Monday, July 30, 2007

Scrappin' and packin'...

I am in the middle of packing suitcases for myself and my kiddos as we prepare for our trip home to Minnesota tomorrow. I have been busy scrapping {CandyTown!!}- the latest page was one I did for my parents- who I get to spend time with for the next almost 2 weeks. I am so happy about that!
I owe lots of you emails and thanks for little gifts and goodies that have been sent my way the past couple of weeks. Cute stuff! I promise to get caught up on my correspondance as soon as I can...I just can't guarantee when that will be. =)
I am looking forward to this family time/vacation summer adventure we will be on, and I'm sure I'll have some pictures of my happy kids to share with you soon. There's nothing like making summer memories. I hope you're making some fantastic ones of your own!

Heart transplants~

The reality of our tragic incident began to sink in hours after the initial impact of the car into the restaurant building, for me at the words, "organ donation". The doctors had warned us of Teagan's grave condition and even at the scene when I picked her up and carried her out of the hole in the wall, in my heart I had an overwhelming sense that there would be no hope for her of surviving her injuries.
But it wasn't until I sat at Chip's bedside and together we heard the hard, cold facts of Teagan's fate. She was given CPR at the scene and I watched as her little body was taken by ambulance and the next time I saw her, she was hooked up to life support machines and looked as though she was sleeping soundly. She hardly had a scratch on her...she still looked beautiful to me. I wished I could have just watched her open her eyes and that it would have simply been a bad dream. Just hours earlier she was laughing and singing and life held nothing but promise and hope for her.
It was surreal for me to listen to a doctor say that despite all they had done for her, the fact was that her brain was never going to function again, and machines were keeping her alive. Chip and I at that time were asked if we would like to consider organ donation. It was one of the 'easiest' decisions we had to make while we were in the hospital over the next 3 weeks. We didn't even hesitate in our me that was a gift from God in all this- that we both wanted the same thing- to give others hope and to bring something "good" out of our tragedy.
We were told of a family waiting for a heart for their 7-year old son...Teagan was the miracle they were praying for. There were others who were in dire need of hope...and Teagan's death would mean a second chance at life for them.
We signed the papers quickly, and then I do remember holding Chip and letting the tears I began to accept our fate and reality...but mixed it with the realization that someone was getting their hopes and dreams and future back. It was the first comfort that I felt as the depth of my pain was just settling in.
And then hours later the hurt came flooding back, as Teagan went into cardiac arrest and the hopes and dreams for other families waiting their 'new life' were shattered once again. The doctors were able to give Teagan's heart valves and the corneas of her eyes to others- and that was a bit of comfort...but not what we had hoped for Teagan to be able to give back in her final moments on earth.
I have no idea who received the gift of sight or the gift of a mended heart because of Teagan's death. But I was struck yesterday, not only in my memories and the notes and phonecalls and cards from people touched by Teagan's memory still. It was the feeling in my own heart, and the very peace and comfort that flooded my soul that I couldn't deny. I am shedding tears today, in a larger sense, because after all these years of feeling sad that Teagan couldn't give someone the heart transplant they so deperately needed, I see that she indeed has been a part of changed own heart has received a transplant in a sense. I am changed and see the world differently because of her. Others have shared how their hearts have been touched and forever changed because of Teagan's death. What a comfort, what a blessing...that didn't come in the way I had hoped and expected, but that transpired over time and it is a beautiful thing to see and experience.
I have knew 'eyes'; a new vision and outlook in life due to our experiences. I never would have imagined that Chip and I would find ourselves signing papers to give Teagan's heart and eyesight away to others. Nothing in life can prepare anyone for such a moment...but it has changed us. It has changed me.
I just baked some zucchini bread and my children are playing and eating blueberries and I can hear the coo of a morning dove just outside the screen door. Teagan loved to imitate the coo of the morning their song always brings a smile to my face and heart. The sun is shining and I cannot believe that this moment is my life. Because of my hardships and pain, I am "extra-sensatized" to beauty and sounds and simple goodness in life. My heart could burst at times...not from the pain...but from the peace. It seems to be now that those of us who need heart transplants and fresh eyesight aren't just the ones sitting in hospital beds waiting for a surgeon. But instead it is those who have no idea that life is truly a gift. Every single day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Music, love and laughter...

My kids picked from 8 different varieties of Pop Tarts for breakfast. We went to church and brunch as a family. The van is getting detailed by Chip as we prepare for a trip to Minnesota this week. The sun is shining. There are flower bouquets in our home- sent from people who are sending thoughts and prayers our way today.
I was moved at the thoughtfulness and kind words from some of my new best friends through my scrapbooking connections. Moved so deeply by Teagan that they created in memory of her today.
I can't help but see how she STILL is such a part of who I am...of who my family is each day...of who I continually hope to share with others. That Teagan continues to touch the hearts of so many long after her death is a sweet gift to Chip and to me in life.
In memory of Teagan and all the fun and love and laughter we shared I just had to add this link. It is one of my favorite memories of Chip and Teagan together...singing and dancing. She knew every word of this song by heart. It was a part of her memorial slideshow. And the first song that Chip and I danced to at our wedding. I love that it has such meaning. Life is good. Even on the most memorable of days.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


We had Chinese take-out for dinner. She gave Brock her fortune cookie...which said inside, "You will live a long and prosperous life." She wanted "to be four forever".
I made tapioca that of her favorites. We topped it with Reddi-wip. She wanted to 'save the rest for later'.
No one told me it would bring me to tears...days later. When she never returned.
Chip tucked the kids in one final time that night. I pulled out a magazine {which I rarely had time to read by myself} and read a story of one mom's tragedy that claimed the life of her 18-month old beautiful little girl named, Isabella. I was touched, and moved to tears. I couldn't imagine losing a child...but I had come close- just 6 months earlier with my Wyndham.
Less than 24 hours later I would know her pain and then some. As my whole family would be helicoptered and air-lifted downstate to their respective ICU beds.
I was totally unaware. I was totally oblivious that such a reality awaited all of us- at Sunday brunch the next day. I never would have closed my eyes and slept so peacefully that night had I even the slightest incling of what awaited my family.
I would have held Teagan and never let go. I would have smothered Chip and Brock and Wyndham with kisses. I wonder if I had known if I would have taken the opportunity to tell the woman responsible for such devastation that there was Hope available to her in her hopelessness. I wonder if I knew what lie ahead if I would have been moved enough to do something outside myself and my family to make a difference. I really have no answer. I only know that I've been given the chance to share my thoughts and my heart. I thank God for giving me more live, to love, to laugh and to touch others. I love that I can remember. And in so doing, I share a part of Teagan with all who care to hear.
I love you, Teagan Mackenzie. And I always will.

Joy in my life...

Here are some peeks of a layout I made using the new SIS CandyTown Collection goodies. {You can see the full page here at my gallery.} What a fun pack of products to play and create with...all designed by one of our own Fashionistas...Adrienne Looman! I just love the bright, bold colors and the way the items invite you to just have fun with scrapping.
I scrapped a picture of one my new friends from my recent trip to Chicago, Ashley Wren. She made me smile and laugh nonstop.
As we mark this weekend and the events that changed my life, I can't help but think of how far my family and I have come from such a deep, dark, unexpected place in life. I remember one of my greatest fears was that I would never know happiness in life again. I just couldn't wrap my mind and heart around the idea that life would hold something that could reach beyond my grief and pain and show me joy and happiness.
I loved Teagan so much. I loved the way we lived our quiet, happy little life in a small corner of the world. I loved how there was laughter and love and messes from morning til made my heart glad to live such a quaint life. I had no idea that it could change in an instant- that's how naive I was to evil and hurt in the world.
So when it happened to me, I was floored even moreso than some might be. I had never realized such pain existed. And I found myself in the middle of it. Drowning some days...and wishing that I would because the reailty of my hurt was that raw.
I remember thinking that life would be nothing but cruel and hurt for me- even to go out to the grocery store or for a walk by a pond difficult. I would see people living the carefree life that just days before had been my own. And I wanted it back. Or I wanted them to share a piece of my heartache. And there was no way anyone could begin to I hurt even more. It began a cycle of hurt, pity, anger, disillusionment...and bitterness. The fact that I had known love and joy to such an amazing degree with Teagan and my quiet family life only added to the sorrow that was consuming my heart and mind. It was immense and it never ceased.
The first journaling I did after Teagan had died was my soul crying out to God for what I wanted/needed in life. It wasn't comfort. I sort of liked feeling pain because it felt as though I was hanging onto Teagan in some way. I didn't need a list of "phases of grief" or books about "what the traumatized person looks like" or to hear prognosis' that had no concrete answers for Wyndham and Brock. No. I already knew I was traumatized and I didn't like what I saw when I looked at our life. I knew I wasn't going to follow a nice little list of how-to-grieve-in-the-correct-order. I knew we were in for the greatest challenge of our lives in regards to giving Wyndham and Brock their future back. And I was overwhelmed, because all I wanted was a little bit of joy and happiness in my life again. As far as I could see, it didn't exist.
So I started praying for joy. I prayed, "God, my heart and life are shattered, and I truly don't believe that life holds any joy or goodness beyond my pain and our hurt. But, if you are real and if joy exists, then I will wait; and I will trust you to bring joy out of my horror."
I wasn't asking for the world. I wasn't even believing fully that my prayer would be heard or that it could be answered. But I am sitting here today, in tears, reflecting back on six years, and looking around me at my reality, and goodness and joy is all around me. I am not wallowing in bitterness, anger, hurt and grief. I am surrpunded by a family...that not only has overcome a lot of hurts and challenges, but that has grown and blossomed and has joy and laughter in Bella and Ava...who didn't even exist in my life at that time. My doorbell just rang, and I have a beautiful bouquet of flowers from someone I've never met who simply wanted me to know how much Teagan has touched her life and that she is remembering our family this weekend.
Goodness and blessing and love and happiness and joy out of brokeness, hurt, sorrow, tragedy and unbelief.
THAT is how amazing and real God is. And not just to me, but to anyone who simply wants to put their trust in Him. No matter what the issue is in life that is causing them to cry out for something more than this world has to give. The fact that God has heard my cries. The fact that I have been able to sing and laugh and dance and scrap and bake and share and love again in my life is a miracle to me every single day. I cannot explain it in my life any other way.
I cry now at times because I am humbled and overwhelmed that out of the billions of people on this earth, that God would care about me and my pain. Enough to answer my call for joy in life again.
And now that I have been given it, and have it in abundance, I seek to use these blessings to share them with others. I was selfish to keep Teagan and the joy she was in my life to myself and my little circle of family and friends. I realize now, how it is far greater to touch others with the blessings I've been given. I hope that my life now inspires others to want to share their own life and love and blessings with people around them. Not to glorify our pain and tragedy...but to give glory to the One who has restored our joy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Taking life for granted...

As the annivesary of our tragedy approaches this weekend, it hits especially hard and makes me pause and reflect more than normal on any given day. This year the days are lining are exactly as they did 6 years the 29th actually falls on a Sunday, and so forth. I think that it makes the memories more profound to me. I remember what I did on that Friday and Saturday and Sunday before my life turned upside-down.
I was loving my busy life as a Mom of three little ones. Wyndham had just 6 months earlier had a near-fatal breathing incident, and I was grateful for each day that I awoke to her and the love and laughter of Brock and Teagan too. I was patient and trying to be the best mom I could be; I realized each day was a gift- never to be taken for granted.
I sit and wonder now, if even Wyndham's trauma was a part of the 'preparation of my heart' that God allowed happen in our lives, so that I could live in light of an even greater tragedy that loomed just ahead. It was enough of a 'scare' and wake-up call to me that life was short...that my kids were a gift...that circumstances are often beyond our control...but that God would be enough to see me through. Through it all.
I have no idea how the events of my life line up in the scheme of God's great plan. But I have learned and still am learning to trust. To surrendar. To simply rest in the knowledge that God is greater than me- that God is above all things- and that to live each day in light of that knowledge brings unexplainable peace and immeasurable joy. No matter how life unfolds for me. I think back to that Friday before our tragedy. I was catching up on laundry after having been home in Minnesota for an extended stay with family. I took pictures of Teagan playing with Wyndham in her exersaucer. At one time, Teagan came up to me in the kitchen and exclaimed, "I can count to 25." I remember putting the dishtowel on the counter and sitting down next to her on the kitchen floor and then I said to her, "Show me...with kisses." She gave me a funny look and then I put my finger on my cheek and turned toward her and said, "Show me, by counting each kiss you give me on my cheek." In my mind I can still see the smile that she flashed at this was the best idea ever...counting kisses.
I sometimes can 'feel' those 25 kisses when my heart pauses to remember. Like it is remembering today. And it is a sweet gift, that I thank God for...for the best idea ever of counting kisses to 25. Sometimes I wished she had announced she could count to 100. =) Or I wish that I would have held her and never let her go...kisses that would have lasted forever. My tears are beginning to fall as I type this out. My heart will hold on to those kisses and memories forever. I know I can't turn back time. I know I can't change the way things were or are. I accept...and I thank God that my heart has learned and still is learning about the things in life that should never be taken for granted. I seek to embrace the good, to rise above the bad, and to never take a moment of the blessings in my life for granted. My tears are reminders that a heart knows...a heart knows what matters- even when it comes to learning to count to 25.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Birthday wishes...

The best 5th birthday she could ask for happened yesterday. Bella was the center of attention, and surrounded by love, happiness and animals at the zoo. =)
I had to post these cake photos, namely because that cake was scrumptious and I wish you could all have a taste of it. I had planned on making some cupcakes, but Bella wanted Daddy 'to buy a double layer cake with blue frosting'. So he did. From the best local baker around. This cake was layered with Bavarian cream, and frosted with Buttercream. After tasting lots of cakes as a wedding coordinator, I can honestly say it was one of the best cakes I've ever had. Bella and everyone else agreed! Rich...but delicious just the same.
I just love the picture of Bella with her hands over her eyes. Just as she leaned forward to blow out her candles, I told her to "make a wish". She threw her hands over her eyes, and I can only imagine what went through her mind. She's not telling, but I'll bet she wished for the world in that single wish! SO cute. =) Then she blew out her candles, clapped her hands, and settled in while we re-lit the candles for the rest of the gang to take a turn at blowing them out. We're all about keeping it fun and fair for everyone. =)
The smiles, the laughter, the flavor of the cake...well, it made for one of the best birthdays we've ever had in our home. If happiness were tangible, I think you could have grabbed a handful of it in our place yesterday. It felt so good. I know Bella had a great day. I did miss Teagan from time to time...but I realized that nothing can take away from real joy- the kind we felt while celebrating Bells in our lives yesterday. There was simply enough to make up for any hurt I may have wanted to entertain.
I can't help but think that maybe Teagan was really in our midst- no matter if we could see her or not. Happiness flowed freely...and I know Teagan would have loved being in the middle of that! I am grateful for new memories, love and joy. I look forward to helping Bella's wishes come true. No matter how grand they may be. Happy 5th birthday and one day, Bella. You {and your siblings} are truly gifts to Daddy and me. All year long! Here's to more joy and celebrating...each and everyday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Birthday girl...

I just had to update this to show pictures of Bella. Enjoying being 5 already. =)

Celebrating Isabella~

Today we are celebrating Isabella's birthday; she is 5 years old. Yesterday we made a little bit of a big deal out of the fact that it was her last day being four. She loved it, as you might imagine. Brock and Wyndham and Ava loved it too, and it was the perfect prelude to wrap up one milestone and welcome the next.
Our plans include a trip to the zoo with Wydham's therapists and friends, as she had a scheduled field trip already on her calendar, a new bicycle and helmet set, smiles, laughter, pictures and cupcakes and sprinkles to top it all off. The best kind of birthday if you ask me...memorable and fun!
Bella's 5th birthday is so special to me- as are any of my kids' birthdays, but in a really sweet way. It is as though it is a gift to me. The day she was born fell just four days before we marked the first year of our tragedy and Teagan's death. It was a very emotional time in my life, to put it simply. My heart was so torn about moving on from Teagan and all she meant in my life, yet I had no choice but to open my heart and arms to the new life God had given me through Isabella. I have never felt that Bella somehow replaced Teagan, but I know that she was a part of God's plan for healing in my life- even if I hadn't planned things to go the way they did.
I embrace today, with a tightness in my throat and tears nearing the surface of my eyes knowing that I never had this day- a 5th birthday- with Teagan. It is almost as though Bella's birthday is a reminder of all the great things I have sacrificed as a result of Teagan's untimely death.
But on the flipside of that is the realization that this day is a blessing; it is a wonderful gift and reminder that God didn't abandon me in my pain and time of sorrow and deepest need. No...He instead poured Himself out in a way I wasn't even prepared for; He heard my cry begging for a sign of goodness in this world. Those heartcries of mine have brought goodness and joy in unexpected ways over and over again in the past 6 years. Today is the day I rejoice and thank God for His gift of my little Bella. Any tears I shed are mixed- with sorrow and blessing. It's strange and wonderful all at once. I think I am beginning to grasp the understanding of the words, "Good grief".
Today we will laugh and celebrate and eat cupcakes and just enjoy being together and making memories. Exactly the things I would have done if Teagan had turned 5 too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Some pictures to share...

I should have smiled more in these pictures. Just so you could tell how great a time I had. =)
CHA Chicago, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I had no idea scrapbooking could be this much fun. I've got pictures to prove it though. You'll just have to trust me until I get home.
On Monday. =)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hey, Jacque!!!

Just shouting out a loud and special "Happy Birthday wish" to my sister, Jacque today...all the way from Chicago!!!
I am blogging from Aunt Dori and Uncle Mike's house, and send lots of love from them and me to you today. In celebration of your birthday, I woke up early, got to the train depot, where the engine had caught fire and melted...
Needless to say, I didn't take the Amtrak into Chicago, but instead had a great busride to the city. Then I enjoyed a personal guided tour up and down the sweet streets of Chicago, including a stop for lunch and enjoying lots of fun sights and beauty. The city has some amazing flowers and I just love the architecture, the history here too. Even though it was hot, it was a treat to take in the sights and see some of my favorite places, including Michigan Avenue, the Sears Tower, the Shedd's Acquarium, and the boats in the marina.
I have called home and checked in on my family, and I have a new personal hero in my life as a result. Yep. Grandma Karen got Ava to take a nap this afternoon. That NEVER happens. So, Grandma Karen is now going to be renamed "Grandma Magic Touch" from now on. =) I appreciate her taking this time to jump in and be the 'stand-in Nitty.Gritty.' for the duration of my trip. Maybe I can have her guest blog about her experience or perspective "being me" when I get back. That could make for some intersting stories. =)
Tomorrow I will meet my Fashionista SISters in real life. I expect lots of love, laughs and hugs. I am certain that I will enjoy the rest of my trip...but I don't guarantee how often I will be posting here.
SO, Happy Birthday, Jacque!! Hope you had a really great day and that you didn't have any train engine meltdowns to deal with along the way. And just in case I wouldn't get back to posting....which I would find a way or make a way by Friday...Happy Birthday to my Mom too! Special thoughts love and wishes from me...enjoying the Windy City!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Sharing pieces of me...

I'm here, just in case some of you start to worry, especially in light of that last post. You know my heart is heavy at any given moment, but it rarely stays that way for long. Part of that is that I realized early on after Teagan died, that it just wasn't 'healthy' or conducive to our lifestyle. That's not to say that Chip and I didn't or don't continue to grieve the loss of our little girl. It's just that for us it was tearing us apart and we looked at Brock and Wyndham and all they were going through and for their sake's we decided we had to find methods of coping. We wanted to give them more than what our hearts were feeling. We wanted them to have the best chance at having a 'happy, normal childhood' and so we chose, early on, to basically accept the pain and hurt. We allowed ourselves {and still do!} to say "Life stinks and it isn't fair sometimes...and I wish things could be different". The tears however, rarely fall, and it's not because they're not there, but because we've chosen to look for joy and happiness and offer our kids the best we have to give. It's an ongoing challenge, but one, if you'd poll our closest friends and family, they'd say we are winning. I don't say that boastfully, but humbly...I hope you understand.
I may have written this before, I don't recall at this moment, but one of my greatest 'fears' after Teagan died, was that I would be remembered as simply "the mom who's little girl died in that Old Depot accident". I was angry for awhile that people would label me as such. I was mad that someone's selfishness and outlook in life had changed who I was in a matter of seconds. I didn't actually have people saying it to me, but they didn't have to. I had been 'one of them' -too many times, and I just knew that it just came as part of the deal.
One of my classmates drowned when I was in 9th grade. His family lived just around the corner and up the street from me at that time. After his death I never drove by their house without thinking, "How sad...that's where Brian's parents a sad, big house." There was a family in our church who's son had died just a year to the day before Teagan died. Everytime I saw them in church I would think, "Oh my goodness...there's Jason's parents. I can't believe they are in church." And then I would make a note of how I thought they 'looked' or were doing at that time. I never asked them. I just looked at them and felt sad for their hurt.
There are other stories like that...friends of mine. Or even John Walsh and his wife who would eat at a small restaurant I waitressed at in Florida. Everytime I'd see these people, the first thing I thought of (sometimes the ONLY thing I thought of) was the death of their loved ones. SO, when it 'happened to me', I was mad and angry and upset that I had no choice in the matter but to be labeled by some in this way. And I totally understand it and I am not preaching at anyone who thinks this way about me.
However, I write all that to offer insight and to think outloud when I reflect back and take a sort of life inventory of 'how well I'm doing with all this'. In the early days and weeks and months, that was the first question everybody would ask Chip and me. "How are you doing? No, really, how are you doing?" I don't think we ever got the answer right, because people kept asking. =) {That's me being a smart alec for just a minute...truly, we have appreciated more than most people will ever know, the countless thoughts and prayers said for our family, our physical and emotionally hurts.} It's actually one of the reasons I felt so drawn to blog...I have lots of family and friends who still want to know how we are doing...and this venue offers them that chance to stay caught up. On more subjects than they care to be caught up on most of the time!
But for me, it has been a really great thing. One of the greatest joys and miracles I am finding because of my grief, is that I no longer feel as though the first thing most people label me as, or that pops into mind is that we are the family from that terrible tragedy. Instead, I've gotten emails and notes and encouragement from many scrapbookers and bloggers who are just finding out the details of our incident. They are saying they had no idea something so horrible had happened, and 'by looking at your pictures' and by reading these posts, they wouldn't even know...that "our life looks happy and fun".
Wow. I can't tell you how that makes me feel. I actually have mixed emotions, because as great as it is that people think we 'look so normal', and as much as I had hoped and dreamed for that to happen in my life again, it actually hurts in a strange way. It makes me realize that a lot of time has passed. A lot of things have changed...and we ARE different people than we were six years ago. I can close my eyes and remember the details so vividly and that pain was so raw and real...and we were told by so many people that time heals all wounds. At the time it made me angry to hear that- as though Teagan's importance and place in my life would diminish because of something uncontrollable as time. But I am finally coming to the point of understanding how it is that people who have loved and lost can say such things.
Time is a healer. For us it has also demanded that we accept, that we forgive, that we remember, that we live in the present, that we move forward, and that we create a 'new normal', and also that we believe there is something for us each day that is worth living for. I am humbled every single day that we are doing as well as we are. I know that without our faith in God and our hope of Heaven, that we wouldn't look or feel the way that we do. As I live this 'new normal' from day to day, it does hurt to not have Teagan here in the midst of it and my heart would give anything to hear her laugh or see her be a part of our physical lives. But I also know that Chip and I have fought and won a lot of battles and overcome some major hurdles just to get to this point. And to live it...the fun, the happiness, the ordinary brings so much joy. And THAT is what I hope people will see reflected and shining in us.
There is hope beyond the pain. There is Life beyond death and grief. And there is much Living to do in spite of hurt and sorrow.
I am in the midst of getting ready to leave for my scrap trip to Chicago this week. I shouldn't even be writing here...I have so much yet to do. But I find all my scrapping and projects give me lots of time to think. Which is why I had to post and share my recent reflections. They seem to come to the surface most often when I am doing something that I love to do. I guess maybe scrapping IS my therapy. Funny. It's taken me five years to figure that out! =)
Thanks so much for all your kind comments and emails and mail the past few days. It moves me deeply to know that Teagan has and continues to touch the hearts of so many. I hope you are better for hearing our story. I know that I am better for sharing it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

It hardly seems possible...

...that these pictures were taken 6 years ago today. I remembering tying that ribbon in Teagan's hair into a bow and how she was all smiles and happiness as we spent the afternoon/evening at a family wedding reception outdoors. It was a sunny day...and one of the last times that Teagan saw many of her relatives that live back in Minnesota. These are a couple of the last photos that were taken of Teagan, and how I wish I had owned a 10.3 megapixel camera back then, like I own now. The pictures I have of Teagan are not as crisp and clear as I would like. And as I looked at them today, I got a recurring knot in my throat as I realized that my memories are getting as fuzzy as some of the pictures. It makes my heart hurt, but at the same time...I realize that she's been gone longer than we had her in our life.
It hardly seems possible.
Even though the pictures and memories fade... sometimes I miss her like it was only yesterday.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Interesting. Maybe it's the demographic of readers here at Nitty.Gritty. But of all the comments left in the previous post, nobody mentioned television or movies as being a positive influence in their life. Not even news media.
I'm not going into debate here. Just thought it was worth mentioning....and you can chew on it a bit if you like. Granted. Nobody mentioned fast food as being a positive influence in their life either. So there you go. I'm just saying....
I think it is so good to sometimes stop and take a little 'life check' and think through some of these topics. Like what is influencing things in your life- the purchases you make and how you spend your time, and what type of goals you are setting for yourself, your family, your future. It's one thing to just let life happen. But I find it is so important for my own mind and spirit to be 'in control' of these choices or at least to be aware of what affects those choices in my life. Not all choices are really big decisions of major factors in life. But I find that the smallest decisions add up, and in the end have big impacts overall.
Like fast food. If you eat it on occasion, it's not really a big issue. If you eat it consistently, it can create health concerns or at least isn't probably providing the most well-rounded diet for oneself. The same goes for every choice we make in life. Alone it might not seem like a big deal...but if you start skipping lots of credit card payments you end up in big trouble. Or if you start walking a few minutes each day, it can add up to hours of exercise in a week...and in a month and 6 months it makes a big difference!
Do you see what I'm saying?
I'm not telling anyone what to watch or wear or eat or spend. I'm just making an observation, and it's for me as much as it is for anyone reading this. I have been doing lots of thinking lately and in turn trying to make better choices in my life each in turn I am living a happier, more intentional life. I love that. First that we have choices. Second that we can make changes, because we have bodies and minds and opportunities to do so. I shared in a post on the SIS message board last week, that I think people have lost a sense of this in many ways in life. The idea of making conscious {positive} decisions in life. It takes thought and effort and sometimes you have to have a lot of willpower because the choices you've made for so long have become 'habits'.
But there is always a new day. And a new day brings with it unlimited opportunities to do things differently and therein lies the key to living a more thoughtful, authentic, intentional life. Here's wishing all my Nitty.Gritty. readers the desire to live a more beautiful life! Even on Friday the 13th. =)

Thursday, July 12, 2007


It is no secret that I am influenced more by packing when I make purchases than almost anything else {except price!}. I was so happy when my latest Starbuck' s beans came packaged in such a cute bag. It came with a mini card attached too- telling how to make iced coffee. But for me it is just a bonus 'scrap embellishment'. =)
The rest of the pictures are just snapshots from some little projects I'm working on right now. I just liked that I noticed such a trend in the colors and brightness of all the stuff laying around my space right now. Fun, bold colors and playful. There's that little owl again. It's still a work-in-progress, but for sure it's now a 'she' and I'm still thinking of stitching around her and maybe I'll add something to the heart she's holding.
I'm getting very excited and swamped with stuff do to before I head out to CHA Chicago in less than a week!! I am so ready for a 'scrap immersion vacation'. The thought makes me very happy. I'll be meeting lots of people I've known only online so far. If you're one of them...make sure you grab me and say hello.
So, tell me...just for fun. What is influencing you in a positive way these days? I'd love to know! =)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

All better.

Yesterday. Everyone back to smiles and laughing and fighting and squealing and splashing and playing and sharing flavorpops and washing the van and getting wet and dirty and basically just being kids...on a hot summer day.
I have to admit. I love life most when it's ordinary, simple and nobody is sick. Perfection in my book. =)