I'm pictured here with Audrey and her guide dog Jessie (and "Lady Liberty" my long, white cane of course) speaking to members of the College of Charleston Delta Gamma Sorority, Charleston, SC just before Thanksgiving, 2015. This past August, I was honored to be reelected as an officer of Dixie Land Guide Dog Users. Continuing to serve in this capacity affords me many opportunities to expand the horizons of my own personal outreach on behalf of the blindness community. A large part of this outreach lies in the raising of awareness among sighted people and students of all grade levels in particular.
During the fall, I began assisting with technical support for the various mailing lists of the Not Alone Audio Internet Ministry. This exciting new ministry features devotional podcasts and Bible studies prepared by Pastor Dave Andrus and friends, especially for people who are blind. Having lost his sight when he was very young, Pastor Dave offers a spiritual breath of fresh air for blind Christians and pre-believers alike. You can learn more about this ministry at his Web site.
Along with my ongoing efforts toward peer mentoring and advocacy, I've been keeping busy recording, producing and preparing for the upcoming release of my latest album "Living That Story," to be officially released on CD, on iTunes and other digital sites very soon. I am looking forward to unveiling this new collection of music and sharing it with you!
Throughout the past year of recording and traveling to present, I have also been called to provide music and ministry for a variety of memorial services and celebrations of life. I have prepared memorial music in digital format to send across the miles, accompanied the choir of my Grace United Methodist Church family at the piano, and assisted in planning and officiating a service thru music, Scripture and prayer support.
My year ended on a positive note, wen I served as part of a focus group addressing the topic of making travel more accessible for people with disabilities. I was able to offer suggestions based on a lot of my own, first-hand experience of traveling frequently by plane, train, bus and taxi.
2015 was a year filled with challenges, not the least of which were presented by my precious fur-baby, Sonny. During our first full year together this sweet yellow Labrador (not a guide dog) has taught me a lot about patience and unconditional love. Walking with him thru his many unusual bouts with health and behavioral issues has taught me a lot about God's love for all of us, two-legged and four-legged souls alike. Just before Christmas, a little male ginger cat (dubbed "Christmas Carroll") moved into the neighborhood. Several of us have taken on the responsibility of making sure that he is loved and that his needs are met. He doesn't want to come inside, but when greeted on his own terms, he is one of the most loving, personable cats I have ever met. He, too, has taught me a lot about life and relationships. While all of this was going on, I received my 2016 Braille Scripture calendar from Lutheran Braille Workers. I couldn't help laughing as my fingers glanced at the theme and the tactile pictures on each month's page. The theme of the calendar was "Noah's Ark!" OK, God, what's next? (grin)
Stay tuned for more posts like this one! Until next time, God bless you and keep His Song in your heart!
© 2015 by Laurel Jean Walden
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