Okay, so it’s November and I know that a popular trend on social media is to state what you’re thankful for each day during the month of November. I decided that this year I’d play along, but with a little bit of a twist. All my posts are going to focus on something I’m thankful for related to blindness. This past year, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and often put a lot of pressure on myself and feel like I’m very inadequate. Blindness plays a big part of this because I feel like it often presents a lot of extra challenges. Sometimes simple tasks seem to take two and three times longer because of various reasons—namely tasks related to transportation and technology; and my brain feels like it’s often on overload with logistical Olympics. I also am very guilty of comparing my weaknesses to others’ strengths. I don’t mean to say I’m resentful or bitter; rather, just that I feel like I can’t keep up with it all sometimes. To counteract some of my negative thinking, I’m trying to focus on my blessings. So, with that, I’m going to use my blog as my platform for posting my daily doses of gratitude. Here goes.
Day 1: I’m thankful for kind neighbors who gave us rides to/from K’s school today so that we could enjoy her costume parade. We can walk to her school, but it takes about 20 minutes, so this is a nice luxury. I’m also grateful to these same neighbors for rides to/from our neighborhood Halloween party which was several blocks away. My Darth Vader husband appreciated not having to walk so far in his bulky, hot costume too. Bottom line, I’m just grateful for great neighbors. So many of them have become good friends of ours. We jokingly call it “our village”, but it’s true. It’s nice to be able to raise our family in that kind of environment and be able to rely on each other for help sometimes.
Day 2: I’m grateful for good health, the ability to walk, a durable double stroller, and very nice weather! I clocked about four miles today between taking J.J. to/from preschool (it’s about a half mile walk to his school, and I have to take him and then go back and get him after, so about 2 miles each preschool day),, and then walking to K’s school (about a mile away, so two miles round trip and 20 minutes each way to walk) for her “Race for Education” fundraiser. It ended up taking a big chunk of time since I was walking with the stroller, but we were able to get where we needed to go and do what we needed to do. I was a bit more tired than usual by the end of the day, but thankfully, we’re all a little used to these kind of big walks, though normally not all on the same day. The fall weather here has been gorgeous which also was a great blessing—not to have to walk in the rain or lug car seats with a ride because of inclement walking weather. I might have even got a bit of a sunburn! I’m also grateful to my patient little boys for whom these long walks in the stroller are not always so fun. It gives us a lot of time to chat though, sing songs, and play games as we try to pass the time.
Day 3: I’m grateful for this new app called Seeing AI from Microsoft. It’s a free app, but I’d totally pay for it as it’s worth it. In a nut shell, it can scan and read documents but the thing I like most is its “short text” feature. Within seconds of opening the app, I can hold my phone camera over a document and it will start reading it to me. It’s been so helpful in reading notes my kids bring home from school, mail, flyers, handouts, and homework. Last night I used it along with a magnifier app (Big Magnify) to give K her spelling test and check her homework. It was nice to be able to do it on the spot right at the kitchen table where she was working and not have to haul everything down stairs to my office to try and read it on the CCTV, or even save the pages to read when I have a reader available. I think I may end up writing an entire post dedicated to the other ways I’ve used this app and how it may be helpful to others.