Monday was a hard day. I was shocked and saddedned to learn that one of my friends Roanna Chang had passed away. Roanna was not just an acquaintance, she was my friend, neighbor, downline member and my sister in Christ.
While watching You Tube videos Roanna learned about Stampin' Up! The one thing she loved was the sound of the ink pad opening and shutting. She loved the sound so much that she wanted to get her hands on one of our pads so that she could produce that amazing clicking sound first hand. You should have seen her face light up the first time she attended my class and held the pad in her hand, she opened and shut it a few times and smiled from ear to ear. That was my first indication that she was special. She LOVED to craft and she did it with precision and excellence often until the wee hours of the morning. Roanna was already a crafter and had been for years but now she was about to get her hands on Stampin' Up! product for the first time and was delighted.
I'll never forget all the fun we shared at Convention in Utah. I remember how she cried when I introduced her to Dawn Griffith who was one of her biggest inspirations. When Roanna hugged Dawn and told her how much she loved her and her creations, Dawn cried too.
One of my favorite nights at convention was on the last night when we all shared stories and that is when Roanna reminded us again about her love of the sound of the ink pad. We tried to take a photo that would represent something about what was shared that night so we wouldn't forget. This photo sits on my desk in my stamp room.
Can you spot Roanna and her excitement over the sound of the pad?
Tuesday night was I supposed to have my monthly Inspiration Night but how could I have it when I knew so many who would be there would be devastated by this news? I spoke to my good friend and mentor Annie late Monday night who was very encouraging and gave me some great advice. When I woke up Tuesday morning I felt like God had given me peace and a plan to get through the day.
So I made some phone calls and in just a few moments my stamp room was filled with friends who were hurting like me and we decided to do the one thing that brought us all together, to stamp.
As we worked shared memories that made us laugh and cry and we found that creating a project together with Roanna in mind brought a lot of peace to our hearts.
Early that morning I had designed a punch art pin. Punch art (as you can see in the photo of the prize winning pin Roanna is wearing in her photo above) was one of Roanna's specialties.
Below is a photo of the pin I created with Roanna in mind. I am not as detailed of a Stamper as Roanna and its far from perfect as she would have made it but it was stamped with aloha with her in mind. I tried to think of all the little extras she would have done to make it as best as it could be. This is what I came up with.
I had to use a couple of retired products to get all the pieces I needed for this design. I was really pleased with the outcome because it reminded me of Roanna. This pin would be something I could wear on my apron to keep her memory close to my heart while I stamp.
With the assistance of some very loving friends we created 40 of these just in time for our gathering.
Roanna was such a gifted crafter. I often encouraged her to send in her work to Stampin' Up! because I felt so strongly that she could be chosen for an artisan award, given to the most gifted designers. Roanna however didn't want to enter. She shared that crafting was something she did for herself and to bless others so didn't have a desire to compete for an award. To all of us, however, she was a very gifted artisan, so creative and so talented. We saw the joy in her eyes when she showed us her projects and knew it blessed her heart to know how loved and appreciated her creations were.
Her heart and passion are two of the reasons I was so blessed to have her in our Stamped With Aloha family.
Yesterday one of the gals commented, "I just was thinking about her this week". "I pulled out a beautiful detailed box that she made me and put it on my desk and remembered how blessed I was to have a friend that would take the time to make me something so beautiful".
Everything she created was beautiful. Just look at two of her projects from a recent holiday event.
When I passed by Jodi's table at our gathering, I saw her cute swap that also featured a punch art girl. Jodi is also very gifted with punch art and gave me suggestions over the phone in my design for Roanna's pin. You can see more about this particular card this weekend when Jodi posts it to her blog, The Stampin Owl by clicking here.
The photo below shows Jodi's swap card and Roanna's pin together. The sentiment, "sending smiles" on Jodi's card was special because earlier that day as we were crafting together we kept feeling as if Roanna was smiling down on us. That's because we had taken time out of our busy lives to slow down and spend time together, she would have liked that. This was something many of us wish we had taken MORE opportunities to do with her!
After the announcement was made at Inspiration Night there were lots of tears. However, as we pressed on and stamped together wearing our pins, the quiet stamping turned into sharing and then then there were smiles, lots and lots of hugs and even some laughter which I know would have made Roanna happy.
When I passed by Terry and Lori (two of the gals who were especially close to Roanna) I saw them opening the pad and shutting it a few times. Even though they had puffy eyes from crying, it was something that made them smile as they thought of our dear friend who loved this sound so much.
My next post will feature the Fiesta Projects we created at this event. But for today, I wanted this to all be about Remembering Roanna.
One of her closest friends and downline Jennifer told me that Roanna's families life verse was Proverbs 3: 5-6 which says,
TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING, IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AND HE WILL DIRECT YOUR PATH.
It is this life verse that we will frame at our next Inspiration Night in a special art project. I will do my best to design and create this project in the most "Roanna like" fashion. We will also all bring creations that she had made and put them on display to honor and remember her.
Yesterday I spoke to her husband and told him how dearly we all loved her and how much she would be missed. He told me that she loved being a part of our family too and that most likely she was already stampin' in heaven and I totally believe he is right.
We love you Roanna and you will be missed. You inspired me and still do. And although my heart is heavy because I miss you, I am thankful that we will meet again one day in heaven because of our common faith and belief written in Bible that says,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
That is same assurance that made you smile on your final days here on earth because you knew where you were going. That is why you told those you loved, not to be sad. I have to admit its hard not to be sad because every time I open an ink pad I will think of you, along with so many others. We will do our best to continue to be creative and share the aloha spirit through the gift of crafting as you did so well.
I am glad my friend that one day we will be reunited and until then please know how much you are loved and will be missed by so many of us who like you, love what we do and share what we love.