A Special Gift

Although my Mom and I have very different personalities, I believe my "creative" side comes from her.  For as far back as I can remember my Mom always looks for ways to care for people in the most creative ways.  

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer my Mom was one of the first responders who ran to my house to hug me and pray for me.  Her love and encouragement continued throughout my entire journey.  I was blessed with her daily phone calls and text messages.  My Mom would often quote encouraging Bible verses to remind me that God was in control and I was not alone.  My Mom would also drop by often with food or flowers or just to check in and make sure I was okay.  I really appreciated this effort because I realize how challenging my Mom's life has become since my Dad was diagnosed with dementia.  

My Mom works around the clock to care for my Dad.  They have been best friends since they met as children at my Grandfather's church in Michigan.  My Mom helps my Dad get ready in the morning, she makes all his meals, drives him to his appointments and keeps an eye on him at all times.  The care she gives to him is really amazing and a true demonstration of how much she loves him.  Although my Dad is always smiling, he can no longer tell his wonderful stories or even carry a conversation at all.  So my Mom never hears the words "thank you" when caring for him.  In fact, we are not even sure he knows who she is anymore.  I say all this to share that my Mom is very busy because she is so dedicated to taking care of my Dad.  So when I received a special gift from her last week that she had handmade, I was amazed and blessed!

Unbeknownst to me, on the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer my Mom began to make me a quilt.   

Butterfly Kisses Quilt - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Butterfly Kisses Quilt - www.stampedwithaloha.com

The quilt which she labeled, "Butterfly Kisses" is made with colorful fabric.  If you look closely there are swirling butterflies stitched into the entire quilt.  The blue fabric has the cutest butterfly and bee pattern on it.  

I was so inspired by this quilt that I went right into my stamp room to make a coordinating card to send to my Mom to thank her.  This is what I came up with.

Garden In Bloom Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Garden In Bloom Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

On the inside of the card I added more Fresh Florals designer paper and a stamped bee from the Garden in Bloom stamp set.

Garden In Bloom Thank You Card (inside) - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Garden In Bloom Thank You Card (inside) - www.stampedwithaloha.com

My Mom thanked me for the card and noticed right away how it matched the quilt she gave me.  

I am very thankful that in this difficult season I was given an opportunity to have a greater awareness of how much my Mom loves and cares for me.   I am so grateful for her and the sacrifices she has made to create such a special gift.  I now have a treasured gift to remind me of her selfless love.  

We all have gifts and passions that can be used to bless others.  The key is finding the time to invest in doing them and asking God who He wants us to help today.  This quilt will forever be a reminder to me that during a challenging season someone was taking the time to think of me,   Time that I realize she had very little of, yet she found a way to create something beautiful that marked the start and end of a season that has given me a new appreciation for life as well as a greater understanding of how much I am loved.

This reminds me of the blessing of being a part of Stampin' Up!  It is what our company is all about.  This is the Stampin' Up! statement of the heart.

"To Love what we do and Share what we love, and help others enjoy Creativity and worthwhile accomplishments.  In this we make a Difference!

My prayer for you today is that you would be encouraged to share your gifts with those God brings to your heart and mind.  Keep your eyes open to the needs around you and ask God how you can bless and encourage those in need through the special gifts He has given you.  

You are unique, you are special, you are gifted.  You CAN make a difference!

 

 

 

Good News and God's Timing

On Tuesday, I had a full afternoon at the hospital.  I was there from 12:30 pm until 5:30 pm.  I had appointments to meet my two oncologists,  a genetics counselor,  a dietician and some other wonderful people who would be helping me navigate my journey to wellness over the next several weeks.  Although I was anxious to get the ball rolling with these appointments, I was also a little nervous about being at the hospital for so long because I've noticed after surgery that I get tired quickly and that seemed like a lot to do in one day.  To make matters worse, although my schedule had been quite free, this was also the day my monthly downline Inspiration Night was scheduled for.

Well, the day went great, better than anticipated!.  The staff at Queen's hospital were so loving and caring and each person I met was wonderful to talk with and provided me with so much guidance, care and information.   To be honest, I felt like a Queen at Queens! It was a day to learn about the next steps I would be taking and a day to find out and celebrate some very, very good news.

The first celebration was that I was given the official green light to go on the Stampin' Up! Incentive trip I had earned last year.  The trip is coming up in July and we have plans to go to Japan, Thailand and Korea.   This was a trip I've really been looking forward to and I thought for sure I'd have to give it up because I am still healing from surgery.  My doctors agreed that as long as I'm careful to follow some restrictions it would actually be a good idea for me to go and enjoy this time away before I start radiation at the end of July.  God's timing is PERFECT and I am so thankful I won't miss out on this trip that I worked so hard to earn.

The next good news is that I will only have to have radiation for four weeks.  That will begin at the end of July.  The other good news is that after radiation I will not have to go on any medications as long as I work hard at eating healthy, exercising and living a stress free life.  As I spoke with one of my oncologist he told me of a program where his patients took a hula class.  I joked with him and said, "Sign me up, I'll take Hula over Hormones any day".  Learning to dance Hula would be a wonderful thing to add to my plan for compete healing and I know plenty of talented hula dancer friends I could call to teach me!

Well, that is the latest update so please know that all of your prayers are being answered!   All is well and I am feeling so happy and blessed.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers and encouragement.   I hope you know how grateful I am for each one of you who have been so loving and supportive to me.

Two of the special people who have helped me with my journey are my downline Jodi and Norine.  Even though I told them I could probably do it, they insisted on taking over my monthly Inspiration Night this month.  It was a good thing they did because in hindsight I didn't realize I would have so many doctors appointments that day.  When I left my last appointment I realized that even getting to Inspiration Night on time was going to be a challenge.

When I arrived, the room was set up and everything was already running smoothly.  With them overseeing the design and prep work for all the projects I just had to take care of the recognition cards.  Jodi and Norine chose the stamp set Lots of Love for the featured set at Inspiration Night so I decided to make my recognition cards using that same set.  Here are the two cards I came up with.  These cards were given to anyone who promoted or was in my top ten for Sales in April or May.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I featured two new In- Colors on these recognition cards, Lemon Lime Twist and Berry Burst.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This card was cut a little shorter on the top layer so the white strip of card stock adhered to the inside of the card was exposed.  Even putting these two cards together was a challenge because I'm still struggling with getting tired but God sent an angel over named Pat who helped me cut the card stock so I only had to stamp and assemble the pieces to have them ready in time to recognizing my downline achievers.

Lots of Love Cards - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Cards - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I was so glad I was able to be at Inspiration Night.  It is always so fun to be with my wonderful downline.  They have been so encouraging and supportive of me and shown me an overwhelming amount of love.

Barbara at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Barbara at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Well, speaking of love, the theme for Inspiration Night was Sending Love.  It was based on the stamp set Lots of Love and the beautiful Whole Lot of Lovely Designer Series Paper.

 Here are the cards Jodi and Norine designed for our June Stamped With Aloha Inspiration Night.

June 2017 Inspiration Night - www.stampediwthaloha.com

June 2017 Inspiration Night - www.stampediwthaloha.com

I love the colors of this designer series paper and I love the variety of cards Jodi and Norine were able to create with a single stamp set.  Let's take a closer look at each card.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This first card is so sweet.  Letting someone know how much you love them is always a good idea.  That is exactly how we feel about Ann.  Since Craig was traveling an unable to prepare our meal, Ann coordinated and picked up dinner for everyone.  That's just who Ann is, a very thoughtful person with an infectious laugh, who is definitely loved by us all.    

Ann at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Ann at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Another amazing person is Ralene who offered to make cards for Michelle who was unable to attend at the last minute.  When I asked for help she quickly raised her hand and said, "I can do it" and just like this card says, she was doing it with a heart that was thinking of others!   

Ralene and Jill at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Ralene and Jill at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Here's a close up of the Thinking of You card.

Thinking of You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Thinking of You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This next card has a very beautiful sentiment on it.  It says, "Live with passion, Laugh out loud and Love deeply."

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

There was a "laugh out loud" moment at Inspiration Night.  I'm not sure what was happening but I heard lots of laughter coming from one of the tables.  I ran over and snapped a photo and captured this moment.  I was just hoping to capture all the laughter and smiles.  However, do you see I captured something else?

Jodi and Roxy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Jodi and Roxy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I still don't really know what they were laughing at but it could have been the fact that Roxy had a dimensional backing stuck to her face and didn't even know it.  It makes me happy to see my downline having such a great time as they are creating together building friendships along the way.

The next card uses my favorite piece of DSP in the pack.  I love the black and coral combination.

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Lots of Love Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I love the large sentiment that comes in this set.  This card could be used for many different occasions so it is very versatile.  

I always save my favorite card for last.  

Punch Art Kokeshi Girl Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Punch Art Kokeshi Girl Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Isn't this card adorable?  The little Kokeshi girl was made with our new Lemon punch.  This was by far my favorite card of the bunch and almost as cute as these two below.  If you would learn how to make this punch art girl or any of these cards, you can go to Jodi's website called The Stamping Owl by clicking here.

Consider Yourself Hugged, Jodi and Norine at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Consider Yourself Hugged, Jodi and Norine at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I am so tremendously blessed by the all the love shown to me by Jodi and Norine.  I love the message of this card and the fact that they took over and ran such an amazing Inspiration night was like receiving the best hug ever!  They did an awesome job from start to finish and everyone who came had a really great time.

Terry and Joy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Terry and Joy at Inspiration Night - www.stampedwithaloha.com

A few days ago I was on the phone with someone at the Stampin' Up! home office sharing with them about how I was going to be able to go on the incentive trip to Thailand.  They told me, "oh I am so glad you won't miss going to such an amazingly beautiful place".  I paused for a moment and thought about what she said.  Although I know Thailand is a beautiful place and Thai food is my favorite food to eat, my excitement had nothing at all to do with the place.  After all, I live in an amazingly beautiful place!!!  However, going to Thailand had everything to do with the people I would see when I traveled there.  

You see one of the greatest blessings that comes with being a Stampin' Up! demonstrator these past 19 years has been the friendships I have formed with my downline, customers, and co-demonstrators from all over the world.  They have always been wonderful, but during these past several weeks I have felt and experienced the reality of how much I am loved and cared for by such an amazing group of people. These people are more than just friends, they are like family to me.

People like my friend Meg Loven from Illinois who learned I will have to wear a mask on the plane and didn't hesitate to mail me a variety of adorable masks so that I could be cautious and fashionable at the same time.

Cute Masks from Meg - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cute Masks from Meg - www.stampedwithaloha.com

People like Jodi, Norine, Ann and Pat who made sure Inspiration Night would a fun night for all.  

My heart is filled with gratitude and thanksgiving knowing that I can trust that God's timing is perfect!  He is in control and I am grateful to Him for the blessing of today and the hope for tomorrow!

With a grateful heart,

Cindy

 

 

 

 

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com

Garden of Gratitude

On Monday, I opened a new stamp set called Graceful Garden and decided to make a card for one of my doctors.  I was going to meet with her this week to get the results from my last surgery and I just wanted to do something for her to let her know how grateful I was for her and the excellent care she has given to me.  Somehow when I stamp with someone in mind the ideas seem to flow more easily than when I am just stamping for fun.  

Here is the card I created for her.

Graceful Garden Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

This card features one of our new In Colors, Berry Burst.  I used card stock, ink pad and the gorgeous new crinkled seam binding all in this beautiful new In Color.  I textured the background  with a new Textured Impressions embossing folder called Garden Trellis.  For the greeting on the card I used the stamp set One Big Meaning.

After I made this card I decided it would be nice to make a whole set of cards to give not only to my surgeon but also to a couple of the other people at Queen's Hospital who I would be meeting with that day.  Just thinking of blessing these wonderful ladies with cards inspired me to create two other designs that would coordinate with this first card.  

 Here is the second and third card I came up with.

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I love how these cards are different but they all coordinate together.  I used the same two stamp sets on all three cards, Graceful Garden and One Big Meaning.  I really like how this set of Graceful Gratitude cards came out and I am really loving this new In Color Berry Burst!

I guess the reason why being thankful was on my mind is because this week although I was awaiting test results yet again, I was at peace.  I wasn't fearful about bad news.  I wasn't anxious about my potential travel plans.  I had confidence in God that no matter what the outcome He was in control and I could trust Him.   

When I got to my doctor's appointment, she came in and delivered some very good news.  Although during the second surgery they did find a little more cancer, the good news was they got it all.  Praise God no more surgeries were needed and I was officially on the road to recovery!  I know I still have a long road to travel  but I am excited to be moving forward to see all the lessons that God has for me as I continue to follow His plan for my life.

After this appointment ended I headed over to a meeting at Queens Hospital where I learned all about the Cancer Center and saw where I would be going for radiation treatments later in the summer.  I met the most wonderful people and had the opportunity to bless not only my doctor but a couple of other amazing women I met that day with these Graceful Garden Gratitude packets that I had made the night before.

Here is what the cards look like all together.

Graceful Garden Gratitude- www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Gratitude- www.stampedwithaloha.com

I made a matching envelope for each of these cards and then packaged them up in a clear bag so I would be ready to spread a little aloha that day!  

Here's a quick look at all cards with the coordinating envelopes I made.

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Spotlight Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Graceful Garden Thank You Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Can you tell that my heart is overflowing with thanksgiving and gratitude?  I realize how incredibly fortunate I am for this good report.   

As I close todays post I am remembering something and it is making me smile.  As I was stamping these cards I was listening to a podcast from Elevation Church.  The particular episode that came on was by the worship pastor who was preaching about God calling us to enter His presence with a grateful heart.  The Pastor referenced one of my favorite passages.

Psalm 100

A psalm of thanksgiving.

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2     Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
    go into his courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

I guess I didn't realize it until this very moment but the spirit of gratitude truly was surrounding me that day.   No wonder I walked into that appointment with so much peace in my heart.  

I hope to continue to learn to have an attitude of gratitude always knowing that even when things are difficult and challenging, I can learn to praise God and trust in His unfailing love.

Thank you so much to so many of you who have continued to bless me with cards, texts, flowers, kind words, "gentle" hugs, and especially PRAYERS!   You have made me feel incredibly loved and supported and your prayers are being answered!  

With a grateful heart, 

Cindy

 

 

 

 

 

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com

Card for a Queen

Greetings from my couch!  This is where I've been planted most of the week.  I've been feeling great, so great that resting has become a huge challenge because I'm ready to get up and GO!  I expected that after the second surgery I would be in a lot of pain but it hasn't been that bad.  I feel stronger every day and I know that is because so many people are praying for me.

Learning to rest - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Learning to rest - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Today my friend Cindy stopped by.  Cindy was actually sitting in her car in my driveway when she caught me sneaking outside to get the mail.  It was my first time outside this house all week and it felt great!  I appreciate Cindy coming over as she knew I was going a little stir crazy just resting on my couch and I was in need of some company!   Cindy had some cards she needed to make so having her stop by gave me the opportunity go into my stamp room and open up some of my new products for the first time.

Today I choose to work with the stamp set called Colorful Season.  I wanted to show it to Cindy because it has a cherry blossom stamp in it and years ago she was a Cherry Blossom Queen.  In fact, just a couple months ago she received the honor of being a judge at the 50th Anniversary Cherry Blossom Queen Pageant in San Francisco.  It was fun to create this card with Cindy sitting across the table from me.  It seems like with each stamp I would do she would gasp and say, "I LOVE THAT"!!!!.  It was the kind of "oohing and ahhhing" that demonstrators love to hear while they are demonstrating.  I knew that as soon as I was done making the card I would be giving it to Cindy because I could tell how much she loved it.

Colorful Season Cherry Blossom Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Colorful Season Cherry Blossom Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Here is the card I made for Cindy.   I featured one of our newest in colors, Powder Pink on both the card stock and ink pad.   I die cut flowers out of that same color from the Season Layers Thinlits. I also used a new Textured Impressions Embossing Folder called Garden Trellis for the background texture and I embellished the die cut flowers with pearls.  

This is a great stamp set because it has images that make it work for different occasions all year long.  So it is extremely versatile.  The thing I like best about this stamp set is the sentiments.  There were so many different ones to choose from such as "You Make Me Smile", "Thinking Of You", "Just Breathe" or the one I used on Cindy's card which says, "Life is a Beautiful Thing".  All of these sentiments are wonderful ways to express encouragement and I believe encouraging others is a very good thing to do.

I gave this above card to Cindy and then I made one more as a sample to keep.  On my sample I changed the sentiment and added Jewel rhinestones instead of pearls.

Colorful Season Cherry Blossom Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Colorful Season Cherry Blossom Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

For the sentiment on this card I choose another wonderful saying from this set.  It says, "May All Your Tomorrow's Be As Happy As Today".  I love it.  It reminds me of the value of being there for others when they are down and encouraging them.  Just like the way Cindy was there for me today.  

My situation hasn't changed.  I am still facing a lot of unknowns with my current health challenge.  I've been doing really well but there are times I struggle.  I know that there are those of you who are reading this today who are struggling too.  Some of you have contacted me and shared about some really difficult challenges that you are facing and my heart goes out to you.  When I think about what I am going through it pales in comparison to some of the difficulties many of you are facing right now.  My prayer for you is that you will turn to God and find peace, comfort and rest in His loving arms.    Here is a word of encouragement from the book of Matthew.

Then Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29

I'm back on the couch resting again.  I'm learning my limits.  I'm learning to pay attention.  Those are things I wasn't very good at before.   I am learning the importance of taking better care of my self with an awareness that God wants to teach me about who He created me to be.  He wants me to know Him more and that will happen when I learn to rest and be still in His presence.  As I've rested, I've witnessed his faithfulness and blessings over and over again.  Even today, as he knew the desires of my heart and sent a beautiful Cherry Blossom Queen to brighten my day!

Cherry Blossom Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Cherry Blossom Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Of course those of you who know this Queen understand that taking her picture is nearly impossible!  Thankfully, she was gracious enough to allow me to take a photo of her with this card so now I can encourage you just as she encouraged me.

I hope and pray you will all have a peaceful, restful and happy weekend!
 

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com