Don’t be ashamed…….

Hello Everyone, 

As I get ready to do some travelling for work, and go to some training I am reminded of my anxiety and worries as they sneak up on my again. I am a very independent person and I pride myself in being able to live a life that I want to live without letting my disability or people’s perception of capability dictate how I live my life. There are times though when we have to face anxiety, fear, worry and all the ugly. 

When I have to go somewhere new a lot of the ugly shows up for me. I am someone who needs to know all the details, everything from the set up of the venue, the layout of the course, if there is a buffet for meals. The more information I have the better I feel. Now that is not always possible and realistic. So that is when I find myself dealing with anxiety, I worry about all the logistical things like, is there going to be someone to assist me with orientation to the new space, will I have assistance with the buffet (buffets are a blind persons worst nightmare), will I seem like I am incapable if I need to ask for help, will I have access to all the materials being used. There are so many things that people who are not blind or partially sighted don’t think about that we have to and the biggest anxiety for me is making a good impression. What I mean by this is when you are at an event you want to meet new people and network, make a good impression. I find it really hard to network in a large group when I am alone because I can not tell where people are, it makes it hard to approach someone and strike up a conversation. I have been in situations where I am left standing there and probably looking a little pathetic because I can not figure out where people are and if they are alone or who they are or any of these things. Then there is the issue of people thinking I am being rude because I am not looking them in the eye when I am not I just can’t see. 

I have anxiety about these things but it does not stop me from doing the things I want to do. It makes me a stronger person on the other end, I used to be embarrassed to talk about it and I felt so alone when I had anxieties like this. Now I know that I am not alone and if I talk about it, it makes it better because I hear myself and can realize I am going to be fine. My friends are also a great support to reassure me that I will be fine it will all work out and that I am more than capable. 

We all doubt ourselves and have anxiety around different things. People who don’t have a disability struggle with anxiety and worry. It is not something to be embarrassed about it is something to own and know that the more you deal with it, the stronger it will make you. The only thing having the ugly show up every once in a while says, is that you are human.

Until Next Time, 

Ashley and Rick  

How A Blind Mom Cleans

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.

I get many questions around whether I clean my house or if I have a cleaning person or does my husband do it. The answer is I wish I had a cleaning person but unfortunately, it is me who does the majority of the cleaning. I do have a husband who helps out and three kids who have chores (I know I am a horrible mom) but the bulk of it falls to me.

The main thing that people don’t think that I do is clean the bathroom so today we are going to discuss how I am able to do this. First of all, I know the set up of the bathroom so I am able to locate the loo very easily same with the bathtub and sink.

I have a caddy that has all my cleaning supplies in it, I carry that to the bathroom and then start the process. I really hate cleaning the bathrooms just thought I would throw that out there. I usually start with the mirrors and I touch them and then spray the cleaning on the mirror. I am sure I leave streaks behind every once in a while but I am not using them so that is ok they look clear to me.

 

In the pictures above you can see my caddy as well as how I tell apart the two bottles that feel identical. One is Windex and one is Multi-purpose cleaner, I have two bump on dots on the multi-purpose and one bump on dot on the Windex. This really helps to make sure that I am using the cleaner that I want. The other bottles have a shape or defining feature that I have memorized so I am able to tell which one is which.

Next is the sink and counter, I spray the sink and counter surface with cleaner and then I wipe it down systematically. I start at the one side and work my way down and over the counter in small sections so that I get the whole thing.  I do it almost like a search and rescue crew would search for someone who is missing it is very methodical.

Next is the toilet and I do the same as the sink I just spray down the part of the toilet that I want to start with and work my way around the toilet. Toilets are nasty, I wear gloves to do the toilet because I am blind so I do use my hands to check if I missed any cleaner or if I can feel anything. The bathtub and shower are done the same way.

I try to clean the bathrooms more often so that if I did miss something hopefully I will get it next time. It is possible to do all the cleaning in the house if you do it systematically.

I know it may seem impossible to some that a person who is blind cleans and does all of these “normal” tasks but when blindness is your reality it really isn’t that out there; it needs to be done and we do it. The way we do it is probably different but we definitely do it. In fact, my husband will tell you even though I can not see the world around me, I am a clean freak, it drives him and the kids nuts. If it is out of place I will find it, it must be my super power!

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Rick

Finding that “Me” Time !

Hello Everyone,

Spring has sprung here and I am loving the warmer weather and the need for fewer layers. Things are really starting to pick up around here the kids seem to be busier and wanting to do everything right now.

I have been at work 4 days a week now for a month and we are adjusting to that. I am loving my job but am noticing that more now than ever I need to take some time for myself.  I am also realizing how very important this really is.

When I was staying home with the kids for the last 4 years they were in school all day so I had the ability to take some time for just me each day that I was home. Even when that time was just cleaning with my favorite playlist cranked it was quiet me time, time to reflect.

Now that I am working and trying to juggle everything I did as a stay at home mom with working and getting enough sleep and keeping everyone happy, there are days where I fail miserably.

My days start at 4 a.m. when that dreaded alarm goes off, I then get myself ready for work then on to the dogs and kids lunches. I do pack them and prepare them the night before so I just need to put it all together. Then on to backpacks and making sure it is all ready to go with what they need. Out the door by 5:15 a.m. I don’t mind the early mornings, I am not a morning person by any stretch but I don’t mind getting up. I am grateful to have a job after struggling for so long to be given a chance that no matter what time I had to get up I would.

After work it is home and then supper, homework, showers, family time, lunches, cleaning and then hopefully to bed by 10:30. So the only reason that I am telling you how my day goes is because I am trying to figure out where the “me” time fits in there. I travel to and from work with my husband so we get to have some time alone and to talk about things but I am still left feeling like my cup is emptying.

Making sure that we find time for just us is so important, we are not able to take care of those we love and give to those we love if we have nothing to give. So I know I will be finding some time in this hectic amazing life of mine. What do you to for some me time.

 

A new beginning​ awaits

Hello Everyone,

It would have been my dad’s birthday today, I miss him more than words. He passed away 5 years ago from cancer. One year after he passed away I began to very quickly lose the rest of the vision that I had.

These events in my life have changed me as a person. It has showed me that life is short, when you lose a parent it is hard no matter what age you are. I don’t think it makes it easier when you are an adult. My dad was only 48 years old when he passed away and I felt robbed of the relationship that I had with him. We were very close, we worked side by side in our families bakery and we are a lot alike. I will always treasure the time that we had together especially those happy memories that I carry with me every day.

When I lost my vision I felt robbed of my life as it was, I was angry that I had just started to accept the loss of my dad and now I was thrown this curve ball. I never ever imagined I would have been strong enough to handle losing my vision.

It took me some time but I knew that with the strength that I got from my dad and his stubbornness that I would be ok. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. I have come so far from the person that I was 6 years ago. I am more confident than I ever would have imagined, and I am extremely happy with where my life has taken me. I also know that my dad is with me on this journey and giving me the strength to conquer anything that comes my way.

Loss seems like the end, but for me this end has been an amazing beginning. I can not wait to see where it goes next  !

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Rick

What Defines Independence?

What makes you independent?

Are you independent if you can do everything on your own and not need any help? Are you less independent if you need to ask for help? What if we looked at independence in another way, what if we were more independent if we were confident enough to know when to ask for help.

There is this presumption that people with disabilities are not as independent as able-bodied people because there are aspects of our lives and days that we need to ask for assistance.

I truly believe that I am more independent because I am confident enough to ask for help. I will give you an example. In order for me to cook meals for my family, I need to be able to go and get groceries. So let me walk you through how this works ad show you that me asking for help makes me more independent than if I was to not ask.

I make my list at home, print it out and head to the store. When I reach the store with my guide dog I then find a counter and ask if there is someone that is able to help me get the items on my list. I will hand them the list and follow them around the store picking up my items. I then pay for the items and head home. After getting home I am able to make meals for my family.

If I did not ask for help I would have to wait for my husband to be able to take me to the store and help me pick out the items that I need. So, me knowing that I need help at the store makes me more independent and able to be like any other parent out there, going to the store and getting groceries to make supper.

Learning to ask for help when you need it does not make you weaker it makes you stronger. It also makes you the most independent version of you! So please never be ashamed or feel less than because you need help with something.

Until Next Time!

Ashley and Rick

Self Discovery

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all well !

With it being the New Year and everyone talking about what their resolutions are going to be for the next year. I do not feel the need to jump on that band wagon, in fact the opposite. I do not do resolutions for the New Year simply because I am horrible and keeping them and know this.

However I do want to take the next little while and really focus on me and what I want and what makes me happy. I started this blog to help educate people about blindness and to have people see me for more than my disability. I am in awe of the support I have received from complete strangers, and the messages saying how I have helped them. I am so happy to have had the opportunities that I have had over the last year because of the hard work that I have put in, it really did pay off.

So to do this I will be doing posts on the things that I love and the things that happen in my life. I am much more than a person living with blindness. I want to share those things with everyone to show them that blindness does not define our lives. There are so many things that I do in my daily life that have nothing to do with blindness.

There are also many things about me that I have not shared like the fact that I was a teen mom. I had my daughter at the age of 18 and had to grow up very quickly. After I had my daughter I got married at 20 and then had two more children. I have been very focused on being a mother, and wife. I was determined to not be a statistic when it came to being a teen mom and now that I am 32 I feel like it is time to focus on me, really take the time and spend it doing things that bring me absolute joy!

So I hope you are all happy to come along on the journey of discovery over the next little while. I have lots of post ideas and am glad to have you along for the ride of my life!

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

2016 A Time To Reflect

It is hard to believe that 2016 has come and gone! So let me start this off by saying Happy New Year !! Also a huge Thank You! This year has been amazing. I am so grateful to have had the opportunities that have come my way and for all the support that I have received from so many amazing people! All of you that have supported my blog and motivational speaking all hold a special place in my heart!

I am wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best in 2017! Let’s make it even better than 2016. Living out our dreams and doing the things that we want to do. Not letting others determine how we live our lives and not letting misperceptions and stereotypes get in our way.

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions but I am someone who is constantly striving to be better. I want to always be the best version of me that I can be. I believe that if we live the life that we want and enjoy every minute of it, we will never have regrets.

Thank you all again for all your support and love over the last year and I look forward to sharing the upcoming year with you all!

Happy New Year!

Until Next Time!

Ashley and Rick