Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Extraordinary-ness of Sept 14

My goal was to post every day about the extraordinary-ness of September, and even though I’ve missed a few days of posting, there has not been a day that has failed to present me with at least one glimpse of extraordinary, mixed up in my extra-ordinary life.

But I have to tell you about last night. Because it was extraordinary. I would even have to say, super-extraordinary.

Our general membership meeting for the Junior League was scheduled for last night, and even with the rain, there were over 500 women in attendance. We were honored to have Liz Murray come speak to us about her story of perseverance and determination.

Liz grew up in the Bronx, where her parents were unemployed drug addicts, using their welfare check more to support their habit than to make sure their girls had food to eat. She ended up in a group home at 13 and then was homeless 2 years later. After her Mother died of AIDS, Liz was faced with the decision to either continue living life with no purpose, destined to repeat the cycle her parents had introduced to her, or to make a change and transform her life. She chose change.
She started by taking inventory of what she had, and this is what she came up with: she had two feet, two hands, a brain in her head, bus transportation, and free education. That’s it. No money, no home, no food, no place to shower. But she realized that she had enough to make something of herself, and at 17, she started high school. She crammed 4 years of high school into 2 years, graduated top in her class (while sleeping on park benches and on friends' floors), and landed a full scholarship to Harvard.

Last night, amidst a sea of Junior League highlights and Prada bags, Liz Murray challenged us to stop looking at what we don’t have and focus on what we do have. She challenged us to realize our potential – to wake up every morning and ask ourselves, “What if…?” She challenged us to take accountability for what we are doing with our lives. She challenged us to shed our pride and judgment and to just love other people. And she challenged us to make a difference in someone else's life.

An extraordinary woman. An extraordinary story. Extraordinary inspiration.

You can find information about Liz, the Lifetime movie about her life, and what she's doing now on her


  1. Sounds like a wonderful story of perseverance. So neat that you were able to hear her story as well!!


  2. I saw that movie when it came out and just loved it. So inspiring and a good message to everyone, no matter what your background is.

  3. I watch this movie everytime they air it!! Absolutely inspirational!! How wonderful that you got the chance to see and hear her in person! Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo ~Lisa

  4. I feel that God has been challenging me to let go of my pride and judgment and to just love other people. Not just homeless peoople, but my friens as well!

  5. Wow, what an amazing story. I love the message. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Love the message--let's go make a difference for someone today!

    Stop in sometime.

  7. Christie,

    What a powerful testimony...and challenging. I am using parts of your blog to share with the Japanese in my seminar teaching this afternoon. Actually, I am going to give them each a rubberband as I talk aout "tension"... or "balance" in our lives. There is that constant "tension" between being content in our lives, and at the same time striving for excellence and to be all we can be. There is tension between where I am today - in my spiritual life, in my profession, in my relationships - and where I want to be. There is tension between living in a place of "rest" and at the same time working to do all God has called me to do. It takes balance; it takes focus; it takes planning, at times. And more than that, for me, it takes walking daily under the guidance of God's Spirit. His plans for us are far beyond ours - and so much more amazing than we can comprehend.

    The idea of taking what we have and applying it is the concept of "seed" and "harvest." If we cling to the seed, it does not reproduce. If we plant it in the ground...give it up, so to speak...it dies, and then multiplies. That is why God calls us to be givers and planters.

    As you can see, this stirred up much in my heart. Thank you for sharing...and being a vessel of challenge by passing on what touched your heart. It has touched mine. And now it will touch the hearts of many Japanese this afternoon!

    All is going well. I miss you and love you!
    Mom/Grammy (give my "much much love" to Chris and Cella)

  8. I just wanted to come by and say I'm sorry I've been an absent friend! I've missed you!

  9. great post! you've given me something to think about.

    i'm so excited to be visiting... i've missed your blog!

  10. I saw that story and what determination!

  11. just checking in..great story. looks like you have kind of taken a break from posting..
    I have too, just can't seem to find the time.. oh well...good to "see" you again :)

  12. I sure do miss you and your writings. Feel like I have lost something special. Hope you come back to this soon!