Saturday, October 10, 2015

My True North

Daily Gratitude Year 3-Day 275: Today, I am grateful for the compass provided in God's word. It is my "true north".
If I open His Word and read it, I will never be without direction. I may not always like where it is pointing or the truth it holds, but that is where our relationship changes and my trust grows. He does not change. Like a compass, there is true North and direction I can follow with confidence. I may wander, get tossed in a storm...but I will not be lost.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. - Psalm 119:105
I have always loved that song by Amy Grant that she wrote with Michael W Smith back in the early 80's. It is still popular for the sense of worship it evokes in the words of David and the contemporary melody.
I am so grateful that in this past three years - where I have not always enjoyed the journey... I have never felt abandoned. Not once! Yes, I have felt the shadow of death...but it is only a shadow. The shadow can't hurt us. Grief hurts...but that is because we have known love. A price worth paying. I would not trade the tears because I would certainly have to give back the joys, the celebrations and the laughter. Let the tears flow...and let my Lord count and collect them...and keep them in His bottle. Let our tears be a sparkling offering.
"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" -Psalm 56:8
Our pain does not go unnoticed.
The promise of what is to come and the comfort of knowing those who go before us...those who walked in truth... will be waiting. In fact, the shadow is simply a reminder of the dangers missed... the consequences that grace spared us...and the promise of what lies ahead. Praise God, that by His mercy and providence... I don't get what I deserve.
Today-I know my compass is true. I get excited for time in the scripture and in prayer. Relationship and truth...together they give direction. For a sailor on the seas, knowing where North is provides the knowledge needed to stay the course. It doesn't mean the journey will be without squalls...those sudden gusts of winds and localized storms that often provide rain, snow or sleet... or the hurricanes that rock us to the depths of our souls.
As I read, study, play, create and make notes in my journaling Bible...I attempt to "write the vision and make it plain, that he may run who reads it". I pray that it will be my legacy.
Today, I am grateful for the compass provided in God's word. It is my "true north".

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Drawing Circles

Daily Gratitude Year 3-Day 189: Today...I am grateful for circles that draw people in instead of shutting them out.
Edwin Markham (poet and scholar, 1852-1940) wrote this great poem:
He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
Short and sweet but full of "meat" to chew on.
I Corinthians 13:8 in many translations: Charity never faileth. (KJV) Love never fails.(NIV) Love never ends.(ESV) paraphrase...LOVE ALWAYS WINS!
We celebrate the anniversary of our marriage this weekend. I have always loved the senior couples interviewed in the classic movie "When Harry Met Sally" in 1989. We had only been married a couple of years. That movie struck a chord that resonated deep with me. I remember thinking, "I want to look like that when we are in our 80's."
Every girl wants and hopes to be a beautiful bride. just a day. It is a big day, full of promise and a new a "deal sealed" before God...but a marriage is every day after the wedding day! It is not without effort.
This image crossed my path...and for days it haunted I dug for "the rest of the story" (I grew up on Paul Harvey):
This is a photograph of the graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband in Limburg (Netherlands). They were not allowed to be buried together. In the Protestant part of this cemetery, J.W.C van Gorcum, colonel of the Dutch Cavalry and militia commissioner in Limburg, is buried. His wife, Lady J.C.P.H van Aefferden, is buried in the Catholic part.
They were married in 1842, the lady was 22 and the colonel was 33, but he was a protestant and didn't belong to the nobility.This caused quite a commotion in Roermond. He was a commoner and a soldier...and she was a lady. But, love always wins.
They loved and cherished each other for 38 years. When the colonel died in 1880, he was buried in the protestant part of the cemetery against the wall. His wife died in 1888. She chose not to be buried in the family tomb. Her choice...the loving choice...simply takes my breath away...and is beautifully captured in this poignant and powerful image.
With the wall of exclusion between them... she chose her grave as close as she could get to husband on her Catholic side. Two clasped hands connect the graves across the wall. always wins! ( Wendy Williams Vastine...if you could get this on your "Things to photograph before we leave Europe." list, I would be forever grateful.)
The imagery here is so powerful. What circles do we draw and what walls do we build high that keep people out? What circles do we create that draw people in? It is all about choice.
God spoke to Moses in the form of the 10 Commandments (not suggestions) and said: "Love me." (refer to the #1-4) and "Love each other."(#6-10) He does not change.
So...when God took human form, as Jesus, the message was the same. Jewish leaders... threatened by Jesus... were looking for a way to draw a circle that kept him out of the temple and from influencing "their people"... get him in trouble...and maybe even stoned to death. They were looking to "catch him" in something blasphemous. They failed.
Matthew 22: 34-40 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
What is our part? 2 Timothy 2:15:
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." the end our days on this earth ..when we stand before God, will he say... "Lucy, you have some 'splainin' to do!" (probably not in the voice of Desi Arnez" or will he say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You finished the race.Welcome home."?
"Rightly handling the word of the truth" is our instruction and our responsibility. How do we test it? First, we have to know The Word. Then, we might try this simple test based on Jesus response to the religious leaders.
What if we asked these two questions:
Does it help, teach or seek to help us "love God more"?
Does it help us to serve, reach, teach and "love our neighbor" more?
I know I return to this often, because for me... it has been this amazing revelation... that connects the Old Testament and the New Testament and it seems all the puzzle pieces keep falling into place. It is exciting! I heard a quote years ago that says, "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." As I flip back and forth from Old to New...the wonder and amazement grows. His "Master Plan" is a "Masterpiece"!
"But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!" Isn't that what Jesus did? The Samaritan woman at the well...the hated Tax Collector...the Loud mouth fishermen...the prostitute with the demon...the heady physician...the "Sons of Thunder"...the bleeding woman... the lepers...the children...the soldier who came to arrest him received a healing...and the thief on the cross.
What walls do we build that keep people out? Are all truly welcome "at the Lord's table" or in "His house"? I am reminded that Jesus washed Judas' feet and offered him bread and wine from the same cup ...just like the other eleven.
What did Jesus mean when he said in Mark 3:24-25 " If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand."? What if the "body of Christ" stood hand in hand and drew a circle that loved others in...into relationship? Love is not without sacrifice...and Jesus paid the ultimate price...tearing down the walls that once divided Jew and Gentile to make them one. Then, he offered this simple instruction "Go and make 'disciples' of every nation."
Today...I am grateful for circles that draw people in instead of shutting them out. I am grateful for this amazing picture that reminds me that "Love always wins."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Stop! In the name of Love!

Today...I decided to post my "Daily Gratitude Post" over here.  The found image of a bear and then I used my scrapbook supplies to share the message. I hope your day bears beautiful things.

Daily Gratitude Year 3: Day 161: Today...I am grateful for bears...and bearers.
So...the "safety girl...grew up with "Mr. Life Is Too Short To Not Run at Full Throttle". Actually...there were two of them under the roof...the "original" and the "younger model."
I learned many lessons watching Dad and Matt! I learned to hold my breath...and how to pray for their safety (which helped me take a breath). And, I prayed that the work of their hands would be blessed. I was on the "cooking and coping" team that supported the work and pitched in when and where we were needed. Some days...we lived with the "bears" when things were not going well. Other times, we savored the fruits of the labor with the "bearers of good things." It all came in the same package deal.
Flash forward...recently we have been taking Mom and Aunt Judy to a specialist in Toledo. This is family adventure at it's finest. Last year, I posted on one particular hairy adventure traveling in white out conditions. I was so grateful for Matt and Uncle Larry's skill and hours behind the wheel...they carried the stress of the drive with grace and good humor. It was that trip that I first learned about "the bears" on every trip in the Suburban.
Jennifer said we had to watch for "bears". Really? On Illinois? This addiction to word play runs in the family and marries into it, just to keep the genes strong! So... every time we would get close to a turn or an exit... I would hear the GPS female voice announce... "Bear Right" or "Bear Left". We would look to the left or to the right on every turn in the road and there were never any "bears" to be seen. Not even once. Kind of disappointing. I like bears... at a safe distance.
Even more disappointing...Matt quickly and easily takes direction from that GPS woman...a virtual stranger who only shows up for the big trips in life... without questioning her! He does not even "know her"...yet, he trusts her directions without question (most of the time). Jennifer and I rarely have that experience. Of course...the truth of the matter is...when that GPS woman gets annoying, he can turn her off. wink emoticon Not so with wives and sisters.
Paul penned in 1 Corinthians 13:7: "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." Of course...Matt (and Randy...not to exclude my honey) have certainly had to bear my faults and failings. Matt for all of his life. And, my Randy, for nearly 30 years.
The word "bear" or "bearer" is defined as "to carry" or "one who carries". Love carries. Isn't that true? It carries the burdens, shares the joys...and divides the sorrows. Love holds us up and carries us. When life, circumstance, health issues, loss or troubles get us rescues us and gives us hope and strength to endure because we are not alone. Bearing, caring and sharing is a powerful thing.
Love carries us to a place of joy equal to none at the birth of a child, a child's first words, a "yes" to a marriage proposal, and an "I Do" before God, family and friends. June is a month for celebrating love. Think of the times you have swelled up with emotion so full that you experience "happy tears". A moment when you are so overwhelmed by love... that it leaks out (better the eyes than the bladder!).
Then, there is that most life changing act of love in history. It was the day the Son... who loved us so much... that he would CHOOSE to bear our sins. He carried them to the foot of an old rugged cross and allowed himself to be nailed to that tree so we could be free. Jesus would bear my sin... alone... for my pardon...and yours. Is it any wonder that at the moment of true understanding...confession...repentance and belief that happy tears spring from the well of former brokenness as new life begins? Birth...and rebirth often inspire happy tears.
So...we are to go forth and live our lives not as bears...but as bearers.
In Colossians 3:12, the teaching is to "dress for success." We are to put on "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." These are definitely Jesus inspired and Holy Spirit refined character traits. Some are more easily developed than others. Practice. Practice. Practice. The more we "wear them", the more comfortable and naturally they fit.
The clear direction for behavior continues in verse 13:
" Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."
We are to "bear with one another"...not "bear left" or "bear right"...not be a bear... but "bear with". Apparently, complaints against each other are not new to human behavior...but common enough to be mentioned in this 2000 year old letter. "Forgiving as the Lord has forgiven you." Ouch...the instruction is clear. That "well of brokenness" , that he transforms into a "spring of living water", is supposed to flow with forgiveness, too.
How often did I casually pray "The Lord's Prayer"? Remember this line:
"Forgive us OUR SINS...AS WE FORGIVE those who sin against us?" Think about the implications. If ever the line of a prayer might plant terror in my would be that one. Forgive me in the same measure that I forgive others. How I shudder at the thought! is a key component in the prayer Jesus taught us. It is our "model prayer"...and example... so we know what to include when we pray. It is not magic. It is powerfully transforming. It leads me to infer that the "power of a prayer" and the "act of forgiveness" are stuck together like Gorilla glue... and not to be separated.
We are to be bearers of forgiveness reflecting the forgiveness that we have been granted.
Love bears all things. He is love. He bore all things that we might be free.
Today...I am grateful for bears (at a distance)...for those who forgive the bear in me...and bearers. Especially "The One" who hung on a we can be free.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Write the Vision

In January 2013, I started a daily "gratitude post" on Facebook.  It started as a "one month" goal of posting something I am thankful for... and then I discovered that an attitude of gratitude changed everything.  At the end of year one...I was going to stop, but as I wrote about stopping...I discovered from the many comments that I was not alone on my gratitude I've just kept going.  I savor and welcome those who have joined this journey. I relish every comment and "share" when something God put on my heart speaks to another soul... where they the moment... in their walk with Him. We are all pilgrims. Our journeys intersect at home, at work and in cyberspace.

This is a layout I created to go with my gratitude post from a few days ago.  I am entering the world of "Bible Journaling" and this verse is speaking to my heart.  Perhaps it will call to yours as well.  The layout is simple and uncluttered.  I didn't want to lose the message. 

This is old photo of my youngest son...the one who just graduated form high school. I seemed perfect for the verse.  

Daily Gratitude Year 3-Day 140: Today...I am grateful for the simple task of making a list...and writing a vision. 

I am not a big list maker...but as I get older and my memory is less reliable...I find that a simple list is not just convenient, it is necessary. It is quite satisfying to cross something off when it is accomplished. I am planning a graduation party and I need my lists to accomplish the task and reach the goal!

When I make a list that doesn't get is my guilty secret...I will write down what I did instead of what was on the list... just to have the pleasure of crossing it out. Sometimes the day takes us down a different path, but it doesn't mean the tasks completed were unworthy of recognition.

Do we live by lists or do we make lists to help us live? Imagine the day there was no pen and paper at our disposal. No "Post-it notes"?

Habakkuk 2:2-3 is a great pair of verses that I might have to memorize:

And the Lord answered me:“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets,so he may run who reads it.For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.If it seems slow, wait for it;it will surely come; it will not delay.

WRITE THE VISION! How I love this instruction. I have some instructions posted all around my desk to inspire love and gratitude daily.

SO HE MAY RUN: Sometimes I run...some times I trip!

WHO READS IT: We must read it to find the vision and the path.

FOR STILL THE VISION AWAITS: Find the vision. Even in failure or what feels like failure...there is hope.

ITS APPOINTED TIME: Oh yes...God is not finished with me yet...I am a work in progress and far from perfect.

IT HASTENS TO THE END: As I learn and grow...I do think the little planet spins faster as we get older.

IT WILL NOT LIE - God's plans...His vision...his path is straight and true...even when it seems to zig and zag! HE is the TRUTH.

IF IT SEEMS SLOW - Anyone else feel that arrow straight to their impatient souls, like I did?

WAIT FOR IT...How much longer? I do get impatient. I always say I fail His patience test so He keeps giving it over and over. He is a patient God.

IT WILL SURELY COME - That is a promise you can take to the bank!

IT WILL NOT DELAY - In fact, His perfect plan is in motion, even when we can't see His handwriting on the wall. Will it be "Well done good and faithful servant."?

So what will we do with THIS day. Let us WRITE THE VISION! Write in on our hearts, in the margins of our Bibles (oh is His living word ready to reveal truth and guidance).

Today I will review my party planning lists...and cross off the things I accomplished. Then, I make another list. Hopefully, it will all come together as envisioned, but even if it doesn't...we will "run with it."

In is the gathering of friends and family that matters. Making special moments and celebrating accomplishments and relationships is what counts ..not a perfect menu or cute decorations(although I like both of those things).

I am grateful I can WRITE THE VISION and press on toward a goal.

Today...I am grateful for the simple task of making a list...and writing the vision.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Aimed for Monochromatic...

And missed the mark! I really tried to follow a prompt for a  monochromatic layout.  Look at the "Guilty" album by Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb for inspiration on the power of  white on white. I went and chose some white elements and began.  '

Add...take away...add take thing I know the white has been swapped out for ecru/neutral tones and the gold paint and glitter have found their way to the page.  Oh well...that is the benefit to a digital page, no mess to clean up.
I am not sure I will use this in his tabletop book of images, but it will get printed for his scrapbook. 

Sometimes, creativity takes you down a different path. :) I say...go with it. Enjoy the ride.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Back to the blog...

It seems that the thing I always have to give up when things get full is this blog.  I have a daily gratitude post on Facebook that is a real commitment and this little creative spot is the last to get my time.  Perhaps, I need to merge them.

I am fortunate to be doing another LOAD(Layout A Day) this month with Lain Ehman and my "Scrap sisters" on line. It is a creative bunch of girls who love story telling.  This time...for the first time...I started giving myself "permission" to skip a day.  My goal is 31 in 31 but with Walker graduating, family visiting, Randy traveling off and on...I will NOT let this hobby I adore take from my family time and making the memories I love to write about.  I am keeping it real and whatever happens, happens. Ahhh....sweet freedom. 

That said...the first day was about "musical style".  I am working almost exclusively on Walker's graduation books - so those stories must by told. will be a lot of Walker.  I hope you enjoy his stories and photos for the art and the heart. 

This layout tells of his eclectic music style and uses a great Dr. Seuss quote. It fits him and his crazy shoe pairing.  He wanted to pay homage to his Swedish Roots and to his USA birth. I love his confidence and comfort in being his own person. 

Scrapbooking Technique notes:  I chose papers to compliment the road in the photo.  The accent colors were pulled from the shoes. The photos reflect the quote intentionally. Simple, fast and done!  

What is your music style?  Tell that story, today. 


Thursday, February 19, 2015


With a layout a day to make and other commitments...I am finally ready to post the latest.  I am savoring our Scrapbooking theme this month of "Once Upon a Time".  My "met" Lain Ehmann at Big Picture Classes and have climbed aboard the ScrapHappy train of scrappy sisters all over the world.  One of the joys of online communities is that it never "close".  I keep late hours sometimes if I am feeling creative...but that works out fine when some of the girls are in Europe and Australia.

One of the reasons I have become involved is because Lain was the first one to push me to tell "my story".  Not just my guys, our family, the baby years, the school season...but my story.  It always felt so self centered, but then my cousins Cheryl and Carol found old family photos that had been stuffed in a suitcase.  Our fathers family photos...and so many we are having a hard time placing the who, what and whys.  Such a shame when some of the photos are fun. My goal is to scan and scrap them at some point. We have some fun family stories from Grandma and John Dillinger to Grandpa taking car of Al Copone's men at his 24 hour service station.  Good stories.  I want to get them down as Dad Uncle Mel told them.  Dad is gone now and Uncle Mel's memory is failing - so time is short.

This LOAD - I am pressing to finish layouts before Walker graduates in May, so you will see a bunch of Walker. This if boy/manly layouts are your thing...check back.  It is a bit of my trademark to add sparkle  - even to boy pages. I, also, like a touch a yellow whenever possible.  It worked for Van Gogh, right?

I didn't want to focus on the Halloween part of this picture. I chose more personality traits and the soundtracks Walker and Chase truly enjoy.

Another personality page using photos from our first attempt at senior photos last fall.  We didn't do many but we did get some of the colors so trademark of the Midwest in the fall season. As usual...the shots I just shot on a whim turned out to be some favorites.  Again...a personality capture.

What photos do you love that you can use to tell a story that needs to be told? What personality traits and "likes" or "dislikes" have been unrecorded?

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, January 26, 2015

LOAD215 TIPS FOR THE WORKING GIRL...and we are all working girls!

Let me start by saying - working 5 days a week (not four...or three...or two) is new to me in the past 3 years.  I was blessed with more controllable time margins in my life when our sons were small. I KNOW that every mother is a working mother. The days are long and exhausting but the years are short and fly by fast.  Guess what? I didn't get to scrapbook as much as I wanted back then either! Still, working full time has changed my schedule and my previous "full time job" is now my "second shift" one. What am I thinking signing up for LOAD215?  Right?

I am here to encourage each one of you that thinks "I do NOT have time" to make a layout a day.  I am here to tell you it can be done!  I am scrappy proof.  Our fearless leader-"Lainfusious" has a very freeing style of scrapbooking.  Scrap what you want...when you want...and in the order that makes you happy.  Not every page has to be "perfect". How many times does a page never get made for fear of not getting it right? As Elsa would sing..."LET IT GO".  How many memories have I lost because I couldn't commit to getting it down on the page?  

For those who really love this art from the actual "artist's perspective" -we are sometimes crippled by getting it just right. Scrapbook pages are meant to be fun and meaningful... not stressful. I will be eternally grateful to Lain for freeing me from the "I will never be caught up" curse. Lain says I scrap what I want to scrap...and she is the boss of LOAD!   I wait for inspiration and tell the story on my heart.  Now, I get it down...and can always add (or remove) more later. Lain says we can even use the same picture these examples.  

For me...the JOURNALING is my FAVORITE part (they have tried to have me committed but no one will take me). I know many of you fear that part the most.  I'd like to invite you ask me ANY journaling questions here.  If you have ever dug through an old box of photos and wondered who, what, when, where and why...then we need to "chat". I'd love to help you. 

Have you ever had a story, but didn't have a picture of the moment?  Tell the story anyway. One of my favorite pages was a bit of a "Red Herring" story of my Dad "going to jail". 

Now that the story is down - my kids can even go back and try to find newspaper articles related (I have not done that, yet.)

What if I don't seem to connect with the prompt? That is OKAY! is your scrapbook.  The prompts are meant to be fun.  They have uncovered stories I didn't know I had in me and I have found connections with some of the greatest gals on the planet. Girls (and guys are welcome, too) who love this medium of creating and this method of preserving the days of our lives.  

Now for my tips for the working girl:
1.  Have a sketch ready.   I don't always use them but having one gives me comfort if I am stuck.
2. Prompts go live at 12am EST in the US.  That is 11pm in my time zone. If I am awake - I watch and then ponder myself to sleep. If I have a quick idea...I get it started (or done) to minimize my time the next day.  
3. You are in charge of your layouts! If I have a deadline (like my son graduating in May 2015 and I need his books ready for viewing)...I scrap what I want and need to scrap... and then do my best to twist, mold and stretch that prompt to fit the page I made.  You would be surprised how often it works. Prompt matching is always optional - but I enjoy it so I make it my mission to make it fit.
4. Forgive yourself if you miss a day. I am an over-achieving, word wrangling, people pleasing, first born child.  I am driven to complete a layout a day... but in interrupted...and I just couldn't complete every day. Life happens...and death. Family comes first. Still- when I counted- I still managed 18 or 19/28 layouts.  Did I really fail LOAD?  Not meeting my personal goal is not the only measure of success.
5. Prep a story: Journal a story ahead of time...and use it when the prompt or the right mood strikes.
6. Try something new that increases your speed. Sketches, templates, "scrap-lifting" (totally encouraged...but do give a shout out to the "artist who inspired you" as it shows good manners and kindness), put "kits together" from your stash with photos and last but not least...KEEP IT SIMPLE. I am a huge fan of simple layouts where the photos and the stories are the stars.  I adore supplies - but like any great accessory- they should compliment and not be the "star"(just my opinion... you get to write your own rules).
7. Change mediums! What? Why not? Give Digi a try if you are a paper scrapper (simple apps are out there and great for a traveling scrapper).  Give paper a try if you are Digi scrapper and need to do a layout a day while traveling for work but your PSE is on the home computer. Take a "Smash" book and a handful of supplies and works. I always say LOAD drove me to Digital Scrapbooking and I haven't looked back.  I haven't given up my traditional supplies, either!   Here at ScrapHappy...we  all live in harmony. Traditional Scrappers.... Digi Divas... Project Lifers...we all share, play nice, encourage and inspire each other.  Some of us spell COLOR  differently...and we love the diversity. We use all the COLOURS in the box and make beautiful things together.
8. Don't let anything (or anyone) steal your joy! This is a special neighborhood in cyberspace.  Only encouraging words, please...and we do love "comments"!  If someone asks for a critique...that is different...after all...there are experts in our midst. Don't let one missed time deadline discourage you.  When you look at your "stack" at the end of the LOAD, your gratitude cup will overflow.
9. Include YOUR stories, too. Your loved ones want to know about you, too.  I really "met" Lain through "Your Story Matters". I had rows of albums and my heart and voice was on every page - but there was almost nothing about me (unless it was an anniversary) and I was rarely in the photos.  Stuck for a page idea? Tell YOUR story.  It does matter. 
10. Relax.  You are going to exhausted on 02/28/15 - but it is the best kind of tired. At the end...if you have only completed one win!  You will, also, have 28 ideas to refer back to and more layouts than you will have time to view. 

One last thing... "The Stack" is our pile of finished pages or digi-images. It is a quick snapshot of all we accomplished during load. We post them on the last day. I hear there has been a resurgence in the popularity of look of "Pin-up" know the curvy ones from the 1940's? They were immortalized in war films...and "stacked" referred to certain physical female attributes. Scrappers come in all ages, shapes and sizes...but at the end...we are all "Stacked". (wink) Here is my stack from  LOAD214. I was working on Sr. Pictures and an album for my niece.There is a real mix of pages.

I am glad you are here.  Thanks for taking the time to visit me.  "Once Upon a Time" is going to be great! I can't wait to read your stories. 

(Valerie's Point of View on Flickr) 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy Birthday DeAnn!

My dear friend DeAnn is celebrating the anniversary of her arrival on the planet.  What a treasure she is to me.  She is one of those special women who doesn't seek drama, she treasures her friends, her love is unconditional and she is very real. She will never dominate a conversation unless you ask her to take center stage -but we all can learn from her wisdom if we take the time to listen.  

DeAnn is the same age as my little sister...two years my younger.  I like to think that if April had lived long enough, we would have a relationship like DeAnn and I have shared.  I am so very blessed to call her my friend. I treasure her more than she knows - even though we do not get to see each other as often as I would like.  

DeAnn came to me through PTO volunteering.  We served together and our friendship grew. Our mutual friendship with our Kim and my "sisterhood" with my girlfriend Jill, brought us all together. In fact, Kim eventually chose to worship with Jill and I and DeAnn's boys were all part of our youth programs - while they continue to attend the lovely church DeAnn grew up attending. Together...DeAnn, Jill, Kim & I made a fabulous.... foursome. 

Faith...friendship...fighting cancer...Photos (that is almost an "f"...finishing each other's thought and sentences... and finally finishing up our years in PTO has been a very special 18 years! 

The reason my blog has been neglected has been due to a full plate. The love of my life had a motorcycle accident 8/24 breaking both wrists and cracking his sternum. He is doing well, but it was a long haul to healthy. At the same time - my best girlfriend and "sister" for the past 27 years was finishing her battle with cancer...finding her deliverance from suffering on 09/07...and in between those events.. a very special, Godly man who coached both my sons in tennis died suddenly in between those dates. I can't even begin to describe those two weeks and months to follow. Blogging was what I had to let go.  So I did. 

I've spent the past few months healing...and finding my gratitude sweet spot to bring me back to the joy of  my "art" and daily life.  I am so grateful for my husband's healing hands and chest. I am grateful for the years Jill and I shared from meeting at college(ONU)  in 1987 to our deep friendship of the past 27 years. I am grateful for the gift of the boys coach..for every minute they spent under his instruction in tennis and in life. Joal was only 35... but he impacted more youth for Christ in his short time here than some will given twice as many years. He lived his "dash" to the fullest.  I am savoring my friend Barb posted yesterday to Facebook..."When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." 

I have not stopped scrapping.  I completed my daily layout in October's LOAD.  I continue to post my daily gratitude on I have for the past 2 years and 25 days. Scrapping and seeking gratitude have been my direct ticket to the throne of grace and peace as we have encountered some difficult days.  I hold tight to my life verse - "Be still...and know...that I AM...God. Trust that...and the rest works itself out. 

If you are visiting for the first time...or are back after my sabbatical...I am glad you are here. Journaling is my some of the tough stuff gets included, too. I find it healing.  I journal in light of my faith - because without my faith...there would be no light and hope.  

To bring it full circle...I am grateful for DeAnn.  I am grateful God gave her another year.  I hope we increase our shared moments in 2015. Here is a layout I made of the four of us at DeAnn's son's wedding. We had no idea what the next two years would bring.  And to that I say - THANK GOD!  I, also thank him for this craft/hobby/art that lets us capture special moments, friendship and stories before they are gone...and before we forget. This layout is actually about me(I am learning to include myself in my albums these past two years )but they are a apart of the story.  It is one of the best I have of me and "The Girls" as DeAnn's grandson calls us.  From left to right...the Birthday Girl DeAnn...Me...Jill...and Kim. I love these ladies. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Walk"er Like an Egyptian

As I re-enter the blog world  and prepare for another "LayOut A Day"...LOAD as we call it at ScrapHappy...I grabbed this layout from October's LOAD stack. It is not my best layout ever - but it certainly gets the story on the page and ready to share.

Doing a LayOut A Day in February, May (I know...nuts!) and in October has been life changing for my heart and my art.  I am a completer (except one due to uncontrollable circumstances)  with one layout a day for 28 and 31 days, depending on the month.  We are doing a Pre-LOAD blog hop and I don't want to repeat myself so I will keep this short.

As I look at this page...I could pick it apart...but I'd rather tell you why I find it share worthy. It tells a story - the boys will both look at this and remember the Egyptian unit in 6th grade. Walker will remember my endless stash of costume pieces (due to 20 years of Halloweens in a pediatric cancer clinic).  Even today, they know my costume tubs may NOT be considered for donation. They will realize that Walker's sense of humor and fun never changes.  They will remember the home decor of the time and Walker's size in perspective to the banister.

They will not care that I used brads, washi, gold paint and ribbon...popular items of the day. No - they will squint to see the details in the photo and they will hear my voice in the journaling.

This is why I love this hobby/craft/art or whatever it means to you. Do it because you love it.  If you are finding it a chore...change your focus. Think outside the box.  Everyone has stories to tell.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Back to the Blog...

I have neglected my little blog since July. I had to let something go. Time to get back up...and try again.

It is a new year and I am about to start another LOAD with my Scrap Happy Family.  I just adore those gals. They are proof that the friends we meet who share our love of scrapbooking, paper crafting and story telling are not just online friends - but something real.  They have been so kind as the last 6 months of my life brought the lost of my closest girl friend who was my sister in every way but blood.

I have not let go of my "Facebook" daily gratitude post and I just might move some of that here.  My one little word for the year is "Courage" and I am still figuring out how to apply it to my daily life.  I know I need more of it. I know I still have stories to tell...and I love to share them.

This layout was a response to a prompt on "lockers". I had no idea when I started that it would bring me to reflect on my Jr. High and High School locker buddies. They were two great guys who made every day more tolerable during those challenging Jr. High and High School years.

Story idea - what or who made those teenage years more tolerable for you?