#10- List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how. (I'm only going to do 5... ten is a lot)
1. Bishop Decker-- Bishop Decker was my bishop when I was living in St. George going to school. He was called to be the bishop of a brand new student ward, and he called me to be the Relief Society President. Bishop Decker is a pretty awe-inspiring man. He's about my parents age, but he's acheived a lot in his life. He's a marathoner, and has done the St. George Ironman. He's a math professor at Dixie State. He's raised a beautiful family. He has a zest for life that I've yet to find a match for in anyone I've met. One of my favorite memories is when our ward went to Lake Powell. I was riding in the boat, and I looked behind us to see that everyone but the bishop had fallen off the water weenie. He wasn't just riding it, though, he was riding it while doing a handstand. Bishop Decker saw me through many hard times. Together we laughed and cried, and he was incredibly influential in helping me gain a testimony.
2. Jean Falsone-- Madame Falsone was my junior high school French teacher. She has been on my mind a lot in the past few days since I learned of her passing away earlier this week. I've had many influential teachers in my life, but she really stands out. She taught me so much more than a foreign language. She pushed me to learn new things, try harder, and want to be better. She had a quick wit, a flair for the dramatic, and an impeccable sense of style. I will occasionally bust out french phrases leftover from my junior high school days, phrases that she taught me and used often. I still have, buried in the recesses of my mind, some of the strange historical facts she taught me. She had a passion for language, culture, the arts, and manners. She was incredibly confident in who she was as a teacher, a person, and a woman. She was the first teacher that I felt like I connected with on a personal level.
3. Marcie McDonald-- When I was 14 I made the decision that, come Hell or high water, I was going to France. My parents agreed that I could go, but I would be responsible for coming up with half the cost and all of my own spending money. At this point in time my mom was teaching kindergarten at Meadowmoor (now Spring Lane) Elementary, and she mentioned my plight to her principal, Marcie. Marcie took me under her wing, gave me my first job as a sweeper, and made sure that I was able to handle my new responsibilities. I'd actually known Marcie for quite a long time, her daughter and I had been Girl Scouts together as children, but she was a good person to have in my corner. She continued to be my boss for the next almost-3 years. She is the one who nicknamed me Annabelle, a name that still gets used today.
4. Floss Waltman-- For any of you who don't know who Floss is, she was the president of Brighton Girls' Camp. She, along with Duke, Cleo, and Basil, made the decision to hire me to work at Brighton when I was 17 years old. I originally applied to be a KD, one of the many young teenage girls who works in the kitchen. When I applied for the job I thought it would be a fun summer, but a long shot that I would get hired. I still remember driving to her house above Hogle Zoo for my interview. I was young, I was nervous, and I was in total awe that it was happening to me. We sat down for the interview, chatted for a few minutes, and then those wonderful women sent me into the other room while they discussed the fate of my summer. After 10 nerve-wracking minutes they called me back. Floss looked me in the eye and said, "We've talked it over and we don't want to offer you the job of KD." My heart sank, I hadn't realized how much I actually wanted the job. Then she smiled, with that wicked sense of humor she has (for she knew exactly what was going through my head) and followed up with, "We would like to ask you to be our assistant cook." She knew what I needed that summer. She is a fantastic example of how to be a strong, independent, and ever-faithful woman. Knowing her has been life changing, not only for me, but for countless young women from all over the valley.
5. T-Bone-- Ok, this one is obvious. Everyone is familiar by now with my love for my baby, and the path I took to discover that love. He is probably the most influential person in my life. Everyday he teaches me something new, tests my patience, and fills me so full of love I could burst. One smile and kiss from him makes me want to be an infinitely better person.