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Global SKILLs midweek Connect - July 15th, 2020: Beauty

Beauty & African Beads

Greetings!

It’s been great to hear from those of you who have shared reflections flowing from my recent messages. Starting next week, I’ll be posting the messages to date and future ones on my website blog, so you can easily reference them there and perhaps follow-up on one or the other as you feel led. I’ll send the link along next week. Today’s mid-week moment comes to you mid-month as well - it being the 15th (and for my American friends, a gentle reminder to have your 2019 tax return in good shape!).


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the realities of our ‘new world a-coming’ are such an on-going challenge, at least here in the US (and especially in covid “hot-spot” areas like where I am in central Florida). I think we all have pretty much realized ‘back to normal’ isn’t going to happen and ‘new normal’ probably means ‘now normal’ for awhile yet - as things change day by day. But, have any of you also noticed how things are getting simultaneously more complicated, more stressful and yet, in ways which are sometimes really difficult to recognize and appreciate, more promising? In up-coming ‘Mid-week” Connects, I’ll be sharing much more on the promising side...but today I am personally really needing to address the stressful side - and I’ll do that with reflections on the beauty of African beads!

“Hmmm,’ you might be thinking, “...lost you there, Betsy”. Well, stick with me...and you’ll see the connect! And hopefully find some refreshment in the midst of whatever tough, stressful times you’re dealing with this week.

One of the calming places I’ve been going lately to reduce stress is enjoying my African beads! I wear one or the other whenever i go out. Their beauty comes in part from their seemingly infinite number of shapes and sizes, colors and combinations - the indigo blue teardrop beads, swirled with traces of black; the translucent amber pearl beads; the jade green diamond-shaped bead set in filigree sterling. Their beauty is also reflected in how they are made by different people groups in different places (desert nomads, elderly village jewelers, young urban artisans) using different materials and methods (locally sourced gems, glass, sand…). And, for me, their beauty is also about memories - of where or from whom I got them and special occasions I’ve worn them. Mind you, I never forget the fact that, along with their appeal, these beads represent a long and sometimes very dark history, originating in part at least from the slave trade. But for countless generations, Africans have chosen to celebrate their cultures and personal creativity using these beads - and so I choose to join them in that celebration! If you’d like to do that also - check out the links below...and enjoy.

What will your ‘beauty moment’ be for today?

Linger in and with it, and then share it here or with someone else. And please, be refreshed!

Until next week, Betsy


Global SKILLs LINKs: African beads

https://www.thebeadchest.com/pages/history-of-african-beads

http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/migrations/beads/essay1.html

https://www.africadirect.com/african-articles/the-language-of-beads

& stay tuned for my new ‘annotated’ instagram account which will highlight images I’ve taken over the years of African cultural ‘gems’ (including beads) and a brief personal reflective note


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