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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting My Groove Back...aka First Warrenton Pics

Happy Tuesday, Friends.

I'm sharing a handful of images with you today, all taken
this past Sunday in the glorious fields of Warrenton.

Many more to come, just dipping my toes back in the creative waters
today as I begin the editing process. It feels's what my dear mama,
who just so happened to finance my fancy schmancy pro camera,
would have wanted.

As someone recently admonished me, when I despaired of 
never wanting to take another picture again,
" every picture you take will now be 
a memorial to your mother. "

I love that. Indeed.

Hope you enjoy.

I'll be sharing more in the days ahead,
my wish for each of you this week is
nothing but happiness!


pics taken here:

pic #2 pending my locating their business card
pic #3 out in the fields

Monday, September 26, 2011


Today I did a lot of things I knew had to be done...

I went to the Social Security office to make sure that the 
funeral home had notified them of my mom's recent death.

I secured a storage unit for her belongings
until such a time as we are able to sort through them fully.

I attended to a few more unpleasant necessities associated with
her passing, which all fall to me as her only child.

But first...
Before that...
Before today...

 I made a quickie, one-day visit to
one of my most favorite places on Earth.
I spent a happy and friend filled day in the
fields of Warrenton, shopping and junking
( and of course snapping away )
and just trying to get my mojo ( and my joy ) back.

In the photo above, taken at Theresa Cano's
customary blog party, are my beautiful friends
(left to right)
Teresa of Attic Rat,  
Theresa of Time Worn Interiors,

It was a short trip, I didn't even stay for the whole party,
but it was still just what I needed.
Seeing and connecting with good friends,
giving and receiving hugs,
and allowing the healing process to do its thing.

I took roughly 225 shots ( actually a low number for me! ),
so rest assured that just like in days past,
I will have MANY wonderful images to share later this week
from the incredible fields of Warrenton and Antique Week.

Hope you have a blessed week.

My mom's memorial on Saturday was just beautiful.
Thank you all so much for your ongoing prayers
and love. It keeps me going.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

things i've learned this week

that life is precious

that time is short

that it's okay to cry for a good reason

that it's even more okay to cry for no reason whatsoever

that mindless tv serves a huge purpose

that people are basically good

that sometimes a glass of strawberry lemonade 
takes the pain away

that puppy kisses are better than the best medicine

that everyone has been dealt a crappy hand now and then

that taking a spontaneous road trip to visit a precious friend
is often just what the doctor ordered

that a sink full of dirty dishes can wait

that blessings still abound

that God is good all the time,
all the time, God is good.

 { photo taken during my Waco road trip last week,
and included here just because it made me smile }

Thursday, September 15, 2011

..."and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest..."

the last picture.

My precious mama passed away three days later,
September 13, 2011.

I was asleep at her bedside, 
and although she had been in a great deal of pain all that final day,
the end came quickly and quietly.
No more pain, no more suffering, no more tears.

Goodnight, Mama.
I love you to the moon and back,
and I will see you again on the other side.

if you have ever lost someone, please play this song.
for me, it says it like no other.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blogger Breakdown...Guest Post by Elizabeth Maxson

I experienced a very special joy today when I received
an unexpected phone call from my blogging hero,
the beautiful Elizabeth Maxson.

My love for this gal goes way back, as I sang her praises way back when in
THIS post. This was our first time to speak, and to say it
lifted my spirits would be a huge understatement.

She is just the epitome of everything I aspire to be as a blogger,
but more importantly, as a kind, generous, loving woman of God.

I was so impressed with one of the last posts she did
that I asked if I could share it here with all of my readers,
and she most graciously agreed.

I think you'll find it as thought provoking
and full of hard-won wisdom as I did.
Thank you for sharing Elizabeth,
and thank you for being you.

Elizabeth Maxson

Hello Everyone!

It has been quite some time since I have posted on Shop Talk. I sure have missed you and hope you are having a great summer and are having fun.

First, let me say how much I appreciate all of your emails. I read them and do respond to each and every one of them. Sometimes it may take some time, as I am out of town a lot, but I so enjoy hearing about your adventures, your businesses, and I will always try to help you in anyway that I can. I never have professed to be a professional in anything, but I do offer help based on my experiences or from what I have learned from others and I am happy to share.

I have had several readers ask me whether or not I was going to do the store display contest like I held last year. I have a couple of answers for that. While I truly enjoyed (and I think you did too) the displays last year, I had been wanting for several months now to write about a topic that directly conflicts with my requesting you creating displays. Because of my schedule, I just simply have not found time to write to you what has been on my mind so much lately, but feel it is important. So, if you will indulge me for a moment, and let me say my peace, then I will propose to you what I am thinking about the display contest. How does that sound?

Basically, the topic I want to address is called:

Blogger Breakdown

And in order to break up the text, I will include a series of photos of scissors that I took some time ago - a simple little tool that we all use when we create...and that is what we do best...we create.

Creative people always find a way to stay in touch.

Over these past several months, I have noticed something that seems to be running rampant among our blessed blogger friends. While I am very upfront and admit that I do not spend a lot of time online and on blogs due to my schedule and work, I do miss not reading and keeping up as much I would love to. When I do find the time, I find myself spending hours at a time reading those wonderful blogs, catching up, and spending time regretting how I don't do this more often. I don't comment often, as I zip from one blog to another, all excited to see how much everyone has grown, or the projects they are doing, or my hugest regret? To discover that a blogger has endured a very hard time (a family member loss, or illness) and I was totally unaware for months.

However, these past several months, due to my projects, and writing assignments, I had the privilege of reading quite regularly because of research I am doing, or needing to get in touch with people due to my projects. It was a joy to be "in touch" for so many months. But it was during this time that I discovered something disturbing.

Sometimes, creating requires time with ourselves

I started discovering quite of few blogs in which either the blogger felt the need to take a very much needed break from blogging to take care of themselves, their family, a personal issue, or in one case "to just get my life back." And then I discovered another set of bloggers who were apparently just returning from a much needed break who were excited to be "back" but also went on and on about how "good it felt to live in the real world" again - referring to their time away from the cyber world. I am not talking about just one or two bloggers here. I am referring to more than a dozen, and those are only the ones that I happen to frequent on a regular basis. But these two sets of bloggers - the ones taking leave, and the others who are returning, this isn't what is bothering me.

What bothers me is what the two have in common. Both groups felt the strong need to apologize for their absence, for "neglecting" their blog, and for their need to spend time away from their blog. Many felt the need to "explain" how their families were needing them or how they just needed some "down time" and so on. What sadden me was that these wonderful, talented, giving, loving women, who have given, given, and given, year, after year, after year, felt the need to "explain" or "justify" why they want to just simply live their life. They just want to live their life without reporting it to their readers.

Creating in the blogging world has sadly gone askew.

Somewhere along the way in this wonderful world of blogging, things have gone askew. Somehow, many now feel obligated to report their lives on a regular basis to their wonderful readers. The very readers that have made bloggers feel special all these years, can sometimes become the same readers who become angry or disappointed when bloggers can no longer live up to what the "cyber world" or "blogger world" has deemed as redeemable as proper blogging or blogging protocol. For some, creating is no longer creating when it comes to blogging, but rather it has become a form of entertainment. I am very happy (and honored really) when my creations happen to inspire others. But if I find myself creating in order to just keep or grow readers or followers, then I am no longer creating, I am entertaining. For some, that is perfectly acceptable and I am in no way judging. If blogging is the way they make a living, then of course, you better entertain. But I am not talking about that level of blogging. I am referring to those very talented and giving bloggers, who for years, have been giving, giving, giving, and sharing their thoughts, creations, tips, ideas, travels, and more, and after doing this for years, they find themselves actually feeling the need to apologize, explain, justify, their need to slow down, and actually LIVE in the real world without having to report it, discuss it, photograph it, download it, share it, or worry if they do, they will "lose readers" if they don't post often enough. How did it come to this?

Blogging is an up close and personal invitation into our lives....

Over the years, blogging has turned into a form of wonderful communication, a way to connect, a big business, a way to sell our products, a way to advertise our talents, and more. But as with anything, too much of a good thing can become not so good. As we share our lives and our creations, we are inviting total strangers to examine us, up close and personal. But that is the is an invite. Sort of like having guests over for dinner and they demand more and more dessert and so we leave the dinner table and go whip up something even fancier in our kitchen and our guests lap it up and stay later and later for more...and when we get pooped, we find ourselves apologizing for not having more dessert to whip up and we explain that we have to get up really early to work, go see grandma in the hospital, and take the car in to get fixed. Then our guests, leave in a huff, and mumble about going to the neighbors's house because they have "better dessert" and their door is always open. And here we stand on our stoop calling out apologies and promising to make more dessert later when we don't have so much to do. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

Somehow, blogging has sense of entitlement - readers line up, expecting you to post (give) often.

What starts out as a way for most creative bloggers to simply share what they are doing, turns into expectations and entitlements of many. If a blogger happens to have a way with words, photography, or captures the delight of others, then more is demanded of him or her. It is soon forgotten that what the blogger is posting is "free" and "given" to the readers.

And this is where a blogger is at a crossroads: he/she can either start "performing" and sacrifice her true nature of creating from the soul, or she stays true with her soul and reports her creative activities when time allows because, hey, she is busy creating, living, and it isn't personal that she hasn't posted, it just simply means that way, long before the Internet was ever invented, we would have never heard of her before, and would have never even received the few tidbits of her life that she invited us into in the first place. So, I am grateful that she took time out of her busy, creative life to invite me in whenever she can, and share with me her exciting creations and I don't begrudge her for not "reporting to me" on a regular basis. Who am I to demand or be disappointed that this total stranger does not share on a regular basis just so I am entertained or inspired by her talent?

Blogger Breakdown is something that is going around.

I find it sad that I discovered so many talented and creative women these past months who not only felt the need to take a break, but felt the need to apologize for it. But I understand, because I used to do the same myself. But I made a decision a long time ago that made me quit apologizing. Blogging is not my living, my life, nor my end all be all. I like to share, and I want to inspire and encourage, but I have a life off the computer (a very busy one) and I won't apologize for it. And it truly makes me sad to have discovered recently so many wonderfully talented women out there who feel the pressure "to keep up" or "be better than the other blog" or a very real pressure to "be different."

Wanting to be different is easy. You already are. You only need to show a bit of yourself at a time.

Blogging to me is a creative outlet. If my readers only want pretty pictures, they get it sometimes and sometimes they get stories. I don't aim to please anyone but me. If my creative outlet ends up inspiring others or encouraging others, then that is icing on the cake and I am doubly pleased!

That is how I ran my store and it went well. Why in the world would anyone own and run a business they don't like? That is what working for an employer is for - at least you get sick days and vacation. Owning your store should be your passion because in the beginning, no sick days, vacation or time off, so you better love it and do it to please yourself.

And I see blogging the same way. You do it because it pleases you. If it interrupts your life, if it takes away from what you need to do, or causes stress, and if it is not how you make a living, then why in the world would you ever apologize to anyone for not posting? You are standing on the stoop of cyber space calling out to total strangers, "I will have better desserts later, I promise! Please don't leave!" Now, when you see it that way, isn't it kind of silly?

So, if you feel the need to get a permission slip to stop blogging for however long you need or want to, then I am giving you one. :-) Sometimes, we just need to hear what we already know, from someone else, you know what I mean? You all work so hard at your businesses, the holidays are coming up...there are only so many hours in the day! CEASE THE BLOGGING and go live in the real world for a while and spend time enjoying all that is around you for while. Go read a book, or bake something good and DON'T photograph it, and post it...just get some milk and eat it with a loved one. If blogging has become a chore, a stress, another "thing to do" on your list, or just isn't fun anymore, then it is time to stop for a while. I am giving you permission. You give, give, give...stop and give to yourself now. :-)

Sometimes, hanging out together in person is a way to really connect with the world again....

Connecting with friends and family on a regular basis is more important to me than blogging. While my readers mean a lot to me and I am honored that I am going to meet a fellow reader/blogger/friend for the first time half way around the world next year, that is the point. I am going to MEET her in person! Nothing like a real hug to connect.

Display Dilemma:
So this brings me to my display dilemma. Because after feeling the way I do after what I have discovered recently about the Blogger Breakdown, how am I supposed to ask my readers to participate in a display contest that I will be posting? Will that be creating pressure for you to perform? Or will it inspire you to perform? Will this be just another "thing on my list" to do? Or will it be a form of creativity that you long for? I feel conflicted seeking out this request while I see so many bloggers so busy doing what they need to do already. Will I be adding to the stressful situation?

So, I will leave it up to you to decide if a display contest fits into your scheme this year or not. Should I have the display contest, here are some of my new guidelines:

It would be a holiday display contest that all displays will be built in the month of November.

I will post the photos the first week of December

A short paragraph must be included with your entry along with your link, or name of your location - I will provide guidelines of the paragraph - most likely something like : What inspires you to create?
I will watch for comments or emails regarding this. I will be out of town in two weeks and when I return, I will let you know at the end of Sept or beginning of October if there is to be a display contest for November. The last thing I want to do, is add to your already very full schedule, and yet, I don't want to deny anyone the chance for fabulous inspiration!

from my house to your house,

Thank you again Elizabeth, and I do hope that all
of you will pay a visit to each of her beautiful blogs,

And thank you all for your continued prayers
and well wishes, today is a brighter day.

With Love,

All beautiful photos and text courtesy of
Elizabeth Maxson

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pass the cigars, it's a girl!

Ever wish you could turn back the hands of time?
Yeah, me too.

I was looking back over my old posts, and found this one from exactly two years ago today.
I sound so lighthearted, giddy almost.
Made me smile, but in a bittersweet fashion.

Here's to happier days ahead...

{ originally posted September 7, 2009 }

Ain't she purty?
Her name's Fantine.

Me and my gotta-have-it-right-now, impatient self has been seriously jonesing for a dress form for what seems like forever. My junking budget has taken a serious hit this past month or so as I try to stock up on merch and props and such for my upcoming booth. So a real live, busty, beautiful broad in the form of a female dress form was gonna have to wait.

In the meantime, I stumbled upon Jules, who I introduced you to last week.

Meh. He'll still come in handy, but he wasn't what I was truly looking for. Yes, I admit it....I was just using him until something better came along. Lookin' for the Junk BBD, no shame in that, right? So why do I feel like such a hussy, then?  ;-)

After Mass on Sunday, I set off just down the road for some window shopping in the fab little town of Fredericksburg. You know, home of Red and the legendary Homestead stores, yada, yada. Oh, and to grab a bite at the yummy well-known eatery, Rather Sweet ....OMG, if you haven't eaten there, you simply must! This chick is one seriously talented chef, and she's been mentioned in scads of national mags and been on the Food Network. Just go. Get the berry tart bar. Prepare to swoon.

Anyhoo....just window shopping. Yep, that's all I  planned on doing, yessirree. Was doing great until we hit the city limits and I saw a flashing "Antiques" sign I had never noticed before. "STOP THE CAR"  I screamed at my junking buddy who was driving. Turns out it's a brand spanking new Antique Mall which just opened a little over a month ago. They seem to have terrific stuff and mostly great prices. And that's where I found her....

She was nestled away in a corner behind a bunch of Pepto Bismol pink frou frou. Almost passed her by, and would have had she not whispered to me in French "C'est un plaisir de vous rencontrer".

And with that, my resolve melted like a puddle of sorbet.

She isn't vintage, but that's aiight, I have plans to tea stain her soon. And she comes on a really sturdy, solid rolling stand. The best part? I was able to get her for a song, and nope, it wasn't La Vie En Rose, either.

I picked up a few more treasures at my newfound junk source, as well as got my name on the waiting list for when a booth opens up. Score!

Here's another nifty little find which caught my eye the minute I walked in the front door:

It's an egg carrier-sorter thingamabob! A little too pricey for me, but representative of some of the unusual things they have there.

Next installment, I'll give ya's a peek at the darling scales I practically stole from them they were so cheap!

Have a fab week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Baby Steps Back

I haven't wanted to pick up my camera
the past couple of weeks.
Taking pictures has been the last thing on my mind.
Go figure, huh?

And then I remembered....
it was my sweet mama who, those many months ago,
took such unbridled joy at being able to help me
purchase my exorbitantly expensive big girl camera.

Each time I've had my photos published,
she has beamed with joy.
She even has a little mini-shrine of sorts set up
in her tiny apartment, filled with copies of the magazines
my work has been featured in.

She has been so proud of me,
and has been such a huge part of everything I've been able
to accomplish .

these pictures I snapped today are for you.


“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. 
Today’s trouble is enough for today.” { Matthew 6:34 }

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Good, The Bad and the Whole Shebang

I wish I had pretty pictures to share.
News about my latest photography exploits,
or a really killer estate sale I stumbled upon this weekend.
Something light and frivolous and mindless.

Nope, I got none  of that for you.
So if you're looking for happy and cheery and all that jazz,
you best move along, because this isn't the blog for you right now.

My mom has inoperable ovarian cancer,
and I've spent the past week in the big city hospital at her bedside
following major surgery.
I'm a medical person myself, as most of you know, so it's a mixed blessing
knowing a bit more than the average bear when the roles are reversed.
I know when things are going right, 
but I also know when things aren't.
We've had a bit of both.

Because a lot of you might not have read my Facebook updates,
I'm compiling them for you here, in chronological order.
They may seem a bit disjointed, but 
maybe this will fill in the blanks for the concerned and the curious,
and will serve to explain why I haven't made this blog a priority of late.

Asking for prayers for a grave situation.  August 24 at 7:45pm via mobile
My mother has agreed to get treatment tomorrow. Please continue to pray for her, of course...but pray also that I can hold it together for her sake. I've already broken down completely several times today.  August 25 at 6:45pm via mobile
She is sicker than ever this morning and once again refusing to go to the hospital. I am frantic, please pray.  August 26 at 7:36am via mobile
 FINALLY got her to agree to go to the ER, we are there now. Thanks for all your prayers. August 26 at 11:27am via mobile
The news from the ER was not good at all. I just ask that you pray for peace for my mother and strength for me. I feel very much in shock tonight.  August 26 at 7:30pm via mobile
I held it all together until 4am, and then it all hit me. The tears flowed, the fear became palpable. Please God, help me to be strong for her tomorrow and every day she has left. August 27 at 4:36am via mobile
A very long day, but we now have a plan. Major surgery scheduled for Tuesday, please continue to pray that my mom feels the presence of Christ. Thank you all so much for all your prayers thus far. August 27 at 6:58pm via mobile
The fear I've been feeling for my mom had gotten better, but today it is back with a vengeance. Feeling nauseated, not sure I can do this. She had another horrible night, and has to undergo a grueling pre-op surgical prep today for surgery tomorrow. Got to keep it together for her sake. August 29 at 10:06am
She doesn't want any information about the extent of her disease from the doctor. She is in complete and total denial and is looking to me to make all the decisions about her treatment. This is so not like her...and I am completely overwhelmed and exhausted. August 29 at 5:02pm via mobile
I'm unable to keep up with all the correspondence and questions right now, just know that your prayers are very much appreciated. Her surgery is at 5pm today. August 30 at 8:39am via mobile
The early report back from the OR is not good at all...  August 30 at 7:34pm via mobile
She is in ICU this morning. They could only get so much of the cancer, there is much more they couldn't get. She has a horribly difficult road ahead of her and I'm not sure how much time we have left with her. Please continue to pray, above all for peace for my precious mama. Wednesday at 11:34am via mobile
She is off the vent, taking ice chips and occasionally teasing her nurses. I don't think she yet fully realizes the extent of her disease or the incredibly hard road ahead. It's still too soon to hit her with all of that. Plus, she's in for an incredibly painful procedure tomorrow when they change her wound VAC.
Still, she is alive. And where there is life, there is hope. Thank you Lord, for both.
Wednesday at 10:59pm via mobile
A little bit of a rough day. She was supposed to he transferred out of the surgical ICU today, but she needed to be heavily medicated in order to tolerate a very painful procedure. Hence, she's still out and sleeping it off now.
I do alright most of the time, but every once in awhile, the sheer enormity of all of this just smacks me in the ass. This is one of those times.
Thursday at 5:08pm via mobile
My mom had a rough morning. Very confused due to the pain meds, pulled out her NG tube, begging me to take her home. She may be transferred out of ICU today, and according to the nurse, someone will need to stay in her room with her tonight. I was prepared to stay, but an angel ( her adopted RN son Tom ) volunteered to stay instead. My gosh, I just need out of this hospital for one night, does that make me a horrid person??? Yesterday at 12:49pm via mobile
I'm on my way home now for the first time in a week. They sat my mom up in bed for the first time before I left, and they might move her out of the SICU tomorrow. She is still critically ill, still full of inoperable cancer, but I give thanks to God for these little victories. Yesterday at 9:15pm via mobile
For those of you who have walked the walk I am on now, what is the hardest part of the day? For me, it's that moment when I first open my eyes and realize that it's morning and there's another day to face. My heart starts racing and I realize that it all wasn't a bad dream. Peace comes at night, when I can close my eyes and escape, if only for a bit. 15 hours ago via mobile
Today was a mixed bag. She was sweet, loving, appreciative and grateful this morning and afternoon. We had great visits, and then we left for Mass and dinner. When we came back she was angry and confused and wouldn't make eye contact with me. It's the morphine, I realize that, but it's always better to end the day on a happy note. Thanks so much to all of you for praying and being there for me. 2 hours ago via mobile
And there you have it.
My week in a nutshell. 

Can I ever repay the countless hundreds of you who have left me
words of comfort and strength?
Probably not.
Heck, I can't even make the rounds to thank you each personally.

But just know this...
I have heard you.
And it's made a difference.

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