Saturday, November 30, 2013

CTMH Stamp-of-the-Month Blog Hop: Special Care

Welcome to another SOTM Blog Hop.  If you arrived here from Teresa's blog, you're in the right place.  If you're starting here, just keep hopping until you get back to my blog.

This is the stamp set for December.

These are the perfect images to go with photos of your kids or use them as tags for a special gift.  Unfortunately, I've been knocked down by a nasty cold for over a week and haven't had the time or energy to create anything with this stamp set.  It makes me sad to let you down in this way.  Sorry about that.  But I can share what the Close To My Heart art department created with this set.

They do such an amazing job and are so creative!  I hope I'll be back to creating very soon.  In the meantime, hop on over to Gina's blog to see what she has created.  

Don't forget that this stamp set is only available for the month of December, so be sure to contact me or your own CTMH consultant to put it on your order.

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Creative Christmas Cards with Sparkle and Shine: Brae-er Team Blog Hop

Welcome to our November Team Brae-er Blog Hop that focuses on "Holidays" in anticipation of the Christmas holiday. (My first time to participate and I'm super excited!)  You will see creations from our team that may include stamp sets, patterned paper, inks, embellishments and more from the Close To My Heart Autumn Idea book and new mini Holiday Guide. To purchase any of the items seen in our blog hop today, kindly contact your local consultant to place an order.
We hope that you will take the time to leave comments on our posts, as we really love feedback from our blog viewers....whether it was something that you really liked or some new technique that was used that you would like to learn how to leaving us comments, we get to hear what you like, and what you want to see. Thank you… now on to our hop!

If you have just hopped onto my blog, you can start here as this is a circular hop, but if you want to follow our team's blogs, then please start at the beginning at Brae's blog.  If you came from Michelle's blog then you are in the right place!

I have a card club that meets every month and this month we made some beautiful Christmas cards using the Sparkle & Shine Workshop on the Go kit, as well as Black, Whisper, Ruby and a bit of Honey ink.

This one was inspired by Katy Taylor.  You can check out her original here.

This tree card was designed by Diana Veenendaal.  I only made a few changes.  She's also got a fabulous tutorial on how to create the tree.  Check it out here.

And this last one was inspired by Wendy Coffman.  You can check out her original here.

It was a good challenge for me to use only the items in the WOTG to complete these five cards, and a lot of fun.  Interested in making 5 cards each month, from a set group of products?  Click here to find out more.

Your next stop on the Team Brae-er Hop is Crafty Carol.

If you get lost along the way, you can head to Brae's blog.  She has the complete blog list.

Thanks for hopping along with us - we hope we were able to inspire you to get creative using some of the designs, products and techniques seen along the way. Join us again in December when we will be featuring ideas to make for Valentines/family day etc.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Atlantic Hearts Sketch Challenge #30: Happy Anniversary

I'm back for another Atlantic Hearts Challenge!  I missed my turn last time because we were out of the country, and I'm happy to be designing again.  This week's sketch is definitely a challenge.  It suggests a different size and shape of card than I usually work with, but I was up for the challenge.  In fact, I was on a bit of a deadline to create for this challenge and the inspiration just came to me!  Love it when that happens.

Here is this week's sketch:

I went with a 3 1/2x 7" card.  Here is what I created:

The lines in the middle are just embossed with my score board and bone folder.  The flourishes in the corner are stamped with Whisper ink, in second generation and the sentiment in first generation, both directly on the card base.  The flourishes are from the set Instant Memories and the sentiment from Party Pennants.  I think both are retired.  I am drawn to the "smattering" of bling look, so I separated the 3 sparkles instead of keeping them together.  Here's a close up of the embossing:

Now, it's your turn to create with this week's sketch.  Link it up here and make sure to mention that I sent you. :)
Happy Creating!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

El Salvador 2013: Day Five, So Rewarding

As I write this we are driving home from December the 1st, an area previously known as Somalia. If you've read my posts from previous years, you have heard about this place before. We hold a clinic here every year. It's a slum, right in the heart of San Salvador. It was a challenging day because not only are the people the most needy, but we start to run out of medicines. And yet, we are able to brig smiles and love to a community who so desperately needs it. We were able to help 1,019 people in medical today. Those same people, and more, got food, clothing and other items as well. 

Above is a typical home, up together with whatever they can find. They struggle with malnutrition and parasites and lots of others. 

What really gets me each year is just how thankful they are when we come. The community leaders had a couple of plaques made for us and when they gave them to us and thanked us with hugs, there were lots of tears. It's hard not to feel their emotion and appreciation when you see it smiling out of their eyes. It makes you feel equally grateful to be a part of this mission. 
Thank you, too, my readers, for following me on these experiences each year. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement and constant support. I really do feel it. And thank you for putting up with my departure from crafting. We'll be back to it in the next post. :)

Thank you again!

El Salvador: Day Four, Another Record Broken!

I say it every day, but wow, it was quite a day!  We were in a community called Zaragoza. We set up in the mayor's office again, after having to move out of a very tiny space in the library. Once we got it all worked out, everything went smoothly. We saw a record breaking 1,049 patients in medical and dental did 210, although a lot of their cases were pretty complicated. 
As the doctors started to see patients, they noticed a lot of stress and trouble sleeping. Turns out the gangs run this community. They have enforced a curfew of 7pm and anyone caught outside after that time could get shot!  I can't imagine living with that kind of fear.  
One of the prescription sheets I received tugged at my heart and made me tear right up. 

It may be hard to see, but this woman's husband was killed on the job just two months ago. He fell out of a tree. She is now a widow, with a disabled adult child to look after as well as her three-year-old grand daughter. There is no workman's comp. or any kind of widow's benefits here. She has no way to make money for her family. These kinds of stories break my heart. I am so grateful we could be here to help her know that someone cares and that Jesus hurts for her as well. We could make her feel better by giving her medication and vitamins. I don't want to forget her. She is why I am here. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

El Salvador 2013: Day Three, Record Breaking!

Wednesday was a crazy day, and that's putting it lightly. We were back in Tepecoyo again. We visited this community last year so it was nice to be back. Pharmacy had a nice big room, with lots of space. 
We worked hard, VERY hard, seeing a record of 1,014 patients in medical and 234 in dental!  There has only been one other day, in all our trips, where we broke 1,000. The best part of this clinic day was that we saw every person who wanted to be seen. Not one was turned away, and that, no matter what the numbers, makes us feel even better. 
Here are a few shots I took at the end of the day. The first are of the school we were in. 

The mayor presented our group with a plaque. 

And when we got home we skyped with our kids. 

Loved seeing their faces ... even if they were being a little silly. 

We had a day off today and are looking forward to two more clinic days before flying home. Our team is healthy, which is so great!  Please continue to pray for health, strength and energy. And thank you again for your support and encouragement. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

El Salvador 2013: Day Two

It's 6:30 in the morning as I write this. I am ready to head down to breakfast. We need to leave a half hour earlier today because traffic is causing us to arrive late at our clinic sites. To be honest, I'm tired, really tired; and I can't wait for our day of tomorrow. Yesterday was a hard day for me. We had some definite perks, though. Our clinic was held in a place called San Jose Villaneuve. I think I got that right. We were in the mayor's office instead of a school and Pharmacy lucked out. We got air conditioning!!  It wasn't as cool as you would have at home, but only because our door was open all day. This was such a treat since we were closer to the shore where it is hotter. No such treats today, as we head to another hot location. It made working so much easier an since I had a spell of not feeling well in the morning, I was incredibly grateful for it. 
We saw 823 patients in medical, a record-breaking 220 in dental, 111 pairs of reading glasses were handed out and there was more food given out after the medics stopped seeing patients!

We also had the opportunity to help a very sick 2-month-old who had a super high fever. Here's a photo of Chris getting a dose of acetaminophen ready. 

She was so adorable and so sick. She ended up getting an injection of antibiotic and we hope to be able to follow up with her. We're going to try to get the mayor to find out how she is. 

Anyway, time is short and if better get moving. Thank you for your prayers. We need energy and strength today!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

El Salvador 2013: Day One is Done

Wow, what a day we had yesterday!  We visited El Congo, a community that has never had an NGO visit to help them. There were speeches by the mayor and they sang our national anthem!  The drive was gorgeous, winding along mountain top road, with a valley on one side and a stunning lake on the other. 
We saw 805 people in medical, 181 in dental and handed out 171 pairs of reading glasses. 
It was a great day with so many people needing our medical attention. I got to meet a 104-year-old man, whose only issue was eye pain. He was so sweet. 
It is so rewarding to know that these people finally know that there are other people out there who care about them. 
Here are a few photos I took at the end of the day. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

El Salvador 2013: Ready to Start

We are almost ready to start our first clinic day. As I write this, I am about 20 minutes from boarding the bus. 
Yesterday we packed our medicine bins and bagged some drugs and vitamins in record time. 

We have already had some challenges on this trip, which happens every year. Our truck, carrying items we had stored in Guatemala, was denied entry at the border. So, a pile of dental equipment and medical tools will not be here. Our team here was busy purchasing new items like a generator for the dental team and other dental units (at a cost of $5000 each) had to be brought down with us on the plane. Medical equipment had to be purchased as well. As for pharmacy, our bins had to be replaced and it was challenging to work with new ones that are different and much bigger. Hopefully we will still have room for them on the desks that serve us as tables at our sites. 
On another note, it's been exciting to see our team work together so well!  The people on our trip are workhorses!  They 105,000 vitamins yesterday and we were done before 4pm!!  That doesn't include the parasitic and other meds they also packaged up. It's all done. What a wonderful feeling!

As we go into today, pray for strength, health, and energy. Pray also that I have a better sleep tonight!  Thank you for your support and encouragement. 

If you want to read another blog about our trip, go to and click on blog. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

El Slavador 2013: We're On Our Way ... Almost

It's time again for another trip with Speroway to El Salvador. I'll be posting as often as I can so you can share in our experience and see how your support is helping us. 
Right now we're killing time at a Wendy's near the airport. Our flight times are flipped compared to our last trips, which is bitter sweet. It means we can spend time with our kids before we leave and they'll be awake when we get home. But it also means that we won't be arriving at our hotel until after 10, and we just discovered that our flight is delayed. Sigh. Oh, the joys of air travel. 
I just thought I would share some photos of how we are passing the time. :)

I'm going to miss these two. 

Next post from sunny, warm, and precious El Salvador.