|The Encouraging is about people whom I've come to highly regard on many different levels. Whether they are loved ones, a person I've only seen on the silver screen, or a billionaire who has not only transformed computers and technology but the good of the world by his philanthropy, I look to each of them as a source of inspiration, respect, and ardor.
My Mother. (Born Anita Maryann Vasi)
A person whom I have come to realize I resemble so much of not only in comely appearance, audacious personality, persisting strength, thoughtful nature, creative spectrum, sharp intellect and wit, as well as an emotional fountain of sensitivity, care and love.
From a very young age, my mother was a single mom raising two children. She provided us with not only a roof but a relatively spacious house, home cooked meals, help with homework and projects, sport activities, hobbies such as a used piano and lessons for me, birthday parties (despite the fact I am a Thanksgiving baby), clothes, healthcare, dental care such as braces and other dental work, spiritual guidance, pets, a backyard pool, and a multitude of other things my brain could not even evoke.
My mother has always been a hard working woman with an impeccable work ethic. From the days of commuting by train from Long Island into New Your City working at a bank to commuting by car in the busy Dallas morning traffic, she never missed a day of work in her life unless she was actually sick. She went from being a minimally defined Secretary for a major cable company to an Executive Assistant for the CEO, COO (Chief Operating Officer), Human Resources, and General Counselor for an architectural firm.
Being a second generation Italian, my mother always had the ability to cook addictive home made Italian food. Not only that, but she can cook a wide range of foods as well possessing the talent to bake. From Christmas cookies I will always fondly remember to her famously familial banana bread and crumb cake. At one point, she also attended to her own garden where she grew a variety of vegetables and seemingly endless tomatoes.
Since I was a child, I always remember my mother having a deep love and respect for animals, particularly cats. We always had a precious feline growing up and they were always referred to as my mom's cat because her love, devotion, and care was far more prominent than that of me and my older brother. At a young age, I appreciated the warmth and affection a cat could provide, but I didn't want the responsibility of actually taking care of it. Overall, my mother's love for animals goes way beyond that of just feline love.
My mother can also knit, sew, make mosaics and jewelry, play racket ball, do crosswords, used to always beat me at Scrabble, wrote poetry, apply the artistry of makeup, is financially responsible, and has many other abilities that makes a well-rounded, successful and talented individual.
Also, my mother has always encouraged me to write, the one creative outlet I've always deemed most important and one I've consistently undoubtedly felt expressed who I was as a person. My first poem written in the 1st grade was helped by my own mother's creative writing ability. In this aspect, she has never discouraged me or told me that I could not excel in this area and has always believed I possessed my own gift for this craft I've always felt such passion towards.
As an adult, I have come to view her not only as a mother but as a good friend. My attachment to her as a mother is so great but another consolation is knowing that I can speak frankly with her as I would a friend. Because we are similar in so many ways, and the fact that she knows me better than any friend could, we are able to communicate in a way that is often understood. We can also laugh outside ourselves but also at ourselves. My mother is the perfect combination of any type of relationship I can think of besides that of a significant other. I couldn't be more proud to call her my mom.
Robert, My significant other.
As an "adult-in-progress," you not only get to know your significant rather well after 4 plus years, but you also learn a lot about yourself. And, for me, that makes an exceptional companion.
I have learned so much from being with this I have chosen to share my life with. By example, he enlightens me with his patience, understanding, compassion, and reminds me of the first few lines of the "Serenity Prayer" which he likes to reiterate from time to time when needed.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
.In a way, he has been a source of therapy for me. There are similarities we share but we are not neck and neck when it comes to certain things. I can be quite impatient, prone to frustration and anger, and have little or no tolerance for things that are out of my control but which end up controlling me (hence the "Serenity Prayer"). I, on the other hand, have an outspoken, opinionated mouth which I am never afraid to impart on him and which can be the cause to my own detriment.
It's like that Jack Nicholson's line to Helen Hunt's character in the movie, "As Good As it Gets," when he tells her that she makes him want to be a better person. If you can't learn anything from being in a relationship with someone, then to me it seems fairly directionless. No human being is perfect, and if you can't humble yourself to the fact that there is always something to be learned, whether it be from life itself, another person, or your significant other, than your growth as a person has come to a grinding halt.
Meryl Streep. American born Actress.
"She is widely regarded as one of the most talented actresses of all time."
I don't need to do any further research on Meryl Streep to know this is, in my opinion, absolutely true. I can't say I have seen all of her movies but the ones I have seen proved just that. I have seen quite a few such as The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs. Kramer, Out of Africa, Death Becomes Her, Music of the Heart, The House of the Spirits, Marvin's Room, Adaptation, The Hours, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, A Prairie Home Companion (not in full), The Devil Wears Prada, Doubt, and Julie & Julia.
I would like to see some of her older films, particularly Sophie's Choice (1982), The River Wild (1992), and The Bridges of Madison County (1995).
I just watched a biography on Meryl Streep and was reminded once again why she is such an inspiration to me. Not only is she a phenomenal actress transforming almost every part she plays like a graceful chameleon, but she is a master of accents (foreign and domestic) and can slip into the roles she plays like a silk gown. Meryl Streep not only possesses a unique beauty with her ivory skin and high cheek bones, but she is very intelligent.
For the 1999 film Music of the Heart, Meryl Streep went through two months of intense training, four to six hours a day, just to learn how to play the violin required for the role. She learned how to play Bach's Concerto for 2 Violins for the film. Learning how to play any instrument at that age (she was 50) would have been daunting but she managed to pull it off and learn the violin of all instruments. She basically said she wanted the challenge and to prove to herself she could do it.
In the biography I recently watched, Meryl Streep talked about her 1992 film, The River Wild. It's the story about a family on a whitewater rafting trip who encounter two violent criminals in the wilderness. Meryl Streep said in the biography that she wanted to do her own stunts, mainly to show her daughters that a woman can be brave.
In the movie, Mamma Mia, Meryl Streep won an award for "Favorite Song From A Soundtrack" at the 35th People's Choice Awards, and in 2008, was nominated for a Grammy Award for her work on the film's soundtrack. Overall, Meryl Streep has won a total of 97 various awards and nominated for 215 as of 2012.
Not only that, but she is the spokesperson for the National Women's History Museum. Streep has donated a significant amount of money towards the museum and hosted numerous events.
Bill Gates. Co-founder and former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft.
During his career at Microsoft, Bill Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect. He remains the largest individual shareholder (6.4 percent of the common stock) and has authored or co-authored several books. Bill Gates is one of the most wealthiest people in the world.
What impresses me the most, and which is why he is on my list of the most inspirational people to me, is his philanthropy work. Him and his wife, Melinda Gates, founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Initially, it was called the William H. Gates Foundation in 1994 but was renamed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1999.
As a charitable foundation, it must maintain its status by donating at least 5% of its assets each year. This would amount to over 1.5 billion US dollars at a minimum. As of April 2006, the Foundation has been organized into four divisions (e.g., public relations) and three grant-making programs: Global Health, Global Development, and United States Program.
The Foundation gave $750 million to The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations on January 25, 2005. Their main focus seems to be on eradicating polio and malaria.
It also donated a total of 287 million dollars to various HIV/AIDS researchers and was split between sixteen different research teams across the world on the condition that they would share their findings amongst one another.
A $1.5 million grant was given to the Grameen Foundation as a goal to help five million families to be successfully free from poverty.
A $12.2 million grant was given to the Southwest Library Network to assist libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi on the Gulf Coast, many of which were damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Also, the amount of money they are investing towards education in the US is tremendous. Scholarships, new schools, a science building, and professional development videos for teachers are just a modest example of what the foundation is doing to help people around the world.
Overall, the information I just provided about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is merely a sample of what they are doing to change and better the world. For someone who is one of the weathiest people in the entire world, I can't help but revere Bill Gates, as well as Melinda Gates, for his complete altruism, intellect, and enormous heart when he could simply keep that money for his own personal gain.