The Gift of Vision-Never Give Up!
We have had a wonderful fall so far. It is amazing that we have had even warmer weather here in Buffalo than in Charlotte, NC where our son lives. Let’s hope we have an easy winter.
I have to thank a friend of ours, Judie Pufpaff, for telling me about Laura Wright who is an author, photographer and inspirational speaker. Laura has almost died on several occasions and is legally blind. I met with her recently at the Amherst Senior Center where she is in the Photography Club.
Here is her incredible story.
Laura began by telling me she grew up in West Seneca/Buffalo area (Seneca St.) and lived there until she was in her mid-twenties when she then moved to Amherst, where she has lived ever since.
When I asked her about her education, she told me, “Although I come from a highly educated family consisting of my parents and nine older siblings, I quit high school at age 14 in the mid 70s and studied at home with books from the library and received my G.E.D two months later.” Laura said she continued her education throughout the years and received degrees. Then, at the age of 50, she attended Harvard’s writing program for two years. She said, “I then started my writing career, which was what I really wanted to do.”
Laura told me she has always loved history and has always been curious how and why things happen and what it has led to now. She shared, “My mother was a history major and my father encouraged us wherever we went to know about the history of the place. When the family was going to Crystal Beach, I wanted to go to the Red Jacket statue and know the history.”
She went on to say she got married, had her first child, and got divorced while she was expecting another child. She continued, “Incredibly, a few years later I was named International Single Parent of the Year and was flown all over the U.S. for a year to speak at conventions.” Laura said her son is now 40 and her daughter is 36.
Laura told me, “I started my writing career on the topic of history and also started doing photography. I loved it. Then, in 2009, I had a stroke while I was mowing the lawn and it left me legally blind. I have a little vision in one eye but the sight is fully gone in the other. At first, I thought that it was the end of photography for me. But God had other plans for me. I have always been excited about SEEING everything. I was always saying ‘Oh, look at this or look at that,’ so much so that my family calls me ‘Spot.’ I have always been a very visual person. Then, one day, I had this feeling that God was encouraging me. I picked up my camera and I continued my work with an adapted computer. I can still do photography even though I can’t see what I am taking. My photos have been used with my articles in magazines, and I have produced DVDs on various topics.”
She continued, “One article I did for the Western New York Heritage Magazine about seven years ago included my photography in there with the article. I got positive comments and decided to continue to write and do photography. So I did research into blind photographers. I discovered that the New York Photography Museum in New York had just had a yearlong showing of photography by blind people. I did contact a few of them and they said that when they went blind they thought their photography was over but it wasn’t. That really energized me and so a whole new world opened up for me. Everything was going great.”
However, two years ago, Laura said she almost died and is still fighting some of the effects of an unwanted flu shot. It took her a whole year to recover. She said she had many serious effects and had to wear turbans and scarves. Then, a year later, she had a fall and was in a wheelchair. She moved on to using a walker and then a cane, and now is beginning to walk without one. She said she is repaired now, one year later.
Laura shared how it is so exciting to at least be able to see a little bit. People don’t realize how important our sight is. She said to be able to see what you are eating at dinner and say, “Hmm, that looks good” or seeing the looks on a baby and children’s faces is what she misses. She said she especially misses “when you are talking to someone, to see the expressions on their face. When you have your sight you never think about those things.”
Laura also makes theme baskets for charities. She said she makes an average of 84 theme baskets a year to donate to charities. She has a site for anyone to request one; then, she fulfills two requests a month on average.
I asked her what was next for her. She said she just made a DVD at Lily Dale, which is all photos and music for relaxation and also a greeting card line called “Fairy May.” From Nov. 1st-Dec. 31st, she will have an exhibit at Unity Gallery at Unity Church, located at 1243 Delaware Ave. Buffalo. The exhibit is of her photography that is meant to inspire us to look and really see everyday visions.
There will be an opening event on Nov. 12th from 12pm-2pm. All are invited and it is FREE.
It was great to hear how she has put her faith in God and that she has a purpose in life to help others.
If you want to contact Laura, her email is: email@example.com
If you know of a successful program in your community or would like more information please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Carol S. Wolf is married to her husband Dick for 52 years. She has 2 sons and 4 grandchildren. She is a writer, speaker, storyteller and leader of workshops and retreats. She is an Associate Spiritual Director at the St. Joseph Center for Spirituality and a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers WNY.|
Carol wrote this book as part of her two year Master's program in the Academy for Biblical Storytellers. It has just been published and is available for $10.00. Carol is an author, speaker and leader of workshops meditations and conference.
"This book give you an opportunity to experience how, when we become a part of the biblical story, we often find meaning for our own life. It is an incredible resource for confirmation, baptism, and intergenerational groups." Trracy Radosevic, Dean, Academy for Biblical Storytellers.
Anyone interested in buying a book can email me @email@example.com. The book is $10.00 + $2.00 mailing.