Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sanatorium, Texas

A couple of weeks ago I was in Texas Junk Co. and found a box of papers that looked like it had come out of someone's attic. I probably spent half an hour sifting through it, expecting to uncover a brown recluse nest behind every page.

Fortunately I didn't find any spiders but I did find this fabulous letter postmarked January 13, 1941. That is exactly 50 years before Taylor was born so I bought the letter, not paying too much attention to any of the other details.
Once I got it home and took a good look at it, I noticed the postmark was from Sanatorium, Texas. Sanatorium?? Who in their right mind would want to live in a town called Sanatorium? Thanks to my sister's stealthy Googling skills we discovered that approximately 55,000 adults and children with tuberculosis chose to live there between 1912 and 1969. It was the state's first and largest TB colony.

To be honest, I had no idea there were TB colonies. I know about leper colonies but had never heard of TB colonies. After some research I learned that there was a guy who was cured of tuberculosis after a stay in the Himalayan mountains. Tuberculosis sanatoriums in the United States tried to duplicate those conditions by providing a treatment of fresh air, lots of food and milk, and plenty of rest. That was the cure for TB until effective drugs and surgical treatments showed up in the 1950s.

Sanatorium, Texas (which no longer exists) was located just outside of San Angelo. At its largest the complex covered 1,000 acres. It had 35 buildings including a post office, library, barber shop, dairy, hog farm, a power plant, a printing press with its own newspaper, a school for the children, churches, and a sewing club. Sounds like a town to me.

Eventually more effective TB treatments were discovered so there was no longer a need for a sanatorium. The facility was converted to the San Angelo State School which continues to serve the MHMR community.

Am I the only one fascinated by that? Probably. If you want the whole story you can read about it at the Texas State Historical Association.

I was shocked to discover that TB is still a serious problem in third world countries. I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I thought it was like small pox or polio and had pretty much been wiped out or was under control. That's not the case at all. Even though there are now effective treatments for TB, those who are at the highest risk for it don't have access to those treatments. That makes me sad.

I also learned that when old books and movies talk about people dying of "consumption" they're talking about tuberculosis. I did not know that. Early folklore associated tuberculosis with vampires since it tended to suck the life from its victims.

The letter I bought appears to be from a young woman with TB living in Sanatorium. She's writing home to her mother and family. Oh, I also learned that a huge percentage of the world's population has been exposed to TB but the disease generally only manifests in those with weakened immune systems or those whose living conditions are unsanitary. This made me feel much better since I can just picture this gal coughing all over her letter as she was writing it and now I'm handling it while eating a bag of chips. If I lived in Africa I would be in serious trouble.

The letter is hard to read because of the woman's handwriting and she wasn't exactly queen of the spelling bee. Apparently her mother sent her some gifts for which she was very grateful. She especially needed the "scizers" because her fingernails and toenails were about a "foot long". She wanted her mother to make and send her some teacakes with raisins then proceeds to tell her how to make them.

She described what she had for dinner and she circled the word "milk" as if she'd had all of it she could stand. She was receiving gas treatments in which her lung was collapsed then filled with some kind of gas. She said her doctor might let her come home in 6 months if she stayed in bed. Bless her heart.

Then at the end of the letter it looks like she says something about the "last time the Dr. will see my ass". I'm not sure what that's all about.

I got some more letters from that same treasure box from a man staying in some kind of hospital in Muskogee, Oklahoma. It appears to be a long term stay but I can't figure out what his affliction is. Those letters are from the 1920s. I'll have to scan them later so that maybe someone can help me decipher them. It'll be my luck that he had small pox or something so now I'm probably a carrier for that as well as TB.






Monday, March 26, 2012

Sisters, sisters...

...there were never such devoted sisters...

My sister, Shamayn, and her family came for a visit last week. When they left it's like they took all of the life and energy in the house with them. Now it's very quiet and morgue-like around here.

I can't remember if I've written about my sister before. I know I've referenced her many times but I can't remember if I've talked about her family and what her life is like from day to day. It's a challenge, the kind that could break most of us.

Shamayn is 3-1/2 years younger than me and we hated each other for the first 30 years of my life. She was not well when she was born so she required a lot of time and attention that I was used to having all to myself. This did not sit well with my preschool self. She was a big thorn in my side for many years.

We also have completely opposite personalities. I've always been more reserved and quiet with a dry sense of humor. Mayn is outgoing, funny and very animated. I keep my feelings to myself but Mayn feels every emotion so deeply that you can see them from the outside.

It took a major family crisis to bring us together but now she is my best friend and she's one of the best moms that I know. Shamayn's husband Mike had to have heart valve replacement surgery when he was in his mid 30s. Following that surgery he had a series of strokes that disabled him for life. He is able to function physically as far as helping with the kids and running errands, but the strokes affected him mentally to the point where he is unable to hold a job. You can imagine how difficult it would be for a man that young to suddenly be unable to provide for his family. He has somehow managed to adjust to his new role with grace that is not of this earth.

Shamayn's oldest child Kaelei is 14 and was born with a genetic disease called mitochondrial myopathy. It's a form of muscular dystrophy that not only affects the muscles in her limbs but also various organs and body systems. Kaelei has to remain very sedentary at home and when she leaves the house she has to use a wheelchair or she will collapse after just a few steps. She has to watch the sugar content of the foods she eats but she is able to eat on her own most of the time. However, she has been hooked up to a feeding tube all of her life to maintain a constant flow of nutrients into her body. Otherwise, her blood sugar can drop to 11 without any notice at all and she would be in a coma. Fortunately she is able to monitor her own blood sugar now and she recognizes when she's not feeling well so she can inject Polycose into her g-button before her sugar drops too drastically.

Kaelei has recently been having problems with her pancreas and gall bladder which requires very frequent trips to her doctors in Dallas to figure out a treatment plan...which is almost always a guessing game.  Kaelei is one of the most compassionate teenagers I've ever met. She wants so desperately to get her drivers license in a couple of years but realistically she will probably never be able to drive. Kaelei has such big dreams and it makes Shamayn physically ill to know that her sweet daughter will have to experience some disappointment when the reality of her condition crushes her dreams.

Shamayn has a disabled husband and daughter but she also has a 4 year old son as well. Presley has a sensory processing disorder and is mildly autistic. He is super smart and can figure out how to work any electronic device you hand him. However, when he gets tired of the device he will throw it against the nearest wall just to watch it crumble into a million pieces. He has almost no impulse control right now and he is in constant motion all day long.  He can't be left unsupervised for even a second or he'll find trouble to get into. He's an exhausting little toot!

Presley also has some trouble with his digestive tract and most likely has a mitochondrial disease like Kaelei. The test for the disease is a deep tissue muscle biopsy which requires major surgery. Understandably Shamayn has been reluctant to put Presley through that since he's already had more surgeries than most other 4 year olds. Besides, even if the diagnosis is positive there's no cure. Shamayn is already very familiar with the treatments available so she knows what to do for him.

My sister has a disabled husband and 2 disabled children. She is a nurse but is unable to work because if she did she would have to hire a nurse to sit with the kids while she worked. That would pretty much zero out whatever income she made and it might cause them to lose some of their disability benefits as well. The kids have to have those benefits because of the constant medical bills, therapies, and specialized devices they need. Shamayn also battles severe Crohn's disease and frequently has other weird autoimmune problems that pop up out of the blue.

Put yourself in Shamayn's shoes and imagine being the primary caregiver for your disabled husband and two disabled children where one of those children wasn't expected to live past 6 years old and could be called home to Jesus at any moment plus you yourself are not well. Now imagine having to care for them on a fixed income of approximately $16,000 per year. Any time I start to feel sorry for myself I think about Mayn and her life and the supernatural strength she must have just to get from one day to the next. There are families in much worse situations than hers but seeing how Mayn struggles from day to day is all of the reality check I can handle.

Does Shamayn sit around all day feeling sorry for herself and wondering why she's forced to play this hand she was dealt? Hardly. She does have her moments when her life catches up with her and she has a little temporary breakdown. But most of the time she just does what she has to do and makes the best use of the few resources at hand to take care of her family. Obviously finances, or lack thereof, are a huge burden for the Kennedy family but when your children are battling life-threatening diseases for which there is no cure, you just do what you have to do and pray that God will provide.

Shamayn is heavy on my mind right now because she is going through one of those rare times when she gets overwhelmed by her life. She's feeling helpless, hopeless, exhausted and defeated. In her shoes I would probably feel that way all the time but this is not her normal mode.

Mayn is the funniest person I know and I love it when she laughs! She laughs with her whole body and you just can't help but laugh with her when she gets tickled! She's beautiful, smart and creative, she's compassionate and a tireless advocate for causes she believes in. She's generous, loving, affectionate and can burp the Star Spangled Banner. I admire that in a gal. She's an amazing mother, an incredible wife (her husband says so), the best sister a girl could ever have. She's my best friend and right now she's hurting so that means I'm hurting too.

I love my sister more than I can even express to her. That thorn in my side ended up being one of the best things that ever happened to me and I'm SO thankful I didn't make good on my childhood plans to sell her to the gypsies.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Boogered Up Eyeballs, Half Full Glasses, Homicidal Mani/Pedi

Yesterday I woke up with 2 white splotches on the iris of my left eye. They look like little blisters but they don't hurt and I can see just fine. I have a recurring viral eye infection in that eye but it usually manifests itself as pain and redness so I thought this might be something different.

God (and Jayson's employer) has blessed us with vision insurance so a few weeks ago I researched local optometrists and chose Strong Vision Center. I made my choice based on this important criteria:
1. They must be in my insurance network.
2. They must be conveniently located.
3. They must have a website with pictures of the staff.
4. The staff must look relatively sane.
And, most important:
5. There must not be any misspelled words on their website. 
I figure if they can't handle proofreading their website, they probably can't file my insurance correctly either.

Taylor needs her annual eye exam so when I called I told the guy who answered that I needed to make an appointment for both myself and my daughter. I have to admit that I was mildly entertained by the fact that a man was answering the phone in an office that is owned and operated by two women. I don't know why that makes me happy.

Anyway, Dude said the first available appointment was for next Wednesday. Then I explained to him that I had a boogered up eyeball and could be blind by next Wednesday. Suddenly there was an opening for the following morning at 8:15.

That's usually about the time I'm crawling out of bed but having gone nearly blind in one eye because of an infection I am now conscientious about my eyeball care. I don't wear much eye makeup anymore but when I did I removed it every night with baby shampoo and carefully washed my eyeballs. I don't think I would handle blindness very well so I don't mess around with my vision.

I wore contacts for 25 years but after my last viral flare up I tossed them out and switched to glasses. My eyeball virus isn't related to contact lens wear but they can cause irritation which can trigger the virus and it's an unpleasant experience. My last flare up lasted 18 months. You do NOT want a viral eye infection. I got it from a bad sinus infection that backed up into my eyes. I know, gross, but it can happen.

I saw Dr. Cassandra Knight bright and early yesterday morning and I like her a lot. The room I was in had shadowboxes full of vintage eyeglasses mounted on the walls. This is much better than the huge posters of eyeball diseases that you usually see.

I also couldn't help but notice a little business card rack on the desk full of cards for other health care providers that I assume they recommend. One of those cards was for a family doctor that I considered going to but ended up choosing someone else. The doctor's name is Jennifer Kwak. I just can't help but feel bad for her because of her name. She's a doctor. Named Kwak. I'm sure she's heard every joke in the book. Anyway, the doctor I chose is okay but not fabulous. Now I'm thinking that seeing Dr. Kwak's business card in the optometrist's office is a sign that maybe I need to switch to her. I'll have to mull that over for a while.

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/sebin/t/c/slit-lamp_microscope.jpgDr. Knight asked me some questions then looked at my eyes with the slit lamp. She then told me that I actually have white splotches in both eyes but you can't see it in my right eye because it's over the white part. She said as we get older we sometimes get gray rings around the iris of our eyes so it could be that but the edges are irregular so she referred me to a corneal specialist.

She also asked me if I was aware that I have cataracts. On my last visit to the eye doctor in Louisiana I was told that I have the near vision of a 20 year old. I am very nearsighted and can't see anything more than 3 feet away from me, but up close I see very well. At least for now I'm not in danger of bifocals. 

Now my Texas eye doctor tells me that I have old lady eyes. I pointed this out to Dr. Knight who was very quick to tell me that she's seen cataracts in 20 and 30 year olds. It's not very common but it does happen. She also said to look on the bright side. If I have to have cataract surgery it often corrects your vision. So it's like getting LASIK surgery but your insurance will pay for it since it's medically necessary. I thought that was very good news since I used to be an excellent candidate for LASIK until my second viral flare up. Then I was told I could never have LASIK surgery because it would trigger the virus. Cataract surgery might also trigger the virus but it would be necessary and the key word is "might".

That's when I decided that I like Dr. Knight. She's a glass-half-full kinda person. Not that I'm a glass-half-empty person. I'm more of a glass-is-too-big-you-stupid-moron type person.

Now I have an appointment with a corneal specialist next Friday. There were earlier appointments available but my sister is coming to visit and that's the priority right now.

I was so traumatized at the news of my old lady eyes that I decided to console myself with a mani/pedi. The other day I noticed a salon in the Kroger shopping center by my house so I stopped in there to pamper myself into a better mood.

Serene Nails and Spa is one of those "Vietnamese nail salons" that some people avoid like the plague. I like them. I used to wear acrylics all the time and would get them done by Danny at Crystal Nail.

Anjelah  Johnson has a pretty good handle on the nail salon experience:



You should also watch her BonQuiQui at King Burger video. A common phrase around our house is, "I'm a cut you".

My little girl's name was Amy and she was unusually quiet for a Vietnamese nail tech. All of the other girls looked just like her: 4 feet tall, ponytail, capris and 3" wedge sandals. The salon owner stood out by the way she worked the room. She regularly asked each customer if everything was okay, she brought extra magazines and offered us bottles of water.

http://image.made-in-china.com/4f0j00SMJEVrytrPoO/Luxury-SPA-Pedicure-Chair.jpg
It's been years since I've had a pedicure so I'd forgotten how incredibly fabulous they are. I decided that instead of recliners I would like to have a couple of fully plumbed pedicure chairs in our family room. They aren't anymore hideous looking than those ridiculous home theater chairs that everyone is buying so why not? The chairs recline, massage, vibrate, have attached trays for snacks and drinks plus you can soak your feet in a nice warm whirlpool while you watch streaming episodes of MST3K on Netflix through your Wii. I think I'm on to something.

Amy did a nice job with my pedicure, really getting after my heels with that cheese grater. She massaged my feet and legs from the knees down using hot rocks and wrapped them in warm towels. At one point she pounded my legs with her little fists which felt surprisingly good until she hit that very sensitive nerve just under my kneecap which made me nearly kick her in the chin.

I thought I would get bored sitting in a chair for that long so I put my cell phone in the seat under my right thigh. That's where I usually put it when I get my hair done so that I can feel it vibrate when it's my move in Words With Friends. Evidently the massaging action of the pedicure chair caused my phone to migrate because when it vibrated I couldn't find it under my thigh where it was supposed to be. I fished around as best I could without looking like I was digging in my crotch then gave up and got all depressed that my thighs are now big enough to gobble up a cell phone.

I got all caught up on my celebrity news when I got my hair done the other day so I wasn't in mood to read a 6 month old People magazine. I had no choice but to eaves drop on the conversation between the two ladies next me. We'll call them Betty and Sue. Apparently they are friends and they met at the salon to get pedicures together. I would estimate they are probably my age or slightly older.

The big topic of conversation was Sue's 17 year old son who was going to either Padre Island or Corpus Christi for Spring Break. Sue couldn't remember which one it was. It was some kind of class trip and one of the mothers rented a condo for the kids. This disturbed Sue since she would have preferred a hotel where she felt the management would keep things under control better.

Sue told her son to behave himself or he would have to face the consequences. If he got arrested he would be spending a few nights in jail. Probably because it would take Sue that long to find him since she's not exactly sure where he's going.

Sue told Betty that she's well aware of what goes on during Spring Break and if it was her daughter, she would not be allowed to go on the trip. Sue went on several Spring Break trips during her youth and described them as "wild".

Sue went on to brag about what a good kid her son is and how his friends are good kids as well. They all have goals to go to college and she felt like that made them good kids. I'm guessing Sue never went to college.

Betty asked Sue about her son's college plans and they talked about that for a while. Sue wants him to go to LSU. Betty and Sue both agreed that going away to college right after high school is the best thing to do rather than starting out at a community college. They both felt it helps the kids to be more responsible and mature faster. Not to mention the fact that it speeds up their plans to turn the kid's room into a gym.

Apparently Sue's son mentioned going to Lone Star College before transferring somewhere else. Sue adamantly expressed her distaste for community college and described it as a waste of time. She said he might as well go to art school. She said "art school" as if the words tasted bad in her mouth.

My daughter goes to Lone Star Cy-Fair. She likes it. We like it. I like Taylor and I like having her close to home. She has the rest of her life to be a grown up, I don't see the point in rushing it. I wasn't really offended that Sue dissed Lone Star, however I was terribly offended that the worst thing she could compare it to was art school. This offended me a great deal even though I've never been to art school.
It was clear that Sue looked down on the arts and probably any kind of creative career in general and this made me want to gouge her eyes out with a palette knife. Betty wholeheartedly agreed but I have a feeling she probably took watercolor classes on the sly.

My relaxing mani/pedi resulted in unreasonable homicidal tendencies toward a couple of clueless suburbanites who made me want to go get another tattoo just to make sure I never end up like them.

Then I looked down at my red toes which were almost covered by my yoga pants as I climbed into my SUV and took a swig of my bottled water then thought to myself, "Crap. Too late."





Monday, March 05, 2012

Definitely Not Pablo Escobar

My yard guy cracks me up. His name is Mr. Escobar. I never can remember his first name so I keep wanting to call him Pablo which I'm pretty sure isn't correct, politically or otherwise. I wonder if they're related? Not that I think every Escobar is related to Pablo, I just don't know that many Escobars.

He showed up at my door a few weeks ago when Jayson was out of town and the grass was in desperate need of grooming. He offered his services at a reasonable price so I accepted. Then shortly afterwards I discovered that the only English words he knows are 'mow yard', the days of the week, and $40.

He speaks almost no English and I speak almost no Spanish but we manage to "okay" our way through a conversation. He's even called my cell phone a few times which is particularly difficult since we don't have that body language thing to help us try to translate what the other is saying. He goes on and on in Spanish and I keep saying "okay", then I repeat in English what I think he might have said and he keeps saying "okay". For some reason I get progressively louder and louder as if yelling at him will help him to understand what I'm saying. Then we hang up. So far it's worked for us.

Last week he mowed on a day when I wasn't home so I've been expecting him to show up looking for his payment. He came by yesterday to pick it up and to let me know when he would be back to mow again. I'm not exactly sure when that is but that's okay, I know he'll be back.

Mr. Escobar is quite chatty and began telling me a story that may or may not have been important. The only words I understood were convenience store, Pakistani, and 1:00 a.m. At one point he sort of rolled his eyes, let out a deep breath and wiped his brow.

I'm getting pretty good at this translating/decoding body language thing so I think he was telling me that he also works at a convenience store owned by his Pakistani friend and he didn't get home until 1:00 a.m. so he was very tired. Smart, huh?

Or maybe he was held up at a convenience store at 1:00 a.m. by a Pakistani and barely escaped with his life.

Either way I just smiled, nodded and said really loud, "OKAY!"


Friday, March 02, 2012

Epiphanies

I had two epiphanies this morning, almost simultaneously. I usually get excited about one epiphany so multiple epiphanies are a real treat!

Epiphany #1: I am not a hoarder. Hoarders are mental and gross. I may be slightly mental but I am not gross. I am also not a collector. Collector is just a kind way to say hoarder. I am an accumulator. I don't hoard, I don't collect. I accumulate. I'm going to stick with that one until A & E comes out with a show about us then I will quickly separate myself from those accumulating freaks.

I had this little epiphany this morning while working on the spring vignette for my foyer table. And that brings me to my second epiphany.

Epiphany #2: It is impossible to say "spring vignette for my foyer table" without sounding like a pretentious jerk. Or a Junior Leaguer. No offense to my Junior League friends, you gals are doing a great job. Keep up the good work! Since I am neither a pretentious jerk nor a Junior Leaguer I have vowed to never use that phrase again. Instead of saying "spring vignette on my foyer table" I will say "pink crap on the card table by the front door". That's more accurate anyway.

Oh my gosh I just had a third epiphany.

Epiphany #3: I like saying the word 'epiphany'. I will add that to my list of fun words and phrases such as 'full tilt boogie' and 'juxtaposition'. I'm also growing very fond of pomegranate. It might make the list soon.

The above mentioned table with pink crap on it isn't finished yet but here's where I am so far.

I think it needs more muslin and maybe a doily or two. And something rusty for good measure.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Resale, Religion and The Deadly Stink Eye

I scored a wonderfully worn and damaged dictionary, a couple of hand crocheted pillow covers, some linens, shower curtain hooks that will never see a shower curtain, an old cheese grater because I saw someone on Pinterest hang earrings on hers, and a few random pieces of silver plated flatware. All for $25 and some change.
Yesterday I had to go to the grocery store which is a chore I truly deeply hate. In order to motivate myself to go I usually try to connect it with something fun such as....oh I don't know.....maybe stopping at a thrift store on my way? It helps to take the sting out of the grocery shopping.

I went to the shop down the street from me that I just discovered a couple of weeks ago. It's called Cypress Christian Ministry Donation & Resale. The guy who owns it (or at least I presume he owns it) is Indian or Pakistani and struggles a little with English grammar as you can see from this sign in the parking lot:

Bless his heart, he's just as sweet as can be and slightly clueless to go along with it. The store is crammed full of unorganized junk and most of it isn't priced. When I find something I want I take it to the counter and ask Mr. Owner how much the item is. He picks it up and studies it as if he was a jeweler trying to determine the value of a rare diamond.

Then almost every time he says, "I don't know this might be antique. Do you think it's valuable?" I'm not making that up, he seriously asks me if I think it's valuable.

To which I reply, "I have no idea," and that's the honest truth.  I wouldn't intentionally try to cheat anyone. I'm cursed with a conscience. 

Then he will say, "What do you think...about $2.99?"

Most everything in the store is under $5.00 which I think is fair for most things, but I visit a lot of thrift stores so if I know I can get a similar item cheaper some place else I might not be too quick to agree to his price. If I hesitate or wrinkle my forehead he will say, "Or maybe $1.99?"

I'm not looking for valuable items in the traditional sense. Occasionally I'll find something in a junk store that I think might be valuable but I'll only buy it if it inspires me. Of course by the time I get through with it I will have ripped, painted, aged, stained, altered or otherwise stripped away any value the the item may have ever had. An old water damaged dictionary with covers that are falling off and missing pages is more valuable to me than the Limoges plates I pass up all the time. A girl can only use so many cake stands and at 4 I think I'm at my limit.

Me and Mr. Owner were getting along great until he felt the need to point out that all the winter clothes were 50% off. I wasn't in a clothes shopping mood but felt it couldn't hurt to browse through so I asked him where the winter clothes section was. He said the winter clothes were mixed in with all the spring and summer clothes.

Okay fine, he has too much stuff in the store and not enough room to organize it so he probably just considers everything that's heavy or has long sleeves to be a winter item. His prices are so cheap anyway that I would never bother arguing over a shirt with 3/4 sleeves which could go either way.

But then Mr. Owner made a mistake that evidently they didn't teach him about in man school in India. While he was attempting to explain how the clothes were "arranged" on the racks and where the women's sections were, he looked at me and asked, "What size do you wear?"

OMG. If I had been carrying concealed I would have shot him between the eyes. I could not believe he asked me that. I tried to just write it off as cultural differences and I convinced myself that he didn't know any better so I should do the kind Christian thing and let him live.

But then he had the nerve to stand there and wait for my reply. It wasn't a rhetorical question, he actually expected me to tell him what size clothes I needed. Any man with a lick of sense would have immediately backtracked (if he had not been knocked unconscious by my stink eye) and said, "Oh nevermind. I can see that you're an extra small so your section would be right here."

As I was angrily flipping through the clothes in the definitely not extra small section and thinking that Mr. Owner should have just gone ahead and asked me how old I was and if all my teeth were my own, I was distracted by a very chatty Muslim woman who came in to buy a cell phone charger. I couldn't help but overhear her conversation with Mr. Owner and his new girlfriend who is from Bangladesh and doesn't speak any English. Mr. Owner and the Muslim woman (who both spoke Bengali so the girlfriend didn't feel left out) had a long conversation about culture and religion here in the U.S. The woman was middle eastern but I never did catch exactly where she was from. I'm not a very good eavesdropper. Mr. Owner wasn't the least bit shy about asking her questions such as why she wasn't wearing a hijab and if she had Christian friends back home. She seemed very excited to answer all his questions and appeared to genuinely love talking about it.

It was fascinating to listen to the two of them talk about how diverse religions are tolerated and accepted among the people (maybe not so much the government) of their far east and middle eastern homes much more so than here in the U.S., the land of the free. The woman has friends back home who are Muslim, Christian, and Hindi and all are welcome in her family's home. She has faced nothing but discrimination because of her heritage and religion here in the U.S. I was a little embarrassed about that.

I had to give Mr. Owner mental props for not trying to convert the Muslim woman right there on the spot or explain to her how "wrong" her religion is. He is obviously a Christian and his store is part of a ministry. All of us Christians want everyone to know about Jesus and the love He has for them. Unfortunately some well-meaning overzealous Christians forget that it can take time for Jesus to work his way into someone's heart and He rarely finds His way there by being shoved down their throats.

Did I just get all preachy?? I did, didn't I? My bad. I get frustrated at those Christians who make the rest of us look bad. Or even worse, they make my Jesus look bad.

Because Mr. Owner did a fine job of making his Muslim customer feel welcome, I was pretty sure she would come back to the store and maybe develop a friendship with Mr. Owner and Miss Bangladesh. This might eventually lead her to want to know more about Christianity so I decided to be like Jesus and forgive Mr. Owner for his unforgivable question. I'm just all gracious like that.