Over the years I've gotten an education of sorts about Hess Collectable Trucks from my father-in-law. Every year the Hess Company (a gas company in the northeast) puts out a special toy truck. These are heavy-duty serious much for collectors as they are toys for children.

Poppa has been collecting the annual Hess trucks for several years now. He keeps them on display in his office at home, on a high shelf. The kids all know that they can look but not touch without Poppa being present. Julian admires the growing collection every time we visit. The trucks are very detailed and interactive, with lights that flash, doors that open, rotors that spin, etc. It has been mentioned that the collection will be passed on to the boys when Poppa passes on to heaven-- but I for one don't really like to consider that very much.

While my in-laws were temporarily residing in the southland, my fil always had his mil buy his annual Hess truck and ship it to him. Now that they've returned to "Yankee country" for a while, he is happy to be able to buy his own truck as soon as they become available right before the holidays.

As luck would have it, this year the featured vehicle is this Emergency Vehicle with an on-board SUV. Of course, he knew that Jules would have to have one of his own this year, being that it's a fire truck, of sorts.

Of course, Julian was a very happy boy today when he opened his very own Hess and found out that it's a fire emergency vehicle. Poppa showed him all the bells and whistles, passing on his enjoyment of the truck to a grandson who loves them because Poppa does. It was one of those moments that brings pride to my mothering heart. Grandfather and grandson in serious conversation, sharing something they both enjoy. I am so proud that they share that connection and many others and that Julian has been able to grow up knowing his grandfather--his Poppa aka "Big Boss" so well, even tho we've always lived a pretty significant distance apart.

It was a very good day on many levels--all the siblings behaved and the cousins played nice. We took lots of family photos...I can't wait to see how they turn out.

PS...The new Bon Jovi album rocks!! Remind you to tell me why I enjoy Bon Jovi so much at some later date.

She Blogs

Thanks to my sweet father-in-law, I have the use of a snappy laptop computer for a couple days while they are here...and can I just say (if anyone is still reading my long-neglected blog) how much I have missed this. I have read that blogging started out as a web-based journaling program and then "caught-on". I can see why.

To catch up:

--Merry Christmas. Our Christmas was on the quiet side this year. For the first time in a decade we stayed home. No travelling to the parents in other states. It was weird but nice. We broke with a tradition that my family has had for as long as I can remember...and opened presents on Christmas morning (instead of Christmas Eve night). It was nice. The boys dragged us out of bed at about 5:30 am...we enjoyed the opening of gifts and then had some breakfast.

Grey was the headliner this year--we gave him his first real bike. I wasn't about to try to wrap the I tied a huge red bow and a cluster of jingle bells to it and made an oversized card for him. It was so cool to watch him climb on and get rolling on it.

Julian asked for three items this year and we were so proud of his wise choices and happy that we were able to fulfill his wishes. One of his requests was a leather "working man's" toolbelt. I don't think he's taken it off since Christmas Day, except to bathe or go somewhere. It's funny because instead of wearing it slightly lower than his waste like a normal toolman...he pulls it up around his waste. My father would get a huge kick out of this if he could see it. He looks funny...but he insists it's more comfortable and easier to keep it under control. That's so Julian.

Poor Joal...asked for music as always...but I opted to buy him the book on his list--The entire set of Chronicles of Narnia instead. Every year he asks for music...I just wanted to do something different. He likes it. He's been reading it to the boys lately...I really like that.

Insert note here--on Dec 21 we celebrated or 14th wedding anniversary. Yep. I am blown away every time I get a chance to look back at all we've done together in those 14 years. Joal is an amazing man. I am blessed beyond words to have him in my life.

Our sweet friends Doug and Heather volunteered to look after the boys for us for the evening of the 20th so we could celebrate. We went out for dinner and to a movie--The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I will definately have to blog about this movie later. It was excellent. Excellent with a capital *E*!! Loved it. Very moving. Not cheesy. Loved it enough to own it as soon as it comes out.

Back to Christmas--Joal presented me with two things I've been wanting for a while: a nice pair of red leather gloves and a Rachel Ray cookbook! My hands get cold at the end of August and don't thaw until the middle of March. I needed gloves. I was stunned that he chose such stylish and indulgent ones as red leather. Made me feel very spoiled.

We are celebrating Christmas again this weekend with Joal's family. His parents are here from PA and his brother (and family) and sister (and family) are here from MS. What a big day we will be having in just a few hours.

I diverted with traditional colors this year and decorated with blues and white and snowflakes. I adore snowflakes and the blue and white just goes so well with them. I like reg, green and gold but I have a hard time focusing on red and green together so it always makes me feel anxious. Blues and white is so calming.

I take some mostly good-natured ribbing from some of my extended family for my insistance that I wrap all our gifts in the same paper and adorn them with handtied matching bows. Each gift is wrapped crisply and the bow is fluffly. This year the paper was blue and the ribbon white. I also used some silver jingle bells and silver glitter die-cut snowflakes as gift tags. Yes, I know it takes way longer for me to wrap a gift "just so" than it does for it to be opened by even the slowest opener...but it brings me great happiness to see all our gifts under the tree, looking attractively arranged and matching. Wrapping presents is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Some people cook. I wrap. I love to wrap.

Because of this extra Christmas tomorrow, we still have our tree up. It's positively crispy, having been lit and exposed to central heat for about a month now. It was perhaps the most beautiful tree we've ever had. I will post photos later. Each night of this month I have sat with my wanna-be-coffee in the quiet after everyone else has been bedded and thought about all I have to be thankful for. The list is endless. I will miss the tree when it finally leaves but I think I will try to continue the nightly ritual of contemplating the blessings of the day. It makes for a restful sleep and a more contented soul.

Because my computer died, I decided to finally get around to rehabing my library card (ie pay the outstanding fines). I've hated being without a computer but I have really enjoyed getting back to reading. Serious reading. It appears that surfing and web-work took up alot more time that perhaps I realized. I now have a slew of books to discuss (and blog about).

Being a southerner by birth and choice, I am always drawn to books by southern authors. One of my finds at the library is a small book called "A Very Southern Christmas". It's a collection of Christmas short stories by southern authors, edited by Charlene R. McCord and Judy H. Tucker. It appears to be a wonderful book. The first story in it made me long for a way to write (read:type) my own holiday stories. It's called "This Charmed Day" by Tim McLaurin. It's beautiful. It made me cry...not because it was syrupy sweet and Rockwellian...but because it was real. I haven't finished the other stories in the book yet, but I get the feeling they will be the same.

The other thing I like about this book is that it includes a few holiday illustrations by the wonderful watercolorist Wyatt Waters.--also a southerner. If ever there was an artist who lends a stunning natural wonder and beauty to everything he paints, it's Mississippi's own Wyatt Waters. His fish series is one of my all-time favorites. But I digress. I think I may need to buy this book. It's worth having.

OK, this long long long piece doesn't scratch the surface but my eyes are drooping and I have to bake 3 dozen sweet rolls in about 4 I need a little sleep.

More tomorrow...or rather, later today.


Sad News

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I haven't fallen off the hard drive crashed and a new computer is on its way. I will be offline for the month of January but should be back at the beginning of February. Happy 2006!!


Angels at Opryland

While my mom and sister were here last weekend, we went out to Opryland Hotel and Resort and to the Opry Mills Mall. The hotel is more than a hotel--it's a tourist destination, even if you aren't a guest. It's gardens and fountains and waterfalls and attractions are always spactacular but it's decorated to the nines during the holidays. It's an excellent adventure anytime really. The shops are fun (where else can you find a pink felt cowboy hat with silver cowboy boot decorations on it?), the people-watching interesting (to say the least) and walking is good excercise too.

We had a great time. I blew thru 4 rolls of film...really really need to do the digital thing and fast. The holiday decorations didn't disappoint--they were stunning. The outdoor pool (one of three swimming pools) is (obviously) not in use during the winter months, so it's surrounded by these beautiful oversized white plaster figurines that tell the story of the birth of Jesus. The photo is one of the stands about 8 feet tall.

This was perhaps the most impressive nativity I have ever seen. All white plaster. All oversized. Very serene. Totally remarkable.

I enjoyed this angel for a while and my other favorite piece was one of Mary, atop a donkey with Joseph walking in front, respresentative of the holy mother-to-be on the journey to Bethlehem. Can you imagine being pregnant and riding a long distance on a donkey? What utter fun that must have been. (Not.)

I love this time of the year. More on our trip a little later.


Ever Feel Like Sticking Out Your Tongue and Saying "I Did It Firrrrst!!"

Sometimes--as childish as it is--I do. I'm an oldest. I like to be in the front.

In general, when something new-ish becomes a trend in scrapbooking and moves into the mainstream, there is inevitably someone who sorta rains on the parade and says "I've been doing that forever. What's so new and hip about that?" I guess it's kindof the scrapbooker spin on that old song "I was Country When Country Wasn't Cool". Ya know. And I usually find it somewhat annoying.

Unless of course...I'm the one saying it. LOL!

But now I find myself having to hold back from saying "I've been doing it this way for a really long time and I know people who have been using this approach for even longer than me" with regards to the whole *new* scrapping approach called The Big Picture, as launched from the newest publication by the same name from Stacy Julian and the Simple Scrapbooks group.

Honestly, tho, I am happy that Stacy and friends have seen fit to take the "message" to the masses. It's a good message. It takes the stress and the "I-must-hurry-to-get-caught-up" guilt out of scrapbooing. I view that as a positively wonderful thing. Given the flutter of activity the launch is generating on Peas and other message boards, I'd say it was going to be very well received and make a great deal of difference in the way many people approach their hobby.

I hope so. I happen to know that it already works really well.

If anyone is qualified to carry the torch of this improved approach, it certainly is Stacy Julian. The woman has always managed to step out into the front of the pack and be the leader into new territory when it comes to scrapbooking approaches. If I weren't such a fan, I'd definately feel a little a good way. She's worthy of emulating.

If you haven't already...check it out at Big Picture Scrapbooking. It's an approach that's highly recommended by Stacy Julian, the girls at Simple Scrapbooks and of :)


Get Your Bah-Hum-Bug Vaccine Today

For Immediate Release:
Get your Bah-Hum-Bug Vaccine as soon as possible. Protect yourself from those around you who may be carrying and worse--spreading the Bah Hum Bug Disease! Symptoms of BHBD include extreame grouchiness, impatience while standing in lines, erratic driving accompanied with cursing at other drivers, lack of concern for others, irritation with cashiers and general whiney "it's all about me" disposition. Those who seem most highly susceptable to BHBD are tired shoppers, overworked cashiers, and other humans who have not been innoculated.

Self-Innoculation can be acheived by:
--Remembering that it's Christmas...the time for peace and good will
--Listening to seasonal music
--Doing something nice for someone who is not doing something nice for you
--Embrace the thought that it really is better to give than to receive
--Find joy in something other than material things
--Count the ways in which you have recently been blessed
--Refuse to give in to the Bah Hum Bug Spirit

Get yourself innoculated today and enjoy your Christmas!


Cutting Red Rubber...makes me giddy!

Cutting out red rubber stamps makes me positively giddy! (I know...simple joys.) I've purchased several unmounted sheets lately and finally got a chance to cut them all out this afternoon...and it just reminded me how much I love doing it. Really.

Holiday Shopping

So I was shopping with my sister and mom and son yesterday at a The Apple Barn in the Opry Mills Mall. The store sells a variety of items having to do with apples--butter, decor items, clothing, books, actual apples, gift baskets, dishes,'s a very large store, with two locations in this state. They have a bakery where you can go and get handmade fried apple pies, frozen cider, hot cider, etc. It's one of my favorite places to go in this mall. It's about the most unique and home-y store in the mall and I trully enjoy going there. (If Stacy Julian ever comes to town, I'm going to volunteer to take her there! She would love it!)

So as we are checking out, I noticed that there is a small sign posted near the cash register that says something along the lines of "We know that sometimes accidents happen and we are happy to share the cost of breaking or damaging a product with the responsible customer by only charging 50 percent of the price."

Insert *confused* look here.

Now ya'll know I am *all* for personal responsibility, but "you break it, you buy it (even at 50 Percent off)" ?? I have never seen this be a store policy before--he only place I've ever seen this is at flea markets...where there are signs posted every 12 inches informing you of your risk. Seems like breakage should be considered a cost of doing business and keeping customers. They sure had everything out and available for handling...

I was a little shocked. It got me to wondering if other places are this way and I've just never noticed. Is it unusual?

My only problem with the policy is that it's stated on a very small sign...less than a half a sheet of paper...not in an overly obvious place. Seems like if I am taking a huge risk by shopping or even brosing there, I should at least be made aware of it long before I get to the checkout. We shopped for more than an hour before I knew about the policy...because it's posted at the check out.

Another question that plagues me: what will they do if a cash-only customer (like me) accidentally breaks that $300 platter? I (maybe) have $50 or $75 in my pocket. I am far more likely to be browsing than actually doing heavy-duty shopping so I typically don't carry much cash. Will they call the police? What is the procedure for forcing a customer without enough money on her person to pay for something? Will I have to wash dishes in the kitchen..or what?

For the record, I have worked in several retail establishments and the breakage policy was always to remove the tags and turn the label in so that it could be deducted from the inventory as "damaged". It was a cost of doing business. There was never a charge to the fact we were trained to be curteous to the customer, make sure they weren't hurt, and soothe any embarrassment they may feel. Yes, it is a loss to the store, but again, that's just a cost of doing business.

Last week, I was the mom who walked past a display of resin Santa figurines in Hobby Lobby and my jacket sleeve brushing against one was enough to send it crashing to the floor. I scooped up the pieces of the $4 item and took it with me to the check out. I told the cashier what happened, apologized, and she reassurred me that it happened often and she would take care of the broken pieces. While I was prepared to pay for it if they insisted, she didn't even bring it up.

There is no way I would have walked away without handling the matter. What kind of message about personal responsibility would that send to my children? Not a good one. Even if the boys hadn't been there, I would have done the same thing. It's just the right thing to do. I wouldn't want someone else to trip and fall on the broken pieces or a child to get cut picking it up off the floor.

I guess there is a fine line. I am all for being responsible but I am also a customer and, given my past training, have come to expect a certain level of *grace* while I shop in your store. If you aren't going to extend me the presumably normal amount of grace, I should be informed before I enter or upon entry about the risk I am taking.

In 20 years of being a shopper, I have only broken one item. That's a pretty good track record, right?

I can guarantee you that if I were *forced* to pay for something I broke in a store, I would never return to shop there again. I'm not sure I will be returning to The Apple Barn. I'm not sure I feel comfortable taking such a risk for a few minutes of shopping pleasure.

At least if I shop online I can't break anything.

Heart Shaped Medallion

If you've not heard of Davild Wilcox, this is the perfect song for his introduction. He's a folk artist who writes lyrics that are as anti-pop as they can be. Thoughtful, unique, twisted, human and beautiful...not for the lazy listener. This is one of those artists that you will love for his lyrics before his guitar--althought he is exceptional on the guitar. His lyrics are his art.

Burgundy Heart Shaped Mediallion
How Did You Find Me Here

If I had a spell of magic
I would make this enchantment for you
A burgundy heart-shaped medallion
With a window that you could look through
So that when all the mirrors are angry
With your faults and all you must do
You could peek through that heart-shaped medallion
And see you from my point of view

© David Wilcox, all rights reserved


A Prayer for a Boy

Tonight there is a little tiny boy sleeping in a bed in an orphanage about half way around the world. I hope he's sleeping peacefully and pray he's warm and snuggly and comfortable as every little boy should be. I pray God keeps him safe from harm and illness and that peace surrounds him through the night.

See, he's too young to know that his life is about to change drastically. He's too young to know that God, in His infinite mercy and wisdom, is moving and working on his behalf, in the hearts of a family in Nashville, Tennessee...and has been for a while now. He doesn't yet know that he's about to be introduced to the loving arms of a mother and the sweet protection of a father and the sheer awesomeness of two big brothers. He doesn't know that in just a few days he will become the newest member of a very special family and his life will never be the same--and as with the arrival of every new child into a family, neither will theirs.

He's not aware that he has been chosen by love to become a new son and a new brother to two parents and two boys. Maybe he's too young to know that countless people across the globe are praying for him tonight and will be every night and day until he and his mother are safely home from their journey. But they sure are. We are. I am.

Sleep soundly, sweet boy, in the arms of Jesus.
Dream of all the things a boy can dream of.
Be safe and healthy and happy and content.
Your mother is coming soon.
And with her comes the love and blessing of a family
And the crowd of people who are already blessed to call your family their friends.

Sleep soundly, sweet boy, in the arms of the Savior tonight.

From Mayberry to Bellevue

I have a *thing* for old tv shows and the show at the top of my list is The Andy Griffith Show. There's something soothing and sincere about innocent television. There's something special about television that you don't have to be concerned about sharing with your children. I have turned my boys on to The Andy Griffith Show and you should have heard my trying to explain to Julian how it came to be that Opie was on Jay Leno a few nights ago, only he's all grown up now. :)

The man behind this smile still smiles like this. I know because I saw him in person shopping at Home Depot in Bellevue today. His name is George Lindsey and he played many characters on television but none more famous than Goober Pyle on The Andy Grifith Show. He's much older now (of course) but the smile is still the same.

I'm not usually one for celebrity spotting but this made my day. An American legend shops at (my) Home Depot. How cool is that?


The Quandry

I'm in a bit of a quandry.
**How badly do I want a Diet Sunkist tonight?**

Because it is too dang cold to be going to the grocery at 11 pm...but I really really am thirsty. I have a serious love for Diet Sunkist and the need has been unmet for a whole day and I'm a little bent out of shape about it.

But it's cold and I don't want to go out in the cold.

I think my brain has frozen.

In other news, my sister has been here since Thanksgiving and I have loved it so much. For some of you who don't know, I am the oldest and I have 2 brothers and a sister. The boys are in the middle. My sister is 16 years younger than me. She was 3 when I got married so for all intents and purposes we grew up separately. Same parents but just so far apart in age and physical address that it was almost as if we grew up in different families.

Nevertheless, I adore her. She 17 now and reminds me of me. The me I barely remember. Having her here has been so wonderful. My boys love her and she sweetly puts up with them. Julian is teaching her what it means to be the constantly-pestered older sister, I think. Tonight she put Grey's hair up into 2 tiny was hilarious.

She's supposed to go home this weekend. I dread it. I will miss her so much. Just being near her has been so sweet to me.


Crafty Clipboard Joy

Now back to your regularly scheduled scrappy blog--

Funny how joy can arrive in the smallest of packages!

Made a quick trip over to The Paper Moon today to scoop up a stack of Kraft cardstock (more on this in a while) and was pleasantly surprised to find a selection of these mini-clipboards by rob and bob studio! How cute are these?? Click here to see the whole collection of clipboards and here to see all the Rob and Rob Studio line offered by Provo Craft.

There are 2 in each pack--the largest being slightly larger than a business card. I selected some green ones and some unfinished chipboard ones.

I have about 20 uses in mind for them...especially for Christmas tags, ornaments, magnets, etc. I'm not sure who Rob and Bob are but they sure do know how to make a girl happy on a dreary winter day!!

In other news from The Paper Moon, I finally pulled out my calculator to see how much 8.5x11 cardstock costs per sheet when sold for 25 cents per ounce. Come to find out it's less than 12 cents per sheet. (!) Chris sells her 8.5x11 regular cardstock (non-Bazzill) by the ounce (it avoids the hassle of counting) and I've always wondered exactly how much that would be per sheet but just never took the time to pull out the calculator and figure it out. (I'm a purely right-brained, creative person...math does not compute in my head.) Anyway, for certain projects, I use non-Bazzill 8.5x11 cardstock and as it turns out, this is the best (most-economical) price in town!

Last night my friend Heather came over for some scrap assistance and we stayed up (along with my scrappy sister) working until 2:15 AM! Today I am dragging as a result but man, it was fun. It was also ultra-productive! Heather was preparing some pages for 2 gift albums and we worked together on her project. Granted as usual, she got more done than me, but I'm still working on my contribution. :)

I've really missed Scrap Nights with the girls since we began our hiatus in October...can't wait to get going again soon. We'll have so much catching up to do by then.

In other news, under the heading of another thing to add to the list of ironies...

Deb and the boys and I went to Hobby Lobby today (Joal was hosting Christmas band practice in our great room so we needed to get out). As per the *mommy-code of required speeches*...I was reminding my children constantly not to touch the fragile Christmas ornaments and figurines "because they are very fragile and could break easily". Apparently I have given birth to two children who learn best by touching because this is a sermon I seem to give quite often.

Anyway...I was pushing Grey in the cart, holding his paws...when of course, *my* jacket sleeve brushed against a charming resin fisherman Santa and it crashed to the floor with an appropriate splat!

Lovely, huh!

On a happier note: If you'd like to see my Letter to the Editor published in the January 06 Creating HERE! It was pretty heavily edited but the thought remains the same--I adore the work of Rebecca Sower and will miss her gifted writings in the pages of CK.

Happy Saturday.


Pass the Peas

I have a feeling my time as Punchie Pea is coming to an end. I have enjoyed being a Pea for several years now but lately it feels like a collasal waste of time. Maybe it's just me but the more time I spend reading posts at peas, the more *different* I feel. Many of the pea-ple who participate regularly on NSBR are so open-minded that their brains have apparently fallen out. There is no room in their world for someone (like me) who believes in an absolute right and wrong and in an absolute truth. Many call for tolerance and yet, they clearly refuse to extend that tolerance to Christians.

When has a post on a message board ever really changed someones mind about anything? I've been around two peas long enough that I can now anticipate who's going to pop in to a thread and say what, for the most part. There's a list of peas that I automatically assume I will vehemently disagree with 99% of whatever they post. I'm sure they feel the same about me. I'm not complaining about that...I'm just saying that the chances of me (or anyone) actually having an opportunity to be "salt and light" in this arena are about as likely as the chances that I am going to be swayed by one or their posts. It aways comes down to being a matter of "agreeing to disagree" (or worse) because in most of the areas of discussion, I know where I stand and that's not going to change. I can only assume that other peas generally feel the same why bother? If everyone is spewing their opinion and no one is listening, what good is it?

For the record, the AFA petition re: Christmas post is what started me down this road. I generally don't agree with many of the things AFA does. I believe that AFA has gotten off track. Instead of promoting positive ways to encourage the strength of the American family, they have set themselves up as a totally negative unfortunately-Chrisitian organization who does nothing but complain about all the negative stuff going on in this country. I used to get their magazine (the president of the organization is a client of my husband's company) and it was the most depressing thing I have ever gotten in the mail. I am fully aware that the family is under attack--I get it--but surely, there are good things happening in families across America that could also be shared. Balance. I think they've lost the will to be balanced and I choose not to support any organization that is not making a positive impact.

Spewing negativity has never added to the light in this world. If you are going to complain, you should be doing something about the darkness...not just complaining.

The things AFA produces, such as the petition that a pea posted at 2Peas, are always reactionary and are always negative. Frankly, I think AFA makes Christians look like a bunch of whiners who expect the world to revolve around them. What good does that accomplish?

2Peas is a unique place. I have, for the most part, enjoyed my time there. I'll still thrive on the gallery and the garden, but the rest will find me silent.


Have You Been a Good American Lately?

Do you know that it only takes about two minutes--the time it takes to post on a message board-- to write your congessional representatives an email? Two minutes (or less) to let your elected representatives know how you feel on a certain issue that concerns you. When was the last time you wrote your congress-person?

I confess I don't do it enough. Things happen every day that I feel congress should address but I don't speak up that often. Congress acts every day (well, every day they are in session) and the things they do in Washington definately impact our makes me wonder why more people aren't involved?

If you are not voicing your concerns and opinions on the social, political, educational, economic, and world issues that you care about, you are preventing your representatives from doing what they were elected to do--represent you.

So, why the political diatribe from my scrappy little blog-brain?

A bill that is important to me--HR 1790 aka the Child M Safety Act recently was recently approved by the House of Representatives after gaining overwhelming bi-partisan support. It has now been sent to the Senate for consideration. Given that my state is represented by a medical doctor (The Honorable Senator Bill Frist), I would hope that he would be the first on the wagon to support this bill in the Senate. In under two minutes I emailed a request towards this end to his office. Short, polite, concise...state the case and that it's important to me. Press send. Click to Sentor Lamar Alexander's website and repeat the process for him. That's all it takes to be a participant in our government.

Now go forth and write your congressional representatives like good Americans!


My List

The 2Peas Meme assignment...

1- going to movies alone
2- trying out a new recipe (yesterday)
3- shopping at Target (today)
4- visiting scrapbook stores (Friday)
5- sharing a laugh with my sister in person (now)
6- going to the library (last week)
7- going to the mailbox (daily)
8- jamming out to my favorite music turned up loud (not often enough because I don’t like to be a bad example to the boys)
9- scrapbooking with friends (October)
10- teaching the two year old Sunday School class at church (Sunday)
11- writing blog entries (lol!)
12- taking photos of my children (tomorrow)
13- sleeping next to my husband (as soon as possible)
14- answering Grey’s little “hug meee” requests as often as humanly possible (approximately 3million times a day)
15- going to the Nashville Symphony (sigh…it’s been way too long)
16- flying—especially take-offs (last time was in April)
17- having appropriate blood-glucose numbers (today)
18- playing basketball with Julianeven tho I completely stink at it (it’s been too cold lately)
19- buying gifts for family and friends that I *know* they will enjoy (last Monday)
20- organizing the ribbon collection (obviously too long ago, from the looks of things)

Well, Here's Another Irony For Ya!

Two issues of CK ago...was my last. In an effort to ward off some of the endless clutter that seems to prevail upon my life, I let my CK subscription lapse without intending to renew. The thinking was if there was an issue I just had to have...I could pick it up at the grocery.

I have tons of magazines and 2Peas...I am in no way hurting for ideas or inspiration.

The irony of this moment. Now that my subscription has lapsed, I had no idea that one of my letters to the editor is published in the Jan issue. A friend from the LSS Teachers list just sent me a note that said "I saw your letter in CK..." OMGoodness! I had no idea they were going to publish it! How cool is that?

OK, so it's not a LO. I'm OK with that.

Still...CK. How's that for making my Monday?!!!

I suddenly feel the need to run to the store and pick up a CK!!

Life's Little Ironies

I love ironic things.
I love noticing ironies.
Irony fascinates me.

To me, irony is God's chuckle. It's the footnotes of life that sometimes go unnoticed but in the end are proof that God is in the details. Those little twists--spins put in our lives to show us that God says "Yep. That was me. Glad you took the time to notice."

Tonight's irony worthy of noting:

How ironic is it that one of the most masterful guitarists of the modern age has only 9.25 fingers?

Phil Keaggy.
Distinguished Guitar master--
Second to none--
Man of the Strings--
One who makes a single guitar produce the melodies others only dream about--
Classical rocker-- missing 3/4 of the middle finger of his right hand.


Digital Decisions

This thread at 2Peas brought on by an article in Jan CK has me wondering about digital storage as well. Does anyone have the article handy? What else did it say? What do you digital users do for backing up? Enlighten me before I jump into the deep end of the digital pool, please.

Happy Monday!


Changes Swirling About Me

I've been away for a few days and I'm not sure what to write about right now. Usually topics just come to me and words flow from my fingers but today I just feel kinda dull and word-less. We had a wonderful holiday with my family but so many things are changing around me, that I'm a little overwhelmed by it all. The people I care most about are all facing and/or making changes--big changes--in their lives, most for the good I think (which is good) but some make me feel things I don't want to feel. I don't want to be all cryptic but I don't have much choice. (Sorry about that.)

Thanksgiving was really good. Going to my grandmother's house is like stepping back in time because almost nothing ever changes there. The same photos have hung on her walls for decades. (I refer to it as the wall of shame and indiginity because some of those photos from my pre-teen years should really really goooo!) The same pillows and croched blankets cover her bed as they have for as long as I can remember. The carpet and the furniture have remained the same since I was about 16. We had almost the exact same meal as those of the past 30 Thanksgivings...that I know of. Many of the plates and dishes used this year, I have seen used for decades. The men watched the Cowboys on tv after lunch. The Cowboys lost...the men napped. There was laughter and joking, the children showed out and were indulged a little too much. She's lived in the same house my entire life...and most of my father's. My grandmother is 76 (I think) and as qwirky as they come. Come to think of it, she hasn't really changed much in the past 20 years either. If ever there was a stallwort against the changing situations of life, it's a trip to my grandmother's house.

Only the children have gotten older. My dad's once-flaming-red-hair is now more salt than pepper. My mom is my mom. She's beautiful and that never changes. I had one of those surreal moments tho. It wasn't so long ago that *I* was the oldest child, running around my grandmothers in a frilly pink Carebear nightgown, playing with my cousin...avoiding my siblings...sneaking bites of pie and sips of red creame soda. The adults sat casually around the table in the kitchen thru the evening, snacking, laughing, telling stories on each other, catching up and being a family. This time however, the adults around that table were me and my siblings. The children running around were mine. Geesh. When did that happen? My grandmother's house may remain the same but the people inside it are forever changing. Siblings are added. People move from town to town. Spouses get grafted in. We are all growing up. We go to college. We get jobs and build families. Who knows what we'll be doing next solemn prayer is that it will be another Thanksgiving Day like the one just past.


Christmas Music

When it turns off cold, I get the Christmas music out. Here's my list of favored Christmas CDs:

Harry Connick Jr - When My Heart Finds Christmas
Steven Curtis Chapman - Christmas is All in the Heart
Wayne Watson - One Christmas Eve
Russ Taff - A Christmas Song
Handel Messiah - performed by the Atlanta Symphany Orchestra and Chamber Chorus
Midnight Clear - an all acoustic guitar collection, produced by John Darnall
Your King Has Come - a collection produced by Matt Smith of Detuned Records
Christmas Carols of the Young Messiah - produced by Norman Miller and Peter York
Vince Gill - Breath of Heaven
George Canyon - Home for Christmas

My favorite songs:
Contemporary - This Baby by Steven Curtis Chapman and Mary Did You Know sung by Michael English
Traditional - O Holy Night (especially when sung by my husband)
Non-Religious - The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)


Stepping into the Ring...with Trepidation

There's a long long thread over at 2Peas NSBR regarding the CDC's release of 2004 statistics for women who gave birth via C-Section. The magic number is 29.1 percent. In 2004, 29.1 percent of live American births were surgical.

I think of 2Peas as a microcosm of America in many respects, with some international influences as well. If you are looking for something to get you thinking, it's a good place to hang out on ocassion. With that in mind, the thread has spanned on for several days and three full pages at last count. I confess I didn't read past the first page--it just got too bogged down. I knew better than to bother posting because I bring my own baggage to the table on this topic--it's very personal for me.

I was surprised at how many peas found it disturbing and bothersome that this number is so high. I was surprised that so many peas feel it's OK to question and in some cases even doubt a woman's right to choose what's best for her body in her own birthing situation...when on the same board, a woman's right to choose abortion "because it's her body" is heralded as a basic human right by so many. Seems a little backwards to me. If we are giving a woman a right to choose abortion because she should be in control of her own body then shouldn't she also be in charge of deciding how to give birth? Where's the difference?

Whenever abortion comes up on 2Peas things always turn ugly. Always. I have never participated in a thread about abortion there and I've certainly never blogged about it. I have very strong feelings about it but those personal feelings are counterbalanced with the knowledge that it is a very personal thing. I hate that abortion and the c-section rate have become political fodder for those with an adgenda. In both cases (abortion and c-section), there are women behind those numbers. Real live women making real-life choices. Abortion is something I have never faced and seems so intensely personal that I wouldn't presume to write about it casually. I have faced (and come thru) 2 c-sections and still find it difficult to write about.

29.1 percent is just a number. There are so many things we don't know about that number. How many mothers and babies were saved because a surgeon was able to get a baby delivered inside four minutes? Suppose that surgeon had taken a minute to consider whether or not one more c-section was going to negitively impact his natural birth/c-section ratio? Yes, it sounds rediculous now...but if people are going to start looking critically at these numbers, isn't that where we will be heading?

Many peas also seemed concerned that c-sections were occurring for "convenience". Convenience of the mother or the doctor...and other non-medically necessary reasons. I've never actually known anyone who chose to have a c-section for her own convenience or that of her doctor. I have my doubts that it really happens that often, but again, do you really think we should be more closely monitoring "acceptable" reasons for choosing a c-section? I know for a fact that I don't want my life-and-death health decisions being impacted by what some government official in a cubicle in Atlanta deems "appropriate" and "permissable". Mother, father, doctor. The rest can wait outside.

Having a c-section saved my life almost ten years ago. That is not an exageration. There was no alternative to stopping my climbing blood pressure and saving my life without immediate delivery. My son was born in an emergency situation...less than one hour after I arrived at the emergency room with Eclampsia (preganancy induced hypertension and multiple seizures). My sweet husband could not sign that consent form fast enough. My son has a mother because God's grace was near and this option was available. I have no memory of the situation but I can tell you that it changed my family forever. It was not ideal but it saved my life. Forgive me if I just don't have a problem with a family and a doctor being able to make their own decisions together in the light of the scenario at hand.

I have read the medical report that accounted for everything I faced that night. From first cut to baby out was seven minutes. Seven very long minutes for my husband. I do not remember much of the first week of my child's life but I am grateful. It could have turned out very differently.

There are so many scenarios surrounding birth choices. We (peas) don't generally question a woman who wants to give birth at home, in a pool or with a midwife or in another alternative situation. Who are we to collectively question a nameless, faceless number?


Just Call Me Martha

Is it just me or is the best part of getting ready for Christmas wrapping the presents? Joal and I did some shopping for family Christmas presents today and I can't wait to get started wrapping them! Ribbons and papers, adhesive...hmmm, it's no wonder I enjoy wrapping presents.

Red and silver are the theme for the year...pretty pretty pretty.

I went to Hecht's today (department store) and drooled over their Christmas decorations. They had the coolest red tinsel pencil trees...they are very glitzy and different. I love them.

I wanted to be a department store merchandiser when I was in college. How fun would that be?!!

No scrapbooking today...still loading up the MP3.

Happy Sunday!


Hither and Yon

All sorts of things to discuss today...

First the good news!! I spent most of the day basking in my own excitement...I conquered the aforementioned computer challenges and found a wonderful MP3 player that works gloriously with my computer system (such that it is)! No expensive upgrades necessary! My honey is a happy happy camper...walking around here with a Sandisk Digital Audio Player in his pocket, pumping his favorite tunes strait to his brain. I am seriously's about the size of a large pack of gum and it holds a gigabyte of digital audio. In normal people language that a *bunch* of songs. About 400. Can I just say Wow!

And to top it off, I saved more than $100 by not buying an equal-sized iPod (not including the required software upgrades). I'm gussing someone has to pay for all that name brand recognition floating around out there. :)

I was thinking perhaps I should mention this *savings* before my next paper-buying excursion.
Oh yeah.

On a side note: Joal wrote a tune a few years back called Far and Away, inspired by the movie by the same name...I'm not biased or anything but it's a rocking song and it's one of my personal faves. I now have it in digital format. If you'd like to hear it, I can *email* it to you. It can be played with the free Windows Media Player. How cool is that? I'm going to try to find a way to host it here later on. Love technology. Love it!!

In other news, I must say I am totally hooked on Paper Crafts Magazines, especially the Holiday Cards and Wrap Vol 2 issue. Oh. my. Christmas. Goodies! Total insiration! The best use of my M's coupon ever!! I'm totally lovin' it!

One of my friends is zooming her way across the oceans to celebrate Thanksgiving in France with her family. I'm praying for her safety and for her to have a wonderful time and for her to bring back fab photos! How cool would it be to celebrate Thanksgiving on the French Riviera??

Me. I'm trekking to Arkansas. Whoo. But I am most definately looking forward to being with my family for the day and then bringing my sister back with us for a while. My brothers are adjusting (I think) to life in their own place without Mom and Dad. I have the coolest brothers. I can't wait to see them.

That's all for now. Happy Saturday! :)


Card Inspiration aka "Why Didn't I Think of This?"

I w-i-s-h I could say I made this card but I didn't. I just happen to think it's perfection on paper! It's actually one of the card-making kits that's available at The Card Company. If you like clean design, check it out. They have some very unique things going on there.

Happy Thursday!


I Wish I Was Computer Literate

I am a brave woman.
I've given birth, not once but twice.
I've been married to the same man for almost 14 years.
I'm the mother of boys.
I've wrangled musicians and camp counselors.
I've worked at Krogers as a cashier.
I was a secretary.
I've faced down intimidating people, including officers and prinpals.
I've taught classes and given presentations.

With this in mind, why why why do computer stores and computer sales people intimidate me so much? Why does it feel like an insurmountable task to set foot in a computer store and actually make a decision as to what I need to purchase? It never fails. I come away feeling overwhelmed by the numbers and the 4 billion options and completely confused by everything I don't know.

Joal wants an iPod. Joal is not one to embrace technology but this is music. He has an email account that he has me check about once a week. He subscribes to three band-related e-newsletters and makes hotel reservations on-line. That's it. While I process about 500 emails a week, he probably hasn't received 50 this year. It's just not his thing.

Until someone (I forget who) turns him on to the wonders of the iPod.

Suddenly, this is the greatest gizmo since Starbucks and it has about 3 gazillion excellent uses.

He been patiently waiting for a few months now. Looking. Learning. Deciding between black and silver. :) Realizing that he could carry a large portion of his CD closet in his pocket on a plane.

You could say "he's sold"!

So, not so long ago I (this family's techno geek--heaven help up) cruise on over to the iPod site and the iTunes site to venture into that dreaded world of computer geek babble called SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. Sure enough. Before the beloved iPod can enter our lives I have to upgrade my Windows software. I think. It's 2005--almost 2006 and I'm still operating on the millinium software.

Hey. It serves me well.

The problem is...all those numbers and initials in the SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS sections mean absolutely nothing to me. Nada.

Giga...Mega...Bits...Bytes...256...DDR...RAM...pulling out my hair now!


It seems like a simple question. "What do you have?" the way-too-young-salesguy says at my computer store.

"Ummm." I hem and haw. I have no clue. I want to cry. I want to stomp my foot and wrinkle my nose and have a new computer system magically appear in my workspace...booted and saying "Goodmorning Sarah." just like my old one.

Is he speaking a different laguage. Yes. That must be it. He's not speaking English. He speaks computer. I don't understand computer. Aparently.

I come home completely exhausted.

I can surf the web. I can edit photos. I can write letters. I can find addresses and maps. I can design web pages. I can do it all on my trusty HP from 2000. Do we really *need* an iPod?

In other news: I scrapbooked a little this weekend. A new layout is here.


Frequent Shopper Indeed

Good News: All my Frequent Shopper Reward cards for scrapbook stores are now in one place.

Bad News: Who knew I was such a frequent shopper at so many places? That can't be a good sign.

Yes, that's 8 cards from 6 different places. The mark-off squares for the card from Eclectica in Memphis and the 2 cards from Scrapbook Warehouse in Cookville are on the back.

Did I also mention that 2 of my other favorite stores track FSR internally so I don't have to lose their cards. :)

Did I mention that I have 3 other cards (partially used) from stores that are no longer in existance?

This is really looking bad, isn't it.

While I was doing this I also cleaned out my business card stash. I was surprised at how many stores I have visted or taught in that are no longer in business. From the business card collection, I have visited 42 scrapbook stores across 8 states. That's pretty cool, I think. It's one of my favorite vacation activities. (I guess that's obvious.)

In other news: I'm living with a 2.5 year old exhibitionist. Seriously. I had to make them both stay in this afternoon because not once but twice G removed all (and I do mean all) his clothing while outside and ran gleefully across the yard. The first time J was trying to convince him to put his clothes back on while laughing hysterically. The second time J didn't even try to convince him...he just came and got me. For joy!

The tree decorating is progressing.
Small tree--check.
String of white lights--check.
Silver balls--check.
Blue balls--check.
Silver glittered stars--check.
Blue and silver ribbon bows--being made.
Silver lame' fabric for skirting--need to find/buy.

Happy Weekend!


The Stamps in the Mail

The photo is grainy (sorry) but you get the idea. My stamps from Hot Potatoes arrived to this potato bag!! How Wow! is that!! Marketing, baby. It's all about the marketing!

Love the I always do. Bold and chunky and very hefty red rubber. I love the way red rubber that too weird?

Can't wait to use them!

For my local friends...Chris at the Paper Moon usually carries HP but her selection has been low lately (which is why I ordered straight from HP.) But check with Paper Moon if you want to see before you buy. Or come see me. :)

In other news, the pressure is on tonight. I have to make a thank you card to send to my husbands boss in Dallas. Thanks to Sabrina I have the perfect stamp...but it's a little stressful. I want to be unique but not too *crafty*. I'm also tackling my FIL's birthday card tonight. Less pressure but still.

Under the heading of "while the cat's away..." I'm putting up my small snowflake Christmas Tree tomorrow. The boys are thrilled! One can never have too many Christmas Trees!!

Happy Friday.

Erin Lincoln - Thoughtful Genius

I came across something today that made me want to stand up and cheer. I think it is valuable enough to repeat—I hope you don’t mind.

But first, the background.

Nancy Nally is the writer of the Inside Scrapbooking blog. Nancy is a long-time scrapbooker pursuing a career in the industry. She writes about her pursuits and the ups and downs of wanting to be an insider on her blog. Recently, in this entry, she lamented the difficulties of creating publishable pages without having access to a local scrapbook retailer and without an unlimited supply budget. Here are her comments:

Do you ever get the feeling that you can’t afford to be a professional scrapbook designer? It is starting to seem to me that trying to build a career in this industry requires making a rather large and risky financial investment, and that the only people who can afford to build a career are the people who don’t need the money to survive in the first place!

Scrapbooking as a hobby has become increasingly costly as the price of embellishments goes up and more techniques are incorporated, which often require the purchase of expensive tools. Scrapbooking as a business (or trying to) is even more expensive because you have to consider the shelf life of products when you use them, keep up with changing styles of design trends, and also use a particular company’s products if you are applying for a design team or entering manufacturer contests. (I know that there are designers who say that it is possible to get published using older products. While I do believe that is true to a certain extent, it is nearly impossible to follow a trend towards retro/graphic design when all the supplies you have on hand are shabby chic floral designs!)

All of this product turnover for trends and purchases for specific projects results in needing more budget to work with, especially if you are in a situation like me and don’t have a local scrapbook store to be able to purchase just what you need as you work. Because I have to do my shopping online and at occasional events like conventions, I have to guess at my future needs and load up on supplies for the foreseeable future when I have the chance. This results in my later having to make additional special purchases if something is then announced that requires the use of specific products, and it results in waste if trends change before all of my purchases are used.

And that is just the actual cost of the scrapbooking itself. The price tag gets even higher when you add in the non-scrapbooking costs of trying to make it as a designer.
While some of these things may be “optional” expenses, they can definitely help to market the designer and build their career. Such items as an online presence like a resume and blog, travel to trade shows and industry events, and materials such as business cards, portfolios and marketing handouts to use at those events, all are part of the price of doing serious business as a designer.

With all these start-up expenses, I believe only those with some money to invest can make a full-fledged effort to start a design career. Is it possible to make money, to earn a return on that investment financially? For a select few, I believe it is possible…but only for a select few. A designer can increase their income possibilities by diversifying into teaching or writing. If they become a “name” designer, land a lucrative manufacturer design position or become a product designer, the income can be lucrative. Beyond that though, profits are hard to earn.

After what I’ve seen and experienced in my time around this industry, my advice to other aspiring designers is this: Do it for the love of it, dream that you will someday get something for it, but don’t do it for the money. That’s a bad investment.

I think Nancy asks some honest questions and expresses some concerns that many would-be career artists face. Is it all about the product??

There were assorted replies to her post. For the sake of brevity (snort) I’m not going to copy them all here--just the one that really got my attention. It’s from Erin Lincoln. If you’ve been under a rock or otherwise somehow miraculously missed out, Erin Lincoln is an amazingly talented and hard-working scrapbooking professional. She’s currently a regular contributor to Creating Keepsakes magazines and books…and as if that’s not enough to keep her busy, she has a new book coming out ASAP called *Supply Savvy Scrapbooking* Oh yeah, and she’s a member of the Fontwerks Design Team.

Here’s her response:
Sigh. Would you like some real advice from somebody who has some experience in this situation? I can tell you the numbero uno secret when it comes to getting published. Sure fire. Absolutely 100% guaranteed.

You ready for it?
Here it is....

You sit down and scrap and improve your scrapping.

Simple as that. You filter out all the crap on the message boards (better yet, stay off them...waste of good scrapping time), ignore the trends (including new product), scrap what you want, and develop your own style. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that spiel. Creative vacuums work the best. Is it easy? cutting out chocolate a good way to lose weight? Sure...but it requires discipline. It's much easier to sit and speculate and concoct conspiracy theories about what the magazines want versus how you measure up. Practices that really aren't good for self esteems. Wasn't for mine. Like everything in life, a little bit of hard work and elbow grease goes a long way.
Sitting and thinking about it, unfortunately does not.

Why am I posting this? Honestly and truly not to be mean. It's a bit of tough love. And it could have gone on any one of your blog posts, as it is universal. I've seen a lot of people spend a lot of time just spinning their wheels and getting frustrated and wonder why things aren't working. Missing the forest for the trees, I think. Perhaps a change of focus and perspective would freshen things up a bit. And good news...such items are 100% free. :) Just takes a little bit of hard work. Good luck to you.

How’s that for a good smack on the backside? To paraphrase: “Stop trying to anticipate the next trend and get in front of it…and start making your own." We are a creative bunch. Why do we spend so much time watching what everyone else is doing??

I think Erin’s comments are dead on too! (I’m sure you were waiting with baited breath to know if I agreed, right.)

Sure magazines like pages that feature products. Product usage keeps their advertisers giddy. However, I think style really will carry one much farther than product usage. Personal. Identifiable. Consistent. Style.

Get your own.

Thanks Erin! We needed that!!

PS Here's Erin's blog if you want to drop in on her.


It's a Dirty Job for Mike Rowe

It's been said that working in television is glamourous but somehow I think Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel's show Dirty Jobs might have a different perspective. What a guy Mike is! He takes on all these super non-glamourous, dirty jobs...really unsexy, unwanted by most people and with a wicked sense of humor creates one of the best shows on tv...and certainly the best reality show around. Coming from the one woman who hates reality tv, that should mean something.

Dirty Jobs, as you might have already guessed, is one of two shows that my boys really enjoy. Really enjoy. (You didn't really thinkt his was something *I* would watch without them, did you?) Cute as Mike Rowe is...that's some disgusting stuff.

The second show of choice these days is Firehouse USA: Boston. I actually ran across an article about this show in a newspaper and knew that the junior firefighter in our house would love it. Sure enough...the guys of Huntington Ave (the busiest fire house in Boston) have become household names in our house. I recorded the episodes on the DVD (for editing and previewing before the boys watch them) and it's nice to have this extra measure of control over the tv. Firehouse is cool.

Good Americans


Where is the line...

Where is the line between being consistant and just being bogged down in a rut?

I've been considering this question for a while.

Sometimes I fear that my style consistancy is a fancy way of saying I am in a rut. I don't really like to try new things. I like the dependable techniques and tools. I don't like adventure when it comes to scrapbooking. I know what I like and I stick to it. I would be perfectly happy if every layout could incorporate a song lyric or a song title. Would that be a consistant element or a lazy scrappers rut?

*Can* I do different/bold/innovative/original things?
Of course.

*Do* I?
Rarely. Because I like what I have.

Consistancy...yes. Rut...could be. Maybe I am OK with that.

There was a time when certain scrapbookers had distinguishable personal styles. There was a time when I could spot a Rebecca Sower layout from a mile away. The same for other prominant stylists such as Brenda Cosgrove, Joy Uzrraga, Carrie O'Donnell, Jennifer Ditz (now McGuire) and others. Now, it's not so easy.

Is it because others have duplicated what was once "their look" to the point of disassociating the look from the person - or - is consistancy in style no longer admired the way it once was? Has consistancy been replaced by versitility? Has personal style been relagated to the back seat?

Since changing from 12x12 back to 8.5x11 pages, I have reaffirmed my love for crisp and clean, well journaled layouts in what I think of as a sortof humble CZ/RS combination. My overstuffed drawers of stuff sit almost untouched. I'm drawn to ribbons, brads, the occasional tag and my trusty letter stamps and computer. I love textured Bazzill and small pieces of patterned paper. Dymo. Oversized photos. So why do I have a room full of stuff when each and every one of my favorite layouts consists of the above mentioned *basics*?

Sometimes I forget that I'm a very simple girl.
It doesn't take much to impress me.
It doesn't take much to make me happy.
I love simple, unassuming, unpretentious, uncomplicated things...especially in scrapbooking.

Apparently, sometimes standing in the midst of the local scrapbook stores (and stamp store and hardware store and craft store and office supply store and certain online stores) I get overwhelmed with choices and give in to the princess of acquisitions.

The Princess of Acquisition.
Someone should really smack her.


The Stamps are Coming...the stamps are coming...(Acquisitions)

Stamping. It's creeping slowly into my space and my life. A few at the time, my little collection of rubber is gently expanding. Over the past few days, I have come to realize that I am a sucker for leaves, snowflakes/snowmen and snappy alphabets.

I found a right cute little snowman stamp at M's for $1. He jumped right into my cart.

Also a "joy" stamp and a fall leaf stamp. For a buck, you can't go wrong, right.

At Scrappuccino's last night I finally purchased the upper and lower of the Image Tree "Swanky". Leigh Ann instigated the need of these...and I've already begun putting them to good use. I have a feeling they will get plenty of use on my holiday cards.

One last stamp purchase to really enhance the collection...five stamps from Hot Potatoes! I can't wait till they arrive. Hot Potatoes stamps are chunky and bold and I find them extreamely easy to use. Somebody really needs to tell Miss "Mary Hot Potatoes" O'Neal, as she is affectionately known in these parts, to get on the scrapbooking boat...because she already has the perfect stamps for scrapbooking. It makes me feel good to support local companies and HP is located right here in Nashville! Gotta love that!

Nothing like red rubber to make one feel creative!!


Silly...on many levels.

This has to be one of the simplest layouts ever...and I am totally taken with it (if I do say so myself). No humble scrapping allowed in these parts. I love the photo. Anita took it from the ground as he (obviously) leaned out the window of his tree fort. The hand gestures were learned recently from...well, nevermind...suffice it to say his father is a rocker from the 80's. Anyway.

I wrote down the quote when I heard Mike Myers say this on Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton last year. I'm not a fan of the alleged film genius that is Mr. fact, I really don't like his work as a category...but I love this statement. I think it's brilliant. (The show, Inside the Actors Studio is so cool. It's like the modern day version of This Is Your Life.)

Of course, the patterned paper is Basic of the most delicious papers on the planet. I found the fiber/ribbon/trim at Hobby Lobby. It is an absolute perfect match to the paper. How awesome is that?

I'm trying to focus on good things today because I am absolutely sick over the 9th Circuit Court desicion that came down this week regarding parental rights. A distinguished legal mind I do not claim to have. However, I do have an innate sense of family and a keenly developed sense of government overload. Flares went off today as I read of this decision. The big question: If we start down this road of government responsibility for our children, where does it end? There was a very strong and frightening statement sent this week from the court to the parents of America's children. It was very short and simple. It read:

"Sorry. The government has a larger right to parent your children than you do."

Thankfully, the 9th Circuit is famous for getting overturned. It seems they have the highest number of overturnings every year. Isn't that a handy piece of information? The Ninth Circuit Court knows it can make certain political and social statements from the bench, even if they are incorrect or biased in some way, because other courts can and do regularly overturn their decisions. What a waste of time.

Nevertheless, it still bugs me that so many people seem to agree that parents don't have the final say in the education of their children. Ladies and gentlemen, Hillary is wrong. It does not take a village and it certainly does not take a government to raise a child. It takes a home. It takes a family. It takes parents. There is no one more qualified to raise their own children than parents.

The idea that because *some* parents aren't doing their jobs, the court has the right to revoke the rights and responsibilities of all parents (thus punishing those of us who are doing our job well) and award these rights to the government is preposterous. It's completely un-American.

Of course parental rights are not noted in the constitution but then neither was the right to vote for certain segments of the population. We seem to have overcome that. The crafters of the Constitution of the United States did not frame a perfect, all-encompassing document. A government that ran too much of it's citizens lives was exactly what they had fled other countries to get away from--in pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuits of happiness...and inside that, perhaps, parenthood.


Yes, I'll have the Chicken Ceasar Salad...hold the lettuce"

So, in this the post-candy-induced-haze holiday, I'm desperately trying to hold steadfast to my highly distasteful regiment of not enjoying food. In the past few months (with some help) I have come to understand much about food and it's relationship to me. Being Diabetic and loving food kinda don't go hand in hand. Especially not long term.

It's taken me a while to come to terms with this but here it is. Food is to me what alcohol is to a drunk. A habit. A comfort. Sometimes a need. Most of the time, not. I've spent a long time off the wagon. Now I am firmly seated on the wagon but I am not enjoying the ride.

Following the "one day at a time, one change at a time" plan, today's assignment was to figure a way to get more leafy green veggies into my body. Since puree by IV is not an option (would that it were), I've been carefully examining salad options. I discovered one thing.

I like salads...

...without the lettuce.

Brilliant. I know.

Grilled chicken, shredded cheese, croutons, tomato, bacon bits, slivered almonds, grapes, a hint of green onion and a generous portion of Caesar Salad dressing makes me a happy camper. Lettuce. Who needs lettuce? Lettuce is just filler.

Even the pretty baby exotics that are way overpriced. They don't taste any better than the plain old dark green stuff. I just don't need lettuce to enjoy a good salad.

Lucky me.

I'm guessing this is probably not going to be the way to lower all the bad numbers in my life.

On the other hand, there's this candy infested holiday called "Halloween". For many years, cynical people have been decrying Valentines as being nothing more than a marketing ploy of Hallmark and flower companies. Where are those same people in October? Is it not obvious that dentists and Hersheys are in cahoots to exponentially raise their profit margins during the last quarter of the year by pushing this "holiday" and it's sugar-laden traditions??

Do little children really need the advantage of sugar-induced hyperactivity on the week post Halloween? Don't they already run their parents ragged? Where's the logic in giving them candy? Sedatives, maybe. But candy? Come on.

What are we as parents thinking?

So. I'm no closer to loving green leafy vegetables today than I was last week. Toleration. Yes. When Hersheys starts making lettuce. Then we'll talk.

Happy Friday!!


2 Days...2 Layouts

It's a miracle.
Well, maybe that's a little strong.
It's an amazing accomplishment.

2 layouts
completed in
2 days

This is a lamentation layout.
I'm lamenting the poorly focused photo.

Had it been in focus, it would have been perfect. These are my favorite types of shots...personal, unplanned, impulsive...just little moments captured forever on film.

I was walking out the door to leave.
G was upset.
Dad scooped him up to comfort him.
I was holding my camera and had one shot left on the roll.
It's badly blurred.
I don't know why.

It's the one that got away.

On the other hand, I am loving Christina Cole. Her awesome papers from the slab (thanks to the M's coupon) soothes some of the ache of the blurred photo.

It's nice to do layouts again that aren't assigments. I can just play until I get what I like. That's a loved feeling.


2Peas Meme - Scary Movies

Well, I should probably just skip this one because I don’t intentionally watch scary gore movies. There’s just no appeal there to me. I don’t like to be disturbed by things I watch on the big screen without a cause. Of all the movies that I’ve ever watched, there are only two that I found very disturbing…disturbing on a deep level…deeper than any superfluous blood, guts and gore could ever descend to.

The first is Shindler’s List.

I know people find it odd that this movie messed me up but it did. Perhaps it’s not really the story of the movie that bothers me so much but the immeasurable evil of the holocaust as a whole. I know evil exists and I am educated as to the basic events of the transgressions of the holocaust. I believe it to be a scourge on the history of humanity (all humanity) and I think it’s wrong to take it in the light of entertainment. To me, this movie feels wrong.

Yes, I know that Shindler’s story is one of redemption and of one man’s course of actions affecting almost 1100 other lives…but I can’t get past the backdrop of sheer evil.

Collateral Damage

On a slightly lesser note, there’s a scene in Collateral Damage where one of the bad guys is tortured brutally with a poisonous snake…that’s all I’m going to say about that…I can’t even describe it…it still makes me feel sick. I’m very much against the idea of snakes. They seriously creep me out beyond words. Since that scene I've taken to the idea that movies containing snakes should come with their own special warning label.

You think I'm joking?

So, there you have it. My twist on what scares me movie-wise.

Happy Halloween

Danger! Danger! Fonts Ahead!


Love fonts.
True Type is my friend.
I remember the first time I discovered a free font site...I stayed up all night downloading hundreds of fonts. A few days later I realized that was a huge waste of space on my computer so I deleted 99% of them and kept the ones I knew I would use. I know people who have amassed collections of thousands...right Anita?!

I have 172 and they are all well loved.

Yesterday, I discovered Font Garden. Beware. Font Garden has excellent handwriting fonts but they cost a couple dollars each. I've never purchased fonts--that is until last night when I spent $12.50 and got 5 w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l handwriting fonts. A couple are pretty close to my own handwriting. How coool is that?

For my free fonts, I usually ckeck Angie Pedersen's One Scrappy Site first. She keeps a good check on the hot scrapbooking fonts and her site is easy to use. I really like that she arranges them by name as well as by which magazine they were used in. So if you see a font in the Hall of Fame book, you can check out the list of fonts used in the Hall of Fame book on her site, rather than sort thru hundreds.

If Angie doesn't have it, I usually just google the name or ask at 2Peas. Many sites offer free fonts and fonts for purchase.


Card--Let it snow!

I *had* to use my Staples treasure--the snowflake brads on my card swap for the LP girls this month. The patterned paper is from KI. That's the Noted Lowercase Alphabet from recent favorite. I'm loving silver ink these days too.

In other news, I have spent several hours lately updating the store list for Middle TN. Many many changes and improvements have been made. Check it out at The Scrapbook Channel. The other two lists will be updated shortly and I am hoping to add photos ASAP as well.

Happy Friday!!

I Forgot Our Anniversary

Dang it. I just realized I forgot our anniversay. Our homeschooling anniversary, that is. October 16 marked the end of our first year as a home schooling family. One whole year. What an eye-opening year it was too.

It wasn't a perfect year, but it certainly had some perfect moments. It wasn't easy on any of us but it is worth what it takes. At time we question the wisdom of this decision. But it is working. We are (with God's grace and provision) working it out together.

I'll never be a traditional teacher.
He'll never be a traditional student.
I guess that means we're a good match, right.