List ten people who have influence you and describe how.
Really 10 - JUST 10. I am getting behind on my one a day plan, because "just ten" is giving me fits. However I suppose it has to be ten, otherwise this post would never end. I am sure that everyone feels the same way, that there are so many people who influence us, for whom we are so grateful. So here is my list not in any order.
Mom - I wish I had a gift for putting in to words the appreciation and love I feel for my mom, but I don't. George Washington said it well when he said " All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." I would add Spiritual education to the list and it would be complete. However I still don't think it does justice to the influence she had on me. I am so grateful for her. I am who I am because of her, in fact in many ways I am her, and that's okay. I am especially grateful that she both recognized and embarrassed the importance of her role as a mother. "Being a king, emperor, or president is mighty small potatoes compared to being a mother. Commanding an army is little more than sweeping a street compared with training a boy or girl. The mother of Moses did more for the world than all the kings that Egypt ever had. Oh, you wait until you reach the mountains of eternity, then read the mothers' names in God's Hall of Fame." (Billy Sunday) My mom's name will be in the Hall of Fame. She, more than anyone helps me to realize just how important I am as a mother and that I have value as a daughter of God. She is my greatest cheerleader!! Love you mom!
Dad - If every child could have a dad like me, how fortunate would they be and how better off the world would be. My dad spent quality time with me, taking us out on bike rides, taking us to the office, playing the guitar while I played the piano. He brought humor and excitement to our home through story telling, water fights, hide-n-seek, and a quick wit. He taught me patience, hard work and dedication. He is a great example of quiet faith, I always knew where my dad stood and I knew when I crossed the line, but never because of what he said, it was because of his example. He also taught me the joy of service. I am so blessed to have him as my dad, because of him my mind is filled with thousands of rich memories (perhaps that is why there is no room for tedious facts, :) I would prefer to have it filled with wonderful memories). I wish so much that I could be more like my dad!
Jared - I am truly a better person because of Jared. Jared more than any one has taught me humility, forgiveness and patience. It was not until I met Jared that I finally read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and gained a solid testimony of the gospel. Jared has opened my eyes to the world by exposing me to travel, many new foods, lots of media, and his love of history. Because of Jared I learned more about the world we live in, the famous people who shape it, the history of it, and the cultures than I ever learned while in school. Because of Jared I know how to cook. Because of Jared I have realized my greatest blessings of a temple marriage and the gift of becoming a mother. We are celebrating our 11th anniversary this Friday. I am eternally grateful he chose me and I chose him. I love and adore him!
Grandma Johnson - I think my Grandma is the best! She was always so good to have me, my sister and my two cousins (Jennifer and Carolyn) over for sleep overs or just over to play. I loved walking into her house and hearing some opera or classical music playing on her little yellow stereo while she was washing the dishes by hand. Her house always smelled yummy. She was the best cook and baker I had ever met. She would even make a pb and jelly sandwich special because she would cut it with cookie cutters. Her toy closet had the greatest treasures from her latest trip to the DI, but the best toys were the sheets she would find - endless creations from a plain old sheet. My mom was my Grandma's oldest daughter, I am my moms oldest daughter, the three of us have a LOT in common. We all have strong opinions which we like to express, like how to properly load a dish washer. :) We all have a great appreciation of the arts, music, dance, paintings, literature, etc. My grandma instilled a love of books in me from a very young age because she read to me all the time while I sat on her lap in her rocking chair. I am grateful for the legacy my Grandma left me. And I can't forget to mention my Grandpa Johnson who was also very influential in my life, teaching me the value of hard work, self reliance through gardening, food storage and budgeting and the value of exercises. I admire him a lot.
Grandma Osborn - I also think my Grandma Osborn is the best - but in different ways. My Grandma sent me a letter a few weeks ago which illustrates just how cool she is. The first paragraph said "Don't be alarmed when you see my funeral outline that I am enclosing, but when I was down quite sick last month with pneumonia I realized I am not young any more and at almost 93 years old I won't be around too much longer -- maybe 3 to 6 years at the most." Please don't think badly when I say that I busted up laughing when I read that. She just realized that she is not young any more at 93 years of age, and it is not because she is senile. She is just young at heart. She retired only a few years ago from running her own real estate business. She still drives and cares for herself. She still plays the organ in the temple. She still goes to the retirement home to assist and care for the old people, most of which are younger than her. She still plans and hosts family gatherings. She still plays the piano beautifully. She is still planning on being around for another 3-6 years. I love my Grandma, she is a breath of fresh air. She has a powerful testimony. She has experienced and overcome challenges that would make others sinister, grumpy and mean. She gave me a love and talent for the piano. I hope I can have her attitude about life and enjoy life to the fullest like she has. I want to be young forever too.
Paula Mortimer was my piano teacher, mentor and friend for ten years, which seems like nothing, but she was a powerful influence for good from day one. In fifth grade we all had to write a report on our hero and the best, most meaningful reports would be chosen for the Hero assembly, because of her mine was chosen. She was just that amazing! Paula taught me piano which has made me who I am to everyone on the outside - "Michelle Bowman - oh yeah she's the one that plays the piano really well", it's probably how many will remember me, and that's more than okay. I am SO SO SO grateful that I learned how to play the piano and that she was the BEST piano teacher ever!!! But beyond piano she taught me the gospel, she taught me how to be a good person. She loved me, really loved me and I knew it every time I set foot in her home. I believe deeply that every child and youth needs someone outside of family that loves them, encourages them and is in a position to offer counsel and guidance. Paula was that person for me. I was taught so much more than piano for that short half hour a week that I was in her home, and I am eternally grateful. I hope that I can be or have been that kind of a person for just one of my students, if I have than I feel like I have honored her.
Karie Lasson (Peterson)- When I started high school, I, like everyone else, was terrified and excited, but I was sure everything would be fine because I had a good friend to lean on. Then for some reason (I wish I knew) that friend stopped being my friend, cold shoulder doesn't really do it justice. I became extremely shy and reserved, but Karie (who knows why?) decided to talk to me in dreaded gym class and as a result become my friend. In many ways she saved me. Because of her, I gained more friends, truly great friends, than I could ever count. Having many great friends and belonging to a group of strong, righteous, creative friends made my three years at Brighton High School so enjoyable. Many people look on high school as a terrible time in their life, I don't. Sure it was hard, full of drama and crazy emotions, but I loved it just the same. Just as every youth needs a good mentor they need good friends. I am so grateful that Karie introduced me to and gave me confidence to find so many good friends who in turn were great influences on my life.
Erin Massey - When Jared and I moved to Oregon I was once again in a place where I had to make new friends - YIKES. I was so nervous that we would be lonely for the three years we were there. The first Sunday we attended our new ward, our Bishop came quickly from the stand to meet and greet us after the meeting. After he learned that we were here so that Jared could attend law school he pointed us in the direction of the Massey's and told us to go meet them. We were slow about it, too slow for the Bishops liking, so he marched us over to them and introduced us. (Love Bishop Web for it) And how did the Massey's respond? Not like I probably would have, I would have been friendly, but reserved, which would not have allowed for a good friendship to forge. But no, Erin was so bubbly and excited to meet us and befriend us. We were invited to weekend activities with all the other young couples and families in the ward. We didn't have time to be lonely in Oregon, we were too busy having fun with all of our new friends. :) Once again a good friend introduced me to several great friends who made Oregon magical. so magical I didn't want to leave. I still miss it terribly even though I know it is not the same as it was when we lived there. I could make several more lists of people who have influenced me, just from people I had the privilege of knowing in Oregon, people who I grew to love and admire and who in turn loved me. Now every time I hear someone mention Oregon I perk up and reminisce about the GREAT time Jared and I had there - oh how I miss it. When Jared and I were planning to move back to Utah I told my mom I was scared to come back because I liked "Oregon Michelle" so much better than "Utah Michelle". My good friends in Oregon helped me gained my confidence and learn to be and enjoy my Independence and I was so afraid I would lose that.
Dana Brosnahan - I entered the next phase of my life when Jared and I moved to Heber, bought a home and began our family. Once again I was in need of new friends and a new support system. Enter Dana to the rescue. We were both serving in Primary together, we lived pretty much next door, and we were expecting children within days of each other, but the real friendship began after I had Brandon and she had McKell. We began helping each other to take care of our children. She would take Brandon in the afternoons for me while I taught piano and I would take McKell in the mornings while she ran errand, worked out and took care of her other two children. When we weren't taking care of each others children we went on long walks together, to work off the baby fat and visit. Our conversation covered everything. Dana is my go to person for everything. I often worry and Jared is convinced, that I take advantage of her, but she assures me that she feels the very same way towards me. I admire Dana so much, she is a giver, Jared teases, that anytime we need something, (particularly relating to our children) we go to Babies-R-Dana. She is constantly thinking of the needs of everyone else but herself. I wish I could be so selfless. Every new mom needs another young mom to be a support and friend. I am grateful Dana was and continues to be one of mine. She also helped me gain more friends within our ward. She is so good to be the one who calls the majority of the time, because of my lame fear of calling people on the phone. She has also kinda forced me out of my shell and helped me try new things that I wouldn't have otherwise tried. I wish I could be as strong as her, even if she doesn't think she is strong. She is a remarkable women and so much fun. We set up these activities for our children, like, wadding pools, train tracks, or making a snowman, but really it is just our "adult" way of saying, "do you want to play" :). I love that Dana like to play with the same things as me. :)
Lastly, my sister Natalie. You can't share a room with someone for 16 plus years, work at the same job for 1 1/2 years, and have your first child (both boys) within months of each other and not have an influence. Natalie would be the first to say she has made many bad choices in her life, and our religion and values don't always match, but that does not change the fact that I greatly admire who she is and that I owe a lot to her for shaping who I have become. We have shared innumerable memories and experience together and through them she has taught me a lot. Natalie is the most accepting person I know. In her eyes no one can do wrong. She more than anyone has shown me what Christ like love it, she loves everyone no matter what. I don't think she know how to judge. This quality is what I wish so much that I could mirror. Natalie is also super fun, she is the life of any party, kids are drawn to her enthusiasm and silliness, I have yet to meet a child that did not adore her, another one of her Christ like attributes. It was because of her love and talent with children that I knew, the moment there was an opening at the preschool where I worked, I wanted her to fill it. I loved being co-teachers with her more than all the 16 years we shared a room together. But now I love being aunts to each others boys even more. And this might sound wrong or unfair, but I am very grateful that because of some of her bad choices she has helped me gain a greater conviction of truth and of right and wrong. Natalie more than anyone through her good and bad example has taught me of Christ, and for that I am grateful. I am so lucky to have a sister that I can be close to, so very lucky!
While writing this post I was impressed with two things. First how much each person matters in the world, I think of the hundreds of people who have had a direct influence on me and then the hundreds of people who had a direct influence on them, and I am amazed. You never will know the impact you may have on someone for good by small and simple things. Second, how mindful Heavenly Father is of me and my needs to send just the right person at the right time to help me, support me, love me, and shape me into the person I need to be. Third I am amazed that all but two on my list are women, perhaps that is because I am a woman, but I think it is more than that. I think it goes to show just how much influence women have. I think it also illustrates the amazing ability to nurture women have. Hooray for the many women in my life, wish I could list them all!!
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