Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hymn Challenge

When I saw these pictures which we took a few weeks ago, I immediately thought of the lyrics to the song "On Christ the Solid Rock" a hymn I've been singing since I was in diapers.

I challenge you to do a layout using the lyrics to an old hymn with a photo of yourself.  It should be a hymn that has a deep history and speaks to you deep inside.  I especially liked using this photo because so many put their faith in government or other things in this world, and our hope needs to be on Jesus only.  I love the dichotomy of the photo and the message.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

13 Years and counting.

Scott and I have acheived 13 years of marriage perfection as of this afternoon!  Although he will be at work all day and night and I'll be at the Waterpark of America with Andrew all afternoon, we will both be thinking back to our first marriage 13 years ago in the judges chambers which was just about making it "legal" and our second marriage 3 years ago where we made it right before God and our church.  I was talking with a friend the other day about "other" men and could honestly tell her that not ONE DAY has gone by since meeting Scott that I've had second thoughts, or looked another man's way for anything other than the scenery of it.  THAT is a powerful romance!  Love you dearest.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some Changes are a comin'

I've made a decision over the last few weeks about my internet time.  After I returned to work fulltime in January, I noticed a real struggle to keep my time balanced.  Seems that if you add 36 hours to your weekly schedule you have to give some things up!  Who knew!?!  Hehe!

Anyway, a couple of the changes I am making are relating to my online time.  Most of my readers know that Tallyscrapper.com has been a huge and important part of my life for the last two years.  A week after discovering my brother had a brain tumor, I found the perfect means of escape in this lovely community of hard core scrappers.  What I loved the most about Tally is that the members there were REAL scrappers.  The kind that love scrapbooking because of the actual scrapbook pages, not because of fame or fortune or just buying stuff (although Lord knows we do plenty of that too!)  I have never felt so at home anywhere else...in my life!  That is saying something!

About a year ago I decided to scale back my involvement there by removing myself from the staff.  After nine months of that I realized that I just kept my involvement at the same level and wasn't getting the benefits of being part of the team, so I tried out for the temporary team again, and was honored to be chosen again.  My three months on the temp team end in a few days.  I have found that Tally is not something I can do part way.  I found myself involved beyond the expectations of the site owner, and the other staff.  I found myself wanting to have a bigger and bigger role on the site.  And I found that my family was annoyed by just how little time they were getting with me between working fulltime and Tally.  Well, I need the money, so I'm afraid my online time is what is going to have to give.

I will be stepping back from Tally for at least the time being.  I will seriously miss those that I have come to love through that wonderful, supportive place.  I am very thankful to the staff for what they have done for me over the years.  

I will of course continue to scrapbook, but will be posting my pages here instead of there.  I will still be on facebook, as it is a great way to settle down for the night.  I will still have email and a telephone.

I'm sure my heart will hurt a little bit as I miss this community that has been part of my everyday for over 700 days.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Off Celebrating the Life of Jack Hastings Today

We are having a family day today, see you all tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

On Mondays we Cooperate

At the beginning of September, Julie, one of the brilliant moms of the homeschooled kids we hang out with, suggested we swap kids for class a few hours on Mondays.  Myself and one other mom were in on the conversation, which began in summer, and we faltered our way through the first few sessions, mainly relying on Julie to take the brunt of the classes.  By late Fall we were more settled in, and by mid-winter we had attracted the attention of some of the other homeschool families in our playgroup.  We are now six families and eight kids strong.  Scott and I have been teaching about nature writing, through the window of searching in nature for signs of Spring.  Our first session was held in a snowbank in Moir Park, all of us huddled around a fire roasting marshmellows.  We followed up last week with a muddilicious day on the marsh, and coats were optional.  So good to see the progression of the weather.  We finish up in a week, back at Moir Park, encouraging this bunch of ruffians, and Lauren, to do some writing of their own.

The biggest change I've seen in going from four kids to eight is that three of the new four are OLDER.  This means both that they have new and interesting things to offer the class, and also that hormones are raging.  So soon.  So we now will be adding in learning how to deal with that as we prepare for our next outing!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

He's Moved on Down the Road

We had such an enjoyable time with this little guy, Wednesday during the day, Thursday and Friday overnights.  

Well, except between 4-8pm, that was kinda rough, but he's so cute its totally okay!  I drove him over to his grandma and grandpa yesterday afternoon and now they are cooing over him in church.

It was so cute seeing him watch Andrew play and talking to him.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cuz Broz

These two.  When they get together, they just...work!  They disappear and we hardly get to see them.  I love what amazing men they are both growing into.  So fun to watch, even from the sidelines!

Friday, March 20, 2009

New Work

The first one is a page for my Boston album which I am working on again.  I did a page for a challenge about the time spent at her house and then realized I wanted to do a companion page about her.

I love doing series photos and these in the second page are Andrew on Jesse's pogo stick.  Shortly after these photos were taken, Andrew decided that after four months of saving up for a WII, he was going to take half his saved money ($150) and spent it on toys instead.  Scott and I were understandably happy about that!  One of the toys he picked was his very own pogo stick and then he special ordered a discontinued lego set that he has been wanting for a year.  We've dodged the video game bullet for another year, and are so proud that he made the decision.  

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homeschooling Scrapbooks and such

Developing review and analysis skills is one of the things that throws Andrew.  In his mind at this stage of development, a class he takes is just that, read the title of the class, and move on!  It is hard for him to explain what he learned and what he liked and didn't like about a particular schooling subject or project.

Thanks to my fellow homeschool mom Julie, we work on these skills using scrapbook pages.  He pulls together photos that represent something we have done recently in homeschool and then he needs to write down something he liked or something he learned.  As a writer, his rudimentary skills at this point are a bit tough for me, I know he has so much more inside him, but it is good for me to learn more patience.

I am very proud of his efforts, and although his writing is still rough, I think he's starting to understand what we are looking for better.

Above are some of his recent pages.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Now Gone

Today Uncle Jack passed away, with many of his family members surrounding him just before he passed on.  

I have begun collecting stories about him for some scrapbook pages I am working on, and haven't had time to put them to paper, but wanted to share them in his honor today.

From his grandson Josh:
One of the things everyone notices about Grandpa is that he has amazing eyebrows. I recall several Christmases in the late 80s and early 90s when all the grandkids got a first-hand look at just how amazing they were.

On occasion, Grandpa would secretly go into another room and back-comb his eyebrows so they were as large and bushy as possible. Then he'd turn his collar up so it would almost be touching his ears. And he'd come roaring out where all the kids were playing with his hands like claws in the air and his teeth bared, doing a fantastic Dracula. We'd all scream and laugh and run around. It was funny every single time.

From his granddaughter Kaye:
I remember so many family meals at their house. One that stands out in my memory was for a Thanksgiving day meal. We were all seated, the food on the table smelling wonderful and Grandpa had asked someone to say the prayer. The prayer began and my brother, tempted by the wonderful smelling rolls thought he would sneak the first while others had their eyes shut. Grandpa being ever aware shot out a fork and promptly poked Dave's hand mid- swipe. I did not think I could suppress the laughter any longer, thank goodness the prayer was short. Sorry if you read this Dave-had to share!

From his granddaughter Heidi:
What stands out most to me is how multi-faceted Grandpa is. One moment her is talking your ear off about the smart ways to invest and the next he is showing you how to tap dance. I remember one summer when we were staying with him, he thought Beth and I spent too much time indoors. So he decided to teach us to tap dance. Every day for a week he would take us out on the front sidewalk and drill us on the few steps he had taught us. I never did learn to tap dance, but I remember those sunny afternoons fondly.  I also vaguely remember going to see Captian Kangaroo with Emily and Mike beacuse of Grandpa.(Jack was a lead character on a children's television program.)

From his great grandkids, Heidi's children:
My children best remember Great Grandpa as the man with all the hats. He and Grandma came to visit once and he brought in a big black garbage bag full of hats. He sat all the kids down around him and read them a story about the different hats we wear. They thought he was the coolest old man they had ever seen.

From his granddaughter Beth Minda:
Grandpa has for me always been a source of inspiration. I learned to dance because of him. I learned to teach because him. His beautiful voice taught me to love stories. His wisdom though scary at times to a shy little girl was always awe inspiring. What I most remember though is his beautiful way of encouraging everyone to be the best at what they do. Strong, smart and very goodlooking no wonder grandma fell hard for him.

From his daughter Janell:
My favorite memory of Dad is the Saturday morning he asked me, at age 9, if I'd like to walk in the woods. I spent most of my waking hours in the woods so I was very happy to go. He said, "We'll need to take a few things along. Get a small frying pan and three eggs." 
I had no idea what this was all about. We scrambled through the woods until we found an old corrugated metal window well. Dad flipped it in the upside down U position and proceeded to build a good boy scout fire under it. Then he made us scrambled eggs. Boy is food tasty in the woods! He told me stories as we ate.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More Wedding

Lisa came over today SANS Benjamin and we got to spend the afternoon doing our favorite thing, laughing and scrapping together!

I did five layouts and so did she.  Above are a couple I did just for me.  A friend of mine challenged me to do a layout with a title from a TV show last week, so I used the title of Dancing with the STARS on the layout from the reception.  Lisa challenged me to do a layout inspired by an altered jar that I fell in love with at Tallyscrapper.com.  I love how that one turned out.  

The second layout was from a color challenge I posted on tallyscrapper.com today, to use three colors randomly chosen by dice roll.  My colors for the layout were two tones of green and my title had to contain either the word Midnight or the word Blue.  I love these little 2x3 photos I printed at my local grocery store for cheap!

For Scrap It Forward

A lovely woman I "met" on tallyscrapper.com asked for submission to her challenge blog called Scrap it Forward, and I love the concept she has going there. Charity combined with scrappy goodness. Wonderful idea. She was looking for baby pages, and it just so happens I have 1 or 1000 baby pictures of that sweetie, Ben. So here goes Christine!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We are Stained Inside

The words to the Casting Crowns song Stained Glass Masquerade are always powerful to me. They represent a struggle I had most of my life, the struggle to be real amidst a sea of regular, of good, of unreal. That sounds judgemental and harsh, but the judgement is all on me. Like the television set that is in 98% of American homes, but which does not grace ours, I do not condemn either the church or the television; it is an indictment of my weak and wandering will, which seeks fitting in and pleasure far more than it should. Is worshiping at the church on the corner wrong? I cannot say that it is for you or you. But for me it was impossible. It was an exercise filled each moment with doubt and hypocrisy, it was straightening my skirt and struggling to hear the truth behind the beautiful music and mostly counting the number of boards in the lovely steepled roof.

I tried a monastic sort of relationship with God; just he and I and no one else invited. I faltered here too, because the very influences that drew me to shiny plasticity, were also strangely what kept me on course, what kept me coming back to God and working on our relationship.

And then God led me down a road that I didn't even know was possible, but for which my heart had been longing all my life. It really isn't a road though, its a barely visible trail, just a few footsteps in the snow really, more of a track.

And that track is what I now call church. I'm sure over 150 people have come and gone down this track, some continue to walk it, some got back on the larger road, many stopped moving all together.

There is no room for pomp and circumstance, there is no place for performance, there is just real people, really trying to have a real relationship with God, and really asking for each other's help. Sometimes in the aftermath of a Sunday at our house I find a travel mug left behind. Sometimes I find a piece of my heart I had given up on. Always I find that our differences, which are many, are left with our shoes and coats at the door of each home we meet in.

I am nostalgic and appreciative of this great church home we have found at last. And yet, if I have learned anything in these five years, it is not to cling too tightly to this place, this group. Only God, only where His track leads me, only that and nothing more or less. Perhaps I will turn around and find that God is leading me back to the steepled, stained glass corner church.

But for now I am to stay with this group of people whose stained glass windows shine out from their hearts and souls.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More Erin

Bree, a sweetheart of a lady I met at tallyscrapper.com designed some cutouts for me for an idea I had that didn't fly. I couldn't let these beautiful samples go to waste though, so I am happy to design some pages around them.

They are so delicate and elegant, so of course I thought of the wedding. The other page is Erin's highschool grad photo. That was taken over seven years ago. Freaky!

Bree, you are a wonder, and thank you so much for helping me!

Watching Mom Make Videos

For tallyscrapper.com, I make video how-tos from time to time. Andrew, who has really been enjoying using our old video camera, wanted to make a how-to video of his own.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Uncle Jack

My Uncle Jack, who is married to my mother's sister, is not doing well these days. Recently he was moved to Our Lady of Good Counsel Hospice Home.

I have little personal knowledge of my Uncle; I'm not sure why but we didn't venture back to Minnesota often as I was growing up and once I moved here personally the connection never formed. It's probably my fault and I'm sad about it. Uncle Jack and Aunt Ginny gave birth to six kids, and my cousins and their children have always fascinated me as they are talented and very real. Of course like any family they have had their share of sadness, but overall they have stayed together and stayed true. I have many photos of my Uncle Jack, but few stories, so I asked my relatives who are on facebook to tell me what they remember. Primarily I'm getting stories from Uncle Jack's grandkids, so I need to do a couple more pages to hold those memories.

I'm counting on my mom for some from the early days. She lived with her sister and husband in her late teens when her parents went on a long vacation (a year? two?) Ginny is 18 years my mom's senior.

Above are some empty pages, awaiting their memories...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Snow Scootering

Andrew has the misfortune of having a Christmastime birthday.  That means all his really big gifts come in the dead of winter.  Last year it was a new bike...which he had to wait nearly 5 months to enjoy outside.  This year it was a scooter.  He wasn't having any 5 month wait this year.  This week we still have a foot or so of snow on the ground, but the sidewalks are relatively clear and the weather was doable, so three days in a row he was out on his scooter, breaking it in.  

Its been great as all of us are benefitting from the higher level of natural exercise.  

I love his Xtreme Sports attitude!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Barbara Darlene White Shultz

Darlene did pass away Friday, March 6 at about 4:30pm. Her daughters were all at her side when she passed.

Over the last two days we have received telephone calls which indicate that Scott's mom is in her final days.  I do not think Darlene was ever very fond of me, and I think overall I'm pretty unpopular with her daughters, but I'm still a bit nostalgic.

Joyce, Darlene's youngest, sent Scott a journal entry she found in one of their mother's notebooks.  It seems the best sort of eulogy a person could wish for.  

I knew very little about Darlene, I met her just a handful of years before her last husband died.  She was still walking at the time, but with a cane for longer trips.  She had stopped driving at this point.  She had already been diagnosed with MS for several years at that point.  She was an avid painter and loved all kinds of crafts, before her vision took this away from her.  She loved books and listened to hundreds on tape once she could no longer see to read them.  

 In 2002, a little over a year after her husbands death, she agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to move to Minnesota from Missouri, as three of her four children lived here.   I got to know her a little better at family gatherings and weekly visits to her apartment in the assisted living facility, and was struck with her kindness.  She did not strike me as a lover of children, her grandchildren did not seem to hold much interest to her, other than a topic of conversation with her new friends at the facility.  But she seemed kind, forgiving, and if she treated me with a reserve that saddened me, it was not a harsh one.  She was always happy to see her "Scottie" come to visit, and was always sweet to him.  Although she was clearly unhappy at all the various health facilities she has lived in these past 7 years, she did always seem to look for the silver lining in things.  

A family rift occured when her mother was moved here from Texas in 2007, and I haven't seen Darlene since that Christmas.  At the time I last saw her, her condition had stolen a good deal of her mental faculties, and it wasn't clear whether she knew us.  She cut the visit short, asking to go back to the comfort of her room.

I am sorry for those years of pain she has suffered.  Her life has not been an easy one, and the last 5 years or so have been, I think, particularly hard on her.  I am happy that she is about to get a new body in a new place, and if there is any mercy that is what is next for her.

Here are some excerpts from her journal:
My Most Loved People and My Favorite Things
Blessed Trinity
God the Father
Jesus the Son
Holy Spirit
Holy Bible
My Family
My husband, Joe
My mother, Evelyn
Memories of my father, Lloyd
Gary (her younger brother)
Kristie (his daughter)
James Owen
Jean and Weaver
Yandell and Kathleen
Gladys Meledez
Frances Hempheld
Dr Goldstein
Marsha Schulte
United Methodist Church of the Shepherd
Amazing Grace
Mom's 80th Birthday Party
Visits to El Paso
Visits from my mom
Visits from my children
Canadian Geese
Blue Jays
Sounds and smells
Going to Church
Smell of bar-b-que
Distant thunder
"Let's Eat Out"
Pine trees
Children laughing
Wrapping paper  
Sins forgiven
Spring Time
Pretty pastels
chocolate candy
colored eggs
"The Old Rugged Cross"
"And God Cried"
"Crown Him king"
"Were You There"
Good food
Good smells
Sweet potato
Pumpkin Pie
color purple
Birds singing
Garage sales
A smile from a stranger
A touch from a friend
A hug from a child
Baby smiles and giggles
Paintings (oil) by Thomas Kincaid
Sunday's choir
Gentle breeze
Snow on Pine trees
Sunshinning on Snow
Gentle rain
The first snowfall
the smell of rain
the smell after the rain
Spring- the flowers, the smell, birds singing
Fall the colors, the crisp air
the sound of flying geese
snow scenes
with oil, acrylic, ultragloss
cards, bookmarks
Painting books
watching ice skaters
country music
soft music
new Mexico
Pine cones
Ice Cream
hot fudge sundae
Mexican food
Ice cream
Dogs, Spotty, Herman, Barney, Misty, Mindy, Rusty, Schatzie, Amity
The smell of
Bacon cooking
Thanksgiving dinner
Cakes or cookies baking
flowers- roses, gardenias
Fresh cut grass
On the phone, "Hi Grandma, this is Connor, Do you remember me?
Kendall, "My hand is all sprinkly" (it was asleep)
My mom said, "Kendall, put it in the ice box."
Kendall whispered, "Grandma, what is an ice box?"
Brenda said, "Connor, stop stepping in all the puddles"
Connor said, "I'm walking on the water like Jesus did."
Billy said after falling into the deep end of the swimming pool. "I thought I was a goner.  My mom jumped in and saved my life. Whew"
Kendall, "I keep pushing the numbers on this phone but nothing happens"  It was an old rotary dial.
Peter after observing adults at a party, walked up to a stranger and said "Hi! I'm Peter and this is my friend, Monte."
After Joe lost all his hair from Chemo.  Connor came over.  Joe said, "Do you want me to take off my cap?"  Connor after a long pause said, "Er-ah no thank you."
Kendall asked, "Grandma, when you were a little girl did people wear clothes?"  Was she thinking of Adam and Eve or cavemen?
Love God above all
Love one another
Find something good in every person
Look for the silver lining
Find something good whenever possible.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The March Kit

Nice and early, I received the March kit from Tallyscrapper.com tonight and began designing right away!  The many elements and colors took me in several directions.  Here is one of the scrapbook pages I did tonight, more to be posted in the daylight!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jason Update and a change

I'm back, after too long of an absence, and I've made a decision.  Scrapbooking is back on Minda's blog!

My reasons are my own, but hopefully even those who follow my blog who don't scrapbook will enjoy the added burst of color.

February brought some big news for my son Jason; he moved into his own apartment!  I cannot stress enough how important a step I think this is, learning how to manage a household on your own and the internal growth that happens when there is no parent keeping you on track...I'm so very proud of him and his growth.  

This week we were invited over to take a peek and he has really started to make it a home.  Of course he has a killer entertainment system, no surprises there, and we quickly got caught up in watching a bluray version of Phantom of the Opera.  Now I see what all the fuss is about!

Anyway, here is a little scrapbook page tribute to this big move for Jason.  For the scrap techies, I used a piece of cardboard, centered and affixed my title letters and then painted the whole thing the same color.  This is a technique I learned from Jen over at Tallyscrapper.com, where all my scrappy friends hang out.  Once it was dry I took a brown ink pad and scrubbed it over the title to give it a little more depth, then added some layered pen work and the photos.  Nice and simple!

Erin and Lance are dealing with an out of order bathroom as they deal with a leak and mold issue...yes, in a one bathroom house!  Jason is helping out when he can between starting his new job at the Eagan Little Caesars.

Today is my daddy's birthday, and he just got home from a cruise.  I haven't read mom's whole post about it, but I guess it wasn't their best cruise.  

Thanks for sticking by this blog even with my huge absences, I'll try to refocus here a bit going forward!


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