“I just love southern women!”
As I shared before, I had the sweet privilege to help host a little wedding shower for a precious young couple. I heard later that the bride to be exclaimed to her future momma-by-love (I hate the term mother-in-law) “I just love southern women!” Sweet girl, you just made my day! I am a die hard southern girl, born and raised.
My sweet Momma is a Texas girl and my daddy was born & raised in Alabama. My Dad (I have two dads) is an Oklahoma boy and I was born just across the border in Arkansas. Darren gives me a hard time when my southern drawl rears its head at unexpected intervals. My voice is a bit of a chameleon...lol...I’ve been told that I just have a good ear...lol...I just roll my eyes, laugh, and express in my deepest drawl, “I am a proud, card carrying (not really-no such) Southern Living subscribing, southern hospitality believing, southern pecan pie eating kind of girl.”
I have some Kansas friends that poke fun of my use of “y’all” and how I pronounce McDonalds. Every time I would go visit one of my favorite aunts who didn’t live more than fifty miles south of us, I would come back with an even deeper accent...LOL! Southern accents aside, Oklahoma is one of those funny places that’s all that and more, but really hard to put a definitive finger on when trying to describe. I get to visit with people from all over - I even had someone from New Zealand stop in😮- and the one most consistent thing I hear about Oklahomans is that we are some of the nicest most genuine people around. We aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but for the most part southern women, more specifically Oklahoma women, are some of the best of the best! Mother’s Day is almost upon us and I cannot help but reminisce, reflect and smile.
Here’s just a snippet of the women who have had an influence and helped make me the woman I am. My sweet momma gave me the sweet gift of the bold love of Jesus and God’s Word, and tenacity...lol! She does not give up on anyone or anything! She gave me a sense of place and importance in the family of God…she helped teach me what really matters. My Nina (maternal grandmother) was fearless, larger than life, loud and proud, who had a gorgeous smile and infectious laugh...I used to be self-conscious about my loud laugh & big smile...I’m in my fifties...I am over it! LOL! My Mamaw gave me the sweet gift of quiet hospitality. What I remember most were the family dinners, how she loved my Papaw, and how she would insist when we were parting ways that we leave everything as is. She would explain that after we left and she would begin to pick up the mess, it would make her smile. When we would argue with her, feeling bad about leaving her with a mess, she would say, “this way I know you were really here.” Sweet right?
Everyone should have a Momma Cravens! She was a precious woman who blessed so many in our community in western Oklahoma. I am not related to her in any way, but she made me her family. She had lost everyone! Everyone! She lost her husband, both of her children, yet she pressed on and blessed. She took care of me and my brother during a very dark and broken time in my family’s life. I remember little walks, looking for mint leaves, watching her make mint tea and sitting at her table drinking it out of “fancy” cups. She played a huge roll in my Momma marrying my Daddy. She made her wedding dress and many years later, made mine. I watched her reach out and bring into her home the Vietnamese refugees that had been brought into our community as a result of the Vietnam war. I remember her making all of us her family...we became her family. She gave me this sweet gift...the gift of extending my tent to include those around me. Psalm 68:6, “God knits the lonely into families.”
Aunt Liz taught me the joy of cooking and how to laugh at myself. I remember so much laughter in her kitchen and sitting around the table after dinner was over and laughing so hard at the stories she would share...food and laughter! My mom would exclaim, “Liz, you should have been a comedian!” Aunt Liz would reply with a line straight out of LITTLE WOMEN, “I should have been a great many things,” in her sweet southern drawl and roll her beautiful blue eyes and peer at me over her bifocals.
I learned so much from Darren’s sweet momma. What did Brenda give me? LOL! Well, I guess the best gift she gave me is Darren! He is the best gift she could have ever given me! She and Darren had the sweetest relationship and I remember just watching them interact with one another. Once they sat in the floor crossed legged as if they were three years old, just to see how fast they could play patty cake. Brenda was not afraid to be youthful and playful. But really, she gave me the gift of Family & shindigs. She had such a sweet gift of gathering family from far and wide and laying out a spread of incredible food. Every time we have a family shindig, large or small, I think of how much she has given me.
Much later, I got the sweet privilege to be on a cooking team with two precious older women...Barbara and Birdie. The time that I got to spend and learn from them is priceless to me. Each month I would consciously become a sponge and try to soak up their...well, I guess...their essence. These women taught me that age plays no part when it comes to serving the Lord. I remember telling them that when I “grow up” I want to be just like them.
These women and so many more have helped make me the woman I am. These southern women have taught me how to live, laugh, and love, how to lean in, press on, and spread the gifts they’ve given me. We hold our hands open wide, knowing that none of these gifts we’ve been given are truly ours. The most precious gifts are meant to be shared and passed on...the intangibles...the indescribables...can’t quite put your finger on what makes them different. Southern women...Oklahoma women...I’m so proud to be a southern woman from Oklahoma...I just love southern women!
As we are thinking of the important women in our lives, let’s let them know how they have shaped us. Let’s share with them how their gifts they have given are being passed on.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I am a simple and ordinary girl who loves to share meaningful stories about the extraordinary people and blessings, the sweet everyday happenings that make me smile. I hope you all have a beautiful day!