I love stamps.

I love stamps.
I own a decent collection.
I own quite a few stamp catalogs.
I read many many stamping blogs regularly.
I admire stamp artists.
I have designed stamps and had them made.
I read stamping magazines.
I know alot about stamping.
I browse stamping sites and boards.
I own an embossing gun and embossing powders.
I have attended stamping conventions and taken classes.
And yet...

Oddly enough...

I almost never actually do any stamping.

In fact, I stamp so rarely that most of my ink pads have given up their goodness.

I'm not sure why. I just don't think of actually doing it very often.

I was drooling over this stamping blogs this very day...what visual candy!

But I don't stamp.
Why is that?


It was a good weekend...

We had a great weekend--I hope you did too.

Joal worked part of Friday and came home early.

Saturday morning Joal attended the funeral of Maria Chapman and while that's certainly not the way anyone ever wants to spend a holiday weekend, it was, from all accounts, a wonderful, beautiful celebration of her life. He came home so deeply moved and what he shared with me was so redemptive and loving. I am so constantly amazed by the power of God's grace--there just aren't words.

Later on Saturday we had some friends over for a traditional cookout. Six adults and six children (and 2 babies on the way) in addition to the 4 of was quite the adventure.

The menu consisted of:

Grilled Hamburgers and Hot Dogs, with all the appropriate trimmings
Grilled Herbed Vegetables--Potatoes, Squash, Onion, and Zucchini
Fresh Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Cole Slaw
Shells and Cheese
Fruit and Spinach Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing (made by one of our friends)
Fresh Fruits

And for dessert, another friend made a banana pudding that was not only beautiful but also delicious! (I'm thinking we should make Banana Pudding Lance's standing contribution to all future gatherings!)

It's possible I am pickier than most people about entertaining at our house. See, I was raised by a woman who truly demonstrated the gift of hospitality to so many people all throughout my life and she taught me well. It's a big deal to me to put together a gathering. I plan and plot to make things just so. I make lists. Honestly, it's exhausting but I do so enjoy it. It means a great deal to me...maybe because we don't live close enough to our family to get together with them very often and I miss that. Friends are an important part of our circle (especially these particular ones) and I am renewed by being with them.

We ate together, and we played together. The children who range in age from 12 (Julian) down to about 16 months get along remarkably well. They enjoyed lots of bubble-blowing, chalking on the patio and throwing around the balls. I took a ton of pictures with the new camera and got some great shots. We had a time of singing, with Joal playing the guitar.

It was a great afternoon shared with our favorite people.

The rest of our favorite people will be coming over on Wednesday evening and we will do it all again.

Yesterday, I picked up my cruise pictures from the printer. All 320 of them! I've had a horrible time finding a new photo lab...I finally just paid the extra $$ and went to the local Wolf Camera. Prints cost more there but the quality is absolutely superb and far better than anything else I've tried.

Last night Joal and I watched a movie--Dan in Real Life. It was good...funny. Sweet. Steve Carell has a similar dry acting wit as Billy Crystal from the days of When Harry Met Sally. My only objection to this movie was that the main character's teenage daughter was allowed to be a complete yutz towards her father...more than we necessary. I would have smacked her. But in the interest of a good movie, we'll suspend the need to be a parent for a bit. Ya'll know that I n-e-v-e-r recommend movies because it inevitably gets me into trouble with someone...but I liked this movie. That's all I'm saying.

And surprisingly enough, Joal was the one who picked it. His movie-selection-credentials had previously been on the verge of being revoked due to severely lack-lustre choices he's made recently...but I'm thinking he may have been redeemed with this one. Or at least gotten on the road to recovery, although I'm pretty sure I'll never completely get over his choosing of Pursuit of Happyness. :)

So now you know.

PS I did get my space cleaned and organized. It's so nice to work in it right now. :)


We Remember

On this Memorial Day weekend, we honor and remember those who serve currently and those who have served their country--this great United States.

We acknowledge their great sacrifice and show our gratefulness always.

Happy Birthday Dixie Carter

Happy Birthday Dixie Carter!
I love her.
I think she totally rocks!
In a classy, southern woman kind-of way.


Give Me Liberty

It's a good day.
I have Scenic Route's Liberty in my hot little hands.
I wish there was an auto ship program for Scenic Route.
Layle, are you hearing me?
Every new release, just send me a brick.
Surely, I'm not the only one.

In other news, I'm seeking a different kind of liberty or maybe freedom...from clutter. We are having friends over for a meal on Monday and I want my space to be completely organized and pleasant by then. Cross your fingers for me.


Can I order up another Saturday please?

What a day.
Got up early and hit some yard sales. It was the perfect spring Saturday morning for treasure hunting. Made 12 stops and found a handful of goodies: a large collection of vintage books (both children's story books and cookbooks), a hat, a zipper binder for Julian, a toy boat that Julian declared he needed, and a yard tool. All in all, a good day. There were many in my own neighborhood today...I like those that don't require too much driving. Otherwise, it kinda defeats the purpose, ya know. :)

The car was in need of new tires, brakes and a few minor upkeep measures, so the men and I trekked it down to Franklin to the Toyota dealership (the only one in the area open all day on Saturday). While we were waiting, we had lunch at Jason's Deli. I like going there and I wish there was one closer to us.

The car upkeep took a while longer, so I dropped Joal off at the dealership to wait on it and I brought the boys home. We totally intended to go over to the Touch a Truck event...but I forgot. Ugh. The boys would have loved it. We were right just slipped my mind. Looney, I tell ya. I'm headed that way fast.

When Joal got home later in the afternoon, I went to pick up a new camera and a home printer. I'm hooking it all up right's so exciting. Now I can print my own pictures. How cool is that? I never imagined...Remember when we had to mail off the rolls of film and wait for weeks for it to return? Not anymore. I know, I'm a little late with it...others have been printing at home for years...but I'm always a little behind the times with techno stuff.

Then after we got the boys into bed, I went to buy groceries. It's exhausting to go at 9:30 pm, but it surely isn't crowded and I don't have to contend with little people adding things to my buggie. :)

I got alot done today, but I sure could use one more Saturday to catch up at home. Anyone have an extra I can have?

So now you know...


Working on Cruise Stuff

This little place is on one of the inlets of Grand Cayman. It was FOR SALE when we were there in March. We saw it as we were leaving the island for our swim with the Stingreys and our Coral expedition. I took about 20 pictures of it...afterall, what more could a girl want in a piece of real estate? It certainly made my heart skip a beat. Palm Trees, shutters instead of windows, a three boat slip, a view of the ocean :) and of course, a guest house for a sister...LOL! Can you imagine the scrapbook retreat possiblities?

The Navigator of the Seas employs about 1200 people to staff each cruise. Two of those people are full-time food decor experts. Seriously. This kind of thing, along with ice sculpting is their sole responsiblity. But don't go thinking they aren't pulling their weight. These beautiful and ultra-creative food sculptures and carvings are all over the place in all the dining areas of the ship. Hundreds of these in all kinds of shapes and sizes are made for each cruise. Every day something different.

And oh my, are they fast. I took this photo following a demonstration of the food carvings and it took maybe 5 minutes to turn this out. It was amazing.

In scrapbooking news, check out the product review on this page at I think I have a new hobby...reviewing products. It was fun and it earned me ten dollars...which I promptly used on paper! Of course.

On an unrealted note, does anyone know where I can find a simple tutorial on how to apply a digital brush or frame overlay to photos without Photo Shop? I use Microsoft's Picture It for photo editing and I don't have time to learn Photo Shop right now. (Someday...) Any ideas? I just want to do some very simple frames around some of the beach photos...

Many thanks...and
Happy Saturday.


Come Meet the Child

Come meet the child
Who loves to be free,
Warmed by the sun
And kissed by the sea.

Come meet the child
Who watches each sky,
Searching for rainbows
Or objects that fly.

Come meet the child
Who hides from the dark,
Bees that can sting
Or dogs that will bark.

Come meet the child
Who’s eager for praise,
Told she is special
And loved many ways.

Come meet the child
Who’s so hard to see.
Come meet the child
That lives within me!

--Jean Warren
© Warren Publishing

Pre-K graduation last night...


Excitement on Briley

Monday, AM

So there we were driving along the almost deserted Briley Parkway in relative peace when out of nowhere the passengers in my backseat went absolutely beserk. Beserk. Bezerk. I have no idea how to spell it but you know what I mean. Crazy. They went crazy.

Like little girls seeing Hannah Montana.

They craned their necks and begged me to speed up as she passed. Um yeah. Might I remind you that this is your mother's 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 167,ooo miles and --lovely as she is--she does not do "catch up" with a Porsche. Ever. In a million years. Sorry to disappoint, my loves.

What were they freaking out about? A little blue Porsche. The world-famous "Miss Sally" from the movie, Cars.

Shrieks of "Mommy, it's Miss Sally!" could be heard for miles. It was the highlight of our trip to the bread store.

I wonder if drivers of blue Porsches (what's the plural of Porsche? Porschi?) know how special they are to children who love that movie. I suppose drivers of Porsches have always garnered a certain amount of attention...but now it's certainly a different kind of say smiles and shrieks and pointing from little boys ages 5 to 12 and their Jeep-driving Moms.

"Boy, you're in a heap o' trouble now."


Planted a boy...

So this happened in my backyard yesterday...these 2 are a constant source of craziness and their need for "playing in the dirt" constantly amazes me. It's one of those things that as a girl, I don't think I can ever completely understand.

Happy Mother's Day, all.



I'm just bummed.
Bad pictures printed at Walmart.
Whom I hate anyway.
Bad news.
Bad timing.
Bad deals.
Just ugh.


Home Schooling Liberty at risk again.

Good grief.

For the second time in just a few weeks, the rights of Tennessee's home school community (past, present and future) are at risk of being chopped into tiny bits by our very own legislature. (The first time can be read about here.)

This time it's the Department of Education taking aim at all those who have received a high school diploma under the Category 4 - the Church-related School provision of our state law. This provision allows for the utilization of Church-related Umbrella Programs, as home school governing bodies.

According to a recent ruling by the DoE, suddenly all Cetegory 4 diplomas - which have been being issued since - are now WORTHLESS.

Home School Legal Defense hasn't gotten it up on their site yet, but here is the memorandum received this morning.

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
May 5, 2008
Tennessee: Calls Needed on Diploma Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
We need your help now!
Tennessee homeschoolers are facing both a tremendous opportunity and a potentially devastating threat by legislation being considered this afternoon by the House Education Committee in Nashville.

Our friend, Representative Mike Bell, has proposed an amendment to House Bill 1652 which would require the state to recognize high school diplomas issued by homeschools and church-related schools. This amendment was necessitated by the current policy of the Tennessee Department of Education that diplomas from church-related schools are worthless and are insufficient for employment and admission to schools beyond high school. This is an opportunity to remedy an injustice and discrimination against the thousands of students being taught by their parents through church-related schools.

In reaction to Representative Bell's amendment, the Department of Education has proposed its own amendment which would prevent the vast majority of parents from even teaching their high school level children. This amendment would require that all parents conducting a homeschool and all teachers in church-related schools (Category IV Schools) have a bachelor's degree in order to teach students in grades 9-12.

This is a threat to your basic freedoms which must be stopped today!Today at 3:00 p.m., the House Education Committee will hear House Bill 1652 and consider these amendments. Please take time right now to contact members of the Committee and express your support for Representative Bell's amendment and your opposition to the Department of Education's amendment.

ACTION REQUESTED:(1) Please call or email (both would be better) at least one member of the House Education Committee with this message:

"Please support Representative Mike Bell's amendment to House Bill 1652 which would eliminate discrimination against graduates of church-related schools in Tennessee. Please oppose the amendment offered by the Department of Education which would require all homeschooling parents and teachers in church-related schools to have a baccalaureate degree in order to teach grades 9-12."

The contact information for members of the House Education Committee is set forth below.

If your last name begins with A-I, please call the following members:
Chair Les Winningham (615) 741-6852
Vice-Chair Tommie Brown(615)
Secretary Joe Towns, Jr.(615)
Harry Brooks(615)
Jim Coley(615)
Barbara Cooper(615)

If your last name begins with letters J-R, please call these members:
Dolores Gresham(615)
Beth Harwell(615)
John Hood(615)
Phillip Johnson(615)
Ulysses Jones, Jr.(615)
Ron Lollar(615)

If your last name begins with letters S-Z, please call these members:
Mark Maddox(615)
Michael McDonald(615)
Gerald McCormick(615)
Richard Montgomery(615)
Larry Turner (615)
John Mark Windle(615)

To find the name and contact information for your state representative, use HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at .

(2) Please forward this email to other homeschooling families who are not members of HSLDA and ask them to contact a member of the House Education Committee as well. If you have any questions or concerns about that this bill would do, please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

There's a meeting at the legislature today to consider a bill that will right this wrong step.

Here's a summary page of the laws of homeschooling in Tennessee.