Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I Changed My Mind!

After I posted my final post for NuVision, I started grieving. I haven't been able to get my blog off my mind.

I started thinking about all the people that stumble upon my blog. I thought about all the people that purposely travel to this spot.

I wondered was there another blogger that would and could replace my voice. and then I realized that was impossible.

My voice, my experience, and my perspectives are so incredibly unique. they are so unique that I need and must continue writing.

I'm perhaps the only African American, blind, college educated, professionally employed woman on the web, who is willing to self disclose to this degree.

Perhaps I'll take a two month break. However, I'll continue to use this platform to raise the awareness of issues, concerns, and perspectives of individuals with disabilities, in particular, blindness.

So, I'm back!

Angie Braden

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Am I a Dreamer or a Doer?

**I wrote this at the beginning of the year. Sometimes, it's good to revisit some of the declarations that inspired you in the past. I thought I would post it, with the hope you will also be encouraged to live your dreams. Enjoy and be inspired!!!!!!**

I've decided that this would be the year that I stop talking about
what I would like to do with my life. This will be the year that I will put action behind
my intentions and make something, anything happen. I'm fed up with
dreaming. Yeah, dreaming is good. But dreams are what they are, just a
dream. It is not a physical manifestation of what is supposed to be
accomplished in your life. Dreams are a figment of your safely constructed, carefully controlled imagination.

In my dreams, I can start a business, but never fail. I can be in
love, and never have to worry about the man of my dreams falling out
of love with me. I can be 125 pounds, and never have to get on the
treadmill. I can be a best selling author, without ever having to face
rejection from a publishing house. I can be a PH.D, without ever
having to stand before a committee to defend my dissertation. I can be
rich, without ever having to work a day in my life. To sum it up, I
can be anything in my dreams.

But in real life, I have to face my fears, face the possibility of
failure, face the reality of hard work and disappointment, face the
truth about my laziness and procrastination, face the embarrassing
fact that I sometimes overeat, and face the many possibilities that a
person may encounter when you begin an unfamiliar path towards “living”
your dreams. .

And this year, I will…I must face all of the aforementioned.
This year, I will leap out of my dreams and make my dreams apart of my reality.
I will invest my money, my time, emotions, my energy, my spirituality, my
faith, my essence into bringing forth what God intends for my life.
I will demand that the atmosphere supports this calling by positioning myself around all those that can be of service to me and my
development into the woman that I've been designed to be.
I will disrobe myself from the cloak of fear, and rise with courage, apprehending all that I know is mine.
I will soar above all that is beneath me, rather than drowning in the mediocrity that I have let decorate my life for so many years.

This year is the beginning of the rest of my life.

This year is the beginning of achievements that will blow my mind.

This year is the beginning of recommitting myself to Kingdom agendas.

This year is the beginning of never looking back.

This year is the beginning of new beginnings.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

NuVision for a NuDay Celebrates the Installation of a Statue of Helen Keller at the U.S. Capitol Building

I was absolutely thrilled when I got the news that a statue of Helen Keller was installed at the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall. The memorial statue of Keller is the Capitol's first ever statue to depict a person with a severe disability.

NuVision believes that this honor was absolutely appropriate for such an outstanding American. helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to receive a bachelors degree in the United States. And she managed this amazing feat in 1904. Keller was also a internationally recognized speaker, author, and political activist. Her life has motivated so many, including myself, to not only brave the darkness of blindness, but to create a light that would luminate our personal paths, as well as others.

To read more about Helen Keller and her lifetime achievements, visit the American Foundation for the Blind's website. There you will find resources that detail the amazing life of this American hero.

"Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face." Helen Keller

Monday, September 28, 2009

Was it the blindness or the dirty panties?

I recently ran across an article about a blind woman, who hoped to have a child with the help of a fertility clinic. Turns out, the fertility clinic turned the woman down, refusing to help her have a child. The physician is said to have felt that the blind woman could not care for a baby.

According to the clinic staff, the woman had trouble "finding bus stops" and she had "dirty underwear." So, I'm supposing they thought that (If it's true...) would make her a bad mother. I don't know about the bus stop accusation... (That's probably true. A blind person is sure to not always find what they're looking for. Perhaps the dirty underwear accusation is indeed true. But I would put money on it that the blind woman wasn't the only woman that graced their clinic with soiled underwear.

They also refused to offer fertility services because she refused to hire an occupational therapist to evaluate her home, so that the doctor would feel assured that the blind woman's home was safe for a baby. (I wonder if this is something they make all of their patients do? Hmmm...) I wonder what they thought they would or would not find in the blind woman's home? I also wonder if they would next demand that the blind woman prove to the occupational therapist that she can do various housekeeping and cooking jobs within the home. I wonder if she would've had to prove that she was capable enough of dipping her child in a tub and drowning the baby the way that sighted Andrea Yates did. **So much to consider...**

Well, the fertility clinic won their case. Apparently, the courts feel that it is permissible for a clinic to refuse to help a blind woman have a baby.

Interestingly enough, the blind woman went to Iowa, and found a doctor that agreed to perform the procedure in 2001. I guess this doctor didn't give a darn about the babies he helps bring into the world. Why would any "good and moral" doctor help a "blind" woman have a baby?! Ridiculous!

Perhaps it was because the new doctor didn't notice her stank, nasty underwear...

Or just maybe, just maybe he realized that a blind woman is capable of being a good mother to a child, just as a sighted woman can be.

Side Note: I also wonder if this woman could have possibly been discriminated against because of something more than blindness. For instance, I wonder how much her race and sexuality played a part in the decision to not give her a child. All too interesting... I should definitely follow this case.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Issues with Public Restrooms

My germaphobic tendencies cause me to really hate public restrooms! but what i hate more is when I "need" to use the restroom, but I'm not with any of my family or friends to assist me to get to the public restroom. For example, when my mother was in ICU, the restrooms were out in the waiting room. So, when I would visit her, I would just have to hold it until someone from my family arrived at the hospital. This is why I'm always glad when Mama is in a regular hospital room. And its an added bonus when she's in a private room. I can use the restroom, without having to "hold it", wait on family to arrive, or just swallow my pride and ask a stranger to take me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stress has the power to strengthen you or destroy you. Which will it be? (Part 3 of 3)

**I know I should've written this weeks ago. Sorry! I've just been overwhelmed with responsibilities. Thanks for being patient with me! Well, here goes.**

The next morning, I got up from my bed, not knowing if that day would be the day that my mother's life would end or continue. Either way, I was trying to prepare myself for what was to come. No matter how much I wanted my mother to fight, to live, to survive...I mostly wanted her to be in the center of God's will for her life. And if that meant it was time for her to pass from this world to a world untouched and unseen by the living, I needed to find a way to deal with that. So, I began to pray.

I prayed and reflected while taking a bath. I prayed some more as I got dressed. I prayed while I was eating breakfast. And I prayed even more as we drove from Humble to Houston's medical center to see my mother.

We arrived at the hospital, and went straight to her room. I expected to find her in the bed with the breathing machine working hard to assist her with staying alive. But instead of finding Mama in the bed, slipping between the cracks of time and timelessness, I found my mother sitting in a chair, eating her breakfast.

"Mama? Wow! You're eating breakfast?" That's all I could say.

She was awake, but she was quiet. She was eating, but she was still. She was living, but she was still not sure if she wanted to live.

I talked to her about what was going on with her health. I explained to her how much she needed dialysis and a blood transfusion to live. I strongly suggested that she consider the grandchildren. I told her to think about me. Likewise, I told her how much I needed her in my life. Although she was quite hesitant and a bit confused, she agreed to get the treatment.

A couple weeks later, after the treatments had started to create changing results for the better, my mother was sitting in her ICU room, enjoying her family. I smiled at her, and told her over and over how glad I was that she was doing better. Because I, along with my other family members, were telling her that continuously, she finally asked us what happened to her that was so bad. I explained to her that she almost died, and that she told the doctors to let her die. Mama was shocked. She gtold me that she was glad that she was still living. And of course, I was glad.

I learned a few things from this experience.
1. Life and death are in the hands of God, only.
2. One should never make a major decision when tired.
3. We don't know the true limits of our strength until we're put in the position to access more of it than usual.
4. We should fight until the very end.
5. Encouragement is not necessary unless the person needs some courage in a frightening, uncertain situation. And when the person needs it, the people that love them need to be willing and able to provide the encouragement.
6. Life is to be lived.
7. The time of death may be uncertain to the living, but it is not with God.

My mother is still in the hospital. She's been there for 67 days. I'm hoping that we will be able to bring her home in a few days. But if we don't, if she never comes home to me, if she goes to heaven from the hospital, and even if she comes home and then goes to heaven... I TRUST GOD!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stress has the power to destroy you or strengthen you. Which will it be? (Part 2 of 3)

Perhaps a couple hours after I called for the family to come to the hospital to see their dying loved one, the grandchildren arrived with their parents. Because the hospital staff pretty much thought that Mama would soon be dead, they allowed the kids, who were all beneath the age requirement, to visit with their granny in the ICU.

By this time, the breathing device that they had Mama on was really helping her breathe better. And the result of better breathing was more oxygen in her blood. Likewise, the result of more oxygen was greater coherence. Mama was awake! I was so afraid that she would not be able to know that the kids were by her bedside.

All three of the kids stood around her bed with concerned looks on their innocent faces. My mother peered at the kids over the massive oxygen mask that covered her nose and mouth. I hoped that seeing them would remind her why living was important. She held their hands as they spoke to her in their fearful, yet faith-filled voices.

Then shortly after the kids visited with Mama, her personal physician arrived to speak with her. He came as her doctor, as well as her friend. He advised her to give the dialysis a try and to go ahead and have the transfusion. Knowing her history, Dr. Simms defied the recommendation of death from the other doctors. He felt that despite Mama’s tiring soul, she could overcome this major health challenge. I stood at her bedside while he was talking to her, nodding my head, showing her that I fully supported Dr. Simms’ advice.

Finally, after seeing the kids and after talking with her loving doctor, my mother decided to sign the consent to have the transfusion and the dialysis. My heart was glad! However, my heart was also conflicted. I honestly wasn’t sure if I wanted Mama to live for me, or to die for herself.

I had so much to consider. If Mama was to die, I would have to plan a funeral. I wasn’t in the mood for that. But is anyone when that time comes?

If Mama was to die, I would have to figure out what I was going to do about a monthly income. I had given up my professional income twice in the last seven years to take care of Mama. If she was to die, I would then be left even more broke, simply because her annuity would die with her.

I thought about the house that at the time of purchase was such a blessing to us. If Mama was to die, I would have enough insurance money to pay the mortgage for 2 years. After that, I would either have to pay it myself or put the house up for sale.

As a woman with a significant disability, I shuttered at the thought that getting ajob to take care of myself would likely not come as fast as I would need it to. And I would be left with only one parent to make sure that my needs were met in the meantime. Then suddenly, fear gripped me even tighter.

I wondered if I was thinking about myself over Mama's right to choose to live or die. However, there was nothing in my body and mind that could allow me to passively stand by as my mother chose to give up. Yes, she was tired! Yes, she wanted to die! But we can't cash in our ticket, just because we're ready to go. That's not how it works. And you know who taught me that? My Mama!!!

Livinglife with a chronic illness and/or disability often comes with feelings of weariness and thoughts of a final resting place. So, I was no stranger to this feeling. But I happen to think that disability is not the end of the road. So, one of the reasons why I rejected the doctors' advice was because I, a woman with a disability, understand the struggles of living with illness and disability. And I believe that each of us have the power to overcome these feelings of weariness if we lean on God and loved ones. So, that's what I was doing. I was standing by as a loved one, who didn't want my mother to give up on living, just because she was disabled and sick.

So much to think about! So many things to consider!

I shook myself and reminded myself that Mama’s life or death was in the hands of the One we call God. I reminded myself that my life was also in His hands. There was no need to be afraid, anxious, or depressed. There was no need to feel like Mama was giving up. Because if it was indeed her time to leave us and go meet with God, the decision rested with the One who sculptures both life and death.

I went to bed with one prayer. May God’s will be done in Mama’s life. I didn’t pray for her healing. I didn’t pray for her suffering to end. I simply prayed that God’s will be made perfect in her life. And if that meant that she was going to live or die, I would have peace in knowing that God was in control.

**This is the second of three posts on this subject. Stay tuned for the third installment. I should have it written in a couple days.**

Angie Braden

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stress has the power to destroy you or strengthen you. Which will it be? (Part 1 of 3)

As unfortunate as it may seem, I’m quite familiar with stressful situations. Every since I was a small child, I’ve been confronted with relationships and circumstances that produce stress and anxiety. Honestly, I’ve learned to manage the stress; and perhaps I’ve learned to live, work, and have fun with stress being the constant backdrop. However, in the recent weeks, my stressometer has been turned up. And boy, oh boy… The stress had started to take a toll on me!

I can feel the stress in my body. My back has been hurting lately. And when I do sleep, it's not a peaceful sleep. I just sleep because I can't go any further.

My diet is wacked out. I'm dehydrated. I'm not working out. And I'm picking up weight at a speed that is depressing in itself.

What's got me so stressed out? Well, the usual. But there has been a little extra in the recent months that has left me exhausted.

For instance, my mother has been in the hospital for 29 days. Thankfully, she's doing much better than she was doing when she went into the hospital. Mama was so sick that I actually braced myself for her departure. That's truly how sick she was! The walls of death were closing in on Mama as she was being overcome by internal bleeding from an unknown spot, congested heart failure, pulmonary edema, kidney failure, hypertension, diabetes, irregular heart rate, and seizure disorder. She was so ill that many of the doctors started conversing with me about perhaps giving my mother medicine to help her have a peaceful exit. I was even faced with making a decision on whether to resuscitate or not, in case she went into respiratory or cardiac arrest.

When it looked like she was going to die, a storm of emotions washed over me. I was sad that my mother, a woman of so much strength and resilience, had suffered so intensely over the last few years. I hated that this painful opera seemed to be approaching its tragic finale. I cried because I hated to see Mama's life, a life that has been filled with countless acts of kindness and selflessness, end with such pain and sorrow. I cried because I had no power to stop the further decline of her already poor health. I wept because what was happening to her seemed so unjust and so cruel.

I sat in the waiting area, closed my eyes, and considered that perhaps was now the time to say goodbye. However, my spirit just couldn't wrap my mind around that idea. I begin to struggle with myself, as I considered that perhaps I didn't want Mama to die because I'm truly scared of living without my parents. I prayed and asked God to prepare me for what was to come. I asked God to wrap His arms around me so that I would know that no matter what, I am never alone.

That night when I got home, I bathed my weary body and crept into the safety of my bed. But peace was not waiting for me under those covers. My head hit the pillow, and I immediately was whisked away into a tragic time machine. I began contemplating the last seven years. I was being drug through my past like James Byrd was violently drug through the streets of Jasper, Texas.

I thought about how one second, one blood clot, and one cerebral brain attack had changed my mother’s one chance at living a happy, peaceful life. I thought about how Mama’s personality was drastically altered, how her physical strength was diminished, how her ability to understand complex information was damaged, and how her ability to employ speech to communicate ideas, thoughts, and requests effectively was forever stolen. My mother, who was then an accomplished elementary school teacher, is now an extremely ill, significantly disabled woman, and it’s all because of a stroke. All of that makes my heart so sad.

Earlier that afternoon when I was at the hospital with Mama, doctors surrounded me, trying to convince me that it was perhaps time to let my mother go. They told me how Mama had conveyed to them earlier in the day how she was tired of living, and how she did not want the recommended treatment that could delay her eventual demise. By the time I got to the hospital, Mama was being poisoned by carbon dioxide, which was slowly entering her blood stream due to her inability to breathe. I tried and tried to wake her up to talk her out of this death wish she apparently made clear to the hospital staff. However, our conversation was quickly being interrupted by lethargic reactions to her rising respiratory failure. I couldn’t keep Mama up for more than 60 seconds!

I got right in her face and started telling her that if she refused the blood transfusion and the dialysis she would be dead in a matter of days. She nodded and went back to sleep. I nudged her and told her that she should want to live for the grandchildren. But mama looked at me and said that she didn’t care.

Even my darling friend, Chad, was trying to convince Mama to hold on, and to consider the medical treatment that could save her life. She woke up long enough to tell him to make sure that he sat with the family at the funeral! Mama even told my friend, Chris, to be ready to have words at the funeral service. And no matter how persistent my friend, Heather, was Mama still continued to express how death was the only good thing for someone in her condition.

Tears violated me, making my private anguish public. Tension squeezed my brain, and all the nerve endings on my body came to life as I considered a life with a lifeless mother. I stopped berating my obviously tired, clearly incoherent mother with my desires, and reluctantly backed off to let her rest in peace.

I asked my friend Chris to pray for my mother before she loss full consciousness, and then I called my sisters to inform them of what was going on. I instructed them to bring the grandchildren, with the consideration that it may be their last time seeing their grandmother alive.

**Tomorrow, I’ll post the second part of this narrative. Stay tuned! The second and third parts are not as intense. I promise!**

Angela L. Braden

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Fantastic Resource for Individuals that have Blindness or Low Vision Concerns!!!

I just got through reading the most recent entries on the American Foundation for the Blind's blog. The information they have posted there was great!!!

I'm ashamed to say that although I have the blog linked here on NuVision, I haven't visited their blog in a few weeks. I've been terribly busy. However, that's still no excuse. I should make it my business to stay informed about issues that impact individuals with blindness and low vision.

I strongly encourage my readers to check out AFB's blog! You won't be disappointed.

Much love to my readers!
Angie B.

Kathy Martinez: A Blind Woman That's Doing Great Things!!!

**i'm always inspired when I hear about people with disabilities doing great things. And it's even more exciting to me that Kathy Martinez is blind, a woman, and Latina. There's no doubt that being apart of three minority groups can make this road more difficult to travel. Ladies like Kathy Martinez are a reminder to me and others that professional success is achievable if you believe in yourself!**

From Diversity Inc. Magazine (March 23, 2009):

Obama Nominates ODEP Asst. Secretary Kathy Martinez
By Zayda Rivera

Internationally recognized disability-rights leader Kathy Martinez was nominated for assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) by President Barack Obama on March 20.

Martinez, who has been blind since birth, specializes in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, and diversity and gender issues from her work as executive director of the World Institute on Disability (WID). Her impressive resume includes Proyecto Vision, WID's National Technical Assistance Center to increase employment opportunities for Latinos with disabilities in the United States, and Access to Assets, an asset-building project to help reduce poverty among people with disabilities.

She was also responsible for leading the team that produced the acclaimed
international webzine Disability World ( ) in both English and Spanish...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preview of Black in america 2 (Part 3 of 3)

The date and time had finally arrived. It was 6:59 PM, and in less than one minute my preview of CNN's Black in America was scheduled to begin. My nerves started to shutter. I wondered what would all the people in the audience think about me, the unsuspected blind woman. I whispered to my pastor that I was nervous. He put the microphone in my hand, and reminded me that there was no time for fear and anxiety.

With less than one minute to get it together, I dug deep and pulled out one of my best smiles, stood with beauty and strength, and accessed my best voice. At 7:00 on the dot, I greeted my guest with confidence and pure humility. I was honored that so many, over 300, had gathered to participate in an event that I organized. I was thankful that there was no need to be embarrassed just yet. So far, the preview of BIA2 was off to a good start. I greeted everyone, Thanked CNN and my co-host, Dr. Cofield, and then talked a little about the Black in America special that was scheduled to air the next week.

Unfortunately, underneath my confident smile, nervous energy was rising up. I was so glad that I was approaching the time that I could hand the microphone to Dr. Cofield. I realized that even though my blind eyes could not see anything, I had at least 600 eyeballs looking directly at me. I forced my nervous energy under my feet, and smiled as I introduced Dr. Cofield.

Dr. Cofield had a few compelling words, and then the preview of Black in America 2 was presented to all that were in attendance.

It was great!!!

Although I watched the preview days before, it was still incredibly interesting and inspiring when I watched it at the church with my guest!!! I, in particular, enjoyed the segment on Malaak Compton-Rock and Steve Perry.

After the previewed aird, we had a fantastic discussion, which was moderated by Dr. Cofield. My distinguished panelists, which included a Harris County criminal court judge, an award winning radio personality, and a school board member, all did a marvelous job!!!

When the event was finally over, I sighed with relief. I had accomplished a few major things that would not have been accomplished if I hadn't connected with CNN.
A. I helped CNN market this very important documentary.
B. I, along with my friend, Chad, and my pastor, Dr. Cofield, successfully worked together to plan and execute a great event. I learned a lot about teamwork!
C. I met some great people because of this event!!!
D. I learned that fear is my enemy. And I, by all means, should never let fear be my guide.
E. At the end of the night, I realized that I'm ready to put myself out there. I'm ready to share myself with the world.
F. I discovered that the only thing that stands between me and great success is a lack of confidence.
G. I learned how much I really enjoy planning events! It was fun!!!
H. I learned how inspiring people are by my ability to perform despite my blindness. (I really do need to make that fact work for me!)

Before I end this series of posts about me hosting a preview of BIA2, I must thank the following:
Dr. D.Z. Cofield
Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church
Chad K. Brawley
Judge Michael Fields
Madd Hatta - Host of the Madd Hatta Morning Show (Radio One 97.9 FM)
Patrick Ngwolo
Rose Bell
Wanda Johnson
Stephen Brown
Dr. Wendy Johnson
Michelle Stephenson
Ingrid Ashley
Rosetta Mayes
Crystal Reagans
Art Hooker
Dave Donaldson
Friends and Family

**I watched Black in America 2 last night and tonight. Tomorrow, I'll post a review. Here's a teaser... I think that it was actually very, very good! **

Angie Braden

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Preview of CNN's Black in America 2 (Part 2 of 3)

As soon as I received my package from CNN, I called my friend and told him the great news. We immediately began strategizing on how we can plan and execute a successful prescreening of BIA2. We agreed that approaching our pastor with the idea of co-hosting the event would surely ensure a successful event.

That afternoon, we approached our pastor, Dr. D.Z. Cofield, who is also the Vice President of the NAACP-Houston Chapter. Being a person that is quite concerned about the condition and progress of African American people, Dr. Cofield quickly agreed to co-host the event with me, and to allow me to use Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church to show the preview and conduct the panel discussion.

We hit the ground running. We had only a week to market the event, to invite panelists for the discussion, and to make all the final arrangements with CNN. A few of us teamed together and made Facebook and Twitter work for us. I worked closely with Dr. Cofield to select a range of distinguished panelists that would offer insight, wisdom, and expertise in our discussion. I commissioned a very talented filmographer, by the name of Arthur Hooker to capture the event with his camera.

A week later, after sending dozens of e-mails, making countless phone calls, updating my Facebook and Twitter status several times each day, and inviting nearly 2,000 people on Facebook, the time had arrived. It was Thursday, July 16th; and this event that I had worked so hard to plan was finally at my fingertips.

**Stay tuned for the final installment of this series of posts.**

The premier of CNN's Black in America 2 will air tonight on CNN. Don't forget to watch!!! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 on CNN
*All times Eastern

7:00pm – 8:00pm Moment of Truth: Countdown to Black in America 2

8:00pm – 9:00pm Presidential News Conference

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Preview of CNN's Black in America 2 (Part 1 of 3)

This month, an amazing opportunity presented itself to me. Because of my blog and my connection to other larger African American blogs, CNN became aware of NuVision for a Nuday. Simply amazing!!!

Perhaps a year ago, I started getting updates from their PR folks about many of the specials and news stories that are deemed to be of some interest to African Americans. I always thought it was cool to get e-mails from CNN. But I must admit that I thought it was some sort of robotic, mass mailing service to bloggers of color; and I just happened to be one of them.

One day, I decided to reply to one of the messages to see if it would just bounce back undeliverable. I asked them why they were sending me programming updates via e-mail. Honestly, I don't know why I replied to the e-mail at all. I truly didn't expect a response back. Ten minutes later, I received a personal message from one of their PR folks, explaining why they selected me to receive notices of interviews and programs that would be interesting to African Americans.

I was immediately impressed! I thought it was amazing that CNN:
A. cared enough about African Americans to make an attempt to consider diversity in their programming initiatives.
B. understands the power and reach of the African American blogger.
C. is progressive enough to tap into the boundless marketing possibilities of blogs and social networking sites.
D. employs a personal touch when communicating with bloggers.

A few months after receiving that personal message, I started getting updates about their groundbreaking special, Black in America 2. Even though I didn't really enjoy last year's Black in america, I started looking forward to this year's. Many of the e-mails that came from CNN provided teasers of some of the things that would be covered this year, and I was impressed. I traveled to the website, and the content there seemed wonderful also.

A couple weeks later, some of my blogging buddies were posting status updates on Facebook, commenting on prescreenings of Black in America that they had attended in their hometowns. I bounced over to my e-mail and sent a message to CNN, asking them if they could let me know if any screenings were going on in Houston.

I got a response in about 5 minutes. Impressed again!!!

They told me that the prescreening in Houston had already occured, but I could host one myself if I wanted to. Of course I wanted to!!! So, I told them that I absolutely wanted to host a prescreening of the special. And three days later, a package arrived on my doorstep from CNN!

**This is 1 of 3 posts. I'll post the rest later today or tomorrow.**

Random Reflections About Very Specific Things

These are my random reflections.

1. Last week, July 12th, to be exact, I walked into a new age range. No longer will I be able to check the box on surveys, where my old age used to live. Now, I'll be checking a new box. And this new box is reserved for the more mature crowd. And you know what? I'm cool with that.

One of my closest friends was shocked that I was coping with getting older so well. I tried to explain to her that I simply made a decision that I wasn't going to let it get me down. Plus, I realize the only way you can live is if you get older. The two actions are conjoined, and there is no separating them.

2. I read an article the other day that said that only 20% of blind folks were employed. I'm so glad to be in the number! Yeah, I wish I made more money, but at least I do make some.

3. I wish I could get a job that paid me what I'm worth. Being broke all the darn time is nerve wrecking. Not to mention, it's quite unfair to me as a professional, college educated, competent woman. Somehow, someway, this has got to end!

4. My social circles are expanding. And for that, I thank God!

5. Crybabies make me sick!

6. Even though three planes have fallen out the sky this summer, I still wish I was on one of those metal birds. I need a vacation!!!

7. I only like homecooked breakfast food. Breakfast from fastfood joints is yucky!!!

8. I only put on a bra and shoes when I have to. LOL And right now, I wish I wasn't having a "have to" moment. This bra is getting on my nerves! LOLOL Just keeping it real!

9. I need a good book to read. Any suggestions?

10. I wish I had someone in my life that would romance me a little. I'm not really interested in marriage right now. I just want someone I can connect with in a more intimate, loving way.

Why am I not interested in marriage right now? Well, my family life, my responsibility to my mother, makes it difficult for me to think about being responsible for one more person. And when you're married, you have to give so much. Right now, I can't give what I think is required out of a "wife". So, I'll reframe from trying to be what I can't do well. But I have no doubt in my mind that I can be a good girlfriend.

11. I'm sitting here at the hospital with my mother. She just told the docs she wish she could just die. That's something she says often when we're around the house. Honestly, I don't really think she means it. But this time, I think she meant it. and that, makes my heart so sad.

12. Thank God for an internet connection at the hospital!!! Sitting at the hospital with family is so much easier for me than it used to be, simply because of my lap top and the hospital's internet connection.

What I think is interesting is that the hospital's server has blocked access to Facebook. I guess the hospital's staff were using social networking sites too much. Hilarious!!!

**Angie Braden**

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Still a Virgin

I'm sure that most of you can remember your first time.

Unfortunately, I can't say that I've been fortunate enough to have that unforgettable experience.

Why haven't I?

Well, various circumstances and a lack of opportunity have left me void of that first experience that most people have by the time their 21.

I'm told that the "first time" can be somewhat clumsy and rigid. But once you push pass your trepidation, it is awesome!

Too bad that I'm relegated to remaining a virgin for the rest of my life.

Be optimistic, you say?

Well, at this point, I don't ever expect to get my sight back, not unless a medical miracle occurs in my lifetime. So, as long as I can't see, I'll never get a chance to sit behind the wheel of a car and drive it down a street.

(You thought I was talking about sex, didn't you?!!!! LOL that’s not the only kind of virgin a person can be. Expand your thinking!!! LOLOL)

Last month, my sister bought a new car. I rode with her to take the final paperwork back to the dealership, so that her purchase could be final. When we rode off the car lot, my heart unexpectedly started to quake.

There I was, sitting in the passenger seat of her shiny black car, feeling an emotion that I’m not quite familiar with. Jealousy... And as we rode down FM 1960, that jealousy morphed into a twinge of profound sadness.

I silently considered why I was feeling this way. I've been the passenger in plenty cars and trucks. So, why did this particular ride bother me so much?

I realized at that very moment that I, Angela Braden, never got a chance to sit behind a wheel and drive. I never had the chance to have a driver's license. And I will likely never have the chance to purchase a vehicle that I will be able to legally drive. For a few profound minutes, on that sunny afternoon, it was hard for me to accept that large dose of reality, which was violently splashed right in my face.

But because I refuse to host or attend any pity parties, I quickly tore up the invitation to be depressed about my aging virginity. I angled the air condition vents directly on me, leaned back in my seat, and enjoyed the heat from the Houston sun across my face as I was being chauffeured back to my house in a shiny, new car. How many folks can say that they have a team of personal drivers?! LOL

Take this bit of advice from a blind woman... It's all in how you "choose" to see it!!!

All the best to you!
Angela Braden

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Visual Memory that I'll Cherish for Life: Michael Jackson!

Thursday afternoon, I walked into the gameroom to talk to my mom for a second. While I was standing there, news of Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital by ambulance broke. I immediately sat down to learn more about what was going on with my favorite childhood superstar. Three hours later, we found out that Michael Jackson was dead. My heart sank.

No, I didn't personally know Michael Jackson. But his music, his ability to capture the world's attention, and his commitment to artistic excellence struck me and had indelible impact on how I saw myself and the world we live in.

Michael was not just a celebrity, he was a legend. He was not just a dancer, he was revolutionary. Michael was not just a singer, he was a phenomena.

And I’m so glad that I got a chance to SEE him myself. I don’t think that anyone could have effectively described how Michael moved when he danced, how amazing the music videos were, and how people all over the world reacted when they witnessed his musical charisma.

I remember the album covers of Off the Wall and Thriller so vividly. It’s almost like I can still see them now. Michael was absolutely gorgeous to me!!! Beautiful skin, hair, eyes, and smile...

As incredible as it may sound, I also truly remember the many dance moves that Michael did in the Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean videos. That’s how captivated I was with him and his ability to express himself artistically.

And even though I got a chance to see Michael live in concert at the Astrodome when he did the Victory Tour, the performance I will never-ever forget was the Motown 25 television special. When I saw Michael, I was in a trance. He was so beautiful! And when he started moving… Oh my goodness!!! There are no words to describe how time froze for those few minutes. I’ll never forget! The glove… The hat… And that dance move that blew the world away!

Honestly, I don’t feel sad for Michael. His life was full of glorious opportunities that he was able to take full advantage of. In addition, Michael selfishly shared his gift with all of us. He absolutely made the best of the 50 years that were granted to him.

My friend, Randy, wrote a song about how there are so many treasures that are buried in the graveyard, simply because people were too afraid, too faithless, too selfish to transform their dreams to reality when they were alive. I beg you to not let that be you. Don’t let them bury your gifts and talents in the casket with your lifeless body. Give life to the gifts that God has stored in you from birth!

Yes, we die. But our gifts to the world can live forever. Michael is dead. But his gift to the world will live for decades, and perhaps centuries.

May Michael Joseph Jackson rest in sweet peace; and may his gift to the world live forever.

Angela Braden
Lifetime Fan

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Waiting in the Dark

A couple days ago, one of my best friends told me that her boyfriend always reminds her to call me back. She said that he doesn't like the idea that I'm sitting around in the dark, waiting for her to call. So, he often pushes her to call me, the blind friend, back.

Um, really?

Is that the only reason why "my friend" would need to call me back? To save me from a life of dark bordem? To save me from being lonely and blind? To save me from myself?

I guess calling me back because I'm a friend is not a good enough reason in his mind.

I know that when my friend reads this, she will likely be disappointed that I wrote about it. But I'm not writing about it to express anger in her man. I'm not even writing about it to put the brotha on blast. **So, don't take offense to this.**

The reason why I'm taking time to write about it is to point out how many people perceive me. Most of the people that I've come in contact with see me as a lonely, blind chick that lives in the dark, with no friends, and charitable family to care for me.

I hate that people see me as the "blind friend". I don't want to be the "blind church member". I don't want to be Frances, Paula, and Kim's "blind sister". And I'm shonuff sick of being Mama and Daddy's "blind daughter".

Because when people start seeing you as the "blind one", then they place different expectations and demands on the relationship. And many of those expectations and demands are unfounded and basically ridiculous.

Yes, I need a sighted guide to get around. Yes, I may need some assistance knowing what color some clothing items are. Yes, I need people to read to me from time to time.

But I don't need a special provisional friendship. I just need my friends to be a friend. Not a friend to the blind... But a friend to a friend...

But I might as well give up on that wish. I am the "blind lady" in all of my circles. It is what it is.

However I refuse to play the role that people are trying to assign to me. I will just be me. And from what I gather, to my real friends, the people that "know" me, being me is good enough.

**To my friend: Please, please don't be offended because I wrote about this. I'm not trying to slander your man. I'm just thinking out loud. And when I do think out loud about blindness related issues, it get's splattered on my blog, NuVision.
Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


After years and years of having a cell phone, I finally can do more than just talk on my phone. Thanks to advancements in assistive technology for cellular phones, I can now text message, browse the internet, listen to music, send and receive e-mails, manage the phonebook, and change my ring-tones, all independently.

Of course, being able to send a text message is not an essential part of my life. But for many years I was blocked out of being able make the most of my phone, simply because accessibility was not an option for so many cell phone manufacturers.

And because barriers absolutely bother me, I was always annoyed that I couldn't do a simple task like enter a name in the phonebook of my cell phone. So, for the last 15 years, I've hoped that technology would be created to knock those barriers down. And finally, there are companies that are dedicated to creating a product that is accessible for blind cell phone consumers. Yipee!!!

The program I use is Mobile Speak for Windows. This program was created by Code Factory. And it works marvelously on my Palm Treo.

I'm able to do almost anything on my phone, like a sighted person would. Of course, I'm having to not only learn how to use the Treo; I'm having to learn how to use the Mobile Speak as well. That's a little challenging. But the rewards far outweigh the time and energy I'm having to use to learn the phone.

The greatest benefit of having speech on my phone is the feature that allows me to enter information into my phonebook. For so many years, I was not able to save phone numbers. That was fine when my memory was in tip top condition. But now that I'm getting a little older, being able to have a telephone number in an easily accessible format is incredibly important. Already, after only having my phone for a couple months, I have 150 contacts saved in my phone. I suspect that number will increase over time.

Another aspect of my phone I enjoy is the possibility of sending someone a quick text message. So many times, I need to say something to someone, but do not want to actually call them. Texting truly works in those situations.

If you want to learn more about Mobile Speak, visit the manufacturer's website.


Monday, June 01, 2009

The Prayers of a Blind Aunt

Last night, my sister informed me that my youngest niece's eye is swollen and it has mucus leaking from it. She said the doctors wanted to know more about my eye condition.

My heart shook at the very notion that the baby could possibly have an eye condition that could impact her sight. And it even more shook me up that her undiagnosed eye problem somehow drew a line back to me, her blind aunt.

The doctors want to know more about me and the dreadful disease that brutally stole my sight, and later my left eye. I guess they are trying to make sure that this baby doesn't become a victim of what overtook me in my younger years.

I always dream about what I would like to give my nieces and nephew as they grow older. But I am sickened at the idea that any child that is connected to me may get what I got. I somehow would feel responsible, like I gave it to them. And I'm not sure how I could live with doctors always pointing their fingers at me, as if my blindness dripped from me to one of the kids.

Yeah, I know... This makes no sense. I'm not the parent. I'm the aunt! But in a strange, ridiculous way, I would feel responsible. I would feel like I gave the kids that problem.

I'm praying for my 2.7 pound niece to continue on the track of growth and healing. But in the last few hours, I've specifically prayed for her eyes to heal and return to God's original design. And I must admit that my prayer for her eyes to get better is partially for selfish reasons. I want her to get better for herself, and so that I won't have to deal with all the emotions that will come if she does indeed have the eye disease that has taken up residence in my brown eyes.

**God bless Elyssa Adriana Perez. May God's healing power flow into her tiny body. May she continue to develop into the healthy, loving baby we all hope she will be. God, touch her lungs, eyes, and heart. You know the problem and the solution. She's in Your capable and loving hands. Amen.**

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Beautiful Blind Women"

Every week, I check the stats on my blog. I'm always amazed with what queries lead people to my very unique blog. Here's what comes up the most.

"What is it like to be blind?"
"To be blind"
"I hate being blind."

But the one that always catches my attention is this... "beautiful blind woman"

And that query is entered pretty often. Folks from all over the world are using that phrase to search on Google and Yahoo. And most of the time, Google and Yahoo lead those people straight to my blog.

I know why Google and Yahoo grab my blog to appear in the search string. In the description of my blog, I mention blind and beautiful in the same sentence. Yes, I think I'm beautiful! **healthy self esteem**

But here's what I wonder... Who's looking for beautiful, blind women? And why are they looking for them? And the better question is... When they find my blog, do they think they have found a beautiful blind woman? LOL

Just wonddering out loud on my blog... I need to go to bed! It's 4:20 AM.

Please Introduce Yourself

I've noticed that traffic has slowed down here on my blog. It is quite likely that my readers have stopped coming here because I've been so slow to post. I'm sorry about that!!!

I have so much I need to say. So much I want to say... And interestingly enough, most of what I need and want to say, I don't feel I should say it here. That's why the posts have slowed down.

Also, I would like to hear from you more! I hoped that NuVision would be a platform for discussion. But my voice is usually the only one that's heard here.

Of course, I have my regulars that stop in from time to time. Ensayn, Sacredly Breathing, Chi-Chi, Lovebabz, MackDiva, and a few others. I even have a new visitor, who has been so kind to my blog. Thanks Becky!!!

And then there are those that cruise through my spot, but never leave a comment. Please tell me who you are!!! I would love to know what do you think of the blog. Heck, what do you think of me?

So, Montgomery, Vegas, Chicago... Let me hear from you. Introduce yourself!!!

I don't bite. Well, not unless you're a piece of bread or a fine man. LOLOL Carbs and fine men just have that affect on me!

Monday, May 18, 2009

"You can see shapes and colors, right?"

People are often shocked that I cannot see anything at all. Even after I confess to being completely blind, there are some that still cannot wrap their minds around the fact that means I can't see anything.

They ask me:
"You can't see shadows?"
"Can you see colors?"
"You can see a little bit, huh?"
"You're TOTOALLY blind?"
"You can't see anything?!"

Even though I know I will have to continue to answer those questions, sometimes multiple times to the same person, allow me to provide some clarity to anyone that stumbles upon my blog.

I can't see colors, shapes, shadows, figures, artificial light, or sunlight.

I'm as blind as they come!

I guess it's just hard for some people to imagine "seeing nothing". Shucks, it's hard for me to imagine it too.

But it's no imaginary moment for me. This darkness that I've been sentenced to is real, inescapable, and constant. No matter how hard I concentrate, I don't see any flashes of color. No matter how close I hold a flashlight in front of my eye, I only feel the heat. I see nothing. No matter how tight I grip my eyes shut, and then open them again, the scenery doesn't change.

I cannot see. And for me, that means I cannot see anything. I wish I could see something...anything... But so far, wishing hasn't changed what I can see.

So, I don't focus on the darkness that extends from my sick eyes. I focus on the light that is within. And because of that light, I can see something! I see more than the eyes can handle. I see what perfectly functioning eyes cannot see.

I see God!

Angela Braden

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Tunnel

The average person has a 180 degree field of vision that they can access to perceive the world. When I contracted the thievish Glaucoma, my field of vision was the first dimension of my sight to be draped by the black cloth of blindness. The walls began to close in as my peripheral vision departed. If I wanted to see something that was on the side of my face, I would have to turn my head to see it. So, If there was something that I needed to see, but didn’t know it was there, I wouldn’t see it at all.

The loss of my peripheral vision proved to be significant when it was time to play with my neighborhood buddies. Being the average, American, ten-year-old girl, I loved to play outside with my friends. We would play kickball, freeze-tag, dodgeball, and would even have a daily foot or bike race down the middle of our young, suburban street.

When my eye sight began to fade, my play time started losing its zeal and carefree participation. I started avoiding the frequent games of dodgeball that was starting to leave my once quick legs splattered with red and purple splashes of pain. I started getting kicked out of kickball because of my inability to follow the flying blue and red ball when a skilled kicker would catapult it into the sky above our heads. I was always getting tagged in our games of freeze-tag, just because I wouldn’t always be able to detect when the “it” person was running on the side of me.

Although most of my play activities had been impacted by my narrowing vision, there was still one activity I could do well. I could still run or spin the pedals in a good race! When it was time to race, the only thing that mattered to the kid that was racing was the finish line. And the finish line was always in front. Not to the side… But straight ahead… This was not a problem for a girl with tunnel vision. So, when it was time to run or ride in a race, I would quickly volunteer to participate.

One day, the kids and I had agreed to race two bike riders down to the green house, which was about eight houses down from the starting spot. Once we got down to the green house, we were to turn around and head back to the finish line, the original starting spot.

I was ready! I jumped on my 10-speed bike and locked my eyes on the green house. The kids screamed go, and my legs started rapidly drawing invisible circles all the way to the green house.

I could hear the kids screaming behind me as I reached the green house. I was the first to make it. I quickly turned my bike around and started heading back to the finish line.

All of the sudden a car turned on our street and was headed right for me. Being the responsible bike rider that I was always trained to be, I quickly shifted my handle bars to drive my speeding bicycle out of the path of the slow driving car. I thought I was in the safety zone until I realized that my speed machine was about to careen into a large industrial van that was parked on the side of the road.

I abruptly squeezed the metal brakes on my shiny handlebar. But it was too late. As the slow driving vehicle passed me, my bike smashed into the back of the van that sat quietly and invisibly on the side of the road.

My small body was knocked off the saddle of the bike; and the wind was knocked out of my body. I lied on the warm cement, staring at the bright red blood that spilled from my right elbow, the dirty van, my damaged bike, and the approaching band of laughing children. By the time the kids made it to me, I was barely breathing. None of them asked if I was okay. “You lost!”, they screamed.

I knew then that life, more specifically, my life had changed. I suddenly realized that this tunnel vision that I heard the doctor say dozens of times really was as dangerous as they described it to be.

I lifted my limp body from the ground, grabbed my bike, and silently walked my bike and unveiled reality back to my sanctuary. I said nothing to the teasing children. I said nothing to myself. I just looked up at the clear sky, and back down to the clean gray street, that now had drippings of my fresh blood.

I left my bike, as well as my visual confidence on the porch and went inside of my house, declaring that would be my last time on my bike. It was…

Angela L. Braden
**Narrative of a Blinding Girl**

Friday, April 24, 2009

1 out of 8 Billion

**I've been meaning to write about this in the last few months. Here goes...**

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, my sister, Paula, the mother of two of the children I absolutely adore, called me and gave me some bad news. She informed me that her house had burned to the ground, and they were homeless. Well, of course, because she is my sister, homeless was not even an option. Without hesitation, I moved my sister, her husband, and their two children into our home.

Joseph, who is seven-years-old, insisted on sleeping with his auntie every single night. For some strange reason, he preferred to sleep with me over his mom and dad. And because I love him so much, that was alright with me.

Plus, I might as well share the bed with Joseph. I'm not sharing it with anyone else. LOL

Every night before going to bed, Joseph liked to spend about ten minutes discussing the house fire, his day at school, and desires he had for the future. He also liked to ask me all types of weird questions. But hey, he's 7. There are no silly questions when you're 7.

Well, this particular night that I'll never forget, Joseph lied in my bed in silence. Finally, he called my name. I already knew he had a question for me.

Joseph: Ann, how many people are there in the world?
Me: I don't know Joseph. Maybe 8 billion...

I expected another question. But he didn't say anything else. Then finally, after a few minutes, he broke his silence.

Joseph: You're the only one in the whole world that's blind?
Me: Um, no.
Joseph: Well, where are the other blind people? Where do they live?
Me: What?

I was like, "What in the world is he talking about?" But then I suddenly realized that I am the only blind person that Joseph knows. I'm likely the only blind person he's ever seen before.

I grew up seeing Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles on television. But Joseph's generation doesn't see that many images of blind people on television anymore. Ray has passed away. And Stevie pretty much comes out for very special occasions. So, in Joseph's little head, it really does seem like I'm the only one in the whole wide world that's blind.

Joseph found it necessary to squeeze in one last question before falling asleep. He touched my face so endearingly and asked, "Why did God make you blind and let everybody else see?"


No, that's not how I responded. I just explained to him that God didn't make me blind. And then I explained to him that there are thousands of blind people who live all over the world. I told him that one day, I'll take him to go meet some children that are blind, so that he can meet children that live life like his auntie. I reassured him that even though most people can see, I'm okay with being blind.

Before he could muster up another question, I gave my love the benediction for the night.

**Quick thought... Whenever I leave this world and go to be at rest, my nieces and nephew will have a treasure of memories that I will have left them on this blog. That's great!!!**

Sunday, April 12, 2009


These are my random thoughts.
**It's 3:30 AM. And I'm so sleepy that I feel drunk. I'm warning you. LOL**

1. I hate that it seems that my body loves fat. It doesn't mind welcoming new fat. And it fights to hold on to undesirable fat.
I'm here to serve an eviction notice. Excessive Fat, you need to go! I have had it with you!

2. I am angry with myself for gaining weight. I feel so stupid for allowing myself to pick up weight that I worked so hard to lose. Why couldn't I just continue to work out everyday?! **sighing**

3. Why are clothes so expensive? I went to the mall tonight. I saw a couple cute suits that would be great atire for a speaking engagement. But the $150 and up price tags were a major issue. **sigh**
If they are paying women in other countries 2 pennies to make these clothes, then why in the hell are they so high? American greed, I tell you!

4. This hair dryer is burning my neck. I guess I need to get a towel and drape it around my shoulders.
This is why 9.5 times out of 10, I let my hair air-dry. This heat is bothersome.

5. I wish I could see.

6. The weather in Houston has been nice. I wish it could stay like this all year.

7. Ladama crossed my mind a minute ago. Who is Ladama?
Ladama was my roommate in high school. We lived together for three years.
Sadly, two years ago, my friend died of cancer.
I wonder why God would take her home and leave me here.
There must be something He requires from me.
I must make the best of this time He has given me.

8. I'm not sure if I want to get married. But a boyfriend would sure be nice.

9. I want my parents to live forever.

10. I'm so tired. So, why is it that I don't give myself permission to rest?
I've suffered from inconsistent sleeping patterns since I was a teen. For some strange reason, I cannot sleep, unless I am about to pass out. Ridiculous! I've got to start doing better.

11. I wish I was rich.

12. The value of my house dropped by $30K. I'm pi$$ed!

13. My neck is still burning. Where's a towel?

14. I don't want to go to church in the morning. But I'll be there.

14. I want to video tape my next speaking engagement. However, I'm reluctant to allow someone to record me at this weight. I need to try to lose some weight first!

15. I'm about to get from under this dryer, and get in the bed. I've reached that level of tired.

Good night


Friday, April 10, 2009

Darkness to Light (Repost)

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!

Angie Braden

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Broken Pieces

A couple weeks ago, my aunt, who has made it abundantly clear that she has nothing but disdain towards me, stopped by the house to bring my family copies of individual and family photos. She placed copies of specific photos in various envelopes, and labeled the envelope with the names of the persons she intended to have those particular pictures.

Well, of course, I needed assistance with identifying my envelope. My sister opened the envelope that was labeled for "Angela". To our dismay, we found more than just pictures of me as a child, teenager, and young adult.

What we found were pictures that had been sliced into creepy, violent displays of her anger towards me.

Yes, my aunt, my mother's sister, is so angry with me that she found it necessary to gather pictures of me, cut them up, place them in an envelope, and drive them 20 miles from her home to deliver them to my hand.

The truth is that I am not quite sure why this woman hates me so much. I, along with my mother and father, have our suspicions why my aunt has so much hatred in her heart towards me. But the truth is that I cannot understand the intensity of the hate.

Yes, she is mentally ill. But again, why has she decided to angle her pain, anger, resentment, bitterness, and resentment towards me? It's so baffling to me.

What I found to also be confusing is the fact that my aunt would cut up pictures and give them to a blind woman. I can't see them. So, the effect was lost in the darkness that extends from my eyes. I'm sure she didn't think about that.

I'm supposing that the visual image of the pictures would have probably disturbed me. Just holding the sliced up pictures in my hands kind of shook me up. So, seeing it would have likely had a profound impact on me.

But I didn't see them. And this time, I'm glad that I couldn't see.

I believe that my relationship with my aunt is intractable. Our relationship has been sliced, just as the pictures in the envelope. Except, we can take those pictures and put them together and scan them to restore the image. There is no tool, no method, no pressure that can restore my relationship with my aunt.

And the sad thing is that I'm okay with that. I truly am done. I hate it has to be this way. But it does... I have decided that I will no longer be a participant in that abusive relationship.

The End

**Note: One other sister also received cut up pictures. But we know why she's so mad at her. We are in the fog as it pertains to me.
I made a decision to not tell my mother about the pictures. She didn't need to see that. It would have hurt her to know that her sister is that hateful.
I also made a decision to not acknowledge the sliced up pictures to my aunt. I will not entertain her nonsense any longer.**

Angela Braden
Free Woman

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Used for His Glory: That is truly my Prayer

"My life is not my story. It is God’s story.” Pastor Jeffrey Richardson

Each day, I’m learning that our life is not our own. And that God, in all of his infinite wisdom and authority, sometimes allows awful things to happen in the lives of His children to mature them, to demonstrate His glory, and to draw the lost and/or hurting to the cross. Again, this life that we have was created to bring God glory. And the most awesome thing about God is that He can get glory out of the most dark, fractured, shattered, smelly situations.

But that is only if the person that is enduring the affliction is willing to surrender to the plan that God has etched out for their life. This is a hard pill to swallow when you’re sick or disabled.

After becoming ill, I began to pray and fast for my healing. I attended every healing crusade in the area, and literally splashed myself with blessed oil daily. I truly believed that God could and would heal me. But despite all of my speaking in tongues, fasting and praying, and crusade hopping, I ended up losing all of my sight at 17. I was crushed. I couldn’t understand why God would deny my petition to be healed. It took years for me to trust God enough to “be open” to His plan for my life, even if that life included blindness.

What God has revealed to me over the years is that I had faith to believe that He could “heal” me. But I didn’t have faith that He could sustain me despite my blindness; nor could He exemplify His glory in the life of a blind woman. To simplify it, I really didn’t “believe God” like I said I did.

I learned over time that God’s impact in my life is greater than it would’ve been if He had healed me in the early years. Because of the lessons that God has unfolded in my illness, I’ve matured and grown closer to Him. I’ve learned how to trust God, even when I can’t detect His presence. I’ve learned that God is not only a healer, but a sustainer too. I’ve learned that it takes more faith to believe that God can get the glory out of a blinding situation than one that is illuminated with clarity and human explanations.

In addition to God revealing Himself to me through this illness, my life has been a testament to others that God can truly be glorified in the darkest situation. So many people have been encouraged to be strong during the absolute dark times of life, just because of their exposure to my “literal” dark experience. I’m glad that God has been able to use my blindness to speak to His people and to give them hope that He is the light.

I’m not completely sure how and to what extent God is going to use my life to further the kingdom agenda. But I am certain that I am now more willing than ever to allow God to use “all” aspects of my life to bless His people than I was before.

“My life is not my story. It is God’s story.”

Angela L. Braden

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I'm experiencing a strange transition. And this transition has kept me from my blog. NuVision has been my home for so long. It has been the place that I felt safe to be me, free to remove my garments, and strong enough to explore parts of my life that I left untouched for so long.

But these days, I'm not feeling so comfy with NuVision. And I'm not sure why.

Perhaps I've said all there is to be said here. Perhaps I'm experiencing my annual burn out. It may be that maintaining this blog feels like work rather than an escape from the grind of daily responsibilities. Or it may possibly be that I'm starting to grow uncomfortable revealing so much of my emotional nudity on a blog that has now started attracting people that "know" me.

Whatever it is, it has kept me from my baby on the web. I have left this blog neglected. I don't even check the stats. And that's strange. Even if I didn't post, my nosiness would cause me to check the stats daily to see who was lurking and peeking in the windows, trying to see what they could see, without making a comment to reveal their presence.

Will I give up NuVision and permanantly retreat to Facebook, the place where I can connect with real people, while revealing one sentence updates about myself? Or will I continue to come here to NuVision and reveal paragraphs of myself to people that I mostly do not know and a few that I do know?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I will wait this thing out. And probably by the end of the month, I will decide if I will continue with the blog or say goodbye to my three-year-old friend, who has offered me so much in the last 36 months.

To all of my faithful readers: I love you. I really do! And I wish the best for you. Continue to be patient with me as I either find my voice again or decide if I want my voice heard on this platform.

Lovingly submitted,
Angela L. Braden
Author of NuVision for a NuDay
March 2006 to March 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Watch out."

I'm not easily offended. I talk about my blindness all the time. And I try to give folks a chance to also talk about it. So, if people have a question or an opinion about my blindness, I pretty much will listen and respond to most of anything. But there are some things that people say that really get on my nerves. For example, I hate it when someone tells me to, "Watch out."

How ridiculous is that?

Why in the world would you tell a blind person to "watch out"? It just doesn't make any sense to me.

It's like telling a person in a wheelchair to "watch their step". Do you see how ridiculous that is?

And I'm not sure if people have said that to me always or if this is something new. But lately, I stop and become defensive every single time someone says that to me.

The first time I noticed it may have had something to do with who said it. A woman that I used to work with, who decided that she was going to hate on the new blind co-worker, said those words to me in the hallway one afternoon. Now, interestingly enough, this was the first thing that this woman had said to me in about six months. So, when she said it, I immediately took notice. Not only was she saying something to me, but she was also telling me to do something that I physically could not do.

When she said it, I stopped dead in my tracks. My eye brows went flying up and I looked straight in her direction with a strange, non-intimidating look on my face. I didn't say anything, and neither did she. I just let her pass me in the hall, and I continued on my path, thinking "You watch out!".

Two final thoughts... I'm so glad I don't work with that woman anymore. Thank you God for freeing me from being in her presence. Perhaps I'll dedicate a post or two to her. LOL
And secondly, I feel that it is my duty to help others see how ridiculous it is to use insensitive language when communicating with others. And telling someone to "watch out" is absolutely insensitive. So, every time someone says that to me, I will be telling them how silly and ridiculous that is.

Have a good week. And remember to think before letting words fly from your mouth. That's not a good look.

Angie Braden

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I'm taking questions. (Open Thread)

I did this nearly 9 months ago. Well, I thought that this is a good time to welcome you guys to ask questions again.

Don't be shy! I'm not.

Don't let trepidation restrict you from asking your question. There are no ignorant questions...Just ignorant assumptions.

Questions lead you to truth. So, if you want to get some truth about me, then shoot your question this way. And unless the question is just plain ridiculous and a horrific invasion of my privacy, I'll answer it.

Have a good week!!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

When You Care

When you care about someone, you really take risks. Risks that can lead to disappointment, pain, and sheer horror if things go really bad. Risks that can leave your heart bleeding for a lifetime. Risks that can render you helpless, speechless, and faithless. Risks that can make you want to kill someone, that can make you wish that someone would just fall dead, or even make you wish you were dead.

This is why we should approach all relationships with God guarding our hearts and minds. Otherwise, you can end up losing both.

My family relationships have always had some type of challenges in them. But I endure because of love them. It's so sad that I feel that there are certain ones that don't feel the same. I honestly feel that they do not love me. And that hurts more than anything.

I know you cannot possibly pay me back for all that I do. But the least you can do is love me. That's not asking for too much.

Perhaps I shouldn't question their love. Maybe they don't know what love is. Perhaps they don't know how to make love "work".

But I don't know why not. Their parents have demonstrated love in the most generous and plain way. So, why don't you know what love looks like?

Well, with all that being said, I will continue to love. A. Because God tells me to do so. B. And because loving makes me feel better about living.

If you don't have love, you don't have life.

And I refuse to live and be dead.

**Nope, this post was not about me and my disability. But I just needed to get that off my chest. Do I feel better? I think.**

Asking for prayer,
Angela Braden

Brown Eyes (Redraft)

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 innocence and youth. So much has been lost… So much has faded away… The brown hides from the light. The brown lost the fight.

When I stare into the mirror, I see nothing. I don’t see brown. I see black. I am not a child anymore. I am a woman, whose brown eyes died.

How do eyes die? How does brown fade? How does the dark live? Why did brown fade to gray?

My brown eyes. My brown eye. The other eye is gone to meet His maker. The one that is left is no longer brown. But it’s trying to be faithful to the woman who has lost so much since it was brown. These brown eyes of mine have a story to tell. And one day, they will tell their story, and will sing the gospel and the blues.

Friday, January 30, 2009


This meme is flying aroudn Facebook like a virus. I started seeing it a few weeks ago. And finally, three folks tagged me in the same day. And since then, the tags have been steadily coming.

And since I haven't posted a blog entry here on NuVision in a few days, I thought I would post my 25 things here as well. There's certainly some info that will be interesting to my readers.

**Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.**

The above were the rules on FB. How about this... If you're one of my readers here at NuVision, consider yourself tagged. Okay? If you want to participate, by all means, do so. But if not, I understand.

1. I had a nasty Mountain Dew habit. I kicked it about 4 months ago. A month later, I started drinking Coca-Cola. And the Coke habit seems to be worse than the MD habit. Tomorrow, I plan to go cold turkey the way I did with MD. The headache meds are on standby.

2. I plan to get some braces whenever my money is right. Although I hate to see grown folks with braces. I would much rather be seen with perfect teeth.

3. I've been blogging for 3 years now. Most of my friends and family have no idea that I have a blog.

4. I can't stand all bugs. But I hate, hate, hate tree roaches. If you want to see me act a fool, just tell me that a flying roach is somewhere near me. One day, I was out with friends at Red Lobster when a roach flew by our table. I near bout turned the table over. I've never been in a RL since then.

5. I have three sisters. My mother has three sisters. My maternal grandmother had three sisters. (I hadn't thought of that until now.)

6. I've been a night owl since I was 14-years-old.

7. Horror movies typically don't scare me. But the demonic ones throw me off. To this day, the Shining freaks me out. I refuse to let anyone watch it in the house.

8. I've worn a size 7 shoe since I was in the 7th grade.

9. I hope to have a play on tour in the next 12 months.

10. As a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer. But Radioscope and Tom Joyner caused me to want to do radio. I didn't do either as an adult. LOL

11. I've had 17 surgeries. 15 eye surgeries, 1 breast surgery, and 1 stomach surgery

12. I have Uveitis and Secondary Glaucoma. I've had the Uveitis since 8, and the Glaucoma since 10.

13. By the time I was 17, I had lost all of my functional vision. I walked across the graduation stage with only light perception. I lost the light perception when I was 19.

14. I was on BET's Teen Summit twice. (Remember that show?) I've also been written about in Upscale, YSB, and Consumer Reports.

15. For about a year, during the time I was in college, I drank at least 3 times a week. I would get so drunk that I would sometimes pass out.

16. Although I would drink like a fish, I never, never did drugs. I believed them when they said, "This is your brain on drugs." Too bad they didn't have a commercial that said, "This is your liver on alcahol."

17. I took an overdose when I was 12-years-old. Not sure if I was trying to kill myself; or if I was crying out for help. I'm thinking I was crying out for help. I told someone about the overdose right after I took the pills.

18. My eye doctor committed suicide when I was 13-years-old. I used to wonder if he had not died would I have ended up losing all my sight. But then, I put my faith in the One that lives! Glory!!! So, I have solace in knowing that God has all of this in His control.

19. My mother had a massive stroke in 2002. Her blind daughter is the primary care giver. And you better believe that I take good care of my mama.

20. Although I love music, my favorite song is "silence". The band Peace and Quiet put it out. They're my favorite group. LOL
In the silence, I hear from God. In the silence, I get healed. In the silence, I find rest.
See why I love that song?

21. I know that I am destined to have a successful speaking business/ministry.

22. I can take what I dish. That's the rule I live by. If I can dish it. Then I need to be able to take the same medicine when it's directed back to me.

23. I spent about 2 years of my life angry at God. I purposely ignored His tug and denied His existence. Thank God He didn't leave me! Grace and Mercy!!! (Don't make me shout up in here!)

24. I made the Dean's List 1 time in undergrad. But I graduated from grad school with a 3.97 GPA.

25. I'm an adjunct professor at a local junior college.

Bonus: 26. I'm trying to stop cursing. I didn't curse for years. But lately, my mouth is a mess. But guess what... Since I've been going back to church, without trying, I've improved. So now, I'm actually trying. So, I expect to have this habit smashed soon. At least, I hope.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"I'm sorry that you're blind."

Okay, okay, okay... People don't actually say, "I'm sorry that you're blind." But what they do say when they meet me and discover that I'm blind is, "I'm so sorry."

Sorry for what?

The only thing I can think of is that they're sorry that I'm blind. They're just too polite to say so. Remember, they feel sorry for me. They don't want to say the "blind" word. It's must too pitiful to say out loud, especially when talking to the one that is blind.

All day yesterday, I introduced myself to my fellow members at the church I recently joined. And 8 out of 10 of those folks that I introduced myself to required an explanation about my inability to see.

"You're blind? Oh, I'm sorry."

It's almost like people have a script that guides them on what to say to a blind person when they really don't know what to say.

But I have to give it to them... At least, they're compassionate... Hey, you can't fault people for trying to be sympathetic and concerned.

As I was leaving the women's fellowship after 10:00 service, a sweet lady, who I actually think is going to be my friend, asked me, "Are you alright? You don't feel good?"

I figured the only reason why she could be asking me if I was alright is because she saw me holding on to my mother's arm. I guessed that she probably thought that I was sick or something. Because I thought that was the reasoning behind her inquiry, I responded with, "I'm okay. I can't see."

Of course, the famous "I'm sorry." came next. But she followed the one-liner up with, "Well, the reason why I asked if you were alright is because you look tired. I can see it on your face."

And the truth is that I was tired. I was feeling drained emotionally and physically. And the cool thing is that that woman looked past my blindness and saw me. She noticed something other than my blind state. And she thought enough of "me" to be concerned about Angie, and not Blind Angie. How nice…

It makes me feel good when people see me and not just blind me. Yes, I’m blind. But my blindness is only a part of who I am. I’m more than that.

As my description of my blog says, I’m a beautiful, brilliant, African American woman, who happens to be blind. And no doubt about it-Blindness is pretty dog on bad. But I’m not sure if people should be saying, “I’m Sorry.” They didn’t do it. So, no need for an apology from them.

Random Reflections about very Specific Things

These are the random reflections that are flowing through my mind at this very moment.

1. Although I value "family", heritage, and legacy, I, in general, get sick of my family. I don't wish they would go away. I wish they would change the condition of their hearts. Changing their address is not a long term solution to the problems that plague them. It's the heart that needs a change.

I try my best to offer my support through prayer, advice, and even money. But to no avail, I don't see any lasting improvements. I just see people getting older, but not becoming more mature. That troubles me.

At this point, I don't know how to help them. I've done all that I can do. I've helped them so much that I've become more tired, anxious, cynical, and resentful than I was before I started dealing with them.

They have not improved. And I've gotten worse. That's a problem!

I will return to what I should have never left a few years ago. I will start praying and fasting again. But this time, I will not only pray for their deliverance, I will pray for mine.

I need a touch from God. I need to be healed.

2. My pastor preached about a broken spirit today. It was quite possibly one of the best sermons I've heard in my life.

I discovered that as much as I would like to hide it, I have a wounded spirit. It may not be broken. But it is definitely aching. And it's time for me to get better, to improve the condition of my heart, to get healed.

3. I'm tired of battling fat. My struggles with weight are really starting to get on my nerves. It seems that I'm like a fat magnet. If it's unassigned fat in the atmosphere, then my body grabs it. Well, at least, that's what it seems like. LOL

Today, I was reminded of how much weight I've picked up in the last year. As I hugged each woman at church, I noticed how thin or not so thin they were. I was perplexed by how many women were considerably smaller than me. I felt like a pig. A well dressed pig. But still a pig.

Tomorrow, I will begin the journey to disassociate myself with this fat. No longer will homeless fat find shelter in my body. It's gon' have to find a home elsewhere. And I mean it!

4. No more Cokes! Can I say that louder? NO MORE COKES!!!
Coca-Cola, get thee behind me! (Maybe if I rebuke that spirit of caffeine, it'll go. You think?)

All kidding aside, I have to shake the Coca-Colas. So, starting now, I declare it. And because it's here in writing, on my blog for all of my folks to see, I have to hold to it.

I know that not drinking any soda will help me lose 10 pounds right off the top. At least, I can look forward to those 10 pounds being gone, even if it's water weight.

5. I wish my daddy and mama could live forever with good health. I hate that death is inevitable for us all. I hate that death will one day separate me from them. I hate that I will likely be faced with the challenge of burying one or both of my parents. That's an awful prospect. I don't want to think about it any more tonight.

6. I'm glad that Chad, my fav cuz, is returning back to Houston in tomorrow. I miss him so much. I'm also glad that Miko is taking her butt home. I miss her tail too.

While I'm wishing folks could live forever, I might as well wish they (my close, close friends) can live forever too.

7. I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow. Oh well...

8. For the first time today, I felt like I'm absolutely supposed to be at my new church. That was an awesome feeling. I finally have peace about my decision to join. The heart doesn’t lie. And my heart led me there.

I felt connected. I felt like I was with family. I felt like I love them.

And I feel like my feelings are true.

9. I'm glad to be in the process of building new relationships. That's exciting. It gives me something to look forward to. And I have a feeling that these new relationships will introduce me to unbelievable possibilities.

10. Did I say I don't want to go to work tomorrow?

11. I'm drawn to a couple of folks, and I don't know why. I don't like not being clear on the "why" these individuals are in my life. I'll just leave it there.

12. I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow.

13. This blog entry started off kind of intense. But as I continued to write, I started feeling better. I thank God for the therapy that I feel when I communicate, either via writing or conversing.

14. I hate violence of any kind. But I sho' hate family violence. That seems like a paradox to me. *Family - Violence* Those two words shouldn't even be able to go together. Family love, family support, family health, family prayer, family communication, family dinner, even family conflict seems alright. But family violence? Come on now... Those words should be enemies.

15. I still don't want to go to work tomorrow. But I will. I'm thankful for my job. So, I got to prove how thankful I am by holding up the light, when I'm feeling a little dark.

16. I wonder what my folks will think about this blog when they finally read through it. I put money on it that the day they will read through it is after I'm in the ground. Sadly, some people don't pay attention to what they had until it's gone.

I'm sure they will be shocked that I've written so much over the last few years. I'm sure they will be mad about me occasionally writing about them, which I very seldom do. I'm sure they will be touched that the kids meant so much to me. And I'm also sure that they will learn some things about me that they really could've have learned if they paid close enough attention.

17. I'm sleepy. I'm calling it a wrap on this entry. These random thoughts are making me more tired than I was before I started writing.

Peace and light,
Ms. Braden

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Feeling Alone and Being Alone is not the Same

Most children are afraid of the dark. But I think my fear of darkness was more intense than the average child. So, when I started losing my eyesight at the age of ten, my fear level increased dramatically. I found myself being surrounded by perpetual darkness. I was afraid every moment of the day, simply because of the deep shadow that loomed around me that seemed to never disappear.

Quite naturally, as I matured into a young woman, my fear of physical darkness faded and I learned to not tremble and faint over the darkness that followed me daily. I am not going to pretend like darkness doesn’t heighten my need to be more alert and careful, but I am glad that I am not imprisoned by the fear of darkness like I was for so many years.

Looking back on my childhood fears, I now realize why most people are afraid of the dark. The uncertainty of what lurks in the dark seems to put people on edge. It’s not really the darkness that is frightening. The unknown possibilities that hide in the darkness are what we are afraid of. As we become adults, we may leave our fear of a dark room behind. But our fear of unknown possibilities and uncertainty typically follows one into their adult life.

The night of August 2, 2002, I came face to face with one of the most challenging and daring events of my life, so far, that is. That unforgettable night, I found myself in a very dark and frightening situation.
When I arose that unforgettable Friday morning, I presumed that particular Friday was going to be like the many Fridays that had come and gone. I would get up and go to my job with more peace than I had Monday through Thursday. Simply because Friday was the day that connected me to my two days off from work. But I was in for a rude awakening. That Friday would usher in a heap of changes and challenges that seemed to be insurmountable.

After finally counting down the hours that led to the end of my work week”, I celebrated by meeting a childhood friend for dinner. Since my friend and I seldom have a chance to spend time with each other, I relished every minute. Before I knew it, hours had tiptoed by.

Midnight was approaching. I knew I should be headed home. I called my mother to let her know that my friend was about to bring me home. However, my mother, being the protective, selfless woman she is, preferred to meet us halfway, so that my friend did not have to drive the entire way back to her apartment alone. My mother immediately left our home and headed out to meet my friend and me.

Upon arriving at the meeting spot that we all agreed would be the most convenient and safest to connect, my friend informed me that my mother was already there waiting for me. I greeted her and jumped in the car, ready to get home to my bed.
After being in the car for only five minutes, I detected that something was not right. Our car began to swerve across the busy lanes of the expressway. I initially thought my mother had fallen asleep. I called her name and nudged her. But we swerved again. She was not responding to me. The car violently swerved again and again. I held on to the door of the car with my right hand, bracing myself for a possible crash, while continuing to scream her name. Strangely, she still would not respond to the shouting of her name. Miraculously, the Lord allowed my mother to pull the car off to the side of the lanes. But still, she was not responding to my persistent request to tell me what was wrong.

I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. I told them that I believed that my mother was having a stroke or a heart attack. Sadly, because I could not tell them exactly where we were, they could not dispatch emergency officials to help us. My heart sank and fear wrapped its dirty claws around my neck.

The 911 operator asked me to hold the phone while she and emergency officials tried to locate us. With my cell phone tucked between my shoulder and ear, I jumped out of the car and feverishly waved my hands, but no one would stop. Then I jumped back into the car and tried to encourage my mother to hold on and to cling to life. Then suddenly, my cell phone battery went completely dead. I panicked. My only drop of hope had evaporated when the one person that was trying to help me was suddenly disconnected from me.

I almost fell into a heap of despair, but I knew I had to get help for my mother. I lunged out the car and began waving my hands again, but this time I added screams and tears. However, the roar of the rushing traffic was the only thing I could hear. There were no sounds of sirens coming near. Nor was there the sound of a car pulling over. At this point, I did not know if my darling mother, who I love so dearly was alive or dead. My phone would not work, and I couldn’t run for help. I felt so alone. The fear of my mother dying right there on the side of the freeway assaulted my mind. Likewise, the fear of being left on the side of the freeway with the never stopping traffic all night, without anyone to rescue me, swelled in my heart. My very being was being crushed underneath the increasing weight of fear.

Then suddenly, I was reminded of the many scriptures that I have learned and believed in most of my life. I remembered that God promised in His word that He would never leave or forsake me. I remembered that the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run in and they are safe. I remembered that God would respond to the cries of His children. I begin to scream the name of Jesus as loud as I could. Tears poured from my face like a rushing river. I screamed and screamed, with the assurance that God would respond to the cries of His child.

After only a few minutes of calling on God, someone pulled over and called 911 and gave them a location. Upon arriving at the hospital, I found out that my mother had suffered a massive stroke. But praise God, she is still alive and God is healing her every day.

Looking back on that seemingly dark night, I now realize that God was indeed present when I felt so fearful and alone. For example, God could have allowed my mother to suffer the stroke before she picked me up. If that happened we probably would have not known for hours where she was. Secondly, when my mother started having the stroke while driving, we could have been involved in a terrible accident, severely injuring or killing both me and my mother and maybe someone else. I now realize that God’s hand was still controlling the series of events that night. Although we were in a chaotic situation, God still wrapped His arms around us and protected us from danger.

**God, you've been so kind and gracious. And for that, I celebrate your presence. Thank you for protecting me, time and time again.**