Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why Madame Wu?

Good morning! My mom woke me up with a phone call. Isn't it grand to have a mother who lives 2,300 miles away to get you up at 6:00 on a Saturday morning? God bless her. She is an amazing woman and you will find out more about her in my future entries.

My ten year old daughter asked me last night why I used the name Madame Wu. Obviously, that is only a pseudonym hoping that at 40 I can still create a little bit of mystery. Whenever any of my kids ask me a question I couldn't whip out the response from my pocket, I am compelled to ponder at how accurate I can explain myself. I am not one of those parents who will say, "you will find out when you're old enough." I am the kind of parent who knows enough most of the time, and I am never ashamed to admit when I simply just don't know. I use that opportunity to encourage them to help me research and then, we learn together. Parenting is an ongoing education for both the parents and the children, is it not? 

So here it goes: actually, Madame Wu is "the" character in one of my most favorite books of all time. The book is titled, Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck. I was introduced to the wonderful works of Pearl Buck in my early twenties sort of by accident. Fortunately for me, the very first one I read was Pavilion of Women. It was during a very dark and turbulent point of my life. Have you ever felt like you were in a black hole? You see all these familiar friendly faces walking by and telling you that things will get better, to just hang in there...and deep down you know the hole is shallow; but you just didn't know how to get out or how to gauge the height you have to climb in order to live again. I was in that state for many years.

One day, I was killing time at the mall and walked into a discounted book store and immediately the first book I picked-up was Pavilion of Women. I read the first few pages and dropped my last ten dollars. Looking back now, I think Madame Wu distracted me from what was going on in my life. It was a nice entertainment and from then on I have read most of Pearl S. Buck's books and I love all of them. Madame Wu was a very good source of strength for me then, but as I aged and I have discovered my own strength and courage I have since learned to draw power from the wonderful women around me, such as my two younger sisters, my grandmother, my mom, and my very inquisitive but smart daughter. However, I still love Madame Wu and I still visit with her once every so often. My second favorite is The Good Earth. Once a year I read Pavilion of Women just like I read The Great Gatsby. My kids ask how I can read a book more than once. I tell them it's like visiting old friends. Each and every time I discover something new to love about them.

To read a book for the FIRST time is to make an acquaintance with a new friend; to read it for a second time is TO MEET AN OLD ONE.

I don't want y'all to think all I do is write about myself :-), so I am sharing a couple of cards I made last night for my SAS (stamp-a-stack) class next weekend. Have a nice day - my chores await.

Don't you just love the colors on this one? I used the Big Top Birthday DSP, Real Red/Whisper White/Tempting Turquoise cardstock, Create a Cupcake Stamp set and Punch. I popped out the cupcake with dimensionals and added glitters on the frosting. Yum!

I just love Elements of Style. It is so elegant and beautiful. I used black craft ink and then embossed it clear with a heat gun. I then added a hint of Pretty in Pink with the stampin write markers.
Friday, July 22, 2011

Finally Out of the Closet

Hello world!

I resisted the idea of creating a personal blog for so long. Everyone does it nowadays, right? They put out their thoughts and feelings in the world wide web hoping what they write is interesting enough to create followers. I am old-fashioned in many things. While the rest of the world do not hesitate to share via blogs, I still keep a diary. Yes, yes...I do. It's supposed to be called "journal" now because I am old-er and I no longer write in a red Hello Kitty notebook. However, I still find myself referring to many events in my life as, "dear diary moments", so I am not ashamed to admit that at the ripe age of 40, I still keep a diary. 

I fell in love with the written words in second grade when our Religion teacher, Miss Mendiola assigned us to keep a "Good Deed" diary. Our project was to do good deeds each day and write them down. I was pretty naughty as a child and doing good deed daily was quite challenging to say the least. So, what would a naughty little girl do when forced to do good? I stole canned goods from my grandma's pantry and gave it to the old lady who used to beg every day by the gate of our school. I even gave her rice and a little bit of my allowance. It made me feel good to know I was helping her. I am sure a part of me knew I was doing a "bad deed" by taking from my grandma because I don't remember writing that part down in the diary project. This Robinhood crusade went on for a few weeks until one day I saw that same old lady walking toward the church and there was a little boy who asked her for a piece of the bread that I gave her and she was completely mean to the boy, didn't even share. I was eight years old at that time and realized she didn't deserve my good deed. Heck no! That was all I needed to stop playing Robinhood. I turned in the project and kept my love for writing and reading and everything else that has made me the odd person that I am today. Haha.

So, here I am joining the millions of bloggers sharing their hearts, thoughts and talents with the world. Perhaps this is why I also love to scrapbook because it is my way of marking the special events in my life. I love to stamp and make cards for friends and relatives. I love the feel and smell of paper and the ink stains on my fingers after I pull an all-nighter working away with a bottle of wine while everyone are asleep. I love cutting and making tiny ribbons and adhering beautiful embellishments. I often imagine what the recipients would say when they get my card in the mail. Do they gasp when they open the envelope and see my card? Do they feel happy to be remembered? From time to time I encounter very strange individuals who ask me (and unbeknown to them I want to poke their eyes with a glue gun) why I go through so much trouble to make a card when I could just walk into a drugstore and buy one for a dollar. My answer is always this - I love making them and I love to make people smile. Just the thought that I brightened someone's day or lifted someone's spirit up is reward enough. Surely a sincere thank you is always nice.

I put a lot of work on the cards I make and I hope that I can keep doing this for as long as I can because it really has been a very healthy therapy for me. So here I am, finally out of the closet and hopefully, this is just the first of the many entries I will have the courage to share with the world.