Saturday, May 11, 2024

Women as influencers: Those who have and are influencing me!

"Women as influencers: Those who have and are influencing me!"

Throughout my life, I have been blessed and influenced by so many incredible, wonderful women. On Mother's Day, I honor all of them, especially my wife Joanne and daughters, Anna Rose and Hailey, and now my granddaughters, Emiline and Avonlea!

Joanne Boltz Hammon—Joanne has influenced me in so many wonderful ways over the past 44 years! I am truly who I am because of her. In every aspect of my life, Joanne has been there with counsel, support, influence, critique, kindness, comfort, and an extra push or two to propel me forward. She is the mother of our two daughters, Anna Rose and Hailey. She is the best example of an elect and precious daughter of a loving Heavenly Father that I know.

 Anna Rose and Hailey—Our two daughters are incredible, smart, independent, innovative, creative, professional, intuitive, hard-working, and courageous. They remind me so much of their mother and are marvelous mothers themselves.

Barbara Hammon—My mother was a sensitive, caring, tough, independent, and courageous woman. She had eight children and watched us grow up in so many different ways. She taught me to work and to be respectful. She expected me to be a good student and do my homework, which I did.

 Wilma Andersen Boltz—My mother-in-law loved and treated me like her own son. She created so many memories for our daughters. Her humor and her way of doing and saying things were always funny, surprising, intriguing, and delightful.

 Telecia, Shawna, Delaina, and Jaralyn—My four sisters have been very kind to me. Amazingly, they still love me despite me having been a challenging brother periodically as we grew up. I just hope they have realized I have grown up and strive to become better.

Emiline and Avonlea—My granddaughters are definitely gifts to us. While they are creative, bright, intelligent, beautiful, independent, and funny, they are still growing up and becoming who they need to be. We love watching them grow and develop.

Renae O. Merri R., and Sindy R.—These three were some of my best friends growing up in Menan, Idaho. They counseled me, patched my coat, helped me through challenging times, played a medley of hymns at my mission farewell, and have been exceptional examples of womanhood throughout my life.

Velma Dinsdale, Shirley Poole, and Illa Hunting—These three were my Cub Scout leaders. They pushed me to do so many projects that seemed beyond my capacity. Plus, they were mostly patient with eight- to ten-year old rambunctious boys.

Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Poole, Miss Bowman, Mrs. Jeppson, Mrs. Park, Mrs. Eames, and Mrs. Frew—Everyone can remember their elementary school teachers. These were mine—stoic, tough, kind, influential, encouraging, and willing to put up with my antics.

Dr. Marge Peek—My advisor at Boise State University. She was the associate dean of the English Department and pushed me beyond my self-imposed limits. I still remember my first “C” on an essay and my last essay from her in a Shakespeare class that had these words: “A worthy work!” I still have that essay somewhere.

All sister missionaries (including the senior missionaries) in the California Riverside Mission and the Caribbean Area/Dominican Republic—These young and mature women are incredible, yes, even spectacular. They are courageous, resilient, diligent, adventurous, creative, talented, and gifted daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.

YSA and Single Adult Women—I have had leadership positions in young single adult and single adult wards throughout my life. These women are stalwarts, clever, professional, kind, willing to do what needs to be done, and seekers of truth.

All other women in my life—There have been so many other incredible and remarkable women in my growing up and professional years—Church leaders, teachers, colleagues, and neighbors who have been exceptional examples of women of God, women of the covenant, women of the community, women in government, women who have worked with me in public and higher education. Your willingness to do what is right, even when challenges emerge, has been refreshing and powerful.

Many thanks to all these women in my life who have helped me become who I am and guided me to be better than I thought I was or ever would be. For all that you have done and will continue to do, many, many thanks!

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