This post is dedicated to my favorite Gal, Ella B. Lynch, my Granny, my prayer warrior and friend.
Today in the US, is National Grandparent’s Day and as I prepared for today, I thought about my Grandparents, one in particular, my mom’s Mom, my Granny. You see this is the lady who had the largest impact on my life outside of my parents. Now don’t get me wrong all of my grandparents were great but this little lady and I spent the most time together and she taught about so much life by her actions and words.
I was her third grandchild, the only one to live in the house with her and the last one to carry my grandfather’s name. I was treated more like a child than a grandchild and in this capacity I had the chance to see what the others didn’t see. I got all of my first lessons about God and faith sitting at her kitchen table. I learned how to sew, cook and clean all at her house. She was very particular about her home, how she dressed and what she presented to the world. She was that Granny, the one you looked at and said “She’s saved and you better not play with her”.
She passed away almost five years ago but the lessons in life she taught me still linger with me today.
1. Never stop learning
My Granny, oh yeah I never called her Grandmother she was my Granny, she grew up in the country of North Carolina, her parents had a farm and she was the second oldest daughter. She told me how her family didn’t have a lot but they had each other and because she had to work the farm and help her mother with the other children she didn’t get a chance to receive her high school diploma. Granny became a seamstress and she was an awesome seamstress, she raised her children, helped with her grandchildren but she never stopped learning and she told us to always learn. Until her health began to fail her, she was enrolled at the Adult Learning Center where she did her course work to receive her GED.
My Granny despite her background, upbringing and anything else that may have been a stumbling block believed in the power of education, whether it was formal education or informal. She always told me to get my studies done first. I pushed through to get my Associates and 6 months after her death I graduated with my Bachelors. When I want to walk away from my Masters I remember her saying “Get your studies first” She longed for more education but never gave up.
2. Work Hard
Remember I told you my Granny grew up in the country farm life? You know like chase the chickens for dinner type deal. So she knew the value of a hard days work. She reminded me daily to work hard and it rubbed off. I watched my Granny work tirelessly to make sure her family had homecooked meals, when she had sewing orders she would work to get them done but never let her home life suffer. She was Wonder Woman to me, I used to sit and watch her as she cared for my Papa, transformed her kitchen from the breakfast table to her workshop. There would be fabric and a sewing machine from breakfast to lunch time and then it came back again. She worked really hard to maintain her house and if I could do what she did, I would think I was Wonder Woman too, but I’ll let her keep that title until I figure it all out LOL.
3. Be proud of your work “Don’t do it halfway”
“If you’re going to do it halfway don’t do it”
This is the truth in life and in business. If you are going to work on a project, interview, presentation or course make sure your course is solid, you’ve put in the work, research and effort needed to make you and your company look good.
Granny didn’t like “No half way mess”, she took pride in all that she did, whether it was sewing a new outfit for herself or one of us, cooking for a church dinner or preaching a sermon. She made sure she was prepared and NOTHING was out of place.
4. Family is everything
My grandparents had three girls, five grandchildren and three son-in-laws. And a host of siblings, family and friends. (If you’re churchy you get it) But anywho, they realized the value of family and realized family needs one another, no matter if we agreed or disagreed with someone’s life choices. They loved everyone through it and everyone loved them through it all.
I always admired how my Granny and her sisters loved each other. I remember one of the last times her and her baby sister saw each other at church, they smiled the biggest smile and cried tears of happiness, appreciation and joy. In that moment, I realized two things, everyone in my family were a bunch of cry babies and two family is definitely EVERYTHING
5. Put God 1st…Not second but FIRST
Did I tell y’all I was a PK (Preacher’s Kid)? Oh I am. But I’ve always kind of had that title, remember I said I was treated more like a 4th kid and not a grandchild sometimes. My Grandparents were both ministers, my Papa was my very 1st Pastor, he baptized me and taught me my first lesson on faith. There wasn’t a time my Granny wouldn’t throw (not literally) the Bible at me if I was acting too worldly. But I watched both of my grandparents sit at the table and study the bible, take notes, pray and practice what they preached.
Just like Jesus knew no stranger, neither did my Papa. I watched him interact with so many people of different races and cultures, no prejudice, no judgment. I watched my Granny pray for her family, cover her husband in prayer and truly rely on God. My grandparents both taught me how to pray, when to pray and why I should pray. To this day, I still hold on to my mustard seed faith lesson I learned in my grandparents living room. It has kept me for over 26 years and just like my Grandparents trusted God for everything in their lives, I still hold on to that as well.
6. Dress Well, Dress Nice
“Don’t look like a slob” I just liked sweatpants, sneakers and t-shirts lol. But to Granny I was being a slob and I needed to put on a nice outfit, with nice shoes and make sure my hair was done and not in a ponytail. She was a seamstress, dressing was her thing.
When I want to be a whole BUM I remember (sometimes), that I have to put on something to look nice. Oh and it doesn’t matter what the label says, just touch the fabric to ensure it’s good and the seams are strong. Granny believed in looking nice and we all should too. Our clothes make a statement for us, we wear the clothes not the other way around.
7. Have some dignity
LAWD!!! I’m glad Ella didn’t have social media. LOL. Not because I do craziness but you all have Facebook, Instagram and the internet. I always think twice about the things I do because I have to have some dignity. My Granny took pride in her work but she also took pride in her reputation because it spoke before she came on the scene. She used to say “Don’t let your good deeds be evil spoken of” (That’s also scripture) But when she said it, I didn’t get it then but I get it now. Make sure everything you do is done in a manner that will not come back and spoil your good name or good reputation.
In short, think twice and be dignified in your responses and actions.
8. Eat Your Vegetables
My cousin and I laugh often when we get together for any of our family gatherings, it can be a Super Bowl Party you can bet we have some greens, whether it’s green beans or a salad. My Granny was famous for telling us “You need greens on your plate” I often look at my plate and laugh especially if I haven’t put greens on my plate.
Both of my grandparents had health issues. Heart Disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis and I think that’s all, so my granny tried to teach us the up side of eating a healthier diet, although she didn’t always listen. From living with grandparents with health struggles I realize now health is important and I have to eat my greens for a healthier well balanced life.
9. Don’t Quit
School, life, tasks…whatever it is don’t quit. She didn’t give up on school, life or her family. Granny never quit, even in a disagreement, she got the last word.
When I want to stop and let things go, I realize that quitting is not an option, changing paths is an option but quitting isn’t, unless I’m quitting a bad habit or toxic people.
10. And when all the work is done, rest
I laugh as I type this because Ella B. was a night hawk. She would stay up for 24 hours sometimes working on a dress or dresses for clients or herself. I remember when the H&L Gospel Singers (the family gospel group) would have their anniversary my aunts and mom would tell my Granny she needed to rest and not be up late working on the groups dresses, it never failed, she would pull at least one 24 hour shift before the anniversary but when it was all said and done, she rested.
She believed in working hard but she believed in rest as well. There were days she slept in and days she rose with the sun.
My Granny was one of my favorite people. In honor of Grandparent’s Day, I want to wish all of the amazing Grandparents a Happy Grandparents day and to all of the grandchildren reading this, cherish your grandparents for as long as you can, they are full of wisdom and love.
Until next time..