Friday, February 29, 2008

Consider your quirks- rediscover yourself!

February must have been the month to reflect on what makes YOU unique. Do you know what it is? Kjoi studios had a quirk LO challenge in February. Which led me to lead a discussion thread at the Scrapbook Playground to ask what everyone's quirks are.

What are your quirks, do you need to ask friends and family? I had coffee with a friend of mine, former room mate, and asked her if she remembers any of my quirks even though we haven't lived together in 20 yrs. Oh yeah...she did not disappoint. Some of her accounts were hilarious, and I couldn't believe I could be so extreme. She told me I was a list maker, and on my wedding day (she and her now husband stood up for us in our wedding) I had detailed a timetable, which included "have breakfast with Tim and Lisa at 8:10 a.m., brush teeth and do hair by 9 a.m.," etc. Ok, would I really forget to brush my teeth on my wedding day? (or any day for that matter) What I would do now to have a copy of that list and scrap it!

At the Playground I realized I shared many of the same quirks as other people..and can now make an entire quirky mini album! Last night I created a 2 page digital layout on lipstick...yes, one of my quirks and I wanted to scrap it for the Kjoi challenge. Who would figure one can do a two page layout on lipstick?!!

I want to seriously encourage you to make a list of your own quirks and scrap them - whether in a single or two page LO, a simple tag album that has one written quirk per tag (no pic needed), or a mini album and include some pics if you can. This would be a great keepsake for your family and leave a legacy of the quirks that make you unique!

I plan to create a mini album of my quirks. Yesterday I made a smiley face in Photoshop and put it up on my computer monitor and took a photo. I talk to my computer all the time - and it is nice to see it smiling back at me - probably laughing that I would talk to it, since it obviously cannot speak my language. Other things I can take pictures of...the roll of toilet paper and how I like it to drape over vs. hang under, the fact that I prefer a box of tissue in every room of the house, the truth that I cannot get to sleep, no matter how tired, if there is ANY noise in the house (makes for taking naps impossible). The list goes on...and I think scrapping these quirks will allow me to take a good look at myself and ponder the unique person that God has made me. So there you go - enjoy your quirks for the journey you are on and marvel at the special person you are!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hybrid Cards Offer Flexibility

I am very much enjoying digi scrapping, and when I combine it with traditional scrapping the results can be so incredible. I made this "journey" card for my husband to celebrate his new ministry - I knew days ago which photo I would want to use. It was amusing to me that the program cover for the commissioning celebration on Tuesday night used a very similar photo.

This card became hybrid because the color printer actually skewed my cardstock at the very end as it fed through. The bottom of the printed image was crooked. I was just going to trim things and fix it that way, and then I thought - why not find some papers to go with and make it a hybrid instead. So I mustered up some Mustard Moon and found a wonderful scrap of green textured Paper Trunk, tore some edges, cut around my framed photo, and attached my two, torn and inked pieces. I think the colors of the striped paper really add a lot more depth and warmth to this card than it would have otherwise had.

Now, looking at it again I should have printed the verse from 1 Corinthians in an oatmeal colored type vs. brown, but hey, my husband won't notice that. HOWEVER, now that I have this card designed...there is nothing stopping me from changing it up a bit for other occassions. Can you see graduation? I can - and even have a quote in my head to put in place of the scripture, in oatmeal colored type of course!
Does a hybrid card have any less meaning than one made exclusively with glue, hammer, hole punches and lots of fabulous embellishments? I don't think so. I still had to muddle through lots of digi files to find just the right papers, frame and photo anchor. Finding the butterfly by J. Schmitt in my TTS Trevor's Treasure's kit was a bonus. The green paper by DigiDiva was a 12x12 design, but I resized it to 8.5" width and pulled the bottom portion onto my letter sized document. Knowing where my card was to fold, I then cut and pasted the top portion of the patterned paper onto my card - so that the flourished design would meet in the middle, vs. have the top of the card front unadorned. I love Kara Jones cardboard grunge frame and have recently moved it to a folder of favorite embellishments. I finally put that wonderful rustic ribbon loop brad by Amy Teets into a folder of FUD (frequently used digi) - as I seem to always have a hard time finding it when I go in search for use on a page. It goes well with so many of my earthy layouts.

If you like to play with photo editing software why not give hybrid card making a try. I think you might like the results, and use a favorite photo over and over to send a different message for different needs. Now, back to my card project... thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Agent of God - Trust in Him

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7
It's been nine days since my last post, and I never figured I would be sharing two layouts in a row of my husband. He is totally worthy of scrapping, but as it is for many of you -the kids take center stage on the pages of our layouts.

Tonight, however, I had to come home and create this layout, for I am very proud of my husband this evening. After five months of training, classes just about every Tuesday and lots of homework during the week, Jesse was commissioned as a Stephen Minister at our church this evening.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 reads: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
These verses were shared by the guest speaker at this evening's commissioning dinner, and an apt description of the Stephen Ministry itself. Tonight twenty men and women have answered the call and joined the ranks of other Stephen Ministers to be agents of God. They will offer a listening ear to those who are troubled, suffering, and broken in a world of brokeness. They will offer the comfort God gives us, the compassion Christ showed to many, and do it all through the omni-presence of the Holy Spirit.

Jesse is a natural as a Stephen Minister. People have always been drawn to him to share their troubles. He is a listener. He has a skill that many of us have to put effort into. Stephen Ministry is a perfect match for his gift of compassion. I know that God can take the ordinary and make them extraordinary to carry out His will and purpose. The Lord has given my husband the gift of listening, gentleness, and encouragement. I know he is equipped for his new ministry, a room full of friends, pastors, and fellow Stephen Ministers also know that he is ready. There are always anxieties in addition to the excitement of beginning a new ministry. Jesse begins meeting with his care receiver already this coming Thursday afternoon. Please keep him in prayer - that the two men are comfortable with one another, and that Jesse is relaxed and allows the Holy Spirit to take charge over their meeting. I chose Psalm 28:7 for it says that the Lord shall HELP those who trust in Him. Our family will be praying for Jesse on Thursday afternoon, please join us in lifting him up. Thank you!

Digital layout uses elements from, and

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Celebrating My Love

I know Valentine's Day is past, but it is never too late to create a layout about the most important person in your life, right? I was so busy making Valentine cards for my family members, and special friends going through difficult times right now, that I did not have time to scrap a layout for my sweetheart. This is something I have done annually the past couple of years. The nice thing about being "late" is that I could incorporate a bit of the Valentine my husband gave me on the 14th. The card I was given had scripture from Song of Solomon, chapter 3, verse 4: "...I found the one my heart loves." My husband's card was very moving - I love Dayspring cards. It did not go without notice that both of us thanked one another for being Godly spouses. I love how God moves in our lives.
It just so happened that the discovery challenge at this week also encourages us to create a layout about the special someone in our life. Not surprisingly, it was also the Feb. 14 challenge at the Scrapbook Playground - a part of their montly long February crop event.
Thursday night a valentine poem came into my head. I wrote it on a post it note, in arms reach, and tucked it into my jeans pocket. Friday morning I put a load of wash in before work. Friday afternoon I wanted to start on the layout, and I realized I could not find the poem. I ran to the dryer, found the post it in my jeans pocket, and nothing was legible. Oh well... I started over.

Although some of the lines seem silly - the words ring true. The chocolate line was totally inspired by the chocolate hearts on the "Love Me Tender" quick page (digital) by Penny Lewis at I SO LOVE dark chocolate! But the mention of chipboard...this is about my scrapbooking and the time it involves. I know that my passion to create, the creative team deadlines I have, bite into special alone time with my husband, and I need to work on that. Thus, the chipboard line really applies to all my supplies - but I love chipboard LOTS! (LOL) Here is my poem, second time around:
I love you more than chocolate 'cuz your love won't melt away.
I love your more than chipboard 'cuz you aim to please me everyday.
I love you more than a fuzzy sweater 'cuz you always keep me warm.
I love you more than anything 'cuz our love has weathered storms.
I love you - just 'cuz you are my love.

The rest of the digital elements for this page are credited to:
Dragons Lair - notebook paper and stop watch, and Oval Bookplate – Cactus Mango Designs downloaded from
Trevor's Treasures kit – red chipboard heart
Scroll Stamps - seishido

As you can tell from my short supply list - I did not add a whole lot to Penny's fabulous quick page filled with layered flowers around a frame and cool scrolls and ric rack. To add in the notebook paper, chipboard heart and bookplate I used layers to my advantage in Photoshop. I reduced the opacity of the newly introduced element, and carefully used the eraser tool to remove the portions that I wanted "tucked under". Once done I returned the opacity to 100%. This is a great trick for adding additional elements to a quick page to personalize it. If you are inclined not to download quick pages because you "want to have complete creative control" (this is how I was) - try this approach. I have learned that I can work with quick pages and still introduce my own personal style (which has to have a circle somewhere!).

Quick pages can often be downloaded as freebies by a designer wanting to introduce you to a new kit they have put together. Don't be afraid - give them a try!

Monday, February 11, 2008

REsponding to God's Call

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

Has God ever put it upon your heart to take action on a matter and you just pushed it back, not wanting to deal with the extra burden that action might put upon you? For the past year or so I have had a Moses attitude. Reluctant to follow through on His calling using a myriad of excuses as to why, or why not. Not enough time, don't know any body, how would I start such a thing?, will look into it closer to fall, etc.... all of these negative replies have been going through my head.

This past weekend I attended a women's REtreat at our newer church - Blackhawk E-Free. Our keynote speaker on Friday night was Sharon Clausen. I am sure her words struck a chord with many in attendance. Her message certainly hit home with me as I could relate to the story of Jonah and Moses and how they responded to God's call. A key point made was this, "delayed obedience is DISOBEDIENCE." How true, and I knew it. I was letting my fear of knowing only a handful of people in our new church squelch a ministry God is asking me to lead.
The signs have been pretty clear - and go back probably 7 years ago, before we adopted our daughter. I was watching a concert on prime time to raise adoption awareness. One break featured a baptist church that had a "One Church, One Child" ministry, in which the church raised the money to allow a family to adopt and give a child a loving home. I was so taken with that concept, and had wished that something like this was available for us as we were contemplating adoption. This was a seed planted.

Years later, after God had already blessed us with a beautiful little girl from Korea, I continued to share our adoption experience, answer questions, and have been privileged to be a part in four families making the decision to adopt. (sprout) Of course we know Whose hand was really at work, bringing families together through adoption.

As I walk through the halls of our new church on Sunday I see so many families brought together by adoption, and have talked to a few. Focus on the Family just happend to send me an email last fall about a new ministry called "Cry for the Orphan", with so many links to help churches get started in orphan care ministry, give families resources, and a wealth of agencies and information to process.(sprout) In November, our church moved to a new, larger building. On that first day Pastor Chris said that the new building was not about the bricks and mortar that make it up, "this building is only a tool for us to use to do God's work." (sprout)

I thought to myself, we have the room here. Room for adopted children to play and grow together, room for adoptive parents to come together and share stories, room for parents of adopted children to mentor those who are considering, or in the process of adoption. Having been through the wait, and not being a patient person, having moral support through the process is so important! There is room to educate and have workshops to help parents with adopted children learn how to deal with issues and feelings their children may have. I pray there is means to raise money, for the church to have a desire to raise a child within its community, to help families adopt and offer love and opportunities for quality life.

The verse from James is key for me. I have been given a vision for what this ministry can do:
• To come together as a support group for families in the process of adoption, or who have adopted.
• To learn from one another by sharing of experiences and backgrounds.
• To foster and encourage adoption.
• To help make a difference, one child, one family at a time.

In a cast of a thousands I feel so insignificant, so unremarkable - I have no idea how someone such as myself can begin to cast such a vision. Our keynote speaker mentioned God being sufficient for our needs, which made me smile. Earlier in the week I had just studied the word grace, and came upon the verse from 2 Corinthians, "My grace is sufficent for you, my power made perfect in your weakness." This vision for adoption ministry is not about me - it is about God and the great things He can do. I came home Friday night, typed up the vision that had been swimming in my head for the past two years, and sent it to the person who receives such ideas at our church. The wheel has been put into motion, and I have taken a step towards obedience.

I also met another adoptive mother on Saturday, and we plan to discuss the vision further. If you have such a mission in your church, please do share with me what your church is doing for adoption - whether it is mental and spiritual support, financial support, successful fundraisers...whatever. I don't know what I am doing yet, but am willing to listen and see all that God puts in my path as I strive to be more like Mary, and say, "I am the Lord's servant."

I cannot fail to mention that the photos used in the layout above were taken by my best friend's son, David, as they served on a mission trip to Liberia in November. David's photography really spoke to me and touched my heart. I created the layout as part of a challenge at the Scrapbook Playground's huge February crop event. It is powerful in its simplicity and speaks to my heart. The digital elements used in the layout were downloaded from, the papers and border by Krytal Hartley.

If you are interested in adoption or about starting a ministry in your own church please visit the link for Cry of the Orphan and others I have listed in my sidebar. I ask that you keep this vision for an adoption ministry in your prayers, as I wait upon the Lord to see what great things He has in store. Thank you.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Purity of Heart

"He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false... will receive a blessing from the Lord." - Psalm 24:4-5a

Purity of heart
- this is the topic for Faith Discovery challenge this week. The Christian based site for scrapbookers has encouraged me to add another study to my week, and although I do no always get a challenge layout finished, I am growing from the verses the topic will take me to and open my heart to what God has for me to learn. The layout I am sharing today was made with a freebie download - Pure of Heart Collaboration Kit put together by the talented designers at FaithSisters. The kit is available as a freebie for one week, and will then be available in the store. Click on the link above to get yours today, and check back often for future collaboration kits.

In today's world this is so very difficult, yet God wants us to keep our hearts pure and remain focused on Him. I have always loved this photo of our daughter taken when she was two, simply playing with water that bubbles out of a rock at our neighbor's home. The clear water washing over her hand reminds me of the cleansing of our sins when we ask Jesus into our heart.

I see our son growing in faith, making good choices, and he is pretty well grounded and unaffected by things that can garner the attention of ten year old boys. He is happy with his Playstation 2 and has never expressed interest in the new Wii that was the hot ticket item for boys his age this past Christmas. He could care less what brand his blue jeans are, and to my dismay, even if they are getting a little short. When I express concern about wearing "high waters", as we called them when I was young, he really does not seem to care and says kids don't notice. It is obvious that he doesn't - he really has no sense of vanity.

This is perhaps, where a line is drawn between male and female. I notice those things. Our daughter is still young and pretty oblivious to what is popular. She is focused on two pair of shoes, and has no desire to wear something cute - like flip flops or sandals. I am the one who felt she needed a pair of jeans with applique's and sparkles, so she would have something similar to that of her friends. Her friends mention Barbie, High School Musical or Hanna Montanna and Abby is clueless. Her world revolves around Knex and deploying her Webkins as troops... the things she sees her big brother doing.

As you can see, it is I who have concerns for our children's popularity - they are not affected by such things. It probably stems back to my own childhood, and the desire to be popular. When I was in 4th grade I recall being picked on because I was not allowed to wear jeans to school, and glasses did not help my appearance. Today children are actually taught to accept differences in the classroom, and that is a good thing. I hope our daughter will always remain unaffected by trends, but being a girl, I feel avoiding the desire to be popular is going to be more difficult for her.

This is where God comes in. Our children are learning early about the importance of having Christ in their lives. If we, as parents set an example, and remain focused on God, and are careful not to raise up false idols before Him - I pray our children will do well when choosing between popularity and faith.

The Psalm shared today reminds me how to live. I am aware that when it comes to feeding my brain, garbage in - garbage out. I avoid many shows that are popular. "Desperate Housewives" is a good example, a show that cuts down the sanctity of marriage and is prime for moral degradation. Television offers very little this day and age for the Christian who's desire is to fill their minds only with wholesome thoughts, as God instructs us to do. What about a show that uplifts marriage and righteous living? I can visualize a show about wives, and husbands, whose spouses serve in the military, and how they carry on as single parents while their mate fights for freedom. I can see drama, heart, and unity as a block of "dedicated army wives" stand together and help each other out through tough times. These women would be loyal to their husbands, strong in keeping their familiy together - I could applaud such a show, but with our world in moral decline, it woudl be hard pressed for ratings.

Television is one just one vice that a person needs to be aware of in striving to live a pure life for God. Fashion, recreational choices, the friends you choose, and even participating in talk around the work place can make a heart unpure. Look around you and try to view your life through God's eyes. Would He be pleased with your choices? Is popularity getting in the way of faithfulness? If so, consider a change, ask God for cleansing, and let your heart purification begin.

Additional digital elements:
Grunge Frame by Kara Jones, staples by Majula Designs, stitching by Dawn Inskip - all downloaded from
Pearl buttons by Michelle Coleman

Monday, February 4, 2008

A GOOD weekend

What a busy, productive and FUN weekend! My weekend began a day early as I took a day off to visit my parents. My mother had knee surgery on Thursday and I wanted to check up on her, take a meal, and start going through photos for a DVD production for their upcoming 50th wedding celebration. Please keep her in prayer for healing.

Saturday morning the kids and I went to Panera to meet my girlfriends. My husband was gone to the No Regrets conference - an annual, awesome Christian men's event held in nearby Brookfield. Next weekend it is my turn to attend a women's conference, so I wanted to get together with my girlfriends and catch up.

Once we got home we started getting lots of snow, unexpected. I thought that was all reserved for Sunday night. I spent Saturday doing some major cleaning and packing things for charity. The kids and I also found time to play some games and sled. I was totally wore out by early evening. At least the snow stopped - as I had a benefit concert to go to, fortunately a 1/2 mile or so away. $3000+ was raised to help build an orphanage, McKallie's Home of Future and Hope, in Malawi, Africa. I was very proud of our ten year old. As I was writing a check for the benefit he contributed $10 of his own money, money he was saving to buy a set of Indiana Jones books at the school book fair tomorrow. His gesture really warmed my heart!

Just before I left for the concert UPS must have made a late afternoon delivery. Two boxes - one from Brandon at Piggy Tales. He had sent me a hard to get a hold of barn doors board book and some paper as an appreciation gift for a project that was published using Piggy Tales product. Coincidentally, in the 2nd box was the very Paper Crafts issue that contained my Piggy Tales project! I was happy to see it received a full page on page 40 of the PaperCrafts special photography issue. The box also contained a surprising amount of scrapbook products, including a fabulous kit and paper pack by Paper Loft, products by Imaginisce, Love Elsie and more! After working so hard on Saturday it just made my day!

The concert was well attended despite the snow. There was music for everyone, from a young Christian rock band, a group of talendted musicians called Soul Purpose, who have a folk/country style program, and the talented Madison Community Gospel Choir. It was a super event and I was happy to see the place pretty full!

This past month I decided to start submitting some of my digital work to e-zines. I have a layout coming out in the Feburary issue of the new Scrapbook News and Review, and just had a layout picked up last night for the March issue of ScrapStreet. I also had a card picked up recently by Papercrafts. I was also asked, this past week, to be a member of the Creative Team for I look forward to growing in my faith as I scrap with the beautiful digi products by the Faith Sisters design team.

The Scrapbook Playground is having a month long crop event. Come check it out by clicking on the link at your right. There is a lot going on this month! Come back soon to see what I have been up to!