It’s only right that Jessica Rude be the next in the sequence of people after Sam Lyle. Jessica is so important to me. From being the best youth leader when I was in my teens to continuing to be one of my greatest supports in my adulthood, Jessica has always been there.
Jessica surprised me at my college graduation last June. This was by far the best surprise I have ever received (thanks Kiana for orchestrating it) Whenever I introduced her to people I struggled with her title. I didn’t want to just say, “past youth leader””friend” or “mentor” because these names didn’t capture who Jessica is to me. I began introducing her as “An influential person from my youth” “one of my favorite inspiriting mentors” and “One of my closest friends who I started a band with once.” These descriptions did a bit of a better job to convey to my friends in Oregon how important Jessica is to me.
A special nugget about Jessica is that she shares a birthday with my great grandmother. The first birthday after she passed Jessica posted on my Facebook wall that it was a hard day for her to get older without my great grandma. She said she was thinking about me and praying for me on what must be a hard day for me too. She is part of the reason I’m doing this series. The smallest acts of reaching out to one another and showing our love could mean the world to someone.
Jessica has been by my side for more important things in my life than anyone. She has always encouraged me, fought for me and told me to get my act together when it was needed. She has never judged me, and for how much she knows about me that’s saying something. She has always been ready to be goofy, real, genuine and fantastic. She is my Influential mentor who accepts me and loves me for all that I am. And Rumor Has It…we were in a band once 😉
Thank you for always standing by me in the many things I’ve been through.
Thank you for being real with me and telling me like it is when needed.
Thank you for the nickname Tor-a-Lor
Thank you for coming to my graduation, it meant everything to me.
I owe a lot to you and miss you everyday.
With all the love and laughs (have I ever told you yours is one of my favorites?)