Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making the Most Out of What We Have

Life is just plain hard. Everyone will encounter tragedy of some kind in their life. We have all heard that it is not what we endure, but how we endure it that is important. As cliche as that is, it is true. Some people bitterly wear their trials openly for everyone to see while others live with hardship seemingly at ease taking each day as it comes and finding joy in everything.
I am blessed to be the mother of a strong young woman named Grace. Grace came to us from South Korea when she was only sixteen. She has been in our family for twenty-two years. Grace has severe spastic quadreplegia. She spends her days strapped in a wheelchair. Grace is frail, only weighing seventy-five pounds. She has had at least four major surgeries in her lifetime: a surgery to repair a dislocated hip that had been that way for several years, at least two surgeries to cut ligaments in her legs so they would not be so spastic and lifesaving double rod surgery to straighten her spine which was curved 120 degrees, She requires almost total care. She has been in this condition most of her life.

Yet, despite all these obstacles, Grace is happy!!

Grace is happy that she has a motorized wheelchair that enables her to move independently.

Grace is happy that she can feed herself when strapped in her wheelchair. Grace is thankful for the straps that enable her that independence. Otherwise, someone would have to feed her.

Grace is happy that she can buy her own clothes using the internet connection on her IPod Touch that she bought with her own money from her soft drink business. Yes, she sells soft drinks to her siblings for a dollar a can. With that money she buys all her own clothes and expensive electronic equipment . She buys gifts for her family and friends with her own money. Here is a woman that cannot leave her home to work, but has a thriving soft drink business!! She has made the most of her situation and provides most of her needs for herself.

Grace is happy that she can arrange all of her own medical appointments with no assistance from a caregiver.

Grace is happy that she has mastered the art of texting. She stays in touch with family and friends.

Grace records Dr. Oz and Oprah every day. Then, she watches these shows at night when her day draws to a close.

Grace laughs.....and laughs......and laughs every day.

Grace posts scripture verse after scripture verse on her Facebook page. She is an encourager.

Grace has never once complained about being in a wheelchair.

Grace is happy......Grace inspires me .....Grace is victorious......Grace has a good life......Grace loves God.

  Without ever saying a word, she reminds me to be grateful because she is grateful. She gets on with the business of living without ever mentioning that she has a handicap. She refuses to dwell on the negative, but rejoices in the positive aspects of her life.

Grace is a testament to the human spirit and the grace of God.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blooming Roses!!

The roses are here!!! This is one of my favorite times of the year. Spring has arrived and the rose bushes at our house are in bloom. We have mostly yellow roses with a few red and pink bushes sprinkled in the mix. The red and pink roses have not bloomed yet, but the yellow ones are here!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Antiquing in Ranger, Texas

This past Saturday, I drove through Ranger, Texas. Ranger is a small, rural Texas community. Almost all the buildings in the single red brick paved Main Street are from the late 1800's or early 1900's. Many of them are unoccupied and are from slightly to severely damaged. But, as I travel, I am trying more and more to find gems of Americana to blog about. Obviously, I have an active interest in antiques and history. It would be wonderful to hear from other like minded people about your antiquing experience....that includes, finds from auctions and garage/estate sales!!

Anyway, I found two wonderful places of interest in Ranger, Texas. One was this 5,000 square foot antique mall called Out of the Past.

The above area was the upstairs section of the building. The ceiling was made of old tin. It was so low I could almost reach up and touch it!!

This store had a super variety of antiques from vintage clothing to highly collectible toys. These were my finds for the day:

This is a wonderful volume of Grimms Fairy Tales, copyright 1925.

Then, I found this interesting figurine of two unusual men. I loved the way they were dressed. I don't normally buy figurines, but these two little guys caught my eye.....

Note the damage on the larger man's arm.

Many antiquers will not buy a damaged item. I am not at all that way, especially when shopping for smalls. I paid only $10.00 for this figurine. Sure, it has a bit of damage, but if set at just the right angle in a china or curio cabinet, no one will even notice. I find I can buy a slightly damaged piece here and there for a fraction of what it would have cost if in mint condition. It still works well for decorating and saves me a good amount of money.

The old building of the week also comes from Ranger, Texas. This was my second find for the day. This building is an oil boom museum. The lady at the antique mall said there were many wonderful pieces in the museum. But, alas, I was not able to see them because the museum was permanently closed. The owner had died and there was no one to maintain the museum. This happens a lot with historical items and places. If there is not an active historical society or sole benefactor for a building or site, the place just sits there gathering dust. The sad reality is that the place is part of American history, and with no one to display and care for it the public misses the opportunity to enjoy and learn something valuable from our past. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Book as a Work of Art

Yesterday my son, Stephen, and I began talking about books. Not books on Kindle, I Pad or some other reading technology, but a genuine hardback book. Sadly, I'm anxious that "traditional" books as we know them will eventually become extinct.
I personally have hundreds of books. Over the years I have owned thousands of hard back books dating from the 19th century to present day. I don't care for paperbacks, although I will buy a paperback if money is scarce. I do own a Kindle, but as of this moment, I have opted for "traditional" books. I don't have anything against a Kindle or some other such device, I just prefer to hold a real book in my hands....and partake not only of the reading experience, but the artisic experience as well. Of course, there are many many novels that are void of illustrations, but there are many wonderful books....or there used to be, with magnificent illustrations. Books from the early twentieth and nineteenth century had glorious illustrations that truly made the book a work of art. Check out the following poetry book from my library: When She Was About Sixteen by James Whitcomb Riley, illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy, copyright 1911.

The following book of poetry, The Early Poems of John Greenleaf Whittier, copyright 1885, has no illustrations, but has a beautiful gilt gold board and spine.

Finally, check out the board  and illustrations of Harry Lorrequer by Charles Lever, illustrations by George G. White.

When I hold one of these volumes in my hands, I perceive them as a work of art, just as if I were viewing a beautiful painting or sculpture. While I am resigned to the irreversible tide of technology with regard to the written word, I do hope that a few authors will opt to produce works similar to these books by much earlier authors. Except for the category of children's literature, the combination of the written word with beautiful illustrations has become a rare find.