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Our Family… Always First

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Total honesty post…

The picture I’m sharing with y’all today is from our trip back from Yadkinville last night. The sunset was breathtaking. Richard commented on its grandeur as we began our drive back from Mountain Valley Hospice House. I was able to capture only a small portion of the skies natural state. Richard & I have made this trip together regularly for the last week now. Spending a few moments each day with a very sick loved one, are minutes that I will treasure always. 💕

So I’m just getting it out there, these times are hard. Everyone is struggling somehow in life. Life is not “normal “ anymore. COVID 19 has changed how we live and work or not working. Changes have been coming fast in the last few months and some folks have been sick. People are ready to get things back to normal.

That being said, I am going to address the next phase of business for us at Wilkes County Hardware and what our current vision looks like.

After May 8th, WCH will still do curbside service only at this time. We will slowly proceed with caution. Our WCH staff is like our family. Many of you know, Wayne has been home waiting out the brunt of the COVID crisis and we miss him dearly🤗. Our staff has been great to work through such a unique & challenging time. We love & appreciate each and every staff member at WCH. As a business owner, we feel compelled to create a safe & healthy working environment for our staff, they are our family too.

Many folks have been gracious, kind and understanding of the new normal at WCH, curbside service only. Please know that we value each and everyone of you!!! We must take care of our family first, immediate family and our staff. So business will not be normal for us for a while longer. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as we do our best to help you with your hardware store needs.

Eventually our plans are to gradually reopen our doors, welcoming our customers & community back inside the rustic walls of Wilkes County Hardware. Social distancing and other criteria will be in place when we reopen based on the current CDC recommendations. Please stay posted for further updates and information.

Thank you

Richard & Angela Searcy

#Wilcostrong

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What is Wilco…

We live in Wilkes County, NC. I guess you could say the “younger generation” have been calling our county, Wilco for several years. A fellow business owner, Cook’s Sporting Goods, has been able to market that effectively for the last few years. It has become quite trendy/fashionable to wear Wilco gear.

What is #Wilcostrong…

Simply put, our Wilkes County community pulling together and working together for a greater good during this COVID crisis.

Idea Time…

Back in March 2020, local restaurants had already been forced to do curbside only. The stress was already beginning to show and many local businesses were anxious about what was going to happen next. Our small town has taken several hits to our economy in the last several years. Major businesses have left, & corporate offices are gone. Food insecurity is a issue for more people than some people care to realize. I felt we needed to be working together to share our stories in order to help each other. Cook’s Sporting Goods had started to share out other small businesses Instagram stories each day… The Cook’s team and I had discussed potentially doing that to direct more business information flow to local businesses & locally owned restaurants. This sharing of information was to help our community to be more aware of current changes in business hours, new menus, new products, curbside services, etc. (By the way, this was all before the NC state executive order to shutdown).

Original WCH hardware store post…

Here is the direct context of the Facebook/Instagram post from March 18, 2020…

“So many businesses in our small town have been dramatically impacted by the current health crisis. We are open for business and several other small businesses are offering curbside service. Find our Instagram stories for local updates from other local businesses across our 2 towns. We are #wilcostrong!!! Other local businesses, we encourage you to use this hashtag to show support for our community. Simply add your business logo or storefront to this hashtag and share out to your Facebook or Instagram page and let’s work together in order to keep our local businesses functioning during this unprecedented event. Feel free to share other small businesses posts to share information out to a larger audience. We can do this together!!! Lastly, a BIG thank you to our followers and customers who continue to shop local!!! We couldn’t do this without you!!! 😊”

So that was it…

A simple post asking for fellow businesses to tag posts using a hashtag and to work together.

What happened next…

I received a text message from a friend once he saw the logo on the Cook’s Sporting Goods Facebook page with a Wilcostrong logo- he made a suggestion of a t-shirt using #wilcostrong as a 💡 idea. One quick phone call and the Cook’s team began to seriously work on this potential new idea…. Here you go, the birth of the t-shirt fundraiser project began…..

Hashtag time…

So we had the hashtag #wilcostrong and it was starting to trend among local businesses, folks were sharing each other’s posts via Instagram stories, helping to spread the word about local businesses. It makes me smile just a little bit wider each time I see another local business sharing what someone else is doing😊

T-shirt design…

#Wilcostrong was beginning to catch on, we had an idea and we wanted to capture the movement in a positive direction. The idea of t-shirt design was in the works. The team at Cook’s got busy working on a design with an old school pickup truck, loaded with goodies from shopping trips at local retailers without specifying names. It would be virtually impossible to name every small business in town. Cook’s team worked with us as equals- we helped to pick final design & color of the t-shirt. By the time the shirt was ready, to print, NC Business shutdown was in effect. Many of our neighbors in Downtown North Wilkesboro are currently closed and unable to do business as usual. 😢

Giving Back…

We were all in agreement that too many local folks had already been impacted by the NC state shutdown. So it was agreed by all involved that we should give proceeds to Samaritan’s Kitchen.

At least $5.00 or more of t-shirt sales ( per shirt) would be given back to Samaritan’s Kitchen. Samaritan’s Kitchen serves as a local food pantry for our community. Each week, volunteers help to organize and bag 700 “backpack” food bags for needy local students& their families each and every week!!! With the current Covid crisis, teachers, & counselors, or bus drivers are delivering those out to student families if they are unable to get to school each week!!! So, the need is great inside our community and constant.

Results are still coming in…

At the time this blog post was posted, 286 t-shirts have been sold so far!!!! One local business owner ordered t-shirts for their entire staff😊. Orders are continuously coming in each day. Absolutely amazing!!!! 💕

Hardware Life… Home

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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😉!