A person’s five senses are often taken for granted. For Janet, the loss of her sight caused a major shift in her lifestyle. As a young mother with three children and a husband who was also having trouble with the disease, it almost seemed as if giving up was the only way. But with a little bit of effort and a lot of faith, Janet was able to rebuild her marriage and achieve her new identity through her unlikely passion – writing.
Life smiled at me: a college degree, ambitious husband with a great career, and a promising future for our family. I was living out my dream – stay home and care for my three small sons.
Without warning, my world began to shake. The retinal disease I inherited from my father began to affect my eyesight.
I saw the changes as my peripheral vision began to close in. In desperation I sought cures, treatments, any sign of hope. But dead ends turned my world even darker.
Then, the dreaded day came, I held my hand before me, and I saw a dark gray nothing. I blinked, looked to my right, to my left. Nothing.
My vision closed in completely and the flood gates of anger and desperation opened up. Weeks dragged on with anguish. And my husband, who wasn’t prepared to be married to a blind woman, informed me he found someone else.
At 31, I was blind, three sons to care for and my husband’s rejection that seared during my sleepless nights.
Giving up was a temptation, but not an option. Three little lives depended on me.
I turned to God who brought clarity for my thinking, confidence in my reactions and boldness to declare I could make it.
My husband saw this renewed poise in me – a genuine confidence. One day he came home, repented and chose to move on with our marriage. We fell in love all over again, vowed to make it through and he’s now my biggest supporter.
Although my marriage healed, being blind, the uncertainty of reaching any professional success at all seemed like an impossibility.
“You have to try it,” hubby said one day.
He sat me before a computer with a voice synthesizer that read the screen. What I pressed on the keyboard, I heard through the head set.
I was stunned at the technology. I was thrilled at the possibilities.
The years that followed, I wrote a bit about my life — what it was like to live blind; how God healed my marriage; how I began my work as an award-winning Spanish interpreter; how we survived the murder of our youngest son; all became a book that inspired and touched many.
But now it was time to create a book that would speak to women with a bit of sass, passion and boldness to empower them and urge them to reach their most daring dreams.
Soon after, my best writing filled the pages of Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta. My agent cheered me on. Mypublisher was thrilled. But me? I was skeptical of its success.
Amazon.com is jammed with 7-million books. The chances my book would be noticed was so very small.
But as had been my style, passion erased discouragement.
I went to work. Sent out PDF copies for reviews. To my delight, all gave a five star rating. Those reviews became my weapon as I worked endless hours to get the word out about Simply Salsa.
The day of the launch came and Simply Salsa began at 200,000 out of 7-million. Hubby gave me updates. Simply Salsa was dancing its way up quickly, very quickly. By 11:35 p.m. it reached 272. And in my category, it went from 4,000 to 1,500; hours later it hit number 10, then 7, 4, 2 until it reached number 1.
Impossibilities are only in our perception, obstacles are often only in our mind and success is sweet when passion fuels us to reach the top.
Janet answers our Identity Five Questions:
What have you accepted within yourself and/or within your life? Is there anything you are working on accepting?
I have accepted my blindness as the trait that sharpened my tenacity, helps me see the best of life and reminds me to value other senses with gratitude.
What do you appreciate about yourself or your life?
The fact that I welcome challenges, they spark my creativity. I thrive on risks as they teach me lessons. I plunge into ventures such as traveling alone across the country and abroad, as each episode helps my speaking and writing.
What have you achieved, or what are you working to achieve personally, physically, or mentally?
To reach more women with my writing and speaking and show them the path to live a life of confidence, free from fear and rich with joy.
What is your no-so-perfect way?
To make monetary requests to fund my ministry.
How would you complete this sentence, “I Love My…” This has to be about you, physically or mentally.
My boldness to trust in God and my complete faith in Him who is a constant source of comfort for tough moments, for provision for my needs and for guidance when the road becomes confusing.
Janet Perez Eckles, blind, shows others to see the best of life through her work as a keynote speaker, writer and author of Amazon number 1 bestselling, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta, Judson Press, 2011. Learn more about Janice by visiting www.janetperezeckles.com.