Sunday, December 10, 2006

Receiving to Give

Give me salvation
I want to live
Give me your spirit
I want to be free
Give me your anointing
I want to be healed
Give me understanding
So that I won’t condemn
Give me strength
I want to do all things
Give me direction
I want to be led
Give me prosperity
That I might spread
Give me a vision
So that I won’t faint
Give me liberty
That I may cast off constraints

Give me peace
That passes all understanding
Give me joy
That will strengthen me
Give me love
That is unconditional
Give me faith
That can move mountains
Give me determination
That is relentless
Give me correction
That I might go higher
And Lord even give me tribulation
So that I will learn to be patient

For all these things you have given me
I give my life
For all these things you’ve rendered me
I give you all my time
For every sacrifice you’ve made
I’ll give you praise
For giving your life to me
I’ll do the same

Lord, here I am
I give you all of me
I know this gift is not much
But you will love me just the same
Thanks for receiving me
Thanks for giving to me
Thanks for forgiving me
Thanks for believing in me
Beloved, you are mine
And I am yours

Written by: Angela L. Braden


One of the things that I like about blogging is the ability to comment and to read comments. And the fact that your comment can be left and posted immediately is so cool.

With that being said, I made a decision to choose something I don't really like over something that I like. I turned the comment moderation option on for this particular blog. Let me explain why I did that. Every time I update my blog, I would get a bunch of out of control postings from out of control folks. I got tired of deleting posts that made no sense.

My only solution that I've come up with at this point is to moderate the comments. Of course, I will let most things be posted. But if it is some random nonsense, you will never see it.

Well, have a great week. I pray that God's peace be all over you.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Daddy!!!

I love my father so much. He's a great man. Yep, he's a great daddy... But he is also just a wonderful person. Being a good daddy just comes easy for him.

This month we're celebrating his birthday. I thought it would be good to use this outlet to honor his life and commitment to my sisters and me. A couple of days ago I posted a little something-something I wrote about him. It's all true...

Next week, I'll get back to blogging about disability related issues. In fact, I'm going to spend some time writing about how my earthly dad has helped me in this journey of love, acceptance, and survival.

Until then, be blessed.


Monday, December 04, 2006

Daddy's Best

When I realized that the tears were forcing their way from my eyes, I softly said good night to my father and quickly turned to walk away. Although, at that very moment, I never wanted to leave his side, I still couldn’t let him see me crying. Even though it was awfully painful to see him in that condition, I’m certain that his pain exceeded mine. He, not me, was the one who had just been aroused from the deep sleep that the anesthesiologist had put him in so that the surgeon could perform a pain-free surgery to correct the damage that was done to his back due to a spinal cord injury. But now, my father was slightly awake, and the pain was arriving faster than his ability to become coherent. I couldn’t risk causing his pain to increase because of the tension that would be caused from seeing me, his oldest, but still his baby, crying.

As I walked further from his room and closer to the waiting room, the flow of tears rushed, defying my very strong attempts to hold them back. Why was I crying? The doctor came out and told us that my father’s surgery was a success. Likewise, he told us that my father was likely to recover from the surgery in only a matter of twelve weeks. Despite the good news, I was torn apart. It was so hard to see the man, who had been such an icon of strength and joy, lying on a cold, hospital bed, Powerless and frail.

When I arrived back in the chilly waiting room, I sat down on the plastic upholstered sofa and shut my eyes as tightly as I could. The sounds of humorous chatter spilled from the television that was mounted on the wall in the far right corner of the waiting room. A Latin talk show was on. A group of women were watching the show, speaking in Spanish, and laughing hysterically. I wished that I could understand the language so that I could plunge myself in the joy that the television was bringing to the ladies. But I couldn’t borrow their happiness. The tears continued to flow.

I closed my eyes even tighter. The salty tears persisted in their escape from my eyes. I tried to concentrate on the strength that my father possessed. I tried to remind myself that the same strength that he tapped into to overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds of life, could surely help him to recover from this.

I started daydreaming about the times that Daddy would drive four hours from Houston to Dallas to pick me up from college, pack up my room, and get back on the road to Houston, without even taking a break. He was so strong and committed. I began to pray that God would not only help my father successfully recover from this surgery, but that He would also grant me many more years with the man who I loved so dearly.

My father, who was once married to my mother, had remained a father to his four daughters all these years. He defied what most people expected him, a black man, to do. He stayed present and connected to his kids. He not only gave his money to help my mother give us the best, he gave his time. He called every morning to wish us a good morning and to bid us a good day. He continued to help us with our homework. He attended school events, such as football games, science fairs, and awards days. He would always rush over to discipline my sisters and me as soon as my mother would call. He was there.

I began to contemplate on the heart-breaking phenomenon that I was introduced to in my young adult years. While attending college, I met so many young women and men, who complained about not having a father in their lives. Magazine articles and books were being written, pointing out the crisis in the black family. According to news reports, fathers were the missing variable from the black family equation. Minister Louis Farrakhan even help a historical event, the Million Man March, in Washington D.C. my junior year in college, 1995, rallying black men to embrace the love, joy, and responsibility of fatherhood.

I always felt blessed that my daddy insisted on cradling each one of his daughters just as God intended for a father to do. I felt even more blessed at that very moment. That’s why it hurt me to see him ill and in pain. My father did what many men, black, white, brown, or red, do not do. Not that he should get a trophy for doing what is the standard responsibility of a father. But he did more than that, he gave us his best.

The more I sat in the waiting room and recalled all of the wonderful things that my father had done for my sisters and I, my pity for my father had been replaced with admiration and profound respect. My tears of sorrow and fear had been replaced with tears of gratitude and unconditional love. I determined in my heart. That I would give my father what he had given to me. I would give him my best. I would use my best to help him recover all the strength and vitality that he lost from being injured and operated on. I knew in my heart that my best would help push him to a place of good health, stability, and strength. That’s what his best did for me.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I'm Looking Up

I wanted to use a little space on my blog to post some of my not so positive writings. Well, I did... I decided not to post as much as I previously decided to. No point in giving negativity too much glory.

So for now on, I will post positive ideas and thoughts. From time to time, I'm sure that I will use this blog to vent about some of the challenges that I face. But that's different from having a pity party.

I decided last year to pop the baloons and throw away my party hat. No more pity partying for me.

Well, have a great week. I pray that God's grace is with you.

The former party girl,

Miss Angie

Darkness to Light

At the tender age of ten tribulation crashed upon me like a boulder to my head. Without any perceivable warning, I developed a severe case of Glaucoma in both of my eyes. The discovery of this thieving disease, unmercifully engaged my parents, my doctors, and me into a seven year, painstaking war to save at least a fraction of my fleeting sight. I endured 14 painful surgeries and countless visits to my eye specialist.
It did not take long for me to run to the arms of Jesus for comfort. I also wanted him to grant me perfect health. I had been told all my life that God was a healer. I earnestly believed with all my heart that God was going to heal me of my illness. Why wouldn't he?
I continued to fast and pray for the next few years. But instead of getting my sight back, I eventually lost it all. The light of day was captured in my head, only to serve as a mere memory. I was now totally blind. I never imagined that I would ever be visually disconnected from the world. What was I going to do? I never planned for this to happen. In fact, I never believed that this miserable day would come. I thought for sure that God would have healed me by then. How was I to function as a blind woman?
Because my persistent prayer for healing seemed to be ignored, I collapsed into a greater depth of depression than I could have ever imagined. A storm of defeat washed over me, and my mind began to travel to the land of sorrow. I trembled at the thought of living my life as a blind woman. I began to ask myself, "Will anyone marry me if I have a visual disability? Who wants a 'blindy' for a wife? How can I be a mother with no eye sight? Do I still have a chance at a promising career?" I knew one thing and one thing only. I would rather die than become an old blind woman. I became consumed with the idea of being "blind forever."
I had trouble sleeping. My heart hemorrhaged with pain. Fear caused me to lie restless until the rebirth of dawn. I was so frightened that I would fall asleep and wake up still without the vision of day.
Desperately enough, I wanted to die. Thoughts of suicide fought to apprehend me. I was obsessed with the idea of death. I would daydream about creative ways to kill myself.
All my life, I was told, "If you believe, then you will receive", "If you ask in Jesus' name, it will come to pass", "All it takes to be healed is mustard seed faith." Well, I began to believe that God's promises were all a lie. Why wasn't I a recipient of the promises of God?
Then I began to wonder was something wrong with me. Perverse thoughts began to storm through my head. "God must not love me. If he did he would give me my sight back. God will never heal me. I am paying for the sins of my forefathers."
It seemed that sound reasoning had been evacuated. The devil convinced me to believe the pack of lies he tossed my way. I started to decay within, due to my deprivation of truth.
The cloud of depression grew thicker, and the light of Jesus Christ seemed to diminish. Hope for my healing had vanished, and the love of God was no longer visible to me. Not only did I lose my physical sight, my spiritual vision had also been blurred. Spirits of heaviness, despair, defeat, and fear swarmed around me and attempted to choke the life from my soul. I was dying, both physically and spiritually.
But I wasn't dead yet! God can restore and heal the wounded soul. The Lord breathed the restoration of life into my soul, and I embraced the comfort that He affords believers who trust Him even when they are in confusing, hurtful, strained situations.
I am so thankful to God that He used the faithful, kind, and persistent ministry of a college friend to rescue me from the depths of sadness and sorrow. Yes, I am still physically blind; however, God has granted me spiritual vision. Vision that will enable me to press forward and remain focused on maximizing my life potential.
God wants us to love, trust, and maintain our faith even when times get hard. I am a living witness that it is difficult to follow God when the way is dim. But we must stand on his word and know it is true. We are commanded to walk in faith and not to base our decisions in accordance to the things we see.
When the darkness of night falls all around us, the sun is not visible to the eye. But that does not mean it is not there. The earth has revolved and caused a delusion. The sun seems to disappear at the dusk of every evening. Then the moon makes its nightly appearance. The light from the moon is simply a reflection of the sun, reminding us that the sun is still alive.
It wasn't until I loss my sight that I began to “see”. Over the years, I began to understand the difference between sight and vision. Sight is a function of the eyes. But vision is a function of the spirit. There are many people that have sight. But very few possess vision.
The Lord desires for us to utilize our spiritual vision by way of faith, so that we might see the plan of God. God does not work off of facts. He is a God of possibilities. Don't become blinded by what you see. Look beyond the physical rim and focus on the promises of God. Never forget that God is able to do what man deems to be impossible. Open your eyes, and see the glory of the Lord!

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Loneliness

My loneliness is like a tree trunk
The roots run unimaginably deep
And extends many branches

My loneliness is like a river
It winds and travels to different places
And it empties into a larger body of its own kind

My loneliness is like an ant
So inconspicuous
But so powerful and strong

My loneliness is like a fire
So deeply consuming
And sometimes fatal

My loneliness is like the night
It leaves me for a moment
But it is sure to return

My loneliness is like a flower
So fragile
So innocent

My loneliness is like time
Always evolving
And extremely constant

My loneliness is like space
So empty
But able to contain masses

My loneliness is like the twin towers
It seems invincible
But can be knocked down

Written: December 10, 2001

Brown Eyes

When I was eight-years-old, I stared into the mirror and captured the image of my face. I looked at my lips and took note of their fullness. I looked at my nose and realized how much I really didn’t like it. It was an okay nose, but I would have picked another one from God’s inventory. I then zoned in on my cheeks. Full, but not too fat… Yep, I had a couple of my daddy’s dimples. I wished that I could somehow poke a couple more dips in my cheeks.

“Not too bad.” I shamelessly thought. I had some pretty good looking features carved into my honey brown skin. Not perfect… But I decided that I was indeed a good looking child.

I continued to stare into the face of a girl that I was becoming more familiar with as each second leaped into the past. Next, I caught a glimpse of my long, long eyelashes. I admired their beauty and reach. Those lashes extended above the image that I would zone in next, my eyes. I looked into the intense, yet innocent, brown eyes of a girl, who was unaware of the dreadful days to come. I studied the brown. It was so rich, pure, and honest. A true brown… Light enough to see the brown. Dark enough to be called brown. But in that brown sea, pain, sickness, and death stirred beneath the surface. I didn’t know it yet, but those brown eyes were the deep brown pits of despair. The brown would unleash the fury that hides behind them and life would change. The brown would fade, and the girl’s image in the mirror of herself would fade with it.

Now, the image of the brown eyes in the mirror is a memory, just as the girl’s brown eyes. But the sorrow, pain, and havoc are the reality. When I look in the mirror, I see nothing. I imagine brown eyes that are not there. But they are there. Well, at least one of them is there. And the one that I decided to let stick around is trying to pretend to be something other than brown. It better watch out. That’s why the other eye got fired.

I always thought gray eyes were cool. My daddy’s gray eyes are the most beautiful that I’ve seen. But who wants to walk around with one brown eye and another eye that decides to switch it up on you and fade to gray. That was not the look I was trying to rock.

Why would my eyes betray the brown anyway? I guess they don’t know that brown is beautiful. Well, my eyes betraying the brown are the least of the backstabbing that my eyes could have done. I put blindness on the top of the list of ultimate betrayals.

By and Because

Annoyed by Adversity
Belligerent because of barrenness
Conflicted because of Confusion
Dominated by Disaster
Eclipsed by Economics
Frail because of Failure
Gaped because of Grief
Hindered by Horror
Irritated by Ignorance
Jailed by Junk
Lonely because of Lovelessness
Melon collie because of mayhem
Nullified because of Neglect
Oppressed by Obliquities
Plummeted by Problems
Querulous because of Quandaries
Repulsed by Repugnance
Sad because of Sickness
Transitioned because of Tragedies
Uneasy because of Unrest
Victimized by Violence
Weary because of Warfare
Zonked because of Zealots

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Writing is Theraputic

I don’t consider myself a “writer.” But one thing is true about me is that I write. I don’t necessarily write because I like it or because I’m good at it. I write to be free. Writing allows me the opportunity to release the storms that sometimes rage within my heart and mind. Yes, talking about the things in my head is therapeutic as well. But writing my ideas down documents how smart and/or crazy I’ve been over the years.

When I look over some of my work, I’m amazed at how dismal and depressing a lot of the pieces are. I almost feel ashamed that a “positive sister” like myself would write such hopeless stuff.

But the truth is the truth. My feelings, the good ones and the bad ones, are all valid at the time. Well, maybe not valid. But I would say that each of the feelings were necessary.

So, over the next few days, I will post some of the pieces that I wrote when my faith was being challenged. Poems and essays that were composed in some of my dark hours… Thank God I’m not feeling depressed now. At least, I’m not feeling that way tonight. LOL

Hopefully, you’re entertained… Next week, we’ll swing back to posting positive and inspiring blog entries. Until then, be satisfied and fulfilled.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I’ve been blogging for 6 months now. That’s a great accomplishment for me. I’ve been known to start a journal here or there, never really keeping up with it.

I don’t exactly think of blogging as journaling. But it is a way for me to document my thoughts and experiences. The fact that I have stuck to it this long is great.

A great thing happened today. I finally figured out how to use the title field on blogger. I had not been able to figure out how to officially title my blog entries. Even though I would just do it myself, I wanted to do it the right way.

I read through some of the help files on Blogger and found the info I needed to become even more advanced in this world of blogging. I know it may not be important to anyone else, but me. But that’s okay. Advancement and accessibility is quite important to me.

I’ll be posting real soon. I’m even thinking about starting a couple of more blogs. I’ll let you (Is anyone out there?) know. LOL

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I really hate that I can’t stand in front of a mirror and take a good look at myself. I want to know what I look like. Taking the word of my family and friends is not good enough. I need to know for myself. What do I need to know? What I look like. It’s just that simple.

I’ve lost a lot of weight in the last year. I wonder how I’m looking now. I have a prosthesis in my left eye socket. I wonder if that really looks as real and normal as folks say it does. I want to know how I’m aging. I want to judge whether or not I look best with long or short hair. I want to know how much more weight should I lose or not lose.

I’ll never forget this man, a preacher, trying to get his mack on with me. He approached me to tell me that I was so beautiful. He claimed he didn’t want me to have to wait until I got to heaven and got my sight back to know how pretty I was. Of course, he continued to serve me his BS on a plastic platter. I wasn’t eating though. But that’s all beside my point.

The fact is I don’t want to wait until I get to heaven to know how I look. I suspect that when I get to heaven, knowing how I looked on earth will mean nothing-nothing to me.

Well, I guess I’m just going to have to cope. I certainly know what that looks like. I also know that coping is a good look for me. On the other hand, bitterness, resentment, and feeble self confidence is definitely not the look I should be rocking. It just ain’t my style.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility

I found the following article on the American Foundation for the Blind’s web site.
I posted a comment on their blog about the particular subject. I’ll just post their article and my response to it.

FYI… I’m quite concerned about web accessibility. I’m also concerned about increasing accessibility to research materials. More and more resources are being offered electronically. That’s a great help to me and other visually impaired students.

So check out the article and my response below. Have a great day!

Earlier this week there was an important ruling in a lawsuit against Target to make its web site accessible to customers with vision loss. On Wednesday a federal district court judge ruled that bricks-and-mortar businesses, like Target, may be held accountable if their web sites are not accessible to people with disabilities. This is a significant ruling because it sends a message that companies need to take web accessibility seriously.

But the reality is companies like Target should already be concerned about web accessibility, and not just because it's the right thing to do. As the world has gone digital, so has the ADA. Businesses and major online retailers need to remember to build electronic "ramps" for their sites so that people with disabilities can access them with ease. And, from the standpoint of the proverbial bottom line, the online business community would be silly not to. In a time when baby boomers are aging, and the vision loss numbers are expected to multiply, more and more consumers will need web sites to be accessible.

The Target lawsuit has significantly raised public awareness about the need to make the web accessible to people with vision loss. But my biggest concern is that the judge's ruling could undermine the ADA's coverage of many commercial web sites because the decision is restricted to bricks-and-mortar companies. In other words, following the judge's reasoning, web sites would only need to be accessible when the companies who maintain them also maintain physical stores. This means online retailers like,,
etc., are not affected by Wednesday's ruling. If left unchallenged, this ruling could thwart the clear meaning and intent of the ADA. The US Department of
Justice and the presidentially appointed National Council on Disability have said repeatedly that the ADA applies to accessibility of commercial web sites.
In a time when so many major companies are web based, we need to ensure all commercial web sites take accessibility seriously.

There are currently 2 comments

Re: Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility
Posted by
Angie Braden
on 9/13/2006 4:07:41 PM

I was in awe when I read this particular entry. I recently was approved for a Target card. When I visited their web site to browse their selections, I was
quite disappointed that their site had minimal/limitted accessibility for someone using screen reading software.

Completely unaware of this legal judgement, I wrote Target and complained about their site, insisting that they consider their blind customers. I also mentioned
the Babyboomers in my letter to their on line support team.

I am quite interested in issues such as this. I've made up my mind to use the power of the internet and e-mailto issue complaints and suggestions to those
who I feel need to consider and improve accessibility. What more can I do?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


This morning I wrote a letter to the Glenn Beck Show. He made some very inappropriate comments about blind people. You can view the clip at:

The letter I wrote is as follows.

I'm writing in response to some extremely interesting comments made by Glenn Beck on the August 24 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck Show. The comments that were made that forced me to stop, think, and respond were as follows.

ECK: OK. I have one. I have one. I'm going to get to some of the questions that have already been asked, but I've got one that drives me out of my mind.
I work at Radio City in midtown Manhattan, and up by the doors, you know, like where the -- you know -- the office kitchen is, in Braille, on the wall, it says "kitchen." You'd have to -- a blind person would have to be feeling all of the walls to find "kitchen." Just to piss them off, I'm going to put in Braille on the coffee pot -- I'm going to put, "Pot is hot." Ow!

The guest on the show that particular day writes a column, Dare to Ask. Since the staff of the Glenn Beck show already knows the premise of that particular column, I won't explain. Interestingly, when Mr. Beck expressed his feelings about braille signs on doors, he didn't pose it as a question. He just blurted out his disdain for such signs. Instead of him asking the question, "How could those braille signs be helpful to someone that can't see that they are there?", which would have actually been a great question, he sprayed his ignorance all over the television camera. What a mess!

Just so that Mr. Beck would know, I'll try to explain. The braille signs are helpful to a blind person that is already somewhat oriented to the environment that they are in. The signs help further navigate a person that is blind through the building or to the desired destination. Of course, a person that is blind and coming into a building for the first time would not know the signs are there. But for the person that actually travels on the inside of the building in question, but maybe needs reassurance that they are in the right or wrong place, the signs are a necessity. Well, let me not say a necessity...They are helpful.

I am totally blind. I was a guest in the Hyatt in Jacksonville this summer. After staying in the hotel and traveling throughout the hotel for a couple of days, a sighted person pointed out and made me aware of the braille signs on the inside and outside of the elevators, on the guest and meeting rooms, and on the vending machines.

I wondered what was the point in placing braille signs for someone that's blind, if no one pointed out to the blind person that they were there. But once
I was made aware, my life, at least for that week, was a little less stressful. I was able to travel independently and no if I was at the right or wrong room for the meetings I was expected to attend. If I got a little turned around and showed up at room 720, instead of 725, I didn't have to wait for someone to pass by to ask them was I at the right room. I didn't have to open the door, interrupt a meeting that was already going on, plus embarrass myself.

Ignorance is sometimes excused. But refusing to be educated about things that you are clearly uneducated about would be stupid. Stupidity is never okay.
I hope that you decide to erase your ignorance regarding this matter. Hopefully, you already have.

I don't want to be presumptuous; but I would assume that you are not close friends with anyone that is blind. Maybe you should take the time to get to know someone that is blind. Some blind people are offended when people ask questions. But most of us are willing to erase the public's misconceptions and/or ignorance about blind matters.

I hope you have a great day. I also hope that you take the time to find the answers to the questions you dare to ask.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One Glad Morning

When I was a kid, I use to love looking at pictures of tropical locations. The sustainable memory of how beautiful the sandy beaches, majestic waters, and heavenly skies draped over the water are still so vivid in my head. Other visual memories are beginning to fade in color and definition. But the visual memory of how the beach looks is burned into my memory; I hope forever.

Interestingly, I never got a chance to actually see the beach/ocean in person. That’s one of my life regrets. I only got a chance to experience its beauty from film, either in a postcard, photo, or television. Although I’m certain that the camera captured the beauty of the beach, I’m also certain that the camera did it no justice.

I got a chance to visit one of the beaches in Florida last month. Although I couldn’t actually see the sand, the splashing waves of the ocean, and the beautiful sky, I was still enthralled by its beauty. I stood there on the beach, picturing in my head how gorgeous the scenery was that surrounded me. I felt so blessed to be in the presence of such a beautiful gift from God.

With every step on the beach, I enjoyed the feeling of the hot, powdery sand under my bare feet. I’ve been to Galveston before. That beach ain’t really a beach. Instead of luscious, powdery sand on the surface, mud, rocks, broken shells, and bottle tops cover the beach. I hate to diss Galveston, especially since I’m a Houston girl. But the truth is the truth.

I probably should have been afraid to go into the water, being that I can’t swim. And let’s not forget that Florida is known for having hungry sharks in the water… But the further I walked onto the beach, I began to disrobe myself of the fear of experience the water. My sister walked me out to a safe part of the beach. The water rushed up to my knees and after only a few seconds the waves followed God’s command to return back to the ocean. It was so beautiful.

My heart began to celebrate God’s glorious works. I thanked Him for allowing me to be apart of something so much greater and fantastic than I can even imagine. My spirit worshiped the Lord, right there on that beach.

I wished that I could see the tropical landscape that surrounded me. I almost got sad for not being able to partake of the visual pleasures. But I was comforted by the thought that I would one day get a chance to see heaven. I usually don’t get caught up in that “some day-heaven” thinking. Although I am confident that I will go to heaven, and I am certainly looking forward to it; I am not going to waste my time in this life daydreaming about what’s to come after this life. No point in getting lost in that. However, this particular day at the beach, I allowed myself to wander into a place that I tried to imagine…heaven… Even though it’s unimaginable, I was captivated and thankful at the very notion that I will one day make that supernaturally beautiful place my home. Sure, there are some beautiful places I wish that I could see on Earth… But the view in heaven, I’m sure, makes the most fantastic spots on Earth look like squalor.

But until I get to take that chariot ride to my home in eternity, I’m going to visit all the places that are known for its beauty. Even though I can’t actually see the beauty, my heart is thrilled at the very idea of being present in the landscape of such glorious, delightful beauty.

Monday, August 14, 2006

My Life During the Month of July: Part II.

(This is a continuation of the previous blog entry.)

I got off the floor that I needed to get off on. Thankfully, there were people on the elevator that were going to the same room where I was going. I just trailed behind them. I got lucky. I didn’t know if I would be lucky like that again. But I made it to where I was going that night. That was a huge burden off my shoulders.

The next few days were filled with numerous moments that I had to walk in blind courage. I say that because I had to make use of the courage that lies within me, without having any physical sight or any insight of what was going to happen from moment to moment. Every morning, I would get up and pump up myself to conquer my day, without fear and any tangible evidence that I was going to be okay. I would grab my cane and head out of my room, not really sure where I was going, yet certain that I needed to go. And even more certain that I needed to make it where I was going…

There were a lot of helpful people in the hotel. The staff of the hotel, other visitors, and the sighted participants of the blind convention were always asking those of us who had little to no vision if we needed some assistance. Because I’m not the kind of sister that minds getting help, my answer was usually “yes.” I don’t see any point being lost, looking lost, bumping into other lost blind people, and staying lost: only to be able to say that I’m independent. A truly independent person knows when to consider assistance. Interdependence is the way I live.

Back to the dogs… Believe it or not, I was repulsed by all the dogs. The dogs were actually well behaved. Don’t get it twisted though… It was a couple of folks there with some stinky, funky dogs. I don’t know why anyone would leave their homes, get on a plane, and come to a nice hotel, without bathing their dog. That’s the least you could do. Plus, the dogs deserve to be clean. They are working hard. Why not keep them clean?

I actually hung out with a very nice young woman from Ohio, who happened to have a guide dog. She took care of her dog very well. I never once smelled him. She kept him clean the whole week. Boy, I certainly appreciated that.

About my roommate… She was so kind, sweet, and loving. The week was made better because of her. She was very helpful. Thankfully, she had some really good eyesight. She assisted me in becoming familiar and oriented to the hotel. My life was made better because of this young woman. May God richly bless her life! By the way… She didn’t have a guide dog. (smile)

The sessions at the conference were okay. I actually thought they were a little useless and lacked in real substance. But that’s me. Overall, the conference was nice.

I felt really good about being around so many productive, employed, articulate blind people. Being blind didn’t seem so tragic that week.

Let me talk about the exhibit hall before I bring this to a close. It was great!!! There were all types of venders in this large room. Interestingly enough, the blind people were expected to navigate in this room, go from table to table, and not get lost in the process. After I managed to get over the idea that I wouldn’t be able to navigate in this room with my confidence and sexiness in tact, I became even more confident and sexy. LOL I whipped out my cane, constructed a smile on my face, and felt my way from table to table.

If no one greeted me, I would announce my presence and inquire about their exhibit. I couldn’t believe it. I really can’t believe it now. I actually extended myself more than I ever-ever imagined. There was even a time that I went to a table that had no one there. But I didn’t know that. I was introducing myself to the air. That was totally unsexy. But I just took a deep breath and went to the next table. I just hoped that since I was at the blind convention, no one noticed. And if they did, we were at the blind convention. Some things were to be expected.

I was very pleased to see all the new technology that’s currently available for the blind. Color identifiers, currency identifiers, new talking GPS systems, a talking bar code scanner… They even had a digital camera that a blind person can use to take a snapshot of print, and the device will actually read the print back aloud in a matter of seconds. Revolutionary! So many products… No money to buy them… The average price for an electronic notetaker is over $2K. And the camera/portable text to speech scanner is $3500. I need a rich man or a high paying job. Either one would satisfy me.

My birthday was great. My babysister joined me in Florida. We had a good time together. The beach was a fantastic experience. But I’ll talk about it later. This entry is already much too long.

Well, I’ll find myself back on this blog real soon. I have to talk about my trip to NYC the next time. I promise this is the last of the long entries for a while. Be encouraged, productive, and aware of your potential.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My Life During the Month of July: Part I.

I’ve been back from NYC for a little over a week. I’ve wanted to post on this blog, but distractions, procrastination, and even laziness were successful at keeping me away from posting. I’ve thought about all the things I would like to say on this blog… But have not taken any time to sit down and craft an entry that is reflective of what I’ve experienced in the recent weeks. In fact, I’m not going to really do it justice now. Distractions, procrastination, and yes, even laziness are still preventing me from really pushing out a detailed blog entry. Shameful, isn’t it? Yes, I’m ashamed…

I guess I will go in sequential order… But before I get started, I’m going to break the order by stating the most recent thing that has happened to me. Actually, it happened to my mother. Mama had another stroke the day I returned from NYC. Don’t worry… She’s doing great… God really did intervene. I’ll update you all later. In the meantime, please keep my mother and the rest of us in your prayers.

Back to my story in sequential order… I will start by discussing my trip to Florida.

Although I had been looking forward to my trip to Jacksonville, anxiety visited me a couple of days before I was schedule to leave for the sunny state. I was a little concerned about whether or not I would enjoy the conference. I didn’t know if I was going to Florida to spend a week of my valuable time with idiots, who happened to be blind. I didn’t know if I was going to be spending the week with those who I like to refer to as “blind radicals.” (Blind people who think sight is useless and unimportant…)

Furthermore, I didn’t know if I was going to have a cool roommate. And since I’m, in general, afraid of dogs, including friendly seeing eye dogs, I was certainly worried if I was going to be rooming with a responsible, yet hairy, most of the time smelly, licking, sniffing dog.

I was also a little concerned about how I would manage as a totally blind person in a hotel that I had never stayed in. Not the hotel room… I was thinking about the entire hotel. I suspected that I would be expected to travel independently, find all the rooms that I needed to go to for meetings, find the restaurants, and so on, without any assistance. Yes, I’m pretty independent. But I don’t have a bright red S on my chest.

Well, since I knew I couldn’t back out of the trip, I took a deep breath and boarded the plane to Florida. It was about 4 other blind people on the plane with me. Three of these folks had a guide dog. Wowee!!! Because the airline felt that all of us blind folk needed to sit together, they escorted each of us, one by one, the first few seats in the little jet. That day, that section of the plane was considered “blind class.” There we were the 5 blind people, and the 3 hairy companions. Trapped on a plane with dogs sniffing my feet and rubbing their coats against my legs… What fun…

Of course, all of us, the blind passengers and the sighted dogs, were all headed to Florida. I began to imagine what was waiting for us in Florida…a whole slew of blind folks… Was I right? Of course I was right. When the plane landed in Jacksonville, the nicest airport staff was patiently waiting to assist us down to baggage claim. After they assisted us with locating our baggage, we were guided to the section of the airport where the shuttles drop off and pick up. I road a shuttle, filled with blind passengers, to the Hyatt. Interestingly there were no dogs. I don’t know how I dodged that fuzzy bullet. I guess they were in the shuttle that was riding ahead of us or behind. Where ever they were, I was glad to have a break from them.

Upon arriving at the Hyatt, we were clumsily led out of the little bus. We were instructed to stand still and wait for a minute to claim our luggage. They didn’t have to worry a bit about me wandering off into a land that I was unfamiliar with. I waited like a good little girl.

As I stood in the soothing rays of the sun, waiting for my luggage and a arm to guide me to my next destination, all around me I heard white canes tapping, men and women talking to their guide dogs, giving them directions, and helpful volunteers, making themselves available to any blind person that needed assistance.

One of those helpful volunteers helped me identify my luggage, and then she guided me inside the hotel. I was so relieved to have a person that was willing to assist me. Independence is quite important to me. But fumbling, being lost, and trying to pretend to be cool about it is not a sexy feat. I’d rather not engage in such challenges. At least, not right then…

I was escorted to the conference registration desk, to the front desk of the hotel, to the bar and grill in the hotel, so that I could grab lunch, and then to my room. That was a breeze.

My roommate had already checked in, but she was not in the room. I didn’t smell dog hair. I sat down and ate my lunch and pondered about how I was going to get downstairs for the first event of the conference. After eating, I called downstairs and asked for a volunteer to help me become more familiar with the hotel. I even asked could someone assist me down stairs. Just what I expected… The person on the other end of the phone said NO. I huffed and puffed over the idea of trying to get downstairs to the where I needed to be.

Suddenly, courage gripped me. I whipped out my cane and started traveling down the hallway. I tried to retrace my steps back to the elevator. After only a few turns down the winding hallway, I was lost. But I was way past the point of no return. I was too lost to find my way back to the room. So, I decided to continue on and try to find the elevator. After taking a few more cautious steps, I heard the sound of triumph, the dinging of the ascending and descending elevator. Thank you Jesus! I hopped on the elevator, pressed the brailled #3, and headed downstairs. While I was relieved, I knew that this was only the beginning of my adventure.
It’s 3:00 in the morning. I’ll continue this long story tomorrow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Getting Ready to Jet

Well, the time has finally arrived. I’m leaving for Florida In a couple of days. Actually, now that it is after midnight, I can officially say that I am leaving tomorrow.

My planning for this trip has gotten a lot more serious. All day today, I’ve been pulling out, trying on, and buying clothes for this trip. I think I’m pretty ready. I just need to get my hair did. (smile) I’ve also decided not to wait until the very last minute to pack. My things will be completely packed the night before I leave, not the morning of my departure.

I’m kind of nervous about my trip. I don’t really know what to expect. I have a few concerns. I won’t go into detail now. But when I get back, I’ll sit down and blog about it. But overall, I think the conference is going to be quite an experience. I pray that it will be a good one. I’m looking forward to it.

By the way… Only a few days after I return from Florida, I’m going to NYC to see the Color Purple. Plus, I’m going to see one of my best friends. I’m so looking forward to that. Yes, I love NYC, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the show. But most of all, I love hanging with my friend. She’s the best! Always has been… Always will be…

Because of all my traveling, I probably won’t update this blog for a couple of weeks. Until then, reach out and touch the Master. He wants to hear from you.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My thoughts on the Starr Jones Termination

I know that I recently said that I was only going to use this blog to discuss disability issues, as it relates to me, of course. But I have to take a few minutes to disperse my opinions about the Starr Jones debacle.

First of all, who does Barbara Walters and the other executives at ABC think they are fooling. Starr was fired. No matter how they try to phrase it, color it, shape it, or spin it… Not renewing Starr’s contract means that her services were terminated. Most of us know that terminated is the word that is used to describe fired. So, let’s not play games with each other. The show is continuing with the other women, who in my opinion are not any more likable than Star. If the show is continuing without Star, that means that Star was released/terminated/fired/exterminated/extracted from the show. (Pick the word you want to use.)

I touched on this a second ago. Starr is no more annoying, opinionated, shallow, or covered up than the other women. I’m sure that Ms. Walters is not the person that she decides to show the world on screen. She has created an image that obviously works, and that’s the one she decides to place in front of the camera. Starr did the same thing. If she didn’t want to be forthright about certain aspects of her life, then she should have had that right.

As for her “medical intervention”, which is how Starr chose to describe it on Larry King’s show… That is her business. Everybody doesn’t want to have a pound for pound melt down with the public like Oprah. What did people want? A day by day confession of what she was eating, how much weight she was losing everyday, what size she was shrinking to, what did Al think about her new nude body…. People/the public/her cohosts need to mind their business.

While weight loss surgery is very popular these days, it still has great controversy around it. When you are planning to have weight loss surgery, just had weight loss surgery, or trying to get use to your weight loss surgery: you don’t always need “people” offering comments, airing out their opinions of the surgery, or just outright being nosy. Weight loss surgery is a major surgery that has many-many challenges. Starr needed to begin that journey with the support of those who loved her, not the criticism and nosiness of those who don’t even know her/the public.

As for the free merchandise that she received for her wedding… SO WHAT!!! These celebrities always get free clothing, shoes, vacations, and I’m sure plenty of other things from companies donated to them. The white girls that go to the Oscar’s and the Grammy’s every year get their fine, designer, $20K dresses donated to them. Other celebrities have admitted that now that they are rich and able to buy anything they want, they don’t have to. So, why did people really have a problem with Starr getting free merchandise? Do I smell the scent of a hater?

Yes, as Mrs. Walters said… “The View helped make Starr a star.” Goody! Now Starr can move on and go to something better. Walters and/or ABC are not God. Contrary to what Walters may think, she and the other rich, white boys in the swanky offices on the top floors of the ABC building did not open that door for Starr. God opened that door for her. And I’m pretty certain that he has some bigger doors to open for her.

As for ABC claiming that the audience didn’t like her anymore… I guess she was more likable when she was fat and black like a mammy. I guess they liked her when she was single and seemingly desperate for any man to want her. I think that people, at least the people that ABC claimed that they poled, can’t stand to see a SMART, BEAUTIFUL, EDUCATED, WELL SPOKEN, GROUNDED, MARRIED, BLACK WOMAN. But I can… So, I’m going to be looking for Starr to show up on screen real soon.

I wish that ABC would pole me to get my opinion of the View. But I know they won’t. So, I’ll just have to offer my two cents on this blog.

I can’t stand Joy. She’s smart. I’ll admit that. But she is awfully rude and can sometimes be quite pushy. That behavior would not be tolerated from anyone without white skin. If Starr acted like Joy her contract would have not been renewed eight years ago.

The young girl on the show is incredibly silly and lacks experience and the ability to effectively articulate her undeveloped opinions. She’s a waste of airtime.

Barbara is strikingly the hen that sits on that little nest. That’s kind of nerve wrecking. The whole point of the show was for the ladies to be equal. It was obvious from the very beginning that Walters was the boss.

Starr and Meredith were actually my favorite. Both of them were smart, extremely capable of articulating their stance on an issue, and capable of holding their ground. I like that…

Well, I know that this entry was quite opinionated and verbose… But I just wanted to let the whole world know/the couple of people that read my blog to know how I felt on this particular matter.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


People are often shocked by my persistence to live a life of independence. It’s not that I’m so determined to be “independent.” I just can’ imagine doing anything less than what I do now. I guess people really believe that blindness should be my pass to get out of having to be responsible, almost like a “get out of jail free card.” But I don’t see it that way. Well, I don’t anymore…

When I first started college, I was so depressed about my blindness. I really did believe that God would have healed me by the time I got to college. I prayed the prayers of faith, splashed myself with bless oil, stood in dozens of prayer lines, fasted/starved myself, and outright rebuked Satan. But to no avail, I was still blind. And worst than that, I lost all of my sight the year before I started college.

(We’ll talk about all of that later. Just to issue this little disclaimer now… I still do believe in divine healing. Don’t worry…)

I never imagined that I would have to be blind at college. So, I plunged into an abyss of sorrow and hopelessness. I stayed in the bed and refused to go to class for a couple of months.

After eight weeks, I realized something… As each hour, day, week, and month rolled by, life was still going on. Life didn’t pause until I was ready to participate in it. I made a decision to get up out of the bed, get myself together, go to class, and make the best of this ridiculous thing that happened to my life. (Losing my sight is the thing that happened to my life.)

I still failed the entire semester. I had 2 F’s and an Incomplete. But that’s alright though. I didn’t give up. I returned back to school and did the dog on thing. It doesn’t matter how you start… It matters how you finish. I graduated with numerous honors.

Don’t let the circumstances of life retard your growth, progress, or happiness. Depression is a serious thing, and it sometimes seems too heavy to lift. But don’t let depression cloud your vision for your life. Life may not be at all what you hoped and planned for. But you are still here. It’s your responsibility, not anyone else’s, to make your life the best it can be. So, live! Existing is not good enough…

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Although I’m tempted to use this opportunity to complain about pretty much any and everything that is going on in my life, I won’t. I’ve just had an epiphany... Complaining ain’t getting me no where. I think I commit too much of my priceless time discussing how much I hate the current landscape of my life. Day after day and night after night, I stand up, peer into this garden called my life and look at the jacked up flower beds, the dying grass, and the hungry, busy, determined pests, eating away of what’s left in my life. Instead of grabbing my hoe, shovel, and a can of pesticide to make every effort to intervene, I’ve been sitting here staring with utter disgust. It’s time to stop mourning the loss of the growth, fruitfulness, and life that was once in the garden. It’s time to clean up, fertilize, water, and maintain this garden. Complaints ain’t gon’ get this garden back alive. Work-work-work will…

In the next few days, I’ll get to work doing things that count. I’m always busy. I’m not a lazy person. I just think I’ve been spending far too much time tending to other folks gardens, while my garden has been suffering due to gross neglect. Shame on me!

Don’t get me wrong, I do things for me. I’ve lost weight, started grad school, and take care of my home… But all of that stuff might make me better. But it is not the stuff to make me my best. I need to make a commitment to enter into my destiny. It’s time to get busy doing tasks that effect my destiny as it relates to God’s master plan for me.

Believe me, everything we do or not do certainly effects our destiny. Either we will have the life that God has called us to. Or we will have the life we have stumbled and fumbled into. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve been sincere in the fumbling that you were doing. Sincerity is nice. But it doesn’t help you develop into what you’ve been called to do. If anything, be sincere when making steps to fulfill your life call.

That sermon was mainly for me. But if you needed it to, make sure you chew before swallowing.

I’ve made this commitment before, but I’ll just make it again. Hopefully, this time I will not falter. I WILL GET MY SPEAKING BUSINESS OFF OF THE GROUND AND INTO THE SKY WHERE IT BELONGS. Okay, I did it. Another commitment. But this time… The possibilities are limitless when you make a commitment and maintain the commitment. I’m looking forward to this adventure.

One love,


Friday, June 16, 2006


If anyone is reading this blog besides me, I’m sure my off and on absence has been noticed. I made a commitment to blog 3 times a week. Have I? Of course not…

Let me explain… The afternoon of Mother’s Day, my house caught on fire for the 3rd time in 6 months. I was in the middle of helping my mother close on a new house. And I had my usual stuff going on around me that stresses me all the way out. Oh yeah… My internet access was interrupted by the move. There it is… My excuses for not adhering to my blog schedule. Please forgive me.

So, in order to let myself off the hook and to deflate some of the pressure that’s on me, I have decided to make some modifications to my blog schedule. At this point, I will only blog about disability issues. And not just “disability issues”, but my issues with my disability. I’m going to use this medium to discuss how my life is impacted by my blindness. You can expect to get something from me on the subject once or twice a week.

I hope and pray that my narrations about what I experience as a woman that’s blind will somehow educate, inspire, or just flat out entertain you. Take this journey with me. The journey to self love, growth, and peace.

Maybe later, when I’m more inclined, I will write about other subjects. The coolest thing about this blog is that it is mind. In fact, it’s one of the few things that is mine. So, I get to make this adjustment in my blogging schedule.

I pray that you are blessed and a recipient of God’s peace. Remember to love God, yourself, life, and others.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Despite my persistent quest to have a normal life, which might be best described as an ordinary life, somehow, I manage to still experience life in the most out of ordinary kind of way. When God created me and designed the blueprint for my life, I wonder why He chose to make me different. I’m not talking about basic differences, like the shape of my nose, the color of my hair, the dimple in my cheek, or the sound of my voice. I’m talking about majorly significant characteristics to differentiate me from the rest. To say the least, I’m unique. My experiences, which are quite different, I must say, transformed me into a very different kind of chick. And the bad thing is, I don’t quite know for what. I have an idea. But that’s one of the unique things about me. I always have an idea about something or another. So, this is not out of the ordinary for me.

So far my ideas have not really transported me to a place of liberation. So, I want to disregard my ideas for a minute and fully consider the plans and thoughts that God has for me and my life. While I’m banging my head against the wall looking for a normal/conventional/ordinary job, God may not have designed me for a job like that. He may not have designed a job like that for me. I think that it is high time for me to tap into God’s master plan for my life. While I might be an imperfect girl, God has a perfect plan designed for my life.

Perfect does not mean that the plan does not include hardship, failures, and painful lessons. Perfect means that all of it, the good and the bad, the smiles and the tears, the pleasure and the pain, the peace and the tragedies; are all the necessary the ingredients to erect a life that gives God glory. I may not believe everything. But one thing I do believe is that “all things work together for the good for them who love the Lord and are called according to the plan and purpose of the Lord.” (Reference drawn from Romans 8.28)

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I got great news tonight. I won one of the scholarships from ACB. I’m so honored. Plus, I’m looking forward to going to Florida in July. I need to get away so bad. I need a different experience, different scenery, and different people. Plus, some extra green always makes a sister feel pretty good.

The coolest thing about this is that I will be in Florida the week of my birthday. I’m going to live it up and really enjoy myself. The day of my birthday, I might come up missing from the conference and go to the coast all day and just lie out on the beach. That sounds great! I’m making a commitment right now that I’m going to have so much fun.

Thank you Lord for this scholarship, the paid trip to Jacksonville, and the opportunity to meet some extraordinary folks at the conference. I don’t care what they say about you, you are an awesome God!

Monday, May 22, 2006


This week, I was interviewed by the scholarship committee for the American Council for the Blind. According to one of the committee members, I am one of the top candidates for their annual scholarship program. I was so excited; and not because of the obvious perk of possibly getting the scholarship. The money… I was excited that anyone thought enough of me to think that I deserved to be honored. And most of all, I was excited to be considered to be a prospective scholarship recipient by a group of courageous, overcoming, leaders in the blind community.

To tell you the truth, that’s a major paradigm shift for me. In the past, I really didn’t care to embrace or to be embraced by the blind community. But now that I am mature and able to understand that being blind is not the end of the world, I can readily grasp the importance of aligning myself with other people that are on the same path that I’m on. The path to independence, freedom, liberation, respect, self sufficiency, love, respect, and autonomy...

Hating blindness caused me to somewhat hate my life and hate anything that had to do with being blind. Because the organizations that serve the blind (AFB, ACB, and NFB) do not look at blindness as being a curse or the worst thing that could happen to a person, I sincerely thought the people that were apart of them were out of their minds. So, I didn’t want to have anything to do with the organizations. Celebrating being black and being a woman was cool to me. But celebrating blindness was outright idiotic.

Now, I’m finally at a place that I understand that they were not celebrating blindness per say. These organizations are celebrating the accomplishments, the potential, the courage, the faith, the determination, the stamina, the insistence, and the patience that people who are blind have, despite being blind. When you know what I know about blindness, you realize that when a person has enough courage to rise above blindness, it’s a beautiful, magnificent thing.

(I feel like shouting right about now! What a mighty God I serve! A God that can make darkness turn into light. A God that can give you solace in the darkest hours of your life.)

I made a commitment to join the American Council for the Blind. I know it’s time for me to be apart of this great organization. Plus, my greater understanding of disability and the effects of disability really motivates me to get behind any person, group, or program that’s demanding better access to housing, employment, and technology for the blind. I have a lot of work to do. And I’m ready to get to working.

One way or the other, I’ll let you know if I was offered the scholarship. If I get it, I have to go to Jacksonville, Florida to accept the award. I’m looking forward to the money, the trip, and the fellowship with other people that are blind. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Fountain of Youth

Like most women, I’m concerned about aging. Well, I’m not concerned about getting older per say. I’m concerned about looking older. I’ve already started coloring my hair to disguise the gray strands of hair that my younger sisters are so quick to point out on my head. My left knee sometimes hurts when I’m working out. And hanging out at the mall for a few hours produces an extremely tired woman. I don’t feel like a grandma or nothing like that. I just know for sure that I am not 21 anymore.

The biggest thing that concerns me about looking older is my inability to know if I really am “looking older.” I’m not stupid enough to believe that I look like an 18-year-old. I just don’t know how much older I really look. The last time I actually saw myself, I was 16-years-old. And even then, my vision was pretty blurry. So, the last time I really saw my self, with the help of pretty good eye sight, I was 11 or 12 years old. Of course I don’t picture myself to look like an 11 or 12 year old. I imagine that I look like what that 11 or 12 year old would have grown into. And that’s pretty good looking, I might add.

Truthfully, I really wonder what makes a 31-year-old Angela look different from a 21-year-old Angela. Since I’ve managed to dip my 10 or 15 strands of gray hair in the ocean of forever brown, I know it’s not the gray hair. So, what is it? What is it about me that says WOMAN? Do I look older than what I imagine? Even though it’s not likely, do I look younger than what I imagine?

Well, I discussed this very subject with one of my best friends. She advised me to not worry about it. She said that being blind prevents me from getting the news that so many women are forced to receive when they look into the mirror. She also said that because I haven’t seen myself in so many odd years, I have the advantage of not really aging. My very clever friend suggested that in my mind, I will forever look young. Interestingly enough, that’s probably true. I can’t even come up with an image of how I may look at 40. So, I have decided that I’m going to just freeze this current image of myself in my mental photobook. While other women are stressing over the gifts that the “age fairy” is bringing them, I will forever be a young, beautiful gal.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) and African Americans

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure normally rises and falls. When the blood pressure is elevated over time, it is called high blood pressure. Any person can develop hypertension, which is the technical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure measures the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels when the heart contracts to pump blood and when the heart rests between beats. In people with hypertension, the tension within the blood vessels is greater, which makes the heart work harder.

Hypertension has been called the "silent killer" because it can cause damage to many body organs without any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, vision problems and even death.


African Americans, and people of African descent in the United Kingdom, have among the highest rates of hypertension of any race or ethnic type in the world.
• 35% of African Americans have hypertension, which accounts for 20% of the African American deaths in the United States - twice the percentage of deaths among whites from hypertension.
• Compared with whites, hypertension develops earlier in life and average blood pressures are much higher in African Americans.
• African Americans with high blood pressure have an 80% higher chance of dying from a stroke than in the general population.
• African Americans with high blood pressure have a 20% higher chance of developing heart disease than in the general population.
• African Americans with high blood pressure have a 4 times greater risk of developing hypertension related end stage kidney disease than the general population.
Victim of Procrastination

Okay… After deciding to start the blogger’s marathon, I’ve already strayed off my path. I would like to blame it on school. But getting my masters is not as hard and does not take up all of my time, like I would like for folks to believe. So, even though I have to turn in a couple of papers to end this semester of grad school, I would be lying if I said that end of the year school work was preventing me from posting to my blog. Schoolwork only takes a small fraction of my time.

To tell you the truth, I am a procrastinator. Don’t tell anyone though. That will be our little secret. I’m a dang good procrastinator. Meaning, I am able to do most of what I do at the last minute, and it looks like I’ve spent a great deal of time and thought on it. But I’ve made a decision to abandon the procrastination. It’s mentally exhausting to do everything in emergency mode. So, I declare that from this day forward that I, Angela L. Braden, will strip off my procrastinator clothes and robe myself with responsibility, good stewardship, and effective time management. That’s quite a mouth full. But I’m going to try. But wait a minute. I can’t say that I’m going to try. I often tell my sisters when they tell me that they are going to “try”, “Trying is not good enough. Just do it.” Well, I guess I should take some of my good advice.

So, for now on, I will adhere to my editorial/blog schedule. Monday: Disability/Blind Issues, Thursday: Social Issues, Friday: African American Health Issues

I’m back in the blogger’s marathon.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Up and Down

One thing that has been consistent in my life is my inconsistent emotions. One minute, I’m convinced I can do anything I put my mind to. And the next minute, I absolutely hate my life. It’s the barriers. I don’t really mind barriers, especially when I have enough strength to leap over, knock down, or dismantle it brick by brick. I just mind it when I cannot figure out how to get pass the barrier. I have to say that lately I have felt like the barriers are closing in on me.

I’m pretty sick of the fact that I cannot find employment. And I’m not being choosy like my other college educated friends. I will work almost anywhere. (The local strip club is out of the question.) For instance, I would go and work retail in the mall, be a waitress, clean up the hotels. But all of those things require sight. The truth is that my sight really does lock me out of a lot of opportunities. No matter how much I parade around and say that my blindness is not a big deal, and that I can do whatever sighted people do, the truth stands up and screams, “Blindness has limited you!”

I’ve considered and tried to start my own business. At this point, I pretty convinced that entrepreneurship is going to be my saving grace. If prospective employers don’t believe in me and my abilities, I believe in me.

I believe I’m smart.
I believe that I am beautiful.
I believe that I am gifted.
I believe that I am able to make an impact on anyone or anything I come in contact with.
I believe that I have what it takes to change the world.
I believe that my abilities out weigh my disabilities.
I believe that anyone or anything that passes on me is missing out on one of the best things that could have happened in their lifetime.

I really do believe all of that. I just get frustrated when I can’t get others, mainly employers, decision makers, or even a fine man, to see that. (One day, when I have enough energy, I’ll blog about the social aspects of disability.) I know I shouldn’t spend so much time wanting and hoping for outside validation. But when my bank account is affected by not being validated by others, it’s a problem. More than not being validated, I hate being broke. Really to tell you the truth; blindness is not what really gets under my skin. Brokeness makes me sicker than sick.

Before I start dwelling on money, let me end this on a positive note.

No matter what my circumstances say, I know that my life is a priceless jewel. I know that I have something to offer to the world. I know that one day I will be able to share that with the world.

Pray for me as I start my journey to be a professional speaker and writer. Pray that the things that I am going through do not distract me from following God’s plan. Pray that these things that I am growing through enhance my speeches, essays, poetry, and articles.

(I was supposed to have posted this on Disability Monday. Forgive me.)

Friday, April 28, 2006


The one thing that prevented me from developing my own blog in the past was my unwillingness to start any journey without a clear destination in mind. I knew I wanted my own outlet to express myself. But I didn’t want my blog to be rambled expressions of whatever popped in my mind and whatever I was inspired to scribble my opinion about. I wanted my blog to have real purpose, to be strategic, to liberate, and to penetrate. I pray that I accomplish that with this blog.

Now that I am here, present on the World Wide Web, I must get organized. Being that I am a person that has many layers, experiences, and interests, I foresee that my entries will often times not be related to one another. So, for the sake of organization and clarity, I have developed a schedule in which I will adhere to. Hopefully, that will help you and I understand what’s going on, at least when it comes to my blog.

Each Monday, I will post entries that discuss disability issues. My friend asked me to disclose my experiences as a blind person in America. I must say, I really did not want to specifically focus on my experiences. But I will use my experiences to help explain or converse about some of the many barriers that people with disabilities must knock down, leap over, dismantle brick by brick, or dream about not really being there. I am mainly concerned about employment issues, the social aspects of disability, societal prejudices regarding disability, and accessible technology.

(Disclaimer: I am not the spokesperson for all persons with a disability. These will be my experiences and my opinions about my experiences.)

Each Thursday, I will post an entry that discusses my opinion of various social issues: politics, race in America, economics, and so on. I’m full of opinions. So, I don’t expect to not have something to write about on Thursdays.

And finally, each Friday, I will post an entry discussing health and wellness. The health disparities in the African American community are staggering. We have to close these gaps. I firmly believe that health literacy, compliance, and increased self worth will help African Americans lower these startling stats.

I will begin my purpose filled blog next week. Until then, be encouraged and be a blessing to someone else.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Learning to Cherish the Gift of Life

While working as a consultant for a small school district, I was asked to place a visit to one of the students that was severely disabled. I was asked to stimulate him through friendly interactions and play. I arrived to the classroom with my box of instructional toys, and was introduced to a small, eight-year-old boy strapped in a wheelchair. I greeted him, but he did not respond. I grabbed his hand, but his fingers were limp. His little head was slumped over. The child had not even looked up at me. I took my hand and placed it under his chin and lifted his darling head up. “Hello.”, I said. No salutation, moan, laugh, or wiggle came from the child. “How can I play with this child?” I thought. “His body is here, but he’s not.” I wanted to put all of my toys back in the box and leave. I felt saddened and upset for the child. How could anyone want to live that way? But I couldn’t leave. I had to do my job.

I tried to get a response out of him with my toys. I pulled out my rattle and put it in his hand. But his fingers did not grip the handle. I cuffed my hand over his hand so that he would hold the rattle. I shook it. But the boy did not respond. I pulled out my talking, school bus that sings the alphabet. But he was not interested in the bus or the happy melody that poured from the bus.

His teacher suggested that I try a toy that she described as his favorite. I placed his small, bony hands on the colorful toy and pushed a button, the toy started to vibrate and ring silly sounds. I couldn’t believe my ears. The child hummed a high pitched sound that sounding like he was expressing joy. “What? A sound from the boy?” I thought. Then I heard light tones coming from his mouth. His teacher said that he was laughing. I pressed another button, the toy buzzed and rattled. The happy sound came from the boy again. I was so delighted to see this lifeless child be filled with happiness and joy.

Last year, when the highly controversial case of Terri Schiavo, a severely brain damaged woman, who was in the middle of a highly inflammatory legal dispute between her parents and her husband on whether or not to keep her alive, was introduced to the world by the American press, I thought about my small, severely disabled student. I’m ashamed to admit that I initially thought this darling boy’s life was not worth living. But inside of his little body was a little boy that enjoyed what I thought of as simple and unimportant. He was enjoying life in his own way. I’m sure that the child’s mother would have been devastated if her little one was completely taken from her. Instead of being bitter about what she did not have in a son, she cherished every part of her little boy.

I learned from that experience that all life is valuable and that we should cherish every morsel of life. I also discovered that no matter how fractured or impaired a person’s abilities are, joy, love, peace, and happiness can be and should be experienced by every living person.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Little Bit About Me

I'm an African American, 31-year-old woman, single, without children, college educated, and a for real Christian. I currently reside in Bush country. For those of you who don’t know—Houston is the home of the President George and Barbara Bush. I’m so lucky! And for those of you that do not realize it—I am joking about the lucky part.

Back to the bio… I love to experience pleasure. Well, as long as the pleasure is within the frame of what I deem to be right or wrong. For instance, I’m not going to be trying crack anytime soon. It’s some things in the world that God did not intend on us manufacturing or perverting in order to experience pleasure.

Moving on… I’ve had to cope with a lot of pain. But I am not one of those people who run to pain, just because that’s what they are use to. Pain, while it may have been useful in helping me develop into a mature woman, it is not what I welcome into my life. Pain is one of those things that God allows for my growth. But to tell you the truth, if I had it my way, I sometimes would rather be dumb and immature. Well, that’s at least how I feel tonight. So, don’t quote me. LOL Tomorrow, I’ll probably be thanking God for all the pain that has made me a strong, bold sister in the body of faith.

I am the oldest daughter of 4 girls. My parents are divorced, and they never remarried anyone else. Although they have been divorced for nearly 20 years, we're still a close family. My sisters and I are all daddy's girls. I know that having a father in my life has made a difference. Mama is all of that. But kids really do need a good mother and father. I’ll blog later about how I feel about the state of the black family later this month.

I started losing my sight at the age of 10. By the time I was 17, I was completely without sight. I could still see light, but I had no functional vision. Two years later, light departed me. I haven’t seen the glowing rays of the sun since I was 19. Glaucoma is to blame for all of this mayhem that I have endured.

But I have a confession though… Losing my sight use to be the tragedy that defined my life. Now, I am redefining my life. I want my life to be defined by the fact that I am overcoming the tragedy that almost succeeded in overcoming me. Yes, sight is important. And I would almost give anything to see again. But learning to live and be happy with or without sight is what I’m aiming for. I haven’t quite succeeded. But I’m on the journey to the land of unconditional joy.

That’s it for now. I’ll fill you all in later. Be blessed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pausing to Reflect and Celebrate

This year marked the anniversary of two very cataclysmic events in my life. One being my very distinctive thrust into what I think of as “real womanhood.” I turned 31-years-old. Yes, I am officially in my 30’s. I can no longer benefit from the excuses that the world makes for the 30 and under crowd. I have entered an era that forces me to not only look like an adult, but act like one

The other anniversary that caused me to pause and render it a great deal of attention was my 20-year anniversary of being considered legally blind. Wow! I can’t believe it has really been twenty years. Although it was two decades ago, I remember the first day that I was informed that I had contracted the thievish Glaucoma just as well as I can vividly remember the events of yesterday. While most students were excited about the leap from elementary school to junior high, I was losing my eye sight at a speed that left the eye specialist baffled and hunting for clues on what to do to help me capture at least a fraction of the sight that I was born with. But to no avail, the doctors’ best efforts couldn’t save my sight. After a vicious seven year battle that included fourteen surgeries, I was declared totally blind at the tender age of seventeen. The doctor’s considered my sight loss to be permanent.

Without a doubt, I think it’s time for a celebration, or at least some 30-something, bold reflections. I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why is she celebrating being blind?” I’m not celebrating a twenty-year anniversary of blindness. Far as I’m concerned, my blindness was a tragedy. What I am celebrating is the fact that so far, I have made it through this rigorous, dangerous, and sometimes heinous journey in tact. I have my mind, my life, and my joy. No eye sight, but I have me, a whole, complete me.

But with all that being said, I find myself facing challenges that I never imagined when I was a child/teenager/20-something girl that was blind. Life as a fully grown, 30-something, blind adult can sometimes overwhelm me. When I was a blind kid, I could get a break here or there. There were at least a few somebodies that felt the need to extend their loving arm of compassion towards me. But now that I am a grown woman, the response is different. The help I use to get, I don’t get any more. So, the independence that I had to exercise as a teen and young adult now had to be kicked to the highest gear.

My major concern now that I am in my 30’s is my financial security. First of all, I am not married. Secondly, as I get older, my parents are also getting older. The reality of their eventual demise grows more near with each day. The burden of making sure that I am taken care of for the rest of my life is sitting on my shoulders and my shoulders alone. Hence, I am taking some extremely calculated steps to make sure that my future gets and stays bright.

I began my journey to create a bright future by taking steps to become physically healthy. I have made a commitment to lose excess pounds, exercise, and change my diet. Being blind is hard enough. I certainly don’t want a stroke or heart attack to be in my future. Weight related illnesses, such as Diabetes, hypertension, congested heart failure run deeply in my family. I have witnessed how serious illness can hinder a person’s ability to stay gainfully employed, thereby, causing them to lose control of their finances.

The second step I am taking is to further build my credentials. I shoved my laziness and pride aside and returned back to school to complete my masters. At this point, my bachelors degree hasn’t meant anything to anyone but me, my parents and the admissions department for my graduate school. So, rather than pout about not being able to get a “good job” with my bachelors degree, I went back to school to gain a masters degree.

In addition, I promised myself that I would take the steps to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit within me. Instead of waiting on an employer to give me an opportunity, I am working hard to create opportunities for myself. It is my responsibility and only my responsibility to make sure that I am the recipient of a desirable income. So, if that means that I have to start my own business to have the income that I need and deserve, then that’s what I have to do. The only place that waiting on someone else to give me an opportunity gets me is waiting in the welfare line.

I’ve also made a decision to be a wiser consumer. My daddy and mama may not live forever, but the Benjamins do. I have made a commitment to save for those rainy days that I seem to have pretty often, save for my future as a old woman that’s blind, make purchases that are smart and efficient, and give to others in their time of need. Having money is not the answer to all of my problems, but it will solve a lot of them now and I’m sure in the future.

Being blind and 30-something is pretty frightening. But when I factor in the new goals that I set for my life, I am certain that my future is pretty bright.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Still Excited

Since my first post, which happens to also be my last post, so many things have transpired, one being computer problems. When I first started this blog, I was so excited and ready to go. But before I could start on my journey in the land of blogging, a virus viciously attacked my computer. The virus scrambled the registries on my hard drive. I wasn’t able to access the internet or check e-mail. What a pity.

But now I’m back. The computer tech that fixes my computer is $50 richer, and I am back surfing the internet, checking and sending e-mails, and posting on blog sites, including my own. (smile) Even though my start on this blog was brought to a screeching halt, I have returned, with the same excitement and vigor that I possessed at the beginning of the month.

In the next few days, I will publish my first official post on this blog. So, check me out and post your comments. Be blessed!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

I'm Officially a Blogger!

I’m so excited! I’m officially a blogger. I’m looking forward to posting comments and reading comments posted by my friends, potential friends, and stragglers that pass through this site.

I want this to be a place that folks feel comfortable exchanging ideas, even if the ideas conflict. But understand this… Disrespect of any kind, profanity, and slander will not be tolerated. Now, I’m a fan of a saucy debate. But let’s stay within the borders of respect and love.

I welcome you with a big heart and a big smile. I pray that you enjoy this as much as I do. God bless!