Friday, May 30, 2008


Today's blog post is dedicated to my dear husband, Jeff. We are celebrating our 11th anniversary today. I am so grateful to have this man in my life. He truly is one of a kind. He has demonstrated many times over just how dedicated he is to me and our children. The lyrics to this song by Rascal Flatts sum up how I feel about him. He truly saved my life. I love you, Jeff!

Bonne Anniversaire, mon cheri!
You could have bowed out gracefully
But you didn't
You knew enough to know to leave well enough alone
But you wouldn't

I drive myself crazy trying to stay out of my own way
The messes that i made
But my secrets are so safe
The only one who gets me
Yeah, you get me
It's amazing to me

How every day
every day
every day
You save my life

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hello, Old Friend

On the upside of a three day holiday weekend when it's rained more than not and I've basically been in bed sick, I have caught up on reality TV, watched the Wedding Planner and several musicals. Not alot of excitement. I did manage to teach our last Sunday School class until next Fall and to go to a movie with my husband yesterday, but that's about as exciting as it's gotten. Feeling a bit better everyday, but this yuk has really knocked me out.

Would have loved to have used this time to do any number of things that needed to be done around here, but just haven't felt up to it. Besides, if I hadn't been sick I'd been at the Lake for most of the weekend. I did take the opportunity on Saturday to spend some time with an old friend-scrapbooking! Yes, before I fell in love with the wonderful world of mixed media I had a little thing for scrapbooking.

Shoulda known back then what was ahead since one of my favorite designers has always been Jenni Bowlin. Drawn to her use of vintage elements, I couldn't get enough of her signature style so I began subscribing to her "kit" club. Each month subscribers receive a collection of patterned paper and embellishments chosen by the designer herself. Slowly Jenni began to design her own products tailored to her esthetic-a delightful mix of vintage and modern. Now, most of the products in her kits are JBS exclusive products. In addition to her montly papercrafting kit, she also features a project kit each month as well as limited addition mixed media kits. See what I mean? I love her style!

Anyway, I took the opportunity in between naps to work on some things I had received in recent months from Jenni. I'm ashamed to say, I have quite a stockpile. At one time, I had challenged myself to create at least three layouts from each kit filling an entire album, but have since gotten derailed.

This one was a project kit I assembled for my Mom last weekend, but I didn't get a chance to share it yet. I like the way Jenni used the rubons to accent the photos. These are from her product line and go on "like butter"! I'm always amazed just how much she seems to get out of the kits she designs. Always lots leftover to use on future projects.

I first discovered Jenni and Heidi Swapp because they both had boys and there seemed to be so few layouts in the magazines with boy stuff. I like the way they both are not afraid to use traditionally feminine colors and elements for boys. Afterall, real men wear pink don't ya know!

I also credit Jenni with helping me to overcome my fear of journaling. Inspired by her, I have used song lyrics, poetry (even my own) and just a few words to tell why I want to remember a brief moment captured in a photo. In the layout above I chose this time to use a quote card I ordered from Rebecca Sower's etsy shop. You can find a link to her shop HERE. She and Jenni both use vintage elements in their work and I often get their names mixed up when I talk about them!

Even tho' I would've rather not been sick this holiday weekend and didn't feel up to doing much, I'm glad I seized the opportunity to revisit my old friend scrapbooking. We'll stay in touch thanks to Jenni.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pitiful Timing

The start of summer beginning with the Memorial Day holiday is something I always look forward to. We had planned to head out to the Lake today for a brief visit with my family. I'd really been looking forward to taking a very big deep breath and enjoying a relaxing time of just hanging out together for a day or two.

Well, as most plans go (yes, I am often a glass half empty gal) I came down with an upper respiratory infection. Since I wasn't feeling up to travelling today, Brady rode along with Grandma and I've spent the afternoon in my chair under the quilt with ice water and a diet coke nursing my sore throat and cough. Not exactly how I had planned to start the holiday weekend.

I recently picked up Mary Emmerling's new book, Beach Cottages. In the introduction she writes, "If you have ever loved a beach house, you know it holds a place in your heart forever. " Ever since our family rented a house along Fort Morgan beach near Gulf Shores several years ago, I have longed to return to the shore. That trip affected all of us on many levels. A few years after our trip my parents bought a lovely house on Lake of the Ozark on a quiet inlet cove. Shaded by oaktrees and covered in hostas and other perinnials it's a wonderful retreat for all of us. It has all the necessary components of a beachside cottage- sun, water, laughter, flip flops, no schedules and all of us together. Like many of the cottages featured in Emmerling's book, Mom and Dad's place at the lake holds a fondness for all of us. We love being there all together. Hopefully, I'll be well enough to join everyone later this weekend.

As a consolation and to keep the beach theme going, fate brought me Rogers & Hammerstein's Carousel on TV this afternoon and my eagerly anticipated copy of LA Postmark-la petite livre arrived in the mail today. Now I'm just waiting for the meds to kick in and hopefully I'll be back on track for the holiday.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend-Happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

sPRead Your wINGS and FLY

Our family had a wonderful day on Sunday. Not only was it Mother's Day, but it was Confirmation Day for my niece, Emily. I was honored to be able to participate in the worship service by being part of the choir. My vantage point allowed me the joy of seeing my entire family sitting together in worship singing, praying and taking communion. The highlight of the service was when we gathered around Emily as a family and laid hands on her and prayed that God would guide and sustain her on her personal journey of faith. I'm hoping she knew just how much love was surrounding her at that moment and felt the sincerity of our hopes and wishes for her to grow in God's love. Here are a few pictures from this special day courtesy of my sister-in-law, Julie. I managed to forget my camera!

<-------Emily with her pastor who did a great job not only teaching, but discipling as well. Thought it was great as part of their program they visited a
seminary, Catholic mass and synagogue.

<-------Me with Emily's other grandma. It was Janet's doing that I briefly stepped out of retirement for this special occasion. She is the pianist and organizes the choir at their church.

<--------Emily with her two godmothers (me and Julie's sister, Linda)

<----------this is the historic church where the confirmation took place. One of the oldest churches west of the Mississippi. Such a picturesque building. The stained glass is simple, but pretty. I wish it had been sunny so you could see how pretty they were.

<--------these two jokesters always seem to make me laugh. They kept laughing at me every time I teared up-which was often!

Monday, May 12, 2008

At Last

Tara Whitney recently began a Project of the Month post on her new blog. At the beginning of each month, she posts a BEFORE photo and describes the project she wants to finish by month end when she posts an AFTER photo of the completed project. She invited her blog readers to play along. Well if you know me very well, you know I have enough unfinished projects to fill an entire year of POM's (Project of the Month)! However, I thought Tara's new POM very inspiring and in that spirit Jeff and I have started trying to get some things accomplished around here.

At last one of the first projects is completed. YIPPEE! These shelves from Pottery Barn had been lying on the floor downstairs in our family room since January. Thanks to one of the fellas from Jeff's work they were finally hung up this afternoon. I love how they look! Going to play around with the layout of the frames, but that's what I like most about these shelves/ledges. It's so easy to have a rotating display and to incorporate three dimensional items along with the photographs. All of the photos displayed except the one in the green frame were taken by Tammy Heckel.

The light streaming through the windows downstairs was so great this afternoon I just had to snap a photo of my Brady boy. He didn't sit still for long-he was working on writing and drawing a cartoon among other things. Okay, I'm off to try and get some other things organized to see what else we can accomplish this week. Who knows, you just might see me posting a few finished POM's over on Tara's blog!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Just couldn't resist bringing these home with me from my mom's house earlier this week. The bush is just loaded. Man! they are spectacular.

Had my first quilting lesson this week, too. Silly, me. Thought I was just going to tear it up with the rotary cutter and get all my pieces cut in one night. Little did I know all the prep work involved in beginning a new quilting project. Managed to get all the strips cut for the first colorway and assembled three 6 inch blocks. WOO-HOO!!! Only 45 more to go! I think once I get into the groove it will go quicker, but want to do a good job so don't want to rush either. There is so much to learn, but I'm learning from the best. Hope I can do her proud.

I titled this post POM POMS at first because of the flowers. We've always called them snowballs, but I've also heard them called Pom Poms and lately I have been thinking about my Mom and how she has always been my biggest cheerleader. Sometimes without my knowing and often without me realizing it.
Recently, I had to attend a rehearsal several miles from our home. Since it was a bit of a drive on a windy road and I'd be coming back after dark my mom offered to ride along with me. We had a nice visit on the way to our destination as we recounted stories and events from years ago as we made our way through several small towns in which much of our family had lived. I was very nervous about going to this rehearsal as I have not sung and performed other than a few isolated occassions for some time and I think Mom knew the visit would help me to relax a bit. Once we arrived, I quickly got into place and began doing my thing. At one point, I looked out to see a very familiar site. There was Mom nestled into a pew about three quarters of the way back in the sanctuary quietly listening. Just being there for me. At once, I felt more at ease and confident. Just as it had been when I would look out and see her sitting and listening in the auditorium of our home church when I would practice for hours on end as a high schooler.
That is just one way she has shown her support for me over the years. There have been many times throughout my life that I don't know what I would have done without my mother. Always the voice of reason, always the teacher, always there for me.
Abraham Lincoln said, " All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother." Thanks for being my biggest cheerleader, Mom.
Happy Mother's Day!

P.S. Can't wait for my next quilting lesson. ;)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Marvelous May

It hardly seems possible, but we're nearly a week into the month of May already. Seems the more I try to savor the days the quicker they pass. I love May so I'm hoping it hastens a bit longer than precious April. Here are some of the things I love about marvelous May.

peonies in bloom

mine and my brother's birthdays

the first official summer holiday

our wedding anniversary

warm, breezy afternoons

cool, rainy mornings

hearing the bugs and frogs settling down for the evening

celebrations-proms, graduations, confirmations, weddings

garage sale season

dining al fresco

spotting a hot air balloon

buying flowers to plant and digging in the dirt

So, here's to each and every moment of this delightful month. Do you have a favorite month? If so, which one and why?

P.S. Just in case you didn't recognize the two kiddos in the photo above-that's me and my brother on our 2nd and 1st birthday's. Oh, and no clothes on me mostly likely meant that Mom didn't want me to get that chocolate icing on my clothes. :)
As long as I can remember, my brother and I celebrated our birthdays together as they are only four days apart. Today is his birthday so "Happy Birthday, Mike"!

Friday, May 02, 2008


Inspired by a recent blog post by the lovely Andrea Singarella of One Hundred Wishes, I decided to bake myself a cake in celebration of my birthday today. And it's a bigee-the cupcake and the birthday! 45.



4 decades and a half.

45. (said in my best Rob Schneider voice)

This is the first birthday that it's seemed to bother me that I'm getting older. I'm trying to take the high road and follow Oprah's lead. Trying to embrace the whole aging gracefully thing. But I feel like she's yelling from the top of the hill, "Come on, girl! Move it! Let's go!" as I trudge upward falling steps behind with every step I manage to take forward. But trudge on I must. So embracing my inner Oprah, I'd like to share 4 things I've discovered about myself since turning 40 and 5 things I'd like to accomplish in the next few years before I turn (gulp) 50.

fOUR things I've learned since turning 40

1. the past belongs in the past-let it go

2. be grateful for the everyday and savor it

3. life is not perfect and neither am I-and that's okay

4. trust your gut-you know more than you think

fIVE things I'd like to do before turning 50

1. learn to quilt

2. visit a California flea market

3. plant a rose garden

4. start my own business

5. celebrate my 50th birthday in Paris (or New Zealand)