I Met A Gnome While Rock Climbing

with 26 Comments

I know I said I would never rock climb.

But it was a beautiful, late summer kind of day with a hint of woodsmoke in the air, and rain was predicted for the next several days, so Charlie, Caleb, and Allison decided to go bouldering at Rocky Butte.

Bouldering is where you climb horizontally along a wall of rock not too far from the ground, so you don’t need to harness up. The most you’d fall is about four feet.

I know I said I would never rock climb, but how could I stay behind, chained to my computer, on a day like that? And with all that peer pressure.

So I went.

Mostly I took pictures. Here they all are, clinging to the wall like so many spiders.

Bouldering Wall at Rocky Butte

You can definitely tell which one is a she-spider. A fashionable one at that.

Allison Climbing in a Skirt

So then it was my turn. I managed to stay above the ground for a short while and even moved a few feet. Not bad for a first try in water socks, which I hoped would approximate rock climbing shoes.

Linda on the Rock Wall

Here are Allison’s real rock climbing shoes in yummy, fashionable green.

Rock Shoes

Compare that to my neon pink and blue water socks, vintage 1986, which were practically worthless.

Water Socks

So I put on my backup pair of 2008 Sketchers, and they worked a little better.


The vertical wall was a beast for all of us, so we hopped across the road to a different wall that was on a slant, though there were fewer cracks for foot holds. I actually managed to go around 10 to 15 horizontal feet in one try. Me. The rookie. Whoo Hoo!

Charlie and Caleb on Slanting Wall

Here’s where it gets dicey, though. You may not believe me, but all of a sudden a giant gnome appeared. He jumped up on the wall and joined us as though he was a good friend who just happened to be in the neighborhood.

Linda and Robert the Lawn Gnome

Like me, he didn’t have rock climbing shoes, but that didn’t matter. He was just having fun. And he wanted to bring some levity into our lives. How do I know? Because he told me so. He said his purpose was to go around finding people to brighten up their day and maybe make them laugh.

He certainly accomplished that with me! I will always remember the magical moment I took my first baby step toward rock climbing and got rewarded by seeing a real, live gnome!

Linda and the Gnome Portrait

P.S. My magical gnome has a name: Robert
And a provisional website: The Lawn Gnome Academy

Wrap Up

So what does all this have to do with scrapbooking?

Scrapbooking is telling stories in pictures and words. Most of us take a lot of photos but don’t always do so well when it comes to telling the stories. We say things like, “Jenny looked cute in her Halloween costume.” Which is totally obvious from the photo.

So I’m challenging you to dig down a little deeper. I could tell you my strategies in this story, but I’d like to hear from you in the comments. What do you notice about the way I told this story that might help you with your journaling?

I Met A Gnome While Rock Climbing
Page by Linda Sattgast, "At Home" kit by Paislee Press

26 Responses

  1. CreativeJiger
    | Reply


    I love your journaling but I also wanted to know the font name of the word “Musings”. Would you be willing to share that with me?

  2. Vivian
    | Reply

    Your story had a beginning, middle, and end. Great journaling! The one major area I am so lacking in. My journaling actually borders on ho-hum boring. Thanks for a great example of good journaling and the encouragement to dig in a little deeper.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Hi Vivian—good observation on beginning, middle, and end. Hadn’t even thought of that, but every story does need those 3 elements.

  3. Sharron Lamb
    | Reply

    PS: Another thing I like about your page is that there are photos of YOU! …not just your family!

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Yes, I’ve had to train my family to take the camera, but they’re pretty good about it now, and I’m not bashful anymore about handing them the camera and asking them to take my picture. It was hard at first to do that. 🙂

      • Andrea Graves
        | Reply

        LOL on having to train your family to prove you were at the same events and not just behind the camera. I’m still working on getting my family trained on that one. My husband and his 5 siblings joke that their mom was never at anything growing up, which of course she totally was, how do you think they had such well documented photos from every event of their lives… lol

        I always enjoy seeing whoever created the scrapbook page IN a photo ON the scrapbook page! 🙂

  4. Sharron Lamb
    | Reply

    What they ^ all said…plus, I like it that you are using a readable font in a readable size. I get so frustrated when reading a relatively long journaling segment, and I have to fight the artistic blending and shading and elements. There is certainly a place for that (especially when the words are limited), but if you really want to have it read, make it legible, as you did here.

    (BTW, a friend of mine [in your general age range] decided to do the same thing you did, for the same reasons. She fell ONE FOOT to the ground and broke her ankle and wrist. Glad your day was more successful!)

  5. Kweta
    | Reply

    I love the conversational style.

  6. dimorr
    | Reply

    I like the way the photos and the journalling took me on a journey through your adventure- it wasn’t just me looking on and watching, I was in the story.

    Lovely LO.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Good! Then I accomplished what I was after!

  7. Linda
    | Reply

    I really like the graphic linear feel of this page, the way the numbered entries correspond to the photos. Your list does make it easier to read. I like the different sizes of the photos which adds emphasis. Yes, you write in the first person, but in a way that invites the reader to participate in what you experienced. For example “Notice Allison’s shoes…Compare that…You may not believe me… In essence you have drawn the reader in so that they want to continue reading. Are you going to add the date? Very well done.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Hi Linda. You nailed another one of my intentional strategies—I used a first person, conversational style.

      I like your observation that I invite the reader to actively participate by telling them to notice certain things. I hadn’t thought of that. Good point! I’ll add that to my list.

      And yes, I should certainly add the date somewhere on the page. 🙂

      • Lynne
        | Reply

        In the teaching arena, the conversational style is called “voice”. You write like you talk, making it more interesting!

  8. Linda Sattgast
    | Reply

    Actually, both Glorie and Kweta were right in mentioning the numbers. Not so much the number next to the photos, though that’s related, but using bullet points or numbers in your journaling helps the reader follow you better. It visually breaks up the words, making it easier to read.

    So, yes! I will add that to my list: I broke up the text with numbers, making it easier to read. Bullet points would give a similar effect.

    Good observation, both of you!

    • Kweta
      | Reply

      I actually was trying to say bullet points but forgot what it was called. lol

  9. Bobbie Bluegill
    | Reply

    You got the who, what, where, when and why into the first paragraph. You and family, rock climbing,Rocky Butt,late summer day. The why if left a bit fuzzy to keep our attention. Was it for the challenge? Cause you’re all a bit crazy? Because your family said “enough with the computer all ready, let’s get you outside”.
    Anyway, it was a fun, illustrated story that is now recorded on paper so you can relive and enjoy it again and so can we. Thanks.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Wow! That’s a good one! Who, What, Where, When, and Why. That never even crossed my mind! Maybe I write that way automatically.

      I guess the Why was that I didn’t want to miss out on the family fun, even though I had said I would never go rock climbing. I did mention peer pressure. 🙂 That’s really what did it. I didn’t like feeling left out when the rest of the family seemed to be having so much fun.

      AND I didn’t want to miss out on that incredible soon-to-be-gone summer weather by keeping my nose in the computer all day. (Alas, I’m afraid the summer weather is gone for good now.)

      Thanks, Bobbie, for your great observation! I’ll add that to my list: I gave the Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

  10. Kweta
    | Reply

    You used numbers attached to the photo that corresponds to the part of the story in your journaling. In the circle picture, the gnomes hat is outside the circle….looks great and interesting. You have a title representing what the journaling will be about. You used cute elements around the journaling and strip of paper at the bottom to give the page a cuteness. Love the page! It is not boring and looks inviting and the story is fun to read.

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Thanks for your observations, Kweta. They’re actually very good observations, but they weren’t on my list. Hmmmm. Maybe I should put them on my list! LOL!

      I especially like your observation about the title, which is a very important part of journaling. It has to make people want to read the story, so yes, I believe I will add that to my list. 🙂

      Here’s how I would phrase it: The title draws you into the story.

      The rest of your observations are more about the page design, which is a whole different topic, one that I might explore in another post. I’m glad you liked my page, though, and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

      • Kweta
        | Reply

        Thank you. Being a beginner, I appreciate the feedback. I love your work!

  11. Glorie
    | Reply

    This was fun to read and I didn’t have to try to visualize anything because you had just the right photos explaining what my minds eye may not have been able to see! I like the journaling and numbers next to the photos making it easy to follow the story and most of all, I loved reading the emotions of excitement (and your humorous thoughts (and the photos) of your shoes)about the gnome, great story telling LO!

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      Congrats, Glorie! You listed 3 of the 8 strategies I deliberately used in this story:

      I used humor.
      I included details—like the kind of shoes we were wearing—that made the story more interesting.
      And, of course, I included pictures to illustrate my story.

      Thanks for posting!

      I have 5 more deliberate strategies, though someone might pick up on something else that wasn’t intentional.

      • Glorie
        | Reply

        I’m going to add the fact that you were telling it in first person journaling. I like to read what the person creating the LO feels and experiences. Does that bring me up to 5?? 😉

        • Linda Sattgast
          | Reply

          Yes! You are absolutely correct. I used a first person, conversational style. Good catch!

      • BobbieK
        | Reply

        So what are the 8 strategies you used? What are the other 5?

    • Patricia
      | Reply

      You tied your story up neatly with a beginning, middle and ending: 1)you told me what you were going to do, 2)then you told me all about it, and finally, 3)you summarized what you accomplished. Great story and layout, Linda

      Patricia (slopat)

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