Saturday, January 14, 2012

January.........The Beginning

January 2012......Mama had a birthday this month and if she were still here on earth, she would have been 76 years old. I want to dedicate the first month of the new year to my mama and to my sisters.....just as we look to the new year as a new beginning, we are thankful to our heavenly Father for giving us our own beginning with a mother who always put her girls first and opened her heart to everyone God put in her life.........

Mama would be so surprised we have made it to the year 2012! She was so certain the world would end and we would all be home in heaven before we saw the beginning of another century. Well, the world still stands, but she couldn't wait around any longer and went to be with our Lord in 1997.

Well, Mama, if you are watching from that little "Cabin in the Corner of Glory Land" you always sang about, you know we still miss you and carry your memories in our heart. And if I were guessing, God had something greater for you than a little cabin......He was, no doubt,  waiting to welcome you into your "Stately Mansion" that you now share with our  sweet daddy.


Mama, Dessie Mai Spears, was born on January 8, 1936,  the 4th child and 3rd daughter to Grady and America Spears.  She grew up in a large family of 11 children but her oldest brother died at the age of 12, so she barely remembered him.
I remember growing up and visiting my grand parents on Sunday and seeing all my cousins, aunts and uncles. In a book I have started and hope to finish one day, I recall those Sundays at Mama and Papa Spears' house.

"Sunday at Mama and Papa’s was a treat. My sisters and I got to play with a whole different set of cousins. Mama came from a large family of 10 children. Actually, there had been another sibling, the oldest boy who had died at the age of 12 with appendicitis. Mama had 3 brothers and 6 sisters; she was the 3rd from the oldest living children. In the early years, mama and her 2 older sisters were the only ones with children but slowly the family grew…. 
 
Going to Mama and Papa’s was the highlight for our mama after a long week; this was an event we all got dressed up for. Mama would dress her girls in little hand-made dresses she had proudly sown or altered from hand-me-downs. Thinking back to those days, I can imagine the excitement  mama must have felt getting ready to go home and visit her family. She was such a young girl at the time, married and already a mom. My memories are vivid when there was only my baby sister and me. Mama was about 20 years old at the time and she was raising a family among her "new family" who were practically strangers; how exciting it was to go home and visit with her mother and sisters. The laughter would echo from the kitchen as they prepared the Sunday meal. When the meal was ready, the men always ate first.  When they were finished, the dishes were washed and dried, then the table was set for the women to gather and eat. When they finished their meal, the dishes were washed again and the children finally were called to the table. There was always enough food for everyone, but occasionally all that was left of the fried chicken were backs and wings. Mama later told her girls she didn’t like making the children wait ‘til last’ and that is why at our mama’s house, the children were always served first." 


 


It is hard to imagine Mama as a child and young girl. but pictures tell the story when we are not there to see for ourselves. 




 

   

Mama was sweet 16 and  daddy was 26 when they fell in love and got married. It was not uncommon at that time for girls to marry early and they usually married older men.  We grew up listening to the stories mama told us about how they had meet and married.


                      Happy Birthday Mama......... it doesn't manner how many years go by, you will always be forever young in our hearts. The lives of your children and your grandchildren are so much richer by having you as the beginning of who we were, who we  are and who we will become.



Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year....Moving Forward

 December 31st 2011- another year has come and gone. I have struggled to find the words as to how I would like to embrace the new year, to make it different or more productive than the last. Resolution is a word that seems so shallow....resolve what? What problems did I encounter last year that I need to resolve in this new year? Well, yes, I need to shed some weight, be more active.....really need this, my metabolism has vanished....organize and de-clutter......stick to a budget....all the obvious things we let get out of control.
But, all these things just don't appeal to me as I think about writing on the pages of my book of 2012. 

As I reflect on these things and on the past 12 months, I am drawn to reflect on Philippians 3:12-14

"I don't mean to say I am perfect. I haven't learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us." (The Living Bible)

So, what do I want for 2012? Where do I want to direct my energies and embrace what lies ahead?.......I want to Fall in Love!
Now before everyone gets the wrong idea and rumors start flying.......I want to fall in love with life, with everything God has put in my life and with everything God has planned for me.  Do you remember falling in love?....how everything was new and exciting, when you woke up in the morning there was a "Joy" and "Excitement" in your heart that carried you through your day and "Enthusiasm" bubbled from every thing making it hard to go to sleep at night because you didn't want to miss anything? I want to feel that "Joy, Excitement and Enthusiasm" each day of 2012!
I have a decorative plate that has a quote, "Don't let the Weeds grow up in your Garden of Dreams". Now, I know that to dream is to hope. Faith, Hope and Love go hand in hand and without these three, God's promises are being denied. This past year has had some challenges and somewhere along the way, I have allowed the joy that motivates the passion in my Garden of Dreams has been choked out by the negative weeds of life.

"I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.  I want to "fall in love" with spending time with my Father in Heaven to gather the strength I need each day to keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be.......... I want to "fall in love"with spending time with my precious family because time is really all that matters when it comes to family......I want to "fall in love"with my church and extending my time to others in need..........I want to "fall in love" with rekindling friendships that I have neglected, losing that connection of those who  have touched my life along the way,  I want to " fall in love"with the job that God graciously put me in and gave me the passion to continue in it  for 35 years and I want to fall in love with the "business of my dreams" that will allow me to reach out and bless others and will replace my job in the near future. 
"I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us." 
"All my days were written in Your Book and planned before a single one of them began (Psalm 139:16)

My New Years Resolution is to follow the plan He has for me......and to cultivate my Garden of Dreams to His Glory ...........
------That Being Said-----

2011 brought with it many blessings, the announcement of a new addition to our family, a grandson from Ethiopia, Isaiah James Griffith, who hopefully will join his forever family this year.Wish I had a picture to share but that will come............




The birth of another grandson, Charlie Braydon Reid, joining his now 4 year old brother, Jaylon.





We also watched our son, Alex and granddaughter, Caitlin,
turn 18 years old, graduate from high school and enter college.






We were proud to see our grandson, TJ,
enter the armed forces,





We were there to see our granddaughter
Tracie Lee in her first Miss Teen Pageant

















and saw granddaughter Lauren turn "sweet sixteen".










 
We also witnessed the transformation of our granddaughters, Emily and McKayla, into teenagers, all of which have grown up way too fast!

 These blessings would not have been possible without the Heavenly gifts of our beautiful children who have truly blessed our lives. We are thankful to God for the wonderful adults and parents they have become.

With God's grace and guidance..........we will continue to adjust to the peace and quiet of an empty nest, watch our baby boy change directions and enter the armed forces, track the path of our grandson as he makes choices for his life, love on our grand babies every chance we get, stand in awe as our beautiful granddaughters continue to grow into beautiful young women, wait patiently for our sweet Ethiopian grandson to come home and spend more time with our precious children, making memories.......


"I don't mean to say I am perfect. I haven't learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us." (The Living Bible) Philippians 3:12-14 

 2012......God, Family, then everything else
 
I opened my One Year Devotional Prayer Book to start the new year and found the perfect New Years Resolution......."My dear heavenly Father, it is my desire to be a women of integrity. Realizing that I am what I am by the grace of God, please so work in my heart this day that the tongue in my mouth and the tongue in my shoe are going in the same direction. I realize that if I am to effect others for your cause, You will have to do it through me. I surrender to Your control now and ask You to be in me, no longer me but You."