Heaven on a Stick

Don’t blame the fence, blame the gardener.

White picket fences don’t just happen.

IMG_4929 1

“That’s heaven on a stick!”

– Mrs. Jane Young, my first boss.

Mrs. Young liked perfection.

One Saturday in 1985, I arrived to work at 8 AM, and Mrs. Young gave me the day’s instructions.

“I’d like you to organize and display all the sterling silver and crystal in the display cases.”

She pointed to the hand-carved, mahogany, floor-to-ceiling shelving behind the waist-high, enclosed glass jewelry sales cabinets.  I knew from a prior conversation that Mrs. Young adored the cabinetry since it was a family heirloom and it was the primary design fixture of her family-owned jewelry store.

With no further instructions, she left for the day.

To say I was intimidated, at age 16, handling the fine silver and crystal and placing the valuables in the gargantuan, cherished cabinetry, is an understatement.

I worked a straight 8 hours, right through my lunch hour. I remember being a nervous wreck the entire day –

Am I leaving fingerprints?

Is that too high?

Does that look good next to this or does this look good next to that?  

Is this lighting going to help this sell? 

Fifteen minutes before the 5 PM close, Mrs. Young entered the store.

Arriving in her blue, crisply-ironed pantsuit with a silk, floral scarf tied at her neckline, she, an ex-NYC runway model, was exquisite looking, and she, herself, downright intimidating.

She gazed at the shelves, inspecting the design, and as I recall, after only 2 minutes or so, she looked me in the eye and gave her appraisal,

“This looks like crap. Now let me show you how it should be done.”

We worked overtime, transforming what I had made look like crap into what Mrs. Young expected and envisioned.

And on that day, I learned a valuable life lesson.

We may think we know what perfection looks like, but it takes more than hard work.

It’s takes listening, learning, accepting criticism, and paying attention to detail, plus a whole lot of practice.

It also takes heart, respect,

and a whole lot of desire,

and if it has true value and worth

we may have to focus for an entire day – maybe even weeks, months and years –

if it’s going to be deemed

“heaven on a stick!”

“That’s heaven on a stick!” (not “that looks like crap,”) has stuck with me since my inaugural design day in Mrs. Young’s jewelry store.

Mrs. Young left her perfect mark on me, and I credit Mrs. Young for teaching me a secret of sales –

how do you make others want what you have?

Invest in good gardeners.



“To love” is a verb, so it requires action.

Let’s not be desensitized.

We’re in a state of emergency

and to love is all we’ve got,

so let’s all be ICE –

who to call upon

I (In) C (Case) of E (Emergency)


the “Orlando”

30″ multi-colored rainbow “ICE” 4 mm crystals with silver inset every 4th and 9th (49 remembered) pattern with a sterling silver heart charm


Leap of Faith

When there’s so much going on that’s uncertain, we listen to every word.

The word on the street is that it’s not super safe,

but the word inside her is telling her, this is super – I’ll go!

and her company is giving her its word its backing her,

and she’s chomping at the bit to speak MC’s words

and her mother is unsettled with certain aspects,

but her mother’s also seen that nothing comes from

lack of faith,

so the only word that her mother can muster is,


IMG_8476“Mexico City,” a travel necklace


A Cross to Bear

“I’m tired – I’m just done with all of this.” -JJJ

“How long have I been in this storm?

So overwhelmed by the ocean’s shapeless form
Water’s getting harder to tread
With these waves crashing over my head…

…And I will walk on water
And you will catch me if I fall
And I will get lost into your eyes
I know everything will be alright
I know everything is alright

I know you didn’t bring me out here to drown
So why am I ten feet under and upside down
Barely surviving has become my purpose
Because I’m so used to living underneath the surface

If I could just see you
Everything would be all right
If I’d see you
This darkness would turn to light”

– Lifehouse, “Storm”

IMG_7448-2“A Cross to Bear”


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