Be a Pearlmaker

Jan Fowler

is author of the best-selling book, “Hot Chocolate for Seniors”(winner of national & international awards); winner of Gold Halo Award from the So. California Motion Picture Council for Outstanding Literary Achievement; winner of First Place Excellence in Journalism Award (SPJ –Southern CA); Town & Gown “Phenomenal Woman” Award; former television host & KSPA radio host of “Senior Living at its Best with Jan Fowler”; speaker, contributing author for “Savvy Women Revving Up for Success”; founder of Starburst Inspirations, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit which supports Redlands Drug Court. Jan welcomes feedback and comments about her columns and invites you to leave her a message on her website.

“Be a Pearlmaker”

by Jan Fowler

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

         Georgie Lapp was a trailblazer and a pearlmaker.  Which is why her wonderful uplifting keynote message and resounding standing ovation live on in my heart and memory.   Some years ago, Georgie was the keynote speaker for my very first fundraising luncheon to raise money and support for Drug Court, my Starburst Inspirations nonprofit.

What was so special about Georgie’s message is that she focused on the pearl within each one of us.  All of us have been pearlmakers a time or two in life when– like the oyster who secretes nakir to cover the irritating grain of sand in its shell–we too have had to cope with an irritating set of circumstances.   But because of our patience, lifestyle, or attitude, in time received our reward, our pearl.

Maybe our pearl was a college degree or possibly the opportunity to retire after many years of hard work.

Among Georgie’s key suggestions for dealing with those irritating grains of sand was the need to practice a positive attitude. Affirm yourself and others, and know your vision and your dreams, she insisted. Be who you really are, then do what you need to do to have what you want.

Laugh often and live life to the fullest, for it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be, she advised and encouraged the audience to be like Rose, a wrinkled 87-year-old ‘little old lady’ who returned to college to finish her degree.  When asked why she was there, Rose replied, I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of kids, then retire and travel! (**The story of Rose has been credited to motivational speaker Dan Clark, who published it under the title “Never Too Old to Live Your Dream” in the 1999 book Chicken Soup for the College Soul: Inspiring and Humorous Stories About College.)

Rose was also a pearlmaker who apparently beamed a sunny smile which lit up every college classroom she visited where she enthusiastically inspired others to appreciate the value of an education.  Nothing was too much of a challenge for Rose.  She continued to spread her wisdom and good will which lifted the morale of students and professors alike.  Rose made people feel good about themselves.

We all know key pearlmakers who have shown caring outreach to their communities.  Many have been honored and recognized for their service to benefit others, many have not.

But Oprah Winfrey must have had Georgie and Rose in mind when she delivered a college commencement a few years ago.  Her words were, Dare to be different.  Be a pioneer, be a leader, be the kind of person who in the face of adversity will continue to embrace life and walk fearlessly towards the challenge.  Take it on!  Be a truth-seeker and rule your domain, whatever it is–whether it’s your home, your office or your family with a loving heart.

Now that I am enjoying the rewards of later life, I appreciate more fully the sensitive sweetness of Georgie, Rose, and Oprah’s outlooks.  All are pearlmakers who coped with an irritating grain of sand or two for which they secreted the necessary nakir to produce rare jewels.  I appreciate these three amazing women for their inspiration and pearly wisdom.

I know that many of you dear readers are also pearlmakers.  We would love to hear your story so that we can use it to inspire others because what the world needs is more uplifting encouragement from true pearlmakers.

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