Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thankful Thursday #33



I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

I am thankful for this man, plain and simple.





This picture was taken Sunday night.  My grandfather, Stanley (Papa) and my daughter, Sydney, share their birthday.  This was their 24th birthday together.  Y'all know how bad I am at math, but I think they have technically shared 25. He was there the night she was born.  He was also there two days before she was born.  I had gestational diabetes with all three of my kids and my due date was the 17th.  I went in on the 16th for my weekly check up and they admitted me because they won't let gestational diabetic moms go past their due date.  The placenta ages faster.

My grandmother was so upset that they put me in then, thinking if they induced on the 17th she would be born then, well, maybe for most moms that would happen and miss having the same birthday as my grandfather.  But, leave it to my weird body.  I ended up having a C-section on Friday night, the 18th.

It is such a sweet thing that they share their day.  It is a very special relationship with grandparents and grandchildren.  I think it is even exceptionally sweet between a grandfather and granddaughter.

I am so thankful for my Papa and so many sweet memories.  When I was sick when I was little, he could comfort me like no other.  He was in the Navy and worked with the ship doctor, so he is the one our family goes to with health questions.  He turned 86 this weekend, but if he had been born later when men went into nursing, he would have made a heck of a nurse.  He would have been a great doctor, but his compassion and sweetness would have made a great caretaker.

I have countless memories with him, but one sticks out.  Right after I graduated from high school we went on a trip to Fort Myers.  My Nana and Papa had been going there in the winter and wanted my mom and dad and me and my brother and sister to look at places so they could rent a house for us to go with them between Christmas and the New Year.  While we were in Fort Myers, we went to the dog tracks.

I love the dog tracks.  We went all the time when we spent summers in Daytona.  You use to have to be 18 to get in.  I remember one year, I was 16, and my mom and dad wanted me to get in.  My mom gave me her wedding ring to put on.  I walked in with her, my dad, and my boyfriend.  I don't know why being married made me 18, but it worked! They didn't even check me. I got in and the first bet I placed were my birthday numbers and I won $300.

I was 18 that summer in Fort Myers.  We went the first night and I bet all night with my Nana and Papa.  We marked the winners in our book.  We knew we were going back the next night so we got the book for the next night when we left.  My Papa showed me how to read it and we studied that book the whole day before going back that night.  We looked at the kennels, the size of the dogs, and this was the most important, their position.  We saw in previous races what dogs were better on the outside, or on the inside.  Then, we looked at their position for that night.  I don't know if we cracked a code or were just lucky, but we won almost every race that night!

Papa loves the outdoors.  He used to always have a big garden and can grow the sweetest tomatoes!  Bless him, he would come over almost every Spring when the kids were little and plant us a garden.  I did not inherit his green thumb.  I never could grow the garden.  It might have not helped that I had three kids within 5 years and was busy with them!  Even after they got older, I tried, but still couldn't grow anything.

He loves the beach and ocean.  It's funny too because he has a tattoo from when he was in the Navy.  It has "Mom," "Dad," and "Helen" (my grandmother's name, yes, they are like the Ropers from Three's Company!)  I love seeing all of our kids' reactions the first time they see it.  It's usually in the summer in my mom's pool.

He's comforting when you are sick, but he's also good with a broken heart.  When my other grandfather passed away 8 years ago, he and my Nana came and sat with my kids while I was at visitation.  He was showing my boys, then 11 and 13, how to play cards.  He started calling my older one Shi Theed.  His name is Shane so he thought he was just playing around.  It took a while and my 11 year old to figure out he was really calling him Shithead, he was just pronouncing it differently!  My kids were so close to my other grandfather and Shane went to visitation and had gotten so upset.  Papa knew how to at least get him to laugh.

Both of my grandfathers went to the same high school.  They both played football.  It was always so special that my grandfather got to see his great grandson play for the same high school football team.  He didn't miss a game and even watched some of the practices.  Shane was a three year starter and his team won state all three years.  We got to go to the Dome in Atlanta and Papa always had a special sparkle in his eyes watching Shane play.


This was after one of Shane's senior games.  It was a home game on the field named after my Papa's coach.  It isn't easy getting down on the field after the game, but my uncle was there and we got Papa on the field so we could get a picture.






 This was at the Dome after winning state for three years in a row!!!!!  I love this picture with my mom and dad also in it.  Dad battled Hodgkins Lymphoma twice and had a stem cell transplant while Shane was in high school so he missed a few games, but he made sure he was there that day!






My Papa is one of the sweetest, honest, and fun to be around people I know.  I don't know anyone who doesn't like him.  We are in a small town, I would know if someone doesn't! I am so blessed to have him in my life and my kids and nieces and nephews are even more blessed to have him as their "great" grandfather.


In honor of my sweet, proudly Christian grandfather, I made these two bracelets.  The inspiration for the green is our school colors and the blue in the beads in the second bracelet are for his "baby blue" eyes.  He has the sweetest look out of his eyes.


























I just got in the beads for these two bracelets.  I have more acai beads and bone beads and I am SO excited about the beach charms I just got!  I have flowers, but the whales tails and stingrays are just too cute!  I am going to be adding these to my Etsy shop and others with the new materials.  If you see something you like contact me on Etsy or at sweetteaandsistersjewelry@gmail.com and I can custom make you a piece just for you.  Here's a look at my new materials!



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thankful Thursday #32



I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

I am thankful for the examples of healthy relationships my kids have around them.  They weren't exposed to a healthy relationship in their home, but God has placed so many great examples around them.

My parents and grandparents are still together.  My sister and her high school sweetheart are still together with 5 kids and my brother and his wife with 3 kids.  I am definitely in the minority in my family being divorced.

My younger son, Stratton, is 19 and has the sweetest girlfriend.  He is really close to her dad.  Her parents are such a sweet couple so he has a great example in them.

His girlfriend's name is Courtney and they are the cutest couple.  They graduated from high school together last May and started dating after Football Homecoming their senior year.  They were on dates with other people and the more the group hung out together the more they realized they had in common.  They were official for a year in December.

They do the sweetest, most considerate things for each other.  They are always together.  One of the sweetest things I see them do together are their devotionals. They are at the same college and she is still living at home with her parents and they get together to do homework and their devotional.

You can tell they just have fun whatever they are doing. He is at her house a lot, but I know it's because he is close to her sister, mom, and dad.  Not having his dad around, he enjoys doing things with her dad.  They grill out and do other guy things.  Having two girls, I am sure he enjoys having Stratton around.  BUT, he does like to tease him!

This past summer, Stratton, Courtney, and her dad and sister went water rafting.  It was a place her dad picked out and I kept teasing with Stratton not to sit by her dad on the trip!  Sure enough, there was a place deep enough to get out and swim.  Her dad knew where it was, but, of course, Stratton didn't.  The plan was for her dad to kind of "push Stratton over" but he said he was so planted knowing he was up to something it wasn't as easy.

Her dad loves teasing with him, but I am so glad they get along and have a fun time together.

Yesterday being Valentine's Day was a big day for them. Stratton wanted to take her to a nice restaurant in Atlanta.  He looked for a place with a dress code because he wanted them to dress up.  He even went last week and bought a new suit.

They had agreed not to exchange gifts, but Courtney got him something anyway and texted me to see if I could put it outside his bedroom door after he went to sleep so he would see it first thing yesterday.

I felt like Cupid and Santa Claus leaving it out for him.  I forget the kids are much taller than me so I carefully put it a little more outside the door so he wouldn't walk by it.





WELL, he has a Jack and Jill style bathroom and I think it's the first time since we have been in this house for two years he has come out the other bathroom door and gone downstairs that way!

He didn't see it before school, but waiting, she was able to see him open it.  They both said it must not have been meant for him to see it, maybe delaying him on the road.  Their strong faith is so important to both of them and why they get along so well.

He had this planned for some time.  Here is a picture of the sweet couple.










Stratton binge watches the show The Mentalist.  I think he looks a lot like Patrick Jane!





Courtney looked absolutely beautiful.  When I say he planned this for awhile, I mean it.  He gave her the dress for Christmas.









They just always have fun going out on a date or cooking dinner together or looking at the stars from my mom's front porch or doing their devotional.  I feel intrusive getting a picture of that, but it's my favorite thing to see and one day I will get one!


My sweet girl, Sydney, brought these to me for Valentine's Day!  I wasn't expecting it at all!


  
Speaking of rare, beautiful things, I got these yesterday.  There's no way for a picture to do them justice.  They are AAA+ Natural Black Ethiopian Opal.  I also have some fun beachy charms coming in today for more beaded bracelets getting ready for warm weather!  I am in a creative mood!





Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"G" As In...Grin and Bear It



I will admit to being a total airhead at times.  I have to admit it because those around me know it's true.  I am blonde, so I definitely have "blonde" days.

I remember hearing one time that babies of low birth weight might have an intellectual disadvantage.  I was in high school and it was in science class, I think.  The information said babies under 5 1/2 pounds.  Later that day, I asked my dad how much I weighed when I was born. I told him what I had learned in school that day and he said I weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces.  I asked, so do I fit in that category?

(I might want to mention I wasn't good at math either.)

He just looked at me, laughed, and said, "I think you just answered your own question!"

I made great grades in high school and college, but I can really be an airhead at times.

I don't know why, but I have such a hard time when giving out numbers and letters over the phone.  We just changed our insurance company this month, and while waiting on our card I had to give my information over the phone to the pharmacy and a couple of my doctors.

Normal people can do this without a problem.  I don't know why, but this is so hard for me!  I don't use the normal words or names most people do.  If I am reading out something like 14FB23D it would go something like this:

1...4...F as in Flowers....B as in Blueberry...2...3...D as in Dolphin.....

Seriously, what is wrong with me?  I hate having to give out numbers and letters for this reason.  The more anxious I get about it, the more crazy words I come up with.

Please tell me someone else does this!

Anyway, I know tomorrow is Valentine's Day, but hearts are always in season and fashion.  I made this with a cute 925 Sterling Silver Rose Gold Vermeil Style smiley face.

If this is a problem for you, you can do like me and just grin and bear it. I know the people on the other end are like, "What in the world is wrong with this person?!"  They repeat it back to me and fill in the normal words like Fred, Bill, and Dog.

It makes more sense, but my way is more fun!

Either way, this pair of earrings are for smiling through embarrassing moments and the hearts are for those who love us anyway!

Heart and Smiley Face 925 Sterling Silver Rose Gold Filled Earrings












Sunday, February 11, 2018

APB on Spring Weather





Getting ready and shopping for Spring Break?

Are you as ready for warmer weather and tropical style jewelry as I am? Some jewelry can make you feel like you are on a beach vacation no matter where you are.

I think we need an APB out on Spring to hurry up and get here.  APB can stand for All Point Bulletin, but it can also stand for Acai Purple Berry.

I have just gotten in new Acai (pronounced ah-sah-ee ) beads and I am obsessed with them!  They are so natural, pretty, and colorful.  Knowing these beads come from acai berries in the Amazon Rainforest is just amazing. They are the pit of the Acai berry fruit.  Acai juice is made from the thin layer of pulp. The seeds (or pits) are hand drilled and the whole process getting them from the rainforest to the end product is done by hand.  No two beads are alike.  The black line is a natural part of the seed.

We are (slowly!) moving towards a season of wearing more natural and earthy pieces.  They just have a different feel than worn any other time of year.


I love history, stories, and legends behind things we know and enjoy.  I chose the song, "It Is Well With My Soul" for my custom charms with my original artwork because I love the saying and the church song brings so many great memories for me when my grandmother sang in our church choir.  I posted about the history of the song and the inspiration behind the writing of the song in my post It Is Well With My Soul.

Acai berries are found in Brazil in the Amazon Rainforest.  The legend behind them is quite sad.  It seems strange to think the rainforest can have a drought, but according to the legend this was the case at one time.  There was a tribe that lived in the mouth of the Amazon River.  It was where Belem is located today.  The tribe was very large and powerful.

They experienced a very rare drought.  The river that was used for travel and fishing dried out and fish died.  The forest dried up and caught fire.  The tribe was not prepared for such a rare drought.  A great hunter was the leader of the tribe named Chief Itaki.  He became very worried about his people and how they would eat.  There were so many of them.  He came to a terrible decision and gathered his people to tell them that any future children born would have to be sacrificed because there were too many people to feed.  Many were already slowly starving to death.

Not long after his decision and announcement, his only daughter, Iaca, found out she was pregnant.  Being his only daughter, he adored her and he gave her the best of things and she was a true princess of the Amazon.  The time finally came when she gave birth to a daughter.  Iaca couldn't protect her daughter and she was sacrificed.

Iaca cried for three days and nights.  She wouldn't leave her hut and desperately prayed to Tupa, the jungle god, that there would be another way to save their people without sacrificing another baby.  One night, as she prayed, she heard a baby cry.  As she opened the door of her hut, she thought she saw her baby sitting in the spotlight of a full moon at the base of a big palm tree.  She ran to go hug her daughter and when she got her arms around her, she disappeared.  She found herself hugging the base of the tree.

This was just too much for Iaca and she died from a broken heart holding onto the trunk of the palm tree.  Her father found her body the next morning and was devastated.  She died, but she was smiling and her eyes were open looking up.  He followed her eyes upward and saw the branches covered in dark purple and black berries up in the tree.  He ordered them taken down and the pulp was mashed up and a porridge was made from them.  They found more trees and the source was enough to sustain his people.

Chief Itaki ended the sacrifice of babies and in honor of his daughter he named the berries, acai, her name spelled backwards.

The beads I have used for these bracelets come from the basin of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil.  They are just so natural and it is good that while most of the fruit is used as juice around the world, the pit of this wonderful fruit doesn't go to waste and it provides jobs for the harvesting and hand drilling of each bead.

I take a lot of time and pride in where I get my materials for my jewelry and the history and knowing where they originally come from makes them even more precious.

I grew up in the south (Georgia) and haven't traveled to many places so learning about other countries and cultures is just so interesting to me.  I have such a love and respect for family and tradition so I really enjoy learning about traditions and ways of life passed down generations in other cultures.

The native people of the Amazon Rainforest know how to use resources while also taking care of the land.  They know when to move on and give the land time to replenish itself. They have respect for their land and it is sad and terrible the way others have treated the land.  Their knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation and we have not only disrupted precious land and resources, but the people who are from there and their way of life.


These are what I have made and listed so far, but I have many more beads and ideas for them!  You can click on the title to go straight to the listing in my Etsy shop.

Guava Pink Acai Bead Stretchy Bracelet






























































*Just a note about the care of these beads (especially with warmer weather and getting in water coming up).  They are a lot like wooden beads so if they get wet, dry them with care.  The best way to dry them is to place them on a paper towel or cloth and keep them there for a few hours.  A little bees wax can give them a sheen, but only a very little bit.  Like wood, oils can soak into the beads and make them darker.







Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thankful Thursday #31



i am so thankful for so many things everyday.

Any occasion that gets people together to have fun and good food is something to be thankful for.  I have always enjoyed Super Bowl Sunday.  Even when I didn't watch football at all it was fun to get together with family and friends and have a party.

The Super Bowl is always around my birthday and usually falls on the weekend before and has even fell on my birthday.  I have had birthday parties on Super Bowl Sunday so that's probably another reason I like it.

It's for everyone.  If you don't like football, it's worth watching to see the half time show.  If you aren't into that, the commercials are fun to watch.  It's the only time you go to the restroom during the main event so you don't miss the commercials.

Ok, maybe not for the guys, but most girls would miss the game instead of the commercials.

They are always great.  I remember one year when my brother's wife was finishing up her college classes she had to analyze the commercials and do a presentation about them.

BAM! There you go!  Super Bowl Sunday is educational! If you had to call in sick or go into work late because of watching the game last weekend then at least you won't feel so guilty.

There were good commercials last weekend.  My favorite was the Dorito Blaze commercial.  The Manning, Dirty Dancing one was pretty good too!

The Blaze was the best, in my opinion.  The Mountain Dew Ice that followed was really good, but I really liked the Blaze.

In honor of my vote for best Super Bowl commercial I have earrings made from  Mexican Fire Opal.

Mexican Fire Opal Sterling Silver Earrings











And, because you can't have a little fire without ice........

Aquamarine Sterling Silver Earrings






This pair is newly listed today and is part of the 10% off sale that ends after today.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It's My Birthday!





Technology sure has changed the way we celebrate birthdays.

I am 47 today and it is so different than it used to be.  We had wall phones. You know, the phones that actually only worked when plugged into the wall and you could only go as far away from it as the curly cord would let you.  You would know when you went too far because the coiled cord would pull you back.  We would get most of our birthday wishes that way.  Which meant you had to be home to get a call and you could only talk to one person at a time.

We had a birthday party planned by invitations.  Invitations that you had to go to the store to get (there were just a few choices) and had to individually fill out and then mail.  We also had to go buy any kind of decorations.  I posted a couple of weeks ago that I have always enjoyed having my birthday the week before Valentine's Day because that was usually my theme.  It was easy to find decorations and things for my birthday.  I always had candy hearts and cinnamon heart candy as part of the food as well as decorations.

Things sure are easier now!  You get voicemail if you are on the other line.  Friends and family can send you a text and social media has totally transformed the way we communicate!  Evites and online shopping, as well as booking events, have made things much easier.

My older son left really early this morning.  He sent me a text after he left and when I opened it, there were balloons that floated up the screen with him telling me Happy Birthday!

You get a lot more wishes because of social media.  People who wouldn't have called you or probably even sent a card, can write on your wall or text you to let you know they are thinking about you.  This is when social media is a really good thing.  It makes reaching out to others on occasions so much easier.  Even in bad times we can let someone know we care without feeling like we have imposed or having to "bother" them personally.

I opened my laptop this morning and even Google wished me a Happy Birthday!  Wikipedia is at our fingertips and you can put your month and day in and see people in history who share your birthday.  I found this interesting.  There were a lot of artistic people who were born today.  I say artistic in the way of arts such as authors, painters, composers, actors, and musicians. If you believe in astrology, I think it makes sense for the sign of Aquarius.

I have a lot of happy memories of birthdays when I was growing up.  My mom always made such a big deal about birthdays and from parties with lots of family and friends to slumber parties to my sweet 16 party in high school, they were always fun.  She still makes them big by getting together me, my sister, brother, and our families.  We go out to dinner or she does something at her and my dad's house.  It's fun because our kids get WAY more excited about our birthdays than we do! We make a really big deal over their birthdays so they must think we get as excited about ours as they do theirs.

Even when I think, "This is not a big deal anymore," they get me excited being around all their happy faces.

This picture is from not long after I was born with some of the strong women I love to talk about from my dad's side
.



In the front is my aunt Gina, my aunt Harla holding me, my grandmother Betty and in the back my great grandmother Willie Lou (she hated her name!), my mom Angela, my aunt Loulie (short for Ettie Lou) and my cousin Leslie. I am missing a couple of other girl cousins from my uncle John.


This was my first birthday.







My grandmother, Helen (my mom's mom), is keeping me on the counter!




 My grandfather, Tom Ed, is behind me in this one along with my grandmother and mom and dad and a couple of other family members.  Both of my dad's parents have passed away.  I was so close to them and they literally stood behind me and in every other way.  I never needed them that they weren't there.  I sure do miss them.




Here's one of the Valentine's Day themed birthdays.




My and my sister, Amanda.








My little brother, Ty, with me and the gifts I got that year.  I got a Cabbage Patch doll and my Nana and Papa gave me a bird I named Xanadu.  I love Olivia Newton-John and I think that was my favorite movie at the time.


Another birthday full of hearts!  I loved the flowers on the table.  My uncle, Jimmy, gave them to me.  This is me, my sister, and our cousin, Laura.




This was taken right before my birthday.  My brother's birthday is a couple of weeks before mine so this is when I was 7 and he had just been born.  My great grandmother on my mom's side is holding him. She was such a sweet, Christian woman.  I loved going to spend the night with her.  She was funny, she loved her soap operas!  She was my Papa's mom and he looks so much like her.  He gets the same sweet expression on his face she always had on hers.







This was taken at my Christening at church.  I posted it because it has my other great grandmother, Meme, in the picture on the right of my mom who is holding me.

One year I didn't have Valentine's decorations.  I think it was Holly Hobby, maybe?  I loved           Little House on the Prarie!  I think I dressed up as Laura Ingalls Wilder one year for Halloween.  It makes sense, when I looked on Wikipedia at births on February 7th I saw her name.  I knew of some famous people I share my birthday with, but didn't know she was one of them!  (Others are Garth Brooks, Chris Rock, and Ashton Kutcher.)








I am going to get out and enjoy the rest of "My Day!"  I do love going down memory lane and looking at old pictures. I realize just how blessed I am by family and friends and that is all anyone can really ask for!