Friday, December 31, 2010

No more resolutions!

I often wonder why people make New Year's resolutions.  I don't know of anyone who has been able to keep a resolution.  Myself included.  I used to try to make resolutions, but it seemed that I'd only last a couple of weeks before all my good intentions went in the toilet.  I finally gave up on making resolutions and wrote them off as a fruitless endeavour.  What I've been doing instead is I making a list of things I want to do during the year.  This isn't always successful either (I can count on one hand the number of goals from this past year that I actually accomplished).  But for some reason approaching my year's goals this way seems to take some of the pressure off me.  At the end of the year, if I haven't done everything I want, then it's only because of my own lack of effort.  I've been giving my 2011 to-do list a lot of thought over the last few days, and so here is a sampling of some of the things I want to do this year.
1.  Take a creative writing course.  This is something I've always wanted to do, but I've always been afraid that my work won't measure up to what the others in the class are doing.  I've decided that this year I'm going to bite the bullet and just do it  for my sake alone, and not for anyone else.
2.  Purge, purge, purge! I've got so much STUFF that I feel sometimes like it's taking over my life.  I started this process last year by going through my CD collection and getting rid of a whole bunch of CD's that I don't listen to.  This year I want to go through my books, my tapes and my scrapbooking stuff and get rid of some more of the stuff that I'm not using anymore.
3.  Start and finish at least 1 scrapbook.  I'm really good at starting things but not so good at finishing them, as my collection of UFO's (Un-Finished Objects) will attest to.  This year I want to finish something I start.
4.  Do good for others.  I've been wanting to sponsor a child through WorldVision for a couple of years now, and this year I'm finally going to do it.  I also want to do more to support some of the organizations like the SPCA and my local Bible camp that I believe strongly in.
5.  Spend more time nurtuing my faith.  This is one aspect of my life that I think gets neglected the most, so this year I want to make my faith a priority.

And there you have it...some of what I have planned for the coming year.

Until next time,

Here's Hoping...

Another year is about to come to an end, and looking back on it (especially the last few months), I've gotta tell you...2010 really kind of sucked.  There's the ongoing chest infection I've had since the summer that I can't get rid of.  There's the IV treatments I've been having to go for because my immune system has started producing antibodies against my kidney.  There's the side effects from the IV treatments I've been dealing with.  There's having to give up teaching Sunday School because of the chest infection and the side effects from the IV treatments.  The kicker was having to put my Sammy-Cat to sleep a week before Christmas.  At this point I can't wait for this year to be over (only a few hours to go!).

Of course, it wasn't all bad.  I celebrated the 10-year anniversary of my transplant in April.  I got to go on a little road trip to see James and then go with him to our cousin Dave's wedding in July.  I won tickets to the Grey Cup in November and got to go cheer on my favourite team and be part of the half-time show.  And we just came back from a wonderful Christmas visit to James's house.  But over the last few months especially, it seems that the lows have outnumbered the highs.

One of my favourite Christmas gifts from my mom and dad (actually the credit for this one goes to my mom because she found it and picked it just agreeed that it was very fitting) is a Precious Moments Christmas ornament of a little girl holding a start that says "hope" on it.  So here's hoping that 2011 is going to turn around and be much better than 2010 was.

Until next time,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today We Remember

To the soldiers, sailors and airmen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in their fight for freedom...
To the families and friends of all our fallen heroes...
To all who are still fighting at what times must seem insurmountable odds in the struggle for peace, freedom and right...
Today we remember you, and what you have done for our country and our world.  And we say...

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Re-Inventing The Wheel

One of the art projects that shows up frequently in the Crafter's Devotional is ATC's, or Artist Trading Cards.  I think typically they're paper or fabric-based (don't quote me on that, though), and the artist decorates them however he/she sees fit.  One night while I was flipping through my devotional, it occurred to me that I could make these little pieces of art from plastic canvas and decorate them with stuff from my crafting and scrapbooking stashes.  So I grabbed a sheet of plastic canvas and a ruler, and away I went! Here's what I've come up with so far.

1. Eeyore: "Be Happy".  Even though I'm more of a Pooh fan myself, this one is actually one of my favourite cards.  I hot-glued the applique to the card because I am SO not a seamstress!
2.  Faith.  This was the first one I made, and I was more or less just playing around to see how the whole idea would come together.  It turned out pretty well though, I think.

3.  Red & White Flower: "Grow".  I found the cute little red button (actually I found several of them) in my mom's button container, and I was really wanting to do something with them.  Then I realized that they would make perfect flower centers!

4.  Pooh & Piglet.  THIS is my very favourite one, and one of the less time-consuming cards I've made.  I hot-glued the applique to the card, added the red flower brads, and I was done!

5.  Bible Verse ATC.  This was an experiment to see how attaching strips of Dymo tape would work.  I'm not sure how much I actually like this one.  Actually, for a long time all I had was the base with the four crystal brads in the corners - once I got that far I didn't know what to do with it after that!

6.  Pooh & Tigger: "Friends".  It was actually supposed to say "Friends", but I kinda ran out of room to put the "s".  Oh well, I still like the way it turned out. 

Well, hope you enjoyed my little "Show & Tell".  I have one more card to share, but you have to wait until tomorrow to see this very special creation.  I'm also planning on posting a tutorial so you can make your own stitched ATC's (or SATC's, as I call them) and have as much fun as I am!

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cool new craft blog I stumbled across

One scrapbooking magazine that I pick up occasionally is Scrapbook Trends.  At $15 an issue it's a bit pricey to pick up every month, but occasionally I buy it when I see a cover story I like.  I recently picked up the November Thanksgiving issue because the cover said the issue included 17 ways to showcase gratitude.  Anywho, while reading through it I found an ad for a new blog published by the magazine's (and some of it's associated magazines) publisher.  I haven't had a chance to check it out too much yet, but from what I've seen it looks pretty neat.  You can check it out at (I'll also post the link in my favourite links list).

Until next time,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Only 54 days til Christmas!

My favourite holiday is Christmas, hands down.  There isn't anything I don't love about Christmas.  I love the decorations and the lights.  I love the decorations and gatherings.  I love working with my Sunday School class on the Christmas concert.  I love going shopping for the "perfect" gifts for my family (but then I love shopping period).  I love the special foods that only get made at Christmas.  I evenv love the snow and cold weather - it means flannel pajamas and candy cane hot chocolate!

At the heart of the celebration is the thing I love most about Christmas: celebrating the birth of the Saviour.  When I think of what God did for His people by sending His son to earth as a little baby...well, I can't even put into words what I feel.  This is why, for me anyway, Christmas season starts on November 1.  I hope that my celebrations and enjoyment of this holiday glorify Him and the meaning of the holiday.

As is my tradition, I grabbed a handful of my Christmas CD's to listen to in the car on the way to work this morning.  The current selection is one of my Point of Grace albums.  So in honour of being able to get out and dust off my Christmas CD collection, here are five of my all-time favourite Christmas songs (in no particular order):
1.  "Let There Be Light" - Point of Grace with John David Webster
2.  "Snoopy's Christmas" - The Royal Guardsmen
3.  "Six White Boomers" - Rolf Harris
4.  "Somewhere A Child Is Sleeping" - Frank Mills & Friends
5.  "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"  - by anyone (although Boney M does a really good version)

Until next time,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun!

Shawne Alexis (kitty) & Jami Michaela (mouse): All dressed up and ready to go trick-or-treating! Stay tuned to my blog for more about these little cuties!
Until next time,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kids as Inspiration

One of the things that I love about teaching Sunday School is seeing how creative the kids are.  For example, this past Sunday, our lesson was about God creating Adam and Eve.  Part of the lesson was to make a model of the Garden of Eden.  We made play-Doh animals, and then I covered the table with newsprint, got out the markers, and let them go to town drawing plants, trees and rivers.  (Sadly, they are much better artists than your truly.)  If you ever need to get your creative juices flowing, find a bunch of kids, give them some craft supplies and watch what they come up with.  It's truly inspiring!

Which brings me to my creative toy box.  One topic that is mentioned a few times in the crafter's devotional is reconnecting with your inner child by re-reading a favourite childhood book, re-acquainting yourself with a favourite childhood craft, or just getting out some crayons or markers and colouring.  After reading these suggestions, a light bulb came on, and I said to myself, "Self, wouldn't it be just so cool to have a box full of fun craft stuff to pull out and play with whenever I needed to get inspired?" My self, of course, agreed with me, and so was born the creative toy box.  I have colouring books, crayons (the 96 box from Crayola!), coloured pencils and markers.  I have a bag full of alphabet beads, and I plan on buying at fuse bead kit (I've seen one that comes with a dolphin-shaped pegboard).  I want to get a bucket of basic foam shapes; I find that just playing with them gets me thinking creatively, even if I don't actually make anything with them.  Same for the beads.  And of course, I have the Play-Doh used for the animals in the aforementioned model of the Garden of  Eden.  Hey, what did you think I would do with all that wonderful dough?

Next time you need to get your creative mind working, get out some crayons and colour, or go to the dollar store and buy a can of Play-Doh (I have seen them) and let your inner child out.

Until next time,

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Review: The Crafter's Devotional

The Crafter's Devotional: 365 Tips, Tricks and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit
Author: Barbara R. Call

This is one of the most fabulous books I've read in a while.  I stumbled across it at Chapters last week, and was drawn to it because of all the journalling tips in it.  There are 52 weeks worth of inspiration in it, with a tip for each weekday and one for the weekend.  Each day of the week covers a specific topic (for example, Mondays are devoted to journalling), and the weekends are devoted to projects or techniques that take longer, such as taking a class to learn something new or collaborating with another artist on a shared project.  I got so many new ideas from this book to help me both in my crafting (or my art creation, as I find myself now referring to it) and in my journalling.  One of the areas where I've really gotten lots of new ideas is in my plastic canvas work.  I've started on a new form of art combining plastic canvas with beads, buttons and items from my scrapbook stash.  Pictures to come soon once I've finished a few more pieces!

I've also been inspired to pick up my journal again.  I've always enjoyed journalling, although to be honest it's been suffering lately, both because I just haven't felt like writing and because writing is getting to be hard on my wrists.  But I've "re-invented" one of my old journals and I'm excited to get back to it again.  I'll be sharing before and after pics of my journal, along with pics of some of my journal pages.  As for the pain, well, I'll just have to deal with it.  Didn't someone once say that all artists have to suffer for their art? :)  I've gotten lots of other ideas, which I'll be sharing in future blog posts.  Next topic: my creative toy box. 

Verdict: If you're in need of inspiration, then this is the book for you!

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An "A-Ha" Moment

Today was one of the those days where, by the time it was over, throwing myself under a bus was starting to sound like a pretty good idea.  I came home and unwound in my favourite way: I ran a hot bath, lit one of my favourite candles, and settled in for a good long soak with a book.  Tonight's selection was one I actually bought about a year ago called Chicken Soup For The Soul: Life Lessons For Loving the Way You Live".  It's about how to be truly happy, in spite of all that life throws at us.  There's been a lot of really thought-provoking stuff in what I've read so far, but what really caught my attention is this paragraph: "Consciously or unconsciously, we create our lives.  We choose where we live, who our friends are, what our work is.  We choose whether or not we exercise, smoke, take drugs, donate to charity, get a degree, have pets, have a spouse, or have children.  We pick what we read, what we think and what we believe.  Our lives are testimonials to our choices.  Each moment is the point of power.  Each moment, we can continue to choose what we have already chosen or we can choose to choose again.  A life filled with abundance - both inside and out - is ours for the taking."

It's no secret that I often feel trapped (you only have to read my "Burned Out" post from earlier this month to see that).  What I realized after reading this paragraph is that any misery I'm feeling is entirely of my own making.  If I'm not happy where I am, I have the power to do something about it.  I really love my job, and I don't see myself leaving, but I can choose how I'm going to respond to all the not-so-good stuff that happens there.  Likewise, I can choose to do something about some of the other personal issues I'm dealing with.  Basically it boils down to the fact that I've made my bed, and now I need to decide whether I'm going to continue to sleep in it or take it apart and re-make it.  If I'm going to continue to sleep in it, then maybe I need to choose to change my attitude.  Seems I have a lot to think about.

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On Eagles' Wings

One of the things that I love the most about my daily commute is getting to see really cool, unexpected things: a coyote running along the ditch, a herd of deer off grazing in a field, a blue heron standing in a slough (I saw this just last week), a moose munching on leaves beside the highway, beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  And every once in a while, I see a bald eagle.  I was lucky enough to see one yesterday.  He was soaring along on the wind, but then he must have spotted breakfast in the field below, because he suddenly dove to the  ground.  I only got a quick look at him, but that white head and brown body are pretty unmistakable.

Watching him soar reminded me of part of my favourite verse from Isaiah: "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles..." (Isaiah 40:31a).  When I was sick before my transplant, I had this verse framed with a picture of an eagle in flight and hanging on my wall.  Whenever I was down, or I was having a bad day energy-wise, I would read those words and remind myself that the Lord was with me, and if I trusted in Him He would give me the strength to carry on.  To quote a song, He would be "the wind beneath my wings".  Never did I need that promise more than I did when I was going through all that.

Now I see this verse in a slightly different way.  I know that if I trust in God, he will give me the strength to soar, no matter what.  I saw a great placque once at Blessings that said something to the effect of "Live life with roots of faith and wings of hope".  It immediately reminded me of another verse: "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness". (Colossians 2:6-7).  This verse makes me think of a tree.  "Rooted and built up in Him" illustrates the tree's roots which provide its foundation, the same way that our faith provides our foundation; "strengthened in the faith" illustrates the trunk which is always growing and getting stronger just as our faith does, and "overflowing with thankfulness" illustrates the green leafy branches at the top of the tree.  If we have good, strong "roots of faith" then we are able to weather whatever storms life sends our way.  The "wings of hope" part of the quote brings me back to the eagle.  When I think of the whole quote I see a beautiful, big tree with good, strong roots going down into the soil.  It's growing in a field and reaching high to God.  In the clear, blue sky above the tree and eagle is soaring, his wings outstretched to catch the wind currents.  Roots of faith, wings of hope.  What an image!

Until next time,

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot!

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting here wishing there was a breeze blowing outside.  Well, there is kind of a breeze blowing (I can see the leaves on the trees moving), but apparently it's not blowing in the right direction because I can't feel a thing.  It is so HOT tonight! Thank goodness for my ceiling fan.  Tonight might even end up being one of those nights where I move my pillows down to the other end of the bed so that I'm right underneath the fan.  I love my fan - I bought it for $5 at a community garage sale a few years ago, and now I'm wondering how I ever lived without it.

In honour of the heat, and the fact that (temporarily, at least) summer has arrived, here are my top 3 favourite ways to stay cool.
1.  Tim Horton's chocolate milk iced cappucinos (suddenly I'm craving one of these real bad LOL)
2.  Peanut butter chocolate milk shakes from Baskin Robbins
3.  Splashing in the dog's wading pool (we bought it for them two summers ago when it was really hot, but since neither of them is really wild about it, I use it more than they do)

Until next time,

Monday, June 7, 2010

5 things that make a bad day good

So after my little rant last night, I was feeling a little down when I woke up this morning.  It was cold and rainy, and I was tired (of course that was my own fault for staying up until midnight playing Farmville on Facebook).  I had a hard time focusing on the work I had to do, and by 3:00 I just wanted to go home.  I decided that I needed a little lift, and so I came up with this list of 5 things that for me, always help make a bad day good again.
1.  Good music.
There's absolutely nothing like cranking the radio and singing along with my favourite tunes.  Right now in my CD player I have the new Lady Antebellum album.  LOVE IT!!! My favourite song is "Need you Now" - I can listen to that song 10 times in a row and not get tired of it.
2.  New shoes.
I love indulging in a little "retail therapy" at any and all times (the kids in my Sunday School can even tell you what my favourite stores are - I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing LOL).  Today I decided I was going to go look for a pair of sandals that I've had my eye on for a while.  I found them, and they had them in my size! I'm very excited about my new sandals.
3.  Chocolate.
I firmly believe that chocolate is good for what ails you.  'Nuff said.
4.  Puppy kisses.
Whenever I have a really bad day at work, there is something something so inordinately comforting in knowing that there's a little brown dog just waiting for me to come home.  When I come to the top of the stairs and see that happy little face grinning at me...well, there's nothing better than that! She's always so happy to see me, and always has tons of kisses for me.  Ever tried to stay unhappy when you're being kissed? Try it sometime; betcha can't do it!
5.  A warm relaxing bath/shower and my favourite PJ's.
The perfect end to a lousy day! Nothing like standing under or soaking in that hot water and letting it just wash all the problems away.  My favourite pajamas are bright yellow with Winnie the Pooh on them - I call them my "happy jammies".

And now 'cuz I'm in a good mood, I feel like passing it on.  Leave a comment telling me what picks you up when you're down and you could win an RAK!
Until next time,

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Burned Out

Do you ever wish you could run away and be someone else for a while? I have to tell you...right now I'm wishing that exact thing.  I've been pushing myself so hard at work for the last six months trying to keep my ahead above water with the new invoicing system that I'm feeling rather burned out now that I'm finally caught up.  When we first started this new invoicing process, they hired someone to help me with the invoicing until we learned the program and how it was going to work.  Beth keeps telling me now that I'm caught up I can finally relax.  Relax? Ha! I feel like I've forgotten what that word even means any more.  I keep thinking I'd like to go away somewhere, but I don't know where I'd go.  I have been considering taking one of the trips that Contiki offers, but I don't really want to travel by myself with a bunch of people I don't know.  I've also been considering seeing if one of my friends would take a trip with me, but our personalities are so different that I'm not sure how well it would work out.  (I actually had a dream about this one night - let's just say it was not a good situation LOL.)  The only thing I've thought of that actually makes me happy is taking a road trip and going to see my fave little brother is Rosetown.  He just moved into his own place, and he's been working at getting it all fixed up.  I'm sure he'd love to have visitors so he could show off his house and where he works (and I have to admit that I also want to meet "his" little girl Aselin, who is the daughter of Ryan and Amanda, Danielle's brother and sister-in-law and Jamie's good friends).  But then I start thinking that I don't know if I want to actually go anywhere.  At the same time, once in a while I start to feel like I just want to take Sarah and get in my car and just drive and drive and never come back.  Sometimes I feel so trapped here, and I want so badly to escape but I don't have anywhere to escape to.  Sigh.  It seems like I just don't know what I want right now.

This post is starting to sound really negative now, so I'm think it's time for me to go to bed.
Until next time,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Changes, Part 1

This week marks the beginning of the "new and improved" me.  I've realized recently that when it comes to my faith, I'm talking the talk, but I'm not always walking the walk.  I've been moved to start making some changes in my life and to work on changing some of my attitudes.

One of the things that I've realized I need to start doing is spending more time studying my Bible.  Whenver I've thought about trying to do this before I've always run up against the "wall of excuses": I don't know where to start, I don't know how to do it, etc.  Last night I got out my poor, neglected journal and wrote down all of my thoughts on this, and I realized that my excuses are exactly that: excuses.  I've bought a couple of study guides on The Fruit of the Spirit that I want to work through, and I have a book by Rick Warren on Bible Study methods that I can use to help me along.  Blessings sells all sorts of Bible Study guides (that's where I got the Fruit of the Spirit books from), but I've always thought that the selection was a little overwhelming.

Until today.  I went to Blessings to look for an anniversary gift for Mom, and I wandered over to the Bible Study section.  I went down to the first rack and pulled out the first one that caught my eye.  Imagine my delight when I saw it was by Max Lucado, one of my favourite authors! I looked at the information on the back of the book, and saw that it was part of a 12-guide series that covers the entire New Testament.  I just about did a little happy dance right there! I love his writing, and his words always make me stop and think.  I was a bit disappointed that they didn't have the Philippians study guide, since I have studied Philippians a little bit before.  But I'm going to keep watching for it, and I may be able to get the store to oder it for me.  I looked through the other guides that they did have and chose one on the book of James.  The back of this one specifically mentions that James had very strong views on people who talk the talk but don't walk the walk - exactly what I need! I can't wait to get started on it.

Now that I know what I'm going to study, the next step was to try and figure out some sort of schedule.  I know it's no use to say I'm going to study every day.  I know myself far too well, and I know that will never work.  So I've decided to do my studying on Sundays and Wednesdays, and on the days in between I'm going to just have some quiet time to read from my collection of devotionals and journal.  Now I just need to figure out a way to keep myself accountable and on track.

Until next time,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ode To Sarah

February 11, 2010
Today is my 10th anniversary with Sarah.  In some ways, it's rather hard to believe that it's only been 10 years, because sometimes it seems like I've had her forever.  But I love that little dog so much it hurts sometimes.  I dread the day when she is no longer with me; she has become not only my best friend, but also my confidant and the one that I tell all of my secrets too.  When I'm having a bad day at work, it's tremendously comforting to know that there's a little blonde puppy just waiting for me to come home.

But as much as I love my "Pooky" as she's also known, Mac (her predecessor) still holds a special place in my heart.  I still cry when I think about him and the way he died ( he was hit by a school bus in the road out in front of our house).  Mom tried to make us feel better by saying that he die doing what he loved best: running and chasing Mugsy outside in the sunshine.  I never found that to be particularly comforting though.  I think it's because I felt guilty.  Earlier that morning, Mac had been sitting on the couch trying to snuggle with me (his way of snuggling was to pin me against the back of the couch and wash my face).  This was now only 2 1/2 months before the transplant, and my health wasn't very good at that point.  I wasn't feeling well that day, and I kept pushing him down.  He finally gave up and went outside.  And a couple hours later he was gone.  In the days that followed, I wanted so badly to be able to go back and do that day over again so that I could give Mac all the snuggles he wanted before he was taken away from me.  It was only two days later when I got Sarah, and I can still remember how incredibly guilty I felt about getting another puppy so soon after losing Mac.  But Mom told me that Mac lived to make us smile, and he wouldn't want us to be grieving so much for him; if I needed another puppy to make me happy again, he would understand and he wouldn't mind.  And she was probably right.  Mac was the biggest clown you ever met, and we laughed so much in the few years that we had him.  He seemed to thrive on making us happy.

But back to Sarah.  Two days after Mac was killed, we were finally able to bury him (the ground was frozen solid, and we had to thaw an area of it first so that James could dig a hole).  We did this first thing in the morning, because both Mom and I had appointments to see the chiropractor later that afternoon, and we were also going to go grocery shopping.  We finished our shopping early, so we went to West Edmonton Mall to look for a birthday present for my cousin Ally.  We wandered in and out of a few stores, but didn't really find anything.  I don't think that either of our hearts were really in the shopping that day.  The last store we came out of was just across from PJ's Pets.  Mom suggested we go over and look at the puppies and the kitties to cheer ourselves up.  And that's when we found Sarah.  She was 5 months old, and had been living in the pet store since before Christmas.  On this day, they had her in a pen out in the middle of the store.  There were all kinds of people trying to pet her, and she was running around trying to get away from all of them.  But then Mom and I went over and bent down to look at her, and she came right over to us and  not only let us pet her, but stood up on her hind legs with her front legs on the side of the pen wagging her tail for all she was worth and licked our fingers, which made both of us laugh.  After just a couple of minutes, I got up and went and looked at some of the other puppies.  This sweet, adorable, friendly little puppy was more than my broken heart could take.  But a few minutes later I went back to her again.  Mom was still scratching her, and she told me that in the last couple of days she had been thinking about maybe getting me a little dog of my own to help fill the hole left by Mac and Pfeffer (my rabbit that I had had to give away the previous November when I got too sick to look after him).  But seeing this puppy and how much she took to me had her thinking that maybe she should get a puppy now while I was healthy enough that I could work with her and train her a little before the transplant.  The first thing I wanted to know was if she could sleep in my room with me.  Mac had slept in my room from the time we got him (it was the only way to keep him quiet at night so that he wouldn't keep all of us awake with his barking and whining), and Mom said absolutely.  Then she said that normally she would NEVER buy a puppy from a pet store because of the horror stories you hear about puppy mill puppies and because their helath can be questionable.  But looking at Sarah you could tell tht she was healthey: she was lively and active, her eyes were clear and bright, and her teeth were nice and white.  Her jaws are a little misaligned, but until Mom and Dad spent $10k on dental work and surgery for me, so were mine (in my mind this is just one more reason why we're such a good pair).  I looked at Sarah and thought about it for about 3 seconds and then said yes, I wanted her.  (In the first few days after we brought her home, I often thought that I would her give up in a heartbeat if it meant having one more day with Mac.  I look at her now and wonder how on earth I could have possibly felt that way, although I realize that it was the grief of losing Mac talking.)  Mom went and found a sales clerk and told her that we wanted to buy Sarah.  Before taking Mom to do all the paperwork for the sale, she asked if I wanted to hold my new puppy and I said yes.  She had to chase Sarah around the pen a bit before she managed to pick her up, but as soon as I held my arms out to take her, Sarah all but jumped into them and settled down against my chest.  I started crying right there in the middle of the pet store.  Sarah put her two front paws up on my cheeks and started licking my nose, which made me laugh.  I'm sure the other people in the store right then must have thought I was out of my mind.  Mom came back after finishing the sale and said that the sales clerk had said we could leave Sarah there until we had been to the chiropractor and then we would come back and get her.  I hated to leave her, but it wouldn't have been right to leave her in our cold car while we were at the chiropractor's office.

Dad was working out of the country at the time, and Mom was so worried about what he was going to say when he found out she had bought me a puppy.  He had never really taken to Mac all that much, although they were on much better terms when Mac died than they had been when he came home and found out about Mac.  But he loved Sarah as much as the rest of us did.  When he wnet out of the country again after the transplant, he would always ask about his "three girls" whenever he called.  I would sit on the floor by Sarah and put the phone to her ear, and Mom would tell Dad that Sarah was on the phone and he would talk to her.  She would listen for a minute and then lick the phone, and Mom would tell Dad that Sarah had said hi to him.  It was the sweetest thing you ever saw.  To this day, Sarah still likes "talking" on the phone (I've had many conversations with her myself, although most people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that I'm talking to my dog).

I'm sure that having Sarah is part of the reason why I recovered so quickly after the transplant.  In the couple of months leading up to it, Sarah had become my baby, and I was so worried about how she was going to do by herself.  We had been keeping her as an indoor dog, because we didn't want to take a chance on another accident, so I had to take her out on her leash several times a day to go to the bathroom.  Before the surgery, I helped Dad build a pen in the backyard for her, so that she wouldn't have to be locked in the house all day while Dad was at the hospital with Mom and I.  I was told that I could be in the hospital for anywehre form 7 to 14 days after the surgery; I was out in 6.  Because Sarah had to be walked, I was up and moving as soon as I got home, which also helped me.  And it's been shown in studies that people with pets have shorter recovery times from medical procedures and illnesses than those without them.  I often refer to her as my "angel in a dog-suit".

So Baby Girl, happy anniversary!  I hope you know how much you are loved, and that there isn't anything I wouldn't do for you after all you've done for me.

Until next time,

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Faith Through The Year - January

The January theme is "New Year's Day", and the prompt had to do with making resolutions.  The idea was to make a list of spiritual goals that you wanted to accomplish during the course of the year.  This was the only layout I had finished when I first started doing this album two years ago.  Pretty much everything used in the creation of this layout (and all of the other monthly layouts) was made by Creative Memories.  The only things I changed were the year (intiially it said "Spiritual Goals for 2008") and the list of goals I have.  I also signed and dated it this time so that when I look back I know exactly when I made the list.

Until next time,

Faith Through The Year - Introduction

One of my goals for the year is to finsh at least one of the many started scrapbooks that I have.  I figured that my "Faith Through The Year" album would be an easy one to do, since it only involves doing two pages per month.  I had actually started this album a couple of years ago, but I only got the January layouts finished.

This album was inspired by an article I found on the Creative Memories website under Faith Scrapbooking.  The "theme" for each month is a holiday or observance, and there's a prompt idea with a verse to go with it.  I had to get a little bit creative with two of the months, since this article was on the US site, and they had Columbus Day as the theme for October and Thanksgiving as the theme for November.  I made my October theme Thanksgiving, and my November theme is Remembrance Day (which it seems to me is based in part on what they had for Columbus Day).

This is the title page for my album:

I had to make two new tiles for the year, since it originally read "2008"; I also added the Jolee's lilly accents to the pink and green accent squares.  Other than that, I did'nt have to make any other changes to my page to bring it up to date.

Stay tuned to see more pictures of future layouts from my "Faith Through The Year" album! Until next time,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I Believe...

This list came out of an entry I did for a blogging contest at  The idea was to make a list of beliefs about life.  After I had finished my entry, I kept thinking of other things I should have included on it, so I started into another list.  (The new list eventually turned into a layout for my "Book of Me" scrapbook.)  Some of the beliefs are rather silly, some are more profound.  But put all of them together and what you get is my outlook on life.
  • I believe that chocolate is good for what ails you.
  • I believe that the recipe for a perfect day involves a sunny, cloudless sky, an open highway and good music on the radio.
  • I believe that one can never have too many purses or too many friends.
  • I believe that the sun will always follow the rain.  But while the rain is here we should get out and dance in it.
  • I believe that the storms of life will not last forever, and that they will be followed by a beautiful rainbow.
  • I believe that we should all cultivate the ability to laugh at ourselves.
  • I believe that coffee is magnetically attracted to anything I wear that is white or khaki in colour.  (Actually I know this for a fact.)
  • I believe the best part of each new day is that there is one.
  • I beleive that one day I will see my bedroom floor again.
  • I believe in gettin' my groove on whenever I hear a good song on the radio, and I don't much care if you laugh at me when I do!
  • I believe that we should start with dessert first.
  • I believe in creating my own happiness.
  • I believe that things will always look brighter after a good night's sleep.
  • I believe that every now and then, we all need to take time out to curl up with our favourite blankie and pillow and take a nap.
  • I believe in buying myself flowers for no reason at all.
  • I believe that getting out my crayons and colouring book is highly therapeutic.
  • I believe that faith and a prayer will take you a long way.
  • I believe that miracles are all around us; we need only open our eyes to be able to see them.
  • I believe that scrapbooking was invented as a means of parting me from my paycheques.
  • I believe that before we can forgive others, we must first forgive ourselves.
  • I believe that we should dance whenever we feel the urge.
  • I believe in eating what I want, calories be damned!
  • I believe in being thankful for all that I have.
  • I believe we should live each day like it was our last.
  • I believe in "happily ever after".
  • I believe that everyone needs a teddy bear to hug when they're having a bad day.
  • I believe that we should treat the people around us the way that we ourselves would like to be treated.
  • I believe that no problem is so big it cannot be overcome with God's help.
  • I believe in taking time to stop and smell the roses.
  • I believe that life is what we make it.  I believe that we should celebrate each day we are here, because we don't know how many more we'll get.  I believe that the best is yet to come.
Until next time,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Year, New Start

Happy New Year, one and all!

I love the beginning of a new year.  For me, it's like starting a new journal - everything is clean and blank, and I haven't messed anything up (at least not yet).  I've discovered something about myself as the years go by though.  I suck when it comes to making resolutions.  Seriously.  I start out with the best of intentions, but by the end of the first week of Janaury I've already broken at least one resolution, and the rest seem to go down like dominos very soon after.  Whoever said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions obviously knows me.  I've finally acknowledged this inassailable truth about myself and resolutions, and I've relegated them to the category of fruitless endeavours.  What I did last year that met with slightly more success was I sat down and examined my life, and made a list of goals that I wanted to accomplish in various areas.  And guess what? I actually managed to accomplish a couple of them! Of course, when I came across my goals list there were more things undone than done on it.  But the point is there were a couple of things that I did manage to do.  What I did this year that I'm hoping will be even more successful is that I took a sheet of paper for each month and made a list of a few things that I want to have done by the end of that month.  Then at the end, I took a few more sheets of paper and titled them all "Progress"; these are where I can make notes on how I'm doing on meeting my monthly goals.  Now you're probably saying to yourself "Wait a minute, isn't that the same thing as making resolutions?" Well yes, technically it probably is.  But you see, by telling myself that I'm setting goals for the year, and not making yet another resolution that will be broken by the end of January, I figure my chances for success are much higher.  To my way of thinking, it falls along the lines of the "how do you eat an elephant?" prinicple.  By breaking my goals down into small manageable pieces, they're going to be much easier to accomplish rather than looking at large tasks, getting overwhelmed and giving up before I even start.  Wish me luck, cuz I'm probably going to need it!

Until next time,

PS. The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.