Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Major Influences

Every summer I had the opportunity to spend quality time with my grandmother on my father’s side, thanks to our family blueberry farm. She would be in the field every morning picking till lunch and then in our berry shed every afternoon cleaning, weighing and preparing the blueberries to be taken to the cannery. Most afternoons I would bring her an ice tea and try to give her a hand but would end up talking more than helping. She told me stories about her life growing up in the Ukraine and shared some secrets about my father as a little boy. I thoroughly enjoyed those moments I spent with my grandmother; it is where I began to value family and the importance of being there for one another. I also learned from her incredible work ethic (she was out there every summer until she died at the age of 99) and the ability to withstand a lot of stress (she became a widow when all 9 of her kids were all under the age of 16).

As I grew older I began volunteering in our community’s library as an aide. I spent most of my time re-shelving books, fixing the bindings and organizing the card catalogs. My favorite times were the ones I spent helping our Children’s Librarian, Bonnie. She was so much fun to be around and made working in the library even more enjoyable. She challenged me with new tasks and helped me develop goals and held me accountable to them. With her, my appreciation for books and the ability to read continued to blossom as I began to explore my ideas of helping children, this grew into assisting her in Saturday morning story times and then expanded into starting my own story time with some older kiddos in the afternoon.

Before leaving home for college I met a phenomenal woman, Angela. She was a youth leader in my church. It was her who I could confide in with all of my teenage highs and lows. It was her who I could turn to for godly wisdom as a young woman looking to adventure out beyond my small little world that I grew up in. It was her that I learned how to develop and strengthen my Christian morals.

Looking back I am so grateful for these incredible women that came into my life and assisted me into becoming the woman I am today. I am saddened that the three of them are no longer in my life due to death and loss of contact (I bet I could find Angela on Facebook), but what they taught me is instilled within me forever.
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