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February 2017

52 Gratitudes 2017 | 4


Between One Thousand Gifts, and my 10000 Blessings project, and now my 52 Gratitudes, I am coming around, breaking the bonds of discontentment, turning my frowns upside down, changing a wayward heart. After this past year, which was, how shall I put it?


I knew the new year needed a drastic turning, changing, breaking, moving away from what was tearing me apart towards what could mend my fracturing heart and life.

Without a doubt, recording my gratitudes, has been part of that healing process. Each weeks gratefulness offers a stone. At the end of the year the entire album will become stones of remembrance. "Susan, remember that year you were grateful. That year I got you through." says the Lord. "You remember Me blessing you. You acknowledged My hand on your life."

"Yes, Lord, I remember."

"That's where you need to be, again."

Oh, yes, this album is definitely for me! Each one I pull off my shelf full of memories I remember.

And, this week as I embark on a new journey digging mines within the pages of the Word of God, searching for, what? Whatever He hopes to show me. Believing Him without a doubt that...

He is who He says He is.

He can do what He says He can do.

I am who God says I am.

I can do all things through Christ.

His Word is alive and active in me.

Yeah, believing that.

52 Weeks of Giving | 6


This sweet family, you know them mostly by all the 8 x 8 pages I have been making of Tucker and Silas - their almost-2-year old twins. Well, now they have another set of twins, Ridge and Asher. Great names. Love this family. We've known Maggie for many years now. She loves our boys and well - we love hers, too.

So, Maggie has 4 little ones in tow. The babies were born preemie's but they are home now and thriving. But, 4 little ones in tow. Of course, someone prepped the Take Them A Meal website for people to sign up and bring food. Hello. No brainer.

Except, pain levels almost everyday have been rough. But, it's this family. I've taken them two meals already and signed up for a third. I just took them one of the two the other day and Maggie whispered to me that the meal I made was the best they've had. Well, maybe! It is delicious I don't mind saying. Roasted Chicken, roasted red pepper, pesto fettuccini. Yum, and yum!

The sacrifice was cooking through the pain. And, the 40 minute drive one way in Savannah traffic close to rush hour. Otherwise, just a joy. Joy in the giving.


Project Life 2017 | Week 2


Proceeding slowly into Project Life 2017. Those weekly pages of our life. I desperately need to become more purposeful about taking photos but life right now, for the most part, is work, eat, hang, sleep, repeat. I need to figure out another way. I have some ideas and just need to make them happen. Maybe, some around here, or around the house pages. Some currently pages. Collections: mugs, books, reading...

Today I'm sharing week two of 2017. New do! New ministry to support. Date night. New lamp. And, the Martian (a really good movie and book).

I used a Paislee Press template which I then almost completely modified by overlaying with more Paislee Press templates. Noticeably, and not surprisingly (I crack myself up!), I used Ali Edwards SURPRISE Story kit and OLD and NEW Story kit plus photos and that is as clean and simple as you can get.

Stories 2017 | Looking Ahead


I decided to continue gifting scrapbook pages to our dear friends, The Trumps. Jessie and Jordan make it super easy: they take tons of pictures and they write stuff, journaling. For this page I used all Jessie's words, a review of their 2016, and looking ahead to 2017 expectantly for God to move. I even used the photo Jessie used for the journaling, although I've saved many family photos that would have worked just as well. This is one of their most recent. Those kids - all adopted, one family of kids - all theirs.

Digitally, I used Ali Edwards' REVIEW Story Kit as part of my scrapbooking goal to use my story kits that I've garnered over these past couple years. Photo, story, and a few carefully placed embellishments. I think I used the rule of thirds correctly and placed my embellishments within a visual triangle for more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Because the photo was black and white I could have gone with any color so I kept most of the embellishments their decided, purchased, colors. But, I love the freedom digital scrapbooking affords me in being able to easily change the color of .png files, but sometimes time-consuming.

52 Weeks of Giving | 5


I realized some might wonder why I'm recording 52 Weeks of Giving because when acts of service are done in secret, then my Heavenly Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:4).

I guess I'm not looking for a reward. Do I want the blessing of the Lord? Yes.

But, I believe the Lord placed my One Little Word on my heart - NOURISH - for 2017. I also believe His Spirit spoke into me that I needed to nourish a heart of giving. That's what I'm doing.

I'm nourishing a heart of giving.

I'm recording it because I'm also a storyteller.

Simple as that.

And, having a record of my giving will even more be a record of God's blessings! Because "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). My gifts, my year of giving is first His gifts to me.

I'm recording His blessings on my life.

It is so good!

This week of giving is all about sponsoring a child through Compassion International. We received our packet for Karellys, who is from Ecuador. She's three right now, and beautiful. I can't wait to GIVE her more!

I needed to do something outside of the box. This could change someone's life. I can be apart of that change - for the good.

I chose a child from Ecuador because of our sons really. A few years ago, John and Jarrod, chose to spend a week on a short term mission trip to Ecuador, serving the people there, working for the Lord. So, Ecuador has a place in my heart. 

Stories from the Files | For the Trumps

At the first of the year I had know idea whether I could continue making pages for the Trumps' album, but after conversing with Jessie recently, after she let me know they received the box filled with album pages created by me for them about their family, it was a no brainer. This is a year of nourishing giving as part of my One Little Word - nourish. What a great gift to continue for this family: the gift of recording their memories. And, I still have a ton of family memories from the files (read: 2016) I need to record. Thought I'd better get busy. So here are two pages I made recently.


First, this 2-page layout is lots and lots of pictures. One of my favorite ways to scrapbook. Ironically, it's not 'welcomed' or 'praised' in the scrapbooking community to include tons of photos on your pages but I love heavy-photo pages.

And this family takes lots of photos. It makes my jobs so easy.

Supporting one of my scrapbooking goals for the year, use each of Ali Edwards' Story kits for at least two pages. So, for this page I used the WILD story kit (I love those word phrase 'stickers') and a couple brushes from her Little Fabulous Joys set. Because it is the photos that truly tell the story here this was an easy page. I used a Yin Dgs template - my go-to templates for lots of photos. I did modify the template quite a bit but it still has the overall effect.


Another page for the Trumps. And another Yin Dgs template, modified. This time this two-page layout is created with One Little Bird Designs digital products. More 'heavy on the photos' pages. When I need specific event type products I generally go to One Little Bird digital products or Paislee Press or Sahlin Designs. I've picked up a couple other 'becoming favorites', recently, too. They're making scrapbooking easy.

2017 Reading Challenge | a book you were excited to buy but haven't read yet


I believe I'm off to great beginnings on this 2017 Reading Challenge. I have only read a couple other books outside of the challenge. Realizing this, though, means I will need to get my reading butt in gear if I want to read 100 New Books in 2017along with completing this challenge.

41DNuJfahyLMy selection for the Reading For Fun category a book you were excited to buy but haven't read yet: The Martian by Andy Wier. I guess in a way this could have been many of the titles on my bookshelf as I'm usually very excited when I put a book in my Amazon cart and then receive it. Inevitably, it is within a stack of books purchased and if they all get me excited I just have to pick one, right?

But, having recently watched the movie...

I know, right? I watched the movie first. Highly taboo! A disgrace. Watching the movie before reading the movie.

But, you guys, the movie was really good.

I'd heard, through blog reviews of The Martian that many people actually enjoyed the book way more once they watched the movie. After flying through the book in a day and a half, because of the visuals the movie afforded me, I can totally see how they came to that conclusion. I loved this book!  I'm not sure I would have liked it half as much if I'd read the book first. The science, the chemistry, I think, would have become overwhelming and instead of plowing through the science I might have put the book down. But, the movie! The movie made the science so much more interesting - exciting even!

And the humor - I laughed out loud on a number of occasions. Worth it! As a Star Trek fan (the newer Star Trek's) a favorite line when Mark writes in his SOL journal, "Damn it Jim, I'm a botanist, not a chemist!" Laughed. Out. Loud! 

While I understand this was completely fiction, it made me wonder that if this were to happen in real life, an astronaut getting stranded on the moon and needing to survive, what type of person would they need to be - to survive. I mean, this guy Mark had a sense of humor. I'm curious if that would be helpful, a certain outlook on life. Just wondering.

Anyways, if you're wondering about the book. Read it. And, if you're wondering about the movie - fabulous, too.

Again, this is where I stand with the 2017 Reading Challenge:


Moving right along in this challenge. I have several books in my bag for work, on my nightstand, in my purse: Zero Day by David Baldacci, Veronica Mars, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas, A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman, Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, and More to Your Story by Max Lucado.


ON SAVANNAH | on an early morning adventure



The idea of an early morning adventure makes the sound of the alarm clock going off at 5:00 am (5:30 at the latest; if no shower is required) palatable. Before hitting the road, pour that first cup of freshly brewed coffee into a Yeti (because 5:00 am on a Saturday is just insanity without coffee for the road), throw two portable chairs into the bed of the truck, and grab the big Canon camera with tripod.


Drive 40 miles to watch the sun rise above the horizon on the cool Tybee Island beach. It is above all - breathtaking. There is something exhilarating about being one of the few cars on the road heading on an excursion eastward along Georgia highway 80 knowing the destination will begin with a sunrise and end with food - a hearty breakfast, sustenance for the weekend's activities. Setting up camera and tripod on the sandy beach we chat quietly with an occasional uninhibited chuckle that resonates above the waves breaking with the early morning tides. It is breathtaking - yes. And, unmistakably peaceful. Capture on camera, for posterity, those first glimpses of the sun peeking over the horizon. Take in the brilliant colors. Thank God for the new in every morning.


Quickly pack it up and head over to The Breakfast Club, one of Tybee Island's privately-owned, unique restaurants catering solely to grilled-top breakfast and brunch fare where the line waiting to get in is filled with locals and guests to the island, that starts early, and is always long. Read the Club's cheeky, window-front door signs while you're waiting your turn to be tapped by the waitress on the door. When she lets you in the door, one at a time, definitely request seating at the counter; it's an experience worth taking in.

Order anything and it will be good. Watching the grill guys working together to prepare your fare, even better! Chat with the cooks, sip a great cup of coffee, listen to Pandora and the best 70's music has to offer, and chow down on some really good food. The hash browns - amazing. The eggs, perfection. The homemade sausage, hearty and well-flavored. Sure, they have healthier options - with spinach - but, why?

This early morning excursion is worth every mile and every minute. It is a total delight to the senses: the sight of the sun rising on the eastern horizon, the smell of the salty ocean air, the sound of squawking seagulls, and the mouth-watering taste of really good breakfast fare.

P.S. Stories 2017

As part of my scrapbooking goals for 2017, I'm using Ali Edwards' Story kits in my pages, several pages per kit. As a digital scrapbooker using digital product is not quite the same as physical product in that I can use the product pieces over and over again. But, my goal is to use more of each kit, making it worth the money of a monthly subscription. For the page above, telling the story of an early morning adventure I used the DRIVE, NUMBERS, and AM/PM Story kits. I kept developing the page piece by piece but first beginning simply using an Ali Edwards template I found in my stash. I did modify the template from an 8.5 x 11 to a 12 x 12 canvas page. 


one thousand gifts | reconnecting


In my pursuit to give thanks for one thousand gifts, to replace discontentment with contentment, and trials to considering it pure joy, writing down the bones - the gifts that can turn a frown upside down, change a heart...

0151. reconnecting with dear, sweet-spirit, classy, sarcastic, honest, loving, faithful Melanie. I've missed her beautiful soul! This in itself would be 1000 gifts.

0152. the new lamp next to my bedside table

0153. coffee brewed in the morning

0154. that video Brad sent of Samuel crying, crying and then he heard the Gilmore Girls theme song and stopped crying. So funny!

0155. realizing at the end of the day that it had been a really awesome day just because of giving to others and connecting with people

0156. opening up my email to find a post from Focus on the Family breaking down nourishing your spouse - my One Little Word for 2017. How cool is that!

0157. holding a preemie but gorgeous baby and delivering a meal to the family with two sets of twins

0158. a delicious handmade salad

0159. re-arranging furniture and giving a living room new life - in time for small group to regather

0160. Jeff coming home today at a decent hour.

0161. a couple texting conversations that made my day

0162. cool nights for some really good sleeping weather

0163. being struck at the heart after this Sunday's sermon how very much we are blessed as a couple and a family and as a country even, and mostly, that we are on the right track - but we can always do more.

0164. some really good conversation in small group that carried over after they went home into our own conversation.

0165. connected with Stacia

0166. connected with Amy

0167. connected with Jessie

0168. finishing a really good book

0169. uploaded the first video to a new Bible study. Lately, I've been bombarded with the idea - well, truth, in fact - that growth in Christ just doesn't happen with a fresh studying of His Word. One has nothing, absolutely nothing to stand on with His Word.

0170. the fire-roasted marshmallow scent wafting in the room

0171. rejoicing with friends when 3 of their kids (adult kids) are part of the worship team that day

0172. the answer to anxiety, worry, uncertainty, discontent is always exalt Christ. Give Him your gratitude. Give Him your praise. Bless Him.


Friday, with a cup of coffee | 19


Photo Source

Seriously, how one woman read 313 books in one year! Truly inspiring. It will never happen to me - but inspiring nonetheless, especially the one where she read instead of binge watched Netflix - how innovating...

Peruse some of Dirk Dallas' Drone Photography - breathtaking!

Choose kindness  - over meanness.

I would so love these kind of friends. Speaking of friends...!

Bring tissues. Kindness is still alive.

12 Things Happy People Do Differently.