Amy Bovaird – a discussion about mobility

~ Meet my Guest Blogger Amy Bovaird, author of Mobility Matters ~

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Fielding a Discussion about Mobility…

with Real Vision-impaired People

 

I took a deep breath and looked around me. It was as if I were seeing their faces through a couple of uneven layers of Vaseline ointment.  But I could feel a solid hardwood table in front of me with my fingertips and I tapped it to reassure myself that I ‘had’ this. I knew my face was likely a blur to those around me as well. The participants were going through vocational rehabilitation, and, in most cases, that included orientation and mobility training. All had varying degrees of vision loss.

My book, Mobility Matters, had opened up the opportunity to open up a valuable dialog with them to gauge their interest and the direction of our talk.

“Okay, God. Lead me. I introduced myself then jumped in on our topic. “

Some of you are here because you’ve lost more vision and you need more mobility training.  Others will be taking it for the first time. For those of you with experience, what were the top three obstacles you overcame in order to be successful with your cane?”

The group was silent. Then an older woman slapped the table and exclaimed, “Fear, fear and more fear!” She paused and a barrage of ideas followed. “I had to keep trying. It was scary but the end result was more independence.” She leaned forward. “Friends, keep thinking of what you will gain from the practice. If you really want, you can go anywhere. I am 58, overweight, losing my hearing, have no useable sight in my right eye and not much in my left.”

I nodded. “That fear is there on so many levels.”

Encouraged, she went on. “This isn’t during training but following up on my own. I don’t always want to be in the background. I want to live my life! So I decided to go to an amusement and water park. Took my cane and my one and two year-old grandsons. Scary? Yes! Worth it? Absolutely!” She let out a sigh. “I’m hoping to be able to catch them down the little water slide, take them on all water slides and enjoy summer. Crowds are a challenge but as you gain confidence by doing it, it’s amazing how the seas of people part.”

“That’s for sure!” I said.

She went on, breathless. “Be prepared for the unexpected. I fell a couple of times in my training. It hurt. I healed and kept trying—sometimes with tears. And that’s okay. That’s how we grow. It’s not the same and never will be. But mobility gives you a whole world to explore. Have fun and don’t give up”

I felt like clapping. “Bravo,” I said.

A man across the table clenched his hands. “Why are you here if you already know how to use a cane?”

The grandma didn’t take offense. “I recently lost more vision and need more training.”

“My biggest obstacle is mental. I don’t want to use a cane. I don’t mind being guided though. I can still see when the stop lights change. I still have a fair amount of vision left so I’m comfortable crossing streets…”

He reminded me of myself. It’s hard at that stage, with just enough loss to complicate things.

A woman near the end of the table cleared her throat. “Crossing streets. I always wanted to question my instructor, ‘Are there stop signs, stop lights, is it a two-way crossing or a one-way?’ She shuddered. “Malls, grocery stores. Anywhere crowded. Being trained with blindfolds was very scary.”

A slender young man turned to my direction. “Do you mean physical obstacles as when you are traveling along?”

“Sure, anything that stands out in your mind.”

He rubbed his chin and slowly said, “The top three obstacles would probably be navigating through huge fields or lawns where you don’t have a lot of feedback from the tap of your cane, really cluttered streets with narrow sidewalks—lamp poles, trash cans, parked bikes everywhere—”

I nodded encouragingly, “I heard you were in Nepal recently. Go on, John.”

“Really, the biggest obstacles were and are … it’s the questions. People asking me several times a day about my vision, how my going blind went down. It wears on a person. The cane has actually liberated me but it brings natural attention and even feelings of pity from others at times That said, for every instance of pity, there are thumbs up of encouragement.”

“Right,” I said. “Anyone else?”

“Stairs. Crowds are tough. Anxiety is raised a few notches in crowds for me,” a tall thin man, who spoke quietly, kept his eyes fixed on the table. I had to listen carefully to hear him.

“Water fountains. They muffle the noise and I can’t hear what I need to in order to know which direction to go.”

“Amy,” interjected a woman who looked to be in her forties and sat on the far end of the table, “I’m Debbie. What they’re saying echoes what I feel so much. For me, first obstacle: misplaced embarrassment. There’s another word. Self-consciousness probably best describes the feeling. Another obstacle is ‘coming out.’ Major hurdle. Had two dreaded lessons, actually. Think perseverance. That’s the word that got me through it.”

I thought that was a good place for me to jump in and start my talk.

I stood up and raised my voice. “Mobility Matters is about coming to terms with my vision loss after twenty-five years of denial. Like you, I can relate to having to face all these same obstacles. But the biggest and the hardest to overcome was this: picking up a cane meant I had to cross that gaping stretch from being sighted and independent to blind and dependent.

I didn’t understand that blindness was a continuum with many having some sight and not a scale with sighted on one side and blind on the other. That was a huge barrier for me. Then when I finally took that step, I felt like a ‘fake blind’ person because I still had sight. It took me a long time to internalize that my cane was helping others realize I had a vision problem and I didn’t have to wish away the sight I had out of ‘misplaced shame.’ And it took me awhile to learn that my cane brought independence. Plus, my mobility specialist was blind himself. One hundred percent. Trust was an issue for me.”

I knew I had their attention. “Yep, completely blind. Trusting him happened gradually. It seemed like God’s sense of humor to me—sending a blind man to teach me to get around. I had to get past silly prejudices I didn’t even know I had.”

I didn’t want to get off on another tangent so I quickly changed focus. “Like all of you, crowds threw me. One day in my training in the city, I found a block party going on and an enormous motorbike rally with 8,000 riders in my path. Yeah, what an adventure!”

“How did you do it?” John asked, his voice filled with a mixture of curiosity and awe.

Thank you, God, for opening this door. “There was a scripture from the Bible that helped me. It was from Psalms 23. ‘Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.’ So every time I took a step in my training, I imagined myself stepping out in faith and God protecting me.”

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ANNOUNCEMENT:The Kindle version of Amy’s memoir is available today for .99. Grab your copy to find out how God worked in her life to move her forward in faith and insight.

The Kindle version of Amy’s memoir is available today for .99. Grab your copy to find out how God worked in her life to move her forward in faith and insight.

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BIO

Amy Bovaird is an author, an inspirational speaker,  and an educator. Although Amy suffers from a dual disability—progressive vision and hearing loss—she continues to enjoy running, hiking and traveling. She also volunteers with local and national animal rescue organizations. Amy blogs about the challenges she faces as she loses more vision. But more importantly, she shares the lessons God reveals to her through her difficulties. You can read about her experiences at amybovaird.com

Amazon * Website * Author Facebook Page

Little Step #3: Choose Better Words

Part 3 – Little Steps at the Beginning of the Journey

Part 3 of 7-Part Series

CHOOSE BETTER WORDS – Eliminate Feeble Words

Discover the Past

Recover the Present

Revise the Future

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In my previous article, Little Steps #2, I spoke of my personal  challenge to STOP speaking words of  criticism, complaint, and gossip.  It is an ongoing challenge – much more difficult to do this than I could have imagined.

 In today’s article, I introduce you to  Little Steps #3 when I move on to discuss HOW we can develop our words more carefully and change them from negative or weak words, into powerful, life altering words. If you are a writer this Little Step might be what you need to think about in developing your work. This Little Step is a good one for anyone, in any profession.

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I created  2 lists and tacked them on the wall beside my computer. I need to look at these 2 lists often to remind myself to use more powerful and direct words.  I use my 2 lists to edit my writing. Create your own lists and check them often until you get in the habit of looking for the words that are weak and feeble in your writing.

List #1:  Passive Words – they give a feeling of uncertainty  to your writing.  You want to be direct and certain, not wishy-washy.  Go through your writing draft  and change the passive voice  into strong active voice.

Eliminate:  was; were; are; is; have been

List #2: Feeble phrases and words to eliminate from your writing:

Eliminate: amazing; awesome; actually; really; very; things; it; quite; got;

perhaps; maybe; literally; stuff; in my opinion; incidentally

Review your writing, then get out your blue pencil or hit the delete button on every word from this list. Replace those “busy work” and “filler” words with powerful clear words that make your piece strong.

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This link will take you to a good page to read on Active and Passive Voice in your writing:

http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-active-and-passive-voice.html

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When you CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY, a better choice of words  enables  you to speak and write better.  You will feel like a WINNER!

The next time you feel the words, “I can’t because…” coming up in your mouth, switch  it to “I will figure out how to do…!”

When you say “I can’t” you’re  telling yourself, or others,  “I won’t.”  In Little Step #2, we decided “NO MORE EXCUSES for YOU – Change your words – change your mind. Recognize feeble words and self-defeating excuses.  Just don’t say those words anymore! You can do it.  Be a GOLDEN APPLE in a SETTING of SILVER.

I love this verse from Proverbs 25:11 (ESV)

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

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Written and published by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright, 2015. Al Rights Reserved.

~ Our spirit whispers to us – listen for the message!  ~

Little Step #2 – No More Excuses for YOU!

 Little Step # 2 – No More Excuses!

Part 2 of 7-part series

 

DISCOVER – RECOVER – REVISE

 

~ When June whispers, “Take responsibility for your life!” ~

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 OK, so you have been making a ton of excuses about why your life is not what you want it to be!

Yes, I can just hear you now – complaining about all the things you don’t like, even the weather! And, along with that, we get caught up in passing along a tidbit of gossip, and we criticize others as well as our self. Isn’t it time to take control of all this, turn it around, and make the CHANGE  in our life that will be meaningful not only to ourselves, our families, and the world we live in?

Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

Are you ready to stop the complaining? Gossiping? Criticizing?  Ready to begin taking the next step in the direction to change all that?

An easy thing to do? Oh, gosh, it sure is not easy. Right now, I have completed  the book “A Complaint Free World,” and you can find out more about this movement by going to the website:  www.AComplaintFreeWorld.org

I joined the challenge – and I am wearing the PURPLE BRACELET every day.  Every time I find myself uttering words  that are complaints, gossip or criticism, I have to move the bracelet to the other arm. The goal is to have 21 complaint free days in a row  – the bracelet must  stay in place on one arm for 21 days! That is the number of days it takes to begin a new habit.  I will tell you the average person takes 4 to 8 months to achieve this goal. After a month, I have had only TWO complaint free days in a row.  But I am determined to live a complaint free life and I will keep on going with this challenge  no matter how long it takes.  I purchased 10 of the bracelets because I knew it would take me quite awhile to change my speech patterns! You will be surprised at how many times you utter words or comments that are not complimentary, critical, or even gossip once you begin this challenge for chang.

It takes 21 days to form a  NEW HABIT –

It’s a kind of unease, deep down inside of you. You will feel some  disappointments in yourself  and even a longing for change.  You begin to realize it’s in your hands to make this change. Only you can learn to get your tongue under control.

June is the perfect month to consider the elimination of your excuses  – Ask yourself, What has kept me from experiencing a satisfying life. Let’s make June as a time of NEW BEGINNINGS!

To Begin:

Think about what you personally CAN  do and take action.  Write DOWN what you WILL  do.  Put little reminders all around your house – write your INTENTIONS on sticky notes, and put them where you will see them all the time.  Keep them in the forefront of your mind. If you are visually impaired, as I am, a reminder like my purple bracelet keeps me on target.  I reach over and touch it, move it around, and remember my goal to stay positive today.  Learning to keep silent is difficult. Learning to use wisdom and grace instead of quickly stating your own opinion on a matter is something we all can learn to do.  But we have to stay focused on our intention to be complaint free all the time.

Ask yourself what you WILL do, and then listen for the response. Learn to be quiet and listen to your spirit.

Don’t worry; it won’t be something beyond your capabilities!

The CHANGES you MAKE  will be little steps that come when you learn to remain quiet and have a sense of waiting on God for your leading throughout each day.

See where  YOUR LITTLE STEPS  take you.

I can promise you, your journey to be complaint-free  will be just perfect FOR YOU

and YOUR  personal talents and passions in life. 

You may like to read:  A Complaint Free World by Will Bowen.

This challenge  is an eye-opener when you actually begin to make the changes. – well, lets just say, it is quite revealing.  Will you join ME in making life changes  in your world? If you do, let me know how it’s going for you. We can keep each other encouraged as we CHANGE our WORLD. No More Excuses for Us !

Proverbs 13:3 English Standard Version (ESV)

Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
    he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”

It is because the words we speak are creative – the words  create our future and the conditions of our present. We become what we say and we receive what we created by our speech. Guard your mouth because it is a matter of living an abundant life or a life of constant drama, struggles, and disappointments.  For me, the purple  bracelet challenge is a little step in the BEST direction for my life. How about you?

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You can visit Little Steps #1 by clicking on:  https://llambert363.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/you-can-move-on-and-april-is-the-perfect-time-to-do-it-join-me-on-this-first-little-step-of-our-lifes-purpose-and-journey-to-wholeness/