Updated: Aug 31, 2018

In the month of August, I am dedicating all of my blog content around the theme of family.  I decided to center on family this month after I just recently reunited with my maternal side of the family at our family reunion that was in Atlanta, GA this past weekend.  Every two years, is our family reunion and we have a great time together and we update each other on what’s been going, share our history of our family lineage, welcome new family members and show moments of gratitude to those who have paved the way for us and who is now eternally resting.

Family Reunion Recap

Our family, are the proud bloodlines of Ross-Newton (Mars Ross and Pearl Newton Ross) and their siblings, descendants.  Historically, our family reunions have dated back to the early 1980’s and is still going forward, every two years.  Our family tree is constantly growing, year after year and we have also lost key family members along the way, that were our strength and peace in times of difficulties, that continuously brought us together, from all over the United States of America.  Our family history runs deep through blood, sweat and tears of those that dwelled in the countryside of Arkansas traveling all the way to every ends of this continent, today.

Each of our family reunions consists of the following basics: (1) a first night to meet and greet with the family, which is usually the first night everyone arrives in the selected city/town, (2) a day to simply explore the host city, attend a picnic where we wear our infamous family reunion t-shirts and take our big family photo together (see image below for 2018 family photo), (3) a banquet that ends with prayer and lots of partying and then (4) parting ways come Sunday morning to mid-day after check-out.  This year, pretty much everything was the norm, minus the family picnic and the days of attendance were cut shorter, but that wasn’t a bad thing to me.  Usually our family reunions are Thursday night til noon on Sunday.  People still came earlier than expected and some people left a day after the reunion ended, which is the norm, anyway.

(Me pictured down front with kids)

Usually my generation parties the entire weekend away and out at clubs!  This year, and maybe with aging, was different.  We just hung out with each other on the grounds of the Marriott hotel where everyone stayed, which was special to me because I don’t get to see my family often since I moved to NOLA.  So for me, I soaked up every minute of it and just stayed present in those moments, and rarely sipped on adult beverages.  Since being an adult at the family reunions, that has never happened.  The smaller kids (including my son), never left the pool it seems like, although I’m not surprised there.

The pool area was like the gathering space for us all to connect as well.  We had a pool party the opening night also with food included.  The hotel was amazing and easily accessible for anything we needed.  Juvenile and Scarface casually walked past the lobby area one night and for once, hotel security didn’t knock on our hospitality suite and tell us that we were being too loud, lol, although we did get reminded of the pool was closing soon cause we were out there late and I’m sure, loud as ever.

If that wasn’t enough, to close out my weekend, I visited the grounds of Tyler Perry Studios (see image below)…….. Let me repeat, I, Felicia T. Simpson, put my feet on the grounds literally, of Tyler Perry Studios along with my friend and accountability partner, Chontate!!!!!!!!  Tears of joy and gratitude flowed down my face from the time I stepped foot out of my car.  We won’t even discuss how I had rollers and a scarf on my head because my hair had not dried yet from a twist out style I prepared the night before.  At some point, I couldn’t even speak any more while filming the whole experience via Facebook Live, so my friend began praying for me and I felt God was opening doors of opportunities right in that moment, to be opened as she uttered words of thanksgiving, supplications, affirmations, etc…… and all of this was going on as we were both kneeling on the ground.  Talk about a real dream come true!!!!  I’ve dreamed of someday working at TP Studios as a writer and BOOM, there I was on the grounds of my dreams.  Unfortunately, there was no tour available and I didn’t see any celebrities entering or exiting.  I believe God made it that way so that I wouldn’t get distracted in the fullness of those moments.  I’m still speechless as I write this…..

(Photo credit: Chontate Brown)

Again, this month is all about family!!!!  I’m going to discuss weekly, topics around all things related to family, give out freebies via my social media so make sure you are following me and so much more.  I’ll leave you with this powerful clip from Tyler Perry’s movie, Madea’s Family Reunion, with Cicely Tyson speaking to their family during a reunion in this scene (courtesy of Youtube but please watch the full movie, if you haven’t) Cicely Tyson Scene in Madea’s Family Reunion Movie

What does family mean to you?  Does your family have reunions?  Tell us about your family history, game nights, movie nights, best or worst family reunion memories, etc., in the comments.