in a messy world, we need more gracie

Gracie

Definition: friend, employer, new yorker, israeli citizen, peacemaker, world traveler, God fearer, people lover. 

This is an untypical post because instead of being a stranger I briefly meet along the route, I got to know Graice and am really impacted by the resilience, desire for social impact, and genuine kindness that drives her daily life. She plays nearly every instrument, fluently speaks four languages (including sign-language — which was her first language btw!!), pours her life into helping the social sector, has a heart for disabled people, and has a unique wisdom untypical of many people…..the best way I can being to try to share her with you is via these few questions I asked her…

Who inspires you?

“The truth is that everyone inspires me…. In my life I have been blessed to have a few very strong role models. My father teaches me that small changes add up to big change, that the road is long and challenging but worth it, and that change is possible always.

My mother is a teacher of children who are multiple disorders and challenges. All of her students are deaf and most also face another challenge such as CP, autism, ADD/ADHD, or ED.
I remember coming to her with a challenge….I had a non-verbal student with autism. I had to teach him his phone number but every time we sat down to work my student would obsess over my face. He would touch my face and I couldn’t focus him. My mom had a brilliant idea. She recommended that I write the numbers on post-it notes and stick them to my face. Then the student would pick the numbers off my face and organize the notes in the correct order on my arm. It worked. She always found a way. She taught me that there is always a way from point A to point B and that I should look to the tangents and side roads for the answer. She also taught me acceptance for those different than me.
Lastly, my non-related role model is a woman named Jonanna Bell-Richards. She runs and organization called Harvest for the World.
The short version is that Joanna made a pact with God. She promised to feed God’s people if God allowed her to keep her daughter. The day her daughter walked out of the hospital after a serious accident, Joanna made sandwiches and started giving them out. Since then she has opened up a community center, food pantry, soup kitchen, and two shelters.

 

What do you wish was people cared more about? 

“I wish people cared more about themselves. The words we tell ourself are always harsher than the words other people tell us. I think we all know the “best self” that we want to be. All it takes is small steps each day to become that person. I wish people cared more about themselves. I also wish people cared more for others. I wish we understood better that our actions, even the small ones, affect others. Having responsibility to our neighbors means that we care about them. We are a global community and we have to take care of one another.”

What is the purpose of life? 

“The purpose of life is to live fully. I used to work with teens. I saw many people contemplate ending their life for many reasons. They also asked this question, but had an answer differently than mine. The purpose of life is to live fully. This means saying yes to new opportunities. It also means knowing your boundaries and being confident in also saying no. I think it is also important to approach things with love – from cleaning the floors to writing the report for work – we all have a lot of things to be grateful for and to love in our life. So live and love fully.”

 

Ask yourself these 3 questions….it helps us realign our minds with our core. Envision who you are, who you want to be then build a fortress around those truths. Gracie stands out as a light because she walks confidently in who she is and truly desires to use her time living life to the full.

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