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

God's PERFECT Timing

A few months ago, I was lying on the couch at home alone. A friend texted to check on me and asked, “How are you doing”? I had no strength to text her back. I just lifted the cell phone and took this photo of myself and hit send.

A Challenging Day

A Challenging Day

I was tired and could barely breathe. I had been out three days prior with procedures at the hospital in town. Two of the procedures were biopsies in which we got results right away. The results left the doctors scratching their heads! They knew something was wrong but all they could see was inflammation! On this day I felt like I was nearing the end of my life. I didn’t know how much longer I could go on struggling to breathe like I was. I thought about my family and then I thought about my grandchildren to be and I tearfully lifted up a prayer, “Lord, I really hoped to one day see my grandchildren”.

The next day we had plans to go out to lunch as a family. Derek wanted to take me to someplace where I could sit outside and get fresh air. He chose my favorite place in Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian because he knows that Diamond Head is my favorite landmark in the world. At the Azure restaurant you can sit outside and eat and enjoy a Diamond Head view.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

I didn’t feel great that day. I had to walk really slow and my breathing was labored most of the time we were there. It was still a beautiful day and I felt blessed to be off the couch and out of the house. The thing that makes me feel the best is just being with my family. We always have such a great time together and its a good distraction to how I was feeling.

As we sat together, Kalani and Joyce surprised us all with a wonderful announcement. They shared that they were going to have a baby. As soon as they showed us the ultra sound picture, the tears began to flow.

Baby Baughman

Baby Baughman

What a precious gift, I could see my first grandchild. I was so touched watching Jess tear up as she realized she was going to be an Aunty and Uncle Brett looked so happy too..

Aunty Jess and Uncle Brett

Aunty Jess and Uncle Brett

Oh what a happy time this is for our growing family. Derek and I are so excited to be Grandparents.

Our Growing Family

Our Growing Family

After lunch, when I got home, I immediately thought of my prayer about hoping to “see” my grandchild. I said, “Lord, can I please rephrase my earlier prayer, I would love it if I could be there to not just see my grandchild but to hold him or her and watch them grow and maybe graduate high school, too”. LOL.

I don't know God’s plan for me. But I know he knows the desire of my heart. I also know that during my most challenging days, I think of this little bundle of joy and it makes me fight harder.

When I think of God’s perfect timing, I”m amazed at the miracle timing of this summer. I got really sick in April. In May and June we knew it was a mass in my lungs and I was having all kinds of crazy symptoms but after several biopsies and hundreds of tests, nothing was diagnosed. People were praying hard and in July, I was healthy enough to travel. I JUST got better!!! However halfway through our 2 week trip to Europe my symptoms came back which only interrupted a day of our travel when I went to a Rome hospital. We were able to get the meds I needed to finish our cruise to Greece and as soon as we returned to Hawaii, we got new test results that required me to have surgery and then the discovery that I had cancer.

Now, I could get upset and say, “why didn’t they find it in June”. If they had, I would have missed out on the MOST AMAZING FAMILY TRIP EVER. They found it however as soon as we got back and now with our grandbaby on the way I have a new reason to fight harder for this miracle healing.

For now I can rest knowing that God is in control I trust His plan and not my own. Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you”.

My first chemo treatment was on Tuesday, it went well and 4 days after that treatment I am feeling better than I did before. I’m still tired but I’m not coughing and my breathing is better!!! This is thanks to the prednisone…. and lots and lots of PRAYERS from so many people all over the globe. .

This week, I received a beautiful hand made knit prayer shawl from my friend Martha with a card signed by a whole bunch of people at her church in Tennessee who prayed over it. That blanket is covering me now as I write to you. I feel completely covered and surrounded by so much love.

And now you know another reason you can pray for me, that my prayer to be there for this little baby will be answered. Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers. I am feeling extremely blessed because of you.

Trusting in God’s perfect timing,

Cindy

PS.. Derek wants to be called Papa, but what should I be called? Any suggestions?

A Beautiful Gift

I have been overwhelmed by all the love and support that has been given to me over the past couple of weeks.  I feel so incredibly blessed to have so many thoughtful people in my life who are checking on me and letting me know that they are thinking of me and praying for me.

Today, I wanted to share a special gift I received from my very talented sister in law Jennifer, who is a Stampin' Up! demonstrator from Washington State as well as a member of my Stamped With Aloha ohana.   

When I received Jennifer's gift, I first opened this beautiful card.  

Trust in the Lord Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Trust in the Lord Card - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I so appreciate all the intricate details Jennifer put into making this card special.  I love all the layering, the glimmer paper, the textures, the sponging, the pearl embellishments and the embossed words.

 Jennifer wrote a thoughtful message inside the card and shared that this is one of her favorite verses.

These words from the Proverbs 3:5-6 are a great reminder of exactly what I need to do.  This encouragement is especially helpful while I am still in the middle of waiting on a pathology report that will inform me of whether or not the surgery I had was successful or not.

The card was created to coordinate with this gorgeous framed art piece.

Thoughts and Prayers Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Thoughts and Prayers Frame - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Isn't it beautiful?  Just like the card you see so much detail in Jennifer's creation.  One of my favorite parts is the way she embellished the bottom corner with a pink ribbon.  The pink ribbon is the international symbol of breast cancer.  This ribbon was always something that was special to me because of the awareness it brings.  I have so many close friends who have battled cancer and now with my recent diagnosis, it has an even more personal meaning to me.

Pink Ribbon - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Pink Ribbon - www.stampedwithaloha.com

What a special detail to remind me to continue to have hope, strength and courage.

This frame perfectly matches the decor in my new stamp room and I will put it on display to serve as an encouragement to all who come over to stamp with me.

A beautiful gift - www.stampedwithaloha.com

A beautiful gift - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I have learned so much on this journey about love and the blessing of being surrounded by loving thoughts and prayers.  

 Even though it is only 5am here I have already received a text message and an email from special friends who wanted to remind me that they are thinking of me and praying for me today.  Its a wonderful feeling to know that I am not alone in this battle.  I know God is with me and so are so many other wonderful people whose prayers have truly helped my heart be lifted.  I am encouraged to continue to put my trust in the Lord with all my heart with an understanding that He is in control.

Thank you Jennifer for using your God given talents to create this beautiful gift.  I know it will serve as a reminder to stay positive not only for me but to all who see it and are truly inspired by your beautiful creation.

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com