what I've been reading lately | december edition


Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. I have mixed emotions, convoluted views about this non-fiction book on leaving behind the frantic life for a simpler, more soulful way of living. The caveat that makes the book good is the reminder that she, like all of us seeking a deeper, yes simpler, more spiritual and soulful way of living, are a work in progress. This book really is how Shauna came face to face with a reality that was breaking her, and what she did about it. I guess, because I am a fairly mature Christian, yet still very much a work in progress, I can see her spiritual journey weaved throughout the book but she doesn't write about the nitty gritty of her relationship with Jesus before her realization, nor is she hard core 'this is where I'm at now'. This is not a self-help book. But, it can help someone if they are facing similar realities of being overwhelmed.

It was me all Along by Andie Mitchell.  I first read about Andie from her food blog where she shared how she'd lost 135 pounds and how she was keeping it off. I felt [feel] her pain. She is inspiring. I heard her memoir that came from writing her blog was good - real good. Good does not due it justice. Exceptional. Inspiring. I feel like my weight is not a lost cause and that I can do something about it. Seriously.

Unashamed by Christine Caine. I've lived with shame for much of my adult life. And, while I've tried often to leave my shame behind I seem to always be confronted with more shame to be had. It is debilitating, painful, and - well - shameful. I'm seriously tired of it! Caine hits shame hard, right between the mountains of hurt that have taken a lifetime to build and she comes at it straight from the word of God. This book is filled to the brim with scripture-based answers to my (your) shame. Phenomenal!

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

In memoir, narrative form, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle chronicles a family's adventure and commitment after moving to a Virginia rural farm to live off locally grown foods - eating local, buying local, and a slow food movement (versus fast food). The book offers a wealth of informative and enthralling journalistic investigation to the old adage, you are what you eat. Long-winded at times, good information, got off on tangents that weren't in the least memoir-form, thoroughly enjoyed the parts that were strictly living off the land, eating off the land, buying local, etc.; it was the 'other' stuff that clouded the memoir.

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

For my Advent devotional this year I am reading, and reflecting, The Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp and it is amazing. I wanted this Christmas season to be filled with reflection, and peace and joy and giving and remembering Jesus is the reason, always. I knew an Ann Voskamp book would set firmly in - Jesus. And her prose...oh my! Simply beautiful!

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp

Seeking, daring to find, the abundant life in Christ we were meant to have. Sometimes, the way Ann writes is difficult to understand. I had to read this very slow and often re-read sentences or paragraphs multiple times. That being said, this is a wonderfully gut-wrenching, difficult, beautiful book.

and one piece of fiction in the breadth of non-fiction...

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Shall I confess something? This is, truly, the first time I have ever read A Christmas Carol. Loved it!


This is my third month participtating in Modern Mrs. Darcy's What I've been Reading Lately link up. Here are: November | October

You might have noticed I have been making a 12 x 12 scrapbooking page of what I've been reading. After completing my 52 New Books in 2016 project I wanted another way to document what I've been reading. I decided to make a page of each months reads. I love this kind of documentation. Plus, I'll tuck them into my yearly album. For this page I used almost 100% Ali Edwards Design Story Kit READ.


Stories 2016 | the one with Tucker and Silas


I'm trying to plow through a bunch of photos of Tucker and Silas. I want to catch up before Maggie has delivers her next twins. Then I need to decide how, if, I'm going to continue making pages. Most likely I will. But, I'm not sure what my scrapbooking plans are for 2017.

For this page, like most of these pages, because they are a smaller size - 8 x 8 - I'm keeping things fairly simple, clean, with limited embellishments and concentration on these too cute boys.


I had to hunt down a small Halloween kit because it isn't something I've ever needed. But, my kids (and grandkids) do the Halloween thing so I'm ready to record memories.


And of course, I used One Little Bird and Paislee Press digital products also, two of my go to designers of all things digital. Simply love the beautiful minimalist designs. And, come on, there's Tucker, too. He's a doll!

stories 2016 | the one with the Trumps


I love that Jessie (Trump) includes everyday life into her facebook feed so I can document it like this. She journals their life. It makes my 'job' easy. This was such a fun page to put together. Papers and embellishments by Sahlin Designs.


What a great story. Making new traditions! Way to go Jessie and Jordan. You are giving these kids a hope and a future.


I can be pretend jealous at all their adventures can't I? But, I can't help but think - oh, these kids are so blessed. Jordan and Jessie are holding nothing back...making good memories to replace their bad ones. 

stories 2016 | more on Tucker and Silas

Adkinsons Grateful

I don't get to see these little guys very much anymore but I'm adoring them vicariously through photos that their Mom and Dad post on Facebook. I've enjoyed immensely scrapping pages and making them and album over this past year. Not sure how long I'll continue...I guess until I stop.


These are clean and simple pages that focus on the photos. I've used a combination of digital designers for all these pages: Ali Edwards, Paislee Press, One Little Bird, and Sahlin Designs.

I love the boys' outfits. Reminds me of how we dressed the boys when they were this size...so long ago, now.


Because this album is 8 x 8 I've not been able to use any templates but have had to create my own.




And then there is this one. Yep, they're adding two more little boys to their family. 


This is definitely one of my favorite pages...about reading...of the mix.

stories 2016 | happy fall


I am seriously stoked at all of the really good photos popping up in my daughter, Elizabeth's Facebook feed of my granddaughter Ella, who is shooting through the roof in height and my too-cute grandson Noah. Some of her latest creations are these totally FALL photos. She captured them perfectly - some 'staged', some playful. I am loving the outcome with perfect sun glint and preciousness.

And, they are making me miss this...

Miss them.

Ella is growing into quite the young lady with quiet and grace. We see this each time we're together. Noah, with his freshly shorn hair...adorable. It's killin' me!


I originally made these two pages separately (the one below first); but, then I thought I could give them a similar feel and even possibly 'go-together' in one, two-page spread. I knew exactly what digital kits I wanted to use, especially when I saw Elizabeth's dress! I chose, hands down, Paislee Press' Friendsgiving kit and Sahlin Designs Kindred kit. Both are gorgeous kits!


I adore how both pages turned out. It didn't hurt the subjects of the photos (or the digital kits) were amazing!

stories 2016 | authentic


A favorite photo lately of Ian and Wyatt. And this page. I loved putting it together. I adore how it turned out. Ian can get in his own little world where he likes it best. But, he seeks out those he most loves regularly. I remember when Jeff and I visited at the beginning of the year. Ian would go off and play by himself, but every time he ventured out he'd call out for Pop Pop. Just making sure his grandpa was still there, and available, and - present.

Wyatt is a mess! And what a superb mess he is. He's in the middle of everything. I adore all his questions and probings. He's wisdom beyond his years - and fun to boot.

Digital Notes: I used a bunch of One Little Bird brushes, a couple tags and that big, honking photo of my gorgeous grandsons.


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