I first noticed her because of her arm warmers.

It’s true.  

I was signing my Piper into the three-year-old nursery at our church and I didn’t know many people there yet and I loved those arm warmers.  Also, Piper Finn liked Melanie too.  That was a big deal.  Piper dreaded Sundays because the transition from hanging out with me to crossing the threshold to stay at nursery had been a battle her whole tiny life.

Melanie was all regular smiles and beautiful tattoos.  And she treated not only Piper as if she was important, but Eagle too.  Yep.  Life weary old Eagle, Piper’s faithful sidekick and bosom companion, the ratty old stuffed and battered Eagle.  (I miss that guy more than Piper does, I’m nearly confident of this truth.)

No embellishment at all here, I literally went home that very week and ordered myself a pair of arm warmers and I’ve since bought several styles.  I’m certain I’ve never looked as cool as Melanie does while wearing mine, but I love them nonetheless.

Piper is nine now, Melanie has more gorgeous tattoos and neither of us are dropping off little ones at a church nursery these Sundays.

Eagle is still around, though not toted hither and yon any longer.  But I can imagine that good old beloved Eagle might be a piece of the puzzle in the story I am sharing with you today.

Maybe it was Instagram.  Maybe it was Facebook.  Maybe it was a real live breathing human.  But somehow, some way, I heard or saw or discovered that Melanie and her husband had started a business together.  A business combining words of honor and symbols of hope and recognition with bold, stand out jewelry.

Naturally, the first piece I fell in love with was, can you guess, an eagle!

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

It’s jewelry that feels important.  Does that make sense?  I mean the jewelry’s literal weight feels worthy, feels substantial somehow.

(I know I’ve mentioned them before on my Five Finds Friday posts, but I wanted to highlight their work more directly.  I love opportunities to talk about people and places that matter to me and matter to other people I know and love.  What a gift!)

Melanie’s husband Tim is the artist behind the fantastic designs.  I think he’s a great example of the truth that we all have a vast array of skills inside of us and tucking them away and just plugging away at our “day” jobs only deprives you and the world at large of some really great art.  Tim is a professional house painter by day, an artisan by night (and weekend, and holiday and you know how that goes).

“Painting allows for a lot of time to think,” Tim says.  “The idea for jewelry started with the thought about making something meaningful. My passion isn’t merely jewelry in itself. My passion is to help people see their dignity and worth. So, the idea started brewing there. What could I create for the people around me that would help them see that they are worthy of dignity, love and honor?”

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

How’s that for a beautiful reason to make anything?

Tim designs each emblem himself and says his inspiration comes from tattoo designs, spirituality, nature, geometry and rock n’ roll.  (See kids?  Rock n’ roll AND math can make you creative.)  You can discover those inspirations all throughout his emblem designs.  I’m partial to the Tree of Life.  (And was incredibly humbled and honored to once receive one as a gift.  I wear it often.)

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying yourself jewelry.  Even as a way to honor a victory or an achievement, a personal growth, in your own life.  In fact, I think it’s lovely to recognize a quality or a challenge overcome personally with a visual reminder – better than a trophy, more like an ebenezer.

I also think it’s incredibly meaningful to receive one of these emblems as well.  To hear the recognition from another human that you matter to them.  That you have worth.  It’s the very spirit of what Tim and Melanie create in their jewelry.

“Too often we only look at people’s mistakes and shortcomings rather than the strengths,” Tim shares.  “With every person we meet we can choose to give grace and find grace rather than being judgmental and dismissive. Death Before Dishonor Co. is about living a life of honor and giving honor. Jewelry is the tool I’m using to do that. Jewelry is made to last. Jewelry is made to be treasured. It is an adornment. What better way to say, ‘I see you. I love you. I honor you. Wear this EMBLEM of HONOR around your neck with pride. You are worthy.’ It’s just a great memento to have. When you combine our jewelry with a love note or a just a few words of honor and give that to someone, it’s priceless. I haven’t thought of a better product that I could make that would carry the same value.”

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

Most of the jewelry is in either red bronze or sterling silver – both such gorgeous choices.  And – because options are good – you can order many of them as a necklace or a bracelet.  I like the leather cord options personally because I like that variety of having various lengths of each necklace, depending upon what I am wearing that day.

I also have a soft spot for couples in business together.  It’s more than just romantic to me, it’s a complimentary relationship (when it’s working well) that allows each person to highlight their individual abilities while allowing their different strengths to really compliment them as a team.  It’s grace, in tandem, in a visible way.

 

Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

“it doesn’t feel like work when it’s going well. It’s really just fun. Like you’re doing what you were made to do,” Tim and Melanie agree.  “And when business is not going well, you hold each other closer through that. So, it’s all pretty fantastic. Not the hardship itself, but the togetherness. Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

I think that sort of united front seeps right into their work.  Makes it all the more meaningful.

If you are local, Melanie and Tim will be selling their emblems at the upcoming Swamp Rabbit Holiday Flea at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, December 3rd and December 17th.  If you are in town, you should really stop by.  (You can buy Jeni’s ice cream at the cafe too, so there’s that.)  At either of the Holiday Flea days all of their jewelry will be 25% off.

 

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Photo from Death Before Dishonor.com

 

And for you out of town readers, well, we wouldn’t to leave you out of the good times.

Any purchase you make between today and this Saturday will receive 25% off if you use the code SOEVERYDAY.  (You know how I feel about special codes.  All warm and fuzzy inside.)

Lots of people love to get and give jewelry – for holidays and for special occasions and for just saying I care about you.  I really think these particular pieces have an enduring quality to them that is remarkable and special.  I’m delighted to be able to spend a post sharing Tim and Melanie’s work with you guys and inviting you to explore their website and to think about who in your life needs that recognition and acknowledgment – maybe you need one for yourself this season.

By the way — I added a little ad to the right that looks like this one below — that way you can order any time you’d like.  But the code for 25% off only lasts until this Saturday!

 

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