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The Power of Karma

The Power of Karma is ever present in our lives. Cory and I are often blown away and humbled by the amazing stories that are often shared with us each day from people who have had powerful experiences and have in turn "Pay it forward". While the aspect of Karma can be interpreted in many ways, these meaningful stories arise from people facing life's inevitable adversities and challenges. Call it "Fate", "Luck' or "Karma", it's what you do with that adversity or difficult challenge you face afterwards that can make a difference in your life or someone else, just like these remarkable people have done.

There are many ways to share your own Karma/Pay It Forward story with us:

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Compassion

Today at work, my co-worker told me that her doctor had suggested that she get an MRI and further testing to rule out the possibility of MS.  I could see and hear the anxiety that was in her voice and showing on her face at the thought of having this condition.  I tried to comfort her and tell her that everything was going to be okay and try to stay calm until she underwent the test and received the results.  In trying to alleviate her fears I asked her, did she have anyone to go with her and she replied no that she didn't.  I said "well, I can't let one of my children go face something alone, I will go with you".  She thought I was joking at first, and in a way I was half serious.  When I turned and looked at her face, I saw a calming peace take over her, and I knew I had to be by that child during this.  Her reply to me was " You would do that for me?,  "You know I never had a mother. I never had anyone to go with me to the doctor for any reason and I am scared".  "To think you would even offer to go makes me believe in the good heart and kindness of people and that there are people out there that still care about each other".

I had no idea this  very young women (barely 24 years old) never had a mother.  So I put my arm around her and told her, I would be there for her and help her with any questions she might have for the doctor, because my  daughter (with me by her side) had been through similar testing with fearful outcomes.  I promised her I would not let her be alone through this.

She hugged me and said "You are a very compassionate and caring mother".  Then jokingly, she asked "Will you adopt me".  I told her, I will do even better than that, "I will be your friend and I will be here for you".

Teresa

 

 

  

My Personal Karma Journey 

             One thing I have learned is to never question anything that happens in your life, or why certain people come into your life. Everything happens for a reason, and over time I have learned to completely let go and not change things, but to embrace them. Like in the song by Garth Brooks, “Unanswered Prayers”, the things that didn’t happen were just not meant to be, and not our decision or destination.

             I can say my journey began in March 2011, when I met Terri Thomas. Terri was the new director of the Vision Resource Center. We had just hired a new pediatric doctor and were trying to decide how to help children in the community. After meeting Terri, her enthusiasm and passion for helping visually impaired adults and children truly inspired me. At that time in my life I felt somewhat empty, and I knew I was destined to do more. Terri and I instantly connected and I was excited to join in. She had only three children at that time involved in the program, one of them an 11 y/o child that was blind since 4 months old (Michael Macias). She mentioned he played the piano, but to what extent was not certain. I had a meeting scheduled with the music director of the Fayetteville Symphony that week, and thought it would be a great idea to have a lunch together and hear Michael play for the first time. As Michael sat at the piano very shy rocking back and forth, he began to play “Unchained Melody”. Tears filled my eyes as this was the most amazing gifted child I have ever seen! I told him my daughter loved the song “Belle’s Lullaby” he listened to it once on his IPod and then instantly played it. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard! At that moment, I knew that my purpose on this earth was to share his amazing gift with anyone who would listen. I can’t explain how the next 10 months of my life took such an amazing turn, but here is my story.

             The next week after that amazing first meeting with Michael, I was attending a work event “Business after Five”. A gentleman name Willie Snow approached me and introduced himself. As we spoke briefly, he mentioned he was also a manager for a local jazz band “Essential Elements”. I shared my story of the amazing child I had just met that played the piano, and it was amazing what happened next. A few weeks later Michael performed in front of an almost sold-out crowd at the Crown Coliseum hockey game. He started with the Star Spangle Banner and then at half-time, with the whole stadium completely silent, he performed on ice “Unchained Melody” and “Belle’s Lullaby”. It was the most surreal moment to witness this only a few feet away. Willie then introduced Michael to his band members during one of their performances at a local restaurant, and during their break, Michael had an opportunity to play the keyboard accompanied by their drummer. Michael picked up jazz music very quickly and soon was playing Brick House, Stand by Me and Low Rider, it was so incredible! That was only the beginning. People every day were showing up in my life, and in strange ways. I met a worker at the Morehead School for the blind and a few weeks later Michael was invited to perform. The symphony was having a book reading at Fort Bragg, next thing I know Michael was performing for Ms. North Carolina and it just continued from there. Michael started performing at events with “Essential Elements”, school events, special guest performer for the Lions Club convention, chamber events, and soon magazines and newspapers were writing articles about him. His schedule was keeping all of us very busy!

            One of the greatest moments in my life, was watching Michael open up for the WKML Music/Songwriter show. We met three amazing country music singer/songwriters as Michael went up on stage and opened for a sold-out crowd his own Montague of various songs from classical music, modern pop and ended with brick house. The whole audience that night, to include the songwriters, were standing as he finished his songs and then did a special dedication to one of the event directors, “The last Date”. I sat in the audience amazed of how far Michael had come and it was that night that I decided I would never again question anything that was put in my path and embrace everything! I can say the most special moments for me personally were watching Michael accompany my daughter Alix various times as she sang. As a mother, sitting there watching this, words cannot explain my feelings or thoughts. You realize that moments like this are what make life so amazing and that there are greater things in the world and not worry about the things you cannot change.

             Michael continues to be on the radio, magazines, newspapers and our latest event, performing his own original composition “The Listening Walk” on stage at the crown theatre as the Fayetteville Symphony sat behind him. As I watched the audience to include the symphony stand and applaud him, I could only stand there in awe and cry!!

             Because of meeting Michael and his incredible family, I am now part of creating a youth program for visually impaired children, dedicating all my time, and with the help of my family and friends whom now volunteer. We started off 10 months ago with three children and now have 24 and are still growing. We have received grants for our program and our goal now is to have our own youth center. Everyday, it seems someone is put into my life for a specific reason from magazine editors, radio personalities, newspaper writers, counselors, musicians, even professional athletes. I know that they are here for a reason and we will be a part of something very big. I can’t wait, but we will have to be patient and see what the future holds for ALL of us!

 Please check out Michael’s performances at Karma Music and Our Story to continue following our journey.

Cory

Our Son, the Greatest Teacher

April 24th, 1992 was no ordinary day. On this day, a baby was born that changed our lives along with thousands of others. Jarred was born on April 24th, 1992 in Blytheville Arkansas. It was a beautiful day in spring and why not? Jarred was a beautiful baby boy. He grew up with his sister Kelsey who was only 14 months older than he was. He was not in Arkansas very long because our family moved to North Carolina at the end of May. Jarred was beginning his new life with his family in Fayetteville, North Carolina because that is where the Air Force was sending our family to begin a new chapter and a unforgettable journey.

When our family arrived in Fayetteville, North Carolina the first few years with Jarred were very hard because we detected that something was not quite right with the development of our son and the milestones that he should be reaching at various times. His language was not developing and the ear infections that he had were numerous. Temper tantrums were a normal thing that we had not once or twice a day, but 10-15 times a day. Walking through a door was a major complication and the fits of terror and the cries that Jarred had were sometimes so painful and so unbearable that our family could not take the hurt any longer. Jarred was hurting and I had to do something as his mother to be an advocate for him. At this time, I had no idea the impact what an advocate I would later become for my son and for many other children.

I fought so hard to find out what was wrong and why Jarred was not speaking or talking like our first child Kelsey had. In the midst of finding out that Jarred had this disability called Autism, I had our third child, Dylan. I kept searching for the answers and refused to give up on our son Jarred, I found out about the Lovaas Program which is a one-on-one program that is centered off of the research that Dr. IvarLovaas did in Los Angles, Califorinia. It is very intense and requires 40 hours of one-on-one therapy with a child on a weekly basis. I remember thinking in my mind for about two minutes on how I was going to raise twenty thousand dollars to pay for this program for one year of treatment? That thought was not an option, the option was that Jarred needed this program and that I was going to do whatever it took to get this program in place for him in our home. That is when the journey began. I started fund raising in May of 1997 and over five years raised around $100,000 to pay for the intense behavior modification that Jarred needed. Jarred had only one chance, and that chance would never come again and I was not about to look back on his life and think what if? I fought the Fort Bragg school district and we sued them and took it to a US federal district court in 1997. It took seven years and we won our law suit. We took our law suit to a Federal District Court. Jarred changed the laws for children in North Carolina. He not only changed laws, but he changed lives. He allowed other people to see that Autism is not the “End”, but a means of educating others about this disability. Children can recover if they receive intense behavior modification services at a young age and the results are “Life Changing”. That is exactly what Jarred did, he changed our lives. He taught us that with a Belief in God that Nothing is impossible. Matt. 19:26 was Jarred’s favorite Bible verse. Jarred’s law suit changed the laws for kids in North Carolina and allowed them to receive the services that they were entitled too.

During this period of time in my life before we had even heard about the Lovaas Program I remember distinctly driving in my car one morning on my way to work and praying, “God I know that my child has Autism, but please help me find a way to reach him,” and that is exactly what He did. We reached him and Jarred took us on a journey that would forever change our lives. We put the Lovaas Program into practice in our home and we did intensive behavior modification with our son Jarred starting at age four. Is there any price that a mother would pay to hear their son say, “Mama” for the first time? I remember wanting to hear his voice and wanting to hear him say that he loved me. When he was five years old, he said,” Mama,” for the first time. No amount of money could have been given for that priceless moment to me. When he was seven years old, he told me for the first time that he loved me. I never took anything for granted in my life, because I knew that everything that Jarred did for me was a gift. Things that you assume everyone knows how to do had to be taught to Jarred. From how to eat a cupcake, bounce a basketball, or how to snap your pants, Jarred worked hard till the day he died to succeed.

Jarred was the sunshine in our lives. He died on June 10th, 2011 in our home. We had an accident and Jarred was called home to be with the Lord where he is whole and no longer has the barriers that Autism had on him. He was the greatest teacher that I ever had the privilege of working with. He taught me unconditional love, and to never quit no matter how tired, or how distressed you may be. He taught me to believe in God and in his power to heal if it was in his plan. He taught me the innocence of a child can never be bought, because he was so innocent and so trusting. He made me stronger, and accepting of others who are different. Autism didn’t define Jarred, he was a winner no matter what. Although he was only with us for 19 years, the years that he spent on this earth will forever change me and what I will become because of knowing my son. He loved the simple things in life and was just so happy to be alive and to be loved. Today we honor his memory by starting The Jarred Bryan Sparks Foundation to help families and their children who have autism. We want to honor God and our son by helping as many people as we can who have autism. To want to teach this world that people who have this disability are to be treated with dignity and respect always. Our dream is to open The School of Hope in Fayetteville, North Carolina where we can educate, motivate, and inspire others to never give up and to always believe that with God, “All things are Possible”. Thank you for being the greatest teacher that I have ever known, or will ever know. You have changed all of us, and have made us better people. I was honored to be your mother, and I know that I will see you again one day, completely healed.

 

A Tiny Miracle was Born: Michael Macias (12 y/o Blind Piano Player)

On Palm Sunday, March 28, 1999, Michael Macias was born at a little less than 22 weeks weighing 1 pound 6 ounces and his brother was born at 1 pound 5 and ½ ounces, both were whisked away by many nurses and doctors to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. On April 8th, 1999 Michael’s brother passed away from a staph infection. Michael had surpassed all of the doctor’s expectations, but two weeks before Michael was discharged from the hospital, he was diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). Michael went blind at four months old. It was at two years of age Michael was given a stand-up toy piano with five keys that also played five lullabies. Michael became enthused with this, and things just progressed from there. In three days Michael was playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and soon moved to a keyboard. In one week, Michael was playing all five lullabies. He then moved to a real piano, which he has been playing ever since. Michael has never had a music lesson and plays All Music By Ear. Although he is an excellent Braille reader, Braille music has not been introduced to Michael. He plays and/or practices on his own approximately 8-10 hours a week. People are always amazed by Michael when they first meet him. His piano playing is not his only talent; touching people’s hearts and reaching out to them through his music is another. Michael is now 12 years old. He currently has only minimal light perception in his left eye and about 90% in his right eye. He is now facing the challenge of a new disease, neo-vascular glaucoma in his right eye which occurred in March 2011, and has endured two more eye surgeries recently. Despite all the obstacles Michael Macias has faced, he is a true inspiration to everyone he meets. Michael spends most of his weekends traveling and performing with Essential Elements Jazz Band and opening peformances for the Fayetteville Symphony, WKML Music/Songwriter show and the list keeps growing....... What might have started in the beginning as the “Tiniest Miracle” has turned into an “Enormous Gift to the World”!

To learn more about Michael Macias you can read about him at http://www.epageflip.net/issue/35097/30

Walking for Commencement has special meaning!

Walking in the Commencement ceremony at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was no small achievement for Lauren Nichol Jones of Pembroke.

In September 2008, which was supposed to be the start of Lauren N. Jones’ senior year at UNC, the psychology major woke up one morning with symptoms of Chari I Malformation, which strikes about one in every 2,000 people.

“I went from normal to disabled overnight,” she says.

Suddenly she barely could walk or swallow because of the rare condition in which the brain compacts onto the spinal cord.

It took over two months and several trips to in vain to various doctors in every speciality that could tell Lauren and her parents what was wrong with her, but they could not offer any real help in terms of any options other than acceptance. She was told by top clinical experts to expect that she would get worse as part of this condition and to accept what might come.

"We refused to believe that", according to Lauren's mother. "I knew someone could help, I just didn't know who or how but I never let Lauren give up hope and had to believe that we would find help". That is when Lauren's mother decided tell her employer, who happened to be a physician about what was going on. By fate, he just happened to have a friend that was also a physician that specialized in Chari 1 Malformation at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda,Maryland. Lauren's MRI was sent up to him overnight by FedEx and within hours of recieving it, he called and said she needed surgery immediately or she would be paralyzed permamently. He suggested a Neurosurgeon at Duke University by the name of Carlos Bagley. He also said if Dr. Bagley would not perform the surgery, then he would do it immediately, even though he had never met Lauren in person. With all of this to take in and decisions to make quickly, Lauren's mother made attempts to call Dr. Bagley's office. His office personnel said was booked out for six months and was not seeing any new patients. Even in a franctic attempt to explain everything and the urgency, his office still told her, they could not see her daughter. So with that news, the family was willing to go to Maryland immediately. Strangely and by a stroke of luck, within a day before travel plans were made, Dr. Bagley's office called and said they had a cancellation and they could see Lauren immediately.

According to Lauren and her mother, its hard to describe their first impression of Dr. Bagley without using cliches like: "Angelic". "When Dr. Bagley walked into the room and shook Lauren's hand, we both felt the presence of God through him. In no way did we ever undermine the ability of the well known physician, but we all realized it was God's presence in that room that day along with the three of us and God was the one in control of the situation from then on out", "so it gave us a peace within that we had not felt before with any other doctor" ,according to Lauren's mother.

Less than 10% of all cases can be operated on successfully with Chari 1 Malformation. Dr. Bagley felt Lauren could be part of the success rate.

That November, she and her parents decided her best hope of recovery, even if it meant she spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair was brain surgery. Lauren had to face the real fact that she may never finish school, walk again, eat on her own without tubes and most of all her hopes of becoming a clinical social worker to help Autistic children and adults (which had been a lifelong pursuit as her career) were certainly looking like that would not happen.

During the surgical process, Lauren had to have part of her cerebral bone removed and a shunt put in the back side of her head, in order to for the blood to flow and to reduce the pressure off the spinal cord.

My faith in God, determination and a will to survive are what allowed me to come back to Carolina in a month and a half later for spring 2009 semester. "Even though I suffered from indescribable pain, insomnia, inability to move my head, and even my doctors telling me to drop out of school for a year at least, I wouldn’t give up. I couldn't give up. Something beyond my own being and understanding gave me the drive to carry on and to succeed. I even made the dean’s list that semester.”

Now, she takes several medications to try and prevent Chari symptoms and reoccurances and in addition Botox shot therapy in her head (over 37 injections are inserted around her head and neck) every three months.

Even so, the bad days come.

“The physical therapy that UNC offered me really helped me manage my pain and learn ways to control my balance,” she says. “But brain surgery did not cure all my problems and these problems will be present for the rest of my life.

“I only use my cane on the most dire days now,” she says. “Days when I am extremely dizzy and my legs want to collapse from underneath me.

While at UNC, and undergoing all this personal adversity, Lauren never stopped her volunteer work with children with special needs. "I felt like I connected to them and understood them in a way, other people couldn't".

Now more than three years after her surgery, Lauren considers herself one of the lucky ones. "I look at all the people in this world, that suffer so much more than I do, with various disabilities and I feel its my responsibility to give back to those in any way I can".

Now Lauren Jones is a group home director with young Autistic adults since 2010. She graduated with full honors in Psychology and from University of Chapel Hill, NC in 2009. She also is currently enrolled in the master's program for Social work to continue to help and counsel young people with disabilities.

Lauren N. Jones

For mor information on Chari I Malformation click here

Kaelyn's Victory over Cancer

Chris and Marsha Sanders and their children fell on hard times in 2008 with the death of Kaelyn's grandfather. Kaelyn's parents had to make the decision no one should have to make, either pay for the burial of Marsha's father or pay their mortgage. Making the right decision cost them their home and suddenly they found themselves almost homeless. It was then Marsha contacted a childhood friend in North Carolina, who offered the family a place to live until they could get back on their feet. Marsha and Chris Sander's decided to make that decision not knowing what their future would hold, but they knew in their heart, this was the right move for the family to leave New Jersey.

Not too long after coming to North Carolina, Kaelyn being only 6 years old starting developing high fevers, becoming lethargic, withdrawn, pale and lost her interest in what most children love most at that age-playing. She simply just did not feel well enough. Her mother took Kaelyn to the doctor on several occasions always with the same answer that Kaelyn had a virus, or a cold. Nothing to worry about, Marsha was told, sending her and Kaelyn on their way with antibiotics and Tylenol. With every visit to the doctor, Marsha hoped that would be the last and her child would get well.

Marsha did not notice the improvement in Kaelyn as she had hoped and it was when she took both Kaelyn and her older sister, Cori to their pediatrician for their yearly exams, she mentioned again Kaelyn's symptoms and thought that maybe she was anemic. As a standard part of the yearly physical exam, the nurse took blood from Kaelyn and Cori by pricking their fingers. Cori's physical exam was first, however before the pediatrician could complete the physical, he interrupted and told Marsha that he was concerned about Kaelyn's blood work. He noticed that her white blood cells, red blood cells and her platelets were extremely low. He told Marsha the worst case scenario was ALL Leukemia.

ALL Leukemia is Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of childhood cancer. It affects lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells. Leukemic cells accumulate in the bone marrow, replace normal blood cells and spread to other organs including liver, spleen, lymph nodes, central nervous system, kidneys and gonads.

Marsha was speechless. So many thoughts were running through her head at that moment. She knew she had to call her husband, but when she got him on the phone, she found herself unable to speak and the pediatrician had to take the phone and explain to Chris what he thought might be going on with Kaelyn. The doctor recommended that they go to University of North Carolina Children's Cancer hospital immediately! Chris rushed immediately to join his wife and child and within the hour they were on their way to a hospital. With so many questions and "what if's?" they began the 2 1/2 hour drive. Both of them had to continuously fight back tears and be strong for Kaelyn because they knew their child had no idea what could possibly be going on with her and exactly what she might be facing. But as Kaelyn sat in the backseat, feeling very tired, it did not stop her from singing the song "How great is our God". Kaelyn appeared calm and very at peace during the entire drive which is something her parents will never forget.

When they arrived at the UNC- Cancer Center for Children, the doctors and nurses immediately started her treatment and told Kaelyn they would need her help to beat this. Kaelyn's simple question to everyone was "Am I going to be okay?" It was such a simple question to such a complicated disease. The team of physicians and nurses answered it in confidence, that she would be ok. Then she asked "Can I go play now". This was Kaelyn's reaction most of the time during the ordeal. Her parents say it was her "calm, positive attitude and outlook" that kept her and her family going during this whole experience. This had strengthen their faith even more because it was as if Kaelyn already knew she had this Cancer beat.

Within hours of being admitted into the hospital, they knew she had ALL Leukemia. Treatment started immediately. This started the 2 1/2 year treatment of extensive chemotherapy. This included placing a port to deliver the medicine inside her chest. This was also the beginning of several hospital stays for Kaelyn. She developed every rare side effect known during her course of treatment to include a rare liver disease that ended her up in the ICU of the Children's Cancer wing at UNC. Her white blood count was so low, it really could not be measured. She was receiving blood transfusions every four hours. To everyone around them except for Kaelyn's family, people thought Kaelyn was losing her battle with Cancer. Kaelyn was the sickest she had ever been. Her skin was very yellow, her belly was extended. Her eyes were even described at one point as "glowing yellow" from all the toxins that were being pumped back into her liver. Her parent's never let themselves believe this could be the end for Kaelyn.

However, during the last days of her stay in ICU, she was not getting any better and the doctor's told Marsha and Chris "there was no more they could do at that point". "It was the darkest hour we felt during the whole ordeal", according to Marsha. The family still had a sense of peace because of their faith and knew GOD was in control. Their pastor and church family came in and prayed without ceasing through the night. As the morning day broke, so did the grip the liver disease had on Kaelyn. When the physicians rounded on her that morning, they could not believe the difference in Kaelyn's condition overnight. It was a miracle to say the least!

That was not the last of the miracles or set back's Kaelyn would face in her battle with ALL Leukemia. Marsha says now when she looks at pictures of Kaelyn and at that time during their life, she doesn't know how she and her family were able to go through it. She and her husband, Chris both know that it was their faith without wavering that gave them the strength. It was also the out pouring of love and support from family, friends and strangers that helped them too.

"Kaelyn knows how lucky she is to be here" according to her mother. Kaelyn smiles proudly and doesn't get upset when sometimes people mistake her for a little boy because of her short hair and replies back "I'm a girl and I had cancer".

"Some families that go through this type of ordeal and lose everything. They lose their homes, jobs, sometimes the stress breaks the family up". " I can't imagine going through this without my faith. That was the one constant in our lives". "I don't know how we would have survived without the support system of our family, friends, and the community", according to Marsha.

Fast forward five years later, and the family remembers their journey every day. If you look at Kaelyn now, it's almost impossible to know she ever battled this disease and won. The family and Kaelyn have not forgotten the love and support that was shown to them during this time. They are giving back in any way they can. They support the Children's Cancer Center in any way they can. They have also helped with other charities such as the "Music for Hope" (which proceeds go back directly to children with Cancer). Marsha is trying to organize local blood drives to raise awareness for the dire need of blood and platelets. Marsha is also considering starting a bone marrow match program to help save lives and also thinking of going back to nursing school as another way to "Pay it Forward" and help others that may be in the same situation.

As for Kaelyn, she is enjoying being a healthy eleven year old little girl, doing what most girls at her age should be doing, "playing". She also plans to help her mother and family in raising awareness to ALL Leukemia.

 

Pursuit of Purpose

As far as volunteering, I am on my second year with the Jr. League of Fayetteville, volunteer for the educations ministry at my church which is Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, North Carolina www.faithtabernaclechristiancenter.org is the website which can offer much encourage to others and I serve on the Judah Dance Ministry at church for the past 3 years. Currently, I am taking a course at the American Management Association Extension Institute Certificate in Management Program offered at Fayetteville Technical Community College

As I look back over almost 45 years of my life, I realize that even through the good and not so good I am grateful for it all. I’ve grown to learn that trials and tribulations have come not be break me but to birth knowledge and strength in me. They have given me faith beyond human understanding. The most evidence of this is becoming a teenage mom. In October of 1984, my junior year in high school, I got pregnant and on July 28, 1984 gave birth to my daughter. Being pregnant as a teen changed my life totally. Her father (my high school sweetheart) and I seemed to have dealt with the situation differently. As I gained weight, stop hanging out with friends and becoming a homebody. He began to hang out even the more with his and our relationship slowly started to change.

We maintained a on and off relationship while attending college. I of course stayed locally and attended a junior college while he left the state but not before making a promise to ask my parents for my hand in marriage once he obtained his 4 year degree. Even with the support from family and government assistance, it was a challenge to study, raise her and still try to maintain my own identity as well. At my graduation it became clear that things were truly going to be different. I’m grateful for my Christian upbringing because even though I strayed many times it kept me grounded.

Upon my graduation, I got my first job and was able to write the government assistance program thanking them for all the support they gave me for the past two years but I was working and now able to financially provide for my daughter. Looking back it as not easy as I gave up my youthfulness much too soon but through faith, determination, strong family encouragement and support I kept reaching for the stars. Today I realize the importance of having guidance, information and strong support to let one know that “okay you didn’t choose the best road of life but you can still reach for the stars.” Negatives can be changed into positives. Now at almost 45 and 3 children and still single, I’m striving to do just that for others so I look back with no regrets to say I had to go thru then to help others get thru now…

As far as volunteering, I am on my second year with the Jr. League of Fayetteville, volunteer for the educations ministry at my church which is Faith Tabernacle Christian Center in St. Pauls, North Carolina. www.faithtabernaclechristiancenter.org is the website which can offer much encourage to others and I serve on the Judah Dance Ministry at church for the past 3 years. Currently, I am taking a course at the American Management Association Extension Institute Certificate in Management Program offered at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

Peace & Blessings,

Tracy

 
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