A Legacy of Pearls

This is a story of pearls.

When I was in my late twenties, a friend I worked with got an opportunity to go to China. This was not a usual occurrence at that time, and she asked me if I would like her to pick up some pearls while she was there.

“How much are they?” I asked. She wasn’t sure but she thought she could get me a really good strand for $500 or so. I told her I really loved the baroque style of pearls and a pink hue would be awesome.

“Baroque, huh?” she said, “Well, then maybe $400.” Done!

The pearls and 80’s hair – always a classic combination!

She brought back a strand of the most beautiful, lustrous, and baroque pearls and it was long enough to drape around my neck twice over. I wore them frequently, with business suits, dress up, whatever!

Then Dan and I got engaged and I decided I would like to wear them on my wedding day. My mother had done some jewelry making in the late 70s and had ground a large, oval opal herself and gave it to me as a birthday present. My husband and I discussed it and decided to have the jeweler who was creating our custom wedding rings look at it and see if he could create a strand enhancer for my Chinese pearls that would protect the opal and coordinate with the calla lily theme that was emerging from my engagement ring design and the pearl and gold earrings Dan was having made for me. Brian was up to the challenge and created a gold and pave diamond enhancer that was perfect!

Decades went by, and our older daughter was graduating from college. I had an inspiration that led me to have my pearls restrung, holding out two of the most perfect for Brian to make into earrings as her graduation present. They turned out great!

In 2017, our younger daughter got engaged and I was again inspired to take two more pearls from my string to create her wedding earrings. She had an elaborate gown and the simple, shining pearls at her ears were a lovely accent for her special day.

Our older daughter then got engaged and I thought again about those pearls. She had the earrings from her college graduation, but since she had chosen a very simple gown for her Spring 2018 wedding, would a matching necklace work?

It would, and while we were at it, I asked Brian Hoover of Avant Garde Jewelers (Still our jeweler thirty plus years later and the source of our older daughter’s engagement ring!) to look at my wedding necklace one more time and see if he could mount the opal on two single strands of pearls with a simple clasp. My plan was to wear my wedding jewelry for my daughters’ weddings and with the successive gifts of pearls, it was no longer as comfortable as a strand enhancer. Brian was up to the challenge, and there were enough pearls left over with the change to make a simple bracelet of them, as well. It was a lovely memory for me and a meaningful way to share the pearls along with my wishes for happiness in both of their marriages.

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My wedding, Dani’s wedding, Devin’s wedding…and the pearls continue! Photography by Wayne Long, Teale Photography, and Amanda Pomilla Photography.

My hope is that these will be heirlooms they will treasure and pass on to their daughters or granddaughters.

This is how legacy works, right?

You invest time, talent and treasure in something you feel passionate about. You pass that on and they pass that on, and someday many decades from now, a square-chinned young woman with bright eyes and a blinding smile may be touched when she wears these old and treasured pearls that the women in her family wore on their wedding days. I do love that image and perhaps she will wear them for her wedding and continue the chain of wonderful marriages. You never know!

Here’s to heirlooms and may they travel down the ages, bringing delight and memories of time past into the future.

 

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Grief, Anger & Pain – How Can You Help?

“Anger can be grief unexpressed.”

I read that somewhere recently and thought, “Wow, I never really thought about it that way.” I knew that anger is often linked to fear, but didn’t intuitively link it to grief. Most of us know that anger is a stage of grieving before you reach acceptance, but what if you or a friend or family member simply gets stuck there. Is there an appropriate time limit to mourning?

The answer is no.

I recently saw a lovely video about helping your grieving loved ones and knew I had to share it with you.

Check it out at Refuge in Grief’s video: How to Help a Grieving Friend. There are Spanish and English subtitles you can choose if you need them, and it was a brief and lovely way to convey some very important information.

If I were grieving, I would hope that the person trying to comfort me had seen this video, and if I was comforting someone, I would be glad I had seen it.

Take a moment and check out the awesome power of acknowledgment. It will feel awkward at first; I won’t kid you about that, but it really can help that person you love or care about.

Be radical.

Let things hurt and acknowledge that it hurts instead of trying to fix it, cure it, or argue those you love into happiness.

You can do it, and so can I…so let’s make a choice to handle pain, grief, and sadness differently and start today.

 

Do Gerbils Go to Heaven?

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(c) Can Stock Photo / zsv3207

Our Pastor told a story in his recent sermon, and in it, a little boy’s hamster had died and he asked his father (a fellow Pastor) if “Timmy” had gone to heaven. The boy was told in no uncertain terms by his father that nothing that has not professed faith in Jesus Christ shall enter the gates of heaven. I am paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

We were all a bit appalled to hear that blunt and dismissive statement from a father to a grieving son, and our Pastor said that he took the little boy aside on his way out and told him that Timmy sounded like a great hamster and he was sure that he was now playing in heaven.

Sounds like a platitude, doesn’t it? Continue reading

The “Year of YES!”

Woman Says Yes

(c) Can Stock Photo /studiostoks

I recently wrote a piece for a women’s collective giving circle blog. It was an interview with one of its many interesting and philanthropic women. You can see it at Impact Austin if you are curious. There was something she said that caught my attention and wouldn’t let go. She said that she had decided this past year was the “Year of YES!”

In her case, what she had decided to say yes to was travel. If an opportunity came her way, she took it and found herself with family and friends in places all over the world, having a blast!

What would your “Year of YES!” focus on? We all know we can’t possibly say yes to everything, but what if we decided for a year, or even just a month, to say yes to a certain neglected interest area in our lives?

I think our world might change. Continue reading

After the Weddings…

_Ogg-Wedding-0253SmI wrote about Weddings, Finances and Your Kids not so long ago, and now that the second of our two daughters has concluded her nuptials (last night!), I thought I would check back in with some of the takeaways from these experiences.

As I mentioned in that post, we gave our daughters the money that we planned to spend on each of their weddings, and the choices that went along with that gift. No strings were attached, other than that we expected to be there to see them wed. Continue reading