I stole this idea from the Baby Bangs blog that I happened to find one day. It is a great blog that always makes me smile. She had written a blog about people who inspired her in 2010 and I thought it was a GREAT idea, so I am doing it too! It was really hard to pick only ten people to put on my list. REALLY hard. So I cheated. I used entire groups of people on some of them. I know, I know...that's so sketch, right?! I couldn't help it. There was just no way around it. So here it is...my list of ten people who inspired me in 2010.
1. Janet Huffman. My Mama. Gosh I love her so much. I often say how I think my Mama is a little bit crazy...and she is, but that's part of her charm. She is so stinkin cute and I am so much like her it's unbelievable. Sometimes I will be talking about how something she did or said is silly and my friends never fail to point out that I would have done or said the exact same thing. She loves me even when I don't deserve it. She teaches me to give freely and willingly. She believes in my ability to change the world and tells me often. She never gives up on me. She loves me unconditionally and without end. I literally feel like I would cease to exist if it weren't for my Mama.
2. Camp Metamorphosis staff at Camp Jo-Ota. The people I had the opportunity to be counselors with impacted my life in a big and lasting way. Richard and Ben challenged me when I didn't want to be challenged. Laurie, Kate and Keely loved me even when I was crazy. Martin showed me characteristics of a Christian that awed me and made me want to be better. David with his softspoken voice and his positive attitude was totally opposite from me...and that intrigued me. Steve and John were so willing to serve and literally do anything they needed to do to make things happen at camp. Ben's step-mom and Richard's mom who came to be counselors so they could spend time with their boys showed me commitment to the ones they love. Elizabeth with her witty comments never once complained about the pressure of her technology job. Even when we lost power in the barn. Ha! And Andy. Last year I led a group with him and mostly just watched him because I was trying to figure him out. This year I told Andy why I don't like my face to be touched. I said it really fast and kind of as a fleeting comment and immediately changed the topic. But for just a split second he sucked in his breath and looked at me with wide eyes. It was then that I saw why Andy is a pastor. He may come off as all techy (like someone who spends their days in Nerdville) but he cares deeply about God's people. I feel like I am leaving someone out..but it is simply for lack of ability to remember everything I want to say, not for lack of their impact on my summer! I got as much from working with these people as any person could hope to gain from volunteering at camp for a week! Simply put, they made me want to be better.
3. mumBAi. My family group at this same camp. This group of kiddos forced me to be a better leader out of necessity. They needed John and I to be more real with them and give them God inspired answers...not the sugary sweet "mountain top" stuff you would normally expect at camp. They had me studying scripture hardcore any free minute I got at camp so I could have better answers for their mega super hard questions. I was blessed with the opportunity to witness many of them have moments of brokeness and healing. I am inspired by them because I know that I have only just seen the beginning. God is not done with them, He is raising them up to be leaders in their generation and it excites me like you would not believe!
4. Kalee. My dear friend Kalee. She inspired me to start a blog. She blew me away with how real she could be on her own blog. She inspired me to try new things. Most of all she is inspiring me to have a healthy relationship with food. I know that if there is one person on the planet who understands my emotional eating (I eat when I'm sad, happy, scared, bored, nervous, excited, etc...) it's her. And she on her blog talks about using cooking (making real food that is natural and good and made from scratch) to help find healing from an addiction to food. It literally blows me away.
5. Daniel. Much of why my dear Daniel inspires me I can not put into words. Most of this comes from years of friendship. But this year specifically I watched Daniel face emotional trauma and stand up and admit his sin. He swallowed his pride and said out loud that he was a sinner and he confronted that sin head on. He did not lie about it or try to make it some secret thing. He openly admitted that he needed Jesus. And I thought well maybe if Daniel can be freed from sin so can others. So can I. He showed me what God can do if only we let Him.
6. Alisa. My very best friend in the universe. Alisa inspires me by always being real with me. She is not afraid to tell me when I'm wrong. But she loves me through my mistakes. I like that when Alisa has something to say that she doesn't think anyone else will understand she calls me. I like that even though she was mad at me and didn't talk to me for almost an entire week this year she still loved me. I like that she is just like another part of my family now.
7. Beth Moore. I am constantly challenged by her. Whether it's through her blog, her most recent book or her Bible studies. She is one hundred percent real. She has been gifted for women's ministry and she is following that calling with everything she has. I attended a Simulcast this year. Actually two. And at both events I felt like she specifically spoke Truth into my life that I needed to hear at that moment. And this year (I know, I know...off topic from the 2010 list since it's 2011) I am memorizing scripture with other women on her blog. Yay!
8. Mike Slaughter. I had the opportunity to hear him speak at Missouri United Methodist Annual Conference. He changed my life and my view of ministry. Forever. There is not much more I can say about it than that. He is pastor of Ginghamsburg UMC in Ohio. He is being led by the Lord to do great things. He inspired me to live simply.
9. The Heartland Emmaus of KC community. My Walk to Emmaus (#34, Table of Ruth) showed me a lot of things. I went into it telling Laurie that even if I didn't get to do anything else besides hang out with Jesus for a few days I would be happy. What I got was a reminder of God's love. The way people showed love was incredible. If ever I start to doubt that I am loved by God or His people I pull out my Emmaus box and relive what it felt like to have people love me and serve me just because they love God. With no expectation from me. I look forward to the day that I can do that for someone else.
10. My students. The great thing about being a teacher is that when I say my students I can include two classes in the year 2010. They make my life fun. They are also super exhausting!! Some of them have already overcome so many challenges in life. They make me have hope for the future!
There it is. My list. I could have written way more but I'll stop. It's nearly 7:00 and I need to make some chocolate covered pretzels. Wish me luck!