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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.