First of all, we want to extend a HUGE Thank You to all of our family, friends, and followers that have helped us reach our Kickstarter Campaign goal!  *At the bottom of this post, we have listed the names of those who have donated.  A lot of people have asked us if they can still donate to get their name published in the credits of the book – and the answer is YES!  The campaign has to remain open for the entire 30 days, and will end on March 22nd. All you have to do is click on this link – Growing Simple Book and Tour Project – and it will take you to our Kickstarter page.  Click on the ‘Back This Project’ green button and you can submit your information.

Over the past two weeks we have been humbled by the kindness and generosity of each and every one of you and we have enjoyed the stories that you have shared about those individuals in your lives that have inspired you.  Last week Jim shared a story about those who have inspired him in the past, and this week it is my turn.

My Inspiration….

As I thought about writing this post I recalled many people at various times in my life, that have inspired me in so many ways. There were teachers, coaches, neighbors, and friends that have all impacted the person that I am today, in some sort of way, shape or form. It ranges from the teacher (Mrs. Ball) that was there to help me get through the school day just one day after our house caught on fire, to my first volleyball coach (Mrs. Greene) that noticed the extra effort that I made throughout the season to get myself better, to our neighbor (Mrs. Casto) who lived across the street from me when I was growing up, who helped me learn to ride a bike.

Posing with Mr. Schaefer on my last day of high school.
Posing with Mr. Schaefer on my last day of high school.

However, there were two high school teachers who unknowingly played such an important role in my life. My junior English teacher, Mr. Schaefer taught me more than how to read books, write a report, and to speak in front of others. He inspired me to look beyond the four walls of the school building and introduced me to the fine arts. He was the one that happily shared the soundtracks to Broadway Musicals  (and yes, they were played on a record player)- and this began as my way to ‘see the world’ outside of the small community that I lived in. I learned not only the history and background of many cultures through musicals, but for the first time, I felt the passion to see and be part of the rest of the world.  Best of all, Mr. Schaefer continues to teach and still has one of our children in class with him every day this year, and will have one more next year! I hope they become as inspired through his outside of the box teaching, as I was.

Sister Irene never wanted to be the center of attention.
Sister Irene never wanted to be the center of attention.

Fast forward one year to my senior year, I step into English class on the first day of school and gasp for air. With having only one year of Catholic school under my belt, I had heard horror stories about the nuns who were teachers in the past.  I had only been exposed to one nun my first year at the high school, at she was the librarian with whom I didn’t have much contact with, expect for when she would step outside of the door to yell at me for walking too close to the boys.  I loved Sister Maria and I would grin and walk on the other side of the hall, abiding by her request.  But this was the first time that I had a nun as a core teacher.  Never would I have imagined the kindness and serenity that I felt when she was around. Sister Irene loved her books. She introduced me to authors that I had never heard of, and presented them in a way that it felt like I knew them personally. She was the one that encouraged me to write – “Write about Everything!”, she would say. She started my love to journal and to document life through penmanship.

The family that inspired me.
The family that inspired me.

But like most of our readers, my first and lifelong inspiration comes from my immediate family. As the youngest of four children, I had the privilege of using the “watch and learn” method to life. I would observe my brothers and sisters, and I wanted to be just like them. I took over my sister’s chore of vacuuming the steps, just because I wanted to be like her and I became so excited when I got to visit my oldest brother in college – because one day I was going to be just like him and go to college too. And of course, the healthy competition that a sibling rivalry can provide is priceless. My other brother and I were only one year apart in school – providing that friendly competition between two close siblings that sparked my drive to do whatever I could to compete.  He unknowingly taught me my work ethic – I learned to work harder and harder at whatever we were doing, just to keep up with him.

My parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.
My parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.

My parents have been married for 53 years and there are a million ways that they have inspired me. My Mom taught me from as early as I could remember, that I could do and be anything I wanted to be, “The sky is the limit”, as she would say.  She is the one that made me feel invincible and encouraged me to be as independent as possible. She began her own business when I was about 4 years old, working part-time while taking care of the daily household chores.  She didn’t know it, but by watching her compassion and empathy of both her clients and pets, I learned how to love and serve others. She is the reason that my ‘real job’ is in the healthcare field.

Then there is my Dad.  Growing up, he taught me the love of the outdoors.  He would always be outside in the yard, mowing, raking, moving dirt or working in the garden. By the age of 10, I was begging him to let me cut the grass. After repeatedly bothering him, I finally got the lesson on how to mow the grass, something I still love to do.  We would go camping – staying in tents, hike the trails at Old Man’s Cave, and boat in several Ohio lakes and at Dale Hollow in Tennessee.

However, the most inspirational trait that I learned from my parents is the ability to do things for themselves, as a couple. They worked in the garden, canned vegetables, and completed home projects together. They worked as a team and accomplished the goals that they set out for themselves.  Much like Jim and I do.

My every day inspiration!
My every day inspiration!

And that leads to me my inspiration of today – Jim. I couldn’t ask for a more influential person in my life than my own husband. He wakes up with remarkable energy, motivates me to complete our goals, and inspires me to think outside of the box. He is creative, hard-working, intelligent, and compassionate, all of which makes me strive to be my best.  I am very proud to be his wife and partner for life. This is our journey together – one that we hope can inspire others.

Thank you for following along!

Mary and Jim

OUR DREAM MAKER LIST:

***Thank you to :  Rob and Jen F, Kelsey F, Ted V, Katie H, Joe C, Andrew C, Ken M, Lara M, Mary H, Sydelle D, Sara T-B, Daphne C, Tina W, Lisa C-S and Alice Loyd, Rachel, Melissa S, Arlene J, Judith M, Tikva J, Julie B, Bob R, Rick and Ruth Ann R, Jan B, Todd T, Brenda H, Heather A, Marlene J, Sharon H, Mary P, Cheri S, Tricia P, Carolyn M, Vikki J, Rick D, Reta P, Susanne D, Christina N, Dee Dee B, Carla H, Andy B, Peter B, Bonnie, Carol O, Evan and Karen K, Ruby O, Donna, Victoria and Robert C. Cheryl H, Deb R, Therese K-K, Amy O, Jeff and Kristen R, Brandye, Elaine H, Michael C, Jim F, Ed and Donna P, Charlene K, Teresa K,Vicki S-V, Penny P, Jeff, Veronica S, Mary B, Codi and John, Chris M, Karen S, Bruno K, Sarah F,Dawna, Mary Beth J, Louann H, Vivian S. V-B, Jill E, Allisa H, Megan J, Maryse S, Jessica S, Brian J, KarriAnn S, Carol W, Sean L, Nancy S, James F, MTC Columbus, James L, Linda S, Andre F, Carol H, Owen and Aidan L, Kelli D, Christy D,Sam W, New Castle Custom Homes, Mike M, RIchard Z, Brad M, Jim and Pattie W, Isabella H,Bill-Susan L, Lori C, Raelyn H-S, Brad G, Tony G, Ruth H, Anita O, Marissa S, Mary Ann J, Howard and Shirley S, Angie S, Jo M, Gail P, Brad and Holly W, Stephanie H, Theresa G, Carlton and MaryAnne R, Nancy, Heather F, Breta S, Dustin M, Holly, Zoee S, Charles and Toni C, Becky, Julie G, Matt N, Josephine B, Laura K, Stephen H, EDR Properties, Chris L, Deborah B, Regina S, Debbie B, Bill W, Randy P, Jim B, Dad and Mom F, Danielle P, Mom C, Dominic C, Mary, Ann M, Shawn T

 

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