Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS

In My Mind’s Eye, #SoCS

Sometimes, when I get to the end of the week, I am so excited for Friday. I can’t wait to log onto Linda’s website, to find out what the prompt is for the week.


Then, as Friday makes way for Saturday, well I become hesitant. I start wondering what I should write and if I could possibly have anything to say, using the letters or word she has chosen.

That’s not the point though. If I wait and then, Saturday comes, I get writing and the words begin to flow.


You know that well-known belief that people who are blind can hear better than everyone else?

Well, I listen hard and voices and music are some of my favourite things, so I hope I always hear them both.

I have a keen sense of smell. Just ask my family.

I have an excellent set of taste buds, if I do say so myself. Again, ask those closest to me and they will tell you I can drive them crazy with these talents.


I use all this and touch to navigate my world, all because I can hardly see.

But yet…I believe I am a sighted person, even still.

This may sound strange. Please, allow me to elaborate.

I used to see so much more and I miss it, along with forgetting just what it was like, as the years pass me by.

In my mind I can see.

My mind threatens to burst, sometimes, from the strain of all that I see with my mind’s eye. As the memories fade, I cling to them all the more tightly, as my mind’s eye begins its work.

The seeing eye is alive and well in there.

There’s fire and a roving eye up there, but I’m not evil like that guy.

Yeah, I’m trying really hard not to imagine The Great Eye.


Not exactly appropriate for what I’m getting at here, if you are following me anyway.

It’s just that the phrase “in my mind’s eye” says just one eye and then I naturally go to Lord of the Rings because, well, I just do. Can’t help myself really.

Anyway, back to what I was saying…this is stream of consciousness writing, after all.

I get headaches and I sometimes like to tell myself the story, to at least frame that in a somewhat positive light, if headaches can be light at all, by saying I started getting them in the immediate years that followed my original vision loss.

This is true.

This goes for so many things: letters and cursive writing, colours, the faces of my family, the ever-disappearing television screen, even the numbers on an alarm clock or my old dialysis machine. I used to see those in the dark, but now I picture them in the darkness of my mind.

Those things are aided by my memory and so I have an easier time re-picturing them in my mind.

It’s the things I have not seen and will never really see that cause the pain in my head, my mind clattering and thudding up against my skull in desperation.

In my mind, I’m staring at a computer screen, like I did those first times, when the Internet was new.

I am seeing, in my mind’s eye, the faces of my sweet niece and nephews, of which I will never get a fully defined idea of that sweetness in their little faces.

In my mind, I am picturing every beautiful thing in nature and on the travels I have gone on and hope to go on. I can’t complain. Since having all the vision I did have, at one time, this allows me to have a little help in guessing what things might look like, giving my mind less of a workout, but it’s still a challenge.

I see the long lost words on the page.

But back to reality, and the voices on my phone and laptop keep speaking to me, as my mind runs on and on and on. My mind’s eye is where I really want to be.

I now must see more and more of the things I used to see with my eyes, with my mind’s eye. I try and my head aches, because I just can’t stop seeing all the loveliness of the world in that space between my ears.

I wish I could stop, not care, not bother to even try. I wish I could sleep at night, without hundreds of images flashing through in there, like one of those programs that provides a slideshow of photographs, like the one on my mom’s computer.

I can’t stop. I can’t rest. This slideshow runs through, again and again, ceaselessly, but in some strange and painful way, I don’t want it any other way. I can’t make it stop, but deep down, I guess I never want it to.

Thanks, Linda, for this weekly writing prompt:

I am thankful for the opportunity to have an open-ended window of pure creative writing time, which is different and separate from everything else I do with my blog.

Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Writing

How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life

How has writing positively influenced my life?


This is the million dollar question, and I sat with it for a long time, unable to put my feelings into words. Not a good sign.

I figured, when I came across a writing contest, on a writing resource site known as Positive Writer, that I could easily write a blog post about:

How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life,

with little to know trouble.

Well, here it is (deadline approaching fast) and I still had not written a thing.

I always did respond well to last minute pressure – so here goes.

Quick answer is I don’t know. How do you explain those things that have the greatest influence on your life? How do you explain the things you love? You just do.

Then I thought harder, dug deeper, and realized something: this is writing we’re talking about, so I’d better try anyway.

Where would I be without it? How would I have coped with everything, all the crap life can bring? Conversely, how would I have fully expressed my gratitude for the beautiful things in my life, the amazing stuff I must never take for granted?

Without writing I would not be the woman I am today, that’s for sure. I would have become lost in the darkness that my vision loss can sometimes produce.

Writing came along, not from a very early age, but at just the right moment in my life. It came on slowly, but it grew, as a way for me to perfectly express all that I had locked up inside.

An outlet, of course, but a gift I have been given: the gift of the written word.

As I remember the shape of the letters on the page, back when I could still write by hand, I am all the more thankful for technology and the computers, keyboards, and typing skills I learned. Home row is my favourite place to be, to place or rest my fingers, as I speedily move them over the letters of the alphabet.

Writing has been nothing but a positive way for me to make sense of my world, as I say on my blog. My blog and writing are my world. They are everything positive I have found.

All the images I still recollect, after my remaining vision began to fade, they are still spinning around in my head. Sometimes I can’t make them stop. Writing has given me a way to release some of that, so it does not overwhelm me completely.

It’s the art on the canvas and the music to my ears. Writing makes life tolerable and bearable. It has taught me so much and always, it’s there for me. It’s a constant friend by my side, one that is always there to help me out of the funks or the bad days.

I don’t know what I was doing before I was writing, but I know I was meant to find this positive influence, as a way to do good in the world. I am a better person because of the positive effect writing has on me, every single day.

Those three words: writing, positive, and influence – they are all uplifting and valuable. When something has the power to do all that writing has done for me, I am positively certain I will be influenced by writing for a long time to come. If I can take that positive influence and spread it around, even a little, with my writing – well, what more could I ask for?

Blogging, Book Reviews, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, Spotlight Saturday, Travel

Spotlight On Life’s Adventures

Amy Bovaird lives life to the fullest.

She has traveled and taught.

She blogs and she writes.

You can read more about her adventures,


I have learned a lot from her since I discovered her, online, and happily read her new book and reviewed it,


I was pleased when she asked to feature me for not one, but two Friday Friends segments on her own blog.

She kindly allowed me to talk about all I wanted to talk about, breaking the guest post into two parts.

The first can be found in Part One,


where I talk about my love of books and the written word and the second,


In Part Two I talk about my love of travel and my dreams of growing a travel blog.

I have been inspired by her fearlessness, not because she’s traveled all over (which I admire greatly), but because she has gone through so much with vision loss and yet she’s made it work for her.

I interviewed her when her book came out,

Mobility MAtters,

and I wanted to update our relationship since then, and the collaborations between us that have increased.

I appreciate what she has done for me and I hope I have been of some help to her with promotion of her book.

Buy It Here

She has had her adventures and continues to have them. I have had my own and hope we both have exciting adventures still to come.

I hope she will allow me to interview her solely on her own experiences with travel, possibly on my travel website, at some point in the future.

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


and you can visit her Facebook page,



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.

Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Spotlight Sunday

Bold Blind Beauty

Today’s Spotlight Sunday, Part Two: I am featuring Stephanae McCoy and her wonderful site Bold Blind Beauty.

I came across this helpful resource through social media and I immediately knew I had to get in touch with her, and I am very glad I did.

We spoke for a long time, one April afternoon over Skype, and I learned about her own life and how it inspired her to start a website to offer style, fashion, and makeup tips and trends, in a way that women who are visually impaired and blind can understand.

Stephanae has a quote on her site which took hold of my attention right away. I felt like we might have a similar outlook on life when I read it.

“Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.”

That is precisely what she is doing with her website. This Ralph Waldo Emerson quote spoke to me and made me want to check her out and I hope you will too. First, here is our conversation.


When did you begin to lose your sight and how did you handle the change?

My vision loss began back in 2005. While looking in the mirror, I took out my right contact lens and since I still had in the left lens my reflection appeared as if half of my face was missing. Oddly enough I wasn’t afraid but I didn’t know what to think as I took out my left lens. Having high myopia (extreme nearsightedness), everything appeared normal once again except for when I closed my right eye. If you’ve ever looked in a fun-house mirror that’s how the vision in my left eye appeared as everything was distorted and it was such an eerie feeling.

The next day I called my doctor thinking that my new blood pressure medication was causing the issue and I was told to contact an ophthalmologist immediately. I was given an emergency appointment and my diagnosis (macular hole) was one of which I’ve never heard. The doctor explained how the nearsighted eye functions and why the macular hole developed. He went on to say that he was sorry he couldn’t do anything to restore my vision but he would refer me to a retina specialist.

Initially, handling my vision loss was not a major ordeal because I was under the care of a wonderful retina specialist who told me that all the statistics of vision restoration were in my favor. After my first failed surgery though I began to feel a little nervous; however, the second surgery was successful and I didn’t have any more issues until I developed an epiretinal membrane in my right eye. This was the point when life became more challenging for me as it affected the way I did my job, I began using adapted equipment to continue working, I was beginning to find it more difficult to read and while I was still able to drive, when the obstructions became too much for me to bare I voluntarily gave up driving.

As my vision continued to decline, I went for second and third opinions while simultaneously scouring the internet in search of a cure. In addition to the macular holes in both eyes I now had cataracts, a torn retina, glaucoma and way too many uncomfortable eye procedures in a vain attempt to keep my remaining vision. In view of all I was going through I reached my breaking point and felt I could not handle anymore, I was depressed, felt extremely isolated, lonely and very angry.

What was the hardest thing you found to deal with about vision loss?

The most difficult thing about losing my vision apart from not being able to see was the lack of general awareness, loss of information, and the negativity associated with blindness. It’s not an easy thing to go through however with the help of my blind and vision impaired friends I was able to see that I could still live a very fulfilling life with this disability.

Describe your own style before and after your loss of vision? How did lack of sight effect it?

I would describe my style as polished professional. After I graduated high school I went to business school and took a personal development course for women that taught me everything from poise to etiquette, style and elegance. I learned how to walk, sit, stand, speak, mannerisms, apply makeup and dress for success. Since I always knew I wanted to be a professional I learned early on how to dress the part to obtain my goal.

The loss of sight hasn’t greatly affected my style as I’m still the same person and I love being polished. Being able to mix and match colors has become a little challenging because I can no longer differentiate between shades of color. It’s easier to deal with colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. On occasion I do have to seek the opinions of family and/or friends on how a certain outfit appears on me since my mirrored reflection isn’t clear.

I find that shopping online for clothing and accessories is so much easier than going to brick and mortar stores mainly due to accessibility. Plus I enjoy taking all the time I need and being able to have shipments delivered so that I can then try them on in the comfort of my home. The added benefit with so much online competition is many retailers also offer free shipping.

What made you decide to start BoldBlindBeauty? What were you hoping to accomplish with the site? How did you want to help women who are visually impaired and blind with their personal style?

Two years ago I was approached by the President of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind to do a makeup presentation for the women of the organization at our annual convention. Part of my preparation for any public speaking engagement is researching my topic and when I was looking for material on the subject of makeup for blind/vision impaired women I found very little information.
I titled my talk Bold Blind Beautiful because as blind and vision impaired women we have to be bold just to go out and conquer the day. I intentionally chose the word beautiful as a descriptor because it was my small contribution to alleviating the negative connotation associated with vision loss. The segment went over so well and there was so much interest in it I thought hmmmm why not do something on a grander scale and see what happens? This was the birth of Bold Blind Beauty.

What has been the response you’ve had from people since starting the site?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve had many women and a few men contact me via the site from all over the U.S., Canada, UK and other parts of the world supporting me and letting me know that it’s about time. The fashion industry does not cater to those of us with disabilities in general let alone people who are blind or vision impaired. I believe the reason is that people think because we can’t see that equates to our not caring about our appearance when nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, it takes a little more time and effort by providing descriptions but this information is essential for us to enjoy all that the industry provides to our sighted counterparts.

What advice or tips do you have for visually impaired and blind women about personal style, fashion, and makeup, as someone who was sighted before and now has become visually impaired?

The first piece of advice I would give is to get to do a self-evaluation and what I mean by this is style is individualistic and knowing yourself is the first step. Style like art, is a form of self-expression and communication which encompasses the whole person. It begins on the inside with our personality, lifestyle, values, likes, dislikes, mannerisms and it permeates all areas of our life.
Since the loss or lack of vision curtails the way we receive information it can be challenging but not impossible for us to develop our sense of style. Loss or lack of sight doesn’t mean we are non-persons who are unconcerned with how we present ourselves or live our lives. As long as we have the capacity to learn and are open to different methods on how we can partake in the world of fashion, we too can acquire the skills to be self-sufficient in this arena.

The key is honing our confidence and this piece of advice applies to everyone not just blind/vision impaired people. When we are able to assertively communicate our confidence how we are perceived becomes less important.

The last piece of advice I want to give is to have fun experimenting with your style, break the rules, this is how trendsetters are born.

What do you hope to do with your site going forward?

I want to inspire blind and vision impaired women and collaborate with them so that together we can develop unconventional approaches of defining our individual style, effectively using cosmetics, shopping for the latest trends. I envision the collective creativity of this demographic becoming mainstream in the fashion industry so that we can have a future as fashion designers, editors, stylists, photographers and models. Ultimately it is my hope that in so doing we can dismantle the myth that simply because we cannot physically see does not mean we lack vision.


I want to thank Stephanae for agreeing to talk to me about these things. She is greatly appreciated by us women who need a little extra help to find our personal style. I am so glad I came across her site, which can be found


And I know she will continue to offer a valuable service for visually impaired women everywhere.