Monday, December 02, 2013

Six Tips to Overcome the Holiday Blues by Angela L. Braden

For many, sadness, loneliness, stress, and depression during the holiday season are as common as turkey dinners, crowded shopping trips, candy canes, and sweet potato pies. There are a plethora of reasons why the holiday season is far from cheerful for some. Financial problems, the loss of a loved one, familial discord, lack of or unfulfilled romantic relationships, and geographic distance from loved ones are just a few of the reasons why some people find themselves singing “woe is me” instead of “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

Here are some helpful tips to help you overcome the holiday blues.

1. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness this holiday season. Forgiving others gives you the ability to move forward without the baggage of past hurts, strife, and regret. Furthermore, forgiveness is the bridge that can lead to mending broken relationships. Forgiveness does not indicate that you’re weak. It does not mean that you’ve forgotten about the past offense. It simply means that you have given yourself permission to move forward to a place of healing and restoration.

2. If you are living in a city far from close family members and friends during the holidays, don’t get bummed out. Look for opportunities to spend time with family and friends that you are not as acquainted with. The holidays are an excellent time to rekindle old relationships and build new relationships. If someone invites you to a holiday party, strongly consider attending. If your church is having a holiday event, try to attend. Attending holiday events is a great way to meet new people.

3. If you have time to spare, volunteer. Making oneself useful is a fantastic way to build self worth, boost personal enthusiasm, and put personal values to work. Plus, it’s hard to think about how horrible your life is when you’re helping individuals that are less fortunate than you.

4. If you’re a person that experiences depressive symptoms, and they only get worse during the holiday season, seeking mental health services is appropriate. Schedule an appointment with a counselor as a gift to yourself and the people around you. And if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the crisis hotline in your city. They will be able to assist you with getting the services you need to address your hopelessness and despair.

5. If money is an issue this holiday season, think of creative ways you can give to your loved ones that doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money. Visit your local arts and crafts store and make your gifts. Give your adult children a “free babysitting card” for an evening out during the holiday season. Cook the people you love a great meal. There are all sorts of things you can do that do not require you to break the bank.

6. If you’re sad that someone you loved is now deceased and they are not present with you during the holiday season, cherish the time you did have with them. In addition, take time to cherish the time you have with the people that are still with you.

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger, college educator, and motivational speaker. To learn more about how this blind woman is helping audiences all over the country see their way to their personal best, visit

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Middle Perspective

As I creep up on 40, my approach to living is rapidly transforming. This morning, I realized that if I have the life span of my Braden kinfolk, I'm approaching my midpoint. If I have the lifespan of my mom's folks, I have plus or minus 20 years. Basically, I'm realizing that I have no more time to waste. Time to grind until the end! I got to make this life of mine count. It's the only one I'll ever get.

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker. To learn more about her services as a speaker, visit

Monday, October 28, 2013

Inescapable Pieces of Me

My family and friends often tell me that they forget I'm blind. They tell me that their forgetfulness is a result of me being so "normal" and independent. When they say that to me, I suppose I'm expected to feel some level of gratitude that people see me, but don't see my blindness. In many situations that's what I actually prefer. But when it is time for you to help guide me around an obstacle or just guide me at all, I expect you to remember.

There have been a number of cases when family and friends have left me standing somewhere, not realizing that I am not with them until they've walked off and left me. They come back to me with a shameful laugh and this popular excuse. "I forget you can't see, girl."

Well, here's the truth. I never forget. It's branded into my brain. It's a world that I never get to escape.

No matter how well I'm dressed, how straight I can flatiron my hair, how perfect I can pain my gloss on my lips, How many college degrees I have, how great I am at taking care of my nieces, or how quickly I can type up a letter on my computer, I am blind. Yes, I am a highly functional blind woman, but still blind. And my blindness presents challenges that are real and inescapable.

Just this weekend, I had three accidents. I stumped my toe against my mother's walker and broke my toenail and split the skin. I walked into a car door that my niece left open after getting out of the car. That accident resulted in me having a swollen, busted lip. And I stepped in our puppy's wet oops in the hallway. That accident was probably the most aggravating of the three. (I'm not a lover of stepping in urine, even a cute puppy's.)

Perhaps I’m glad that people see me for me. But it really is okay if the person you see me as is a blind woman. I wouldn’t want anyone to forget that I’m black or a woman. All of these characteristics lend to who I am. They make up the fabric of this person you and I know as Angela L. Braden. Don’t forget about the pieces that make me. Embrace all of them and love the whole package.

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker. You can learn more about her speaking at

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Prom Night 1992 -- Not!

Last Saturday night, while riding home from a family outing, we passed by a group of kids, all dressed up in their beautiful homecoming dance attire. Jasmine, my 10-year-old niece marveled at how beautiful some of the girls looked in their flattering dresses, sparkling jewelry, and designer shoes.

"Is it prom night, Ann??"
"No, I'm sure it's a homecoming dance tonight. This is homecoming season."

Then the questions started rolling in like an avalanche.

"What's homecoming?"
“What grade do you have to be to go to a homecoming dance?”
"Did you go to your homecoming dance?"
"Why not?"
"Did you go the prom?"
"Why didn't you go to prom?"

Always striving to be honest with my nieces and nephew, I offered answers that were easy enough for her to absorb. She's not a baby anymore. So, I now could include details that would go flying over her head just a few years ago.

"I didn't go to the prom because I was depressed about losing my sight."
"At least you were alive."
"You're right. I didn't think about that then."
“So, you should’ve gone.”

I felt it wasn't really appropriate to tell my niece that I really wished I was dead at the time and my prom or nothing else really mattered to me. She probably was not ready for that bit of truth.

I explained to Jasmine that I had just lost all of my sight a few months before. I told her that I honestly felt like my life couldn't get any worse. She asked what did that have to do with going to the prom.

“Maybe if you went to the prom, you would’ve felt happier.”

Now, that I look back on it, my niece is probably right. Going to the prom probably would’ve been fun. If nothing else, I would’ve enjoyed dressing up in a beautiful dress. I would’ve gotten a chance to enjoy the company of the beautiful, kind man that wanted to take me to my prom. (I say “man” because he was 19 or 20 at the time.) I would have a better story to tell my niece about my prom than I do now.

Oh, well… Can’t hit the reset button. And I dare not do something corny like try to recreate my prom night twenty years later. I just have to scratch that experience up as a loss. What I will do is make a commitment to do something even more fun than a prom. Perhaps when I turn 40 next year, I’ll fly to a vacation spot, dress up in a sparkly dress and have a fun night on the town with a beautiful, kind man. I wonder what my rejected prom date is doing now. LOL

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker. You can learn more about her speaking at

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I can't do Arsenio again.

While I really really enjoyed Arsenio Hall in the 90's, I just cannot do him again. I can't help feeling like I would be living in the past if I watch the new show. In fact, I think watching his show would be outright painful for me. Honestly, Arsenio was one of the few aspects of that time in my life that was pleasant. Most of the rest of my life was hellish, to say the least. I was losing my sight, living away from home against my will, living and putting up with people I didn't like and/or didn't like me, and losing my sight. (Oh, I said that already.)
So, as much as I would like to see his show succeed, I can't join in this party.
I wonder why I don't feel that way about the music of the 90's. I guess because music has and will always be a place of salvation in my life.

Good luck, Arsenio! Take back the night.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I am not her. She is not me. We are not the same. So, do not expect the same from us.
I am not every woman. I am Angela. And while Angela may be super bad in so many ways, I am just one woman. Not your mama, not your granny, Not your last woman, not your sister, not your daughter, not your 5th grade teacher, and not your first lady.
I am unapologetically me and only me.
I can perhaps do the work of five women, but don’t expect me to do that. Only expect the very best from this one woman. Asking me to be me, her, her, her, her, and her is unfair and unrealistic.
I am only me.
Take me and appreciate me for who I am.

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and a motivational speaker. To learn more about her speaking, visit

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

My Big Fat Revenge? Oh, really?

the Oxygen cable network premiered a new show this season, called "My Big Fat Revenge." When I heard about it, I immediately turned my nose up to the idea. It seems rather juvenile and petty for these "adults" to use public humiliation as an attempt to exact revenge on someone that offended them in the past.

Yes, being bullied, picked on, talked about, and left out are all quite hurtful. I know that very well. Not only have I had a weight issue since I was a teen, I'm disabled. I've heard all kind of blind jokes along the way. I've been left out of the "cool kids" club for pretty much all my life. But one thing I refuse to do is hold on to the hurt and pain of those experiences.

What good can come out of holding on to grudges? Let that stuff go!
That's the only way to achieve real healing.
Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker. You can learn more about her speaking at

Monday, October 07, 2013

Six Dots

Although I would stand on a mountain top and proclaim that every blind person needs to learn how to read and write braille, I must admit that I hardly ever use it. I truly can't recall the last time I ran my fingers over a word written in braille. Well, perhaps in an elevator or possibly on one of the alphabet cards I use to introduce blindness to the young audiences I speak to...

The truth is that I very seldom use braille in my personal life. I mostly use what I consider to be the smartest technology for the blind in the history of the world. I use screen-reading software on my computers, smart phones with speech, optical character recognition to scan print documents into print, and a digital book reader to read anything my heart desires.

So, why do I think that people who are blind should still learn braille?
Braille is the pathway to becoming and remaining literate. If all of this technology was to disappear, I would still know how to read and write without having to be plugged into a wall socket.

Furthermore, speech programs are all fine and good. But the truth is that if we do everything by audio, then that means a person that's blind is never getting a chance to see how a word is actually spelled. For instance, the word "poignant" is spelled quite differently than it sounds.

So, I'm making a commitment to order a braille book so I can brush up on my braille reading skills. I need to keep my fingers familiar with those six special dots.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Not Alone

I went to undergrad at University of North Texas in the early 90's. Even though it was thirty years beyond the time UNT was integrated, the African American presence was still small. I remember being glad when there was one or two more black students in a class with me. It was good feeling like you weren't alone.
Interestingly, I was always the only blind one in each of my classes at UNT. So, I still felt alone most of the time.
That feeling is still with me today when I sit in my graduate classes at Texas Southern University with a class full of black and brown students. I feel so set apart from all of them because of my sight impairment.
This is why I'm always glad when I talk to and/or read posts on Facebook from my counterparts in the blindness community. It's good to know I'm not out here by myself, trying to make it do what it do.
Even though we can't see, it's good to be seen, even by those that cannot see.

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and a motivational speaker. You can learn more about her speaking at

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

I'm sure I don't look like the 10-year-old girl I remember.

The last time I saw myself with perfect, undisturbed eye sight was when I was ten-years-old. Almost thirty years have passed and my once childlike features have melted and morphed into a mature, middle age woman. I try to imagine what I look like. And I even comfort myself with the idea that my imagination is likely a match with reality. But the truth is that I have no idea how all the way grown Angela looks like.

I was a cute kid. I think I may even be a cute woman. But that doesn't really mean I look the same. I could easily look totally different.

Last year, I visited a church in my neighborhood. A lady walked up to me and asked me if my name was Angela. I reluctantly admitted that she was right. I waited for her to tell me that she was one of my students from the college or possibly someone I once worked with. Instead, she told me that she and I lived on the same street when we were in elementary school.

How did she recognize me? I am thirty years older, a hundred pounds heavier, and 100% blinder.

Even with all of that, she told me I still look the same.

I supposed that is good. At least, what I remember seeing in the mirror almost thirty years ago is a younger version of what I look like now. I'll take her word for it.

Do you still look the same? Chime in!

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker. You can learn more about her speaking at

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Not the Average Girlfriend

It's one thing for a man to bring home a girl of a different race, an overweight girl, an unattractive girl, a girl with a bad attitude, a broke girl, or a spoiled girl. But when a man brings home a disabled girl, everybody is shocked and curious to why a good looking, smart, successful man would bring home a woman with a physical disability.

It's just not cool to have a girl that is disabled. How do you brag to your boys about that? How do you praise a handicapped girl to an overly protective mama?

Well, it can be done. It just takes a strong man. It requires that a man is selfless, open to differences, and reluctant to worry about what others may think of him and his choices for a lover.

Earlier this year, I had a brief romantic encounter with someone. He told his brothers and best friend about me. Well, two out of three of the people he disclosed to about "us" scolded him for messing around with a blind woman.

I'm not going to lie. I was a bit hurt and disappointed that these men got stuck on my blindness. It didn't matter that I have a nice job, a strong educational background, great personality, or even good looking. All that mattered to those men were these blind eyes of mine.

It's sad that some people cannot see me for me. Who's really the blind one in this equation?

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker. You can learn more about her speaking at

I'm taking the "Ultimate "blog Challenge" this month! Join me!!!

I'm always up for a challenge. So, when I heard about the chance to join a community of bloggers in their quest to post a blog entry every single day in the month of October, I quickly signed my name on the dotted line. I'm not going to pretend like this is going to be easy. Even at the height of my blogging, I never posted an entry more than three times a week. So, this challenge is a "real" challenge for me. But hey... I'm up for it.

Of course, I'll be writing about my many unique experiences as a blind woman. So, be on the lookout for my 31 posts. And no, this particular post is not going to be counted as today's post. I'm going to post the first post for the month later today.

I hope you have a fantastic day!!!!!!! And thank you for taking this blogging journey with me as I share my life and thoughts on NuVision for a NuDay.

Be well.

Angela L. Braden
Award Winning Blogger

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Little Helper

My four-year-old niece, Elyssa, is finally at the age she can be extremely helpful to me. She knows her colors and some of the alphabet. She helps guide me around obstacles. And she helps me find different things around the house that are lost in the world of an occasionally forgetful, sometimes disorganized blind woman.
I love the fact that she's so willing and eager to help her auntie. I pray that her experience with me will birth and enhance an abundance of compassion, empathy, and kindness.
Love you, babygirl. Thanks for helping your auntie.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Looking Back

In 2007, I was bullied by a former coworker. The incident caused me to experience fear, anxiety, stress, and a decrease in self confidence.
Despite how disturbed I was about the issue, I made a decision to use the experience to add to who I am rather to subtract. I didn't want this woman to succeed at taking me down a notch, just as she planned. I wiped my tears, stiffened my resolve, and determined myself to be the best employee in the office. Wen I left that job a year later, I had achieved 100% of my required goals.
That experience, along with other circumstances, helped me develop into an even stronger woman than I was in 2007. I thought I was tough then. Well, I'm fierce now.
That same woman that had the nerve to get in my face and seek to humiliate me would not want to try that today. The end result would certainly be different. I'll just say this... I certainly wouldn't be in tears, scared, and intimidated. I would match that woman's nastiness with a boldness to protect my personal peace and civil rights.
So, Ms. Lloyd, you didn't win. I'm better because of you.

Monday, September 02, 2013

My Random thoughts

As many of you know, I post my random thoughts about very specific things from time to time. Well, I'm inspired to open the window of my head and let you guys see what I'm thinking.

1. This morning, I'm sitting on the floor in my upstairs den, listening to the silence that hardly ever occurs at my house. It seems that the only time it is quiet around here is when the residents are sleep. And even then, I doubt if they are quiet. I'm sure that their dreams are filled with the noise and unrest they fill my house with when they are awake. I will be so glad when I can live alone again. I will be able to control the thermostat, the on and off button on the televisions, turn the ringers off on the phones when the spirit hits me, and walk around the house with or without clothes.
Am I a control freak? Perhaps... When it comes to the place I call home, I like to control certain aspects of it. Failure to control the noise level and conflicts makes me nervous. This is why I need to live alone or with someone that matches my temperament.

2. Last month, my aunt died. I cannot believe she's gone. Although she and I had what many, including myself, would call a terrible relationship, I will admit that I'm sad she's gone. Contrary to what she and perhaps others believed, I did love her. I didn't agree with how she did certain things, but I understood how she got to be and act the way she did. Again, I hate that she's gone.
I wish she was still here, enjoying the many hours of christian television she would watch daily. I wish she was still here to enjoy the warm colors she painted on the interior of her house earlier this year. I wish she was still here to go to church and enjoy her pastor and the church family. I wish she was still here to see my nephew and nieces grow up. I wish she was still here to watch Sunday's Best while she's on the phone with my mother.
In a few hours, I will be going to the house where my aunt lived to continue the process to clean it out. Each time I go, I am met with the sadness of knowing that with the exception of my mother, all of the residents of that house, are now gone; my grandparents and three of their daughters. My mother is the only one left. emptying the house seems like a betrayal to the memory of my family. and it is also a reminder that one day, and perhaps one day soon, my mother will join her parents and sisters.
Well, I guess I better stop with this random thought. It's making me quite sad.

3. I honestly desire to blog more, but much of what I would like to say is not what I would really like people to know. I guess I need to keep a private journal. Getting my thoughts outside of my head is quite therapeutic. However, sharing these thoughts with people that actually know me is outright crazy at best. I do need to find an outlet to unload. Perhaps one day, I'll be bold and put some of my "real" business out here for you guys to read. You know... It's like this... Even though I've been blogging here on NuVision for a NuDay for seven years, I'm quite careful what I put out here. I don't want my words to come back and strangle me in the future. So, many times, when I feel inspired to run to my blog and unleash, I hold back. this is the reason why my blogging has become less and less over the years.

4. I'm running a demo version of JAWS. It cuts off every 40 minutes. This is really getting on my nerves. It slows my progress down. I got to figure out a way to purchase the upgrade of JAWS. I'll let you guys know when that happens. My demo version is about to cut off now. **sighing**

5. I think I'm going to post again this week. Be on the lookout.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In Honor of my Sister, Frances--Sarcoma Awareness Month

This past Sunday, I was a guest on Real World-Real Talk on KTSU 90.9 FM, discussing Sarcoma Awareness. Here's a link to the show if you missed it. Although I think it would be a great idea for you to listen to the entire show, you can catch my segment around 16:05. Take a listen. And while you're at it, say a prayer for my sister, who is fighting this dreadful disease. **Love you, Frances!**

Monday, June 10, 2013

No more disabilities, please!

My mother asked me to take her walker in the house for her. Because it was too heavy for me to lift, I decided to push it in. I was running all off the sidewalk and into the bushes. I thought to myself that this blind girl bet not ever suffer any illness and injury that will cause me to have mobility issues. If I ever do, I will be in bad shape.
Tonight, I was reminded of when I broke my ankle my last semester in college. Walking with a cane and crutches was nearly impossible. I had to get sighted assistance to travel throughout the campus to get to my classes. That was a tough six weeks! I can't imagine a life of that.
God, help me get my health in check. I don't need any more disabilities!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Midnight Betrayal

Every since I was a teenager, the midnight hours were the time I felt the pressures of life lift. The stillness of the night would ignite my creativity, provoke relaxation, and prompt major introspection. But in the last few years, that's when all the pressures of my life seem to find me and weigh me down the most. My thoughts are marching and sometimes racing through my head. My creativity is stifled and disconnected. And sleep is... Well, I don't know what sleep is. Even when I do fall asleep, I'm accosted by my thoughts in the form of high activity dream schemes. I wonder what the cause of this flip flop is.

Part of the problem is my family. For some reason, my sister, who is staying with us because she's unemployed, does not sleep at night. She stays up and watches television all night. The sound of the television gets on my nerves. The voices from the television competes with the voices of the characters for the book and plays I'm writing. And not only does my sister stay up all night, my mother is also invading my late night hours. She stays up half the night, watching westerns or the sci-fi channel. She even decides to do housework at three o'clock in the morning.

I wish they would go to bed and leave me with that time to myself. They have truly taken away from why night time was so special to me. In the past, the night time hours were the time I would use to be by myself. I would often use that time to study, write, or read. I wouldn't even listen to music or watch television. I was glad enough to be with my thoughts or the power of creativity.

I got to figure out a way to get my night time hours back. Whether I’m using the night time for conscious relaxation, sessions of creativity, or blissful sleep doesn’t make any difference to me. I just need my friends, the moon and the stars, to romance me again.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Little Bit More Randomness from Yours Truly

Hello Readers!
Every now and then, I post some of my "random thoughts. Well, here's the latest edition of my random thoughts about very specific things."

1. I love, love, love the ABC hit show, Scandal!!!!!!!! I can't say that I've been this excited about watching television in a long time. I think that the show is awesome. It's full of smart drama, which keeps my brain happy. It's fast pace, which is very accommodating to my undiagnosed ADD. And it's dialogue heavy. The more wordy a show is, the more I can follow it. Action packed shows and movies are fine, but it's often too visual. So, that doesn't make for good television or movie watching for me.
I hear that certain networks are offering visual descriptions for a few hours of programming per week. I need to look into that. I think that may be cool!

2. I also love to watch murder mystery and/or true crime shows, like Snapped, 48 Hours, and Cold Case Files. My friend says that I'm a weirdo. He thinks I'm too caught up on shows and books that glorify murder. I think that I'm just a sucker for a good story. And the one thing I love about those shows is the narration. I don't have to wonder what's happening on the screen. The narrator tells the whole story, often describing the crime scene and even what the people looked like. I guess this is why I like to watch most documentaries. That reminds me... Other than my true crime shows, I haven't seen a good documentary lately. I need to go to Netflix and find one to watch. Any suggestions?

3. Trying to find a bedspread or any home decor, for that matter, is quite difficult when you can't see. I simply don't know what I like anymore. Well, I do know that I like nice stuff. I like items that are well made and beautiful. But what's beautiful to a blind person. Perhaps what others tell me is beautiful? But wait a minute... What's beautiful to one person is not beautiful to another. So, who do I believe? Now, do you understand why it's so hard for me to pick out a new comforter and pictures for my room?

4. Last week, I traveled inside one of the buildings at TSU with my cane. It was fun to be back in the saddle again. I don't get to use my cane that often these days. Working from home keeps me in the house most of the time. So, cane travel is not something I get a chance to do that often. I need to start getting out more. I don't want to lose my good cane skills or the little traveling confidence I have.

5. Last week, my aunt, who stays mad at me, told me that I was blind, stupid, and cursed." Well, she was right about one of those three things. So glad I don't believe everything people say to me or about me. Otherwise, I would be blind, stupid, and cursed for real!

Well, that's it for now.

Oh, before I sign off, I have one request. Spread the word about NuVision for a NuDay. Share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, and any social networking site you're on. The more the merrier!!!!!

Peace and light,
Angela Braden

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy 7th Anniversary to NuVision for a Nuday!

I'd like to thank all of the intentional readers and unintentional stragglers that visit my blog. You are the reason why I keep writing and posting! Again, thank you!

Dear NuVision,
It's been a fun ride for the last seven years. Forgive me for trying to cut you loose throughout our time together. You've been there for me when no one else would listen to my rambled thoughts, rants, memories, and emotional commentary. Sorry that I've underestimated your value in my life. Here's to another great year together!
Angela Braden

P.S. I won't forget you when my book comes out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Touched by a Reader of NuVision for a NuDay

"My name is Gabriel Campero and I'm a reader from Venezuela.
I visit your blog from time to time, and I always appreciate the courage and sincerity with which you share your life and thoughts.
Your posts have been moving and uplifting. In the highest sense of those words.
Please keep up posting, even if it is sporadic. You have a gift: the ability to touch others through your words.
I remember having read that you were working on your memoirs. I wish you much success in that project. I'm sure they will be a fantastic reading experience, which will be able to influence people.
Today I want to thank you for your words on this blog. At least in one opportunity, they have reached across the ocean, across the darkness, and given strength and optimism to a fellow human-being, in very different life conditions. I beg you, don't close the door for that possibility."

Thank you, Gabriel!!!!!!! You've inspired me to keep writing! Thanks for adding to my strength and optimism as it pertains to this task of sharing my voice on the web!
All the best to you!
Angela L. Braden

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I'm on my way!

I'm in the process of writing my first memoir. I've been on this journey for a couple years now. Starting and stopping as the spirit of faith or fear hits me. I've come to the conclusion that I need to write as if my life depends on it. I cannot allow fear, family medical problems, and even my personal health to distract me from achieving my publishing goals. I will be a published author!!!!!!! I declare it!

I've recently connected with a writing coach to help me access and utilize all the tools to construct a beautiful memoir. My writing coach, who is a New York Times' best selling author, actually gave me a good review of the first 15 pages of my manuscript. She gave me some constructive criticism that I absolutely needed to help me make definite improvements to my memoir. I'm hoping that at the end of the month, I can submit at least 100 pages of my manuscript to her for critical review and feedback.

I've also been researching literary agents that I believe will be a good fit for me. While I'm kind of afraid to be rejected by dozens of literary agents, I'm not going to allow my fear to paralyze my efforts to aquire agent representation this year. I'm resting in the idea that God will connect me with the person that I need to be connected with. It shall happen!

I'll keep you all posted as I carve out this specific block of my life into my first published memoir.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Taking Care of Me

It's been so easy to shove my health to the side as I've cared for others. I'm now having to correct what I've neglected over the years. Even now, I'm tempted to shuffle my list of priorities and move me down a few rungs. But I'm forcing myself to think of myself, to consider myself, to love myself, to care for myself, to restore myself, to nourish myself, and to protect myself.
Where do you fall on your list of priorities?
"Loveth thine self as you loveth others." Braden 1:1

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Glaucoma, Blindness, Doctors, and Angie

Earlier this week, I had an eye exam by an ophthalmologist that was completely unfamiliar with the extensive history of my infamous eye condition. I was very pleased that this particular physician didn't rush through my visit, just because I have one totally blind eye and one fake eye. Even though I informed her that the effort to save my eyesight ended twenty years ago, she still took the time to carefully examine my eye as if “preventative treatment” was even a possibility.
For about ten to fifteen minutes, she thoroughly examined the exterior, interior, and back of my eye to make sure that additional diseases hadn't set up shop in my already battered eye. I appreciate her patience and commitment to comprehensive care.

I’m very glad that my Glaucoma seems to be in remission, if you will. However, I do find it interesting that my Glaucoma seems to be well behaved now that all of my sight is gone. I haven’t had a drop of Glaucoma medication in over ten years. When I was being pillaged and assaulted by Glaucoma in the 80’s and 90’s, I couldn’t get enough medicine or have enough surgeries. It almost seems like it was fate for me to be blinded by Glaucoma.

During my eye exam, I gave the doctor a quick synopsis of how, why, and when I lost all my sight. It’s a story I tell often, being that people always want to know “what happened” to me. I’ve learned how to give a painless, well packaged run down of my thirty year story in about three minutes. However, when I get a chance to tell my story to someone that understands ophthalmologic conditions and treatments, I’m all too eager to share the gritty details. And usually, the ophthalmologic professional is all too eager to listen. It’s a story that is unglamorous, but incredible in so many ways.

After I finished telling my story, I engaged in a little name dropping. I told her that I was once a patient of Dr. Ronald Gross, one of the rock stars in the field of Glaucoma care. As I expected, she perked up even more and started singing her praises of Dr. Gross. She told me how he has saved the sight of so many. “Too bad I wasn’t one of those many people he helped save their sight.” I thought.

The truth is that Dr. Gross did everything he possibly could to try to save my sight. He tried new medication, groundbreaking surgical techniques, and even allowed us to pray for him before operating on my eyes. But despite his best efforts, I still lost all of my sight. I don’t blame him though. As I aforementioned, it almost seems that Glaucoma was supposed to win. Dr. Gross was just on the losing team when it came to this particular patient.

Although Dr. Gross didn’t succeed at saving my sight, he did save my life. He joined the ranks of individuals that ignited a fire in me to overcome the perils of blindness. He took an interest in the whole me, and not just in my eyes. He always asked me about school. And he always told me I can be anything I wanted to be. I believed him. And I even loved him very much. He was indeed my doctor, but he was also a source of compassion and strength.

My new ophthalmologist informed me that Dr. Gross is leaving Houston and moving to West Virginia. I did a Google search tonight and found the press release that discusses his new opportunity.

Reading that press release swept me back to 1987 when Dr. Gross first started working for Baylor as the new Glaucoma specialist. My former doctor had committed suicide and left a stable of patients that needed immediate medical treatment. I was one of them. So, Dr. Gross got to work on my very sick eyes right after taking the new position. I was only 13-years-old. I didn’t even know that my former doctor had committed suicide. I only knew he had died. The staff at the clinic and my parents thought I was too young and fragile to learn of the real reason my doctor was dead. I’m not sure if Dr. Gross was in on the secret. I do know, however, that he was all too aware of the challenges associated with my eye diseases. And he bravely accepted the challenge to try to help me.

Dr. Gross took care of me for nearly fifteen years. The only reason I stopped seeing Dr. Gross was because of insurance changes. If I could, I would still be in his chair, allowing him to look in the eyes that were there when he started his career at Baylor.

I loved him when I was a kid. And as creepy as it may seem to some, I love him now. I sincerely wish him the very best.

Next week, I’m going to find out when and if he’s left Houston already. I think it is only appropriate that I send him a going away/congratulations/appreciation gift. He is truly a historical figure in the life pages of Angela Braden.

Good luck, Dr. Gross!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

New Chapter?

This has been my home on the web since March of 2006. When I started this blog, my voice was incredibly unique.
there were hardly any bloggers that provided random stragglers on the web a look into their personal life. So, whenever I got tired and/or bored with my blog, I pushed myself to keep writing. I wanted to do whatever I could to lend my voice to a population of people that needed to be heard.
Now, there are hundreds of blogs that provide thousands a chance to read about their daily triumphs, struggles, joys, and disappointments with disability. Some disability bloggers enjoy great traffic and constant feedback from readers. yay for them!
Lately, I honestly do not feel the burden to maintain this blog like I did a few years ago. I feel that there are others to hold up the light; and many of them can do it a lot better and more consistently than me.
Furthermore, because I'm taking so much time working on other goals, it's very difficult for me to make this blog a priority. So, I've really been considering letting this boat float out here in the waters of the world wide web, unmanned, but still with direction.
I know I've thrown this arrow out here a few times, only to continue posting on NuVision for a NuDay. However, this time, I'm going to make a final decision if this month will be my last month posting on this blog. When I make my decision, I will let you all know. Sounds fair?
Until then, be well and prosperous.
Angela L. Braden

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This morning, I spent ten minutes, trying to convince the appointment desk at Kelsey Seybold that I qualify for a visit with an ophthalmologist rather than an optometrist. Their response… Well, you need to see an optometrist too be evaluated for glasses or contacts. My response… Sir, contacts and glasses will not help me. Their response… Well, ophthalmologists see patients with eye diseases that require future visits with an actual eye doctor. My response… Sir, I do have chronic eye diseases. I have Glaucoma and Uveitis. And I’ve had it for 30 years. And my eye diseases have not been nice to me over the years.
Result… I still have to be seen by optometrist first, being that I haven’t been to the eye doctor at Kelsey Seybold in a few years. That appointment will determine if said eye diseases are still present and chronic. While I think that’s a waste of my time, I guess I have to go with the flow.
Last comment from the appointment guy… Be sure to arrive 15 minutes early. And bring your glasses or contact lens to the appointment.
My silent response… Yeah, I’ll make sure I bring my fake eye to the appointment.
My audible response… Thanks…

I'll post an update on the 1st of February to tell you guys about my routine eye exam, that I am sure will not be so routine when the first level eye doc looks into the one eye I have left, only to see a completely damaged optic nerve, a swollen cornea, and scarred tissue. Again, this visit will be a waste of my time and $35 copay.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


Nearly two decades ago, I dreamt that twenty-year-old Angela came face to face with a variant of herself that was ten years younger. The interaction was awkward, but loving in a strange way. The two Angela’s were obviously the same, but so unfamiliar with each other. Contained in the ten years that stood between the identical, but unidentical pair were experience with loss, disappointment, separation from loved ones, fear, grief, illness, and unimaginable challenges.

The younger version of the two quietly exhibited innocence. Seemingly, she was untouched by hardship and quite capable of trusting. Her skin was dewy and smooth, free of blemishes, and absent of any real signs of aging. Her brown eyes were soft, beautiful, and hopeful. Her wavy, dark brown hair was pulled in two ponytails that dangled on each side of her round face.

The older version had a girlish, yet pensive expression that rested on her face. She still looked young, but she definitely possessed the twists and curves of a blossoming flower. Her skin was clean, clear, but not as new as the young child. Her wavy, dark brown hair was pulled in a unassuming bun on the back of her head. Her brown eyes had seen so much and had not seen enough. She almost appeared to be sad and snagged with covert Sinicism. But when she noticed herself, the younger version of herself, the sadness on her face melted and was replaced with unexpected awareness and sincere compassion.

The younger of the two obviously didn’t know what was waiting for her down the road. However, the mature replica was all too aware of the challenges that were waiting on the young child. Self love inspired the older girl to wish that she could save the young child of what seemed to be their shared destiny. But because it was indeed destiny, there was little the oldest girl could do to ward off the inevitable.

The younger child seemed to be aware that the future version of herself knew something she didn’t know. She seemed to understand that the older girl could not betray their destiny by attempting to reveal a truth that she probably wouldn’t understand or would not even be prepared to cope with. It was clear that the younger girl desired to trust her older self. So, she did.

The two versions of one girl, took each other hands and locked their resolve to love, trust, and add to each other’s worth. Envy, misunderstanding, and deceit would not live between them. Instead, love, understanding, and strength would bind them together. And together to two girls would triumph over what was to come for both of them.

Today, I think of that dream. Both versions of my earlier self are both so far away from me. I wish I could reach back and protect both of them. I wish I could hold and comfort them. I wish I could even be them from time to time. And then, I realized that I am them. While I cannot protect them, I can hold and comfort them. And they can hold and comfort me. All three of us are partners in this journey that has become my life. And each of us adds to the encompassing value of Ms. Angela Braden.

It’s wonderful to be loved, trusted, admired, and comforted by others. It’s even more fantastic to be loved trusted, admired, and comforted by oneself.

All rights belong to the author of this piece: Angela L. Braden