Who Influences You?

I have had a lot of folks who have influenced me through the years and set examples for me.  I have been so blessed by being surrounded all of my life by warm, loving and supportive people.  If I have gotten anywhere in this life it is due to all of those folks who have nurtured and loved me for who I am and who I am still becoming.

Recently I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with some folks in North Carolina who have helped shape my life in a lot of ways. They were all there when I accepted a job as a church secretary /administrative assistant after we sold the family business and still really needed me to work.  They accepted me from day one and loved me as I moved from that job to another staff position that ended up being my best and favorite job of all time.

They stood by me and supported me when Chris moved to Iowa ahead of me and I was left to sell the house.  They embraced me and made me feel like I was one of their own family and that is something that I will never forget.

Together these folks made me feel like I was loved.  They are encouragers, people of great faith, lovers of life who possess the biggest hearts of anyone I know. They continually reach out to others and always, always put the needs of others ahead of themselves.  Two of them have a shut in ministry and share a love of Goo Goo clusters.  I can never see one of those without thinking of Mary and Betty.  One is battling ovarian cancer and has turned her CaringBridge website into a journey in faith for many.  Jimmy is now missing from this group and I have so many wonderful memories of him sitting in my office as one of the “Monday Men” who did odd jobs around the church telling me jokes and laughing with me.  One of them just had her 70th reunion of her high school class. Two of them I trained to be Stephen Ministers.  All of them have worked at Epworth Hot Dog Ministry and yes—it is indeed a ministry. All have led and continue to lead lives of service to others.

I think that there is something to be said for that.  If we choose to focus outward and not inward I truly believe that life offers us a better perspective.  In my own life if I think about what I can do for someone else rather than thinking about “poor little ole me” I have a much better day.

These folks figured that out a long time ago and are perfect examples of how to live successfully   Are they rich in the worldly sense?  Probably not but even if they were I doubt that I would know it because that is just who they are.  Humble and always willing to go the extra mile.  So today I tip my hat to these wonderful folks who have a special place in my heart and to those I was unable to visit with this past trip. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being who you are and for loving me!!!  I love you all!

Do you have any folks like this in your life?  Do you need to tell them thanks?  Don’t wait.

Mary Stewart, Dianne Shepherd, John Shepherd, Charlie Wagner, Betty Wagner, Faye Barringer

Mary Stewart, Dianne Shepherd, John Shepherd, Charlie Wagner, Betty Wagner, Faye Barringer

Betty Barnhardt and myself  hanging out on her patio

Betty Barnhardt and myself hanging out on her patio

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  1. I want to thank you for being there for me in this whirlwind I am going through. I have always admired you even in high school for how confident and friendly you were. To be able to reconnect with you through our new technological world has been a godsend. Your words have inspired me daily and when I need them most you are personally there. People who influence me are those like you who give so much of themselves to everything good. I have always been one to hide in the shadows, not so confident and not really sure that I had anything to offer others. People like you give me a little push everyday to be closer to that light of compassion and goodness. ❤

    • Oh Sonia, that was so beautifully written and so heart felt and it totally made my day. You know I realize that we never know what someone else is going through, Never. And so to offer compassion and kindness is always the right way to go in my book. You have been through such a heart wrenching time and my heart really does ache for you in your loss. I have been so blessed by wonderful friends and family over the years—-I don’t take that lightly and as I get older I realized that I need to acknowledge that and thank those people when I can. I do hope that you are taking time to write things down because you are very gifted in that area and I think that it is therapeutic and maybe a real help to someone else who is going through an unexpected death like you have experienced . Big hugs to you, my friend. I hope each day gets just a little bit easier.

  2. I’m smiling at Sonia’s comment. God bless those who encourage us; many times they never know what a difference they make.
    (Hopefully this isn’t a duplicate comment. On my first attempt, I received an error message. If so, please feel free to delete one, Beth Ann.)

    • Sonia is an amazing woman who has been through a great loss lately and I have done nothing out of the ordinary but I guess it was what she needed to hear or see or whatever at the time. Sorry about the error message. That drives me nuts when that happens. Thanks for sticking with it and commenting. Only one showed up!

  3. My Dad always said, “It’s the people you meet in life that make the difference.” Your story just proved that. I have also been fortunate to have encountered good, caring people who have helped me along the way and influenced my life. One was a grade 3 teacher who I searched out and thanked a couple of years ago. I agree, it is important to be grateful to our influencers.

  4. Those of us who are blessed by the encouragement and love of others are indeed blessed! You expressed your thanks in a lovely way — I try to do so, too, whenever I can. None of us ever gets enough appreciation, do we?!

    • I am sure you are one of those who is constantly thanking folks. I think that is a very good way to live and people like to be around you then, don’t they?

  5. Dearest Beth Ann, I want you to walk to a mirror right now and look in it. See yourself? Everything you wrote here today is what you are to me. Thank you, my friend, and I love you.

  6. I have to say that the kids I mentor inspire me. They are all such wonderful and talented individuals; it makes me want to be better. I want to be a person they can look up to, too.

  7. Are you guys thinking of moving back to North Carolina now Chris doesn’t need to be in Iowa anymore?

    • We will be moving wherever the job is! 🙂 If that is NC I would be thrilled but I just want him to find a good job that makes him happy. 🙂

  8. I think some non-fiction books I’ve read influence me as well as my parents, of course, and some friends from church.

  9. EveryBODY I meet influences me one way or another. Some more than others. I learn something from everyone I meet.

  10. Virginia says:

    You are one of those people to me and it started that day that I met you at Conway UMC! So thank you for always being supportive and encouraging – I still have cards that you wrote me way back then.

  11. How wonderful 🙂

  12. Just talked about this idea a few days ago. It is so refreshing to reflect on who can be the influencers in your life, but also to take a look at whose life you are making that impact in. And I can see by the comments there are a lot of people who have that relationship with you!

  13. My mother and then my husband have had the greatest infuence on me. But I have had many friends who have been there when I really needed them in the hard times also. So many I could not name them all.

  14. my family probably influences me the most. They create such a soft place to fall… you know? And they just love…. and laugh. and it’s amazing.
    Other than that, creative people – whether is writing, singing, acting, drawing, photography; I just love how much creativity there is in the world and how it makes even the dull, dreary days beautiful.

  15. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your friends. I am pretty much influenced by just about everybody I meet for better or worse and usually for better. I’m not too picky about who makes a difference in my life—butcher, baker, candle stick maker, you :-D.

    • Glad I was tagged on the end. You must be sequestered in your hidey hole while Cole and his friends entertain each other. No flames licking at the roof yet??? I hope.

  16. pattisj says:

    Lovely friends you have.

  17. I feel so inspired and influenced by all of the wonderful people in my family.

  18. Jennifer says:

    What a sweet post. It is good to look back from time to time and think of all the special people that help us get through life.

  19. Ann Pillsbury says:

    Our encouragers, the balcony people, never needing to be the spotlight.

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