Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Few Women Who Made The Difference

This morning I got an email from the Young Women President that I serve with. She was reporting to me about a visit that she had with some of the girls in our classes. As I read her experience and felt the love that she has for the girls, I was taken back to my life growing up. I had a hand full of women who worked along side my parents to raise me into the woman that I am today. A lot of the time these women were able to reach me when it was impossible for my parents to get through to me.

We moved to my home town when I was preschool age. The first teacher I remember was Patricia Potts. She was a family friend, but she was also one of my Joy School Moms. Patricia loved me as her own, and I always knew that. I remember singing with her as she played the guitar. I remember her teaching me the importance of cleaning up after myself, as she gathered every ones clutter into the "Gunny Man Bag." This was a bag she decorated as a silly looking man who ate up every one's clutter when it wasn't put away in the right place. As I grew older, I remember Patricia picking us up for school and seeing how many people she could pack into her van. She had ulterior motives however, she would have a quick spiritual devotional prepared every morning for those of us who dared to ride in her van:). Finally, Patricia instilled in me a love and understanding for the temple and it's importance in our lives. For years, she would take a group of us every Tuesday to the temple after school. We would do baptisms for the dead. I know this strengthened my spirit beyond words and helped me build a foundation upon my Savior. Thank you Patricia for your love and dedication, you will not be forgotten.

For many years, Karen Stolworthy was like a second mother to me. They lived in the house behind our home and we had a gate in the fence between our yards. Countless times, and for many years, I would run over to Karen and cry to her about how horrible my life was. She would just let me cry on her shoulder and love me through it. Karen worked hard to help me understand my worth and beauty, inside and out. Karen loved me as her own. I was a demanding child too.:) I'm sorry about that Karen! I know you had your own house full of your own kid's. Thank you for allowing me to adopt myself into your home and be nurtured by your love.

Shirley Turley was another woman who blessed my life. I have Shirley to thank for my understanding of the Internet. She helped me set up my first email account many years ago.:) I also have memories of sitting with Shirley on her front lawn and discussing checking and savings accounts. I started earning money at an early age and she took the time to give me some importance guidance in the matter. Shirley had a love for baking. I remember walking into her home and she often had homemade bread, cookies, or Cinnamon rolls laid out on her kitchen counter. Shirley also had a love of music and education. She instilled this into her children. I could not help but benefit from her teaching as well. Shirley and her husband also followed the counsel to hold Family Home Evenings. I remember watching their family participate in various activities such as relay races and games. I remember thinking to myself about how I would be sure to follow that example some day with my family. Thank you Shirley, for allowing me to grow up with your children and feel of your love!

All of these women had daughters who were my age. These girls were my best friend's. We grew up together. They are among the few girls that I am still in contact with from my youth. We were sisters. We loved each other, and at times, we hated each other.:) But we were always together. These girls, and their mothers played a defining role in my life. I thank them and the many many other leaders and teachers who took the time to add their touch to the painting of my life. Though I could not name you all in this post, I thank you!


Heidi Hamilton said...

Your comments about my mom touched my heart. She will appreciate it so much.
We really did have a great time growing up, didn' we? Even with all the ups and downs, we were all there and underneath all the self-centeredness of our youth, I think we knew that we cared about each other.
I hope my girls can have such women and friends in their lives growing up.
Thank you, Lena, for your patience, understanding, and forgiveness of my stupid ego growing up.

Patricia Potts said...

What a beautiful tribute. I cried when I read it yesterday. I have always known the profound goodness in YOU. The struggle you went through when you lost the girls and the way you opened up your world to us was a tribute to your courage. I'm sure in heaven you said to Father "Whatever you do, let me be a mom!"

God bless you Lena. I just love you.

Also, I'd love to send you my book. email me with your address K?


Sharane Pitts said...

This is such a sweet post! How blessed you are to have been surrounded by such remarkable women!
Now you have grown up and become a remarkable woman yourself! Thank for your example to all of us!

-Sharane :)

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