A Season for Growth

Many years ago I was a part of an organization called Youth With A Mission.  It was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever been through.  As I was reflecting on the card I am going to share with you today, I was reminded of a day back in 1987, when I was sitting in a Quonset hut in Manoa Valley. I was in a room full of students from all over the world. We were all a part of a school called a DTS or a Discipleship Training School.  Our leaders were all very young, energetic, passionate people who had a desire to know God and make Him known.  

One of the first things they did for each student was to have a time of prayer over them.  When it was my turn, I went to the front of the room and was surrounded by these young passionate leaders.  After they prayed for me, one of the gals said to me, "As I was praying for you, I saw a vision", she said, "I saw a beautiful rose, it was entangled with a bunch of other beautiful roses on this garden trellis. Then I saw a hand reach down and pick one single rose and plant it at the foot of the cross. Suddenly, the rose began to grow and blossom as it wrapped itself around the cross."  She went on to say, "I believe this means you were just in a very comfortable place in your life.  You were surrounded with good people, in a good environment, but you weren't growing.  So God reached His hand down and picked you up and planted you right where He wanted you and it is during this time that you will thrive and grow."

Those words spoke to me.  I not only believed she was right but through my experiences with YWAM that year, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was where I was supposed to be, doing what God had called me to do.  It was a season of growth, a season for change.  A season to learn about servanthood and making a difference.

The card I want to share with you today reminds me of that season of my life as well as the season I am in now.  I'll explain more in a minute but let me share the card first.

Graceful Garden Card

Graceful Garden Card

To make this card I used two stamp sets, Graceful Garden and Ribbon of Courage.  I stamped all the images in black ink and colored them in with an aqua painter.  The background texture of this card was made with our new Layered Leaves 3D Textured Embossing folder.  Besides using Very Vanilla Card Stock, I added a piece of gold patterned paper from the Bundle of Love Specialty DSP, a small strip of Fabulous Foil Acetate beneath the rose and a piece of Gold Foil under the sentiment.

The final touch was to add a jewel rhinestone in the "o" of the word possible and I used dimensionals on all the layers to build them up.

As I reflect upon that vision a young YWAM leader had for me many years ago, it makes me think of the season I am in today.  I know God is in control of my battle with breast cancer.  I am surrounded by prayer warriors who have been continually lifting me up.   I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with me and I am where He wants me to be.

 That doesn't mean things are going to be easy. I have to admit yesterday was challenging for me.  I went in for the start of my radiation treatments and found that although I didn't experience a lot of physical pain, I did find it mentally and emotionally challenging.  However, even in the midst of the challenge, I remember these words that I learned in Sunday School and I began to recite them in my mind during treatment.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Today, I just want to remind each of you reading this that no matter what you are going through you are not alone.   God loves you so much and He has a perfect plan for your life.  You may not be in a comfortable place at the moment but thats okay, know that He is with you.  Talk to Him with an understanding that He hears you.  Ask for His help, strength, wisdom and direction.  Just as He is helping me through this journey, He will help you too.

 I am thankful that as I design cards, God uses them to bless others and in this case remind me of a vision that still speaks to me today.  I pray that this same vision would serve as much as an encouragement to you as it is to me.  

Now as I go off to my second treatment, I will do so relying on His help, His strength and the knowledge that today I'm going to grow a little more into the person He desires me to be.

Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.  Know that as you are praying for me, I am also praying for you.  May you find hope and strength today especially if you are facing challenging circumstances.   Let's continue to trust God and believe that He leads us exactly to where He wants us to be and let's do our best to continue to grow in Him.

With love and a grateful heart,

Cindy

Magical Mermaid

Recently I've been inspired to do more punch art.  It's probably because of all the cute cards my downline Jodi of The Stampin' Owl has been sharing with me.  As I was designing swap cards for my recent trip to Thailand, I decided to see if I could come up with a punch art mermaid card.  

I'm usually a "three strikes and your out" kind of stamper.  This means that if I try working on something but after the third try if it doesn't come out, I give up and move on to something else.  For this particular card, I tried a couple of different combinations of punches and it just wasn't coming together.  I was just about to give up but I tried one final time and I'm so glad I persisted because this is what I came up with.

Mermaid Punch Art Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Mermaid Punch Art Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Isn't she sweet?  She reminds me of this little mermaid who comes to swim in our pool often.

Raymee the Mermaid

Raymee the Mermaid

Would you like to know what punches to use so you can make one of these cute punch art mermaids?

Mermaid Punch Art Pieces

Mermaid Punch Art Pieces

The tail was made with our new Pretty Label punch.  I took scissors and cut off the sides as shown in the chart above.  I used glue dots to attach the fins which were leaves from the lemon builder punch and then I placed the constructed tail into the Garden Trellis Embossing folder and ran it through the Big Shot to add texture.  

Since I was making this for a swap I punched several of the pieces I needed so that it made assembling a bunch of mermaids quick, simple and fun.

Building Mermaids

Building Mermaids

I drew faces on each mermaid using a journaling pen.  I gave them rosey cheeks by dipping a pencil eraser in pink pirouette ink.  It was really fun making these, every time I'd finish one of their faces I would smile!

Punch Art Mermaids

Punch Art Mermaids

To add the sequins to the shells I used a piercing tool and some liquid glue.  I just love how the little sequins sparkle and shine.

In our new catalog we have a stamp set that is called Magical Mermaid so that is where I got the sentiment for this card.  

I had a blast creating these cute and colorful swaps!  I hope that they brightened the day of each person who received one.  I hope that they loved them as much as I loved creating them.

Mermaid Kisses and Starfish Wishes,

Cindy