Posted in Blog

10 Things to Know About Moving to Jamaica. (or Anywhere Internationally for that matter.)

Hey Sno Flakes! Nice to meet up again for some tea. Today, I have some knowledge I want to drop on you. If you read some of my latest posts, you will know I came to Jamaica to live among the locals for three months. Needless to say, during my first month, the experience had a rough start, but after two months, nothing but amazing. I love it here. It was the best decision I have made in my life personally. I decided after my last visit for 10 days this past August, that I wanted to live here. So I went back home to the States, sold most of my things, packed up, and came to Jamaica a month later. So I thought I would help someone by posting the TOP 10 things to prepare for your move to Jamaica, or anywhere abroad for that matter.

Don’t forget to purchase a souvenir from any one of the hundreds of shops throughout Jamaica.
  1. Research the Country. Let me start by saying DO YOUR RESEARCH. I googled everything from money exchange, the language, the culture, immigration requirements, rent, neighborhoods & crime. You name it, I researched it. I was prepared, or so I thought.

2. Arriving. When you arrive at the airport, come in as a tourist or a Retiree, just staying 3 months, and then if you need it, get an extension. It will make your arrival so much easier. If you are bringing gifts, tell them just that, gifts for your neighborhood locals. You are NOT bringing anything to sell.

3. Plan ahead. I came, thinking I could just find a rental after I got here. Oh, you can, but I don’t suggest it. I spent way too much money at resorts & hotels while looking for an apartment I could afford. Look at the Gleaner, the mirror, jamaica classifieds, google, or ask someone. Gated communities are best for foreigners, in my opinion. I found a great apartment, with a view of the sea at Sea Castle, Montego Bay, or Sand Castle, Ocho Rios between $500-$700 usd a month. St Mary Parrish has adorable homes for only $400usd a month and it is furnished in a gated community. If you want a home or an apartment not furnished, you can find rent even cheaper.

One-bedroom apartment, Sea Castle, RoseHall Montego Bay

4. Money. Learn how to count the money. Being a foreigner, (especially white) and single, there’s a flag on your forehead that every local sees but you. They see money. Learn the prices of everything. A Taxi is $1.50 unless you use a tour taxi like Juta. If you go shopping, take a friend, a local with you! Otherwise, you will be overcharged every time. But again, once you learn the prices and stand your ground, & they begin to see your face more than 2-3 times, you will become a local.

Cozy, with wifi and cable, a small kitchen to cook and save money.

5. Be friendly. Speak. Learn the language & the culture. You don’t have to speak Patwa, but try to learn the definition of terms. If you act scared and unfriendly, you will not be accepted well. But if you speak, and show yourself as kind, locals love tourists! They love it, even more, when they hear how much you love their country & culture. If you don’t want what someone is offering, like the hustlers at Seven Mile beach, just respond, “I’m good man” they will usually walk away. Sometimes you may have to use a little more bass in your voice and be more aggressive. They will walk away. Or act like you don’t hear them. But I prefer to speak.

Horseback riding at Chukka Tours was an experience for sure.

6. Employment. No, you can not come here expecting to get a job. As a Country, it is a requirement that employers hire Locals first. So unless you have a job or career arrangement, have enough cash stashed away to support you for your entire stay. I would say around $10k at minimum for a couple of months. If you are frugal, you might be ok for 3-4 months. If you have a stash to hold you, you could start a business. I suggest looking for a need and going from there. I started a cleaning business for residential, Air BnB’s, & after-hour commercial offices. It hasn’t paid off yet, but it will.

7. Buy your car & furniture from other ex-pats, who need to leave Jamaica quickly. You will find amazing rates on a great car! (I learned this too late) I bought a van from a local, was overcharged, and 3 weeks, had to put in a transmission. It runs great now, but I learned from this too late, I could have purchased a nicer van from a family going back to the UK for way less.

At many of the beaches along the Jamaican coast, you will find sea life.
Don’t forget to return them to their habitat.

8. TRUST NO ONE. Mind you everyone is kind & friendly for the most part. They are super excited we are here, however, even the most sincere, who wants to teach you about everything Jamaica, has an agenda. I am not saying don’t make friends, but never let your guard down. You must feel your way, and learn thru trial and error, who can be trusted.

9. Relationships. If you are a single woman or man. Beware. Most of the men, if not all have a woman stashed somewhere. Be it a girlfriend, a wife, baby mama, or another foreigner. They will smooth talk, maybe even wine & dine you to gain their trust. Their women know about you. Trust me. (Didn’t happen to me, but a friend I met from the UK) Their women know if he dates a foreigner, it will benefit them both in the long run. They are patient. My friend dated him for two years. His wife knew everything about her & her personal business. If you are going to marry, do your research on them. It is the goal of most locals, to meet someone, get money, marry and move out of the country.

Ocho Rios is well known for the clearest water, the cleanest beaches, and sailing to Dunns River Falls.

—- IF you are going to have sex, (we are all adults here) USE PROTECTION! I can’t stress this enough. It is an honor among the local men, that if they get so much P***** that they catch a disease. (I know, I don’t get it either. But hey what do I know.) Especially don’t get pregnant.

10. Definitely do NOT share any personal business with anyone. NO ONE. Don’t make yourself a target. If it doesn’t work with that man, (or woman) they have friends. They will tell a friend to have a go at you. Live like a Local. Live minimally, if you can. Unless you’re wealthy enough to live among other wealthy, do not show off what you have. Remember, most of the people here are barely making it. Don’t set yourself up for danger.

Finally, ENJOY the Island! (ok that’s technically 11, but we won’t tell anyone.) We are in Paradise! Take time to explore. You do not have to hire a tour guide, although it helps, and makes you feel safer. There are a million and one things to do here. Rivers, waterfalls, mountains, atv, countryside, old ruins, cliffs, eateries! (next post). Don’t let the stress of work, money, and trust detour you from enjoying your time here.

A Negril sunset can be seen 365 days a year.

I pray this helps someone. I have learned from most of these experiences personally, or I have spoken to others and received the information first hand With all the research and the time I have spent over the last few months, I feel like an expert at what NOT to do. I got a quick lesson in being a JA-merican. (Yes, that is an actual term.)

Until the next time, I want you to remember this. Life is not guaranteed to bring tomorrow. Enjoy it while you can.

Stay sweet, stay blessed, I’ll have your Tea waiting.

Credits: All photos were taken by Snow Wilson on a Samsung Galaxy 21 Note Ultra.

Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com

Posted in Blog

Prayer and Family Saved My Life.

Written March 2021

Hey Sno Flakes! I’m back. How is life treating you? Me? Glad you asked. It has been a long two years. You ready for some more tea? Here we go.

Recently, if you are following along, I had a major trauma happen in my family. Well, a few actually, but one in particular. Go back and read my blog post “The Comedy of Life”. Long story short? We lost someone very dear to us, specifically my husband of 17 years. I won’t go into detail. You can go read it for yourself.

If you follow my blog, you will hear me brag often about my husband, and the love we have for each other.

Basically, after Freddie passed, I went into a slump. A really low place I didn’t think I could pull myself out of. After months of depression, no more family gatherings, Friday night dates, snuggling on the couch. Even breakfast was different. When I was struggling to now pay bills that my husband took care of, it was then I realized, my entire world is gone. No one is calling, stopping by, no one cared. At least that is how I felt. I am ashamed to say, I thought about taking pills numerous times. A lot of them. But God had another plan. Ok, I am going with God. I will not give up. Freddie would not be happy. I can hear him now, “get ya’self up and stop it! Sugar, we don’t do suicide. I’m waiting on you. I’ll see you later sugar!”

So I re-evaluated what was left of my life. I prayed and cried, and cried some more and prayed. Then one day, as I was sitting on the beach at night, I heard clear as day, “move. Go home to your family.” It was then I decided to sell everything, and move back home to Illinois. Mind you I have not lived among them for over 30+ years. I visit often, but after two or three days, I can’t take it and go home. You must remember, I have lived in Birmingham Alabama for over 20 years. My family is as country as you can get. I’m talking about a town of only 1400 people, no fast food, farms, horses, and of course southern sweet tea every day. We use so much sugar, it is ordered at restaurants as “southern sweet”. Hence, the basis of my blog.

Anyhow, I sold everything. My husband’s motorcycle, the house, his truck, and took a Uhaul with all my things, and went North. (Thanks to Karen & Edward) for driving me. That was the hardest trip I ever had to take. It felt like I was leaving Freddie behind. Technically no, as I had his ashes with me. But mentally, I was distraught.

I found a cute little house an hour away from Mom, in Paducah Kentucky. Button and I were going to be ok. It had a cute little yard, close to everything, and I could afford it. My brother, Dale just lives right around the corner. After what seemed like the longest year in my life, I finally got settled in. After the emotional roller coaster of days to pass, things started looking up. Oh, it took a minute to adjust to country life. But I wouldn’t have done it any different. I love it here. (Check back in 3 months.)

Now, Button and I are okay. There are days when I still get really down. Grief takes time. But I now have more good days than bad. I can talk about Freddie without crying. When I do feel an episode coming on, I pack my bags, load up the car, and Button and I drive an hour North to Eldorado and spend a couple of days on my bestie’s farm. It is just what the doctor ordered. Peace, tranquility, and lots of cats. 32 to be exact. It’s a joke among us. “How many cats are there today?” (That’s another post.)

I am telling you all this for a reason. No matter how bad you may think life is, there is always someone worse. It may not seem like it now. But life will get better if you just hold on, fight, and get around people who can encourage you. Having a support system is major important. I thank God every day that I didn’t give in to impure thoughts from an enemy trying to take my life! I thank God for my mother, my family, and everyone who has ever called and checked on me.

Until next time, remember, Jesus loves you. I love you. Call someone. Don’t attempt whatever it is you may be dealing with alone. Life is too short to be so sad. I will have some fresh tea waiting. See you later sugar.

If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

All photos taken by Snow Wilson.

Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com

Posted in Blog

The Comedy of Life

Hey SnoFlakes! So yet again, it has been a year since I have written. This seems to be the norm with me. I promise I am going to try and do better. Grab yourself a glass of tea and let’s get to it. Although I warn you, get some tissue. CRY Post alert!

I hear people say all the time, “Life is a funny thing”. It truly is. I feel as if life is a game, and if you play it right, you can win! But what if it isn’t in our control? What if you just have to play with the cards dealt? What if no matter how much you plan, make wise decisions, be kind to others, even show unconditional love, no matter all those things, life can throw a punch in the gut that can take the wind out of you. Let me explain.

If you follow my blogs, you know that the last two years, I have had one turmoil after the other. 2018 was going great, everything had aligned with the stars, life was good. Then, BLAM! November, my mother became ill. Long story short, I ended up missing every holiday through Valentine’s day, at the hospital. I brought her to Alabama, and she loved it there, for a while anyway. After she got back to her stubborn, and healthy self, (now I know where I get it from), she wanted to go home. Home to the town where I and my brothers were all born and raised. She had never left in 46 years. Mom didn’t care for the big city of Birmingham, so I took her home.

Jump ahead to 2020. Life is back to normal, I am working my real estate, Life is good. I am telling you all this to get to a point, I promise. Just keep reading!

Our Last picture together Dec 2019

On January 12, three days before his 54th birthday, Freddie says he didn’t feel well. Now this man is NEVER sick. Mind you he had minor blood pressure issues, but it is under control. Or so we thought. So he proceeds to go lie down, being he has to work tonight. Freddie works in the coal mines 15 hour days, 7 days a week. He’s done that for at least 6 years. Oh, every now and then he will take a two or three-week vacation. So, my film family and I are downstairs, filming a short movie. They were there all the time, always a house full of the film crew, just hanging around, swimming in the pool, or like today, “let’s make a movie!” as Bill would say.

Afterward, everyone has cleaned up, and gone home, except a couple of close friends. “Has Freddie gone to work?” I asked. No one has seen him. I get a funny feeling, I go upstairs, and there he is lying face down, across the bed, in the same position as earlier. He hasn’t moved. Button and Jasper is laying by his head. I touch his leg to wake him up, and he is cold. COLD COLD. Now let me tell you, all the emotions going through your body at a time like this. Even now, a year and a half later, I am tearing up. Immediately, I lost all my senses, began screaming for help at the top of my lungs. Chad runs up, we call 911, but it’s too late. By the time they arrive, he is gone.

In a split second, my whole world, my best friend, my husband has left me behind. What do I do with that? How do I breathe? Our kids! How will I tell them? He will not see his grandsons grow up to be just like him.

Our Family Christmas 2012

The next two weeks, hell, the next year is all a blur. I don’t remember the funeral, who was there, who sat where, or even what was said by Pastor. The funeral was filmed, (why I did that I have no idea), but I watched it over and over for months on dvd. I blamed myself. If only. If only I had checked on him. Did he go in his sleep? Or did he call my name? Did he suffer? So many questions. I never got to say goodbye. I guess the funeral was a way to keep him here, if for at least a little while. It finalized it. Then, one day my best friend found me watching it, and took it from me. Thank you. I was keeping myself in a state of depression. I had to move on she said. At my own pace, but I have to.

Remember at the beginning when I said what if you can’t control the cards dealt? Perfect example. What do I do now? Do I just stay in bed, and never decide to go out in the world, and enjoy what is left with the rest of my life? No, I think not. When a person gets dealt something of this magnitude, you turn to God. At least for me, that is what brought me out. I got up, went to church, and cried all the way home. All I saw was Freddie standing at the door. I went to a friend’s birthday party, they were playing music, couples everywhere. I saw Freddie. He was a bluesman at heart. A dj of blues, known for his skills. The point is, everywhere I look, I see him. And even though I was sad, it was also comforting to know, he will always be with me. There is a permanent imprint on my heart that will never go away.

Positive Quotes about life, Your life and Quote life – inspirational quotes

I am doing well now. That’s another story, but I have made it through the hardest part. Learning to love my own company. Learning to move on, and carry Freddie with me.

So I told you all this, not to make you cry. But to Encourage you. Your situation may be worse, or not as bad. But when life punches you, it’s ok. Take a deep breath, stop, think, pray, and move forward. It looks bad now, but we can’t see what God sees.

So get up, put on your big girl (or boy) pants, and let’s enjoy this crazy, wonderful, short life we are given! If I can do it, so can you. I am here if anyone ever needs to talk. YOU GOT THIS!

Dedicated to Freddie Lee Wilson 1/16/1966 – 1/12/2020

If you or someone you know is dealing with depression or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States.

No copyright infringement is intended in the use of Photographs.

Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com

Posted in Blog

What is really Important to You?

Written December 2019 – posted October 2020

Hello Sno Flakes! Have you ever been in a place in life where everything fits? It seems you are on the right road, life seems perfect. But then out of nowhere, something comes along that throws a rock in your path. A quick detour wouldn’t hurt, right? You look up and your off track. You ask yourself, “how did I get here?”. That is my life right now.

My oldest grandson Josiah.

I was on track, my life planned out, going along great. A great husband, a huge family, great career. Since we talked last, I have passed the Real Estate Board in Alabama! You are looking at a Real Estate Agent of Keller Williams Realty Metro South, Alabaster Alabama. With hard work and long hours, I finally got my Business up and going strong. Not fantastic, but promising. I also am still pursuing my career in the Film Industry. It has really picked up. There is a steady flow of work happening in Alabama, that keeps me busy in between Real Estate clients. After hard work,I have made a name for myself, to climb the ladder, and be trusted with important decisions on set. Life, as it may, was perfect!

Then, one day out of nowhere, like a mac truck hitting a bump in the road, I get a phone call. November 14, 2019. My mother, of 71 years old, has taken ill. Not only is she in the hospital, but she is being flown to a better hospital two hours away from her home, for emergency surgery. My mother lives six hours north of me, in a little country town in Southern Illinois. A town of 14,000 people, one grocery store, literally two police officers, and everyone know each other.

So, now after speaking with the doctors, I have packed a few bags, and am on the road, leaving my family behind, two weeks before Thanksgiving. Long story short, mother stayed in the hospital two weeks, and then was released to rehab. Where, she refused to stay, and after only five days, checked herself out. Now, if anyone knows my mother, you know she is hard-headed. Once her mind is made up, that’s it! There is no changing it. So I stay with her at her home for three weeks, and once she is stable, I head back home to Alabama. Great! Mom is good, now I can get back to my life, and get back to work. Nope. Too good to be true. Four days later, Mom was found in bed unresponsive. The ambulance came, they flew her back to the big hospital, and I hit the highway. 

So, here I sit, two days before Christmas, in the dark, writing to you. Oh, mom will be fine. After a whole lot of convincing and a little bit of fear of being alone, she is coming to Alabama to live with me. I sit here and think how I miss my family, my husband, my fur babies. How I long to sleep in a bed, and not on this rubber couch. As I listen to the lull of the IV machine, and the sound of her breathing, I realize how tired I am. For almost two months, we have been in and out of hospitals, with doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room every hour it seems. Oh, how I long for a full night’s sleep. But with all that, I wouldn’t be anywhere else. I am where I need to be at this moment.

Hubby loves playing Santa for our family every year

As I sit here, I think of Christmas carols, and baking cookies, and tree hunting. I think of my husband on the roof of the house trying to hang Christmas lights. And ask if, of a sudden, none of that seems important. I realize at this moment, the only thing important is family and those we love. Saying, “I love you”. Make sure every moment counts. That is what is important. Not things.

Yes, I miss my family. Yes, I have cried to God many a night. I am not ready for her to go yet. But I also know that each new day is a blessing to be shared with those we love. So the next time you feel the urge to fuss, or complain about something, stop and think first. Is this really a deal-breaker? Is this that important that I need to waste words or time to give it any energy? I think not. Tomorrow is not a promise.

Until the next pitcher of tea, stay blessed, stay southern sweet.  

Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com

Posted in Blog

Listening to Silence of Darkness

There is always something about the waves of the ocean that has a calm, a peace about them. I love hearing the crash, the sound as they break on the sand. But have you ever gone at night, and just sat under a full moon? Don’t say anything, just listen.

Hello Sno Flakes! Come on in, grab a cup of tea and let’s chat! I realize it has been a long time since I have written. Four years, to be exact. I apologize. There has been a lot of changes in my life, and I know you want to hear about them. But first I want to talk about peace.

As I sat here tonight, in the dark on a blanket, on Pompano beach just outside my Hotel the Residence Inn, I felt a peace come over me. No one there but me, and family, I thought back over the last 6 months of my year 2020, with everything that happened.

My husband of 17 years, passed away on January 12th. Right after the New Year. My whole world changed. If you follow my posts, you know we loved each other up until the day he passed. I still do. I was now alone and didn’t know if I could get through this. Of course, I had his children, our friends. But you must understand when you’re in love with someone that long, you become best friends. You do everything together. Everything. Then one day in a split second, they are gone.

Then came along covid, so now I had to be alone in my home, just me and Button, to grieve and quarantine. (Thank God for good friends.) I eventually had to sell the house we bought together. I couldn’t ride his motorcycle, so I sold it to his best friend. We bought that Harley together and rode it all over the country for over 15 years. That was difficult. Then his truck, little by little his things were getting sold off.

Button says don’t leave her

Now I am at a point, where God is telling me to relocate near my family. My mother needs me, but even more, I need them. But, I felt sad about leaving the only home I’ve known for a long time. Is this the right move? Second-guessing myself.

So as I sit here in the dark, listening to the waves in the moonlight, I can hear my brother Dale, (mentioned in another post) and his son a little down the beach, making a sandcastle. Two grown men enjoying the simplest piece of life. I had to smile. I reflected on my life, and the changes I have just endured. I realized at that moment, just how strong I am.

I realized I can do this. With God, anything is possible. I never heard God more clearly than I did tonight. “Go. Move to Kentucky, and be near family. Be still. I have plans for you, only I can see.”

If there is anyone in your life, that is remotely your heart, let them know it! Don’t waste one second in negativity, in arguing over things that don’t matter. Tell each other, SHOW each other at every chance, just how much they would be missed if they left you. I never got the chance to say goodbye. But I know Freddie is with me every day.

Take the time to listen. Listen when someone is speaking to you. Most importantly, listen when God is speaking. Yes, we pray for guidance, for things, for others, but we must also listen. Be quiet for a moment and listen to the darkness.

Until next time. I’ll have your tea waiting.

Photos taken by me, Snow @ Pompano Beach, Florida.
Staying at the Residence Inn by Marriott, Pompano Beach.

Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com

Posted in About Me, Blog, Family, Travel

Get-a-way not far away

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Railroad Park, Birmingham Alabama

Hey there! Come on in! Have I got some tea for you! When is the last time you’ve been on vacation? I need one, maybe two back to back. I really need to getaway. But there isn’t any time for that! It is an everyday struggle to get a moment to myself, let alone a couple of days. I have way too much going on to leave the City.

Speaking of which, have you ever researched your City to see what is hiding within the concrete? There are always places to run away and hide for a couple of days. If you are anything like me and my family, it is crazy around home, all the time. There is hardly ever any peace and quiet, and when there is, it’s very minimal. My husband and I, as you know from previous posts, have been together for almost fourteen years. We have a huge family. People are always coming and going at the family home.

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Turkey Creek, Pinson Alabama

Every now and again, just to get away, Hubby will call on Friday from work, and tell me to pack us a weekend bag. I get all excited! I know we going on a get-a-way, not far away. You know, the hotel across town, or over in the next town an hour away. We disappear all the time. It gives us time to be alone, and be on vacation, while still close to home in case of an emergency. I love our getaways! The alone time in the rooftop pool, the room service at two am, the nightclub downstairs. Just a couple of days, one night even can be so rejuvenating. 

I especially love the one-day trips, to explore the city. I hear people say all the time, “There is nothing to do in Birmingham!” That is so not true. Birmingham has so much to do. There is such a thing as Google, and the internet. That search thing, it works wonders! We have a Zoo, Museums, dozens of Parks. The nightlife is awesome too. I love my city.

I especially love this place outside the city, Turkey Creek. I found this place from an elderly lady at the gas station in Pinson. I told her I needed a place to go swimming. She ultimately told me of Turkey Creek. She told me of how she enjoyed it as a child. Intrigued, I researched it. Located in Pinson, Alabama, only 15 miles north of Birmingham, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is a great place for couples, or families, to get away and go for a picnic on the grass, swimming in the creek, or tube down the natural falls. Go bike riding,  hiking, fishing and so much more. We have been going here for years. We never knew it existed before that conversation. After a day here, I always feel like I’ve been away on vacation when I get back home. Even though it is technically near the city, it feels as if you are so far away.

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I want to challenge you. Take a few moments, and research your city. Open your mind to the millions of possibilities that your city has to offer. Find places that interest you, and take a day away from it all. Just disappear. And it doesn’t always take money. Most of our museums are free. Make precious moments with those you love, your children, your spouse. Plan a date with hubby, let him pick you up at the door, and go on a real date! How awesome that sounds.

Take the time to enjoy life. Oftentimes, we can go through life day to day, in and out of time, just like robots. There is no excitement, no joy. Make a point to enjoy your loved ones while they are here. If you can’t do a whole day, start small. Surprise hubby for a picnic on the grass at his job. It’s amazing what one hour of conversation and alone time can do. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us! Enjoy life, enjoy your city. Enjoy each other. A relationship can only withstand the time put into it. It takes effort and attention.

Enjoy-Life-To-The-Fullest-Inspirational-Life-Quotes

Speaking of attention, my glass is empty again. Must refill! Until the next glass of Tea, stay blessed, stay southern sweet.

COPYRIGHT © 2016 SnoSouthernLife

Posted in About Me, Blog, Family, Self Help

I love my life, do you?

Hey ya’ll! I know, I know! Why has it taken me so long to write? Well, let me tell you! Sit on down, I’ve got some Tea to spill! Where should I begin?

Life. I am in love with my life. If you follow along with my blog, you will hear me brag often about my husband. But I love the ups, the downs, my husband, my friends, and my family. I am so full of Joy! Life can be so funny, so demanding. One day passes you by, then two, then the next thing you know, a whole week has gone by. Life is what we make of it. I believe that with all my heart. If we constantly focus on what we want, or what could be, instead of what is, what we have, we will be forever stressing, worrying, striving for that happiness, that truthfully may never come. But to have Joy? There is a difference. Happiness is an emotion, from an event in our lives, whether good or bad. Joy is inner peace, that no matter the circumstance, it never waivers.

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I thank God every day for my husband. I am not bragging about him, but yes I am! God has truly blessed me. A couple of days ago, we got a letter from his job, and July 1st will be his last day of work, yet again. They are going out of business. He has been laid off three times in the last six years. Twice within the last 6 months. Just frustrating!

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Let me tell you about hubby. My husband is a man of integrity, honesty, hard-working, and dedication to whatever he puts his mind to, including his family, and God. He loves to work, and never calls in, ever. He has had an award for the last 10 years for perfect attendance, at all of his jobs. Babe worked at the McWane Cast Iron and Steel plant 25 years, up until 2010. They went out of business due to the Economy. Now while unemployed for almost 9 months, he never gave up. I worked, and he was the best hubby ever. My husband did what all women dream of. He cooked, kept the house spotless, and even did laundry! Imagine that. The entire nine months of unemployment, it did not affect his happiness at all. He never gave up hope. We lost our home, got behind in bills, credit went down the drain. Not one time did he complain. He kept paying his tithes out of his little unemployment check, (which was not near what we were bringing in). He never became angry or upset at our situation, always full of joy.

He did eventually get work, underground to the Coal Mines. He did not complain, never called in, and was considered a very productive employee. As a matter of fact, life became so good, he told me to quit work, due to my health, and focus on getting well. “Just take care of you and the house. I got the rest!” I told you he was a good husband, didn’t I? Even though my husband made good money, really good, he never let it go to his head. We did not buy the fancy cars, a big home. We prepared ourselves for that day when…..

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Now, six years later, the mines went out of business. Some Obama thing about cleaner coal, or something. That’s another story. Anyways, another 4 months without work. This time, we are both unemployed. But he never wavered. He found another job, at a significant pay cut mind you. He worked for three months, and then we get this letter. Really!? Ugghh!

Life can be so mean at times. There are ups and downs. Life can take you through some things, that would cause a normal person to have a stroke or become ill if they let it. My husband and I, we live a life of simplicity. At the same time, making sure we are productive. We do like the nice things, but what we don’t want are “things”.  Our home is small, but it is comfortable. It is a nice home, just for us. Our cars are paid for, no notes. Those things are material. They are just not at the top of our list right now. I, we, would rather live a life of Joy. A life with stability in knowing, whatever we go through, he will be there. We will go through it together, no matter what!

My husband is a giving person. Never meets a stranger. He will give the shirt off his back if you are cold. Always blessing others. Sometimes, he actually gets on my nerves with the giving. Hubby is a man of God, who knows, the more we bless others, God will in return bless us. I am happy with what we have, where we are, and where life is taking us. I am happy with the life we have built together as a family. If more comes my way, I am waiting with open arms. Until then, I am full of Joy!

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So I just want to encourage you today. I want to slip a little Tea into your life. If life gets you down, just hold on. Don’t waste one minute! Keep pushing, and never look back to what could be. Life may take you places where it seems you can never recover. Do not let go of that dream, that hope. A better day will come. Some storms are worse than others. Whether big or small, eventually, the sun has to come out. The sun always shines brighter, after the storm. The clouds clear, and the sky is crystal blue again. Just keep pushing and don’t give up!

Now let’s fill that glass! Until next time, stay blessed, stay southern sweet. I’ll have the tea waiting.

Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com 

Posted in About Me, About Me, Blog, Family, Self Help

Family isn’t always Family

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Why hey ya’ll! How’s it goin? I am blessed and cool under this shade tree with my Tea! I just love those cool days when I can sit under the tree, relaxing, with not a care in the world. Just me, the shade, and my tea. Not for long though. I can always count on my two little ones, my dogs, of course, to interrupt me. They come running, jump up on the hammock, all excited, and then just plop right there and go off to a nap. Why do I have to move to make you comfortable? They are the epitome of family.

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You know?! The one who always gives out a great big hug just when you need it. Or the cousin who makes you laugh at nothing funny at all. Some of us have that Aunt that always wants her way or no way. Or that Uncle that is always drunk at the family holiday, asking for money from the kids. I have a brother like that, well used to. Now he’s going to be upset with me writing this, but it’s ok. I love my family with all my heart. But sometimes you have to just get away. Or move away in my case! I just left, moved to Alabama, because I could not take the selfishness and in-consideration for others any longer.

Please allow me to be specific. At the time, 14 years ago, my brother was an Alcoholic. I say was, because he is no longer, and has been sober for quite some time. It took him years to get himself together, to get support from those willing to endure his attitudes, his countless disappearing acts, his anger. But he did it, and I am so proud of him.

That brings me to the title of this blog. Family isn’t always family. If it was not for my brother’s best friend, and in-laws, (ie; sister and brother-in-law), I am not sure where he would be. I had been through enough with my abusive ex-husband for the last ten years. I did not want to endure another ten. I was trying to get myself together. My life was a mess, my self-confidence, my attitude towards men, everything. So when I had enough of family, I packed up and left.

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We are still in contact. Just spoke to him two days ago as a matter of fact. We have mended old wounds, and are rather close I would think. We still have our differences, but nothing will ever break us apart completely except for the big D.  But now the roles have changed. No, I do not have an addiction. Well, maybe chocolate. What I mean is that I am now down here in Alabama, with no family, except my husband’s side. I love them all, but there is nothing like your own. I miss my family dearly. However, I do not miss them enough to leave Alabama. No, I will stay right here. But the circle of friends that I have is awesome! I have made myself a family through non-family. We are closer than most of my real family. Like I said, family is not always family.

I love the South. There is nothing that would or could pull me from here. For a long time, I was a transient of sorts. I could not sit still. Just could not find my place in this big ‘ol world. But now, I have, and I am in love with my life. I am in love with a great husband, wonderful children, and five awesome grandsons, and one precious granddaughter. All of which, are not my blood, but my husband’s children. I could never birth my own. I love them like they were my own, and I believe they love me! Holidays are the biggest ordeal with us. So, why would I leave? It is ok to get homesick once in a while, but that’s it. After a point, reality has to set in and get back to our lives, whatever that may be. 

Speaking of which, I have to get up and go cook dinner. We cook every night in the south. Whether big or small, dinner is always on the table by sundown. And ya have to have a Desert! It’s a Southern thing I think.

So, in the meantime, think about the important people in your lives. Tell them often how important they are to you. Blood or not, family is family. It is rare that we find others we can rely on in these days and times. Someone to listen, without judgment, and be there to pick us up, without question. Make sure your “Family” knows just how much they mean to you. Do not let too much time slip away, or it may end up being too late.

Until next time, stay blessed, stay southern sweet, and I will have your tea waiting.

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Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com

Posted in About Me, Blog, Religion

I can’t sit still!

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Hey! How’s it going? Me? It’s been a great day! A longer week. Come on in, let me get you a glass of Tea.

So, at my Church, I am a doorkeeper, a Deaconess, a videographer, I sing in the Choir, once a month we drive the Church van, and it all fell on the same week, this week. I am exhausted! That is not to mention the other million things I have going on in my life! Today was our Community Day on the grass at my church, Now Faith Church International, located in Pleasant Grove Alabama. We had an awesome time!

At the picnic today we had the music blasting, dancing on the lawn, children laughing and playing in the moonwalk, a Sno Cone machine, food smelling good. The grill was going with hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone in the community at no charge. The elders were in the shade under the tree, eating bee bops. Takes me back to my childhood. What is a bee-bop? It is a frozen kool-aid in a small Styrofoam cup. We freeze them, then, once frozen, you eat them on a hot day under a shade tree. Oh! but you have to pull the frozen delish out of the cup, n turn it upside down! They are so sweet and delicious. A southern favorite on a hot summer day! It is well-known among the neighborhood “candy lady”.

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Oh yea, we dance, to gospel music. Some Christians know how to have fun and be saved. I also love to sing. Our choir is amazing. Believe it or not, we started out fourteen years ago with three members in the choir. Now we call it the “Now Faith Mass” choir because we have almost 25 people singing with us. I am not the best singer, but our Minister of Praise, he
can teach a duck to sing hunny!
So, as I stated above, I am also a doorkeeper. Yep, when anyone walks through that door, you will see my face to greet you with a great big “Hey, how are you?” and a hug. I love people, so I asked specifically to be on the door. I want everyone to feel welcome when they come. I mean, who wants to see a sour puss when they visit a new church? Not me! I wouldn’t be back. I hate to see ugly faces. When I say ugly, I mean frowns and complaining. Turn that frown upside down. Tomorrow I have to also ride with hubby, to pick up members on the church van. It’s our week to drive. I will be so glad when this week is over! I can finally get some rest, maybe.

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Oh, wait, I have to visit my cousin in the hospital, she had a stroke. I have to finish the videos I recorded of the Revival for the church tape ministry, grocery shopping, laundry, type the minutes from our Motorcycle Ministry monthly meeting. Jeesh, I may get some rest next month. Yea, the end of May sounds good. But then again, that is Memorial weekend. As you can see, as I have mentioned before, in previous posts, I have a lot on my plate, as we say in the south. I can never sit still. I would probably be bored if I sat too long anyways.

I am not sure when I will get some good, all-night rest. Am I the only one who moves like this? Do you have a tendency to always be moving?

Comment below, let me know your thoughts on the subject. I will pause for now. But please stay tuned to see where this busy Southern life takes me! Come along for the ride, and keep your glass full. Until the next time we chat, stay blessed, stay southern sweet! I’ve got the tea waiting.

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Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com