My First Blog: Great Women of My Life

May 8, 2011

 Jonathan has been wanting me to do a blog for several years. Most importantly, I chose a name for my blog. SassySouthernGal. Seems quite appropriate. Don’t know where this will go but I did think that Mother’s Day is the perfect day to enter into the world of bloggers.I could blog every day for awhile on the great women I have known – the great women of my life.  However, I’m going to pay tribute to four. First, my mom – Patricia Lee Ausburn Barnett.  She is the tiniest thing but full of more fight than anyone you will ever meet. She has not had an easy life. She grew up the eldest of three children with large extended families on both sides. She never attended the same school for two semesters straight. My grandpa was a farmer and was quite “antsy” and moved his family a lot.  They were poor.  They were taught about Jesus, hard work and lots of common sense. Mom would need all three to raise three children (her first born when she was 16) and my dad. He (who I love dearly) was probably the biggest challenge. We weren’t poor but we didn’t have a lot. She didn’t graduate from high school but she is smarter than just about anyone you’ll meet.  She can build houses, sew prom dresses, grow a garden and can food for the winter all while working full time at laborous jobs like Birdseye Frozen Foods night shift.  She lost her dad when she was only 37. He had a massive heart attack – a trend in her family.  She lost my brother her only son when he was 22. We never had a lot but she always made sure we had special birthdays and a special Christmas. My all-time favorite food is her chicken and dumplings which I won’t even try to re-create. They’ll go her grave with her. I love you mom, the first great woman of my life.
I love these pictures of my mom and think she looks like a movie star.
I love these pictures of my mom and think she looks like a movie star.

The second great woman of my life is Mae Ann Luebker. Growing up in Joy, Arkansas, Mae Ann was my 4-H leader.  I credit 4-H for my speaking skills, organizational skills, advocacy skills and so much m ore.  She and her husband Wayne became the dearest of friends and I have for as long as I can remember sent her a mother’s day card.  Mae Ann and Wayne lost their daughter Penny when she was three or so years old. They had moved into our community and attended our church but none of us knew them very well.  After Penny’s death, my sister had the idea of inviting them to be our 4-H leaders. The say it saved them as they grieved the loss of their angel. Gave them a brood of kids to pour their lives into. It saved us, too. They taught us a lot about working hard to earn something like an overnight trip to an amusement park or a trip to a competition. Big deals forty years ago in rural Arkansas. They taught us to not accept mediocrity but to do your best. She has been at almost all of the important events in my life. Lifelong friend. Remarkable woman who is truly my second mom. I give credit to Mae Ann for a lot of who I am today. Thank you for loving me always, Mae Ann.

mae ann wayne UA grad

Next is my daughter Rachel. She is 11. I am not going to say much because I’ll be dedicating many blogs to her for sure!  She is remarkable simply because she is. I told her today that if there was a prize for best smile on the planet, she would win. Her smile lights up my world and the world around us. She is a lot like me (though I think she got a lot of her daddy because she’s missing a few of my really bad qualities). She happens to have Down syndrome. She has to work harder than most people to do things that come simple to many.  No matter toher, she has great self-esteem (again from her daddy) and reminds me every single day of God’s grace, goodness and faithfulness to me. I love you little Missy – the third great woman in my life.

I didn't lie in 2011 - there have been lots of blogs about Rachel.
I didn’t lie in 2011 – there have been lots of blogs about Rachel.

Finally, my salute to my Grandmother. My Grandmother Molene is who they say I am most like. I should be because I spent countless hours at her house growing up. She made the best chicken and dressing in Joy. People still talk about it at the Mt. Hebron Baptist Church homecoming. Literally, she lived across the field from us.  Almost every day, I would trek across the field and the little creek to her house. Barefoot most of the time. We’d draw water on the backporch, shell peas and shuck corn on the front porch. I still hate to shuck corn. She was always cooking something that smelled good. We’d eat cookies and drink iced tea.  I loved staying the night because she had flannel sheets and made the best gravy for breakfast. I remember finding her singing “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” while she cooked. She loved her family – her kids, grandkids her 10 brothers and sisters and all of theirs!  She was a hard worker and dedicated to our little community.  Most importantly she loved Jesus. When I was little she took me to church. Enough said. I am eternally grateful to her for playing that role in my life and my sister’s life when we needed it. She died a few years ago, and I miss her so much. I especially miss her on Mother’s Day because for some reason that’s when I think about and say my thanks for her for taking me to that little country church in Joy AR where I trusted in Jesus for my salvation. I thank God for Godly grandmothers and especially for mine.  I love you and miss you so very much Grandmother. I did take a stab at making your dressing last year. It was pretty darned good might I add.

Picture in our kitchen where my mom was baking cakes for the school cake walk.
Picture in our kitchen where my mom was baking cakes for the school cake walk.
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