A Season of Joy

Hi, friends, how are you today?

This time last year, we did not know if our oldest son was going to make it. He had a mysterious illness that made him very sick. He stopped talking and swallowing and even quit breathing three different times. He spent the better part of 10 months in hospitals and ICUs. In addition to that, our adopted children were recovering from surgery. Our daughter had life saving heart surgery (we did not know she had a serious heart defect when we adopted her) and our newly adopted son had surgery to correct a birth defect. That was a lot for one family to deal with and I coped by eating. Well, crying and eating.

Lots of crying.

Lots of eating.

Lots and lots of eating.

I quickly put on an extra 23 pounds, which caused my health to go downhill.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heartburn and reflux, insomnia and pre-diabetes all plagued me. Not to mention the trauma of watching our children suffer. Is there anything harder on a mother’s heart than to watch her babies go through unthinkable pain while she stands helplessly by?

But on January 30th, I made the best change of my life. I joined Crossfit. That first night I could not hang from the pull up bar or do a single box jump. (The idea of jumping on a box terrified me, to be truthful!) But my coaches worked with me and little by little, I began to get strong.

In addition to exercise, Crossfit gave me a meal plan that taught me healthier ways to eat. I cut out soda and salted caramel mochas and all the unhealthy foods I loved.

I started sleeping peacefully, even though my son would not get better for many months. My heartburn and reflux went away completely and my cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure all fell in the normal range.

I have now dropped 30 pounds and have never felt better. My kids are all fully recovered, too. Our son made a miraculous recovery that doctors thought was impossible. Our daughter, who could have died, is now healthy and cleared for all activity, including vigorous exercise, and our son’s birth defect is corrected and will never be a problem again.

The before photo above was taken at the Stampin’ Up! Onstage event in Utah while I was on the Stampin’ Up! Design Team and the after photo was taken last month, after seven months of hard work and eating healthy. I have never felt better!

But you know what the best part is? All the people who loved me just the way I was. My hubby, my family and friends, my fellow design team members. Thank you one and all for loving me no matter what I look like and thank you Crossfit for making me healthy and strong!

Our days of sorrow have finally gone, replaced with days of joy. Last year is starting to feel like a distant memory as we enjoy our son’s recovery and the good health of our little kids, as well as my own. To say we are thankful is an understatement.

So many of you were part of our journey to now- thank you for every bit of support. It truly means the world.

 

Michelle

 

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An Update

Hi friends! Boy, has my blog been quiet lately! My apologies, but are you ready for the reason?

All of my kids are happy and healthy and we are enjoying our summer!

This time last year, our daughter had life saving open heart surgery, our youngest was recovering from a surgery to repair a minor birth defect and our oldest son was in the hospital with a brutal illness that doctors could not solve. It lasted 10 long, nightmarish months. We were told he would most likely never talk or swallow again and he did not even know his own name.

But,

An army of people responded with cards and meals and prayers and he is 100% better now!

He is truly a living miracle. Did I tell you that I placed my hand on his chest and called his name when he stopped breathing three different times, and three different times the response team at the hospital swooped in and helped him start breathing again. The news just kept getting worse. He lost the ability to talk or swallow and had excruciating muscle tremors that shook his whole body. Now, he is talking about finally starting college in the fall and he is really loving life. I call him the man of steal.

The photo above was taken at the 5k that Thomas and I ran together. What a day that was. My boy, talking my leg off just like he used to. My joy was overflowing.

To all of you who reached out in support, thank you. A thousand thank yous, in fact. Every message, every card, every prayer meant the world to me and helped to light the way when I had no idea how to keep going.

Along with enjoying the summer with my kids, I’m also busy designing the September Stamp of the Month Club and a Christmas Tag Class To Go, and if you have ever placed an order with me, your Holiday Catalog is on the way! (They are going by bulk mail and take awhile to arrive, so don’t worry if yours has not arrived yet.)

Happy stampin’ friends!

Michelle

 

July Stamp of the Month Club Sneak Peak

Hi friends, how are you? Summer has started for my kids and I have been focusing on them, but this mama is ready to get her craft on!

Each month, for our Stamp of the Month Club, I design four original cards with one stamp set. For the July Stamp of the Month Club, I picked the brand new Lots of Love stamp set and I will post the cards just as soon as I create them. The ideas are bouncing around in my brain, so stay tuned!

Are you in the Stamp of the Month Club? Do you enjoy it? If so, leave us a comment and tell us what your favorite part is- we would love to hear from you!

Happy stampin’ friends!

Michelle 

 

P.S.

For those of you who have been sending kind words, prayers and thoughts about my oldest son, who became deathly ill on August first, he has had a really great week. The doctor is still stumped as to what is exactly wrong with him, but he said the episodes he goes through are called “storms” perhaps autonomic storms. The episodes can become an emergency very quickly and it is a frightening way to live, but this week has been good. (And when it is bad, I get to practice my new motto- “Hallelujah, regardless.”)

The 2017-2018 Annual Catalog Is Here!

The new Stampin’ Up! catalog is here and available for you to view online! Click the image above to see the gorgeous new selection of Stampin’ Up! products.

Ready to shop for fabulous new supplies: Click here!

 

Complimentary Catalog Information:

If you have ordered from me in the past, you should have already received your complimentary catalog in the mail. If you did not receive yours, please be sure to let me know! It may mean I do to have your correct mailing address.

If you have ordered from me as a “no contact” (and there are MANY of you!) I do not have your address and can’t mail you your complimentary catalog. So sad! Email me today and we can fix that!

If you are on my catalog list, but have not ordered, you will need to request another catalog.

Stamp of the Month Club members- if you did not receive a catalog and need one, please let me know.

Need a demonstrator and a catalog of your very own? Email me at stampin365@gmail.com for your complimentary catalog and I will send that out to you right away!

 

 

This time of year os so exciting and I can’t wait to share some new creations with you!

Happy stampin’ friends!

Michelle

 

More Retiring Favorites

Hi friends! How are you?

Today I have some more favorite retiring Stampin’ Up! products to share with you. Things are selling out fast, so don’t miss out on these amazing stamp sets and dies!

Perfectly Wrapped (141960)

Endless Birthday Wishes (140273)

Sunburst Sayings (140725) and Sunburst Thinlits Die (140617)

Helping Me Grow (140764)

Crazy About You (137137) and Hello You Thinlits Dies (137363)

Thanks for stopping by today! Be sure to come back tomorrow for more retiring favorites!

Happy stampin’ friends!

Michelle

Stampin’ Up! Retiring List

Some really incredible times are retiring and will no longer be  available- so don’t miss out!

Retiring items are only available while supplies last and some are discounted up to 50% off! (Also, many bundles will be going away, so take advantage of the bundle price while you still can!)

Click the image above for the official retiring list and then head over to http://www.stampinforu.stampin.net to get your favorites before they’re gone!

Happy stampin’ friends!

Michelle

 

P.S.

It has been rough around here lately with a relapse for my son, so I am behind on my thank you notes and hostess code gifts. If you have ordered, please know I appreciate and love you so much and that working on them brings me a much needed break from the stress of his illness. I have not forgotten you and hope to get them in the mail very soon!

 

 

Almost Time To Say Goodbye: In Colors

Hi friends!

One of my favorite things about Stampin’ Up! is the fabulous color collection. To keep things fresh, Stampin’ up! introduces five new colors every year. These “In Colors” are carefully researched to see what will go with the existing collection and what the hottest trends are.

The 2015-2017 In Colors are so beautiful. Here are some boxes I created for Onstage with them:

Each collection is “in” for two years, which means things are kept fresh, new and exiting. But, it also means saying goodbye to some really beautiful colors!

If you are in love with any of these, now is the time to purchase them because they will sell out fast! (A few are already on back order, so don’t delay!)

Watermelon Wonder is one of my all time favorite stampin’ up! colors and I am really going to miss it! which of these will you miss the most? Leave a comment and let us know!

Happy stampin’ friends!

Michelle

 

 

2015-2017 In Color Products: (Click on any image for easy, online shopping.)

 

 

The Long Journey Continues

hospital

Hello friends, how are you today?

It has been a long time since you’ve heard from me because my son continues to fight for his life. His struggle started on August 1st. The day before Thanksgiving, we went by ambulance to the PICU at a hospital two hours away from us. We found out he had a fungal infection in his blood which developed because of his pic line. He also could not clear the post operative meningitis, so the doctors removed his baclofen pump and spinal catheter to give his body a better chance of fighting the infection. He spent a week in the PICU before moving to the regular floor. The photo above was his view.

He continues to struggle with fevers, delirium, and pain. The doctors did an MRI and found “debris” in his brain. Yesterday was quite terrifying as we waited to find out if they would do brain surgery to remove it. Late in the day we were told that the “debris” is old, treated infection that will clear up on its own and he will not need brain surgery. You can imagine what a relief that was! We also found out that the fungal infection is gone. (That infection has up to a 60% fatality rate, so this news is overwhelmingly good.)

Currently, the plan is to keep him in the hospital on iv antibiotics for 10 more days and then send him home. We do not know why he continues to have delirium and fevers. It could be baclofen withdrawal, but it usually would have passed by now, so the doctors continue to look for another source. We also do not know if he will have long term damage from all of this, but the MRI did not show evidence of brain damage, so the doctors are hopeful that he will make a full recovery.

To watch one’s child suffer and be helpless to put an end to it has to be one of life’s greatest trials. But today, Thomas continues to fight and we are so very grateful. So many of you have reached out to me with comments, emails and cards. THANK YOU! Your love, prayers and support have been such a life line through all of this.

Despite my absence, November was a great month for my business. Thank you to my team and my customers, as well as my readers. You are all wonderful and I am looking forward to getting back to the joy of creating and sharing with you. Until then, thank you rom the bottom go my heart for your support.

 

Michelle

 

When Tears Become A Way Of Life

tears

Sometimes, tears become normal because life can be hard. So very, very hard.

The photo above is the view from my son’s hospital room. His illness first started on August 1st and he is still desperately sick. He now has post surgical meningitis and his pain is immense. Tears are never far from my eyes as I watch, helpless to ease his suffering. But do you know what he does?

He sings praise.

His spinal column and brain are filled with bacteria and pain, but he sings praise.

His hope has never grown dim and yesterday, when he could barely speak and was going in and out of delirium, he said to me

“Mom, I love you. Never lose faith.”

 

Can you imagine? In the midst of his suffering, he was encouraging me. Tears still come, but I wipe them away and carry on for him because if he can be that strong, so can I.

To all of my wonderful readers, customers and team, I have been pretty missing in action due to all of this. Thank you for sticking by me. I have so many Stampin’ Up! things I need to share with you, but they have to wait because my boy needs me. Thank you for your support, your business and your understanding, and thanks for stopping by today.

Many of you have shared your own stories of personal health struggles or watching loved ones suffer, and some of you have even recently lost those closest to you. My heart is with each of you who have shared. If you are in the middle of a season of tears, my message to you is the same as my son’s:

Friend, I love you.

Never lose faith.

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Stampin’ Up! Catalog

Catalog

Today marks the launch of the beautiful new Stampin’ Up! catalog. So many exciting new products- which is your favorite?

If you need a copy, please email me at stampin265@gmail.com and I will be happy to send one out to you. (US residents only.)

Happy stampin’ friends!

Michelle