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Everything Happens for a Reason • by Bree Stanley

Bree StanleyIn life I tend to believe that everything happens for a reason ... exactly when it is supposed to. This statement tends to show me how true it really is all the time. I met Jenny at one of these moments. A strange transition from happily married to … I didn’t know my title or definition or who I was or what I was going to do. Art had saved me many times throughout my life and at this moment it was about to show me how much it could really do …

Growing up, I remember all matters of craftiness ... from making rag dolls and wreaths with my uber-crafty grandma to crocheting with my other grandma to wood working with my grandpa. There was always something crafty brewing. My grandma taught me that making beautiful things with your hands made not only yourself happy, but other people happy also … Art=love. As I got older though, art took a back seat to school, work, and life in general …

On the Right Path
About six years ago, my boyfriend at the time took me to a scrapbook store, because he thought I needed craftiness in my life once again. Little did he know that that day changed my life. He became my husband and scrapbooking took over my waking moments. Not too long after I lost interest … At the time I wasn’t sure why but it just wasn’t me. About that same time my friend introduced me to stamping and Stampin’ Up!. I loved it for awhile, but again lost interest for some reason. I took a break for awhile, not really making much, until I discovered a now defunct forum called sistv … The cards and layouts I saw on this site were beyond amazing ... freestyle, messy, ”gangsta.” I LOVED IT ... it was me. I had a renewed spirit in the craft world and making things with my hands. Getting messy without all of the restrictions of acid free and clean lines.

Turning Point
In 2008 I started to lose interest again ... I came across Donna Downey on one of my endless Internet browsing sessions … she was a scrapbooker turned mixed-media artist, and something about her and her art relit my fire. She was putting on her second event the next May and I decided I had to go. I remember being nervous going to an “artist” event … I didn’t know anyone and I wasn’t really the type to meet strangers. Donna was adorable and so were my two roommates. The event sparked something in me. I wanted to do more … be more. I found out that I was losing interest because I wasn’t being me. I wasn’t creating what really made me happy. I put too many restrictions on what I made. I decided that from then on I would create what makes ME happy.

Cherished Relationships
That year I won a return trip to Inspired. Again I was nervous leading up to it. My roommates weren’t going and again I didn’t know anyone. For some reason I decided to put a post in the forum to see if anyone would like to check the city out with me … very out of character for me because strangers freak me out. I waited outside for the mystery person to show up … up walks Cheryl, talking 90 miles an hour like she had known me for years. I’m pretty sure we did ... our souls were on the same page. We talked about deeply personal things … she got me like no one else really ever had. She was definitely put in my life for a reason … through art … to guide me on my path. That year I also met Debbie, another huge influence in my life both artistically and emotionally. She is wise way beyond her years and always tells me straight even if I don’t really wanna’ hear it. We can create in silence next to each other or talk for hours — either way it always makes me happy. Little did I know meeting these two was a part of a bigger picture in my life … chance meetings that meant more and more to me as time went on. People are put in your life by chance, I guess, but to me there is a purpose to everything.

Shocker & Epiphany
The day after Easter in 2011, my seemingly perfect marriage was ended by my husband. First through separation, and then two weeks later for real. This was 36 hrs before I left for Inspired for my third year. I didn’t think I could go. How could I be happy … sane … not cry every five seconds? There was no way in my mind. With encouragement from Debbie and Cheryl I ended up making my flight. Scared to death, at rock bottom, and confused. My mind was constantly reeling. I couldn’t eat or think straight for long periods of time. I was kind of a mess. From the second I got to the event my art friends rallied my spirits. Making sure I ate … listening and talking when I needed it. It was exactly what I needed. I got so much compassion from people I had only known for a year or so. Love and kind direction like I didn’t know existed. I was right where I belonged, leading me to come to the conclusion that, bad or good, everything in life happens for a reason at the exact moment it was supposed to.

New Beginnings
The rest of the summer and up until now has been a series of ups and downs … starting over isn’t really the easiest thing on earth, but my foundation is unshakable just knowing that I have people in my life who really understand and want the best for me. I would have never known any of these people had it not been for my grandma’s crafty nature, my ex-husband talking me to the scrapbook store, and most of all being brave and going to Inspired. I have learned more about myself this year than I ever had before … I am strong, independent, and I can do anything I set my mind to. Most of all I have learned that art does save. I live it every day. Maybe I haven’t made a lot this year, but through art … my friendships have enriched my life more than I could ever explain.

This story isn’t over … It has just begun.

To learn more about Bree Stanley, visit


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