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The Good Fight

Call it timing, PMS, or a mix of the two, but I've gotten walloped by sad and inspirational stories and images this past week. You know the kind: Amazing deeds and/or feats by people in terrible situations. They make us cry, give us hope, inspire us to be better people, and cause us to re-evaluate our lives. Today, I've decided to round them up and hurl them into cyberspace to inspire us all. Go grab some tissues.

GABBY GIFFORDS: If you're not familiar with her story, you've been living under a rock somewhere in the outer-core layer of the planet. This morning, she was on the news in a story about the anniversary of the shooting in Arizona. While her recovery has been amazing, she still has a hard time speaking. You wouldn't think she knew that to see her leading the Pledge of Allegiance with more intensity than most of us have seen in a while.  It was even better to watch than the bi-partisan cheers she received when appearing before Congress to vote on the debt ceiling. Amazing how people can come together to recognize the value of life when faced with the possibility of its loss. Maybe Giffords should run for president one day. If anyone can put herself in the shoes of those who struggle with quality of life, who know what its like to have to fight the odds each day, she can. No matter who she was before her ordeal, I imagine she knows the difference between what matters in life and what doesn't now. What an inspiration she is in her demonstration of the ability to fight through seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

JESSIE REES: I only read about this brave girl two days ago when, unfortunately, she died. At age 12. She had suffered from brain tumors, but during her fight, she managed to start an organization to bring cheer to hospitalized children and others. Her idea, Joy Jars, involves selling decorative jars that come with a T-shirt inside. Purchasers are supposed to keep the shirt and refill the jar with goodies to cheer a friend. You can request a Joy Jar for a sick child as well. Find out more about Jessie, her organization, and her motto "Never Ever Give Up" (NEGU) at I'm thinking Joy Jars might be a nice place for my kids to send the donation money they set aside from their allowances.

JASON McELWAIN: Somehow, I came across this story while searching for publicity idea articles. Meet Jason, an autistic teenager who loves basketball and did some amazing stuff with his passion. Autism of any sort really gets to me. Often, there is such a fine line between autistic behaviours and "normal" behaviors. You have to wonder if the solution is something simple, and we just can't find the answer. It's truly one of the biggest mysteries out there. Watch Jason's story here:

MAJESTIC BALD EAGLE: This morning I found a photo of a bald eagle on my friend's Facebook site. She is an awesome photographer (Kristina Stelz: Lakefront Photography) and took several shots hanging out her window. (Gee Kris, I hope someone had your feet!) So Kris, in her own right, is inspiring.

However, it was the bald eagle, with its majesty, the way it is working its way off the endangered list, and the current issues affecting our country that made me teary. (No, I don't mind words like "sap!" on the comments thread; feel free!) Seriously... look at it! Wings up, taking off. Thank goodness few agreed with Ben Franklin when he wanted to make the turkey our national bird, huh?

Kris eagle

And if that isn't enough, this feathered friend, after grabbing a snack, takes off flying toward the American flag...

Eagle 2

So, while I may be a mess lately, it's wonderful to know that beautiful things have happened in spite of the bad, and I can be hopeful that good things will continue to happen in the face of adversity. 

While we're sharing, what made you teary this past week?