Stories from the Heart: Amy McGrew

A few weeks ago, Jeanette invited you, our blog readers, to share your scrapbook stories with us as part our new “Stories from the Heart” blog series. We are delighted to share a story that was sent to us by Amy McGrew, one of our Close To My Heart Consultants from South Carolina:

The theme of this layout is “MUSIC,” specifically, my favorite music. I love many music genres, but there are three specific songs that I hold very close to my heart because they are tied to three very special men in my life.

The right page of this layout shows two photos of my father and I dancing at my wedding to “Wind Beneath My Wings.” My father is the most important man in my life. I cannot express enough the love and admiration I have for this man. He truly is my hero. He gave me wings and let me soar in everything I ever got involved in. His heart is HUGE! Growing up I was always the “one with all the glory” and he was “the one with all the strength.”

As soon as the father-daughter dance ended, I remember my dad leaving the dance floor and walking out to the screened-in patio that was right off the reception area. He didn’t cry while we were dancing (I certainly did!) but, as I looked out at him past our guests, he got out to that quiet spot and the tears started coming down. That mental picture is forever embedded in my memory. “I will always be your little girl,” I told him. He wasn’t losing a daughter that day, he was gaining a son. To this day, my relationship with my father is strong. He is very much a part of my husband’s life and mine, as well as our children’s. I am grateful that despite the 800 miles separating us, we still manage to see each other at least two to four times a year.

The next important man in my life is my husband, Stan. “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” is our song. It’s the perfect song because I really do fall more and more in love with him each and every day! The pictures on the left page of this layout show us dancing to this beautiful song at our wedding. I knew Stan was the man I would marry when, on our second date, he was giving me directions and then said, “repeat them back to me.” When Stan said those five words, he reminded me so much of my father. As soon as he said them I knew he was my future husband!

Stan and my dad are best friends. He treats me the way my dad treats my mom, always putting my needs first and supporting me in all of my crazy endeavors. As a father, Stan is top-notch. Our three children are so blessed to have such an awesome dad! He is my rock, my soul mate, and my best friend.

My son, Tucker James, is my “Piano Man” and the third important man in my life. The photos of him on this layout were taken when he was in 8th grade at a piano recital in New York City. At the time, he was attending a middle school designated for the arts that required an audition in order to get in and, even though he plays several other instruments, he was accepted for his piano abilities. That spring, his daily piano class traveled by bus to New York City and visited for three days. They were able to sight see, attend an off Broadway musical and perform in a recital at a church in the Bronx. My husband Stan, our daughters, and I were fortunate enough to travel to New York and attend the recital. My parents also attended. It was exciting for all of us to see Tucker perform in this recital setting.

The “Piano Man” is most definitely the song I associate with my Tucker, especially ever since he learned to play it and played it for me one Mother’s Day several years ago. He simply is my piano man. Now that he is a freshman in college (majoring in music of course!), we can’t wait for him to come home and visit. Within minutes upon his arrival, Tucker will sit at the piano and start playing. Our family will gather around and just listen. I tend to lose myself in thought and happy tears.

So many memories! Music most certainly brings my family closer together. We enjoy each other in the moment and also reminisce together about the moments and memories that are brought back by each familiar song. It is quality time at its finest!

If you would like a chance to share your story on our blog, like Amy, here’s what to do:

  • Find one scrapbook page or layout (please just one!) that you’d like to share.
  • Tell us the story behind the photo. What was happening? Who is in the photo? Is there something funny that happened before or after the photo was taken? Why is this photo meaningful to you?
  • Take a high-resolution photo of yourself (you can even be holding the pages or your entire scrapbook!).
  • Take a high-resolution photo of the layout or page on a flat surface (use natural lighting to improve the quality, and take the pages out of the protectors so they don’t reflect in the flash).
  • Email the photos and story to us at ctmhblog@closetomyheart.com with the subject “Stories from the Heart.” If we decide to share your story on the blog, we will contact you!

We can’t wait to read your stories!

 

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Close To My Heart on the Road

Over the next few months, we’ll be heading to some Pinners Conferences across the US to showcase beautiful artwork, teach crafting classes, and spread the word about our company and mission.

Since we can’t bring you all with us (though we sure wish we could!), we thought we’d bring the beautiful artwork to YOU right here on the blog! We hope it inspires you and lights a smile on your face.

Here is the artwork for one of the classes we’ll be teaching. Memory keeping is at the core of what we do, so we want to show others there are so many different ways to preserve their memories in addition to traditional scrapbooking.

Our other class will let attendees play with flowers from our Cricut® Flower Market collection, as they make these fun gift items:

Close To My Heart's hitting the road to teach crafting classes at Pinners Conferences across the US. Here is the artwork we'll be showcasing! #ctmh #closetomyheart #pinnersconference2016 #craftingideas #paperalbum

In addition to our classes, we’ll also be putting tons of beautiful artwork on display for everyone to see, including unique gift ideas to show someone you care…

Mini albums for those just getting started with memory keeping…

And, of course, traditional scrapbook pages.

To top it all off, we created a one-of-a-kind banner, which would be wonderful for a party or a nursery.

Close To My Heart's hitting the road to teach crafting classes at Pinners Conferences across the US. Here is the artwork we'll be showcasing! #ctmh #closetomyheart #pinnersconference2016 #craftingideas #paperalbum

Whatever type of papercrafting you enjoy, we hope you’ve found this artwork to be inspiring. We’re sure it’ll catch more than a few eyes at the conferences we’ll be attending, but we especially hope that everyone who sees it will understand that what we do is so much more than an art form—it’s a way of building and celebrating relationships.

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Here Comes the Sun!

When you’re having a gloomy day, a great way to cheer yourself up is to do something nice for someone else—but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do! How about mailing someone a box of sunshine? 🙂

Send a box of sunshine to someone who needs a smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #boxofsunshine #paperaddict #handmade #giftideas

Papers from Penelope, Kaleidoscope, and our Fundamentals transform this ordinary box into something really special, as does the gold glitter paper—you can never go wrong with glitter! We’ve filled our sunshine box with all things bright and yellow—including fun accordion-folded strips of Honey cardstock as filler—but you could certainly put any goodies you’d like inside.

Send a box of sunshine to someone who needs a smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #boxofsunshine #paperaddict #handmade #giftideas

Thanks to our handy-dandy Cricut® collections, making this box is really easy. Simply follow the recipes below to cut your sentiment, sun, and card!

Send a box of sunshine to someone who needs a smile! #ctmh #closetomyheart #boxofsunshine #paperaddict #handmade #giftideas

We used our Cricut® Artfully Sent collection to cut this lyrical card. There’s nothing that brightens someone’s day quite like a handmade card with a handwritten message.

J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, said, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” Remember that each time you create something with paper, you are spreading sunshine to others and filling your own life with sunshine—so keep on crafting! 🙂

What do you like to do to brighten someone’s day? Tell us in the comments below!

Recipes

Sunshine Box
X7202B Kaleidoscope Paper Packet, X7207B Penelope Paper Packet, Z3125 Paper Fundamentals Adventure, X5668 Honey Cardstock, Z1375 Kraft Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, Z3169 Cricut® Artbooking Collection, Thread

Cricut® Shapes*:
Artbooking
2 ½” Shift+Title <T> (p. 52)
11 ½” Shift+Overlay <T> (p. 52)
¾”<font> “Sending your way”

5 ½” x 4″ Here Comes the Sun Card
1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z3076 Gold Glitter Paper, X5668 Honey Cardstock, Z3168 Cricut® Artfully Sent Collection

Cricut® Shape*:
Artfully Sent
5 ½” Sentiment <u> (p. 17)

*Real Dial Size

All these products are available through one of our Independent Consultants. To find a Consultant near you, visit closetomyheart.com and click on “Find a Consultant” in the top right corner of the page.

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From Brian Holman: Making a Difference with Operation Smile™

Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

A few years ago, I found myself travelling to the Philippines with Close To My Heart Consultant Kelly Hammonds for a truly one-of-a-kind opportunity to be part of an Operation Smile™ medical mission. My trip coincided with Operation Smile’s 30th anniversary, and since their first mission was to the Philippines, it was somewhat of a special occasion for them. For me, it was an unforgettable experience that let me see up-close the huge difference that this organization makes.Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

One of the most impressive things about Operation Smile to me is the way they incorporate local professionals into their missions. They don’t just come in and do it all themselves, but they involve local people, educating them and building up the medical establishment itself through the work they do. I find this to be such an ennobling and empowering part of what they do all around the world.Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

Maybe it’s just the data geek in me talking, but I was also really impressed by the organization’s emphasis on record-keeping. When you think about the thousands of children who are being operated on every year, you can understand how important those records can be—especially when you consider that many of those children may require multiple surgeries. In the case of a child who has a cleft lip and a cleft palate, the cleft palate needs to be closed first, and then the cleft lip can be addressed in a subsequent surgery. Operation Smile’s commitment to methodical record-keeping really stood out to me as an indication of their trustworthiness and of their commitment to each individual.Read Close To My Heart COO Brian Holman's story about going to the Philippines on an Operation Smile medical mission. #ctmhsharethelove

Seeing all the people that came out in hopes of receiving medical care for their families gave me a new perspective on how big of a difference this organization makes. The level of sacrifice that the individuals made just to be there, travelling long distances, leaving family and jobs behind, really struck me. For many of these children, Operation Smile provides the only chance they may get to receive the medical attention that they need.Brian-Holman-Operation-Smile-Philippines-6

These twin brothers illustrate the level of sacrifice shown by these families. They were selected for surgery, but what you don’t see in the picture is that their mother also had a cleft lip. When the medical team offered to perform a surgery on her as well, she declined because she was the only one there to care for her boys. She was just one of many mothers who were there putting their children’s needs above their own.

Going on this mission taught me something else, too. I’m no medical professional, but even I was able to help in a small way, by helping take care of the children while they waited for their turn, and also after the surgeries. This baby’s mother was planning on staying there with her child all night without eating or resting, but since I was there, I was able to give her a break just by holding the baby while she went out to get something to eat. It was a small thing, but that’s what all of these missions come down to: small things that make a big difference.

You don’t have to be a surgeon or a nurse to help these children; you don’t have to fly around the world or even leave your house! Operation Smile takes care of those parts—all they need from us, from you and me, are donations to make it possible. Close To My Heart is committed to helping Operation Smile receive these donations. With each donation from you make, whether from rounding up your order or by purchasing this month’s special stamp set, My Acrylix® Share The Love, you are helping them, too. Thank you for helping us make a difference.Brian-Holman-Operation-Smile-Philippines-10

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