Hello stampers! Many of you know that I am in the Netherlands for four weeks. Today I wanted to share some insights with you that I have gleaned over the weekend. It all comes down to the power of community. I had four totally different experience of gathering but all showed the need for and power of community.
On Saturday morning I had a family funeral. Of course it was a sad event, but in this case there was more joy than sadness. My Tante Irene had lived much longer than expected and she died both pain free and with the full assurance of salvation. She knew she was going to heaven! The beautiful thing for me was gathering with family members, some of whom I had not seen since I was a young teenager. One of my cousins is battling cancer, one of my aunts is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many more are dealing the regular vicissitudes of life, but all together there was just such a beautiful power of community. Together we are strong. Together we are weak, together we are sad or joyful. I was so thankful that I could be a part of this. To be in such a big group of my mom’s family in the “old country” was meaningful and powerful for this immigrant’s daughter. Our extended family in Canada was small. I had one uncle on my dad’s side and one aunt on my mom’s side, that’s it. Eight cousins in all. When you have so much family so far away it really is beyond words to finally be part of this tribe in a very real way.
A Community Race
On Saturday afternoon Gerard had a community race. There were two options, either a 5km or a “ten English miles” which is 16km. Normally he runs a 10k but that was not an option. He wasn’t feeling great and a 5km is not a real challenge for him so I was curious as to why he would still want to run. Turns out it was all about community, about gathering with all the runners before the race and after the race and with running together in a big group. It was the energy of the group that was the big factor. It was not running a 5km. It was being connected with the power of community. How awesome is that?
A Retirement Party
Saturday night there was a retirement party for two brothers who are in the same business as Gerard; they are amaryllis growers. They sold their business and they wanted to celebrate with all their colleagues, friends and family. The amazing thing is that I met total strangers who had unknown connections to me. One man told me that his mother and my oldest aunt were best friends. Another man told me that his oma was a good friend of my mother’s!! Another man asked me where I was from so I said southern Ontario. Where he persisted. Somewhat impatiently I said Chatham. He then tells me that he has nephews there. Do I know the VanderEndes? Well, yes I do. Crazy small world. Even though the music was so loud that we had to shout in each other’s ears (boy was I feeling old!!) it was still wonderful to connect with all these people and to feel the power of community. Together we could celebrate with these two amaryllis growers and be happy for their success and also for the coming time where they can enjoy the fruits of their labour. With the power of community our joys are doubled and our sorrows are made less.
Now what on earth does this all have to do with card making? Well, now I am going to tell you about the fourth event. I was invited to go to a good friend’s team gathering on Sunday afternoon. What a delightful group of women. I learned from them that also here in Holland, they get great satisfaction of gathering together as a team. They just love to meet in person once in a while and create together, to touch base and catch up with each other’s lives. Inspiration and energy is derived from these gatherings. I know that I certainly left inspired by their creativity and enthusiasm! Once again I was witness to the power of community. My friend told me that without these gatherings she would have stopped with Stampin’Up! when the going got tough. It was the power of community that kept her strong and motivated. Wondering who this friend is? It is the lovely and talented Caroline van der Straaten. You can check out her blog here.
How very fitting that the cards I am going to share today are made with the Come to Gather suite of products. Gathering with these ladies was so lovely. Even though I was still feeling under the weather with a bad cold, I am so very glad that I went. Believe it or not for the first five or ten minutes I was feeling a little overwhelmed and almost decided not to make a card. I was just going to take all the pieces back home and make them quietly alone later. It is a very enlightening experience for me to be on the other side of the creative experience. Does this surprise you?
I absolutely love this card that Annette Koolmees designed. While I love the Come to Gather paper, I have to admit that this particular sheet didn’t at first appeal to me. After seeing and making this card, I changed my mind. The tipping point was that Annette chose to stamp the pumpkin and the leaf on crumb cake card stock and then use an aqua painter to colour it. The result is an entirely different effect. My cajun craze leaf didn’t quite turn out the way it should have because I was using a brand new Wink of Stella and I squeezed a little too aggressively!! This led to a little heavier application of what should have been a subtle touch of bling.
A better surprise with this card is in the inside when you open it. It is a fancy fold with a tea light inside! The picture definitely doesn’t do it justice. Do go on over and check out Annette’s blog here. I see that she has already blogged about our wonderful afternoon together!
I used this card to participate in a tic-tac-toe challenge with The Joy Of Sets. You can check that out here!
Annette had more cards using this suite of products but I will share just one more with you. I might share some more of them tomorrow if I run out of time to create myself!
Here is a closeup of this fantastic card. the leaves have been blinged up with a bit of wink of stella.
The Power of Community for You
If you are feeling like you could use a little more “power of community” you may want to consider coming to a card making class. Maybe you are not into cards and scrapbooking is your thing. Perhaps neither of those things make your heart sing, but you really do love home decor. Well, paper, stamps and ink can be used to make some pretty amazing things and making them together with other people is simply wonderful. No classes offered in your area? Then I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone, get the starter kit and start playing. There is so much information on this hobby online, so many videos and tutorials to watch that you will have no problem figuring out how to do it. Once you get a feel for it you will be ready to share the love of your new hobby with other people and YOU can create the power of community and bring joy to the world through paper crafting. Click here to get the starter kit. You can put anything you want into this kit. You pay only $135 but you get $165 worth of product with no shipping or tax. It really is wonderful thing. I’m happy for you. I’m hazarding a guess that if you are here you are already either hooked into this lovely hobby or intrigued by it. Happy stamping and thanks for dropping by!