Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Craft RAK-y-ness...Something New Here at the Bellissima Cards Blog

Well....this is unheard of...
2 blog posts in one day..
from me!!
What the heck is going on???

I am so excited to share this 2nd blog post today...

this is a long blog post..
so I will apologize now
and I will thank you...in advance...if you read through to the end

By nature..I am a better "giver"...than I am a receiver.
I have aways been this way..
and I think that I will always be this way.
I don't anticipate changing.

Now that you know this about me...
I can share a story with you
that will lead you to know why I am adding some Craft RAK-y-ness to my card making life 
and to my blog.

In 2001, my husband David had an accident in our home ...a few days before Christmas.
He was with our (then) 7 year old daughter, Chelsea, when the accident happened.

When EMS, the firemen..and the police got here that night after I called 9-1-1...
they saw my husband..and saw what happened..
They told me that our daughter was lucky to be alive...
She was absolutely fine..Thank God...

My husband, was not.

He had a traumatic brain injury...was immediately comatose..
That night...
he became a quadriplegic..on life support...and was not expected to survive the night.
I was told that he would never "wake up"
There was no sign of brain activity.
He was, as per his wishes...a DNR
He had always said that he did not want "heroic measures"...
he did not want to be resuscitated...or on life support 
but the hospital made an error..and intubated him ...

He did survive that night...
and survived for 10 months after that night.
He shocked his medical team...
and our family and friends...
when 3 months later...
he woke up
Within a month he was weaned off of intubation....
He received a permanent trach
He was alert...cognizant...
His memory was significantly compromised...
He had permanent double vision
a feeding tube
He lost his ability to speak..

He was awake..and alive...
and because of this...
at the hospital....He was known as  "The Miracle Man"
Staff would come from other floors and units....
just to see him..
He had become a sort of celebrity.
His doctors on his medical team kept telling me that they had no supportive medical reasons 
as to why or how he was awake..alert..and able to communicate etc.
THEY told me...they had witnessed a miracle.
I agreed.
I knew that we had witnessed a miracle.

Eventually...David started to move his arms 
but not his legs
and when he was able to feed himself a pureed diet..the feeding tube was removed.
Surgery to his vocal chords was unsuccessful...
He never spoke again..
but he did communicate by typing into a small device that would speak whatever he had typed ..
His mind was back....somewhat..
actually..it was back...A LOT
He was always extremely intelligent..and had an amazing calculator like mind
Friends would joke and call him "Rainman"
He was a wiz with numbers..facts.. a memory like a steel vault...
he never forgot anything
not even the phone numbers, addresses and birthdays of childhood friends.
He would rattle off every stock sale and trade that he ever made when he worked as a  broker..
the date of trade
the number of shares
what it was bought at
what it sold at
the clients phone number...
Baseball stats?..He was a living walking stat encyclopedia
He had always remembered everything..
When he woke up... he remembered some pieces...of everything
some of the recent past..
but not everything...

He survived for 10 months after the accident...
and for 7 months after waking up from a 3 month coma.....
those days were gifts to us as a family.
Then...in October...he passed away suddenly...
at a time when we had just started plans to have him come home the following Spring..
with a full time live-in nurse, to help care for him.
His passing away was a shock to everyone
Family...friends..medical team
David was 41 years old
I was a widow at 44
Chelsea no longer had her Daddy.

Those 10 months left us...my daughter and I...forever changed
The life we once had was erased...gone... in the flash of a moments time, that December night.
Everything familiar..comfortable..and what we had loved about our lives as a family was gone.
Life was almost unrecognizable to us.
It's so hard to even describe it.
It was like being transported into the pages of a book about a strangers life
and being expected to now live their life
Nothing was the same
Not during the 10 months...
and not after David died.

Those days were days when the giver in me HAD to learn to accept and receive from others
This was SO hard for me.
But even with my resistance
So many people came forward to help us in countless ways...
In my heart...
I knew that we would have never made it through the 10 months..or the year after..
if not for the kindness and generosity of so many people.

After David died...and Chelsea and I found our way in our new life..
The chaos quieted a bit...
Slowly...we created our own new normal.
I had time to reflect on the journey we had taken.
The good stuff that came out of a tragedy.
I thought of ALL of the people who helped us...
So many people
So much kindness.

I promised myself then...
that for as long as I live...
the rest of my living days..
that I would do one kind thing for someone...
a friend
a family member
a stranger
a person in the grocery store on line next to me
a neighbor
one thing...
for someone
each day..
until the end of my days here on earth.

THIS was going to be my way of being thankful..
and for keeping myself thankful.
And to maintain the ability to find light in the dark..
good in the bad
reasons to be thankful...even when life seems to be knocking you down

As I always say..
"Even on a less than perfect day...there is so much to be thankful for...so many blessings "

It has been almost 14 years since I made that promise to myself
and I have kept that promise
Even through the ups and downs of my own life.

Keeping that promise was on my mind when I had my own (multiple) cancer surgeries...
I worried that I'd break the promise..
But I didn't
A promise from me..is a promise.
no matter what.
(You know that  about me if you are my friend...my family...my child..or my sweetheart)

Now for the Craft RAK-y part of the story

It's been my joy to incorporate a RAK into my daily life..
Sometimes I squeeze in more than one a day
but ALWAYS..at least one..
Sometimes I cook or bake for someone
Sometimes I might call someone who is alone..or ill..
just to let them know that they are being thought of..
prayed for...
I've paid for a meal for a stranger who was dining alone in a restaurant...
Helped an elderly person in the supermarket..
Let someone go ahead of me on a long line
Shared some of my extra craft goodies with a friend who likes something that I have..
or might not have the money to finance their love of card making
I've pulled the car over to feed the homeless man who lived on a bench  in the next town
Given holiday gifts to a family who was having a tough time
Accompanied a friend to a doctors appointment that they were anxious about 
I've made countless trips to our church food pantry to drop off food
You get the idea...

Now..I want to do something small...
right here on my blog
I am thinking..maybe once week...
I'll give away a small little crafty goodie

I have found that when I post a card on FB or on my blog that I have used a specific die on...
or a beautiful peace of paper...
etc etc...
people have contacted me asking if I could  cut some of that die for them
and send it to them

The truth is...
I get so many messages on FB asking me this..
I can't  do it for everyone..

but that gave me the idea that I could...now and then...
cut some die cuts..share some paper...or giveaway a  duplicate of something that I have.. etc...
right here on my blog

So there you have it...
a long story..
but eventually I got to telling you the WHY...about my CRAFT RAK-y-ness idea.

now you just need to sign up for the email updates to my blog.
that way you'll always know about what I am giving away
Most of the goodies will be small little things
they'll fit in a regular envelope
or maybe a small padded envelope

They'll almost always be related to a card that I've posted on my blog
because let's face it..
if I am die cutting 10 of something for myself...
I can be kind and cut another few for someone else to enjoy

It's really that simple..
just being kind.
If I can make one person smile each day..
then I'll smile as well.
It's a nice feeling to know that you've made someone happy.

You won't have to do much...
just check in here at the blog
so that you don't miss a RAK

I'll ask you to post a comment
and then a winner will be chosen at random.

It's that simple.

I hope that you'll enjoy what I have planned.

As I said in the first few sentences above...
I am excited
I am a better giver than I am a receiver.

I am so glad to be able to do this...
here..via my blog...

what better day to get the ball rolling...
than today...
March 15th...
which would have been David's 56th birthday

If you've read through this entire blog post...
thank you...
I'm nothing special...
I don't think that my story is anything special...
as my Mom used to always say (in Italian)
"Every house has a story...Everyone has a cross to bear"
This is just my story
no bigger....or more significant  than anyone else's

I am just one person who has chosen to bring goodness from something not so good...
..to find something positive...
from those 10 months of our lives that left us forever changed.

Doing this gives another layer of meaning to those 10 months.
For me...that's a good thing.
A gift.
A gift that this "giver" ..me...is happy to "receive".

And finally...because this is a card making blog...about kindness and being thankful...
I'll end this blog post with this card that I created with one of my favorite stamps that I LOVE to water color


  1. What a beautiful, inspiring story. I admire you and your daughter's strength. Your cards are beautiful!

  2. First time reading your blog (thanks to FB Stamping Enablers). I loved reading your story but I take issue with two things you said:
    I'm nothing special...
    I don't think that my story is anything special...
    You are so very wrong; clearly, you are a special woman, wife, mother, and friend. Thank you for this post, and for reminding me and many others that we don't live in a vacuum. We're born and blessed with so much to give and we should give where we can. I'm counting this post as your RAK to me. Many blessings to you.

  3. Anne....your words made me cry...Thank YOU...xoxo

  4. A beautiful story, and beautifully written. If we would all try to be kind to others every day, the world would be a much better place. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Thank you so much....
      as the saying goes...
      a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step :)

  5. This was a wonderful story! It touched my heart! I alway keep in mind God will not give us more than he knows we can handle! So this tells me you are a strong and amazing person! We all on your blog is now lucky to have you in our lives! I look forward to seeing the special gift you have in making more beautiful cards !

    1. Oh Rena...thank you so much for your kind words...((hug))

  6. You have a special way with words. BEautiful card.

  7. I'm sorry for your loss! The world is a better place because of you, so you are special! Love youe mother's saying...it is so true!!

    1. Thank you so much...
      My Mom's saying is so true...I agree...


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