Influential Peeps

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I’ve never really taken the time to think about the people in my life who have helped shape me in to the person I am today. I guess the thought hasn’t ever crossed my mind, but for some reason, and only God knows why, this afternoon as I was folding laundry, I began to think of the different people that have had an influence on my life. I guess you could say that the majority of people we meet throughout our life have some influence on our life, but I’m talking about the ones that have said or done something that will stick with you forever. 

Mrs. Lynda Langland was one of the toughest ladies I ever had the opportunity to know and love. I can’t even begin to count the hours that I spent at her house talking about anything and everything and she never sugar coated a thing. Whatever came out of her mouth was straight forward and to the point but you always knew that she said it out of love and a genuine care for your well being. If I was doing something dumb, she’d tell me. But she always took time to praise the good in what I was doing as well. I have a sticky note on my mirror that says, “Everyone has redemptive quality.” This was something Lynda truely believed and she drilled in to me and all the people dear to her. Another thing she always said was to give 100% NO MATTER WHAT you were doing. If you were mopping a floor, you better be giving 100%. She was full of a lot of wisdom and I miss her and the belief that she always had in me. See you on the other side, Lynda. 

Mr. Randy Dunn is probably the best teacher I have ever had. I hated (loathed is a better description of my feelings) math and didn’t care too much for science, either, until I had him as a teacher in college for both subjects. Mr. Dunn broke things down into such a practical way that I understood and his passion for both shown through so much that he made everyone in those classes WANT to learn. I actually looked forward to being in class and learning because it was fun. If a person in class didn’t understand, he was so patient in trying to reiterate in a different way what he was trying to teach. I can only hope I’m as engaging and understanding as he was. 

My aunt Roxanne was another person that influenced me tremendously. Her love and passion for life was so evident and her love for people was such an inspiration. Watching her genuinely take time to nurture each relationship in her life is something that I noticed from early on in life. She noticed the little details and took note of them and remembered them. She would go out of her way to make someone else feel special or important. I loved that most about my aunt Roxanne. I can’t wait to see her again in Heaven. 

Jorge Zapata was my Animal Science teacher many moons ago and at the time, I was walking through one of the lowest points of my life. As a teacher, he took time to notice that behind my smile, there was something much deeper that I was battling within and his kindness during that semester was the life line that I needed. It’s been a while since he was my teacher but we’ve stayed in touch and I’m happy that he is now a friend of mine. I drop by his office from time to time and bug him to death with all the goings on in my life, because as you all know, I lead such an exciting life and I know he is just dying to get caught up on the big scoop. Thanks for being a teacher that cared!! 

My parents really do deserve an award when it comes to teaching the lesson on putting others first. I know I’m not always the best at putting my needs on the back burner and making sure that others are taken care of, but I will say that I do give it an honest effort. I know my parents play a huge role in this. My mom was a teacher my entire life and even now as a principal, she has such an incredible love for her students. There were countless times while growing up that we would have one of her students move in with us because they had no where else to go. My dad would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. That’s just the kind of guy he is. I’m thankful I grew up in a home that taught the importance of giving and putting others first.

Tony Lourenco is a very special person to me. I know a lot of people would consider it odd to say that an ex played a significant role in your life, but to me, he will always be someone dear to my heart. He’s so much more than an ex. While we only dated a short amount of time, about four or five months, it was in that time that I learned one of the most valuable life lessons. Tony is also another great example of putting other’s needs before your own. Tony and I met at an interesting time in my life. I had only been single for about four and a half months and, although I knew that I would never go back to the prior relationship, I hadn’t allowed myself time to heal and I had not dealt with a lot of the bitterness and anger in my heart from my past. Tony and I meshed perfectly, but my heart wasn’t whole and he knew it but he continued to care for me through patience and complete understanding. When Tony and I decided that I needed to take time to take care of me, he was so understanding and willing to do whatever it took for me to be a better person and I am so grateful that God allowed me the opportunity to see that I was worthy of being cared for in a genuine way. Had it not been for Tony, I can honestly say that I would probably still be questioning my self worth and and hiding behind the bitterness from my past. He’s the one that pushed me to the edge of the limb and told me to learn to fly on my own. And he did all this selflessly. He did it while he loved me and didn’t want to let me go but knew it was what I needed. It takes a very special person to do this and I am very grateful for those months I had with him. He’s a great friend. 

My grandma was a foster-parent most of my life. I remember her taking in kids that no one else wanted and she never questioned their background. She just loved them. She loved on the kids that needed it the most. Looking back now, I realize that had it not been for my grandma opening up her home, there are a lot of kids that wouldn’t have had that second chance at life. She has a big heart. And I love her dearly. 

I’ve got a lot of girl friends in my life, too many to even begin to name, that have been so influential. I’ve said this before, I’m one lucky woman to have so many Godly, loving, fun girl friends in my life who help keep me grounded and who look me square in the eyes and tell me when I’m being stupid. I’m blessed and I know it. 

I’m sure I’ve missed some people and more will come to mind later. But these are the ones that I thought of while I was putting away my laundry so they must mean something, right? I love ’em all in different ways and I’m so thankful for each one of them. 

Over and Out, 

~Rach

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