Grateful Heart

California Dreaming // A Grateful Heart

There’s something that I’ve always loved about being the daughter of a North Carolinian and a Californian. One side of my family comes from a tobacco farming heritage and the family tree has been planted firmly in the same area of North Carolina since coming across from England in the 1700s (true story). The other side of my family come from Mexico and every story of the past seems like something ripped straight from a John Wayne film or an episode of Bonanza. The two sides could not be any more different, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. A mixture of East and West.

Last week, I spent about three days in California with my family as we laid my Grandmother to rest. It was definitely a bittersweet trip due to the circumstances of our visit, but it was still so good to see cousins, aunts, and uncles that we haven’t seen in far too long. It didn’t hurt that the rain when we first arrived washed out the smog for a bit and gave us clear views of the snow-capped San Bernardino Mountains.

Southern California has significantly more Hispanic individuals than North Carolina does, so I love that there are taco shops, restaurants, and Mexican bakeries literally on every corner. We stopped at two of our favorite panaderias for some treats; one that is up the road from my late aunt’s house and another that is across the way from the site of my family’s “corral” (where all the cowboy stories originated) and where one of the workers on a previous visit actually remembered my Grandpa from when he used to stop in. I wish you could bottle the smell in this place.

One of the best moments from the day of my grandmother’s funeral was meeting her younger sister for the first time. I did a double take when she walked in because she looks so much like my grandmother did when she was in better health. Then she began speaking and she even sounded like her. It was oddly comforting to meet this woman for the first time and to have her remind me so much of my grandmother and I’m grateful that God allowed that moment to happen.

We also finally snapped a picture of all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of my Grandma and Grandpa. They had five granddaughters and seven great-children, only one of them a girl. It’s always so comical to see how much I do not look like the rest of my cousins, aside from the hair color.

What are you grateful for this week?
This post is part of Ember Grey’s weekly Grateful Heart linkup! Click the image below to head on over to Emily’s blog and read all of the posts.
A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

A Life Lived for God // A Grateful Heart

To me, there is nothing more inspiring than to see someone that truly lives their life for God. I think we all know those people. The people whose faith is never questioned because they so clearly live it, breathe it, and rejoice in it every single day. This little lady in this photo was one of those people. Nellie was the niece of my great-grandfather, Joseph Ezra (Uncle Ezra, to her), and the cousin of my grandmother that passed away in September.

When my Grandmother first got sick this past September, she told my Uncle that when their mother passed away, she would be glad to be their momma during the time she had left on this Earth. She told him that she prayed for her, and us, every day. A couple of days later, my grandmother passed away and just a few hours later, all 10 of my aunts and uncles (with my sister and I) drove over to see Nellie and to tell her that she had inherited 10 children (and 14 grandchildren/11 great-grandchildren) that morning. Her little room was full to the brim with her new children and the emotion of that moment was so evident. The smile on her face was ear to ear and it was one of the most beautiful moments that I had ever witnessed.

On a previous visit, Nellie had shared that she had never been able to have any children of her own. She shared that she often asked God why he didn’t give her any children. She told us that the Lord spoke to her and told her that he had already given her children in her relatives and the many neighborhood children that loved to frequent her home.

One of my uncles that lived the closest to Nellie, and would visit her nearly every day, shared with us that many of the staff members at the nursing home would come to Nellie with their problems and worries and that she would pray with them and for them. She had even been praying for my family and I in the past few days, once she found out that my paternal grandmother passed away and that we’d be traveling to California for the services.

Sadly, Nellie went to Heaven to join the rest of her family on Thursday afternoon, but her joy and sweet spirit has touched all that knew her. I had only known her and had been visiting her for about a year, but this kind, Godly woman was truly a blessing and I am truly grateful for her.

What are you grateful for this week?

I’m linking up this post with Ember Grey’s Grateful Heart linkup! Click the image below to head over to the blog.

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

Be Still and Know // A Grateful Heart

There is something so magical about the first snow of the season. It brings me right back to my childhood days; waiting by the window and wishing so fervently for those first precious snowflakes.

Winter Storm Jonas may not have dumped several feet of snow on us (thank goodness), but it brought us lots of ice and a wonderful snow day at work on Friday. Believe me, teachers enjoy snow days just as much as the kids. Until we have to start making up those days, that is.

One of the things that I love about snow days are the opportunity they provide for us to just be still. Sure, up North life still goes on in the snow, but down South everything pretty much shuts down for ice and a little snow. While it may be frustrating for some, I love the way that the snow causes us to slow down and just take our time. Plus, is there anything more beautiful than snow covered trees?For me, much of these snow days were spent reading, reflecting, and simply being,which I am so grateful for.

It’s in those quiet moments that I feel that I am best able to reflect and root myself in the Word of God. We can get so consumed by all of the “noise” of every day life that any time that I can get away with slowing down, I am all for it.

What are you grateful for this week?

This post is part of Ember Grey’s weekly Grateful Heart Linkup! Click the image below to head over to the blog to read all of the posts and even add yours to the list.

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

All Is It, All Is It // A Grateful Heart

If you had told me two years ago that I would know what it would be like to lose five close family members in a two year time frame, I probably would have said that you were crazy. To have that be my family’s reality is heartbreaking. In two years, my Dad’s family went from a family of five to what will soon be a family of two and my mom lost her mother and her baby sister.

The past few days have been spent in a sense of limbo as my Grandmother’s time of Earth draws to a close. It’s not easy to be anticipating a phone call at any moment from your Dad to let you know if your Grandmother is still here. One of the things that I learned from losing my maternal grandmother and aunt is that the only way to get through something like this is learn how to praise God through the storm. Two years ago, I didn’t know how to do that. I’m still learning how to do it, to be honest,

But on Friday evening, after my Dad called to ask if I had anything I wanted to say to my Grandmother while I still had the chance, I rejoiced in our God and praised him as I mourned the loss that would be coming soon. I am not particularly eloquent when it comes to these types of conversations (although I don’t know that anyone really is), the one thing I knew I needed to say to my Grandmother was “I love you, all as it, all as it.” It’s something that my Grandmother always said to all of us throughout the years. She said that my uncle used to say that to her, but I always remember the sweet words coming from her. As I was writing in my journal later, something that I had felt compelled to do after hanging up the phone, I had my Christian playlist on Spotify on in the background and I worshiped God and rejoiced in his hope and truth. We might not see her, or my four other family members, again on this side of Heaven, but I am so grateful for a God that gives us hope in an everlasting life.

On Saturday, I rediscovered a passage from 1 Peter that so perfectly puts into words everything that I have been feeling and rejoicing during this season; particularly since losing my maternal grandmother and aunt in September. I am so grateful for the complete and total truth in these words and what they mean for us.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” // 1 Peter 1:6-9
How great is our God that we can rejoice in our sorrow! What are you grateful for this week?

Update: My beautiful grandmother passed away peacefully late on 1/20. We’re so thankful that she is no longer suffering and experiencing true paradise with our Lord!

This post is part of Ember Grey’s Grateful Heart linkup! Click here or on the image below to head over to the blog and read all of the posts in the linkup.

A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

Copyright © 2019 Messy Milestones · Theme by 17th Avenue