nouns: mom. storyteller. gardener. pizza snob. reader. loather of folding laundry. Cubs fan. optimist. encourager. scrapbooker. historian.

adjectives: saved. blessed. grateful. goofy. geeky. family-centered. soft-hearted. hopeful. slow-as-molasses. curious. wordy. prayerful. creative. imperfect.

verbs: learning. growing. writing. creating. planting. remembering. documenting.

in a nutshell: I am blessed to be married to my best friend and mom to an imaginative and vivacious preschooler.  It sounds completely cheese-y, but I (really do!) love all things beautiful: nature, faith, music, a good book, gardening, relationships, laughter and the Chicago Cubs. So when I’m not busy with all things family or scrapping, you can usually find me happily busy in some way with any of those things.

the longer story:  My childhood was colored by memories of summers on a tree-lined street, dust stuck in cleats and the high arcs of softball pitches, the smell of  stables and the joy in riding horseback, fireworks on the lakeshore, flashes of future nerd-dom as I loved getting lost in books and writing stories.  My youth was painted by love for music and broadway, travel and history, by awkwardness and bad haircuts, by falling out of love with mathematics and in deeper love with language and people.  This was all followed quickly by splatters of finding myself, asking big questions, trying my hand at love, making good friends and bad decisions, and growing.  Then life started to really happen, if you know what I mean.  In discovering a few answers to the BIG questions I’d been asking and in getting to know myself better, I found love and companionship and faith and family.

I have been defined by a mother who shared her love for the written word, for learning, for nature and for God and who showed me what patience and grace looks like.  By an older sister who shared her love for music and fun and who taught me what loyalty feels like.  By grandparents who showed me how steadyness and faithfulness and honor and love can shape a relationship.  And a life.  By a husband who is guided by all the things that matter most: his love of God, of family, of country; by integrity and introspection.  By a daughter who finds the joy in every single day and is moved by the beautiful things.

And here I stand, now.  I love capturing the everyday stories of my family and my life.

the creative story: As deep into the History of Me as I can recall, there was always storytelling.  There were books, there was writing.  There were hours and hours spent slowly flipping through the photo albums that lay on grandma’s coffee table.  There were the times we’d all gather closely together, the whole family, in the dark as faded images click-click-clicked onto a screen pulled down before us.  There were the stories I dictated – before I could even write – to my mother,  who jotted them down in notebooks.  There were the crayon-sketched illustrations that accompanied said stories.  There were the school essays and the adolescent attempts at original poetry.  There were the “mix” tapes, the notes kept in boxes for years, and there were the journals.

Now there are the photographs.  The scrapbook pages.  The paper pages.  The digital ones.  The journaling.  The blog posts.  And tweets.  And the notes kept in boxes for years.

After I got married, I fell even more deeply in love with storytelling.  I was moved by tradition.  I was moved by the notion of building my own family and building my own legacy.  I was moved by wanting to document.  I was moved by creativity.  I was moved…to speak.  To not forget.  And so I started scrapbooking.  I was a paper scrapper for a long time and I still have a closet full of scrapbooking supplies that I love to play with from time to time.  But when I discovered digital scrapbooking a few years ago it was like sun & water to my flower.  My creativity blossomed in ways it hadn’t before and it really inspired me to tell the story of my family with new energy and dedication.  And along the way I was encouraged to make my page designs into templates for other scrapbookers.  And so Zinnias and Swallowtails sprouted in May 2010.

When I think of what moves me to create, it all comes down to the story.  And if I can, in any small way, encourage you to tell your own stories..well, that would be *amazing*.