Isn't life just beautifully mysterious sometimes? You know, the way little moments and coincidences—what some might call "God winks"—come together to create something much bigger and way more meaningful than we could have ever pieced together on our own. It's like a patchwork quilt of experiences and emotions, each square telling its own story, yet all sewn together to provide warmth and comfort.
That's how it's felt ever since I started Hints For Prayerful Pause six years ago. I've had the incredible opportunity to hear from so many of you, and one of the most touching experiences has been how you've shared your stories and hopes with me. Every October, we make a special pink bracelet for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, donating part of the proceeds to relevant nonprofits. But many of you have also been nudging me: "Hey, what about a bracelet for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September?"
So, here's where a simple yet heart-stirring email changed things. Two years ago, I received a note from Allison, one of our regular customers. She wrote:
"Next year, can you do a teal one for ovarian cancer awareness month? It is a silent killer, and I lost the most precious person I have ever had in my life to this terrible disease. Her favorite scripture was “grace upon grace” and her favorite saying was “remember to remember.” I miss Susan so much it aches deep down in my soul, but I rejoice in knowing she is among the saints and one day I will be with her and see her again. She was the mother I needed, but never had.”
That email didn't just land in my inbox; it landed in my heart. Alison's words and Susan's favorite sayings—"grace upon grace" and "remember to remember"—stayed with me.
I knew the source of “Grace Upon Grace” immediately as a reference to " For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. " ~John 1:16
It is a beautiful scripture verse that manages to both comfort and wow me each time I read it. Our God is so good and knows us so well that He extends His Saving Grace to us time and time again, and promises to keep doing it for us as long as we need because His Love for us has no bounds. Wow, right?
It’s a scripture I’d been meaning to create a collection for some time as it is a message that when kept top of mind (or wrapped around your wrist in the form of a bracelet) has the power to instantly shift your perspective of any situation you may find yourself in… and those are the type of messages that inspire our jewelry collections.
The second phrase "Remember To Remember", I was less familiar with, but it felt like a related, steady guiding principle that should be followed, and it intrigued me to explore its origins more at some point.
It was November 2021, the middle of Fourth Quarter, when I received the email which is my busiest time of the year, and September seemed a long way off, so I filed the request to be something to revisit in the new year.
In the new year, I googled “Remember To Remember”. The first search result was the music video to Stephen Curtis Chapman’s song of the same name. I don’t remember hearing the song before, but I loved it. The chorus of the song “Remember to Remember” is:
Remember the way He led you up to the top of the highest mountain
Remember the way He carried you through the deepest dark
Remember His promises for every step on the road ahead
Look where you've been and where you're going
And remember to remember
It aligned so much with the original inspiration behind Hints For Prayerful Pause and my own story of how wearing a simple natural stone bracelet with a cross bead and looking down and catching a glimpse of that cross throughout the day gave me enough light in the form of remembering God to lead me through that specific painful moment, tough hour, hard day, and ultimately dark season of my divorce.
The puzzle pieces were falling into place; I felt my grip tighten on this new, promising thread. It was like a cosmic sign pointing the way for our next Bracelet of the Month.
My initial thought was this was a perfect opportunity to introduce a turquoise natural stone bracelet. However, sourcing real turquoise beads made me realize the cost of the bracelet would require me to price my bracelet much higher than any of my bracelets have ever been and would most likely exclude many of my loyal customers. Plus it would also be contrary to the idea of spreading Ovarian Cancer awareness and would hamper the raising donations aspects of the bracelet.
I added exploring different blue/teal natural stones to my list of to-dos. I ran across many dyed stone options, but I prefer using natural stones in my jewelry whose color was only “dyed” by God. ;)
The spring zoomed by and summer was also passing quickly, and September loomed large in the not-so-distant distance.
In mid-July, I saw a facebook post from a fellow jewelry business owner posted in one of my small business women groups recommending a collaboration she successfully had with a women’s coop in Nepal who made beautiful beaded bracelets. The bracelets were unique and beautiful and had gorgeous colorful designs, including many teal designs!
Researching the Nepal women’s co-op and their mission (to create a co-op where the artisans would be paid a fair and living wage with the goal of financial freedom) resonated with me.
At Hints For Prayerful Pause, we often say, “Every Bracelet sold represents—God's Blessing for the Receiver, His Provision for a Small Business, and Together Our Contribution to Organizations working for Good on His Behalf through our giving back program.” By collaborating with the Nepal women’s coop, we could now say this bracelet provides provision for not only a small business, but also for women artisans in the co-op, too!
And if that wasn't enough, the women’s co-op had previously created a unique bracelet for Breast Cancer Awareness Month featuring the iconic pink ribbon. They were open to updating the design in teal. It felt like all the stars had aligned. I placed an order for teal bracelets, adding another exciting thread to our ever-expanding tapestry.
Now here’s where the plot thickens: Despite receiving these gorgeous bracelets in August, I hit a roadblock. The month turned into a whirlwind, and I found myself at the brink of September without everything fully in place. I was torn. I had the bracelets, but something didn’t feel “ready.” So, after much contemplation, I decided not to release a Bracelet of the Month for September in 2022.
Honestly, that decision weighed heavily on me. I couldn’t help but feel like I had let some of you down, especially those who had expressed interest in an Ovarian Cancer Awareness bracelet. There sat the teal ribbon bracelets in my inventory, a constant reminder. Yet deep down, I knew that rushing something this important wouldn’t have been fair to anyone.
Little did I know, that was just Act 1 of this story.
Isn't it funny how sometimes things don't make sense until they suddenly do? When I revisited those bracelets this January, it hit me: had I released them when I initially planned, they would have lacked so much of the depth and meaning that they eventually came to represent. It was like the universe saying, "Not yet, you're almost there, but hold on!" So I made a vow to myself and to all of you—I'd launch them in September 2023, but this time, everything would be in perfect alignment.
Around this time, I was also diving deep into the book of Deuteronomy. Let me tell you, Moses was all about that "remember to remember" vibe too!
Moses knew the importance of remembering. Forgetting to follow God’s instruction and remain faithful led a generation of Israelites to be exiled. As Moses so eloquently put it: "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live." (Deut 4:9)
In his sermons as he led the next generation to the Promised land—Moses encouraged them to build practices into their lives that would keep God's Word top of mind. He makes the connection explicit as he charges them to teach their children (4:9), proclaim their faith (6:4-9), observe the Sabbath (5:12-15), give thanks for their blessings (8:10), confess their sins (9:4-7), celebrate the Passover (16:1-3), tithe (26:1-11), and act with justice and compassion toward employees (15:12-15), immigrants and orphans (24:17-18), and the poor (24:19-22), even , including the inspiration behind Hints for Prayerful Pause "Take to heart these words…tie them to your wrist…wear them as a reminder” (Deut 6:6-8).
Doing these things will remind people of their story, who they are, and whose they are. "Remember to Remember," he seems to say. And so, another thread was added to our tapestry, another layer of depth to our upcoming bracelet.
Then, as if on cue, I stumbled upon Natural Stone Apatite Beads one spring afternoon. These beads have this alluring tealish-blue hue, and the moment I saw them, I knew they were what I had been searching for. You know that feeling when you find the perfect ingredient for a recipe you've been working on forever? Yep, that's how it felt! I almost wished I had a time machine to go back a year and find these beads earlier. But hey, better late than never, right?
Suddenly, an idea popped into my head: What if we offer two bracelets for September—one for each of these incredible themes—”Grace Upon Grace” and “Remember to Remember”? If you have trouble choosing just one, as it turns out they also look great together!
But the story is not finished yet…
As I was putting the finishing touches on September’s bracelets, I reached back out to Allison who sent me the original email, letting her know I was finally releasing the bracelets per her request, and asked if I could share her email and some info about Susan, her response was:
“Yes, that is amazing! I would love for you to share about her. I am weeping over this right now. She was so very special to me and many others. …God is still using Susan to touch the hearts and lives of others. How precious and amazing! “
She also sent me a little more info about Susan and some photos to share:
I had known Susan for 12 years when she died. We met through church and were in the same small group. I always loved being in her presence. I was drawn to her.
When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I wanted to help in any way that I could and caring for others is my passion. Her husband called me on their way home from the hospital when she was discharged after a surgery and asked if I could come to their house that evening to change her bandages. That was the beginning of getting to know, really know, the most godly, loving, kind, generous and beautiful person I have ever known.
I made twice daily visits changing bandages, giving medicine and shots. I loved it because it meant I got to spend time with Susan. I started and ended my day each day with her. Her smile greeted me each time no matter how good or bad she felt. I could tell her anything and know that she would listen without judgment and that whatever I told her would stay with her. I could trust her with anything.
Susan listened to me and loved me no matter what. I firmly believe God put Susan in my life to show me and to give me the love of a mother I had never known. She was the mother I never had but needed. I thank God every day for Susan and the love she gave me.
Susan had this gift when you were talking to her—she was genuinely interested in knowing you. When she talked to you she would hold your hands. She had the softest, most delicate hands. I loved to hold her hands. I miss her hands so much. When I would visit she sat in her chair and I sat on the corner of the couch. We would drink coke from bottles and she would hold my hand.
As I mentioned before, “grace upon grace” was her favorite Bible verse and each year it was the verse on her family’s Christmas card. She would search for a different verse every year, but no other verse would ever do. “Grace upon grace” was it. Her favorite saying was “remember to remember” and there was a needlepoint of it that sat in her kitchen window.
There was another needlepoint in her kitchen window that I adored and it said “always hold a true friend with both hands.” That is what Susan did. She always held your hand with both of hers. She gave me that little needlepoint. It was the last thing she gave me before she died. It now sits in my kitchen window.
Last and certainly not least, she was the mother of 3 boys and all 3 of them are ministers. How unbelievable is that? How does that even happen?
It happens when a woman like Susan is your mother and pours the love of Christ into your life and the lives of everyone she meets. She truly lived like Christ and for Christ.
My life is forever blessed for having known her. I hope the lives of others may be blessed by her too.
WOW, what a journey this has been, right? And you know what's beautiful? How life, even when it's cut short, can leave ripples that continue to affect us. Susan may have been called home, but her spirit is as alive as ever, touching people who might never meet her or her family and friends. It's incredible how God works all things for good, weaving stories together in ways we can't even imagine.
Susan clearly was a wonderful friend, and her and Allison’s friendship was amazing, but I do feel Susan can be a friend to us all. Don’t you? In her honor, let's make it a point to "Remember to Remember," practice "Grace Upon Grace," and never forget to "Hold A True Friend with Both Hands."
It took a lot of listening by many people—to that quiet, inner voice we all have—to bring September's special bracelets to life. Just imagine what could happen if we all paused more often to heed those small tugs at our hearts?
I pray that everyone who reads this post sees it as a call to action. Let's all aim to spend a little more time in prayer, forging a deeper connection with the divine. Let's be fully present, each and every day, so we can act upon those little nudges from God—whether it's sharing a smile with a stranger, making that call you've been putting off, or any other act of kindness. Trust me, these tiny gestures add up. And when God amplifies them? Hold onto your hats, because it's going to be AMAZING!
I can't wait for you all to see these bracelets and, more importantly, to feel the love and meaning poured into them. 💖
After all, the best stories—and bracelets—are the ones we create together.
Thank you for being part of this incredible tapestry quilt; each thread—each square—each one of you—makes it richer and more beautiful.
P.S. Wear Teal & Take time this Month to Spread Ovarian Cancer Awareness.
For every September Bracelet of the Month sold a portion of the sale will be donated to the Tell Every Amazing Lady (T.E.A.L.) organization, a non-profit dedicated to early detection of ovarian cancer.
You can learn more about their mission at: TellEveryAmazingLady.org (http://www.telleveryamazinglady.org).