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Sunday, August 8, 2010

my story by sherrill graff - my family, my stampin up, my faith and overcoming our trials

My story- Sherrill Graff

I became a stampin up demo in back in 1991. I just wanted to buy stamps for my daughter at a discount. I soon realized stamping wasn't just for kids. It gave me something fun to do when my children were young. Money was tight and I wanted an excuse to get together with other moms.

Since I didn't have much money, I borrowed stamp sets from my upline. (Who happens to be Shelli Gardner Co-Founder of Stampin Up)

I'd make samples and then return the stamps and she would give me more to use. I was in Heaven!
My business began to grow and I became an upline myself.

My first team member was Loni Spendlove. She is still active and has a good downline of her own. My second team member was my Twin sister Michele Hillam. This gave us something else in common and we talked about what we were making almost every day. It was the highlight of my day to talk to her.

Michele was the very first demonstrator in the Denver Colorado so her business grew fast! I stayed a hobby demo, stamping just for my own entertainment. I was able to earn a little extra money for the kids school clothes and a dinner out once a week.

The real challenges started right after our youngest son was born. His middle name is Sterling after Sterling Gardner Shelli's husband. He was 3 months old when my Dear Husband Mark (only 34 years old) had his first heart attack.

I promised God if he would save my husbands life I would be a good person and raise a righteous family. After 5 bypass surgery and 6 months of recovery he was back to himself again.

Thank God for HUGE blessings. I sold all my stamps and my husband sold a gun or two to help pay the bills. (He is a hunter) The stamps sold for 80% of retail so it was like having an extra savings account I didn 't know about. It's nice to know they hold their value. Our parents hel ped too. We both have wonderful giving parents. We had help from the church and the community programs to provide Christmas for our Dear Children.

3 years later my husband had another heart attack with Angioplasty. I thank God for modern medicine! We sold everything again to help pay the bills. Our parents helped us out again. We also had some help for Christmas this year as well.

3 years after that Mark had developed an aneurysm on one of his bypasses. It was like living with a time bomb wondering if this was they day he wouldn't return home from work. Soon after, he had yet, another heart attack!

This time we were waiting in the surgery waiting room when the doctor came out and said "there is nothing I can do" My mother in law and I looked at each other and started to cry thinking he was gone. The doctor said "oh, let me rephrase that, there is nothing I NEED to do! You have been given a miracle!"

Marks aneurysm was no longer a threat, it had clotted itself off. The artery they had bypassed in the first place had opened itself back up and his heart has grown 2 little veins that were feeding the back part of his heart. (Something that doesn't usually happen to heart patients until they are in their 50's)

We have truly been blessed!

God has stood by us, our families have stood by us, our friends have stood by us, Stampin Up has been there when I could do it and on the back burner when I couldn't. We are all healthy and happy. I thank Stampin Up for the wonderful Heart Set that raised such a nice donation for the Heart Association (the heart association is so close to our hearts)

My husband was unemployed for 9 months unemployed, we know that our bills will be paid because of the blessings of God, my little hobby that I love and his income from unemployment. May each of you who are looking to turn your little hobby into a business be blessed to continue on that path and never give up. We will be forever grateful for the income that pays our bills.

In 2009 Mark went in and had 2 stents put in. The vessel that was giving him problems was 95% blocked, that vessel fed 2/3rds of his heart. No wonder he was having so much pain all the time.

I believe God gave us another Miracle.
Had Mark waited any longer he may have had a fatal heart attack.
Mark and I went to Hawaii compliments of Stampin Up in March of 2009. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in August. I am so thankful for all of our blessings, for a great family and wonderful friends like you.

Now it's 2010. I have found out what a real blessing Stampin Up has been in my life. It's always brought me joy and helped me make new friends but the best part is my little hobby has become my "real job"
It pays the house payment, the care payment, the insurance, and the power bill. How blessed we are to have this income.
Mark and I earned our Alaska trip thanks to family friends and customers. Thank you for your help and support. We go on the trip in May of 2010.

This past year Mark had another stint put in, scar tissue had formed causing blood flow restriction. The doctor says if he stays pain free for 9 months he won't have to go in and do another bi-pass. I wonder if the scanner at the airport will go off next time he walks through he has so many stints in him now. Boy am I thankful for modern technology and for medical advancements over the years!

Kenneth Sterling the baby at the beginning of our story is now 16 years old and almost 6 feet tall and is driving!
Mark and I have 2 daughters, 2 sons and a dear son in law and a little granddaughter named Ava.
Thanks for allowing me to share my story with you.

Have you ever thought about turning your hobby into your full time job? I don't know what I would do about mine.
e-mail me anytime, I'd love to get together and stamp!

May God bless you and your family,
Sherrill Graff
Quote: "if God is your co-pilot, switch seats"
The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor.
Ordinary people doing productive activities consistently can get extraordinary results!!!!


Patrice Herrera said...

"The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor".
I have this saying on my desk, Isn't it the truth! Well your story sure does give me hope! I'm not sure if I can make the quota by the end of September? I am making calls to customers and working old leads. I am asking everyone I know to host a workshop too. Send prayers!!!

Tiffany said...

good journal entry mom. you should print this off and save it if you haven't already.
love you.