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December 2015
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February 2016

52 New Books in 2016 | 5


An absorbing and profoundly moving memoir by a thriving, vibrant, caring neurosurgeon diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer who finds meaning and value, what is most important, not letting time dictate what he does with his remaining - time. With his education, well, in fact, a life background in literature - and science - Paul Kalanithi blends the two beautifully into a heartwarming and heartbreaking book that I enjoyed tremendously.

I read this book in one day. Actually, a few hours. Although I knew the end of the story, I still was rooting for a miracle. While the miracle didn't come in a cure, if not a miracle, Kalanithi pursued a life well-lived. I was struck by his oncologist who refused to give him probabilities or time but instead encouraged him to find value and do that, in his writing, in his work which he pursed with gusto, in his renewed relationship with his wife and his desire to give to her in the remaining - time.

It's simply...beautiful.

I'm sure it is supposed to inspire those facing a heart-wrenching, life-altering, or even life-ending, diagnosis but this book inspired me, while not living a life-ending diagnosis, to seek and find that which I value and do that.

inspiring (and interesting) links | 4

As someone who's always wanted to try her hand at an abstract work of art, I was inspired, but, a little deterred from the project because of this article, How to Tell Good Abstract Art from Bad. Even so, it taught me a few things that I'll remember when I finally do settle down to create my own, ah, - masterpiece.

As a scouting family this article on 'How to deduct Scouting-related expenses...' out of Scouting Magazine is timely as we are preparing our taxes for our visit to our favorite tax lady. This past year, for sure, has been a year of scouting-related expenses with two Eagle Scout projects completed.

Colorful lovelies found recently: this colorful built-in bookcase is a calming, serene edition and the perfect colors to draw one to the shelves; Poppin has this lovely copper journal I have my eye on. The turquoise is already in my possession.

As a lover of collecting journals (when I use them is a different story...although I eventually do) here is a wonderfully-styled leather journal cover tutorial by Tidbit.

Marc and Angel's recent post of quotes to encourage readers how to treat one another is inspiring.

This article inspired me to think I need to sign (us) up. I see the signs at our church all the time for a class. And I know the teacher personally!

The truth about instagram! Just another reason not to get on-board.

Seeing the hilarious (although I know there is horror too!) in the Blizzard of 2016.

I have my eye on this digital Project Life kit, this one, and this kit. Especially because I decided to comeback to Project Life this year.

Always interesting, anything weather-related event (due to El Niño) - and the drought laden region of Chiapas, Mexico, the Templo de Quechula recently re-surfaced from a 400 year submersion from the once-deep waters of the Chiapas reservoir.

As I wrapped my head and my heart around this article I was praying for my man and my boys.

This is a lovely article (as I can see my own husband within the words and heart of the message) to finish this weeks inspiring links. 

a year of lists | 3



a list of things I am proud of.

retiring from the Air Force  |  almost 22 years of marriage  |  raising 4 awesome kids  |  graduating college with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology  |  graduating with a Master's in Business Administration  |  serving regularly at church  |  homeschooled my twin teenage boys  |  all the hours of reading aloud all of the books to John and Jarrod  |  leading my sons in Bible study after Bible study  |  taught high school meteorology  |  survived a traumatic and vicious 6 years early in my adult life  |  never smoked cigarettes nor did drugs  |  mentoring some amazing women  |  hosting a small group in our home each week  |  my mad cooking skills  |  hosting a blog  |  overcoming fears  |  the many treasured scrapbooks I've documented and created of our lives  |  led numerous women's Bible studies  |  having dinner as a family each night

...punctuated with hallelujahs!

52 New Books in 2016 | 4


Daniel Silva's The Unlikely Spy was good enough I'm going to pick up another one of his books. I believe the remainder of his books involve a spy as well, or an assassin and it is a series of books. Regarding The Unlikely Spy I truly only gave it 4 Stars because, while it was good, it took me a long time to read - over a couple weeks. During my reading I thought my Mom would like this, and Jeff, too, especially having read the likes of W.E.B. Griffin's older selection. 

The main characters, and supporting characters were well-developed and interesting. I could have definitely seen the main character having another book written about him, just a different MI-5 storyline. Towards the end there were a few people written in as extras and they felt haphazard and out of place. Not sure why I felt that way, but I did. Otherwise, good book.

I have a stack of books I recently purchased on my nightstand and I think next up is a non-fiction book. A moving memoir, actually, by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi When Breath Becomes Air written just before he died, that I'm sure will wrench at the heart strings.

noah's first year | 4 months


Continuing with my grandson Noah's 1st Year album. It's an 8 x 8 album and I'm using Ali Edwards' templates picking colors that go with each photo rather than a uniform color palette throughout the album. I called Elizabeth, my daughter and momma to this sweet little hunk to get the goods on Noah. You know, the scoop. The intel. He's such a gorgeous baby and I've always crushed over those sleep gowns. All my kids, girls and boys, wore them for a season. 


From the beginning Noah was just cute as a button.


Oh my heavens...


Beautiful boy!

project life 2016 plans.


I have missed Project Life. It has been more than a year since I have recorded the memories of our life each week for an entire year. I truly miss it. I know why I haven't wanted to record our year this way. Because life has been hard. Overwhelming often. Cram packed full of pain. But. I think this is a new year. A new season that can be real good. I'm hoping to allow one of my loves, scrapbooking with the Project Life system work to mend, heal me, and to move forward.

While I am positive I could not record weekly memories, week after week, except maybe a Week in the Life here or a day in the life there, I am also positive I can record once a month one page, or two-pages, or 4-6 pages of our month. I'm doing it Project Life style. This style of scrapbooking is the simplest of solutions. Especially for non-creatives like me. The design is done for you.

Certain I will purchase the latest and greatest digital products by Ali Edwards, Paislee Press, and One Little Bird as my primary go-to digital products, my goal this year is to mostly use my digital stash and go minimalist! You can see in the above photo the beginnings of one of my January pages. All, count them, three products, are by Paislee Press. I used two 3 x 4 templates (which I alternated) and a 'these days' 4 x 6 journal card. Minimal product. Minimal embellishments. Photos + Words.

The idea of documenting our months rather than our weeks is freeing. I think I'm gonna' love the new way of doing Project Life. The other change I'm open for is that not all my pages will be 12 x 12, but some 6 x 8 or a full-page 5 x 7 thrown in, or a 6 x 12 for good measure. Using a 12 x 12 We R Memories Teal album (already on the shelf, empty, waiting to be filled) I have many options in today's scrapbooking world.

I'll still be documenting separately our date night pages 6 x 8 into their own album.

In addition, as I always do, I will be using Persnickety Prints to print my digital pages (jpgs).


date night


Our date night consisted of dinner and Lowes. Yes, you read that correctly, Lowes. We checked out supplies for the front steps. Now, let's talk Sly's Sliders at Abercorn and 34th street downtown Savannah. A small eatery but on point sliders and fries. We ordered 4 different sliders, two for each person, but we both tried a bite of all 4. I liked the two I ordered and Jeff liked his two. Jeff had The Boardwalk and the Uncle Reuben while I had Li'l Angel and Pain Don't Hurt. Yum! We will definitely be back with plans to try the slider dogs next time.


We had the opportunity to buy a meal for a homeless man. He asked for cash but after he first said he was hungry. Jeff assured him he'd order him food (which we did) but he wouldn't give him cash. The man didn't want us to disrespect him. Buying him a meal I don't believe is disrespecting him at all.


This date night album is a 6 x 8 size which I have fallen hard for. Less overwhelming. Perfect for the few photos we normally take during one date night. I used One Little Bird and Paislee Press digital products, two of my go-to designers. 



1/10/2016 - Thank you God, You Rock!

Jeff and I bought the materials for the front steps

Pain-free today!

Serving in Elevate today.

Jeff and the boys got started on the front steps

That Jeff and I are obedient with tithing and your blessing

1/11 - Thank You God

For a really good day of study in your Word with John and Jarrod

a peace-filled day

1/18/16 - Thank you God. You Overwhelm me -

It was an amazing weekend with Ashley, Brad, Ian, & Wyatt

How Ian sought after his Pop Pop

For Jeff's attentiveness and cram-packed crazy love for me all weekend.

For fights lasting hours instead of longer.



inspiring links | 3


I appreciated the candor of this article, Radical Candor - The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss, the art of caring personally and challenging directly.

Sorely behind the times but we, I mean Jeff and I, not the Sons of Thunder who wanted no part, began watching Downton Abbey at Ashley's last weekend. It is a brilliant masterpiece. Thankfully, we have Amazon Prime and can continue to watch the remaining seasons.

The USAF band Max Impact released it's new single a couple months ago. Watching the video when it was first released I re-visited it recently and still loved it!

Can you say hot chocolate on these frigid winter days after an arctic blast of air has swept through the simply southern city of Savannah.

As a documenting enthusiast this 5 Photography Projects to try is intriguing and my 12 of 12 I did in 2013 is similar to #5, 10 of 10. I think I might have to re-visit that project beginning next month.

With my self-cultivated love of mugs growing rapidly and the prospect of acquiring a unique mélange of individual and sets of mugs I found myself crushing on Arrow & Sage's selection of ceramic mugs and wishing she would create more. I want more. I spy just a few more to crush on: This hand-painted delight from Wit and Whistle, these gorgeous blue mugs by Michael Minkoff Potter, and a couple of these Bennington Mugs would dress an cup of jo, this Gloriosa mug and this Homegrown Monogram mug both from Anthropologie

Oh my goodness, how stinking hilarious - hunky Presidents. Read through it all. So funny!

While this post by Cup of Jo is directed to women it's for every employee (Read: my husband!!) and How to Ask for a Raise. While I couldn't ask for a raise in the military I did however learn that #4 Make a list of your accomplishments was imperative when it came time for annual reviews which directly impacted when I could test for promotion.

a year of lists | 2


source for the wonderful free printable

a list of my greatest comforts.

the handmade quilt of my dad's old shirts  ~ my red chair ~ the infallible Word of God ~ my journals ~ a steaming cup of flavored creamy coffee ~ a blistering hot shower ~ all my blue and white bedroom quilts ~ pajamas after a long, sometimes painful day at work ~ date nights with Jeff ~ dropping into the pool to swim laps ~ a clean, organized, minimalist home ~ sunrises each morning ~ my husband ~ laughter ~ the unending, gracious, merciful love of God ~ listening to Christian music ~ camping with Jeff and the boys ~ J.D. Robb novels ~ homemade pizza and family movie night ~ all the scrapbook albums I've made filled with treasured memories ~ the window opened, the fan on in chilly weather, snuggled under mounds of blankets ~ reading aloud to the boys ~ Jeff praying ~ Jeff reaching for my hand to hold ~ writing blessings upon blessings to God ~ homemade noodles and chicken soup with homemade bread smothered with real butter ~ the sound of Ian calling for Pop Pop, 'where's Pop Pop.' ~ thunderstorms, truly ~ a Capella singers ~ walking on the beach in the winter or the summer ~ my Mom's cinnamon rolls made by Mom ~ bookstores, and libraries ~ rustic, smokey campfires with or without roasted marshmallows ~ hearing my husband say, 'Good Morning, Gorgeous'  ~ curling up in front of the television for a long run of a television series ~