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RUNNER-UP ($150 Visa® Gift Card for nominee and nominator)
As submitted by Mary Carpenter (NJ)

Every so often you come across an individual whose life is so extraordinary you cannot help but want to share it with others.  My first impression of her was through her artwork. A truly phenomenal watercolor painter, she has the ability to paint ordinary objects and people in a way that captures not only their form but their very spirit. A master at her craft, it is hard to imagine that someone with so much talent has lived a life with so many obstacles.

Michele Struss was born with a form of dwarfism. This condition has caused her to suffer through a lifetime of surgeries and extended hospital stays over the years. Despite the negative reports, Michele’s life has fully been rooted in her faith and trust in God. When the doctors said she would never walk, she believed that God had other plans for her. She now stands today as a miracle of his grace; and does so without the use of crutches! Her stature may be small, but there is nothing small about this young woman. Michele has chosen to live her life on purpose knowing that she serves a God who works all things together for the good of those who love them and are called according to His purpose. Her artwork is simply a reflection of God’s heart to ours, and she has committed her life to using her talent for the glory of her Creator.

In addition to her artwork, Michele uses her story to inspire others every day by sharing her story with others. She does not see herself with limitations because she walks with a God who sees no limits. Her faith in her Creator has allowed her to push past her disabilities to achieve and to be what man has said is impossible. The result is a life completely surrendered to God. Although he has allowed her to hold the paintbrush, she has allowed Him to be the artist; and the result is a beautiful masterpiece.

I nominate Michele Struss as one who lives life on purpose. I cannot think of someone else neither more humble nor more deserving than she.

Her amazing story and her watercolor portraits can be found at her website: www.hispaintbrush.com.


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