Saturday, December 31, 2011

12 blogs of Christmas - Blog 11 - Extravagent Gifts

Have you ever received an extravagant gift?  Have you ever met anyone who has?  As a child, one year, my sister and I received a sunfish sailboat for Christmas.  That was an extravagant gift that we enjoyed for many, many summers.  

I have a friend who received a brand new Camero last year for Christmas.  She described how fun it was to open the key in a jewelry box and go outside and see her surprise present in the driveway.

Our family isn't too into extravagant gifts.  My experience is the best extravagant gifts cannot be bought with money.  This sounds super corny but the best gifts I have ever received are: unconditional love, respect, health, friendship and family.   I am especially thankful for my children and my health today since Bob and I are going to an infant funeral this morning.  Sophia was the newborn infant daughter of a church family we know.  In vitro they knew she had a serious heart problem and they did all they could to give her a chance at life, but sadly she survived only 11 days before passing.  I am expecting a very sad morning as we go and mourn with the family, but at the same time, I plan to celebrate the New Year tonight thanking God for the blessing of health our family enjoys.  When you encounter death, sometimes the best response is to enjoy life you know?  Below is the sympathy card I made for the Priore's.

Early Espresso, Blushing Bride, Pear Pizzaz and white made a great color combination.  Thanks for stopping by.  I'll be back next year with my final 12 blogs of Christmas post and a birthday card for Jessa!

Friday, December 30, 2011

12 blogs of Christmas - Blog 10 Occupy Advent

Hi all,

Before I get to one of my last Christmas posts, let me show you my Blogger's Challenge card and my Cards for Soldiers cards.

The bloggers challenge theme this week is 'celebrate.'  There are so many events in life that call for celebration, so I made a nice summery flower card that simply says 'celebrate your day.'  This would work for a birthday, anniversary or retirement.  I love how flexible this sentiment is.  I had fun mixing up some coordinating 'my minds eye' papers with the papertrey ink sentiment and sunflower.

Next up are my 'cards for soldiers' designs.  The deadline for Valentines day is next week so I had a few people over last night and we made these cards below:

First is a fun and elegant card using a memory box stamp and some 'my minds eye' coordinating papers from Lost and Found.
 The second card uses a favorite Stampin Up stamp set of flowers and hearts.
 The third card is a fun poppy card using Stampin Up calypso coral.  What a beautiful and bright color this is.  I love how the rick rack die breaks the flowers from the sentiment.  The coral is softened by chocolate chip brown and natural white card stock.
Last up is a whimsical and fun card using a retired stampin up set 'wild about you.' 

Which is your favorite?   I kind of like the fun wild about you one, but the elegant florals are nice too!

So now onto one of my last last Christmas posts.  I'll try to keep these next few blogs brief.  Thanks for bearing with me.  12 is a LOT of posts and I hope you are not bored to tears yet.

Today’s 12 blogs of Christmas topic is ‘occupy advent.’  Another tricky one.  I hate to make political commentaries so I really hope I don’t offend anyone.  From what I know about the occupy movement, people are really upset and protesting about the unfair distribution of wealth.  They argue that the 1% of the highest income individuals should not receive the income they get and they should share what the get more generously.   I’ve read that many poor people are extremely generous and will give their last dollars to someone in need.  While rich people give lots of money, proportionally they give significantly less than others.  But that is not true for all wealthy people.  For inspiration, click the link below and read about this man, Charles Feeney who is filthy rich but lives a modest life and gives away most of his money to worthy causes.  He donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Cornell University.  I was really humbled by this article.  I don’t make as much money as this guy, but I indulge in some of the luxuries he denies himself.  It kind of makes you think – how much do we need to spend on ourselves to live a comfortable life?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12 blogs of Christmas - Blog 9 Less of More and More of Jesus

Good morning Bloggers,

Today's topic on the 12 blogs of Christmas is less of more and more of Jesus.  What a fabulous concept.  I find I get easily caught up in the more of more, but when I really reflect on it most times more of most things doesn't really bring contentment.  I think of a few examples where I'm tempted to want 'more' and don't really enjoy it.  Here's one: more crafting supplies.  I have sooo many crafting supplies these days - I am actually ready to downsize and start enacting a new rule in my craft room - for every new item that comes in - an old one has to go out.  My stamp collection, paper collection and tool/die collection is getting too big for my space and that is causing lots of stress when I stamp - so in 2012 - it's going to be downsize baby.

But what about more of Jesus?  I can only think of good things when I think of more of Jesus.  How about more prayer time.  I have so many people that need prayer, spending more time praying would bring about peace for me (it's hard to worry when you are asking the Lord of the universe to interceded for them) and bring about change for them.  I firmly believe in the power of prayer so I know that when I pray for people, God hears me and it makes a difference for those I pray for.  This past month has gotten a little crazy and I haven't spent as much time in prayer as I do usually.  I'm looking forward to the routine that returns with the new year and I'm excited to bring back my daily prayer time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

12 blogs of Christmas Blog 8 The real Christmas Story

Good morning bloggers,

Today's topic on the 12 blogs of Christmas is the real christmas story.  I'm hitting the easy button here and I'll let this video tell the story.

I think these are so fun!  Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

12 Blogs of Christmas Blog 7 Compassion

Hi bloggers,

Today's 12 blogs of Christmas post is entitled Compassion.  Ah, much easier topic than yesterday's on subversion.   Even though I know what compassion is, I thought it would  be fun to see what wikipedia said about it. 

Compassion is a virtue — one in which the emotional capacities of empathy and sympathy (for the suffering of others) are regarded as a part of love itself, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism — foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.

Love this.  Great definition and a great virtue.  I am actually not a very compassionate person by nature.  I am much more left brain centered. When I did my personality assessment and SHAPE profile, I am very task oriented and not so much people oriented.  But I have grown in my compassion abilities.  You know what did it more than anything else?  Teaching a women's bible study group for the last 14 years.  I started out facilitating a women's bible study through a group called Bible Study Fellowship (BSF international.)  What a fabulous organization. If anyone ever invites you to the class - go and check it out.  It's AWESOME.  Anyway, in BSF we would have small groups 10-15 women and as the facilitator I didn't do any teaching, I just encouraged the ladies to do the readings and questions, share their answers and explore growing in their faith.  I met a lot of women since each year we would rotate ladies in and out of groups so no two groups were the same.  And we talked on the phone - one on one- almost every week.  We also shared our answers to the bible questions.  It was always amazing how many challenges women face.  And I was a front seat witness to their challenges and I would listen and pray for them.  That my friend will grow your ability to feel and express compassion. 

Nowadays I am not able to do BSF.  My work schedule doesn't fit their timing, so instead I lead a women's bible study at my church Faith Community Church.  Just like BSF we have 10-15 women each week.  Just like BSF we meet and talk often so I really know these women and yup, these women face some real challenges too and I am still growing in my compassion abilities, but I love it.  I love being able to listen to a women share her struggles.  I love being able to encourage her to be strong, have faith and watch for God's hand.  You know what?  I have a front row seat to God's miracles every week through these ladies.  I wouldn't trade that for the world.

Do you need to grow in your compassion virtue?  Join a bible study. You don't have to lead it or facilitate it.  Just go.  Be real.  Be transparent and encourage the ladies you meet when they face struggles.  Want to find out about BSF?  Check out the link below.  They have classes all around the world in major cities.

BSF International

Monday, December 26, 2011

12 blogs of Christmas - Blog 6 The gift of subversion

Hi bloggers,

If you are here for the Papertrey Ink Blog Hop.  Welcome.  You are at the right place.  I am normally just a card making blogger, but World Vision challenged me to blog about Christmas for 12 days.  Each day they give me a 'topic' and I blog about it.  So this is a really long post.  First, three PTI cards and then  my Christmas blog:

So first, here are my papertrey ink cards.  The idea was to use Christmas leftovers.  I made three cards.  First, I had quite a few card making leftovers like scraps of papers, unused sentiments and scrap die cuts so I pieced them all together and made this fun card.  It's pretty simple, but I like it.

Second, I loved the cardboard from one of the gift boxes and decided to make buttons with the boxes.  So my second card is using a leftover receipt and die cut boxes.

Third, we had a really fun bag leftover from Gilly Hick and I decided to use just the bag and do a similar button card, all in navy and red.  We have a strange/funny Gilly Hicks story.  We had went to Hollister to get Jessa a pair of Yoga pants for Christmas and they gave us a coupon for Gilly Hicks for a free bra.  Well, Gilly Hicks doesn't sell 'plus size' anything so I knew the coupon would go to waste if we didn't use it for someone else.  Not to let a bargain get away we decided to get Jessa a free bra.  No, it wasn't part of her gift, that would be WEIRD, but we got her one anyway.  Gilly Hicks is the Hollister brand for undies.  Eric and I walk into the store and two young women in plaid mini skirts, low cut navy tops greets and say 'welcome to gilly hicks - we have the cutest bra's and the best down undies.'  Too funny.  We scored our free item and headed out.   Their color scheme and bag were quite adorable - don't you think?  I couldn't resist making it into a fun card with buttons also.  The cream for their logo was perfect for my buttons and sentiment.  I used the bottom of the bag for my mat layer.

Now on to the 12 blogs of Christmas post.  Today's topic is 'The gift of subversion.'  Are you like me?  Are you going ??????  This one threw me for a loop.  I decided to look up the word subversion to ensure I was understanding correctly what to blog about.  I mean subversion - gift - Christmas????  Here is the definition from the on-line dictionary: 
Subversion:  the act or an instance of subverting or overthrowing a legally constituted government, institution, etc
So I guess I'll talk about those times when overthrowing an establishment is a gift and somehow relate it to Christmas.  So, how about talking about Martin Luther?  No, not Martin Luther King Jr, but the original Martin Luther from Germany who starting reading the bible and found quite a few inconsistencies with what he read and what he was experiencing in his German Church.  Here is a nice summary of Martin Luther from Wikipedia:

Martin Luther (10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation.[1] He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.
Luther taught that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority of the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge[2] and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood.[3] Those who identify with Luther's teachings are called Lutherans.
His translation of the Bible into the language of the people (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, causing a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation,[4] and influenced the translation into English of the King James Bible.[5] His hymns influenced the development of singing in churches.[6] His marriage to Katharina von Bora set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant priests to marry.[7]

Now I don't want to start a war between Catholics and Protestants, but even Catholics would probably agree today that 'indulgences' - the purchase of forgiveness from the church for money isn't really a good idea.  So even if you don't agree with his other ideas, the fact that he subverted, caused some positive changes.  And the fact that many German's came to hear the word of God because of his translations is also a positive that most of us would agree with.  The King James verison of the bible in english can also be attributed to the work Luther did in translating.  And lastly both Catholics and Protestants sing in church now, and according to the above, Martin Luther's hymn writing brought singing to the church, so we can thank him for that too!  So, I do see that Martin Luther's subverting behavior was a gift.  It was certainly a gift to me.  Why?  Because of him, my church 'Faith Community Church' exists - a protestant based church in my area and because my church exists, I know God.  Good stuff!  I really hope tomorrow's topic is a little easier.  Come back again!!!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

12 blogs of christmas Blog 5 Happy Birthday Jesus

Merry Christmas bloggers,

I hope you are enjoying a blessed day with loved ones.    Today's blog post topic is 'Happy Birthday Jesus.'  For today's post, I thought I'd keep it simple.  I saw an interesting video that is titled 'what if Mary and Joseph had facebook.'  I thought for today's post rather than attempt to tell the story of Jesus's birth, or comment on Jesus's birthday, I'd let my clever you tube friends do it.

Oh, and I have a clean and simple Christmas card to share with you too.

Enjoy this blessed day.  I'll be back again tomorrow for Papertrey Ink's Blog Hop and Blog 6 of the 12 blogs of Christmas - Half way there!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The 12 blogs of Christmas - Blog 4 Giving Back

Good morning bloggers.

Before I get to the Christmas blog, I have two Make it Monday challenges to share with you.

The challenge was to make a two sided tag using dies.  I couldn't resist making the snowman.  He is perfect for gift tags, but I also made this adorable airplane.  He is darling on a boy gift.

So, on to the Christmas Blog post.

Today is blog 4 of the 12 blogs of Christmas and the topic is 'giving back.'  So let me tell you about a Christmas tradition we started a few years ago.  World Vision puts out a catalog of 'Christmas gifts' that go to third world countries.

world vision catalog

The catalog includes things like blankets, farm animals and fresh water wells.  When we scaled back to the three Christmas gifts per person concept, we decided to take 1/2 our Christmas budget and use it to buy World Vision Gifts.  It's been awesome.  On Christmas Eve (or sometimes Christmas day) we all sit around together and decide what to spend our money on and we place the order online.  Most years that includes at least one farm animal (or a portion of a farm animal.)  We debate and discuss which we think will be the most useful and practical, but honestly all the items in the catalog make a difference for the people who receive them, so we really can't go wrong.  Over the years we've given goats, share of a deep water well, share of an oxen and plow and of course soccer balls and blankets. Last year Sarah had ducks for world vision on her Christmas wish list and my mother and my mother in law bought a flock of Ducks in her name.  That was really fun. She got a little card with ducks on it to reflect the donation.  I can't remember one other gift my daughter got for Christmas last year, but I remember the ducks.  Funny how that is.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Do you have a 'giving back' tradition at Christmas?  If so, I'd love to hear about in my comments.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The 12 blogs of Christmas - Blog 3 What I don't want for christmas

Hi bloggers,

Before I get to blog 3 of the 12 blogs of Christmas I wanted to share my bloggers challenge card here first.   The challenge was ornamental.  Below is my version.  I used papertrey ink's winterberry combined with some Echo Park Christmas papers.  I love how it came out with the less traditional Christmas colors.

So, on to the Christmas blogs.

Today's topic is 'What I don't want for Christmas.'  For me that is easy. I don't want RELIGION.  Instead I want true faith manifesting itself in love.  And yes, I think there is a difference.

Some of my fondest Christmas memories are from a catholic church.  Growing up, we didn't go to church often (Christmas and Easter mostly) but I loved going to midnight mass at Christmas.  I loved dressing up, going into the auditorium (our local church wasn't fancy), seeing it all decorated with the manager scene and seeing friends and neighbors.  The music was so special and I just loved that experience, although honestly at the time, I had no idea what any of it meant.

My other fond memory of Christmas in a catholic church was in Hawaii.  Our family decided to do a 'destination Christmas celebration' in Maui back in 2001.  There weren't many churches near our condo, but there was a catholic church doing a 7pm service.  It was awesome.  The priest was Hawaiian and he had on a Hawaiian shirt under his robes.  They did the traditional Christmas songs like silent night with hula dancers. It was so genuine and beautiful and captured the beauty of the religion in a local custom way.  I loved it.  At that time we had started attending a non-denominational protestant church, now Faith Community Church in Hopkinton and I loved how I was so much more familiar with the bible passages and could worship in unity with other Christians - though we each celebrated our common faith slightly differently.  Out of respect for the Catholic church, we did not participate in communion and respected all aspects of the differences in our religion, but thoroughly enjoyed worshiping the same Jesus Christ together in unity.

So what does this have to do with my not wanting religion for Christmas?  Well, it's simple.  I often see true faith expressed in traditional religion. My two examples above are situations where local people practiced a traditional religious custom with faith and love and I experienced that love alongside them.  However, I think that isn't always the case.  I think many times when people practice religion it is not genuine.  I think people often feel 'they have to' and don't want to and do it out of obligation and guilt.   I see that in religions of all types - even my own protestant faith.   So I guess what I don't want for Christmas is that kind of obligatory religion.  At Christmas, and really any time, people should practice their religion with real faith and joy, and that is what I want for you for Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The 12 blogs of christmas - What only God can do...

Hello all,

Before we get to the Christmas post, let me share a card with you.  I just received these goodies from Joanne Basille from My Favorite Things.  I was a winner in one of the blog comment contests.  It's good to win free things!!!  I decided to ink these up and use them for their sketch challenge these goodies to make a birthday card for my father in law.

Yup, it's the second blog of my 12 blogs of Christmas.  Today's theme is 'What only God can do.'

Hmm, this one is going to be harder than the others.  Many other christians I know see God's hand in EVERYTHING.  They see miracles performed in their lives and the lives of loved one's.  I know God performs miracles every day.  I just don't usually see those miracles in my life.  I do know of one miracle he performed in my life and the ripple effect of that miracle manifests itself in all aspects of my life every day.  So when I think of 'what only God can do' I think of the miracle he performed on my heart over 10 years ago.

So what is that miracle?  I was offered (and received) forgiveness, acceptance and unconditional love.  For some reason I have always been very hard on myself.  It wasn't something from my parents or others.  No-one pushed me or made me feel inadequate but I just never felt that what I did was good enough.  I would make mistakes and others would forgive me but I often didn't forgive myself.  I was a 'good person' but never felt I lived up or was good enough.  I had a big self-esteem issue that manifested itself in ugly ways.  On my 35 birthday I was overwhelmed with a lot of things and felt a real void in my life.  Struggling to find what was missing, I desperately attempted to find a church thinking maybe that was what was needed.  Well, I went looking for a church and religion and instead found something much, much better. I found Jesus Christ and a personal relationship with God and that brought me peace that surpasses all understanding.  I can't explain it. If you have it, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If you haven't, you will wonder 'what the heck is she talking about.'  Knowing the love of Jesus Christ and that fact that I am a beloved child of God - exactly as I am - flaws and all - is the most freeing thing ever.  The bondage of 'not good enough' held me captive for most of my life.  The freedom of 'good enough as I am' has freed me to explore a destiny with God that includes peace and love.  So on this second blog of Christmas post when asked to talk about 'what only God can do' I am only able to say what God did in me that I couldn't do myself nor could any other human do for me.  He forgave me.  He accepts me.  He loves me.  And that, my bloggers friend is enough.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 12 blogs of Chrismas - Blog #1

Hi all,

I am friends with World Vision on facebook and they are challenging blog writers to write a Christmas sentiment for the next 12 days as part of the 12 days of Christmas.  Of course I thought this was a great idea so stay tuned for a short (hopefully) Christmas message each day for the next two weeks. 

The world vision blog will also have a blog post for each day, but their blog won't have cards mixed in with their messages now will they?  I don't promise a card each day, but when I have one, I'll intersperce it in with my christmas message.

Want to see the 'official' 12 days of Christmas?  check out the world vision blog with the link below:

world vision blog

So the theme to write about for day 1 is 'True Christmas spirit.'

I am driving my daughter's car these days.  She got a fun little Nissan Sentra two  years ago when the government ran their cash for klunkers program.   When she left I cleaned out her car and removed most of her personal belongings, but one thing I left.  She had a little button that she stuck on the visor that reads 'Love God, Love people, nothing else matters.' 

I look at that each day I drive that car.  Now that we are in the Christmas season, it is a healthy reminder to me of  the true christmas spirit.  When we love God we put OUR agenda on the back burner and try instead to consider God's agenda for the day.  When we love God we remember the commands of Jesus to be humble and gentle, not what the world calls us to be arrogant and selfish.  When we love God we stop worrying and leave things in God's plan.  And when we love God it is possible to love people.   It's not always easy.

It's easy to love the children of God who act like children of God, but it's not so fun to love those who don't act like children of God.  I was at a work luncheon yesterday and we were having lunch at an outdoor mall with limited parking.  I watched one women steal a parking place from another and then watched the scorned driver roll her window down and shout 'you Fxxxing Bxxxch...'  Nice. Merry Christmas. And yup, I am called to love her too!

Have you heard of the people who are anonymously paying off layaways at stores like K-Mart?  Some of those people who received that gift are probably mean!  Some may be even more than mean, they may even be evil.  And yes, some may be nice deserving people.  But the reality is the layoff's are getting paid off for all kinds of people - nice and not so nice!   'But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.' Romans 5:8.  Christ died to take away our sin not after we became good people, but while we were sinners.  That layaway gifter gives the gift for people regardless of their situation.   The lawaway giver only knows that the person has a debt and he/she pays it.  Love that.  That is the true spirit of Christmas to me and I am inspired to do a better job of loving people - all people.

Come back tomorrow for day 2 of the 12 blogs of Christmas 'What only God can do.'  And tomorrow I will also have a card for you!  Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trying to get published...

Hi bloggers,

Well, no luck with my attempts at publishing this month with CARDS inc.  I have been viewing their magazine and am finding that most of their cards do not really match my style.  They seem to focus a lot on cards with just patterned papers, sentiments and embellishments.  My style is much more stamping with color.  I think next year I may branch out and submit to other publications.

Anyway, like I said before, it's still good to TRY.  It causes me to try new things and also try to be a little more careful with the details.  So do you want to see my rejects?  Of course you do.

First is a thank you card for a teacher, using some papertrey ink stamps.  I love making those ribbon roses - so fun and easy and they add a real elegant touch.
And below is my favorite.  This is an elegant graduation card with some stitching and a lace rose.  If I were to make this again, I would color her up.  I think she looks 'naked' without any copics.

So, like I said, next year, I'll try my hand at some other publications and see what happens.

Oh and before I go, for those who have been following the story of my daughter, she is happily settled into her village and is very eager to begin her teaching.  She has a very comfortable host home set up for now (with internet, hot water for showers and a washing machine.)  She met the kids last Friday and she said they gave her a warm welcome.  I can just see them all.  They had heard that an American was coming to teach them and had been excited for weeks.  She said they all had big eyes and big smiles when she walked into the classroom.  The class she met first was 7th graders.  I'm sure they just loved to see a beautiful young and sweet looking american woman.  Kind of like The Rascals and the teacher the boys all loved.  I know I'm partial but my Sarah really is a cutey and I'm sure the 12 and 13 year old boys were happy to see a prettily dressed foreign 23 year old show up in their class.  She said they all treated her like a celebrity.  Let's hope all stays well after the honeymoon period ends.

Here are some photo's she sent this weekend.

Here she is at her 'swearing in' ceremony.  First is Sarah posing with the country director.  She says he has a great sense of humor and all the volunteers like him a lot.  The second photo shows her with one of the local village teachers who escorted her from Kiev to the village.

 The next photo's are of the train. She left the city at 6pm and got to the village at 9am.  Those top red velvet things were the upper bunks for sleeping.  I'm sure it was not especially comfortable in third class travel section for that long a trip.
Lastly are photos of her village, her temporary host home and her room at her host home.  She has quite a bit of space (a couch and a bed with a table.)  She isn't sure how long she'll stay there, but it looks quite comfy until she finds her own apartment.This to the left is the outside of the house.  It looks very modern and comfortable.  Lastly, below is the village center

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sweet Holiday Wishes

Good evening bloggers,

Did you all have a nice weekend?  I hope so.  I can't believe it's Sunday night already.  The time went by very quickly, but I have a short work week ahead so that makes it all okay.  We had lots of good things this weekend.  Friday night, hubby and I rented Captain America and relaxed with some wine after dinner with the movie.  Eric was out with his basketball team so we had a taste of empty nest evenings.  Saturday was my favorite yoga class at 9:00, then Bob and I worked at the school thrift store Saturday afternoon.  It was a good day.  I run the register and we were busy the whole afternoon.  I like to be busy.  It makes it interesting and it means we are bringing in money to help keep tuition costs down for the christian school my son attends.  I also like the whole idea of the thrift store.  It's the ultimate recycling center.  Unlike a pure charity, people choose what they need and everything is very affordable so people on low incomes can get nice stuff at a good price AND people who have stuff they don't need anymore can clear out their basements.  I had to laugh... we have a lot of Christmas ornaments for sale.  Guess what ornament we had the most of?  Apples.  All I can imagine is that lots of school kids give their teacher an apple ornament and when the teacher has too many to use, she donates them to our thrift store.

Then Sunday was church, curry/squash soup and bread for lunch, a chat with Sarah and stamping with some friends.  To top it off, our Patriots pulled of a win against Tim Tebow and the Denver Bronco's.  I like Tim and all but I am a New England Patriot fan through and through so we were very happy for the victory.

Well, enough yabbering from me... on to the card.

First up is a fun copy cat card from my friend Kimberly.  She came by today and I got to borrow her Cat's Pajama's candy cane bunny.

She posted a christmas card with him just a bit ago.  I think he's adorable with his frosted hat.   Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Have a great day.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Impression Obsession Challenge - and a guilty looking doggie

Good morning bloggers. 

Only one week till Christmas - I hope you are not stressing.  I have had plenty of stress filled Christmas's and I'm very glad this one is not one of those! 

Today's card is PINK.  Pink for the Impression Obsession challenge to use pink.

we-are-in-the-pink-challenge web url

How fun.  I'm a little tired of red and green and pink is quite fun and spring like.

So, I don't think there really are pink pigeons, but they sure look cute, don't you think? 

I used 'Bird on a Wire' stamp from Impression Obsession and a pack of My Mind's Eye patterned paper 'Lost and found.' I paper pieced each bird from the paper.  Love them!  I added some stickles to give their wings a little glimmer, but otherwise this was an easy-peasy clean and simple card.

So, yesterday, while I was downstairs crafting, my 3 year old puppy decided to pull one of the Christmas ornaments off the tree and eat it.  Bad Dog. 

You can tell by the look on his face that he knows he was a bad doggie, but isn't he adorable?  Poor little bear.  I think that ornament is a goner.  Tank destroyed him pretty good.  Tank was probably wondering why we put his dog toy on that tree!  note to self - put all stuffed ornaments up higher on the tree.  We are all lucky he didn't pull the whole tree down when he went for this one!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bloggers Challenge - Tie it up

Good morning bloggers,

This week Lisa Somerville challenged us to 'tie it up.'  You can see her blog with the challenge and all the other ladies participating on this blog.

Lisa Somerville's blog

Wow - this one took me a while to choose.  I mean there are so many ways you could go with this.  Men's ties, packages with bows... lot's of ways to interpret this.  Since I needed more Christmas cards and since my waltzingmouse order arrived earlier in the week, I decided to go with the idea of things that get tied up.  One thing that gets tied up at christmas is greenery and pinecones so my card is based on a tied up bough and pinecone.

this gave me the perfect excuse to add a grosgrain ribbon bow also.  I am loving this waltzingmouse set.  It's very elegant and natural.  I also have some pretty memory box christmas papers that I thought would go well with this nature scene.

Oh and another thing....  I heard that there is a camera giveaway on this awesome site:


Why don't you go there and enter in the contest.  I am!  I'd love to win a Nikon D90!!!  The site is super cool.  Love those photographs and how they get different looks from the same shot!!  Cool!

So one last thing before I leave you today.  I saw this great post on my friends facebook the other day.  It has some interesting ideas that are worth considering.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day.

Top Five Regrets Of The Dying
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Bronnie Ware is a writer and songwriter from Australia. Her blog has a loyal and ever-increasing following and has been quoted in several respectable international publications. Based on this article, Bronnie has now released a full-length book, also titled 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying'. For more information about this or to read more of Bronnie's work, please visit her blog at
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

A few non-christmas cards

Hi bloggers,

I have a few non-christmas cards to share with you.  I really should be busy making my Christmas cards.  I only have 10 finished and need at least 10 more but each day I find less inspiration for Christmas cards and more need and desire to make some non-christmas cards.  Today I am off to a luncheon with my church's women's ministry lead team.  I want to bring a pack of cards to give to the hostess so last night I realized I needed a few more cards for that pack.

First up is a super easy shabby chic card using my favorite things die's and a pure innocence sentiment stamp.  This 'my minds eye' paper pack made this card a breeze.

Next up are two Waltzingmouse cards with a vintage/country theme.  I think I'm going to get a lot of use from this set.  The sentiments are beautiful and I love that weeping willow tree.

Today my Sarah has her swearing in ceremony where she will be officially part of the US Peace Corps.  It's a 7 hour time difference so the ceremony may already have happened.  I hope all goes well for her.  I'm waiting for her to send a photo and update.  Tonight she will take an overnight train from Keiv to her village Vyshkovo.  I think it is a long train trip.  She will have two teachers from her village accompany her on the train and to her new housing.  So by the weekend she'll be all set up in her village that she'll live in for 2 years.

Have a great day.  Stop by on Friday for the bloggers challenge post 'tie it up.'

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Decorations

Hi Bloggers,

This post is made especially for my daughter Sarah.  They don't do christmas decorations in her village in Ukraine and she is missing home so she asked me to post some photo's of our christmas decorations, so here you go.  No card today, just home decor.  Nothing fancy, just some simple decorations that we like.

 I love garden flags, and I have two this year for Christmas.  This manger scene and the peace dove.

I like to leave some of my garden statues out in the winter.  I couldn't bear to bring in these adorable cherubs, but I did put some candle rings on their necks to make them festive.   I may go and get them evergreen boughs.  the silver is pretty but not very much contrast.

We don't do much in the way of outside lights.  We hang a lighted wreath above the door but that's it.  I put 4 small light trees inside the front windows.  They light up outside so it's pretty when we drive up at night.

Inside, I just decorate the living room and a few little accents in the kitchen and bath.  The main decoration is the tree.  We got a fake tree last year.  I do miss the real tree we've always done, but there are advantages to having an artificial tree...  On the piano are Bob's grandmother's cardboard snow houses.  I love them. 

 My favorite christmas decoration is the creche.   This was my grandmothers and I love it.  I love that it is old.  I love that it is not to scale.  Notice how HUGE baby Jesus is and how small the cow is.  I love the resin/plastic that these pieces are made from.  When I was little I would love taking baby Jesus out of his bed and how he fit perfectly back in.  I love the very old straw and sawdust on the floor and I even love the bright light from the single light bulb on the top.  Most of all I love that it is the decoration that reminds me most of the real reason for the season.

Thanks for stopping by today.  What is your favorite Christmas decoration and why?  Have a great day.