She’s a little old fashioned
That sweet mother of mine

My Mama quotes this old gospel hymn often when reminiscing about her Mom, who we affectionately called Granny.  Now, Mama Rose carries on the legacy of “Granny” to our children, and her first great-grandchild, Rosemary Jane Myrick.

The Holifield women of Soso, Mississippi (Jones County) are undeniably among the legendary warrior princess women of our modern times.  Rosemary Holifield grew up on a little plot of farmland that her daddy, momma, and siblings worked until they were grown enough to move out on their own, or married.  She married Lonnie (our dad) at 16 yrs of age, and began her whirlwind life of marriage, ministry, and music that would fill the pages of our family Story.  The story continues to this day.  She is now married to Bob Garst and lives just up the road from us.  We cherish every moment we get to spend with her and she continually gives, serves, and leads our family in ways that offer Hope and Peace, no matter what this crazy life throws our way.  To this day, her favorite hobbies include cooking for her family — some of the most amazing dishes you’ll ever taste — and singing classic gospel hymns and songs that we grew up with during our family gospel band years as the “Rosetones”.  What a legacy!

Sarah Jolene Roles Dinwiddie grew up near the coal-mining hills of West Virginia, in a little place called Bill Holler.  I’ve been there once to visit the Roles Family Reunion and yes, it’s as Appalachian as you might imagine.  Oh the stories!   “Jo” married Gene and they raised their girls in Richmond and Williamsburg Virginia.  When the family relocated to Pascagoula MS, their baby girl caught my eye in church one Sunday.  And, the rest, as they say, is history.  Jo Dinwiddie was the ultimate homemaker, wife, mom, and “Nana” to her grandchildren.  She loved being a wife and Mom, kept up with all the neighborhood scoop, knew everybody’s family tree it seemed, and was beloved by hundreds of children who grew up in Nursery and Childrens Ministry at Arlington Baptist Church in Pascagoula.  Her life and love influenced generations of families.  She was and is our beloved “Sweet Nana”.

Sheryl and I enjoy laughing and crying when we recall the fun memories with Jo and Gene.  They were the heart and soul of our lives for more than 35 years of our marriage and left indelible marks on us and our children.  They are awaiting us in Heaven, and what a Glad Reunion Day THAT will be!

By God’s Grace, we continue to enjoy meals, family gatherings, and occasional community outings and special events with Granny Rose. We gush with joy as Granny gets “sugar” from behind baby Rosemary Jane’s soft pink little ears.

Looking back in time, I am amazed by the heroism and fortitude of these mighty women in our family.  Rose and Jo grew up during America’s “golden age” of rock and roll music, sock hops, classic films, and … during America’s most turbulent modern history of civil rights activism, riots, and racial divisions of the 1960s and 70s in the Bible Belt South.

Our moms knew how to stretch a dollar to the last penny. They could heal any wound with a quick home remedy and a smooch on the boo-boo.  They could listen to our childhood fantasies, teenage rants, and coming-of-age questions into the wee hours of the night.

They loved their husbands well, despite the ever-changing roles that women were expected to fulfill in the home, in the church, at the school house, in the community … and, they seemed to never complain nor grow weary.  But, we knew then, and we know now, they were exhausted. But, would never let their weariness defeat their mission — to LOVE their families and to defend their honor.

They loved and cared for their children and their grandchildren, modeling a Christlikeness that caused all of us to want to be more loving, kind, and generous … especially to those who we knew were less fortunate or faced extreme challenges.  They prayed for us, and over us in the night.

They cooked our favorite meals. They bailed us out of last-minute homework assignments and science projects when we frantically called upon them for help.  They repaired our broken toys.  They made sure that our clothes were clean and fresh every day.  They washed behind our ears, and all the other “behinds”.

And most of all … they LIVED for LOVE.  Our moms are our HEROES.  We will never, ever forget the price they have paid for our wellness, for our joy, and for the Legacy of Goodness that we now enjoy.  And, by God’s grace … we will carry their legacy through our children and grandchildren too.


This Thanksgiving …

My sweet precious Sheryl posted her thoughts about this Thanksgiving on her social media page today.  I will let her words inspire you today …


“Holidays always bring mixed emotions for me. For anyone that has spent 5 minutes with me, knows that I love Christmas, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of my momma, but it also brings a bit of sadness.

This was Thanksgiving 2011. The last one that we would celebrate together on this side of heaven. The picture has changed drastically. We’ve added new faces, we’ve gotten older, the little ones in front are no longer little, and the 3 chairs are empty now.

Some of you are facing your holiday season with an empty chair for the first time, and I understand how difficult that can be. This is not my first Thanksgiving without them, but the feelings are there. You cannot avoid the missing part.


So I challenge all of us that have a missing piece of our heart, to celebrate the time that we did have, the memories that were made and talk about our loved ones. Laugh, cry, unplug and make intentional memories with your family. Time is a gift. Make it count.

On Thanksgiving Day, take lots of pictures, look people in the eyes and savor every second.”


Jana Maples Myrick Aust went Home … to Jesus, her Mama, and other loved ones in Heaven … early Tuesday morning.  She was one of the most beautiful people in this world.  And she shone brightly throughout her incredible lifetime here which ended way too soon.  Much before any of us would have expected.

Let me say at this point in the story … CANCER SUCKS!  It is a monster. It is evil. It is wicked. And, it is no match for the Savior. Jesus died on a cruel cross, was buried, then resurrected as KING … over cancer. HE wins. Therefore, WE win.  Hallelujah!  O praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!!

My beautiful Sheryl and Jana were childhood friends who grew up to fall in love with two brothers from this sleepy little town of Pascagoula.  Danny and I dated Jana and Sheryl through high school and college years, and then married our sweethearts, to then venture into our own respective journeys and careers.

Danny and Jana loved and lived big. They brought two incredibly talented and handsome boys into this earth who are their greatest pride and joy.

As life does, it threw a few curve balls at Danny and Jana. They divorced a few years ago; and eventually remarried loving new spouses who have brought even more joy, laughter, love, and beauty to our extended and blended family.

Jana touched thousands of people in her lifetime here. Her effervescent smile, radiant personality, and spitfire energy lit up any room she entered. Her children adored her and carry her spunky spirit in them.

In the blur of just 24-hours since her transition to Heaven, the expressions of love, sympathy, condolences and memories have flooded her social media page. It is obvious to all that Jana made her indelible mark on many. She lived fully. She loved as unconditionally as humanly possible. And she will never be forgotten.

We love you Jana. We miss you terribly.  Yet, we rejoice that you are Home, Healed, and more fully Alive than we can imagine.  We will cry many tears as we remember life with you, and now without you.  We will laugh at the charming memories you created for us all. We will deeply love one another more carefully because of the intense love you showed us all.

Jana, you were more like Jesus to us than you may have realized. You always showed kindness and generosity to others.  You took the mess that life sometimes creates, and recreated new life and new love from the mess.  You chose to overcome darkness with light.  You demonstrated heroic faith and courage in the face of the monster disease that we all have come to utterly detest.  You beat the monster. You are the champion.

We celebrate you, Jana.  And, we will see you again dear sister.

Thank you Jesus, for our beautiful sweet Jana.  We celebrate her and now entrust her to Your sovereign care … until we meet again at that Glad Reunion Day.