Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Retreat in a Box

I can't remember if I mentioned that the Fall Ladies Retreat Weekend is completely full.  I always feel bad when an event fill up because it might mean that some more people want to stamp with me and I can't accommodate them and that makes me sad!

If you were someone that wanted to come to the weekend retreat but can't make it for whatever reason, then the Retreat in a Box option is for you!

You'll receive all the same goodies that my live attendees receive except you get to sleep in your own bed and supply your own food.

For Canadians, the Retreat in a box is only $68 and includes the following:

*7 pillow gifts fully assembled (these are cute little gifts/treats.  they are often handmade and if not obvious how they were made, you'll be given instruction on how to make them in case you want to make more!)
*goodie bag of product valued at $30
*3 make n takes with tutorials
*Chance to win prizes and more! 

The deadline to register and pay is September 25th!  Consider having a friend enjoy the Retreat in a box as well and you both can have your own personal retreat weekend! 

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Monday, August 12, 2019

My journey to Northern Ontario

I'm finally getting around to sharing a bit about my missions trip.  It was such a powerful experience I really don't know how to put it into words.
The word that keeps coming to my mind is PRIVILEGE

It was a privilege to hear God's prompting to go!
As I mentioned previously, I had gone to serve up north about 5 years ago and since then my heart was touched by the perseverance, commitment and dedication of Bera and Bonita who have given their lives to serve the First Nations people in Northern Ontario.   This caring couple began NorthWind family ministries.  This ministry serves individuals and families through counselling services, recreational activities and more. Check out their website HERE

I think it was around March of this year when I started sensing strongly the need to help Bera and Bonita.  I kept thinking of Bera and Bonita and I couldn't shake them from my mind.  As I thought of them I would sometimes utter breath prayers for their work and the thought of going up to volunteer kept coming to my mind.  I figured I had some freedom in the summer since Kevin is around more so he could help with the kids activities and needs.  I finally talked to Kevin about my going up to help out.  I was imagining I could organize paperwork or clean.  Basically I was thinking I could do some simple tasks that would perhaps free the Northwind staff to do other more impactful work with their time.
When I spoke to Kevin, he felt it would be better if a team of people go so that there are more helping hands rather than just my own.  I didn't really like the team idea because I was trying to keep things simple and I hadn't considered leading a team but I've learned in my spiritual journey and life journey that just because something doesn't feel comfortable, it doesn't mean I shouldn't do it.
I decided the first step would be to reach out to Bonita and ask what kind of help they needed. I didn’t want to barge in and do whatever I wanted. I truly wanted to serve in a way that would be helpful to them and their work. 
Well, it turns out that Bonita had been concerned and praying because several teams that were scheduled to go up this summer had cancelled for a variety of reasons and they were needing volunteers for their kids camp week and their family strengthening week. 
Wow! I felt humbled and privileged to be a part of answered prayer for her!

It was a privilege to serve as part of a team! 
Looking at dates it worked out best for me to go and help July 28-August 4th which was the Family Strengthening week.  The kids camp week was the week immediately following my return from Europe.  I'm crazy but not crazy enough to go on a service mission while still jetlagged so end of July it was.  
Bonita said she would be pleased to have just me come but welcomed a team as well. I think it was her polite way of saying that more helping hands were needed besides just me. :)
So, I reached out to friends who I thought would be a good fit for the work we would be doing.  Bonita explained that the family strengthening program was a week where one or two families would go to a camp called Eagle’s Cove and families would undergo counseling with trained counselors. Family members that were not participating in counseling session at a particular time would be participating in activities designed to to be fun and foster healthy connection with one another.
I asked quite a lot of people who I thought would would have skills and gifts to offer with this kind of work but most people already had summer plans for that week.
Two of my friends joined in the adventure: My friend Marianne from church and my friend Linda who I've known since our boys were little.
How could I have known that our small team of three would be perfect?
We prepared together, laughed together, cried together, and prayed together.  The experience was so much richer because we were together.

In addition, when we arrived, we met other volunteers.  There was a wonderful woman named Chris who had volunteered in May and when asked if she would come the week of July 28th she said she would.  I'm so glad for her heart of service because her role was to cook for all the staff, volunteers and the family! She definitely had the right skills for that role! (trust me, NO ONE would have wanted me to cook) We were treated to her innovative cooking skills  (she didn't let anything go to waste) AND she baked fresh goodies everyday!

There were also a group of men from the Niagara Falls area who came to do some construction work at the city office.  These men also had the perfect skills for their job as they were millworkers, and electricians. 

Finally there were summer students and young staff members.  Their experience and youthful energy were the perfect complement to the team. 

I found it miraculous and incredible that somehow with our different experiences and backgrounds we formed a unified and well functioning team.  
More than once I was extremely grateful for the team members.  Linda loved to swim so she was perfect to frolic with the young  girls in the water, Marianne has been doing gymnastics since a child and brought some ribbon and taught some rhythmic gymnastic dance moves 

I was super grateful for Heather who managed the daily schedule and provided a paper schedule to each of us so we knew where we were supposed to be each hour of the day.  Sometimes I would be scheduled to clean bathrooms, or help Chris in the kitchen or do crafts with the family. 
this was the craft garage

For confidentiality reasons, I don't have any photos of the family to share with you but I can say that they loved the memory books.  We took photos all week and printed them on the little portable photo printer I brought and I showed them how they could put them in albums so they could take them back home with them to the reserve. They would always have a reminder of the fun, growth and joy they experienced in this week.  Thank you to all of you who donated supplies.  
Here is proof of our meaningful crafting: 

Can you see it?  A dimensional backing.  LOL! 

Most of all, it was a privilege to get to know an amazing and courageous family from a fly in reserve who have suffered trauma, hardship, mental illness, addiction but still are courageous enough to try to learn, grow in an attempt to better their future and the future of their children. 
They were courageous enough to show up for their counselling sessions and to do crafts and play with us and each other.
I am so humbled to that they trusted us and I was so privileged to observe amazing love between family members and was even able to witness miraculous emotional growth in one of the family members. 

This post is already so so long so I will end it here but this is just a tip of my experience.
I have also learned so much about the history of the Indigenous people in Canada and my heart is saddened. I will aim not to forget that I come from a place of privilege so there is absolutely no way I can truly understand the experience of these Indigenous people however, I know they are human...like me, like you.

Linda, Marianne and I are going to send a card to the family.  They will be coming back to Northwind for follow up sessions and we want them to know that we are continuing to remember them and pray for them.   I thought the sentiment was perfect.  This was a swap card I received I think from fellow demonstrator Karen Duke.  

For further reading: 

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Friday, August 9, 2019

A milestone birthday

Yesterday was an exciting day!  My first born turned 18!! Time goes so fast!

Of course I had to make him a card!

I used the Rustic Retreat stamp set.  I actually bought this stamp set specifically with my son in mind because I loved the quote:
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and loved more than you know.

When I first saw this stamp set in the new catalogue with the quote I actually got tears in my eyes.  (Yes, I'm getting emotional with my son soon entering this new stage of his life) 

Here's the card I made which I CASEd from another demonstrator, Mary Deatherage. 

You know I was really feeling the love because I even stamped the inside. 

It's always hard for me to make masculine appropriate cards so I was happy how this one turned out. 

We gave my son the card at dinner and I knew he liked it! 

I was so happy I took the time to make him a card and so happy to enjoy a family dinner together! 

Thanks for dropping in! I'll paste the supply list for the card below.  Just click on any of the images to take you to my online store.   Don't forget all orders qualify for my Sizzlin' Summer offer and August is the month to use any bonus days coupons you earned in July! 

Product List

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Almost Time for the Garage Sale!

I am home from the special service trip that I had talked about in a previous blog post. 
The experience was so profound and I am still reflecting and processing everything.  I do hope to write a blog post about my experience soon so keep checking back.

In the meantime, I wanted to remind you that my Annual Stampin4fun Garage Sale is just 4 days away!!

Don't miss it!
Saturday August 10th!
It's only two hours long: 9:30-11:30am
Location: Cornerstone Christian Community Church 9680 Ninth Line (corner of Donald Cousens and Ninth Line in Markham)

The best deals will be gone first so make sure to come early! The first 20 people through the door will receive a small gift from me!

I've got boxes and boxes of all kinds of supplies and tools that are perfect for papercrafters, parents, teachers and anyone who loves a deal!

So far none of my family have complained as the boxes are really piling up in my house! It's a huge sale!

Here's a photo from a previous year's sale so you get an idea of how many tables full of crafting deals are available! 

Did I mention it's important to come early??

Hope to see you there!  Here's the facebook event to share with friends! 
Remember: Saturday August 10th at Cornerstone Church, 9:30-11:30am 
Cash ONLY! 

Don't miss my Sizzlin' Summer offer

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Peek Inside our August Magic Box

For August, there's a special option available for Paper Pumpkin!
It looks like the kit will be gift bags with beautiful tags!  It will be perfect for fall gifts for teachers, friends and others! 

For the first time, Stampin' Up! is offering the oppotunity to nab an add on kit that will allow you to create cards from the kit pieces.

This gives you flexibility. You can do some tags, some cards!

I think the colours are gorgeous!

Check out the video below and make sure to be a Paper Pumpkin subscriber today! 

Here's the August kit information:

  • Makes 6 fall-themed gift bags
  • Makes 12 fall-themed gift tags
  • Coordinating colors: Blackberry Bliss, Calypso Coral, Crumb Cake, Crushed Curry, Merry Merlot, Mint Macaron, Old Olive, Pretty Peacock, and Soft Suede

Here's the Add-on Information: 
  • Gift of Fall Add-On Bundle (item 152885)
  • Price: $13.00 cad
  • Includes 24 card bases of 2 different designs with coordinating envelopes (note card size)
  • Product dimensions
    • Cards: 5" x 3-1/2" (12.7 x 8.9 cm)
    • Envelopes: 5-1/8" x 3-5/8" (13 x 9.2 cm)
  • Available August 1, while supplies last
  • Contact me if you need help ordering.  I can include with a group order to help save shipping. 
  • Not included with an August Paper Pumpkin subscription
Important note: The Gift of Fall Add-On Bundle is not needed to complete the August kit projects.

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