Florence Altered City Journal and Small Altered Journal Combo

Happy Saturday sweet friends! I hope that you are having a lovely weekend! 
I am so excited to share with y'all today a custom order from a couple of weeks ago! This Florence Altered City Journal and Small Altered Journal were a delight to create!

As I have mentioned before here on the blog, some of my favorite items to create in the shop are the "altered travel journals". There are different options available including, the altered city travel journal, the altered state travel journal,the  altered country travel journal,  the altered 1,000 Places to See Before you Die Altered travel journaland the most recent addition to the shop is the altered city travel journal and small altered travel journal combo!
This custom order was from Nicole who wanted me to create an altered travel journal for her daughter who was going to study abroad in Italy. She also wanted to have her daughter have a journal for where she could do some more in depth writing to remember her once in a life time trip.
As we chatted about her daughter, the idea behind her vision and her hopes for her daughters trip I suggested the idea of the altered city journal plus the small altered journal combo.
The combination of these two books (both being "smaller") seemed like the perfect fit for her daughter that she obviously loves very much.
Nicole was so lovely to work with. She gave me some guidelines, things that she hoped to see in the journal (i.e. some Bible verses) but continued to encourage me to be "creative".
It was a delight to create an altered city journal for one of my dream cities that I hope to visit in the future!
It also brought back so many memories of my own study abroad program in college that I loved so much!
This order was such a blessing and I was THRILLED with the final results!!
I loved the tones of blues and golds and whites with touches of reds that all came together for these journals!
Thank you so much for the opportunity to create this for you Nicole!
If you are interested in a altered journal or a custom order feel free to check out my shop or email me for details!
Happy Saturday friends! I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend!


Instagram Account Name Change

Hi y'all! I just wanted to give a little heads up that I have changed my Instagram name from my blog name to my personal name! I decided that this was a great way to connect deeper with each of you, connect with those who are reading my books and for speaking engagements that I have coming up! 

You can read more about my name change by clicking HERE!

 I hope that y'all have a wonderful weekend!!

Happy Friday friends!


26 ways to help a friend with a Chronic Illness

I have received so many emails from compassionate and kind people asking how they can be a good friend to someone with a chronic illness. These people are true treasures as they want to practically help a friend who is walking the difficult road of chronic illness. I am definitely not an expert at all, but the things that I have listed below are things that friends have mentioned to me that have been wonderful or I have personally experienced that have truly touched my heart and my life.

1. Listen without judgment
The journey of chronic illness has ins and outs that unless you are living and walking that road is impossible to understand. Your listening ear is the most important gift that you could offer.

2. Understand that Chronic Illness is a long-term issue. 
Walk in with your eyes wide open.The hardest thing can be friends who leave so truly understand that it is a long term thing.

3. Listen without offering advice (unless asked). 
When you offer unsolicited advice, it can come across as a lecture- even if that is not your intent. Someone once said: "Assume that we have heard all of the tips on living healthier and leave it at that." I couldn't have said it any better.

4. Offer monetary help if possible
Even with insurance patients with chronic diseases spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to get healthy. Many people with Chronic Illness, like myself, have already gone through all available resources. These types of gifts do not have to be large either. Someone gave me a five dollar gift card to Target that helped purchase necessities. Such a blessing! Truly gift cards are wonderful if that is an option for you to give!

5. Understand that Chronic Illness' are complex.

6. Send an email just to say "hello".
It doesn't have to be long or take a lot of time but sending a quick "thank you" is truly a blessing.

7. Help with housework or yard work
One friend of mine has a friend who comes over weekly to mow her lawn since her husband fell ill. This gift has been a priceless help during an incredibly difficult time. If you don't have the time for housework or yard work consider spending the money on purchasing these services as a gift.

8. Leave a phone message. 
One of my dear friends always leaves her message with adding in precious words of "you don't have to call back...". Such a precious gift filled with understanding.

9. Pick up prescriptions.

10. Pick up children from school or to create a carpool.

11. Offer your gifts that you have
A friend of mine has a friend who is a masseuse and offers a massage free of charge to her friend once a month. Another friend runs a house-cleaning business and offers her services free of charge once a month.

12. Take children to church or other events. 
Many times those with chronic conditions are forced to miss out on everyday and important events. An offer to take their children would give them a piece of mind.

13. Send cards but not "get well" cards.

14. Send care packages.

15. Buy nice pajamas
Those with chronic illnesses spend a lot of time in bed or in the hospital and nice pajamas are always a lovely gift.

16. Magazines are a lovely gift.

17. Be very careful about your timing. 
One day when I ended up in the emergency room and I texted a few friends asking for prayer. One friend responded back asking me if I truly had faith that I would be healed. I am sure it was not meant to be hurtful but the timing could not have been any worse. It came as the nurse attempted her sixth stick for an IV and I couldn't stop throwing up. I expected some encouraging words only to read those words. Timing, as the old adage says truly is everything.

18. Pick up groceries.

19. Come and just sit or watch TV or a movie with your friend.

20. Flowers. 
Is there ever a wrong time for flowers? *smiles*

21. Don't say: "But you don't look sick".

22. Treat your friend as a whole person. 
The best gifts I am offered are by my closest friends and family who treat me as a whole person.

23. Offer a gift card to buy movies or TV seasons. 
This definitely can help pass the time.

24. Respect the limitations and boundaries of your friend.

25. Food and meals are always appreciated. 
One of the hardest parts of  dealing with a chronic illness is not having the energy to cook. Meals are a gift. One idea is to offer a meal once a month which would be a complete blessing for someone.

26. Before you deliver food check with your friend about allergies (and timing). One of my friends who is struggling with chronic illness shared the story of a well-meaning friend who kept bringing food by but her family was never able to eat the food due to allergies.

What are some things that you have done to help a friend with Chronic Illness? If you are the one with Chronic Illness what are things that you have found helpful?

{Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.}


"From the Heart" Ice Show, Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY

In late December my family had the amazing opportunity to go see Ekaterina Gordeeva's "From the Heart" Ice show. This beautiful ice show was phenomenal and beyond any and all of my expectations. The artistry was astounding and the skaters did a phenomenal job and the best that I have seen at Lake Placid's Olympic Center. 
The show had brought together not only Ekaterina Gordeeva and her husband Ilia Kulik and their daughters, but a star studded cast that included many fellow Olympic medalists. 
As a gal who has loved and appreciated the sport of ice skating since I was a little girl this evening was a true ice skating royalty cast that included Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis & Charlie White, David Pelletier, Paul Wylie, Yuka Sator and several others. 
If you have enjoyed ice skating for a couple of decades that you know how much those names mean to the sport of ice skating. This night was a special evening for those that love ice skating and the Lake Placid Community as Ekaterina Gordeeva returned to say thank you to her fans for their support and to honor her late husband (and figure skating partner) Sergei Grinkov with her friends.
Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov (or "G & G" as they were affectionately known in ice skating world) were the 1988 and 1994 Olympic Pairs Gold Medalists and four-time world champions from Russia. They were universally known and recognized and deeply respected as the greatest figure skating pair team of all time.
They shared a love of not only skating together but fell in love off the ice and were married in 1991. 
Their love story was known as the "ice skating fairytale" and only made more beautiful by the birth of their daughter, Daria, in September 1992.
In 1994 they returned to the Olympics to win their second Olympic Gold Medal. Unfortunately in late 1995 tragedy struck during a "Stars on Ice" tour rehearsal in Lake Placid when Sergei Grinkov suffered a fatal heart attack at the young age of 28.
Ekaterina Gordeeva, and many of the ice skating stars present at this ice show, gave a touching tribute to Sergei Grinkov in 1996 that was aired on television and aired worldwide. The story of a young mother widowed at such a young age, brought tears to everyone and we all wished her well in the future and prayed for healing for her broken heart.
Ekaterina Gordeeva went on to courageously return to the ice as a solo skater for the "Stars on Ice" show and has toured with the production for many years since that fateful day in 1995. 
Twenty years later Ekaterina returned once more to Lake Placid to celebrate Sergei Grinkov and to pay a special tribute show (with all of the proceeds going to the America Heart Association). 
The evening was filled with rich emotion as Ekaterina Gordeeva thanked the audience for their support, their love, and their encouragement and compassion to herself and her daughter during that difficult time two decades ago. 
She and other skaters performed a beautiful show that left each audience member with a night full of laughter, tears, and hope.
There is something so profoundly inspirational about watching someone go through tragedy and then seeing how they have overcome this tragedy later on in life. 
Many of the audience members, myself included, were inspired by her resilience after such an incredibly difficult tragedy in her life.
The thing is is that Ekaterina Gordeeva came into the evening wanting to thank those who had supported her and yet I walked away from the evening changed and inspired.
Inspired to thank the people in my life who are helping me through my own difficult season of life, to thank those who are making a difference, and most of all inspired to remember that better days do come again.
The standing ovations throughout the evening were greatly deserved and were felt from our hearts. Ekaterina and the rest of the cast from the beautiful ice show, "From the Heart", thank you for your beautiful dedication to the sport of ice skating, for sharing your lives with us, and for inspiring us to look to the future with hope.