SUNTEX Mendoza

Our Contacts

2909 E Arkansas Ln Suite C,

Arlington, TX 76010

817-841-9632

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SUNTEX Appoints Megan Brannen as New Chief Executive Officer

SUNTEX

SUNTEX CEO: Megan Brannen

NEWS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

Dallas, Texas, July 15, 2022. SUNTEX announced today that Megan Brannen of Austin, Texas has been appointed the new CEO of the company. An experienced business leader and developer, Brannen will succeed Alejandra Mendoza and assume responsibilities on July 15. After almost 4 years as CEO, Mendoza will now serve in the company as Managing Director.

Megan Brannen worked as VP of Operations of another Texas solar company back in 2017 for two years. Before that, she worked as a Consultant with Deloitte Consulting, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in Health and Sanitation in Guatemala.

“It was immediately clear that Brannen was the right fit to be my successor and lead the company to new heights,” said Alejandra Mendoza, Co-founder and Managing Director.

“We’ve (Jose and Ally, Co-founders of SUNTEX) been aware of her skills and ability to stay on top of the continuous changing solar processes, we have known her work before she joined SUNTEX as our Executive Administrator and we know she will lead us well in the next chapter for our company.”

As Executive Administrator, Megan really helped solidify the vision for SUNTEX. Hiring new members, and creating training and onboarding materials, she helped to shape company leaders and train them in how we at SUNTEX do honest business within the solar industry. For more information on her background, check out our ‘About Me’ page here: https://suntexllc.com/team/megan-brannen/, and her Linked In Profile, here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-brannen-86522848/.

She is gifted not only in servant leadership, but also has key organizational and project management skills that have allowed her to tackle multiple projects and grow this company organically since she came on board in 2020.

While at (other companies), Megan Brannen made a number of improvements to the supply chain that led to increased savings, and launched a range of new services, increasing revenue by 40%.

SUNTEX

About SUNTEX, LLC

SUNTEX LLC is a family-owned company based out of North Texas. With an emphasis on high-quality solar power with the highest level of customer service, we’re dedicated to providing the best energy solution and experience to our customers.

Media Contact:

Ally Mendoza, Managing Director of SUNTEX

[email protected]

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SUNTEX Updates: Thank you to Ally and Jose Medoza, and their Journey to Oklahoma!

SUNTEX Mendoza

Mendoza Family: The Heart of SUNTEX

Pues, que puedo decir? Les agradezco mucho a Alejandra y Jose de SUNTEX.

This fall, the Mendoza family starts a new adventure to Oklahoma, and will also be accompanied by their four children. While they will still of course be Board members of SUNTEX LLC, and will continue to oversee the administration of this incredible company, but they will also be passing the torch to someone who has worked with them (and with you all, dear readers) for years – Blog Author and former Executive Administrator, Megan Brannen. For more on her background, please feel free to check out our former highlight, here: https://suntexllc.com/team/megan-brannen/.

Megan has worked passionately and ardently to help SUNTEX grow organically – while putting a few of the nuts and bolts in place behind the scenes – and will continue to support the team in her new capacity as CEO of SUNTEX. Her knowledge of the solar industry, specifically in commercial and residential operations, as well as the research she has conducted to understand the renewables industry at large uniquely qualifies her in this role.

Additionally, because of her background experience working in Consulting for Deloitte Consulting, LLC, as well as her experience as a former Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), she is not only organized, but also gifted in solving problems, in Spanish.

SUNTEX Mendoza

SUNTEX CEO: Megan Brannen

Please do Congratulate her when you see her! She is very excited for what’s to come for SUNTEX in 2022, and beyond.

So far this year, we’ve had the opportunity to attend events such as the ACORE Inaugural Accelerate Member Forum in March, where we met with several small companies – and much larger companies – currently working in renewable energy across the United States. In mid-May, Alejandra and Megan had the chance to attend the Clean Power Conference and hear from industry leaders and policy makers that more renewable infrastructure was on the horizon, as well as potential funding sources which would enable better equality in terms of implementation.

That’s where we would like to help. Todos de nuestros empleados y/o contratistas hablan español. Lo se, que el acento mío tiene que mejorarse bastante todavía, pero es cierto que puedo hablar y escribir español a veces. Básicamente, nos gustaría ser el proveedor de energía solar número 1 en Texas, Nuevo México y Colorado para los hispanohablantes. Nuestro negocio creció desde la idea que todos deben tener acceso al energía renovable, y sostenible también, con Servicio al Cliente mejor que lo demás. Eso es la visión de SUNTEX que crecieran sus fundadoes, Alejandra Olguin Mendoza y Jose Ismael Mendoza, y por eso, seguimos adelante.

This year we’re looking to continue to grow the business and expand training for our team, as well as our customers. We’ve got a fantastic team behind us whom are poised behind our Sales Team Manager, Martha Mavita, to educate primarily Spanish-speakers on how to complete an energy assessment in your home, and what steps you can take to mitigate your carbon footprint. Our team is well versed in product knowledge, industry knowledge, and most importantly, how to save customers money long-term.

Only time will tell what the future holds for us, but before stepping into this role, I know the entire team at SUNTEX, and likely several of our customers as well, would like to thank the Mendoza family for everything they have done to bring us to this next moment. Ally and Jose have worked tirelessly for over 20 years in Construction and Project Management, and for the past 5 years in the solar industry in Texas.

Having worked alongside them, I know they can tell you firsthand what an exciting and cumbersome journey it has been! Again and again they have proven their ability to lead their team-members to become leaders themselves, solve complex and unique problems in terms of customer service, and really deliver on the promise to serve others better than they would serve themselves. Working alongside them for the past three years at SUNTEX, I am incredibly grateful that they have asked me to step into their giant, strategic shoes and take the next step in my career with SUNTEX. I am so very grateful, and only have the future to prove it. Thank you for this opportunity.

SUNTEX

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Marching into Spring with A Blume and Aplomb

March SpringHappy First day of March! I’ll do my best to keep the marching puns to a minimum but unfortunately for you all, that does not mean none will occur.

While we will continue to celebrate Black American history all year long, there is a lot to celebrate in March as well! This month we celebrate Women’s Appreciation month as well as the first day of spring (Sunday, March 20th), Saint Patrick’s Day and if you’re creative (or one of the writers at Spruce.com) – many more, check out a few others here: https://www.thespruce.com/special-days-and-observances-in-march-1448890.

Along with the holidays mentioned above, with the season officially changing in March from winter to spring, we’ll dig back into energy usage in the home and how that may change in the coming months. We’ll probably also get into a few DIY home and gardening projects, not to mention organic gardening tips; along ways to save money on home projects big and small. We’ve explored a few of these topics some in the past – feel free to browse them here:

Energy Usage: https://suntexllc.com/energy-usage-around-the-world/

DIY Home/Gardening Projects: https://suntexllc.com/home-gardens-and-cold-fronts/

Composting and Organic Gardening Tips: https://suntexllc.com/cheating-death/

However, this spring we’ll also start to get a little more detailed and pull in additional sources to better understand the subject matter pertaining to all things home improvement, particularly as they involve energy usage/storage and other energy and money-saving tips.

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What Have We Learned during Black History Month, February 2022?

Black History Month

Black History Month in America encompasses so much beautiful and tragic history, that it can be difficult to process and recall our favorite moments from American history or remember what kind of incredible feats were accomplished despite incredible odds, only to be forgotten in March.

While this list is not nearly complete, and should not deter you from learning more, here is a brief summary of some of the highlights from this month’s blog posts, particularly as they pertain to African American accomplishments in the field of environmentalism, key inventions, green-altruism, and the truth about the origins of the “farm to table” phenomenon.

Black Americans have been instrumental to sustainable development of American culture, cuisine, infrastructure, computer software, and definitely in the development of the environmental industry. From Mr. Latimer in the mid-19th century, to Reynolds work today, and everyone in between, it looks like we’ve covered a wide range of topics from inventions in lighting and electricity, to manufacturing and engineering, to food conservation and preservation practices in the US. To learn more about the specifics, feel free to peruse this month’s blog posts! Published blogs can of course be found here:

To learn more about Black history, American history, or other interesting facts we’ve reviewed this month, please check out the sources from within several of the February blog links so you’re able to learn American History from Black Authors, and hopefully get one step closer to a better understanding of our collective history, in this country that we all call ‘home’.

I want to thank SUNTEX for allowing me the flexibility and freedom to explore this topic openly this month, and for continuing to support/lead me in my work in fostering and understanding equality in environmentalism. Please continue to follow this blog and reach out with any questions you may have for us if you’re interested in learning more about the topics we explore. Thank you for being avid readers!

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3 Easy Steps to Homestead Home Buying and Preparing for Retirement

Homestead

You’ve worked your whole life toward retirement, and you’re ready to pursue your homesteading dreams. You’ll likely need a bigger home to handle the undertaking and still have room for visiting loved ones. Below I’ve prepared an outline for SUNTEX customers and home-owner-enthusiasts alike, to explain the path to making your homestead dreams a reality, starting with these practical steps.

  1. Figure Out Your Finances

Before you can buy a home, you need to get your finances sorted and get an idea of the kind of funding you have available to you; this includes savings, retirement income, real estate revenue, or other sources. If you have a lot of debt, most experts agree that you should work to eliminate or significantly pay down any outstanding debt.

You don’t have to do this alone. Explore debt management options in your area. These solutions are often determined by factors specific to your situation, such as how much debt you have, your employment status, and how you plan to pay your debt.

Once you have your debt sorted out, start planning how to make your finances work with the type of home you want to buy. Keep in mind that, with proper planning, it is possible to buy and sell your properties at the same time. Start by researching the housing market in your area. Then, begin applying for a loan preapproval.

If you aren’t set on using a specific bank, it can be beneficial to consider a national online bank. This allows you to compare rates not just in your area but from all over, increasing your chances of getting the best rate available. Research online banks to decide which ones are the best fit for you and your family, and then gather your documents to apply online. Typically, lenders require bank statements, pay stubs, driver’s licenses, or other identification. Each bank is different, so check with your potential lender to see what specific documentation you need.

Bear in mind that if you plan to make changes to your new home such as installing solar panels or more energy-efficient windows and systems, you could be eligible for a Conventional Energy Efficient Mortgage, which can boost your purchasing power and help you afford to make sustainable upgrades.

  1. Define What Homesteading Looks Like to You

HomesteadWhen it comes to homesteading setups, they are all unique. Some prioritize raising small animals such as chickens and rabbits. Others focus on vegetable crops and fruit trees. You may want to raise bees or do leatherwork. Make decisions about what you want most out of homesteading.

If you are meat eaters, decide whether you want to raise all the meat you will eat on your own or if you are comfortable supplementing what you raise with meat from outside sources. The same applies to vegetables, fruits, and other goods. Many homesteaders work together with local farmers to trade or purchase goods directly so they can uphold their principles without carrying the whole burden of raising everything they eat themselves. Consider what you are comfortable with so you can choose a home that will facilitate it.

If part of your homesteading efforts are to build a business, there are other particulars you will need to keep in mind as well. This starts with registering your business with the state and choosing a business entity. Registering as an LLC offers tax advantages, easier bookkeeping, and limited liability (click here to learn more about the process).

If you have questions about what ‘homesteading’ is, or how you can qualify, feel free to check out the Texas Comptroller website on Homestead exemptions, here: https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/exemptions/residence-faq.php.

  1. Decide What Your Dream Home Needs

Now that you know what space you need for homesteading, think about what you need in terms of family. If you have grandchildren over often, for instance, plan on spaces specially dedicated to their use, such as extra bedrooms or playrooms. If you typically host holidays, make sure to prioritize space for entertaining.

Part of your dream home setup will be your outdoor space. Depending on what kind of gardens or animals you are planning to raise, you might need quite a lot of land. Research what works best for your specific homesteading plans so that you know how much land you will need. You may also want to set aside space specifically for the use of grandkids, pets, and perhaps houseplants – making room for a playset and trampoline, or even space to play ball.

Retirement should be a time for pursuing your dreams surrounded by those you love. If you’re not sure how to prepare, I hope these steps will at least help get you started. With your finances sorted, your homesteading plans in hand, and your dream home details finalized, all you need is the right realtor! With your realtor to guide you, you will be well on your way to making those homesteading dreams a reality.

SUNTEX provides sustainable energy solutions to the North Texas area and is happy to discuss your home energy consumption, and potential savings. To find out more about adding innovative energy solutions to your home, reach out today! Our number is: 817-841-9632

 

Note: This article was written for SUNTEX by guest writer, Janet Lovelace. Please reach out directly to SUNTEX if you have any questions regarding this article, or the blog post content.

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New Year, New You, Just in time for 2022

You and GoalsResolutions, smesolutions; Who do you want to be this year?

With the new year arriving just after the winter solstice, and the days starting to lengthen, it’s a wonderful time to consider what you want your life to look like over the next year. Perhaps there’s not a whole lot you’d like to change – which is a fabulous place to be in!

Between the shorter, colder, winter days, and the global pandemic raging on for a third year now, it’s safe to say many of us thought life would be back to a more “normal” state by now. So if the thought of taking up another new DIY hobby is wearing you down, you’re not alone.

Perhaps you already read Lifehacks “20 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself Every Day” (here for reference of course: https://lifehacks.io/improve-yourself-every-day/), and you’ve already learned a new language and tried your hand at plenty of new skills. Perhaps you’ve already read every book on your bookshelf and have exhausted your library card checking out everything on your reading list. Maybe you’ve had plenty of time to escape into another dimension and build your Minecraft forts and construct pastures to raise animals and crops.

If so, please do share your tips with the rest of us in the comments section below! According to uabmedicine.org, less than 8% of people actually stick to their resolutions each year, even though my guess is that you still set one come January 1st. Why then do we continue to set them?

I remember back in high school, senior year – queue old jokes, yes I can remember that far back – just before graduation, I had this gnawing feeling of dread thinking, “Okay, so what? What’s next?” Even the day of graduation – while there was good food, and friends saying heartfelt goodbyes, and family traveled in to celebrate this big achievement – it still somehow felt both underwhelming: “I worked for nearly 18 years, for this?!” and also overwhelming: “I have to become an adult now, childhood is over” all at once.

This right here, these moments in life where it seems as though you’re crushed by expectations and you’ve worked so hard to get to where you are already – this is why goal setting is so important. It keeps us moving, forward.

PositivePsychology.com states that, “Setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, helps guides your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery.”

The thing is, you may not need to be any different, and certainly you shouldn’t feel pressured to change anything about yourself just to ‘fit in’ or make more money, however goals can help you to focus, and to grow in ways you didn’t expect. Not to mention, it’s good for your mental health and accomplishing your goals can be very intrinsically rewarding.

Let’s use a popular example: Steve Jobs and Apple. Thanks to inc.com, we know that “Apple lost $867 million in 1996 and its market cap was under $3 billion. In 2011, Apple’s market cap was approximately $300 billion.” He could have retreated and said to himself, “I am the problem, I am unsuccessful, I can’t keep going,” however what he said instead was,

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

(Full link: https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/steve-jobs-wanted-what-every-remarkably-successful-person-wants.html#:~:text=Jobs’%20goal%20when%20he%20re,(not%20coincidentally)%20made%20money).

As they say, ‘hindsight is 20/20,’ and we know today that Apple did not crumble but went on to be a billion-dollar tech giant that’s created millions of jobs and inspired similar products world-wide. The amazing thing is that Apple started out of a garage. If he can do it, why not you?

You and GoalsEven just last year, as I began writing this blog for SUNTEX and knew nothing about “Search Engine Optimization” or keywords – it seemed like an incredibly daunting task. My boss and founder of SUNTEX, Alejandra Mendoza, had tasked me with writing 3-4 blogs each week with the goal of improving our SEO (even though neither of us knew at the time what this really meant).

If you look back to my very first post (here for reference: https://suntexllc.com/new-year-new-look/) you might notice that it’s smaller (which wasn’t long enough to improve our SEO stats), had much less detail, and really no voice. It was a blog, sure, by definition, however I didn’t feel confident calling myself a “blog writer” at the time – the concept still felt foreign to me.

So I continued to work on it daily, listened to webinars, sought feedback, and read as much as I could about web design and improving your SEO.

Fast forward one year to now, and our website is on the front page of google, consistently ranks high in SEO ‘scores,’ and we’ve even been discovered by lots of new people either applying with the company to work for us, or homeowners searching for home upgrades and energy efficient solutions to save money on their energy bills. Id Est, by the end of the year, we had accomplished our goal of improving our online presence. The rewards have been innumerable, but it’s safe to say the most rewarding part is my own confidence in getting better at something I knew nothing about at the start.

So this year, as you head into the unknown, as we endure another year of what looks like Coronavirus variants and lockdowns to come, ask yourself who you want to be – what you want your life to look like, professionally, personally, spiritually – and start making the small goals to motivate yourself to get there. The world is waiting for your next move, take it.

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2022

New Year

I hope you’ve eaten your black-eyed-peas, or your 12 grapes at midnight, because the new year is finally here! On a personal note, my mother – who still calls me each year to make sure – instilled in me the absolute necessity of eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck. In fact, I remember one year I searched three different grocery stores on New Year’s Day and they were completely sold out of black-eyed-peas, so I know some of you are familiar with this tradition already!

However if you’d like to o learn a little about where these traditions originated, check out the following links, respectively: https://www.oliversmarket.com/whats-the-deal-with-the-peas-anyway/#:~:text=The%20black%2Deyed%20peas%20that,the%20first%20day%20of%20January, and here: https://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/12/28/12-grapes-at-midnight-spains-great-new-years-eve-tradition-and-superstition/ – and typically I try not to play favorites with other websites but these articles were both very eye-opening, and the second one about the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight is hilarious and definitely entertaining. Please do check them out in your spare time, you won’t be sorry.

That said, what an incredible start to the New Year we’ve had thus far. Personally, we arrived back home from the Christmas holidays, just in time to spend New Years Eve with some good friends, delicious food, and great drinks. All joking aside, we rang in the new year with a lot of laughter and love, and with a sense of excitement I haven’t felt in the past couple of years – and am hoping this feeling will carry through for all of 2022.

On a side note, I must warn you that now that we’re in a year ending in ‘2’ get ready for lots of rhyming to come through in 2022…you get the idea. While we’re on this random tangent, please raise your hand if like me, you also ask yourself each year… “wait, is it Happy New Year, or Happy New Years?!” To help us out, Grammarly has put together a short blog to address that exact question – check it out, here: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/happy-new-year-2/#:~:text=New%20Year’s%20is%20the%20end,year%20happens%20at%20a%20time. The short answer is, it’s almost always “Happy New Year!” since ‘years’ would imply multiple new year’s.

New Year 2022

On a more professional note, we are in the process of welcoming to a few new folks joining our sales team, including some brand new players, as well as some friendly faces from years past. With the growth of our sales staff, and a reenergized look to our horizon, we’re ready to take this year by storm. While I can’t give too much away just yet, I can say from personal experience and having worked with a couple of these people in the past, that they are some of the kindest and hardest-working individuals I’ve ever met, and I’m thrilled to work with them once more.

We’ve also increased our operations staff to bring you even more of the highest caliber customer service you expect from us at SUNTEX. I know I’m not alone in saying we’re looking forward to seeing what they bring to the team, and as leading industry experts, I know they will help to set us apart, while bringing superior innovations and ideas to the table.

More to come on new team member highlights in the near future (and be sure to check out our ‘About Us’ page periodically to see what changes are announced there – https://suntexllc.com/about-us/), but for now, please join me in giving them a warm welcome, and sharing in the excitement that 2022 has already brought to SUNTEX! We can’t wait to help you curate the energy-efficient home of your dreams, so give us a call today for a free quote. In the meantime, from the entire team at SUNTEX, we wish you a magnificent start to 2022, and once again, Happy New Year!

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Closing Out 2021, See you Next Year

New Year

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been writing this blog for almost a whole year now (see our first blog post, here: New Year, New Look). I remember when I first began, the thought of having enough to say to produce pages and pages of insight into the solar industry, or the home-improvement industry as a whole, was very daunting. It just goes to show that the old adage of completing a task “little by little” has rung true once more, and I’m personally grateful to SUNTEX for allowing me the flexibility and the opportunity to share so much of that journey with you all.

As we wrap up 2021, celebrating the end of the holiday season and looking forward to the new year, I can’t help but be grateful to all of those that have helped us grow this year. Sending a huge thank you to all of our customers, partners, friends, and family members who shared in our vision and helped us get to where we are today, we truly could not have done it without your support.

Though we’ve said it before, this year certainly did not come without a set of challenges – from COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout our communities, to supply chain shortages felt by many of the businesses that support us, it’s safe to say we’ve carried a little extra weight from our burdens this year. While I cannot sugar-coat the difficulties we’ve faced in the solar industry as a whole, I can stress that it makes the blessings we experience all the sweeter, knowing that they were hard-fought and well deserved.

For example, in October we hired several new faces to our ever-growing sales team, and they prove to be exceptional leaders each day, learning more and more about solar and how it can help our customers save money. We’ve also expanded into Colorado in addition to several cities in Texas, and are looking to grow the business even more in 2022.

New Year

While we have experienced some office closures this year, we’re blessed to live in an era when technological advancements such as zoom and social media sites have kept us more connected than ever to our teams and to our partners, whom have remained steadfast in their commitment to show up each day with a positive attitude and commitment to helping others. Last but certainly not least, we’re grateful to our customers whom have literally kept the lights on in our offices, and food on our tables all year long.

As we head into 2022, there is a renewed sense of purpose – to continue to provide the best customer service that the solar industry has to offer – but also to grow organically and build upon the strong foundation we’ve laid this year. We hope you’re up for the journey ahead as we discover new innovations to reduce energy costs and improve communication across the energy sector, while reaffirming our mission to help customers save money with a company dedicated to honesty and hard work. As we look back over the past year, I am truly amazed by what our team has accomplished together, and know that we’re ready to face whatever challenges may come our way this next year.

So as we look forward to the new year – as we plan for our new years resolutions and returning to work after this holiday season comes to a close – I cannot help but feel excited to continue to work with the best in the industry. Given where we’ve been, I know our future looks bright, and we’re elated to continue that journey into a cleaner, and greener future together. Thank you for being part of the SUNTEX family – we’ll see you in 2022! Stay safe, stay warm, and have a Happy New Year!

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It’s 12-26-21, Let Kwanzaa Begin!

KwanzaaLet the magical holiday of Kwanzaa, begin! While many will still be slumbering as the Christmas meal finally starts to digest in their overstuffed tummies, the holiday season is not over just yet! This year, Kwanzaa 2021 in United States will begin on Sunday, December 26, and ends on Saturday, January 1, 2022.

I remember learning a little about Kwanzaa as a young girl in elementary school, and being excited to partake in the delicious food and beautiful customs of the traditional African holiday. We made paper masks adorned with lots of color and glitter that my parents still hang on their Christmas tree each year to pay homage to the holiday.

However there is more to Kwanzaa than colorful masks and eating good food.

What kinds of traditions does Kwanzaa entail? As you might expect, according to the ‘Official Kwanza Website,’ Kwanzaa is a celebration of Family, Community, and Culture (https://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/). To learn more about what this holiday entails, feel free to read on – however I also found some interesting information on the following website, https://anacostia.si.edu/exhibits/past_exhibtions/kwanzaa/kwanz.htm, which had this to say about the meaning of Kwanzaa:

“Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that means “first” and signifies the first fruits of the harvest. From December 26 to January 1, many people of African descent in America-celebrate Kwanzaa.

KwanzaaIn Africa, there are many customs that are common among the various ethnic groups found on the continent. One of these is the celebration of the harvest. At this time of the year, people of the community/village come together to celebrate and give thanks for their good fortune. Working towards a successful harvest is a communal effort, as is the celebration.

Here in America in 1966, Maulana Ron Karenga and the U.S. Organization adopted the basic principles of the harvest celebrations in Africa to create the observance of Kwanzaa. Karenga recognized that on the whole, African Americans do not live in an agricultural setting. Nonetheless, he sought to emphasize that the basic principles found in producing the harvest are vital to building and maintaining strong and wholesome communities.

In this-way, Kwanzaa was developed. Kwanzaa is that time when we reflect on our use of the basic principles, share and enjoy the fruits of our labor, and recommit ourselves to the collective achievement of a better life for our family, our community, and our people.”

While I have not personally had the benefit of witnessing a traditional Kwanzaa feast, the Candlelight Ceremony as described by the site sounds incredibly uplifting:

“The candle lighting ceremony, central to the celebration of Kwanzaa, takes place at a time when all members of the family are present. Children are encouraged to take an active role in all activities.

The ceremony begins with the TAMBIKO (libation), an African form of praise which pays homage to personal and collective ancestors. To begin, the elder of the household pours wine, juice or distilled spirits from the KIKOMBE CHA UMOJA (unity cup) into the earth or an earth-filled vessel. While pouring, the elder makes a statement honoring departed family members for the inspiration and values they have left with descendants. Friends are also remembered.

KwanzaaAfter the TAMBIKO, as a gesture of unity, the elder drinks from the KIKOMBE CHA UMOJA and then passes it for all to share. The elder leads the call, “HARAMBEE” (Let’s pull together), and everyone participates in repeating the phrase seven times. Candle lighting, central to the ceremony, reinforces the meaning of the principles.

The placement of the mishumaa saba (candles) in the kinara is as follows: Black, for the color of African peoples everywhere, is located in the center. Three red candles, represents the blood of the ancestors, are placed to the left. Three green candles that symbolize the earth, life, and the ideas and promise of the future, are placed to the right. Beginning December 26 with the black mushumaa, a different candle is lit for each day, alternating from left to right. After the candle lighting, the principle of the day is discussed.

The evening of December 31 (Day 6) is the KARAMU, a joyous celebration with food, drink, dance, and music for the collective family and friends. It is a time of rejoicing, reassessment and recommitment.

The ZAWADI, handmade or similarly meaningful gifts for children, may be opened at the KARAMU, or on the final day of Kwanzaa, when Imani is observed,” (link).

So, whether you’re celebrating with family and friends today, or honoring the festivities of Kwanzaa on your own, we wish you a wonderful week of Kwanzaa starting today and through the new year, and many blessings to you all!

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Merry Christmas to You! From all of us at SUNTEX

Merry Christmas

My favorite holiday has finally arrived, and from all of us here at SUNTEX, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

While I can’t speak for everyone, I am especially grateful for Christmas this year, since it’s the first time in two years we’ll be spending it together with our family. Due to the unknowns from the pandemic last year, and the uncertainty of holiday travel, last year my husband, and our two dogs, Earl and Benny, had a very intimate Christmas with just the four of us at home. While we enjoyed celebrating together, we’re grateful that everyone in our extended family is happy and healthy and can celebrate the miracle of Christmas together this year!

Merry Christmas

Unlike other years past, we are fortunate enough to have traveled to Colorado to spend this holiday season at my parents cabin in the Sange de Cristo mountains, and are hoping to actually get a white Christmas this year! Even if it’s just a sprinkling of snow, as a native Texan I can’t help but feel a little extra excitement at the prospect of waking up to snow flurries as we celebrate the day together.

So whether you’re spending the holiday with friends or family, or celebrating a more intimate Christmas day, we hope it’s full of delicious food, holiday merriment, and joyful gatherings that bring you a little more warmth this holiday season. Thank you so much for being part of our extended family here at SUNTEX, and making our year so bright. Our hearts are overcome with joy and gratitude to you all as we celebrate this glorious day together, and we hope that wherever you are, whether you’re celebrating near or far, that you have a happy and joyous holiday as well!

While we know every family has their own holiday traditions, here are just a few ideas to spread the Christmas joy this year:

Or, if you’re not much of a singer but still desire to spread some holiday cheer, check out the following holiday recipes below:

Merry Christmas

If you enjoy designing and decorating, but aren’t much of a cook (or have been relegated to the other rooms in the house by the head chef in charge of cooking the Christmas meal), there are tons of Christmas crafts for you to participate in as well. Here are just a few ideas:

If the holiday season gets to be overwhelming, don’t forget to check out our previous blog on how to decompress for the holidays, here: How to Survive the Holidays as an Introvert.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I always enjoy reading more about what others are doing to celebrate, and find that Christmas in particular carries a global diversity unlike other American holidays that allow us to feel truly connected and blissful. Please do feel free to share your family traditions in the comments section below! Whatever your favorite Christmas traditions may be, I know I share the sentiments of Santa when I say, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

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