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



Bunny Boxes

This week I hosted a Bunny Bunco Event. It was so much fun!!! I love all the love and laughter that fills my home when everyone comes over to play bunco and see some of my favorite Stampin’ Up! products. This month I featured our cute Mini Pizza Boxes. I showed how you can use them to quickly create some punch art bunny boxes for your Easter treats.

Bunny Pizza Boxes

Bunny Pizza Boxes

Would you like to know how to create this box?

Bunny Pizza Box

Bunny Pizza Box

The first thing you need to do is create the ears. Take 2 pieces of Thick Whisper White Card Stock and cut them at 1 1/2 x 5 1/2. Use the Detailed Trio Punch to round the top two corners. On the bottom of the ear, use a scoring tool to score at 1”. Put some adhesive below the one inch score line and glue the ears to the inside of the Mini Pizza Box. The inside of the ears measure 1 1/4 x 4 1/4. Round the top two corners and attach them to the Whisper White ears. For the whiskers, I took a 5 1/2 inch piece of Basic Gray card stock and cut tiny strips with a paper cutter. I then attached them to the middle of the box with a couple of Mini Glue Dots. The nose was made with a 3/4 inch circle punch and the eyes were made with the 1/2 inch circle punch. I used one of my favorite retired bow punches for the bow but you could certainly use an actual ribbon of any color, if you don’t have this punch.

Mini Pizza Box Bunny

Mini Pizza Box Bunny

I used the Pretty Label punch to create a tail for the back of the box. I stamped it with a sentiment from the adorable Fable Friends stamp set.

Fill these with paper shreds and the candy of your choice.

They make great favors and look super cute with their long ears and whiskers.

Mini Pizza Box Bunnies

Mini Pizza Box Bunnies

It was fun making these bunnies and I loved the expressions of all my guests when they saw them on display.

Speaking of expressions, I love Renee’s expression below. Bunny Bunco was a blast as you can see!!!

Renee at Bunco

Renee at Bunco

I mean who wouldn’t smile if you get stuck at a table surrounded by 3 LORI’s!! (Lori A, Lori I and Lori V)

Bunco Fun with 3 Lori’s

Bunco Fun with 3 Lori’s

I love it when my house is filled with so much love and aloha!

Bunny Bunco

Bunny Bunco

I got lots of positive comments from this group about these favors and hope you will enjoy them as much as they did. They are quick to make and sure to brighten the day of whomever you create them for.

Stamped Blessings,

Cindy

Tropical Escape

Last week I had the opportunity to spend the day with a group of Maui Big Shots.  They made a "Tropical Escape" to Oahu for the day to spend time with me and come to my monthly Bunco gathering.  

Stampin' Friends

Stampin' Friends

Since they arrived first thing in the morning, I took them to one of my favorite places to go for breakfast.  The Ama Ama Restaurant at the Disney Aulani Hotel.   The restaurant is designed to feel like you are in a beachside house, the views from every table in this open restaurant are incredible.  

Their food is really good too.  Cheryl was excited to order a pancake that had vanilla macadamia nut syrup.
 

Breakfast at Ama Ama

Breakfast at Ama Ama

Cheryl brought Mary and Beth, two of her team members with her.  I hadn't met them before and it was so wonderful to get to know them both.  It became apparent very quickly that I was in good company with these lovely ladies.  

Since Zeny was coming to Bunco that day, she joined us too and we all had such a great time fellowshipping together. 

Stampin' Friends

Stampin' Friends

 As we talked I was reminded of how blessed I am to have made such wonderful, caring, creative friends because of my association with Stampin' Up!  I am still amazed that these three invested their time and money to come over just for the day!  It was so wonderful to spend time with them.

After breakfast and a little shopping at the Aulani gift shop we headed to my stamp studio.  We sat and shared some more until it was time to start bunco.  

At Bunco that day our theme was Tropical Escape and featured products from this amazing new catalog suite.  

For my Aloha Prize that day I designed a pizza box filled with 3 x 3 Thank You Cards.  Here is what the pizza box looked like on the outside.  

Tropical Pizza Box 

Tropical Pizza Box 

Inside the box were four different cards that all featured a different piece of the beautiful Tropical Escape Designer Series Paper.  All of these cards were Thank You cards.  The Designer Paper on these cards was 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 so I was able to make four of the same card out of each sheet of the Designer Paper.  Here are the four simple card designs I created.

Tropical Escape Card

Tropical Escape Card

Tropical Escape Card

Tropical Escape Card

Tropical Escape Card

Tropical Escape Card

Tropical Escape Card

Tropical Escape Card

Each guest took home one card and one lucky winner took home a pizza box that was filled with all four designs.

Our Bunco prize table looked the most beautiful it ever has because of these gorgeous protea flowers my friends from Maui brought for me.

Tropical Protea Flowers

Tropical Protea Flowers

Aren't they breathtaking?  They were the perfect accent to this display of Bunco party favors and Bunco prizes.

Tropical Escape Bunco Prizes

Tropical Escape Bunco Prizes

At Monday Bunco, I was blessed with flowers again.  This time it was this beautiful Kahili ginger that Becky brought me.  This flower came from her garden and it smelled amazing!

Kahili Ginger

Kahili Ginger

 I am going to be on the look out for this ginger next time I go to the nursery, I would love to grow these in my yard.

Both Sunday and Monday Bunco was so fun this month.  I am grateful for special time spent with friends to enjoy food, fellowship, encouragement, laughter and fun! 

Tropical Escape Cards

Tropical Escape Cards

I loved creating these cute little Tropical cards.  I will definitely make more of these as I think this set makes a fabulous gift.

I am thankful for all the friends who came over to play bunco this month, especially the three  Maui Big Shots whose "Tropical Escape" made our Tropical Escape Bunco extra special this month.

All You Need Is Love

During the month of February,  I have had several occasions to create projects from our Painted With Love Suite.   This week I will use these products at my monthly downline Inspiration Night!

I also featured these products at last week's Bunco games.

Everyone who comes to Bunco gets to take home a hand stamped favor and one person goes home with an Aloha Prize.

The favors I made this month were these cute Narrow Note cards that were covered with our Painted With Love Specialty Designer Paper.  This Designer Paper is so gorgeous.  I especially love the gold that is displayed on each piece that really makes this paper shimmer and shine!

Painted With Love note card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Painted With Love note card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I used the "Lot's To Love Box" framelits that are a part of this suite to cut out this cute striped heart that provides a base for the sentiment, "Sending Heartfelt Thoughts".

This card is small.  It is one of our Narrow Note cards which are perfect for little Valentine cards or gift card holders.  They also are great to just have on hand to pass out to friends, neighbors or co workers when they need some encouragement.  They would also be great as a card in a bouquet of flowers or attached to a gift.

As people arrived at Bunco they saw these cute cards all lined up on display along with the Aloha Prize and 6 product prize bundles.

Bunco Prizes and Favors - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Bunco Prizes and Favors - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Our Aloha Prize was this photo frame I purchased at Wal Mart and embellished with die cut hearts.

Heart Happiness Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Heart Happiness Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

During Bunco we usually pass the Aloha Prize around the room until a winner is determined at the end of the game.  Since this prize was made of glass I had a fun idea of something else to pass around instead.

And here it is, a fancy heart headband! 

Shelby at Bunco

Shelby at Bunco

This idea turned out to be really fun and brought lots of smiles to everyone's faces.

Becky at Bunco

Becky at Bunco

Whoever has this headband on at the end of the game determines who the big winner of the night will be.  They get to take home not only the headband but the Aloha Prize and their pick of one of the product prize bundles!

The headband was small so I told everyone that they didn't have to wear it in case it would give them a headache.  Everyone was a great sport, including Tom who played with us this month!

Cindy and Tom at Bunco 

Cindy and Tom at Bunco 

Our big winner on Sunday was Goldie who is pictured here with her baby Duke. 

Duke and Goldie

Duke and Goldie

On Monday, it was Mary's turn to take home the Aloha Prize.

Mary Wins the Aloha Prize

Mary Wins the Aloha Prize

I love gathering each month with all of the friends who come to play Bunco.  We talk, we eat, we laugh and cheer each other on.  It really is one of my favorite things to host each month.

Immediatly following Bunco I went on a date night with my ohana to Sansei.  Although we have been going on these group date nights for years, this was the second year in a row we went there to celebrate.

My Ohana

My Ohana

Sansei is located at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa.  My favorite hotel in Waikiki!  Their food is amazing and if you go during their Happy Hour the prices are GREAT!  It was wonderful to go there with friends for a delicious dinner and a great time of fellowship.

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

Heart Happiness Projects - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Heart Happiness Projects - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I hope these words will serve as an encouragement to you today because there are so many people in this world that are discouraged and hurting.  As we take the time to draw near to God, He will draw near to us and give us a greater understanding of His great love so that we in turn share it with others.  

God is love and love is all we need!