September 30, 2014

Grief Golf

The week that Allie died, we spent some pretty amazing time with family. Despite our grief, there was grace and laughter. God provided, indeed.

Grief looks different on everyone and many of the guys were really struggling, including Bryon and his younger brother Bret. So my husband decided there would be grief golfing.

He and Trevor picked up Uncle Bret and went to the course where we had our wedding reception.

I stayed home with the girls and left them alone to be boys and laugh like boys and maybe cry like boys. But my boys are amazing and sent me photos!

Trevor got some lessons and actually hit a really great game.

More than anything else, I treasure these videos because I can hear both Bryon and Bret encouraging Trevor. He'll miss those voices one day and I love that they are captured now for him, forever.

I am so proud and so grateful to be a part of this family. God is so good.

September 29, 2014

Some Project Life Pages

The scrapbook thing has been going strong up in here lately. And I am absolutely in love with it again.

Project Life, or pocket-style scrapbooking - takes a lot of design pressure off and allows you to just... create. Things are simple: a couple of favorite photos with a few 3x4 cards and some journaling. Lots of journaling. I use 6x8 handbook albums from Studio Calico. 

Some of the pages I've been working on are the weekly pages that I do for my 2014 album (see, for example, weeks 14 and 15 below) and others are for my personal scrap album.

September 25, 2014

Things I Love: PROJECT LIFE Edition

Folks, I have become addicted to Project Life - or pocket style scrapbooking.  If you've never heard of it, you can learn more about Project Life HERE.

Here are some favorite pages belonging to some very talented people, that knocked my socks off.

Images are Pinned for sources.

September 24, 2014

We Miss Allie

I met Allie when she was 15. She came with Grandma Sharon to Bryon's 37th birthday party. I was in the backyard busy being his new girlfriend and meeting all of his friends when I saw them pull up. I ran up to the front of the house, introduced myself, and started helping them carry food into the house.

Minutes later we were standing in the kitchen and Allie turned to Grandma and said, "I like her."

I knew immediately that I liked her right back.

A year later when we were married, Allie was the first of my new nieces and nephews to call me Aunt Rachel.

She came to the house often, sometimes to babysit, other times just to hang out with us. On the nights that she babysat, she asked to see my outfit and shoes. She loved fussing over girl stuff and I LOVED having an niece old enough to do that. After we left, Allie played with the kids. She colored with Mabel for hours. She'd sleep over on the couch all the time.

Two Tuesdays ago, Allie died suddenly. She had a massive epileptic seizure in the shower, and fell. And we are all still heartbroken.

The impact of Allie's death is still sending ripples throughout our family. Lessons are being counted as we find new ways to love on our own littles and on our extended family.

As I sat at the photo counter the day after she died printing photos for her funeral, I struggled to see the file names on the computer through tears. It was so difficult to choose which photos to print because all of them were stunning. She was stunning. Was. That was also the day that Bryon and I took Allie's brother and sister bowling. Grief bowling. Blech.

We are all better for having loved her. Her laughter and love was contagious.

I think Mabel said it best:

September 22, 2014


I come from quite a line of quilters and crafters. I'm sure I've mentioned it previously.

My great grandma Elsie (my mother's paternal grandmother) made a quilt for my grandma Thelma about 80 years ago, which was passed along to my mom when grandma Thelma died. The quilt was a traditional pattern in a minty, army green and white - with little semicircle wedges of floral calico and dutch girl fabric. My mother kept the quilt on her bed for most of my childhood and it smelled deliciously old.

One day when I was about five, I wandered into her bedroom and found great grandma Elsie's pinking shears. And I remember wondering what kind of cut pinking shears would make. So I laid down on the floor next to the bed and cut into my mother's heirloom quilt. It wasn't long after my chop that my mom heard the ominous sound of silence coming from her only child's room upstairs and arrived to investigate. I'd be lying if I said I didn't deserve the spanking I got. Judy fixed the quilt. She found the closest minty, army green fabric she could and sewed it around the gap. And every day thereafter I would see the quilt on her bed and regret that little square that was different along the edge. I think I might have broken my mama's heart a little that day and I still feel bad about that.

Dang I was a pickle.

My mother was a crafty one, too, that lovely Judy. She made afghans for me as a baby and I still have one of them. It is a soft, buttery yellow zigzag with marbled pink/green/white yarn throughout. During my childhood, that afghan was a great fort roof. It went outside for picnics, played house in my playhouse, and wrapped up all sorts of baby dolls. I am grateful I managed to hold onto it.

All 3 of my babies have cuddled in it. Mabel most especially. She uses it to build forts, play house, and wrap up her baby dolls. She also sleeps with it on top of her quilt most of the time. And so I was very shocked to check on her one night recently and find that her afghan looked a little funny. Her afghan had seven holes in it. She had overstepped her scrapbooking boundaries and wondered what it would look like to use her scrapbooking scissors on yarn. And a crocheted afghan at that. God Himself kept those seven holes from unraveling. Seriously, my mother must have used mortar when knotting that thing up because, thank the Lord, the holes didn't rip the whole dang thing out.

I scolded her and sobbed at the foot of her wooden bed and told her about how sad I was that she'd cut into the afghan Nana Judy made for me as a baby. She cried, too, and apologized a lot.

Dang she is a pickle.

I stopped at the craft store on the way home the next day and found the closest soft, buttery yellow yarn I could find for that 40 year old afghan. And then I sat down on the couch and did afghan surgery. If you've ever repaired an afghan you know that this requires matching yarn, a darning needle, tweezers, and a whoooooolllle lot of patience. It took me over two hours to repair all seven of the holes that Mabel cut into that afghan and when I hold it up, those scars are very hard to see. In addition to being a pickle, I'm also dang good at afghan repair apparently. Perhaps God knew I'd need that particular talent in my lifetime.

Mabel was thrilled that I could fix it almost as much as I was. Every time she sees it now, she notices the repairs more readily than I do and she says she is sorry. She did break my heart a little that day, but I wasn't surprised at all. I called Nana Judy and told her the story and she shared a laugh with me. Probably because she knows I totally deserve exactly what happened.

I am grateful to have a pickle for a daughter. She sure makes life interesting - and I would never trade a single thing that I endure for her, ever. Including afghan repair. But I might not-so-secretly wish that one day, she has a baby girl who is also a juicy little pickle.

September 18, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

1. Whoa, this week I needed to see this. YES.

2. Oh hello, little Punkin'.

3. Bible journaling is so rad.

4. Still loving Ashley Goldberg. Hard.

5. Still loving ripped knees. Hard.

6. Fuzzy jacket, black pants, and a statement necklace. Perfection.

7. Love the fatigue jacket and black dress so much.

8. Everyone should have this at the ready all the time.

9. Love this braid!

9. Such a gorgeous weaving.

10. I passed out when I saw this Liddicoatite, a type of tourmaline. GAH GAH GAH. Love.

11. Isn't our God amazing?  He loves beautiful things!  Pretty tremendous to think he considers each of us to be a magnificently beautiful creation.

All images are Pinned for sources.

September 17, 2014

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies, Because Sometimes You Have To

Adapted from original recipe here.

Makes approximately 2 dozen teaspoon cookies

2 cups almond flour, finely ground
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup coconut oil, unmelted 
1 Tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 handful of Paleo-friendly chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Combine thoroughly and then fold in chocolate chips. Chill dough in freezer for 5 minutes to stiffen coconut oil. Using a coffee spoon, add spoonful-sized cookie balls to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and lightly press down. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes or until edges become golden brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes or cookies will crumble.

Note: store extra dough in freezer between batches to keep coconut oil firm.