This past weekend we celebrated the 2nd Annual GiGi Fest at my mom and dad’s farm. GiGi Fest began as a celebration in memory of our Grandma GiGi (Georgia). She passed away unexpectedly a year ago this past August. And to say it hit us all very hard is an understatement. The life lessons I learned from her passing are priceless.
First and foremost, I learned that no matter a persons age, you are NEVER ready for them to go. You will always wish and pray for just one more day. One more hour. One more minute. I remember seeing her lay in the hospital bed and all I wanted her to do was to wake up and talk to us one more time. I still had things I needed to tell her. I still had stories to share. But she didn’t. God was ready to take her home. I learned through this experience that we need to cherish every day we have with our loved ones and take “time” to spend “quality time” together. Because no matter what, our worldly selves are never ready to say goodbye.
Secondly, I learned the importance of family. Yes, I have always been a family girl, but I mean I learned that family is all you have when everything tumbles around you. They are your backbone and they are the ones you will need in times of trouble. They understand you and love you no matter what.
My mom is the youngest of five “Neal” sisters. Growing up we did not get to see them all except a few times a year due, if that, due to distance. Some of my best memories and craziest memories are the occasions we did spend together. One thing about the “Neal Women”…they are VERY STRONG women! Strong willed, strong personalities, strong opinions…you get the point. So you can imagine how family gatherings went with such “Strong-ness”. Lol! With age I have came to love that about them. A deep love and appreciation. I have that same deep love for all of my family…aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin’s kids. We are all so different, yet so very much alike. You can’t deny genes…they are real! And I am blessed to be a part of the Neal Heritage.
Grandma Georgia was truly the matriarch of the Neal Family. She was a lady of grace, poise, style, and so much more. From an early age I sat in awe and watched her apply her makeup, paint her perfectly manicured nails, and dress in the classiest of clothing. I know without a doubt she is where my passion for makeup, skincare, and fashion at an early age came from. Grandma also taught us so many “Georgiaisms”…there were so many once I started thinking about them a year ago, but here are some of the ones that I have carried with me for many years and still today tell my girls:
~Never leave home without a full face of makeup, you never know who you will see
~Take care of you face and neck, they will show signs of age first
~ Dress for success not to impress. It’s not about showing off, it’s about feeling good about you.
~ Hold that head high, shoulders back
~ Family is everything. Family is important. Don’t forget who you are and where you came from.
~Don’t worry what others think of you, they don’t walk in your shoes.
~If you need to vent, vent to you family. Others will eventually hold it against you.
~A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear. So smile often.
We had a wonderful weekend. Lots and lots of laughs, love, and wonderful memories made. My parents farm looked like an RV Park full of the best inflatables any child could dream of. In true "Neal" fashion the sisters went over and above to make sure the weekend was unforgettable...and it was. Already looking forward to next year.
Here are some pictures from our weekend festivities. I hope you all enjoy. And if I can leave you with anything, please take the time out to spend with those you love. It's good for the soul.