Jewels By the Sea

Talia and my mom floating on a red raft on Lake Michigan.
My Mom and Talia on Lake Michigan

Years ago, on Hancock, the main street in Pentwater, there was a store named, “Jewels By the Sea.” My mother and daughter liked that store. Each year, they’d visit and maybe purchase an item or two. I remember my mom liked rings with turquoise, and my daughter bought some pierced earrings.

Later on, Jewels By the Sea moved to a side street giving them a larger retail space. With this move, as I recall, the jewelry offered was “nicer” and more expensive. It was here I bought my daughter a beautiful necklace for one of her milestone birthdays. I loved the necklace, but it was also special because it came from “Jewels By the Sea” – a store she had loved shopping at during her younger years in Pentwater.

At some point, the store closed. And Jewels By the Sea was no more.

Except the real jewels by the sea were never really at that store anyway.

My mom and Talia on Talia's 4th birthday.
My Mom and Talia

The real jewels were the moments I spent with my mom and my daughter in Pentwater. And the diamonds were the moments I spent watching my mom and my daughter being together. How they enjoyed one another. These were the precious gems of my life.

I was recently blessed with another jewel by the sea.

I’ll explain.

Somehow I came across a new blog, Jeweled Again By Jessica. I don’t remember how I found it – or rather it found me – but in this blog, Jessica creates beautiful art from vintage costume jewelry. This interested me because, not only does she create amazing pieces, but also because I have some vintage costume jewelry from my grandma and my mom. I’ve wondered what to do with it.

Jessica also has another blog, Unmeasured Journeys. Here she writes about life, and lately, Jessica has been writing about the sudden loss of her momma last March. Jessica is a talented writer. And while she is uplifting and positive about life, her pain from the loss of her mother comes through in her words so beautifully crafted.

At one point, Jessica asked me if I was open to receiving a gift from her. It was to be a piece of art she was going to make for me. I believe she asked me this because I said something nice to her about her grief.

In general, I’m kind of uncomfortable receiving gifts from blogging friends. But I sensed Jessica really wanted to make this for me, and to be honest, I kind of really wanted it. Her art is so unique! So, I gratefully agreed to her generous offer.

As soon as I saw the gift, I was touched. It was a yellow church made of jewels on a background of blue and green, all my favorite colors. But it wasn’t just that.

The church very much reminded me of the Catholic church in Pentwater where my parents attended Sunday mass on their annual visits each year. The church is named “St. Vincent,” and it was built in 1868. When my parents attended mass back then, the priest was named, Charlie Brown. That always gave us a smile.

The yellow church Jessica made for me.
St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Pentwater, Michigan

Jessica’s gift connected me with my faith, my parents, and our beloved Pentwater memories. Jessica knows, from our conversations, how much my mom means to me. Just as her beloved momma meant to her. Somehow, even though Jessica didn’t know about that church in Pentwater, it seems to me, her artwork – her gift – was divinely inspired.

Back at home, our downstairs half bath has a “Pentwater” theme. I knew right where I was going to hang Jessica’s church. Because to me, Jessica’s church is Pentwater’s St. Vincent. Now, my jewel by the sea is this beautiful art reminding me of precious family time in Pentwater but also the kindness and generosity of a beautiful soul I only know over a screen and a keyboard.

Jessica also sent an “Amen.” At first, I wasn’t sure I should hang this in a bathroom. Even though at times, I have felt like saying an “Amen” in there. However, I placed it on top of a lighthouse picture, and it just seemed to work. Here, it says to me, “Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful place called Michigan and blessing me with so many precious memories there.” More jewels by the sea, as it were. Then my prayer ends with “Amen.”

A tiled picture of a lighthouse, a sailboat on a lake.  The "Amen" sits on top of the frame.

Jessica, thank you for this beautiful, meaningful and touching gift.

I know your heart hurts with the loss of your momma. But I also know, your heart is filled and overflowing with kindness and love. Your momma would be so proud.


  1. I love so many things about this post, Betty. It gave me a smile and a warm/fuzzy way to start my week. I especially loved where you said what your real jewels are. I’ve checked out Jessica’s jewelry site and have followed her. Makers are always intriguing to me in their creativity and I’m especially drawn to those who up cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Terry, for your kind words. I am drawn to up cycling, too, – whether for art or for something practical. I think you will enjoy Jessica’s creativity. She is very talented and a sweetheart. Glad the post started your week off with a smile and a warm fuzzy. And I hope the goodness continues all week long!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my gosh – it was really thoughtful! Even though I only know her through blogging, I think she is such a kind person. I’m glad I met her. Thanks for your comment! I always enjoy reading your responses. 🙂


  2. This post spoke to me in so many ways. But I really loved your comment about what the precious gems were. Spending time with family is so precious and yet unfortunately neglected by so many. As I watched you and your family together in Pentwater it is so obvious that you have a very special bond. The love between each and every one of you is so real. I also have no doubt that you really touched Jessica’s heart just because of who you are. Your heart also overflows with love and kindness. Have a great day

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your very kind comments! I am blessed with a great family. However, we’ve had our share of bumps and squabbles, just like every other family. The thing is – we don’t get to repeat life. So, the lesson is to love now -as tomorrow is not promised to anyone! I am so glad we met you and Barb, and I do so hope our paths cross again. Maybe even several times! Hope you have a great day, too!


    • It feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it – the world is going down the tubes. That’s what the news is all about. But there is so much good, we just have to make an effort to see it and to notice it. Thank heavens for all the good people in this world! We need every one of them! Hope you have a great week! Thanks for your nice comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi. I don’t know where to start… first, look at your mom!!! She’s gorgeous. I love those pictures of her and your daughter SO much!! I love the Jewels by the Sea and how they went there together and that you got your daughter a necklace there.

    I can’t believe my church and St. Vincent’s look so much alike. My jaw dropped when I saw the pictures! Love the parts about how your parents went there.

    There are no words to convey the level of honor I feel about being in a post with your mom. Thank you for that.

    I do miss my momma so very much, Thank you for writing such wonderful things about me and my blogs. Means so much. That last line really started the waterworks. Big hugs to you. I love this post so very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so glad to write this post, and to be honest – I had waterworks writing it! As soon as I saw the church you made me, I saw St. Vincent’s in Pentwater! I didn’t tell you right away because I wanted you to be surprised in the post. You were so kind to make that for me, and I do appreciate it so much. Everything about your site, your art, Pentwater, the church, the name of the store in Pentwater, our moms, – it all came together. Thank you again. I do believe whatever we give out to others, we get back. So I am sure you will be very blessed! Hope you have a good week!


      • Full circle moments……. you are right- it did all come together. Like someone above mentioned, serendipity. I love that you had wet cheeks, too and that you saw St. Vincent’s, but waited to tell me. I still can’t believe how similar they are. That’s pretty miraculous. You have been a blessing to me from the beginning. You have such a genuinely kind heart. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I remember when my son met a boy in kindergarten. He came home and told me, “Mom, I just met him, and I already know him.” They were great friends all through school years and still keep in touch. Sometimes blogging gives us friends, too. Just meant to be, as you say. Enjoy your day.


  4. I loved this post! What a beautiful metamorphosis from the beloved store to the real jewel! And now to have one more generously-bestowed physical connection to that past. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome. I know you have so many beautiful, family memories. These are a joy in life – both when the memory is made and then looking back on it. Have a great day!


    • I didn’t think of how “jewels” was plural, but you are absolutely right! And yes, they are very precious. Thanks for your comment, and have a great day tomorrow!


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