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