Thursday, May 17, 2012

As You Can See...

M.C. Escher
Photo Source: Studio Palermo
Times they are a-changin' (Bob Dylan)

I wish I knew the right words to express my thoughts today. The truth is, I'm heavy of heart about what I'm about to do here, which is to retire this blog. There...I said it. Aren't you glad I didn't beat around the bush?

I sure am. Before I sign off, though, I want to say a couple of very important things.

First, I want to express my sincerest thanks to each one of you who has so faithfully visited this little space called my blog. Whether you've been reading for the past two years or whether this is your first time here, I so appreciate your willingness to make space for me in your life.

Second, I want to tell you how scary it is to start new things. It's so scary that I have been putting it off for months now. Although I've lost some momentum in this season of procrastination, I have learned so much about myself and about what I'm going after with my writing. And that brings me to the final thing I want to say.

Metamorphosis I
Photo Source: Visualize_Us

Although I must finally lay this treasured work of mine to rest, I believe it has been the beautiful cocoon for a work far more beautiful, far more amazing, and far more impacting than it could have ever become by itself. It is so fitting for me to end this treatise on transformation with a transformation!

My new butterfly has wings with many colors. Some of them are unfurling and drying nicely, while others are still wet from emergence from the cocoon. Allow me to share the beauty of my new wings with you as they are today.

The first wing is my brand new project: Jewelry History. This one is nearly dry and unfurling as we speak. I do so hope you will take a minute to pop on over and check it out. It is a joint project with a very special sponsor, who wishes to remain in the sidelines as much as possible. (FYI: I am inviting you in its embryonic stages, so bear with us as we get our bearings and choose the layout and design over the next month or so. Since it is a joint project, it will take a little while to iron all these details out.)

Butterfly Lady
Photo Source: A. P. Kelson Jeweler

Another wing is Brightness of Your Dawn, a blog all about in-depth, creative Bible study. This one is nearly ready for flight, though it is waiting for the other wings to dry before it will be able to take full flight. I created this blog as a way to merge my passion for the Word of God with my passion for creative writing. If you love the Word of God and long for new ways to approach looking at Scripture, you may very well find what you're looking for here.

The third wing is script writing. This wing is also nearly dry and ready for flight. I have partnered with Donn Kropp of CLiCKPLAYceu to bring medical professionals a fun and entertaining way to earn continuing education credits through video training modules. I'd love for you to check out the module Compassion Fatigue, which we worked on collaboratively. Right now we're writing the script for our next course on Pain. Soon, I will be writing blog posts and newsletter articles for Donn, as well as producing pamphlets and other materials for medical professionals.

The final wing is drying more slowly than the others. This wing, when it's fully dry, will be our family business. This wing is by far the most colorful and will include several components. First, will be the debut of my writing website, which will debut in June. Along with my website, I will debut my brand new blog: A Word in Season, which will feature daily word posts as well as writing prompts and other fun tools for writers. I will also produce a monthly e-newsletter with in-depth articles about writing, editing, and publishing (if you'd like to be included on the mailing list, please send me an e-mail).

Shhh...It's a Secret
Photo Source: The French Bee Blog

Another facet of this wing will be my husband's website, which will include his garden design philosophy and a blog about plants!! I can't wait for this to come forth! Though we will have two separate websites for now, we will also launch a brand new family business blog. Though this will be the last piece we put in place, it will be the most exciting, as it represents a union of ginormous proportions. This blog will be the place where you can read about all things pertaining to the Andrews family, including homeschooling, business, and a very exciting announcement that we will make in the near future (probably this fall). (No, Grandma, we are not having a baby). However, we are birthing something, and you all will be the first to know when we're ready to share the news!

So, this is the last official post I will be writing here. However, for those of you who follow this blog, I will come back when our websites go live AND when our family blog goes live, just to pass along the links.

It has been a fantastic voyage. I'm so glad you've come along with me. I do hope to see you in the faraway lands our butterfly takes us on its brand new journey!

Until we meet again, I wish for you peace and joy in every moment!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Novel Idea

"Boat Ran Aground" (Copyright Ralph Klein. All Rights Reserved.)
To purchase this as a print visit Posterlounge
I've run aground upon the dry shores of "appropriate" reference material. In an attempt to push my writing vessel back out to sea where I can catch the momentum of the wind, I've turned to an unlikely source for information and inspiration.

Popular fiction is not typically considered bona fide research material. However, in order to write a credible story for readers of all backgrounds, a writer must do a certain amount of research to write her story.

My current project with EraGem Jewelry requires in-depth knowledge and understanding of the stories of antique jewelry pieces and the people who wore them. Along my research path, I found myself browsing the library catalog in search of The Language of Flowers*, by Kate Greenaway.

A Victorian Era code book detailing the meanings of flowers during that era, The Language of Flowers* promised to be the perfect companion to Jeweled Garden*, by Suzanne Tennenbaum and Janet Zapata. Jeweled Garden has proven an invaluable source of information about botanically-inspired jewelry throughout history.

Flower Shop Exterior (Crysanthemums = Truth)
Photo Source: The City Sage

Though the Redding Library does not have a copy of Ms. Greenaway's book, I did find a novel with the same title by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I promptly went out and borrowed a copy, and it does indeed reveal a wealth of information about the meanings of flowers--an important foundation for me to lay, as Victorian jewelry designers often embedded coded messages within the color and form of each piece.

Not only am I learning about this tradition of sending secret messages with flowers and jewelry, but I'm also enjoying the story about a broken young woman's journey out of the foster care system. Having grown up without a place or purpose, Victoria is sent out into the world on her eighteenth birthday, seemingly ill prepared for what she will encounter. A few days of sleeping in the park lead her to Bloom, a flower shop where her unique knowledge of flowers and their meanings lands her a job with Bloom's owner, Renata. Soon Victoria's secret knowledge of plants begins to cause her customers to bloom in their circumstances. I am hopeful that she, too, will begin to come alive as she discovers her place in the world.

A Cherished Scene

"After three blocks I came to a liquor store, where paper-wrapped bouquets wilted in buckets under barred windows. I paused in front of the store. They were mostly mixed arrangements, their messages conflicting. The selection of solid bouquets was small: standard roses in red and pink, a wilting bunch of striped carnations, and, bursting from its paper cone, a cluster of purple dahlias. Dignity. Immediately, I knew it was the message I wanted to give. Turning my back on the angled mirror above the door, I tucked the flowers inside my coat and ran." (Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers*, p. 5)

Vintage Daisy Flower Brooch (not Victorian Era)
Photo Used with Permission from EraGem Jewelry

What I've Learned So Far

If I were going to give my daughter a gift of jewelry,
I would buy her a hair clip with a daisy on it to celebrate her innocence.

If I were going to purchase a brooch for myself,
I would choose a tiger lily to represent the queen I am becoming.

If I were going to give my husband a gift,
I would choose a potted Indian jasmine as a sign of our attachment to one another.

If I were going to plant a garden in honor of my son's birthing day,
I would choose periwinkle for the ground cover, tender remembrances.

I look forward to sharing more as I continue to read. By the way, if you've read Ms. Diffenbaugh's story, I'd love to hear what number you would assign it on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = Couldn't get into it; 5 = Finished it, but wouldn't recommend it; 10 = I own it now). Leave me a comment with your rating and your favorite scene.

Peace & Joy,

*This is an associate link to Amazon. I will receive an associate commission for any purchases made through this link. I thank all those who are willing to purchase recommended books through these associate links. These commissions help support me as a freelance writer.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Holding a Piece of Time
Photo Source: Nicole Lee Artistry


What am I going to do today?

I have plenty to choose from, but nothing seems like the right choice. Nothing seems like it will make me come alive. Nothing seems like it will feed me, nourish me, teach me, strengthen me.

Nothing seems to dominate the mood.

I'd rather let go of nothing and embrace this moment. The coolness of the keys beneath my fingers. The tapping sound each letter makes as I spell out a word. My daughter's voice ringing from the other room, calling me to attend to her needs instead of to my own.

In fact, now I have a reason to rise from the deflating cushions of my leather chair, now several years old. Now I have a reason to stop my flow of thoughts and step outside of myself to make a connection with her. (Be back in a minute...)

And now, the sounds of blocks and Legos finding their proper places in the other room; the sounds of my children negotiating the details of cleaning their room. The smell of fresh air floating in from the open bathroom window, and the trill of birds blowing in on the breeze. The distant sound of my husband's voice as he connects across the miles with his best friend over the phone.

Today, as words fill this page, I feel myself smiling, relishing the richness of this moment. I am grateful for the mundane, for it is a wise and noble teacher. I am grateful for today. I will unwrap it as the gift it is one moment at a time.

What are the senses of this moment for you?

In Peace & Joy,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Know Thyself

Know Thyself
Photo Source: Intense Experiences
Personality tests provide a rich array of information about what makes us tick. Last time, I wrote about the DISC personality inventory, which I took after hearing about it off and on over the past six months. I talked about bar graphs in general and my red bar graph in particular. I shared the definition of two of the words that describe me on the D for Decisive scale:

Responsible & Inquisitive

I encouraged you to take the inventory and discover your own D words.

Have you done that yet? If not, CLICK HERE.

When you get your results, you will discover all manner of useful information about yourself. You might find that, like me, your approach to problems and decisions is forthright. You may find, as I did, that you usually depend on yourself to determine new directions you will take. Or, if you're not like me, you might find that you appreciate a lot of input from others before making decisions for change.

You may discover that under pressure you make swift decisions. On the other hand, you may learn that no matter how high the pressure is, you simply will not make a decision without enough information. You may discover that you will tackle long-term specialized projects with a high degree of persistence. This is definitely true of me.

You may discover, like I did, that despite believing that you have very little patience, you actually behave as though you have a "long fuse," especially at work. Be careful, you may be keeping that anger just long enough to set it loose at home. If this is true for you, it might be a good idea to stop off at the gym and vent some of that frustration before heading home.

Whatever the case may be, I know you will gain powerful insight into the way you make decisions, solve problems, interact with others, approach expectations, set your pace, and express your emotions. You may find a number of things that surprise you, and you may find some powerful encouragement to continue to be fully who you are in every area of your life.

Regardless of whether this is the first personality inventory or the hundredth (as is nearly true for me), I know you will find the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes for you to fill in your responses worth every minute. After all, the Greek sages warn that it is best to "Know Thyself," as opposed to allowing those on the outside to define you.

I'd love to hear two of your D-scale words. Leave me a comment including your words and their definitions!

Peace & Joy,

P.S. For a fun know thyself activity, click on the photo source link.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Who Am I Anyway?

Photo Source: Quantum Learning Solutions

I just took a personality inventory called the DISC test. My friend Sarrah gave me the link, and since I can't figure out how to share it with her and my other writer friends on Facebook, I decided I'd share my results with you here.

You can take the test here: FOR FREE!

So, the fun thing about this test is that it gives you not only one bar graph, but two: A results graph and a values graph!

I'm still trying to figure out how to save a picture of my results to my desktop, so I can't actually show it to you (any help would be appreciated). However, I can tell you that the first bar on my results graph is red, and it shows that I'm a medium D--D for Decisive.

Some of the WORDS that describe me on the Decisive scale are:



Yes! Those are two fantastic words.

MacMillan Dictionary defines RESPONSIBLE as "sensible, reliable, and able to be trusted to do the right thing," and INQUISITIVE as "asking a lot of questions about things, especially things that people do not want to talk about," AND "keen to learn about a lot of things."

Yep, these nail me! You can count on me to be just like myself.

Take a leap with me and jump over to the test. All you need to do is put a little information in the Get Started box, and it will take you to the test. It really is free!

Once you've taken it, pop back over and leave me a comment answering this question:

What top two words describe your Decisive qualities?

And if you figure out how to save a picture of your bar graphs, please will you share that little secret with me, as well?

Peace & Joy,

Friday, March 30, 2012

On the Horizon

Copyright 2004, Victor Bregeda

I've written the past couple of weeks about becoming the hero of your own story. In that courageous vein, I begin this post with thoughts of the future. Vintage Betrothal has been my primary writing location for the past two years. My heart is full of joy as I recall all that we've learned and all that we've shared. My mind quickly conjures the joys and sorrows of the queens of old, beautiful jewelry, and inspiring quotes. What a pleasant journey we have made together. 

If this is beginning to sound like a farewell note, that's because, in a way, it is one. Loathe to let this cozy place go, the future beckons with greater and greater pull, holding out the promises of bigger and better things on the horizon. Over the past few months, my pen has flown across the pages of my journal with business ideas, book ideas, writing projects, and inspirations for writing and for writers. I have worked tirelessly to find an organic way to blend all my different projects into one place, to lighten my load by working smarter rather than harder, and to bring you along for the journey.

Though I've wracked my brain to come up with a way to take Vintage Betrothal into the future with me, I just don't see how it's going to work. Some of the transitions I've pulled you through this past year have been abrupt, and others have been so subtle you may have missed them altogether. For this final transition, I wish it to be a smooth journey for both of us. Neither of us will miss this one, but we should be able to enjoy it along the way.

This first part of the transition is simple: By next week, Vintage Betrothal will have a brand new name: A Word in Season.

Eventually, A Word in Season will move from its familiar haven at Blogspot to a brand new space on my very own website. Though yesterday's web building session holds great promise for the future, it proves that creating a website is a slow and tedious process filled with joy and discouragement. Since it will be another few weeks before our new location is ready, I will continue to meet you here for our weekly visit.

On that grand day when we make the final transition to our new home, I will place a link here for you to follow. I believe you will truly enjoy the new site and all that it will offer you as a reader. Until then, I do hope you will join me here next week for the next leg of our transitional journey together.

Peace & Joy,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Becoming the Hero of My Own Story

Which Book Do I Read First?
Photo Credit: Darling

Have you ever wondered how to fit it all in? Do you have an answer to that question? Do you like the answer you came up with?

I asked myself that question last night, and I realized doesn't all fit, and I don't like the answer. However, I do like it when I intentionally answer it rather than letting things fall through the cracks. A hero doesn't let things fall through the cracks.

I fell off my hero horse and let my favorite readers down by letting Vintage Betrothal slip through the cracks. I'm sorry. I'm back on the horse again. I still have to prioritize my time the next two weeks, which means I won't have time to write a new post until the first part of April.

However, I do have time to take a few minutes today and let you know about it. In the meantime, if you don't know what to do with yourself, check out a few oldies but goodies (three top-performing posts of all time):

Bonus points go to the reader who can figure out why these three blog posts have outperformed all the others I've written in the past two years. Share your thoughts in a comment!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Makes a Hero?

"Most writers have experienced moments of sublime connection with their stories when both the prose and images poured forth perfectly." ~Dara Marks

Reading Ms. Marks' book about screenwriting is often like sipping a smooth cup of hot cocoa - soothing, sweet, and gentle; perfect for a cozy winter day on the couch.

Until she says something like this:

"There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept of likeability. In fact, I'm sure that most of us prefer our friends and loved ones to have that quality. However, when it comes to drama, likeability is about as important as hair color....If the only thing [your hero] needs by the end of his terrifying and death-defying ordeal is a clean change of clothes and a shave, why would anyone truly care?" ~Dara Marks

Photo Credit: Doc Dreyfus

After recovering from the shock of cold water in the face, I realize something important. Relevance comes primarily when our main character reflects our own flawed humanity, but overcomes anyway. Think about it for a minute. No one we know has actually benefited from a spider bite, and last I checked no one I know hails from the planet Kryptonite. You better believe I love a good Superman or Spiderman movie, but I don't walk out of the theater thinking I'm ready to take on Lex Luther. He's not real, and neither are Superman's powers.

True heroes spawn from the raw materials common to all. They are the ordinary neighbors who, incomplete with all their quirks and insecurities, face down mounting odds despite the fact that yesterday they would have not imagined it possible.

When an ordinary man becomes extraordinary on screen, we walk out of the theater empowered and energized, ready to face down whatever obstacles we went to the movies to escape. We rise to the occasion and rally in an effort to become the hero of our own story.

Become the Hero of Your Own Story
Photo Credit: Woondu

Finally ready to rally to my own occasion, I choose to stop running from my fears, turning on them with all that I have to bring. I somehow manage to stand, shaking in my boots, as they come straight for me, teeth bared. Drawing ever closer, they intimidate me. I wonder if I can really stand against them. After one more moment, I realize that by simply standing firm I draw from a strength deep within myself; a strength that gives me courage to stand one second longer, then another minute.

Pretty soon I find myself roaring at the thing bearing down on me, shouting at it with all my might:


And suddenly the thing turns tail and runs away. I continue to stand, still shaking, this time in awe and wonder. I did it! I found the courage within myself to face it down. I found the strength I never knew I had. I learned everything I needed to learn to stand my ground, and that beastly monster will finally leave me alone for good. Suddenly, I am the hero of my own story.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Becoming the Background

Blending Into the Background, Cecilia Paredes
Photo Credit: Illusion

I am buzzing with excitement. Finally, a topic that makes my blood boil in all the best ways. I continue to read Jack London's words about writing, and they move me, inspire me, challenge me, and impress me. I find myself thinking, I love this guy. I haven't felt an affection for an historical figure in this sweet way since I fell madly for King George III.

Here, London is talking with a friend and aspiring writer, Cloudesley Johns, about a manuscript called "Philosophy of the Road," which Johns sent him to critique:

Books On The Floor
Photo Credit: Tumblr

"As it seems to me, you are too dry....You are handling stirring life, romance, things of human life and death, humor and pathos, etc. But God, man, handle them as they should be. Don't you tell the reader the philosophy of the road (except where you are actually there as a participant in the first person). Don't you tell the reader. Don't. Don't. Don't. But HAVE YOUR CHARACTERS TELL IT BY THEIR DEEDS, ACTIONS, TALK, ETC. Then, and not until then, are you writing fiction and not a sociological paper upon a certain sub-stratum of society."

It is in this statement that we find the great tenet of any creative work: Whenever possible, show rather than tell. This lesson from London is whispering an echo of one of the greatest lessons I've learned from my Writer's Room coach and fearless leader: As writers we must show, not tell. I am practicing. Sometimes, the best thing I can do is to stop writing and begin transcribing what I'm seeing in my mind's eye. It is often here that my stories develop, with very little help from me. This leads directly to the next paragraph London writes to his protege:

Seamless Blending, Cecilia Paredes
Photo Credit: My Modern Met

He goes on: "And get the atmosphere. Get the breadth and thickness to your stories, and not only the length (which is the mere narration). The reader, since it is fiction, doesn't want your dissertations on the subject, your observations, your knowledge as your knowledge, your thoughts about it, your ideas--BUT PUT ALL THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE YOURS INTO THE STORIES, INTO THE TALES, ELIMINATING YOURSELF (except when in the first person as participant). AND THIS WILL BE THE ATMOSPHERE, AND THIS ATMOSPHERE WILL BE YOU, DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND, YOU! YOU! And for this, and for this only, will the critics praise you, and the public appreciate you, and your work be art."

A variation on the theme, London urges me to dissolve into the background and give my characters center stage. And this is what I aspire to achieve: The mastery of eliminating myself from my story. In many ways, I've been practicing this my whole life. However, most recently I've found myself compelled by crippling thoughts: I want to be known, to be celebrated; I want what I will have before I deserve to have it. Now that I've stopped listening to such destructive thoughts, I have systematically started to eliminate myself from my work. If you catch me letting myself back in, please let me know. I need all the help I can get.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Change of Pace

Obsessive Readers
Photo Credit: Analyfe
If you're familiar with the history of my blog, then you know I have a habit of starting down a track and suddenly deciding to switch gears. I have done my best to keep you apprised of these abrupt changes, and thankfully it doesn't seem to deter too many of you. Here's to hoping you won't give up on me now.

After several weeks of frustrating research and writing, netting only this one mediocre post on the betrothal jewelry customs of Ancient Rome, I'm terribly concerned that this direction is lacking the punch and verve I'm accustomed to delivering from this venue. In the meantime, I'm spending copious amounts of time compiling information for a book I'm planning to write, reading all about writing for publication, preparing to accommodate some paying clients (yeah!), and working on my brand new blog about the Crown Jewels of Europe, which I hope to debut within the next few weeks.

Crazy Bookshelf
Photo Credit: Book Love

This scenario elicits a tremendous amount of angst and pressure, which my mind handles much like the spin cycle on a washing machine. Thankfully, I think the washing machine has finally come to a halt on this load. I have finally come to rest on an idea that is oh, so compelling. Sometimes, the stroke of genius comes at the perfect time, perhaps not always in the perfect place. I will confess that this particular idea came to me while I was using the toilet. I know, not the most glamorous place and possibly TMI, but I bet many a stroke of your genius has also been found on the only throne most of you have in your homes.

My brilliant plan is to write about the vintage marriage between reading and writing. Since I am going to be writing about jewelry for a paying client, and since my book project will include a compilation and completion of the topics I have previously covered here at Vintage Betrothal, these subjects will naturally emerge as I write about this classic marriage. Rest assured, if you have been reading merely for the topical content, you will still be able to count on finding links and excerpts from other articles and book chapters I will be writing in tandem with this blog. And if you come primarily to find out how I am interacting with my topics, I assure you that you will not be disappointed.

A Writer's Room
Photo Credit: Pigtails and Combat Boots

To get us started, I offer you this quote from one of the books I'm currently reading, Jack London: No Mentor But Myself. "I am always studying....Never a night (whether I have gone out or not), but the last several hours are spent in bed with my books. All things interest me--the world is so very good. Principal studies are, scientific, sociological, and ethical--these, of course, including biology, economics, psychology, physiology, history, etc., etc.,, without end."

This quote moves me, because I believe that secretly every writer is really just a passionate reader who at some point or another has to expel some of the old material in order to allow room for more. Jack and I have a lot in common, it seems, although I read in my favorite corner of the couch rather than in my bed. Besides this collection of essays by Mr. London, today's reading list includes a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut (which I haven't started), a collection of short stories written by Hunter S. Thompson (which I did not enjoy), a novel written by Anne Lamott (which I am enjoying immensely), a book called "No More Rejections" (which is very well written and informative on the topic), and numerous samples of books about quantum mechanics and string theory (for my Kindle).

Yes, indeed, this will be a topic of great enjoyment for me. I hope you enjoy it with me.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Where Does The Time Go?

Photo Credit: Teaching High School Psychology

Here we are, two weeks have passed since my last post. Time is a strange friend. I'm wondering if you're wondering the same thing I am...

Where does the time go?

Mafia Wedding Reception
Photo Credit: Zara-Zoo

I really did not mean to let last week go by without telling you why, in the past, Italian men customarily danced with their suit jackets open at Italian wedding receptions. And the answer is:

It was considered impolite to dance with concealed weapons. Many of them carried sawed-off shotguns or other such weapons, just going about the business of the day, I suppose.

Well, I'm researching my little heart out and have a very special post planned for next time. Hopefully, it won't take as long as two weeks. You know me, when I'm researching I sometimes forget to write.

Photo Credit: Zara-Zoo

Here's another question for you to chew on a bit for next week...Who is your favorite Italian engagement ring designer? Let me know, and your favorite might be mentioned in a future post.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Ancient Roman Betrothal Jewelry

Spring in Italy, by Michael Longo
Purchase this and other pieces at

"Italy and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy."
~Bertrand Russell

In in effort to spread happiness, I am bringing first love, spring, and Italy all into one post for you. Though I can't physically alter the fact that the whole West Coast is experiencing winter in all its glory, I aim to bring a little sunshine into your home with this beautiful painting of Italy in the spring, as well as a few tidbits from the research I've done on Italian betrothal jewelry and customs.

Though I must stick to my focus and write about the jewelry, I was thrilled to read about how the men at Italian weddings customarily dance with their suit jackets open, something I've seen my Italian relatives do on occasion with great flair. Any guesses as to why they would do this?

evviva gli spossi
Photo credit: NozzeClick

There is also the tradition, customarily the role of an inebriated gentleman guest, of calling out "evviva gli spossi" ("hurray for the newlyweds"). Following the lead of this first hurrah, if there was even a hint of a lull in the dancing, eating, or partying, someone else in the crowd would inevitably liven things up with a hearty shout of "evviva gli spossi".

Hands down, Italians know how to party with flair, and they also know how to bring style to all they do. Here we turn our attention toward the jewels. Though at the outset the custom of presenting a woman with a diamond engagement ring may seem timeless and universal, it is imperative that we pay homage to Ancient Rome, one of the founding mothers of this modern-day custom.

Fede Ring
Photo Credit: Explore Italian Culture

In Ancient Rome, betrothals were tantamount to corporate mergers. A betrothed woman was presented with an iron ring (commemorated now in the Italian custom whereby the groom carries a piece of iron in his shirt pocket to ward off evil spirits).

Said iron ring served as a sign of the iron-clad, binding contract between families, pardonable only by the death of the intended. Thankfully, the custom of business mergers went out of fashion just as the iron ring gave way to the more beautiful gold bands which became popular in the third century.

Eventually, these simple gold bands gave way to carved bands in the shape of bodies entwined or clasped hands. Similar in style and symbolism to the Irish Claddagh rings, these "fede" ("trust") rings marked this transition toward exchanging rings as a pledge of trust and love, which has remained a timeless custom ever since.

I'd love to hear your thoughts as to why Italian men dance with their suit jackets open at a wedding. Leave me a comment and come back next Monday for the answer.


Research Credits:
World Wedding Customs
Explore Italian Culture

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

For the Sake of Freedom

WE WON!!!!! Congress responded to the voice of the people and dropped the vote.

By following this link, you have the opportunity to stop legislators from passing a bill that needs to be stopped. Congress will be voting on SOPA and PIPA on the 24th of this month. Hailed as an anti-piracy act, to protect us from "outsiders," it is really an act of widespread censorship meant to protect big business from the masses. While there may be some sense in building fortresses and the like, we must consider that walls keep people in as well as out. This is no time to fold, folks. Play your hand, spread the word, and speak up.

If you don't know about it, Google SOPA and read all about it. And if you find yourself feeling your voice rising up against it, just click this link and send a quick note to Congress.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Painting by Zohann Zoffany, 1770
Photo courtesy of Ann Lauren

I have been busy sorting through Vintage Betrothal's archives, and I'm so pleased at the transformation I can already see taking place. I have decided to leave some remnants of each post as a tribute to our time spent with the queens and their kings. Click the link for a peek at the past with my images of choice and a brief excerpt from the post I wrote on August 11, 2010.

You might as well join me as I make this transition. I hope you enjoy these, my favorite photos from our time with Sophia Charlotte. And I hope you will take a few minutes to enjoy the linkbacks to these former, now abbreviated posts on King George III and his beautiful queen.

Princess Amelia
Photo courtesy of Chest of Books

My Polyvore Creation

Photo courtesy of Motivate Thyself

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Big Announcement

New Horizons
Photo courtesy of Bold Life

Here is the post where I tell you the exciting things I have planned for Vintage Betrothal. If you've seen my Facebook Page, you know that A Word in Season is all about transforming your life through words. When I first started this blog, I was on the verge of one of the most massive seasons of transition and transformation I've ever experienced.

I have written a lot about that process on my other blog, Brightness of Your Dawn, but the truths I have learned have also popped up along the way in our discussion of the queens. In fact, I intended this all along, but I've come to realize that this underlying motivation to talk to you about transformation has been in direct competition with my motivation to talk to you about jewelry.

MC Escher, Metamorphosis
Photo courtesy of

In an effort to trust that these truths of transformation have become a part of who I am and what I carry, I am now in the process of shifting the focus of Vintage Betrothal. I know I've left you hanging a bit, but I am now finally ready to make my big announcement:

Vintage Betrothal is actually going to become about...
Vintage Betrothal Jewelry

New Horizons
Photo courtesy of Western Art

Here are some things you can expect to see here as I transform Vintage Betrothal:
  • Some old posts will be rewritten as appropriate to the scope of this blog
  • Other old posts will be removed for later publication
  • All new posts will be about global customs in betrothal jewelry throughout the centuries

For those of you who have enjoyed reading about the queens and their lives, I promise you I am not abandoning the topic. I will continue my research into these beautiful lives with the same intent of pulling out all the gold a girl can find on the topic of becoming a queen. I expect some of that material to find its way here, when it fits within the scope of the topic, and the rest I will be compiling toward the goal of publishing a book in the near future!!

It's going to be a wild ride over the next few months, and I'm excited and honored to have you along for the journey!