Monday, December 31, 2007

the infamous beef jerky and other photos

I almost kicked myself on Christmas Eve for not taking pictures of Dad's beef jerky; we see it only once a year. When it's gone, that's it for a whole nother year!!

Thankfully, he'd reserved a stash for Grandma's house.

Though the hubby and sick boy stayed home, Meeley and I made the trip. I really wanted to see my grandma and really wanted some of Uncle Jim's toffee bars. The jerky was just a bonus.

This is my grandma. Isn't she beautiful? Aside from cropping the photo and removing a speck of dust, no enhancements were made. Amazing. I can't even post a picture of myself au naturale - it would be scary.

Here is my darling niece. When I mentioned her blog name ("M"), she asked that I instead call her "M&M." I like that much better, so M&M it is! We paged through a new book together and I treasured every second of it. Girls are so sweet.

Here's the rest of us, doing what we do best at Grandma's house: sitting, talking, and EATING. It's been this way for years and sadly something most of us take for granted.

I spent some time this holiday season putting together a series of albums for a family who'd lost a child to cancer. As I worked on the photos of their last Christmas together, I was overcome with emotion. Not only was it the last Christmas celebration with their child, but with another close family member as well.

These are precious moments, precious times. Realizing that life is short can help us make the most of what time we have NOW.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

kid quotes

I'd thought about making this post "cute kid quotes" but the subject matter doesn't really qualify. In fact, it's actually a bit gross but oh-so-funny I just had to share.

We had plans today to attend our final Christmas celebration which was about an hour and a half away from home. Shortly before leaving, our 7-year old began to complain of feeling full.

He'd hardly eaten anything for breakfast so this was not a good sign.

We hung around a bit longer and everything seemed to be fine; we decided to venture out. Before leaving, I tossed a bucket into the backseat as a precaution. Thank the good Lord I did because 20 minutes into the trip, he needed it!

Oh, the joys of parenting...

He felt much better afterwards. We, on the other hand, did not. Windows were quickly rolled down and noses were covered. Then, the sick boy began making jokes:

"Look at the chunks in the corner, isn't that cool?"

"I can tell by the colors it might have been the Fruit Loops."

"Blaaaaah. Blaaaaah." (Trying to scare us by pretending to do it again.)
I thought it best not to post pictures with this entry because it might be a bit distasteful. Moving on now to more palatable kid quotes...

Check out another new blog-find by clicking HERE. Lysa interviewed her teenage daughter - a GREAT IDEA for a scrapbook page. There's something about this kind of exchange that captures the heart of a relationship.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

dice game flashback

There's nothing like a friendly game of Christmas BINGO to really get the heart pumping. It is one of the most anticipated traditions of Christmas Eve, ranking right up there with Dad's homemade beef jerky and The Big Red Guy's pending visit.

To play, we sit in a circle with a pile of unwrapped gifts in the middle. The rules are simple: get BINGO, get a prize. Unfortunately, as the game starts rolling so does a growing sense of urgency. It may be called "Christmas BINGO" but everything about it smacks of the infamous Dice Game.

Things were moving pretty smoothly; Grandpa worked his magic to ensure everyone received at least one prize. Just as the game was winding down, someone (whose name will not be mentioned here) insisted we have the opportunity to steal gifts from one another. For those of you unfamiliar with the Dice Game, this is the most stressful (yet equally exciting) part of the game... when you're playing with adults.

Not so much when you're playing with four sugared-up children on Christmas Eve.

In the end, everyone managed to hang onto their gifts. The kids were happy. The parents were happy. The one who wanted something more than a pack of bungee cords, was not.

Friday, December 28, 2007

another lazy day.

As much as I hate to admit it, there's something cozy about sick days. I'm not talking about the runtothebathroomeverytenminutes sort of sickness - just the kind that causes you to feel like doing nothing more than snuggling under a fleece blanket with a cup of ginger tea and couple boxes of tissue.

Yep, it was another lazy day.

Between sips of tea and blowing my nose, I did manage to do a little blog surfing. I nearly laughed my pajama pants off with another post from one of my new favorite blog ladies! The story is HILARIOUS and even had my hubby snorting between sneezes. You can check it out for yourself by clicking HERE.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

becky higgins sketchbooks on sale!

Many of you already own copies of these wonderful books but for those still on the fence, both of her sketchbooks are on sale! The one to the right is only $6 and you can get to it by clicking HERE. The other (my FAVORITE), featured below, is 50% off and you can get to it by clicking HERE.

She also has a NEW BOOK out... I haven't seen it yet in person but have heard good things. It includes the sketches from books 1 and 2, in addition to 195 never-seen-before scrapbook layouts illustrating each sketch. You'll find that book by clicking HERE.


I'm sick today. In fact, we're all sick with the sniffles... at least that my excuse for spending so much time on the computer this morning. I've been playing with a couple of shots but now it's time to embrace real life (and my children). Have a great day!

Vintage niece.

Another niece and her friend, Chocolate.

Come up for air!

I've recently lost my boys to Nintendo DS. I guess we can all be a little obsessive at times...

I was thinking today about how serious I can be, always working so hard at being productive. Then it hit me! Too much work can be just as damaging as too much play; both are unbalanced. As I continue to put limits on my kids' play time, I am also in need of limits on my work time.

Part of balance is variety and diversity. If the boys appear to be focusing too much on one particular game or toy, we encourage them to try something new just to shake things up. The same concept applies to me as I have a tendency to lean heavily on routines for comfort. When taken to extremes, this can get ugly.

I can get ugly (i.e. inflexible, unyielding).

Everyone once in a while, I need to shake things up by stepping out of my comfort zone. God created us for new and exciting experiences. And while routine has its benefits, it can hinder us from being open to new things.

Be well-balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

another take on stinky*face

I'm getting ready to head out to my favorite coffee shop, to pick up my favorite coffee drink, and just thought I post a quick note! Someone shared a few cool websites with me and I wanted to pass them along:
  1. Here's a link to some very cute handmade journals at Pink Lemonade!
  2. Looking to get organized? Check out the super stylish notepads, journals, organizers, and other accessories at See Jane Work.
  3. And more journals here at Jenni Bick Bookbinding.

Have a great day! My coffee is calling...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

***merry christmas***

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy - the Son of God." Luke 1:35

Monday, December 24, 2007

for the love of stinky*face

Stinky Face is Ren's "secret weapon" and he knows just when to use it. If he's in trouble or the hubby and I are crabby, out comes Stinky Face. It never fails to make us laugh! Recently, one of Ren's buddies even told him that the only reason they remain friends is because of Stinky Face.

I'm telling you, it's pretty powerful.

It began a few years ago when he would make the face upon smelling something stinky (thus, the name). We would hold anything and everything up to his nose to catch a glimpse of the face - odd spices from the cupboard, sweaty tennis shoes, pungent perfume... Then, much to our delight, he was able to make the face on request!

I love the faces my kids make and know they won't be around forever (we've already lost all traces of Meeley's Squishy Smile). This is one of the reasons scrapbooking is so important to me; I can preserve and record the joyful details of everyday and enjoy them for years to come!

Journaling Ideas: Take a few minutes to journal about the many faces surrounding you. Maybe you have a pet that "smiles" or a child with a goofy grin... capture it on camera (preferably, with multiple poses). What do you love about that face? Maybe it's something that drives you nuts - especially if you have a difficult time getting them to STOP making the face. Either way, sharing your feelings about it on paper now will give you something to smile about later.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

friends in sweet places

My friend Amy stopped by last night with some wonderful treats from her family's restaurant. I've posted a few more photos on Flickr. I can't wait to dig in!

"It is a sweet thing, friendship, a dear balm,A happy and auspicious bird of calm..." - P.B. Shelly

and the winner is...

There isn't a winner because nobody wanted to play.


the three amigas

Peppermint Pattie, Motormouth, Lockjaw, Doug Noell, "Don't Cry Daddy", Billy Egan, curly-Q, April, 890-7188, Tovi, sleeping in the tent, Brenda, The Big Rock, Tommy & Mikey Gannon, Little Angel, Little Kitty, Halloween, Baby Skin So Soft, the jukebox, sleeping in the back of the truck, Dairy Queen promises, neverending sleepovers, that dang blasted megaphone mounted to the side of our house, Kiss-or-Kill, Elvis movies, the fire, that-time-we-turned-her-into-a-scarecrow, dancing with Del, smoking in the van, the Barbie townhouse, grounded to our yards, the green ghost, "God", swimming by the culvert, that-time-she-put-her-tongue-on-the-frozen-thing, the marshmallow, mud pies, making mustard with the yellow weeds, the Merry-Go-Round, the cabin, that-time-she-was-bit-by-the-dog, Blue Jay, the knitting machine, Tip Toe Through the Tulips, just use a tissue next time...

My sister Stacey invited me over for dinner, along with a childhood friend - Tanya! Though the two of them have continued to remain in touch, I haven't seen Tanya in years. We had so much fun walking down memory lane. The evening was filled with great food (thanks Stacey), side-splitting laughter, and lots of coffee.

Journaling Ideas: Think back and try to recall as much as you can about one of your childhood friendships; once you begin journaling, the memories will begin to flow. If you don't have a photograph of the friend, use a photo of an old toy (you'll be shocked at what you can find online) or one of yourself from the approximate time frame. Create a page similar to this, listing everything that comes to mind.

Friday, December 21, 2007

visions of coconut balls danced in her head...

These are my favorite treats of the season. Although I've gotten the recipe, I continue to count on Tilly to make them. This is actually my second round - she took pity on me and whipped up another batch.

And then there's my sister-in-law Amy - she makes the most amazing Santa cookies with her mom. Literal works of art. Oh, and then there's Uncle Jim's heath bars and Dad's beef jerky - treats I look forward to each year... more like, count on each year.

Journaling Ideas: What are your favorite holiday treats? Which are family traditions? Be sure to take pictures of them (as well and their "creators"). Be sure to put the photos, along with the recipes, in your album! Who knows? Someday your great-great-great granddaughter (or grandniece) might want to sample your favorite fare.

i love surprises...

and realized it has been WAY TOO LONG since my last prize drawing!! Even if you are not a parent, this book would make a great gift. If you would like to be included in the drawing, just post a comment to this entry - sharing your favorite holiday tradition or memory. I'll begin by sharing mine...

I love the "magic" of the season, feelings of hope and joy that are stirred. Memories of time spent with family - chaos and craziness that surrounded us Chrismas Eve, tempered by the quiet of Christmas Day. Santa's arrival with UNWRAPPED GIFTS under the tree. The feelings surprise and wonder we ignite with each gift of the heart - giving to those in need, to those who are hurting.

Post your comments (long or short) by tomorrow noon to be included in the drawing!

just plain silly to me...

Personally, I appreciate the forthrightness of this presidential candidate. His Christmas ad has apparently generated a great deal of controversy:

His interview with Meredith on The Today Show lends insight into the controversy:

Mike Huckabee has also written a number of books, one of which speaks to my faithbooking heart. It's called, "Living Beyond Your Lifetime: How to be Intentional About the Legacy You Leave" and you can get to it by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

bear w/me!

With the rapid growth of the blog, I decided it would be best to "clean house" by adding labels to each post. Hopefully, it will make it easier to find what you need! If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you'll find a list of tags to aid you. It's going to take me a little time to update all of the entries - please bear with me!

tossing a little humor your way.

I am obviously now on a video roll and would like to apologize to all of my dial-up fans! I stumbled onto these old videos and had myself a good laugh. This is partly why I love my church so darn tootin' much... people using their gifts and talents in such unique ways. WILLINGLY! Plus, they're always shakin' things up a bit.

The video below lovingly pokes fun at our more conservative lead pastor. My boys are a fan of this actor, whom we affectionately know as "Gordo." He typically plays a geeky Star Trek lovin' dude in various skits around the church.

There's nothing like a hearty laugh to lift your spirits! I'm sure you've also noticed my Southern twang (tootin', shakin', and lovin'); I spent a lot of time on Beth Moore's blog this mornin' and think a bit of her rubbed off. While there, I came across another woman with a great sense of humor. You MUST read this post - but go to the bathroom first.

saw him on Sunday

Billy McLaughlin performed at church last weekend; some of you might remember him from the Minnesota music scene (he's a five-time MN Music Award winner). Life turned on its side when he was diagnosed with an incurable neuromuscular disease which eventually rendered him unable to play guitar. Amazingly, he taught himself to play his signature hammer-style, left-handed! Here's a clip from his soon-to-be-released documentary:

You can pick up his beautiful new Christmas CD (called "Simple Gifts") at the church bookstore for $15.99 (I just saw it there today while picking up my new CD for a STEAL). The hours are kind of wacky so you might want to call ahead to see when they are open...

post signature

someone shared this w/me...

and I wanted to share it with you! This is a link to a blog for a Christian radio station in Houston, TX. The "video" on the other end is a clip from a telephone call with a 13-year old boy with wisdom beyond his years.

The funky photo above is of me, in front of my mother-in-law's mirror. Believe it or not, I didn't use a flash in this photo. This bit of tweaking was done with my new software (which, by the way, is the same software the gal I met yesturday used in creating her paper designs). Cool, huh?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

you never know who you'll run into...

I purchased a book on eBay and the seller happened to live nearby. She suggested we meet at a local coffee shop for the exchange. What an unexpected blessing it turned out to be!

First, she surprised me by tossing in A TON of freebies - beautiful papers and four discs of digital treats. As it turns out, she - Dana Miron - designed the paper! You can peek at her designs by clicking HERE. I was intrigued by her story and asked how she happened to get started. She mentioned an idea book her work was published in - Imperfect Lives: Scrapbooking the Reality of Your Everyday. Sounds totally up my alley, doesn't it? It's now #2 on my wish list.

While looking for the book online, I found a story in the local paper about Dana which lends a little insight into our *connection* today. I so hope to have the opportunity to hear more...

Oh, and it turns out she has a blog. My kinda gal.

Monday, December 17, 2007

fiddling my way through...

the birthday experiment, originally uploaded by Tina Vega.

look who i found!

And boy, it took a lot to track her down! Many of you know Cindy as a the gal who used to get ABC/123 stickers stuck inside her fingernails. Remember those nails? She's been MIA from the scrapbooking scene for 2+ years and her presence is sorely missed! I thought I'd post this for all who have been asking about her. Maybe she'll stop by for a virtual visit and you can razz her a little for old times' sake...

more hip, cool & extreme

My brother-in-law Scott. He's also in a band. You can sample his music here and here. If you're at work, you might want to check the volume button for the second link...

I thought his photo deserved some *hip* processing.

love this shot.

My niece and nephew. I'll post a few more from the day on Flickr as I complete my edits!

many mini-mees

We had a little family celebration today. Grandma Lita gave all of the grandchildren cameras; what a sight! The two girls ran off to play "photo shoot" in Grandma's office - complete with props.

So cute.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

no pit is too deep!

Another song. This one stirs up so much from the past. If you are feeling trapped, unworthy, unlovable, broken, and ashamed know there is NOTHING you can do to "earn" His love. It has been there all along, you just need to RECEIVE it.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

separated at birth?

The lead singer looks just like my friend's husband (Chris). What do you think?

Okay, I know the picture is a bit small... but everything I have of him is old and on film, not digital. His bands' websites weren't of much help either... here's one and the other.

I'm on a MercyMe kick tonight and up WAAAAY TOOOO LAAATE!

#1 on my wishlist!

MercyMe recently released a new album and it is AWESOME! I just sampled it on iTunes and love every single song; definitely an album worth picking up. If you have a moment to watch the video, you will be blessed by the tune at the end. . .

Saturday, December 15, 2007

psssst. pssssssst.

We did a little holiday shopping today and look who we ran into! Gertens is THE BEST place to visit Santa, there is rarely a line and he always spends a great deal of time visiting with the children. Believe it or not, it was even Santa's idea for the family picture!

The boys didn't want to see him this year but I had my camera along and fully intended to capture The Big Red Guy - kids or no kids. As I was having my picture taken, the boys watched from behind a large Christmas tree. When I was finished, I went over to where they were standing to show them the photo.

"Psssst. Pssssssst."

It took a moment before we realized Santa was hiding behind the tree, working hard to get the boys' attention. After a good laugh, they agreed to have their picture taken.

Our Ho-Ho-Ho days are numbered...

Friday, December 14, 2007


a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
My friend Tilly (not the gal pictured here, but HERE) has her finger on the pulse of the scrapbooking world. Now, if she only had a blog... Anyway, she had a great idea for a "Gratitude Album" - creating a weekly page spread of things you are thankful for. I'm all over that!

A variation might be to create an album of gratitude for a particular person. I did something similar to this for my son's kindergarten teacher when she was diagnosed with cancer. Each 2-page spread would include a worksheet as well a photograph of the person filling it out. Items to include on the worksheet:

  1. My favorite memory of you...
  2. What I enjoy most about you...
  3. How you have impacted my life...
  4. I am grateful for you because...

She also told me about this fantastic photo processing website I will be checking out for myself. When you do a lot of custom cropping, it makes printing photos in standard sizes nearly impossible. This website has a wide variety of print sizes - just what I've been looking for! I've linked you right up to the print price sheet, which gives a listing of the available sizes as well.

Happy cropping!

creative ideas

My sister Stacey loves to bake and has showered family, friends, and colleagues with treats this week. One woman was so touched by the gesture it brought tears to her eyes! God used Stacey's passion and talent to mark someone's life.

Isn't that cool?

Maybe your heart is there but resources are tight. While journaling, a few creative ideas came to mind. You can give:

  • Your spot. This time of year the lines are horrendous! Consider trading spots with someone at the end of the line.
  • Your time. Has someone been on your mind lately? Take a moment to let them know with a phone call, note, or email.
  • Your tenderness and compassion. Is there someone near you whose life has recently been shaken by cancer or loss? We can get so caught up in our own lives, we miss those who are hurting. Reach out with a book, secret gift, or special ornament.
  • Your abundance. Share a plate of cookies or even a meal with someone.
  • Your talent. Whether it be making cards, decorating, or wrapping gifts - consider what comes easy to you and use it to bless someone.

While I am at it, I thought I'd pass these along as well...

  1. Twelve Days of Christmas for Grieving Moms;
  2. Check out Katie the Scrapbooking Lady for great gift and scrapbooking ideas (and recipes and organizing tips and interesting tidbits);
  3. A Place to Remember and Little Angels Online Store - obviously, I have a heart for infant/pregnancy loss...
  4. - another great resource for books and gifts.

If you have any ideas you'd like to share, please post them as comments!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

coffee w/sharon

I met Sharon again at yet another stop near our old stomping grounds. A few weeks had passed since our last visit so we had a lot to catch up on. She had a special gift for me... this beautiful ornament. She told me that the very same angel rests on her tree as a sweet reminder of our rekindled friendship.

"A true friend is someone who wants what is best for you. Seek to have those kinds of friends and seek to be that kind of friend to other people."
~Pastor Chuck Lovelady

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

oooooh aaaaaah

I have some new software that I can hardly wait to dig into... a whole new world of photo possibilities! I am sure you noticed the "arrow" on my eyeball. Yep, courtesy of my new toy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December Faithbooking Lesson

Here's the lesson from our crop on Saturday (just click on it to enlarge). With each monthly lesson, I offer journaling ideas that are light and fun with the option of taking it deeper - something for everyone. Those who attend receive the lesson, along with a photo of the page I created, and supplies to create their own. Since you don't have the benefit of seeing my page, I will explain what I did.

The topic was "delight"; a word we tend to see a bit more at Christmastime. It's pretty easy to think of people and things that evoke feelings of delight, but what about God? The Bible talks about God delighting in us - his children - and tells us to delight in Him as well.

A tough thing to wrap your brain around!

The bottom line is that if we want to take delight our Father's presence, we need to know Him. To do that, we need to spend time with Him. You can use this page in a deep way to create a page about that relationship. Or, you can lighten it up by focusing on another special relationship. You could also use this idea to create a two-page spread of every person and thing that brings you delight. Pages like these lend insight into your personality and desires - something very important to those who love you.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Monday, December 10, 2007

eye see you!

Trading my big ole eyeball for Ren's...

call me crazy??

two bumps, originally uploaded by Tina Vega.

I soooooo need the Lord to help me with this one! After returning from the crop weekend, I noticed a couple of bumps inside my eye. The optometrist said it wasn't an infection but still prescribed drops (an antibiotic/cortisone blend) as a precaution. After five days, there was still no change. An online doctor recommended I follow up with an opthamologist; I did that today.

The opthamologist said he saw nothing. Not a spec. Not a bump. I said to him, "Are you kidding me?" He answered in all seriousness, "No." Obviously, I am a little on edge with the recent Meeley/Singulair incident (he was prescribed twice the recommended dosage for six weeks). Mom let me vent and helped put things in perspective: I could always go to another doctor. True. Doctors are just people. True. I am not crazy. Usually true!

Thanks Mom!

PS: If you have a great doctor (any type) who you would highly recommend, please add him/her to the comment section. I'll begin the list with one of my favorites...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

1. my teacher, 2. my friend, 3. blurry goodness, 4. bored, 5. the narrator, 6. Gingerbread Baby, 7. evidence, 8. for Lynn, 9. our house.

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Friday, December 7, 2007

tree stories...

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Jody Ferlaak's story (her blog - Nitty Gritty - is listed under "Faithbooking Resources" on the left-hand side of this page). She and her family were dining one morning when a woman - in an apparent suicide attempt - crashed her car into the restaurant directly where the Ferlaak's were sitting. The tragic accident not only took the life of her daughter, but injured her baby, husband, and herself. The holiday season obviously holds some bittersweet memories for Jody. I know that many of us have experienced loss, some are facing cancer, others are in turmoil over their loved one's addiction. Sometimes the holiday season hightens our sense of loss and pain. If this is you, please read Jody's most recent post. Grab a box of tissue and click HERE.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Thursday, December 6, 2007

sorry, i just couldn't resist.

I'm not so sure about the accuracy of face-scanning technology. Teresa also had Julio Iglesias as a 66% match. At least he's better looking than Tommy Lasorda...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

wanna laugh?

Tommy Lasorda? I might need to submit another picture...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

gifts from the heart.

How many times have you received a special gift, one that caught you off guard? Maybe it was unexpected, unearned, or from someone whose life you briefly touched. Maybe someone just wanted to show they were thinking of you.

What if we focused on that kind of holiday gift-giving? To give without expectation, without obligation, without a list - what do you think would happen? So much of the season is wrapped up in the "have-tos" instead of "want-tos." What if we gave from the heart instead of worrying so much about being fair or matching each other dollar for dollar? What if we began looking for those in need - an unemployed neighbor, the classmate who can't afford mittens, a grieving family - and focused our giving in this way? What if we gave without expecting anything in return? What if we learned to receive without feeling the need to reciprocate?

I think we'd quickly discover the true Spirit of Christmas.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights..." (James 1:17)