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Today, as I was taking a walk to close my “exercise ring” on my Apple watch, a word popped into my thoughts. I had been lip-singing a song recorded by Gabby Barrett entitled “Got Me”. You should check it out! Regardless, as I walked and “sang”, INSPIRATION popped into my head. Perhaps it was because I often wonder what inspired a singer to pick a song or to write a song. Who knows… I just know the word popped into my thoughts and tookover the rest of my ponderings.

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To begin with, I thought about a handful of people who have told me in the past weeks/months that I have inspired them. For several, it’s because I’ve started sharing a daily post about my workout in my “turning 50 goal” of becoming healthy. A couple of friends have shared how my morning posts or evening post inspire them to have positive thoughts in a world that tends to be negative. Others have shared how my FB posts bring Light in the dark world of social media and inspired them to ponder what they post. Still another is a girl in my class this year who was also in my 3rd grade class last year. Her mother shared how my writing of children’s books has inspired her to want to become an author. Finding out you inspire others motivates you. It encourages you to keep walking or spending time at the gym. It urges you to make time to share some positive quotes before you go to work. It reminds you to offer a positive thought before bed. And…it urges you to continue to pursue your dream of writing and publishing books.

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Understanding how much knowing I inspire others made me smile and urges me forward, I realized I needed to take time to write about people who inspire me. I could write about Maya Angelou who inspires me to put my thoughts into poetry or countless recording artists (Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Lauren Daigle, Kelly Clarkson) who inspire me to attempt to write lyrics or to sing with joy. However, I figure they get plenty of people telling them they’re an inspiration. So…I thought…who inspires me? (If you’re not included, that doesn’t mean you don’t inspire me. It simply means that no one wants to read a post that goes on and on and on. For that reason, I’m just picking a handful.)

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As a Christian woman, I’m inspired by Shirley. She’s a senior saint at my church who is one of the most faithful prayer warriors and servants of Christ that I’ve met. A lot of people venture out of active ministry when they reach “great grandma’ age, but not Shirley. I kid you not…she and her daughter lead an hour of preschool/kindergarten Bible study time each month. She’s active in our senior adult ministry, and in the world before Covid…she worked with our women’s ministry including a ministry to the ladies’ prison. I hope my commitment to serve never wanes. I pray that I will become a prayer warrior as devoted as she is. So Shirley, you are an inspiration.

My pastor, Mike Hamby, inspires me weekly through his messages. When I end up missing one in a series due to serving in children’s ministry, he’ll send me the manuscript, so I can read it for myself. Thanks, Pastor Mike, for the spiritual challenges and inspiration.

As a musician, I’m inspired by Jennifer and her father John. Why? Well, lots of reasons. I’ve always been known for a big voice in choir, but mine pales when compared to the strength of hers. Where I sing melody (unless I can beat a harmony line into my brain), she can harmonize with whatever song is in the praise service. I would LOVE to be able to simply hear a melody and know how to harmonize. When I try, I confess, I often sound like an off-key goose, but alas…I try. Then, she can play the piano and/or keyboard. I would love to play the piano, but I don’t think I have the focus to complete the task. Then, her father….he plays the bass. He didn’t always play the bass, but he learned it…and now he uses it to bring God glory. I play the flute….at least I did back in the mid-80s. To be honest, it’s been over 30 years since I used that for God’s glory. In fact, the last time I picked up my flute to attempt to play a song…there were high notes that I didn’t even recall the correct fingering for anymore. Alas, Jennifer & John, thank you for being a musical inspiration.

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As a teacher, I’m currently inspired by my friend Melissa, but in the past…I was inspired by Mr. Stoner, Mr Duggan, and my friend Mary. Each …for their own separate reason. Melissa inspires me by her classroom management and focus. Her students know exactly what she expects. I can’t recall a day where I’ve witnessed the least bit of chaos in her classroom. Now, if you are a teacher or work in a school, you know chaos happens here and there. I’m guessing it happened at some point, but I’ve never seen it. Then, Mary was “the other side of my brain” for many years. We taught 3rd grade together for over ten years. She challenged me to be “more”. More loving to my students, more focused on my lesson planning and differentiating, and more…organized. Still working on the last part, but the kiddos I have this year who were also in my final 3rd grade class assure me that my corner “is a lot better” than it was last year (haha).

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Mr. Stoner was my 6th grade teacher, and he inspired me to bring music into my classroom and to share my personal life (as in cats and family). Mr. Duggan, on the other hand, inspired my use of humor. I mean, “the math fairy” often visited our high school math class, and if humor works in high school…then it’s a definite win in elementary school. Plus, he defused a possible humiliating incident for me by the use of humor and a redirect. I still remember explaining a problem I worked on the board and instead of saying “sixty” it came out “sexy”. Rather than letting my face turn redder as the laughter was directed my way, he rerouted the arrow by saying, “I’ve ALWAYS found math sexy too, Miss Pflaumer.” So, to Melissa, Mary, Mr. Stoner, and Mr. Duggan, thank you for the inspiration

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As a friend, the list is endless, so I’ll mention the acts without mentioning the names for fear of missing one. There are the friends who drove out of their way to unlock my car when I locked the keys inside and delivered the car to my house. There’s the friend who brought a homemade meal to my door on the afternoon HillTopper died suddenly. There’s the friend who works me into her salon schedule because she knows my schedule and makes the cut or highlights happen. There’s the friend who bought a LONG purple iPhone charging cord just because it’s purple and she knew I’d like it. There’s the friend who nicknamed me “Sunshine” and gave me a hug after I had been to too many funerals over just a few weeks. There’s the friends who edit my books because they believe in my dream…one of whom doesn’t even like to read, but she reads it faithfully to help me correct errors. There’s the friend who was in front of me in McDonald’s drive-thru and paid for my breakfast to brighten my day. There’s the friend who buys me a Diet Dr. Pepper when she runs out on her lunch break just for a little pick-me-up. There’s the friend who made me a hot chocolate when I didn’t take my mug down because she knew my students want me to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate regardless of the outside temperature. There’s the waitress who brings me a LARGE to-go water for breakfast on Saturdays because she knows I sweat a lot on Saturdays when working out and try to drink adequate water. There’s the friend who always schedules lunch out with me on my breaks from school, so I can experience a lunch that takes longer than 30 minutes. There are the several people who bring me tomatoes over the summer because EVERYONE knows I’m a mater-lovin’-girl. There’s the friend who write me a sweet note and actually mails it to me to let me know that I matter and make a difference. Not to mention the dozens of friends who buy copies of my children’s books for their kids, grandkids, or themselves to support my dream. All of these and SO many more inspire me to be a more present, more thoughtful, and more selfless friend. Thank you, ladies and gents, for all you do to inspire me.

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As a single lady, Aunt Eva has been my inspiration. In actuality, she was my great aunt. Why does she inspire me though she died countless years ago? I’m glad you asked. She loved her family. She loved God. She was full of joy! As much as I’d love to meet and marry a man who loves God, I know that may not be in my journey. If singleness is my lifelong path, then I pray I will be like Aunt Eva. If my nephew, or great nephew or great niece somewhere down the road, can utter those same things about me when my journey here is over, then what a great testimony!

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My parents commitment to each other inspires me to hold that same commitment to marriage should it ever be a part of my journey. My sister’s devotion to her family and to live with MS joyfully inspires me to emulate those same virtues in my own life. My oldest sister’s commitment to keep being a student reminds me that I’m never finished learning even though I’m a teacher. My brother-in-law has shoveled out my car when plows block it in…even after working a full day at work inspiring me to never be too tired to help family. My nephew and his girlfriend are the ones who initially inspired my “Get Healthy” goal when they came back to Indiana in May. Thank you, sweet family, for all the ways you inspire me.

Finally, my students. They inspire me daily. They inspire me to be creative, be engaging, be entertaining, be the best “Ms. Pflaumer” I can possibly be. To each of you, thanks for the inspiration.

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I encourage you to tell those who inspire you that they do. I also urge you to examine yourself and see how you can be an inspiration to others. I mean, if an overweight single lady can inspire people, then I’m certain you can too!

Oh, my felines inspire me too. How? They inspire me to …. take a nap! Sounds like a great plan!

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