Sunday, May 16, 2010

If anyone is interested...

Hello wonderful people. Many of you are have read or are followers of Nie Nie's blog (short for StephaNIE NIElson). She is a woman who has written inspiring blog posts for over 5 years now. In August of 2008 she and her husband were in a plane crash. She has suffered severely from burns covering her body and her blog continues on about her struggles through life, yet her faith that she has each day.

As I started writing this post, I hesitated and then stopped writing. But, then I felt that I needed to sit right back down and continue on. So here I am, sharing with you something that I hold most precious and dear to me....and that is my religion. Stephanie Nielson and I share the same faith. We are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

I have been so blessed to be a member of this church. One of the greatest blessings that I have had in my life was to have the gift of the Holy Ghost. In our church, "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." The Holy Ghost is a spirit that prompts us to know right from wrong. He is also able to warn us of danger, or give us peace. Claire's brain surgeon happened to be a member of our church too. When he was taking out the tumor from her brain, there was one other area that he was about to remove. But, he decided against it. At her follow-up visit he shared with me, "You know that 'little voice' [the Holy Ghost] that we listen to? Well, I listened to that voice." Had he gone and removed the questionable area, Claire would be paralyzed right now.

After my mother died, I felt immediate peace and comfort from the Holy Ghost. Probably more than I had ever had in my life. Surprisingly, that week is actually one of my fondest memories of my life. Obviously I was heartbroken...words cannot express the pain I felt of losing my mother. BUT, the Holy Ghost brought me comfort that I could never dream about. I had never felt as close to my Heavenly Father as I did at that time.

Part of what brought me peace was the knowledge that I KNOW that families can be together forever. You see, in our church we have temples where sacred ordinances are performed. One of those ordinances is to be sealed together for time and ALL ETERNITY. My parents were both sealed together. And so when my siblings and I were all born to our parents, we became sealed to them. I KNOW that I will see my mother again. After her death, my father and my siblings went to the temple together. I felt the presence of my mom and I know exactly where she was in the room. My siblings have had similar experiences. And I feel so blessed to know that. My husband and I were sealed together in the temple, and so our children will be sealed to us. Death will not separate us.

This earth life is just a test to see what kind of a life we choose to live. It is to see what our choices will be and if we want to be good people. We have the opportunity of living with our Heavenly Father again as well as Jesus Christ. We will go through trials....many of them. It saddens me when people say, "How could God let this happen to me?" Before we came to earth we lived with God and we knew that when we came down to earth, times would be tough. But we wanted to come here anyways. Trials are to help us learn. Trials are there to humble us so that we can become closer to our Father in Heaven. I am strengthened as I hear about people and their trials and how they REACT to those trials. Kari Stock (the one who's husband died...I wrote about it a couple of posts ago), she is a member of the same church as well. If you could just sit in the same room as her, you would feel of her faith and happiness right now. Is she going through a hard time raising 3 young children and having lost her husband? Of course. But, she is relying on the Lord and you can see it in her eyes, you can feel it when you are with her. My other friend Kari Cook who's baby had cancer, she is a member of the same church as well. Throughout everything she went through with her baby, you could just feel the faith she had to get through that trial. She did not blame God, but rather turned to Him to receive comfort.

I am so grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. He died for me and suffered every pain imaginable so that when we are having our struggles, we can realize that there is someone who knows EXACTLY what we are going through. You see, even though my siblings and I all lost the same mother, none of them can know exactly what I feel. But, Jesus Christ does know, and I have felt strength from Him knowing that He completely understands. He gets it. He knows everything that I go through and it is so great to feel that I am not alone.

I apologize for my ramblings. Now you can see why I was hesitant, because I didn't want anyone to feel uncomfortable in everything I was writing. But, truthfully, it is because I feel a love towards all of you. And that is why I can't hold back sharing with you about something most important to me.

I hope that you can take about 8 minutes of your time to watch this video about Stephanie Nielson. In the video, you will see her signing some navy blue books. Those books are the Book of Mormon. This book has helped me throughout my life. It has answered so many questions. I try my best to read from it every day and we read with our children from it every night. On days when I don't read from it, I recognize that I am cranky. On days when we don't read from it as a family, I recognize that the kids get easily annoyed with each other. BUT, on the other hand, when I do read from it, my mind is enlightened. I have more patience. I am just happier altogether. And when we read as a family, there is love in our home. The kids want to share with each other. They want to be in the same room with each other! We read the Book of Mormon along with the bible. They go hand in hand.

If anyone is curious about the Book of Mormon and would like me to have a copy sent to them for free, please send me an email with your address. I will get it to you right away!

Thanks so much for reading this post. I hope that it touches someone....I feel that it will because I felt so impressed to write it. Please take a moment to watch this inspiring video.

My New Life

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sweet Cakes kit

Last week as I was doing "Super baby" with Claire (you know, when you lay on your back and stick your feet up in the air while your toddler lays her tummy on the bottom of your feet like Superman...sorry, just giving you a visual), I was looking up at my sweet little girl and noticing the cute pajamas she was wearing. Of course that little light bulb popped into my head as I thought, "That would make a great digital kit!" So, even though I had just put those jammies on her, I needed to trade them for others so that I could get started on it after I put the kids to bed.

So, that's where the inspiration from this kit came from. Technically, the color palette choices as well as the cupcake ideas came from whoever made those fun pajamas, but for some reason, making this kit just made my day...or should I say a few days!

I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A heartwarming photo shoot

This past Christmas I had done a kit to help raise money for one of my sister's dear friends. A young mother of 3 lost her husband while he had been camping with a friend. During a storm, a tree fell on him and killed him in his sleep. You can click here if you didn't get a chance to read that post.

Well, my sister just emailed me again and sent me this link. It is just beautiful. The young widow was able to have a special Mother's Day weekend. She was pampered (hair and make-up done) and then had her pictures taken professionally from one of her friends. I just wanted to share it with you:

Monday, May 10, 2010

A cute giveaway from my friend

So, we all love free giveaways, right? Well, my super talented friend Sarah made these love note labels to put in her kids' lunches everyday. She has 3 sheets to giveaway. Go to her blog and let her know you want one and you might get lucky! (She also offers the .psd file so you can print it out yourself)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dreamsicle kit

As Mother's Day has been approaching, I have been thinking a lot about my childhood and how happy I was because I was raised by the best mother (I know, I am biased...but I believe it to be true!). You know the common phrase, "You never know what you've got until it's gone." Well, I am happy to say that while my mom was alive, we lived each day to its fullest. I cherished my mother and loved our relationship and everything that she taught me. For me personally, I would change the words to that quote to say, "You always knew what you had...especially now that she's gone." I feel so lucky to have no regrets. I feel so lucky to know that when she unexpectedly passed just over 3 years ago, and I didn't have the chance to call her on that day, that she KNEW that I loved her, and that I only felt complete love from her. I remember the last time that I saw her before she died. We were saying goodbye at an airport and she was hugging me tightly. And she said, "Summer, I hope that I have always been a good mother to you." I only felt complete love. I expressed my love to her and let her know that she has always been the BEST mother and that I felt so lucky. I am so happy to have that lasting memory!

My mom always made life happier and more fun. She was full of adventure and life. Growing up, if I ever needed to have a one-on-one talk with her about anything, she'd say, "Let's go get an ice cream." She always claimed that she could eat her ice cream faster than anyone...and it was true, at least in our family. When we'd go on family vacations and we were bored driving in the Suburban for many hours, she'd buy Ritz crackers and then show us how you can roll down the window, and when you're driving fast you can see how many Ritz crackers you can put on your hand as it is going against the wind. It was fun for us to watch her do that and for us to try. I remember us laughing as she sang circus music while she "performed" and started to even have them go on her arm.

I could write forever of my memories of her. Now that she is gone, I can feel the void. She was the life of the party. I have felt myself change as I realize the roll she truly played in my life. It makes me grateful to be so close to my dad and siblings. When we get together, it is just like old times and that life and adventure come back out of us again. It has helped me to realize that I need to be a better mom...that I need to be that kind of a mom for my own kids...that I need to bring some fun energy into their lives.

A couple of weeks ago I did something that I would have never thought of least not since I've had kids. It was something that I would have done when I was in high school maybe. I took trapeze lessons. It was so much fun, and I was so glad I did it, because it made me feel like ME again. (You can see pictures and watch a video here).

For this Mother's Day, my challenge to you is to fulfill some dream. I am not saying to go take trapeze lessons...but I am saying, think of something that you wouldn't normally do...something that will get you out of the mundane things of life and just bring a little spark into your day. Fulfill your dreams! Life is too short to not have a fun time and be happy!!!

(Sorry, I realized as I added a little bit of black to this kit that it ended up looking like a Halloween kit!)

*And for those who missed it, check out the following post for the Baroque Frame Brush!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Baroque Frame Brush

Hello my dear friends! Never fear...a new kit is on it's way (I'm just finishing up a few elements and it will be here in time for Mother's Day)!

I just love frames...and I love when they can be used for random purposes. So I created a Baroque frame that, as you can see, can be used with many different styles. I hope you enjoy it!

Click here to download the FREE Baroque Frame:
Summer Driggs Baroque Frame download

*For those who do not know how to use brushes, this website will offer some tutorials. In fact, when I was first learning to design, this website was helpful in many areas: