while you were sleeping.

i can't really even begin to describe the bizarre turn my life seems to have taken since my mom's diagnosis just three long weeks ago. i'm walking a delicate balance between
wanting to be strong for my family and dealing with the closest thing
to true despair i've ever experienced... and then trying to pray myself
out of it. i've prayed more in the past month than i probably have my
entire life put together. it's so strange and surreal to keep reminding
myself that i am not the first person to experience this, not the first
child to be terrified of losing her parent. i spent five days at my
parents' house before i flew home with both of them on her medical
transport flight (a visible answer to prayer in itself) to our hometown
of raleigh, nc. sorry for the giant medical team member in the foreground, i had about a 10 second window of time when the plane touched down to take this:

there she is on the flight, on a breathing machine that was followed by a full ventilator a day or two after reaching the hospital, leaving her very sedated and already in
pain from starting chemo. for all the "miracles of modern medicine" we
supposedly have, all the tubes and ivs and catheters still seem more like medieval torture when it comes
down to it.

i'm going to share the following picture that i took while i was staying at my mom and dad's .this would really bother my mom, that i would show her "messy house" tothe world, but i think any crafter (and any mom, really) can relate.

the blue squares are a quilt pattern laid out, half pieced and nowhere
near finished. my christmas present. too gorgeous for words.
heartbreaking, because i don't know how to quilt. the dining room table
(that you can't really even see) is covered in more quilting and sewing
projects, half finished scrapbooks of her grandchild,
and another card table set up by the couch for rubber stamping cards
and little notebooks for gifts. a crafter's dream that turns into a
nightmare at the possibility of being forced to leave them permanently unfinished.
we spent a bittersweet christmas day in a hospital waiting room while my momma, the heart and soul of every family holiday we had growing up,
"slept" in deep sedation. during her few wakeful moments over the past few days, i stare into her eyes, weepy and blurry from over-hydration, and worry for the way
her brow furrows in pain and she twitches her toes in frustration at
not being able to communicate with us. all i can do is hold her hand
and brush back her hair to let her know i'm there, and hope that even
my gentlest of touches meant for comfort and reassurance are not
causing her more pain. this is the worst situation i can possibly think of for my perfect mother, and the waiting for a verdict is awful.

we've set up a website for her for those interested in following her condition. it's been such a blessing to see so many old and new friends reaching out to her and my dad through this potentially devastating thing, this cancer.

for now, life has become about just breathing. being thankful for the breaths i take for granted that my mom's cancer-blackened lungs cannot, and making sure that every breath of mine carries a prayer for her. please excuse me if the posts here become infrequent for awhile... i'll still be checking in when i can and always appreciate any comments that are left (thank you, lea!).

i hope all of you were able to enjoy the peace and love of the season... merry christmas!


christmas crafts for mom.

i'm leaving first thing tomorrow for a couple of days to visit my mom. i believe she'll be starting chemo in the next few days, if not right away. i've been trying to whip up some fun christmas-y things for her, either to decorate her hospital room or just for general cheering-up purposes. i figured you absolutely couldn't go wrong with some soft trees. i made mine with green craft felt i had on hand, made them into little four inch tall ornaments with a ribbon loop, and stuffed them with cotton balls. i also rediscovered that i really enjoy decorative embroidery (within reason! nothing too extensive). the "stem" on the middle one is actually the loop of matt's stocking, hanging on the mantel.

i also made a garland of yo-yos and vintage christmas trim, bias tape to be exact, but pictures of that will have to come later. i had no idea what an aggravation it would be to try to get a decent picture of a garland.

off for now to get some sleep and catch an early (for me) flight...


a dark day.

here i am again explaining a lapse in posting, but this time it's not just from the usual busy-ness of daily life. for over a week now my mom, formerly in perfectly great health, has been in the hospital with a lung infection. for days we waited as the doctors tried to narrow it down... a bacterial infection, not a viral. not pneumonia. not meningitis. they did cat scans, bronchoscopies, and still we waited. then, a diagnostic surgery which, as of yesterday, finally revealed a diagnosis... stage four squamous cell cancer of the lungs. my dad called me yesterday at work and just happened to catch me on lunch break when i could actually answer the phone to tell me the news. i don't know how to process such a bleak and heartbreaking concept such as this. my momma, my friend, my mentor, my hero. to think that she might not survive, that she might not be okay in the most simple of terms, is incomprehensible.

i know i am not the first to experience this situation. i never thought i'd be the one doing endless google searches of every cancer-related medical term i've heard, wondering if there is a lung cancer version of the pink ribbon i can wear to show my support... to show that i too have been touched by this rampant disease that is claiming so many. matt has lost two aunts in the past year and a half to different types of cancer, and had one uncle with a terminal diagnosis. i leave sunday to go be with her, as hopefully by then she will be off the respirator and able to start chemotherapy.

so for now, there are only prayers and questions. questions of how a person can be perfectly healthy one week and the next, receive such a traumatizing diagnosis. what are we eating or breathing or doing that can be causing cancer to become so common? is prevention even possible anymore? and prayers, of course, that there can be a miracle. that this won't mean the end. that i will learn to trust in God's plan, and that he is good and his plan is good no matter how difficult it is to understand. that i will lean on him and not my own understanding, which is so weak. and, at the risk of sounding so cliched, that we all will find peace.

if you are one who prays, please pray for my mom.


come see what's new in the shop!

i've posted a few new items to the shop! feel free to stop by, the precious pre-christmas shopping time is quickly running out (only twenty days to go.... crazy!).



blustery day thoughts.

i've been doing a lot of sitting and thinking today. just a quiet day off, chilly outside with howling winds that seem to roll across the face of the house. i've been reading a new blog quite a bit recently. i used to love to read, and have always been the type of person, that if truly interested in the story, could finish and enjoy a large novel in one afternoon/sitting and actually relished in doing so. i loved to get lost in the stories and the characters, and i think my love of reading and my love of writing have held hands my entire life. well, in reading this lovely blog, i feel as though i've internalized the content of it in a way that i haven't done since the last time i read a truly great book. getting to spy a little on the way amanda soule's lovely family strives (and succeeds, is the amazing part) at living a more simple and heartfelt life is one of the most fully inspiring things i've come across in a long time. i know i may be starting to come across as a crazed fan at this point, but imagine a dress that you'd like to wear... you imagine it being the perfect color, fitting you beautifully, and having certain details that would make it perfectly "you." To be able to see into her creative process is like finding that dress, but discovering that it could exist in an even better form than you imagined. the way she fosters the creativity of her children while still allowing them to be silly and messy and children, the way she savors (in beautiful photos too) the simple pleasures of home and what i would call hearth... creatively making new things from the old and writing about the warm feeling of knitting in winter for example. i love that she makes pillows from her children's artwork and that they are happy to receive a gift of her handmade jammie pants. that the corners of her home are peppered with embroidery in process and the remnants of with friends. in my struggle to articulate what i would like my "grown up" life to be, her writing has been like walking in to a store and seeing the perfect dress hanging, waiting for me. i don't know that you will ever read this amanda, but if you do, thank you for the bravery and vulnerability it takes to share such a beautiful existence with strangers.


so as i'm trying to sort out my goals and intentions, not only for ellebee studio, but even for my life and how i want to live it, i do hope to make things more simple. and should there be any reader out there that frequents this blog, i hope that you are finding some sort of inspiration too, as there have been so many that have inspired me. my promise to you is to begin to share more of myself and to try not to censor or segregate my thoughts so much. and in life, to try not to let too much thinking prevent any actual doing.


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