December Caravan
Ever since I was a young girl I have loved to create things. I have always enjoyed using the things that others might not find as "pretty" or see as a "mistake" to create something new and beautiful. Sadly in my younger years a high school teacher and then later a college professor both told me that I couldn't make it as an artist, and as life got busier with teaching responsibilities, and I half attempted to sell my creations on Etsy I started to believe that maybe those "expert" teachers were correct.

And then my health started to completely decline. At thirty-three I ended up leaving the career I loved, lost my independence as I had to move back into my parents house, saw my dreams of further education wan, had to use a wheelchair because I couldn't walk, couldn't get out of bed without help or do the most ordinary things without lots of assistance from my parents, spent almost every waking hour in extreme pain, and traveled across the country (and my records went around the world) to find answers.

I was diagnosed with numerous conditions and still continued to deteriorate. Life looked incredibly dark with absolutely no joy or color.

In the span of of a year I saw over 273 specialists and doctors (many who told me it was "all in my head" or that I was "exaggerating my symptoms to gain attention") and was finally correctly diagnosed in March 2013 (on my birthday) with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease.

Six weeks later I was diagnosed with Skin Cancer along with the Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease.

A year later I found out that I was also fighting multiple other illnesses which had come about because of the two above illnesses creating such havoc on my fragile body.

I was heartbroken that it taken so long to find a correct diagnosis, that my concerns over a mole had been ignored (despite being seen at some of the best hospitals in the United States), and found myself walking a long dark hallway with little light & little joy.

Lyme Disease was a maze of confusion and everything I read told me that I was just beginning a journey that would last a long time. I had no idea just how long though.

In the seven years since these diagnosis' I have traveled the roller coaster of emotions of moving a couple of steps forward only to take a few giant leaps backwards. I have learned that I am stronger then I ever thought I was and the beauty that can only come from walking through suffering. I have faced the extreme loneliness that comes with any disease and the joy of loving freely. I have experienced the joy that comes when we come to the end of ourselves and face a life that we never imagined. I have also found the beauty that comes in the everyday.

And beyond personally, this has affected my artwork in numerous ways. I am reminded that the smallest gift can be the greatest and so I treasure using tons of small details in my creations. I have also learned the valuable lesson of delighting in the beauty of ordinary.

I have learned that there truly is light in the dark and that the light shines despite incredibly difficult circumstances and loss.

And I have learned that despite incredibly painful days there is always joy and color if we look for it- whether that is from a bed (where I spent nearly 3 years) or from a corner office doing a job that you love.

And that is the mission and motto of my Etsy shop, December Caravan.

December Caravan specializes in creating bespoke altered books and journals to inspire joy and hope in every part of your life through handmade creations and timeless keepsakes.

I picked the name "December Caravan" because the name fits my journey of creating- walking through the "cold month" of December and creating beauty on our "caravan" or "journey" artistically and also was picked because it uses all of the letters of my first and last name (minus the "k") which I also love. The symbolism in the name of seeing joy and something unique beyond first impressions is perfect.

Thank you so much for joining in and for supporting my shop! Please know that a portion of proceeds from every sale go to charity.

You can find the shop HERE.

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