Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Someday at Christmas


One of my favourite Christmas carols is "Someday at Christmas," made popular by the late Michael Jackson. Yes, someday at Christmas, when I could wake up on a peaceful morning and welcome yet another special day with my loved ones around me and the Christ Child in my heart.

When I would be able to say, "Finally! All is well and now blind kids will have an equal opportunity to be like their mainstream counterparts." When they can play with mainstream toys and be able to use cell phones and IPods just like sighted kids. When they would be able to play with games just like their sighted friends and not have to worry about inaccessibility. When their classrooms and playgrounds would be free of accessibility barriers and they would have an equal opportunity to just be kids!

Someday at Christmas, when I could go to bed just before Santa makes his rounds, knowing that all of my wishes have been granted. That all websites have been made accessible. That all supermarkets and stores have been made fully accessible to blind persons. That online courses and distance learning have all been made accessible and usable to blind persons. That blind persons have equal access to all reading materials in the same way that sighted persons do.

Someday at Christmas, after Santa has come and gone leaving a huge package for me under my Christmas tree, I could wake up and say, "Finally! The banks have finally gotten it! Their ATMs are now fully accessible. Blind persons can now access all point of sale devices and touch screens without having to ask for sighted assistance. Blind passengers can now access kiosks at airports, they can enjoy movies aboard aircraft, and no more problems at airports, train stations, and bus terminals for them."

Someday at Christmas, as I sit quietly in a church along with others waiting for the Christmas Mass to begin, I could say, "Thank you God for ensuring that from now on society will treat blind persons as normal persons who can function on their own and the only thing different about them is that they are unable to see."

Someday at Christmas! Ah yes, it is only my dreams but who says that dreams don't come true? The smell of cookies baking in my kitchen is real! Christmas carols being played around me are real! Children laughing and families decorating are real! Is it too much for me to ask Santa to help make my dreams come true?

The late Steve Jobs made some of my dreams and those of other blind persons come true! Dare I dream that there could be another Steve Jobs out there just waiting to bring hope to the blind world?

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, wishing you a very merry Christmas!
Joyeux Noèl! Feliz Navidad!

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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Christmas kids


I really don't think that it matters how old we are when it comes to enjoying Christmas. We are all kids in our very own way and I am probably one of the biggest kids when it comes to Christmas.

Yes! It is my favorite time of the year. Just to hear the kids themselves as they shout with glee! As they sing with joy! As they whoop with excitement whenever they see Santa Claus or they find something that they have been looking for! Ah! Just to be a kid at Christmas!

For me, personally, at Christmas being a kid in my own way is really not describing it fully! I guess that I have always been a kid at heart. I love the toys. First, the electronic games and gadgets. Next come the dolls and doll houses with all of the furniture, and tea sets. Then come the puzzles, the bats and balls, and then finally everything else that makes me smile! In short, anything that makes a noise, anything that beeps, talks, and anything that enables me to create, imagine, and develop!

Christmas is for everyone and age is no barrier. No gift is too big or too small. There is a kid in each of us and all we need to do is to let it all hang out. It is not as difficult as you may think. Just let it happen, then sit back and enjoy! It is what I do every year and you know what? I really don't have to wait until Christmas to do it! I can be a kid anytime I want! It is just that it is so much more fun being a kid at Christmas time! It is so much easier to be a kid at this time of the year!

The sounds and smells! The ambiance and the songs! The sites and events! For after all, was it not then when the greatest and most famous kid was born? Our Lord, Jesus Christ?

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, wishing you a very merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas is for me no matter where I am


Yes! You got it right! You heard me correctly! No matter where I am and no matter what I'm doing! Christmas is for me!

I could be spending it in Canada where the winters are icy, the snow is falling, the winds are howling, and I could practically hear Santa chuckling. Christmas is for me! Or I could be spending it in the sunny Caribbean where Santa could be seen in either a jeep, standing in an open truck, or even on a motorcycle. Christmas is for me! No matter where I am, this very special time of the year is for me!

There are some very special things that many parts of the world share in common: the birth of Jesus, gift giving, greeting each other, Christmas goodies, toys, and the singing of Christmas songs and carols! So many things in common for us to share!

No matter where I am, all of these things will be with me! From a snowy winter with skaters skating on an icy rink with Christmas lights winking in the background and bystanders drinking hot chocolate, to a deep blue sea with swimmers swimming lazily under the watch of bright blue skies, Christmas will always be the same! It is not where I happen to be! It is all about the spirit of Christmas! Remembering what Christmas really means to me! The giving, the greeting, the joy, the special hopes and wishes for others. But most important of all, remembering to let the Child Jesus into my heart and to let him stay with me all year through!

Quoting from a popular Christmas carol: "The secret of Christmas is not what you do at Christmas time! But the Christmas things you do all year through."

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, wishing you a wonderful Christmas and the very best for the new year.
May all of your dreams come true!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Under the Christmas tree


It may not be Christmas yet but boy do I have some wonderful memories to share with you. Memories of me as a child with very little vision, enjoying my experiences under our family's Christmas tree. I had enough vision then to see the lights in their different colors. I could see the other decorations on the tree, as well, but I did not have quite enough vision to help decorate the tree.

That was okay by me. I enjoyed smelling the fragrant pine of our live tree. At night, I would crawl under our tree and lie quietly among the presents taking care not to crush any of them. My two brothers were always trying to peek into their presents and they would let me have a feel of mine. I would shake them to see if I could tell what mine were but my brothers would peek and tell. Oh, how much fun it was then.

I always loved our Christmas tree and everything that went with it. I loved everything about those wonderful trees. The smell of them, what lay under them, and what was placed on and around them. Ah yes! Under the Christmas tree!

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others about my memories of being under my Christmas tree.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

The color of Christmas


As Andy Williams used to sing out each year, "It's the most wonderful time of the yea,r" and this is certainly the case for me. It is that time of year when the child in me decides to show itself. I am never too embarrassed to express my joy whenever I hear Santa's rich laughter and whenever I smell the sweet fragrance of pine. All of those colorful presents, bows, lights, and other goodies dancing before my eyes!

Now that my vision is down to a bare minimum, I use my imagination to help me out. I imagine all those mysterious colored packages under a huge tree decorated with blinking lights. I can almost see those colorful lights dancing in my memory and I can practically reach out and grab one of those mysterious packages from under the tree.

Lights intermingled with artificial snowflakes, all kinds of Christmas figures and at the top of the tree? The shining star!

I must not forget my angel and my manger with the Baby Jesus lying in Mother Mary's arms. The animals, shepherds, Joseph, and the three wise men. All fixed in my mind's eye forever.

The toys all come alive in my mind! Doll houses filled with little people. Furniture, tea sets, and strollers with baby dolls. Even the racing cars, train sets, and those ice skates dancing just out of my reach. The skis waiting for me to put them on and the colorful balls and game sets.

Ah yes! The color of Christmas and I will forever be a child at this time of the year!

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a happy, holy, and safe Christmas!

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Little Christmas tree

It was the night before Christmas, and in my dreams I slipped lazily and happily into memory lane. Another time had come and as I stood there, the little Christmas tree twinkled in front of my eyes. The tree smelled so wonderful! It gave off the scent of warm pine. The colored lights danced in front of my eyes as they took turns blinking on and off.

I moved o so carefully towards my little Christmas tree, being careful not to step on packages neatly piled in front of it. I had to get as close as I could so as to see everything. My partial sight only allowed me the luxury of seeing things very close up and at best only a few things at a time. Nevertheless, it was enough for me.

I gingerly reached out and placed my index finger on one of the little lights, a little yellow one. Then I took my time at identifying other colors. Red, blue, and green.Then I had to take my time at finding a spot where there were no lights. I found it after a few moments and I held a tiny portion of a branch between my fingers.

Next I looked upwards and found the star at the very top. I stood gazing for quite some time thinking of the story that my parents would tell me every Christmas: the night that Jesus was born. What a lovely memory for me. Then I bent down and felt for some of the packages and finally I made my way to where the manger had been set up. There I spent most of my time, examining each little figure: Baby Jesus in the arms of Mary and Joseph, the three wise men, the shepherds, and the animals.

Ah! That was a memory of when I was a child and had enough vision to see it all. Now I can only recall this memory each Christmas and that's okay for me. At least I have a memory that I can recall and one that I can cherish forever.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I?m Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you happy Christmas dreams!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas is for me


I have had the good fortune to enjoy many wonderful Christmases, with and without vision, and it does not matter! Christmas is for me. The smells and the sounds, the laughter and the merry making.

When I had enough sight, I used to enjoy going out to window shop. To see the bright colorful lights, the flickering candles in the Church, Santa's bright red suit, and streets crowded with throngs of folks of all ages. I also loved to smell the scent of rich pine, cakes and goodies baking in ovens, and taste the various Christmas foods and drinks. I also loved to walk in the snow and watch those big white snowflakes race each other to the ground, but most of all I loved to ice skate around those huge outdoor rinks decorated with Christmas lights.

That was then and this is now but not much has changed for me. True it is that I can no longer see the flickering candles, the colorful Christmas lights, and the big fat snowflakes, but this does not prevent me from enjoying this special time of the year. My sense of smell is still intact along with my sense of taste and I use my memories of years gone by to help me along. I focus on the times when I could see and intermingle those memories with the now. I am blessed! I am lucky! With or without sight, Christmas is for me! I am a kid at heart, playing with my talking games, playing my electronic keyboard, and my Christmas CDs.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, Joyeux Noèl, and Feliz Navidad to you all!
I'm Donna J. Jodhan. Will see you again in the New Year.
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