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The Miraculous Moment Instagram Caused…

Smedley and Hueners Families standing together on a bright sunny day

Miracles are an interesting thing to me. I used to think that a miracle was like a “walk on water” kind of thing – when the impossible is suddenly possible. But as I got older, I guess as I became a Mom, I realized miracles come in all shapes and sizes. For me, a miracle is not alwys a tangible, Instagram pic kind of thing. A lot of times it’s a change in perception, a mindset shift.

I mention in my book, Thriving Blind, that when my boys were diagnosed as blind 19 and 15 years ago, I prayed for a miracle and I intended that miracle to be sight. But God had other plans and instead he sent me all the people, tools and resources I would need to raise my boys to thrive.
Turns out He is not done yet…

[Tweet “I prayed for a #miracle and I intended that miracle to be sight. But God had other plans. #ThrivingBlind”]

Last week I had an incredible speaking opportunity in San Diego at the Drug Information Association’s annual conference (DIA2019). SInce I have been traveling so much with the book and my advocacy work for rare eye diseases, I wanted to take my children with me to experience San DIego as well as the work I do and the people I do it with. Stay with me here… miracle part is coming…

Once I finalized the plans for the trip (multiple airline reward travel programs, Expedia points and VIP deals, OMG the list goes on!) I posted on social media that we were heading to Southern California. It turns out that a recent extraordinary Instagram connection @ILoveYouMoreEvents lives in the San Diego area and was interested in connecting.

Bree Hueners is the owner of the event planning company and she had reached out to me on Instagram for a devastating reason: her new baby, Everly, was diagnosed with blindness. Everly is her first born. Her only child. Sound familiar? Yup, I sure did know exactly how she felt. I sent her my TEDx talk and we DM’d for a few months – and then the chance to meet in real life came about!

My kiddos and I met with Bree, her husband Greg, and beautiful Everly at our little hotel (that’s all of us in the picture above!) It was so great for me to meet them in person and for Bree and I to chat as Moms. But that’s not the miracle. The miracle is that Bree and Greg got to chat with Michael and Mitchell. They got to ask questions about growing up blind. They learned first hand about technology and school stuff and social things and sports opportunities… the zillions of questions and fears and worries that I know they had were getting squashed left and right simply because they were meeting two young guys that are just like their daughter. Being that blindness is quite rare to most people, it was a one in a million kind of morning.

[Tweet “The zillions of questions & fears & worries that I know they had were getting squashed left & right simply because they were meeting two young guys that are just like their daughter. #ThrivingBlind”]

The best part, though, was that the Hueners got to witness the fact that Michael and Mitchell are regular guys doing regular things that they want to do – and blindness is completely in the background of their lives.
My guys got to do for Bree and Greg what so many had done for us: change their perception of the joiurney ahead and enable them to Set Extraordinary Expectations for Everly’s life. Actually I should say continue to set extraordinary expectations – Bree and Greg were already of the mindset that Everly will have a very full life… my guys just sealed the deal and filled their toolbox!

I wrote Thriving Blind so that no Mom or Dad or anyone would sit powerless in devestation over a blindness diagnosis. To hear Bree and Greg quoting the book and referring to many things in it was extraordinary for me. And watching my kids care so much for another family has my heart so full.
I. Am. Blessed.

If you are itnerested in reading Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight you can order the paperback or kindle versions on If you would like to order the electronic Braille version you can get it here.

If you would like to help make hard copy Braille versions of Thriving Blind available at the same price as paperback, please donate to our campaign.

Kristin Smedley is an author, non profit leader and TEDx speaker.  She originally planned to be a third grade teacher… and then two of her three children were diagnosed as blind.  Kristin now shares her journey of raising her kids to not just survive challenges, but to thrive!  She speaks around the globe regarding blindness and resilience,  and she just launched her new series teaching people to SEE: Set Extraordinary Expectations!  Watch her TEDx talk here and get info regarding her new book here.  If you  are interested to have Kristin speak at your upcoming event,  email her at or contact herhere!

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About Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley is the Best Selling author of Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight and Brilliantly Resilient: Reset, Rise and Reveal Your Brilliance. A recognized expert in the blindness and rare disease communities, Kristin won the highly regarded Champion of Hope Award and was named an Ambassador for the National Organization of Rare Disorders. Kristin is a popular, in demand speaker who has been invited to share her message internationally.


As CEO of a global patient organization, she coordinated legislation (H.R. #625) that became the first in US history to be submitted in Braille. Kristin spoke at the FDA to help achieve the first ever FDA approved gene therapy to treat an inherited retinal disease in the United States. Her TEDx Talk, book and international summit change perceptions of blindness, and sparked a global movement, Thriving Blind Academy, that is solving the unemployment, literacy, and financial crisis in the blind the community.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristin co-founded Brilliantly Resilient to help people come through life’s challenges and setbacks brilliant, not broken.