A Sneak Peek at My Faves!

Several months ago, I was invited by our stamp product development team to choose some of my favorite stamps from the past to include in one of the “Best of” stamp sets that we are offering every month. I was thrilled with the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane!

I browsed through every catalog we’ve had since the beginning—a time-consuming and enjoyable task. I LOVED seeing how far we’ve come, and was intrigued by how many memories a simple image could spark.

So here's July's "Best of" set--the "Best of Shelli" includes six images from the past, along with one new one. Although we all know I love vintage, I wanted this set to be eclectic and diverse. . . believe it or not, I use more than just vintage images! I love backgrounds, so there’s one  of my favorites in here, along with a bird, a heart, a gift package, and the obligatory (and much-loved) vintage image—the typewriter. A couple of flourishes finish the set off. . .

I’ve included a project for each image—after all, if I chose these images, I have to share project ideas as well, right? It’s only fair!

And, just to tease you a little, I actually have TWO samples for each image because I wanted to show how diverse they were, so watch for another set of projects in a couple of days. The set is available on July 1; be sure to check it out.

For now, enjoy this sneak peek at July’s “Best of” stamp set. . .





Strawberry Fields Forever (My First Endurance Ride)

Well, I finished my first ride! Kind of. . .

Let me explain.

As I mentioned, my first endurance ride was this past weekend. Sterling and I arrived at camp just north of Strawberry Reservoir on Thursday, set up quickly and easily (there were just the two of us, so it was super simple), and basically relaxed the afternoon away.

Everything went smoothly, with one tiny exception—halfway through dinner, the trailer shook and we looked out the window. Kadie (my horse) was lying on the ground, her leg wrapped up in the Hi Tie (the apparatus that keeps her attached to the trailer). We rushed out, got her back on her feet, rubbed her down, and she didn’t seem to be any the worse for wear. We weren’t sure how it happened, but we were grateful that she didn’t seem hurt.

The next morning was a bit frantic—the alarm clock didn’t go off, so we started the ride 5-10 minutes late, dead last of 39 riders. I wasn’t too bothered; this was my first ride, and I was really more interested in the experience than coming in ahead of anyone.

That said, the experience was fabulous! I’m a speed girl, and I have to say that I love these endurance rides. I totally got into the trotting and galloping, and like the long rides a lot better than the shorter walks. I’m definitely a lifer—this was the first of many rides for me!

We had our vet check halfway through the 25-mile ride and passed with flying colors; we grabbed a sandwich, gave the horses their supplements, got a thumbs-up from the vet, and we were off on the second half of the ride. We arrived back in camp before noon, and finished 15th and 16th—a pretty good spot considering the late start we had. I was excited for the second ride on Saturday. . . until we noticed about an hour after getting back in camp that Kadie was favoring her leg, limping around and not doing well at all.

The vet checked her, and they pulled Kadie and me from the ride. (I got an award for the most gracious pull—I didn’t care about being pulled at all, I was mostly concerned about Kadie.) We couldn’t figure out what had happened; the ride that morning had been the smoothest ride I’d ever had on her, and Sterling and I had been watching closely and never saw her show any signs of lameness.

While I was disappointed, we made the best of the situation, taking it easy Friday night. . . we actually enjoyed a leisurely dinner and played a few games (Go Fish, Speed, etc.) before heading off to bed. We slept in, broke camp, and still got home several hours earlier than we would have otherwise done. We kept our eye on Kadie the whole time, and whatever the problem was seems to be gone now.  She’s walking fine, and although we’ll certainly take it easy the next few days and have the vet look her over at least one more time, nothing seems to be wrong now.

And I can’t wait for my next ride! I’m feeling badly that I didn’t start riding years ago when Sterling started, but I’m glad that at least I’ve started now. I guess I’m living proof that it’s never too late to pursue a new interest!

I took a few photos, although in the middle of a competitive ride, taking pictures isn’t a top priority. But the scenery was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I thought I’d share the few photos I took. . . .


A New Adventure

I typically don’t post when my blog header changes, but judging by the response from the designers to the photo when they first saw it, I thought maybe this one might need a little explanation. When our designers first saw the photo of me with Kadie (my horse), they were all pretty surprised—after all, I don’t ride horses, right?

Well, I used to not ride horses. In fact, I’ve even posted several times about going with Sterling on his endurance rides, but not riding myself. Instead, while he rides with a group of our friends, I’ve stayed at camp, working or relaxing or hiking.

Well, things changed this year. Sterling’s always been very supportive of me and my interests, and I decided that I wanted to return the favor. So earlier this year, I started riding regularly, and this weekend, we’re heading off on my first official “endurance” ride. Perfect time for a new blog header that features my new interest. I can’t wait to let you know how this new adventure goes!

 P.S. I included a few of the photos that we choose not to use as well, just for the fun of it!


Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain

I read a comment on my blog recently where someone said, in essence, thanks for always sharing the best of what’s happening in your life. I do focus on the positive here on my blog—and that makes sense to me. Like everybody else, I struggle—life can be hard. Those struggles can range from simple, everyday nuisances to some pretty serious struggles, but most often they are very personal and not necessarily things I choose to blog about. And I try to stay positive, even when life is difficult.

That said, I have been struggling with one of those everyday nuisances that I thought I would share. Several months ago—not sure exactly when—my shoulder and upper arm began hurting when I moved certain ways. It bothered me at yoga, when I was riding. . . all sorts different things. I knew I had to do something, so last week I started intense muscle work, which is somewhat similar to sports injury therapy. . . although I like to call it massage on steroids.

But don’t let the word massage fool you. Oh, no! This is definitely not massage like most of the world knows it! This is painful; I told the therapist it reminded me of labor, the pain was so intense. I have to lay there on the table and breathe through the pain, just like I did when I had my babies. She told me she hears that analogy a lot!

The treatment is based on the theory that, at some point the muscles were injured, and they compensated by working differently than they are supposed to. Now, that compensation has created its own set of problems, so this muscle work is designed to retrain the muscles to work properly.

My upper arm is bruised and painful to the touch, and I have moments when I wonder if the cure is worse than the disease, but after three treatments, I’m starting to see and feel a difference. . . I can actually hold my arm over my head now! I’m thinking it’s one of those instances where short-term pain is worth the long-term gain, and I’m just grateful for options—and improvement!


Happy Father's Day to the Men in My Life

Father’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on great men in our lives who have influenced us, and I had a wonderful weekend celebrating the amazing men in my life.  I’m blessed to have a great dad, plus two stepdads, an amazing husband, and five sons-in-law. . . each of whom I look up to and admire for different reasons.

For Father’s Day, Sterling wanted to go out to dinner with our girls and their husbands, so we invited everyone to dinner at Valter’s, a downtown restaurant that we’d heard great things about but never tried.  A few of the girls had been there before, and they said it was great, so we were all excited. We weren’t disappointed—it was great food and even better company.

Yesterday we went to Megan’s and Nate’s house for a BBQ; Sean and Sara were there too, plus a few other friends. We brought our own meat and a side dish, and enjoyed trying out a few new dishes. Seth also celebrated his birthday, which meant that we got to end the night with Sara’s much-coveted Texas sheet cake—perfect ending to a great weekend.

Hope you all had an equally wonderful Father’s Day and that you are blessed with good men in your lives. . . .


Favorite Vacation of the Year!

Just about everyone in our family agrees—Lake Powell is the best vacation ever! And this year has to be one of the best of the best! I blog about our days on the lake every year, so I won’t bore you with many details (I’ve got lots of photos though!). . . I’ll just focus on what made this year stand out. 

The first thing that comes to mind—NO WIND! That’s a first! We almost always have a little wind, and sometimes we have quite a bit of wind, even to the point of being dangerous. Not this year! It was fabulous not to have to worry about the wind whipping up and creating problems; I know that’s always something that Sterling and the boys stress about, so we loved that this year wind didn’t even enter the picture.

Our grandchildren are getting older, which means a few things were different. While the menu items remain the same, the quantity sure did increase! I was amazed at how much food we went through—we’re definitely feeding some growing bodies.

Shanna and Jared and the twins didn’t come—we definitely missed them, but understood why they chose not to come. The twins are little but mobile—and fast! Two-year-old Makai was the youngest grandchild there, and we still had to keep our eyes on him, but watching one child is sure different than watching a dozen! The others were all old enough and good enough swimmers that, while we kept them in sight, we didn’t have to be nearly as vigilant as in years past.

Because the grandchildren are older, they were going pretty much all the time. There was always someone on a wave runner or in a boat pulling a water skier or bumbuster! Because of some healthy cousin competition, pretty much everyone got up on skis or took turns wake boarding—even some adults who in the past have pretty much been spectators got in the act!

It was hotter than normal, so we spent a LOT of time in the water! Even I got more sun and swimming in than normal—and I loved every minute of it!

The trip felt more relaxing, probably because of all the things I just mentioned! We enjoyed visiting, popping popcorn and watching movies in the evening, just relaxing and enjoying each others’ company. My only complaint? It ended way too soon! I’m already looking forward to next year. . .







First Five

As promised, over the next several days, I'll be sharing my 25 projects from our 25th anniversary convention celebration in the South Pacific.