Monday, June 11, 2012

For Shereen

Hello All,

I'm here today with a very special card for a very special person, along with a bit of a story about me and how this wonderful woman is changing my life. I know that my blog is all about cards, and less about me, but I thought this was a tale worth sharing. It's a long story, so if you just want to see the card, please feel free to scroll down to the bottom.

About 6 months ago I met Shereen Oliver. Shereen is a Zumba instructor who I solely credit with getting me off the couch and helping me to rediscover a level of fitness I haven't had in years. This gorgeous lady has made me realise I can be strong, I can be fit and I can enjoy exercise - particularly when it's all wrapped up and disguised as dancing. Once I was a very keen Ceroc dancer, even instructing for a while. My final dance experience was the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. Here's a photo of me waiting to go out and dance for (what seemed like) a gazillion people. Note, that is a wig. I am not afflicted with "Annie" red curly hair naturally, nor did I do my own makeup. :)

Just before this photo was taken my dance partner got himself a girlfriend. Said girlfriend was the jealous type and didn't appreciate her boyfriend dancing so close to another girl. The fact I had a steady boyfriend made no difference. Within a week Joe dropped me like a hot potato. Tired of the cliques and without a dance partner, an injured shoulder was the perfect excuse to stop, and stop I did. I never went back to class, turned in my instructor card and I never did Ceroc again.
For over 11 years I floated along doing nothing more than the occasional bike ride or walking the dogs. My fitness ebbed away and I got lethargic, put on weight and succumbed to the misery of my shoulder that never healed and hurt constantly. I hurt my foot and had surgery, and then with an upper body injury and then a lower body injury it became too hard to think of anything that wouldn't hurt it. I tried squash, I tried netball, nothing doing.

Then I saw an ad for Zumba with Shereen in the local paper. I had heard about Zumba, had heard how it was a craze that was sweeping the world and how you got fit and had fun. I went to a class and have never looked back. Shereen is a wonderful teacher and is so incredibly motivating and inspiring. I have never seen anyone engender such love and loyalty from her clients.

This is Shereen.

Is it any wonder I rock up to Zumba twice a week with Shereen? If there's any chance I can look even a fifth of how good she looks any time in the future I will be thrilled to bits.

It's not all smooth sailing. My foot hurts, my shoulder hurts and now I have added a troubled knee to the list. But this time - I don't care. The foot is something I treat carefully with orthotics and I am used to it. The physio on my shoulder is helping and I have a cortisone injection scheduled for next week. The knee is treatable with physio and stretches and will be better with time.  What I realise now is how little that matters in the overall scheme of things. What's important is that the rest of me is feeling amazing. I am energised, thinner than I have been since I was in my early twenties (I'm now 38) and I'm even motivated to do exercise outside of Zumba.

Now Shereen is taking on a new challenge, entering a body sculpting competition in October. This requires a new level of dedication to her fitness and given the intensity of her job, it's a serious commitment. In addition to this, Shereen is taking new steps to expand her business at the same time - she's obviously not one to do things by halves! I wanted to make Shereen a card of encouragement, to tell her how awesome she is and how much more awesome she will be at the end of this journey, and to remind her of the support she has from so many people.
I used Kenny K's Download Diva image for this card. The minute I saw it I was reminded of Shereen, and there's always a need to expand my Kenny K collection!

My card was created using Sassafras papers and cardstock from my stash. The sentiment is from Stampin' Up, the ribbon border punch is from My Favorite Things Die-Namics and the swirl is a Magnolia Doo-hickey die. I added eyelets to complete the look and hold the papers and cardstock together.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I think my little Kenny K image looks like just she could be a fitness instructor and with her ipod in her ears and her sassy expression, she could easily pass for Shereen.

I would like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Crafty Ann's Challenges - It's a Girl Thing
Fussy and Fancy - Swirls & Flourishes
Paper Crafting Journey - Colour It Up
The Ribbon Girl - Use Ribbon or Lace
Make it Monday - Anything Goes
And that's probably a long enough post!
Thanks for visiting, see you again soon.



Crafty Mamma Mia said...

Hi Tracey - what a lovely card and that is such a fab story. I found Body Balance about 5 years ago and whilst it doesn't shift weight, I am more flexible than I have ever been! The same instructor does Zumba and when I can get onto her class I do because she is so good at motivating everyone ... even me! And that I think is half the battle with exercise.
Anyway, enough waffle - good luck to Shereen in her new venture and I love the card!
Take care, Helen x

Jo said...

Hi Tracey, that's a lovely story and a gorgeous card to match!Love that image and your colour combo is just lush!
Hugs Jo x

Ribbon Girl said...

Fab card and such an inspiring story - so glad you were inspired to go and it makes you feel so good again! I went swimming today - first time in over 2 years, last year I had a total hip replacement and the year before had 2 snapped tendons and a torn bicep in my shoulder repaired - I only swam 8 lengths with a rest between each one but felt as if I had won a gold medal!! Tthanks for joining in with the Ribbon Girl card challenge to add lace or ribbon. Mary G

Ann Whitfield said...

Fab card Tracey, thank you for sharing it with us at Crafty Ann's
Ann x

Tracy said...

What a great story Tracey. A few years back I joined WW and trimmed down to my lowest weight since high school. The changed eating habits was a big part of it but I truly believe the strict and steady exercise routine I set for myself was really the key. Unfortunately I started to slack with it and eventually quit all together. Most of the weight has come back and it's really depressing. I just started back riding my exercise bike to get started and your story is a real motivator to keep it up. Thanks! I needed that. :-) Best of luck to your friend in her new endeavors. Hugs!
P.S. You DID pick a perfect image and created a smashing card!

Alyce Kit and Clowder said...

Wahoo I love Zumba Tracey! Wish you lived up here in qld because no one will go with me though :( What a perfect card of encouragement too. This image even looks just like her! :D

Wendy Fraser said...

Stunning card, the image look so like her! Don't worry about the shoulder jab, I had it done 8 weeks ago and was no worse than having blood taken, it made a huge difference too. Thanks for joining us at Fussy and Fancy xx

Margaret said...

Such a wonderful post! I am completely loving the picture of you too!! Oh the things we learn while blogging!!
Your card is wonderful! Love the colors and the image is amazingly perfect!! I am sure she will love it as well!

Sandra said...

Hi Tracey
I just popped in from Make it Monday for a nosey and found your lovely story. Keep at it

SandraT xxx

Hlora said...

Very bright job! Fab team up with the paper and gorgeous colours. I saw your card on ‘Make it Monday’

Tammylee said...

Super cute, love all the details and the coloring is awesome! Popped over from Make it Monday!

Jen said...

Super card, amazing colouring. Thanks for sharing with us at Crafty Ann's.
Jen x

Claire said...

Gorgeous card, love that image. Thanks for joining us at Crafty Ann's this time
Claire xx

Angela said...

Great story! Glad you have found your way.... Great card too...I bet Shereen will love it!

Karen said...

What a wonderful blog post sweetie thank you so much for sharing with us!
And a gorgeous card to boot! Smiles..
Great colouring and fabby colour choices also.
Thank for joining us this week and good luck!
Don't forget to check back next week to see if you made my Pick Of The Week!

Smiles -  Krafty Karen - DT for Make It Monday.

Sazzle said...

Congratulations Tracey you've been chosen as our next guest designer.

Please pop over to Fussy and Fancy for all of the details and don't forget to pick up your guest designers badge whilst you're there too!

I think the story behind this card is fantastic and well done you for coming back into fitness again :-)

xx Happy crafting and glittery hugs xx


Sheryl said...

Hi Tracey! Congratulations for winning Featured Guest Designer at Fussy and Fancy!
This card is absolutely stunning and your story is wonderful.
Have a great day!
Warmest Hugs, Sheryl