the Sun Ring

Guess what….I love jewelrymost of you are not surprised…But, really I do.

img_0234.jpg

Not because I make it, and not because I grew up and realized how pretty it was, but for my whole entirety of my life I have loved jewelry. Over the last couple of months I have been really analyzing why I love jewelry, why I enjoy making it and collecting it, and wearing it.

I don’t care really how expensive it is, or how fancy…at least not most of the time…because what I love about jewelry is it’s ability to evoke emotions, remind us of people, and stir up forgotten memories…it’s the stories jewelry tells.

In my life my most cherished pieces of jewelry are Ebenezer stones…if you have no idea what I’m talking about check out this post Faith>Fear

For the next couple of weeks I wanted to share with all of you some of the stories behind my favorite pieces. Some remind me of people, some evoke a memory of a place or a moment, then some I bought with the specific intent or purpose of reminding me of a season of my life, a truth of God that I was struggling with, or a pain that I was walking through.


Up first is the very first of my Ebenezer stones…the Sun Ring.

IMG_0229
At 23 I made the decision to not simply trust God with my soul, but with my whole life…. specifically I told Him that if He opened doors I would spend the rest of my life trusting Him and walking through them…the thing was, I was a drunk who found my worth in the way others valued me.
This meant I was daily fighting a war between living out what I knew to be true and good…God loved me, had purpose for my lie, had good plans for me, and I was so incredibly valuable, precious even…and what I felt…alone, insignificant, incredibly insecure, purposeless.
I would decide each day to live trusting the truth, I would tell myself these truths…and then, each day I would fail to trust, slide back into believing lies, and then wake up disappointed, discouraged, and condemned.
So, I decided on a trip to Mexico that what I needed was something physical to remind me of the spiritual decision I had made. It needed to be something I would see and something I would feel.
I remember the moment I saw it, the moment I slipped it on my finger and then held my hand out to examine it.
It was massive on my finger…it spans my entire first knuckle…It was big, and heavy, and it had a sun on it…a reminder that I had chosen to live a life that honors the Son…I would feel it, I would notice if it wasn’t there, I would smack it on things during the day and be reminded of my decision, of my desire…it was PERFECT!
For years I wore that ring, and it serve it’s purpose. At work I would be frustrated and angry and I’d walk quickly past a wall, smack my hand on the brick…I’m a little clumbsy…and remember to choose love, to choose patience.
Sometimes It would pinch my fingers at just the right moment, and when I wasn’t wearing it I felt like I was missing something. It’s presence constantly drew me back to remembering, it kept my mind on choosing love, choosing joy, choosing to trust…choosing to live like Jesus.

img_0232.jpg

I no longer wear it every day, but those days when I do pick it up and slip it on, I find myself reminded, not just of that moment, or of what it means…but of how I’ve grown, how I’ve changed. I am not the person I was when I bought it…drunk, depressed, alone, scared…love has changed me.
The sun ring no longer reminds me to choose love in the same way it did…before it was kind of a warning, like a silent siren that would go off and remind me I was getting off course…Now it’s a much more gentle reminder…like a soft touch on my shoulder…encouraging me to remember the beautiful change that comes from choosing love.

 

 

Legacy

For those of you who follow my Facebook & Instagram feeds, you may have noticed that I’ve been thinking about my Pa a lot lately…actually I’m getting ready to post a piece inspired by him in just a few minutes…I think there are a lot of reasons for this recent nostalgia. For one thing we’ve been cleaning out my Gramy’s apartment and sorting through all of all the things she didn’t take to her new place. In the process we’ve been rediscovering so many of his things; carvings he did, records he loved to listen to.

And we’ve also been discovering for the first time some precious secrets about my Pa, and a secret legacy he left that I never knew about.

My mom discovered that he had printed off and kept every email we’d ever sent him in our journeys around the world. All those years spent separated by oceans and so many miles, he had carefully documented it all.

There was even a file just for me! Every card, graduation announcements, newspaper clippings of articles I wrote in high school and college, and newsletters from the mission field. It was all there, a record of my life.

Pa

My Pa’s response to having only girls…become a boy scout!

I think this sparked nostalgia, and a lot of time spent thinking about my Pa, because more than anyone else I’ve lost, I have regrets about my relationship with him…don’t get me wrong, we had a good relationship…but I feel like I missed out on really knowing him. At his funeral, as I heard all these things being shared about his life and the man he was it hit me…I had missed out.

I should have sat with him more often. I should have asked him more questions. I should have spent less time avoiding his lectures…he was known for his lectures…and spent more time listening to the things he had to say, the wisdom and opinions he had to share.

When he passed I had thought I’d known the legacy he had left behind. There was this incredible legacy of family, a clan of tightly knit people who spent time together outside of major holidays, and who truly love each other. There was his legacy as a maker, and a story teller, and a leader, and an incredible provider, and as a man who loved God…I see pieces of this legacy lived out in the lives and characteristics of his children and grandchildren…but there was a piece of his legacy that I had not known, and it caused me to realize that I could have known him more.

At his funeral stories were shared of this secret. It seems that he was in the habit of walking up to the pastor on a Sunday after church…after hearing someone express a need…and handing him an envelope full of cash with the instruction to keep his identity secret. This habit was news to me…and most of the people there I imagine…and that’s exactly the way he wanted. Even the people he gave to didn’t know who he was.

This man, was not a wealthy man. He was not giving out of abundance, looking for ways to get rid of all the money he had. He was not looking for applaud, or a pat on the back. He was giving because there was a need, and he could, and he made sure his right hand never knew what his left hand was doing.

This is the legacy that he left us…a legacy of humility, integrity, and giving.

It’s fortuitous that I’ve been processing all this as I’ve been refreshing Frippery House. Because it’s helped me to realize something…personally that I want this same legacy…but also that I want Frippery House to be a business that gives…I’m not as incredible as my Pa, because I’m telling you all about it and not keeping it a secret my whole life…but I want you to be a part of this giving, to know the heart and purpose behind why.

lastphotowithpa

My last photo with Pa, trying to show Gramy how to keep her eyes open in photos.

Because, being a business that gives is not a new concept…being a socially conscious business is maybe even a bit trendy…but the vision of Frippery House is to inspire and to connect people and giving is a natural outflow of that…And, I want to give a bit differently.

So many businesses give to support…or to end…social issues, and while Frippery House will do this as well, we’re going to do it in a very different way. You see, to those who live among refugees, who run orphanages or take orphans into their homes, who live and work daily among women working in the sex trade, or who provide love and care for those who have been returned home after being trafficked…to those people these things are not merely “social issues”.

They are people, with stories, with hurts, with joys…with lives. 

So, here’s how giving is going to look at Frippery House…a portion of EVERY jewelry purchase will be given to someone…or somefamily…actively living their lives to love and serve others. We will be supporting “social issues” by supporting, loving, and encouraging those who spend their days living them.

This may mean the money they are given is spent on a trip outside of the war zone they live in, so that they can be reminded that life is not all pain and trauma, so that they can refresh and continue on. It may be spent on a massage, dinner with a friend, or even a new homeschool curriculum.

This money will be given to them for their personal needs and care, because we believe that life is not about connecting with “social issues” but with people. It’s because we believe a life surrendered to God’s call, living and loving people on every corner of this earth is what we are called to…and we want to be a part of supporting those who are doing just this…and we want you to join us.

 

Look for a blog post coming soon that details who Frippery House will be giving to!

 

Turn and Face the Change

In the last couple of months I have been working through some changes with in Frippery House.

I started to realize at the end of 2016 that I didn’t really like the direction things were headed. For one thing, I really wasn’t enjoying making the same design the exact same way over and over, it was taking the joy out of it for me.

I also noticed that when people ordered these designs off of Etsy or FripperyHouse.com the transaction was fairly impersonal and lacked the connection I was hoping for when I began FH.

hello-3

You see…jewelry is really just something pretty…frippery…not essential to life, frivolous. But, it holds amazing potential to connect us to each other.

Most of my personal jewelry has a story. It reminds me of someone, some place, some moment, or some emotion. It has the power to connect with me in a moment and touch my emotions; to send my heart moving in a different direction than it was just moments earlier.

This is the true beauty of jewelry, the potential it holds to draw us out of our current situation or circumstances and point our hearts in a different direction.

Connect

This is why I make jewelry, because I want to enter into your stories, to create for you pieces that evoke emotion; things that remind you of something, some one, or some place. And that you walk away knowing you own something special. And, when someone asks you about your unique piece you then get to encourage them through telling your story.

Encourage

I also want you to walk away knowing that your purchase benefitted someone other than yourself, and to connect you to the amazing works of love God is doing around the world through His people. The goal is to leave you feeling confident both in your purchase and through your purchase.

Inspire

Frippery House desires to create handmade jewelry that connects, encourages, and inspires.

Phase 1 of the transition has already begun, as some of you may have noticed. I have begun posting one of a kind and small run designs for sale on Instagram and Facebook. This is a great way for me to connect with many of you, and simply share with you the things I create as inspiration hits me! I absolutely LOVE working this way, and I hope you enjoy seeing my work this way.

 

Phase 2 is a transition away from Etsy and a complete overhaul of FripperyHouse.com…which is in progress.

This is the part I that benefits you most immediately. I need your help transitioning my discontinued inventory into your hands.

Starting Wednesday 2/22/17 you will receive 25% off your ETSY purchase with coupon code INSPIRE. You will have to be quick, because I only have 1 or 2 of each design available on Etsy.

1

But, if you miss out on Etsy, don’t worry; I’m clearing out FripperyHouse.com as well.

All discontinued designs will be marked 20% off and designs I will continue to carry will be 10% off, no coupon code necessary.

2

There are more phases to come, updates on what “lines” of semi custom and small run jewelry I will be making and which works of love we will be supporting, so make sure you are following FH on Facebook and Instagram and checking back for updates.

the Lindsy

I am not in the habit of walking up to people asking them “hi, will you be my friend”…at least not since I was in 2nd grade…but with Lindsy that’s exactly what I did…well, not exactly, I really made a case for why we needed to be friends…we had been hanging out with the same group of friends for a while and I really enjoyed her, but she travelled a lot which made really becoming more than just acquaintances difficult.

So, one Saturday afternoon at a women’s retreat me and two other of my incredible friends practically stalked her until we were able to talk with her. When we finally got some time with her we made our case for why she needed girl friends…and why we were exactly those girls…instead of backing away slowly and issuing a restraining order, she delightfully agreed with us…and we’ve been friends ever since!

IMG_7332.JPG

*While editing this post I noticed that I never once mentioned how amazingly talented she is…MAJOR oversight…she has an absolutely incredible voice and heart for worship and writes incredibly vulnerable and beautiful songs*

10 years later, I never see her often enough or for long enough but it is such a treat when I get to spend time with her…we are still very much bosom buddies. There are so many things I enjoy about her, so many things that make her a great friend. She is so kind and genuine, her faith and her heart are so pure, and she is wonderfully silly…we’ve definitely stayed up all night giggling like teenagers well into our 20s, and we once toilet papered a friend’s house when we were WAY too old to do something like that.

In my early years of walking with the Lord Lindsy showed me how to love others, how to engage everyone with graciousness and love. I don’t know if Lindsy has any idea how much I admire her, how much I look up to her, how much she inspires me. I have observed how she treats people over the years and I have watched how they are drawn to her…like flies to honey.

Once she gave our waiter in the restaurant her personal bible with all her notes, because he had shared with us some struggles and expressed a desire to read the Bible and to know God…so she just handed it to him. I don’t know if she knows how much of an impact that had on me.

img_2054

But the thing that has kept our friendship strong and grown her into one of my closest and most trusted friends over the years is how likeminded we are. There are a lot of people on this earth, a lot of people I love and enjoy, a lot of people I call friends, some who just come into my life for a season, but very VERY few who I have found myself so likeminded with.

I have always been able to be open with her…to share my heart…she has always listened, encouraged, comforted, and exhorted me. She has been present during some of the most amazing, and the most difficult times in my life, we started our friendships as single ladies…I got engaged days before her wedding, she was a bridesmaid in mine…and now we are moms…we have grown and changed so much, along side each other.

The icing on top is that we married men who were friends…yay!!!

Basically…I love this lady! She is kindness, beauty, joy, strength, comfort, a bit of sparkle, and a whole lot of grace all bundled up into one lovely package. I don’t know if I could ever truly capture who she is in a piece of jewelry, but I gave it a shot.

I used amazonite, because it is one of my favorite stones. It has this very natural and calming feel to it, and the color is neutral but not boring. The quartz gives it sparkle…gotta love some sparkle. There is something comfortable yet so special about this necklace. It makes me happy to wear it, it brings me comfort, and it makes me feel beautiful.

img_7668

Being around Lindsy does the same thing…it makes me feel so comfortable, and loved, and beautiful…I admire her so much, and just being in her presence reminds me how loved I am by God…what an incredible…and inspiring…friend she is to have. I’m glad I was brave/silly/foolish enough to ask her to be my friend all those years ago.

The Lindsy is available here…Frippery House…and here…Etsy

Untitled design-4

the Sharon

 

I know I’ve said this before, I think I say it every time…but this one was hard to write! In fact, I intentionally am writing and posting it today because she will be on an airplane for hours and then she will be jet lagged and overwhelmed by life back in America, so it will take her a bit of time to see it…at least that’s my hope.

It’s not because I’m going to say bad things about her…that would just be a horrible way to write a dedication page…it’s because she’s my mom, and I come from a family that doesn’t really gush feelings and emotions…I always have but it’s just one of my many black sheep qualities…so to publicly gush about how inspiring I find my momma is going to embarrass her and probably make her uncomfortable…but I just gotta do it!

IMG_7113

Like I said, Sharon is my mom. And, I would love to tell you amazing stories about how my mom and I have always been best friends and I was that sweet adorable child that cried when I missed her and ran laughing into her arms when she picked me up from school…but that just simply wasn’t the case.

…I want to put a disclaimer here that I have NO memory of who I was as a small child, I remember none of the stories told of me, and I have no idea why I chose to do the things I did…

From all the stories I’ve heard I was AWFUL. I screamed and ran away when she picked me up from school. I wasn’t kind or loving to my parents. I was strong willed and a destructive force…misguided creativity I think.

Crayons, scissors, markers…all banned from my possession…sometimes I wonder if either of my brothers had delayed fine motor skills because I’m not sure they were ever in contact with scissors or writing devices until they went to school because their big sister couldn’t be trusted with them.

My adolescent and teen years were less destructive to the home and possessions, but I continued to be a bit of a handful…strong, independent, insecure, and hormonal make for a rough puberty.

But we made it, we’ve come out the other side, and hopefully we are all better for it. Now, my mom is one of my closest friends. She is the woman I turn to when I need really wise advice, when I’m overwhelmed by being a wife and mother, or when I just want to talk. She lives far away most of the time, but when she’s in town I just like spending time with her…I miss her when she’s not here.

My mom is this amazing calming presence…which is probably why I like being around her, because I kind of have an internal storm of worry and anxiety swirling around inside me…I use to think that she just had this affect on me, until her ENTIRE house flooded and had to be completely remodeled. Most people would freak out if their daughter called and woke them up in the middle of the night to inform them their house on the other side of the world had been turned into a giant water feature at the end of the cul-de-sac. But, she didn’t, and through the whole process I kept hearing people say things like “at least it happened to Sharon, anyone else would be freaking out.” She just took it all in stride…and now she has a gorgeous newly remodeled house.

So, It turns out, my mom is just really calm…which makes sense because I think most people would have either had a mental breakdown or given me away if I had been their child if all the stories are true. 

My mom also is kind and funny and giving, so incredibly giving. She has spent her life serving others…her husband and kids of course…but she has also spent years involved with orphanages or homeless kids or homes for the elderly or kids with disabilities…whatever the biggest need was in whatever place we found ourselves. She found the best way to serve the people with the biggest needs and then she did it!

She shaped my perception of the world, and her kindness, humility, and desire to take the privileges she had and serve others with them changed me from a bratty and entitled teen to the woman I am today. She is the one who brought me to that orphanage all those years ago, who took me into slums and showed me poverty, and she’s the one who opened my eyes to poverty in my own town.

She also taught me to channel my destructive forces into creative ventures. She taught me to sew, cook, bake, quilt, cross-stitch, crochet, and bought me my first camera. She has always encouraged my creativity…she may not have always understood it, but she encouraged it…again shaping me into the woman I am today.

Oh, and my mom has this great laugh! When she really gets going it’s like she’s all rosy cheeks and nose and she laughs so hard she can’t really talk she just squeaks and she cries a little bit…it’s just the best!

 

IMG_2482

This bracelet is for my mom, because she loves jewelry and she always has great bracelets. She loves blue, and calcite is the perfect blue for her, soft and gentle with just a bit of shine.

I am forever grateful for my mom. We are so very different, and I quite often feel like she just doesn’t understand me…but she has always loved and supported me no matter what crazy idea I have, from moving across the world to adopting a teenager to starting Frippery House. Thanks mom!

Shop the Sharon