Monthly Archives: January 2015

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prepping and editing


Yesterday, we had SNOW DAY #7. It was actually an ice day. Freezing rain covered everything in the morning. Our driveway is like an ice rink right now. It’s ridiculous. It snows, then melts, then freezes, then repeats the cycle. We look crazy walking to our cars and trying to step only in the spots with crunchy snow because under the light feathery stuff, it’s a sheet of ice.

All of us were home for the day. Even Jake chose not to risk the roads and worked from home. It’s so nice that he can do that when needed. Most of the ice on the roads was melted by late morning, so we were able to get out.

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon sorting through photos from the past few weeks, choosing the ones I wanted to use for my Project Life album, editing, resizing, laying them out in Photoshop, then browsing through my digital kits to see which cards looked best with the colors in my photos. A few I chose for Week 2 are in the collage above. I will be sharing more pages in a little over a week for our next Project Life® Blog Hop.

IN WRITING NEWS …

I am getting into a serious groove editing Goodbye, Magnolia. My goal is to finish the big edits by the end of February (maybe sooner if I can keep it up!) and share it with my family and some friends for their input before I do more edits. Still no concrete release date yet. If you want to be the first to hear about the book release, SIGN UP for my NEWSLETTER! :)

Also, over on my Facebook author page, I will be sharing photos of some of the locations in the book in the weeks to come. I already shared one – the location of the final BIG WEDDING. If you aren’t following me there yet, hop on over and click “LIKE” to get all my posts in your news feed.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! May you take time to be with your loved ones, really be with them, not just on your electronic devices the whole time. I’m going to try to take my own advice as well. ;)

the bench circa 1986


I can’t believe I’m sharing this today. It was the 80’s, so what can I say? ;)

I’ve shared about Mt. Baldy before, one of the important locations in The Truth About Drew. A few scenes take place on a bench up there. This is the bench I pictured when writing. Simple. Logs on each end and a couple boards stretched across the middle. My childhood best friend took this photo of me in 1986. I was 13. Almost the same age as Claire in the book.

I thought it would be fun to share this picture of the bench. If you were to visit Mt. Baldy today, you would see an entirely different bench, which stands in a different spot than this one. The new one is big and bulky with a tall back on it. Much sturdier. But I much prefer the bench of my childhood.

Here’s a little excerpt from one of the Mt. Baldy bench scenes:

Old leaves from autumns past crunched under her feet as she walked along the familiar path. A squirrel ran across in front of her with a large nut in its mouth. There was rustling in the bushes to her right. Every sound seemed amplified and she was beginning to feel a little paranoid. She had walked this path dozens of times before, but always with Drew. Never alone. Where she normally felt happy and peaceful walking up that hill, now she felt sad and lonely.

She glanced over her shoulder at nothing, then took the old railroad tie steps to the top as quickly as she could. As she pushed past the branches of the big pine tree at the top, she spotted someone sitting on the bench. Her heart nearly burst out of her chest with happiness. She felt like running to embrace him, but she approached slowly, afraid she was dreaming or that it wasn’t actually him. But it was. That sandy blond head of his was bowed forward a bit, his eyes were closed, and it looked as if he was deep in prayer. He opened his eyes and smiled at her without a word.

Claire sat next to him, anxious to be close. Tears stung her eyes. She had so many things she wanted to say, but she couldn’t find the words.

He took her hand in his.

“You saved my life.” She looked into his eyes as she spoke. “How did you do that?”

Click HERE to purchase the paperback or the eBook for Kindle or the Kindle app.

hello, monday


Morning is my normal time to blog. But it’s hard to blog when you’re away every day. Last week was one of those weeks …

– Mom and I visited our friend Erinn and her two adorable boys on Wednesday.

– Thursday was one of those “gotta get groceries” mornings that takes for-e-ver followed by bills and budget and balancing the checkbook (all those oh-so-fun things).

– Then on Friday, my hubby had an outpatient surgery very early in the morning, which required me to get up at 5 am, take him to the hospital, go home, take the kids to school, come back to the hospital and wait, wait, wait. My mom was so helpful to go get the kids for us since they had a half day of school. She and my brother Rick took them to lunch at Applebee’s before bringing them home.

OTHER HAPPENINGS:

– After school on Thursday, Zach went right out and got the shovel and cleared the porch off for me. I didn’t even have to ask. I was so proud.

– The kids played in the snow. They never do that anymore, but they went outside on Friday afternoon after they got home from lunch and ran around the yard, tried to make a snowman, did cartwheels and back handsprings (Chloe) in the snow.

– Jake sliced his thumb open while working on his mini terrain stuff. Ick! Thankfully no stitches were needed. We keep teasing that he shouldn’t craft while on pain medication.

– Started reading Dear Mr. Knightley. I’m liking it so far. The entire book is in the form of letters from the main character to a mysterious benefactor who gives her a full scholarship to college. Very interesting so far.

– Carved out a little time on Sunday afternoon to work on my Project Life album. There’s nothing like getting a big order of photos in the mail and slipping them into the page protectors along with all the cute Project Life cards.

– I’m really loving the She Reads Truth app‘s “The Bible In A Year” plan. I’m 7% through the Bible. Yay! Chloe even downloaded the app so she would have the Bible on her device, but she has also started reading through the Bible following along with the plan. Best thing about the plan … I love lists and being able to check things off as I complete a task. This plan lets you cross off each day’s reading as you go, so you can see what you’ve finished and it keeps track of the percentage of progress as well. Love it!

– Chloe spent the night at her BFF Mackenzie’s house. Just before bed, I was browsing pics on Instagram and I saw this video of Chloe singing while Kenzie’s sister’s friend played the ukelele. I could listen to that all day long. Here’s the 15 second instagram video she shared:
[embed]http://apwphotography.com/myblogpics/2015/chloehannahsong.mp4[/embed]

Happy Monday, everyone!

ten years ago


Though she barely had enough hair to style, I put curlers in Chloe’s hair for the first time. Her hair was so fine that they kept slipping out, but I got them in. I sat her up on the kitchen counter and she wiggled around the entire time. The result was wispy curls, if you could call them that. And I loved them.

She was a couple weeks from her second birthday. And now she’s a couple weeks from her twelfth.

I love the girl that she is now and the young woman she’s becoming. But I miss that spunky little two-year-old.

hello, monday


It’s a new week. A fresh week. After a weekend with not much time spent at home, I felt rushed to do a bunch of laundry and dishes and prepare for the week ahead. I was up far too late last night doing just that. But it feels good to have those things done (well, not all the dishes … will the dishes ever really be done?).

Chloe and I spent Friday evening together on our couch watching more reruns of Gilmore Girls. And after a friend mentioned on Facebook that she and her daughter watched Phantom of the Opera recently, I pulled out my copy and Chloe watched it for the first time. I’m so thankful that God gave me a daughter to share things like this with.

Saturday was Chloe’s third meet of the season. The judges were tough, but Chloe improved on two of her events and got a higher score overall than the other meets. Very proud of her. Meets always make for a long day with lots of sitting and waiting, but I’m always excited to see what our girl can do. And it amazes me how confident she is. The one thing that gets her nerves going, though, is the back walkover she has to do on the beam. She nailed it at the first meet, then fell last time, but this time she stayed on with just a tiny wobble. Yay!

It was movie day at my parents’ house on Sunday afternoon. We watched the new Left Behind movie (the Nicolas Cage one). It was not great. There were some nice moments sprinkled throughout and some funny scenes with Martin Klebba (One of the highlights of the movie for me!), but I’m just not sure why they even chose to make it. It focused only on the plane ride at the beginning of the Left Behind book series when all the people disappear and was supposed to be more of an action movie. It didn’t seem to improve on the ones that were already made in the early 2000’s. Who knows. I wanted to see it and I did. But I think I’ll stick with the Kirk Cameron version. ;)

We also watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (the Kevin Costner one). We used to watch that movie so much in the 90’s. I was surprised how well I remembered the musical score and had forgotten how much I loved it.

“He fancies you, my Lady. I may be blind, but there are some things I still see.”
– Duncan, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

A big order of prints arrived the other day and I’m so ready to get my Project Life on. All the prints for my Week in the Life from October are now in my hands, so that will be the next thing I work on. Excited to have that finished finally. Then on to more 2015.

gracious words


Yesterday, on Stephanie’s blog, she talked about things people say just to say something, not because they really have anything good to contribute to a real conversation, but just to connect. And sometimes the words people blurt out just to have something to say can be hurtful and insensitive and not positive or uplifting at all.

This verse was in my Bible reading this morning. I’m reading through the book of Proverbs, one chapter a day in the month of January, and it made me think about that post.

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24

I want to teach my kids how important it is to speak kindly to people, no matter what the circumstance, because words really can sting and the negative and thoughtless things we say stick with people and can cause damage.

I jotted this verse in my quotes+verses notebook today. I’ve been glancing through that little notebook every day just reading through the things I’ve written so far. Hopefully, these words will really stick with me and become a part of who I am and help me be a more positive, kind person as well.

Have a wonderful weekend!

ING Journal | January 2015


Again, WELCOME to everyone stopping by from the BLOG HOP (scroll down a couple posts for that or click HERE). :)

Using my ING Journal this week. It took probably five minutes or so to jot down all my “ings”. ;) On the opposite page, I jotted down one of the quotes from this week. Great place to store quotes, but I already assigned THIS notebook to my daily quotes and verses this year. I think I will continue to jot down my very favorites in the ING Journal, too. I’m not using it as a regular journal right now since I use my computer for that, but there’s plenty of space in there for journaling between the list pages.

Here’s my first list of the year. January 12, 2015:

You can purchase your own copy of The ING Journal. Available in these colors:
GREENGREYBLUE
Click color to place order.

good morning


Welcome to everyone stopping by from the BLOG HOP (scroll down to the next post for that or click HERE). Thanks so much for visiting all of our blogs yesterday and today.

I pulled out the big camera this morning as my first step toward using it more this year. When my coffee finished brewing, the light from my kitchen window caught the steam rising up and I quickly grabbed the camera and got a few shots. This one is my favorite. Looks kind of like a whale or a shark swimming over my mug. ;)

Have a happy morning, guys!

January Project Life® Blog Hop


Welcome to the first of 12 BLOG HOPS from the 2014 Becky Higgins Project Life® Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life & memory keeping and we wanted to continue to inspire each other and you as we move forward in 2015.

The wonderful Jess Forster, who took it upon herself to set this whole thing up, asked us girls the other day what we plan to do differently with our Project Life this year and what we’re going to keep the same.

What do I want to keep the same with my Project Life album this year?
A couple things. I want to keep documenting our year in a weekly format. I’m a lover of keeping our stories chronological, so I’m sticking with what I know and love.

Also, even though there are a zillion different pocket page designs available now, I am still in love with the original Design A format and will continue to use that style for the weekly layouts.

What do I want to change about my Project Life album this year?

TELL MORE STORIES
Along with the weekly layouts that tell the basics of what happened each week, I’d also like to do more “day in the life” or “week in the life” spreads that tell more about our days and the little stories along the way. I know that one day we’ll look back through all these albums and love seeing what we did every week, but there is more to the story than gymnastics practices, birthday parties, camping trips, etc. I want to dig a little deeper with my journaling.

USE MY BIG CAMERA MORE
I love my iPhone and the ease it brings me, but I miss the quality of the photos I get with my DSLR. So, I want to challenge myself to carry it around with me more often, to keep it on the dining room table where I can grab it when I need it, to play with different lenses more often. I tend to stick with my 50mm most of the time.

KEEP UP
I really want to keep up with my album better than I did last year. I didn’t get very far into the year when I got sidetracked catching up on some previous years’ layouts. Not that that’s a bad thing. Pictures were being printed and weeks were being documented, they were just from a year or two back.

This year, I’d like to stay a little more up to date. I’m not making any grand resolutions that I will do layouts every week because I know myself and what I’ve got on my plate right now and it’s just not realistic, but I hope to at least plan out my pages digitally once or twice a month, choose the photos, and prepare them for printing. Then every couple months, I’ll have all the photos printed and fill in the journaling.

I just placed a big photo order this week, so the prints for the layout I’m sharing today aren’t here yet. I whipped up the digital version in Photoshop to share here, but these first pages of my 2015 album will be actual cards and photos and handwritten journaling.

On to my first layout of the year!

JANUARY 1-4, 2015 • Week One of 2015. First four days of the year were spent at Jake’s sister’s house for New Years Eve and for our family Christmas. It was a nice relaxing start to the year and special time spent with family.

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LEFT SIDE

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RIGHT SIDE

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SUPPLIES USED: (click the links to purchase)
Aqua Core Kit – physical kit // digital kit
Design A pocket pages – physical pages // digital template

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For more CREATIVE TEAM INSPIRATION, hope over to some of the other 2014 team members’ blogs today:

Autumn
Bobbi
Donya
Jess
Krista
Tara
Rachel

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up to!

We hope you enjoyed this hop!

Project Life® is a memory keeping system created by Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and products HERE.

a very special place

Today, I’m sharing something a little different here. Nothing crafty, no photographs, nothing about my writing projects. Today is about a very special place and the special people behind it.

For the past probably fifteen years, I have been updating the BARNABAS MINISTRIES website, keeping it up to date with the latest events and news and newsletters. BARNABAS MINISTRIES is based in Zeeland, Michigan. They work with homeless youth and their families as well as youth in juvenile detention centers and so much more. They do so much to share God’s love with the hurting youth in their community. My dear friend Michelle works there and she is how I became involved in the first place.

The Mission of Barnabas: (taken from their website)
Barnabas Ministries is passionately committed to reaching high risk youth and families with the message of freedom, hope, and healing in Jesus Christ.

The Vision:
To create an environment where hurting youth and families can discover their value in Christ, grow in that knowledge, and pass that knowledge on to others.

Every few months, I add the latest newsletter to the website and I read stories about and letters from these kids whose hearts and lives are being changed because of the work that Michelle and LoriJo (the director of Barnabas) and the other wonderful people at Barnabas are doing. They are sharing the love of Jesus with these kids and that’s amazing.

One of their biggest goals over the years has been to build The Barnabas House, a safe place for these homeless kids to stay.

The BARNABAS website has always been designed by others, but I help tweak it as needed. Other than my own website/blog and one site I designed for a small roofing company my sister-in-law worked for many years ago, I’ve never designed websites for a living. It’s just something I taught myself along the way, a skill that I have used in my own business and my way of volunteering for Barnabas. So, I have been sort of behind the scenes with the news over the years, updating the site with the latest on The Barnabas House as things progressed.

The day is drawing closer and closer when the house will finally become a reality. LoriJo has just started a GoFundMe page and I really wanted to share it here. If you are considering your giving for 2015 and looking for a worthwhile place to donate, a place that is being used and guided in a huge way by God, consider Barnabas.

HERE is the GoFundMe site specifically for the Barnabas House. You can also donate to Barnabas on their website here (click to “donate” button at the bottom of the page).

AJAXed with AWP