S: Fifty Years of a Life: Melissa Dawn O'Dell
FC: Fifty Years of Life: Melissa Dawn O'Dell
1: A good woman is hard to find and worth far more than diamonds... | She is our mother, daughter, sister, wife | Melissa Dawn O'Dell
6: I met Missy when she was 17 years old and we were about to start our senior year in highschool. She was a stand-out as a beautiful young woman and excellent dancer but she was also a unique individual. One could see without knowing her that she marched to the beat of her own drum. She wasn’t a fashion follower—she was a trend setter, dressing only to suit her own tastes and sense of style. When the dance team, the renown McCullough Highsteppers were in costume, I was always curious to see how she adapted her hair to look like the others. She had very short, very curly hair so pony tails, ribbons, and bows were out of the question. | Thirty three years later, I’m still curious to see how she adapts to new situations. In every case, she maintains her identity and uniqueness that makes her Missy. Even as a grandmother, she is effervescent and ebullient as ever. She’ll always be a family jewel, loved, and revered by all who know her.
7: Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.
9: She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. | "You found creative ways to make sure we always looked cute. When Mimi sent egg decorating kits for us to sell, you didn't dismiss it, but took us door-to-door so that we could afford these memorable Easter dresses." | Emily
10: "What I love best about mom is that she is real and honest." | Annalee
11: "What I love best about mom is her capacity to love others!" | "My favorite thing about mom is her contagious laugh." | Ashlee | Jeffrey
13: I feel so lucky to have you for a mother. Perhaps it's because I inherited your traits, so they seem most natural to me, but I'm glad God selected YOU for my mom! I also feel really special to have been the oldest, because that means I got to spend the most time with you! My earliest memories of you are images of you constantly wiping the kitchen floor by hand. Now that I am a mother, I have some understanding of the tireless tasks you undertook minutely. | What's surprising is that even though I have two children of my own, I have not lost my childish love and devotion to you. I still expect that you will take care of me when I'm ailing, help me when I'm floundering, and pity me when I'm down. I still look to you for advice, consolation, and unconditional love & acceptance. And you have never failed to come through. The selfless devotion you showed in wiping those floors was only the beginning of a life pattern of service. How many times have you cooked, cleaned and worked to get me what I needed? How many times have you listened to my complaints and empathized? How many times have you prayed for me or encouraged me? You have showed me the example of Christ at every turn. In doing so, you paved the way for me to follow in your steps and serve your grandchildren. Generations will be blessed because of your sacrifice. With a daughter's love, Emily
14: "My most hilarious memory of mom is when she took the U.S. Atlas and highlighted every Sonic location in the 48 Contiguous States." | Ashlee
15: "My most hilarious memory of Missy is when we were sailing in the Boston Harbor. The boat tipped with me on the other side about to fall into the water, and she yelled, 'Georgia, nooooo!!'" | Rich
16: She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises... | "Mom's number one strength is obvious. She's fun! And what is life without fun?! Seriously, people. "She's just exciting to be around, and you can never predict what she will say or do. Unless you're driving by a 7-Eleven..." "Missy's top strengths are making everything fun, giving really good advice, dominating in the kitchen, having the confidence to face and overcome any challenge." | Emily | Rich
17: "The best thing mom has ever done for me is picking where I went to college - and believing in me!" | Ashlee
18: Mom, I love you so much. I don't think I can express in words how grateful I am that you're my mother. I have so many incredible, fun, inspiring, touching memories throughout my life thanks to you. | When I think of you, I remember going to the $1 theater in the summer and getting $.10 candies beforehand and sneaking them in your purse. I remember you picking up people on the side of the road and giving them a ride to a gas station. I remember you working with me in middle school (high school?) to memorize Psalm 103 when you were our Youth Pastor | I remember you helping me do my homework, especially on the nights when I would fall asleep with a pencil in my hand. I remember you making every birthday special because it's important to you. | She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.
19: Thank you for these memories. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for expressing your love in tangible ways. Thank you for believing in me and pushing me. Thank you for praying for me and inspiring me to want to follow God. Thank you for all the times you didn't give up. | I want you to know that I believe God has great things in store for you - even better than what you've experienced so far. The road ahead of you is bright. I pray that you have the courage to be bold and not hold back. You've got nothing to lose! | Love now and always, Ashlee
21: What I love about you, Mower: You always want to go to Krispy Kreme. You get donuts. You play Wii with me. You get presents for me. And you bring presents for Jeans, too. And you brought Jeans that dinosaur toy. You bring me to the park. You buy me books. i loveyou mower
24: Dear Missy, Happy 50th birthday! I am so grateful to have you for a mother-in-law. It's such a blessing, because I always get excited when I'm about to see you, which is really the opposite of what I've heard about a lot of mother-in-law relationships! I think that's because from the moment I met you, you've accepted me into the family and have always been so supportive of me. Also, you laugh at my jokes. In addition to being an incredible mother-in-law, you are Mower: the greatest person of all time! You are such a wonderful grandmother to Lukie and Evy Jeans, and I love that they both have such a great bond with you. I love you! Rich
26: For Momma Bear - You are one of my best friends. I love talking with you. You believe in me and you always encourage me. Not everyone has a mother like you. Granted, everyone is different, but I'm so glad you're my mom. I remember you picking me up from Garner Middle School to go see "Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace." Not to mention, I don't know: how many walks we've taken together, how many countless minutes we've spent on the phone talking about life, how many movies we've seen, how many cokes we've shared. I'm so grateful for all the time I get with you. I love that we got to have that one year at Bunker Hill where it was the three of us and you and I would hang out just about everyday. My love for you is so big in my heart that I don't know how to express it in words. All I can think to do is to just love and honor you in whatever way I can. Thank you for crying with me in my sad moments and for rejoicing with me in my triumphs. Thank you for always being there.
30: showing people love just with your voice. Your lifestyle has shown me that you can bring out the absolute best in people just by giving them unprovoked love. You have also been my number one fan since I was born. In all of your children, you have wanted and striven for us to reach our potential. You have pushed us and guided us to be the absolute best people possible. Mimi once told me that O'Dells have a high standard to uphold; we are champions. I believe this is why you fell in love with Dad and this is the standard that you held your own family to. | Mom, Over the past fifty years, you have lived a life that has made your heart transparent to all you encounter. Every person I have seen has instantly wanted to be your friend. You have always had an incredible way of disarming people because you have a unique way
31: Thank you for being my mother, for showing me love when I didn't deserve it, for reading me stories and always scratching my back when I asked. Thank you for making me read books, for forcing me to play sports, for making me break up with bad girl friends, and for being an awesome cook. Thank you for being the best Mom I could ever wish for. I love you Mom. - The Wonder Boy
32: "I love you and I don't know who I would be today if it weren't for you." | "I've been grateful to God for you every single day of my life." | If she or I died today, the last thing I would tell her is... | "I'm very, very happy in life. And everything I've accomplished--my education, my husband, my children--stands on the shoulders of the choices that you made." | Annalee | Ashlee | Emily
33: She always faces tomorrow with a smile...
34: At any given moment, mom is most likely to blurt out... "Jeff, we can make this ourselves!" | Rich
35: You brought us into the world. You dried our tears and made us smile. Then you taught us how to laugh, and we've been laughing ever since. We love you, Mom, more than words or pictures or gifts can say. Please keep smiling and laughing and believing God for even more. We've always done just what you showed us. With great love on your 50th birthday, Jeff Emily, Ashlee, Jeffrey, Annalee Rich, Luke, & Evy Jeans