Glass half-full.  Positivity.  Optimism.  Whatever you wanna call it — I have it, and usually in reserve.  When I was a younger a friend would tease me by saying that even if I found myself in a hole in the ground, I would find a way to see the bright side.  This is why it has taken so long for me to admit to myself that I am struggling with depression.  I am still able to see good all around me, in every day, I just have much less motivation and energy to take it all in.  The good news: I’m surrounded by loved ones, I’m taking advantage of resources, and I know I just need to give myself the grace and patience to work my way through, and I WILL work my way through.

One of those “good” things around me came (as often is the case) unexpectedly in the form of a personal trainer at my gym.  [Along with above said perspective, I also can’t help but smile at most who cross my path — it just seems like the proper way to greet people.]  So, I enter the gym for my workout, and due to a snaffoo with my membership card, need assistance.  I, of course, smile at the person at the desk.  He helps me and I enter.  Moments later while selecting a playlist, the same front desk person approaches my treadmill.  He starts asking questions, and getting “that feeling” I start peppering more and more of my answers with mention of my husband.  He gets the hint and moves on to talk about training — yes, he’s a Personal Trainer.  Ironically, though, while trying to encourage me about working out and my fitness routine, this trainer also encouraged my spirit.  He reminded me about another benefit of challenge.  In the midst of facing challenge we have the choice to give up and give into it, OR to do what only we can, and take one step at a time to push through it.  Once we do, we have the victory, the confidence, the triumph of knowing we have overcome.  As much as I hate to admit it, some of the most painful and heartbreaking challenges I have faced have been the same ones to give me the strength and tools to be where I am today.

Challenges don’t always have to be vicious and mean.  Sometimes they can be disguised in the masquerade of simple and fun, yet still with enough pull to help us grow.

My card today honors three (and then some) challenges in the world of cardmaking.  First, is the layout, from “The Stampers’ Sampler Take Ten” issue from winter 2011.  Secondly, the colors were inspired by an Ippity Challenge: IHHTC3.  Thirdly, the theme was inspired by a Unity Stamp Company Challenge: Fashion Forward.  In addition to these formal challenges, I also wanted to try out a new-to-me product: Smooch Spritz in Vanilla Shimmer, as well as the technique of using my scissors to distress paper.  So, voila — I bring you my triumphant victory card over these challenges, with the additional reminder, “With the right accessories, you can do anything”.

Card created to meet requirements of three challenges

stamps: Unity Stamp Co.: Treasure To Me, Undeniably You, Jan 2011 KOM To the Moon and Back

ink: ColorBox: pink, aqua, canary, lime

accessories: Papertrey Ink CS, Smooch Spritz Vanilla Shimmer, Recollections Rhinestone Stickers

[As an ironic aside to this post, my blogging platform and/or server have decided to put up an unexpected roadblock, so the simple act of writing a post, uploading an image, and publishing has become a 2-day process of troubleshooting.  However, as you can see, I (with the help of forums and support tickets) have triumphantly slayed another dragon!]