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Roll call of most influential people in my life

I follow Angie Mizzell’s blog and her question today was this.

Who is the one person who had an important influence in your life?

I have been thinking about this on and off during the day and I now have time to respond to the question. I was surprised when I found myself going down memory lane today as I thought of all the people who have had a positive influence in my life. I feel as if they are all equally important so I want to take the time to have an informal roll call.   

James & Hedy Moffitt adopted my sister and I from an orphanage in Germany when we were 1 and 2 years of age. If it were not for their influence in our lives we would not have been able to experience what it is to be an American citizen. Thanks to army doctors I have been able to walk and my sister had her eyesight restored. Had it not been for their generous love and rescuing us from that orphanage, we would have certainly had it much harder as young kids and probably as adults.

Coach Trussell – This was my favorite high school football coach, mentor and friend. Coach lived two streets over from where we lived in Quinlan Texas and I often caught a ride to school with him and his wife when it was raining outside. When the weather was nice I would walk the 2 or 3 miles to school on the other side of town. Coach Trussell was instrumental in helping me to build my self confidence and self esteem. I never was able to play football due to my club foot, but he allowed me to work out with the rest of the team in the weight room. I will never forget how proud he was of me ,and how he would brag on me to the rest of the team. He would tell them that I was once a 90 lb weakling but if I could accomplish the goals with strength training ,then anyone could do it. I will never forget how that made me feel.

Mrs Dean- This was my high school typing teacher. My mother forced me to take 4 years of typing in High School. Little did I know that I would be flying a keyboard for a living many years later. Mrs Dean was influential in my life because every time I would say something negative about myself she would correct me and say something uplifting and positive. She taught me to find self worth and to hold my head high and to find the bright positive things in life. She was an important encourager in my life.

Ida Colombrito’s father- I had several christian friends in high school. Donald and Ida were both friends and they were dating one another. Ida’s father was a volunteer fire dept chaplain. Ida’s father became my friend and was the one who told me about Jesus Christ and his love for me. I will never forget the day in the woods at the age of 17 when I bowed my head and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and to come into my life. Apparently Ida’s dad did that with a lot of folks over the years. I will be forever thankful to him for taking the time to encourage a young man who was lost.

Aunts and uncles – I had several aunts and uncles in my life who were very good to my sister and I in our childhood. Needless to say our childhood was a bit troubled and we needed that influence in our lives.   

Tom Glisson – Tom is the pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Goose Creek. Our family are still members there even though we attend a church closer to home. Tom Glisson will always be my pastor because I know that he has a genuine heart for God and for people. Pastor Tom and the church family walked with us as we watched our daughter Jessica battle with cancer in 2000 – 2001. They provided a much needed support system and loved our Jessica no matter what. I am eternally grateful for my relationship with our extended church family in Goose Creek.

Katy Moffitt – the love of my life and best friend. Katy is the most selfless person I know. Katy met me at a singles MASH party at First Baptist church. I had recently gone through an ugly divorce and I had my son Jeremy for the weekend. Katy first took a liking to Jeremy and then later on she took a liking to me despite my rough edges. Despite my best efforts to just be friends, she stole my heart and we got married in May of 1990. As a married couple we have had more than our fair share of trials and tribulations. I would dare say that most marriages would have been destroyed. I believe that our faith in God and our love for one another are the two things that was the glue that held our marriage together. Katy is a giver and a lover. Katy is the true reflection of a virtuous woman. I cannot imagine life without her.

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Losing people

As I have done many times in the past I headed over to Newton Farms at Freshfields Village for lunch. I like to order either a wrap or a sandwich from their sandwich bar in their deli. On many occasions a lady named Melinda would serve me. Melinda was very professional and good at her job. On several occasions I was able to strike up a conversation with her as she was making my lunch. I have been visiting with Melinda for almost 5 years now. Every time I visited with Melinda I enjoyed the short time I had to speak with her. On several occasions Melinda shared her faith in God with me since we have that in common.

When I walked into Newton Farm today I noticed that Melinda was not working as she usually does. As a matter of fact it occurred to me that I had not seen her in the last two or three times I had gone to the sandwich bar. I asked the young lady who was fixing my sandwich where my friend was and I was stunned by her response. The lady told me that Melinda died on February 16th and had been shot and killed by her boyfriend on Johns Island. I guess I just assumed that Melinda would always be working at the sandwich bar and that she would be there when I would come in to order my lunch. It never occurred to me that her life would be prematurely snuffed out by a random act of violence.

My thoughts go out to Melinda’s two teenaged daughters who are now living life without their mother. The news story about this horrible tragedy stated that Melinda was a mother who loved her girls and would enjoy taking them to downtown Charleston to go shopping. I am hopeful that Melinda shared her faith in God with her girls and that they have a support system at church that can help them work through the grief. I will forever miss Melinda and the time that we shared talking over the counter at the sandwich bar. I know that her co workers will miss her a lot as well.

Life is precious and so are people. All people are precious no matter how different they might appear on the outside. I am thankful for the limited time that I was allowed to spend with Melinda. Having learned of this tragedy has reminded me of how important relationships are both in my family but outside of my immediate family as well.

R.I.P. Melinda you are loved.

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Raising young adults

Living in a house with 2 teenagers, who have 2 dozen friends the same age, is like herding cats.  Raising young adults is not for the feint of heart either.  I keep saying “raising teenagers” and someone much older and wiser than me reminded me of the fact that they are becoming young adults.  I have been suffering from a slight case of WPOR as the parent of said young adults.  WPOR stands for Warped Perception of Reality.   In my day dreams I imagined my young adults turning 18 years old, graduating from high school, going to college and moving out of my house.  That would leave Katy and I with peace and tranquility that we treasure.

I do not get to spend much time in my WPOR induced stupor.  Every day seems to be an adventure.  There are times that we attempt to look into the future and determine which child is more likely to be successful than the other.  They say that as parents we are not supposed to have favorites.  Hindsight is always 20/20 and to this day all my predictions have been blown out of the water.

Approximately one year ago we moved from Johns Island to West Ashley.  When we moved to Johns Island it was to be in a better neighborhood and for me to be much closer to Kiawah.  The 90 minute commute each day was getting old and costing me a fortune in gas.  What I did not realize is that the schools in Charleston county, especially on Johns Island suck.  We wound up having to enroll our teenagers in online curriculum through the state and that did not work out very well.  I suppose that the older the child gets the more they require socialization with other teenagers.  My teenagers let me know this in many different ways.

Recently I have decided that Katy and I have missed our calling as Foster parents.  We typically have 4 to 15 teenagers at our house.  I guess you could say that the socialization of our teenagers has improved quite a bit.  The only problem with that socialization is that their choices for friends sometimes leaves things to be desired.  I do not believe that any of these kids are bad. I believe that all of them, including my kids, are good kids at heart.  What we have learned is that most of these teenagers come from broken homes.  My son told Katy the other day that we are the exception to the rule.  He said that most of his friends live in homes where the mom and dad are either divorced or getting divorced.

Just recently we wound up dealing with a teenager whose parents keep kicking her out of the house.  This young person is 16 years of age and is in a very ugly situation.  I attempted to be a responsible parent and reached out to the mother of this teenager.  We had long talks and I made suggestions to her in which way she could go with dealing with their issues in their home with their daughter.  Whether or not those suggestions fell on deaf ears or not remains to be seen.  At first the parents of this young person were ok with their daughter living with us and did not say a word.  They knew our address and phone number and at any time they could have driven over here to retrieve their child.

For the life of me I do not understand how any parent could “disown” their child.  That is what my adoptive parents did to me and my sister at different stages of our life.  These parents have no problems with slamming the door on the young person’s face and tell them they are not welcome and they are filth.  On several occasions the mother dropped the young person off at a gas station and left her standing there with the clothes on her back.  I never knew that this was an option for parents.  I thought that parents were responsible for the well being of their offspring no matter what.  I also thought that parents were supposed to love and support their children no matter how many bad decisions the young person makes.  I thought that is what parenting is all about.  Helping the young person to learn from their mistakes and make better life decisions.

Yesterday the step father gets on the phone with me and proceeds to give me the riot act for being disrespectful to his wife and for sticking my nose into their business.  What gave us the right to give his daughter a place to stay.  We allowed his daughter to stay with us because she is a friend of our daughters and we did not want her to be living on the streets of Charleston.  The parents knew where she was the entire time and knew they could come get her.  At no time did they lift a finger to come get her.  After my brief encounter with the angry step father I advised him to come get his daughter and I had her pack her stuff and go outside to wait for him to arrive.

As of today the young adult has gone back home and her grand mother is coming down from North Carolina to take her back with her.  Hopefully things will settle down for this young lady and she will be able to go to school there and get life back on track. We want her to be in a safe place that is devoid of hateful and angry remarks.  We want her to be in a safe place where she does not have to worry about her step father provoking physical confrontations between the wife and daughter in the front yard.  With this obstacles out of the way maybe she can start to make the appropriate adjustments with some of her life choices and make better decisions as to whom she should spend time with.

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