Sunday, October 13, 2013

A True Love Story

Today would have been their 51st wedding anniversary. Locked in that kiss, forever captured on film, those are my parents, Rachel and George. Both had been married before. Both had faced betrayal by their spouses. Their love was unexpected.

And it was forever.

I recently created a scrapbook page with the title, "A True Love Story Never Ends," and it featured a photo from their wedding day with a photo from their 40th anniversary. Their love story, their living of it every day as I grew up, became the inspiration for me to wait for the one I could create a forever love story of my own with.

My Daniel.

Because of that day, 51 years ago, and every single day of their together that followed, I didn't settle. I watched them live in love, and I wanted a love like that. I knew because of them that a love like theirs was worth waiting for, and I waited.

And I found him.

My father left us in June of 2003, ten years ago, now. The hole in my life, in my heart, that losing him caused will never be healed. I know it is even worse for my mother. That she is living without him is a testament to her strength and to their love.

Oh, how he loved her.

That kind of love never, ever dies.

Today, I am celebrating their 51 years. I am grateful that they were such a shining example to me. I am grateful that Mom has many good memories with him to hold onto. I am grateful my Dad got to know Daniel, even for a short time. He knew that Daniel would take care of me.

I am grateful that at our wedding reception Mom and Dad danced to their song, and I have that memory to carry in my heart always.

And I am so very grateful that Daniel and I are living the same kind of forever love my parents knew.

Happy Anniversary, Rachel and George.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Photo Safari - October 2013

Every once in awhile, especially during autumn, I like to head out to one of our beautiful local parks with my camera and take some photos. Last Tuesday, I abandoned my household chores and headed out for a day of fun, including a stop at both those parks, camera in tow, this time with my zoom lens.

Here are some favorite photos from that outing:

Bright sunshine, cloudless blue sky, and these gorgeous golden leaves. Breathtaking.

Along one of the forest trails, this tree with red berries in profusion, catching the sunlight, almost sparkled.

Leafy path striped with sunlight...

...and a path carpeted with pine needles.

The mulch underfoot, sprinkled with leaves.

The busy creek.

That glorious shade of autumn red.

This little critter, foraging for food stores. Winter is coming.

Pudgy little squirrel enjoying an afternoon snack, too busy chowing down to notice much around him...or so it seemed.

I feel lucky that there are such lovely places nearby to go, get away for a few minutes, get out into nature. Being able to capture it in photos just makes it all the better.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hello Story - Week 6

Six Word Story

(Card stock by DCWV. Leaf border stickers by K&Company. All other supplies by Bo Bunny.)

I didn't do a lot of journaling for this layout; I wanted the title, the six-word story, to stand alone.

That title was cut with my Silhouette Cameo, using a cut file I purchased awhile back. I was delighted when I discovered how perfectly it would fit this prompt and tell the story of my parents and their forever love.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bits and Pieces - October 2013

What's going on with me and my creative life right now:

*  First on the list, I'm gearing up for my supportive role in my nephew's journey through bone marrow transplant and all that will entail, including the recovery afterwards. To keep myself grounded, throughout, I'll be doing some form of daily documentation that will eventually wind up in an album. I bought a Simple Stories Snap album and some of the 24/7 collection for that project.

*  Ali Edwards' class, Hello, Story, is over already. That three months flew by! I have completed some of the layouts for the class, but there are still several to do. I'm trying not to be bummed that I didn't keep up with the weekly assignments, but part of my own creative journey has always been to sidestep perfectionism. I'll share the pages I create from the class materials as I complete them. Taking that class made me want to go back and revisit the content from Ali's other Big Picture class, Yesterday and Today. I know that there's a lot there I wasn't able to put into practice at the time, and I'd like to get back to it eventually.

*  I've been thinking a lot about other old memory keeping projects I've started and not completed. Last year, I documented 30 things I was grateful for throughout the month of November, as part of the 30 in 30 Scrapbooking challenge, which has had to sleep this year, due to my caregiving role in my nephew's life as he was treated for leukemia. I'd like to put that album together, though keeping it simple would probably be a good idea, given the time factor.

*  As my mother used to say when I was little, "Christmas is coming, tra-la!" Last Saturday, I sat down with my albums from the holiday season last year, one my mini-book "12 Days of Winter," the other 2012's Journal Your Christmas. I loved flipping through both of them, reliving the happy memories. I was going to do Journal Your Christmas as just a writing journal this year and take part in December Daily as our big holiday album. But looking through 2012's album, I changed my mind: I'm going to do a big album for Journal Your Christmas again this year, and I've already started assembling supplies.

*  On Sunday, I took part in a crop for leukemia/lymphoma at the local scrapbook store, and I used My Own Kit for May, 2013. I did a couple more pages from that kit yesterday, and I'm down to bits and pieces. I'm still learning about what works to include in kits, how many embellishments and stamps and letter stickers. I really dig using kits because it does get stash used up in a way that doesn't seem to happen for me, otherwise. Eventually, the idea will be to use the kit up in the month it's created for, but until things settle down a bit--like, haha, right?--I'll have to be content to be a little bit "behind" in my kit usage.

*  And speaking of "behind," I can tell I haven't done as much scrapbooking this year as in years past. I have a LOT of photos to get onto pages, a LOT of stories to tell. Looking back at my scrapbooks from 2007, the first year I got into this hobby heavily, I found many of the pages were not full of enough detail for my taste. I have to resist the urge to go back to those pages and re-do them or embellish them further or add more of the story, and that's certainly something I might do with some of the more important stories I want to preserve from 2007. I definitely am inspired to continue paying more close attention to story as I scrapbook.

*  About a month ago, while shopping in Joann, I spontaneously decided to take up cross-stitch. I bought two kits, one a stamped cross-stitch, the other counted cross-stitch. I started with the stamped one, thinking it would be easier. It's going well so far, and I will share the completed project here, maybe a couple peeks at my progress as I go, if I remember. I loved how my desire to diversify my creativity just sprang up out of nowhere like that, and I hope it happens again.

*  As the season changes, and the holidays approach, I've also started looking for crafty little projects my little Mommy and I can do together. Michaels and Joann, even Target, have hooked me up! It's been a lot of fun to shop for these, and I hope to take photos of Mom and me working on them. We already made message in a bottle necklaces, and we've got kits to make hair clips and tree ornaments, an actual autumn tree, pumpkins, angel necklaces and snow bracelets. I'm thinking it'll be nifty to use some of my patterned paper from last year's Christmas album to make a paper chain like when I was a kid.

*  I almost forgot: I signed up for this class with Brene Brown on the Oprah Winfrey website. I've read the book, The Gifts of Imperfection, but I totally believe that internalizing concepts require some kind of practice, and I hope I'll be able to make time to participate in the class assignments weekly. This is the perfect opportunity to add art journaling, which I've had interest in previously, to my life. I can hardly wait!

*  And to share a little bit of inspiration right now, Write. Click. Scrapbook. is doing a whole week on autumn, so be sure to check that out as October winds start to blow...

The Whole Collection

Awhile back, I took a class Shimelle had done for True Scrap, called The Perfect Collection. The idea of using one whole collection of papers, and only that collection, to create a number of layouts really appealed to me, and the collection I chose was from LilyBee Designs that contained papers with many of the colors of autumn. I added some card stock and a few various supplies for embellishment, of course. The process of cutting the papers apart and putting layouts together before I had selected which photos went with which pages was energizing, though a few of them were quite the challenge.

Eventually, I came up with a fine collection of completed pages showcasing photos from autumn, 2012.

There were also at least a couple two-page layouts I didn't photograph.

I think this process worked well for getting quite a few pages done in a fairly short amount of time. (It took longer to get the pictures taken and posted!) Using this strategy for a whole album on one subject, rather than just a bunch of pages for different albums, would work even better, and I hope to put that to the test in the future.

Welcome, October

Beautiful morning out there today. Bright sunshine, cool temperatures, a perfect autumn day.

I love days like these. I'm hoping to be out in it later on, getting in some exercise, maybe some lovely fall photos. Sipping a chai or pumpkin latte, soaking in the breathtaking colors of the turning leaves.

October remains my favorite month of the year for so many reasons. This is the month my favorite season really gets off the ground, and it's the month my husband and I celebrate the day we pledged forever to each other.

This October, my family is taking the difficult journey of bone marrow transplant with my nephew. The first steps of that journey begin soon, and it will be a fairly long one I'm planning to document, not only for his benefit, but also for the grounding effect memory-keeping has on me.

I'm hoping that among the harrowing days of juggling caregiving for my nephew and my mother at the same time, among the stress and fatigue and worry that's bound to come from a medical procedure with a long list of risks and a lengthy recovery period, I'll find moments of joy, bursts of happiness, to keep me fueled for the tough road we'll be traveling for the next few months.

Here's to October and whatever's it has in store.