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Runs with Scissors

April 29, 2017

Hello, friends. Hopefully our recent April showers will bring us the promised May flowers. I don’t plant flowers anymore (sometimes I declare I am all nurtured out), but oh how I enjoy the yards and gardens of my neighbors who do. My hat is off to all of you who plant flowers for the rest of us to enjoy.

By eliminating gardening, I have more time for playing with Penny Black stamps and dies. I can spend time here on the blog without worrying about flowers dying of thirst and sunburn due to my neglect.

Oh, how I am enjoying the Celebrate release! No matter the upcoming occasion, I can find just the right stamps and dies to make the perfect card in this release.

See what I did today:

I believe I make more “thinking of you” or “encouragement” cards than any other type. The sets of faith based sentiments from Penny Black have truly enriched my cards, making them more meaningful and appropriate for so many occasions. For this card I used the transparent set Gifts from Above and made the sentiment the focus of the card with flowers and birds filling the surrounding space. Those Finches adapt to any color scheme and, like butterflies, can perch in any space to add detail and texture (and hide any little smudges).

Oh, how I enjoy having stamps and dies that work together. There is something about that little white border around the image that makes me feel like a pro! The Birthday Bears mini stamp set works with the Party Bears die set to give you limitless options for celebrating specific birthdays. Or use the blank spaces each bear holds up for little messages. Everyone loves teddy bears and this set has three of them! I used paper from the Summertime paper pad to make the Polaroid frame. One cannot have too many paper pads, I say.

Love all this catitude! Cool contemporary cats from the Fancy Cat die set. You can use them alone or as a pair as I’ve done for this anniversary card; it could be an engagement card, too. The Happy Snippets set has a sentiment for so many occasions! I love that this font looks like I might have written the sentiment myself.

In this Corner, Hope

This is a photo of a room full of hope. There are almost fifty Parkinson Disease patients in this photo wearing bright yellow shirts with their boxing gloves thrust high in the air. They are fighting back against Parkinson’s by taking part in a program called Rock Steady Boxing. Parkinson’s causes a loss in many of the same elements that boxers condition to improve. Research has shown that the force, intensity and explosiveness of boxing exercises may be neuro-protective. The patients, known in the program as “Boxers”, often show improvement in their symptoms and can experience the slowing down of the disease’s progression. Rock Steady Boxing’s motto is “In this Corner, Hope”.

My mother had Parkinson’s Disease. She died in her sixties from complications. Well, she began dying five years earlier when she was diagnosed. Like many with this disease, the medications at the time did not work for her. So over those five years she became more and more disabled, beginning with frequent falls and finally ending on a ventilator, totally unable to move. As much as our family loved her and my dad and sister helped her, it seemed like each day she lost more mobility and became more helpless.

In the irony that is life, Mr. RWS became involved with Parkinson’s Disease and Rock Steady Boxing a little more than a year ago. After training in Indiana last summer, he is now a Coach working with the Boxers twice weekly as they move from each timed station to the next. Boxers are pushed hard and encouraged to do more than they thought was possible.

Recently, the Fitness Director of our Senior Center, Carolyn Rhodes, who brought the Rock Steady program to our community after her husband’s Parkinson’s diagnosis, planned and hosted an Open House to showcase the work they do and to educate medical professionals as well as the public.

I was privileged to spend several hours in the gym with the more than fifty Boxers, their coaches, their “cornermen” (spouses or caretakers) and the dozens of volunteers that make the program work. The coaches, the helpers, the members of the health professions, the boxing experts, and the administrative staff are all volunteers.

Some Boxers are able to drive themselves to the gym, some rely on others for transportation. Some use various aids to help them walk, some use wheelchairs or electric scooters. Some have mostly unnoticeable symptoms and some are obviously very affected requiring constant assistance. But all show up twice weekly for the exercises, the camaraderie and most of all, the hope.

Parkinson’s is sneaky. A Boxer can be walking independently, not a barrier or irregularity in sight and suddenly lose balance or fall. I saw volunteers quickly step in and steady the unsteady, catch the falling, or just quietly keep an eye on a Boxer moving from one place to the next.

Boxers were encouraging each other, checking in with each other, and those who are more able were helping those less able.

I was humbled to realize how easily and automatically I can do what the Boxers have to work so hard for – either regaining a function or preventing its loss.

This is Mr. RWS the Coach. Here he is keeping an eye on the clock as he times his group of Boxers as they perform the exercise at his station. Because the coaches push each boxer out of their comfort zone and make them work harder than they expected, that whistle is a welcomed sound, meaning they move on to the next station. I am happy Mr. RWS has a whistle at Rock Steady Boxing, but I am happier he doesn’t bring it home.

The hours I spent at the gym experiencing the Open House gave me time for pondering and reflecting. I saw the Boxers happy to join their friends, away from the isolation that having a disability imposes. The mental stimulation from being with others dealing with the same disease is as important and beneficial to the Boxers’ well being as are the physical exercises. The sessions are also a chance for the cornermen to support and encourage each other.

I saw hope. I saw kindness. I saw selflessness. I saw compassion. I saw people giving of their time to help people they don’t know. I saw struggle. I saw gratitude. I saw toughness. I saw devotion. Thankfully, it was a huge gym and there was room for all of that.

And, in every corner, there was hope.

These are the gift bags I made for the April senior citizen luncheon (Free Spirits) at our church. It is a chance for me to let the muses take over and use many of my Penny Black dies to decorate the plain bags I buy for less than a dollar apiece. I enjoy watching the seniors as they wait hopefully for their ticket number to be drawn. These bags contain a little metal pot holding several blooming daffodils. My budget limits me to $5.00 gifts which are getting to be a challenge to find.   I used two of the dies from the Bookmark die set as well as the Let’s Fly hummingbird.

When I saw the Graduate die set, I knew just where I wanted to place that mortar board; on the owl from the Mommy and Me die set. It fits perfectly and of course, a wise owl must have graduated somewhere along the way. I’ve used patterned paper from the Summertime paper pad for the background and the owl’s tummy. This graduation card would be great for a guy, but use softer colors and your girl grads would love it, too.

This reminds me of the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph with the famous first line “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple …”. It goes on to mention a red hat, but for Aunt Helen’s geri-antics I have given her red boots instead. I have not yet begun my own geri-antics phase, but I hope it happens soon. Being reasonable and responsible is becoming tiresome. I’ve colored Aunt Helen with Copics and for the sentiment … I have once again done surgery on a stamp. This is the first line of a sentiment from the Happy Thoughts transparent set. Perhaps cutting stamps apart is the start of my rebellion.

Our last trip to the groomer’s was a disaster. Christina, the young woman who has groomed Cooper since almost his first haircut, has been away from work for many weeks with a broken leg. Reluctantly, we trusted his grooming to someone else at the shop and even after returning him for further trimming, it remained a very bad haircut. We are skipping further grooming until Christina returns. Besides the bad haircut, Cooper was stressed from the two trips and the unfamiliar groomer. He is, however, happy that we now have this message board where he will be able to share what he is thinking with all of us. I may be sorry I gave him a place to vent.

Thank you for sharing Saturday with Cooper and me. It’s time for another good-bye to you and to the fickle month of April. The scissors are safely stowed, the chaos restored to order and all signs of our being here gone. Next stop: the Penny Circle Flickr Gallery where I hope to see what you have done with the Celebrate release.

Shop for today’s featured Penny Black supplies

Card No. 1: 30-421 Flower Medley, 30-429 Gifts from Above, 51-345 Finches

Card No. 2: 30-427 Birthday Bears, 51-355 Party Bears, 51-352 Birds and Banners, 51-037 Polaroid, 80-016 Summertime

Card No. 3: 30-358 Happy Snippets, 51-347 Fancy Cats

Gift bags: 51-007 Tagged, 51-195 Bookmark, 51-305 Let’s Fly, 51-339 You Enjoy

Card No. 5: 51-316 Mommy and Me Owls, 51-353 Cut Out Borders, 51-348 The Graduate, 80-016 Summertime

Card No. 6: 30-416 Happy Thoughts, 40-525 Aunt Helen
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32 Comments leave one →
  1. dawnnz permalink
    April 29, 2017 2:30 am

    As usual Judy a beautiful set of cards and your gift bags are delightful. Mr RWS is to be commended for his coaching role.

  2. karen permalink
    April 29, 2017 3:18 am

    Good Morning. What a treat…..another enjoyable read, more great cards, and more items added to my cart. Which is getting top heavy.

  3. mjmarmo permalink
    April 29, 2017 4:42 am

    Such beautiful cards. The boxer program sounds like it will s helping so many of those stricken with this disease congrats to the mister for being involved.

  4. jane harrah permalink
    April 29, 2017 4:59 am

    Wonderful cards, as always!! Your husband is a special man married to a special woman. How very lucky for both of you, right? Enjoy the week.

  5. Sue CD permalink
    April 29, 2017 5:33 am

    Your reporting on the boxer program is inspirational. I am wondering how widespread the program is and whether there is something like it in my area. I loved your statement “Being reasonable and responsible is becoming tiresome.” I live alone and sometimes I just have to be a bit unreasonable and irresponsible at home where no one can see or hear. It’s stress relieving! I feel for Cooper, I just had my first haircut from someone other than my regular hair person in 40 years. Yes, we are both getting old. It was all right, but not up to the usual. I hope Christine comes back soon and my guy does too (he had open heart surgery). Thanks for the many Saturdays when I have enjoyed your writings and cards.

    • Judy Jung permalink
      April 29, 2017 6:39 am

      Hi, Sue. Currently there are more than 300 Rock Steady Boxing sites world wide. That number is quickly growing as more and more learn about the benefits. Oh, and I know well the frustration of finding a new hairdresser! Hopefully your guy will recover well from his surgery and be back at work before too long.

      • Sue CD permalink
        May 1, 2017 7:26 am

        I have a hair cut appointment tomorrow so I have my fingers crossed that he is doing well. I love Saturday mornings just because of Runs with Scissors. So nice to begin the day with a smile. Thanks.

  6. Linda Page permalink
    April 29, 2017 6:21 am

    Thumbs up to you and Mr. RWS for your support to the seniors with Parkinson. My brother-in-law has Parkinson and it can be devastating. You both will probably never know the full impact your time and devotion to this group will generate but I’m sure it is appreciated. So glad you finally gave Cooper a “voice” for his thoughts! He needs to just vent sometimes, too!!! I love the sacks you made. I love to decorate gift bags. Such fun!

  7. Cath permalink
    April 29, 2017 6:23 am

    The Parkinson’s boxing program is fascinating. It’s heartwarming to see positive stories and read about the great volunteer work you and Mr. RWS do. Loving those bears. They could be holding so many messages besides numbers. Love the layering in the card.

  8. Fran Gumprecht permalink
    April 29, 2017 6:31 am

    Beautiful creations! Thanks for sharing about Mr. RWS and the boxing program and your senior citizen program! See you next week! Hugs to Cooper!

  9. Marliese permalink
    April 29, 2017 6:41 am

    My dad had PD so I can relate to the story about the boxing story.

    • Judy Jung permalink
      April 29, 2017 7:02 am

      I am sorry, Marliese. Indeed, you know. How I wish there had been this knowledge for my Mom.

  10. April 29, 2017 6:46 am

    My fav is Aunt Helen. Just so perfectly cute. Now..hope you don’t mind I re-post this so it will go to facebook. I have a friend who’s husband has Parkinson.

    • Judy Jung permalink
      April 29, 2017 7:00 am

      Feel free to share! and thank you.

      • April 29, 2017 7:02 am

        Thank you and do have a blessed weekend. Give Cooper a hug for me and Babe (my very bad dog)

  11. creatingincolors permalink
    April 29, 2017 7:28 am

    I enjoy both your writing and your cards SO much. I had never heard of the boxing program, so I’m glad you shared that information. Mr RWS and you are really good people. Blessings. Oh, and shaggy Cooper is still as cute as ever.

  12. April 29, 2017 8:00 am

    I’ve never heard of that program, but your post made me teary & wish we had it here so I could be a volunteer. It is an awful disease which fortunately we don’t have in our family up to now. Bet Mr RWS is the perfect coach! I do love your cards, Judy, & the gift bags are beautiful! Cooper is adorable–long or short haired! Hugs, Greta

  13. Judy permalink
    April 29, 2017 8:01 am

    Your story about the Boxers was very inspirational. I know a man who has it. I feel they must feel lonesome and maybe even like they are on display out in public. So sad…. This program has to be a wonderful thing for them. Kudos to Mr. RWS!
    Loved the cards today, especially the bear. I have an old bear stamp that is almost like that one. Will have to dig it out and use it. And Cooper is ALWAYS cute.

  14. April 29, 2017 8:56 am

    Hi Judy! TFS your cards and the Parkinson story…I have a friend and her husband has Parkinson’s – so debilitating. I will pass your story on to her.
    I just got those ‘Fancy Cat’ dies….soooooooo adorable – can’t wait to use them!!
    Hopefully Cooper will get his favorite groomer back soon!
    Paper Hugs,
    Jan

  15. Evelyn Johnsman permalink
    April 29, 2017 12:48 pm

    My husband has parkinson now about 6 years and exercise is so rewarding. We have a groups called GAPS – Greenville (SC) Area Parkinson Society here and they have great programs and speakers and yoga, spinners, boxing, dance, pole walking to keep all active. We are a small group of 120 about and growing, since we have 5000 know people with PD in the area. It was stared about 8 years ago. We are also involved in silver sneakers at a local gym. Another program is the BIG/Loud program through St. Francis Hospital which aids in therapy after a referral from the doctor for the patients. Thank you to all involved up north! Evelyn

    • judka permalink
      April 29, 2017 1:36 pm

      Evelyn, thank you for sharing your experience with Parkinson’s and exercise. I am so glad you have resources to help. I wish you and your husband well.

  16. alexandra s.m. permalink
    April 30, 2017 8:18 am

    Thank you for yet another great post dear Judy!
    Your cards are beautiful!
    xx

  17. April 30, 2017 8:56 am

    Another good and inspiring read..It is so good to share and to learn and become informed and I thank you for that. Hugs to Cooper and well done Mr RWS x

  18. donna mikasa permalink
    April 30, 2017 10:43 am

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from L to be an exemplary Coach for the Boxers. Your cards–and gift bags–are wonderful as always! And I’ll look forward to seeing Cooper’s sign boards. If only we could hear what our pets had to say! 🙂

  19. Penny Reed permalink
    April 30, 2017 7:24 pm

    What an uplifting post, Judy! My husband has Parkinson’s Disease, and our support group has just started encouraging boxing for those affected. How special to read how this group does it and helps each other. Our community does not have a group like this yet, but we are hoping! Thank you so much for sharing this! PLUS your gorgeous cards – as always – are inspiring to me. I feel I know you personally through your great stories!!!

    • judka permalink
      April 30, 2017 7:31 pm

      Penny, I wish you and your husband well and hope you can utilize some other exercise program to fight back. Perhaps checking out Rock Steady’s web site could be helpful. Hugs.

      • judka permalink
        April 30, 2017 7:32 pm

        It is Rock Steady Boxing, or you could Google it.

      • Penny Reed permalink
        May 1, 2017 10:30 am

        Thank you, Judy! Again, thanks for your input, your beautiful cards, and for all the great stories. You have become part of my Sunday. (when I get your posts). Keep it coming!!!

  20. April 30, 2017 9:03 pm

    My father had Parkinson’s. I see all of the new ideas – such as more exercise – and
    wish he was still here so we could see if that would help. His mind was strong but his body went to hell. . He’s been gone since 1980. I still miss him. I was daddy’s girl.
    I feel for the puppy. Bear had separation-anxiety so when we found somebody she
    liked to groom her it was wonderful. Them they transferred Jennie and Bear was a
    basket case after that. And she didn’t get the good attention she’d gotten from Jennie.
    Bear has been gone since last summer (this is a depressing post – sorry) so that’s one
    problem I don’t have to worry about.
    Best wishes.

    • judka permalink
      May 1, 2017 4:03 am

      Marylouh, I am so sorry for your losses. Sending hugs and thanks for sharing.

  21. Diane F permalink
    April 30, 2017 11:39 pm

    I look forward each week to your amazing creations. This week is no exception.

    What a wonderful program for those afflicted with Parkinson’s. It is not a disease I am too familiar with but I applaud all those volunteers giving their time selflessly to help those in need. I volunteer 3 times a week at a retired rescue horse centre and cannot describe the joy I get from working with these magnificent animals. To be able to have the time to give back to those in need in our retirement years, well, for me, that is what life is all about.

    Poor Cooper, I feel for him. Perhaps not knowing exactly what he is thinking in these circumstances is best. It might surprise you ! Hugs for Cooper.

  22. May 1, 2017 3:54 am

    Thanks for sharing your art and your stories about the Boxers and Cooper’s hair cut. I always look forward to seeing your posts on Mondays (a true highlight to the PB newsletter and a great way to start my week)!

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