If I have one complaint about the loss of my vision it would be that it takes so long to do the simplest of things. Take this video for example. Shooting it was no problem, uploading it was no problem, editing – this was a HUGE problem and for today I cannot overcome it.
…Oh well, to avoid further delay in posting today I’ve uploaded the video to the blog as-is.
Another note worth mentioning, since I am in the process of packing and relocating my posting schedule may be impacted this month as I attempt to keep myself sane. I will make every attempt to continue posting with as little interruption as possible however I wanted to give you a “heads up.”
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” ~Nelson Mandela
After my morning bible reading, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, I then checked my email for my Encouragement for Today daily devotional. This morning’s post, You WILL be OK, by Jennifer Rothschild struck a chord within me.
You need a bilateral lumpectomy as soon as possible,…
Was only the fourth sentence into the article and the very next sentence: “My first thought was, “Seriously? I’m blind, for heaven’s sake! Haven’t I already met my quota for suffering?” gave me chills.
I knew before even finishing the article that I had to contact Jennifer. Every single person on planet earth has a story to tell for life is a series of ups, downs and uncertainties for all of us. No one is unscathed but I really like the very next thing that Jennifer has to say and it’s this:
It may not be OK, but I will be OK.
As soon as I read this entry “It may not be OK, but I will be OK.” I remembered the bible verse from Job 13:15 where Job says “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”
If you are unfamiliar with Job he was considered by God to be “blameless” and “upright.” God allowed Job to be tested and tormented up to the point of losing everything but his life. Though he cursed the day he was born, in the end, upon conversing with God, Job acknowledges God’s unlimited power and admits the limitations of his human knowledge.
Jennifer Rothschild, an author, speaker, Bible study teacher, wife and Mom has appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Life Today, and the Billy Graham Television Special. She’s written 10 books, Bible studies and recorded several CD’s. The print version on her newest book, God is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense, was released in late March and the Audio version is now available.
Jennifer, who lost most of her sight at 15 years of age, has the inherited eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). If you visit her website at www.jenniferrothschild.com she explains that “I have now lived longer in physical darkness than I ever did in physical light. Blindness is hard, but it’s been a place where God has shown Himself to be so kind, strong and faithful. That’s why I do what I do — Because God has made it well with my soul, and I want others to experience the same kind of peace.”
RP refers to a group of inherited diseases causing retinal degeneration. The cell-rich retina lines the back inside wall of the eye and it’s responsible for capturing images from the visual field. People with RP experience a gradual decline in their vision because photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) die.
Ministry for me has been received, not achieved. Where I am is where God placed me. What I apparently have accomplished is just what God has provided and brought to fruition.
In addition to the above referenced activities in 1998 Jennifer and Dr. Phil founded womensministry.net, an on-line magazine for women in leadership, with over 25,000 subscribers. Fresh Grounded Faith, a ministry founded by Jennifer, are conferences held in different parts of the U.S. The conferences are held about 10 times a year and are where local churches come together and bring kingdom-minded women’s event to their community.
Below today’s posts are links to Jennifer’s social media sites. If you are in need of encouragement or just need an uplifting word you must visit these sites. I was especially touched by her YouTube channel where she talks about the loss of her sight but more importantly what she has gained through her faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jennifer is such an inspiration and I’m so blessed to be able to present such a small portion of her story on my blog. Thank you Jennifer for this wonderful opportunity, you are amazing!!
As a reminder, there are several links on the site to purchase Jennifer’s new book God is Just Not Fair: Finding Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense click HERE. I bought my copy today from Audible.com and I cannot wait to dive in.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
Landscapes of Our Faces; sounds poetic and could double as a soap opera title. The first time I heard the term used was when Stephanie Van, my vision rehabilitation teacher, was giving me some makeup tips and I liked the sound so much I just had to write about it.
Like life itself, with the exception of those whose livelihoods depend on facial care, many of us can take our faces for granted. How many times do we really pay close attention to our own face unless there’s an issue requiring closer examination?
I think it’s safe to say that we understand the face is necessary for individual recognition and we are familiar with its various components. We may even know our facial shape, tone and type but what if you couldn’t see your face? How would you do what millions of women do every day when preparing themselves to face the world?
Many of us get up each day, take a shower, get dressed, style our hair, apply makeup, and go about our day without giving any of these preparations a second thought. There is a segment of our population however who for numerous reasons are very intentional in any given area of their morning ministrations.
I suppose a certain amount of complacency with regard to routine is not a bad thing for if we were constantly reminded of pain, discomfort or incessant empathy, moving beyond today would be a great hardship. The pain of childbirth is one of those milestones though very rewarding, if we had the ability to carry that pain for any length of time beyond the birth of a child I dare say there would probably be a serious population decline.
Back to Landscapes of Our Faces, when Stephanie demonstrated what she meant by the landscape of the face it made complete sense to me. Allow me if you will to take you through the process:
Close your eyes
Using the pads of your fingertips on both hands start on your forehead gently trace your hairline past the temples
Continue down past your ears, under the jaw line and to chin
Going back up to your forehead trace your eyebrows and the orbital socket of the eye
Feel how tissue thin your eyelids are
Trace your eyelashes
Notice contour of your bone structure from your eye socket to your cheekbones
Run your fingers along the ridge of your nose to the cartilage at the tip and nostrils
Now trace your lips
It took me several times of doing this to be able to feel my unique characteristics. I found that though the skin on my face is very soft there are some uneven areas that feel like tiny pimples. I’m now even able to feel the soft tiny hairs on the sides of my face (okay I have to say I was a little shocked to find that I have a quasi-beard). Taking it a step further and smiling I could feel the muscles under my cheeks causing them to elevate along with the laugh lines.
Just like I recommended at the outset of this blog, Stephanie also advises her blind and vision impaired clients to consult with a trusted friend or family member when first learning how to use or switching makeup products/types. This is to ensure that you’ve attained complete coverage and correct application.
I showed Stephanie some of the stencils that I’ve recently acquired and asked for her opinion. While she could see the benefit of some of these tools for some women with low vision she recommends using the fingertips for most makeup application. The reason being, that one can use the sense of touch to determine the amount and coverage of the cosmetics.
Stephanie went on to show me how to line up an eyebrow pencil with the eyebrow and tracing with the fingertip along the brow line. For liquid foundation she uses what she calls the Power of Three. First she places one dot of foundation on each of the following: forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Then with three fingers on both hands she swipes the cheeks in an upward and outward motion three times. This process is repeated on the forehead, nose and chin.
What I would like to do next week is shoot a video demonstration on Stephanie’s method so that I can talk you through the process.
“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.” ~Sally Field
A book about suicidal depression and new blindness? Sounds, well, depressing. But it’s quite the opposite. At the age of twenty-six, Sue Wiygul Martin was deeply depressed. When the pain reached the point where she couldn’t stand it any longer, she did the only thing that seemed big enough, important enough, to end the pain. She tried to end her life. Her suicide attempt failed but resulted in Martin becoming blind.
When her rehab teacher, now called a vision rehab therapist, came to see her for the first time, she asked Martin to tell her a little bit about herself in an effort to decide where to begin teaching. “In the past,” Martin says, “I’d reach out and grab a few happy experiences and use them to tell somebody something about myself. I’d describe the thrill of arriving at the top of a mountain after a long and challenging hike. I’d describe the feel of mastery as I kayaked the toughest whitewater rivers in the Southeast. I’d share the thrill of speed as I galloped across a field mounted on a huge thoroughbred.
But how could I do that this time?”
Martin explains that she felt as though her entire way of life had been lost.
After thirty years, all of those activities, and then some, are, again, part of Martin’s life. And now she’s a woman on a mission.
“I’m passionate about suicide prevention,” Martin says. “I’m on a mission to de-stigmatize depression and suicidal thinking.” “Only when it’s okay to talk about depression will it also be okay to ask for help.”
Sue W. Martin is a graduate of the University of the South and holds a master’s in blind rehab from Western Michigan University. Following a twenty year career as a blind rehab professional she now works for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in the office of Information and Technology. Martin has recently published her first book, Out of the Whirlpool, a memoir of remorse and reconciliation.
Martin lives and writes in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau where she lives with her husband, Jim.
The above entry written by Sue Martin for today’s post was so poignant to me I wanted to present it in its original format. Having dealt with depression for most of my life I was immediately drawn to Sue’s book Out of the Whirlpool, a memoir of remorse and reconciliation and purchased the Kindle version.
If you haven’t suffered depression first-hand you are most fortunate. Speaking from experience I have wanted nothing more than to be “normal.” The problem is I don’t really know what normal is but as Sue so eloquently puts it in her news station interview “even if you have to stay alive minute to minute and hour to hour – stay alive and ask for help. And life can just be so wonderful.” I’ve learned to live within the moment especially if I’m in the grips of depression.
…I awakened to the familiar feeling of paralysis. What was wrong with me? I should want to do this. I should be excited. I should be leaping out of bed in anticipation of a thrilling challenge. But I was none of those things. I was a failure. I had failed at marriage. I had failed in my career attempts. Now, I was failing to even get out of bed. ~Sue Martin
It’s difficult for me to find the appropriate words to describe the joy I derive from writing these Fierce Friday articles and Sue Martin’s is no exception. When I received an email last week about Sue being featured on CBS42 WIAT news station in Alabama and Maria Schriver’s blog concerning suicide prevention I instantaneously knew I had to reach out to her. To view the news interview you can click HERE. To read Maria Shriver’s blog How To Save a Life: Talk About Suicide you can click HERE.
Depression is so insidious and with the staggering numbers of over 8 million attempted suicides throughout the US on a yearly basis we have to get beyond the stigma associated with this disease. I’m so thankful that Sue had the courage to write about her struggle and is now speaking out on this serious issue. I’m also extremely grateful that she responded to me and granted me the opportunity to share her inspirational story with you. Like all of the women that I’ve profiled on Friday’s Sue is one fierce lady and I’m honored to present her to you.
Following are social media links to Sue’s website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.