Friday, March 17, 2023

Hey there! Some bit of good news :o)

Exactly a year ago today, I wrote this post. Within a month of that, I received my official diagnosis. What followed was a blur for me really...but back then, I just about shut down this blog and the store, believing the worst. With God's grace, things started happening quickly. The next few months saw us receiving all kinds of help from people from our community, online, and around the world -- help came in the form of money, gift cards, gas cards, hot meals, shop orders, emotional support, babysitting, cards and letters, care packages and gifts for my children, spiritual support and prayers. I have never been so humbled and blessed at the same time. I found myself having conversations with God, mostly thanking Him for giving me time and bringing me the help my family and I desperately needed to get us through a truly dark time.

Three weeks ago, I saw my oncologist. After 8 months, I was finished with active treatments and about to start on the long-term endocrine/hormone therapy. I also was there to find out the results of my last PET/CT scan done two weeks prior. As he read the results, my heart rejoiced and I held on to my husband's hand tight. I heard words like "clear", "no FDG uptake", and "unremarkable", and then finally, my oncologist said, "in remission." I couldn't believe it. Actually, I could -- because we have an awesome God who makes all things possible!

Nine and a half months ago, I sat in the same room with him telling me that the treatment he was putting me on is mainly to give me quality of life and make me comfortable for however long I have. I didn't believe I was going to live to see my daughters' birthdays (in August and December) and I started either throwing away, selling, or packing up my things; I didn't want to burden my husband with all the stuff I've accumulated. But Jesus is good and He is faithful, and His plan is always good.

My husband thinks my oncologist didn't mean to say that I'm in remission; that he probably meant to say "resolution" because he was reading the results for my bones -- where there are no lesions at all in my pelvis or other areas. And when you are a Stage IV or have metastatic breast cancer (MBC), there's no such thing as remission; instead it's NEAD -- no evidence of active disease. But it's all semantics, right? At the moment, there is no evidence of cancer in my body -- not in my bones and not in my tumor markers! If there is cancer, it's at a level that no test can detect.

The last 3 weeks have been the best weeks of my life (see photo collage), and it makes me so happy to give my little girls some semblance of normal life after nearly a year of disrupting their routine. While the active treatments (first chemo, surgery, second chemo, and radiation) I received have a host of side effects that I continue to experience and make it a challenge for me to get back to normal, I'm so filled with gratitude and hope for the future. In the last 3 weeks: we have gone out twice to eat; we have taken the girls on Wednesdays for Adventurers Club (our church's version of boy/girl scouts); I started painting again, something I thought I would not do again after I packed up my brushes and art supplies last year; I started helping out my husband more on homeschooling the girls; I took the girls to Hobby Lobby; and we were able to accept a social invite for the girls to play with baby goats! After a long time, we didn't have to plan our day around my treatment schedule.

My/our family's journey is not over. This time, the goal is to keep my NEAD status for as long as possible. It involves continued consults with my oncologist, taking my endocrine/hormone therapy medications, having monthly injections, and going for regular labs, tests, and procedures that doctors in my care team order. To those of you who have been following my journey and been praying for me/my family, I am asking that you continue to lift us up in prayer.

As for this blog and store -- the plan is to re-open in May...honestly, I have not thought too much or in detail about this because I have been focusing on making up for lost time and opportunities with my girls and husband -- time and opportunities I thought I wouldn't have a year ago. The store continues to be partially open, and purchases there continue to help us financially.

I meant to write a short post, but here ya go...some bit of good news from the Russ family :o) From my family to yours, we pray that you are well and blessed! Thank you for following our journey and supporting us through the years -- most especially in the last year!

With love,

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas!


From our family to yours, we wish you a most blessed Christmas and a hope-filled new year.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

{NEW!} Fall and Winter Paper Goods Pack + Quick Cards by Nancy

WARNING: This is a photo-heavy post.

Hello once again, STAMPfriends! Two posts in one week -- gotta be a new record ;o)  (You'll find the other post here.)

Popping in today to share that there's a new product in the store: the Fall and Winter Paper Goods Pack -- and it's on sale at 50% off. Each pack contains 52 non-repeating designs/images: sixteen (16) A2 card fronts, fourteen (14) 3x4 journaling cards, and twenty-two (22) ephemera or die-cut images. With this pack, you can create 30-40 (52 if you use the designs separately) fall- and winter-themed cards and other projects.

This pack is versatile, and even more so when combined with hand-picked sets of sentiment thin metal dies.

Take a look at what's in each pack:

8 fall-inspired A2 card fronts

8 Christmas-inspired A2 card fronts

16 fall- and winter-inspired journaling cards

22 holiday and fall/coffee-themed die-cut ephemera

STAMPgirl Nancy went to town with this pack, and you'll see 24 beautiful cards she created. She made more, which she is/will be sharing on her blog.

Cards using paper goods + Everyday Sentiments phrase dies:

Cards using paper goods + Christmas Sentiments phrase dies:

Cards using paper goods + Skinny Sentiments phrase dies:

Beautiful cards, right? You can grab a pack or a pack + any of the 3 sentiment phrase dies here at 50% off.

Friday, November 11, 2022

STAMPlorations and Fall | Winter Coffee Lovers Blog Hop + Comment to Win

Hey, STAMPfriends! SURPRISE! Yes, this blog and STAMPlorations are still around. I know it seems like it's been forever since I've posted -- and it sort of took me a long time to prepare this post. (Anyone interested in my journey can read about it here {clicking the link will open a new browser window} -- as you'll get a better picture and I'll save you all time from having to read about it in this post.)

Anyway...welcome to the STAMPlorations stop on the Coffee Lovers Fall | Winter Blog Hop! I just love this event run by the awesome Amy T. and I'm so happy to be back as one of the super sponsors again. And as ever, we have a few extra prizes you can win over here at STAMPlorations.

Play along by creating any fall or winter coffee-themed project. Post it on your blog and then link it up at the linky found on the Coffee Loving Cardmakers blog. The linky is open until Friday, November 18. Winners of sponsor prizes will be randomly drawn! (Psst! Keep scrolling for a free digi stamp you can use in your projects + two extra prizes you can win by leaving a comment on this post!)

Well, right around the beginning of May I packed away my craft supplies and basically stopped working to focus on my treatments. They are still pretty much packed away, but around mid-August I was able to put together a new product before I had surgery + create quick fall and winter themed cards several weeks later when I felt well enough.

Oh and by quick, I mean real simple, no stamping and no manual die-cutting at all. I'm now pretty dependent on my electronic cutter, because I have limited use of my right arm, and fatigue and nausea have been my regular buddies the last 5 1/2 months. I left the cards blank in the way of sentiments; I figure it's better that way so I can tailor each one for whenever I am sending a card to someone.

For this hop, I'm sharing the coffee-themed ones using the new Fall and Winter Paper Goods Pack. By the way, there are 52 pieces in the pack: 16 A2 card fronts, 14 3x4 journaling cards, and 22 die-cut elements. You can literally make 30-45 cards with this pack, especially when you combine them with what you already have in your stash.

I'm also sharing a couple of cards that Nancy made using the pack but come back next week because I have a post that features a bunch of beautiful cards she made using our new product -- her cards are a feast for the eyes, I promise :o)

And here are two beautiful cards from Nancy:


Aside from the prizes I'm offering on the Coffee Lovers Hop event itself, I'm throwing in extra prizes. ONE (1) US/Canada-based coffee- (or tea- or chocolate-) loving crafter who leaves a comment on this post will win a pack of Fall for Coffee ATC or Holiday Latte Colorables -- winner's choice. I will also pick ONE (1) international-based commenter to win $10 worth of digital stamps. Comment on this post by November 18. Easy peasy! Winners will be announced on November 21.


In addition to all the prizes, I have a free gift as a thank you for supporting our company and the blog hop all these years - it's the free digi over at the STAMPlorations digital store. It's a versatile coffee digi stamp -- one you can use no matter the season!

Download for free until December 31, 2022. Use code FRAMEDCOFFEE on checkout.

If you download and use the above image in your projects, you must give credit to STAMPlorations (Designed by Shery Russ) with a link back to this page or our digital store.
Terms of use: The free digi stamp is for your personal use only. You may not redistribute it or claim it as your own. Please respect the artist's intellectual property and copyright.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day!

Before you go, check out a couple of special offers I have running on the store just for those of you who are participating in this event -- whether you're linking up projects or hopping and commenting.

Special Offer #1
Offer good from November 11 to 18 only
Buy any 1 of the 6 bundles in the store
(don't forget to use the respective codes to get
50% to 55% off) and receive a mystery grab bag
($25 worth of products).
Important: please mention COFFEE HOP in your note
during checkout so I know to include your free mystery grab bag.


Special Offer #2
Offer good until November 30
Buy 2 Mystery Grab Bags at 64% off
(code FULLMYSTERY) and receive a
coffee-themed paper goods grab bag free!
Grab bag contains at least 75 pieces of
randomly picked coffee-themed paper goods.
Important: please mention COFFEE PAPER GOODS in your note
during checkout so I know to include your free coffee-themed grab bag.

Monday, September 12, 2022

An Update...and the Future

Hey there, STAMPfriends. Since my last post back in June, a lot has happened. Some of you have been able to follow my journey these last few months because we're friends on Facebook. However, I've also been sharing updates on this page for those who don't do social media.

After I finished my chemo on July 5, I was on my way to Colorado 3 1/2 weeks later. Thanks to my church family, I was able to spend 2 weeks at the Eden Valley Institute of Wellness and participate in a lifestyle program that was tailored for me as a cancer patient. There I learned natural ways to address my cancer, as well as received lifestyle natural treatments including fever baths, hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy, massage and hydrotherapy, sauna baths, herbal remedies, juice fasting, and more. For two whole weeks, I was able to eat healthy and exercise, and attend science-based health lectures, all with a focus on God. 

I documented my experience via photos and videos that I shared on Facebook and here. I am thankful for those 2 weeks -- even though I missed my husband and two girls very much. It's reassuring to me that they did alright without me for two weeks :o)

(The photo of me on the right was taken when we were harvesting onions.)

A week after I got back from Colorado, I underwent a mastectomy. My right breast and much of the lymph nodes on my right side were removed. I'm now 3 weeks post-op and things have gotten so much better. Next week I am seeing my oncologist, as the next step is another round of chemo -- this time it's 12 weekly treatments of Taxol (Paclitaxel). My surgeon has recommended radiation therapy as well, so that will follow when I am done with the chemo. Yep, my treatments are going to continue well into the new year...

...which means this blog will continue to be on a break, and the store will continue to be partially open with product bundles available as opposed to individual products for sale. I am hoping, however, to have some inspirational project posts published, albeit irregularly, as well as new products added to the store as I'm able. I'm a planner by nature but over the last 5 months, I've learned to let go of the reins, take things one day at a time, let Jesus be in control, and trust in His plan for me.

So many of you have been praying, and continue to pray, for me and my family. I continue to receive encouraging cards from you, and last July, there was even an Instagram hop dedicated to me, led by the awesome Sadia Ashraf. She and 33 incredibly amazing and kind crafters got together and shared their beautiful cards and encouraging words for me on their respective Instagram accounts. I was humbled and I went through the hop with tears of joy, gratitude, and hope. I am also so very grateful to those who donated directly and through our Meal Train page to help us out financially. I am ever so grateful that Jesus put each and every one of you in my path. Please know that you are in my nightly prayers!

Wishing you all good health.

With love,