It’s been a journey. The Journey on how this Cottage in the Mitten came to be.
Since I have a lot of new followers here, I thought I would tell you a little bit about myself and my Cottage in the Mitten.
A Little Background
My husband, otherwise known as Big Al, and I have been married thirty-three years.
Thirty-three! Seems like yesterday.
I am passionate about my faith and family. We are blessed to have three amazing sons, two beautiful daughter-in-laws and three special grands, who make our world go-round! I need an updated family picture! We have grown!
My mother taught me to sew, crochet, and craft when I was a little girl. I’ve always loved crafting and I’ve always loved decorating. As you will see from the story below, God has used my crafting/decor love for a cause near to my heart.
Affiliate links are used in this post. Read my full disclosure here.
It all starts here. On the evening of December 20, 2011, we were moving into our newly built home…Our Cottage in the Mitten.
It was an exciting time. Moving into a new home AND preparing for Christmas. We were on a mission, pushing to be in before the holiday. Having a private builder, he was nice enough to let us put our Christmas tree up, in the new house, before we closed on it.
In fact, the anticipation of spending Christmas morning there was beyond exciting for us!
Everything at the new house was ready for Christmas. The Cottage was just waiting for us to celebrate.
Although, what we didn’t know is that there would be no Christmas at the new house, that year.
An Unexpected Outcome
That cold evening, in December, also required a trip to the hospital. One of us had to take our sixteen year old son for a scheduled MRI. After months of many doctor appointments, weight loss and severe headaches, he could stand no more.
I expected we would be home within an hour or two. However, that was not the case.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned, do they?
After the MRI, I was taken alone to the imaging room where they had my son’s doctor on speaker phone. I was told he had a mass on his brain. Quickly, I was instructed to take him directly to a bigger, more specialized hospital where they would be waiting for us.
That evening proved to be the first of many hard, scary days for our family. Especially for our middle son. After all, he was only sixteen.
That day the hustle and bustle of our family, and life as we knew it, came to a screeching halt.
The move didn’t happen and it didn’t matter.
Nothing mattered at that moment except his prognosis and the well being of our other two sons.
I prayed and prayed. Why was the question I asked over and over. I begged for my son to be healed.
His first brain surgery was three days before Christmas. The surgeon resected the tumor. It sounds unbelievable, but he came home from the hospital on Christmas Day.
To this day, it has been the best Christmas gift I have ever been given!
Life & The Journey Moves On
The holiday was over and life moved on…without a diagnois. We were initially told the prognosis looked grim.
After the holidy break our sons went back to school.
That same week, we finally moved into our new house.
Big Al went back to work and I proceeded to take down the Christmas tree that we never really got to enjoy. The process took me hours and hours. Everytime I took down a handmade ornament made by one of my kids, I lost it.
Would I have three sons with me next Christmas?
It was the hardest season of my life. I couldn’t eat and I didn’t sleep unless I was right in the room with him. I worried about my other sons, too. Were we giving them the attention they needed? How were they emotionally?
It took three weeks and two different hospitals to figure out what kind of tumor he had and if it was cancer.
It seemed like a year.
I spent my days praying for a miracle.
The diagnosis was a benign meningioma. These tumors are typically on the outside of the brain, but our son’s tumor was inside. Less than 5% of his age group have this kind of tumor and less than 1% have it in his area of the brain. There are no studies or research because of these low statistics.
Since December 2011, our son has had four brain surgeries, countless tests, numerous MRI’s and most recently radiation. He is now 28, a graphic designer and continues to be monitored every six months.
Our son has an amazing outlook on life, even at the scariest of times. He uses his story for good; to encourage others. He is faithful, not bitter. As parents, we don’t always get to pick and choose what happens to our children. But I truly believe that God uses everything for good.
Yes, even the really hard, difficult things in life.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
The Blankets Are Born
Like I said above, I am a crafter by nature.
I like to sew, paint furniture, decorate, and crochet. The first few years after my son’s diagnosis, I made blankets out of scrap material. Scraps that I had laying around.
It kept my mind busy.
So, after years of making blankets, it was laid on my heart to use this social media forum to create and sell my blankets, donating a portion of the proceeds to help find a cure for brain tumors. Each blanket I design has one square where the pattern is upside down. That square represents those who are fighting the diagnosis of a brain tumor.
Well, that’s my story. The story of the journey to here.
That’s how Cottage in the Mitten came to be. Also, my son created the Mitten logo so it means that much more to me.
And by the way…Christmas has never really looked the same.
Every year, when I pull out the handmade ornaments, I am reminded of my blessings and realize I am a little more thankful than I was the year before. As a family, we walked through the rockiest of waters and we came out stronger, together.