Thursday Thirteen

This weeks' Thursday Thirteen is dedicated to feeling loved and and inspired by family, friends and even complete strangers.

Here are the Thirteen people who have made a difference in my life and why:

1. My mother ~ she survived breast cancer twice before she was 45 and raised two children without the help of my father. She doesn't believe in giving up and is never a Negative Nelly! She is my best friend, a confidant, a huge help and a wonderful "gran" to Emily, always visiting every 6-8 weeks. I was so homesick to leave Texas 8 months pregnant, knowing I would be raising my family on my own but my mother's generosity in visiting so often cured my fears and has made me a better mother. I am grateful for the values and foundation of faith she instilled in me since birth and know I am the woman I am today because of her unending love and patience. I can only hope to mirror my life as a parent after her own, I am so proud of her accomplishments and I love her deeply.

2. My sister ~ she is bubbly and generous, one of the funniest people I know and probably one of the few people on this earth who truly understand me. As a child, she followed me around and wanted to be just like me, always wanting what I had and yet, as an adult, it is me who wants to be just like her. She is beautiful and a successful Teacher with a great sense of style and core set of morals that she never sways from. She is kind and loving and cares for Emily as her own child, I couldn't ask for a better friend nor Aunt for my child.

3. My husband ~ he is thoughtful, kind, generous, gentle and always makes me laugh. He knows when to let things go, how NOT to push my buttons when I'm upset and tries his hardest to make me laugh when I need it most. I trust him with my life, knowing he will always act in my best interest and is the most wonderful father to my child. David is a hard worker, never bringing others down with his personal problems, constantly receiving praise and rewards, providing a wonderful life for his family. He always puts himself last and yet, isn't resentful as our love in return is his greatest reward.

4. My daughter ~ Emily has taught me a level of patience I never thought possible and the greatest selflessness and love I've ever known for another human being. She brings a smile to my face and warms my heart even on the darkest of days, knowing exactly when I need her toothy smile and a hug. I see myself in her eyes and some of her behaviors, the person I have always wanted to be and will continue to grow into. I love her and am so thankful that she has blessed my life.

5. My father ~ no matter his past mistakes, he instilled in me pride, confidence and never giving up on my dreams. I have his outgoing, aggressive, loyal, bubbly, determined spirit living within me and I've been able to overcome a lot in my short 28 years because of his love and support. He may not have always done the right thing himself but he always taught me the very best of what he knew.

6. Alecia ~ a friend since we were 12, Alecia has helped me to grow into the woman I am today and was the high school confidant and college buddy we all need. She loves me like a sister and is always there for and, even when months have passed with no communication between us, we pick back up as if we had just spoke yesterday. She's incredibly optimistic and has always been my personal cheerleader. She has taught me strength and courage beyond what my parents could offer and I just could NOT imagine my life without her in it.

7. Shelby ~ super cool and self-confident, Shelby was the person I wanted to be 5 years from myself the day we met. She was my partner in most of my Accounting Classes our two years in college and the fun, party girl I could always count on for a good time out. Never judgemental, I could tell Shelby anything and that's hard to find when the dark secrets I keep. Light-hearted and deeply emotional, Shelby is the person I run to when I am sad, lonely and even ecstatic! I feel so fortunate to have her back after a brief break in our relationship!

8. Jenn ~ we met in college and formed a real friendship when we both found out we were pregnant in the same week. Sharing the experience of pregnancy, leaving the workforce and raising our daughters has made her a permanent fixture in my life. I honestly could not have done all this without her constant reassurance, validation and support.

9. Lorey ~ we were on the same career path in college and thus, in almost every class together. Lorey and I are most alike in that we love our family and has similar goals for the future. Lorey has always been a wonderful friend, never jealous or disheartened by the facts that I married before her and started my family first, two things she has always wanted. She's just lovely and always makes an effort to keep in touch with me.

10. Shana ~ I met her during a crossroads in my life, a time when I wasn't too proud of where I was and what I was doing... looking back now, I really needed her to keep me focused on my dreams and to not be so hard on myself. She's beautiful and funny and loves my child like one of her own, always making time to visit us when she's out here in California for work.

11. Amanda, Christine, Becky, Patty, Rachel, Laura, Marla, Mindy, Meredith ~ the nine women I met 16 months ago through Smart, Healthy Babies New Parent Support Group that quickly became my best friends. Having women similar in age, all new parents with children born within days of Emily, helped me in ways I could never truly express. Having an outlet to vent my frustrations and failures as a parent with like-minded women, all feeling the same stresses, is invaluable. I love these women like I love my family and trust them with my daughter's life if need be, they are all so talented and beautiful and are part of my everyday life.

12. My grandpa Jack ~ my father's father was my "pop pop" and, as the first grandchild, he spoiled me rotten, always wanting to spend time with me when we were visiting for the Holidays or on summer vacation from school. Even after 11 other grandchildren were born, I was always his favorite and I got to take special trips with him, including going to work with him at the flooring company he owned. In college, I came upon financial hardship and my pop pop was right there for me, lending me thousands without hesitation, encouraging me to finish up my degree and not worry about paying him back. Now that I have my own child and he's a grandpop, I see him in a new light and his generosity still overwhelms. I'm so fortunate he's still alive, healthy and a large part of my life.

13. Okay so, it's really only 12 people. :)


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