I always knew there was something special about Laura. But being that I did not know her full story, I could not put my finger on what it was. She was different from most women. She walked with a slight limp and you could tell she struggled with some fine motor skills. But truth be told, those small differences are not what I am talking about when I use the word special. Whenever I saw her, she ALWAYS had a smile on her face and she greeted people of all walks of life with a big, warm “Hi!” She made you want to respond “Hi” back. And she was always busy doing SOMETHING…be it working in the local cupcake shop, shopping at the grocery to cook a delicious meal, or eating at the local Italian restaurant sharing wine and food with friends. Always laughing. Always doing. Always living. So back in October when I saw her share this post on Facebook…I knew she was Beautiful and Brave!

This gave me a glimpse into “Laura’s Story”

“I had a conversation with a young man newly in the Marines who was fussing about how tired and sore he was! I congratulated him and thanked him and proceeded to share with him that for many years I could barely walk and did PT and OT as my job and that I lived exhausted and overwhelmed in every way! I also informed him that I could walk today because of such, (not proud that I bullied him) and that he needed to keep in mind that he is capable of anything! I know it was shameless of me, but I ended it with “failure isn’t an option and a you pick your destiny!” I think we both have a tad more respect now, and that is what life is about! Fulfill your goal, because you can!!:)”

Laura’s Story…In Laura’s Words:

I always knew that God was going to give me a wonderful blessing that would appear in the form of a tragic event, and He sure did. However, I wasn’t prepared for this “blessing!” In late July of 2004 I was dropping everything I touched, couldn’t use a key to unlock a door or start my car and I could barely walk. I vividly remember that I felt pins and needles in my hands and I asked anyone and everyone to feel them. I panicked and cried because in my heart I knew the diagnosis- Multiple Sclerosis.

My heart was correct and I cowered through intense physical and occupational therapy in two different hospitals followed by years of outpatient therapy. Make no mistake, I was going through the motions and not really happy or adjusting well to my new life. Until one day when that all changed…

I was at a party were topics of conversation ranged from fancy cars, jewels, makeup and handbags and the whole time I wanted to cry because I just wanted someone to help me walk to the bathroom and unbutton my skirt and button it back again (MS had robbed me of my motor skills) before it was too late!

I survived that evening and kept thinking how I was just as absorbed in everything that didn’t matter until God woke me up by removing me from that game. My priorities had changed and I liked the new Laura better. I realized that my world was forever changed but I was okay with it. I guess you could say, I found myself! I suppose being “different” does that to a person!:). Through this acceptance, my world has expanded twice fold- I see the beauty in almost everyone and everything and have been able to mentor others through many councils I’ve served on! I traded in high heels and running through life for comfortable ones and the chance to savor life! I’d say God blessed with my new life!!

Here are a few post Laura has shared on her Facebook status, that to me show just how beautiful and brave she really is:

“One of the best parts of life is the people you share it with! So tonight I send my love and gratitude to those who are in my life and make it a better place!:))”

“Quite often I feel the need to be beyond grateful- today being one of those days!:) Life is what we make it and I refuse to make it anything other than amazing, challenges included!#keeponkeepingon

“Thankful tonight for my spirit of optimism, while it drives many crazy, it is my absolute saving grace and true spirit!”
“While grocery shopping today, I saw a sweet man without sight waiting for his ride home and it brought back many memories! When newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, i wasn’t able to drive for two years and it was beyond humbling.. I took a taxi often and my family drove me the rest of the time! One way or another, it made me realize that for every day I drive, there is someone that can’t! Be grateful for what you Can do, because so many people aren’t able to… #gratefultoGod

“Grateful tonight for the journey God has led me through, or as I call it “the road less traveled”… I’m better for having been down the path He picked for me!!!!”

Does Laura’s story inspire you? Share your thoughts below!