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I am so excited to be running my first ever challenge at Faith Sisters and I’ve called it “Cover Challenge”. I love music and I’ve always got a song in my head when I wake up in the morning. It’s often how I start my prayers too. So it seemed only natural to me that I look to Christian music covers for my Designer’s Challenge Thursday with a “Cover Challenge” this week. My inspiration comes from this Mercy Me cover.

It’s a simple design with simple elements, yet it “spoke” to me on many levels. So for your challenge, should you choose to accept it is this: Create a layout from something that inspires you about this cover.

Does the main element, the heart inspire you? I’ve created a FREEBIE heart balloon that is available in my shop.


Does the silhouetted figure get the creative ideas going? You can make your own or use these fantastic silhouette brushes from Obsidian Dawn HERE.

How about the title? I was struck by the word “generous”. It got me thinking about how we can afford to be generous because God has given us everything. There are many wonderful verses about being generous and generosity. Maybe one of these speaks to you this week:

  • You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11)
  • Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. (Det 15:10)
  • Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. (Psalms 112:5)
  • A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

Here’s what I created:
I used the heart balloon freebie, a silhouette of my youngest daughter because she has the gift of generosity that I am learning from and the verse from 2 Corinthians that reminds me of just how “rich” I really am. Where will this challenge take you? I’d love to see.


You’ve already seen these photos of Anna and her MVC All Star team helping cheer on the runners at the recent Dave Ryan 5 K for Special Olympics, but now they are scrapped!

I’ve been keeping a “school” scrapbook for Anna ever since kindergarten. For some reason I just haven’t scrapped all those school-treasures that I’d collected for a few years. I got a kick in the rear when she started 7th grade this month and I realized that I was officially 2 years behind. I’m OK with one year behind, but 2! So I got busy. It helped to be inspired by Heather T’s new School Days kit. This is the first year that I’ve done her pages all digitally and had them printed out for her album.

Looking at these pictures I’ve realized just how much my girl is growing up.

Today is my Mom’s birthday.

“My Mother…knows how to find happiness along the way,

always loves and encourages

and has helped me recognize the blessing hidden in every challenge.”

I love you Mom. Happy birthday.

OK, so they really haven’t been lost. They’ve just been living in Seattle and due to family obligations they haven’t made any trips east in over a decade. I haven’t seen them in person (only in pictures since I keep up with my cousin’s blog) since before my Anna (who will be 13 soon) was born. Uncle Dave and Aunt Carol were on their last leg of a month-long trip when they stopped to visit us here in the Twin Cities last weekend. They stayed with my brother, Dan, and his family. Not sure if my kids were terribly excited to give up a Saturday afternoon to hang out with “strangers” but they were all good sports and my uncle is a fun and funny guy that engaged my teens in the conversation, so it wasn’t so bad.

Uncle Dave is my Dad’s younger brother. I knew that they physically looked similar–you definitely know they are brothers. What I didn’t expect was so many similarities in their mannerisms and speech patterns. I found myself doing “double-takes” the entire time we were together.  My Aunt Carol was just like I remembered her–I don’t think she’s changed much. The only thing different is now she’s the doting grandma (which I would expect) and loved to share stories and pictures of her four beautiful granddaughters. Although I have to say these were after many stories of slaying slugs.

Uncle Dave fell in love with Dan’s dog, Addy. Apparently they had snuggled together the previous night in bed. Addy is a sweet dog and obviously loves the attention.

Dan grilled burgers for dinner and there was demonstrations of how to get the burger from the plate and onto the bun. Uncle Dave couldn’t seem to master this skill without getting messy hands, but this provided a bit of entertainment. Anna, Ellie, Justin and Reed enjoyed hanging out and playing. My girls love seeing their cousins.

My Aunt wanted a family picture before we left. I added a few more children as you can see. But you know, I really wouldn’t mind having two extra boys around as long as they are these two. I love my nephews.

It was a good day. It was good to be with family, even those you’ve been separated from for a long time. It was good to share stories. It was good to laugh together. It was just good!

Anna and I headed downtown early Saturday morning. Her MVC All Star team was cheering on the runners at the Dave Ryan 5K run for Special Olympics. It was a chilly morning that threatened rain. But the girls kept warm with all their cheering. By the time the run started the sun came out too.

Many of the “special olympians” were on hand and the girls were happy to pose with them. This lady won all those medals for swimming.

Coach Stephanie gives the girls instructions.

And they’re off. The woman on the left in the white shirt and orange shorts was the overall woman’s winner.

And there’s my friend, Lorrie, in the black running suit with the white/pink stripe. Lorrie and I are on the A-team together. Go girl!

Cheering at the starting line.

The girls waiting and cheering as the last of the runners/walkers clears the starting line. They were tired from getting up so early.

One of the dad’s brought back these giant donuts from a bakery in Chicago to treat the girls. I got a bite too and it was soooooo good!

Here’s the team in front of the run sponsor’s van (one of our local radio stations).

After the girls were fortified with sugar from those awesomely large and delicious donuts they stationed themselves at the final corner before the finish line. I have to say the runners barely noticed the girls at the starting line, but boy did they appreciate the encouragement at the finish!

Lorrie’s expression when she noticed the girls were cheering for her.

When it was all over, Anna said, “That was really fun. I love the feeling I get when I know I’m helping.”

Friday night was the first home football game in town. It was also one of the  most perfect fall nights.  We weren’t there to watch football really. We were there to watch the marching band. It was the first year and will be the only year that Brandon and Austin will be in the band together.  So were were there to watch and cheer on the band (well at least Ellie was doing the cheering).

The band as the took the field.

Welcoming the team to their first home game of the season.

Ellie was so proud to have her big brothers out there. She also loved watching the cheerleaders and the danceline at half time. As for the football, “Now football is where the guys all pile on top of each other?” Um, yeah, I guess you could describe it that way.

Not that you can tell, but Brandon is second from the right in the second row and Austin is somewhere back there in the group that’s standing on the 40 yard line.

All during the game, Ellie kept wiggling that loose tooth in front that was just hanging there. We were afraid that she’d loose it at the game and it would end up down the bleachers somewhere never to be found. The tooth made it through the game (at least until after half-time when we left), but it didn’t make it home.

Third one out–none yet in. School pictures are in3 weeks. She’ll have a toothless grin.

Not only was it “Wacky Hair Day” it was “Pajama Day” and “Pancake Day” all rolled into one last Tuesday. It was the first special “fun” day for Ellie in her new class and she was so excited. Her big sister knew exactly what to do with Ellie’s hair since she is a “Wacky Hair Day” veteran. Anna styled her sisters hair into pony tails, braids and messy buns. Ellie loved her look.

Walking her home from the bus Ellie commented, “Today went really fast.” (Usually it’s been “I’m exhausted.”) So I knew it must have been a good day. Then she said, “Mom, I’m sorry to say but those pancakes were even better than at home. If you would’ve have one you would’ve said so too.”  The next day at school she thanked her teacher for those “delicious pancakes”. Not sure what made them so delicious, but I’m glad she enjoyed them.

Note: this layout is made with my new Fall Solids, Fall Dots and Fall Elements kits available at Faith Sisters

My digi-friend Heather T has a new kit out at Mscraps this week called “Parting”. Here’s what I made with it:

Both feature photographs from 2009 that I haven’t scrapped yet. This was such a fun and versatile kit to use. If you like it get it HERE.

About two weeks ago, just before school started, Ellie and I spent half a day un-decorating, redecorating and cleaning the church in preparation of the fall season with Miss Gail and Miss Gina. We’ve done this before a few times, but this time seemed to take longer than usual, but the work was good. And Ellie was so good. She alternated between helping us and just entertaining herself. Part of her entertainment was to see what she could find in Mommy’s purse. First it was a granola bar, then it was the cell phone to play games and watch videos. When the food was gone and the phone got boring she discovered the camera. First she took a picture of me working:

Then she moved over to the other side of the sanctuary and captured this (those are Miss Gina’s legs):

While I continued to work, Ellie moved out into the narthex (this was the last picture that I knew about and saw her taking):

and found the entryway mat interesting enough to take a photograph:

Then she discovered this and decided that it made the perfect backdrop for a series of self-portraits:

If you don’t know exactly what “this” is. It is a large inflatable donut-type tube that the kids sit in and roll down the hill next to the church doing crazy somersaults and it was sitting in the entryway right next to that interesting mat.