Archives for category: Doodles/Scrapbook

I’ve decided the difference between being chronically ill and having a brief illness is the activity of the mind.

When you have the flu and you’re laying on the couch… shaky, achy and miserable… your body can do nothing and you want to do nothing. You wonder after a day or so if you remember what being healthy feels like, and decide that nothing in life is important enough to risk moving from that very spot.

You’ve all been there, right?

You desire to do nothing except feel miserable until miserable has run its course.

Chronic illness can be similar in a lot of ways. I lay on the couch… shaky, achy and miserable… my body can do nothing, but I want to do something.

I know health isn’t coming at the end of this run. I know that whatever is around the corner – in some way shape or form – is  going to involve this illness. If history is any indication, around the corner will bring a new hurdle, not a smoother road. But unlike short term illness, my brain doesn’t tend to slow down and give in to my body.

I still watch Funny Girl on the weekend and dream of being discovered and put on a stage. I still look out the window and wonder if the water at the lake is warm yet, if people are grilling out and eating sweet corn. My mind drifts to past gatherings and I wonder what the current ones are sounding like.

Because I know those things are unreachable, my mind is constantly shifting to what I can do here. Letters I want to write to people, gifts I want to make, dishes I want to dare prepare in the kitchen.

My mind is constantly on the go.

But my fingers are too sore to write on the card, my body is too tired to stand and paint, and cooking is a pointless task when my hands and wrists no longer let me do something as simple as cut a piece of meat.

I’m a girl who desires a goal. I’m a girl whose mind goes a million miles an hour with ideas. But I’m also a girl who doesn’t have a body that can back it up. Often, despite my best efforts, I find myself to be a girl whose body allows her nothing.

That’s where trust keeps coming into play for me.

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I trust that if my body is allowing for nothing that my mind can create, then I am meant to be doing something my mind can’t create. I’m trying to keep my eyes open all the time so when something small crosses my path that I am capable of, I can respond and participate. I’m trusting that God will put ways I can help people within my reach, and that my body is not allowing me the things of my mind because the things of His mind are more important.

What about you?

Are you living your life fighting for what your mind wants, or are you trusting and being open to the things that He may be putting in front of you?


I’m skipping a few years of Memorial Day celebrations so I have the space to show you all the layouts for 2007.

We may have taken a few photos that year. 🙂

I love capturing moments, and my sister Laura had just gotten a DSLR for Mother’s Day, so we had a hay day with the cameras. I also took a lot of pictures that year because I had this nagging pull on my heart the entire time. It was one of those weekends that I was purposefully taking in every moment because it was becoming very clear to me that it would be my last year traveling home.

I had no idea my health would continue to spiral like it did, as quickly as it did. I just knew my limitations were escalating. I remember standing in the kitchen with mom, after everyone else had left to go home, and saying that it was the perfect weekend to end on for me. The kids were all so good and played so great together, everyone was relaxed, there was no schedule. It was calm. And happy. And I felt so blessed in that moment to have it.

I think Mom was still a bit in denial at the time about whether or not I’d be making any car trips after that, but she agreed that it was a lovely time. I hope you can see in the photos the kind of happy it left with us.

I look back on these pages often.


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I think I’ve mentioned it a little bit before, but do you all know I used to be a compulsive scrapbooker?

Like, I’d start one layout in the evening and then stay up until four in the morning trying to finish an entire book. I loved it. It was like once I started I just couldn’t make myself stop. Obviously, in the past couple of years I haven’t done a lot of sitting at the computer for hours on end, and in the past year I’ve done… let’s see… zero pages.

I really started faithfully scrapbooking for my family in 2001 when we had our first big Memorial Day get-together because we had family pictures taken. All of my nieces and nephews had such a great time playing together that we decided to make it an annual event, and I love that I have my scrapbook pages so I can look back, remember and see how much the kids have changed.

Want to see some? 🙂

I’ll post a few layouts today and a few more tomorrow. I’m warning you, I’m no Jessica or Ali Edwards… but I do love putting a page together. Just click on the photo and it will open to a bigger shot so you can see them better.

Feel free to tell me how cute my nieces and nephews are. I’m not going to argue with you…


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Friday, March 12, 2010

3.12.10I am so enamored by the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. It’s one I keep in the DVD player for those moments when I need to get lost in something. I’ve seen it so many times it doesn’t really matter if I pay attention or not… I can glance up at any moment of the movie and be completely engrossed.

Because I love to pretend that someday, by some crazy miracle, I’m going to relax on the couch in my Tuscan villa while writing my great novel.

The second best thing, of course, is to read a novel on my couch here in the condo and pretend Tuscany is right outside my window. 🙂 Awhile back I won a book giveaway on my friend Liz’s blog, but she knows me so well that rather than send me the Danielle Steel book I’d actually won, she sent me Bella Tuscany, written by the same author as Under the Tuscan Sun.

If you don’t see me for a few days on the blog, blame Liz. I’ll probably be lost in my Tuscan fantasy…

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

3.13.10Since I showed you my niece Avery’s beautiful dish she made me for Christmas in last week’s Gitz Bits, I thought today I’d show off my nephew Cooper’s ornament creation. Aren’t they so unique and lovely? Even though it’s meant for a Christmas tree, I bucked the trend and hung it in my Doodle Wall alcove. Just looking at it makes me smile.

Because a cool kid made it.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

3.14.10I was telling Jessica awhile back that I think I may have bit off more than I can chew with this whole Project 365 thing. I mean, it’s only March and I’m thinking I’ve about maxed out the creativity for photos in the condo. I had decided that I would still put up Gitz Bits every Tuesday… I just might not have a photo for every. single. day.

She was having none of it. Seriously. I totally thought she’d let me off the hook, but the girl’s a stickler. She literally told me to take a photo of my socks.

So, here’s a photo of my socks. Aren’t they cute? My friend Robin sends a few of us girls fuzzy socks every now and again, and when I’m having “one of those days” I put on my warm and cozy socks, think of my girls and all seems a little more right with the world.  divider blue

Monday, March 15, 2010

3.15.10Unbeknownst to me when I took the photo of my socks on Sunday, I opened a package from Robin in the mail on Monday to discover… SOCKS! How funny is that?

This time they were fun stripey socks that made me laugh. I immediately thought of Pippi Longstocking, which is the first movie I ever saw in a theater. I don’t remember much of the movie, but I do remember the popcorn and the fact that I was shocked that it was still daylight when we left the theater. I think I was so transfixed in that darkened room that I was sure it would be nighttime and just as dark outside when we left.

Crazy the little things that stick with you.

[In case you’re keeping track, Riley still needs a haircut. Really. Really. Bad.]

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3.16.10Now, just so you all know, I don’t get surprise presents in the mail on a regular basis… but this week I got just a wee bit spoiled. 🙂 My friend Shannon and her girls sent me a belated Valentine that arrived on Tuesday, and it included this fantastic new book. I love that both books arrived at a time when I’m finally back in a reading mood. Now I just have to decide which one I’m going to dive into first!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3.17.10Do you see that? It’s called sunshine.

It had been so long since I’d seen it, I almost didn’t recognize it. I was afraid to startle it for fear it would retreat into hiding, but I went ahead and took a photo just to ensure I would remember what it looked like should it decide to leave again.

Sunshine, green grass, no snow… I thought I might be living a dream.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

3.18.10 And the next night my fears were proven correct.

Welcome to Iowa, people.

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well:



1. not returned or reciprocated: unrequited love.
2. not avenged or retaliated: an unrequited wrong.
3. not repaid or satisfied.

Man, [U] was a hard one to decide on. I can’t say any of the suggestions jumped out at me, but I suppose that’s the fun of this A 2 Z concept… it’s supposed to be a challenge. 🙂

I’ve talked with a few people lately about forgiveness and the struggle so many have with the concept of forgiving, of letting go, of accepting what has been. Does it mean that we are saying what was done to us is ok? Does it mean that we are saying they are right and we are wrong? Does it mean that we have to put ourselves back in the same position and hope for the best that history won’t repeat itself?

For me, the answer to all of those questions is no. I think one of the hardest things about forgiveness is that the person who has been wronged often has to leave the issue unrequited. Whatever was done that requires forgiveness often leaves us broken or empty, and sometimes those feelings weren’t validated. And perhaps still aren’t. As much as our deepest desire is sometimes to retaliate for being hurt, that’s not what forgiveness is all about. Oftentimes, even when matters are resolved to the best of the abilities of those involved, the injured party is still left feeling unsatisfied. Unrequited.

Being wronged hurts. Speaking forgiveness is sometimes easy, but truly feeling it is often hard… because we often have to decide if we’d rather be right, or if we’d rather be happy. If we’d rather hold onto our righteous hurt, or if we’d rather extend grace. Let’s be honest… we’re human… it’s our impulse most of the time to hold on rather than leave ourselves unrequited.

I was given a whole new clarity about forgiveness when I came across this phrase years ago:

IMG_2051Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.

Yep. It impacted me enough to put it on my Wall of Doodles.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? We hold onto things because they are unrequited. Because they hurt us. Because they never should have happened in the first place. Because we want to go back to the time before we were hurt and make it not happen. We want a better past.

But that’s not possible.

Life happened.

The possibility for a better past just doesn’t exist. But the possibility for a better future is available to each and every person who is still breathing. We can let go of the hurt and the anger and the need to once again say, “But I was right!” Each and every one of us has the opportunity to decide that our future will be better than our past. And we have the opportunity to give someone else the grace to know that, too… by extending forgiveness. By doing as Christ has done for each of us over and over and over again.

Imagine if He looked as us and said, “But I was right,” instead of, “But you are Mine.”

Letting go of the possibility of a better past means that a better future is possible… but that doesn’t always mean both people will choose that path. There are people in my life who I have forgiven, knowing the past cannot change. But some of those people choose to live out the same actions over and over. They have the possibility for a better future, but they are choosing not to take it. I can forgive them without walking back into unhealthy situations. I can forgive them, and still choose not to play the game. I hope someday they will choose a better future, and I will cheer them on if they do. In the meantime, I care about them from a distance so I don’t participate in what is as unhealthy for them as it is for me. I think, just like God does with us, we can stay where we are when they move away. And still be here when they choose to come back.

I have a very good memory. My friend Susie often says that I’m her memory as well, since I remember details of her world she sometimes forgets. So, for me, saying I’ll forgive and forget isn’t really practical. I once had someone tell me they knew forgiveness was real in them when they could remember what had been done to them without feeling like they did when it happened. That has been true for me, too. I don’t forget. And I think it’s good to remember in order to not put myself back in harmful situations. I have to remember in order to learn from things. But when I remember without feeling the sadness or hurt or pain, then it’s just a memory. It’s a past that can’t be changed for the better, followed by a future that can.

I’ve learned that leaving things unrequited can be a beautiful gift. It means they can be left where they belong so forgiveness can be given, received and cherished.

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a to z

We’re already up to [V], people!!! Leave me a topic suggestion in the comments and I’ll be [v]ery happy to accept the challenge for next Monday. 🙂

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The only thing this next bit has to do with being unrequited is that I want this cd by Adie and I won’t be satisfied until I have it. 🙂 My friend Jessica sat down with her friend Adie Camp, who has an amazing new cd being released on Tuesday. It’s such a gift to be able to hear from the heart of an artist before you hear her lyrics and melodies. Jess is giving away 5 cds… so go to her post here and enter to win!!!

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Friday, January 15, 2010

1.15.10 Such a poor, neglected puppy. Would you just look at those paws? I told you all awhile ago that I had given him a haircut, but ran out of steam before I could trim his front legs. That was, oh, about three weeks ago. And I’ve decided there’s no point in trimming them now… if I procrastinate a little longer it’ll be time to give him a haircut again anyway!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

1.16.10Just like I cut Riley’s hair in stages, I eat my vegan cookies in stages, too. There’s a very good reason for this: the calories are redonkulous! I figure I can eat one cookie a week, so I just break off bits each day. They are so super filling, though, I honestly don’t think I could eat a whole cookie in one sitting. It works well that Dawn comes every other week with two cookies… I’m set!

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

1.17.10I may have been just a little happy when the Vikings beat the Cowboys last week. Here’s the thing… I’ve always been a Vikings fan, and I will become a fan of anyone playing against the Cowboys… so this was pure bliss. Many friends on Twitter were commenting about the game, and I posted: “Dear Brett, I know a lot of people say this, but I mean it. I love you. And your Wranglers.”

Somehow, Brett Favre managed to hack into my friend Candy’s account and send me this message through her twitter: “Dear Gitz, I love you too. Don’t tell Twitter our secret. Love, Brett.”

Twitter just makes everything more fun. 🙂

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Monday, January 18, 2010

1.18.10Sometimes I wish I knew what Riley was thinking, but when he gives an expression like this, I think it’s better off I stay ignorant. That pup just looks like he’s up to something. Regularly.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1.19.10I try to find foods that I only have to make once, and then heat up leftovers for the rest of the week. That became a little more difficult once the whey allergy hit, because most of my casseroles or rice dishes in the crock pot contained cream of mushroom soup. And cheese.

I miss cheese.

Anyway, I can eat Prego, so once a week I brown some hamburger, throw in a jar of Prego and call it good. [I know, my culinary skills are confounding you…] Then, I take the Tuscan Herb flavored Stacy’s Pita Chips and scoop up the prego/meat sauce like a dip.

If you close your eyes real tight and squint, while standing on your head and imagining you’re in Italy, you might be able to pretend that the flavor remotely resembles pizza.

The saddest part: I was super excited when I figured that out.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1.20.10Several of you asked about this canvas, as a bit of it was peeking out of last week’s Christmas tree photo. [By the way, I’m keeping the tree and getting new lights. I live to be tacky.] This was my first venture into painting/creating something on a canvas. I had no idea what I was doing… I used my house paint colors and a black Sharpie marker and just started.

The photos are of my 10 perfectly adorable and kind-hearted nieces and nephews. I love having their pictures all in one place so I can think of them and smile at them every day. I’m pretty sure most of them would roll their eyes at me if I told them I smile at them each day, but they’ve known me long enough to not be surprised that I’m weird.

The photos are from 2007, but they can be removed and changed out… I’m just not home to make them pose for head shots anymore. And I’m quite certain none of them are complaining about that… I was a bit constant with the camera. 🙂

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

1.21.10This may surprise you, but the focus of the picture was not intended to be the cute white pup, posing so nicely. I didn’t plan on him being in the photo at all, but he noticed the camera and promptly placed himself directly in front of it. What can I say… he’s vain.

What I wanted to show you is the amazing quilt my friend Suzanne made for me this past Christmas. Isn’t it lovely? I’m still overwhelmed by it… quilting is a totally new hobby for her and, like everything else she does, it obviously came naturally to her. She even made it a lighter weight quilt since she knew I was always hot these days because of the Cushing’s. What a gal.

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Thanks for sharing my week with me! I have to tell you, my creative brain needs to get in gear because I’ve almost run out of ideas for pictures already. I also realized I rattle on so long that some of these could have been individual blog posts in and of themselves! 🙂 Jessica may have created a monster. Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well:

Tap – Tap – Tap … Is this thing on?

Yep, it’s me. Still here and determined to get back to writing and chatting with you all …

I promised I would answer the questions you left in the comments of last week’s post, and I’m here to keep my word. 🙂 You guys always come up with the best questions… some got me thinking pretty in depth and will be blog posts in and of themselves, but I thought I’d start out with a bunch of random ones today to get me in the writing mode again.

So, without further ado…

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Have you always had handwriting like you do?

I’ve been weird about experimenting with my handwriting for a really long time. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but it was around lower elementary age that I got a Crayola calligraphy marker set for Christmas from my Aunt Mary. It was at a gift exchange at my grandparents’ house and I’m sure one of my cousins had my name, but it was pretty clear Aunt Mary picked it out because of how excited she was to show me how to use it. They were normal looking markers with a calligraphy tip, and some had cuts in them so it would create the letters with separated lines.

I loved it.

After that I practiced my calligraphy letters obsessively, and through the years when I got bored I would purposefully change the look of my handwriting [especially if I was bored during school]. I would create a handwriting look and then write the alphabet over and over until it became a natural handwriting for me. Weird hobby, I know, but it was very beneficial later in life when I started scrapbooking. 🙂

Do you have any more fonts on the pea website? I have already used your handwriting in a few of my digital scrapbooks and I love them!

Ok, seriously – it is so much fun knowing that my handwriting is in your scrapbooks! Another blogger sent me a thank you note that had my Pea Frankie printing on it and it was so strange [and cool] to open an envelope and see it used.

To answer your question, no… I only have the two fonts right now. I might submit some more eventually, but there’s no guarantee that she’ll like them enough to make them. If I do submit some and they get made, you all will be the first to know!

Did you have a favorite book as a child?

Again, I don’t know what age I was but I would guess around 4th grade, when I found a book called Karen on a bookshelf in our house. I would pretty much read anything I could get my hands on, but this is the first book I distinctly remember not knowing what to do when I finished it because I wasn’t ready to let go of the characters yet. I can remember where I was in the house [back when we had really awful multi-colored shag carpet with oranges and greens and browns] when I asked mom if there was another book that told me about the rest of their story. I was so sad to learn there wasn’t.

It was a true story written by Karen’s mother, Marie Killilea. She told the story about her daughter being born and living with cerebral palsy around the 1950s in the most honest, real way. She talked about their struggles as a family, the challenges Karen faced and the process of their lives changing as she grew older.

It’s funny, because I read that book as a kid and forgot about it for years, but it actually helped me quite a bit when I was making the decision to go on disability. I was trying so hard to work or get freelance writing jobs, but was constantly getting sick and winding up in the hospital. I was trying to figure out what to do when my mind flashed on the end of that book. Karen had grown into a young adult and was trying to decide if she would keep struggling to use her crutches to walk, or start using a wheelchair. She had made a list outlining the positives of each… on the side marked crutches was a long list of reasons to keep pushing, and on the side marked wheelchair there was only one word: Freedom. The memory of that passage, more than anything else, made me feel like it was ok not to spend my entire existence fighting instead of living.

Amazing how something as simple as picking up a book that was lying around the house as a kid could help me make such a huge life decision.


Ok, peeps, that’s it for today.

I’m still running ridiculously slow here, but am going to try to put up some short question and answer posts more frequently … maybe if I get my writing brain working again the rest of my body will somehow follow suit and figure out how to work again, too. 🙂 Not that I’m impatient or anything…

So here’s to seeing you all again soon. And keep your fingers crossed that I didn’t just jinx myself by saying that…