Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where were you? Part 2

Where Were You
~ Alan Jackson ~

Where were you when the world stopped turnin' that September day?
Out in the yard with your wife and children, or working on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Rising against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger in fear for your neighbor,
Or did you just sit down and cry?

Did you weep for the children who lost their dear parents?
Did you weep for the ones who don't know?
Did you rejoice for the ones who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who dies just doin' what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of sign
And look at yourself for what really matters?

I'm just a singer of simple songs,
I'm not a real political man.
I watch CNN but I don't think I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran.
But I know Jesus and I talk to God,
And I remember this from when I was young:
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us,
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turning' that September day?
Teaching a class full of innocent children; driving down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty 'cause you're a survivor;
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?

Did you open up your eyes, hope it never happened?
Did you close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages,
Or speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow?
Did you go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off the violent ild movie you're watchin'
And turn on "I Love Lucy" re-runs?

Did you go to a church, hold hands with some strangers?
Did you stand in line to give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
And thank God you had someone to love?

I'm just a singer of simple songs,
I'm not a real political man.
I watch CNN but I don't think I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran.
But I know Jesus and I talk to God,
And I remember this from when I was young:
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us,
And the greatest is love.

I'm just a singer of simple songs,
I'm not a real political man.
I watch CNN but I don't think I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran.
But I know Jesus and I talk to God,
And I remember this from when I was young:
Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us,
And the greatest is love.

Where were you when the world stopped turnin' that September day?

Where were you?

On September 11, 2001 two planes hit each of the towers of the World Trade Center.  A third crashed into the Pentagon.  And a fourth was driven to the ground in a field in Pennsylvania by the brave men and women aboard, determined that their plane would not become another instrument of death.  Thousands of lives were lost.  And our would was changed forever.

Today we remember those awful moments when we first heard about what happened in New York, in Washington and in Pennsylvania.  We grieve for those who were called home far before their time.  We celebrate the heroes that emerged, the people who gave up their own lives so that another family wouldn't lose their loved one.  We thank those who answered the call of their country and went to fight for freedom of our world.  And we say to those enemies of peace "WE ARE NOT AFRAID!"

The following is an original poem, author unknown, that was posted on an online journal-keeping group I belonged to slightly less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.  To the men, women and children who lost their lives that day, and to all those who have lost their lives since fighting for peace and freedom, this is dedicated.

Two thousand one, nine eleven,
Five thousand plus arrive in heaven.
As they pas through the gate,
Thousands more appear in wait.

A bearded man with stovepipie hat
Steps forward saying,
Let's sit, let's chat."

They settle down in seats of clouds.
A man named Martin shouts out proud,
"I have a dream!" and once he did.
The Newcomer says "Your dream still lives".

Groups of soldiers in blue and gray,
Others in khaki and green then say,
"We're from Bull Run, Yorktown, the Maine."
The Newcomer says "You died not in vain."

From a man on sticks one could hear,
"The only thing we have to fear..."
The Newcomer says "We know the rest.
Trust us, sir, we've passed that test."

"Courage doesn't hide in caves.
You can't bury freedom in a cave."
The Newcomer had heard this voice before,
A distinct Yankees twangs from Hyannisport shores.

A silence fell within the mist.
Somehow the Newcomer knew that this
Meant time had come for her to say
What was in the hears of five thousand plus that day.

"Back on Earth we wrote reports,
Watched our children play in sport,
Worked our gardens, sang our songs,
Went to church and clipped coupons.

"We smiled, we laughed,we cried we fought.
Unlike you, great we're not."

The tall man in the stovepipe hat
Stood and said "Don't talk like that!"
"Look at your country, look and see
You died for freedome just like me."

Then before them all appeared a scene
Of rubbled streets and twisted beams.
Death, destruction, smoke and dust,
And people working just 'cause they must.

Hauling ash, lifting stones,
Knee deep in Hell but not alone.

"Look! Blackman, Whiteman, Brownman, Yellowman.
Side by side helping their fellow man!"
So said Martin as he watched the scene.
"Even from nightmares can be born a dream."

Down below three fireman raised
The colors high into ashen haze.
The soldiers above had seen it before
On Iwo Jima in '44.

The man on sticks studied everything closely
Then shared his perceptions on what he saw mostly.
"I see pain, I see tears,
I see sorrow - but I do not see fear.

You left behind husbands and wives,
Daughters and sons and so many lives
Are suffering now because of this wrong,
But look very closely - you're not really gone.

All of those people, even those who've never met you,
All of their lives, they'll never forget you.
Don't you see what has happened? Don't you see what you've done?
You've brought them together, together as one."

With that the man in the stovepipe hat said
"Take my hand," and from there he led,
five thousand plus heroes, newcomers to Heaven,
On this day two thousand one, nine eleven.

God bless America
Until next time,

Monday, September 5, 2011

But Mommy, I wanted a pony!

Alright, so if Sarah could have told me what she wanted for her birthday it probably wouldn't have been a pony.  But I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been a baby sister either! But that's what my mom got her - a six week-old Shih Tzu puppy.  Meet Molly:

Is she not the cutest thing you've ever seen? And she's not only cute, but smart and brave too! She's already figured out the pet door, and today she followed Sarah down the bank to the carport.  Sarah and Nicky aren't crazy about her at all, but I think given time they will warm up to her.

Until next time,

Two More Finished Projects!!

As per a previous post, I've been working really hard on finishing some of my Un-Finished Objects before starting anything new.  Here are my two most recent creations:

This is a box I made to hold my extensive collection of bookmarks.  The pink and green yarns are a mixture of wool and bamboo fibers, and it's super soft!

I made this cross using 2 pre-cut crosses and a third cross I hand-cut from ultra-stiff canvas to make a sturdy core.  It's currently residing on my bedroom door.  The darker pink yarn is the same bamboo-mix I used on my bookmark box.  It's hard to see, but just above the left tulip is a pink ribbon hanging loop.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Creative Play Day

I decided to today to do something totally wild and give myself permission to have some "creative play" time and not feel guilty about all the other things I should be doing instead.  And I'm so glad I did! I feel completely re-energized, and I'm actually looking forward to the coming week, something that I can't recall happening before.  Clearly this is something I need to do for myself more often (I'm thinking about making this a regular Sunday activity - can you think of a more fun way to end a weekend that by doing something fun and creative totally for your pleasure?).

I started by creating an idea file of prompts to help me when I get stuck in my journal writing (something that I've decided needs to be more of a priority in my life because of the benefits I gain from it).  I used a plastic index card case from Staples and created 5 sections: Unsent Letters, List-Mania, Personal Power (this section is to get me thinking about some of the issues I deal with in my life, and also to explore some of the facets of my personality that I don't usually look at too closely), Spiritual Growth and From Writing To Art (projects to help me take the learnings from my writing beyond my journal).  Once I had my sections made, I got out my list of prompt ideas and wrote them on 3x5 cards and filed them in the appropriate section; I'm using the coloured cards where you get 5 colours to a pack and I've assigned one colour to each section.  I already have 42 prompts in my idea file! I've been re-reading the books on journal keeping that I've had, and it's really stimulated my mind in terms of coming up with topics I want to explore further.

Then I went to and used the Mission Statement Builder to craft my personal mission statement.  What a fun and fascinating exercise that was! It needs a bit of refining so that the language flows consistently, but in time I plan on adding this to my journal.  From that, I started to define what my core values are.  (By the way, both of these activities were inspired by prompts from one of my favourite scrappy books "The Book Of Me" by Angie Pedersen.)  Once I have my list defined, I'm planning on doing a scrapbook layout (or maybe a couple of them!) on these two activities.

Then I made a title page for my new journal.  I decided that trying a new book for my journalling my help to kick-start my mojo (which has been MIA for a while now).  After a great deal of indecision, I finally decided on my long-neglected tapestry day timer (a high school grad gift from my baby brother).  It has 3 rings, and works well with not only regular day timer refills and accessories, but also mini-binder accessories, creating lots of options for adding things to the journal.  Tomorrow I'm headed to Staples to get dividers for it, and I'm going to create a section for my regular journalling, and then sections for unsent letters, lists, personal power explorations and spiritual growth exercises...much like my idea file.  I also wrote a 4 1/2 page (we're talking regular-sized notebook pages here) journal entry which is now housed in a sheet protector in my journal.  I started it at like 1:00 this morning or some such ridiculous hour when I couldn't sleep, and as the day unfolded I just kept adding to it.  I also took a few minutes and added a few things to my gratitude journal.

So there you have it: my creative play day.  I have a feeling I'm going to pay for all that writing though - my wrist is already killing me! (Actually my whole arm is sore, all the way up to my shoulder - darn Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! Sigh.)

Until next time,

Monday, July 4, 2011

For my American friends

Happy Independence Day!

Until next time,

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Let the creative juices flow!

I first came up with the idea of making a creative planner a few years ago when We R Memory Keeprs introduced their Memory Dock system.  It was a collection of organizers to help you document your ideas for scrapbook layouts.  I really, really liked the idea, and the planners were gorgeous (if not a little expensive).  But the sections that were included and the available refills really didn't suit my style of page planning, and I couldn't use it to record ideas for other non-scrapbooking crafts.  So I said to myself, "Self, why don't you just make a creative planner? And that way you can have everything you want in it, and nothing you don't (there were things in Memory Dock system that would have gone unused)!" And that's exactly what I did.  My creative planner's first home was a beautiful tapestry daytimer that I received as a graduation present when I graduated from high school.  It's now moved into its new permanent home: a 2" mini-binder that I covered with a hand-stitched plastic canvas cover.  The cover took me a long time to make, much longer than I had anticipated actually, but I think it turned out really well.  The final step in the process was to decide what sections I wanted to have and make dividers for it. I have sections for Scrapbooks and Journals, Book of Me Layouts, Plastic Canvas, ATC's, Sunday School crafts and general crafts.  I also have a section for lists of supplies like my punches, a section for lists of things that I need and a section with store addresses and hours, and a list of crafty websites I like along with user names and passwords.  Now I'm working on gathering up all the notes I have all over and putting them into my planner.  Call me crazy, but there's something so satisfying about flipping through my planner and seeing all these project notes all together in one place.  Here's some pictures for you to admire.

Until next time,

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

Some friends of mine celebrating Canada's 144th birthday...

From left to right: Shawne Alexis, Jami Michaela, Holly Jayde and their furry friends show off their Canadaian spirit.

Holly Jayde, Bucky the Beaver, July the Bear and Pierre the Bear.

Jami Michaela and Melvin the Moose

Shawne Alexis and Van the Bear (yes, Van is short for Vancouver, home to 2010 Winter Olympics)

Shawne is all dressed up and ready to go see the fireworks in her Vancouver 2010 hoodie, Mommy's fleece hat and carrying her Canada flag.

Happy Birthday Canada!

Until next time,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Missing Sammy

Today marks six months since I had to put my Sammy-Cat to sleep.  (Yeah, doing it a week before Christmas sucked big-time.)  In my head, I know I did the right thing.  Sam was sick - he was losing weight in spite of the fact that we were feeding him more and more, he howled in pain if you tried to pick him up, he couldn't jump up on the couch anymore - he had to dug his claws in and pull himself up.  When we took him to the vet that last day, she said that because of his age, and with the symptoms we described, that cancer was a strong possibility.  And he was ready to go - after the vet gave him the needle it took only seconds for his heart to stop beating and for him to cross over the Rainbow Bridge.

My heart, however, has been a little harder to convince.  The hardest thing to get used to after he was gone was the quiet in the morning.  Sam used to show up in the kitchen for breakfast every morning, and would carry on like he hadn't eaten in three days until I gave him his milk.  It was so weird the first few mornings not hearing that.  I'd look around for him, and then remember that he was gone.  I went to work in tears just about every day that first week (the second week I was off for Christmas), and I cried myself to sleep almost every night.  I knew that he was better off but I couldn't help missing him.  I've known him literally since he was a baby.  I got him from a friend of mine, and she got him from the caretakers of the Bible camp where we both worked the summer before I started college.  At the time, my dad used to get every third Friday off, and those weeks I would stay with Iris and her roommate Miriam on Thursday nights and we'd all go to school on Friday although usually at different times.  I slept on the futon in their living room and Sam was my night-time companion. was more like he was my night-time stalker.  If I moved around too much he used to jump on me.  When Iris got married and moved to a new apartment where she wouldn't be able to have Sam, she asked if I would take him.  She said she knew he would have a good home with us and she'd be able to come and visit him (sadly the one time she did come to visit him he hid - he'd been shuttled around so much that summer that I think he was afraid she was coming to take him away again).  She had no idea! I'm firmly convinced that while Sam was here, he was the one who ran the house, and not any of the humans who lived in it. He was incredibly spoiled, although if you asked him he'd probably tell you he had the worst life imaginable! He used to meow mournfully all the time when you talked to him, and let me tell you, no one can tell a tale of woe like Sammy could! And he perfected the art of the dirty look and would use it when you made fun of him (and he could tell when you were making fun of him too).

Sammy's favourite thing was his catnap blanket, although he did have a strange fascination with empty wrapping paper rolls and plastic grocery bags (it was absolutely hilarious to watch him play with an empty plastic bag).  Mom had actually bought the blanket for my brother to give to his cat, but Abby never paid much attention to it...except when Sam wanted it, and then she'd go and lay on it or play with it or do something else to keep Sam away from it; she was a real stinker that way.  Some of his favourite foods were doritos (the nacho cheese kind), olives and bread.  He acquired these likes living with Iris.  On the day he left us, I bought a bag of Munchie Mix which has doritos in it from the vending machine at work and Sammy and I had doritos together one last time before we went to the vet's office.

We had lots of laughs living with Sammy, and he gave us one last one on the way to the vet's.  He had been roaming around the car yowling (unlike our dogs, he never particularly liked car rides) and was in the backseat when Dad and I suddenly heard a loud whistling sound.  We both turned to look, and saw that Sammy had stepped  on the power window button and rolled the window down.

Even though it's been six months, I still miss him, and thinking about him still brings tears to my eyes (I'm crying right now writing this).  It's strange, but for a while after I put him to sleep I had this feeling like I'd somehow let him down by not trying to treat what was wrong with him and that I'd given up on him.  I've gradually come to accept that I actually did the very best thing for him by letting him go and not prolonging his suffering, but it's been a long journey to get to that point.

And now that I've thoroughly depressed myself and anyone reading this, I'm going to sign off.
Until next time,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

UFO Invasion

I have yet to meet a crafter who does not have UFO's - Un-Finished Objects.  I myself have a huge collection of UFO's.  I'm really good at starting projects, but not so good at finishing them.  But until this past weekend, I had no idea how many UFO's I really had.  I have to say... I was a little shocked.  And I couldn't even remember what a lot of the UFO's were meant to be! The UFO's in question were all plastic canvas projects, and I had lots of bags of cut pieces, but no notes for most of them, and yarn for very few of them.  So I purged.  I kept only the ones that a) I actually had some of idea of what they were supposed to be, and b) I knew I would actually finish them.  The stitched pieces went in the garbage - I cringed the first few times, but by the end I was tossing with the best of them! The unstitched pieces went into a plastic bag so that I can go through them and figure out what pieces are worth saving, and what pieces are too small to do anything with.

So I made a resolution.  From now on, if I want to start a project I'm going to make detailed notes on it and file it in my creative planner until I complete one of my UFO's.  My reward will be to get to start a new project.  Pretty good trade-off, I think.  It will also help me avoid the the question of "what the heck was this supposed to be?". honest now. How many of you have UFO's lurking in your closets and cupboards?

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted! Where has the time gone?

Lots going on with me lately.  I've been sick with the stomach flu TWICE in the last month (as have both of my parents).  I've been home the last two days because of it.

I bought myself an iPod, and I am L-O-V-E! My cell phone contract is up in July and I'll be able to get a new phone.  For the longest time I was waffling between another Blackberry (which is what I have now and I really like it) and an iPhone.  I finally decided that I wanted another Blackberry, due in part to the fact that Blackberry is coming out with a tablet that can be used with Blackberry phones.  But there were some Apple apps that I really liked.  Solution? Buy an iPod! I've downloaded a few really neat apps; my favourite one being iBibleQuiz.  You get 10 multiple choice questions about the Bible and have to select the right answer.  My average score is 70%; given that I'm a Sunday School teacher I'm not sure if that's good or bad. The only thing I don't like about it is if you pick the wrong answer, the app doesn't tell what the right answer is.

One of the most exciting things that's happened is that I finally finished the cover for my creative planner! I started it last fall, and it ended up taking much longer to finish it than I thought it would.  But it turned out so nicely (I think) that the time spent was well worth it.  Now I just have to make the dividers for it.  I hope to have pics to show off soon.

I've been doing a lot of reading too.  And I, uh, kinda went on a shopping spree at Blessings a couple of weeks ago and bought a whole bunch of new books and CD's.  I'm not going to tell you how much I spent, cuz I'm kind of embarrassed.  But suffice it to say that I am thoroughly enjoying all my new purchases, and will be reviewing some stuff in future blog posts.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March Blahs

Will this winter never end? I am getting so tired of the snow and cold; I'm starting to wish that I could just curl up in my bed, wrap my cozy duvet around myself and stay there until... like... June.  My bad mood seems to be affecting my creativity too.  I tried to scrapbook last weekend, only to discover that I was was missing something for the page layout I wanted to create.  That pretty much took the wind out of my sails and killed my scrapbooking mojo.  I sat on my bedroom floor, looking at all kinds of pretty papers and embellishments spread out around me and thinking "Now what?".  This past Friday I went to Michael's to get the item I needed, only to discover that it's actually not really what I had in mind for the layout anyway (the picture I had in my mind of the item is not what it actually looks like).  And I couldn't find anything else that matched my vision of the layout.  Sigh.

So I decided that maybe what I needed to break out of my winter doldrums is a new challenge; to put away the projects I'm working on and try something totally brand new.  It didn't take me very long to find my new challenge, either.  On one of the blogs I follow (Kelaia4Him), I've seen some pictures of a collection of scripture cards and a holder that Kelaia made for a year-long challenge at FaithSisters (another blog I follow) a couple of years ago.  I decided to check it out and see what this challenge was all about.  In a nutshell, it's 52 words (one for each week of the year) that you study and look up scriptures for, and then use your findings to create an ATC, scrapbook page, rolodex card, etc.  I went through all the posts and wrote down the words, and I've already got some ideas about what I want to put on some of my cards.  The only thing I haven't quite decided on yet is whether to do ATC's, or 3"x5" cards.  I was thinking 3"x5" cards, because I saw a really nice photo album at Michael's that I could get to store my creations in, but now I'm thinking ATC's (I may still get the photo album for storing them though).  With any luck, I'll have something to share very, very soon!

Until next time,

Monday, January 10, 2011

The start of something new...

The very first topic in The Crafters Devotional talks about beginning the journaling process, and more specificly, choosing a journal: "Journaling needn't be expensive - peruse your local office supply shop, drugstore, warehouse, or stationary store for a notebook that can serve as your first journal.  Choose the book that you're drawn to instinctively, whether it's a miniature notepad or a leather-bound book."

When I read this, I immediately thought of my pink leather-bound journal.  I found it at Chapters and bought because it was pink and I loved the feel of the leather cover.  I hadn't been using it because I tried to create my own journal, but my creation wasn't really doing it for me.  I decided to go back to my lovely pink journal.

Continuing to read through the devotional, the following week's journalling topic was about personalizing your journal: "If you've always been a crafty type, you've probably been inspired to personalize a store-bought journal or spiral-bound notebook.  It can be as simple as adding a monogram, bumper stickers, or doodling to your heart's content.  The blank journal cover is a blank slate, so to speak, for original artwork."  Actually, I had never thought of decorating my store-bought journals before.  So I figured I was long overdue.  Want to see the results? Of course you do! So here you go...

The first thing I did was make the bookmark (really a long knotted friendshipracelet - the charm on the end of it is a dove with an olive branch it its beak).  It's attached to the spine of the journal with a white flower-shaped eyelet.  I was so proud of myself for setting that eyelet - it was the first time I'd used my Crop-a-Dile to set an eyelet.  Now I'm wondering why it took me so long to get around to trying! Anyway, once I had my bookmark attached, the next step was attaching the fuzzy brads (made by Doodlebug Designs, one of my favourite scrappy companies).  I still felt it needed something though.  It took me quite a while to figure out what that something was.  Then I happened to think of some metal words I had in with my faith scrapbooking supplies.  After a great deal of playing around with the words (and finally getting an expert opinion from my mom) I decided to go with "Believe".

This is the title page I made for my journal (sorry for the blurry picture - i'm still trying to figure out how to get good up-close pics of my art projects).  I found the stickers (by Jolee's Boutique) when I was looking for stuff to use in my Bucket List mini album.  The fuzzy cloud stickers I bought extra.  The balloon and the banner just somehow seemed a perfect fit for a journal title page.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My word and verses for 2011

A fellow blogger I know always has a word and a verse for the year to help her in setting goals for the year.  I decided that this year I would do the same.  So I started thinking about what my word should be, and what relevant Bible verses I could  find.  In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I have great hope that this year will be better than the last.  Since I wrote that post, I've been seeing the word "hope" all over the place.  It became clear pretty quickly that "hope" should be my word of the year.  To help me remember to have hope in God, no matter what life throws at me, I created this ATC:
 The next thing I wanted to do was come up with some Bible verses to go with it.  The first one was pretty easy.
Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

The second verse that came to mind is another favourite of mine.
Isaiah 40: 30-31: "Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and now grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Then I started thinking that I should have one more verse.  I did some reading and some searching, and came across this verse.
Deuteronomy 30: 7-8: "Be strong and courageous...The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I often struggle to remember when times get tough to trust in the Lord to help me get through the turmoil.  My hope (there's that word again!) is that by looking at my card and remembering these verses, I'll remember that when the going gets tough the tough turn to God!

Until next time,