Thursday, February 18, 2021

Scrapbooking | January 2021

I modified a digital template from my stash to use as the design for our 2021 monthly layouts. This two-page spread has room for journaling and lots of photos. My plan is to change the background colors to match the focus photo each month.

Journaling reads: The year began with us continuing to stay home due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Robbie’s work-from-home CFO position with Katsumi is going well, and he enjoyed building his COBI B-17 Memphis Belle model. Melissa began coaching in the Photo Freedom online class with Stacy Julian and spent weeks sorting her Grandma’s lifetime of photos. For the first time in 18 years, the Cleveland Browns were in the NFL playoffs. We got a light sprinkling of snow on the 10th. Our great-niece, Penelope, was born on the 19th - she and Natashia are doing great. President Joe Biden & Vice- President Kamala Harris were sworn into office. We drove out to visit Mama & Daddy at the end of the month. Here at home, we had the chimney swept & the fireplace refurbished and watched all three Lord of the Rings movies plus Seasons 8 & 9 of Heartland.

By modifying the right page template, I was able to create a title page for our 2021 chronological album as well. I'm still contemplating whether I will do an all-digital album this year or incorporate a variety of layouts into one album as I've done in the past.

Have you gotten a start on your 2021 scrapbooking? What format will you be using this year?

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Book Reviews | The First Books & 2021 Plans

I began this year with a re-read of Stacy Julian's book Photo Freedom in preparation for the Photo Freedom 2021 online class. I'm currently serving as one of six coaches in this year-long class. This book is an overview of Stacy's Library of Memories system and her approach to photo organization and non-chronological scrapbooking. The book was published in 2008. There has been a huge change in the way we take and share photos as technology has improved in the intervening years, so I'm excited to be a part of the class and to learn how Stacy has updated her system to incorporate new ways of sorting and sharing and scrapbooking our photos and memories.

The beginning of the year is always a good time to read about making changes, so I ordered a copy of Atomic Habits by James Clear when I learned that it was the first Simple Scrapper book club read this year. (I'm not a member of Simple Scrapper but several of my Zoom cropping friends are.) This was a fairly easy read and a good review of how habits work - first there's the cue, then the craving, which leads to the action, followed by the reward. Much of what the author shares is based on research and books by others that I've already read, so I don't feel like I learned anything new. However, it was a good review, and his ideas and examples of how to change habits by making them obvious, easy, attractive, and satisfying were interesting.

I'm planning to work my way through one of the shelves of our paperback bookshelf unit this year, so I pulled out the thinnest book to begin. :) I didn't even realize Miracle on 34th Street had been turned into a book after the original movie until I pulled this small book by Valentine Davies off the shelf. Since we'd watched the 1947 and the 1994 versions of the movie during December, this was a quick enjoyable read.

My other plans for the year include reading books by two favorite authors. Diana Wallis Taylor is an award winning Christian writer that I discovered about ten years ago. Over the past month or so, I've re-read the three books I already owned, but I discovered that she now has nine novels of Biblical Fiction. Each of these novels is a fictionalized account of the life of a woman in the Bible. The additional six books are now on my to-read shelf. Anne Rivers Siddons was a novelist who wrote books set in the southern United States. I've recently re-read the two books I already owned and have added some additional ones to my to-read shelf. I also added a few historical fiction novels (purchased with a gift card I received at Christmas) and several books my sister sent in a recent happy mail package. Here's what the previously empty shelf looks like now.

It's definitely going to be a good reading year around here! What are your reading plans for the year?

Monday, February 8, 2021

Book Review | The Guilty Die Twice

Two Bullet-Riddled Corpses.
Two Attorney Brothers.
Two Sides to the Story.

The Guilty Die Twice by Don Hartshorn is a legal thriller that contains several storylines involving murder, politics, family dynamics, integrity, corruption, and the death penalty. It's an intriguing page-turner that jumps between (1) a high profile murder case that occurred ten years ago and forged a rift between Texas attorney brothers Travis and Jake Lynch, (2) a current drug deal double-cross that leaves two rich high school seniors dead and another gravely injured, and (3) the prominent Austin, Texas, Lynch family dynamics.

Underneath all this turmoil is the question of whether the death penalty is ethical or not and the revelation that there are often many gray areas and behind the scenes shenanigans in capital murder cases. This story is set in Texas, where capital punishment remains a legal penalty. 

If you enjoy legal thrillers and/or mysteries, I definitely recommend this book (which I received free from TCK Publishing in exchange for an honest review). As we both enjoy legal thrillers, I've put this book on Robbie's to-read shelf and look forward to hearing his thoughts on it!

What legal thrillers have you read lately?

If you've been around my blog for a while, you already know that I enjoy a wide variety of books from many different genres. Tomorrow I'll be sharing about the first books I've completed this year as well as my reading plans for 2021 as we continue to stay home during this seemingly never-ending pandemic.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Sunday Musings | Not OF Works But FOR Works

We are given the gift of salvation through faith, not because of the things we do. Salvation is free for anyone who genuinely believes in Jesus Christ, confesses that He is the Lord, and accepts His gift of salvation. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation - it is NOT of works as we see in Ephesians 2:8-10:

For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand
that we should walk in them.

However, we are saved for works, good works, which the Lord has prepared for us to do. God has already developed works for us to do as His children. As we seek Him and His will, He will guide us and show us those works that He has prepared for us. This is not something that we have to do, it's something that we'll want to do as we draw closer to Him and remember His free gift of salvation.

What are the good works the Lord has prepared for you to do?