Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF

Mamarazzi Cover Reveal

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Welcome to another instalment of Fiction Friday.

Last year I had a friend of mine, whom I’d met through Facebook (Author Brooke Williams) here to celebrate a book release.

Well, she’s back again this summer. Check it out.

***

Release Date: September 11, 2015 from

Prism Book Group

Pre-Order

HERE

Join the Sept. 15th Release Day Party on Facebook HERE

Enjoy giveaways with a dozen different authors!

Danica Bennett isn’t sure what she hates more…her job or the fact that she’s good at it.  As one of the many Hollywood paparazzi, she lives her life incognito and sneaks around trying to get the best shot of the latest star.  When she is mistaken for an extra on a new, up and coming TV show, her own star rises and she becomes the one being photographed.  Add that to the fact that she’s falling for her co-star, Eliot Lane, and Danica is in a whole heap of trouble.

Add (Mamarazzi) to your Goodreads list

HERE

About the Author:

Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.” 

Brooke is also the author of

“Accept this Dandelion,”

“Wrong Place, Right Time,”

“Someone Always Loved You,”

“Beyond the Bars.”

She plans to continue the Dandelion story into a series and looks forward to her first children’s book release “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” in June 2016. Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (5) and Sadie (nearly 2).
 

Connect with Brooke:

Facebook

Website

Blog

***

Note: Stay tuned for an upcoming guest post from Brooke, here on Her Headache, next month.

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Bucket List, RIP, The Insightful Wanderer, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Make It Happen!

Here I am, speeding along through July and toward the middle of the month.

Now we’re talking, July!

Things are really starting to heat up, or I hope that’s what’s happening. I’ve just got to stay alert and focused on my goals.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Lately, I’ve been feeling rather restless and in a hurry, impatiently anxious and waiting for something, some things to happen.

What things, you ask…well, read on to find out. Hopefully this second week of July is the week things are really going to start happening for me this summer.

Monday: Shark Week

For awareness brought to these spectacular survivors and rulers of the ocean.

I hope we won’t need a week to remember the sharks, by the time my niece and my nephews are grown, because we’ve done something irresponsible and something we can’t take back, here in 2015.

Online, everywhere you go when searching sharks, so many attention-grabbing articles and videos are posted. However, they are all ones that involve the word “attack” and are meant to fit stereotypes of what dangerous, man-eating creatures sharks are.

That title is old and outdated. I am not sure I could swim with one, but I respect sharks and I don’t want to lose them.

Tuesday: The Mess Of Me

For the pleasant surprise I received when I arrived home, to find a book waiting for me in the mail.

I had been eagerly waiting for this for days, but apparently the trip over from England to Canada, for a book in the mail is a long one.

🙂

        http://www.amazon.com/Chantelle-Atkins/e/B00J7ACVCY

I found Chantelle Atkins on Facebook and have been following her journey as an author for some time now. Then I entered a contest and won a copy of one of her novels.

I sometimes feel bad, entering contests for books, because I can not even read them in print. I didn’t really want to take the chance of winning a copy away from someone else, but I love books, whether or not I can still read them without the aid of technology. I love to collect them and put them on my bookshelf. I even got a signed copy.

Wednesday: Could it be? A new little storyteller in the making?

For a perfect five minutes, holding my new pal, before she grew once more grumpy and demanded to be returned to her mommy.

My phone decided to cooperate this time, as I got a solid five with my new friend, the sweetest little doll on the planet, while her mother snapped some photos of the two of us, just chilling out.

My friend’s little girl is already ten weeks old and this time I got to hold her for a while, listening to her tell her mother and me stories.

I think she may be a writer in the making, or at least, she’ll be animated and charismatic like her mom.

Thursday: When a friend is in need, it’s Kerry to the rescue.

🙂

For the opportunity to be there, in a pinch, to help a friend out of a late-night jam.

I have a couch and if offering it up could possibly prevent one more over-tired driver from getting into a terrible accident, risking their own death or the death of someone else, I think it’s worth it.

For a huge honour, a most welcome surprise, but a definite humbling pressure to live up to.

I was just about to fall asleep, rather late, when my phone went off. It was a message from a travel writer on Facebook.

I’d submitted a few of my travel articles to this particular travel writer,

Amy Gigi Alexander,

whom I highly admire.

Amy has started a database of female writers, adventure seekers, and travellers.

Writing Walking Women

I didn’t expect that she would bestow me with the title of “number 87) on WWW’s list of women who love travel and writing about it.

As, hopefully, I grow my reputation for being a woman who loves to write about travel, (slowly but surely) I hope I am able to live up to this placement on the list.

Friday: RIP Morgan.

For the chance to have an amazing person in my life and as a part of my family, at least for a little while and always and forever.

I wrote about the impact my cousin had on me, last year, on the ten-year anniversary of his death.

Summertime Sadness

Although we tend to mark these occasions annually, I only wrote about it on the ten year mark, but the people we’ve loved and lost deserve a lot more than that. They deserve to be spoken of often, to keep their memory going.

“Beyond the door, there’s peace, I’m sure.”

Eric Clapton speaks of Heaven, but no matter what your religious beliefs may be, I know we all just hope our departed loved ones are at peace. I sure hope so.

For long awaited emails and now the pressure’s on.

🙂

I have been waiting, for what felt like many months, but really it’s been just this past six months or so that my luck seemed to change for the better.

I found a place for a short story I had written and now the day is very nearly here. My story will be released in an anthology. At least, I hope it will. (A few last-minute jitters.)

Announcing My Second Chance

Hoping all will go well and this isn’t too good to be true.

An email went out to all the authors, sharing a final final edit of the anthology. I hope I know how to follow instructions to get me to Wednesday’s release in tact.

Stay tuned for next week’s TToT post for more on how this went.

For a much needed reminder to be grateful, as the entire TToT is meant for, with the sudden stripe sighting.

While playing with my nephew, at the playground, I suddenly spotted his striped shirt.

For so long now, I’d think my little remaining vision may be slipping away, but then I see stripes and I am happy. All hope is not lost.

A date recently told me he wore a bright green T-shirt to meet me, in the hopes that I could better spot him in a crowd. Nice thought he had. Well, this was ineffective, but then I see stripes and I have hope.

Saturday: DVS

For descriptive video services.

I recently received help, from my sister, to finally get the option on my television turned on so I now have some shows I watch narrated for me.

Some movie theatres do this. (Not always…don’t get me started on that.)

🙂

My brother and I used to rent movies all the time, that came in the mail, with descriptive track to explain the visual parts to us.

Now I have that function turned on for my television, but then I came across another website, full of MP3 movies. This means there is no picture. Just soundtrack. That’s all I need. The list of movies isn’t bad. My brother showed me one last Christmas, but this one I found all on my own.

For strong family and friends in my life.

I have family who deserve to get everything they have been praying for and just might be, to friends who are discovering strengths they never even knew they had, to other family with daily longing for a loved one who is no longer with us.

These people demonstrate this strength of character, not just one day a year, but all 365 days. It’s in everything they do, that which helps me remember what true bravery and perseverance look like.

I want to thank them all.

See how this week of mine started out a little slow, but grew with its momentum? See how things really started to heat up as the week progressed?

I’m off now to make sure I have things in order, to put in the effort and make it happen.

😉

I’m not going to miss this chance.

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Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, TGIF, This Day In Literature

SOMETHING MISSING

Author Hazel F. Robinson has been supportive of me in the past few months and so I wanted to do something for her in return.

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Go check out “Something Missing”, currently on sale.

Available at the following links (both UK and US versions)::

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00YCJ3D7M/ref=redir_mdp_mobile_fh/181-5331324-1546753?ie=UTF8&redirectFromSS=1&pc_redir=T1&noEncodingTag=1&fp=1

http://www.amazon.com/Something-Missing-Book-True-Love-ebook/dp/B00K08ROEC

Now out from Little Bird Publishing House.

Check them out on Facebook.

Also, check her out on Facebook while there:

Hazel.F.Robinson books

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Bucket List, Fiction Friday, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, TGIF, Writing

Announcing My Second Chance

“Would fishing be fun if the fish jumped out of the ocean and smacked you in the face?”

I don’t think so.

In fact, that sounds like a nightmare I had once.

🙂

If fishing is thought, by some to be boring, this would be the opposite.

Downright frightening, in other words, but I like this writer’s post because it makes some true points on the subjects of balance, perspective, and when enough is enough in the life of an author.

Please shut up: why self-promotion as an author doesn’t work.

Now, while I think having a catchy title or opening line, like I made sure to include at the start of this post can work to grab the reader’s attention, I can’t say I haven’t been told to “please shut up” a time or two.

Okay okay, so it may not have been to my face every time, but I can guarantee it was being said under the breath.

I post on this blog, at a minimum, once a week. I post on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis.

I want to share something. I want to express myself.

Both true and anyone who does that doesn’t always know, for the sake of all others, when enough’s enough.

I am proud to announce something today, but apparently I couldn’t just do it, without prefacing my announcement without my special brand of hyper-awareness of my self-promotion, and that it isn’t my goal to be pushy.

Because, as the blog post I linked above says (just in case you didn’t read it), nobody is going to buy a book, just because my story is in it.

Well, not only because they follow me on Twitter, have liked me on Facebook, and I don’t even have Instagram or Tumblr anyway.

I know that by opening myself up like this, I am risking vulnerability, and I’ not sure how I completely feel about it.

Sure, if E.L. James can handle it, so can I, right?

😉

Others may have an opinion of my story. Along with the good there inevitably could and will come the bad.

I wanted to share my good news with you here. That’s all I have control over.

I am bad at self-promotion.

Oh sure, I do it, but not because I live to promote.
I am one blog, in a galaxy of millions, and I wanted to announce that I have written a short story: One Last Kiss.

It is coming out, in June, assuming all goes as planned.

Okay, so I have a hard time believing it’s really happening because things like this don’t happen to me. Well, rarely if ever, but there’s always got to be a first for everything, right?

If you were to ask anyone who believes in the power of positive thinking, they’d say I need to scrap talk and thinking like that because no good can come of it.

So I choose to believe in this and to be excited.

I can’t see the cover, but the day the email was sent out to everyone of us, included in this anthology, the one in which the cover image was first revealed to us, I admit I couldn’t stop smiling.

I wanted someone to describe it to me, where exactly everything was, and where my name appeared. I gobbled up every single detail I could, so I could picture things exactly in my mind’s eye, the most powerful tool at my disposal.

Now I can finally share it with the rest of the world, or with my little piece of the world anyway, because I was told the Queen is much too busy with her birthday celebrations to offer me her opinion.

🙂

Right, well I never promised a humour anthology.

http://romanceanthologieshfbooks.blogspot.co.uk

The one to organize all this made the official announcement, over on her own blog, this past Sunday:

Author Hazel Robinson’s Blog – After The Scars Cover Reveal

This title fits perfectly because this was, indeed, my second chance, in a lot of ways.

More to come, but check out the Facebook page:

The Second Chances Anthology

I should be featured, with a short bio and synopsis of my story, on the page in May sometime.

Finally, I just wanted to share the GoodReads link. I can’t believe I am on GoodReads!

After The Scars – The Second Chances Anthology

Speaking of…I’m off to shout this from the rooftops.

Feel free to tell me to shut up: in your head, under your breath, or even out loud if you really deem it necessary.

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Lara Fabian – I Will Love Again (slow version)

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Social Media

It’s Monday and time for another Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.
Before I get to the answer to today’s question,

Redefining Disability on Facebook.

Rose is the brains behind this whole thing,

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

but I invite anyone who is interested in this subject to feel free to visit, not only her original post, but also the extended community I hope will grow on Facebook.
I read Rose’s questions and have been answering them, along with others, but I think a Facebook page could be a wonderful place to share posts and articles about disability.
I think RDAC and the Facebook page are a place to redefine what disability means to the people who live it, to bring awareness to the issues that surround it, and to express the challenges that come up when living with any sort of disability imaginable.
Hope to talk to you all there.
***
Q: What would you like the general public to know about your disabilities, disability in general, or any other relevant subject?
A: I have been seeing a lot of stories on the news lately.
There have been the multiple features about customers being denied entry into public buildings in Toronto, with their service animals.
Is it up to the police to do anything about this?
What is their duty to enforce the law that a guide dog or any other service animal is legally permitted in any public space?
I have had this happen to me in the past. I can feel these people’s outrage, to be denied the right to enter a cafe, to get something to eat, with their guide.
Then there was the story of a cafe which is run by all visually impaired workers.
The workers say, in the piece, they want to illustrate to the customers and the world that people with visual impairment are just as capable as anyone else.
People in the piece said they made excellent coffee.
I make coffee all the time. I can understand why they want to showcase this to the world. I think it’s great, but I didn’t like that there was a part of me which felt they could become a thing of entertainment. People sitting there and enjoying the show of blind people trying to serve their customers.
Are these stories becoming entertainment, like watching animals in the zoo?
I know, I know. This could all be in my own head and I don’t mean to be over-sensitive.
I just felt strange, as I watched all these stories on the news over the past few weeks.
In my gut, I understand, it’s important and it’s all a series of steps to educate and eventually enough awareness will make them see…
The stories and the feel-good articles are increasing, more and more lately.
On one hand I like that attention is bring awareness. I don’t wish for any “but” I might add to take away from that fact.
So I say however…
🙂
I feel an undercurrent, a squirming in my stomach as I sense the awareness heightening and the barriers being removed.
I want the public to know everything these media covered stories have been speaking about. I feel the urge to educate, to protest, and to advocate.
Then I feel the discomfort that I have to do this at all.
I think, I worry, that these stories are becoming our feel-good dose of the warm-and-fuzzies for us all, a mass media love-fest.
As someone with one of these disabilities, I realize a lot of this is my own issue, my own unresolved issues.
I want to show this discomfort in one more example:
I came across this article in the Huffington Post.
Is this real? Is it true? How authentic is this?
A woman is going blind and her husband struggles to help her and to go on loving her, the best way he knows how.
Awwww.
Is it right? Is it sweet?
Read for yourselves:

Here
and for the short film, on its own, go
Here.

The acting feels forced. The script feels odd, to me.
People read this stuff and think so many things. I simply have no control on how this sort of thing is seen when it’s put out there for the public’s viewing pleasure.
It makes you feel good to read a headline like that. Publications like the Huffington Post come across stories like this and it’s an immediate jackpot. They know their readers will eat that stuff up with a spoon.
I can certainly understand the way she has of feeling like more of a patient or a child, the sense of feeling like a burden rather than an equal.
I know the sentiment. I just don’t know about its delivery.
I want to have frank and open discussions when I can, which isn’t always possible. It’s more likely that people will see articles and short films on YouTube, coming to their own conclusions, which may or may not help.
Here is the only place I can speak what I feel and know to be true.
Please think about these things when you read or watch them. These situations are rarely simple. They involve feelings and emotions. They are reasons to get worked up, to feel concern, and to register emotions that are often disguised from view.
I want to keep speaking and keep writing because that’s how I can be heard.
***
What are your thoughts on these stories? Do you read articles like this often? How do they make you feel?
Next week:
If you could cure the disabilities that affect your life, would you?
I get asked this question more than most and have all my life.
Stay tuned for the answer, which has evolved some as I’ve gotten older.
And please feel free to like the Facebook page I linked to at the beginning of this post.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Kerry's Causes

My Voice Amongst the Thousands

A week after the attack on the French Charlie Hebdo I woke up to find a movement beginning and spreading across my social media and the blogosphere: 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.

I have been watching the news every night, feeling helpless, and then I read about this campain,which started small only the other day, aiming hopefully for 1000 participants; now growing.

On February 20th the movement hopes to post as one on blogs everywhere, all over the world. I thought…hey, this is something I could do. I can write about compassion.

It may not seem like it, in a world so big, but even a movement such as this one can be a powerful tool. It feels good to band together, in any way possible, to say something and speak about the good we want to spread. This, in a world where so much hatred and ignorance seems to spread like wildfire every single day.

I know issues like censorship and freedom of speech and of the press are hot button issues in the world today. Again, apparently I can’t seem to just choose a side and stick with it.

Should cartoons such as the ones in this case even be created, if it is at all disrespectful? Should freedom of speech, no matter who it insults, be what’s most important? Should we think before we act?

I am writing this because I have the freedom to do so. I may not be writing anything particularly inflammatory or I might. It all would depend on who you’d ask I suppose. I don’t take this freedom for granted. As a writer, I know the power of the “pen” or, in my case and as is so often the case these days, the keyboard.

There has been great support for the Paris newspaper that was attacked. Last weekend there was a march in France for Charlie Hebdo. News media outlets all across the world have come out condemning the attack and I agree it was a seriously cowardly act.

Now, I know about writing and words and how the written word is clearly powerful.

“Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”

This is bunk!

As for these cartoons:

I have enjoyed art as a child, but I can no longer see it. I have not seen these cartoons at the centre of this story.

I know there is not enough sense of humour around the world and different cultures take offence to things, widespread degrees of sensitivity.

I don’t know and can’t really speak on the issue. I don’t know what the need was, so strong of satire and freedom of the press.

Perhaps I wish every culture of the world could be on the same level to understand why one is so offended by something the other does.

I wanted to participate in 1000 Speak (which is now the official hashtag) because I believe compassion and understanding of others is the key.

Also in the news lately, at home here in my own country of Canada is another very disturbing story that has been on my mind.

It’s the issue of the lack of respect for females in our culture and in youth, on college campuses and it’s something I fear nobody, not students or grown adults who should know better, takes seriously enough.

It’s been in the news, for weeks it seems, but maybe it takes precisely the news media to make a dent in the problem.

It took place at the dentistry school, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A group of male students was caught posting horrible things on Facebook about female classmates. Such nonchalant discussion about drugging and hate sex are probably more common than I want to believe. I really do not know what makes anyone, at any age, think that is okay to think, let alone say about another human being.

Red tape. Channels. What is the appropriate way to deal with this and why has it been handled the way it has to this point?

It seems like this story has been going on for a while and just today I heard on the news that the cops finally received the information they requested to aid in their investigation. What would take the school administration this long? Were they dragging their feet?

Surely they have daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers. What is this pervasiveness in our society to downplay something so important?

I don’t know that writing can have any effect on these moral questions and serious events whatsoever. Perhaps, the extra news coverage on the problem at Dalhousie is just the thing, public pressure, to bring about just the necessary punishment for those involved.

As for the deeper questions of freedom of speech and expression I don’t know what will happen. France is in the spotlight right now, but it’s just the latest in a never-ending parade of headlines. Why can’t we all just get along? Ha!

I don’t always articulate my feelings so well here, but I wanted to jot down these two examples as I announce my intention of being one of those bloggers who plans to write about compassion on February 20th. I want to speak up along with others who intend on speaking.

There’s a lot being discussed back and forth over my social media today about how to best get the message across. I can’t promise I will keep up with all the social media avenues of awareness for this thing, but I can do what I do best: I can share my own unique perspective, on my blog, for the sort of compassionate world I never lose hope of waking up to find one day.

As I said in an interview I did on a blog just yesterday, I wish I could shake the world into seeing reason. I will continue to set my own small example of what it means to find compassion for all human beings and empathy for what they might be feeling or what has brought them to where they are today.

I will be one of thousands and that’s a start.

From a Distance – Bette Midler on YouTube

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday

Even Blind Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Welcome back to another Memoir Monday and another answer to a question from the:

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.

***

Q: Are your leisure activities or hobbies affected by disability? How do you work around this?

A: Of course they are. I don’t know what kinds of things I would be into if I had all my sight. I sometimes wonder. Would I like sports? Would I love to paint? However, it does no good to linger on these questions. I like to have fun and enjoy myself just like anyone else.

I love to watch movies: in the theatre or at home on the couch. I know a lot of visually impaired people who could care less and who would place movies very low on the list, but I have always loved to escape and get lost in an interesting storyline, with gripping characters, played by my favourite actors.

This is addressed in last week’s post:

All They’ve Ever Known.

I might not have been able to enjoy all the movies I’ve enjoyed over the years, if it hadn’t been for people like those in my family who learned to describe the action going on on the screen, so I never felt left out of popular culture and the blockbusters of the day.

Now, of course, there were services such as DVS (descriptive video service) and my brother and I used to order movies from a catalogue. They would arrive in the mail and we could watch movies on our own.

This is where I first discovered my love of Gone With The Wind.

I like to think I have a wide variety of hobbies and interests, just as varied as anyone else.

I would probably love to paint now, if I could see. I miss the times, as a child with more sight, when I would draw for hours at a time with my beloved markers. This hobby I had to give up, but I have replaced it with others.

Spending time with family and friends isn’t really affected. I fit in with them because they know me and accept me. We have fun spending time together.

I love to go to concerts, on day trips/road trips, and theme parks.

The big question and the universal joke made by and for visually impaired people would be the issue of driving.

One of my favourite things to do is go for a drive, especially at night, with my favourite music playing. I love feeling like I am moving forward, speeding ahead, an energy and a relaxation I get no other way.

I never have to drive and can always just sit back, in the passenger seat or in the back, and enjoy the ride, leaving other people to concentrate on the road.

Of course this means I am never able to just jump in my car and go for a drive alone, but with the possibility of technology and the driverless cars that already exist, who knows what the future may bring.

I have had the chance to sit on a parent’s lap, when I was younger, and drive around a WAL-MART parking lot at night. In my dreams I drive sometimes and perhaps that’s a sign that I could be good at it, if circumstances were different.

My main hobbies are reading and writing, both not impossible with the help of technology. I need help from special equipment, such as: Mac computers with built-in voice software, electronic braille displays, and iPhones. These things continue to improve and there is no telling where things could be headed.

I used to have shelves and shelves of thick braille books and volumes. This could be cumbersome at times, but nowadays space is more plentiful with the inventions I mentioned above.

With the help of these technologies I spend time on Facebook and other social media like most people these days. An entertaining distraction, taking up maybe more time than it should.

🙂

I have a tandem bicycle. I can walk alone, depending on whether I know the route. Going for a walk outside in my favourite autumn weather is better arm in arm with a loved one. Sometimes I take my dog. Sometimes I take a cane.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper

So the song applies to all girls, even me. It’s important to have fun and to have time to relax and kick back and I look forward to this, with others or solo. I find ways around the problems that can arise, if it’s something I really enjoy. I owe my parents for helping to show me, from a young age, that this is possible.

***

Next Week I will answer a broader, more open-ended question for the challenge:

Does disability affect you in other ways? If so, how?

Which hobby or leisure activity that you enjoy would you think might become difficult or impossible to do if you lost your sight? Which one would you miss most: driving, painting, sports? How do you think you might adapt?

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Book Reviews, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, The Blind Reviewer

Mobility Matters

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know. By paths they do not know I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light. The rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do. I will not forsake them.
– Christ

I found the above quote a few months back. Whether you are religious or not, it seemed to me an uplifting statement of a thought. I found

Amy Bovaird

through Facebook and online. Her mention of travel caught my attention and I hope to speak with her more on that in the future. Today, though, I am pleased to be featuring her memoir “Mobility Matters – Stepping Out in Faith” here on my blog.

Check out more on the memoir

Here,

and you can visit her Facebook page,

Here.

***

Book Review: Mobility Matters – Stepping Out in Faith

By Amy Bovaird

In “Mobility Matters – Stepping Out in Faith” teacher, author, and ghost writer Amy Bovaird lets the reader in on a particularly difficult year in her life. She is in the midst of a transition from the sighted world into that of living blind.

Pity. Denial. These are the themes found throughout this memoir, but why should others not be pitying us if we pity ourselves? I didn’t know what sort of memoir to expect when I started to read, but I was soon drawn in by Bovaird’s storytelling style of some of the biggest hurdles of her life.

In her Spanish class she disguises her vision loss and develops tricks for getting around her hearing loss.

The Spanish word, “ceiga”, in Spanish literature, meaning destitute, old, and either ill-mannered or helpless woman. She has been teaching others for most of her life. She is about to need a teacher, someone to teach her about white cane travel and that is where blind orientation and mobility instructor Bob comes in.

She has been slowly losing vision for years, but up until now able to brush off the signs and pretend it wasn’t really effecting her life. Her Retinitis Pigmentosa, vision and hearing loss are getting harder and harder to ignore.

She has been to thirty-three countries and has lived in six and she is used to being highly independent. Now it is hard not to feel nothing but pitied. The first time she tries out a white cane and a whole new phase of her life is opened up, even if it takes her a while to see it. The white cane is meant to help the user stand out, but that is the last thing she wants to do. I was abel to relate with that, when all you want to do at times is to blend in and to fit in.

From reading I learned Terms like catastrophizing, a great way of summing up a trap people easily fall into. I could immediately relate to many of Amy’s battles in trying to adapt to a life with less sight than before.

Words like sight, vision, and seeing are explored throughout this book and the interpretations of each of these words vary with the person. Amy is learning to live with one foot in each world, but learns from those in her life that the two aren’t all that different in the end. These people remind her to, “filter her circumstances through a lens of laughter. This lesson in itself sums up the contents of this book. Even during her worst moments throughout this story humour finds its way in through the cracks of her fear of the unknown.

She finds herself caught in a trap of denial and fear of being honest to those around her and to herself. People like Bob show up and make her see that she can keep her independence, even as she navigates a new world with less and less sight.

This is a memoir of faith, but you do not need to believe in God to be touched by the lessons Bovaird learns along the way. This is a terrific book for anyone losing their sight and fearing an unknown and sometimes dark future or for anyone who wants to understand what it feels like to live in a world without the sight most take for granted.

In her own dark moments, the voices in her head (or Satan, whichever you believe) she hears things such as:

You should have stopped teaching years ago. How did you ever think you’d be a successful language teacher? You’re deaf, you know, and the way you manage your class is pitiful.

Would I ever feel like one of them? Or would my differences always set me apart?

I am sure we all feel that at one time or another, but as I read statements such as these from Amy, I was happy, at least, to learn I am not alone in feeling like the odd one out sometimes.

She speaks of feelings such as, “the hard bitter pit” in her stomach. Just such lines in this book spoke to me when I read them and are incredibly relatable. She can hardly imagine a day when she might feel comfortable with these new changes she is being forced into.

When the principal of her school asks her to speak to the students about her blindness she resists, unable to imagine finding the courage to make her situation public, but she soon discovers that she can teach others in more ways than she ever thought she could.

She slowly reveals her blindness to one student, showing the girl the tools she uses to help her read. The student shows her interest by looking into the magnifier, commenting how looking through the monocle makes her eye tired and a little dizzy, like blindness. It can be hard to trust others with what you are going through, the disorientation of it all. Amy’s story shows that it is important to let others know what it’s like because they truly do not know.

She will find acceptance from her students, the other teachers, and people she runs into everyday.

One of her fellow teachers makes her aware that she is not alone:

  • We’re in this together Amy. God wants to use us all to the best of our abilities. Even when things don’t go as planned, God has his reasons. So don’t let it get you down. Just go forward.
    • By the end of this book Bovaird has come so far in a short amount of time. She leans on her faith in God and realizes the people in her life have been put there for a reason. She has been taught the tools to succeed and has discovered a motivation and the coping skills for success.
  • Amy comes to a crossroads in her life and knows she has what it will take to live the best life possible.

Stand at the crossroadsAnd look; ask for the ancient paths and where the good way is, and walk it and you will find rest.
Jeremiah 6:16, NIV.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday

IN YOUR FACE

Last Monday, for the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

I shared a wonderful post from my very own parents, which I called:

Literally.

Last week’s question was answered by my parents, from the perspective of raising not one, but two children with a disability. They will be back again next week with another thoughtful response, but this week it is my turn once more.

🙂

Week Three: Part A

Q: If you have a medical diagnosis, do you see yourself as having a disability? Why or why not?

A: I probably would not be here answering these questions if my answer were no.

🙂

I have had several of these in my lifetime. The main one was the LCA, see

Here.

Then there was the Senior-Loken Syndrome, which included the renal failure and scoliosis.

These, to say the least, made my teen years interesting ones.

I have had many different diagnosis suggestions from neurologists with the headaches and chronic pain I have dealt with over the last ten to fifteen years now. However, unlike the obvious medical signs that I am blind or that my kidneys stopped working or when an x-ray clearly showed signs of a curvature in the spine, chronic pain shows no signs that can be clearly and medically spotted.

All of this is true and yet, I can not let any of it weigh, drag, or generally bring me down for very long. Whether it’s one medically diagnosed disability or multiple, if it is at all possible to get on with the business of living, I would highly recommend doing so, to myself and anyone else out there.

I did not come up with the term and I do my best to deal with it in this society of labels.

I am so pleased to participate in this awareness challenge of disability because I know I must live life, not just with disability, but in spite of it. I have had it in some form all my life and this makes it very difficult to live in any sort of denial, not that I haven’t had my moments. It just becomes a part of you and something that it would do no good to refute. It’s not that it wouldn’t occur to me because I am human and I have my bad days, but I know I must take control of my own life, to take the power away from the cruelty and the harshness that living with the label of disability often causes.

Yes, the short answer is that I have disability as a part of my life and the person I am. This is the cold, hard, in-your-face reality of the situation. I look forward to getting further into the issues surrounding life with disability, with some of the questions I have yet to answer, in the weeks to come.

Check back next Monday for more.

Next week my two parents will be answering the following, Part B:

If you don’t have one, how do you view the concept of disability and the people in your life who have them?

***

Speaking of in-your-face.

🙂

With September being Chronic Pain Awareness Month I wanted to share here an initiative being organized by the ones fighting to lessen the stigma surrounding chronic pain and a new way to hopefully bring attention to this silent and invisible scourge.

I asked to do what I could to help migraine, headache, and chronic pain ambassador JP Summers, and this is what she had to say:

“Here is the information for the Pie Challenge. I hope we get some media attention for the sake of all of us that are tired of our condition not being considered severe.”

Please check out the links below to see what’s being done:

Twitter,

Facebook,

and

Website.

Of course this is a take on the:

Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS,

because every person has their own unique story of suffering and deserves to be heard and helped, whether it’s by way of ice cold water being poured over the head or a pie in the face.

Whatever works and get’s peoples’ attention, right?

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Uncategorized

To Any Loyal Readers: Goodbye Summer

I can’t say I saw that there would be a time when I would not post on a weekly or more than a weekly basis here.

Okay, maybe I could and did worry I would eventually run out of things to say and therefore would stop posting. A few months down the line or maybe years. Well, I made it past the six month mark and I am proud to say I have not yet run out of things to write about. On the contrary actually. If anything, I have too much to say and find it overwhelming at times. It isn’t always so easy to get all the ideas constantly swirling around inside my head down on this blog.

It is the end of summer, unofficially, with the long weekend and Labour Day just ahead. I can’t say I am sorry to see this particular summer go, but may find I am left to eat my words when another lengthy frigid winter like last years) settles in.

I am posting just once this week, smack-dab in the middle and only to let you all know I am still here and that I truly appreciate the more than eighty followers to this blog I have accumulated. I am taking a vacation, a week’s break. I wanted to take a few days to ponder the question of moving forward and adding to the wonderful thing I’ve got going here already.

I am trying to decide if it is always important to take a chance and make what you want your reality or if sometimes the point is to decide when to make a move and when it is the right time for a change and when to just wait. I am not always the most patient of people.

In this case, I have been blogging for months now and I needed this time to hone in on what I really wanted to write about, what I was most passionate about. I do enjoy writing about all sorts of things, from fiction and memoir to reviews and interviews, but I have a dream of having my own travel blog.

I came up with the name The Insightful Wanderer (thanks to a helpful suggestion from a friend), only after my first thought which was The Sightless Wanderer. I agree my friend’s suggestion is better. I just wanted to come up with something that could subtly hint at my particular viewpoint and from what angle I would approach travel writing from, but without being super obvious about it.

Step One: come up with a name. Check.

Step Two: Start a site and claim the name. (This is the one I am stuck on.

Should I rush into this when I haven’t even figured out the third and final step in my three-step process?

Step Three: Travel so I actually have something to put on my site.

Now, I have traveled enough in the past that I think I have plenty of past stories in me, enough to post for a good while. I would write about travel, whether it was local (in Ontario) or far off. I have been reaching out to several travel writers/bloggers in recent weeks and am determined to learn about what other people’s experiences have been with exploring this planet. I want to know how they do it and what they have seen of the world. Travel changes many people’s lives and perspectives.

I simply did not want to start posting a lot of these particular interviews on my current blog, even with my Travel Tuesday feature. I thought maybe now was the time to move forward and perhaps I could make it happen.

In the world of online and on the Internet it is hard to make a name for yourself and to find your voice. I want to make my mark in this world by seeing it up-close. I don’t want to just hear about it and read about it. Pictures do me no good and I feel like travel may be my only way to make the most of life while I can.

I do realize that if I do not include a photographic element to my travel blog that I will be behind almost everyone else, and I am still working that out.

Also, I admire the women who travel solo and I wish I could be one of them, because at the moment I don’t exactly have a lot of options. However, being a woman who just happens to be visually impaired also makes it all the more tricky to see my dream come to fruition. These are the sorts of things I haven’t yet worked out and of which make me nervous to jump off the cliff, so-to-speak.

On the other hand, how do you know when things like these aren’t just excuses not to make what you want happen?

I don’t want to take on more than I can handle and I am glad I have you all and this blog. The idea of having to build back up an audience and an online presence is daunting to me, seeing as this one I’ve got here wasn’t a walk in the park and super easy for me. I had help and I go on habit and routine. I do not have a master web designer on hand and at my beckon call. Money is not plentiful and this makes paying for help on a site and for the actual cost of travel rather tricky, but I will scrip and save where I can and save up if I know I will travel again one of these days.

I just want to be able to print off some business cards with the name Insightful Wanderer on them and to make a real and honest go at this dream of mine.

🙂

Only time will tell and probably not in one week will I find my answers to all these questions.

One step at a time. Follow my new travel blog (on Facebook only, for now)

Here,

and I am open to any or all suggestions or feedback on this matter.

What advice do you have on making your dreams a reality or on travel? Where have you travelled and what might you write about if you had a reason to, such as a travel blog?

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for more excellent posts here in the weeks to come.

Note: I’ve got some wonderful interviews with interesting people ahead, a couple reviews of some movies and shows to share, and a new weekly feature, every Monday for the foreseeable future, which will start on September 1st.

Hope everyone enjoys the last long weekend of the summer and thanks for reading.

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