The Promoter – November 2016
Table of Contents
- Greetings from the Preshrefen#t
- Note from the Editor
- Welcome New NDAB Members
- Thank You
- NDAB Summer Camp 2016
- NDAB Membership Renewal Time Again!
- Donations and Memorials
- Land of 10,000 Dreams
- T-Shirts for Sale
- Candy’s Corner
- Child in a Strange Country
- Minot Lions to Celebrate their 90th Anniversary with a Blowout Fundraiser!
- Amazon Smile
- Recipe Round-Up
- Dining In the Dark
- Help by Phone
- L’Oréal Brazil – audio makeup guhrefe #for blind people
- Learn Tech
- Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 2017
- Legislative Report Fall 2016
- Inspirational Story
- Schedule of Audio Described Shows at Theater B located in Fargo
- This blind Apple engineer is transforming the tech world at only 22
- May You Be Known By Your Love
Fall is here! I love the cool nights and warm days. Falling leaves signal the end of the growing season. We’ll soon be spending less time outdoors. Instead of mowing lawns, fishing and weeding your flower bed, you might find yourself attending more meetings. Many organizations take a summer break and start with a renewed interest in the fall. We are NDAB members and many of us are active members of other organizations as well. With that in mind, I would like to share something with you.
As we were going through my mom’s belongings, we found a clipping that shocked us! My mother was a busy farm wife and mother so she was selective of the organizations to which she chose to belong. They had to support her values and more importantly they needed to “do” something that made a positive effect in her life and community. I hope you are as shocked at the following statements as I was!
Ten Ways to Kill an Organization
1. Don’t attend meetings.
2. If you do attend a meeting, get there late.
3. Constantly find fault with the officers and other members.
4. Never accept an office or committee appointment.
5. Don’t bother about getting new members.
6. Take all the assistance the organization gives, but don’t give it any in return.
7. Delay paying your dues as long as possible.
8. Agree with everything in a meeting, then disagree with everything afterwards.
9. Ignore communications from your organization.
10. Always suspect the worst, never the best.
Did the negative comments get your attention? Are you guilty of any of them? If we are totally honest, we probably have to admit that we have done at least one of these “organization killers.”
Let’s do some fall housecleaning and get rid of our “bad member” habits. Doing the opposite will not only benefit the organizations we belong to but we will undoubtedly feel better about ourselves as well.
Thanks, Mom, for the reminder of what not to do if we truly care about ourselves and our organizations.
Our positive personal involvement in NDAB will help fulfill the following purpose from our Constitution : B. To encourage and assist persons who are blind or visually impaired, especially those with recent sight loss, to develop their abilities and potentialities so that they can assume their rightful role in the community.
The North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind provides many services that assist persons who are blind or visually impaired. I would like to draw your attention to a couple of them.
NDVS/SB has a newsletter, Reaching Out. I read it recently and was very interested in several of the articles. If you already receive the newsletter, you undoubtedly share my excitement about this publication. If you have never read an issue, I encourage you to check it out by clicking on one of these links: PDF: http://www.ndvisionservices.com/newsletter/fall2016.pdf
My copy of the newsletter comes by email. To request to be put on the email list to receive the newsletter, call Ryan Torgerson at 701-795-2714. If you don’t have a computer, you may request a printed copy of the newsletter from Ryan as well.
I also wanted to let you know about the Teletherapy Service available to you through NDVS/SB. For more information, be sure to read “Help by Phone” located elsewhere in this Promoter.
We appreciate the NDVS/SB staff for all they do to develop our abilities and potentialities so we can assume a positive role in our communities.
It’s the time of year for giving thanks and I especially want to thank all of you for your friendship and for being great NDAB members!
December 11 – Next Board Meeting
January 22-26 – Ski for Light
Can you believe that this will be the last issue of the Promoter for 2016? Everyone who has submitted articles for the newsletter wonders the same…where did summer go!
This is the 4th issue discussing the possibility of reducing the number of print copies of the Promoter. If you currently receive a braille copy of the Promoter, you will continue to receive this from Grand Forks. If you have been receiving the Promoter on cartridge or have recently requested a change from print to cartridge, you will continue to get the Promoter in this format from the ND State Library. For those of you receiving the newsletter in print and do not have an email address, you will continue to receive a print copy from me. According to my current membership list, there are still a few members who have email addresses who originally requested the Promoter in print format. If you are a member who is receiving this newsletter via email and still really like to have a print copy, please send me a message requesting that at email@example.com. Thanks to those of you who have contacted me.
The following quote is a good reminder for us:
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thanks to Karlyn Frantsen for sending this quote:
Worry sees the problem but faith sees the God who can handle the problem. ~Author unknown
Loris Van Berkom shared this one:
“If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. If you look to God, you will be at rest.” ~Corrie Ten Boom
I enjoy getting quotes and articles from you. Please continue to send them. Until we meet again in 2017, I wish for each of you an awesome autumn and a blessed Thanksgiving, a beautiful Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year!
We have a long list of new members to welcome in this issue of the Promoter.
From Minot: Carolyn Probst, Gloria P. Chavez, Sherry Jensen and Michael, Polly and Trevor (junior member) Klemp
Darrel Johnson of Burlington
From Bismarck: Paul and Mary Verlinde, Susan Olson and Susan Hammer-Schneider
Shirley Tomlinson of Moorhead, MN
Cindy VanWell of Lisbon
From Gresham, Oregon: Tammy Winn and James Swartz
Ryan Torgerson of Manvel
Robert Marx of Dickinson
Debra Viel of Rapid City, SD
The family of Deloris Stenvold, our beloved Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother, would like to thank all her NDAB friends for the love and support shown to us and for the generosity in celebration of her life. NDAB was a huge part of Mom’s life and she had such good times with all of you throughout the years through meetings, gatherings, trips, telephone calls, Camp Grassick, and so much more.
The following poem says what we feel in our hearts to all of Mom’s family and friends:
Perhaps you sent a lovely card,
Or sat quietly in a chair.
Perhaps you sent those beautiful flowers,
That we saw sitting there.
Perhaps you spoke the kindest words,
As any friend could say.
Perhaps you were not there at all,
Just thought of us that day.
Whatever you did to console our hearts,
We thank you so much for whatever part.
We miss her smile, her laughter, her warmth, her goodness, her talkativeness, her fun and giving spirit, her strength, her sweetness, her love of life….. Mike, Tom, Shirley, Joanne and Joe
Submitted by Loris Van Berkom & Rick Feldman, Co-Camp Directors
The 46th annual NDAB Summer Camp was held August 7-14 at the Elks Camp Grassick. Campers totaling 24 and the staff of 22 made up the 46 in attendance. We welcomed three new campers and one new instructor. The new campers were Eugenie Lang from Bismarck, Dawn Freemont from Max and Nick Pavel from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Since Nick was from out of state, he paid for his room and board as directed in our camp guidelines. Angie Kokott was a first time instructor. We missed those staff and campers who were unable to attend due to health issues, work Schedules or family commitments.
The weather was pleasant most of the week. We survived three thunder storms, two of them during the night and one during the banquet. For the most part, most of us were inside and kept dry.
The classes and instructors were as follows: Lawn Chair Macramé – David McCloud and Tom Capes, Caning – Mike Hoeppner, Basket Weaving – Paula Anundson and Dave Sundeen, Handicrafts – Helen Baumgartner, Machine Knitting – Kathy Larson and Karlyn Frantsen, Round Loom Knitting – Whitney Engbrecht and Nancy Kracl, New Camper 101 – Janelle Olson and Mark Kueffler, ND History, Legislative Issues and Eye Diseases, Treatments and Research – Allan Peterson, Leisure Activities – Becky Monroe, Bread Basics – Zelda Gebhard, Spanish Language and Braille – Lexee Steffan, Laughter and Joy, Yoga and Strike Up the Band – Janelle Olson, Personalized Technology – Nancy Kracl, Ukulele – Angie Kokott, Simply Blue – Mark Kueffler, Walking and Chair Exercise – Susan Jorgenson, Orientation and Mobility – Becky Monroe, Life Guard – Dan Mimnaugh, Nurse – Kathy Johnson, Co-Directors – Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman. Dianne Giessinger helped Helen with handicrafts and Susan Jorgenson and Becky Monroe helped with several classes where ever they were needed. Becky had an informal water aerobics class in the lake during open swimming.
The evenings were filled with activities. Sunday night began with our traditional receiving line Followed by a guessing game when an unknown fact was revealed about each person. Rick hosted the Monday night trivia contest as Jenny popped and served us popcorn. Each member on the winning team received a large glass filled with items needed for a Masquerade Ball including a mask, crown or tiara, a bottle of fake champagne (sparkling water), assorted candy and beads. On Tuesday night, Helen hosted Blackjack in the Dining Hall and Becky called bingo in Cabin #7. Wednesday night was filled with the casino night gift exchange followed by a hayride sponsored by Dan and an audio described movie shown in the Rec Hall. Thursday evening began with a great talent show hosted by Mark Kueffler and ended with a pizza party in the Dining Hall. “Masquerade Ball,” the Friday night banquet theme, planned by Lexee Steffan, Morgan VanWell and Whitney Engbrecht, shared the history of masquerade balls and talked about how we all wear a mask to hide our true selves. Missy Miller and Helen Baumgartner spoke about how they can remove their mask in certain situations to reveal themselves to others. We dined on a delicious salad, chicken Alfredo, green beans and bread sticks followed by angel food cake with strawberries and whipped topping. At the end of the banquet, we were all urged to take off our masks and be ourselves. The Jim Geiger Band rounded out the night with great dancing and listening melodies. Auctioneer Rich Fadness from Bismarck along with other NDAB members conducted our Saturday night auction where we took in $5,945.00.
We invite guests to visit on Wednesday from vision related agencies. We were pleased to welcome two visitors from North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind, Paul Olson and Ryan Torgerson. Susan Olson, Vision Rehab Specialist and Susan Hammer-Schneider, manager of the Talking Book Library, both from Bismarck visited for the first time.
Sunday morning devotions, planned by Rom Thielman, preceded a great breakfast of biscuits, sausage and gravy. Our final good-bye’s via our receiving line brought closure to our week.
There are so many thanks to extend after such a successful week because it takes the entire group working together to make it happen! Thanks to all of the instructors who spend many hours before camp begins preparing and then working diligently all week. Thanks to all of the campers who faithfully attend the classes and contribute their personalities into the mix. Thanks to David McCloud for ringing the 7:00 AM bell as Janelle serenades us with coronet melodies, to Janelle for leading the flag raising, to Mary Stip and Dawn Freemont for holding the dining hall doors open as we went in and out for each meal and evening activity, to Nancy for sharing readings each morning, to the NDAB Concert & Marching Band for sharing musical talents as they marched parade style up and down the hill, to Eric Rooke from the Williston High School Band for the donation of a lighter weight tuba, to Clown Missy and Parade Marshall Dan who added to the parade festivities, to Denise Kirsch for lining up people to lead the table grace for each meal, to Zelda and her Bread Basics students for all of the delicious bread they shared for meals and donated for the auction, to Rom Thielman for leading devotions Sunday morning and to all those who hosted the evening activities. Thanks to everyone who faithfully worked hard setting up and tearing down for all of the activities. Thanks to Kathy Johnson and Donna Hepper and their set-up crew for the auction, to Rich and all who helped conducting the auction and to everyone else who helped with the auction with their time, talent and money. A special thanks to Dan for so efficiently and graciously hosting us at the Elks Camp Grassick and to the cooks and kitchen staff for providing such scrumptious meals and snacks along with such great service!
We closed our camp session with the following reading. We want to share it with all of you.
Then fly, my friend! By Bob Perks ”So why did you climb all the way up here to begin with?” asked the spider. ”My world was so limited down there. I wanted to see what I was missing,” replied the caterpillar. ”And now all you want to do is go back down?” ”Yes, I do.” ”I’ve been down there,” said the spider. “I was just there yesterday. You see, all I need to do is float down on my web.” ”That’s why life is so unfair,” said the caterpillar. “Some of us have so much more than others. It took me so long to get way up here. Then I was disappointed. When I was down there I had choices to make. I could go wherever I wanted and eat so many things. Up here in this tree, there is nowhere to go and these leaves all taste the same. I just want to get out of here.” ”Well, head back down the tree,” said the spider. ”No, it took so long to get here my life cycle is nearly over. The life of a caterpillar is so short. I would never make it back down in time to enjoy life again,” said the caterpillar. And so it is with many of us. We always want more but never sure exactly what “more” is. But we know more is never enough. ”So what will you do, my friend?” asked the spider. ”I don’t know. I just want to crawl under that leaf and die,” said the caterpillar. ”I can’t believe you have that attitude! You have so much to offer the world, so much more you can become,” said the spider. “You think that you have wasted all of this time searching for answers. I believe that all of this was necessary for you to become all you were created to be. Everything you desire you possess already. Look inside. For there lies all that you need.” ”Look at me! I have too many feet, you can’t tell which end is which and my color is boring. What good am I?” sighed the caterpillar. “I am tired, my friend. Please go about your business and leave me alone.” The caterpillar crawled off and curled up inside a big leaf near the end of a nearby branch. His friend the spider felt so sorry for him as he watched the caterpillar close himself off from the world. Every day the spider would return in hope that his friend would reawaken. He would stand next to him and whisper “There is more to you than you know.” Then one day after repairing his web, the spider returned to visit his friend. He was shocked. The leaf he had curled up in was wide open. He was gone. The spider was sad. “I have lost my friend. I did all I could…” ”Spider, look up here. It’s me, the caterpillar. You were right!” Looking up toward the bright morning sun the spider saw the silhouette of two huge, colorful wings flapping gently in the breeze. ”Look at me! Look at what I have become!” shouted the caterpillar. “I am a magnificent butterfly! I can go anywhere I want now. Down there and back up here to you, my friend.” ”I told you. I kept saying there was more to you than you know!” ”The answers were inside. You were right. I wanted so much to get somewhere, but I didn’t know where to go or how to get there. But when I stopped, in all my frustration, I discovered I did indeed have all that I needed to become more than I was already.” said the butterfly. ”So fly my friend. Fly!” said the spider. And he slowly lowered himself with his thread from the tall tree as his old friend fluttered around him. The moral to this story? Sometimes the answers to your problems simply require you to stop where you are, turn over a new leaf and discover all that you possess inside. Then fly, my friend. Fly!
Can you believe it? It’s that time of year again! Your form for your 2017 NDAB membership renewal will be mailed the end of December. Dues of $15 ($3 for junior members) must be sent to our treasurer Helen Baumgartner by February 1st. If you have not gotten your form by January 5th, please contact me at (701) 839-4138, or E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Stip, Membership Chair
For the past three months, NDAB has received the following donations and memorials:
Total donations – $25
Randy and Judy Hanson; Kevin and Tracey Lawson; and Elaine Swanson in memory of Deloris Stenvold.
Total memorials – $60
Total donations and memorials: $85
Submitted by Loris Van Berkom
The 55th Annual National Conference and Convention of the American Council of the Blind was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 1-9, 2016. Fourteen NDAB members attended all or part of the sessions. The hotel staff and other volunteers were always present, ready to assist whenever needed.
President Kim Charlson gave her president’s report during the July 3, Sunday evening general session followed by many introductions of various award winners. Roll call ended the evening after 11:00 p.m.
The morning sessions for the next four days were filled with reports, presentations and guest speakers. July 4th began with the singing of our national anthem followed later in the morning by three very interesting presenters. Kirk Adams, the new president and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind was very impressive with his progressive attitude and forward thinking. Charles Mossop, from Canada, president of the World Blind Union spoke about independence related to how much we with sight loss have won but how much more independence we need to strive to attain. We must have advocacy without anger but with assertiveness, correction without criticism but with conviction and persistence without pressure but with patience. A most notable quote from him was “Rights are needs that are enshrined in law.” The NLS Director updated us on what is happening with the Talking Book Program in regard to pushing for refreshable braille e-readers for persons who request braille materials rather than audio. Within a few days after this convention adjourned, Congress passed legislation to authorize NLS to begin moving towards this option. This means that braille e-readers will be loaned to library users just as digital players are loaned to patrons who prefer Talking Books.
Throughout the week, we heard updates regarding quiet cars, audio description, rehabilitation services, national advocacy and legislation, and pedestrian safety. The new president and CEO of the American Printing House for the Blind, Craig Meador, shared some new ideas and possible changes ahead. I was very interested in the panel discussion “Braille Development and Policy Issues.” For the time being, both Unified English Braille Math Code and Nemeth Math Code are both being used and there appears to be a power struggle as to which code will be most widely accepted in the future.
I always look forward to hearing from the NLS Talking Book Narrator. Martha Harmon-Pardee shared some stories about her twenty-five years of narrating. Before reading an excerpt from one of her favorite authors, she told a story about starting to record a book when she was pregnant. She went back to finish the book a few weeks after her baby was born and in order to make her voice sound the same, she had to stuff a pillow under her shirt which pushed on her rib cage to capture the same voice tones.
All day Friday was committed to business matters including election of officers and resolutions and constitutional issues. It was adjourned by 4:00.
Janelle and I attended four very interesting and educational sessions that all dealt with living healthy sponsored by BPI. They included Yoga ACB’s, Breathing for Healing, Nutritional Therapy and One Touch Self Defense.
We spent several hours in the exhibit hall visiting with vendors and discovering what new innovative products are available. E-Sight is a wearable device that gives people with Macular Degeneration close to normal vision again. I purchased a talking thermostat which will replace my Honeywell thermostat and allow me to actually set a designated temperature in my house rather than just guessing. The sixth edition bar code scanner reads bar codes and also gives nutria facts and directions for food items. Be Specular is a free app similar to Tap Tap See that is connected to volunteers who will describe or answer your question about a picture that you take on your phone. Blind Alive sells a variety of audio exercise programs produced primarily for people who are blind.
I experienced my first audio described theater performance when I attended South Pacific at the Guthrie Theater. The Guthrie Theater is a relatively new building and has four stages. South Pacific was in the largest one on the fourth floor. Before the performance, we sat right by the stage and had an opportunity to touch some of the props used during the play. I was rather disappointed that our seats for the performance were up quite high so I couldn’t see anything happening on the stage but the describer did an excellent job of describing all of the action when there wasn’t any dialogue.
Attending this national convention is very educational and a great experience. You have the opportunity to learn about what is happening on the national level, be introduced to all of the latest technology and meet people from all over the United States. Thank you to NDAB for allowing me to represent you!
NDAB promotional t-shirts are still available!! Sizes available are S-3XL. Cost is $15.00. Contact Allan Peterson to get yours!
In this issue of The Promoter I want to let you know about a product I’ve just learned about that may be of interest to many of you. I myself have not tried it yet, so I am not recommending it, but just saying that it looks intriguing and that some of you may find it useful. It is called the Amazon Echo, and here are some of its features:
*Plays all your music from Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
*Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
*Allows hands-free convenience with voice-control
*Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
*Answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
*Controls lights, switches, and thermostats with compatible WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Insteon, Nest, and ecobee smart home devices
*Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino’s, and more
There is also a smaller version called the Amazon Echo Dot Second Generation, which is about one-third the price, and which will become available on October 20. It offers many of the same features of the larger, more expensive Amazon Echo. To learn more go to www.amazon.com<http://www.amazon.com>
The Amazon Echo Dot Second Generation costs $44.95, and the regular Amazon Echo costs $180.
American Printing House for the Blind presents the traveling exhibit…
Child in a Strange Country: Helen Keller and the History of Education for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
What would you do if everyone believed you could not learn?
“Child” is a fully accessible traveling exhibit designed for small museums, library galleries, and blindness agencies.
In 1891, teacher Anne Sullivan described her famous student, Helen Keller, a young Alabama girl left blind and deaf by disease.
“For the first two years of her intellectual life she was like a child in a strange country,” wrote Sullivan, realizing that for her student, no learning was possible until she could overcome the communication barrier posed by blindness and deafness.
This was made possible by educational tools developed since the late eighteenth century, beginning with the invention of the tactile book in 1786 in Paris, France. Valentin Haüy’s book featured raised letters, and proved that blind people could learn to read. Louis Braille’s dot code, introduced in 1829, allowed students to both read and write.
“Child in a Strange Country” explores four primary subjects: Reading, Science, Math, and Geography. Using Helen Keller’s educational journey as a lens, the exhibit uses tactile reproductions and authentic artifacts to uncover the roots of modern education for children with vision loss.
Visit the traveling exhibit at the Museum at the Hjemkomst Center
202 1st Ave N, Moorhead, MN 56560
Exhibit ends on October 31, 2016
*For individual or group tours, contact Markus Krueger, Programming Director 218-299-5511 or email
Markus Krueger <email@example.com>
*For accessibility or accommodations for people with disabilities, contact Sherry Shirek, Accessibility Services Consultant 701-781-3055 or email
Certified American Sign Language Interpreters available for all exhibits and events upon request
Minot and area Lions Clubs will hold a chili and cornbread feed on Saturday, November 12th at 11:00 a.m. along with a live auction conducted by auctioneer John Bearman at 1 p.m. The event will take place at the Minot Armory.
The Lions Clubs are hosting this fundraiser for flood victims. About 50,000 homes were damaged in the Baton Rouge flood and about 100,000 people have applied for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance. Numerous areas have been impacted by flooding and natural disasters. All funds raised will be sent to Lions Club International for disbursement.
Items for the auction are being accepted immediately. For more information call Gary Price at 721-9560 or 839-6036. Monetary donations are also being accepted. Checks can be sent to Minot Lions, c/o Cal-Dak Cabinets, 2410 30th Avenue NW, Minot, ND 58703.
We are asking all Lions Clubs Statewide and Minot and surrounding community members to join us in celebrating our 90th Anniversary with a blowout fundraiser, making a difference in the lives of those who have been impacted.
Did you know that there is a simple and easy way to donate to NDAB? When you order from Amazon simply go to amazonsmile.com where you will be asked to register. During registration you will be asked to choose a charity that you would like to donate to. Simply choose NDAB and proceed with your order. It’s that easy!
A portion of your order will be donated to the organization. Thank you for your continued support!
Submitted by Brenda Bruins
No Bake Cereal Cookies
4½ cups rice crispies
½ cups corn flakes
3¼ cups quick oat meal
½ cup coconut
½ cup butter, cubed
1-16oz. pkg. mini marshmallows
¼ cup honey
½ cup M&M minis
¼ cup raisins
Grease 15×10” pan. Mix rice crispies, oats, corn flakes and coconut. Melt butter, marshmallows, stir in honey. Pour over cereal mixture. Stir until evenly coated. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in M&Ms. and raisins. Press into pan. Let stand 30 minutes before cutting into bars.
Pecan Pie Bars
2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
Mix like pie crust and press into 9×13” pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350º
1 tsp. vanilla
1-6oz. pkg. butter brickle chips
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1 cup chopped pecans
Pour over crust. Bake 25 minutes at 350º or until lightly brown.
Keep in fridge.
By Janelle F. Olson, Chairperson
By the time you are reading this article, the first “Dining in the Dark” experience in partnership with the Minot Lions and NDAB will be history! As I am writing this, the final preparation for the event to be held in Minot on the evening of Thursday, October 13th at the Elevation Restaurant is being made. The Lions have planned for eighty guests at this event.
The Minot Lions have been busy selling the $60.00 tickets for the five course amazing meal. From the Shrimp Norma to the Deep Fried Banana Foster over ice cream with caramel rum sauce, diners will be eating under blindfolds with the guidance of one or two NDAB Staff at each of the ten tables.
There is no question that at the end of the night, we will all leave with full bellies, but it is also my hope that when diners push away from the table, each will be taking with them information about NDAB as a source of information and help to anyone in ND who is experiencing sight loss. The message we will be sharing is not one of pity and despair, but one of great promise and possibilities through the use of technology, services and connecting with one another for those of us who can’t remove that blindfold as we go on our way.
Stay tuned and…Bon Appétit!
Would you like to talk to someone? Whether you are new to vision loss or if you have been on that road for some time, it may be helpful to talk to someone about the challenges you face because of sight loss and how they make you feel.
There is a free and confidential service available to you through the North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind (NDVS/SB). “We know that people need support at many times during their life because of changing circumstances,” said Paul Olson, Superintendent of the NDVS/SB in his email to me asking me to pass this information on to you.
A note of introduction and invitation:
Hello! My name is Nicki and I offer teletherapy services to individuals who would like to speak with someone about adjusting to vision loss. I’m a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of North Dakota supervised by licensed psychologist, Dr. Joe Miller. Dr. Miller is visually impaired. Please call me at 701-795-2729 or 1-800-421-1181 if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to talk.
Nicki Haverstock, B.A.
Clinical Psychology Graduate Student
Department of Psychology
University of North Dakota
For more information or to set up a time to talk, please call Nicki at the numbers listed above.
L’Oréal Brazil has created a makeup course for its Maybelline New York brand to teach visually impaired women how to use its products.
The American Foundation for the Blind is pleased to announce Learn Tech, a technology access initiative that features free online tutorials to help people who are blind or visually impaired learn how to improve their computer and technology skills. The tutorials can be accessed at www.afb.org/learntech. The newest tutorial offering for Learn Tech is a 10-part series on Using Google Docs and Google Drive with NVDA. Google Docs is a free, web-based application in which documents can be created, edited, and stored online. Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service that allows users to store files in the cloud, and share files with people who are working on the same project. NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access) is a free screen reader for people who are blind or visually impaired. When these tools are used together, computer users who are blind or visually impaired are able to use the computer for work or school without any additional, expensive software. These tools also allow for easy project collaboration with others at school or in the workplace, leveling the playing field. Also available from Learn Tech are the previously released Learn NVDA free video tutorials that describe how to use the NVDA free and fully featured screen reader. Additional tutorials will be added to Learn Tech over time. To learn more, or to share information with people who may be interested in using the tutorials, go to www.afb.org/learntech. Users are encouraged to provide feedback on the tutorials and other training topics of interest in the feedback links. Learn Tech tutorials were made possible with support from the Lions Club International Foundation, the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, and the Consumer Technology Association Foundation. AFB is pleased to partner with these organizations to support technology literacy. Together, we are working to create a more accessible, inclusive world for people with vision loss.
It’s time to start thinking about signing up for the 37th annual Black Hills Regional Ski for Light event! It is an excellent opportunity to experience downhill, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The dates for this year’s event are January 22-26th. The banquet will take place Thursday evening and hotel check-out Friday morning January 27th. If you would like to visit with a yearly participant about the event, you are encouraged to contact Dave Sundeen at 701-847-3139.
In previous years, a bus has been chartered to the annual event and we would like to do so again this year. We would like to send out a special thank-you to Judy’s Leisure Tours for arranging for the charter bus for departure from various communities in North Dakota. The bus will depart for South Dakota on Sunday January 22nd and return on Friday the 27th. It is an excellent opportunity to sit back, relax, visit, sleep and leave the driving to an expert. There is room for participants, volunteers and space to store your luggage. Sign-up early to reserve a seat on the bus; tickets for the bus will cost $15 round-trip and part of the $15 will be used to ensure a reservation on the bus. Make your non-refundable check or money order payable to: North Dakota Association of the Blind. Please write Ski for Light in the memo line on your check and mail to Helen Baumgartner, Treasurer, NDAB, 402 12th Ave NW, Mandan, ND 58554.
Black Hills Regional Ski for Light has e-mailed or mailed out applications for the event. The cost for the event for one week is $200. This includes five nights lodging based upon double occupancy, four lunch meals, one evening meal and a banquet ticket. The $200 also covers all equipment rentals. Please note that Black Hills Regional Ski for Light may be providing partial scholarships for those who qualify for financial need. To obtain an application for a scholarship please contact Tracy Perdue at 605-341-3626.
All scholarships must be approved by the Ski for Light board. Please note that in order to receive a scholarship you must be willing to share a room with another Ski for Light participant. The application deadline for this year is November 30th. All applications will be processed on a first-come first-serve basis, so you are encouraged to get your application in as soon as possible. If you wish to receive a Ski for Light application you can contact Tracy Perdue at the number listed above or you can fill out an online application at www.bhsfl.org.
Amy Osvold, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, will be the contact for participants in western North Dakota. She can be reached by calling 701-857-7634 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Pam Haus, NDVS/SB Rehab Teacher, will be the contact for participants in eastern North Dakota. She can be reached by calling 701-795-2719 or emailing email@example.com. They can provide assistance with applications, raffle tickets, bus transportation questions or any other questions regarding the event.
Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 2017 will be a great place to connect with old friends and give you the opportunity to make some new ones. We hope to see you there!
Ski for Light International 2017
Spread the Word!
The 42nd annual Ski for Light International Week will take place from Sunday February 5 through Sunday February 12, 2017 in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Participants will ski and stay at Snow Mountain Ranch, part of the YMCA of the Rockies, near Granby and Winter Park. Enjoy 100 kilometers of wide and wonderfully groomed Nordic trails right outside your door!
In addition to the unsurpassed ski conditions at SMR, Ski for Light is pleased to announce the debut of biathlon at the 2017 event. The origins of biathlon lie in Norse mythology when one god, Ullr, was revered as both the god of skiing and the god of hunting. Biathlon has evolved over time being embraced as both a military and civilian activity in Scandinavia. Contemporary biathlon remains popular in Norway, but is also enjoyed around the globe for recreation and competition. It became an official sport of the Winter Olympic Games in 1960, although women were not allowed to participate in Olympic biathlon until 1992. In recent years Biathlon has been adapted for participants who are blind utilizing a rifle outfitted with a system of lasers and auditory signaling. (Note from the editor: I had the good fortune to attend Ridderenet in Norway in 1992 and know the challenge and thrill of this unique sport.)
Ski for Light, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization founded in 1975. Each year Ski for Light conducts a week-long event where blind and mobility-impaired adults are taught the basics of cross-country skiing. The event attracts upwards of 300 participants and guides. During the Ski for Light week each disabled skier is paired for the entire week with an experienced, sighted, cross-country skier who acts as ski instructor and guide.
The visually- and mobility-impaired adults who attend each Ski for Light week come from all over the U.S. and from several foreign countries. Many come to Ski for Light with a desire to become more physically active and to find recreational opportunities that are lacking at home. Through the process of learning how to cross- country ski, most discover that they can accomplish much more than others have told them, and much more than they themselves believed. They leave Ski for Light with a sense of accomplishment and motivation that carries over to every aspect of their lives.
The volunteer guides who attend Ski for Light are a very special group of people. They pay the same event fees as disabled skiers in order to share a favorite activity with someone who may otherwise not have the opportunity to participate. Most guides discover that in the process of giving of themselves they are getting as much or more back in return. Many return to participate, year after year.
If you have never before attended what many have called the experience of a lifetime, please consider Ski for Light’s 2017 International Event. Additional information can be found at www.sfl.org. Visually impaired individuals interested in attending can also contact Visually Impaired Participant Application Coordinator Tim McCorcle at (206) 522-5850 or T_McCorcle@comcast.net. Mobility impaired individuals can contact Mobility Impaired Participant Application Coordinator Dianne Brunswick at (602) 504-3521 or DMBrunswick@gmail.com.
To be a guide, no experience with visually or mobility impaired people is necessary. Instructor/guides should be intermediate level classic cross-country skiers who are capable of safely managing their own speed and direction while at the same time communicating with their skiing partner. SFL holds an intensive one-day training session with seasoned skiers and guides. Prospective guides can contact Guide Coordinator Lars Johanson at (603) 653-5398 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The experience of a lifetime awaits you!
By Allan Peterson
When I wrote this article for the Promoter, prior to the 2014 general election, I referenced Ed Sullivan who said, “It’s a really big show” – he pronounced show as shue! Well, surprise, surprise, our upcoming election on November 8th will, no doubt, definitely be “a really big shue,” not that it hasn’t already met these criteria, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the top of their respective Republican and Democrat party tickets.
For better or worse your opinions excluded, the outcome of the election and the state budget issues will do much to determine what will or will not happen policy wise in our state and nation until the next election is held in 2018. Whatever the outcome, be assured that the need for our advocacy to promote policies that will help people with blindness and other disabilities to live more productive and fulfilled lives won’t go away anytime soon.
Above all else, please, please vote, it’s your right! Vote, whether you choose to use the accessible voting machines that are available at all polling sites in North Dakota, or vote with the aid of a trusted friend or family member, or vote using an absentee ballot – by all means be sure to vote!
REMEMBER, THAT IN ORDER TO VOTE, YOU NEED A VALID ND ID that has your current ADDRESS and date of birth. If you need more information about how to vote, go to the North Dakota Secretary of States Website email@example.com or contact your county auditor.
In this year’s nationwide general election that will be held on Tuesday, November 8, North Dakota voters will not only be voting for their choice for president, but will be also voting for our lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that’s currently held by U.S. Representative Kevin Kramer and the Senate seat that’s held by U.S. Senator John Hoeven.
There are also a number of significant statewide offices which are up for election on this year’s ballot. They include the office of Governor, Insurance Commissioner, State Auditor and Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, a six-year term on the Public Service Commission and two positions on the North Dakota Supreme Court. Except for the election for the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Supreme Court positions, all of these positions are ones that are identified with candidates which have a political party affiliation. With the lone exception of U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, the Republicans currently hold every statewide seat that has a political party affiliation.
On a more local level, our representation in North Dakota’s Legislature is divided into 47 separate state legislative districts. Each district has one senator who serves a four-year term in the State Senate and two representatives who serve four year terms in the North Dakota House of Representatives.
In this fall’s general election, one half of the State Legislative Districts will hold a race for a position in the State Legislature. In this year’s election it is the even numbered districts that have an election for the State Senate and House. In two years, it will be the odd numbered districts turn to have their races for positions in the State Legislature.
Given that a half of the seats in the State Legislature are up for election, control of the Legislature could potentially change hands, but historically, that would be quite unlikely. It’s a better chance that there will be some new legislators who will be elected. It’s my fervent hope that I personally might be one among this group of new legislators from ND State Legislative District 22.
This year’s election will also feature two constitutional and 3 initiated measures on the statewide ballot. You already have, and likely will hear much more in ads about the three initiated measures, but not so much about the constitutional measures. Briefly, a summary of the measures that will appear on the ballot are as follows:
Measure #1: This constitutional Measure was placed on the ballot by action of the 2015 North Dakota Legislative Assembly with the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4010. If approved, this constitutional measure would amend and reenact Section 5 of Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution; it would prohibit an individual from serving in the legislative assembly, unless the individual lives in the district from which he or she was selected. So, if approved, this measure would prohibit someone who lives outside of a district from serving and representing that district in the State legislature. Voting “YES” means you would approve the measure as summarized above. Voting “NO” means you reject the measure as summarized above.
Measure #2: This constitutional Measure was placed on the ballot by action of the 2015 North Dakota Legislative Assembly with the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4003. If approved, this constitutional measure would amend and reenact Section 24 of Article X of the North Dakota Constitution by depositing ten percent of the revenue from oil extraction taxes in the common schools trust fund and ten percent of the revenue in the foundation aid stabilization fund. Bottom line, if this measure is approved, ten percent of the oil extraction tax would be deposited in the common schools trust fund and ten percent of the revenue in the foundation aid stabilization fund. Voting “YES” means you would approve the measure as summarized above. Voting “NO” means you reject the measure as summarized above.
Measure #3: Measure No. 3 was placed on the ballot by petitions circulated by a sponsoring committee. If approved, it would add a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution which would provide certain rights to victims of crime in this state, including the right to be treated with respect, to be free from harassment, and to be protected from the accused. The measure would provide for the right to prevent the disclosure of confidential information about the victim; to refuse or limit questioning of the victim; to notice of, and presence at, court proceedings; and to notice of release or escape of the accused. The measure would provide for the right to be heard in court proceedings, to provide information about the impact of the offender’s conduct, and to receive reports relevant to these rights. The measure would provide for the right to restitution from an offender for losses suffered as a result of criminal conduct; to be informed of the outcome of the case and of the detention or other disposition of the offender; and to be informed of, and participate in, post-judgment processes. Bottom line, this is a victim’s rights measure, sometimes referred to as Marcy’s law. Voting “YES” means you would approve the measure as summarized above. Voting “NO” means you reject the measure as summarized above.
Initiated Statutory Constitutional Measure No. 4 It was placed on the ballot by petitions. If approved, it would provide for a new veterans’ tobacco tax trust fund in North Dakota Century Code to fund certain veterans’ programs. This fund, among others, would be supported by an increase in the excise tax on cigarettes from $0.44 to $2.20 per package of twenty cigarettes, as well as an increase in the excise tax on cigars from 28% to 56% of the wholesale purchase price at which the product is purchased by distributors. The excise tax on all other tobacco products is increased a commensurate amount. The measure also would create an inventory tax on cigarettes and tobacco products. All revenues received by the tax commissioner under this measure would be allocated among the State’s general fund, the veterans’ tobacco trust fund, and the community health trust fund. The measure would create and amend provisions in Chapter 57-36, including new definitions for inhalation devices, liquid nicotine, and tobacco products; prohibiting retailers from being distributors and requiring distributors to keep additional records; setting requirements for registration of liquid nicotine retailers; and regulating the alteration of liquid nicotine. Voting “YES” means you would approve the measure as summarized above. Voting “NO” means you reject the measure as summarized above.
Measure #5: Is an Initiated Statutory Measure placed on the ballot by petitions circulated by a sponsoring committee. If approved, this initiated measure would add a new chapter to Title 19 of the North Dakota Century Code creating an Act which provides for the medical use of marijuana for defined medical conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma, and epilepsy. To participate in the program, the Act would provide for identification cards and certificates of registration which would be issued by the Department of Health for patients, caregivers, and qualified facilities, if all requirements are met. The Act would create provisions for monitoring, inventorying, dispensing, cultivating and growing marijuana to be regulated and enforced by the Department of Health. A qualified patient could be dispensed up to three ounces of usable marijuana, and could grow marijuana if his or her home is located more than forty miles from the nearest registered facility. For violations, the Act would authorize the Department of Health to provide for corrective action, suspension, revocation, appeal, hearings, and referral for criminal prosecution. The Act would require the Department of Health to submit an annual report to the legislature regarding program statistics. Voting “YES” means you approve the measure as summarized above. Voting “NO” means you reject the measure as summarized above.
In each of your local districts, the ballot also likely will include races for such offices as County Commissioner, District Judge, County Sheriff, School Board members, etc. These races are also extremely important because these individual offices have a lot to say on how your local areas will be governed. So study the ballot before going to the polls so that you are an educated voter – it’s your right.
The next phase on the political agenda, after elections are over, will be the next session of the North Dakota Legislature and the next session of the U.S. Congress. The next session of Congress (the 115th) will convene In January of 2017 in our nation’s Capital. The new sessions of Congress begin with a new slate of legislation, meaning that any legislation that wasn’t enacted during the prior session will need to be reintroduced before it can be considered again. Bottom line, this says that the job of advocacy is hard work that never really stops!
At a state level, on January 3rd of 2017, the 65th session of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly will be convening. It will be composed of those who were elected from the even numbered districts and the “holdovers” from the odd numbered districts. We will then need to be “on our toes” to closely monitor the policy activities of the 65th session of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly. In that regard, we invite and welcome your participation with Zelda and me, as we will be facing this challenge together with you as members of NDAB!
Chaplain Lee Casey waterskis on Whipple Lake near Baxter in mid-July. Casey is blind, but that has not stopped him from doing many of the activities he enjoyed before losing his vision on his 17th birthday.
It’s hard to beat summertime in the Brainerd area with its lakes and abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. Lee Casey was a farm boy from southwestern Iowa when he and his family first vacationed in the area in the early 1970s.
When he was 10, he learned to waterski on Gull Lake, and he’s been skiing ever since. His lifelong love of the sport and memories of boyhood summers in the area were among the reasons why he and his family returned to Brainerd in 2013.
Casey is a board-certified chaplain and director of Mission and Spiritual Care at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd. He and his wife, Dawn, and their three children moved to the area after spending 14 years at St. Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, Neb.
In 1979, on his 17th birthday, Casey was riding his Yamaha 650 motorcycle near his hometown of Griswold, Iowa, when he swerved to avoid an oncoming car, lost control of the bike and had an accident that changed his life. His head crashed through the windshield, and he was left blind. “I can see a little glow in the dark in my left eye,” he explained. He had broken facial bones, so, to allow them to heal, his jaw was wired shut for 11 weeks. Casey remembers meals of pudding, mashed potatoes and malts. He remembers how happy he was when his mother began blending roast beef to add to his meals.
Following his accident, Casey was hospitalized for two weeks. “I had some challenging moments,” he said, “and I had thoughts of, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ a couple of times, but I didn’t blame God, and I didn’t go through a dark period of feeling sorry for myself.” Instead, he turned toward God and others for support, and he had his first thoughts about a career in the ministry.
Casey gives credit for his outlook on life to his family and growing up with a strong work ethic. He was the youngest of five children. “Growing up on a farm, we were used to working hard. We worked together – pulling weeds out of the soybean field, cleaning the hog barn, baling hay, and we attended church every weekend.” He stresses that faith is his foundation and that everything else flows from that. He accepts that blindness is not from God and that every person has challenges in life.
Less than two months after his accident, Casey, with his mouth still wired shut, went waterskiing on Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa. “It was the first time I’d gone skiing since the accident, and it was a wild feeling. But when I crossed the wake, I wiped out, and that was the end of skiing for that year.”
In his work as a chaplain, Casey is part of the medical team. He provides spiritual support to patients and families of all faiths, and to those without faith and, when requested, he’ll make church connections. The support of co-workers is also critical in his work. He uses a cane to navigate the halls of the hospital and Braille tags to identify all of the rooms. In 1993, in his position as a chaplain resident at Des Moines Mercy Hospital, Casey labeled
400 rooms with Braille tags. The hospital had eight floors and two towers.
“I wanted to learn where all the rooms were so I could be as independent as possible,” he said. At the time, his work included on-call hours and some evenings. “I have learned to do what I can and ask others for help when needed.”
When visiting patients, Casey finds that most people are welcoming. “I always knock and introduce myself and ask for permission before entering a room. If it’s a good time to visit, I ask how things are going. I ask about family and who is there for them and where they’re going after leaving the hospital.
I’ll contact their pastor for them if they want. I want to be supportive.” Casey wears a Braille sense notetaker, which talks to him and records information, so he can take notes of all of his visits, which are confidential. When patients first meet him, Casey thinks it helps them to put things into perspective.
“They see me entering their room, and they might think, ‘If this guy can do it, so can I.’ It encourages them.”
If a person opens up to him and expresses concerns, Casey listens to what they have to say and responds to their feelings. “I might ask, ‘What brings you joy?’ or ‘What are your interests?’ I try to focus on the positive and ask how they can find purpose and meaning in life. If a person is given enough time, they’ll come up with the answers.” He emphasized, “It’s not my job to fix, but I can help explain options.” Having gone through his own long recovery following his motorcycle accident has helped Casey empathize with others in need.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” Casey said, “when a few weeks ago, I met two patients, back to back, and they both said they knew me.” They had met him two years before when both were patients. After talking with each of them for a while, Casey began remembering some of the details of those visits. “I don’t know why, but after hundreds of conversations, it came back to me.”
What he had considered to be just “ordinary visits” had made an impression on two former patients, and it felt good. “It affirmed my work.”
Casey’s love for his job and commitment to help others is an inspiration to many patients and co-workers. He faces daily challenges because of his visual impairment with little complaint. “Blindness is something I deal with,” he said. “I trust God to provide for me, but the reality is I need transportation, and I need to arrange rides to work every day. I usually ride with my wife, my son or a co-worker. We Americans like to be independent, but I don’t know how I’m getting home today yet. I have to start thinking about that soon.”
Modern technology has helped Casey with his work as a chaplain. He’s had a talking computer since 1988, and he receives regular training on updates from Minnesota State Services for the Blind.
“The key for me is being grateful,” Casey said. “I’m grateful every day, for my health, my family and humor. I don’t take anything for granted.”
Casey hasn’t waterskied in 2016 yet, but he likes to stay active doing things like swimming, skating or roller skating. He snow skis in the winter with a partner who skis behind him and gives verbal commands. As long as it’s not windy and he can hear, there are no problems.
It could be an ordinary visit with a patient or an ordinary day on the lake or on a ski slope. Lee Casey is someone who makes an impression.
Slice of Life by James DeVita
Performed By: Theatre B
Venue: Broadway Theatre Garage, 409 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 58102
ASL: Saturday, December 10, 7:30 PM
Interpreters: Stacy Tornell and Bethanne Weltmer
AD: Saturday, December 31, 7:30 PM or by request by November 20
Describers: Pam Strait and/or David Wintersteen
Tix: $5 Students; $20 Adults
Playwright James DeVita will join Theatre B to workshop his new play, Slice of Life. For Terry and Denise, life’s biggest trial is helping their grown daughter calm down and find direction – that is until Terry’s high school sweetheart, now a self-help guru, returns to inform him that he has a second daughter. Slice of Life takes us on a hilarious rollercoaster ride of hope and regret as Terry struggles to hold his changing family together.
Run Time: Approx. 2 hours (with intermission)
Run Dates: Friday, November 25, 2016 – Saturday, December 31, 2016; Sunday Matinees December 4 and December 18
(NO SHOWS Christmas Eve 12/24 or Christmas Day 12/25)
Hand to God by Robert Askins
Performed By: Theatre B
Venue: Broadway Theatre Garage, 409 Broadway N, Fargo, ND 58102
ASL: Saturday, April 1, 7:30 PM
Interpreters: Stacy Tornell and Bethanne Weltmer
AD: Saturday, April 8, 7:30 PM or by request by March 10
Describers: Pam Strait and/or David Wintersteen
Tix: $5 Students; $20 Adults
When Pastor Greg forms a puppet club, he hopes it will excite the children and teach bible stories. But young Jason’s puppet Tyrone has other plans. Claiming to be the devil incarnate, Tyrone exploits Jason’s secret desires, and prompts everyone around him to wrestle with their most primal natures. In this raucous and provocative comedy, Robert Askins employs a devilish puppet to explore religion, morality, and the tempting power if sin.
Run Time: Approx. 2 hours (with intermission)
Run Dates: Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Saturday, April 8, 2017; Sunday Matinees March 26 and April 2
Apple engineer Jordyn Castor has never been one for limitations.
She was born 15 weeks early, weighing just under two pounds. Her grandfather could hold her in the palm of his hand, and could even slide his wedding ring along her arm and over her shoulder. Doctors said she had a slim chance of survival.
read the full article at http://mashable.com/2016/07/10/apple-innovation-blind-engineer/#OoaNKQ7AqZqM
Reprinted with permission by Steve Goodier
Henry Drummond has said, “The moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”
Here is a story (possibly apocryphal, but powerful nevertheless) about a man who acted in the spirit of love and about what he consequently learned.
Many years ago an old man stood on a Virginia riverbank. He was waiting to cross the river and, since it was bitterly cold and there were no bridges, he was hoping to get a ride across on horseback. After a lengthy wait he spotted a group of horsemen approaching. He let the first one pass, then the second, third, fourth and fifth. One rider remained. As he drew abreast, the old man looked him in the eye and said, “Sir, would you give me a ride across the river?”
The rider immediately replied, “Certainly.” Once across the river, the old man slid to the ground. “Sir,” the rider said before leaving. “I could not help but notice that you permitted all the other men to pass without asking for a ride. Then, when I drew abreast, you immediately asked me to carry you across. I am curious as to why you didn’t ask them and you did ask me.”
The old man quietly responded, “I looked into their eyes and could see no love and knew in my own heart it would be useless to ask for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, I saw compassion, love and the willingness to help. I knew you would be glad to give me a ride across the river.”
The rider was touched. “I’m grateful for what you are saying,” he said. “I appreciate it very much.” With that, Thomas Jefferson turned and rode off to the White House.
It is often said that our eyes are the windows to our souls. If that is true, what is it that our eyes show about us? Or let me ask it a different way: if you had been the last rider, would the old man have asked you for a ride?
A good question. For it is said that others will know us by our love. Some will see it in the things we do and some in the things we say. And a few perceptive souls, like the old man in the story, may catch a glimmer of a loving and generous spirit in the expression of kind eyes.
May you be easily recognized by your love.