A Visit Down Home

Sometimes this life is unpredictable and presents us with unexpected challenges. We believe that we are headed in one direction and, before we know it, something or, in the case of Judy and Jerry Horton someone arrives on the scene and our lives are changed forever. Judy and Jerry were reflecting on the onset of their “empty nest” years when Judy found out she was pregnant. Several months later Kelly Page Horton arrived. She was a healthy, beautiful baby with Down Syndrome.

Since Judy and Jerry spent most of their working years at colleges and universities, they were very adept at research. So the search began for answers. The same questions that all parents of children with Down Syndrome face: she’ll be safe and secure at home, but what will she do when she grows up? What about friends? Education? Work? How can we meet all of her needs? Who will pay for her care?
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This was the beginning of a remarkable journey for the Horton’s and the birth of the Down Home Ranch. They decided, with the help of friends, clergy and the community, to build a working farm and ranch for people with disabilities. This would be a place of love and opportunity, the best hope for Kelly’s future life. They envisioned a place where residents could enjoy
freedom to study, visit friends, learn, train and join in a variety of activities.

Down Home Ranch is a residential facility and working farm and ranch. Forty adults and children live year round on the ranch caring for 330 beautiful forested acres of Post Oak Savannah in Central Texas.  The 32 Ranchers and 30 staff and family members tend animals, raise food and celebrate the seasons of life together. Although the ranch has become the old-fashioned community that was always envisioned since the very beginning, it is not an isolated community. Residents are welcomed into the surrounding communities and cultures.

There is room for more! Residency is open to persons who: are at least 18 or older and have finished high school; desire to live on a real working Texas ranch; are able to benefit from the residential social, educational and vocational programs offered by Down Home Ranch; and wish to live in close proximity to friends and co-workers on the Ranch. If you are interested in finding out more about residency options and opportunities, check out the web site at www.downhomeranch.org.
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When I visited Down Home Ranch, I found the friendships and camaraderie to be overwhelming. The spirit of harmony is amazing. Each camper or resident is a precious individual. Their life choices are respected and honored. There is a remarkable sense of belonging and succeeding. Ranchers may, at some point, decide to move from the ranch and strike out on their own in a nearby community. Perhaps they’ll marry or receive more training and education. With the strong friendships that have been established at Down Home Ranch, horizons are expanded through shared work, play and worship. I found myself bonding immediately with residents and family members. Down Home Ranch was started in a tent and is now a thriving community that has been created for people with Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities. It is a place where lives are changed. It is a place of complete acceptance where our precious children can develop into valued independent adults. It is Down Home Ranch.

By, Lloyd Lewis
President/CEO, Arc Thrift Stores

Make Your Own Mug

So the other day I went by arc Thrift and I bought a white mug for my latest (affordable) craft project!  I wanted to make my own custom designed mug.  These are great for gifts, special occasions or just for plain fun.  Next, I hand drew on the white mug with a sharpie (preferably a sharpie paint marker), you can find these for cheap at any arts and crafts store. You can use all kinds of colors and designs on your mug, get creative and crafty Colorado! Be sure to wipe the mug off with a damp cloth and dry it before you start drawing.  Once you have completed your artwork its ready to be baked.  Heat the oven to 365 degrees and put the mug in there while the oven is heating up, this will prevent it from cracking.  Now once the oven heats up you will want to bake to start a timer and bake it for 30 minutes. Afterwards let it sit in there while the oven cools.  Take it out. Wash it. Enjoy it! Image


– Lian, arc Thrift’s college blogger


DIY Crafts

Sometimes in the world of crafting, I bite off more than I can chew. This is a pattern even from when I was a kid.  I’d start projects and then leave them lying around after being distracted by something else…as my parents like to remind me.  But no more! After seeing this amazing vintage lamp at a nearby arc thrift store (for only $6.99!!!) I knew I wanted to rewire it and had to see it through.  There were several vintage lamps that caught my eye but this one won my heart :). Untitled1

The lamp has such beautiful shades of blue and green and I LOVE the 1970s drip glaze.  The only problem was that the plug was bent and the wiring looked rough.  Usually I’d let a little thing like fear of a painful shock turn me away from such a beautiful lamp-but not today! I figured rewiring a lamp couldn’t be that hard, could it?  Could it?!  I’ve seen so many amazing vintage lamps at arc, but I’ve never known how to rewire them-now I will!

The first step was buying a lamp kit from a local hardware store (around $10) so that I could figure out what all of this entailed.  Then when I couldn’t read the miniscule print on the back of the package I resorted to the internet.  Here’s what I had to do (the abbreviated version):

I unscrewed the ornament at the top of the lamp and then popped the oval harp off. Untitled3

After that I flipped the lamp over, pulled off the cardboard bottom and unscrewed the nut on the underside of the base that holds it all together.  With that undone I slowly took the whole thing apart and then threaded the new cord all the way back through the base up to the socket.  So far so good!

Things got a little trickier once I had to strip a bit of the wire at the top in order to actually rewire the socket.  I’d like to tell you that I did this no problem and then easily wired each side of the wire to the correct screw.  But that would be a lie.  I needed help! Untitled5

I was so worried that I wouldn’t do it correctly and would somehow make something explode that I wimped out.  I don’t even have a picture for you of me completing the job with help.  I should be ashamed…but I’m not.  Because as soon as I plugged this puppy in it lit up beautifully!  (Sorry for the lousy picture, though.)  Another arc treasure to satisfy my love for vintage, and for such an amazing price; I’ve seen drip glaze lamps like this being sold for tons in antique stores.  Arc always hooks me up with fabulous vintage wares for super low prices.  Plus I never feel guilty shopping because it goes to such a great cause.  Now all it needs is a lamp shade.  Wonder where I might find one…

Julie W.