A Vessel of Hope

When I visited the Cancer Center at Pali Momi for the first time, I met Sonia. Sonia is a greeter there and boy oh boy is she good at what she does! Sonia smiles, she encourages, she spreads hope and love and does everything within her to uplift each and every person who passes through the lobby. Sonia is the type of person whose enthusiasm and gratitude for life overflows with joy.

Sonia not only encouraged me on the way in to treatment but also waited with me while my daughter brought the car around at the end of my treatment. While we waited, she talked with me and helped me to stay positive and strong. I had only met her that day but I instantly knew that she was someone whom I’d love to bless with some Stampin’ Up! cards that she could give to others. Sonia has a God given gift to encourage others, so why not give her an opportunity to share her gift in a hand stamped card! I made the decision that the next time I saw Sonia I would definitely need to bring her some cards.

It just so happened that a few days after my treatment, my friend Cindy’s daughter, Raymee told me that her school had asked her to do some type of community service project and Raymee thought it would be a good idea to ask me if I needed any help with any of my projects. What perfect timing! I told Raymee about my new friend Sonia and how I wanted to gift her some cards. Raymee thought this was a great idea so we quickly got to work. Raymee loves to craft and has often been my little helper at classes and events over the years. Since I have not been working due to needing time to rest while going through chemo, it felt great to have a reason to go into my stamp room to help Raymee get started on a project that she could call her own.

Make a card, Make a difference!

Make a card, Make a difference!

As I showed her the card and told her what she was going to make, I said, “You are about to have the MOST fun you have ever had in your life making these cards to bless Sonia” and Raymee just smiled at me. I hope she still smiles like that when she turns 18 and can officially become a part of my Stamped With Aloha team, LOL.

Cindy and Raymee

Cindy and Raymee

I designed a quick and simple card using products from the Come Sail Away Suite. Because I knew the type of people Sonia would be inspiring with these cards, I wanted the message to be uplifting and filled with hope. The message I used on this card says, “Let HOPE be your anchor through the storms of life”.

Come Sail Away Card of Hope

Come Sail Away Card of Hope



Raymee packaged her cards in a cello bag and tied it with a long piece of our Navy Denim Ribbon.

Come Sail Away Cards

Come Sail Away Cards

When I went back to the Cancer Center for my next appointment I saw Sonia and gave her this package. She was SO encouraged and told me how much she LOVES cards! She said, “I will use all of these”. Sonia even asked to send a card to Raymee to say thank you as she was so touched by the thoughtful gesture.

Sonia and Cindy

Sonia and Cindy

Since receiving by diagnosis, I have been so inspired by the way people have encouraged me with love, support and hope. I have been encouraged by so many people. Some who I’ve known for a long time and others like Sonia who I have just met. I’ve even been encouraged by some whom I’ve never met at all.

A couple weeks ago I got a package from my demonstrator friend Colleen who is a part of the Vessels of Hope ministry from River Oak Church in Virginia. Inside the box was this beautiful soft pineapple knotted blanket, a card filled with words of encouragement, and a devotional book called, “Praying Through Cancer”. The note inside the card said, “each knot tied on our blanket represents a prayer that has been said for you”.

This just made me cry and feel so special. As I held that blanket I felt the prayers from not only Colleen but also from the group of loving sisters who surrounded her and were a part of tying knots and saying prayers for me as they assembled this blanket. I felt humbled, honored, uplifted and INSPIRED! I want to make others feel the way they made me feel when I was down. I want to be a Vessel of Hope!

Blanket from the Vessels of Hope Ministry

Blanket from the Vessels of Hope Ministry

I think God wants all of us to be vessels of hope. We all struggle and at some point or another will find ourselves in the midst of a storm. When we come together and encourage each other, pray for each other, have each other’s backs, it’s such a beautiful example of the love that Jesus has for all of us.

I am thankful that I met Sonia, who showed me what it looks like to be a vessel of hope.

I am grateful to Colleen and the Vessels of Hope ministry for reminding me of what is most important in the world today, to be a vessel of hope to everyone, even people I don’t know.

I am blessed that I had time with Raymee to teach her how to serve others by being a vessel of hope using her creative gifts and talents and amazing Stampin’ Up! products.

I am at peace knowing that the God of hope is transforming me into a vessel of hope to encourage others even during a challenging season.

So, as I close todays post, I hope this verse from psalms will encourage you and fill you with hope no matter what your circumstances are today.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 15:13

Let’s be vessels of hope,

Cindy

Looking Up

I don’t know if it’s jet lag or the medicines I’m taking but my sleep schedule has been way off since returning from Europe. It’s been okay though, since most of my time in recent weeks has been spent home where I am resting and waiting for a diagnosis or miraculous recovery!

On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling strong and I just wanted to go for a walk. So Derek and I jumped out of bed, threw on our workout clothes and drove less than 10 minutes to the Lagoons in Ko’Olina. One of my favorite places on the island.

It was a BEAUTIFUL morning. As we walked, I tried to just take deep breaths and appreciate the fresh oxygen flowing through my lungs. When we passed this corner on the trail, I stopped to take a picture. You would think I was a tourist because I always stop and pull out my phone to capture the beauty I see around me here in Hawaii. I have probably taken this same photo 100 times before, it never grows old.

Ko’Olina Lagoons

Ko’Olina Lagoons

I felt peace as we walked. Earlier that morning I had been reading the Bible and was reminded of God’s miraculous power. I was filled with hope and confidence in Him that in his timing, He can heal me of this sickness, if it is a part of his plan for me. Until then, I am grateful that my situation causes me to have a greater dependance on Him and focus on being still to hear what He wants me to do.

We picked up breakfast at our favorite little local restuarant in Kapolei called My Cafe and came home to eat and then went for a swim in our pool. It was such a relaxing morning!

One thing that has been on my mind is stamping. Since I haven’t felt myself, its been tough to do the work I normally do to design cards for classes and events. I also am having an issue with the ac unit in my studio so I only work out there during the cooler parts of the day. Since Derek was going to wash his car and I was enjoying spending time with him, I decided to open up the garage door on my studio and let the fresh air in. That way I could stamp and talk to Derek while he worked.

Saturday Stamping

Saturday Stamping

I recently purchased our brand new all inclusive card kit called, Looking Up. It was sitting on my counter and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to open it up and sae what was inside!

I opened up the cute box to reveal everything I needed to make 15 cards. This kit is all inclusive and it is AWESOME!!!. It has the stamp set, the ink pad, pretty printed cards with adorable matching envelopes, shiny embellishments and a clear block. It also has glue dots and dimensionals. You don’t need anything else. This makes a perfect gift for a new stamper or for someone who loves to create without having to come up with designs.

Looking Up! Card Kit by Stampin’ Up!

Looking Up! Card Kit by Stampin’ Up!

Let’s take a closer look at the cards.

The first is a birthday hot air balloon card.

Looking Up! Card

Looking Up! Card

To assemble this card you just add the shiny metallic strip of circles above the pre printed black and white stripe line. There are three balloons pre printed on the card. I then punched out the same images from a separate sheet and added a dimensional on two of the balloons. I stamped the Happy Birthday sentiment on a small tag and adhered it to the card with a dimensional.

The next card is a favorite of many who have seen it here in my studio. I think its because of the Palm trees that remind us of home, here in Hawaii.

Looking Up Card

Looking Up Card

This card has a fun metallic triangle strip you adhere and extra palm trees you can use to add dimension. I placed two palm trees to the side of the tag so they would frame the Thankful sentiment.

This next card is really different. I love the city skyline and the park.

Looking Up Card

Looking Up Card

There is a really pretty metallic frame with leaves that I adhered to the bottom right corner of the card. I also added a little punched out tree image with a dimensional. The black and white ribbon looks like it was glued on but it is actually pre printed on the card along with the park and buildings scene.

The next card is a Get Well card. I actually received this very card from some thoughtful people at the Stampin’ Up! Home office a few weeks ago. They had heard I wasn’t feeling well and sent this card to me. That was such a pleasant surprise!!

Looking Up Card

Looking Up Card

This card has a really pretty shiny piece with leaves that frames the circle with the sentiment, “Feel Better Soon”. I know receiving a pretty card like this did make me feel better!

I think this last card is my favorite. I LOVE the airplane.

Looking Up Card

Looking Up Card

I can just imagine a plane writing a message of congratulations in the sky! As you can see this card has a square shiny strip that is added under the sentiment. The shiny copper elements in this kit give each card just the perfect amount of bling that really makes them stand out!

Speaking of standing out! JUST LOOK AT THE ENVELOPE! Isn’t it adorable? Each card has a matching envelope that is so cute!

Looking Up Card Kit

Looking Up Card Kit

This kit makes a great gift for a friend, or even just for yourself. I know for me it was a gift to have time to sit and stamp on Saturday and just take a break to do something creative and fun for myself.

Looking Up Card Kit

Looking Up Card Kit

It took me less than an hour to make all 15 cards. This would also be a fun kit to purchase and have a get together with five of your besties. You can open up one kit and each make a set of cards while enjoying quality time together!

I will have these samples on display at my house this weekend as I am having a special THREE FOR FREE event. This event will take place on Saturday, July 27th from 10 am till 12pm OR on Sunday, July 28th from 10 am til 12pm. Drop by my house and you can create 3 cards for FREE using the latest products from Stampin’ Up! In addition you can pick up a copy of our newest catalog, see over 50 new card samples from my recent incentive trip swaps and you can see other things on display such as this adorable Looking Up Kit.

This FREE event will take the place of my July Stamp A Stack class. I am doing this for two reasons. One, I am still going through some health issues that is making it difficult for me to prep for a larger class at this time. Second, on July 19th I celebrated 20 years with Stampin’ Up! so I plan on having several specials from now till the end of the year as a part of my celebrating reaching this milestone! This is a milestone I wouldn’t have reached without so many of you, which is why I chose to offer this event for FREE this month.

If you would like to help me by placing an order for this kit or any other supplies you need, you can do so using hostess code P2R2T7FD. Anyone placing an order of any size from now till the end of the month will receive my THREE FOR FREE cards in the mail as a THANK YOU! Just make sure I have your name and address!

I think with all I’ve been going through this kit was a great distraction. It provided me with a really fun creative break and even the name of the kit reminds me of what I need to do during this season and always and that is to not look down but to Keep Looking Up!

Healing Hugs

My friend Shelly Matautia is a wonderful Mom. I love how her face lights up when she talks about her children. She is one proud Mama and she should be. She’s has two amazing kids and has had the privilege of watching both of them compete as college athletes in volleyball.

Her son Austin is currently a Junior at UCLA and is an outside hitter on their men’s volleyball team. Shelly would love to be at every game but since there is an ocean separating them, it makes it difficult and expensive to be there. Shelly certainly does her best to watch him in person as often as possible.

Shelly and Austin

Shelly and Austin

I have had the privilege of watching Austin play before and it is quite exciting. It is wonderful to see athletes so passionate about their sport. Austin is an incredible athlete and volleyball player!

Austin Matautia

Austin Matautia

A couple weeks ago, Austin was playing in a volleyball match when he got badly injured. Unfortunately, Shelly was not at that game but she was watching online. I can imagine how her heart must have felt to see her son get hurt and realize she was so far away.

Shelly immediatly dialed someone who was at the game and within minutes she was on the phone with one of the coaches and then with Austin. I’m glad she got to talk to him before he was taken to the hospital.

The diagnosis was not good. Austin had dislocated his ankle, tore ligaments in his foot and broke his fibula!

My heart just sank to hear this news about Austin. Especially since I knew he was one of 12 young players selected to play on the USA Mens World University team this summer in Italy.

Austin’s surgery went well and I’m happy to say he is on the road to recovery!

I know when unexpected situations like this happen they can bring discouragement, so I wanted to create a card to lift Austin’s Spirit and to let him know so many were thinking of him and praying for him.

Here is the card I made for Austin.

Friends and Family Volleyball Card

Friends and Family Volleyball Card

I used Balmy Blue and Daffodil Delight Card Stock, to match the UCLA team colors. I used my Basket Weave dynamic textured impressions embossing folder to create a texture that resembled a net. The Family and Friends stamp set allowed me to custom design a volleyball player image. The only problem was, Austin is 6’4! and the image from this set didn’t represent his size!

Martha, one of Austin’s aunties was here when I was making this card and she commented on how the shoes on the image could work as knee pads. What a great suggestion and it worked! I just stamped and fussy cut another set of legs and attached them to the original image. I did the same thing to the arms as well.

Friends and Family Volleyball Card

Friends and Family Volleyball Card

You can see in this close up photo how I extended the arms and legs! I also used a little bit of Sparkle Glimmer Paper to create a cast on the left leg, the leg that I thought Austin had injured. Found out later that it was actually the right leg that he hurt!! Oops!

What do you think? Do you see the resemblance?

Austin Matautia

Austin Matautia

Well, I think Austin is way cuter than the card!

Would you join me in praying for Austin as he continues to recover from this injury. He is a strong and resilliant young man and I pray that his spirit will continue to be lifted by the support he has from so many who love him. Let’s believe together for a complete and full recovery so that he can be back on the court doing what he loves so much very soon!

Get well soon #23! Sending you lots of love and long distance healing hugs!

Hello, Dear Friend

Meet my happy friend, Missy. She is a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator from New York and the head of the Glad Heart Stampers group! Missy is such a positive, happy person! Missy is one of those people who brighten a room when they enter it.

This very sweet and happy friend recently celebrated her birthday.

Missy at Brick Canvas in Utah

Missy at Brick Canvas in Utah

Last summer, Missy and I shared a fun adventure in Utah together. We have been friends for many years but the quality time we shared together during this trip allowed us to get to know one another even better.

Cindy and Missy at Brick Canvas

Cindy and Missy at Brick Canvas

After finishing our work with Stampin’ Up!, we spent time hiking in a couple beautiful places.

Hiking with Missy

Hiking with Missy

One of the highlights of our time together was a day spent with Donna Griffith. We visited her beautiful home, saw her stamp studio, and then headed to her cabin for an afternoon of fun and adventure.

Adventures at the Cabin

Adventures at the Cabin

Donna and her husband Jeff are such a lovely couple and were truly amazing hosts. We had such a wonderful time with them both.

Donna and Jeff

Donna and Jeff

While at the cabin we saw so many beautiful creatures like moose, rabbits and deer.

Deer

Deer

I also spotted several squirrels. Missy thought it was funny that I was excited to see a squirrel! I explained to her that we don’t have squirrels in Hawaii. Missy told me that at her home there are tons of squirrels and they make a big mess! Needless to say, she is not as big of a fan of these furry creatures as I am.

A couple months ago, Missy mailed me a package and inside was this cute squirrel dish towel. Now, I could see a squirrel anytime I went into my kitchen!!!

I used Missy’s thoughtful gift to inspire the birthday card I created for her.

Card and Dish Towel

Card and Dish Towel

Missy’s Card was created with the set Fable Friends. I used Real Red Card Stock as the base of the card since it matched the red on the squirrels scarf.

Life Is Grand Birthday Card

Life Is Grand Birthday Card


I absolutely love the sentiment on this card! It comes from the stamp set Life Is Grand. I used a Gold Faceted Gem to place in the center of the daisy flower. It added a little bit of texture and sparkle to Missy’s card.

I used other images from the Life is Grand stamp set on the inside of the card. There was also a pocket in this card where there was room to place a gift card.

Life Is Grand Card (inside)

Life Is Grand Card (inside)

After receiving her card, Missy texted me and said, “Happiness is a smiling squirrel and a delightful birthday card!” I’m glad receiving this card made my happy friend even happier!!