Thoughts On Burning The Flag

Thoughts On Burning The FlagMy first husband was a soldier in the United States Army for the first 10 years of our marriage. After that he left active duty and went reserve status for another 10, for a total “time in service” of 20 years.

Initially, he was a medic, then an LPN after his college training, to each unit he was assigned to, wherever we were stationed.

I was 18 years old, and he was 19 when he enlisted. He left for basic training just 3 days after our first child was born and he was gone for nearly four months. It was a sacrifice to be essentially a single-mother during the time he was away in boot camp and then his Advanced Individualized Traing (AIT). But I knew it was necessary and that he was serving our country.

After basic training and AIT we left our home and family in Utah and moved to Ft. Lewis, Washington, where we lived on a Private’s pay, barely making ends meet, for eighteen months, at which time he received an overseas assignment to Germany. He was gone for 8 months before he secured approval for our son and me to accompany him (it’s mandatory for soldiers to live on post, in the barracks, until they reach at least the rank of Specialist (E4) and spouses aren’t allowed to live in the barracks. So, once again, I was a single mom for the better part of a year.

After we joined him, we lived in Germany for 4 years. And I loved it there. Though, back in those days (1981 – 1985) there was no internet and cell phones hadn’t been invented yet, so long-distance phone calls to the states were extremely expensive. I very rarely got to call my mother…once a month, if that. And when I did, it cost over $100 per call…which put a real strain on our low-ranking budget. The entire time we were in Germany the troops would spend 45 days at a time “in the field”, almost every other month. What that means is that my then-husband was more than 100 miles away, without access to phone, and we had zero contact during the extended time he was training for the possibility of military engagement.

Another real concern while we were in Germany was the regular bomb threats received by American soldiers and their families who were stationed in that country. These attacks were making national news in the USA before I ever left to join him, so my mother was, justifiably, worried about our safety going to live in that country. As US military personnel and their dependents, we were required to follow a daily procedure of putting a different color of tape across all openings on our vehicles each night before bed and then checking all the doors in the morning before getting in to make sure nothing had been tampered with during the night…to ensure our safety. There were those who didn’t take this step and their car exploded with them inside. So, we took this precautionary action very seriously. Many times there would be local demonstrations in various communities outside of US military Post Exchanges (department stores) and Commissaries (grocery stores) where the locals would pour red paint all over their bodies and lay down in the streets, blocking traffic. A clear statement of their opinion about our presence in their country…(even though we were there by request of their government in order to help secure their borders).

Overall, most Germans were very friendly to us and I loved our time living there.

But there were certainly sacrifices made as a part of serving in the military.

Our second son was born while we were stationed in Deutchland and I came back 8 months pregnant with our daughter, who is our youngest child.

Once we returned to the USA we were, again, stationed in states far from our home and family. But we knew going into it that this would be the case.

After my then-husband left active duty and was serving in the US Army Reserves we relocated back to our home state of Utah. But in 1990 he was yet again called to active duty when the war with Kuwait broke out. His unit was deployed to southern Germany, to fill in for active duty personnel there, who were sent to serve in the middle east during Desert Storm.

And once more, I was a single mother.

But this time our kids were approximately ages 12, 8, and 6. And even now, all these years later, they acutely remember the day we hung a big Welcome Home sign on the fence in our front yard and tied yellow ribbons all around the house before going to meet their father when he, and the rest of his unit, returned home from that war.

Why do I tell you all of this?

Because I suspect most “average Americans” have no idea what it means to truly sacrifice and serve their country. To spend days, weeks, months, and years away from home and family, to place yourself in harm’s way 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365 days a year, in order to preserve the freedoms those same Americans enjoy, without thought or consideration, every day of their lives.

So, after participating in that system, first-hand, for so many years of my life, it really annoys me to see people who have never given up anything, never truly dedicated themselves to something of significance, literally taking for granted not only the freedoms fought and paid for with blood, sweat, and tears of our brave men and women in arms…but all too happy to suck the system dry seeking federal funding for college, food stamps, financial benefit, and more.

And then they go so far as to trample on the flag…burn the very symbol of that sacrifice and freedom by which they receive so much benefit?

Yes, I absolutely believe in the First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech. It is one of the core freedoms and privileges our military personnel fight to ensure. So, yes, unlike many other countries where that freedom is not guaranteed and there are strict prohibitions against such public displays of anti-nationalism, I’m grateful for the fact that, as Americans, we can openly express our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and even disapproval of government.

But I find it deeply disturbing and absolutely distasteful and reprehensible that there are citizens of this great country who enjoy the freedoms afforded that citizenship, yet who so blatantly devalue the sacrifices made by the few in order to maintain those benefits of the many.

And that, to me, is exactly what those who burn our flag are doing.

I find it shameful.

About Tracy Partridge-Johnson

Here’s a bit of history…

bpcc_logoNetwork Marketing – In 1997, while raising a family of seven children, Tracy launched her first business, Brown Paper Coffee Company (BPCC), a network marketing based, gourmet coffee, tea, and biscotti sales company with consultants in 5 states.

 

 


Code Hat LabsSoftware Development – In 1998 Tracy began working with her life partner, Jeff, as administrator and customer care specialist for what was then Techniflex, his pagination software development business for the publishing industry.  Over time Techniflex evolved into Eight Up, Inc., and then, later, after most print publications went digital, their software business expanded to include a wide variety of desktop, web and mobile applications and in 2015 they restructured, brought on additional team members, and became Code Hat Labs, LLC. www.codehatlabs.com

 

 


Tracy J Designs logoJewelry Design – In 2000 Tracy began teaching herself to create handcrafted jewelry. She has continued her love of creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art over the past 16 years and many of her original designs may be viewed at her jewelry website: www.tracyjdesigns.com

 

 


Portland Pyrography LogoPyrography – At about the same time she was learning to make handcrafted jewelry Tracy simultaneously learned the unusual art of pyrography, or burning images onto wood or leather. Today this remains her primary business focus. If you’re interested in seeing some of Tracy’s pyrography projects or ordering custom work, you may do so here: www.portlandpyrography.com

 

 


Jeff and TracyPolitical Activism & Public Speaking – A strong believer in personal freedom, in 2001 Tracy and her partner, Jeff, became marijuana drug law reform activists and spent 3 years funding a media campaign to dispel the myths regarding personal cannabis consumption and to expose the real-life dangers inherent in the War on Drugs. In this capacity, Tracy and Jeff were interviewed on over 25 talk radio shows and television programs nationwide and spoke from stage to crowds of up to 10,000. Several newspaper and magazine articles were published about their activities. Tracy and Jeff also organized local events and street teams, as well as conducted audio interviews with minor celebrities inside the drug law reform community.


EPR logoWhole Foods Health – In 2009 Tracy launched Eighty Percent Raw, LLC, an online magazine and community for the high raw foods community. She brought together an eclectic collaborative team of Raw Food Chefs, Restaurant Critics, Spiritual and Fitness Professional contributors. Her intention was to create a unique online magazine destination where people could learn how to heal themselves of disease and dysfunction by adjusting their diets to include more nutrient dense, living foods. In that same vein Tracy enrolled as a student of New York’s acclaimed health coaching school: The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).


Hot Chops LogoMusic Promotion – In 2015 Tracy and Jeff decided to branch out into one of Jeff’s primary passions, music creation and promotion, when they formed Hot Chops Music, a small record label and music promotion business. In this capacity together they support several highly-talented local musicians and bands in getting their cd’s professionally produced, mixed, and mastered in hopes of launching their professional music careers. www.hotchopsmusic.com

 


Magical Top HatWriting – Most recently, Tracy began writing the first in a series of fictional books targeted toward the Young Adult and Young-At-Heart markets called Jack And The Magic Hat Maker, a story about an orphan boy and his magical hat-making grandfather and their mission to rid the world of of evil. Updates can be found on this website and please do LIKE the Facebook page HERE

 

 


Bio – Tracy lives in Beaverton, Oregon, a suburb of Portland, with her best friend and Soul Mate, Jeff. She loves international travel, diversity and mutual respect among all peaceful people, intellectually stimulating conversation, fabulous meals, a great sense of humor, self-sufficiency, physical fitness and promoting a long, high-quality life through wellness education and access to nutrient dense whole foods, live music, thought-provoking entertainment, truth, authenticity, trust, love, generosity, peace, and freedom.

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Sock Panda – Toes On A Mission For Good

Sock Panda Kids SocksWho doesn’t love socks? We all wear them! From babies to children to teens, and adults. Socks seem to be a constant in our lives.

And they are consumable, too! What? Who thinks of socks as a consumable product? Well, ok, dryers do seem to eat them, but other than that, they’re just another piece of clothing, right? But we go through them and need new ones more often than most other items in our wardrobe.

It used to be that socks were boring. Basic white and black. Oh, and maybe the sports (gym or “tube” socks, we used to call them) kind would have a solid color stripe on them. But that was about it. If you were really fashion-forward you bought navy blue socks.

Wow.

Then argyle came into style.

For about a minute.

But men’s dress socks could have a subtle pattern to them, and that was nice. But for business. Nothing fun.

I remember when LOUD socks became popular! Toe socks! Do you remember those? Thick, knit, black knee-highs with neon pink, green, yellow, and blue individual toes and multiple matching stripes up the length of them? They weren’t very comfortable.

Well, things have changed, and for the better where footwear is concerned!

Enter SOCK PANDA and suddenly socks become COOL!

Not only are the designs fabulous and funky, but you buy them on a monthly subscription basis, so new socks show up at your door every month, and you are totally surprised by the designs that arrive!

You can choose how many pair per month, can stop at any time, AND (this is the really awesome part!) Sock Panda will DONATE a free pair of socks to people in need with each new sock subscription!

The Sock Panda’s creations are inspired by the latest trends in fashion and will make you look good at work or at play!  Sock Panda partnered with Indutexa S.A., the top sock manufacturer in Lima, Peru. They picked Indutexa because it’s a family run business that treats it’s workers well and use high quality materials. Indutexa also makes socks for big names like Adidas, Reebok, and Fila. The Sock Panda team is dedicated to using it’s socks to make the world a better place, and that’s something I can stand behind. (Yes, I’m a Sock Panda affiliate and I will earn a small commission for sending you their way. But I’m really happy to encourage you to support such an awesome company and concept. And the small amount I make helps to support my efforts in bringing you these great ideas! And I really appreciate you for that!) As of October 2015 the company had donated almost 50,000 socks to homeless shelters, low income senior centers, and under-privileged classrooms all across the USA. And they hope to 100,000 pairs this year.

Click on any of the images below to visit their website and check out A LOT MORE really fabulous designs! Think about what an awesome gift this sock subscription would be for your kids, your spouse or loved one, or especially for your kids! What a great “feel good” opportunity! Not only do they get an amazing, fun, and useful gift! But their gift also gives to someone else who really NEEDS a yummy, delicious pair of brand new socks!

MEN’S COOL SOCKS

WOMEN’S BOLD SOCKS

FUNKY KID’S SOCKS

kids-socks

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And for a limited time you can SAVE 15% when you use this SPECIAL CODE:
15% off Fall Sale at SockPanda.com. Use FALL15 at check out.
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Inner Thoughts

ContemplationI was looking through an old writing tool this morning. One that I’ve used for years to jot down thoughts, ideas, and chapters for books I intend to publish at some point. And I found this snippet I wrote 7 years ago…so, sometime in 2009. My father had just passed away the year before after a lengthy (14 year) struggle with ill-health.

I thought it was interesting enough to share as a blog post. Because I wonder if these thoughts and feelings might resonate with others…

*****

INNER THOUGHTS

So here’s the thing…

I’m scared all the time. And I don’t know why. I don’t even know what I’m afraid of. Making wrong choices. Saying the wrong thing. Hurting someone. Losing my mind. Losing use of body parts or functions. Losing loved ones.

Losing, period.

Living a life without meaning. Simply existing.  And then not existing anymore at all.

Un-becoming. Un-learning. Forgetting.

I’m afraid of the unknown. And I’m afraid of the known.

I’m afraid of ignorance. And I’m afraid of knowledge. Was I happier…better off…before I knew that brilliant minds could become dim with time? That bodies break? That people give up on their dreams? Get worn down and worn out?

I’m afraid of being lied to and deceived. But I’m also afraid of the truth. Because the truth is that people lie and deceive.

I’m afraid of pain. And violence. Mental, emotional, and physical.

I’m frightened of religion and belief systems. Because they cause more division than unification. More judgment than mercy.

Was life better when I believed in Santa Clause and magic and Jesus?

I’m afraid of being alone. And I’m afraid of being lost in a crowd.

I’m afraid of being not enough. And of being too much.

I’m frightened of being soft because it makes me vulnerable. But also of being hard because that makes me stern and impenetrable.

I’m afraid of poverty and I’m afraid of the demands that come with success.

I’m afraid of disappointing others. Not meeting their expectations. And I’m afraid of being perceived as someone with all the answers because people become needy and demanding.

I’m afraid of anger because it can lead to all kinds of abuse. But I’m afraid of being meek and peaceful because it makes me easy to attack and take advantage of.

I’m afraid of starvation and I’m afraid of gluttony. Because in either instance my own body can turn against me. And so can society. And it generally will.

I’m afraid of judgment and condemnation. I’m afraid of self-righteous people who proclaim themselves wiser or smarter or chosen or more enlightened.  And make those proclamations based upon presumption and deception. Then justify their own abusive behaviors on those beliefs.

But here’s the thing about fear…

It doesn’t get you anywhere.

It makes your body speed up, accelerate, expect some kind of pay-off or culmination or orgasm.

But it never comes.

It only makes you feel like your brain is going to explode. Or your heart will pound so hard and so fast that it will break from over-use.

It just makes you tired. And cynical.

I know there was a need for fear in the beginning. I think it had something to do with running away from animals who wanted to eat us.

Instead of Original Sin, I want to know who created Original Fear?

 

Copyright ©2016 Tracy Partridge-Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Beer Dude Attitude

Beer DudeBeer Dude Attitude

Ok, so I logged onto Facebook today intending to post some uplifting Sunday-esque graphic or message. But a quick scroll through my feed brought me (glaringly) to this image…posted by someone in my friend’s list. This friend is a woman and her post associated with this picture said this: “Truth. (I should be more of a feminist, but I’m not.) open your mans beer when you bring it to him. He shouldn’t need to ask you to bring him one, you notice it’s empty, just fetch it.”
 
Now, seriously? I’m mind boggled. Ok, sadly…I’m not really. Having dealt with so many different people from a spiritual-coaching perspective I must say that I’m not altogether surprised. But it DOES make me sad to see a woman actually promoting this kind of attitude in her partner.
So many people and relationships are broken…
 
Here was my response to the image on her feed: “This is just wrong on so many levels. Key phrase here? “It better be…” Speaks to his attitude of expectation rather than partnership, equality, and appreciation. Clearly, this is a contrived graphic designed to elicit an emotional response (which it has done…a quick look at the comments proves that it was effective) and not (necessarily) representative of the actual guy in the photo. But still…this kind of Beer Dude attitude & relationship are certainly still out there (unfortunately.) He probably beats her, too, if she doesn’t “behave” according to his wishes and dictates. Ugh!”
 
What are YOUR thoughts?
#BeerDude #chauvinism #Equality #WomensIssues #HealthyRelationships 

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Paua Full

Paua Full RingThis is a powerful ring! The style is unisex…so could be worn by either a woman or a man. But it is not for the timid! This ring speaks self-confidence and respect. The style echoes back to ancient times and reminds us of something a king or queen or other noble would wear. Yet, the materials are also very contemporary.

Forged from heavy annealed steel base wire then wrapped in woven annealed steel, the shank is shaped to encompass the beautiful blue, silver, black, and teal opalescent Paua Shell that serves as the central focal point of the ring.

Fabulous either dressed down with jeans and a t-shirt or dressed up for an evening out on the town.

This one is truly a one-of-a-kind creation!

Comfortable size 7.5 but is adjustable to suit your hand.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE IN MY STORE

Feeling Fresh

Feeling FreshThis elegant fresh water pearl and brass ring is gorgeous in it’s simplicity. The pearl is larger than most fresh water pearls…approximately 1/2″ long by 1/3″ wide! Lovingly wrapped in the warm glow of a light gauge brass wire. This ring is something special. Wonderful for Spring or any time of the year!

Size 6

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE IN MY STORE

Bold Bangles

Bold BanglesSet of 3 hand-forged and hammered bangle bracelets. Wear them together or individually and make a bold fashion statement! Perfect accessory to wear with that casual jeans and t-shirt outfit or dress them up with a little black dress! These are totally fashion appropriate, no matter what you are wearing!

All three are heavy gauge wire; 2 copper (1 antiqued) and 1 brass.

Sold as a set.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE IN MY STORE

Mascara Comparison: AVON vs. Younique

So I wasn’t intending to write this post. I just took a shower and was putting on my AVON Wash-Off Waterproof Mascara when the idea struck me that my lashes are looking pretty much, essentially as long and lush using this 1-step, $8.00 mascara than they did when I was using Younique’s premier product; Moodstruck Fiber Lashes…which is a 2-step process and costs a whopping $29.00! So, that’s when I decided to do this comparison.

Honestly, I hadn’t even looked at this photo of my first attempt using the Younique lashes system before just taking this photo of my lashes today using AVON’s mascara. And I wasn’t really going to any extra effort to try to make sure that my application of the Waterproof Mascara was extra-great or that it might not compare well. I just expected that it would, as I was noticing the results it was producing while I was applying it.

And you know what? I believe the photos speak for themselves.

In addition to costing less than a third the price of the Younique brand, here are the other HUGE pluses I see to using the Wash-Off Waterproof Mascara by AVON:

  1. Much faster and easier, 1-step application vs. the 2-step version with Younique’s product.
  2. No little fibers to contend with…which had a tendency to flake off into the eyes or onto the cheeks.
  3. My lashes FEEL much more natural and soft. Not cakey and gloppy like they did with the Moodstruck Fiber Lashes.
  4. And from a sales rep perspective…I am much happier offering a comparable product at $8.00 than having to talk ladies into spending $29.00 for a product that doesn’t really perform any better than this product.

Bottom line: the Wash-Off Waterproof Mascara from AVON is a HUGE winner over the Moodstruck Fiber Lashes from Younique!

And WOW! AVON actually has a Special running on mascaras right now! Buy any TWO for just $7.99!

CLICK HERE TO BUY Your own Wash-Off Waterproof Mascara from AVON!

Your thoughts?

Weight-loss On A Low-Fat, High-Carb, Starch-Based Diet

In this video I talk about my personal experience following Dr. John McDougall’s program The Starch Solution, how I feel on the program, what kind of weight-loss success I’ve experienced (or not), and how I will be proceeding in the future.

For those who don’t know, The Starch Solution is a low-fat, high-carb, whole-foods, plant-based eating plan whose central focus is based on eating most of your daily calories in the form of starch. What, exactly, is “starch”, you may ask? Well, it’s NOT refined grains in the form of white bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, etc. Dr. McDougall defines starches as “whole plant foods” such as; potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, starchy squashes like butternut, acorn, and pumpkin, brown rice, corn, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, or any other whole grain. He does allow for some whole grain breads and pastas but mostly for those who don’t have a lot of weight to lose. These foods are the center of each meal. They are to be supplemented by other green, yellow, orange, and red vegetables and some fruits. Absolutely NO added fats or refined oils are allowed. And they prefer that you consume no caffeinated beverages, carbonated beverages, or alcohol. That is the essence of the program. Watch the video to learn more about my own experience following Dr. McDougall’s plan.

Why I Chose AVON

Tracy Partridge-JohnsonAfter my mother passed away in November 2015, following her lengthy battle with breast cancer, I decided I wanted to align with a community of women who are actively working to do whatever is possible to combat this horrid disease.

At the same time, as a home-based business owner of more than 20 years, I also wanted to expand my income options. I’ve been making handcrafted jewelry and pyrography (art burned into wood and leather) for years. But it can be challenging to find customers to purchase pieces each month, and I’m the only creator of my art…so unless I’m constantly making new pieces, there’s nothing to sell. Which isn’t actually the problem…there’s SO MUCH jewelry and art I’ve created sitting around my office! The challenge is finding customers.

Having a background in network marketing (I started my own gourmet coffee mlm back in 1997) I appreciate the value of consumable products that are purchased on a recurring basis (products I don’t have to create myself!) by a large number of customers. I also recognize the benefit in building a team that I’m able to help train to do the same thing. And earning a small, residual income from each team member’s efforts (duplicating and multiplying my own), has always been a very attractive concept to me.

I wondered if I could find one company that would fill both needs/desires?

As I began my search for companies, AVON immediately stood out from the competition for several reasons:

  1. This is a business whose focus is on empowering women. I love that. Their Mission Statement says it all: “This is a company that puts mascara on lashes and food on the tables. That fights wrinkles with one hand and Breast Cancer with the other. That knows the value of a perfect lip, but still opens its mouth and speaks out against Domestic Violence and for women’s financial independence. This is the company that not only brings beauty to doors, but also opens them. The company that supports 6 million Representatives worldwide. This is Avon. The company that for more than 125 years has stood for beauty, innovation, optimism and above all for women.”
  2. AVON has been leading the fight to find a cure for breast cancer for many years now. Just one of AVON’s endeavors, The AVON 39 – The Walk To End Breast Cancer,  has raised $550,000,000 by people dedicated to ending breast cancer forever.
  3. When I think about it, AVON makes so much sense, considering I’m looking to do something that honors my mother. Mom was an avid AVON fan and customer! She used their products for as long as I can remember. I grew up on regular experiences with our local AVON Lady being invited into our home, sharing her nifty little lipstick and perfume samples with us.  I’ve always adored fashion, makeup, delicious fragrances, and skincare that pampered me! So those visits from our AVON Lady equaled nothing but FUN and pleasure for me! When it was time for her to go she would always leave a crunchy, white paper bag filled with yummy treats behind! And there was always a catalog to look through and drool over until her next visit!

So, yes, when I think about it, AVON is a perfect fit for me right now!

Two more KEY factors in my decision to join as a representative were QUALITY and PRICING. I’ve looked at a handful of other companies over the past few years and several filled some of my requirements…primarily the recurring income opportunity and the quality products. But AVON is the only company that has all of the pieces in place, including the AFFORDABILITY factor. As I considered some of the other product lines I’ve looked at in the past…the sticking point, for me, was always pricing. It seems like most network marketing companies have to WAY over-price their products in order to pay out commissions to their consultants. So, they really over-stress the quality of their ingredients in order to justify the price. But with AVON, that’s not the case. I think it must be because AVON has been doing this business for soooo many years now that their company is just really solid. And because of that, they’re able to keep their prices quite low, while still generously rewarding their sales reps. The result being that practically everyone can afford their products! And that’s a HUGE bonus for me! I know there are many gals out there who care about looking, smelling, and feeling good but who are living from paycheck to paycheck and can’t justify spending money budgeted for groceries to feed their family on buying cosmetics and skincare instead. So, lower-cost is imperative for reaching a much broader audience.

And AVON is well-known for their quality products! They have great name recognition! It’s a big plus telling someone you’re an AVON representative and have them come back with an “Oh! I love AVON!” response!

Of course, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes people tell me that they aren’t “into” AVON. Or they respond with a simple “AVON, hu?” reaction that feels a little demeaning. I know there are those who believe the price of a product, and the name on the bottle, are a reflection of who they are as a person. Status and image and all that. But I prefer to purchase the best quality products, at the best possible price, so that I can spend the money saved on other products, services, or experiences I’m desiring!

All the way around, AVON delivers for me!

If this message resonates with you, if you feel as strongly as I do about supporting causes such as the fight against breast cancer, beating domestic violence, and empowering women to financially support themselves, while building a career that allows them to work from home and simultaneously care for their families, if you get excited about fabulous quality personal and home-care products at an affordable price, and perhaps you are even looking for a way to increase your own income, then I invite you to JOIN ME! Either as a customer or a member of my sales team! I WELCOME YOU to my world of AVON!

CLICK HERE to visit my AVON website

 

Brandon’s Treasure Chest

Brandon's Box

Brandon’s Box

I kind of started a bit of a tradition. Not really intentionally. It just worked out that way.

I made my daughter, Rachel, a hope chest for her 16th birthday. It was a lot of work! But when it was done I was happy with the result and she was very pleased. Today, several years later…married with two children…she still uses that chest as a coffee table in her living room.

Rachel is the youngest of my three children and the only girl.

But a few years later, when her oldest brother, Trent, was recently divorced and staying with us temporarily, I decided it would be nice to surprise him with a hope chest, or more accurately in his case, a “trunk”, handcrafted by his mother. So, I made one for him. It didn’t really turn out as well as I would have liked because I tried to get away with using less heavy-duty materials (I used some pretty thick wood with Rachel’s box and that was part of the reason it was so much work!) And, needless to say, having moved several times in the years since I made it for him, Trent’s box hasn’t held up as well as Rachel’s has.

My middle child, Brandon, who just turned 32 last month, is the only one of my three children I hadn’t made a trunk/chest for. And I was feeling bad about that.

So, this year I decided to change that and made him this chest as a surprise gift for his birthday.

Wanting to make it extra special, I hand-tooled the astrological name and symbol for his birth month, Pisces (for February), and along with a couple of hand-made leather hinges, attached them onto the lid of the box. For extra stability I added a piano hinge the full length of the box and then attached a magnetic latch to make sure it stays completely closed.

I’m pretty happy with the way this box turned out! There are things I could have/should have done differently. But overall, I think it turned out nicely.

Caged Innocence

Caged InnocenceThis beautiful, One-Of-A-Kind, milky-cream, caramel, and gray Jasper stone collected by a personal friend in the deserts of Arizona is encased in a hand-formed frame made from hammered annealed steel wire that has been buffed to a soft sheen. Then it was wrapped in a fine-gauge annealed steel wire to create an unusually captivating…simple in it’s beauty…but compelling in it’s energy and message…wearable piece of art. Approx. 2.25L x 1″W

ABOUT JASPER

Jasper is a dense, opaque, microcrystalline variety of Quartz. Fibrous and grainy varieties of Quartz are often grouped together and referred to as Chalcedony, though Jasper’s microcrystals are laid out in large, sugar-like grains rather than the fibrous layers of Chalcedony or Agate. It occurs in nodules or as fillings in fissures and may be found all over the world, in nearly every color. Jasper is colored by oxides of iron and known for its deep earthy tones of red, yellow, brown and green, sometimes in shades of blue or purple, and displays wonderful contrasts in its banding, inclusions, “pictures,” and small circular patterns.

Known as the “Supreme Nurturer,” Jasper is said to be a stone of grounding and stability, providing comfort and security, strength and healing. It may be helpful in sustaining and supporting through times of stress, and bring tranquility and wholeness. Jasper is said to provide protection and absorb negative energy. It may aid in balancing yin and yang. Jasper is said to clear electromagnetic and environmental pollution, including radiation. It may encourage honesty with one’s self and provide courage to assertively tackle problems. It may be an aid to quick-thinking and help promote organizational abilities. Jasper is said to stimulate the imagination and transforms ideas into action. It may also prolong sexual pleasure. Jasper is said to be a benefit for support during prolonged illness and may help re-energize the body.

Jasper is considered a good protection stone. In mystical healing lore, jasper is said to be good for the liver, gallbladder, and soothing to the stomach.

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New Year and New Focus

Tracy and Daughter, Rome, Italy, December 2015It’s been far too long since I last wrote a post on this site, so it’s time for me to update you and talk about my new year and new focus.

A lot has happened since mom passed away two months ago…

A short week and a half after mom left us my daughter and I departed for the adventure of a lifetime. She turned 30 years old in November and as a surprise gift for her I spent the better part of six months paying for an 11 day trip for the two of us to Greece (her life-long dream) and Italy. It was hard to leave such a short time after mom’s death…but like I said, I had been planning and paying and getting all of the arrangements made for this trip long before mom died.

So, we went.

And in truth, it was a very good experience. It helped me divorce myself, mentally and emotionally, from the energy surrounding mom’s passing and I think that was really beneficial in helping me cope with my own trauma.

We returned home to Portland late on the evening of December 14th, so Christmas was right upon us. But arriving back home…my mother’s death really hit me hard. She was my best, life-long friend. We talked nearly every day the last few months of her life, and frequently years prior to that. It’s been difficult realizing that I can’t call her to find out how she is doing any longer.

So, I kind of became a hermit for a little while there. Not wanting to talk to or interact with anyone. Just giving myself time to be sad…and angry. Angry that something so cruel and so brutal could happen to my little mother. This woman who had always given generously of her time, talents, and emotions to everyone she knew. It made me mad at the universe…and if there is a God…at that being, especially.

Anyhow…moving right along…

I finally put up and decorated our tree just three or four days before Christmas, not really feeling motivated or interested to bake goodies or sing carols or much else. I literally just took the tree down yesterday, lol! It had to stay up long enough to make it worth all the effort it took to put it up!

For Christmas Jeff purchased the two of us a surprise 2 night/3 day stay in a beach-front cottage over my birthday weekend. So, we just got back from there two days ago…and it was glorious to get away and have no distractions of work or any other obligations. Just peaceful, relaxing time alone to refresh and rejuvenate. We both really needed that.

The weeks following Christmas and up until my birthday weekend we spent several full days in the recording studio at The Hallowed Halls with various artists recording tracks for our upcoming Largest Band In The World album! I can hardly wait to share these songs with you! We’ve pretty much decided to release individual singles, one-at-a-time, instead of waiting to release the whole album all at once. So, I will be setting those loose into the world as each one is finished being mixed and mastered. Very awesome!

Today I am preparing a jewelry display to take to Saint Franks Music where, in addition to the beautiful guitars, bass guitars, ukuleles, tambourines, amps, and other items musicians will want, Deanna will be selling my handcrafted pieces of wearable art. I’m excited about seeing what people are attracted to!

So, you’re probably wondering about my “new year and new focus.” True, it’s January 27th…so you might be thinking that I’m a little late to the party when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. But hold on to your knickers a minute! MY BIRTHDAY was just three days ago! So, it truly IS a brand new year for me! And in this 54th year of my life I intend to see and experience a lot of great things! Focus this year will be first and foremost on helping Jeff build our software development company, Code Hat Labs. Second in line will be continuing to work with him on our Hot Chops Music projects (two of the bands we have been funding, Just People and Ian James Band, are releasing the cd’s they have been working on this past year in the next month or few!) and five of our own Largest Band In The World singles will be ready to release over the next several months! So, exciting times!

In addition to all of that, I am working on a book about the history of Mormonism, and in my “free time” I will continue to make handcrafted art, jewelry, and pyrography projects.

At the top of my list, above everything else, is my focus on health and fitness…my primary passion in life. Especially so after watching what happened to my father and mother. So, needless to say, I’m motivated to become as healthy as I possibly can be! Central to my plan will be “consistently” following a high-carb, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet. After reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall, and other similar books, combined with my own, personal experience with the way animal foods, fat, and particularly dairy products react in my body, I am ALL ABOUT cutting out all those kind of foods and focusing only on wholesome, plant-strong ingredients. I really do LOVE this lifestyle! It’s not difficult for me, AT ALL, to go without fat and animal products!

Thanks for listening in…I look forward to hearing about what is going on in your life!

Hugs and Blessings,

Tracy

 

Through A Window Darkly

Through A Window DarklyThis beautiful, One-Of-A-Kind, smoky Chalcedony stone reminds me of peeking through a dark, Gothic cathedral window. What is going on inside between the shadows and the light? The translucence of Chalcedony lends well to a sense of the mystical and mysterious. The stone was collected by a personal friend in the deserts of Arizona and is encased in a hand-formed frame made from hammered annealed steel wire that has been buffed to a soft sheen. Then it was wrapped in fine-gauge annealed steel wire to create a captivating sense of intrigue and wonder. It is both eye-catching to look at as well as offering a sense of comfort and peace when handled by the wearer. Approx. 2.5L x 1.25″W

ABOUT CHALCEDONY

Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of quartz and moganite. It has a waxy luster, and may be semitransparent or translucent and can assume a wide range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray, grayish-blue or a shade of brown ranging from pale to nearly black.

Chalcedony is said to enhance: Emotional balance ♥ Vitality ♥ Stamina ♥ Endurance ♥ Energy ♥ Intensity ♥ Hardiness ♥ Nurturance ♥ Generosity ♥ Liveliness ♥ Kindness ♥ Charity ♥ Friendliness

It is (said to be) a nurturing stone that promotes sisterhood/brotherhood and good will. It absorbs negative energy and brings the mind, body, emotions, and spirit into harmony. This is a stone which instills feelings of benevolence and generosity. It alleviates hostility and transforms melancholy into joy. Eases self-doubt. Creates openness and enthusiasm. Absorbs and dissipates negative thoughts, emotions and bad dreams.

Chalcedony also (may) improve mineral assimilation and combat mineral buildup in the veins. It (may) reduce the effects of dementia and senility and increase physical energy. It has been said to help heal the eyes, gallbladder, bones, spleen, blood and circulatory system.

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A Sad Farewell To My Sweet Lil’ Mom – A Struggle With Breast Cancer

My Cute Little MotherAfter a very long and difficult struggle with breast cancer, my little mother, Barbara Partridge, left this world late on the evening of Sunday, November 22nd, 2015. She was 83 years old.

There are really no words to adequately express how I’m feeling about this…

Mom lived in another state, Utah, and I am in Oregon. But we talked on the phone nearly every day…sometimes twice a day…especially over the past year and a half…since her “official” diagnosis.

I was on the phone with my sister…where mom was staying…at the time mom passed. So, even though I wasn’t physically there…I was “in the room” at the time she left us.

Mom had the tumor for about 10 years prior to her death. But she refused to be seen by any medical professional until the single event when it was hemorrhaging out of control and she was forced to call an ambulance to rush her to the emergency room.

But that was just the first of many, many visits to the ER.

She really thought she could “fix it” by altering her diet. And she tried so hard. She desperately WANTED to be healed and to go on to live many more healthy, happy years. Mom had a vibrant lust and passion for life! She did not want to die.

And that’s probably the hardest part for me to cope with. She wasn’t ready to go…but she…we…couldn’t do anything to repair the deep and profound damage that had been done to her poor little body. Mom was only 5’2″ tall…and at her death she weighed barely 100 pounds, if that.

She was an amazing woman who served others tirelessly her entire life…church, community, family, friend, and stranger alike…

Mom was a fabulous cook, a gifted pianist, a compassionate confidant, a talented artist, a lover of animals, and an amazing homemaker who loved nothing more than creating a beautiful environment where people would feel welcome and loved.

We disagreed about some significant things in life…religion and belief were two biggies…but she always tried to understand me. And she made it clear that she loved me unconditionally.

My mother was a great teacher and my best, life-long friend. I miss her desperately.