Tuesday, March 31, 2015

As the World Turns

  I admit it.  I've been having days where "my joy has been on holiday and my peace has almost past away." (-Jimmy Needham)
You will probably never know it, had I not said.  I normally won't venture out into the world when my head is down.  I am a people pleaser.  I know it makes folks uncomfortable when someone is falling apart and there is nothing they can do to fix it.  Somehow, though, I don't seem to mind torturing those I love the most.  Caregivers who hang in, who care to give again day after day deserve HUGE accolades.  Did you know there are quite a large amount of caregivers who leave?  They can't take it.  They feel they can never say anything right.  They have to take over roles in which they never signed up for.  Not only are they living along side the nightmare of impending doom of someone they love, they get the added bonus of not having the privilege to throw their own hissy fit whenever the urge arises.  They sit on the sidelines in crowded hallways, with all the others who are waiting, boldly so as to play the part of anchor when their patient/loved one opens the door from chemo to head home.  It would seem so heartless for one to give up and walk away from someone who is suffering, but I totally get it.  Which is why I believe my beloved husband is a saint.  He has taken much abuse in the last 14 months.  After we realized my cancer had come back, I insisted we take that cruise I've always wanted to experience.  Although we could not afford it, David never wavered in his response.  "Book it," he said.  I did and we went.  For a whole week the sun shone outside and in.  Cancer took a back seat to joy and peace.  Reality hit us in the face the second we came back, but I will never forget the sacrifice my husband is making so that we could enjoy just one week vacation from reality.  (Considering he is a realist, this is a major feat) 

  The realization that the world continues to turn even when you're no longer participating is crushing.  I am so thankful to those who continue to count us a part of their lives.  Thankful to those who, despite the ugliness of the situation, still include us in activities, send texts,cards and come by to visit.  Some of you haven't dropped a line because you don't know what to say.  I want to tell you it's ok.  I've been there.  I know you and love you, I understand completely.  Please don't feel guilty. (Remember, I'm a people pleaser.  If I thought I was causing you to feel any guilt, then I feel guilty!  It's a curse!)
  Work and client family have been on my heart lately.  You are very loved and terribly missed.  I do hope one day to return in some capacity.  If God wills, it can happen.  Thank you to those whose capable hands my clients have been placed in.  Please take good care of these special people. I love them all dearly.  
    Although the mood of this post is a bit blah, I can tell you with certainty that today, at this hour, "the God of hope fills me with joy and peace as I trust Him.  I overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13.  His mercy requires only that I trust Him, and I do.
  So here is my update: 
I was supposed to have treatment #17 yesterday, but my defenses are too low so I am receiving injections to encourage them along and will try for chemo again next Monday.  (I was surprised to hear this because I feel great, but evidently white blood cells don't have feeling :)  On my last visit to MD Anderson I was told by my doctor that I would be a candidate for liver surgery.  My counts are gradually going down and, as she put it, I am young and strong enough to take it.  So I will go back in May for scans and consultation with the liver team.  We suspect they will recommend resection and ablation.  This is what I have been hoping for since the beginning. 
  I just returned from a 3.6 mile run….ok jog….well, walked the inclines and jogged the declines… All to say, I AM living. I'm still here!  While my defenses are down I'll be doing most of that living close to home, but regardless, I will keep my chin up to the heavens.  Thank you for your continued prayers!  You are MUCH loved!!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thread Drawing

I love drawing with thread, which is essentially embroidery.  But I am lazy and stubborn, so as the band say's… I can go my own way.   Practice makes perfect, and I obviously haven't practiced embroidery enough.  But my grandmother's 80th birthday was a day away and as usual, I had nada.  Itching for some stitchery, I penciled on a scripture fitting of this precious woman and sketched a simple line drawing representing my sweet Nonnie.  Being left handed, I could not for the life of me get the stem stitch, so I ended up basically making up my own.  All in all, I felt like it looked ok enough to give her, but if I had time I would've done it over.  This could maybe qualify as a grown up version of giving her a picture to hang on the fridge :) .  It really is "crude" but I guess it represents my style anyway.   I finished it off with a pretty silk ribbon at the top and  wrapped her up.  Nonnie seemed to like it. 
It has inspired me to do a Proverbs 31 series.  That should give me some practice.  There are a lot of verses in Proverbs 31. 

Peace out,

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    1st chemo treatment  
March 2014
I've been blogging my cancer story over at Blog for a Cure.  It is a place to share your story with other cancer survivors.  Considering that these words have been shared with my family and friends, I've made the decision to move my thoughts here to my old art blog.  Here is my most recent post:
Jan. 15, 2014
I'm not a very deep thinker, although my mind is the bank of every internal speculation.  Words seldom leave my tongue without careful consideration, which oftentimes results in just keeping them in the vault.  This is part of the reason I don't update my blog often.  Sometimes I ponder whether sharing this uncomfortable, vulnerable situation was a smart thing to do.  But it' too late now.  
Giving you information regarding my health serves three purposes for me:
1.  Encourage others to get checked, watch for symptoms and ask for genetic testing when your family tree is displaying cancer so that you can be pro-active (I'll touch more on that in a moment).  Exercise and keep your nutritional needs met.  Learn about signs and symptoms. 
2.  Enlighten your soul with God's perfection.  I never really understood what the scripture "Teach me to number my days that we may gain a heart of wisdom"* meant (Ps. 90:12) until cancer, and I consider it a true gift.  It is my commission as a believer in Christ to share God's love.
3.  We live in a great community with many praying servants.  Requesting prayer for myself always seemed so unmannerly to me.  I would think about it (refer to the first paragraph), then decide there were far too many people more deserving of prayer than me.  Much bigger burdens to bear.  But I've learned the opposite.  Asking for prayer can be a humbling, and faithful means by which life can become richly blessed, even in the throws of cancer.  Believing prayer should be specific, causes me to be straight-out with you.  
My purpose for raising awareness is not to scare anyone.  It's really to educate.  Looking back, I never knew anything about cancer before January 27, 2014 at the age of 44.  I actually had convinced myself that because I worked out and kept a nutritionally sound diet (for the most part), I would heartily evade cancer.  Because of this arrogant attitude I did not listen to my body's warning signs in time.  Later, I would learn that my body was tricking me.  I have a haywire gene (or more specifically, a missing protein in the chain) that caused the cancer switch to be turned on and there is no off.  (K-Rass, if you're interested.)  I really have no family history to speak of, but those of you that do are at a higher risk and should look into getting a scope sooner than age 50.  Also, if you have any common generational cancers, you might consider seeing a genetic counselor.  As an example, Lynch Syndrome is a genetic mutation that is passed down from family members.  A person with Lynch is at a high risk of developing colon and female cancers.  (If this is boring you, I don't blame you a bit.  I would've skipped over this part too, back when I thought I was immune to cancer :) Armed with this knowledge, you could stay stay ahead of the ballgame, and hopefully catch things before they get hairy.  I did see a genetic counselor recently and don't meet any of the generational risks, but because of my age (44 is the average age patients are diagnosed with Lynch), my tissue is being analyzed.  I will have those results in a few days, but it's highly unlikely.  Thankfully.  Even in light of all this information, you ARE still at a lower risk of cancer when you eat right and exercise.  So don't go out and blow your great eating habits thinking it's all just a matter of luck; it's not necessarily.  
I was reminded recently of Psalm 90:12*.  Upon hearing the news this week, that cancer cells have regrown in my liver,  I've thought a lot about this verse.  I was told by the doctor to consider my illness chronic, like a diabetic.  Chemo will be my insulin for as long as I live, barring a miracle. (She didn't say that last part, I did ;)  I still have options, depending on the chemo doing its job, but remember, there is no off switch.  (scientifically, anyway...)  So, suddenly, I begin numbering my days.  My legacy is filled with too many shames.  Regrets and wrong choices.  I only have so much time to teach my children things I should've taught them already, but assumed I would always have tomorrow.  Suddenly, I am soaking up each moment with David, mindful of his love and ignorant about the position of the toilet seat.  Oh if only I had been numbering my days before.  Whether you have cancer or not, no one is promised one more day.  Not even doctors can tell you how long you'll live. They can guess. But only God knows our expiration date.  That's how smart the good book is. True words. Every one.  Through cancer, I have been taught why it's important to number my days.  
I encourage you to get off the fence.  Accept the grace and mercy that God offers and become a contagious Christ follower.  Don't wait till it's too late and especially don't wait until you're perfect enough.  That doesn't happen.  I am the most imperfect person I know, which is why I need that grace and mercy so much.  I decided as a young child to dedicate my life to Christ.  And I can honestly say, there were times when I wholeheartedly lived it.  But, often I didn't, and still don't.  The times I make myself to be near him, are when I am most at peace.  That's a gift, given by a perfect savior.  He takes me wherever or however I am.  Yuck and all.  
So, I ask you to continue to pray.  Pray that the chemo will do its job, and when I go back to Houston in 2 months, scans will show good results.  Pray for healing.  Not just for me, but for all those that I've met during this trip who also have cancer.  Especially remember kids with cancer.  Pray for caregivers and family members of those with cancer.  They are suffering too.  
Be the Love you are made to be.  Start.....NOW!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The White River Girls

Found: lots of treasures I didn't know were lost.  I've gone bonkers during my off treatment week, aiming to be as productive as possible.  
I rush because of the knowledge that the next week I'll be out of commission (like if you were forewarned that the flu was coming on Monday and recovery would take all week… every other week.)  So, I cleaned and reorganized my studio. : )
These transfers I made from some of my vintage family photos somehow became lost in the shuffle.  I couldn't wait to bring this one to life.  (Yes, I have used this one before.  Gifted it to my grandmother, who is pictured in the middle.)
I've discovered many graces in the midst of Colon Cancer and having more time 
to make art is a gift.  
More vintage photo mixed medias coming soon!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Card Exchange - Sneak Peak

Remember this post from last week?  Turns out it's a good thing I carved a stamp.  These things are taking me forever!  I hope it gets faster... Anyway, I'm having a ball making them.  And- each card going out means I'll be receiving one in exchange. Deciding to participate was a good thing.   Just a little intimidated though.  These people are talented artists!!

happy day!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wing-ed Words

Another (serendipitous) collaboration between dad and I.  He wanted to make the most of all the scrap wood from his Hark angels (below). These little happies and more will be at 

(Mantel Messengers)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday WIP

For me, stamp carving is therapeutic.  Makes a mess, but what doesn't make a mess that's fun?  This angel stamp will be going on to a few cards for a swap I am participating in.  She'll be traveling as far as Germany, which also means I will be receiving cards from Fa Fa Away too.  I'll be posting the final cards before they are neatly packed and sent away in the mail. 
Thanks @April Cole, for creating such a fun community!

Monday, November 11, 2013

God With Us

This little family has waited a long time to be (almost) finished.  All I needed was Christmas to be near. Just need a couple of finishing touches before adding them to the shop. Stay tuned....

Friday, May 31, 2013

Day to Remember

Commemorating 1 year  
A landmark event for this dating couple.  A little birdy told me she was tickled pink.  (my words, not the birdy) 
Customize one for your sweetheart here.

happy friday!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Heirloom Honored

A family heirloom commission is pictured (fuzzily) above. I never claimed to be a spoon bender, but I was willing to give it a try.   

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Right Words

A few years ago I posted this little collage I made for my friend and co-worker Amber who I love dearly.  It was her birthday and she never seems to mind when I gift her with some experimental crafty thing. 
 Amber absolutely loves her work and it shows.  
She is truly a "Grand Coiffeur"
Happy Birthday Amber!! XO

adding one to the shop

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Always Trust Your Cape

How am I this old and have never heard this precious song?
 (until now. thank you Mary...)  
Have you heard it?  Always Trust Your Cape, Guy Clark 
Does it not make your heart happy? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fickle Pickle

My life is a constant cycle of ever-evolving organized chaos. I'm forever rearranging the furniture,changing my mind like the wind blows. Some days I paint.  Some days I prefer the therapeutic hammering of the spoon and lighting up the torch.  So, I'm finding it difficult to be content with a good logo for Gus and Pantine and the Etsy shop.  Through trial and error,countless interrupted photoshop fails, and changing my fickle mind back and forth, I think I'm gonna call it.  This will have to do.  I'm actually pretty happy with it.  (Remind me to NEVER get a tattoo.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Triple Crown

Gotta love it when an idea hits you in the face. Not really in the face.  FaceBOOK.  Here's yer Triple Crown miss Sara. (love your design idea!) 

Can't wait to show you another cute one, where (someone...can't reveal yet) helped their son design a first year dating anniversary pendant.  It turned out quite fancy; made me smile. Pretty sure his little Miss will smile too.