Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!


Well it has been a few days since I have posted anything... I have been busy the last couple weeks. When my daughter is home I spend as much time with her as possible. I have learned that life is a precious gift to never be taken for granted.
Though I have managed to scrap a few pages lately... and they are FOR ME! for a change. Normally my scrapbook pages/layouts are for gifts that I am working on.
I have been following some challenges in other scrapbook groups and it really jumpstarts the creative process!
I hope to be able to share a few of them with you soon.
NOW on to my exciting news lol well for me anyway...
Tomorrow I am going to be going up to get my darling brat child for Easter break it is about a 2 and half hour drive one way... I am leaving around 830 and will be getting there around 11 am when she gets out of her classes for the day... she has been wanting to take me to a chinese restuarant there in town so guess that is where we will go for lunch. Then to the scrapbook store... I have been there once it is a really neat place, they have lots of different things that I have not seen anywhere else. Then on to the Mall for some more shopping but by then it will probably be window shopping :) I can't resist spending money at scrapbook stores I know this is not all that exciting to everyone but I am so looking forward to spending time with Chels and yes I am taking my camera for some shots of us being silly...
Then i will have to clean house yuck when i get home...but that is ok because the next best thing to getting to go to a scrapbook store is MEETING LEW who is Lew you are probably asking about now... well he is one of my son's brothers in the Marine corp and he is driving about 5 hours 1 way with his lil brother and lil sister to meet us and spend time with us... I have been doing the happy dance ever since... I can hardly contain myself... I can't wait to hug him and tell him how much he means to me in person... PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES
which mean SCRAPBOOK pages
I will definately share those when they are completed.
So for now I'm getting off here and getting some work done.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Who I am ... that is one song that got me through the roughest time of my life. I am not who i was before May 12th, 2004.... First and Foremost I am MOM my kids are my life! My family is the most important thing in my life. Everything else comes after. This blog is a bit long but to know who i am and why i scrap what started it all this is where it all began.

Scrapbooking... a hobby, a passion, a way of life. It is either something that you love to do and must do. For me it is a little of all of the above. I have always been a picture taker and I literally have shoe boxes filled with photo graphs. Which is where the name Shoebox Memories comes from. I love to make albums for people who don't have the time or don't want to be bothered with the task of taking the pictures an organizing them in some kind of order.
Having said that... I have yet to make a scrapbook just for me, or even about me.
My first scrapbook was in the Spring of 2003 when my middle son was a high school Senior. Boy has my technique changed since then. At the time I used some other graphic soft ware to make the pages and we printed them off onto paper... mostly digital before digital scrapbooking became what it is today. A lot of time he would come home from work at 10 or even later and say mom i have this chapter due tomorrow here is the essay... and i would stay up designing the layout to match what he had written. In a way it is one of my favorite scrapbooks, since a lot of times I used what I had and let the creativity come through in the designing of his pages.

That summer I started to buy more scrapbook stuff, but really wasn't sure what I was going to do with it all. I found a Marine Albumn and planned on doing one for Jeremiah my oldest who had been in the Marines for 2 years, 3 if you counted the delayed entry program. He had been in Japan for 11 and half months by the time Jon graduated highschool. That July he came home for a month for a great visit. Little did we know that would be the last time we would see him.
Thanksgiving 2003 they announced on the news that 2000 Marines from Camp Pendleton would be going to Iraq... being the mom that I am I called Jer and asked him are you one of the 2000... NO mom I'm going back to Japan. In December he called and was talking about some cool equipment he had been issued... and I asked him if you are going to Japan what do you need that for... the silence just hung there... im going to Iraq mom. In one week it would be Christmas and it seemed my life had taken on a whole new aspect. I'll be fine ma, i can weld and they need welders over there. I'll be safe.
I can still hear that conversation in my head.
February came and he was headed out... deployed to the sand and who knew when we would see him again. He called me from each stop along the way... New Jersey they played in the snow... yes I have the pictures... Marines dressed in camies playing in the snow.
Kuwait... then on to FOB he was stationed in Ramadi and though I wasn't supposed to know the location my son was pretty cleaver mom it is like that hotel in town.... well we had a Ramada inn and it didn't take long for me to figure he was in the middle of a bad place.
March came and went and we were able to talk via yahoo messenger and i had a web cam so he could see us. There was a blog up of the 2/4 unit and I was able to access and get updated pictures as time went on. April and tragedy struck 12 men from the 2/4 weapons company were dead... no release of names... from Sunday - Thursday i lived on the internet looking, waiting, watching, the tv was on the news stations only... my husband worked 3rd shift so if i was at work during the day once i was home all i did was search for his name or for names of the ones we lost... i would go to bed at 4 am and get back up at 6 and do it all over again. I was working that Thursday and I got a call... by then i had been on auto pilot, living on adrenaline ... i answered the phone in the mens department... hey ma what up i sunk to the floor and just cried my son was alive and he was on the phone with me... thank GOD.
A lot of time when he would call it would just be silence but neither would want to hang up... life lines for each other. He would tell funny stories that would never tell me the things he was living through no those calls came late at night when he couldn't sleep... he lost a young marine he had taken under his wing. His name was Geoffrey Morris and as Jer said mom he was a good kid... Jer being all of 21 was so much older :) .
I still watched the news and checked the DOD sight for lost Marines... but life had gotten into a more normal pattern... thurs afternoons he usually tried to call me... and sometimes on Sundays.
On Monday May 10th we talked to him for HOURS on yahoo messenger... we had spaghetti for dinner and Ron was drinking a beer... Chels talked to him also, his baby sister ... this is the monday after Mothers day... little did we know that would be the last time we talked, the last time to hear his voice.
I went to work on Wednesday... now I don't know what peoples religious beliefs are and honestly I believe that is between each person and their GOD. As for me I know that he walks daily with me and some days he has literally picked me up and just held me.
That Wednesday I felt sick at my stomach something was wrong, i couldn't explain it nor did it go away as the morning progresses my dread grew to the point while in the stock room i looked at the manager and said Rhonda i need to pray right now... your father in law??? who had been sick for a long time... no it is Jer .. now I can't explain it but I knew something was wrong... and this is where it takes on a strange feel... Ron my husband felt ill, my sister in Illinois had a bad feeling, chels at school had a bad feeling also...
I didn't think anymore about it just kept praying that he be safe and that he knew how much we loved him and how proud we were of him.
I went to church that night... we sang 3 songs only one i can remember is Victory in Jesus... I sang in the praise band... to this day I can not sing that song... my throat closes up and all I can do is cry. I taught my class and went home.
I was standing in the kitchen window when a Navy Blue van pulled up and 3 Marines in dress blues got out and a Chaplain dressed in white. I knew then... I told Ron that Jer was gone... no lets see what they say. I replied he is gone.
They came in and told me that Jer had been hit with an IED and that he fought to stay with his unit. That he didn't want to go to the care center.. he lived for 3 hours.... they didn't know he had been injured that bad. He had his kevlar on... but it came in at the side and under his arm piercing his side, his internal injuries were to great. He is now guarding the gates of Heaven as all Marines after their time on earth is up.
We called the minister and we met back up at the church... gets a lil spooky here too...
the whole church was there and it was not storming or anything outside... laying the background... We started singing and the lights went out in the church... we lit some candles and continued to sing... Jon asked them to sing I'll fly away and the lights came on for 1 verse... then went back out... soon we headed out to the car and the lights were still off but as we were pulling away the lights came back on... we will never know but i like to think that Jer was smiling down on us and telling us he was ok...
the next days were a blur and i honestly don't know how i survived the loss of Jer other than the fact that I have 2 other wonderful children and husband who needed me... I know I will see Jer again. Faith got me through what nothing else could.

I started his scrapbook a couple months after... memory after memory put into an album to tell his story of his life.
My hero , My best friend, my Son, Lance Corporal Jeremiah Semper Fidelis
who will never be forgotten.

His book was therapy and though it is not quite completed as i can only work on it a few pages at a time...
Scrapbooking is now an obsession and passion and I hope to teach others how to preserve their memories of the special people and moments in their life.




chels and colton

chels and colton