Yep! That's six zeros after the thirty! Crazy, right? Here's how the above photo came to be taken:
Years ago, I traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona with my TVG Marketing Services peeps to attend Tom Hopkin's Sales Training Bootcamp. After three days of intense workshops, Tom invited all of the attendees to a special reception at his friend Alfred Molina's jewelry store.
It was at this party that some of us were given the opportunity to try on a stunning diamond necklace and pose for a photo with Tom and Al. (I cropped those two out of the above photo so you could appreciate the size of the rock around my neck!) We were told that the necklace had been loaned to multiple celebrities over the years, including singer Celine Dion who wore it during performances in Las Vegas.
I should point out that there were armed guards at the door and I'm certain the necklace was heavily insured. The jeweler was taking no chances on any of us trying to make a quick getaway! (Of course, it would have been hard to bolt with that heavy stone weighing you down!)
My friend Kathy, (who also got to wear the necklace), and I were talking about the diamond, trying to figure out how you could put a price tag on something that was worth so much. "I have no point of reference," she admitted. "There was nothing in that jewelry store I could afford!"
"I'm with you," I agreed with a chuckle. "I mean, after the first few million, what does it really matter?"
My personal jewelry collection contains little in the way of pieces that cost a lot of money. But I definitely have a sentimental attachment to several things because of their history. This makes them
far more valuable than whatever was on their original price tags.
Here's a story about one such piece that's perfect for the holiday season:
The Miracle of My Mother's Diamonds
When he married my mother Franny, Bob asked her to help design a wedding ring. Mom broke away from the traditional style, requesting a simple gold band set with two rows of five modest-sized diamonds on each. The small gems represented her five daughters, Sandy, Diane (who was a full-term stillborn baby), me, Brenda, and Molly.
Upon Franny's death in January 2011, Bob packed the ring away. A couple of months before we celebrated our first Christmas without our beloved mother, he called me looking for some gift ideas. "I have no idea what to get you girls," he said. "Franny always took care of all that."
I assured him that we didn't need any gifts from him that we'd just enjoy being together. However, after thinking about it for a couple of days, I had an idea. "Do you still have mom's wedding ring?" I asked.
"I do," Bob replied. "Whatcha thinking?"
"Well, the other day you asked me what you could give to my sisters and me for Christmas. What would you think about taking the diamonds off mom's ring and putting them on drop pendants for each of us? I'll help you find a jeweler and it'd be a great surprise for everyone."
Bob thought this was a great idea so he went and got mom's ring. "Do whatever you want, Monica," he said. "Just let me know how much it's gonna be."
So, I worked with a local jeweler who designed the pendants and placed them on dainty silver chains. Bob proudly presented the necklaces to me and my sisters that Christmas. Many tears were shed as he handed each of us our small, special gift box. "These diamonds were in Franny's wedding ring," he shared. "She would have wanted you girls to have them."
I wore the necklace he'd given me almost every day, loving how it made me feel closer to Franny. Sometimes when working at my desk, I'd touch the pendant, finding it comforting to know Mom would have loved how the gift was keeping her memory alive.
You can imagine my horror when, only a couple of months after that Christmas, I reached up to stroke the diamonds and realized they weren't on the chain! In a panic, I searched my office, getting down on my hands and knees to look under my desk and feel around on the carpet. My kind co-workers joined the hunt, helping to retrace my steps from the parking lot. Unfortunately, even with all of this—and a thorough inspection of my car, the pendant was gone!
Heartbroken, I alerted my sisters, advising them to invest in a chain with a more secure clasp because I didn't want them to lose their diamonds, too.
Over the next several months, I continued to keep an eye out for the pendant, hoping it might magically reappear. Eventually, I stopped searching and resigned myself to the fact that the pendant was simply something that was to have been in my possession for only a short season.
Well, spring turned into summer and then cooler temps began to set in. (Cooler temps being a relative term—after all, it is Texas!) It was on one of these crisp, fall mornings that I arrived at my office and pulled into my usual parking spot.
As I was gathering my things and preparing to get out of the car, something stirred within me and I knew that this morning something awesome was going to happen.
Now, there've been times in my life when I've felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to do something. I'll admit that if whatever it is falls outside of my comfort zone, (or if I simply don't want to do it) I'm quick to ask God if what I'm being prompted to do is really His will.
But there was no mistaking His gentle urging to me on that fall morning: "Monica, get out of your car and walk around to the passenger's side. You'll find your mom's diamonds nearby underneath some leaves by the curb."
So, I got out of my car and went to the passenger's side. Banked against the curb, were a bunch of leaves, still damp from the sprinklers. Although I'd searched there numerous times (and the landscapers had been out on many occasions with their infernal leaf blowers), I did as He instructed, reaching down and pulling away the leaves. Almost immediately, I located the pendant, and my eyes filled with tears as I held the tiny treasure to my heart and thanked God.
These two small diamonds had remained on the curb for multiple months even though we'd searched for them relentlessly. How could they still be here after all this time? Why didn't this small pendant get blown away by the wind or the landscapers or washed down the parking lot by storms?
I'll tell you why—we serve a God of miracles! I believe He may have used this experience to teach me not to get caught up in material things. And, although Mom's diamonds are extremely special to me, there's nothing more precious than His love:
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
On this same note, as my friend Pam would say, "Ain't none of us pullin' a U-haul to Heaven." Or, in layman's terms—You can't take it with you!
In other words, all the "stuff" we enjoy here will mean nothing to us once we've reached our eternal home.
I don't know about you, but I find tremendous comfort in this. Wishing you tidings of comfort and joy this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour!
Closet ClotheSure Week 46
This warm Eva Mendes dress has been in my closet for many years. I normally wear it with boots but chose to grab some heels for this week's photo shoot. I really like the shimmer in the silver and the black, blue, and gray hues in the fabric. It's a keeper!
Tuesday - (above)
I'll keep this Gabrielle Union shimmering skirt from New York and Company but lose the unflattering too-large blouse—also by Gabrielle Union. This top got a lot of negative press on social media! LOL!
(Above) Here's a fun, tie-waist dress from Ann Taylor I've paired with some incredible gray boots from White House Black Market. The dress I've had for years (keeper!) and the boots are a fairly new acquisition. I'll keep this outfit because they make me feel happy!
These two pieces didn't get a lot of love on social media and I suppose I can understand why! The satin top is from Ann Taylor (GONE!) and the long, silver, accordion skirt from New York and Company is also a reject. Here's why: The top is just kind-of "bleh" on me and the skirt is one of those things where you have to turn at just the right angle to make it look flattering on your bod. It's time to let both pieces go!
The Great Outdoors -
James and I had a lot of fun babysitting our Granddog, Dallas this past week. Here are some photos we took of this adorable Vizsla—and one of what Cabbit had to think about Dallas's visit!
Dallas in his ugly Christmas sweater
Dallas loves to walk along the tops of retaining walls like this one
Inspecting the deer tracks near Lake Grapevine
Cabbit is not happy about sharing his home with a dog!