First, I have been blessed with great teachers. So many times I hear their voices or remember their learning tricks. Here are some that I think of often.
32. Gail Jones - a friend's mom when I was a kid. I learned almost everything that I know about music and singing four part harmony. Unfortunately, I don't have an angel's voice, but at least I understand music.
31. Mrs. Inman - third grade. She was so sweet and tender. We moved to Childress that year and she made me feel right at home and accepted.
30. Mrs. Dugan - sixth grade. She taught me so much. She may the single reason that I want to be a teacher. She had quotes on the board each day, gave out "warm fuzzies", and taught us prepositions with the house of prepostitions. Rocky always asks me why I know so many gramar rules. She is why.
29. Mrs. Evans - high school computers. I thought that she was the strongest and most confident woman. I remember her telling us that kids think that "happiness is seeing your hometown in the rear view mirror" when you hit that graduation age. She said that we would one day change our minds about that. At the time I did not agree. Now, I realize that she is to be credited again for being right.
28. Mrs. Davidson - high school spanish. I was terrible in this class. She knew my parents well and she was a tough teacher. One time I was failing her class at the three week evaluation and she told me that she would not send home a failing slip if I promised to bring up the grade. I worked so hard to not disapoint her. I passed (barely).
27. Coach Rhodes - basketball and track coach. I never jog, walk, or run that I don't hear his voice. "Quit clenching your fists, Pierce." He would tell me to pretend I was holding a lays potatoe chip between my middle finger and thumb. "Not a ruffles, Pierce, a lays". He also always sang the song...."I mighta went fishin, but I didn't." Then he would just stop singing. I think that was when he would be irritated with coaching girls.
I have also been blessed with great preachers that have stretched me spiritually.
26. Rick Atchley - current preacher. He is amazing and I have grown so much through his weekly lessons.
25. Trey Morgan - MY preacher. He has baptized me, couseled me, and married me. He was my youth minister and now he is my parents preacher. He influenced me early in life and will always hold a special place in my heart. I hope that our mansions are next door in heaven.
This is the hard part for me. I have so many wonderful friends. I could never list them all because I have learned something unique from all of them. I will just try to remember friends from my past work through good memories.
24. Farrah Jouett - my first best friend also my cousin. She and I were together a lot as babies. Our mom's said that we talked to each other is some "baby code" before anyone else could understand us. We called each other "sassa". They thought that we were saying sister.
23. Rebecca Campbell - my first school friend. We were together a lot. She loved mystery books especially Nancy Drew. I haven't heard from her in lots of years, but I still think about her.
22. Jennifer Rothwell - my first friend in Childress. She was kind and beautiful. We sort of figured out the "crush on boys" thing out together and had lots of slumber parties. We stayed friends all through school.
21. Neely Cherry - my best early teen friend. We wanted so badly to have a boyfriend. We were probably TOO worried about it. When we finally caught one they were best friends, too. We all had so much fun together.
20. Joni Johnson - my best church friend. We had so much fun in our youth group and Joni and I always stuck together. She was a year older than me and was so great to take me out before others my age. She drove her dad's "duster". We thought we were cool.
19. Gary Barlow - my first boyfriend. He taught me love, friendship, and how to love yourself even if you are not like everyone else. We lost Gary in an accident in 1991 which nearly destroyed me, but he is a part of my life that will never die.
18. Yanci Yarbrough - my best high school friend. Where do I start.... Yanci was like the anti-Monica and I loved her instantly. She moved back to Childress in high school and we were together all of the time. I see her occasionally now and I feel like we have never lost a beat. She was the fun in my life.
17. Cherise Money - my best college friend. She loved life, herself, and everyone else. I had never met someone so content and full of God's love. I will never forget how close she was to her dad and I still pray that Ashlynn will have that sort of relationship with Rocky.
Everyone has their "go to gang". You know, the first people that you call when life twists and turns. Here are mine....
16. Marley Miller - married Rocky's best high school friend. I set them up, woohoo! She is usually my advisor on any business decision. She is brilliant and a fighter. She stretches my thinking and is always my goto girl when I need a good book.
15. Lois Burleson - my first "couple friend". We joke that our lives are strangely similar. When I need "coach family" advice I call her first. We live parallel lives and she shares lots of common sense advice with me. She also knows more about my "money" life than anyone else in the world.
14. Stacy Darwin - my kindred spirit. If you have ever read this blog you will know about this one. This is my always, every part of life, friend forever friend. Let's just say that if you need to know all about me, ask her.
My aunts are very special to me. They are the very first women role models in my life. They are still mentors to my life.
13. Connie Moore - not really my aunt, but second cousin. I think of her as a aunt and have always thought that she was cool. She is the reason that I went to cosmetology school and have done hair for ten years.
12. Leah Helm - a gentle spirit. She is one of the most faithful and prayerful people in the entire world. One of the best lessons that I have ever learned from her is that she always prayed with her children on the way to school.
11. Dinah DeArmond - the most giving person in the world. From Dinah, I have learned that giving is better than receiving. She has the most generous heart of anyone that I know.
10. Marsha Meacham - a woman of confidence. From Auntie, I have learned to be strong and confident. She has always had the ability to make me want to talk about myself and be proud of who I am.
I could never be a whole person without the love and support of wonderful family.
9. My mother in law, Debbie - a very accepting person. Rocky and I have always joked that if we were to murder someone, get convicted, and go to prison she would still stand by us and love us. She loves and accepts everyone. I think that she is the definition of unconditional love. She looks for the good in all people.
8. My Pappy - my mom's dad. Sillyest person that I know. Life has always been fun and funny. You never know what he may say and even if he shouldn't have said it, it is hilarious. He shows love to my grandmother and still looks at her as if she is the most wonderful woman alive.
7. My Ma - my mom's mom. My ma is my hero. She is the proverbs 31 woman! She is gentle and kind yet strong and determined. She gives the best advice and sees the world for what it is and loves anyway. I just hope that I will be half the woman that she is.
6. Brian - my brother. Smart and a smartie pants. He has always been the brains and the jokes of our family. He is also a very loyal friend. He is giving and thoughtful and one of my best friends.
5. Keith - my little brother. I think that I have always sort of thought of him as mine. When his life is going well I feel proud. He is a very kind and considerate man. I appreciate him for always being kind to me when I try to "mother" him. He makes me proud to be his sister.
4. My parents - I hear some people talk about their childhood and wonder how they are alive or at the very least sane. I am so blessed to have been given to my parents. They are wonderful and perfect in my eyes. I would not have traded my childhood with anyone in the entire world. They are still my advisors and friends.
3. My kids - I think that kids are our mirrors. They show us who we are. Some is great and some not so much, but always the truth. I have learned more about myself through them. I think that they are God's ultimate lesson to us. We learn unconditional love, unbelievable pain, and completeness. Having a child arouses all of a persons emotions.
2. Rocky - my husband. I love his self discipline, his passion for what he loves, and his loyalty to those he loves. He has challenged me and helped me grow up. He is my partner and my friend. We are side by side taking life each day at a time and walking through together in prayer.
1. Jesus - My life would never be on this track had I not met Jesus. Every choice, every realtionship, and every life event is because he died for me and lives in me.