We are in the serious heat of summer and I know our garden is flourishing with tomatoes, so why not celebrate our Tomato Candle – Fresh Off the Vine. Be warned, this smells just like the green vines of a tomato plant, full of spice and earth. Just a great garden fresh candle and is one of our most popular.
I had a dear friend pass away recently. She was one of the most amazing women I have known in my life. The list is long. Spiritual teacher, best friend, nature and animal lover. She was full of wonder, great story teller, adventurer. I could barely keep up with her on a hike. And, boy, did we love books and sharing food. She will always be my lox/bagel and Goodreads buddy!
We all have that sister friend in our lives, don’t we? Just a few that really walk their talk. That love us fully, no matter. They laugh and cry with us. They nurture us. Hold us. Unconditional love in manifest.
With all this said, in her dying, my doubts when she left took over. Her and I talked of her death. She was amazing to be open to that new journey she knew was coming. I would listen, be open, be ready to be with her in it all. We planned ceremonies and I was prepared. But, just like any birth and death story, we can not control the outcome. So, this grief was surprisingly different. I felt her and I were reading the same book but she took off with the ending, leaving me in darkness. I felt lost. Numb. Alone.
I tried tried to form these grand ceremonies we talked of. I mean, shouldn’t I be banging the drum and weeping in some grand gesture on my lawn for her? She would laugh pretty hard at this idea right now. I chuckle as well.
While all this is going on in me, I have been tending a potted garden on our patio. It is not anything grand and I am a novice gardener. Slowly learning to turn a brown thumb to green. Even though I am considered a “treehugger” fear would always keep me from attempting a garden, but for some reason I felt called to really give an effort this summer.
In the past month or so this garden experience has taken hold of my heart. I never knew the joy of having a garden. Now in the mornings I jump out of bed to go water, harvest and enjoy this quiet peace. When I come home from a long day of candle-making, instead of heading to the couch to collapse, I tend to the garden to harvest, water, and talk of the day to the tomatoes and the creatures that visit.
The garden has become so important in my daily life that I felt a calling to share more, here, in my blog. To my surprise, as I began writing on tomatoes and butterflies (in no way seeing it would be about my friend) the grieving tears began to stream down.
The garden all along has been the most magical, perfect ceremony possible in honoring my friend and our friendship. The “A’HA” moment strikes again. She is more then just a one time ceremony. She is here, daily, watching, laughing, enjoying the adventure with me. She is the butterfly that lands on my shoulder when I water and sing to the plants. The garden is full of wonder, spirituality, lessons, friendship, adventure, quiet connection, and celebration. The garden is alive and if I nurture it, water it, talk to it, spend time and care the connection just grows stronger bringing more fruit. My friend is there, all around with me in the garden. Our loved ones are with us guiding us and it takes nurturing and our own time to find our way through the doubt and grief in hopes to touch on faith.
I pass this on to you who is experiencing loss. It doesn’t make the missing hurt any less, but the garden slowly wakes us up to hope, to the sacred, to transition, to my friend, and to the Great Spirit. What an important lesson in this challenging time. I hope you find your garden in life and experience the faith and healing it can bring.
This is the garden lesson of the day. More to come! Off to eat some lox and bagel with an added tomato slice from the garden. In honor of you Kathleen.
My business was built on craft fairs and farmers markets. Here I am, 8 years later, about to hit 50 and 2020 was predicted to be one of my greatest years. I fought a cancer scare in 2019, I am just healing up from radiation and chemo, I have a brand new store to run, and was heading back to all our favorite markets and festivals. Classes, community events being planned. Cloud nine I tell you.
Then cue music, enter life, stage right. Pulling the rug out under my feet, again. In this case, all of our feet.
However, a very small positive light is still burning. We all have had to let go. You can’t control the situation but how can you run along with life, side by side, partners in unison? Not all days are sunny and beautiful. Some days you hit the puddles, potholes, droughts, and mud.
In another world, I would be selling my creations at outdoor markets on these beautiful spring days. I also would be opening my store with a gigantic smile (no needed mask to hide it) and running tons of classes and events. If I focus on these thoughts (and believe you me it creeps into my brain) the paced run begins to slow down and quitting rules the mind.
So, today is today. My self motivation in the marathon is to go outside, remembering the other hobbies and ideas that have always wished to come along on the run. Planting seeds, learning about herbs, watering the garden, learning how to brave the online selling world and creating more classes, even with zoom. Yes, even attempting this blog again as I never had time before. Treating myself to learning new crafting hobbies and recipes for healthy new products, and taking on my long love of animals with more detailed bird watching. An absolute joy and new found obsession. Also, filling my indoor time with inspirational new landscapes such as cooking, books, magazines and documentaries.
As I write this, surrounded by much bird chatter, blooming flowers, a soft breeze and warm sun, I tighten up my laces, stretch my legs, and begin my paced run again with life. Sipping on my delicious iced tea, taking deep breaths of fresh air, and keep on running forward in hopes all of us make it through just fine and maybe, just maybe, even stronger and more aware then ever before.
Debbie Blinder is owner of Full Circle Candles and Hallelujah Pottery in Monteagle, TN. Learn more about all they do at www.fullcirclecandles.com
Did you know that Full Circle Candles is tucked inside an historic pottery store? Hallelujah Pottery has a long, rich history and we love working together in this space. We always carry handmade local, regional, and global pottery. Some of the pottery is made and fired at our location by local potters. There are local, regional and global handmade gifts as well. Being a part of craft fairs and farmers markets, we carry jewelry, chai tea, art, cards and more from our most admired crafters. We make all candles in house and look for more of our handmade products such as scrubs, lip balms and natural bug sprays being added to the shelves this spring.
You will also notice a flourishing Little Free Pantry/Library for families in need that sits out front to greet everyone.
Come on by to visit and enjoy a free cup of coffee or tea that we have ready for you. Located at 1202 W Main Street in Monteagle, TN.
Winter Hours – Thurs, Fri, Sat 11 – 4pm – 931-636-4717
As I hit my 40’s, I feel the tone of social media, news outlets, and even friends opinions have taken a big toll on my mind and emotions. I don’t think I am alone in this too. I had hit a time of well, hopelessness, and couldn’t see how possible to make a difference in such a world. It all felt too big to take on.
I have always had an attraction to anything dealing with the environment, earth and animals (probably largely in part to my Bob Ross and John Denver influences). It spilled over into college and eventually made it’s way into a bookstore I owned in Florida, The Knowledge Tree, which not only had books but also had a strong social activism side. So many good things happened at that little store, so many people joined in and it felt even the smallest gesture made a little difference.
So with all this said, I chose to shut down the civil media war online and TV and turned my head to concentrate on decent forms of journalism, good books, small non-profits, people and businesses doing positive work in this world. I found I was quickly inspired by so many working on grassroots levels making positive differences. They made me feel it is possible to still be involved. A little flame has formed in me again.
A large part of Full Circle Candles influences are when we moved to TN. Nature, hiking, animals, food, farmers and crafters helped lead me to create my own craft, candles, and more. Now it is coming around full circle to what I believe in and what I choose to be a part of as I walk on this journey. So in the upcoming days I am going to be sharing a new candle line that reflects the road Full Circle and myself are going on. I hope others will join in and learn lots with me! I could not have done this without such influential people doing amazing work every day. It is pretty uplifting when you read lots of good news stories. They certainly shine bright in this world and hence this is the name of the new line!
I picked each theme through much research and what I wanted to be a part of, what spoke to me the most, what felt the most authentic. Lots of work went into this, lots of great folks helped me, they kept it sacred and I have enjoyed this creating process immensely.
So enjoy the unveiling of 5 new themed candles this week (there will be more!) that hopefully they will Shine Bright in this World! This is just the beginning of the journey. I felt it was perfect to begin it in the month of one of my favorite holidays, created in the year I was born, Earth Day! Happy April! Onward!
Candle of the week ❤️ Lemon 🍋 lemony verbena…Called Sunny 😎 Day. When I was in my home 6 years ago I had all my new little supplies to make my very own soy candle. This candle was born. So fresh and full of citrus. Smells like a lemon drop! I threw all my glade and other brand name candles out and proudly added this healthier candle to my house. Just a new hobby born. Years later I celebrate this fresh candle, remembering where one comes from.
It is officially 2019 and into the new year we go. Linear time is the trickster and in the back of my mind the question of “does it really mean anything?” lurks. Indeed, ritual is important to us and in many cultures. So, yes, as the new year celebrations pass us by, we have a chance in our own life rituals to reflect, refresh, and reboot and focus on new goals.
As a crafting business, this is always my small winter break, but before I can refresh and reboot, I must seek out reflection and what was the biggest lesson to learn so I can move on and plan ahead.
At the end of year I had to face a most important meeting. Upon getting ready with picking out my nice skirt, my nice blouse, my special sparkly earrings, I realized, after just moving, my nice shoes were in a box somewhere. All I had were my sneakers and socks. The meeting I had to attend was over 2.5 hours away. I said to myself “Surely, as I find the meeting place, I can locate a Walmart or a shoe store near by and this issue would be solved”. Upon my arrival to meeting, 1/2 hour before it started, I parked and googled “Walmart near me” and it was only a few miles away but with traffic (which was heavy in the area) would take me about 15 minutes to get there. Gulp! I panicked for a moment. What if they see my sneakers? What will they think of me? I mean this is like a “suit” people sorta meeting. Then in one quick moment I looked in the mirror, fixed up my hair, saw the wrinkles in my face, smiled and said “screw it”. If they don’t like it oh well. I am going in and I am going for it. I grabbed my samples of candles and with sneakers and all I went in. On the other side of the door I was greeted by a woman, maybe in her 20’s, a very modern fun haircut, jeans and a t-shirt along with a HUGE supportive smile. No sneakers would matter in any of this meeting. Not one bit. She was interested in only my story and my candles.
The lesson for me was slapped in my face. In 2018 I was challenged by some others in industry to run my company with an energy to make bigger bucks, do it quickly, and pretty much if you run over others, so be it. Heart and Business don’t mix. Was this how to run a business? Was I a failure if I did not change my ways? Can I run a business, even in sneakers and socks?
I looked around at who I most admire in business. My most influential business and crafting friends. I saw nothing but them in their businesses. I saw it took them time, like me. I saw how they had to learn new business skills, just like me. They expressed how people took advantage of them in business, just like me. Also, I saw plenty of heart and when sharing my concerns, I got nothing back but be you, be unique, and no worries about what others do. Focus. My story, my candles, my meeting with this business woman was a huge “aha” moment. I was told my candles matched their goals, their ways. Sustainable, positive, and with a great story and passion driven behind it all. We made a good team. It was not just another candle. It had heart, it took me time and lots of energy and this was respected. At the same time we talked of business wisdom and how to move forward and expand. That was my most successful and validating moment on this candle journey. It felt wonderful to be me and to be accepted as the business woman I choose to be, even in my socks and sneaks.
So now that I have reflected on a big lesson of 2018 I turn away and focus in on 2019. I will be working with new stores, new ideas I have always wanted to put in place for years, and move forward with who I am through creating the candles. I look forward to the challenge of strengthening my business, learning new ways to accomplish goals, and always keeping the heart the center. I hope this message find you well through those doubtful moments in your business and or life journey. Always be your comfortable you, reflect, refresh, reboot, and focus.
Debbie Blinder is the owner/candle-maker of Full Circle Candles
Every Tuesday (if I have an online order) I deliver candles to the local farmers market up here in Sewanee. I have been selling on there for a few years now. If I recall, it is actually one of my beginning opportunities for selling my candles.
Every time I deliver, I stare around in amazement at this well oiled market machine. Healthy meats (no hormones, grass fed, pasture raised), organic veggies, fruits, jellies, flowers, coffee, soaps, and so much more. I get a feeling as I stand there, waiting to be checked in with my little order of candles, of such gratitude to be a part of this. It is indeed why I began making my own goods in the first place and here I stand in awe, glowing at all I see around me.
Moving to this place brought me to such an abundance of farmers markets and in this area of Tennessee (and hopefully other places) it is really thriving. People are working the land, creating wholesome products, making a living selling their wonderful goods to communities that support local beyond anything I have ever witnessed. I feel it is only growing stronger in many communities. I hope to always be involved with my local farmers market, learning and growing along with it.
Check out your own local farmers markets and dive in to all the goodies!!!
A few days ago I wrote about Full Circle’s flourishing recycle program. It started small and grew and grew. Little did I know that this would lead to more ideas on giving back to causes I care deeply about. It has been a strong part of what I wanted for this special candle company. It is called Full Circle for many reasons, one simply being, to pay it forward.
From this inspiration of helping the earth it now moves into fundraising and the give back candle is born and the cause is Standing Rock. In my own life, the Native American culture is extremely close to my heart. I have been watching the movement at Standing Rock for months. If I was not a mother with a business I probably would be there too.
I recently found out that there is a great need for supplies and such to keep the camp flourishing, especially as winter approaches. Some wonderful folks in my area have decided to hold a fundraiser at a local Episcopal Church for this cause next Saturday, November 26th, and with their great support, I created a candle to be available at the event.
I am so honored to be a part of any little bit of this, even if small (like that recycle program). If this wonderful, sacred candle helps the people at Standing Rock, even one get some supplies, it is a success. So here it is and will be available on the website (in any scent you wish) and also it will be carried at my craft table for the whole holiday season!! It will be sold for as long as the people Stand Strong (Nah’zhee Soo-tah) to protect their land. Hence the Mighty Buffalo Energy.
Here is a link to Standing Rock to learn more about the movement:
My regular customers are getting the hang of this recycling program! Every few weeks they have been bringing back their recycled jars and lids to The Chattanooga Market and then getting new candles for just $6 a piece. They seem so excited to pick out their new scents and are also making a difference by helping this recycle program live on!! Full Circle has now recycled over 400 jars in the past couple of years. I clean every single one of them (and it is so easy with just warm water and soap because Soy is so easy to clean out of a jar unlike paraffin) It is an all around win win
Every little steps helps. Live in the circle.