Digital Dreams

I will always be a paper scrapper.
Take it to the bank.
I adore paper.

However, this digital scrap kit from ScrapKitchen makes me d-r-o-o-l. Seriously. I want to play with it. I have no idea even where to start or if I have the necessary programs to even justify the $6...but look at it. It's positively delicious.

I am way too intimidated by the concept of digital scrapbooking.How does one get over that?

First Prayer

Hands folded together.

Head bowed.

Feet swinging.

Eyes on the crackers (probably to make sure no one takes them while he’s praying).

“Jesus, Daddy, Mommy, Bubba, me, Damma, Pop Pop. Bubba. Aaaa--men”



Fimo Clay Pots

After spending way too much time trying to find tiny clay pots for cards, I decided to try making my own with Fimo Clay. Here's the results.

Fimo is a polymer clay that doesn't dry until it's baked. It comes in bunches of colors or you can sand and paint your own. It's very easy to use and I think there are definite possibilities for future uses.

The flower is a Prima (something I can't seem to get enough of) and the stem is made from silk ribbon. I'll post the card when it's finished.

Happy Thursday!


Notes from a Mother

Ever had one of those days that just won’t end? That would be today for me. Some days I feel like I don’t stop long enough to take a breath, but I look around and it appears (to the untrained eye) that I haven’t done a thing.

I feel like a fire fighter, constantly putting out pop-ups. As soon as you get one little brush fire doused, three more pop-up. It’s exhausting.

I’m sure the neighbors hate me. Afterall, my back yard looks like it could or should be featured on Jeff Foxworthy’s Redneck Yard of the Week. My children actually overturned a trash can and proceeded to climb in it today. How disgusting is that? I was threatening to hose them off in the back yard before bringing them into the house for a shower but I couldn’t find the key to the storage building where the hose is kept. I made them scrub extra good…the thought of touching the trash can gives me the total creeps. And yet there they were, at 11 am, taking a break from school outside, crawling into the trash can. Whose kids are those anyway?

Oh and then there was the afternoon escapade. Grey loves loves loves to run full tilt across our back yard and hit the swing with his arms outstretched, on his chest/belly. It’s positively hilarious to watch. He does it with such confidence, which I guess is to be expected, since he’s done it about a million times. Hits the swing and his running momentum pushes it up off the ground and his little body flies up into the air and every single time he laughs just like it was his very first time. It’s delightful to watch. It’s why I wanted a house.

But today…today was different. For some reason he needed something different to do today. Have you ever tried the flying leap while naked? I came into the kitchen and looked out the big window just in time to see this tiny little un-tanned touché flying up into the air on the swing. Julian’s practically rolling around in the dirt laughing…I hit the door in time to hear Grey laughing out loud, just like always. I knew better than to scold. I wouldn’t have been able to keep a straight face anyway. Sometimes you just have to laugh at the little buggers. When I got to the swing, G smiled up at me and said “me nekkid bood-ie”. Ya think. The whole world is getting a view of your little back side boy. I’m sure the neighbors are thrilled.

Later on, we went to the grocery to get the stuff to make roasted chicken and veggies. They both behaved so well in the grocery. We made it all the way to the check out without incident. But alas, today was one of those days. We get into the check out line behind someone with a large order. Another shopper pulls into the lane behind us. While we are waiting, Julian looks suspiciously at the white plastic covers that the store places in front of the magazines that are fronted by nearly-naked women. (This is one of the reasons I shop at this particular store.) Ever the curious sort, J can’t stand not knowing what’s behind the shields. So, before I can say don’t, he peaks. And gets an eyeful.

His hand flies to his mouth and he covers it to stifle the giggles. I glare at him. Praying. Please…no comments…just be quiet.

But no. I couldn’t be that lucky.

“Mom, she’s nee----kid.” he says, his voice a hair shy of 3 billion decibels.

I hear the woman behind me snort.

“I know Julian. That’s why the cover is there.”

“She needs to get some clothes on. Her bra is showing.”

“Ok Julian. Here…why don’t you hold this while I unload the cart.” I hand him a brick of cheese.

Does it never end? I wasn’t aware he knew what a bra was.

We came home. I was slicing onion, carrots and celery for the roast chicken. Grey asks for a piece of celery. I give him an end piece with the frilly part on it to fool with while I’m chopping and washing the usable parts. Suddenly I hear these pings from about 4 different spots in the kitchen. I look at him and he’s got that grin again. The one that says “Me?...Noooo.”

Sure enough…he flicked the piece of celery up into the ceiling fan and it got chopped into about 4 pieces and flung around the kitchen. Bugger. So then of course, he wants another piece. “I don’t think so, you little stinker.”

In the end the roasted chicken and veggies was delicious, the floor has been vacuumed for the third and final time today and they are *finally* in bed. I never even touched the laundry today…that’ll just have to wait till tomorrow.

My passport came in the mail today. That’s exciting. Joal’s came on Saturday. Now we are set for world-wide adventures!

Happy Tuesday!!


100 percent Deca - Dent!!!

This is the most delish Brownie recipe! I think it's going to be making an appearance at the next Scrap Night!! Discovered it today on Everyday Italian, a show on Food Network.

Espresso Brownies

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Recipe SummaryDifficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 36 bite-size brownies

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.

Episode#: EI0706Copyright © 2003 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

And now I have to go find something non-toxic that will remove WD-40 from a certain 2 year olds hair. Fun fun fun!!


Apples Apples Apples

Since I am up, I've been wanting to mention that we took a field trip to the Morning Glory Apple Orchard this week with the hs group. We've been three times before but the boys love it so we went again. Sure enough, it was lots of fun. We brought home our usual gallon of cider, two special bags of apples and apple sipper cups. The tour guide lady, Ms. Tine, at the apple orchard used a apple peeler, corer, slicer to, you guessed it, peel, core and slice an apple for the kids. When she popped it off the gadget, she cut it in half and passed out "apple smiles". Apparently, that stuck with G. Last night I cut up an apple to have after dinner and he insisted on having his cut into a "shh-mile".

Apparently, I wasn't paying attention to the "talk" part of our tour the last few times we have been. This time I learned that when you buy an apple at the grocery, it's probably already been off the tree for 5-6 weeks. That kinda surprised me. Seems like a really long time. So much for the notion of *fresh* produce. I think I'm going to check out the Farmer's Market again.

PS. Another thing I of those little tidbits that kinda makes you smirk and go hmmm. There is one Queen Bee in each hive of bees. It take roughly ten drone bees who have the job of taking care of the queen bee. Read more about the interesting sociology of bees here.

I Think There's Been a Mix-up...

I definately think there's been some kind of mix-up.
Maybe two.

Because there is no way that *I* gave birth to two children who both think it's acceptable to get up voluntarily and be ready to start their day before 9:30 am.

It's just. not. possible.

I am nocturnal by nature. Lifelong, dedicated nocturnalist. Always. My favorite, most creative hours of the day are well...the night. Deep into the night. Midnight to 4 am are prime. I'd rather not see two hours that start with a 6 in the same day.

But alas.
My children took after their father.
Mr. I-think-it's-cool-to-get-started-on-my-day-before-everyone-else-and-be-to-Starbucks-when-they-unlock-the-doors. Blech!!

(Have I ever mentioned that in college their father also wrote his term papers weeks before they were actually due? Who does this? Entire dorms stayed up the night before papers were due, writing and typing, proofing and sourcing. I remember fondly making the last correction and printing the final copy at 8 am after writing all night and handing in a still-warm copy moments later. It was kindof a thrill to see who could cut it the closest. Does he have these fond memories? Ha!! It's a wonder I married him.) :)

Yep. Both boys. Up and calling for breakfast at 6:10 am today. By 7 am we had finished breakfast, made beds, started laundry and started J's math. It's approaching 8 am now and I have just had my second Diet Orange, chilled from the freezer. I'd really like a Dr. Pepper. or three. Maybe then I could keep up with the morning mania boys.

I just don't know how this happened. They could easily sleep till 8 or 9 every morning. How lucky would that be? They want to get up and get going.



2Peas Meme Blog Challenge - Scrapbooking Mantra

1 – Go digital as soon as possible. After the initial investment in equipment, (about $300, which is equal to about 7 months worth of film and developing fees) it really will save me time and money. I won’t be paying for printing photos that I have no intention of scrapping. Storage on CDs is far more compact than printed photos.

2 – Single photo layouts make me happy. I will not be swayed by people telling me how wasteful/impractical they are. It’s my scrapbook. I scrap the best and store the rest.

3 – I will not be rushed. Scrapbooking is not a race. I will work at a pace that I am comfortable with and whatever I get done will have to be enough.

4 – Basic supplies are all I really need. Bazzill. Trimmer, photo corners, ribbon, computer and great photos. Occasionally some snappy patterned paper and a few stamps.

5 – There’s more to scrapbooking than layouts. (More on that in coming days.) I’m thinking cards, home décor items, and other paper lover things to do.

6 – Not every event has to be preserved with a blow-by-blow account. When I think about my childhood, it’s not the birthdays and the Christmases that stand out as being the most memorable and the most treasured times. They were nice but it’s the extraordinary in the everyday that means the most to me. I want that to be the same for my boys…even if it means being referred to as a dreaded “moments scrapper”. I can live with that.

7 – Scan layouts and store them electronically *just in case*.

8 – Pea less, scrap more. Pea less, spend less.

9 – I will always be messy in my space. It’s just how I am. I have stopped trying to change that.

10 – Keep it real. In my quest to scrapbook the everyday miracles and the ordinary in everyday…I’ve started learning to be real and let my journaling reflect the realness of who we are.

Will You Still Love Me?

Will you still love me if all my hair falls out? I hope so because I am well on my way to being hair-free.

I've always had very thick hair and I've usually let it grow long but it seems those days are coming to an end, at least temporarily.

Not only is it annoying to be dealing with thinning hair, but it's messy. Seems like it's everywhere. The back of my shirt. The car seat. My pillow. My office chair. I've even stopped brushing unless it's absolutely necessary. Unkept or slightly askew hair on my head is better than a pile of it in my hairbrush.

Just call me vain. Of all the complications of being Diabetic and all the not-so-pleasant side effects of the drugs I've endured, this is the one that bugs me most. I don't want to loose my hair.


Ribbon Revelry

My friend Leigh Ann scoped out Textile Fabrics as a possible ribbon store and reported in her blog at Scrappy Chronicles. I knew she was going and am so glad she discovered this new (or new to us) local source for delicious ribbons.

It’s just as she said…completely wonderful, packed with textures and tactile delights, and a true ribbon-lovers paradise. I couldn’t stay away. I got to visit Saturday afternoon and ahh…it was wonderful.

Trims, fabrics, notions, twills, satins, ric racs, cords, braids, plaids, stripes, plaids, checks, stitched, wired, glittery things, embroidered fancies, beaded lace, imprinteds, silks, ombres, fringe, …so many styles of luscious ribbons.

I didn’t have nearly enough time. I will definitely be going back ASAP.

Ribbon – it’s a wonderful thing.

Like the Banner?

Do you like my new banner? It's so easy to do know it's easy if I am doing it, right. It's made by scanning ribbon and a piece of paper.

If you'd like one let me know. I really enjoy making them.


Croptoberfest Patches Now Available

Orders are now being accepted for the official Croptoberfest Patch, pictured above.

Before you order, please read all the details carefully.

The patches will be approximately 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches in size. They are being produced by the same company that produced the black and orange tag patch for Tennscrapbooking last summer so we know that this is a high quality embroidered patch. Also, the patch will be in the shape of the frame outline. How snappy is that?!!

The cost is $6 each.

I realize that this is crunch time with shirt and bag orders and now patch orders all coming together at once. However, I will need your order and payment in hand by Saturday, Sept 24. Yes, I know that's one week. It takes 14 days to produce and ship the order and we don't want to risk not getting them back in time for CTF!

If you are a PayPal user, you can sent payment via PayPal to my email at .

If you would like to mail a check, I will post my mailing address on the YahooGroup. Please get it in the mail promptly and let me know it's coming.

Patches are a great way to remember your Croptoberfest experience and of course, this years design is unique. These patches can be ironed onto scrap totes or bags or used in your scrapbook as an embellishment. Feel free to order more than one!! After seeing the Tennscrapbooking patch, a bunch of people wished they had ordered more than one! They are very cool.

This is the part you must read carefully:
Due to production minimums, I will need to have money in hand for at least 40 patches before the order can be placed. I will hold your checks and PayPal funds until we reach 40. If for some reason, we do not sell 40 patches, your Pay Pal funds will be refunded and checks returned unprocessed ASAP.

I will try to order a few extra to have on hand but please, please understand there will only be a few. If you know you are going to want patches, place an order to insure that you get what you want.

If you have questions, please email me.

Stand Still and Scrapbook

Stand Still
by Phill Vassar/Connie Harrington/Julie Vassar

In the spring I dreamed of summer
To feel the sunlight on my skin
But in the heat I'd start to hunger
For that autumn chill again

I always spent my time anticipating
Things to come
But now I wish that I could
Slow theWorld down just this once and

Stand still
I'm right where I wanna be holding you
In the middle of the moment of my life
The way I feel
I don't care what's in front of me or what's behind me
I just wanna stop the wheel and
Stand still

I have driven by a sunset
Let it pass without a glance
I took so many things for granted
Counting on a second chance

But touching you right now
is somethingI don't wanna miss
I know my finest hour
Is the one I'm living in

Stand still
I'm right where I wanna be holding you
In the middle of the moment of my life
The way I feel
I don't care what's in front of me
Or what's behind me
I just wanna stop the wheel
And stand still

I'm taken with this disk--American Child by Phil Vassar. It's not new...I've been listening to it forever, but just recently have I come to realize what a gifted song writer Phil is. He writes, he sings, he play piano...he's the king of the turned phrase. Want proof? Read the lyrics of the song "Athens Grease" here. Yes, that's "grease" not Greece. It's part of the charm.

He's the master of the kicky love song. He's a rocker too. I saw him at the July 4 festival down at the Riverfront a few years ago...the man is positively hyper--he got up and danced on his piano!

How is this scrapbook-related, you ask? :) I've been wanting to make a scrapbook of all my favorite photos paired with my favorite songs. I've done a few song lyric layouts and I am always pleased with them. Songs just mean so much to me. So, that's what I am working on tonight at Scrap Night. If I get done, I'll post it tomorrow.
Happy weekend, ya'll!


One Last Thing

I heard the most beautiful piece of comentary on NPR's All Things Considered on Tuesday. It's called A Dream of New Orleans, Interrupted and is by Andrei Codrescu. If you missed it, you should go here and listen to it again. The man paints a picture with words so beautifully it made me cry.

Here's the summary from NPR:
Commentator Andrei Codrescu notes why people of New Orleans had a special love affair with their city. Perhaps, he figures, because it had smells and sounds that couldn't be mistaken for elsewhere; it was a "dream state" because of this -- where the American Dream came unmoored. He paints pictures with words of some of the things that made his adopted city special, such as what the air feels like at 3 a.m. on a Thursday night in late August in New Orleans.

So, is Alaska too far to commute...?

Am I the only one who thinks this is an amazing concept? What a cool idea!!

Wish Alaska wasn't so darn far away!

Purging Patterned Paper for Peace

It's time for my periodical patterned paper purge! Try saying that three times fast. :)

About twice a year I start to feel overwhelmed by the stuff in my scrap space and I do a major purge. This year, the main culprit was patterned paper. Let me confess right now...I love paper. I love to look at it. I love to touch it. I love to buy it. I love to buy lots of it.

I should probably get that under control. I used to have the "I teach classes" excuse and that was a rather handy thing...but it's been more than a year since I taught my last class...

In me defense, I have gotten better lately (she says lamely.)

Anyway, my patterned paper has been purged of all the pieces that I probably won't use in the near future. The "to go" pile now consists of a couple hundred sheets. (Ducking...please don't throw things at me.) I am sending some to my sister in Texas who enjoys scrapbooking too. I'm taking the rest to CTF in hopes of selling it really cheap to other paper lovers.

It feels good to purge and know that my loved but unused paper can be put to good use in someone elses space.

Happy Thursday!!


Home Schoolers are FREAKS

As seen on this blog:

Home Schoolers are FREAKS!


Thought that was kinda cute.


Not a Movie Recommendation

As a rule, I don't recommend movies to other people as it always seems to get me into trouble. So this is not a recommendation. I'll tell you that I liked it. I liked it very much. Maybe you will. Maybe you won't.


It's light. Funny. Easy to follow. Adventurous. Interesting.

The good guys save the African continent from a disease and the world's water supply from contamination. The bad guys get their due. The good guy gets the good girl and everyone lives happily ever after. P Cruz plays a strong beautiful Doctor. M McConnaughey is obviously attracted to her but it's not all about the conquest. She's no damsel-in-destress, although he does help her out of a jam.

No cursing. (EDIT to ADD: I should have said "almost no cursing". My "bad-word-meter" isn't particularly sensitive...I usually just notice excessive cursing or long strings of useless drabble.) No blatant s*x. Violence--there's shooting and a little fighting but no one gets hurt (like it should be in the movies) and it's not gore-ish or gross.

And did I mention Matthew McConnaughey? The man has great hair!

T minus Thirty Days Two Hours and Counting

See that little ticker on the side column of my blog? It's counting down the seconds until Croptoberfest! Fifty women, all scrapbookers (or almost all scrapbookers) gather in the woods on a mountain in the beautiful Pigeon Forge area. Let me just say that if traditions hold there will be very little sleeping, tons of laughter, and a good bit of scrapping. It's a beautiful place and always a treat to get away for just a few days with friends old and new.

I have quite a bit to do before then tho:

ATC first.
Friendship/Calling Card Swap...a tradition
Clean out the stash for the Auction/Yard Sale
Decide what to work on
Pack some page kits
Get a photo of myself made for the Friendship Page Swap
Bribe Carla to save me a bottom bunk
Buy a new sleeping bag and maybe a new towel
Stock up on Diet Sunkist
Buy Bear Repellant and extra corn cobs for the outhouse

I'm determined to pack really light this time. No, really. Don't laugh. I'm being serious.

The photo will give you a sense of how far back in the woods we's a truly beautiful place! (I love this state in the fall.)

Unmentionables on Paper

Isn't this the cutest? It came from a very old Michaels Arts and Crafts Magazine and is a handmade invitation to a bridal lingerie shower. It's made of silk ribbon.

Now if I only knew someone getting married...


This is the Boat

Spendour of the Seas

This is the boat.

This is the boat on which we will sail.

This is the boat on which we will sail to the land of Cozumel.

This is the boat on which we will sail to the land of Cozumel together next year.

I don't get why ships are referred to as "she"...because no "she" I know wants her "gross tonnage" published on the web for all to see!!


Product Idea of the Decade!!

New product idea of the decade!! Yep. You are about to read about it right here.

Are you ready?

So, you know how ketchup, mustard, mayo, honey, lemon jouce and relish are all available in those little miniture, single serving pouches, right? You find them at fast food restaurants, sporting events, at schools, etc??


So why on earth hasn't someone ever thought to put chocolate syrup in one of these little pouches?

Sometimes you really need a quick hit of chocolate. Lighten the mood. Enhance the flavor. A personal pouch of chocolate available at your convenience to be added to a cup of coffee, a carton of milk, a spoon of peanut butter, drizzled on top of a graham cracker...or for those really desperate souls, squirt it directly onto a finger. LOL! Not too much so you aren't over-indulging...just enough.

Anyone else see the potential here??
Joal’s home from his company’s annual management meeting in Dallas and the world is right once again. Four days without him and I’m squarely reminded how much I love him and how much I need him. Need. Deeply need him. It hasn’t always been this way. We used to travel separately a lot more than we do now and it rarely bothered me. Before the boys came along, I even spent a whole summer at a Salvation Army Camp and saw him only every other weekend. I used to think I could survive OK if he ever got the chance to go on tour. Now--not so much. Weird how things change.

I never wanted to be one of those women so in love with her man she couldn't see straight. But I am.
I never wanted to need a man so much that it hurts to breathe deep without him. But it does.
I never wanted to be so dependent on another person for so many things. But I am.
I never thought I would find my soul in the love of a man. But I do.

There’s a new magazine on the market called Scrapbook Answers. I had heard about it while it was in production from some peas “in the know” but finally saw the first issue at the grocery on Friday night. I can honestly say this is the best first issue I think I’ve ever seen. Most first issues are—well, less than stellar. It’s very technique-rich and has detailed instructions and photos. It’s also full of peas…discussed here.

Do you ever manage to come home from grocery shopping and not realize that you forgot one thing? I use a list. I cross things off as I select them. I try so hard to only go to the store 2x a week. And yet, it never fails that the minute I get it all unloaded and put away I realize that I forgot to pick up at least one thing. Today it was paper towels. Can't function without paper towels. Can't clean. Can't eat. Can't paint. My cup sweats on my desk without apaper towel coaster. Paper towels are just so handy. And of course, we are completely out. Maybe I'll sneak back over to Kroger tonight after everyone has gone to bed. I could wait until tomorrow but it would be such a huge production to take everyone. I know, I know. I say that like I have 16 kids. I don't. I only have two. It's really not a big deal...but sometimes it feels huge.

Had a scrapbooking moment yesterday: I was driving around with the boys and we passed “Downey Drive”. How cute is that? I think I’m gonna go back and take a photo for Donna. Heaven knows there will never be a street named after my last name. (snort.)

Today we remember.


Weird Weird Day

Sorry to disappoint...there will be no deep thinking today...I'm kinda frazzled. When the cat is away...the momma doesn't quite function properly.

I spent the morning putting all the photos from the past few months into pocketed page protectors and a 12x12 album. I *love* that feeling of being photo-organized. Makes choosing what to scrap next a breeze.

I received a weird letter in the mail today. A woman from the next county wants to buy our house. What in the world?? Seriously...I couldn't resist. I had to call the number to find out what this was about. Turns out she's a real estate investor and is trying to buy houses in our area. Having only been a home owner for 15 months...I am continually amazed at the stupid things home owners encounter that I never knew about before. I was polite...but what I really wanted to say was "Honey, if you are offering anything less than a million dollars, you won't be buying my house." That's how hard we have worked on this house and how much we hate the process of moving. But for a cool million, I could buy 3 really nice log homes (one for us, one for each set of parents) and plenty of acerage in the country. I'd move again for that.

The mail man brought my paper order from Scrapbook Express today. Did I mention that I placed a paper order on Tuesday 9/7 and it arrived via USPS Priority Mail on Friday? How's that for service? Awesome!!! I am loving that store. I love the new Chatterbox papers so much I should just spead them out and roll around on them...but then they would get all crinkled...and they are too pretty for that.

Seriously. Scrapbook Express saved me from having to start all over on a project I've been working on. I ran out of a certain paper and of course, no one around had any of it left!! Figures. Needless to say, I am highly impressed with them!

I received my last Creating Keepsakes in the mail today. You know how they put the final issue of your subscription in a special bag and announce to the world "This is your last issue...extend your subscription today!!!!!!! or bad things will happen to'll be missing out on the newest, hottest, latest and greatest in the wide wide world of'll be so alone without us!!!" Yeah well...I'm abandoning CK for a while. I'm going to try this concept of living "away from the edge" instead of living in anticipation of the cutting edge. This will be the first time since CK began publishing that I will not be a subscriber.

Motley Crue is playing here in Nashville tomorrow night. No, Mom, we aren't going. I just think it's interesting. Aren't they like..old now? Lately, I have been amused at the long list of bands that seem to have been on top of the world in the late 80s and are now resurfacing. It seems to be happening alot. I think it's because the generation of teenagers that really got into their music is now grown up and finally has money to spend on tickets. Maybe it's a way to recapture some of the youth that is silently slipping away by indulging in the music of our youth. Seriously. There's a whole list of bands...Motley Crue, Stryper and others. (I'll have to get Joal to remind me of the others...I've forgotten them...apparently I am getting old and forgetful too.

About the only thing creative I managed today was short little article (review) written for a local home school newsletter.

Just random things youngest child will not stay out of the refrigerator...he's currently chowing down on frozen (pre-cooked) chicken fingers. Ick!! I'm considering a lock for the refrigerator.

Happy Saturday.


Scrap It!

Last Saturday my friend L and I went to Scrap It! --a scrapbook store in Hermitage, TN. What a truly great place! I don't get over there nearly as often as I would like because going across town is like going on a trek around the world for me. It just doesn't happen very often. I remember my very first vsit to Scrap It a few years ago. Even then it was awesome! It has a comfortable feel, things are easy to find and grouped in ways that make sense (at least to me). They have a generous selection of textured Bazzill and plenty of Chatterbox, Karen Foster, Scenic Route, and other famous paper companies. They are the flag ship for Lil Davis as JB is a regular there. Post Modern Stamps can also be found there.

Scrap It! expanded not too long ago, and the extra space is put to good use for classes and crops, both of which are very popular there.

One of the most amazing things about the store is not for sale. The samples hanging on the walls of Scrap It! make the trip a worthwhile adventure! But wait--I'm not even sure we should call them samples. They aren't really. They are scrapbook layouts and projects made by true scrappers. Trust me...there are no laminated layout copies provided by manufacturers hanging in this store! Their beautiful works are created by owner Anne Kelly, her employees and friends. If you love layers, creativity, catchy titles, genuine journaling, dimension, bold and unusual use of products, and quality photos, you'll feel like you stepped inside a favorite idea book when you step inside Scrap It! No matter what your preferred style, I'm betting you'll find something that delights your senses.


I lovingly stalk the blog of Kelli Crowe. (See link on the right.) Hey. I admire any woman who boldly uses flowers on boy pages and lives to tell about it. (LOL!)

A day or so ago, she posted about the things her family collects. It was a fun read. I need fun reads right now.


The man in my life collects CD—compact disks. (As opposed to certificates of deposit…wouldn’t that be nice?) He has been doing this as long as CDs have been in production. I have no idea how many he owns but I do know that it’s enough to warrant a fully dedicated, customized closet to house them all and a special listing on our home owners insurance. The funny thing is his rules of acquisition for CDs. Rule number one is that if you wait long enough, the cd you want will turn up at the used cd store. Seriously, the man loves the used cd stores like I love scrapbook stores.

Ju collects Rescue Heroes. I think maybe I sorta forced him into that but he loves them now. I just think they are really cool with their oversized feet, their catchy names and their cool gadgets. Or maybe it’s because I have a secret crush on Billy Blazes. Anyway…Ju also has recently started a collection of fire department t-shirts. So far he has 3. Nashville Fire, Flowood Fire and a JR Firefighter shirt. We’re hoping to get a Holly Lake or Hawkins Fire Dept shirt from my newly-graduated fire fighter brother very soon.

G has an ever growing collection of board books. At 2, he hasn’t indicated an interest in collecting much yet.

That leaves me. I collect glass vases and containers, vintage Tupperware, abandoned heritage-style photos, old hymn books, simple daisies (anything with daisies on it or in it) and of course, ribbon and paper. There’s a line of hand carved angels and figurines by Willow Tree that I’d like to collect someday…they are by Artist Susan Lordi. They are simple and beautiful to me. (See photo above.)

Collections have always interested me. I think what a person collects says a great deal about them. So, as Kelli asked, what do you collect?

Don't Let the Darkness Win

I'm guessing now that one of crowned sweethearts of scrapblogging has decided (in a fit of post-hurricane life re-evaluation) that she no longer has time to invest in the many readers of her blog, scrapblogging is about to go the way of the Paperkin and decorative scissors. She ending her relationship with her blog and by extension, those of us who regularly read her work, commented on it, and participated in it. It almost feels like we, the loyal readers, value her work far more than she values her readers...and that stings. By disabling her comments, she didn't even give her many loyal readers a chance to say goodbye.

She's not alone of course. I've seen several other blog writers in the past two days indicate that perhaps sharing their lives with on-line friends is no longer a worthwhile endeavor.

I think it's sad, really. Sad to let darkness win and call it something positive.

Life goes on.
It carries on.
We hurt and we mourn for the moment.
We remember for a lifetime.
But in the end, we carry on.

We are supposed to live it.
We are supposed to invest in it.
Live it fully.
Live it with ghusto and passion.
We are designed to feel empathy and to hurt for those who are hurting.
But we are giving in to the pain and the darkness if we let it rule us from afar.

Mourn the Loss.
Help those you can.
Then adjust.
And carry on.

CARRY ON!! with everything in you...not in a bruised and battered way but in a way that continues to make a difference to those around you. Use the gifts you have to make the world around you a better place. Some kids I know refer to this as "letting your light shine."

When there's something in your life that brings you joy and that slips joy and light into the lives of others, don't dillude yourself into thinking that sacrificing it somehow makes the world a better, more just place. It doesn't. Sacrificing that thing only sucks the joys and abundance of life from your heart and others.

Is that really what the world needs at a time like this? Less joy and abundance?
I just don't think so.


Strangely Sweet Generosity

Current events have pushed the act of giving to charities to the forefront of thought for many. You can hardly turn on the tv or radio without hearing “Go to our website and see how you can help.” (Begging the question, how did we ever give before the web? Did we actually have to sit down, write a check, address an envelope, stamp and mail it? Oh the horrors. But I digress.) Americans, in general are a boldly generous people. It’s one of the things that makes this country great-- and always has.

Are we perfect?
Of course not.
But generous?

All this talk of giving and generosity, reminded me that in 2004, a survey was done of all the states to find out which state gave the highest average percentage of their income to charitable institutions such as churches/religious institutions, relief organizations and shelters. I bet you’ll never guess which state topped the list.

If you guessed Mississippi, you were right. Even though Mississippians continually rank in the lowest of the “haves”, as a percentage of income, they consistently give more than any other state to charitable organizations. Mississippi regularly posts the highest percentage of citizens living below the level of poverty. The national average is about 12 per cent. About 22 per cent of Mississippians live in poverty.

The national adjusted gross income is about $46,000 per year. The average adjusted gross income in Mississippi - just under $33,000 per year. Obviously, there are some cost of living differences, but all in all, Mississippians give deeply and generously.

I’m sure I could make plenty of assumptions based on these numbers and the gazillion other statistics that abound on the internet. However, one thing stands out to me. Many Mississippians give when it hurts. Many of us wouldn’t even consider giving generously to charitable causes if we found ourselves inside these numbers because we have a “take care of your own first” mentality.

But remember this:

In Mark 12, Jesus acknowledged to his disciples that poor woman who gave charitably in the midst of her own poverty had given more than the wealthy people who gave out of their surplus.

"And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, 'Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'" (Mark 12:41-44)

And of course, there’s the example of David’s heart for giving sacrificially to God in 2 Samuel 24:

“On that day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad. When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.

Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" "To buy your threshing floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped."

Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. O king, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the LORD your God accept you."

But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing."

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
(2 Samuel 24)

I grew up in small town Mississippi. I went to college there. My first child was born there. One of the things I remember most about the people there is their exceeding generosity. Rarely could you go into a gas station and not see a collection container (most often a large pickle jar) on the counter collecting change for someone in need of medical treatment. Benefit concerts were and are common. Mississippians may not have much by some standards...but let one of their children get sick or hurt and you will see a community--a large community--come together to support those in need in an amazingly generous way, much like a family.

There are many things I didn't like about Mississippi and I have no plans to ever move back there. It can be a hard place to live once you have lived elsewhere for a while. Mississippi and her people faced difficulties in many areas long before Katrina devaststed the coast. It's depressing to always be on the bottom of those lists...crime, education, income, etc. However, I love the fact that Mississippi finally made the top of a good list--one that gives an indication of the character of her people.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Valeri Barton, a Memory Makers Master, at the Simply Scrapbook and Stamp Convention in Nashville. Valerie and her family live in Flowood, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson. Valerie has been writing about the recent experiences of her family in her blog. It's a mixture of sad and refreshing. The truth of the situation is sad, but Valerie approaches it with faith and human kindness. If you want a perspective other than what the news is showing, read VB's blog.

May the generosity of Mississippians be returned to them 100 fold in their time of need.


Still Just Two Kids in Love

September 2, 1990

On that day, fifteen years ago, I went out on a date with a boy and my life was never the same.

We were new college freshmen.
I was still living at home temporarily.
He had just moved himself from Texas to Mississippi.

We were both 18.
Our first date was 6 days after we met. It was a double date with two friends. We went to see a movie: Aracnaphobia. We both have no idea what the movie was about.

His career plan included law enforcement and hopefully, the FBI. (Thank God that didn't stick) or becoming a rock star. (That changed too, tho not nearly as fast as the FBI thing.)

My career plan included teaching high school English and a degree in journalism.

I didn't yet have my driver's license. He taught me to drive. I hated it.

His college job was pulling parts in a car part warehouse. He worked evenings and weekends. It was hard and dirty work, but I admired his dedication and the fact that he didn't shy away from hard work.

He drove an ugly green Impala...maybe a 1984 model. It was ugly. Ugly. Ugly. It was obvious I wasn't dating him for his wheels.

One month after our first date, we started to discuss getting married.

That was fifteen years ago.

This was the first photo taken of us together...November 1990. I never noticed until tonight that I'm kinda standing behind him. I think that's somewhat indicative of our relationship. Joal's standing strong and firm and I'm sheltered a little bit by him. I think I like that.

That night started something that I'll never recover from. Nor do I ever want to.

The Music of Childhood

When I was 9, I went to summer camp for a week for the very first time. It became a summer tradition and something I thoroughly loved. One of the many songs I learned that year was "Oh I Wish I was a Little Bar of Soap". I can already tell what an amazingly complex operatic piece this is going to be, right!

Well, in my role as mom, I decided that today was the day we were going to sing this song and went searching on the internet for the lyrics. (I could only remember about 7 of the verses and I knew there were a bunch more.)

So without further ado, here for your singing pleasure:

"Oh I Wish"
adapted from "The World's Best Funny Songs", Esther J. Nelson, 1988
to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It"

Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap
Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap
Oh I'd go slippy, slippy sliddy over everybody's body
Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap

Oh I wish I were a little mosquito
Oh I wish I were a little mosquito
Oh I'd bitey, bitey, bitey under everybody's nighty
Oh I wish I were a little mosquito

Oh I wish I were a little slice of orange
Oh I wish I were a little slice of orange
Oh I'd go squirty squirty squirty over everybody's shirtey
Oh I wish I were a little slice of orange

Oh I wish I were a little bottle of coke
Oh I wish I were a little bottle of coke
Oh I'd go down with every slurp and up with every burp
Oh I wish I were a little bottle of coke

Oh I wish I were a little puddle of mud
Oh I wish I were a little puddle of mud
I'd be ooey ooey gooey under everybody's shoey
Oh I wish I were a little puddle of mud

Oh I wish I were a little golden fish
Oh I wish I were a little golden fish
Oh I'd look so very cutey in my little bathing suity

Oh I wish I were a little golden fish

Oh I wish I were a little foreign car
Oh I wish I were a little foreign car
I'd go putty putty putty over everybody's footy
Oh I wish I were a little foreign car

Oh I wish I were a little kangaroo
Oh I wish I were a little kangaroo
I would hoppy hoppy hoppy inside my mommy's pocky
Oh I wish I were a little kangaroo

Oh I wish I were a little green pea
Oh I wish I were a little green pea
I'd go skatey skatey skatey over everybody's platey
Oh I wish I were a little green pea

Oh I wish I was a little vacuum cleaner
Oh I wish I was a little vacuum cleaner
I'd go scrubby scrubby scrubby over everybody's ruggy
Oh I wish I were a little vacuum cleaner

Oh, I wish I were a little red Corvette
Oh, I wish I were a little red Corvette
I'd go speedy speedy speedy and always take the leady
Oh, I wish I were a little red Corvette

Oh, I wish I were a little beddy bug
Oh, I wish I were a little beddy bug
I'd go bitey, bitey, bitey, under everybody's nightie
Oh, I wish I were a little beddy bug.

Oh I wish I were a little radio
Oh I wish I were a little radio
I'd go CLICK!

Ju added this verse:
Oh I wish I were a little fire truck
Oh I wish I were a little fire truck
I'd go speedy speedy speedy gettin' water to the needy
Oh I wish I were a little fire truck

News in the Liner Notes

Cool thing happened this morning.

While J and I were in college here and here (basically most of the 90's) he worked in a music store. He sold guitars and instruments, built the stores book sales, installed sound systems and taught guitar lessons. Many of his guitar students were young--junior high and high school students. One of those students, Paul, started playing guitar in his early teens and took lessons from Joal all through his high school years. His dad owns a car dealership in Jackson and I think it was probably one of those cases where everyone just assumed that this young man would follow in his father's business...but he had other ideas. Ideas that involved moving to Nashville and becoming a professional musician. In my house we call it "the rock star dream".

After Joal left the music store, he pretty much lost contact with Paul...until he ran into him at Starbucks here in Nashville a few years ago. Seems Paul grew up, and after graduating from high school, followed his dream. He came to Nashville and went to college (to keep his mom happy) while pursuing his "rock star" dreams.

We've heard of him playing with different artists and I think it's so cool that he's made it this far.

Fast forward to last night: I went with my friend to a Chris Rice concert at Opry Mills Mall. It was FREE and we both needed some time out. We had a great time! I was able to pick up Chris' new realease, Amusing. This morning I was reading the liner notes and guess who is credited as one of the guitar players on the CD?

Yep. It's Paul Moak. Joal's former student.

Isn't that just cool?!