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2018 Hall Of Fame Dedication

2018 Hall of Fame Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

2018 Hall Of Fame Dedication

So the other day I had this brilliant idea!! I thought why not send out an email to all the folks featured on Bold Blind Beauty in 2018. The ask was simple, or so I thought. But as brilliant ideas go I hadn’t thought of all kinks in my plan. Thank heavens everyone didn’t respond to my request because I’d be working on this project into 2030. However, even though everyone didn’t respond I’m nothing if not resourceful and was able to include them as well. Here’s a link to the lyrics & credit to the music, Hall of Fame.

This dedication goes out to those featured in 2018 on:

Thank you to those of you living with blindness/sight loss for continuing to live your best lives. Many thanks to the professionals in the field of blindness who help us reclaim and sustain our independence. Thank you to the parents of blind & visually impaired kiddos who are fearlessly giving them the tools they need to thrive. Because of the work you do, together we are breaking down barriers. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU!

Description: The video template looks like a chalkboard and it contains the names and photos of the people mentioned below.

2018 Hall of Fame Dedication

Email Respondents | 2018 Hall of Famers

Blind Beauty | 2018 Hall of Famers

Women On The Move | 2018 Hall of Famers

Cane EnAbled | 2018 Hall of Famers

2018 Hall Of Fame Dedication

The image is a cover photo collage of the first two email respondents and Hawkeye The White Cane:

  • Christina Holtzclaw – adjective is “Authentic”
  • Jennifer Dunlap – her adjective is “Mom”
  • Hawkeye – his adjective is “Independent”
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2019 New Year Fresh Outlook

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope you all were able to come out on the other side of the holidays unscathed. For a moment I didn’t think I’d make it through my mini mental breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, while I look forward to Christmas, at the same time I can’t wait for it to be over. The last couple of weeks were so awful I gave up any pretenses at appearing happy. Since I was practically in a vegetative state from binge-watching Netflix I toyed with the idea of becoming a professional procrastinator.

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook image description is in the body of the post.
Stones, Balance, Harmony

While it is not my intent to bring anyone down I wanted to share my experience and end on a positive note:

  1. Depression lies and tempts me into believing I’m worthless, my life doesn’t matter, and possibilities die.
  2. Fuzzy thinking clouds clarity, I lose focus and magnify unimportant elements in my life.
  3. Guilt as a by-product of my depression would have me think I MUST be… (fill in the blank).
  4. Anxiety causes me to be in a constant state of high alert and triggers panic attacks.
  5. Comparisons, as well as unrealistic expectations, are fruitless efforts and thieves of joy.
  6. Self-preservation is key and during these moments I must have solitude.
  7. Listening to my body by disconnecting, resting, and being brutally honest is healing. This recent episode actually called for an impromptu hiatus away from all social media, my computer and cell phone.
  8. Time really isn’t the enemy and I took all the time I needed to regroup and restore a fresh outlook.
  9. Change, like time, I cannot control and it’s the one thing in life that is and will remain constant. I will continue to adapt and move onward.
  10. It’s okay to not have all the answers, I’m only human.

Being Human Can Suck Sometimes

We humans are such complex creatures aren’t we? At times I look at Mollie, my dog, and kinda envy her because she only requires love, food, and water. She doesn’t have to get a job, care for an aging parent, grandchild, or worry about what to post on her website. Oh wait, she doesn’t have a website cause she’s a dog, DUH!

As a proud INTJ, I admit at many times I’ve lived to work. When I’m attached to a computer my life is full. Combine my love for work with my passion for advocacy, and the two can become a lethal combination. To some degree, the increased urgency brought about by getting older and moving closer to my expiration date causes more anxiety. Even though I realize I have no control over my life expectancy I’d like to leave my imprint on the world.

I constantly worry that I can’t keep up with the changing times but I’m dedicated to giving my all to the task. One of the my areas of focus in 2018 was simplicity and somehow it slipped from my grasp. The great thing about fresh starts is just that; I can begin anew.

Will my depression and anxiety go away? Probably not, I’ve lived with this all my life. I have periods where I lose direction and feel lost but I’ll continue to hopefully come out on the other side more enlightened.

2019 New Year Fresh Outlook Featured Image Description:

A green street sign that says “Time for change.” In the background is an outdoor clock.

Additional Image:

Stones, Balance and Harmony is a photo of three stones balanced atop one another with a skeleton key on top.

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Mac’s Story A New Perspective On Life

Mac's Story A New Perspective on Life

I began following Mac’s story on Instagram when I came across a video of him using his first cane. Watching Mac use his AMD (alternative mobility device) was so cool as I’d never seen one before. My heart was nearly bursting as I witnessed this little guy claim his independence. So I asked Nicole (his mom) if she’d share his story with us and she said yes!

Mac’s Story A New Perspective On Life

#1 Mac's Family photo description is in the body of the post.
#1 Mac’s Family

When my son was 5 weeks old we found out he was blind. At that point, I was overwhelmed with emotion; angry, lost, and in denial. I had no idea of what this meant for our sweet son, Mac, or our family.

There are so many emotions I felt no one could have prepared me for:

  • I felt heartache when I saw other babies looking into their mama’s eyes;
  • feeling of failure as a parent when Mac couldn’t hold his head up or crawl;
  • comments of pity from others when learning about Mac’s diagnosis and blindness.

I was now a special needs mom. This meant I had to learn how to avoid letting these heartaches and struggles lead me down the wrong path. I needed to do something to prepare myself to handle this emotional rollercoaster and new life that we had begun.

Very quickly, we connected with our local early intervention program for the visually impaired. Before we knew it, Mac had a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) and occupational therapist (OT). These professionals taught us how to aid Mac in his development.

The more we connected with others, I quickly learned of the huge financial deficit for the visually impaired child. I felt compelled to do something to remedy this situation and bring it to light. So I began posting stories about Mac, and what we are learning about how to supplement a visually impaired child’s development. This was an important piece because 85% of all development is incidentally done through vision. Teaching Mac how to meet his developmental milestones without being able to see wasn’t intuitive to us. We are so thankful his TVI and OT are there to guide us.

The Healing Power of Sharing

I never could have imagined how therapeutic it would be to share Mac’s story. The outpouring of support from friends and strangers was so heartwarming. People began to ask for more updates and have specific requests for the next post. They wanted to learn how Mac navigates a new environment or if he seems to have refined his other senses. It was so nice to go from feeling alone and helpless, to feeling supported. Educating others about visual impairments and building inclusiveness was an added benefit. Amazingly, talking about the issue seemed to remove the avoidance and pity from others.

#3 Mac on a swing photo description is in the body of the post
#3 Mac on a swing

As Mac continues to grow, he is learning so much. I had no idea how much intervention is required for our son who is blind. In addition to his TVI and OT, he has an orientation and mobility specialist (O&M) and soon a speech-language pathologist. It’s amazing how much we incidentally learn through vision; even speaking is something that is primarily learned through watching others. We are so thankful for Mac’s team of specialists. This team has helped us learn to embrace this new life and prepare our son to achieve great things.

We have gained the same passion that so many others who are visually impaired have, to change the stigma, fight for the cause, and make a difference. We find ourselves advocating for early intervention and inclusiveness.

Paying It Forward

#4 Mac & him mom photo description is in the body of the post.
#4 Mac & him mom

While we cannot cure Mac’s blindness or give him sight, we can teach the world more about blindness. In addition, we can help make the world more accessible for all people. We’ve started an annual fundraiser, a gala that benefits the local early intervention program that has been so good for our souls. We feel like we are making a difference in the lives of other children with visual impairments by removing some of the financial barriers to accessing the care they need.

Mac has taught us so much in his less than 2 years of life. There is so much more to life than what you can see. You are not defined by your disabilities; they are a characteristic of the amazing person that you are. The uniqueness each of us possesses is what makes this world wonderful. If we learn from one another, our perspective will continuously flourish. While there are numerous challenges, I am so thankful for Mac’s blindness and our new perspective on life.

Mac’s Story A New Perspective On Life Featured Image Description:

Closeup of Mac shows the light blonde haired cutie smiling while he holds onto his blue and white AMD. He is sporting a chunky gray cardigan over a flannel shirt with blue jeans.

Additional Images:

  1. Mac’s family; mom, dad, Mac and his two sisters are standing outdoors in a grassy field posing for the camera. Mom and dad are holding one another and Mac’s sisters are standing in front while mom holds Mac in her left arm. In the background, golden orange autumn foliage can be seen.
  2. Is a tri-panel collage: The first image is in the same grassy field as photo 1. In this image, Nicole is holding Mac in her left arm while her two daughters are each holding one of her legs. Mac is using his AMD on the sidewalk it almost looks like he’s running. In the third photo, Mac’s oldest sister is holding his arms in the air while he walks in the grassy field.
  3. On a clear, sunny autumn afternoon bundled in a blue winter jacket, Mac looks like he’s having a blast on a toddler swing.
  4. A stunning black and white photo of Nicole holding Mac on her lap while he is smiling broadly.

Following Mac’s Story:

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Lady Rabia Abdul-Hakim | Blind Beauty 66

Blind Beauty 66 Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Lady Rabia Abdul-Hakim | Blind Beauty 66

“I was 25 years old, driving down the highway with my three young children in the van. When suddenly, I realized that I could barely see the traffic lights. Scared, I detoured to the local optometrist with my six-year-old son, Mohammad, calling out the color of the traffic lights.”

~Lady Rabia Abdul-Hakim

Lady Rabia, our first featured guest and cover model for CAPTIVATING! was born with poor eyesight which was her norm. But can you imagine what it must have been like to suddenly not be able to see when driving? For 25 years she managed quite well with her poor vision. Yet it wasn’t until this scary driving incident that she found out she had the progressive eye disease Keratoconus

As a talented illustrator and author of a children’s book series Lady Rabia has an interesting story of grit and determination. Today she is working to rebuild her publishing company while serving as an Ambassador for Fight for Sight UK. To read her story you can find it in CAPTIVATING!

Blind Beauty 66 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. A close-up photo of Lady Rabia is on the cover in black & white. She has long straight black hair, natural makeup, and her eyeliner is drawn with liquid liner wispy cat tail technique. Her eyebrows are on fleek and looking great! In this photo of her head is tilted to her right and her left hand is brushing through her hair. While you can’t see the color in this photo, her nails and lipstick color are a matching pink.

Blocks of text superimposed on Lady Rabia’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”

Connecting With Lady Rabia: