Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stars in the Sky

Just like the stars in the sky, there are people who light up my world simply by being in it. Be they near or far...merely knowing they are out there makes me feel better; because I know they make the world a better place just by gracing us with their existence. I recently lost one of my "stars in the sky". I found out that a very dear friend passed away twenty days ago.

I don’t remember the exact date sometime in September 2004 when I received this phone call from a man who sounded like he was in a hurry. He told me his name as he refreshed my memory by saying I interviewed with his colleague two weeks prior while he was away on vacation. I shuffled all my paper work and said to him, “I’m so sorry I’ve just been to so many job interviews the past few weeks, I could have literally made a full-time job out of all of them.” He said, "Isn't that the truth?" I heard his honest laugh on the line and then asked me if I could come in for a second interview. Two days later I came back and met with this handsome older man who reminded me of Clark Gable. He was tall with a gorgeous smile and thick salt-peppered hair. He told me what the job and the company was all about. We chatted for a good half an hour. He offered me the job the following day.

I only worked with him for about a year and a half. He was not easy, he worked quickly and rarely asked for help. He was never idle and whenever anyone would come to him for questions he always had the answers. He did not dilly-dally. He liked to be left alone, but his door remained open at all times. He typed, copied and mailed his own paper work. He returned phone calls and on many occasions when we were pretty understaffed in the office, he answered the phone with a “Yeah?” If one made a mistake, he made it known and never hesitated to say, "Shape up or get out." He shopped, cooked and served his employees during  holiday parties. He was a simple man who did not require a lot of attention. He was low maintenance. He had a different way of doing things. He was headstrong and did not like rules much. He didn't believe in ulterior motives and sincere even when he was upset with you. What you see is what you get. He told me more than once, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".  He and I butt heads more than twice. I’ve had my fair share of crying and wanting to walk out because I thought he was such a difficult person to work with. But I stayed because there were also many days when just seeing how hard he worked made me feel like perhaps I was not doing enough. Hearing his unaffected laugh was always a treat. He had this smile that was both charming and sincere.

I’d only been with the company a few months when I told him that I was bringing my father over from the Philippines. He quickly asked, “What can I do to help?” I told him I needed a letter stating that I have a stable job for the affidavit of support. He crafted this very nice letter for me in no time. He didn’t care about “at-will” he wrote that I was a permanent employee and that was that. Shortly after one of the assistant directors put in her notice, I asked him about the position and he flat out told me that I was not ready for it and that he did not think I would be happy in it. Again, full of sincerity and at that time I thought he was just being arrogant. What made him think I was not ready, right? I told him I could do it and I needed the financial gain. He gave me a couple important duties and then compensated me accordingly. Fast forward seven years, I smile thinking he was right. I would have not liked that position. There were a couple of times when I found out things were not being done correctly and he called me out on them. He thought I was overstepping my boundaries and doing things behind his back. I was frightened, but I showed him what I found out and the policy. I remember he asked me, “Are you absolutely sure?” I replied, “Yes!” He walked away, made some phone calls and sent out memos to rectify things.

He retired from the company sixteen months later. One day he came back to return the keys, he sat in my office to chat. He was in his casual wear and seemed so much more relaxed. I said to him, “I want to ask you a couple of questions since you aren’t my boss any longer and can’t fire me.” He chuckled because he knew I was teasing. I said to him, “First, why did you give me such a hard time and second, what made you hire me?” He smiled, sat back, put his hands behind his head and gave me this suspicious look. I was getting ready to tell him never mind, forget I even asked when he said, "I’m sorry if I was such an ass. I just had to see for myself what a strong asset to the company you were going to be and I know now that anyone would have to be an idiot to not want you on their team.” I almost choked, I did not expect that response, yet coming from him I knew he was being truthful. He continued by saying, "I didn't know what I was getting when I hired you. I always have a good feeling with people and I always hope they will not disappoint me. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. You don't give yourself enough credit though, remember that you took as much of a chance when you accepted my job offer as I did when I offered it to you. Also, I always find it hard to dislike anyone who can make me laugh." We talked more about his retirement plans and about life. That moment was all it took for me to wish that I'd known him longer or had more time with him. We said our goodbyes with a hug and I told him I'd keep in touch. He smiled and winked at me as he walked away as if he was saying he'd totally understand if I didn't. So, I told him with more persistence, "No, I mean it! I will keep in touch!"

I kept my promise by sending him my handmade cards a few times a year on special occasions and holidays. I never once forgot his birthday the past seven years. Surprisingly, he also reciprocated with holiday cards and short notes about their travels and the projects he was working on. I received fourteen greeting cards from him. I didn't think much of our correspondence, until very recently when he passed on and I heard from his loving wife of 43 years. She wrote me a very nice letter stating how my handmade cards brightened his retirement years especially as he was battling with his illness. She wanted me to know that I was the only one from his pre-retirement life that has made any effort to keep in touch and that he truly appreciated it. Knowing this made me happy in a way that I was able to bring a little bit of joy to him; and sad wishing more people remembered him because he really touched so many lives. It made me realize that little acts of kindness don't ever go unnoticed. Once again I have proven that, "Some people walk into our lives and quickly go, others leave footprints on our heart and we are never the same". I talked to other people at work that knew him who shared their stories about this remarkable man. They remember his generosity and candor. They remember how he loved his employees and his willingness to give more than he took. Someone who worked with him for years said when this amazing man looked at people he always saw potential and not dollar signs. That right there epitomized the legacy that he left behind. It's truly not how long you stay in a place, it's about the difference you made in people's lives while you're there, and when you that place better for your having been there? Rest in Peace, my sweet friend...until we meet again.

Unfortunately the stamp I used on this card is not from Stampin' Up! I thought it's absolutely appropriate to send to the family of my beloved friend. My world is a little dimmer because he's no longer in it, but knowing he's up there among the stars reminds me that it's indeed not the length of life but the depth of.

That's it for now. I encourage all of you to connect to the people you care about. Don't postpone letting them know how much they mean to you. You'll never know if it'll be your last chance to. Keep in touch and do so no matter how busy life gets. Before I end this post, I would like to leave you with a simple but profound question: "What will you be remembered for?
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wonderful You

It has been a very busy weekend. I am just now able to sit down and post because we've been out and about all day running errands. Anyway, today is my younger sister's birthday. We are very close in age and it's such a blessing to have her growing-up. I've always had a best friend and a sister in her. I consider myself such a lucky girl for having two awesome sisters. They are both my childhood and my home. I would like to share the birthday card I made for my sister. I had so much fun creating it. She truly is wonderful and have always been such an inspiration to me. Happy birthday to Max's mom! I love you lots!

Card Recipe:

Stamp Set: Take it to Heart (Clear 125520, Wood 125522), Loving Thoughts (Clear 125843, Wood 125845)
Paper: DSP, Old Olive card, Baja Breeze and Very Vanilla stocks
Ink: Basic Black Classic Stampin' Pad (101179)
Accessories: Framelits Dies in Hearts Collection (125599), Framelits Dies in Labels Collection (125598)
Aqua Painter (103954), Watercolor Wonder Crayons in Baja Breeze and Olive Green, Stampin' Dimensionals, 5/8" Ivory Organza Ribbon and Textured Embossing folders (non-Stampin' Up).

Well, that's it for this Sunday's post. I had an awesome class yesterday. I will make sure to share the cards we made next week. Have an awesome week, y'all!
Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fun and Cute #3

Thank goodness for three-day weekends. It's such a treat to get an extra day-off every once in a while. Although, I think "day-off" is an exaggeration, it's actually just an extra day so I can do more. So far, it has been a pretty hectic weekend full of errands and household chores. Today, my daughter invited a few of her friends over for pizza and cake to celebrate her eleventh birthday. I offered other venues to take her and her friends, but she only wants to hang-out with them in her room. It was a very good reason for her to clean-up without arguments. That's a plus for me.

I would like to share with you the invitation we sent to my daughter's friends. I made all six of them in a little over an hour. I was a bit unprepared this year due to my recent illness, but my sweet daughter assured me that they turned out really cute.

Isn't it obvious that I am just too obsessed with my Owl Builder punch (118074)? I also love this DSP called Big Top Birthday (122348) and stamp set Party This Way - which is currently a Sale-a-bration freebie. When you order $50.00 you can get this set absolutely free! It is such a versatile set that you can use to create birthday cards, party invitations and scrapbook pages. Please go to my Online Store and shop now. Sale-a-bration ends March 31, 2012.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. See you soon! 
Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happiest Birthday

I meant to post an entry earlier today in honor of my daughter's eleventh birthday, but our morning got pretty hectic. I had to run to Krispy Kreme Donuts, so she could bring some to share with her classmates that I didn't have time to sit down and post. Oh well, we just returned from eating out. She picked Applebee's, so although I wanted to go to Elephant Bar... it's not my birthday. I am only the mom who pays for the bill. Haha. I can't believe my baby girl is now eleven! She is still my baby and will always be.

I would like to share a special card I made the other night. I am feeling much better. I went back to my doctor and she told me I have not outgrown my "childhood" asthma, I still have it and now it's called "adult" asthma, how about that? The medications are clearly helping and it is so good to be able to breathe and slowly be my bubbly self again. Enough of sick talk, here is the card that cheered me up.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Apothecary Art - from the Occasions Mini Catalog (Wood 125525 Clear 125527)
Paper: Rose Red, Old Olive and Very Vanilla card stocks, DSP
Ink: Basic Black classic Stampin' Pad (101179), Rose Red Classic Stampin' Pad for sponging the edges of the Very Vanilla framelit (101778)
Accessories: Framelits Dies Labels Collection (125598), 3/8" Pleated Satin Ribbon in Blushing Bride (125570), Basic Pearls (119247), Watercolor Wonder Crayons in Old Olive and Rose Red, Stamping Sponges, Aqua Painter (103954), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430)

That's it for now. Happy, happy birthday to my dear daughter. She makes me laugh all the time and she is the only eleven year old I know who loves to watch Storage Wars and Murder She Wrote. Baby girl, I carry you in my heart. I hope you'll never outgrow me.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Owl Always Love You!

I apologize again for my delinquent "supposedly" Sunday blog post. I am still not feeling well, as a matter of fact I had to cancel my class this past Saturday because I still feel horrible. That right there is a clear proof that I am sick. I never cancel a class, because I completely enjoy and look forward to it each and every time. I slept and rested a lot over the weekend. It's amazing how much I wanted to just crawl in bed and sleep. My body must really need it. As I am typing this entry, I am feeling so much better and I hope to finally be on my way to full recovery. I hate being sick. Oh well.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I am sharing with you two Clean and Simple Valentine cards. Aren't they just so adorable and cute? No frills or lots of embellishments, yet still very nice. This Owl Always Love You card is the one I gave my Valentine - my hubby.

Materials: Real Red and Whisper White card stocks, DSP, Owl Builder punch (118074), googly eyes, and the sentiment Owl always love you is not Stampin' Up! I found it in the Clearance bin at a local craft store here in town and I just knew what I could do with it. I am really loving the framelits dies. I used the Hearts collection (125599) on this one and then to add dimension used the embossing folder in Perfect Polka Dots (117335).

Materials: Basic Black, Real Red and Whisper White card stocks, Punches: Heart to Heart (119881), Scallop Square (119884) and 1 1/4 Square (119865), Happy Greetings stamp set (retired from last year). 

In as much as I love creating Valentine's Day cards and treats, I must admit that the day itself brings out the cynic in me. I am not much of a flowers and jewelry kind of girl. I remember a time many, many years ago when I was into the whole flowers, gifts and heart shaped anything. Now that I am much older, romance is more "deeds" than "stuff" - I mean, cook me dinner and then do the dishes, that is romantic! Come with me to the grocery store to bag and carry them - that is romantic! I can go on and on. Oh well, don't mind me I am still recovering from the flu. Hahaha. 

Happy Valentine's Day and hope you all feel loved today and every single day. 
Monday, February 6, 2012

Sale-a-bration 2012

I apologize for the delay of my "supposedly" Sunday blog entry. I am still a little bit under the weather and every little thing I do requires such hard work. Mere breathing is such an effort. It sucks for a mom to be sick because chores and errands still need to be done. Oh well.

BTW, happy Monday everyone! Stampin' Up! is currently offering Sale-a-bration aka SAB, it runs from January 24 to March 31, 2012. Every $50 order you place gives you an awesome opportunity to choose one free SAB item from the SAB catalog. Purchase $150.00 and you get to pick three (3) SAB items plus an adorable reusable tote - all free! 

To kick-off the SAB season I have a special event this coming Saturday, February 11th, 2012 where we will make cards using the stamp sets, papers and embellishments from the SAB catalog. I would like to share a couple of the cards we will be making.

I used the paper, ribbons and brads from the Everyday Enchantment collection. Stamps from Fresh Vintage stamp set and sentiment from Sprinkled Expressions stamp set. Won't this card really make your whole face smile?

Once again ribbons and paper from Everyday Enchantment and Elementary Elegance stamp set. I am completely in-love with this paper and the Vintage stamp sets in this year's SAB collection. Please check out this promotion by going to My Online Store!

That's it for now, have a wonderful week and stay well.