30 people who have changed my life
30. My Mom
It’s kind of silly to say your mother “changed your life” because well she started your life. It’s perfect that I’m starting this series today because the first day of my countdown also happens to be my mom’s birthday! My mom is creative, kind, funny and loving. She instilled in me a sense of confidence that is still an essential part of who I am. I don’t question whether I can or can’t do something- I know I can figure almost anything out. It’s why I don’t hesitate to go on the news or sell products at a wholesale trade show or pitch big brands on working with me. That bravery and confidence came from watching her do awesome things like own her own business and be a single mom. Confidence is such an important character trait for women to have and I’m so grateful she engrained it in me.
29. My college friend Gray
My college friend Gray was one of my best friends in college. Everyone needs someone who makes them laugh constantly. No matter how stressed out I felt I knew that as long as he was working in the studio with me that I would be happy. Gray was always willing to help me, unlike a lot of other people in design school who turn the environment into a fiercely competitive one. He taught me a lot about accepting other people for who they are. Gray is amazingly talented, worked so hard and is a perfectionist, he made me want to be a better designer. Everyone needs a friend who has better taste than you and is willing to tell you when you get a soccer mom haircut in college.
28. My friend Tara
Tara has been around me for literally as long as I can remember and has been there through every stage of life so far. She was there when I was baptized by her dad at 8 years old, she was my young women’s leader at church through high school, she was at my 18th birthday party, my wedding and my baby shower. She’s more than just a “family friend” she’s someone I have always looked up to, kind of like the big sister I never had. As a young girl she made me feel loved and special and happy whenever I was with her. I can’t even imagine my life without her constant presence and loving encouraging advice. Love you Tara, thank you for always being there!
27. My friend Ali
Sometimes people come into your life and become just like family. Ali has this ability to accept and love others like no one I have ever met before. She’s capable, smart, generous and positive. She has taught me a lot about love. She loves my kids in a way I thought only our extended families would and I love her like a sister. I love that she doesn’t have to knock on my front door when she just stops by to hang out. When you don’t live near family it’s really important to find people who are like family- Ali is our sister/aunt that we never knew was missing until she came into our life. Love you sweet girl!
26. My dad
My dad is one of my biggest supporters. Without his encouragement and support I never would have gone to RISD. The older I get the more I realize how much I love my dad’s quiet consistent presence, sound advice and loving support. I know I get my type A personality from him, and he’s such a great example to me of stability, consistency and drive. He may never miss an opportunity to poke fun at me but I know he’s proud of the person I’ve turned out to be. He might even be better at the role of grandpa than dad and it’s so fun to watch him love my kids.
25. My step-mom Michelle
Michelle has taught me how to truly accept and welcome someone into a family. Step-moms clearly have choices on how much they want to embrace the “step” or the “mom” part of their role. She’s always treated and loved my brother and I like her own. She’s as friendly as they come and can literally make a new friend anywhere. She’s selfless enough to drop everything and keep my kids for 5 days while we go on vacation, no small feat! I couldn’t have dreamed of a better stepmom growing up. Always helping and loving me and it never stops.
24. My best friend Lindsay
Everyone needs a best friend. It’s really comforting knowing you have someone who gets you, understands you and is there with you through life. Lindsay is such a positive happy person and being around her makes me happier. She inspires me to be a better mom. Watching her raise her kids has taught me so much about how to love your kids, have fun with them and have a real relationship with them. I am so grateful to have Lindsay in my life, to laugh with confide in and lean on. Love you friend!
23. My sister Holly
Hollyanne and I are 13 years apart. I vividly remember the Christmas morning when she was born. I was conflicted as a 13 year old about having a new sister so much younger than me. Her birth changed the dynamic of our family and I cannot imagine my life without her. Although I feel way to old when I am around her she makes me still feel cool. ;) I love her so much and my only regret is not being able to be around her more. She’s witty and intelligent, caring and independent. She is organized and driven and so fun to be around. She is the best aunt to my kids and they adore her. I try to live to be a good example to her of happiness and love. The older we get the better friends we become and it makes me so happy! Love you Hollyanne.
22. My high school teacher Cindy
Cindy was my favorite high school teacher. She and I just clicked and we’ve stayed friends long after high school. I'm pretty sure my own personal love of reading had a landmark start when she had our honors English class read East of Eden by John Steinbeck. As a student I connected with Ms.McCain more than any other teacher and I hoped then that we would stay in touch as we have. As a student I remember talking with her about life and boys and all things not even related to my paper that was probably not on her desk at the deadline. I think she identified with me and my struggle to achieve large dreams I had set for myself and her support meant the world to me. She never ceases to inspire me as she travels the world and follows her own dreams!
21. My brother Andrew
It’s kind of amazing to see your sibling grow up. My brother Andrew is 5 years younger than me. The older we get the closer we get and I’m so happy that our relationship continues to get stronger. He is smart and stubborn and funny. It just so happens that today is his 25th birthday! I’m so happy that he’s found the person that makes him happy and can’t wait to celebrate their marriage in less than 2 months! We understand each other in ways that other people can’t. Happy Birthday Uncle Roo, we all love you!
20. My grandma “Mimi”
My grandma Rose, my dad’s mom, was such a constant presence in my life. She passed away a few months ago in January and I find myself missing her a lot. I was going through some of my memory boxes a month or so ago and I found the sweetest letter that she wrote to me on my high school graduation, I’m so glad I thought as an 18 year old to keep it. It’s perfectly her- telling me how proud she is of me and how much she loves me. She lived down the street for most of my life and was always there for everything from Sunday dinners to school awards days. I was always told I look like her and I know I act like her in a lot of ways. I love and miss her so much!
19. My best friend Jessica
Jessica has been my best friend since 7th grade. I felt really cool because she was a year ahead of me and I was the 7th grader who got to hang out with the 8th graders. When she and our 2 other best friends graduated the year before me I thought my life was over. Clearly super dramatic high school thinking. Jessica helped me feel loved and included and cool during the high school years. Throughout college she was always just a phone call away to catch up and care about everything that was going on in my life. We’ve had fun adventures together, commiserated about endless woes and been the maid of honor at each other’s wedding. We’ve seen each other through so much and I’m so lucky to have such a fun best friend who has always cared about me. I hate the distance between us but you know your close when you see each other after months and pick up like you were never apart.
18. My friend Margaret
Margaret was one of the very first friends I made when I moved to Kansas City. I remember attending church the first Sunday and feeling a little apprehensive, worried about making friends, and a little sad that I had moved to the midwest. I sat down in Relief Society and she was the first person to talk to me, Margaret and I immediately hit it off talking about our dogs (who were our children at the time) and we quickly became friends. Today happens to be Margaret’s birthday! I have learned so much from her these 8 years we have lived in KC, so much about being committed and working hard, being positive and enjoying life. Margaret is so fun to be around and always puts her heart into everything that she does. I am so blessed to have her in my life! Happy Birthday Margaret!
17. My friend Jenny
Jenny has been my friend as long as I’ve lived in Kansas City. She is one of the most understanding, selfless, and giving people I know. She is creative and talented and so witty. She’s my first call with anything related to kids or health or parenting because she’s kind of an expert in everything. She’ll drop whatever she’s doing when her friends need help. She’s taught me a lot about patience and parenting. Jenny is one of my favorite people to be around and I’m so happy that I can always count on her friendship and support.
16. My grandmother “Mamam”
I affectionately refer to my grandmother as “mamam” and she has always been a wonderful figure in my life. She was always a short phone call away to hear about my latest struggles or excitements. She is a fabulous cook, a world traveler and her style and taste are impeccable. I always enjoyed frequently going the four hours up to her house and staying for a night or two. She gives great advice and cares deeply about her family. She’s always been a great grandmother and I love that my kids know her and love her, its a wonderful thing for them to have a great grandmother!
15. My grandfather “Pappy”
Pappy is one of a kind. He is one of the hardest working people I know. His love and pride for his family is immeasurable. His struggle and daily battle with type 1 diabetes is inspirational. He is the most frugal person I’ve ever known. He loves to experience new places and has traveled all over the world with an adventurous spirit. He is smart and caring and a great golfer. I love his example in my life and can’t imagine my life without him.
14. My Mother in law Vicki
Vicki is the most selfless person I have ever known. She literally never thinks of herself before anyone else. She is caring and sweet and when she visits my house she is constantly helping me. She is so thoughtful, with over 30 grandchildren between herself and her husband and 20 kids + spouses she somehow always manages to have a birthday present and card with thoughtful sweet note arrive before each of our birthdays. She cares deeply about her family and will always help when needed, and let’s be honest, she raised the best man I know. ;)
13. My friend Kathleen
Kathleen is the kind of golden friend that you don’t know how you got so lucky to find her. She is one of the most selfless people I know, always serving others. Last summer when we moved into our new house I was sick and pregnant, she not only watched my kids the entire day we moved in but then sent me home with a full dinner when I picked up the kids. The crazy thing is something like that is not uncommon. She is always doing something sweet for someone else. She’s an amazing mom, I look up to her in so many ways! I am truly blessed to have Kathleen in my life! It happens to be Kathleen’s birthday today! Happy Birthday friend!
12. My grandfather “Papah”
My Papah passed away 2 years ago this month and I miss him. He was such a wonderful grandfather always present for the important events in my life. He was a funny guy always making corny jokes and muttering at almost every other driver on the road. He loved sports, his family and golf. He taught me that family is the most important thing in life and through his example I learned about correct priorities. Love and miss him!
11. My bestie Caroline
Caroline and I have been friends since middle school. She is one of the smartest, strongest women I know. She’s one of those people who I always want to know what she thinks about any given topic or event because I know she’s smarter than me and has great insight. She is such a good friend, always thinking about other people. She’s witty and fun to be around and I wish I lived close so I could see her more. She’s always been there for me and I’m so lucky to have such a friend in my life!
10. My college friend Margarita
My friend Margarita is the definition of a fiercely talented woman. In college she was a relentlessly hard worker and still is, girl knows how to hustle. She’s always inspired me with her desire to be the best she can at her craft. She’s so fun to be around, always makes people laugh and is seriously gorgeous. She’s kind and helpful and always cared about me. She’s one of those friends that no matter how long we go without talking we pick up right where we left off!
9. My friend Brett Walker
2 years ago our congregation at church was split and we were put into a new ward- the Tiffany Springs Ward. The new bishop was Bishop Walker and through inspiration he called me as the Relief Society President. I was a crazy mix of emotions between completely humbled and feeling totally inadequate. Serving with him through the next year he taught me so much about being a dedicated and loving leader. Every time I came out of a meeting with him I had learned something that changed me. He taught me how to put my family first, especially Matt. He continually reminded me of the important things in life. Through the experience of being a Relief Society President I learned how serving others truly changes yourself.
8. My stepdad “Doug”
I feel like it would be really hard to be a step parent and yet both of mine have done it incredibly well. Since I was 8 years old I have loved my fun, caring, hardworking and dedicated stepdad. He’s a wonderful man who loves my mom, loves my brother and I and loves my kids like we are his. I can’t imagine life without Doug, he’s helpful and thoughtful and really cares about the people in his life. He’s a great example to me of positivity and always looking at the bright side of life.
7. My Junior High Teacher Jane Morrow
I remember vividly sitting in Ms.Morrow’s bible class in Jr.high and learning about how to make and set goals. It was literally life changing. She drew up on the board a goal and then broke it down into actionable steps that would help the bigger goal be met. At this point in life I had dreams, big dreams and big goals, I had notebooks with torn out magazine picture collages and motivational words printed all over them however, no one had taught me how to break it down and make this dreams happen. She did and I’ve been writing down goals, making lists, and crossing off those small steps ever since.
6. My sister-in-law Michelle
Matt’s sister Michelle is quiet possibly one of the most talented people I know. Everything she does she does perfectly, you would think it would be intimidating to marry her brother but from the first time I met her she did nothing but love me. She is always helping everyone around her. She has 6 kids and yet I think she still does more for other people in a month than I do in a year. She’s such an inspiring person to be around and I’m so lucky to call her family.
5. My sister-in-law Kylie
Matt’s best friend is his little brother Casey. We thought it might be impossible for him to marry someone who we love as much as him but he didn’t let us down. He picked one of the cutest, funnest, sweetest people I know. Kylie is such a great mom to her two darling girls and one of my favorite people to be around. Whenever the four of us are together we stay up way too late playing games, laughing, talking, and genuinely loving each other’s company. She is fun and smart and I only wished we lived closer so we could spend more time together while raising our kids.
You may think that having a third baby is the same thing as the first two but Ruby has taught me new things! She first has taught me how to more fully savor the present. Having two older kids I know how quickly time goes and I have more fully enjoyed every little baby phase with her more than I did with the older two kids. She’s taught me how to multi-task! Having three kids running around is pretty much a circus, which makes me a ring leader. :) Her pregnancy taught me that I can make it through hard things, that life may have downs and I can get through them. I love this sweet baby and
Oh my sweet Junebug. When I think of my sweet, silly, stubborn little girl and the things that she has taught me the first thing that comes to mind is patience. She has such a strong personality and she knows what she wants. Such characteristics are great for adults but quite difficult to parent. She has taught me how to control my own frustration and anger and be patient. She’s also taught me how fun it is to see yourself in your children, she is so creative enjoys things that I enjoy. Love that sweet little girl!
2. My son Max
There is something really amazing about the day you become a mom. Your title is forever changed to mother. It’s humbling, scary and wonderful. Max has taught me so much in the last five and half years. The desire to love, teach, help and provide for my kids is something so strong within me. Once Max was born my focus shifted from myself to raising a happy healthy child. Having a baby is a life-changing moment when all the sudden you love someone else in a way you had never experienced. He has taught me to enjoy life with every new journey that he takes. Watching him grow up is both joyful and heartbreaking. It’s a strange, wonderful and emotional thing being a parent!
1. My husband Matt
Looking back on my 20’s the one thing that seems to be the most important detail is that I was with Matt for every single day. I’m not sure how I was so lucky to be at the right place at the right time to meet him. a few weeks later I was 19 and at a county fair talking with him when I had the distinct thought that I was going to marry him, we hadn’t even kissed yet. 11 years after my last first kiss I’m more deeply in love with him that the day we got married. We have this wonderful life together and honestly I love my life so much because he works so hard to make sure it’s everything we want it to be. I love my life because he makes sure we find the laughter no matter what. The quote we put on everything at our wedding was “Right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives you a fairy tale.” We have hard days, we have trials and sometimes we might not like each other as much as we want to but honestly when I sit back and really look at our life it is pretty darn close to a fairy tale. There is no question that Matt has changed my life more than anyone else, I literally can’t even imagine life without my smart, hardworking, funny, sexy red headed husband.