Honor and Heart

I can't put into words what happened to me yesterday. Laura, whom I've been working with at Papa's barn, asked me to make something for her mom for her birthday. She gave me a bag of jewelry and keepsakes. She also gave me her brother's dog tags. She wanted me to make them into cuffs. One for her mom and one for herself. Honestly, I didn't put a lot of thought into it. I knew it would be super easy to make. I did stop in to the leather store the other day and picked up some really cool hides. One was grey and I felt like it was totally different from the other leather cuffs I've done. I wanted to use it for more than cuffs, too....(handbag?) I decided to put one of the dog tags on the grey. It looked great!

I took it to show Laura to get her opinion and planned on finishing it on Monday. I didn't have everything and she said she planned on seeing her mom on Thursday. I took it home, finished it and made the second one in my traditional brown leather. When I took them to Laura today, we discussed me sharing it on Instagram and Facebook so that her mother would see them and know that I made them, but that they were from Laura for her birthday. When I got home, I uploaded the picture and wrote out something simple. I really tried to cancel it before it sent and then.....I started getting tons of comments and likes on both social media platforms. Everyone loved them, several wanted to place orders and one issue was his social security number. Yes, it's on there. I asked Laura what she thought because her mom hadn't seen it yet. She told her mom to go look and then asked her thoughts on his information being out there. They both agreed that they were ok with it staying online. As the night went on, more and more comments and then I read this....this is what it's all about. Read what Laura wrote about her brother and the lives that have touched him, these dog tags and her heart.

When I look at these tags my heart swells with gratitude and love and I think about the people they have passed through to get to where they are now.
My brother was a hero. SPC Andrew Lee Hand. He joined the National Guard in 2005 and served in 2 deployments. On his last tour his vehicle was hit by an IED and he went home to be with The Lord in 2010.
Before he left for his last deployment, Andrew gave his dog tags to my brother-in-law, Chad Davis, who Andrew also considered a brother. When Andrew passed away Chad gave them to me. They have hung on my vanity for the past 3 years. A place where I sit everyday to get ready and I can see them everyday. But as special as these are to me, they needed a better home than just hanging in my bedroom. So, I decided to have my cousin Lucy Farmer, owner of Lucy Locket's, make them into these beautiful, leather bracelets you see in the picture. One for my precious mother for her birthday and one for myself.
As you can see, from being worn around my brother's neck on the battlefield, to my brother-in-law as a gift, to me as a keepsake, to my cousin to create a cherished piece of jewelry, and last to my mother and myself. They are a sacred treasure that we are privileged and honored to wear and they will be worn proudly for all to see.
#hero #son #brother #dogtags #favoritethings #family #lucylockets

Making these cuffs is one of the most rewarding things I have done. Thank you, Laura for the opportunity and for your heart.