Wednesday’s blind wisdoms – Blind wisdom prayer of thanks!

Good morning blind wisdom seekers!

A few years ago I attended a Be the Change workshop with the wonderful Chris Le Breton, a coach with a big world view who was spending time in Dunedin. Chris held this one day workshop on a Saturday, which I attended with other coaching friends. At one stage, we were all taken into a school hall, that Chris had prepared for us, with big posters on the wall with categories such as women, indigenous, spiritual, European, disability etc. We were all asked to pick our top three and to go into one of those. With too many of us going into the “women” section Chris asked us if we could choose another category. I chose disability, while one of my coaching friends chose indigenous. There I was, all alone, in the disability corner, feeling quite isolated. Then I thought “I am a lone voice” and then after a moment I thought “Hang on a minute Julie, if you are a lone voice, that makes you a leader!” I quickly felt better about standing alone, before we were asked to regroup. My friend who had stood under the indigenous poster, came over to collect me and we began talking. Me about standing on my own, her about indigenous wisdom! Then it struck me, “if indigenous people have wisdom, then blind people must have wisdom as well!”

And so……..

Blind wisdom was born!

Later in the day we did a stream of consciousness which has resulted in the following blind wisdom prayer of thanks.

Very often in Maori Dom, spirits of the ancestors are welcomed to a meeting space, to sit over the room while we are all gathered together. This weekend I had the blessed job of being MC at the Parents of Vision Impaired conference in Wellington, where I opened with this Blind Wisdom prayer of thanks, to welcome those of our blind past to enter our place of meeting.

Here it is for you now:

We welcome to this space our blind ancestors, for their stories and actions that have taught us not to be afraid of our dark, but to live in our light.

We remember all blind people who have inspired us to be fearless and who have shown us that doing things in different ways is where we find our true source of power.

We give thanks to the creativity this brings into our lives and opens our hearts to diversity.

We are grateful for our triumphs and our happiness but most of all we give gratitude for the sense of peace our blind wisdom brings us.

Yeah to blind wisdom!

And thank you for being open to blind wisdom!


Blind Wisdom International Stacked.pdf

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Wednesday’s blind wisdoms – Sign up to our Youtube channel!

Oh, have you seen the clips of the braille biscuit monster on the braille biscuit show on Otago Access Radio?? 105.4 fm or on podcast at

It’s so so cute! Help us spread the braille biscuit word by sharing this post as well as going onto the Youtube channel and subscribing! That way, every week you’ll get to learn all about the braille alphabet, for the next 24 weeks – we’ve already done A and B – and we’re going right through to Z!

Listen to interviews with braille lovers or hear their stories, there’s quotations from Helen Keller, readings in braille along with music from blind musicians!

And if you want a poster for your workplace, school or organisation simply send me an email to julie with your postal address and I’ll send you one out!

We’ve already been picked up by another radio station – Plains FM in Christchurch which is super exciting! The braille biscuit monster is very pleased, he loves being the centre of attention! Unless he’s trying to pinch those braille biscuits of course, then he’s quite happy for you not to notice him!

Have fun checking this Youtube clip out from yesterday’s show and the braille biscuit letter b! That’s b for blind wisdom!

Bye bye!

The Braille Biscuit Show Logo pdf.pdf

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Wednesday’s blind wisdoms – The braille biscuit show!

Good morning blind wisdom seekers

And welcome to the braille biscuit show!

Yes, it went live yesterday and what fun it was. It’s my new multi-platform radio show on Otago Access Radio, 105.4 fm.

You can hear the show every Tuesday morning at 10 am

· 105.4 FM

· 1575 AM

· Streamed live at

· Download the podcast from the website

· Find podcasts of previous shows on that blind woman’s facebook page!

· The show is sponsored by the Blind Foundation and began on October 4, as part of Blind Week, 2016! so get ready to find out more about this magical code with interviews with braille lovers, music from blind musicians, readings in braille and quotations from Helen Keller sprinkled throughout the show!

Each week we end with the show’s Louis Braille Limerick!

There “was a French boy who ate snails,

Who poked his eye with a nail,

He went blind the next day,

So he started to play,

With some dots that he turned into braille!”

Viva Louis Braille!

Listen in and help us spread the word about this amazing literacy tool for the blind!

Poster_Braille Biscuit Show (1).pdf

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Wednesday’s blind wisdoms – 7 day reading aloud challenge!

This Blind Week I am responding to a 7 day challenge put out by the Blind Foundation in conjunction with an organised event where 7 blind people are challenging themselves over 700 km for 7 days!

However, I am doing a different kind of challenge. After becoming partially sighted at the age of 18, I have not been able to read aloud for over 30 years. Until now……

I learned braille as a 35 year adult but while I found writing braille relatively easy, reading it with my fingers was a whole different story.

I am collaborating with Dunedin Public Library all next week where I will be reading at least one children’s book a day for 7 days at all libraries around the region.

I’ve been practising my reading for 30 minutes every day for the past year to improve my reading speed. and Just for fun, we are going to make blanket huts and crawl into them and I’ll read the kids a story. Just like we used to do when we were little!

Here’s where you will find me in my pyjamas, reading aloud around Dunedin in Blind Week, 2 – 8 October!

Sunday 2 October at 11.30am: City Library, Storypit

Monday 3October at 3pm: Blueskin Bay Library

Tuesday 4 October at 11am: Mosgiel Library

Wednesday 5 October 3 pm – Pop up Braille blanket hut! Surprise!

Thursday 6October at 3.30pm: Port Chalmers Library

Friday 7October at 3pm: Waikouaiti Library

Saturday 8October at 2pm: City Library, Storypit

You can follow the Blind Foundation’s 7 day challenge on their site

Or they have their facebook page

Or follow it all on twitter

#lifewithoutlimits #lwol #acityofstories

If you want to contact Dunedin Public Library you can do so through

Kay Mercer
Events Coordinator, Dunedin Public Libraries
Direct Dial: 03 474 3419

Email: kay.mercer

Or me on julie!

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Wednesday’s blind wisdoms – I wonder where my husband is!

That’s what I thought the first Christmas we spent together in 2005! “Where’s Ron?” I asked myself. He kept disappearing. Putting it down to having ants in his pants, I carried on through the silly season and at last Christmas arrived!

“here’s your present” he said quietly as he handed me a flat square parcel. “I made it for you!”

“Oh that’s where you’ve been disappearing to then,” I exclaimed!

I opened the package, running my hand around what felt like a frame, and some bumps on it. Reading the bumps with my hands Ron added in some description, “It’s a braille art work that reads the word vision, in tactile print as well as braille.” He continued, “because even though you can’t see, I still think you have vision.”

I cried. Tears fell on the painting. In a quiet voice I replied, “I’ve only bought you something!”

Since then, Ron has only dabbled in braille art works until recently, when he decided to do some more. Ron Esplin now has an exhibition at the Rob Piggott Gallery at 8 Jetty Street called a Portrait of Dunedin. While most of the works are water colours of Dunedin scenes, there is a beautiful section containing braille art works, created by Ron himself.

The works are based on contracted and uncontracted braille, and Ron encourages you to come and touch them! Unlike most galleries where the printed sign reads “Please do not touch”, these ones you are allowed to feel!

The exhibition runs until next Tuesday, 13 September and the gallery hours are as follows:

Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 September, 10 am – 4 pm

Monday 12 & Tuesday 13 September, 12 noon – 2 pm!

8 Jetty Street is just below the big intersection of Princes, Manse, Stafford and Jetty Streets! (opposite the Chip monks car park) (that’s instructions for the blindies amongst us!)

Plus, there is an article in today’s Otago Daily Times on Page 5 entitled “Innovative braille art gift to wife”

Ron, thank you for being inspired by braille! You see beauty everywhere, including in blindness and braille, and for that I love you very much!


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Wednesday’s blind wisdoms – fearing the blind!

Good morning blind wisdom seekers.

Thank you for joining me for another glimpse into the world of the blind. In searching for inspiration for today’s entry I came across an article entitled Why we fear the blind written ByROSEMARY MAHONEY in which Rosemary explores her own emotions towards blindness as well as an experience that taught her much.

Here is that experience for you to read. I’ll join you back at the bottom of this excerpt.

A few years ago, I allowed myself to be blindfolded and led through the streets of Lhasa by two blind Tibetan teenage girls, students at Braille Without Borders. The girls had not grown up in the city, and yet they traversed it with ease, without stumbling or getting lost. They had a specific destination in mind, and each time they announced, "Now we turn left" or "Now we turn right," I was compelled to ask them how they knew this. Their answers startled me, chiefly because the clues they were following – the sound of many televisions in an electronics shop, the smell of leather in a shoe shop, the feel of cobblestones suddenly underfoot – though out in the open for anyone to perceive, were virtually hidden from me.

For the first time in my life, I realized how little notice I paid to sounds, to smells, indeed to the entire world that lay beyond my ability to see.

The French writer Jacques Lusseyran, who lost his sight at the age of 8, understood that those of us who have sight are, in some ways, deprived by it. "In return for all the benefits that sight brings we are forced to give up others whose existence we don’t even suspect."

Thanks for being so articulate about blindness Rosemary. As a blind woman I appreciate you sharing your insights as a sighted woman with the sighted world. Thank you also for understanding that the blind tap into a world that is very often unseen by the sighted.


You start noticing what you smell, hear, taste and touch!

“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!”

That blind woman

Julie Woods!

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Wednesday’s blind wisdoms – Dear Spark!

Dear Spark

We moved house last December, and as a consequence, the free 018 directory assistance so kindly offered to me by your business on the grounds of being unable to read print was no longer available on my new land line. After making enquiries by phone informing me I would have to re-apply for the service, a print form was posted to me to be completed. Unfortunately I was unable to complete the form requesting exemption from paying for the service on the grounds I have a print disability, so asked my husband for help to complete this.

After we had done that, I ask my volunteer Margaret to drive me out to the Blind Foundation to have them verify my blindness as requested on the form. The staff at the Blind Foundation kindly obliged and also popped the letter in the post for me. Done!

After no further communication for a fortnight or so, I headed down to the Spark shop here in Dunedin as we had another issue regarding Call Minder. The wonderful assistant Jesse helped us with our Call Minder, and towards the end of the conversation I asked about the status of my free directory assistance.

“Can you tell me if they have received my form yet Jesse?”

“It doesn’t look like it Julie”

“OK, how will I know when they have received it Jesse?”

“They will send you a letter to inform you!”

Spark, can you please tell me which part of blind you don’t understand?

Thank you.

That blind woman

Julie Woods!

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