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!

Stories 2016 | wonderful carefree play


With every second Ian and Wyatt, while sitting at the dinner table, decided a bit of playing was in order. In didn't help that I pulled out my phone and began snapping pictures. Click. Another pose. Click. Another silly face. Click. Another antic. Click. Ooh, there's a smile. Click. Oops, another silly face. Click. Antic. Click. Nuts. Click. Fun, wonderful, carefree, play.

I had hoped I'd get one or two that were caught, perfectly cute, no silliness, no antics, I realized that while they each had silly antics they all were perfectly cute. Even the blurry shots because of their crazy movements. I mean, really, isn't this real - life.

Anyways, it means a ton of photos on pages - in albums; memories recorded.

Digital Notes: I used a template by the fabulous Yin Designs. She lives across the world and I love her blog, her work, and her faith. She's my go-to designer for templates. All the elements and papers are One Little Bird Designs - from various digital kits.

Stories 2016 | love wins every time


This past month when I visited Ashley and Brad, Ian, Wyatt, and newest grandson Samuel, I noticed some positive changes in Ian. Ever since he was diagnosed with autism we truly had no idea what to expect from him, of him. Over these few years we've been able to see the impact of the disability, identify what lies with autism, and Ash and Brad have handled things well, but sometimes we just didn't have answers. Except grace. And love. On this visit I saw how Ian has had an increased focus with his drawing. He spends more time, and the pictures are more recognizable, telling more story. I was intrigued by how in tune his is with numbers - not math persay - but, numbers, knowing how many days it is until Halloween and Christmas; and when at the beginning of the year Ian still struggled to keep his clothes on his body in the house he now can remain dressed for longer periods of time before he has to strip down to his underwear. Great strides. 

But, the most important thing I noticed when dealing or understanding Ian and this autism. Love wins every time.

Stories 2016 | Hopelessly Devoted


When I was visiting Ashley and Brad - and my grandsons - and - well, especially this little guy, Samuel was struggling with colic. He struggled to get settled. He didn't seem to find a peaceful sleep even when he was sleeping. He kept his mom and dad up with his painful cries. So, of course, exhaustion there. Here are prayers that the colic subsides and this little guys face begins to resemble a happy baby. The mischievous faces here might be a beginning. 

Digital notes: One Little Bird, Cheri kit

Stories 2016 | like a boss


Milestone: Samuel Cole at one month lifts his head up of his mom's shoulders - like a boss! Ashley came up with the term - like a boss - for this milestone and I love it! Samuel must have 'leaped' at this new accomplishment because when I was [just] visiting he didn't seem anywhere near being able to be 'like a boss' and lift up his head and himself - by himself. Go Samuel!

Digitally: Template by Sahlin Designs; papers by One Little Bird Designs; embellishments: One Little Bird Designs, Sahlin Designs, and Ali Edwards Story kits

Stories 2016 | Old New


We've lived in the same house for almost 20 years. I love that. We've put down roots. It's a good little house. But, it desperately needs some tender loving care. We've done some fantastic things that have made me fall in love with my house once again like gorgeous deep dark walnut wood flooring in the living room, hall, and master bedroom. We've tiled the kitchen and front entrance. 

I have a long list of things I'd like to see happen giving our home a fresh look and those things that can withstand times. Of course, things like a high end roof treatment and the good-stuff siding. Jeff recently built front steps, wider, the length of the stoop, and shorter for my weakened legs that have trouble on stairs. He's also, currently, doing the preparations for a new front porch. Cannot wait!

Something little that makes a powerful punch was changing the drab, sun-faded, bleached sea blue door with bright, shiny Sherwinn-Williams Teal Endeavor outdoor paint. Definitely makes a statement. We have new outdoor lighting for next to the front door, for the garage door, and for next to the garage side door. We will be ordering new door hardware also. It's gonna' look awesome.

But, until all of it gets completed it still looks really good!

Stories 2016 | a conversation with Wyatt @7


If you don't know what to say to kids, ask them questions. They are more than willing to open up to you and with enlightening answers too! Like I did Ella when we visited Elizabeth this time last year and asked Ella these same questions I knew I wanted to ask Wyatt and Ian these questions. My plan, I hope, is to ask them each year - and watch how they grow and change and mature - through their answers.

Wyatt's were very exciting.

I'm not sure when he saw a velopiraptor but it must have been memorable.

He is definitely wild and loud. He's mister to his momma so he must see himself that way too.

Such a great idea so I wanted to document it in a simple way. I used Sahlin Studio's Celebrate kit. Perfect!

52 New Books in 2016 | Finished


Today I want to share my completed 4 x 4 mini album of my 52 New Books in 2016. When I set the goal at the beginning of the year to read 52 New Books in 2016 I thought I was setting a lofty goal. In truth, I believe I did. But, I've come to love reading new books, of many kinds, and because of this and finding websites on reading like Modern Mrs. Darcy, I was encouraged to read! 

And read.

So, this September, when I picked up J. D. Robb's Apprentice In Death, fitting of course because this series is my all-time favorite - still, I completed my goal of reading 52 New Books in 2016. It feels good. 

Of course, I believe this means my 2017 goal needs to be loftier and one that will take me to the very last day of the year to complete. What will it be? 

75 New Books in 2017?

80 New Books in 2017??

90 New Books in 2017???

100 New Books in 2017????

Gonna' have to give this some serious thought.

But, in the mean time I wanted to share my mini album that I created to document my success!


I used a 4 x 4 We R Memories album, Ali Edwards Designs, and One Little Bird Designs to complete my pages.


For each page I added the book cover, when I finished the book, and sometimes a short blurb of what I thought of the book, and at times, I rated the book.

I read some books that were just okay.

And some books I just did not like - even if they had rave reviews.


I read several genres of books from Memoirs, to non-fiction; Christian non-fiction, Fiction, and Literary fiction.


I am so pleased that from all of my reading travels I found some new favorite series' such as Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series and Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt series. 


I was definitely stretched as a reader through this challenge. 

And I loved every minute of reading reviews, reading blogs about reading, selecting books, buying books, filling my shelves with books, and reading!

Documenting the books I read here on the blog, making mini-pages for a mini album of what I read, held me accountable to my goal. 

So excited for this coming years new reading goal.


Stories 2016 | Trump's


I recently completed a few digital pages, 12 x 12 for our friends, the Trumps. These five kids (a sister and 4 brothers) were adopted in to Jordan and Jessie's family. We befriended them at church, but they've since moved to Colorado. Jessie posts tons of photos on Facebook and because I'd already started a FAMILY album for them I decided to keep it up as long as they'll let me or until it is too much for me. But, man, it's great having the photos to work with and the journaling to go right along with it. Jessie makes my 'job' (Read: fun!) easy!

Digital notes: One Little Bird Designs


This is a blessed family. Don't get me wrong, they've had their fair share of difficulties; adopting 5 kids from seriously difficult backgrounds, isn't easy. But, they are putting in the hard work and the are better together.

Digital Notes: One Little Bird Designs


I love how Jordan and Jessie's lives are solidly FOR these kids. It's a grand adventure of good times.

Digital Notes: Sahlin Studio, Freebies


I love lots of photos, where the photos are the focus, over two-page spreads with minimal embellishments!

Digital Notes: Ali Edwards and Sahlin Studio

Stories 2016 | Just Samuel


I just saw Ian in May. I treasure my time with this guy so much. He just bends my heart to his like no one else.

Then, Ashley posted these photos on Facebook.

And I about died.

Even though Ian has his goofy grin (tugging at my heartstrings here; enough already:), but, it's not so goofy here but he looks so mature, instead.

It's like he's saying, "This is serious business holding my little brother. I'm going to get it right!"

Samuel Cole, you are one blessed boy to have Ian for your big brother. 


And, digitally, I used all Sahlin Studio's Me and You kit.


Love always.

Enough said.


Digitally, more of Sahlin Studio Me and You kit.