Our lives are truly a blank slate. Yeah we have genes. But we also have influence. And those influences matter.
I could say those four sentences and be done with this blog. Because that statement alone is so profound.
I gave you topics to choose from for my next blog post. Since everyone picked something different, I will blog about all of them. This one was the first subject picked: How People Shaped My Life. I think it is an example of how influence can impact an entire life.
First of all, I thank you for being interested in that. I will write in response, as it comes to my head. For this subject, I don’t particularly have an outline, it was mostly just a writing idea, a challenge that would even be interesting for myself.
So well, I’m sixty now and I have had a lot of influence in my life. And true to my first paragraph above, it mattered. I have a lot of positive and negative influence in my life. I wonder if I will able to openly talk about them without making someone feel bad or less than serving toward “my cause”. But we’ll see. I’ll be as honest and raw as I can be, because it might help someone and why snow cap it over? At this point?
The hardest part will be for me not to go off on a tangent, because I’m good at that!
Family. Well…Let’s start with Grandparents. I truly feel that they had a positive impact on my life. I can’t imagine not having them. They took a grand interest in my life. They genuinely were interested in me and invested in me and spent time with me.
Grandaddy Voss (Mom’s Dad) taught me to read and write and spell. He showed me animals and nature and taught me things about them. He took me fishing and gave me my first ride on a boat, and the 2nd one too – once I was older -at least that I remember anyway.
Mam-ma Lovett (Dad’s Mom) played rhyming games with me to help me learn words, told made up bear stories to me as I fell asleep, had me practice writing by us writing letters back and forth and dropping them in pretend mailboxes. She would send an invitation for lunch and I would “dress up” and come to the table and eat, after I’d responded “yes, that I would be delighted to have lunch” lol. We also wrote a short story back and forth each taking turns writing when I was a pre-teen. She wrote a weekly piece for the local newspaper. She also wrote me often in the mail and when I went to college she was the ONLY one to write me weekly – sometimes twice a week – without fail. She made me feel loved and cared about. She wanted to hear and listen to what was going on in my life and she would respond with solutions without judgement. She loved dogs and had two or three and she kept me informed on their doings. And told me how much the dogs loved me too, lol. She gave up space in her house for me to have a play house when I was little, giving me a mock kitchen. She housed all my toys when Mom got tired of them being at the house. I didn’t really get to choose what “went” to her house, it would randomly show up there. She cooked for me and asked me what I wanted to eat and cooked my favorite things. She made me feel like I was someone special. I was to her. She was to me. We laughed a lot too. I can’t say how much this impacted me. A busy week at school, a row with the boyfriend, and I could stop by her house at Noon when college let out and I was on my way home and we’d be laughing by mid-afternoon. The woes of the week would be gone. Because when life was letting me down, she was there to pick it up and lift me up and make me feel like none of the other mattered so much.
Nanny Voss – She loved to sew and cook and clean house. She mainly just took care of me a lot and I was always up there at the top of her list – she cooked for me and sewed for me and later on bought me clothes. She used her talents on me like Mam-ma did. What stayed with me through the years was her ability to cook for me on a school morning. I loved going to school from her house when I could get a chance. We had a FULL breakfast – not just a donut or pop tarts but egg on toast. Grandaddy would take me to school afterward and I didn’t have to ride the bus. I hated riding the bus with all the older kids. I felt so out of place. And at night when falling asleep, Nanny would tell me if I was scared to tell the Devil to go away and “get thee from behind me”. I’m not sure if that helped as I fell asleep picturing a devil face and horns behind me looking on in the dark, lol. But today I DO remember that!
Mom and Dad. Well. Mom wanted a clean house, I got that from her. She loved Christmas and so do I. She was fairly organized. I want my stuff in order and clean lines. She was afraid of storms. So am I. She spoke her mind. So do I. She looked at everything with a judgmental and distrusting and watchful eye. So do I. She said the word “sh*$” as a curse word, when life fails, now so do I have a tendency to spout that one out. She could cook and sew but I don’t think fond of it so didn’t really teach me those skills. She certainly taught me to clean the house. She wouldn’t let anyone ever take advantage of me and she questioned everything. She gave a great birthday party and loved to splurge and surprise us with Christmas gifts and occasionally surprised me with Easter and Valentine gifts. She discouraged my desire for learning piano because of the cost and it fails me as to why I wasn’t allowed to join band when I wanted to learn either flute or clarinet. I sometimes wonder if my life would have been dramatically different if I’d been allowed to be in the band.Most kids stuck with it and it served them well. I think Mom had a bad experience or something and would not let me do it. Although everyone of my friends that did it loved it and made friends through it and helped them in their thinking and with their schooling. Playing an instrument, the way the brain processes, and layers this type of thinking – really helps you in the long run in life to be able to solve problems and think things through. This is a one big regret, that as a little kid I didn’t have enough oomph in me to press my parents on this. I think I would have spent my time on this instead of hanging on the phone at night with boys friends and girl friends talking about who knows what. But what did I know? I was only a kid. Since I loved music I listened to the songs on the radio, learned the words, dabbled in art some, and I was allowed to sing in a chorus at school. And Mom took me to an art class, but I was scared and lonely. I did enjoy it though after I went. But it was only one class.
Dad was very positive on the other hand. He even taught classes on positive thinking. He was also very spiritual. He was determined our family would follow the way of the Lord. My grandparents were also very spiritual. That said, Sunday’s at our house was always very difficult in the mornings all 4 of our family with one bathroom. By the time we got out of the house, there was not much spirituality left. I can remember everyone (but Dad) seething in the car on the way to church. What memories! However, we all loved to eat! Eating was our reward for going to church. George dislikes this about me and Mom. His family never went out to eat after church. They went home and had tuna fish or whatever they could find. Mine ate out after every church service. Sometimes before and after. Mom got out of cooking. Moods were much better. Now I expect a meal after church! 🙂
Daddy would listen, and he would also give sermons when he thought I needed a speech. George also likes to give speeches. And I don’t like to let him because it reminds me of sitting and listening to long sermonettes on everything from “why you shouldn’t kiss boys” to “why curfew had to be 10:30 instead of 12:00 like my friends” and “why it was not me that they didn’t trust”. He was doing what he should have though. Mostly they made me feel guilty. Mostly he was being a good parent and trying to explain why instead of yelling why and that I appreciate to this day. Daddy was busy and gone a lot with the Lord’s work. Sometimes I helped though. I helped on the church bus and as a teen helper. It gave me experience in “teaching” little ones as a teen. I was later able to turn that into teaching classes at church as an adult and also in helping with children’s church. Daddy’s influence in learning and teaching an Open Bible School Study at church and going on mission trips to start new churches (in the US) made me interested in helping with the missions team at our former church and also my doing my World Bible School today. His quoting scripture to me still stands in the corners of my mind – popping up in visual cards in my head when I need them the most. And I will always remember his calming words when I was afraid the world would end in the Cuban crisis or Russian Cold War – or whatever political event was happening. “God is in control and He decides when the world will end.” He also encouraged me to pray often. And would also pray for me and with me. He also told me I needed to be careful because whatever I set my mind on, I would get. He always told me that everything would turn out good for me if I loved the Lord.
So, I have typed a lot about family tonight and I feel that sixty years worth of influences is not something that can be captured in a blog post. So I guess this will have to be part 1. lol. Next time I’ll talk about work influences and other influences beyond family. There’s no way to list it all, but I’m doing the best I can. Hopefully this will help someone to see just how much and in what way you influence another life. It has lasting impacts.
I need to go spend some time with George and hit the bed. Tomorrow’s Friday! Oh well, he’s already playing another show, so I guess I will read and go to bed. ::sigh:: I’m still obviously having trouble fitting everything in a day! I had a doc appt today and it’s taken my free time away so I’m trying to get my free time tonight for blog/vlog which is whittling away at my time with George. Ahhhhhh!