David has tagged me to write about who are “MY TOP TEN (OR SO) GREATEST INFLUENCES, OUTSIDE OF GOD AND MY FAMILY MEMBERS.” Yikes! This is challenging. Like David there have been interpersonal and academic influences. Like Elizabeth, there have been both positive and negative. Without further ado, here they are, in no particular order.
1. St. Athanasius the Great – “On the Incarnation” was the first Orthodox treatise I read and it blew me away. His clear explanation of why Jesus Christ needed to come in the flesh crystallized my understanding of His sacrifice. Thus why St. Athanasius is my patron saint. Props to # 4 below who was the professor who made us read this book and write about it in the Western Civilization class I took.
2. Rev. Dr. Robert Bouder – He was the Senior Pastor at the first church where my husband served as his Assistant Pastor twenty years ago. He threw me into service with nary a backward glance by asking me to head up finding the children who would read scripture and light the Advent candles the first Christmas we were at the church. I knew no one but he had confidence I would do a good job. That faith started the confidence which spurred me on to other ways of service, which eventually led me to leading/teaching Bible studies with all ages.
3. Robirdie Sharp – She took a 22 year old young widowed mother under her wing, drug her to church and social activities and taught her that life did not end with the death of her husband. That person was me. She was my salvation.
4. Dr. Gary W. Jenkins – Landing in his Western Civilization college class after having been out of school for mumble mumble years was terrifying and a great blessing. He reignited my love for History, showed me the road to the history of the early church, and opened my eyes to a world of writers I never knew existed. He is one of the reasons I am a History major pursing my BA. He was, and is, an outstanding professor. I am happy to call him “friend.”
5. Sherri & Gail– These two women are my best friends. They know all there is to know about me and love me anyway. That is saying a whole lot! They have taught me what it means to love unconditionally.
6. Lona M. Farr, Ph.D., ACFRE & Ms. Roberta A. Healey, MBA, ACFRE (soon to be Ph.D.) – Both of these women run the consulting firm for which I have the privilege of being the Office Manager. Lona is my boss and my friend. She hired me, a person who had not been in the workforce for 20+ years, and has been unfailing supportive. Both of these women are some of the finest examples of brains, guts, integrity, ethics, and generosity I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. I love working for them and with them. They are an inspiration.
7. The neighborhood kids I hung with as a kid (who shall remain nameless) – By their actions, they taught me what snobbery, unkindness, and cruelty to those less fortunate than they looks like. These are some good things to learn.
8. Mel & Doug – Eleven years ago they trusted, basically a stranger, to babysit their newborn daughter because Mom needed to work. They must have liked what I did with the daughter, because I got to babysit the son too! We now are “family.” ‘Nuf said!
9. Fr. Radu Bordeianu – My first spiritual father and the priest who chrismated me at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Greenville, NC. His piety, kindness, acceptance, instruction, and life are examples I strive to emulate daily. I fail miserably.
10. My high school typing teacher, business machines teacher, and accounting teacher – They taught me the skills which I used to this day. I wouldn’t have had the jobs I’ve had without those skills. Curiously enough, the business machines teacher was Greek Orthodox.