Creating Heavenly Pearls

Every woman should have a southern friend at least once in their lifetime. In fact, I would go so far as to say that until you have a southern friend, you don’t really understand friendship. Really. That’s how incredible sweet tea sipping, sunhat wearing, smocked jumper buying, pie making, advice giving southern women are. Or, maybe that’s just my friend Melissa. I have a suspicion it’s all belles though.

Among the many southern-isms I’ve learned in the past 4 years of friendship, one stands out. A cultural idiosyncrasy I immediately wished was part of life in the Pacific Northwest. No. Not hush puppies. Although, the story behind those is adorable. Not even that “Bless Your Heart” is actually somewhat of an insult. Who knew? No, the tradition I lamented never learning involves pearls.

One morning, a few years ago, Melissa seemed a little down. When I asked if she was ok, her response was, “Well, I’m wearing my pearls.” She then clued me in to the most delightful secret girl code ever. In the South, if it’s a bad day, you wear your pearls. It makes you feel better — how can you be grumpy with pearls on — and is a signal to your friends that things aren’t the greatest. I mean come on. How did I live 30 years before hearing about this? Car broke down? Pearls. Kids trashed the house? Pearls. Baby spit up on you and then blew out the diaper…but only after you’d changed out of your curdled milk pants? Double strand of pearls! It’s amazing! The pearl solution changes my outlook on the day. I feel like a secret agent and a princess all at once. Ooooh, “Princess Secret Agent”. Coming soon to a theater near you.

Heavenly Pearls
As Christmas approaches this year, I decided to pass along this Southerner wisdom to my two teenage nieces. I set about writing a little poem to package with a set of pearls for each niece. As I started writing, the thought occurred to me that there was a deeper spiritual wisdom to the whole Southern pearls tradition. Pearls are created when sand irritates an oyster right? In the process of pearl creation, something beautiful is developed out of the annoyance and pain. Do oysters feel pain? Surely they must. As I mulled about this, James 1:2-4 came to mind.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

What an amazing scriptural tie in! Wearing pearls when you are upset, and also remembering the truth of trials producing perseverance, which helps us be mature and complete. Exactly what I want for my nieces. I added these principles to my poetry and bada-boom-bada-bing, the gifts were finished. I can hardly wait for Christmas! And, for my own daughter to get her own set of pearls when she’s  a little older.

Heavenly Pearls

Print the poem using this pdf and select 2×2 per page to make it turn out just the right size for slipping into a little jewelry box.

If you are interested in a starter pearl set for the young lady in your life, click here to purchase the ones I did. They are freshwater pearls, unique in shape, not round. They don’t come in a box, just a little pretty bag. So, I purchased these gift boxes to put them in.

Heavenly Pearls

For those of you in the neighborhood of a Shane Company jewelry store, who are rolling in the dough, I absolutely ADORE my pearls from Shane Co. They are an amazing place and I’ve never been disappointed with the service, quality or selection there.

For all of you ladies, as we hit the season of peace on earth and joyful hearts (and crazy family, drama, traffic, stress and spending), remember your pearls! Anyone have other Southern traditions or wisdom my life isn’t complete without?

Devotional: I Want to Give It All Away

Often my children remind me just how greatly and simply they understand the principles of the Lord. They are a constant reflection of Christ’s words in Matthew 18:3 – “Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. At 8 & 6 years old, my kids just “get it”.

On the way to church Sunday, my son announced that he was bringing all his money to donate to Jason (an orphan boy the Sunday School classrooms support each year). He’d gathered every dollar in his possession and had his treasure clutched between his tiny fingers, ready to give it all away to a child he’s never met. Instantly, his generous spirit laid bare an overarching principle that I still struggle with well into my 30s. “Ours” is really God’s. He doesn’t need our stuff…but wants to bless our lives through giving. Continue reading

Gaining Perspective on Gifts – Operation Christmas Child

Before all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ramps up to full absurdity roar, we’ve taken a few moments as a family to put some perspective on gifts for our kids. This week, you can do the same, and bless a child in need at the same time. With the simple gift of a shoebox. Operation Christmas Child has been sending shoeboxes full of joy to kids all over the world for over 20 years. Samaritan’s Purse delivers shoebox gifts to over 100 countries. Over 113 million shoeboxes have been collected and delivered to more than 150 countries and territories since 1993. Continue reading

Devotional – A Different Kind of Present

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble.

There are times when it seems like God is not there. Days that stretch into weeks of wondering why He doesn’t seem to be fixing it. Making it better. I struggle in the helplessness I feel when facing a problem that is obviously too big. Too complicated. Too hard. I forget that I’m not the one who’s supposed to conquer my troubles. Continue reading

Devotional – Got Skills?

Exodus 35:34-35 “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.

Sometimes, I forget that God has given me specific abilities. I go along my merry way, and lose sight of my giftings. I get too busy, or self-involved and I don’t allow God to use me for the purposes I was created for. It’s amazing what happens when I serve in the areas I’m really good at. These verses this morning reminded me that the Lord has given me skills, and He calls me to use them. God didn’t ask the teach to be artistic. He didn’t tell the tapestry maker to get up and instruct a seminar on engraving. Each person was called to the thing they were good at. Where they had talent and knowledge. Serving God in our natural abilities is utter joy. Continue reading

God’s Gifts – Some Assembly May Be Required

Once we’ve realized who we are (princesses!) and stopped comparing our gifts to others, and we recognize a mature request – we have to get past the assembly process.

Some Assembly May Be Required

We all have natural giftings – things that require very little work. For example. I love to talk. I have never had a problem talking. Individually, in public, whatever – I can communicate on any level. Some people – maybe my husband – don’t necessarily view that as a great gift, cause he has to listen to me constantly, but there you go. There are times when you see a “gift” in another’s life that you want – that is not out of jealousy or envy, but an honest desire to grow. You take it to the Lord and it’s a mature request. In my own life I did this a few years ago. I wanted to be more merciful, able to give grace to others – because I was lacking big time in those areas. I wanted it to be pre-assembled. Ready to use mercy conveniently packaged up in a little box. I wanted to have it, and take it out whenever I needed it – put it away when I was done. But that’s not exactly how it works. Continue reading

God’s Gifts – “I Want A Pony”

Yesterday I discussed Keeping Up With the Joneses as the first reason we sometimes miss God’s gifts in our lives. Today, reason two – “I Want A Pony!”

This is a pretty self-explanatory statement. Most would consider asking for a pony to be an unreasonable request. Actually receiving a pony is a totally extravagant gift. Now, there may be someone out there thinking to yourself “I had a pony” “She was a beautiful pony”. Let me just say this to you. I am so happy for you that you had a pony. That’s an amazing thing. But I am so sorry for your husband that he’s got to live up to a gift like that forever. Unless you grew up on a farm, or in Duvall (private joke for my Evergreen family) – having a pony is a pretty over the top gift. One of my favorite Seinfeld moments was this one. Ah, cracks me up. Continue reading