Sunday, January 27, 2008


Whatcha think of my new header? Once it dawned on me that I could customize Blogger, it took a couple of months to actually figure out how. I've played with it a bit over the weekend, and if you are an exceptionally astute (and bored) person and checked my blog more than once, you may have noticed a few minor changes. I think I'm satisfied with it for now. I like the Valentine-y colors, and it will be fun to change it as the year wears on.

Speaking of change, I'm in the midst of a search-and-destroy mission. I am not nice - I have thrown away an incredible amount of stuff. I may not be in the mood to do this again for months or even years, so I am going to sign off now and head back to my dusty knickknacks and Glad trashbags.


Friday, January 25, 2008


I haven't blogged much lately. Since the scrap-bug has bitten, the writing bug is starving. The two rarely seem to be healthy at the same time. Actually, I had to put a hold on the scrapbooking to do a bit of reorganizing, because my stash was choking out my office like kudzu on an oak tree.

Truthfully, I like to reorganize stuff. I'm not an organized person - at least not for long at a time - but I do enjoy the process. A couple of weeks ago I weeded out a huge bag of supplies that I hadn't been using. Yesterday I weeded out a ton of scrap cardstock, mostly icky colors that are horribly dated and match absolutely nothing and pieces too small or bent to be usable. Now the big accordian file is much happier.

The coolest thing so far is my new chipboard storage. Some time ago, Mom gave me a ton of clear acrylic Chinese takeout boxes. I had no idea what to do with them, so they wound up on top a 6-ft bookcase, and since they were not at eye level, I completely forgot they were there. I happened on them yesterday, and realized they would be perfect for chipboard. I stuck address labels on each box heralding its contents. Fun! Now I have to find a clean shelf to stack them on...

We've decided that our tax return must be spent on a new computer setup, since I know the poor emachine I work from 10-12 hours a day is on its last leg. I figure I might as well do it right, so money permitting, I'm also buying a photo printer, external hard drive, and Wacom tablet. Since all that will entail a good bit of shuffling and moving (because I plan on running both computers for a while until I work the bugs out of Vista - ugh), I've decided I might as well gut the room, paint it, and clean the carpets - hence the reorganization efforts.

Bored yet? Maybe this will excite you - I'm actually considering painting my room orange. No, not pumpkin orange, but more of a harvest-y color. I haven't quite decided. Why orange, you ask? Because lately the color seems to be inspiring me like no other. Because it's proven that orange is a stimulating color, which is perfect for an office room (especially when I'm half-asleep at 6am). Because no one else uses this room who would complain at the color. :) It's quite odd, actually. I would never wear the color, but I've noticed that it's winding up on almost all of my pages. We'll see. I think it's time to browse the decorating magazines.

Enough rambling. Bless you for reading this far. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Haven't done much lately but scrapbook. I've been on a roll, and I learned a long time ago that when I'm in the mood, I'd better scrap. It won't last forever - a dry spell will eventually come.

I guess life is that way, isn't it? Ups and downs - "on" times and off times. Maybe that's what keeps things interesting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Coming Soon to a Magazine Near You...

. . . none other than a layout by yours truly! All these years of scrapbooking, and when I start doing digital layouts, the very first page I submit gets called. Go figure! But who am I to complain?

There's one resolution I can mark as accomplished - to get published at some point this year! I'm not sure which issue it will be, but Digital Scrapbooking Magazine will soon feature a lovely layout starring a certain exceptionally cute 4-year-old wearing a serious scowl. I can't let you see it yet, but I'll let you know when it's printed so you can take a detour by the magazine rack and see it.

Please forgive me - I felt obligated to toot my own horn just a little bit!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Date Night & My Honey

Our Christmas present from Grannie & Peepop was a date night, which we took Monday night. We went to Coolidge Park, where Jeff graciously allowed me to take pictures for an hour or two, then went to eat at the Boathouse - which, despite its name, is not strictly a seafood restaurant. It was quite yummy, and we sat and talked for more than an hour, just enjoyed the food and each other's company.

It was so good to spend the time. We were completely relaxed, and though we didn't do anything adventurous or even out-of-the-ordinary, it was still one of the best dates we've had in years.

Jeff has really been a sweetheart lately. The last few years have been tough for us, but in the last two months he's reminded me so much of the guy I fell in love with eleven years ago.

Today he goes for his (re)orientation to nursing school. He's so excited about it, and I'm excited for him. He's enrolled in the night program, which means only two trips a week to Chattanooga (instead of the 3 required for day classes), more time to study, and more time to work. Plus he's not really a morning person, so getting up at 4am was rather tough on him. It will take one semester longer, but I really believe the trade-off will be well worth the extra time spent.

I'm feeling rather content today, in case you couldn't tell. :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Grannies Are the Best!

Perhaps this really belongs on my photo blog, but it's not exactly a top-notch quality picture. I love it for the subject, so it's going here instead.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Grannie is letting Braeden lick the chocolate syrup right off the cap. Oh, yeah. This is how things are when he's at their house. He does everything he wants to do, even if it means sprawling out on the countertop while she makes him chocolate (or strawberry or blueberry or orange or banana) milk.

I love Grannie & Peepop, if for no other reason than the way they love my boy!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Four Blogs?

Uh-oh. I'm going blog crazy. I'm actually considering a fourth blog, devoted just to scrapbooking. I must be insane. I have discovered how easy it is to create sketch templates in Photoshop Elements, and if I can find a good file host, I'm going to put the templates on a blog for free. Sounds like fun, no?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Do I Dare?

I am notorious for being a pessimist, but I can't help it. I'm always so afraid to get hopeful and excited about something, for fear it will slip through my fingers and I'll have terrible disappointment.

Because of my instinctual pessimism, I'm confuzzled about this weird sense of hope I have. Actually, I'm just plain scared of it. You see, my heart seems to think that maybe my life is finally beginning to turn around - that maybe, just maybe, my relationships and finances and dreams will start to fall into place. Maybe somewhere there is a chance for my life to be what I've always wanted it to be.

It scares me! What if I get hopeful that this photography thing is going to take off and it bombs? What if the drastic improvements in my marriage are only temporary? What if I'm headed for complete financial ruin? My pessimistic side is kicking into high gear, conjuring every worst-case scenario imaginable.

I don't know why I do this. So I'm confessing it here - I know the Bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow, but my control-freak hands are having trouble letting go. I sense a turning point, and I don't want to ruin it.

So I'm asking you to say a prayer for me. Petition the Lord to help me let go, to help me trust in His providence, and to hope instead of worry. And maybe while you're at it, would you ask Him to let a dream or two be realized for me?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Another Year... Just Another Day

Bless his heart, my sweet hubby got me the bestest Christmas present. Of course, he couldn't possibly have known how much I'd be needing it when we returned from our holiday travels.

With the heater broken, it is so cold in this house. Our bedroom last night was barely 50 degrees, so it's at least that cold in my computer room. I am currently bundled in 2 pair of pants, two pair of socks, shoes, 1 shirt, 1 sweatshirt, 1 fleece pullover, 1 fleece blanket, gloves with the fingertips cut out, and - dum de da dum - a lovely electric throw. It feels so nice!

Moving on...

We certainly had a wild trip. Christmas with Jeff's family was crowded, as usual. Everyone oohed and aahed over the new baby, and marveled at how fast the kids were growing, and made the usual promises of seeing each other more often during the year. We all ate too much and stayed up too late. It was a typical McCain family Christmas.

The Gates side was another story. We arrived in Morristown just in time for the Christmas Eve service. (It's lovely - Mom's church sings Christmas carols in a candlelit room and takes communion, reflecting on Christ's birth into this world and what it meant for us. It's one of the most meaningful worship times for me all year.) On Christmas Day, Branden came over to open a handful of presents with his cousins, then returned to his dad's. We ate our usual steak dinner - Dad can grill a wicked good steak - and then opened the rest of the gifts.

In the midst of all that, we received a call that Grandma had fallen and her heart rate was way up and oxygen was way down. All that day my parents were trying to decide what to do, as the nursing home had moved Grandma into a "bereavement room." Since it was Christmas, the doctor wouldn't see her until the day after. The next day they heard the doctor's report and decided to go on to Oklahoma, leaving me with all three kids.

Now, I have watched them before, but not under circumstances quite like this.The kids weren't expecting the sudden departure, which made them all a little insecure, plus they were already sick of each other's company by then. It made for a wild weekend.

I came home yesterday to a very cold house, so we hauled Bebo up the mountain to spend the evening with Grannie & Peepop. He loaded up on goodies there, and Grannie fixed a fabulous pork roast. Jeff & I came home and bundled up under what felt like a ton of cover (plus the lovely electric blanket).

And today it's back to normal. 2008 has officially begun, with no great fanfare on my part.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The First Post of 2008

Just a quick note... we're home. Finally. It was an exhausting break - not exactly the quiet vacation I had hoped for. More on that later.

I came home to a broken heater. Amazing. The hottest week of the summer the air conditioner broke. What will likely be the coldest week of winter, the heater broke.

Go figure.

So there you go - first post of the year. I'll write more tomorrow when I've rested enough to give a coherent, fair and balanced report of the Christmas activites. Right now it's so cold and I'm so tired I'm having difficulty remembering how to spell.