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Labors of Love ~ December 2019
 A long-time donor asked “Is Little Pearls still accepting donations?” The answer is yes, though we have chosen to wait on active fundraising until we have a new Pearl.

2019 has been another year in which the labor of love that is Little Pearls has had to take a back seat to the labor of love that is my life. At 71, I know it's critical to work on clearing old, limiting perceptions, roles and patterns so I can more fully be myself and engage with life. I've had amazing help through personal growth coaching and energy work, though some of the shifts have been uncomfortable and painful. It's hard work, yet worth it!
Little Boy Wonder
The next new Pearl, about the natural state of wonder in all children, has been slow to come together and has refused to be pushed. Wonder and the loss of wonder in boys has always been a difficult concept piece. The initial idea has shifted as we’ve experienced societal upheavals in the last few years that point to the challenges and suffering experienced by many older boys and men in being whole human beings. I kept trying to combine a culturally-timely message with charming footage of Ben when he was a toddler, but it just wasn't working.
After many conversations with men who are concerned about "toxic masculinity", I realized that it’s not possible to address both the joys of wonder – and a negative subject like the “man box” – in one Little Pearl. Our footage is always shot with real people in documentary style, and we would not want to or be able to get footage of the damage happening.
We will soon create a sweet Little Pearl with Ben during his wonder-filled toddler years and let it be complete in itself. I have spoken with a gifted singer-songwriter and peace and justice facilitator about possible music to fit this Pearl. Any voice-over would work around that song. 
After Ben's Pearl is done, we will consider a follow up of interview footage with teenagers and men who can speak to the negative effects of "be a man" messages when they sensed they were so much more, or of inflicting that damage on others. Interview footage could be interspersed with footage of all three of our little boys: Ben, Zi and Julian. We have done something similar before with other culturally-relevant events, related to September 11 and Hurricane Katrina. 
And then....
Creating the Wonder Pearl should open the flow to the others that are waiting in the wings. In addition to an interview follow-up to Ben's, others in the queue are:

For the Love of Julian: This is the working title for a Pearl with Julian alone. He was so much younger than Ben and Zi that his footage does not fit with Little Boy Wonder. We were only able to capture him on his first birthday, when he was surrounded by his loving family, which may or may not be enough for a touching Pearl. Julian's maternal great-great grandmother was the subject of the very first Little Pearl. His grandmother is a gifted performance poet, so we're anticipating a rich, meaningful message. We'd likely need new footage for this one.

Kida and Her Whales: Two professional cameramen filmed my Oregon whale dog friend Kida for us in the summers of 2015 and 2016. We're still waiting for promised footage from the marine biologist to fill the gaps with Kida and the California gray whales who gave her life so much meaning. Kida died in November 2016 at age 15 1/2, a few months after having her lower jaw removed for cancer.
Our second set of footage came after her surgery, and though I was concerned about feeling emotionally distraught to see her that way, this last footage shows a dog whose passion for her work was unabated. Seeing Kida so enthusiastic, even with all her age and disability struggles, filled my heart with even more love and admiration for this dear old dog.

There should be enough footage for a short inspirational piece on staying engaged even through life's challenges, as well as a longer piece on Kida's remarkable story. 
Even More Love
In November, I had to let my precious dog Gracie go after a long, challenging illness. The experience was both painful and beautiful. As now-solo dog Joey, the cats and I adapt, love keeps showing up in new, surprising ways. Here's one of the Dog Pearls featuring Gracie as a puppy: Even More Love
Pearls can appear in our lives every day. We all have that capacity to see beauty, wisdom and wonder in the people, animals, natural world and situations in our lives. We all can create and share those Pearls, too. Let's shine our lights, together, to help heal ourselves and the hurts in our beautiful world, especially as we enter a new year and a new decade.   
Just for the joy of it, you can see all 18 Little Pearls on our YouTube channelClick on the All Pearls playlist and select Play All. Watch them at the highest quality setting you can. There are several mini-documentaries, too. 
We’ll be reaching out to you for financial support after the new Little Pearl is created. If now is the time of year when you donate to non-profits, here's the link for us: 

Warmly, with gratitude,
Linda McLean
Executive & Creative Director
Little Pearls
GreatLittlePearls on YouTube
(screenshot with Hoppy the Harris hawk, 3-19) 
Little Pearls • PO Box 8641 • Asheville, NC 28814

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