Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I LOVE and Covet This!

Who doesn't just love the idea of being so organized everything fits into a single gorgeous armoire style cabinet; the kind of armoire that looks like fine furniture and would easily fit into your den or formal living room? Oh yes, it does exist and yes, I covet this furniture.... I do. I know I shouldn't, but I do. It's gorgeous and amazing and I so want one! The shaker style of this piece really appeals to me. You can get this in different finishes as well as styles too. If you say it doesn't excite you, I'll say you're not being completely truthful, unless of course you're not a crafter and then, well, sorry for your bad luck!

How excited was I to find a contest going on RIGHT NOW where I could possibly qualify to win one of these?!?!? Oh holy moley, my heart began to pound, my blood pressure shot up, I broke out into a sweat and I my fingers couldn't dance fast enough over my keyboard to follow the qualifying rules for entry. So, here I am, posting about this beautiful ScrapBox, the contest and adding the cool little logo to my sidebar...OH yeah... I totally wanna win this awesome treat!

Here is some information to get you started as found on the website hosting this grand opportunity, Priscilla Styles:

You can enter to win your choice of a Ribbon box or the ScrapMaBob and qualify for the amazing Workbox giveaway taking place on October 12, 2009. Yes, you read correctly. She is giving away either a Ribbon Box or a ScrapMaBob (these are so handy!) and that winner will be entered into the Grand Prize Giveaway-- a Workbox in their choice of color/style. WOW!!!!!

The contest runs from September 28-October 8, 2009. The Original Scrapbox will give away ONE Workbox to a lucky qualifier. There will be 10 finalists selected from 10 different blogs to be entered in the final giveaway.

Do you want to win your very own Ribbon Box or a ScrapMaBob and then be a finalist in The Workbox Giveaway? Aren't they awesome? You can check out all the cool products the company offers HERE. Enter this code when you place your order to get $100 off your shipping: 100Writes

There are more details and lots of ways to get additional entries on the Priscilla Styles blog. RUN over to Priscilla Styles and read up on this NOW for your chances to enter as well! And by the way...when you sign up for this, make sure you tell them Lissa Ballard referred you! It WILL make a difference!

AND... for further incentive to mention my name, if I do end up winning, I send all of you who referred me a little RAK in the mail!

There are a lot of other sites involved with this contest too. Make sure you check out all the different blogs listed for more chances to win!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well check it out - blessed again!

This time a friend of mine has blessed me! Lookie what I got today!

My instructions are to share this with five folks who I feel have become my friends. This is gonna be tough. I feel so blessed by my on line friends. You guys help fill my day, you've stood by me through some really tough places and events. Picking just 5 will be hard!

So here I go... (and if you're not one of the five please don't be offended... You're ALL amazing!)






Here are you more specific details...
Nominate 5 other bloggers you feel have become part of your circle of friends.Link to your nominees within your blog post. Include these instructions on how to pick up the award in your blog post. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your blog post, to show your appreciation. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received the award.

So many thanks to Marci! You can find her HERE at Marci's Scrapping Spot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I am oh so blessed!!!

You guys might remember the wonderful girl I call my daughter. Since I wasn't fortunate enough to be blessed by having a girl child, the Lord brought me one just when we needed each other most.

Aly came into my life when she was searching for herself, for meaning, for validation, for hope and for a little bit of salvation. She was a lost little girl trying to do her best in a very strange, moving too fast world. She and her then boyfriend moved in with us at our home for a year. She was about to turn 18 and hadn't finished school.

In the year she was here, she got a job, graduated with her GED, mended her relationship with her real momma, began rebuilding her relationship with her dad, learned a whole lot about who she was, who she wanted to be and how to begin that journey. In the process, I grew to love this girl as though she were my own.

Her mom, Mary (we called her Mar) and I became really good friends. We were brought together by common physical ailments as well as a common love. She willingly and lovingly shared her daughter with me. When she came to Williamsburg for Aly's graduation, she and I bonded well and when she left, she told me she was so happy Aly had found a second mom in me and that I'd been there for her Aly. She blessed me by allowing me to be called Momma and Momma Lis. She also blessed me with her love.

Aly finally grew strong enough to tell the boy she had been dating good-bye. It was a terrible relationship and very destructive. She needed to be rid of it as it was bringing her down. When she did this, she knew it was time to move back home and help her mom out. Mar wasn't well and had been doing worse physically.

Aly left Williamsburg in August for Iowa. We cried, we hugged, we kept in touch and we still call each other Momma and Daughter. Less than a month after Aly arrived at her parents home in Iowa, Mar died of a massive heart attack. The month Aly had been home had been wonderful for them both. Mar died far too young but I think she knew it was okay to go and be rid of all that pain. Aly was okay and was going to be okay. She and her dad were going to be okay together and between Aly and her brother, they'd keep things together.

In February, Aly called me to let me know she was pregnant. I knew this would be difficult as she and her boyfriend hadn't been together for very long. There was never any other option as far as whether or not she would have the baby. Not only would she have the baby, she would be an amazing mother. She loves kids, she's great with them, and she'd always wanted a child of her own.

Yesterday I was blessed to become a grandmom! Aly and her boyfriend Josh have become the proud parents of a beautiful little baby boy. Dayne Scott Hogue was born at 11:42am. He weighed in at a perfect 7 pounds 11.6 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. He's absolutely a beautiful baby; a real stunner!

Thank you Aly. Thank you for loving me, for loving me enough to share your beautiful family with me, for loving me enough to call me Gramma! Thank you for loving me like a momma and letting me love you right back.

You're awesome Aly Girl! You're gonna do great.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Labor Intensive

To copy Deb, that's what this month's sketches are all about at If It's Groovy. To go along with my sketches each month, we choose a theme or technique to highlight. This month, being "Labor Day" for us US gals, we selected the word "labor" to be used somehow in the journaling, either in the title or in the body of the journaling. I love the different spin each of the gals put on this theme.

This is mine but you've got to check out what the other Sketch Team Groovy Gals did with the sketch. There's some amazing work going on over there. Click HERE for some great inspiration!

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's Fabulous Friday!

If you all haven't ever checked out my friend Kim's blog, "Today's Creative Blog" by now, you're really missing out. Kim scours the internet finding the most wonderful, unique, fun and inventive creative sites. She's quite the enabler by the way because who can resist some of the places she finds!

On Fridays, she does Fabulous Friday Giveaways. Today's is fun fun fun! It's all about Ella Publishing Company. Newly formed SCRAPPY company that's got a bangin' new scrappy magazine on line. You REALLY should check them out. Click on Ella Publishing Company to get there. I know you can!

Now, because I know you also love all manner of great stuff, you have to spend time at Today's Creative Blog. Seriously. There is so much fun there and Kim does a great job tracking down the best of the best. Beware though..., if you can't resist, coolness, cuteness, fun-ness, scrappy-ness, unique-ness or any other creative-ness, don't go... I mean it... you'll love it, so you can't go...

Ooooppps... there you went... you did it... You went there to Today's Creative Blog and had so much fun looking at all that "-ness" didn't you! I told you you'd love it!!!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

I've had more creative time!

I love that I have some time now for creativity with my scrappy and stamp goodies now that Dalton's back in school. I've been busy!

It's been pretty fun doing challenges on the OSU board that I hadn't tried before. And with my health limiting my activities, I've had even mor good scrappy time (though it's never as much as I want or seem to have a need for in my heart...).

Here's a layout I finished this morning for a journaling challenge. We had to use more than one font for the title. I used 4! (Yeah me!)

I love Tim Holtz Distress Inks. They were so much fun to work with on this. All the painted pieces are the wonderful crackly paint. So cool.

Thanks for looking!

Peace and blessings,

Don't you love it when you accidentally create something you love?

When working on my montly layouts for If It's Groovy, I tend to forget that there is typically a theme or technique that goes along with it. Such was the case this past August when I was preparing for my September sketch team layout. So, I had TONS of fun making this layout from my sketch about Dalton. Yeah... I love this layout. Not sure why except the memories were just so much fun. It was a really fun birthday party. All the little ones were precious.

Hope you like!

Thanks for stopping by, thanks for looking!

Peace and blessings,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Loss of a Legend

When I was pregnant in 2000, my husband and I were sent to have an amniocentesis because I was over 40. In our excitment, and with the knowledge of how my pregnancies typically ran, we were fairly certain I was carrying a girl - at last.

As we were having lunch before my appointment, Kevin said to me, "I know we feel like we're having a girl, and I know you want a little Jeanne Elizabeth really badly, but we really need to think about a boy name just in case."

As much as I hated to admit it, we should entertain the idea of boy names so we began our conversation. Kevin was fairly adamant about the middle name being Anthony after his brother who died just before our wedding. That was okay with me despite the fact I have never ever liked the name Anthony. I like Tony, just not Anthony... but it was a middle name so, okay.

I liked Shannon (I really like unusual names). He didn't. I liked several others he poo-pooed too. Then he says, "What about Dalton?"

I said it outloud, "Dalton Anthony Ballard... yeah... I like that!"

Then he said, "Well, it is one of your favorite movie characters and since Patrick Swayze is your favorite actor, it just kind of fits."

As you might know, Dalton was the last name of the lead character in "Road House" which is an awesome, very amazing, all that and then some kick booty movie in my book. Besides, you get to see Swayze Booty and he's just hot. And add in the mix another favorite of mine, delicious Mr. Sam Elliott and the electricity between Swayze and Kelly Lynch and holy cow, it still gives me goosebumps.

Not to mention the tears I cried repeatedly in "Ghost", the awesome feeling you get when the infamous line, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." is uttered... Patrick Swayze was just every girls dream come true. The perfect summer romance. The perfect husband, (both on screen and off from what they say) and MAN to have had a chance to dance with this guy!! WOOOOHEEEEE I think I would have died and gone to heaven right then and there.

Today we say good bye to this amazing man. The world has lost a legend and I will mourn him today as though he were a member of my family. Tonight we will watch Road House and have a toast to him. We will say a prayer for his family for strength and courage and thank them for sharing this man and his amazing talent with the world. They were most generous and for that I am so grateful.

Good bye Patrick Swayze. When you see my momma up there, if you get a chance, give her a little spin on the Ethereal Dance Floor... She'll LOVE it!

Peace and blessings,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Guilties

This is such an amazing description of how I feel most of the time. A dear dear friend of mine sent it to me who has so many many illnesses with which she battles. For her, this has been going on for a long long time. I can't imagine how it must be emotionally but I do hope life is NOT making her suffer guilties any longer.

She passed this along to me while the doctors were still trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I have a diagnosis now which is always a good thing. It's helpful to know WHAT is wrong... Not knowing is so disenheartening; trying; frustrating. All of that adds to the stress of being sick, making the sickness worse. Stress does horrible things to all illnesses...


Guilt is an unwanted shame-based emotion which results from having broken a rule. The rule may or may not make sense; therefore, the guilt may or may not be rational. When we run a red light or intentionally hurt another, we feel rational guilt; that is, remorse for having committed a wrongdoing. When we feel we should "perform" as we did before we became ill, that our houses should be spotless, that we should adhere to the same exhausting work schedule, that our children should be perfect and perfectly cared for, we experience guilt of the irrational variety. What rules have we broken?

Let's examine some of the rules we've imposed upon ourselves. (They didn't originate with us, but we've learned them well.):

It's not okay to be ill.
I should be able to conquer or overcome this disease.
I should take care of others, even at my own expense.
I should meet others' expectations of me.
I shouldn't stay in bed.
I shouldn't have needs or require special consideration.
It’s my job to make sure the household/office runs smoothly.
Others are entitled to have needs; I am not.
To ask for help is a sign of weakness.
If someone makes a request, I should assent so that I stay in their good graces.
It’s my job to be the helper, the magic fixer, so that I can read minds and meet others’ needs before they are even aware of them.
Corollary: I don’t expect others to do the same for me.
What others do is a reflection on me.
Others will not like me if I don’t do what they want me to do.

These rules contain a preponderance of shoulds, the dirtiest word in the English language. “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” may sum up the self-expectations, regrets and the lost idealized outcomes of our past and present behavior. Shouldas nag at us; they dictate what we do and how we feel. When we break a should, we feel shame and guilt. It's time to stop this nonsense and to stop shouldaing on ourselves.


When we clean out a closet, we often sort the contents into three groups: things to keep, things to discard, and things to fix so they work for us. We need to clean out our “rules closets” to see what’s in there: which rules to keep, which ones to discard, and which ones to fix to fit present circumstances.

Our new, rational messages or rules can replace the outdated, rigid, unforgiving ones. For a start I propose these:

My first priority is to take care of myself. If I don't do this, I can't do
anything else successfully.

Others will just have to understand my limitations. I will try to educate
them by explaining my illness and resulting limitations to whatever degree is
appropriate to the situation.

I accept (but do not like the fact) that not everyone will be willing to
learn and understand. If I they cannot or will not understand, it's not
my problem.

I don’t have to make excuses for what I cannot do. I will offer a brief
explanation when appropriate.

I'd will strive to be the best parent/partner/friend I can, given my
illness-related limitations.

It's okay to be ill and to have needs. I may have difficulty accepting
and expressing my needs, but I’m not going to judge them any more.

I will help others as I am able, but I will no longer rescue them.
(That is, I will not do for them what they can and should do for themselves.)

I will do what I can when I can do it. I won't force myself or push
beyond reasonable limits. I will not jeopardize my health to meet an
unreasonable expectation.

In responding to requests, I will keep in mind that there are appropriate
times to say no and to set limits. In doing so, I am not refusing a person; I
am refusing a request. I can respond assertively by saying, “I won’t be able
to help you out this tme, but I am willing to help you identify alternatives
for getting the job done.”

You have thus acknowledged their need, your willingness to help, and your
unwillingness to take on the task -- all in one short phrase. If this is
difficult for you, as it is for most people, consider taking a class
inassertiveness training or reading books on this subject.

It’s okay for me to ask for help. Although I would like to do everything
myself, it is not in my best interests to do so.

I will be specific when making a request. For example, rather than saying, “I
hate to ask you, but I really need extra help right now,” make a clearer, more
rational statement such as, “Due to my limitations, I am unable to run many
errands. Would you be willing to pick up a few things for me at the store?” In
this request, you have acknowledged your limitation or need, specified your
request, and requested a response. When people come through for you, give
them your thanks and appreciation in return.

What others do is a reflection of their situations, likes and dislikes
rather than a reflection on me. For example, if my spouse wears
something awful or tells a joke I don’t approve of, it’s not my problem!

I deserve to treat myself kindly and with respect.

I deserve to receive the same treatment from others, and to offer it to them in

Those who have unreasonable expectations of me will have to learn
that I have limits and boundaries. If they cannot accept these, they are not
true friends.

I will be flexible in my self-expectations.


We’ve been taught to believe that to be selfish is to unreasonably want something we want but do not have. The negative connotation “I want what’s yours” gives rise to selfishness being considered a major felony. However, the positive side of selfishness, self care, allows us to treat ourselves (and thus others) well. Taking care of oneself comes first. We cannot meet others’ needs if our own are unmet. This is like trying to get money out of an account into which we haven’t deposited any money. To keep the account “in the black,” we must make periodic deposits and allow others to do likewise. In the process, we learn to balance our needs with others’ needs, and everyone wins.


Guilt cannot be erased, but it can be gradually reduced as we become more sensible in our self-expectations and self-messages. The big challenge is to learn to live more rationally and to discard what no longer make sense or no longer works. Revising the rulebook and making behavioral changes is a great way to start.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So Blessed

I had to share this one. I'm really proud of finishing it, for many reasons. First, I used a old photo I've been wanting to scrap. Second, it means I'm finally able to start scrapping about my mom. This is a huge step for me as it's been 12 years since Momma passed away and even thinking too long about it brings too many tears. I know that she's in the most wonderful place ever, I know that she's healthy and well and happy. I know that she and the Lord have shared many wonderful conversations since she went home. She was so blessed to have been dedicated to Him from a very early age. I'm absolutely certain she has shared many a moment in His glorious presence.

Now, having said that, she was mighty blessed. Everything she touched turned to gold and she was humble enough, kind enough and generous enough to share that with anyone who happened to be around and then some. One of her many talents was her amazing voice. She was a soprano with a voice as sweet as honey, as smooth as fine silk and as rich as gold. She was amazing. Hearing the clear melodious sounds that eminated from her, even when she spoke, was a gift. When she sang, you couldn't help but know that God's love had wrapped itself around her and was being shared in the most special of ways. Yes, she was that awesome.

When momma passed away, the entire church was sad. That's pretty awesome for a church that has and had more than 1000 members. Daddy and Momma loved their church, The Episcopal Church of The Redeemer. They loved their priest, the associate priests, the congregants, everything! Daddy decided that the best way he could show his love and thanks for all the love they shared with him was to give back. He gave a generous donation to the choir that paid for all new chairs and more in the choir room. The choir director, who was so fond of Momma, said it was overwhelming.

As a side note and story to share, the morning of Momma's memorial service, there was a dove sitting on the window sill. She sat there through the entire service and remained there during the recessional when all the congregants left the church to go outside and put flowers on her site (she was creamated and her ashes are in the memorial garden beside the church where Daddy's will remain as well). The dove stayed there until the last person was gone. It was only after every single person was gone that the dove actually flew away. The choir master watched this dove throughout the service. He was certain, as are we, that the dove was here to represent Momma, letting us all know she was fine, in a much better place, in perfect health and thanking us all for our love. Now that is something I can't not tear up and get goose bumps about every time I think about it!

Hope you like!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School!

Well, for some reason, my posts have decided to go on vacation. I'm not sure where they've gone, but hopefully they're having fun! I've posted twice, showing some recent layouts and giving an update on our lives, but alas, they're missing... So that brings us to today, the first day of the 2009-2010 school year. It's hard to believe Dalton is already in 3rd grade. He's so precious and he's growing so fast. When we visited his teacher, Mrs. Vip, last week at Back to School day, he says to her,

"I hear you're the meanest teacher in the whole school. I don't think that's true. I think you're really nice and I think we're going to have a great time this year."

Oh my stars I could have died when Susan told me this. He has a way of letting you know just what he's thinking eh?

This is Dalton and Mrs. Vip. I'm certain this is going to be a great year. I'm really glad he has Mrs. Vip. I think the discipline and structure will be so good for him! He needs someone like her. He started out today with a bit of a queasy tummy but I hope I quelled his first day fears okay. Poor kid, he's so worried there will be a repeat of last year's emotional turmoil.

This morning we had to get up early enough to fix Dalton's hair the way he chose. We researched men's hairstyles on line and he picked out one he really liked. This is a close as we got it and he was very happy with it. I'm glad for him. He even got really picky yesterday while we were choosing a new pair of jeans. He refused a pair of loose fit Levi's at Ross's because he didn't like the loose fit. He prefers something that is a little less roomy. He was absolutely adamant about it. So we ended up at WalMart purchasing a pair of regular cut Wranglers that he much prefered. He also was quite particular about the color of his jeans. NO dark blue, they look too new. NO bleached out, they look too old. No carpenter pants, doesn't like the side pocket. Medium blue as they look just right... not too light, not too dark. He also chose a new t-shirt that reflected his two sports loves, basketball AND soccer. He didn't want to wear the jeans today as it's raining and a bit to warm in his opinion. He chose a pair of dark blue shorts (don't ask, I don't get it either) and this t-shirt. The new Nike's that Aunt Miss Lisa bought him were a must despite the rain. She really shouldn't have bought them. (God bless her for doing it. She was appalled that the inner sole was coming loose in his shoes and took him and Molly to the store for new school shoes. Both of them got new shoes and he feels so cool with is Nike's. He thinks he'll be great on the basketball court this winter to be sure all because he's got these shoes. Funny how kids get that idea, that a pair of shoes or the right brand name will actually make them better at something. I never really got into brand labels.)

Anyway, 20 minutes to do the hair today (yes, curling iron, gel, wide tooth comb and hairspray...), his new clothes, his favorite waffles for breakfast and the Nike's. We're ready to show out for school! We waited 35 minutes for the bus today but it was fun. Molly's first day was greated with great happiness that Dalton was waiting for her at her bus stop this morning. He was so sweet to her, taking care of her and making sure she had a great seat on the bus. They'll be getting off the bus together this afternoon so she knows just where to go when she gets off the bus at Nana's (Aunt Miss Lisa to Dalton) house. They were adorable together.

No tears this year. I suppose we're all growing up!

That smile is worth getting up for every day...

Thanks for looking!
Peace and blessings,