Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sparks of Inspiration

Happy New Year and welcome to my first official blogging adventure!
At the top of our landing upstairs our sitting/reading rooms opens up. My husband and I have worked side by side over the years to completely gut every inch of our row home and reinvented it for our casual lifestyle. Years ago we knocked down the hallway wall of the middle bedroom and installed a skylight to flood the room with light.
This is where I go to read and face the challenge of a blank paper pad. Be it to draw or write my poetry. Funny while waiting for that creative flash of inspiration the blank page is both exhilarating and terrifying! I always start with the "old school" habit of pen on paper. I personally feel it's a more soulful connection. Once my idea and concept has been crafted I switch to writing/refining and making the final changes on my computer.

Over the summer I made some changes and additions to the area. I purchased a new small grey velvet sofa, a floating lacquered grey shelf, a small cowhide rug and I repainted the mantle with a faux grey technique.

The photos printed on canvas in B&W were printed by John who works in digital media. They are of my son Christopher and are my favorite photos of him. Taken by my beautiful grand Gabrielle while out and about with her Dad and brother Dane (a mini me of Chris) a couple of years ago.

My son Christopher and only child passed away suddenly on November 2nd, 2013. The holidays were very difficult for us, my sons children and loved ones and friends left behind.

Throughout our house we have pieces my son designed and gifted us with. Chris was a talented carpenter. The mantle was a gift 18 years ago he made for me. He crafted it from all architectural salvage.

The very weathered mirror was made from a 200 year old farmhouse in Buck's County PA. One year for my Christmas gift Chris replaced the glass with old mirror and it has hung here since. I've only made a few enhancements of a paint and glaze solution to bring out it's faded charm.

On Christmas I received a magical message, a true Christmas gift on my sons favorite holiday. A powerful message that he was at peace. Christmas Eve was a very difficult emotional evening and while trying to fall asleep all I managed to do was cry a river and toss and turn. Sometime early Christmas morning I did fall asleep. I dreamt that Chris was in Heaven, filled with beautiful deep shades of sapphire and cobalt with streaks of lavender. There was movement in the heavens filled with blinking glistening stars. Chris was floating and his back was turned as he reached into the heavens and plucked a bright star and placed it on top his tree. Chris turned around and smiled at me, the warmest smile I've ever seen. I felt his love flow through me as I felt a warm embrace of peacefulness. I fell back asleep, a resting sleep I hadn't had since November 2nd.

Awoken by a phone call from my cousin, we chatted for awhile but I didn't share my dream. I needed to process through it. Realizing it was a gift of release of the anger stage of grief and one of acceptance of my loss. I went downstairs, fed Max and Simon (fur kids), cooked breakfast and over breakfast I shared my amazing dream with John.

Afterwards I went on-line and found a company in the Netherlands that you can purchase and name a star in honor of someone. Chris's star is a bright star visible in Northern America, Canada and Northern Europe.

I had told John there would be no gifts exchanged on Christmas. We would approach the day just like a normal Wednesday (as Chris loved to say Hump day). I never thought that on Christmas I would receive a gift ... a remarkable gift of peace from my handsome son.

I believe in this quote:
"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny"
C.S. Lewis

In this room I display my most treasured things. The Buddha is an antique Burmese. I collect Buddha's and they are in every room of our house. The wire crown adorning Buddha's head was made by my friend and very gifted artist Doré Callaway of Burlap Luxe.

The door with the art I painted is the back guest bedroom.

I find inspiration and enjoyment reading my great collection of decorating books. Many written by bloggers.

Meet  >^..^< Maxwell Smart ... my photo assistant

Now onto my poetic flash of inspiration. As a young girl watching TV on Saturdays the Tin Man movies had a major influence on me. Starring Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora Charles and their adorable back flipping wire-haired terrier named Asta. I would watch those reruns and dream of being married one day to my own Nick. I loved their sense of playfulness, their wonderful filled with adventure marriage. Nora's gorgeous fashions and Nick the charming cocktail drinking detective. Very attentive, much in love husband. But it was adorable Asta that caused my affection for wire-haired terriers that has made them my favorite dog breed.

This is Rex, I named him that because... well he looked like a Rex to me! Rex, as well as the adventures of TinTin served as the sparks of inspiration for this poem.

Henri and Rex

Adventurous French charming Henri is eight and adorable Rex is just three.
Inspiration of this duo started with Henri in diapers being read to on Mom's knee.

Mom's childhood books "The Adventure's of TinTin and Snowy" reading the entire collection,
needless to say Henri's first word was dog, no surprise a Fox Terrier was his pet selection.

No, not all white like Snowy, there are a few ginger patches under his chin, back and chest.
From day one, an undeniable strong bond as they playfully run the entire sea's edge abreast.

Boy and dog in their inseparable adventurous duo, enjoying and living in Brittany, France.
Dad runs a multi-generational business and need only look up to see them in a quick glance.

Amongst the salt fields of Fleur de Sel and Grey salt are Dad's legacy genes,
retiring with Henri running this proud business occupy his nightly dreams.

Many years will past before this dream will actually turn to destiny of what will be,
for now, it's Henri and Rex sharing adventure running along the shore of the sea.

So it comes down to the moral part of this story I've told as a rhyming fable,
if your child asks for a companion pet, please say yes, if you're willing and able.
© Vera


  1. Oh dear Vera I am so glad you decided to blog. You have me in tears at the moment so I will come back and write a longer comnent I just want you to know that your heart reaches into the soul with so much life. And your dream of your son is the BEST Christmas gift you could ever have received. And the C.S Lewis quote says it all. I will be back, I promise. Xxo Kerrie

  2. My eyes are flooding with tears as I read your post today - so beautifully written. What a wonderful gift your son gave to you in the dream. I wish for you peace and tranquility in the new year...

  3. Dear, dear Vera!

    I cannot even begin to tell you how much what you have shared here in photos and in prose means so much to me. We have many things in common here from the gray velvet sofa, the harlequin pattern on the table and wall, the salvaged pieces to make up a whole, and then......REX! I must share photos with you via email of the numerous fox terrier toys I have because next to the blond/chocolate/black labrador, the fox terrier is my favorite. I have a drawing that I drew a few years back and sold cards with it of a little girl in a blue coat in Paris, walking her fox terrier.

    The grief as well that you have experienced, I too have had to work through over many years. But C.S. Lewis was correct I believe, in encouraging anyone who experiences grief to use it on another level. We have much in store for these precious lives we have been accorded. The "fun" part of it, if you will, is creating good out of the bad.

    Your home is fabulous, Doré's theatre is darling, and at this very moment, I have my home theatre all lit up.

    Sending you much love and encouragement to follow your heart. Love, Anita

  4. Oh Vera, again I am choked up with tears, I woke to a restless sleep and went to my mail and took notice of your new posting, and of course I would have to run right over to read what you have created. I am so in awww! Over your naming of a star in the heavens for your son. Chris' Black and White photo looks wonderful in your home right over the mantel he lovingly created from salvage for you. As for the cosy feeling of your space I am in love with that grey and white sofa from R/H it would look great in my home and you have inspired me that much more to be on the hunt for one for my sitting room.

    Love your quote...and poetry of course and look forward to all you will be sharing with us.

    Rest in the calm of the beauty all around you, knowing you are not alone.



  5. Hello Vera!
    Your post has been such a wonderful read, thank you so much for sharing. I will look for that beautiful bright star at night and remember your wonderful dream. Looking forward to your next post!
    Oh...and I love that gray sofa!!

  6. I visit many different blogs for as many different reasons. But, I know I will be waiting for the 2 weeks to be up until you write another wonderful post.

    I was in tears at your grief, touched by your dream and in love with Rex.

    Thank you for visiting me and for opening up your home and heart to me and others.

  7. Vera, this is such a beautiful post!! My heart was touched by the precious gift that Chris gave you through your dream!
    And I just love your sitting room-it's gorgeous, and Max is adorable! :)

    1. Hi everyone,
      Christopher's star coordinates arrived in today's mail. They are RA:9h35m3.8s DEC: +39 degrees37m17.Os, registry number: 33779-1302-1389993

  8. Vera,
    You are so beautiful and what a beautiful gift to get through your dream from Chris. All is well with him and he is at peace and now will shine down on you forever. So touching your poem. I look forward to more of your heartfilled words. Just beautiful.

  9. Hi, Vera!
    So great to find you and your site. Thanks for visiting recently. Your row house has so much charm and character. We lived in a semi-detached home for over 10 years. It wasn't a row house, but had similar characteristics.
    Warm greetings from DC,

  10. Oh dear, I need to remember to share with you the story I wrote about 2 years ago with my fox terrier, BALZAC! And to share with you the little terrier Penny made for me!

    Dearest Vera, THANK YOU for coming by to visit me! You are always welcomed to chat any time, and how I love to come and "sit" on your gray sofa with harlequin pattern around me!

    Wishing you a delightful Sunday my friend. Anita

  11. Oh how that little Rex and MAXWELL make me smile tonight, Vera! And you have made me smile with your visits.....peace tonight dear one,as you look up at the stars....Anita

  12. Dear Vera,
    I feel deep sorrow as I read your post. I have two children and cannot imagine any greater grief than the loss of a child.. My heart goes out to you... May you find a peaceful heart in time... To have Chris come to you in your dreams was a gift so needed, and to name a star in the heavens for him was such a beautiful tribute.
    I love your poetry. Thank you so much for your most welcome visit and kind words.
    I keep you all in my prayers.

  13. Dearest Vera, such a moving post that touched my heart, the gift from your son Chris is a very special one indeed. Prayers and thoughts in your time of mourning - Glenda

  14. A special Christmas Gift indeed, Vera. Love you, Audrey

  15. Dear Vera,
    How sweet of you to come by for a visit and meet my new finger puppets.. I am so happy they gave you a smile..
    Please know that I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Good morning Vera! I just came over from Penny's place.....HI UP THERE, PENNY! And I saw you were there, so I just wanted to say HELLO!

    I hope your day is a special one. I must email you with a photo of what I bought from our magical Penny. You will smile! Anita

  17. You have such a warm, loved home and what a special Christmas present you received.