Life goes on......thanks to my Angel above for helping me!

Home Stager with 1st Stage Property Transformations

Where do I begin...

This is a post that I have been wanting to write for some time. Thanks to Jackson West for listening to me and encouraging me tell my story. :)

4 months ago today, November 16, 2010, my Mother (aka Granny) Dorothy Novack, passed away peacefully at my home. 

Granny being silly Christmas morning


When my mother was diagnosed with Advanced Small Cell Lung Cancer a few years ago I was shocked. 

Yeah, she was a smoker for a long time.  However, she had kicked the nasty habit for more then 15 years. 

Then she started to sneak a few here and there like a teenager....laughing that she just likes to have one now and then.

No biggie, right?

So the story begins..............

This is a true story I wanted to share about the power from above and all the wonderful angels watching over us all!!! :)

You see I consider myself a "Helper & Fixer" Thus I stage Homes :)

So when Mom finished her 1st round of chemo in CT in 2008 she came to live with me.   Me & my Angel Christmas 09

I was thrilled & honored to be her caregiver. Hello? I am a Helper & Fixer...I can do this! :)

I was up to the challenge! 

Well, remember we are dealing with Cancer and CANCER SUCKS!

Everything was going well.  Mom was getting use to sunny CA and enjoyed watching me (and trying to stay quiet from afar) deal with two teenager daughters!

Then BOO the cancer returned in July 2010.

That's when Mom decided to not fight the battle any longer and contacted Hospice.

Hey! That wasn't something I signed up for! But Hello? Mom didn't sign up for cancer either!


However, it was not MY decision to make and I had to honor her wishes and support her. 


4 months after Mom entered the world of Hospice, our Mother/Granny peacefully passed away. :(


Morgan & Granny6 days after my daughter's birthday and 3 days before mine. 


Look who was helping who then!


You see, Mom never wanted to be a burden and I know she was "staging" her death as to not pass on a holiday (Thanksgiving was right around the corner) Birthday, etc.....


Thanks Mother. :)


OK here is where the phrase "Life goes on" comes in.......


The day after Mom died I was scheduled to stage a home for a client that had already staged 7 homes with me this year.


Well, the show, stage, must go on, right?





Some would think I was crazy, in shock, or just plain emotionless. 


Nope!  Once a helper, always a helper. 


Trust me, Staging this property probably helped me more then the Realtor and Investor. 


Here's how.....


If you know me, you know I love to stage my properties with red as the accent color. 


So instead, to honor my Mother, I staged this property in her favorite color. Blue...with beige of course! ;)


Mom loved everything in blue! So it was the obvious choice!


Might sound odd...but I actually accessorized with some of her items and items that reminded me of her!

You see, her room use to be the storage area for my accessory inventory before she moved in.

She use to joke to please at least leave her bed in the room!  "Take everything else just leave the bed!"


Here's a few pictures of the property.


Winchester Home Staged Kitchen     Winchester Home Staged Family Room


Winchester Home Staging Family Room & Kitchen     Winchester Family Room & Kitchen


Sorry I can't show you other rooms....but that's a crazy story for another day!


OK, why do we always say to make a long story short after it's too late? :)


5 days after this property was staged I went in to take some final pictures.


In walks in a Realtor and her husband. 


Oh no!  The property isn't ready!! 


I apologized for some plantation shutters that were still waiting to be hung and also that the missing chandelier would be hung soon.


The Realtor said " I don't think so."


Huh? "Excuse me?" I said with a puzzled look on my face.


"I am meeting a client here now to write up an offer!" She said with a smile.


OMG! Really?! Get the F$&^ out! <------OK, relax! This is just what I was thinking! ;)


"Congratulations!" I said. Woooo HOOO!!


We chit chatted a bit, exchanged cards, talked about the power of staging, mentioned befriending each other on  Facebook and said good bye!


Wow that was sooooo cool! 


So, I climb into my car a happy staging camper and immediatley pulled out my smart phone to search for her on FaceBook. 


Duh, this is when it took a second to put 2 and 2 together.  :/


I enter her name...Dorothy Oliver.


Yikes! Her name came up right under my Mother's name.....Dorothy Novack!!!


And then I realize that I have never met a Realtor named Dorothy!


Another look at her card.......all the letters are printed in BLUE! Wow! Mom's favorite color!!

OK, yeah I know, I'm a little superstitious, but come on!!! This is crazy! Right?

While shaking I called my husband and explained what just happened and we both lost it!  Bittersweet tears.

You see, my mother, was my biggest home staging fan and supporter. She always talked about how I was going to get busier and busier and to watch what I wish for!

She knew I loved staying busy and helping all and I think she worried more about me then herself. Mothers! :) Gotta love em!

So long, long, long story short!! <-----Trust me I mean it this time! :)

As of today, since my Mother passed away 4 months ago, I have home staged........drum roll please....

13 Vacant Homes!  :) How cool is that? Last year I staged a total of 15 Vacant Homes and I thought that was great!!

All properties entering escrow within two months...most within the first month!

I am truly blessed and attribute my Staging Mania Success to my beautiful Angel, Dorothy Olga Novack. 

I use to joke to her that she would one day be busy in Heaven knitting "Angel Wing Covers" instead of granny socks to stay busy!!

Looks like she is keeping busy in other ways!

Thank you Mother! We love you from the bottom of our hearts and miss you dearly........................

Easter with Granny


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Blog posted by Janice Sutton, Murrieta Temecula Home Stager.  Home staging & marketing homes for the Inland Empire/Riverside County & San Diego County.

Murrieta Professional Home Stager

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Home staging services included Vacant, Occupied, Model Home, REO & Bank Owned Home Staging.

Contact us at 951.704.0597 for a free vacant home staging estimate!

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Stage It Forward...
Inspiration !!
POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
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Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA

Janice...I am so glad you did decide to share...what an awesome story! Those moments are most certainly no coincedence. They are precious, cherished communications... Our loved ones who have passed on are way more connected to us  than we could ever imagine. My Dad passed 8 years ago and I have felt his presence so many times I cannot count and the incidents, not coincideces, of his interactions with me and my family have been amazing...even funny at times. I had one just the other day that blew my mind...I was planning on sharing that in a post as well.

God bless you...God bless Dorothy...and God bless your staging business! Wow...Mom is really looking after YOU now!

PS...I just subscribed to your blog did I not do that sooner???

Mar 17, 2011 09:13 AM #60
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging

Janice - I read your story and I had tears in my eyes when I finished. I could truly hear your voice as if you were speaking to me and I could tell by the pictures you posted what a wonderful bond you had with your mother. Its so hard to lose loved ones, so hard to continue not just existing but living your life and following your dreams. Kudos to you for continuing to live your dreams Janice and I just know that your mother is watching over you and your family.

Mar 17, 2011 09:31 AM #61
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Janice - First, I am so sorry for your loss and you have no idea how it touched my heart and impacted me - you're kind of like my angel and here's why: I just posted a blog (active Rained Helped Me in Ways I Never Imagined)  - Long story short, my son's girlfriend Nicole, who has lived with us for 3 years and was like daughter to me, and my son's whole future was in an accident and after lying in the ICU for 6 long, agonizing months,  died last week in me and my son's arms in her hospital bed. Unlike you, I've had trouble leaving the house let alone staging. I have two pending consults that I keep putting off because I've sunk into such a place of grief and depression, I don't want to leave the house.

 I think God speaks to us through other people and the message I got after reading you and yourr mom's story is I have to start to get on with my life. It's as if you were talking directly to me, saying get out and do what you love and you will start to heal. I needed this kick in the butt, and after reading your blog I set up my 2 consults for the beginning of next week. You have no idea how much you and your mom have  helped me through your story, courage and hope. God bless you and I know my Nicole is with me too - thanks for reminding me. It time  to start living again... Thank you from the bottom of my heart - you and your mom are my angel through your post. ~Kristine

Mar 17, 2011 09:49 AM #62
Stacey Smith
Keller Williams Realty - Aliso Viejo, CA
Your Orange County Beach Cities Realtor

Very touching story Janice.. I am sure you mother is very proud of you.. I lost my dad this past summer and not a day goes by without thinking about him. But staying busy sure does keep the emotions at bay.

Mar 17, 2011 09:53 AM #63
Virginia Dean
Keller Williams Tulare County - Visalia, CA
Real Estate Done Your Way

WOW, what an amazing post and it must give you comfort that not only was an inspiration and support for you, your sharing of this has touched so many all across the network.

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful "love" story.

Be well and God Bless.

Mar 17, 2011 10:22 AM #64
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Janice, very sorry to hear about your mother but I loved hearing the whole story and you are right you do have an angel up there looking after you, blue and a Dorothy. GREAT tribute for Mom to stay out here on the Internet too. WONDERFUL loving pictures too. Keep smiling. Your Mom is smiling upon you.

Mar 17, 2011 10:35 AM #65
Valerie Sagheddu
Apostle Art Home Staging & Design - Stroudsburg, PA
~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA
Mar 17, 2011 12:58 PM #66
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Carmela - Your welcome! It was my pleasure!! So sorry you lost your Mother at a young age.  However, wonderful that you have great memories that can never be taken away!  Making my Mother proud is my goal every day!!  Keeps me going! :)

Kim - Oops I'm Sorry!! I messed up your comment along with Carmela's!!!  It's all these warm tears in my eyes!! My mother has taught me more then she realizes and I am truly thankful for all she has given me!!

Ha ha on liking my "F@#$ out" comment!! It was so true!! Inside I came alive and was jumping up and down!!  But my professional side stayed put and did the whole pleasantry thing!! :)

Brenda - Thank you! I do have a wonderful Angel above me!! I think this is her best job yet and I know she is loving it!! :)

Gina - Thank you!  As far as having the strength for is what she wanted. Me, on the other hand, I would have fought to the end...but as she pointed out, she lived a good long life and was ready for the next chapter! :)  Thank you for thinking of me when you know of anyone interested in home staging! Very cool! :)  Has Mom been talking to you? ;)

Mar 17, 2011 01:05 PM #67
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Carla - Thank you so much!! 6 months ago I never would have imagined that I would be writing this story! It's really true....time really helps! :)

Valarie - Thanks!  I agree, these are precious communications with Mom!  She always told me I would one day be super busy and I guess she wants to make sure it came true!!  So sorry about your Dad. I am glad he is still a part of your life and I look forward to your posts girlfriend!! Thanks for subscribing to my blog!  Hopefully, I will have more time to be Active in the Rain!!

Heather - Aww you are too kind!  Writing with passion and from your heart works best for me. The words just start flowing.....not sure I want my English teacher to see my posts...ha ha! 

Trust me, I was a little scared about how I would be after Mom was gone.  I told every one I was fine now when Mom was with us and that I didn't need any help BUT to check on me after she was gone!  I guess Mom must have heard this and made sure to check on me and take care of me!  How lucky am I? :)

Mar 17, 2011 01:28 PM #68
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Kristine - Girlfriend....OMG....I am so sorry for your loss and suffering!  So happy to read that Mom and I were able to help you and that you are moving forward! Yes, life goes on whether we want it to or not. Your loss was quite different from mine as my mother was 76 and I had a lot of time to prepare for her departure.  But a loss is a loss and that being steps Girlfriend!  It sounds like you started taking those steps! Woo hoo! How good does that feel? :)

I agree, God does speak to us through others.  Thank God you hear him. :) I believe that God gives us all a gift and it is our job to find our gift and use it to help ourself and others.  Therefore, we stage GF! How lucky are we!!  Keep your chin up and feel free to call me so we can laugh, cry and move on together! BIG VIRTUAL HUG AT YA!!   I might just have to stop by next time I am visiting my siblings in NY & CT to give you a real hug!

Mar 17, 2011 03:47 PM #69
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Stacey - Thank you! I am so sorry for your loss of your Dad.  Yes, staying busy sure does help!  Sometimes I have a slow day and my emotions creep up and that's OK.  We need to mourn but then move on. :)

Virginia - Thank you! Yes, I am amazed and comforted at how many people this post touched. The posts that I am most scared to publish seem to be the ones that attract the most attention.  Who knew! 

Gary - Thank you! It has been an amazing journey that I never thought would happen to me!  It will be nice to look back upon this post and read it every now and then.  Kind of like a BIG COMFY AR BLANKET! :)


Mar 17, 2011 03:55 PM #70
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Valerie - Very cool post! Thanks for sharing! Life goes on.............

Mar 17, 2011 03:59 PM #71
Reno, NV

Janice, there is nothing "sad" about this.... death comes to us all and is as natural as being born! You have shared such personal moments, and your deep feelings for your Mom that  we can only be inspired. Love all the messages she sent..... Realtors with offers named Dorothy.... business cards in "blue".... you felt the power of Love, from Mother to Daughter and that her Spirit is well..... and you are living and loving life as it goes on... you take care...

Mar 18, 2011 03:47 PM #72
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi Janice, thank you for sharing your story with us. Truly Dorothy was an inspiration in your life and will continue to be a positive force in all you do.

Mar 19, 2011 08:46 AM #73
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Teri - I totally agree! Thank you very much!

Michelle - My pleasure!  It is amazing how many blessing I have had and I am sure I will continue to have since Mom's death. I will always miss her however I am sure I will be hearing from her soon! :)

Mar 19, 2011 12:58 PM #74
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Janice and all I can say is WOW some wonderful comments my friend ... ;o)


Apr 04, 2011 01:15 PM #75
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta

Robert - I agree! WOW!  It has now been just over 5 months....hard to believe....and I find comfort coming back to this post to read all the supporting and wonderful comments!! :)  Who knew this blog on AR would become such a treasured gift in my life!! Ahhh the power of the RAIN comes full circle! :)

Apr 18, 2011 07:08 AM #76
Kathy West

Janice, what a beautiful story and thank you for sharing. Many prayers and hugs your way.  Your mother legacy lives in you and you'll continue to have moments when you feel the presence of your mother.  It's amazing the six degress of separation and spiritually.

Kathy West


Feb 13, 2013 10:47 AM #77
Janice Sutton
1st Stage Property Transformations - Murrieta, CA
Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta
Brenda - Thanks gf! I am very lucky to have Granny by my side!! She has made me a better person and has helped me double my business year over year! Last year we dressed 96! She ROCKS! Best to you and your business! 2013 here we come!
Feb 17, 2013 12:32 AM #78
Debbie Hobday

What a wonderful story.


God doesn't make mistakes, and this was no coinsidence.  Your mother lives on through you and through your work.  She will be there when you are in need of some decorating assistance, and will be there to pick you up when you are BLUE.


It is wonderful that you were able to spend this special time with your mom and your beautiful family.  This is what life is all about.


Thanks for sharing your story with us.  This was very inspiring Janice.


My best to you and your business.  I look forward to meeting you someday soon.



Mar 23, 2013 01:26 AM #79
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Home Stager - Temecula Murrieta
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