The Year That Was 2016

Man has this holiday season been a whirlwind!  I started feeling better, then my in-laws come and stay with us for a week, Christmas happens, my in-laws leave, and now it's already New Years Eve!  I enjoyed my family time so much but time could you slow down a bit?!

After my company was gone and I was able to sit still for a moment I looked over my journal for this past year and made a timeline of the highlights for 2016.  



What is sad is that I was sick for the majority of the year so when I asked myself what I thought about 2016 one word came to mind: WASTED 

Not only do I feel like I wasted this year it was rough in other ways as well.  I lost my grandmother, Dylan was diagnosed with diabetes, my mom had a cancer scare, and both my dad and sister had to have surgery.  Praise the Lord that everyone is well right now but I think we can all agree that we are ready to say goodbye to 2016.

I thought it would be fun to answer some questions about 2016 to look back on the year and think about what I would like to see different in 2017 so here we go.


1. What was your favorite single day/single event of the year?

My favorite event of this year would have to be me becoming a Stampin' Up! demonstrator and teaching my first Stampin' Up! class.  That entire day was amazing and I had so much fun!  Winning the November Verve Stamps challenge was a close second.  I have wondered if getting back into stamping was a good idea or not but teaching that class and winning that challenge was a validation to me.  I cannot wait to see what 2017 brings as far as my stamping journey.

2. What was the best thing you built/created?

I don't know if you would call it building but we did move our office to a different room of the house and now I am "building" my stamp room.  I got a cute shelf from my wonderful husband for Christmas which is going to help with a lot of my current storage problems.  He just put it up last night so I will be beginning 2017 getting organized! 

3. What was the most impactful decision you made for you and your family’s future?

After Dylan getting sick our families lives were forever changed.  We decided to become healthier together and are slowly working on ways to incorporate healthy changes into our lives.  It's a slow process but one that will benefit us all in the long run.

4. What was your best financial achievement?

We have decided to become a debt free family.  We have quite a bit of debt right now but we are working on a plan to get us closer to being debt free in 2017.  One tool we have started using in 2016 was Quickbooks so we can get an accurate picture of where we are financially and it has been eye opening to say the least.  Our plan is still a work in progress but one that we want to aggressively pursue in 2017.

5. Did you achieve any lifelong goals?

 I can't say that I've achieved any lifelong goals this year but I can say I am more actively pursuing lifelong goals than I think I ever have in my life.  The biggest pursuit at the moment is my book reviews which I hope will one day lead to my lifelong goal of becoming a writer.  

6. What was the hardest lesson you learned over the past year?

Never take your children or your family for granted.  With my grandmother, I always thought I had more time to go and visit her and before I knew it she was gone.  It happened so fast.  It's so easy to let every day life get in the way of your family, even those that are right in front of you.  I'm not saying that I neglected my boys by any means but after Dylan got sick I realized just how much I pushed them off to do unimportant things.  Now we do more things as a family.  I play Legos and Pokemon with them and enjoy every moment I get to spend with them.  I've learned just how precious life really is.

7. Did you develop any new hobbies or passions? Are there any new hobbies or passions you want to develop in the New Year?

I started stamping again!!  For 2017 I would love to design for a stamp company again.  I used to stamp for quite a few online companies and miss it so much.  I also hope to have a monthly stamp class.  I think I missed the community more than the stamping!

I also started jogging again this year even though I haven't been jogging much these past few months.  I have a 10k coming up in March that I really need to start training for and hope to get back into strength training and FINALLY lose this hysterectomy weight gain.  If I could get to 150 this year it would be amazing but honestly if I could get under 200lbs I would be happy.

8. What was the most humbling experience of the past year?

Experiencing all that I have with Dylan was definitely the most humbling experience of this year.  I see my world with fresh eyes.  Everything that has happened this year, both good and bad, has made me a better person.  I am realizing that my world is bigger than what is past the end of my nose and am thankful for each experience that opens my eyes to the truth.  My faith has grown more this year that it ever has and that humbles me.  God continues to do an amazing work and I continue to be in awe.


9. What is the one thing you are most grateful for from this past year?  

My family.  I love my family so much.  I don't get to see most of my family that often but when I do now I am present.  I am in every experience with a thankful heart.  I would never say that I am thankful for my son being diabetic but I am thankful for how God has used it to enrich our lives.  My family closer now than we have ever been.  I love it.

10. What are your personal goals for the coming year? Family goals? Religious goals? Health goals? Financial or career goals?

 I haven't been able to sit down and think about what I want to achieve in 2017 so this will have to be answered in my first New Years post! :)



If you've stuck with me this long then KUDOS to you!  I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years!!!

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Christmas Birthday

Please tell me why when I finally have some time to take care of what I need to take care of I get sick.  I was really sick a few weeks ago and finally was feeling like a normal human being last week.  My husband comes home last Tuesday complaining that he's not feeling good and everyone at his job is sick.  I played it safe and kept my distance, but this past Sunday it all hit me again.  So, here I am on my second round of antibiotics freaking out because Christmas is only a few days away and I have not finished everything I wanted to get done.

Before the sickness took me down for the count I was able to play with some of my new Verve goodies for a bit!!  I have several Christmas birthdays coming up and thought I'd make a simple birthday card with a little Christmas flair.


I have just a few scraps left of this wonderful Christmas paper from Stampin' Up! that I've had for years.  So long in fact, that I cannot for the life of me remember what it's called, but I vowed that I would use every scrap and I am happy to say that the scraps are nearing extinction.  Just a few cards or Project Life pieces and it will be gone!

This card is super simple but I love it!  I used one of the stamps from the Die Sidekicks set and cut it out using the Vintage Oval die.  I wanted something to highlight the sentiment so I cut out an Old Olive circle using a Classic Circle Nestability. The star and sentiment are from the Chevron Love set which I am in LOVE with!  The star is stamped in Old Olive and the sentiment in Chocolate Chip.  I added some bright red grosgrain ribbon and a few Swarovski jewels finish off this sweet, simple Christmas birthday card.

I still have so much to do and this cold (or whatever crud I have) is really cutting into my time!  I have family coming to stay with us and my house is a disaster but I'm still so excited they're coming.  I love presents but the time with family is so much more precious to me.  I just love this season!

Stamps: Chevron Love, Die Sidekicks (Verve Stamps)
Paper: Unknown DSP, Whisper White (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Old Olive (Stampin' Up!)
Accessories: Banner Triple Punch (Stampin' Up!), Circle Nestability, Dimensionals, 
Red Grosgrain Ribbon, Swarovski Jewels, Vintage Oval Die (Verve Stamps)
2

In Everything Give Thanks

I have had such a thankful heart lately.  I don't know if its the holiday season or the fact that this year is almost done.  I am ready for 2017!!  Ever since D was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I've been battling depression majorly.  Just in these past few weeks I've slowly started to feel the cloud around me lift and I am so thankful.

Then this past week I was blessed with a Verve Stamps gift card!  SO thankful!!  I placed my order a few days ago and after I hit send I was so pumped!  I cannot WAIT for it to get here so I can play!!  I decided to work some energy off and play along in Verve's December inspiration challenge again. :)

I was drawn to the color scheme but more of the deep, richer colors.  I also loved the bling so I added a little of it on my creation.


I used one of the stamps from the Scripture Medley 1 (which is on SALE right now!) which is a verse that I strive to daily live by.  No matter how I feel or what my circumstances, I give thanks to the One who is watching over me.  I know it's not a Christmas theme but I wasn't really in the Christmas card/page mood although I was listening to Christmas music when I made this.  Go figure!

I am very much in a Project Life mood so I decided this was going to be another card for a new layout. I have no idea what pictures are going to go with this page yet but I know the right pictures will pop out at me soon enough.  I am hoping to do a lot more pages in 2017.

I kept the sketch simple so I could show off this yummy paper that I cannot for the life of me find online!  I had a friend give some of her stamping stash when I decided to get back into stamping.  (Bless you Michelle!!) so there is no telling where it came from but I LOVE it!  The colors are gorgeous and sponging the edges with Tea Dye distress ink really gave it a vintage look.

I was loving this look so much that I decided to make another card for my Project Life page.


I actually got this idea from the scraps from the previous page.  I'm really trying to be frugal and use what I have.  This sentiment is a digital image from Verve from awhile ago that I've coveted.  I just love it!  I used my snowflake punch from Stampin' Up! to make the snowflake/flower.  I also sponged the edges of this card with the Tea Dye distress ink, which is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

My Verve package shows it should be here Saturday so don't be surprised if you see a lot more Verve on the blog VERY soon.  I can't wait!!

Card #1
Stamps: Scripture Medley 1 (Verve Stamps)
Ink: Tea Dye Distress Ink (Tim Holtz)
Paper: Butterfly (MME), Whisper White (SU!)
Accessories: Jewels, Pool Party Ribbon (SU!), Sponge, Sweet & Sassy Framelits Dies (SU!)

Card #2
Stamps: Free Digi (Verve Stamps)
Ink: Tea Dye Distress Ink (Tim Holtz)
Paper: Butterfly (MME), Whisper White (SU!)
Accessories: Banner Triple Punch (SU!) , Jewels, Snow Flurry Punch (SU!), Sponge

4

Winter Coffee Lover's Blog Hop: Have A Little Joy in Your Cup

I had no idea that they had a coffee lover's blog!  Where have I been??  Well, they had me at coffee. ;)   AND they're having a super huge blog hop?  I'm down!

When I went to look for a coffee stamp set in my stash I realized I've given them all away since I never thought I would stamp again. *sniff*  Trust me, this WILL be remedied!

Have you SEEN all the amazing creations on the hop yet?  If you haven't check them OUT!

I also wanted to play along with this weeks Mojo Monday challenge and combine it with the coffee lover's blog hop.


I tried my best to draw/cut out a coffee cup and stamped it with the butterfly from Verve's Easter Joy set.  I used a Sakura Stardust glitter pen and put dots along the stamp to give it a little bling, added a red Swarovski jewel in the middle, and popped it up on dimensionals. I used a flourish from Filigree Fantasy to look like steam coming out of the cup, and the sentiment is from the Floral Whimsy set. 

The paper is from the Adventure 6x6 stack from My Mind's Eye that I distressed with my scissors.  I didn't realize until after I glued everything down that the vanilla panel was supposed to go over the espresso ribbon panel.  Oops!  I hope the challenge police don't disqualify me for that! ;) 

I only had a little of my cocoa gingham ribbon left so I had to improvise a bit but all in all I don't think it turned out half bad!  The Coffee Lover's Blog Hop theme is winter and that to me means rich, warm colors and nice, hot coffee; not just snowflakes and Christmas. 

There are so many amazing sponsors included in the Coffee Lover's Blog Hop including Verve Stamps!!  If you do not have a coffee stamp Verve has an amazing FREE digital stamp set.  I wanted to use it but my printer bit the dust a few weeks ago and we can't afford to replace it yet.  No worries though!  I saved it for later use. ;)

Enjoy the hop!

Stamps: Easter Joy, Filigree Fantasy, Floral Whimsy (Verve Stamps-all retired)
Paper: Early Espresso (Stampin' Up!), Adventure (My Minds Eye)
Ink: Early Espresso (Stampin' Up!), Rich Cocoa (Memento)
Accessories: Cocoa Gingham Ribbon, Dimensionals, Real Red Grossgrain Ribbon (Stampin' Up!), Red Swarovski Crystal, Sakura Stardust Glitter Pen
24

I Won!!

I never win anything.  Ever.

Today that has changed and I am so thankful that it has.  I've had a rough few days and God knows I needed some happy.

I was getting caught up on my favorite blogs and getting inspired by everyone's creations in the blogosphere and couldn't believe when I stopped by The Verve Blog and read that I was the November blog hop commenter winner!!  D was sitting right next to me on the couch and I scared him when I started squealing.  Haha!  Sorry baby...it's not every day your mama wins something.  ;)  

Verve has also posted their December challenge which is super cute and a great color combo.



Go check it out, comment on the design teams blogs, and maybe you'll be the next winner!  

I'm off to get started on my challenge creation and try to narrow down my Verve wish list which is going to be incredibly hard.  I love it all! 
0

Do You Ever Feel Stuck?

December always seems to be a time of reflection for me.  With the new year looming it seems like the perfect time to read back over my old journals and see if I have accomplished all that you set out to achieve that year.

Every year I feel happy and disappointed at the same time.  I don't think any of us ever set out to fail but after reading my writing from this past year I realized that I did not accomplish much of what I set out to and that hurts my heart.

One idea keeps popping up in my mind:  I'm stuck

Do you ever feel that way?  It's like my car is stuck in the mud.  My tires are spinning but I am going nowhere.  I have all of these dreams and ideas!  My mind won't stop with them and yet here I sit just spinning.
Photo Credit: Unknown

Strong was my word for 2016 (you can see why HERE).  I think I've achieved strength in a few areas of my life.  As we get closer to 2017 I will go back in revisit my goals for the year and see which ones I've accomplished and which ones I'm still striving for.

It's been a tough year for me.  It's been a tough year for my family.  BUT we are all staying as strong as we can and taking everything day by day, giving it all to the Lord.  In saying that, I personally can't shake this stuck feeling.

2016 has brought blessings in my life 


I love that I am writing again and am doing book reviews.  It's always been a dream of mine and I am starting to set that into motion.  I also love that I am stamping again and that I started my Stampin' Up! business back up again.  Stamping has always been a wonderful outlet for me and I love that I am sharing that love with my boys.

I fall more in love with L every single day and thank God that he has allowed me to go to work part time so I can spend as much time with my boys as I can.  That is one of the greatest blessings of this year.

What continues to "weigh" on me is my weight


I hate that I've allowed my weight to get so out of control.  I think that's my biggest "stuck" at the moment.  I've tried my old ways of losing weight but none of them work.  My doctor continues to tell me to lose weight but then offers no other advice but to "continue to diet and exercise" with no other comments.  I feel so alone.  We can't afford a gym membership and even though we converted one of our rooms into a gym I can't get motivated to work out in there.  It depresses me to no end.

I think what I'm missing more than anything is community.  I know there are a lot of online forums and groups for weight loss, and I have tried a few, but there is nothing more motivating to me than for someone to call and say, "Hey! Let's meet here and lets do this!"  Right now I only have myself and my motivation is zero.  I need a partner in crime.

I tried a few challenges this year but didn't finish any of them.  I tried signing up for a 5K to up my motivation and was actually getting consistent about training, and even lost a few pounds in the process, only to get injured during training.  I had to walk the entire race and I gained all the weight back plus a few more pounds.  At this moment, I weigh almost 20lbs more than I did at this time last year.  Unacceptable.

I really want to finish 2016 STRONG so I am setting myself a goal for this month:

15 minutes of movement


I'm not going to put any restrictions on myself as far as what activity.  It can be walking, dancing, strength training, videos, whatever.  Just as long as I get off my tush for 15 minutes and do something!!

I am hoping 2017 will be the year that I finally rid myself of this weight.  Three years is long enough especially when before then I was doing so great.  If anyone ever tells you that a hysterectomy won't mess you up they are SO lying! #justsayin

Maybe I should set a goal to not eat anymore pumpkin pie too.  Oh holiday season and your delicious treats! ;)
0

Stamping Saturday: Christmas Cards & Cupcakes

Today was my first Stampin' Up! card class entitled: Christi's Christmas Cards & Cupcakes Extravaganza!  I'm kidding about the name but NOT about the Christmas cards and cupcakes! ;)

Since this is my first class since coming back to card making AND it's the holidays I wanted to do a few special little touches for my girls.  The first idea was to have something SWEET since my official Stampin' Up! team name is Sweet & Sassy Stampers so I picked up some holiday cupcakes for us to snack on while we were stamping.



Sorry I forgot to get a picture of all the cupcakes but let me tell you they were adorable and delicious!!   Actually, so was the first card that we made!



I found THIS card on Pinterest and fell in love.  The Candy Cane Lane designer paper is adorable and I just adore those gingerbread houses.  I had the girls make two cards of each design.  This design was more on the traditional side as far as colors and theme and so the next card I wanted to be a bit more contemporary.



I also found THIS card on Pinterest and loved everything about it!  I realized as I was getting the card kits together that I did not buy enough of the Sweet Sugarplum ribbon (which is on clearance right now! Go snag some while you still can!) so I had to use some of my coveted Pool Party glitter ribbon for the other card and that ended up being the class favorite! Go figure!



We had such a good time getting together!  Two of the gals in the class had never stamped before and one girl that used to stamp but had quit are now all excited to stamp again and are asking for another class in January!  I am SO excited!!

I had wanted the class to do a little stocking stuffer that they could either keep or gift this year a well as the cards but time wouldn't have permitted something like that so back to Pinterest I go and I found a simple tutorial on chapstick holders.  Perfect!



I made each girl her own holder (coordinated chapstick included of course) and gave them the link to the tutorial so they can make more themselves.



I used scraps from my Candy Cane designer paper to make the holders very festive.  I cannot tell you how incredibly easy these are to make.  To me, giving my class this treat and seeing the happily surprised looks on their faces was my favorite part of the entire afternoon.


The class was amazing and I think each woman there needed the stamping therapy time.  For me, it got me very excited about my Stampin' Up! business.  I am already thinking about my next class in January which will be using something from the Occasions catalog coming out January 3rd!  I can't wait!

Thank you to all who attended!  Can't wait to see you in January!!

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**Don't forget that the Year-End Closeout is still going on with many items marked down to 60% off - including items that I used in my projects today.  Hurry while supplies last! 

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Card #1 Christmas Cheer
Stamps: Tin of Tags
Paper: Candy Cane Lane DSP (Holiday 2016), Crumb Cake, Real Red, Whisper White
Ink: Early Espresso
Accessories: 2" Circle Punch, Big Shot, Candy Cane Lane Bakers Twine, Dimensionals, Softly Falling Embossing Folder, Sweet and Sassy Framelit Dies

Card#2: Christmas Snowflakes
Stamps: Flurry of Wishes
Paper: Basic Black, Whisper White
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Sweet Sugarplum
Accessories: Big Shot, Dimensionals, Pearl Basic Jewels, Snow Flurry Punch, Softly Falling Embossing Folder, Sweet Sugarplum Glitter Ribbon (Holiday 2016)

Special Delivery Chapstick Holder
Stamps: Tin of Tags
Paper: Candy Cane Lane DSP (Holiday 2016), Real Red
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Banner Triple Punch, Big Shot, Chocolate Chip Linen Ribbon, Chocolate Wire Mesh, Dimensionals, Simply Scored Board, Sweet and Sassy Framelit Dies

2

I Am Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I just found Bloglovin' and I would love if you would follow my blog!  If you too are on Bloglovin' please leave a comment and I will follow you too!  I'm always looking for new blogs to check out.

FYI: I've decided to revamp the look of my blog and make it more user-friendly so my site might be a little crazy until I get it all finished.  Thank you for your patience and I hope you like the changes!
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Victoria


You can find the full review of this book HERE


Victoria is going to air on Masterpiece Sunday, January 15, 2017.  The author, Daisy Goodwin, also wrote the miniseries while writing the book.  After watching the trailer, it sounds like the story is going to stay very close to the book which excites me even more.
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Stamping Saturday: Feeling Inspired

I cannot believe the holiday season is already upon us!  Truth be told, I am thankful that 2016 is almost over.  I had such high hopes for this year but despite a few shining moments the majority of the year has not been so great for me or my family.  Usually by this time I am sad to see the year end but this year I'm looking forward to it and cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store!

One of the things I am SO glad that has happened this year is me stamping again!!  I have my first Stampin' Up! class next Saturday and am busy getting everything all together.  It's going to be a small event with some of my girls from my old classes back in the day which should be a blast!  To break up the monotony of continuous cardstock cutting I thought I would participate in Verve's November Inspiration Challenge while it's still November!

2

Happiest of Days Despite Being Sick

Every fall I get sick.  It's never some simple cold but more like the flu or pneumonia.  This year it was  acute bronchitis and a severe upper respiratory infection.  Fun huh?  It's been over a week and a half and I'm still feeling it bad despite finishing my antibiotics and clearing out half of the cold/flu aisle at CVS.  All I have to say and thank you Jesus for inhalers, nasal sprays, and humidifiers or I would not be functioning at all.

I have my FIRST Stampin' Up! class the first weekend in December and as I impatiently await my order for the class to come in I thought I would get a little inky and made a sweet, simple little card to share today.

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Open


You can find my review of this book HERE
0

Armor of God: Total Game Changer

I read books all the time.  There are very few books that I do not finish but for some reason every time I start a Bible study I never end up finishing it.  I have at least six Bible studies that are sitting in my office that I've started but for whatever reason I've never finished them.  This is SO embarrassing for me to admit but isn't confession one of the steps to recovery?

When my church started a summer women's Bible study of the Armor of God I knew this was my chance to complete one.  Maybe my problem has been not having accountability to help me finish?



I was so proud of myself!  We started in June and as the weeks went on I kept up with my homework and never missed a weekly meeting until Dylan ended up in the hospital the first of August.  Our final meeting was the Thursday that Dylan came home from the hospital.  I was heartbroken but my baby definitely came first and at least this time I had a good excuse for not finishing the study.  

Despite my circumstances of adjusting to life with a Type 1 diabetic child I was determined to finish this study so I emailed our women's ministry leader a few weeks later, explained why I wasn't able to attend the last meeting, and asked if there were some way I could get a copy of notes or a video from that final meeting.  She couldn't send me the actual video that the group watched but she did send me a condensed version of the video which sadly sat untouched in my inbox for weeks.

After having a serious talk with my husband last week about procrastination and how I want more than anything to change my procrastinating habits I vowed to finish the Armor of God study by the end of October.  I am proud to say that on October 22nd I finished!!  I actually teared up and prayed a prayer of pure thanksgiving when I read that last sentence not only because I completed the study but because of everything that I have learned along the way.

Because of this study I have made new friends at church, I have completed my first Bible study, and most importantly I am starting to truly see myself the way that God sees me.  This study (especially this last week) has opened my eyes to so many lies that I've been believing about God and myself as a child of God.  I have felt trapped and like I've been in a battle my entire life but for the first time I feel truly free.  I am free!  I cannot tell you how amazing this feeling is.  It is a total game changer. 

I wanted something to commemorate this amazing feat as well as serve as a reminder of my newfound knowledge and freedom so my family took me to Mardel's so I could pick out something.  I really wanted a picture to hang on the wall to remind me of each piece of armor that I have learned about and need to daily put on but we couldn't find anything that fit our decor.  I am happy to report that I did not leave the store empty handed.  



I had been thinking about a bracelet or some type of jewelry that I could wear as a reminder and this ring is exactly what I wanted!  It has a condensed version of Ephesians 6:13-17 on it and is a beautiful reminder for me to stand firm!  It was hard for me to get a good picture of it but you can find it on Mardel's website.  It's not expensive by any means and I'm sure will one day tarnish but for now it will serve as a reminder and will forever be one of my most cherished possessions.  

I also wanted to share with you one of my favorite graphics from From The Heart Art showing off each piece of the armor of God.  I've had it on my Pinterest for awhile and just love it.



If you have not done this study yet I would HIGHLY recommend it.  I am hoping (Lord willing) to be able to afford the leader kit one day and lead my own study in my home.  In my opinion, this is a study that ALL women should go through.  It's time Christian women learned how to fight and this is the study to help prepare you. 
SaveSave
0

Prayer Is A Privledge


You can find my review for this book HERE
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The Best Is Yet To Come

I love is stamping.  

It's been a passion that I haven't been able to pursue much these past few years and it makes me sad.  When I went through all my "drama" and my deep depression I think I lost my muse.  Since I'm slowly feeling better I am beginning to get my loves back.  One of those is reading which is why I'm SO excited to be a book reviewer but I am also falling in love again with stamping.

About a month ago I went to a Stampin' Up! party.  When I began stamping in 2007 I was a demonstrator and loved it but when I lost my passion I also let my being a demo die with it in 2010.  After going to the party the light was sparked again so in September I once again signed back up as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator!  There are some amazing ladies near me that are passionate about Stampin' Up! like me so I joined their amazing team. :)

We have a private Facebook group and each week we have a challenge.  Last week it was a color combo: 
Blushing Bride, Rose Red, and Mint Macaroon

I was not too psyched about the combo because (a) I don't have a lot of current SU colors and (b) it just wasn't jiving with me at first. 

Once I paired it with last week's sketch challenge I ended up with a pretty cute CAS card!


Like I said, my stamping supplies are extremely limited so to be able to do an all SU card was a challenge in itself but I like it!  

If you've never heard of Stampin' Up! or haven't seen what they're up to in awhile be sure to check out my website.  I will be posting more SU creations here on the blog as well as specials that the company is running.  This does not mean that I will use JUST Stampin' Up! on everything I create (Verve still has my heart) but maybe in the future I might have a Stampin' Up! only blog.  Right now I'm still so new I am trying to get back into the swing of things and learning everything that has changed the past few years in the world of stamping. 

I hope everyone has an amazing Saturday!  It is absolutely gorgeous here in Texas!  This afternoon I am going to a Christmas card class to get some demo ideas which I am so excited about and then tonight is date night with my man!  :)  Good times...


Stamps: Frosted Medallions
Paper: Love Blossoms DSP, Mint Macaroon, Whisper White
Ink: Rose Red
Accessories: Metallic Sequins, Paper Piercing Tool, Whisper White Ribbon
0

Searching the Scriptures


You can find my review for this book HERE
0

Still Holding Onto Summer

Every fall it never fails.  I end up getting super sick and disappear for a few weeks.  This year is no exception.  I was in the hospital this past week for a kidney stone and apparently another one is on the way.  I know I'm on 35 but my body is acting like its much older.  It's hard to deal with but I know the Lord is using this time to grow my faith so even though I pray for healing I am ok that so far the answer has been, "Not yet."

The whole time I've been sick I have been itching to stamp so once I felt up to it I decided to make a simple little note card that proves I am still holding onto summer (at least in the stamping sense).


I've had the Berries & Cherries set from Taylored Expressions for years but have only inked it up a few times which is insane because cherries are my everything.  Fun Fact: My husband even nicknamed me CherryPie because of my obsession with them.  True story.

I'm really trying to use a lot of my older patterned paper and found this retired one by Stampin' Up! and I cannot for the life of me remember the name but I've always loved this color combo.  The card is a 3x3 and I was really going for a picnic look to it.  The whole thing makes me think of summer which is usually my favorite season but this year I am so glad fall is here.  This summer was rough and I am thankful its over.  I am on to bigger and better things. ;)

This card is super simple but I simply love it and I LOVE that I got a little stamping therapy in!  It's been WAY too long.

I'll be back later this week with another book review and hopefully more eye candy. :)
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Gratitude: In More Ways Than One

Gratitude.  It's something that's so easy when things in your life are going peachy and very tough when things aren't going so well BUT it's something we should be doing daily despite our circumstances.

When those times are tough and you're really struggling to be grateful it's nice to have something that will help you get out of that worry/stressed mindset into that peaceful/thankful frame of mind which is why I'm so excited to be showing off my new Gratitude Prayer & Praise Coloring Journal from Tyndale's Living Expressions Collection!


I was SO excited when Tyndale asked me to review this coloring journal.  I've been doing an adult coloring book on my iPad for awhile but have been scared to try my hand at actually coloring so to say that I was out of my element is an understatement.


After the sweet introduction you turn the page and on the left hand side there is a prayer and Bible verse and on the right side you can use the space to write out a prayer or journal about that days subject.  I love how they have a few things colored for you so you can get an idea of what you want to do but leave the majority of the border blank for you to color to your heart's content.



I decided to start with something small since I wanted to test out my Copic markers to see if I could use them since it's been awhile.  These little hearts colored beautifully but turn the page and....


#Copicfail 

I was so sad!!  I was really hoping to use markers but the paper is definitely not thick enough for it so I pulled out my colored pencils instead and got to work. I'm sure I'll figure out a way to fix my oops when I get to that page! LOL


The colored pencils do not give that smooth look that I love but it was still fun finishing my hot air balloon.  While I was coloring my little man came in asking what I was doing and asked if he could color a little too.  Since this page was telling me to love each other I decided that meant that my baby could add some of his artistic talent to my page.


While Dylan was coloring I remembered that I still had my Koh-I-Nor Woodless Color Pencils so I pulled those out and gave them a try.  They definitely colored a lot smoother which I preferred but Dylan stuck with the Crayola colored pencils.


My baby did a great job but I think he's a perfectionist like his Mama because this little bit took him quite awhile and he still wasn't happy with it.

I just love that I got to share this precious time with my son as well as talk about what it means to love one another.


I had meant to have our page completed when I posted this but my husband was rushed to the hospital Friday morning with a kidney stone so this weekend has not been what I had planned at all.  The stone came out this morning (praise the Lord!) but he is still sore and now I'm feeling like I'm trying to get a cold.  When it rains it pours but I'm being thankful through the storm! ;)

I do love how coloring gets your mind off of things and when you are coloring in a gratitude journal your mind automatically moves to the Scripture and how you can apply what you just read on the previous page to your life.  I am learning that coloring is a wonderful way for you to meditate and when I feel like writing there is space for me to do so.

I love everything about this journal except I do wish the pages were thicker for those of us that do not like coloring with colored pencils.  I did find out that there is an Inspire Creativity page on Pinterest that gives you ideas as well as free downloadable samples for not only this journal but others in the Living Expressions Collection.  One of the pins had a girl painting on her page so maybe that's my next coloring route.  If anyone has any good ideas for paints that wouldn't bleed let me know!

I'm off to color, journal, meditate, and be grateful through the storm. :)

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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There is Hope! 41 Will Come

God's timing is so amazing.  Sometimes you look at a certain situation and you see God all up in it.  This situation might not be easy.  Actually I can guarantee it not but you know that God is allowing it for a reason and you pray, give it all to God, and walk by faith every moment until you find yourself victorious.

A few months ago Tyndale House Publishers graciously accepted me as one of their reviewers/bloggers of new releases and each month I will be sharing with my readers some of the amazing books that are being published.

I was so excited when my first book came in: 41 Will Come by Chuck E. Tate.


When I first read the introduction I knew this was going to be something God was going to use in my life. I've had issues I've struggled with my whole life.  Maybe God was going to open my eyes about one of those issues.  Little did I know that this book was going to help me go through one of the hardest challenges of my life.

40 is a significant number in the Bible and though the author does reference them he's more focused on 41.  What is 41?

 "The number 41 represents the dawn of a new day - the hope and promise that if you don't quit, the rain will stop, the giant will fall, and you will enter your 'promised land.'"  

Just reading that gave me hope.  All of us are on a journey.  Some of us are about to enter a storm, some of us are in a storm, and some of us just got out of a storm.  All of us!  40 is the storm; 41 is the rainbow.

A week after I started reading this book my 10-year-old son was in the emergency room then rushed to the PICU with poisoned blood and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.



Once we got Dylan home from the hospital and fell into a new normal I picked up the book again and it gave me so much hope!  I wish I could say I'm in my promised land right now but I've got several fronts on me at the moment so it could be awhile before I'm in my promised land but that's ok!  Each story that the author references reminds me that even in the storms God is still working and oh when I hit that promised land...baby, it is on! :)

I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone!  Mr. Tate's writing style is wonderful and the personal stories he tells are great!  He's funny, encouraging, and heartfelt.  This is the author's first book and I'm positive it's not going to be his last.  Grab a copy! I promise you won't regret it.

NavPress/Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review
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NEW Verve?! Woohoo!!!

If you've read my blog or seen any of my recent creations you know that I am a HUGE Verve Stamps fan.   The obsessions started way back when they were still Verve Visual in 2007.  Julee's style is something I've aspired to for years and every time I'm on any Verve Stamps site I am immediately inspired.  PLUS it is a Christian company and I fully support my Christian sisters. ;)

This Friday is their August release and each day this week their amazing design team is showing off the goods.

I just poured me a cup of coffee and sat down to blog hop and let me tell you it was amazing!  I am SO inspired and I'm already begging Louie to let me purchase the two sets they've showed off already!

Head over to the Verve blog and start hoppin'!  I promise you will NOT be disappointed. :)

I think after I get the kiddos settled with their homework later I just might get inky.  It's been such an tremendously stressful week already and it's only Wednesday!  *sigh*  I need a little stamping therapy. :)
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First Day of School 2016

Emotional Mama over here!!!!  Yesterday was way to crazy to be blogging so I'm a day late BUT I had to show off my handsome boys on their first day of school. :) 


You know how when you think about your childhood there is a certain starting point in your mind where your memory becomes a lot more clear?  My starting point was 6th grade.  I have memories of earlier than that but they're sporadic.  6th grade was a defining year in my life for a lot of reasons and here I am looking at my own son going into that very same year.  Craziness!!

Eric is even in beginner band like I was but he is playing the trumpet which is actually one of the instruments I always wanted to learn how to play.


Despite me being a nervous wreck the entire day Dylan did wonderful!  I guess he's out of the honeymoon phase because his numbers have been low lately and were low the entire school day.  So low in fact that I'm most likely checking with the doctor today to make sure this is normal.  I've never been a worry wart mom but all that goes out the window when you have a type 1 kid.

I am SO proud of my boys and I know this year is going to be amazing!!!
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Trust in the Lord

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding..." - Proverbs 3:5


This is one of my all-time favorite verses.  When I go through hard times like I've been going through these past few weeks reading Psalms or Proverbs really calms my spirit.  It helps me focus and reminds me that God's got this!  I don't see the big picture and I don't know or understand the "why" and that's ok because God does and He's taking care of me and my family. :)

So my oldest comes in to my office Friday morning and says that he wants to make a card to send to someone.  How sweet is that?!  Of course I say yes and told him I would make a card with him so we could do it together.  With him being a pre-teen and starting to pull more and more away from me I take every opportunity he wants to spend with me and cherish every moment.

Since I've been out of the stamping game for awhile my creative juices are not flowing full force like they used to so I went to Splitcoaststampers for some inspiration.  Fridays they do the Free for All and this last Friday's challenge was "Have A Heart".  How perfect!  I paired that challenge with this week's sketch challenge, let E pick out the patterned paper we were going to use, and got started!

It pretty much took the entire afternoon to finish our cards since he was gifted with perfectionism like his mama but I am SO proud of what we accomplished.  Here is a picture of E's card:



Didn't he do a great job for his first time?  I am SO proud!  He pressed a little too hard with his sentiment but other than that I'm very impressed.  I did do the cutting since I don't think we are there yet but other than that it was all him.  Proud Mama!!

I just realized you can see my card in the background of his card! Haha!!  Well here is a better view:



E choose Pink Flamingo designer paper (retired from Stampin' Up!) and I thought the colors were perfect for the end of summer.  The sentiment is from Verve's Scripture Medley 1 and the heart is another Verve favorite of mine from the Hearts on Fire set.

Since the paper is so busy I wanted to keep the embellishments pretty simple so I opted for a scallop behind the circle and I know you can't see it on here but my white circle is actually raised up which gives it such a cool dimension in person.

I wanted to have a little bit of glitz so I used a Sakura clear star jelly roll pen on the heart and the butterfly.



A small strip of white swiss dot ribbon and a butterfly from one my Martha Stewart punches finishes off this simple and fun card.

This weekend was the first weekend that DJ was away from me since being in the hospital and it was tough but looking at this card reminded me that even if he's not with me God is with him and that's all that matters.

BTW, thank you all so much for your wonderful comments on my previous post.  Knowing that people are praying and that we are not the only family that has had to endure this means more than anyone knows.  Each comment gives me more and more strength and I thank you all for that.

Have a blessed Monday everyone!!




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My Sun and Shield

Last Monday started off like any other summer day.  The kids slept in.  I slept in.  The only difference was that my baby had been sick for a few days and I told myself if he woke up sick I would take him to the doctor. 

He woke up around 1pm and could barely even walk.  Next thing I know he's throwing up profusely and still in my pajamas I throw on some shoes, put my kids in the car, and head to the nearest urgent care.

I am not one of those moms that takes her kids to the doctor for every little thing.  On the contrary, my kids NEVER get sick so if I am rushing my son to urgent care you know its bad.

It ended up being a LOT worse than I expected. 


I was in the urgent care for maybe thirty minutes when they're telling me an ambulance is on its way to take my baby to the PICU at Cook Children's.  When we get there he already has a room in PICU and there are about 10 nurses and doctor's already waiting for us.  That's when I am informed that his tests results were positive for type 1 diabetes and that right now his blood is poisoning him.  

His dad was diagnosed type 2 about a month ago and when they first told me type 1 diabetes I thought they were similar.  I was wrong.  The doctor sat us all down and explained what was going on and how he was going to be treated for his illness.  I felt like I was in a nightmare.  All I'm hearing is "for the rest of his life" and "could've been a lot worse if you would have waited to bring him in."  I am so thankful that my Mommy instincts kicked in and I took him in when I did.

DJ spent three days in the hospital and was released last Thursday.  


Ever since then it's been a whirlwind of scheduled meals, injections, glucose monitoring, planning EVERYTHING we eat and do, testing multiple times a day including a 3am reading every morning, and a complete life change in almost every possible way.  I have had no sleep.  I'm scared to let my baby out of my sight.  This is so not me.

D and his brother are going to spend the weekend with his dad tomorrow and I am freaking out.  I haven't left his side since last Monday.  I was with him every moment at the hospital and every moment since we've been home.  It makes me feel better to be by my baby's side.  I'm sure all you moms out there understand.

Thinking about being without my baby here is really getting to me so I decided to take my mind off things this afternoon and do something that has always been a way for me to relax and escape.  I stamped. :)

I decided to participate in two Verve challenges: the August Inspiration Challenge and the Viva la Verve sketch challenge.  I turned on my classic rock and I got inky!


I'm working with very limited supplies so I am pretty proud about how this turned out.  This sentiment from the Scripture Medley 2 set (which also happens to be on SALE right now!!) is perfect for the week we've had.  God has really poured his grace out on me and my family this past week and continues to be a sun and a shield in my life.    

I still have a few sheets from my Nana's Nursery Baby Girl paper stack left which were the perfect color combo for the inspiration challenge!  I drew inspiration from not only the gorgeous color combo but also the dream catcher itself and of course those gorgeous ribbons!  I pulled out my Nestabilities for the circles and stamped the image in Memento Rich Cocoa.   A few little pink swarovski crystals and a small bit of saffron ribbon completes a very simple, but therapeutic, card. 

I must admit that I am feeling a bit better since I was able to stamp!  It's been SO long!  I forgot how therapeutic it can be.  I smile every time I look at this card (which admittedly has been something that's been hard to do lately) and I know that my stamping bug is sparked again!    

As far as having a diabetic child our family has a long road ahead of us.  Our journey is just beginning but I also know that God is in all of this and there is a reason for all of it.  It's just hard.  Life can be so messy sometimes but that's where faith comes in and I'm thankful to believe in a God that is bigger than any mess this life can throw at us. ;) 
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