Monday, March 28, 2011

Pay It Forward...

How could I resist? This sounded like a lot of fun!

I met Tabitha at Silver Bella. She is adorable and makes wonderful things. She has a terrific blog... be sure and take the time to visit. So...I signed up on her site to 

Pay It Forward

The first five people who signed up get a homemade gift from Tabitha. 

I agreed to do the same thing! This is open to the first five people who sign up. Now since it is a handmade item it doesn't have a due date. I love the thought of paying it forward... Please join me!
If you want to join email me at
To participate there are few requirements:
1. Write a post about paying it forward.
2. Make 5 things and mail out to the five women who agree to pass the generosity along....
Fun, huh?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Arizona sunsets...

Sky blues fade to lavender...

Inky palm on stripes of gold...

Angelic pink clouds...

Arizona. Resting in the love of family. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sending Me Angels...

Alright, I know this video would never pass the "angel rule" in my house (one angel comes in, one goes out). Jud probably wouldn't let this one in the door! In truth, I prefer the Kathy Mattea version (not on You-Tube) but I do resonate to a "gravelly voice." I see it as an indicator of someone of has really "seen a lot of life." 

"Sending Me Angels" has special meaning for me. My dear friend, Donna and I, used it for one of our annual women's retreats in the Black Hills, which focussed on women's friendships. I found myself humming it last night. We have certainly been blessed with friendship during Jud's illness.

I need to get to the point. We received some bad news yesterday. Jud's cancer has spread to his liver. There are two very small spots, but pancreatic cancer cells are powerful and insidious and spread quickly. Surgery isn't an option. We were not expecting this news and were initially in shock. We had done a lot of reading and research about surgery but did not want to look at the idea of metastases.

We came back to Pam and Barry's and called family.  Jud wrote a Caring Bridge entry. Next we pulled out our computers and started reading about the next options for treatment. Ah, the modern age! 

We read for about four hours and then we had a good cry. We were not prepared for this. 

I woke up early this morning (actually eight o'clock Minneapolis time) and the sun is now rising.  This morning we will visit a medical oncologist at Stanford who specializes in chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. We are back to the task of looking at options. We plan to look at various research programs across the country but, again, we hope that Jud can get his actual treatment in Minneapolis. 

Jud's Caring Bridge is full of loving messages from people who were hoping with us. I took a peek and see that my mailbox is full. I had beautiful, caring thoughts waiting for me when I arrived here at my blog yesterday.

Indeed, He does keep "Sending Me Angels."
We will get through this.
We are surrounded.
We are being "held up" by the angels in our life. 

I thank each of you, from the depths of my heart, for being one of those "angels."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lovely Stanford Cancer Center....

What a light and lovely place! As you enter, there is a huge, two level room, with a grand piano and these three wonder pieces of art. There is light everywhere. I tried to take pictures that didn't show the light but I guess that is part of its charm (what an excuse!!!). You can see the lights of the dappled leaves through the windows. Look at that beautiful wooden floor. Often there is someone playing the grand piano.

This is the hall that leads the Pancreatic Cancer Center. We have heard it will soon be called the Patrick Swayze Pancreatic Center, as the family donated a lot of money in his honor. Word also has it that Steve Jobs is being treated here. So much for name-dropping! There is a rather modern but comfortable waiting room at the end of the hall and coffee, tea and cocoa. 

I love these pictures which were done by an African woman. Each pictures has information next to it, telling about the author and the style, but we were in a bit of a hurry.

This is such a sweet botanical! No matter what I did, I still got that leafy window light and the shadow of me taking the picture. See me in there?

Pleasant, huh? I hadn't noticed until today how many pictures have shades of orange and blue. Very cheerful. 

If you are really lucky, you will hear the harpist. What an soothing sound. If you are really, really lucky, you will see the masseuse and get a fifteen minute neck massage. I was not that lucky today but what a wonderful offering! Look at those beautiful wooden floors again.

The waiting rooms are around the entire building and face outdoors so you feel surrounded by beautiful flowering trees and plants.

We go to our first appointment at 11:20, in about two and a half hours. Please send prays our way, if you are able. I pray that I will be able to accept "what is" and live it the best I can. Of course, I would love a miracle!!!

It is so nice to be in surroundings like this when you are under stress. I am really grateful to all of the people who donated to make this possible and I am especially grateful to all of you for supporting me so kindly this last four months.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Back to Stanford...

This all happened so fast. We are back at Stanford Cancer Center. It is beautiful, n'est pas? (all I remember of my high school French...haha). Today Jud has Pet Scans, Cat Scans and blood work. Tomorrow morning, we will meet with the cancer radiologist (the very kind Dr. Koong, aka Doogie Hauser. Why do all these experts look like they are thirty-five?) Tomorrow after noon, the Tumor Board will meet and take a look at his results together. I like the fact they have this board, that not only one but many doctors will be looking at the results. They are also evaluated by the Johns Hopkins Tumor Board and the Sloan Kettering Tumor Board, so we have the advantage of two more good centers looking at his test data. They will be primarily to see if it would now be possible to do surgery (we hope and pray) and if he has any new metastases (cancer) elsewhere in his body (we hope and pray not) .

More meetings, after that, and I will share some picture of the inside of the center. They do all they can to make it pleasing, calming and beautiful. There is some lovely art in there!

Until then, we will be waiting and doing lots of praying and deep breathing.

Huge thanks to all of you for your wonderful support. Truly, you have done so much to make this all manageable. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Another Way To Use the Besties...

It's time to play along with Karla Nathan's Using the Good Stuff challenge. What a great idea!!!

OK...this is just a little bit corny!!! Well, my muse hasn't been around. I have no ideas or energy to make jewelry, much less venture into my second love, which is paper crafts. 

What I do love is giving gifts, wrapping up each little package and putting them into boxes and envelopes that will shock the postman! This gift is for a woman who likes roosters! She is going to have a lot of fun with the package on the right because the paper lace is encased in a layer of cellophane!!!

And this is for a woman who loves fuschia, photography and fashion. I have been doing international materials swaps with Lawendula. They are so much fun and I loved my last package from Eliza who is from Poland! (I won't tell you the postage of the box I sent her-YIKES!)  I taped each envelope of these ones closed with that wonderful tape from the Michaels' dollar bin that says, "You are Awesome...You are Special...You are Wonderful."

Love this girl...such style! The camera loves her, too, I think.

And it did take a second envelope...but, this time, no box. I think I saved money!

Everything inside is all wrapped individually and scented with her favorite (lavender). The package also includes her favorite candy (Jelly Bellies).

So what does that have to do with my besties? 
My besties are wrapped in those packages! I started collecting vintage books several years ago and I now have a wonderful collection. I decided right away that they were purchased for using...and I also have decided they were purchased for sharing.

I hope the recipients will enjoy the packages. I feel a lot of joy in giving them.

Do go to Karla's site and check the wonderful things that people have made using their "besties." 
Huge thanks to Karla who made some of the loveliest things herself!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Amazing Gift...

Amazing Gift came to me as the title of this entry. It sounds a lot like Amazing Grace. When you go through a difficult time, you may sometimes also experience the amazement of Grace. Spiritual gifts will be given to you, sometimes in the form of a concrete gift. Sheila Rumney gave me this gift because she cared and wanted to do something to help us in our profound sadness. She also gave it to us because she had know the sadness of pancreatic cancer. She had lost her ""other mother," (her stepmother, whom she loved very much) to pancreatic cancer. To me, therein lies the touch of Grace...for her to share out of her own pain. Out of that pain, came a gift of joy and the love of God appeared in a hard experience.

Thank you to Sheila for letting me use her pictures!
Sheila and I are "creators." I stop short of calling myself an artist. I would call her one. She made me a book to record my Christmas ornaments. More than any of my possessions, I love my ornaments. They tell stories. They tell the story of the life of Jud and I and our family, from before we were married to the present. They tell of when we had Katie, when we lost our twin sons in childbirth, the many other teens and young adults that came to live with us, and our wonderful friends and family. Sheila made a scrapbook that will house the pictures and stories of the ornaments and gave it to me as a gift. She poured herself into it. It is rich in beauty and detail and I love it! I wanted you all to see the whole thing!

"Ornament Stories" is created in beautiful cherry reds, greens which lean toward olive, gentle beige and soft aqua. The sides of the album are embellished with a joyous mass of lace, ribbon and strips of material that pick up these colors.
Poking through the top right is a beautiful crystal. I think it's fitting that the theme of the front page is sledding, something I did a lot of as a child, as we also did with our daughter, Kat. Is there a sled ornament on our tree? Of course! I bought a handmade one twenty-seven years ago at Calvary Lutheran Church in Rapid City, South Dakota!

There is always a place on my shopping list for ornaments Isn't that a darling little girl on the shopping list at the left?  Each of my family gets a new one each year. This frame is meant to hold the picture of a particularly elegant one, I think. Most likely, it will hold a picture of the beautiful brass angel, given to us several years ago by our dear friends, Sheryl and Jo, in our annual Christmas angel exchange.  I love the three-D nature of my book. Look at all of the dimensional flowers and the snowflakes that even have little rhinestones in the center. Under the picture frame is the most gorgeous antique laee.

Talk about joy! The page at the left is full of joyful Santas and snowmen. I would call them Retro, rather than when I was a girl! I can picture the big fat Snorkel Santa, given to us my Katie's godparents, Charlie and Kathie, the year we learned to snorkel. Jud and I  were both too sick for our final dive, which was to take place on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  We have a wonderful (also fat) Santa the cook, gifted to us by Karen and Sam. We spent many happy hours cooking with those dear friends! At the right, there is a wonderful lace-trimmed pocket, holding two handmade tags, pieces of art in themselves!  On these tags, I will tell these stories  about the ornaments pictured on the left. The attention to detail is incredible. The holly is that great "old-fashioned" holly and there is a teeny tree cookie cutter on the tea-dyed tag. Oh, I love it!

Another darling set of pages. The background is covered with happy children. I love the red boy on the left that has a bell in the center, hooked with a safety pin. Look at that tag on the left that matches the trim. I love the little bit of houndstooth paper...and the button has red and white baker's string that matches!

This set of pages is amazing! A beautiful blue background (this paper is wonderful) and the cutest angel tag, dotted with glitter. In the middle is a wonderful Santa, 3-D glittery snowflakes, and, guess what, the page opens is an envelope!!! I can imagine putting little gift tags in the envelope, when friends give us an ornament with a special loving gift tag. And look...

...Here is the other side of the envelope, fully decorated! Layer on layer, a beautiful round picture of Santa and children on a sled, lovely bits of glitter. Sheila is not a minimalist! Neither am I! i love the snowman tag on the other side, another place for writing about our beloved ornaments. It also has lovely, glittery bits and a glittery snowflake on the top. And white lines to help my crooked handwriting :-)
The other one, also totally adorable. Tea-dyed with a glittery snowflake. Hooked on to the seam binding bow, which is the prettiest shade of blue.

Another lovely picture on the left side with a cute tab in the middle. It begs to be written on a file folder in school. And the right side has a different kind of pocket, decorated with gimp and two adorable tags. The one poking out has  glittery children carrying a tree and darling lace on the bottom

Another lovely page of holly. It is a little hard to see, but that is a tiny red chandelier crystal handing from the tag on the left. Adorable page on the right. I love the pictures of children. I guess the school psychologist and special ed teacher in me is still in there somewhere. Love those dear children! The tag at the top is tied with an strip of muslin. Just so fitting! The other has the cutest little boy in a red parka. He almost looks like a little gnome! Then there is that glittery piece of candy and beige seam binding tied at the top. On the pocket there is darling lace everywhere!

Sadly, we are on our last page. Beautiful blues everywhere. This is really a wonderful set of paper. Sheila told me what t was and I believe she said it was Webster's Pages. Someone, correct me quickly, if I am wrong! It may be hard to see this clearly but I love how all the colors coordinate so beautifully. The Color Geniuses have been at work on this one. Would I ever have thought to put pale aqua blue with red  and green. No. Never. It is a wonderful combination. Cheery and Classical Christmassy and yet so soft at the same time. Dud you see the big rhinestones? There are three on the tab on the left and one in the middle of the snowflake. The very last little picture has a mom and her little girl. She looks like she is seeing snow for the first time. Just precious.

We have no picture of the back but on the bottom, is says, "Made with Love, Sheila Rumney." Yes, indeed, this gift was made with so much love. My eyes are swimming with tears again. It is a gift of art and it is a gift from the heart.

This is a gift that I will add to and enjoy always. I pray that Jud will be here with me to enjoy it, too. I have already taken many pictures and look forward to the "story" part.

I am a creator, too. I know the hours of work that went into this. I am so touched!
Sheila, again, I thank you. I will never, ever forget this. I imagine being a little old lady and still not forgetting this. It came to me when my heart was low and picked me right up and brought me great joy.
It was an incredibly kind thing for you to do.
I have said it many times before, I am grateful. I am so grateful and so touched.
You are a lovely, lovely woman.
Inside and out.