Wild about Wild Asparagus!

I am seriously liking the Wild Asparagus papers! I have always loved cardstock-weight patterned papers and this is one of the best lines of it around. Yes, they are a little pricey...but so rich and perfect. (It's also double-sided.)

This page was my first experience with WA and I still love it. I posted it at 2Peas and it was displayed at Scrappuccino in Greenbriar (one of my favorite LSS) for the past few months.

I was at Scrappuccino yesterday and they are having a sale--25% off all merchandise (except certain newly-arrived stuff) and the sale price includes the WA line. I think I may have to go get some more this weekend.

The beautiful thing about cardstock-weight patterned paper is that it makes cards really easy.

It's fun things like Wild Asparagus paper that keeps my mind from dwelling on all the destruction and pain in our part of the world right now. I watched the news a good bit today and am always disheartened to see the struggle of humanity when times are especially difficult.

I worked at The Salvation Army for a short time before I had Julian (as the worst secretarty in the world) and while I came to hate the job, (because it was a bad fit for my personalily) I was always so proud to tell people where I worked. The Salvation Army is an excellent organization, built solidly on the principle that you can not expect to meet a man's spiritual needs, if his physical needs are not being met. If he's hungry, he's surely not going to listen to a serman about Christ's love until his stomach is no longer grumbling. The Salvation Army meets the needs of millions every year--first their physical through food, shelter, clothing and support, and then, as they are ready and willing, The Salvation Army stands ready and willing to help meet the spiritual needs of people as well.

The Salvation Army has always been on a short list of first-responders in the time of crisis around the world. They mobilize teams of volunteers and officers within hours of a distress call and I can tell you from first hand experience, they have mastered the art of operating cohesively in the midst of chaos and tradgedy. It's truly an amazing thing to be part of a TSA effort of relief. The Salvation Army is so much more than bell ringers at Christmas. They are quiet, unassuming, generous world-changers...champions of the poor and down-trodden in every corner of the world.

It's reassuring to know that The Salvation Army is ready and able to respond to this crisis. It's a somewhat helpless feeling to watch the news and know you really can't do much to directly help...but we can. We can pray and we can give. We can pray to the very God who created the winds and who knows each and every soul that is feeling the brunt of this storm. According to scripture, He alone can calm the seas and mend the broken. We can give of our resources. We should give, for we have been given much.

Americans are famous for giving loudly. How much better is it to give quietly? Frankly, I try hard not to be impressed by people who advertise their giving in times like this. It's annoying. Don't try to garner respect for your reputation in the midst of the hurt of others. Just give. You will find your reward in your heart.

I don't want to panic...but gas prices and a possible fuel shortage have me deeply concerned. Joal drives 150 to 300 miles a day (yes, a day) for his work. If there is no gas, he does not work and of course, by extension, does not get paid. He filled up both cars today and the bill came to $105. (Cough, sputter, cough!) He spoke to one of his salesmen in Atlanta tonight and he said that gas prices there have climbed above $6, just today.

In a way, though, I feel more like I should just be grateful for all that we have and for the health and safety of my family. We are so blessed.

These kinds of events always make me want to buy a ranch in Wyoming and drag my family (my whole family) up there and learn to live off the land, free from the constraints of so much of modern life. I know. It's completely irrational but it's where I go mentally when I need to disassociate from the fears.

Safe and peaceful Thursday.



Due to the sudden influx of stupid SPAM, (6 in the past hour) I am changing the requirements of the comments section to disallow anon comments. If you have something to say and don't want to post your me. If you are a SPAMMER, go away...stop wasting my time and yours.

2.7 million educators are just plain wrong!

A short excerpt from the many many offensive resolutions passed at the 2005 convention of the National Education Association in Los Angeles this summer as excerpted here:

B-70. Home Schooling. The National Education Association believes that home schooling programs cannot provide the student with a comprehensive education experience. When home schooling occurs, students enrolled must meet all state requirements. Instruction should be by persons who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used. The Association also believes that home-schooled students should not participate in any extracurricular activities in the public schools.

Rather than rant, I'm just going to say this:

My children will never ever receive better, more appropriate care and concern for their educational experiences from the state (whether it be the state of Tennessee or the government of The United States of America) than they will from me, their mother. I submit as proof the progress we have made together in the past 10 months. Five years--five long hard years-- of inclusion in the public school system (presumably run by professional educators) did not give Julian the tools he needed to learn even the basics of knowledge. At the risk of indignance, he did not begin to show strides in development until he began experiencing learning in an environment that was safe, comfortable and flexible and with the direction of someone who cared more about his well-being and his advancement academically than his most recent test score or his ability to sit in a desk and be quiet.

The NEA endorsed a resolution supporting low student-to-teacher ratios. Um, can't beat our 2:1 ratio. Right now, that means two teachers to one student. At worst, in a few years it will officially drop to 2 teachers and 2 students. Still, not such a bad thing. In Julian's last semester of school, his teacher informed me rather defiantly that she did not have the time to plan developmentally appropriate work for him (work that he could actually do) because she had 30 other students to also think about. Trust me when I say...that is no longer a problem.

The NEA endorsed a resolution calling for tolerance and open-mindedness. Yet, they refuse to be tolerant of at least one million home school students and their families. How's that for open-mindedness?

And finally, the NEA endorsed a resolution calling for increased parent involvement in the education of children. Hmmph. I would guess that 24/7 is pretty darn involved!

The NEA website says they have 2.7 million members. Sad that so many highly educated people are so misguided.


Friends in Strange Places

Four years ago, I began using a post office in a urban/downtown part of our fair city. It was on my way to Ju's school and it wasn't usually very busy. It was there that I met a postal clerk named S. She was always polite, very helpful, didn't seem to mind answering my many postal questions and generally far more cheerful than any other postal clerk I had ever encountered. After a few trips, I started intentionally going to her "window", even if it ment waiting a little longer. She was such a happy person...and let's face it--I need all the happy people I can get in my life...even if it's just at the PO.

When Ju left that school and that PO was no longer "on my way" I still went there whenever I had the extra time, just to see her.

Fast forward to last May, when we bought our house and shifted to a new community about 6 miles from our old area. Suddenly, my old post office was way out of the way and there's another branch less than 2 miles away. Reluctantly, I started using the new one. One day, a few months ago, to my great delight, I went to my new post office and there was S sitting behind the counter! Now she's there regularly and we've had many conversations since. She remembers my name and always seems glad to see me. I guess I find this remarkable because so few postal employees are this way. She knows about my scrapping habit as she has helped me mail several pages off to magazines for publication and several contest entries. She is kind to my children and she gives them a sticker once in a while. She knows my husband who visits the PO several times a week and has handled my mail occasionally, especially the production of The Scrapbook of American Spirit. She knows I hate those boring flag stamps. We've discussed crafting and her cool purse made from a license plate. As weird as it sounds, I would almost call her a friend...even tho I don't yet know her last name.

Last week, Joal had a reason to visit her window and in the course of their conversation, she mentioned to him that she's a Stampin' Up! demonstrator. (Not in a solicitous way...just that she collects Stampin' Up stamps.) He knows enough about what I do to recognize the name of this major stamp company and make the connection. He joked with her that he probably wouldn't share that tidbit with it would end up costing him money. She laughed. Of course, he came right home and told me. (He is such a good husband!)

This doesn't surprise me at all. Stampers and scrappers tend to be a friendly bunch! I've said that a thousand times as it's played out in my life a thousand times. You know that cliche'...some of my best friends are...well, it's true. Some of my best friends are stampers and scrappers.

So today, I went to the PO. Sure enough...she was there. We talked about stamping and Stampin' Up! quietly, so as not to bug the people in line. Shhh. I'm hoping to continue to build this friendship, as surprising as it is. If I've already learned one thing from's that friends can be discovered in the strangest, most unlikely places, if we only take the time to look.

Art until Your Heart's Content!

The Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas

Wow! Our weekly trip to the library this morning yielded this beauty of a book! It appropriately weighs a ton...but it's beautiful and jam packed with art techniques and fun, artsy things for creative learning! In total, 287 pages of wow!!

I agree with Ju..."let's skip the math and just do art all the time!"


The Hand that Rocks the Cradle...teaches the world to Stamp!

One final note from today--I was cutting out some Club Scrap Rubber Stamps this morning while the boys were playing outside. G (who is 2) came in and marched himself into my space and climbed up on my chair. He took one look at my project at hand and said simply "Wubbah Schtamp?"

That's my boy!!

One Drawer per Day

It's August 27...but I'm declaring a new resolution. Either I'm incredibly late for last new year's or stunningly early for the next one. Oh well. Here it is:

I, Sarah,
do solemly promise
to clean out
one single drawer
every day
until I feel organized again.

Seriously. The drawers have gotten out of control around here. I spend too much time looking for things.

Divide and Conquer!!

On a unrelated note, I found out this morning that there's going to be a FREE Chris Rice Concert on September 1 at Opry Mills. I can not wait! He has a new CD coming out and this is part of the pre-release publicity. How cool is that? I was shocked when I saw it listed...Nashville is almost always woefully overlooked for concerts...which I think is totally stupid...

Remember This?

Funny...the things I remember. See this Memories advertisement? I remember the extreme Wow! I felt when I first saw this ad in the March/April 1998 Creating Keepsakes. At that time, I owned an ex-ten-sive collection of these very letter stickers in every color so this ad was just the jump start I needed to jazz up the insane sticker collection.

While I have long-since parted ways with my alphabet sticker collection...I still think this is one of the most useful and impressive advertisements I've ever seen in a scrapbooking magazine. It was relevant at the time and showed the product off well. It also showed how the product could be used with others. That always scores big in my book because I believe it's completely unrealistic to think that scrapbookers are going to just use one line of products. (That's another post.)

I ripped that bugger out and hung it in my scrap space...and even tho I don't use these alpha stickers anymore, the ad still makes me feel I hold onto it.

Thought you might enjoy it too!

Happy Saturday!


Keeping it Simple!

Tags, Ribbon, Brads and Bazzill...keeping my cards simple and sweet these days. I found this little tiny embroidered flower in a pot patch in the discount bin at Hancock's Fabrics last year. Bought three. Wish I had bought a bunch more. They are just adorable.

We had the most amazing day today. It was our first field trip of the year! We went with some friends from the Bellevue Home School group to the Aquarium Restaurant at Opry Mills Mall. It was grand! Inside the restaurant is a huge fish tank that is 11 to 14 feet deep and home to all sorts of fish and sharks and eels and stingrays. Visitors get to walk all the way around the massive tank, observing the creatures inside. Twice daily, a diver enters the tank to swim with it's inhabitants and feed them. Ju was as fascinated by the diver and his gear as he was by the fish!

I'm getting my photos from the day's adventures done tomorrow...I'll post more on this on Saturday. Very cool! If you are in Nashville, check it out!


Altered Composition Books

Altered composition notebooks have been around for a long time. When I was in high school I collaged a composition book and used it as a journal. Words and phrases, images and memorabilia were all included...I can still smell the rubber cement!

A while back I ran across a great deal on composition books so I bought a few with hopes of altering them as stampers and scrappers have been doing for a while now. Finally started doing a few this weekend.

Here's the first. The paper is Basic Grey...I find that stuff so easy to work with! I'm using this comp book as the place where we keep notes on our home school activities during the school year. It also holds our goals and reading log.

There are a bunch of composition books in the gallery at 2Peas. Do a search and be amazed.

Things I learned:

*Use lots of adhesive. I used Pioneer Photo Memory Double-Sided Mounting Tape around all the edges and across the middle of each piece. A really good adhesive is key. If I had a Xyron, I think that would have been even better.

*Trim the corners with a craft knife for precision.

*Use sand paper to smoothe off the corners and edges.

Happy Monday!


It Must be a Boy Thang

My bloggin’ buddy Becky D posted an entry today that reminded me of something similar that happened in our house. Go read her blog…she’s a funny girl.

A while back, I went to pour G a cup of milk and I noticed that it seemed chunky in the bottle, given the way it swished around. Smelled it…no, it wasn’t “that” kindof chucky, so I figured it was just a little frozen.

I should know by now to never assume that the most logical explanation is the actual truth…when you live with boys, Occam’s Razor does not apply.

So I poured his milk, assembled the cup and returned the “frozen” milk to the refrigerator.

Later on that night, I went back to the refrigerator to get more milk. It was still frozen. Only this time, there was less in there and it felt different.

Investigate further.

Two quarters, three nickels, a dime and three pennies.

Yes, that’s right. There was seventy eight cents in the bottom of the milk jug.

“Why?” you ask.

Well, believe you me, I asked every person under five feet tall in the house, “Why is there seventy eight cents in the bottom of the milk jug?”

G just laughed and asked for his milk.

Ju says “I dunno.” He looks guilty.

“Did you put the seventy eight cents in the milk jug?”




“You realize that money is dirty and now we have to pour out the rest of the milk?”

“Can I have my money back?”

“No. I don’t think so.”



I’m just curious. At what point does one decide “I think I’ll put my money in the milk jug.”? If someone could just explain this…

It must be a “boy thang” to put oddness in the refrigerator.

Thanks Becky. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who is amused and amazed at these creatures called boys.


Hi Daniel and Dubb!

Well, it's a good thing I've been on my best behavior here at the blog page. I found out today that my oldest younger brother and my best and only sister have been keeping an eye on it. Waving to Daniel and Deborah, affectionately referred to in my house as Unca Daniel and Unca Dubbie!

Heard the darndest thing while the boys were watching PBS today. An advertisement for PNC Financial, one of the sponsors of Sesame Street was touting it's "Grow Up Great" campaign with this slogan:

"Kids who are ready for school are ready for life." They aren't "ready for life". Apparently PFC has thrown one hundred million of it's dollars into this "ready for school" campaign, in an effort to begin preapreing children for education and educating before they even reach school age. In theory, maybe this sounds like a positive plan, but upon closer inspection, it looks suspiciously like another coporate effort to "handle and harrass" our children from the moment of birth.

I'm going to do some more reading about this but on the outset it reeks of the trend of thinking in American (liberal) academia that parents aren't capable or they shouldn't be bothered. By all means, let's leave child rearing and education preparations to the professionals. Yeah, that's the ticket.


On a more scrappy note...I had a chance to run down to Hobby Lobby tonight. Found the Making Memories Cosmopolitan Collection Papers for half price. Pale blues, chocolate rowns and buttery yellows! Now that's yummy! I'm making cards tonight!!

Happy Saturday!!


For This I Blog

I felt like I was putting my soul out on the web as I blogged about Ju last night. It was kinda scarry...darn it, it was more scarry than I am used to. I was tempted several times to go back and delete the whole entry, but for some reason I didn't.

This morning in my mail came the encouraging words from several friends--mostly friends that I have the great blessing of knowing "in real life" but a few even from friends I've never met in person. Words of wisdom, a heaping dose of perspective and some thoughts that helped me realize my real mistake. A humble and deeply felt thank to each of you. I am honored to count such a wise group of women my friends.

My "validation" as a home schooling parent shouldn't have to come from my student. It comes from knowing that what I am doing for him is right and believing that this is the best way for him. No matter what the cost.

It's also possible that he doesn't realize that we are "doing school" because the home school situation is so drastically different than the traditional school situation he encountered for so long. Perhaps to him, it's not "school" at all. That makes total sense...especially when you consider that there wasn't much one-on-one directed learning happening with him at school...and now that's all he gets! (Well, pretty much.) This never entered my brain...but I really like the thought of it.

And lastly, it's not about me. (I'm hearing this a lot lately...maybe someday it will sink in.) The big IT is not me. It's outside me. What I do is not so much about me. It's about them. J, Ju, G and the rest of my family, the other people in my's about seeking God's love and His wisdom. In Him do I live and breath and have meaning. Imagine that!

Thank you hardly seems adequate for the gifts of time and wisdom given to me today. But thank you.



I haven’t blogged (who knew “blogged” was a verb?) in days because... well, because I didn’t want my blog to depress you. Sometimes life gets to me and I feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all. That’s the state of affairs I am in right now, so if you don’t want to read about it, I understand.

Two weekends ago we attended family camp with some families from our church. During the first meal at camp, we spent some time getting to know another family. The mother asked Ju “What grade are you in?”

He said “first”.

She then asked “Where do you go to school?”

“West Elementary” he said, with surprisingly clear enunciation.

My heart broke. Neither of these statements is true. He’s in the second grade and has been since August 2004 and he’s been home schooled since October 2004.

Since October 16 of last year, Ju and I have spent countless hours studying, reading, writing, counting, listening to music, creating artistic masterpieces, going to therapy and gym class and field trips and a hundred other things involved in home schooling a second grader. I’ve all but given up my hobby and a fledgling business and I don’t remember the last time I read something non-school related. I’ve made worksheets at 1 in the morning, reviewed curriculum until I just can’t read about it anymore for fear my eyes are going to become cartoon swirls… and I’ve read Firefighters A-Z so many times I can recite it from memory.

And still, he thinks he’s in the first grade at West Elementary.

We’ve had countless discussions about home schooling and why we no longer attend West Elementary. He doesn’t understand. I get that. He may never fully understand that his teachers and the people who were supposed to be helping him had given up on him. He may never understand that I could not allow them to bus him to a school 65 miles from my home where there would be no peer modeling of proper behavior and normal learning skills for him because 100 percent of the children in the school were facing challenges and disabilities of their own. He may never understand that the people involved in his education at school didn’t care for him nearly as much as he cared for them. He may never understand that we decided to home school because we want the best for him and we no longer had a reason to believe that school was giving him the best opportunities to learn.

There are hundreds of parts of his story that he may never understand fully…but I thought he had the basics. I thought that after many conversations, he understood that he’s in the second grade and he is a home school student.

Apparently, I was mistaken.

I know in my head that this is not a rational hurt. He’s a little boy. He doesn’t understand his mother’s feelings. I am fully aware of his short-comings and one of them is the ability to attach facts to answer questions. Current truth has little relevance to Ju. It’s part of dealing with changes that throws him for a loop.

It’s just another in a long line of misunderstood facts that I have to correct him on every day. But it still hurt.

This decision to home school has impacted our entire family. It’s probably been the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted to do, even though Joal helps on a daily basis. Doing the same thing every day is something that drives me to the edge of insanity. I know in my heart it is the right choice for us but carrying it our everyday is a huge, sometimes daunting, challenge.

It hurt that after all this, he still won't, can't or just doesn’t acknowledge the changes we’ve faced and come thru.

It just hurt.

It still hurts.
Sometimes being the mommy hurts.


So Not Me

This is so not me. I rarely carry a purse. And certainly not a pink one. And even more certainly not one that cost more than about $20.

But I've been bitten. I love this bag. It's a Harvey's Authentic Seatbelt Bag. It's made of pink woven seatbelt and lined in pink flight-suit satin (um, can you imagine the flight suit that was supposed to be made of this satin?).

It's adorable. It's girlish and cute without being fragile. I like the black version too, but the pink one is *it*. It's not me at all...but it could be, right?

This is the kind of outrageous creativity that I want. When you look at a seatbelt, so you see a purse? I certainly don't. Maybe that's why I like it so much.

Sam’s Song

Grass is always greener on the other side
The search is never over in the pastures of my mind
Is the meaning of happiness drowning in smiles
Or that dreadful world I left behind?
O Lord grant the grace to accept who I am
Who I am, that You have designed

I know there’s a plan that you have up your sleeve
Rabbi, teach me the faith to believe
It’s the only way my life will ever make sense to me.

Words and Music by Sam Mizell
Recorded by Chris Rice on “Deep Enough to Dream”
1997 Rocketown Records

Bob and Ice Cube

Meet Bob and Ice Cube!

This was J's creative writing assignment from yesterday. Here's the translations:

Bob and Ice Cube are snails. They live in a pipe. There is water in the pipe. Bob and Ice Cube like to eat fish. Fish like to eat snails. Bob and Ice Cube hide from the fish.


Doris Made Me Do It!

“* embrace your scrapping "vices" and find your "style"...”

Above is a Tuesday Tip from Doris …”embrace your scrapping vices”! Indeed! Now there’s a concept I can get into! I have no trouble at all defining my scrapbooking standards! Some call it a rut, I call it knowing what I like and having a well-defined personal style. :)

Here’s my list of scrapbooking vices:

  • ribbon, of course
  • striped paper
  • torn and/or inked edges
  • brads
  • almost never anything crooked or at an angle
  • prominently-featured journaling
  • less than 3 photos, usually just one
  • tags (different shapes and sizes)
  • odd or at least attention-grabbing, not-the-obvious titles
  • texture…especially thru textiles ie ribbons, fabrics and threads
  • poetry or quotes
  • hand journaling on vellum
  • squares
  • stamping
  • things in threes
  • lots of blues and reds
  • not enough flowers for my liking
  • Bazzill textured cardstock
  • not many traditional events
  • use of songs (lyrics and/or titles)

Here are three things I’d like to use more of and add into my “standards”:

  • more photos of myself (I know, how vain…but there really aren’t that many)
  • better photos, in general
  • more sewing (by hand or by machine)

So, tell me, what are your scrapping vices and what would you like to do more of?

Breaking News
For Immediate Release

Sherwin Williams paint company has announced today that it is teaming up with Whitehall-Robins Healthcare (the makers of Robitussin Cough Syrups) to create a new line of paint and home décor products. This new line of paint and products for the home will be available in the fashionable yet somewhat mild shade of pink…the same shade of the famous Robitussin products.

“We have conducted extensive market research and have found that our soothing pink cough syrup color is just what the doctor ordered for sparking up boring white kitchen décor. This new concept in decorating began with a young painter in Nashville, Tennessee. It was reported recently that he received great enjoyment when he used our actual cough syrup to paint his mothers kitchen. This young man is leading us to an un-tapped market and a new use for our products.”

When asked why he chose to paint a large section of the kitchen cabinets with cough syrup the little Nashvillian, a short man of few words, said simply “Stick--y.” Then he laughed heartily.

A Whitehall-Robins spokeswoman noted that one of the major selling points of the new cough syrup paint product is not only its pink color but also its poignant smell and water-resistance. “It also traps flys and dust.” she noted.

It’s not clear at this time when cough syrup paint will be available locally.

The above is purely fiction. Sometimes writing fiction can be a way to cope with crazyness and imagine that there’s usefulness in the irritations of life.

PS Well, OK, it's not totally fictional. It's based in truth. G painted my cabinets with a bottle of Robitussin this morning. I can attest to the flies and dust comment. And the smell really clears the nasal passages.


Lessons from a Two Year Old

G is becoming increasingly independent these days. Sometimes it’s amusing to watch him standing on the doorstep of boyhood, learning something new every moment of the day. Sometimes, I admit, it’s annoying when he’s so intently focused on doing something independently without regard to safety, right or wrong or time.

And then there are times that are divinely inspired to teach his parents a lesson.

Today, j went outside to play first thing. After G finished breakfast he wanted to go outside too. I got him dressed and sat him on the sofa to wait while I went to find his shoes and socks. This is pretty much a daily occurrence, so he understood the plan.

While I was tracking down the shoes, he goes over to the back door and starts pulling on the handle, wailing as only a boy in distress can, sounding pathetic. He said “side” for “outside” and in his exuberant wailing the one-syllable word was stretched to unlimited proportions. “Go siiiiiiiiiiiide!” he kept on wailing.

When I found the shoes and socks, I returned to the sofa. “Shoes and socks first, G, then you can go.”

“No” he says, now approaching mad. He crosses his small arms across his chest and drops his head to mope. (Both my boys are masters at moping.) He’s not big enough to open the door and now he’s just mad at the world for obviously conspiring against him.

“Come’mere and I’ll help you.” I said, holding out the shoes. I know that he understands that after he gets his shoes on he can go out.

“No.” he says again, defiantly, punctuating his declaration with a foot pounding against the floor.

I set the shoes and socks on the sofa and went to the kitchen to take care of other things. For a solid five minutes he pouted, right there at the door, seeing his brother playing outside but unable to join him because of his lack of shoes and inability to open the door himself. He fussed a bit…in words only G understands but it was obvious to everyone around (me) that he was complaining and ranting. He may not know the proper words to use but he is a master of gestures and inflection. Frustration is somewhat universal, I guess.

Finally, after a few minutes of ranting, he decided just maybe there was a more productive course of action to be had. (Ya think?)

He went over to the sofa and picked up his shoes and socks. He brought them to me in the kitchen, sat them at my feet, plopped himself down beside them and looked up at me with a slight measure of humility.

I gave him my attention and squatted down in front of him.

“Hope me?” he said simply. (Hope=help)

“Please?” I said.

“Peas hope me.” he said.

Of course I did. He was calmed and willing to comply with the plan of socks, shoes, outside, in order.

As I opened the door and let him outside, I was struck by the thought that this scenario plays out in my walk with God in much the same way. I get impatient with His plan for me and my family. I get an independent streak. I try to do things on my own and usually end up crying over it. I stomp my foot and wonder why things conspire against me. I pace and pout. I get angry and depressed. I kick the door I can not open by myself.

Then finally, when I am exhausted and spent, and emotionally drained, I finally go the Father, as a last resort, and say “Hope me.”

Why is that?

Discovery is Home

Three little words.
Three amazing words.
Three words for which Americans and the world are very grateful.

Discovery is Home.


Blog Stickers

I happened across the coolest blog toy tonight. It's It's an auto generator for blog stickers. Check out the ones others have made or make your own.

Cool, huh?

What is CKU?

Opps, sorry Debby.

CKU is scrapbooker-speak for Creating Keepsakes University.

Creating Keepsakes is one of the largest scrapbooking magazines. CKU is a weekend gathering of scrapbookers attending classes taught by the personalities of the magazine (some refer to them as sb celebs). Many are book authors, product designers, and company “faces”, beyond just the work they do for the magazine.

In the past, it’s been a three day event (Thursday-Saturday) and involved ten classes of your choice, nightly crops and one night of mini-classes and make-and-takes conducted by the corporate sponsors (usually different supply manufacturers). There are usually around 600 attendees and these events sell out within minutes of the opening of registration.

Last year, CKU came to Nashville for the first time and was held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort. In March of this year, CKU-Masters for advanced scrappers was held at Opryland. Masters is the same plan, only it involves supped-up classes for really intense experience. Registration for the event ranges from $300 to $400, depending on the event. Your registration includes all your classes, crops and activities. It does not include hotel, airfare/transportation costs or food.

Unlike a convention, shopping is not a featured activity. It’s a more educational event. However, in many cities, the local scrapbook stores run shuttles from the CKU hotel to their stores for scrapbookers to make use of during the weekend. So there is some shopping to be had…it’s just not on-site. There is a small event shopping area for purchasing CKU merchandise, books, limited supplies, t-shirts, etc.

You can read more about CKU on the web.

Here are some othe information sources:

Nancy's Inside Guide to Surviving and Thriving at CKU

Nancy's CKU Class Review

Nancy's CKU Class Review Part 2

A TwoPeas thread with random comments about the CKU experience

Bad Apple Christians

I don’t usually get too preachy on my blog…although preaching is in my genes, it’s definitely not my gift. However, today, I have a single thought to share.

If you are going to be a Christian, be a good one.

Be the best, in fact, because if you are not, you cost the rest of us deep grief. You (We) are an ambassador of Christ, like it or not, especially if you (we) wear the title of Christian openly. Bringing disgrace to the family name is not something I want to be guilty of, although at times I have. Know that those around you (us) are watching you (us), some openly, some with quick glances and some with only short glimpses into your (my) character. But they are watching and noticing and you (we) are reflecting Christ (positively or negatively) in all that you (we) do.

For some reason, perhaps divine, I keep running into people who have been completely and thoroughly turned off to the gospel by their observations of and encounters with what I have come to call “bad apple” Christians. I think bad apple Christians do the worst kind of damage to the name of Christ and the Kingdom. In this case, one bad apple really can spoil the whole bunch.

Jesus takes a dim view of half-hearted bad apples:

I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You're not cold; you're not hot -- far better to be either cold or hot! You're stale. You're stagnant. You make me want to vomit." (Revelation 3:15-16; The Message)

There is no half way.


So, we should probably start saving now...

Rumors are a-flyin' about the CKU 2006 locations...apparently both Chicago and Atlanta are on the lists. So, girls, what's it gonna be? Tracie, Carla, Sabrina, Leigh Ann,...everybody?? Chicago late March or Atlanta in late July? Or are we going to wait an see if there are any other locations announced in the next few weeks...err, like maybe Nashville?? (Last year, location announcements trickled in...)

I need to cross reference the trade show schedule with the CKU schedule before I decide...oh yeah, and I should probably consult my husband and my checkbook as both will see this as a pretty big deal.





Oh man. What a day! My DH stayed home from work today to complete some administrative tasks he’s been asked to do. Normally, he’s out the door just before 7 and we don’t talk until about ten thirty am. It takes me a while to wake up and get things going…so it’s better for us not to talk much in the morning. (Momma is not a morning person.)

So, today was his day to stay home. I would have been ok with that but for one tiny flaw in the plan. He had to type 15 pages of revisions for a company manual.

He had to type.
On *my* computer.
In *my* space.
All day.

Consequently, I was a basket-case. I know, it’s odd. I love him. We share our whole lives together. Why does it bother me so much that he’s on my computer in my space? It bugged me all day. I couldn’t get past it for love nor money. I was antsy and snippy all day. I felt like I was being invaded. I have my piles arranged a certain way, my tools and scrapping supplies spread hither and yon…and my chair adjusted to suit my legs, which are considerably shorter than his. I had to make myself go upstairs and try to forget that he was using my computer. I was a nervous wreck.

He did his thing.
He tried not to move too many things around.
He asked for help saving files and sending emails.
He left me a little thank you on a post-it when he was done.

Yet, here I sit, trying to catch up on a whole days worth of email and blog-reading and now writing and I still can’t explain it.

Around four this afternoon I was reaching my limit so j and I went to a movie. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was still matinee time so the tickets for the two of us cost $11.50. I was so distracted and out-of-sorts by the computer invasion, I let j talk me into a hot dog, a popcorn and two drinks. The bill…$14.75! Moly Cow!! What a ripoff! The crappy food cost more than the movie tickets! I feel totally bad now about being wasteful with the money. It was stupid. We won’t be doing that again. Ever!

The movie was OK. I have seen the original about 42 times as has j. I was surprised by how closely this one compared to the original. The story line has some changes but not many. The worst part was Johnny Depp, who plays the eccentric (to put it mildly) Willy Wonka. Oh man, was he creepy! Freekishly creepy. I was thoroughly disappointed in the Oompa Loompa songs…or should I say the lack of them. There were only a couple and very modern. They lacked the memorable sing-able quality that is so endearing in the first one.

On the way to the movie we stopped at a clothing consignment sale. I scored G a nice winter coat for $4. I was planning to shop some more but j was antsy…and there were several people trying to shop in the little boys 2T-4T section. Anyway, I’m happy with the good deal on the coat. (I love consignment sales.)

I’m contemplating building a table. Now before you go thinking “What is she thinking??” you should know that my father is a furniture builder. I’ve been around the furniture making and finishing process my whole life. True…I’ve never done it myself…but that’s why I think I might try it. See, I have this design for a table in my head that I can not find anywhere.

Some of you already know that we have a great room on one end of our house. It was a two car garage at one time but the former owner closed it in and finished it. It was one of the major buying points of the house for me. It now houses my scrap space and our school space, as well as the laundry and 4 closets.

I have a dream of a table for this room. It’s mammoth in size, solid as a rock and very rough-hewn. Probably oak or some other hardwood. Something with knots and chinks and dents and lots of grain. Stained but not glossy-finished. I want this table to be used constantly and to show its use and age through the next few decades. Four feet wide. Ten feet long. Big, honkin’ table. A new-old place to share meals with many, a place to scrap and stamp and school and build memories and share relationships. A place for holidays and everyday. I long for a place of warmth, filled with family and friends and the beauty of everyday life. A rustic heirloom farm table on steroids, if you will.

I put a message on one of the local homeschool lists that I am searching for a furniture builder and got a bunch of leads back. I’m torn tho. It’s going to cost a fortune if I have it done by a builder. Some of the websites of the artisans provided showed high-gloss contoured and decorative designs. Those are wonderful (believe me I can appreciate what goes into a fine piece of furniture) but that’s not what I want.

Anyway, J is not really *up* on the idea of me doing this. And he’s not feeling too confident in his own ability to craft such a beast. So, I don’t know how to proceed. If you have ideas…please share.

I have one more thing left to do tonight. I have to fill out the paperwork to obtain my very own passport. Yes, I guess this makes our spring cruise plans official. As of the end of the second quarter (April-June) J is the number 5 salesman in his company. The top ten salespeople (and their spouses) and some others will be cruising to the Caribbean in February 2006. I am trying not to get my hopes up too high…sales can be a tricky business if the wrong pressure is added…but I really want to go. I’m imaging all sorts of exotic things to photograph and yes, I’ve already looked…one of the islands has a scrapbook store. LOL!


Four Baths/the Discovery of the Decade/Ebay, the Evil/a Word from Steven

Four Baths Today
Count them.
Four baths in one single day.
It’s a wonder he’s not permanently prune-y!!

The first one was at 7 am because he woke up with a not-so-pleasant diaper. The second one came at 11:15 am after he dumped a cup of juice down the front of his body. Can you say "sticky"? The third one came at 3:30 pm after playing outside with his older brother. Big brother boy thought it would be funny to pour his bottled water into the dirt and they both squished the resulting mud all up and down their arms. Then, of course, g wiped something off his face, inadvertently schmere-ing mud from one side of his face to the other and up to his forehead. The fourth and final bath happened after dinner. We had chicken pot pie and let’s just say, manners are not yet his forte’. He hasn’t mastered the direct route from bowl to mouth via the spoon yet.

I have found it.
The Discovery of the Decade.
The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

How did I live my life without this gift from heaven? Seriously. I wish they came in larger quantities…like maybe by the dozen! Little boy babies should be born with one of the boogers strapped to their bodies!

Get one! Fast. You'll thank me.

Ebay, the Evil
Sarah, the Stupid.

I enjoy ebay and have for a long time. I’m normally very careful about shopping there and have always had good experiences.

Until now.

I did a stupid thing last week and to be honest, I am ashamed to tell you…but I am hoping that if I confess, I’ll feel better about it and move on. We’ll see. I have been wanting to amp up my stamping ink pad collection. With this in mind, last week I found a woman on Ebay selling 2 sets of 4 ink pads (brand new) in my favorite brand for the starting bid of $2 per set and low shipping. I watched them carefully for a while and by 5 hours before the auction end, no one else had bid on them. I realize that waiting till the last minute to bid is a popular technique but because she had a low feedback count, I thought perhaps bidders were not going to be numerous.

There were four auctions from this one woman that I really wanted. Two were the sets of four ink pads. The other 2 were individual specialty ink pads, priced well under their new retail price. I bid on all four auctions after asking if she would combine the shipping charges. My thinking was I would get the ink pad sets I really wanted, and since I was getting a package from her anyway, I would bid on the other two individual pads as well. The prices were very low and even if I didn’t like the specialty pads, at least I would have the experience of using them for myself. (Isn’t justification a beautiful thing?)

Wouldn’t ya know it? Someone else bid on three of the auctions at the very last minute.

So, fun, fun, fun…I got stuck winning *one* of the single pad auctions that I didn’t really even want. To make matters even worse, I “won” the ink pad for a price of $1 but of course, shipping is $2.75! So, I had to pay $3.75 for a $6 ink pad I didn’t even really want!


I should not be allowed to ebay after midnight…and no, for the record, confessing did not make me feel better.

A Word from Steven Curtis Chapman

“…time and time again Scripture reminds us that God only gives grace to the humble and the needy. His grace is most visible when our need is most obvious.”

My need for God’s grace is going to be glaringly obvious in the near future. (Well, it’s always glaringly obvious…but it’s about to get even more obvious.) We are, as a family, going to attend “Family Camp” with a group of about 20 families from our church.

To explain this dire situation…let’s just say that I am not a “camper”. I’m a hotel-with-clean-sheets-fresh-towels-and-room-service girl. This has to be the ultimate confirmation of what happens to a girl when she lives with too many boys for too long. J I don’t really remember agreeing to this “adventure”…but my signature is on the check so I guess I did.

It truly will be an outdoor boy-lovin’ three days and I am trying to look at the bright side. I won’t have to cook meals or clean up after them for three days. And um…yeah, well, that’s about the best part. For that, I will spend my days outside, in the heat, swimming, hiking, rope-climbing…well, OK, watching them rope-climb, playing ball, and all manner of other sweat-inducing "fun" tasks. Somehow, I think I’d rather make a few lunches.

I keep chanting to myself…the boys will love it, the boys will love it. The boys better love it. Hopefully, next year it will be a father/sons event!

Happy Wednesday!

PS Go check out Stacey Kingman's Blog. She has the prettiest picture of her kitchen window garden posted on her entry from 7/28. It's beautiful! She's another member of the mom-to-boys-homescooling-scrapbooker club who's blog I stalk.

Hop on Pop!!

Could there be a more perfect title for this photo? I just don't think so. Thanks, Dr. Seuss!

For being a creative bunch, well, they aren't thinking very creatively...


You can never quite get a handle on what to expect from the veggie group.

SEI's new lines of paper are, for the most part, taking a hit from the peas on this thread. Very few people seem to like the newest offerings from SEI...three paper lines called Fruit Stand, Kaboom and Spring (although most peas didn't comment on Spring.)

Peas are generally well-endowed when it comes to thinking creatively. Most are up for the challenge of pushing the scrapbooking envelope...and do it regularly. I guess that's why I was somewhat surprised to see so many peas claiming they can't see the value of thes two paper lines.

I, for one, think that both lines are pretty cool. Very SEI-ish. SEI is, afterall, known for living on the edge. They were linear before linear became hot. I like that SEI is growing and experimenting with fun designs as well as continuing their lofty traditions of stripes, circles and linear designs.

Kaboom is brown-based...I love anything brown lately. How very 1972 is that? I happen to think 1972 was an excellent year...LOL!

Fruit Stand is different from anything else we've seen lately. It almost has a stamped feel to it. The colors are good and I think it will have as many card uses as scrapbook uses. The stamp companies (PSX, Hero, Stampin' Up and Close to my Heart) have been offering a variety of fruity stamps for many years. I'm glad to see fruity paper coming around finally.

I think it's all in how you look at new paper. The SEI website shows some cool layouts using their new products. I hope that sparks something. I, for one, can't wait to try my hand at Fruit Stand and Kaboom.


Godspeed Discovery

My Dad is a flyer. He served in the Air Force many years ago and learned to fly there. Now he's an occasional hobbyist pilot, but as with many things, once flying is in your blood, it's there to stay.

My first flight was at the ripe old age of six weeks...and I think it infected me for good. I love to fly. Had I money to blow, (and the kids were older) I'd learn to fly myself.

I think this love of flying contributes to more than a passing interest in NASA and the Space Shuttle. I remember the first space shuttle launch I ever watched. It was riveting, even tho I didn't fully understand it. I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that Challenger had exploded. I was in the eighth grade, in the cafeteria having lunch. One of my classmates worked in the office during the period before lunch. He had heard the news on the radion while working in the office and told me at lunch. The media had made an extremely big deal out of this particular mission because Christa McAuliffe was on board...the first school teacher in space.

I remember the disappointment and hurt when Columbia was lost. It seemed like we had already lost enough...why again?

So, today, I share deeply America's concern for Discovery. Watching and waiting. Thinking of the family members of the astronauts, for whom this is going to be a very long week. Praying for a safe and event-free return flight next Monday.

These are the pre-flight interviews of the Discovery shuttle crew. Read them. They are always amusing and enlightening.

The families of the explorers lost in the Columbia explosion a little more than two years ago made this statement:

"As NASA prepares to launch the Shuttle Discovery, we, the Columbia Families, would like to show our support for the STS-114 crew and all the dedication and talent of those who supported this Return to Flight effort. We have had two and one half years to reflect daily on the loss of our loved ones as the Shuttle Columbia (STS 107) broke apart over Texas on February 1, 2003. "

"In the aftermath of the Columbia tragedy we saw our nation's space program reinvent itself. The extraordinary efforts of local, state and national organizations involved in the recovery effort, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, the Return to Flight Task Group and all the NASA and aerospace industry workforce implementing the Return to Flight effort have clearly done an exemplary job in defining and reducing the technical risk as much as possible. As the families of Apollo 1 and Challenger before us, we grieve deeply but know the exploration of space must go on. We hope we have learned, and will continue to learn, from each of these accidents, so that we will be as safe as we can be in this high risk endeavor."

"As important as solving the technical risk is, we must be vigilant to ensure the organizational and cultural issues that contributed to Apollo, Challenger, and Columbia are forever remembered. Under the leadership of the new NASA Administrator, we have every confidence that the sacrifice of our loved ones and those that preceded them will be realized for the benefit of all humankind."

"Godspeed Discovery."

Indeed. Godspeed Discovery. You are America's Modern day Explorers of the final frontier.

Post-its of Wisdom {or Contrasts and Contradictions}

I’m not a pearls kinda girl.
I’m more of a Post-its kinda girl.
So we are going to call this “Post-its” of wisdom.

Post-it One:
Did anyone notice that it was hot today? Hmm. Yeah. 90 something degrees. You know you are in the south when the “humidity index” is announced at the same time as the temperature.

“Currently, it’s a smoldering 96 degrees outside, with the humidity index of one hundred and three.”

And if you happen to be outside when you hear this information…you look at the radio and say “Duh”.

I spent most of my growing up years in central Mississippi. You don’t know hot and icky until you’ve been there in mid-August. It rains almost every day for about 15 minutes. The rain hitting the pavement creates steam hot enough to cook veggies. There’s a reason the people in Mississippi move slower than the rest of the population. It’s because of August. In August, you sweat in the shower. Mississippians loose a whole month because it’s so darn hot you just don’t want to move. Humidity clogs up the brain and makes work of mundane tasks such as blinking. Tennessee has a little humidity, yes, but it’s not the same. Heat tolerance is about the only good thing that came from growing up a Mississippi girl.

August is also the reason that sweet tea should be served in Mason jars…or at the very least, a glass glass. Sweet tea in a plastic or Styrofoam cup should be criminal. Plastic just doesn’t have the same effect when placed against the forehead in August. It’s just wrong.

Post-it Two:
I had some friends over Friday night to crop…tho we don’t usually get much actual cropping done. We were discussing blogs and I arrived at this conclusion: People who have nothing more to talk about in their blog space than the weather really bug me. Really. Work the kinks out of the brain cells, surf around a bit until you can come up with something interesting to discuss other than the weather. We all have weather. We all know about the weather. It’s July/August. It’s likely hot wherever you are.

Yes, it’s your blog and you can write about whatever you want…but don’t expect me to read about the weather. Unless maybe you are vacationing in some exotic tropical locale.

BTW, thanks for continuing to read my hum-drum about the weather in Post-it One. You are a better blog-reader than me. That will, I promise, be the one and only time I ever mention the weather on my little blog space. (Now you see what I mean about "Contradictions"!)

Post-it Three:
I don’t, as a rule, gush over famous people. Celebrity holds very little appeal to me. In fact, celebrity status often annoys me. I prefer realness over image. People are people...What’s that quote about being famous? Something like “Being famous doesn’t make you special. Being special makes you special.”

For example, you won’t see me linking my blog to 42 celebrity scrapping blogs—the same 42 blogs that every other blog is linked to. It’s a “thing” with me. Probably a “thing” that could use some counseling over…but a “thing” nonetheless. I like my real-life friends and some pea-scrapbookers I truly admire (some published, some not), without regard to their status in the industry.

This is probably also the reason that I don’t like much popular music. I prefer artists who make me think rather than just give me a half-baked, backwards-rhyming lyric that sticks in my head. Give me substance over a pretty face any day. There’s grittiness and realness to artists who haven’t “made it” professionally. Polish and seamlessness doesn’t work for me. Give me George Canyon over Garth Brooks…any day of the week.

But I digress…

Given my general lack of admiration for celebrity, just for the sake of celebrity-status, it may surprise you to know that I’m sold hook, line and sinker for one of the hottest names in scrapbooking right now--a new author named Donna Downey. DD just may be among the coolest chicks on the planet. I know some pretty cool people in real life…and I don’t really know her other than by her work…but still, I’m pretty sure if I had the chance to know her, she’d make my “too-cool-for-school” list.

Here’s why! In the dedication of her book “Photo Décor” (published by Simple Scrapbooks) she wrote this:

“The best ideas are those spoken freely, impulsively, and bounced around amongst friends.”

Everyone needs a friend with whom you can share your ideas freely without wondering if that person thinks you’ve lost it. Generosity and honesty are qualities I look for in friends and are the same qualities I want to have with my friends. If I can’t trust you with my ideas (and vice versa), how can you call me a friend?

But wait. There’s another Post it of Wisdom from Donna’s other book, “Creative Albums”:

“Consider this your chance to cut loose. Have fun, be creative, go wild. Drive your family crazy. Change, alter, or modify these projects to suit your whims. But above all, these scrapbooks are meant to be displayed and handled often. They invite people to touch and look through them, and that’s the best part. These aren’t museum displays—they should be dog-eared, threadbare, banged up and well-worn after six months. If they’re not, you should be inviting more people over for a visit.”

Now there is an idea I can really latch on to. I live with boys. Boys = dirt. Why didn’t I think of this? Dirty hands are a part of my real life. A very big part. So here’s my new motto: “A well-worn scrapbook is a well-loved scrapbook.”

Post-it Four:
I’ve heard this song a thousand times but today I really heard it, as if for the first time.

Silently Going Under
Words and Music by Wes King and Mitch King

Silently going under
Quietly going down
Longing for shallow water
Desperate for solid ground

She once went to parties
Played Ken and Barbies
And the flag was red, white and blue
Her mom bought her dresses
Cleaned up her messes
And some things she never outgrew
But she knew what she wanted to do

She’s silently going under
Quietly going down
Longing for shallow water
Desperate for solid ground

Now the picture has faded
And bright hues have shaded
And she wonders what was it she knew
The TV’s persuading
And she’s hesitating
For someone to help her get through
As of now she hasn’t a clue

She’s silently going under
Quietly going down
Longing for shallow water
Desperate for solid ground
Jesus said my yoke is easy
And my burden is light

He quietly reaches under
Graciously reaches down
He pulls you to shallow water
Puts you on solid ground

If you’re silently going under
He’ll put you on solid ground
If you’re silently going under
Let Him put you on solid ground.

© Locally Owned Music, Inc. (BMI)