Off with the Mask

Wigs have really improved – goodbye, fake-looking center parts and overly shiny, thick monotone hair – hello, a substitution for hair which would take a big, powerful wind to blow it off before knowing it isn’t real.

I went with my friend to get a wig. She wanted my approval.  The chemo drug she’s taking has caused quite a bit of hair loss, and the hair remaining is coarse – 1″ in the front, 6″ in the back – she’s at the point where she feels better covering it up, yet isn’t ready to cut it off.  Choosing a wig didn’t take much time – she already had an idea of what she wanted.  She’d been researching and readying for a wig.  I was there to give a thumbs-up and to hug her after her purchase.

She placed the order for her new hair, and we left.  I assured her as we walked to her parked car that the wig looked natural and real.  Once again, her strength and perseverance are inspiring – she’s whacked another mole; only this time, the mole isn’t blood clots, a brain tumor, or pneumonia, it’s her physical appearance. She’s a woman who’s defied age for the 25 years I’ve known her.  She’s looks 20 years younger than her actual age, and people constantly tell her she’s gorgeous. She’s not ready to say goodbye to her hair. It’s key to her appearance.  It’s important to her. I understand.

She had driven us to the wig shop, so on the way back to my house, I asked for her to stop by the polling center, so I could turn in my early voting ballot. She agreed to help me out – she never wigs out when I ask to do annoying things, she’s real with me and I love that – and on the way, with the extra travel time, we started to talk about her mother.

“Mother was bipolar – when we were living at home, we’d bring friends to the house, and Mother would light up, offering them drinks, telling stories and engaging with them, but when it was just us, her family, she’d never sit and talk with us. She’d go in her office and work.”

Recently, her mother died – leaving behind some money for her siblings and her, “this was Daddy’s money – Mother gave all hers to the Internet scammers – including the equity in our house.”

The obsession with get-rich-quick scams was a first sign of her mother’s dementia.  Responding to the emails of Canadian scammers, who promised huge cash paydays, her mother mailed and wired the family’s savings to unknown P.O. boxes and obscure bank accounts in Canada. As their mother’s focus became more and more centered on being at home “to receive the big check” from the scammers, the children’s worst fears were realized. Their mother was obsessed with fake promises of getting rich. Money was her focus. When their mother’s money ran out, their mother’s addiction couldn’t be fed, and then she lost everything, including her mind.

She spent the next 10 years in an assisted living facility, lit up, smiling at visitors who entered her single room, and that’s another sad part of this life story – the visitors were all strangers, including her children. She, a prisoner in her own body, recognized no one and couldn’t care for herself. She spent ten years, caught inside her lost memory, doing not much more than eating and sleeping, except for one weekly highlight –

getting her hair done.

Ironically, the hair appointments were paid for by the protected money that had been set aside by her children from her deceased husband’s savings. Daddy’s private savings was used for Mother’s personal care.

Her hair was important to her. She’d handed that importance onto her children…and now, one of her children has to say goodbye to her real hair.

Why did Mother avoid interacting with her children when they were young and in need of her intimacy and affection? She possibly struggled with reality, dreaming of a perfect life, but never learning that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Would today’s wig purchasing have looked differently if her Mother had sat on the couch with her children after school, being real? I can’t help but think today would’ve been less about hair and more about missing her Mother’s presence at this real moment in my friend’s life. How would things have looked if someone would have wrapped their arms around Mother, led her from her office, hugged her without letting go and whispered to her, “it’s ok to be imperfect, perfection doesn’t exist.”

Unfading Beauty

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (NLT) ( 1 Peter 3:4)

We spend a lot of time focusing on our outward appearance such as perfecting our hairstyle, improving our physique, selecting the right clothes. In all, a lot of thought goes into creating just the right look. Do we spend the same amount of time cultivating our inner beauty? We know what inner beauty looks like…patience, generosity, peace-loving, fearless, and filled with a silent strength. Are we spending more time worrying about the color of our teeth instead of the kind of words that come out of our mouth? Ultimately our words [and focus] are a reflection of our heart. – Devotion Application, iOs, 3.23.2016


“Off with the Mask”

In a Snap!

My daughter didn’t go to the beach for Spring Break – she came home and built NeckGrace’s website.  As a token of my appreciation, I gave her a mini-photo shoot on the way to the airport. We pretty much had 20 minutes to make some sort of magic happen.

Phoenix’s late afternoon traffic caused some delays, so we did the best we could in the little time we had – shooting in a snap! Finished, we jumped in the car. I drove, and per usual, SKP asked if she could preview the images on the camera.

“Mama, where’s your lens cap?”

I had no idea – I remembered it being in my back pocket when I gave the camera to SKP to take photos of me, but who knew where it’d disappeared in the hurried way we’d snapped those shots.

Ugh, we didn’t have time to go back and search, so continuing to the airport, in stop ‘n go, bumper-to-bumper traffic, we drove.  During the drive, SKP found a favorite image and texted the image # to my phone.

“Do you think you could send me this picture before my flight takes off?”

Of course, when you’re a mama and you’re appreciative of your child’s hard work, you do what you’re asked, at pretty much any cost –

I dropped SKP at the airport and went to my office and began uploading images – I singled out SKP’s requested image and set it via iMessage. She responded, “thank you, but could you send me the one that’s not a closeup?” I searched the 70 image gallery for the image that she may have been referring, and what do you know, while I hunted,


I found my lens cap.


This morning, fighting little or no traffic, I picked up my lens cap which was sitting in this exact spot, in the gravel. It hadn’t been snapped up by anyone.

Life lessons in a snap –

when we find the good in situations, magic happens.



On a Wing and a Prayer

We aren’t backed by wealthy investors.

We haven’t studied gemology or jewelry making.

Less than a year ago, we couldn’t distinguish between a crimp cover or an enhancer

or tell you where to find the best priced African bead or how to string the beads on silk,

but wow, have we traveled a pathway of discovery!

Heather and I have launched, on a wing and a prayer,

our business,


and with His Grace,

we’re praying it will fly.


He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;

Psalm 91:4

Dear God, It’s Me, Humanity



Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (NLT) ( Psalm 20:7 )

Think about it, we board a plane, get served hot meals, and surf the internet all while cruising at an altitude of 30,000 feet traveling at a speed of 600 miles per hour. Most of us, nonchalantly put our faith in the airplane and crew that we will have a safe landing. Against all those obstacles, why do we find it harder to entrust our lives to God?

-Devotion Application for iOs 3.20.2016


a travel necklace,

a moment-to-moment reminder, as we travel through life,

that we are not alone.


Grace your neck or the necks of those you love

with NeckGrace.

Our world needs love –

Right here,

Right now,

Above all else.

NeckGrace Stamp

Silence of the Lambs

Driving along Hwy #128, through Anderson Valley, I spotted sheep grazing in a vineyard.

IMG_6691IMG_6694I took a left onto a dirt road and followed the outline of the vineyard until I could go no further.  A Chevy pick-up, parked at the end of the road, blocked me from making a U-turn, so I did a three-point turn, unknowingly driving my back tires into thick mud.  I tried to pull forward, but the car didn’t budge.

A man appeared out of the Chevy and walked up to the passenger window,

“what are you doing here?”

“I followed the road, admiring the sheep.”

“well, you’re stuck.”

The man turned from my window and left.

No offer to help. Nothing.


He just left.

He seemed pretty content that my back wheel was buried in mud to its axle.

That’ll teach me to go off the paved road.

Preoccupied with how I was going to get out of the mud, I didn’t even watch him leave.

I sat there for a moment, trying to figure out what I was going to do.

I had just been told by a local winemaker that the locals have helicopter insurance, so they are covered if they get in an accident and have to be flown to the nearest hospital. Road-side assistance probably wasn’t an option.

I fumbled with the gear shift, trying to find 4-wheel drive. It finally went into gear.

Don’t gun it, you’ll bury it deeper, just press on the gas and ease it out of this muddy hole.

And, what do you know, miraculously, up and out the tires rolled –

Freeing me from the grips of the muddy nightmare.

Feeling for a moment like a lamb who’d lost her way, I stopped the car before getting back on the highway and sat in silence.

Silently, giving thanks, for being led to those lambs and for being led out of the mud.


“Silence of the Lambs”