From the monthly archives: January 2011

The happy day my daughter Amber was born was a proud and happy moment for Jimmy and me.  Like all new parents, we were so proud we could burst.  Jimmy hovered anxiously over my bed while I held Amber in my arms.

Jimmy teased me baout my thorough examination of Amber as though I thought they would bring her back with parts missing–hands, arms, fingers, toes all present and accounted for.  On our last morning in the hospital, as I performed my daily inspection, I was shocked to find a little envelope tucked in the front of Amber’s diaper.  What on earth were these people doing???

I slid the envelope out of the diaper and found that rather than paper it was made of a soft satin.  I opened the envelope to find a note that read, “Our lives have changed forever, from now on it will only get better.  To remind you of this precious time, A special gift is your to find.” At the bottom of the poem it read, “When you are finished reading this note, ring for the nurse.”

I rang and the nurse came in with my usual assortment of medication and a tiny box wrapped in shimmering pink paper and a bow. I unwrapped the box and found a pair of 18K gold baby booties and just then Jimmy held out a beautiful charm bracelet.  “This is a very special occasion in our lives, the birth of our daughter.  Every year on Amber’s birthday we will add another charm significant to her life at that moment.  I love you Deb.” And he held us both close in his big warm hug.

Except From Memorable Ways to Pop the Question, The Gift of Jewelery for All Occasions With Romantic Imagination by David Richardson.

Stop in to speak with our knowledgeable staff and pick up a complimentary copy today!

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My husband Kelly & I have a German Shepherd who seems to believe that if he’s not barking, no one’s giving him the attention he deserves. Sometimes I can actually identify with that, but for the most part I find it very aggravating — and so do the neighbors!

Our new neighbor, Bob, had made repeated visits to our home asking us very nicely to please do something about Buddy’s barking. We tried everything we could think of short of putting a muzzle on him. Conversations with Bob gradually became less cordial over a period of just a few days and I was feeling terribly stressed about the situation.

On my birthday, a day when I should have been expecting a knock on the door from a delivery man bringing roses, I cringed when I heard the doorbell ring. Buddy had been barking frantically and I had banished him to the back yard so I could get a few minutes of peace.

I took my time going to the door, hoping that I’d either find a nice gift waiting, or if it was Bob he would give up and go back home. No such luck on either score.

There stood Bob with an angry scowl on his face. “Susan! I’ve really had enough of that dog. I don’t want to have a feud over this, but I sure would appreciate it if you would try this muzzle and see if it tones Buddy’s barking down a little bit.” At that, he held out a muzzle and I took it from.

“Okay Bob” I replied quietly as I turned and walked back into the house. I really hated to do that to Buddy, but if that was the only answer then so be it. I walked out the back door and knelt down beside Buddy to slip the muzzle over his nose.

As I looked down at the muzzle, however, I saw that there was something stuck inside it that would make it impossible to put on. Ic

I ran back through the house and out the front door to find both Bob & Kelly waiting with expectant grins on their faces. “You guys set me up!” I laughed.

Kelly reached out and pulled me close in a hug. “Honey, Bob isn’t even all that mad about Buddy. He’s just been putting on a show the past few day. I wanted these earrings to be a real surprise when I gave them to you, and I think I succeeded don’t you?”

“Did you ever. And I love you for it!” I replied as I hugged him back.


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Frank’s mother had always treated him with a great deal of love and attention. She faithfully attended all of his school events, never missed one of his baseball games, fixed him three healthy meals a day, and always emptied his pockets before putting his laundry into the washing machine.

Janet, Frank’s wife of ten years, also loved to attend his “over-40” softball games and prepared sumptuous meals for him, but she put her foot down at emptying his pockets when doing the laundry — she had told him repeatedly that he was a grown man and could be responsible for that himself.

But after years of nagging she finally gave up. Now it was just another chore. Saturday afternoon was laundry day, and as usual she shook her head in exasperation as she lifted Frank’s trousers from the floor and felt the weight of the usual odds & ends he had the habit of collecting. But she was in a forgiving mood today. After all, it was their anniversary, and she knew he would take her out for a lovely celebration tonight.

“That man”, she muttered, as she reached into his pants pocket to remove who knew what. This time, however, the offending item was not so much offending as intriguing . . . a long, narrow package wrapped in gold foil and topped with a mass of golden ribbons . . . almost too pretty to open.

Attached to the package was a note that read, “Honey, there have been two wonderful women in my life; I’m thankful that you’re one of them. Thanks for taking such good care of me. I love you very much. Happy anniversary. Frank”.

Anne turned and beamed with pleasure at Frank who was leaning in the laundry room doorway waiting for her to open her package. Inside was the most exquisite gold necklace Anne had ever seen. As she walked over to give Frank a thank you kiss, she said, “Honey, I love you too, and I think I can even put up with emptying your pants pockets for another hundred years or so.”

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The Abercrombie Days

Ashley and I met and dated for a brief moment in college while working at Abercrombie 10 years ago. (Which we find really funny today!) After a few years of growing up in different parts of the country we reunited and instantly fell back in love. For the past 4 and half years we have been traveling constantly for our marketing company and sharing an amazing journey and experiences throughout this beautiful country.

When we got down time we migrated south to Florida for sand, sun and New Years fun.  As a tradition we celebrate at a Ft. Lauderdale tiki bar with family, fireworks and the countdown to a new year.

On January 1st 2011 we continued the tradition at the Ft. Lauderdale tiki bar but with a little twist!!  After the ball dropped, Ashley and I toasted our champagne and enjoyed our new years kiss.

I asked Ashley to join me in the sand and watch the fireworks over the ocean.  As we watched the colors light up a star filled sky over the water I asked Ashley if she knew what today was? She replied “New Years?” I answered, “Yes, it’s New Years 1.1.11 or 11:11.

Ash and I like to be cute and make wishes when we catch the clock striking 11:11.  So we made a wish as the calendar posted 1.1.11.  As the wind blew the sand across our feet, I asked Ashley what she wished for. With a quiet smile she whispered, “I can’t tell you or it won’t come true.”

As my heart raced and my eyes watered I told Ashley, “I always wished you would be my wife!” I knelt in the sand and presented the princess cut diamond ring from Denney Jewelers and asked Ashley if she would marry me.  “Is this for real?” A!
shley stuttered through tears.  “Absolutely!” I replied.  As I slid the ring on her finger more fireworks lit up the sky.

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Shelly knew Christmas wasn’t a big time of the year for Sam. He dutifully cut down a tree, strung the lights, and even hung a few ornaments, but he never really seemed to get into the “spirit” of the season.

On Christmas morning, Sam sipped his coffee and watched patiently as the kids tore into their gifts with great enthusiasm, “oohing” and “aahing” over all the fun stuff. Shelly took great pleasure from unwrapping each of her packages precisely as she prolonged the enjoyment of each gift. There was a nice blouse from her Mom, a very pretty outfit from Sam (which she had picked out herself), some cute handmade gifts from the kids, and various odds & ends from her friends and family.

Sam quietly enjoyed opening his gifts but was more interested in watching everyone else. When it seemed as though there were no more gifts under the tree, Sam reached way back and handed Shelly one last package. It was heavy, too heavy to be those earrings to match the necklace he’d surprised her with eons ago. Unwrapping the box, she pulled out, of all things, a blender.

Well, after all, he was a practical man. He did love her and this showed it . . . she guessed. “Open it” he said, “this is the best one on the market.”

Opening the box, she pulled the blender out and saw that it contained a lavishly gift-wrapped little box, and she began to feel butterflies in her stomach. She reached down in and pulled the box out. When she opened it, she found her matching pair of diamond earrings. Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at Sam. He matched her teary gaze as he said, “Honey, I love you. Merry Christmas”.


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For my 30th birthday, Ginny conspired with my friends and family to throw a surprise party for me at our house. Weeks of planning, a house piled with decorations and food – all was ready. Even the ice storm that had begun hadn’t dampened spirits or attendance that much. While my best friend Pete kept me busy, Ginny put the final touches on the party and waited for the surprise. Only, the surprise was not what she thought….

Rewind a couple of months. I knew I loved Ginny and wanted her to be mine always. So, I went to our good friends Pete and Ashleigh with an idea that was just forming: steer her toward throwing me a surprise birthday party so I could turn the tables on her and surprise her with a proposal. Amusingly enough, Ginny came to them shortly thereafter with…the idea of throwing me a surprise birthday party! She had a decidedly easy time convincing Pete and Ashleigh to help! As the weeks ticked by, Pete and Ashleigh served as double agents for me, letting me know how the “surprise” party preparations were going. I began to think about exactly how to spring my surprise at the party and had a moment of inspiration.

The prior year for Valentine’s Day I had given Ginny a large red and white stuffed dog, which we affectionately referred to as “Love Puppy.” I mused that he was her guard dog when I was away from the house. Love Puppy was a wonderful reminder of our love, so he seemed a natural fit for this task. I decided on making a video slideshow of Love Puppy travelling all over Springfield to find a gift for Ginny so she wouldn’t feel left out on my birthday. At the end, the true gift (and the gift giver) would be revealed. I set about planning what storylines to do, how to set up the photography, and how to edit and assemble the final result. Just one problem – I had to accomplish this under her nose in the same house!

As the day got close and the slideshow remained incomplete, I began to worry that time would run out. To add to the difficulty, Ginny was already paranoid that I would find out about the surprise party and thus was scrutinizing my moves. Finally, she had to work one night that I did not and, with Pete’s help, I set to work. We photographed Love Puppy all over the house, in the car, about town, and finally at Denney Jewelers. As we took pictures at the intersection of Wabash Avenue and White Oaks Drive, it happened to be rush hour. We got several honks and a few bewildered stares as Pete held the dog overhead and I snapped away! Brian at Denney Jewelers was a good sport, even posing with Love Puppy as though offering advice on ring selection. With all the pictures in hand, I worked clandestinely late at night assembling the final product.

About the same time, I was selecting the real “surprise” from Denney Jewelers. I finally found the perfect stone and setting with the staff’s help for a one-of-a-kind engagement ring. After the approval of Ginny’s best friend and Pete and Ashleigh, all was ready.

Back to the day of the surprise party…I’m busy rehearsing one of the biggest moments of my life while Pete is keeping me “busy” at his house. Finally, all of Ginny’s preparations are complete and she gives Pete the signal to bring me to the house. I walked in and was “surprised” by Ginny and a kitchen full of our friends; she really did a great job putting it all together, which made it easier for me to do a good job of acting surprised! Once everything died down a little and everyone was there, Pete mentioned to Ginny that he had put together a little something to show to the crowd on the TV and asked for her help getting everyone in the living room. Pete started the slideshow I had actually made while I sat next to Ginny. As she watched the show and giggled, I tried so hard not to make it obvious that I was hanging on her every little reaction and gauging when the jig was up. In a stroke of good fortune, she still didn’t quite realize it was a proposal!

l until I turned to her at the end of the slideshow, told her how much she meant to me, and got down on one knee. Her reaction was priceless: a mixture of surprise, excitement, joy, and bewilderment! She had to process the proposal and the fact that I knew about the party the whole time simultaneously! When I asked her to make me happy the rest of my life by marrying me, she could barely get the answer out between the squeals and the tears!
I guess Ginny forgave me for spoiling her surprise – we were married in August of 2010. Love Puppy still keeps watch over things when I’m away. And I still think of my favorite double-cross every time the light catches, just for a second, my bride’s ring.

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It was New Years Eve, the dawning of the new year, and here they were getting ready to crawl into bed at ten o’clock just like any other night of the year. No amount of coaxing could convince Derrick to stay up to celebrate . . . “we can celebrate tomorrow”, he said, and Anne , though she was a bit miffed, decided that celebrating tomorrow would just have to do.

Being somewhat of a night owl, Anne always enjoyed reading in bed before going to sleep. Derrick, on the other hand, was gone the minute his head hit the pillow. This night was just like any other . . . or was it?

The day before, Derrick had gone to the store and purchased a copy of the book Anne was currently reading, and that afternoon he had replaced her copy with the one he had bought. Only, this one had a little surprise in it. About fifteen pages beyond where Anne had stopped reading last night he had carved a perfectly-shaped little niche for the stunning emerald ring he had bought her to celebrate the beginning of a new year together.

As Derrick climbed into bed, Anne had just picked up the book and started reading. He put his head on the pillow, closed his eyes, and a few minutes later heard her laugh in pure pleasure. She exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! You are the most wonderful man in the whole world!” as she grabbed him and began to shake him.

He rolled over with a dumb, sleepy look on his face, and said “Happy New Year sweetheart” . . . then pulled out the champagne and two glasses he had stashed under the bed.


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Last updated February 5, 2017