Sunday, August 30, 2009

Comfort Food & A Pain In The Neck

It's Monday again and I have no idea how that happened. Seems only yesterday I wrote my last post and yet an entire week as flown right on by. I had an unusual week last week and that could be the reason I have lost sight of the fact that 7 days have come and gone. I suppose a minor medical emergency, missed work days and several DT deadlines would make most people lose track of time. Consider me most people. LOL!

As of Tuesday, my first DT projects for Serendipity Scrapbooks will "go live". I must admit, I'm a little giddy over the debut. I'm also excited about my responsibilities on the forum. Having never participated in an online forum at this level, I am eager to do my best to follow the tradition of the site and keep things fun and interesting. Being behind the scenes, I'm privy to some of the upcoming events and you surely want to be there. Lots and lots of fun times ahead.

Speaking of DT work, it's time for another challenge at These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things. There were so many wonderful entries for favorite movie...I had a tough time voting. In fact, that is the only negative to being on this team. I can never, ever narrow it down to one. *sigh* Our challenge this time is to create a project focusing on our favorite food. Talk about having a hard time narrowing it to one! I LOVE food, people! No doubt about it...and I have the hips to prove it! LOL! So I cheated just a little and scrapped my favorite food group.

Ummm, yeah, so comfort food isn't really a food group. But where I come totally counts! LOL! Funny how comfort food includes so many starches.

I hope you get the chance to play along. An awesome prize is up for grabs. Our guest DT member, Jessi, has donated a wonderful little stash of goodies for the winner.

Earlier I mentioned a minor medical emergency occurring this past week. As I was clearing the dinner table Tuesday night I was talking on the phone, holding the phone to my ear with my shoulder. Suddenly, my back locked...then began to spasm. Not a tiny little twitch...massive spasms...the kind that totally took my breath. Taylor's girlfriend, Leah, is studying to be a massage therapist so she worked on it for almost an hour. But I found no relief. After an agonizing night of no sleep, I went to the chiropractor the following morning. Two hours of tests and procedures later and I was diagnosed with a bulging disc in my neck. An eight year old neck injury had come back to haunt me. I spent all of Wednesday in the bed icing my neck, trying to watch TV and sucking down ibuprofen. All I can say is thank you, thank you to the inventors of TiVo.

Thursday I returned to work for a few hours. Technically, I was told to not drive or use the computer for any length of time as it would strain my neck. But work can only wait so long. Once at work, Mr. Boss Man, who likes to play big brother, insisted I go to a neurologist for a second opinion. Fearing surgery would be their recommendation, I really...really...really didn't want to go. Besides, neurologists have at least a 6 month waiting list and that is with a doctor's recommendation...something I didn't have. Well, I guess the old saying is true. It's not WHAT you know but WHO you know. With one phone call Dear Mr. Boss Man had scheduled an appointment with Asheville's leading neurologist for that afternoon.

I was already anxious about seeing this doctor, but when I realized I would most likely need an MRI, I began to become overly so. I am slightly claustrophobic so I wasn't sure I could handle it. Turns out, I'm more that slightly claustrophobic... I'm REALLY claustrophobic. LOL! Thick pads were packed around my head to keep it from moving. That in and of itself was enough to bring on the feelings of suffocation. I closed my eyes and began talking to myself as a reminder to just breathe in and breathe out. The technician then handed me the panic button. One serious point to be made here...the mere mention of the word "panic" did nothing but embed the thought in my mind that I would most certainly PANIC. Why not call it a "call button". I'm just sayin'. Once inside the tunnel, I made one critical mistake. I opened my eyes. Seeing that the top of the tunnel was only millimeters from the tip of my nose unleashed that major panic attack that was already lurking just beneath the surface. I began to yell and tried to claw my way out.

OK, it wasn't funny then, but the mental image I just had is actually quite funny now. Anyway, drugs...wonderful drugs...were offered to me and I eagerly accepted. Then...the entire process became pleasant. I willing climbed aboard the table, helped pack my head in tight and welcomed the serenity offered from the cocoon that awaited me. Once inside my cozy little nest, the humming of the machine lulled me to sleep. Funny how a little tiny pill can totally change your outlook! LOL!

I'm still awaiting the results of the MRI. The doctor feels certain there is a compromised nerve due to numbness and tingling in my arms and hands as well as hyper sensitive reflexes. Just what is causing the problem...well, lets just hope my MRI encounter gives us some answers.

I'm still not suppose to be spending much time on the computer. As you can see, I'm not the best patient. LOL! I haven't been and I won't be making my usual rounds for a few more days. I hate that I am unable to visit and leave you guys some love. What computer time I do have I must dedicate to work. But no worries, I'm hoping to be back to my old self within a few days and I will be stalking you all again! LOL!!! Hope you have a wonderful week!!!

Hugs & Love,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Blues

So I have the Monday blues. Can't think of a darn thing to write. I haven't blogged since last Wednesday so I thought I should at least try to translate a few random thoughts into words.

I had an easy-does-it weekend. Time spent with Taylor and Leah...lots of time spent in the scrap cave. I have my first MAJOR deadline tomorrow for Serendipity Scrapbooks. Looks like I'll make it by the skin of my teeth. For whatever reason, I was thinking the 25th was Friday. Oops...NOT! It is tomorrow. Good thing I was really close to being finished with my projects. I have just one little bugger of an issue with the final one and then I'm ready to submit my work. Being my first ever kit club DT projects, I was a little obsessive and wanted perfection. And we all know that spells disaster. But once I dug into the kit it was easy to let go and just have a good time creating! Kristen's kits are F-U-N! If you enjoy crafting with co-ordinated kits, be sure to check these out. She offers lots of purchase options and no sign up requirements.

Now for a kiddo update. Taylor is working hard on getting his housing project started. I am so proud of him. He is abundantly mature and focused to only be 22-years-old. He has his finances mapped out and is co-ordinating the construction process himself. We spent time scrutinizing his plans before the final draft is submitted to the framers. You can feel his excitement...and a teeny bit of nervousness...when he talks about his new house. It's always a great thing to see your children making their own way...especially when they seem to be headed in the right direction.

Keri update - she's ecstatic! Totally loving apartment living. Still searching for a job but apprehensive about the amount of time it will require. She is just like me (poor dear) in that she likes to keep her plate full, but wanting to do the best she can at all she has to do. I can totally relate to how she's feeling. Stressed, but wouldn't have it any other way. Otherwise, all is grand in her world as well.

Well, I've hesitated writing about this but I think I will go ahead and throw it out there. A few of you are friends on Facebook and you may be wondering what is up with my "status change". Keith and I are experiencing a few snags. As you can imagine, long distance, court cases and day-to-day living can be challenging. And it seems to be taking its toll on us. Add step-parenting and the problem of defining boundaries as well as where will we live, etc and it gets to be a nightmare at times. Please send good thoughts our way as we try to figure out what's best. My biggest wish is to create a loving, supportive home for us as well as all our kiddos. And I know Keith wants the same. But finding the right way to do that is eluding us at the moment. As soon as we think we have an answer to one issue, another one pops up, then circumstances surrounding the first issue changes and we have to rethink it. I think we are both just exhausted. My heart is a little broken right now because we can't seem to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Please forgive my glum mood of late. I'm really OK...just floundering around a bit while I try to regain my footing. I hope everyone is enjoying those last few carefree days before school starts. If you are anything like I was, you sadly bid goodbye to those simple days but welcome the routine that school days bring. Sending you all hugs, love and well wishes!!!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

She's Gone, Gone, Gone

*sigh* My baby girl is now a Georgia resident. After 22 waking hours of hard labor on Saturday less driving time and another 8+ hours on Sunday, we got Keri settled into her new home. During those work hours we unloaded stash from 3 vehicles, painted her bedroom & bathroom, washed an unbelievable amount of dishes, eating utensils & cups, ran numerous errands to Target, Lowe's, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Hobby Lobby, BrandsMart, Sears, et al, hung curtains and pictures, disposed of enough cardboard to fill our own dumpster and rearranged furniture over and over again. Three days have passed since I left her standing at the curb waving goodbye and I am still exhausted! Here is a picture of our foyer before we began loading the vehicles.

We knew we had a limited amount of space even though we had Keri's car, my car and her dad's Suburban so we opted to wait until we got to Georgia to buy some of the bigger items. Keri is fortunate that Target is directly across the street from her apartment complex. We assumed we could find almost anything we would need there because we all know Target rocks! Right? Well, every single resident in the entire apartment complex plus half the residents of Athens must have had the same idea. The place was PACKED! And we needed A LOT! Take a look at our carts:

Yep! We more than filled 3 shopping carts! You should have seen us trying to maneuver through the crowded aisles! Despite our exhausted state, we were still able to laugh and enjoy the moment.

The hard work was worth it...her apartment is awesome! Keri and her roommate, Erica, are thrilled. They are so proud of their space. Even though it is hard saying goodbye, knowing she is so happy and settled made it a bit easier. Both girls are little homebodies and they have the perfect little spot to nest.

I have to share one really tough moment. Keri went down on Friday to have her license transferred, get insurance, apply for a job, etc. On Saturday, we were waiting to be served lunch and she showed me her new driver's license. I commented on how cute her picture was and didn't really think anything more about it. After lunch, as we were walking back to her car, she pointed out her license plate to Erica and I almost lost it on the spot. Crocodile tears welled up in my eyes when I saw that Georgia tag on her car. Crazy, huh? I just wasn't expecting that. Funny how the tiniest of things can bring on the waterworks.

So now I'm back to life without my baby. Taylor is still here but he is working like a madman to get his new house finished. He has 15 weeks to complete the project in order to qualify for first time home buyer tax benefits. Looks like I will be a true empty-nester again around Christmas. You can bet I will be soaking up the remaining time with much as he will let me!

In scrapping news, it's time for my challenge with Kim. This month we are doing something a little different. We would love to have any of you join us that so wishes. Here is the challenge:

Create a layout of your choice using a minimum of 3 patterned papers. Also include at least one handmade embellishment and incorporate some "cut work" into the layout. You have until the 15th of September to complete the layout.

If you decide to play along, please be sure to leave a comment here or on Kim's blog so that we can check out what you've done! We started doing this just for grins, often using challenge blogs for our inspiration and this time just playing for the fun of it. We will post each other's LOs around the 15th of September and if you would like to have your layout mentioned, be sure to let us know.

Now I have a confession. I forgot something very important on my last post (please forgive me Liz). My favorite movie layout was inspired by a sketch from my new friend Liz. She is not only a fabulous scrapper, but she creates some really cool sketches. She is also one of my fellow Design Team members at Serendipity Scrapbooks. Her sketch challenge blog is Welcome to the Scrappiest. I took her Sketch #21 and modified it.

Here is my layout again for reference.

If you enjoy working with sketches, be sure to hop on over and play along with her monthly challenges. She always has some fun prizes up for grabs.

Speaking of fun prizes, Stacy Milford is currently doing a fun giveaway on her blog to celebrate her one year anniversary. Stop by and congratulate her on her one year anniversary and tell her I sent you.

Another fellow blogger and friend is also celebrating an anniversary of sorts on her blog. Christine is doing a special giveaway on her blog. Her celebration is very unique and AMAZING!!!

Before I go, I have to remind you of our Happily Ever After Crop at Serendipity Scrapbooks this weekend. The festivities run Friday through Sunday and you don't' want to miss it. I have been lucky enough to preview the challenges and the design team has outdone themselves! Be prepare to be inspired AND enchanted!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. I am slowly getting my world back to normal...whatever normal is. Enjoy your weekend and try to do something crafty!

Hugs & Love,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's Official and A New Forward Progress Prompt

It is official! I am now a bonafide member of These Are A Few of My Favorite Things challenge blog! I announced last month that Julie had asked me to join the team and it is now a certainty! This group of ladies has welcomed me with open arms from the beginning. And from the craziness and laughter that is shared behind the scenes, I can tell you this is going to be one fun ride! LOL! Today the winner of the favorite flower challenge will be announced and the latest challenge will be posted. Are there any movie buffs out there? If so, you are surely going to want to play along this time. You guessed it...favorite movie!

I love, love, love going to the movies! Unfortunately, life has been such that I don't get to go as often as I like. I love mysteries, comedies, action/thrillers...but my all time favorites are of the chick flick variety. Especially those with fairy tale endings.

This movie, "Ever After", is one of those feel good kind of movies. It holds a special place in my heart because Keri and I both share a passion for this one. Most of you know she was a competitive cheerleader. What you may not know is the numerous hours spent each week at practice. Keri and I always made the most of the commute to and from the gym. Laughing, singing, being totally zany. When she was in 4th & 5th grade, she would have 4 hour practices on Saturday mornings. After practice, we would have lunch together, run errands and most often see a movie. This was one of those Saturday movies...and we both fell in love...with the characters, the story, the sweetness of it all. It is a true Cinderella story.

I thought it very ironic that this challenge goes up today while I'm in Georgia helping Keri settle into her apartment. Yes, there are a few tears running down my face as I type this. Can you tell I'm already missing my girl?

I guess the tears are a good segue for my next topic. Have you visited Forward Progress lately? If you haven't, I hope you will. The blog has a new look, a new DT and starting this month, we have sponsors. That's incentive for those of you who play along with us. This month's sponsor is Scrapadilly Products. As has always been the whole point of Forward Progress, the prompts are still intended to help us reach within ourselves to be stronger...better. This month, the prompt is about forgiveness. As we all know, without forgiveness, forward progress is impossible.

This topic, for me, was easy. In life, we are all exposed to teachable moments. Some we recognize as such, others might slide right past us going unnoticed. Well, I'm hear to tell you, divorce is not one of those unnoticeable moments. There are lessons to be learned at every turn. While I am certain I failed in many ways in my struggle to get through the most painful experience of my life, I am proud to say, I worked hard at forgiving from the beginning. And I firmly believe that it was only by forgiving that I was able to let go and move on.

Here are the details:

Title reads:Letting Go... of hurt, anger, resentment

Journaling: "moving forward means letting go of the past if the past fosters nothing more than pain and anger. learning to truly forgive...and in the process, letting go, has brought healing and freedom."

The Howards: married 5-24-86 separated 1-9-05 divorced 2006

I said this topic was easy for me. The layout itself...not so much. I wanted it to be somber but light...trying to convey the hurt and the healing. Well, I bombed! LOL! The pic was a no brainer. I knew from the start I would use this one and tear it to represent the broken marriage. It was one of the last good photos of us together. The words also came rather easy. The design...*sigh* just never came to me. So please look past the lack of creativity and see the message.

I think that is what is so refreshing about Forward Progress. It isn't all about the layout/project/etc. It is so much more. In the few months I have been on this team, I have learned that this hobby can be a venue for personal growth and inner peace. I hope you will play along this month. Please stop by and let us know what you think of our new look. Feel free to leave suggestions as well as what you would like to see in the future.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I am typing this on Friday night as I will be truckin' down the highway by 6:00 am on Saturday. I know those lazy days of summer are slip, slip, slippin' away. Please enjoy them while they last!


P.S. Thanks ever so much for all the encouraging words on my last post. Good news is, everything looked brighter the next day. Partly due to the fact that a new day always brings new perspective. But there is no denying the therapeutic value of getting things off your chest and doing so with those who mean so much to you. People you feel safe confiding in. People who will pick you up with words and with the beauty of their spirit. Thanks for being there when I needed someone to listen! xoxoxoxoxo

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sometimes You've Just Gotta...

...complain that is. Have you ever had one of those days where it seemed nothing was going your way? Where everything feels out of sorts? That would be my "today". I am hesitant to write this post for many reasons. The main one being that should I truly write what I'm feeling this will be nothing more than a gripe session. And no one likes to visit a grumpy puss. Despite my efforts to wrestle myself into a happier state of being, I realize this is where I'm at today and I decided to just run with it. If you are averse to complaining and negativity...consider yourself warned. However, should you decide to stick around and read my meaningless complaints feel free to commiserate, offer to send chocolate or tell me to get over myself. Regardless, I'm in a mood and the complaining is getting ready to commence. Because sometimes, dear friends, you've just gotta!

Number one on my laundry list of all things wrong is the current state of my humble abode. I love, love, love having my children home but we have all become insanely busy and the house has suffered for it. No one person is to blame...yet everyone is to blame. While Taylor and Leah, his girlfriend, have a great deal of their belongings (from 2 households) stashed in storage, they have somehow managed to fill my game room, Taylor's room, my basement and a large part of my garage with the remaining items. Keri is accumulating pile after pile of items for her new apartment and said piles are claiming all the floor space in her room and my study. Add the fact that I have items strewn here and yon in my scraproom, home feels uncomfortable and unsettled.

The homefront chaos is not contained within the walls of the house. The exterior is in a major state of disrepair. I've been holding back this complaint for awhile because I have been having trouble swallowing all that has gone wrong. My beautifully landscaped home has become the source of an ever growing money pit. Six massive diseased trees had to be removed before causing major damage to the yard and possibly my house. With all the rain, weeds have taken over...some being taller than me. They have totally gotten ahead of me. My fertilizing efforts have also paid off because it now looks like I live in a jungle. Everything needs to be pruned...everything. My brick area outside my kitchen has begun to crumble and water is seeping through the broken mortar and running into the basement. The brick walkway that sweetly meanders around the side of the house leading to the backyard has suddenly become an uneven obstacle course. Mold and mildew have taken up residence on my hardy board exterior. Wood trim has begun to rot where water is no longer draining away from the house. My ex-husband owned a water & sewer company so you know our yard was the epitome of a perfectly designed drainage system. But within the last month, I've notice a mini lake Erie in my back yard. All of this developed almost overnight! When we built the house we spared no expense and it paid off over time. I have always been a firm believer in an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so I kept up with all maintenance issues. I guess things like this eventually happen. Fifteen year old houses will need more attention. I just wish the house had been a little kinder to me and not hit me with everything all at once. The lovely price tag on all these repairs is equivalent to 3/4 my annual salary. Yes, it took me several days to recover from THAT shocking news!

So the house is a bit of a nightmare right now, but nothing that can't be handled with some time, patience and a large portion of my savings. Just as I was coming to terms with all of this, I had another pleasant little surprise. And yes, I'm being sarcastic! On my way to work Thursday before last I heard a nasty sound coming from under my car. The kind of sound that causes your gut to churn as you know it can't be good. I pulled over and took a look around but saw nothing. Once back on the road, the sound returned. I slowly and oh so carefully drove to a nearby convenience store/garage where I know the guys in the shop and pleaded for help. I had a feeling something was caught in the wheel. Ummmm, something was caught all right. My TIRE was caught in the wheel! HUH? You ask? Yep, my tire was shredding and a large portion was caught in the wheel. Again, I am a poster child for vehicle maintenance. I very frequently check the air in my tires (every couple of weeks), I have my tires rotated and I show up for all scheduled maintenance visits. Yet, my tire shredded. The replacement tire was not delivered until Monday of the following week. I was car-less for almost 5 days. That HURT. And it gets better. When mounting the two new front tires, it was discovered that the back tires were equally bad. Stranded yet again! LOL! Yes, I'm laughing. Oh, one other point to note, my car doesn't have a spare...of...any...kind!!! When my tire goes flat/shreds/or just no longer wishes to cooperate, I'm all out of luck! The next car I buy, the very first question will not be about gas mileage, safety features, loaded will most certainly be "Does this car have a spare tire and can I see it!"

Add to all of this, my baby girl is moving. We are in the final days of her summer break. I know I went through all these emotions when she went away last year. You would think it would be easier this time. But not so. This time brings an added cause for mommy heartbreak. Keri wishes to establish residency in Georgia to help with the astronomical out-of-state tuition fees. In order to do this, she must actually reside in Georgia. She has an apartment, she will be getting a job and she will be staying there year round. No more moving back home. At least not for 3 years. Of course she will come home for holidays, but all other breaks will be spent in her own home. I am so excited for her, but carrying a heavy heart all the same.

Today it feels all of this has come crashing in on me. Funny how we can control our emotions but the smallest of things can tip the bucket and we fall apart. My "little thing" came in the form of my co-workers. The be exact! The only way I can explain it is that someone brought it to my attention that we have just had a full moon. Every single male at work has been experiencing PMS. I kid you not! They are hormonal, emotional, whining little boys. I sincerely love them all, but today I wasn't liking them very much!

Do you think I've whined enough. I would say yes, but there are a few other things. I made a new commitment to my wellness challenge on Monday. I have been doing rather well but I wanted to step it up a notch. Sooooo, as of yesterday, I gave up all sweets for 2 months and I've given myself the same 2 months to kick my all consuming addiction to Diet Dr. Pepper.

Hmmmmm, I MAY have just discovered the source of all my problems...I cut out all my fun!

Please know that I am well aware that none of this...not one iota of really a big deal. It was just one of those days and I needed to whine. I am a very fortunate person who never wants to take that fact for granted. Thanks for allowing me the chance to whine and for always being a source of support and strength. On days like these I would normally grab my girlfriends and head out for a drink. So to all my blogfriends...the most awesome of girlfriends...I raise my glass and say "To better days! Cheers!"

Hugs & Love

P.S. It really is One. Of. Those. Days. Bloggers seems to have lost my entire list of blogs I follow! Nothing. Nothing! NOTHING! is showing up on my dashboard!!! errrrrrrr! How will I ever make my blog rounds???

After hyperventilating and banging my head against the wall several times, I choose to believe that blogger is male and suffering from the full-moon-PMS-syndrome every other male in my life (not you, Keith and Taylor, xoxo) is currently plagued with. Tomorrow is a new day and maybe, just maybe HE will be nice tomorrow and Give. Me. Back. My Blogs!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Anyone Up For An Awesome Contest?

Just stopping in to let you know of a fun contest going on this month at Serendipity Scrapbooks. It's call the Shape It Up Layout Contest and the prizes are fantastic!!! To enter you only need to create one layout using shaped die cut paper as the background. There are a few other requirements that I will list below. The sponsors of the contest are Core'dinations Cardstock and Serendipity Scrapbooks. Take a look at what the winners will receive:

Grand Prize: Your choice of kit PLUS pkg. of Core'dinations Cardstock (Value $75)

Runner up prize: Core'dinations Cardstock packs (Value $40)

If you've never seen one of the monthly kits at Serendipity Scrapbooks, you are missing out. I am a kit club junkie and these kits are some of my most favorite! They are packed full of wonderful papers and awesome embellishments. I posed the question to several team members on the forum asking what was the greatest number of projects they had gotten from a kit. Several answered a minimum of 7-8 projects with product left over!

Additionally, Core'dinations Cardstock is one of the coolest products on the market! From sanding to tearing to embossing, there are so many ways to reveal the core color of the paper! I also love that it boasts a smooth side and a textured side, making it all the more versatile.

In addition to the die cut background paper, here are the additional requirements:

There must be a clear (meaning definite) title, some cut work, and some height by using dimensional adhesive and either hand or machine stitching.

*Layout can be any subject you like.
*Contest ends August 31st 2009 midnight
*Only 1 layout per person- close ups excepted
*Submit layouts in the Monthly site contest category in the gallery.
*To upload into the gallery you must register in the gallery first. There is an email verification that is sent before you can upload. notify us at notify us at
info@serendipityscrapbooks if it doesn't come.
*International entries are accepted
*Images need to be resized to upload & must be no larger than 500 x 500 pixels

Easy peasy, don't ya think? I hope you can find the time to play along with this one. I would love to see one of my followers win. BTW, if you happen to participate, please leave me a comment letting me know you've submitted an entry. I want to be sure to stop in and give you a big ol' thank you!!!

I also want to mention our Happily Ever After crop on August 21-23. I've already seen several of the challenges the design team have in store for you and they are going to be so much fun! As you can guess, the theme will revolve around Disney characters and fairy tale endings. There are some wonderful prizes up for grabs and a Queen of the Crop will be crowned and will be awarded the grand prize. Be sure to check out the forum for all the details.

I know this is nothing more than an informational post, but I felt it VERY news-worthy. I will be back later in the week with a weekend update. Hope you have a fantastic Monday!!!

Hugs & Love,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kim's Challenge

I mentioned last month that Kim and I have become challenge buddies. We decided to do this as a way to hold each other accountable for some scrapping time. Last month I chose the Butterfly Crafts childhood fear challenge. For a reminder of what we did last month you can go HERE. This month was Kim's turn and she chose catalyst 70 at Creative Therapy which is as follows:

What's the best advice you received that encouraged you to follow your dreams? (or advice you’d give to others so they can follow their dreams.)

I wanted to record advice for my children. They are adults now and I no longer have much influence on their lives. I can share my motherly words of wisdom, but they are now responsible for themselves. I recorded my thoughts on a stamped index card and placed it inside the envelope.

I wrote: "The two of you are now adults. You've come to the point in your life where you will be making your way on your own. My wish for you is that all things will come easy...that the road ahead is smooth. But life is not always easy. And bumps in the road of life are inevitable. How you deal with these potholes and curves will define the person you become. The best advice I can give for dealing with tough times is to learn from every bruise and not let them stop the journey toward reaching your goals. While things may slow you down, please continue on and great things will be yours."

For me, perseverance has been the key to reaching my goals. Even more important is trying to learn from the pitfalls. It's not always easy, but I believe it plays a vital role in finding true happiness.

For this layout, I used a Scarlet Lime kit that I had yet to tap into. The pretty papers are exclusive to Scarlet Lime. I cut the butterflies from one of the papers, layering a few for more impact.

I also stitched underneath the photo with white embroidery floss and curled the punched border to create more texture.

Here is Kim's take on the challenge.

I love, love, love the design of this layout. I especially love the placement of the photos of her gorgeous daughter. And her advice of finding your passion is so important to remember.

A few days ago I received a sweet award from Jay and Lorry.

I am to post the award and list 10 things I love about blogging. So here are my 10:

1. Inspiration. My blog experience began as a stalker...errrr, reader of several blogs. I loved checking in everyday to see what was going in, what had been created. I have to giggle now because I would get so bummed when it would be a "slow day" in blogland...those days when it seemed no one had updated their blog. NOW, I get it!!!

2. Friendship. Simply that.

3. Opportunity. Through blogging I have been offered so many wonderful opportunities to stretch myself as a scrapper and as a person.

4. Connections. To directly quote Nerina, "Realizing that this world is not so big after all and we are all connected". She put it perfectly, don't you think?

5. Acceptance. It is so refreshing to have a place where you can be yourself without fear of judgment or disapproval.

6. Laughter. I never have a day go by in blogland that I go without a few chuckles.

7. Support. Good news are bad news, blog friends are THE best for building you up and encircling you with cyber hugs.

8. Praise. The sweet comments left for layouts, stories, well, anything are more welcome than a pot of gold.

9. Documentation. The story of me, while nothing spectacular, is one I want to record.

10. Therapy. Yep, given that blogger is currently a free place to vent, I would say it is the cheapest therapy available!!!

Jay and Lorry, thank you so much for passing this on to me. It was nice taking time to realize why I blog. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Until next time...

Hugs & Love,

P.S. You will be happy to know I learned how to fix the dark photos in class this week. Or was it last week? I'm behind and they are starting to run together! LOL! I just didn't have time to retake these. :(

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Favorite Flower & Butterfly Crafts Guest DT

Don't you just love my original title? I pride myself in my effort to be witty and charming, even with my titles, but tonight it just ain't happenin'. I suppose there is no suspense as to what my post is about so I will get right to the point. LOL! Another challenge is up at These Are A Few of My Favorite Things. This time we are challenged to scrap our favorite flower.

I have always loved wildflowers. For some reason they remind me of freedom of spirit and simpler times. Each time I see them I instantly smile.

The response to the Favorite Things blog has been incredible! The entries of the DT and the followers are so imaginative and simply breath taking!!! Julie has out done herself with this blog!!! If you haven't checked it out yet I encourage to hop on over. The winner of this challenge will receive a gift certificate to Pretty cool, huh? You have until the 14th to get your project submitted. Remember it doesn't have to be a layout. It can be a card, an altered item or anything your little heart desires!

I was also lucky enough to have been randomly selected as the Guest DT at Butterfly Crafts this month! I was so excited when I saw that I had won this opportunity. I have been following the blog since Jocelyn (who is a current DT member) turned me onto their blog. They post bi-monthly challenges and I won a Guest DT position for the one that posted on August 1st. The challenge is to scrap your favorite food or drink. Anyone who knows me could tell you immediately what that would be.

Yes, my friends, I love, Love, LOVE Diet Dr. Pepper! I love it to the point of it being an addiction. My journaling is in the form of a note addressed to this bottle of carbonated delight. It is written on the back of the LO and reads:

"Diet Dr. Pepper. Oh how I have a love/hate relationship with you. I am aware of the fact that you are nothing more than a bottled nutritional wasteland yet you taste so good. Try as I might to break off our long-standing relationship, I think I will forever be your fan. I cannot help myself....I'm totally addicted!"

I have often considered a 12-step program for my addiction to this bottle of poison...I am seriously THAT hooked. But I'm learning to love it in small doses. Why is it that the things we often love the most are usually not good for us? *sigh*

I hope you will pop in at Butterfly Crafts and leave the team (and me, please) a little love. And if you can find some scrapping time, please play along with the challenge. But be sure to leave me a message here letting me know you played along. I will certainly want to stop by and say thanks!

By the way, my LO is one of the most simple LO's I've ever done but I think it is one of my most favorite. I didn't even use patterned paper on this one. Cardstock only!

I used my Slice and a few punches to make my flowers. They are super simple but kinda cute.

One last thing just to reiterate the fact that anyone who knows me TOTALLY gets this. My daughter came into my scraproom the night I finished this LO. She stopped mid-sentence when she spied it on the table and began laughing. Her words were something to the effect of: "I LOVE IT! Mom! That is soooo you! That is my favorite one you've ever done!" Guess she knows me.

Happy Monday!

Hugs & Love,

P.S. I guess I lied when I said I had one last thing because here I go again. But I promise this really is ONE LAST THING. Notice how my photos have gotten a little darker and a little crappier? Yeah, I'm taking a photography class. LOL! I guess she really meant it when she said "you will probably get worse before you get better"! Ha! (And I already edited them in Photoshop...this is as light as I could go without making them look wonky! Rainy days are not my friend. LOL!)