Hi.

Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

All over the place

Today was  very restful. :) Just like a Sunday should be. I’m thinking about both frivolous and deep stuff tonight, so hopefully you’ll forgive the skipping around.

Some Quick Things 

  • The ants are back. ARGH! But Terminix is on the way on Tuesday. Stupid ants. And Rowen was saying, “Why are we killing the ants, mama?” And I said, “Ants don’t belong in our house.” She said, “But they belong out in the backyard?” I said, “Ants can live anywhere they want as long as it isn’t in our house.” And then I amended, “Unless they are fire ants, and building a hill in the middle of our backyard. Then they can’t live there, either.” I only got a Look for that one, and she dropped it. But of course every time she sees an ant now, it’s freak-out time. (Wonder where she got that from?)
  • Heading off to Nashville this week on Thursday to teach at CKC. So excited for that! I’ll be teaching 6 classes and helping out at Friday’s crop. And by helping out I mean distracting everyone. Can’t wait! hee hee.
  • Also, I would like to learn how to crochet. But I’m fairly hopeless with needles (having previously attempted to learn to knit), and I would probably hurt myself. Any recommendations for where a total noob can start (like I need another hobby)?
In the online education front, LOTS going on, lots of opportunities for learning :):
  • Two tutorials of mine went up for sale at DesignerDigitals this morning. More coming at least once a month there. These are downloadable tutorials with a full-color printable PDF (step-by-step instructions and screen shots) and a kit so you can make the item or complete the technique in question. These are great ways to learn product-specific techniques (like the digital wings) or get all-in-one kits that contain both instructions and a kit (like the First Layout). This is also all-digital in nature.
  • I’ll also be offering an instructor-led digital class in May at jessicasprague.com. More details on that very soon (like maybe when we get my web site finished and stop redirecting it back here. ;)).
  • The hybrid tutorials for my Paper + Pixels column at CK Online will go up every two weeks. These are all going to be focused on computer techniques that result in paper scrapbook pages. I’m working on the next one right now. :D Hopefully you caught the first one, on arranging smaller photos on a larger canvas for printing. I got 1 5x7 and 3 2x2 photos onto a 5x7 and a 4x6 photo paper. :)

A Great Read 

I finished The Chosen at about 1:30 this morning. Had to stay up to read the last few pages. And then I had to stay up some more just to think about it. To soak this thing in. It is an amazing book, and as relevant today as it was when it was published. What strikes me first off is that a book BY a Jewish rabbi, about two families of Orthodox Jews, should be so relevant to me.

I caught a few themes running through the book, as well, beautifully woven in to the story. I don’t want to turn this into a book report. But I’ve been thinking about one of the symbols that’s carried through the book, emphasized again and again - sight and eyes and seeing.  Reuven is hit in the eye with Danny’s baseball - that’s how they meet. Reuven regains his sight entirely, but the people on his eye ward in the hospital don’t (maybe a message about how fragile our ability to really see things is). There are references over and over again to Danny’s eyesight, what his eyes look like as he talks to Reuven. Clearly this whole idea of sight and seeing was a message meant to be brought home by the author. Clearly we are meant to ask ourselves, Am I seeing clearly? Is my sight clouded by ignorance or prejudice? Do I really see things at all? And how well?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot today.  

The Greatest Friend I have in life

Has made my eyes to see…

-Incredible String Band 

Here’s another one, way at the end of the book,where Danny’s father says:

“One learns of the pain of others by suffering one’s own pain… It is important to know of pain, [my father] said. It destroys our self-pride, our arrogance, our indifference toward others. It makes us aware of how frail and tiny we are and of how much we depend on the Master of the Universe.”

Wow.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this one today too. News  came today that our friend and fellow scrapper Jen Gallacher’s son Joey passed away last night. I was home alone when I read it, since Jared had taken the kids in the car for a ride, and I couldn’t help but cry and cry. For her pain - a mama’s pain. For a sort of survivor’s guilt that I have two sweet and healthy kids and a truly GREAT life that I’m not grateful enough for. For a shuddering fear of what if this happens to me? Would I be able to be so brave? So strong? So full of faith?

 I know that in our bedtime ritual (I put Elliott to bed, and Jared takes care of Rowen), I sang Elliott an extra song tonight, and held him a little closer. I stroked his hair a little longer as I laid him down for sleep, and thanked God a little more sincerely than usual for my many blessings. This is what my life is about (photo from a couple of weeks ago, when I went in to wake him up one morning).

ele_sleeping.jpg

So I wonder, has any of my own pain in life contributed to my ability to sit and cry with, and for, a woman I’ve never met except online? Probably. Any mama (and let’s face it, being a mama = pain sometimes)  reading Jen’s posts thinks the very same thing, and I think that’s partly why the response from friends around the world has been so very overwhelming. There’s an extra component here, I think, the reverse of what Dr. Potok talked about - that in addition to our own pain making us more empathetic, seeing the suffering of others, feeling for them, can make us more humble, more grateful, more empathetic in return. All part of the human experience, I think, and part of the reason we all show up on earth as part of families and communities and neighborhoods and cities and nations. All in this thing together.

-J 

Yesterday's funny

A little note.