Saturday, December 23, 2006


I thougth you all might like a little giggle this morning so I'm copying this blog comment here from blog reader Anne. Thank you so much for sending this - it has made me and Mr. Miles have a good old belly-laugh!

I wanted to tell you thank you for multiple freebies, but most of all for the funny picture of the no pirating. I was perusing one of the files I had recieved from you, and my kids just giggled and I explained how I was getting all the "freebies", but that they weren't mine to give, just recieve. That I had promised these people well more specifically, Mr. and Mrs. Miles not to and they would be upset if I did.A few days later, I had a really great friend over and was explaining digiscrapping to her and showing her what I had learned. She asked can I make a CD of some of the things you have and fiddle with them? I said, nope, sorry, I promised I wouldn't do it. All of sudden my girls (twins age 7) exploded and said my mom can't be a pirate or miles and miles of people will be upset. I burst into laughter, and explained to my girlfriend the story. I wanted to share that with you and let you know that no pirating is going on in this house!Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

What a sweet story - and thanks for not pirating! What an impact we have on children's minds, hey?


And now, dear friends, its time for Miles and I to take some quiet family time to ourselves. Before we 'drop out of site' (pun) for a few days, Miles has today's blog entry written up. We hope you and your family have a Blessed Holiday and we will return later next week and catch up on all of your holiday adventures. Your stories, layouts, ideas, interesting photos are welcomed and published if there is room on this blog. You know what 'they' say - my blog es su blog - ha ha!


What about that Virgin Birth Anyways?

If you are like me you probably have wondered about this aspect of the Christmas Story. Virgin birth...come on now that just doesn't happen...does it? My co-worker also had recently expressed his doubts about this recorded world event, even going so far as to taunt me, "you don't really believe that do you? After all, you are trained in science!". So how do I believe in this mystery of virgin birth?

As I was driving home today, an interesting article was on National Public Radio in the U.S.A. which caught my listening ear. Strangely enough, scientists are anticipating a virgin birth of sorts this Christmas. A komodo dragon is expecting 7 offspring to be born or hatched this Christmas day and has never even seen a male of its species. A komodo dragon is a very large reptile which can measure 9 feet in length and has a voracious appetite. It is one of 70 invertebrate species in the world that is capable of Virgin Birth.

Now some of your are thinking, "he's not going to make a comparison between invertebrate females or komodo dragons and human females is he?". Certainly not... not even in joking...I know my audience here in the scrap booking world.

On the other hand, if you think about it, if a lower species is capable of conception with out the help of a male, then why couldn't this occur in mammals? Furthermore, this is only the second time in scientific history that a virgin birth has been noted for Komodo dragons. This begs the question that if this event is so rare... who is to say that we just have not scientifically witnessed it in higher species...maybe it is even rarer. Perhaps the Christmas Virgin Birth was one of those incredibly rare events...

Of course we could argue about this from various scientific perspectives for ages...perhaps eons! Ultimately, if GOD wanted to intervene in humanity and cause a virgin conception...than why not?...especially since many species can do it naturally? Who are we to say that it absolutely can not happen...we can say that it has not been witnessed under laboratory conditions. But I believe that it has been witnessed and has been recorded for all in the Christian text.

What it comes down to of course is faith. I often tell my wife that if I ran into a wall many times, that one of those times it is possible that I could actually go through the wall. You are probably thinking I'm nuts... but this is what quantum theory predicts. Scientists have actually observed this behaviour on an atomic level (thus the scanning tunneling microscope) and have extended this theory to include larger objects. I believe that it takes a certain amount of faith to believe that larger objects such as me could actually go through a wall since it is only predicted by theory and has not been observed.

So the Virgin Birth, all arguments aside, requires faith. The bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and not yet seen. (I'll extend that to say - not yet seen by our own eyes). We all have faith in many things. Some people have faith in man-made things, others in science and others, in things that are not measurable by instruments available at this time. The mysteries of this world will never be known completely and as scientists repeatedly say, “that as each question is answered, there are 10 more new ones waiting”. Since this world will never be understood, we must operate with a certain level of faith.

I would like to encourage you this Christmas to give faith a chance. I have found that for me, with all of my scientific knowledge and rational thought, that the greatest gift has been to let go of this and to just trust in the word of GOD, knowing that I will never know everything in this lifetime. Some of you this Christmas will feel disillusioned, detached especially with all of the commercialism. I ask you to dig deeper and penetrate this facade to see that the real gifts of Christmas are so much more profound and heart-warming. Jesus did come to this earth (that is a fact) and the events surrounding his entry were miraculous (that must be accepted on faith by trusting those who observed it).

Please take time to open your heart to the reality of the living GOD who invites you by faith to have a relationship that is more intimate than any other can possibly be. This alone is that one thing that will truly satisfy in this world where ads have been carefully crafted to spawn dissatisfaction.

Please forgive me for my "preaching" if you want to call it that...I just must share the most important parts of my faith on this day that we honour Christ’s Birth, just as I can not keep silent about my wonderful wife. I have enjoyed helping her create the elements for the blog and I look forward to helping her in the new year as time permits.

I wish you a wonderful Christmas and the best for the new year. I feel that I have gotten to know some of you well as I listen to my wife talk about her interactions with you...I want to especially thank Gina, Sonya and Kristen for all of your encouragement for my wife!

- Miles

Have a (snow) Ball With Your Friends!

I found these very sweet holiday e-greetings (involving throwing snowballs) Enjoy hitting your
friends safely! Sure, send me one at!

Friday, December 22, 2006


Awwww! Look what Mr. Miles made for me - to share with you. He took all the little 'critters' that I have been digitally hand-painting using Painter and ArtRage, and he put 'em on a plate that you can use on your scrapbooking layouts. You could also use it as a frame for a special picture. He sure knows my 'love language'! This file is pretty big!

Thank you ALL yesterday, for your comments. I was 'wowwed' after my busy, busy day to come and find my email box 'stuffed' with warm & sweet happiness. Its like getting to open presents early - after all, I know how busy I am I am sure it's no different for you!


Speaking of busy, earlier this week Miles had to stop at our friend June's house for a moment, and he came home and was adamant that I take some time out to drop in on her. (June's also a student at the Learning Center where Miles teaches) He said that she was incredibly talented and I would regret it if I did not go and check out her 'hobby'. You see, June is moving in the next few days - figures, you just get to 'really' know some one...

I called and set a time with her for Wednesday morning. I warned her that it would be a very brief 'in and out' thing. Well, I had NO idea that I would wish I had a whole day to spend.


June 'makes' or 'builds' horses, sleighs, saddles and doll houses. Her horses are very lifelike, with manes that you feel like you would want to braid. The sleigh has all sorts of little 'add ons' - a broom, axe for felling that tree etc... In itself, these things are beautifully done and lifelike... now I will tell you that these things are no more than six or seven inches high and it becomes a breathtaking work of art in miniature. Yes, you understood me, these creations are little itsy-bitsy!


I had to use my super-macro to try and capture the endless little details on her saddles. Tiny little stirrups with teensy little ties. Stitching on the saddles. A bridle with a bit about 1/2 inch wide - no kidding! I could have spent the day there! Did I tell you the horse's mane is actually dog fur? There is no end to the tiny delightful details to her items! She says, that once, she sent a photo of a saddle to a saddle maker to have assistance writing a description - it was not till later the saddle maker realized this saddle was miniature!

June even created a saddle horn and display cases to fit her creations. Know anyone who has 'everything'... this would be a one of a kind thing to buy them! June also makes miniature victorian dresses etc. You may view her galleries of her horse creations and photos HERE at her webshots albums - oh, and you better get a coffee now, because you are going to be here for hours...

Even though I ended up visiting her for an hour and half, when I had no time to start it was worth every single second. Did I tell you that June is also a gifted artist and potter? This is a candle holder she crafted recently at a workshop at the Learning Center.... (what can't you do, June?) I look forward to posting your future work - unless, of course, I've got you started on your own blog soon...


Ok, you folks have been sending me your "Give before you give" deeds, and its warming me alla way down to my toesies. Does'nt that just feel too good? I got 'do gooded' on by many - you know who you are and I thank you, thank you, thank you. Becky, the festively wrapped plate of goodies was entirely too good... and it wasn't until I had bitten head off of snowman cookie #2 that I realized I shoulda taken a bloggable photo of him... could not horrify my reader's delicate eyes with a partially decapitated sno-guy. It was entirely delish! I'm going to leave an empty plate at your house more often... (your company surpassed the treats tho, in enjoyment!)

Mr. Miles and I 'played santa' the other night... I cannot disclose the details of exactly what we did out of respect for this single parent family's privacy... but lets just say, one 12 year old boy was jumping up and down with excitement, and Mom says he got virtually no sleep that night. Whew, making me misty as I write.

The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else!

Luke 6:38

Give, and it shall be given unto you.

(You cannot out-give God!)

And yesterday was the Christmas Pot Luck at the Learning Center. I cooked both a ham and turkey for the big event, and I will publish some Martha Stewart-like photos and instructions sometime soon. The event was a huge success and its like we have a big family there too.

I must go, its 4 a.m. and I need to catch some more sleep. I've enjoyed posting you in the quiet hours of this night, dear readers. Thank you again for each comment and greeting that you leave for me and Mr. Miles - each one is read and appreciated. A big thanks too, for you folks who have 'linked' to our blog, and promoted it! :)


Elf Yourself!

My friend Kristin found this link on a thread at DST... (thx K, your the bestest!)

You can turn yourself into an elf, add music and send your Elf-Self to friends and family (warning: highly funny and addictive fun!)


Alternately, I've just found another fun site. I really dislike the name of the site, but the content is not offensive. You might have a bit of fun with this one too:

Your friends would look better if they had goatees, chest hair, and maybe some bruises.
At least, that seems to be the general thinking behind And we think they’re onto something.

Upload or type in the URL for a photo, and PikiPimp will let you accessorize it with facial hair, eye-wear, new lips, ears, tattoos, and tongues… In short, embarrassing knickknacks of all sorts.
It’s like Mr. Potato Head but with photos.

PikiPimp’s not the first to do this, but they do it exceptionally well. Resize and rotate your additions, even adjust their opacity until they’re just right. Then hit save and print, share, or pop your creation into cards. Grandma with aviators, Robby with a rabbi beard and a parrot on his shoulders. It’s all here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Someone asked me yesterday if I had time to do my blog at this time ... and today - I don't ! giggle. Executive decision on my part. My sweetie needs my help today. He made you these beautiful snowglobes at 6 a.m. for you to enjoy!

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


This crazy kit contains two papers, four bulbs, a ornament hook, a double headed candy cane and a silly elf card that you can insert a face into. The evergreens were featured in a previous kit... if you read back you could locate it... or you could just email me at and I can get that to you.

LAYOUT BY AMY W. (loads of nice freebies here!)

Credits:Kit- O Christmas tree by Barb Derksen (Mrs Miles)

Ribbon- Wishing You a Happy Christmas by Sandra Boddington

Word art- Christmas Quotes by Nikole Terry

Template- AMY'S No. 50

Font- Segoe Media Center Semibold

Ok... yes, I'm starting to go a little strange with all the rush and hustle and bustle of the season - needing to find that nice quiet place for prayer sometime today. Its a good busy, though. I was feeling a little kooky yesterday while showing my friends Toni and Helen at my painter's group some cool Photoshop techniques I've learned. I gave them a good giggle when I created these crazy ornaments with all the little hangy things. If you're like me, your balls end breaking those things all the time. Once I get into a silly mood my mind just keeps going down its little path all on it's own. Generally this is when Mr. Miles makes me eat something. He knows when I am cranky or silly that I need something - food, sleep or sunshine or a spanking (kidding).

I finally finished up our Church Christmas celebration slideshow and it's up on the web now for you to all enjoy. If you belong to my church... shhhhh..... don't share till after they show it on Sunday, K? don't You can view it at the follwing link:


I created this slideshow using Picasa, which is a free program from Google... you really should try it - it has a ton of great features which include one click gift CD making which packages the software right on the disk too. One small drawback is you can't put music to it yet, though you can cause your computer to 'loop' a song while you play it.

Love Birds DAVE AND CATHY... (50 yrs married, folks!)

All of the elements used in our slideshow were created soley by Mr. Miles and I, other than the parchment paper on the front and back covers which were donated generously by Melissa Renfro who does lovely designs and the Baby Jesus gift tag on the back cover which was a free download from Janna's blog. Janna recently featured 12 days of Christmas of her free element downloads in her whimsical, nostalgic style. I spent about 1/2 hour of time reading her big list of great gift ideas. Please leave some love both at Melissa's site and Janna's site when you visit!

I also would encourage you to take a moment out of your day to 'refresh' by reading a wonderful entry my dear friend Becky made on her blog about an amazing adventure she had climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro!

I am cooking a turkey and ham today which I will take cold and sliced to our Christmas Pot Luck at our school tomorrow. So.... because I ran late with putting my kit this morning, I am going to break this entry off fairly quickly. I am going to try and fit in a brief visit with our friend June, who is moving to Vernon - we will miss you HUGELY June! Also, Mr. Miles has axed me out on an official date on his afternoon break today. Woo hoo - break out the makeup and high heels! He gets the best, the world the rest!

Please continue to do random kindnesses ... I promise to get them published... even when Christmas is over. Your acts make my heart smile!

You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late!

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today"


No Money? Virtual Present! :)

Yep, if you 'don't got' then you could still let that special someone that you wanted to get them something... and then send them a ridiculous wonderful gift, like an atm full of cash, diamond necklace, fabulous vacation or exotic car... he he!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Blog reader Barb, from Manitoba asked me "how do you find time for all of this creativity and activity at such a busy time of the year??!!" ... Well, actually, I don't know! It's something I try not to think about - for fear the answer will overwhelm me. If I had to think about it I guess my answer would honestly have to be that its a God thing becuase I truly don't have the time. Oh, and of course, Miles gets inspired and whips something out of his creative, chaotic mind when he sees me floundering about. I keep a little notebook with me all the time (yes, in my funny looking Winnie the Pooh Diaper Bag/Camera Case that I haul with me everywhere) and I write all the little things of interest I come across and all the best bits of the day to share with you here. The rest of the stuff goes in the dustbin of life. The stuff that gets left out is the 'have to do's' and the bad stuff gets chalked up to experience. Thanks for your comments Barb - I love hearing from you. Feel free to email me anytime too, directly at I would love some nice snowy pics of your Manitoba - I've never been there. I would love to share some with my blog readers!


(using some of my elements) Thanks for sharing!

YOUR layout could be featured here... just send me a link!

Well, some of you are definately getting in the spirit with my "GIVE before you give" challenge. If you are new to my blog I will 'splain it again. I am challenging you all to give 'extra' this year. You all know who you HAVE to buy for, and who you NEED to buy for... well, I am daring you to pick someone you don't have to or need to buy for. Someone who you know could use your love... it does not have to be monetary... could be doing a good deed, babysitting, anonymus deed etc... but the idea is you do it BEFORE you do the others, the 'have to's and need to's' I was trying to think of like if you picked someone low-income or needy... what would make a really nice gesture. What came to my mind is they probably get some food, specially this time of the year, but I bet nobody buys them nice bath soaps, bubble baths, make-up, nice costume jewellery, pretty towels, tea towels - or even toilet paper. If you can't afford new for some things, I bet you have some pretty nice things hanging around or in your jewellery box you never use or know will be replaced this Christmas. Can you see it now, a needy person recieving something nice BEFORE Christmas - they may be able to use over the holidays?

Gina and her daughter took the challenge: Hannah called and needed foods for her school food drive today. It is a 1-2(maybe 3)punch type of giving... I was giving to my girl, she was giving to the ppl in need, and She was also giving to her class - if they meet their quota of foods to give, they get a party at the end of the week. Giving times 3. :)

Another anonymus reader wrote this: Didn't know you were hoping for replies to your GIVE before you give ... I don't pick one person, but we did donate a number of new toys to the "Toys for Tots" can over at the fire station yesterday. As for one person, I made some cookies for our favourite folks at the coffee shop with a note saying we appreciated them. Once the holiday season is over, I'll once again be baking stuff for the firefighters throughout the year to let them know they're appreciated.

You know, in my busy-ness, I may have missed someone... if I have, please remind me. I want to publish your good deeds here over the next few days before I take a break for Christmas. I hope my fingers fall off typing all your 'good stuff'...


CHRISTMAS GIFT - name? Bug...

how sweet is that?

Reader Dee Doty sent me this beautiful poem which was shared with her from another friend. (thanks so much, Dee) This goes right along with our 'giving' theme:


I've never made a fortune

and it's probably too late now.

But I don't worry about that much,

I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's way,

I'm reaping better than I sowed.

I'm drinking from my saucer,

'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I haven't got a lot of riches,

and sometimes the going's tough.

But I've got loved ones around me,

and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,

and the mercies He's bestowed.

I'm drinking from my saucer,

'cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,

My faith wore somewhat thin.

But all at once the dark clouds broke,

and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe

about the tough rows that I've hoed.

I'm drinking from my saucer,

'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,

when the way grows steep and rough.

I'll not ask for other blessings,

I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,

to help others bear their loads.

Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,

'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Yep, more oxymorons for you to ponder:

non-fat ice cream

non-profit organizations

non-stick glue

non-stick gum

non-stick velcro

non-stop flight

non-toxic bug spray

non-working mother

normal deviation

normal espionage

normal human

numb feeling

numbing sensation

Okay folks... I have a revalation for you. This is NOT the time of year to diet. Nah, don't even CONSIDER it. Why put your poor body through this stress. You know, I have a mother in law who's love language to me is FOOD and toilet paper. You heard me right. The food part is understandable as she loves to cook and bake. Well, the toilet paper thing? She buys it by the flat I am sure. I have never bought a roll since I married her son. Now thats amore! So, in this train of thought I bring you the following poem:

A Dieter's Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around my hips

Were Fanny May candies that sneaked past my lips.

Fudge brownies were stored in the freezer with care

In hopes that my thighs would forget they were there.

While Mama in her girdle and I in chin straps

Had just settled down to sugar-borne naps.

When out in the pantry there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the kitchen I flew like a flash

Tore open the icebox then threw up the sash

The marshmallow look of the new-fallen snow

Sent thoughts of a binge to my body below.

When what to my wandering eyes should appear:

A marzipan Santa with eight chocolate reindeer!

That huge chunk of candy so luscious and slick

I knew in a second that I'd wind up sick.

The sweet-coated Santa, those sugared reindeer

I closed my eyes tightly but still I could hear;

On Pritzker, on Stillman, on weak one, on TOPS

A Weight Watcher dropout from sugar detox.

From the top of the scales to the top of the hall

Now dash away pounds now dash away all.

Dressed up in Lane Bryant from my head to nightdress

My clothes were all bulging from too much excess.

My droll little mouth and my round little belly

They shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly

I spoke not a word but went straight to my work

Ate all of the candy then turned with a jerk.

And laying a finger beside my heartburn

I gave a quick nod toward the bedroom

I turned I eased into bed, to the heavens I cry

If temptation's removed I'll get thin by and by.

And I mumbled again as I turned in for the night

In the morning I'll starve... 'till I take that first bite!

Do you know that Photoshop CS3 beta is now released? You can download it right now! (you must have your CS or CS2 registration number to qualify) You can do this HERE. Also, there are some 7 day trial for CS3 video lessons available at NAPP as well... you can find this HERE.


Fold your Own Santa and Reindeer!

A special Christmas present from Yamaha. We have made paper craft models of Santa Claus's reindeer and sleigh.Download them to enjoy your own Christmas. Our original Christmas card is also available.


Monday, December 18, 2006


This kit is a mish-mash of leftovers that look tasty all together... sort of a pot-luck kind of idea, it all works out!

Hmmm.... can't sleep again, so I might as well blog y'all. Must have too many visions of sugar plums dancing through my head... what IS a sugarplum, anyways.... better go look that up! Wikapedia says:

A sugar plum is a piece of candy that is made of sugar and shaped in a small round or oval shape. They are similar to truffles with a dark chocolate exterior and a plum-flavored interior.

Well, that sounds mighty fine to me...


yes, Mr. Miles sings, and plays piano, and guitar and...

Yesterday was our Church Christmas celebration, and a good time was had by all! How can you not love the love flowing? 'swat its all about! I love it when our entire Church family gets together at this festive time, everyone from babes to Gramma and Grampa's. Watching the little kids haul each other up to the stage, wearing thier mom's special small size towels (not the facecloths, and not the big ones, either) on their heads, tied round with ribbon so they can be shepherds. The inevitable rubber dolly with blinkie eyes in its starring role as the baby Jesus and of course the manger with... yikes... even though the Pastor is a rancher this baby Jesus has Fake Fur to sleep on? Yowsa!

Of course afterwards there's the little 'mingle and snack' in the basement afterward where the darling children fill their selves with all sorts of sugary goodies. They had'nt even made it out of the sanctuary with someone plying them with soft, melty, messy chocolate. (Not a great idea before photos - little brown smiles which have to be photoshopped out) Well, its all in good fun.

So, no responses YET on my 'GIVE before you give' challenge. In case you just found my blog you will have to read yesterdays entry to know what I'm talking about. I'm sure its because you are trying to figure out what the BEST thing to do is, right? You will be sad if you miss this opportunity...

I did, however get a pledge for the scholarship fund in memory of Val who passed from cancer this year. This pledge came from our dear friend Shelly who was our secretary at the school until she moved on to greener pastures this year too. Shelly spent A LOT of time with Val at the end. Our Shelly is a very special gal!

Today's oxymorons:

new antique (New Antiques arriving daily!)

new archeology

new classic

new cliche

new improved

new routine

new tradition

new used cars

night light

night vision

noble savage

no comment

No-good Do-gooder!

noiseless sound

noisy mime

non-dairy creamer

non-fat cream


Melissa photographed the luminaries (hope I got that right) in New Mexico... what a perfect picture to go on my Worship the King paper! Thanks so much!

And here's a little Christmas humour for all you science instructors (Mr. Miles being one...)

The Chemistry Teacher's Coming to Town

You better not weigh

You better not heat

You better not react

I'm telling you now

The Chemistry Teacher's coming to town.

He's collecting data

He's checking it twice

He's gonna find out

The heat of melting ice

The Chemistry Teacher's coming to town.

He sees you when you're decanting

He knows when you titrate

He knows when you are safe or not

So wear goggles for goodness sake.

Oh, you better not filter

And drink your filtrate

You better not be careless

and spill your precipitate.

The Chemistry Teacher's coming to town.


Excuses, Excuses...

Well, I can't blame ya... if you're like me, and have been rushed off your painted little toenails this holiday season, then you would rather be spending all the vacation with your 'lil sweetie than attending them 'ol boring Christmas Parties... If you need a good excuse, no problemo, its all taken care of for you. Just visit this site and answer a few easy questions and you will be provided with what to say. Whew, now you can really relax!


Sunday, December 17, 2006


I thought you might appreciate a mini kit you could use for your church plays or plays from your school. I think even if you don't have a child that you might try to attend a concert where Children sing... it just brings the magic alive. Seeing the little mites in their perfect imperfectness brings a smile to my heart. The scripture on the kit is:


"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?
We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

MAKE THE CUT (painted using Painter)

Along these very thoughts are some actual sayings that kids have said things in the bible (precious 'lil people they are!)

When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta

When the three wise guys from the east side arrived, they found Jesus in
the manager.

Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.

Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you.

A Christian should have only one spouse. This is called monotony.


Miles and I went for a run yesterday, to the other side of the lake, about a 1.4 hour run in all. I haven't been out for probably close to 3 weeks, meybe even a month. I always get scared when there is a big lag in running... wondering if I will 'lose' it. I do work out on my own at home, but there's nothing like a real run, outside in the fresh air. Miles and I agree, its not even the same on a treadmill... its harder outside. But there is such a good satisfaction in braving the elements. There's a rythym when you are running, in motion, and cars move up on you, then past. I almost feel like what fish must feel when they swim together. I don't know if you've ever run, but truly, after you have built up, it's always 'hard' but its also a feeling you don't get anywhere else. Its like a dance... and when you're outside its like your an interactive part of nature... your eyes drinking in the beauty and details, your body moving freely. You have people wave, honk and your mind is at rest. Honestly, I have done some of my best thinking and planning along the way. Sometimes I listen to music too, and it is a time of worship for me... no phones, no interuptions. I wish you could all feel this. What an amazing thing God gave us in our bodies.

Its our Christmas celebration at Church today. I'm looking forward to the morning with our Church Family. I promise to bring back pictures.

I will bring you more oxymorons tomorrow to get your week going. I hope you are all getting back to normal after the big storms - thanks for phoning me Nina (my Sis) to let us know that though you have no power, you're ok... and Joy, from Oregon for emailing and letting us know your ok too. You're always in our prayers.

I would like to challenge you, dear readers. I am going to take a break for a few days over Christmas. Probably my last entry will be possibly Thursday or Friday. This gives us 4 or 5 days. I would like to challenge you to

"GIVE before you give"

What I mean by this is ... ok, you know who you HAVE to buy for. You know who you WANT to buy for. These folks are a given. I challeng you to find someone who needs AND GIVE TO THEM FIRST, BEFORE THE OTHERS. C'mon, everyone knows someone who needs - love, food, money, time, comfort. I want you to pick someone. Yes, it will cost. It will cost you money, time, effort. I am telling you that this one person you pick will touch your heart more than all the other stuff you trade with the 'have to's' or 'want to's' You will feel Christmas in your heart when you do it. I dare you to pick someone today and make a plan. It does not have to be big... it can be a card to your favorite cashier, a walk of someone's dog, a letter to someone - telling them what they mean to you, it could be cash, food, a piece of jewellery. Make it cost you. If you don't have to make it cost in time or money or effort it won't make the same impact. It will be inconvenient to you - may even put you in debt (don't do it so you can't eat or have power) Give a family movie passes - bake a freezer meal for someone... gee, I could just go on. I would love to publish a two foot long blog entry about your goodness. I'm not really doing this for the people you do it for, I am doing it for you. Miles and I have done a goodness to someone we know, and believe me, its costing... but I can't reveal it here or I would spoil the surprize. It will 'put us behind' for a while... but we won't think twice about it. It feels 'right'

Send a Gingerbread Man

Ha Ha! I am so busy blogging y'all that I haven't had an opportunity to send one of these simply adorable gingerbread man cards myself. Its interactive and you decorate your own gingerbread man to send to that special someone! You can send me one...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

(surprise element included)

Mr Miles, in the Christmas spirit, has asked me to include a surprize element inside for you. He created it to use for some of his web-based projects but thinks you all will be able to use it for your bestest scrapping projects too!


First of all, I hope you are all safe and sound after the big storm that blew through, and I'm praying for the families of those who were killed. I'm also praying the people who are lost on Mt. Hood have a rescue. Thank you, Joy, who emailed us all from the Police Station in Seaside, to let us know you were ok. I hope, Nina (our sister in Victoria) that your hatches were all battened down securely at your home.


You can see more of Kaits layouts HERE

University Gardens page set, by Roberta D’Achille, Rendered Memories

Sweet birds by Barb Derksen.

Sketch provided by Rachael Knight at SBB

Red Bird by Andrea Victoria,

DesignerDigitalsFont: Slab Serif,

TK Doodled by Taran Conyers

Bendit Templates by Debbie Knorr, SBB


University Gardens page set, by Roberta D’Achille, Rendered Memories
-Sweet birds by Barb Derksen.

-Layout based upon a sketch by Amy Watson. (a/k/aScrap-A-Lot)

-Font: Slab Serif and TK Doodle, by Taran Conyers,

SBG-Torn paper edge done with an action from Atomic Cupcake

Thanks to all of you yesterday for your kind and funny comments... you all get me giggling. I feel like we all 'have tea' when you share with me. I got messages from Crabbygrinch Fussyhead, Grimgrump Rottenfoot, Miserlyscrooge Snottyjeans. He, he... love those Grinchnames. Wouldn't it be fun to make stockings with those fun names on... or even just put the Grinch names under all the 'real' names on your gift tags?

I also got response on yesterday's blog about giving 'the best bits' to your spouse... I especially liked this response from Dawn:

Barb, that's so sweet that you save the best ones for Miles. I always save the corner pieces for my DH (and the heels from loaves) because those are his favorites. I have to admit, though..if it's only family eating it, that's not much of a sacrifice because the rest of us don't consider those parts a fave. But if I'm preparing it to take somewhere else, the corners & heels are always left home for Dh.

I also got action for 'paying it forward', by our dear friend Valerie who lives all the way on the other side of Canada, in Montreal:

The story of Val did touch me in so many ways! I remember your previous posts about her .. My 'paying it forward'today was to give some money to a single Mom and her kid for food supply for X-Mas (we got 350$ in less that one hour). The gesture of giving $$$ wasn't enough for me. So the kids and I agreed to give some toys for the little boy. Good toys that they are not using anymore. I think that now days we do not share enough (talking about me here - you sure share lots with us everyday). And I think that it is important for them to learn about these things! Thank you! XO Valerie

I would love to fill my blog up with YOUR stuff, your layouts, comments and good deeds - keep them coming! Trust me, you can't ever 'outgive' yourself... you always GET more than you give... though it might never come back in money terms! If you don't have finances to share with others, how 'bout sharing your time... some babysitting, reading to someone, taking a shut-in something nice. Just don't do nothing.

Generosity is a matter of the heart

and not finances

2 Corinthians 9:7 TLB

"Every one must make up his own mind as to how much he should give.

Don't force anyone to give more than he really wants to,

for cheerful givers are the ones God prizes."

Sort of related, is work ethic. I have someone in mind instantly when I think of good work ethics. I am thinking of not some fancy place, but of our local hardware store. Yes... I did say hardware store. You see, the owner of our Home Hardware, Francis, goes all out to make her store more than just a store. Normally I would not just promote a business on my blog, but this is different. Francis has made the retailing business stand up and take notice. So much so that it earned her the 'Best Hardware Store' through the Outstanding Retailer Awards of all of Canada! You might want to visit this website to see some of the things they do at our own Home Hardware by clicking HERE

Some of the things that Francis does with her business, is holds community street dances in the summer, cooking classes all year long (the store has a mini kitchen built in) and painting technique seminars. I was also informed that she has school children classes come in who can 'mix' their own paint in the painting the department and run the tills. Overheard from Francis to one of her cashiers " I'm not going to worry if we don't balance today, let them have fun." Wow, now thats not your normal store. Make whatever you do a cut above... it will come back to you, naturally.


Make it Mosaic

My friend Valerie sent me this way cool link. I 'mosaiced' my Alpaca picture using it. You have to actually do this to appreciate it. Choose an image file to convert to a image mosaic. Supports PNG, GIF, JPG and JPEG files


Friday, December 15, 2006


I should not have put snowflakes on my blog yesterday... meybe it was what prompted the huge snowfall we recieved yesterday afternoon? Unfortunately it was not nice dry, ski-ey fluffy kind of snow, it was the fat, wet, wet kind that created instant slush upon touch. Surrrrre was pretty though. I hear that the entire coast, right from California to Alaska is taking a beating and I am thinking about you today. I hope you are not getting outtages.

I baked some yummy cheese topped herbed biscuits for our annual Painters and Potters Pot Luck yesterday. They are quick and easy and of COURSE I put the bestest looking ones on a plate for my sweetie before I put the rest on the plate. Do you do that? Do you give your sweetie the best? I also wrote him a little love note to go along as its easy to neglect my loved one in all the rush of the season. The note told him that I was wrapping gifts - and I wish they were all for him, that I was baking goodies and I wish they were all for him and that I was going to enjoy the party - but I wish I could be spending the time with him! What will you do today to let your someone special that they are the 1'st on your list?

Its so easy to snap at each other when things get tight. We sometimes are more pleasant and polite to strangers than our spouses when the crunch comes. We bite our spouses head off then answer the phone in a sweet and loving manner in the next second. What gives? This is the time of the year, with the pressures, to work even more diligently to have harmony. I know it takes an investment of TIME - the very thing we have least of right now... but trust me, 1/2 hour out of your busy days to get your hearts and minds together can save days of grief and discord later on. Make sure you give 2x as much complimenting as critique... Cut your loved one a little slack and whenever you dole out some critique, do it in a relaxed way with your arms around each other or holding hands.

Love sees through a telescope,
not a microscope.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 AMP

Love endures long and is patient and kind...
it takes no account of the evil done to it
(it pays no attention to a suffered wrong)

The potluck yesterday was a lot of fun. Its always a neat experience to be in a whole room of creative souls, intent on having a good time. We played some get-to-know-you type games and enjoyed a few little skits. We got to see Gramma (Sharon Leonard, our president) get run over by the reindeer, (she has a hoof stuck to her ear...) and an old geezer (Mina Battigan) pester her. You guys were pretty convincing... Thanks for all the effort you went through to provide this for us.

Today's Oxymorons:

nameless celebrity
nasty politeness
national medicare program
natural artifact
natural makeup
natural synthetic
near future
near miss
nearly complete
neat mess
neat office
necessary evil
negative gain
negative growth (economic recession)
negative impact
negative momentum
neutral charge
never again
never generalize
new and improved

Instead of a joke today I want you to go find out what your 'Grinch Name' is. Miles and I are Woefulfrown and Scroogetroll Wickedpants... This link was given to me by Gina who got it from a forum at DST. You can get your Grinch name HERE

Its OK to Say!

I heard about this organization yesterday while listening to the Moody Bible station. Its a great resource if you need help or have questions. They will even provide free legal help if you need it to defend your being able to "Say It"

Surveys show that 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas. Yet, due to political correctness, disinformation, and even the threat of lawsuits from the ACLU and its allies, religious expression at Christmastime is increasingly absent from the public square. Slowly, this holy day is being turned into a secular “solstice season.”

The Alliance Defense Fund works year-round to preserve and protect our religious liberties, including the right to…

...sing Christmas carols at school
...pass out candy canes to classmates it “Christmas vacation”
...sponsor a nativity scene on public property
...say “Merry Christmas”

ADF wants all Americans to know the Truth—that they have the freedom to celebrate Christmas publicly, joyfully, and without fear—for generations to come! We are launching our annual national Christmas Project™ to spread the message, “Merry Christmas. It’s okay to say it.™” Will you join with us?


Thursday, December 14, 2006

(surprize element included)

It's Christmas in my heart.

No matter what else happens yet this Christmas, its Christmas in my heart because I took a challenge. A few weeks ago I watched an Oprah show on 'paying it forward'. She posed the question that if we were given $1000 to do something for someone else, what would we do with this money. No, we didn't get any of Oprah's money but it got me thinking...

The first thing that came to my mind was that I would try to start a bursary fund for a freind who died of cancer this past year. Let me tell you about Val.

Val was like me, in my 40's... and Val loved the learning center. For the last year of her life she was 'not feeling well' to start... and after countless Dr.'s visits, tests, etc... she was eventually diagnosed with cancer. Her downhill spiral was very swift after the 'official' diagnosis, but Val fought it all the way to the end. She was often the first one at the doors of the school in the morning, and the last one to leave at the end of the day. She was a support and encouragement to the other students. She loved her graphics and could be known to get excited about making 3d objects. Val and her husband loved gardening and camping and a quiet life with their pets. Val was an only child, and she and her husband had no children.

Val was coming to the school to within two weeks of her passing. She would have graduated had she lived for two short months.

Last Christmas, Val gave us a little fridge magnet calendar in the shape of an angel. After Val passed away, I could not bear to tear off the months anymore. I think that I never wanted December to come... who would remember Val's presence at our school? Thats when I saw Oprah, and it reminded me that I could do something about that.

I talked to my Miles, and we agreed that we should initiate some way to remember Val, so after we talked about it I sent an email to the principal of our Learning Center to ask her blessing on this...

The very next day, without having had a response from the principal, Miles arrived home with an envelope from Garry, Val's husband who had dropped in to the school that day. The envelope contained two letters, one from Garry, one from Val's mom, thanking all of us at the school for what we did for Val in the last days of her life, and to ask for copies of a poem one of the other students had written. This was complete confirmation in my heart that we had done the right thing. The principal gave her blessing a day or two later

I copied the poems out and on Sunday Miles and I visited Garry and told him about our idea. Without a hesitation, he wrote out a check for $300 to put towards it... he could not think of a better way to spend these monies. The money had been from some of Val's things and had not yet been earmarked for anything. How cool is that?

So, it's set in motion and Miles and I will collect until the end of the school year. The bursary will go to help a student who excells in graphics. I feel so good inside knowing some fortunate student will be able to go forward in their education through Val's memory. Don't just wait for some of Oprah's money to get you to make your move to change your corner of the world!

a gift from our friend Melanie Olsen

Today's oxymorons:
modern history
modern maturity
modern tradition
modestly arrogant
modified-final judgement
monoglottal babble
montana freemen
moral majority
morbid humor
more perfect
more unique
motorcycle safety
mournful optimist
moving target
mud bath
muscular fat
mute sound
mutual attraction
mutual differences
mutually exclusive
my worst favorite


I don't usually put Job Postings on my blog, but I'll make an exception here:

Holiday Job Posting

Pay Rate: $20.00/Hr plus shift differential
Filing deadline: 12/23/95

Selected candidate must be available for international travel, holiday and night work be physically able to lift heavy packages over shoulder and possess a sleigh to perform work assignment.


Make list and check it twice. Identify and deliver packages to proper recipients by way of reindeer-powered airborne sleigh. Supervise 100 unruly elves in the production of requested items. Disperse and maintain holiday spirit when faces with turbulent weather and physical demands of riding reindeer sleigh over 10,000 miles to accomodate 4 billion people in 16 hours.


Skill to determine who's naughty and nice, sleeping and waking bad or good, for goodness sake! Skill to establish cooperative working relationships with elves and gnomes knowledge of proper
diet and training required for flying reindeer ability to consume approximatly 1 billion cups of lukewarm coca/milk and similar amounts of stale, leftover cookies. Skill in deciphering correspondence written in crayon. Ability to quickly maneuver down chimneys or other available means while "ho, ho, hoing" and simultaneously shaking belly.


Heavy, white facial growth and rosy red cheeks.

If you live anywhere near Sparwood, BC won't you drop into the mall and say hello to our Sister In Law Neti, who has all her hand made crafts on sale? Say hello from Sis and Smiles!
Thanks to Judy for providing this pic from your blog!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

(sorry he's late for your birthday, Rachel)

It feels sort of surreal blogging at you this morning... a mere 15 minutes ago I was having some sort of extreme dreams... my brother Barry and I were hiding out from the police. (no, I've never been in trouble with the law) We were parked on a country road and he was fishing in the river to try to appear normal. While we were fishing we were waiting the delivery of some miricle drug that would revive a patient we had back at the hospital. While we were purchasing that drug from (who?) they were showing us little mittens for premature babies... it would hold a piece of muscle on the babies wrists - a piece some babies are born without. Ok, I know this is totally wierd. I hardly ever dream. I have no idea why I dreamed this! I find that I dream if my husband gets up first and I can here him in my 1/2 sleep... and then I drift off again till he wakes me. Do YOU dream? What do you dream about? Do you find there are conditions to your dreaming more often than not?

I know that in the bible dreams are mentioned as a place God visits to people... though it also says that often these dreams were interpretted too. Honestly, I don't know if these are the same sort of dreams as we have. The bible does set these dreams apart from 'visions' so I am wondering. Surely, if these dreams we have are of God, we would just know. Please help me here if you know the answer to my questions?

Acts 2:17

'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

I read yesterday, that the bible is still the #1 selling book in the world. Thats interesting and comforting. I also noticed on the news that our policemen are still 'sworn in' with a hand on the bible. These things give me comfort - but I wonder if it will also be so.

I also heard a debate about whether a Poinsettia is poisinous or not... because some people refrain from buying them. I found this on a pet site:

The toxic potential of poinsettia has become highly exaggerated. Poinsettias are no longer classified as extremely toxic. Therefore, while keeping this plant out of the reach of your pet is still a good idea, pet owners don’t need to banish the poinsettia from their homes for fear of a fatal exposure.

the artist who helped the children make
awesome clay creations!

I had a lovely morning with Miles yesterday, driving around to the various schools, delivering the little clay creations the kids made at the workshop a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, though requested, quite a few of the pieces bore no identifying initials or any marks at all. Now with 4 schools this got a tad confusiing but Miles got it figured in the end by process of elimenation. It was a beautiful sunny day - when we left home, at least. When we arrived home I had a severe headache. Really, I never get these either. LOL This one was not even completely dislodged with a tylenol 3 and a sleep. Ok, so now, if you tell me you had a migraine... I could know what your going thru... wow! It is debilitating, for sure.

I've got a day of tutoring and visiting set up today. Kind of like reader Dawn, of yesterday who said she took a nice day off, not to clean house... but to finish making two gifts. Are you all taking some time off for yourselves through this busy time? Dont' forget to take care of yourselves and encourage those around you to take a breather too... instigate it if necessary. I encourage my friend Sonya to get her hair and nails done around this time of the year (we get a giggle out of that!) - hey, we get so busy we think of everyone else instead of ourselves. Its amazing how something like getting a cut or manicure can pick us up!

Today's Oxymorons:

medium well
melted ice
mercy killing
metal woods (it's a golf thing)
mexican american
Microsoft Works
Middle East
Middle East peace
midnight sun
mighty weak
mild abrasive
mild cigar
mild interest
mild jalepeno
mild mannered reporter
mild PMS
mildly psychotic
militant pacifist
military accountability
military intelligence
military justice
military peace
military system
mind-expanding drugs
mini jumbo
minor crisis
minor disaster
minor miracle
misanthropic humanitarian
missing present
mobile home
mobile house

Smile of the day:

The Taxpayers Lament
Tax his cow, Tax his goat;
Tax his pants, Tax his coat;
Tax his crop, Tax his work;
Tax his ties, Tax his shirt;
Teach him taxing is no joke.
Tax his tractor, Tax his mule;
Tell him, Taxing is the rule.
Tax his oil, Tax his gas
Tax his notes, Tax his cash
Tax him good and let him know,
That after taxes, he has no dough.
If he hollers, Tax him more;
Tax him till he's good and sore.
Tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
Tax his sod in which he's laid.
Put these words upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove him to his doom."
After he's gone, we won't relax.
We'll still collect inheritance tax.

Track Santa

Yep, you have to have the Norad site to be able to track Santa as he 'rounds the world on Christmas Eve

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