Hope [A Giving Key]

[CELEBRATE This Week No. 231]


Most days there’s a necklace around my neck. Usually it’s a Giving Key, but there are also a couple of others that make regular appearances. One is a homemade chain and leather necklace from my buddy Christy Rush-Levine. Another is an old cross from the summer camp that shaped a large part of my soul. There’s also a frequent favorite that came from a long-time friend who I had never met.

Michelle Nero sent me a necklace with a yellow rectangular pendant. On one side it said SHINE and on the other was the reminder: Never let anyone steal your sparkle.

Michelle included a note about how she was out shopping, saw the necklace and bought it for me before she realized we weren’t in person friends. She shared, in her sweet way, that she was a little embarrassed by the impulse purchase of buying a gift for a friend whose address she didn’t know. She saw the necklace, thought of me and bought it without thinking through the logistics.

She was right: it was perfect. My One Little Word for the year was SHINE. It was yellow, and the words on the back — never let anyone steal your sparkle — was a message that was straight from heaven to my ears.

At the time in my life, I was allowing others to make me feel inferior. I felt like every single characteristic I possessed was a negative trait. I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I didn’t measure up. Things were rough on the momma front and rough on the writing front and rough on the friend front. Things were rough all the way around.

Never let anyone steal your sparkle. The words gave me the courage to make decisions that allowed my light to shine. Too often we allow others to dictate who we become. Michelle’s gift and note were just want I needed. I’m so glad she had the courage to respond to the nudge to buy the necklace and send it to me.

It was so much more than a necklace. It was a turning point in my life. I made major decisions in the name of not letting anyone steal my sparkle. I remembered who I was made to be and embraced my messy, creative, and unhurried way of life. I decided to be me.

I’m so grateful for the nudge Michelle gave me.

Truth be told, the necklace Michelle gave me served as the nudge I am still grateful to have been given. It was a natural progression to become a fan of The Giving Keys. I learned the power of a necklace reminder. If you’ve been a long time reader, you’ve heard me mention The Giving Keys. It’s an organization that provides jobs for those transitioning out of homelessness. The premise is you wear a necklace with a word and when you meet someone who needs the word more than you do, you pass it on. The Giving Keys is a pay it forward company.

I’ve passed on love, believe, be and steadfast.

I knew I was going to meet Michelle last Tuesday and I wanted to give her a gift. I wanted to offer her something that would encourage her and in some small way let her know the big impact she’s had on my life. Her audacious gift saved me and I wanted to offer a meager thank you.

I realized it on Sunday afternoon. It was time to pass on HOPE. I gave my key to Michelle and slipped SHINE around my neck.

Never let anyone steal your sparkle…

Thanks Michelle. You changed my life, and I am so happy to finally meet in person. You are as charming as your sweet stories.

This post is part of a weekly offering to celebrate in the middle of the muddle. I hope you join the celebration!

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Whenever it fits in your life, add your link.  Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.

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  1. Our God is amazing! The way He touches hearts through others is so beautiful. What a heartwarming friendship you and Michelle have.

  2. What a wonderful story! I love the “Don’t let anyone steal your sparkle!” quote. I often have to remind myself of that. I truly believe encounter like that are angels sent down to guide us and motivate us! I read somewhere last year – a quote – “Don’t let anyone scream into your dream.” That quote helped me to recognize when people were destroying my hopes and aspirations, and I moved away from them and kept dreaming… Thanks, Ruth for another inspiring post!

  3. Wonderful story about Michelle and her gift to you, Ruth, and that you have finally met face to face. I imagine everyone would love to take up that mantra: “Don’t let anyone steal your sparkle!”

  4. This post made my breath catch a bit. Thank you for sharing how acts of kindness often make such a big difference. I also love the mantra, “don’t let anyone steal your sparkle!”

  5. Ruth, your story touched my heart and gave me an extra dose of hope today. The sun is shining and stories are in my heart. Friendship is a powerful tool to support our journeys in life. May you continue to sparkle.

    An aside story of friendship: Michelle Nero and I met several years ago by chance at one of the conventions. We were sitting next to each other one night and started talking about babies. At that time she was a young mother of twins and my daughter was married and hoping for a baby. Since then, Michelle and I chat on line when we meet up. I also met Christy Rush-Levine last November at NCTE. In this case, Christy was a virtual friend who turned into a face-to-face one.

    • By the way, hope is my one word this year and this is the second time I saw it pop into my life today. Thanks for that boost of inspiration this morning.

  6. Love, love, love this. The power of this blogging community we have formed is wonderful. Even though we aren’t “in person friends” I feel like we have made friends for life. Love you, Ruth. Keep shining!

  7. Beautiful story. It touches the heart and the heart expands. The words, the little gifts, the actions of caring have power to lift.

  8. The threads of friendship stretch and grow through words shared. Those words were encouraged by you. What a difference you make in so many lives!
    P.S. I’ve tried encouraging her to come to Warsaw for the conference this summer. 🙂

  9. I can’t tell you how much this story makes me smile. I read her post when she found out that she was going to meet you and then the post when she finally did. I so get it.

  10. I can’t even gather the words … hearing the whole story. I truly believe in those nudges and whispers more than ever. I’m blessed beyond comprehension. Thank you, Ruth, for sharing our story. 🙂 One that I will treasure.