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.

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Happy Birthday to Me!

On this day 32 years ago, my mom gave birth to me in a tiny hut in a refugee camp in Thailand.  My parents couldn’t be more happy to bring me into this world.  I was their first born.  My arrival meant they were a real family.  If you think you’ve seen an over protective father, you haven’t seen my dad.  All their love, joy, hopes and dreams, there it was in a tiny innocent precious body.  Little did they iknow, less than two years later they would beimmigrating to the United States, learning a new language, and finding out that their daughter was blind.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they must have felt.

Grief…

Sorrow…

Guilt…

Fear…

They traveled up and down California searching for an answer.  Doctors said my vision would improve, other doctors said it wouldn’t.  Through it all, they protected me, sheltered me with unconditional love.

However, that protection and sheltering caused me to grow up never truly feeling adequate, and led me to continually second guess and doubt my abilities.  My constant need to prove myself and compete with other woman in my life are from my parents unknowingly putting me in competition with my younger sister.  She spent her childhood making sure her big sister was safe,  going to blind camp with her big sister, driving her sister around, ultimately missing out on being the younger sister.

That was then.

This is now.

I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for everything I did and didn’t do.  I don’t let my past or my circumstances control who I am, who I want to be, and what I want to do.  I especially don’t let my blindness play any role in my decision making.  I live to be a positive role model for my daughter and son, and everyone whom I may come into contact with.

As many of you know I am in a leadership program on emotional intelligence.  Yes, it started with a lot of self discovery and break throughs.  The main focus however is the 100 day stretch of living outward focused.  We are the source of a world transformed by joy, love, and giving.  This week we will prove that even the most outrageous and impossible tasks can be done.  My team and I are raising $175,000 for Tuesday’s Children to benefit Eddie Rivera, a 9/11 first responder who’s health has failed him since he volunteered in the search and rescue efforts after those planes hit that tragic Tuesday morning.  I am committed to personally raising $2,500 by Sunday.  I am asking each one of you to please support me in reaching my goal by donating here.  As a firefighter’s wife, this is especially close to my heart.  Everyone in the entire world is still effected by the events of that day, some more than others.  Today, on my birthday, I ask you to make a difference in the lives of those who were there at ground zero on September 11th, and those weeks after searching for survivors.

DONATE NOW BY CLICKING HERE

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Marley meeting Cinderella

A dream is a wish your heart makes.

When you’re fast asleep.

No matter how you’re heart is dreaming.

If you just keep on believing.

A dream that you wish will come true.

Marley and Cinderella

Last Easter I had a dream.  I dreamt that one day, my Marley would be able to participate like her sighted peers in the beloved childhood tradition of hunting for Easter eggs.

For years, I ran a mommy and me meet up group.  Every year we held our annual Easter egg hunt potluck.  Families brought treat filled eggs to share, the Easter Bunny hunted eggs with the kids, and of course the picnic tables were full of tasty both home made and sore bought delectable delights.

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Marley always had a great time, but her basket always contained a fraction of the other kids.

Last year, I was no longer running the mommy group.  We attended her friend Sophia’s birthday around Easter.  The kids dyed hard boiled eggs, and had their own private Easter Egg hunt in Sophia’s backyard.  Marley’s friend Olivia filled up her basket before Marley even had a single egg in hers.  Noticing this, Olivia than helped Marley find eggs for her basket.  Marley had a blast at the party!

We also spent the week of Easter in California visiting family and spent Easter afternoon at my aunt’s.  She has a large grassy backyard perfect for egg hunting.   Jackson could  care less about hunting for eggs.  All he wanted to do was play with the cool tractors, dinosaurs, and swords.  Marley put her heart and soul into feeling around for eggs.  Just as she got close to finding one, one of the big kids swooped it right up.  This happened over, and over, and over, and over.   Once again, Marley had a blast just being there and being part of the action.

That egg hunt in my aunt’s back yard broke my heart.  Here was a 4 year old girl so excited to hunt for eggs with her cool older cousins.  There they were, those older cousins running circles around her piling eggs filled with goodies into their baskets.  There Marley was delicately feeling her way through the grass searching for eggs, and swipe.  Just before her fingers touch it, it’s gone.

One of my favorite quotes come from Walt Disney.  “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

I took that dream and I declared that it will be a reality in 2015.

the Nevada Organization of Parents of Blind Children are collaborating with the Nevada Blind Childrens Foundation and will be delivering this dream on Saturday March 28th at Sunset Park in Las Vegas.  We are in the starting stages of plans.  We’ve secured a time, date, place, face painter, balloon artist, and volunteers for arts and crafts.  We just need to secure the beeping Easter eggs, and donations for food and candy.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to we working on this event.  Stay tuned for more updates as it comes together.  Best of all, stay tuned for the blog I will pubish on Monday March 30th sharing all about Marley’s first Beeping Easter Egg Hunt.

 

Life is Tastier When You Create Your Own Recipe

Have you ever taken a bite of something so delicious your entire body could practically taste it?  Ever wonder how you could replicate that mouth watering savory sensation?

Stop wondering, because you will never be able to duplicate that exactly as the chef prepared it.  And seriously, why would you want to?

Why not take it, and make it your own?

I have a new motto I want to share with you.  “Life is tastier when you create your own recipe.”

For example, that box of Bisquick in your pantry.  The recipe calls for

2 cups Bisquick

1 cup milk

2 eggs

Box of Bisquick

Why stop at just that?  Why not add

blueberries

strawberries

bananas

chocolate chips

coconut flakes

oatmeal

nuts

What could be better than starting your day with smiley face pancakes with blueberry eyes and a strawberry mouth?

smiley face pancakes

For Valentine’s Day, how about strawberry heart pancakes?

Valentine's Day pancakes

I hope you realize that I’m not just talking about pancakes here.  Where would the world be if we all stuck to the recipe on the box.  Just imagine…

What if Thomas Edison stuck to the recipe on his box?

What if Dr. Martin Luther King stuck to the recipe on his box?

What if Bill Gates stuck to the recipe on his box?

What if Steve Jobs stuck to the recipe on his box?

Ever think about the box the blind are placed in?

Blind people are often placed into a soft, padded, protected, illiterate, unemployable box with low expectations.

What if Dr.  Jacobus Tenbrook, Dr Kenneth Jernigan, Dr. Marc Maurer, and Mark Riccobono stuck to the recipes on their box?  Who are these men you ask?  These are the past and current president of the National Federation of the Blind.  In 1940 Dr. Tenbrook organized the National Federation of the Blind.  This is an organization of the blind, not an organization for the blind.   We are changing the misconceptions about blindness, a movement tearing down the walls of inequality, we are blind scientists and blind engineers inventing our future, and we are blind educators and parents teaching the next generation of blind children that they CAN live the life they want.

Marley on the Braille writer

Do you remember Christine Ha?  Just a few years ago she was the winner on the show the Master Chef.

People!  We are all master chefs!

Get out of that box.

Make life zestier.

Make life sweeter.

Make life spicier.

Whatever you do, just make it YOUR recipe.

grilled chipotle chicken salad

 

 

 

Have You Called Your Mom Today?

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One of my weekly rituals every Sunday morning is to call my mom.  After I’ve got the kids settled with their breakfasts, I pour my coffee and find a nice comfy place to curl up, pulling my feet underneath my bottom, and I call my mom.

I don’t just call her on Sunday mornings, my mom and I call each other at least a few times a week.  It’s rare for us to go longer than three or four days without talking.  This morning Ifelt expecially pulled to our Sunday morning rituals.

Why this morning?  Well, my week had flown by.  I’d been preoccupied with winter break ending, getting the house back into the school week routine, entertaining the kids with crafts and activities since we’ve instated the no TV on school days rule in our house, and preparing for Marley’s IEP to dispute the ridiculous recommendation that, “she is a visual learner… Braille should be considered when she reaches second or third grade where she will need to read for longer periods, smaller text, and for content and speed…””

So you see how it was easy for me to let the week fly by without calling my mom.  I also completely forgot that she’d told me about a procedure she would be having on Thursday.  While I was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off on Friday morning getting the kids and myself ready, and waiting for my husband to get off of a 24 hour shift so that we could drop the kids off in time at a friends house before Marley’s IEP, my mom called me.

Hearing her voice on the other end, I stopped in my tracks, sat down, and gave her my full attention.  It was a simple precautionary procedure.  However, given our family history, it was difficult to stop those fearful thoughts from flowing.

Here I am just a few months shy from turning 32.  I think about so many women my age who lost their mothers too soon.  My own aunt, lost her mother, my grandmother, when she was just 22.

Then there are those who’s mother’s are perfectly healthy and even live just a few miles away from them, who choose not to have a relationship with them.

Whatever the reason, whatever the distance whether it may be miles or years between you.  Every mother deserves to have that weekly phone call from their child.  This is the woman who gave everything for you.  This is the woman who sacrificed her body for you.  This is the woman who cried when you cried, kept you warm, nourished you both physically and emotionally, this is the woman who gave you life.

So… if you haven’t done so yet, call your mom today and tell her these two things.  “Thank you,” and, “I love you.”

Oh, and while you’re at it, call your dad too.

 

“ALL HANDS ON DECK!” URGENT!

As you know, I am hours away from boarding a flight to Reno to attend the National Federation of the Blind of Nevada state convention.  For months now, I have been trying to rebuild the Parents Division.   I made this intention public when I published my blog, “Calling All Parents of Blind Children in Nevada.”

Each and every attempt in succeeding has been thwarted by the affiliate president by the lack of communication.  I had been under the assumption that yes, I can be there to organize, but no I will not have a spot on the floor to speak on the behalf of rebuilding and reorganizing the Nevada Organization of Parents of Blind Children.  Although I was disappointed that my request to address to convention floor had been dismissed, I was still planning to attend to further my goals of connecting with as many parents as possible.

This morning however, I received the convention agenda via email.   To my surprise I have been allotted a time and place for bringing together parents of blind children.

Frustration only fuels my fire and desire for success.

Instead of sulking and playing the blame game, I am utilizing these next few hours to try to get the information out to as many people, as quickly as possible.  I CANNOT do it alone.  Please help me.

Tonight you will find me at the Harrah’s Hotel in Reno in room Payute #1 from 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.  I hope to be addressing a room full of parents of blind/visually impaired children.  It is our duty as parents to support one another, to teach, to advocate, and to ensure our children have as bright of a future as their sighted peers.

I also invite anyone who is interested to join me for lunch tomorrow, location TBA.

Below is more detailed information of times, rooms, and the Hotel address.

Thank you all for your love and support,

Terri Rupp

702-524-0835

terri.rupp@gmail.com

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND OF NEVADA
STATE CONVENTION 2014
Harrah’s Hotel Reno
219 Center Street
Reno, Nevada
(775) 786-3232

Registration cost: $20.00
Banquet cost: $55.00
Dues are: $10.00
NABS dues are: $5.00

Friday November 7, 2014

NABS meeting: Business, scholarship information… Payute #1 East Tower …5:0-6:00 p.m.
Anil Lewis, Janesha Murphy and Benjamin Dallin
Parents Organization of Blind Children: business, constitution, rebuilding …Payute #1 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Board of Directors meeting Payute #1 7-9 p.m.


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The Life of a Blind Wife of a Firefighter

Whew!  Try saying that title ten times fast.

I recently received an email from a reader who has Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).  This is a degenerative eye condition which usually leads to blindness.  She has a seven year old, and wants another baby before both she and her child get any older.  However, she is afraid since her vision has been, and will be continuing to worsen, that caring for two children will be even more of a challenge.  She asked me if I and other blind moms, parent alone, or are our husbands home with us to help.

For those of you who don’t know, my husband is a fire fighter.  He works 24 hour shifts, and is sometimes gone for 48 or 72 hours at a time.  We also live in a small master planned suburb where the nearest bus stop is about 3 miles away on the opposite side of the Interstate 15.  Our community has everything I might need on an everyday basis like the grocery store, restaurants, UPS, dry cleaner, dentist, Starbucks, Walgreens, 4 great parks within a mile of our home, an Ace Hardware store, a nail salon, and much much more.  We purchased our home here for the local conveniences and for the quiet and tranquil feel of a small town, set away from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.  The downside is that it often makes me a slave to the suburbs.

I’m not going to lie, living in the suburbs of Las Vegas, being blind, and having a husband who is gone for long hours is a challenge.  Let me ask you this question.  What in life isn’t a challenge?  I bet standing on one foot is a challenge to many.  I bet singing the, “Star Spangled Banner,” is a challenged to many more.  Learning a new language might seem like a challenge to some, but how incredible is it when you get to speak that language in it’s native country?  Learning how to read and write might seem like a challenge to a young child, but the joy of literacy cannot be achieved without taking the fear of failing and putting it to the test everyday by the first simple task of learning the letters of the alphabet.  Before you know it, that child is reading is first book!

One of my biggest challenges is transportation.  Yes, we do live within walking distance to many things I might need, we also live in a non-pedestrian friendly city, where the public transit system is a laughing joke compared to other metropolitan areas.

How do I overcome this challenge?

1.  Hubby’s fire station is close enough for him to ride his bike to.  This;

a) leaves our family car available for me to use, with a driver of course.

b) gives him a work out to and from work.

c) is great for the environment and cuts down on our gas bill.

2.  I have an amazing network of friends I’ve worked hard in creating that I like to call my Village.  I can’t emphasize the importance of a good support system, especially since we don’t have family nearby.  Both my parents and my husband’s parents live in Northern California.  These women don’t just help me.  We all help and support each other.  We are there for one another to provide a shoulder to cry on, with arms to hug and comfort heartache and pain, with laughs over a good glass of wine, and tonight, with a long overdue Mons Night Out.

3.  Lastly and most importantly, hubby and I have a strong and healthy relationship based on mutual trust and respect.  Together, we have built a foundation for our children to safely thrive.   Our own individual strengths and independence have thus transformed  into the web of interdependence, making it even easier for ALL OF US to succeed.

I’ll end today’s blog with this bit of advice, don’t take those lemons life hands you and merely turn them into lemonade, turn them into lemon meringue  pie or better yet, lemon custard pie.

Until tomorrow, make it a great day!

 

Sharing is Caring

 

Some people probably wonder why I often write such personal things here on my blog, and some people probably criticize me for being so open about my family and our struggles.   To quote my wonderful husband, in response to those people who ask why,?  “Why not?”

Why not share?  After all, sharing is caring.  I explain this simple concept to my children every day.

Why not share my joys, my journeys, my tears, my triumphs, my loves, and my passions?

Why not give a blind child a glimpse of a beautiful future that maybe one day she too can be a mom?  Why not give hope to a blind parent who has recently received the diagnosis that their child cannot see?  Why not give inspiration to blind students, blind seniors, blind veterans, and everyone else out there?  Why keep my positive outlook on blindness and on life hidden from the world?  Why not share?

Here are two photos I shared on my other blog,  the Seed Project.  I was inspired by my aunt who recently suffered from a stroke.  She was parylized on her left side.  After a few weeks of rehabilitation, she walked into her home, which her two sisters had remodeled for her.  She walked on her own, unassisted by anyone, but the help of a cane.  My aunt is a strong and sassy woman who loves life.  She loves a good glass of wine, she loves to dance, and she has an infectious laugh.  Knowing that in just a few weeks she is able to walk alone while stylishly rocking her cane, I know that she will again one day strut her stuff in sexy stiletto heels out onto a dance floor and shake it.

I am told my so many people that I am an inspiration, but today, I will tell you all that my aunt is my inspiration.

the sunrise at Valley of Fire on a recent family trip with the words, "What is inspiration to you?" across the top

I leave you with this, “Love actively and live proactively,” and don’t be afraid to share.

comic book style photoshopped version of a photo we took on a hike at Red Rock with the words, "Love actively, Live proactively."

 

Calling all Parents of Blind/visually Impaired Children in Nevada

Are you a parent of a blind/visually impaired child living in Nevada?  Do you know a parent of a blind/visually impaired child in Nevada?  Are you a teacher of a blind child, or a medical professional who works with blind children?  If  so, than I am looking for you.

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Terri Rupp.  My almost 5 year old daughter and I both have Optic Nerve Atrophy.  I wrote about the discovery of our daughter’s diagnosis earlier this year in my blog, “Marley and Me Musical Chairs.”  I feel fortunate to have my own experiences of growing up as a blind child, the opportunity to attend the Louisiana Center for the Blind where I learned Braille and other blindness skills an where I was introduced to the positive blindness philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind.  The foundation has already been laid for my daughter through my own blindness for her to grow up knowing that blindness isn’t anything to be ashamed of.  It will NOT hold her back from a bright future, rather it will  give her strength to overcome any and all obstacles if given the proper training and opportunity.

My husband and I want to share our positive outlook on blindness with other parents.  In all honesty, we both went through our own grieving process upon the diagnosis.  However the self pity, anger, guilt, and tears quickly tried up, and we both realized that this is just another mountain for us to conquer as a family.  During our frequent visits to the pediatric ophthalmologist, we have observed countless distraught, lost, and grieving parents of whom we just want to shout at, “YOUR CHILD IS FINE!  YOUR CHILD IS NORMAL!  YOUR CHILD HAS A BEAUTIFUL FUTURE!”

My dream is to get this message to every single parent in Nevada.  You are NOT going through this alone.  There are so many us out there just like you.  We are dealing with understaffed and underfunded school systems.  We live in a state with very limited resources for equal opportunities for the blind.  We CAN change this!  With the resources and support of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), we can change what it means to be blind, and give your children the future they deserve.

Please join us in organizing the Nevada Organization of Parents of Blind Children.  You can reach me at terri.rupp@gmail.com or join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/653738258066532/.

Sincerely Yours,

Terri Rupp

Oh, and PS, did you know that October is National Meet the Blind month?

 

 

The End of an Era. Thank you Meetup.com

Disclaimer…Sappy Alert

OK, well titling this blog, “The End of an Era,” may seen a bit dramatic for many, but to me and I’m sure to a few of my mommy friends, I’d think it’s fitting.

Today was the last official meet up of my mommy group.  I started the group in February of 2011, when my daughter was 14 months old, and before I even knew I was pregnant with my son.  I can honestly say that starting this group has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.  In just under three years I’ve met so many wonderful women whom I now consider like family.  I’ve made friends for both myself, my children, and even my husband.  I’ve gotten the opportunity to bring dozens of moms together.  I am so incredibly thankful to have been a part of so many lives, sharing the joys of new babies, birthdays, careers, marriages, and new homes.  Some of these women have lent me a shoulder to cry on, laughed so hard with me that we couldn’t help but cried, and used my shoulder when they needed a good cry themselves.  Some of these women joined the group looking for friends for their children, and some of these women joined looking for friends for themselves.  Whatever the reason, we had a great time these last few years together thanks to meetup.com.

A few of the first blogs I wrote was about how joining and starting my own mommy group brought be out of depression and isolation and made me into a more productive, happier, and healthier person.  You can read them here; Part 1 and Part 2.

Unless you have been in the shoes of a stay at home mom, you won’t ever understand how isolating that can me.  Throw in not having any family nearby,not being able to drive, having a husband who worked long hours (sometimes being gone days at a time), and being blind into the picture, and that’s were I was then.

Even though our lunch today was the last official meet up of the group, it was like any other get together.  We all had a great time chatting about our families, the holidays, and laughing at each others’ expenses.  Just because the group was over, it didn’t mean we were done with each other.  I’m looking forward to seeing more babies, watching our kids grow, and many many more moms night outs.

Thank you ladies, and thank you meetup.com for being a part of our lives.