Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thankful Thursday #8

I am so thankful for so many things everyday.

   I have always loved arts and crafts.  I loved coloring when I was little and have always been considered creative by others.  I was about 10 when a friend of my mom's opened up a children's boutique in our town.  She had really pretty children's clothing.  I made ribbon hair barrettes that were popular at that time.

     Remember '80's braided ribbon barretts?      hipgirlclips

     I loved making them and putting colorful beads on the ends.  I enjoyed making them more than wearing them. I had made a few pairs and my mom's friend asked me if I wanted to sell them in her shop.  I only sold a couple of pairs of them, but I was so excited! To be 10 years old and make something that someone else enjoyed wearing and I got a few dollars from it was the best feeling!  It was also so great that she asked me, I didn't beg or my mom didn't call in a favor.  She is still a friend and I won't ever forget that encouragement.

This Thursday, I am thankful for early encouragement.  I didn't become a famous hair barrette maker or jewelry designer, but it built my confidence and gave me such a positive experience of using my talents.

     Today's kids are so active in sports and music lessons it can be overwhelming.  It's so good to try different things and see where you have a natural talent or ability.  It's ok to not be good at something and move onto something else you might be better at.

I was really good at softball and tennis.  Not so much with basketball.  I wanted to be good and I played youth league and on the 8th grade team, JV, and my freshman year of Varsity.  Well, I sat the bench my freshman year.  Our school was small so basically everyone made the team in 8th grade and JV.  I just wasn't very good.  I went the wrong way one time and shot at the wrong goal.  Fortunately, I was bad and it didn't go in.  This would have been cute had it been youth league, but I was in 8th grade.

     My Varsity basketball coach was also my softball coach.  I was much better at softball.  I had played every year when I was growing up and I could hit the ball where I wanted to.  You know you are terrible at a sport when my Varsity basketball coach tells me I won't hurt his feelings if I quit.  Him being my Varsity softball coach, he didn't want me getting mad and quitting softball, the sport I was actually good at. I was relieved, though, because it was a tough sport to practice and not get to play.

     I was really little in high school.  I am only 5'3 and back then barely weighed 100 pounds.  I could eat more than any of the boys I knew.  My tennis coach would look at what I would order when we stopped to eat after tennis matches because he was always amazed at how much I ate.  It isn't fair.  I don't eat anything like I did then, but certainly don't weigh barely 100 lbs.!

     I would come home from school to eat before a game and my mom said I was the only player on the basketball team who ate 3 egg sandwiches to sit on the bench.  I still love egg sandwiches.  My great grandmother made them for me when I was little and they are comfort food.
     I feel like when I was growing up, I am 46, that kids participated in more things.  It seems like kids today get on one thing and just concentrate on that.  I know competition for Varsity sports and college scholarships are so tough, but in all that preparation I think kids miss out on trying different things as they get older.

     Sometimes, there is more pressure than encouragement.  There's a huge difference.  Kids need to be kids and have support while they are figuring out what natural, God-given talents and abilities they have.  It's so much easier when things come naturally.

     Otherwise, you are on the wrong side of the court and mistake all the yelling of warning you are going the wrong way for cheering!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hump Day

     We need a new word for Wednesday.

I know what it means and we are over the hump of the week, but it just doesn't sound right.  I guess I have a dirty mind.  My uncle is known as the king of dirty jokes so I guess that's why my mind went there.  He's so funny and doesn't care who he tells a joke to.  He's a big sweetheart who everyone loves so nobody takes offense to the jokes.  Even if you didn't know him, he just has a way that's funny and not offensive.

     Dick's sporting goods really needs to change their name.  It just doesn't sound right either and you have to be really careful assuming their web address or what you Google! I don't know who Dick is and I am sure he is proud and wants his name on the store, but maybe he could have used a middle name???

     Do people with that name have as hard (haha) a time as I would imagine they do? If someone gets mad at them do they just say their name more harshly or say it twice?

I don't know how I got that far from what I was going to post about.

     We are halfway through the week and have a long holiday weekend coming up.  I am always sad to see summer go, but I am ready for Fall and cooler temps.

     I am going to post a lot of jewelry on here and in my Etsy shop.  I am having a Labor Day sale and will offer 10% off each item and FREE SHIPPING!

     You still get the pretty packaging of the box and non-tarnish zip loc bag.

I am going to have new things up tomorrow along with an announcement.  Everyone loves a sale and I have new things coming in to work on for the Fall season. The sale will last from tomorrow until next Wednesday.  Or, hump day.

     Yeah, it really doesn't sound good.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sleepy Saturday

     Between all the excitement of the total eclipse and this being the first week of college classes for my kids, we are all tired!

     I don't have to get them anywhere or pack lunches, but I still make sure nobody overslept and I try to keep up with everyone just for my peace of mind.  They are at home and commute.  I realize if they were away I wouldn't know if they didn't hear their alarm or didn't get home when they were supposed to but since they are here and I do know I can't change my "motherly" ways so fast.

Baby steps.  After all, they will ALWAYS be my babies.

In this chill Saturday mood, I have listed some earrings I made on my Etsy shop.

Lapis Earrings

Please comment and let me know what you think.  I am trying to build my shop up after having to start, pause, start, pause a couple of times. I have a new name and all new items. It is the same account because I did have a couple of sales and reviews and didn't want to just completely start over.  I realize until I get current sales and reviews it is going to take a little time for buyers to have faith in me.

I would love to know what you think about my designs or comment on any of my posts!

I hope you are having a great Saturday!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thankful Thursday #7

     I have so many things I am thankful for everyday.

     It's funny when our kids get older and start telling YOU things you might not want to hear, for YOUR own good.

     My youngest who is almost 19, told me the other day I drink way too much coffee.  He said every time he sees me I have a cup in my hand.  I thought he was exaggerating, but I am always having to get more from the store.

     I love it.  I always have.  The best thing about waking up is that first cup seeing my kids' beautiful faces. If I have to get up and get going without it, I feel like I can't move the rest of the day.  It doesn't matter how much I have the rest of the day, I never catch up to missing that first cup first thing.

     I also love hot chocolate.  My favorite is a salted caramel hot chocolate.  I am having problems with the heat and being hot, but then I have episodes where I feel like I am freezing and that's where the hot chocolate is a yummy, comforting treat.

     I also like the little fake-like marshmallows.  You would have thought I hit the lottery when I saw them being sold by the can.  I no longer had extra pouches of hot chocolate powder because I had used two pouches of marshmallows in one cup.

     I am so over the heat and am ready for Fall temperatures.  I start seeing Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations and it is like a conditioned response, I am craving flavored coffees and hot chocolate. Although, it seems like they bring out the Fall stuff after Valentine's Day.

     I was talking with my kids and we want to have an "adult" Halloween party.  By that I mean really scary decorations, no kiddie foods and guests out of high school.  I used to have Halloween parties when they were little and would invite their friends and cousins.  We had fun fair foods and I would have games all over the backyard with prizes from Oriental Trading in baskets like you would see at a Halloween Carnival. It was always so much fun.  I would have a big batch of apple cider, and of course, hot chocolate and coffee.  This party we can have more adult games and maybe a few pranks.

     I think I always loved Halloween because I was one of the weird, nerdy kids who loved school and the first day of a new year.  Halloween was the beginning of fun.  The next month was Thanksgiving, then on to Christmas.  It was always a fun time of year.

My mom would make vegetable soup a lot before we would go trick or treating when I was little.

Warm liquid, comforting, my favorite time of year.........I think I may be on something that contributed to my addiction love of coffee and hot chocolate!

Here's some interesting things about coffee (click here.)  #s 14, 25 and 36 are really interesting!

  • Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    Daddy's Girl


         The only thing that bothers me about this post's title is I am a mama's girl too.  It doesn't mean I love my mom less because I will admit to being a daddy's girl, but she knows from having her own mom and dad there is something between a girl and her dad.  I see it with her and my grandfather.

         The fact that my sweet, beautiful girl doesn't have that breaks my heart, but I always tell my kids that God knew their dad was going to turn out to be a real shit and He sure put a lot of great men in their lives.

         My dad has gotten a little cheated out of just being a grandfather to my kids because he has had to step in as dad also.  He doesn't mind, though.  He's ready to be there for them however they need him.  He used to joke, was it Chevy Chase that did the "You can call me this or that, just as long as you call me,"  It sounds like it should be a part of a country song, but Chevy Chase sticks out in my mind for some reason. He was in the Simon video "Call Me Al" so maybe it was.  I don't know.  He's just happy when they call him!

         What I was trying to get to is today is my dad's birthday!  He is the best man I know and the toughest.  He has battled Hodgkins Lymphoma twice and was still cancer free at his dr. appointment this summer.  He gets nervous if he gets tired or feels bad.  We will always live in a constant shadow of it coming back or striking another family member in it's many awful, terrible, disgusting forms. Both of his parents died from cancer so it is not something we are used to defeating or take lightly that he is in remission.

         My parents were 16 and 17 when they got married and had me.  A lot of couples married young where I am from, but that is very young. I don't think one would now what to do without the other.

         I had my female surgery in June and it was just me, my dad, and my doctor in the room before I went back.  My mom and daughter had just stepped out for a second.  He told the doctor, "I have 3 kids and 11 grandkids. She's been with me the longest, take care of her."  I am in tears now thinking and writing about it, but it was also such a sweet way of not calling me the oldest!

         I won't ever forget when my sister had her first child.  I was with her having all five.  My back issues had already started and it was really hurting.  My sister was in labor, having a contraction, and she looked over and my dad was rubbing my back. In all fairness, she has a sweet husband who adores her and I don't, but she looked over with a look my great grandmother was known for that was a warning to run and she just said, "Really?!!"

         My dad and I have our things.  My sister and my mom have theirs.  They love to shop.  I don't enjoy shopping at all.

         I want to wish my Dad a Happy Birthday!  He's a good man, but every bit of stinker that comes out of my younger son comes from my dad.  He was always the one teasing his brother and sister.  He tells us about when my aunt was younger she would be playing blocks and just when she got them right he would run by and knock them down.  Well, after a few times of this she decided to get him back.  He ran through the room and she slapped her hands then yelled for my grandmother, "Tim hit me!"  He got in way more trouble for not doing that than he would have for knocking down the blocks!

         He's funny.  That's just one reason why all of his grandchildren absolutely love and adore him.  My youngest niece calls herself "Pop's best buddy" and she is.  Funny enough, she is the one most like me.  They have the best time together and I love to see her little face light up when she talks to him.

    My dad and his first best buddy! My daughter and the oldest of the 11 grandchildren.

    Monday, August 21, 2017

    Moon Over Manic Monday

         There are just some days that feel different than the rest.  At Christmas, there is a warm, loving feeling even with all of the hustle and bustle. Mondays are crazy enough, but today is one of those days that you can just feel the energy bouncing off of everyone and all over the place.  It's like a full moon day, but on Red Bull.

         Traffic is crazy with people either getting to a place to see the eclipse or getting everything done before it happens.  Some schools where I live are dismissing late so kids aren't out or in buses trying to get home while the eclipse happens.  It's kind of scary the way it can harm your eyes looking at the sun.  Normally, it just hurts a little when it is bright, but today it can really harm your sight.  I have worn contacts for 35 years and without them or glasses I can't see, and I am diabetic, so I think I will play it safe and watch it on TV or see pictures.

         We thought welder helmets would work, but that's in question and on the news they said to use your phone or ipad on selfie with the sun behind you and look that way, but another source said that the lens of our phones can be damaged like our eyes.

         It is going to be interesting.  When it happened last I was just 8.  I have a pretty good memory of being really young, but I don't remember it. It's a strange thing.  Anything that we have no control over and the fact it will affect animals is a little unsettling. I am in Georgia, it is August, I will be looking forward to the few minutes of drop in temperature.

         Our world is in really scary times right now. With technology and advances, our lives should be easier but there is a lot of chaos today. I don't think our country has ever been so divided with emotions so high.

         I have read scientists question the darkness after Jesus was crucified saying it wasn't an eclipse because it lasted too long.  First of all, God is in the business of miracles and can do ANYTHING. He created everything the scientists question so He can absolutely defy science.  Secondly, there are so many examples of things He did that we can't explain.  Ourselves for one, but, hello? dividing the Red Sea, the Flood, the talking bush..... He made the moon and the stars so I wouldn't question anything.

         It does make me think of a few things.  The darkness after Jesus' death definitely symbolized the darkness of the world.  I think today we should be reminded that He is in control and wherever you are and however long you are in darkness we should recognize God isn't the electric company that comes with a warning that your lights are going to be shut off.  He has the power to do anything any time and He has to feel like His people all over the world are taking for granted what HE has given us and it has to hurt so badly that His children are treating each other the way we are.

         Maybe someone can help me or correct me, but I do find something really interesting.  Adam named "woman" Eve because it meant the mother of all living things.  I think that is what it meant.

         I think the word eve originates from or has to do with a word meaning "late."  It is for going towards the end of the day., before night.

         I find it really interesting that while Eve was the downfall of man (and woman) by falling into temptation and eating the apple sending us into "darkness" and despair while literally eve or evening is darkness.

         It is even more interesting that this total eclipse is happening at a time we need most to be reminded of God's love and power.  For just a few minutes, all over the country, we won't be doing or talking about anything but paying attention to this miracle.  Just a few moments of wonder.

         Wonder what God will be thinking?!

    I listed this necklace in honor of the eclipse.  I have been wanting to make a lariat style necklace and the Karen Hill 24k gold vermeil style circle seemed appropriate.

    Sterling Silver Lariat Necklace

    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Thankful Thursday #6

    I am so thankful everyday for so many things.

         When you have babies you want all kinds of things for them.  You immediately feel the responsibility and want to raise good people and productive members of society.

         I am not a perfect person or parent and everyone makes mistakes.  My kids have always known the one thing I will not tolerate is one of them ever being mean to someone for no reason.  Fortunately, my kids are caring and considerate people and it has never been an issue.  Don't get me wrong, I also taught them to speak up for themselves and not let anyone run over them. I stay in my own little world and don't go out of my way to be disrespectful or hurtful to anyone, but if someone messes with my kids or family, I tend to go after them.  I know I am supposed to turn the other cheek and that is something I work on, but I only react to someone hurting someone I love.

         I really believe in the end we will be mostly judged on how we treated others.  I have never understood being mean to another human being for no reason. I don't know why it's so hard to just be good to one another.  It's the devil hard at work and we don't need to fall for that.

         I know from my relationship with my parents you never stop being a parent.  In many ways, I need my parents more now than ever.  I couldn't have raised my kids without them.

         A lot of things are considered successful parenting.  For me, all three of my kids cook and wash their own clothes. They are all really good cooks and try new things.  My youngest is really good at the crockpot and grill.  Between the two, he has cooked more dinners this summer than I have!

         I am blessed and so grateful that I have not watched my kids go hungry.  Not all parents can say that and I believe there is a special place in Heaven for those parents in that helpless and hurtful situation. I have sat and talked with many single parents at the courthouse trying to get child support from the other parent who is taking no responsibility.  That is a hard and frustrating position to be in.  I say single parent because although most were women, there are some men in the position of being the only parent responsible.

    This Thursday, I am thankful for kids who are now cooking for me.  Stratton cooked dinner Tuesday night and grilled out last night.  I should say I am also thankful they go to the grocery store. I don't like going to the grocery store and have so many hours of my life there I can't get back.

    This is Stratton's Italian chicken.  Chicken with Italian dressing cooked in the crock pot, then he shreds it and eats in a bowl with rice and sauteed vegetables.  It's even better the next day!

    Wednesday, August 16, 2017

    Tradition and Heritage Makes Everything More Special

         I just listed this pair of earrings on my Etsy shop.  The kids start college classes next week so it will be a little quieter around here and I have a lot of new things that have come in for me to work on.

         I love Thai Karen Hill Tribe beads. I have a little information about them on listings in my shop.  The Karen Hill Tribe are of Northern Thailand and they use traditional methods that have been passed from generations-to-generations of hand-tooling. Their work is unique in design and fine in details.  The silver content is 97.5-99% compared to Sterling Silver which is 92.5% silver.  The beads and charms are hand crafted with eyes for details and intricate by highly-skilled artisans.  I absolutely love using them.

         I have such an appreciation of heritage and tradition and what these artists produce is simply amazing. The pieces can be small and delicate but so detailed.  It's just beautiful work.

    The steel gray and blue of the Kyanite beads is really pretty and the gold Vermeil Style disc beads are a perfect accent.  The ear wire and gold beads are Karen Hill Tribe.

       Karen Hill and Kyanite Earrings

    As always, your purchase comes in a recycled box with my shop name on it.  There is a cotton fill and it will come with a non tarnish zip loc bag and a square of polish pad.


         I sold these earrings yesterday.  They are more beautiful in person than my terrible photography skills show on here.  I loved the way they turned out and am so tempted to put another pair in my shop.  Even though it is made with gemstones and the Karen Hill disc beads and no two are like, I still don't like to "copy" my designs.  There's no way to get another pair identical to these because of the natural materials, but I feel like it is really special to sell one of a kind items.  People go on Etsy to get the individual items and experience. If you want to see what you buy from my store on other people you might as well go to a department store.  I take pride in what I do and want my pieces to truly be unique.


    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    Each Age and Phase Just Gets Better!

         Time goes so fast.  My kids have grown up on me and it just flew by.  I loved having babies and every age and stage I would think was the best, until I got to the next one.

         As much as I loved it when they were little, it is so nice in so many ways now that they are older.  We can watch the same movies and do a lot of fun things together.  Summer was kind of crazy.  We went on a trip with my parents and brother and sister and their families at the beginning of June.  Shane has worked all summer and either competed himself in Crossfit competitions or had an athlete he is coaching participate. I enjoy watching the competitions.  It looks so hard, but is really fun to watch. Sydney took summer classes and Stratton declared this summer his last official "kid" summer.  He graduated from high school early in December and took Spring semester classes at the same college Sydney and Shane attend.  He participated in senior activities and walked with his class in May although he was done.  He said this is his last official "summer break." That child. He is so funny.

         Anyway, with everything going on, I also had surgery in June, we didn't go anywhere just the four of us so I had a fun night planned Sunday night as a kind of end of summer blowout.  They start classes next week.  We went to a Matchbox 20/Counting Crows concert.  I got enough tickets so they could each ask a friend so there were 7 of us.  They knew the music because me and my sister love them and played them a lot when they were little.  A lot of their friends didn't know who they were.  They knew a couple of songs, but didn't know their name.

         We had such a great night!  It was a little bit of a drive for us and I knew parking would be crazy and I just wanted us to enjoy the night so I got us a limo.  We didn't go on a trip so I didn't feel so bad splurging.  Also, they commute to school so I don't have the expenses of moving them to school.

         We got the tickets months ago and of course, then, it seemed like forever away.  We didn't want to wish away the summer, but I knew it would get here fast.  Time just moves that way!

         We didn't plan on all wearing black shirts! Mine says Less Mondays More Sundays.  I thought it was appropriate and I couldn't agree more!

    They are such fun people and they have great friends. They will occasionally do something that reminds me of when they were little and I love those glimpses, but this is a great time too!  I don't know what I will do when they are all moved out.

    Do you think they will let me have a room in each of their homes and I can rotate staying with them? Maybe if I offer free babysitting they will!

    Sunday, August 13, 2017

    Prehnite Fall Earrings

         I am ready for Fall.  Although, here in the south we have two seasons instead of four.  It seems like it goes from a sauna to a freezer, then back again.  Once school starts, I am ready for fun Fall things.

         I have an unhealthy love of Halloween.  My aunt and uncle used to have a party every year when I was younger and they would go to Atlanta to rent costumes.  The party was always a big deal and my uncle was in politics so it was always a big party with different kinds of guests.

         I always joked with my aunt that when I finally got old enough to attend, they quit having it.  I got to go to one. She is crafty too and would do these great decorations and carve pumpkins into all kinds of things.  I remember their costumes.  My mom and did were gangsters and probably the best was the year my uncle was the devil and my aunt was a pregnant nun.  They always had a contest and the winner got a nice bottle of champagne.

         I posted these earrings yesterday getting ready for Fall colors.  I am going somewhere with my kids tonight and will cut this post short, but promise pictures tomorrow!

    Prehnite and Karen Hill Tribe Rose Gold Earrings on Sterling Silver ear wire.  Find it here.

    Thursday, August 10, 2017

    Thankful Thursday #5

         I am late posting this, but I had to get it in.  I am thankful for many things everyday.

    This Thursday, I am thankful for aunts and uncles.  I have posted about how blessed I am to have 3 nieces and 5 nephews.  I am proud to be an aunt, and I am just as proud of my aunt and uncles.

         My mom has a younger brother, Jimmy, and my dad has an older brother, Eddy, and younger sister, Gina.  I am his sister's clone.  She has two grown sons, but she couldn't have had a daughter more like her.  I am very thankful my mom's brother has moved back home to our town.  He moved when I was little and has lived in different places my whole life and I am so glad to have him home.

    This is a picture of my grandmother, my aunt Gina, uncle Eddy, and Dad Tim.  One of my favorite pictures because I can see my kids and nieces and nephews in all of them.

         This Thankful Thursday is my uncle Eddy's birthday.  He is the sweetest man.  If you look up the word meek in the dictionary, his picture should be there.  Everyone who knows him loves him.  He's just a good person.  I just got off the phone with him.  He has been in the hospital for awhile and isn't doing very good.  It absolutely breaks my heart in two.  I am very close to him and pretty sure my artistic side comes from him.  He had a leather store when I was little and he has made my kids purses, belts, and Bible covers.  He can draw anything.  I always tell him he missed his calling to be an architect because he has also built homes.

         Every family has a "crazy" uncle and it seems like they are always named Eddie.  At least in the movies!  (He spells his a little differently.)  We have called him that, but we really mean fun.  He is the one always making jokes, always seeing the bright side and the good in others.  He has always said about me and my sister, "I love my nieces to pieces."  He has never missed a moment to tell me he loved me or is proud of me.

         It's funny because he is my dad's older brother, but his second wife was just 5 years older than me.  He has a son who is 2 years younger than me.  He and his second wife got married and had my cousin, Sarah, then I had my daughter, Sydney, then they had my cousin, Taylor, then I had my boys, Shane and Stratton.  I always joked that growing up I couldn't have ever imagined having children the same time as him and his wife and me sharing maternity clothes but we did.  And it was so much fun.

         As sweet as he is, he is tough.  He is a survivor of kidney and throat cancer.  He beat advanced throat cancer a few years ago, but the radiation is what has caused his problems today.  They don't tell you the long term effects.  I am not used to seeing him so thin and his voice so weak.  He is always the life of the party and you would know his voice in a crowd.  It also breaks my heart to see my dad so worried about him.

         He had to have something done yesterday and I haven't been able to talk to him until just a little bit ago. You never know, and considering what he is going through, I made sure I said some things to him I wanted him to know.  I have never needed him that he wasn't there. It was sad, but thankfully, we have always had a relationship where we made sure to say things to each other.

         I hope and pray he gets better and next year we can celebrate his birthday in a much better way!

    Thursday, August 3, 2017

    Thankful Thursday #4

         I am thankful for so many things every day.

    Today, I am thankful for harmless pranks.

         Life is hard, stressful and busy. We tend to take things too seriously or let things build up then something minor sets us off.  There are many things that need us to be serious and aggressive, but it is so nice to just have a little harmless fun sometimes.

         I can't believe schools are already starting back around here.  It really seems like it just let out.  Summer always goes fast, but it seems like schools start back earlier and earlier every year.  I think northern schools start later and let out later.  The problem here with school in August is the heat.  We used to start back after Labor Day then the end of August.  We take a lot more time during the school year with breaks and longer holiday breaks than we used to.  Thanksgiving week we usually only got out Thanksgiving and Friday, now the whole week is out.  There are also Fall breaks and Winter breaks.  I do think it's better having breaks throughout the year even though it means starting earlier to get in the total number of school days needed.

         Pranks are definitely different than they used to be.  With shows about them and social media people definitely can take pranks too far and sometimes they are dangerous.

         Then, there are the old fashioned just fun pranks.  I saw this morning one of the area high schools suffered their senior prank for the first day of school. Senior pranks are a rite of passage.  My senior year, the classmate who came up with our prank was the son of one of the teachers.  His dad was also the preacher of one of our town churches and you know what they say about preacher's kids!  He thought it would be funny to put crickets in the ceiling of the high school.  We had drop ceilings everywhere and his mom had a school you can guess what happened.  It was harmless, until the noise was too much and those little critters were hard to round up!

         Kids have a lot more to deal with today and if we don't let them "act out" a little bit it can just build up.  Teens have always expressed themselves and while it can be at a whole different level today, teens are really no different than teens of years ago.

         I don't know if it is a southern thing, but these high school seniors must have gotten their idea from their grandparents because toilet papering a yard or home has been going on here for years! You take rolls of toilet paper and throw them letting the paper hang from trees.  I remember when I was younger and then in high school waking up to a "winter wonderland" of toilet paper in the yard.

         These teens must have bought every roll of paper in their county because from the pictures I saw, they outdid themselves.  Evidently, it is a tradition at the school and a couple of years ago there was punishment for it.  I understand rules and everything, but give the kids a break.  They didn't harm the property, they clean it up, and anytime young generations pay attention and take pride in heritage and tradition it is a good thing.

         I remember in high school getting caught rolling a yard with my friends. It wouldn't have been so bad, but it was the varsity basketball coach! I know it sounds weird, but around here, it was almost a compliment to have your yard rolled.  Everyone in town knew about it.

         Another thing we did around here is called "ding, dong, ditch."  We ring door bells and run.  I took my youngest and some of his friends one night when they were in 8th grade to go do this.  They were so funny, though.  The one house they really wanted to prank didn't come to the door so they went back and just stood there ringing the bell until he answered.  It was the dad of a young football coach and I think they wanted to visit rather than prank!  He looked at me like he was going to shoot me for bringing over these boys late at night.

         There's a difference between being mean and just good, harmless fun.  Kids, especially teens, take a lot of cues from us adults.  We have to let them express themselves and take every opportunity to connect with them.  That's when they are open and listen to us.  If we are too hard on them for the wrong things, they will rebel.

         And sometimes those messes are a heck of a lot harder to clean up than toilet paper.

    Wednesday, August 2, 2017

    The Duck Syndrome

         Are you a parent or have a job that has you around kids?

    The first thing I want to say is don't ever underestimate the impact you can have on a child.  Of course, we think of the negative things that can happen with bad intentions and some adults shouldn't be around kids. For the most part, if you are a parent, your child is going to be influenced by other adults all the time.

         If you work with kids, volunteer, or are just around the kids of friends, don't discount the positive influence you can have.  Being a single mom, I have depended on others to help me and be there for my kids.

         As adults, I think it is important to help each other and share information when possible.  I saw something on the news this morning that compelled me to share.  Some of you may have seen it, but it is horrifying to me the effect of cyber bullying.  Kids have been mean for years, they just had to do it face to face.  Technology has made it so much easier to be mean and parents may not be fully aware.  It scares me because families are so busy.  Families used to eat together and have at least some time during the day or evening to talk to each other.  Today, everyone is going somewhere or involved in some activity.  It's hard to check in with each other.

         As a parent and someone who just loves others I wanted to share two trends with young people that are sad and terrifying.

         Kids who are 11-12 committing suicide because of bullying is the saddest thing to me.  Accidents happen, but deliberately taking their life is just unthinkable. Parents of the bullies are responsible in my eyes.  I have a teaching certificate and only taught for a year and stayed home with my kids the rest of the time, but schools have to intervene.  I know they don't want to, but it isn't schoolyard fights anymore.  This is serious stuff and some of the crazy things teachers have to do because of "red tape" and policy should be removed so they can take care of more pressing issues.

         Kids spend more time in school than with their parents most days so there has to be more involvement.  More pay for teachers would be great also since they are wearing several hats and have a big influence on kids.

         The other thing that scares me is the illusion that life is perfect on social media.  I see so many teens and young adults trying to live up to these crazy expectations.  Nobody has perfect hair, make up and clothes all the time.  It is such an artificial world and emphasis is being placed on the wrong things.  I heard it being called the "Duck Syndrome."  It refers to how ducks look like they are effortlessly gliding over the water while their feet are frantically moving below the water, where you can't see.

    Here is the link to the story:  Social Media Pressure

    I live in still a relatively small town.  It has grown and so have our schools.  I graduated with 85 in my class in 1989, my kids graduated with over 250 in their class.  A lot of the teachers in the school are from here, many I went to high school with, and I know a lot of parents. 

         Some of the surrounding county schools have crazy amounts of students.  I had my kids in a private Christian school for a while and with the divorce and economy I was going to have to make a change and I put them back in my city's schools. I struggled with the decision and my mom told me that the benefit is that we know so many people.  She said if my kids get in trouble, people who care will tell me, those who just want to talk will get out and talk about it so either way I will find out!  It's not like that in a lot of places.

    Oh, and my daughter was bullied at the Christian school by girls and it was really small, but drugs were found in a locker. My illusion of a safe environment because it was private and Christian was shattered.  There are bad things and bad people everywhere.

    That brings me to the only solution I can find for this problem and every other problem in the world.....

         We have to bring God back into the classroom and everywhere else.  I rely on my faith for everything and I don't know how I would function without it.

    Have you had any experiences or thoughts about cyber bullying or the effects of social media?