stories 2017 | the details


Not quite done. But, very close. A picture to hang here. Another to hang there. One for Jeff's bedside table. A few touches for the bookshelves. Then, I'll be done.

No - really.

That wall. The #3 above. I love it. Yet, I could add just a couple more if I wanted to. I have a picture ready to hang on the right side where the #3 is, actually. 

A couple paintings Elizabeth has done for us. Tigers. We both love them. They are our favorite. Indigo blue abstracts. 

And, there are those three Lord of the Rings trilogy posters I ordered from Etsy and had them framed. We hung them with the bookshelves. Fitting - as they are books we've read. In fact, I read the trilogy out loud to John and Jarrod so they have a very special place in my heart.

Beautiful lamps. Lovely blue and white quilts fill the ladder quilt rack and atop the cedar chest. My quilted lap blanket my mom made out of Dad's shirts after he passed away. It's my go to snuggle blanket when I need comforted. It remains draped over the back of the red leather accent chair (with ottoman) I always sit in when I need some peace, and quiet, and comfort.

Loving this room more everyday. When it's all clean. When the clothes are put away. When it is freshly dusted and vacuumed. When everything is in it's place. I love this room. It makes me smile just to enter in.

stories 2017 | yes


Ashley mentioned this past weekend that I haven't blogged in quite some time. In fact, she knew the specific

date I had blogged last. I'm trying to rectify the situation. Not just because she mentioned it, but also because

I missed scrapbooking and scrapbooking leads to blogging because I always share what I've created. 

I had a lot of photos from a recent bowling adventure, but not too to many, plus, I wanted to showcase the

photos plus words rather than scrapbooking product. I realize it is how I prefer to roll. Fairly clean pages,

simple product, photos, and words.

I think what I was trying to say, because I realized this this past weekend when Ash and crew were here;

spending time with them is finding it's new normal. Having them in our lives, regularly, is becoming normal for

us. I love this. Whether we go do something or just stay home. We are making memories out of normal.

My grandsons are getting to know us better and better and we will be normal in their lives, too. This makes

me happy and makes me smile - big.

stories 2017 | and so the adventure begins


For John and Jarrod's 20th birthday we gifted them each a Pistol Safety Course. And, we went along with

them to join in the fun. For three hours one Friday evening we learned pistol safety and then experience a

wonderful session of pistol shooting. We were hooked!

The boys tore up their targets, as well as Jeff. And me? I didn't do so bad myself! We decided before we even

left the shooting range that we would be back. This would be a new family hobby. We loved the experience! It

was a grand...and the adventure begins.

what I've been reading | august


One of my favorite times of the month when I link up with Modern Mrs Darcy for her Quick Lit round up and sharing my own latest good reads (and not so good reads). And, of course, I created my monthly 12 x 12 scrapbooking page documenting what I read which I will include in our annual album. 

I read fairly consistently and completed 10 books and have begun two more (which will be finished soon!)

51Sz0tsLGALRed Rising by Pierce Brown. I became intrigued by Red Rising after reading several blog post reviews then visited Amazon and realized it was highly rated, as well. Yes, it is YA. Yes, it is a dystopian novel. But, I hit buy in my cart without a hiccup. I'm glad I did because, surprisingly, I enjoyed reading this youth centered book, but, while reading, one forgets the characters are, in fact, youth. 53/100





41vrUXPRhcLUnveiled by Francine Rivers. This is actually the first in the series; I've already read Unshaken, the story of Ruth. This is the story of Tamar. Rivers remains true to scripture but still weaves a beautiful, yet-fictional story of the life of Tamar who is the first women God specifically named in the lineage of Jesus. Forever will we know the name Tamar because of that alone, but Rivers gives us another possibility. I'm really enjoying these novella's, a short 130 pages, a quick read, but an intriguing look into the lives and customs of God's people. 54/100




41RA0y6uVhLLooking Glass Lies by  Varina Denman. Very heavy, mostly depressing fictional novel about the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society and men's unrelenting expectations. I can see how approaching the subjects that many women who struggle with or are facing, like pornography, emotional abuse, extramarital affairs, and cutting through the lens of a benign fictional read, but, it also makes the reading for enjoyment not so enjoyable, even difficult and depressing. That said, I did find good wisdom throughout its pages. 55/100




51mVNFGnIzLThe Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis. A very quick, yet truly delightful read, that tells the tale of how Narnia was spoken (sung, actually) into existence and where the Wardrobe came from. Loved reading the FIRST book in the Chronicles of Narnia. 56/100






511+vb-17jLMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Any time I read any Agatha Christie murder mystery I know I'm in for a clever story. This was an engrossing novel and I read it in one sitting and it doesn't even matter that I figured out whodunit before the end because it was just as exciting finding out how it was done. My intention is to see the new movie coming out this year so I wanted to read the book, first. 57/100





51erHMLhIzLThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It has been more than 15 years since I read what I once believed to be the first in the Chronicles of Narnia, but, alas, I have been set straight. I read this aloud, all those many years ago, around the dinner table to my family for many hours of enjoyment. Surprisingly, I was able to finish reading it on my own in one sitting. It is so good! 58/100





51zBzHmoXxLThe Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. I have been on a roll reading a book a day the first week in August and picked up this book about books mostly because I wanted to mark another book off as read on my 2017 Reading Challenge. So. The Bookshop on the Corner. The beginnings were somewhat - frustrating. Over and over the main character, Nina's woes at losing her job, what's she to do, woe is me, this going wrong, that going wrong but then suddenly everything fell into place, including the book, and I began to like it ever so much. 59/100




71FdTl2+OhLGoliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio. Lots of fiction this month, when my most favorite reads are mostly non-fiction. I'd recently read a good review so I dropped this title into my Smile Amazon cart. I read, first, who gave the book praise. Because names like Ravi Zacharias, Christine Caine, and Charles Stanley gave the book high praise I expected great things. Goliath Must Fall did not disappoint. I took copious amounts of notes in my Poppin notebook (my go-to notebook for notetaking). 60/100




41OZ+ylez7LUnashamed by Francine Rivers. The second in the A Lineage of Grace series, one of five women who changed eternity. This one is about Rahab, the prostitute of Jericho who hid two Israeli spies because she believed in the God of Israel. Honestly, it is my favorite, so far. Love the possibility! 61/100 





41eF7fYlSoLKitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. A very strange yet enjoyable read. I loved every single mention of food and recipe and menu. This book captured the truth about how family and relationships and community always, at their best, and worst times, centers around food. It chronicles the life of one women from birth to chef stardom, and the characters that move in and out of her life for better or worse. 62/100



stories 2017 | then there is math


Many years ago, when I was in 8th grade, I had been placed in a higher level math class where I was challenged with pre-algebra and because I had done well enough and showed potential for mathematics, it was recommended I continue on in my math studies. Thus, as a new student to high school in my 9th grade year I signed up for Algebra I without any qualms of finishing strong and doing well. Even then I fully expected to continue on with Geometry and Algebra II, at a minimum, while in my secondary education studies.

The first semester went satisfactorily. I enjoyed Algebra, but found it was necessary for me to complete all the practice work to grasp the formulas and problems.

But, towards the end of the semester I noticed Algebra becoming exceedingly difficult for me to grasp. I did not hesitate to ask questions in class and, at first, this wasn't a problem.

When the second semester rolled around and we returned to classes from Christmas break, having a few weeks off of school, and Algebra becoming noticeably more difficult, I didn't enter the second half with as much aplomb. Rather, I was anxious.

My teacher was an older gentleman (who was probably only in his 40's but a 9th grader always sees someone in their 40's as really old) who shall remain nameless (only because I don't remember his name), who had begun, with me alone, the most frustrating and humiliating endeaovr any teacher could ever do with his student. To this day I'm mystified as to why.

Every time I asked a question he would laugh.

Early on in the second half of the semester, he'd answer the question but it would be succeeded with a chuckle. The chuckle and laugh became the routine. I would raise my hand during class because I had a question. He would chuckle or laugh.

Then, after a couple months, when I would raise my hand he wouldn't only chuckle and laugh, he just wouldn't call on me.

So - I stopped asking questions.

My grades plummeted. I finished the semester with a D. Because I had made an A in the first semester I finished the year with a B-, but that year of Algebra finished me for math. All those years ago, there was only a two- math requirement to graduate. Rather than continue on to Geometry or Algebra II, instead, I took Business Math.

In my first year of community college I didn't even take a math class. I filled the semester with degree-related classes, instead, though not something a student could do now. Because I joined the military after my first year of college I didn't have to decide when math would be on my class schedule. But,

My mindset had already shifted.

I no longer believed I was capable of math.

Several years later, when I attended weather forecasting school, I struggled with the only math-related block of study - physics. Those old feelings of hating math, believing I was incapable of grasping the concepts rushed to the surface and, embarrassingly, I even had to re-take the four-week block. But, the second time around was different. I had figured things out. Physics wasn't impossible for me to grasp.

It just took me more time to grasp the concepts.

It was a dimly lit lightbulb. Dimly. Yet, lit.

Then, several years after that I decided I should finish my degree, changing majors from criminal justice to meteorology. While the degree required meteorology-related classes that involved math, I was only required to take two levels of math. Heading back into college I kept the semesters filled with everything but math. I even took statistical climatology before I finally had to think about a math class if I wanted to finish my bachelor's degree.

Then, finally, having enrolled at a local university to finish all the core classes I'd never completed over the past 10 years of piecemealing a degree together, in the spring semester I had to take College Algebra I. And,

I had grown up.

I was in my 40's and while high school 9th Algebra was in my mind, it was in the back of my mind. Not front and center. Over the years, successfully completing class after class, as an older-age adult, I no longer believed I couldn't make it through Algebra I. Somewhere along the way that lightbulb had brightened with each passing success.

I knew it would be difficult, but I already figured out I have to practice math if I'm going to - get it.

I finished the semester with a B.

I was down to one class to finish my bachelor's degree. Calculus I. When I said I only needed two math classes to finish my degree I didn't mention that one of them had to be Calculus.

Because I desperately wanted to finish my degree I took a Calculus class on the summer semester schedule.

An entire 4-month class, in 8-weeks.

But, here's the deal. I was older and wiser. My mindset had shifted. My focus was on point. Okay, 8 weeks was going to be a bear, crazy, unbelievably difficult, plus...It. Was. Calculus.

It was one class. My focus was calculus. I did all the practice problems. If I didn't understand something I asked the professor. She answered all my questions. I remember the first time she said, "That's a great question!" and proceeded to explain the problem further on the board, I was ecstatic! I smiled the rest of class. My professor was teaching college as her night job.

Her day job was a high school math teacher.

I also remember the first test I made a 100% on. I was the only student who made a 100% that day.

I finished my 8-week college Calculus I class with an 89.3% grade point average. I was .7% from an A. 


stories 2017 | I see you being brave


Tybee Island, July 3, 2017  |  Because I knew he would need to acclimate himself to the sounds of the sea, to the shifting sand under his feet, and to the crashing waves, so I went out with Ian to the water's edge, and stayed close. All the while I talked gently with him, making everything happy and content. Pretty soon he found his brave.

I am beginning the long list of stories I want to tell about when all four of my kids were home and all my grandchildren were together with us. So many stories to share. So many pages to create. I am planning on doing a mix, I imagine, of both 6 x 8 and 12 x 12 sized pages all of which will go in our Stories 2017 album.


52 Weeks of Giving | 27


School supplies. Like office supplies, I love browsing the aisles of notebooks, highlighters, paper, pens, pencils, all things that say school. I don't have kids in school anymore so school shopping in July or August just isn't a priority. But, this is my year of giving - and giving well.

When Ashley hit Walmart for school supplies for Ian and Wyatt I loaded up the cart too. Our church, this month, is collecting school supplies for local schools. It's the least I can do. And, there are so many who cannot and would have to do without.