The first person I should start with in my “Life Builders” series is my wife, Pearl. I have written before, on facebook, all the things I love about her and why I think God made us for each other. However, that sentimental dedication did not come close to explaining the role Pearl has played and continues to play in my life. I can tell you without a doubt that Pearl is truly my “better half”. All I need as proof is to look at how life was without her and see how much she changed my life since we met.
To understand the impact Pearl has had in my life, both personally and professionally, you must know a little more about her than just where she came from and stuff like that. Pearl is from South Africa. She speaks English, Afrikaans, and some Xhosa (and a little German?). She has a PHD in Physics from the University of Port Elizabeth and taught there as an academic for over a decade after she graduated. She is also an accomplished artist and a world traveler. She has the heart of an athlete and a desire to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. More importantly, above all else, she is devoted to living with God at the center of her life in all things and in every way.
Pearl is one of those rare types of people who makes it a point to be the best at everything she does. She refuses to quit anything she sets her mind to. Before we married, a little over four years ago, I thought that we were alike in that way. And really, I was looking forward to being married to someone so ambitious and dedicated and…..someone I thought was just like me in that respect. Imagine my surprise when Irealized that Pearl is even more ambitious and dedicated than I am! Praise God for answered prayer!
In that respect, Pearl has been the energizer bunny of my personal life and in our business lives together. What she brings to the family and to our business is a sense of focus so sharp that it’s impossible to get distracted or diverted from our goals and objectives. Her desire to be the best, to do things as perfectly as possible, to uphold a higher standard, these are qualities that have caused me to strive even higher and work even harder than I ever have before.
Pearl is our resident artist:
- She did the artwork for all of the books.
- She makes hand crafted gift wrapping paper for the students’ Christmas and birthday gifts.
- She does most of the graphic work for the websites.
- She does the graphic and visual layout work for the CDs.
- She organizes all of our publicity materials.
Just about everything I was doing before Pearl took over the visual side of the business was just almost professional. The content was always pretty top notch (I believe) but the covers and layout were not anything what Pearl invests into those things today. Because of Pearl’s work on that side of the products, I can sell with far more confidence than ever before. I know that what we are selling is top quality work, both inside and out.
The most obvious evidence of her contribution to our business as an artist has been the book covers. The first cover art she did for me was before we were even married. I asked her if she would design a cover for the duet book, Celebrations, which at the time was in its final stage of completion. She agreed and we began a business model that we continue to use today.
Pearl’s attention to detail makes her the perfect person for organizing our events; everything from the International Trumpet Day party to the special sales at our online music store. I have always appreciated when events run smoothly but never really had the organizational skills to make that work. I can do my part, but Pearl has that rare talent of being able to look ahead and plan for things both obvious and obscure.
Because I am the director of Consort Immanuel, many of the students never realized that it was Pearl’s work that made the Trumpets of Jubilee concert as wonderful as it was. She coordinated every aspect of the concert outside of the actual musical content. She handled everything from getting everyone to the rehearsal to sending ads and invitations to organizing the reception afterwards. The Trumpets of Jubilee Concert was probably the biggest event we’ve hosted since we were married, but we have done dozens of smaller scale projects along the way.
The one thing most people know about the work Pearl does for our business is that she manages the lesson schedule, which I mention here because it falls under the category of organization. Because it is publicly the most prominent aspect of what Pearl does for he business, it may be easy for some people to mistakenly assume that this is all she does. Hopefully everyone who reads this page will know that the lesson stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. In truth, there would be no lessons if it weren’t for her efforts. She makes the lessons work so that everyone gets the lessons that they want without taking opportunities away from anyone else.
Copy Editor and Proof Reader
Once again, it is Pearl’s attention to detail that makes her so valuable to our business. Just about the only copy that isn’t scrutinized by her before it is published is this blog (which probably explains a lot if you are familiar with
my our other writing). Pearl has the ability to understand my ideas and help me discover more accurate and efficient ways to write about them.
She also helps a lot with the spelling. I have always been a bad speller, something I continue to work on today with slow but reliable success. And that’s part of what makes the way she works with me so valuable is that she works with me to help me get better with the spelling. She doesn’t just change it but shows me first where I got it wrong so I can do better next time.
What I find remarkable about the way Pearl and I work together on the copy work is that the tone still sounds like something I would say when the product is finished. She isn’t injecting vocabulary I would never have used, and I guess part of the reason for that is because our system of working together includes a back and forth style of editing where I have an opportunity to reject anything that isn’t true to my original intent. But I also believe that part of the reason this works so well for us is because we are so alike in so many ways.
Because she has a strong academic and scientific background, Pearl’s trouble shooting skills are yet another aspect of what she brings to our business and to our private lives. I never realized how much of a dreamer I was until we were married. Yes, my mother used to call me a dreamer, but it was never as obvious when I was a child as it is now. My problem solving techniques are always dangerously optimistic. In a lot of cases, optimism is a virtue, but when it comes to problem solving and troubleshooting, it is more of a curse that prevents us from seeing reality.
Not to say that Pearl is a pessimist. Not at all. She is a realist. I know that explanation has been overused, but in Pearl’s case I know it to be true. Pearl is probably just as optimistic as I am, but she has a capacity to suspend her optimism in the context of problem solving. This is an ability that I don’t currently posses, so this is a true blessing to our business and private lives. She has saved us from making stupid decisions by pointing out possible scenarios that I hadn’t accounted for.
Any one of these things in and of itself would be enough to value Pearl’s contribution to my life. To have them all in one package is a blessing far beyond I had imagined before we were married. This series is called life builders and the objective is to acknowledge and share my thoughts about those people who have enriched my life in various ways. As you can see, no one fits that description better than Pearl does. I can honestly say life wouldn’t be the same without her.
It’s not just the business stuff but the private stuff too. I didn’t go as deep into the private details because……duh……they are private. Just know that, with as much as she contributes to our business, imagine it being five times more for the private aspects of our lives.