(WMC) - We report on a lot of extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in the Mid-South, so when we heard about a woman on a mission to be ordinary, she got our attention.
She then captured our hearts.
"If we had perfect lives we would have nothing to write about, nothing to paint about, sing about or tell," said artist, author and speaker Minda Cox. "I want people to understand that they are beautiful in the eyes of god."
Just as her brush strokes reveal beauty, so does this former Memphian's new autobiography simply titled Ordinary.
"I called it Ordinary because everybody was saying, 'you're extraordinary.' No I'm not," said Cox.
She is a woman who has overcome in every sense of the word.
"I can't hide the fact that I don't have arms and legs. I can't hide this and that. But, what I can do is let people know I am differently-able and that to me is a better way to put it," said Cox.
Born without limbs, Minda's birth family in India had no way to care for her. After Minda was placed in a children's home, a nurse named Cathy Cox recalls reading about her in a newsletter.
"We have just received a 7-month-old baby who has no arms or legs. Probably never to be adopted. I just called them and said no, that one's mine," said Cathy.
She adopted Minda and four other girls with special needs from all over the world and moved to Memphis in 1999. Cathy says her daughters thrived together because in the Cox household, disabilities are no big deal.
"She'll be better off in a family with other kids with disabilities than if she's the princess. If she's the only kid who is disabled, people are going to treat her pathetically," said Cathy.
"Yes people see the disability first. You can't help it. I mean obviously, it's inescapable. But to see the person underneath: that is what counts," said Minda.
During college, Minda focused her efforts on helping others with disabilities. While studying in Botswana, Africa during her junior year she met a woman who lost her limbs to staph infection.
"She has lost her arms and legs. She has not lost her ability to think. Let me help her," said Minda.
She showed the young woman how to eat, how to brush her teeth, and how to draw.
"I paint with the brush between my arm and chin," said Minda. "This is how I hold it, this is how I also feed myself, and do a whole lot of other things."
Upon graduation, Minda gave the senior speech.
"It is at my university that I found my vocation, my vision and my voice," said Minda.
Now she shares her voice as a guest speaker.
Recently, she spoke at a gathering at Grace St. Luke's Church in Memphis.
"This church played a key role in my desire to go teach other people with physical disabilities, that it's not their disability that defines them," said Minda.
It is an extraordinary message from a woman determined to be ordinary.
"You know just because I struggle, and I have my own personal struggle, my own mistakes, my own faults and, believe you and me, I'm nothing at all perfect, and if I was, I would have nothing to say," said Minda. "This is God's story, and what he has done, and what he has done for me, and what he can do for others."
Minda will share her story in Honduras later this year, then off to Sierra Leone where she will help illustrate a bible storybook for people with disabilities.
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