The meaning of Magnolia & Willows

This post is a little more personal than I usually like to get. Which means I’m growing outside my comfort zone, yeah! I want to share why our business is named Magnolia & Willows. I have been a widow for 7 years now, so I am going back a long, long time (2006-lol) to when I first met my husband. I had grown up in Illinois. Illinois is a decent place to live. There’s plenty of corn here and good schools, nice people. My wandering spirit always felt like this wasn’t the end of my adventure, I was made to roam.

The feelings of wanderlust were damn near painful for me from a young age. I wanted to see different people, feel different winds and hear different tones of nature. I met my husband and fell in love! He was from the Deep South, but worked in Illinois. So, we settled in Iowa in a home with a pretty willow tree in the front yard. My stepchildren would play under the vines and my husband would complain about its weepy shape and chop branches, but I loved to use the vines to weave baskets.

Let me stop right there for a minute. This is a perfect example of Shelly Homemaker! Did I need a basket? No! Did I know how to make a basket from vines? Nope, sure didn’t and that is why I did it. I had to take the opportunity given to me with this willow tree and learn a new skill.

Anyways, fast forward a couple years and my husband’s position was transferred back down to the Deep South (Mississippi shout out Yall).

So, we packed up and left that house and that Willow tree and moved right down to Smithville, MS.

Now we get into the good parts of this story. We moved into an old rental house that had not been taken good care of throughout the years. It had a brick fireplace that didn’t work and tons of charm, but it was in rough shape. It had old Berber carpet, uneven floors and 3 additions to it (that'll matter later).

Being my homemaker self, I made it feel like a comfortable home. We enjoyed ourselves and kids in that home for about a year and then a giant tornado blew that house to shreds!

We were home with the children when an EF-5 ripped the first 2 additions clean off the ground and dang near took us with them. We were very lucky and blessed to be alive after that one, whew!

There was a pecan grove next to that house and 1 Magnolia tree. The pecans were majestic and old as was the Magnolia tree.

Well, that tornado bent every Pecan Tree in the field, but not the Magnolia. If the Magnolia would have moved it would have destroyed the part of the house, we were sheltering in.

The strength of that Magnolia’s roots helped our luck and our lives.

That was all the way back in 2011, you can google Smithville, MS tornado right now and read about how powerful it was and deadly. I had quite a few friends that lost their lives in that one.

We were immediately homeless and I tell you we had 0 savings. It was bleak but God sent us everything we needed during that time. There were so many blessings I would have to write a book, not just for us but the whole community. That’s one thing that I really find unique about the South, them folks can show out (that means do good deeds).

Let me see if I can get back to the point.... hmmm.

So, in 2021 I wanted to launch a candle company. I love making candles and I love the idea of bringing joy to peoples purchases. I spent a long time thinking about what to name this company.

It hit me like a ton of bricks, Magnolia and Willows. Willows represents the North where I was raised, my family and the memories of that old basket weaving tree. Magnolia represents strength something ancient and the tree that shielded my family from further tragedy.

I've had many people tell me our name isn't googleable, it doesn’t explain our company well enough and it should be changed. I bet you can imagine what I think! Magnolia & Willows is a perfect name, full of meaning, for a great company that wants to celebrate life's joys and trials with our customers.

Oh, and by the way, MW are my initials. Lol. Maybe I could have saved us some time and just said that.

We hope you enjoyed reading the story of our name. We have other great stories that are probably less personal in our blog @ .

We also have a store stocked full of candles and hand sewn goods to make your day- no willow baskets are for sale there😅. Much love.

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