Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up

By:  Celeste

*Disclaimer:  This post is not about marriage, but it is about love.  And we are ALL ABOUT spreading love here.*

I recently learned of the passing of a good friend of mine- Ana Preto-Bay.  Ana was a truly, truly amazing individual- one of God’s very best.  It was Ana who first taught me I could be really good friends with someone who is closer to my parent’s age than mine.  Even though I moved into her ward (church congregation) when Rich and I were very first married, and she was a professor at BYU with 4 boys- she didn’t care.   She talked to me and treated me like I was one of her best girl friends. 

I first met her because I bid on her four cooking lessons she offered during a church service auction.  She not only gave me those four cooking lessons, but she also took me grocery shopping every week for a few weeks, went through my whole kitchen, organized it and then cooked dinner with me many times on top of her VERY busy schedule.  She was simply, the best (and she taught me EVERYTHING I know about cooking).

I don’t know why but I thought I was a unique little project of hers. But as I was reading her Facebook wall after she passed away I realized that A LOT of people had that “unique” relationship with her.  It was truly touching to read of all the people she had influenced throughout her life (in fact, they have since made a blog just dedicated to sharing memories of her).  And it got me thinking…. what a shame that Ana couldn’t read this while she was alive.  Boy, would that be one heck of a pick-me-up!  All those people coming out of the woodwork, sharing beautiful memories of her? I’m sure never knew what an impact she had on many of them.

I had the exact same thought earlier this year when my former mission companion, Britney died of leukemia.  She was one of the most upbeat, optimistic people I have EVER met.  Whether it was trying to tell very uninterested Slovenes about Mormonism in a language neither of us spoke at all or battling years of hospital stays and rounds of intensive chemo- nothing could bring this girl down.  She had such a big, authentic love for everyone in her life.  I was truly touched as I read through others’ memories of her on her Facebook wall when she died.

This got me thinking… I should tell people what they mean to me BEFORE they die.  And since it’s a little awkward to say, “Just in case you die, here is what I would write on your Facebook wall…”   I’ll just use my new blog to let people know I love them :)  Spread it around a little.

As I was thinking about this, it hit me that I ALREADY had an entire blog post, one I had already typed up but never posted,  about doing this exact thing that I COMPLETELY forgot about (it was for my old blog).   I guess it was important enough that God had to tell me TWICE to get it done.  So, here’s the post that I wrote a few months ago:

Who I want to be when I grow up

I can’t seem to get this Maya Angelou quote out of my head.  That woman had some real good quotes, but the one I keep thinking of is,  

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I’ve extended that to include: people will forget what you wear, people will forget how messy your house is, how embarrassing your toddlers are in public etc, etc, etc.  (This quote and mentality is single-handedly responsible for me drastically chopping off all my hair.  True story.  If no one cares what I look like, I may as well make it easy for myself, right?  Right.)  It’s quickly becoming my life motto.

I want to be the kind of person who makes other people feel good.  Feel loved.  Feel important.  Feel special. 

My life motto needs a plan.  You can’t just become something without a plan.  I’ve been thinking about people who have made me feel good, important, special.  Maybe if I notice and think about them enough, I will start to emulate them.  I started to think these people would maybe like to know that I’m trying to emulate them.  Maybe that would make them feel special.  Here is a TOTALLY RANDOM list of some of those people I’ve been thinking about lately:

  • Laurie S.  I don’t always remember what we talk about and often we don’t talk about much because our kids are always demanding our attention, but she has this way of looking at you when she talks to you that makes you feel loved.  Like love shines out through her eyes and you can feel it.  Just from her looking at you. 
  • Rich.  This is initially why I started liking Rich in the first place.  In a class where I felt very self-conscious, he made me feel good.  He complimented me and made me feel competent.  He had no ulterior motives (since he was dating someone else in the class) other than just being a nice guy.  I love the nice guy-ness about him.  And now he is the #1 person in my life who makes me feel good every single day.  He makes me feel loved and important and special.
  • My mom.  Mom is awesome.  There are so many of her qualities that I want.  She works so hard.  She is so good at making and keeping good goals.  She is so obedient.  I love the way my mom has no filter for friend making at all.  She will be friends with anyone, no matter what.  Most people have age filters, socioeconomic filters, in-a-similar-life-situation filters, education filters, religious filters, but not my mom.  She can seriously be best friends with someone 50 years older than her or younger than her, with the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich.  And she has been.  And she will be friends with them and do anything for them forever.  I love that about her.
  • My dad.  Everyone loves my dad.  I think that’s because he makes people feel like he likes them.  I don’t know how I missed this awesome quality from both my mom and my dad.  But my dad is great at this.  He laughs loud and easily.  He puts people at ease.  With people who generally have their guard up, he has this way of lowering everyone’s guard and getting them off the defense.  He’s the ultimate peace-keeper.
  • Lori.  She has this same no filter thing I was describing with my mom.  She also can be best friends with anyone, no matter what.  And she genuinely loves everyone she meets.  It’s one thing to make people feel like you love them, it’s another to actually love everyone.  I mean everyone.  It’s an amazing gift.
  • Robbie H.  Robbie has a way of listening that makes you feel like he genuinely cares about everything you say.  Even the little things. I think it’s because he always remembers everything you say.  It’s impressive and makes you feel like you are interesting.  I like that he makes everyone he talks to feel interesting.
  • Faith C.  I like how Faith smiles through everything she says.  Even when she is giving strong opinions.  Even if she is telling a story that angered her or disagreeing with something- she is smiling through it.
  • Danielle.  I like how determined Danielle is.  When she puts her mind to something, she’ll stick with it forever.
  • Astyn C.  She has such an easy-going way of conversing with people.  Everyone likes her because she makes everyone feel like she likes them.  She probably does.  She is so selfless.  I’ve noticed she tends to seek out and sit with people who seem to need a little attention or love.  Whereas I tend to seek out and sit with my friends or people I get a long with, every time.  I admire this about her.
  • Theresa B.  There is so much I admire about Theresa.  On top of the list would be how she makes everyone around her feel comfortable no matter how well she knows them or if she knows them at all.  She fits in in every social situation.  We met randomly at the library one day and within minutes she had my phone number and I felt like we were old friends.  I love her enthusiasm for new friends and new goals.  I wish I had both her enthusiasm and her social skills.
  • Lynne L.  I wasn’t ever super close with Lynne, but I want to remember her because she was the best example of how to disagree with people.  Her political and social opinions were for the most part in direct opposition to the majority of those of her Iowan, Mormon peers, but she held those opinions in the most humble, Christlike way ever.  You could tell she felt strongly about her beliefs, but she never ever made anyone feel judged or less-informed or wrong by her different opinions.  That is a very good quality.
  • Simona N.  Simona is the BEST at giving compliments.  THE. BEST.  You get a compliment from Simona- your whole body is full of warm tinglys and you feel awesome the rest of the day.  She looks you in the eye and bears her soul to you about the good she sees in you. It’s amazing.  I’m so grateful to have received some truly humbling compliments from her.
  • Sabrina G.  When Sabrina loves someone- she really LOVES them- like deep down, gut-filled love.  I was privileged to see this love in action as we served together and I learned so much from her loyalty to those she loves.  I will always love Sabrina.  Our time together in Slovenia is saved safely away in the “some of my favorite memories ever” part of my heart.

**Another Disclaimer**  This is… a very random list of people.  It is in no way a list of those people I am closest to or who have had the biggest impacts on my life.  I chose them the same way I choose my guest posters- their name randomly popped in my head.  If I wrote about everyone who has had an impact on my life well….. that would be an INSANELY long blog post.  In fact, I’m thinking of making this “who I want to be when I grow up” a series.  It’s not about marriage exactly, but my main goal for this blog is to share love.  True love.  To spread it around like there’s no tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up

  1. Celeste, I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your friend Ana– you told me all about her and I was jealous/so happy for you to have someone teaching you to cook! And if the Laurie S. on your list is the same Laurie S. that I know, I definitely feel the same way about her! She is one of the best listeners I know.

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