Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Little Bit of My Family History Part I

As some of you may know, I was in South Carolina for Christmas with my extended family. I must say this was much needed in my life at the right time. I cannot express in words how wonderful it was to be around my family as I believe family is everything to me. I know we all have our ups and downs with them but I would not change anything in the world with mine. Being as though my grandmother just passed away in July, it was still on my heart. We went to her house to clean some stuff up and my mother wanted her cedar chest. I just walked around and got this warm but sad feeling over me. Later on that day we were all just sitting around talking and I started to ask questions about my great grand parents and my mother, aunt, and cousin knew a lot about them so I wanted to do more. I must say Google is an amazing thing and I cam across a website that my second cousin had out there. Come to find out, she had been doing research as well and then the information just started to come out. I got as far back as my great great grand parents. Wow! Good stuff! I will do more research to find out more but I wanted to share this with you all. This is on my mothers side. My fathers side is soon to come as I found out from my dad that my great great grandpa was white and my great great grandma was a native Indian. Check out this about my moms side. Sarah-Moultrie Graham is my grandma and I was am a part of that branch.

Zannie Graham and Phyllis Barr-Graham came from a section of Williamsburg County called Indiantown.  The history books and census books are scarce regarding Blacks.  We did find, however, that white masters with the names Grahamn, Barr, and Wilson were prominent in Indiantown and they gave their names to the slaves.  We believe that these slaves were our predecessors.

Zannie Graham was born February 11, 1891 in St Mark.  Little is known about the family of annie except that his father's name was Dairy Graham and he had two brothers, Samuel and Julius (Bubsy).  Zannie was raised by a white family.  Zannie's father was married twice.  His second wife's name was Bennie.
Phyllis Barr was born in 1892 in St Mark (according to a historian interviewed).  It was also noted that Grandma Phyllis was born the year of "The Big Shake" which was 1886.  Phyllis was the daughter of Tensil Bss and Ben Barr.  Ben Barr was born around the Civil War.  He was a farmer and owned 20 acres of land on which he grew rice and wheat, had a cane mill, and raised cows and hogs.  Tensil was his first wife and the mother of Phyllis.  Ben's second Wife was Elizabeth who became the mother of Ben's three youngest children, Mattie, Rosa and George.  Elizabeth was a farmer's wife and owned 40 acres of land.
Phyllis had 5 brothers:  Washington, George, Henry, William and Jacob Barr and 8 sisters: Mary (Honey) Wilson, Margaret Rogers, Lena Cooper, Fibby Barr, Tara Barr, Rosa (Plum) Burrows, Mattie (Flossie), Russia dnd Sally Barr.
Zannie and Phyllis were married November 18, 1913 at Trio, South Carolina.  Zannie was 21 years and 9 months old and Phyllis was 21 years old.  They both resided in Vox, SC.  They had a grand wedding with a horse drawn carriage and a big celebration after which they made their home in Hemingway, SC.
Over the years, they became the parents of 7 children, one of whom died in infancy.  There children were: Minnie Graham-Hawkins, Daniel Graham, James Graham, Sarah Graham-Moultrie, Zannie Graham, Jr., and Christine Graham-Coo[er.
Zannie departed this earth August 20, 1972 at the age of 81.  Phyllis joined him 14 years later on January 12, 1986 at the age of 95.

Have you ever researched where you family is from? What did you find out? Did it shock you? Where you proud? Let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Going Into The New Year

The year of 2012 is fast approaching us and every year I am pretty sure we make up New Year's Resolutions right? Do we stick to them? Some of us do, some of us don't. I think the beginning of the New Year is a time to reflect on the past year, the good, bad, and the ugly and also look towards the future.

How often do we reflect before we move forward? Every year I tell myself to let go of all these things to make room for the new things in my life that will come. I think to myself, am I really reflecting on the things I plan to let go and why am I letting these things go. Sometimes when that happens, those same things that you try to let go, creep back into your life because you never really knew the real reason you wanted to change. Sometime we just can't go by it just feeling right but he have to really know why we want to change these things.

I consider myself to be extremely generous and every year I tell myself that this needs to stop. Most of the people I am generous to don't deserve it but yet I continue to be that way. Puzzling right? I ask myself the same thing. Is this action in me that much of a part of me that I can't let up? I really don't know. I have been hurt so many times by giving so much of myself because that's all I know. I am a caring person and if I believe I can help someone I will. This does not just include financial things, but time, feelings, trust, support, and the list goes on. Not all of these people are bad but some people just don't know how to take generosity. People think its fake or I do these things just to gain something in return and that's the furthest thing from the truth. I give because I love to give. It brings me joy to help others in need and because I have been blessed with a huge heart, most people take it for granted or use it for bad.

When something is so much of a part of you, how do you let it go? I don't know how to do things half way. I go hard all the way or I do nothing. There is no in between for me. Where does that leave me? Questions I ask myself every single day. I get all the time these same reactions "Kevin, your too nice", "That's so sweet of you", "Thank you so much for this", "Are you doing this to get something back in return?", "Why are you doing this for me?", and sorry to say ladies it mainly comes for you. Why can't I just be a nice guy, want to do nice things for you to smile. I ask myself who are people associating themselves with that kindness is not in the equation? I look at my closest and best friends and one thing we all have in common are that we are all giving people. We are not perfect but we are generous in everything we do. I choose to have these people in my life because we have this in common. A man can still be a man by being generous, you just have to open your mind to the idea. And what I mean by generous, I mean not having everything at your feet because that's crazy but doing nice things to let you know we care.

With that being said, what would you do? Are there things in your life that you try to let go and they end up back in your life even though you thought you let it go? Are you paying attention to the company that you keep? Do they have similar feelings about the same things? What are you guys wanting to let go in the New Year and how do you plan on keeping it away? Let me know your thoughts. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Counting Your Blessings

A couple a days ago I was invited to a friends place in Delaware. He has been trying to get me to come down and visit for the last month. I finally made the 40 minute drive to their Condo. Although I was just down their to chill out,  it meant more to me than I expected. I realized how blessed I am . I am really and truly blessed with so much that words cannot even express it. I think sometime when we are dealing with adversity, we forget what has been given to us.

As we were watching sports on TV we started talking about the situation we had just been through, how we are in the same boat with the economy and employment and just life in general. Although he is younger than I, he is very wise for his age. As we are talking , his daughter was running around playing and just as happy is she wanted to be. Watching him interact with her was a blessing to see as he is a wonderful father and she loves him to death. I started to play around with her as well and at first she was hesitant but I think she remembered me. She has to be one of the smartest 2 year old's I have ever met. She knows most of her colors and even knows some words when she sees them. Amazing. His other daughter had awoken from her nap and she let us know it by crying. We are all just hanging out having a good ole time while just talking about life. I just happened to zone out for a minute and just watched how my friends daughters interacted with my friend and all I kept saying to myself is that is truly a blessing. Although he is going through a difficult time, it doesn't stop him from being a father and a husband. Hours went by and his wife came home from work and the one daughter ran to the door yelling mommy, mommy. It was such a blessing to see her running to the door with the biggest smile on her face. Kids are so amazing as they let their feelings know all the time whether is happy or sad. Throughout this whole visit, my friend was so supportive telling me things are going to turnaround, have you done this, have you done that, what about this, what about that, let me get my laptop.

His wife decided to cook dinner and the soup that she made was amazing that I had seconds. Just talking with them and seeing how supportive they are to each other and to me. As stated before, we all just went through something but it doesn't stop them from being husband and wife and parents to their daughters. That alone is a blessing by itself. I thank them for the opportunity to spend time with them and the kids because it opened me up to think more about life.

Have you ever sat back and thought about the things you have in life? He you really realized how blessed you really are? Even through trials and tribulations do you see the light at the end of the tunnel? I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes on my back, and people that love me. It could be a lot worse than it really is. Sometimes I loose sight of that but moments like I had a couple of days ago put me right back on track. I am thankful for everything I have and everything that will be provided to me in the future. As a man, sometimes pride gets in the way but I am thankful for everything. During hard times lets be thankful for the things we do have instead of the things we don't. There is always someone out there that has it worst than you. Lets be thankful.