Lisa writes:

It may sound like something so trivial to some, but I am thankful every single day for my supportive family. I know quite a few people who either do not have any family, or their family has gone through some major tribulations and struggles. I am lucky, and blessed, to have such a strong family that bonds together not only in times of joy, but in the face of sorrow and hardship as well. They are truly something to be thankful for.

My own parents played an integral role in me becoming the woman that I am today. My father served in the U.S. Air Force and my mother works for the Department of Veteran Affairs. Together, they instilled into our household the characteristics of hard work, integrity, and, most importantly, love. I was always encouraged to be the best I could be and because of this I was never afraid to reach for my goals. They gave me the solid foundation I needed to achieve my educational goals, including graduating high school among the top 10 in my class, and receiving my MS in Architecture and MBA degrees. When things got tough and I contemplated giving up, I could always count on my parents to provide the heart-to-hearts that got me back on the right track. It may not have been what I wanted to hear, but it was always something I needed to hear.

My older sister is one of my best friends, and although we’re 10 years apart, we have the strongest relationship of any sisters I’ve ever seen. I’ve looked up to her since I was little; she’s been my role model, fashion icon, and confidant when I needed to talk. I also have a younger brother who has taught me never to give up. Being my younger sibling of 3 years, we didn’t always get along, but he always made things interesting. I’m sure he was tired of being “Lisa’s little brother” while in school, but he has since grown into a strong young man and I’m so proud of him. He is currently serving in the U.S. Army for our country, and for that I am thankful.

When I made the decision to go natural in 2004, it was a new experience for all of us. My mother has always had wavy hair, and my sister has worn her hair short, but now my brother and I looked more alike than ever! My grandfather and grandmother were the first two people in my family to witness my remarkable transformation. Although I got the occasional ribbing from my family, everybody jumped on board when they realized that I wasn’t going back to a relaxer. Within a week after my “big chop,” I was involved in a terrible car accident while returning to Austin. This was such a traumatic experience for not just me, but all of my family. Not only am I thankful for my life, I am grateful for having a family that prayed for my well being and helped me get back on my feet. This was the year I was supposed to graduate from college with my first degree and unfortunately the accident postponed this milestone. Emotionally I was down, but still glad to be alive and able to spend quality time with my family. A few months after the accident, when I would have been away at school, my grandmother passed away. I was heartbroken, but at the same time I was thanking God that the tragedy I recently experienced allowed me to be with my family through this time of sorrow.

When I decided to start blogging, I received support from everyone I shared this aspiration with. Without their support I would have never followed through with this project, nor would I have brave enough to express my affinity for natural hair in such a public forum. Even my Dad has been following my blog! I sympathize with those who have never had this kind of support when they try to reach for their dreams, or who may have even received negative criticisms from the ones closest to them. I am thankful for the fact that my family and friends have always backed me 100%.

I appreciate every phase that I have experienced in life because things can quickly change in the blink of an eye. My family has been there through thick and thin, and they are the one thing I can always count on. These kinds of relationships are once in a lifetime and should not to be taken for granted. If you have estranged family members or friends, now may be a good time to reach out to them. Remember, it’s never too late to mend a strained relationship and build an even stronger one for the future.

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