Thursday, June 26, 2008

boys vs girls

So , I have a real hard time following page maps, not sure why, bc I can when making cards, but scrap booking I can't. So I had looked at ideas for days trying to come up with a layout for my stamp club and was completely uninspired. So when I sat down with my paper, I did the pink page. I loved it. I love the colors, and the punches, the stamps, you name it. I used craft ink so that I could use light colored ink on the dark paper. Here is the funny part, then I realized that most of the club has BOYZ! You have to admit that is funny. So flowers and pink were a no go. The great thing is, it was super easy to do the blue pages. Change the colors and punches, and stamps... and viola, boy page. Stranger still bc I have two boys, and no girls. Sometimes, you just can't fight the pink!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pictures from my trip...

Last week I was flying the friendly skies from Orlando to Chantilly, Virginia. I was working for Scrap-Mart at the Great American Scrapbook Convention. It was a great show, but I have no pictures of the booth or of me and my crew. :-(

But after the show we had some time to kill before our flights out of Baltimore, so we ventured to Washington, D.C. and Georgetown University. What a cool town! Check out these pictures.

The campus can be seen in the distance across the bridge.

The Univeristy Seal. This looks so cool with all the dimensional detail!!Don't ask me what a Hoya has to do with the Bulldog mascot...I don't know! But I love this picture of the cascading flags!
What gorgeous old buildings on campus! There's a clock tower, too, that chimes throughout the day. The town has such character...cute little shops and restaraunts. The brownstones have got to cost a fortune!! We were there on a Sunday and apparently that's the only day you can park on the street. So during the week where does everyone park??? Yep, that sign below says Pennsylvania Avenue. We didn't have enough time to stop in and say hi to George W. But I did see the White House from a distance. What a gorgeous view! A personal note about this whole journey into D.C., is that I grew up about 5 miles from here in Hyattsville, Maryland. My dad was a firefighter in D.C. in the late 50's and early 60's. As we were driving through the city I decided to give him a call to see if he could guess where I was...yeah right! He told me that his fire station was right outside of Georgetown! Oh how I wish I would have called him earlier and gotten a photo of his station!! He got a chuckle, though, as I told him the streets we were passing. He loved living there and working there. Great memories. Now to scrapbook these really cool photos!! :-)

summer slowdown

Hey gang! Due to technical difficulties (aka - I'm an idiot and should not be allowed to use computers) I could not log in yesterday to post - so I'm hogging Shirley's Wednesday! Sorry my friend!

With the economy in distress - those of us in the direct sales industry (and in other retail businesses) are seeing a slow down in sales. While this can be scary - I want to share a few tips for helping you get through this period so you can be ready for business to be BOOMING!

Take a break! If your business is still going strong or you've already got events on your calendar I would not recommend this ;) but if things are slow for you - get out and enjoy the summer! So often we get wrapped up in work that we forget to enjoy those lazy days of summer...the neighborhood pool, backyard BBQs, gardening, garage sales, the ice cream man - and am I the only one so busy talking about/teaching scrapbooking that I don't have time to DO it? Enjoy this quiet time to create some beautiful projects, learn some new techniques, and fall in love with this wonderful hobby all over again!

Do a little cleaning and organizing! Clean out your scrap space and have a scrapping yard sale or donate items to charity. Organize your files so when tax time comes around you aren't overwhelmed by piles of receipts and invoices. Look for a place to have your fall events, scan magazines and websites for workshop ideas, create your own website, start a meetup group - there are so many things we want to do to grow our business but we are "just too busy" to find the time. Well...we've found it! Set aside the time you would have been teaching a workshop to do some organizing and planning so your business is ready for growth.

Keep these tips in mind any time you have a slow down (mine is usually around Christmas/New Years). It is always good to take a step back and evaluate your business every once in a while - whether you are experiencing a summer slowdown or business is booming. You never know what brilliant ideas you will come up with!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Share

Well first I wanted to share about the fundraiser I went to last weekend. my CTMH basket auctioned for over $100.00 so that was pretty cool. Especially since the "auctioneer" was new to doing this and he obviously knew nothing about scrapping or scrappy supplies LOL But, on a serious note, love the way our community comes together when there is someone in need. Shouts of "it's all for Nick" could be heard as bids went higher than the value of the items in some cases.

Last night all my kids had things going on. One of Joshua's friends invited both the twins over for a sleepover and Amanda had a girlfriend over to watch the debut of "Camp Rock". (In case you don't have teenage girls this is a musical movie starring some teen heart throbs called the Jonas Brothers). So mom had a friend over also and spent the night (and a good bit of the morning) in my scrap studio. I visited more than worked but did finish one layout I was very pleased with. I LOVE sketches and how they often take on a mind of their own when being used on my pages. I am sharing the sketch (which was a challenge on one of my online sites) and my take on it.
I followed the sketch pretty closely but originally the picture in my head was a layout about prayer. As I added the strip of photos on the bottom I was visiting with my friend about how this photo shoot was the first time the major size difference between the twins really hit me. It also hit me looking at the photo of the two of them how Joshua acted very much like a "Big Brother" to Jeremy even then. Thus the title "Big Brother" and the journaling.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

try something new

The thunder here has me in a bit of a hurry, but I wanted to blog early, well, not late.
This is a little calendar book I made for a friend, using our designer papers and chipboard elements. So fun. We are on the PTA board together, and she loves my calendar book, so I made her one to love. Not exactly scrapbook, but you can take the same supplies and create something fun and new... stretch yourself, and be amazed! Just don't forget the ribbon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I am in love with patterned papers!

I don't know about you, but I love patterned paper. And recently, the color black has to show up in everything I do. Don't ask me why...there is no logical answer.

This past Saturday I had my monthly crop in my home and actually got to scrapbook some photos...I made two double page layouts and one single! I am so excited bacause it seems the more your "job" is in the scrapbooking field, the less you actually scrapbook for yourself! KWIM??

OK, on to the patterned paper. I absolutely love Scenic Route! This paper in the photo below is Cape Town Signal Hill Floral from the Cape Town Collection. It totally caught my eye and I had to make one of my layouts with it. Thing is, there's only one sheet to a pack and it is so busy...what to do???

Well, I decided to hand cut portions of the flowers and use that as a sort of border. That way I got to use the paper that I love, but it didn't "rule" the show. I really like how it turned out. The photos are of my neice's high school graduation last year. Her colors were red and white, and totally worked with the Cape Town paper.

Hey, do you see that cool black mesh-looking stuff peeking out from behind the main photo? It's called is fun plastic ribbon that is left over after sequins are punched out, often called "sequin waste." Use it on altered book pages, or as a stencil for creating backgrounds or for ribbons on potted plants. It is a bit over 3" wide and comes on 50-yard spools. You can get it at SkyBluePink...they have some of the coolest things!!

Have a great week! :D

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

song of the south

I am a city girl - born and bred. Born in Chicago and raised in and around Washington DC...and I love all things city. The culture, the food, the nightlife, the architecture, the attitude - I even love the subway! I NEVER thought I would leave DC and I could never imagine wanting to live my life anywhere else. That being said - living in a city isn't for the faint of heart. Never make eye contact with people on the street, don't talk to strangers, and ALWAYS act like you belong...even when you are lost or confused or scared. Show no weakness.

A few years after I graduated from college - in DC of course - I got an invite to move down to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I figured I would spend a summer or so down there and goof around - then head right back up to DC where I belonged. So - being the world-wise modern woman that I was...I packed up my stuff and headed on down 95 to my new - but don't forget - temporary home.

Now, when you are in your 20s you don't exactly get up at the crack of dawn. And - if you are driving 14 hours by yourself - that means you don't exactly get to your destination before dinner. So that night, VERY late that night - I needed gas and found a little hole in the wall station that looked abandoned but had a neon OPEN sign winking at me through the window. So I got out of my car - surveyed my surroundings, and started pumping gas. As I was standing there holding the nozzle I suddenly heard the door to the station open and saw a man approach me. I immediately stuck my car keys between my fingers, got my footing, and as he came closer to me I whirled around and in my best 'don't mess with me voice' said "What is it YOU want?"

Smiling up at me with a relatively toothless grin from underneath a grungy old baseball hat, this 200-ish year old man said in the gentlest southern voice I'd ever heard - "Well darlin'...I just want to make sure that you are alright - it is a late night for a little lady to be out all by her lonesome!"

Thus began my love affair with the South. And 15 years later I have never looked back.

So why do I bring this up now? Because two months ago my husband and I moved back to Georgia after three and a half years in Alaska, and yesterday I had to drive to Macon for a site inspection. One of the things I love MOST about the South is that to get from one place to another you don't HAVE to take the highway. Oh sure you CAN...if you are one of those city folk who is always in a hurry and too busy talking on your cel phone to enjoy the beauty of the day - but I like to take the backroads. The tiny towns with the tinier town squares, the proud displays of patriotism and faith, the fields of cotton and the groves of pecan trees, the old pickup trucks, the mom and pop diners...coming back to the South has given me a sense of quiet that I haven't felt in a very long time. And, having left the South behind before - I am grateful to be one of those lucky few who knows how good they have it.

Now don't get me wrong. The South, like anywhere else, isn't perfect. Coming from a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic family and community - I grew up believing that people didn't think "that way" or say "those things" anymore. I have been shocked into silence and angered into action many times during my life as a Southerner. But I have also been given an incredible gift. Living in the South has taught me that I have the courage of my convictions and that I will not stand idly by when someone is mistreated or misjudged. That I won't just SAY things should change, but will actually work to make that change possible. How many people have been given the opportunity to look that deeply in to their own soul and be proud of what they see? keep with the scrapping theme (which I never really seem to get around to ;)) I am challenging myself (and you) to do a page or a mini album or a wall-hanging or whatever moves you - about the place your heart calls home. Because tonight - with the crickets singing to me outside my office window and my husband waiting on our front porch with a glass of sweet tea, I leave you with some of the million reasons why the South will always be home to me - no matter where our lives take us.

  • 100 year old trees draped in spanish moss dancing in the summer breeze
  • when I was checking out at the grocery store and showed the cashier my Alaska driver's license, we ended up having a five minute conversation with the clerk at the next register and the three people behind me in line...and no one got impatient

  • hot boiled peanuts and sweet tea (both of which have some sort of Beth-enticing drug in them...ask anyone at IRW)
  • our friends' kids call us "Miss Beth" and "Mister Don"

  • wonderful, incredible, fanciful, quirky old Southern traditions (like wearing gianormous hats and drinking mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby)
  • the first weekend we were here we stopped at a farmer's market and a woman saw our military tag, got out of her car, came over to our window and thanked Don for his service

  • the rich storytelling of, determined preservation and protection of, and deep respect for this country's history
  • we have friends with names like Bubba and Dot and Kibby

  • FRIED TURKEY...seriously...the greatest food product EVER created
  • when I left on a business trip four days after we moved in, our 75-year old next door neighbor brought Don a homemade pecan pie because she knew "he would need some good home cookin' while his wife was gone"
    • green fields full of God's bounty as far as the eye can see
    • going to the Cotton Pickin' Fair or the Watermelon Festival and eating a fried twinkie or a funnel cake while you ride the tilt'o'whirl and check out the prize winning chickens and quilts
    • because it has made

    'Night y'all...


    PS...Oooh! I almost forgot! The new IRW catalog is FINISHED!!!! Come check it out at and see why I worship the ground Amie walks on!! Great work my friend!!

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    an example of community

    I know, I know........ I am posting out of order again but I am not sure I will have time for a Saturday post. Read on to find out why and I am sure I will be forgiven :-)

    On Saturday I will be helping my friends with a hot dog feed and auction to help raise money needed for them to take their 11yo son to from Oregon to Michigan for specialized therapy that has shown dramatic results in children with cerebral palsy. Nick was born 2 months early (only 3 weeks earlier than my twins were born) and among other issues related to prematurity he has Spastic Quadrilateral Cerebral Palsy. His family is awesome in their interactions with him and the community, their faith that God indeed has a plan for their son, and their constant fight to be sure he has every opportunity to be all that he can be. They leave me in awe and also very thankful for how healthy my twins are. Yes we have one that deals with autism but he did learn to speak ( so well and so much in fact`that we often laugh about the days we thought he would never talk) and his daily struggles seem so minor in comparison with what Nick deals with every day.

    There was a wonderful article in out local paper but for some reason when I try to post a link to the article it will not work. If you would like to read more about Nick and his family as well as their journey just google "Nicholas Seggerman: and "Taking A Leap Of Faith"

    new perspective

    Well, This lay out is kind of plain, but there is a reason. But what it evolved into is really the point of today's post!
    This simple layout is from a simply scrapping kit. Which I adore. Those kits are wonderful. You get materials to make at a minimum of 4 2-page layouts!!! I went easy on the supplies, because I plan to use this kit at my next Scrap Club, in which there are 10 ladies. I love the colors. My 7 year old came out into my scrap room and saw the pages and got very excited. He wanted to choose the pictures and placement. Since this was a layout I was doing for "work" I hesitated, but gave in. He picked great pictures from two recent events. Then he wanted to do the journaling. That I haven't placed on the pages yet. He took a full 8.5 X 11 and wrote so much. I have cut strips of white to let him re-write the highlights on. The thought bubbles on the photos were his idea as well. So, I think how neat each scrap book would be with a layout that has been taken over by it's subject. He had comments to add that I would have never thought or even known to mention. And how precious to have it in his handwriting? This was a special day, and a special layout, I challenge everyone to make a mom and me page! It will give you new perspective. I have often found that kids are so much more creative, naturally. They aren't as constrained by the "rules" we have about colors, shapes, etc. They just do what feels right, and nine times out of ten, they are! So, instead of cringing the next time Jonathan wants to help me, I will try to remember how special this was. Here is our almost finished pages.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    Xyron 150 Tutorial

    Well, it is so nice to follow the "dip queen", Beth(see yesterday's post)!! No, I don't have a recipe, but I do have a little tutorial that will make you life much easier and totally fun!

    So, how many of you own the Xyron 150? You know that little "X" adhesive machine? Maybe you have used it once or twice, or maybe you've never gotten it out of the box!! I won't ask you to raise your hands, because I wouldn't want to embarrass you...but you know who you are! :D

    Here's a little tutorial on how to use it so you can get the most out of this cool tool! You can use the Xyron 150 with anything that is up to 1.5" wide and a thick as a nickel. In this tutorial I am using a piece of cardstock, but try it with ribbon, letter die cuts, and rickrack, too. It will give you edge to edge adhesive and turn your item into a sticker.
    So here's your Xyron 150. AS you can see, it fits easily in the palm of your hand and is the perfect size to pop into your crop bag.

    The adhesive refills come in either permanent or repositionable. I personally only use permanent, but the repositionable adhesive is great to use with your die cut letters, so you have time to play with the placement and can get them straight. The refills slip in and out of the bottom and will "click" into place. You will be able to see what type of refill is in the machine through the little side window.

    Slide your paper into the top until it touches the adhesive.

    Pull it out from the bottom until the entire piece comes through.

    Tear it off at the plastic serrated edge.

    Rub your finger on the top plastic piece to ensure that all the adhesive is on your paper.

    Pull off the top plastic...

    And now your paper is a sticker with edge-to-edge adhesive.

    You will not want to be without this great little tool now that you know how cool it is!!

    Enjoy! :D

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    the secret of my popularity

    My friends...what I am about to share with you is the secret to becoming the most popular neighbor, wife, friend, hostess and party-goer in town. You might be saying to yourself:

    "self - what is it about Beth that makes her the most popular girl around?"

    Is it her winning smile and sparkling personality?

    Is it her gentile demeanor and quiet lilting voice?

    Is it her stylish wardrobe and witty conversation?

    Have any of you guys met me??? :D

    No my friends...the secret to my popularity, the reason I am at the top of everyone's invite list is...

    are you ready for it...

    get out a pad and paper...


    which from now on I will call Beth's "desperate for a blog topic" Dip ;)

    I am not joking when I say that I TRULY do believe that this dip is the reason I get invited to parties (winning smile and stylish wardrobe not withstanding). In fact - at the first Wives' Club meeting I went to here I was hoping to meet some friends, get reacquainted with the area, etc. After the meeting someone usually sends out an email to everyone with a recap - a little something about each new person, what we did at the meeting, etc. Following is an excerpt from said email:

    "Several people have asked that the lady with the spicy chicken dip share the recipe. If you brought that dip would you be willing to email the recipe to everyone?"

    Good stuff.

    So - because you guys don't refer to me as "the lady with the spicy chicken dip" - I'm going to share my secret. Be forewarned though - if we are ever at the same party and you show up with this dip I may poke you in the eye with a fondue fork or shrimp skewer or whatever is handy. Some people have great laughs or nice cars or beautiful clothes - I have dip. :) This is the GREATEST FOOD PRODUCT EVER...I got the recipe from my MIL and at any given event I will eat so much of it my mother would say - we don't discuss such things in polite company. TMI!!! TMI!!! :D


    3-4 c. cooked shredded chicken
    16oz cream cheese
    12oz Frank's original hot sauce (fair warning - this dip is S-P-I-C-Y!!!)
    1 c. ranch or blue cheese dressing
    1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

    Combine all ingredients except cheddar cheese in a saucepan. Heat until bubbly. Put in casserole, sprinkle with cheese and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips - or shovel it in your mouth with your hands because it is so darn good that you can't believe you made it!



    Now - because I am a woman of my word and I said I was going to share my S4I event planning with you I'd like to give you my first little tidbit of advice:

    S4I tip #1 - before you go running off at the mouth to everyone about how you are going to blog about planning an event in your area, be sure you REGISTER on the S4I site so you don't get BUSTED by Laurie when she blogs about new people who are signing up to do events and puts your name in big ol' print for everyone to see!! Now...I don't know anyone like that (except me) - but if I did I'd tell her (me) that she was a giant goob. ;)

    Seriously though - I've got some great leads for places to have my event:

    I found a hotel in town that just re-did their ballroom and business has been SUPER slow for them - and they are working with me on a low rate because they want the opportunity to have other local folks come to the hotel and see the changes!

    You might have the same luck if there is a new restaurant in your area or one that has a party room - if they aren't well known in the community I bet they would welcome the chance to get some good word-of-mouth advertising! And the great thing with restaurants is the meals are right there!

    I also talked to a guy with the local VFW - they have a GREAT space and the room rental rate is pretty good - you could also talk to the Elks or the American Legion, or there may be a union hall in your area that has meeting space available.

    I'd love to hear tips and tricks any of you have for finding a location...I hope to have a decision and a date by the end of the month! WOO HOO!

    Have a great week everybody! Beth

    Sunday, June 8, 2008

    The Ripple Effect

    Happy Sunday night everyone. I was going to blog on Friday but I was as bit frustrated and was worried I might say something that I shouldn't so instead I waited until tonight. I am hoping it helped but I'm still frustrated I must say.

    I have been spending tons of time trying to work on social networking. Building up my list of friend and inviting people to my group. I spent most of my time working on the Care2 network so far. I got frustrated cause I'd see petitions and groups etc growing to help animals in all respects and one of the common things said is that 'they can't speak for themselves'. Now don't get me wrong I love animals. I have 2 puppies and I completely 100% support these programs to assist animals. What frustrates me is that children, especially those with disabilities, also can't speak for themselves (for the most part). Many children can speak of course but what I mean is that some of them don't realize they aren't being included, they don't understand the value of inclusion but WE DO! so why is it so challenging to find people who will help me speak on behalf of the children. OK, rant is now over.

    This is a photo of the ripple effect. This is what I'm trying to create. One small action (talking to someone else about inclusion and Scrapping 4 Inclusion) and how that can grow bigger and bigger. I'm trying to find others who will help me do this and it's been, I'd say, more challenging then anything else so far.

    I have a fantastic group of volunteers who are organizing their local events and I want to do everything possible to help them. I can't be there physically to help but if I can create a big enough ripple then eventually people will start contacting them directly. This is my goal.

    In decided to google the words 'ripple effect' and I found this great blog that explains perfectly what I'm trying to do and how most people naturally think about the 'business' or 'whats in it for me' part first. This guy wrote a book and does public speaking to show others how much more effective they will be if they start with the 'personal' part first, the relationship aspect, the real person first, then the rest just seems to fall into place. Check out this blog posting to see what I'm talking about. RIPPLE EFFECT BLOG I have joined his Yahoo group so hopefully I'll have more insightful things to share about helping to create the ripple effect in the future.

    I give you a challenge. Talk to someone you don't know about Scrapping 4 Inclusion and what we are doing and ask them to share with a friend or someone they know. Maybe it's a simple as asking them if they are on Facebook and if so, get them to join our group. You just never know how much that next person you talk to might change your life. I have found many many people are shaping the direction of my life these days and I've only personally met a few.

    OK I am moving on to throw my stone in the water and create that RIPPLE that I'm looking for. I'll keep throwing stones in the water until I get it working. I don't give up easily and that's a good thing. I might try a little more with Facebook this coming week just to give myself something different to work with.

    Hope everyone has an awesome week ahead.



    I have to share :-)

    OK, I know it is not Saturday anymore and not my day to blog but as I was having my morning coffee and checking out my favorite blogs I found a quote on one ( ) that I just have to share here. It is just so "right on" and totally supports the message and purpose of scrapping 4 inclusion and the Bubel/Aiken foundation!

    We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”—Max De Pree (b.1924), author, former CEO of Herman Miller, Inc.

    Saturday, June 7, 2008

    CTMH TV!

    I almost forgot to share a bit of exciting news with you. Close to My Heart has put video podcasts on the consultant websites that show scrapbook and stamping techniques and teach some very fun projects. You can view it on my website. Go to then click on the link on the left for new ctmh tv and enjoy :-)

    Saturday share :-)

    I was tickled that Saturday was my assigned day to post and share because Friday night is on the calendar as mom's scrap night but I have to admit to not creating anything new last night. My autistic son was in the mood to read to me. First he read his all time favorite story...... "The Boy Who Grew Flowers" It is one I found for him through my friend Gail who sells Barefoot Books. These are THE most wonderful books.................. the artworks is bright and colorful and the books are very high quality. Anyway this particular story is one I purchased for him for Christmas last year. Without giving too much away it is about a boy who spouts flowers..... out of his head! He is quite embarrassed about this fact until one day a new girl comes to school who is also different from the others. They connect in a special way and he finds out the thing that makes him different from everyone else is what makes him special to her. It is a totally awesome story and Jeremy loves it. He has brought it to school to share with his classmates and our school counselor loved it so much she ordered herself a copy to use in her talks at the beginning of each school year. These talks are about how everyone is different and that is what makes them special.

    Anyway, I had to put my scrap night on the back burner to enjoy this time with my son. But I do have to admit while he was cuddled in my lap and reading this favorite story and several others my mind was wandering a little and I was creating some projects in my head. One of them I hope to get down on paper today is about that book with a photo of the cover and journaling about what the story means to Jeremy and how he is so special to us.
    So my layout share for today is not a new one but one done a long time ago. This is my twins at 2 weeks old and still 3 weeks before their due date. (That is a real rose in the enlarged photo to help show how tiny they were.) This photo shoot was before the word autism became a part of our daily lives. Both of the boys have grown and learned so much since then. And I as a mom have learned that they are each special and unique and exactly the person God created them to be.
    My challenge to you today is to create a layout about someone in your family and what makes them the special and unique person they are.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    It IS Thursday, right?

    This is my favorite layout, so far.
    I cased it from my downline, she is amazing. I love the colors, and would not have thought to use them. They are Bashful Blue, Real Red, Sahara Sand, and Whisper White. I used chipboard pieces for the "I" and heart. The Priceless stamp set for all the red images, and Big Deal Alpha for my letters. This page has RUB ONS! I love rub ons. It is almost scary how I love them. In January when they first came out in the SU! catalog, I was putting them on EVERYTHING! I think that is why I love them so much. You can put them on anything, and trust me, I have! ;) Our rub ons come in white and black. I was excited because our Sale A Bration ones also came in old olive and close to cocoa. Back to the layout, as you can see, I am not a journaler, I still need to do that, but there is a place for it! These are my two cute boys. They are glad it is summer. Jonathan told me a while back, on one of those days when it was grand central station here, and people were coming and going in my stamp room, "mom, you know people only like you for your crafts!" As soon as he said it, he realized it came out all wrong, and tried to fix it, which I think made it worse. Ah, kids. That has been our joke around here since then. So yesterday my youngest over heard me tell his dad that, and he got so upset. He said, "O! no mom, people love you because you are so much fun, ...... and you are real sweet!". I have to say, I think that was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. If you knew Jeremiah you would understand, let's just say he doesn't have the gift of encouragement, and girls in general are still a big waste of space to him. So this coming from him, was HIGH praise!
    Hope you all have a GREAT weekend, we are headed to the in-laws in Houston!!! fun times.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008

    Tidbits and moments to remember

    I am sitting here at the Orlando airport Tuesday June 3, 2008 at 7:30pm EST. Our plane has just arrived and we are waiting for the passengers to disembark so we can get on the plane and be on our way. I will be working for the next 5 days with Advantus, Corp. (Heidi Swapp, Cropper Hopper, and AMM totes) at the Great American Scrapbook Convention in Arlington, TX. I will be joining the team from the corporate office as we work the booth for the show. I promise to post pictures if I remember to take them!! :D

    As I sit here eating my sandwich, waiting for them to call us to begin loading the plane, I think about the many changes I have seen in airports. I remember how you used to be able to walk your friends and family up to the gate of the plane to wave goodbye, and also be there upon their safe arrival home from their trip. In the "old days", the airlines used to feed you meals on your plane trip, too.

    As I drove to the airport this evening, I was listening to the local news on the radio. One headline I heard was, "This could be the beginning of the end of the Hummer". High gas prices, ya think? On another tidbit of news they were talking about how Barak Obama is close to winning the Democratic ticket for the upcoming Presidential election. There was also speculation as to whether or not he would choose Senator Hillary Clinton as his Vice President. This is an historic event...the first time in history that a black man OR a woman or both(!)could be elected to the Oval Office! This is big news!

    All this stuff is just sitting in my head as I think about today and go about my business. What the world was like, what changes I have seen through my life. I think these are the important things that we need to write about in our scrapbooks and journals. These days are the "good old days" that we will talk about to our children and grandchildren. The little tidbits of how life is changing and what our lives are like now...that's what the generations after us will be so thrilled to know...if we only will write it down.

    Woudn't you treasure hand written postcards, letters and journals from your grandparents? I'd love to know the secret to my grandmother's spaghetti sauce, or how much she loved to crochet. I'd love to know why my grandparents got married and what life was like for them growing up. I think that the seemingly mundane things about our day is what is really important. Do we really record it? Or do we just let it pass us by?

    I have never been very good at journaling on my scrapbook pages, but the more I think about these things I want to record the facts, the feelings and the emotions that my days hold. That is the stuff that matters...and the moments to remember.


    So I know last week I said I was going to write about planning an S4I event and sharing my journey with you. That is still my grand plan – but something happened to me yesterday that I feel compelled to share – and really…what better place than an entire planet of strangers via the internet? Oprah would call what happened to me an “ah-ha” moment, I would call it a “God slapping me upside the head telling me to get a grip” moment - which is probably one of the many reasons why she has a tv show and I…uh…don’t.

    We have a project at IRW that is behind schedule. It is coming along, and it will get done – but it has caused a lot of frustration and angst – and has really stressed us (Amie and I) out over the last few weeks. I am technically on vacation this week, but the stress of this project has caused me to be grouchy towards my family (who we are visiting) and I’ve been sneaking off to do work instead of spending precious and rare free time with my husband. If you’d asked me on Sunday to name some things I was grateful for – I would have been hard pressed to give you a list. Then came Monday.

    This is a picture of our friend Colby Umbrell a few summers ago. We were making fun of my husband Don because Don had invited Colby over to "help" move the entertainment center in the background, and Colby had essentially strapped it on his back and carried it up the stairs by himself.

    On May 3, 2007 - 1LT Colby Umbrell was killed by an EFP in Mussayib, Iraq while he and Don (and thousands of other brave men and women) were on a 14-month deployment. Yesterday – Monday - I took Don to Arlington National Cemetery to visit Colby’s grave. For those of you who have never been to Arlington…it is a humbling, overwhelming, inspiring, heart-wrenching journey. Once you have lost someone dear to you it also becomes personal - a place of sadness and pride, of questions and of healing. But I am ashamed to say that even while we were driving there I was thinking about work. I was not thinking of my husband or how he was feeling, I was not thinking of Colby, I was not thinking of the stories of sacrifice and braveness all around us. I was thinking about that project and was completely wrapped up in my own head. I was missing the moment.

    As we drove through Arlington to Colby’s gravesite Don got quiet, and when we arrived he asked me if he could be alone for a few minutes. So I stepped a few feet away…and as I stood there watching my husband mourn his friend, listening to the wind rustle through the trees and the birds singing and the tinkling of a red, white and blue windchime that someone had hung from a tree – I was suddenly overwhelmed with…I don’t know if you’d call it a new perspective or an epiphany or God slapping you upside the head – but the best word I can think gratitude.

    Now – my friends will tell you that I am not the most introspective person in the world. I speak my mind more often than I should, I am quick to react (positively and negatively) and I believe in actions more than words or ideas. But at that moment – in that place – I was reminded that if you do not come at the world with a sense of gratitude…you will spend your whole life worrying about the little things and miss what really matters. I have to admit that even though I’ve heard that for years from talk shows (yes – Oprah again) and self-help books and well-meaning motivational speakers – it never really “took” until we were standing there – Don and I – saying goodbye to a friend and finding our own sense of peace.

    With that said…I am going to sign off with my list of gratitudes from yesterday – and then my husband and I are on our way to the beach for a few days of rest and relaxation. That work project? It is almost done – and when it is done it will be fabulous – and you can bet Amie and I will be filled with gratitude.

    I am grateful that:

    I remember every day that I am blessed beyond measure that my husband came home, when so many did not.

    We had the chance to know Colby and call him a friend – even if it was just for a short moment in time.

    Out of the pain of Colby’s loss I have made a friend in his sister Casey and met an incredible set of role models in his parents – Mark and Nancy.

    This job that sometimes makes me crazy is the same job that – when Colby died – rescheduled an entire management team retreat and gave me a week off so I could attend both his memorial service and funeral.

    Even when we are sad, there are reasons to celebrate – the same afternoon Don and I were at Arlington, on the other side of the country Amie’s best friend Tania gave birth to Audrey Jean Rose…happy, healthy, and loved. Welcome to the world little one!


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