Dirty-hands Giving

When I was just out of college, I worked for The Salvation Army, in a low-level, basically insignificant position, for about 14 months. While I hated the job, and was positively terrible at it, while I was there, I fell in love with the organization who's mission is encompassed in the phrase "Heart to God, Hand to Man". See, The Salvation Army takes Jesus' parables in Matthew 25 very seriously.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
When you meet a person in need of food or clothing or shelter, Jesus himself has said "help him, as you would me". That's a pretty clear mandate, no?

Last week, through a series of divinely-orchestrated events, I spent some time delivering cans of soup and  winter coats to some folks who had neither. I confess, I have no way to wrap my head around a life where an actual metal spoon is considered a luxury. I have a drawer full of them. I don't know what it means to know that my child is in desperate need of a coat--any coat--to fight off the winter chill...and to have no means of providing such a necessity. My sons are snuggled warm in their beds each night and when they go out to play, they choose a coat from a closet filled with warm things to wear. I have never known the experience of food-insecurity. Lord, forgive me.

And yet, I am a Christian, who believes with all her heart, that every Word of the Bible is a map for the believer's life. In light of Matthew 25, could the Christian mandate be any clearer?

We make things that are supposed to be so simple, so very complex. There's giving. I write a check and take the tax deduction. I'm glad to do so. But wait. There's more. Sometimes I feel like Jesus says to me "when are you going to get your hands dirty?"

It's very simple.
Jesus said Share.
No pomp and circumstance.
No big production.
No tax deduction.
When a brother or sister is hungry, just share.
When a child needs a coat, just provide.

It's a humble message, but one that is nonetheless, vital. 

My heart is moved by the knowledge that in my community, people are hungry. In *my* community, children are cold at night. Brokeness abounds. How does a believer respond to that?

My days at The Salvation Army were tortured (a fact that was not the fault of The Salvation Army) and short (a fact for which we are all very thankful)...but the primary lesson I learned there has always remained with me. When you meet a person's immediate physical needs in a time of crisis, you get their attention, and that moment becomes ripe for God's interveining. A hungry man is desperate for a meal. A man who has been fed, can hear God whispering his name.

And isn't that exactly what we all need--to hear a very simple message of hope and love from the One who made us?


The Cutest Boy in Texas

This boy has so many nicknames--because he's so loved. :) Grantlers, Little G, and my personal selection, CBiT...the Cutest Boy in Texas. This layout started out during a 2peas challenge to use apples but I got bogged down and didn't finish it before the challenge closed. Oh well. I did manage to use some of the beloved Scenic Route Paper from the stash. :)

Hope you are having a magnificent Monday!


Nuts about You

It looks like an ornament punch...but it's many things actually. Tonight, with a slight modification, it becomes an acorn for my *nuts about you* card.



Inspiration Everywhere

Inspiration for scrapbooking is all around us. Check out this fabulous font *and* a phrase that would make an excellent title for a page...straight from the pages of the newest Land's End clothing catalog!

You can find a free version of a very similar font right here.

And what a lovely color scheme shown on the cover of this Pier One Imports catalog! The colors of the chair are just begging to be grouped together on a delicious scrapbook page, don't you think?

And PS...what a great title the word *Wonderfall* would make!

Look around...there's Inspiration Everywhere!



On the Mark

Another of the layouts that I mostly finished at my weekend retreat...

I'm particularly happy with this page, because it used several items I've been holding onto indefinately--the alphabet stickers from Basic Grey and of course, the (beloved) Scenic Route paper. I'm so hooked on the white pen...making lines and adding tiny touches of white to patterned's one of those inexpensive simple details that kicks things up a notch (to borrow Emerill's line).

Rewinding a few weeks, back to Memorial Day weekend...I had the great pleasure of trekking up to Dayton, Ohio to take 4 (yes, four) classes at Simply Scrapbooks with Jennifer McGuire. I shared about that on my Stampin' Up! blog, if you wanna read more, go here. While I don't feel like it's right to share all the cards and things we created in those classes, I do want to post one of my favorites, because well, it's one of my favorites!

The upper portion of the card--the flower panel--is stamped on glossy paper. It's double stamped, in fact, with the flowers and the definition stamp. The "bow" is kindof a tuxedo-style, secured with an over-sized button. At the time, that ribbon, by May Arts, wasn't even out for purchase yet. (Jennifer has *connections*) :)  It was released just before CHA and I got some in the mail this week! Ordered it from Lucky Lady Paper Crafts on Etsy. I can hardly wait to work with it on some other projects. It's completely decadent, and the blue-ish is named "Caribbean Blue" so you know I love it!

A funny thing happened at the crop last weekend--someone took a look at the above page and said "Don't you ever get tired of scrapbooking 'boy colors'?" Ha! Um. No. What exactly are "boy colors"? Color is not masculine and feminine. Color just is. True, I don't really get into a flaming festival of pink, very often, but if pushed, I could make it work. :)

I say "be free"...colors are delightful...all of them.

But if pushed, I would also say that I do adore all colors in the Caribbean family...and that works out well. :)



Stop the Presses

Stop the presses...there's a blogger in the house. :)

I've had some awesome scrapbooking adventures lately--the most recent was just this weekend. I attended a small scrapbooking retreat with a friend in the booming metropolis of Centerville, TN. You know it's not a scrapbooking retreat in the woods until you've driven on a single-lane, dirt road, near the babbling brook and in sight of a few barns.  :)

It was neat to sit still and scrapbook without interruptions for a while. And it was very productive. You know I'm the last person to care about *quantity* but yes, I managed to mostly complete 10 layouts, despite having left home without my cardstock file box.

Thought I might share a few of my achievements...

You might notice that I used several items repeatedly on these pages. When I pack for a crop, I do that intentionally.

First, the wood-grain paper -- I'm in love with this stuff. It's just so very easy to use. I ordered a bunch when I was making the invitations for Daniel's Surprise Birthday Party and had some leftover. It's called Cedar River from American Crafts *Campy Trails line. See it here.

Second, the circular pinked seal from Impress Rubber Stamps. Yes, I'm quite partial to it. Impress makes superb wood-mounted, red-rubber stamps. They are luxurious, truly. Stamping this image on lined patterned paper makes an easy little journaling medallion. I used the 2" Fiskars circle punch to cut it out. Mount it with pop dots/foam tape. See it here.

Finally, the First Edition Specialty Paper from Stampin' Up! also made several appearances. It's sortof newsprint-ish and I *love* tearing it into strips. Just a touch is all it takes!



Edisto Island

So last week was G's Spring Break aka my favorite week of the year. We have several big events coming up--Joal's returning to Africa, replacing the atrocious carpet in our house with beautiful wood floors, and a trip to Texas when school's out, so in an effort to conserve dollars, we decided to forego the usual spring break vacation trip.

That is, until I realized that Joal was going to be working in Augusta, Georgia for three days of Spring Break. Now granted, Augusta, GA isn't known for being a hot vacation spot. Frankly, there's not much to do there, at all, but, it was someplace to go that didn't cost much (Joal was already planning to drive down and his hotel was a work expense)...basically we just had to eat...and we can do that pretty cheaply. And we got to be with Joal, instead of miss him.

Deciding to go with him on this little trip is probably the most sporadic thing we've done in a while. It was a very short conversation...and there was absolutely no planning...which is very much unlike me.

My boys have grown up traveling, staying in hotels and riding for long distances...their basic requirements are met if there's a pool at the hotel. :)

So on the drive down, I was looking at the map on my phone and discovered that we were going to be about 135 miles from the beach! The beach!! And not just any beach...Edisto Island, South Carolina...which has been on my list of beaches I want to visit for years, thanks to an old scrapbooking friend (Mel) who took some amazing pictures there many years ago.

If Augusta, GA, has anything working for it, it's that it's relatively close to a fabulous beach! Granted, 135 miles is not exactly a quick trip, but when you live in land-locked Tennessee where there is *no* salty water, 135 miles seems like a mere jaunt.

So we settled into a nice Hampton Inn and Suites in Augusta on Monday evening and the boys and I made our plan for going to Edisto Island, South Carolina on Tuesday. Tuesday morning, we got up a little later than I had planned, but we ended up arriving at Edisto Island in about three hours. One hundred and thirty five miles takes a bit longer forever to travel when it's 2-lane highways all the way and when there are about 645 turns along the way. Do you know how hard it is to obey the 45-mile-per-hour speed limit when you are headed to the beach? I did pretty good but it was a challenge on those back roads of South Carolina, I must admit. Still, we were getting a beach no one in my car really cared that it took us three hours. :)

Edisto Island is beyond words. Sometimes only photos will do.

The weather was was breezy and 75...the sun was shining! It's not "the season" in Edisto, so there were a total of 6 people on the beach...including the three of us. It was too cool to swim but we had a blast playing in the sun and the sand.

Edisto Island has a hundred or so privately-held beach houses along the coast, but in between the houses are public access points to the beach. Parking was a breeze at Point 38 and we enjoyed about 3 hours playing in the sand, wading into the ocean and hunting for shells, which were numerous. I'm grateful that the boys like the beach as much as their mother...Not that I wouldn't drag them along even if they didn't. :)

Edisto is very "un-commercial". There's a Piggly Wiggly for groceries, a gas station and a few restaurants. There's a state park. And the houses/rentals.

Tuesday also happened to be Greyson's 8th birthday! In previous years he's been a little bummed that his birthday usually falls during Spring Break as it means most of his friends are unavailable for a party. This year however, he declared that spending his birthday on the beach was "the best ever". :)

I concur.


A little bit of stamping...Stampin' Up!

So not too long ago I signed up to become a Stampin' Up! Independent Demonstrator. To keep the Stampin' Up! gig separate from my regular blog stuff, I have a new blog...

You know what to do! :)



It's just what I do...

I've been a scrapbooking crazy-woman lately. The cruise scrapbook is well under way and I am so excited about it. The idea for this page from the 2008 cruise to Grand Cayman came to me as I was browsing the Crate & Barrel site and saw these plates! Inspiration comes from many places, yes! And then right after I started it, this weekly challenge was put out by one of the Garden Girls at Two Peas--and guess what? I won the challenge! Nifty.

I know, I know...that page kinda goes against everything I am as a scrapbooker/storyteller, because it has no story on the page, but sometimes the photo is enough. Not often. Just sometimes. And there's a ton of journaling and story-telling in the rest of the album.

Citronella by K&Co (one of my favorites right now) and a touch of Scenic Route go together like ice cream and cake, right!

The crop at Two Peas this weekend and the Weekly Sketch at Let's Scrap really got my attention...I was up way past my normal bedtime this morning but this came together sometime just before midnight...completing two challenges at Two Peas and the Let's Scrap Sketch for the week.

I am loving the cloud punch (Fiskars)! The Mix and Match Challenge at Two Peas was all about using products from 5 or more companies on one project. My companies were: Scenic Route, Fiskars, Sizzix, EK Success, American Crafts, 3M, and Doodlebug Designs. That doesn't even count the plate from Publix that I used as a template to cut the big orange circle. :)

Clouds are everywhere in my papercrafting world right now and I am so glad. Remember Bob Ross--the painting teacher who used to paint "happy little trees"? Well, I call these "happy little clouds"! This layout also fit into the requirements for the *Spot a Trend* challenge...I'm calling clouds a trend. :)

Some other cloud-y projects I've been admiring are listed below:

Kelli Crowe's Cloudy Awesomeness at Two Peas

Kraft Card by Joscie at Peas

Today You also at Peas for clouds of pink and other deliciousness...

A blog entry with cloudy goodness at Scrapbook Patty's

A sweet layout by Liz from Eclectica
Our visit to Chihuly almost didn't happen. We happen to live just a few miles from the awesome Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Belle Meade. This place is certainly one of the things I love most about this city. The Chihuly exhibit was was an outdoor installation as well as an indoor exhibit. Unfortunately, a round with the flu kept me from getting there when it first opened and suddenly, it was the week before it was set to close and I still hadn't been. That just was't acceptable so one day I just decided to go pick G up from school early so we could all go. It was well worth the experience! It was very cloudy outside so the photos are a little dark...but the part we got to see before it got dark was brilliant. I want to see more...maybe a trip to Tacoma (for more Chihuly) is in order.

So now you know...Happy Sunday!



Listography: Movies I Could Watch Over and Over

Listography Assignment #2 -- Movies I Could (and Do) Watch Over and Over

Ahh this is an easy one. I'm very selective about the movies I watch and for me to watch something more than once...well, if I do you can bet I really like it.

We are fortunate to live very close to a great place called McKay's Used Music and Books. It's a magical place for buying and occasionally selling used media of all sorts. At fantastic prices. So when a movie makes the cut, my sweet husband, who loves going to McKay's for any or no reason, is very likely to come home bearing said movie to add to my collection.

So, on with's my list.

The American President

Bull Durham

City of Angels

The Replacements

For the Love of the Game

Field of Dreams

That Thing You Do


The West Wing (the series, not a movie)

Mad About You (the series, not a movie)

Funny story. When I was pregnant with G, I spent an inordinant amount of time in the hospital. It seemed like 6 months but it was only 4 weeks. The last miserable four weeks. I'm convinced that magnesium sulfate (a drug that prevents seizures and induces a special kind of crazy) should be used to extract secrets from terror suspects...and yet I spent four weeks on that drip from the pit. To combat the crazy, Joal and I watched a crazy amount of movies and videos. One of his friends loaned us the entire series of Mad About You was a ray of laughter and light in an otherwise very trying time. I will forever love that show.

So now you know.



Kuddos to Royal Caribbean and MaMBI for Stepping it Up!

We just got home from a cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship (our 5th) and on each of the past cruises, there has been an offering of a scrapbooking class on the sea day. It's extremely basic and there's not actually any of the activities staff people (not a scrapbooker) lays out some supplies (gluesticks, markers, colored papers, punches and decorative scissors) and says "go to town". Several years ago someone named Angela Glasser created an 8.5x11 binder of layouts for this ship, and they are still passing that book around. It's badly tattered but so it goes.

Anyway, I always try to go to the class, just to meet other scrapbookers and encourage the spreading of our hobby.

This time, I was thrilled to see that in addition to the supplies, attendees were actually given a small kit made by Me and My Big Ideas with a cruise theme (4 sheets of paper, some embellishments, and a few ideas on the package)! I was totally impressed. What a great idea for MaMBI--a leader in the scrapbooking inductry, and one of the first major scrapbooking companies, to partner with the cruise line to fill this niche need.

But wait, it gets better. The small kit was free for attending, but MaMBI also created a larger, more extensive kit that could be purchased for $10 containing more paper, cruise related items, and **items specific to the ship we were on**! How cool is that! (I bought two.) I think I giggled out loud when I saw that one of the embellishments is a mini-Seapass's positively adorable. And there are two RCI crown-n-anchor logo embellishments that are glittered...awesome stuff. The paper is cardstock-weight and the colors are viberant.

In a day and age when many scrapbook companies are struggling to stay alive, I think it's *awesome* that Me and My Big Ideas filled this niche! There were about 15 people in attendance and about 5 of them were new to scrapbooking! The class was offered twice during the cruise (once each sea day) and I can only imagine how many people have been introduced to scrapbooking throughout the fleet, across the past few years.

Kudos to Me and My Big Ideas for reaching out to cruisers by teaming up with RC! Here are a few pictures of the kits...

Above is the kit that class participants received free...below are the contents...

Below is the kit that was available for purchase ($10), created by Me and My Big Ideas exclusively for Royal Caribbean and with products specific to each ship.

Above are the chipboard embellishments and stickers...I love that little mini-seapass. :)

The sheet shown above is glittered. :)

I thought it was really cool that it was so personalized for RC but taken individually, some of the sheets could be used for anything. The sheet in the foreground is actually die-cut, do-it-yourself postcards. How cool is that?!


Listography 1: Projects for 2011

So I've become  a stalker an avid reader of Mary MacAskill's Very Mary Blog of late -- her clean and colorful style really draws me in and makes me want to scrapbook -- she's known as the vellum queen and you know I love vellum -- and she makes cards and takes cool pictures -- and I enjoy her writing style.

One of the things she has done recently is to begin using lists on her blog -- and I really like that idea -- since I make lots of lists -- I see no harm in copying her ideas for lists -- so here we go.

I'll cop to it.
I'm copying her brilliance.

Project Ideas for 2011 -- because I really am going to scrapbook more in the future. (Some of you need to stop snorting with laughter.)

I don't believe in setting goals for my craft, such as "I want to make X number of pages in 2011". I don't care about quantity...I just want quality scrapbook pages that I enjoy and that tell my stories. So, here are the top 7 or 8 projects I intend to work on this year...

Crusie Scrapbooks for Cruises #2, #3 and #4.
This, my friends, is going to be a huge task...but the only way to eat an elephant is a bite at a time right? I tend to overthink travel scrapbooks by plotting out these 40-50 page, cover-every-detail-use-every-photo monstrosities. I have to take the dead computer to the computer miracle guy to even get the pictures from cruise #2 printed. I have an Iris box for each trip containing all the "stuff" and all the it should be pretty easy to pare down and possibly combine all three cruises into one book.

Other Travels that have yet to be documented -- Maine, Virginia, San Antonio

Grey's School Book -- he's in the second grade. I have not even started. Epic mother fail. Must correct that before he graduates college.

Scouts --

A summary of 2010 -- I would like to make a photo summary of the highlights of 2010 to hang in my scrap space. I haven't changed out the layouts hanging in my space since the year we moved into this house. Bad scrapbooker, I know.

Andy -- When my brother, Andy was wounded in Afghanistan, I wrote a-l-o-t. I think I might like to scrapbook some of those thoughts, along with the few pictures I have that were taken during that time. These may not be for public consumption...

Life with Joal -- Joal and I will celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary this year. Twenty years. More than half my life has been spent with this man. I would like to have some pictures made of us and think about some of the things we've done together over the years, how we've changed, etc.

So now you know...these are the things I want to work on in 2011. Feet to the fire, right.



Delightful Citronella

No not the stinky anti-mosquito candles...the paper. K&Co makes a line of summery fun paper called Citronella and I loving it! See the whole line here.

While we are snowed in here in Middle Tennessee, I've been scrapbooking some summertime pictures, in a lame attempt to stay warm do something besides eat. Here's my latest page:

That gently swishy blue paper with the waves comes from the Citronella paper pad, as does the ornage with mild orange circles. I thought the combination of the two clicked really well with the stripe, which happens to be some vintage paper from way back in 2006. It's called Serene "Grown Up" stripe/orange from the Magnolia line from My Mind's Eye. (I get a little thrill when I can match papers from different companies together...)

For what it's worth, I almost never cut letters from patterned paper because generally, a pattern makes letters harder to read--but the pattern of the orange paper is so mild that it's barely noticible.

The inspiration for this page came from a sketch over at Let's Scrap. (It's a very loose interpretation.)

I rounded up a few other projects made from Citronella...

Jeannie's Card

Katie's Accordion Album (Tutorial)

Twopeas "Bathing Beauties" Layout by GoodKitty