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.



vivian said...

I've always said our blogger buddies are the best! How lovely the banner is. So many creative hands came together to bless you! I love our creative little online community.
Will be praying for davids surgery.

Createology said...

Joyce, you and David, are on a journey of HOPE and PRAYER and we are here to send Prayers and Healing Energy. Your ASFAS banner is precious and I am honored to be a tiny little part of it. You dear are the reason I stepped up to participate in ASFAS and I thank you for your encouragement. May you be strong and courageous in your care for David and for yourself as you traverse this journey together. Blessings...

Unknown said...
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Linda said...

It was an honor to put the banner together. It felt sacred in my hands! It really looks beautiful on your mantle! I will continue to pray for David and for you, and for your whole family throughout this next phase. Sending love and a hug to you, dear friend!

Pam~ Virginia Retro said...

Such a beautiful gesture from a wonderful group! Sending prayers and positive thoughts for David and you.

Jo said...

What a wonderful act of kindness and support! They are all beautiful. You can tell how much effort and thought was put into each one. We will continue to pray for both of during this journey.

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Dear Joyce,
You are the sweetest and dearest soul. It was such an honor to participate in this project, stitched from the heart and gifted in love for you and your dear David. Please know you two are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending love and hugs and a hand to hold. xoxoxo


What a sweet and thoughtful blessing banner you received...brought tears to my eyes reading about it. There are truly wonderful gals out there! Continued prayers for your hubby, you and your family.

marie said...

It was such an honor to be a part of creating this banner for you and David. You are such a dear person...we just wanted to make sure you knew that. A big thank you to Linda for coming up with the idea!!
I hope that each time you see your banner you remember the prayers that are being said for both of you!
I love where you have it hanging!!

Debbie said...

Oh Joyce...it was my pleasure to be a small part of the banner for you & David. Please know you are loved & we are all sending good healing energy your way. The banner looks wonderful hanging on your mantel...thanks for letting us see how it turned out.

South City Hues said...

Joyce.... It was a pleasure to participate in this gift for you and your husband David. You are both in my prayers.

You sent this bible verse from Isaiah at a time I needed to hear it and reminded me that God was at my side. "fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."


Bev said...

I couldn't say no to sending you and David some support even though you are far away... my little "hug". I have been praying for you since you moved and more-so now. You have wonderful support from your "family" from all over and know every time you look over at the banner, we are there for you - sending hugs and prayers your way. Keep in touch.

Unknown said...

Joyce, I cried reading this....I am SO blessed to have met all of the people I have blogging....you included.....

I know you are loved and supported by many, please include me in the group!

mary k said...

Joyce, I am not surprised at the love and generosity of your swap for all
Seasons group. The crafting world is full of wonderful people who share and touch the hearts of many. I am sorry I gave up participating in swaps, but sometimes life gets in the way. I think of you and David and include you in my prayers each day. May God watch over you as the journey continues. mary

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Dear Joyce,

I am just catching up in blogging world and have just learned of your dear husband's diagnosis. I am starting my prayers for all of you. Sending warm hugs to you from me.

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

Dear friend,
I'm sorry I haven't kept up better with things in the blogging world. I came over here for an update on David. Drop me a line when you get a minute to let me know how things are going, since surgery. I will start my prayers back up for you and David today!
Much love,

Patti said...

Dear Joyce, my heart melted reading this post and the love you have received in every tiny detail of prayerful hands. I will join you in prayer as well.

Little Birdie Blessings said...

What a beautiful banner which I'm sure you'll treasure forever. I'm sorry to read about your husband's cancer, will add him to my prayer. ~ Abby


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