I forgot angels baked cookies

Yesterday, 4 years and 11 months, ago I was diagnosed with cancer.

I was told that I had one year to live if I didn’t do as they told me.   big sigh.

I did not forget the day, nor have I been able to go a day and not know what the tally is.

I have dabbled, sharing my story here and there over the almost five years.

20151206_182052_resizedFor some reason, yesterday, was a tough day. Then I put on a cute & sassy pair of big girl panties, extra jewelry, beautiful lipstick, kick-ass red cowgirl boots, asked Alexa to turn on some music and just like that, the day, as well as my outlook, changed dramatically.

Sometimes I can be a dunderhead and forget to put “it” out there for the universe to handle.

I can sum up the last few years with one sentence.

I chose the road less traveled.

I made the choice to respectfully and quietly decline the offer of chemotherapy and radiation.

(very important side note:  those souls who choose chemotherapy & radiation and live, are amazing.  When 97.3% of the time, it doesn’t work, those folks walking among us are astonishing.  Tip your hat to them for what they have endured.  They are living miracles.)

Having cancer is tricky, harsh, brutal, crappy, awful, LOUD, difficult, lonely and surprisingly, takes away your breath, some of your courage and brave people skills.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frostroad-less-travelled-lg

The thing about Robert Frost’s quote is that while being true words, he doesn’t mention how dark, scary, lonely, quiet, and not fancy that road is.

On one hand, frightening and unknown, pink ribbons, goodie bags of spirit-lifting lipstick, pink boas, friends rallying around, pins, hats, walk-a-thons, embroidered vests, support groups, a very clear, mapped out route awaits.

The other choice was an equally frightening unknown, however dimly lit path, with Mr. Right and I holding neon yellow high lighter pens for research & studying and gallons of green juice with a couple of folks in your corner.  Sort of a bizarre version of a sad, dull, blush colored lipstick, sad face “before” picture you see in fashion magazine layouts.

I get it.  It is scary.

In the beginning of the journey, I was heartbroken when “friends” jumped ship. Others politely & quietly moved to the other side, no big break-up, just quietly faded out of the picture.   I was crushed when some relatives thought my choices were ridiculous & uninformed and chatted behind my back.   I won’t even go into the mean & hateful things some of my doctors & medical staff said to us. Certainly not worth my breath to repeat.

While trying to re-build my broken immune system (yes, every single person with disease has a broken, damaged immune system) for quite some time I stayed away from groups of germs people.   Extremely limiting gatherings, extracurricular groups, church, outings, movie theaters, planes, etc.  Lonely during the days until Mr. Right came home from work.

Enter social media and technology.  Figuring out a way to make new friends through the world-wide webs.

Holy Toledo, because of this blog, I met a new friend and have what is shaping up to be a forever friendship. I’ve reconnected with friends from elementary school.  I even put on my brave lion mask and wrote to folks in an online counted cross stitch group.

A couple of months ago, while sounding rather juvenile, I excitedly told Mr. Right, I met a new friend.

For some unexplained reason, I jumped in with both feet. I felt brave and saucy.  I can’t explain the bravery.  Maybe an angel was nudging me in that direction?

I forgot.

I forgot how lovely it feels to have someone visit and talk and not feel sorry for you.  I forgot how wonderful it feels to relax and just write for fun.  I forgot how it feels to be curious about another person and ask questions and listen for answers.  I forgot how much fun it is to plot and figure out a surprise gift to give to someone else.  I forgot how satisfying it feels to make something for someone who understands handmade presents.

I also forgot how gobsmacked it feels to get an unexpected box of pure HAPPY in the 20171221_153135-1_resizedmail!  I forgot how flabbergasted I am when someone makes me something.  Believe it or not, it left me speechless (for a moment).  Cookies and treats and stitchy stuff (HUGE shock, no one has ever bought me stitchy stuff) and paper and ribbon and a hilarious card…. oh Lordy, get out the smelling salts.  

I had completely forgotten that when some folks jump ship, it just leaves room for new friends to jump aboard.

angel wingsI am here to tell you that angels walk among us. When you least expect it and need it most.

Fierce angels wearing bad-ass, fancy, insanely large, Victoria’s’ Secret kind of over the top wings.  They bravely wear juicy, saturated intense color lipstick, bake cookies20171222_114143-1_resized and wear glorious shoes we all drool for.

My fierce angel has glorious dark curly hair, wears amazing lipstick and has red pointy toe shoes with glorious big bows on them that I covet. However, in my mind, even to work, she wears fancy aqua colored wings.

In an effort to help me sleep through the night,  I began writing this blog 1,152 posts ago.

This installment will most assuredly help me sleep through tonight.   Lots of good, some bad all removed from my shoulders and put here for safe keeping.

Thanks oodles for listening to me, holding my hand, keeping me company, leaving kind & uplifting comments.  Such sweetness pushes my swing.

Today, I am mighty grateful that angels do indeed bake cookies. Delicious & beautiful cookies.

Here’s hoping that you are happily and surprisingly gobsmacked by a fierce and amazing angel in your corner. One that bakes cookies.   Once you catch your breath and stop feeling light-headed, it is a rather lovely feeling.

In this together, friends,

Chat soon

 

 

 

 

 

visions of sugar plums…

sugar plumsVisions of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free plums danced in their heads.  (just kidding)

Right smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle that seems to hover over this month, have you taken time out for you and your person?  In between signing cards, wrapping boxes, baking treats, have you taken a few moments to bathe your master bedroom in grace & goodness?

Have you announced to the universe that your sanctuary is of value and importance?

Does your better half know without a shadow of a doubt that you hold your relationship in the highest of regard and continue to lift it up on a daily basis?

Have you taken 30 minutes to quickly deep clean, de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and gussie up your sanctuary? Are there fresh, ironed (yes, ironed) linens on your bed?  Have you brought in fresh flowers or greens or even a tree?  Have you brought in beautiful candles, a soft, cozy throw for the bed?  Did you place that festive pillow you found in your decoration box, just so,  to add a little something-something to your bed?  Have you sewed new, softer than mink, white pillow covers that look like they are covered in mini snowballs?

Or has it become the catch-all?  Wrapping paper leaning behind the door.  Gifts secretly crammed beneath the bed.  Clean laundry waiting to be folded.  Does your dresser top hold odd change, one stray button, and a broken necklace?  Is the room filled with stress?  Do you close the door to avoid looking in there?

Or the moment you step into your private sanctuary, does it fill you with calm and beauty? Can you feel it? Does it feel like goodness?  When you spy that bed, do just want to burrow in and surround yourself with fluffy coziness?  Just by walking into that room, do you feel fortunate, harmony and peace? 20171215_094358-1_resized

A gentle suggestion?  Take 30 minutes and create a little beauty.  Our world is harsh, tricky and can be brutal.  Some days it feels like more bad news than good.  We all need a place that we can go to breathe and feel the solitude and safety.  No electronics, no ugly noise, no demands.  We all need and crave a place to restore our spirit & soul.

May you make and enjoy a small corner of peace this season.

Sweet dreams.please do not disturb

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

Chrismons

crismon treeChrismon are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them. They were first made by Frances Kipps Spencer at the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.  She also thought of the word Chrismon which is a combination of Christ and Monogram (meaning symbol).

20171214_212617_resized (1)

The simple symbols remind us of the story.

The ornaments remind of Grace and Goodness.

During Advent, our church decorates the sanctuary tree with white felt Chrismons.  Other years we have attended a church in another state and that tree also had Chrismons, however, those were made out of beads & pipe cleaners.

I cross stitched several of these ornaments years ago.  If I remember correctly, I have made this set three times to give away. As luck would have it, I did indeed make a set for our tree.   Each has Biblical meaning.20171214_212607_resized All of our ornaments were stitched with the same three colors of thread, same cloth and utilized the same small plastic frames.

We hang them every year on one of our trees.  This year the tall, tall skinny tree in the kitchen is decorated with German straw ornaments, Chrismons, antique chocolate candy molds and cinnamon ornaments.

Once the Chrismons come out of the box, or I spy them on the church tree…………it finally feels like Christmas.

Here’s to that happy feeling we all get while unpacking and seeing our treasured decorations.20171214_213706-1_resized

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

keeping you on pins & needles

I am sure you have been on pins & needles for a while now.  Did she or did she not achieve her goal of this year?  When will she give us an update?  Will she ever in a million years do something like this again?

2017 the year I proclaimed the year of the pincushion has come to a close. Thankfully.

Holy Toledo, I learned more than I ever imagined.  It took more time than I ever estimated.  My original goal was to cross stitch 12 pincushions for gifts.  I completed and gave 16.

I was able to give three of those beauties in person.

Now, before you fret, yes, I have a beautiful,  rather large pincushion of my own.  I have used it almost daily for quite a few years now.   I stitched the tower to remember our trip to Paris.

If you remember, here was my original challenged issued to me.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/poke/

To make it even more interesting, I added another element, pins.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-good-luck-poke/

 

I used an entire bag of crushed walnut shells to fill each.  I had to go and buy a second bag to fill the last two.

All of the pins I glued beads onto were used and my button jar came in mighty handy this year.

What did I learn?

I still enjoy counted cross stitch.

I liked personalizing the pin keeps to each person.

I learned that I most likely will never, ever do a project like that again.  It requires a whole bunch of heart & soul and time & effort.

I wanted to lovingly, slowly stitch goodness into each, piece, however, the deadlines and mailing times sort of took the fun out of making each.

My plan was to stitch each cushion and fill it with grace and well wishes for the other person.  Not everyone is excited or appreciates handmade gifts nor do many understand the hours it takes to produce them.

I put more good karma, energy, time, effort, money into each than need be.

I figured out, that while I was not looking for a “proper thank you note”, of which I received four, I was secretly hoping for a personal connection.  A conversation.  Some type of tie to the person I gave the gift to.  A reason to talk and spend time with the person.  A way to jump-start a conversation that would linger and fill us each with a wonderful memory. That did not happen.

If I ever do a counted cross stitch piece for anyone other than family, I will most likely keep track and share the number of hours it took to complete.  Not to be boastful, but to share the time that was spent on that person. I came to realize that folks that do not do handiwork, have no concept or understanding of how long each project takes.

I learned for Christmas this year, I am buying gifts.

The only handmade gifts I am making are for our Grands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was going to say, I will most likely never cross stitch another pin cushion again.  However………I already have a person in mind (she herself is a beautiful cross stitcher) that I might like to make a pin cushion as a surprise in 2018.  We will see.

So here are a few of my 16.  Some, I forgot to take a picture.  One, I took a picture of the back and promptly deleted the front picture after it was already in the mail.  sigh.

Thanks for following along and keeping me company this past year.

I would dearly love to have a conversation about gift giving and making/giving handmade gifts.

I have a counted cross stitch pattern, thread, and fabric all ready to begin January 1, 2018, for me!

Also, we have a new GRANDBABY on the way in 2018 so my hands will be flying as I make oodles of goodness for the new one in our life.

Here’s to accomplishing my goal and then some!  Setting a goal and working towards completion is very satisfying.

In the coming year, I hope you are planning and setting a goal or two of your own.  Would love to hear your plans.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.