If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I have become a risk-taker in my old age...

I mean, like my niece once uttered about her 90+ grandfather, "What have I got to lose?"

Who says we have to follow the norms and seek professional guidance when we are decorating our home?

I tend to follow the advice of The Nester..."It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

So, when I inherited a couple of serene, pastoral prints from my Granny's estate, I was overwhelmed at first.

The prints are something that really didn't fit with my farmhouse style.

Still, though, they are serene, pastoral, and the colors work in almost every room of the house.

I decided that maybe the deep green trim on the frames was the reason I hesitated to embrace them fully.

After all, I'm not really a lover of green for decorating.

Then, I realized...

be brave!


I panted them!
Just a subtle change.

From green to black!

Wasn't that a brave, risk-taking decorating move on my part?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Favorite Children

Sometimes we have a running family joke about who is The Favorite Child.  

I will just tease whoever just did something thoughtful and wonderful for us that he/she is The Favorite Child.

You know, like when Stephen came by and helped me unload the sectional and put it in the basement...he was The Favorite Child.

Or when Bridgette came up and helped me set up for a shower...she was The Favorite Child.

Then, there was the time that Jessica came over and helped me clean up and get ready for a gathering...she was The Favorite Child.

Each of them has been The Favorite Child at some point.

Like, when Bryan helped me to move some furniture from the basement upstairs...he was The Favorite Child.

Or when Bonnie came early and hid and slid things like the vacuum cleaner before a crowd surprised me here on my birthday...she was The Favorite Child.

The day Laura brought some cookies for a baby shower...she was The Favorite Child.

Corey came and trimmed the shrubbery one day and...he was the Favorite Child.

Get the picture?  I will usually thank whomever profusely and gush that he/she is The Favorite Child.

Now, don't think there is any REAL special honor in being The Favorite Child.  

I mean, it doesn't come with wealth and riches, or some special certification or...anything, really.

It just means there is a little shinier, more polished sheen on the halo at the moment in time.

Recently, I was the proud recipient of a couple of fabulous prints that were part of my grandmother's estate.  They are sweet, timeless, classics.  The colors are perfect for any room in our house.  I really feel lucky to have them!

I was gushing over my good fortune with one of the girls at work and showed Sara a photo on my cell phone of the fabulous prints.  Immediately, she became animated and let me know that her mother had those same prints.  She asked me to text her the photo so she could show her mother.  A few minutes later, Sara reported that her mother had responded with this..."Gretchen and Gary!"

We laughed about it and discussed that Sara had no idea if that meant they were famous or if that meant they were common or what exactly that meant.  So, I did what we always do to learn more...Googled it!

We learned that my canvas prints were popular vintage prints of a couple of James Ingwersen paintings.  Ingwersen was a portrait artist who painted the little girl eating cookies and the little boy reading.  

I don't know much more about these prints which were originally portraits of children, but I have decided to adopt them.  

After all, they looked great with the red poppy quilt and decor that I had in the front bedroom...

They still look wonderful with the cross-stitched quilt my Granny made...

They fit well with the other artwork in the room - mostly photos of Mike and my four children.  So, we have decided to keep them in that room where we can admire them frequently as we stroll through the house.  

With all their flexibility and charm, they have quickly become The Favorite Children.  After all, they cost us nothing.  They never cause us any anxiety or grief or concern.  Those two children just peacefully sit and nibble their cookies and read their books and make us smile.  


...and low maintenance...

I think they have the revered title sewed up!

What more could you possibly ask for out of The Favorite Children?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More Pieces for the Roadshow?

You may recall that members of my family and I have been collecting treasures (of course, it all depends on your perspective) and wondering which one will by my Antique Roadshow treasure.

Recently, I was the recipient of a couple of prints and was really glad to get them.  I absolutely love the colors in them and they are so pastoral and serene.

Sorry the image isn't better but my cell phone shot is all I had that was a head-on close-up.

I have tried to find out more information about these prints by searching online and at my local library.

No luck.

So, here is where I appeal to the world.

(I guess what I'm really doing is asking my Mama to poll her friends since she seems to be my most avid reader!)

What do you know about these prints?

This is what the sticker on the back of the one on the left looks like:

It is called The Swing.  Well, for obvious reasons...

It shows a Victorian lady swinging gleefully between two trees!  I'm sure her face looks a lot like our Lydia's ecstatic one when she was swinging last year at Pre-K...

As you can see on the sticker, the prints are marketed by a company called Turner Wall Accessory and I have found out about other prints marketed by this company but not these two.

The other print has this sticker on the back:

and, well, it shows a pastoral scene with folks dancing.  Imagine that!

I had a difficult time deciding where to hang these two treasures.

The colors worked in almost every single room of this house.

(Wonder if Mama and Aunt Mary thought of that when they decided these treasures needed to be passed along to me?)

First, I tried them in the master bedroom with the stitched piece my Granny had crafted...

Then, I tried them in the front bedroom with the quilt I'm still searching for fabric to accessorize...

Next, I tried them in the back guest bedroom and decided they needed to be where I could enjoy them more often.

Then, finally decided they needed to flank the opposite side of the fireplace where I had another pastoral scene of cows that came from Mike's side of the family.

We do like them.  They are a real treasure from our perspective.

I still can't help but wonder if they are my Antique Roadshow treasure pieces, though...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tears in the Fabric

I wasn't going to write anything about this because in my opinion, there are no words that I could put together that would really acknowledge the tear in the fabric of our lives the event of thirteen years ago made.

Then, something brought me up short this afternoon...

You see, today is my husband's birthday.  So, now I look upon this date on the calendar as a wonderful one which enriches my life.  Fifty-six years ago today this man graced the world with his presence and we continue to celebrate that gift.  Today, he got a fabulous birthday gift - the promise and encouragement of beginning in a new job that he is looking forward to stepping into.  You see, he has been at a crossroad in his life and being forced to consider a change in his work.  For a while it has been like a millstone tied to him, dragging him down.  The decisions, the stress, the worries, the concern, the uncertainty, the certainties...all of it made for a struggle and difficult times.  Emotions have been pulled taught like a thin thread about to break.  The knots and kinks that decisions and uncertainty and even the certainties which are not pleasant cause in our mindset have been taking a toll on him and, in turn, me.  It seemed like the fabric of our lives had been worn thin almost to the point of creating a gaping hole - change.  Then, suddenly, today, the news of this change made us begin to think differently and face the future with a new mindset.  We stopped to be thankful and to realize that our own situation which had seemed stressful just a few short hours ago really wasn't a big deal at all.  We recognized how blessed we really are and how fortunate we are in those blessings.  Yet, for me, on this day, this change in perspective and outlook on the world was taking place on September 11th for the second time.  A reminder of all I have to be grateful for in this world and how I need to be more mindful of others who are not nearly so fortunate.

Like most anybody who was alive and journeying through the world on September 11th, thirteen years ago, I remember exactly where I was and what I did for the remainder of the day after that horrific morning.

I was in a school and was monitoring the attendance of high school students as they were going through their morning from their first classes to their next and thinking about the cute boy or girl who sat in that desk over there or dreaming about what they could be doing if they hadn't been stuck in those four walls or squeezing the ridges of their pencil as they squeezed out the knowledge they possessed to pass the assignment for which they were working to earn a grade.

A news flash passed across my computer screen and I opened up the message.  Then, quickly I summoned the nearest administrator to share what I had learned.  We began to brace ourselves for the onslaught of dismissals we anticipated.  We knew that parents would want their children to make their way home as quickly as possible so that they could huddle together and pray that there was safety in that.

I, too, thought of my own two children and wanted to hold them close.  My son was there at the school but my daughter was about a half-hour away at college and I developed a huge lump in my throat till I heard from her and could encourage her to scoot home even though there was no guarantee at that point that home was a safe place in times like this.

I finished out my day there at school helping to look out for other people's children before I made it home to my own.  Then, we sat in front of the television and watched in horror as things unfolded.  We were just as dumbfounded as everybody else that something like this could happen right here in our back door.

I still grieve for those people who were directly touched by the tragedy.  I know that their world was turned upside down and it will never be the same.  Still, I wish there was something I could do that would comfort them and make things seem alright when deep down I know that nothing will ever be the same for them again.

The thing is, truthfully, nothing will ever be the same for me again, either.  I had just come through a devastating divorce.  My world had been turned upside down.  My life had been turned inside out.  I would never again feel the same way I had felt just a couple of years before.  Yet, the horror and tragedy of that day in September was a turning point in my life in a different way.  The horrible-ness of it helped me to realize how fortunate I really am.  I felt blessed that while some folks had lost their family in a permanent and gut-wrenching way, my own family wasn't totally lost.  My own family was just changed and we were still accessible for one another and we could continue on through our journey and only look and feel a bit differently than we had before.  The fabric of our lives just had a wee bit of a fray in comparison to those folks who had the fabric of their lives shredded beyond recognition.

Still, words to not even come close to acknowledging the devastation of that day thirteen years ago when our world changed forever.  Yet, each anniversary of that event since them, we can look reflectively and count our blessings and lift up those who were not as fortunate as we are.  The tears in the fabric of our lives help us to realize what really is important and look around for how we are blessed.