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Amanda Gene Nelson | Blind Beauty #68

Amanda Gene Nelson | Blind Beauty #68 Featured image description is in the body of the post

Amanda Gene Nelson | Blind Beauty #68

“Despite my visual impairment, in 2019, I decided that with more movement, patience, and positivity I could achieve anything- including running my own business. Nothing is going to bring me down.”

~Amanda Gene Nelson
Amanda Gene Nelson image description is in the body of the post.
Amanda Gene Nelson

What I love about our featured guest’ quote are her words. Amanda says “I decided…” which means she is making a conscious decision to obtain her goals.

On Amanda’s Instagram profile she says “I am a blogger, coffee lover, dog lover, and dream chaser…” A graduate of the University of West Florida with a BA in Print Journalism she certainly is a dream chaser.

Amanda is a beautiful young woman who, in addition to running her blog, is also very active on social media. On her blog Amanda Gene, she talks about a range of topics like the recent viral and controversial Bird Box challenge. What I like about the way she presents her content is she gives an overview then offers her perspective. Even though her opinions may differ from others she’s very respectful of alternate viewpoints. Generally speaking by the way, I do not agree with blindfold challenges unless they are done in a structured and safe environment.

During our email exchange, I was delighted to learn that Amanda is on the entrepreneurial track. Later, when I received her quote it all made sense to me. The first step in goal planning is making the commitment followed by writing them down.

I wish you the best of luck in reaching your goals Amanda!

Connecting With Amanda Gene:

Amanda Gene Nelson | Blind Beauty #68 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Amanda’s image on the cover is black & white. In this selfie, a smiling Amanda is wearing eyeglasses and her face is framed with bangs and wavy blonde hair.

Blocks of text superimposed on Amanda’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”

Additional Photo:

In this color selfie Amanda is smiling broadly and she’s wearing a bright blue shirt.

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Rebecca Holland | Blind Beauty #67

Rebecca Holland | Blind Beauty #67

“Poetry has always been connected to music. Blindness is not a reason for silence. My loss of vision has inspired me to keep singing out in a darkened world.”

~Rev. Rebecca L. Holland
Rebecca Holland in a bookstore image description is in the body of the post.
Rebecca Holland in a Bookstore

My name is Rebecca. I am a preacher, writer, and a musician. I also have low vision.

Growing up, I grew used to hearing people tell me, “You don’t look blind.” I struggled during my school years because many students, and even some teachers, accused me of feigning my poor vision.

During my college years as a music education major, one important professor informed me, “I’m sorry. I don’t teach students with disabilities.”

In graduate school, one of my supervisors told me, “I feel sorry for any congregation that you serve because they will have a blind pastor.”

After five years of effective ministry, I am still frequently told, “You don’t look like a preacher.”

This statement always dumbfounds me because I do not know what a preacher is supposed to look like. I have known preachers, both men and women, who are all ages, shapes, sizes, and skin colors.

In the same way, I have met people who are blind or disabled who are more varied in appearance than you can possibly imagine.

Just as there is no “right way,” to live life with a disability, there is no one “right way,” to pursue your dream.

Destination Love and Acceptance

At last, after my very long journey, I am beginning to start to feel love and acceptance for myself. I now view my sight loss as an important part of my identity.

I have been blessed to meet so many wonderfully supportive people along the way. For every negative voice, there were even more positive voices in my life that resounded just as loudly.

I want to be a positive voice who inspires other people the way others have inspired me. That is why I was decided to publish my chapbook, Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse. This small book of poems is my love letter to my beloved church. It is also my statement to the world that people with disabilities can do anything that people without disabilities can do- we just do it a little differently.

Poetry has always been connected to music. Blindness is not a reason for silence. My loss of vision has inspired me to keep singing out in a darkened world.

About the Author:

Rev. Rebecca L. Holland holds a Bachelor of English Education and a Master of Divinity. She is especially passionate about working to make the church more inclusive for people who have been traditionally marginalized, especially people with disabilities. She blogs about faith, diverse books, and disability awareness at BeckieWrites.com

Rebecca Holland | Blind Beauty #67 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty is black & white. Rebecca sits on a plaid picnic blanket in a sunny park in front of a 1959 Cadillac Sedan DeVille. She is wearing a blue dress and smiling. She has long dark hair and wears glasses.

Blocks of text superimposed on Rebecca’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 Fall 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Complexion.”

Rebecca Holland And The Bookstore Image:

Rebecca stands on a stool in a bookstore in front of a large shelf full of books. She smiles as she takes a volume front the shelf. She wears a striped dress and denim jacket.

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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:

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Amy Kavanagh | Blind Beauty 65

Blind Beauty 65 Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

Part of my problem was that I just didn’t identify as “blind.” Even though I was born with a visual impairment, I didn’t think of myself as disabled. Everyone always went on about sight loss, but I’d never had it in the first place! It was my normal.

~Amy Kavanagh

Amy Kavanagh | Blind Beauty 65

Selfie description is in the body of the post.
#1 Amy Selfie

This part of Amy’s quote “I just didn’t identify as blind” speaks volumes to me. Her words take me back to a time before I received my first pair of eyeglasses. Granted, even though I was myopic (severely nearsighted), the difference between me and Amy was my eyesight back then was correctable to 20/20.

The situation of seeing versus not seeing is one of the most baffling aspects of blindness. Back in the day, when a person was defined as blind we generally understood it to mean they couldn’t see anything. Today, we know that greatly diminished, uncorrectable eyesight can severely impact a person’s day to day life. For those of you who wear corrective lenses when you aren’t wearing them do you notice a difference in your sight?

I can relate to Amy only from the perspective of ‘my normal’ (nearsightedness) wasn’t a problem until my sight was corrected. In other words, ‘normal’ was blurry vision because ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know.’ Before my eyes were corrected I didn’t know I couldn’t see.

As I read and reread Amy’s words I wonder how many people don’t identify as blind because it’s their normal. When we add in the stigma associated with blindness it takes this thinking to another level. For years, because Amy was living her ‘normal’ she didn’t take advantage of tools and training that could have made her life easier. I’ll tell you what though, I’m happy she came around because today she’s a fearless activist. Her #JustAskDontGrab campaign speaks to respecting the personal space of people with disabilities.

Blindness is complex. People are complex. If there were one lesson to come out of this post it would be we all ‘see’ differently (literally and figuratively). I think we run into problems when we measure our circumstances against others.

Blind Beauty 65 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Amy Kavanagh’s image on the cover is black & white. This photo is a head and shoulder shot. Amy is sat in front of a wall with the BBC logo on. She is wearing big headphones over her bright pink hair and she’s smiling and looking at the camera.

Blocks of text superimposed on Charise’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”

Additional Image:

  1. This photo is a selfie. It’s a sunny day, with trees and blue sky in the background. Amy is smiling looking at the camera in large round sunglasses. Her hair is blond with bright pink hair fading from the top. She is wearing a black t-shirt and badge, the badge shows a pair of sunglasses and reads, medical necessity not fashion accessory.

Connecting With Amy: