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  1. Robin Ann

    My parents, my Nana, my children, special friends, family members and co-workers have shaped me into the person I am today. Along my journey during troubling times there would be what I refer to as “Human Angels” that helped me find my right path forward. Because those “Human Angels” made a huge impact on me when I needed it the most, I pay it forward when I find the opportunity to give back. Happy Memorial Day All!

    2 months ago
  2. Dolores Kazanjian

    I was in overwhelm until I reread the question. It says “the most.”Obviously everyone I encounter has some kind of impact, for better or worse. My top three are, first, my father who adored me and taught me to do everything I do the very best I can, even those things that seem unimportant. He passed on a sense of humor, a taste for adventure and resiliency. He taught me that it was okay to ask for help, and gave me the genes that have contributed to the reason for my long life.
    Second was a dear friend who dedicated here life to public service and helping others but was at the same time fun-loving. She was a brave soul who fought a neuro-muscular disease that took her life far too young..
    Third was and still is Richard Rohr whom I consider my spiritual guru. He has taught me to know God better and has helped me tame the ego. “Falling Upward guided me into the second half of life. He has introduced me to other spiritual teachers , including David Steindl Rast.


    2 months ago
  3. Charlie T

    Different people, at different times have
    had important impacts on my life.
    But someone I met at a crucial moment,
    in the middle of a personal crisis, showed
    me how to be caring, brave, and non
    Judgmental. This is someone who was in
    the middle of his own personal crisis, but
    had so much humanity for the suffering
    around him. Someone who made others
    feel safe. I decided, I wanted to be more
    like him and to put aside my fears of
    being around others who are struggling.
    His example has opened up my world a
    little bit.

    2 months ago
  4. Barb C

    My mom, who gave me many gifts of understanding, empathy, and kindness that I try to model now along with cooking and baking skills that I love to put to good use and many thrifty habits.

    My dad, who did his duty in many ways, including as a WWII bomber pilot and as a father, husband, hardworking breadwinner, and prolific vegetable gardener.

    My 5 siblings in various ways, each distinct to who they are/were as individuals, and most especially my younger sister who’s one of my best friends since we were “the little kids” with the four older ones as “the big kids” due to a big age gap.

    My grandma on my mom’s side, who taught me to knit, tat (I don’t remember that now), and bowl, and who modeled a happy, independent life for many years after being widowed at 54.

    Friends over the years who shaped who I am now and listened and encouraged along the way as I evolved.

    Employers who hired me and gave me opportunities to learn and grow so I could be on the career path I’m on now, always doing work I believe in, and many of my coworkers along the way. Early in the pandemic I wrote thank-you notes to some of them via Facebook to let them know what I had learned from them.

    My first husband because with him I had my two wonderful daughters who are now grown women, and also because I recognized we couldn’t stay married and learned the hard lesson that some loves don’t last.

    Those daughters! I had to be a better person to be the mom I wanted to be for them.

    So many writers! So many! Books have been my constant companion. I sometimes wish I had a list of every book I ever read starting back when I was a country kid who loved to see the bookmobile arrive at our school and who worked on my goal of reading every book in the library by starting with the authors whose last names began with A (and then I realized that people would keep checking books out and returning them and I’d never be sure I was done with a particular letter).

    Similarly, the songwriters and singers who created melodies and words that live in my brain and can summon up an experience or a time in my life with just a few notes. I had the wonderful experience of going to a Billy Joel concert last Friday and being in a stadium with something like 18,000 people, with all of us belting out the words to all his songs. I listened to his albums over and over and his songs are engraved in me, along with those of others across genres from rock to musical theater.

    Many of my teachers over the years, from grade school through grad school.

    Professional acquaintances who became friends helping me deepen my commitment to social justice by sharing their honest and painful experiences as people of color, people who are gender-queer, trans people, people with disabilities, people with human characteristics that result in others treating them as less-than, people who bear the burdens created by systems that benefited others.

    My sweetheart, married 17 years this July 7, who loves me and believes in me and has gone with me through two career changes and several moves to at last be settled in the home we expect to stay in the rest of our lives that we’re shaping together with remodeling and yardwork.

    People who believed in me and voted for me so I could win elective office (many years ago), and all my mentors in politics. For that matter, my opponents! I had to learn from them too.

    Someone has probably had a great impact on me in the past few days and I won’t recognize it until later.

    2 months ago
    1. Mary Mantei

      I am inspired! Thank you, Barb.

      2 months ago
    2. Dolores Kazanjian


      2 months ago
    3. Maeve

      That is a lot! Thanks for sharing.

      2 months ago
  5. Yram

    My parents Edward and Frances…for my life.
    My older brother Ed….for his protection of me.
    The many aunts and uncles who participated in parenting after our mother died at 38. I was 21 months and my brother 9 years old.
    The many teachers and spiritual leaders.
    My husband of 55 years who keeps me on my toes presenting new possibilities.
    My 2 adult boys who are full of wisdom and fun.
    The members on this site because I learn so much.

    2 months ago
  6. Ngoc Nguyen

    The person who has had the greatest impact on my life is Nhu Quynh, a Vietnamese-American singer. If she hadn’t introduced me to the Ngoc Trong Tim non-profit organization, I would never have had the opportunity to be here, typing in English on this site. I was an athlete in Vietnam and passionate about singing when I was little, but I chose not to pursue singing as a career path. However, during a break after a track and field competition, I attended a singing competition just for fun, without considering any potential opportunities. Nhu Quynh was one of the judges there. After she listened to my performance with a warm heart, she introduced me to the founder of Ngoc Trong Tim. Eventually, I came to the USA for performances and got stuck here during the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, I got married and have been living here continuously since then. Now, as I’m waiting for my naturalization interview, I am extremely grateful to Nhu Quynh for the significant change she brought to my life.

    2 months ago
    1. Robin Ann

      Thank you for sharing your story, sounds like it was meant to be!

      2 months ago
    2. Dolores Kazanjian


      2 months ago
    3. Yram

      Sometimes it is fortunate how life rolls.

      2 months ago
    4. L
      Loc Tran

      My Ngoc, I remember her very well. She’s very friendly. It all works out. Here we are, married for 4 wonderful years.

      2 months ago
  7. Michele

    Without naming all the people who have had the greatest impact on my life, the reasons are for both good and bad/trauma related. Having a huge impact means they are forever in your memory. Experiences give you wisdom. Wisdom gives you knowledge. Knowledge is power as they say. I hope to learn from my experiences and continue to strive to focus on the present, not past or future trip. Loving kindness and positivity are qualities I try to maintain.
    Happy Memorial Day. Thank you to all the U.S. military who made the ultimate sacrifice and died in the line of duty for our Country and our rights. I will light a candle on this website in your memory. ☮

    2 months ago
    1. Yram

      Let’s also remember all those who work and worked in Peace movements.

      2 months ago
      1. Barb C

        Yes! I read a poem just this morning on this theme.

        On Memorial Day
        Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

        after watching Porcelain War

        I think of every human
        who has given their life
        to fight not for war
        but for peace. I think
        of every mother and father
        and son and daughter,
        every baker and painter
        and teacher and builder
        who has learned to use
        a weapon to save
        the people and places
        they love. I think of love—
        how the Ukrainian woman
        said tonight she had
        never been more aware
        of how good humans can be—
        and how she’s learned this
        midst bombs and blood
        and broken trust and shattered
        glass. I think of how peace
        is a choice we make with
        every smallest action we take.
        I think of the pen in my own hand.
        What will I do with it?

        2 months ago
    2. L
      Loc Tran

      Well said, Michele. Happy Memorial Day to you as well.

      2 months ago
  8. D

    My parents grandparents and the rest of our family, my husband, my kids, close friends, my therapist who introduced me to this site and all of you. Countless authors and musicians whose words impacted my thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

    2 months ago
  9. Nannette

    I don’t have a huge list- maybe I just am not thinking hard enough! First and foremost my Mom who was a very strong, brave and wise woman. My Dad show me what not to do! A doctor I met on the way to Somalia. He and I worked together in Somalia for many months, Dr. Frank of the best folks I have ever met. We lost Frank to a brain tumor in the late 90’s. My ex…he helped me get out of a very toxic relationship- and yet he didn’t know it. The relationship was with another family member whom I was really taking care of…she was the same age as me and took me for all I was worth. He showed me that this was not what was good for either of us. A professor I had during my Master’s and Doctoral program…became a mentor and a life long friend…he helped me “let go’ and I found my husband..someone who loves me for who I am and does not ask me to change. I sure that there are more…but those are the one’s who stand out. Oh!! and all the folks who comment here-you make me think every day and with your kindness and wisdom you impact my life. Happy Memorial Day…remember those who have given their all for us and our country. Namaste.

    2 months ago
    1. L
      Loc Tran

      Nannette, that’s ok. Your list is actually quite good. The simple answer is the best answer. Simplicity with detail can certainly be done. You showed it.

      2 months ago
  10. L
    Loc Tran

    The list is very long. Everyone who comes into our lives or we’re interested in has an impact on us one way or another to a varying degree. If there’s one name that stands out for me, that’s Shunryu Suzuki. He’s a tough lover, but puts more of the emphasis on love. There’s no sugar coding, but the way he conveys his messages brings a sense of comfort and humility.
    I’ve learned a lot from reading “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.” There’s still more than halfway to go on the journey. It’s best to read those types of books slowly everyday. Just doing something without the expectation of gaining stood out over the last few days in my reading.
    Coming here is a prime example. I come here because I enjoy it. Coming in to get loves or have the expectation that my spiritual life will improve or strengthen connections with others defeats the purpose. It goes to show that even us Americans have a lot to learn. We, myself included, have been programmed to have clarrity in everything we do.
    I can listen to a pitch and pick up on that within a second. If someone asks me to explain how I can do it, I can’t explain. My choir teacher back in high school, Ken Jensen, just says “Loc just has amazing perfect pitch.”

    2 months ago
  11. sunnypatti

    Gosh, there are so many! My parents, my grandparents, especially my Papaw (dad’s dad), certain teachers in school when I was a teenager, my college besties, my 1st husband and many in his family, and my husband now – my soulmate and life partner. Oh, and the little boy who hugged my leg one day at the grocery store out of nowhere. It was the cutest, sweetest thing, and I really needed a hug at that moment!

    2 months ago
    1. L
      Loc Tran

      Sunnypatti, when you brought up your first husband, this is what I love about the American culture over mine. It points back to the idea of releasing expectation. I can totally see that between Ngoc and me in the event that if things don’t work out between the 2 of us. We’d become partners/BFFs. In the mean time, I will do anything and everything to the best of my abilities to keep her. I can totally see her saying the same thing. She and I have discussed about this on multiple occasions. In fact, the one who knows our story best is my mom.

      2 months ago
      1. sunnypatti

        Oh no, my ex is not my friend. I do not wish him any harm, but his impact on my life was traumatic and it took a long time for me to find the strength in myself to do right for me, which was getting out of that relationship. I hope I never see him again. My life is so much better now, and I’m grateful I learned to love myself so that I could find someone to love me the way that I deserve to be loved.

        2 months ago
        1. Robin Ann

          Amen to that! I had a similar experience with my ex but he is the Father of my Children so we are in toucb some. I have grown so much since then and now view that chapter in my life very differently. It was a chapter and I am grateful for it because of my Children.

          2 months ago
          1. sunnypatti

            I’m grateful for new chapters in life! For all of us 🙂

            2 months ago
        2. L
          Loc Tran

          Sunnypatti, that’s unfortunate. I’ve had similar experiences with a couple exes I talked about in some of my comments on other people’s answers here I met at the same Blind school as Paw Mu. It’s the one who went great lengths to get her way and the Big Island girl who happened to be besties with my prefered style of long hair and a natural sweet voice. That was traumatic on me as well. Those experiences made me stronger, wiser, and played an instrumental part in leading to my appreciation for Ngoc today.
          This brings me up to my next point. Asians are known to be sheltered. Conservatism and protection go together. It can lead to overprotection. Asians are known to obsess over good qualities of America. Same can certainly be said the other way around. Family members have told me before and even my friends have raved to me about Asian cultures on many occasions. To put in a nutshell, there’s pros and cons everywhere.
          Thank you for sharing your experience. It helped me open up about my exes without feeling any shame. Healing and improvement require getting to the root. I’m glad all is well for you.

          2 months ago
  12. Joseph McCann

    Even though I have lived the majority of my life in unpopulated areas, there have been many impactful folks. The greatest impact may be yet to appear. Many are dead. Juan Lopez, my brother Michael, my mother and her parents, Paul Miller, Duane Mott, Art Rivale to name a few. Among the living, my parents, my lovely wife Cheryl. our children, our grandchildren, Tim Lovato, Wayne Peck. Isaias Valdez and several strangers throughout my life whose names I never knew or have forgotten. The “Why?” is a varied as the names. All were and still are good folks, all with much wisdom to glean from. Also, the community of good folks right here on this site. I am grateful to know and to have known all of these beings.

    2 months ago
    1. L
      Loc Tran

      Well put, Joseph. A lot of people have an impact on our lives one way or another. Back when I went to a transition program for Autistic students from ages 18-21 at a program called Career Life Transition(CLT) at Harmarr Mall in St. Paul, I had a self-esteem teacher name Jim. One rule he had was to pick someone but a different person everyday. He wanted us to open up to the world and build connections. It’s easy to put all our eggs in one basket, especially the case for people with autism.

      2 months ago

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