Just a quick post to share the happy news that I was awarded a first place scholarship from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Washington State.

Photo Description: Marci Carpenter, President of NFBW and Jenelle Landgraf posing for a picture at the Evening Banquet.

Last weekend I attended the NFB’s state convention in Olympia, WA.  I was invited to attend as a scholarship finalist after applying for the scholarship program in early fall.  It was exciting to meet the other scholarship finalist, Jennifer Rotz, who is pursuing a degree in Education and hopes to teach at the Washington State School for the Blind.  I was instantly impressed by Jennifer’s resilient spirit and passion for teaching children.

I also enjoyed meeting a variety of other professionals at the convention, people who embody the NFB’s message of, “blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can have the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.”

There is so much more I’d like to share about the convention, but this grad student needs to get back to studying!

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One year ago today, Roja and I graduated as a team from Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, CA, and life hasn’t been the same since. In addition to getting Roja, this past year has been full of both amazing and difficult changes. From moving across the country and being apart from dear family and friends to growing in confidence as a mom, writer and teacher, Roja has been a constant companion who shows unconditional love (and licks!). Continue reading

BAM! Blindness Awareness Month is coming to a close, and we have a hot topic to discuss.  

Joy and I used to think we were the only ones who tried to keep our vision loss a secret growing up and even into adulthood.  Then we started this blog, and we heard from so many people with similar stories of trying to hide the fact that they couldn’t see.  And then we read Not Fade Away and Now I See You, and discovered still more stories of cover-ups, secrecy, and shame over vision loss.  

While it was comforting to learn that we were not alone in choosing to hide our vision loss, it also made us wonder…How many people have tried to hide their low vision at some point in their lives? And why?

Just to be clear, we’re not condoning hiding vision loss, nor are we condemning it.  We’re exploring the reasons behind it.   Continue reading

BAM! Not only is October Blindness Awareness Month, but it is also Disability Awareness Month.  Below is a post written by Susan, author of Adventures in Low Vision, who kindly agreed to let us share this brilliant post on our blog this month.  

I was playing with my cat as a kid still in single digits on the kitchen floor. Twenty minutes passed. He decided he wanted to play elsewhere. The orange tabby was not quite fast enough. I scooped him up, looked at his face and called him a silly bastard.

Mom heard me. She was quick to admonish me by asking, “Do you know what that means?” I bet my ears turned red. My embarrassment grew when, as parents do, she gave the word’s definition. I stopped calling the cat a bastard.

Words have meaning. Handicapped. Crippled. The R word. Blind. Visually impaired. A person with a disability. Where do words and phrases like these come from?  Check out the etymology of handicapped and see if you still want to refer to people with disabilities as handicapped. Continue reading

View and share “DoubleVisionBlog Fight Song” Video on Facebook

Hi DoubleVisionBlog friends! I’ve been secretly working on this video for the past month as a surprise for Jenelle. Happy Blindness Awareness Month!

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In honor of Blindness Awareness month this October, Joy shares her journey of shame, vulnerability and courage. With both humor and insight, Joy and her twin sister, Jenelle, share their stories of life with RP at doublevisionblog.com. Continue reading

IMG_8346-2You know how some days can just fly by, to the point where you can’t even figure out what you did? And then there are those other days, those 24-hour periods that are so thick with events that it seems several months have passed overnight. I’ve experienced this during a weekend of silence at a Trappist monastery, and on several short-term mission trips over the years, and today, at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, CA, during my first day of training. Continue reading

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Growing up, we were the best of friends.

Joy: Except for that time, in utero, when she sat on my head for nine months, and then made me wait four laborious minutes while she made her grand entrance into the world.

Jenelle: Or that time when we were 18 months old and she sunk her teeth into my arm after I stole her stuffed bunny.

Joy: Or that time when we were eight, and she poured a glass of milk over my head at the dinner table.

Jenelle: Or that time when we were nine, and she signed my dad’s Father’s Day card, “Love, Joy. p.s. not stinky Jenelle.”

Joy: Or all those times as teenagers when she chased me around the house trying to whip me with a wet bath towel, while I ran away, chanting “Violent lady! Violent lady!” Continue reading

Tip #5:  Talk About Blindness in Positive Ways in Everyday Conversation

Your child’s blindness doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room, even if your child struggles to talk about it.  I think it’s possible to help normalize a tough topic when you find ways to bring it into casual conversation.  While you don’t want your child’s eyes to be the thing you’re constantly talking about and obsessing over, you also don’t want it to be the thing you never bring up.

Continue reading