Become a Butterfly

7/27/2011 06:54:00 PM Edit This 4 Comments »

Hi to all of my beautiful friends. I am so glad that you stopped by today. I have a fun little card to share with you. I love cards that are special folds (flip cards, trifolds, etc.). But, you probably already knew that! This little flip card is almost all stamping, with just a small piece of DP and some ribbon. I used all 6 stamps in The Angel Company's (TAC) "Want to Fly" set. I thought it might be fun to use an entire set in a single card. I also used a swirl from TAC's "Wonderful News", and a script background from TAC's "Vintage". Feel free to e-mail me if you want more information about TAC's wonderful stamps.
For colors, I used Memento Grape, Lilac, and Pear Tart on Birch CS. These are approximately the colors of Samantha's SPCC Color Combo #110. If you haven't visited Sami's blogs, you don't know what you are missing!
If you have read some of my previous posts, you might understand why "Want to Fly" is so special to me. It is a constant reminder of the incredible courage that my daughter has demonstrated every single day as she travels her life journey to become a butterfly - a confident beautiful woman - in spite of incredible obstacles.
My wish for you, my friends, is that you find the courage that you need to overcome the obstacles that you face in your life. I know that my faith in God's unbounded love for me, as shown to me through the love of family and friends, sustains me through the tough times and makes the good times even better. I have been so very blessed with restored good health, and am now back at work to teach the last week of summer school, before three weeks of break. Take care, my friends, and find joy in the little things of life.

Another Plastic Wrap Sunset

7/17/2011 09:19:00 PM Edit This 7 Comments »
I know that I have done one of these before, but I have been playing with the technique and really like this one better. I used plastic wrap scrunched up to put on the ink, mixing each one in with the next for some nice blending. The stamp set is The Angel Company's "Anchor to the Soul", which is one of my favorites. This particular verse has brought me great comfort and peace through some tough times over the past few years. I made this card for a swap with my fellow Angels. I used a mask with the stamp, then colored the image with my Copics. I framed it with blue CS cut with a Nesties frame. and added a few brads. I am entering this in Samantha's Being Blue Blog Hop. If you haven't visited Samantha's blog at Scrapmaster's Paradise, you are really missing out on a lot of fun and an amazing young lady filled with energy, creativity, and fun!
I am healing nicely, although I will be seeing my primary care physician tomorrow for what appears to be a little infection at a couple of my incisions. Other than that, I am feeling good. I have one more week off of work before I go back. When I get back I only have one week of class then three weeks off before the fall semester.
Last week, my sister came for a visit for a few days. She lives in Wisconsin, and drove down just to see me. I was so happy to have time with her. We managed a little time for fun, even went to the Oz Winery in nearby Wamego. What an amazing little place! They make their wines right on the premises, and they are wonderful. The wines have such cute names as "Squished Witch", "O-E-O", and "Drunken Munchkin", just to name a few. You can check out their website here.

There Are Worse Things Than Cancer

7/10/2011 02:02:00 PM Edit This 4 Comments »
Yesterday was a really tough day for me. And it had nothing to do with my (now no longer an issue) cancer. Yesterday was a day that most people would see as a joyous celebration. It was my granddaughter's first birthday. Precious Addison is the daughter of my only son and his wife. They live just a mile from us, but I haven't seen Addison since October 1, 2010. That was the day that I sat in my son's living room as he and his wife (she did most of the talking - he was choked up) informed me that we would no longer have any contact or be a part of their lives. The reason? Because they believed that I was an unrepentant sinner. They had been praying for me for over a year and I refused to change my ways. And what was this horrible sin that was responsible for the rift? I was (and still am) the president of our local Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
For those of you who don't know, PFLAG is an amazing national organization devoted to education, support, and advocacy for families, allies, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. At this point, I am not going to get into the morality of being in the LGBT community. Suffice it to say that I am a Christian who is active in an open and affirming church. I believe in the equality and dignity of ALL human beings.
I got involved in PFLAG in October of 2009 after my oldest child, then 26 years old came out to me as transgender. The child that we had raised as a son told me that he was really a female trapped in the body of a male. This precious child who had been deteriorating into depression, anguish, and self-loathing for about 20 years suddenly gave me a reason for what I could never understand. It all became so clear to me. The past two years have been amazing, as I have watched the child that I thought was my son (Brian) become my beautiful, confident daughter Bree (confidence is not a term that I would ever have used in the same sentence with Brian).
But transition is long, difficult, expensive, and agonizing. The hormones, hair removal (when she can afford it and find someone who can/will do it), and eventual surgery are an ongoing endeavor. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I told Bree that she was my hero. That what she faced, and had already accomplished with courage and dignity, were far more daunting than anything I might have to endure. In addition to all of the physical and medical challenges, Bree also has to face the scorn, shunning, and possibly worse from those who would judge her as immoral or worse. And, sadly, most of those people claim to be Christian. Their hatred is proclaimed to be love and they say that they are just doing what the Bible tells them to do. And leading the pack are two of Bree's siblings. Her brother and sister will no longer acknowledge her existence, and we are not allowed to speak her name in their presence or in front of their children. And then her brother carried it one step further by cutting all contact with us. Our other daughter does not approve of what Bree is doing, nor does she embrace Bree, but she is civil to her (although she won't say "she" or "Bree").
My husband is completely supportive, but with his own array of chronic health problems, is mostly on the outside of the drama. I, on the other hand, have become very involved in the fight for human rights, equal rights. In addition to being Flint Hills PFLAG president, I am also on the Board of Directors of Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (K-STEP). I have spoken at numerous rallies and City Commission meetings as we fought for equal rights. I am a mama tiger, and I will fight for the life of my child (and, yes, my child is an adult; and , yes, I am fighting for her life).
Well, that was a lot of background. If you are still with me at this point, I will get back to the birthday. Yesterday, Addison's birthday hit me hard. The last time I held her in my arms and kissed her cheek was eleven and a half months ago. The last time I saw her was ten months ago. And now she is one. I bought her a little gift and made her a card and I called and left a message for my son to ask permission to drop the gift off. He actually called back - he usually doesn't. He waited until after Addison was in bed in case I asked to see her. I didn't. He met me at the door and I handed him the gift and the card and casually asked how the day was. He said that they went to the park. I know that they probably had a party with his in-laws, who also live in town. I thanked him for accepting the gift. That was it. He didn't thank me or ask how I was doing (we had left phone messages after my surgery and path reports, so he knew I was okay; and he did actually call my husband on Father's Day, so we had spoken briefly). I came home and sobbed and my husband and two of my daughters were there for me.
And now you know why getting cancer just wasn't that big of a deal for me. Just another bump in the road. And why I am so very thankful for the multitude of true friends that hold me close when I am down. And I count my stamping friends (even those of you whom I only know through your blogs) among that beautiful group. And my church friends. And my PFLAG friends. And my wonderful siblings, dad, and step-mom, and my husband's father and siblings. And the list goes on. And if you made it all the way through this post, thank you and God bless you.I promise you some more fun and creative posts in the near future.

A Small Setback - or Gee, I Guess I am Not Superwoman

7/05/2011 04:18:00 AM Edit This 2 Comments »
Hi All,
Thank you for stopping in. I hope to have some cards to show you in the next day or two. I haven't had much creative energy lately. I am now one week post-op, and I guess that I felt too good. So I overdid things a bit. And I paid the price. I am virtually without pain at all, so I forget that I still have a lot of healing to do on the inside. Well, I went out and did a little grocery shopping with my daughter, and didn't pay attention to restrictions on lifting. Then I cooked dinner. I still don't have pain, but something very weird happened, and it wasn't on any of the lists of things to watch for. Fluid started running out of the tiny incision in my belly button. So, yeah, that is weird. And it scared the heck out of me (and any desire to do too much). Off to the ER, which is a busy place on the 4th of July in a city where you are allowed to buy and shoot off almost any kind of fireworks). The ER doc was very nice (and the nurse and student nurse were real eye candy - so glad to see more men getting into nursing). The ER doc consulted my local gyn and I guess the belly button fountain isn't that unusual after a surgery like mine. I guess that it is the clear part of blood (or something like that), and it is present when there has been some sort of injury (or surgery) internally. It should be reabsorbed, but wasn't, so it leaked through the nearest opening - the incision in my belly button. There didn't appear to be infection so they cleaned it up, put on a huge bandaid, and sent me home. I will call my doc in the morning (my local doc, because my surgeon is 100 miles away). Sorry if this is weirding you out, but I wish that I had known before that this could happen. So now I am insisting that my family treat me like a princess. They take their cues from me, and if I am doing things for myself they let me.

Doing a Happy Dance and Praising God

7/01/2011 02:18:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
I am doing a happy dance and am overwhelmed with joy. I feel so richly blessed by God's goodness. I just spoke with the nurse from my gyn-onc's office and got the official word - the cancer was completely contained in the uterus and they got it all. It WAS stage 1 and is now a part of my past. I am so happy and so grateful. I know that my life will never be the same as it was before, and for this I am so very thankful. I don't want to take life for granted.
Of course, I still have to heal from my surgery, but even that is going very well. And my husband is really stepping up and working around the house. My family is pampering me, and for the first time in my life, I am letting them! And I am getting plenty of rest. Well, that is about all for this wonderful update. I am going to take a nap and then do some stamping (always good for the spirit). Thank you for checking in on me and for sharing my joy. I will keep all of you in my prayers as you negotiate the twists and turns of life.