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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

twenty people—part two

Last week, I began this two-part post with Twenty People—Part One, and this week, I will finish it.

11. CTD. This person has been an answer to prayers in the midst of winter, a friend I never could have known would come into my life, and a treasure to hold forever. Taught me about the number eleven being lucky, so I guess it's pretty much perfect that I couldn't think of anyone else to go here. Doughnuts, photography, and Texas will never be the same for me again.

12. My neighbors, Elise and Crys and Carrie and Amy and Leigh. These women have seen me at my worst and always make me feel like I am the best. They've heard me yelling at my kids and have helped me clean my house and cheered me up when all I could think to do was cry. Their friendship has made all the difference as I travail this time in my life.

13. My children. These people, as I brought them each into the world, made an impact all their own. Each one has taught me how to be a better person by becoming a better mother to them. My oldest has shown me how to overcome all hard things—with a smile, forgiveness, and a fistful of shoelaces. My oldest boy pushes me to learn how to laugh at the ridiculous and sad things in life. My youngest daughter shows me what goals and dreams are all about as I watch her become more than I ever could. My youngest continues to calm my soul with his sweet nature. I love them. They keep me going when I feel like I have nothing left.

14. My Great Aunt Laura. This lady has given me so much love since I can ever remember. I guess she even bought a custom blessing gown for me as a baby, so the special loving care began long before I can remember. She taught me how to be a go-getter and family organizer. She misses my mother as much as I do, I believe, so when I need someone to really understand me, I know she's the one to call. I don't know what I'll do whenever it is that she leaves this earth. Her stories beat the band and those hugs too.

15. My sisters-in-law. I don't know about you, but I think any woman who can befriend an only daughter as strong-willed as I am deserves a medal. I love each of my brothers' wives for their unique gifts and talents and how they love my brothers with such determination. We have a gifted chef, a renowned musician, a family educator and massage therapist, and an all around talented cook/baker/writer combo friend to all. These qualities are merely what stand out at first glance too. Each of them have so much to give, and I am thankful for how they make our family so dynamic.

16. My high school choir director, Dr. Jensen. I was failing at life my senior year of high school, but this amazing musician gave me a chance and made me the Second Soprano section leader. I didn't do much, but it gave me a sense of belonging and importance that I needed very much at the time. And I'll never forget that vote of confidence she gave to me. Years later, I learned that she and my English teacher, Mrs. Martin (see part one), were actually friends of my mother's, so all the support they gave me made a lot more sense. I felt truly watched over some days as they taught me to love music and literature, respectively.

17. Dr. Dean and Suzy Bills. I had a lot of teachers at the university who helped me on my way, but these two women seemed to know that I needed something more than grammar and editing instruction. I needed compassion too—and they gave it full measure.

18. My first boyfriend, Oscar. What a wild thing to be able to say you've known someone since you were thirteen years old, kissed and broke up, and are still friends. It's almost unbelievable. I am thankful for him teaching me how to love by letting me love him when I didn't even love myself.

19. My visiting teachers when I wasn't going to church. There is Kaye Wesson and two others who made all the difference. I feel terrible that I can't remember their names, but nevertheless, they are partly why I was able to get back to my roots sooner than later. They would drop off notes and treats and be so patient with my twenty-something, heathen self. Kaye would drop off amazing banana bread. And the other two ladies were there to be my friends to sit with when I was new and afraid no one would accept me. I owe them for where I am today.

20. My grandparents. Words cannot express what they mean to me. I don't even know where to start. They have been around long before I was born, so their impact on my life is older than I am. I love them. They have been such a source of comfort to my children and me. Their large hearts and quiet ways teach me how I want to be. They are such a light to my world.

I know, I sort of cheated and did way more than just twenty people. But it just seemed right. I hope you don't mind.

Who would you put on your list?

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