Tuesday, January 26

Absolute love for Alchera

This post is a review of sorts, but it requires backstory. Sit with me on this one.

Last year, when I went to Pennsylvania, I brought a gift with me. My Stacey is practically a sister to me, even though we're not related by blood. And I had discovered a strand of love beads by chance one day. It seemed only appropriate to gift her with the love beads. So I prayed over them and took them with me to give to Stace.

Isn't she gorgeous? She never believes me. But she is.

Needless to say, they were a fantastic gift and she informed me that she loved wearing them and they really helped her out spiritually and emotionally. I was positively thrilled. It was like a tangible form of the emotional bond that we have. We'd grown up together and been the closest of friends. We swore we'd both get out of Pennsylvania and whoever left first would come back to get the other. We were going to be famous.

During the concert.

Well, I left Pennsylvania, but it wasn't to follow my dreams of music or fame. I had joined the Navy. I went to Illinois for boot camp, then Pensacola for A-school. And ever since, I have been on the west coast. Getting to go home this past summer to see the LFO concert with her was like a little family reunion. So much fun. And like a good dream, it was over far too soon.

After the concert. Hanging out backstage.
Back. Stage. Backstage!

Fast forward to this year. 2010 has not been kind to either of us, but to Stacey most of all. We've been through some seriously tough stuff together, but this just sort of made everything else seem like small beans. Her brother was killed. There still remains a lot of speculation about the whole situation and what may or may not have happened. I have never felt more upset and frustrated that I couldn't simply hop a flight home to be with her and her family during this especially difficult time.

Then, last week, came an e-mail from Stacey at work. Her love beads had broken. The beads were lost. It was all a mess and she was having a terrible morning. I immediately took to Etsy to find the shop where I'd ordered my mala to see if they would make a set of beads for us.

This time, there would be two. I would do the one thing that I was capable of doing and replace the beads for her as quickly as possible, and I would have a set for myself.

The shop I'd ordered a japa mala from previously was no longer active.

So began the great search for prayer beads. I have never had my dislike for Twilight solidified so much. But I also discovered that Etsy is a place where some of the world's most amazing, talented, and gifted people reside.

I found Katherine, owner of Alchera.

She creates some of the most beautiful rosaries, prayer beads, and malas I have ever seen. I was drawn to the "Red and Green Angel Soldier Rosary" immediately, so I purchased those and proceeded to convo her to see if she could make me a custom pair of prayer beads - one for me, one for Stace.

We talked and she told me about the superstition in regards to prayer beads breaking: That their breaking means you're entering a new stage in your life and to keep the beads would hold yourself in the past.

I was relieved and prayed this meant good things for Stacey. We conversed some more as I gave her the details of mine and Stacey's friendship and sisterly bond, color preferences and symbols we felt drawn to.

The end result of her creativity is... amazing. I'm providing the photo from her shop because I cannot get the lighting in my home to cooperate to truly illustrate how beautiful the prayer beads are. It's incredible. She was quick with her work, but you can feel the care that was taken with these pieces.

I know Stacey is going to love hers. I e-mailed her the photo and she was so very touched.

And I know for sure I'm going to be shopping here again. Katherine provides such amazing customer service and is wonderfully easy to talk to. Aside from ordering from fellow mamas I'm already friendly with, this has been quite possibly the best transaction I've ever had on Etsy.

Katherine, thank you, so very much. You've touched my heart and my soul and I'm so very grateful.

If you'd like to check out Katherine on Etsy, you can find her at Alchera Prayer Shoppe, and she also sells vintage items and supplies at Autumn Fall. Support independent artisans!

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