Thursday, October 29, 2009

One Day I Will

It is time for a new year...a new beginning. Yes, I know it isn't exactly January 1st, nor is it any monumental day that would typically mark a new year...a birthday, anniversary, etc. But I'm choosing to make today MY new year. To make this my new beginning and create a fresh start.

I've recently written of difficult decisions I've been facing and how there seems to be no good solution to any of them. Heartache, frustration and fear played a roll regardless of which solution I chose. I've wrestled with these decisions for months now. Although in my heart of hearts I knew the answers, I didn't want to go there knowing what it would require of me to push through the outcome. But I've been getting there little by little. During the trying times in my life, I've found that if I forge ahead, even when it feels there is no end in sight, eventually, things start to fall into place. And it usually means hitting rock bottom before I can begin the slow and steady climb back "up".

The past few weeks have marked the beginning of the climb. I feel lighter and more at peace with the decisions I've made and I'm looking ahead with optimism and even a little excitement. Today I heard a song that seems to encompass what I've been feeling. It spoke to me in so many ways. The song is "One Day You Will" by Lady Antebellum. Here are some of the lyrics:

You feel like you’re falling backwards
Like you’re slippin’ through the cracks
Like no one would even notice
If you left this town and never came back
You walk outside and all you see is rain
You look inside and all you feel is pain
And you can’t see it now

But down the road the sun is shining
In every cloud there’s a silver lining
Just keep holding on (just keep holding on)
And every heartache makes you stronger
But it won’t be much longer
You’ll find love, you’ll find peace
And the you you’re meant to be
I know right now that’s not the way you feel
But one day you will

I've eluded to the struggles Keith and I have been facing and it appears there is no solution to our problems. As I stated in my last post we are no longer engaged. Letting go is never easy, even if you know it is the right thing. It was a long, hard road coming to the conclusion that things are not meant to be, but I'm coming to terms with it. Due to this and all the health issues of late, I had been feeling as if I was "slippin' through the cracks"...wondering if the disappointments in my life would ever lead me to a brighter tomorrow. Since my divorce I've also felt like an alien in my own hometown. Family and friends that I had always known were no longer accessible in the same way. Having spent the last 3 years commuting to and from Atlanta didn't help my cause. It's difficult to foster friendships when you are not around to do so.

But lately I have been finding my silver lining to the dark clouds that have been hanging overhead. Attending the wedding of my "ex" nephew a few weeks ago opened the door to reconnecting with "ex" family. As you know, family dynamics can get really complicated during a divorce and we held true to the tradition and did not escape those complications. However, when I went to the wedding I was welcomed with open arms. It felt as if I had somehow come home. The family and friends I had known and loved for 20 years were there waiting for me with a true geniune desire to welcome me home. I have tears rolling down my face as I type this because I never knew how much I missed everyone.

I have long since come to terms with the break up of my marriage, but I don't think I ever resolved the feelings of losing my "other" family. Now...I have them back. Although it will never be the same, I have new hope that brighter days are ahead and I don't have to trudge through the dark times alone any more. And as the song says, I believe I will find love, I'll find peace and the me I'm meant to day I will.

So here's to new brighter days the beautiful silver lining in every dark cloud.

Much love,

P.S. I've started my new blog. Anyone interested in reading please email me for the link. ( Be is raw, honest, and not for everyone. It is nothing more than my journey as a single girl...a narrative of what it's like on this side of the fence.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Scrapping With A Sketch & Honest Facts

Kim and I have completed another challenge. This time Kim chose this gorgeous sketch from Sweeties Sketches.

I just discovered either this link doesn't work or the blog is no longer in existance but I wanted to give credit where credit is due. Here is my take on the sketch.

Instead of using circular paper, I chose to use a template to pierce the design on my Core'dinations cardstock and lightly sanded it to further enhance the core color. I then machine stitched the inner circle using brown thread. I used another Serendipity kit...September's I Deserve It All kit. Like the broken record I am, I must say this kit is awesome...tons of gorgeous products.

Here is Kim's take on the sketch.

I always love Kim's work. She has a way of using just the right colors... just the right pics... just the right titles... to draw you in. I love the clean and simple beauty of this one.

As always, I seem to be behind in most areas of my life so it is only fitting I am behind in posting a tag/award I received from three very special ladies.

The award is the Honest Scrap Award.

Here is how it works....

*Say thank you and give a link to the presenter of the award
*Share “10 Honest Things” about myself
*Present the award to 9 other bloggers whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design or to those who have encouraged me
*Be sure to tell the 9 bloggers chosen that you are giving them the Honest Scrap award and provide the guidelines for them

The first one I want to thank is Julie, a new friend from Serendipity. I've had a blast getting to know her through the message board and she is a scrapping queen. I love her style and she is a wonderful photographer. The second special lady kind enough to honor me with the award is, Chris, aka Chrispea. She is also an extremely talented scrapper with mad, mad photography skills. Chris is also a true inspiration to me. She is currently battling breast cancer and her willingness to share her story and her positive attitude touch my heart deeply. Last, but certainly not least is Julie, my "boss" at These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things. I have mentioned time and time again how much Julie amazes me. Now that I know she completes most of her layouts in 30 minutes or less... let's just say she is my hero! LOL!

Here goes with my Honest Facts:

1. Although I was initially shell-shocked when I became an empty-nester last year, I've come to realize I LOVE this phase of life. It is the first time I've taken the time to focus on what I want and what makes me happy.

2. I am no longer engaged. There...I've said it. I know I've eluded to it over the past few months but I have yet to say it out right. Time to be totally honest, huh?

3. With regard to #2, I am secretly (well, now not so secretly) afraid of never finding THE one. A failed marriage and a broken engagement makes you stop and think.

4. Building on #3. I am an eternal optimist so despite my fears of being alone, I'm not really worried. I'm a firm believer in what is meant to be will be.

5. Since my divorce 5 years ago, I have "sown my wild oats" so to speak. Nothing like being in your 40's and finally cutting loose...not that I'm loose! LOL!

6. I don't know how to snow ski. I've always wanted to learn. The only time I tried, it was really too warm to ski. I did fairly well considering I was navigating mud puddles. This winter I plan to take lessons. Now, cross your fingers and say a prayer that I don't break something! :)

7. I hate to sit in my kitchen or family room at night. These rooms have lots and lots of windows and I feel as if someone is always watching me. This fear comes from the peeping Tom that was a permanent fixture at my house during my teen years. While we would catch him at the windows peeking in, we could never actually "catch" him. I still feel "eyes are watching me" to this very day. ***shiver***

8. Growing up in a small community, everyone knew everyone else's business...or thought they did. When my parents divorced 15 years ago, many rumors were started as to why. The whole "affair" involved our church. Believe it or not, I was drug into the middle of it all. I actually received "hate" mail. It was an anonymous letter quoting scripture complete with all the words being cut from various magazines. I still have it... it's always good for a laugh. It serves as a reminder that things aren't always what they seem.

9. Lately I'm missing my grandparent's more than ever. They were a big part of my life. We always have our family reunion in October and this would be the first one without my grandmother.

10. The most honest fact of all...I love my life. It isn't perfect, but it makes me perfectly happy!!!

There you have it, my list of 10 honest facts. When selecting who to pass awards on to, I am never able to narrow my list to a select few. So, as always, I want to pass this to anyone who leaves a comment. Additionally, I want to offer it to my blogging pals from Serendipity. Let me know if you choose to snag the award. I don't want to miss your honest facts.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I hope to be back mid-week with more scrappy stuff. I've been working my can off so I must share.

Hugs and love,

P.S. There is still time to get your name in for my "Squeeze Your Melons" give-away. Go HERE.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lovin' Fall & Expectations of Others

Well, I did it again. I opened this big ol' mouth of mine and proclaimed a life void of wackiness. You know EXACTLY what that means. Craziness of every kind has found me! I'm not sure I had fully released the "Publish Post" button when I became surround my nuttiness. All good but wacked out nonetheless. Tons of deadlines at work ...a major crop at Serendipity issues of the worst kind ...that would be only a smidge of what has enveloped me. Isn't it just like a computer to act up when you need it to behave the most??? Kind of like a little child, huh? But you can't bribe a computer with a new toy or piece of candy...not that I ever did that with my kids.

Lots of changes have occurred in my world over the past 3 months. I haven't written about them yet, but I plan to soon. You will have to stay tuned. Lots of drama. My life could be a prime time soap opera complete with all the requisite heartaches, back stabbing, cat fights, sex (well, maybe not), hot sexy men (yep, that's right), fantastic gal pals and an exciting wardrobe (I treated myself to more retail therapy). I will admit to having debated starting a new blog...under an assumed name...where I can write about my antics. The life of a single girl over 40 kinda requires some anonymity if you disclose everything...

OK, so that wasn't what this post was supposed to be about but it's my blog and I can write what I want. LOL! I really wanted to post a few layouts I've done lately.

First is my Fave Things layout. This time it's all about our favorite season. Mine is unquestionably Fall. Everything about it makes me happy! So much so, I couldn't encompass it all in a single layout. So I made a mini album. I used products from this month's Serendipity Altered kit.

I hope you will participate in our challenge. You have until the 31st before the next challenge is posted.

The next few layouts were also done with my October Serendipity Altered kit. This is a gorgeous kit full of Pink Paislee's Amber Road and Scrap Within Reach products. I completed the mini (included in the kit) and 3 other layouts with so much product left over. The full altered kit has sold out, but you can get a mini version.

This first layout is a tribute to my dad. He is the hardest working person I know. Even at 64 he is still going strong. Although his up-bringing makes it hard for him to express his love in words, he has always worked hard to make my life easier.

I had fun with the next one. It was fun (not exactly...haha) making the half circle border. If you have anal tendencies and a strong need for perfection, I suggest you NEVER give this a try. LOL! It looks simple but my quirky personality flaws got in the way. I eventually took a deep breath and just let it go. I think it turned out OK. Funny thing, I have more crooked titles and tilted photos than I care to count. I try to turn a blind eye to them and just enjoy the process rather than seek perfection. But those little circles got the best of me, I tell ya!

My last layout from the kit is a hodge-podge of all the items in the kit. My kids have an incredible relationship with their cousins. While they don't get to see them as often as they would like, they are as much friends as they are family.

My final layout is for the current prompt at Forward Progress. The prompt asks us to explore the expectations of others and how we handle them. Do we allow them to effect our decisions? My journaling was very simple this time. This topic was a major source of struggle in my life when I was younger. I was so caught up in meeting other's expectations, or at least what I thought was their expectiations. But they say with age comes wisdom and I find that to be true with this subject. Once I let go of the expectations of others, life became so much simpler...easier.

Try to overlook the poor picture quality. The little "perfection" demon is having a hey day with me today. I'm not happy with anything I've posted today...just a barrel of complaints:).

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my ramblings. I will be around soon to say hello.

Hugs and love,

Don't forget to comment on THIS post to be eligible for my current give-away!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wacky Wednesday

***Go HERE for my current give-away***

Poppin' in to post about the wackiness in my life. I posed a blog challenge to the ladies at Serendipity Scrapbooks, asking them to do a Wacky Wednesday post. Weeelllll, I didn't consider that I would need to do the same. LOL! Actually, I did. I assumed it would be an easy one as there is ALWAYS something wacky going on in my world. But as luck would have it, not one crazy, zany, wacked out thing has happened this week! Huh? Yep, my life is a total snore. LOL! Sooooo, my wacky fact is my life is totally void of wackiness!!!!

(Lame...I know. But what's a girl to do????)

Hugs to everyone!!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Have You Sqeezed Your Melons Give-away

Time for a give-away! Anybody up for one??? As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While I am very fortunate and have not had to suffer the horror of this disease I have experienced the fear of being called back for a more thorough "look". The results have been favorable but the suspect areas are being closely monitored each year. Every year, I have diagnostic mammograms rather than routine screenings. On Wednesday, I will be going for my annual exam. While no one likes to get their jugs squashed, I cannot stress the importance of having this done. I admit, I hate going. Hate it with a passion. And for whatever reason, it has nothing to do with the discomfort of the exam...I'm one of the lucky ones and have never found it to cause much discomfort. My problem is I sometimes like to live in denial. I subscribe to the old adage "what I don't know can't hurt me". But ladies, this is one time where what you don't know can kill you!!! In addition to mammograms, it is so important to perform self-exams. Knowing your own body is the quickest way to ensure early detection of irregularities. I will not lie to you, I'm not the most diligent with this. But times are a changin' and I'm now making it a priority.

As with any give-away, there is usually something asked of you. This is no different. Here are the details:

1. Perform a self breast exam. That's right...sqeeze your own melons so to speak. HERE is a link explaining how to do this in 5 simple steps.

2. Leave me a comment saying "I've squeezed my melons".

That's it. Rather simple. I would also like to encourage you to continue with your self-exams and if you are of the age, be sure and schedule your mammogram. I would also love it if you would please pass the message on. I'm not requiring it for the give-away, just making a kind request. You have until the 31st to leave a comment then I will randomly select a winner on November 1st. I'll be back later with a photo of what's up for grabs. I can promise you it will be worth the effort of a little squeeze!


Friday, October 9, 2009

My Favorite Time of Day Equals Hope

Is there a specific time of day you find special? A time of day that stands out to you? A time you look forward to? If so, you need to document that time of day in some scrappy need to get yourself over to These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things and enter it in our current challenge. And it doesn't have to be a "morning, noon or night" time of day either. Maybe it is your early-morning-cup-of-coffee-time. Or how about family-dinner-time. It may be time in the shower. LOL! I laugh now, but there was a time in my life when my kiddos were small that I lived for my shower was the only time I seemed to have to myself. I was never able to find solitude when sitting on the porcelain throne, but shower time brought blissful silence...if only for a few minutes. Makes you wonder why they would want to interrupt mommy's "potty" time??? Go figure. LOL!

As with most of our challenges, I find it hard to narrow the subject down to a single favorite. But once I give it more thought, it never fails that something begins to stand out. You wouldn't believe the choices I mulled over for this one. Quitting time at work, nap time, workout time, scrap time. As I was trying ever so unsuccessfully to narrow it down to one, I came across this photo. It is the view outside my kitchen window just as the sun is rising above the trees. I had totally forgotten I had snapped this's several years old. I knew then what I wanted to document.

The reason this holds such special meaning for me is wrapped up in when and why I took the photo. When I was first separated from my ex-husband, there were many dark days. In fact, most days were dark days. It was the only time in my life where I saw total darkness when I tried to envision my future. But one morning, just as I was getting ready to send the kids off to school, I looked outside my window and there it was....hope. From that day forward, I would take a few minutes to stand at that window and tell myself there was hope in every sunrise. At first, I wasn't sure I believed what I was saying. But as they say, if you repeat something to yourself enough, you eventually begin to believe it. I took this photo to carry with me as a constant reminder that a new day will come.

My journaling reads: This is the view from my kitchen window...early morning just as the sun is coming up. So many times I catch myself standing at that window contemplating all the new day will bring.

Funny how it took me stumbling upon this photo to remember this point. Don't get me wrong, I still frequently stand at that window and welcome a new day. But I no longer have the desparate need to convince myself hope exists. Hope is a part of my life...a huge part of my life. Something I pray to never lose sight of again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Can I Show You My Bra?

Time to expose my bra in mini Jogger Bra album that is. A few posts back I shared the super cute bra albums currently available at Serendipity Scrapbooks. As you will remember, 50% of the sales of these bras between Sept 24th - Oct 31st will go to the National Breast Cancer Organization. I was given the chance to play with the Jogger Bra album. I knew immediately that I wanted to create a mini about Keri's college pals. She has made some wonderful friends...the kind that will last a lifetime. Keri and her friends are definitely feminine girls but not "girly" girls, if you know what I mean. So the Jogger Bra was a good choice. I wanted to bling it up, but too much bling wouldn't really "fit". So here is my compromise:

Even though it is simple, it is soooo "them". I hope you will also remember to mark your calendars for our Pimp My Bra Crop next weekend. Pre-crop challenges start this Friday. I would love to see you there.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Howard Hoedown

This weekend was amazing with a capital "A". I was honored to be invited to my "ex"-nephew's wedding. I very reluctantly use the term "ex" as my neices and nephews will always be such in my eyes...divorce or not. And to think my oldest nephew is old enough to be getting married certainly helped me realize my current state of...well..."old". The ceremony was absolutely gorgeous...a wonderful outdoor celebration which more resembled a worship service than a wedding. I felt touched in ways one never expects from a wedding. The tears were plentiful from the moment Josh stepped up to the alter. All I kept seeing was the sweet little boy who was in my wedding so many years ago. Of course, I also had to suppress my chuckles over the memory of him disrupting our wedding ceremony because he was holding himself and very loudly proclaiming his need "to pee". He has grown into a strong and amazingly handsome young man. And least we not forget the bride...she was absolutely gorgeous! They make a BEAUTIFUL couple.

While the ceremony was light, yet reverent, the reception was done in true Howard tradition, was a "pah-tay"! Set outside under a massive white tent, the atmosphere was one of down-home elegance. It was finely catered but in keeping with the character of the bride and groom. Ribs, chicken and sliced pork with garlic potatoes, sauteed vegetables and field greens were served buffet style. Gorgeous wood carvings, lanterns and seasonal dried flowers adorned the white clothed tables. And the bar was open and happenin'. Add in a fantastic band and a partying group of people and you had the makings of a night to remember.

Here are a few of the random shots I captured with my point-and-shoot camera. I would love to show you pics of the bride and groom, but *sigh* I didn't get any. These are the most random, crazy shots...I guess that's what you get when you've had one vodka and cranberry too many.

A few Howard cousins:


Me and the mother of the groom, my ex-sister-in-law and good friend, Barbara:

Crazy boys:

A cutie groomsman (Colleen, this one's for you!):

The bouquet/garter catching couple:

It was one of the best nights I've had in a very long time. It was a homecoming of sorts. A time of reconnecting and re-establishing lost family ties and friendships. I hope your weekend brought you as much joy as mine did me.