Monday, May 28, 2007

Random Thoughts about very Specific Issues

I'm annoyed beyond reproach when I am forced to deal with grown people that insist on acting like children. I don't understand that behavior. Yes, I know that being grown really isn't cracked up to be what you hoped it to be. But it is what it is. And there is no escaping it. Well, at least, that's how I see it. But there are others, that will go unnamed, that think that it is okay to dodge the bullet of adult life. That's insanity... I really do think it is a form of mental illness.

I love watching documentaries. I guess because I am an information buff. A lot of people think I'm smart because I know about a little bit of everything. But it's just because I like to be in the know... I like to be schooled on things that I know nothing about.

Do I agree with people going to swing parties? No... But the other day I spent a little time reading about it on somebody's blog. I guess I might be a tad bit nosy... Shhhh.... Don't tell anyone. Or maybe it's because I just like to know a little bit of everything.

Well, my mother is downstairs watching those prison documentaries that come on MSNBC all the time. And although I find those documentaries fascinating, they are very painful to watch. I hate seeing those people locked up. I wish so badly that they would have made better decisions.

There's another reason why I hate watching those prison documentaries. But I can't talk about it on this blog. Those that know me and know me well know why I hate watching the prison documentaries. And if you don't know... Oh well... Don't waste brain cells trying to figure it out...

I hate when healthy people complain about how ridiculous there life is. I think it so ridiculous for someone that has all of their health and strength to complain about how terrible life is to a blind woman. I always wonder if for one moment they think about how life is for me. I'm sure they don't.

I'm realizing more and more that I can't continue to carry dead weight around. It's time for me to rid my self of all the emotional, financial, spiritual, and physical dead weight that prevents me from propelling to heights that God has called me to soar in. I can't go on any further with all of this concrete latched on to my feet. It has to go.

I gained 4 pounds... More dead weight... I'm back on my mission to shake the weight. I need to lose that and about 15 more. Can I do it by the beginning of fall? Yes, I can.

I hate when preachers feel led to pray for me and the only thing they pray for is for me to get my sight back. They act as if I don't have any other need in the world. I am more than my blindness. My blindness is not my only problem. I appreciate their prayers... I just wish they would understand that I'm a human that have real problems like everybody else.

Well, those were my rambled thoughts. But don't kid yourself into thinking that I wasn't addressing some very specific issues that I'm facing this very moment.

Well, God bless whoever is reading this... And God bless me... I certainly need it.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Keeping Life in Perspective

Sometimes, I get a little side tracked. That's why I thank God for giving us His word to help us get back on track.

I just wanted to share a scripture that I read that helped me recapture the purpose of my life.

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the
race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me -- the
task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
-- Acts 20:24

Thank you Lord for your beautiful word.

Boy, I wish I could drive.

I'm so thankful that I got a chance to do certain things before I started losing my sight. For instance, I got a chance to ride a bike, go fishing, go to fabulous museums, and look down at the scenery below as I was riding in a cable car. In fact, I wrote about some of the things that I enjoyed seeing before I lost my sight in another blog entry, entitled "My Super Power." Here's an exert from that entry.

"I’m so thankful to God that I got a chance to see when I was a little girl. The visual images of so many experiences are burned into the walls of my memory. I’m so glad that I remember the color red, the beauty of the ocean waters, the magic of electricity falling from the sky to the earth, the image of a tiny ant, carrying a bread crumb, 5 times its size, the brightness of the sun, a sparkling diamond, a bald eagle soaring in the sky, The smiling faces of the people who stood on the ground as I was flying through the sky on a wild roller coaster, flames reaching for the sky as it consumed a burning house, perfect cursive writing, beautiful, exotic animals at the Houston Zoo, and the darkness of the night sky. And that’s only mentioning a few of my visual memories…"

But with all that being said, there are some things that I am sad that I haven't been able to do in this life. The one thing that I wish I could do the most is drive. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRIVE A CAR. No, not for the pleasure of saying I drove a car. I want to be able to hop in my car, pour the high price gas in it that everyone is complaining about, and drive where ever in the heck I want to go.

My #1 gripe about being blind is my transportation situation. I hate not being able to be in charge of my transportation choices.

Yes, I know that there are some blind people that would hit the roof if they saw this entry. They would cry out that I can be in charge by just taking a taxi or using public transportation. But even those modes of transportation demand that you're dependent on who ever is doing the driving. You have to wait on taxis. Pay them more money than the trip would normally cost. And deal with the funk that often reeks from the taxi driver. When it comes to riding the bus... Well, that in itself is a-whole-nother issue. Plus, there is no public transportation out here where I live.

So, right now, I have to deal with my family to get me where I need to go. And although that works out most of the time, there are a lot of times that I basically opt out of going places that I want to go, simply because I don't want to fool with my family like that. Yes, my daddy is real cool. But my sisters can be a trip.

Here's my final gripe about the whole driving issue. I was watching television the other day. (yes, I said watching... I'll explain that choice of words in another entry. So, just wait on that.) And in between my show, a BMW commercial came on. I got sad all of the sudden because I realize that as it stands, I will probably never get a chance to buy me a fine car.

And yes, I know that there are some smarty pants that are probably saying that I can buy a car. But let me hip all of you to this... I, Angela L. Braden, will not purchase nothing that expensive that I can't get behind the wheel and drive myself. So, unless God heals me and gives me my sight back, I won't be buying a car for myself or no one else to hop in and floss in.

Well, now that I got that off my chest... Ummm... I once heard that talking about stuff makes you feel better. I don't know... I just vented about my transportation problem, and I don't feel any better. Oh well...


As I was writing this particular blog entry, someone broke in my sister’s car. Apparently, some kid had enough nerve to break in her car as it was sitting right in our driveway. The kid must have gotten spoofed by something or someone… They left without stealing anything. And the kid left their house keys in Kim’s car.

Even though having a car has its own set of problems. I would still much rather deal with someone breaking in my car from time to time than being blind all of the time.

More, love,


Saturday, May 26, 2007


Every since I lost my sight, people have tried to figure out how in the world can I be so functional without any vision at all. In fact, there are some that believe that I pretend to be blind, simply because they cannot wrap their mind around the fact that blind people are capable of being functional, independent, and confident. (Now, why would anybody fake blindness is beyond me.)

Once I started losing my sight, I started my love affair with the computer. The computer gives me the power I need to document, communicate, and create. In fact, I don't know what I would do without my trusty computer equipment. Technology really did save my life. Much like my mother's pacemaker saves her life everyday, my computer keeps my heart beating.

Questions of how I use the computer always come up, especially now that I've started blogging. When I send people e-mails, those that have enough courage to inquire about how I do that, ask me how in the world do you send and read e-mails. People ask how I browse the internet. And as I afore mentioned, most people are amazed that I maintain blogs.

Well, let me clear up some of this mystery. I use JAWS for Windows. It's a screen reading program created by Freedom Scientific. This company makes great assistive technology for the blind. But the screen reading software is what I like the most. JAWS makes what is on a computer screen assessable to me. It allows me to pretty much use the computer like any other sighted person. Yes, the voice that comes blaring out of my computer speakers is a little annoying and hard to understand at times; but if it wasn't for JAWS I wouldn't be able to do anything on the computer.

I also use OpenBook. This product is also created by Freedom Scientific. OpenBook is a program that allows me to scan printed documents with my scanner, and OpenBook reads back to me what's on the paper. Isn't that fantastic? I wish I had this program when I was in undergrad. I probably would have had nearly a 4.0 GPA much like I do now, if I had this program back then.

Although there are a lot of great products out there on the market, JAWS and OpenBook are primarily the ones that I have found to be the most useful. Plus, these products are not very economical. I probably would have a lot more if I could afford the high prices on them.

Next week, I'll spend a little time posting some of the products that are on my wish list. Some of these products are not for computer use. Some are simply just to make life easier on someone that has a visual impairment. So, I'll gather a list of what I would love to have. And if some of you folks that's balling out of control want to hook a sister up, please feel free. I love to give. But I don't have any problem being on the receiving end of giving. LOL And I’m not kidding.

I hope I answered some of you guys' questions. If not, hit me up. I'll be glad to explain.

Much love,


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Me and my White Cane

I'm not a vain sister, but I do think that a sister must make every attempt to be her cutest at all times. Sometimes, money gets in the way from being as glamorous as you can be. But nothing but poor laziness, a lack of effort, limited creativity, and/or fractured confidence gets in the way of taking the time and energy to take the necessary steps to mix up a batch of cute and apply it in your life.

After I quit my job, I couldn't afford to go to the beauty shop as much. So, my cute, sassy haircut turned into long hair, simply because I couldn't afford to go to the beauty shop every other week to keep up the cut. I started perming my own hair and applying the color to hide my militant gray strands.

I couldn't maintain my shopping habit. So, I started shopping at Marshall's, Ross, and any other department store that stocks nice clothes and shoes at a bargain price. I search through the clearance and sales racks at Dillards, Macys, Banana Republic, and Anne Taylor. Do I have a lot of clothes in my closet. Nope, but what I do have is nice. My few little items get the job done when I need to go some where of importance.

Once I became unemployed, I couldn't go to the nail shop anymore either. So, I bought all the pedicure products and started exfoliating and scrubbing my own feet every week.

I started letting my sister arch my eye brows with a razor, rather than going to the salon to get them waxed.

Am I cute all the time? No... But I try my best to represent the woman that lives on the inside of this shell. If I say I represent excellence, then I need to at least look like I got some sense on the outside. JMO

Well, the one accessory that I always think cramps my style is my cane. No matter how fly I look, ain't nothing cute about a white cane. It just don’t make any good fashion statement. In fact, I think that no matter how sexy I try to look, my cane just knocks the idea of sexy right out the box.

I imagine that when people look at me, they notice that I'm a good looking gal. But the idea of how cute I am gets drowned in the "Oh, she's blind." sea of curiosity and pity.

Well, with all that being said, I think that my cane helps me look much better than I would look if I was walking around, falling off of curbs and bumping into everything, just because I didn't want to have a cane for vanity sake. My cane, which is definitely not a token of high fashion, helps me look my very best. It helps me look independent and in charge of my own destiny.

So, if my cane has to be apart of my wardrobe and accessories, then so be it. Remember, looking my best is in my best interest. And since I’m blind and there’s no earthly way around the blindness, I got to have the cane. So, the cane is also in my best interest.

Disclaimer: I don't carry my cane when I'm with my family and friends. I usually walk sighted guide. But when I'm alone, I have my cane.

That disclaimer is for all the smarty pants that are sure to point out that I don't always have my cane.

Pinky Toe Update

As I mentioned in my previous post, I injured my pinky toe last week. And even though the injured toe is little, the pain was large and in charge. I couldn't wear any of my shoes. I had to wear my baby sister's flats all weekend.

I was a little worried that my toe wouldn't be better by Monday. I had a job interview and a speakers event to go to that night. I knew I had to be in a better shoe. A shoe that would match my cute clothes and a shoe that would certainly hurt my poor, aching, little toe...

Well, by Monday afternoon, my toe wasn't totally healed, but it was well enough to squeeze them in my black pumps. And although I was a bit uncomfortable when I first got going, after a few strides, I forgot about the discomfort and was stepping with ease and confidence. By the time I got home, around 10 hours later, my toe wasn't hurting at all.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that I was cute from head to toe. Mission accomplished...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Revisiting the post, Stars and Stripes

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry, entitled Stars and Stripes. I talked about how I sometimes injure myself around the house. No, not major injuries... But from time to time, I have a little accident and hurt myself. Is it due to my blindness? Yeah, but mostly because I won't be more careful.

(My friends say I'm just too fast. LOL)

Well, a couple of days ago, I was headed to the kitchen to get something for my little rabbit, Jasmine. Then out of no where, the corner of the wall seemed to stick out more than it usually does. My baby toe slammed into the base of the wall.

Well, anytime a person stubs their toe, it hurts. But this time, it wasn't just a typical stubbing of the toe. Blood went every where. And the pain... Oh, the pain was enough to send me hopping on one foot, saying some not so nice words in my head, and howling a high pitched "ow.".

Everybody came running to see what the heck was wrong with me. Nobody could believe that I was bleeding like that from just hitting my foot against the wall. It's not like I was kicking the wall. I was just walking. Not running... Walking...

Well, my toe has been hurting for 2 days now. I can't even wear my shoes. Can you believe that?

Today, the Black Expo is going on here in Houston. I can't even go because my pinky tow hurts too bad to put on a shoe. Amazing...

I have to go somewhere Monday. And I'm going to have to put on a shoe for that meeting. The kind of shoe that hurts on a good foot day... I need to be all better by then. (Please God.)

You know, hurting myself really doesn't bother me too much. But when that injury last for some days and impairs my activities, then I'm bothered.

I guess I do need to slow down and be more careful.

I used the linking function on this post. Yipee!

Yay!!! I finally figured it out.

I'm so excited! I've just had a milestone moment with my blog.

I finally figured out how to post a link on my blog. I know most of you (the sighted) don't realize what a big deal that is. But let me explain. Many web sites have little or no accessibility for blind computer users. Many of the editting buttons that make life easier for the sighted are often trouble for those of us who cannot see. And although Blogger does a pretty good job, blind life on Blogger is not perfect.

(It's times like this that I wish I had linked up with some of the tech geeks that I have run across in the blindness circles. I know they know what to do. Many of them are pure genius.)

Well, every since I started this journey of blogging a little over a year ago, I've been wanting to tag links to text items. Well, no matter what I tried to do to figure it out, I just could never get it.

But this morning, after sitting at my computer for about an hour, I found a help file that explained. Well, the helpful wasn't completely helpful. But it put me on the right track. After twisting and hammering away on my keyboard, trying to figure out the combination of keystrokes to do what I wanted to do, I finally got it.

Now, I feel more comfortable with the creation of my new blog. I realize that the new blog will have much more visitors than this one. So, I have to step up my blogging game.

Once I get the other blog up and running, I'll attach a link right here.

Until then, be blessed and don't be afraid of challenges. Challenges are not to be feared, they are to be overcame.

(Is that the right grammar? Doesn't sound right... LOL)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Role in Taking Care of my Mother (Deatails of the reason why I chose to post the last entry..)

The main purpose of this blog is to give the world a peek into my life as a blind woman. I pretty much try to keep all of my entries centered on that particular theme. However, there are times I stray. But that's okay... That's the fabulous thing about being the author and boss of your own blog. You make the rules, and break them, if you so desire.

Since it is my mother's birthday month, I've taken the liberty of posting two essays that I wrote about her. The first one is entitled "Love; The best Medicine", and the most recent one is entitled "The Summer Months."

I started to not post these essays, simply because the content was not about my blindness at all. In fact, I don't even think I make any mention of my blindness and how her illnesses impact me.

But I decided to post it for two reasons. The first reason being that I wanted to take this month to salute my darling mother. She's a fabulous woman. She’s a shining example of resilience, determination, and strength.

But now that we are past the mushy stuff, I can get to the second reason... I wanted to show the world that I, a blind woman, can take care of someone and/or something that is in need of care. Yes, I'm the primary caregiver of my mother. And I must tell you, with modesty, of course, that I am a great caregiver. Yes, my blindness is annoying and sometimes it prevents me of doing certain things... But I refuse to permit my blindness to prohibit me from providing the best care in the world to a woman that deserves the best care in the world.

So, I took certain steps to make sure I could do the job. I bought a talking blood pressure machine. I labeled all of her medicine bottles in braille, so that I can know what pills are in each of the 12 bottles. I bought a talking scale, so that I could keep track of her weight and fluid retention. Just to mention a few things I've done to make sure that my blindness is just a mere inconvenience, and not an obstacle...

When my mother's doctors found out that Mrs. Braden's oldest daughter, the blind one, was going to be the one taking care of her, they basically freaked out. Of course, they were much too polite to express their concerns as outrage. However, they did make it clear that someone other than me needed to be in charge of taking care of my mother's medicines and checking her blood pressure and glucose.

Because I'm no virgin to prejudice and discrimination, I didn't sweat it. I knew that I, in spite of my blindness, was the best person to take charge of my mother's health. My sisters were too young, inexperienced, and in some cases, too immature to handle the severity of my mother's health crisis. So, I stepped up and grabbed that bull by the horns. And even though that raging bull scared the hell out of me sometimes, I didn’t let go. I held on until the bull was under my control.

After a couple of years, I won the respect and admiration of her team of physicians. Often times, many of the doctors would express how pleased they were of me and the role I played in taking care of my mother. They started viewing me as being an integral part of their effort to improve my mother’s health conditions.

And how about this… A couple of doctors even told me that the doctors would often discuss how "brilliant and amazing" I am. One doctor actually went as far to say that he believes that if it had not been for my persistence and commitment to my mother's health, that my darling mama would have certainly died.

Although the doctors' delayed affirmations and praises are nice to the ear and the heart, I am fine without their medical endorsements. I am motivated to help my mother for very personal/selfish reasons. I want to see her live and prosper. I want her to live as many years as she can, so she and I can explore life and love together, as mother and daughter.

So check out the essays that I wrote about my mother. “Love; The Best Medicine” and “The Summer Months” Oh yes… There’s also an essay I wrote that details the shocking series of events that transpired the night of her stroke. It’s entitled, “I use to be Afraid of the Dark.” You can find it in the archives.

I pray that God’s peace, love, understanding, and grace be with you all the days of your life.

Much love,


The Summer Months (An Essay I Wrote about my Mother's Experiences with Menopause)

My mother was a very energetic, spirited, 51-year-young woman when she had a massive stroke. Although the stroke did not steal my mother’s life, the stroke robbed my mother of so many other valuable gifts that a healthy life brings. Her ability to understand had been dimmed and had somewhat of a delay. Her memory was brutally assaulted by the stroke and was left permanently injured. Although she was not paralyzed, her strength was depleted. She was extremely weak and rather slow when she would move. Needless to say, all of this frustrated her intensely.

After my mother’s stroke, my repertoire of hats expanded. I would wear the nursing hat when I needed to check her blood pressure several times through out the day, listen to the rhythm of her sometimes irregular breathing, and make sure that all of my mother’s medicine was administered properly. I would throw on my social worker hat when I needed to act as an advocate on her behalf to make sure that she was receiving all of the community based services that was available to her. I through on my speech therapist hat when I would help her use the correct word to identify and object, and when I would help her remember simple things, like what city she lived in, the name of the school that she taught at for 25 years, and the date that she entered this world. One of the hats that I liked to wear the most was the comforting daughter hat. I would tell her that no matter what, life was going to get better. And you know what… It did.

About a year after her stroke, my mother’s blood pressure was better controlled, the amount of pills that she had to take in one day had decreased from around 30 to half of that. She was receiving all of the community-based services that were available to her. She started remembering more. She even stopped getting her words mixed up. When she meant to say curtain, she said curtain. When she meant to say door, she said door. She even started believing that my words of hope, “Everything is going to get better, Mama.” Were true.

Just when I thought we were reaching a place that Mama had adjusted to her new life, an unexpected, violent, hormonal tsunami crashed into my mother. The attacker seemed to swallow her whole. In just a matter of seconds my mother would be dripping in her own perspiration, screaming, “I’m hot! Yall aren’t hot?” She was so confused. I told her, you’re probably going through menopause. She was now 53-years-old. At least 4 to 6 times a day, my mother would have these flashes of extreme heat and extinguishing sweat attacks.

I made an appointment for my mother, who was growing more and more confused about these strange feelings of fire that would singe her from inside and out. The doctor immediately said that the symptoms were classic menopause symptoms. He had the tech to draw some blood. The next day, he called to only tell me what I already knew. My mother was very menopausal. He told me that she would just have to get some over the counter medication and endure it the best she could.

My mother was furious. She wanted the doctor to take away these senseless episodes of extreme heat and perspiration. She asked me in the most innocent and concerned voice, “All women have to go through this?” “Yes, ma’am… All women eventually go through this.” She replied in a childlike manner, “Well, I’m not going to be able to make it. I think these hot flashes are going to take me out.”

I silently chuckled. “Mama, menopause is not going to kill you. Millions of women, including your mother and grandmother, survived it. Plus, you been through worse and survived. Menopause is nothing. It’s temporary.”

This time my comforting daughter hat must have not been fitted properly on my head. She didn’t find solace in my words. I didn’t tell my mother that the doctor also said that my mother could be experiencing these symptoms for years. I knew it would send her heart shattering in little pieces. But I did tell God. I prayed and asked Him to send the menopause along its way.

Days, weeks, and even a few months went by. The flames were still scolding my mother and leaving her dripping in her own sweat. But as more days, weeks, and months came by, the rages of heat that my mother had become so familiar with had walked off center stage and hid in the wings. Every now and then, the heat finds its way back on stage. But it mostly waits in the wings.

My mother, the beautiful woman, with the heart of a child and the endurance of a racehorse, was starting to feel better again. In my opinion the stroke altered her life severely. But it was the menopause that lit a match and waved it at my mother’s certainty that the future was filled with hope and peace. I’m as glad as she is that the hormonal summer has cooled off. Now that the greenhouse effect in my mother’s body has reduced its rein, my mother and I can continue on our voyage to help her find happiness, strength, and new life, after a stroke.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Commitment to Blogging

One of my best friends told me that she just can't get into blogging. She said that it's something about her personal thoughts and experiences being broadcasted on the World Wide Web that rubs her the wrong way. She says that she much rather choose and select who she shares her opinions and narratives with. She describes the internet as being a place that has no barriers. She hates the idea that she can't control who reads her words and when they do.

It's something about those very ideas that kind of freaks me out as well. Sometimes, I think about shutting this whole operation down. There are other times that I regret making a comment on other blogs that I frequent. Likewise, there are even a couple of occasions that I envy bloggers who started this journey of blogging anonymously. Although I mostly think that anonymous posters hide behind their anonminity to make statements that they would otherwise never have the courage to make with their own identity, I realize that it's something empowering and liberating about maintaining anonimity. You never have to worry about your words coming back to haunt you.

Tonight, after thinking about this for a few hours, I actually think that blogging is good for me. It may not be something that I do always. But for now, it works. It gives me a chance to vent, release, and converse with others.

Plus, my personal blog gives me the opportunity to share with others what I experience as a blind woman. I realize that most people have never even had one conversation with someone that's blind. This blog gives me the opportunity to shed light on a world that most sighted individuals are blind to ever having the opportunity to see.

So, I continue so that I can be a light in a dark place. As long as I feel that check in my spirit, I will continue to shine a spotlight in the world of a woman whose lights have been unplugged indefinitely, with the hope that someone will be more inclined to understand the world of a blind person. Maybe my blog will decrease discrimination, increase respect, and shatter stereotypes. (I hope I'm not just a dreamer.)

Side note: It's a pleasure to me when I see that other bloggers have linked my blog on their site. That's encouraging. I feel like my story is being heard/read.

Well, this was another sleepless night for me. I've been up doing some cleaning and washing. OMG It's 6:05 A.M. I haven't been sleep yet. Don't think I'll go until the afternoon... Oh well...

Some time today, I'm going to continue telling my story of what led me to be enrolled at the Texas School for The Blind. It's a tough story... But I have to get it out. So, look for "My Story, Part II."

Talk to God, He's listening.

Lover of God and His people,


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

I would like to take a moment and some space on my blog to wish all the mothers in the world a very Happy Mother's Day.

I especially want to wish my mother and my two sisters, Paula and Frances a Happy Mother's day. My mother and my sisters have given birth to some beautiful, smart, incredibly charming children. (smile)

Happy Mother's Day to Claudetta. God bless her for what she does.

Happy Mother's Day to my aunts, cousins, and friends. You deserve more than a day. You deserve a million bucks.

Today, I also send out a prayer for my friends and family whose mothers have flown away to heaven. (Alicia, Darryl, Pamela, Sandra, and Erica)

I'm thinking about my grandmothers. Both of them politely excused themselves from this world and went to go make a eternal home with God when I was a teenager. I miss them. I wish they were here to love me and to let me love them right back. I wish they were here so I could make them proud of a child that actually extends from them.

I'm also thinking of my friend Ladama. In April, her children were faced with the sad reality of having to live life without their mother. I pray that her 3 young sons are doing okay today and the days to come.

I'm also thinking of my sister's best friend. She was a mother of two extremely young sons. I also pray that God is with them today and for the days to come.

The other day was my mother's birthday. I celebrated her by posting a few words about her on my blog. She's a great woman. I pray that she and I have years to grow closer, to love each other more, to laugh together, go on trips together, watch the Young and the Restless together, and watch Jasmine, Joseph, and Gabby grow up in the beautiful people I know that they're going to be. I also hope she lives long enough to be a grandmother to the future grandbabies that are sure to come. I hope Mama lives long enough to see me in love and/ or married. I hope she lives long enough to see me financially take care of myself and her, and still have a fat savings.

Well, this post ended up being longer than I intended for it to be. But that's okay... Mothering takes a lot longer than mothers intend for it to be.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm Finished!

I went over and beyond what was required. Touch your neighbor and say, "25 pages." Oh yes... I finished my paper and the bad boy is 25 pages. What a joy!

I have a meeting this morning. But as soon as I finish with that meeting, I'm heading to TSU to take this paper to the Communication office.

I'm not trying to be funny, but the only thing that these 25 pages prove to me is that I can do the work when under pressure. Hopefully, the 25 pages will prove to my teacher that I deserve an A.

I've been up since yesterday. I'm tired. I feel myself crashing. But I can't lie down until noon. So, I got to keep on pushing.

So Close

I've been stressed out about a major paper that I needed to turn in this week. Everyday, I would sit down at my computer for hours, but I couldn't push out this paper. My mind just couldn't get my thoughts together enough for me to write a paper that made any real sense.

But tonight, knowing good and very well that Friday morning was the last day I could turn the paper in, the mounting pressure is causing me to birth this paper. And so far so good. I'm actually proud of this paper.

I don't know why I am a person that does my best work under pressure. I hate that about me. I wish so badly that I wasn't a procrastinator.

Now that I basically got this paper done, I'm that much closer to graduation. The truth is that I'm finished with all of my courses. The only thing I have to do is take the comprehensive exam this summer and get a GRE score reported to the graduate office.

My graduation date is scheduled for August 11, 2007. Thank you Lord!

Miss Angela L. Braden will have finally finished this program and received her masters.

And guess what... Your girl has a 3.96 GPA. Oh yes... I think I'm proud of myself. (smile)

Am I going to be through with school after I walk across the stage in August? Unfortunately, no... But that's cool. At least, I'll be through with this program.

It's 4:25 A.M. I have about 3 more hours to put the finish on this paper. I'm at 15 pages. I need to tack on at least 5 more. Can I do it? I believe I can. I know I can. And I will. Defeat of any kind is not in my future.

I'll post an entry when I'm hitting the print key.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

My Story, Part I.,

When my best friend from high school died a couple of months ago, I promised myself that I would start thinking and writing about my experiences at TSB (Texas School for the Blind). Well, even though I wish I could just pretend like I didn’t make that commitment, I’m going to push past the pain and annoyance and write about my experiences. Well, here goes. I’ll start with what happened to prompt my parents to even send me away to school in the first place.

When I started losing my sight in 1985, there weren’t many laws in place to force school districts to properly serve their students. Plus, technology wasn’t all that great. So, I caught hell when I started losing my sight.

I needed my first pair of glasses somewhere around the middle of my 5th grade year. A couple of months later is when we found out that I had Glaucoma, and my sight was quickly sneaking away. I had my first eye surgery a month before my 5th grade graduation. I also found out that I was going to need more surgeries in the next few months.

The following school year, I headed to middle school with new determination and limited vision. Unfortunately, 4 out of 7 of my teachers at Burbank Middle School believed that I was pretending to have a sight problem. For some reason, these women thought I was pretending to not be able to see, simply because I was trying to get out of doing my work. Some teachers went as far to publicly confront me and insist that I was lying about not being able to read certain worksheets just because I just couldn’t do the work.

I’m still baffled by their response to me and my inability to see. If these teachers looked at my track record up until that point, they would have discovered that I, by no means, had trouble performing. A may have had some issues, but being a good student was not one of them. I’m not trying to jock myself… But school has never really been hard to me. Not then, and not now… Maybe sometimes it is challenging. But never hard…

(Do I think that race had something to do with the teachers response to me? I certainly do. But that's another post.)

These insensitive teachers refused to darken the print on worksheets, let me go to the nurse's office when my eyes were hurting, and be patient with me when it was time to read out loud. Many of the teachers didn’t understand how I could see some things and couldn’t see others. Well, the truth is, I didn’t understand it either. But in my defense, I was only 11. Plus, I was still trying to understand and make sense of my failing vision. However, these silly women were college educated, middle school teachers, who had access to the school counselor, educational diagnosticians, and a school nurse. What was there excuse? Whatever they didn’t understand about my illness, they could have found it out. Or better yet, they could have just taken my parents word that their child was having problems seeing.

What I found out later on about my Glaucoma is that some days my eye pressure would be up, and those were the times that I couldn’t see that well. Well, when the pressure would drop to a comfortable level, my vision would be better. Plus, I also have Uveitis. This eye disease causes the cells in an eye to become inflamed. Well, days I was dealing with inflammation, my vision was challenged then also. To sum it up, I had issues.

The teachers started failing me. Here I was, a student in a talented and gifted program, making D’s and F’s. And the only reason my grades were suffering was because the teachers didn’t want to take additional time to make sure that I had my work in a format that was good for me. (I hate I can’t go back and sue them for discrimination, pain and suffering.) Maybe I shouldn’t come down so hard on the teachers. The counselors and educational diagnosticians also had a responsibility to make sure that these teachers had the information and tools to make sure that I succeeded in school.

I’ll never forget this witch I had for math. I’m just going to go ahead and put her name out there. She called me out. So, I’m going to do the same. Mrs. Eaves publicly humiliated me one day in class. The class was taking a math quiz. Once we were finished with the quiz, we were instructed to bring the quiz up to her desk. Well, when I brought the quiz to the teacher’s desk, she was handing me another worksheet to complete. Well, all of my peripheral vision was already gone. I didn’t see her handing me the paper, because she was to the right of me.

After I sat down, she announced to the class that I must didn’t want to do my work. When I looked up with amazement, she was waving a piece of paper at me and asking me if I didn’t want it, what she should do with it. The students started laughing. Before I could get up to come and get the paper, she mocked me by asking me if I wanted her to fold it into a paper airplane and fly it to me. The silly 11-year-olds in the class started laughing even more. She asked me what was really my problem. She went on to say that she didn’t think it was sight related.

Well, because the teachers treated me like crap, the students followed up and finished the job. People I went to school with my entire elementary stint started joining in with others in making fun of me. Boys I thought were cute started laughing at me when I would be walking down the halls.

The 6th grade turned into a nightmare. That’s when I first started thinking about suicide. (It was a year later that I tried to carry it out.)

I had to do something to get out of school. I couldn’t take the pain and embarrassment anymore. I was dealing with losing my sight and dealing with the insensitive teachers and students at Burbank M.S. And no matter how many times my mother came up their and tried to advocate for me, nothing changed.

I made a bad decision. I stopped taking my medicine, so that I could get sick and need another surgery. I knew that surgery was going to be the only thing to get me out of that environment.

Well, it worked. But I paid dearly for that decision. I lost a great deal of sight in the process My heart continues to break when I think about what I did to myself. I hate that pain pushed me over the edge. (Lord help me to heal.).

Well, I’m going to stop right here. I’ll continue tomorrow. For some reason, thinking about all of this is a little tough for me. Plus, I don’t want these posts to bee too long. I’m going to have to break these stories down in chunks. Tomorrow, I'll tackle the 7th grade.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Mama

Today is my dear mommy's birthday. I love this woman so much. She is my rock, my love, my hope, my strength, my supporter, and my friend.

Five years ago, she had a massive stroke. No one expected my mother to still be with us on this side of life. I'm going to admit it. There were many times, I thought my mother was going to go to heaven. To be quite honest, I always hoped Mama would live to see these days. But I wasn't always sure if she would.

I'm so glad that God has graciously given me more time with the woman I so intensely love. I'm really not sure what I would do with myself without her.

I do realize that the day my mother and father will leave this earth will come sooner than I wish. I prepare myself daily by loving them as much as I can. I do everything that I can to make sure that each day that their left with me is filled with love, kindness, peace, comfort, and hope.

That way, when they do leave, I'll have no regrets. I'll be left with good memories. What a wonderful gift from my parents. Good memories...

Right before this post, I posted an essay that I wrote about her last year, entitled "Love, The Best Medicine." Check it out and enjoy.

God bless you Mama! I love you very much!

Here's to 10 more years of improving health and increasing happiness.

Love, The Best Medicine

It had been nearly two years since my mother had her first stroke. I was getting so excited. I had learned from reading various publications on stroke recovery that the first two years after a person’s stroke were critical. Even though I prayed and asked God to help my mother survive the stroke and recover most of what she lost, I was quite surprised and pleased when she did. My mother, the teacher, who taught each one of her four daughters, plus hundreds of other elementary age children, was left cognitively impaired from her stroke. However, the nearly two years of prayer and therapy proved to make a difference. While my mother was not the same and I was convinced that she would never be the same, she was better. That was good enough for me.

Two months before the two-year anniversary of her first stroke, tragedy struck our family again. A vein in my mother’s brain ruptured and spilled blood in the organ that was already damaged from the first stroke. Although the neurologist said that this second stroke was not as severe as the first, the damaging effects were greater. The doctor explained that one stroke on top of another stroke was never good. My mother lied in the bed in a stupor for weeks. No matter how much we prayed, cried, or called out to my mother she would not respond.

Every day and every night that we would be there visiting her, my sisters and I would call out to my mother and ask her to wake up, squeeze our hand, open her eyes, or just do anything to let us know that she was aware of our presence. The minutes, hours, and days were rolling by, and still my mother was not responding. The doctor’s had given up hope that she would awaken from her deep sleep. But our faith in God and our faith in our mother, despite what was painfully obvious prompted us to continue to try to wake her up.

One night my sister Paula came to the hospital to visit my mother as she did every night. She would always come in her nursing scrubs that she would wear from her job at one of the city’s neighboring hospitals. Her two young children, Joseph, who was two-years-old, and Jasmine, who was only eight months, would always accompany her. But this night was different. Before Paula could park the stroller that Jasmine was taking a nap in and put down her things and walk over to my mother’s bedside to try to get a response out of my mother, my nephew, Joseph, ran to her bedside. His little head was lifted high so that he could try to catch a glimpse of his granny over the side of the bed. He grabbed her hand and said with sincerity and urgency, “Granny, squeeze my hand.” All of us were moved by his attempt to wake up his granny. In his two-year-old mind, he did not realize the severity of the situation. But his innocent faith pushed him to try to do what he had seen his mommy and his aunties do for the last few weeks.

Without disappointment or wavering faith, he commanded again, “Granny, squeeze my hand.” His brown eyes looked intense and full of unpolluted faith. Again, he implored my mother to squeeze his hand. I got up and went to my mother’s bed and rubbed the top of Joseph’s curly head. With tears forming in my eyes, I said to my mother, Granny, squeeze Joseph’s hand.” Like a miracle, my mother’s fingers moved slowly and slightly gripped Joseph small hand. We shouted with great delight.

Although my mother did not follow that response with another one for at least a few more days, we were all elated that she, our darling mother, and Joseph’s loving grandmother, responded to the sincere request from her oldest grandchild. I believe that her love for her grandchild was able to help her push beyond the physical restraints to let him know that she not only heard him, but she loved him. Over the next few weeks and months, it was the love that my mother had for her three grandchildren that motivated her to trudge up the steep hill to her recovery.

Stars and Stripes

Today, I handed my mother a glass of water. She noticed a new scar on my hand. Being the mama that she is, she immediately asked me what in the world happened to my hand. At first, I didn't know what she was talking about. But then, I suddenly remembered that I burned my hand while I was ironing my nephew's jeans a few days ago.

My mother was sickened by the idea that I burned myself. She asked me to stop ironing and just let her do it.

I don't know why this woman acts like I burn myself every day. The truth is that I probably have a little accident every few months. And extreme temperatures of heat probably accounts for 1 out of 25 of the accidents. I probably burn myself with the iron, curling iron, or the stove once a year.

Most of the time, my accidents are because I bump my leg on clothes baskets that are left by my family members in the hallways of my house or right in the doorway of our laundry room. Or I slip down the stairs because my impatient behind is running down the carpeted stairs barefeet. (That's happened twice since we've been living in this house. My sighted sisters have also fallen down the stairs a couple of times.) Oh, I also bump my legs on the dishwasher door. If my mother is in there loading the dishwasher, and for whatever reason, she walks away, she often leaves the dishwasher door down. Well, because I'm a touch impatient, I walk like I got somewhere to go. Well, when I'm sprinting to the kitchen to get whatever, I often tear my legs up on the dishwasher door.

Should I be more careful? You darn right I should.

Yes, I have accidents because I'm blind. But the accidents are mostly because I need to be more careful. And I hate to point this out... But my mother and my sisters could also make life better for me. They need to remember that I'm blind too. For instance, don't leave the clothes basket in the hallway.

The truth is that I don't think that my mother would be so bothered by my scars if I wasn't somewhat light skinned. I bruise so easily. And the bruises and scars are usually so visible.

But I don't mind the scarring and bruising. I feel like those scars and bruises are my stars and stripes. This life I live is tough. I feel like those stars and stripes prove that I'm moving around, taking care of business. If I wasn't doing anything, I probably could keep my skin honey, brown sugar clean. But that's no fun. A few bumps and knots never killed anyone. It only makes you tougher for the next bump. Or maybe it just makes you be more careful next time.

That's it. I should just be more careful. Taking my mother's advice and just letting her do everything for me is not the way. I rather have stars and stripes all over my body than to be a paralyzed, unexposed, dependent crybaby.

I wouldn't be where I am today, if it wasn't for the fact that I'm not scared of getting hurt. Sometimes pain is a part of the process.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Good Night Kayla

I wanted to take a moment to wish Kayla Parker a good night. This sister was a fabulous songwriter and a very anointed singer in the gospel music industry. She worked with the Winans and many other national recording artists.

Sadly, Kayla passed on and went to meet our Father last week. She was only 35-years-old. God bless Kayla.

To read more about Kayla and her music, check out

Oprah Inspires Me

Last night, Oprah was on Larry King Live. Oprah is really a wonderful inspiration for me. I wish so badly that I could be mentored by her. She really is a fabulous person, business woman, and leader.

As I was watching the interview, I got an idea of a book that I must write. I believe that the positive energy that Oprah has all around her spilled from the television and empowered me.

I know that my Christian friends are probably shaking their heads because I said that. Well, that’s okay… But I really do believe that positive people pass on their positive energy to others. Negative people pass negative energy on to others. So, last night I was impacted by Oprah’s positive energy.

God bless Oprah! And God bless me!


For the last few months, my aunt has been on a rampage about some rings that have come up missing at her house. She’s accusing anyone that’s been in her house of taking the rings. Thankfully, my blindness makes it pretty difficult for her to pin this crime on me. However, I’ve still had to hear the fussing, cussing, and screaming when she calls to rant about how hurt she is that her rings are gone.

Even though I try not to give my aunt much of my attention, this woman is probably the only person in the world that can have such a profound effect on my mood. Even though, I keep all of my conversations with her short, when I hang up the phone, I’m left feeling drained.

When she is really on a wild trip, I find myself wanting to just hang up on her, like all my friends tell me to do. Well, it’s rather difficult for me to hang up the phone on anyone. It’s even harder for me to hang up the phone on my mother’s sister. But I gave it a try last month. Did I feel any vindication when I clicked the off button on my phone? No… I felt worse. She wasn’t on the phone anymore. But my heart cracked that my aunt put me in the position to even feel tempted to hang up the phone in her face.

But I will say this… I’ve decided that I’m not going to listen to her demonic attacks. I will not stand my and hold the phone as she curses my future and damns my identity in Christ. I’m not going to quietly listen as she accuses me of not being a “real” Christian. I’m not going to listen as she tells me that my future is going to be filled with destruction and a great fall. I will not allow her to tell me that I’m not as smart or great as I think I am. The devil and my aunt is a lie!

Well, the above was really not the point of this entry. But I guess I needed to publicly condemn the negative attacks that my aunt makes against me. But moving on…

In my aunt’s last rant, she accused me of not knowing how it feels to lose something. She raised her voice and actually said to me that I have never lost anything. Before I knew it, I lost my cool. All of my temperance and patience went flying out the window.

I passionately reminded her that I’m the person that lost her sight as a child. I’m the woman that had to have one of her eyes removed a couple of years ago. I’m the daughter that lost the mother that existed before the stroke damaged a large part of her brain. I’m a member of a family that house caught on fire 3 times in a matter of six months, burning many valuable and sentimental items. How dare my aunt accuse me of not knowing how it feels to lose something?

I’ve always known my aunt was crazy. But this particular conversation with her basically sealed that opinion in the concrete of my psyche. I believe now more than ever that my aunt is crazy. (Lord forgive me.) I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this woman thinks of no one but herself. When I pointed out to her all that I’ve lost, she actually sounded surprised, as if she wasn’t aware of all those instances that I lost something. But I actually think that she gthinks that she is the only one that is capable of experiencing pain. But maybe that’s because I choose to not focus on loss and pain.

When I finally got off the phone with her, I sat down on the couch and thought about all the things I’ve lost. Man, I’ve had some rough times. But even though sometimes I get a little down, I refuse to focus on what all I’ve lost. It’s just not beneficial at all to give the painful things in life that much attention.

My focus is set on what I can gain. I’m looking to multiply what I’m left with, not focus on what has been subtracted from me. I’m looking ahead, not behind me. To sum it up, the loss I've experienced has only pushed me to want more.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's 4:15 in the morning.

I really don't mind being up all night. I'm a night owl. But one thing I hate is when I'm up with a particular mission in mind, but am too distracted to complete the mission.

My house is extremely quiet. But my mind is experiencing a great deal of noise. Instead of me being able to narrow my thoughts and put all of my energy on my English paper, I'm being assaulted by other thoughts. These thoughts are really making it difficult for me to even start my paper.

It's my aunt again. She called here with her nonsense tonight. And even though I told her off pretty good, I was left feeling a little rattled. I was left feeling drained. Too rattled and too drained to sit down at my computer and write my paper.

Well, I better do something. I got to walk in class with this paper in hand in about 12 hours from now. I better get moving. Sadly, I'm still drained. But I'm going to have to push past all of that and just do it.