“Life truly is beau­ti­ful!”

Woman's World - - Life Makeover! -

Home­less and alone, sin­gle mom Vanessa Howard won­dered if life would ever get bet­ter. Then, thanks to the gen­eros­ity of a stranger, it did. So to­day, she’s pay­ing that kind­ness for­ward . . . by help­ing other women feel beau­ti­ful and con­fi­dent!

Pulling the thin blan­kets up to her daugh­ters’ chins, Vanessa Howard set­tled into the dark of the home­less shel­ter.

Like most par­ents, Vanessa wanted more for her chil­dren. But from the time she was a lit­tle girl, her own life had been filled with strug­gle and heartache. Vanessa had to move in with her grand­mother when her drug-ad­dicted mother could no longer care for her. Then, when she was only a teenager, she got preg­nant.

Her boyfriend vowed to build a life with her, but at barely 20, Vanessa found her­self a sin­gle mom of three. Hav­ing also lost her grandma, she felt alone and ter­ri­fied— and she had only $1.75 to her name.

She couldn’t stay with her girls on the streets. So they had come here. And now, the Tampa mom qui­etly sobbed: Please, let things get bet­ter . . .

Reach­ing for dreams Over

the next few years, as they bounced from shel­ter to shel­ter, Vanessa would take what­ever job she could to sup­port her­self and her girls, fre­quently work­ing in hair sa­lons.

Hon­estly, though, Vanessa loved it there: chat­ting with the clients, see­ing the smiles when stylists spun their chairs around so the women could glimpse their trans­for­ma­tion.

Maybe some­day I can be­come a hair­dresser. Maybe some­day I can have a sa­lon, she even be­gan to dream.

But that dream seemed un­reach­able. Vanessa was barely get­ting by. One night, like so many in the shel­ter, tears spilled down her cheeks. Please, God, if you are real, bless me and my chil­dren with a safe place to stay, she im­plored.

The next morn­ing, Vanessa felt . . . dif­fer­ent. Is this hope? she won­dered. It had been so long. Still, when she saw an ad for an apart­ment in a nice neigh­bor­hood, she de­cided to go check it out.

Vanessa wasn’t sure what had com­pelled her, since she didn’t even have the money for a de­posit. But, she went to meet the land­lord.

Smil­ing, he handed Vanessa an ap­pli­ca­tion.

“I know I don’t know you, but I feel like you need a chance and should have this place,” he said. And the next day, he called to an­nounce, “The apart­ment is yours!”

“Thank you!” Vanessa cried, over­whelmed with grat­i­tude for her prayer hav­ing been an­swered. And she vowed that some­day she would pay his kind­ness for­ward.

As months be­came years,

Forour an­niver­sary, my hus­band and I went out to a nice res­tau­rant with some friends. As we were look­ing at our menus, I glanced up and asked, “Is some­thing burn­ing?” That’s when I no­ticed that my menu had caught fire from the can­dle on the table! We quickly put it out, and when the wait­ress came back, she pre­tended not to no­tice the charred cor­ner of the menu. Boy, was my face red! — C.G., Stone Moun­tain, GA

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