The Wordfull Wednesday topic for today has given me a lot to think about. This is the assignment from Chocolate on My Cranium: Besides the Savior, Heavenly Father, and your family, list ten of the most important and influential people in your life. Write the reasons why they are and have been so important to you. Some of these will be people you have known, but some might be people you have only heard of or read about." (Mary Ellen Edmunds, Peculiar in a Good Way, pg.23)
This is what I've come up with.
George Bean - I don't remember not knowing George. We grew up together and were in the same school and church classes. George was born with spina bifida. He taught me so much about what a person is able to do regardless of their physical abilities or disabilities. We played together as kids, inside and outside. When we got into Jr. High and high school we danced together, wheelchair and all. We went on a few dates and he was a perfect gentleman, he even opened all my doors. He was a wheelchair racer. He went to college and lived on his own. He married a wonderful girl in the Temple. He had faith. And such a strong spirit. George passed away at age 25 and I have no doubt that he is still working hard and accomplishing great things.
Dwila Perriton - Dwila was my visiting teacher about 8 years ago. She taught me what it really means to be a visiting teacher. She loved me. She helped me whenever she could. She even taught me how to piece quilt blocks. I've been hooked on quilting ever since.
Cecily Dixon - Cecily is my neighbor and my dear friend. She has been a mom for five years longer than I have. It is so nice having someone with just that much more experience right down the street. I can't even begin to tell all that I have learned from Cecily.
Marjorie Pay Hinckley - Sister Hinckley amazes me! Her faith, cheerfulness, wisdom, hard work, and love are just a few of her characteristics that I would like to emulate. I was only able to listen to her speak once in her life, but I loved every minute of it. What a sweet example she is to me.
Fred Rogers - I grew up watching and loving Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. As I got older and learned more about Fred Rogers I loved him even more. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Mr. Rogers that is very fitting for today's topic, "If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."
Mrs. Christiansen - I was a daydreamer when I was a kid. And so I took a long time to get things done, especially school work. I had to spend a lot of recesses inside finishing my work. Mrs. Christiansen was my 4th grade teacher. She suggested that I set a timer at home while doing my homework and try to beat it. It worked!!! I still struggle with getting my work done quickly. When it seems to get especially bad, I use the timer trick, and it still works.
Robert McCloskey - My very favorite book as a kid was Make Way For Ducklings. I've loved books and reading since then. And I've always wanted to go to Boston.
Lance Farmer - Bishop Farmer was my bishop when I was in high school. He encouraged and expected me to do good things. He also set a wonderful example of doing what the Lord asks of us, even if it is hard.
Cathy Clark - I gained a lot of confidence in high school. My choir teacher, Mrs. Clark, had a lot to do with that. She was a wonderful choir director but she did so much more. She loved and encouraged her students. She got to know us and gave so much of herself to us.
David A. Bednar - One of my favorite speakers is Elder David A. Bednar. I first got to listen to Elder Bednar when I was attending Ricks College and he was the new President there. I loved listening to him speak then. He wanted the students to really get to know the scriptures and strongly encouraged us to bring them to every devotional. At the beginning of each devotional he would ask to see our scriptures. It was quite inspiring to watch as thousands of students lifted their scriptures into the air. In one particular talk in 1998, he was talking about the future of Ricks College and he compared it to Nephi's experience in being commanded by the Lord to build a ship. President Bednar said, "In essence, then, Nephi was commanded and instructed to build something he had never built before in order to go someplace he had never been before. May I suggest that Nephi's experience in building that ship is a model for us at Ricks College as we prepare for and move into the next century. We, too, must build something we have never built before in order to go someplace we have never been before." I was so impressed when I heard him say this that I wrote that last line on a blank page in the back of my scriptures. This quote immediately came to mind 2 and a half years later when I heard the announcement that Ricks College would become a 4 year university called BYU-Idaho. It also comes to my mind whenever I am faced with new challenges that threaten to overwhelm me. Almost every time I hear Elder Bednar speak I come away feeling so enlightened! I learn so much from him. His last talk in the October General Conference was another one of those. So wonderful!!!