Monday, December 1, 2008


I hope your Thanksgiving was happy and blessed.  Big paper due Wednesday, then two days working out of town for my assistantship, then one more paper, four finals, and the first semester will be over a week from the day after tomorrow!  Now if I can just pack in everything i need to do in those nine days.....!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Adding Styles in Photoshop Elements 6 (Mac)

There are a wealth of styles and actions available to add to Photoshop Elements, both free and for purchase. However, many users have difficulty installing them. When I was first trying to figure out how to add some new ones, I could not find a good comprehensive walk-through of the process for a mac computer, so I’ve put one together here to maybe be of help to someone else!

Get your style file ready (.asl). I drop it on my desktop for easy access. Open the following folder: Microsoft HD/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Photoshop Elements/6.0/Locale/en_US/Photo Creations/layer styles.

Drop the .asl file in that folder.

Then, if you want it to show up by itself on the drop-down menu (instead of having to view ALL your styles to see it), follow these next instructions:

Go back up to Microsoft HD/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Photoshop Elements/6.0/Locale/en_US and open the Photo Creations Metadata folder, and then the folder called "Layer Styles."

Right click on one of the .xml files and choose "Open with... Textedit." Here is what you will see:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<psecontent xmlns="">
<type value="style">

<typecategory id="CatBevels" value="Bevels" localize="true">

Let's say that your style is called "BlueStripes."

Use FILE SAVE AS to save it in that same folder with the name of the style, "BlueStripes.xml." This file name needs to be the same as the .asl file you started with. It will ask you if you want to use .xml or .txt as your file extension, and you need to choose .xml.

Then, In the text above (in the texteditor), change both instances of "Bevels" to "BlueStripes," and ONLY change that. So then, it would look like:

<psecontent xmlns="">
<type value="style">

<typecategory id="CatBlueStripes" value="BlueStripes" localize="true">

Then, save your changes using File>SAVE this time.

Okay, you're ALMOST done.

At this point, go back to Microsoft HD/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Photoshop Elements/6.0/Locale/en_US, and rename the file called "MediaDatabase.db3" to "MediaDatabase.old." This will cause Elements to rebuild the styles so yours shows up.

Now open Elements. It will take a little longer to start because it is building the new media database, but when it does finish loading, your styles should be in the drop-down styles menu under their own name!

I should add that I NEVER could have figured this out without Wendy at Elements Village (who also hangs out here). That site is a GREAT resource with some really ncie people who have full knowledge of elements.

Monday, November 24, 2008

On being like Jesus in Therapy

(from a book report on "On Being a Therapist" by Jeffrey Kottler)

Kottler writes that
“the ideal therapist is comfortable with herself and appears warm, tolerant, sincere, serene, tranquil, and self-assured. This quiet confidence is counterbalanced by a contagious zest for life. Passion. Excitement. Electricity. Enthusiasm. She radiates from body and soul” (p. 36).
If I could write a description of the person I want to be, this would be very close to what I would write. Maybe this is one reason I’m drawn to a therapeutic career—the goals of who I am supposed to be professionally match very well to the personality characteristics that I want to have in my every day life and interactions.

However, this seems to be somewhat of an impossible goal. When we’re in a therapy session, with intense concentration, maybe it is possible to be all of these things. But all the time? In every situation? In every relationship? This seems unconquerable. However, with this in mind, I can consider what I tell myself when I think about trying to be all of these things as an integral part of who I am—it’s a journey. I can seek to make progress in the moment, and eventually, I will become closer to the person that I want to be, if not fully, then the best that I can.

This is where a religious element comes into play for me. The reason why I want to be these things in every day life is because they are the characteristics that I see in Jesus, who I want to emulate. Further, I know that I can never be like Him on my own—on the contrary, I can only achieve these personality characteristics through God’s grace and transformation of my life. In a way, this makes also makes it easier for me to not be hard on myself. I know that if I am working on improvement, I don’t have to be perfect (which is good, because I never will be the ideal version of myself that I seek). Instead, I can try to be more, relying not solely on myself, but on transformative grace for the change in my personality (no pun intended). In the process, I try to extend the same grace to myself that I see from God—not beating myself up or despairing over my imperfections, but continuing to move forward on the journey.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Go Pokes!

Jonathan, Me, Mom, Dad, & Taylor at the Baylor game a few weeks ago.  Fun times!  I ended up with a horrible sunburn though!

(Incidentally, which one of these is not like the others?  Jonathan always looks like a giant in pics with my family. hehe)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lists and lists

Hello company girls!  I don't drink coffee, so won't you join me for some Vanilla Caramel Truffle tea, or a Non-fat sugar-free hazlenut steamer?  :)  I'm addressing all the things I need to do this weekend... Commiserate with me, won't you?  Just click the button above to get back to this week's coffee.

I make lots of lists.  Lists of what we're going to eat, what I need at the store, lists of what I need to read for class, lists of to-do's around the house.... I guess I'm currently making a list of a list!  Anyway, I think they're a good organizational tool.  So, today, I have several lists to keep me organized!!  These are lists for the weekend.

For school:
  1. Literature search for Assistantship 1 (on fertility choices and infertility... so interesting!)
  2. Data analysis for Assistantship 2 (on aging services)
  3. Article review for Systems class
  4. Journal entry for Systems class
  5. Read chapter 2 Patterson book (Essential Skills in Family Therapy)
  6. Read DSM
  7. Read chapter 19 in Maxmen & Ward (Psychopathology book)
  8. Read chapter 12 in Preston (Psychopharmacology book)
  9. Read Selvani chapters (for pre-practicum)
  10. Complete take-home final for Family Theory (due Tuesday)
For home/self:
  1. Repaint nails
  2. Track calories eaten
  3. Exercise (Cooking Light had a nice home work-out in it last month)
  4. Cook dinner (see below list of what we're eating this week!)
  5. clean litterbox done!
Meal Planning:
  • Friday: Spicy rotel chicken, black beans, mexican rice
  • Saturday: Baked breaded tilapia, asian veggie mix (from Green Giant), rolls
  • Sunday: Pork chop skillet, special green beans (didn't get cooked last week!)
  • Monday: Teriyaki tenderloin (Hormel marinated; it's very good!), rolls, mixed veggies (from Green Giant again)
  • Tuesday: Homemade pizza
Finally, Rachel Anne is asking us all to think about the weekend and plan ahead.  She asks what we'll eat, what we'll wear, and what we can cut out.  I addressed what we'll eat above.  As far as what I'm going to wear... Tomorrow it will be school colors (football game tomorrow night!!) and jeans, and on Sunday, I think I will wear my pink skirt and black top.  Well, that was easy!  :)  As far was what we can cut out... Uh... I don't know!  I have so much to do this weekend!  I think I'm going to cut out some of the less essentials (i.e. watching tv, spending too much time reading blogs, etc.)  By doing this and sticking to my list, hopefully I'll be able to get everything done that I need to do this weekend!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Before & After ~ Closet Office

For BooMama's Before and after, I want to demonstrate a space solution that I am PRETTY proud of.  By the end of it, I felt as if I had added another room to our apartment!

For two years, we lived in a tiny, one bedroom, 500 sq ft apt. (I almost typed 50 sq ft... now that WOULD be small!).  It was very difficult for us, as two students, to manage our clutter with no storage space at all.  One particularly hard thing for me was knowing where to do my work.  We had a desk, but it was covered with the desktop computer and my husband's stuff.  

The solution came in the form of our dining room closet.  This closet was cluttered and not being used often (just storage, and mainly of things we didn't need).  Here's the before:

And here are some after pictures:

We still had storage in the top and the bottom:

We moved this past summer to come to grad school, but I am so proud of myself for this project that I just had to share!  The "desk" part was plywood (cut for me at lowe's), covered in contact paper, and mounted on some brackets for stability.

If you're looking for more space, think out of the box... er, closet!

For more before and after transformations, visit BooMama's blog!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Menu Planning

Thursday: clinic; no plan
Friday: Marinated grilled chicken, Italian Veggie Bake, Rolls
Saturday: Quesadillas, Mexican Rice, Black Beans w/ Rotel tomatoes
Sunday: out
Tuesday: Tilapia, rice, asparagus

Monday, September 1, 2008


My Glorious - Chris Tomlin - Chris Tomlin Passion

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave
God will save the day and all will say
My glorious!

And all you ever do is change the old for new
People we believe that

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave
God will save the day and all will say
My glorious!

The world's shaking with the love of God
Great and glorious, let the whole earth sing
And all you ever do is change the old for new
People we believe that

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave
God will save the day and all will say
My glorious!

Clouds are breaking, heaven's come to earth
Hearts awakening let the church bells ring
And all you ever do is change the old for new
People we believe that

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave
God will save the day and all will say
My glorious!

he's bigger than my reading.  he's bigger than my time.  he's bigger than my boredom.  he's bigger than my overwhelm-edness.  He's bigger than two years.  He's bigger.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Digi-scrap! And you can too!

I'm trying to think where to even begin to tell you how you can get in to it! Get ready now to learn more than you ever wanted. lol

The main things you need are a program to use and the actual scrapbook supplies. I use Photoshop Elements 6.0 as my program. You can use an older version of photoshop Elements (you could get it cheaper) and have most of the same features--I started with elements 3.0 on the pc, and then upgraded to 6.0 for my mac. You DON'T need to get the full version of Photoshop (CS2 or CS3). It's way expensive and totally unnecessary.

Then, you just need the supplies! You can find tons and tons of stuff for free. People give stuff away (like samples of their work) all the time. Here are some great sites for finding free digital scrapbooking supplies: (a great one for finding other sites with freebies all in one place) (every Friday)

My advice is to find some kind of RSS reader (like Google Reader; it's free) and subscribe to the feeds of each of these blogs. Then, you can go through the posts easily and see what freebies are being offered. Also, if you find a freebie you really like, subscribe to the blog it came from so you can look for more stuff by that designer.

I have probably over 100 blogs that I subscribe to. It only takes me a few minutes to go through them and see which ones have freebies. There are other ways to get free stuff too. Some websites will have "challenges" and if you complete the challenge, they give you a free prize (here's an example). Also, there is a forum where people who are giving away free stuff post. Here's the link.

Also, there are special events when people give stuff away. Different stores open all the time and give away free kits. You just kind of have to keep your ear to the ground. :) I'll give you a heads up if I hear of any really good ones.  November 1 this year is "(Inter)National Digital Scrapbooking Day." People are going to be giving away free stuff like CRAZY, and you should be able to find some great deals.

You can also buy the supplies. I haven't spent a whole lot (but you can if you're not careful!). I usually buy when there are huge sales, or if it's something really unique that I can't do without (lol).

Here are some websites that have forums with great advice on scrapping:
Each of those pages also has a "Gallery" where you can look at scrapbook pages other people have made to get ideas for your own.

Finally, here are some tutorials that explain how to use the software:

If you have any questions, I would be really happy to answer them for you. I LOVE digital scrapbooking... it's just like scrapbooking, but without the mess. You can do everything in your program (and more) than you would do online.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday ~ August 25

Today is my daddy's birthday!  It's also the second week of graduate school classes for me & Jon.  We've made it so far, but this week we have to start our assistantships on top of classes, so things are going to be getting busier!!

Monday: Honey Mustard Chicken [recipe below], green beans, rice
Tuesday: Late class, so I won't be cooking
Wednesday: Baked breaded tilapia filets, vegetable saute, wild rice
Thursday: Marinated Stove-grilled chicken, rice, green beans
Friday: Marvelous Mini-Meatloaves, skillet potatoes, rolls
Saturday: Hamburger Rolls [recipe below], french fries

This week's recipes:
Honey Mustard Chicken (from Dining on a Dime cookbook)
One whole chicken, cut up
1/3 c. margarine, melted
1/3 c. honey
2 T. prepared mustard
1 t. salt

Arrange chicken in a baking dish (if you leave the skin on, put it skin side up; I usually remove the skin first to make it healthier).  Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 30 minutes, basting every 15 minutes (until chicken is tender and brown).  You may have to cover with foil if it looks like it's getting too brown before the inside is done.  Pour extra juices over rice.  Serves 4-6.

Hamburger Rolls (adapted from Dining on a Dime cookbook)
Hamburger meat
McCormick's Montreal Steak seasoning
Cheddar Cheese
Roll dough (refrigerated or thawed frozen rolls if you don't have time or want to make from scratch)

Brown hamburger meat; rinse and drain.  Season with McCormick's Montreal steak seasoning.  
Roll out two rolls per person.  Top one roll with a few tablespoons of seasoned meat and cheese.  Cover with another roll and seal edges.  If desired, top with more seasoning/cheese/both.  
Place constructed rolls on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easier clean-up).  Cook according to roll directions + another minute or so.  These are good!  We usually eat one and a half or two each.

I digi-scrap! Uh... what?

One thing I have discovered that I love is digital scrapbooking.  For me, I get *nearly* all the joy of regular scrapbooking, but without all of the mess and expense.  Everything you would use on a paper scrapbook, you can get digitally--buttons, stitches, brads, photo-corners, ribbons... you name it!  The only thing missing for me is the tactile sensation of really touching the creations, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs.  

I've been digi-scrapping since November of last year.  I'll have a post soon about how you, too, can get involved, but for now, I'll leave you with a little sampling of the layouts I've made.  If you would like to see my most complete gallery, you can click on this link.  

Note: When you play the video below, it will open a new window (sorry)!  Just close it to return here.

Click to play Sample Layouts
Create your own photobook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox photobook

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Good morning, blog, how are you?

Hello!  It is Saturday morning, and a good day to start a new blog (if you ask me)!  You probably already know this is you're here, but I'm Grace, a graduate student (hence the blog name), and I live in Oklahoma.  I am studying to be a Marriage and Family Therapist with the eventual goal of working with families of children who have a chronic or terminal illness.  I think.  Ask me again in a year, and we'll see if that plan has stuck.

You may be wondering what you can expect to see here on this blog.  Well, I am too!  I expect it to be a hodge-podge of scrapbooking pages, meal-planning, pictures of our pets, and stories about life in general.  If I find something cool, I'll share it here too.  Also, I try (as much as possible) to participate in the Company Girls activities at Home Sanctuary.  I encourage you to follow along--Rachel Anne is great, and she has wonderful ideas for making your home the kind of sanctuary your family (and you!) deserve.  I'll post a little about that from time to time, too.

So, in sum: This blog is as random as I am, yet cohesive in that it's about me and our little family.

Today, I have to finish reading for classes next week, clean out the refridgerator, go grocery shopping, and cook dinner!  Lofty goals, my friends.  Lofty goals.