The Influence of Others

August 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


The most exciting thing happened to me today

I was sitting outside this morning in my rocking chair

Drinking my coffee

Watching Charlotte ride her bike

And CJ ride in his Power Wheels Dune Buggy

When a neighbor from across the street walked over to chat

And as we were talking

We both noticed a woman walking down the street

Coming our way

She had headphones in

She looked really happy

She was bopping along with her music and her ponytail was shaking back and forth

I had never seen her before

So I asked my neighbor “Who is that?”

Which suddenly made me feel like one of those neighbors

You know the ones that have to know who everyone is and what they’re doing

My neighbor said to me “I don’t know who she is either”

As she got closer to us, I waved ‘good morning’

She waved back and walked on by

My neighbor and I continued chatting until we noticed her turning around and walking back towards us

So here she was

Bopping back our way

Looking happy with her music and her ponytail shaking

And then she walked right up my driveway

Straight to me

I said “Hey how’s it going?”

And she said “I’m great.  Do you want to know why?”

So of course I said “YES!”

And she replied

“Last summer I was sitting on my porch

And I had already decided that I was too far gone

That I would never lose weight

Then I saw you walk by

You were a lot bigger back then

And you were struggling

I felt sorry for you

The next day I saw you again

And then again

I used to wave to you when you walked by

And honk at you every morning on my way to work

And give you a thumbs up

I kept wondering when you were going to quit

But the months went by and you kept going

And I figured if you could do it

So could I

And now I’ve lost 73 pounds!!

I really thought I was too far gone to ever turn it around

But I wasn’t!

And it’s because you kept walking by my house

So thank you”

My neighbor and I just looked at each other


How could someone I had never seen

And never spoken to

Be that influenced by something I was doing?

But then again

I had been influenced by her as well!!

Because when she told me she was the one who would honk at me regularly as she drove by

I suddenly remembered her

I remember one particular day when I was struggling and wanted to quit

When she honked at me with this big smile

And gave me a thumbs up as she drove by

That gave me the strength to keep going

Knowing that some person I did not even know

Was encouraging me

Was noticing my efforts

So I told her that

I said

“You may think that I am the one who inspired you

But it’s really the other way around

All those times you waved at me

Or honked at me

Were days I was really struggling

Days I wanted to quit

And you kept me going

So thank YOU

We both realized today

That without words

Without even knowing each other

We had encouraged each other

Almost invisibly

We had somehow influenced one another’s lives!

How amazing is it to think

That there are people out there you will never see

Never know

Never talk to

But who are influenced by the actions you take

A simple wave or a honk or a thumbs up

Can fuel me for another mile

It really can make the difference

I was influenced by her wave

By her encouraging spirit

By her honking and thumbs up

And she was encouraged by just seeing me walk by her house every day!

Sometimes in life we only think about the people we see

We only live in our bubble

Unaware that our actions influence the unseen and unknown

The ones we don’t see who are watching us

Without our knowledge

How exciting that for a moment

I was given a glimpse of that

I was allowed to pull back the veil

And become aware of a person

Whose life I had some ability to influence

Even as she influenced me!

I ran in the house and put on my walking shoes

Suddenly inspired to walk WITH her

So we rounded the block together

Two people who had traveled different paths

But converging together

Realizing in the end

That while we had thought our paths were separate

We had been traveling together all the while

And that is how this journey really is

You might feel alone out there walking through the neighborhood

But look around

And pull back the veil

You’ll see the countless thousands among you

Invisible to you

But very, very real

Like you and me

Separated perhaps by this computer screen

But truly walking the same path

Working through the same struggles

None of us are really isolated

Or really alone

You may feel that way for a time

But believe me

You’re not

And today I experienced one of the greatest walks around the block

I’ve ever had

Because I walked it with another warrior

An overcomer

Who was brave enough to get up

And say

NO—This will NOT be my life

My story will NOT end here

And today she is changed

She’s alive

She is overcoming obstacles

Her ponytail bopping along

With a smile on her face

These are the times when I think to myself


Life is cool, isn’t it?

1 Thessalonians 5:11

The Message (MSG)

So encourage one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. 


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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

RockbandBarbie August 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Love this 🙂


Leigh Costa August 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Greta story! Thanks for sharing:)
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Leigh Costa August 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Oops…I meant GREAT:)
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annamarie August 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

OMG…that is fantastic, and thank you for inspiring me. I am just about in tears reading your post. It is amazing how of all days I “needed” to read this because I am trying so hard to get out of this funky mood that I have been in lately.
May God bless you and hope you are having a wonderful day.


Adelyn August 12, 2012 at 6:00 pm

What a wonderful story. So true. Inspiration comes from everywhere.
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Amanda August 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm

What a beautiful and amazing story!
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Lady Amanda August 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm

That is soooo awesome!!!


Trish @I_am_Succeeding August 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I love it!!!! You are inspiring!!!
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Cindy August 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

This is amazing. I love it, and find both of you inspiring, too!

My husband and I have recently begun walking together. Our goal is to walk 300 miles in 90 days. We are at 74 miles now, and have been walking for about 3-1/2 weeks.

What I really love about your story is that both of you went outside of your comfort zones and shared with each other. And now? You have a new friend AND a walking buddy!
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Lori August 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I was moved to tears by this. I had to link it to my blog. I don’t get the traffic you do, but I had to pass this on just in case one of my readers has not found you yet.


Liz August 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm

That is such an amazing and inspiring story. How crazy that you were both helping each other without knowning!
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Mary (A Merry Life) August 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Wow, that is so awesome! What an inspiring story!


joy August 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Beautiful!! So inspiring!

Keep focused!


Nikki Mohamed August 13, 2012 at 12:02 am

I’m sorry to say this but your article cracked me up! Not because of the content. THAT was very inspiring…as usual. But it brought back memories of me during my speed-walks here in Egypt and how every single time I would pass someone on the streets here, they would step in front of me and ask, “What’s going on? Why the rush? Is everything okay?” You see, people here in Alexandria just don’t walk for exercise. And also, people are helpful to a fault…okay, they’re pretty freakin’ nosy. So I always had to take side streets or walk through neighborhoods where people didn’t know me to avoid the speed up, dead stop, start again routine.
Thanks for the funny memories!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 13, 2012 at 12:55 am

Oh my gosh. This completely cracked me up. It really really did. I seriously learn something new every time you talk about where you live and it’s so interesting to me!! But oh my I was laughing so hard reading this!!!!


Anna August 13, 2012 at 12:18 am

I just wanted to leave a honk, a wave, and a thumbs up through the computer screen. You are so inspiring to me!! God bless you this week! 🙂


Steelers6 August 13, 2012 at 1:06 am

Oh so cool. Of course as I’m reading along
I’m thinking-“Ooo, a walking buddy,
maybe!” And sure enough…my friend
Holly isn’t going to let opportunities
pass her by, nuh uh.


Patrick August 13, 2012 at 1:26 am

There is inspiration gushing from this post, this blog, all over my iPhone and down my arms, clothes… People are going to think I’ve wet myself here.

Seriously, realizing you’ve impacted more than just yourself with your amazing walk; well that has to be a feeling you’ll embrace for a lifetime!
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Linda Kuil August 13, 2012 at 1:40 am

Your brother paid it forward to you and now you’ve done the same!


Joy August 13, 2012 at 4:32 am

This posts makes me truly happy for you!! I am in awe of your success. What a great read!
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Caron August 13, 2012 at 6:46 am

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LJCBF August 13, 2012 at 7:39 am

Congrats on passing it on! “Hope in Your Future is Power in Your Present”. It’s common to hear or read from “authorities” that when
the Pain gets great enough the person will change their behavior… However, I believe and you are proving again through this ladies story, that when the HOPE gets great enough the person wl change their behavior.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)


Lyn August 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

What a very touching and inspiring message! Thank you so much for this reminder of how to be. How even a smile and a wave can change someone’s life. Wonderful story!


Amanda August 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I loved this story!! It really is amazing how we never know who is watching and taking note of our efforts. Well done!
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Denise August 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

That is amazing! I sucked all the air out of the room when she said who she was. I love that I always get so inspired (and often have a good cry) from your posts. While jogging on vacation and struggling with every step another runner going in the opposite direction started to speak to me and I immediately started to move as if he was going to tell me I was in his way or something. He said “keep it up kid!” I choked out a “Thank you!” as I passed. It changed the whole rest of my jog.


Kaitlyn August 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Brilliant story! And so important to pay attention. You never know who is watching. Live consciously, live wisely, and live well and who knows how many lives you’ll change.
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Libby August 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm



Robyn August 14, 2012 at 12:52 am

Holly- I have a feeling that you inspire more people than you can even imagine. You inspire me almost every day.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

Oh Robyn!That is the sweetest thing for you to say!! Thank you so much!!


greenie August 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Wow. That is so cool!


Sheila August 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm

What a cool story! I LOVE it!
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Samantha Livingston August 16, 2012 at 12:53 am

“…because I walked it with another worrier. An overcomer…”
One of my absolute favorite words. Thanks for sharing Holly. [Insert image of me honking and thumbs-upping you here for this post].
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Amanda November 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm



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