~ International Award-Winning Photography ~

Sunday, October 05, 2008

My 40th Surprise Birthday Party !!! (which I knew about)

Last week my closest friends and family celebrated the BIG 4-0 with me! (of course....I knew about it as I am not one to be surprised too easily.....I find out everything!) Even so, it was so special to have everyone under one roof. And my sister, Lily, who organized the whole thing, lovingly made sure that I had exactly 40 candles on the cake....plus 1 for good luck of course.Me and my friend Lina......who is always "peppy" and smiling!!Here are my nephews, Vic & Rob, and my brand spanking new neice, Marta! She has been married to Vic now for 2 months! Wow....it just seems like I photographed their wedding yesterday.Here's Glendon and I (my 2nd shooter), who I can thank for most of these photos (except this one of course......)I wasn't allowed to shoot, but I managed to sneak this one in of my very sweet friend Paola and her man Daniel. They are so amazing together!My photo friend Frank and IMe, my daddy and Argentina. My dad came from Dominican for Vic's wedding, and ended up staying an extra month just to be there for my Birthday..........thank-u daddy!! Love you.

But my most precious gift came a few days after my party, and right on my birthday of Oct. 1st. It started off with my usual 5k walk early in the morning. Then my good friend Paola came over and gave me a gift bag and a card. I was confused as she had already given me a gift at the party. Let me share a little of how I met Paola, who was so meant to be in my life.

Paula would "stalk" my blog often and was a devoted fan of my work. When her mom was diagnosed with cancer, she sent me an e-mail since she had remembered seeing a post on my blog about a health retreat I went to in Alberta. She was hoping to help cure her mom by natural means. I replied back to her and felt such a connection right away. (Still have our 1st e-mail) I had to meet her...and her mom. I assumed she lived so far away, but was surprised to learn that she was literally 8 min. from my home!

Her mom, Esther, is a very special woman. I was immediately drawn to her sensitive, gentle spirit. I wanted to see her more, and went over whenever I could get away from work. My friendship with Paola grew over time. I felt like I knew her forever! But sadly, I watched as Esther was progressively getter weaker and weaker. My heart was aching for her as I just wanted this disease to go away. But she was stronger than anyone around her....and even with all her pain, I never heard her complain....not even once. She really enjoyed it when I would go over and blow dry her hair.....and so did I! I had so much hope for her, but sadly, it was too much for her body to bare, and so Esther went to be with the Lord in July. Her faith kept her strong the entire time.

So, getting back to Paola's visit, as I read the card she had given me, I realized it was not from Paola, but from her mom, Esther, who had given her the words to write as she lay in the hospital just days before she left us. Paula was just waiting for the right time to give it to me. It read:

"Dearest Silvana ~

I want you to know what a blessing your presence and support has been in our lives. You are an incredible gift from God. Your prayers, freindship, advice and all the time you have taken out of your busy schedule to help my family and I has been much appreciated. I have also enjoyed all your wonderful blow-dries. I just finished watching the DVD you made for me. It is so beautiful, I just loved it! Please never forget the difference you have made in my life.

Till we meet again sweet friend,

Love Esther"

I know she is now in the best of hands.....with God who she loves so much. This woman was so special. As she lay in her hospital bed, now barely able to see, she asked for a pen and paper and wrote this special note for all her family & friends and signed it with an exclamation mark and double underscore:

Esther....I miss you very much....your inner and outer beauty radiates God's true love for us all....I have learned so much from you in the short while that I knew you. You made such a tremendous impact in my life. I could only hope that I would be half the incredible woman you were and make such a difference in other peoples' lives as you have.

Love you and miss you,

Silvana ~


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Silvana,

...you are an amazing woman...
(at 40 you become a woman, even though you don't look like you are a day over 19, not to mention how young at heart you are)

...you have taken such a special event in your life, and shown us that it is not about you at all, but rather about what you have selflessly given to others, and you are the biggest giver that I know... you touch so many lives, and bring so much love, and peace, and understanding, and true compassion, into the lives of those that need you so much... and it is not only Paola's mom,

...to mention only a few; ...it is John, the homeless man in San Antonio, Texas, who you fed and clothed, and spent time talking with, giving him so much dignity and humanity, ...it is Kim, who is dying in the hospital so afraid and scared until you sit with him and hold his hand, ...it is Ken, who also receives so much peace and friendship from you ...it is the homeless in downtown Toronto that you help feed on a cold winter's night ...it is the down and out that you spend time with when you go on your many exotic travels, ...it is the time and passion that you take to share your life and your faith with your family, your friends, your professional colleagues, your clients, your suppliers, the thousands who interact with you through the internet, etc... you make us all better people in the way that we live our own lives...

...and I know that many times I find myself in situations where I ask myself, "What would Silvana do?" ... so I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have touched so many lives, you have given so much with no expectation of any personal gains, you are an angel, a true gift from God, a child of God, ...you have made this world such a better place, not to mention the many emotions that you have stirred in us through your photographic magic...

...Happy Birthday Silvana, thank you for being my special friend, and thank you for everything that you do... Thank you for being you...


October 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh My Silvana,

you are such a beautiful person.....everything you do and write, makes me cry.

What a beautiful story about your friend's mom......I can imagine how wonderful that woman felt having you by her side.
you are a phenomenal woman.

October 06, 2008  
Blogger Cyndal. said...

Silvana, I am always inspired and uplifted by your blog posts. You have such a zest for love, life and living and offer so much to those around you who are blessed to have you touch their lives.

Thankyou for being a constant inspiration to me.


October 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your friend Paul is so on the money about how special a person you are.

Through your loving actions, you make us all want to be better, more compassionate, and more giving.

You are a truly amazing girl.


October 07, 2008  
OpenID pattimillerphoto said...

wow, what a way to celebrate a birthday, and what an incredible gift from your dear friends mother.
May God continue to bless you in ways you can not even imagine!
I am in awe.
bless you!
~patti(a new blog stalker, but a friendly one)

October 07, 2008  
Anonymous alpana said...

Dear Silvana,

My belated wishes to you for a Happy Birthday! I am so happy our paths have crossed. You are an amazing person and your work is lovely!

October 10, 2008  
Blogger Zoi said...

Dearest Silvana, first a very happy belated birthday, I went away and haven't seen your blog in a while and your post brought me to tears. I'm always moved by you, inspired by you and think you are one amazing woman, beautiful inside and out. Wishing you much happiness on your birthday and always. God bless you hon.


October 20, 2008  

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