Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ruffle Bag Winner..still at large!

We are still trying to get in touch with Jamie Adkins, our winner of the ruffle bag contest. If you are her, or know her, send her this way, so we can get the bag in her hands :)

If we don't hear from the winner by Wednesday, we will pick a new one from those who entered. Who knows, maybe you didn't lose afterall ;)

I can't say thank you enough!

Well I jumped off a virtual cliff of sorts on Tuesday, when I posted a very personal journal piece that I had written. What I didn't expect was the overwhelming support and GRATITUDE I received from people. I never knew that sharing my experience would open the door for so many people to share their own. It's funny how when we have all experienced some sort of pain in our lives, it remains one of those things that we work way too  hard to hide. But in reality, a lot of times, our pain can be a comfort to someone else. Someone who feels like they are alone in their experiences.

Through this blog post I heard from acquaintances, who watched me go through this 14 years ago,who wanted to ask how I felt, or how I coped, but they were afraid to ask. It was an incredible experience to hear the genuine, straight from the heart condolences that some of my dear old friends wanted to say for all these years, but were afraid to hurt me even more. Maybe afraid that the mere mention of my pain would make it all the more difficult.

I not only got to enjoy reliving old memories, but got to experience an unexpected, outpouring of feelings. This week I received hugs that on a normal day would be slightly awkward. But I can't tell you how many genuine, totally unawkward hugs I received (and gave!) this week. From people I passed in church, people I see while dropping my kids off at school, as well as many virtual hugs, I feel like people heard my message, and appreciated it.

I was privileged to receive messages of memories people had of my mom, of how proud she would be of me, and even how proud they are of me! I got to read about other peoples heartaches and how they appreciated reading this and knowing that the pain does get more bearable.

One of my biggest fears with posting this page were how my close friends and family would react. From those closest to me, I got overwhelming gratitude. From others I heard nothing :(  But the most important feedback of all was straight from my Dad. After all, he was the one who experienced the greatest loss that day 14 years ago. My life may have changed, but his had to STOP and start over.  He called me while I was out shopping last Tuesday, a few hours after the post went live. He told me he read it. (I started to sweat a little at this point!) I don't even know if I asked what he thought. I was to afraid to know. I was afraid of all the things I said before. That it would be to hard to relive. That it might hurt him more to read it. That he would be mad that I put the side burn picture up for the whole world to see. But his answer. " I loved it. It was hard to get read at times, but I am very proud of you, Ang." {sigh of relief} Those were the only words I needed to hear. That my DAD was proud of me. Then my sister calls me later that evening, and was speechless. Excited and speechless, which said more to me than a million compliments. Then, I even caught Ryan reading it. He didn't say to much, but the hubs doesn't like to read, so I knew what this meant :) And as the commetns, emails and phone calls rolled in I realized that the emotional roller coaster of writing and posting this were so worth it.
The newest addition to my living room. A gift from my Dad :)
He must have known how much I needed to hear it! 

I apologize that I can't respond to every comment I received. I tried to at the beginning, but couldn't keep up! Between comments, facebook messages, emails and shares, the support I felt is something that I can't thank you all enough for. So please know, that even if I couldn't write back to you personally, I read each and every word you wrote, and even read most of them twice :) Your words were kind, funny, emotional and real. Your words were a gift, and I thank each and every one of you.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm taking a deep breath as I hit PUBLISH---->

Eeeeek! I wrote this post about a month ago, when I was experiencing some very painful issues with relationships. I haven't had the nerve to post it, because it is so deeply personal and I've been afraid to. But I showed it to a couple of close friends who have encouraged me to share this{biting nails, have a slight stomach ache!} I wiped the tears from my keyboard and worked up my nerve. I checked it and rechecked it about 85 times, but have changed nothing, so it is time.

This coming Monday also marks 14 years since I said goodbye to my Mom. (where IN THE WORLD did the time go!)   I decided that the timing for this is good for those who knew her and would appreciate seeing her face again. Thank you all for being a part of my life. Here we go...........
{feels kinda like I'm going climbing up the high diving board!}

I very rarely ever bare my heart and soul in public. My close friends may know these things, but for whatever reason I find myself fighting to reveal how I really feel at times. But I have learned so much in this life from those who have trusted me enough to share with me their deepest and sometimes darkest times. Don't get me wrong my life is wonderful. I have an abundance of blessings. But I carry around a scar. A once deep, gaping flesh wound that has since healed, which has now left behind an ugly scar that still gives me unexpected twinges of pain.
Found on Pinterest
When I was 18 years old, I had just graduated high school. I was going to school to get licensed in electrology, so I could work in my Mom's hair salon. She and I were as close as a mother and daughter could be. Of course we had those tumultuous teen years, but I had since out grown that awful attitude and had grown into a wonderful best friend kind of relationship with my mom. I remember her taking me out of school, a sort of excused hooky, so I could attend a hair show with her. She wanted me to see what the business was like. She was just as excited as I was about our future working together. She saw my potential and enjoyed being with me.
Me (left) John Paul and Elouise DeJoria and Mom at the hair show.
 In high school, I would go home on my lunch breaks, and she would be there to hear about my day so far. I would call her countless times every day that she was at work. Her employees would be understandably annoyed, but she would never ever turn down a call from my sister or myself. She never held back her love for Sarah and I, and she gave of herself freely. I have happy memories of my childhood. I grew up taking for granted a stable loving home. Just recently I was looking through old pictures, and I saw a picture of a 7 year old me, smiling through over sized, crooked teeth, just being happy. When I looked at that face, I saw the love my parents had for me. A love strong enough to sacrifice their own wants and needs to put my sister and myself through a Christian education on a hairdresser and truck driver budget. That little girl had no idea at the time the depth of love that her parents had for her. And now I see it clear as day. The tables have turned and I am now the mother to two little girls. Now I look at my little girls with crooked over sized teeth, and the depth of the love I feel for those children isn't something I can put into words. Yet it hurts. That scar is sensitive, as I look in those beautiful little faces. Because it reminds me of what I've lost, it hurts because I want nothing more than to protect them from the kind of pain I've felt, yet I know that I can't.
THIS is why I had braces :)

In June of 1996, just weeks after my high school graduation, my Mom and I were painting and wallpapering in the room that was to be my electrolysis office in her salon. We were talking, listening to music, and working. It was fun! But later in the afternoon, she reached up to stretch and said "Angie, come feel this...what the heck is THIS?" I looked and could then see a huge lump on her shoulder. I didn't want to touch it, but I think I mumbled something about a pulled muscle or something. She didn't mention it anymore that night. As an adult now, I realize that she probably didn't sleep much that night. Thinking about what it could possibly be, I'm sure cancer crept into her mind more than once as we all laid in our beds, sound asleep. I'm sure she laid there thinking about what would happen to her girls if something happened to her. Then she probably told herself that she is getting ahead of herself, that it is probably nothing. And I'm sure this cycle continued all night long. The next day, after I got done with my job at the video store, I went over to my friend Laura's house to hang out. My Mom called me at Laura's and asked me to come home. I asked her why, and she wouldn't say. I repeated, 'but I just got here', so she blurted out, "Angie, I have leukemia, you need to come home." Those words and the shaky tone of her voice trying to remain calm yet firm are forever etched into my brain. I don't remember much else about that day, but I remember the roller coaster of emotions that overcame me as I came to terms with the diagnosis. Anger, disbelief, fear, more fear! Obviously I felt for her, but I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that she might not be there some day. That she wasn't going to live forever. At 18 years old the possibility hadn't yet crossed my self-centered mind.
She obviously didn't know her picture was being taken because she was smiling.
She hated getting her picture taken, so it is hard to find pictures that show who she really was...
My dad will KILL me for posting this pic, but Dad if you are reading this, the chops are AWESOME!!!
 Mom just looked too pretty here to not show it.

The next year and a half was a time of ups and downs. Diagnosis, remission, Re diagnosis, MISDIAGNOSIS, remission, recurrence, remission, recurrence, bone marrow transplant, no bone marrow transplant, hospitals far away from home, and finally, the realization that a cure was not meant to be. Anybody who has lived in a house with someone with cancer knows that it takes over every inch of your life. No I didn't have chemo, but I experienced it. I didn't have the painful spinal taps, but I felt them. I didn't have to stare my own mortality in its face, but I watched her struggle with it. The diagnosis meant nothing in our family would ever be the same again. That we were entering into a new normal. I saw for the first time in my life that my Mom and Dad were not invincible. I realized that they were human and the diagnosis of my parents being human beings was just as much of a shock to me: a child who lived such a previously happy life.

I walked in on a conversation between my Dad and my Grandma in our garage that I wasn't supposed to walk in on. They were wondering how they were going to tell the girls. The girls...that was US! I put 2 and 2 together and demanded that they just tell me. With pain in their faces as we stood in that garage, they told me that this was the last time that Mom was coming home. That the treatment she needs is in experimental stages and her cancer is too aggressive, so she likely won't be able to travel to Nova Scotia where the treatment is administered. I remember nothing else after that.
Our family, before Sarah and I knew how "normal" we were!
This is the picture Sarah and I refer to the
"Mom's wearing a bib, and Angie's bangs look like a Crescent roll"
You've gotta love the 80's!

My Mom was home for 10 days after that conversation. Friends and family came and went. We had a good time, some people cried. As the days dragged on, she became less and less responsive, and I slowly watched my beautiful, vibrant Mom fade away. I remember seeing her lips getting so dry as she slept and she was so thirsty but couldn't drink. So I ran to the pharmacy to get foam swabs to moisten her mouth. And I would sit there with a glass of water and swab it into her mouth to offer her my care, and what little relief I could. I simply wanted her to know how much I loved her, and to show her I knew how much she loved me. As I sat with her, I struggled to understand why it was coming to this. God had worked great miracles for other people, why couldn't he give one to us?

My Mom died peacefully in her bed as we all slept. Well sort of. For reasons I can't explain, my sister, my Dad, and myself all woke up and knew she was gone before anybody told us. I believe my Dad walked in the room to hear her last breath. So God does give us little miracles, even if they are not what we expect. He let her nudge us all in our sleep to tell us she was going home. Unexplainable in human terms, but totally normal in God terms. About 15 minutes after she was gone, the phone rang. It was about 3 am. It was my uncle, who was at some camp with his son. On the phone, he said, "Angie, what is going on?" with an undeniable sense of reluctance on his end. He too had been woken up, 3 hours away. God is amazing.

Mom ca. sometime in the 80's judging by the bangs :)

Then next morning, after the floods and floods of people finally left, we sat alone in our living room with our Grandma and Pastor. We were alone, facing the reality of what had happened for the very first time. So we went ahead robotically planning a funeral. "She'd like this, she'd want that". We basically put one foot in front of the other. As I heard the talking, but chose not to listen, I looked out the windows at what was a beautiful, mild, brightly sunny late September morning. And this is what God showed me. And I said it out loud. "She WAS healed. God DID work a miracle". I realized then that she was experiencing the joy that we as Christians wait anxiously for. She was face to face with Jesus. "Her cancer is dead. It can't hurt her anymore" The cancer that defeated her body couldn't take her soul. Because her soul was still ALIVE!

I never knew this picture existed until my uncle Joe handed it to me a year ago.
I have hardly ANY pics of Mom and me so I treasure it :)

And even after I made my relationship with Christ real, I began to have doubts. You see I had never talked with my Mom about her faith. How did I know if she was saved? It killed me for quite a while. Until God intervened and sent a good friend of my Mom to let me know out of the blue that she was in small group bible studies with my Mom and she KNEW in a way that only those who experience God can know that my Mom had made the same decision, to have a personal relationship with our gracious God, and that she was indeed with Him in heaven.

I live in the assurance every day that I will see my Mom again. And PRAISE GOD I live with the assurance that my husband will see her also. You see, he only got to meet her when she was sick. He was my companion on hospital visits or to her salon when she was working, but he never REALLY got to experience who my Mom really was. I now know he will get to know her, someday. I pray that my daughters will see their need for a Savior far earlier than I did, because I want nothing more than the assurance of knowing that they will be greeted by their Grandma in heaven.

It is another miracle that God continues to bless me and my family in incomprehensible ways every day. Yes the pain comes back with a vengeance at times. When I see a Mother who decides she no longer loves her child. I wonder where the justice is in that?   Or when I witness my best friend and the amazing relationship she has with her mother. It makes me ache a little for my own.  I get great joy out of seeing relationships between Mothers and their children. I'm sure most of them take it for granted, like I did, but I look at them and see yet another miracle. That God gave me the ability to see how wonderful the parents He put me with are and the fact that I was able to freely call my Dad and tell him this the other day. That is how awesome our God is!

The proof that God still loves me is in that He put before me.
My  husband and own family!   :)

The best miracles so girls!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Ruffle Bag Winner is...........

And the winner is............

Jamie Adkins said...
I love the aqua rosette necklace in your etsy store!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Hi. I accidentally hit PUBLISH instead of close, and hadn't actually written anything!! I'm such a boob! I have nothing to say right now, and nothing fun to show you. So instead, enjoy these random pictures :)
My girls, trying on these weird hats with pigtails and horns :/

Spencer when he was just a puppy. In the car, because he goes everywhere with us. Spoiled dog.

This is my Grandma, painting easter eggs with my girls. We didn't get to do it this year, for the first time since I was a kid. Grandpa and Grandma are STILL married and are 91 and 92 this year. I am so lucky. We have lunch at their house every saturday <3

A creepy Smokey the bear in a parade.

My friend Kim and I with the WPFF van in the annual Brat Days parade :D

Here is a picture I took for my new friend Linda at Lonestar Waxworks. I bought this room spray from her and wanted her to see me enjoying it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wanna Free Ruffle Bag???

The contest is still active until Friday, September 16th at 3 pm, so go here and read the instructions to win the bag pictured below :)
See me??? I'd be cute on your shoulder :)

My ruffles are so pretty...

I will get you lots of oohs and ahhs...
And don't forget you also get a $15 credit to pick accessories at Beautiful Bits of Grace!

What are you waiting for??? Enter here, and good luck!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fabulous Fall Giveaway

I am excited to be partnering up with my new friend Megan of Beautiful Bits of Grace to bring you a chance to win a FABULOUS new ruffle bag and $15 credit to her shop to choose some matching accessories! 

Win me, win me!


 How to enter:

 There are lots of ways to enter, and please feel free to tell your friends ;)
You can enter up to 10 times by clicking on the links below.

1.Like Gathered and Sown on Facebook

2.Go to my sidebar and follow my blog (with Google, Networked Blogs or by email)
3.Go to Beautiful Bits of Grace and Follow her with Google Connect (You will be glad you did, her posts are beautiful and INSPIRING!)
4.Check out Beautiful Bits of Grace's Etsy shop and comment with your favorite item.
5.Go to my etsy shop and comment with your favorite item.

6.Get 5 entires for sharing a link to your favorite item from both etsy shops on YOUR facebook page 

*IMPORTANT to secure your entries...

After you do one or all of the entires above, make sure you click here to leave a comment on this blog post for EACH ENTRY you complete. The winner will be chosen on Friday, September 16 and announced at 3 pm. Good luck and thanks for entering!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

One Mans Trash is this Gals TREASURE! Holla!

One of my favorite things about thrifting is knowing that all of the things that I find and get excited about were likely something that an overwhelmed someone threw in a box and dropped off, not knowing what else to do with it. They see it as a means to rid themselves of something they perceive as useless. But, thankfully, they acknowledge that people like me (aka treasure hunters) will likely find their junk, buy it and make it into something beautiful! My latest hunt left me with a rare treasure...a bag FULL of vintage sheets and curtains STILL IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING! I can't wait to breathe new life into these old linens. Just in time for my next project, which involves a  purse design I've ignored for a couple years.... {I'm going to revisit my popular and much requested patchwork bag designs :D Woohoo!  }

Can you believe it?? Still in the plastic!
Trying to figure out what to do with the one that reminds me of candy corn....

I love this price tag. It was on a pair of curtains I found..

This thrill was too great not to share, so enjoy these pictures taken by Amy as we squealed with delight at my pickings :) Yes, the pics are a little dorky, but we had fun documenting the find for anyone who decided to read my blog today. Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You Don't Know What You've Got 'Til it's Gone

Almost 14 years ago, when I was just 19 years old, I, along with my Dad and sister, had to say good bye to my best friend, my Mother. We watched her helplessly as he slowly went from a bubbly, strong, friendly ray of sunshine to yet another casualty of that horrible thing we call cancer.

This is the last pic of Mom and Dad together
summer of 1997- aren't they cute????
But the thing of it is, even though I still get sad, or even sometimes angry when I think of all that I lost, and all that could have been, I see how faithful My God has been to us, regardless of the fact that His plan doesn't always seem fair.

When I look into my daughters eyes, I can be overcome with sadness knowing they will never know how awesome, beautiful and fun their Grandma was.

When I sew a bag, I can become angry, thinking that she should be there, with our never ending coffee pots, sewing together. Making things for each other.

When my husband and I celebrate our 11th anniversary later this month, I might feel sorry for myself, wishing she could see how we turned out. Wanting so bad to hear that she is proud of me.
Sorry, kids were the photographers...

But here is the awesome part: She is with God, standing in His eternal glory, and this gives me tremendous joy!

I have two wonderful, beautiful daughters, that God knew I could raise, whether or not I had my Mom to help me.

He gave me a strong relationship with my Dad, who never asked to be both Mom and Dad, both Grandma AND Grandpa. Yet it's a role he has filled flawlessly. And a relationship that would have been very different if she would still be here.
Dad, Chloe, Me, Audrey and Ryan in Door County this summer 

 She is here with me when I sew. She tried to teach me in high school when I didn't want to learn, but somehow, by some miracle, it stuck, and it is how I make my living today. And every time someone tells me how proud she'd be of what I'm doing, I think of how I couldn't be doing it if it weren't for her....

She taught me how to be a friend.................
My Mom (front right) with her group of friends, which included Joyce,(next to her)
who is Amy's Mom :)

Amy and I now :)
He gave me a best friend, who knows what I mean, since she's been there all along. My Mom and Dad had a group of friends when we were growing up, and while Amy and I weren't close as kids, as adults, I don't know what I'd do without her.  God knew I needed to be reminded by people who knew my Mom, of who she was. And the relationships I have with those who loved her and knew her, is a gift I can't describe. Because, in a small way, it keeps her memories close to me.

So when I get over my woe is me moments, I realize that God has always been there.

I realize now that His plan is not for me to understand, but for me to take comfort in.

I now know that none of the "could have beens" will compare to the "is to comes".

I praise Him for that!