March ’18 Challenges

Peaceful In My Soul
Location:  Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Snow/rain
Listening to:  Soundscapes

The rains of the season splash against my windows.  The crockpot simmers with the inviting scents of homemade stew.  Today it is peaceful in my soul. It reminds me of the lyrics of  “Peace in My Soul”,  by Jermaine Edwards:

“There’s a peace in my soul when I’m with You
There’s a peace in my soul when my spirit is in tune
You’re my Master and I’m not a slave to sin anymore
There’s a peace running deep in my soul. 

In Your will, that’s my strength when I’m with You
Just can’t stop getting closer to You
When my mind now renewed and conformed to the image of You
There’s a peace running deep in my soul.

My spirit bears witness that I’m a child of a King
And I’m sorry I just can’t walk the way I used to
Say the things I used to do I just can’t do them no more
There’s a peace running deep from my soul.”

At the Rush Ranch, things march forward in March.  Moving the clocks forward (I hate that).  Changing vehicle snow tires to summer tires.  Cleaning out flower beds, and trimming trees.  Cleaning out the horse barn, and repairing the fencing line.  The usual.  New birds show up everyday  with the promise of spring.  Red-winged blackbirds and Kittyhawks have arrived just this week.  It will be another month before I begin looking for hummingbirds. I wait, some days with my nose pressed against the windowpane, for spring.  Glorious SPRING!

I have two downloads for you today.  Both were Designer Challenges at Pixelscrapper.  One theme was on birds, and the other was on “The Letter J”.

I don’t draw birds well, so I just used antique bird paintings to make journal cards with – and then I did make one bird with a swirly tail and carrying a beaded chain. Sort of a whimsical peep.  The journal cards are 3inX4in. You can see and download the other designer kits here.

The “Letter J” challenge required several things, such as jade, something jagged, something joyful, jewelry, etc.  It was a rather enjoyable challenge.   You can see and download the other designer kits here.

As always, these are free to download and are CU for CU friendly.  Use as you wish, and in return, please do a kindness for another.




Thank you for visiting my humble blog, and I look forward to providing you with another Blog Train kit on April 1st!







March ’18 Blog Train

Love Knows No Borders
Location:  Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Snow, Cold

Parkland, Florida.  It is difficult to see any wisdom in current events.  Yes, difficult to see how we can glue all the broken pieces back together again.  I’m not talking about politics, democrat or republican.  I’m talking about human values.  Our nation’s heart for each other.  At the very least, I wish that we lived in a world where all children are safe, healthy, fed, clothed, educated and nurtured. My husband is a direct descendent of Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the United States Declaration of Independence. I wonder what the signers would think today – have we been good stewards of their hopes and dreams?

So, I focus.  I focus on local things.  Making a difference in my church, neighborhood, in my hometown.  It’s hard to see how letting someone else go in front of me in line at the grocery store can make any ripple of goodness throughout the state, country, world – but I keep on believing it is so – I keep on keeping on.  It is because I know the ending to this story – I do!  I know how it all ends.  They lived happily ever after.  It’s true.  I quote the Message bible:  I Colossians 1:18-20

“He was supreme in the beginning and – leading the resurrection parade – he is supreme in the end.  From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything.  Everyone.  So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding.  Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.”

Keep the faith.

Although the title of this month’s Blog Train was “Love Knows no Borders“, I misread it to be “Bounds“.  It means the same in the long run, but I wanted you to know of the title difference.

“Love knows no reason, no boundaries, no distance. It has a sole intention of bring people together to a time called forever.” (unknown author)

As always, my designs are free to use however you wish, including for commercial use.  All I ask in return is that you pass along a kindness to another.  You can find all the other designer’s blog hop kits at Pixelscrapper.

Two paper previews, but both are in one download:
Papers Download


Journal Cards Download

Two Elements previews, but both are in one download:
Elements Download

Below is a special challenge that I did for Pixelscrapper Designer Forum,  designing clusters for Spring.  Your can download my clusters here.


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Thank you for your kind words over the past year.  Together, we can make a difference.  May you be blessed beyond measure.



Free Downloads – February 2018

Black, White and Read All Over
Location:  Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  51F, cloudy

Spring is in the distance, but has not yet visited our valley.  The coat of many colors in the valley floor is a reflection of remnants from a tired winter.  Colors of emerald and chartreuse are trying their best to weave their way through the dark, brown earth.   I love how the valley changes with the seasons.
grande_ronde_beamsLife around the ranch is as busy as ever.  I have asked my husband to plan a few getaways for us this spring and summer.  I need to see the sea.  I need to close my eyes and hear (and feel) the sound of the surf and seagulls.  I need to feel the breeze against my face, and the sand beneath my feet.  I need to let it all in, and let it blow away the dust and dull of winter greys.
Related image
I am all at once focused and then again wandering amidst  thoughts of where I need to be in this world, and what I need to be doing.  My dear husband and I have been talking to the local Food Bank, as we consider our volunteering options. I must take into consideration my ability to handle the emotional aspect of dealing with people that find themselves in stressful situations – I tend to be too overly emotional about children in sad situations, and know that my heart would break at every story. Tears will fall down my face and dry there, time and again.  But perhaps that is what we need, what is human about us, to feel another’s broken heart and reach out with compassion and respect.  Perhaps we are meant to have our hearts broken daily, to encourage each other, to be the light for one another.  I have no answers, I simply move through each day and hope that I am getting at least 10% of my actions right.

I participated in two small challenges at Pixelscrapper.  The first one was to design 3 items for commercial use, using a Mardi Gras theme.  The second was called “Black, White and Read All Over”, and challenged us to use newsprint in our designs.  We were to use a limited number of colors, mainly black, white and green, with another color of our choice – I chose red.  Then we could use a neutral color to round it out.  Well, you know me and color; I never seem to get it right.  So, I simply offer my results and hopefully you can find something that you can use.


Download Mardi Gras


Download Papers


Download Elements

I most likely will not have another download until the Blog Train on March 1st.  Sign up for email alerts if you wish to be notified of a download.

Have a great February,


February ’18 – Blog Train

Enjoy Each Moment
Location – The Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  37F, sleet

It is Wednesday, early morning.  Still and dark outside. Strong winds rush across the valley below.   Princess Daisy the calico sits beside me, delicately cleaning her mittens after her royal breakfast. She will soon head back to bed and purr herself to sleep, tummy full.  I am up early, because my mind is full.  Full of many emotions, many prayers.

You see, my friend Darlene has been moved into Hospice this week.  She has been a brave and courageous warrior in the fight against breast cancer this past year.  Always smiling her way through it all.  One of those folks that you love immediately upon first contact.  The smile.  The laugh.  The love freely given.

And I wonder, as I sit here in the darkness, why her and not me?  Why was my life saved, as hers slips away?  And perhaps, just perhaps, the reason I am here is to tell you about the miracle that I experienced during my cancer journey.  So, if you’ve a mind to sit with me for a bit and hear me out, let’s do this for Darlene.

I had been diagnosed with one of the worst breast cancer types – as if you could classify ANY of them good.  It was invasive, rather than in lumps.  It was also called “triple negative”, because my cancer cells were not the type to be affected by the various hormone drugs – they had no “receptors” that could be used to kill the cells.  My husband was frightened, yet I was calm.  I had gone into “warrior mode”, working the solution.  I could have left our mountain to travel to the big city to intake to MD Anderson, or Cancer Centers of America – but I just felt the Lord telling me to trust him.  I could do this, close to home.  And that is what I did.  I trusted him every step of the way, partnering with my “small-town country doctor”.

The miracle happened on the day of my surgery – a double mastectomy.   I woke up early and before I even got out of bed, I started to pray.  I prayed for the Lord to give my doctor the wisdom he needed to work my case.  To bless his hands with knowledge in the surgery room.  There were other things I must have prayed for, but what I most remember is, the moment that I prayed for myself, I was hit by a bolt of electricity.  That’s the only thing that I can compare it to.  It wasn’t painful, but there was that definite feeling of a current of electricity passing from my right shoulder, down to my left hip.  It lasted less than a minute, but I knew that something special had happened.   In surgery that morning, my surgeon found my invasive cancer cells that had previously been scattered throughout  my breasts and most likely my body, was now in one lump.  And easily removed.  My miracle.  HIS miracle.  And one of many that kept occurring throughout my journey.  What an awesome God!

So thank you for listening.  Just – well, Thank you.  For being here.  For hearing the name of Darlene ringing out in your ears and perhaps your heart.  Bless the coming and going of her.   Had I known that the cancer was moving so swiftly in her, I would have made my kit a bit special this month just for her, celebrating her exuberant life.  A kit with poetry, beauty, smiles and warmth.  Generosity and serenity.  Celebrating the volunteer that freely gave for years and years of service, honoring those around her.  We are all better for knowing her.  Yes, bless the coming and going of her.

Launching my part of the February Blog Train, at Pixelscrapper.  I have a habit of not using the entire palette and blending the colors that bring about different shades.  But if you check out the other Pixescrapper Blog Train designer kits you will find that they have faithfully stayed with the colors of the month.

My designs are available for commercial use, I only ask that you try and pass along a kindness to someone else in exchange.

The elements have three previews below, but there is only one download necessary for them.


Download # 1 Papers
Download # 2 Papers
Download #3 Papers
Download # 4 Papers


Download Elements


Download Journal Cards

Thank you for stopping by!  Sign up for email notifications if you want an alert when I release new designs.  Have a fantastic week.


Free Download – Valentine’s Day

Monthly CU Designer Challenge
Location – Rush Ranch, Eastern Oregon
Wx:  49F, Sun
Listening to:  Beautiful silence

The sun was shining today, after days of rain and overcast skies.  I sat at the window of a drugstore diner, watching the world go by.  Two children were playing on the lawn over at the Library.  One boy did a standing somersault, not once but twice!  I was very impressed. It took my mind off the two gentlemen that were sitting at the soda fountain, discussing politics.  My husband and I would give each other an occasional shake of our heads as differing political points were made – I hope that they soon resolve all of the world’s problems, because their soup was getting cold.  There was a big black dog in the truck parked along the curb.  He would bark occasionally at the vehicles driving by – but only if they were pickups.  Apparently, being locked up in a pickup at lunch time did not endear one to pickups, in general.

The warmth of the day gives me a false sense of spring – I yearn to fill pots and planters with new starts;  I yearn for the full measure of Mother Nature’s color palette.  But alas, it is months away.  I patiently wait, with mail order seed catalogs spread out across my coffee table.

Over at Pixelscrapper, the monthly Designer Challenge for Commercial Use products was “Valentine’s Day”.  We were tasked with making from one to three items for commercial use.  I made several more than that, but this is not a complete kit – it is something put together rather quickly, in order to participate in the challenge.  I am not too fond of the papers, so I won’t take it personally if you aren’t, either!  The color palette for this year’s CU challenges has been jazzed up with some bright colors of red, green, turquoise, yellow, and orange.  Much more enjoyable to work with.

I hope that you find something here that you can use in your own designs.



I have a monthly calendar, a weekly page and a note page made for another challenge.  All are in US size 8.5″x11″.  Each have a download of both black and white, and color.



Download Note Page

Download Calendar

Download Weekly

It’s a busy month for me, but my husband and I are taking some time out of our busy schedule in order to have a date night at the movies.  I have been wanting to see “The Greatest Showman”, so I hope that it is an enjoyable movie.  Popcorn and hand-holding are much in order!

By the way, take the time to tell each one of your family how much you love and appreciate them.  One of my friends just lost two of her dear family due to a car accident – one a child!  Don’t wait to say the things that you need to.  And all of those things that you have been wanting to do?  You should go do them.



January ’18 Blog Hop – Treasured

Location:  Rush Ranch – Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Snow, cold
Status:  Busy!

A new year lies before us like a book, waiting to be written.  Another opportunity to “get it right”.  Ever hopeful, ever forward, even in the midst of crazy and/or cool moments, we bring along our knowledge and experience of the past into our future. What could possibly go wrong, right?  Cough.  It usually DOES go wrong at just the worst possible moment……..But we can do this.  Let’s make the best of it. Let’s give it a good go of making better decisions.  Of loving who we are.  Remember, your smile is your logo.  Your personality is your business card.  And how you leave others feeling after an experience with you is your trademark.  And what a wonderful thought that the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet!  GAHHHHH!

And if you are considering establishing new resolutions for the year, take a look at these wise words from a woman from a religious denomination other than mine – but of like-mind:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, manicured fingernails.  I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking the kids to scout camp.  I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children.  I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.  I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.” – Majorie Hinkley.

I don’t do resolutions, but Mrs. Hinkley sure has a way with words!  And, a remarkable way with kindness.

I am crazy/busy at the moment.  As the new Church Treasurer, January is going to be a very busy month for me:
1.  Balance 2017 4th qtr books.
2.  Prepare 2017 (final) Annual Report for the Board
3.  Prepare 2018 Budget for the Board
4.  File W-2 employer form with IRS before 1/30 – (Pastor wages)
5.  Prepare and distribute 2017 record of donations to each parishioner
6.  Prepare church 990 IRS form for filing
7.  Box up 2017 files and start new 2018 files
8.  Update procedures in my “Standard Operating Procedures” handbook for the Treasurer, with January tax duties – it will be my first time, so I know that there will things that pop up unexpectedly, and I will need to document it all so that I don’t make the same mistake(s) next year.
9.  I’m sure that I have forgotten something – but perhaps I will be better at saying “No” in the future when asked to volunteer for duties……..But I really can’t say no –   Jesus didn’t say no when he gave his life for me.  I remember HIM every time I feel tired or weary from my volunteer things.  So, onward.

The blog hop theme over at Pixelscrapper is “Treasured”.  You will find many other interpretations of that theme over at the official Blog Hop site, and I encourage you to visit and download all of the other free kits.  The talent of the other designers is really awesome.

My kit is CU friendly.  You know the routine by now, all my designs are free.  I simply ask that you show a kindness to a stranger, in return.

PSJan2018_treasured_elements_cuDownload Elements

PSJan2018_treasured_papers_cuDownload Papers

PSJan2018_treasured_journal-cards_cuDownload Journal Cards

Additionally, I have included a download of four treasure pieces.  They are in a separate download because they do not meet the minimum design standards.  I did not scan these images at the minimum of 300 DPI – they are images from the internet, and they were trimmed, sharpened, and enhanced with beads or other small things.  Therefore, they are not sharp and clear, nor are the edges sharp and defined.  I offer them only as an additional enhancement to your work, if clarity is not a consideration. The two round ones are museum pieces from the 9th century, the bottom right one is called the “Strickland Brooch”, and is at the British museum.  I have added the blue beads to it.

Download Treasures

Thank you for your kind words this past year – I am truly blessed beyond measure. And in return, I wish YOU many blessings in the coming new year –




Free Download – Nostalgia

Rush Ranch – Eastern Oregon
Wx:  Cold, Windy.  25F

I must admit that I am a recluse.  I don’t think that I am a full-blown Agoraphobic, but I wouldn’t mind if I was.  I prefer to stay home, hang out with my own company.  I have chores, hobbies, and volunteer work at my church that keeps me busy.  I tell you these things, because on the rare occasion,  I do get out.  My husband belongs to a Lodge, and they were having an “installation of officers”  function where the wives were invited.  And since this night was important to my husband, I got dressed up in some flouncy clothes and joined him for the event.  Usually I have to force myself to go, to smile, to try and feel comfortable in the company of others.  I then leave as soon as I possibly can.  But this time, I felt that I needed to go.  Once there, I realized why I needed to be there – it was to listen to a broken heart.

When I got to the function, the various wives were in the kitchen chatting.  I gave them a greeting and stepped into the main auditorium to watch the people set up chairs and otherwise prepare for the evening.  One lady whom I did not know came over and stood by me.  For some reason, I felt prompted to put my arm around her and give her a squeeze, and she stepped right into my arms for a full-blown hug. We sat down at a table, and after a few exchanges of conversation, she told me that she had lost her lovely daughter to breast cancer. Because I had my own bout with breast cancer, I KNEW why I was there and that the most precious gift I could give to this lady at that very moment was to be fully present for her and truly LISTEN, not just to her spoken words, but also to hear the words that remained unspoken, the ones that are the most painful of all.

As you can imagine, it was hard to hear and see her grief. But I believe that the Lord was there with us, helping her pour out her story – she needed to tell someone the things that were so important about her daughter, and they were delightful things indeed.  About how positive and upbeat her daughter was throughout the entire difficult and painful journey.  How she had such an amazing impact and positive influence upon so many people.  That at her funeral the church was overflowing with people, that they had set up TV screens for folks downstairs and upstairs to watch the proceedings on the main floor.  After she shared with me these precious and tender things, I told her that it was a reflection upon her, that she raised and influenced such a special daughter.  She smiled at me and said that no one had ever told her that before – and I told her well that’s because it was so obvious to everyone else, I was just stating the obvious.  She smiled for the rest of the evening.

I’m not sharing this interaction with you for pride or conceit.  I share as an example, that the greatest gifts are free.  Even when you are a MESSED up loner like myself, we can still make a difference by being kind.  Please, in this month of December, no matter what or when you celebrate your beliefs, please pass along an unexpected kindness to someone out there.  The world is hurting.  We can’t change the big stuff, but we can change our views, our outlooks, our actions – and make a change to our circle of influence.  Pay attention to those small nudges and gentle instincts that tell you to do something – they are important.


Christmas Ornament 1I made a goofy looking christmas tree ornament for a neighbor of mine.  She likes me to call her “mom”.  She has been a widow for many years, and is the sweetest and FUNNIEST 85 year old beauty I have ever known.  I adore her.  I crocheted her that ball and tassel in the photo to the left.

My download today is called “Nostalgia”.  The paper preview reflects only a few of the papers, as there are 30 floral ones, five solid, and five watercolor papers.  I prefer to work with neutral colors, but it does have a few splashes of strong colors in case you wish to use them.  As always, these are free to use for any purpose including commercial. I hope that you find them useful.



I pray that you are blessed in new ways that inspire and encourages you.  I’ll have a January blog hop package for you, if I don’t get something else posted in the meantime.  Merry Christmas!

thanksgiving-day-2017_2.jpgHere is a photo of my husband and I as we start to put up our Christmas tree.  Things are going according to plan, at the Rush Ranch!