Thursday, October 25, 2007

Juggling Blogs?

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to say that the post below was intended for the Selah Scrappers blog - I guess I am having trouble balance my blogs! (LOL) Since there is a comment already I will leave it up. Guess God wanted me to give you a taste of a Selah Scrapper post, and invite you to come on over and visit for weekly devotions!

Balancing Act

by Rita Shimniok

"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Mark 1:35

Life is a balancing act, yet Jesus juggled everything so wonderfully. Amidst the preaching, teaching, healing and being followed by scores of people - He found time for solitude and prayer with His Father. When I think about this, Jesus was more busy than anyone I can ever imagine. The events in the gospel of Mark make it clear who Jesus was and why God had been sent to earth. Things happened quickly - His ministry, was in fact, a whirlwind.

Isn't that how we feel sometimes, caught up in a whirlwind? I especially think of Marie and the winds that bring fire to our lives. Thankfully, for many of us, it is not a real and present danger. But the tide winds blow, and into our path comes an obstacle of darkness - whether it be disease, job loss, even death. We can focus on that which the wind has brought, or keep our eyes on the only One who can save us from being held back by that obstacle. It is important that through the whirlwind of life, we find time for solitude with our Maker, as Jesus did. For even He, God incarnate, needed relationship with His Father and needed to be renewed from His draining ministry.

These past 10 days have been a whirlwind of busy-ness. While I was laid up this past summer things got out of in piles of "stuff" that needed to be gone through and had manifested into a monumental task on the craft table in the basement. Our daughter just turned five yesterday, and I knew I wanted to have some friends over for a birthday party, which is taking place this afternoon.

I've been dreading the task, putting it off even. Finally, the clock was ticking and I needed to do this. The week before the birthday celebration, I began to purge, clean, and throw out "stuff". More than papers, toys that are no longer played with, bags of clothes returned after our loans no longer fit our friend's children. So much to go through, but I did it - and although my back is giving me grief, it looks great! My scrap table is even clean...I ended up cleaning more than 1/2 our basement out! Now if only cobwebs would go away on their own! (LOL)

The troubling part about this task was that another was also on my plate this past week - an appointment with God. It is application week for our bible study group, meaning we take what we have read from the first three chapters of Mark and listen to how God is calling us into action. A daily schedule was provided for us - do this on this day, that on another, etc. Schedules were suggestive only, and certainly did not work for me this past week. I worked on my cleaning project every free moment and often into the late night early morning. When I was done I dropped from exhaustion. How was I going to listen to God this past week?

The verse from Mark that really spoke to my heart was the forgiving of sins for the paralytic man. Jesus did not simply heal, but instead forgave. If you have read this blog before you may recall I have some issues with my lower body. This passage really made it clear how much more important is God's grace than healing. But how could I apply this to my life? There were still questions on the form I had to answer.

So I searched some more...and from the moment I had read Mark 1:35 I knew that I needed solitude with God. I have no problem reading the bible, almost daily, and in fact turn to it regularly to be inspired for my scrapbook pages and writing to you. When I thought about it - I am always IN the bible in search of something. I have a question or a topic in mind and am looking for God's response and direction. There is nothing wrong with that, but when I am reading God's word for a focused purpose I am not allowing Him to speak to my heart - for me alone. I have been on a quest for more than a year now to find my God-given purpose. I do feel that part of my quest has been answered when I was asked to use my gifts for Selah Scrappers, but I know there is more. Mark is telling me to find more balance in my life, to seize my Selah moment not only to read the Word, but to sit quietly and LISTEN. Leave the pen and paper out of reach.

The book of James has really been calling to me lately. Several times while reading Mark I have been directed there, and God is also putting verses from James right before me through other vessels. We had a wonderful moment at bible study last Monday, where we gathered in prayer around our friend and asked God to heal his ailment, as described in James 5:15-16. The presence of the Holy Spirit was a hot, electrical current coursing through my body as I felt it in the persons next to me and throughout my own. God was at work, it was so clear, and we know that a healing manifestation is taking place in our friend. There is so much more in James. So although I am "required" to read Mark for our weekly study, my course is set for the book of James. I have picked out my God space. I know that God gave me a window of time this year to spend with Him between work and having to pick my daughter up from school. I need to retrain my actions, and block distractions. (One of which is this computer.) I ask you to keep me in prayer for solitude and to be able to quiet my body and listen.

I pray for all of you as well. I ask that God guide you when the winds blow, and that you focus on Him on when obstacles are placed in your path. I pray that you will protected from raging fires, both real and symbolic, and that the armor of God enfold you when you are placed in dark situations. In the busy-ness of our lives may each of us find solitude and prayer with our heavenly Father as Jesus did, so that we may be renewed to carry on the ministry set before each of us as disciples of Christ. Amen.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I've been tagged (again)

And to be honest I have/had no clue what that means. To the two gals who have tagged me before - I apologize for my lack of blogger knowledge.
Nancy tagged me today, and since I am wore out I took the time to visit her blog and see if I could resolve the tagging mystery. There are rules to follow, but I will be first to admit I have never figured out how to get a link to work. I will have to go experiment and come back to this.

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself (on your blog, we all want to know them).
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

here are 7 random facts:
1. I grew up on a dairy farm - it was hard work and I couldn't wait to graduate and go off to college, but looking back, I am glad for how the life shaped me into who I am.

2. Crying babies make me cringe. Might have something to do with our first being colicky as a baby, and my being home by myself with no break from a crying baby for 12 hours. I love babies, don't get me wrong, but I just want to hold them for a bit and give them back to their mamas. (LOL)

3. I talk to the computer. Machines are rather rude - they seem to ignore me, but then again, they don't talk back...something I am seeing as of late with our 10 yr old.

4. I talk to my parrot - and she does talk back, usually squwauks, but hey - she keeps me company when I am scrapping.

5. I love popcorn mixed with some Cheetos - DH just brought me a bowl. Give it a try!

6. One leg is shorter than the other...thus my lifelong sentence for unfashionable walking shoes - nothing cute, no heels in my closet to speak of.

7. I am a water drinker. I do enjoy a cup of coffee most mornings, but by an by I am always accompanied by a bottle of water. Our well water is better than anything ever bottled.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthdays Are Work!

Whew... I am just wore out. I have spent the past couple days totally gutting 1/2 our basement, getting out the 409, steam cleaner for the floors, vacuuming webs...all to prepare for 6 munchkins to come over to craft and play on Abby's birthday party. Getting ready for a party is LOTS of work, and I am not even calling it an official birthday party. We really don't need more items in this house, aka gifts, unless it is paint or craft supplies as our daughter is always using up her art supplies. She turns 5 this week and spends 70% of her time coloring and putzing at the craft table. Hmmm...wonder where she gets that from?

I've visited the chiropractor the past two mornings after being imbolized by some major pains over the weekend. What a change - after just the first adjustment. I love chiropractic care. Tonight, however, I worked more and moved the very heavy craft table out from a support beam. That baby is heavier than I thought, and felt my back protest. I suspect I am going to be in pain tomorrow, and my doc is out of town until Monday. Ugh! So anyhow, I am taking a sit down break and blogging. Before cleaning I baked a cake and cupcakes. Yesterday I baked 4 batches of cookies for school treats, daycare, women's group tomorrow, and a few left for home. I don't even like to bake, so two days of it should do me until Christmas time. (LOL)

This afternoon I had to take Kyle to the chiropractor as well, as he wrenched his neck playing flag football in gym. He should get an A for effort in the class - he dove after flag for all he was worth, and knocked himself good on the head. The result was a head ache and they sent him home with an ice pack, as it happened just before the buses arrived, and I was gone picking Abby up from school. On Friday Kyle had received a zinger of a wollop in his face -chasing a friend on the playground at recess and getting too close to someone swinging. Their foot smacked him right in the cheek - he was knocked down, and ended up with wood chips in his mouth,and a bloody mouth. The next morning he lost a baby tooth. (which makes 9 left) Because of that incident our chiropractor had to put his jaw back in line, and I had not even thought of that.

Well, now that the basement is clean, and this includes an immaculate scrapping area (for now) -- who wants to come over and scrap with me? We could even set up two on the craft table next to the scrap table, and have a mini crop! I haven't scrapped all week, or at least since Sunday. I am going into a dark mood fostered by a period of uncreativity. I should at least go make a card.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Growing Up Green

Today's blog title is also the title of a layout that I recently created, which was picked up by Memory Makers for their "one world" theme reader gallery for next March/April. I cannot share the layout here, of course, but in addition to having lots of green - the layout is digital, which is very "tree friendly". I have only recently begun scrapping digitally, having dabbled mostly as a hybrid scrapper since I began scrapping. I love the feel of paper and getting messy with paint, so I know that I will always be traditional at heart.

With a previous career in graphic arts I used to work closely with the paper companies. The company I worked for really hopped on the bandwagon of using recycled papers and soy based inks in their marketing materials - this became really big in the 1990s. When I began scrapbooking I wondered if product manufacturers used post-consumer waste in their paper products as well. It is not a topic I see widely advertrised in the creative arts magazines, yet I admit I would be influenced by claims of recycled paper use by a manufacturer in their consumer product. I hopped over to Paper Trunk's blog today and learned from Carrie that their products are made from recycled paper. Have you felt Paper Trunk cardstock? It has a wonderful texture and is a dream to work with. If you have qualms about using recycled paper on your pages please don't! In fact, it was Carrie's post that made me realize I missed out on a chance to blog "green" yesterday.

Our son, now 10, is very much concerned for the environment. His biggest pet peeve is global warming, and he is angered that 1000s of penguin chicks are dying in Antarctica because the ice they are being reared on is falling into the ocean, before they are ready to fledge, due to global warming. He is concernd about recycling, and habitat destruction for human living and work spaces. Our son inspired my "Growing up Green" layout, which includes photos of our family out on a nature hike, bird watching, and taking note of God's creation. God called us to be stewards of the earth, but unless our kids grow up to love nature and the environment, they really won't hold it much regard. It is up to us to instill that love by teaching our children to "grow up green".

My family knows that I consider EVERYTHING before it goes into the trash. It is amazing how many odd things can work to your creative advantage as a scrapbooking tool, or as a page embellishment. Kyle often brings me things, figuring I can use them on my pages. I still remember the handful of tiny tiny rocks he brought me. Sure enough those little rocks did end up on a slide frame for a layout, and the page was actually one of my first published pages in Creating Keepsakes.

In the spirit of "reuse" vs. throw away, I want to share a layout that is the result of a challenge at BusyBee Scrapbooking this week - to scrap a not-so-ordinary item on a layout. This excludes items like bread bag tags, paper clips and such that are wonderful to use on pages, but to challenge the artist to think a bit more outside the box. I had a couple of ideas on this, one of which I decided might not be a good idea. But, last night as I was rummaging through my "catch all" drawers of all things that might possibly be scrapable, I came across a foam disk from a CD spool. Originally I planned to use the foam wheel as a paint stamp, however, I was working on a summer layout of Abby in her floating turtle. I decided the foam disc had a great likeness to a floatation device, and reused it as a center for a flower. Pretty cool, eh? So, I enourage you...always look twice, maybe 3X at something before it goes into the trash - it could be your next great embellishment.

One more tip on creating green... if you are like me, using your computer for journaling, use scrap paper to print out your test prints. My husband and I have bought one ream of paper in the past three years. Rarely do we need a clean sheet of paper for anything, other than an official contract or such. Both of us bring paper home from work that would otherwise go into the recycle bin. It doesn't hurt our printer to run paper through that has been printed on one side. We print all our e-mails, my CG layout sketches, and more on recycled/used paper. To go one step further, I will use a sheet printed on both sides as a "plate" to mix my arcrylic paints on. It makes for easy clean up!

So, although I may be a bit late climbing aboaard the blogger "green" post day, I want to thank Carrie for bringing it to my attention. I really do encourage you, as an artist, to be mindful of creation itself, and what you might do to help care for the one earth we have been given. Think outside the box, as Holly encouraged at BusyBee, and look for items in your home that can add dimension and fun to your pages.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dream Street "Be Still"!

I love the verse "Be still and know that I am God". I thought it was a perfect phrase for this photo of Kyle. A monarch had hatched and we were ready to release it. When we opened the cage it fluttered all over the living room and we could not catch it. It was not until Kyle stood still that it landed on him, and then I just opened the door and Kyle stepped outside - and off the Monarch flew!

Sometimes we need to just sit still, and allow God's holy presence to alight on us - and I hope that is the message Kyle gets from this layout. I was thrilled to learn that "Be Still" was a winner in the Dream Street contest at Scrap4Life for September. I love the colors of the Dream Street papers - soft and dreamy -perfect to capture the mood of this photo. The birds stamps from Autumn Leaves are a new favorite of mine as well - I find that I love using them anywhere I can. They are just too cute for chirps!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Joys of Fall

I am so glad I live in Wisconsin this time of year. A friend and I attended a wonderful women's luncheon today, and afterwards we sat for an hour and chit chatted, enjoying a hot cup of tea. My friend is a Jersey girl and has travelled quite a bit. She says no other state matches the beauty of our area with its rolling hills, forests, meadows, golden fields, winding rivers, gleaming lakes and bubbling creeks. We really are blessed with a beautiful part of the country.

Kyle called our attention to the moon rise end of September. It was breathtaking - a grogeous Harvest Moon. I totally enjoyed scrapping my photo with Cactus Mango Designs digital elements from K-joi The stars have been bright in the crisp, night air lately as well. We are hoping for a dry weekend - and if weather permits tomorrow evening you can find us out back making smores around the fire pit.
It is a pretty special time to be with loved ones around a blazing fire with no phones or televisions for distraction. I look forward to it.

I also look forward to the March/April 2008 issue of Memory Makers. I had two layouts requested for the One World theme reader gallery today. I am so stoked about it because the layouts are some of my first ever digital in count the number I have done on my 10 fingers. I guess it is just proof how easy it is to convert your traditional style onto the monitor when creating digitally. One of the layouts is about our family's love of the outdoors and all that it offers, and the other focuses on adoption. The layout features a group of children at the Lifelink Adoption agency picnic at the end of September. I suspect some non-scrapping people will be picking up this issue of MM just to see their kids in print! At any rate, I am thrilled to have this toot today.

Also, I don't have my hands on a copy yet, but the November issue of Creating Keepsakes, currently available, features a project I made called The Blessing Box. It's a great way to get everyone involved in the act of gratefulness at Thanksgiving. I hope you will make your own Blesisng Box, or create something similar for the upcoming holiday. Peace!

Monday, October 8, 2007

I need a makeover!

An organizational one, that is! I've often wished that if I could afford to hire anyone, it would be a team to come in and totally reorganize my scrap area - or perhaps make it a real one with uniform storage units, a place for everything, etc. I used to have that of sorts, thanks to Sterlite drawers, but I have outgrown my space. Now, no comments on that...I am using my old stuff too! I have also reduced my shopping greatly as I know I need to use what I have.

So anyhow, I spent 2 days searching for ants. Why is it that in spring I can't get the darn things out of my house until I take drastic action, but when I want my ant stickers - held in my hand 2 weeks ago...I couldn't find them? Well, as it turns out the stickers were in the proper bin, I just needed to go through it a 4th time, and I admit, I need glasses. That's on the 2008 agenda.

I completed the layout above using new product from Around the Block for the Scrapbook Playground this month - man I love their buggy paper and brads!! Lots of uses for that in our house! This layout is for Abby's album. She is so much a shadow of her older brother, and in this case having great interest in the ant hill that resides in our front lawn. The kids spent weeks taking out foods - starburst candies left from Halloween, and also healthy foods, such as apple cores and things meant for the compost pile.

As I created this LO my skin felt like it was crawling - Stickopatamus did a great job creating realistic looking ant stickers. It seemed like the buggers were crawling around on my page, but there again, I must have been tired or it is because I need glasses and things tend to go blurry as of late. The only thing this LO is missing is a real magnifying glass - would love to have one over that close up photo. (LOL)

There was an incident with glue the evening I made this LO. Fortunately the LO had not a drop, but for a path of ten feet or so in our basement, it did not fare so well. It did add some excitement to the evening and jolt the guys out of their Playstation trance for a while! (LOL) Kyle got a new Star Wars PS2 game for his birthday - and this was the 2nd night for he and Jesse playing it - they did not see the glue coming at them until it whizzed buy. There is something to be said for Scotch Quick Dry Tacky Glue -it really lives up to its name!

I am planning to get a lot of old pictures scrapped this month - working on challenge LOs with "lightening speed". We will see how many I can do amidst the planning for birthday parties, anniversaries and such. I love October -but do rather wish every family celebration was not in the same month. On the other hand, I think it is kind of special that October is host to many beginnings in our lives. Happy Croptober!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Before I get into my chit chat I want to thank Creativity Unbound, and my sweet friend Elly, for asking me to be a guest designer this month as the site features Magistical Memories chipboard. Since I see CU has linked to my blog I figured my post from last week needed an update, using a layout featuring the much loved BBQ chipboard. The layout above was one of my entries for the last Hall of Fame - I think it has come "out of the closet" once. I used a combo of inks and pens on the chipboard leaves. I have to admit the maple leaf in the center of the layout was made by yours truly, as at the time MM did not offer a maple leaf. I am happy to say that they now do - so this fall I shall not be in want of any leaf shapes - MM has them all!

With no doubt in my mind, fall is my favorite time of year. This past weekend the weather was PERFECT! I had had a particularly stressful day at work, and Friday night Jesse had the perfect solution to calm my spirit. He build a fire in the pit out back and the four of us sat around the fire. We roasted marshmallows, and made smores of course, but we also listened to sounds that go bump in the night in the woods, and wondered aloud what creatures those might be. I love the challenge of roasting the perfect marshmallow - the trick is to avoid active flames, and find a spot with low, glowing red embers. I call that the "sweet spot" in the fire - and the fun is to claim spot before anyone else does. Of course I am roasting for Abby too, so I am not being totally selfish. (LOL)
After the fire pit and putting Abby to bed I joined Kyle and Jesse out front where Jesse had set the telescope up on the platform we had had the pool on during the summer. It's nice to know we can get a bit more than one season's use out of this slab of wood in the middle of our hillside lawn. Star gazing was wonderful - the perfect night cap.
On Sunday we went out to Blue Mounds, WI - which is just as the name implies. It must be one of the most picturesque areas in southern Wisconsin to go. We climbed both lookout towers for the view. For a bit there I think Kyle was feeling not so well, being over the tree tops - but he pulled it together and enjoyed the view. No one wanted to stay up there as long as I did, clicking away on the shutter, I don't think heights are loved by the rest of my family. It was a brisk morning and we were all underdressed, but for Abby. I had the sense to put polar fleece on her, but left my jacket at home. The guys just didn't think it was cold enough for a jacket, but once we are out from the protection of the hill on our property - the fact is - there is WIND!
While at Blue Mounds we met two men. A younger man walking with an older gentleman using a cane. We were asked to take their picture. As we were ready to descend the 2nd tower they had just made it to the top. They took our photo - it's nice to be in a photo for a change.

I then offered to take theirs and asked a few questions. The younger man, who apeared to have Eskimo ethnicity, had told us earlier that he was from Fort McMurray, Canada - which is in northern Alberta. I asked how long he was here for and some other questions. It turned out the younger man, who had gone to the U.W., was visiting his old college professor from 13 yrs. ago. I thought it was really cool that a former student would spend the time and travel and come that far to visit a former instructor. Obviously the two had bonded, and I thought it was a great life story. I would have loved to have scrapped the picture of the two men, they were such contrasts to one another, but to request would no doubt seem most odd.
While in Blue Mounds we stopped at Brigham Park nearby, which just happened to have a Rendevous camp in progress. Kyle is a history buff, so when we saw all the tee-pees we knew it was sheer fortune. We had a wonderful time exploring the lodges and learning some things about frontier life. I took this photo, which I love, but have no clue yet as to how I might scrap it.

Sunday was spent in an apple orchard. Hay ride, picking apples, coming home to make fresh apple crisp and enjoyng fresh cider. I have over 200 photos from the weekend so that should keep me scrapping for a while. Right now I am in the middle of the huge task of deciding which photos to have printed, and then look for a good print sale.(LOL)
I scrapped very little this past weekend, too busy making memories with my family; and that is really what the journey is all about!