Why we decided to raise you in a small town: A letter to my children

The first layout I created for my “Letters to My Children” album was a one about why my husband and I decided to raise our kids in the small town in which we both had been raised ourselves … despite mildly despising it while we were in high school. (I did, at least. I guess I shouldn’t speak for Chad.)

This layout, until about a week ago, was as far as I got with that album that I thought would be so important for my kids – but never made time to put together. (Notice the date? Yep, Jan. 1, 2011 – two years ago. Oy.)

Now that I’ve decided to get the album started with the journaling here on my blog (and worry about scrapbooking part later), I thought it was fitting to share that first layout, and the journaling included within it, in my archives, hoping one day my children will actually read these posts. Maybe at least they will find all of my thoughts in one place.

So, without further ado…

2011-01-11-Why-Danville

Note that we no longer live in what is labeled here as “our current house,” and we did not move to where we thought “our future house” would be!

Journaling from the layout:

When I was a teenager in high school living in Danville, I swore I would leave this town and never come back. The truth is, I hated being from a small town. I felt sheltered, life seemed boring, and I had bigger dreams than this town could handle.

But a funny thing happened. I moved to Bloomington for college (Indiana University), and I loved it. It had more cultural opportunities than I had ever been exposed to. I interacted with people from a variety of cities, states, countries, economic backgrounds and races. It was an interesting place to be. Life wasn’t boring anymore. And I had all of the opportunities in the world to learn and expand my horizons in preparation for a new career that I knew I would love. I felt like I was part of a bigger society there, and I loved it in many ways.

But the truth is, it was a little lonely. I was dating Chad, and we were together on the weekends. He came to Bloomington, or I would go to Terre Haute (where he was a student at Indiana State University), or we would go home to Danville. Life was good between him and me, but outside of that, we didn’t get to know a ton of people. I had a few good friends at IU, but I didn’t make a ton of close friends. My roommate was a good friend, but she was gone on the weekends, too. I was involved in a few activities, was active in my classes and always had jobs there, so I knew plenty of people, but all in all, it was just me and Chad.

So with all of the opportunities in a larger town, with tons of interesting people from different backgrounds, lots of little unique shops and restaurants and tons of artsy things to do within a very short distance of where I lived, it was still a bit of a lonely place to be. I guess I didn’t really feel that way while I was there; I was happy at the time, I suppose. But in hindsight, I think I overestimated the benefit of living in a bigger city.

When Chad and I got married, we moved to Greenwood, a town with more to do than Danville, for sure. Everything was close to our apartment—my job, the grocery, the mall, the movie theater, plenty of places to get our everyday-life kinds of things like oil changes and daily errands taken care of. And sure, there were tons of people close by. We occasionally invited friends over. We still had our social time. And we had tons of time together, getting to know each other better and spending time with our families (who lived in Danville and Avon) when we had a chance. But really, it was just Chad and me.

We longed for something more. We wanted to be closer to family, and we wanted to grow our own family, too. We slowly began to realize the importance of the people—more than the things, more than the activities, more than the opportunities—in our lives. And the people we loved were not in Greenwood. We decided to move back to Danville when our apartment lease was up.

A year after we got married and graduated from college, we moved back to our home town, our small little town we realized we had loved all along. I believe it was the best decision we made as a couple.

Here, we feel at home. Sure, we have to drive a little while to get to shopping destinations or restaurants or live theater. But within a very short distance, we have lots of people who make our lives rich. We have neighbors we love and trust, and with whom the kids enjoy playing. We have family nearby: my mom, my younger sister and her family, Chad’s mom and Chad’s older brother and his family. And we have lots of friends.

The older I get, the more I cherish those friendships. These are people who love us for who we are—not because they feel like they have to, just because they want to be in our lives, to get to know us, to share their time with us.

It’s hard to live in a small town and not make friends, especially with kids who are active in sports and school. We have made tons of friends since we have moved back. We have friends who are (or were) neighbors. We have friends whose kids played with our kids on soccer and baseball and basketball teams. We have friends whose kids went to preschool with our kids. We have friends who enjoy the same hobbies as we do. We have friends we’ve made through church. And we still have friends from high school who have also moved back to Danville, many of whom have kids of their own. The best part is, we know these friendships will last. Many of us have chosen Danville as our forever home, and we can count on these friends being close by, sharing in our lives through school, sports, game nights and good old-fashioned camaraderie.

We love living in Danville because we feel like we are part of a living, active community. We can’t go to the grocery store, a school function, the Mexican restaurant we love , a baseball game, the local movie theater or the park without running into someone we know. We say hi, share a smile and leave feeling happy to know we’re a part of this town. Knowing our neighbors and being aware of what’s going on in so many people’s lives leaves us feeling safe and happy. We look out for each other. If we’re feeling down, we have people to lift us up, and vice versa. We might not be able to leave the house in our pajamas and know no one will see us, but that’s OK with me. I’d rather be part of a community than totally anonymous living in this big world. And when the urge strikes to experience something more, we can drive to many of the opportunities (arts, restaurants, unique shops) that Danville can’t offer.

G&E, you will no doubt at some point dislike this town as you go through school. You will be irritated that everyone knows your business­—who you date, how you break up, who your friends are, what you got on that tough exam. But try to focus on the positives. You’ll develop friendships you will treasure forever. When you get that bad grade on that tough exam, or when you break up with that boyfriend or girlfriend you thought you loved so much, you’ll have friends who will know you as well as you know yourself and will make you feel better. And you’ll have family close by; you can come to any of us at any time. You’ll never be alone.

Someday you might want to move out of town and get a taste for living in a city with more opportunities. If you get that itch, follow it. You need to follow your heart and experience the wider world for yourself. But I hope that someday later on, you’ll realize how much you have here in this little town. You might move back, and you might not. Whatever you do, remember that this community took you in with open arms and will always be here for you. Your dad and I will always be here, too. And even if you never have a home of your own in Danville, you will always have a home with us.

Love,

Mom

January 1, 2011

One thing you should never forget: A letter to my children

photo - I will always love youMy head is swimming with things I’d like to share with you.

Some of what I want to share includes stories – stories that show your dad and I are not perfect, stories of our family traditions, stories of events in our lives that have developed us into who we are.

Some of what I want to share is advice. Learn to forgive. Follow your dreams. Don’t burn bridges.

And while I believe those stories and those nuggets of advice are important, I want you to focus on one very important thing as we get started with these letters from me to you. That one thing?

I love you.

(Your dad does, too. Never doubt that. But because I’m the one writing this, it’s more natural for me to write down my genuine feelings if I can write using “I” and “me” instead of “your dad and I” and “your dad and me” and “we.” Just know that your dad feels the same way I do.)

It’s almost impossible for me to fully explain to you how much I love you, how deep my love exists within my heart, my soul, my very being.

You two (and any future children, should God bless us so) are the reason I am here.

I know that God’s biggest purpose for my life is to be your mother, to do things mothers do – like
hug you when you’re hurting,
encourage you when you’re struggling,
guide you when you’re choosing,
teach you when you’re misbehaving,
reassure you when you’re doubting,
coach you when you’re competing,
congratulate you when you’re succeeding,
comfort you when you’re crying
– and love you when you feel like no one else does.

It’s an amazing responsibility, really, and I thank God for trusting me with it.

Since the day we knew we were expecting you, I felt the power of love on a level I had never experienced before – even greater than what I feel for your daddy (and that’s an intense love!).

Don’t worry that I said that aloud; I think he would agree with me and say the same.

There’s just something about the children one brings into her heart, home and family that makes her love grow larger, deeper, stronger. It’s a different, more intense kind of love than I have for anyone else on the planet.

So listen carefully. Understand the words I am about to say, and never doubt them. Never.

There is nothing you could ever do, say, think or feel that will ever, ever, cause me to not love you. Nothing.

If you tell me you’ve done something bad, I could get angry.
If you tell me you have said something that is harmful to someone else, I will be blatantly honest and tell you how that reflects back on you.
If you tell me you have dark thoughts, I will be concerned.
If you tell me you feel hatred toward someone, even if it’s me, I’ll be hurt and disappointed.

But I will still love you.

Some day you will do something stupid.

You might wreck my car the day after you get your driver’s license.
You might hurt someone unintentionally – or intentionally.
You might try something you know is wrong.

But I will still love you.

You’re human, and as all humans do, you have a sin nature. God designed you that way. I accepted that you’re not perfect long before you could make whatever mistakes you might make. I already know you’re going to mess up. (Try not to, of course, but don’t beat yourself up or be ashamed to acknowledge it when you do.)

Please, please, please, come to me when things go wrong. Tell me about it. Be honest. Confess. Take responsibility. And don’t be afraid that doing so will cause me to not love you anymore.

I will always love you.

You might wonder how I’ll react when you do something other than make a mistake or do something wrong.

You might fall in love with someone and wonder if I’ll accept him or her with open arms.

I will.

You might choose to move to another state – or even another country – and wonder if I will accept that choice.

I will.

You might choose to join the military, be a missionary in a dangerous land or follow your heart into dangerous work – and wonder if I will accept that choice.

I will.

You can tell me anything. You can be honest. You can be you.

I am here for you, no matter what.

I will encourage you, no matter what.

I will love you, no matter what.

I promise.

(And for the record, God will always love you, too. But that’s a topic for another day.)

***

Letters to My Children is a regular series on my blog. To quickly find more installments, click on the links in the right column.

Photo credit: Connie Phillips

Letters to My Children: The start of something important (at least to me)

I have this irrational fear that I am going to die in some sort of traumatic accident before I have a chance to tell my children everything I want to tell them.

A pleasant thought, I know.

I have always thought I would make a scrapbook full of all of this kind of “stuff” to tell them, but somehow I haven’t gotten very far with that. I’ve made one layout (why we live in the town we live in) – and it wasn’t even one of my more deep-from-the-heart kinds of subjects that I long to share.

Why have I been dragging my feet?

I’d love to blame it on lack of time or being so busy with all of my friends and family and the unbelievably fun stuff we do every minute of every day that I can’t possibly have time for something like this. But that wouldn’t exactly be true.

After all, I find time to take at least one, if not two, naps every weekend. I find time to read a little bit of a book each day. I find lots of time to wander around Facebook during the week. I even find time to watch an episode of “The Big Bang Theory” every couple of nights, or an episode of “Property Brothers” or some other HGTV goodness on my lunch hour, despite not really liking to watch TV in general. I could easily be using that time for this kind of task. But clearly, I don’t.

I guess it’s just that it’s kind of hard to share what is so deep within my soul, even though I write for a living and typically don’t struggle much with getting thoughts down on paper.

Well, I’m aiming to change that. I’m going to make time to journal what is important for my kids, even if I don’t take the time to make a pretty little layout for a nicely composed scrapbook that will sit neatly on the shelf in my home for years to come.

And you, dear readers, will be my first audience.

My kids? Well, I hope that they’ll come back to this old blog (or some futuristic manifestation of the content found within it) some day and find it somewhat interesting to learn what their mom thought was so important in life. But if they don’t, well, I don’t want to think about that, really.

So, Gabe and Ella, and any future children (if God chooses to bless us so), enjoy these posts. And if I’ve long departed the earth by the time you read them, know your mama loved you with all of her heart and soul.

Stay tuned, kind readers. We’ll get started soon.

How can it be?

Snowball

Journaling for a scrapbook page to be made sometime in the future…

Our daughter Ella turns 8 in less than a week. And what a joy-filled, fast-as-lightning eight years it has been!

This little girl has a strong personality, an infectious giggle and a huge heart.

She loves to draw, write love notes to her dad and me, and give hugs and kisses.

She can’t wait to sit in a car without needing a booster seat.

She wears some of the funkiest outfits, mixing bold colors and wild patterns without any care in the world. Greenish-gray camo pants and multi-colored butterfly sweatshirt? Whatever works.

I love that (generally speaking) she doesn’t care what others think about her style.

She has more style than I have ever had.

She is sassy, sweet and stubborn.

Her favorite color is pink, followed by purple. But pink rules, hands down.

She is having an animal-print birthday party. (Picture zebra cake and balloons.)

She loves animals, especially our cat Jack. (Our other cats, Lucy and Cole, and our dog, Maddie, for some reason haven’t quite captured her heart as much as Jack.)

She chose to have several friends spend the night instead of going somewhere for her birthday. Wise choice, my dear.

I worry a little that she is too bossy around her friends. She likes to be in charge and do what she wants to do. That’s a hard personality trait to soften in an 8-year-old. (Oy.)

She wants to be a big sister.

She has a heart for God. I love that about her.

She asks me hard questions about God on a regular basis. (What does God look like? I don’t understand: If God created everything on earth, who created God?)

She wants to go to heaven some day, just for a visit, to visit family members (and our old dog, Molly) who have died, and to see what God looks like, but then come back to earth and live like normal.

When I was crying recently, she wrote me a note saying simply: “God is always with you. I love you. Love, Ella.”

I’ll keep that one forever, I think.

She loves to organize things, but her bedroom is a complete disaster on a daily basis.

She gets that from me. You should see my office. Oy.

She loves to read. And when she reads out loud, she blows me away with her fluency, voice fluctuation and character personality.

I love to listen to her read.

I get to go into her classroom once a week to help her teacher with literacy stations. She loves it when she gets put into my group for the day. I love it too.

She has yet to read a chapter book from start to finish on her own, I think. She loves to start them, and has dozens in her room, but finishing one eludes her so far. I can’t wait for her to find the joy in finishing a book she starts. I think she’ll enjoy reading even more.

Her favorite TV show is “Good Luck, Charlie.” She occasionally likes to watch her old favorite, “Max and Ruby,” as well. But she worries that none of her other friends like that show, so maybe she shouldn’t either. This is her weakness when it comes to peer pressure. Clothing and personal style is her strength. (Who cares what anyone else thinks?) What she likes to watch on TV is her weakness. (None of my other friends like “Max and Ruby.”)

She loves to dance around the house. Loves to be in shorts and a tank top, even in winter, and dance until her heart is content – with or without music playing.

She’s getting a “real” scrapbook (an expensive one, relatively speaking, that will hold lots and lots of pages) for her birthday, a present she picked out. Makes this momma proud. (Also makes me want to get back into scrapbooking, my long-lost hobby!)

She’s waiting in bed for me to come and tuck her in. It’s time to go read with her from One-Minute Devotions for Girls, a book she picked out and that she loves to read each night. Time for my goodnight chat with my girl, sure to be full of questions. Time for my goodnight hug. Sounds like a good reason to sign off. Good night.

My two cents: Is scrapbooking dead?

I have to admit it: The future of scrapbooking seems to be limited.

Yep, I said that out loud. In public. For the world to see.

Today, Becky Higgins and Cathy Zielske posted on Facebook a link to a Studio 5 production called “Is Scrapbooking Dead?” that will air tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 14. My gut reaction, as sad as it makes me, is, “Yeah, I think it’s close.”

Somehow, I don’t think Becky, in particular, would agree. (And frankly, I hope I’m wrong.)

You see, Becky Higgins pioneered a new way of memory keeping for one-time scrapbookers who were faced with the challenge of having little time to scrap. It’s called Project Life. It sounds great in theory, and honestly, the product is beautiful.

Project Life Amber Edition

But here’s the problem.

Project Life requires very little product – and all of the product is available from one source: Becky herself. Becky’s popularity within the scrapbooking industry is admirable. There’s hardly a scrapbooker out there – at least anyone who has been scrapping since Becky’s days at Creating Keepsakes magazine – who doesn’t know Becky’s name.

Basically, the important part about that statement is that there is very little need for Becky to pay for advertising, because other scrapbookers the world over are promoting her site on their own blogs and in their publications.

But advertising is what drives this creativity-inspired industry.

Project Life’s simplistic view of scrapbooking – and the resulting lesser need for the stickers, specialty papers, fibers, stamps, die cuts, die-cut machines, adhesives, albums, page protectors, buttons, beads, embossing inks, border punches, standard punches, idea books and other must-haves paper scrapbookers have used for years – could very well be contributing to the problem of a dying artistic scrapbooking industry.

Without demand for products, product manufacturers’ businesses will fail. When the scrapbooking product lines can’t survive, neither can the advertising-driven magazines. When the magazines started dying a few years ago (Simple Scrapbooks, Digital Scrapbooking Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens’ Scrapbooks Etc.), I’m afraid, so did people’s (mine included) regular, predictable, delivered-to-your-door, don’t-have-to-hunt-for-it-online stream of inspiration. When inspiration dies, so does the industry.

I was once a twice-weekly scrapper, but I haven’t scrapbooked in months. I have completed fewer layouts this entire year than I would have done in a month or less a year or two ago. It’s not for a lack of time. I have more free time, likely, than I did a couple of years ago. And it’s not for a lack of interest in the art form. I absolutely love creating layouts that capture stories, photos and memories. LOVE IT. But I don’t have that hard-copy inspiration source in my hand every night as I fall asleep. I used to subscribe to four scrapbook magazines. Only one survives. I have to supplement that with other reading materials (other magazines and novels) to make it through the month or two before my next scrapbook magazine arrives, which means that during a large chunk of the month, I ‘m not getting my daily dose of scrappin’ inspiration. And while it’s true that there are plenty of inspiration sources online – blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – I find that I rarely take the time to sit in front of a screen simply to find inspiration. It’s just not the same as shutting down mentally and flipping through a magazine as I relax before falling asleep at night. It’s just not the same.

Before I go, I do want to acknowledge that digital scrapbooking also uses fewer products than traditional ones – but there are still many designers and many products being produced on a daily basis. I am hopeful that someone out there will find a way to create a business model that will thrive on inexpensive advertisements from digital designers, who are making very little income on their designs (largely because so many designers offer so many freebies, that many digital scrapbookers do not pay for the design elements they use…another problem to tackle on a different day). In the meantime, I’m hopeful that each of you reading this will make a trip to your local scrapbook store or digital design shoppe and buy something to support this industry we all love…and then share with me what you feel about the future of the scrapbooking industry.

What do you think? Is scrapbooking dead?

Page Share: Being Sergeant Willgo

Drill Sergeant Willgo digital scrapbooking layout

My husband just finished a week of playing Drill Sergeant Willgo at Vacation Bible School at our church. It was a little bit of a stretch for him, mainly because he was tasked with talking to the kids about Jesus, sharing the Gospel each night with 30 young people. It was a little nerve-racking for him at first, but he did it, and it was awesome.

Supplies:

  • Sergeant Willgo, BOOT Camp logo and camouflage artwork: Truth Quest VBS materials
  • Fonts: Stencil (title) and Gill Display Compressed (journaling)

New adventure in design: adoption profiles

I am so excited to introduce my first adoption profile to you! If you know of anyone in the process of adopting a child who is looking to create a personalized, highly designed adoption profile (letter to the birthparents/birthmother), please keep me in mind! As part of my “real” job as a freelance writer, graphic designer and photographer, I have just recently been introduced to this amazing new world of adoption profile design. A friend of mine asked me to design hers, and it was such an awesome experience, I can’t wait to do more! I love the idea of being a small part of the adoption process for parents who are so eager to bring a child into their lives, and these projects are just the perfect mix of everything I love about communications: the writing, the design, the photographs…the telling of a personal story. Awesome.

Here’s my first profile:

Adoption Profile Cover

Emily and Tim adoption profile

If you know of anyone who might be interested in this service I provide, please contact me at corie (at) corie communications (dot) com or (317) 745-6873. I will have my main business website updated soon with more information!

Page Share: You & Me

You & Me

Journaling:

In just a couple of weeks, we will celebrate 13 years of marriage. Thirteen! And what is even more amazing, we have been together almost 18 years…more than half of my lifetime. Wow. We have come a long way in those 18 years. We started together as just kids, teenagers in love who believed that as long as they loved each other, a shared life would be a piece of cake. And while we were admittedly a bit naive, especially when our two individual lives joined in marriage at young ages (22 for me, six days shy of 23 for you), I think we were wiser than anyone (including we) believed at the time. Because as it turns out, all we need IS love. Well, love and trust in God’s plan for us. God has clearly shown us that love will get us through this crazy life together. After all, if we didn’t truly love each other, surely one of us would have given up by now! We are both type-A personalities, fiercly independent, sometimes impatient, often stubborn and “always right.” So how on earth we have managed to survive for 18 years without killing each other, honestly, is beyond me! But I’m glad we have. I’m glad we have had our trials and our hard times. Because they have confirmed for me, over and over again, that with faith in God, love will prevail. It always does.

Supplies:

What love really means

I would never call my 9-year-old son a “mama’s boy” in front of him, for fear he would be immediately embarrassed and determined never to do anything ever again that would make him appear to be such. But the truth is, I love that he sort of is, for lack of a better term, a mama’s boy. One of the best things about that is that he’s not afraid to talk to me about what is on his mind – something I pray will continue throughout his lifetime.

I wanted to scrapbook this relationship (carefully avoiding the term “mama’s boy” in the journaling!) while he’s young, so that if he does eventually stop telling me how he feels about these important little moments of his life, I can at least remember that there was a time when he felt free to open up to me. (Then I can take comfort in blaming it on the fact that he’s just too old or too cool to talk with his mom; it can’t be anything personal, right?!)

I Will Love You For You

I hope I never get into a habit of making bedtime such a rushed thing that we miss out on these opportunities. It’s easy to do some days, especially when we’ve had practice for sports and the kids’ showers take so long that we’re way past what we shoot for as a “normal” bedtime. I have to consciously remind myself to stop, relax and take the couple of extra minutes to be there for each of my kids as the day winds down. It’s truly one of my most treasured blessings as a parent to tuck the kiddos in at night.

I also included the words to the JJ Heller song, “What Love Really Means,” because there’s a part of my journaling that triggered a connection to that song. If you haven’t heard it, listen to it here. It’s worth the time!


Journaling:

Gabe, you and I have a relationship that is very important and very precious to me. You are my only son, my first-born child and one of the brightest lights of my life. I value the fact that you talk to me about all kinds of things, from sports you play or watch, to what you want to do when you get old enough to work, to the things kids at school say or do that hurt you. We often talk at night, when you’ve just crawled into bed and I’ve come in to say goodnight. I try not to rush those moments, because they’re some of the best of my day. It’s a chance for the two of us to talk about what’s on your mind. Sometimes it’s nothing more than that you’re looking forward to your next basketball game or that you got an A on a math test. But sometimes it’s more, and I get a peek into your mind and heart and soul, something that doesn’t happen as often as I would like during the rest of our busy lives together, but something I treasure among the best rewards of being your mom.

I love you, Gabe. I know you feel you’re “too old” for kisses and hugs from your mom (even in the privacy of our home), and I respect that, even though I feel I am missing an opportunity to show you I love you when I pass up a chance to hug you. But I want you to always remember that there is nothing you could possibly do – nothing! – that would ever make me not love you. Nothing. (Allow me to say that once again, for good measure: There is nothing you could do that would ever make me not love you!) As you continue to grow up, you’ll probably do things you’re not proud of doing, and you might be ashamed to tell your dad and me about them. But I hope you do anyway. Because if you can gather up that courage to tell us even your deepest secrets or regrets, you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to see that we love you for you, not because of what you have done but because of who you are. And when you add “courageous” and “honest” to the long list of all of the other descriptions of who we know you to be, how could we not still love you?

(That doesn’t mean we won’t ground you, though!)

Lots of love,
Mom


Tag:

This song pretty much sums up what I mean when I say your dad and I will  always love you for you. (And always remember that God will always love you, too!) Hunt it down and listen to it!

What Love Really Means
Artist: JJ Heller

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please…
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me
What love, what love really means
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner then he would’ve stayed
And she says…

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me
What love, what love really means
What love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul,
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home.”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said, “I know you’ve murdered
And I know you’ve lied
And I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I…”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you

(My apologies to JJ Heller for the technical copyright infringement of posting the lyrics online. I hope you don’t mind! I love your song and wanted to share it!)


Sources:

Lately…

Lately I have been a bad blogger.

Lately I have been an even worse scrapbooker.

But I have taken photos.

LOTS of photos.

And I wonder when I’ll get around to scrapping them.

Lately I have been spending less time scrapbooking and blogging and designing stuff for scrapbooking and doing much of anything but working and attending my kids’ school and sports events and finding new ways to spend family time and exploring my faith.

Lately I have really been focusing on that last one.

Lately I have really loved opening my Bible and reading and studying and digging in deeper, trying to find answers.

Lately there has been some heavy stuff happening in my life. Some good. Some…not so much.

Lately this stuff that’s happening in my life has completely consumed me. I’ll be honest. It’s broken me down.

But it’s also built me up. In a big, hard-to-explain, awesome way.

Lately I have realized that I have put my faith on the back burner for far too long.

I have also realized that, as much as I loved my former church (the only church that, until recently, I have ever felt was my “home” church, the church where I absolutely loved my priest, the church that inspired me to go to work for a church in the same denomination several years ago), moving to a new church this past January is quite possibly the best thing we ever did as a family.

Lately I’ve realized that faith in God is really important.

And living a life of faith is even more important.

Life-changing, even.

Lately I’ve discovered that reaching beyond the logical and responding to trials not by doing what our culture trains us we “should” do but instead responding with faith that God knows what he’s doing and will lead us through this is a much smarter way to go.

It’s the right thing to do. My heart knows that. So I’m doing it.

And I’m being blessed every day for it.

Lately I’ve realized that I needed to re-organize my priorities.

Faith (God, church, Bible study and all things related!) and family first.

Work second.

Everything else — scrapbooking and blogging included! — I will squeeze in when time allows.

I’m not going to force it into my schedule any more.

(I’ve discovered that a good night’s sleep is important too.)

But I’m hopeful it will fit in easily fairly often.

I’m also hopeful you’ll stay with me and continue to visit my little ol’ blog on occasion.

Because I would miss you if you didn’t.

And love you if you did.

(What am I saying? I already love you.)

Thanks for reading this. Just wanted to share.

Happy scrapping!