Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Journey From St. Jude to MJHS...

Friends...I have been absent from my little scrapbook/card making with my birthday came the final report that my dear girlfriend that has been like a sister to me for the past 25 years..has recurred with breast cancer 7 years after her initial diagnosis.  She is like a sister to me.  We were married 6 weeks apart (she went first), birthed our babies together(she went first), potty trained our boys together, she has cared for my sick children while I tried to break away from St. Jude and we have spent nearly every Friday night together since our children were little and it was too hard to go out and do anything else.  There are no words for her place in my heart except sister.  She is a warrior and full of God's grace.  We met at Olivet but she was closer to my Randy than me at that point due to their majors.  I am so glad our paths intersected and that we have been able to share so much.

This page is not about Jill's journey and mine with her- but it is about God moving me to a different place before her second battle.  Although I am not working less...I am right in town - and that is where I want and need to be. I love our quick lunches at my house. HIS timing and HIS ways are always right and perfect.  I don't know why she is having to fight this fight again - but it is already evident that she is "salt & light" as she fights the fight.  My prayer is that I can be the friend she needs me to be.

I made this page this summer and didn't post it - it felt too private- but now, it seems right. Feel free to stop reading at any point and get back to your life.  I know the journaling is long...but this is my story of how God moved like he did for Gideon...for me. HE is an awesome God! (Click on the image to be able to enlarge the photo.)

Merry Christmas and wishing you a joyful 2013.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Card for a Boss

I have been neglecting my little blog as I have been busy with so many other things.  I am so blessed to have two really good men in leadership at the Jr High.  They are really honorable and care deeply about the kids we have in and out of the office every day. I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with something manly.  The Stamps of Life set was perfect for the occasion.

I hope you are having a fantastic fall.  I love the colors and the crisp temperatures. The colors of these cards are reflective of my autumn inspirations.  The earthy and vibrant colors are so fabulous.  I want to capture them. Making a card in fall colors is a perfect opportunity to capture the beauty of this season.

Have a great week.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall is here...Homecoming Parade 2012

The 2012 Morton High School Cross Country at the Homecoming parade.  Not much more to say about that!  I really think the faces tell the story.  These kids are driven and tough. They can finish what most of us would never start.  Walker has had another hard year with an injury to a quad muscle so he can't compete, but he goes to practice every day.  That makes him better than me.  I think I would give up - but that is what I love about this group...they never give up.  They cheer each other's victories and share the burdens of injury and missing the mark.  

I love this group not just for what they do - but for who they are. The happy faces, chatter between friends and evident camaraderie says it all. 

Savor the perfect fall day! My house is clean.  Youth Worship is prepared. Our 8th Grade baseball team is playing for a State Title today. My sons are together. I get to enjoy my husband.  All is well.  Enjoy the gifts of this day and the signs that Fall is here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Summer slips away...

Summer is slipping away and although my scrapbooking has been a bit neglected- I have taken pictures to satisfy the part of me that needs to create.  These are my little neighborhood girls that feel like nieces.  We have watched them grow up and they are simply precious...not just beautiful...but fun to be with. I miss my nieces and nephews that live too far away.  I am thrilled to have Marina and Kallie two doors down.

What I love about a little girl?  Cartwheels, questions, chatter and energy to spare.  Marina came down wearing a dress like one of mine and made me feel so very special.  She loved playing with my scarf.  I could photograph her all day.  I love the bare feet, eyes that sparkle and sister moments.

Savor the sweetness in every day.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Faith Journey...

I am not sure how this will show up...the page is build on I try to go for a clean and simple approach . It is Day 6 of the BPC Big Idea Festival and Cathy Z...a favorite of mine for many years...was the inspiration.  She loves fonts...words...simple and clean...and I love her style - even when I don't really emulate it in most of my layouts.  Today- I tried to "get real" and pay tribute to Cathy Z with some "White Space"...that actually happens to be white this time.  I hope it looks okay on the web.

I love it when the assignment of "Getting Real" intersects the rest of my day to make it easy to complete.  I started this layout before church and came home with Henry Blackaby's book- "Experiencing God".  I read the assignment for next weeks group and came down to finish my page.  All I can say is WOW- do they fit together for me like a puzzle piece. 

For me...God has always been more experience than intellect ( I guess I relate more to Pooh who is relationship oriented than to Owl who thinks about everything) ...because I have always been able to feel His presence more than I can explain His ways. I believe in the Trinity. I believe in the resurrection.  I can read, study and quote from the pages of His word - but it is in the moments that I step back and watch Him move in my little world...or look back and see that he did move to provide and protect...well, that is the stuff that gives me goosebumps.  Those are the moments that I find such peace in the valleys and joy on the mountain tops of life.  That is as "real" as it gets. 

This layout - about my last day at St. Jude and turning in the badge was a very real moment of trusting God for the care and provision of our family.  It was about trusting him to give me joy in serving in a different place where I may or may not be viewed as a professional.  It is finding peace in knowing I am where He has led me and resting in the peace that can only come from seeking to be in the center of His will. Real is one commercial says..."my life- unscripted"! Unscripted maybe...but now without a Jeremiah 29:11 states. "I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." - the Message

Savor the real...the good and the hard...for these are the things that He uses to define us and refine us.  

Shalom (Peace and God's blessing on your day)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sisters-in-law...the chosen ones!

This is a really simple layout. I didn't want to take from the photo. I am so very blessed in the Sister-in-law department.  This layout focuses on my oldest brother-in-law's wife.  We married our guys about the same time and liked each other from the beginning.  We laugh at the things Monte and Randy do that are similar.  Monte is 14 years older and I swear I see my husband's future when I look at Monte. 

Jan and I just can almost read each other's thoughts within a few hours of being together.  We both love music, children's ministry, scrapbooking, card making and our men. There is never enough time to share, chat and play. On the rare occasion we have additional "Smith Sisters" with us - the fun is just multiplied.  The last time Lola, Jan and I were in the same place, we laughed until it hurt. (Does that count as exercise?)

On my side - my brother chose equally well.  How blessed I am.  I would love to have my "Sisters" all in one place some day...including the ones that have earned sister status after nearly a lifetime of friendship. Each one of them has added joy to my days.  Such a reunion may just have to wait until we live so far apart. 

This page is from a couple of "The Daily Digi" packs.  I am getting faster and understanding layers better the more I use them. I am finding that going back and forth between digital and traditional scrapbooking is good for me. Both tell our stories..and that is what will be of interest to future generations. 

Hope you had a restful Labor Day. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Who Do You Look Like?

I think it is pretty amazing how genes fall into place.  I remember, as a child, thinking a picture of Aunt Bonnie was me in a frame my Grandmother had on the wall.  As I grew- I realized it was my Aunt Bonnie...child number four and sister number three. 

I have been mistaken for her daughter and it got me right into the maternity ward when my cousin was having a baby. It was obvious to the staff that "her other daughter came by...she looks just like you".  We still laugh about it.

I don't have many pictures of Mom...she is hard to catch for some reason...but I love this one from the 2012 Guttendorf/Bess family reunion.  All three of us were there and this page idea was born.

Who do you resemble?  Chase is a mini-Randy and Walker has a great deal of Uncle Matt in him. Do you see your future in a relative? 

Have a great holiday weekend.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Thank You Card...

My "Thank You" card for my St. Jude Team...
Card details...Flower Paper form Hobby Lobby(not sure of brand), Cardstock cut to fit an A-2 envelope, Die Cut is a Sizzix die, butterfly paper glitter paper is Making Memories and the body is  from Michaels Recollections line the metallic pack.  A quick shout out - Michaels Recollections line is perfect for die cutting in Cricuts or other machines.  Clean and a nice weight - it cuts like butter.  Brad's and ribbon from my stash to dress it up. 

My ramblings for today...20 years of family support and social service at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate in Peoria, IL is where I "grew up."  I was a young mother...Chase was not even two yet...when John McCallister convinced me to interview for the position of  counselor at St. Jude. I was happy with my part time position at Peoria Alternative School but in the end - that I said yes.  I actually worked two part time jobs until Walker was born - keeping Wednesdays home and summers off from the school District. 

20 years in the "valley of the shadow of death" with cancer's youngest warriors and their families.  I am humbled that they allowed me to share their path and I will never be the same for the experience.  Traveling Light - is  a book by Max Lucado that dissects the 23 Psalm.  He writes about a young man and his daughters riding back from the cemetery after burying their mother. A huge semi truck passes them throwing a shadow over the car and making it dark.  He uses that to draw a picture of the "valley of the shadow of death".  The shadow cannot hurt us.  It can be scary - but in itself is nothing to fear- although it is human nature to do just that.  The book was given to me by a friend from church after my sister died.  

Today is the 17th anniversary of her death on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa and she is on my heart. 17 years ago today - the Air Force Chaplin arrived in Clifton where my parents were visiting my brother's office.  He was looking for directions to our farm and found them there together...just as I know God allowed for them to have each other when the letter was read. She died just two weeks before her wedding day.  I was forever changed by her loss, "Traveling Light" and 20 years in the field of pediatric cancer. April died just over a year after we had lost out niece, Jennifer,  in a car accident.  Loss changes us but it has it's gifts. It allowed me new insights into my work on what it feels like to have your family forever changed by a loss. 

Life seldom turns out the way we expected and the best plans can fail.  Still, we can "dance in the rain" and hold on to joy because we have a hope that "moths and rust cannot destroy". 


Saturday, August 25, 2012

I See You...

I try really hard to not be one of those people that just goes on and on about their own kids- you know the ones I mean.  Maybe that is why I love to scrapbook.  I can write down how I really feel about my children - for their benefit - and not someone else's boredom.  I want them to know how very much I love and treasure them. I want them to begin to grasp how God has blessed them.  When something in their life is hard, I don't want them to say "Why me?".  I want them to say, "Why not me?" 

In I once heard Max Lucado put it..."only by God's grace and Jesus' blood do I NOT get what I deserve."  Any good thing that comes is a gift and every trial is an opportunity to grow.  Joy is the fruit of this knowledge.  

As our children grow into young adults...our parenting role seems to change.  Less discipline and more mentoring.  I pray we are doing the right things so that they choose wisely their paths and whom they will serve.  We are not perfect and fail miserably at times.  I am glad they show us forgiveness. It is fun to do an occaisonal layout reflecting on who we see them becoming and how that makes us feel as parents.  

I used the Smart Alec kit from The Daily Digi....that little monthly download is truly the best friend to a new Digi or Hybrid scrapper, like myself.  Now- on to a paper page...after I FINALLY clean my Scrapcave. Don't tell my hubby- he will be so surprised. 

Have a sensational Saturday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

VBS memories...

I absolutely adore that my kids are still willing to serve at VBS every year.  I know the day will come that they can't, due to other commitments - but these are the sweetest memories.  The Pirate theme was fun and Walker diligently ran the sound board - even after Cross Country practice.  Spending time with the Leander's and the Roth's is a real bonus. 

We are so blessed to have found a church family to call our own - since our family lives far away. Most of my children's childhood memories are woven into the same fabric as Ryan, Emma, Blake and Leah's. It is good.

Do you have fond and fun VBS memories?  Do you have memories of growing up with certain kids that make you smile?  There are stories waiting to be told!

Live-laugh and love-

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back to the Blog...

Well friends....finishing a 20 year season at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, visiting family in Florida and  starting my new life as the MJHS secretary...I have been absent from scrapping and blogging.  I hope that at the conclusion of this weeks VBS, that I will get back into the scrapping and card making zone.  I miss it and it is good for my soul. 

I have so many pictures that need love and attention.  I am hopeful that my dreams of a slower pace will be a reality, although I always seem to feel any open spot in my calendar.  MARGINS! I need to create them and protect them.  Not just for crafting purposes, but because they are good.  We all need a little down time.

I hope your August is off to a good start.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taipei Taiwan Bound

I must confess that sending your child to the other side of the globe is not the easiest thing a parent ever does.  A study abroad opportunity is such a great thing and a wonderful reward for working hard and diligently studying for many, many years. It is a different act of faith and trust than I have ever encountered. I know that he is prayed for and protected.  Still,  he has a piece of my heart wherever he goes.

This layout was done using "Geek Like Me" from the Daily Digi July download.  It had some great guy things for my senior engineering student on the go. I am still learning the basics of digital scrapping but I am enjoying the simple pages I have been able to make when my time is  limited.  It soothes the creative beast to create something and then I can work on other tasks I must finish. 

Have a good weekend and savor the little gifts in each adventure. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

He Loves Me...

It is here...the month that marks our 25th year of marriage.  What a fun season in life. We married, bought a house and made it a home. We were given to sons that we adore. We have had good time, sad times, challenging times, blissful times and through each season...we have held hands and faced each day as a team.  I love this man!  
As our sons grow older and start to think of the future - I want them to know that a mate is the most important choice you make (second only to choosing Christ) and that choice of a mate will be your greatest gift if you choose wisely. I hope they choose a friend...someone they really like...and can laugh with when life brings bumps.  I pray they choose someone they can worship with - hand in hand- as they seek God's best for their life.  I hope we have been a good enough example...we aren't perfect...I hope they can look past our shortcomings to see what is good... and solid... and loyal...and true. 
If you have been blessed with a good partner - don't forget to tell them they are cherished beyond measure over any earthly treasure.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quiet is not always a good sign!

This layout is a fun memory that we had been talking about recently.  Ryan (my best girlfriend's oldest) and my Chase will be will be 22 and 21 soon.

They pulled this stunt twice - once with regular baby powder and once with Gold Bond baby powder that made everything smell like Listerine.  Somebody didn't learn the first time...I am not sure if it was them or us!

The photo is scanned from 1992- so it is not great, but I wanted to capture the story. The Layout is digital in Memory Mixers and exported to PSE9 for finishing touches.  Memory Mixers is faster for me -and does some cool things I have not yet mastered in my PSE9.  For those new to digital - the Memory Mixer software is truly a great introduction.  The "store" if full of fun things and since I have a limited collection, I feel pushed to be more creative. A great feature is the "drop shadow" option.  It creates a sense of depth that leaves me touching the pages to confirm that they are flat. 

These boys...are now men. As I write this - one is working in the family business and the other is in Taiwan for a study abroad experience.  They are still friends...different in so many ways...but so bonded by the rich history they share together.  I hope they never lose touch.  

As you gather your memories...collect a photo that represents an old friendship!  The older I get- the more I savor the sweetness of old friendships. They are priceless and grow sweeter with time. 


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Memories of the 4th...

Another 4th of July celebration has come and gone.  It was a HOT, sweet day.  We enjoyed the Methodist Red White and Boom celebration like we have since Chase, Ryan and Emma were just babies. The Smith and Leander families know it is "what we do". Jill's brother's girls, Emma and Leah have been with us off and on over the years which only adds to the sense of family fun.  It seems the past few years we have been missing someone due to conventions, mission trips, study abroad opportunities and even a death in the family took Randy to Michigan ahead of us when his Dad died on the 4th of July six years ago.

We were all together again - with the girls as a bonus- and even a girlfriend.  It is just about as good as it gets...except the 100+ temperatures. I do not take these times together for granted.  Every day is a gift and every opportunity to just hang out together is savored.  We are so blessed to have a sense of family in this crew. We thank God for them.

Laughter, books, cards, watching the "fashion show", "fair food" from the vendors and the best fireworks show in the state made for a great time.  I caught some fun shots of the fireworks display using my 50mm lens.  

This layout was started in Memory Mixers and finished in PSE9.  Fast and fun.  The sparkle alphabet is from a Christmas Alphabet ant the fireworks are from a New Year's Eve Kit. Don't forget to think outside the box when looking at seasonal kits.  I find that many cross over to other celebrations. No sketch - I started with the photos and played with sizes to get all of these pictures on one page. 14 pictures on a one page layout is just about a record for me!

Stay cool my friends.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!
Let Freedom Ring!  I love this holiday.  It is all about family and fun and remembering that we are so blessed to live in a country with so many freedoms.  I do wonder,  200 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, if we we still hold tightly to the values of  so many of the founding fathers.  Those men had such courage...and in their youth...didn't seem to realize they were taking on Goliath - but they did it and they won! 

Today - I have concerns that the same quest for freedoms that birthed this country- is now somehow a fatal flaw. With great freedom comes great responsibility. Integrity and character are still what will make or break a nation. This is a creative blog and not a political one - so I will leave it at that. I am grateful for those who came to build better a better life- some on the Mayflower and some in my lifetime.  We are all richer for the melting pot that makes America great. 

My layout is not from a 4th of July celebration..maybe that will come later...but this paper seemed so right for the day! Fireworks and Epcot go together! We love the show there.This particular visit to Disney in 2007 is barely scrapped.  I am getting so much done recently with my growing digital skills.  I work on a layout when I need a break from editing photos.  It refreshes me and I can go back to my current photography projects.  

I have Walker's Freshman pages to do in the traditional scrapbooking manner of paper/adhesive/die cuts and more. How fortunate we are to have so many mediums to capture our memories. 

Savor your celebration today - wherever you are!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Laugh Olympics are the best at Lincoln Grade School! Teachers, kids and parent volunteers enjoy the adventure of goofy games and contests.  The photos, from May 2009, sat in a file just waiting to be used.  These papers and establishments from the Daily Digi July download were just the answer.

I cannot believe that this group of kids are soon to be sophomores in high school. The short years between 6th and 9th grades change them so much.  They are still a great group of kids- just older and busier.

Savor the summer.  Try and stay cool - it is HOT, HOT, HOT in Central Illinois.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I Believe...

The prompt...I Believe...from Your Story Matters with Lain Ehmann was fun.  I thought I would do a sentimental reflection on my beliefs and values and perhaps I still will at some point- but as looked through pictures I found this group from our Hero themed VBS in 2010.   

Youth get such a bad wrap when in truth - there are kids out there doing great things and good things.  These 6 kids have been working VBS every year since they graduated from the program. They make it so much fun for me.  I love seeing them as young adults and teens. They aren't little kids anymore.  I love them all. Between them they have worked post Hurricane Katrina in Alabama, inner city Pittsburgh and Eolia, KY in Appalachia. They have worked Mennonite Relief Sales, community events and serve weekly at church. Not a bad resume for  16, 18, 19, two @ 21 and one 22 year old.  

I do believe that youth can change the world. They have the energy and the passion.  If given freedom to try and encouragement through the struggles - they can do just about anything.  

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Father's Day Layout...

Father's Day 2012
My guys and their Dad are quite a pair.  I beg for photos and Mother's Day and Father's Day are two of the days they indulge me and my camera. They were horsing around as I was trying to get a picture.  They were acting silly and I loved seeing it.  No matter how old they seem to get - they are still act like boys together. 

This layout was done with MME papers. I love the colors for my men. I tried to grab the humor of the boys card...Chase wrote a sentimental note and Walker crossed Chase's name out and wrote his own. We all got a good laugh. 

I had to add a little sparkle...because a little glitter makes everything better. Layouts with my guys are my favorites! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I am what I am...

This is a photo of me with my SIL Janita.  Jan was well chosen by Randy's brother, Monte, to be my sister.  I have very few photos of just me and I really thought that this layout needed to show a relationship because in truth - it is all about the many relationships that define who I am.

Will I ever be comfortable pouring out who I am into a layout?  I don't know, but it is a goal to get a little of me on this years pages so my boys will be able to pass one who I was beyond telling their stories.

This layout was started in Memory Mixers and finished in PSE9 - I have to make the most of what few digi supplies I have. :)  I love that I can use and reuse the same piece of paper - it is a paper hoarders dream (and yes- I have a hard time using the last sheet of anything.  I think when I print it - I will add some embellishments so it will be more of a hybrid page.  I love texture.

Take time to tell your story, too. You matter to your loved ones.

I remember...

So this is a little outside of my favorite colors but it was a "vintage" photo form around 1968 and the colors seemed right.  This layout is digitial but the silhouetted children are my favorite element and could easily be pulled form your Cricut "A Child's Year".

Quick shout out to that look at the back of the box and think "What would I need that for?" but it is full of gems that are just the right choice for an assortment of pages from vintage photos to 4th of July celebrations. It is more than a "kids" cartridge and if you do have kids - it works for those "child-like moments" in your older children's lives because it is just a little more sophisticated.

The muted colors are not my "go to" colors - but I think they worked for the feeling I was going for here. It is one of the few pictures I have from my childhood so it is a treasure.  It is even better because my little sister, who died in 1995, is in it.  I look at us and see that our Walker is definitely from our gene pool. My little brother was no yet on the scene, but Walker is a Mini-Matt in so many ways.

This page was a result of a prompt by Lain Ehmann's "Your Story Matters 2012" prompt "I remember". It was fun to think about the things that have come and gone in my lifetime or are at risk of disappearing due to new and improved methods or technology. Old television shows are woven into our memories. The ways we communicate are ever-changing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What to post today?

Ahh...sweet treats at Beaches and Cream with the family at  WDW Yacht and Beach Club resort. This "No Way Jose" Chocolate Peanut Butter decadence keeps us coming back for more. The 50's style diner hosts markets "the Kitchen Sink" which is every ice cream and topping for about $28. We always talk of getting one for the entire family to share (It would feed all 12 of us!) but our favorites always win out.  

This layout is part of my digital adventures. I love the ease of photo sizing in digital and my buttons are flat so they don't damage anything.  I don't like having to think about the edges that might not print and making sure all of my journaling is not in "the bleed".  

Any scrappy adventure is a good one.  Back to photo editing. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fairy Godmothers Rock!

I love being a "Fairy Godmother"!  That is what my nieces called me when they were little.   I have loved trying to add a little magic to their lives.  My LOAD prompt was "cartoon inspired" and my mind went to Disney movies.  Then I had to find a photo to go with it.

This photo of me with my Smith Sisters seemed to rock the prompt. I made me think of Flora, Fauna and Meriwether.  We are bit beyond getting to claim the princess title...but who can refuse the joy of getting to be a Fairy Godmother?  Own it!  Embrace it!  Savor it!  Every season in life has it's gifts and adventures.

The layout is such a simple layout - but the quote and photo said it all - so I felt it was done.  Hope you enjoy making the magic in your world today. 

Happy First Day of Summer!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Off on a mission trip...

Walker is off on his first week long mission trip.  He did a little inner city work in Pittsburgh last summer at church convention - but this week is the real deal  This photo was taken over the weekend and I really enjoyed journaling my thoughts of his adventure ahead,.  I simply could not love him any more than I do.  Isn't love amazing?  You can love all of your children equally and differently.  Walker makes me smile...but getting a smile out of him is hard work!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Sisters...Mom and Aunt Bonnie

This is a quick layout - I am still learning to use Photo Shop Elements 9 for Digi pages.  This is my second attempt.  My "supplies" are limited.  I did the Daily Digi because it is a TON of stuff for under $10 a month.  I can see where Digi Scrapping saves $ but I still need to touch, cut and play with paper and my beloved Cricut and Sizzix.

I really think that of all of my family - I resemble Aunt Bonnie (on the left) the most. She is a hoot.  She lives out loud and has a tender heart.  We always looked forward to her visits as children and feel blessed that we see her several times a year most years - although she lives several hours a way in what is truly "Southern Illinois" on the Puducah KY border in a tiny town called Vienna.  She sounds like she was born in the South - but she has always sounded that way...even though she is a Kankakee native.

My mother (Ina Mae) always enjoys what we fondly refer to as "the sisters".  A force of nature unto themselves! They are quite a bunch. With 7 girls and 3 boys...the guys had no voice in family meetings.  They still don't.  My uncles are good guys!

With the family being large...and tight on money...they learned to value the most important thing...FAMILY. They love each don't think they don't fuss and snip at each other...but they are loyal and defend each other like mother lions. Sometimes I think of the old song... "God help the Mister that comes between me and my Sister!" and "God help the Sister who comes between me in my man!"

Hope you are savoring the Saturday.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Same layout

I scrapped this photo I shot of my niece for her 8th grade graduation slideshow.  It really captures her and she is hard to catch!  She is so beautiful...and she is like a butterfly to photograph!  You have to be quick.  I love this one because you can really see into her soul.  I scrapped the same photo in LOAD with paper.  I am trying to build my Digi Skills and I could not resist recycling the photo.  That is the joy of Digi - use and reuse. My Earth friendly children would be pleased.

The supplies are from The Daily Digi...such a fun company and digi supplies are never gone.  I can use paper without losing it in my stash.  I am not giving up paper scrapping but this is kind of fun.

Have a blessed day.  Photograph your own "Free Spirit" and capture them in a layout.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Eye of the Beholder

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that the eyes are the window to the soul.  I think both are true statements.  What the eye sees as beautiful is always through the lens of ones own experiences.  I remember watching Avatar and thinking how odd the creatures looked at first but they became so beautiful as the story unfolded.  Dad always said every crow thinks his chicks are the prettiest...and crows do not have beautiful babies when they hatch.

This LOAD challenge was a a 6X12 page.  That is a new size for me -but I do love how it came out.  My niece has "Lindgren eyes" and she is a beauty.  She was just a child when I took this photo one Halloween.  Now, she is 16 and driving.  Time flies.  A girlfriend thought this was a self portrait and it was my eye. That is a compliment I will savor.

Have a fantastic start to June.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I Hope You Dance

This is a layout that is my favorite kind to tells a story but then goes deeper.  My new, self titled style is "Photojournalist Scrapper".  I want a great picture (or in this case an unusual photo to spotlight) and a story that goes deeper into the heart of the layout.  I am a word girl and I love to soul search.  I need a quiet time to do that and my LOAD (LayOut A Day) experience with Lain Ehmann has been a recharge.

A "found picture" prompt inspired this "Grab and Go" layout. I literally found the picture in a scrap pile and grabbed a a fun design from "Everything Orange" - a LOAD friend- and away I went. My creative soul was satisfied until the next hunger pain strikes.

Happy Scrappyday!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Grandma Rejected Dillinger!

Yes!  It is true.  John Dillinger spent some time in Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN where my Grandmother's family lived for a season.  Many immigrants from Sweeten and Germany were in the area. Grandma's family would eventually end up in Ashkum, IL but even as youth I remember visiting extended family in Fargo.  The Red River runs up (yes, it is true) and the fields of sunflowers were amazing to watch turn with the sun.  It was a beautiful place in the warm months. We won't talk about the winters.

Grandma's brother, Frank, worked building roads on a "steam engine". He met a young John Dillinger and found his fast cars and attitude fascinating.  Grandma was not so impressed.  She thought he was trouble and she was right!  She'd dance with him - but that was as far as it was going to go.  Thank goodness- I would not relish him in my family tree.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oh Bubba...

Allow me to introduce Bubba...he is an English Bulldog.  
Glory Hallelujah!
Bubba is a character!  There is nothing delicate about him - except maybe his digestive system.  He could have been named Hoover.  I've never seen an animal inhale food like he does.  He belongs to our dearest friends so we see him often. 

He was the cutest puppy.  How do you not love that face? His personality is a bit like a bull dozer but he really does love people.  He makes me laugh just looking at him.  He isn't a year yet so we are still enjoying watching him grow. Never a dull moment with Bubba. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Freedom Isn't Free

Happy Memorial Day weekend.  This layout is a reflection on where we stand today - 10 years after the day our world stood still on 9/11 2001.  My boys were so little and today they are men.  In 1995, we were a family that had the USAF chaplain arrive at the door with the news that my sister had died of unknown causes at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan...2 weeks before her wedding day.  We had to cancel a wedding and plan a funeral in a week. I have still not put the whole experience into words - because there are no words.

When words fail - that is where a 21 gun salute and the bugle corps playing Taps spoke volumes about service, honor and sacrifice.  The last 21 months of her life - we did not get to see her or hug her.  Still - God in his wisdom - gave her the love of her life in that season.  A good and loving man to make her last days the sweetest of her life.  He put her in a situation where she ministered to the brokenhearted and healed those around her with her generous spirit.  I know because those she touched told the stories.   When I see a flag - my mind is taken to the soldier handing that folded representation of her service in the Air Force and her sacrifice to be away from home in what we did not know would be the last days of her life.

Hold those you love close.  Forgive. Pray for a soldier.  Love without reservation for we know not the day we have left.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Watching Grandpa...

This picture of my Grandpa Lindgren is from the 70's .  It was over-exposed and my cousins almost pitched it...but knowing my love of photos they didn't.  I am so glad.  I love how this layout turned out.  The almost ghostly presence of my Grandfather makes me smile. I know he is in heaven - but I like to think that my earthly prayer warrior is keeping me covered in prayer until we are reunited. 

You can see the adoration as my brother gazes at him.  What a great man he was.  We loved him - and he loved us back with all that he had in him. I inserted the older photo because even in his early days...the engineer stripe bibs were his daily uniform for farming. Oh the memories.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cousin Brother and Cousin Sister

The LayOut A Day (LOAD 512) was to journal from another's perspective.  I thought Harley and her Cousin/Sister pictures was a perfect opportunity.  The kids run when the camera comes out and do the dogs.  Harley is tolerant but I swear he rolls his eyes.  Belle was hilarious and it was as challenging as small children. I eventually gave up but the shots I did get seem to tell the story.  

This was a great opportunity in the hidden journaling behind Harley's picture to tell the "Cousin Brother/Cousin Sister" story of how we adopted litter mates at a family reunion making siblings into first cousins.  They obviously picked up different looks from their Norwegian Buhound mother and Boxer/Lab father.  

The layout is not my favorite piece of art but it is a story captured and in the albums and the whole philosophy in LOAD is "I am so past perfect!"  Happy Sunday. 

My Jill (the sister God gave me outside of family...that has become family) has her youngest graduating from HS today.  Another reminder of how fast time flies and how blessed we are to have the gift of each new day. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our Babies...

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  This was a great time to make a layout on our babies.  They are all growing up and older.  Even Harley will be 8 this summer.  Time flies! The layout is from a sketch and worked to help create another fast page.  I am really getting more scrapped - as I am focus on getting it done instead of getting it perfect. Enjoy your day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Sense-ible" Scrapping- Touch

Lain Ehmann's prompt for Friday's during LayOut A Day is "Five Senses Friday".  I love this for the sheer opportunity to scrapbook the feelings beyond the pictures.  More opportunity for words...and I do love words. Touch was the assignment - and "the touch the feel of cotton...the fabric or our lives" was a commercial from the cotton growers several years back. Weehoo!

I thought about the picture and couldn't resist pulling out this old beach photo from Daytona Beach 2010 with the Smith family. We were all wearing cotton...and the sand was squishing between our toes. The moment had a great deal of sense appeal.

Scrap something you touch or feel today.
Happy Scrapping

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tradition...6+ layout

I am relishing the LayOut A Day (LOAD 512) because the focus is on getting the pages made and in your album.  When it comes to my scrapbooks- I am an artist looking for the perfect layout when I am done.  That is great when I have all day to work on one layout - but in my REAL LIFE - I am a busy girl and have much to get done. So thanks Lain, Dani, Elin Janne and Lisa for the inspiration to get it done!

This is last years Easter pictures...some are even the "seconds" but since the assignments was 6 or more photos - it was a group I had in my stash to fit the criteria.  Since I am also done Blake's memory album for his graduation party (May 19th) time is not something I have a ton of to spare.  I did hand journaling (because it is hidden...I know I am bad but I am a perfectionist.)

Please note Mom's sister (child #5), Aunt Helen.  It is our joy and privilege to have her on holidays.  She is dear to our hearts.  She is the kid that never mentally grew up - having survived spinal meningitis as a baby.  She has worked at the CWTC for handicapped people for nearly 40 years. She loves her family - loves her work people and loves to "vacation in Morton.".  I learned a great deal about being joyful for the simple things from her.  She is precious!

Happy scrapping my friends.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Human...

Harley is the love of my husband's life.  Here is a layout that shows the special love they share. 

Dogs are such a wonderful addition to any family.  Harley is really a sweetie and well behaved.  His tongue is long and his tail could be licensed as a weapon, but he is a gentle giant. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Soundtrack of My Life

This was my Layout A Day Assignment:"Do a layout surrounding your sense of hearing."  I was instantly taken to music... and from that came the "Soundtrack of My Life" idea.  I have so much music in my life, in my world and in me.  This was a quick one pager -and I barely had room for a photo :) - but sound isn't about pictures, anyway.  It is about the images in my head created by the music.  

Seriously, I could re-do this idea next week and change the songs simply by remembering different aspects of my life, but these worked for this particular week.  Do we often think about the impact of the music in our world?  I don't think so. It does move us, motivate us and can change a mood.  It can make us feel reflective, powerful or sentimental.  Music is the language of the soul and I know heaven will be filled with it. 

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy National Scrapbooking Day

This is our day!  The day scrapbookers around the world will devote to our hobby and our passion for preserving memories.  There is no right our wrong way to tell your story.  I am a fan of photo safe products, but outside of that...just have fun.  

I am on Day 5 of LOAD 512 (Layout a Day) with Lain Ehmann and am having a great time.  She is funny and inspiring.  Her "Scrapper on the Street" works with my SIL Jan at Disney.  They are blessed to have each other. Jan invited me to take the journey with her and since I have a graduation book to get done for my Blake (not my son by birth but very much a nephew of my heart)- I knew I would need the inspiration of other scrappers.  I am having a fantastic time - but oh is my scrapcave a mess!  You all know that I can't be neat and creative.  The rest of the house is in order...but I am in creative chaos and I couldn't be more pleased.  

Have a great day scrapping or making memories. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

No Photo Challenge

The Layout A Day with Lain E. is going to be a challenge to keep up with. Of course - a "no photo" challenge was an opportunity to do a page I have been meaning to do about our faith and values. It was fun to create. I never run out of words...just layout space. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I joined a "Layout A Day" scrapbook project with my Sister-in-Law Jan. It is fun to do it together when we live so far apart. The Day one assignment was a self portrait. Those are not my favorite assignments-but I am seldom in the scrapbooks - so this project may take me outside of the box. I should have plenty to share this month. I hope I can juggle it all with the business of May. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Potted Easter Mum...pull up for scripture

I love Easter and sending Easter cards (I wish had time to make more). Easter is such a special season. Christmas is so big...and full of hype...and reminds us of the miracle of Christ's birth, but Easter was His biggest victory and ours- for those who believe.

This card was done with nearly exclusively "The Stamps of Life" but the scripture is from my old, beloved Printworks (Annette Allen Watkins) I used an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of cardstock - sliced in 1/2 long ways...a couple of inches cut off and then folded in thirds with the last third trimmed a few inches for the flap. It depends on how big you want your pot to be.

A book mark shaped piece to "plant" in the pot is perfect. I use the Scotch glue runner to seal the pot on the sides. A hidden scripture can be pulled up and out to reveal the meaning of Easter.

NOTE: Be sure to check that your pot is envelope friendly. I had to use my clear envelopes - cute by costly to send.

I hope you enjoy your Easter celebration.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A birthday card for coffee lovers

This is for my dear friend Shelley...she drinks coffee, but more than that - she deserves a break. She has a servants heart and does for everyone but her self. I have never seen a selfish act or intentional unkindness. Seriously - I was blessed with some of the best friends in my life's journey.

I hope she enjoys this as much as I enjoyed making it. :) The stamps are mostly from Stephanie Barnard's "The Stamps of Life". She is so fun. An old Printworks favorite made the card, too.

Have an amazing day.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Leaping into March...

I have been playing with some scraps and thinking about spring. I really love butterflies. They can be any color and are so free. I needed a sympathy here is what I came up with.

I am cleaning my scrapcave and rubber room closet - so I must get back to work. Happy Saturday!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Birthdays in February...

February is a big birthday month for me. Some of the most important people in my world have birthdays between January 1st and the end of March. It means I have to clean up the remaining holiday scraps and head into valentines and birthday cards quickly. Then in a heartbeat, February slips away, too.

This card is for my dearest sister in so many ways. We found each other (a bit by default) in our last year of Olivet. She and Randy were far better acquainted. I had know idea that time would grow our friendship into one of great girlfriend relationships of my life. For 26 years we have shared so much. This is one of her birthday cards (she usually gets several every year). It is so true. I hope she knows that she is loved and treasured beyond measure.

That pink and orange combo has been resurrected. It is just too fun to pass up. More birthday cards to come....I have a Leap Year Birthday to celebrate.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Owl Be Happy...

Owl be happy if I get a new post twice a month. My goal of weekly creative sharing seems easily derailed by life. is the camera to blog time that slows me down. How often do most paper crafters create?

For spend a little time in my Scrapcave is soul restoration. Color, ribbon, texture and sharing a little heart are all part of the obsession for me.

I had fun with this very simple owl card. The curious little birds have returned to popularity. I remember a huge necklace my Mom had with moving circles that made an owl. Knowing my mother....she probably still has it. It is a fun childhood memory.

What bird has a sweet spot in your heart? Is it a sign of aging when birds have a new appeal...well beyond the droppings on the windshield. I think of the scripture that reminds us that "His eye is on the sparrow" and how little they worry as they diligently accomplish their daily tasks of gathering enough to eat and caring for their young. They never forget to check out the curious things in their world, but are quick to respond and flee danger. I guess I could learn quite a bit from watching them.

As we enjoy unseasonable temperatures...look for the signs that winter is coming to an end. Owl be doing that, too.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, January 2, 2012

NYE Invitations...I "bagged" them!

I wrote my title and then it dawned on me that the phrase..."I bagged that idea" is probably not used like it was in my younger days. Gosh...I am not that old! Kind of like when I realized me niece had never heard "sweet 16 and never been kissed". Oh well...the title works and it stays.

Every New Year's Eve, we invite our neighborhood and friends of the neighborhood to gather and bring in the new year with laughter and good snacks. This year was no different. Making the invitation is a "soul recharger" for me in the midst of the busy season. I need my creative moments.

A friend had given me a summer themed card with a packet of lemonade in the pocket from a paper bag. I immediately knew it would inspire my NYE invite. I swapped cider and cocoa where she had lemonade and I added a lovely Edward Guest poem about New Year's Eve just to get into the spirit of the holiday.

The invite was a hit...I hope they enjoyed the celebration, too. I used Stamps of Life stamps by Stephanie Barnard and Close to My Heart. My inks CTMH as well. The paper was Doodlebug.

I hope the New Year is off to a good start for you and yours. Every day is a new beginning and a gift to be unwrapped. Hope you get some creative time in, too. It is snowing a little as I finish this post.

My New Year's resolution is to blog a little more faithfully(and maybe share it with more than one friend) to keep the left side of my brain engaged...which usually helps my right side stay more focused, too. Happy 2012!