Jennifer Rothschild is sitting in a café booth sipping fruit tea and sharing about the "makeup incident"as in the time she accidentally mixed up her eyeliner and lip liner. "Thankfully, my son, Clayton, said something to me before I greeted the world with red eyes and black lips," Jennifer explains with a laugh.
Jennifer, who's been blind since she was a teenager, admits she tells this story often, since one of the most frequent questions she fields from the women who hear her speak at retreats and conferences is who does her hair and makeup. They're duly impressed when she admits she does these things herself. But they don't know the half of it.
Besides being a hands-on mom to two sons, Clayton, 17, and Conner, 8, Jennifer also travels constantly to speak at women's conferences across the country, sustaining many bumps and bruises as she navigates countless new hotel rooms.
"I'm naturally more of an introvert, so I've had to learn to be brave," Jennifer explains. "Since I'm blind, it's easy for me to become fearful. But I'm unwilling to be governed by it. I've discovered courage is a choice."
Jennifer has been making that choice since she was 15, when she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable degenerative disease that slowly destroys the retina. Over the following two decades, light gave way to shadows. Today, at 43, Jennifer can detect only very bright light.
In college, Jennifer met Philip Rothschild, the man who's now her manager, traveling companion, and husband of 20 years. "Even though I couldn't see Philip, I could tell from the sound of his voice that he had a great smile," Jennifer says of their dating relationship.1