Shannon Berrey

Mother's Day thoughts...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I sure hope the Easter bunny made his way to your house and that you got loads of Cadbury eggs and pictures in your floppy bonnets. We get through Easter and we see ourselves just weeks away from Mother's Day. Honoring my mom has always been so easy and I certainly try to do it as much of the year as possible, but that one day in May sure is special.  

My mom -- a few years ago at her big surprise 70th birthday bash with my brother, David, his beautiful wife Brooke and my kiddos! They look like babies..

(I'm not a writer. But, I am a deep, deep sensitive thinker and feeler. So please ignore my lack of eloquence in the following}

When I was a Sophomore in college, my mom and 2 of her best friends showed up unannounced at my dorm room. My room, that I had tried so hard to be fun and full of personality with its loads of Rob Lowe posters and party pics, of concert ticket stubs and mascot pictures pinned to bulletin boards, and too many pillows on it's tiny twin bed. That safe haven that had experienced the comfort of silly girl laughter, tales of secret crushes, and music played too loudly as we got ready for college parties had a different feeling as mom's friends walked out and closed the door behind them.  Mom sat down on the bed, she looked down at her hands that had become twisted together and she announced that she may have breast cancer and a surgery was already planned.  

my world stopped

Imagine receiving this news just a few years after your husband of 26 years, my dad, walked out. Sometimes, life can just serve us up one big plate of sh*t after another....

No one thought they would find cancer inside of my healthy, vital, energetic, optimistic, mother. She went into surgery with no knowledge of what the outcome would be, but had made the plan that if it was cancer, her breast would be removed. She fell into anesthesia not knowing what her life would look like when she awoke.  

The Dr brought me in hours later, while mom was still asleep, when the surgery was complete. 'It was cancer. We had to remove 28 lymph nodes.....blah, blah... the words start fading out....spinning room.....tunnel vision...underwater noises....desperately wanting to throw up......not understanding any of it...... 

I sat on the left side of my moms bed. Her chest was bandaged and she was still connected to tubes and IV's. I wanted to let her lay there in this peace, this safety of not knowing. But, the nurse was encouraging her to wake up. In her drowsy state, she immediately locked eyes with me. She grabbed my hand as I swallowed a hundred thousand tears and screams and bubbling anger, and she whispered 'what happened??' 

and then my brain asked me the same question --- what happened????? 

What happened???? 


Can somebody please tell ME what happened!!???? 

'Mom.......It WAS cancer. But they took care of it.' I explained with as much ridiculous false courage and understanding a confused 20 year old could pretend to muster. Her face fell. 'They took my breast???? It's gone????' I shook my head as tears began to drench her face and mine. 

We took her home and set up the poison known as chemo treatments to begin. 
And then this beautiful thing happened. People with heartbreaking stories began to seek her out for her hope and her wisdom. They had already rung her phone for her incredible grace on surviving divorce, now these women who also discovered that cancer had attacked them, sought her out to ask 'how do I do this???' How do I survive a disease that needs to be cut out of me with a not-so-small chunk of my precious body and then wait to see if it might show it's ugly head again. {And for my mom, it would....years later mom would have the other breast removed} 

And she was their hero. My hero. And she continues 20+ years later to share her story and soak in every woman that calls, day and night, exhausted and confused and scared and hurting. She shows up and holds space for every hurting woman that calls her. She listens to every fear they have and she prays with them and for them. She sits with them while their own poison drips into their body, holding their hands and talking to them to get their minds off of how sick they will be tomorrow. She shares stories like people share 'hellos' .... my mom is a beautiful storyteller. She has rich, funny stories of a delightful childhood growing up in Murray, KY, of playing hide and seek in the caskets at the funeral home {?!} of drive-in movies and weekends at the lake. Everyone asks to hear more of her stories. They make people laugh and forget.....and forgetting sometimes, is really good. And they need to be recorded, these stories, all of them, because there are just too many wonderful ones to not have them all written down.  

Here's the thing, folks. We need to know our families stories. We need to accept that they won't be here forever but that their hopes and dreams and experiences can be with us forever.  They need to be with us forever. We need to document all of the brutifulness {love you Glennon!} so that we can experience our family as grace filled people, not just 'mom', or 'dad'. 

So why not get started on discovering your own moms impressive past and connecting to our own gratitude this Mother's Day. Uncommon Goods has always been one of my favorite sites to find meaningful, creative gifts. I have included them many times in past posts and love that they continually seek out artists and independent craftspeople to fill their catalogs. In fact, 1/2 of everything in their catalog is handmade. I wanted to share some of my favorite gifts that will be treasured by everyone in your family for generations to come.

My Life Story So Far, is a soft bound journal that prompts mom to start at the very beginning - sharing schools, friendships, pearls of wisdom, and what they learned about parenting from their own parents... She can slowly and carefully work through the nine sections, recording all of the special stories of her lovely life.

So often we are so busy doing that we forget to be grateful. I am so bad at writing thank-you notes. So bad. This sweet gift -- A Year of Gratitude -- includes 52 Thank-you cards - and prompts to help you write {not email or text!} meaningful cards. There is also a guided journal so that you can record your experiences. 'It is impossible to be grateful and depressed in the same moment.' 

Treasured Passages is a nostalgic set of 40 cards that are meant to be sent, shared and treasured until the very last envelope is sealed. After losing her mother to cancer, one woman found comfort and inspiration in the art of letter writing. She joined forces with 2 friends who all wanted to develop a keepsake for those who yearned to have some insight into their own mothers life. This kit was created to give personal prompts to get others to share part of their story that needs to be shared. A true heirloom of the heart. 

Conversations with My Mother/Father is a beautifully illustrated book that offers more than 70 pages packed full of questions that we probably don't now about our parents: 'What did you think your children would grow up to be?' and 'Who was your first crush?'. And don't you just love looking at your parents handwriting?? I know I do. Your parents are encouraged to answer the questions that will surely uncover new stories, new understandings, and a deeper connection. This will definitely become a treasured family heirloom.  

Every family has recipes that instantly present special memories of childhood. My Family Cookbook is a completely customizable recipe book that allows your mother or grandmother and all of the special cooks in your family, to document those family recipes in their own handwriting. There is plenty of space to include photos and even reviews.

To find more unique gift ideas for all of the special women in your life this Mother's Day, be sure and check out the fabulous curated collections that Uncommon Goods has put together. Their inspirational jewelry continues to be one of my very favorite things they offer {years ago, my own mom gave me this necklace for Mother's Day}. 

I love you, Mom!!!

Please, collect your memories, friends! 

***thank-you, Uncommon Goods, for sponsoring this post and offering such great products!****  

A good egg

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter is sneaking up on us. Have you decorated your eggs yet? Just in case you haven't, and you are looking for some fun ideas, you are in luck! Today I am filling your easter basket with a round-up of some really great Easter egg ideas. 

How about baking cupcakes inside your eggs??

And just in case you need a sign for your Easter Egg Hunt, you can download this free pretty printable over at Studio DIY: 


The Inn at Hastings Park

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do you have 'one day I will..' dreams like I do?? There are several dreams that I would certainly love to entertain when I grow up {i.e. when both of my kids are in college}. One of those dreams would be to get my hands on a historic old building and renovate it into a beautiful B&B. It would boast beautifully appointed rooms decorated with the goods of local artists, gorgeous gardens, delicious {local} food, and amazing hospitality.   

Someone else had this same dream and just 2 months ago, the Kennealy family opened The Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, Massachusetts. Under the design direction of Robin Gannon Interiors, it features 22 modern, individually designed rooms in three historic buildings. Built in 1888, the Main House was home to a descendent of one of Lexington's first families, who settled the town in the 1600s. The other house is the Isaac Mulliken House, named in honor of the spirited politician who lived there in the mid-nineteenth century. The third building at The Inn is the Barn, which is rumored to have been a casket factory at some point along the way.

So much of the sourcing hails from local New England craftsmen. The woven American flag rug can be seen in 3 of the rooms, which is appropriate, being that this is 'the birthplace of American liberty'.   

Each room offers a modern interpretation of the traditional New England Americana style. Guests will discover Sister Parish Designs and Peter Fasano wallpapers, as well as Dunes and Duchess candelabras and sconces, and O&G Studio wood furniture.

Beautiful, right?? So tell me, what are some of your career dreams??

{images via Michael J Lee} excited!

Monday, April 14, 2014

There is a brand new exciting site on the horizon and it consists of some of my favorite bloggers and makers. is launching in May under the creative direction of the one and only, Danielle Krysa, also known as The Jealous Curator. This is how she explains the site: 
 'On GREAT.LY it’s the tastemakers that have the shops and do all of the selling, so that the makers only have to worry about doing what they truly love doing… making! And for the tastemakers – they spend their days searching the world for beautiful things to write about, but rarely get paid for those discoveries {selling ads only goes so far}… so we’re aiming to make this a win-win-win situation! Makers make and earn. Tastemakers sell and earn. Buyers get one, clean, curated, non-cluttered market place filled with amazing products from all over the world brought to them by the tastemakers that they already follow.' 


Pretty cool, right?? And just to get you more excited, here are some of the folks already on board:

If you want to set up your own boutique on, they are searching for Makers! Visit The Jealous Curator for all of the details.  

(images via The Jealous Curator}

Shannon Berrey Bio
I'm an artist, interior designer, wife and mom. Join me here as I share projects, ramblings, and inspirations.
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