Corby Carlin Winters: My Sam

When my husband, John, talked about writing his book Everyone Needs a Sam, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. I always believed he had a message and a gift for writing. I was right.

In my own life, I have experienced an abundance of Sams. They came in and out of my life, leaving a lasting impression and changing me forever. I am blessed with many, many Sams, too many to count.

Two of my Sams, however, simply cannot be compared to any others. They rose above the rest and remain held in my highest esteem.  As I was writing this, I was barely able to write through the tears, because again I was reminded of how blessed and fortunate I was to have been guided, loved, and influenced by these two extraordinary people.

The Sams I want to honor are my Mother and Father. To me they epitomized and embodied the meaning of a Sam. Hardly a day does not go by that I do not recount a wise word that was passed on to me by them. Hopefully, the author will forgive me for choosing two Sams. It is impossible to select one because their impact on me was equally strong.

I always knew I was in a privileged circle because I was in the presence of these Sams from the beginning and through my journey of life. They were not perfect, but they were amazing. I credit them for the woman I am today.

I was given the privilege to know how Sams work and operate firsthand. They poured into the lives of those around them for no selfish reasons but to simply bless, encourage and empower others.

I believe all my friends knew my parents were Sams too. Everyone wanted to come to our house. My Sams had open arms and hearts. Friends sought my parent’s prayers, advice and support for their futures, and I was no exception. My Sams prayed for and led many of my
friends and my brother’s friends to the Lord. Strangers were no exception from their special touch either.

My earliest remembrances of my parents were those of encouragement, support and faith in me and my abilities. Having been diagnosed with dyslexia and a learning disability in third grade, it shaped how I viewed myself and the world around me. Most of my educational experience was a struggle. In turn, it made me insecure and I lacked self confidence. But my
parents knew what to do and did it just right.

My mom steered me toward what I excelled in, such as public speaking, singing, art and acting. I remember asking her how I would ever get a job when I couldn’t even spell and was horrible in math. Her reply was “you’ll hire a secretary”! Well she was right. Every job
I ever had, I had a secretary. Then I married a writer and editor … you gotta love it!

One time my mom mailed me my third grade report card. It was filled with D and F’s. I called her and asked why she mailed it to me, because it seemed odd to remind me of such a difficult time. Mom said “she wanted me to see how far I had come, Master’s Degree
and all”

To help me with my confidence, my mom enrolled me in modeling and charm schools. At the time of my first fashion show, when I was about 11, I panicked. I just couldn’t go through with it. I remember my dad calling from work and saying “You have worked hard and now you have what it takes to finish what you started. If you don’t want to do another one after this that is fine, but you will want to finish this one. You are prepared and you can do it.”

I did finish and loved every minute of it. He was so right. I remember it as though it was yesterday. That kind of wisdom — finish what you start — has stayed with me all these years.

When I was starting a small business back about five years ago, Daddy sent me a small handwritten note dated 9/5/05. It read: “Success is the result of: 1. Having a dream 2. Give it all you’ve got 3. Believe in yourself and believe in your dream 4. Work within your limits and your capabilities 5. Enjoy and love what you are doing 6. Set some realistic goals for yourself and be patient. Enjoy! Love Mom and Dad.”

I have a box filled with notes of inspiration just like that one. They never held back an opportunity to encourage, to teach and to love.

What a gift it was for me to have my parents as Sams; they were my favorite ones. They spoke life and purpose into my life. But most of all, they spoke the love of Jesus Christ to me and everyone they met. They gave me all the tools anyone could ever ask for to help
them succeed.

And now in the words of my husband, I encourage you, be a Sam!

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