Creativity Challenge Update

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Wow! It’s a little embarrassing that I haven’t updated my Weekly Creativity Challenge for 3 months! It’s not that I haven’t been creative; it simply is that my blog took a backseat to school, my online classes, my CTMH club, and my sick kitties. I’m on winter break now, so I’m going to get back into the swing of posting.

9/20-26 ~ Complete the Telling Stories Deeply and the Learn Something New Every Day class prompts. Create digi LOs for Learn Something New.
Although I didn’t do any of the Telling Stories lessons, I did manage 10 digi LOs for Learn Something New. I also went on a bit of a digi shopping spree. I’m technically not a digital scrapbooker, but I have purchased a ton of digi elements, papers, PDF files, Etc. over the past few months. Not really sure what that is all about other than the fact that most of the items are $.25 at Designer Digitals…LOL!

Blog ~ Post digi LOs. Blog “The Great Escape” story!
How is it possible that I STILL haven’t written about “The Great Escape”? Seriously!

CTMH ~ Finish card kit and Twitterpated WOTG.
I finished ½ the card kit and both Twitterpated LOs. I am absolutely in LOVE with those LOs and will post them during break!


The Passing of Jim Rohn

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My sister called me today to let me know that Jim Rohn passed away. We met him several times at Herbalife conventions in the early 90s. I was always so inspired after listening to Rohn speak. During Shimelle’s Learn Something New Every Day 2006 workshop, I created this page as a reminder to myself to make healthy choices. “We must all suffer from one of two pains; the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” His words of wisdom helped me get back into exercising; I eventually lost 45 pounds! I feel very fortunate to have met him in person and send my heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.


I’m shocked!

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I have to tell you, I am absolutely shocked right now; so much so that I’m posting a quick blog during lunch at work…I never do that! I just discovered that I won 2nd place in the August CTMH “Make it from Your Heart” Contest for the “Trick or Treat” card I submitted to a swap. I love this card, but I NEVER would have sent it in on my own. I’m very thankful that my friend, Sue Laufer, asked for an extra set of cards to enter into the contest. Now I have $50 in select product credit to spend…woo hoo!


Learn Something New Day 10

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I really wanted to get caught up on my digi LOs today, but this was all I was able to finish. I need to spend the rest of the evening exercising and grading papers…fun times!

I rotated the designerdigitals.com template I used yesterday since this LO will be on the facing page. I also included a free pocket from their What’s in Your Pocket challenge. I had to reduce the pocket a great deal since the photo of my card had been saved for the internet. That pocket is such a clever design. I can’t wait to print out my book when I’m done and see how it looks on the page.


Learn Something New Days 7-9

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I saw a news segment on the 7th about a woman who reinvented herself by publishing her first novel at 45. I need to reconnect with myself as a writer. Neal and I have spent the past week brainstorming story ideas, and I’m getting really excited about writing again! Learn Something New Every Day is motivating me to write in my journal daily, but I haven’t started writing any fiction yet. Perhaps that will be my goal in October after this class is over.
On the 8th, I rediscovered that, in the greater scheme of life, true friendship matters most! I may not get to see Karen or my few close friends very often, but they are always in my heart. I’m so blessed to have such wonderful women in my life! Neal took this photo at our house during a scrapbooking crop the day after my birthday. It is one of my all-time favorites!
I purchased this template from Digital Designs for $.25 today! I would love to get the entire series of templates, but I can’t justify the expense since I’m not really a digital scrapbooker. I guess I’ll just keep watching for sales.

These are some self-portraits after my first day of school on the 9th. As I was driving home, I was thinking about the fact that I had a cute new outfit for the first day and no one to take my photo. Well, I wasn’t going to let that stop me. LOL! The mirror photo is blurry, but you can still see my cute Eddie Bauer outfit. I’m determined to look more professional this year as I work toward my CTE certification. I have a feeling that Neal is going to be shocked by my clothing purchases this year!


Creativity Challenge Update

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I haven’t been online much over the past couple of weeks due to the start of the new school year and Neal’s challenging me to stay off my computer! I must admit that I felt a little lost on the days that I didn’t turn on my computer. I’m hopelessly addicted; sad but true! What I have determined is that there is no way I can go without a computer two days during the week–I’m okay with one. On the other days, I simply must force myself to use my time more wisely (e.g. limit the amount of time I spend surfing blogs!).

9/6-12 ~ Complete the Telling Stories Deeply and the Learn Something New Every Day class prompts. Create digi LOs for Learn Something New.
I’ve managed to copy and print all the Telling Stories lessons, but I haven’t written anything yet. I have written in my LSNED journal daily and have completed LOs through the 9th. I’m 10 LOs behind, so I need to increase my speed…story of my life. I’m the slowest scrapbooker EVER!

Blog ~ Post digi LOs. Blog “The Great Escape” story!
Digi, yes. Great Escape, no. I really do want to tell that story!

CTMH ~ Set up new club and place order. Send e-mail to change open house date.
Done and done! My club meets on the 28th and we are completing the September Card Kit; it is so cute!


Learn Something New Days 3-6

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Shimelle’s prompt was about what we can learn from our feet. It amazes me how right on target her prompts always seem to be with my life. For instance, Neal and I were watching football and one of the players was carted off with a foot sprain. I was thinking to myself how horrible it would be in everyday life let alone as an athlete, and then I open a prompt about feet! My lesson came this summer when Neal and I hiked up Multnomah Falls. During the entire 4 mile hike, I didn’t experience any pain until we were on the way DOWN…my feet were killing me!

Sadly enough, I continue to waste time on the computer. When I first took this class, I ended up with 6 pages about getting off the computer and spending time exercising, enjoying nature or doing something productive. Three years later, I’m still giving myself the same advice…I see a problem here! Neal has challenged me to leave my computer off on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I will still have to use the computer at school, but those evenings at home will be spent reading, crafting, Etc. I’m going to try to start tomorrow if I can finish all my school work at school. Wish me luck!

Neal got a little annoyed with me the other night. After exercising, I said I was going to take a quick shower. Well, our versions of quick showers don’t exactly match, and he had to come up and tell me to hurry because dinner was ready. It’s a good thing he loves me!

Side note: I am using much more white space on these digi LOs than I do when working traditionally. It is very strange for me. It will be interesting to see how I feel about the pages when they are printed and in a book.

I had such a busy summer with my online course, travels, and CTMH events that I never started a “To Do” list. Now the summer is over and I realize that I didn’t accomplish much around the house. Oh, sure, I did a little cleaning, but I didn’t do any big projects. Now I’m back to life as a busy English teacher and will be swamped with grading and meetings. Hopefully my computer ban on Tuesday and Thursdays will motivate me, but I still need to make a list!


Learn Something New Every Day

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Shimelle’s Learn Something New Every Day class started again on September 1st. I first signed up for this class in September of 2006. That was an incredibly eventful month in my life, and I’m so thankful I was taking her course, because I journaled every day. I didn’t, however, finish my daily pages. In fact, I completed the book during Lain’s Layout a Day Challenge in May…of THIS year! Yikes! So, my goal for this year is to journal daily and finish my book by early October. I came to the realization last night that I simply don’t have time for traditional scrapbooking, so I’m going to go digi for this project. It isn’t my first choice, but it is far more realistic at this moment in time. Plus, Shimelle has included some great digi downloads for this class, including PDF files for the LOs. That is going to save me a lot of time.

After taking Photo Editing: Frame-ups and Special Effects from Jessica Sprague, I got pretty excited about playing around in Photoshop. In fact, I’ve downloaded a bunch of free digital designs and have even purchased a digital kit and some embellishments. Now, mind you, I’ve only ever created two digital LOs in my life! LOL! So, I’m going to use the Learn Something New class to work on my journaling and to hone my digital skills. I’ll stick with Shimelle’s LOs for the first couple of weeks since school is starting, but then I may try to come up with my own designs.

To save myself some time, I’m using the Ana Reis Designs “I Heart You” kit. I purchased both the paper and embellishment kits because I loved the doodle hearts.

My first page deals with the presentation I gave to our staff about metacognition. I felt good about the presentation but didn’t think it was amazing. Throughout the day I was given a lot of positive feedback. My colleagues made me realize that I do a good job and that I should have more confidence. I’m using a horrible photo from a Web 2.0 presentation I gave at a business education conference in May. Yeah…people should NEVER be photographed while they are speaking!

My learning continued at our school district teacher training on the 2nd. I co-presented a workshop on lesson planning using Project CRISS and then went to a workshop about ways students hook us into power struggles. The presenter talked about being intentional in our emotional lives. Negative thoughts impact everything we do even if we don’t say them out loud. This made me think about my health and approaching it from a positive POV (e.g. I’m not trying to lose weight, I’m gaining muscle, tone, and a firm core!).

This is a photo from my classroom in May. The presenter also talked about seeing your most difficult student as your greatest teacher in living an emotionally intentional life. Brilliant!


Creativity Challenge Update

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I have been MIA the past few weeks, because as soon as I finished my online CTE course, I had to start gearing up for the three presentations I gave last week. I didn’t get any of my own school work done, so I’m going to have to work very hard in my classroom tomorrow! I decided to use today to get caught up on some of my creative projects.

8/9-15 ~ As I really want to take the Telling Stories Deeply class at BPS, I need to complete my unfinished classes before I enroll for another class. So, I’m going to work on my 52 Card Pick Up class this week. My goal is 2 cards per day starting on Monday.
I didn’t look at my 52 Card Pick Up class once, but I did sign up for Telling Stories Deeply. I have done nothing with that class since I have been so busy these past couple of weeks. I need to add it to my challenge list for this week.

Blog ~ Post my LOs from Kyle’s visit and my two cards each day. Blog “The Great Escape” story!
I did post the LOs from Kyle’s visit, but I still need to work on “The Great Escape” story. Hmm…I’m sensing an opportunity to double dip with my Telling Stories Deeply class!

CTMH ~ Advertise and prepare for my Christmas card workshop; finish my Leadership projects; complete my card swaps. Yikes! It’s a good thing I’m still on summer vacation.
I finished my card swaps and Christmas card workshop. I still need to finish the Leadership projects.


His name was James

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I fought tears most of the way home from Safeway this afternoon, but soon the emotion overwhelmed me and bitter tears poured down my face. Neal asked me what was wrong, and it took me some time to compose myself. What was wrong? What was at the core of this despair?

I hadn’t noticed the signs or balloons on our way to the store. It wasn’t until we were leaving the parking lot that I noticed the makeshift memorial where we usually saw an older man sitting on an upturned bucket. The bucket was there, but the man was not. In his place stood a sign that read, “His name was James.” Bouquets of flowers were taped to the stop sign. I blurted out, “Oh, that man died.” That man died. James. I didn’t know him. In fact, if truth be told, I never bothered thinking about him more than the moment we drove by him as we left Safeway each week.

I do remember some specific moments such as the time his plumbers crack was showing. We laughed about it. I remember a couple times I was alone and I wondered if I had any granola bars or bottled water to give him. I never stopped. I certainly never stopped to ask his name or learn his story. I would drive on by and he would slip from my memory, but not today. Not today! Today I am consumed with the fact that I never once wondered about him other than why he was begging. Today I am wondering how I have become so judgmental and uncaring. Am I not an accident or debilitating illness away from needing a helping hand? What happened to the me that used to care so much about people that my heart broke when I saw someone begging by the side of the road?

And there’s my answer. My heart broke. My heart broke, and instead of allowing it to mend whole and fragile, I forced it to harden. Luckily, I’m not so bad that I’m hard hearted, but I certainly am not the me that used to volunteer at Camp Easter Seal or for the nursing home. I think I became so tired of being hurt and feeling pain, I simply stopped putting myself in situations that would break my heart.
When I was explaining all this to Neal, I was reminded of Julie’s article in the T-Bird Splat (my school newsletter). She wrote about a revelation she had during a 4Ps presentation. She became painfully aware that this boy sat through her class the previous year, and she never really knew the struggles he was facing on a daily basis. Her advice to us is that “kids won’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” It sounds so cliché, but the truth of her words slapped me in the face.

Passion has been missing in my life for quite some time. I’ve felt moments of depression, and I really couldn’t figure out why. I’m more fit and healthy than I have been since college. I teach at a great school and have incredible friends. I get to scrapbook during my free time and share my love of the art with others by leading workshops. I’m married to my best friend and have an amazing marriage! So, why do I feel empty?

I think James gave me my answer today. I have not been feeding my soul for a very long time. I allowed a wall to keep me from being hurt, but it caused more damage than I could have imagined.

I’m a scapbooker and an English teacher. I love stories! Not simply my own stories, but the stories of those around me. I want to know what makes people tick, and how someone like James ended up on the corner of the Safeway parking lot.

I need to feed my soul by helping others. For years, I have used the excuse that I’m a teacher; that’s my volunteer time, but I know I can do better than that. Plus, if that is going to count as volunteer time, then I better do far more for my students than I have been over the past couple of years! Now, I will say that the closest I have come in a long time to feeling like I was making a difference was this time last year. It was right after the Close To My Heart convention in Florida. Jeanette Lynton gave a moving speech as she introduced William and Kathleen Magee, the co-founders of Operation Smile. She explained that she was so touched by the work that Operation Smile is doing for children around the world that OS is becoming CTMH’s exclusive charity. Shortly after convention, we were able to offer the From Me To You card kits for a $10 donation to Operation Smile; I was able to raise over $130! I was only $110 away from providing an operation for a child. It only costs $240, takes 45 minutes, and changes their lives forever! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to earn the other $110, but I’m done focusing on my failings in the past and am going to look to the future.

So, what is my why? I want to bring smiles to the faces of those I meet and allow their joy to make me smile! As a teacher, I will do this by showing my students that I truly care. I want to know their stories and help them succeed in the classroom and beyond. As a friend, I will do this by staying in better contact with the people I love. I make tons of cards as a scrapbooker…I’m going to start sending them! As a wife, I will remind Neal daily of the difference he makes in my life. He is my everything, and I am not going to let him forget it. As a CTMH consultant, I will teach workshops and help my customers gain confidence in creating beautiful art to chronicle their memories. I will work to raise money for Operation Smile so that I can put a smile on the face of a child who may have only known pain and misery. I will live my life with passion, because I am beyond blessed!

I will remember that his name was James, and I will smile!


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