I love to surround myself with things that I love for their beauty and their emotional significance. My decor is built on a collection of items that I was given, bought, or inherited. My collection was started many years ago and includes furniture, paintings, and other items that remind me of my family, friends, and my faith. New decor is added and discarded as my taste changes, but the collection of favorite things remains. One of my favorite items is a frame decorated with vintage jewelry made for me by a friend for my birthday.
As I have mentioned before, I once had a small store of vintage items at a local flea market. The store was great fun and I loved meeting people. One of my friends I met in the store is a remarkable lady who is a teacher, a Reiki instructor, and a creative artist. For several years, I sold on consignment her beautiful frames that she decorated with vintage jewelry. I truly loved her work and told her several times I would be buying one of her pieces in the future. One spring she surprised with the offer to customize one of her frames with my vintage jewelry as a birthday gift. I went through my collection and also called my family for any of their pieces they wished to include. If you are like me, you have special things put away. Even if you don’t wear them, they are loved. I gave my friend jewelry from family and my life – my maternal grandmother, my mother, my sister, my childhood, and even my sister’s mother-in-law. They would be the basis of her design. She filled in with vintage jewelry from her collection.
As a friend of mine remarked when admiring it, this frame is my life.
At the top left corner is a mother-of-pearl bird pin from my sister. Below it is one of my mother’s earrings. On the top right corner is a whale pin from my sister. Below that is a cat pin that was a gift from a friend when I was in my twenties. I wore that pin for decades. Beside that is a circular pin from my sister’s mother-in-law. The silver beads outlining the inside edge of the frame are from a necklace my mother wore in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
In the middle of the left side is a golden locket my mother wore when I was a preschooler. One of my earliest memories is my mother wearing this locket as we went to church. A pin from my high school club is below the locket. My grandmother’s earring is in the bottom edge in the center. As I go around the frame, I am filled with love for so many people I was blessed to know.
I have had the frame in my living room since that birthday in 2009. At first, I went through photos and considered ideas for display in the frame. Then one morning I just knew what it should display. I believe that happiness is a choice we make each day. It’s not about illness and the bad things that happen. We are a given a fresh, new day each morning. What we choose to do with it is a choice. My positive affirmation each morning is “Today I choose Joy”. Now each morning when I enter the living room, I see the framed affirmation on display on a small side table. My family and friends, their love, and my choice for life are all in this display.
Today I choose JOY.
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