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TToT: Laborious, Notorious, Glorious – Go THANK Yourself! #10Thankful

“No man ever was glorious, who was not laborious.”
–Benjamin Franklin

10 THINGS OF THANKFUL

Someone asked me how my Labor Day was going and I wanted to answer with a little something different:

“laborious,” I replied.

🙂

A lot went on this week, both in my life and in my mind. School’s back in session, for my niece and my brother, and for me, in a way too.

September 11th was also remembered this week. I can’t believe it’s been fourteen years since 9/11 happened.

“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”
–Winston Churchill

It is thought that twenty-six Canadians lost their lives that day.

On the eve of 9/11, a rainbow appears in the sky over One World Trade Center in Manhattan.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For my latest travel writing piece to be published on the travel blog of someone I really admire.

Can you travel blind, crossing Ireland’s Carrick-a-rede- rope bridge?

Thank you, Megan, for giving me a second spot on your travel blog.

It has gotten dozens of RT’s on Twitter in the last week.

First it was our interview.

Can blind people travel?

Of course we can!

And now my guest post where I explain what taking a risk, is like, for me.

Night Swimming

It’s a little like swimming at night. I’ve long wanted to do this and I thought of it, again, on Labor Day.

It’s a bit of a frightening thing, the thought of being out there, at night. I guess it’s the way I live most of my life, stepping out, in the darkness of the unknown, but taking the plunge anyway.

For the chance to spend, what was said to be the hottest day of the year, in the water and so I didn’t even notice the heat they spoke of.

We decided to spend our Labor Day at the lake. We are lucky to live so close to all those fresh water sources.

For my flexibility.

In life, sure, I’m improving. However, I mean that literally because I have been told, by doctors on more than one occasion, that I am incredibly flexible. My muscular skeletal system can bend in strange directions.

So, when I decided to jump in the sand, right along with my nephew, I just so happened to land on a log that was sticking out at my feet.

Luckily my ankles are one of those highly flexible parts of my body and although I went down, landing hard in the sand, my ankle did turn over but did not sprain badly. I felt it go over sideways, but I have stretched out those muscles so much over the years, leaving little to no pain as a result.

The opportunity to chase seagulls with my nephew wasn’t to be missed. Just thankful I walked away from that and did not have to crawl back to the car on hands and knees.

🙂

For literacy and education.

International Literacy Day, 2015

I would be lost otherwise.

For the education we’re lucky enough to have in Canada, as my niece begins kindergarten this week.

She is smart and sharp and bright. She learns so much and loves to share it. She surprises us all with the things she’s learning everyday. and I know she will do amazing things as she grows.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?t=207&v=CQ2noSR1qdY

It’s a good thing John Oliver is not her teacher.

For the premier of the newest in late night television.

Late Show Recap

Stephen Colbert makes me smile and I look forward to his jokes and his unique style of interviews.

One of his first guests, on his very first week, was George Clooney. They discussed and even showed a clip of George’s new film: Decision Strike!

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Well, don’t go looking for it in theatres in the coming weeks or months, as it is only a fictional movie, as he did not actually have anything real to promote. Sounds impressive anyway.

With all the talk of the heating up of the late night show wars, now that Colbert has thrown his own hat into the ring, Stephen made light of this when he mentioned all the thoughtful first-week gifts the other late night comedians have been sending him. He joked that they could all be expecting the best thank you card ever, with the words: GO THANK YOURSELF, written in them.

TAKE THAT! … Jimmy, Jimmy, Conan, John, and the rest.

🙂

For whatever it was that got me a replacement battery for my iPhone 5 and finally, after talking about doing it for months.

I put it off for too long. Not sure why. I can actually go a whole day and my phone does not die, a beautiful thing. This will be necessary for my trip to Toronto later this month.

I went in one of those crazy Apple stores, so hip and which make me feel very uncool. They have the genius bar. Well, I was informed of some loophole which made it so I did not have to pay the $100 for a new battery. Okay by me.

🙂

It just so happened to be September 9th and the big reveal day for Apple. I did not upgrade to the newly revealed iPhone 6S. My iPhone 5 works just fine, but it’s amazing just how revolutionary the iPhone has been for so many, but for anyone who is visually impaired especially.

For the people, in my life, who have gone through the loss of a loved one to suicide. They teach me things, all the time, about survival and resilience.

World Suicide Prevention Day, 2015

Sometimes prevention isn’t possible, upon looking back, no matter what anyone could have done. That doesn’t mean we stop trying.

I know life is forever altered for them. It isn’t easy and life will never feel happy, truly happy again. I just hope they know someone is thinking about them, always.

Everybody Hurts

The day was such a beautiful one this year, the weather anyway.

“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”
–Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

For a dream come true – a dream of clarity, reason, and shape.

😉

First I was accepted into an anthology, with my short story: One Last Kiss.

Then it came out, on Amazon, but first only as an ebook.

It wasn’t until this week, finally, that I actually got to hold a print copy of the book in my own hands. I could feel the weight of it, turn the pages, and smell that signature bookish smell, all knowing my words could be found within. It is an indescribable feeling, a dream come true for me, and I will never forget what that felt like.

kerrsbook-closeup-2015-09-12-11-45.jpg

For a friend, somebody there on the day the book arrived in the mail. Someone to celebrate with.

We got Dairy Queen confetti cake blizzards to celebrate. Her five-month-old daughter sat, in her carrier, staring at me and I wanted to share, but unfortunately she isn’t eating ice cream, not just yet. I loved celebrating with her too, all the same.

🙂

Thanks, Mom, for bringing the book over.

For the best, most loving parents my nephew could ever have. And it all began on that warm day in September, back in 2009 – Happy Anniversary guys!

I will never forget that summer, that day, as long as I live. It was the day my sister had worked so hard for and looked so forward to. I got to be in the wedding party and was happy she allowed me to give a speech at the reception.

Storybook Love

My sister’s favourite movie is The Princess Bride and she wanted my uncle to sing the theme song from the film, at the wedding. It made it special, unique, and all hers. She wanted to get married in our back yard, of the home we grew up in. It was a wedding at home and meant so much to all of us.

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

For rainbows, literacy, firsts, celebrations, dreams, and anniversaries.

I am thankful I’ve gotten to share my words, more and more, in recent days and weeks. I guess, for me, the need to share my words with the world goes back to all that stuff I said about night swimming.

It’s scary, certainly, but the idea of being swept up and away, washed out there and with no sign or footprint to show that I was ever here, that is what I am most afraid of.

Sure, the chance for rejection is ever present in the present, but not nearly as great as that there could be no proof that I ever existed in the first place.

“I don’t know how long I kept at it…
I felt reasonably safe, stretched out on the floor, and lay quite still.
It didn’t seem to be summer anymore.”
–Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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Book Reviews, Spotlight Sunday, The Blind Reviewer

Book Review: Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light

Leading you out of the Darkness Book Cover

“Take many small steps and never stop stepping,” Max says. Truer words have never been spoken.

First there was Helen Keller, there’s Erik Weihenmayer, and now we’ve got Maxwell Ivey Jr. and his wisdom and generous spirit, total willingness to help others.

Here is: “A Blind Man’s Inspirational Guide to Success” – in his own words and through concrete steps he guides the reader toward finding their own.

He is a peer advisor for

The American Foundation for the Blind.

I met him through social media and he has happily advised me on numerous occasions and now he wants to help you.

I had never met a fellow visually impaired person who had experience running and selling carnival rides. When I first spoke with him I checked out his only website at the time:

The Midway Marketplace

Within months of knowing him he began his second website and from there he was unstoppable:

The Blind Blogger

He wrote a book. Seriously. He wrote a book. I was impressed by this, when I heard it, because this is an admirable thing to have done, and no small feat.

This book lays everything out in a neat and orderly fashion, leading the reader through with eleven clear-cut steps, such as:

Step 1: Begin by determining your end goal.

Step 2: Assess the situation

Step 3: Do what you can, one thing at a time

Step 5: Ask for help when you need it

Step 6: Staying motivated by taking small steps

Step 7: Celebrate your accomplishments

And much more. For the rest of Max’s steps, check this book out.

“Don’t delay – sign up today!”

Catchy lines like this are great, but he offers so much more within this short ebook.

Role model. Mentor. Coach.

These are just a few names Max goes by and a few ways he wants to help anyone who might be lost, needing to be pointed in the right direction.

This book is reflective, motivational, and practical.

You’re only truly in the dark when you have lost purpose. In this book, Max aims to help you find it again, all while referring to his own process of finding it himself.

Most people figure, if this blind gentleman is able to find his way, there is no real excuse or reason for me not to. This gives credit where credit is due, to the author, and makes the idea of coming out of the darkness and into the light a hugely powerful image.

He believes in the best in people. If I could choose the single biggest message from this book, it would definitely be that asking for help is encouraged and an important step for human growth and self-development, for reaching one’s goals.

It is impossible to get through life, as someone who is blind or visually impaired, without seeking help from others at one time or another. This can cause one to become extra stubborn and self-reliant, but sooner or later help is needed and necessary. This, following by example, is the most essential lesson I took away from Max in this book and I believe you will too.

He shows that it’s okay…perfectly healthy…the key to success. Nobody does it alone.

Having trust and faith in people and to be willing and open to asking for and accepting other people’s help are two things one learns from the start when visually impaired. These are important lessons anyone can learn and should adopt.

Unexpected things can come from reaching out to others. This one lone thought is highly motivational for me and the best thing I took from reading Max’s words and meeting Max to begin with. Max is proof of this and this is the most inspiring part of his story and of this book.

One foot in front of the other.

Eagle Scouts gave Max badges to track his progress. There are often no physical badges given out in life for your accomplishments, but Max’s above words are true all the same.

His experiences as an Eagle Scout, having gastric surgery, and just learning to persevere in life with a physical disability clearly taught him some valuable lessons, which he outlines here through clear and action-oriented steps. These sound easy to follow on paper, but they take work. His unique approach in this book is to continually remind the reader to stop reading and make good on the suggested exercises and then to contact him to discuss how each step of the process went. This personal connection he cultivates with each and every reader is what sets him apart from most self-help books on the market.

Yes, often, historically, self-help guide books have been overrated, but Max truly follows this well-known line, “putting your money where your mouth is”. Max does this and more. He doesn’t just “talk the talk”, but he “walks the walk” that is necessary for any real and lasting success in life.

Once you experience how good it feels to have accomplished steps toward your goal it will become a feeling you want to repeat over and over again.
I am on this journey myself right now and reading this book has confirmed all I have been telling myself and everything I have been applying to my own life in recent months.

Gratitude:

Being visually impaired teaches also that it is important, to get through life, to be able and willing to look for the good wherever possible. I may not have one first prize, but I wrote my story and had the courage to share it. I may not have gotten what I hoped for in a particular experience, but once I could get past the disappointment I could find the valuable lessons I did learn and that is enough.

I know I am not the only one to get something from this book, to apply to my own life, and I won’t be the last to find strength and encouragement from it.

Friend…coach…rock.

What does success mean to you? Max wants to know. He is genuinely interested.

HE shares his own definition of success.

Failures and accomplishments.
Negativity and positivity.
Overcoming adversity.

He invites readers to share, not only their successes, but their failures too.

He has learned to be persistent and to never give up or give in, using the example of banging on the door and if you receive no answer, to check the tool with which you are using.

Thank you Max, for writing this, and for being the example we all need.

Purchasing links:

(Ebook Format)

SELZ

(Kindle version)

Amazon

(Print copy)

Create Space

Acknowledgements:

As Max continually says in Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light, nobody does anything of real worth and value by themselves. Max had help from his friends at every step of the way.

He needed help with the visual aspects, specifically cover images and formatting: Jenny Rollo and Angela McCall.

His editor, Lorraine Reguly, can be found at her website:

Wording Well

Her site’s motto is “Helping writers become authors” and that is what she has graciously done for Max and what Max has done is truly remarkable.

If you feel like you are lost in uncertainty, adrift in the darkness that life sometimes brings, let Max help guide you out of that darkness and back into the light.

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