Wednesday, December 19, 2018


My baby graduated college!  It's a bit surreal to think that all three of my children are now graduated and married!  Even though I'm not sure I thought it would all happen, for so many years we have prayed for our children to make good decisions, do well in school, and choose a Christian mate.  I know there will most definitely come challenges, but at the moment I'm enjoying this blessing from God.

I'd like to share his story to give hope to those whose kids might have some difficulties.  Our youngest had challenges growing up, as he ended up having 7 surgeries, 5 on his arm (he has a shorter, smaller arm due to an amniotic band in the womb).  He wasn't really into reading or academics, but we learned in middle school that he had the gumption to work for people in our neighborhood.  We helped him start his "Odd Jobs" business, which led to the purchase of a Snow-cone stand during his senior year.  He is comfortable talking to most anyone and trying anything!  We've always felt like he would be successful despite not loving school.  We are very proud of him.

College wasn't easy and he didn't really want to be there the first two years, although he did enjoy the social aspects of it.  We continually prayed and thought about alternatives if he decided to quit, but he hung in there and by his junior year he could see the benefits of having a degree.  He got into a singing group that recruits in the summer for the university and enjoyed that.  That's where he met his wife.  So that was another delightful benefit.

Parenting him has been a joy (most of the time), and definitely showed us that God is in charge!  Graduation day was wonderful.  He received his Bachelor's degree in Business Marketing and I got to participate in the program.  They asked me to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and that meant I would be on the stage for the entire graduation (being under those lights the whole time was what was tough!).  They told me when I arrived that I could also walk in front of him as he crossed the stage and hand him his diploma as well.  It was pretty sweet!

 Afterwards we took pictures in an area where there is a wall honoring OC's Master Teachers.  My Dad, who passed away in 2001, spent his whole career, 35 years, teaching there, and his picture is on the wall.  We took pictures with our family and Dad.  I know how proud he would have been to know that two of his grandchildren graduated from there.  We celebrated at a nearby restaurant, Firebirds, and since I had just read the book, The Power of Moments, I asked everyone to say something they appreciated about him, or just any advice they wanted to give to him.  It was great listening to everyone give words of encouragement to him.  He received a few gift cards, tools from us, and we also presented him with the savings bonds his grandparents had given him the first seven birthdays of his life.  They totaled almost $800 and had doubled in value.  Definitely a sweet day for him!

One of my most memorable days as a parent as well.  :)

I made his favorite cake in mini-bundts!
One of several tools from Mom and Dad! 

A beautiful tree of lights outside the restaurant!

So thankful and now I feel another transition coming on...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


For many years I enjoyed scrapbooking.  My Mother made both my sister and me a simple one that I added to as I was growing up.  I loved pictures and mementos!  One of my favorite things to do when I would go to my Grandmommie's house was to get her photo album from Hawaii and look through it.  It was like a different world to me.  Seeing her in a muu-muu, getting a kiss from Don Ho, seeing hula girls - it was all very eye opening.  She brought all her grandchildren many gifts when she came home from the trip as well.  My mother started both my sister and me a scrapbook with our school class pictures and I added to that.  As a teen I made my own scrapbook out of wallpaper. Later in high school, I was on the yearbook staff.  I learned more about layouts and editing and throughly enjoyed it.  It reenforced my love of scrapbooking.

When I became a mother in 1989, of course portaits and photos were important to me.  I took as many as I could afford with my little Kodak Instamatic.  Then came DOUBLE PRINTS.  Hallelujah!  You could pay just $1 more and get two of every print. Thus began our problem with storage.

Long story short, I got double prints of every roll of film for about 20 years!  My justification was that Grandmas wanted some of the pictures and I would also make albums for the kids after making my own.  God forbid my kids ever forget any moment of any experience we provided for them!!!
So here I am, years later, with all my kids in their 20's.  I've never made them that album.  I quit making myself albums around 2008.  (I actually did make each child a special themed album for their 16th birthday) Everything was going digital and it didn't seem practical to get prints anymore.

With all the decluttering I've been doing the last three years, I kept avoiding the "SCRAPBOOKING ROOM."  Why?  You know why.  It means I have to get all those double prints out and make the books or give them to the kids in a big mess or toss them (which I could never do).  As life got busier, all those precious memories had become a burden to me, and so I determined I would get those memories in albums.  This year, 2018 was going to be the YEAR TO GET IT DONE.

When I first started back in January, I had no idea how I would go about it, but after fumbling around for a while, I developed a system.  I have three children, so the goal was to make three albums.  I came up with some rules:

1.  Use only the BEST photos.  Throw away any blurry or bad ones.

2.  MAKE JUST ONE ALBUM.  Do we really want to burden our children with a library of albums?  I had a 50 page album for each child.  That means, there will be a few pages of baby days, a few of school days, a few of family, a few of holidays, sports, performances, and vacations.  You can see how this will help you choose only the best photos.

3.  SORT by child first.  This part went relatively fast!  Look through pictures, noticing which child was prominent in each photo.  So, for instance, vacation photos from 2005 involved an epic road trip to California.  After sorting through them, I had four piles: Vacation pics for Child #1, Child #2, Child #3, Extras.  Store the pictures for Child #2 and #3 in other boxes for their albums to be done later.

4.  SORT by events and seasons second.  For example, I got all of Child #1 pictures sorted into the following categories:  Toddler, Family, Birthdays, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, School days, Sports, Music, Performances, Friends, and Vacations.  (The seasons included holidays)

5.  THINK AHEAD.  I looked at what I had and determined about how many pages to dedicate to each category to make it work for a 50 page album.

6.  FORGET DATES.  I think one reason I avoided this so long is because I thought I had to write dates on each page.  I basically did a book based on the seasons, starting with spring.  Spring had 4 pages of Easter time through the years.  Plus a page about LTC.  Then came summer.  I did a big collage of misc. summer pictures, then had 2 pages of swimming pool times, 2 of lake times, 2 of Fourth of July celebrations.  When you do this, you find that most of the pictures you took were pretty meaningless and it helps you choose the best photos.

7. DECORATE (a little).  How you do each page is entirely up to you but my system was to do basic pages with a little cropping of photos to try to get more on the page, maybe some colored paper, and sometimes a sticker or die cut to add some embellishment.  Occasionally I did a more intricate layout if the pictures lend themselves to it. But in the words of my friend Delise, a CM Consultant, just "get it done!"  A done album is better than no album.

8.  BE PREPARED for some emotional fatigue!  Going through these reenforced the fact that I'm getting older and my babies are grown up!  I had to take breaks - it was hard to choose between all the Kodak moments. In some cases it was easy, though.  I realized that year my child played baseball that it didn't turn out to be his thing and so 1 or 2 pictures of that was plenty.  It was a bittersweet process!

9.  FINAL TOUCHES.  After getting the album basically done, I went back through, page by page and noticed where I might add some embellishment.  I also put titles on many of the pages, some with letter stickers and some in my own handwriting.  I was torn on whether to journal for them or let them fill it in with their memories.  You can decide.

10.  GET OVER THE IMPERFECTION.  I realized I didn't have as many pictures of a certain child on this or that and I couldn't find hardly any graduation pictures of one!  Also, as I moved on to do albums for Child #2 and #3, I didn't realize it, but my style changed.  I did more collage type pages and that is just fine. Anyway, I didn't worry about it.  Remember, just get it on the page!

Maybe they won't appreciate it, but my mind is feeling good and a burden is lifted.  I'm glad I was able to put them together, and the rest of the pictures?  They will go in a box for each child.  I just can't throw them away!  But there's not nearly as many anymore and they are sorted.

Now I'm wondering if I could be a Scrapbooker for hire!


Wednesday, December 5, 2018



Mentioned in the sermon Sunday, it's most unlikely that we will ever have all three at once!  When you're young you have lots of time and energy, but no money.  When you're in mid-life with jobs and kids and aging parents and activities there's a lack of enough time.  In your final years you've got time on your hands and money but not enough energy to get out of bed in the morning!

So what do you do with the two that you have?  Do you use what you've been given to the glory of God?  Balance is something I have been reading about and striving for most of my adult life.  Now, I find myself in the lacking energy category.  Fatigue is a common part of an auto-immune condition I have.  Most of the time I dismiss it and try not to think about it.  But other times I have to give in and rest.  It's annoying!  But I see it as the way that God is continuing to shape and mold my life.  I am choosy about what projects I take on and push myself a little sometimes to get other things done.  After a day of pushing I need a day of rest.  And, as a recovering perfectionist, I've learned to stress less about the details.  It's amazing how things still happen and those tiny details didn't really matter all that much.

I hope that as the year ends you have a chance to breathe and reflect and think about the coming year. I love setting goals and figuring out how to make them happen.  I've heard a new tip on a podcast recently that I want to try.  I  had heard of writing your goals down and making them visible, but this tip (from Rachel Hollis) says to write your goals down every day! That is a way to keep your goals in mind, for sure.  She also says to write your goals as if they've already happened, i.e., I have a fantastic body.  Not, I will exercise every day.

Whatever your thoughts are about the new year and setting goals, life balance to me is one of the keys to happiness on this Earth.  I eagerly await the time when our work here on Earth is over and our Savior Jesus Christ returns to take us home!  Leaving you with this thought from Colossians 3:17:

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."