This month, (on February 9th, to be exact), marks the 78th birthday of one of the most beautiful, inspiring women I've ever known.
I've been meaning to write a post about my grandmother for a while now, and being her birthday month, I thought this was the perfect time to do it. My grandmother, Marilyn Hayes, was born Marilyn Ellman in Cincinnati, Ohio during the Great Depression. Growing up, she was a cracker-jack softball player and would eat a hot-fudge sundae after every single game! When she was only 14 years old, she met my grandfather, Norman Hayes, while out on a double date with his brother, no less. Needless to say, she and my grandpa got together shortly thereafter, and fell madly in love. The night of their first kiss, my then teenage grandpa ran all the way home, knowing this gal was something really, really special. When they were 20, they got married. They have now been married for 58 incredible years.
In the over half-a-century they've shared together, my grandma has both lived and traveled all over the world with my grandpa (a Lieutenant-Colonel in the US Army), given birth to 10 children (yes, 10!), gotten her degree in nursing (after having all 10 kids!), survived breast cancer, and now has 42 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.
During the long stretches of time when my grandpa was serving overseas in both Korea and Vietnam, my grandma was raising those kids and running the household by herself. She's one tough cookie, that woman. The amount of strength and unfailing faith in God she possesses just baffles me.
In my entire life, I have never seen my grandmother lose her temper or treat anyone with unkindness. She radiates kindness, love, and grace to everyone around her, no matter what the circumstances. Her smile and laughter are infectious, and she is a peace-maker and a giver to her very core. You simply can't be around my grandmother without feeling loved. She's always been a gorgeous woman, and that beauty has only grown and deepened with age. It radiates from the inside out. Though our family is (clearly) enormous and spread out all over the country, they never miss a graduation or a wedding. They keep a laminated family directory on them at all times (literally) with everyone's contact info, birthday, and anniversary, so as never to let a single occasion slip by without a call and a gift. They still take several international trips every year purely for enjoyment and adventure; even as they approach their 80's, they never lose their zest and excitement for living!
If there's ever been a true, living example of the Proverbs 31 woman, it's my grandmother, Marilyn Hayes. Grandma, you never cease to amaze and inspire me, and I love you so much! Thanks for always being there, and showing me what it means to be a Godly woman of noble character!