Blindness Doesn’t Stop Me From Doing the the Things I Love by Marley Rupp

Please allow me this proud mommy brag blog post.

Earlier this summer, my Marley was asked to be one of three student speakers on a panel at the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children meeting at the 2019 NFB National Convention. With very little coaching from her mommy, she wrote her speech on her Braille note taker,and gave an excellent presentation.

Photo of Marley writing her speech on her Braille note taker

I was not quick enough at pressing record and missed the first sentence or so. She began by saying, “my name is Marley Rupp. I am nine years old, and will be going into the fourth grade this fall.”

Here is the rest of her speech…

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My home sold today, so why don’t I feel excited?

front photo of our home for the last 9 years

I’m writing this more for me than for anyone else. I need to figure out how to process my messy emotions. Usually, running works, but I haven’t allowed myself to run long enough to be able to silence the nasty gremlins that have been growing. The gremlins have gotten louder and louder each month that our house has been on the market. Those gremlins that shout, “Not good enough!” These are the gremlins that feed off of self-doubt and shame.

It’s interesting how trying to sell my home has triggered the self-doubt, not enough,shame volume button to be turned up. I work really hard to keep that button pressed locked on mute. I can’t seem to find theremote to lock it back down again. Perhaps it was thrown in one of the boxes and taped up shut. It could be packed away in one of the spare bedrooms at my parents house around the corner. It could be shoved under my bed with a couple of spare blankets, and guitar cases.

I’ve missed placed a few emotions along with that remote that controls the shame trigger too. Maybe when I finally start unpacking everything and get organized when we move into the new home, I’ll find excitement, joy, relief, and laughter again.

My Mother’s Day Blog Post

Rupp Family standing in front of a white ranch fence, with pasture and mountains in the background.

When I began writing Blind Mom in the Burbs, I was a stay at home mom to a 2.5 year old and 6 month old.  Through sharing my story I have been able to reach countless readers all over the world. Last year Blind Mom in the Burbs made appearances in the local news, radio and podcasts interviews, and was even profiled in Good House Keeping.  Just this week, in perfect timing for Mother’s Day I was one of many blind moms featured in Parenting Magazine.    Since that initial blog post just over 7 years ago, I can’t call myself just a stay at home mom anymore.  When asked the common question of, “What do you do?” I find myself replying, “Well… what don’t I do?”

3 generation family photo with desert greenery

I’m a marathon runner,, writer, motivational speaker, teacher, an advocate and leader in the blindness community, mentor, wife, sister, aunt, daughter, but most importantly, I am an engaged mom of a 7 and 9 year old, who lives actively and loves proactively.  I am who I am because of the strong, resourceful, creative, courageous, caring woman my sister and brother and I call Ma, and my super supportive hot firefighter hubby who is currently in the middle of a 72 hour shift.

2 pancakes with blueberry eyes and strawberry mouth

I’d love to create an emotionally moving Mother’s Day blog post, but my creative juices have dried up after cleaning up vomit, taking care of a sick kid, cooking smiley face pancakes, doing laundry, making sure my house is perfectly perfect in case a potential buyer stops by to take a look, and spending way too much time on emails on a day that I was hoping to do absolutely nothing.

Instead, I’m going to share a Mother’s Day blog piece I wrote for the National Federation of the blind a few years ago. Enjoy!  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, aunts, dad’s and every single other person playing a part in our village as we work to bring up kind and compassionate human beings.

Mother's Day Roses

 

“I’m Not Just a “Blind” mom. I’m a (insert adjective here) Mom”

I was asked to write a piece about parenting for the National Federation of the Blind Blog.  Below is what I wrote which was publish on Mother’s Day.  What kind of mom would you describe yourself, or your own mom as?

There are many different kinds of moms out there.  The crunchy mom who makes her own almond milk, the crafty mom who makes every birthday party decoration or teacher gift from scratch, the soccer mom, the yogi mom, the play group mom, the PTA mom, the new mom, the empty nest mom, the ___(fill in the blink)___ mom.  Me, I may be seen in my neighborhood or at my daughter’s school as the blind mom, but I’m so much more than just that.

I am no expert, but having been a mom for over six years now, I can safely say I feel comfortable writing about motherhood.  In the words of Malcolm Gladwell, “Practice isn’t something you do when you’re good at something, practice is something you do to get good at something.”  I use this quote on my six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son all the time when they complain about not wanting to practice reading, tying their shoes, riding their bikes, or the words to a song.

The same thing can be said about parenting.  Being a parent is tough.  Popping out a baby doesn’t make any mom an expert.  There is no manual that pops out along with that baby.  Social workers have no right telling a new mom that she’s unfit to take care of her baby because she may be having trouble getting her newborn to latch on.  Half of the new moms out there have difficulty nursing.  Motherhood is beautiful and scary for all moms whether blind or sighted.

When I first became a mom, I struggled like many new moms with postpartum depression.  I felt isolated and alone.  My husband worked long hours. He was sometimes gone for seventy-two hour shifts at the fire house.  I had no family in town to help me.  I had a baby that cried all the time, threw up all the time, and went from living in a condo in the city to a house in the suburbs.  A few months before my daughter’s first birthday, I’d had enough of feeling sorry for myself.  The self-pitying, self-loathing, frumpy, sad stay at home mom had to go.  That wasn’t the Terri my husband fell in love with, and that wasn’t the person I wanted my daughter knowing.  In order to change, I had to get up, get out, and get active.

I got up out of my smelly clothes, found a mommy meet-up group, started my own neighborhood mommy group, got back involved in the National Federation of the Blind, and I found the more I did, the happier I became.

Human beings are social beings.  We weren’t meant to be isolated in stucco dwellings, gated away from the rest of the world only to communicate through the internet.  Our mothers before us raised their children as a village, so we new mothers must make our own villages today.  Whether that village is a mommy group, a church, aunts and grandmothers, or our Federation family, we must support one another so that not only our children stay healthy and happy, but that we as moms are also healthy and happy.

That sad, lonely, mom version of me is long gone.  Today, I am a happy, healthy, outdoorsy, creative, innovative, assertive, nurturing, organized, engaging, silly, sassy, stylish, stay at home mom living the life I want.

What is Project Runstoppable?

Project Runstoppable is a vision, a dream that can be made possible with your help.

At this moment, Project Runstoppable is a YouTube video in the second round of the Holman Prize for blind ambition.

My vision is to create a running program for blind/Visually impaired children.  All too often, blind children are told that they can’t do something  or shouldn’t do something because it might not be safe.    With this program, blind children will not only gain the joy and freedom from the love of running.  They will discover that with the right positive attitude, determination, and simply by removing fear and obstacles from their path, they can accomplish whatever goal they’re imagination can dream of.

Here’s how you can help.

Please watch this YouTube video.

Click like on the YouTube video. (Logging into YouTube is required to click like.  Logging in with a gmail account will work.)

Share the YouTube video with your friends and family and ask them to do the same.

So much gratitude to you, my readers, friends and family for helping me make my vision of creating Project Runstoppable possible.

Conversations between Marley and me about bblindness 11/14/18

I sometimes say that I graciously shared my eye condition with my daughter. I have not written much about our Marley and me story lately. This one will be short. It actually took me a few days to share with my husband, and now I’m sharing it with you.

A few days ago, Marley randomly asked me, “Mom, are you going to lose all of your eyesight and be totally blind One day?”

I answered to her, “I don’t know baby. I do know that I have lost a lot of eyesight since I was your age. You can see a whole lot more than mommy can. It’s possible that I could lose all of it one day.”

Marley thinks about my answer for a quick minute and then she asks me, “Mom, am I going to lose all of my eyesight and be totally blind one day?”

My honest answer to her, “well baby, that’s a possibility.”

Just like that, my beautiful girl takes my response in stride, and continues on. I love that I am able to have these conversations with her. I love that she is able to ask me anything that may cross her mind. I hope this continues Ahn in our relationship as she grows.

Race Weekend has arrived and I am Filled With Gratitude

the weekend I’ve been working towards is here!

in this photo, I have just picked up my race packet and I’m holding my race number.

Did you know there is an app where you can follow me on my run? Download the Rock’n’Roll Marathon Series app, and track my progress.

I am number 3711.

Today, I have the opportunity to be 1 of 4 athletes interviewed on a panel during the Las Vegas rock and roll marathon series press conference at the race expo. After the press conference, I was asked to do a one on one Facebook live interview. You can watch these interviews on Blind Mom in the Burbs’s Facebook page Where I have shared them.

Currently, I am hanging out with my daughter watching snow white while we wait for some friends to arrive from Salt Lake City to hang out for race weekend.

Tomorrow, I am hosting a pasta carb loading dinner as a thank you for everybody who has supported me throughout my training.

Sunday, we run!!!!!!!

I cannot express my gratitude to everybody who has been a part of this journey. I cannot express enough thanks for all the support I have been given. This has truly been a team effort. I will be channeling all of you, your love, your strength, your support to make it through that notorious marathon wall at mile 20, and to get me across the finish line. If there are tears, they will be tears of gratitude mixed with joy.

Lastly, to my guide Kim, who will unfortunately not be running with us because of a broken foot. Thank you 1 million times over for all of your hours and miles you have contributed to this training.

Please excuse any typos I may have neglected to edit out. This post is being published from the WordPress app on my phone.

26 Ways of Being During a 26.2 Mile Run

 

 

It was almost a whole year ago when my phone rang and some guy by the name of John was calling me in search of blind runners.  He had read an article about a blind runner who did the New York Marathon with the assistance of a sighted guide from Achilles International.  John wanted to bring Achilles to Las Vegas, and he happened to call someone that morning who wanted to get out and run.

photo of John and I after our first run on 11:30:17

On November 30, 2017, we met up at a nearby park and Achilles Las Vegas hit the ground running.  That first morning, we walked /jogged/ran about 2 miles.  He asked me if I had a running goal.  I told him, “I want to run the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon.”

Today is November 8, 2018, and in 3 days, I will be running my first marathon.

Wow! I seriously just teared up writing that last sentence.

It has been quite a year.

From running the Resolution 5k Run on New Year’s Eve with a sea of yellow Achilles Las Vegas supporters, my brother, sister-in-law and 2 nieces running it, and our family waiting at the finish line.

To Marley running her first 5k with John and I, along with other Achilles volunteers at the Vegas Cares About Rare Kids Run.

To my first half marathon on the first hot day of the year, where I finished in 2:49 at the Recycle Run.

To a spur of the moment run with my Achilles crew in the beginning of summer at the Elemental 5K.

To beginning my official 16 week marathon training in the end of July, where we had to run at the butt-crack of dawn since the temperature rose to above 100 as soon as the first ray of sunlight rose.

To challenging the low expectations of a race director who did not think it was safe for a blind runner to do the Red Rock Half Marathon, where I not only safely ran with my guides and our tether of choice, but I set a PR of 26 minutes, finishing in 2:23, and 2 other blind runners ran their first 10K races.

To experiencing foot pain and developing Plantar Fasciitis three weeks out from race day.

To catching the crud the kids brought home from school 6 days from race day, which I refuse to believe is strep throat and battled with my holistic hippy magic and have almost completely kicked out of my system.

To waking up feeling good after 3 days of feeling like crap, ready to get out of a nice 3 mile run around the hood and finding that my streets are being resurfaced today.  Since I resort to running in the middle of the streets in my tiny gated community, because running on the sidewalks means running into poles and tree branches.

I’m choosing to believe all of it is part of the master plan to making sure I get across that finish line on Sunday night.  I was meant to rest my feet and not push too hard these last few weeks.  I am meant to rest my body and conserve energy these last few days.  With the time and training I have put in, I am ready to show up at the start line ready to smash my first marathon.

 

As I run those 26.2 miles, I’ll be counting the mile markers with these 26 ways of being I strive to live by.

  1. Accountable
  2. Brave
  3. Compassionate
  4. Determined
  5. Energized
  6. Fun
  7. Grateful
  8. Healthy
  9. Intuitive
  10. Joyful
  11. Kind
  12. Loving
  13. Mindful
  14. Nurturing
  15. Objective
  16. Present
  17. Quiet
  18. Resourceful
  19. Savvy
  20. Trustworthy
  21. Unwavering
  22. Valued
  23. Wholehearted
  24. Exuberant
  25. Youthful
  26. Zany

Whether you are running a marathon, walking the kids to the bus, walking the dog, or strolling the suburbs, city streets, or aisles of Target, remember that it’s you who gets to choose your way of being.  Whatever you choose, choose to smile.

 

The Landscape of Life

I sit here in bed, wrapped in gratitude, as I reflect on how beautiful life is.  The landscape has not always been a picture perfect one.  However, the most beautiful landscapes are not the smooth ones.  The most aw-inspiring landscapes are the ones composed of canyons, peaks, and valleys.  My road of life has taken me up, down, around, and around…

October flew by in the blink of an eye.  Along with orchestrating the 2018 NFB of Nevada State Convention, teaching Braille once a week, assisted with coaching cross country twice a week, running five days a week, traveling out of town twice, maintaining a well balanced diet, clean house, and happy kids.  I deserved all that wine and candy I consumed last night.

People ask me all the time how I manage to do all I do.  Simple answer is, “I love what I do, and I do what I love.”  I also have an incredibly loving supportive husband who puts up with my endless passions.  He may not be cheering loudly on the megaphones, but he’s always there behind the scenes taking care of business.  I could not have asked for a better partner to travel through life with.  Dancing to the beat of his own drum, coloring outside the lines, and choosing to fit in no one else’s box, that’s how the Rupp family rolls.

I invite you to hop on over to The Seed Project, hubby’s blog, check out some amazing landscape photography and thought provoking pieces on mindfulness, and challenge you to be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and dance like there’s no one watching.

hubby and I with a waterfall behind us, This photo was taken on our 14 mile hike day in Big Basin State Park.

hubby and I with a waterfall behind us, This photo was taken on our 14 mile hike day in Big Basin State Park.