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Place where you find the puttering of little puppy dog feet…
Shoes on the floor…
Flowers growing outside on the porch…
Thrifted & family pieces are treasured…
Family photos are in abundance…
Life with boys… what can I say, I’m out numbered… ☺️
Coffee is always brewing in the morning…
& DIY projects are always in the works 🙃…

And blessings are around everywhere… Home

Advice for my sister…

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My sister called me the other day, & she had news to share with me. Her announcement was that she could not be a teacher. I giggled. We both laughed for a minute and I told her that she was a great nurse and I’m glad she chose that as her career path.

From the phone conversation, I could tell she was struggling with this newly founded homeschooling situation that so many parents have been thrusted into as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

As we continued to talk, I just simply let her share her story. By the way, she has 3 kids at home, all under the age of 15. The problem was obvious… all 3 kiddos were not feeling it, & lacked a bit of motivation. My sister was getting an influx of information from 10 different teachers… 😳😬 I really felt for her and I knew she was still trying to do the impossible- teach her kiddos, be mom, and work!!!!

In the last few days, I have really been thinking about all this change for so many parents and the homeschooling struggles playing out in the social media world. Some of the posts are quite funny, people are searching for what to do, & even the Today show did a feature on this topic this week!!!

So how we “teachers” do it in the classroom and make it all work???? Here is a working list for you today from a teaching veteran… 25 plus years of experience… turned Hardware wife. I hope this is helpful for someone out there as well as my sister… Love ya sister… hope this brings a glimmer of hope & insight to you today.

1. Keep a routine going for each day – begin & end at the same time-their school day is based on routine and specific schedules your kiddos are accustomed to

2. Allow for Brain Breaks, games, outside time. Simple yoga or meditation time can be used as well and many schools are using it now

3. When you are teaching new concepts, make connections to things they already know – build upon their prior knowledge is crucial to learning

4. Teach for 10 minutes & review for 2 minutes – we teachers like to call this concept “chunking”. Remember the attention span of a kiddo is 8-12 minutes (depends on age and gender) Adult attention span can be 15-20 minutes… well enough said

5. This one is my favorite and my students loved this one as a teacher-Read together- read aloud novels/chapter books… use your voice to project different characters, mood / tone of the story… stop and ask questions for comprehension along the way, discuss new vocabulary, integrate other subjects from story- science, math etc when you can!!!

6. Rome wasn’t build in a day… Adapt when things don’t work out like you expected. It will be ok if you don’t accomplish everything you need to in one day.

7. Overplan!!! & Communicate with your child’s teachers. Set your daily expectations out there to your kiddos, let them know what they will be learning/doing. This will help them to take some ownership of their own learning.

8. Integrate technology- use online resources, games, videos( music/movie clips), Pinterest, blogs etc. Honestly, this one is time consuming but well worth it… dig deep for your kiddos and you will reap rich rewards!!! (If your students are working with online learning from their school districts, use these as a supplement to learning)

9. Don’t forget to use YouTube- great wealth of resources!!!!

10. Start small!!! Begin with a few hours of learning when you tackle this undertaking, and work way up to longer instructional time

11. Share resources and information/inspiration with others!!! I always hated to work with other teachers who never wanted to share resources or ideas. The more help/ resources you have the better off you will be!!!

12. Have your kiddos to reflect on their learning… this could be a daily discussion at the end of the day, journal writing, checklist, etc. This will put ownership of learning back on them and what they need to do differently tomorrow. Checks for understanding of content should be frequent.., like daily

13. Don’t worry… your kids will know you are not an academic expert. At the beginning of each year, I always told my students we will learn & ask questions together… learning never stops for anyone!!! Set this expectation early!!! We are learning together…

14. Try Create & Make projects – hands on projects or creative projects are great for kiddos

15. When a task is hard for your kiddo, don’t forget this… “you are not there yet” – the power of “yet” is not failure… you are still working on it… ie., learning in progress. Grant your child a little bit of grace to keep learning and growing.

So here it is sister… my advice to you as you navigate this new chapter in homeschooling with your kiddos. I hope this will help you 😉 and everyone else out there who might possibly need this.

Cornbread & Caregiving

Southerners know that cornbread is a staple at the dinner table. I grew up with it, & ate it religiously. As I grew older and moved away from home, the desire for “Southern style” foods were… if I’m honest, not as visible on my grocery shopping list. I guess you could say I had gotten away from my roots in Southern cooking. But, a trip back to my grandparents house is always a great way to get a “Southern cooking fix”, ie- cornbread, homemade biscuits, mustard greens, mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, fried chicken… we always seem to have a feast for a crowd.

My blog page has been fairly silent the last few months. My grandparents have experienced health setbacks that have been keeping me busy since January 2nd as I am one of their main caregivers.

Both of my grandparents will be 92 this year!!! Another milestone they will reach this year, their anniversary of 74 years of marriage!!!! Honestly, how many people can say they have been married that long???? It is amazing & beautiful to see how connected these two people are to each other.

During these last few months, I have cooked a lot of Southern style meals for my grandparents, because that is what they love to eat, and are accustomed to eating. Many meals around the grandparents house will always include a biscuit or cornbread. Biscuits, are usually a morning favorite, & cornbread served at lunch and supper. Cornbread in a small Lodge skillet is easy to prepare while the rest of the meal is cooking.

My husband has become quite envious of the fresh cornbread in the Lodge skillet and I believe it will be a regular addition to our routine at our house soon. He has always loved all things cornbread- sliced or cornbread muffins.

Caregiving is hard. Most of us will undertake this task at some point in our lives. If you know someone who is currently a caregiver for a family member, take time to check on them. A simple text message, phone call, visit, etc can mean a world of difference to them. Caregivers need support too.

Caregiving has been quite a journey. I have met some wonderful people, and I have learned a lot about elder care. That could be a totally separate blog post but… First and foremost, cooking and caring for my grandparents and doing all other things they need is what I do.

I have come to realize that these small little moments in time should be treasured because my time with them is fleeting. We are not guaranteed time in this world forever, so I will always enjoy the hot cornbread and company of two very special people in my life while I can.

Expectations and Grace

Expectations & Grace

Recently, I was watching an old episode of Happy Days. In this specific episode, Howard Cunningham came home from work (owning a hardware store) and I was stunned to remember that he wore a 3 piece suit to work everyday!!! I actually did a double take… thinking to myself, “is this for real???”

Richard was not home, and once he arrived, the first thing I hit him with was my immediate reflection from that past episode. He kinda chuckled and we both giggled at the absurd thought of Richard or I dressing the same way for a day of work at our Hardware store.

Our dress is always casual and we dress for the weather… hot or cold. Typical day of work could mean exposure to, “100 year old dust”, kerosene, pool chemicals, and of course our wood stove is active in the winter. It just wouldn’t be practical to wear a 3-piece suit. Our customers would not “expect” to see our staff dressed that way. Expectations…. here are some thoughts on this subject today….

Expecting a specific outcome usually leads to disappointment… who has had that experience?? All of us right??? Our minds are powerful objects which can “project expectations” upon people and events. Other times, we can even create our own heartbreak through our own expectations.

Regardless of the circumstances,

I have had “expectations” placed upon me as a woman working in our hardware store. As a full-time owner now, I have encountered this more times than I ever wished would happen.

Some folks who maybe first time customers, enter the store, then I welcome them, and they immediately look for a male employee to help them, with the “expectation” that I can not find what they need. Here are three typical outcomes of customer interactions in our store when these “projected expectations” are visible….

1. Customer pleasantly surprised to see that I can get what they requested.

2. Unsure of where potential item is located( as a side note- we have so many different types of products… I’m still learning what is actually inside this very old hardware store!!!!)so I may go ask where something is located, and I can then, go get what the customer needs. If the item is unavailable, we send our customer with ideas to try next… recommendations of other local spots to find that specific product .

3. On occasion, the request is such a specialized item that I do turn the customer over to another staff member- who has vast knowledge in a specific area to assist them.

Sometimes the reactions from the customer/ regardless of their gender, is overall pleasant interactions. The “expectation mold” is shattered like a key “unlocking a new mindset “.

So why is this a problem today??? Do we have these preconceived notions/expectations about how people should be based on what they do???? Or how they will react???

I will be perfectly honest, I’m a little stumped by “old mindsets” / expectations. Has giving/showing grace to others regardless of what is “expected from them” gone by the wayside???? Is this mindset rooted in past experiences???? Hmmm… I wonder how life would be so different if we all used this philosophy of showing grace in all circumstances???? So what is grace???

Grace is defined as an exhibition of kindness, mercy, favor disposition to benefit or serve another. The older I become, the more I think these two things should go together… expectations/grace.

Let’s develop this concept a little bit further. As an educator for 25 plus years, the education world spends a lot of time talking about expectations: specifically, setting high expectations of students equal more learning opportunities.

I always wanted my students to do their very best. As a teacher, “expectations”(standards for learning) of my students were consistent and high. I also tried to exhibit grace and kindness on days students were having an “off day”. But that did not mean the standards of learning were less. We were always working together to achieve that nice balance of expectations vs. grace.

So I am wondering, the balance of expectations vs. grace is this a life learning experience???? Are we up to the challenge????

January

The trees are bare, no leaves are found. You can see a tree in its true natural form. Every limb is exposed… the natural beauty of the trees are everywhere. Do you see it???

In January and February most hardware retailers go through the “bare tree” season. The holiday rush is over, cold weather keeps folks inside, and all the shopping “fluff” is gone. People are conservative with funds after the holidays… I’m going to go back to my analogy of the tree, the “leaves are gone” = budgeting funds after holidays.

The hardware store season is in its natural state in January…people are seeking out DIY needs, making needed repairs to things that break😬, keys, furnace filters, in essence, completing just the basics. We often call it the slow season.

During the “bare tree season ” some people are often anxiously waiting for winter to end and spring to come on back in a hurry. Yes, as hardware retailers, we don’t enjoy the January economic slowdown but it does provide opportunities for us to work on our spaces- see our natural beauty 😉, launch new ideas to our customer base- adding new limbs to our tree, and begin to think about spring when the leaves start to fill back in. How was that for serious analogy tie in???

Regardless of how you view January, it is a time of endless opportunities to advance into your goals for 2020 or it can be a time to stay in past… things aren’t like they used to be when….

I guess it depends on which perspective you wish to take… the natural beauty of the season or all the leaves are gone, type of mindset.

We are ready to see y’all whenever you need us, we are “rooted” in our community and ready to help when you need us😉!

Simplify

Here we are, another new year in progress! The social media world and the nightly news is full of talk of New Year Resolutions. In 2020, I am making absolutely NO resolutions, instead I am setting intentions for 2020.

So what does that actually mean- setting up an intention??? My mindset has shifted from setting a goal (resolution) of I want to do this- X event or thing by this date-Y and this is how I plan to do it…. Living with intention is different- you are an active participant in your decisions that you make, because your intentions are driven by your core values and beliefs. Words of Intention let you stay true to yourself at all times.

Let’s be honest here, sometimes resolutions do not always come to fruition for various reasons. The ‘busy life” we all lead can get in the way of resolution goals. Intentions can be accomplished with this new mindset and small progress can be made in any area in which you hope to accomplish, whether the intention is focused around your mind, body, or soul.  My word of Intention will be a gradual process in 2020 for me—-living life-messing up-learning from mistakes-forgiving yourself or others- perseverance towards my ultimate intention.

My intention for 2020 is SIMPLIFY.  I actually believe I began to work on this intention back in 2019, and it did not occur to me that I had begun to put into practice already until my reflection began a few weeks ago. SIMPLIFY can look very differently for each unique individual, that would all depend on your priorities for 2020.

Begin your word(s) of intention for 2020 with small tasks- like simplify your kitchen pantry- then move to another area of your home that could use more attention- cleaning out bathroom cabinets, closets, etc. SIMPLIFY can be applied not just in the “cleaning out/purge rituals”  of each January in your home. An intention can be applied to better health, help with monthly finances, career goals, personal relationships, or even spiritual growth.

My word of intention is to begin to work towards a more SIMPLIFIED life at home & work. It is not my goal to become a minimalist but to streamline what we have and what we do. I hope to keep you updated as the year progresses.

Our closet spaces at home and in some other key areas are already have met the SIMPLIFY intention with great success. Today, little progress was made on my intention- setbacks will happen.  I have all of 2020 and beyond!!!  I think it was Leonardo da Vinci that said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.  After all, he was a well known “Renaissance Man” of his time- he can’t be wrong- to SIMPLIFY 😉.

 

FYI: For more information on Intentions, how to begin the process of intentional living, please check out our boards that we have set up on Pinterest for our followers. There are lots of books, and resources out there for you to investigate. We also have Pinterest boards set up for your organizational/ cleaning needs. A wealth of resources is out there!!!

 

Snowpocalypse of 2018

“Snowpocalypse” is defined according to dictionary.com  as a major winter storm which shuts down a city or town and brings about some overreactions as a results of the impending storm.

We are coming up on the anniversary of this “Snowpocalyse” here in our hometown. It is still very fresh in our brains I must say even today as hardware retailers. What a huge event for our town, an early December snow, totaling 16-18 inches in our county- depending on where you live!!!! This was huge!!!! We rarely can total this much snowfall all winter long!!!!  So let’s set the stage a little bit and travel back in time to recall some of this “Snowpocalyse in December of 2018”.

Monday December 3rd arrived like any other Monday- it was truck day. The guys were unloading merchandise from our main vendor supplier and preparing for the week… I’m busy at school (this is before I retired)… there were some rumblings of a possible snow storm that could break later in week…. It was business as usual.

At dinner on Monday evening,  Richard reported that we were busy with a “flurry of activity ” ⛄️ and people seemed to be preparing for winter weather early. That is always a good sign as a retailer, you want your community to have what they need before a storm hits, not in the midst of a storm, and dealing with aftermath after the fact.

By Wednesday Richard and I were in deep conversation about several items:

  1. We were seriously running out of major items that we need in order to service our customers heating needs- we need to order more heaters, ice melt, lamp oil, shovels, the list was long… we decided to place an order with a company which we use that will ship quickly, and more merchandise would be in store by Friday morning, people were buying and planning for a big winter storm!

2. I was in constant communication with my brother in law in Charleston, SC concerning the weather. By the way, he works for the National Weather Service in Charleston, he does not forecast for our local area, but he can definitely tell us what could transpire with the weather in our area with definite certainty. I trust his skills as a professional. He is quite amazing as well as my sister, what can I say, I am very blessed with great family:)  We were getting regular updates from him as well as the local weather stations. It was coming together as a major storm. As a hardware retailer, storm prep is always on your mind, and how to balance your inventory needs vs demand of the consumer- (how much do I really need???)

3. Sales were heavy and people were definite snow prep mode!

4. If the storm hits on Saturday evening/Sunday like the projections, what would this do to our truck coming on Monday with all the other items we have ordered??? What would we do then if the truck could not get through our area???? We would be without essentials needed for an extended time????

5. “Snowpocalyse”is coming…..????

Thursday evening came and we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the much needed extra merchandise on Friday morning.

Friday Morning:

School was in session for me, & we discussed the potential snowfall. We looked at the forecast for our area, our class have completed a huge weather unit in 7th grade science earlier in the year. It was not unusual for us to discuss weather. Of course, the kids knew that I had been talking to my brother in law, and they seriously wanted the scoop on his thoughts too! Our discussions turned to potential final snowfall totals- the guesses ranged from 4 inches all the way up to 20 inches!!! We all laughed at those really high totals. These kiddos have never really seen that much snow at once in their lifetime. Never did I think that we would be close on the higher end of the potential totals!!!! (“Snowpocalyse” )?????

Richard on the other hand was extremely busy!!!! The local television station had called early in the morning and asked if they could come up for an interview. The tv crew arrived as the truckload of supplies were being unloaded. Literally, people were buying things as they were coming off the truck!!! The phone was ringing off the hook all day!!! It was so busy all day long!!! We were extremely grateful for the extra load of supplies but now the worry of not getting the truck on Monday was starting to set in. We were still needing a few key items. Richard completed the tv interview, they told him it would air later that night on the news. I was able to catch it during the 6:00pm newscast. He did an absolute fabulous job!!! I was so proud of him!!!!

We decided to go out to dinner that evening and the phone calls started coming in as we came back home…… Friends were calling Richard from other parts of the US- “hey, man I just saw you on the weather channel”. Evidently, a clip of his interview was picked up for national news!!! WOW!!!! We had friends who called from Las Vegas, & NY, who saw him on tv that evening.

Local weather forecasts predict at least a foot of ⛄️ snow!!!!

Saturday Morning:

Richard was at the store as usual, my routine was to finish my morning walk and then head into the store for the day. The storm was not going to set in until later in the day. On my morning walk, I suddenly received a call from Richard. He reported that a news clip of our store had just appeared on the Today Show! What on Earth!!!! We had made the national news for storm preparation for this upcoming “Snowpocalyse” !!!! AMAZING!!!  The day was full of talk and discussion of his appearance on the local/national news but, mostly folks were still winter storm prepping. Some folks thought it would amount to nothing, others were preparing for the “Snowpocalyse” .

By Sunday morning  December 9th, it was snowing like crazy. Richard and I were excited to see the snowfall. It had been several years since we had this much snow, and it was still coming down very fast. We went by to check on things at the hardware store around 10:00 am and I measured at least 14 inches and it was still snowing hard!!!! Yes, it was true, “Snowpocalyse”  had come to our hometown. It did take a few days for things to get back to normal. This is not normal amounts of snowfall for us here in Wilkes. There was so much snow, lots of it was dumped in Memorial Park parking lot so that the town could clear the streets. It took weeks for that “huge mountain of snow” to disappear!!!! It literally was a mountain of brown yucky snow!!!

By the way, our truck did roll through on that Monday, it was later than usual delivery time. We were extremely shocked and surprised that they were able to make it through, but very thankful. We survived the “”Snowpocalyse” , and learned that sometimes we think we have “nailed it” and are prepared for everything but then, things change- like the weather and we must adjust quickly and react to help those who need it.  This early December storm is still in our minds as Richard and I plan for weekly shipments/truck. Our discussions are always about being prepared and a having a healthy stock balance- it is truly hard to gauge… you can’t plan for a “Snowpocalyse”…