Friday, April 27, 2012

Day By Day

Yesterday is the past.
That's why we call it history.

Tomorrow is the future.
That's why we call it a mystery.

Today is a gift.
That's why we call it THE PRESENT.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Project Life Update 4.26

As soon as we started planning our Disney trip, the kids and I started looking for books to read about Disney, and we found this little gem.  What is a "Hidden Mickey" you ask?

"A Hidden Mickey is a partial or complete impression of Mickey Mouse placed by Walt Disney Imagineers (the creators and builders of the Disney parks) and artists to blend into the designs of Disney attractions, hotels, restaurants, and other areas such as the Disney cruise ships, and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, located in the Bahamas."

By this definition, all of the things that we took pictures of probably don't qualify.  Actually, some of them aren't even so "hidden" -- but Mickey is everywhere - and it's amazing to see where these Imagineers can put his likeness!

Hidden Mickeys...



Last night - and day of departure, oh how sad we were!
My girl looks like she wants to cry.

We were packed "to the gills."  When it came time to leave the ship and head to the Pop Century Resort, we wore the jeans and jackets that we had traveled in, because there would've been no room in our suitcases for all of that bulky-ness!  Of course, we were a little over-dressed for Florida, but we changed as soon as we got to the resort, and were soon on our way to The Magic Kingdom!

A park brochure in a trimmed 8.5 x 11 page protector.

You can see all of my Project Life posts HERE.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All I Ever Have To Be... what God made me.
Any more or less would be a step out of His plan.

I love these words (adapted) from the song "All I Ever Have To Be" written by Gary Chapman, and sung by Amy Grant.

But, (news flash) I am human -- and in case you haven't recognized it yet today -- SO ARE YOU!  So, if you're like me, you may be thinking:
  • how easy it is for a stay-at-home mom to question those years of staying home, and think only of where her family might be (financially speaking) if she had gone to work.  
  • how easy it is for a relatively new blogger to stare at her stats and wonder if/when she will ever be able to be a money-making blogger, because every penny counts these days.
  • how easy it is for a blog-follower to read all of her favorite blogs, and compare herself to others -- her home to other's homes -- her menu plan to other's menu plans, etc.
  • and, how HARD it is to remember that:

I'm not here to boo-hoo about blog stats or my home.  I blog because I love it, and if God someday provides income because of it, I will thank him for it.  But until then, I plug away, and just share what's on my heart and mind (sort of like this, today).  I also love my home - no complaints there.  But does anyone out there, like me, sometimes just get in a "funk" and feel like you're not really keeping up with those Joneses (sorry Joneses) -- you know those people that we're not supposed to compare ourselves to?  Yes?  No?  

If yes, then you're in good company.  Well, you're in MY company -- you be the judge.

K, so this (remember) is not a boo-hoo post.  It's just a reminder to YOU (yeah, I'm pointing at YOU!) - that all you ever have to be is what God made YOU!  

What if that song said, "All you ever have to be is what God made Matilda!"  (Sorry Matilda, I'm really not trying to pick on anyone today!)  Ladies, do you catch my drift?

If God "checked in" on Google Reader each morning, I wonder if he'd say:

Jill - you go girl!
Donna - right on Target!
Nancy - doing what I urged her to do!
Sally - trying to be someone she is not... sad case.

You are uniquely YOU.
How can you compare that to anyone else?
It's apples to oranges, so to speak.

Go forth,
and be all the YOU
you can be!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Growing Pains

The other day, I spent some time with my two nephews and my niece.  They are each so precious and special to me.  I love zeroing in on things they love, and having good discussions with them.

A few years ago for Christmas, I gave them each a certificate as an invitation to a "make-your-own-pizza party."  What fun we had making pizza creations, and watching movies together.

The next year, I decided to change it up a little, and so we ate "delivery" pizza (specifically, delivered by my sweet hubby), and baked, frosted, and decorated cupcakes for dessert -- and for them to take home.  That was great fun as well.

(Always a "crazy" picture after the serious ones!)

Over dinner the other night, we had a discussion about what our next little party should be.

Last Christmas, my sister had some good gift ideas for each of the kids, so we didn't make party plans.  On Christmas day, there were a few comments from the kids about what our next party would be... the party that didn't happen.  There have been several comments since then as well.  They are always planning... and then mentioning to me what they'd like to do next.

We came to the conclusion that perhaps next we will eat "delivery" pizza, and
bake cookies.  Oh, I could already see the dreaming in their eyes as we imagined what kind of cookies we would bake.  I'm thinking that I know the gift I must give this Christmas, don't you?

Lately, these three kiddos have taken to coming to me with their specific wish lists for birthdays and Christmas.  It makes me so happy that they trust me with these sincere requests, as I want so badly to give them something that they will love.

Yesterday, one nephew was commiserating over how much he wanted a "notebook" like his sister's.  I reminded him that he had a cool game system of his own, and of the "Toy Story 3" game that I gave him for his birthday.  But, what he really wants these days is his very own device for playing "Angry Birds."  I know, because we've had this talk before.

He was very thoughtful, looking off into the distance.  Then he said, "I'm not into those Toy Story characters any more, Aunt Sal."  This was news to me, and sounded like the beginning of an important discussion, so I sat up and listened.  When I expressed surprise at his statement, he said, "I don't like them too much any more because... they..... are cute."  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  He was so thought-FULL and sincere.  But, I could see where he was going with this, so I said, "Sometimes when we grow up, it isn't only our clothes that we outgrow, is it?  Sometimes we outgrow the toys and things that we love the most."  As he fingered a stack of Legos in his hand, I said, "I'll bet you'll never outgrow Legos!  They're great for kids of all ages.  Even Tyler (his much older cousin) still has Legos!  They're great for big kids, too - since they make you use your imagination!"  He thought about that, and seemed relieved to know that even if he felt like he had to give up his Toy Story friends, at least nobody would ask him to give up his Legos.

So now, the pressure is on.  To find something grown up -- but not too grown up. Something special enough to make my sweet nephew feel as if he has "arrived."  His birthday is in November.  I'm going to start looking now.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Humble Flying Lessons

Wednesday night will be the last night of a part-time job that I've held at our church for the past seven years.  Back in 2005, I took the job as a coordinator of our church's mid-week program for girls in grades 1-6.

When I accepted the job, I assumed that I'd be leading girls.

What I learned along the way was that I was also leading women.

Either way, I never thought that I'd be helping anyone to "soar."  So, imagine my surprise when I received this beautiful scarf (below) with a sweet sentiment that took my breath away!

What an honor and privilege it has been for me to learn to soar right along side these lovely women and girls!  During the journey, I have learned that I can tackle things that are bigger than myself -- because none of it is bigger than my God.

I'm grateful for whatever work God did in my heart that made me say yes to this job -- so that I could experience the joy of being a part of so many amazing families and lives, and ...learn to soar.

This week, I'll be cleaning out my desk, turning in my nametag and church keys  -- and praying about what God has for me next.

Never underestimate what God can do when you are willing
to take a step of faith outside of your comfort zone.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Here I sit, a hot cup of tea held on my lap.  Morning.

Morning used to be the enemy.

I am, by my very nature, a night-owl.  Grandparents, my dad, me, and now my daughter too.  Night owls.  Morning doesn't come quite so easily for us.

But, for me, the shift came last fall, when our son started school.  You've heard me tell it before.  And now -- morning isn't quite so hard.  In fact, my favorite weekdays are when my guys head out EARLY, my daughter is still sleeping, and I get the morning to myself.

I love the quiet of the house.  I love to sit here at my desk, the refrigerator running next to me.  Clock ticking on the wall.  The rest of the world, silent.

What's your favorite time of day?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Love Note

a little love note (strategically placed)
is just what you need
to get you through the day.

(on a dresser)

(in a notebook)

Someone in our house definitely has a gift for encouragement, and a sixth sense when it comes to knowing exactly when you need it.  The note below was left on a bedroom door.  It's been there for months.  The inhabitant would no doubt tell you that they were just too lazy to remove it...  But, I think the truth is that we can ALL use a little encouragement now and then, can't we?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Floral Note Cards

If you were going to create a set of notecards using only photos from your blog, what photos would you choose?

This time, I went floral all the way.  I love taking pictures of flowers.  They are most usually well-behaved, you don't have to tell them to be still (except on very windy days like today), and there are no tongues sticking out, or "peace" fingers behind heads.  Below are four photos previously used on my blog.  If you click on each photo, you'll find they are linked to their original posts.

Check out my FIRST series of notecards HERE.

Linking up with:
A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Project Life Update 4.17

A quick re-do.
I subtracted a "Mickey" and added "The High"
--direct quotes from my daughter about her para-sailing experience.

Glad I had a duplicate of "The High"
so I could add my son's thoughts as well.
I thought I would use the 6x12 pages for longer stories,
but since I ended up with so much room for journaling,
I've used the 6x12's more for larger items
... in this case a receipt.

and behind that receipt?
"Stars red hot" lace cardstock from ki memories.  I found this the other day at JoAnn's, and grabbed it on a whim to fill in some empty spaces.

More scenes from Disney's private island: Castaway Cay.

Pictures of the Grand Lobby of The Disney Wonder -- all decorated for Christmas.
Notice that this journaling is typed... I did a little research on the ship, and wanted to include some facts I found.  I typed this info up on the computer and sized it to fit in the journaling spots.  By typing, I could include a lot more information in the same amount of space.  On the right -- I wanted to include a vertical photo
of the "Ariel" sculpture in the lobby.

And behind Ariel...  This is not a good shot, but just wanted to share this idea...
In hunting around on the internet, I found all of this factual information about The Disney Wonder.  I thought it would be fun to include in my album -- so I copied and pasted until I had something that would work.

More photos of the lobby...

Animator's Palate Anniversary Dinner- & a saved kids' menu.

5 x 10 = 50 years!

Everything at Animator's Palate went from black & white to full color - including the servers uniforms!

Are you weary of the cruise ship pics yet?
There are only a few more pages of those that I need to finish up,
and then it's off to The Magic Kingdom!

Stay tuned!
Lots more to come... a little more cruise,
some WDW, and Epcot too!

You can see all of my Project Life posts HERE.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Randomness 4.16

Early on Saturday, I walked to the hair salon that is down at the end of our little street.  It's a convenient walk, and only $10, so it's our new go-to place for haircuts.  However, it's a one-man band -- or a one-lady band, as the case may be -- and the lady wasn't in.  She was out with a friend, the shop-sitter told me.  So, it was two more days of muddling through with this hair that grew long-ish and unmanageable overnight.  You know how it is?  One day it looks great, and the next day... not so much.  Guess where I'll be headed early on Monday?

Also on Saturday, I went to the grocery store pharmacy to pick up a box of generic allergy medication.  In less than 15 days (since I bought the last box), the price has gone up $1.  It's still a tremendous deal, but... wow, slow down on the price increases already!

I'll bet you think I've forgotten about Project Life Disney, right?  Not so.  For a few days it was too overcast to take good pictures of my pages, and then when it was bright and sunny, I didn't have time.  Don't worry.  More pages are coming soon.

On Sunday, we attended "calling hours" for a friend who was a retired firefighter. Suspended from a firetruck ladder (and over the funeral home's driveway) was a huge American flag (I wish I had taken a photo!)  An honor guard was posted at the casket, and firemen were everywhere within the funeral home.  It was quite something.  Besides the awesomeness of camaraderie, teamwork, and brotherhood, what an awesome thing to give 31 years of your life to such a profession!  If you're like me, you can't imagine what motivates people to take these types of dangerous jobs.  But I am ever appreciative!

A picture of a pretty scene --taken on the front porch of an Amish country shop a few weeks ago:

This next one isn't particularly pretty,  but I snapped it for the sign.  This was outside of a antique store -- which was closed for the day.

There were all kinds of goodies at this place.

Vee's first Note Card Party was a success, so now, she'll have one on the third Wednesday of every month.  I joined the first one HERE, and am thinking about gathering a group of photos for this month.  (That's coming up this week on Wednesday!)  If you have a set of photos to share, considering joining the party.  Find out more HERE.

A Haven for Vee

Recently, my teenage son fell asleep while we drove a long ways home in the car.  Knowing he was tired, we let him sleep in the car when we arrived at home.  A short while later, he walked in the house saying sadly, "When I was little, I would fall asleep in the car, and wake up in my bed.  NOW, I fall asleep in the car, and wake up... in the car."  (I think I just heard some of you go, "awww...!")

Here's a great Corrie Ten Boom quote that I've seen a few places lately:  "When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off.  You sit still and trust the engineer."  How quick we are to stop trusting when things don't go our way!   -- but God's plan is always better!

On that note, Happy Monday.
Hope you have a great week!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Scripture and a Snapshot 4.15

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

♪♫  ♫♪

Oh, precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know,
nothing but the blood of Jesus.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I've been more than a little distracted this week.

I attended calling hours, and the funeral of the dear father of a family of friends that I grew up with.  Between my sister and I and these 5 friends, we covered lots of years in the church youth group.  We have - all of us -  experienced joy and happiness, trials and tribulations -- expected and unplanned.  And then this.  The unthinkable loss of a parent.  The reunion of friends because of such a sad event.  The (somewhat surprisingly) sameness of depth of caring and protective feelings for these friends -- even though life and time have separated us.  It's kind of amazingly wonderful and sad at the same time.

Wonderful to know that even after so much time has separated us, that we greet one another as if it was just yesterday.

Sad because... so much has changed...  Looking back, the friendships that we (in youthful fancy) thought would be part of our lives forever, did not end up that way.  Life took us all in different directions.

I'm mourning that a little today.  Sounds a little pitiful, I know.

No regrets.  Just a little melancholy reflection, and lots of good memories.

Do you ever have days like that?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Garden Fairies

Back in the fall, we visited one of our local garden centers. They had this beautiful fairy village display set up. I couldn't resist trying to get a few shots. I'm not a huge fan of fairies or anything (unless they will WEED for me), but I loved the beautiful garden arrangements, stone walls, thatched houses, and the incorporation of living things into this display.

Are you feeling inspired for spring?

Around here, we had our share of eighty degree days early-on, and then it was back to forties and fifties, and a few sixties.  I can't complain, though - we really have had beautiful weather.  It's just the "back-tracking" in temperatures that's been a little hard to take this year.  As soon as I say that too loud, people are glad to remind me that I live in OHIO, and I should be USED TO waiting a minute to see the weather change.

Ahh, well.  Some things you just never get used to.

Those eighty-degree days brought early blooms, and EARLY WEEDS.  Typically, springtime doesn't begin with quite so much weeding around here (not one of my favorite chores, can you tell?)

But, I have been pulling weeds here and there, and I have to tell you -- we have a new weed in our yard this year.  It's showing up all over the yard, and I'm wondering if anyone else has encountered it.  It's very distinct, in that, when you grab it to yank it out, little things FLY at you.  At first, I thought it was bugs.  However, they fly, fall, and disappear -- and you can't see any movement.  So, I think it's tiny seeds that are flying.  And they really are FLYing. It's kind of startling -- especially when I first thought it was BUGS.

It's kind of a tallish weed, with spiky leaves (similar to rosemary).  It started off green, of course, and has since turned a little purple-ish.  Oy.  Something tells me we're going to be seeing a lot of each other this summer.

What's your favorite outdoor chore? (Me?  Planning and planting - both of which we do by the seat of our pants around here.  We certainly do NOT  stick to any hard-and-fast gardening rules.  Anything goes - and we do NOT fertilize or baby things around here. It's sort of every plant for itself, and then we applaud the winners.  The real winners are the ones that come back year after year with out being asked.)

...and your least favorite?  (ummm, HELLO?  Did you hear me say weeding? *wink*)

I think we can all probably agree on the best reward!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Adventuring ~ Squire's Castle

Recently, we had an interesting adventure.  Our destination?

The North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks in Willoughby Hills -- and Squire's Castle. Meant "only" as a gatehouse, Squire's Castle was built in the 1890's by Cleveland oil pioneer Feargus B. Squire.  His intention was to live in the gatehouse while plans were made to build a large country home behind it.  However, the estate was never completed, and the gatehouse was abandoned.

Why, you ask?

Well, there are all kinds of angles on the story.  Most of them urban legend.  I poked around on the internet, and found enough versions of the story to make your head spin.

Squire's Castle

Squire's Castle

Squire's Castle

Some stories tell of Mrs. Squire dying an untimely death in this very house.
Consequently, there are also reports that a woman has been seen
in the upstairs window at night
-- sometimes holding a lantern, as apparently was Mrs. Squire's custom.

Squire's Castle

Oh, now - don't think I've gone all wacko.
There is nothing sinister about this place, and I don't subscribe to such things anyway.
I just tripped over all of this information as I was trying to find directions to the place.
Some people might say: "TMI!"
(too much information) 

Squire's Castle

In it's day, Squire's Castle was apparently quite elegant!  It's design was similar to English castles, as Squire was of English heritage.  The "castle" had several bedrooms, living areas, a large kitchen, and a breakfast porch.  The rooms had plaster walls, elegant carved woodwork, and leaded glass windows.  One of the most beautiful rooms was Squire's library or "hunting room."  It was filled with books, trophy cabinets, stuffed animal specimens, and paintings.  Now, the whole house is just a shell -- and open to the elements.

Squire's Castle

I'm not a real history buff by any means,
but I do love hearing the history of a place
-- even if it's not all 100% true.

Squire's Castle

Squire's Castle

For more information, all you have to do is Google "Squire's Castle."  There are also a lot of great images on Google.  (Looks like the area is beautiful in the fall!)  I found a lot of information HERE.

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