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Friday, November 30, 2012

Other Duties As Assigned

One of the most common job description additions is "other duties as assigned". Here is a brief list of some of my "favorite" other duties:
~pack boss's office: this includes cleaning out desk drawers and having entertainment of hte wonderful treasures inside
~Kill spiders
~get water for construction/contract workers
~make signs so people don't get lost in new building/move
~move an office or two
~Buy boss lunch to get out of doing extra paperwork.

This list seems shorter than it has been in the past. It simply makes me laugh sometimes. We find ourselves doing the smallest, silliest and stupidest of things and come to the conclusion that it is "other duties as assigned!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Random things that pop in my head bring me back to lists like this....I thought it would be cheesy...but it actually was kind of funny.

All I Need to Know About Life I Learned From My Bible

Miracles happen

Somebody loves me

I am not alone

The majority isn't always right

Wonderful things happen in dungeons

Death is only skin deep

Poverty is temporary and so is wealth

He who dies with the most toys loses the most toys

You can always go home again

Things will look better in three days

I always have at least one friend that is closer than a brother

Family is everywhere

There is always something good to look forward to

Monday, November 26, 2012


Today I do not want to use my cane. I don't want to be identified with it, I don't want to be burdened by it. I walk around and try to carry my lunch, my phone, the key to my office...and its just one more thing. I want to be free. I want to curl up in a ball and scream and cry. I want to walk around with my hands empty and spin and dance as I prance through my office....

This would be a let's get through it. 

I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.

Helen Keller     This is my statement for today, the statement that will keep me pushing through.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Onward in this journey

Today is day 4 of using my cane or sighted guide full time. So how is it going you ask?

Well I am incredibly uncomfortable both physically and emotionally. It is difficult to make these changes and my back is very tight and sore. My boss told me today that if I need to lay on the floor...just do it. However, I am retraining my brain to believe that the things I do "can't" be done with out assistance of a sighted guide or cane. It is an interesting concept.

I am so grateful for the support of my coworkers. Our doctor is thankful for the impact the use of my cane is having on our office in being more conscious of things happening. A coworker, who does rehab teaching and not O&M, oriented me to my office....I haven't gotten lost yet though we have had a few close calls.

Emotionally, this is a journey. My boss told me I would have days when it would go well and days when I would want to cry and scream and throw things...well they aren't days...they are moments. Yesterday I wanted to cry because I was glued to my chair in fear of not knowing my environment. Today I am mobile through the whole building....with only minimal fear and hesitation.

Talking about this is difficult. Easier with some but not with all. Let the journey continue. It will be interesting to see how NYC goes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Give Me Your Eyes So I Can See

As I sit down to write this difficult post, these lyrics run through my head:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing

Why do you think?

By now my spiritual family, the majority of my friends/coworkers and my biological family has heard of the changes I am making in my life. Here is a brief recap before I get into the journey of how it is going (If you have already read the letter I sent out to one of these groups...jump to farther down in this post):

Most of you know that I have had a long battle with health difficulties. The battle for my health began long before I knew the past few began during my mom's pregnancy. My parents fought to bring me into this world. And my parents raised me to be independent. This, in and of itself is not bad...or so I thought. But as the last few months have played out I have learned the significant damage my independence has had on my body, my mind and my spirit. Most people, because of my independence, do not realize the reality of the "disabilities" I face. You know about the seizures, the headaches, the stomach problems...but even that is "fuzzy". Few people understand the degree that I face these problems day by day.
A "normal" person sees 160 degrees of vision (left to right) and has 20/20 vision. What I see is 5 degrees of vision and at 20 feet what the average person sees at 60-100 depending on the day (It is worse when I am tired, have a headache or when it is really bright or dim, when i've been on the computer...etc.). For me it’s not black and white. It is not that I do or don't see something. I see some things, I infer many others and the rest I miss.
I find myself caught between the two cultures of sighted and not sighted...I have been a partially sighted trying to fit into the sighted world...and in many ways I don't fit in to either. I have spent a lot of my life hiding from my disability, pretending it isn't there and then only in the last few years mixing the reality that I am not fully sighted with figuring out who I am. I don't want to be "Lindsay the Blind girl"...but I can't be "Lindsay the normally sighted girl."  
I have fought to not use my cane or sighted guides for years. I have gotten to a point of accepting assistance of others in crowds or dark places and using my cane when I take the bus. However the reality is that due to my eye sight I need to look down when I walk without assistance. This has put significant pressure on my neck and back...causing headaches, back aches and other ailments that lead to other significant health concerns arising. I have also had a few falls, bumps and stumbles recently. At this point I have no significant damage done to the disks in my spine nor bone spurs formed, but with out change these things could form. As my health conditions continue to tear me away from my work and the battlefield and my vision gets worse (though I don't know why) I have been forced to consider the reality of using my cane and sighted guide more regularly. Perhaps even as a full time thing.  I wish words could express how difficult this transition will be for me.
I wish that I could tell you that this would be a temporary adjustment but the reality is that just like the changes in my diet, this will be a permanent change. Actually probably more like a drawn out series of permanent changes as I strive to find what is best. It is a humbling and scary journey and requires a lot of difficult conversations with coworkers and potentially with the individuals I serve in my job not to mention friends and my family of origin. I am speaking with an orientation and mobility specialist for support and instruction as well. One thing I do know now is that I will need your physical support, your eyes, more than I have in the past.  And more than anything I will need your prayers.
Something in a friend's sharing last Sunday about independence really started me realizing that this needed to be addressed and not dismissed on a daily basis. Without accepting the support of others and getting this new journey rolling....I am not living out true acceptance or dependence on God.
As for my job? I work with individuals who, without their cane, dog or another individual, are putting themselves in harm's way each time they travel. I am no different. My prayer is that as I accept this new appendage that the individuals I serve will be empowered to accept their canes, disabilities and the help available to them. My prayer is that in talking with my coworkers I can share the convictions God has laid upon my heart through out this journey.
There are many things I can't do. Something I can do is count the blessings that I have as a member of an incredible spiritual family who I know will not just tolerate this change but support me and help me to bring this journey full circle to where it will bring about fruit. this journey went fully underway Tuesday in talking with a coworker and then beginning yesterday by using a friend to navigate the grocery store, farm, concert and other areas. So...what has the journey been like.

Honestly...I am emotionally drained, frustrated and at a loss for words. 

Grocery Store: 
~Cane: impossible. Especially right now. There are too many people not looking where they are going. Too many rolling carts and flying turkeys.

Concert or crowded situations:
~Sighted guide is the only way to go if traveling with others. Too many people, trying to stay with others and not leave them behind or be left behind.

I have also learned that my concept of "eye level" is very different from others.  This concept is an awful one. Eye level for a 6 foot person is different than someone at 5 feet 5 inches which is very different from a 5 foot all those kids under 4 feet tall...their eye level is my knee.  But anyway...for someone standing around my height, my eye level is 6 inches to a foot lower than it should be due to the fact that I look down. 

What do I do? How do I navigate my own home? Or the homes of my friends? Do I become an appendage to other? or take up the appendage of my cane?

Sunlight: wow...this will take a lot of training to continue to look straight as opposed to constantly looking down.

This journey is turning out to be very similar to county the cost of discipleship. You go in surrendering your life to Christ counting a few costs...but more importantly counting the costs and surrendering the things we never knew we were going to need to lay down. Today I have a clear picture of what it looks like to take on this new journey...but six months from now there will be new costs to count, new things to consider and new ways of getting through this journey. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Self Talk

How often do we talk ourselves down? We sit and belittle ourselves. Our actions, thoughts and words tear down what we have done, who we are and who we can be to something smaller. So in my thoughts and wanderings I found this question:

If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?

Honestly...I am not sure the answer to this question for myself. My inward and outward speech are so drastically different. I think I would be terrified if my friend talked to me the way my head does. This is definitely a way to redirect thoughts. I don't want to be friends with the person in my head currently...but I do want to train the person in my head to get to a place where I would want to be friends with her.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2 Corinthians 12:9

"And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."  

I have struggled for several years now with the workings of my digestive system, the pain from headaches and seizures and the difficulties of all the other organs of my body that decide to revolt every so often. I have taken great time and energy to change how I view my body and what I feed it.  But sometimes it takes an outsider to see the principles that are being fulfilled in ourselves.

After hours and days a nd weeks and months of research, peer support and motivation as well as trial and error sessions I have completely altered the way I eat. This isn't some crazy fad diet but rather a change of lifestyle. As a principle (not a rule because some things are unavoidable) I don't eat any gluten, soy, dairy or processed anything. Prior to this food and my health were my weakness. I was afraid to and unable to leave the house at times. I was unable to work due to the pain and discomfort. Ok, know...I've told you before. But a friend of mine helped me to think about this in a different way.
My weakness was transformed through God's transforming power into a strength to share with the world. It took trust in him, the support of my spiritual family and continuous prayer to get through to the other side. Eating in this healthy and new way became a discipline. Discipline is not something learned over takes time, energy and perseverance. You WILL hit a dip, a point at which you don't feel you can get through. For me it was that even eating healthy didn't change how I felt. It was that I got bored eating and figuring out food. I got tired of planning and cooking and preparing and researching. But now, its a discipline. I don't, in general, crave all of these disgusting super "foods" that we fill our bodies with. For became a strength.

Part of the love scroll states this:

"And most of all I will love myself. For when I do I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body,.... Never will I overindulge the requests of my flesh, rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation."

Let your weakness transform into a strength.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Shaded views

As I sit in my office following my boss's directions I am looking at things through shades. After two failed efforts at assignments I approached her for additional work. She told me to go in my office, put my sunglasses on, close the door and pretend like I wasn't there. I struggle with lack of productivity...I always want to be working to my fullest. But...when the pain is beyond do what you have to. So...I am reminded now of how "shades" change what you see. They alter it so that you are not seeing clearly and not working to your fullest.  It reminded me of the ways in which lies do the same...

Lies. Well I started reading a book with a friend of mine for a book discussion we plan on joining. Grace (Eventually) is a hysterical book of shorter stories by Anne Lamott. An excerpt from yesterday reads:

"Lies cannot nourish or protect you. Only freedom from fear, freedom from lies, can make us beautiful and keep us safe."

This is incredibly true. When we listen to or believe lies our view of ourself is shaded and tainted. We see an impure, broken and destroyed self. We don't see the full picture but rather we see it through a colored filter. Think about those times you put tinted shades on and wonder why everything looks rose colored. You don't have a proper view of what you are seeing. Lies do the same. Lies don't build up good but tear it down to the negative. And those don't nourish or protect us.

So as I sit at my desk with the lights off and door closed and shades on...I am unable to read my phone screen. If my phone rings I don't know if its my boss, the front desk, some random person asking for help or an individual who was supposed to call me back last week. My view is tinted and shaded. It will change the way in which I greet each call.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Life motto

Alright these are two really unrelated thoughts:

As an ice breaker I asked the question "What is your life motto?" I had many thoughts that I liked of my own....

1. I'll try almost anything once, some things I'll do twice...
2. Love God and Love others as yourself (yep...stole that from Jesus)

ok...I have lots of other thoughts of what are good life mottos...but I want to hear what others have to say.

Secondly my brain is a rattling after something someone shared with me. It made me think and wrestle through my choices and attitudes even more. When discussing Vision Loss it was described as a lack of privacy. For a "normally" sighted individual they get up and drive themselves to starbucks, order their favorite latte, fill up the gas tank, stop at the bank and deposit their work check. Then they head to the store. They pick out all the wonderful foods they want for the week and stop to get a pedicure on the way home. Alright. Say that is your typical morning. That would take you....maybe 3-4 hours.
For someone who has limited vision...its different. We all know if I were to do that it would take....all day...and I still wouldn't have gotten it all done. So ask someone for help...then think of this. The person who drives you knows what type of coffee you ordered at starbucks, how you paid for it and probably had to help you order it because you coudln't read the menu.
Then you head to the bank. Now that person knows what bank you use, your pin number if you needed help, and how much money you deposited or took out.
So we are at the grocery store. This person now knows every little thing you bought at the store, why you chose what you chose and how you chose it. They know the order in which you like to shop, the shampoo you use, the deoterant you wear, the tooth paste you brush with...o and if you are a girl they know if your menstrual cycle is coming based on the pads/tampons you bought and how much chocolate and ice cream went into your cart. They also know how you paid for your groceries and had to help you pick out these things, load them in the car.
Oh, and that pedicure? What's the point of getting one if someone is sitting there waiting for you? You constantly feel like you are holding them up and that is not relaxing.

All of these things you could have done with out someone if you had full sight....these things that no one will ever know about you. If I had a car and wanted to drive it to the end of the street and back, no one would have to know. But now....everyone knows when and why I go anywhere. Just made me really think.

Why am I concerned about this? Why do I care if others know these things? What do I have to hide? I guess its an extra set of questions I ask myself. And an extra set of eyes so I am fully conscious of all my actions, more conscious than the average individual. While it is incredibly exhausting and time consuming...maybe in the end it is for the better. Just my thoughts.