Celebrating 77

BC18 Pink Drawers

My mother would have been 77 years old today, but instead, she died at the age of 52. I hate the disease that killed her, and it’s part of the reason that I dedicate the whole month of October to driving people crazy with “pink”.  Over the last few crafting years, I’ve created various pink-ribbon projects of one sort or other, and posted several here.  This one is from a couple years ago, and sums up my mother very nicely:

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I hate that she can’t “watch me play” with all my papercrafting toys and see how I’ve embraced this latest realm in the crafting world. She considered herself all thumbs with everything, but would sit and watch me sew for hours as we brainstormed–and I created–all kinds of goodies for her granddaughters (my nieces) when they came along. But what I really hate is that she didn’t get to see those girls grow up and meet their children. Not to mention all the other things she’s missed–that I’ve missed sharing with her. So many people say that their mother is/was their best friend. Mine truly was, and I miss my friend just as much as I do my mom. Twenty-four years later, I still can’t type these words without stopping to wipe tears away.

She taught me to be the best that *I* can be and not to compare myself to anyone else. I’ve failed miserably at that quite often–but I still hear her words admonishing me that it doesn’t matter how anyone else does anything–that only I can bring to the world what God gave ME to share. She thought she had “no talents”–but her talent was people, and the people of this world (at least, the part of it she blessed with her presence) lost a great advocate when she left it.

She was a complicated woman, who had a very serious side down deep, and she’d fuss at me big-time if I didn’t point out the obvious–she was not perfect and had her faults and foibles like everyone–none of which changed just because she died and I miss her. This, in fact, is one of the the traits I got from her–the ability to see the good and the bad in people, and love them anyway. But Mom preferred–always–to smile and laugh and look at the bright side of things, and that’s the choice I still go with most of the time. And why I choose to believe that, even if just one person reads this and it makes them go get a breast check-up, then she won’t have died in vain.

Mom luminary 2012

I can’t bring her back, but I can keep her alive in my recollections… and honor her memory by sharing some of what I learned from her–

  • minding your manners and being kind is always the best way to go;
  • every day matters;
  • every holiday should be celebrated and treasured;
  • family–whether by birth or choice–is everything;
  • always be the best “you” that you can be.

Here’s to the best Mom-and-friend anyone could be. And I will say, in a very kind, mannerly way–thanks for visiting my Little Corner today!

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A different kind of celebration…

Happy Fathers’ Day. Especially to my Dad in Heaven….his first there.

I had just started this little blog this time last year…and had no idea that the card I’d make for Daddy then would be the last one I’d be able to give him to celebrate this particular holiday.

Fathers Day 2012

This card was the only gift Dad would take. He loved giving and receiving cards, but wasn’t ever big on getting material things, and even moreso since he was “simplifying his life” as he dealt with serious health issues, including the cancer that finally claimed him in January this year.

For whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to make a Fathers’ Day project this year–not even to honor the other sweet and wonderful men I’m blessed to know who are themselves great dads. It’s just too painful. My relationship with my father was a complicated one–definitely not always perfect. But despite his imperfections…and my own…I loved him and know –for good or bad– he helped shape me into the person I have become. And I was blessed to learn from him–both from his wisdom…and his mistakes. And I knew, finally…fully…without any doubts, that he loved me, and all of us, too.

I made this page in December last year to honor him (and my Mom)…as the little girl in me mourned the impending inevitable outcome of the 2-1/2 year battle Dad had with cancer. IBNDC009-002It’s very fitting that the photo of Dad and me is when I WAS a little girl.  I didn’t have too many photos of us together as I aged. Daddy used to be the photographer in the family, and then I took on that role in my late teens. So, one or the other of us was usually behind the camera–hard to get photos together when that’s the case. As I was going through my father’s things after he passed, among the very few things he chose to keep as he pared down his life and belongings were photos I didn’t even know he had and barely even remembered being made….and among them WAS a photo that included the two of us. It also included my late husband and my late stepmother, and is also the ONLY one I have that includes my brother and his wife as well, so it is utterly priceless to me. Finding that amongst Dad’s treasures was worth all the tears I had to shed dealing with his paperwork.

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My Dad, circa 1966

Also among Dad’s things were several other more recent…and much older…photos I had never seen (or forgotten about). The funniest one, by far, is this crazy one of him, which was taken at my beloved aunt’s house at Christmas-time. Dad is wearing one of my cousin’s hats and aiming a toy gun that cuz got for Christmas that year. I definitely inherited my sense of humor from Dad. It’s one of the “things” I’m grateful to have to remember him by.

I miss him. We didn’t have any “unfinished business”, thankfully. My last in person conversation with him took care of that–as the eldest, he knew I’d be taking care of things when he passed. I promised him before I left him that day that I would make sure his wishes were honored–that unless he indicated otherwise, I’d make sure he was allowed to live out his life on his own terms–which meant being in his own home, living his life his own way.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do, because he was in a lot of pain. But I kept my promise.

The last words we spoke to each other were on the telephone shortly before he died. The conversation ended with “I love you”. Every conversation with our loved ones should end with those words, because we never know when those will be the last words we share.

Today–right now, at 4:00 in the morning, as I deal with my insufferable insomnia– I don’t feel very creative. But, despite the sadness, I do feel very blessed. And later today (hopefully after I get some sleep), I have the privilege of making a birthday card for the mother of a dear friend. The timing is not lost on me here.

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today, sad though it may be. But I’ll honor my father by promising that I’ll remember I’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot of blessings to count, and a lot of life to live. –Terri

Faith

2012 has been a year of change for me, following on the heels of several other years of change. Those previous years, the changes were forced on me by life’s circumstances; this year, the changes are ones I am making by choice. They are positive changes to counteract the negative ones I’ve previously had to deal with.

When life hands you a lot of setbacks, hardship, and heartache, you have several options. If you are a person of faith–as I am–with God’s help, you figure out a way to hang on during the hard times.  Crafting of any kind has always been a stress outlet for me; papercrafting actually allows me to “put words” with that creativity. I am always so happy when I find a sentiment, some special paper, some perfect image that expresses the feeling in my heart and soul that needs to make its way to the surface.

I was naturally thrilled to see this sentiment included on one of the very lovely sheets of DSP in the “Fan Fair” pack. ALL the paper is lovely (the layer here with the actual fans on it is also in that pack), but the sheets with the various shapes and tags and “sayings” that are intended to be cut apart and used as I have here….they’re just perfect.  This year, I have indeed taken on a “new way of seeing things”, as I’ve jumped into a major lifestyle overhaul (trying so hard to be healthy for a change!) AND plunged headlong into the Stampin’ Up! world with my papercrafting efforts.

And this particular effort included a Labels Framelit with some paper piercing; some punched flowers (out of the simply divine First Edition Specialty DSP) all put together, scrunched up and tied together with a Cajun Craze button and some linen thread, and some more Pool Party sponging on the “fan” DSP.

And I’ve got my little “faith” button up there, keeping it all together….sorta like my life!

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri

Terri’s Little Corner

TLC.  Terri’s Little Corner of the blogging world. Everyone has to have a blog now, right? Well, mine IS kinda necessary because, in the world of papercrafting (the thing I’m obsessed with now), it gives you a better opportunity to “play along” with challenges, blog-hops, and to just generally run your mouth. That’s something I’m already pretty good at. Put me in front of a keyboard, and I have trouble shutting up, actually. Just ask any of my poor friends who’ve been on the receiving end of letters and emails over the years!

HERE, however, I’ll try to stay on topic. The thing is, the topic of crafting with me is a wide-open field.  My wonderful Granny got me started with it when I was just a kid. Her things were embroidery (which she taught me) and quilting (which she never got around to teaching me, but managed to get me interested anyway).  And I had a wonderful aunt who completely overwhelmed me with the love of flowers, floral crafts (corsages, table arrangements, wreaths) and all kinds of Christmas-crafting. What did I get from my Mom, you ask? Well, Mom would have said that she didn’t have a talented bone in her body, BUT she had a wonderful eye for color and design. And the woman was nuts over the holidays–any holiday. She enjoyed making everything “special” for the ones she loved. So, from Mom, I got my over-the-top love of creating and decorating….EVERYTHING.

I cracked the paper-crafting world initially with scrapbooking, with my first efforts when I was all of 14. Let me just say that the stuff available–um, 40 years ago!!–to preserve photos and memories with were, well, NOWHERE near what’s available now. When I started back in earnest with it 15 years ago, I was amazed! And now, OH! I swoon when I think of all the paper and products available!

My sweet step-daughter got me hooked on Stampin’ Up several years ago. When I discovered how easy and fun it was to work with quality rubber stamps and fabulously coordinated ink, paper, and accessories—well, it was love at first sight. I had the good fortune last year to become a part of the Stampin’ Pretty Pals where I’m surrounded by extremely talented and wonderful people who are inspiring me and challenging me daily to let my creativity soar. So, right now, this little corner of the world tends to be covered with lots of bits of paper, frequently ink-stained fingers, and well, a rainbow of joyous chaos!

I’ll end my first post with this, It’s a card I made in 2009, with some of the first SU stamps and paper I bought. I didn’t make it for MY mom since she passed in 1990, but I’ll dedicate it to her now. I think she’d like it!

Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri