Sunday, May 30, 2010


Good morning! I decided to not be all wordy this week, and just give you some visual inspiration:

You can choose to be inspired by the feelings this picture evokes, by the colors/shapes/patterns, by the theme - totally up to you! I love this picture enough that I've made it the desktop wallpaper on my computer...

My project isn't quite finished (sorry), so I'll post it a bit later, along with Mr. Linky. Have a wonderful day, and I can't wait to see what you come up with this week!

Edited to add: Still not finished with my project, but here's Mr. Linky, anyway:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

52CP21 Featured Artists

Happy Saturday to you! I hope your long weekend is off to a good start! We went to the regional market and bought some annuals this morning, came home and planted them in the front yard, and Greg has a good start on a retaining wall around the space that will be a small patio off the deck, so we're going, going, going over here!

I'm guessing that everyone is as busy as we are, too, and that's one of the reasons only two people joined the challenge this week. We're heading into vacation/softball/Little League/summer camp, etc., so I'm sure it'll be hit-and-miss all summer long! In fact, I'm going to have to have a couple of scheduled posts, because I'll be out West for two Sundays in June! More on that later... Meanwhile, here are the two cards submitted for this week:

Kristen took a cue from Stewart Smalley (old SNL) for her quote on this cute card:

And Steph created this beautiful card to reflect the thoughts that occurred to her as she mulled over the importance of not only saying good things, but also of just being there when there are no words:

And she's right - often a touch or simple gesture speaks volumes, sometimes just a physical presence is enough...

And that's all we have for you this week! Certainly worthwhile viewing, though, for sure - thanks, ladies! See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

52CP21: Affirmation

Good Sunday morning to you! Are you ready to be inspired? On Friday the post on my other blog discussed a blog post by Brene Brown that I loved and linked to, and I decided it was worthy of sharing here, too, for sure! Go check it out - pay special attention to the video - and then come on back here...

Isn't that the best?! There were several reasons I love this post: I love the concept of the twinkle lights as a metaphor for joy, I love Brene's version of TGIF, and I adore Jessica's affirmation! One thing that caught my attention was the double meaning of her phrase, "I can do anything good". She might be saying "I can do anything well" in a childish way (likely), or she could be saying that she can do anything that is good, as in beneficial, uplifting, etc. Either way, worth repeating and acting on...

The other thing from this video that I wanted to bring to your attention is that she listed all the things she liked: she liked her hair, she liked her cousins, she liked her dad, she liked her pajamas, etc. It is a very true principle that what we focus on expands, so why not list what we like and put the focus there? The Law of Attraction kicks in and we get more of what we like, because we're already appreciative of what we have! This brought to mind an item that another favorite blogger, Marta Dansie, sells in her online shop. It is a mini diary that is designed so that you just have one word entries in it, five per day - one for each of the senses. I loved that idea, too, so I made one for my project this week:

Papers: Stampin'Up! Summer Picnic; Accessories/tools: SU! large flower and 5-petal flower punches, EK Success retro flower punch, red gel pen, button, sewing machine

I purposely kept it simple and flat so I could tote it around without too much trouble and/or not destroy it in the chaos that my nightstand can become. Here's a peek at the inside:

I stitched the pages to the cover down the inside fold, and that's all there was to the construction. The diary measures 3" x 4 1/2" (cover), with the inside pages being slightly smaller (8 1/2" x 11" paper cut into quarters, then folded in half).

And that's it for this week! What will you affirm this week? What will you create? Here's Mr. Linky:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

52CP20 Featured Artists

Happy Saturday! We had three beautiful creations linked this week - thanks, ladies! First up was Bev, with a cool color combo on her card " let someone know that you care about them no matter what has gone before":

Next up was Erica with a Versamark-stamped Edward to show that while he may be physically gone, he's still very much with Bella - cool idea! Her card represents "love and forgiveness for choices made", which is apparently the theme of the Twilight story (I'm clueless, sorry...):
And last - but never, ever least! - Steph with THE most perfect quote of all time:
I'm sure most - if not all - of us can relate! Wonderful cards - thanks again! See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

52CP20: Forgiveness

As often happens, my inspiration this week is derived from thoughts going on in my "real life". I've been made aware - again - of the need to stay out of judgement to begin with, and - alternately - to forgive, if staying out of judgement is not possible. No, I am not the one judging - someone I know is hurting because of the judgements passed on them.

This post will be a collection of thoughts on the subject, and may or may not follow a cohesive pattern. Consider it "stream of consciousness", if you will, and join me in my canoe as we paddle downstream...

As we go about our daily-ness and our busy-ness, it often happens that something or someone will cross our path that trips us up in some way, or that causes less-than-positive thoughts to enter our heads. When this occurs, we are at choice: We can choose to be offended/hurt/angry/whatever or we can realize that we are being given an opportunity for growth. If we look at the "why" behind the negative reaction we will most likely find that the occurrence is a mirror for us to see some aspect of ourselves. How, then, do we pass judgement on the "other" without passing it on ourselves as well? Recognize the lesson, bless the "other" for providing it, and carry on...

An analogy regarding someone offending you: You are driving down the road and someone cuts you off or blocks you in or takes your turn at the stop sign or something equally offensive and annoying. They aren't even thinking about you (obviously), so how can you take their offensive action personally? They're already well down the road not giving you a second thought (since they never gave you a first one, anyway), so if you're sitting there stewing and fuming and all of that, who is paying the price? Not Mr/Ms La-La-Land - they're already gone! Yup - that would be you. How does it serve you to let someone else's inconsiderate behavior ruin your day? Extrapolate this out to a broad view and realize that most of the offensive behaviors you encounter are equally not about you! More likely, the offending party is just: a) having a bad day, b) always offensive to everyone, c) oblivious, d) all of the above.

Moving on to the possibility that we truly can be hurt by those we love: harboring resentment against them does not serve you. Harboring any negative emotion causes your body to release negative substances into your system, and sooner or later they will impact your health negatively. Emotional festering leads to physical festering, guaranteed! Again - the object of your resentment is not paying any price for that resentment - you're footing the bill all by yourself...

A poem by Carol Lynn Pearson on the subject:


Will I forgive,
You cry.
What is the gift,
The favor?

You would lift
Me from
My poor place
To stand beside
The Savior.
You would have
Me see with
His eyes,
And with Him
Reach out to
A sorrowing heart -
For one small
To share in
Christ's great art.

Will I forgive,
You cry.
May I -
May I?

Even those who do not subscribe to Christianity can take away the essence of the poem, which is that we are taking a higher path and following a higher power when we forgive.

On judgement: We do not judge others by how they are, we judge them by how we are. Whatever our background/education/life experience/religious training, etc., has been colors our perceptions. What we perceive to be one way may, in fact, be something completely different. The old adage of "Until you walk a mile..." comes into play. Two people doing the exact same thing do not have the exact same motivation for doing it, and unless you are in their heart and mind with them, you do not know what it is. How can you judge?

Likewise, those who would sit in judgement on you do not have all of the information necessary to make that judgement, so it's in your best interest not to let their opinion impact you too much, if at all! I once came across a magazine article that has since become something of a mantra for me. Well, actually just the title of the article - I never read the article because the title was all I needed: "Your Opinion Of Me Is None Of My Business". Yes, we want people to think well of us, but ultimately it comes down to you being okay with who you are without input from outside sources, so time spent fretting about it is wasted, futile energy.

Which leads me to the aspect of forgiveness where most of us could use improvement: forgiving ourselves. I've used this analogy many, many times over the years in conversations with my children and others, and I'm using it again now: We are not born knowing how to walk, talk, read, tie our shoes or anything else. It takes time, teaching and experience to be able to do any of those things. Do we ever, ever beat ourselves up because we couldn't talk when we were born? Or because nobody taught us to tie our shoes until we were four or five? No, we do not - that's the expected pattern and so we don't give it any thought.

Why, then, do we beat ourselves up over choices we make before we learned better? It's my considered opinion that we make the best choice we can with the information available to us at the time. Just because we may gain better information later does not mean we could have done it differently "back then". Sure, it's natural to have regrets and wish that we "knew then what we know now", but recognize that you didn't know then, and forgive yourself! Lesson learned, carry on!

As a last little tidbit, I'd like to serve up part of the lyrics to Don Henderson's song, "The Heart of the Matter":

There are people in your life
Who've come and gone.
They let you down,
You know they hurt your pride.
Better put it all behind you,
'Cuz life goes on.
You keep carrying that anger,
It'll eat you up inside.

I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter,
But my will gets weak,
And my thoughts seem to scatter,
But I think it's about forgiveness...

Stamps: Close to My Heart Love Quotes; Ink: Stampin'Up! Close to Cocoa; Paper: SU! Close to Cocoa, Bella's Birds dp; Accessories/tools: Nestabilities Labels Four, Fiskars decorative-edge scissors, ribbon rosebud, sewing machine

For my card I went with the idea that following forgiveness there is an increase in love or, alternately, that if we "look with the eyes of love", i.e., look for the good, put ourselves in their place, etc., we will realize that judgement/negativity need not happen.

Thank you for joining me here again today! Here's Mr. Linky:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

52CP19 Featured Artists

Definitely more participation this week than last - thank you! And such great cards, too! Steph started things out with this creation in one of my favorite color combos:

Deb added this gorgeous card to the challenge:

I just love that fussy-cut top edge! Next up, Kristen made three cards to have on hand for several different occasions:

I just love the variety and her use of color! Beverly added another gorgeous card to her "gallery" here on 52CP:

And my dear friend Sherry finally got a chance to play along:

Isn't that a great monochromatic card? Just beautiful! I made a few more cards that would work well for the challenge myself, but you'll have to click over to my other blog to see them...

And that's this week's lineup! My thanks again to all who've participated and shared their talents with us - truly inspiring! See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

52CP19: Have I Done Any Good?

Happy Mother's Day to you! Whether you're honoring your mother, being honored as a mother, or both - I hope your day is the best ever!

This week's inspiration is a hymn that's been rolling around in my head for weeks now:

Have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad,
And made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed, indeed!

Has anyone's burden been lighter today
Because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?

There are chances for work all around just now,
Opportunities right in our way.
Do not let them pass by,
Saying, "Sometime I'll try",
But go and do something today.

'Tis noble of man to work and to give,
Love's labor has merit alone.
Only he who does something is worthy to live,
The world has no use for the drone.

Then wake up, and do something more
Than dream of your mansions above;
Doing good is a pleasure,
A joy beyond measure,
A blessing of duty and love.

~ Will L. Thompson

This hymn represents a message often delivered from the pulpit of the church I grew up in, along with the exhortation to "be anxiously engaged in a good cause". I particularly like that phrase "anxiously engaged" - it sounds so proactive and motivating!

Oftentimes we fail to reach out to others who are hurting or otherwise going through a difficult time because we don't know what to do or say. I can tell you from personal experience - on the giving and the receiving end - that even saying something awkward or a bit "off the mark" is better than silence. It shows that you care and are standing ready to help, if need be.

Silence feels like apathy and/or being shunned - not what we would wish to convey, I'm sure. This is one reason I so appreciate Kristen and Steph and Bev commenting on last week's no-show challenge - I feel less sad and more validated than if no one had said anything!

Sometimes we want to do or say something, but "life" moves in and the time gets longer and we feel like it's too late to say anything. I know that this is particularly true for me.

My project this week is something that may (I'm hoping) help with that a bit. I made a set of note cards but left the sentiment off. I've also stamped and punched several sentiments to add to the card of my choice if/when the need arises that I need to send something off quickly. With the work already done, I'm much more likely to respond in a timely manner...

So far I only have two sentiments ready to go, but I plan to add "I'm sorry", "I'm here for you", and whatever other encouraging sentiments I can drum up. These will at least give you an idea of what I'm doing, right?

I started with some "Love Notes" from Stampin'Up! and added strips of paper from their "Bella's Birds" and "Afternoon Tea" designer papers. The frames are a Sizzix die from the "Lots of Tags" set, and I used a wide oval punch on the sentiments, which are from "Sincere Salutations".

Yesterday I made a couple of cards that would also apply for this challenge, so I'm adding them to Mr. Linky:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

52CP17 & 52CP18 Featured Artists

Here - at long last - are the submissions for 52CP17: Times and Purposes:

Thanks for sharing your talents with us, ladies!

And here are the submissions for 52CP18: Invisible Mom:



Oh...yeah...there aren't any...

I thought it would be an easy one, too, since everybody would be making cards for Mother's Day and all they'd have to do is link 'em up - I guess I was mistaken.

Okay, I'm officially sad...

I'll try again tomorrow, and see how we do this week - see you then (I hope)!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

52CP18: Invisible Mom?

It just occurred to me that I didn't post the cards for last week's challenge - I'm so sorry! I will add them later this week, for sure! Meanwhile, here's this week's inspiration, which came to me in an email a few months ago:

I'm Invisible

"It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for Me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself.

I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women."
-- author unknown

I thought that this passage would be a great thing to include with a card for my daughters and daughter-in-law for Mother's Day, so that's what I'm doing. I couldn't get into my studio to make a card for this challenge (long story - won't bore you with it), so instead I'm offering a digital image that I created for you to download:

It still needs a bit of cleaning up, but I didn't want you to think I didn't do anything for the challenge.

Edited to add: I've been playing with the solid image for hours - with and without help from better minds than my Odd Brain - and apparently the limitations of my photo-editing software will not allow me to accomplish the task. I've added the outline-only image in (hopefully) compensation. Maybe your software will let you do what mine won't... To save these to your computer, just right-click and select "save image" or "save image as" from the drop-down menu. You can also print directly from here by selecting the "print picture" option.

Edited again on Tuesday: I've played around with my limited software again and got a couple of the "issues" cleaned up. I've replaced the images with the cleaner versions. I've also made a card for this challenge - it's the first one in the Mr. Linky below...

Here's Mr. Linky: