2016 Reading Challenge | Read a book I should have read in school



For Modern Mrs Darcy's 2016 Reading Challenge which I only began in August I recently read a book I should have read in school - but did not. I read the breathtaking and exquisite A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

A 1963 (the year I was born) Newberry Medal, A Wrinkle in Time begins with, "It was a dark and stormy night..." I seriously had know idea that classic phrase was in fact the beginnings of a true literary masterpiece. I can attribute this to my sorely lacking literary education in my younger years - and not-so-younger-years.

During the six years I homeschooled John and Jarrod, from 7th grade through 12th grade and ever since, I have been attempting to rectify the situation, flushing out the old and making way for new books- new to me anyways - with 52 New Books in 2016 and 30 New Books in 2015 which turned out to be 45 books. 

Our years of homeschooling meant we read some amazing literary classics like The Scarlet Letter, The Last of the Mohicans, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Fahrenheit 451, a ton of not-so well-known wonderfully written with engaging stories, and young adult fiction like Harry Potter series or The Hunger Games trilogy that fueled my desire to read.

Then, over these couple years I've found literary blogs that have broadened my literary horizons, as well. Like Modern Mrs Darcy whose wealth of literary knowledge is amazing. Thus, I came upon an often recommended title A Wrinkle in Time and after perusing lists of books one should have read in middle school or high school I added it to my Amazon cart and raced through it in a day, a quite easy task at only 256 pages.

A Wrinkle in Time

Everyone in town thinks Meg Murry is volatile and dull-witted, and that her younger brother, Charles Wallace, is dumb. People are also saying that their physicist father has run off [with another woman] and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors and an unearthly stranger, the tesseract-touting Mrs Whatsit, Meg and Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O'Keefe embark on a perilous quest through [time and] space to find their father. In doing so, they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep within themselves to find answers.

Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is both young and adventurous as well as sophisticated and mysterious: challenging concepts of children traveling through time and space; battling good and evil with uncertain outcome, then triumphing; growing up, maturing, facing fears, confronting the status quo, solving mysteries; all within these few pages...and a delightful read. 



I figured out a long time ago, when my first child left our city and moved away, when it looked like they would not be 'home', meaning our home, for along time, maybe to live, never again here, near me. It's the way of military life. My daughter Ashley married military and my daughter Elizabeth is in the military. I did the same thing to my parents when I joined the military all those years ago and stayed in the military for 20 years, never again to live there again. Elizabeth was in Alaska. Seriously, far away. She's 10 hours away now. Doable, but still long. I've missed so much of my grandchildren's lives so when I get photos I can't help but make pages - memory keeping - even though technically they're not my memories - but I feel like I'm sharing in them when I make pages.

So here is a page of Noah, number 4 of 5 grandchildren. This gorgeous hunk muffin is a little over a year old.

And, I miss him.

That's all.

Just miss him.

Digital notes: Paper, brushes, wordart are Ali Edwards Design and One Little Bird Designs.



So glad Elizabeth is venturing out from her home in Maryland and finding new stomping grounds. She took the kids, Ella and Noah, and crossed the border from Maryland into southern Pennsylvania - so, not to, to far from home - where they welcomed fall in with a trip to the National Apple Festival in Biglerville, Pennsylvania. Apples and hay and two beautiful kids - and one gorgeous momma - and these photos! 

I was ecstatic to see these photos - and such a great selection to choose from for this first page. I'm sure I'll be able to share more stories centered around these photos later. I wanted to make this page photo-centered with just a few embellishments (read: because I'm terrible at placing embellishments). I used a basic Yin Designs template, heavily modified to suit my photos. With an Ali Edwards Design heart brush from her LoveWordArt package, and One Little Bird Designs digital kit Frolic I completed the page.

I'm pleased with how this page turned out.

stories 2016 | love lift me up


I packed my bags and flew up and away from Savannah to San Antonio and you, sweet Samuel less than a month after you were born. Sure, I loved on your big brothers too as I always do and always will but it was you who took me away from my men to you.

I packed quite light: my Vera Bradley weekender and messenger bag was all I took for my 6 day round trip to Ashley's. I figured I could wash if need be and it was all about hanging out with Samuel anyway. I loved packing light. Of course, I knew I could borrow things I might need from Ashley too.

Digital Notes: For this page I used an Ali Edwards' UP Story Kit digital stamp (Lift Me Up Love) on a One Little Bird Designs digital paper. I played with the opacity of the stamps after coloring them (using colors from my photos). I was not interested in perfection with the stamps. In other words I didn't care if they were aligned evenly. I actually appreciate the inconsistency of the stamps and colors because it looks more natural versus digital. Additional embellishments such as chipboard are also Ali Edwards' Story kits and additional papers are One Little Bird.

Stories 2016 | Love Your Brave


I am so very thankful that Ian braved holding his little brother Samuel. I think Ian, intuitively understands he struggles sitting still, being in control enough, being sure enough to hold his baby - brother - and absolutely does not want anything to go wrong. But, with Mom and Dad's help he braved up and loved on his Samuel. This little bit of overcoming will mean next time it will be easier. I heart your brave, Ian Seth. I'm wild about you.

Digital Notes: Papers, One Little Bird Designs; Chipboard and Stamp, Ali Edwards Design


one thousand gifts | after the storm


Trees fell in our neighborhood. A few fell and missed houses and cars. One did not miss but dropped onto a roof. Water surged in from the Atlantic flooded this street but not that one. Power flashed in this neighborhood but in this one electricity has been out for days, even a week. The country of Haiti: devastated. 

I don't have any answers why some were spared but this friend, eleven trees fell, several destroying her house. Or, that friend who didn't even lose power. No answers.

But, I do know this: God is good all the time. Even in the storm. And, I will praise Him before the storm, driving away from our home after offering it in to God's hands; I will praise Him in the storm when I am dry, safe, and secure in a friends home; and I will praise Him after the storm when the clean up is hard and dirty and long. 

one thousand gifts...

0026. the airfield manager making a decision to close the tower and radar, thus closing the weather station in time enough before the storm hit.

0027 friends opening their home to us when we evacuated

0028 and feeding us

0029 and their neighbor offering a box fan

0030 Jeff, strong and patient, and giving and serving and hardworking through the entire storm and evacuation

0031 a home to return to, still there, undamaged, and dry.

0032 a home paid off

0033 Jarrod having a job and figuring out how to save for college

0034 all the crews that arrived, no flooded, our area to clean up roads, restore power, assess damage after Hurricane Matthew 

0035 the money needed to replace food we lost from the power outage

0036 jobs to return to and jobs that served us through the storm: Jeff's company owner allowed plenty of time to take care of families, my company willing to pay overtime when I had to close and open the station

0037 Jeff riding with me when I had to open the weather station, us finding our way through back roads and getting through those police manned roadblocks

0038 my team at work all okay, safe and sound

0039 Jeff's strong work ethic carrying him through cleanup

0040 seeing and hearing of compassion by so many

0041 crisp cooler temperatures ushered in after the storm

0042 gorgeous cloud formations; a solid layer of cold air stratocumulus - the first of the season.

0043 more pain-less days than pain-full

0044 a gift basket sitting on the dining room table waiting to be delivered to the dear people who took us in from the storm

0045 the easy drives back home after the storm, calm spirits, no traffic

0046 the hard, solid, good work done upon our return and the benefits from a kept yard and house

Praise You, Lord, in the storm!

stories 2016 | after the storm


I didn't take near as many photos after the storm, after Hurricane Matthew came this close to destroying our lovely city. But, the few photos I did take speak of Jeff, every second of every day before the storm, during the storm and after the storm...Jeff and his servant heart. 

He's a work horse.

He won't sit down if he can help someone in need with something he is good at doing.

So, we evacuated with all his tools, and equipment, necessary to re-build not knowing what we'd be facing after the storm.

The very afternoon after the storm moved through, when the rain had cleared, when the winds had died down, Jeff and the boys began cleaning up the yard of the home we evacuated to. The next day they were out again helping their neighbor pull down and cut up a couple trees that had weakened and split ready to crash into a barn full of equipment. The neighborly thing to do.

We made it home and he helped clean up the neighborhood. Typical Jeff. My servant-hearted husband.


For these pages I made a 12 x 12 page on the left side. I used much of Ali Edwards' Story Kit UP plus others from other kits. I shamelessly scraplifted from Ali's page example from the kit, too. I'm pretty cool with how these turned out. Everything is digital as that is my go-to way to scrapbook these days.


Honestly, I'm not surprised, but Jeff just really outdid himself during Hurricane Matthew. He was a rock!

what I've been reading lately | October Edition


I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I've been reading lately.

Now that I have finished my 52 New Books in 2016 way early and I am catching up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2016 Reading Challenge I've noticed my reading has trimmed back quite a bit which serves to solidify my 2017 reading challenge needs to be - well - more challenging if I want to be challenged to keep reading.

On to what I've been reading lately:

Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb

This is a re-read and serves to fulfill MMD 2016 Reading Challenge, read a book you have already read at least once. Surprisingly, I don't remember the story line or reading this In Death book even though I have all, and read all, of Robb's novel-length books in the series. Because it's Robb; Because it's an In Death book; Because it is Lieutenant Eve Dallas, her mega-billionaire husband Roarke, and the whole slew of supporting characters; Thankless in Death was worth my time!

Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst 

I had to plow my way through the first entire half of the book and almost put it down (to maybe read another time) but then flew through the second half, dog-earring pages, underlining, bracketing and writing notes in the margin. 

Sahara by Clive Cussler

Another Dirk Pitt novel (I've only read one other, Night Probe, which I enjoyed immensely) and another good book. I'm thrilled I've found another series to dig in and latch on to. There are a plethora of Dirk Pitt titles to choose from - and anticipate. This title was the basis for the 2005 movie, Sahara, with Matthew McConaughy. I haven't finished this lengthy novel but I'm picking it up here and there, page by page, slowly.

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade

I almost bought this book once, when it first came out on the bookshelves, but held off figuring I could find it at the library at some point. The other day whilst browsing the new book selection of our local library (their new books aren't always new to the world just new to them), Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates was on the shelf and I snatched it up. Seriously, interesting read.

Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva

Another series that has quickly become a favorite. #8 in Silva's Gabriel Allon series is a bit slower than his other novels I've read (Books 1-7) and with less actionable spycraft until the last third of the book but Silva's delving into the realm of world orders, and terrorism, and the vicious and powerful is without fail - good, solid work. I have no qualms I'll finish the entire series over this coming year.

Digital Scrapbook Papers and Elements: One Little Bird Designs

Friday, with a cup of coffee


Photo source

The Dark side of Chocolate. This is a well-versed piece on the dark side of chocolate and what we can do to not participate and enable worst labor and trade practices.

Great tips for getting use out of your cookbooks.

Some blogs I visit regularly - lately (in no particular order): Lazy Genius Collective (the name itself is a reason to follow but this lady gives me the giggles), Modern Mrs. Darcy (the best blog for readers), Ali Edwards (duh!), Deep Stream Life (the life of real time, right now, missionaries in the field, in the trenches, taking Jesus to the world), She Reads Truth, A Holy Experience (Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gift's author) and The Art of Simple

Seriously exquisite photographs . Just beautiful.



currently | October 2016


putting my CURRENTS onto 6 x 12 pages and including them into our Stories 2016 album

enrolling in two classes with Ali Edwards: Storytelling with December Daily and Hybrid.

considering heavily a hand-lettering design course too.

reading some but not much; really need to get back into my reading frenzy. It makes me happy.

planning several scrapbooking projects over these last months of the year: December Daily (my partial album here; which I still need to finish) in December 2016 and a 30 Days of Thankful 2016 album in November (something similar to this); and really needing to finish a couple others.

watching CASTLE on DVD and Sherlock on NETFLIX; Blacklist will be next.

studying the book of 2 Peter, chapter by chapter and verse by verse - on my own. Because, I stopped going to class. I didn't feel comfortable. I like the class teacher as a person but not as a teacher. Her teaching is consuming the class time leaving no time for interaction. 

recuperating after Hurricane Matthew mowed down our city.

having and knowing tremendous respect for my husband with the servant heart and a work ethic that never runs dry.

making lists for Christmas - yes, already!

swimming needs to happen. I keep saying that, don't I. Yet, each Monday and Wednesday passes without a drop in the pool. I'm gonna' do it this coming week!!!!

savoring the almost fall temperatures after the storm, sleeping with the windows opened, my hurricane fan blasting, and snuggled under a blanket, albeit thin blanket.

hoping to actually create a Christmas card this year. Simple, clean design. This one is in the running. Or this. Maybe this one. And then there is this one. Simple, elegant.