Hi there!  Joy is finally letting me, Roja the guide dog, speak for myself!  Joy brought me to school for the first time last week, twice!  Last Thursday, I showed off my skills in Mrs. Cardiff’s class at Nicholson Elementary in Montgomery, IL, and I’d like to give a special shout-out to those 3rd graders because they were awesome!  Every time Joy asked a question, those kids’ hands went up, and after they answered, Joy let them pet me!  And some of them even got to feed me a treat!  I sat there with my harness on, acting all calm and chill, but inside I was like “WOO HOO!  SCHOOL ROCKS! I LOVE KIDS AND TREATS AND DROOLING!!!”  Don’t worry, though, I totally played cool, and besides a bit of drool, I’m pretty sure I convinced those kids that I’m the most gentle, obedient dog ever!

Then the next day, I got to go to my very own family member, Lucy’s, 4th grade class in Naperville, IL.  Her teacher, Mrs. Fawell, was so nice, and the kids huddled around me, asking all sorts of interesting questions about me.  I just got to sit and enjoy the attention, as shown in the picture below.  Joy did most of the talking…boy can she yap…blah blah blah blah blah…but I got to show off my guide dog work when the kids made an aisle for me to guide Joy down, complete with a chair obstacle and all!  I’m not trying to brag, but I was pretty much the bomb-diggity guide dog of the year, and those kids loved me!  They stared at me and petted me and applauded for me.  But don’t worry — again, I played the cool card and didn’t get all crazy, even when Joy took off my harness and played tug with me.  I did wag my tail, but that was only because I wanted all the kids to know I was happy to meet them!  Thanks, children!  I can’t wait for my next adventure!
FullSizeRender 5

I’m so excited to introduce you to our friend, Jen.  She has been reading our blog for awhile now, and we’ve been chatting about our lives as young moms with RP for a couple years.  We are also part of the same online community of visually impaired women on Facebook, called Room With a View, and Jen is always posting the most thought-provoking questions, like the one she shares here today. It’s one I wish I’d read back when I was teaching and constantly afraid I’d lose my job because of my vision.  I know Jen’s post will be an encouragement for many out there in the workplace!   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

FullSizeRender 2

I hadn’t set foot in my high school since 1997, when I graduated (eeks, I feel ancient typing this!)  That is, until 2 weeks ago when I heard they were putting on the play, “The Miracle Worker”.  My 3rd-grader had read all about Helen Keller last year in 2nd grade, and she was fascinated with the story of Helen and her teacher, Annie, so my mother-in-law and I decided to take her and my niece to see it. I had also heard that there would be a blind actress in the play, making it even more authentic, and piquing my curiosity. Continue reading

Being misunderstood is something we really don’t like as humans, especially if we are of the people-pleasing variety.

Beginning in middle school and continuing through college and into adulthood, I have heard comments such as, “I waved to you but you walked right by me”, “you totally dissed me”, “Why don’t you ever say hi to me when I pass by?” and so on.

Some of my most embarrassing/humiliating/humbling moments include scenarios surrounding these phrases. These moments include missing high-fives, not acknowledging someone i’ve known for awhile, calling a long-time friend by the wrong name when I first see them, and failing to shake people’s hands. And these are just the scenarios I am aware of, and many times because other people have told me about my faux pas after-the-fact. I am sure there are countless other incidents that I am unaware of. Continue reading