For quite a number of years I just existed. After I became disabled I had to let go of the person I was and become someone new based on the things that my body would no longer allow me to do. The first several years were very difficult ones and I found myself in a pit of despair for about three of them. Thankfully, I was able to latch on to a bit of hope and with the help of my husband, drag myself back up. I began to adapt and once I let go of the dreams I once had and begin to accept this new reality, I did much better. However, I didn't really have anything to do or focus on. I certainly didn't have anything where I could practice using some of the skills I had developed in my earlier life. So, I simply lived from day to day, doing what I was capable of around the house (which wasn't much at all unfortunately), watched TV and read. Once I was able to sit for longer periods, I did manage to get back into some painting and do a little cross stitch each evening because with that I could just stretch out on the couch to work on it and take the pressure of my back. Then in November of 2011, I made my first card and over the course of the next few months created a few more. Then when I discovered the card making world that lay within the Internet, my world was never the same.
I certainly couldn't have imagined that this is where the main focus of my life would end up. Two years ago I barely knew what a blog was, then during the spring of 2012 as I was able to spend a bit more at the computer, I began to learn about an online world where the generosity of many abounds and inspiration is metered out daily. So, after seven months of sitting back and watching from a distance, I decided it was time to jump into the foray myself. As some of you know, I originally started my blog so that I could post cards in order to enter some challenges. Boy, have things taken a 360 degree turn! Now, I have become so busy, it is rare occurrence when I do have time to enter any challenges. What a difference a year makes!
One of the things that I have learned during this time, is how much I missed using my brain. Watching television and even reading didn't take much effort. I suppose the Sudoku and cross word puzzles I would complete worked out a few extra brain cells but my mind wasn't getting the work outs it needed. Getting back into thinking, planning, organizing, writing, and creating are finally giving my brain muscles the activity that they need to once again thrive.
Another thing that I have learned is how much I missed working as part of a team and feeling wanted and useful to others again. Whatever job I had in my old life, I was always part of a team atmosphere and we each had our various roles and responsibilities to fill. It is really important for me to feel like a useful functioning member of whatever team I am part of. I never realized that I would find those exact same kinds of feelings within the design teams that I now belong to. It may be played out in a different format and within an online world, but it is very much like the teams I used to be a part of--my input is valued, I have obligations and deadlines, I receive feedback for what I bring to the group. Once again I have a role to fulfill and that it is very empowering. Additionally, when I am able to help out anyone in need, whether it be my team leader, a fellow team member, or just a reader of my blog in general, with something that they are struggling with or just being able to provide information or direction, I am once again engaging in teaching skills that have laid dormant for far too long. Being a functioning member of society may not seem like much until you no longer feel that you are one. I am really happy to once again feel like I belong somewhere and know that what I bring to the virtual table is respected by many of the people sitting there beside me.
I think that the most incredible blessing that could ever have happened during this past year is the friendships that I have amassed during this time. One year ago, I had one close friend that I talked to all the time and two other friends that I only talked to occasionally. I'm sorry to say it was a bit of a lonely world that I lived in. When you are practically housebound, it is difficult to go out and meet new people or even cultivate existing friendships. I have never really been surrounded by a big circle of people but when I became disabled, and then worse, depressed, slowly that circle closed in until only three remained. I had no idea when I began this blog how much wider that circle would become. Now there are so many people in it, I have lost count. This is the truly biggest blessing that I have received over this past year.
There are some people in particular that I would like to take a moment and thank:
Sandy of Scribbles By Sandy, Scribbles Designs & The Scribbles Designs Challenge Blog
Sandy found me and became a member of my blog within my first week of operation. She was also the first person to ever give me a spot on a design team. What makes this uniquely special is that she had only ever seen one of my cards; yet, she trusted in my abilities enough to give me a chance representing her wonderful line of images. This act gave me such a boost in confidence, you really have no idea. A few months later, after having seen the storylines that I created for some of her digis and for other digi lines as well, she wanted to create a special promotion for me and I became the Strategic Content Developer for Scribbles Designs. Sandy has so much trust in me that she doesn't even want to proof what I have to say about the digis before the posts come out. She prefers to be happily surprised when they pop up on the blog. This act of trust in me has also elevated my confidence. Sandy also jumped on board the Path of Positivity, first as an advisor, then as a team member and finally as an on going supporter. I count Sandy among my list of new friends.
What can I say about Naomi? She and I became very close very fast and she is now someone I consider one of my very best friends. Our professional relationship started with her asking me to colour some of her images so she could showcase them on her blog. Who knew that would lead me to stepping in and becoming her Promotional Coordinator. She basically allowed me to roll right in and take right over certain aspects of her blog and store, having the trust and faith in me to get things done, no questions asked. That kind of faith in me has been incredibly humbling. Additionally, she too jumped on board the Path of Positivity as a team member and became a regular monthly sponsor.
Vicky of Crafting Vicky, The Darker Side Of Me--Crafting Vicky & a brand new challenge blog Open Minded Crafting Fun Challenges
Vicky has been part of my life since November 3rd, 2012. On November 2nd, I came up with the idea of my Saturday Showcase feature and put out the call to a few different people who's work I had enjoyed since discovering the wonderful world of card making and digital images. This only gave the people I reached out to less than 24 hours to respond. Vicky came through and was more than happy to allow me to showcase her work in my very first Saturday Showcase and she has been by my side ever since. In every capacity, she is always there to support me and encourage me and has truly become a dear friend. She also isn't afraid to slap me around when I need it which is an integral part of all good friendships. Very few days, if any, will go by when we don't correspond about something or other. Knowing how swamped I have become and knowing that I am missing getting the latest time sensitive freebies, she has even started taking the time to send me links to them so I can pick them up on time! Vicky too jumped on board as an advisor for PoP and offered her services as a DT member even though she was on over 20 other teams at the same time.
Suze of Craftysuze
Suze has also been there right from the beginning, becoming a follower in my very first week. Over the past year, not only has she become a friend, she has also become one of the biggest users of my digital papers. I never knew how my creative offerings would be perceived or whether anyone out there would ever want to use them. Well, I soon found out that I can always count on finding one or more of my new digital paper creations or other designs within Suze's projects. Right now, there are 20 cards on the 'Your Gallery' page of my blog that Suze has created and several that I just haven't had time to add yet. Suze has definitely helped me get over some of the self-esteem issues that I was experiencing early on and I will be forever grateful to her for that. Additionally, she jumped on board, no questions asked when I was looking for someone to help showcase Naomi's images and also became one of the advisor's and team members for PoP.
Ike of Ike's World, Ike's Art and the new challenge blog Ike's World Challenges
Ike has been another lady who has supported me from the time she found me. She has inspired me, helped me to grow as an artist and like all good friends straight up tells me 'what's what' and gives me a kick in the pants when I need it. Like all the ladies above, she was there for me right from the moment I decided to create my own challenge blog and became and advisor and regular monthly sponsor from the get go. While she was a part time team member for the first few months, Ike has come on board as a full time member as of our latest challenge.
Desíre of Doing Life
I began to get to know Desíre at the beginning of 2013. Since that time she has become an incredible supporter of my sentiments and was a huge promoter of the Path of Positivity right from the get go entering her cards in all the challenges and creating posts specifically to promote the challenge. Now that she is on the team she is just as supporting and shares everything on her Facebook page. Additionally, she lead DS4J to my door as one of the sponsors for PoP. I can always count on Desíre and she too is someone that I can easily call a friend.
Heather of Heather's Coffee Break, Fresh Brewed Designs and the Fresh Brewed Designs Challenge Blog
Within minutes of our first contact, Heather is also someone that has become very special to me. I reached out to her to ask her if I could create a showcase around her cards and images and we have been fast friends ever since. In addition to her support of my personal blog, she also stepped in as an initial advisor to PoP, has become a regular sponsor and created the incredibly beautiful banner on the challenge blog just because she was inspired to do so for me.
Samara of Romancing the Canvas, Fairy Tale Fountain & File oh Fever
While I've only know Samara a short period of time, she too has become a fast friend. One of the things I love best about her is the that she always puts so much time, thought and energy into every single comment that she leaves. She opens up her heart and lays it bear for all the world to see.
Given how busy these ladies are, I am very fortunate that each has been able to come on board the crazy train with me, in one capacity or another, and helped me make the Path of Positivity such a success.
There are also some other ladies that I'd like to mention...
Jennifer of Krafty Keepsakes
I met Jen through Naomi who was trying to help Jen out with something on her blog. Naomi thought I might be able to assist with the problem and I jumped in to do what I could. With helping Jennifer out with her blog I've developed my own abilities and learned new things which have lead me in different directions. Jennifer also jumped on board, no questions asked when I was looking for someone to help showcase Naomi's images which was a very big help to me.
Lisa M. of You Made Me Ink
I've know Lisa for awhile now. She has been there for me as an advisor, helped me anytime I needed a little assistance or just to answer a question. She has let me use her work on numerous occasions and just like Vicky jumped in and allowed me to showcase one of her cards during that very first showcase with less than 24 hours notice. I can also always count on her humour to keep me going.
There is also Deb (A Look Through My Eye), Patti (Scrap Close 2 the Heart, Edwina (Edwina's Creations), Mandy (Made by Mandy), and Shea (Glitter and Bonbons) who have all become awesome supporters and people I can easily call friend.
To all of you ladies listed above and to anyone I may have inadvertently forgotten...
I can't imagine my life without any of you in it. Your generosity knows no bounds and I look up to all of you ladies. You are always there with a kind word, a helping hand or a kick in the pants--whatever I need to help get me through and I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you.
To those of you who have also put your trust and faith in me in one capacity or another, I can only hope that I always live up to your expectations and that I never let you down!
Now to every single one of YOU who has become a follower or a regular reader and especially to those of you who take the time to share your thoughts with me and say thank you when I've offered up a freebie... Without all of you, there would be no reason to continue this blog. The work that I do here, and with the other blogs that I create for, truly has become a full time job. Without all of you standing behind me, I wouldn't be able to continue to do what I do. I only wish that I was able to visit each and every one of you more often. It seems these days that I don't have time to visit anyone's blog and that truly crushes me. While I have been blessed with the chance to do so many new things, the reality is that each of them is chewing up all of my time. Not only am I neglecting you guys, I am also neglecting my husband and for both these things I am so very sorry. I often joke about needing to clone myself or needing to find an assistant that will work for digital creations instead of money, but there is reality in these statements. The only obstacle that I seemed to have come up against during this past year is that of needing more time. Unfortunately, I am already spending on average, about ten to twelve hours a day between actually making cards and other tangible items and all the computer based activities surrounding everything else I am involved in. Thus, there is no more time that I could possibly devote to my new found activities. Somehow, I have to figure out how to become more efficient without giving up the things that make me who I am. Sure, I could resort to just providing a snapshot of my card and some very basic detail of where the images come from. Sure, I don't have to create writeups on all the newest digis coming out of the various stores I represent. I guess I could stop doing showcases altogether which on average can take over 12 hours to put together for each one. I suppose I could stop doing research and bringing you posts on things you may not know about or motivational posts in general. I'm sure I could also spend a lot less time helping people out, answering their questions or ignoring their correspondence. All of those things would surely give me some more time.
then I would no longer be me. I wouldn't be being true to who I am deep down inside. So somehow that means I need to figure something else out. I have absolutely no idea what that will be but I do hope that you will stick around and be patient with me until I do so. I hope that you will stay by my side over this next year as I continue to develop my skills as an artist, designer and creator. I hope that you will support me in my quest to try and find a store and earn a little money from the creations I make. I hope that you will continue to provide me with feedback on everything I do and continue to support all the different people that I promote, even if it is simply to pop by the person's blog or store and have a look around. Finally, I hope that I can continue to count on your support and friendship in general as I continue down this exciting pathway and branch off in new and different directions.
Now, you know me, I can't let an important occasion go by without offering up any goodies; so, please come back and join me this weekend when I reveal my latest giveaway.
Thank you all for joining me today and for being part of this journey with me. May this be year one of many!
Until next time,