52 Weeks of Giving | 41


The Lord continues to place ways to give in my face. And, I respond. A local non-profit who I've supported in the past with gifts knows another non-profit on the other side of the country experiencing the impact of raging fires burning land, yes, but homes, too. People are fleeing with just the clothes on their back. And, every small gift means something for the Kingdom of God.

stories 2017 | around the room


I LOVE OUR BEDROOM! To me, it's perfect. It is only a 14 x 14 space but with the hardwood flooring and the gray painted walls, all the blues and white quilts, Bible verse, prints that mean something, the red chair, bookshelves filled to the brim...lovely. 


The quilt is my latest acquisition in the quilt department. With winter coming around the corner I probably will have to pull out one of our heavier blue and white quilts, but this white with blue will serve it's purpose for now, beauty and comfort.

The ocean print I ordered from Etsy, had it enlarged at Persnickety Prints and framed it in black. The ocean waves crashing against the shore - gorgeous! Both Jeff and I love the water so it is a fitting addition.

I still love our pencil post bed. It is over 25 years old and still looks beautiful. I love our bedside table lamps. They are indigo blue and white thin-stripped with a white shade. They are sitting on Indigo blue shibori napkins which I'm using as doilies. Above my lamp is the wood art, 'In the morning when I rise give me Jesus'. I cannot say enough how just that simple phrase sets my mind on things above. It's one of my favorite worship songs.

On my bedside table is a gift from Jeff. A photograph of him in his Roman Calvary uniform on a big white Percheron. Love it so much.

If I could change anything in the room it would definitely be our bedside tables. Don't like them at all. I do, however, like the size, so maybe they need re-done somehow.


The far walls are filled with prints and paintings. Each one is purposeful; a reason for each one. Like the red and gray subway art of every place in the world Jeff and/or I have been in our travels over the years. Our wedding date. The tiger print because we both adore tigers. I have a big stuffed animal tiger, still, from Korea. Elizabeth made the paintings. 'Your hand in mine...' is a personal phrase I've felt deep down about Jeff taking my hand to hold.

More quilts, the red chair and ottoman, a couple pillows, shear white curtains and navy blue shade... 


The rows of books, ever-growing, on bookshelves made by Jeff. Those Lord of the Rings poster prints (arranged near the bookshelves) are super special and represent the Lord of the Rings trilogy I read out loud to the boys in their 11th grade year of homeschool. Hats, tigers, bible verses on the shelves.

It's a beautiful room and one I love simply walking into. It seriously makes me smile.

what I've been reading | October


I'll be linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy for her monthly Quick Lit. Of course, I gathered the book titles together that I read this past month and made my monthly scrapbook page for our Stories 2017 album. You can find everything I've read this year(plus a monthly scrapbook page) under 100 New Books in 2017. As you can see below I'm getting closer to reaching my 2017 goal of 100 new books read. However, I am definitely going to have to up my reading game if I'm going to read 24 titles over the next two and a half months.

The Butterfly Hours, Transforming Memories into Memoir by Patty Dann. Inspiring. I had begun the #100days project in April writing short, 'memoirs', and had made it to day 45 / 100 when I ran out of steam. My project was using one word prompts to tell short stories/memoirs. This book, an unpretentious little gem, a short 124-pages, and easily read in short bursts was invigorating and inspiring to my world of journaling, whether current stories - or memoirs. At the end of the book is a list of one-word prompts to get you started. Before I even made it halfway through the book I began my #100days project again picking up where I left off and wrote #46/100 using the one word prompt: paper. I'm telling you, you'll be inspired to write! 69/100 books read in 2017.

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. The second book in her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and another intriguing whodunit all the way until the end. This, and the other Gamache stories are set in Three Pines, Quebec, a charming and quaint town with lively, delightful, and fascinating characters and of those we have met before Penny continues development of each one. I am thrilled to have found another series I can sink my teeth into and enjoy from cover to cover. 70/100 books read.

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. And - the third book in her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. The continuing character development of the Three Pines towns people being re-visited and grown in each book, thus far, with all their flaws and nuances is tremendously brilliant. The additional storylines deftly woven into the talk of murder is intriguing and on-the-edge-of-my-seat suspenseful, but not scary. 71/100 books read.

Reading People, how seeing the world through the lens of personality changes everything by Anne Bogel. What to say? I walked away completely satisfied. Anne writes beautifully. I listened to the Introduction and first chapter on her podcast but I prefer reading to listening. What listening to the beginning pages did? It allowed me to hear her voice as I read. Quite a bit of what Anne shares in her book was familiar in an acquaintance sort of way. But, even the familiar was made clearer and even better, more understandable. Although, Kersey's temperaments went over my head and no matter how many times I re-read the chapter, it wasn't clicking. I particularly appreciated the theme throughout the book that learning our personality types should be life-changing (and not just sit our knowledge of what are personalities are on a shelf collecting dust). Gathering all the information about our personalities and making actual life-changes. Become more of who we are and less of, well, who we'll never be because it isn't our personality framework. This is one of those books you will need to continue to refer back to again and again. 72/100 books read.

The Fix by David Balducci. The Amos Decker series is by far my favorite of Balducci's main characters. This was another intriguing plot with twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end. The cast of characters is growing slightly and Balducci is developing them nicely. The book is fast paced without any lag and absolutely zero boredom. 73/100 books read.

Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis. I ever-so-slowly, nightly, before turning out my bedside lamp, made my way through this thin little book by the wizened, spirit-filled C.S. Lewis and in typical C.S. Lewis fashion, analytical, and sometimes goes where my mind cannot wrap itself around. Yet I still dog-eared the stirring and heart-reaching discourse for further contemplation and review. 74/100 books read.

Tier One Wild by Dalton Fury. Always looking out for a book my husband would like. Think W.E.B. Griffin and Brad Thor. He has read them all. It is rare he'll navigate away from his favorites, though. He finds little time to relax and read. But, Tier One Wild and Dalton Fury's Delta Force novels just might be the ticket. This book was fast-paced, the read - and the action within, and I know he'll like the SPEC OPS (Special Operations) lingo and storyline. As retired military and married to a former special operations soldier, I too enjoy a good counter-terrorism black operations this-could-happen-in-real-life storyline. 75/100 books read.

Braving the Wilderness, the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown. The Huffington Post writes, "“[Brown’s] research and work have given us a new vocabulary, a way to talk with each other about the ideas and feelings and fears we’ve all had but haven’t quite known how to articulate. . . . [She] empowers us each to be a little more courageous.” I agree. Because of that the book was heavy talk on politics as this is generally where we have such difficult discourse. I took copious notes in the margins and underlined quotes I agreed with and things I'd like to discuss over with my husband. While it was quite evident where her political leanings stand, except for one paragraph, I didn't feel she was bashing the other side, so I was comfortable to continue reading - but more importantly - listening and learning others views. 76/100 books read.

52 Weeks of Giving | 40


This is another long term gift that keeps on giving. I agreed to teach a homeschooled high school student meteorology. Twist my arm, right! But, I still prayed about it and, because the time commitment was only once a week on a day and time of pretty much my choosing (they are working around my work schedule) I knew this was a gift I could give.

Not only that...it's meteorology! Once again I'm going to be immersed in the throes of something I adore. We'll start next week! Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

DIY Yahtzee


If you're familiar with Pinterest then you know it is the place on the internet where you go to find really cool ideas for everything from what to wear to room décor and design to recipes to do it yourself ideas and crafts, plus an unending wealth of more. More.

It is also the place where you can pin and pin and you never go back and do anything with those pins. You don't make any of those recipes. You don't use the ideas to re-decorate a room. Nor do you make any of the DIY's.

Well, this is one of those DIY's that I probably pinned over a year ago, or more likely two years and never did anything with; although it was high on my list as 'the very next DIY I would make that'.

It was a simple DIY so I'm not sure why it took me so long.

Because Yahtzee is probably one of my top 5 favorite table top slash board games this was fun. Normally, when we play a game, several games, of Yahtzee we don't use the cylinder container to shake the dice; we simply use our hands. The boys always like to perform when they roll the dice. But, I couldn't pass up the idea of a leather wrapped cylinder in a deep teal. Paired with three shades of complimenting blues and purples for the dice, this game of Yahtzee has quite the flair.

Supplies Needed (I found everything at Hobby Lobby):

a small bentwood Cylinder box 

a piece of leather larger enough to encompass the Cylinder box

3/4" square wood blocks

five shades of paint (Ombre was my first thought before I went with two shades of color) plus white (or black depending on your shades)

Spray adhesive (I used E6000 but Modge Podge or other brush on adhesive would work, too)


a printable Yahtzee score sheet (I googled Yahtzee score sheets and found a freebie)

Colored pencils or Photoshop software

Scissors or krafting knife


Step One: Cut the piece of leather to wrap tightly around cylinder and to perfect size; spray adhesive on cylinder; wrap leather around cylinder and allow to dry

Step Two: Paint two-coats of paint on each block. Allow to dry after each coat.

Step Three: Here is where I went wrong and likely will repaint the blocks and repaint the dots because I should have...using the wrong end of a small paintbrush, the wood end will give perfect dots (while a fine tip brush still will give varying sized dots), paint the dots on each end of the block, 1 dot, 2 dots, 3 dots, etc...and allow to dry.

Step Four: Using colored pencils or Photoshop software 'color' desired shapes and shades with a blocking pattern on the Yahtzee score sheet.

Except for needing to re-paint the dice and re-dot I'm very pleased with how my Yahtzee game turned out. So much, in fact, that once I complete my retouches I might have to make another because...

This would make a nice handmade gift for kids - or adults and who doesn't like the game, Yahtzee.

52 Weeks of Giving | 39


I got a sweet little request to write a letter to Karellys, the child I sponsor in Equador, plus a fun coloring sheet she'll receive. Of course, I couldn't not send her a little something extra. I'm also figuring out her Christmas gift next. I wish I could do something like Operation Christmas Child but they don't let us do that.

I'll have to admit that I haven't been very good at communicating with Karellys but when I received a letter from her I needed to respond. I'm hopeful it 'broke the ice' for me.

52 Weeks of Giving | 38


In my research for ideas of what to put in Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes I came across the statement that only 1 of every 200 Christmas Child Shoeboxes are for a boy 10-14 years old. I was immediately saddened and knew, instantly, that we would be putting together shoeboxes for boys 10-14 years old. We were going to improve on that statistic one shoebox at a time.

We had decided on 3 boxes this year (but, seriously, that might change as we get closer to drop off time; and maybe we'll have to put together a couple more boxes).

One of our 'tasks' from our to-do list this past weekend was shop for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. We visited Lowes...ah, hello, we were putting boxes together for boys, age 10-14. Lowes. Tools. Duh.

And, of course, Walmart. We packed our boxes fool of such goodness. The soccer ball is sitting in the box fully inflated. We deflated the soccer ball, included an air pump in the box and added in a selection of tools any handyman in the making would appreciate. A few hygiene items and school supplies and our box is jam packed full.

Thankfully, we have honking rubber bands to help keep the lids on.

This was so much fun. Giving to others is the very best feeling.

stories 2017 | details


I saw a magazine page on Pinterest somebody had pinned, I assume, for the design. It was thin rows of photos at varying heights plus a paragraph of words at varying heights also beneath each photo. That ad became my inspiration for this page.

I am a big-time scrap lifter of others' pages, without shame; I do, however, try and make them my own. I love how this page turned out and the individual stories I was able to tell because of the skinny columns.

The journaling is sort of a what's happening around here, things making me happy, what I'm into, where I'm finding my smile. Pretty simple things, really. Like, books and bookshelves arranged by color. Or, Saturday morning breakfast out with the fam. Bible study with Ashley. Or, playing dress up with new clothes and jewelry - and shoes (and I am not a shoe person at all; yet, it's been fun).

stories 2017 | amazing you


For every one serious photo I am able to capture of Ian, usually capturing when he isn't looking, I catch a hundred other photos that are silly Ian, hamming it up, confused Ian of what to do, playful Ian, or chatty Ian like when he's in the middle of one of his many stories. When I get one serious photo I treasure it.

None of this is to say that I don't like all those goofy photos I've captured, because however I capture Ian it is simply - Ian. 

Amazing Ian.

Digitally speaking: I love how this page turned out. While it only took about a half hour to put together it came together how I envisioned it and I think I rocked the page!

Currently | October 2017


putting together three boxes supporting Operation Christmas Child. Our church is a drop-off collection site and just the size of the church means we can gather a lot of shoeboxes for children around the world. I read an article in my research for what to put into the boxes that said "only 1 in 200 boxes collected were for boys age 10-14." My heart melted. That statistic just went to 3 in 200 boxes for boys 10-14 because we packed full 3 shoeboxes with a soccer ball (plus air pump), tools (screwdriver set, hammer, pliers, wrench, tape measure, work gloves, carpenters pencil), hygiene items, and school supply items. I wish I could see those young men's faces when they open theirs from us.

taking on a homeschooled student and teaching her meteorology for the remainder of her senior year. Because it's a small class - her and me - I think we'll be able to get through most, if not all, of the curriculum without having to negotiate out any important parts. One of the ladies in my small group probed the question, "maybe you should offer your meteorology class to the homeschool community - for pay..." As a former homeschool mom and having been in the homeschool community I could see a different, unique science class like meteorology being - profitable. Definitely, an idea worth considering.

considering another round of Whole30. Or, at the very least, a Whole14. I need a jumpstart to eating whole as I have gotten off kilter and can't seem to find my way back without that accountability. I've also considered a food and fitness journal. I've recorded things like this in the past and it has held me accountable. Definitely worth - considering.

enjoying, immensely, my Bible study with Ashley. Five days a week we do our own thing working through the book of Esther. Then we FaceTime, usually on Saturdays, and then individually we watch the next weeks video lesson to prepare for the coming week's lesson. We spend a good hour on FaceTime reviewing the lesson and catching up on life, of course; enough time that I have a near-dead battery on my phone when we're done.

eating simple dinners this month. Meat + Vegetables. It is very whole30-ish and I find I am a happier person when I'm not spending so much time in the kitchen in this season of my life. I was sharing these thoughts with Jeff the other day. I've already solidified I'm a bad*ss cook and it is just time to scale back on our eating style. A grilled meat whether it is pork chops, pork steak, steak, chicken, or salmon plus a pile of vegetables or salad works for me, delightfully.

managing my to-do list weekly in a simple little journal by Becky Higgins. I was inspired by how she uses a simple notebook - this business woman of a multi-million dollar company - uses a simple notebook for her daily tasks. I thought I'd give it a try, but daily wasn't working for me. So, I decided to write out weekly tasks and just add the date if it is date-specific. I must say this is working for me. At the beginning of the week I begin filling up a page (I've only needed one page thus far, but would definitely turn the page if I needed a second page for my list of to-do's). I may still carry-over items to the following week, things like craft projects yet to finish, but I am busily lining through items regularly.

ordering a boatload of scrapbook pages and album pages from Persnickety Prints with their huge Columbus weekend sale event. Over the past month I've been uploading pages regularly, about once a week, getting ready to hit order prints. Because we have slower than Christmas internet I can only upload photos during non-peak usage times which means I have to upload in shifts. Because I planned ahead I was ready for the sale and saved a ton of money (more than half price)! I ordered pages for our Stories 2017 album, 52 Gratitudes 2017, 52 Weeks of Giving, and the up-to-date pages of my #100 Days project, all of which have their individual albums. I also ordered a couple prints for framing.

reading Tier One Wild by Dalton Fury, a new-to-me Delta Force and counter-terrorism novel and series - a fast-paced enjoyable read. Brave the Wilderness by Brene Brown is up next, plus, C.S. Lewis' Reflecting on the Psalms is on my nightstand. If I get to bed early enough I'll read a chapter before lights out and only during the week while Jeff is working out of town. Reading always puts me to sleep fast.

binge-watching Stargate Atlantis. I know, right? Again? Yes, again! It's an old favorite. I recently finished the Blacklist seasons available on Netflix and I started catching up on Hawaii Five-O but realized why I gave up on the show. It's cheezy. The main character, McGarrett, is solid cuteness, but his abilities to 'read' a crime scene seems faked, thus, cheezy.

loving my bedroom. It is definitely my happy place in the house, right now. I sit on the ottoman to put my new boots on and glance around the room at all the pretty, happy things. Art work covering one wall. Our gorgeous-still four poster bed. Rows of books on shelves loving built by Jeff. Quilts. Quilts. And, more quilts all blues and white. Pretty matching bedside table lamps. Scripture verses 'written' on our walls. I love just walking through the bedroom and immediately getting a smile on my face.