Month: January 2014

A warm memory

This cold weather makes me want to think warm thoughts.  My brain has been taking trips in the way way back machine lately.  Twenty one short years ago this month I took a trip of a life time.  It was a trip I could only imagine and a trip that I never want to leave my mind.  I was a shy 10th grader that had a real problem talking to anyone and here I take a two week trip to Jamaica with a bunch of strangers besides my dad.  This was a two week trip that opened my eyes to the beauty of the earth, love of God, and kindness of strangers.  

January 2nd we flew from cold Minnesota to Jamaica.  It was gorgeous, I couldn’t get over the color of the ocean.  It was the most mesmerizing blues and aquas.  I got to experience this close up a couple times with swimming and a glass bottom boat ride.  We were picked up by our driver for the time we were there.  He simply went by Johnny Walker and became a dear friend.  We traveled to Brownstown Jamaica which was a small town about in the middle of the island. Think mountains, hills and lush greenery every where you looked.  We stayed at a school where we would be helping build housing for future teachers of the school.  

Oh there is so much I could tell you about the kids, which were adorable, to the food and the poverty we saw.  It all affected me greatly and made me the person I am today.  Seeing these kids who are living in tin shacks come to school in the cleanest most pressed clothes made a big impression on me.  There are kids now that have everything given to them and they come to school looking like they just rolled out of bed.  The pride to be able to attend a school just isn’t there.  It is a privilege we take for granted there they did not.  The children have to pay for their books, uniforms, and lunch.  There is no free education there.  We got to help build this building, but what touched me more were attending some of the classes and morning devotions of this school.  They would pray and sing praises to God each morning before school.  The respect they had for the teachers and staff was unbelievable just something I don’t see enough working at the school.  

Like I said before there is so much I could say but there are two short stories I would like to share about this time of my life.  First is fun.  I was a very shy child and adult.  I didn’t assert myself much and if my friends said they did or didn’t want to do something that is what I did.  Well I missed out a lot in school because of that.  In Jamaica an amazing young man who was studying to be a doctor invited me to go out with him one night in town.  My dad said yes and I wanted to go.  We went to the local roller rink.  How fun skating in an open air rink with Marley vibrating through the air.  The reggae music got in my blood that trip.  It just slows your body down and you can enjoy each note as the music swirls in the air and surrounds you.  There were some funny songs also like Whitney Huston put to reggae, just didn’t sound right to me.  It was a night with a new friend and a time to let go of some of that inhibition and just be and have fun.  I could smile, not care about what others were thinking it was a night to truly remember.  

My other story was one that was rather scary to me.  We slept all in one large room and my dad gave me silicone earplugs to wear for the snoring.  I could never stand that sound still can’t.  Well a stupid little thing like an earplug really messed me up.  It ended up getting pushed in and lodged next to my eardrum.  I tried and tried to get that sucker out but it just wouldn’t budge.  My dad tried a tweezer but it just broke apart but the main part was staying in.  I went to the local doctor they tried no success, then to the missionary doctor from England.  She tried flushing it out nope it was there to stay.  Now everyone was worried about traveling and air pressure not sure what to do.  Well we come back to Johnny Walker our driver.  He offered to drive me to a hospital some distance away to try and see if they could get this out.  I was scared.  My dad was scared of how much was a hospital going to charge an American.  We got to the hospital and this is a scene I will never get out of my head.  The waiting room was outside on the grass and the sign above the door said Operating Theatre.  There was a young girl waiting that had an obvious broken arm she had to be in such pain.  They took me in first because I was an American.  That still guilts me to this day.  I had a doctor that was from another country don’t remember where.  He ended up cutting my ear canal and getting in under the ear plug and pushing it out from behind the plug.  He had to cut my ear canal and ear drum in the process but he did it.  That is the ear with the most scarring and damage today.  When my dad asked how much he just responded please pray for our hospital and that is all.  I still do, I pray for that operating theatre all the time.  I pray for that little girl who is now about 30 years old now that she is ok.  The smell and look of that hospital is in my brain forever.  It was a large ward with beds down each wall with green peeling paint.  It is somewhere I would never want to go back to.  

That trip 21 years ago it changed me.  It made me see that I had a little more self worth then I ever thought.  It made me appreciate how much I had even though to US standards we didn’t have a lot.  It mostly strengthened my love in Christ and to see what people he put in our path and how we went there to help this town and what they did was help me.  

Brownstown Jamaica forever is dear in my heart and it is as fresh in my mind as it was 21 years ago.  Sometimes you have to use that way way back machine in your brain to find a warm memory.  


W-wind whipping from the west. Howling like a train and shaking the walls of the house. 

I ice coating the streets and sidewalks. Ice painting designs on my windows. 

N nose and toes frozen in our boots. Can I feel my ears or fingers nope.

Ttrees swaying from side to side in the frozen wind.  Just about hitting the door wanting to be let in. 

E- everything white and coated. Looks like frosting on a cake over everything

R- ready to run far away. Away where the sun is shining and we can feel the warmth

My ADD Mind

Image                                              It is another snow day out here on the prairies of Minnesota.  When I was young if we had a snow day it was like hell had froze over.  My school district did not close for anything.  If we did end up with a snow day the joke was that the superintendent’s garage door was froze shut.  Out here going on our 7th year I have learned if there is wind you are stuck.  The drift that form on the roads are just huge and make it impassable.  My kids will be raised with this weather so I hope they learn to respect it and know its power.  

When we have a day with the kids home I swear my mind turns to ADD brain.  It jumps from one topic to another and I don’t know if anything really gets down in a full manner since I am already on the next task or activity.  We did clean up the clutter that was around.  I vacuumed and got the few dishes done that were in the sink.  Boy I would like a dishwasher someday.  I cooked up some italian sausage and have that in the slow cooker with some of my home canned sauce.  Just jumping from one task to another not really taking the full time on one task that it deserves.  My mind drifts in thinking also of past events and future events.  Problems of the day and praises of the past.  A day like today is a good one for music.  I love my Pandora radio.  I have many stations set up but days like today I am partial to Rusted Root, makes me think of warmer temps. I also am enjoying Indigo Girls, Eva Cassidy, and some Paul Simon, and some smattering of Pearl Jam.  My music choices vary so much but today these are what are making me happy. My iPod is plugged into my speaker and they are going strong and loud.  

Music brings me all over my mind. It will bring back a memory for high school and college.  It will bring back a memory of a trip I may have taken or a special friend that has crossed my path.  I wonder what is the music of my future will be? Will it still be these groups I enjoy to listen on a day like today or will it be other groups and song?.  What will be the problems of the future and the praises of the past?  Music is really a journey into a soul.  Sure seems like that today.  I love hearing the music, the melody to the bass line.  So on my ADD brain I had to share this week.  I find myself testing my hearing all the time. She the transition- music, hearing.  I may notice I can’t hear the TV and radio at the volume I could before.  So I knew the UPS truck would be coming a couple days ago and I was going to really test myself if I could tell when he came.  I have a loss at low frequencies and I think that affects me hearing the truck pull up.  I was sitting no more then 2 feet from the door and I was thinking I am going to really listen for that truck should be coming soon.  At that moment there was a pounding at the door just 24 inches from me.  It happened to be the UPS guy.  Guess I failed that test and didn’t hear the truck.  Oh well I will just enjoy my music at this time and not be concerned I am at the top of the volume range.  

Well I better try to get to some of the more not so fun tasks I have on my list complete.  I would really like to go through the kids clothes and try to organize that mess.  Enjoy your day!!

What’s your mountain

My boys, husband and son, went out ice fishing this morning.  What a glorious day today.  Not a cloud in the sky and no wind and 42 degrees.  Now for Minnesota standards that is a regular heat wave where coats, hats and mittens will stay in the car.  Greta and I made our way to church this morning.  I heard a wonderful message that I think can be applicable to all of us in some part of our life.  

What Is Our Mountain or our Giant??  

We all have obstacles in this life.  If you don’t have something that is testing us I believe your head is in the sand and not looking at life head on.  We may have trouble in relationships, financial, health, children, jobs…the list is endless.  These are our Mountains or Giants in life.  David faced Goliath that was his literal giant.  He kept his eyes on God and he was able to defeat that giant right between his eyes.  We have a God that will help us through all these trials of life.  He holds our hand or he holds us if we need the support.  He will help us pass threw these mountain passes and by these Giant armies that look like they are out for us.  We need to keep our eyes on Christ and not the trials that life throw at us.  God will reach out grab our hand and lead us threw this thing called life.  

I have learned numerous times in life that sometimes it takes falling to your knees and remembering that we aren’t in this alone and we need reinforcement to help.  I need help with my marriage, children, job, health and all of life.  I don’t have the answers.  

I pray I can keep my eye on God and reach my hand out and ask for help.  That is the way I will defeat my giant and cross my mountain.  

I hope you all can start this week with peace and knowledge that we have an Awesome God and he Reigns from Heaven to Earth.  

Thoughts from a mom on a Snow Day

Today started out with a 2 hour late start for school that soon changed to closed.  When you have a day planned and two hyper kids who are on the verge of killing each other it just crushes you.  Yes I love my kids and I would hate for them to go outside in the blizzard we are having but when your day gets turned upside down it just changes your mood.

I had a meeting scheduled today with the State office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  I was hoping to get some questions answered and find out where some of the resources are located in our part of the state.  I read about all these classes and other things I would be interested in and they are 3 hours away from us.  Not very practical.  Would be nice to know what our region of the state has.  When I found out school was cancelled it was NOOOO I don’t want to do this meeting with kids there.  Meeting got cancelled hopefully will be rescheduled soon. A little relieved- didn’t want to do this with the children.

I was going to clean my floors this morning but instead I have blankets down on the floor and it is either a TaeKwonDo sparring match, or a WWW match, or cage fighting or some variation of this.  The kids are determined to harm one another today.  It must be the change in the weather.  The wind is sounding like a freight train and it is doing odd things to the children’s brains.  They are wild!!!!!

I made some soup for dinner and cleaned a few things up today but I am thinking I am done for today.  I need to act as referee today and maybe a quiet movie later will be the magic pill.

The kids and I have been practicing our ASL.  So now the kids are using the signs they know to insult each other.  I tell you the day is one long fight fest.  Henry’s big way to bug Greta now is to sign “Beautiful Henry” and then “Boring Greta”  Greta then does some insults back to him and it goes and goes until one starts crying or tattles.  At least they are learning ASL even if it is for taunting.  That is good right?

Well good luck for anyone who is stuck in a blizzard.  I hope my husband makes his 1 mile drive home ok tonight.  I think we will all be staying home tonight. Now to go keep the peace and let my daughter know that she is “Beautiful Greta.”  Maybe we should look up some uplifting signs today.

Have a good day everyone.


Image                                                Such Pride I have in these 3 girls from our local Tae Kwon Do gym.  My daughter is the girl in the center.  The time, training and determination these three girls have shown amazes me.  I have such hope for these kids in the future.  They know the meaning of hard work, and commitment.  Things aren’t given to you, you earn them.  These girls gave up time every night during their Christmas vacations to train and work hard.  They learned Korean terms, numbers, and many other facts. They also needed to know their patterns and numchuck patterns, and had to break 5 boards.  How they fit all that info in their brains just amazed me.

Pride was welled up in my chest and throat all night.  Watching all these young people working so hard just brings me chills.  So many kids think they deserve that first place trophy for just being themselves.  These kids have learned that if they don’t pass everything in the test they don’t pass and get that next belt.

My dear Greta tried so hard and did wonderfully on her test.  Her material was solid and she was strong in spirit and strong in body.  Her nerves got the best of her on her breaks.  She broke the board with her elbow but missed the others.  She did not get her belt last night.  She had tears in her eyes but she sucked it up and knew that she can break those boards (tomorrow).  She will earn that belt and she will be a 2nd degree poom by class on Monday night.

The smile on her face after the test congratulating the other two girls on their new belts again brought again PRIDE.  This picture was taken after the test and I think you can see the pride in all the girls faces.


How I joined the HOH club

I thought I would share the weekend/week that I lost hearing.  I haven’t talked about this to very many people but I have met some awesome people in real life and on the computer that I see that it isn’t something to hide or pretend it isn’t there it is who I am and that means it is ok. 

I was at a TaeKwonDo tournament in fact I have a blog posting from that event with a picture.  I felt fine that day and had a great time.  That night we went to my in-laws house and we watched a movie on TV.  No big deal just hanging out in the living room.  Well I couldn’t hear the words on the TV.  I could hear an occasional commercial but not dialog from the movie.  I grabbed the remote and turned it up and everyone complained how loud it was and turned it back down.  I just couldn’t understand what was happening so I went to bed thinking I was getting an ear infection and my ears were probably filled with fluid.  Next day was church and again I noticed I really couldn’t hear well at all.  But I didn’t want to say anything to anyone.  I smiled and tried to answer questions but I was more then ready to go home when the service was done.  That night my husband asked me to sit down at the table.  He looked right at me and asked if I could hear ok.  I played dumb and asked why.  He said I answered questions wrong at church like I hadn’t heard what the person had said to me.  I just said that maybe and I was probably getting sick.  Well the next day Monday is what freaked me out.  Those that know me know I don’t freak out.  I was to sub for just a quick 30 minute job at the school.  I just had to read to some young kids.  I love to read so thought this will be fun.  I went in and started reading and it was going good till all the kids wanted to ask questions at once.  I couldn’t make out what they were saying and I think I started having a panic attack.  I was able to leave right about that time.  I went out to the vehicle and just sat and couldn’t do anything.  I was in shock.  I grabbed my phone and made a call for the doctor to get my hearing checked.  

Next day I got in and had my hearing checked.  It showed a mild mixed loss.  Mixed meaning I have so much scar tissue in my ear from countless surgeries, infections, burst ear drums that I have a conductive loss.  I also have a sensorineural loss which is what I am guessing came on very sudden. I go home with really no answers but get a call to go to an audiologist the following day in a neighboring town.  I went and had more tests then the first time in fact over an hour I was in the booth having test after test.  I was found to have a mixed loss that dipped down into moderate hearing loss in the frequencies where speech is most important.  I wasn’t getting sick, or crazy I had entered a club of Hard of Hearing.  

The audiologist was very nice and explained how hearing aids can’t bring that hearing back to perfect but it would make a big difference.  So I ordered my Phonak hearing aid (only 1 need to save up for number 2). I laid pretty low the next week or so.  I didn’t work at the school or really see anyone.  I got the hearing aid and the first thing I noticed was I heard the clock on the wall.  I hadn’t heard that when I went into the office.  I have had to have the hearing tweaked a few times and the levels upped a few times also.  My biggest difficulty is in a large group understanding someone talking to me or someone talking soft to me.  I need to work on lip reading for those situations. 

Everyday I feel a little bit better about the situation.  It was another thing in life you don’t plan for and don’t anticipate.  I have joined a great group online and it makes you know that you are not alone.  There are others out there that are going through the same things that you are.  

Everyone has a story we just have to let that story out so others know what yours is.  

Arctic Vortex

We have been stuck in this black hole of crazy cold that has been referred to the ARCTIC VORTEX.  Don’t you just hear a loud announcers voice saying the ARCTIC VORTEX.  This cold has been unsettling for me.  I am not sure why but I lost sleep over this cold.  I just sat at night thinking about animals, and people that are stuck in this cold.  I closed my eyes and just prayed and prayed for these individuals.  From our mailman, to someone who is homeless, to a dog or cat that is outside and prayed for them.  We have two rabbits that were out in our garage.  They were out of the wind and in a pile of hay but I couldn’t get them out of my mind.  I needed them safe and warm.  I went out at midnight the other night threw them in a shopping bag and brought them inside.  I hope they know I saved their lives.  I honestly don’t think they care but I did.

The kids missed yesterday from school.  The Minnesota governor called off all school for the state.  Boy these kids needed to get back to school today.  My son was actually bouncing off the walls.  He was climbing on the couch and then trying to leap across the living room and land in a chair.  Yeah we need school, better structure and OT again.  He actually woke up at 2am this morning to start getting ready for school.  I am sure he will be a joy when he gets home today.  School was 2 hours late today and my daughter must have asked me every 5 minutes if they cancelled it yet.  My gosh girl you can hear the phone better then me…have they called to cancel NO SO GET READY TO GO.

So I hope the cold is lifting.  When I drove by the bank yesterday morning it was -24.  Today it was 0 that is an improvement in my book.  I hope it starts making a upper slope to real numbers and maybe even some double digits I heard by the end of the week.  That would be just awesome and make my week.

Some facts I heard about Minnesota yesterday, Antarctica was warmer then us and the planet Mars was warmer then us.  Why do we live here.  I can’t see myself moving but it is a question I will ask myself every year.

Where ever you may live I hope and pray the weather improves and we get out of this black hole of the ARCTIC VORTEX.

My Daughter

ImageMy Daughter is one of the strongest girls I know.  She has been through a lot in her 10 years.  She is one of the most caring, feisty, and good friend you could ask for.  I have talked a lot about my son and the amount of energy he takes to raise.  My daughter falls to the side at times and I thought I need to brag about her some.  

Yesterday I had an audiology appt about 40 minutes away from home.  The nice thing with vacation is my husband was home with Henry. So Greta and I road tripped to town.  We had the best time!!! We talked school, friends, TaeKwonDo and much more.  I told her stories of when I went to Jamaica on a mission trip.  It was 21 years ago yesterday that I went there.  Seems like yesterday I went it is so vivid but telling a 10 year old that is was that long ago made me feel a little old.  She loved hearing the stories of when I was young and in high school. 

Greta went with me to my appointment and I think she enjoyed it.  I think she was amazed that my hearing aid could be hooked to a computer and programs changed and certain sound levels upped AGAIN, all on a computer and seeing everything graphed out on the screen.  Who knows maybe we have a future Audiologist on my hands.  She asked questions and was just so grown up.  She amazes me everyday where did my little girl go.  

We ended up doing a little shopping in town and then headed home.  Just so nice to hear her ideas in life and her likes and dislikes.  She talked about bullying in her school.  She is so determined to give everyone a chance and a kid getting teased or left out just whips her up into a frenzy.  I really won’t be surprised if one day I get called to the school for punching a kid.  I don’t advocate this but if she is defending a kid who is getting picked on I can’t fault her.  

My dear Greta has a big TaeKwonDo test coming up.  Next week she is going for her 2nd degree POOM belt( Jr black belt).  My heart couldn’t be prouder.  Watching them train day after day at the gym and their determination fills me with hope for these kids and their futures.  The amount of information, board breaking, numchucks, and lots of other material is mind boggling but these 3 girls that are going for the promotion KNOW IT.  This picture is from almost 2 years ago when she earned her POOM belt in 2012. 

Raising a daughter who is not spoiled on money, would give her jacket to a stranger if they look cold, and feels their job is to defend everyone makes me feel like maybe I am doing something right as a mom.