inspi*ring sparkles

I've been yearning for an opportunity to share a certain story on this blog for some time now. My extreme sorrow-to-elation tale is one you may have heard before, as it comes from our wedding website. But I've decided that now is that just-right time to share 'THE story' on my blog. Here is why...

I think that everyone needs original artwork displayed in their home. What do you think? There's just something really special about a piece that...
makes you smile
instills a feeling
and inspires you
That is what "Quickly now, quickly"^, or as I like to call him, 'roosty love', does for me. He's vibrant, cheery and proud, and has recently found a forever home on one of our kitchen walls. I'm happy to say that he's settling in quite nicely.

So what does this rooster painting have to do with 'THE story' you ask?! Well, let me explain...

My long-time friend (soul sistah, really), Kiele, is the talented freelance artist and graphic designer behind this awesome watercolor design. Working, inspiring and enjoying life from her beautiful home in New Hampshire, she sparks 99.9% of her creative flame from her 'wicked' love of the ocean. She also blogs about her journey as kiele of.the.sea.

So, after my mom discovered the beauty of my new favorite fowl, she too wanted to call one of Kiele's originals 'her own'. She scrolled through her Etsy shop, but after careful consideration, decided to custom order. When I asked what she would have my dear friend create for her, she reminded me (not that I needed reminding) of sparkles...

'THE story'
In August 2010, my mom and I went to Massachusetts for Kiele's bachelorette party. The girls' weekend promised fun in the sun, relaxation and lots of laughs at her parents' gorgeous beach house on the New England coast. And it delivered just that, up until our last day.

We decided to soak up some last-minute sun on the beach before our flight back home later that afternoon. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the heat forced Kiele and I into the water. Before we ran in, Kiele gave her engagement ring to her mum, Verne, for safekeeping. Following her lead, I too removed my ring, and handed it to my mom.

So we splashed around on (her now hubby), Jay's, rented paddle board for a while until we decided that the water was much too cold for us. As we began to paddle back to shore, Kiele noticed both of our blonde madres frantically crawling around in the sand on their hands and knees. Bad feelings.

Jay met us in the water on his surf board to help us get back in, and assured that nothing was wrong.

We quickly learned otherwise.

As we approached the scene, my mom looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I'm so sorry, Keri"... NO (yes).

My stomach shot up into my throat and my heart sank like a cement block. This was actually happening. I could barely look at her.

And so, with rage and sadness restrained, Kiele and I joined the search. The minutes felt like years. Everytime I looked at my left hand, I suffered from a kind of mini phantom-limb syndrome. I could feel the ring on my finger, but it wasn't there.

We darted over to every gleam, shimmer and shine in the sand in hopes that it was a diamond. None of them were, but those little sparkles, like small glimmers of hope, kept us going.

As time quickly passed with no sign of my heart's desire, we sent Jay out to rent a metal detector. And upon his return, our spirits lifted, and we began to re-search the area.

Still nothing.

I tried to justify the situation with, "at least my ring is lost in a beautiful place" and "I'll just get a new one." Nope, wasn't happening. Pessimism came over me suddenly. I doubted that we'd ever find it, and there was no way that I could ever be OK with that. But I couldn't search anymore. I was drained and decided to take a break, to break the new to Chris. Gulp.

Luckily, he kept his cool, and encouraged me to keep up the search with the others. He even offered to re-propose with a new ring if we didn't find it (so sweet). At that point we were going to miss our flight, so I sucked it up and took Chris' advice.

Back down to the tragic, archeological dig I went.

Soon after my return to the beach, Kiele's sister, Jaimie, got home from work and joined in- I felt relieved to have a fresh pair of eyes on our side. But those hopeful feelings soon vanished when we still hadn't discovered anything.

Four hours had passed. So, Kiele suggested taking a different route by placing ads in the local papers. I reluctatntly agreed. As I poured a much-needed glass of red wine while helping her word a "Lost Engagement Ring" ad in the kitchen, we heard THE scream of all screams.

That bloodcurdling shriek was the most beautiful sound.

Our faces lit up with elation, and we dashed outside to discover my dream come true. My mom yelled as she ran up the stairs, "KERI, I FOUND IT! I FOUND IT! I FOUND IT!!".

Yes, she found it. Thank goodness.

I have never felt such relief and lack of emotional control in my entire life. Words can not explain. Onlookers cheered when we embraced, laughed and sobbed as she returned the diamond to my lonely finger.

It was (and is) one of my most favorite moments.
This was taken the following morning on the plane ride back to Pittsburgh.
 Notice our tired, swollen eyes, but more importantly, my ring... and our smiles!!
I still, to this day, can hardly believe she discovered MY sparkle* in that vast sparkley sea of New England sand. Miracle or persistnece?- probably a little of both.

And so, here it is. The painting for my determined, hopeful, loving momma, via kiele of.the.sea.
"heart's desire"
She could not have captured the forces behind and emotions of our experience more brilliantly. It's perfection, and will forever remind and inspire me to keep on hoping, trusting, searching.

... and finding my sparkle*


  1. God, what an amazing post!! I think i just cried out loud reading it... I'm pathetic. I remember when Kiele first told me the story that summer about your ring! How awesome, and what an incredible artist she is! She knows just how to capture feeling, and sights in the most unique of ways. I think I need my own little piece of our sweet friends' creativity in our new home... hmmm which one do I chose!?

  2. hey i know that artist! She's actually my favorite artist to be exact. I did not know of this story at all, but it is a good one. Its good to know that you have just great people in your life to help you with a bad situation, and now a some great artwork to remind you of that :.)

  3. Thank you for the sweet comments, Daniela and Kelly! I might be biased, but she's seriously amazing. I think that everyone should have some kiele of.the.sea*ness at home. : )

  4. Ahh! what a great post keri!! thank you for all the sweet words :) (and thank you Daniela and Kelly, too!) I love all of you guys tons and tons. Reading the story again almost made me cry too. i love that roosty love is living with you now. he looks very happy. and that sparkle, that fleeting moment, that constant search, is something that your ring taught us all, something i'm so glad that your mom asked me to *attempt!* to capture, and something that will stick with us forever. i still can't believe it actually happened.

  5. Keile's artwork is beautiful!!

    What a wonderful post and a memorable moment. I am soooo glad your mom found it! :)


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