8/1/14

December Caravan

Ever since I was a young girl I have loved to create things. I have always enjoyed using the things that others might not find as "pretty" or see as a "mistake" to create something new and beautiful. As time continued, as a high school teacher and a college professor both told me that I couldn't make it as an artist, as life got busier and busier with teaching responsibilities, and I half attempted to sell my creations on Etsy I started to believe that maybe those professors were correct. 
And then my health started to completely decline. At thirty-three I ended up leaving the career I loved, lost my independence as I had to move back into my parents house, saw my dreams of further education wan, had to use a wheelchair to walk, couldn't get out of bed without help or do the most ordinary things without lots of assistance from my parents, spent almost every waking hour in extreme pain, and traveled across the country (literally) to find answers. 
I was diagnosed with numerous conditions and still continued to deteriorate. Life looked incredibly dark with absolutely no joy or color.
I saw over 273 specialists and doctors (many who told me it was "all in my head" or that I was "exaggerating my symptoms to gain attention") and was finally correctly diagnosed in March 2013 (on my birthday) with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease.
Six weeks later I was diagnosed with Cancer along with the Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease. 
I was heartbroken that it taken so long to find a correct diagnosis, that my concerns over a mole had been ignored (despite being seen at some of the best hospitals in the United States), and found myself walking a long dark hallway with little light and little joy. 
Lyme Disease was a maze of confusion and everything I read told me that I was just beginning a journey that would last a long time. 
In the fourteen months since these diagnosis' I have traveled the roller coaster of emotions of moving a couple of steps forward only to take a few giant leaps backwards. I have learned through prayer and my love for the Lord how to answer the question of who I am outside of a job or profession. I have learned that I am stronger then I ever though I was and that with the Lord I can truly face any battle. I have faced the hurt of friends abandoning me in this journey and the extreme loneliness that comes with any disease. I have experienced the joy that comes with learning that there are a precious few that will walk with you not only through the good times but the incredible dark valleys. These people show the light of Christ in the most unthinkable and unimaginable bad days that come with illness. And beyond personally, this has affected my artwork in numerous ways. I am reminded through these people that the smallest gift can be the greatest and so I treasure using tons of small details in my pieces. I have also learned the valuable lesson of delighting in the beauty of ordinary.
I have learned that there truly is light in the dark and that the Lord's light shines despite incredibly difficult circumstances and loss. 
And I have learned that despite incredibly painful days there is always joy and color if we look for it- whether that is from a bed (where I spend most of my time right now) or from a corner office doing a job that you love.
And that is the mission and motto of my Etsy shop, December Caravan
December Caravan creates unique & beautiful scrapbooks, cards, artwork, memory pieces, and family treasures out of everyday materials to inspire joy and hope in every part of your life through handmade creations.
For a tiny bit of time I was convinced to change my shop name (that I chose in the beginning) from December Caravan to The Paper Sonnet. I followed this advice for a little bit of time and while I loved it I realized that I didn't like "limiting" my creations to just "paper" but love using a variety of different unique items to create. I spoke with Etsy and after explaining how I picked the name "December Caravan" they graciously allowed me to change back. I haven't looked back since. 
The name fits my journey of creating- walking through the "cold month" of December and creating beauty on our "caravan" or "journey" artistically and also was picked because it uses all of the letters of my first and last name (minus the "k") which I also love. The symbolism in the name of seeing joy and something unique beyond first impressions is perfect. 
But the name, December Caravan, and the journey of owning my Etsy Shop is not just one for right now. I see the way that the Lord has beautifully scripted this life lesson amidst pain and confusion- of finding joy and contentment no matter the circumstances. And I see a deeper lesson that I think all artists learn in their artistic journey. It is about falling your calling and your God given dreams and abilities. As I pray and marvel at the incredible talent that I see in other shops, on other blogs, and on pinterest I find joy not competition. My high school art teacher and college professor were wrong. NOT because I think that I am better than everything that I see (OH MY WORD so many people are SO talented!!) but because anyone can be an artist- it is simply an expression of who you are. My encouragement to you if you have been told that you can't do something artistically is to pray alot and step forward where the Lord leads. I see that so many people are inspired by others artwork and so am I! This artistic community is so supportive! My best advice is to not compare yourself or listen to what others say- just follow the Lord
As I continue to heal I don't know what lies ahead or what the future holds. 
BUT I do know that no matter what the future holds I will always create and remember to inspire joy and hope through art. I have learned that God can encourage the most wounded heart through art. Due to this I give a portion of all of my proceeds to charity and will continue to do so for as long as I create. AND I am so excited to share a new project in the next few weeks that will be starting! Stay tuned y'all! It is exciting to see what God has been doing!!
Thanks so much for reading the story and the journey behind December Caravan! I hope that y'all have a wonderful weekend!!

Want to check out the shop? Click HERE!

7/31/14

Friends & Heroes (Giveaway)

Sponsored by Friends and Heroes

Hosted by Pea of Sweetness &Co-Hosted by Deals of Sweetness

Friends and Heroes Giveaway
Friends and Heroes award-winning adventures and Bible stories on DVD accompanied by an exciting, cross-curricular Homeschool Unit Study – easy-to-use, hands-on, attractively designed, colorful and FUN! The material is highly adaptable and may be easily incorporated with your other homeschooling activities to provide two to four weeks of learning. Ideal for students 7 to 11 years of age.
Emilee at Pea of Sweetness has been using the Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit 1 with her two oldest children. Bible lessons are an important part of their homeschool, and she was excited to incorporate the Friends and Heroes Homeschool Curriculum into their homeschool curriculum. See what they thought in her full Friends and Heroes Bible homeschool curriculum review.

Special Promotion!

Friends and Heroes is currently running their BIG Summer Promotion! This promotion includes:
  • 20% off all Friends and Heroes Homeschool Resources
  • 10% off all Friends and Heroes resources with curriculum for churches and schools
  • 10% off all Friends and Heroes Home and Family Collections
This is a fantastic promotion that they only run twice a year, so you definitely don't want to miss it! Check out the Friends and Heroes Promotion now! This offer runs through August 15, 2014.
 

*Giveaway!!*

Would you like the chance to win a Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study? One winner will receive the Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study #1! The Friends and Heroes Homeschool Unit Study #1 includes:
  • Friends and Heroes DVD Episode 1- Long Journey - which serves as stimulus material for cross-curricular studies
  • All teacher and student's materials - included on CD-ROM - printable and reusable
  • Learner-centered, self-guided Unit Study manuals
  • Teacher's Guide - with learning goals, background details, answer keys, internet links
  • Certificates of Achievement and binder covers
Unit Study #1 covers:
  • History/Geography: The Romans; Roman Trade; Roman money; Roman import and exports
  • Creative writing: Journal writing; Written expression and narration; Copy writing
  • Bible study: Daniel and the lions' den and Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish; The Early Church
  • Science: Silver; Sand and cement; Greek and Roman discoveries
  • Crafts: Sculpture; Paper weaving; Pottery
  • Discipleship: Trusting others; Pride; Worries
This giveaway begins on 7/31 and ends on 8/14 at 10:00pm (times are Central) and is open to US residents ages 18+. Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.
  Disclosure: Emilee from both Pea of Sweetness and Deals of Sweetness received free product in exchange for an honest review. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

7/29/14

"Mini Teapot Album"- The Twinery & Serenditpity Stamps (Blog Hop)

Happy Tuesday y'all! Welcome to all y'all who are hopping on over from Anya's Blog!!! If you haven't checked out her amazing (and creative blog!) y'all definitely should! Click HERE to check it out!  

So today I am so excited to share with y'all this blog hop that is going on! Y'all know how much I love The Twinery because it is talked about so much here on the blog and all of the time on my instagram! Well today I am so excited to be apart of this blog hop that showcases using The Twinery products with Serendipity Stamps!!

When we were offered the opportunity to review products from Serendipity Stamps I immediately fell in love with two different stamps. The first one, Letters Mingle Souls immediately caught my attention and I loved the words and the intricate pattern. I have used the stamp on several envelopes and as y'all know from the parcel post tribe I adore snail mail and encouraging others to love snail mail too! This stamp was perfect for me! *smiles* I also quickly fell in love with this bird stamp! Both of these stamps were so intricate and stunning that I knew that they would be fabulous for a project I was working on for a friend! And y'all I have to say that both of these stamps (as you will see in these pictures) were perfect in showing each of the components of the intricacy in the stamps. (I hate how some stamps do not do that and these were AWESOME!)


A sweet friend of mine is going through a particularly difficult time and she loves the color pink. Using the stamps and lots of pink twine from The Twinery I created a "mini teapot album" filled with both of these two stamps, lots of pink, and lots of love. While I may be far away from her during this time and not able to see her I love that letters across the miles can encourage and mingle souls! I love the final product & hope that y'all enjoy these pictures!
I used four different colors of twine from The Twinery including the Gold Shimmer Twinethe Pretty Pink Blossom Twinethe Beautiful Bright Pink Sorbet, and the White & Pink Sorbet Twine. I used the solid colors to cover the teapots and loved how they turned out! 
Inside the mini teapot book I used the two stamps and twine to create a fun and pretty mini book.
I also added seven mini envelopes with notes in them to my sweet friend. I used the twine to wrap up the envelopes so that they looked liked little presents which just looked more fun. *smiles*
And because today is Tuesday I had to take several pictures of the letter for today! *smiles*
Have I mentioned how much I love these stamps and twine?

And guess what y'all?? Both The Twinery and Serendipity Stamps are giving away prizes!  The Twinery is giving away a Solid Sampler Pack ($48.00 retail value) and Serendipity Stamps is giving away a $25 gift certificate!! What Great prizes from both of these companies!! Visit The Twinery and Serendipity Stamps to find out how to enter to win these great prizes!

Thanks so much for stopping by y'all!! Continue the Blog Hop by heading on over to Vickie's Blog! You won't be disappointed! Click HERE to head on over!

Nordic Naturals Giveaway

Nordic Naturals Giveaway

 Sponsored by Nordic Naturals 

Hosted by Deals of Sweetness Co-Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Nordic Naturals Giveaway
At Nordic Naturals they believe that omega oils are essential to life. By correcting the global omega-3 deficiency, they give each generation what they need to grow healthy and strong. Through science and innovation, they are committed to delivering the world's safest, most effective omega oils.
With Back to School you can support a child in need! For every bottle sold they will donate a backpack full of supplies!
Emilee at Deals of Sweetness knows the importance of omega oils for their children as well as the importance of pure sources and in a form children will take! Of course, Vitamin C is also important and great for immunity support! Check out her full Nordic Naturals children's supplements review and learn more about their Bottles to Backpacks campaign.
Would you like to try these great supplements? One winner will receive a bottle of Ultimate Omega Junior and Vitamin C Gummies! This giveaway begins on 7/29 and ends on 8/4 at 10:00pm (times are Central) and is open to US residents ages 18+. Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.
  Disclosure: Emilee from Deals of Sweetness and Pea of Sweetness received free product(s) to facilitate her review. No other compensation was received. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

7/27/14

Eco Emi (Giveaway)

Eco Emi Giveaway 

Sponsored by Eco Emi Hosted by Deals of Sweetness  Co-Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Eco Emi Giveaway
Eco Emi is the first eco friendly sampling service. They offer the opportunity to review five to ten samples of natural, organic, green, eco-friendly products sent right to your door wrapped in chic earth friendly material made from 100% recycled bottles. All of this for only $15 per month! All of their packages are adorned with 100% organic or vintage ribbons or they will often use 100% bamboo yarns. Part of the fun is that the package will look a little different every month. You will have the luxury of trying out an array of green products in the comfort of your own home or over a cup of herbal tea with close friends.
Emilee from Deals of Sweetness has been loving Eco Emi boxes and shared her thoughts on the June Eco Emi Box in her eco-friendly subscription box review.
Would you like to try great eco-friendly products? One winner will receive a July Eco Emi Box! (Products vary from those pictured.) This giveaway begins on 7/27 and ends on 8/9 at 10:00pm (times are Central) and is open to US residents ages 18+. Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.
  Disclosure: Emilee from Deals of Sweetness and Pea of Sweetness received free product(s) to facilitate her review. No other compensation was received. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

7/26/14

The Twinery & Poppystamp Blog Hop

Happy Saturday y'all! Welcome to all y'all who are hopping on over from Jeanne's Blog!!! If you haven't checked out her amazing (and creative blog!) y'all definitely should! Click HERE to check it out!  

So today I am so excited to share with y'all this blog hop that is going on! Y'all know how much I love The Twinery because it is talked about so much here on the blog and all of the time on my instagram! Well today I am so excited to be apart of this blog hop that showcases using The Twinery products with Poppystamps!!

When we were offered the opportunity to review a product from Poppystamps I immediately fell in love with the attic key die cut. I have always loved keys and so this immediately caught my eye. When it arrived I started thinking of different things that I could use it for and decided to trace it onto a piece of fabric and highlight in a bunting with a quote. I used the charcoal twine and the charcoal striped twine to give a "frame" to the three pieces of fabric and also used the charcoal twine to outline the attic key. I chose to use the saying "hardwork is the key to success" not only because a new school year seems to be fast approaching (where in the world has the summer gone?!?) but because that is my motto right now in fighting Lyme Disease and Cancer and with my Etsy shop. I know many people use these products to create AMAZING cards but I love how you can use both of these companies products in so many different ways! I love the final product and hope that y'all enjoy these pictures!
And guess what y'all?? Both The Twinery and Poppystamps are giving away prizes!  The Twinery is giving away a Metallic Twine Sampler ($32.00 retail value).
Poppystamps is giving away a Frozen Flakes and a Elsa Butterfly Branch dies ($26.50 retail value).
Visit The Twinery and Poppystamps to find out how to enter to win these great prizes!

Continue the Blog Hop by heading on over to the Kowalczyk blog! Click HERE!
Happy Saturday y'all!

Mini Bluetooth Speaker Giveaway

Havit Mini Bluetooth Speaker Giveaway!

Sponsored by:  Havit Hosted by: Savory Savings & Gloriously Green Gal

Havit Mini Bluetooth Speaker Giveaway July 24 - August 14

With an entire catalog of music at our finger tips anytime, anywhere people are looking for more ways to listen to their music on the go or share their sounds with friends and family.  Krista over at Savory Savings recently had the chance to review a mini bluetooth speaker from Havit and shared her thoughts on this affordable, tiny, but powerful bluetooth speaker!
How would you like to a Mini Bluetooth Speaker from Havit?  If you would like a chance to win, enter with the Giveaway Tool below.  If you have won a Havit giveaway anytime from another blog in the last 12 months, you are not eligible to win this giveaway.  The giveaway will run from July 24 through August 14, 2014 at 11 PM CST and is open to US residents, ages 18 and older.  Entries will be verified.  Winners will be notified via email (consider adding gloriouslygreengal@gmail.com to your safe list) – winner will have 48 hours to respond and claim prize or another winner will be selected.
Good Luck!