Editing tonight I glanced at two pictures that inspire me every single day of my life. I went back to read this post from last summer and decided to re-post. So many people in our lives have achieved so much with so little. So what do we really have to complain about?
When I think about if my house was ever burning down, these two pictures would be amongst the first items I would be sure to grab.
Originally posted (May 2007)
Before I graduated from college, I gained an intense desire to trace my heritage and locate old photographs of my relatives. Finding several damaged pictures, I learned to use computer software to digitally reconstruct the images. This is when I was first introduced to complex digital editing. To date I have collected over 100 pictures and gained information on six generations of my family. Two members of my family, in particular, have given me great inspiration in my business.
The first is my grandfather, George (1906 - 1998). My grandfather was a very strong and determined man. Once he told me that he could build a house all by himself with his bare hands! Even though he was about 80, I actually believed him! One thing that I remember about my grandfather was that he always had a song in his head every time I was around him. I can still hear him singing today, "In the morning, when I rise, in the morning, when I rise...." Today when I think about this song, I think about how blessed I am to wake up every morning with a house, clothing, food, a business, friends, family, a car...but its not the material things that are really what I'm blessed to have. I am more blessed to have good health, a sound mind, salvation, communication with God, talent, a discerning spirit...all things that cannot really be measured. I feel that as an entrepreneur I must always recognize how quickly material things can fade away. Customers may stop calling, my eyes may become weak, my camera may fail to capture light...however, staying grounded in spirituality is the key to being a successful person.
The second inspirational family member to me was my great grandfather, Vandybilt (1907 - 1996). Buster used to pick me up from pre-school (yes I remember) and drive me around Pensacola on the way home. Well, at least I thought we were driving around Pensacola. As I got older, I realized he was only driving me around the same block over and over again. He used to save the pint carton of milk from his senior citizens meeting and give it to me before we got home. He was a remarkable young man. Looking at his photograph you can probably tell that he was of mixed ancestry. This gave him advantages and disadvantages. While raising his family in Pensacola, he was able to make allies in the community. Sometimes based on his character and other times because of his appearance. Still, his family faced harsh times. They had crosses burned in their yard, some went to jail for refusing to leave restaurants, and others faced ridicule once the public school system was integrated. Despite the challenges, my grandfather managed to run a cleaners, invest in real estate, serve as a deacon, and pay for his children to go to college. This was all an amazing feat during a time when access to equal opportunity was unheard of. The entrepreneurial spirit and the spirit of perseverance has passed through my family for quite some time. I feel that I am honoring Buster's legacy by accomplishing some of his same triumphs...all before the age of 30. Many times I think about what he would be doing if he was a young man living today with all of the opportunities I have been afforded. I do not take my blessings lightly and I know that Buster is smiling knowing that the wisdom he gave his great grandson is being put to use.
A book wriiten on my family: A Way Out of no Way - Claiming Family and Freedom in the New South, by Dianne Swann-Wright
If you are interested in tracing your family's history, why not visit www.ancestry.com