Saturday 16 May 2015

The Art of Awareness Blog Hop

Today is a special day - it's the Art of Awareness blog hop, organised by Lori Anderson and Heather Millican. I expect most of you are familiar with both of these wonderful ladies - Lori of the infamous Bead Soup Blog Parties and Heather is the bead artist behind Swoondimples, some of my absolute favourite art beads to work with. More importantly, they are two of the sweetest people that I have the good fortune to know, and I'm so glad that the art bead world has allowed me to get to know both of them and call them my friends! 

This hop was definitely a blog hop with a twist. Everyone who signed up got to choose and purchase a very special bean bead from Heather, in the colour and with wording of their choice. Because this is the Art of Awareness blog hop though, each colour had certain significance, and would have a special ribbon stamp on the back. 

I've never made any awareness jewellery before - I don't think it's quite such a trend over here in the UK, in fact the only awareness colour I knew off the top of my head was pink for breast cancer awareness. But what some of you may not know is that my wife has MS, having being diagnosed back in 2010. She's very well with it the majority of the time, and although she has certain ongoing symptoms from previous attacks, for the most part she's - we've - been very fortunate. Other than the old having MS in the first place. That's still quite a bummer, it must be said! 

The MS awareness colour is orange, and as you can see... is what I went for. We have been through quite a lot recently - talking and accepting Helen's MS as part of our lives (and if you are the partner of someone with a chronic illness then believe me, I know how much of that specific journey is yours too!), getting a balance between self-care and not allowing our lives to be entirely dominated and determined by the MS. Not living in fear - nor living in denial. I won't say that those things aren't part of our lives still, but we are getting better, day by day.

I asked Heather for the words Be Here Now. I think for those reasons I described above. I have more tendencies towards living fearfully and Helen has more tendencies towards living in denial, but we both have found that we need to stop, take a breath, and be in the moment. 


Yes, Helen has MS. Yes, it is unfair and can be a big challenge to live with it as a not exactly welcome presence within our little family. Yes, MS could have terrible potential possibilities for our future. But these are not certain by any means. Nothing is set in stone. 

And whatever the future holds, that fact is that right now, Helen is well. Right now, that is our reality, and that is something to hold on to. To focus on. To fully embrace.

Neither daily panicking about the future, nor constantly trying to be superhuman to prove that MS isn't defining us is a good way to live. All we can do is stop, breath, and be here now. 

If you want to read about my actual design process, check out my post over on Art Bead Scene!

Thanks Lori and Heather for organising this great event. Quite a personal one for me! Now take a minute if you can to check out what some of the others created:

Millican (hostess) (bead artist)
Laurie Vyselaar
Mallory Hoffman
Evie and BethMcCord


Heather Wynn Millican said...

Oh, You are such a treasure, Rebecca! I am so pleased to call you a friend. You are honest, genuine, and kind.
I admire your uplifting art.

Tammy Adams said...

Your necklace is beautiful. The words you chose are a wonderful reminder to live in the moment.

Anonymous said...

Your necklace is beautiful as is the phrase you chose. You stated so eloquently the balancing act that a chronic illness is for not only the person who has it but the whole family. I love the orange - I think I'll have to get an orange bean bead! I wish you and your wife the best.

Liz said...

Beautiful necklace. Love the "wispy floating" flowers!

Brittany Kuhlman, COC, CPC, CCC said...

Your design is lovely. The playful flowers and cord are fantastic. The word choice is perfect for your cause. I think more people could heed that advice. Thank you for sharing your story.

Kim said...

I love the necklace. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a friend with MS, I think he would agree with your word choice. Thank you for sharing your story.

Shai Williams said...

What a moving tribute to your wife and your life. Those are words I need to remember as I both have a chronic illness but my husband is disabled. It is so a balancing act.

Alice said...

I love your beautiful necklace. I have a friend who has struggled with this for many years. I am glad you are there for Helen.

elisabeth said...

Your necklace is so wonderful - light and whimsical - to combat the worries :-) Beautiful!

Janine said...

Hi Rebecca, thank you so much for sharing this moving story. My English is not good enough to express my emotions. I admire you for your honesty in your post, especially about the struggles and acceptance. I hope that one day there will be a cure for MS and until that day Helen will be fine.
Your design is beautiful, as always.

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Oh Rebecca, you never fail to amaze me with your pieces. This is exquisite. Just exquisite. And I am in awe of you and your wife and your determination to "be here now". Big hugs for both of you, may your every moment together be blessed. ((HUGS))

Bijoux Gems Joy said...

Your chosen words are such an important sentiment. I am glad to hear Helen is doing well right now. I hope there are more well days and you are both there in that moment.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful view of life, to be in the moment and not panicking for the future. It's so hard to do I know. I have a friend who lives with MS and know some challenges she has met. She is lucky enough to have an attitude like yours and has a very full life. I wish you joy! Oh, and I love your piece.

bairozan said...

It is so difficult to embrace the moment when you fear the future but if you do, you will have many happy moments in your life - what a message! And it looks like all the elements of the necklace resemble such happy moments!

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Your necklace is gorgeous! I love the words you selected and I think we all need to take that to heart! Thank you for sharing your story.

Unknown said...

Hi Rebecca and Helen--
I was very inspired by your beautiful design, but even more by the thoughts and love behind it. I was diagnosed with MS 28 years ago and am still going strong in spite of it. The thing that helped me most was doing things that I love every day and the most wonderful husband in the world who has taken on all the household stuff to enable me to do the rings I love with more energy. Best of luck in dealing with this unpredictable force--another friend spoke of it as "the unwanted gift." It really makes you conscious of setting priorities, and not accepting nonsense in your life. You are both in my thoughts and prayers--I hope you'll be as lucky as I have been. Sarah

Unknown said...

What a lovely message in a beautiful piece of jewelry ! Thank you :)

Malin de Koning said...

So beautiful Rebecca!

Kepi said...

Beautiful story, I hope you now is for a very long time. Gorgeous necklace and great design.

Adaptable Kay said...

I regret not joining in on this blog hop because it really would have been perfect for me and my Lyme. That being said, however, I think things were meant to be; I'm so sick I wouldn't have been able to get things done and up on time.

I think you did a beautiful job with your awareness piece. I had no idea your partner was diagnosed with MS; I view all autoimmune diseases (MS, Lyme, Lupus, etc.) as essentially the same so in a way I do understand how hard day to day life is. I admire you both for choosing to live in the now! That's something I'm definitely working on doing myself.

Lori Anderson said...

I'm very sorry about the MS -- but I'm entranced with your necklace. It's beautiful and has love in it.

Thank you for participating!

gail vanderster-zwang aka angelmoose said...

What a beautiful story of life and living. Your words are perfect and your design is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.


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