Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!



2012 has been an amazing year for us at Cathy’s Creations! We have found hundreds of new Frikes to share our journey with, too! Welcome!

We started the year on a lighter note with a really fun Superbowl contest, received 59 fantastic and heartwarming submissions to a contest about your favorite memories as a Frike, sent a lucky couple out for an all expenses paid dream date, raised money for our sweet Riley to enjoy Disney and helped the family of darling Aubrey with overwhelming medical expenses. We honored Emily and grieved the loss of Pierce, Liam, and Zoë, and many other children who were taken far too soon, hopefully bringing their families peace and comfort in their time of grief. Our giveaways and contests were more active than ever and we enjoyed the interactive submissions from friends all around the world! Cathy walked for her mother in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and has compiled a nationwide team for next year called Sofia’s Angels. We supported the Brown family and continue to wait for more and more positive updates! Recently we helped put Thanksgiving meals on the table for several families and made Christmas possible for many more.

And, as always, we were able to do all of these things because of YOU.

Every year is filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and we embrace them all and make the most of them. We look forward to 2013, knowing it will bring us many stories both big and small, and many new opportunities to change the world. Thank you for taking this journey with us and for ringing in your new year as a member of our loving community.

Happy New Year! Please remember to celebrate responsibly!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut is in our thoughts and prayers...


At a time when emotions are running high and people are being overly saturated with information, updates, and stories in the media, we would like to take only a moment to address the recent Newtown, Connecticut tragedy with a few simple words: we are sorry.

We would like the residents of Connecticut to know that they have been in our thoughts and prayers these last several days. We know that no words can repair your torn community, no blog entry can replace the lives lost in such a traumatic and life altering manner, and no act of kindness can make anything complete again for you. For that, we apologize.

You are not suffering alone. Children do not belong to just one place, they belong to the world. Teachers and staff members who nurture them in the absence of their parents’ presence are stewards for a brighter tomorrow. We all feel your loss to some measure, because each of us has been impacted by children and teachers in our own unique way, and none of us can imagine the unbearable future you must face with these shining lights taken from you too soon. We mourn with you, we sob for you, and we wish to help you in any way we can.

Those of us who feel the pain of their loss and grief are often left feeling helpless. There seems to be nothing we can do to change things or make them better, yet we feel compelled to take action. At a time when remaining immobile feels wrong but nothing is enough to help the citizens of Newtown, we offer the following suggestions:

-Send a card or a letter... to anyone. Send one to Newtown, to someone you love, to a random stranger who needs a better day. Sharing love is a gift in itself.

-Donate to the United Way fund set up for Newtown residents.

-Make a donation to any charity, or sponsor a child this Christmas, in honor of one of the several people who lost their lives.

-Take a moment to write thank you notes to your children’s teachers, or send a thoughtful gift to show you appreciate them. All of the adults who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook school last Friday were lost protecting America’s children; give your child’s teacher recognition for their dedication.

-Write a note of appreciation to your first responders, who risk lifelong trauma and enter dangerous situations to save others.

-Support the Sandy Hook PurpleCircle Project, which has currently raised hundreds of dollars to help apply funds for a brighter future for Newtown residents.


-Spend time with your children. Unfortunately, we cannot change that some parents can never again spend time with their children, but many of us are lucky enough to share another day with ours. Do not let that day go to waste. Carve out time you don’t feel like you have for one more game, one extra book at bedtime, or even just crawl into bed with them for ten minutes and hold them. You will never regret investing time into your children, and if nothing else good can come from a tragedy of this magnitude, make sure it at least impacts your decisions at home.

Be present, be available, and honor the lives lost by continuing to set a positive example for change and love with your own.

God bless.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

25 Days of Giving 2012

            Wow! Since last year at this time, we have more than doubled our Frike count (by the way, you’re a Frike if you follow us on Facebook- you’re a friend/like all smushed into one… a Frike!) and with more Frikes comes a greater chance of making a positive impact in the world. That’s an opportunity we refuse to miss!

            For the third year in a row, we are hosting our 25 Days of Giving, which is a celebration that counts down to Christmas and honors the idea that we can all change the world, one action at a time, by being helpful, loving, and considerate of one another. Making a positive difference is not hard to do and it’s not an all-or-nothing event, but most people just have no idea where to start! We are compiling the two suggestion lists from the previous two years into one, to give you a jump start. You could follow this list entirely, or come up with your own great ideas!
            Additionally, this is also the time of the year that we like to reach out to families and offer help during difficult times. Some people are concerned about anything from medical and household expenses to Christmas dinner to putting presents under the tree and we would like your help in finding them. We are asking for nominations of people in need during this time of the year- if you were helped last year, please do not nominate yourselves again this year. We would like to touch as many lives as possible and do not have the resources to accommodate everyone; please understand that at times, our list of those who are in need is overwhelmingly long, but that we constantly do our best to help everyone on it! Nominations, which should include contact information for the individual or family being nominated so we can pass along the help, can be sent to: cathy@cathyscreationsjewelry.com. All nominations are confidential!
            If you would like to help us help others, here is how you can! We always accept donations for our causes through our PayPal address, cathyscreationsjewelry@yahoo.com. When sending the money, please mark it as a gift- it is a gift, and a wonderful one, so let’s make sure the full amount goes toward its intended purpose! Please also specify in the notes section: “25 Days of Giving” so we can apply your donation appropriately!
            Also, we will be hosting Deal of the Day (DOTD) specials in the near future and the proceeds from these deals will go toward fundraising to help those who were nominated. We have some upcoming DOTDs lined up for other causes, too, so keep an eye out!
           
            Now, without further ado, here is our list of ways you can give back or lend a hand this holiday season! Feel free to add your own ideas or stories of giving to the comments section of the blog- we love a good, touching story!


Volunteer to help with projects in your local school district. The kids will love seeing a new face, and you might learn something new!

Compliment a stranger or someone you don’t normally talk to often. Kind words are a gift that we have all appreciated at one point or another.

Wash your partner’s car for them. If the weather is too cold, grab a garbage bag and clean out the inside!

Leave an extra large tip when you go out to eat. You could make the day of someone who is working hard!

Drop off your old towels at an animal shelter. Shelters are always looking for odds and ends to fill needs. If you don’t have towels, bring in toys, paper towels, or bleach.

Invite a local family over for dinner and make new friends.

Clean up your clutter and donate the usable items to a privately owned thrift shop. Not only do you straighten up your own space, but you keep a small business owner open this holiday season!

Ask your local soup kitchen if you can help out for a day.

Make handmade cards for the elderly in a nursing home.

Buy a cup of hot chocolate for a utility or construction worker standing outside in the cold. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere warm, treat them to lemonade!

Donate soap, shampoo, or toothbrushes to a homeless shelter. Even if they are from the dollar store, someone could use them!

Offer to clean the home of someone who is elderly, just had a baby, or could use a break.

Use your extra yarn and crafting skills to knit or crochet hats for babies at the hospital. Premature babies are often unexpected and parents are not always prepared for their arrival, so extra-small hats could make a big difference without using a lot of yarn!

Put your spare change at the checkout into the penny jar, or into the can of a worthwhile cause that someone is collecting for.

Sit down with your children and draw pictures for family members. It sounds simple, but it’s a gesture from the heart and loved ones appreciate knowing they are being thought of!

Shop local stores for presents or goods. Giving your money to your community benefits everyone!

Donate your gently used clothing to a family in need instead of a resale shop. Ask your local church if they have a drop box.

Bring someone else’s cart back to the corral at the store. You can help out a busy parent who has their hands full, as well as the employees who have to go out and try to catch them all. You also might be saving the paint on someone’s car!

Buy or make hats and mittens and donate them to a preschool or elementary school so there are no chilly kids on the playground this winter!

Donate used board games to schools for inside recess or class parties.

Offer to post signs promoting a local fundraiser around the town, or help tack up signs of someone’s missing pet.

Blog or post on Facebook or Twitter asking people to help one another. Inspiring others to help spreads the love and makes a difference!

Donate money in any increment to your local heating oil company and ask them to apply it to an account with a past due balance. Helping someone catch up so they can heat their homes this winter is invaluable!

Ask a nursing home if there is a special patient who could use some visitors and try to spend time with them. A mutual friendship is something that can give to you both!

Turn off your cell phone while driving, or at least put it in the back seat, the glove box, or in your purse. Doing this every day could make it a habit, and you could give someone the gift of their life- including yourself or your own family!
Pay for someone's coffee/tea.

Pay for someone's toll.

Make a food donation at the supermarket.

Bake a treat and bring it over to an elderly person/nursing home.

Call someone you have been putting off calling.

Bring a well behaved dog to a nursing home for a visit.

Hold the door for the person behind you.

Make soup for a sick friend.

Take a friend’s kid for the day. The parent could probably use the break.

Volunteer for a charity. Pick a cause that's near and dear to your heart and donate your time to them.

If you head out of town, drop off your monthly public transit pass at a youth or job center. They'll pass on the pass to someone who is in need of it to job hunt or attend school.

Take your neighbors trash to the curb while you're taking yours. Imagine their surprise when they see that the chore is already done.

Pay for the person behind you at the drive thru. It will make someone's day!

Donate blood. One single donation can help up to 4 people – that should be inspiring enough.

Donate your used clothes and housewares to charity. By doing so, you can help people meet basic human needs. Your old sweaters will keep someone warm during the winter and your old housewares can help someone furnish their new apartment.

Find a holiday angel program in your community. You can donate basic things like toothpaste, towels, sheets and PJs for a family in need to open on Christmas morning.

Take a CPR class. You never know when you might be in a position to put those life-saving skills into practice.

Offer to babysit a friend’s kids one night so she and her partner can enjoy a romantic evening out. You friend will certainly be grateful for the night off.

Write a letter or e-mail to a good friend or family member to let them know how much you value them.

They say that smiling is contagious. Pick a day to smile at everyone you pass on the street.

Pass on your books after you've read them for someone else to enjoy. Take them to a local shelter or give them to friends.

Being angry at someone requires a lot of energy from both people involved, so go ahead and let go of an old grudge. Forgiving someone who hurt you will open the door for a friendship to be rekindled.

When you come across a two for one deal (which are popular at book and movie stores), donate your free product to a local shelter or youth group.

Next time you're at your favorite restaurant, leave your server a very generous tip.

Next time you do your grocery shopping, pick up a large bag of cat or dog food to donate to a local animal shelter.

Host a movie night for 10 of your closet friends. Charge $10 admission, provide the popcorn, candy and drinks, and donate the $100 to a charity you all decide on. It's a perfect way to feel good about having fun.


Shovel a neighbor's driveway.

Make an extra batch of soup or chili that you can freeze and give it to someone you know who is pressed for time to cook healthy food during the holidays.

Offer to wrap presents for a friend who has a hectic work schedule.

Donate mittens, hats and scarves to the Warmth tree at your children's school. If they don't have one, start one.

Don't just give your child's teacher a Christmas gift, give a gift to the whole class too -- a book, a puzzle or other indoor game for indoor recess time.

Don't forget to get a little something for the little people you forget: School Secretary, School Librarian, Bus Driver, School Custodians, Principal/Vice-Principal -- they make your children's school life successful too!

Send in boxes of tissues to your child's classroom BEFORE your teacher is forced to ask for some. Trust me, they'll need them.

Make your husband's lunch for him, or move the car for him, or give him a massage after a hard day.

Stop cleaning and sit and watch a movie with your kids instead.

Take a friend for a pedicure.

Invite your In-Laws over for tea and cookies.

Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.

Call a women’s shelter and see what items they need, then donate them.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Supporting "Bringing Home the Browns"


 

Sean and Heather Brown are your typical young couple. They met, fell in love, got married, and after seven years of trying, finally got pregnant with a beautiful little boy. Sean was a police officer who decided to become a National Guard soldier, and was dutifully serving the country in Afghanistan when suddenly, at 34 weeks pregnant, Heather went to the hospital with complaints of back pain and a headache. There was a massive bleed in her brain, and she began having seizures. Doctors acted quickly and performed a C-section, delivering John Michael Thomas Brown and rushing him to a nearby hospital with a NICU. Heather slipped into a coma and since that day, September 15, 2012, has not woken up.


 

Sean was sent home to be with his wife and son and finally arrived at their bedsides a grueling 72 hours after hearing the horrible news. He visited his small, precious newborn son and saw him for the very first time. Then he went to visit his wife, and has been with the two of them every day since. Baby John was finally sent home with his daddy, and Sean now divides his time between creating a routine at home with his newborn son, and sitting at his wife's side with the son she has not yet seen.


Heather’s doctors say she may never wake up from her coma, but the Browns are not giving up hope. The Brown family is asking for (and receiving) a lot of positive love, prayers, and support, and we are glad to be part of their journey. We want to invite you along.


We are honored to present cause jewelry in the name of the Brown family and in support of their efforts on Facebook on their page “Bringing Home the Browns.” When Sean left for Afghanistan, Heather hung up yellow ribbons on the trees outside of their home with plans to leave them there until he came home. Sean is now leaving them up until she comes home; the yellow ribbons symbolize a hope that all of the Browns will once again unite in the comfort and safety of their home.

Please click the image of the cause jewelry you are interested in to view the product description, personalization options, prices, and ordering information. ALL proceeds from the sales of these products are donated directly to the Brown family.





We will also be hosting a Deal of the Day soon to help purchase a digital video camera for the family to record John’s growth, special memories, sweet baby noises, and amazing milestones. We have full faith that Heather will overcome this challenge and will someday rejoice in the moments that will be captured on film for her to cherish forever. Please follow us on Facebook to find out more!

Additionally, we understand that not everyone is able to participate in fundraisers but your thoughts and prayers are always appreciated by everyone. Please feel free to leave comments on this blog for the Brown family and their supporters, or add their page on Facebook to follow their story as it unfolds. Also, cards or letters can be sent to this address: PO Box 644, Gladewater, TX 75647

Please consider sharing this blog on your social networking sites or passing it along to friends to help spread the word. The more love, positive thoughts, and help we can bring to this family in their time of need, the better!

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's Movember!



Meet Dylan, or as you may know him, Mr. October.

November 1


November 7



November 14
 This is dedication!!! He even stopped shaving his head and grew an afro within a week!

 November 21
He shaved the head but left the 'stache!



Dylan was featured in last year’s Susan G. Komen calendar and raises breast cancer awareness year round. He has decided this month to dedicate his efforts on men’s health by focusing on prostate cancer and participating in “Movember”- men begin the first day of the month clean shaven and then use the next 29 days to grow a moustache to symbolize dedication to the cause. (See the Movember official website for more information!)

Dylan is asking for donations to support this very worthwhile cause, and of course it’s something we also believe in, so we’d love to do whatever we can to help encourage his success!

For every donation you make, you will be entered to win this bracelet:


In order to enter, visit Dylan’s donation website and commit to any comfortable amount. After you submit your donation, please email me at cathy@cathyscreationsjewelry.com and I will confirm your submission and enter you into the drawing. A winner will be drawn on December 1.

And that’s not all! On the Friday of each week, one donator from that week will be chosen to win six of these deliciously adorable cake balls!


Winners will be announced on this blog, so please stay tuned! (Also, check back to see pictures of Dylan’s great ‘stache at the end of the month!)

Thank you for your help in raising awareness for important causes such as these. If you are unable to contribute, please consider sharing this link with friends and family through email and social media so we can reach as many people as possible with our efforts!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thanksgiving



With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what’s coming up next- Thanksgiving. Now is the time when many people who have been cutting it close with their budgets start to realize that they may not be able to afford the financial strain of Thanksgiving preparations, and with your help, we’d like to carry over our success from last year’s donations into this coming year.

Last year we received so many donations that we were able to help twenty families put a nice meal on their tables, and we’d love to see that goal met or exceeded this year. We understand that money is tight for most people, but even a small amount adds up fast and can make a difference. For just under $50, a whole family can enjoy all the Thanksgiving trimmings and festivities (and maybe even some leftovers)! For anyone wishing to donate, please PayPal cathyscreationsjewelry@yahoo.com and mark your donation as “Thanksgiving.” If you donate through PayPal, don’t forget that this is a gift and should be marked as such.

We are also looking to connect with families in need of assistance. We ask that if you received help from us last Thanksgiving, you please not nominate yourself- this allows us to reach out to more families and impact more people. While we would love to help everyone, funds usually do not make this possible. Please nominate yourself or a family in need by contacting nicole@cathyscreationsjewelry.com with details or if you have any further questions. All nominations or requests are strictly confidential.

Thank you for your participation; you are helping us change the world, one family at a time!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Blog Rules



"If you can help, help wholeheartedly. If not, turn and walk away."- Sofia

We would like to take a moment to explain some changes in how blogs will work now and in the future.

Anonymous posting has been disabled. We feel that all blog entries should be of such a nature that the person posting them is willing to put their name on them. Your words are a reflection of your beliefs and we respect opinions of all varieties. We will not tolerate, however, any criticisms posted on blogs that harass, bully, berate, or otherwise harm families, individuals, or any person highlighted in our blog or otherwise.

As a business that strives constantly to raise awareness for causes and stories that touch people’s lives, we are more than willing to accept any and all suggestions for how we can help someone in need. Our goal is to turn our hard work into success for others and to give back in any way possible; more than a goal, really… this is our pride. It brings us joy to help someone, whether it be something crucial like making sure their bills are paid so they don’t go without a home/heat/food or medications, or whether it be something some may consider trivial like a trip to Disneyland that adds joy to the life of someone we feel deserves it.

To us, the point is not that we have changed every life, but that every life is inspired by us and wishes to become better along with us. “Be the change” is another motto we live by. You can not change the world by complaining about it, sitting on your hands, or turning the other cheek. What may seem insignificant for a cause for you could be a passion for us. We have spent countless hours helping people, sometimes thanklessly, because it felt right. When we choose to honor a family with our support, whether or not people agree with our choice, we ask for respect.

Hopefully the new regulations for the blog will be understood and followed to prevent any future issues.

Thank you for your time and as always, thank you for your continuous support! We have some awesome Frikes!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Benefit auction: Paying it forward to Team Liam Lyon!




When a child is critically ill, we often rush to help raise funds for their family’s immediate needs: travel, living expenses, medical bills, and all of the things that add up so quickly and take attention away from where we feel it should be directed. Our hearts go out to the family, and more specifically we try our best to support the parents in their tireless journey advocating for their child and being at their bedside.

But sometimes someone slips through the cracks… like the siblings of those who are hospitalized, the children who have to sacrifice their time and attention for the family’s greater good, and often do so without complaint or concern for themselves. Recently, we shared with you the story of Liam Lyon, who fought a difficult 18 month struggle and tragically passed away. Liam has an older sister, Cheyanne, who spent six years as an only child and then was suddenly thrust into the world of being not only a big sister, but a big sister to a brother with very special and imminent needs. Cheyanne journeyed with her family to several hospitals across the country and spent countless hours in hospital waiting rooms and by Liam’s bedside, patiently becoming one of Liam’s biggest fans and one of the few people that could bring a smile to his face without hesitation. A year and a half of Cheyanne’s childhood have been surrounded in first sickness and then loss, and now she must bear the sorrow of losing a brother she never had the privilege of experiencing fully. She is surrounded in love, most especially by her two parents, as she journeys through paths so few children have to take.

Cheyanne and Liam were blessed not only with a loving mother and father, but an exceptionally supportive and nurturing grandmother, Nanci. Nanci dropped everything in her own life to be there for her daughter, Whitney, through Liam’s extensive struggles. Whether it was traveling hundreds of miles from one hospital to the next or helping with family obligations, Nanci did whatever she could to ease the unimaginable burden her daughter faced. As time wore on and Liam became more ill, Nanci felt that she had to be there constantly for her family in their struggles. After having cut back to part-time work, she realized her full-time attention had to be on Liam. She quit her job, cashed in her retirement, sold her home, and even ended a relationship in order to be with her number one priorities: her child and grandchildren. Nanci saw it all and was there for some of the most heartbreaking and emotionally tumultuous times the family has ever seen, but she doesn’t regret her decision. In the end, she was able to be there for people who needed her, and able to spend valuable time with her precious grandson.
 
We are always faced with stories of exceptional people but it still never fails to impress us when we see such an amazing family whose members put one another first in their time of need. So now we would like to give back to them, and we need your help!

For going above and beyond in the name of love, we would like to host a benefit auction to send Liam’s mother and father, Cheyanne and Grandma Nanci to Disney World in Florida. All profits from this auction will be used to pay for airfare, hotel, park tickets and food. Any amount raised beyond this point will be donated directly to Liam’s family for them to use as they see fit. If we are unable to raise enough funds through an auction, we will host a DOTD special. We will also be accepting donations in any amount through PayPal at this address: cathyscreationsjewelry@yahoo.com. As always, if you send money through PayPal, please be sure to mark it as a "gift" so the amount is not garnished.

We are also accepting donations to feature in our auction. For more information, please email Cathy: cathy@cathyscreationsjewelry.com



 Drawing of Liam Lyon by his sister Cheyanne after he passed away

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of the 12,500 families this year that will get the shocking and horrible diagnosis of childhood cancer, and the countless millions who have come before them, we would like to help promote September's cause: Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Over the years, Cathy's Creations has worked hard to raise awareness and funds for several children and families affected by childhood cancer, and with the help from some generous Frikes, sales of jewelry have gone to support people suffering through difficult times, and also some very distinguished charity organizations. While the topic of childhood disease is always a difficult one to approach, we try our best to reach out to those who are in need of love and support during a time where they are facing the absolute worst thing that any family can imagine.

We would like to recognize those affected by this terrible illness whose stories have touched our hearts and whose families we have grown to know and love.



Riley, a beautiful little girl who is suffering from several medical conditions, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Funds from the sale of Riley's bracelet help support The Dragonfly Foundation, an organization that helps to bring joy to the lives of children suffering from cancer and diseases of the blood.



Allison, a three year old who is suffering from stage 4 neuroblastoma. All proceeds from this bracelet have sponsored her family's struggles with medical bills and living expenses during their difficult time as they continue their fight against cancer.




Avery, who bravely fought a brain tumor for over a year and whose love for horses inspired her mother's request that all donations to go directly to the Front Range Equine Rescue to help prevent the abuse and neglect of horses.




Cody, an athletic and intelligent teenager who lost his battle against Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare and agressive form of bone cancer. Proceeds from the sale of Cody's bracelet have sponsored research about Ewing's Sarcoma in his name.




Faith, whose extreme battle with cancer earned her a special place in our hearts and our lives as she struggled through several obstacles before earning her angel wings. All jewelry sold in her name benefits the Faith Fulmer Foundation. (Faith also has a pendant, an additional bracelet listing, a charm in her honor, and a ring.)





Madeleine, a nine year old girl who lost her battle with a stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor. Proceeds from the sale of the pendant are donated to Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC) in Madeleine's memory. (Please also view Madeleine's pendant on our website.)





Ethan, a young man who fought hard in his battle against stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancerous tumor that originates in the soft tissues of the body. After struggling almost two years, Ethan's body succumbed to this aggressive disease, but his spirit lives on in the Ethan Josted Foundation, which is partially supported by proceeds from this bracelet.





Zoë, a beautiful baby girl who was only two months old at the time of her diagnosis of a malignant rhabdoid tumor and who passed away at only five months old in her home, surrounded by her loving parents. Team Zoë jewelry supports the financial cost to her parents for medical expenses during Zoë's fight with her rare and aggressive form of cancer. (We also offer a pendant in addition to the bracelet.)



Additionally, to support cancer research and awareness, we have created jewelry that is meant to call attention to foundations that support our belief that we can overcome this terrible disease!

Our CURE bracelet supports the efforts of CURE Childhood Cancer organization, which focuses its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer and reaches out to families who are navigating the dark waters of childhood cancer.

Our NEGU pendant, inspired by Jessie Rees' motto "Never Ever Give Up." Jessie struggled to overcome her two brain tumors for almost a year before passing away. $5 from the sale of each pendant will be donated to the Jessie Rees Foundation for Joy Jars, which help spread happiness and hope to those struggling with childhood cancer.

Please join us in our efforts to raise awareness in September, and all year, in honor of those we know who have battled and those who are yet to face their struggle. Let's work together to make childhood cancer a disease that future generations will never have to know.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Honor of Sofia

Losing a parent is like losing a piece of your past, present, and future. What you are hopefully left with is an impression of love and caring that will last you through the rest of your lifetime.

For some of us, what we are left with is so much bigger and requires so much more dedication and love that we are compelled to share it with others. It is not often that one person can touch someone so deeply that the mark they made on one life is enough to then, in turn, influence hundreds, if not thousands.

Yet this can be said of Cathy's mother Sofia.

In the time since I first met Cathy, I have seen firsthand hundreds of lives changed by Cathy's work but only after several months of watching one beautiful act of kindness after another unfold did it ever occur to me to ask Cathy how she got started and what inspired her to change so many lives. Cathy shared with me the touching story of her mother's life, explaining the kind of woman her mother was. Strong, resolved, in some ways old fashioned and in other ways ahead of her time, but always loving and caring. Unlike so many people, she walked the walk. She spoke of kindness and generosity, but instead of just lecturing, she lived her life for others as an example. Cathy shared that Sofia's motto was: "If you can help, help wholeheartedly. If you are going to hurt them, turn and walk away quickly."


This motto and the way that her mother lived her life inspired Cathy's own path. When Cathy began to make bracelets, the first one she created was in honor of her mother. Originally an item she handed out to others to honor her mother's life and raise awareness for breast cancer research, Sofia's bracelet became the first Etsy item on Cathy's initial sales page to become cause jewelry. Since this humble beginning, Cathy has gone on to create bracelets for over 80 causes, raised money to support people through difficult times, and created a loving and caring community of followers known as Frikes who have in turn spread their love and generosity onto others after being inspired by Cathy's Creations.

Sofia's influence has touched many and this weekend it may reach several more. Cathy is participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Race for the Cure in honor of her mother's passionate and giving life. In the true spirit of what her mother left behind, Cathy is now able to walk the walk for her mother.

Please take the time to leave words of love and support for Cathy's trek, or share how the influence of Cathy's Creations, and therefore Sofia, has touched your life. Cathy will check in to read these periodically to keep her motivated during her walk, and I'm sure they will keep her strong at heart always.

Cathy, I love you and I believe you have truly made your mother proud! Love, Nicole

Friday, June 29, 2012

Facebook Outreach Contest!

Calling all Frikes! Would you like to win a bracelet and also help Cathy's Creations stay as successful as possible in our endeavor to help do the small things that make a big difference?

We are asking to you to help us reach as many people as possible so that we can continue to host fundraisers for friends and charities in need. We have a lot of future projects planned to raise awareness and also financial contributions for some great causes. What we need from you is exposure!

Starting today and ending on Thursday the 5th at midnight EST, we are asking you to help promote our page; share our status updates, link your friends to our listings, help raise awareness for our cause jewelry in support groups, and otherwise spread the word!

Post our link on your wall and ask your friends to come join us. Help us add new Frikes to our page so we can reach more people, expand awareness of what we are trying to do, and help us make a difference. Every time you send over someone new, ask them to share your name as their referral on our wall. The person with the most referrals by the 5th will win a bracelet! All new friends to our page are welcome to take part in this contest as well. Anyone can play to win!

We cannot aid those we cannot reach, and we need your help to make this happen. Please consider taking a moment of your time to share our page with your friends- your participation is valuable not only to us but to those we seek to help!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is approaching and we would like to remind you all that while it is nice to enjoy an extra day off from work and some of the traditional beginning of summer rituals like bar-be-ques and swimming and other festivities, Memorial Day is, in fact, a holiday with an important meaning.

Formerly called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is meant to be a day where we remember the fallen servicemen for our nation. In December of 2000, a resolution was passed asking that at 3 p.m. local time, all citizens pause and take a moment of silence in honor of those who died while serving our country. Memorial Day had become a day to honor all deceased loved ones, and there was a great concern that its true meaning would be lost.

And while there is never a wrong time to miss or love those who have passed away, we want to remind you that there are many families struggling with the loss of someone who died to protect our freedom. One of our most touching stories can be viewed here. We must remember that, through our suffering and loss, thousands of men and women have lost their lives in battle and continue to even today.


We wish you all a wonderful and peaceful three day weekend. May the weather be beautiful, and we sincerely hope you get to spend some much-needed time with friends and loved ones, or even have some nice quiet time alone, doing something you love. But don't forget to take the time to remember and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty or who have served our nation and are no longer here to hear our thanks. If you know a veteran or a serviceman, acknowledge them on this and any day when you think of all the sacrifices they make for you. Telling someone you appreciate them and care is always a gift to be treasured!

Will you be remembering someone special this Memorial Day? Feel free to share your story below.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

30 Ideas to Jump Start Your Spring and Summer of Giving!

Our 25 Days of Giving last December really put us into a wonderful state of mind to be able to help our friends and even some deserving strangers during the holiday season. But it shouldn't take holidays and snowfall to inspire us to care and help- so we want to do more now, and we want to invite you to join us!

Here are some spring- and summer- inspired ideas for helping out in your community:


-Pick up trash along the roadside where you live. It will clean up your road and the environment and make you feel accomplished!

-Make a new mom or dad friend at the playground. Simply approach a new person with a smile and a hello and see what happens! Being pleasant and cheerful will brighten your day even if you don't get far with others.

-Help your child open a lemonade stand or run their own yard sale. Donate the proceeds to a cause dear to your heart, or to a community staple.

-Swap a few hours of babysitting with a friend to give you both a break.

-Bring a cold drink to someone working outside... especially if they're not working for you!

-Write a personalized and meaningful thank you letter to your child's teachers at the end of the school year.

-Go through your closet and donate the winter items you will no longer need next season to a family who could use them, or to a shelter.

-Volunteer at a summer camp.

-This is a good time to put together an emergency kit for the trunk of your vehicle, or to refresh an old kit! Band-aids, fresh water, antiseptic, bug bite/sting ointment or spray, sunscreen, umbrellas, a change of clothes, etc. can not only help out your own family but also someone else in a pinch.

-Have your children try on their bike helmets, and if they don't fit anymore, donate them.

-Help a friend install a clothesline. It saves money and the environment!

-Prevent summer vacation boredom and arrange a toy and book swap among friends in your area. Have your children gather together their own toys or books that they are willing to part with, and meet up with groups of other moms and children to exchange for new items.

-Donate to a food pantry whenever possible. Even one canned or boxed item goes a long way toward feeding those who are hungry. This is a year-round need in every area of the country!

-Ask a friend how they are doing, especially if you know they have been dealing with extra stress or problems. Caring is always free!

-Call someone just to say "I love you."

-Donate a day off and participate in something meaningful. There are several fundraiser walks this time of the year, and shelters, pantries, or community service agencies always need a helping hand.

-Call the local school and volunteer for field day help or field trips. Many schools organize outdoor play or trips this time of the year and could use an extra hand. You may even get to do something new and exciting!

-Work together with the local library to arrange fun summer reading programs for kids.

-Help start or support a community gardening project.

-Volunteer to help set up or take down booths at the farmer's market. Local agriculture is important to the community and helping in any way you can shows the hard working farmers that you appreciate their efforts!

-Make cards for residents in local hospitals or nursing homes. There is no right or wrong time of the year to show someone that you care about them!

-Volunteer to read to children in the hospital.

-Pick wildflowers and deliver them to an elderly neighbor.

-Help an elderly neighbor or someone without a car with their errands for a day.

-With extreme heat on the horizon, keep an eye out on those who could most easily suffer from heat stroke. Casually check cars in parking lots as you pass by for animals, children, or even sleeping adults that could suffer distress if left too long. Do not be afraid to report any situation that appears emergent! It is always better to be safe than sorry.

-Donate outdoor toys that your children have outgrown to a local family that could use the help. If you are able, buy some inexpensive outdoor toys and donate them or leave them where they can be used by all. For example, if there is a community pool, bring some flotation devices and pool toys and leave them for everyone to share. Even leaving an extra bottle of sunscreen for those who forget it or can't afford it is helpful!

-Offer to walk a friend's dog for them.

-If you know a friend is going on vacation, offer to check in on their home and help with pets like cats, who need fresh food and water. Do it for free so your friend has one less expense during their time away!

-Wash your partner or roommate's car or clean it out- or both! Getting into a clean car can make someone's trip to work or school feel much more pleasant and less stressful, and small acts of kindness show that you care.

-Leave no trace. When using the awesome outdoor trails, parks, and playgrounds that are at your disposal, make sure you are responsible. Don't leave any human or animal waste, pick up your trash, and leave it as you found it, or better! Remember that these places are meant to be enjoyed by all.



These are not the only ways to show people that you care. If you have a favorite way to help others, or if you have an idea of what you'd like help with, share below! Are you feeling inspired? In what ways do you plan to help? Respond below and perhaps you will find that we are in a giving mood as well... ;)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Treat Yourself to Happiness!

Sometimes we forget in life that while we are busy taking care of others, we need a little TLC ourselves. Oftentimes we expect that others will fill our needs for us but this is not always the case. Even constantly giving to others is not always rewarding when we start to sense that we are running out of energy for our own needs. We have to make sure to look out for ourselves in order to bring fulfillment and joy into our lives. It can be very simple to do what it takes to bring us happiness, but we need to discover what it will take and then make the time for it.

Here are some ideas of things that can bring joy into our lives and can easily be added into busy schedules or tight budgets!

- Spruce up your look: Trimming or coloring your hair, painting your nails, waxing your eyebrows, or applying a little bit of makeup can go a long way for the ladies. But men can refresh themselves, too! New clothes, being clean shaven, experimenting with new hair cuts, or buying a new body wash can make us feel like a new person without breaking the bank. Trying something new is exciting and can give a confidence boost! It doesn't always take a drastic change to make us feel different.

- Rearrange your home: Moving your furniture can make your old home look nice and new. Some inexpensive accessories like throw blankets or pillows can make the space seem interesting again, and you might find that your new look is inspiring you to clean out some of the clutter that might make you feel bogged down. While it might not seem like it, rearranging furniture or decor can brighten your day and make you feel accomplished.

- Take or make some down time: Take a longer shower, hold off on the chores that aren't imminent, set the alarm clock for earlier in the day and enjoy your mornings more, go to bed earlier and get extra rest at least once a week- do something for yourself with your time. A few minutes of something you enjoy can make a big difference in your day!

- Disconnect: Unplug the phone, shut off the cell, log out of Facebook, turn off the e-reader, power down the television. Live with yourself for a day! Reconnect with your kids or friends in person and without being distracted by your text messages or instant updates. Enjoy life like you may have a decade ago, before you felt pressured to be immediately available to everyone. Let yourself remember what it feels like to spend time with a face and not a screen!

- Eliminate the things that are bringing you down: We often tolerate things or people that we don't enjoy because it seems easier, when really they are taxing our precious resources of time and energy. If someone is hurting you, let them go. If they have hurt you in the past, forgive them and move forward. If you own something that is nothing but trouble, repair it or replace it instead of tolerating it. Or at least set a goal toward repairing or replacing it that will help make it better. Sometimes things like constant car repairs bring us down fast. Set up a budget that allows you to start saving for the next vehicle, even if it is only a small amount of money at a time. Having a plan to get out of a sticky situation makes it feel more manageable, even if we have to deal with small stressors in the meantime.

- Get moving: Go for a walk, go mow the lawn, or even get up and stretch. Take a nice stroll after dinner to enjoy the fresh air, or eat your lunch on the go at work. Get up and move every few minutes if you have a desk job or spend a lot of time sitting during the day. Start a new exercise routine that fits into your schedule. Working out or even getting up and moving around can be inspiring, and it is good for not only your physical health but your mental health.

- Start from the inside out: Eat right, drink plenty of water, and take a good vitamin. Taking care of your health makes you feel good about yourself and gives you the energy to complete everything you need to do in your busy day. Good health and happiness go hand in hand, and you owe it to yourself to be the best you can be!

What do you do to keep yourself happy and treat yourself right? Share your ideas or expand on the above suggestions. We want to hear from you!

Monday, April 30, 2012

For the Lonely, On Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just a couple of weeks away, and it is time to think of how we will let some of the most beloved people in our lives know that they are important to us. Many people try to come up with loving and creative new ways to let the women who are mothers, or like their mothers, know that they care, and most mothers just want to spend the day with their children and the ones that they love.

But there are some whose hearts will be aching on this day, and several others. Our love goes out to them- these women who will never hold their babies again, or never could, and the countless many for whom the day is just another painful reminder that their own mother is gone.

Mother's Day may just be a Hallmark holiday to some, but to millions of others it has a powerful meaning. So few jobs require as much time, energy, affection, and giving as motherhood. Mothers are women who are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether working out of or in the home. Mothers make the difficult and selfless choices each day that better the lives of their children and propel them to great potential. Mothers are the people who are kept awake at night worrying over the simple things, and who drag themselves around on a cup of coffee and five hours of sleep to get it all done. A mother is what we become at the first positive pregnancy test, and what we then are until we leave this earth. A mother is the first person we miss each day once they are gone; the one whose hugs, love, and words can make it all right again.

A mother who still has her child is a blessed one.

A child who still has a mother is a blessed one.

Count your blessings this Mother's Day and remember that your work as a mother is valuable, appreciated, and noticed. Take the time to call or write someone who is missing their child or their mother this Mother's Day to let them know that you are thinking of them. And if you are lucky enough to have a mother and a child to spend time with this Mother's Day, shut off the TV and computer, unplug the phone, and devote your day to the people who you can't imagine your life without.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bone Marrow Donation


About three years ago, Cathy registered to become a bone marrow donor. The application process is easy. As long as you are between the ages of 18 and 55 (Cathy, of course, is 25) and are in good health, you may be eligible to donate marrow in the United States and Puerto Rico. In order to sign up, a tissue sample is taken from your inner cheek by swabbing it gently. If your cells match someone in need, you will be contacted and asked to potentially participate in a donation. The donor with the closest match is selected to ensure the best possible success rate. On average, 1 out of every 540 potential donors is matched up with a patient.

Donated bone marrow is used to replenish the supply of bone marrow in patients for whom illness or radiation and chemo therapies have destroyed their own marrow. The stem cells in bone marrow (which are not the same stem cells in the highly fueled fetal cell debate) then create new marrow in the bones, and help the patient who received the donation create their own blood cells.

There are two ways the donation process can go, if you are selected as a match. The first is that the donor may be placed under general anesthesia and will have a syringe injected directly through the bone to remove some marrow through a hollow needle. The procedure can be a simple outpatient procedure, or may require a short hospital stay of 1-2 days, depending on circumstances and individual recovery times. This process does not require stitches.

The second way to donate bone marrow is to be administered certain drugs that release stem cells from bone marrow into the donor's blood circulation. An IV is then inserted into the donor's arm and later the stem cells are filtered out of the blood. This procedure is very similar to donating blood or platelets and, start to finish, is completed in a matter of hours.

In newborns, stem cells may be retrieved from the umbilical cord. If you are currently pregnant or know someone who is, look into cord blood donation or suggest they discuss cord blood donation with their physician or obstetrician. The amount of cells collected through umbilical cord blood could be enough to save the life of a child or a small adult.

Only half of the people who need a transplant will be able to get one. And until there is a cure for the diseases and the treatments that cause the degeneration of bone marrow, the only solution is more donors. Please, consider the value of donating your time and your marrow to those in need. To find out more about registering as a donor, volunteering, or contributing in other ways, please visit http://www.marrow.org.

Do you know of someone who has benefited from bone marrow donation, or someone on the waiting list? Are you registered as a donor, and have you ever been called to donate? We'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Team Liam Lyon!

William Elijah Lyon, who goes by the name of Liam, was born on February 18, 2011. Shortly after birth, it became clear that Liam was sick... and before long he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Fatal if left untreated, hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs when parts of the left side of the heart do not develop completely. After several surgeries to try to repair his heart, it was finally time to give Liam a heart transplant, thanks to the generous and painful choice of another family. But his fight has not ended there.

Liam struggles daily for his life. Minor childhood illnesses become major setbacks. A cold can mean serious issues for a child who has undergone so many ups and downs. And then there are other problems. Fluid retention, trouble with his veins responding appropriately, and several trips in and out of many prominent hospitals have been Liam's whole life. The cost of supporting and caring for Liam and his family during this time have added up quickly, and without the help of government aid, family and generous strangers, families like Liam's have no way to make ends meet during such trying times.

Lately, there has been discord on Liam's Facebook page as people have voiced their opinion that Liam's parents are wasting tax money to support his life, since the outcome sometimes seems so bleak. If you had to pause after reading that, you are not alone. His family reads each comment left on his page and battles daily odds that are not in their favor. They were given the gift of another person's heart and continue to struggle to make that gift the most worthwhile thing a person could ever have.

How does anyone decide what lives are and are not worth fighting for? How can we say what each new moment will bring? If we knew the outcome of everything we have coming in our lives, what choices would we make now? There are people whose children are never born; babies lost before their first breath on this planet. There are children who are born healthy and happy, to a family that has everything, and their lives are stolen in a freak accident or twist of fate. There are children like Liam, who get aid from the government to survive, and give it all they have just to open their eyes in the morning. If you are reading this, if you are awake and alive and breathing on your own, if your heart is beating without assistance and it is the one you were born with, you are luckier than Liam.

One less person on government aid is not going to alleviate a burden for the country. One less child breathing in air on the state's dollar is not going to fix the economy. Why are people angry at a child's parents for fighting to keep him alive? Why do people hurt these parents by lashing out at them and telling them that their child is wasting money by fighting for his life?

These parents have seen things nobody wants to see. Their son has had his chest opened and closed more times than most of us can imagine in only a year of life. He has had tubes running in and out of every part of him, and new holes surgically created to keep these tubes in place. His face and body have swelled beyond recognition. They have had to sit at his bedside, not touching him or holding him for fear of hurting him, yet aching to reach out and comfort their baby. They have missed hours, days, and months of their older daughter's life that can never be relived or replaced and struggled with knowing that they could only be in one place at any given time... and then made the difficult decision of feeling like they had let the other child down.

Money is a hot commodity. There are too many people who go without it for anyone to be comfortable with misplaced spending. But a life is not a frivolous expense. Each breath a baby is able to take should not be measured in pennies but in the value of the human experience. No one person is better than another- we hear this in grammar school, but so quickly we forget that "there but for the grace of God go I." It could be us, it could be our baby, it could be a baby in our family; why should the fact that this child belongs to a stranger have any merit when discussing his value as a human being? For every person that was born without medical complications, for every time a child was placed in your arms after they were born and you brought them home and continued with your day to day life, there is another alternative that lingers in the darkness for some families.

Liam is a baby. There is a reason that babies have parents. Babies cannot care for themselves, they cannot make life-altering decisions, they cannot be responsible for their own fate, they cannot make choices that impact their lives. Parents are meant to do this for them. And any parent knows that once that child comes into your life, you are transformed. You would do anything, drop anything, sacrifice anything for them. You should be able to do this without feeling guilt. Parents should be supported in fighting for their babies.

In a world where we pay an actor millions of dollars to amuse us for two hours at a time, how can we say that this child's year of life is not worth the price? Can you place a value on the people struggling from disease, illness, poverty, even a bad day, who see that this baby continues to fight for the life that they were blessed to have, and for a moment, feel fortunate? Can you place a number value on the head of your own child, yourself, or anyone around you? Are you comfortable being asked to set a cap on the life of anyone you know?

And here is the REAL question... should you be comfortable doing so? Has our society really gone so far backward from dignity, human kindness, love, and giving to be able to say to a parent that they should stop fighting alongside their child for his precious life?

We don't think so. We have seen it from you, our Frikes. We know it is out there. This is why we have chosen to, and will staunchly continue to, fight for Liam's rights and help his family in any way possible. Without having to live it ourselves, we understand that there are enormous financial burdens, lack of support and empathy, and hours of worry that cannot be abated for the families of these babies. It is without hesitation that we have created a Liam Lyon line of cause jewelry, with proceeds to benefit his family. This is something we stand behind, because we know that this family deserves the love and support. It is about a lot more than money, and although the proceeds are for a very important cause, the love we show someone when we accept that their child's life has value cannot be bought or sold.

If you cannot financially support Liam Lyon and his family, we understand. But please emotionally support them. Comments left on Liam's Facebook or on this blog will be read by people who know and love Liam and his family, and sharing this blog on your own page, or linking to it from your own blog, may attract the attention of those who can make a difference.

If you are able to support Liam and wish to do so, you can donate directly via PayPal to iloveliamlyon@yahoo.com. Also, please visit the links below to view the jewelry created to benefit this sweet boy and his loving family:

Liam's bracelet

Liam's pendant