph standing sentinel in the fiery rays. I hope to feature these in the new ANZAC music video I’m planning, “The Rose and the Red Poppy”, inspired by my hat.

What I'm wearing:
Peaked Knit Cap (lined) from Postie, with RSA-issued poppy and rose by Boutique Narelle
Butterfly zip polar fleece from The Warehouse, shaping and button styling added by Boutique Narelle
Acrylic fringed scarf from The Warehouse
Waterproof rain skirt by Boutique Narelle
Wool socks from Kathmandu

Red leather lace-up shoes from Envy

I don’t recommend the colour palette I’m wearing, but at times like these, you make the best of what you’ve got!
I could write a book on how God has brought good things out of our traumatic situation. I see His hand at work every day, reminding me that when we trust Him with everything, He can turn even the direst situation meant for our harm into something beautiful. We have much for which to thank Him.

Right now, I’m thankful…

…that my netbook and camera were in my studio where soot damage was much lighter, mostly affecting furnishings;

…that a friend has offered us free use of their WIFI (and comfy lounge) so I can upload this post;

…that as I came online for the first time in nine days, I found messages of love and encouragement.

What perspective can I share from this position of Burned Out, when the fiery furnace of Trouble just seems to keep getting hotter?

I’ve learned to
  • release the expectations I had,
  • embrace flexibility,
  • cling to God for grace, peace, and patience to take each day as it comes, and
  • cultivate an attitude of continual thankfulness for what He has given me.
By doing this, I’ve found remarkable joy in the midst of these challenges.

I pray that through whatever trouble your life throws at you, you too will find the way to persistent joy amid your trials.
Fiat lux!

**For more pictures of the fire, click here:
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