Saturday, July 6, 2013

"Seasons" Blog Hop

First of all, I would like to thank Lisa Lodge at Pine Ridge Treasures for hosting this blog hop and for creating such a beautiful kit for this creation.

I absolutely loved it.  There was a beautiful ceramic pendant by "Gaea" as well as Swarovski Crystals, Turquoise, Serpentine, Agate, Crystal and some gorgeous Czech glass.  I was thrilled when I poured the mix out onto my workspace and started to conjure a "season" in my head.

The Themes were:  A season of the year   OR  A season of your life.

I decided to combine the two themes into a single piece.

The events of my life from January of 2007 until around October of 2009 have largely shaped my life.  January of 2007 was when I learned that I was expecting my first child.  As the months progressed, what started as an easy pregnancy turned into one where I spent two months in the hospital on supervised bed rest (went in at 24 weeks) and saw my son come into this world in August of 2007 at 32 weeks (2 months early) weighing 2 pounds 11 ounces and 15 inches long.  He spent another 2 months in the NICU, and finally came home 3 days before his "due date."  During those 2 months, I was at the hospital every day, every 3 hours for his feedings, every time the doctor was scheduled to visit him.  My husband was out of town a lot, so most of this time it was just me, in a town 2 hours from everyone I knew, fending for myself and my tiny, tiny baby.  For the next year, we took him to so many specialists that I lost count.  

In January of 2008, my stepfather took his own life.  He had gotten very sick just before Thanksgiving, and his decision to end his own life shook my family to its foundation.  My mother and my 9 year old little brother were heartbroken, and I was angry.  I was so angry at him for doing this to all of us.  So angry that he couldn't see what my son needed his step grandfather and my little brother needed his dad.  

In March of 2008, my best friend passed away.  She was the matron of honor in my wedding and passed at the age of 32.  It was yet another blow.  She left behind 3 young sons all under the age of 6, and I was simply in shock.   I didn't feel strong enough to handle all of the hits that kept coming my life's way.  

In April of 2009, I talked my husband into moving me and our son back to my hometown of Dawsonville, GA.  I missed being close to my family, especially with him away working so much, and wanted to have my support network close by.

That summer, the summer of 2009....

Me, my husband, mother, little brother, stepdaughter and son decided to go to Port St Joe Florida for a week's vacation.  It was a time for us to get away, to spend some time as a family and have some FUN.  It had seemed like fun was something that we felt guilty to enjoy, but on that trip to the beach, we enjoyed ourselves again.  We stayed in a beautiful little beach house with its own pool for the kids to play in.  The beaches were practically deserted, so we were able to enjoy them without fighting crowds.  It was one of the best trips I have ever had.

That trip showed us that we were going to be able to overcome our adversities, and that we'd be OK.  That with love and time, we would be OK.

Today, my little brother is a 14 year old young man who is taller than I am.  My son is a brilliant 5 (almost 6) year old who is excited about starting Kindergarten and is honestly the smartest little guy I know.  My mom is remarried, and my husband is about to start his own company.  

Me?  I am throwing my attention into my jewelry business, and counting my blessings.  Even the ones from that very dark time where it seemed like they were so few and far between.

So my piece is in commemoration of that trip to the beach that defined the true beginning of healing.  


The pendant says "Wave," which to me symbolizes both the waves of the beach, of waving goodbye to sorrow, and of waving hello to happiness. 

 I included some seashell beads as well as a few Czech glass ones that look like sand.  My mom picked these out of her own stash for this project. :)  

"Life is like an ocean. It can be calm and still or rough and rigid. But in the end it’s always beautiful."

My little family in 2009, Port Saint Joe, Florida (Indian Pass)

Thank you for letting me share this little piece of my life with you.

Please visit the other fabulous artists in this Hop, and thank you again to Lisa!

Hostess: Lisa Lodge, Grateful Artist 

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

Cassi Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill

Stephanie Sanner Haussler, PixyBug Designs

Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes

Karin Slaton, BackStory Beads

Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution

Lori Jean Poppe, Lorillijean Creative Corner

Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams

Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design

Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life

Alicia Marinache,  All the Pretty Things

Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera

Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz

Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs

Lennis Carrier, Windbent

Erin Kenny, Beadifultherapy

Tanya Goodwin, A Work in Progress

Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends

Renetha Williams Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts

Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry

Sierra Barrett, Giraffe Can Has

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes

Shirley Jones Moore, Beads and Bread

Dawn Horner, Northern Adornments

Charlene Bausinger Jacka, Clay Space

YOU ARE HERE -->Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks

Miranda Ackerley, Daze and Days


  1. Wow. I had a year like that, too. Hooray for you, coming out on the other side better and stronger. I love the symbolism behind your piece.

    1. Thank you so much! We are all stronger for the trials we face in life! :) Many blessings! :)

  2. Your story brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. I love the jewelry you created, and I love how it served as a reminder to you that life really does keep moving and going on despite everything trying to bring you down. Just wonderful.

    1. Thank you so much, Tara!! This was really a moving challenge :)

  3. I am so glad to read that all of your lives have changed direction. Your necklace certainly has a very special meaning to you. Well done!

  4. Oh gosh, I was in tears reading your story. So, so glad to hear the upside of that stressful time. I love how your necklace works so perfectly with your story, and that Wave will always be a special meaning for you. Thank you for sharing!

  5. What a beautifully written post, and a gorgeous necklace to commemorate a turning point in your life. You have a beautiful family to celebrate!

  6. What a wonderful story! I am happy to have heard it. And a beautiful design as well :-)

  7. Candida - I got all teary reading your post! Thanks for sharing a piece of your life journey with us. The jewelry is just lovely, and I am so glad that the wave pendant will always have special meaning for you. Thanks again for participating in the hop!

  8. What a story... Disasters always come with friends, don't they ? But we push on. We live. It's what we have to do. Your jewelry is amazing, and may it remind you that everything can be overcome :)

  9. You created gorgeous jewelry, so sorry to hear you had so many sad episodes in your life but glad things are going much better for you now.

  10. Your set is so lovely and memorable in many ways!! Thank you for sharing your story of your beautiful family!

  11. What a cutie your little one is. So sorry for all the sadness, but what great pieces came from your story and making it through. Love the necklace and the earrings.

  12. Oh, my, what a story - thank you for sharing it; I am happy your family came through the many sad moments of your past. Your necklace is beautiful and a reminder of the beauty of life!

  13. Love the story/inspiration for your piece. The design is so whimsical. I love the earrings and that you put so much of yourself into your design.

  14. Candida, so often we are taught that to show our love for those who have returned to the nonphysical, we must suffer, or be sad; that our suffering and "loss" is equal to how much we love someone. Finding a way to focus on joy was the greatest gift, the greatest honor you could give those you love. In my experience, it is in appreciation & joy that we are connected to them; not in thoughts of loss and despair. Our sorrow and suffering creates distance between us and that horrible sense of loss -- so uncomfortable because it is so unnecessary.

    My daughter died last summer, and I feel closest to her in my joy. I know she is with me every time I appreciate, when I focus on things that make me feel good, and every time -- without a doubt -- I know joy is the key to our connection.

    Your little one is such an incredible person, as are you! I'm so honored to know your story of strength & his story of strength. The photos of him happily swimming are beautiful! You must be so proud of each other. Your whole family must be so proud of each other :)

    Your jewelry so perfectly represents the amazing season of transformation: the power of focus and the power of joy! I love hearing of the healing power of happiness, of that beautiful trip to Florida! I live in florida, and it is so special and healing here. You've beautifully created jewelry art that reflects that wonderful energy! The precious shiva shells are gorgeous, and I love how you've celebrated the wave ceramic with a colorful abundance of pretty beads.


  15. Wow Candida! Thank you for sharing! Life has definitely thrown you several curve balls, and it took a lot of strength to talk about them & then share the emotional years you've been through. It seems that you definitely possess much inner strength.

    I totally feel that we honor our loved ones who've passed away through our memories & when we focus our lives on positive, productive activities.

    You have a beautiful family and a gorgeous son! You have many blessings. Your lovely necklace definitely has undertones of strength and activity! I love the "wave" and the symbolism! Wear them often and with pride. :0

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Thank you for allowing a little of my life to touch yours! I always love reading your thoughts!!