Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Inspiration Elevator Guest Designer Post

Hi Everyone!  I'm thrilled to be the guest this month at Inspiration Elevator.  It's a fabulous group with an even more fantabulous group of ladies to work with.  Here's the scoop on what they're all about:

Our main purpose here at IE is to challenge ourselves, each other and YOU to take the creative process to the next level;  to inspire growth and change in our scrapbooking beyond the mundane.
You can catch us on Facebook  and share your creations there; we'd love to see how we have inspired you!

This month's challenge is issued by the talented Wendi Robinson. Her first time to issue a challenge for IE and it's a great one! Here is her challenge in her own words:

LOSS... One thing we as scrapbookers do is post about lots of happy things, wonderful moments, things that make us smile, and things we want to remember. Too many times we avoid scrapping the not so memorable, or sad times. Most of us have experienced a loss of some kind, whether is be a loved one- sometimes it's expected, sometimes the loss comes too soon and unexpected. Other times we lose a pet, a job, feel like we've failed at a situation, or loss of a friendship. This time, let's scrap those harder moments that come into our lives. Scrap about a LOSS of some kind.

So yeah, wow, quite the challege because we don't often scrap about loss, right?  At first I thought whelp I'll do a memory page about one of the many beloved pets we've lost over the years.  Then tragedy struck our house and we actually one of those beloved pets quite unexpectedly. :(  My sweet Bella girl went far too soon and we're not quite sure why, but she passed peacefully in my arms at home.

Here she is:

She was a family dog, but ultimately my sweetheart.  I miss her dearly and knew I wouldn't be able to scrap anything about losing a pet.  So on to plan B which was to scrap something a little more raw and real.

This is how my page started - heavy journaling about my chronic illnesses and how they essentially made me feel when I learned I could no longer work outside the home as a teacher/administrator, coach my daughter's soccer team, teach Sunday school, or do the things I normally was able to do with ease.  I'm diagnosed with lupus, gastroparesis, fibromyalgia, chronic daily migraines, Raynaud's Syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and so much more that comes with all those but I won't bore you.  To say I was devastated would be a major understatement.  I fell in to a depression and I didn't even really know it.  I kept plugging forward with a half smile on my face trying to the best I could for my family, hanging on to my faith the best I could, and trying to trust there was some type of reason for all this.

Seriously though?  I just felt lost.  My loss was of myself.  I didn't know who I was anymore.  My identity had become so wrapped in being a teacher, a mom that could do it all, a Sunday school teacher, a wife that was able to meet all her husband's needs and keep house, a friend that could do things, etc., etc., etc.  That was all gone! Gone!  I was sad, frustrated, confused, and yes angry.  But the sadness is probably what took over most.  I cried alone...... alot.  No one knew how much.

I worried how we'd pay bills going from a two income household down to one.  I worried about ever being able to function as a 'normal' person again.  None of illnesses have cures and the fact is one of them doctors don't even know how to deal with or adequately treat. :-/  I worried about being able to see my children grow up and still do on some days. The worry consumed me and as it did I found I had less and less people to turn to.  It's funny how you discover the peeps who will truly be in your corner when the chips are down.  When you can't kick it like you used to you'll know who your trues are, believe me.

So while I never thought I'd share this snapshot I took when I felt at one of my lowest points and turned my eyes up to God and literally cried out, I felt compelled to do so for this challenge.  The above photo I think sums it up pretty well.  I was shattered, depressed, and lost.  I felt I couldn't really tell anyone because everyone I knew knew me as such a happy being.  It finally took one of my doctor's nurses to say it was okay to be depressed in my situation.  Her exact words were "who wouldn't be?"  But even if someone isn't in my situation, it's still okay to be depressed. It's beyond a persons control when this happens, when this lost feeling takes over, and help needs to arrive in some shape or form.  I'm thankful for the day I received some kind words and the guidance to seek some help.  I have no shame in that.  
If you are in need of help or kind words, please know there is no shame and help is out there for you too!

Thank you for taking the time to read through my post, I know it's a bit heavier then what I typically put up and my LO isn't quite as whimsy, but the challenge called for this I think.  I'm also glad to say this photo was taken about 4 years ago now and life is much better.  I'm not going to say living with a heap of chronic illnesses is a bed of roses but I've learned how to adjust.

Now off you go to visit the rest of the lovely ladies to their amazing creations!

Guest Designer: Scarlett Salamone (happy you're here!)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Precious - Let's Scrap

It's that time again!  Another spectacular Let's Scrap sketch has been posted and you have the opportunity to play along for your chance to win a fun prize from this week's sponsor.

Having one teen graduated from high school (how is that even possible?? pfft! I'm far too young for that...LOL!) and the other a freshmen this year (double pfft!! for that) it has become increasingly more difficult to get pictures of them.  So what's a mama to do?  Take pictures of her goat babies of course!

This is Twilight, one of my loves around here on the farm, and I was super elated she actually stood still for this shot!  You don't even know how incredibly hard it is to get goats to cooperate for photoshoots until you have them trying to nuzzle your face while doing so.  I don't mind the nuzzles just wish I wasn't deleting so many photos after. ;)
The sketch this week was perfect for me to use to highlight her precious beauty on a gorgeous Fall day.

For the background I used on the newest ScrapFX stencils, Hash (2014290) to create a bit of country texture with some paste.  I also added bits of glitter glue to this when it was dry but you can't see the sparkle in my photo - bummer.  I really struggle capturing glitter at times.  I then stamped some subtle chicken wire patterning in a greyish tone around the background using my ScrapFX Chicken Wire Stamp (2013382).  In real life this is a really great touch - photo not so much against the mustard background. Of course there are the chippies and then the leaves were also stamped using a ScrapFX stamp onto some patterned paper.  

Here is this week's sketch I used:

My take is from the left side and I adjusted the photos to suit my needs.  I love being able to make sketches meet needs in this way.  Whether you use both sides and make a double page spread (you go with your bad self!), pick a side, adjust it to meet your needs, or follow along precisely, I do hope you play along! 

You can see the rest of this week's DT takes and link at Let's Scrap, here.

Take care and I'll see you soon as I have so much to share my to blog folder is bursting. O.o