Sunday, September 24, 2017

Celebrating Nana



I am so blessed to have grown up with grandparents nearby and being close to them in distance and in relationship.

     It is such a special bond between grandparents and grandchildren and they can really bridge that gap sometimes between parent and child.  A grandparent has the benefit of already raising kids and knowing what they would have done differently so there is a whole different experience and perspective that can really help the raising and relationship between a child and parent.

Plus, they are just fun! You can totally let loose, be yourself, and talk to them openly.  It's kind of like a sign I have seen, "What happens at Grandma and Grandpa's stays at Grandma and Grandpa's."  You can break the rules a little because the grandparents also usually break them with giving in to something parents usually don't.

Today is my Nana's birthday and I feel so incredibly blessed to have grown up with her in my life.  Not all kids, for various reasons, grow up being close to grandparents.  My Nana and Papa have always been around while I was growing up and they haven't missed a thing my kids and nieces and nephews do.

     I have said this about my grandparents many times, but they are dependable.  That quality is so underrated.  Depending on them to be at everything my kids do is something I don't take for granted and neither do my kids.  My kids don't have a relationship with their dad or anyone on his side.  I don't feel like they have missed out because they have my parents and grandparents.

It's funny because we all call my grandmother, Nana.  Well, all except, Stratton, my youngest.  He calls her by her first name, Helen.  It's funny because nobody else would get away with it.  He has alway loved teasing her and he does it because he knows it teases her.  She got him back, though.  I found her a shirt and she wore it and pointed it out to Stratton.  It said, "My favorite people call me Nana."  She teased him back because he DOESN'T call her Nana!  It's harmless fun, but just their thing that he is always messing with her.

Another thing about her name, Helen, is that my grandfather is Stanley.  I have always thought it was funny they have the same name as the Ropers from Three's Company!

We went to my mom's for lunch to celebrate Nana today. She has always been an example of strength and she has always worked doing different things.  She has always had to the confidence to start something new.  I think I get that from her.  It isn't easy to just start a blog, a new business, and put yourself out there.  Everyone is afraid of failing.  She has done different things and some have worked better than others, but she always put her best effort into it and never lost the courage to move on to something else and give it a go.  She has been the most successful at real estate and I think it is because she loves people and talking to people.  Not everyone can walk up to people, even those they don't know, and start up a conversation. My Papa is funny.  He has got to where when she says they are leaving wherever they are he just stays seated for a few minutes because if he gets up he ends up sitting back down while she is telling everyone bye!

I hope she has had a great birthday!  We had fun celebrating her, but we celebrate in thankfulness to God everyday for being blessed with her.  Her whole life revolves around what her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are doing.


My grandmother with my mom and uncle Jimmy.


We celebrate her life because we are so thankful she is in ours!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Where Are You, Fall? (Selfless Saturday)



I think Summer is playing hide and seek with Fall.  Summer is it and is ready to tag out, but we can't find Fall around here!

It's a beautiful Saturday, but hot.  I am ready for the cool, crisp weather where I can open my doors.  I am also ready for all of those pumpkin flavored coffees, but it's so hot.

     I know what will happen.  It does it every year.  We might have a week or a short time of cooler weather then all of a sudden it will be freezing outside.  This heat doesn't feel like football weather.  I remember when my son played, I would be burning up even though his games didn't start until 7 pm.  I would be in shorts, then it seemed like in a week I would need a blanket.  I think I need to move somewhere that has 60 degree weather all year.  Or, maybe I am just hard to please!

I saw something on Fox News this morning and I really want to share.  I don't get anything for sharing this, I just thought it was a really neat thing.  Of course, I love supporting others who do anything artistic for a good cause.  God gives us talents and I believe we are supposed to use them for Him.  The best way to do that sometimes is through helping others.

The guy's name is Troy Walker and he is an Army veteran.  His best friend, who was also a veteran, took his own life five years ago.  His widow couldn't afford his funeral so Troy went in debt helping her and other families.  He began making beautiful flags to sell and get donations to help those in the same situation as his best friend's widow.

How cool is that?  He humbly downplayed his service, but any service to me is a selfless sacrifice for our country. For him to take his God-given talent and use it for the good and help of others is such a great thing.

Pete Hegseth, one of the Fox anchors this morning, is also a veteran and said he wears a ring everyday that is a symbol of awareness for veterans who take their own lives.

I just thought this was a great segment and I wanted to share.  I love everything artistic, but what this man is doing is such a great thing.  Click here for the link to the video.

You can also find them on Facebook as Dog Tag Furniture.  (Click here.)

Maybe someone reading this needs this information or knows someone who does.  There is so much hate and negativity in the world, especially our own country today, it's so nice seeing someone who is doing for others.

He also says he prays before making each flag.  He prays for the strength to make the flag.  Maybe we can add him to our prayers.

Do you know of something like this you can share in the comments? Please do if you have information. You can also message me at sweetteaandsistersjewelry@gmail.com  I would love to post about other people like Troy.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thankful Thursday #11



I am thankful for so many things everyday.

Happy Thursday!  Could we start calling Thursday Friday Eve???

I have said many times how much I love music.  All kinds.  My favorite is classic rock just because I grew up listening to it, but I love country and would never turn the dial off, but rather up to "Apple Bottom Jeans."

I am working on some really great things with my jewelry.  So much of my childhood memories are of being in church.  I can still remember, it was a much smaller town then, in my mind where everyone would sit.  We didn't have assigned seats, but you just always sat in the same pew and so did everyone else.  It was always fun to sit with a friend, but that usually got me in trouble.  It was a small congregation so my mom saw everything along with my aunt, grandmother, great aunt, great grandmother and the rest of the women were friends of theirs.  I didn't get away with anything!

I am working on some charms with my own designs and artwork and it brought back memories of Sunday nights.  After a fun afternoon at my great grandmothers with a big family, we went back to church on Sunday nights for children's choir, another Sunday School kind of lesson, and supper.  There would be another worship service, but it was casual and shorter and sometimes had more music than sermon.

When I was really young, we had the sweetest man that would lead the hymns.  He really got into and it made it fun for everyone!  Sometimes he would ask for requests.  We had the big red hymnal for Sunday mornings and a small brown one for Sunday nights.  My favorite song out of that little brown book was  "Love, Mercy, and Grace."  It was such an uplifting song and a great way to end some of the best days of my childhood.


Today I am thankful for that little brown book and Sunday night hymns.


I found this page with the words and you can play the music. (click here)

Lyrics and Music: C. Austin Miles
Twas Love that gave at greatest cost
A Life, that mine should not be lost
The Love that died in deep despair
My debt fully satisfied there
Refrain:
It was love that took my place
On the cross of Calvary
It was grace, redeeming grace
That paid my ransom full and free
Over sin, without, within,
I have the victory
Thro’ grace, marvellous grace
That lives in me
The Love that freely all forgives
In fullness now within me lives
Thro’ every trial this I see
His grace is sufficient for me
God’s love His mercy and His grace
Combine to raise a fallen race
His hand is ready, ere we call
Held out with forgiveness for all



Three Hymns

One Sunday, a pastor asked his congregation to consider giving a little extra in the offering plate.  He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.

After the offering plates were passed, the pastor noticed that someone had contributed a $100 bill.  Extremely grateful, he wanted to personally thank the generous person before the whole congregation.

A quiet, elderly widow shyly raised her hand.  The pastor asked her to come to the front.  Slowly, she made her way to the pastor.  He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and asked her to pick out three hymns.

Her eyes brightened as she pointed to the three handsomest men in the congregation:
"I'll take him, him, and him."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Take Two, or Three, or Fifty



     Are you good at live videos or videos of yourself in general?

I am not comfortable in front of the camera.  A lot of people are and know how to stand, tilt their head, and speak clearly in a video.

     I am suddenly made aware of just how southern I am when I hear myself on tape or video.  I am very proud of my southern roots, but I would swear I don't sound like I really do!

I am SO excited about some of the things I am working on.  I have made custom charms for some of our local high schools.  The first school I did was personal for me because it's not only where I graduated from, but my 3 children are 5th generation graduates.  My family has a lot of history and contribution to the city and schools.  These charms were so much fun to design because so much thought and heart went into them.  I used an old mascot that was the mascot when my dad was in high school.

     I am working on some other projects and I did a video for the company I am working with on those projects.  (I will have more about it on another post!)  I was excited and honored they asked me to do it but I usually avoid the camera.  I have to admit it was fun.  My daughter helped me and we of course had a couple of bloopers.  I sent them to my sister and she was in car rider line and said people probably thought she was crazy laughing so hard in her car.

I am really excited about it and the things I am doing with that company.  I love making jewelry, but I want it to mean something and be positive.  I want my own message on the pendants I use in making pieces.  I am really having fun creating the ones with Bible verses.  I will post them once they are completed and ready to show.  

I have said many times I am my aunt's clone.  I get my love for comfy clothes and shoes from her and she doesn't wear makeup.  I used to but I have gotten in the habit of not wearing much.  I am feeling so much better now, but for a long time I had to decide to either get made up or go somewhere.  By the time I would get ready, I wouldn't feel like going.  There were many times I had my hair and make up done only to stay home because I didn't feel like going.  It's easy to get in the habit of what's easy.

     I saw my sister's kids after school and they were so sweet, but it was bad at the same time they were so excited to see me with make up on.  When you have kids ages 6, 8, 10, 13, and 15 complimenting you and surprised you have to take notice.  Kids pay attention to a lot more than you think they do.  I have been able to get out and do more the last couple of months because I feel SO SO SO much better in general I think they are happy to see it.  They would always ask me how I was feeling or ask about me when I missed things.  Sweet, sweet kids.

With that kind of support, you can do anything!

I got through my first video yesterday. I will post it when I can, but I did get a picture.  I don't like the way make up feels on my face, but it sure does make you feel good inside!  Especially when others notice!






I listed this pair of earrings over the weekend.  I had not planned on putting the beads together with the Rose Gold, but they ended up next to each other on my table and I couldn't resist.  They look so pretty and rich together.  I have been waiting for the right time to use the angel wings and I think it all came together beautifully!

Brown Czech Glass Beads Rose Gold Filled Angel Wings Earrings




Friday, September 15, 2017

You're A Gem!



Does your birthstone fit you?

     One of the best things about creating jewelry is the ability to make a statement without saying a word.  You show your style, beliefs, and so much more simply by the way you wear jewelry.  A piece catches your eye for a reason.

Do you have an October birthday or need to buy an October birthday gift?  I listed two items with opal, the October birthstone.

I love all birthstones.  The colors are so pretty.  Mine is Amethyst and I have always loved it.  It happens to be my daughter's too!  The opal stone is a little unique because there are so many variations and colors in it.  Most October people I know (my sister and uncle are two) are easy going, versatile people.  It's kind of like that with the opal.  There are more colors the closer you look and there seem to be a lot of layers to October babies.

I know we are in September, but half way and y'all know how FAST time moves!

     We have my youngest niece's birthday tomorrow and my grandmother's in a little over a week, so I am not totally skipping over the month.

The sapphire has been a symbol of royalty for years.  It is also a symbol of wisdom.  It's kind of funny that my niece and grandmother have this birthstone.  We treat all of our girls like princesses, but she is the youngest and my grandmother is the matriarch of our family and they are both very smart and spiritual.

                                                                                                          the spruce


Coincidence?  I don't really believe so.  Have you ever looked into your birthstone to see what it represents and what the natural stone is believed to help with physically and emotionally?  It's really interesting.

     These stones made by God are each unique and have their own special qualities. Kind of like us!  Maybe we are supposed to wear our birthstone because it says something about us more than our birthday and maybe there are benefits to wearing them also.

I will say, there is a fine line.  I believe God is the ultimate healer and comforter, I don't "use" stones, but I do believe God made things for us to heal and help us naturally.  His gifts to us along with the spiritual gifts and talents He gave us as individuals.  Birthstones originate from the high priest's breastplate in which the 12 stones represented the 12 tribes of Israel in order by birth.

We are all unique and just like it is impossible to find two gemstones or crystals exactly alike because the way they are made in nature, there is nobody else like us!

Pretty neat, huh?!

I listed these two pieces in my Etsy shop.

Blue Opal Heishi Bracelet




Pink Opal Sterling Silver Earrings    






This is just a little description of the birthstones.  Does yours sound like you?


Garnet

People with a garnet birthstone tend to be a unique blend of analytical and compassionate. This person might fit the stereotype of the “super parent.”
They can make order out of chaos with a snap of the fingers, all the while wiping a tear here and bandaging a scraped knee there.
Even if they aren’t a parent for real, they might be the “mom” of the group, who makes adult decisions with compassion.


Amethyst

Most likely a calming and mellow presence, the amethyst birthstone tends to go with deeply spiritual people. They’re gentle souls who project peace.
They may get a bit of reputation for being flaky in the here and now, but that’s only because they’re busy thinking about the big picture, in their own lives and in the great cosmic scheme of things.

Aquamarine

As you may have guessed from the name, this stone is closely associated with the ocean. Someone with an aquamarine birthstone has a powerfully purifying presence.
Like the ocean, she is able to wash all things clean, and has a knack for inspiring honesty in those around her and getting to the root of any problem. Her communication skills are top of the charts!

Diamond

Most of us know that diamonds symbolize everlasting love, but do you know why? It’s because they are so hard to damage, a quality that they share with those born in April.
These individuals are nearly invincible, and can bounce back from just about anything you throw at them. Of course, that also means that they’re stubborn; when they take a stand, they stick to it!

Emerald

Those born under the emerald birthstone are known among family and friends as incredible unifiers.
Like their stone, which rules unconditional love and compassion, these people are equally gifted at reconciling old and painful fallings-out, and at making harmonious matches. If you want a friend to set you up, make sure you ask a May baby!

Pearl

Those born with the pearl as their birthstone are very unique creatures. Pearls were historically associated with innocence and magical powers, and this individual may seem to be simultaneously a bit naive, and very in tune with the natural world.
In particular, she may lack in social graces, but have an incredible way with animals.

Ruby

Like the gemstone they were born under, those with a ruby birthstone are showy, with a flair for the dramatic. These individuals have incredible self-confidence, and will never shrink back from a confrontation.
Resolutely fearless, they absolutely never bluff, and are always prepared to follow through.

Peridot

Plenty of folks are chatty, but people with the peridot birthstone truly have the “gift of gab.” They can befriend anyone, under any circumstances, emerging from even the most casual encounter with a new friend for life.
Kindhearted to a fault, those born under peridot love to adopt people and animals into their vast extended family!

Sapphire

Born in September, those with a sapphire birthstone tend to be calm, collected, and fiercely intelligent. They don’t lack in kindness, but don’t open their heart to just anyone.
They tend to find themselves in positions of power, potentially managing large groups of people or owning a business, and take a long time to learn to trust.

Opal

Individuals with the opal birthstone are as quixotic as their gemstone. Their lives are never boring, because, though they seek calm and quiet, they get restless easily.
They tend to attract attention, despite their best efforts to remain under the radar. They are deeply intuitive, and may be shy because they always sense the ulterior motives of others.

Citrine

Folks born under the citrine are a pleasure to spend time with. Good luck seems to follow them everywhere they go, particularly with regard to finances.
As a result, they’re constantly cheerful, and they radiate positive energy that easily spreads to those around them. As a result, November babies tend to be at the heart of a tight-knit family or group of friends.

Turquoise/Topaz 

Those with the turquoise birthstone are quintessential “old souls.” Unflappable and unerringly wise, they seem to have the confidence of thousands of years, even as small children.
They are protective, strong individuals who support those around them, and often provide key advice that is usually spot-on.





























the little things

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thankful Thursday #10



I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

     My goodness, I am especially thankful for so many things today.  I feel guilty on top of thankful when seeing all the pictures of the destruction from Irma in Florida and surrounding states.  The guilt because we were in the path, but spared in so many ways.

We still have some schools closed here and many homes without power.  We didn't have the storms.  I think the cold front that came at the same time kept us from getting tornado weather.  The wind was crazy, though.  It's so sad the lives it has changed and how hard it is for so many people right now.  I am more thankful than usual this week.

One thing in particular I am thankful for is patient people.

I am not one of them.  My parents have always teased me about it because patience has never been one of my qualities.  My kids will tell you I panic about some things and I can't help it.  It's just part of who I am.

Since I am lacking in this area, I definitely can't advise or suggest those who are trying to cope after Irma to be patient.

     I can say I hope they are patient with each other.  Emotions run high, people are tired, hungry, thirsty, just want a shower, and are scared.  When you are overwhelmed like that it is very easy to panic and the worst thing you can do when someone is in a panic is tell them to calm down.  Just ask my kids.  When I am in a panic and one tells me to calm down I think it just makes it 10 times worse.

It's easy for me to sit here and say they should be patient with each other, but understanding everyone is scared and overwhelmed will only help.

Some people are calm by nature and never seem to get upset.  Some you almost want to check their pulse.  I would like to be a little more like that, but doubt it will ever happen.

This is more like me:



And, then sometimes impatience is necessary!


A farm boy accidentally overturned his wagon-load of corn in the road. The farmer who lived nearby came to investigate. “Hey, Willis,” he called out, “forget your troubles for a spell and come on in and have dinner with us. Then I'll help you get the wagon up.”
“That's mighty nice of you,” Willis answered, “but I don't think Pa would like me to.”
“Aw, come on, son!” the farmer insisted.
“Well, okay,” the boy finally agreed. “But Pa won't like it.”
After a hearty dinner, Willis thanked his host. “I feel a lot better now, but I just know Pa is going to be real upset.”
“Don't be foolish!" exclaimed the neighbor. "By the way, where is he?”
“Under the wagon.”

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Power of Nature and Prayer



It's getting a little scary around here.  I am like a little kid when it comes to storms.  I don't like them at all.  Tornadoes are just frightening.  I don't understand storm chasers at all.  My whole being says to go away from them.

     It's so sad to see how much destruction can come from a hurricane in just a matter of hours.  I grew up going to Daytona Beach.  Over the past few years, me and my kids have gone to a few places on the gulf.  We went to Naples two years ago.  I had been there before and we used to go to Fort Myers with my grandparents.  The last time I was there, I was pregnant with Sydney.  I was walking on the beach when her name hit me and I knew that's what I wanted to name her.  It was Thanksgiving and she was born in February.

     It is just unreal watching all of this on the news.  I felt so incredibly bad for the people of Texas.  I have never been there, though.  I have so many memories along the whole state of Florida.  Our last trip was just in June to Jacksonville with our whole family.  They aren't going to be hit like the west side, but there isn't much protection in a lot of those places.

     Locally, we are going to be part of a tropical storm warning.  There has never been a tropical storm warning where I live.  We get "remnants" of storms with wind and a lot of rain and in bad hurricanes we have had tornadoes, but I worry this is a whole different situation.  My younger son says it won't be bad.  I am so glad he's so smart.  What is it about 18 that makes kids think they know everything?  I have been through it three times.  That and 13.  I didn't mind the terrible two's except I think they mean it lasts two years, it has nothing to do with just being the age 2. Anyway, I explained our trees aren't used to the kind of wind we are going to get and we have had a lot of rain.  I think one of the weather people described it as pulling a tooth.  You wiggle something back and forth and it's going to come out of its roots.

     I am just teasing about my son.  He is really smart, and he's like me, he doesn't like bad weather.  He's just thinking positive.  That and he's always on the go.  The thought of being stuck at home for a couple of days, maybe without power, is like punishment to him.

I don't mind being at home.  I am most of the time anyway, but I want my power.  I posted new earrings on my Etsy shop just in case I have a hard time in a couple of days.

This has naturally caused a lot of worry and fear.  I saw something on social media about a preacher saying what if everyone prayed.  If we all got together and prayed we might send it back out to the sea.  This was a couple of days ago before it made it to the Keys.  That totally makes sense to me.  We rely on everything but God when He is the only thing we can rely on.  So many, to be honest including me, have wondered if these things are punishment.  I really wonder if it isn't a plea for us to turn to Him.  That's all He wants.

My son had his devotional out the other day and I read it for that day and the next.  I didn't know if he would move it.  Maybe this is why he is being so positive.  It said God doesn't want us to worry.  We are to wake up and give the day to Him.  He knows our day and will carry us through it.  We are supposed to just trust in Him.  We know this, but we still try to handle things ourselves.

The news people are funny to watch.  They get so excited.  A cameraman fell earlier, one got hit in the head by a branch, and one channel saw The Weather Channel's suburban driving and thought they were crazy.  They finally said, "Well, I guess they know what they are doing, they are The Weather Channel."

     It's funny how the same nature that can cause such disaster and ruin can also form beauty.  The gemstones, crystals, and other materials I love to use and see in jewelry is formed by volcanoes, the sea, and the earth.

I love mixing metals and thought these items really turned out pretty.

Larimar Earrings












           




Green Tree Agate Earrings














Neutral Earrings








Black Silver Leaf Jasper Earrings






These are pictures from our trip to Naples.  It was Mia's first and last trip anywhere.  That poor little dog does not like to leave home!  My brother and sister and their families have gone to the west side for the last few years.  Prayers for everyone in, and that has been, in the track of this terrible storm.












The whole state of Georgia, all 159 counties, have been placed under a State of Emergency.  I don't think that has ever happened due to a hurricane before.  Strange times indeed.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

You've Got Mail



Some say the internet is the devil.

     There are definitely ways it is used that aren't good.  Most ways are exploitive.  From pronography to bullying, to taking advantage of others or giving false information on purpose there are certainly negative parts to the easily available information.

     There are as many good things about it as well.  The amount of distance from family members and loved ones doesn't seem to exist with the internet.  You can communicate "face to face" through the computer no matter where you are.  This is great for spouses and parents who travel.  You don't have to miss as much and families and friends can stay more connected.

Remember The Jetsons  cartoon and how far fetched it seemed?  The boss would come on the tv and now we have Face Time.  We have caught up to the cartoon in so many ways.  I just wish sometimes I had a flying car to avoid traffic!  That's something I am not eager to see.  We have a hard enough time on the ground with cell phone use to be flying everywhere.

     What I love about the internet when it comes to my jewelry is the fact I can get materials from other places without a passport.  I have my favorite materials and I love getting them from the source.  They feel so much more authentic that way.  I have a couple of places I regularly order from and communicate with the sellers.  With one, our time is almost exactly opposite, though, so it takes a little longer because I message her while she is asleep and she responds while I am asleep!

     I ordered from a new place and I got the notice that I needed to sign for it so I went to get it yesterday.  I don't go to the post office, we have a building that is a sorting facility.  You go to one door and you are in a very small probably 5'x5' box and you ring the bell and they open the window, that is part of the door so you can't see through.  I say 5'x5' because while I was roasting waiting for them to come to the "window" I was thinking I don't think I could fully lie down in here if I pass out.

     They get my notice and I see her walking all over the warehouse looking place.  There is a desk in the distance and about 5 women working.  The lady is walking all over and it looked like she went to the desk, but I couldn't see from something blocking it.  The women are talking and I get really nervous.

I would love to go visit a lot of places outside the United States.  There are so many different customs and manners and languages you really need to learn about a place before you go.  I have a fear of doing something that is not a big deal here being mistaken there and them putting me in a jail.  It happens!

I am watching these women thinking it has never taken this long to get my mail.  I start panicking I think because I am so hot, opening just the upper half of the door didn't help much and I am not thinking clearly.  I start thinking, what if my package had something bad in it and they are stalling until the police come.  I see a different lady coming my way with papers in her hands.  I am really sweating now because I ordered beads, they should be in a little box.  As she gets closer, I almost start blurting out what I ordered and it's the first time.......  Thank goodness my mind went blank because she just smiled and went by the door into another room.  In my paranoia and heat stroke I thought she was coming for me.  Finally the lady comes back and has my little box.

I am so relieved and drenched with sweat.  I get home and I think I am a little dehydrated and I try to open the box. I get nervous again. It is packaged well, I think they could have gotten anything through in there.  I finally get it and it is exactly what I ordered and more beautiful than the photos!

Whew! And, this is why I don't travel.


I can't wait to work with these and I really appreciate the plastic box they sent them in.



Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thankful Thursday #9



I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

     Well, part of my title for my blog is sweet tea and I am very thankful for it.  I love all kinds.  Of course, being Southern, sweet tea is my favorite, but I also love my herbal hot teas.  I have different ones for different ailments.  I do believe each kind has health benefits, but the comfort of drinking any them is sometimes the best medicine.

My daughter likes all kinds too, but my younger son is really into the different kinds.  Like I said, sweet tea is definitely a Southern thing and is as readily available in the south as water.  For me, it's comfort because of the different memories that go along with it.

     We used to go to my great grandparents' house on Sundays when I was younger.  They lived across the street form the church and we would eat lunch and play until time to go back to church for Sunday night services.  This was my dad's mother's side.  My grandmother was one the leaders of the children's choir.  You can find nepotism in church also.  One year for our Christmas program, I sang a solo.  It was the second verse of Away In A Manger.  I was maybe 7-8? I remember it, but I still had one of those cute little kid voices and the fact that I can't sing AT ALL wasn't as apparent then.  I didn't get offered any solos when I got older. She probably didn't want me to embarrass myself, her, and the entire family.  My kids were Christened in that church and were 5th generation members.

     That side of family is really big.  I have a lot of cousins and their house was literally running over with family members. Everyone would bring something and we just had what looked like a holiday feast every Sunday.  There would be so much sweet tea.  I don't remember running out. My great grandparents raised four kids and had 10 grandchildren and when I was little, there were 6 great grandchildren.  Now, there are a lot more great and great great grandchildren.  We always had so much fun.  We would use paper plates and plastic cups.  We always had red plastic cups before there were Red Solo cups.  I don't think that's what they were called then, but they were always red.  Raising four kids and their generation with the Great Depression, my great grandparents were very thrifty.

      It's funny because I didn't realize until I was older, but when I would go to the cabinet to get a plastic cup there were names of family members with a line through them.  I guess they had our names on them for that day and they would mark it out, wash the cups, and reuse them.  It was kind of interesting to get a cup and look to see who had used it last.  My Nanny could have invented the idea of names on the Coca Cola bottles!  It was smart, thrifty, and made the sweet tea even sweeter! I just remember running and playing in the yard and sitting on the front porch.

     For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we would go to my dad's mom's house and she was a great cook. She started making Arnold Palmers way before they were called that.  All the men on that side golf, so my dad probably knew about it and asked her to try making it.  It was so good and her Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners wouldn't have been the same without tea and lemonade.  She also made homemade rolls that were just ridiculously good.  I have never had them like she made them.  She also made sweet potatoes and put them in empty orange halves and toasted marshmallows on top.

     She was divorced and lived alone and when I was a lot younger she had a smaller place that we would all pile into.  There would be 12 of us including her in a duplex.  It was next door to her sister's house.  She later moved into a bigger house, but my best memories come from that little place that was just so much fun!  My dad and uncles loved to tease her.  She worked as the secretary for our family business so she was with them everyday at work, then she would be at one of our houses at night.  My dad loves custard and one year she forgot to put sugar in it.  She made pies one time and left the paper filling on the frozen pie shells.  They would tease her, but she would give it back to them.  She loved life, was so sweet to everyone, and she just had fun with her kids and grandchildren.  I never worried about being an adult single woman because she made it look so fun.

     We have had an ongoing question and dilemma with the sweet tea at my grandmother Nana's house that has passed down to my mom's house.  She's my mom's mom and when we would all get together at her house with my great grandmother, great aunt, and cousin, we had two teas.  One was sweet with sugar and the other with sugar substitute.  I don't know why we always had to ask which pitcher was which, but we still do it at my mom's.  We have passed on the which tea is which down to 5 generations now!  My grandmother usually fixes the drinks when we all get together at my mom's and we have a pitcher of sweet and a pitcher of unsweetened.  My mom usually puts them in the same pitchers every time, but one of the kids always asks when they go for a refill.  The kids fight over who gets to take home the leftover sweet tea.  When one of them are sick or hurt, or have had a surgery she always takes them something they like to eat and a big gallon milk jug full of sweet tea.  Hers is so good!

     My memories at my Nana's and now at my mom's are of us women sitting at the table talking.  My great grandmother was an amazing lady.  All of the women in my family are strong, smart, and confident women.  My Nana has worked most of her life and done so many different things from real estate to having ceramic classes at her house to part owning a hair salon. Sitting at the table and talking you learn so much.  I think a lot of times miscommunication is at the root of family tension.  Listening and understanding the difference in generations makes such a difference in understanding why people think and believe in the things they do.  Older generations are so different than generations of today.  A lot of things have changed and you can't expect older generations to change their thinking any more than younger generations would or even could begin to change theirs.  It's a different world and there's a lot to learn from older generations.  Sitting at the table with generations of women is fun and keeps traditions going.  My great aunt has been a single mom for almost all of my cousin's life.  My cousin is a year older than me.  My aunt has put her daughter first in everything.  She never remarried or left her while she went out and did things a young woman she was at the time of her divorce could have gotten caught up in.  She's another example of a single mom I have had all my life but didn't really think about it at the time. I am really thankful for the strong women all through my family.

My mom is just the best.  She works so hard for us to have family time together and she always makes the holidays so much fun.  I love that my kids and nieces and nephews are growing up with memories like I have been so fortunate to have.

     We would also get together with my Papa's family and his mom and women from that side are amazing women as well.  I will post about them another time because that is a big side with A LOT of cousins! We recently had a family reunion on that side.
   
     I don't know who can resist a good glass of sweet tea.  To me, there's nothing better, but I think the memories I have that go along with it make it even sweeter.  If that's possible!


Monday, September 4, 2017

Did I Mention I Love Halloween?



I am trying to add things to my shop while the sale is going on.  I have said I have an unhealthy love for Halloween and since Halloween things have been in stores since July 5th I didn't think it would be too soon to add my skull earrings.  These are colorful and fun and are really in style all year.  Although, the additions of flowers and pastels takes the badass out of the skulls if worn outside of Halloween.

I was a stay at home mom except for one year.  I loved Spanish in high school and took an extra semester of it in college so when my home town middle school offered Spanish for the first time in a connections/elective class, I was qualified to teach it.  I had so much fun that year.  I loved the kids and by the end of the year I had taught the whole middle school.

     We had a six week course and along with the language, I taught about culture and history.  One of the most fun things we did was plan a trip to Spain.  We saw how much it would cost to fly, things to do, where to stay, what to eat, etc.  I really had a lot of fun teaching it and the kids were great.  I found an authentic bakery that made Day of the Dead bread and brought it in the week of Halloween for the kids to try.  I have a link below that is very informative and interesting.

Sugar skulls have a lot of history and the way they came about is interesting.  Making adornments and masks to honor their family members who have passed on could be costly, but sugar and water was a way of doing this inexpensively.

I have said how much heritage, tradition, and family means to me.  I think this is why this is so intriguing to me.  It represents all of that.

https://www.mexicansugarskull.com/support/dodhistory.html



Red and Blue Sugar Skull Sterling Silver Earrings







Beige and Copper Sterling Silver Earrings






Aqua Blue and Turquoise Skull Sterling Silver Earrings






I love, love, love this!  I made it last night and it would look so pretty with a formal dress.  I know some sororities have Fall Formals and this would look great.  It will also look really pretty against a sweater or hanging below a turtle neck.  It has that little bit of bling that gives it a rich, elegant look.  It's also mostly black so while we are in Halloween mode....



Botswana Agate and Silver Leaf Jasper Sterling Silver Necklace







Sunday, September 3, 2017

Selfless Sunday



It's always best to think of others before yourself.

There are times you have to put yourself first, but generally, it is good to be selfless instead of selfish.

     I just don't know what to say about what has happened to the people of Texas.  To see them go for days without bare necessities and food and water and have children on roofs of homes hoping and praying to be rescued as the water grew higher and higher is just so sad.  It is just an awful thing to watch and while we want to know out of concern how they are and how we can help, it is ridiculous the way some media people have invaded their space.  There is a video going around of a woman/mother who just got to a shelter after days of no food with kids who were wet, cold, and hungry and she just let the newslady have it.  Seriously, how do you think these people feel?  You don't have to exploit them while they are just scared and have lost everything material.

     That's the most difficult thing ahead.  First and foremost is safety and surviving, but how long is it going to take for these poor people to rebuild?  It has to be overwhelming.

     You can't help but think that this storm was of such magnitude at a time when we have been focusing on the wrong things and moving further from God definitely became the top of our country's priority list.  God is all powerful and can remind us of this, but we also have a gracious and forgiving God.

I have seen this being passed around social media.  The significance of the numbers are the date of the eclipse (chapter) and the dates of the hurricane (verses).

Luke 21:25-26New King James Version (NKJV)

The Coming of the Son of Man

25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

     I know there were times when my kids were little and they had been arguing with each other more than normal.  It was usually when they were bored and it would just seem like for a day or two they couldn't get along and fought about everything.  I would reach a point and just punish everyone, take everything away to prove a point.  I know in some of those situations maybe one got punished more harshly because they hadn't "done as much."  I have three and if one was fighting with the other two I would tell them you are the common denominator here, so maybe you need a time out. My point is, a lot of "innocent" people are being punished for a nation of chaos. Redirection would sometimes work with my kids.  They just needed a new focus. I don't know if I am making sense, but God has the power to get our attention and we definitely needed a new focus. At the same time, the people who are victims of this flood are paying a high price for everyone.

I know everyone has been praying for them and I am so glad President Trump declared today a day of National Prayer.  I asked my cousin's wife, a friend of mine and a very busy mom of 3, to share a post on Facebook the other day and in her busy afternoon in her words she took a "pause for the cause."  We certainly are in a time much needed for pause and clarity to help these people in need and ourselves.

It makes us feel helpless.  Like with Katrina, you are able to donate everywhere.  I was at the grocery store Friday night and you can give a couple of extra dollars here and there.  It doesn't hurt you too much, but if everyone does it a little here and a little there, it sure adds up.  You can donate lump sums, organize donations, and I am sure there will be so many opportunities to donate your time when they are cleaning up and rebuilding.  Prayer doesn't cost a thing and does more good than anything.

     It's just sad and I look around my home and at the little everyday things I take for granted.  These poor victims were taken back in time and stripped of everything modern in just hours.  Maybe those good people who have had such a tragic week are just the people God knew would get something out of it and reach out to others before our country ends up in war with itself and everyone ends up "on a roof" except we won't have a country pulling together to save us.

It has definitely been a week of deep thought and counting blessings.

I re-listed a necklace today and lowered the price on top of my sale I have going on.  You will see a theme going on.  The aqua and purple beads are in today's additions.  I could say my materials for these pieces are "cut from the same cloth."  Kind of how we are all cut from the same cloth.  We are all God's children.

Aqua and Fish Imprint Sterling Silver Necklace










Purple and Cross Charm Sterling Silver Earrings









Cross and Cluster Beads Sterling Silver Necklace




My son's sweet and beautiful girlfriend modeled for this picture. (I just love her!!!)




As always, the pieces come from packaging that is like a gift in itself.