by Nancy Duren
Beautiful beads, each color separate in its own tackle box, covered Genia’s dining room table. Excitedly she shared her collection with us, helping us find beads, charms, and pendants fitting the vision for our pieces.
In our ladies’ meetings at Genia’s home, we often make jewelry. I was excited because I wanted to make a pink bracelet this time to match my new pink sweater.
Abbie and her daughter, Mary Grace, were each consumed with making beautiful long necklaces with pendants. The rest of us were making bracelets.
I sought for the right pink beads for some time, finding none that worked. All around me, beautiful jewelry was being created, but I had made nothing. I usually made two bracelets each time, but my creativity was taking a siesta.
I saw myself respond differently than I would’ve in the past.
First, if it weren’t coming together, I would normally have put it aside until another time. Now, my group wouldn’t allow me to give up because they knew how much I wanted that bracelet. They know I tend to withdraw and feel hurt when I stand out as different in a group of people. They wanted me to feel a part of the fun and be happy about what I’d created. Thus, the encouragement began.
Second, I would normally get frustrated and take on an independent demeanor, becoming offended at people trying to help, wanting it to be all my idea.
Instead, the changes birthed in me through my writing small group this semester quickly became evident. I began to desire and ask for their input!
Cathy found pink rocks! They were so pretty and just the right shade! They were tiny, so Genia suggested a different cord for them. I found multi-colored beads that resembled the earth from space with their blue and green shades. I added some transparent pink crystal beads in between. Slowly it was coming together! Cathy found the perfect green bead. Karen suggested other beads and gave opinions on the ones I’d chosen. I would typically make it very matched and symmetrical, but Genia’s more free-form artistry influenced me. Ginger suggested one of the tiny crosses she had used on her bracelet, which looked so lovely with the beads she had chosen. I chose a pink one and was amazed to see a beautiful bracelet come together!
I realized some key things that night indicating a huge change in me.
Throughout the semester, I’ve been part of a writing small group. We set up a website and have been submitting our writing to each other for editing and ultimately, publishing our pieces.
When my bracelet didn’t come together, I found I craved the feedback, suggestions, and support of my fellow artists who knew how important it was to me that my work was beautiful.
Like my writing group, what my ladies’ group offered to me brought more color and dimension to what I could do on my own. As a team, we came up with the colors.
As individuals, we had separate ideas. Together, we made a beautiful, sparkly bracelet. I wanted a pink one, but I got a bracelet with complimentary colors that looked much better together. Sort of like my writing group and my ladies’ group.
The Lord brought the point home to me further when I remembered a story from the Easter service at Church of the Highlands.
I was touched as Pastor Chris showed two photos that inspired the colors spelling out ‘Easter’ on the front of the worship guide. The first showed a dry, brown desert scene. The second showed that same desert after an unusually heavy rain. As far as the eye could see, pastel colors had sprung up all over, pink, green, blue, and yellow.
When I later ran across the worship guide in my Bible, I realized what drew me about the colors in the bracelet I had made. Except for yellow beads, which I wanted, but were not available at the time I made the bracelet, all the colors in the photo were reflected in the bracelet!
I later added yellow beads to my bracelet to complete the team colors. I ran that idea by the ladies in my group and showed them the yellow beads I’d purchased.
We are a team, after all!
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