Good morning Blind Wisdom Seekers!

My mother turned 75 last year and for her birthday we put on a party and I gave her a card with an over sized braille “B” on it – B for Betty! She responded with “I must get better with my braille”

Yes you must I thought. But how could we go about this. Mum’s stumbling block with braille was always the use of the slate and stylus; she never quite mastered backwards braille and had seemed to get stuck in this somehow. Two days later I phoned her up and said “I’ve had an idea”

“How about I lend you my brailler and together we make braille labels for advent calendars to be opened at Christmas by braille reading kids?”

“How would we do that?” she asked.

“We would make sticky labels numbered 1 – 24 and stick them on chocolate advent calendars and post them to the kids before December 1.”

“How do you write numbers?” she enquired.

I knew I had her hooked. She was starting to ask questions! Woo hoo!

I remember when I learned braille as a 35 year old adult in 2001. I have never forgotten the feeling of running my fingers over the words in my first braille Christmas card! It gave me back the magic of Christmas.

So, last year was our first year of making accessible the magic of Christmas to blind kids in NZ. There’s something you need to know about my mother first though. She’s not just a mother, she’s also a Granny to eight grand children and takes her Granny role very seriously. She loves to bake and she loves to love; not just us but any kids that come in contact with her which makes her the perfect Granny to be doing this!

This is the second year running Granny has brailled up the calendars and they are nearly ready to go out! All calendars are accompanied by a letter in braille from Granny and are sent all round the country.

Along with the feel of the braille advent calendars here are 9 other things my senses have been grateful for this week!

1 the feel of the I phone, I pad mini and I pad that sat in a row all for me to feel yesterday morning! Thanks to Caryn, adaptive technologist at the Blind Foundation! Oh – which one to choose!

2 the sound of Caryn speaking into the I phone and it doing stuff she asked it to! “That’s not an I phone” I exclaimed! That’s science fiction!

3 the taste of the cheese and onion toasted sandwhiche I made us for our lunch yesterday!

4 the smell of roast chicken in the oven last night!

5 the feel of the sun on my face yesterday morning on our walk!

6 the feel of the big braille hart I stuffed last night to go on a wedding present as an accessory! Sebastian didn’t want to touch it because he didn’t want to break it!

7 the taste of roast veges for tea last night!

8 the feel of the recycled braille circles I punched last night as I wrapped the wedding present!

9 the feel of the braille advent calendars that we have completed for the blind kids around NZ! It’s so exciting!

10 the sound of Dave Grull from Foo Fighters on TV last night – what a lovely guy! So humble for a rock star!

I may not see but I can smell

And taste and touch and listen

And when I do this every day

I find my optimism!