Full Circle Moment

I was standing in my kitchen Thursday morning before leaving to go to the hardware store, listening to Hoda and Jenna in the background on the television.

Hoda began to discuss a feature she had recently saw on Warren Buffett. He had revealed a bit of life advice.

The life advice conversation Hoda was retelling focused on the people in your inner circle, those who you could call upon in times of crisis or need. Buffett had spoken about a dear friend who survived Auschwitz. Every time they would meet someone new, they make a mental note, “would they have hid me”?

Wow… those type of friends or family are the people you need in your inner circle of life. Definitely those who you can count on in times of laughter and crisis….Right???

It was always an an “Aha moment”, when my middle students realized that Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr were born in the same year, 1929.

I retired from teaching in 2019 in order to spend more time with my son, grow as a business owner, and to help care for my grandparents

This interview piece brought several things to the forefront of my mind. I recalled that, Holocaust Remembrance Day was earlier this past week.

One of things we discussed in class was how different their experiences were, but the history of the times bonded them together, they were in the “same life boat of history “.

Amsterdam at Night

As I heard the interview from my kitchen, it all came to me…my grandparents were born in 1928. This was not a revolutionary insight, but more of a full circle moment for me.

I have lost two people from my inner circle that loved me dearly. The events from the interview and real life combined into my daily existence…

My grandparents would have been there for me if I needed them.

My inner circle may have grown smaller, but those who are inside that circle, are there because they would do anything they could for me or my family.

Grief is hard…

AND Life is short y’all. Find & keep those who are in your inner circle, those who would have “hid” you.

My grandparents witnessed a tremendous amount of history in their lifetime. Just like Anne Frank & MLK, they “arrived in different ships” but they ended up in the same “historical boat”.

Is your “boat” full ??? Who’s in your inner circle of care??? Do you have room for more on board???

February brings me full circle in 2021. This time last year, my grandmother took a huge downturn in health. I spent many hours at my grandparents house and a few hours in between at the hardware store.

With both of my grandparents now gone, I have more time to focus work, another huge part of my life journey, Another chapter…

Perspective. Chapters do come to an end, & things change. Sometimes life is hard. As another chapter begins to unfold, another one concludes.

I realize that these chapters should not dictate my life story, and I know they are an important part of my story.

So I’m ready this February to greet the circle of change, coming full circle.

2020… “a year that will live in infamy”

As a retired history teacher, this day many years ago, was a watershed event in American history. Famously stated now by our former President, Franklin Roosevelt, “December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy-the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

How Americans lived and worked simply turned on a dime after this tragic day. America quickly entered into World War II and wartime life began.

My grandfather in his Navy uniform. He enlisted during WWII as a young man.

The significance of history sometimes makes me consider the present day… in 2020, our world has experienced one of those unique watershed events, fighting a pandemic.

No, we may not have sent troops into full combat across the globe to fight against tyranny. But for many folks, 2020 will be a year that will go down in “infamy “.

Those like my grandparents who were part of the Great Depression/WWII Era, were called the Greatest Generation, rightfully so, in my opinion.

Granny & Papa in their early years

The “Greatest Generation” was given the name by news anchor, Tom Brokaw. These folks contributed to war effort, fought in war, & helped however they could because it was the right thing to do. They also worked in war production plants, & rationed… yes, they sacrificed… they didn’t have the basic necessities so the troops could have them during the war. Meatless days, Wheatless days, no sugar, coffee, & gas rationing. What an amazing group of people who made our nation stronger! If you still have these folks in your life, hold them dearly in your heart & prayers each day.

Ration books, codes

What will history reveal about life in 2020 Pandemic Life??? Will it be a “Greatest Generation Scenario” where folks did everything they could??? Or will it be a more muddled view???

My mind goes back to the old Thomas Paine passage from the American Crisis, “ These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer solider and sunshine patriot will in times of crisis shrink, from the service of their country…”

2020 has brought trying times. No need to elaborate. People are struggling everywhere, sickness, quarantine, economic struggles, business closings… the list is long.

Thomas Paine wrote these words during the American Revolution. By the way, the word revolution, it is a synonym for change…. we talked a lot about this in history. It doesn’t have to be a “change” in governmental structure. Case in point, The Industrial Revolution- so much change occurred in our world during this time.

Think about how our lives have changed in 2020… new ways to teach students, working from home, zoom, curbside business, to go orders only at restaurants, the list is long and still changing daily. Life in 2020 has been revolutionary whether we realize it or not.

I must admit, at times, I wanted to shrink away and just go hide. The difficulties of 2020 have been relentless in my world. I would bet that we all have had those days… but 2020 experiences have made me a stronger person. I’m still here, working through different situations as they arise, one at a time, using friends & family and prayer as my anchors.

The revolutionary quote by Thomas Paine continues, “ but he who stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman”. In other words, we need to have strength to continue on.

Stay strong. Be safe. Practice social distancing, wear your mask, wash your hands. Follow the science. Do all the right things, like our grandparents did during WWII.

We are now experiencing some of the darkest times of the pandemic, our numbers seem to continue to rise more and more each day. Let’s end 2020 with Hope…. Such a small word, HOPE. The power it holds is mind boggling.

Quite mornings… beautiful sunrise always a beautiful way to begin a day… Hope springs anew

I leave you today with more words from the World War II Era, just like I began this blog post… Winston Churchill’s famous line from WWII, “we shall never surrender”. In the speech he gave, he told the people of his nation, “we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields…” in other words, he told them, we are not giving up. We will press on… The “Greatest Generation”.

So I guess that could be a significant lesson for us today in 2020. Not giving up, always seeking answers, finding solutions to difficult problems. “Never surrender”. Go find your hope today.

Hope

Strength

What a powerful word!!!! Do you consider yourself to be strong??? Where does “strength “ come from??? Is it internal??? External???

Strength can be defined as being physically strong or the capacity to withstand a great force or pressure.

Gandhi wisdom states that strength does not come out of the physical strength but from indomitable will.

Life in 2020 has tested the powers of strength for many people. Hardships of health, natural disasters, financial, and so many other areas have impacted folks in 2020.

My personal life chapter in 2020 brought unique experiences with loss. In the first 10 months of 2020, I have lost 3 family members, the most notable for me was the loss of my Granny. The family losses were compounded with the loss of 2 sweet pups- GiGi & Elvis. 😢😢😢😢

Granny loved to be outside, strawberry picking was always a special time spent together

Staffing changes has created a void in our lives as well. The loss of long time employees has brought distinctive sadness into our midst. Those personal losses have been extremely difficult to deal with adding in the flooding events from August/early September that made life more interesting.

Then add in financial challenges/supply chain issues of doing business during COVID… Honestly, the list could go on and on…

Store flooded after a significant downpour… the back parking lot drains were unable to direct water correctly and our neighbors beside us flooded. As a result, our store took on water as well from their flooding event😢

Reflecting back on this chapter thus far in 2020, I’m not sure quite how I survived so far. Obstacles have been overcome, & new ones continue to emerge daily… so how do we keep going???

What gives you strength in hard times??? Religion, quiet reflection- reading, nature walks, staying connected to friends & family. Pets??? Laughter??? Hopes & dreams of better days??? Is it a combination of all of these???

Beautiful weather to get outside to keep body strong and always good for my soul

Finding Strength in 2020 has been hard but I’m not giving up. My will is still strong. I draw strength from all of the areas I listed above… prayer, reflection, walks in nature, family support, laughter with friends, music, & dreams. So I guess you could say that I am drawing strength from many different areas.

Another area of strength for me has to be our customers & followers on social media platforms. You have given me strength to push on. Thank you for your kind words on our posts!!! Feedback, comments, likes, shares and those continued interactions on our Facebook & IG pages are much appreciated. The algorithms are powerful today and the more interaction we have on these platforms, the more present we can be on your personal feed to showcase new products, store updates, sales etc.

AND… When you arrive as a customer in our hardware store with familiar smiles😊, it brightens our day!!!! We love to see y’all shopping local. We need to keep the heart of the #wilcostrong movement going. We appreciate your continued support of local businesses in our community. The long term impact of shopping local will definitely be a stronger local economy.

In closing, finding strength& overcoming life’s obstacles in 2020 has been a ongoing challenge. Thank you for giving us strength to keep moving forward. I’ll be dreaming of better days ahead as I know many of y’all are too. So y’all Dream On!!!! 😉

Letter to Graduating Seniors

I was asked by a local publication to share my best wishes & advice for the current graduating class of 2020. This was my first narrative after my grandmother’s passing in May. I am so thankful that Brian Carlton asked me to do this because I lacked the motivation to write anything after her death.

I’m grateful to a few friends who were willing to share their thoughts & ideas with me as I went through this writing process. Thanks for being my tribe 💕. I hope y’all enjoy the letter to graduating seniors.

Senior Class of 2020,

Congratulations! What an amazing achievement you have just reached in life! I am so very happy for each and everyone of you! As a retired teacher, and now a local business owner, I know how hard each of you has worked in order to get to this day! Your greater community is so very proud of you.

So what happens next in your educational and life journey? The world today gives us a perception that times are too uncertain. Please know that your decisions are all within your circle of control. You have the ability to control your words, thoughts, actions, choices, behaviors, & efforts. I do realize these historic and unprecedented times are not how you envisioned your graduation. But, now is the time to celebrate your achievements, cherish your school memories, and look ahead to the future. Dig deep within yourself and find that inner strength to focus on potential opportunities for your future.

Speaking of new opportunities, some of you might be thinking of heading off to a university, community college, or possibly even in the “world of work”. No matter what path you take in the next few years, you will continue to evolve, change and grow as a young adult. Learning will be a constant in life.

As you transition into the next phase of life, here are a few reflective life learning experiences that I have found to be helpful in my journey. I hope you can use these 7 tips as insight & encouragement for your future endeavors.

1. Treasure those in your life. Love your “tribe of family & friends” fiercely. Nothing is guaranteed or promised in this world. So that being said, stay connected, call home! Visit home as much as you possibly can do it. Your family is a very important part of your journey & they will be your biggest advocate.

2. Keep life simple. Experiences & memories in life are the things you will always have, possessions will not last.

3. Dream BIG! Set goals for yourself. Life is not a sprint, it is a journey to be enjoyed & cherished. When you set a goal, understand it may take years to fully achieve, & be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

4. Show kindness to yourself & others. Let this one sink in for a minute. Life is not a perfect process. We all learn from success and failure. Be gracious & extend kindness in all things you do. Remember to say “thank you”, “yes ma’am”,& “no sir”. A kind heart goes a long way in our world.

5. Connections in life are important. The people you meet & encounter in life will sometimes circle back into your life via work, church, friends, or even into family circles. Use compassion, grace & understanding in difficult situations.

6. Find and develop your skills & talents. What are you passionate about? As you grow and change, your interests and inspiration can create new opportunities. Be flexible. Be willing to adapt to new ideas and change.

7. Last, but not least, keep your body strong … mentally and physically. Let’s elaborate. Reading as an adult helps your mental capabilities, increases vocabulary skill set, & can improve memory. Reading for information is a powerful tool. Become an independent thinker, read and form your own opinions about news, politics and the world around us. And remember, it is ok to disconnect from your devices and unwind at the end of the day. Reflection is an excellent way to disconnect from the daily grind and evaluate what is next. In those quiet moments (in the car, spiritual time,journaling, etc) allows you to evaluate your goals, make decisions about goals…is this the path I still wish to take? do I need to adapt my goals, what did I learn along the way? In essence, you can learn from your success & mistakes.

And finally, be physically active…get outside when you can, enjoy the natural world around you, it is good for your overall health.

My final parting wish to you today, “may you be richly blessed in your journey ahead”. Your greater community is excited to see how your success will continue to add to our future growth in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Angela Searcy

Co-owner of Wilkes County Hardware

Routines

Monday has arrived again. Some of you maybe sad to be getting back into the “work routine” again after a few days off from the July 4th holiday.

We are excited to begin our 5th year in service to our customers & local community. So, I’m living & loving the logo I posted out there for y’all today on this blog post.

Even though Covid might have altered your daily routines, don’t forget to set your mindset for success this week. Keep your routines going.

Are routines important??? Yes!!! If you plan your day, you can become more efficient in what you do/need to do, which in turn could save valuable time!!! And let’s face it, those of us who love to procrastinate🙄, if you have a plan, it is much harder to put things off!

Routines provide framework for our lives & how we wish to live. Routines can instill good habits or bad habits. Do your habits help you accomplish your future goals??? If not, reevaluate your mindset. Once your priorities are set, your momentum will continue to roll in the positive direction.

My daily normal routines definitely have been out of sink lately. My grandmother’s sickness, her subsequent death, & caring for my grandfather, plus Covid life all rolled into the mix. One could say that routines have definitely been altered quite dramatically.

A very kind employee who has gone through a similar situation with a family member, continues to tell me, just prioritize, make a list when you feel overwhelmed, and do one thing at a time.

This has been very helpful advice for me. I have found out that everything does not usually get done in a day, but it is amazing to see the items crossed off the list at the end of the day!!! I can start fresh again the next day and prioritize my next steps.

My new “routine” is to review planner to do list everyday. This is now becoming an established habit. Ultimately what do I need to accomplish??? My planner has become my “new best buddy” these last few months.

Routines help give us a sense of normalcy in not so normal times. Honestly, I just need a little bit of normalcy now in my life.

Just a few minutes ago, I was working in the kitchen, and my son came up the steps and said, “oh, do I smell spaghetti sauce cooking”?

Yes, slow cooked spaghetti sauce is cooking up, a routine event for us on Monday nights. I don’t always do this every Monday, but a good consistent meal on a crazy hardware store Monday – unloading truck, payroll, helping customers, etc, the day rolls into early evening quite quickly without much thought or time to think about dinner prep 😳!!!

So I’m gonna keep making my slow cooked spaghetti sauce on Monday nights. It gives me a sense of comfort to make meals that my family enjoys and loves. Routines… 😊