Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Growing Old Together {inspiration}

Happy 59th Anniversary, Mema + Papa!! via fish...
Happy 59th Anniversary, Mema + Papa!! via fishsmith3
I would like to introduce you to D.C. and Wilma Lanier.  I am proud to share that this lovely couple are my grandparents and I am their oldest granddaughter.

This past year they celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary, what an inspiration to us all.  They are very proud of their 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  They are both in great health and stay very active.  Their philosophy is, if you don't use it, you lose it.

My Papa is still active in our family business while Mema spends her days quilting and gardening.  They are a generation that is very rare in today's time.  I was born exactly 50 years and 3 days after Mema.  It's hard to believe that she has been a "Lanier" three times longer than she was a "Brown" (her maiden name).  It makes me think about myself being married for only 10 years, however in another 10 and I will have been a Smith just as long as I would have been a Mitchell.  Crazy when you think about it like that!

In honor of their 59th Anniversary, I thought it would be fun to interview them.  While at our family dinner in celebration of their anniversary I was able to sneak in a few questions.  Here were their Q&A's.

Where was your first dinner together?

Mema:  Our first dinner I cooked bacon and eggs on a kerosine stove in a camper.  We had $16 to our name, $10 for rent and $6 to turn the electricity on.  {Before she can finish Papa chimes in....}

Papa: There sure weren't this many mouths to feed at the "first supper".  {He is referencing the 16 head of family eating in front of him :) }

What first attracted you to each other?

Mema:  He was good looking.  He was nice and polite.

Papa:  She was an attractive woman.  She wasn't attracted to me, I was just persistent.

If the walls in your house could talk about you what would they say?

Mema:  There has been a lot of love and hard work.  All he had to do was put his shoes under my bed and I was pregnant.

Papa:  How did you make it??

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Mema:  4 children, 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren

Papa:  Having all these good looking children and grandchildren.  To see they have done good.

What advice do you have for married couples?

Mema:  First thing is to know God and if you work together and be together.  Raise your children to know God.

Papa:  More giving than taking.

Who is your favorite grandchild?

Mema and Papa:  ALENA!!!  (Yes, I answered this one.)

What an inspiration they are to me.  I am so blessed to of had grandparents like my Mema and Papa.  They have truly made my childhood complete.  They always made their house my 2nd home and I was always welcome anytime.  I am so very thankful for them and I count them as one of my favorite blessings.
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving & Thanks {family)


We pass them down from generation to generation and they become a part of us.

For me, family traditions make me smile.  They have had such a positive impact on my life.  Now as a mother, I can already see the same affect on my children.  Traditions create a space in your life that generates security and belonging.  Something you can count on year after year.

The Family

The day before Thanksgiving, we drive to my Aunt's where we spend the day cooking, playing games and making memories.  My Aunt's house is on a hog farm which is hilarious to me because I think pigs are gross.

The day before is usually the most entertaining.  My grandparents, aunts and a few cousins come and we all stay the night together.  Every year there is a different entertaining event.  This years events included tag football and homemade wassail 'n' whiskey.

The Feast

For as long as I can remember, we have been having a huge family Thanksgiving Feast - turkey and ham, dressing, deviled eggs, sweet potato casserole, etc.  (You get it - typical southern meal.)

I am not a huge fan of meat.  I do occasionally eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  However, pork I am extremely picky about, it has to be camouflaged in something for me to eat it.  So lucky for me there is always lots of veggies!!

This year my cousin and I were asked to "check the oven".  So of course we both ran over to remove the roaster pot expecting this!

To our surprise this is what we found!!

Yes, we screamed!!!  
I dropped the top of the roaster pot to run.  
Quickly realizing that we had been the victims of this years entertainment.
Thanks, Aunt Elizabeth!!  

Apples don't fall far from the tree.  
Therefore, I would like for you to meet my Aunt Elizabeth.  
Now you see why I didn't have a chance at not being crazy with a family like mine.

The Outfit

What would a Holiday event be without a cute outfit.  Last year, we took family photos so I wore a skirt.  

This year I wanted to be comfortable so I opted for skinnies and a flannel shirt.

Happy Thanks & Giving!

Be sure to give your thanks and "gobble till ya wobble".

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pay It Forward {inspiration}

This past month I had one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.  Definitely goes down as a "Top 5 Moments" in my life.  Here is how it unraveled...

Before we get started you have to meet Elisha, my BFF {picture on the left} and yep, thats me on the right.  Circa, geez...  maybe 1996? 1997?

Friday night, BFF calls....
"Let's have a sleep over with the kids and after church, do 54 selfless things for in memory of our parents birthdays."
My BFF and I have both lost a parent.  We both know the heartache that comes around in October when their birthday comes and passes.  However, this year is the start of a new tradition.  The beginning to an end.

Of course, I fell in love with the idea to do a selfless deed for every year of our parents birthday.  We got our children involved, their homework was to come up with different ways we could help others as well as make them feel special and loved.  We talked about our Sunday adventure and came up with different ways we could "pay it forward."  In our discussions, we came up with the idea of writing scriptures and affirmations on a deck of "pink" playing cards (since BFF's mom died of breast cancer) and we would hide them different places for strangers to find.  To see the anticipation in the kids made this even more worth my wild.

To inspire someone. To make them smile. To pay...
To inspire someone. To make them smile. To pay it forward. #payitforward #breastcancer #cards #chance 
We didn't peek. We hid them for others to find...
We didn't peek. We hid them for others to find and gave them to strangers. #payitforward via fishsmith3

Saturday night....

We somewhat prepared Saturday night for our next day outing.  We made a list of all the different ways we could do something for someone else.  Then we made a list of all the different places we needed to go and ways we could help others at every stop.  Simple things like compliment a stranger, return a cart, leave spare change in the drink machine, etc.

A #list to #payitforward via fishsmith3
A #list to #payitforward via fishsmith3
On the 7th Day....

On Sunday morning our first stop was the grocery store.  We had all our cards ready to hide and a list of goodies that we needed to purchase; flowers, cupcakes, cookies and mints.  However, before we could make it inside the kids were leaving "inspiration cards" on car windows.

Without any "cuing" they ran up to strangers asking if they could return their carts.

Train a child up in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6

We made our way into the grocery store and between four kids we went through a deck of 52 cards in no time at all.  Our love notes were left everywhere from behind cans of vegetables to in the dairy aisle.

We pulled out of the grocery store and headed to McDonald's were we patiently waited for a drive-thru customer to pull up.  And when they did, we hurried to the "window" to pay for their breakfast!  It was gratifying watching their expressions as the lady in the window told them they didn't owe anything for it.  They waved and all the kids stuck their heads out the windows screaming "Have a good day!"  It was an ahhhmazing moment.

The rest of our afternoon was filled with:

  • Delivering cupcakes to the fire department  
  • Going to the Dollar Store and hiding $1 bills in the kids section
  • Handing out flowers to strangers.
  • Letting others out in traffic (this was HUGE for me, I have major road rage!)

Last stop of the day....

Visit the #elderly #love them. #hug them. #one...
Visit the #elderly #love them. #hug them. #oneday you may need it in return. #payitforward via fishsmith3
We took the kids to a rest home where they passed out the remaining flowers and cookies to the "grandma and grandpa's" staying there.  As we walked down the hallways and watched the kids interact I couldn't help but cry.  This simple act of paying it forward was making the hugest impact.  An impact you could see on their faces when they smiled from ear to ear.  They loved their hugs just as much as our kids enjoyed giving them.  It was like a wave the love that was passed from room to room.  This was a moment I knew my kids would remember forever.  The moment they learned "why" we give with our heart, not expecting anything in return.  The reason why LOVE is so important.

This day stirred an emotion in my heart and I started to ball.  I couldn't stop crying and thinking, how fortunate I am to have family and friends that surround me.  How I should live in the day and be happy in the moments, RIGHT NOW.  Not tomorrow, not next week but RIGHT NOW.  We are guaranteed nothing in this life.   As I just learned from a beautiful speech it's the dash in the middle that counts, not the beginning or the end but the middle. 
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