"I am a scrappy activist and advocate. The seeds of my activism were planted and have bloomed in and out of seasons and pushed me ever closer to my purpose. Season One: Childhood I was born into a family of educators who spent their careers educating children in large urban school districts. Growing up I heard stories about children who were poor, lived in marginalized communities, and often did not have enough to eat.  Of the many stories that I heard there is one that stands out. My mother was an elementary school principal.  One morning my mother was called to the cafeteria because a first grade student...

"Being Her Mama Has Made Me Strong" "When life flips upside down, you can either hang there and accept it or fight to flip it back. I chose to fight. Yet, I didn’t make that choice right away. No, there was a solid few months of self pity, followed by anger, then fear, and then eventually, and quite surprisingly, strength. This is important, because we often think that we have to choose an emotion and react immediately. We can only be strong, angry, scared, silent, or happy. Yet, in reality, we are typically feeling all of these things, all at once. We have become experts at displaying one...

"I am a mother of 3 loving children. I have 2 girls and 1 boy who are the light of my life. I am also a mother with a child who has cerebral palsy and cancer. In June of 2017, a routine MRI turned into something no mother, father, or family should ever have to go through. Trey was born with cerebral palsy which led doctors to order a routine MRI. After the MRI my family and I sat in front of a doctor as he told us that they found a tumor. After completion of a biopsy, it was confirmed that not only did Trey have a...

"Never Give Up" Meet Joe Woodley "I was involved in a long-distance relationship with a young lady from Columbus. We had known each other for quite some time and I had traveled to Columbus numerous occasions. In April of 1998, she called to inform me that she was pregnant. Having grown up with my father not being involved in my life, I wanted to do what I thought was the right thing, and be there for my child. Frankly, I was afraid and I knew that I was ill-prepared to be a father at the time, but that August I boarded a Greyhound bus which departed Grand Central...

 A story of Fighting Blindness "When I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 14, I was told by my retina specialist that I wouldn’t have trouble with vision until I was “much, much older.” Apparently, late 20’s was “older.” At 28 years old, I started noticing that I couldn’t see my 6-month-old daughter’s face very well. If I stared at her eyes, I couldn’t see her nose, let alone the rest of her body. I then started realizing that if I looked at my mom on the couch, I couldn’t see my dad sitting directly next to her. I was missing handshakes, curbs, and wet...

A Story of Grief @jessfpetersen "I am a married mom of three kids - Sadie, Colin and Elise. My husband Brian and I have been married for 11 years, but have known each other since we were kids. I work in media relations for Lifeline of Ohio and consider it a privilege to work in the field of organ, eye and tissue donation. I am also the #1 Button Artist in the state of Ohio...

  [caption id="attachment_9448" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo Credit: Perfect Peace Photogrpahy[/caption] Monday, March 16th, 2015. I was a day shy of 19 weeks pregnant. I had finally started to accept that I was going to be a single mother. I was 28 years old and I had a decent job, after all. But I admit that in my heart of hearts, I still didn't love the idea of walking into that ultrasound alone. This was going to be the big one; the one where the doctor tells you that you're having a perfect little baby boy and sets you on track to revel in the bliss of impending motherhood...

Easterseals is an amazing program. I know because my brother Guthrie was born with cerebral palsy and attended the program.  It was life changing for him.  Well, they're hosting their annual spring Romancing the Grape event on April 29th. Romancing the Grape started back in 2002 (so they've been going at it for 15 years) and the event is by far their largest fundraiser. It raises over $100,000 in support of Easterseals’ programs that make profound and positive differences in people’s lives. Programs such as Early Intervention in which children with special needs ages 1-3 receive early childhood education and pediatric therapies vital to helping them reach...

"It was Friday the 13th of 2002, and the first anniversary of 9/11 was coming up, and I just kept having this dreaded feeling that Friday the 13th was going to be a really bad day. I had no idea why, so I went on with my day.  Lindsay came home from school and decided she was going to go work out with her best friend.   About an hour later after she left, the phone rang, and it was her best friend Morgan. She said, “Kathy, Lindsay fainted. You need to get over here right away.” She fainted at the gym on the treadmill.  So, at...

  [caption id="attachment_9342" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Emma[/caption] Hello! My name is Emma and I have had quite the journey. I spent a year in the Dominican Republic and a month in Spain. I have taught English, tutored children in an orphanged and worked with woman coming out of sex slavery. I have experienced great times of depression and joy as I have searched for direction in my life. As time goes on, my desire to share my faith and the love God has for everyone in different and wonderful cultures around the world grows more and more. My next journey is to the Japanese Alps where I will...