Tuesday, February 28, 2012

{Lessons from the Italian Stallion}


I've been on a Rocky Balboa kick the last couple weeks {something that, no doubt, my husband loves about me}. I don't want to go so far as to call Rocky a philosopher, but he has some pretty inspiring quotes regarding friendship, marriage, life, and parenting. Most of what I appreciate about his quotes is the simplistic authenticity of his words, and even more so the fact that he says them.

Currently, I'm watching Rocky IV --- You know, the one where he fights the colossal Drago in the USSR after he killed his buddy Apollo Creed --- there is so much that I enjoy about this movie --- So without trying to sound too nerdy --- I love the video montage, the sweet training sessions, and the rockin' soundtrack, but one of my absolute favorite things about this movie is a quote that by all measures isn't very memorable --- but it is to me.

Before the whole story really unfolds there's a scene with Rocky and Rocky Jr. where Rocky is washing their car, and Rocky Jr. is dancing with their Robot {haha} and pestering his dad about wanting to learn how to fight. Rocky's answer was pretty simple ---

"I fight so you don't have to fight..."

He goes on to explain something about wanting his son to use his head for something more than a punching bag {yada yada yada} and they have a cute little LOL moment, but the heart of it was such a simple, honest, and sacrificial truth --- "I fight so you don't have to fight".

Isn't that the kind of mindset we should have as parents? As husbands and wives? Shouldn't we fight so that those we love hopefully won't have to? Shouldn't we share in the burdens of our loved ones and be joyful for the load, living in such a way to teach it to our children so that when their grown they too will fight in someone's stead? To fight for someone they love? To fight for someone who can't fight for themselves? To share in the burdens of others and to find joy in bearing that load?

I know this is a bit on the heavy side for an "Italian Stallion" related post, but it's what I happen to be thinking about right now. So, I'll keep this short, and just leave you with a few questions that I'm also asking myself.

Who have you fought for? --- Anybody?

Whose place have you taken in the ring so they wouldn't have to? --- Anyone?

What have you done for love? --- Anything?

What is the legacy you're leaving for those you love?

{Batting a Thousand}

So, while we were sleeping...

Somebody must have been awake, because I woke up this morning to find that The Kaleidoscope Ballet reached it's first somewhat notable mile marker --- 1,000 pageviews its first month! Woot Woot!

Thanks for reading! XOXO

Monday, February 27, 2012

{Messy Mondays} {Thank-You's}

Alright, this is today's 2-fer to make up for last week.

My last post was a bit more light hearted than this one. This is not a funny post, and so I will not be writing it with a "Haha... LOL" sort of voice. This is a about a real, messy, and sometimes hurtful downfall I have. I don't think I have ever sent out a formal "Thank-You" card --- not to a family member --- not to a friend --- not under any circumstance.

This may not be so bad if I hadn't ever gotten married, had a bridal shower, bachelorette party, or now baby shower --- but I have --- and I have failed miserably at formally showing my appreciation through a Thank-You note.

Now, don't get me wrong... it's not that I don't do anything to show my appreciation... I am usually very vocal with my thanks, but alas, that alone is not good form.

And so I made a pact with Nick...

About a month ago Nick and I had a talk, and I let him know how much this is something that I want to change, and that it's pretty important to me to do so. On the spot, we made a list of everybody who has shown their generousity towards us since my hospitalization, Brontë's birth, and more recently her homecoming and baby shower --- and there were A LOT! We have been blessed beyond measure by family, friends, and even strangers!

The next day I started writing them out, and planned to get a few written each day, and send them out all together once I was finished. I'm sure it seems like a very simple thing to the majority of people, but to me, it was a big deal, and I was proud of myself for making this purposeful change.

However, to my dismay...

After unpacking from our move, Nick and I realized that our stack of Thank-You's was missing --- neither of us having a clue if they got shuffled in with the storage, or accidentally in with the trash, and so now I find myself having to re-write them.

So, here it is...

I am going to write them this week --- I will not let the fact that I already wrote them and lost them throw me off --- and not only will I write them, I will send them, AND I am going to take this opportunity to organize a big girl address book that I can reference for next time.

And to you who are reading this, and have shown your love and support...

{Messy Mondays} {Fashion Trends}

Ya might'a noticed...

I kinda skipped out last week. So this week I'm giving ya a 2-for-1 Messy Monday {Lucky you, right?}

But this week I want to talk about an entirely DIFFERENT kind of messy make-over --- positively MESSY fashion trends.

I've noticed a recent trend for hair and make- up -- it's messy. It seems we're heading into a somewhat reminiscent grunge period -- again. {Initial response?? "UGH!"} seriously, I'm the girl who likes shimmering bronzers, lots of color, and precisely threaded brows, but what I'm seeing is lots of natural bare-looking skin, HUGE -- seemingly unmaintained-- eyebrows, and hair styles that are made to look greasy, unwashed, just wet, haphazardly blown out, or tied up in a mess of knots. Don't believe me!? click here.

So, just for kicks...

I sported the knotted hair, "power brows", nude makeup, sans smile bit {LOL}

But, seriously? Is this REALLY a trend? Am I suppose to like this?!

Surprisingly --- I kinda do! Granted, I won't be brushing my eyebrows up so dramatically...

But tone them down a bit, and it works --- PLUS --- the knots are kinda cool, and way easy

Practically speaking, and in all seriousness...

This less-is-more, dirtier-the-better, au naturel trend made me laugh, and even scoff at first, but when I really think about it, these are the perfect kind of trends for a sleep=deprived new mom, like me! And I guess I should just hold my tongue and silently count my lucky stars, that I can probably get away with naturally unkempt hair and make-up and maybe it can even pass for fashion. {LOL}

Pertaining to MY messy make-over journey,

I'm looking at my excessive collection of make-up and hair products right now, and thinking "Heck ya! Another thing I can downsize simplify" to help manage my time and space better. Realistically, I can probably get away with a little BB cream and subtle blush on most days, as well as slightly tweezing, rather than spending money waxing and threading my eyebrows --- and hair?? --- I can do messy knots in my sleep ;-) {Hardee-har-har-har}

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

{A natural companion}


So, as a follow up to my {Yeah}{I cloth Diaper} and {Plus}{All the cool kids are doing it} posts from earlier this month, a few of you have shown interest in trying out cloth, and I have been asked to write a post about, what is to me, the most natural companion to cloth diapering --- cloth wipes.

Just like with cloth diapering, there are a MULTITUDE of benefits for using cloth wipes. It will not only save you money, but it really is a healthier option for that precious little bum you love so much. I'm not saying that using store bought disposable diapers and wipes are THE WORST THINGS you could do for your child, but the benefits of switching to cloth far out-weigh the mere convenience of disposables, and honestly in our world which is saturated with toxicity, it's refreshing to take control and make healthier choices when possible --- So, if you're interested in giving it a try, this is what you need to know ---it's my cloth ONE-TWO-PUNCH to help you get started...


You can either buy cloth wipes like this or this, which are made out of materials that are soft, absorbent (like you only need 1 wipe per mess... NO JOKE), and durable enough to withstand wash-after-wash. You can find cloth wipes in a variety of fabrics that range from cotton to hemp to fleece to bamboo fiber, or, if you're crafty, you can make your own wipes from things like old receiving blankets.


Truthfully, you can just use water --- Lots of moms do --- but if you want some kind of solution to help cleanse, soothe, etc., there are endless possibilities. I make Brontë's wipe solution, and have tried out different recipes, and enjoy tweaking them in different ways for curiosities sake. There are really simple recipes, and very elaborate time consuming recipes... but the first step is trying to figure out what you want out of your solution.

Do you want it to be as easy as possible? As natural as possible? Do you want it to smell like your little one just got back from a baby day spa everytime you change their messy little diapee? Do they have sensitive skin? Do you want a soapless or oil-free solution? This is where the beauty is in making your own solution --- you, as the alpha mom you are, get to have the final say of what's ok and what's not ok for YOUR baby.


By combing the web, you'll find there are a few quidelines you will want to keep in mind... basic building blocks to making your own solution usually include 1) a cleansing agent --- ie baby wash, shampoo, etc. 2) oil --- baby oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, etc. 3) and water.

Other ingredients that can be utilized are: essential oils such as Lavender, Tea Tree, Grapefruit extract etc. which are great because they help make your solution smell heavenly, and they have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties; Aloe Vera, chamomile and green teas, and even honey.


Here's a recipe you can try with me. For this solution, I am using Aveeno Baby wash, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils. I'm making a large batch {12 cups} but the proportions are 1 TBSP of Baby wash, 1 TBSP of Aloe Vera, 1 Capsule of Vitamin E, 2 drops of tea tree and 2 drops of Lavender per every 2 cups of water.

I usually boil water for my solution to minimize any germs or bacteria that may have, by chance, found their way into our tap.

Pre-soaking your wipes in the solution is not necessary, but I personally prefer to pre-soak, because I use a wipe warmer, and think Brontë prefers this extra step {who wouldn't prefer a warm - wet - fleece - wipe for their tooshie --- RIGHT???} But, you could very easily keep your solution in a spray bottle on your changing station, right next to a stack of dry cloth wipes and just spray each before use.

After soaking the wipes, I put them in a warmer, and fold them to "pop" up like disposables do. However, this is totally not necessary... You could roll them, fold them or even just scrunch them into little balls --- it's really about what will be most practical for you, but if you think the pop up method will be most practical, you can click here for a video I found showing how to do it --- it's really easy, and DOES NOT take very long at all.

This is really the perfect way to take cloth wipes on the go --- you could moisten the wipes ahead of time, but they may get mildewed if you're not using them everyday. I definitely do not use my on the go wipes everyday, so the spray bottle works best for me.

I usually make way more solution than I need, and then refrigerate the left overs to use next time --- the next time --- and the next time ;-)

Have fun giving it a try! Let me know what you think!

Additional F.Y.I.

Click here and here for some great wipe solution recipes, give a few a try and then try some improvisations... just keep in mind what you want out of your solution, and make sure the ingredients you pick reflect that.

To find out about some of the heath concerns related to chemicals used in conventional baby wipes and other commonly used products, please click here

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

{A Few of My Favorite Things}

Valentines Day came early for me last night.

My hubby came home last night and surprised me with all of my favorites... Star gazer lillies, a rose, a stuffed elephant, a gigantic heart shaped Reese's {which I demolished in about 30 seconds}, Rosé Merlot, and the crème de la crème --- Twilight: Breaking Dawn {Yes, I'm a 27yr old Twi-Hard --- LOL}

...And chocolate covered strawberries --- {Did I mention that?} --- yep, he pulled out all the stops.

All I gotta say is...

Yep --- that's me on the right with that fluffy ball of hair.

This video is about a year and a half old, but I had to dig it up for Valentines Day, cuz today {and everyday really}, I find myself saying, "Wow! 'Whatta Man'!"

So here's to True Love Tuesday {as I raise a glass of Rosé}--- Have a good one!

Monday, February 13, 2012

{Messy Mondays} {On the Move}


Well, we are in the midst of moving at the moment, and it has been both exhausting and chaotic; but It hasn't only been the logistics of getting our stuff from here to there. It's been much more than that --- It's been emotional.

...About a month ago, my husband and I made the difficult decision to do whatever it takes to make it possible for me to stay home with our daughter longer... You see, due to the fact that I had Brontë so early, my FMLA and state disability {maternity leave} actually ran out before she even hit her due date, and almost immediately my work contacted me to ask if I was ready, yet, to return to work.

My simple answer...no.

No, I was not ready to leave my daughter in the hands of a a stranger, or even a loved one, to care for at a time when she should still technically be in my womb!

Even now, we're not ready... she's going on 4 months old, but developmentally, she is only a mere 3 weeks old! She has so many health related concerns that are still up in the air, and has issues with choking when she eats... sometimes to the point of hypoxia, where she actually turns blue and my husband and I have to utilize the skills we learned in her baby CPR class to clear her airway.

Truthfully, I don't know when I will be ready to leave her to go back to work, but I know I will never compromise her care for a job, and that is exactly what I feel I would be doing if I went back right now...

So that is what lead us to the decision to move...

We prayed for a way for me to be able to stay home with Brontë, and we received a very humbling answer. In order to afford our decision for me to stay home with Brontë we are having to give up the freedom of our own space and comfy little apartment and move in with my parents. Humbling, but necessary --- at least for now. But no doubt about it, I am ecstatic that I get to be with my little girl, and above all else, thankful that God made a way, because i have no doubt that this is what is best for our baby girl.

Now here's the Messy Monday challenge...

It's time for some downsizing... simplifying. Did you see what I just did there? It's called perspective. "Downsizing" (at least for me) has a negative connotation --- a sense of loss --- where as "simplifying" brings with it a connotative essence of being purposefully minimalistic. Straight up, I just don't have room for everything anymore --- unless of course I want to be considered a candidate for that show HOARDERS --- In a messy makeover it's important to keep perspective in mind. YOU WILL FAIL IF YOU FOCUS ON LOSS, but this can be a positively successful endeavor if you promise yourself to focus on what you will undoubtedly GAIN.

For example.

My closet. Around the new year, I was inspired by reading a friend and fellow bloggers challenge in the 20 Pieces Project, which advocates the importance and benefits in choosing to take on a minimalistic, yet chic, mindset when it comes to clothing. Time is a huge gain, which is priceless as a new mom. If you are anything like me, the cliché "girl who walks into a full closet and says 'I have nothing to wear!'" isn't too far off. I have literally spent hours at a time looking through my hundreds of articles of clothing hating what I use to love, complaining about my clothes not fitting me right, which quickly turns to a self loathing it's me not fitting my clothes right. But imagine having, hypothetically, 20 interchangeable pieces that all fit right, all are comfortable, and all fit your own personal and unique style that can be dressed up or down to work for every occasion along your individual fashion scope of needs? Think of how much time could be saved... how much frustration could be saved... how much bodily self pity could be saved... and how much literal space could be saved by de-cluttering your closet to such an extreme? Personally I have gotten rid of about 10 trash bags of clothes this last month, but to be honest I could still get rid of a ton more... and will be doing so over the next week.

Now, for a broader scale example

Moving --- our move --- is an act of simplifying our lifestyle to gain what we hold most precious. However, If I focus on what we are loosing rather than on what we are gaining through not working and through moving, then I will be swallowed up in loss... financial loss... loss of freedom... loss of pride {yeah, I said it}, and inevitably that would lead to loosing sight of the vision God has given us for our family, and the calling which he has placed in our hearts for how to be the best parents to Brontë as we can be...and to us, that loss of vision, would ultimately be the most costly of losses.

So this week, whether it is de-cluttering your closet of things that don't fit, or if it is more dramatically de-cluttering your lifestyle of things that don't fit, do it with joy and absolute expectancy that what you have to gain is around the same corner where you dump your losses.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

{Wordless Wednesdays}

Read about The Rescuing Hug and the importance of Kangaroo Care here!

Kyrie and Brielle Jackson

My daughter and I doing Kangaroo Care her second week in the NICU

Never underestimate the power of touch!

For more Wordless Wednesdays click here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{True Love Tuesdays}

In honor of love month, I'm dedicating the next few Tuesdays to true love. I wrote this a few years ago, but I re-read it not that long ago, and it still resonates within me. I hope you enjoy it!

True love --- love in it's purest sense --- is not to be situationally subjective. It is to stand independently of both time and circumstance. This is the supposed claim made in marital vows, "To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish,'till death do us part"... However, I think Shakespeare sums it up much better in his 116th sonnet, "...Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds..."{thank you Bill for being so direct --- PS everyone should read this sonnet in it's entirety --- it's fabulous!}

However, in such a fickle generation, I often wonder how it is that I hear this word so frequently tossed about --- "LOVE" --- through repetitive use and hypocritical abuse the word has somehow lost it's potency and become muddled --- "LOVE" --- if i knew nothing of the word, and had to construct a definition for it based off of social observation alone, I would dishearteningly look at this hurting world and have to define it as something like, "--- LOVE --- an unruly sensation; signified by intense and volatile emotion; not responsible for it's action; hedonistic pleasure requiring little to no commitment; subject to shifts in loyalty within friendships and relationships of all kind dependent on convenience,whim, perk, and reward. Love is selfish, hurtful, unforgiving and temporary..."

The truth is, however, that love --- TRUE love --- isn't any of those things. It is intended to HEAL not HARM. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres! Love never fails!" This is what love is... and if this is not the definition of what you mean and intend when using the word "LOVE" then most likely "LOVE" has nothing to do with whatever it is you are feeling.

I am sure that most of you reading this are familiar with the words above, and that a great many of you even "know" that this is what 1 Corinthians 13 says about love, but maybe the problem, as evidenced in our failing social context, is that we need to stop "knowing" it in our minds, and start "knowing" it in our hearts and demonstrating that knowledge through our lives. After all people don't read minds or hearts...they read actions and THEN learn to understand the heart and mind behind them.

The golden rule calls for action in it's command to "DO unto others as you would have them DO unto you (Matt. 7:12)... because you will reap what you sow. (Gal. 6:7)" As Sara Bareilles would say, "You're only gonna get what you give away --- SO GIVE LOVE!", but make sure that love is true, pure, selfless and unalterable. Let that love be sincere, without any form of hypocrisy (Rom.12:9)...


Monday, February 6, 2012

{Messy Mondays}

So, as I'll mention more times than this once, I'm sure...

I'm not exactly the organizational type...I appreciate organization, but more at an idealistic distance than in my tangible everyday reality. Many times, I have made resolute decisions to turn over a clean new leaf, and really stick with it this time just to later realize that "this time" clearly didn't end up being the "this time" I was talking about, because it just didn't stick... DARN, oh well.

The funny things is...

I grew up with all sorts of organized friends, ones who were in contrast to me as black is to white. Those who had day planners long before I realized that my days needed planning... Maybe it's the whole opposites attract thing, who knows? But seriously, I always seemed to be the one with the messiest room at home, and the one who would show up for class without so much as a pencil BECAUSE I couldn't find one in my locker, BECAUSE my locker was jam packed with everything BUT pencils and books, WHICH more often than not were forgotten at home, except that is, when I would need them at home... then of course, they were usually in my locker {Oy vey!}.

My childhood and early adulthood has been riddled with goofy mess ups of forgetfulness like these, and organizational faux pas such as going to a 5 day church camp with a suitcase bursting at the seems with 20 outfits, but no underwear or a tooth brush to show for it {true story}.

Now, I would love to tell you...

...that married life proved to be the catalyst for my organizational change, but that wouldn't be true... almost anytime we get into the car, wether it's to go 50 or 500 miles, it takes me about as long as it takes to get onto the freeway to realize I have forgotten a list of things that are absolutely necessary for the trip... Lucky for me, my husband rocks, and always seems to know, in advance, what I'll forget and manages to pack preemptively against my inevitably disorganized efforts...

...Even now, as I look around our apartment, there's not a room, a desk --- no, not even a drawer is organized --- and unfortunately, my normally organized husband, has slowly but most surely, been over taken by this tornado of a wife!

Needless to say, this is not a good thing --- and this mess isn't entirely my own anymore --- we have a baby --- extra laundry, {especially since we're cloth diapering}, toys, blankets, play mats, bath supplies etc. etc --- and being that Brontë was premature, she has regular doctors appointments with her primary care physician, cardiologist, ophthalmologist, and orthopedist on a rotating schedule to keep track of! Clearly, this messy lifestyle, which I used to just brush under the rug {haha} simply won't do.

And so begins Messy Mondays...

I am committing Mondays to my efforts to make-over my messy habits... {which are many} with tips and tools that I'm finding to be helpful --- or not so helpful--- that might work for you too if you're anything like me.

I'm hoping that by blogging about it, there will be a sense of accountability that was previously lacking, and that my chaotic chronicles will help other like minded {scatter-brained} women make-over their messes. After all --- as Christian women, we serve a God of order --- don't we?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

{Plus} {All the cool kids are doing it}

As a follow up to my last post on cloth diapering... I thought it'd be fun to add a list of known celebrities who don their own kids in cloth diapers...

Click here to find out who of your favorites have made the transition...

<------This is Melissa Joan Hart's son, Brady, wearing a Happy Heiny pocket diaper --- How cute is he?!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

{Yeah} {I cloth diaper}...

You could say, I kinda fell into cloth diapering...

I never had anything against it, and in fact thought about it from time to time, but I have a bad habit of starting things without thinking them through, and didn't want to $invest$ so much in something that I would later regret.

However, around the time that we got to bring Brontë home from the NICU, we were blessed with a care package from a complete stranger who had heard about our family's story, and in this care package, along with many other wonderful things were 10 Li'l Joey diapers in various adorable colors... I was SO excited! I got to try out this whole cloth diapering thing without the worries of $investing$ in something that we might end up hating...

Needless to say, I was hooked, and SO WAS MY HUSBAND! There are so many great reasons to cloth diaper, and today's cloth diaper is NOT yo mamma's cloth diaper! They come in so many varieties that make it nearly as effortless as using disposables, but without the worry of harsh chemicals such as Dioxins and Sodium Polycarbonate, as well as the added benefit of doing something nice for the environment that is also nice for the wallet.

If you're interested in reading up on other reasons why cloth diapering kicks butt you can read more here or here.

I know, I know... what's with the fear of $investing$ but also being nice for the wallet spiel??

It's one of those things that so appropriately fits the adage, "you gotta spend money to make money". We're not exactly making money, but we're all set now to save some...

Brontë's diaper stash now consists of 10 All-in-One Lil Joey's, 4 One-Size-Fits-Most pocket Rumparooz, 8 One-Size-Fits-Most pocket BumGenius, and 1 One-Size-Fits-Most/All-in-One BumGenius... All of which have proven to be phenomenal diapers for us, BUT at $17-$25 a peice... that's where my $investment$ fear was stemming from... However, Recently I was told by another mom, about another brand that is both cheaper and {at least in her oppinion} superior...

So, we got...

I ended up ordering 4 of these Kawaii Baby Diapers... At roughly 50% of the cost of comparable diapers of other brands, I am SUPER interested to see if they are really "SUPERIOR" as was claimed by the mom that tipped me off about them...

These ones are made with an eco-friendly bamboo fiber inner pocket liner, and a super soft minky waterproof outer shell... each diaper also comes with 2 bamboo fiber inserts.

They're currently in the wash, but as soon as they're out, I'm puttin' baby girl in 'em... I'll let you know how they fare...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{Ready} {Set} {Blog}

Ok, here we go... blog time...

Thank you for stopping by to read the introductory post to The Kaleidoscope Ballet. As this blog is just beginning, I'm sure the majority of readers will be friends and family who, for the most part, already know the details and circumstances that have brought my husband and I into parenthood. However, for those of you who may have just stumbled across The Kaleidoscope Ballet and are trying to figure us out, get ready for the nutshell -- I married the love of my life (cliché but true) in June 2010, and am the proud, proud, mother of our daughter Brontë, who was born 11 weeks premature this last November. As such, I know both my way around the NICU , and how very suddenly every well made plan can come undone requiring serious and sometimes radical revisions. If you are interested in reading through some of our journey, you can do so here.

Brontë's time in the NICU, and the events leading up to it, have obviously become earmarks of our parenting and married life thus far. We still have to see specialists for things pertaining to complications of her prematurity and development, but I do not want that to be the focus of this blog, so I will address those things only occasionally. I just truly believe that there is SO much more to look forward to, and THAT is what I want this blog to be about --- the future and the hope that God promises for his people.

So now, moving on...what's this blog about?

It is my full intention to use this space as a platform to share my personal stories and experiences as a wife and new mother, but that's not all... I don't want this blog to be just about me and my experiences... I want to hear yours, and I will be seeking out other mothers and wives to write guest features from time to time to share their wisdom and experiences as well.

But, what's with the name, right?

Well, first off... I am in no way, shape, or form, a ballerina, but I believe both wifehood and motherhood, are like a dance. Each movement sweeping into the next, and refined by discipline --- A beautiful progression intended for glory.

As for Kaleidoscopes... I straight up love 'em! Colorful shards of glass, beads, sand, etc., working together to reflect an ever changing mosaic of stained glass... They're absolutely beautiful, aren't they? They're unique; and with each new turn, every framed glance, differing from the next and last, they remind me of childhood. Actually, they remind me of life --- different events, different experiences ---sparkle and grit --- each bead special, and each shard important.

And there you have it...