So, just for fun, here's my list:
Sarah's TOP TEN List of PAPERS
10. Basic Grey Color Me Silly
9. Scenic Route North Shore
8.KI Memories Colorful Simple Stripe
7. Basic Grey Oh Baby Boy Jackson
6. Basic Grey Blitzen Garland and Ribbon Candy (so not just for Christmas)
5. My Mind's Eye Wild Asparagus "My Favorite", the stripe
4. BoBunny Backyard Bubbles
3. Chatterbox PoolHouse, especially the Poolhouse Stripe
2. My Mind's Eye Kaleidoscope Sister's Flowers
1. Scrapworks Skinny Love Sequence
These would be the papers that I am attached to. I've used them over and over and still want to use them more. They just don't get old to me. They are familiar and I know what they work well with. They are dependable. Hmmm. Let's not analyze the deeper meaning of these feelings too much, OK.
So, tell me about your old favorites.
Although I have never experienced the pain of childbirth (in the normal way), since Julian was born some 11 years ago, I have had the awful curse of loosened shoulder joints. I have no clue why the two go together (shoulder joint trauma and childbirth) but apparently it does, and while the later goes away, I'm here to say the former sticks around as a serious reminder.
I can be minding my own beeswax, nice and quiet like and I reach for something and a sudden ripping maddening pain jars thru my shoulder as it slips out of place. My eyes water and my vision blurs and I usually say very bad words in very loud tones. It is unlike anything else I have ever felt. It is insane. In the few but agonizing moments between when my shoulder joint slips out of it's normal place and the time it gets realigned, I would gladly agree to any other torture, maybe even dismemberment. Want to clean out my bank account? Go ahead. Anything. It's that bad.
I tell you this because for the first time a months, I had one of these episodes today. I reached out to touch G's head and I heard it and felt it all in the same moment. I sank into the sofa and cried. It was one of those long pathetic painful crying jags that sent my sons to huddle in the chair, waiting to see if Mommy has actually lost her mind or if she might eventually get over it. It probably seemed for a while that it could go either way.
Finally after about 30 minutes of snivelling and moaning, Julian brings me a cup of water and sits down next to me. "Don't touch my arm." I said. "Are you dying?" he said dramatically, and with a slight bit of contempt. "No" I said, but the thought did cross my mind that dying might be easier and hurt less. I didn't tell him that. Grey, emboldened by his brother's movements in the face of my obvious collapse, collects the box of Dora the Explorer bandaids from the kitchen table and offers them to me. "You'll feel better" he says, handing me the box and beating a hasty retreat to the chair across the room.
I spend the next 1.5 hours on the sofa, curled up, holding my left arm immobile across my chest, not moving. Snivelling. Moaning. Crying a little. Being very un-Mommy-like. The soreness will remain for a few days but the memory of it will keep me from making certain movements with my shoulders for weeks. And then one day, I'll forget to be careful, and suddenly, there it will be again.
So much for the happy blog.
I've been thru this cycle 5-8 times a year for 11 years now. It worsened after G. For a short while the thought of hugging someone (anyone) terrified me. What could be worse than being in the midst of a hug and suddenly have a pain-filled conniption? Talk about traumatizing a friend.
I don't understand it--it's totally random and unpredictable. Like having children isn't hard enough. My aunt (a surgical nurse) says it's pretty common, although I don't think I've run across anyone else who has it happen this often and for as many years post-birth as I. Lucky me.
Later in the evening, the boys and I decided to try a new recipe. So we made a half-recipe of this:
Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
See this recipe on air Monday Apr. 02 at 1:00 PM ET/PT.
Paula's Home Cooking
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (6-ounce) package raspberry creme filled dark chocolate baking pieces (recommended: Hershey's Premier Dark Chocolate Baking Pieces Filled With Raspberry Creme)
Raspberry Icing, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease baking sheets.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars together at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in baking pieces.
Drop cookies by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes.
Remove to wire racks to cool.
Once cool, drizzle with Raspberry Icing.
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry preserves
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Recipe can be found here.
Can I just say that I think chocolate definately has healing powers? Never fear...I'm taking the major part of the cookies to a friend's house today. Share the wealth, ya know. :) Actually the icing--as simple as it is--was superb. Raspberries...I never realized the appeal of raspberries and chocolate. But my eyes have been opened.
Happy Tuesday. May your joints all remain correctly aligned.
I knew this before I started these projects...but what I didn't realize was how much of a challenge it would be for me to get back to the other way.
Not to complain, because I love the work. It's just different for me and I'm a little out of practice, but I'll get there. Soon hopefully.
So tell me, what's your approach? Where do you start? Do you ever mix-it-up and start with a different element?
In other news there's a pea--Angela Daniels--who has started a cool collection of *ScrapSecrets*, a concept based on the chronic overshare of Post Secrets. Who knew scrapbooking could be so deep?
In other news, (that's the last time I'll say that, I promise) my Army brother is coming home for leave in mid-April! The plane tickets have been purchased and the right Army people have signed off on it--cross your fingers no one changes their minds. Being a good brother, he's coming to see me and has promised to bring his laptop with his "hundreds of pictures" from Italy, Germany and wherever else he's been lately (some of which I will probably sleep better not knowing). That's the good news.
The less than good news is that when he returns to Italy, he will immediately deploy to Afghanistan. I can't comment on that at this point.
So it's almost 1 am and I'm reading this little book and laughing and crying. Yes, it's messy and not overly attractive but it's good for the soul, once in a while, to get a little carried away. Wisdom, sweetness, and humor--all in one small book. Can't beat that with a stick.
One of the funniest bits of advice to a Dad regarding his daughter as she enters the boys-might-be-okay phase:
"Odd-looking boys will start showing up at your house.
This is to be expected because adolescent boys are odd-looking."
So I'm stealing a page from it...here's your homework:
When I was very young (less than 10...probably 7 or 8), I got into a spat with my Dad over something. I haven't a clue what--I just remember it was Big. Trouble. That was not something that happened very often, at least in my memory. (Mom may remember it differently.) Anyway, I remember after we "made up" my Dad brought me a little poem that he had written for me and he read it to me. He said he'd written a few days before, after he'd stood at the window and watched me walking home from where the school bus dropped me off at the end of our road. He'd had my mom type it up the old Olympic typewriter and he signed it in a scrawling penmanship that I can recognize to this day as his and only his. It was in a little frame.
Write her a short poem that includes her name and
how much you love her and her mother, and how much God loves her. Recite it to
her every night in prayer.
On seeing Sarah come home from School:
I look across the waving field and there I see her
She crosses green with books in hand, her little
heart today has learned
But now she's free and time is rent, she wanders
through her own bright world
And as I see her cross the yard, it's sweet to know
she's Daddy's girl.
My dad has been a writer and a poet for as long as I can remember, and though I've read and loved many of his works, nothing will ever come close to being as special as these 4 lines are to me. It's the only poem I've ever memorized that stuck. It's the only piece of paper I've kept for more than 25 years. It's reassuring. It's a piece of my father that stays with me, no matter where I am or how old I am.
It needs no picture and no fancy paper and no embellishing. It's picture is written on my heart.
So, no matter if you have a son or a daughter or if you are a mom or a dad, or a grandmother or grandfather, try your hand at this assignment. It doesn't have to be perfectly rythmic and it certainly doesn't have to be an epic...just a few lines to express your heart to a child you love. You never know where that thought may take your child someday.
Now go do your homework.
Here's something to consider:
Society at large can't make up it's mind about men. Having spent the last thirty years redefining masculinity into something more sensitive, safe, manageable and well, feminine, it now berates men for not being men. Boys will be boys, they sigh. As though if a man were to trully grow up he would forsake wilderness and wanderlust and settle down, be at home forever in Aunt Polly's parlor. "Where are all the real men?" is regular fare for talk shows and news books. "You asked them to be women" I want to say. The result is a gender confusion never experienced at such a wide level in the history of the world. How can a man know he is one when his highest aim is minding his manners?
First the Awe...
Yesterday was so cool. I had most of the day to myself (a rare treat) to attend a baby shower for a dear friend who's having her first girl (after 3 boys). We are so excited for them and the shower was held appropriately at the most adorable girlie place--a Victoria Tea Room in downtown Franklin--Lillie Belle's. I totally forgot my camera and *have* to go back for the purpose of pictures. It was like stepping into the pages of Victoria magazine (which I don't think is published anymore...but maybe you remember it as fondly as I do). Think cluttered up, rosy-ed up Martha. :) It's been a really long time since I took three hours to have lunch! It was a grand time with some of my favorite women.
I actually arrived early and parked on the square in historic downtown Franklin (HDF) with the purpose of doing a little shopping. Well, not really shopping, because there was no intention of buying. More Creative rejuvination...seeking out of creative things and eye-candy. HDF is an old-soul town with lots of old-soul shops and plenty of sensory delights for those of us who enjoy the likes of antiquities, art, and specialties. It is a place that appeals to me on many levels--the creative level, the seeker-of-unusual-treasures level, the small-town, old-fashioned level, the small business level and the relaxed, non-Mother level. I don't get to go very often but when I do, it is sheer delight.
My favorite store this trip was a new place--Rock Paper Scissors. It's a paper store. They sell invitations, gift wraps, wedding finery, note cards, greeting cards, journals, etc. Oh. My. What a cool little place. I really wanted to take a picture of one of their cabinets...it was about 8' tall and filled with blank envelopes, and note cards of all different shapes and sizes, organized horizontally by color. Great colors! Pink, Chocolate, an ocean blue, a cream, a yellow...yummy stuff. I purchased a few pieces...some 5x5 envelopes, scallopped oval cards and scallopped circle cards...in my favorite shade of pale blue. (See the photo.) Can't wait to play with these! And the little chocolate gift bag...happiness is very simple for me. :)
Did a bit of shopping, went to the luncheon, and the made a stop over at Scrapn Memories. (I'm going to attempt the challenge...25 pages before Aug 1...more on that later.) I turned in this page ("That's Love") for the contest. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that...If you look closely at the larger image, you can tell that the title "That's LOVE" is actually painted brown. I only had black letters and they didn't look "right" so I painted them! Found the coolest little canister of chipboard shapes there from American Crafts...and some new Heidi Swapp stamps. Forgot the chocolate Bazzill I intended to pick up. :)
I love calm days...and yesterday was calm. and Nice.
Now the Shock...
Before I even got out of bed this morning, Joal met me with the newspaper. This story about Eric Volz got his attention and he knew I would want to know. Several years ago we spent Thanksgiving Day at the Anthony's (Dane and Maggie's)...we haven't kept up with them very well since the end of our cluster group (from church) but I can't imagine what this family is going thru right now. How horrible to feel so helpless in the face of such a crisis. My heart is just so heavy today...from the mountaintop to the valley in the space of one day.
God's peace be with you, whether you are on the mountaintop or in the valley.
First of all, let me just get one thing out of the way. I admit that since the enlistment of my brother into Uncle Sam's Army, I no longer have any objectivity when it's comes to the military. I know I should have cared more before he enlisted--just by virtue of being a good American-- but I didn't. I was uninformed and that was irresponsible and wrong. The situation is being remedied. And fast. Army Andy's enlistment got the ball rolling, for me. He made something that used to be another topic on the news very deeply personal.
Maybe you saw the recent news coverage about the dispicable conditions Army hospitals in the US are experiencing. I watched some of it (as much of it as I could handle) and agree--it's a disgrace. As a medical care consumer, I wouldn't tolerate those conditions for myself or my children, why should I let it be "enough" for our soldiers?
Maybe you listened as I did to the gut-wrenching Perspectives report by ABC news that recounted to story of a soldier who returned home from Iraq with a severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Did it make you cry to hear that he lost months of rehab progress becasue of a simple paperwork problem? It made me cry in the Publix parking lot. He's somebody's brother and husband and father. He's an American soldier. This should not have happened. And how many other times has it happened that we don't know about?
Not caring for returning soldiers is beyond disgraceful. I'll have to pull out the big dictionary to find a word that is strong enough to express how wrong this is. When I consider all the stupid things we pay for with tax dollars in this country, it makes me ill to think of the thousands of soldiers who have already or will in the future return home to find that the United States is not prepared to give them the medical care and support they need and deserve, and in many cases, were promised as part of their compensation plan.
It's plain wrong.
I don't care if you support the war. I really don't. Support it or not, but it *is* on-going and our soldiers are doing the jobs they are called to do. When they need medical attention--whether at home or abroad--I believe that no expense should be spared to get them the medicines and medical care they need. An American soldier is an American soldier, whether he's fighting a war you and I "believe in or not".
It shouldn't matter.
What can be done?
Write (or email) your congressional delegation. Let them know that this is unacceptable. Those billions of tax dollars that they so freely spend...those belong to us. Make your voice be heard.
Support para-government organizations that are supporting veterans. Not just with your money, but also with your time.
Participate in local projects that are supporting our soldiers, in the field and their families at home.
There is no reason for these attrocities to be so common. Our government can and must do better. People are always calling for more government oversight of this and that. Why are we not over-seeing our government, in this area?
Don't forget--by the people. If we are going to claim the priviledge of being a United States citizen, we must shoulder our part of the responsibility for seeing that our government fulfills it's obligations.
Below is a snippit of a speech made by Senator Maria Cantwell, the honorable Senator from the Great State of Washington that I thought was particularly poingnant. The Senator is alligned with the Democratic Party, and is not in favor of the war, however, she is speaking the truth about caring for returning soldiers.
Don't skim it.
We must remember that we have to honor our commitment to our troops—the U.S. military who have sacrificed so much. And no one here on the Senate floor will ever forget the awful cost of war. In Iraq, the loss of nearly 2,500 members of our armed forces, and I’m deeply concerned about the 18,000 that have been wounded.
And just as our troops have been stretched to the limit, it’s time for us to realize that our capacity for veterans’ health care has also been challenged. Based on credible projections from the Independent Budget, composed by Veterans Service Organizations, the federal government is under-funding veterans’ health care by at least $2 billion and the demands on the system are growing.
In March, the V.A. told congress they are seeing 38 percent more Iraq war veterans than they had budgeted for. So what's the impact? Some veterans are waiting more than 18 months just to get access to V.A. health care, and thousands of others across the country are waiting for access to care. As of the last month, more than 2,900 veterans in Washington state were waiting over 30 days to gain access to outpatient care that they deserve and have not been able to get because we have not adequately funded the veterans’ health care system.
Some experts suggest that one-third of the soldiers coming home from Iraq seek mental health services, and we need to make sure that we are adequately funding mental health. A lack of capacity in the veterans’ mental health system has caused a V.A. official recently to remark that when it comes to mental health the waiting list renders care virtually inaccessible. I believe this is unacceptable and that we have to do our job and do not shortchange veterans’ health care. We must give those who have stood up for us the access to care that they deserve.
Thanks for indulging me.
It's a delightful 77 degrees in middle Tennessee and it's absolutely gorgous. If I could package this day up and send it to everyone I know, I sure would. It's just that grand!
The boys are happy to be playing in the yard --sans coats and hats--and for once there's no mud involved. I've hardly heard a peep out of them for about 40 minutes now (I've been watching them from the window)...they are working diligently on a "project"...I thought the plummer-in-training look was kinda cute...
Made a card today...I'm so into simple things right now. Paper, ribbon, chipboard letter into a charm...I've been enjoying this card. You can't really tell by the picture, but the ribbon as a very slight irridescent shimmer to it...it's yummy. For some reason I thought of Rebecca when I bought it...and it was 60% off at a Hancocks that's closing so it was a really good buy. I bought all they had left...green is alwas good, right?
There's a challenge going on at www.scraptastic.com that I am just loving! If you have some time to look, the gallery there is outstanding. I'm really drawn to the AI Challenge they are doing...the assignment is to reinterpret a piece of CD cover art into a scrapbook page. The entries are here...awesome stuff!
In other news, three of my really good friends are all about to add little baby girls to their familes and I am so excited! It's completely wonderful to be doing some pink projects and looking at pink baby gifts! I can't wait to meet our new little friends.
Speaking of girls, we are up-ing the "girl quotient" in our house too...just not like that. LOL! My sister, Deb is coming to live with us in a few weeks and I am so beyond excited. Can't wait!
Have a great weekend!
PS FEDEX completed the mission. (sigh of relief).
My project/baby has flown the koop. After days and nights of work, my hands were literally shaking as I handed my well-packed box over to the FED EX counter guy. When I gave him the declared value he raised an eyebrow. "It's packed and secured well on the inside?" he asked.
Yes it is. Two layers of oversized bubble wrap. Taped. Two layers of heavy-duty kraft wrap. Taped. Address on the kraft layer. Packing peanuts to fill in around the sides. Box closed. Serious layers of tape to the outside of the box.
Might as well be Fort Knox, baby. The book is secure. Did I mention the prayers for safety and swiftness and security and protection? Yeah. Those too.
It's due to arrive in the office in Dallas at 10:30 tomorrow. I'm calling at 10:32.
It's nice to be able to breathe again. I'm cleaning up my own space, catching up on blog-reading and laundry, spending time with the boys...Joal's been in Tampa all week but will get in late tonight. I wish he could have seen it before I sent it off but I did keep pictures for him. He's been the most amazing encourager and he made several phone calls urging (OK maybe bullying) people to submit pictures...I couldn't have finished without him. :)
Here's the scoop:
32 pages (some spreads, some singles)
12 9x12 photos and more than 100 4x6 photos, and 40 wallets
59 red micro brads
18 Quickutz tags
149 Blossom letters cut by Quickutz
58 sheets of Bazzill Cardstock
8 sheets of Basic Grey Blitzen Patterned Paper--Jingle Bells and Ribbon Candy
1 12x12 leather album from Close to my Heart
50 page protectors