Hello Wednesday -- My Last Elle's Studio Layout

This is bittersweet, it'll be my last Elle's Studio layout for the Design Team.  What a wonderful time I've had working with Elle and the whole team. This has been a simply amazing experience and one that has really stretched me in a lot of ways.  

But, I'm also exited for what is next!  Here's to new avenues of creativity!!!

This was mainly using Elle's Studio and the Studio Calico So Cal kit, but I also included a number of other goodies that were just around and waiting to be used.

I'm still madly in love with the wood-grain card-stock.  Can you tell?  I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever use standard card-stock again??  And can I say, while I have your attention, that I really really think that Tim Holtz needs to make a long arm version of his Tiny Attacher.  Just sayin'.

I think that wood-grain cameras are a must have.  You can easily include them on any layout that has a photo.  Ha!

I edged each photo with one of the Prima Chalk inks.  They are so easy to use and to keep the ink only where you want it.

I hope you make sure and check out the whole DT gallery over at Elle's this month.  All of these girls have given their last hurrah and we should see a new team very soon.

And don't forget that there is still time to enter the drawing over on the The Lily Pad for some goodies from my shop!

And now, a bit more story.

By this time in my life, mama and I were the only two in the house.  My sister ran away from home just before my father left.  She never returned to live with us, but she was safe with our pastor and his family.  My brother turned 18 when I was nine and moved out on his own as well.  So, it was just the two of us.

We lived in a way that I was very ashamed of.  We owned the mobile home we lived in and the land it sat on, but there was no one to care properly for things and my mother didn't seem to have the heart or the skills to do it.  It wasn't long before things began to break down.  The insulation began to unravel from under the house and a family of opossums moved in.  As with many homes in Florida, it was also infested with very large cockroaches as well.

(This is a photo of me at about 8 yrs in front of our mobile home, ca 1980)

They'd join us inside the house at night, terrorizing my mother and I. She didn't know how to get rid of them or the opossums.  But after a while, she devised a plan for the offending marsupials.  She'd trap them in the plastic trash can and pour boiling water over them.  Horrifying!  I felt terrible for the poor squirming animals but at the same time, I lived in constant fear that they would come into my bed at night and bite me.

It wasn't long before they got smart and chewed a hole in the bottom of that trash can so mother had no way to kill them any more.  After than, they just kept multiplying.  Once, there was a large one in my bedroom.  I was utterly terrified. I grabbed the nearest thing I could find, which happened to be a baseball bat and beat that poor possum to death right there in my room.  I can still feel the hysteria that claimed my whole self as I 'defended' my space.

My mother didn't have many marketable skills.  She'd been a secretary in the 50's and  60's but for some reason, she never went back to that line of work after my father left.  She'd try for odd jobs here and there, cleaning house, working in a nursery (that competed with my father's of course) or caring for elderly people in their homes. 

However, due to her mental illness, she was unable to keep anything for very long.  The result was that we lived on a very tight budget.  My mother was well equipped to deal with that for the most part as, in spite of her issues, she was extremely frugal with our money.  

I never starved, but there were times that we had to rely on the generosity of our church family.  It happened now and again that a bag of groceries or an envelope with cash would show up unexpectedly at just the right times.  We ate endless TV dinners and hot dogs as they were the things we could afford. One thing in my life remained constant, my mother was a woman of deep, deep faith and always believed that God would provide for us.  

How that worked together with mental illness I will never understand. But my mother prayed hard and read her bible and begged God to care for her children.  Yes, she was also abusive, but I believe her prayers were heartfelt.  I think that she was so trapped inside her sick mind that she could no sooner treat us as she should than she could fly.

Our basic needs were always met but we often went without comforts.  In the summer, we spent most of our time without air-conditioning, but we did have fans.  In winter, the heaters went on just for a while when we first got out of bed in the morning.  Mama bought clothes in resale shops and tracked down hand-me-downs from friends.  We didn't ever buy extras, like school photos or gifts or candy.  There just wasn't any money for that.  And we NEVER went anywhere we didn't absolutely have too.  Mama would call driving any place 'gassin'.  And that meant spending money which we didn't have. 

I was never able to participate in extra-curricular activities because it would cost too much for the fees, uniforms and gas.  Our entertainment was mainly to spend time with friends when they were willing and watch TV in the evenings on our 13" black and white TV.

I was often embarrassed of my mother's willingness to 'mooch' off of the generosity of folks in the church.  Our church was in the next town and about 15 miles away. Since we were good Pentecostals, we always went for all the Sunday services. Mama would arrange with someone in the church for us to spend the middle of the day in their homes.  They'd feed us lunch and we'd just hang around and chat.

Mostly, it was older single women which meant I was bored to tears, but it's the way it was.

But my mama had faith.

I, also, believed what I heard on Sunday mornings.  Yes, God had created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th.  Yes, Jesus had been sent to be born of a virgin, to do miracles and then to die on a cross for my sins.  Yes, I accepted that free gift gladly and looked forward to going to heaven.  My faith was simple and childlike.  

And so, because of that, I prayed.  I prayed for all the broken things I was aware of in my family.  Mainly, that amounted to wanting my sister and my daddy to come home and make us a family again.  I prayed that the other kids I went to school and church with would like me.  I prayed that my mama wouldn't be sick in her mind.

How many nights I went to sleep crying and praying after my daddy left I couldn't count.  But one thing I can tell you for sure, God heard my prayers and His heart broke for me.  He was already working out His plan for me.  He was already determining how He would show it to me, how He would restore the broken years.  I couldn't have begun to understand, but He was and IS faithful to that lonely, sad little girl who truly was crying out to Him for mercy.

Have a wonderful day and I'll see you all tomorrow.


  1. I love the ending of your post tonight. So much hope and so full of faith!

  2. Wow. I hate possums. I usually scream if I see one on the road so I can't imagine them coming in my house! I'm so glad you had Jesus to hold onto during all your trials.

  3. Lovely layout, so much detail to look at. And I'm surprised a long arm tiny attacher doesn't already exist, gap in the market there! Becky x

  4. sniff sniff, it is sad that our term is over, this one rocks big time!!!!

  5. Your layout really conveys your fun at camping. Yes, a long arm tiny attacher would be great! We used to get possums outside our mobile home eating the cat's food. Are they especially attracted to mobile homes? I haven't seen one since we built a house on the same property. That would be terrifying having them in the house! I'm glad you have had your faith to hold tight to.

  6. This layout rocks! Love all the photos and the title work you did.
    Your story is so inspiring. You're so strong. <3

  7. Heartfelt words about a childhood that was stark, sad, and beautiful. I found it gripping.

  8. Beautiful statement of faith!

  9. What a BEAUTIFUL testimony of God's ever watchful care and love. Thank you so much for sharing it. Your words build my faith.


I really enjoy your feedback, so thanks a bundle for taking the time to leave it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...