I certainly would not be the woman I am today without the love, guidance, and constant support of:
My Mom--She has to top the list. Growing up she was my mom. She advised me (even when I ignored her) and loved me through all of my difficult times. Since I have become a mother, she has become my friend. We spent the day together on Friday for my birthday and it was fun to laugh and joke together as friends as well as mother and daughter. I talk to her almost every day on my lunch break, just to check in. She's an amazing sister, mother, grandmother, and friend.
My mother-in-law, Debbie-- Even though she passed away almost five years ago, I still look up to her example. She raised a good man who I am proud to call my husband. She was the oldest of eight kids and she learned early on how to nurture and mentor. I miss her often and cannot count the times I wish I could call on her for advice or expertise. I am sad that I didn't always appreciate her as I should have when she was here and I am sad that only Frances has real memories of her.
My Julie--I've often said that I wish I had a sister. God didn't choose to give me one biologically, but He more than made up for it when he put Julie in my life. If Carolyn and Freddy don't mind, I'm just going to go ahead and adopt her as my sister! She is an amazing friend, a hard-working teacher, and an amazing mom. My kids listen to her better than they listen to me sometimes. She even "parents" them over the phone for me when I'm feeling frazzled!
Miss Patty--Miss Patty is the director at Second Home, the after-school program my children attend. Child care is a tough job. Child care with at-risk, low income, and overwhelmed kids is really tough. Patty does it with a smile on her face at all times. She's apologized to me for "getting mean" with a kid and I've had to laugh. She does everything with patience and grace. The kids there all love her and look up to her. She is entering into a well-deserved retirement soon, and we will all miss her greatly. Not too much though, since she said she's still going to come in and volunteer!
Me! I'm not trying to be vain or self-centered, but I do think it's okay to take a second to mention that I love me. I am nowhere near perfect, but I think I'm a good friend, a hard worker, a fabulous cook, a fun mom, and a kind person. I am also pretty introspective and if something doesn't work out or goes differently than I expected, then I take a look at it to see how I can make things work out better the next time.
There are also some women from history who have inspired me and paved the way for all of womankind.
Mary, Mother of God-- Way back in December of 2003, I had just given birth to my first child. Having that perspective changed Christmas (and Easter) for me forever. To go through motherhood is hard enough, but accepting God's will for you when it seems so difficult takes a really strong, amazing person. I look to Mary for hope and inspiration throughout my daily life.
Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes--They believed something that seems so obvious now, but in their time was revolutionary: that women could own property, vote, and have rights equal to those of a man! She campaigned tirelessly for women's rights, but sadly did not see the Constitutional amendment named for her, as it was not passed until 14 years after her death.
Anne Frank--I imagine many of you read her diary in high school. In many ways she seems like a normal teenage girl. Taking the historical context into account, it seems amazing that she kept such a bright outlook on life and people in general. Instead of focusing on the horrors of her situation she chose to focus on the goodness of the people helping her.
Emma Watson--Putting aside the fact that I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books, movies, and universe, I have to say that Emma Watson is a pretty amazing young woman. We've all seen far too many stars that have shone brightly in their youth, only to burn to brightly and explode. An alarming number of young child actors have gotten themselves into trouble with drugs, alcohol, or other vices because they didn't have the means to handle sudden fame. Watson, on the other hand, despite having shot to amazing fame at the age of 11, has turned that fame into a benefit for all humanity. She speaks about women's rights and gender equality as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador.
Mother Teresa--She took Jesus' words "whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me" completely to heart. She served and loved some of the world's most unloveable people. She spent her life in seeking out those who needed medical attention and a caring heart.
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