In the same mode as Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, here are a few people who left deep marks on my character.
MY GRANDMOTHER VIVIAN
Sense of humor. Life is sweeter when it’s not taken too seriously. Be unequivocally dedicated to my faith and my principles rooted in our Lord Jesus Christ. You can be a man (or woman) of faith pursuing doctrine and theology yet share in the joyful love and compassion of our Savior.
MY GRANDFATHER FLOYD
Commitment to his wife and to his family. Silent leadership by being present, consistent and firm.
MY MOTHER LOIS
A woman’s strength is no less greater than a man’s. No matter how unfair life treats you in matters of work, of health or simple fate, complaining is not an option. Never give up and never be fueled by anything other than the beautiful things in the world.
MY BROTHER MICK
Being a father has less to do with having a child and more to do with offering guidance and inspiration.
PROFESSOR JOHN LOFFLIN
The act of good writing takes some natural talent, but it is more dependent on work ethic. Putting words down in a way that moves people needs to be approached with craftsmanship, not unlike the artist or even the blue-collar workman—a bricklayer—who through continual practice refines and perfects his work. And even still, the greatest work is the kind that comes out without prompting. Take notes on the world and learn from what you see.
Reading only a few short paragraphs of my work, she recognized a talent I would have never explored and encouraged me to pursue. This occurred during those lost teen years when I didn’t feel I was particularly gifted, had no real interests outside of myself, and longed for a way to connect with the whole of the world.
Exemplifying faith. Always putting her family first and not getting lost in the race to find someone to love as many of us do after our relationships end.
Any task is worth doing to perfection and with an extraordinary amount of love.
MY CHILDREN, ANNIE, CHARLIE AND CAROLINE
For pursuing their passions and putting in the hard work necessary to achieve extraordinary highs.
MY COUSINS, AUNTS AND UNCLES
Treat others as your equals. They always included me and treated me with love and respect even though I was so much younger than them.
Be myself and take comfort in that. Recognize the world around me and try to better understand my place in it.
A tragic background can be something to embrace. Take pride in your misfortunes. See the characters around you for what they are and the ways in which they enrich your life—make it unique.