#GenerationsDeep: What Drives My Family? #Spon

When I was selected to participate in Toyota’s #GenerationsDeep campaign, among several other things, I was loaned a Toyota Highlander and asked one question: What drives my family? As we journeyed to Austin this past weekend, in the Toyota Highlander, to be reunited with my family at our annual family reunion, I was constantly reminded of the answer to this question. Prior to this year, I hadn’t been able to attend a reunion for this part of my family since I was younger. Between my college career, working full time and being a full-time single parent (my son’s birthday party has been this same weekend every year since he was born) I have missed out on this opportunity to fellowship with people who are a part of me and my history. So I was beyond excited that this year would be the year.

Travel with my family is often anything but a straight shot to our destination. There are detours, restroom stops, and taking opportunities to see new sights. There is not always a plan because sometimes life takes you places not on your route. But the ultimate goal is always to arrive at our destination safely, no matter how long it takes to get there. We left the evening before the reunion, but there was still some pretty heavy traffic and a highway filled with other people rushing to get home. One of the features I came to appreciate in driving the Highlander is the Blind Spot Monitor system because my parents taught me I have to drive for myself and everyone else on the road. It came in handy on many occasions when it seemed I was the only driver on the road paying attention. While my son watched a movie on the rear entertainment system, with not a care in the world, and my boyfriend and brother both entertained themselves, I was able to focus on the journey ahead. The ride was smooth and safe, which is my constant prayer before getting on the road. My family is driven by security.


This weekend also included a detour on the way to the reunion to show my son an amazing sight. We visited the Canyon Dam in Canyon Lake, TX. As many times as I have been to Canyon Lake, I have never taken time to check out the dam. Since it was on the way to the reunion from where we were staying, I welcomed the opportunity to take in the open air. The view was amazing and my son loves being outdoors, it was the perfect addition to our time together. My family is driven by adventure.

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Once we finally arrived at the family reunion, it was non-stop fun and fellowship as we spent time catching up with family members young and old. Some who hadn’t seen me since I was my son’s age (3) and some who our children were meeting for the first time. The home cooked food, especially the chocolate cake with pecans in the cake and the icing, the understanding that we respect the older generations and allow them to be served food first, the outward professing of our faith in God as the reason our family has been able to grow and flourish are what my family is about. And as the descendants of my paternal great-grandfather, we stand united by love. My family is driven by faith, love and support.

This past weekend reminded me of who I am, who I come from, and whose I am.


My family is driven by love, faith, love, support, adventure and security. And to this years reunion, my family arrived with Toyota.

Jay Smilez

I am a lover of Christ, her family, food, music, single malt scotch and motherhood! I discovered the joy in sharing my life, story and transparent truth with others through writing after going through an extremely difficult time in my life. The transition from single woman to single mother, and all the unexpected obstacles, brought me to what I thought was point of no return. It wasn't until after I made it past this point that I learned I was not the only one who had gone through (or will ever) it. What I am currently learning is my journey does not define me, I make it what it is. So as I continue on my journey, I will no longer define myself by my current status, but I will gladly share the accessory God gave when He created this example of His constant grace. My smile.

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