Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Gift of Love and an update

One day in April, a package came in the mail for me.
The return address said it was from A Swap For All Seasons.
I couldn't imagine what it could be.
I had dropped out of the year long swap with my beloved swap buddies in March...after we had gotten David's cancer diagnosis and treatment plan.

To give you some back story, I have swapped pretty steadily with this group for a number of years...the Fall of 2008 is when I started. The swapping originated with Linda Smith, a very creative woman, and all around inspirational leader. For a number of years, we had seasonal swaps, four times a year. We would be given the name of a partner and we would create a seasonally themed package for that partner. Handmade cards and tags were the stars and little treats and bits and bobs were added as we wished. Over the course of those initial years, I got to know, through swapping, a wonderful bunch of wildly creative women. Linda took a break from swap organizing for a while and all of us kind of felt adrift. In October of 2013, Linda started the swap rolling again. We were all delighted! Between October 2013 and September 2014, we had a monthly assignment and a new way to be matched up. We would have someone to send our cards and tags to but someone else would be sending to us. This expanded that friendly group even more. Toward the end of July, 2014....right around the time David and I were packing up and moving, Linda sent invitations to some of her initial core group asking if we wanted to do something completely different for 2015. Instead of PAPER CRAFTING, we would each be fabric stitching! Yikes!
 Each month we were to create a 4x6-inch cloth stitched piece using any method we chose. Embroidery, sewing by hand or machine...we just couldn't use glue. At the end of the year, each swapper would have 12 pieces of art to sew together to make a banner. Well, the concept was great and would be a real stretch for me...I hadn't done sewing or hand stitching for years. I wanted to participate so I said, YES, knowing that it would be a challenge for me but a good one  to keep me busy in our new home, not really knowing anyone here. Our first project was in January of this year and I started to formulate a plan for my first panel. I was to send to Sally Hughes, of Sally Annie Magundy blog. I knew Sally a little bit through her blog, but had never been partnered with her. Well, to make my growing story shorter, I completed my sampler for Sally but it took ripping it apart 3 times to do it. I really felt like I was in over my head with this swap challenge so I decided to sit out for the month of February to see if I could get my head together. I gave myself a stern lecture about not giving up and accepting a new challenge and in mid-February I told Linda I would be back in for March. I had just received the name of the person I was to send a sampler to and learned who would be sending to me in March. Within days, we were hearing from doctors at Bebee Medical Center, that David had Stage 3 Esophagogastric Cancer and would require chemotherapy, radiation and surgery down the road. With a heavy heart, I contacted Linda and explained that I needed to step away from the swap. She totally understood that all of my attention needed to be focused on David and his care. She asked if it was OK to ask the other women to pray for us. I told her that we would appreciate those prayers.

One day in April, a package came in the mail for me.
The return address said it was from A Swap For All Seasons.
 I couldn't imagine what it could be.

I opened the big puffy envelope and this sweetly wrapped package was inside

As soon as I felt it and read the tag, I knew what it was and I started to cry.

It took me a while before I could even unwrap the gift that was inside the beautiful tissue. As I unwrapped it and saw every marvelous sampler, hand stitched and sent with love, I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't stop crying or speak for a long time.
Wonderful, supportive, loving swapping friends, sending a generous act of kindness to me, a woman, that except for two, Bev and Marie, they didn't know in person. They had all made samplers of encouragement for David and me and sent them to Linda. She sewed them all together to make a banner and sent it on to me. These are the samplers...

from Pam Snow, Sherry Ellison, Elizabeth Quigley

Lorraine Beaumont, Marti McClure and Sally Holmes

Marie Entwistle, Linda Freeman, Linda Smith

Susie Alles, May O'Connor and Bev Breisinger

Becky Fierberg, Debbie Metti and Patty Powell

Heidi Wallace sent her sampler directly to me so I will need to add it to the others...

There were notes from several of the women and Patty (in Oz) sent a packet of sunflower seeds which have been planted and are coming up in our garden.

Sixteen samplers.
Sixteen acts of kindness.
I thank all of you and send that love right back to you.
You have touched both of us with your thoughtfulness and caring.
The beautiful banner has been proudly shown to every one who has visited with an explanation of how lucky I am to be part of such a terrific group of women.

Update on David
Next week, on Thursday, June 25, David will undergo a 10 hour surgery for the removal of the cancer and lymph nodes. It is a high risk procedure for many reasons but we are confident in the surgeons and in the care and protection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He has been our rock and we will cling to him as we make our way through the next months.

Thank you, from our hearts, for your prayers and concern.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

This Man

 This is David.

He is my loving husband.

He is a Father to Eric, Michelle and Michael.

(l-r Billy, Michelle, Charlie, Jane, Miles, Eric, Michael, Jackie

 He is a special Papa to Charlie and Miles

 He has been an ordained Lutheran Pastor for over 40 years, now retired.

 He is a friend to many people.
He loves to fish.

He loves convertibles

He loves the Steelers and the Penguins

He loves the beach!!

Which is why we moved to Delaware in August, 2014

And now, six months after our move, David has been diagnosed with cancer.
A tumor at the Esophagogastric Junction.
(where the esophagus and stomach meet)
He was diagnosed 2 1/2 weeks ago and our lives have been a blur since then.
We have had scores of Doctor visits, lab testing, procedures and education meetings. As of this moment, he is scheduled to begin chemotherapy and radiation, concurrently, on March 23, but that might be subject to change. The Doctors here have been great. There has been much to coordinate and they want to get started as soon as possible. We have no time to waste. After he completes his course of treatment, they will evaluate to see if he is a good candidate for surgery to remove the tumor and involved lymph nodes, if they have shrunken properly.
This will be the fight of our lives and we getting ourselves armed and ready!
We have family and friends all over the country, praying and cheering.
We are being comforted with the faith and belief that no matter what happens, we are safely in the hands of our Heavenly Father.

I thought that I had finally gotten to the point where I could resume blogging and participating in swaps. It's amazing how your life can change in a moment.
Priorities have been all rearranged.

I am sharing this here today, because my friends in the blogging community have always been the most supportive and loving people I know. 
May I ask you to keep David and me in your prayers?
I will keep you posted on the progress here and while I am spending lots of times waiting while David has his chemo infusions, I will try to get around and visit my favorite blogs. 
Thank you in advance for your understanding and support.


Monday, February 9, 2015

I'm Back!!

Hello dear friends!
I could write about 50 pages about where I have been and what I have been doing since my last blog post, 5 months ago, but I have lots of fun things to share and it's time to move forward!
I participated in two Swaps this month and I have pictures to sort through and a post to write about them. We had a small trip to Maryland to visit our Grandsons and also to see and old friend from Pittsburgh who now lives in Virginia (more pictures of that) The most exciting thing was meeting a dear blog friend, IN PERSON, for the first time! (pictures about that, too!) 
Right now I'm dealing with some kind of wretched cold...or whatever is going around and my energy level is zero! Give me a few days...oh right, you've already given me 5 months, and I'll be back!
In the meantime...here are a few birthday cards that went out this month...

For my friend, Mimi, who has an Etsy Shop named Dandelion Wishes...

For my best friend, Nancy, who wanted to be a cowgirl when she was little...

and for another blogging friend, Sandy McClay, who I had the pleasure of meeting several years ago in Arizona...

So many birthdays in February! 

I'll be back soon with more pictures and stories! 
I've missed you all!



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