Remembering my mother

  
It is with a very full heart that I remember my dear mother on the 10th anniversary of her passing. She was that fairy dust that lingered eternally everywhere she went leaving it better, more interesting and happier! She could take anything and make it fun and so so beautiful! She smiled and laughed ALOT! She loved all my friends who became her extended daughters and sons. She fiercely loved her children and knew and celebrated the uniqueness of eachShe could pick the perfect Christmas gift for my husband James Zimmerman. lol! 

She never panicked. She was the original steel magnolia, solution oriented, elegant, fire and ice. She was a champion for the disenfranchised, advocate for the voiceless, a civil Rights leader honored by the State NAACP. She never turned anyone away. 

As fabulous as she was, she did not spend large amounts of time on herself apart from her weekly appointments with Wyona Battle, because her hair was her crown of glory. She was the hardest working board member, and many times at events she was setting up, decorating and making it all look effortless as she wielded her wand! She was an avid crossword enthusiast, read fluffy books and magazines, Legacy Howard U grad, Ivy League grad school, and high school valedictorian. 

 She was a woman of great FAITH, Intercessor and rose early to pray and read the Bible every morning! We found many journals of her prayers that she wrote down for all of us calling us by name to petition Jesus Christ on our behalf. Estelle Elayne Butler Bryant was born on 3/3/33 and I really still can’t believe that she is no longer with us because she is still so vibrant in my heart and mind! I love you and miss you my darling dearest Mother !

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Ode to My Mother

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Celebrating my mother on her 81st birthday

Estelle Elayne Butler Bryant was born this day 3/3/33 81 years ago. Many would agree that this world is a much brighter, better, happier place with the 72 1/2 years that she was on this earth. I love this picture because she was ALWAYS ready to dance even if she was just passing through a doorway. She didn’t wait for somebody to ask her to dance – she danced whenever she felt like it. She danced with sheer joy! She is dancing with Aunt Shirley (rt) I think it was the second line with the napkin in her hand. LOL!

I love to dance too because of her.

She was:
ENCOURAGER/GIVER: She was always encouraging sharing grace, a smile, a laugh, a kind word to everyone. In her last weeks in the hospital, she was introducing her nurses, attendants to us, sharing their hopes and dreams and encouraging them. Many at Howard remember the few words she spoke to them when she brought us up in our Freshman year. She was always giving (my Dad too) – She gave freely out of abundance or out of lack. She gave her time, her resources, her wisdom freely.

CREATIVE: My mother was wonderfully creative! She loved to create beautiful decorations and could imagine just about anything. She had wonderful ideas about projects, how to make things more interesting, and fun.

WARRIOR: She was a fighter. She fought for her family, for the disenfranchised, for the least of these. She lent her sword in other’s battles as well. She was relentless. Once she joined the battle with you, she would not let YOU give up. At the same time, she would put down her sword when she felt the battle was over or no longer worth fighting. She had nothing to prove. On the other hand, never a vengeful person you did not want to incur her icy wrath. She was not a yeller (don’t know why I didn’t inherit that trait) but she was very firm. Don’t mess with Layne!

PURPOSEFUL: My mother had a great sense of her purpose. Many did not understand why she endured certain relationships that appeared difficult and challenging. But her sense of destiny and purpose went far beyond her personal feelings about a person or a situation. She literally looked at the intended outcome and let that guide her actions. She was a BRAVE woman and CONFIDENT too.

KIND: My mother was a kind woman. Her kindness is one of the biggest gifts to me. She did not dwell on “haters” or “mean” people. She did not let them alter her opinion of others. She was kind behind the scenes to everyone. She did not need a reason. She extended grace because she was a conduit of grace. how how how I miss her.

FAITHFUL: My mother was faithful. She was a faithful and diligent friend, colleague, Board member, Christian, wife, mother. She was disciplined too. She believed God, she believed the Word of God and did not preach it. She lived it. She shared her faith by the way she lived. She was up at 5 most mornings reading her Bible and sipping her coffee. Another gift was her many notebooks and journals of prayers and notes from her prayer time, bible study and church. I found journals of prayers that she prayed for my future husband and children, for her friends, my Dad, challenging situations. In her Bible were prayers that she prayed and “gave to God” for Him to work out after she prayed. She trusted in the solutions that followed and kept it moving.

I am just so so full today and I could go on and on about my dearest Mother. So thankful to celebrate all that she was and still is to so many! Happy Birthday Mom!

Lessons from my mother:Real Beauty

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My mother ‘s salt and pepper hair after her first bout with cancer and my mother before cancer. Always beautiful!

Thinking about my mother this morning – about how her life continues to speak to me. One thing that I find myself thinking about is that she never considered herself to be a great beauty. She always said her sisters and many of her friends were always better looking, but that she didn’t mind at all. She said that she always focused on being the best person she could be.

She was always VERY popular because she really was a GREAT person to be around. My mother made more friends at Howard in that first week when she brought us there for my freshmen year than I did. Other freshman and students would say, “I met your mother and she said to look out for you. What a nice lady — she really encouraged me too. “

My mother was a doer… for all her glamour, she was many times the last person to get ready for an event because she was normally there putting it together. She never compromised on the hair (every week at John Jays with Wyona) but while others were getting their nails done, she was doing her own because she would have been helping make sure the arrangements were just so. That includes my wedding.

It came as a shocker that she never thought she was pretty because she was always fabulous to me whether she was a size 6 before she stopped smoking or 12-14 when she stopped smoking, when she had red/light brown hair before cancer, to salt and pepper hair after cancer. She kept pressing, moving, doing, cheering the next person on and bringing laughter in the room. In this my mother taught me that real beauty REALLY REALLY does come from within.  It is who you ARE, not what you look like..

Remembering my mother today and all that she continues to teach me.