Anyone familiar with Moldova?

Being one of those people who is challenged to find China on a map, I had to look this one up. Small Eastern European country that came to my attention due to two dynamic women in my life. Melanie Goulter of Molee Fine Art and Julie Glandt of Carolina Adoptive Services are sisters that live in my hometown. Melanie  and I take yoga together, which is how I know them.  I had both Melanie and Julie on yesterday as guests on my radio show.  Their story is incredible.

Julie first traveled to Moldova in 2000 to work with the orphanages and was overwhelmed by the poverty she saw there. Extremely saddened and depressed, her sponsor there suggested she take her last day to visit some art museums to see the beauty offered there. She did, and was impressed. Artists over there undergo YEARS of strenuous training taking, for example, two years to practice drawing the human body before moving on to anything else.   She saw the art, thought about the poverty, and decided something had to be done.

She came back to North Carolina and talked to Melanie and their brother, convinced them to empty their savings, everyone went back to Moldova and Melanie (who was already in the home decor industry) started investing in artists.  She now has a thriving business as an art dealer at Molee Fine Art and travels to Moldova to discover paintings and new talent, as well as bringing artists over to stay with her family here in the States so they can tour and promote their work.

Julie was awarded a medal of honor by the President of Moldova for her work with children and villages.

These are simply two amazing women and what I find more amazing is they live only several blocks from me! There are extraordinary people in the world if we only take the time to listen to them. And the most extraordinary people, more often than not, are the "regular" people living right next door to you and me.

Here's to being extraordinary...