A few months ago, I met one of the nicest women I've ever known. Her name is Colette Harris, and she serves with me on the board of Sister Survivors - a breast cancer foundation. She is a fellow breast cancer survivor. I'm just getting to know her, so this interview is a treat for me! Hope you enjoy this week - as always, I'll be posting 2 questions/answers from Colette each day this week, so don't forget to take a few minutes to check the blog Monday-Friday. Let's start this interview...
KARA: "Tell us about yourself. What makes you an Incredible Woman?"
COLETTE: "I was born in Provo, Utah. I grew up the only girl in a family with three very active, athletic brothers. I graduated from Provo High School in 1977. I attended BYU and USU, served a mission in Argentina, and then graduated from BYU in 1983 in Elementary Education. After graduation, I taught sixth grade one year before I married my awesome husband Mike in 1984. Our life together has taken us to Colorado, Idaho, and Utah. Mike and I are the proud parents of six wonderful children - three girls and three boys.
I like snuggly blankets, cooking, sewing, long walks, hikes, girls camp, vacations, children, fresh fruit and garden vegetables, singing, learning, reading, canning (when it is done and the jars are on the shelves), and spending time with family and friends.
Just for fun, I asked my youngest daughter what she thought I didn't like. With a mischievous twinkle in her eye, she said, "Mom, you don't like disobedience." That jogged my memory and reminded me of other things I don't like besides disobedience that start with a "d" such as: dishonesty, disrespect, dirty dishes and dirty laundry. (It seems like just when you get caught up, the next day there is a new wave of dirty dishes and laundry to haunt you!)
I don't consider myself an incredible woman; but, I consider myself an incredibly blessed woman. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be born in this great nation. I was raised in a wonderful home with loving parents. I was taught moral principles that have guided and blessed my life. I have a wonderful husband and children. I have had the opportunity to graduate from college, to serve a mission, to teach school, and to be a breast cancer survivor. The greatest desire of my heart is to be able to give back to my family, church, and community as a way of saying "thank you" to a loving Heavenly Father for my wonderful life."
KARA: "Tell us about your family. Describe each person with one word. Tell us one thing you've learned from each one in your family."
COLETTE: "When my husband and I had a two year old and a nine month old, we found out that we were expecting twins (a boy and a girl). When the twins were born we had four children three and under. It was a sight hauling our four children down the road all strapped in their car seats in our mini van.
One day, I was helping my two older children with a project when I noticed that it was too quiet and that the twins were no where in sight. I quickly called out their names and got no answer. I went in the kitchen and found my daughter, Jennifer, standing in the middle of the kitchen table with a big smile on her face. She was so proud of herself for having made it to the top of the table. I swept her up in my arms and carried her down the hall with me where I discovered her twin brother, Jason, having the time of his life throwing objects down the toilet. Each day with my young family was definitely a new adventure! For the sake of self preservation, I learned early on with my young, rather large family, that you can't sweat the little things or you won't focus on the important things. My advice to young moms would be to enjoy the journey!
Three years after the birth of our twins, we were blessed with another son. Four years after that, our last daughter was born.
Besides being blessed with six wonderful children, Mike and I also have two awesome sons-in-law and an adorable, almost two year old, granddaughter.
Here some adjectives to describe each member of my family:
Mike (fifty something): Devoted. My husband is one of the most dedicated men I have ever met. He doesn't take enough time for himself because he is always trying to make the best life possible for me and our family. He is an engineer and constantly tries to fix things like: appliances, computers, plumbing, family problems, and troubled hearts. He has taught me to never give up trying to fix broken things.
Greg (25): Driven. Greg is very ambitious and works very hard to do his best. He bubbles to the top in everything he does. He has taught me that if you make up your mind to do something, with proper planning and hard work, you can achieve great goals in life.
Kristen (23): Creative. When Kristen was a small child she had asthma. She desperately wanted to go outside and play with the other children, but found it difficult to breathe. Instead of complaining about staying inside, she threw herself into music, art, and writing. She is an accomplished pianist, teaches piano lessons, and is currently writing childrens' books. She has taught me to make the most of any situation.
Jennifer (22): Considerate. Jennifer was a very gifted high school and college athlete. Even though she was fiercely competitive on the basketball court, every girl on her teams through the years knew she loved them and would do anything for them. Even now when she is married, she will come over and see things that need to be done and just do them like: mowing the lawn, vacuuming or doing the dishes. She is great example of seeing things that need to be done and just doing them.
Jason (22): Well-rounded. Jason worked hard to get his associates degree before his mission, yet he also made time to fulfill his family and church responsibilities and to take time socializing friends. He has taught me that a balanced life is a happy life.
Jonny (19): Fun-loving. Ever since Jonny was very small he recognized the power of humor. When I would tuck him in bed at night, he always tried to have a joke for me or would ask me if I had heard a new joke that day that I could share with him. He has always been a practical joker and fun to be around. He has taught me that daily laughter is as important as breathing and eating.
Connie (15): Easy-going. When I was going through surgery, chemo, and radiation, Connie was the one in the family that was home with me the most and saw my ups and downs. She never complained when she had to put things in her life on hold or when mom wasn't quite up to doing the normal "mom stuff." Instead of complaining, rolled up her sleeves and readjusted her life to helped me whenever possible. She was truly heaven sent. She has taught me to roll with life and make the most of it.
Tom (25) son-in-law: Hard working. I admire Tom for taking upon himself the responsibility of working full time to provide the necessities for my daughter and granddaughter as well as trying hard to complete his education. He is a great example of perseverance.
Trevor (25) son-in-law: Thoughtful. Trevor does things for others without being asked. When we have all of the family over for Sunday dinners, he quietly clears the table and begins doing the dishes. He is a great example of quiet service.
Rachel (almost 2) granddaughter: Precocious. My adorable granddaughter can hardly contain herself as she excitedly discovers new things around her. She can hardly wait so show us a bug on the sidewalk, a flower, or a new toy she received. She has reminded me to not take simple things for granted and to not let my excitement for learning and experiencing new things grow dim."