Finding My Joy

It seems like ages since I began blogging at The Stampin’ Schach.  Even though I was still teaching, I had time to create several cards a week.  Now to be sure…I have evolved in my role as a cardmaker.

First challenge cardIn the beginning, photos were taken on the kitchen counter, and I had no idea what a light tent did.  My supplies were very, very limited.  I didn’t even have ribbon.  Yet, I was happy and proud of what I created. My mother loved birds and flowers, and although she had passed many years ago, she was in my thoughts as I stamped the above card.  I am not sure what happened to it.  Maybe I gave it away, or maybe it is tucked away in a box someplace, a souvenir of my very first challenge card.

I lost myself in the sheer joy of creating.  I found the time-made the time-to stamp, with Missy the Boxer curled up contentedly at my feet.  A week never passed that I didn’t create.  My goal-my mission-was to simply become someone who could make a good card.

From clean and simple one layer cards to…

Butterflysimple and distressed.

591dad6b8d3ae7fe3f0132065b938dacFrom undersea confections…
e816f7f8fe74ad674782246686b9c266to confections of a different kind, I created.  I worked hard. I paid attention to details…and yes, I added tons of pearls.

gingerbread I think I bought just about every designer paper, embellishment and ribbon Stampin’ Up! sold in my quest to create what I felt were the best cards possible.  But things began to change.  Instead of being a fun hobby, stamping became the “be all-end all”.   It became a job.  My creative life began to smother my family life.

Countless evenings have been spent meeting design team deadlines instead of meeting friends.  I have promised walks to faithful canines which were never taken.  Conversations have been left unspoken. At a time when I should be happy with my husband’s retirement, there was no time to do the things we always said we would do…things which, at our ages, should not be placed on the back burner.  There was no time.  I realized that not having the time to do these things had made me incredibly unhappy.  Others had seen it, but it took me until today to realize that  somewhere along the way, I had lost my Joy.

This morning I took a huge step in finding my Joy again.  Steps that were painful, and saddened me, but which were necessary.  I stepped down from both The Paper Players and Pals Paper Arts Design Team.  The designers at The Paper Players are like sisters to me, and I love them dearly. If and when the time ever occurs, they will welcome me back to the fold with open arms.  As for Pals Paper Arts, I have been a part of this team since day 1.  In many ways, it is as if I have lost a piece of my heart…

But through the pain, I know I did the right thing. This evening I took the puppies out for a much needed walk.  I called my son and my friend Gena.  Kim and I were able to pick out fall flowers to plant.  We went out for a Dairy Queen, which I definitely did not need.  And not once did I say, “I’m sorry…I have a card due tomorrow and a blog post to write.”

Things will be changing on the blog, but in a good way.  I am getting back to my roots…stamping simply for the sheer delight of expressing my creativity.  Entering challenges when I have the time.  Giving freely of my expertise.  I don’t know when my next post will be, other than my final Stamp Review Crew Blog Hop goes live Sunday night.  But know that I will be keeping you in my thoughts.  Until next time…



  1. smart move! Congratulations on making what I am sure was a very difficult decision.

  2. While I will miss seeing your amazing cards, I totally get your decision — I have done the same thing — I am finding that I am still creating daily, but with no pressure, it is fun again. Good luck on your life direction – enjoy those walks 🙂

  3. I’m sure it was hard to step back and then to step away from your design teams! It’s hard to let go sometimes but I bet you are breathing a lot easier and so much happier in doing so! You are awesome at what you do and I’ll always look forward to your next post! Enjoy your extra free time with those you love and who love you! I’m sure the Fur Babies are happy too! ? ?

  4. Hi Ann,
    I just now read your post regarding cutting back on your design team commitments.
    You have given a lot of inspiration and tips to so many and now you should take the time for yourself, family, and fur-babies.
    I know we will continue to see amazing cards and “pearls” on your future cards.
    It is time for you to sit back and smell all those lovely flowers, enjoy your new time.
    Nancy Lempinen

  5. You did the right thing for you and yours! You will never regret doing that. Many blessings! Please keep us posted on the puppy escapades!

  6. The most important thing in life isn’t fufilling a deadline, but being with who we want when we want, and creating when the spark strikes, which retirement hopefully affords us. You have made a wise decision Ann, and you will reap a greater richness of every moment because of it. I look forward to your coming blogs of dogs, family and your paper crafts made from the “sheer delight of creating”!! Hugs!!

  7. Your post is the shot in the arm I needed. No, not because you are slowing down the pace of your life. I will definitely miss you but look forward to the occasional cards and especially boxer news. I have been beating myself up since the early part of the year about not posting often, not creating like I THOUGHT I should, feeling like it was a chore, And I’m only a hobby demo!!! But my husband and I are both facing medical issues so your post helps me see it’s okay to go at a much slower speed. Thanks for making me think. So happy you’re not giving it all up. I know there are some happy pups who appreciate your decision.

  8. I am so proud of you!!!!!!! Not to many people would have done what you have done when they are on top. Life is to short at our age (retirement) not to be doing what your heart is telling you should be doing. You wanted many years to have show dogs, show them. You and Kim worked many years to retire. Enjoy your retirement. You raised a son that your are proud of in his many accomplishments. Enjoy them and him. I know you will still make beautiful cards with pearls that you will share but in your time frame. God bless you and your family of people and dogs.

  9. You need to do what makes you happy. There should always be time for what is important in your life. Don’t miss out on special times with Kim, Brady, and the furry Schachs. That can never be replaced. You are a wonderful artist and beautiful person. I know your cards will be even more special and magnificent when you create because you want to, not because you have a deadline to meet. Hugs to you.

  10. Yes. To all of this. I find myself in this daily struggle and I applaud your courage in taking back your time for the important things. Now I have yet another reason to admire you.

  11. Ann, you are my hero. I can relate to all you have said. Your beautiful writing is surely an inspiration to many of us. It’s a wonderful reminder to step back, let go of the pressures of overachieving, and make our lives nothing but moments of things that give us joy. I already had great respect for you, but your decision and taking the step of honestly speaking out about it have made me admire you even more. Bless you as you move on to a more peaceful and happy life.

  12. Family First…’s not always easy to see whats most important but you will never regret the wonderful memories that are created by time with your family. Stamping will always be there to fill any gaps when you want it. Crafting is supposed to be fun, not cause stress or feel like a job.

  13. Good for you. Sometimes you just have to stop and re-assess your life’s priorities and renew your inner peace. God Bless.

  14. Hi Ann! I’m so happy for you! To realize that something has to give, to understand that your family and friends mean the world to you, and to realize that you were missing out on your life. What a blessing! Your cards are so beautiful and I always look forward to seeing each and every one. I can’t wait to see what you create with joy and freedom. Wishing you all the best!

  15. We all grow and change as time goes by, but we need to be aware of when it is time to move on. Now is your time, and I applaud you for discovering that. I am in the midst of those decisions, too. Not quite sure if I still have the passion for stamping that I did a couple years ago, but hoping that desire will be revitalized someplace in the future. We will always look forward to your posts, and hope to hear from you from time to time.

  16. Ann, I have to applaud you for your decision but at the same time, my heart aches for you for all you’ve gone through. You have made the right decision. Our family life needs to be first. Sometimes I get so involved I forget that! Enjoy the things you’ve looked forward to doing with your family and friends. You will be able to love life more when some of that pressure is off your shoulders. Have fun but keep some time for the things you enjoy doing too! I admire you so much! Will still enjoy your beautiful cards, stories and pictures when you are able to post. At this point, I am giving up my status as a “Hobby Demonstrator”. I hope we can stay in touch!
    Diane Gil

  17. That is a hard pill to swallow to get you where you are today!!! You have earned this time with your families 2 footed & 4 footed & deserve to enjoy it. Do not ever feel guilty for that. You share so much with all of us that we are now spoiled rotten with your talent. We will still be here when you are. We will miss you when you are not here. But we will know that you are doing what makes you happy. Bravo for making a great but difficult decision.

  18. Chris R. from Iowa

    All your posts and wonderful creations will be more meaningful from now on. We will look forward to more fur baby stories as Lexi, Kia, and Jack continue to follow their own dreams of championships as did Muffy. Each tip, creation, and tutorial will be savored all the more without as many postings.

  19. Dear Ann, you make such awesome cards and I always looked forward to seeing your next post but finding your Joy is very important. I have always believed that spending quality time with family, friends, and even the furry buddies, is very important to ones own inner happiness. Good Luck and enjoy every day! Blessings to you and your family. 🙂

  20. Many hugs sent your way, my sweet friend. Sometimes stepping away can offer a lot of perspective. I’ve learned this myself over the past couple of months. I truly enjoyed reading your post today, you have such an amazing way with words. I am blessed and lucky to have made such a dear friend in you through stamping, too. I hope you find your joy and I know we will see your beautiful creations again. 🙂

  21. As much as I will miss seeing your creativity I wish you happy, joyful days with family friends and furry loved ones. This must have been a difficult decision to make but one that will bring you happiness and fulfillment in a different way. Enjoy your days…as they seem to be going by way too fast as we age. Thank you for all that you have shared over the years, your creativity, the cards, your beautiful dogs and the pups!

  22. God bless you Ann. When something isn’t fun anymore, it’s usually time to move on. I’ll look forward to seeing your “strictly for the joy of creating” cards in the future, knowing you are out there having fun now!
    Fondly, Barbara

  23. Ann, will you stay with Stampin’Up! but just slowing down? I am happy for you to now have time to enjoy your family, freedom, and friends. You are so respected for your creative talents and beautiful cards. Looking forward to posts when you have the time and desire to share. Best wishes to you!!

    • Hi, Carole! I am not leaving Stampin’ Up!…I am stepping back from three design teams in order to free up time to be with my family and friends. I love Stampin’ Up!, their products, and I LOVE working with those who have selected me as their demonstrator! In fact, I will have more time to answer questions and create tutorials!

  24. I have checked your blog daily for so long and have cased many a creation from you. I have laughed at your stories of the doggers and cried a little too. I will miss
    your wonderful blogging but I know the importance of family and life away from the everyday pull of commitments. Enjoy your life and your puppies. Thank you for all the time you gave me! If and when you post again I will enjoy it. Georgia

  25. Amen! In this hectic world, it is wonderful to know that you can chose what makes YOU happy, not what might be good for other folks. I, along with so many others, have learned from you and enjoyed your beautiful creations. I’m sure that occasionally you will still want to share with us, on your timetable, not on the timetable of anyone else. Enjoy your new found freedom. We all will look forward to the day when we will find a fantastic card on your blog. Have fun.

  26. Your cards are always so beautiful…and so is your spirit. Go for the joy and whenever you have a card to show….I’ll be here!!! (Enjoy the puppies kisses!!)


  27. So happy that you will be happy again, Ann! You know I love you and selfishly would love you to never stop giving all of us your wonderful creations. I wish you nothing but the best of what truly brings you joy! I look forward to seeing your joy-filled creations soon! Sending you a big hug, my friend!

  28. I will miss you Ann! I will look forward to seeing you creating cards again when you have time and just for the simple pleasure it brings!

  29. Amen! It’s so easy for us to lose our Joy and yet it’s so life-saving for us to keep it! It IS a process……..

  30. Dear Ann,
    As a fellow retired teacher (8 years of joy), I totally understand about the need to slow down! I have been helping my husband during his busy season — ug, busy! October will see more me time to go back to the gym, do more relaxing stamping, and devote more time to training my puppy to be a good dog. If we see Ann Schach cards once a week or so and read your dog news, I will be happy because I do love your style and your blog. You have to do what gives you your own happiness. That is what I try to live for! The best wishes to you as you find your bliss. Looking forward to your next blog, Nancy B and puppy Pi

  31. Hello Ann: I totally understand what you did and the reasons you did it. I was in the same situation several years ago, when I was totally immersed, not into crafting, but into training for grueling Iron Man Triathlon races. It was a time that I treasure, I did it and did it well, won several First Places, second and third too, it was a time of long swims, 100 mile rides and runs of at least 10 miles during the peak of my training. Many Sundays I left my husband to eat breakfast alone because I had a ride to do or I had to go to the YMCA to swim run on the treadmills. He endured 9 years of this and I love him even more for it. But this also took a tool, fun training days became a chore, became a “Ughhh!! I have to go running…..” Or “I can’t go have lunch, I need to ride 50 miles” said many times to my daughters. I did my last Iron Man Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run, just in case you didn’t know what this races are) on October 29th. 2011 in North Carolina, my whole family went to cheer me on and I finished 1st. in my age group 60-64, I had just turned 60 in September.
    Now, I have the wonderful memories of this fantastic years and I’ve gone into other stuff that I love too. I’ve been making cards and evolving like you, and now I also have a blog, something I didn’t even thought it was possible. But my dear stamping friends kept asking and asking until I finally did it and I’m having a blast. I’m participating in lots of challenges, my cards are being picked as winners or Honorable Mentions and I feel so happy about that. I do this in my spare time, I love it . So Bravo for taking this hard step into a more peaceful life, time with loved ones is precious, ENJOY IT!!!
    We know you will still have your blog, I’ve learned so much from you Ann, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. Your style is one of a kind, elegant and stylish, timeless and inspiring.
    I’m so happy you found your JOY again!!!!!
    Many hugs,
    Maria Rodriguez.

  32. Oh , MsAnn…. With watery eyes … You need to do what makes you HAPPY !!!!
    Life is to short, I been with you for a long time , and gladly couldn’t wait to see your next card to be posted !!! You have posed and Design the most BEAUTIFUL card I’ve ever need , and you have inspired ne along the way, enjoyed your babies also,
    You will do well, I’ll miss YOU, BUT ILL BE WAITING TO SEE YOU AGAIN !!!
    Love you, with lots of hugs ,
    You , friend , pal and Sister ,
    Hugs Frenchie ,

  33. Dear Ann, I am a hobby demo and fellow PAL. I have always admired your work but I have to say I admire you more for all that you shared today. It is hard to find balance in our lives and life is too short not to enjoy each and every day with those we love. I wish you all the best and lots of JOY in the days ahead!

  34. I have been feeling the same way, although I am not even as involved as you are. There are times when I think I should be spending more time on my craft and then I think, but my time is running out and I should also be doing the things on my “bucket list” . Enjoy life and your creativity will not disappear; it will enhance your living.

  35. I can ditto to all the above comments, and you will find the joy again. It was just hidden away for awhile. Please post a pic of the boxers when you can, as I will miss them as much as your cards every week. Hugs….

  36. Ann, Thank you for all the inspiration you’ve given us. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time. Love your cards and your dog tales. ha, I didn’t even mean that as a pun. I’ll look forward to your posts when the spirit moves you. Everything you create is worth waiting for. Enjoy life! Retirement is a wonderful thing. I’ve been doing it for 3 years now.

  37. Yep. Right there with you friend. But I had to be hit with a 2 x 4 to see it. My daughter has just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Took my breath away and made me see how I was spending all my time. Change is always good in retrospect.

  38. Ann, Thank you for inspiring and sharing your creativity with all of us. I have always admired your dedication to creating such beautiful cards, sharing your journey and love for your fur babies and your ability to express in words your heartfelt feelings on your blog. Finding joy, peace and balance in life is so important and I wish you all the best. You are a remarkable woman! Hugs

  39. Peace be with you Ann, and joy!!!

  40. Best wishes to you. I enjoy your blog posts, especially since I spent my teen years with a boxer, and your cards are fabulous, but, having retired after 17 years as a newspaper reporter, I truly understand the need to just kick back & catch your breath. Take care & have fun!

  41. Thanks for sharing your heart. Good luck in all you do. I must admit thought I came to your blog not only to see your
    cards but also to read about your pups. Please keep us up-dated on there growing up.

  42. Ann,
    I felt your inner peace as I read your post. I will have to admit that I don’ always read them, but always look at your cards. Your post caused me to be content with my hobby, hubby & home. I admire your decision & will be praying for your peace. Give those beautiful pups a hug for me-I lost mine of 15 years just this past July.

  43. What a great decision! Bless you! Probably the only thing better than finding your joy is re-finding it, just when you needed it most. I’m very happy for you.

  44. God bless you! You know you made the right decision! Pet your babies for me!

  45. Like so many others have already said, you will never regret this decision. Someone wrote, family & friends over paper. What a simple but profound way of saying it. I have received so much inspiration from you over the years and have cased many, many of your cards. I too will miss your daily posts and hearing all about your family — both human and fur babies. But I look forward to occasionally seeing your new creations as you get back to the joy of creating — for fun. Enjoy life! We only have one.

  46. Ann – You made the right decisions — people over paper. SU can be a treadmill for biz Demos and the slope gets steeper and the pace faster and faster. Creativity instead of the be all-end all becomes the method. Truly creative people lose joy; Biz people often survive despite creativity, or lack there of. In a time of so much change within SU, I’m so glad you took time to find out where you were, and make the correct decisions for you life. With all that said, I will surely miss your creativity, artistry and the part I held in my hands — LOM.

  47. We will all miss you being a daily part of our lives, but you have already given us so much. You will never be sorry for making the decision to spend time with your loved ones. Little did I know when I chose to retire from my job two years early with the promise of a two-year match from my employer, that they would be my Husband’s final two years. I now know I was so blessed to be able to spend that time with my husband and care for him in his final days. You will probably make many changes in your life in the years to come, but don’t put anything off when it comes to spending time and having fun with your family and friends. Enjoy your life and don’t be held hostage by crazy deadlines and obligations.

  48. I just started as a Stampin Up demonstrator, but only because I have 10 grandkids and want to have tools to make them cards for all occasions. I have no goals for selling anything, I am a retired sped teacher (actually transition coordinator) and while I am more of a cat person, I truly enjoy seeing your cards and pictures of dogs, puppies etc. Best wishes in your quest for joy.

  49. Ann, it’s all about balance in our lives, and even though I will miss you here, I know your decision is the right one. I will look forward to whatever you share and always keep in mind the pure joy that put me on this road too! You have been a real inspiration to me……especially today. Prayers for your new path!

  50. I believe you made the right decision. Our Family and dear Friends are more important than anything else in this world. Will still be waiting to hear and see your latest creation, and even, to hear about the pups. Blessings as you reconnect to what is important…your life! Thanks for being that inspiration to all!

  51. I totally understand….have been there. I thought I had to have everything and compete to try to be as good as everyone else. Stamping became a chore…as did blogging. I stepped back…quit the every day/week blogging, staying up til 3am to get things done…even quit holding classes for a while. So take time and enjoy your family and dogs…they won’t be here forever. Its much more worth the time you spend with them now.

  52. So sorry you have lost your joy…I will miss your cards you posted they were and are awesome. Your style is like mine. Totally enjoy your retirement…we retire so we can do what and when we want to do things.

  53. Hard to hear, but I’m so glad you are happy and joyful with your decision. I bet your furry friends are so happy to have extra walks!

  54. Thank you so very much for sharing your Joy, your passion, your extended Family with us, you StampinUp family. I have loved the Muffy chronicles, the addition of
    Brody, the Mini Muffins and their progress. Thank you Ann for allowing us to be a part of it all. If and when you are ready to return I (and your other readers) will be here to welcome you back. Until we meet again, We love you Ann. Debie from sunny California.

  55. “My goal-my mission-was to simply become someone who could make a good card.”…mission complete, my Friend! You make really really beautiful cards! Enjoy each day with those you love and cherish and stamp if there is time left over. You won’t regret it! Peace, Love, and Joy to you as you begin a new chapter in life.

  56. Looking forward to seeing what you create as the joy returns. I so enjoy reading your blog, seeing and hearing about your beautiful dogs and seeing your creations. When my Grandma was alive she knitted beautiful sweaters for her family, many people wanted to buy her sweaters and her answer was then it would take the joy out of what she made for those she loved.

  57. Good for you, Ann! I admire you and have loved reading your blogs and seeing the cards you’ve created. Thank you for doing that for all of us for such a long time. Enjoy your “new” life!

  58. I agree with all of the above, do love your inspiration and puppy pictures, will miss you but you are doing the right thing. Have fun and enjoy life.

  59. congrats on the balance in your life. most people are too fearful of change but once they take that step, every new day becomes a clean slate to find your happiness. go for it!!

  60. Best of luck as you start this next chapter in the adventure we call life. Time is one thing in this world that is in a finite supply … find the joy Ann!!

  61. Good for you! It takes a lot of courage tondo what you are doing. Do what makes you happy. Much respect my friend.

  62. Ann, you need to be commended for examining your situation and looking at what is the most important priorities in your life. I know you’ll still be very involved with making cards. Your family (human and furry friends) and other friends are the most important. Balance in our lives is a must. 🙂

  63. Hello Ann,
    I respect the decision you’ve made, and I feel for you. It must have been really hard. I hope you have more time with your family and friends from now on, and enjoy stamping free from deadlines and pressure. Thank you so much for your inspiration for a long time (and I hope we’ll get to see your work of art once in a while)!

  64. Hugs, Ann! I think what you have spoken here is the main reason I have never become a demonstrator. Blessings to you as you enjoy life!

  65. I have so loved your inspiration and creativity. I will continue to learn from you. Thanks for helping my creative my creative side of life…hugs!!

  66. I am happy for you. My husband and I are both now retired, and I,have never been anything but a hobbiest with Stampin’ Up, and at times felt guilty about the $$ I spent. I love the cards I create, but there is also a life to lead and places to go. Enjoy no deadlines and the joy to create for the love of it, not the requirement of it!

  67. Becoming a business demonstrator has stolen my joy in creativity. Your honesty has really touched me. I have been pondering the past two weeks how I want to enjoy stamping instead of being focused on reports and promotions.

  68. Thank you Ann for all the cards and projects that you have shared with us. Hopefully when you do blog your creations you will share it with those that have followed you for many years. Enjoy each day and stamp with joy again! Hugs, Chrystyna

  69. As I told my daughter not long ago, every day doesn’t need to be a red-letter day , but should be a “feel good” day. Sounds like you’re going to ba having a lot of “feel good” days ahead. Congratulations!!

  70. Oh, Ann I had to smile when you said you took your puppies for a walk today; there is no greater joy, is there, than enjoying your surroundings and those around you. Good luck on keeping your joy! Don’t give away all your pearls yet!!! lol

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