We appreciate all those who took the time to submit nominations in our Attitude of Gratitude contest. The stories shared with us were all very touching and many required us to have the Kleenex box handy as we read through them! Just reading the entries made us realize what great people there are in our community living their lives out of the spotlight, but making our world a better place by the lives they live. It was a pleasure to get to read about each person.
Since we wanted the decision to be unbiased we had a committee that didn't know any of the nominees select the winner. They each said the same thing - "It's so hard to choose!"
They ultimately did choose Lyndsey, a 16 year old whose unselfish ways have made an impact on those around her. She has helped to be a caregiver for her single mom through medical difficulties, taking on responsibilities that adults would often find challenging. She has also been a great help with her younger brother that has ADHD. Instead of focusing on herself, she is motivated to do anything she can for her family all in a spirit of love, and looks for ways that she can contribute to her family's well being.
There were several others nominated that we'd also like to recognize for all that they bring to our community.
Sherri and Tim's family has been a shining example of contentment and love. They have shown what family is all about to over a dozen foster children over the years even while struggling with medical problems that prevented them from being able to work and the financial difficulties that brought along. Even in the challenging circumstances they have found themselves in, they are content just being together as a family and living life a day at a time. That sweet spirit has been infused in their children as well.
Kathi has been both an inspiration and God send for her family. She went back to school and became a doctor while raising her family. She graciously allowed members of family to live with her when their living arrangements were uncertain and continued to give of her time by offering childcare for them even while she was battling cancer.
Bobbie lost her mother too soon to cancer and vowed to do whatever she could so that other families wouldn't have to suffer the way her family had. For the past 16 years she has been a driving force in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Lorain County as her way of fighting back against this atrocious disease. The lives she has touched are too numerous to count as she has helped to raise funds for research, offered a hug or held a hand of someone fighting their own battle or been there at the luminary ceremony with survivors to stand with them to say "we will prevail" for another year.
From a young age Shelly became a caretaker of her large family due to her mother's medical issues. Even when grown with a family of her own she still continues to offer herself - her time and her resources with her extended family "all with a smile" and without expectation of anything in return or to even take time for herself. Shelly has also known the heartache of losing her stillborn daughter, but still has been able to see the joy in life and lives hers out in a way which instills admiration and pride in those who know her.
My heart is full just looking back at each of these stories. We hope you'll be as inspired by their stories as we were. May we all live each day with an attitude of gratitude.
Congratulations to Lyndsey for winning the $500 worth of custom portraiture and to Tonya for nominating her and winning a free session and $100 worth of custom portraits!