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January 2016
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March 2016

inspiring links | 7



Teach your child not to interrupt. Brilliant idea for the grandkids.

Secrets of people who don't have clutter in their home. Wow! Some really great ideas.

A Cup of Jo shares her life in perfume. My own life in perfume has been Love's Baby Soft and Sweet Honesty in the 70's. In the 80's, as I was heading into the military I was given Calvin Klein's Obsession which I wore in basic training and what I wore for almost a decade. I'd occasionally snag a spritz of Yves Saint Laurent's Opium from my roommate in weather forecasting school as it smelled so fantastic and sexy on her - not so much on me. I think I picked up Jovan Musk and tried it for awhile too. I had a long season of exclusively Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds or Elizabeth Arden's Red Door in the 90's, Chloe's Narcisse, Bath and Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom and Moonlight Path during later and post-military years in the early 21st century with many favorable compliments. Currently, after a period of no perfume due to an unusual aversion to the smell of all perfumes, I can wear Bath and Body Works Moonlight Path again and I occasionally wear, Chanel No. 5, for dates and special occasions. Definitely considering finding another fragrance or returning to an old love.

From Relevant magazine, 5 Things Jesus Never Promised. Very relevant, and hard-hitting.

How to overcome worry and be a friendlier person. This came on the heals of something God revealed to me in my morning study of Lent and affirms I need to act on God's prompting. If you're in my small group you'll find out soon what God prompted of me.

A Modern Girls Travels has some Creative ways to document your travels. The watercolor print is my favorite - hands down.

And an amazing Christian song, my family's favorite right now. We turn the radio way up when it comes on in the truck and we sing loud along with it. 




stories 2016 | awesome together.


It does my heart good to see photos of Ella loving on her baby brother, Noah. She dotes, and attends to his needs, and plays with him. He's a lucky kid. I remember Elizabeth a bit older than Ella's age, but just as attentive to her baby brothers. Runs in the family. I wish time could stand still so I don't miss out on these growing years of Noah and this sweet together time between these two. Still, I am so thankful Elizabeth is, at least, taking monthly and event photos.

But, I know the feeling because this month, February, I struggled to take photos of our family. Not sure if I'll have enough for a Project Life 2-page layout. We'll see.

Digital Products: a mix of Sahlin Studio, One Little Bird, and Ali Edwards. 

52 New Books in 2016 | 10


Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

I really liked Rebel Queen. The story leading up to the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the 'Rebel Queen" Rani Lakshmibai is told from the perspective of Sita, a poor Indian girl who trains to become the queen's Durgavasi, female bodyguards. Sita's life before becoming accepted into the Durgavasi was enlightening and interesting reading about Indian traditions growing as a young girl when girl's are not well thought of, and her journey in large part because Sita's father bucked tradition and educated his daughter through reading and literature. Providential, as intensive training to become a Durgavasi, requires every form of weapons training and hand to hand combat skills as well as intelligence. Sita's father also taught her how to read and speak English.

Pros: I couldn't wait to read the next page. Reading of Indian home life of the poor warrior caste and their traditions and Sita's training was fantastic and enlightening. Even how she arrived as a Durgavasi, training she endured so her family would be taken care of, and in particular so her sister would have a dowry. The story, the intrigue, the deceit and treachery leading to the rebellion is interesting.

Cons: For all the Durgavasi training, to arrive and endure, these 10 women appeared to be just a gaggle of girls to surround and support (not defend) the queen. Any combat was relegated to the last chapters during the rebellion which seemed to come and go with little emphasis, although some good historical facts were offered on the rebellion. Sita's education served her well but also sparked inter-jealousies within the Durgavasi which I thought would be some kind of sisterhood as they were all protecting the queen but the jealousies were highlighted more than the camaraderie's.

Even with the negatives about the book the wealth of knowledge I gleaned regarding the Indian Sepoy Rebellion against the British, Indian life for women and the poor, the Durgavasi and the training required to protect the queen, made reading Rebel Queen worth it.

For my 4 x 4 page I used digital products from Little Lamm & Co.

My other books read in 2016: 9) The Kill Artist (Spy Fiction), 8) Brotherhood in Death (Police Intrigue Fiction), 7) The Girl on the Train (Suspence Fiction), 6) Packing Light (Traveling Memoir), 5) When Breath Becomes Air (Memoir), 4) The Unlikely Spy (Spy Fiction), 3) Fervant (Spiritual Non-Fiction), 2) Audacious (Spiritual Non-Fiction), and 1) The Applause of Heaven (Spiritual Non-Fiction)

Trump Album | Fantastic Caverns


I gave Maggie (our children's pastor at church and mother of TWINS) the beginnings of her 8 x 8 album of her sons, Tucker and Silas (and her and her husband too - if I must!). She loved it! I have more pages completed for her and as she posts photos on Facebook I digital scrap them when I have time. As this year my One Little Word is GIVE I decided, also, to gift our friends the Trumps an album too. Theirs will be 12 x 12, mostly because they take more pictures and have a bigger family - 5 kids! I'll begin with their short time at their present duty station (Jordan is in the Army) and make a specific album for their time there and decide after that if I can continue.

Above is one of those double page layouts I made. They are adventurous and they are making sure their new family are all seekers of adventure, too. I love and admire their active lifestyle. For this page I used one of Jessie's photos as the background page and then just piled on the photos. I used all Ali Edwards Story kit stamps for the elements. Cool page! I love it!

a year of lists | 4


photo source

a list of my current dreams.

I dream of swimming at least four times a week and reaching two mile swims - again.

I dream of one day teaching college students.

I dream of a scrap studio and office that is clean, organized, and spurs creativity.

I still dream of the day I will have a meteorology job forecasting the weather.

I dream of a front porch and back deck

I dream of being part of international mission trips

I dream of traveling the world beyond places I've already seen, to Nova Scotia, Ireland, Australia, Alaska...

I dream of seeing my grandkids regularly and having a positive influence for Christ in their lives

I dream of lost pounds, being quite a bit smaller, and feeling strong and healthy.

I dream of remission for my rheumatoid arthritis, and relief from my back and sciatic pains.

I dream of one day taking a photography course and truly capture life through the lens.

I dream of simplifying my life, purging 'things', organizing spaces, and only holding on to things I love.

I dream of standing before Christ one day and hearing him say, as he gently raises my eyes to his, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

52 New Books in 2016 | 9


The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

A new series. Yes! Book 1 of the Gabriel Allon series is superb. In no way am I 'of the arts' but Silva's written artistry of a meticulous restorer of art, Gabriel Allon - and former spy and assassin with Israeli intelligence, who is coerced and baited out of self-imposed seclusion by his former Israeli intelligence handler and chance of revenge on the man who killed his wife and son. Having read some of the back covers of Silva's latest books I was intrigued enough to seek out Book 1 of this series and thrilled to find a plethora of intricately drawn characters, thrilling and sometimes on the edge of my seat action, and a fast-past storyline with swift curves into the center and behind the scenes of the middle east climate, historically, currently, educationally, and intellectually. Very good book.


/'simətrē/ noun
 1. the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other
These front steps have a line of symmetry through its center.
 2. correct or pleasing proportion of the parts of a thing
Building a new front porch with shorter steps to accommodate his wife's physical disabilities, a husband improves the symmetry of his wife's love language. 
Jeff has this habit of interjecting an out of left field comment, generally during a lull in the conversation. We call it shifting gears. Years ago, when we'd visit his mom and dad I figured out it is a learned trait. Yep, what do you know? He got it from his parents. He shifts gears in the conversation and I'm supposed to keep up with the new conversation, understand immediately where he's coming from, or going to, and be able to interject into that new conversation currently in progress. With a dog in the headlights look for a second or two - sometimes three - he'll realize he 'shifted gears', and like the other morning in the darkness before the dawn time of the morning, as we were getting ready for work, chatting, me on the computer, he preparing his lunch, getting coffee, after a lull in the conversation I looked up when he came in from outside, said, "they add symmetry - I like that!", I had that dog in the headlights look and he, dripping with laughing unabashed sarcasm said, 'what? you didn't just know what I meant?' WOMAN! Keep up! (The whole WOMAN thing is another funny story but, kinda, sorta, fits into this story).
Because of my rheumatoid arthritis and an assortment of other ailments climbing stairs is a chore at best...
Oh, wait! Did I shift gears too?
Au contraire.
When drawing up plans for new front steps a couple weeks ago, Jeff designed the front steps with a much shorter step. The shorter step meant I'd be able to step normal, one step after the other without having to use the railing to haul myself up, planting both feet on one step at a time. Now, except for the railings, the front steps are completed. 
When Jeff and I went to Lowes, the home improvement center, to pick up the remaining pieces to finish out the steps we picked up a package of two copper coated solar powered LED step lights. He attached the lights on the left side posts, one at the top of the steps and one at the bottom of the steps, temporarily. Temporarily, because he had to go back to Lowes, the home improvement center, for bottom fittings that I decided I loved and wanted. Heading to work each morning in the dark, the lighted steps would provide us a sure-footing. Unbeknownst to me, when Jeff returned to Lowes, the home improvement center, to pick up the last pieces to finish the steps (those bottom fittings I wanted) he picked up another package of copper coated solar powered LED step lights and attached them to the right side posts, one at the top of the steps and one at the bottom of the steps, permanently.
So, the other morning when we were getting ready for work and he came in from outside and said he liked the symmetry, after I shifted gears. And caught up, I secretly said, 'Yes!' Pumping my fist (to myself), because I was hoping he'd come up with it on his own and put up the other set of lights and really like it too - like I did. And the whole shorter steps to accommodate me is meeting one of my major love languages.

stories 2016 | remember the Alamo.


Sometimes, like with these pages, I'm not totally sure I like what I did, embellishment-wise. I'm just not happy with the finished page. I like that I used that 'remember' journal spot so fitting for remembering the Alamo and I like the journal card at the far right. I like the photo placement, the photos and nothing else. I might have to re-think my page well before I send it to print.


Still...It was Jeff's first visit to the Alamo and we enjoyed the leisurely walk through history with Ashley, Brad, and the boys. Jeff looks at history intently, and intentionally, reading each piece, measuring it, and weighing it. His retention is amazing and I'm seriously envious (because my comprehension stinks...maybe I need to work on that with some seriousness, hum)


While we visited the Alamo a gentleman, in period costume, was sharing about the medicine and medicinal equipment available to the soldiers of the Alamo. Wyatt standing directly in front of man, listened intently, ignoring everything around him except the man's talk, to what was said, and didn't move during the half hour or so talk. Ian, on the other hand moved constantly. Because I had to sit down I spent that time with Ian. The day was so easy going - and fabulous. We took a Riverwalk cruise that was just delightful, and the boat captain hilarious. We ate lunch at Chili's (of all places) in the Riverwalk mall. We just weren't in the mood for trying out the local food fare. It was a fun, tiring, and painful day (for me) as my pain level shot up toward the end of our visit to the Alamo.

Products: various Ali Edwards' Story kits, and an Ali Edwards' classic journal spot.

stories 2016 | valentine


I lite up something bright when I saw these photos of my grandson Noah James. Seriously, he's adorable. And I'm missing all these moments (she says stomping her foot and exclaiming, "It's not fair!"). Sometimes, especially after playing with the 6 x 8 page size, I just don't want to fool with the 12 x 12 design. I'm horrible at design. It's truly not my gift. Now, 6 x 8 pocket pages, that's another story. Slide in (read: clip in photo using Photoshop Elements) a photo here and there, select some truly awesome Story Kit journal cards or stamp by Ali Edwards and Voila - a double, 6 x 8 pocket page spread of this delightful little boy. 

That sweet smile.

Those chunky cheeks. And those chunky legs. I think babies with chunky legs are just the cutest.

Doesn't he look like a snuggle baby? Oh, my! Sure do miss him. When we visited in September (eons ago!!!) Jeff was reclining on Elizabeth's couch and Noah was snuggled up against Pop Pop's chest. The cutest.

A contagious laugh. With eyes that just light up in laughter.

Look, look, he's sitting up. Scootin' all over the floor, too.

I am dreaming of holding this little guy - soon.

Products: Ali Edwards Story kit Heart and Valentine Journal cards and Stamp.

52 New Books in 2016 | 8


A fan of J.D. Robbs' In Death series since the fall of 2007, yes, I remember when I began reading these addicting, hilarious, moving, riveting, challenging novels centered around a sarcastic, strong, brilliant Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her delicious husband Roarke with a whole cast of supporting characters that are - well - characters, as in their delightfully colorful personalities; I recently finished Brotherhood in Death and Robb does not disappoint. The storyline twisted and turned as Eve caught a murder before there was a murder. Dennis Mira, a very small supporting character in other books, had a larger part and you just can't help falling hard for Dennis. Roarke was his usual fantastic supportive self. He and Eve only had one fight in the book...they're getting better at this marriage covenant. 

Eve has to once again confront her childhood trauma within the pages of Brotherhood in Death, and one might say, 'Enough, already!" But, those come from people who have never lived with trauma. Robb shows that you may have been dealt a jolting blow and while it won't ever leave your memory you can learn to live with it, grow, and live well. Set backs are shorter and easier each time to overcome.

I turn to Robb's books because I want to laugh, cry, get angry, root for the good guys, swoon over Roarke, dream I am Eve with all her devilish sarcasm and razor sharp wit - plus she's a top notch Lieutenant cop, and Robb came through again.