It’s November so it seems like a good time to write about gratitude. I returned this week from California and the Santa Cruz Sea Glass & Ocean Art Festival. I had been a little nervous about attending that show for a few reasons; one of them was because I’d never been there. But I learned a few things while I was on this trip, and one of them is that I don’t have anything to be afraid of anymore. I am fortunate to have good friends who care about me, and although I have a tendency to be really self-conscious when it comes to relationships and people, I need to learn to let that go and be grateful for the amazing people around me. I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine but I will never be inauthentic. Sort of like sea glass, at least I’m genuine so you can call me a lot of things but “fake” will never be one of them. Can’t stand it when people pretend to be one thing online and really are not that way in reality. Very thankful I got to see some truly genuine, fantastic people in California and meet some new friends as well including meeting Krista Hammond for the first time which was super cool since it was Santa Cruz’ 10th show and she is its well-known founder- what an honor!

While I was visiting California I was lucky to be taken by some friends to a super cool beach¬†(and no, I can’t say which beach and no, I don’t feel bad about not naming it because it’s not my beach to share! and p.s. god I hate it when people argue on Facebook over this issue…)¬†and I found this incredible amber-colored glass intaglio cameo piece (pictured), probably one of my favorite finds ever- honestly can’t think of something in my collection that tops it. I was searching a little wrack line for beads or buttons when I saw her. I spent the next 24 hours+ (including my 8-10 plane hours and $8 wifi home the next day) researching who she was because man, there are a lot of goddesses! Did a lot of reading on depictions of Greek and Roman goddesses in jewelry and coins, looked at hundreds of pictures and thanks to the crescent moon over her head (that I found in repeating images,) was able to determine it is Artemis, Greek goddess of the Hunt and the Moon, which for sea glass hunting couldn’t really be more cool. She also has history related to some other things and a bunch of crazy stories about her that fascinated me as well and I won’t cover here but may sometime down the road.

Suffice it to say that she was in the right place at the right time, or I was, and I felt much gratitude for friends who were as excited for me to find her as I was, because I have been on the beach when a friend finds something super cool and you have to fight off that “aw, man” first instinct jealousy layer because nah, bro- it’s much cooler to just feel joy for someone else. Dr. Beachcomb told me once you become “the consummate beachcomber” when you feel the same or more joy for someone else’s find as you do for your own. One time another beachcomber loved something I found so much I actually gifted it to them on the spot. It was tough because I loved the find, but there’s a lot of joy in giving it away too. Listen, no one is getting Artemis, so let’s not get carried away with the lovey-dovey beach camaraderie! LOL.

But I think if I never find anything cool on a beach again, she will remain a beautiful symbol of many happy years of hunting, on low tides determined by the crescent moon. And for that I really couldn’t be more grateful.