So Incredibly Blessed

Well, I finally met with my doctor on Monday and I got the report I had been waiting for.   When she sat with me she smiled and said, "Well... I have good news and bad news".  Hmmm, not exactly what I was hoping to hear but I sat and listened to her explain my situation.   The good news was the cancer was non invasive and the margins were clear.  The bad news is the cancer was six times larger than anticipated and the margins were only clear by 1 millimeter.  This meant I needed to go back to have additional surgery to create a 2 millimeter margin which is the standard protocol for prevention.   I have to admit I just sat there stunned because surgery was scheduled immediately for the next morning and all I could focus on is the fact that I had been just one millimeter away from not having to have more surgery.  That's the same size of the tip of a pencil, not the eraser but the lead!!!  It took me awhile to process this.  

My first reaction was discouragement.  I thought, "Will this mean I will have to cancel the Stampin' Up! incentive trip I'm scheduled to go on next month?"  "I bet I am going to feel awful after the surgery, after all, I'm not fully healed and now I'm going to start over!!!"  These were the discouraging thoughts I allowed to consume my mind.  Grumbling instead of gratitude is what I allowed to happen.  I realize now sometimes that is what I do, I focus on the negative instead of the positive.  I didn't realize at that moment there was a whole LOT of positive to celebrate and be grateful for.

One of the lessons I believe God is teaching me is to always remember that He is with me, that He is in control.  If I focus on His presence surrounding me, then no matter what, I will be at peace.  In this situation, I choose to focus on the negative, more surgery!  I totally missed the opportunity to immediately praise God for answering prayers that he so clearly had.  I'm glad I see that now because truly I have a lot to be thankful for.

First, the cancer was non invasive.  That is something that could have been a major fear if I had focused on the possibility of it being invasive.  Honestly, I didn't even think about that.  Praise God for his grace to not even let that possibility enter my mind.  I realize now that I am one of the fortunate 20% of people who caught it early enough before it spread.   The second answered prayer is that the margins were clear, that is what we prayed for so our prayers were answered.  I am also thankful to have a Dr. who wanted to follow the protocol to give me the best chance of it not reoccuring.

One of the things I am realizing about myself is that I allow discouragement, worry and fear cloud my judgement sometimes, okay maybe often!  In my devotions today, I was reminded that everyday God's presence is with me.  Worrying is one of the things that can block my awareness that He is there, it is a form of unbelief.  If God is truly in control of my life then I have no reason to worry or fear.  Instead my reaction to challenges should be an awareness of new opportunities to trust Him more.  

Tuesday morning at 7:15am I had a second surgery at the Queens Same Day Surgery center.  I received such excellent care there.  Surgery went well and now I am recuperating at home waiting till I feel good enough to stamp again.  This is especially challenging because my box of new catalog product arrived Monday night so now I can just look in the box and dream of all the projects I can do when I feel well enough to get back to work!

Prior to going into surgery I did get some stamping done.  In fact today I'll share a card I made that was inspired by one of the beautiful flower arraignments that I received last week.  This particular arraignment was from my friends Tom and Mary.

Here is the Daisy bouquet they sent me:

Get Well Flowers - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Get Well Flowers - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Since this arraignment had Daisy's in it I chose products from our new Daisy Delight Suite.  What colors do you see?  I see Melon Mambo, Elegant Eggplant, Perfect Plum, Garden Green, Whisper White and our new Lemon Lime Twist.  I choose colors from this palette to create this card for Tom and Mary.  

Daisy Delight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Daisy Delight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This is not the type of card I usually make as I prefer one or two ink pad colors on my cards, especially when I am hosting classes.  However, I challenged myself to try and use as many of the stamps and colors I could to match the beautiful colors of this thoughtful gift.  I am really glad how it turned out and hope Mary and Tom will like it too.  I call this one of my Inspired Creations, where I basically look at something such as fabric, a photograph, or in this case, a flower arraignment, to use as my inspiration.

Daisy Delight Card and Envelope - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Daisy Delight Card and Envelope - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Making Thank You Cards has been on my mind because I have felt so incredibly blessed over these past couple of weeks by all the kind things others have done for me.  So I decided to use this same set and create a simple elegant monochromatic card that would be easy for me to reproduce.  

Here is the card I came up with.

Simple Daisy Delight Thank You card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Simple Daisy Delight Thank You card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This card not only features a the new stamp set Daisy Delight, but it also shows the coordinating Daisy punch, the new Oh My Stars embossing folder and the dazzling Clear Faceted Gems.  This card could be made using only one in pad in a variety of colors.

It is so fun working with all these new products.  I can't wait till I feel strong enough to get into my new box of goodies and stamp some more.

As I end today's post it is with a heart filled with gratitude for a good Dr.s report.  For a successful second surgery and for the fact that surgery was yesterday and I am feeling well enough to sit up and write this post.  I feel so thankful that this experience is helping me to see areas in my life that need to change.  I need to focus on the positives and not the negatives.  I need to remember that God's presence is with me everyday and I shouldn't allow worry to block me from realizing that.  I need to focus on the fact that I have no reason to be anxious because God is in control  I need to remember to rejoice because God has been so good to me.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn to change my attitude and focus on all the good around me.  I feel so loved by so many of you who have continued to reach out to me in so many ways.  I feel your prayers and love and I can truly say is I feel so incredibly blessed.  

I know that there are those out there who are going through challenges.  Today my prayers are with my friend Charlene whose husband is having a triple bi-pass surgery.  I ask that you would lift up Jon in your prayers today to ask for surgery to go well and for his complete healing.  I also ask that you would pray for Charlene that she would not be anxious but would feel God's loving presence with her and know the peace which passes all understanding.   

If that is you today and you worried, anxious or need encouragement I will end this post with a couple of verses from the Bible that I read this morning in my quiet time.  As you read them I hope they will encourage you and help you to let go of whatever you are worrying about today as they have certainly helped me today..

Matthew 6:25-27  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Psalm 55:22 "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken."

With love, gratitude and many blessings,

Cindy

 

 

 

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com

A Beautiful Gift

I have been overwhelmed by all the love and support that has been given to me over the past couple of weeks.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have so many thoughtful people in my life who are checking on me and letting me know that they are thinking of me and praying for me.

Today, I wanted to share a special gift I received from my very talented sister in law Jennifer, who is a Stampin' Up! demonstrator from Washington State as well as a member of my Stamped With Aloha ohana.   

When I received Jennifer's gift, I first opened this beautiful card.  

Trust in the Lord Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Trust in the Lord Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I so appreciate all the intricate details Jennifer put into making this card special.  I love all the layering, the glimmer paper, the textures, the sponging, the pearl embellishments and the embossed words.

 Jennifer wrote a thoughtful message inside the card and shared that this is one of her favorite verses.

These words from the Proverbs 3:5-6 are a great reminder of exactly what I need to do.  This encouragement is especially helpful while I am still in the middle of waiting on a pathology report that will inform me of whether or not the surgery I had was successful or not.

The card was created to coordinate with this gorgeous framed art piece.

Thoughts and Prayers Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Thoughts and Prayers Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Isn't it beautiful?  Just like the card you see so much detail in Jennifer's creation.  One of my favorite parts is the way she embellished the bottom corner with a pink ribbon.  The pink ribbon is the international symbol of breast cancer.  This ribbon was always something that was special to me because of the awareness it brings.  I have so many close friends who have battled cancer and now with my recent diagnosis, it has an even more personal meaning to me.

Pink Ribbon - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pink Ribbon - www.stampedwithaloha.com

What a special detail to remind me to continue to have hope, strength and courage.

This frame perfectly matches the decor in my new stamp room and I will put it on display to serve as an encouragement to all who come over to stamp with me.

A beautiful gift - www.stampedwithaloha.com

A beautiful gift - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I have learned so much on this journey about love and the blessing of being surrounded by loving thoughts and prayers.  

 Even though it is only 5am here I have already received a text message and an email from special friends who wanted to remind me that they are thinking of me and praying for me today.  Its a wonderful feeling to know that I am not alone in this battle.  I know God is with me and so are so many other wonderful people whose prayers have truly helped my heart be lifted.  I am encouraged to continue to put my trust in the Lord with all my heart with an understanding that He is in control.

Thank you Jennifer for using your God given talents to create this beautiful gift.  I know it will serve as a reminder to stay positive not only for me but to all who see it and are truly inspired by your beautiful creation.

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com

Love you to "Pizzas"

Our New Stampin' Up! catalog is here!  Yesterday, I was able to place my first order and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of new products to play with.  Since I have been going through some health challenges, I have been unable to stamp for the past few days.  I'm hoping that by the time my new products arrive I will be up to stamping again.    

So because I don't have any "new" projects to share, I thought I'd share something that I made a couple weeks ago to bless a friend.

Cindy and Anna - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cindy and Anna - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Just prior to any of my procedures starting my friend Anna picked me up and took me to the mall for some "retail therapy".  While shopping I came across a pair of Pizza themed pajamas.  I immediately .thought of Kileigh who is this sweet young girl who I serve with in the worship ministry at church.  Kileigh loves PIZZA!!!   So, I bought the pizza pajamas and came home to stamp her a card to match her gift.  It wasn't her birthday or any special occasion just something I wanted to do to bless my pizza loving sister in Christ.

Pizza Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pizza Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I'm not sure if you can tell but the front of the card is cut out so that when you open it the pizza it mounted on the inside of the card.  I used some retired Heart Framelits to cut out the front of this card as well as the different sized hearts that were used on the pizza.  The sentiment is cute because when I think of Kileigh my heart does smile and I'm sure that's the same thing that happens when Kileigh thinks of pizza!

Pizza Pajamas - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pizza Pajamas - www.stampedwithaloha.com

It was fun to send this unexpected blessing to Kileigh to let her know just as the pajamas say, that I love her to pizza's, I mean pieces! Which is so true because I really do!

Today in my quiet time I was reminded of the importance of loving others.  It doesn't have to be through gift giving but why not bless someone today in an unexpected way to let them know that they were thought of and are loved.  That is something I hope to be better at in this new season. I want to use my hand stamped creations to let others know how much I love and care for them not only at times when they need it but also when they least expect it.

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."  I John 4:7

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com

One Step At A Time

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017,  I officially began my battle with breast cancer.   Tuesday morning, I had surgery and now the waiting period beings to see if they got it all.  Once I learn the results, I will know what the next steps are.  I am someone who likes to know the plan.  Someone who wants to know what is going to happen on the road ahead but I am starting to learn that God desires for me to rest in Him trusting Him to lead and guide me through each day, one step at time.  No fear, no anxiousness, just an awareness of His presence and a heart filled with gratitude and love.  

One of the big lesson I have learned is that God prepares us for things.  Sometimes the challenges we face are actually God preparing us for something that we will soon face.   He is doing something in us to make us stronger, ready to battle what is ahead.  

I woke up a few days ago thinking about the Tour Du Mont Blanc hike that I did last July.  Then a few minutes later I got an email from a friend who said, "do you remember that hike you did last summer, don't you see how God was preparing you for what you are going through now?"  As I sit back and think about it,   I see that He was.

Tour Du Mont Blanc (Chamonix, France) Day 1

Tour Du Mont Blanc (Chamonix, France) Day 1

I remember this day vividly.  It was day one and we weren't that far into the trek and I was already feeling overwhelmed.  I felt like there was no way I was going to keep up.  As you can see the others are way ahead of me and I felt bad like I was slowing everyone down.  The weather was not good. We'd pass places where we were supposed to see something incredible, but all we saw was fog.  We climbed up to the snow and then a really steep decent brought us to a new town and hotel where we'd be staying the night.  Although that day was AMAZING it was also one of the most difficult struggles I've ever been through.  Although I felt a great sense of accomplishment, I had tears in my eyes thinking this was just day one and we had several more days to complete the over 80 mile hike.

My husband hugged me and encouraged me.  I knew he was in pain too.  It was clear that we were in this battle together.   So before we went to dinner,  I took some time to rest and grabbed my favorite devotional book called Jesus Calling.  It was July 14th, 2016 and this is what it said:

  "Keep walking with Me along the path I have chosen for you.  Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to my heart.  I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you.  Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain.  The journey is arduous at times, and you are weak.  Someday you will dance light footed on the high peak; but for now your walk is often plodding and heavy.  All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction.  Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend.  Stay on the path I have selected for you, It is truly the path of Life.  

Day two of the hike began with a lot of love and encouragement from my friend Lynsay who was the one responsible for inviting me on a "little hike" where I would enjoy drinking espresso and cappuccino's, eating gelato, sleeping in hotels, enjoying delicious French and Italian foods, etc.  She is a great sales person not only in the Stampin' Up! world but also on adventures, but this trip didn't turn out exactly as she proposed.  She left out all the hard parts and in hindsight I learned that she didn't realize how difficult this journey was going to be.  But it was worth the pain.

Lynsay and Cindy - Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Lynsay and Cindy - Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Derek was by my side every step of the way.  There were times I would say to him, "go on without me" and he would calmly say, "I'm not going to leave you".  He'd speak words of love and encouragement to me every step of the way.  He would affirm me and tell me "where almost there, you are doing amazing".  He is such a gift from God.  We made so many lasting memories on this amazing journey together.  

Derek and Cindy Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Derek and Cindy Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

The next day felt so much better.  Although we had another day of not so perfect weather my attitude about the challenge was different and I was ready for battle.  I knew that although it would be hard, I could make it.  I just needed to take it one step at a time and not worry about what was around the corner.  If I focused on the fact that around the corner was another steep path I would get discouraged and feel like giving up.  So I learned to pace myself and focus on continuing to move forward focused on just competing the battle no matter how long it took me.  I felt blessed to have such love and encouragement all around me, all along the journey.  

Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

One of the things that helped me a lot is that I would pray as I walked and I felt like God gently whispered to me and said, "I want to remind you of how much I love you".  So when things got hard, which was most of the time, I would look down at the ground and focus on finding heart shaped stones.  Each time I would see one I would be reminded of God's love and the fact that He was walking with me.  

Heart Shaped Reminders - Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Heart Shaped Reminders - Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

I was not alone on this journey, each day I would pass many people who were enduring the same pain but finding the peace and joy in it.   It makes me think that every day I pass people who I don't even realize are experiencing struggles in their own life.  Just as I greeted and encouraged those on the hike that I encountered, so I should be more aware of those God brings across my path today to speak words of life, hope and encouragement because they too could be experiencing difficulties.

Tour Du Mont Blan - July 2016

Tour Du Mont Blan - July 2016

This journey was a beautiful opportunity for me to set aside time to not worry about anything (which I tend to do quite often) but to take life one step at a time enjoying the journey.  It was an opportunity for me to learn that often things that are the hardest offer up the greatest rewards.

Final Day- Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Final Day- Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

As I turned the corner on the last day at one of the highest most picturesque parts of the hike I was reminded of those words I read in my devotion book on day one.   "Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend.  Stay on the path I have selected for you, It is truly the path of Life."   

Celebrating completing the Tour Du Mont Blanc - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Celebrating completing the Tour Du Mont Blanc - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I was so glad I didn't give up.  I was so glad that I stayed on the path and kept walking, one step at a time.

In the same way we celebrated God's faithfulness to bring us to bring us to this point in a difficult journey, so we celebrate today.  We recognize that God has a plan that can be trusted and we know that in the end we will find victory in Him.

 Today I am on another journey.  This one is also difficult.  This one is also one I need to take one step at a time, not worrying about tomorrow but focusing on what I need to do today.   I can remember my hike and the lessons I learned and apply them to what I am going through now.  I see that God was preparing me as He so faithfully does.

I am encouraged to know that I am not alone.  God is with me and so are so many others.  More people than I ever could imagine have showered me with Facebook messages, texts, phone calls, flowers, gifts and cards.  I have witnessed people shedding tears upon hearing about my diagnosis, people who I don't even know that well and it made me feel so humbled to realize how much they loved and cared for me.  I was so blessed to hear friends say things like "WE are going to do this, and WE are going to do that" in helping me formulate a battle plan reminding me that I had a support system ready to battle with me.  They were reminding me that just like this hike, I was not doing it alone.  To say that I am glad that this happened to me seems kind of harsh but I can already see the good that is coming from it.  I can see how God is using it to draw me closer to Him.  I can see how God is showing me areas of my own life where I needed to slow down and learn the importance of rest and finding peace in His presence.  I am reminded of His great love for me and the importance of me sharing that love daily.

I know that there are those of you reading this who understand the battle you have been there and so bravely fought it or you know someone dear to you who has.  Thank you to so many of you who have shared your own journey as a way to encourage me.  To everyone else who is out there, your battle may not be cancer but it may be something else, relationship issues, the passing of a loved one, addiction, financial problems, etc.  Whatever it is know that God has not abandoned you and you are not alone.  He promises that when you seek Him with your whole heart you will find Him.  He is faithful.  As you allow Him to take control he will bless you with joy and a peace that passes all understanding.

Let me conclude todays post by sharing today's Jesus Calling devotion from today.  Once again it is a very timely message:

"The peace that I give you transcends your intellect.  When most of your mental energy goes into efforts to figure things out, you are unable to receive this glorious gift.  I look into your mind and see thoughts spinning around and round; going nowhere, accomplishing nothing.  All the while, My Peace hovers over you, searching for a place to land.  Be still in My Presence, inviting Me to control your thoughts.  Let My Light soak into your mind and heart until you are aglow with My very Being.  This is the most effective way to receive My Peace."  "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with all of you".  II Thessalonians 3:16.

Thank you for standing with me and allowing me to share my journey with you.  May God bless you with a greater awareness of His presence and peace with each step that you take today.

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com