The Gallery theme this week is Inspirational People.

Who has inspired me?

There is the teacher at school who did not have a television and challenged my thinking.

There is the solicitor who fought miscarriages of justice.

There is the lovely Freddie Mercury who I admire for his creativity and his willingness to live his life his way.

I could talk about my late Mum who inspired me to blog in the first place. However, I tend to write about her as part of the Little Legacies Project organised by Penny at the Alexander Residence blog.

So family wise, here is an inspirational person.

Mum always said she would be happy if I worked on the Pick and Mix in Woolworths. I think if anything my ambition frightened her a bit. In reality, she need not have worried as I did not achieve much in the end.

The photograph below is my lovely Dad. He always encouraged my ideas about what I might achieve. He is a decent man and I strive to be as good-hearted and true. He always believed in me and used to tell me to walk tall as I am as good as anybody. Dad has travelled the world and understands about different cultures. When Dad talks, it is always good conversation and plenty of laughter too.

I now live with my Dad and as I attempt to revive myself after the first 10 years of parenting, he inspires me to work to be the best that I can be on all fronts. He has developped a keen interest in my blogging and social networking which is not bad at all for a 84 year old. He teaches me that it is never too late to learn or to try new things. His example has also demonstrated to me that although never the same, there is life after loss.

In the last couple of years, several people have said I inspire them. How I do this when I am a stay at home mum battling huge weight issues and struggling to get back whatever va-va voom I had in the first place, I have no idea. However, it does please me that people make changes to their lives saying they were inspired by something I did.

What does inspiration mean to you?

I find myself on the finalist list for the Inspire category for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2014. I look at the others on the list and am humbled to be in such amazing company. These are bloggers who are overcoming adversity or at least learning to navigate a way through it. These are bloggers who step up and make a difference to other people.

I check some dictionary definitions on what the word inspire means.

To stimulate somebody to do something: to encourage somebody to greater effort, enthusiasm, or creativity

Do inspirational people set out to do this or does it just happen?

The people who have inspired me would run away from the label and be very self-effacing about it. I suspect that the Inspire finalists may react in a similar fashion.

Although it is lovely to be on such a list, it is also a bit uncomfortable. Remember, I know my dark side. I can be moody and give in to pessimism too easily. I can be lazy. I don’t deal well with criticism. I am rubbish at the practical aspects of keeping house and so on despite my best efforts. For goodness sake, I often struggle to say hello.

I spoke with my family and here is what they had to say about how I do or don’t inspire.

My 13 year old son said “Of course you inspire Mum. You encourage people’s hearts and that is really important” My own heart melted at this point.

My 8 year old son said “You do things well and that encourages us and other people to do things well”

This reminded me of meeting a school bully on a train years later. She was in her mid-twenties and on her way to study for her degree at the local Polytechnic. I was nervous remembering her harsh words of the past. She came up to me and said that she wanted to thank me because I had inspired her to go back into education after failing all her O-Levels. It was lovely to make peace and know that she was on a much better path.

My 10 year old (rapidly growing up!) daughter said “The trouble is Mum because I am already good, I don’t really need to be inspired” Well, you can’t win them all!

I emailed my husband about making the finals and this is what he replied.

“Why do you question the fact that you are included in a group of pretty amazing people?

Think back to what your dad once said that people wouldn’t invite you to a party if they didn’t want you there.

You wouldn’t have been nominated/voted for if the voters didn’t think you deserved to be.”

Another part of my dark side is that I over-analyze things.

I think on looking at the blogs in the Inspire category, what stands out is that they are written by people who keep on keeping on and who try to do good when life is going well and also when it throws some pretty rotten challenges. And perhaps that is what being inspirational is all about?

If it is, everyone can inspire and that is a lovely thought.

Little Hearts, Big Love