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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

IMG_2836A bronze locket is just a shimmering piece of metal in the same way that a white cane is just a long plastic stick.  Neither of them hold any meaning.  Unless you attach it.

The story of my locket begins in a silent monastery in Kentucky, amid rolling hills, Trappist monks, and the clinking of ice water carried steadily on a tray, almost a year ago. Continue reading