Monthly Archives: December 2015

One Word!

2015 2016 written into sand with wave washing away written 2015At the start of 2015, many of us identified “One Word” we hoped to work toward, live up to, embody, strive toward and more…  Here are a few of our reflections (along with, maybe, our new word for 2016)…!

Jessica shared, “My word for 2015 was “creativity.”  I’ve been conscious of my need to create & the joy I get from drawing, doodling, painting, and more this year.  Each morning I try to begin my day with drawing something, doodling, or what have you.  It really helps me to ground me in my day.  If I can’t do that first thing in the morning, I’ve been making sure to do something creative throughout the day overall… or evenat the very end of the day.  My word has absolutely kept me in a state of presence and gratitude.  Creativity has lead me to reclaiming joy!  2016 will be my year (and word) of JOY!”


Julie’s word for 2015 was determination!


Rosa shared, “…dance! It’s for the actual activity that I want to do more of but it’s also the metaphorical meaning of “dancing” — meaning flexibility, impermanence, joy, lightness, etc.  …(I) have certainly held this mantra all year…. & boy, has it fit & taken me on many extraordinary adventures!!! Throughout 2015 I feel I have “danced” with so many new and interesting people, travelled to several exotic locations to literally dance & help others dance, & have looked for ways to bend & be more flexible as life sometimes happens.  The lovely blend of real dancing & the idea of dancing has clearly been a theme for me this year, & has pulled me back into my youth as well as pushed me forward into more of the now me.  I have visualized a need to sway more, jitterbug, or even samba through situations.  I have also needed to pick up my pace, do a stomp, take the lead, & more importantly / more often lean into my partners more to go with their rhythm (admittedly, not always easy for me).  I have connected with an amazing jazz musician who learned of my love of tap dancing & has asked me to dance with him on a few occasions.  And I now have a very colorful tutu that I ran 2 5k races in!  As to 2016, the word that keeps coming to me in many ways & from many sources is wholeness.  This represents to me a desire to go deeper & to find connections with various threads in my life, to better connect my many selves, & to find within me other ways to grow in fullness & oneness.


Nancy Jo writes, “My word is helpful this year (2015)”


Stacey shares, “…I believe my word is commitment!  I found at times, I wasn’t sure about something so I said to myself just make a decision to commit to it and own it. …Or keeping a commitment to someone or self.   It was about a lot of things…making and reaching goals, personal and professional. …Going places, Doing things, Seeing people, What clothes to wear, and so forth…make a decision no matter what and commit to it. 


Michelle writes, “My One Word for the year has been “give.”  I had grand plans of “giving” in different ways each week, but life took me in a different direction!  Instead of quick “gives,” they turned out to be much more thoughtful, some very involved and time intensive, some required giving of myself in ways I have never done before!  The year has opened not only my eyes but also my heart to the real meaning of “giving.”

Next year’s word:  Pause — My new word is “pause,” and has two meanings for me.  One is to stop before taking action, to think, process, and make good decisions.  The second is to pause and observe the wonders around me and enjoy moments and create new memories, using all of my senses and abilities.”


Did you have a “word” for 2015?  Do you have a “new” word for 2016??  Please share it with us!

Holiday Shopping the Easy Way with Suzanne Erb

Are you tired even before you start thinking about shopping for the holidays? Are you looking for ways to find those stocking stuffers without fighting the crowds, looking for parking, waiting for your ride, or you just don’t have time to do all that running around? Well, I’m here to tell you that I hardly do any running around during the holiday season, unless it involves music making and/or partying. I’ve collected a few tips and tricks that have made my shopping for the holiday season less stressful, and hopefully hassle free, and I hope they will help you, too.

How do I do it? I never have to leave my couch. I go online and save! Not only do I save on transportation costs, but I sometimes save on shipping, too.

Since I shop on line, and do not have the ability to look at the pictures, I make it my business to read all the fine print, particularly as it pertains to return policies, shipping charges, product description and reviews. I make sure to keep all those e-mail invoices, receipts and shipping confirmations I receive so that I will have a record of all my transactions. This enables people to return merchandise more easily should the need arise. I also try to find a telephone number in case I need to speak to a real person.

I prefer spending my money at stores that make sure that their websites are easy to navigate because I like to let them know that I appreciate their effort to make their sites disability friendly. If navigating the site is problematic, but I know that this website has specific items that I want to buy, I will try to find a phone number, if possible. Otherwise, I just close the page and move on.

There are many major chains that have made great strides in their efforts to offer blind-friendly websites. Many of them offer apps for smart phones that are easy to navigate and use. “Say Shopping” is an IOS app that is a great iPhone app that is good for people who are not good at spelling. Using your microphone, you can converse with the app and find products. It currently features products available through Target. In the November issue of Access WORLD, published by the American Foundation for the Blind, there is an article entitled “Holiday Shopping Using Your iOS Device” by Janet Ingber. This article is a review of two shopping apps that are completely accessible – the Apple Store app, and the Amazon app. She also reviews “RetialMeNot”, which is not a store; rather, it is an app that provides promo codes, coupons, and much more. Check out the article at the link below.

In addition to the main chain stores and websites with which most people are familiar, there are companies that are somewhat off the beaten track for people outside of the blind community, but offer quality products at reasonable prices. These are companies owned and/or operated by people with disabilities who are entrepreneurs. While some of them may include the word “blind” in their name, they all sell products that are designed to meet everyone’s needs. It’s nice to be able to support one of our own, and it puts my “employment first” money where my mouth is.” is a company featuring several stores in one large, accessible website. You can find everything from electronics to household items, books, jewelry, and more – a virtual “mall” that’s only a few keystrokes or clicks away. You won’t get lost at

The AT Guys is a great place to find reasonably priced Blindness and Deaf-Blindness products. But don’t be fooled by the name. They have lots of items such as keyboards, headphones, speakers, and other accessories for the cheap geek in all of us. Their free app, available for both Apple and Android devices, called Blind Bargains, shows not only their bargains, but also other sites offering other bargains, as well. There is also a classified section, an audio section where you can find their podcasts, and a news section where you will find important AT news you can use, particularly if you are interested in AT used by people with print disabilities. Visit

Blind Alive is a company that specializes in wellness products for everyone by providing both verbal and video instructions for their workouts. They offer other products, too, including a special backpack that doesn’t put strain on your back muscles. For all of us who want to be healthy visit and feel good about yourself.

By no means has this been an exhaustive list of accessible shopping websites. I encourage you to Google stores you like and see whether their websites meet your needs. I encourage those of you who do not need to use accessible websites also to support companies that make their websites user friendly for all. Let them know you appreciate their effort. I wish all of you a joyful and accessible shopping holiday season!