Full Surrender

If you and I are Facebook friends, then you know things are incredibly difficult for me right now.  I wasn’t going to come out with what it is that has me rattled to the core, but writing has always been cathartic for me and with the challenges that lie ahead, I need all the relief I can get.

I am about to embark on yet another forced adventure and have cried gallons of tears over it; rivers maybe even.  The details as to the how and why aren’t really that important.  It’s the what that has me rather troubled. This new adventure is as scary as it is frustrating and as sad as it is hard. I feel ill-equipped even if I am uniquely qualified for it.

Since June 15th I’ve been on the phone, online, packing, or crying.  I’ve not been able to focus on much of anything and sleep has been in short supply as my mind is consumed with good and bad thoughts.  Satan would have me believe that I’m a terrible mother and my kids deserve more.  He’d have me believe that this current circumstance was totally preventable and all my fault.  He’d have me believe that I’m a failure and suggest I respond by doing some outrageous things.  It’s so painful a recent Facebook status of mine read “In addition to crying enough tears over the last few days to end any water shortage a small country might be facing, I’ve also talked so much I’m hoarse and apparently sound like my son on the phone. I’m pretty sure I’ve also been rejected more times in the last 72 hours than I ever have in the previous 40 years and some-odd days leading up to the last 72 hours COMBINED. Never again will I say it can’t get any worse or this is the hardest it’s ever been because it just gets worse and harder when I do. I feel like I’m facing insurmountable odds and though as my good friend Hanna reminded me, I will adapt because I don’t have any other choice, all I really want to do is be 4 again play play dough and dress up with my Mom. Yes I know that God is mindful of me; yes I am reading my scriptures; yes I am saying my prayers. Yes I am going to church (speaking of that any locals that can give us a ride tomorrow that’d be awesome) BUT…if one more person says to just keep the faith or reminds me that He has a plan I might have to punch them in the throat…HARD. Will everything be OK eventually…of course it always is. That’s not the problem…the problem is it’s not OK right now and I really REALLY need it to be.”

I have been a member of the Vancouver 7th Ward since my arrival in Vancouver 4 years ago.  I have developed some relationships with people in this ward that I cherish.  I am confident they know who they are so I don’t need to name them all here.  In short, 7th Ward is where it’s at.  Without a doubt, the most incredible ward I’ve ever been in.  Up until four years ago my fave ward was Springboro, but the relationships and love I’ve received in the last four years in Vancouver 7th make all other wards pale in comparison.  This is truly a ward family…and I am a big part of it.  Sunday July 13th will be our last Sunday in the ward; typing that brings tears to my eyes and as hard as leaving this ward is, it’s not the hardest part.

This isn’t even the sweetest part of our current location though.  My sister and bestest best friend forever and ever and always lives 10 minutes up the street.  I see a lot of her, we have a standing weekly date night, her 17-year-old son said it’s weird that we’re so close because he feels like he has two moms only instead of us being lesbian (though we do believe we’ve been mistaken for such before) we’re sisters.  I love her boys like my own son and she has backed me up to the ends of the earth and beyond with my own kids countless times.  Moving out of 7th Ward also means I’m moving away from her.  I can’t even begin to explain how painful it is to know that I will soon be a lot further than just 10 minutes down the street from her.

Then there’s my adoptive parents…I’ve blogged about how important they are to me several times and I’m moving even further away from them as well.  This means, just as we were getting used to the fun of holidays together we’re going to be too far away to enjoy any more.  This breaks my heart.  I am insanely in love with my baby nephew who we all actually call Baby.  I adore his mom, I’m crazy about my niece and well I just love my adopted family a ton and I know they love me also.  Sad to just get my parents back in my life only to move away from them yet again.

Finally in all of this there is the love of my life.  He and I just got back together the end of May and now, just 6 or 8 weeks later I’m moving away from him too.  He lives 20 minutes away and I typically only see him once a week right now and it’s not nearly enough time with him.  What will I do when I’m only able to see him once a month?  I think this, combined with everything else might be the death of me.  I cry and cry and cry.  My heart is so heavy; I am so pained.

See it’s not just that we’re moving…it’s that for the next few months we will be living in a 27′ Wanderer Gliderite trailer in an RV park in Cougar, WA.  To some this might sound like paradise.  Keep in mind that I am a city girl.  I even love traffic and smog (yeah I know crazy).  Consider also that there will be 4 of us living in that space, and our neighbors will be inches away.  These things alone are enough to make the situation difficult but then, for good measure, let’s just throw in the fact that the population of our new home is one hundred fifty according to the 2010 census.  Seriously?  That’s fewer people than just the apartment complex I now live in has.  Oh yeah and let us not forget that this place is 40 miles one way from the nearest real town and I don’t have a car, a bike, a scooter, or anything other than two good feet and one really bad back to get around on.  If all that isn’t bad enough, there’s the bugs and wildlife that I’d rather not live near let alone with, campfire cooking, shared showers (or insane propane costs for hot showers in the trailer), and the fact that there’s no cell coverage at the camp itself.  Just because I can camp doesn’t mean I want to, enjoy it, or am even looking forward to it.  Earlier I said I was uniquely qualified right?  I can cook in foil on coals of a fire and make it taste good, just as easy as I can cook on a regular stove.  I can build fires that burn so hot with no non-natural ingredients that they have to be put out twice, I can pitch a tent, I can clean a fish, and lots of other outdoorsy kinds of things.  Knowing how and wanting to do them are not the same though.

Heartache and sorrow have prevailed as I’ve thought about where and how I’ll be living this time next month.  I’ve cried to my sister, my mom, my home teachers, my visiting teachers, my friends, my boyfriend, and even my kids.  My kids are really excited.  Each of them have a different reason they think this is all going to be OK.  I have yet to be convinced…until about an hour ago.

Sunday afternoon my sister drove me up to the campground to put down a deposit on my spot and though I tried to play it off like it was gonna be great, inside I was miserable.  On the drive up there though I happened to hear Building 429’s song We Won’t Be Shaken.  My sister and I were chatting away like we always do when we’re in the car and so I only kinda, sorta, not really paid attention to the lyrics.  You know how when you’re really tired but you have to do something critical and dangerous like oh drive you pay more attention?  Well that’s where I was at and so I got a chance to really hear and internalize the lyrics to this song…I couldn’t believe what peace washed over me when I heard these lyrics:

…This mountain rises higher
The way seems so unclear
But I know that You go with me so I will never fear
I will trust in You

Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
Oh we won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken…

You know my every longing
You’ve heard my every prayer
You’ve held me in my weakness
Cause You are always there
So I’ll stand in full surrender
It’s Your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than You and You alone
I will not be moved…

This has now become my family’s theme song.  It’s often very interesting to me how God works.  At various points through this process, each of my children have come to me individually and said that maybe the reason we were going through this was basically to do what this song says…set our minds on Him and nothing less.

I’m sure it’s only me and mine, but we are that family in the movie RV.  Hopefully we’ll have the same experience after our RV adventure minus the septic scene and a few others.  At the beginning of this movie Robyn Williams, who’s character’s name I don’t remember,  mentions how plugged in everyone is.  They text each other from other rooms in the house and spend pretty much zero time together.  That’s my family presently.  We’ve gotten away from the basics.  We’ve stopped doing things together in more than one aspect of our lives.  On any given day of the week, you’ll find me plugged into the computer doing homework, editing photos, playing Words with Friends or otherwise computer driven, my 15-year-old on her phone doing much of the same things, my son swallowed up by Xbox and my youngest daughter busy reading or listening to music.  Each of us in the same household, but quite literally off in our own worlds.  We’ve been too distracted by other things and people to even do some of the most important things that need doing to safeguard our family from the winds of hell that seek to destroy us.  Things like Family Home Evening, family scripture study, family prayer, regular church attendance, personal prayer and scripture study.  As a result, Satan has had a firm hold on my family for a long time.

When crying with my middle daughter recently about this move and explaining how frustrated I was at all the rejection I’ve gotten and how of all the places in the world I wanted to be right now, Cougar, WA was not even close to “it” she, in all the wisdom that is this young woman, said maybe the reason we’re being stuck in Cougar is because God wants us to come back to Him and He knows to do that we need to be somewhere free of distraction.  See…told you that young woman is wise beyond her 15 years for sure.

I still don’t know the purpose in this scene, but I do think my daughter is right.  It’s remote enough that the number one rule is always take a buddy.  The distractions are pretty much going to be gone entirely.  The camp does offer internet but I’m not sure there will be enough umph in the trailer to even run my computer which will make finishing school very difficult.  Then, as I listened to this Building 429 song a while ago, there was that line or two that just kind of kidney punched me.  “So I’ll stand in full surrender, it’s Your way and not my own” and then later as the chorus plays again we hear “whatever tomorrow brings, together we’ll rise and sing” and through this whole process those who’ve had the details all along I’ve said this same thing to.  At the end of the day, even with all the misgivings I have about this adventure two things remain constant.  We are together and the gospel is still true.

I know that my Heavenly Father loves me; I know that my children know this same thing.  I know that just as He has provided for us in our time of need right here in Vancouver, He will continue to do the same in Cougar.  His love is constant and unchanging even when the world around us is not.  Where there is chaos, He provides peace.  Where there is fear and doubt, He offers blessed assurance.  I have learned, even when I struggle to look in the right direction, that whether I feel overwhelmed by chaos and fearful or at peace and full of blessed assurance largely depends on where I look and what I focus on.  These next few months of “camping” (albeit doing so in relative style) will undoubtedly be rough, but there are also tender mercies to be found and blessings already present.

This has happened in July not January.  It’s plenty warm enough to camp indefinitely.  It happened after reconciliation with my adopted family because the trailer we are using belongs to my adopted cousin who is letting me use it at no charge.  It’s happening at just about the same time my kids get back from/head off to Girls Camp and Scout Camp so camp skills will be fresh in their minds.  We are fortunate enough to be in a ward when we move and not just a branch, people we love have agreed to come visit so we won’t be alone, space was available immediately with no difficult getting in, several of our close friends are avid campers and they have helped us to prepare, our beloved 7th Ward has plenty of trucks and trailers so a u-haul isn’t necessary, we’re getting a huge storage unit half off for three months, our pad is all-inclusive and we don’t have to risk that scene in RV where they have to dump the waste, the campground owner is very kind, there are members in Cougar, the place is undeniably beautiful, there’s lake access both to the East and West of us within walking distance (so the kids can cool off on these hot summer days that are upon us), we will soon be lean and mean with all the walking we’ll have to do (we have to walk a half mile round trip just to have cell phone coverage), the buddy system allows any two of us to get closer at countless points through the day, the absence of distractions requires us to put first/most important things first, we’ll have great stories to tell kids and grand kids down the road, though there isn’t cell coverage at camp, there is Internet so I can finish school if the connection is adequate and arguably the most important of all the immediate blessings is that we will be together and we will not be living on the streets.

My kids are phenomenal and I don’t just say that because they are mine.  Ask anyone who’s met them and they will tell you that though not perfect, these kids are indeed amazing.  They could have reacted very differently when learning how we’d be living for the next few months.  Here’s what happened though…my youngest daughter excitedly proclaimed “FINALLY you’re taking us camping, I love camping” and my son said “just imagine all the bugs I can catch and throw on Jazmyne” (typical little brother for you), and Jazmyne just keeps assuring me that it’s not a big deal and we’re gonna be just fine.  Already I’m seeing some positive changes in these children as we prepare for camp life too.

We are all thinking about what we can do to pass the time as a family,  Jazmyne was “caught” in her scriptures voluntarily for the first time in months at church on Sunday and she volunteered to read a few chapters last night while we were reading Moroni to help Miss Gabryella finish up her Personal Progress.  Mason excitedly pulled out his Duty to God book and informed us he was anxious to get started on it.  Additionally, he has volunteered to do all the manly camp things like chop wood, hunt, fish (and clean/gut his kill) and when saying our family prayer last night he asked God to bless him with the ability to bless his family during this experience.  In short, our hearts are already returning to God.  We have a long ways to go still, but I believe we’re moving in the right direction both literally and figuratively.

Though this will be an adjustment for sure and may often prove difficult, the despair and gloom I feel around this change is dissipating quickly.  “Whatever will come our way, through fire or pouring rain, oh we won’t be shaken.  No we won’t be shaken.  Whatever tomorrow brings, together we’ll rise and sing that we won’t be shaken.  No we won’t be shaken…we will trust in You and we will not be shaken.”

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Everything Has A Season

Some obvious known facts about me…I am a woman.  Further, I am a Black woman and if you take it a step further, I am a Black LDS woman.  Unless you are living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Ordain Women movement in the LDS faith and its founder Kate Kelly.  If you haven’t, well Google it if you’d like.

There are a few blogs I’ve read recently on Sister Kelly’s excommunication that are so well written I see no need to reinvent the wheel.  Two of my favorite’s can be found here and here and the two embody everything I feel as a LDS woman.  What they don’t touch on though is my position/thoughts/feelings/sentiments/emotions/testimony of what it means to be a Black woman in a “white religion” (GASP…oh yes I sure did just go there).

I remember some 20 years ago when I joined this church all the grief I got from people concerned that I’d be treated poorly or who had genuine concern over the fact that I was joining a racist church.  One that didn’t even recognize Black men as equal to white men until the 1970’s.  Being a proverbial student type, I elected to tell these naysayers to stick it where the sun don’t shine, got baptized anyway (truth is truth after all) and then I set out on a mission to do two things…first to prove all the ways the Book of Mormon contradicted the Bible (still looking for proof 22+ years later) and get to the bottom of these racist claims.

For the sake of concise, I’m not going to get into all the people I talked to, all the research I did, all the books I read, or any of that.  What I have to share about how I feel as a Black woman knowing that my beautiful Black brothers weren’t allowed to hold the priesthood until the 1970’s is this…

It has been my experience that God ALWAYS gives us what we need when HE knows we need it most.  Power and authority is pointless without the ability to use it right?  Let’s consider the state of Black men in America in the 1970’s shall we…actually that’s a bitter pill to swallow so maybe we shan’t.  I will say this is not the first time God has withheld priesthood authority though.  I’m sure all of you Old Testament fans recall King Saul right?  Do you also recall how much dirt he got into for offering up a sacrificial animal without having the proper authority?  I’m pretty sure, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that the church was racist then too right because only priests were allowed to do this, not kings.  Maybe not racist, but certainly classist at the very least.

OK OK…I know what you’re thinking “crazy Black LDS Woman is going WHERE exactly”…Saul wasn’t given priesthood rights and responsibilities because he didn’t need and couldn’t use them.  Black LDS men were not given priesthood rights and responsibilities for the SAME reason.  At least that’s how I think of it anyway.  Let’s get real here people…in the mid 70’s we STILL had active KKK rallies and by active I mean publicized or well-known, we were barely 10 years post Civil Rights Era, churches and yes even schools were still segregated.  With this kind of national sentiment (always of course there are exceptions but the world is built on rules not exceptions), what exactly could a Black LDS man hope to do here in the United States?!?!?  I’ll tell you straight up…not much.  Women have not been ordained to the priesthood for the same reason.  It is presently unnecessary.

It wasn’t that church doctrine says Black men are inferior because they are Black, it wasn’t that the church wanted to stay segregated, it wasn’t that the church is racist or any of that.  It was simply that fair doesn’t always mean equal.  Even though Black LDS men didn’t receive the priesthood until 1978, they were not denied any of the blessings having the priesthood again on the earth allows.  This same thing goes for the Ordain Women movement as well.  In the Proclamation to the World on the Family, it says “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”  Yes I know a few other wormy cans that can be opened with this statement but the part that sticks out to me in light of the Ordain Women thing is this…”each has a divine nature and destiny.”  My destiny as a woman is not the same as my brother’s.  If we all had the same nature and destiny, wouldn’t we then be asexual beings and have no need for two genders?  Men and women, by divine design are created different, but equal.  I so love what Dallin H. Oaks said in a recent address on this issue and a beautiful image was created highlighting a key part of this talk.  Check this out:

 

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And, if you’d like to take a few minutes to watch the entire address, please click play on the video player below.  I will say that Elder Oaks is one of my all-time-fave General Authorities EVER and it’s so worth the time it takes to watch this talk.  Even if you aren’t LDS, especially if you aren’t LDS actually.

I do not take offense to the fact that my fellow Black LDS men weren’t able to hold the priesthood until 1978 and I am not at all offended that I as a woman cannot presently hold the priesthood.  Just like the time came when it was prudent for Black LDS men to hold the priesthood, should the time come that the ordination of women becomes necessary, the prophet will declare it and “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same”.

Some of the best counsel I received came from a priesthood holder I adore, my chosen Dad.  He said we must remember that there are two forces at work in this world and both are equally committed to their cause.  Which we are subject to depends on who’s counsel we choose to take.  It saddens me that Sister Kelly is choosing to listen to the influence of Satan.  How do I know this is fact?  Because only good comes from God and pushing an agenda and demanding doctrinal changes repeatedly due to a stated (and publicized) believe that the ordination of women is necessary is anything but good.  If it’s not good, it must then be evil/lies/deceit and Satan is the father of all that.  I pray that she finds peace in whatever future endeavors she pursues and I pray that those she has led astray (or those who are also listening to Satan and who share her believe) will be able to recognize whose influence they are under and act accordingly.

Yes GOD does chastise/punish/discipline.  In fact, “for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6 KJV).  Remember the dirt Saul got into, and then David lost his exhalation for killing Uriah and I know you all know about Cain and Able and on and on.

And there it is there ladies and gents…it takes us both…male and female.  If men were supposed to do everything women did, they’d have a uterus.  If women were intended (by divine design) to do everything men do, they’d have the priesthood.  Again, fair doesn’t mean equal.

Hero: Another Name for my Dad

If you’re reading this blog regularly, then you may recall reading about my adopted parents.  My dad is a Vietnam Vet, a loving husband, a father, grandfather, great-grandfather.  He is a son, a brother, an uncle, a cousin…he is countless things to countless people but to me, he is my hero.  This was the Father’s Day card I made to honor him:

 

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The official name of the card is something like full front tri-fold shutter or something close to that.  The center sentiment and the “Best Dad Ever” and “Happy Dad’s Day” sentiments are from Verve.  1 Thes verse is from Our Daily Bread Designs.  On the lines at the left, I wrote a very sappy note to my Daddy.  Upon receipt he called me and thanked me for the “most beautiful card” he has ever received.  He’s one of the most amazing and beautiful men I know so it’s fitting he received a beautiful card.

Love you Dad, thanks for being my hero!

One Moment In Time

And no, not as in that glorious song by Whitney Houston…

You ever have those moments in time when, despite your best efforts to control yourself, you’re consumed by emotion and by emotion I mean uncontrollable emotions that hit you in the gut totally unexpected and leave you reeling for days or weeks or months.  No just me?!?!  I figured.

June 11th was such a day for me.  It should have been totally amazing celebrating a milestone in the life of someone I love.  The problem though is that someone loves someone I disdain.  Last time we were in this scenario much to my dismay, this person I totally detest actually touched me.  I vowed that if he touched me again I’d go to jail.  Apparently he was warned and he didn’t touch me or even speak to me but in the moment or two before the end of the night, I saw him.  Seeing him is almost always an excruciating experience.  This time was no different.

The moment I saw him I immediately began to be anxious.  My fight or flight stimulus had been triggered and I just wanted out and away from the situation.  Unfortunately, a few moments later I caught a glimpse of him again and what happened later that night still has my head spinning a bit nearly a week later.

It has been nearly 30 years since the last time I was sexually abused or raped by this man and yet, that night I sat in my craft space afraid to sleep knowing I’d have flashbacks and nightmares of the situation all over again.  How can something that happened what feels like a lifetime ago to a totally different person still continue to cause such negative emotions now all these years later?  I have no idea, but it did.  When sleep finally did come, it was short and full of experiences that I can’t forget no matter how hard I try.  One of the worst nights I’ve had in a very long time.  After four hours of sleep that was riddled with some of the most painful memories I have, I finally couldn’t take it anymore and woke up and got the day started.  Unfortunately the heartache continued throughout the next day.

Try as I might to stay distracted and busy, I couldn’t keep my mind off the events of my childhood that resulted in things like at least 14 different foster homes, attending 6 different high schools, and countless years lost with my siblings.  I’ve cried so many tears over the abuse I suffered at this man’s hands you’d think I’d be all cried out but alas, every now and again a there’s a moment or two in time that leaves me in tears all over again.  This time it was a whole different experience though…

I cried at the memories themselves, but mostly I felt this overwhelming sense of unworthiness.  Abuse kind of does that to you sometimes…

Here I am 26 years post abuse and seeing that man for just the second or two I did in the moment or two I did had me in tears questioning what I have done to deserve all the goodness I have in my life.  I grew up feeling so worthless and unloved and unvalued that, as I went about that Thursday day I found myself filled with doubts.  I found myself wondering what it is about me that is deserving the devotion and admiration of my children, the heart and soul of the only man I’ve ever loved with all that I am, the love and affection of the friends that I have in my life and the support of all the chosen family that now surrounds me.

I found myself questioning why my adoptive parents would even WANT to adopt someone so violated and often still so cracked and broken as I am.  I found myself questioning all that is good in my life and wondering if this horrible man had never been introduced to me, how different would my life have been. Would have been better?  Would it have been worse?  For a moment or two I even found myself questioning my worth to my Heavenly Father if something so bad could have happened to me so many times.  It’s not like this man I speak of was the first or only to take advantage of me.  In fact, with few exceptions, every man I’ve ever known from before I was born has hurt me or taken advantage of me from before birth well into adulthood.  Aside from worthy active priesthood holders from church, I can count how many men haven’t abused me on one hand.

Usually I’m really good at seeing the bright side of things.  That Wednesday and Thursday evening though it was pretty tough to see anything other than all the countless times I was used and abused to bring him pleasure. I’ve forgiven him; I’ve accepted it as part of my history; I’ve been in therapy for years to heal.  Why then, does seeing a glimpse of him bring back so much unpleasantness?  Oh how I wish forgiven meant forgotten.  Since it doesn’t however, I suspect there will continue to be moments in time such as this.

The last time I had to share a once in a lifetime event with this man it was four years ago, hopefully it will be many more years before I have to do it again and if not, prayerfully the love of my life will be at my side to support me through it by reminding me that he loves me and I am worth it.  Funny how one man (or several in my case) can take away all the worth you have ever felt and then another can, in an instant, give it all back to you and then some.

Font Focus Challenge: Verve Stamps

Sometimes we just have to treat ourselves and Verve Stamps are among my all time favorites.  I love that Julee is now designing stamps that can work on card fronts or interiors and one such set that works perfectly either place is the Words of Wisdom set.  I seriously can’t get enough of it and am glad I decided to let it be what I treated myself to for my belly button birthday.  Here’s what it looks like:

 

There are some real beauties in here I’m telling you!  I wanted to use the sentiment that reads “you are never to old to set a new goal or dream a new dream” in the Diva Dare challenge but the particular sentiment I had must have been a teenager as it was pretty rebellious.  Wouldn’t ink right and then when I finally could MAKE it ink right, it wouldn’t stamp right…no matter what I tried.  See for yourself:

I posted this image to the Verve’s Facebook page and Julee (the owner) promised to send me a better behaving stamp.  It arrived today along with a handwritten note from Julee.  Oh how I love great customer service.  Check out the note from Julee…yes I’m keeping it.

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Anyway, I opted to use this sentiment with the Font Focus challenge instead.  Though I suppose technically it DOES qualify for the Diva Dare because there are flowers and butterflies in the background paper.  I don’t know what the background paper is, it was gifted to me by a friend from church.  The card base and piece the sentiment is on is from a pkg I got at my LSS and the beautiful majestic labels eight die cut from Spellbinders was cut from the DCWV shimmer stack leftovers I used in a earlier project.  The ribbon in this project is organza ribbon I bought from Dollar Tree and was tied using my hideously ugly bow board.  Finally I lifted the labels 8 die cut and sentiment off the card a smidge using foam squares from Creative Memories.  I like that this could be used for a girl (it’s pretty) or a boy (it’s not THAT pretty) to remind them that it’s never too late to set goals and dreams.  With this card, I’ve now entered Verve challenges 6 times.  Hopefully I win, but if not it’s been fun being inspired to create again!

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Altered Canvas Diva Dare Style

I had no idea what I was doing when I created this.  I simply knew that the challenge required a butterfly and a flower and I thought maybe since I just got new dedicated craft space I could spruce the area up with some art.  Once this project was totally complete I had to take a step back and say WOW!  Maybe it will give you that same reaction:

 

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My stamp choice is again from Verve’s Words of Wisdom set.  The butterflies are stickers that I believe are made by K & Company and the ribbon is random from my stash.  I used lattice rectangles and another Spellbinders die but I can’t remember which set it is and am too lazy to go look it up ha ha ha.  The flower is something I created using leaves and stamens from Wild Orchard Crafts and paper from my stash.  The first step was to paint the canvas.  Once painted and dried I embellished and the result is what you see here.

Verve Diva Dare with Lever Card

I’ll be the first to admit, this card was quite challenging for me and I’m not sure I even totally love this but here it is regardless.

 

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Verve3

Stamps used were the Words of Wisdom set from Verve.  The card base comes from DCWV shimmer stack and the patterned paper is from their Glam Gal stack.  I used Tim Holtz distress ink in two different purple colors for the flowers and butterflies on the right panel but they are kind of hard to see.  The sentiments were stamped using versafine ink which continues to be a favorite ink.  Not my best work that’s for sure…maybe I’ll have to just practice this card style a few more times before I like who knows.