With her permission I’m sharing this letter from a fellow reader. What she says deeply resonates with me and I know it will with many of you as well.
I finally got my scanner working again, and went to work on the sticky, gluey falling apart photo album my mom made of my first year so that I could put copies into my Project Life book before the photos degrade even more.
As I really looked at these pictures, something stood out to me. I noticed for the first time that the background of these pictures are all at my grandmothers’ houses, or at events with them. Every single picture of me as a baby was taken by one of my grandmothers, on their cameras. Then they must have sent duplicate prints to my mom.
My parents were too poor to even own a camera, and my mom still found a way to make this little photo album of her baby. Every picture was straight in its spot, with dates written next to the pictures, the occassion and how big I was at certain age milestones. She was capturing little moments of life before they got away from her.
How much was I loved that these three women would make the effort to document my babyhood like that? What a huge gift to me, that I am breathless about almost forty years later. Taking photos and preserving them really does communicate love.
Yesterday after school Claire handed me this white flower that she had picked for me. She does this often. There’s no question she’s a sweetheart. And a girly-girl. Flowers and rainbows and dress-up? Check.
And then she unloaded her backpack and her pockets and out came the rocks and sticks she collected from the day. She does this often as well. Tough and adventurous and strong? Check.
As I helped Claire move her newfound treasures to join the rest of her collection in the backyard, I couldn’t help but notice the flower, there among the sticks and the rocks … and how this grouping so poignantly reminds me of her.
It’s the little things that speak volumes about someone’s personality. It’s the little things that remind us of the phases our kids go through. It’s the little things that often leave the biggest impressions on our heart of how blessed we are.
Today, photograph something that is about the little things.
We had a giveaway over the weekend. Congratulations to the winner — Julie B. Nashville, Tennessee! Julie, register at ReneePearson.com with a user name and password. Then email Laura your ReneePearson.com User name (not your password) at firstname.lastname@example.org so she can get you registered for class. Congratulations!
Do you have wood furniture that may be showing some signs of wear and tear? Notice the scratchy-looking fine lines in this end table.
I am no expert with wood. But remember our friend John who did some custom wood-based projects in our home? (See some of his brilliant work that he did here and here and here.) Anyway, he is an expert with wood and we trust him. John recommended this product — Briwax. You can find it here in my Amazon favorites.
I realize some of you have probably heard of Briwax, but to some of you, this is new news. It’s cool stuff. It works. I like it. And with this Spring weather, I do recommend opening a window for ventilation. It has a strong (not bad; just potent) smell. Just sayin’.
Here’s the context of that end table by the way. It’s in our family room and usually has a pile of books on it, which of course I left off just so you could see the beautifully touched-up surface. : )
I know you guys like to inquire, so …
End table & leather sectional: both from furniture stores that are likely not even in business anymore.
First of all, we have two randomly-selected winners to announce, for the Studio Jewel giveaway: Congratulations to Charmayne in Salem, Oregon and Melody in Santa Teresa, New Mexico! Email email@example.com and she’ll get you hooked up with your $50 store credit.
**Added** PS – Everyone is welcome to a 15% discount on Studio Jewel’s jewelry by entering beckysblog15 at checkout.
Got another giveaway for you, for those of you weekend readers.
One reader will win a seat in Photo Preserves, taught by Laura Vanderbeek. This is a class to teach you how to digitize, restore, and display your old photos. Great idea, as I think a lot of us could use some guidance in this department. The class runs March 31 – April 13. Leave your name, a general idea of where you live, and maybe an idea of what your collection of old photos looks like right now. This is open to international readers as well (nothing to ship). : )
A randomly selected winner will be announced on Monday.
I found this chick at Home Goods recently. Something about this little guy was irresistible. Maybe it’s because we really don’t have many Spring-specific decorations. Like – at all. Plus, Arizona usually skips Spring altogether (not this year – it’s been gorgeous!) and gets right to Summer. Anyway, I knew the kids would love this happy symbol of Spring. He’s pretty cute, isn’t he?
No offense to the chick, but I wasn’t a big fan of the gingham ribbon. No problem. I just dug through my trusty collection of ribbon scraps to find something a little more suitable for my taste.
Ah, yes. Black & white polka dots. Bold. Fun. Adorable.
Remember: Whether you already have something that just needs a little updating, or you come across a great find that isn’t quite “just right” … you can always change something little to customize and improve it.
By the way, that little touch ties in nicely with the other black & white-ness I have going on these days. I love accessorizing with that classic contrasting combo. This fantastic bowl was around $10 or $15 at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx (I can never remember which one).
This faux fur zebra blanket from Target has quickly become our family’s absolute favorite. It’s ridiculously soft and perfect for snuggling. And again — that touch of black & white is so much fun.
First of all, congratulations to the winner of my bracelet giveaway: Kim in Mission, Texas! Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send that to you. Some of you will love to read what she’s doing to make a difference, and how this bracelet is being put to good use:
“I would most definitely donate it to Cinderella’s Closet. I am the director of it and it is a ministry/outreach program of my church. We are a non-profit and our mission is to provide formal gowns and accessories FREE of charge to Junior and Senior high school girls who could not otherwise afford to attend their prom/formal. We collect donated dresses/gowns that are in excellent condition and accessories and turn our Living Faith Center into a beautiful boutique for these girls who are referred to us to shop for the perfect dress! But, we are MORE than a dress, we provide an amazing and wonderful experience and treat these girls with love, respect, kindness, and encouragement. We feel that by staying in school and doing what is expected of them, despite whatever hardships or circumstances they are facing, they have earned that right to attend their Jr. and Sr. prom/formal. This will be our first year and we are so excited to welcome these girls and treat them like the Princesses they are. ”
Isn’t that so cool? Love what you’re doing Kim.
Speaking of jewelry, check this out. So pretty. So personalized.
Etsy shop owner Lisa Lehmann wants to give away $50 of store credit to TWO of my readers. Check out her etsy shop thebeadgirl. Her website is StudioJewel.com but she tells me the etsy shop is always the most updated. Enter here for a chance to win $50 worth of her beautiful jewelry. Just let us know the usual — first name, city, state. The randomly-selected winners will be announced Saturday.
In case you’re brand-new to my site or just joining us here after a little slumber, be sure to check out the VIDEOS section of my website.
I’ve done a handful of videos. But that main featured video? Never have I put so much heart & soul into one piece. I so want to help people document life. I so want you to embrace the life that is yours. And should you feel inclined to record that life, Project Life is one option. I explain more about this philosophy in the video.
I just wanted mention that the person who put even more hours into this project than me is my brother Andrew (left). He recently visited us, along with another equally-handsome and equally-talented brother Kevin (right), a.k.a. the “techie” one.
This lovely scenery, with the Designated Smoking Area sign, is at the airport.
Andrew worked his magic, did his thing, and I am truly grateful to have collaborated with him on the project. Many of you also know he’s my web guy, making all magical web things happen here on my website. When I say “I love my web guy”, I really, truly mean it. I have pretty awesome brothers. And since there are five of them altogether, I’m only scratching the surface here.
Does this look complicated or what? Andrew took this screenshot at one point while editing.
I also wanted to send a very special thank-you to two fellow Project Lifers who allowed me to share their fantastic layouts in the video. Many, many thanks to Michelle Wooderson …
And Deb Duty …
I am also grateful to the lovely Kyra (our niece), the always darling Grieser family, and my own family who make appearances in the video.
And while I’m thanking special people … thanks to my Mom & Dad who, without ever formally teaching me, somehow instilled in me a love for taking pictures and documenting life.
Thank you, dear readers, for being so awesomely & continually supportive. I’m so grateful you love using Project Life to document your world and your happenings and your blessings. Even those of you haven’t jumped on the PL Bandwagon, thank you for stopping by and hanging out here once in a while.
And I’d like to thank the Academy …
Sheesh! Anyone else feel like we’re at the Oscars with this speech? Didn’t mean to get all mushy. Just constantly feeling blessed for being surrounded by so many truly terrific people.
One last note: Since I posted the video about digital Project Life ideas, you have raised some great questions about “particulars”. I plan to address those next week. And therefore … we’re extending the current 25% off sale that’s going on right now so that you’ll have more time to play after I answer those questions. The sale will now go through April 3rd!
I know most of you already “get” Project Life. This video is a good one to share with friends who you think would love it too. We all know somebody who would could really benefit from learning about Project Life. : )
Happy Spring!(for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere) Something about the weather change means organization is on my brain. For some reason, I’ve never really “organized” my jewelry but that’s what I was recently in the mood to tackle. So I went on a little field trip, found these EVA brand drawer organizers at The Container Store, and got to work.
I already had a jewelry case, which I found at Razmataz about 5 years ago. It has been home to my accessories, but the drawers were cluttered and messy and I was easily forgetting what I had. The necklaces, however, have always been easy to keep organized on the hooks that came with this piece. The best thing about hanging necklaces is that it prevents potential tangling.
I got a few different configurations of EVA organizers to go in my drawers. For small earrings …
Larger earrings …
Bracelets and cuffs and watches …
And along the way, I came across things I kinda forgot about. I also came across plenty of items to donate. Some to my five-year-old daughter who is suddenly into jewelry (she is loving the “new” treasures!), and some to Deseret Industries, where we donate most of our unwanted items. And ONE of those things I’m donating to one of you!
Anyone interested in this little number? I made it myself years ago. It was one of my very first attempts at making jewelry and it is still intact. If you’re interested, leave your first name, city, state, and tell me if you want it for yourself, a loved one, a charity, or what. I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday this week.
Oh, and one last note on the topic of jewelry, because I know the question will come up: Where do I find my favorite pieces? Some of my all-time faves are from traveling, since I like to pick up a little something whenever we go somewhere new & different. I’m also partial to pieces that others have made for me … such sweet gestures. I’ve found some really fun things at boutiques too. Forever 21, Target … I don’t know. Just random places. I never spend very much for any one piece. Not my style.
I’d like to introduce you to Allison and her little family, including Justus (3), Aisha (2) and Mya (1).
A year ago little Mya was born 5 weeks early and has kidney abnormalities which required long and frequent hospital stays for surgeries and infections.
Allison, a fellow Project Lifer, shared this with me: “I remember you posting about your grateful poster and it was a huge encouragement to me during that time to count my blessings. We have so much to be thankful for! In everything give thanks … what a challenge! Mya is scheduled for her 3rd surgery on March 31st.”
Allison’s husband (a nurse) took a year off to help at home. With the reduced income … well, that is when Unique Kidz was born. Check out these unique handmade baby hats for photo props or every day use made by Allison herself and other work-at-home moms.
Plus, they have all sorts of darling accessories — for girls and boys. Did I mention darling? Darling. Check out the the Unique Kidz website or you can find them on facebook … and get ready to ooh and ahh and browse and browse. And then come on back over here and enter for a chance to win! Leave your first name, city, and state. Allison is giving TWO of my readers $50 worth of store credit.
The following are notes from individuals and families who have generously donated to my brother's family. There are many others who donated beyond the notes you see below and the ads you see on my blog. We can not thank you enough for your kindness and generosity during this very difficult time. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Jonathan -- May god give you strength and courage in the coming months. Enjoy your family. Love you wife and hug your kids. Lean on Him. He can handle it. God Bless.
- Tricia Shelton
May you be surrounded by love, friendship and family in this difficult time.
- The Gourlay Family
Dear Jonathan, Tina and family: Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Although we have never met, we felt compelled to reach out to you. We hope that through these well wishes you feel loved and cared for. Life is about our families, communities and sharing love with each other. Through Becky's blog, I know that you have a wonderful family. We hope you know that through Becky's web community, you now have many new friends thinking of you. May you find strength in God and from all the prayers said on your behalf.
I wish you all love, peace, courage, and strength for the days ahead. I'll be praying. Be blessed!
You and your family are in our prayers. God Bless!
- Angie Murray
Thank you, Jonathan, for being there to support Becky while she shared her gifts and talents with me through the years, albeit remotely. This small gift is the least I can do to say thank you. God bless you and your family.
- With loving thoughts, Terri C
Although I've never met Jonathan, I have been following Becky's articles, books, and blog for years—even met her once at CKU Orlando. Like so many that Becky has touched, I've always admired the love, unity, and values of your large and beautiful family. I wish you all love, peace, courage, and strength for the days ahead. I'll be praying. Be blessed!
All I can say is that I believe God has heard your call because He certainly placed it on my heart to respond. It was loud and clear. And when He's involved, great things far beyond what you and I can comprehend will occur and I pray that gives you peace today and the days to come.
- Peggy Krantz
May you continue to find peace and comfort knowing you are surrounded by loving family and friends.
My heart is filled with love and pain and gratitude for eternal families as I have read about the challenge your family faces. Please accept my donation as a small token to help ease the significant, and often devastating, monetary burdens that come with this challenge. Thank you for a fine example of strength during the darkest times we face in life - an example that gives courage to others struggling with trials in their lives.
To Jonathan and family - I am keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.
- God bless all of you, Leslie Schmitt
"Praying for you and your family." 1 Peter 5:7
- Kristina Proffitt
I'm praying for you throughout each day and asking God to give each of you the strength, comfort, and peace to get through this enormous trial. May God bless all of you in ways you never could've imagined and may His mighty and healing hand be especially upon you Jonathan.
- Much love, Lisa in Florida
May you continue to find peace and comfort knowing you are surrounded by loving family and friends.
Dear Jonathan and family, Our heartfelt prayers are with you and your family. May you know in your hearts that there will always be someone, whether here or above, who will always be with each one of you.
Jonathan, his family, friends, and coworkers are all in my prayers during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us- it's very inspiring to see Jonathan's strength through this battle.
"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is that small voice at the end of the day that says 'I will try again tomorrow' " - Mary Anne Radmacher - The last year has been really difficult for me, but this quote always seems to help. I hope it helps you and your family, as well. Don't forget, miracles really do happen. Hang in there and keep your chin up.
- Love and prayers from NM, Stephanie Taylor
To Jonathan, Tina and your entire family: I wish there were more that I could do to help you. Becky's books have been my favorites since I first read them. Because she shared family photos and stories, I feel like you are all old friends. Good luck and I am sending happy thoughts and sparkly wishes your way!
- Jacki Samolsky
Big hugs and lots of prayers of healing and peace to your whole family.