At the age of 12, I moved to a new house in a new area of Orange County, California. Besides changing schools, I had to change churches and make new friends and, it was quite the ordeal. Jo Mellender was my G.A. (Girls in Action) leader at the new church we joined. She taught all the girls in the group a little bit of everything from drawing to pastels to baking and flower arranging. I connected with all of it right away. It didn’t take long for her to became my mentor, and I, her understudy. It was my ticket out of competitive sports and/or awkward situations/conversations. (I suppose I was a bit of an introvert, partially related to the move and partially the age.)
Although I loved all of the things she taught, I think that I loved flower arranging the most. She taught me where to buy and what to buy, as well as style, shape and technique. I was so excited the first time I got to do the flowers for church…lol! (Think gladiolas, carnations, daisies and stocks. Yep, they date me!) I will never, ever forget her impact on my life. Without her, my career may have taken an entirely different route. I have a degree in education but my love of art is still where my passion lies. Mrs. Mellender, as I will always call her, has since passed away, but I will always treasure her love of art and her unselfish gift that she shared with all of us. I believe that I am where I am today by the grace of God and Jo Mellender. So I want to take a moment to thank her daughters, Gale, Amy and Susan for sharing their momma with all of us. Her legacy and love of art didn’t end with her. It continues on in the hands and hearts of others.
Do you have a story of someone who has impacted your life in a positive way or perhaps changed the direction of where you were going? There is no greater love story than to hear of someone’s sacrificial giving. I would love to hear from you!