Happy Birthday, Nina!


Today’s the day! On this day, February 16, XXXX, Carol Ann Strickland (Hall) was born – yes, she’s timeless. Get ready for a trip down memory lane, photo style, as I geek out on how cool my mother is to celebrate her birth. Oh, and for context, my niece decided to call her “Nina” (her own version of “Grandma”) when she was little, and so, that stuck!

But back to her birthday!

As a child, she looked like an angel (you’ve got to love those Instagram filters):


And you can just tell she must have gotten away with pretty much anything. Even as a teen, her fashion sense, poise, beauty and charm seem fully developed:


SOOOOO developed in fact that she won beauty pageants, yes, beauty pageants. Most certainly for her beauty but surely also for smarts, passion and the fire you can almost FEEL through these photos. Congratulations, Miss Habersham County!


I tried to fit in that gold dress when I was in high school, and though my measurements were not too shabby back then, my MOTHER’S tiny waist (a part of that hourglass figure that she has had her entire life) made it an incredibly uncomfortable (and humbling) experience.

But she didn’t stop at being pretty. She got her Cosmetology license, something I have appreciated (and hated) throughout my life, depending on the outcome of my perm OR the embarrassingly teased hairdos my sister and I got to “enjoy” sometimes growing up… But you can’t argue with her skills:


She followed that up by putting herself through college, graduating in 3 years with an education degree from UGA and following THAT up with a master’s and a specialist degree, earning Teacher of the Year for the State of Georgia and traveling the world to speak about the center-based learning methodology she created for the classroom. I’m exhausted just typing all that… and yet, she made it look easy.


Oh, and did I mention she did ALL THAT as a single mom with twin girls (I mean, sure, I bet those kids were angels, but still)? Talk about a SUPER MOM:


Throughout our lives she has always made us feel special, from baking not one but TWO birthday cakes for our birthdays to supporting our crazy interests and making sure that we both also graduated from college and knew the importance of education.


We come from a long line of incredible women, one of which is my great grandmother, Susie, for whom my mother named me (and why my birth certificate actually says SUSIE, just like that – I get that question all the time “what’s Susie short for?”). It’s short for Susie:


We grew up surrounded and cared for by these amazing women, who lived and loved and passed all that right down. We learned the importance of family and being kind, how to be industrious and make a difference in the lives of others, and how to love wholeheartedly. You can’t beat that.


And so, on this special special day, I honor and say THANK YOU to my gorgeous, accomplished, inimitable mother, for whom I am eternally grateful (how many ways and times can I say “thankful” and “grateful” in this post?!).

Her love and care for us TODAY is just as strong as it was when we were children – as she continues to be a role model for OUR children and help them grow. And though we may not tell her every day how thankful we are for all she’s given and all she’s sacrificed and all she’s DONE to show us that WE can do ANYTHING, well, we certainly should tell her more often. How about now?




6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Nina!

  1. Awwww! I love it! Thanks for dipping into your photos for this one. I’m drooling over those formal dresses. And I’d say that among all her impressive achievements, you and your sister are at the top of her list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s