During the last year and a half I have had the opportunity to look for silver linings.
" When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining -- the small glimmers of hope. Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times. And remain conscious of your blessings and victories -- all the things in your life that are right. Focus on what you have, not on what you haven't."
Those close to me know that I am a quiet, reserved person, one who chooses to not share much of a personal natural here on these pages.... but I have decided that by sharing, I can perhaps be of support to others and to let others know that they are not alone in whatever hardship they find themselves in.
The beginning of 2012 brought with it news that would change the day-to-day life of both my hubby and myself. My beloved hubby of 34 years was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and Lewy Body Dementia. I was heartbroken to say the least. My hubby has been my rock and consistent, loving support all of our time together. We have taken on different roles, he and I, as we walk this new path together, hand in hand. I am now a caregiver and all that that implies. This is my life now and I want to fully experience every aspect of it and stand in the blessings that are there to wash over me.
I knew from the beginning that I had a choice to either suffer in feeling sorry for ourselves, to remain stagnant in despair .....but the survivor in me chose to center in on the little things every day to be grateful for. My energy focuses on positive attitude, gratefulness, faith, family, and the love that is ever present and graces us through every day. I realize I can't change the diagnosis but I can choose how I react to it. I refuse to waste my time and emotional energy on things that are beyond my control. That does not mean there aren't days with tears, exhaustion, and frustration....those days are the days I allow the love we are surrounded with to lift me up and bless me. I have learned that while every day may not be what I would perceive to be "perfect" it is what it is and it is perfect in it's own way. They, too, bring gifts.
Friends and family have been there to hold me up. People who unconditionally share their loving support in every way they can.
(Charlene Gray, Me, Diana Salvucci-Smith and Vickie Orlando)
Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending three glorious days with friends in the San Francisco Bay Area antiquing at Remnants of the Past, sharing meals with fabulous people, laughing, shopping, hugs and just "being" with soul mates. With the support of my sweet daughter-in-law and step-son, who cared for my hubby, I was able to take a few days off from caregiving and play....such a welcomed respite. Thank you to all of you...that includes you, Ann and Mark Hammes, for welcoming me into your home and for your amazing hospitality.
Part of my coping has been to throw my creative self into my home....surrounding myself with the beauty that I receive so much joy from.
Let me share some of my antiquing finds with you and decorating make-overs.
A beautiful antique cupid plaque (about 2 1/2' x 1') now graces the opening to my fireplace.
I adopted these adorable children......I love antique photographs. The hand-painted pink and white tones brought these little ones to life and look perfect in my shabby chic living room. The frame was originally gold which I painted with white chalk paints and rubbed with gilder's paste.
Recently, I updated the look of my sofas by making a slipcover using white quilts I purchased from Bed Bath and Beyond. It was a simple project.....with a little sewing and wrapping the fabric around the sofa much like a gift and securing with pearl-headed pins. I then replaced the original pillows with handmade, white linen down pillows which I purchased from a fabulous Etsy person. The vintage pink throw pillows, vintage pink throw on the left and touches of antique lace, were the finishing romantic touches I was looking for.
When I go to antique shows, stores and flea markets, I purchase items that I have an emotional response to....not knowing what I will do with them at the time...but am confident they will find a home somewhere. I purchased two beautiful early 1900's petticoats. I loved the color, the drape and romantic feel of each one. After I washed and pressed them, I decided they would look great as window dressings. Using pearl headed pins again, I attached them to the top of my current white drapes and hung a lace trimmed antique napkin across the top to finish it off. I am in love! Who would have guessed that petticoats would be hanging in my living room as window treatments.....looking at treasures beyond what they were originally intended and created for lend themselves to being repurposed for wonderful things indeed!
The pink and white Dresden Doll I purchased, is a perfect accent to my coffee table display of shabby chic lantern and antique bottles.
Have I told you that I collect antique pitchers? Well this fabulous ironstone/transferware pitcher now holds a special place. Look closely....and you will see a sweet bird and nest. It is sitting on an antique, plate and doily.
Shopping with friends who really know you and who can spot pieces just waiting to go home with you, makes the hunt even more fruitful. The Art Deco silver dresser mirror was just that piece....thank you Diana Salvucci-Smith! I also purchased from the same French vendor the lovely antique French photo/frame and beautiful bible.....they all now grace the top of my bedroom dresser.
Now on to my studio. Antique doll heads...of course, jumped into my flea market cart immediately as well as Edwardian frills and frocks.
An antique hat mannequin....perfect for displaying my vintage and antique hats.
These finds (the size 18 1/2 mannequin and awesome cabinet of drawers and shelves) were purchased a few months ago at Three Speckled Hens Antique show. As a result of them moving into my studio....my dear friend, Vickie, and I worked for hours rearranging everything to accommodate them..."where there is a will, there is a way" and "out with the old, in with the new"....thank you Vickie.
One can never have enough doll heads.....
These wonderful antique dollies stand gathered waiting patiently for me to create a new class with them.....
Just love these dresses of yesteryear....what can I say!
These are but glimpses of my "Silver Linings".....small glimmers of hope and beauty. I choose to look for happiness within the opportunities that bless me every single day.
Wishing you all a fabulous 4th of July celebration!