Today is my anniversary. No I didn't sneak off and get married sometime or another. It is 4 years today that I started my blog. For 4 years I have been posting projects, cut files, stories of my life and any other nonsense that my fingers would peck out on the keyboard. It also means that now my relationship with my blog and my readers has lasted longer than any romantic relationship I have experienced in my life. Oh sure there was the one that lasted over 5 years, but it was off and on. My blog however, it has been consistent!
I started this thing a little over a month after getting my Cricut. I was so excited about anything I made and was fascinated about how that machine could cut out those shapes so easily. If truth be told, I am still fascinated by that and just watch it cut a lot of the time and wonder how the heck it knows to do it *okie figures she will get some kinda technical information from her friend Linda, aka LGuild, about how it works and okie's eyes will start to glaze over and Linda will notice and then stop verbalizing the information that okie really doesn't care about*. The general reason I started a blog was to share my projects with my
family and friends without me having to email them
pictures all the time.
I want to share with you a little story about how the Cricut and my blog changed my life....
I entered a depressive state back in October of 2006. Not a major depression mind you, but more dystymic. I was trudging through the days not really feeling happy, but not feeling like the world was going to end either. I would try to find joy in things that I once loved to do but it just wasn't there. First off, I thought I was going to be able to buy a house and that fell through. The day I was go to with my sister to the bank the man who was selling the house decided not to sell. I was heart sick. Right after that I had a breast cancer scare. My mammogram came back abnormal and I had to go to the city for a more professional exam and screening. When that came back abnormal I had to go back again. Usually something like that wouldn't bother me and I wouldn't worry until all the tests came back but since I had cancer before I knew it could be devastating. The day before I was to go to Oklahoma City for my second round of tests I got a call that Gary Keith had died from injuries in a car wreck. For those who don't know, Gary Keith was my first love and I still love him today and will until the day I die. I wrote about him a few months ago when I was nervous about going to my class reunion. At that point I told my doctor I needed some anti-depressants, they helped a little but I still just couldn't get back to my former self. My test results did come back okay from the mammograms and screenings so I found some relief in that.
For the next year I went through my day to day routine knowing I was not being fair to my daughter. She was use to having a mom that was happy, laughing and always ready to do something. I got to where I didn't want to leave the house. There were some things going on with her as well that added to my depressed moods. We had always been close since it was just she and I in the home. She had gotten a boyfriend that, well...he was not a good one, I will leave it at that. I tried many things to help her see it wasn't a healthy relationship but nothing seemed to work. I was torn that my darling beloved daughter was suddenly a stranger to me who talked back, disrespected me and was angry all the time. *okie smiles and softly laughs* I remember thinking that God had abandoned me and wasn't listening to my prayers. I now know that if it weren't for God that I probably would have slipped away completely emotionally and mentally.
I was at a place in my life where I felt I was all alone, that no one really cared. Of course I know I had my family and friends who loved me and cared about me but that's the odd thing about depression, it convinces you that you are worthless. In December of 2007 I had my Christmas Party as normal, I had started it two years prior and my girlfriends all looked forward to it so I kept the tradition even though I was not feeling festive. About a week after the party my friend Andrea came to me with a gift card. She said they had wanted to chip in and get me a Cricut because I had talked about wanting one for almost two years. Andrea told me that not everyone had chipped in like they said but she and her mom wanted to pay the rest so I could still get the Cricut. She had planned on going to Walmart and getting one since it was on sale for $119 but since it was after Black Friday the lady told her the price had went back to normal. I could see the disappointment on Andrea's face when she gave me the gift card. We discussed using the amount on the gift card and then me paying the rest so I could get the Cricut.
On my birthday, which is December 23rd, my daughter and I went into Walmart to pick up a few things before heading to my friend Andrea's to spend Christmas with her and her girls. We went back to the craft department and there was a Cricut. The price was something like $189. My daughter told me that she had some money left from her check, she was working at McDonalds at the time, and would give me $20 to help. I told her that I didn't have the rest at the time because I was broke from Christmas and what money I did have we needed for bills. For some odd reason she suggested that I price scan the machine. I put it in my buggy and we did a little shopping before scanning the bar code. When we did the price came up $119! My daughter was ecstatic and told me "MOM!! YOU HAVE TO GET IT! YOU HAVE BEEN WANTING ONE FOREVER!" and she started digging in her pocket to give me her money she had stashed back. At her insistence I did get the Cricut. We went to Andrea's and told her and the girls about it and we all discussed how lucky I was to get it for that price. How lucky I was we just didn't know at the time.
I was intimidated by my Cricut at first. I took it out of the box and just started at it. I read the manual about how to power it on, button functions and all that good jazz. It sat on my craft table for a few days, me being afraid to touch it *okie cracks up laughing now remembering her staring gaze at that little machine and feeling like it was going to explode or something if she touched the wrong button*. About 4 days after buying it I figured I should register it. I went to the Cricut.com website and registered the machine and saw a banner that said "Free Design Studio Trial". After registering the machine I downloaded the trial and OH EM GEE! I was so excited to see that I could see the mat on my computer screen and place things right where I wanted them so I knew where things would cut. And then I noticed I could weld shapes together...WHAT?? HOW COULD THAT BE? THE POSSIBILITIES MUST BE ENDLESS!
I also happened to notice a link that said "Messageboard". I remember thinking "oh I bet there is some information there". I jumped in on the messageboard with both feet and I was posting like crazy, asking all sorts of questions. I remember how patient everyone was with me and I would have answers to any of my questions within about 5 seconds. I let them know how nervous I was about the machine and of course they laughed, but were supportive and understanding. I got in the Design Studio forum and before I knew it I was considered one of the experts. Everyday I couldn't wait to get home and get on the computer to check the messageboard and to open Design Studio. I quickly knew the little tricks of the program in and out. At that time Capadia and SusanBlueRobot were two of the most knowledgeable about the program and between the three of us there wasn't much we couldn't answer.
I started emailing my family and friends things I had made with my Cricut. It seemed like I was emailing a lot. I also started emailing .cut files I would make to people on the messageboard. One night after I spent almost two hours of filling requests for .cut files I decided there had to be a more simple way. There were already people who had blogs and would allow others to download their files so I knew it could be done. I had a few files I sent to a group effort blog but I didn't want to keep that route since they were in control of the files and blog. I decided to start my own blog.
Being on the messageboard daily allowed me to get to "know" a lot of people. The greatest gift was that I had made friends with some great women who would end up being some of my now best friends. I have been blessed with being able to meet a lot of folks that I talk to on the messageboard and now Facebook and put a real live face with a name. I have had Cricut people from Ohio, Texas, different places in Oklahoma come and visit me in my home. I have people all over the world that I talk too and know about their lives, as they know about mine.
Well now here I sit 4 years later one of the happiest people on earth. I have found peace with paying rent the rest of my life, at least I don't have to worry about coming up with the cost for roof replacement, fixing the floor if the water heater breaks, tearing up sewer lines or any other major job. After many years I was able to let go and remember Gary Keith with fond memories and accept that I will always love him. My daughter who is now 20 and living on her own, is able to acknowledge the pain she caused me and still apologizes from time to time.
So how did the Cricut and my blog change my life? Simple...I was able to find joy and happiness again through cutting paper, meeting people, sharing myself with others, accepting encouragement and also learning that God blesses us in some odd ways sometimes but if we open our eyes and listen around us we can accept that He does answer our prayers. I have come to cherish people, friendships and experiences that would never have been possible without my Cricut or my blog and I thank God for knowing just the right thing to send into my life to keep me from slipping away.
So my dear readers, that's the story. I know some of you have heard parts of this before and for some it is all new. I would like to say thank you for you folks that read this chit, and a double thank you for those that read this chit daily! *okie shakes her head and wonders about the sanity of some of her readers for coming back everyday*. You guys have made it a great 4 years and I truly appreciate knowing there is someone on the other side of this screen who has enough interest to read my efforts.