I was always so fortunate growing up to have a multitude of inspirations and motivators. Whatever I wanted to be that week or day or hour, they would support it and water that metaphorical flower from day one. As I wrote in my very first posting, they planted the seed of creativity and individual thinking from the get-go. Whether it was writing and reading, or drawing and painting; or something as simple as playing in the backyard for hours a day. That support continues to this day. Even now as I write my debut novel, my mom is who I send everything to. She is my editor, proofreader, cheerleader, and number one fan; cheering me on and sharing every post and pushing me through every doubt and second guess I have. So huge shout out to my parents! #himomanddad
Second is my big sister, Lizzie. Anyone who knows my family knows how absolutely legendary my big sis was and continues to be. The silent angel on my shoulder who I talk to CONSTANTLY. Growing up, Lizzie was my companion into whatever world we transformed our backyard into, the one who I could talk to about any book that I was obsessing over at the moment. (Most of the time it was the amazing Harry Potter) and my writer idol. She was always so amazing, setting and conquering goals that she had in even the short time she was on this Earth, and I wanted to be her so badly. She still motivates me to this day, like I said, she is forever the angel on my shoulder guiding me and inspiring me to do my best and follow my dreams; if not for myself then for her.
Third is my middle/high school art teacher, Mrs. Janning. After Lizzie passed away, those were the darkest days of my life. I had no light and could see nothing good in the world. Que Mrs Janning, whether she knows it or not, those classes I had with her were the only good parts of my days; the only reason I got out of bed and would go to school. Everyone at Kearney Catholic can tell you that she was the epitome of positivity and love. Never a harsh word or anger ever was experienced in her classroom. That room was my sanctuary. Every moment I could spend in there was like a reprieve from my constant sadness. I could lose myself in whatever project I was then working on and with my focus trained on that, I could forget about the depression I was drowning in. As the years passed and I continued to sign up for any chance to spend the day with the amazing Mrs Janning, my love for art blossomed, continuing to cultivate the bloom of creativity. Slowly, that light that she had ignited back into my life grew and I was able to climb out of the black hole that I had been living in. Anytime I start to have doubt in my life, I try to channel my inner Mrs Janning and remember that words of love and happiness, over doubt or anger, can literally save lives. So thank you Mrs Janning. I would not be even close to who I am today with out you.
Now last but certainly not least, my grandparents. All of them! My Grandma and Grandpa Stratton and Granny and Papa Stewart are all amazing people. Each one of them providing their own niche of support. Where to even start..... Granny leading by example writing books and selling her own beautiful paintings, to this moment guiding me and being my go-to for questions and motivation. Papa, always cheering me on and stating how proud he was of all of us grandkids, exclaiming with his loud, attention grabbing voice "This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen!" to "I knew you could do it!". My Grandpa Wayne's quiet, but steady support, showing up for any and all major occasions, combined with his constant love that I can always turn to. Always willing to put up with us rambunctious girls for weeks every summer, (although I think that was partly because he would get a cut of all the treats that Grandma would make in preparation for us :) ) and driving us to the local Dollar Store to pick out our journals for that summer. Handling the hours spent picking out the perfect one that we would write in, then hide throughout the house to be found the next summer we would come. Now Grandma Mae, the one who's pickles are to die for and, well; all of her food is amazing. But aside from that, her love is unconditional. Our sole avid reader of the Stratton Daily; the truly awful newspaper we would create every summer filled with the goings on of the Iowa farm. Everything from the new cucumber that had appeared in the garden, to the names of that we had finally settled on for the cows. Always pulling out the various tubs of tinker toys, Lincoln logs, board games and little plastic dolls of the attic for us to play with and scatter throughout the various rooms of the house. Now I have traveled quite a bit by now, places like Milan and Florence Italy, the Bahamas, Kauai Hawaii and Washington state, but my favorite place by far will forever be that farm in Iowa. That farm where I have so many happy memories and just received so much love.
My list of meus spiritus, or my inspirations could go on and on and on... but I won't take up your whole week.. To anyone reading this, think about your own and thank them for what they do. Because these people deserve a million thank you's. They are indirectly responsible for everything you do, whether you even realize it or not. Whether it is a moment when you help a stranger or even a kind word to another person, you are sharing the light they gave to you and that my friends is why I have any hope for the future. Especially in these trying times of the world we are living in today. We need that love, because there is so much hate.. Just remember who you want to be at the end of whatever time God has given us, and every day, with every action you take; take the steps to become that person. Be someone's meus spiritus and continue to change the world with every single one of your actions.
"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."
Martin Luther King Jr.
Stay awesome and spread the light!☀️