I was born in Texas, but I grew up in both Tennessee and North Carolina as well. As a kid, I was always aware that Asheville, NC was an amazing place to live. I was in undergrad at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2000 when my parents realized their dream to move to the mountains.
In 2006, my thought process went something like this:
ME: I’m bored...
MY BRAIN: 🤔
ME: I should get my MBA.
MY BRAIN: But you don’t like business.
ME: Hmmm… you have a point. But I should definitely get my Masters in something.
MY BRAIN: Okay, we can work with this…
ME: Where should I go?
MY BRAIN: Oooh! Let’s make it an adventure!
ME: You mean, like, Europe?
MY BRAIN: Yes, but better pick someplace they speak English.
ME: Oh, yep, good thinking. So, England then?
MY BRAIN: Ugh, boring, no. So trite. So cliché.
ME & MY BRAIN: What about Australia?!
And that’s how I ended up selling all of my stuff, giving away my dog (I would've taken her if I could have!), and moving to Perth, Australia.
While there I got a Masters of Design in Display and Events at Edith Cowan University in Perth, got married, traveled, and had my first baby. And though we loved living in Perth, being continents away from a free babysitter (family) grew increasingly difficult.
So, in 2013, just weeks after the birth of my second child, I arrived in Asheville with a husband, two kids (Halsey and Carrick), five suitcases, and love. And we were happy.
But in 2015, some physical symptoms were becoming a real nuisance, and so began my “Magical Medical Mystery” tour. Tests and scopes. Scans and pokes. New doctor. New doctor. New doctor. Ugh.
The next few years were not happy—stress, fatigue, and pain—oh my!
By 2018, I found myself on my own, wondering how in the world a single-mom and primary caregiver with a chronic illness, Fibromyalgia, and chronic pain would be able to support her kids and herself? The answer, the blessing, the relief came with SoulKu.
When the days are tough, I can SoulKu.
When my legs throb and my arms ache, I can SoulKu.
When I chat with my kids, I can SoulKu.
When a pandemic hits, I can SoulKu.
When my lawyer delivers another blow in an exhaustingly long, and unnecessarily cruel divorce, I can SoulKu.
When I drink wine Zoom with my friends, I can SoulKu.
The tasks are known. The work is comforting. The rhythm of making soothes my soul…
string - slip - knot - knot - clip - loop - thread - loop - tighten - stretch - knot - stretch - knot - clip - tug - flick - snuff - flick - snuff - pop - stick - flip - twirl - stick - crinkle - rip - fold - stick - inspect - and drop. (rinse and repeat)
Lately, my favorite to make are Be Your Own Hero bracelets. I love the “Oh, hello!” moment when the right five stones or crystals come together to become one. I also love when I look down at my own personal "Super Mom" BYOH bracelet it can mean so many different things—validation when I feel like I'm totally a super mom or encouragement when I feel like I'm totally not.
I wish I could say that when I’m not making SoulKu, I’m off playing soccer or being an extra in a movie (I was in the bank heist comedy, Mastermind, and the [awful] TV remake of Dirty Dancing). But that was “Well Melinda,” and although I know I’ll see her again some time (hopefully sooner rather than later), for now, when I’m not making SoulKu, fostering kittens at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, or spending time with my children, I rest. And that’s okay.
When you receive a piece of SoulKu jewelry made by me, I hope you feel a connection. SoulKu truly is infused with love, song, and prayer... as well as laughter, strength, and a mother's care. And every time I sign my cards with "Mel ❤❤," I think "Melinda, Halsey, Carrick," and this is repeated hundreds of times every week. I like to think that it's a way I can introduce myself to you, and that we are about to become special friends.