Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlog | Week 30

The next update in my pregnancy journey! This week, I talked about some adaptive tools that might help if you are a blind parent yourself. Plus, my usual discussion of symptoms, a doctor’s appointment, and concerns. You can watch my 30 week update here.

Are there any tips and tricks that you’ve found useful as a parent to a young child? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget that you can subscribe directly to my youtube channel to hear more about my experience of pregnancy. As always, thanks so much for joining!

Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlogs | Weeks 22 and 24

I realized I missed posting the last several videos concerning my pregnancy journey here! Belowyou can find the links for my 22 and 24 week updates. Check back again here to hear more about my pregnancy journey, or subscribe to my youtube channel.

For week 22, click here, and for week 24, visit this link.

Thanks for following along!

“It Is Well with my Soul” | My Instrumental Arrangement

When I heard this was my then fiancé’s favorite hymn, I had it in my head to arrange it for him, but every time I sat down to do it I felt I couldn’t quite capture the mood I wanted to. It is a hymn that has meant a great deal to many over the decades, and I wanted to do the words justice, even if the words wouldn’t actually be sung in my version. A few months ago, we had the occasion to record some hymns for a church event facilitated by one of our friends. Deadlines are always immensely helpful for me in the creative process, so at last, I managed to record an arrangement I was happy with.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

it is well, it is well with my soul.”

In this hymn, we find someone reconciling the good and the hard, as I have written about before. Whether times are easy, or fraught with trial and difficulty, the speaker is able to say, “It is well with my soul.”

But why? You may ask. Indeed, the writer of this hymn had recently lost his children in a shipwreck. How can one possibly say, “It is well?” in such a situation?

“Though satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blessed assurance control:

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate

and has shed his own blood for my soul.”

Thus, it is the blood of Christ which gives the speaker the ability to rest. Even in the darkest shadow of grief, he has hope through Jesus, who secured eternal life for all who trust in him when he gave himself up on the cross.

“My sin–oh the bliss of this glorious thought–

My sin, not in part, but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh my soul!”

The speaker recognizes that he, like every one of us, was born into bondage. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot free himself from his sin nature, that is, that part of him that compels him to think, say, and do wrong things. This is a problem, when you consider that a perfect and holy God must be perfectly just. There must be an answer for evil, including all the evil that you and I have done. God’s answer is found in Jesus. He took the punishment I deserved, and praise the Lord I can agree with the speaker in saying I bear my sin no more, and praise God, so do you if you trust in Jesus.

The hymn finishes with a triumphant vision of Christ’s glorious return at the end of the age. The speaker has such security in Christ that even as that dreadful time of judgement approaches, and those who have rejected Christ draw near to destruction, he can confidently say, “It is well”, because he knows his salvation is sure in Jesus.

“And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.”

It is Well, Instrumental

Note: Though I think the theology of this hymn is sound, the writer, Horatio Spafford, had some very erroneous theological beliefs, and should not be considered an example of a faithful believer. When I use the word “speaker”, I mean it in the sense of poetic analysis, rather than in reference to the author. As we have seen many times throughout history, God is a mighty redeemer and can use even the lost to produce great works to encourage and uplift his people. I think that is the case here.

Do you have a favorite hymn? Why is it your favorite? Let me know in the comments. Perhaps I’ll be inspired to arrange that one, too.

Christ Identifies with Us in Pregnancy

Not far into pregnancy, I quickly discovered, as I’m sure many women do, that morning sickness is one of the great misnomers of our time. Morning sickness? You mean all day sickness? And if you’re referring to the time of day that it’s the worst, rather than the time of day that it is there (AKA nearly all the time), I would have to call it afternoon or evening sickness. The first time I threw up during my pregnancy was around two Pm. My husband noticed I was losing color, and encouraged me to lie down. He had to run out for a few things, so left me with a pot, just in case. I wasn’t expecting to do anything with the pot; so far over the last 12 weeks I only felt like throwing up, but never actually did… but only a few minutes after my husband had departed, I reached for the pot and clutched it to my chest. 

Maybe it’s called morning sickness because you throw up everything you ate in the morning, I theorized vaguely as fragments of my first meal made their rather uncivil reappearance. Why IS bringing new life into the world such a painful process, I wondered then, returning shakily to my pillow. Sin, I think, is the answer to that question, but we needn’t stop there. After all, there is an answer to sin, that is, Jesus, and he endured discomfort, pain, and humiliation to bring new life to all of God’s children. 

I am struck by the way pregnancy and birth, with all the associated difficulty and sometimes embarrassing side-effects, can point us to the cross. In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to be saved, he must be “born again” (John 3:1-7). This is because Nicodemus, like you and I, was first born with a nature prone to hating and rebelling against God. That is, he was physically alive, but spiritually he was “dead in his transgressions” (Ephesians 2:1). 

But how, as Nicodemus quickly asks, can one be born again? How does this “second birth” take place? Jesus says that it is through Him. In order for us to be reborn, Jesus, the Son of God, became also the Son of Man. He was born into the humblest of human situations. He endured the difficulties of daily life, including being tempted in all ways as we are. Though he remained always without sin, he chose to take on the penalty of our wrongdoing and suffered death on a cross.

Christ knows, more than anyone, what it is to suffer on behalf of another. He knows what it is to endure discomfort and even agonizing, unimaginable pain in order to bring new life into the kingdom of GOd. When I remember what Christ did for me, that I might receive new life, the trials and tribulations of pregnancy not only become easier to bear, but become also an opportunity to share, if very shallowly, in the sufferings of my savior. Through my discomfort, I get the joy of bringing a new life into the world, just as through his suffering, Christ granted new birth to every believer.

It’s not the comparison itself that matters. Any potential pain in pregnancy and birth will be nothing compared to the infinite anguish born by our Lord, but only the fact that it points me to him, that in every step of this process, from headaches to nausea to labor, I can reflect on the things Christ endured to make me new. Not only that, but in the moments that I start to think “I can’t do this” (I’m sure that thought will come in labor if not before), I can throw myself upon the one who identifies in every way with my struggles, and in fact knows them far more profoundly than I. It is truly wonderful to have a God and savior who sympathizes in every way with our weaknesses.

Seasonal Shedding — Is There a Solution?

Labradors are many things… oversized lap dogs, excellent workers, enthusiastic playmates, and yes, constant shedders. There are a few dog breeds that don’t fit into that category, but often, being a dog owner means vacuuming up fur from the carpet and off the furniture, wiping it off your kitchen counters, dusting it from your shower ceiling (I still don’t know how fur gets up there), and wearing it on your clothing on a daily basis. I was told early on in my dog-ownership journey that brushing would help, but often I find that grooming doesn’t do much other than encourage the fur to loosen up so that even more of it can come out all over my newly washed floor.

Still, while labradors, and other breeds like them, shed year-round, their seasonal shedding during spring and autumn can be intense and thus harder to manage. So what’s the solution?

Spend More Time Outside 

Less time in the house equals less time for your dog to shed in the house. Getting out for more walks or allowing your dog some off lead time in the garden or at a dog park does make a difference in the amount of fur on your floor.

Clean Your House Regularly 

I know this sounds obvious, but when your dog is shedding their winter or summer coat, it really is not overkill to be vacuuming once or twice a day until the shedding settles a bit and isn’t so extreme. Speaking from experience, it REALLY IS worth vacuuming frequently, even if it sounds like a lot of work. It Is far quicker and easier to suck up fur that has accumulated over just a few hours, rather than a few days, and it will be less overwhelming in the long run.

Don’t Bother Sweeping!

Maybe I just have bad sweeping technique, but I’ve never found brooms to be effective at dealing with pet hair. If that’s been your experience, too, don’t bother! If you have hard floors, try Swiffer products, or just get a vacuum 

Get Yourself a Cordless Vacuum 

As I was saying… Seriously, this will change your life. Choose a quality, cordless vacuum that has shown to be effective for dog fur. We have the Dyson Animal

Popping the cordless vacuum off the charger and zooming around with it for a few minutes is SO MUCH EASIER than plugging the darn thing in, hoping the chord will reach wherever you need to go, realizing it won’t and having to unplug it and plug it back in somewhere else, getting tangled up in the chord while you are trying to get into an awkward corner, your dog getting tangled up in the chord while they try to chase your vacuum… you get my point.

If you would rather not do the vacuuming yourself, get a robot vacuum and let it do the work… just keep in mind that this can be a bad combination

if you have a puppy that is still toilet training. If you plan to use a robot vacuum, check your house before each use to make sure there aren’t any messes that would not be vacuum friendly. 

Bathe Your Dog 

I find that baths have a tendency to knock much more fur loose than brushing on its own, so when you notice the shedding is getting real, pop your pup under the hose for a good rub down or bring them to a professional groomer if you’ve got the cash. As always with bathing your pets, choose dog-friendly products, make sure the water is a comfortable temperature (particularly not too hot), and avoid doing it too frequently so as not to dry out their skin.

Care less 

I’m not joking. Your life will be simpler and easier if you just care a little less about seeing fur falling around the place.. It’s the price of having a dog that sheds, and there’s no point in getting up tight about it. Relax, enjoy your furry friend, accept that having a furry friend in the house means there will be fur there, and move on with your life.

Grooming Tools that (May) Help

As I’ve said, I’ve never found brushing particularly helpful in keeping the shedding at a minimum, but you may have a different experience. Here are some tools that could aid you in your quest. This list includes a slicker brush, nylon bristle brush, silicone massage tool, and brushes designed specifically to remove dead undercoat, such as the Furminator. The Furminator may prove especially useful during heavy shedding seasons, but be sure to read the instructions attached, as such tools are usually recommended for weekly or by-weekly use, rather than every day.

So, no, there’s no “solution” to seasonal shedding as far as I can tell. It will happen no matter what you do, but staying on top of house maintenance, spending more time outdoors, and trying a few grooming options can make a difference… and if all else fails, just care a little less. 🙂

If I could Name All the Guide Dog Puppies | A List of Names Beginning with D

Welcome back for more dog names! This week, it’s the letter D.

Check out my list of C names here, or my list of A names if you’d like to start at the beginning.

Daiquiri (Feminine): who doesn’t like a good strawberry daiquiri when you can get one? And with this name, you would always have one on hand.

Dainty (Feminine): a delicate option for a prim pup.

Drifter (Masculine): the exact opposite thing for a male dog that likes to plow into things and take corners too tightly at too high speeds.

Dryad (Feminine): from Greek mythology, a spirit or nymph that inhabited a tree.

Dolan (Masculine): a second name in Ireland meaning dark, associated with an Irish high king from the second century.

Delila (Feminine): a beautiful one, from Hebrew meaning delicate 

Dapper (Masculine): a word you would use to describe your handsome man when he’s all dressed up in a suit, but also a cute name for a handsome doggy.

Dove (Feminine): as in the bird, associated with peace.

Dover (Masculine): a male option with similar sounds, but denoting a ferry port town in England, as well as several American towns.

Dekker (Masculine): I heard this one from a Guiding Eyes puppy raising page, and I liked it.

Dori (Feminine): just a cute one, and fairly popular for dogs already if you’re looking for something particularly wearable.

Dragon (Masculine): I’m not so sure about this one, but it’s easy to say and obviously brings up some powerful images. Do you think it could work?

Domovoy (Masculine): From Russian, meaning house lord. In Russian mythology, a domovoy was a benevolent household spirit that guarded the families with which they lived.

Doliver (Masculine): an English second name. I like it because it has the sound of Oliver, but the uniqueness of the D at the beginning.

Dittany (Feminine): a plant used in herbal medicine, also called the “burning bush”, as it’s blooms have a tendency to spontaneously combust.

Dorian (Neutral): a musical term referring to a scale often used in celtic traditional music.

Dulcimer (Neutral, but maybe masculine?): a box-like wooden instrument with strings stretched across it, played using hand-held hammers 

Dolce (Feminine, pronounced with a soft CH): meaning sweet in Italian 

Duende (Feminine): a word in Spanish that we don’t have an equivalent for in English. Connected to the excitement or emotional arrousal you feel at seeing or hearing something artistically beautiful.

Daphne (Feminine): “a small Eurasian shrub with sweet-scented flowers and, typically, evergreen leaves ” (New Oxford AmericanPrimie2017

 Dictionary). This was also 

Dutchus (Feminine): female equivalent of duke.

I’ve always had a personal affinity for D names, and I think that shows in the length of this list. I’d love to hear your ideas. Do you have a beloved dog in your life with a name starting with D?

Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlog | Week 16

Excited to share the next installment of my pregnancy journey! This week, I talk about baby’s development so far, my blind parenting tip of the week, symptoms (including one that might be TMI, so feel free to skip those few moments of the video), plus some of my thoughts at the time on parenting fears etc.

Check out my newest video here

And come back next week for more updates!

Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlog | Week 10

Enjoy my second update in my Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlog series! A similar set up as my first video, detailing symptoms, things I was thinking about, and my prayers at the time.

Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlog | Week 10

Be sure to check back for more updates next week!

Have any questions about life as a blind person, guide dog user, or blind parent-to-be? Feel free to comment here or on Youtube! Are you a blind parent yourself and want to help inform others about the capabilities of blind and vision impaired people? Share this video, and drop me a comment to let me know what might be good topics to discuss here and on my channel.

Until next time…

Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlog | Week 8

I’ve had a few false starts with publishing youtube videos, but it’s mostly because I feel a bit uncomfortable with the vulnerability of filming. Somehow it feels much less personal to publish written posts on my blog, rather than record something with audio and visuals, but I have felt for a long time that I have a responsibility at some level to share my experiences as a blind person, and now particularly as a blind parent, in order to inform others about the capabilities of blind people.

I’ve always enjoyed watching pregnancy updates on youtube, but have never seen one by a blind content creator. I thought making my own might therefore be a great way to reflect on my experiences throughout pregnancy, while also sharing about blind parenting techniques. More than anything, I hope the thing people take away from this video is the utter “ordinariness” of my experiences, despite my unusual perspective as someone with a visual impairment.

In this first video, enjoy hearing how we found out about our precious little one, plus symptoms and the equipment/products we’ve acquired so far.

Blind Mama Pregnancy Vlog Week 8

**Keep in mind this is a pregnancy update, and naturally will contain info that might be a bit TMI for some.

For more updates, be sure to check back here or on my youtube channel next week, or find more blog posts on blind parenting here.