So this is the newest, coolest happenin' thing in bloggy world. And who I am not to follow the crowd and list the 5 most influential people I've run across in my time here on this giant floating ball. My friend, Billy, did it....I love his blog. You really need to read it ASAP if you haven't already. I've seen it on other blogs too and think it's a pretty cool idea. So, without further delay:
1) My kiddos. Without them I would have no purpose or direction as I would sleep long hours and relax with no errands to run, games to watch or concerts in which to cheer wildly. God gave them to me to love, cherish and adore....and to LEARN how to be a grown up while enjoying being a kid. He gave them to me to lessen the pain of my own childhood by giving them something better and learning what unconditional love feels like....to give it and receive it.
2) My little brother Brad. He is the bomb. We are 19 months apart and I have always been the smaller of the two of us since he was 2 years old! At 6'7" he is no small fry. He was my best friend growing up and the person I fought with the most. But at the end of the day, he was the most cherished person in my life. Today, he lives 18 hours away in Virginia and is planning to move to Ohio soon. I can't wait until him and his sweet family are closer. We don't talk everyday....or even every week, but when we do, it's like we just spoke 10 minutes ago. He is my brother and I thank God for him each and every day.
3) My high school social studies teacher, Mr. Mullan. In high school, I didn't give a RIP about anything....school especially. Mr. Mullan picked on me relentlessly but also believed in me. He saw something in me that I certainly did not. He told me on the last day of his class that my life was mine to live. That it was up to me to either be somebody or not, but I couldn't walk around all day acting like the world owed me. If I wanted something, I needed to work for it. He told me I was smart enough and more than qualified. Then he said and I quote: "I better not read about you in the newspaper being sent to prison, GOT IT?" and he walked away. At the time I was PO'd! Who was he to say that to ME??? Years later, I understand. THANK YOU, MR. MULLAN. Thank you.
4) The person who drug me into my church nearly three years ago. I won't way his name and while my time with this person was not good, many good things did come of it. I lived across the street from my church at the time and often sat on my patio looking at it wondering what happens in that building. One day he said "Let's attend." I was sick to my stomach...I did NOT want to go. What if someone in there looked at me and saw right through me? I didn't belong in a place like that. I was hurting and broken and so not worthy of a place like CHURCH. After much coaxing, I finally went. I walked out an entirely different person. My life and the lives of my children changed that day and have never been the same since. Whod'a thunk that CHURCH is where you go when you are broken?!? :0) At any rate, this person was bad for me in so many other ways. I learned that I am stronger than I ever thought possible, I don't deserve to be bullied and most importantly....my time with this person was God's way of releasing me from a pattern of unhealthy relationships and behaviors. Like Billy said in his post, "not everyone who influences you for the better needs to be a good influence." Amen, brotha.
5) A little girl named Reegan. She is the same age as my middle kiddo but wiser than most adults in my book. At VBS in the summer of 2007 I had this sweet little girl in my group. We were doing small group time and, mind you, I knew less than most of these kids so it was such a blessing to be able to spend time with them. Another little girl asked "Should we be afraid of God or bad things happening?" It was seriously a question I was struggling with too. Reegan raised her hand and said, "My mom says we should be FAITHFUL NOT FEARFUL." No words in my life have ever knocked me back on my bum so powerfully. I had tears and tried not to cry for the rest of the night. Over the next month or so I struggled with what that really meant and to this day it is the first thing I think when I start to become fearful. God used that sweet little girl and her momma's very wise words to her to reach inside my heart and BLESS ME. Thank you Reegan and Krisann for being faithful and not fearful and for sharing what you know. Out of the mouths of babes the world of another can be changed forever.