If your life was given an expiration date, what would you do? How would you change your outlook on life, love and family?
A friend of mine had received devastating news and was given a prognosis of one year. He’s certainly not a kid, but he’s far from old age, and also has a loving wife and two young sons. To be told you won’t be around to experience all the things you’d assumed would be forthcoming in your life surely can’t be easy. Impending death can change how you live, obviously, and can make you take stock of what you have and realize what’s truly important to you.
A few days ago, my husband and I were invited to witness the renewal of their wedding vows. They wanted to celebrate and reaffirm their love as a family. Their sons stood with them for most of the ceremony and received necklaces just after their parents exchanged rings.
What really touched me (and frankly made me cry like the girl I am), were his wife’s vows. She described taking her first motorcycle ride with him, and the lesson he’d given to her just before they headed off: “Lean into the turns.” She was reluctant, as her instincts told her she should lean away. But she chose to relax and trust him, and in doing so, fell in love with riding, and with him. Since that first ride, she’s taken that lesson to heart in everything else in their life together. Take what you’re dealt, even if it seems crazy, because what you receive in return just might be far more rewarding than you ever imagined. Lean in.
For what it’s worth, our friend received this diagnosis a year and a half ago, so he’s already outlived his original prognosis. He’s still quite healthy, and he even took on a new job in a new field. He began a new chapter, even when facing what are supposed to be his last years. You may say he and his wife are living on borrowed time, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’ve taken that time. It’s theirs. They’re not giving it back. They’ve chosen to lean in, and enjoy the ride they have left.
*Seeing as it’s our last day on Earth, I figured I’d get this blog post out a little early. The photos are from my phone and are poorly lit, but I do plan on taking better photos and updating them when I can. Enjoy the apocalypse everyone, and your holiday too, if the world does indeed keep spinning!*
For the last several years, I’ve made my own holiday cards to send out to friends and family. There’s a certain satisfaction I get from knowing that no one else in the entire world is going to give the card that I’m going to give, and that a beautiful handmade card will make a far greater impression than any standard store-bought one. I’ve actually started to become a bit of a greeting card snob. I try not to buy them at all anymore (unless I simply don’t have time or inspiration, of course).
After making this Wedding Card, I was toying with the idea of somehow using string again. No self-tying knots needed of course, but perhaps I could hang something from the string. The question was: What?
I thought about paper ornaments. Nah.
How about Christmas lights? DING-DING-DING!
Working out the logistics of how to do this in a manner that my perfectionist brain would be happy with proved to be a challenge. One thing I struggled with was how to neatly handle the ends of the string. The way I had this planned out in my head would have the string begin and end at the back of the card, spanning both sides of the inside spread as well as the front of the card. Since real Christmas lights often have one lone light at the end and a plug at the other, I created the outlet illustration for the back of the card so the lights could “plug” into that and would simply add one last bulb to the other end of the string. I found an egg-shaped paper punch that worked perfectly for the bulbs and I trimmed all the “sockets” by hand (using a corner-rounder to neatly trim one end into a nice, natural curved shape). I then strung the string through the card, hung and glued each light individually, then plugged it in so to speak.
I love how these came out. I think these are my favorite of all my card projects ever.
Now I have to figure out how to top this for next year…
After making and gifting the magnetic perpetual calendar for my friend Bridget’s bridal shower, her wedding day was finally approaching. What did that mean for me? Making another custom card, of course! I guess I just can’t help myself.
I’ve seen literal “tie-the-knot” cards before (with a string attached to the inside in such a way that opening the card actually ties a knot) and I always thought they were clever. I like to be inspired by what I find in my creative research, but I refuse to copy what others have done. One slight pet peeve about the cards I’d seen was that they always used one string to create the knot. Well, since marriage binds two people, wouldn’t the symbolism be better represented by two strings? (Ta-dah!)
Hence my double-string tie-the-knot design. I kept everything else really simple so it wouldn’t compete with the knot itself. The gold-foil paisley scrapbook paper was a clearance-bin score I couldn’t pass up on (for obvious reasons I’m sure, aside from how gorgeous it is). I was very excited to find a project I could use it for. (Note that after taking these photos, I shortened the strings so they would tie a tighter knot when the card was opened.)
So my congratulations to Bridget and her new husband, Chris. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness, health and love.
PS: I’m in the middle of putting the final touches on my stack of holiday cards. I’ll be sharing those with you all soon after the New Year. Until then, enjoy your holiday (whichever one it is you celebrate)!