Saturday, February 28, 2009

This is what scrapbooking is really all about for me. What better way to remember a person and to work out some of your feelings than to engage your emotions with the creative process? It helps.

And today is the last day of Feburary. Wow. The sun is shining madly. The temps are up and down. My urges to get outside and clean my house (obviously not at the same time) are beginning to rise up from within. My mom is home - hopefully forEVER and there is hope in the world. There is hope in the reality that spring IS coming.

I know it doesn't feel that way for some. I wish I could take away pain and make it all better. But, that very pain can be a vehicle that will take us to unknown - and sometimes better - places. Hopefully, better places. Not better because a horrible thing happened. But better, because we become better in an effort to honor the one we have lost.

I almost feel guilty about the joy I feel that I get to enjoy my family this weekend. Eva is coming today. M & M are coming, too - a rare (anymore) Saturday visit. And I'm hoping D & E can come for a visit tomorrow afternoon. But this IS how I want to be better. I want to love them all I can and as fully as I can, whenever I can.

Monday, February 23, 2009

There is death. And then there is new life. And this is my newest little "great"-neice - Ava. She was born on February 9th to my nephew Kevin (Richard's brother) and his beautiful wife Ann. She is precious and pink and soooo sweet, isn't she? :)

And, so, life goes on. Sometimes it just doesn't feel right to laugh or be happy or even return to a normal routine. But Richard would never want anyone to stop living their lives. In fact, he would be honored if we would live our lives to the fullest. And so, we are slowly stepping back into our regular schedules and routines.

It did really feel good to get back to my quiet time this morning, reading God's word and praying - and listening.

We went to see the Newsboys in Williamsport last night. It was good. Dang, it was loud. But it also just renewed in me again these urges that I've been having to do something meaningful with my life. I am so burdened to go to Africa and somehow do something for the orphans or the impoverished. Not because it's trendy. I mean, my heart is really, really broken for them and I want to do SOMEthing. I've always wanted to go to Africa. Like, my whole life. I wanted to see the wildlife. Maybe that urge has been, all this time, propelling me towards this desire that I've been feeling. I look at my own life and the waste is almost disgusting. The things we spend $$$ on, the material wealth that we have - and for what? For purely selfish reasons.

And, honestly, there is some selfishness in my desire to go to Africa. Because I know it would be an incredible blessing to ME as well... Something is stirring in me. We have $$$ saved for a big vacation this year. And I asked Chris last night to considering holding onto that $$$ and add to it with the goal of going on a missions trip to Africa next year. I know that kind of trip would be very costly and, really, we're almost there if we don't go to Ireland or Nova Scotia instead. Sure, it would be nice to go to those places and visit lovely hotels or vistas and eat out every night and loll around. But think of what GOOD we might be able to do if we re-purposed our trip and made it valuable to someone else besides ourselves. Not that vacations are a bad thing. They're so not. But, honestly, I haven't really felt an excitement, a passion for going to Nova Scotia or even back to Ireland - not like I did the first time we went. But to go to Africa? I want to go so badly it brings tears to my eyes. I know Chris doesn't share the same burden. And it's not just up to me to decide what we do with our vacay $$$. But, Africa is where my heart is. We'll see.

But, even if we don't go there, I still feel like we live to much for ourselves. I still think we could take some of the $$$ that we spend on going out to eat and purposefully spend it on reducing hunger somewhere else - even in our own backyard, so to speak. We do support two children and their families - one in Jordan and one in Mozambique. And I don't take that lightly. But I think we can do more.

I'm not going to make radical changes overnight. This is something that has been creeping up on me over the past year or so. I want to be wise about it - not fanatical. We will investigate. I will start praying that God will make it clear to us just what to do. And I will not ignore those opportunities he puts right in front of us - something no one should ever ignore! I do believe that is one of the ways He leads us and so often we just ignore it.

So, I'm opening my eyes, bit by bit, beyond myself. And I will be excited to see what God will do...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In sweet memory of
Richard Thomas Bower
1-26-76 - 2-14-09

We weren't ready to let him go. It's so hard to find the words to express my feelings after this tragic loss. We've grown up with Richard and our families have meshed into one over the years. So it is no small thing to now have this gaping, raw hole ripped into the tapestry that was our happy, blessed lives. Richard. Such a sweet soul. Like a teddy bear poured into a grizzly adams suit. With a definite thread of mischievousness running through him for sure, at the same time, you couldn't find a more gentle, humble soul. He will be so greatly missed.

Friday, February 13, 2009

There's my digi layout for One Little Word (link at the right). (For the credits, click here and then scroll down.)

We're headed out the door in just a minute to the Philly area for a Scottish-Celtic music festival. Our friends, David and Teresa are going with us, so that will be really fun to share the whole experience - which we love - with someone else! All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go, but I'm sitting here in front of the computer!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

(Click on image to see it larger)

Over at SIStv this week, we are spreading some Valentine's Day Love. So, to honor the lovely artist that I chose for the catwalk this week (HelpMeRonda), I lifted the layout of hers that I chose. You can see it here. And that's my "lift", up there. I LOVE how it turned out. It was so fun to do, because I was so inspired by everything in her layout - the design and all the different patterned papers, the gray background, the border and her words "inseperable bond". I immediately thought of Eva and Chris because, truly, when they're together, they are inseperable!

Ironically, I've been thinking about attaching myself to an online challenge that I can do digitally. Because, as I was uploading all my 2008 digi layouts for printing into a book, I realized that many of those pages were a result of a regular challenge I was doing. I really like challenges. They're like a jump-start. And I really want to keep going with my digital scrapbooking. So, one that I've seen a lot over at SIStv (or at least, the results of) is One Little Word. And, the irony is that Ronda, whose layout I lifted, above, is on the creative team for the challenge blog! Cool! And this one is done bi-weekly, so it won't be too difficult to participate. So, I'm excited to be jumping in to One Little Word. I've added a link over -----> there, for convenience sake. Check it out! :)

Now, though, because for some odd reason, my left thumb began killing me yesterday, I'm going to go take some Ibuprofen and sit down and read. Typing seems to be making it hurt more. Scrapping is out of the question - I can barely move it! It's a good thing I'm going away this weekend, so I can rest it! Geesh.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wow. February is here and I'm just now finding time this week to blog a little.

That's an Artist's Trading Card (ATC) that I made, up there. I'm going to do one a week for the year again. I love doing them. And I used the new collection over at SIStv, on sale now. It's called Winter Detox - the Retro Modern collection and can be purchased here. I love all the bright colors featured on SIStv's own "Modsheets". Very cool.

I woke up this morning and it was 0 degrees. Yikes. And that's after the icicles were dripping away in the almost 40-degree temps just last week. Well those are returning this weekend and I, for one, will welcome them. I'm just a little tired of this cold weather. I know previous Arizonians, Martha and Matthew are, too. February seems to be winter's last hurrah, and then March -even though the temps can be up and done - is just full of the hope of spring. To me, March IS the beginning of spring. And, well, meteorologically speaking, it IS the beginning of spring! I'm going to try not to set my mind on it too much at this point.

I just got off the phone with my mom who had to go back to skilled nursing this past week (it's a long story) mainly due to having pneumonia. But, she had a new x-ray today and it is gone! She's still coughing, but her lungs are clear and that is such good news.

I just had the weirdest thing happen. I tried to call my mom because I wanted to see about her x-ray, but she didn't answer her cell phone in her room. So, I called Gail, one of Mom's SES gals - and also a friend to me - to find out any news. So, anyway, in the midst of my conversation with her it sounded like someone picked up a phone extension and I heard - distinctly - my mom call my name. It was definitely her voice. It gave me goosebumps all over and completely made me tear up (like I was gonna cry) just because it was so freaky and REAL. I've never had an experience like that before. I hung up with Gail right away and called Mom. And she answered the phone right away. I didn't say anything to her about the experience. I didn't want to confuse her. And I figured if she had just tried to call me or something, she would have said so.

So - what in the HECK was that??? It was WEIRD!

Well, I'm feeling a strong urge to go curl up on the couch and read my book for a while. Wait! I just heard my book call my name! Heh. Just kidding.... But I'm off!