“The Noticer Project is a worldwide movement to “notice” five of the most influential people in your life! Noticing those five people can be as private (just a letter or email) or as public (posting to your Facebook page or joining The Noticer Project Facebook group) as you choose, but the movement is meant to encourage us to step outside our busy schedules and avoid waiting until a wedding, graduation or even a funeral to take notice of the special, influential people in our lives. By noticing those who have made a difference for you, you not only acknowledge their contribution, but you may gain a new perspective on your own journey. If you are noticed, you are encouraged to continue the movement by ‘noticing’ five people in your life!”
Below are five people who have made a difference in my life. I am thankful for each of them, more than they know, and that is why I am excited to have this opportunity to share with them the impact that they have had on me.
But first, a couple of disclaimers:
1. This is going to be a rather long post, but I hope you will stick with me.
2. I have not included any family members. As you can imagine, they have definitely been among the most influential people in my life, but I wanted to take this opportunity to recognize some people outside of my clan. Mom, Dad, Marcie, Honey, Stephen, Macon, Anne Shelton, Kate…I love you all and look forward to getting the opportunity to “be” with you this week at the beach.
The summer after my senior year in high school, I worked at a YoungLife Camp in Asheville, North Carolina, Windy Gap. I was a total mess that summer. I was in the process of recovering from an eating disorder and my parents really only let me out their sight because one of my sister’s best friends was there to watch over me. Because I was a “work crew veteran” I got assigned to “The Pitts.” Those of you not familiar with work crew lingo “The Pitts” is the dishwashing crew. Typically “The Pitts” is an all-boy crew, but that summer it was an all boy + 1 girl crew. It was there, washing dishes, that I met Michael Flowers. Michael was kind of a mess that summer too, and so we became fast friends.
One night after all the dishes had been cleaned, our work crew gathered, and started sharing affirmations (I wonder – why don’t we do this more often?). And that night, Michael Flowers told me how much my friendship meant to him and how I had made an impact on his life that summer. And with his words of encouragement, I could stop focusing on what was wrong with me and start focusing on what was right with me.
That night with just a few kind words Michael Flowers made a major impact on my life.
Kathryn Bryars Pennington
I met Kathryn the summer after I graduated from the University of Colorado. I was pretty lost that summer. I had graduated early, in 3 years instead of the average 4, and I was not ready to settle in to a “day job.” Kathryn was an unexpected friend, she was the ex-girlfriend of an ex-boyfriend, but when we met we clicked. Totally clicked.
We both landed in Dallas the next fall and the friendship blossomed. We planned a trip to backpack in Europe and then I followed her to Birmingham. (My parents thought I was crazy, being 22 and single and moving to Alabama of all places.) Kathryn has been a constant friend. We can go days, weeks, months, without talking and we pick up right where we left off. I can’t imagine where I would be, certainly not in Birmingham or Nashville, if our paths had not crossed.
I am thankful for Kathryn Bryars Pennington. She is a real friend.
Back in my Birmingham days, Rami Perry and I met doing some work for the City Stages Associate Board. And now years later, we both are in Nashville, and I can’t imagine a time when we weren’t friends.
Last fall, Rami’s father took his own life. It is a tragedy that the world lost such a generous man, but after his death I discovered the incredible strength of Rami, her mother Angie, and her brother Scott. They have courageously continued their journey. They have fearlessly shared their story in hopes that by shedding light in the darkness that they might be able to save someone from the pain they are experiencing.
I am so thankful to have Rami Perry in my life, just as I am in complete awe of her strength.
After moving to Nashville, I really struggled to find a church where I felt comfortable and welcomed. And then, one day after reading Pete Wilson’s blog, I decided to try Cross Point. And immediately I knew that I was just where God wanted me.
Pete Wilson is what I never knew a pastor could be – he is transparent. He is real. And he and his team have created an environment at Cross Point where people don’t just “act” like Christians but where they can “be” Christians. Through his teaching, both at the Sunday services and on his blog, I am stretched. His series Paralyzed, especially Surrendering Fear, was life-changing. (You can watch it here.)
Pete Wilson has helped to guide me on my imperfect walk with Christ and for that I am deeply grateful.
(Now commence the brown-nosing section of the post.) All kidding aside, this list would not be complete without adding my boss, Michael Hyatt. I feel so blessed that I get to work alongside with such an extraordinary leader.
At my first interview with Mike, almost two years ago, I told him definitively that I was unqualified for the position. Thankfully he retooled the position so that it was more in line with my credentials, because working for Mike Hyatt at Thomas Nelson has had a profound impact on me. In the last year and a half, I have done things at least two things I would have never dreamed of, I have finished a half marathon and I have started blogging. His gently prodding (and sometimes full-out arm twisting) has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and make my mark on the world.
If you are not already reading Michael Hyatt’s blog, I would encourage you to subscribe, because he is generous with his wisdom and he just might make an impact on your life, too.
Now it is your turn, take a few minutes out of your busy day and “notice” some people who have made a difference in your life with The Noticer Project.
UPDATE: Check out The Noticer Project: What’s All The Fuss About for a list of other bloggers who have “noticed” five influential people in their lives.