One Bad Apple

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You know the old saying, “one bad apple spoils the bunch”? I’ve come to wonder if the writer was really referring to decision making. It has been three months since my last post and in that time I’ve faced a number of personal and professional “setbacks” if you will. These moments have not been due to a sudden car crash, unexpected illness or jump in gas prices, NO, nothing like that. Instead they have been result of past bad choices. Not a week ago past but 8-10 years ago past. Without warning,  mistakes that I have worked diligently to rectify suddenly appear smack in the middle of my life. What happened to learning from mistakes? Moving on? Getting better?  Why now? Why not then?
Let me begin by saying that I am in NO WAY denying responsibility for MY decisions. However, I do believe that a mistake should have immediate consequences and an opportunity to make amends.   I was taught to “make good choices” but no one ever told me that in some ways mistakes NEVER stop biting you in the butt! Even if you learn your lesson from a youthful mistake, you could suffer consequences for a lifetime.
So now what? Well, I can’t change my past but I will be sure to tell my children the TRUTH about mistakes. No one is able to truly get past their mistakes. You lose a small piece of your future in each one you make. They are not fleeting or temporary; they are infectious. They are spoiled apples that will cause every other apple you produce to be a little less sweet, a little less shiny and harder to eat because of the stink bad apples have left behind in your life.

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The 4 C’s Part II…..

Clarity

Clarity is the lens with which a woman sees her sense of purpose and vision for her future. While a diamonds’ cut may be  its’ source of light, clarity describes the imperfections that prevent  light from passing through the diamond. As women, we may have discovered our particular cut (see previous post), yet still find that we do not possess the brilliance for which we were destined. Our beings, while filled with immense potential to achieve our heart’s desires, are comprised of what jewelers call “inclusions”.

Inclusions are the slight imperfections that are present in a diamond as a result of the pressure and heat required  for it to form. Regardless of your background, beliefs or age, there are experiences that have “marked” your diamond in some undesirable way.  It may be a small voice of doubt, self-pity, low self esteem or an underlying fear. Regardless of its identity, it prevents you from being your best self and shining the way that only YOU can.

In the jewelry world, inclusions can diminish a diamonds value. Thank goodness we’re only “similar” to diamonds! In reality, EVERY struggle, EVERY heartbreak, EVERY failure and disappointment has made you stronger and wiser. Because of your inclusions, the light that passes through you does not simply glow but BURSTS through because it had to survive BEYOND the scars and THROUGH the pain.

Diamonds have great CLARITY, not because they are without mistakes but because we understand that WE ARE BETTER for them.

The 4 C’s: What Every Woman Should Know About Diamonds

If there’s one thing I know about diamonds, it is that they ARE NOT created equal. All one has to do is look at the vast assortment of diamond jewelry and their variance in price. (Hint. Hint.) In the same manner, women come in a myriad of forms, shapes and sizes . A true lady, would NEVER invest in a diamond that was not properly vetted, so if we are going to embark on a journey of comparing ourselves to diamonds, it seems only logical that we also evaluate our own VALUE in life. Now when I say “value” I am in no way reducing women to objects worthy of a price tag.  However, I AM saying that each of us needs to know exactly what those things are that make us a “diamond” worth coveting, worth possession and worth adulation. As usual, thinking on this subject dredged up memories of my jewelry selling days. Whenever I presented a piece of diamond jewelry to a customer, I always began by highlighting the stones’ attributes using something called “THE 4 C’S “.  The 4 C’s are the basic criteria used by all jewelers to determine the overall value of a stone.

CUT

“When it comes to grading diamond’s, the “Cut” is a grade of the diamond’s reflective qualities — not the diamond’s shape.” http://www.adiamondbuyingguide.com/diamondcut.html

The cut of a diamond determines the amount of light that will reflect from it for the world to see. These cuts fall into one of four categories. Stones are either “ideal”, “fine”, “deep” or “shallow”. I realize the last one sounds harsh, but we ALL know a “shallow” diamond.

“Ideal Diamonds”  These are my well-rounded ladies. The ones who seem to seamlessly maneuver between circles, all whilst maintaining the same level of brightness and beauty. This woman exudes her inner beauty in a t-shirt and jeans at the park, at her 9-5 or even in a ball gown.

Fine Diamonds” These are self-assured ladies. Women who very much know who they are, what they want and where they are going in life. They are open to new experiences, but carry their own unique air everywhere they go.

Deep Diamonds” Women who have rich life experience and wisdom that glimmers through their every word and action. Her value is evident but not flashing to be accepted by the masses. She’s crossed THAT bridge and no one or nothing will steal her light.

Shallow Diamonds” Women who spend so much time pretending to be one of the stones above that  people often question the authenticity of the “real thing” when they encounter it.

To Be Continued…….

 

Which kind of diamond best describes you?

 

 

 

 

 

Being a Diamond is Rough ….But Someone Has to Shine!

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Yesterday was April 1st, the day most commonly referred to as “April Fool’s Day” in the U.S. While not a traditional holiday, the pranks and jokes shared  are a good way to begin what is a wonderful month. April is a month where the weather is warmer, the sun shines a little brighter, people begin getting rid of the old to make room for all things new. In a nutshell, it is a period of rejuvenation and growth. That being said it seems only fitting that the highly coveted diamond is April’s birthstone.

A little history…..

In the not-so-distant past I worked for a very large and well-known jewelry store for 5 years. (You may be familiar with their catchy “kiss” jingle and holiday T.V. ads.) During my time as an employee I learned a great deal about jewelry of all kinds, but more so about diamonds. Beyond the typical attraction to its sparkle, I grew to appreciate and treasure the stone in ways I never imagined. I learned to move beyond the “product” and instead admired the “process”. Here are a few fun facts about diamonds:

  • They are the hardest substance found on the Earth.
  • They are formed under TREMENDOUS PRESSURE and heat; between 75 -120 miles under the Earth’s surface.
  • Less than 20 percent of mined diamonds are actually gem quality.

Thinking about diamonds made me think about myself.

LIKE A DIAMOND, I was formed in a less than perfect (dirty) situation. I too had spent most of my life unseen and smothered by all the things around me. LIKE A DIAMOND, I had experienced tribulation and extreme pressure from all sides. Diamonds are merely lumps of coal and rock in their infancy and like me once, seemingly invaluable.  I had become discouraged, despondent, stiff and downright miserable. Life was giving me its’ best shots and I had held the pain of EVERY SINGLE ONE of them. My mind was filled with worry, my body void of energy and worst of all, MY MOUTH filled with complaints! I was focused on all of the things that had hurt me and was upset that things never seemed to change. I decided to go to GOD in prayer over myself. Then I allowed my mind & spirit to do something it hasn’t done in a long time … BE QUIET. It was in that quiet that I dug deep to the root of my problem. As I countdown to my thirtieth birthday, I began taking inventory of my life and what it means for my future.

Then it hit me!

I’m not like a diamond. I AM A DIAMOND!  My life possessed  a rough beginning. I had experienced pain, suffering, loss and trauma. I had been burned, but I HAD SURVIVED! I was so busy sulking in the dirt of my past that I hadn’t noticed how much I’ve changed. I am stronger, brighter, sharper and more valuable than I had ever been before! Not because I had been treated gently or kindly and coddled  by life but because I had been forged under pressure. Every moment of my journey has added another facet to the woman I am today and just like real diamonds, each facet brings a little more sparkle, a little more value. I have wisdom and perspective that I could only gain through my past experiences. While I don’t want to relive them, I APPRECIATE the role they played in creating the woman that exists right now.

I have decided to accept my identity as a diamond with humility and excitement! I’m looking forward to shining for all of the world to see.  I encourage anyone else who finds themselves surrounded by dirt and under pressure to do the same. It is NOT EASY being a diamond, but all gems experience pressure in this life. It is up to us to decide what type of gem we become based on how we handle the pressure.

Why choose to be anything other than a diamond?