Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Well...here I was thinking I was doing so well from my surgery -- and I guess I pushed things a little to much. Apparently, I pulled an internal incision -- and while it is painful -- the doctor says it will heal just fine if I will stay off of my feet for a couple of days. So -- here I have sat -- moving from the bed to the couch...to a little bit of time in my scrapbooking room (sitting VERY still in my chair). I feel like I have gone back to the days right after my surgery...I hate it!

Anyway...I did get my layout finished that I started at the crop last Friday night. The layout is about a little girl, named Danara, that Royce and I met in St. Petersburg, Russia. We both fell in love with her...and wanted to bring her home with us -- but it just wasn't a possibility.

We met her in a Child in Danger shelter where she had been placed because she had been abused, her mother was in prison for drugs and her father was dead. I met her when I walked through the "dining" area and she was sitting at a little table drinking a cup of tea. The shelter was almost out of food (that was the reason we were there -- to bring them much needed food and medicine --and toys for the kids). No matter what, I couldn't get her to smile. It was her eyes that haunted me. Royce met her later and fell in love with her too. We stayed after the group left and continued to play with her -- and gradually, she warmed up to us. Royce is great with kids -- he can be so silly and it just makes them laugh...it was so wonderful to see her wariness turn into laughter as she played with him...with a small red dog, a "cell phone" and a teddy bear. We went back day after day just to spend a few hours with her...and to say that we were devastated when we discovered that she was not adoptable doesn't begin to express what we felt.

It has actually taken me three years to pull these pictures back out. We went back to find her the next summer -- and she had been released to her 83 year old grandmother who was trying to live on her pension (less than $25/mnth) and take care of Danara. I understand why she didn't want us to take Danara away from Russia -- but at the time I so wanted to convince her that Danara would have a better life -- good food, medicine, great schooling and opportunity to be anything she wanted to be were she to come home with us. It just wasn't meant to be...and I have to trust God with that and with Danara.

Since my goal for this year is to scrapbook things that matter to me -- I felt like this was one that needed my attention. The story I have shared here is underneath each of the pictures...with the numbers letting you know which one to read next.

Thanks for listening and looking...appreciate you all as my friends allowing me to be transparent.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pretty Things

I am so happy I am a girl...for so many reasons. One of my favorite reasons is that it is ok for my to gushily happy over pretty things. My joy of the moment was brought about by the arrival these gorgeous jars of vintage buttons by Melissa Francis at Scrap It -- the most wonderful scrapbooking store and hang out place I have found.

I brought the buttons home and enjoyed going through them...touching them and smiling when one or another of them reminded me of clothing my Mom or Grandmother (Jammy Jane) used to wear. The jar itself was too pretty to put away, so I had to find it a place of honor. It now resides beside my antique typewriter, vintage pen and ink and wax stamps sitting on my scrapbooking table. I smile everytime I look at it. Did I mention I LOVE being a girl?!?!?!

Have a great day dear friends...and find joy in the moment and little things -- they pass way too soon.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturdays were meant for getting things done...Or getting nothing done at all

I have a "love/hate" relationship with Saturdays. During the week, it seems like I am always looking forward to them because Saturday is a day that is supposed to "belong to me." But that is so rarely the case...they usually belong to my -- "LIST." I won't even bother to explain the list -- but it has been with me for a very long time...and sometimes comes in written format -- but other times it exists only in my head. Things that I SHOULD, OUGHT, MUST or HAVE to do. How an item gets on that list is a whole other process that I am not sure that even I understand...but I am real clear when it does finally make it on "the list." There is one other word that is occasionally associated with "the List" -- WANT...as in things I WANT to do.

The perfect Saturday is when the things on "the List" -- all the SHOULD, OUGHT, MUST or HAVE TO do also are on the WANT TO portion of the List. This would be the "love" part of the relationship.

Most Saturdays are imperfect...they have more of the SHOULDs and OUGHTs that just HAVE to be done...with one or two WANTS on there. I can live with that...isn't that how life is most of the time.

I won't waste your time with the HATE portion of my relationship with "the List." I know you already get it -- probably having the same relationship with your own personal "list" even if you don't spend time thinking about it...(sorry I forced some of you to acknowledge what you would prefer to ignore by talking about this).

Anyway...this Saturday definitely fell into the middle category. Quite a few things that I had no desire to do -- but I had to...just because they had made it to "the list" of things that SHOULD and HAD to be. However, there were several precious moments that were a gift from heaven...they weren't even on the list -- not even in the WANT to category. They were just a serendipitous surprise. Aren't those the best? I was doing something that I OUGHT to do -- going through a box of correspondence that has collected for too long with me just adding to it...and I found the following gem and thought I would share....

You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could. – Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Perhaps it wasn't worth the preamble that I put you through to get there... but I so loved this thought...and wanted to share it -- but part of the sweetness of it for me was that it came to me as an unexpected blessing...God does that for me so often. Blesses me right in the middle of something that seems like just another CHORE...kind makes me WANT to do the SHOULDs, OUGHTs, HAVE to's and MUSTs -- just to see what happens in the middle of them.

Hope your days are well...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I must be...

On a roll. I finished another lo tonight. In looking for the picture I used last night, I ran across a whole stack of my very favorite pictures that I have taken while working in orphanages in Russia. I have boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes (you get the idea) of pictures from more than 16 years of traveling throughout Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. If I were to think about it, as a very new scrapper I could be VERY overwhelmed with all the "resources" I have to work with -- or if you were to see it from my perspective -- "that I OUGHT" to get in a scrapbook as quickly as possible. It simply can't be done. However, and I guess fortunately, I have one box of my very favorites that I kept adding to as I took them and loved them -- for whatever reason.

Last night I opened that box...and it just might be my Pandoras box. I LOVE the pictures in there -- because there is a story behind each one that means something to me. So, guess for a while, I will pick one out occasionally and tell the story. Tonight's story is about an artist.

I watched this man finish a painting in a park in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was a beautiful landscape. When he felt it was finished, he set the painting aside and clipped what appeared to be an old piece of paper sack on the easel. He then sat down to drink a cup of tea...but before he took more than two sips he was up again...as if the blankness of the canvas compelled him to fill it. His tea turned cold...but before long an image of a young girl appeared. I sat quietly for more than an hour watching (and taking a few pictures) so as not to disturb an artist at work.

I find that I feel that same compulsion when faced with a blank page. Prior to scrapbooking, I would typically fill it with words...journaling or writing stories. Now, it sometimes feels that I just have to get my hands on some paper, ink, stamps and pictures and create a visual story to fill the page. I don't have the kind of talent that this man had...but we did share a basic need...to fill a blank canvas with art. Hope you enjoy the layout and find an empty canvas to fill with your art.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


What a lovely evening I have had. I knew that I wanted to spend some time scrapbooking -- but I really had intended to go a different direction entirely...even gone specifically to Scrap It to pick up some purple paper and embellishments so I could work on a lo from a recent trip to the Bahamas. Oh well...the best laid plans...

As I sat down to work, my heart was drawn to a favorite picture I took a couple of years ago of a lady named, Tamara. I met her in the midst of a bitter winter in Siberia, Russia. She was pulling a cart filled with straw from one end of her village to the other where she had a very skinny cow that provided milk for all the children in the village. I was freezing cold despite all my thermal underwear, gloves, coat, scarf and hat. She on the other hand, had only a jacket and a scarf tied loosely around her head. Her eyes are what caught me. In a face that only partially showed the difficult life she had led thus far, were these incredibly joyful eyes. They danced. With her eyes, she said, "all is right with my world." I had to talk with her. With my very poor Russian and then finally an interpreter we found out we were sisters. She loves the Lord with all of her heart. In the midst of our conversation she said, "Indeed, He is my glory and my joy!"

Back in my warm hotel room, I pulled out my Bible and realized that she had personalized 1 Thessalonians 2:20 to herself..."Indeed, You are our glory and joy." I wept. And confessed to the Lord that too often I get caught up in my circumstances and lose my "happiness" -- and asked Him to always help me realize that while my circumstances may be less than pleasant or what I want...they are not what give me joy...only my Lord can do that.

So tonight, apparently, God chose to use scrapbooking to remind me of this truth...and thus I did this page in honor of Tamara and hopefully to show my Lord that "He indeed is my glory and my joy!"

Monday, February 20, 2006

YEAH! Budgets are DONE!

There is much joy and celebration in my house tonight! My budgets are done, submitted and out of my hair....at least for now. Of course, there is the teeny weeny eenincie chance that The Board won't agree with everything I put in my budget -- so I have to leave a tiny crack in the door that would require me to drag them back out and rework them. However, for today....they no longer exist in my world! Woo Hoo!

To celebrate, I came home and did just a quick and fun layout of my dog Anastasia and her personal watering dish...better known as my backyard fountain! It was fun and came together quickly...not the most sophisticated thing I have ever done -- but it gave me satisfaction to be able to say that I finished my budgets AND did a whole page lo in one day.

I'm queen of my wooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrld!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'll Be Your Huckleberry, Part Deaux

So...I couldn't help myself. I had to turn these wonderful pictures of Weston into a scrapbook layout. It was fun...gave me an opportunity to try and do a "vintage" look. I am hoping to take several of our old family pictures and do something with them...but since most of my stuff has been "retro" oriented up until now, I needed to see what would happen when I went with a different style. So PLEASE, give me your feedback and ideas...I am a total sponge.

The journaling under the saddlebags & pistol picture is basically from my blog....

Ok...onto other fun things...Yesterday was the Super Crop at my lss, Scrap It. It was my first time to go to the SUPER crop -- 10-10...a whole 12 hours of women, chatting, chocolate and scrapping...is that as close as we're gonna get to heaven here on earth or what?!??! Tracie Claibourne had a great "Layout Takeout" -- which people really loved. Have I mentioned what a talented lady she is? She has an eye for color and the impact that it has on the total feeling of a lo that I really admire. You can link to her blog over on the right hand side if you want to see for yourself how totally terrific she is.

I also got to hang with Hollye Cross -- which was a fun thing all in itself. She was much more productive than I was -- but still manage to chat a bit. If you think about it, say a prayer for her dental stuff this week -- she is going through the "crown" drama...and I don't mean the "I'm a Princess -- look at my tiara" kind of stuff.

Finally, it snowed on Saturday...one of my all time favorite things. Some how this white stuff covering everything just makes it beautiful. I drove by a field that had several of those rolls of hay (not the bales -- but those big 8-9 foot rolls) and with them covered in snow and the sunlight twinkling off of them...I almost wanted to become a farmer...Yes -- that is how crazy snow can make me...I lose track of reality and the fact that most of what a farmer has to do is muck around in the mud -- pray for rain and sweat to bring in the harvest -- none of which sounds good to me (particularly the manual labor part of it all). However, for that one brief moment looking at the hay I was taken back to my childhood of Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans and how fun being a farmer sounded. *whew* glad that whole moment is past.

Well...this week holds many challenges. Budgets are due at the office and I need to go finish mine up...procrastinating any longer is not going to make it go away...

Hope you have a great week....

Friday, February 17, 2006

I'll Be Your Huckleberry

For as long as I have known Weston, Tombstone has been his all-time favorite movie. He has also especially had an affinity for Doc Holiday. Tough on the outside -- but a softy at heart. That describes my Weston. Today, he got to BE Doc Holiday...for real.

His high school theater class required him to come "in character" and stay that way all day long -- never breaking character. I am betting he managed that assignment quite nicely. As I took these pics, I saw a younger -- not so rascally or hardened Doc Holiday. It is fun to pretend...and while I guess I would want him to always be the kind of man that will champion "the right" -- I pray that he will not go down the sordid path that made Doc Holiday a lonely, sarcastic man who died too young. Ok enough philosophizing -- it was just fun.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Valentine's Gift

I received a gift for Valentine's Day that I thought I would never get. I got to watch "my child" become a man and see him go out of his way to treat the special lady in his life to an evening of romance.

He and his Dad are two peas in a pod. But in my experience, teenagers want to do their "wooing" in private...not in front of their Dad and his girlfriend. But Weston was all about he and his Dad doing this together. Now, given -- his Dad is the King of Romance and if a young man wanted to "do it right" he is pretty smart to go to the source.

As a single gal -- and never having had any children there are so many things that I miss and yearn for...and one of them was watching as Weston (he has become like a son to me after knowing him for the past seven years of his life) move from being a boy to being a man.

Last night they pulled it off. We were met at the door by two gentlemen dressed for romance.

They then took us to the dining room which had a been converted into an intimate dining area by a net being hung from the chandelier and floated over the whole ceiling.
Dinner was grilled Salmon, green beans almondine and baked potatoes. Red roses were at each of our place settings...and rose petals tossed all over the table.

Later we went into the family room and took turns dancing to the "easy listening" music from Music Choice on cable. It was so much fun to watch and participate in this evening. Weston's date was one overwhelmed young lady. I am guessing she has been spoiled for life -- I certainly would have been when I was her age.

As wonderful and romantic as all of this was -- the very best part was standing with Royce, side by side, and being so proud of Weston and how he treated his date. I felt tears whell up over and over again. He couldn't have given me a better Valentine...and it was one that Royce AND Weston gave me with open hearts. I am so grateful that they are willing to share their lives with me. It is a night that will remain with me forever...Happy Valentines doesn't even begin to describe how I felt about last night.

Thanks for letting me share this with you...

Monday, February 13, 2006

I love my honey, Royce. But when I say that I love him -- there is so much more tied up with it than just "googley eyed" lu-uv. I respect, admire and trust him more than any man I know. He makes me laugh. He makes me think. He challenges my thinking. He doesn't mind being quiet (in fact, he sometimes prefers it! *smile*). He loves Jesus and seeks to follow Him every day. He is a leader. He is a peace maker. He is a gentle man. He is a feeder. He is romantic. He is a great Dad.

Yeah...I know he isn't perfect. But then, neither am I -- and it seems our imperfections and quirks and strengths all seem to compliment each other...and fit together like a bit of a puzzle.

I wanted to give him a Valentine that said all of this...and more (I'm NOT showing you what is written on the back). So, thanks to inspiration by Jenni Bowlin...and a lovely door prize from last Friday night's crop at Scrap It...I sat down and tried to pull it all together.

Hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What a lovely cuddly weekend

Happy Weekend Before Valentine's Day!

I have been a slug (with the exception of laundry) in order to snuggle into my house and creative room and just do "fun Jann things."

I went to the crop Friday night at Scrap It....which was wonderful. It was quiet -- like everyone was very contemplative. Most folks stayed away because of the snow scare -- so it was more intimate and I have to say that I quite enjoyed the lack of hustle and bustle. I got a couple of pages done in the "Treasure of Firsts" book for my friend Summer...which made me feel great. Ann had these great new embellies from 7 Gypsies that are REALLy arrows -- but in my mind are "spinners" so I went a little nuts and got one of each. I think I have a new addiction to 7 Gypsies things. I also splurged and got one of their kits -- which when I got home had some many wonderful "surprises" in it that I had to start thinking about what to do with it all. Also, I won the door prize at the crop -- which was a lovely collection of Valentines items...so part of my "fun Jann things" this weekend has been working on valentines for my honey and friends.

I have to say that while I really would have liked to see the snow -- it has still been a great relaxing weekend...which I needed terribly. I probably will return to budgets this evening so that I won't feel like a TOTAL slug. But then...slugs can't be ALL bad because God made 'em for a reason.

Love you all and hope you have a Great Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Budget Smudget

Ok...for a "creative" person, having to do budgets is one of the worst form of torture assigned to me. But, it is that time of year and like it or not...I have to do them.

After YEARS of fighting the process, I have discovered that there are ways to make the process somewhat less painful. Don't laugh...these are not the kind of suggestions you find in a book about "doing better in business" -- these are just things that help me through the process.

  1. Buy a brand new notebook of graph paper (it helps me line the numbers up and keeps all my "figuring" together in one place. Also, there is something about a NEW spiral notebook that gives me the same thrill as getting new school supplies at the beginning of the school year. I say, every little bit of thrill helps under these circumstances.
  2. I go to a coffee shop and find a table where I can spread out. The chances of being interrupted are slim and the hustle and bustle of the coffee shop becomes "white noise" to the point I just don't hear it anymore. And of course, the caffeine is key.
  3. I don't stop. It is too easy to be distracted by something more appealing. SO, I have a rule that if I start on a particular portion of a budget (say my projections for our print ad contracts), I don't stop until that portion is done.
  4. I have a HUGE eraser sitting right by my notebook. The calculator may not make mistakes, but I do and get a certain level of satisfaction of taking hold of that big old thing and just rubbing it out like it never existed. Budgeting definitely requires "do-overs."
  5. I reward myself at the end of each section of the budget that I complete. A phone call to a friend, a diet coke with lime (or the new dark cherry vanilla diet coke), a fresh mocha frappachino, some sheets of paper to add to my scrapbooking stash. Pain of this type should be rewarded -- otherwise you're stuck with doing it "just because you have to" and in my HBAO (humble but accurate opinion) there are TOO many things in life that fall into that category because there is no choice.

Well...thus endeth my diatribe against budgets. They are not the worst thing in the world -- I just don't like them. Kind of like I don't like grasshoppers jumping on me -- it doesn't kill me but I want to swat them until they are dead! Can you tell, that this morning my reward for finishing one section of my budget was to get to get on here and journal? Ok...reward over. Thanks for bearing with me.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Too Tired To Take Another Step

Hello sweet friends. I have been absent for a couple of reasons.

  1. I was traveling on business to a conference in Norfolk, VA (more on that later)
  2. I have used every free moment to get my home office cleaned out and reorganized to accommodate all of my scrapbooking supplies.

The trip to attend and provide media support for the Worship Conference was phenomenal...but VERY tiring. The shortest day I put in was 18 hours...which isn't all that atypical when we are out at an event and responsible for setting up and manning a booth, providing media support for all general and breakout session as well as teaching classes. But for this gal who has for the past six weeks taken naps when my body needed them to suddenly be thrown in a place where "no naps allowed" was in force was very difficult. I came home and just crashed. But it was so totally worth it. The teaching was superb. Dr. Miles Monroe taught on what it means to be a resident of a "KINGDOM." Those of us that live here in a democracy really don't have a clear understanding of that concept. He is from the Bahammas -- a former colony of Great Britian -- and therefore very clear on what it means to be a citizen of a Kingdom. Everything belongs to the KING. I gained so much knowledge from him and bought a couple of books to read...I will give you all reviews later! *smile*

On the closet -- I am super close to having it done -- and when I do, I know I am going to be ready to scrap like CRAZY -- everything all organized and labeled within an inch of its life. Why do I have sucha fondness for my label maker? It brings me such joy to print a label and stick it on something so I know EXACTLY what is contained therein. I am sure there is a name for it -- and none of you tell me it has the initials A.R! *smile* Ok more later...but just had to let you know I am still on the planet.