I’m going to step away from my sewing beat for a minute and tell you about my friend Debbie in hopes that you’ll find her story as inspiring as I do. Those who attended our Fork and Talk event this summer may recognize her.
She recently lost everything she owned in a house fire. She and her husband got out alive, but they watched while a fire took every possession they had.
This is just one in a series of tragedies this couple has endured. Their only child Jennifer, their miracle baby, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis as a young child. She lived to become a beautiful young woman, but was taken from them at the age of 28. Debbie has fought inflammatory breast cancer not once, but twice. Each of these battles took her to very edge, but she fought back and she fought back hard.
Most of us would crumble under the weight of any of these challenges. But Debbie… Fierce, sweet Debbie… Time and again, she has stood up under the weight, lifted her eyes to heaven, and praised God. Instead of seeing what has been taken, she sees what has been given. ”God is good, and he is good ALL the time,” she says.
What is most inspiring about her story, though is that she continues to live her life in service to others. She’s known to many as “The Card Lady” for all of the handmade cards that she sends to friends, family, church members, and sometimes even strangers. She lifts people up in times of sickness, she congratulations accomplishments both big and small, and she sends “thinking of you” messages to anyone who needs to know they’re loved. I have been the recipient of many her cards. And after Jennifer died, she started The Jennifer Project to bring craft projects and other activities to children with CF in the hospital for what are sometimes lengthy treatments.
It was on the heels of a scary, devastating year that this fire took place. It was not even a year ago when Debbie was in the hospital fighting inflamatory breast cancer. This was her second bout with the disease, and she was not expected to make it. But she did. And not long after, her husband suffered a major heart attack. He wasn’t supposed to make it either, but he did. They were just rebuilding their lives, looking forward to fresh start in 2012, when the fire happened.
Our local news station filmed a segment about their hardships and their positive outlook. You can check it out here: video.
If you are moved by their story and are able to help, here are some things you can do:
1. Donate to the Nelson Fire Fund. You can donate via PayPal by logging into your account and using the “Send Money” tab to send an amount to NelsonFireFund@yahoo.com. Or you can mail donations to Nelson Fire Fund, Fellowship North Church, 1 East 52nd Place, North Little Rock, AR 72116, USA.
2. Donate a gift card to help rebuild her cardmaking and scrapbooking stash. Her cardmaking isn’t just a creative outlet. It’s a ministry for her. Denise Felton, our Needlework editor, is collecting gift cards to chain craft stores in our area so Debbie can get back to her cardmaking. (Check out Denise’s post about Debbie.) Craft-store chains in our area are Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn. Please send gift cards for craft supplies to Denise Felton, 54 Garden Oaks Drive, Maumelle, AR 72113, USA. We’ll post photos when we deliver the cards to Debbie.
3. Donate a piece of handmade jewelry to her. In her breast cancer fights and in coping with the death of Jennifer, Debbie has drawn strength from jewelry that symbolizes her faith in God and her hope for a cure for breast cancer. These pieces were lost in the fire. Stacie, our Jewelrymaking editor, is collecting handmade jewelry for her to replace the pieces she lost to the fire. If you make and send a piece of handmade jewelry to her to give to Debbie, Stacie will enter you to win a stack of jewelry books from her own library. Get the details from Stacie’s post.
4. Pray for her. Prayers are powerful. Please take a moment and life one up on her behalf. You can also follow her story at the Praying for Debbie page on Facebook.
By Anne Weaver
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