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May the 4th be with you… I mean the workforce

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It would be easy to say that the way we work has changed significantly since Covid-19’s impact. Many people never stopped working during the shutdown, some temporarily worked for home, and others transitioned to full time work at home. Those in the skilled trades were considered essential workers, and their business boomed.

During Covid, it is my belief that the importance of Skilled Trade careers became appreciated, and valued by a larger population. Some might even say that these Skilled Trade careers are going to be “recession” proof… These careers will always be needed.

Elevator technician, Plumbers, Electricians, Welders… and many more career opportunities

But really… aren’t all careers important??? I never have understood why some people place more “value” on some careers than others. We all have value and worth in what we do. No stigma should ever be attached to any job or career path we choose.

Handcrafted woodworking

Today, May 4th is National Skilled Trades Day. This is observed annually on the first Wednesday in May. National Skilled Trades Day was established in 2019 by City Machine Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio. The purpose of the holiday was to raise awareness about the importance of skilled trades workforce in the United States, honor skilled trade workers, and also to create awareness about the skilled trades deficit in the United States.

Skilled trades are the individuals we call to repair our cars, complete complex electrical tasks, do plumbing repairs, build our homes, collect our blood, and ensure the health of our pets.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US will need close to 4 million skilled laborers to replace the nearly 8 million lost from the labor force during the pandemic. The pandemic created a significant labor shortage, and many Baby Boomers who left the skilled work force industries have chosen not to return. Some opted for early retirement rather than returning into the skilled workforce. Boomers are ready & waiting for a new generation to step into the skilled trades workforce.

For those highly skilled workers in trades such as welders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and others, the rate of pay is actually higher on average than college graduates. This rate of pay could grow as the demand for these trade careers increase.

So how do we move to filling the gap in trade based careers ??? The answer is simple in my opinion. We need to talk about it and find solutions. Educators, parents, grandparents, and community leaders, this is a discussion about educating our younger generations about ALL options they have available for career paths.

Beautiful handcrafted items are definitely part of our cultural heritage and legacy of trade based skills

Trade based careers offer a more specialized approach to learning in a specific field, ie plumbing or electrical. The overall cost of a trade based education is significantly less. The time involved in the training can be completed in one to two years versus college, 4 years or more depending on the educational path that is chosen.

College education is great, but every student may not be in the right mindset for university level learning or ready for the debt that it could bring into their future. It sure could save a lot of time, money, and heartbreak by exploring all career options if your teen is not ready for college.

Did you know that student loan debt is the second largest consumer debt factor for many Americans? Mortgage debt ranks first in the consumer debt category.

Student loan debt is estimated at $1.75 trillion with the US federal government holding 92 percent of the debt in student loans.

Approximately 43.4 million people in US have student loan debt(this equates to 1 in 8 Americans). This to me is a heavy dose of information… 😳asking a lot of a young person to tackle… finding a career, paying the student debt, management of family bills and more! Wow!!!

Ultimately, all a parent wishes for their children to have in their chosen career path is happiness, success, financial freedom & security. Right??? Laying out all possibilities in future potential careers today seems to me to be the responsibility of parents, educational staff & other stakeholders in the lives of children.

In closing, isn’t the key to success in a career this… finding what you are passionate about and not treat it as just a job you go to everyday???? Just a thought.

Thanks for reading y’all

Earth Day

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Earth Day is here today on Friday April 22. The first Earth Day was celebrated back in 1970. Over 1 billion people, globally will recognize Earth Day!!!

A few days ago, I read about a photo sharing challenge related to Earth Day. As I read about it, I quickly realized that I had several photos on my camera roll that would fit each category for each day to post. My camera roll has lots of nature inspired pictures. My daily postings are available on my IG page and I would love some love on my photos if you are there on IG. I hope y’all enjoy the nature inspired photos and remember to be good to our Earth. 🌳

By the way, if y’all are interested in Earth Friendly products, please ask us what we have available. We are slowly expanding our earth friendly product line in lawn & garden & elsewhere inside the store. Well that could be a separate blog post y’all, so I’ll leave that there for now. Look for that in the future!!!

Here are the Earth Day photos that I submitted as my favorites in each category for the Earth Day photo contest… enjoy and head outside to snap a few pics of your own!!!

Sky
Water
Green
Garden
Animal
Flower
Trees

“The Earth has music for those who listen”

Mowing Grass

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The memories linger from the days of my youth, of the first signs of spring… Windows open, a freshly cut lawn, a light breeze blowing through the curtains, and the aroma of cut grass coming indoors. Spring had arrived!!!

I can remember spending hours on that red riding mower going round and round. Our yard was large and it took a good hour or so to finish everything when we mowed the lawn. I would take my place on the riding mower & dad was usually on the power tools, cleaning up the edges of the flower beds and working the push mower like a pro. We worked as a team to get the lawn looking good. Mom often worked in her flowers, while we were outside. Mom always had beautiful roses. I learned to love to be outside, and meet completion of a beautiful task, a well kept yard.

Today I would like to share a few tips I learned from my dad about mowing grass and keeping a nicely kept lawn. These may seem novel to you, but they are truly important for growing good grass.

1. Keep your equipment in good working order. Do the routine maintenance on your equipment & keep your blades sharp. Your lawnmower blades if dull, can create problems for you. Need new blades or blades sharpened??? We can do that!!!

We can sharpen your blade or you can purchase tools to do it yourself!!!
Need a good gas can to keep your mower powered up???

2. Never mow while the lawn is wet… patience is a virtue for a “Mowologist”

A good neighbor is one who doesn’t mow in the early morning hours… right???

3. Mulching your grass is good for your lawn, bagging grass takes those nutrients out of the yard.

4. Be aware of your blade settings, & don’t cut your grass too short. This may mean you cut your grass more frequently because you don’t want a situation where your grass gets too long and your mower bogs down with grass clippings, and then you have to rake the yard 😳

Just in case you need a new rake, we have those too 😉

5. Mix up your mowing patterns, it is good for grass growth.

6. Never mow grass into your flower beds!!! 😳😳😳Yep, I’ve watched people do this!!! Mow grass away from your flower beds and keep your flowers healthy & happy!!!

7. Your lawn is only as good as what you put into it. Curb appeal is a portion of your home value. If your curb appeal is amazing, that in turn, will help your overall home value. Homes with a well kept lawn & gardens could sell faster & for more money!!!

I don’t mow the lawn anymore, because of our work schedules…which puts us at work 6 days a week but, my dad still does his own lawn care. It is one of the things he truly enjoys doing AND he has one of the best looking yards in his neighborhood!!!! 🤩🤩🤩🤩

Whether you consider mowing as a chore or as a joyful gift to be immersed into the great outdoors, Wilkes County Hardware has invested in your lawn care needs. When y’all are ready to tackle that lawn this spring, we will be there to assist you whether you are novice “mowologist” or a veteran.

Speaking of being of novice… Have you been here before??? Going into a big box store and have serious questions that you need answers for and no one is around 😳, OR needing a product loaded into your car and no one is available 😬???If you have questions about your lawn, bug/pest control options for your lawn, our team should be able to assist you AND we load our customers purchases everyday!!!

Bagged goods can be quite heavy!!! We always load up our customers at Wilkes County Hardware.

Furthermore, did y’all realize that we have tools to make your yard work easier???? This is one area that we are trying to “grow” into. Many of these lawn care/mower maintenance products were not available at Wilkes County Hardware several years ago. Our customers were coming in asking for basic weed eating string, mower spark plugs, blades, etc and we now have them!!! Richard & I felt this was an area that we could definitely “grow”. Our “mowologists” regulars/customers know where these supplies are and they find them before gearing up to work in the yard.

Richard & I have have also expanded our lawn and garden product line over the last 6 years. We have lime, pre-emergents & post emergents weed control products for your lawn, and much more.

Just a small sampling of what we offer

Unsure, what a pre-emergent or post emergent products are??? A Pre- emergent is used to help prevent weed growth in your lawn… before they begin!!! Yes, that is definitely a win!!! Be very careful, you should not use a pre-emergent & grass seed at the same time😳. The pre-emergent will stop the growth of the grass seed as well as the weeds! Pick one to focus on for spring.

When is the best time to use a pre-emergent??? How do you know if it is warm enough??? Once the forsythia finishes blooming, pre-emergents can be used in your lawn.

Post emergent products for your lawn are used after the weeds have popped up into your lawn. Yes, Wilkes County Hardware has products that you can use safely in your lawn without killing the grass.

Let’s get growing & mowing this spring y’all!!!

Women Entrepreneurship in Downtown North Wilkesboro

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A view overlooking Downtown North Wilkesboro

My first memory of a Woman in business had to be my Granny. She owned a fabric shop in West End. It was a fun adventure to visit the fabric shop as a kid. I was old enough to rummage in the loose button barrels and play hide and seek with my cousin in between the fabric bolts. We always had a blast when we were there with her inside the fabric shop.

Upon a bit more reflection, I realized that my work ethic was strongly influenced by my parents. They both modeled an excellent work ethic… Hard work disguised as opportunities.

As I am writing this blog post today, it is International Women’s Day. A day to recognize the achievements of Women everywhere. March is a month where we acknowledge & honor the accomplishments of Women. So I thought why not focus on the Entrepreneurial Women of North Wilkesboro???

I began to really give this some serious attention a few weeks ago when I was driving in the downtown corridor of North Wilkesboro. An epiphany occurred to me…just within the North Wilkesboro downtown area, I realized that many business owners are women OR they “co-own” a business with their spouse. Meaning they are actively involved in the day to day activities of running a successful business!!!!

Don’t forget that Carolina Treasures, Copper Barrel & Key City Antiques are considered part of Main Street!! These businesses attract out of town folks all the time

I began to reflect on each of these businesses and the faces behind them… These ladies who are business owners, are definitely not afraid of hard work or working 6-7 days a week!!!

Each of these individual businesses have unique stories and services to offer to our greater community. We are truly blessed to have each and everyone of these businesses in downtown North Wilkesboro.

A view of the Downtown area from the Greenway

Please know that you are appreciated and I applaud your dedication to our community during the last few years. Doing business during Covid has brought us all unique challenges AND new opportunities for success. Thank you for handling it with grace & style.

The following is a short & working list of retail businesses in our North Wilkesboro Downtown corridor that reflect the designation of Women owned/managed according to my definition above in my blog post. Please feel free to tag any other local businesses that would fit into this description in our downtown area.

Carolina Treasures

Key City Antiques

6th & Main

The Block

Fruit of the Vine

Annatiques

Talia

Ivy Ridge Traditions

Baby Celebration

Hallmark

Wash House on Main

Vintage Home Studio

Gloria Sews

Gracefully Yours

Christina Younger Art

Lauren Waterhouse Photography

Cassie Stone Photography

Bliss

Wilkes County Hardware

Dom’s Bakery

Midtown Market

Our Oasis Nutrition

Cooks

Something Special Boutique

Southern Threads

Other noteworthy businesses which are not necessarily retail based but would be considered women owned businesses in our downtown area

Copper Barrel

David’s Car Care

Blair Properties

Our locally sourced products inside Wilkes County Hardware operating under the management of Women or husband/wife teams … we appreciate your support of local artisans!!!

Happy Frog Creations

Little Corner Pottery

Made In McGrady

Gia’s Pottery

Cindy’s Dishcloths

Gypsy Ridge Honey /Soaps

The Land of Canaan Kids Soaps

Old Mule BBQ Sauce

Brushy Mountain Granola

Carolina Kuduz Crazy

Carmik Insect Repellent

Betty Miller Baskets

The Wall of History…

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Wilkes County Hardware “Hall of Fame” wall seems to draw attention from locals and visitors alike. These photos of the previous owners line the wall near our checkout counter.

All the previous owners of our building in all of its past forms…

It’s also a great way to reveal to our customers a little bit of story history. Here’s your short history lesson today, Wilkes County Hardware style.

The far left picture is Mr. Eller. He ran EE Eller Produce in the early 1900’s. Chickens and turkeys were herded down the mountains into our building, processed, packed on ice, placed on the railroad down the street & headed out for sale.

EE Eller

The second one from the left is Mr. Yates. He began the hardware store in the 1940’s. He kept basic “supplies” for his moonshine buddies so they could keep production going. The hardware store buzzed with constant activity in our downtown area.

Mr. Yates

The third picture is Harvey Barlow. His picture was designed to look like Mr. Eller’s. Many locals still know Harvey, he owns & operates the lock shop next door to us. He actually owned the hardware store for several years. Believe it or not, we still have folks who come in looking for him, thinking he still owns the store 😳. That’s when you know they haven’t been in our store in a while…

Harvey Barlow

The last picture is Gerald Lankford. He owned the hardware store for the 10 years prior to our ownership. He grew the pool business inside our store exponentially, & graciously passed down the history of the building to us. We are very blessed & thankful to him for his wisdom & kindness.

Gerald Lankford

Once the store history unravels, many folks ask when will we put our picture up on the wall.

The traditional answer is always the same, our picture will go up when we sell the store. It’s just part of our legacy.

Eunoia… beautiful thinking

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“Balance is something we create, not find”.

Eunoia ( yoo- noy-uh) is the Greek word for “beautiful thinking”, or well balanced thinking. My word of intent for 2022 is Balance. Words of intent are always a work in progress, unlike resolutions which by the end of January sometimes seem unreasonable, or unrealistic . It is hard to believe that the end of January is already here!!! How are y’all doing with your yearly goals/intentions so far???

Balance means doing enough, not everything.

Is balance not the key in everything we do or don’t accomplish??? When things are in “balance” your internal rhythm is strong, & when it is “off”, it can be problematic.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

Creating your own personal awareness of the balance in life… in all categories, such as…family, work, rest, health, & all other things can create growth. Growth & achieved balance in 2022, good intentions for 2022. 😊

A Prayer For Balance
Dear Lord,
I come to you in realization that my life is unbalanced. I know that I can achieve balance through you, so I come to you humbly asking for help in creating balance in my life.
Please help me in creating you as the priority & everything else will fall into place.
Give me the strength to say “no” when life calls me to, and not to just add something to my to do list.
Give me the peace to handle life when it feels disorganized & chaotic. Seeking you first for
peace & organization that brings everything back together.
Help me remember that I can’t do it all, but I can do what you have called me to do for your purpose.
Amen.

A look back at 2021…

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It’s hard to believe that 2022 is on the horizon!!! Here’s a glimpse of some of the new products & ideas we have brought into our hometown hardware store inside Wilkes County Hardware in 2021.

Premixed paint arrived on our shelves in January of 2021!!!
People just can’t enough of these!!!
These appeared in early spring months and sold out quickly
Amazing new BBQ sauces… made in NC
We opened our new pop up shop at Carolina Treasures on Main in 2021!!!
Expanding our line of Zep Cleaning products. Great stuff y’all
Added Black Wonder into our gardening line in 2021. Made locally in NC.
In 2021, we added a few new products to keep your furniture looking great.
Located at the front counter… just in case
Keegan’s cutting boards have been a huge hit in 2021!!! Thanks again for supporting local 💕
New shirt in 2021 in remembrance of Harry & our iconic wood stove
Beautiful handmade baskets inside our store all year long!!! These sell out quickly y’all!
Keys… a staple item of what we do well each & every day 😊
Beautiful hanging baskets, locally grown sold out quickly for Mother’s Day
This stuff y’all!!! Another great locally sourced item added into our store lineup in 2021. Amazing!!!
Local pottery pieces now available in 2021!!! Unique finds & treasures
As always, y’all continue to shop local with us to find your favorite Meyers Clean Day scents
The Big Easy Rocker has been a great selling item in 2021
Thankful that so many of our customers use the flag drop off box in 2021.
These products are fantastic!!! North Carolina based company and repelling animals in a safe way!!!
Y’all needed these and we had them!!!
Great sellers in the summer of 2021
Y’all asked for more organic/earth friendly products in our lawn & garden line and we added several in 2021
Keep odor off your hands in the kitchen with this locally made soap
Kuduz jelly & sauces have been flying off the shelves!!! A must try!!
Keegan added pens 🖊 into his woodwork line
Fall y’all.. thus was a huge hit
New in 2021!
Now in stock!!!
Added new food products from NC based company as the holidays grew closer
Happy Frog candles… y’all couldn’t get enough of these during the holidays season… more to come in 2022!
Good for any meal!!!
Good for all metal cleaning… we got y’all covered
Local honey… with comb & without!!! Local granola & more!!!
Did you know that we are on Instagram, Facebook & now Tik Tok ???
Live music!!! I hope y’all didn’t miss it during the holidays season…
Stove pipe, wood stove products & gloves are essential as the cooler weather sets in
New in December of 2021!!!
You are the nuts & bolts of what we do each & every day. Thank you for your support in 2021 & moving into 2022. Happy New Year!!!
Happy New Year from our family to yours !

2021 Favorite Photos

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Sharing my favorite photos from my camera roll from this past year. Hope y’all enjoy!

Cold morning walk on the Greenway
Joy loving her evening snuggle time with me
Bella… we miss you sweet girl
Cold winter morning
Waiting patiently for our Covid shot
Morning sunrise in April
Spring thoughts
Best buddies hugging for the first time in over a year.., 💕
Joy checking the neighborhood
Colorful sunrise
Yes!!!
Morning clouds
Prom time
Summer Evening Sunset
Hydrangeas in early bloom
Summer morning sunrise
July 4th fireworks
Walking among the corn stalks along the greenway path
Super senior year /Kindergarten photos… be still my heart ❤️, my boy is grown!
September sky in the morning
Fall is coming!!!
Nightlights of MerleFest
Fall clouds
Fall morning sunrise
Southern Christmas… blending the seasons together
December morning sunrise
Frosty Morning in the shadows
Wishing y’all a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from our house to yours!!!!🎄🎄

The Warmth & Sweetness of the Winter Chill

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The smell is distinctive… burning hardwood, and the aroma lingers inside our walls. That “smoky” odor of winter. Some people long for it each winter. The wood stove is an iconic part of our legacy and our history.

Our old classic wood stove has definitely kept that “Old School Hardware” feeling in place for our customers and also for us as business owners. This is one great thing about our store that I love… it is deeply rooted in local history.

Our wood stove is definitely one of the most recognizable features within the hardware store that people initially see once as they walk into the front entrance.

No matter what time of year it is, those who have never visited our hardware store, always ask about the wood stove. Hands automatically seem to go up in order to signify the sensation of warming by the stove, even in the heat of a summer day.

That sensation of warmth often brings back a burst of wonderful “old school hardware “ memories… and then you see the smile emerge on the faces of those who visit with us. The love of our “old school hardware store” grows💕.

Our hardware wood stove history dates back to circa 1930’s-1940’s. Nollie Neill, a Glascock stove historian, has been a wonderful source of information for me. What we know for sure is that our “old school” wood stove is a Giant 24N model made by Glascock. This model was not put into production until the mid 1930’s. Glascock Stove was located in Greensboro, NC.

24N signifies the model number

A bottom piece of our stove needed replacement in the 70’s. The stove maker, Glascock, was no longer in production mode. The last 24N rolled out of the Greensboro foundry in 1966.

Harvey, the hardware store owner at the time, headed down there anyway to the “graveyard” of old replacement parts and found the exact piece he needed to get the stove back into service.

Customers are usually curious about our Giant 24N wood stove. A few typical customer questions range from “Does it still work?” to “How old is it?” And most folks are surprised to find out the wood stove is WCH’s main source of heat in the winter!

Our hardware store Giant 24N wood stove cranks out a great deal of heat for the store. These models were designed to heat stores, schools, homes, garages, larger spaces that needed a good source of heat. Glascock met the demand all across NC.

Before the cold temperatures hit each year, the wood stove is regularly cleaned, polished, and maintained in order to keep it in the best possible condition for daily use in the cooler weather.

Cleaning & prepping for use each winter

We do keep a nice woodpile out behind the store so we can keep the “store fires” burning and our customers comfortable while they shop for essentials.

Wood stacking, wood carrying, all part of the job

All of our wood is bought from local sources. Richard & I like to purchase products from our neighbors in our community.

Our hardware store wood stove has become a gathering place for those in our community. People use it as a central meeting place to discuss news, and local events. Often our regular customers will come sit around the stove and just rock for a little bit before heading back out into the cold weather.

Harry loved to sit in this chair, both of these iconic symbols of WCH are featured on a logo t-shirt

Even during local downtown events in the winter our customers know they can drop by to warm by the fire before a horse carriage ride, stop in during Lightup Downtown, or just to wait and warm before for the Christmas parade is to begin.

To me, nothing is better on a cold, and snowy day to be warming around the wood stove. Locals seek to visit with us on these days, roaring fire always going & snow supplies in hand. Honestly, these are my favorite days.. the snow days around the wood stove at Wilkes County Hardware.

We even have had a few local media broadcast/advertising folks to showcase our store via the hardware store wood stove as a centerpiece. I guess it is just that “Old School” way of gathering around and slowing down in the busy world we live in today.

I’ll take “Old School” any day, going back to our roots/heritage— community building, & living at a slower pace. It has become an essential element of #thehardwarelife.

Thanksgiving

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My sister asked everyone today at Thanksgiving what we are thankful for… my reply was simple at the time but I wish to expand upon it… my thankfulness was wrapped around my family but there is so much more to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for not only my family, but the beauty each day brings us. Each sunrise and sunset is unique by our ultimate Creator.

I think the experience of the last few years has taught me that life is short . Each day is a treasured gift.

I’m very blessed to work with my spouse each day, which I never thought I would have the opportunity to do.

Blessings abound in the small things we have in our lives. May you be blessed this holiday season with Thanksgiving in your heart each & every day. Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours today.

Stories…Our Legacy

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A view from our town, a picturesque view. A story via photography

My last blog post commanded attention from my readers who connected with my story about Waiting.

My last blog post entitled, Waiting… featured photo

The messages sent to me were powerful, with beautiful scriptures, kind words & your personal stories of experience made my heart melt.

So many people who have battled cancer that I connect with everyday as a business owner reached out. Their stories they shared with me were amazing & a beautiful blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me.

If you haven’t read the blog post, Waiting, I would love for you to click back and give it a read. We all go through periods of waiting in life. Waiting on test results, waiting for changes in a career path, or just waiting patiently on God to show you a pathway.

All paths in life are not clearly defined… many times we wait for clarification and direction

As I said before, my experience was not unique, but I chose to share it because I felt it would create common ground experience for many ladies who have walked in the path of waiting for test results OR seeking answers to any type of situation/problem.

Writing is a dynamic way to connect with others. As a blogger, that influence extends across our community & even across the globe.

Storytelling goes well back into history. In the days before novels & books, stories were shared orally, musically or artistically and passed down through the generations. Stories help us to keep our past history alive, & keep us linked together.

Philadelphia, full of historical stories

I had a professor in college who was a gifted storyteller. US History was revealed to me as a story of events & the people behind it.

As an educator, the most powerful thing you can do is to connect your content to the student. Once the student gets the practical connections, the path learning is much easier.

Often as a hardware store owner, we are privy to a portion of a person’s story. The struggle of a DIY, pool ownership (the good, bad, & the ugly 😂) and even the success of a beautiful garden.

All are welcome

The longer Richard & I have been in downtown North Wilkesboro, the more folks we have had the opportunity to meet & get to know a small portion of their story.

Many stories are told around this wood stove

This week we met a gentleman who came by for a few keys, & he stayed to visit for a while. His story began to unravel. He told humorous stories which all made us laugh. He also revealed that his wife died this summer, she had a serious form of blood cancer.

My heart hurt for him. It was obvious he missed her tremendously. Once he told us his story, we understood more about him, his needs and empathized with his current situation.

So how do we share our unique life experiences in 2021??? We are all not bloggers, writers, gifted musicians, artists, or storytellers.

Do you look at Instagram stories???? OR Facebook stories, Snapchat, or even Tik Tok??

In the world of social media, we now have these little bits of video & images on our profile page called stories. The intent of those images is to give the viewer a quick glimpse of what is going on the “inside”of the life of that specific social media page.

After 24 hours those stories disappear and you must continue to add more of your own images in order to keep your story going.

Stories give us a way to stay connected to friends and family. A way to share triumphs, celebrations, fun times, sweet moments & even sad events in our lives. All are a significant part of living our lives.

Many of us are not public speakers who go across the country sharing their stories with others creating change. You may not be gifted storyteller OR even post out Facebook/IG stories everyday.

Your personal story & experiences create change just by sharing!!! Do you journal everyday? Share your family stories with younger generations???

We all share our life experiences with others… how are you sharing your story???

Our life stories cause us to adjust, change, & can create empathy for others who have faced similar experiences.

What I have learned as a blogger is that you should not be afraid to share your story. Your personal story creates bridges to others… connectedness. If you don’t tell your own story now, someone else will later…

Our personal story is why we are here. Your experiences could become a survival guide for someone else who is struggling with the same thing.

My wish for you… find a creative outlet for your unique personal story.

Go tell your story, inspire & encourage others.

Waiting

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I spent most of my day Tuesday, waiting… the technician would complete one test and then I would go sit and wait.

Waiting in situations like I described above can create anxiety & worry. No one I encountered seemed to be in that category. We were all waiting…

I began to wonder if these ladies were ok. Many were waiting for extra testing like me.

My prayers are with each one & I have no idea how each appointment turned out for each lady.

My appointment was at the Breast Clinic in Winston Salem.

Tuesday’s appointment brought a bit of peace & depth of knowledge of my current health situation.

I’m ok y’all. And this blog post is NOT intended to be about empathy for me. My journey over the last few months has created an tremendous amount of empathy for those who have walked the path of cancer treatment.

My mammogram in June found a series of small cysts. All of my test results from Tuesday revealed no significant changes. I’ll return back in 6 months for another round of testing.

But as I sat there with all these other women on Tuesday, in silence, I began to ponder about the whole scenario of waiting.

When we wait, we are staying “in one place”, or delaying action until something else happens…

We all have periods of waiting in life… when we wait, our trust & patience can deepen in God.

Back in June when I was anxious about my first set of results, my mom said to me, “if anything changes, we will deal with it together “. That definitely struck a cord with me. I would not be in this unknown journey alone. I would have family & friends to help and support me. Richard, and my sister have been constant pillars of support as well as my parents. My doctor navigated all of the questions, concerns & made connections with key providers for appointments. I have also made a few dietary changes & adjustments.

The anxiety began to wash away… finding strength in my waiting time.

Waiting serves a purpose in our lives, trust the process & be patient.

I also began to think about all the women who came before me, who found cancer as the end result of testing. Facing a tremendous health hurdle that would change the trajectory of their lives.

I would bet that most of us can name family or friends that have experienced this type of cancer.

Pink… the color of Breast Cancer Awareness

A friend of mine just finished her last round of chemotherapy. She has been a warrior throughout the whole process. I admire her determination and send her prayers each day for strength & courage.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you have delayed your mammogram for any reason, don’t delay it any longer. OR if you have noticed any changes, make an appointment to see your doctor NOW. Lobular breast cancer is not always detected as easily through a mammogram. The subtle changes will be your best indicator. Your health is too important to ignore signals from your body.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Women often wear many “hats” as professionals, mothers, caregivers, chef, & chief errand runner… need I say more? Often we don’t take time to care for our personal needs, and your health is crucial.

Mom’s often are busy… all day long!!! The tasks never seem to end.

My closing thoughts to y’all today…

1. Remember in times of waiting, our heart is strengthened.

2. Take care of & support the women in your lives.

3.Ladies, go get your annual mammograms and continue to do self examinations.

4. You will find me wearing pink each Saturday in October to serve as a reminder to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’ll be wearing my pink Wilkes County Hardware logo gear & I hope to see y’all shopping local with us on Saturdays in October.

Sending love & prayers always to my readers.

The Clothesline

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I was walking around the hardware store yesterday checking the shelves for products that needed replenishment. I came upon a roll of clothesline. My mind began to instantly wander from the task at hand. My productivity waned… I was lost in my thoughts.

We sell clothesline at Wilkes County Hardware, even the old fashioned cotton type & clothespins

The memories came flooding back of my mom’s clothesline when I was growing up. We spent the Saturdays putting the sheets, & towels onto the clothesline. It was a time saver for mom, not having to run the dryer all day after working all week.

My sister and I both had “jobs” while we were assisting hanging clothes on the clothesline. We both were too young to reach the clothesline for ourselves. We had it down to a well-oiled system. One of us carried the old metal dishpan outside into the fresh, clean air towards the line. Of course the clothespins were in hand too. Once we were at the line, I handed mom each piece of laundry from the dishpan, while my younger sister, delved out the clothespins. Mom hung the laundry in sync with the wind. The whole process didn’t take long.

Mom used an old metal dishpan like this one, wet laundry was too heavy in the laundry basket… of course I asked her why she used this when I was little…

Now, memories are often nostalgic… so I must say that my mom’s memories of these Saturdays at the clothesline are probably different from ours. She probably remembers the trips out to the clothesline where we both complained about the weather being too hot, or bees flying too closely, or even those hateful chestnut burrs that were close by waiting to prey on our innocence toes/feet in the late summer/early fall months. I know complaints were definitely lodged… but we always finished our task, hanging the laundry out to dry.

Oh… those chestnut burrs were rough on the feet!!!

I’m glad my sister & I were able to experience so many wonderful things during our childhood that are now seemingly falling away into the past.

Everyone used to have a clothesline… now I bet that if you still have a clothesline in 2021, you are a rare lucky person.

Back to nostalgia, as we both grew older, mom sent us out to the clothesline to hang or even harvest the freshly dried clothes. I took them down while my sister held the fresh loot.

I can still smell the scent of the sheets & towels dried outdoors. Nothing was better than those air dried sheets on your bed at night.

However, I do recall, that towels and washcloths from the line were not a favorite of mine. They were a little too rough for my liking. We used the line mostly for sheets anyways.

My dad eventually took the old chestnut trees down and made way for some new backyard landscaping as I got older. The clothesline was used less frequently as we got older.

But that clothesline was a constant in my backyard during my childhood. Things change as do people. I will always cherish those good memories of times spent together at the clothesline, soaking up the fresh outdoor air & sunshine.

Supper vs. Dinner

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Sometimes in conversation as I remember talking to my Granny at the end of the day, I would ask her what they both had for dinner. As she began to talk about her meal, I soon realized that she was referring to her mid-day meal, not her evening meal. My vocabulary was not the same as hers. I quickly learned that her view of supper/dinner was different from mine. Does it matter? Well, I guess it is all about perspective.

A major NC magazine in our state just recently published an article about Sunday Suppers. It was well done. I’m not going to rehash the intent of that article. But, it did bring back up all those supper/dinner conversations that I had with my granny came to my mind when I read the article.

So upon reflection, I began to ponder my usage of “dinner”. I use the term “dinner” all the time to gather my family to the table, but the reality is that we really are seated for “supper” instead.

Why supper??? The word supper is less formal. Dinner can be a full fledged event with fancy dinner napkins, china, etc. But, when we gather at home, it is not a formal affair. Our family is blessed to have passed down to us, the antique farm table that was in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. The table is definitely not formal by any means, and it is the only table around which we gather to eat. At this farm table we engage in the conversations about the day, hold discussions about local events/news, and let the puns roll. (Our form of making our son roll his eyes 👀 at us.). Supper at our house is a time to simply gather, eat together & unwind from the day.

This was modeled well in my family as a young child growing up. All four of us always ate together at the table in the kitchen. As they say, “old habits die hard”. Meals gathered as our family unit or shared with friends are a strong part of my memories of home.

Now in present day, the weekends are probably the most relaxing suppers we get to have as a family unit. Saturday evening supper is probably one of my favorite times. This tends to be the meal when we can relax, kick back at the end of the day. Saturday supper tends to be one of our Traeger nights- smoking a good piece of meat, or grilling up fish, or whatever is on sale at the grocery store! Do you guys do that too???

Saturday supper doesn’t have to be all fancy, high dollar meals that breaks your budget 💵. Sometimes supper is quite simple at our house–homemade chili beans, or biscuits in a Lodge skillet & country ham, maybe even soup and Traeger grilled cheese sandwich, or lastly, a crockpot meal that we all love.

So I guess when I call my family to say, “dinner is ready”, I really mean supper because that equates to family time. 😊

Happy Supper Saturday y’all !!!