From Coca Cola collectibles — to a towering nutcracker, Stacy James’ home is filled with one of a kind things.

“I’d love to tell you that came from Germany, but it didn’t,” James quips about an item in her collection.

And with a sense of humor to match — she also one of a kind, calling herself not just a motivational speaker, but an inspirational one.

James explains, “Motivators tell you what to do, but I want to show you what to do with my life.”

A life of overcoming obstacles, one that changed forever in a single moment when she was a 20-year-old college student.

“I dove toward the deep end but I never made it. I slammed my head in three feet of water and instantly I was paralyzed from the next down,” remembers James.

But while her body was paralyzed, her determination was not. She graduated Magne Cum Laude from the University of Cincinnati not long after.

“We have a choice, whatever we are going through, we can give up or we can decide that we have something to live for,” says James.

James had plenty to live for, over the years she has finished more than a dozen marathons, won a beauty pageant, traveled the world, and co-written two books on overcoming adversity.

James explains, “I want people to think, if she can do it, I can do it.”

Achieving goals that started as just dreams, she slowly turned into reality, a message she now shares at speaking engagements around Ohio. 

James adds, “That’s like my big message, you don’t have to finish first, but finish!”

With that in mind, a positive attitude, and a whole lot of faith, James says anyone facing any problem in life, can not only survive but thrive.

“You can become bitter or you can become better,” states James.

Choosing to become better, is something this remarkable woman certainly did.