Let’s try this again . . .

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted! We’re on the brink of a new year now and I decided it was time to jump back in to blogging. Time to start fresh with new perspective, new goals, and new hope.

I have a few projects in mind that I plan to share here, at least in part:

Scrapbooking (the digital kind) is a bit tough right now, since my computer died (again) and I’m using my husband’s laptop. But hopefully I’ll be back up soon and able to create layouts, join in challenges, and maybe even design a little.

It’s also been a ridiculously long time since I’ve sat down and written just for the sake of writing. I may try out Five Minute Fridays from time to time, or look around for some other writing prompts or groups, which means I may have more essays, poetry, and whatnot to share here.

And of course, there’s the 365 photo project. I’m going to tackle this again! I’m planning to start January 1 (tomorrow) and use the following prompts:

  • January – Childhood
  • February – Connections
  • March –  Me, Myself, and I
  • April – Color and Light
  • May – Weekly Prompts (tba)
  • June – Food
  • July – Growth and Movement
  • August – Someone Else’s Prompts
  • September – Everyday
  • October – Elements
  • November – Thankfulness
  • December – Daily Prompts (tba)

Feel free to join me and  tag your photos on social media with #honeyandcheese365 so that we can help inspire and encourage one another.

That about sums up this little announcement. If you’ve been a longtime reader, please know that I appreciate you still being here! And if you’re new – welcome! I’m looking forward to seeing what God’s going to do in my life this next year and sharing a little bit of that here with y’all. :)

Sunrise at Sunset

The look of Project Life and pocket style layouts has always appealed to me, but feel a bit intimidated by them. After going several months with very little scrapbooking though, I thought I’d try something new to jump back in.

Knowing that I wanted to include all of these photos, plus the journaling, on one page, and still have them all be big and unencumbered by elements,  I thought it was the perfect time to give “pocket” scrapping a try.

sunrise at sunset beach pocket scrapbook layout + 3 photos | www.honeyandcheese.com

Do you like pocket scrapping? I’d love to see some of your favorite layouts!

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet {book review}

I was provided with a copy of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

The quick consensus: If you have ever struggled to see the beauty in the broken, or taste the sweet when you’ve felt this world’s bitter sting, I think you’ll find something good inside the pages of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet.

The details: When I received the opportunity to review Every Bitter Thing is Sweet (by Sara Hagerty), I was really excited, because it sounded exactly like something I needed to read. And then I put it off, and put it off, making the excuse that I needed to be able to sit down and read it in a few good sessions, rather than in bits and pieces. But deep down I think it was because sometimes the truths we need are the hardest to hear. And, even though I hadn’t read it yet, I knew that there were truths in this book that I needed to hear. And, wow, was I right!

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty, book review | www.honeyandcheese.comI know a lot of fellow readers who keep pens and highlighters near their reading chairs so they can make notes in the margins and highlight quotes and passages that captivate them. This bibliophile has never done that. With the exception of my Bible, I have never made a single mark in a book . . . until this one.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet book review | www.honeyandcheese.comJust look at all those underlines and notes!

Even though the circumstances that brought her inner battles to life were not the same as mine, the doubts and struggles Sara shares about could nearly have jumped off the pages of my own journal (if I were a. keeping a journal and b. as eloquent a writer). At one point as I read, my husband glanced over to see tears streaming down my face and asked if were reading something sad. I invited him to read over my shoulder for a moment and he, too, surmised that Sara’s words echoed the current state of my soul.

If you’ve followed any of my sporadic posts, you’ll know that the last year and a half have been a rough road for us. But through this book, I’ve felt more encouraged, convicted, and motivated than I have in a long time, and I’ve also felt so much less alone.

Just take a look at this beautiful thought from Sara’s pen:

I was going down, not up. In, not out. But God wasn’t turning His head from my falling. He was near. My gaps . . . were an invitation. I had asked for more of You, God, and that meant more of me exposed.

At the end of every chapter, Sara includes several Scripture references “for your continued pursuit.” Right now I’m just taking in her story, soaking in the words God had her share as she wrote this beautiful book but, once I finish it, I plan to go through it again, this time with my Bible.

I think all of us have been through valleys. And though each one has its own unique terrain, and the climb back to the top looks different for each one, when we look up, we all see the same light. What’s written within the pages of Sara Hagerty’s book, woven between the threads of her personal journey, are truths that don’t change with our circumstances, because they are truths about God. A God who never changes, even when we do. A God who is still God even when we’re broken. A God who desires to help us taste His sweetness, even through the bitterness of this world.

P.S. I can’t help but admit that I also love that the cover is textured. :)

Disclaimer: I received this copy of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things from Family Christian, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. The post does contain affiliate links – thanks for supporting Honey and Cheese!

Winter Romance {Review and Giveaway}

Try as I might, I’m just not good at waiting till after Thanksgiving to play Christmas music. Sometimes I start it as early as June! (Not exclusively, of course.) It’s just so joyful and anticipatory – kind of like thinking about Heaven. :)

winter romance by Beegie AdairLast month I received a review copy of Winter Romance, an instrumental Christmas CD that I was really looking forward to hearing. It features Beegie Adair, a jazz pianist (in her 80’s!), along with other great jazz musicians.

I put it in while we were on a roadtrip and it’s been in the CD player ever since. My husband, a connesiuer of all things Christmas, declared it his new favorite Christmas album. One of my sisters was with us as well and the three of us decided that we like that it’s definitively Christmas music, with songs like Merry Christmas Darling, Sleigh Ride, and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year; but they’re arranged so beautifully that you can let it fade into the background as you talk and it’s just pleasing, peaceful music. Mellow would probably be a good word for it.

My Dad has always loved jazz and has several Beegie Adair CDs already, but this was one he wasn’t familiar with, so I took it out of the car for long enough to play over dinner when we visited last week. He and my mom agreed with our odd consensus of it being decidedly Christmas, but still lovely background music that you can almost forget is “seasonal.”

BUY IT! Winter Romance is available from Family Christian (and you can hear samples on the site) for $9.99 as an mp3 album, and $12.99 for the CD.

WIN IT! Family Christian has generously offered to give away a $10 appreciation certificate to one of my readers, so they can purchase this album, or another product they choose. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
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I received the product mentioned above in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

A Few Recent Layouts

Beating the Bee Sting Blues - simple digital scrapbook layout featuring Garden Party kit by Janet Scott (1 photo + minimal) - www.honeyandcheese.comBeating the Bee Sting Blues {All papers and elements from Garden Party by Janet Scott, except the staples, which are from One Stop Bunting Shop, also from Janet Scott.}

Art Play digital scrapbooking layout (3 photos + hexagons) - www.honeyandcheese.comArt Play {Template by Sahlin Studio. The elements are from a variety of designers and kits, but I’ve edited most of them in some way. Fonts are Janda Safe and Sound, Pea I Am Baker, and Pea Make It and Love It. }

Strawberries - digital scrapbooking layout for Pink Reptile Designs challenge August 2014 (1 photo + minimal) - www.honeyandcheese.comFresh Strawberries {Designed for the Pink Reptile Designs August Blog Challenge. All papers and elements are from various PRD freebies.}


Have you created any scrapbook layouts recently? Seen any online that you just love? Leave a link in the comments!


Linking up for Wordless Wednesday at The Jenny Evolution.

Making Your Memories More Accessible {YesVideo giveaway}

Thank you to Double Duty Divas and YesVideo for making this review and giveaway possible.

My mom has a shelf in her basement that’s 2 layers deep with home movies. Some of them are from her parents and some are from when we were growing up. I have a big box of my own movies, many taken with my huge, sit-on-top-of-my-shoulder camcorder – a hand-me-down I used for years. (Does anyone else remember those?) The problem is that these movies all contain memories we rarely get to relive . . . because they’re all on VHS.

Win a $50 gift card to YesVideo - www.honeyandcheese.comI got the opportunity to send 3 of our home movies to YesVideo to try out their VHS (and other formats)-to-DVD transfer service and am so thrilled to be able to watch some of these again!

One of our favorite family videos is of one of my nieces, when she was about 2-years-old. My best friend had brought over a video from one of her dance performances at college, and Ariel watched the entire thing from no more than a foot away from the television – sometimes closer. But the best part was that she danced along with the whole concert. Because it’s all one long video, the chapters are really long (and there’s plenty of background chatter), so I opted not to share that one. I can easily share a link to it with family members though, and they can view it online. So simple!

This clip below is of my best friend and I performing a hybrid sign language/dance piece at a showcase for our homeschool group. Although Melissa and I danced and signed together for years, we have very few videos of our performances, so I really treasure the few I have. I’m so thankful to have one on DVD (and online) now.

Would you like to try out YesVideo for yourself? Use the code YVBLOG20 to save 20% on any transfers through 9/31/2014. Visit the YesVideo website to find out more about the company, or like them on Facebook or Twitter for news on additional discounts and giveaways.

Enter to win a $50 credit! One Honey and Cheese reader is going to win a $50 gift card to YesVideo so they can have their family memories transferred to DVD. Just enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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This review and giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and YesVideo. I received the featured service free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine.