Enjoy Today

I made this card with products from our new Good Morning Magnolia Suite. I think its my favorite suite in the new catalog. The message says, “Enjoy Today”, this could be used for a Birthday, Mother’s Day, Graduation or any type of a special celebration.

Magnolia Lane Enjoy Life Card

Magnolia Lane Enjoy Life Card

Magnolia Lane Card and Envelope

Magnolia Lane Card and Envelope

This message has taken on a whole new meaning with my recent health challenges! I have learned to appreciate and enjoy each new day that I am blessed to be alive and have the opportunity to take another breath!

If you follow my blog you will know that I have been dealing with some serious respiratory challenges. This has now been going on for almost 2 months. Recently, things got so bad that I spent a little over a week in the hospital.

While in the hospital I went through hundreds of tests, several biopsies and still all results came back negative! It has been impossible to find out what is wrong with me. I was admitted to the hospital because I had pneumonia like symptoms. I was experiencing high fevers, a terrible cough and my oxygen level was extremely low. Previous X-rays had shown that I have a mass of “something” in my right lung and a bunch of nodules all over both lungs, which explains why my breathing has been so shallow. But so far, after hundreds of tests, there has been no clear diagnosis so I can begin treatment.

I have an excellent team of really smart doctors but I have left them all scratching their heads wondering what to do with me.

There have been lots and lots of prayers lifted up for me. I can feel them. In fact, I was able to be released from the hospital because my health was improving! So, I went home to wait the results of a bone marrow biopsy they had done. If the bone marrow had shown something serious, then we’d know how to proceed. If my bone marrow was clear then the next step would be to have another lung surgery and this is one I really didn’t want to do.

Earlier this week I got a call that my bone marrow results were clear! That was good news. That same day I went to my church where a group of my Pastors were meeting. They anointed me with oil and prayed over me for healing. As they prayed, I could feel my lungs feeling stronger, I could breathe a little deeper too!. The next morning I went to my doctor and a scan revealed that I was showing signs of improvement. So for the past few days I have been resting, taking some cough medicines, and working on strengthening my lungs. I feel so much better. My doctor thought that I looked and sounded so much better that I wouldn’t have to have any more surgeries or tests unless I began show signs of getting worse. So far, each day I am showing signs of improvement! Praise God.

It’s still hard because I long to be stamping and going about my normal routine but God has blessed me with the opportunity to be at my Mom’s house to recover. It’s been a good time of bonding for us as I feel how much she loves me as she cares for me. I also get to witness the sacrificial love she has for my Dad as she takes care of him around the clock.

I have also been extremely blessed that leaders from my Stamped With Aloha team have jumped in to take over and keep our group activities and events moving forward. If you live in Hawaii, one not to miss is our upcoming Stampin’ Out Hunger Event at the Hawaii Foodbank. I really hope if you are local you will be able to stop by and be a part of this special event. I hope to be there but am so grateful that whether I am or not it is going to be a fabulous event!

FB Open House 2019.JPG

I don’t know what tomorrow holds but what I do know is God is real and he answers prayers. Throughout this experience he has reminded me that he is with me each step of the way.

On my last day in the hospital one of my favorite nurses came into the room and we decided to call that day Miracle Monday as we hoped I’d receive some type of diagnosis. Instead, God brought a miracle in an unexpected way. Here is what happened. My friend Alec was visiting me and my nurse asked, how do you know him? I shared that we met years ago when we were on worship team together at our church. She then said, “Oh what kind of songs do you sing at your church”. Before I could answer she began to sing a song. Within seconds of hearing what she was singing I softly joined in and we sang together. The lyrics to the song are,

Thank you, Lord, for the trials that come my way. In that way I can grow each day as I let you lead, And thank you, Lord, for the patience those trials bring. In that process of growing,
I can learn to care.

I thank you, Lord, with each trial I feel inside, that you're there to help, lead and guide me away from wrong. ‘Cause you promised, Lord, that with every testing, that your way of escaping is easier to bear.

But it goes against the way I am to put my human nature down and let the Spirit take control of all I do. 'Cause when those trials come, my human nature shouts the thing to do;
and God's soft prompting can be easily ignored.

Just hearing that song brought tears to my eyes and when my nurse saw me cry, she began to cry too. I told her that the song she sang was the very first song I had ever sang in church when I was a little girl. I was thinking about the lyrics and how they were ministering to me today knowing that God was reminding me that he was with me and that this trial would soon be over and it would produce something good in me. I asked her, “Why did you sing THAT song?” and she said it was because it was her favorite song. My nurse smiled and said, “this is like a miracle”. I agree!! It was one of those moments where I may have been expecting a miracle to come in the form of healing or diagnosis but God brought a miracle via song from a caring nurse to fill me with hope and peace in the midst of the storm.

Miracle Monday

Miracle Monday

The staff at the hospital were truly amazing. I felt like I had excellent care around the clock. I met some incredible nurses and witnessed them using their God given gifts to care for me. When I am well, I plan on stamping a whole bunch of cards to take to them to show my appreciation!

Speaking of cards, while in the hospital, I received this beautiful fancy fold card from Cheryl Hamilton of Maui. It was also created with the Good Morning Magnolia Suite.

Magnolia Lane Fancy Fold Card

Magnolia Lane Fancy Fold Card

I love the sentiments on this card. Especially where it says, “we’ll get through this together”

Magnolia Lane Fancy Fold Card

Magnolia Lane Fancy Fold Card

I really appreciate Cheryl sending me such a pretty card to remind me that she was thinking of me and praying for me.

Magnolia Lane Fancy Fold Card

Magnolia Lane Fancy Fold Card

I have received several beautiful cards as well as encouraging text messages and visits from friends. These have all made me feel so grateful for the blessing of being surrounded by so much love, support and prayers!

Cindy and Cindy

Cindy and Cindy

At the end of this month I am supposed to be traveling overseas on a Stampin’ Up! incentive trip. It’s something we have been looking forward to for a really long time. As of today, traveling is something I don’t know if I’ll be able to do. However, I know God knows. So I’m going to Enjoy Today and not worry about tomorrow. Whatever His will is, I accept it. I know that because of this situation I have grown more thankful for every single moment I am blessed to be here. There is so much happening in my life that I am grateful for. God is so, so, so good.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been walking through this journey with me and lifting me up in prayer. I can feel your prayers and I am extremely grateful for you.

With much love and aloha,

Cindy

Everything is Rosy

Well, i have finally found a moment to reflect on all that has been happening in my life recently. Saying “everything is rosy” is certainly not how I would describe how I’ve been feeling this past month and a half.

This unexpected season reminded me of exactly where I was two years ago when I found out I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Although it wasn’t a pleasant time, it was a time where I learned so much and I witnessed so many miracles. In hindsight, I’m grateful for the challenges I faced and for the growth it produced in my life.

So, here we are two years later and another unexpected challenge is upon me!!! This one however, is somewhat mysterious. Let me share with you what has been happening.

Just after Easter, I began to feel extremely tired for no reason. My breathing felt “odd”, I developed a weird dry cough and my energy was super low. I know sometimes I push myself at a pretty fast pace and have days that I need to just rest, but day after day of resting didn’t seem to heal the symptoms I was experiencing! It seemed that with each passing day, I began to feel worse.

Then the roller coaster ride began. One doctor thought I had asthma related issues. Another doctor took an X-Ray and saw haziness in my lungs. This led to a CT Scan and as these tests continued, I continued to feel worse, my lungs began to feel tight and this caused me to feel a bit anxious!

The day I was going to the doctor to get my CT Scan results I ran into Josiah Nordgren, our pastor from New Hope Leeward. Talk about a divine appointment!!! I walked over to say hello and his wife asked me how I was doing. I briefly explained about the challenges I was facing and Josiah asked if it would be okay to pray for me right there in the parking lot. After they prayed, I felt so happy and went to the doctor with such peace.

The doctor walked in to give me the results and I could tell by the look on her face that something was really wrong. She began to explain that the scan showed some serious issues such as an abnormal mass in one lung and a bunch of nodules in both lungs. The doctor referred me to a specialist but told me it might be challenging to see him because he was very busy as he was one of the only doctors in Hawaii who performed non invasive lung biopsies. I thought to myself, if he can’t see me, what will I do! More worry and fear began to creep in!

I drove home feeling kind of numb. I started to think of all the similarities of where I was exactly two years prior. Fears began to flood my mind. I forgot about the miracles. All I could focus on was how terrible I felt, how I longed for my lungs to feel normal again and how I desired to have strength and energy to get back to my daily routine. I’ve learned that one of the best ways to battle problems is with praise. However, I forgot to praise. I even forgot to pray!! Instead, I responded with panic!!

Pastor Josiah texted me that afternoon and encouraged me with a passage from the Bible. It was from I Kings 19 where it talks about Elijah. I was encouraged by his message and I told him I was going to begin to study the story of Elijah. As I read I Kings, I read about Elijah seeing the power of God at work. He witnessed miracle after miracle. When he prayed, things happened. Yet one day, when it became apparent that his life was in danger, he ran and hid in fear and hoped to die. It might sound strange but reading about Elijah feeling fearful in that moment encouraged me. It made me feel normal. But I also realized that I didn’t want to remain in a place of fear. If you read the story of Elijah you will see that he didn’t remain fearful for long! As I began to reflect on the miraculous things God has done in my past. I began to replace my fear with faith.

The next step in this journey was a PET Scan. This would be the test that would reveal exactly what was going on inside of me. The morning of my scan my son, Kalani, sent me an encouraging word that he had heard in a sermon. It was the story of the Israelites fleeing Egypt. As they left Egypt they could have gone to the right, this path was the shortest but it would have led them through the Philistine territory so they would have a new enemy to face. Plus, when the Egyptians decided to come after them this would have put them in a place of having an enemy in front of them and an enemy behind them. The second road they could have taken was a straight path. This way was the easiest but as the Egyptian army approached them it would have been easy for them to access this path and attack them. Rather than go on these paths the Lord led them to go toward the Red Sea. This path didn’t make any sense. It led to a dead end. With the enemy coming after them it appeared that they were trapped. However, God opened up the sea and they walked to safety on dry land. When the enemy ran after them, the sea came back together and the enemy army was washed away. This path was the only path that provided a way for them to see what they feared the most be completely destroyed.

This word was just what I needed. It reminded me that God was at work and no matter what the results were, he could be trusted.

When the PET scan results came back they showed I had issues not only with my lungs but inflammation was found in several other areas of my body as well which caused the doctor to immediately schedule a biopsy.

One biopsy led to three. The first two biopsies came up negative for cancer cells. This was very good news. However, even after three biopsies, the illness I had, remained a mystery.. They tested me for several diseases but all results came back negative.

As of right now, it appears that I have a severe bacterial lung infection. Tests are still being run and after being on antibiotics for 2 weeks I am beginning to feel myself again.

In the midst of all of this, a new Stampin’ Up! catalog was released. I’ve been so weak and tired that I haven’t even been able to enjoy the new products. One of the hardest things I had to do was to cancel my classes this month. Thankfully, Stampin’ Up! had a special promotion called “Everything is Rosy”. This exclusive product suite, which only is available till tomorrow (5/31), is filled with beautiful coordinating Stampin’ Up! products. I was so grateful that several of my customers ordered this suite from me to help me keep up with my monthly sales goals.

As soon as I started to feel better, I went into my studio and made some thank you cards to send to those who ordered this month. Here is the card I created with this beautiful suite.

Everything is Rosy

Everything is Rosy

The set is really gorgeous, it comes with Designer Paper that has copper foil in it. It also comes with 2 spools of pretty ribbon. The top card was made with a Melon Mambo ribbon.

Below is the same card, but this time I used the Night of Navy Copper Edged Ribbon. Isn’t it beautiful?

Everything is Rosy

Everything is Rosy

Here is how the card looks like when it is opened.

Everything Is Rosy Cards

Everything Is Rosy Cards

I even used the stamp set to make the envelopes pretty!!!

Yesterday, I was invited to a birthday breakfast. Since this set had a birthday sentiment in it, I was able to make three different birthday cards with these same products. Here they are.

Everything is Rosy cards

Everything is Rosy cards

For these cards I stamped the birthday sentiment on one of the copper foil edged tags that are a part of the kit.

Everything is Rosy Birthday Card

Everything is Rosy Birthday Card

Below is a closer look at another layout. For this card, I moved the sentiment to the bottom right corner.

Everything is Rosy Birthday Card

Everything is Rosy Birthday Card

And since this one had a smaller tag, I added a couple extra die cut flowers and leaves.

Everything is Rosy Birthday Card

Everything is Rosy Birthday Card

My doctor called today and is scheduling me for more testing!!! Please pray that the tests will show no more inflammation or infection and that the slight cough I am still battling will be gone!

As I draw this post to a close I feel led to end with a prayer. I guess its because one of the lessons I’ve been reminded through this season is, when you encounter a problem, respond first with prayer and praise, this will lead to God’s presence and it’s there you will find peace.

Lord Jesus, I come before you now and praise you for who you are. Thank you for your love, thank you for your mercy, thank you for your peace even in the midst of a storm. I pray for the person that is reading this right now that no matter what is happening in their life today that you would draw near to them. Help them to see you. Help them to be encouraged that you are with them. I pray that you would heal their infirmities, I pray you would provide for their every need. I pray that you would reveal yourself to them in a mighty and powerful way so that they would be encouraged and find peace in your presence. Lord, help them to overcome any fears that they are facing. I thank you today for helping me to overcome fear with faith. I lift up these challenges that I have been facing and I say that I trust you. My life is in your hands. May I never take it for granted. Help me to live each day I am blessed to be here to honor you. I love you and praise you and thank you for your goodness, mercy and love. In Jesus Name, I pray these things, Amen.

With Love and Many Blessings,

Cindy


Follow Your Art

Last month a small group of my Stamped With Aloha team attended Stampin’ Up!’s On Stage event in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This is a trip I normally would have been on. It was hard not to go because Stampin’ Up! events are the best. Plus, I love to travel, especially when it gives me the opportunity to visit with my Stampin’ Up! friends.

When it was time for registration, I just felt as if I shouldn’t go this year. You see, my Dad has not been in the best health and I wanted to stay close in case he or my Mom needed me.

The decision not to go was hard but it turned out to be a very wise choice. You see while everyone was at On Stage, I began to not feel well physically. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, I just knew I was having some respiratory issues that were causing me to feel fatigued. It’s a long story, one that I plan to tell you more about in a future post. But for now, let me continue to tell you about On Stage.

One of the perks you get when you attend On Stage, is to see the new catalog first. You also get to see new products and have the opportunity to order some of them before anyone else. Since I wasn’t there, I didn’t get to enjoy these special perks this time.

Well, one of my sweet stampin’ sisters and friends who went to On Stage decided to send me a very special surprise. She ordered some new products and gifted them to me. Imagine my surprise when this box arrived and inside was products from our fabulous new Follow Your Art Suite! This special gift of aloha really lifted my spirits and brightened my day. My friend, had no idea that I wasn’t feeling well, so this gift was sent simply as a gift of love and aloha and for that I was truly grateful.

It took me a few days before I had the strength to stamp but this special gift motivated me to get into my studio and work on a Thank You card. Here is the card I created for my friend.

Follow Your Art Card

Follow Your Art Card

This Follow Your Art Suite is so fun. The stamp set “It Starts With Art” has super cute images and sentiments for the craft lovers at heart. The Designer Paper is bright and colorful and covered with adorable images.

This sentiment says, “You paint my world with happiness”. Happiness is certainly what I felt when I opened up this special gift. It was such an amazing and fun surprise and so timely too. I am thankful that my friend took the time to put together something that really lifted my spirits at a time when I really needed it.

The next time God puts someone on your heart it might just be a good time to do as my friend did. It doesn’t have to be by sending a special gift! Just respond by making a phone call, giving a hug, speaking words of encouragement, sending a card, etc. Just follow your “art” and let others know you were thinking of them and by doing so, they will know you care.

With Gratitude and Much Aloha,

Cindy



What A Cute Tea!

My friend Pam is also someone who appreciates sweet treats and always knows the best places on the island to get them. On this day, pictured below, we were at Via Gelato on the North Shore, for some yummy Affogatto (espresso and gelato) drinks!

Pam and Zeny

Pam and Zeny

Last week Pam came to my rescue on a day when I really needed help. I had been having some respiratory issues and it dawned on me that Pam would be a great resource to help me find a doctor. The very day I called Pam, she got me an appointment. My sweet daughter in law Joyce dropped what she was doing, picked me up and took me to the doctors office in town.

When Joyce and I arrived at the doctors office, we met Pam and guess what she had in her hands??? A tray of different flavored Boba Tea drinks that she brought to bless all the workers at the doctors office!

Did I mention that Joyce really loves Boba Tea too? Many of the Boba places on Oahu know what she is going to order when she comes in the door!! Joyce always requests only 10 pieces of Boba! She even used that formula when she made this adorable Halloween costume last year.

Joyce’s Boba Costume

Joyce’s Boba Costume

So since both Pam and Joyce love Boba, I was inspired to create a Boba Tea thank you card to send to them.

Boba Tea Card

Boba Tea Card

I used my Stampin’ Blends to color the tea inside the cup as well as to create a colorful background behind the tea cup. All of the images come from the Coffee Cafe stamp set that is about to retire from our current 2018-2019 Stampin’ Up! catalog.

The Boba was created with a pencil eraser and Early Espresso Ink. I added additional Boba that were made out of Clear Jewel Rhinestones that I had colored with a brown Sharpie pen.

I liked how this card came out so I decided that I’d like to make it a part of my monthly card class. I made a few adjustments to simplify the card and this is how it came out.

Boba Tea Card

Boba Tea Card

The main difference is that this card didn’t require a lot of coloring. I used the Coffee Cup Framelits to cut out the images and only used a Stampin’ Blends marker to color the straw.

Boba Tea Card (inside)

Boba Tea Card (inside)

The inside of the card was stamped with an image from stamp set A Big Thank You, that said, “"you are the best”!

That is exactly how I feel about thoughtful Pam.

Pam and Cindy

Pam and Cindy

And my sweet daughter in love, Joyce!

Joyce and Cindy

Joyce and Cindy

Mahalo Pam and Joyce for your kindness that inspired these Cute Tea Boba Cards

Boba Tea Cards

Boba Tea Cards

You are both incredibly thoughtful and just like a Boba drink, thank you for being so sweet!!!