Life Scraps

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Day With Trevor

Up at 4:05 a.m. Pulling out of the driveway at 4:55 a.m. Arrived in Okawville at 6:00 a.m. This was the start of my Saturday. I was asked to watch Trevor today because Mommy was called in to work OT and Daddy had deer meat to get processed. I didn't have anything planned for today so why not spend it with The Trev?

I wondered how he would take to me walking through his bedroom door to get him instead of his mommy or daddy. He just smiled and lifted up those arms. Back downstairs I think he was expecting to see his mommy or daddy somewhere but when he didn't he just rolled with the punches. He was unusually quiet for the first hour or so which is very unlike Trevor. The boy has an enormous vocabulary. However, we just can't understand most of it. I have lovingly nicknamed his language.....Trevorese.

It was a fun day. Filled with playing, laughing, a little scolding, endless picking up of toys and even a few hugs and kisses. It is 7:30 pm and I am already thinking of turning in for the night. Before I do, here are some snapshots (straight from camera, unedited) from the day.


Having a blast navigating the livingroom in my shoes!


The boy seriously LOVES to wear everyone else's shoes but NOT his own!
After he was done wearing them he thought it was time for me to wear them. Yeah so, they are on the wrong feet. You gotta give him an E for effort. Just look at the concentration on his face!!


Practicing to be a stunt horse rider for the circus.



In search of toys...no doubt thrown behind the ottoman just so he can do this!




Me trying to take photos of Trevor without a flash. Ha! Right! Maybe if he is sleeping. We were making goofy noises/faces at each other at this moment.





Oh, to be so flexible!






Classic Trevor face! You would think he discovered gold in that box but I guess buried toys are even better than gold to an 18 month old.

And that was my day......told ya, FUN :)
xoxoxox



Thursday, January 28, 2010

CoffeeShop



This is why I love reading other blogs! While skimming through some old posts at SuzyQ Scraps' blog I came across her entry about ACTIONS. Actions (for those who don't know) are these awesome shortcuts to edit your photos in Photoshop Elements.
Suzy mentioned a website (blog) called The Coffee Shop. I am really tired right now so I will let you link on over to the site and read about these SAHM's and how awesome they are for creating these FREE actions for people like me (and you)!!! Yes, I said free. I love FREE!!!

Here is a before and after of a photo of my nephew, Trevor. I will explain what I did.

(BEFORE)

All I did to the (straight out of the camera) photo above was red eye reduction & brightened it up just a bit using the Levels Adjustment Layer.


(AFTER)

I ran two different actions on this photo to get it to this point.

First....I ran the Baby Powder Room action which allowed me to soften up his face and removed the blotchiness. This action also allowed me to brighten & whiten his eyes to make them pop more.

Second....I ran the Hot Cocoa 2 action that gives this warm, soft glowing effect. Oh, I just love the result!

Of course, you know I did a layout using the final product! This was for a Scrap Orchard Template Challenge. I used several kits....Sweet Teddy & Caber MacGregor by Amy Stoffel as well as Composure by TaylorMade Designs.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tastefully Simple

I have a new love and it is called Tastefully Simple. If you have never heard of this company and their products then let me encourage you to check out their website HERE.

A friend of mine from church, Jennifer Church, is a consultant for them. I went to a show this week and had the opportunity to taste first-hand all the yummy goodness their food offers. If you EVER have the chance to attend a show I highly recommend it because you just HAVE to taste for yourself.

I was having quite a conundrum after attending this party. I have lost a chunk of income due to the economy hitting our familys' business hard. Therefore, a strict budget was set in place to get me through these lean times. No frivolous purchases for awhile.

However, I am also cutting out fast-food/restaurant eating as much as possible. That was a decision I made before the income reduction. That means I must cook and to cook semi-healthy you should really plan ahead and be prepared with certain staples in your cupboards.

After a great amount of thought and changing of my mind I came to the decision to purchase the following products. I will explain why.......

Onion Onion Seasoning Blend
Added to cream cheese or sour cream you have a wonderful, fast & savory dip. Use it in place of fresh onions without the tears! I can't wait to sprinkle this in my hamburger meat for burgers!


Garlic Garlic
If you know me you know I love me some garlic. Just the name of this product, Garlic Garlic, was enough to sell me :)

Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix
I sampled this the night of the show and in the famous wordage of Rachael Raye: YUMM-O! Just add olive oil and water for delish pesto in 10 minutes. Can't wait to add this to some pasta one evening. Add a side salad and presto....you have dinner!

Bountiful Beer Bread Mix

Hello?? I was not expecting such mouth watering goodness in a bread. It's bread after all. A mix that all you add is beer or another carbonated beverage and bake it. How good can it really be? V-E-R-Y GOOD!!!! That's how good. It had a nice dense but not too dense texture. What really surprised me was the hint of sweetness from the beer used. Oh, and the crunchy top coating is to die for!!! I can so see having a piece of this with a cup of coffee for a snack.

Bayou Bourbon Glaze

If you have ever had TGI Friday's Jack Daniel's Sauce (and liked it) then you will like this! Again, can't wait to make some burgers with some Onion Onion & this glaze added to the meat before cooking.

Well, now that I am sufficiently hungry (and probably you, too) I will bring this to a close. You would think I sell this product but I don't. But, my friend, Jennifer Church, does. And, if the economy turns around I will be hosting a show of my own down the road. In the meantime, I look foward to building my seasoning inventory over time as there are more I want but cannot afford right now.

How about you? Have you a favorite Tastefully Simple product? Do share!

xoxoxoxo

-


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jasper the Dog

This is just an email I received and thought it was just too funny not to blog.....

Jasper and the Unbaked Yeast Rolls

We have a fox terrier by the name of Jasper.. He came to us in the summer of 2001 from the fox terrier rescue program. For those of you, who are unfamiliar with this type of adoption, imagine taking in a 10 year old child about whom you know nothing and committing to doing your best to be a good parent. Like a child, the dog came with his own idiosyncrasies. He will only sleep on the bed, on top of the covers, nuzzled as close to my face as he can get without actually performing a French kiss on me. Lest you think this is a bad case of 'no discipline,' I should tell you that Perry and I tried every means to break him of this habit including locking him in a separate bedroom for several nights. The new door cost over $200. But I digress.

Five weeks ago we began remodeling our house. Although the cost of the project is downright obnoxious, it was 20 years overdue AND it got me out of cooking Thanksgiving for family, extended family, and a lot of friends that I like more than family most of the time. I was assigned the task of preparing 124 of my famous yeast dinner rolls for the two Thanksgiving feasts we did attend. I am still cursing the electrician for getting the new oven hooked up so quickly. It was the only appliance in the whole darn house that worked, thus the assignment.

I made the decision to cook the rolls on Wed evening to reheat Thurs am. Since the kitchen was freshly painted, you can imagine the odor. Not wanting the rolls to smell like Sherwin Williams #586, I put the rolls on baking sheets and set them in the living room to rise for a few hours. Perry and I decided to go out to eat, returning in about an hour. The rolls were ready to go in the oven.

It was 8:30 PM. When I went to the living room to retrieve the pans, much to my shock one whole pan of 12 rolls was empty. I called out to Jasper and my worst nightmare became a reality. He literally wobbled over to me. He looked like a combination of the Pillsbury dough boy and the Michelin Tire man wrapped up in fur.. He groaned when he walked. I swear even his cheeks were bloated. I ran to the phone and called our vet. After a few seconds of uproarious laughter, he told me the dog would probably be OK, however, I needed to give him Pepto Bismol every 2 hours for the rest of the night. God only knows why I thought a dog would like Pepto Bismol any more than my kids did when they were sick. Suffice it to say that by the time we went to bed the dog was black, white and pink. He was so bloated we had to lift him onto the bed for the night.

We arose at 7:30 and as we always do first thing; put the dog out to relieve himself. Well, the dog was as drunk as a sailor on his first leave. He was running into walls, falling flat on his butt and most of the time when he was walking his front half was going one direction and the other half was either dragging the grass or headed 90 degrees in another direction. He couldn't lift his leg to pee, so he would just walk and pee at the same time. When he ran down the small incline in our back yard, he couldn't stop himself and nearly ended up running into the fence. His pupils were dilated and he was as dizzy as a loon. I endured another few seconds of laughter from the vet (second call within 12 hours) before he explained that the yeast had fermented in his belly and that he was indeed drunk. He assured me that, not unlike most binges we humans go through, it would wear off after about 4 or 5 hours and to keep giving him Pepto Bismol.

Afraid to leave him by himself in the house, Perry and I loaded him up and took him with us to my sister's house for the first Thanksgiving meal of the day. My sister lives outside of Muskogee on a ranch, (10 to 15 minute drive). Rolls firmly secured in the trunk (124 less 12) and drunk dog leaning from the back seat onto the console of the car between Perry and I, we took off.

Now I know you probably don't believe that dogs burp, but believe me when I say that after eating a tray of risen unbaked yeast rolls, DOGS WILL BURP. These burps were pure Old Charter. They would have matched or beat any smell in a drunk tank at the police station. But that's not the worst of it. Now he was beginning to fart and they smelled like baked rolls. God strike me dead if I am not telling the truth! We endured this for the entire trip to Karen's, thankful she didn't live any further away than she did. Once Jasper was firmly placed in my sister's garage with the door locked, we finally sat down to enjoy our first Thanksgiving meal of the day. The dog was the topic of conversation all morning long and everyone made trips to the garage to witness my drunken dog, each returning with a tale of Jasper's latest endeavor to walk without running into something.

Of course, as the old adage goes, 'what goes in must come out' and Jasper was no exception. Granted if it had been me that had eaten 12 risen, unbaked yeast rolls, you might as well have put a concrete block up my behind, but alas a dog's digestive system is quite different from yours or mine. I discovered this was a mixed blessing when we prepared to leave Karen's house. Having discovered his 'packages' on the garage floor, we loaded him up in the car so we could hose down the floor. This was another naive decision on our part. The blast of water from the hose hit the poop on the floor and the poop on the floor withstood the blast from the hose. It was like Portland cement beginning to set up and cure. We finally tried to remove it with a shovel. I (obviously no one else was going to offer their services) had to get on my hands and knees with a coarse brush to get the remnants off of the floor. And as if this wasn't degrading enough, the darn dog in his drunken state had walked through the poop and left paw prints all over the garage floor that had to be brushed too.

Well, by this time the dog was sobering up nicely so we took him home and dropped him off before we left for our second Thanksgiving dinner at Perry's sister's house. I am happy to report that as of today (Monday) the dog is back to normal both in size and temperament. He has had a bath and is no longer tricolor. None the worse for wear I presume. I am also happy to report that just this evening I found 2 risen unbaked yeast rolls hidden inside my closet door. It appears he must have come to his senses after eating 10 of them but decided hiding 2 of them for later would not be a bad idea.

Now, I'm doing research on the computer as to: 'How to clean unbaked dough from the carpet.'
And how was your day?

See, told you, funny stuff!!! Hope you had a good laugh!

1 Peter 3:10

1 Peter 3:10 (The Message)
Suffering for Doing Good

8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. You'll be a blessing and also get a blessing.

Whoever wants to embrace life
and see the day fill up with good,
Here's what you do:
Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
run after peace for all you're worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
listening and responding well to what he's asked;
But he turns his back
on those who do evil things.

Wow, did I need to read this today. I receive a daily Bible verse in my email inbox everyday. This was todays verse.

I needed this because I have been dealing with some "sharp-tongued sarcasm" lately. I even had a conversation with a friend recently how I am just not going to stand for it anymore. One more 'fiery dart' thrown at me and I am not keeping my mouth shut. I know it is wrong and that my former Pastor would always say "if you want to confront someone then you probably shouldn't". Oh, but it is SO hard for me to turn the other cheek. But when I read the second half of that verse: Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here's what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you're worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he's asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things. On January 1st of this new year I made a choice to REMAIN in Christ. A choice to REMAIN attached to the vine. In essence, fill up with good. And to do that I should say nothing evil/hurtful; snub evil, cultivate good; run after peace for all I am worth!!! These are the things God looks upon with approval.

So I ask myself.....from whom am I seeking approval from? Those spewing the sharp-tongued sarcasm? Or God? I choose to seek God.

How about you? Are you being a blessing or are you being disagreeable, sarcastic, uncompassionate?

xoxoxoxo

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Missing....Found

Received this email from my dear, sweet friend, Christina....

So…I thought about sending out an email, but I had basically asked everyone if they had seen it so didn’t really see the point. I searched and searched frantically all day yesterday for this notebook. This morning on the way in, I gave the loss of my notebook to God. I convinced myself that if I wasn’t to find it, God was going to teach me something from it….take care of my things better (because you might lose your notebook), remember my list of to dos better (because you might lose your notebook), don’t keep important conversation data only in your notebook (because you might lose your notebook), don’t be so mean to people (because they might steal your notebook, lol)

Anyway I told God that I could accept that I lost it if he wanted me to. Know what he said (immediately)? He told my sweet friend Hilary to send an email without asking me because the one person that knew where it was is in the field 95% of his day and wouldn’t realize that it was mine and I was missing it so much….

It’s so amazing the little things that God uses to bring you back to the right way of thinking.

You might think the point I am trying to make by posting this email is to show you how much God cares about those little things (that are really huge to us). Well, of course, I believe that is very true. He does care about what we care about....even little things.

However, what I think He cares about even more is our response to Him when things/people in our life go missing. Do we kick, scream, cry, pout and take it out on those around us and God? Or, do we go to God and humbly say "Okay, God, I am okay with this.....if it be your will." Sometimes God has to use these moments to get our eyes off us and back on HIM.

Thank you Christina....for sharing this with me.

xoxoxoxo

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Official

I now know how to design blinkies! Woo-Hoo! They are quite labor intensive to create so now I understand why they cost anywhere from $15-$50 to make.

Look over to your right.....see it there in my sidebar? I created this one for an upcoming digi-scrapping contest I am going to be in. It's called Amazing Digital Scrapbooking Race, Season 5. Just like the TV show, we work with a partner and travel all over the digi-world for six weeks competing to move on to the next round. There won't be any judging of work or eliminations. Well, you will only be eliminated if you do not complete a challenge in time or properly. Any team that finishes is eligible for the grand prize. No, I don't know what that will be yet but I hear it is an awesome package of goodies!

Well, this has been an extremely LONG day. Off to bed. Was just so excited about my new blinkie skillz that I had to blog it before turning in.

ps - I created this using the kit, Little Angel, by Lyndsay Riches at Scrap Orchard. You can see her store HERE.

xoxoxoxo

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meals Matter

I won't say I made a concrete resolution to eat less fast-food but, I certainly wanted to "try". I am very happy to say I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have had fast food for a meal since January 1st.

Now, don't go thinking I have turned into little Miss Suzy Homemaker! Ha!! Far from it. Far from it. No, I have only replaced fast-food with Special K cereals, Smart Ones frozen entrees, and an (hear me when I say it) occasional, non-microwaved meal. Baby steps folks :)

I have made a decision to bring my dusty crockpot out of hiding and place it back on my counter. In addition, I want to start meal planning Monday-Friday meals. Thanks to the WWWW (yes, I meant to put 4 w's....the first stands for wonderful) I did an online search for meal planning. After looking through several sites I found this one:

www.mealsmatter.org


(Screenshot of home page)

There is a myriad of awesomeness awaiting you when you visit this site! Before I go any further let me tell you the cost. Ready? Sure? Better sit down first........

>

>

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>

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FREE!!!

Free is so cool! Some of the tools offered are Personal Nutrition & Fitness Planners. Under the "Meal Planner" tab they offer daily meal planning calendars, shopping lists, & cookbooks. I planned out some meals for next week and what I did was searched for crock pot recipes using their extensive database of recipes. I was able to narrow my search to certain food groups such as "chicken or beef". Then, as I pulled up a recipe to review it I could then decide to ADD it to my personal cookbook. I created a cookbook called "Crock Pot Recipes". Once I added meals to each day I was then able to tell it to create a shopping list for me. It lists EVERYTHING from every meal you are planning to make. You have the ability to delete items such as the salt, pepper & other various staples you may always keep on hand. Once you are done you click a button and voila! you have a shopping list to take to the store. Oh yeah, you can even list the aisles in the store so it prints your list in the order which you walk through to shop. How stinkin' cool is that?

There are other tabs with many other features but I will let you find those yourself. I don't know if I have EVER been so excited about meal planning. But, I am. With the recent income loss I have to start thinking more money-wise and try to stretch the funds out. Hopefully I can accomplish this by planning ahead more....utilizing coupons and sales.

Do you use a meal planner? What is your method? I hope maybe this has inspired a non-planner out there (like me) to get a little more organized in the kitchen! God bless<><

xoxoxoxo


Monday, January 18, 2010

Hearing God's Voice

Yesterday morning I met my dad at Starbucks a few minutes past 7:00 to buy him a coffee and Apple Fritter for his birthday before we went to church. I love the coziness of Starbucks. Everything from the music, the decor, to the yummy smell of coffee in the air!!! It was a nice way to start a Sunday.

Pastor Mark delivered the message because Dr. Hufty was out of town this week. At first I was disappointed. Not because I don't like Mark. No, not at all the case. Mostly because I have come to REALLY love Dr. Hufty's messages and especially his delivery of them. Yes, it will be hard one day to say goodbye to him when a new Senior Pastor is chosen for our flock. {sigh} However, if God could prepare my heart to be so fully open to this interim pastor just 6 months after losing Pastor Fred then He can prepare my heart for the one He has planned for us down the road.

The message was on Learning To Hear God's Voice. Hmmmm, really? I have heard other sermons on this topic and wasn't sure if this would be much different from the others. Well, I am not sure if the message was different this time or if "I" was just different. Either way, I really took a lot from it. Here are some of the points he made.....

There are 5 steps in the process of learning to hear God's voice.
  1. PRAY....how can I possibly expect to hear God speak to me if I never stop and open up a line of communication?
  2. GOD'S WORD.....am I unsure of whether or not I have heard God? Test it against God's word and determine if lines up with it or if it contradicts it? God will never tell me to do something that is not in line with His Truth.
  3. GOD'S PEACE....if I think I have heard God speak yet I am still very confused or just unsettled then likely it is not from God. However, if I have peace for several days then I can be sure it is from Him.
  4. CONSULT PRAYER WARRIORS....have two or three people in your circle that you know pray faithfully and when you are seeking God's voice, go to them and ask them to pray about it with you. If, after praying for a period of time they come back and share with you what they felt God saying to them and it lines up with what you heard God say then you can be sure it is God.
  5. GOD'S CONFIRMATIONS.....through dreams & signs. I fully believe God still speaks to us through dreams today. I know of one time in my life where He did this for me. I think it is because we are so busy going....doing.....talking.....etc, that He has to wait for us to fall asleep and be still/quiet so He can speak to us.

It was a good weekend. Yes it was.

xoxoxoxo

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dreamin' of Lunch

Is it wrong that it is not even 7 a.m. and I am already thinking about lunch? If you knew what I had waiting for me you would not be so quick to judge!



Now, if you are all about healthy food......no fat.....no carbs, etc. then I suggest you don't read this because there ain't nuttin' "healthy" 'bout this dish. 'Cept maybe the mushrooms.



So, went to Farmer's Restaurant for my dear friends birthday last night. In light of recent pay cuts I went with the intention of being money conscious and just getting an appetizer or something inexpensive. However, I did not get to eat prior to going thus I was s.t.a.r.v.i.n.g. when I arrived at the restaurant. No way was an appetizer gonna do it.


My fave dish here is called Peppermill Steak Pasta.

Pepper: good.

Steak: good.

Pasta: good.

You just cannot go wrong with this trio combination. Did I mention the steak is filet mignon?? The pasta is rigatoni noodles in a creamy white sauce (usually I am not a big fan of creamy white sauces but when mixed with the juices of filet mignon it's a different story). There are button mushrooms through out and they top it with a sprinkling of cracked peppercorns to add a nice little spice and crunch to each bite.

This delish dish will rob your wallet of $12.99, eeks! Honestly I don't think that is a bad price for the amount you receive and the fact it is......ummmm, I will say it again: DELISH!!! I ordered just water to drink and the meal came with a dinner salad (another yum) plus they bring you rolls/corn bread before your dinner. After eating a roll and the salad I was able to save 1/2 the pasta dish for lunch the next day. In total, my meal was $14.01 + 2.00 tip and that averages out to $8.00 per meal. Yes, it is more than I would be paying had I not just grabbed one of my $2 Smart Ones frozen meals but you also cannot put a price on spending a few hours with good friends....celebrating & laughing over a fabulous dinner. Amen? Amen.

Come on 11:30.....get here already! I'm hungry!!!!!!!!!!!

What are YOU having for lunch today?

xoxoxo

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 Inspiration Challenge

Last post today, promise!

I love the "dare challenges" at The Digi Dares. However, I rarely stop and do the challenges. I want to attempt to do atleast one dare a month this year. The reason I love their dares is because they challenge you to look within and scrap memories or life and not just photos. I forget sometimes to stop and do some layouts about things such as ~what I like/dislike at the time~ ~my favorite songlist at certain point and time~ ~what inspires me~. And so, I took the "inspiration" challenge and this is the result. This is what inspires me in January 2010:



There are so many other things that inspire me but I tried to narrow it down to an 8x8 layout, lol. As I thought about the different things/people/places that cause inspiration to well up inside me I realized I draw my inspiration from two different worlds.....#1 The real one, which I live among daily and #2 The cyberspace one, which I also tend to live among daily.

For this reason I split my layout into those two worlds. There are five blogs I follow obsessively because these ladies/blogs are often Christ centered and so uplifting (and real). It really doesn't matter that they reference many of their posts around their spouses & children. Being a single girl myself you might think that would be hard & tiresome to read about regularly. However, they do it in a way that when all is said and done, God is glorified and I am left challenged to be a better person in Christ. Here are a list of those blogs (they are also in my "favorites" sidebar but I will list them here, too). I challenge you to visit one a day over the next work week and see if you aren't inspired, too.

Sarah Markley

(in)courage

Chatting At The Sky

The Creative Mama

It's Almost Naptime!

Seriously...this is my life! (I added this one because my cousin's blog is also a great source of inspiration on many topics as well, including God).

For my IRL (in real life) inspiration list I chose these (in no particular order):

#1 {Music} I love music....contemporary Christian music to be more precise. Chris Tomlin is my absolute favorite praise & worship singer/songwriter. His songs can take me to a level of worship like few others can. This man certainly has used the gift/vision given him to bring immense glory to God.

#2 {Nature} Ahhh, nature, like music, can sweep me into a whole other realm. As pictured, just about anywhere in Colorado inspires me because of the various mountain ranges through out. Sunrises, a field of blooming flowers & blazing autumn colors can evoke the same inspiration in me.

#3 {God's Word} The Holy Bible.....if you can't find inspiration here then trust me, you cannot find it anywhere. I guess you can but then who do you give credit to for the inspiration? It is the foundation of all things that inspire. God's word, like God himself, is as same today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. It is what feeds and quenches our souls while we live out this time on earth.

#4 {These Boys} You had to know Trevor & Caiden would be one of my top sources of inspiration. Simply put, they inspire me to be a better person (period)

#5 {God's Gifts} I have blogged in the past about my love for rainbows. I can't imagine there isn't anyone who doesn't love these magnificent arching beauty's. For me to see a rainbow is, frankly, like receiving some of the best news possible. Seriously. If I am driving and able to pull off the road to just sit and stare at one I will. I have been known on many occasions to run outside after a thunderstorm has moved over and I see the sun break through the clouds just to try and catch one. I believe God has used rainbows to speak to me during 2 very low points in my life. The first was through a dream I had about many rainbows in the sky at one time. The second was an actual rainbow that appeared on my livingroom ceiling in 2008. Both times I needed God's promise of better things to come and both times, after the rainbows appeared, the clouds parted in my life and the sun began to shine again.

xoxoxo

Christmas Moments 2009

Since I am confined to sitting I decided to do some scrapping of photographs I took yesterday at our family Christmas gathering. Here are a few photo highlights of Trevor & Caiden in a completed layout.

A little background on each photo:

Top Center: Trevor was actually sitting behind Caiden on the rocking horse but
Caiden's head was turned and I love the express on Trev's face here!
Top Right: Trevor rocking his heart out....the boy L.O.V.E.D. his rocky horse!
Center Far Left: Trevor was more interested in picking up the bows (and
stealing them off unwrapped gifts) & putting them on his head than he
was of opening his gifts (toddlers!)
Center Center: A sweet smile of Caiden captured. He was playing with Cousin
Mikey at this very moment. He was captivated by his new friend!
Center Right: A photo of Caiden wearing the hand knitted "camo" hat Tanti
Helen bought for him off Etsy.com
Bottom: No real explanation needed here. Caiden received the exact rocky
horse from his Great Grandpa 2 weeks ago and he was seriously confused
when this one suddenly appeared on the scene. He didn't understand it was
Trev's horse. To keep the brawls to a minimum we put them both on it at
once. Just then Caiden goes into his "Stone Cold Steve Austin Mode".

Well, I am off to make some coffee before viewing church service live via the internet! Will be back later with more posts probably!

Intangible gifts

It is Sunday morning. 7:10 a.m. Can barely move without wincing in pain from a fall taken yesterday. Yesterday. Our family celebrated a belated Christmas. Fourteen adults/teenagers. Two toddlers. Two dogs. And, enough food to feed twice that many. It was a day full of giving and receiving. Not just the tangible but the intangible, too. The joy that comes from watching Trevor sitting atop his new, handmade rocking horse with a face beaming as he rocked his heart out is priceless. The laughter generated by watching Caiden run from one end of the house to the other with a gold bow stuck to the top of his head is immeasurable. Yes, the intangible blessings far outweigh the tangible ones.

About the fall. Oy! I guess with 13 people shoved into an area that should only hold half that number it can only be expected. As I stepped down into the family room, someone sitting on the floor moved their leg at the wrong moment. In my effort to not put full weight on her foot I lost my balance and fell forward. To my chagrin, directly in front of me was my nephew, Caiden. In mid-fall I twist my body to miss him. Next in line was Julie. Poor Julie. Bless Julie. She held out her arms and I grabbed her hand, which I think allowed me to finally come to rest on my left knee and eventually my left side. Did I mention I was holding my camera by its’ strap during this fall? Andrea may have grabbed it but I do not remember. Needless to say this morning I cannot move without intense pain shooting through my lower back. I believe I will have to REMAIN in my home and listen to today’s sermon via the web.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thank you God...for electric blankets!!!

I did it! I forked out the $$ for an electric blanket tonight. With temps down in the single digits and wind chills dipping below zero my livingroom just doesn't get warm. Only if I crank the furnace up and let it run constantly!! Frankly, that is like taking 1/2 my paycheck and just flushing it down the toilet. But, I can't stand being cold. I really only need it when I am in my recliner playing on the computer (which is alot, hahaha). I don't need it when I sleep as I actually prefer to be a bit cool and my bedroom is not so drafty so it's comfortable.

So, tonight while at K-Mart with Aunt Maggie I stopped to look at the blankets I NEVER thought I would own. At first I saw $49.99 and was like "no way....I will find a way to stay warm". Then I realized they are different sizes so I found a twin size and it was only $29.99. Oh yeah, that's a number I can swallow.

I am happy to report this post is being typed by one happy, cozy-warm, blogger girl! I have to share this funny with you before I go. I sent a text to my aunt letting her know I was warm & snuggly under my electric blanky. She texted me back "oh, I didn't know it was electric. where am I?" Her favorite saying when she gets confused is 'where am I'. My reply "You crack me up. Do you think I would spend that much money on a regular blanket? Only if it came with a cute guy to snuggle under it with." [sigh] No cute guy so I have to settle for an electric blanket.

Good night....I am off to turn down the furnace some more!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Steal, Kill, Destroy.....REMAIN

Oy! Satan loves nothing more than to steal, kill and destroy. However, despite his efforts, I remained in Christ today. I am not saying I didn't skirt around the edges of sin. I will admit I crossed over the line a few times. Let's recap this day (as if it would excuse my sin, not)
  • Awoke at 6:30 a.m. (ok, 6:55).....after not falling asleep until 3:00 a.m.
  • Arrived to work 15 minutes late and discovered I had computer issues to deal with
  • Coffee and breakfast were set aside untouched
  • On the telelphone by 8:00 a.m. with tech support
  • Hung up the phone with tech support at nearly 10:00 a.m. with no resolution to the issue
  • Called my local computer guy who informed me the anti-virus program he recommended to me several years ago is now "not catching all the viruses". [gulp]
  • Finally was able to eat my breakfast & drink coffee at 10:00 a.m.
  • Began to shuffle through papers left over from before the new year holiday to see what I could do that did not require an internet connection
  • Worked feverishly without many interruptions until 1:30 at which time I took lunch
  • By 2:00 I felt like lunch and I were having WWIII in my stomach
  • At 3:00 I begin to feel better and I can see the finish line of this day when suddenly the telephones decide they DO work and it is one call after another. I am talking like 2 calls at a time, several times in a row. Note: I am NOT the multi-tasker I once was [sigh]
  • I walk to my car at 3:45 (15 minutes later than usual but considering I was 15 minutes late this morning, I guess I won't complain, lol)
  • Pick up Aunt Maggie at 5:00....head to Wal-Mart. Have I ever mentioned I detest this place any other time except at 7 a.m. on Saturdays when the majority of folks are still sleeping?
  • While Aunt Maggie returns some items I start getting some items on both our lists on that side of the GIGANTIC WM (not super, gigantic)
  • We meet up and she takes her list back from me and we look at blankets before heading over to the other side the the GIGANTIC WM!
  • Once on the other side she proclaims "veggie basket" to which I reply "oh crap, Aunt Maggie I could slap you". Oh yes I did say it. Told ya, I crossed the line several times.
  • We finish in the food section....men's jeans section and work our way WAY back to the other side towards the kitchen gadget aisle ONLY to discover our "super" WM does not carry the hanging 3 tiered, wire veggie baskets. [insert your choice of expletive here as I probably said it....line crossed again]
  • We check out.....we load the back of my vehicle with $125 worth of filled plastic bags between us.....we crank up the heater cause 'baby, it's freezing outside'!!!
  • I arrive home at 7:00 p.m......pooped out.

This was not an ordinary day but by NO means was it a tragic day. Yes, work hangs in the balance and for the first time in a very long time we are facing serious hard times. Yes, computers are in need of H1N1 vaccines. Yes, WalMart sucks between 5-6 p.m. on a Monday night.

As I sit here and it nears 8 p.m. I am tired but I am not feeling quite so weighted down. Though I crossed sin lines today (mostly while driving) I also cracked many jokes and tried to see the obstacles as just that....obstacles. Not cancer....not death....not any kind of 'suck-the-breath-out-of-you' tragic.

I remain in Him and Him in me. Did I bear fruit today? Eh, not so sure about that. But, the peace I have in my heart tonight reminds me I am not cut off from the vine.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

WOTY Scrapped


I have scrapped my Word Of The Year so now all I need to do is get it printed and then I plan to frame it and hang it up.

Created using a kit called, Love Earth, from Delicious Scraps. The photo is another Flickr photo. Click HERE to be taken to the photographer's album on Flickr.

What Is Your Vision

So, yesterday I chose my word....REMAIN. I chose my verse....John 15:4 "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."

Today, I went to church. The first Sunday of a new year. During Sunday school I found myself feeling defensive during the bible study and comments being made by the group. I could hear satan whispering "this is why you came today?? for this?" I remained in my seat. No, I would not run. I would remain.

Dr. Hufty, our interim Pastor, as always delivered God's message in a way that really brings it home to the heart. Today he spoke of vision or lack thereof. Our scripture reference was Numbers 13:30-31 where it talks about Caleb bringing the report back to Moses saying by all means they should go up and take possession of the land as surely they could overcome it. However, other men objected, stating they were not able to go up against the people, for they were too strong for them. These other men did not have the vision of God's plan for them, therefore, they would never see the promised land.

Three reasons people lack vision according to today's message is

1. Because we do not fully realize who God is. God's love for us is immeasurable. Even as much as we love our own children/family.....it just cannot compare to how much God loves us.

2. Because we do not fully realize who We are. I am a child of God. God has plans for me (and you) and He says so in Jeremiah 29:11.....plans to prosper, not to harm. But, how often do we let this world cloud our vision of the plans God has for us? How many excuses do we make to not follow God's vision for us instead of just obeying? God has wired us each in our own way to bring Him glory. Use how He has wired you to reach others for His glory.

3. Because we do not fully realize who He wants us to be. Spiritual atrophy....the weakening of our spirits due to lack of daily exercise with God. If we do not renew daily....if we do not exercise ourselves in God's word, prayer, obedience daily.....we will grow weak and satan is just sitting on the sidelines waiting for the dark clouds to cover you or the tragedy to strike and then he moves onto the playing field....because he knows you are weak. Oh, how this part spoke to me. I realize I have allowed my spirit to atrophy during this time of depression which has given satan a foothold to keep me down. Wow!

Today, I chose to REMAIN despite hurt feelings, aching heart, depression....I chose to REMAIN. Each day will be a choice. Will I always choose wisely? I know now the answer is no. But, today I did. And I see the sunshine out the window differently because of it.

What will you choose today....tomorrow.....this week that will bring you joy over sadness? My prayer is that you make that choice....despite it all.

xoxo,
Helen

Saturday, January 2, 2010

R.E.M.A.I.N.

My cousin has done this for a few years now and I see it becoming more and more popular. Choosing a "word" for the year. It is a choice that is personal to each individual based upon things such as family, goals, religion, etc.

I have never done this and truth be told, I had no intentions of choosing a word for this year. And if I am going to be honest I might as well 'fess up completely....I still don't "want" to.

However, I believe God wants me to. See, I pretty much ignored Him all morning as the thought of "a word of the year" would pop into my head. How God? How can I do this? You know where I am....you know my heart....you know ME. The. Real. Me.

Then, at 12:47 p.m. this afternoon my phone rings. I fully expected to see a certain name appear on the caller ID screen but to my delightful surprise it was a dear friend from Colorado. A dear friend I so rarely get a chance to really "talk" to because she doubles as Super Woman while raising 7 year old quadruplet boys & working full-time as a Project Engineer. You think you're busy? Ha! I usually call her during our early morning commutes to work and we are lucky to get in 10 minutes. So, to see her name on my phone was pure joy. We didn't talk about anything deep or spiritual....just 33 min 40 sec of chit-chat about the holidays, kids, ripped jeans, weight loss. You get the picture. I hung up and was refreshed. I smiled. God knew what I needed today and He provided. My dear friend has no idea how God used her today.

Again, word-of-the-year, thought pops into my head. Okay God. Okay. I get it. I can do this but only if I REMAIN in you. Remain is not the word I initially thought of. Words such as focus, joy, provision all came to me first. It wasn't until I went to ChristianityToday.com that the words "Remain in Me" jumped off the page at me. I read the article and the John 15:4 verse that accompanied it and I just knew.....this was the word.

It is terrifying to post something like this for God, family, friends, blog followers to read because it now becomes "in writing" and if I fail....I feel guilty. Everything within me wants to pull the covers over my head and fade into non-existance. The thought of getting out of bed tomorrow morning to go to church overwhelms me. There are SO many things I want to accomplish but the thought of failing stops me. Why? I would have to say it is because I see myself doing these things in my own strength. In my own time. In my own way. Until I bring God back into the formula of how to reach my goals....I labor in vain. Only God knows the hold depression has upon my life. Only God can break that hold and give me back the desire, energy, & focus needed to receive the abundant blessings He has waiting for me.

So, here we go 2010......this is the year to REMAIN in Him!!!

ps- if you hadn't noticed...I changed my blog design and incorporated my WOTY in my banner. Great idea Angela....hope you don't mind I lifted that idea from your blog :)

2010 Creations....

Just hopping on to post a few layouts I have created this year already. I am a new CT member for Brandy Designs at Polka Dot Plum and these first 3 were created using new or revamped kits of hers.


Using PROJECT 365
A series of photos of Trevor I just adore. I have scrapped several pages using them. I also used a template by DeCrow Designs at Scrap Orchard. Lovin' templates in 2010!




Using HOT COCOA

This is just a scrumptious kit (and another template from DeCrow Designs). I love these color combinations. Another photo of Trevor looking ever so intently at the dirt and leaves!



Using GLITTERING SNOW

Okay, so I have NO snow photos to speak of, therefore, I went hunting at Flickr to find something and well, who could possibly resist these gorgeous beauty's? Not me. Here is the link to the photo I used: Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9497723@N08/649772835/


Using Snowy Sidekick...a duo from KristinCBDesigns & Meg Mullins @ Scrap Orchard (and another template...this time from Designs by Sine: SO Journaled)

Yes, these are photos from September I am using for a "snowy" digi kit. But hey, he is wearing long sleeves (and white) and I am sorry but these photos show off the cuteness that oozes out of this child too much not to scrap something and I was itching like crazy to use this kit!!! Geesh, why did I feel the need to go thru that whole explanation?