Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Scrapbooking | Family Portrait

The newest layout kit I created for our local scrapbook store features a variety of patterned papers.


It also includes an array of die cut and punched flowers to be layered together.


And a die cut title.


The final layout has space for one 5"x7" or two 5"x3.75" photos.

And works perfectly with an older family portrait of my family. Yes, that's me with the glasses! My sisters and I are all wearing dresses made by Mama.



This Family Page Layout Kit is available at Personal Scrapbook in Allen, Texas, while supplies last. Call the store at 972.351.8717 to reserve your kit for pickup or shipping. Or you can now shop online HERE.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Books Reviews | From A Different Perspective

Several of the books I've read recently are written from a somewhat different viewpoint.

For example, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is written from the perspective of one of Satan's demons as he coaches his nephew Wormwood on how to influence his assigned human so that the individual does not become a Christian. It's an extremely well-written book, but it does take a little effort to keep things straight, remembering that Screwtape's advice is counter to God's Word. This was my second time to read this classic. Here's what I had to say about it after my first reading in 2013.

Each chapter is a letter from the Demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, who is assigned to a human and is working to keep him from becoming a Christian. I really enjoyed it and think it must have taken quite a talent to write it all from this "backward" viewpoint - with the Devil as the Father and God as the Enemy. It was convicting in places because I see myself doing the things the demons are trying to get the "patients" to do - like thinking of myself during prayer instead of focusing on God. Here's a quote that illustrates one suggestion for keeping the patient's focus off God - You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favour of the 'best' people, the 'right' food, the 'important' books. About halfway through the book, I began to tire of the opposite viewpoint and having to focus on the fact that it was "backwards thinking." Even C. S. Lewis said that he "never wrote with less enjoyment" because "the strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp." 

The Christ Clone Trilogy by James BeauSeigner has a similar feel, although the story is written much differently. This is a series I would only recommend to serious readers with a fairly good understanding of Biblical views and history. (There is a spoiler in the following review; however, it's the one thing that could cause confusion and lead readers to believe views contrary to scripture.)

A blurb from the book begins: Two nuclear wars. Three asteroids. Demonic madness that kills one third of the world’s population. Into this, a savior will rise, cloned from Christ. It’s not fiction. It’s prophecy.

The story begins as human cells are found on the shroud of Turin, which is considered the burial cloth that Jesus was wrapped in after he was crucified. The cells are used to clone a child, Christopher Goodman, who eventually comes to live with the journalist Decker Hawthorne after a worldwide catastrophic event kills his family. Decker mentors and supports Christopher as he grows up and eventually becomes Secretary-General of the United Nations. Most of the story is told from Decker's perspective as he follows Christopher's life and teachings.

As it turns out, the human cells came from the heel of Christ...the heel that was prophesied to crush Satan...and Christopher is actually the anti-Christ. So, in reality, his teachings are skewed and his actions are designed to thwart Christ's teachings during the tribulation period. I recognized early on that he was the anti-Christ; however, it is possible for a reader unfamiliar with scripture to continue to believe his teachings and skewed logic well into the series. (Remember the Bible teaches that false teachers are subtle and will be disguised - wolves in sheep's clothing.)

I found this three book series very slow and frustrating to read; however, I kept reading because I wanted to know if somehow Decker finally realizes the truth. In that respect, it is a spell binder until the end. Robbie originally read these books many years ago when we picked them up at a Christian bookstore. He read through the first two books again after I finished the series, but decided it wasn't worth the required time to read the final one. These books went in the sell back box and are no longer taking up space on our shelves.

Blood of Heaven by Bill Myers has a storyline somewhat similar to The Christ Clone Trilogy; however, there's not the element of trying to sway someone away from Christianity. Instead it is a well-written and fast paced novel that reads easily and has a sad but satisfying ending. This one is definitely a keeper that I'll read again. Here's a look at my review from the first time I read this book six years ago.

Blood of Heaven is one of the Christian fiction books in our collection that I had not read before. This is an intriguing story involving a death row prisoner who is chosen for a genetics experiment, the GOD gene created with DNA taken from blood adhered to a piece of the crown of thorns (which was somehow preserved in candle wax that had melted then solidified around it), a young greedy scientist who deviously alters the DNA, and a police officer's widow and her son. I thought this was a great read with a satisfying, although sad, ending. (I didn't realize until I pulled the book out to read that it was part of a trilogy.)

Have you read these or similar books? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Scrapbooking | Layouts with Memorabilia Only

 As I began working on completing our 2013 chronological albums, I wanted to document three activities that kept me busy the first half of the year. I didn't really have photos for them; however, I had plenty of memorabilia.

First, I taught at a local private school that spring semester. I actually have quite a bit of memorabilia from that semester; however, I plan to use most of it in a teaching themed album at some point. So, I only chose a few pieces to include in this yearly album - the sticker from my ID badge, a snapshot of the schedule for the room where my classes were held, and the envelope that came with the flowers Robbie sent for my first day of teaching. (If you haven't heard the story of my flowers, you can read about them HERE.) A few school themed bits & pieces and a block (well, a bell) of journaling completed this simple 8x8 layout.

That January I also taught/led an all-day ladies retreat for a local church. This event marked one of the first times I led an event at a church that was not my home church. (I had originally written and presented the God Is Calling You material for this retreat at my church in the fall of 2012.)

For my layout, I included the tri-fold brochure the church had prepared, my name tag, a snapshot of the group activity I constructed using a photo of the church, a copy of the check (as this was also the first time I was paid for speaking/teaching at a ladies' event), and a piece of the thank you note from the ladies ministry.

I actually slit the page protector so the brochure could be opened.

I also spent that spring coaching in Stacy Julian's Finding Photo Freedom classroom on the old Big Picture Classes website. I used two of Stacy's favorites for the background - green and a gingham pattern. I included the letter I received from Stacy at the beginning of the three-month workshop, a screen shot of her blog on the first day of class, a postcard with one of her quotes, and her signature off another card on this page.

I'm very pleased with the way these three layouts help tell the story of my activities during the spring of 2013! Have you created any layouts with just memorabilia lately?

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Scrapbooking | July 2020 By the Numbers

This year, as I process each month's photos, I'm creating a digital layout featuring six photos and journaling "by the numbers." I'm using a digital template and various papers from my stash. I'm a little later than usual with my July page, but, as they say, better late than never, right.

My plan is to include a photo of me and Robbie and a photo of my mantel display as the top line of photos each month. However, I kept the yellow and red arrangement up for several months and instead used a photo of the space above our memories shelf unit on this layout. I change out the layouts in these six frames throughout the year and had patriotic pages displayed during July.

Here's how the numbers add up for July.


* 21  days Robbie worked from home plus 1 sick day.
* 1 Sunday drive out to Mama & Daddy’s & 22 items found for the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt.
* 2-night visit from Trey, Christina, Mariah & Adalynne (& 1 hug from Aubrey on her way home).
* 2 new-to-us games played  - Villianous & Menara.
* $72.59 for planter sent with well wishes for Mom & James on their marriage.
* 51st birthday celebrated!
* 1 Lego kit assembled by Robbie.
* 5-hour roundtrip drive to pick up Paige in Bullard.
* 4 movies watched: Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Despicable Me 3, Where the Heart Is.
* 20 layouts + 6 kits completed, 4 cards made, 9 canvases napkinized (with Mariah), 2 mini canvases painted, 6 Bible pages illustrated, 1 blog book formatted, 12 blog posts published.

We watched all three of the Despicable Me movies during July, mainly because I was ready for something light and FUN after all the tough news and civil unrest in May & June. We also watched Where the Heart Is, which is based on this book and portrays the story of a teenager who ended up having her baby inside the WalMart where she was living after being abandoned by her boyfriend. There are some tough themes (abandonment, single parenting, abuse, death), but overall this is a feel-good movie that we enjoyed watching with one of my 15-year-old nieces (who liked it a lot as well).

How did the numbers add up for you in July?

Friday, September 4, 2020

Mantels | September 2020

My goal this year is to design a new mantel display each month in a way that will remind us of bits and pieces of our wonderful life...and share those stories here on the blog. 

I've been wanting to try a monochromatic display, so September's mantel features numerous shades of green.


As always, I've included a stack of books that represent our eclectic reading habits. I'm sure Kermit is perched up there thinking, "So many books, so little time." The colored pencils are in Robbie's Grandy's glass candy jar, and (of course), the various figures are from Robbie's collectibles.


The other end of the mantel holds a vase that Robbie had when we married. I'm sure it came from Pier 1 Imports as he enjoyed shopping there for decor items. The white wicker basket originally held my Easter gifts from Robbie in 2010. Once I had the display set up, I though the green candle on the far right needed a little more color to help balance everything, so I added some ribbons and flowers from my scrapbooking stash to brighten it up.


I like to include a photo of us in each display. This month's photo is on the front of  a photo book, and I've scattered a few mini-albums around it. The square one on the left holds the lessons I recorded during Shimelle's Learn Something New Every Day class in 2010. This year I'm re-reading the class prompts and enjoying the additional links (to a song, some words, and an interesting human) that Shimelle is including with each day's email.


I like the way this green display reminds me of fresh new beginnings, whether it's the start of school for many (in whatever form that takes this year) or heading into fall and cooler temperatures (hopefully) later this month or simply remembering to look for the little lessons in our everyday life. Happy September Y'all!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Time for a Break

During these hot days of summer...and the continuing pandemic & civil unrest & election news, I've decided it's time for a little break. 


I'll still be hanging out here at home, reading good books, enjoying the sunshine, scrapbooking our memories, trying new recipes, styling the mantel, and spending lots of time in my craft room! Please touch base via email if you'd like to connect while I'm "away."

Friday, August 7, 2020

SPSH 2020 | Driving Around

Last month I was beginning to feel a little cooped up, so we decided to take a Sunday drive to get out of the house on a hot sunny day. With the increasing number of coronavirus cases here in Texas, we really had no desire to go anywhere specific. We made two quick stops - one at Lowes for Robbie to pick up two items he needed for a home project and another at my parents' home to return the tree lopper we'd borrowed to trim the trees in the front yard.

For FUN along the drive, we searched for the items on Mary-Lou's Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt list. Robbie took most of the photos from the moving vehicle while I drove, so some of them are a little blurred ... but we had a great time.

1. A favorite piece of jewelry
2. Something with or in a knot
3. Something with the colors of your country’s flag
4. A toy you play with
5. Something you have more than one of


6. Something in the shape of a triangle


7. Something that displays a rule(s) 
8. A leaf longer than your hand 

9. Something that starts with the initial of your name (first or last) - M for Mama


10. Something smaller than a paper clip - specks of dust on the hood of my car
11. Something you need to throw away 


12. Something that holds your favorite beverage 


13. A rubber band/elastic in use 


14. Something with wheels 


15. Something inherited - blue eyes from Daddy
16. Something with rough texture 
17. Something naturally round 
18. Something that can go in the water 
19. A stone/rock/pebble with some color in it 
20. Something with the number 7 in it 
Alt A. An animal statue 
Alt B. Something heavier than your shoe 
Alt C. Something with four sides
Hope you enjoyed our FUN drive! Now I'm off to see which items others have found for this year's hunt!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Scrapbooking | June 2020 Scrapped

In addition to our month in numbers, I created five layouts for June of this year. The first two showcase places in our home: (1) my craft room, which I've cleaned and re-organized some this year, and (2) Robbie's toy room, which we spent several weeks (finally) unpacking, organizing, and setting up.

My Happy Place page is a traditional paper layout using the Lickety Split Sunny Days kit.


Toy Room is a two-page digital layout using a template and papers from my stash.


I also created two  layouts that feature family. This first one was inspired by Lesson 2 in the free scrapbook.com Timeless Techniques with Shimelle Class and showcases a photo of all our "greats" (1 great-nephew & 3 great-nieces).


The other family layout features our nephews from Ohio, who surprised us with a two-day visit on their national and state parks camping road trip. 


The last layout for this first half of 2020 features the free Covid-19 timeline printables from Persnickety Prints. I formatted the timelines to print three months on a page, then adhered them to 12x12 cardstock backgrounds and added several die cut embellishments. 


I purchased the COVID19 die cut from our local scrapbook store; the wash your hands die cut came in a kit I purchased earlier this year; I cut the stay at home letters & house as well as 2020 and timeline on my Cricut; and Robbie created that cute face mask for me with paper scraps and pieces of twine.


It feels good to have the stories and photos from the first half of 2020 recorded and scrapped! How are you coming along with telling your stories for this year?

Friday, July 17, 2020

Art Journaling | Dreams Can Take You Anywhere

Just sharing a FUN collage art journal page (created in my planner) using old book pages, a Norman Rockwell image from an old calendar, a quote card leftover from a Quick Quotes layout kit, and miscellaneous patterned papers.


Where are your dreams taking you this summer?

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Book Reviews | Christian Nonfiction

It looks like many of us around the world will continue to spend a good bit of time at home in the coming weeks as we see spikes in the number of new coronavirus cases. During the past several months, I've been reading through the books on my to-read bookshelf as well as re-reading books from our personal library here at home. So, this week I'll be catching up and sharing reviews of the books I've read this year with the hope that you'll find one or two of interest to keep you inspired or entertained in the days ahead. Today's offering includes several Christian nonfiction selections.

Christian Nonfiction
Christian nonfiction books share real life applications that help us integrate our Christian faith into our everyday lives.


      

Clinging: The Experience of Prayer by Emilie Griffin has been in my personal library for many years and I've read it more than once. This lovely read does not share how to pray or when to pray or what to pray, it simply shares the act of praying and how it affects us. It's beautifully written, and I highly recommend it.

Healing the Soul of a Woman by Joyce Meyer has been on my to-read shelf for a while. The author has shared her personal story of healing many times over the years, in books, magazine articles, and speaking engagements. "Now, with the passage of more time, this book delves deeper into Joyce's story and the journey of healing for all women. Each chapter guides you through whatever obstacles may be holding you back to find your true destiny as God's beloved. God can heal all pain, and He wants to do this in you." This is a good read from a seasoned Christian who continues to grow and serve and walk out her faith in ministry now well into her seventh decade.

I picked up Becky Tirabassi's book Let Prayer Change Your Life when I heard her speak at a Women of Faith conference in 1999. I've read this book several times and always feel inspired to be more diligent in my prayer time after reviewing the author's stories of answered prayers and her commitment to spending one hour a day in prayer. She created a prayer notebook to help her keep this commitment. While I was rereading the book a couple of months ago, I pulled out the notebook I created back in 2001 and was filled with wonder and gratitude at the answers to the prayers I recorded there as a newlywed.

If memory serves me correctly, I received the book Who Does He Say You Are by Colleen C. Mitchell free from the author as part of a Facebook group challenge back in 2016. So, it's obviously been on my to-read shelf for a while. I finally read this book and then added it to the box of books we sold at Half Price books before the pandemic closed everything down back in March. Here's a little from the book's blurb: Catholic missionary and speaker Colleen Mitchell captures the confessions of twelve more women from the Gospels, and shows how their stories answer this crucial question of identity: “Who does he say you are?” Holding up Mary as the ultimate example of intimate, transforming union, Mitchell weaves together moving anecdotes of her own search for identity as a Catholic woman along with twelve accounts of women in Scripture that are at once fresh yet familiar.

Have you read any of these books? Please share your thoughts in the comments, along with your suggestions for additional Christian nonfiction books.