Friday, December 21, 2012 a journey!

Happy Bellariffic Friday Folks! You might have noticed that I've been MIA this past month. I've been having a bit of a health issue that has taken up most of my time. For those of you who follow my blog or have met me personally, you might have heard me speak about my Rheumatoid Arthritis. It's a joint disease that I found out I had while living in Michigan, 4 years ago to be exact. It was in late fall of 2008 that I noticed things weren't working quite right for me. I couldn't turn the key in the car without my writst being in excrutiating pain, I couldn't brush my hair without it killing me, I couldn't bend over to put my pants on, I couldn't lift myself off the couch or out of a chair. Girlfriends - I was in my early forties and felt like I was 100.

I wondered how I could continue to live with that amount of pain. But after finding an excellant Doctor that treated not only the physical pain but also my wish and desire to live a normal life things got so much better. It took us about a year to come up with right cocktail of drugs to ensure that the pain was gone and I could go about everyday tasks with ease. I've lived with that same formula for the past 3 years and my RA has never been better! I've been riding my bike all over the back country roads in my new town with the majestic mountains as my back drop. I've pushed myself to climb mountains (ok they are actually real high hills that seem like a mountain when you're sitting on a bike trying to pedal your weight up the darn thing)and have exalted in the joy of making it to the top without jumping off. I've learned to pace myself and realize that 5 mph is an achievement and 15 mph (on the hill) is unthinkable (just yet). I've watched the pros go wizzing by as they train in my playground and thought - I'm going to get there someday. Folks - I've loved the feeling of accomplishment and contentment in improving my overall health. And this summer I was the happiest clam around as I tackled Pike's Peak on bike (down of course, but still there were 3 assents and I was the only female and only adult to actually make all three without walking my bike to the top. Now THAT was the greatest feeling knowing that climbing all the mini mountains in my playground gave me the strength and endurance to beat the Peak!) I would actually rant in my head - "I have RA and I can do this". Beating the disease and doing the activities I loved left me with a feeling of elation.

Well while I was trudging along on my bike I noticed some new pains. It took the Doctors about 5 months to finally put the pieces together but not before my new disease took over my stomach and my ability to process food. Yup, the most basic survival process no longer worked for me. I could get food in but the plumbing had shut down and I couldn't get it out. Two stints into the hospital later and we've learned that the drugs that helped me survive the pains of RA have given me gastric Lymphoma. When I heard that an Oncology Doctor would be coming to visit me I about died in fear. But that was a mini-moment. I'm learning to embrace this new chapter in life! I've started chemo and everyday brings "new" symptoms or side effects. My cycle is 3 weeks and I've made it one and a half - pretty easily. I mean I get tired very early and head to bed but I'm breathing and eating again and living life with my family. The second chance thoughts are empowering and have me rushing forward rather than sitting back and waiting. I've got a lot of life left to be lived and I've been blessed with so many wonderful people to cheer me on and encourage me. Which is really why I decided to tell you all about this today.

I haven't been able to make it to my craft room in weeks. As I said, a few stints in the hospital and then the whole not being able to process food kinda got in the way but Emily and Bella crew have been so understanding and have given me the time to tackle the "devil baby growing in my stomach". Then they went and made today's recently added Bella challenge all about me with their "Thinking of You" theme. Dagnabit they brought tears to my eyes. You really couldn't ask for a better crew to be working with! Dana has been checking in on me - and making fun of my Yankee accent too I might add as I pester her with yet another design team excuse - but I think this time I really have the Doctor's permission slip - hehe. And I'd like to thank everyone that was able to participate during this very busy time of year - to send me such wonderful thoughts. Your support, prayers and well wishes have been a Godsend and you are all such a blessing to have!

So, I'm choosing life! I have some things to figure out still and my health is improving. I'll be back to Blogland in January once I finish this cycle and start in on round 2. I think by then I should have a better handle on what to expect.

Hug your family, enjoy your Holidays and choose life too! There is so much left to see and do and everyday really does matter!

I Love you all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Theme Red

When given a challenge to use red in the month of December I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to color my favorite holiday image - Santa. This is Magnolia Santa and I've had him for a few years now but unbelievably he's never seen ink! I know - as crazy as it sounds, I hardly find time to get all the shopping done yet alone cards to send to family. But I'm on track and taking some time to just relax in the holiday moments. It was wonderful to color this. And better yet ~ it's for a purpose. First, I've been asked to participate on the Oozak Design team. Oozak is a Michigan online company that I've used to buy my copics and my favorite designer papers. Not having a local paper/crafting store has sent me to the internet and Oozak is fast, competitve and convenient. I'll be participating with the monthly challenges through March. Second, I get to send this to a great niece. I'm sure she'll be thrilled to get it.

So, I stamped the image onto my Bella's Bestest paper and colored with copics. I then added surround shading with prismacolor pencils blended with gamsol. Glitter abounds in the fur and santa's beard - just for some holiday cheer. I stamped two additional snowflakes using a Judith stick stamp. The sentiment is from Stamping Bella. Design paper came from Oozak this summer - it's October Afternoon Holiday Style and I was thrilled to find it in stock. I love October Afternoon papers and Oozak stocks them woohoo. The edges of everything were dipped in Quickie Glue and Charcoal glitter. Love all the sparkle to this card!

Here's the link so you can join in on this month's challenge and link up your card for the chance to win a collection of 6 books from Annie's, and a value of $90.

Thanks for stopping by and hopefully you have a Merry Christmas season.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Henry has a plea....

So you might have seen that I hacked Hannah on last week's Bellariffic Friday challenge. Yup, so with her twin Henry, I decided we needed to color the whole image. I stamped Henry with Wreath, a Mo Manning image released in rubber through Stamping Bella onto Bella's Bestest paper. I then colored him with copics and cut him out. I mounted him onto Graphic 45 Christmas Past 8x8 design paper. I know - it's an older paper pack but I end up buying every holiday pad I can find and end up with lots of paper to use from season to season. Crazy but I jsut gotta have a ton of paper. I picked this piece for the santa's in the design. This card will be going to my one year old nephew - Henry and his three year old brother John Patrick and they're perfect Santa age.

I used and EK Success bunch to create the border and mounted hand cut flags from scrap paper along with a quirky computer generated sentiment - "I was nice Santa". I could hear my nephews making this plea as they sit on Santa's lap. Hehe! I tied the flags with natural hemp twine and topped it with a black button.

Wanna see a close up? Love, Love, Love the way this turned out. Looks so similar to my own little Henry. Now I'm off to work on my Tag card for this week's Bellariffic Friday challenge. Hmmmm what image shall I use????

See you back here on Friday!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's Snowing Outside!!!!

Yipee, I woke up to snowflakes gently falling from the sky! It's so darn pretty and it's our first of the season. Puts me in the perfect mood to make a holiday card. I wanted to go a wee bit more simplistic than I usually do but I saw a few ideas in cyberland that had me thinking.

I pulled out my new Bella Kraft cardstock, red ink pad, white paper scraps (I have a ton of these), some red and white twine a red button and two Bella Stamps - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year sentiment and the Reindeer and the Birdie where I just stamped the small pine trees.

Sometimes ya just need the quick and easy and this foot the bill.

I'm off to try some holiday shopping. Enjoy your weekend folks!