In God's Hands

I sat at the kitchen table at my friend Cindy’s house last week and she helped me to assemble these little favors for my upcoming Bunco. I hadn’t been feeling very well but I was still able to drive and was doing my best to stay positive with hopes to get better soon. Also, spending time with Cindy is always good medicine!

These favors were made with products from our Bird Ballad Suite. Here is what they looked like when completed.

Bird House Favors

Bird House Favors

My friend Zeny helped me a lot by designing this card holder box shaped like a bird house. This was the Aloha Prize for the Bunco event that would be happening at my house over the weekend..

Bird Ballad Card Box

Bird Ballad Card Box

When it is opened, it is just the right side for a few cards with envelopes or maybe a treat like microwave popcorn.

Bird Ballad Card Box (open)

Bird Ballad Card Box (open)

Zeny has blessed me so much during this health crisis I’ve been facing. As the date for Bunco drew near it became apparent that I would be too sick to be there. Zeny graciously offered to step in and host it for me.

Bird and Butterfly Swap Cards

Bird and Butterfly Swap Cards

When this event was over on Sunday, I received messages, cards and photos from the ladies telling me how much they missed me. On Monday, when I returned to my house I saw that the Monday night group had written me messages on the back of their Bunco cards and left me a pile of bird and butterfly cards from the swap they had done. What a blessing!

The next morning when I went into the kitchen, I discovered this beautiful arrangement of baby roses that Zeny had left for me. I was so touched by her incredible kindness to me. The flowers really brightened my day.

Flowers from Zeny

Flowers from Zeny

Later that same day, I went to the doctor. My symptoms were back with a vengeance and I knew I needed to be seen. There was yet one procedure they had talked about doing but I had been resisting it. However, I knew that this was necessary because breathing was becoming increasingly more difficult by the minute and something had to be done.

I checked into the hospital on Friday, October 23rd and had a lung surgery where they collapsed a lung and took out tissues that we would hope would provide a diagnosis and it worked, we FINALLY got one!

The next day I was told that I have stage four high grade B Cell Lymphoma. The diagnosis or staging didn’t catch me by surprise. It was actually somewhat of a relief to finally put a name to the symptoms that have been affecting me over the past four months. I mean don’t get me wrong, when someone says, you have cancer, I didn’t do cartwheels and jump for joy, but there was an underlying peace that finally I could move forward with treatment and out of the world of the unknown.

Recovery in the hospital was tough. Especially day two as I was having problems with the drainage tubes poking me and causing me lots of pain. There was also the heaviness in my lungs making me very short of breath any time I moved or stood up.

Although the process was painful I know that God was at work. Let me tell you of a few things I consider to be miraculous that happened when I was in the hospital.

First, prior to surgery, I had been coughing uncontrollably. It was a dry, irritating cough, one that takes my breath away and makes me feel almost as if I’m going to pass out due to lack of oxygen. My surgeon came into see me after surgery and asked how I was doing. We spoke for a little bit and then he noticed something, he said, “Hey, you’re not coughing!!!”. At that moment I thought of how much it would be hurting my side if I had been coughing. He looked up to the ceiling and raised his hands and said, “THANK, WHOMEVER IS WATCHING OVER YOU THAT THE COUGHING HAS STOPPED!!” Well, I know who that “whomever” was and offered up thanksgiving to God for taking my cough away. This was miracle number one.

The second thing that happened was when I was talking to a nurse who had known about all I had been going through. The nurse said,” I’m so sorry you have had to go through so much”. My response to her was, “it’s okay. I know that I am in God’s hands”, I then said, “It’s like what the sticker on the mirror over there says, and its good to be reminded when I get overwhelmed.”

Here is what the sticker on my hospital room mirror said.

In God’s Hands

In God’s Hands

.The nurse said, “Do you know that this is the only room in the entire hospital that has that sticker on the mirror?” That just made me smile as I realized God was there and that I truly was in His hands, that was miracle number two.

The next came in the night, I was really hurting and a nurse came into take care of me. I began to talk to her about how I wasn’t ‘afraid and I told her of the miraculous things God had done in my life in the past, especially when I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As I shared with her, she was brought to tears and she told me about a struggle she is having in her own life. She really wants to have a baby and has been not been able to conceive. I was glad she was open with me and I felt led to tell her that perhaps the whole reason I was there that night was just to encourage her and pray for her. I reminded her that God is real, that miracles happen and that I would be praying for a miracle to happen in her life. I won’t share her name for privacy reasons but would you please join me in praying for this nurse that God would answer her prayers to have a baby. I consider this divine appointment miracle number three.

The next miracle was so encouraging to me. I had been struggling very badly with pain from the drainage tubes. I was getting nervous about the next morning when they would be removed because moving just one inch was causing me extreme pain. When I woke up I wanted to spend quiet time and listen to worship music. I asked Siri to play praise and worship as I sometimes do. This song came on called Tremble by Bethel worship. Now picture this, I am in this dark room, I am feeling nervous, I am a singer whose lungs are very heavy, I am short of breath, I am hurting and overwhelmed. The song starts and I listen to these two verses:

[Verse 1]
Peace, bring it all to peace
The storms surrounding me
Let it break at Your name

[Verse 2]
Still, call the sea to still
The rage in me to still
Every wave at Your name

Then comes the chorus which says:

[Chorus]
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble
Jesus, Jesus, You silence fear
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble
Jesus, Jesus

I just felt God’s peace and His presence as I continued to be still and listen to this song, then came verse 3 which says:

[Verse 3]
Breathe, call these bones to live
Call these lungs to sing
Once again, I will praise

Ok, at this point I almost fell out of the bed. I whispered to my husband who had stayed the night, “did you hear that”? This song is taking about lungs that will sing again! I was so encouraged. This song also reminded me that all I needed to do to silence the fear I was feeling was to call on the name of Jesus who I know was with me.

I was reminded that I was in God’s hands and that he would be with me through this procedure I was dreading. Within the hour, the procedure was done, it wasn’t pleasant, there was pain but when it was over, there was a huge amount of peace and relief!

In the midst of hearing this song, I took a screen shot of my phone so I wouldn’t forget this what I consider to be miracle number four!

Miraculous Song of Encouragement

Miraculous Song of Encouragement

Since receiving my diagnosis things have been quiet overwhelming. I can’t drive for 6 weeks and I can’t lift anything heavier than a newspaper for 6 weeksI My friend Cindy has stepped in to coordinate rides for me since I have had daily appointments with several different doctors. In just a few days after being released from the hospital I’ve already had 4 different people pick me up at the hospital to bring me home. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by loving family and friends. We have been talking with different hospitals and oncologists trying to decide which direction we will go for treatment. The good news is although I am stage four, they believe it is treatable and curable. But you know what, it doesn’t matter what they believe because I am confident in God’s plan for my life and I know I am in His Hands.

Although I have peace I have to say that the past few days have been tougher than any I have ever faced before. But I’m ok! I’m hanging in there, continuing to put my hope and trust in God whom I know has a plan for me that is good. If I can ask for a prayer request I’d ask that you would pray for my lungs to get stronger, I still am dealing with severe shortness of breath anytime I sit up or walk but I truly believe that I will get better with every passing day. Today was better than yesterday, I am just focusing on taking life one day at a time!

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for me. Especially for my Mother and Father in law who have been waking up and praying for me in the middle of the night. I can feel the prayers of so many who are fighting with me and believing with me for complete healing. I may not understand it, but I trust in God’s plan for my life.

He has that plan for you too! I hope that no matter what you are facing today you will be reminded that you are in God’s hands, He is for you and not against you and there is nothing that is too difficult for Him. Let’s believe together in His miracle working power as we continue to place our lives in His hands!

Trusting In Him,

Cindy



Check You Out!!!

Aloha Friends! I am just “checking in” and hope that this post finds you doing great and having a blessed and beautiful day! Today has been a quiet day of rest for me. I am on a restricted diet because tomorrow I will be going in for a PET Scan once again. The PET scan was ordered because over the weekend some of my symptoms began to resurface! The doctors are still suspecting I may have Lymphoma, so I am hopeful that the scan I’ll have tomorrow will produce some insight.

As I sit here today, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to be surrounded by a loving family and wonderful friends who are supporting me in this season. The thing that blesses me most is that I know so many are fervently praying for me and I believe that God not only hears our prayers, but he answers them too! It’s not always answered the way we want, or in our timing, but he is faithful and we can trust that He knows best!

It has been an incredible blessing to have the support of my team leaders who have stepped up to help me run so many of our larger group functions such as my monthly downline gathering called Inspiration Night!

Today, I want to share with you the projects my friend Jodi taught us at last months gathering. All of these projects are from the stamp set called Check You Out!

Check You Out Cards

Check You Out Cards

Let’s take a closer look at each card. Did you notice these were all made with our new Scallop Edged Note Cards?

Check You Out Birthday Card

Check You Out Birthday Card

This little worm is so cute. I love his big smile and bow tie.

Check You Out Card

Check You Out Card

Wouldn’t this card be a sweet one to send to your school librarian?

Check You Out Thank You Card

Check You Out Thank You Card

Here is the happy little book work once again. This time the image is stamped on top of a pile of books. These book stamps are individual so you can create a stack of books as high as you want!!

Check You Out Congrats Card

Check You Out Congrats Card

This wise owl is so cute, I love the glasses!!. Since owls are Jodi’s favorite, every time I see one I think of her. This one in particular is great because it totally matches Jodi’’s signature cutesy style.

I am so thankful to Jodi for taking the time to not only share these projects at our meeting but she prepped all the supplies as well. If you want to check out more of her fun creations you can visit her blog its called The Stamping Owl. Today she is featuring a “sneak peek” at her August Back To School class.

Although these cards don’t feature it, one of the sentiments in the stamp set Check You Out says, “just checking on you”. I know that in this season I have been so blessed by so many who continue to call, text, send cards, etc, to ask me how I am doing. There are so many who ask, how can I help, what can I do.

Well, I have one request that comes to my mind at the moment. Tonight at 6:30 pm HST, I will be going to my church to have a special prayer time over me. I would love for you to join by lifting up prayers for my miraculous healing during that time. Prayers would also be appreciated during my early morning scan at 8:30am HST. Don’t worry if you read this post after those times! God knows and will always hear your prayers! Thank you so much!

So for now, I have been working on turing my fears into prayers and my prayers into declarations of faith!

At the end of Psalm 77 in verse 19 it says, Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters, a pathway no one knew was there. This is talking about the Israelites who had left Egypt and were being pursued by Pharaoh and his great army. There were a lot of roads of escape they could have taken that would have made sense. The closest road, the widest road, etc. However they took at path that led them to a dead end. While they were there some of them got discouraged and thought, why are we here!!! However, It was in that place, a place that didn’t make sense, where God performed a great and mighty miracle. He created a path through the sea that no one knew was there. It was only in this place that they had the opportunity to see all of their enemies that had come after them destroyed before their very eyes.

This story was shared to me by my son at the start of this journey. I am thankful that God brought it to my mind again today so that I can be encouraged by being reminded of the miraculous power of God.

Thank you again for checking out today’s post and for your love, support and prayers!

Believing with you for a miracle,

Cindy

See A Victory

My friend Annie recently celebrated a birthday. Annie has always been such a kind and loving friend to me. She is always there to lend an ear, to give honest feedback and to be a source of encouragement. I feel so thankful and blessed to know her and call her my friend.

Annie loves plants and flowers, so for her special day I created a birthday card using a new stamp set called Floral Essence.

Floral Essence Card

Floral Essence Card

The colors that I chose for this card were inspired by the wrapping paper I bought to wrap her birthday gift in. You can see the gift in the photo below, behind the card.

Floral Essence Card

Floral Essence Card

Although the flowers are different, I thought this set coordinated well with the wrapping paper. I just love this color combination!

The sentiment in this set says, “All day are beautiful that begin with you”. This is a beautiful sentiment that reminds the person you are giving the card to how valuable they are to you. By saying this, you are communicating that time spent with them is time that truly makes a difference in how your day will be.

In the season of life I am in right now, I know that it is important for me to begin each day spending quiet time with God. As I read my Bible, I find wisdom, strength, encouragement, direction and peace. Those are things that I’ve really needed in this season as I still am facing an undiagnosed health issue.

Many of you have inquired as to how I am feeling? To be honest, over the past couple of days I’ve been up and down. My faith, trust and confidence in God is strong and I am working hard to keep it that way! However, when any of my symptoms begin to flare up (and over the past two days, this has happened) I sometimes respond with frustration and discouragement. To be honest in a weak moment I sometimes say, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired! Responding like this is definitely my down!!! What can I say, I am a work in progress! It has been a challenging road but I am confident I will learn and grow stronger during this season!

That is why starting my day reading God’s word and meditating on his promises is so important. It truly does make a difference and it reminds me that I don’t have to fear because the battle isn’t mine, it belongs to the Lord. Here is a verse I memorized this week.

The Lord will fight for you, you just need to be still. Exodus 14:14

I don’t know about you but being still has not been something that comes easy to someone like me. I am used to always being on the go. These past few years my life has changed a lot in this area as I’ve learned the importance and value of rest.

My friend Annie is someone who over the years has often lovingly reminded me of the importance of rest. She is a very wise woman. After going through some challenging circumstances, I get it. It is SO important to slow down and take time to rest.

As I end today’s post I want to encourage any of you who are facing a battle in your life right now. It’s normal to react with fear or frustration but don’t allow yourself to stay in that mindset. Remember that you are not alone! As you begin each new day take time to pray and talk to God about your circumstance. Read His word and allow His spirit to give you peace.

This new song by Elevation Worship has really encouraged me this week. I have been listening to it over and over and it has really helped me! The song is called SEE A VICTORY , you can click on the name to listen to it. I pray that if you are facing a battle in your life right now that as you listen to it, you will feel encouraged and can along with me begin to walk in victory and not in defeat because the battle isn’t ours, it belongs to the Lord.

Happy Dance

The weekend is here and I am so glad it is. I am grateful that I have done really well physically, spiritually and emotionally this week despite the high’s and low’s I’ve encountered as I continue to deal with a mystery illness..

A low point of this week was during a consultation with an oncologist. While meeting with him, I became aware that I have all the symptoms of Hodgkins Lymphoma. It’s not that I’ve been diagnosed with that, but it was clear that it was one of the things they are looking for.

As for high points, there were several. First, I contacted a local environmental company to come and test the air at our home. This was to eliminate the possibility that I had been poisoned with mold. The testing costs between $600 to $1,000. Although the cost was high we knew we needed to do the service. When I called to schedule the service, the owner told me that they would be coming out the next day and that they would be doing the work at no cost. I was stunned. I don’t usually cry a lot, but upon hearing this news, I burst into tears of joy and I probably cried for 30 minutes straight. When I asked him why they were doing this for me, he said, “It’s good to do some good every once in a while, its why we started this business”. Their act of kindness not only blessed me but it inspired me. The testing was done the next day and everything came out clear. No mold.

Another high point was when I went over my most recent CT Scan with my doctor. My lungs looked SO much better. Of course the assumption is that this improvement is due to the medication I am taking. However, I am believing with all my heart that these results are because of the answered prayers of so many who have been praying for me. I know that includes many of your reading this right now,. If that’s you, I just want to say, Thank You SO Much!!!! I am so grateful for you.

This week I downloaded this awesome Bible Memory Ap and have have been working on memorizing the book of James, chapter one. Here is the first few verses of that passage:

Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials or many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and compete, not lacking anything. James 1:1-4

As I read this I am reminded that we all will face trials in life. This doesn’t say “IF” you face a trial but it says “WHENEVER” you face trial(s) with an “S” which means you will likely face more than one during your lifetime!!! These trials will be challenging but we can look at them as opportunities to grow our faith and develop perseverance. I know for me there are areas of my walk with Christ that I have been praying for to be strengthened. I am thankful that this situation is providing an opportunity for me to grow more into who God has created me to be.

So, today I am standing on God’s promises and claiming victory over this illness. So many of you have prayed and believed for my healing, I think it’s about time I stop focusing on my symptoms and instead focus on the fact that I know God is my healer and there is nothing too difficult for him. Knowing this, comforts me and fills me with hope and a great deal of peace.

I know that some of you reading this are going through challenges right now. There have been many of you who have written me privately or pulled me to the side at a meeting or class to share your story. My heart goes out to you as my situation pales in comparison to many of the struggles you are facing today. Please know that I am praying for you and that I hope that no matter how difficult your circumstances are, you will remember that God is near and desires to help you!

Here is one of my favorite Bible promises to encourage you:

Fear not, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Speaking of help and strength, one of the persons who has really blessed me this week is my downline and friend Jodi Hashimoto. She along with several others from the Stamped With Aloha family have stepped in to run our monthly Inspiration Nights in my place. I was so thankful that a few days ago I was able to attend our Inspiration Night. Jodi did a great job designing adorable projects as she always does!!! I’ll share those projects in a future post but for today, I want to show you a card that she designed for one of her recent classes.

Now I must warn you, before you scroll down to see it, you might want to clear some space around you because it is so stinkin’ cute, it may cause you to jump up and start doing a happy dance!!!

Are you ready…….

Got your dancing shoes on…….

You better stretch a little……

Wait for it…….

Ok……

Here……

It……

Is…….

This Little Piggy Card

This Little Piggy Card

Jodi created this adorable card with the sets, This Little Piggy and Tropical Chic. She hand cut the grass skirt with a piece of Old Olive Card Stock and Paper Snips. I love how Jodi took one of our Frosted Flower Embellishments and colored it to match the card with a Stampin’ Blends Marker.

If you want to see all the cute critter cards Jodi designed for her “on the farm” class, you can click this link to go to her blog: The Stamping Owl.

When a new catalog comes out, I am always looking for ways to add a little Hawaiian flair to my creations. So I used Jodi’s card my inspiration and I got out my new Dino Days stamp set and created this.

Happy Hula Dinosaur

Happy Hula Dinosaur

This little dinosaur is so adorable. There are other dinosaurs to choose from, but this is my favorite and I think the sentiment is so perfect! The coordinating Dinosaur Designer Series Paper is so amazing too. I can’t wait to play around with this set and make more fun creations.

Here is another way I laid out the same card idea.

Dino Days - Hula Dinosaur

Dino Days - Hula Dinosaur

The hula skirt was created with the Dino Dies that are a part of the Dinosaur Suite. All I had to do was to snip a little of each end of the Old Olive Card stock to create a fun mini hula skirt for this adorable dinosaur.

As you can see I also followed Jodi’s idea of coloring the Frosted Floral Embellishments in with a Stampin’ Blends Marker.

Dino Day’s Hula Dinosaur Cards

Dino Day’s Hula Dinosaur Cards

I chose a Lovely Lipstick Stampin’ Blends Marker, to color in the Frosted Flower Embellishment so that the flower would match the little speckles in the Dinosaur Designer Series Paper.

Well, I’m off to yet another doctors appointment!!! I better take a moment to catch my breath from all that dancing!

As I go, I will continue to walk in faith and victory believing that He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it.

With Faith, Hope and Love,

Cindy