Month: May 2014

My Garden

ImageGarden Plot #7 is going to be my summer project this year.  The Assembly of God church in town has so kindly made a community garden and the plots were free to have for the season.  I have number #7 and I hope this will be a rewarding experience for myself and for my family.  

Over Memorial Day weekend we as a family went shopping for seeds and plants.  Oh the kids were so excited.  By the amount of things they wanted to plant we would need a farm not a 10×20 foot plot.  We scanned the shelves, weighed our options and decided on the items I knew we would eat.  

Our garden will hopefully have; beans, peas, onions, red potatoes, carrots, green peppers, yellow boy tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, corn, watermelon and some snake gourds.  Yes it is a lot and NO it wasn’t laid out the best.  I just planted this garden and already realized I should have planted in a different configuration.  Oh well live and learn.  It can only get better next year, right?

I have high hopes for this garden.  Not just for the produce that hopefully will come but the things I want to come with this garden.  I am hoping to meet some new people.  My new years resolution is trying to talk to more people and this will be a great way when there are other people out at the garden.  I also hope for a bonding experience with my children.  I hope when school is out we will be headed out to the garden in the mornings and we will be weeding, watering and picking the fruits of our labor.  This is an activity we can do together that doesn’t involve money or technology just us and God’s green earth.  I also have hopes as I am trying to change some things in my life for better health.  I hope going to the garden and trying to eat more healthy this will become more of a habit.  There are a lot of reasons I want to garden this summer.  I just pray that this time in nature away from tv’s, and radios and computers I will just have time to think and get into my own thoughts and emotions.  Time for me to reflect, pray and just clear my thoughts.  

I am excited for this new garden adventure.  I just planted 5 days ago and I was so excited last night when Henry and I visited the garden.  We have peas, carrots and corn that is popping up already.  It made my night.  

As the light filters through clouds of these early summer mornings I look forward to the hope and healing this garden may bring.  

Letter to my Daughter

100E2245My Dearest Daughter-

Today we had your 11th birthday party.  We had so much fun getting this planned and what a wonderful day.  I just had to write down my emotions and feelings of why you hold so much of my heart.  When I first held you honey you made me a mommy on Mother’s Day week.  You have always been a joy in my life for the last 11 years.

You have always been a girl to be on stage.  Since you were a little girl you loved to sing to us all and perform for all of us.  My heart is so happy that you want to sing for God now.  You are just growing up more and more everyday.  With the activities you want to partake in your general attitude of life.  I am glad to call you my daughter.

Today you had all your grandparents around you and they love you more than you can ever comprehend.  Today at your party you are so gracious and so happy with every gift you receive.  I am so happy that you appreciate anything given to you.  There is never a comment that something should have been bigger or better infact your comment today was, “I am spoiled and I am just so excited for every gift I received.”  I love that you would be happy with a paper bag is that is what someone thought to give you.

Today when you were swimming in the pool with your brother you are just so good with him.  I know brothers can be annoying but you are also best friends.  You are so good with your brother.  I know he can be a handful at times but you are his biggest defender.  You would beat someone up in an alley if they said something against your brother.  I love that your love for him is that great.  He has a built in superhero as a sister.  You two have love between each other I could only dream siblings can have.

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My dearest daughter you have given me such joy this past 11 years I can’t wait for the next decade and see what is in store for us and what new adventures we will have.

I love you so much and keep loving the Lord and life.

Love your Mommy.

 

Sounds I hear, Sounds I miss, and Sounds I am glad that are gone

When you are hard of hearing many may think you would cherish any sounds you can hear.  I will say for me there are sounds I miss, sounds I am glad are gone, and sounds I hate to hear.  I know there are lists out there that others have written of what sounds they miss or can hear or don’t hear and this is my list and my observations.

Sounds I don’t miss.  You might think any loss of sound would be a sad thing…nope.  A huge one for me is my husbands snoring.  I hate snoring and it can cause me to lose my mind.  Since my hearing had dropped this year the minor snoring as I will call it is gone.  So nice and has helped our marriage.  Now when my husband starts his louder than a freight train snoring that is still there and that will drive me to a padded cell but at least the more minor stuff is gone.  Yes I am so glad that sound is gone.

Sounds I miss.  These are not interesting sounds but they are sounds you take for granted.  I don’t hear the microwave beep unless I am standing right next to it.  That is the joke in our household.  I will say to my family, “Let me know when the microwave beeps” and my daughter or husband will respond, “It just did.”  This always seems to get a laugh since it always seems to be at the same time.  Now if my family would just step up and tend to the food that would solve the problem also.

Have you ever noticed how often you take cooking and kitchen noises for granted.  I have started to fill the sink with water to clean dishes more than once and you walk away.  You don’t hear that water running, that sink will overflow.  I don’t think when you have normal hearing you think of these things.  You just think you should be paying attention to these things like running water, or browning hamburger on the stove.  I truly believe that it is the sounds of these tasks that keep your mind intuned with the task at hand.  When you are a mom, cook, and nurse for skinned knees, food can get burned and sinks can overflow when the sounds of those tasks aren’t registered and your mind is not pulled back to those things.  So yes I will admit it I have about flooded my kitchen and burned browning food on the stove.  Maybe some of it is being distracted but after hearing from other folks I believe not hearing it was a large factor.

playing telephone

Mumbling, whispering and tight lip talkers have always been a problem for me since a child.  Playing the game where people whisper a secret to you and you need to pass it on.  Yep I was the kid that usually ruined that game.  Any whispering, mumbling or someone who doesn’t enunciate their words have always been a difficult situation for me.  Unfortunately my daughter is one of these.  She mumbles and then trails off at the end of a sentence.  I am trying to change this and let her know mom doesn’t understand.  I am scared she is at the age where that is just fine that mom doesn’t hear all of what is going on.

One last sound I am going to write about is one I hear but dread.  It is the phone, my home phone or cell phone.  I have HUGE anxiety when it comes to the phone.  I will gladly call my mom or grandma and talk but it is on my terms.  There is either no one home, or the TV is off, the setting is my decision.  The anxiety is huge when there are tons of people around or other factors and that phone rings.  It sends an instant panic through my soul.  I have more than once answered the phone and get so frustrated I just throw the phone to my husband and he has to talk.  When working at school this week, and I HATE those old wall phones.  The phone rang with 25 loud kids talking.  Yeah this isn’t going to go well.  I can go whole weeks at school with no calls yesterday was not one, or two, or even three there were 5 phone calls that all came when the room was full and loud.  Wow talk about the sweaty palms, and the tight chest.  I got through it but the people on the other side must of thought I was not paying attention.  I must have asked WHAT, and can you repeat that about 10 times.  I got through the day and I was happy to say goodbye to that phone.  That is why I love texting.  There are still a few people I need to get on the texting wagon instead of calling.  Oh well another thing to work on.

phone picture

There are always going to be obstacles in every part of life and with every human being on earth.  These are just a few of the sound obstacles I thought of.  To hear my kids whisper I LOVE YOU would be wonderful but it is something I have never heard.  But seeing their little faces and their little hands grabbing my face is plenty enough to melt my heart.

Thank you for Reading

 

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I have watched my children get certificate after certificate to trophies and medals to the point we open a closet and we may get rained on by trophies.  I didn’t get any of this as a child.  One I don’t think awards were given out as much as they are now and also I wasn’t in the amount of stuff my kids are in.  I have my high school and college diplomas in a dresser drawer and I have numerous ribbons from county fairs but that is about it.

I started writing this blog last fall.  It was a stress relieving fun activity for me.  I have always enjoyed writing, and writing a book is on my bucket list.  As life threw me some new obstacles this past year I needed a way to work through them.  Writing was a good choice for me.  I was able to put those feelings to the key of the computer and I didn’t need to say them out loud. As time has passed I am not as ashamed or scared to share my story and tell others about the new direction my life may be going.  I also write for the SWC blog or Say What Club.  I have found so much acceptance, help, and friendship from these people that I can’t imagine I would feel how I do now with out them.

I wrote a blog piece about my life as a Substitute teacher that happens to be hard of hearing.  The blog post got recognized by a group in New York.  I am in small town Minnesota so this is wow a big thing.  I was interviewed and chosen to be a HearStrong Champion.  I am floored, shocked and honored.  Doesn’t the old saying go something like this, if life gives you lemons make lemonade.  Well I didn’t want to wallow in my life, I wanted and want to be proactive and move on and make life the best it can.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my friends and family.  They have been an amazing support system.  My friends here are awesome, they will listen to me as a rant and complain.  My weekly Bible Study has been a huge encourager.  I think all of these people gave me the courage to write what I was thinking, feeling and living.

Next month I get to travel to the cities to get my award.  Wow I just don’t know what to even think.  I am starting to get excited and it only fuels me to be an advocate, keep writing, and keep encouraging.

Here is a link to my HearStrong profile.

To Hear What Your Child Hears

This weekend was one of growth, acceptance, and most of all fun.  Saturday morning our family woke up early and drove an hour and a half to a family event put on by Minnesota Hands and Voices www.mnhandsandvoices.org  This was a first for our family, frankly I was nervous as could be.  I didn’t think we would fit in.  Henry has a mild hearing loss and we were invited to this event.  I just thought it would be to mild of a loss and we really didn’t belong but there was a tug at our hearts to go.  Chad and I were in agreement that we should go to this event as a family.  The kids on the other hand were soo excited to get to the YMCA where this event was going to take place.  Running around and going swimming is an OK day to most kids.

This day was eye opening to me.  I had to wait over a day to write this post just to let it all sink in and settle.  There were about 6 families there and the kids were all great and became instant friends.  The hearing loss levels ranged from mild to profound.  I guess we did belong.  There was such a feeling of acceptance, I have trouble getting the feeling into words.  Everyone there understood hearing loss.  They understood that the fan kicking in is going to prevent you from getting the information presented.  They all understood that you need to face each other to get the full meaning of the conversation.  It was just a feeling that there were no differences, there was such ease of conversation all day long.  I wasn’t the only parent to a child there that had hearing aids.  There was just a sigh of relief if that makes sense.

We had a session on educational IEP’s which was very interesting.  That always seems to be a sticky subject of what to put in the IEP and what should be in there and what the school wants to put in there is not always on the same page.  We got a lot of good information and eager to pass it on to friends.  The session that made the most impact on all of us was our second session, hearing simulations.  There is no perfect simulation that will show exactly how someone hears but what is out there is still powerful.  Each child present had their audiograms put into the program and we listened to a voice, like a teachers voice.  Now add some classroom noise and listen to normal hearing and then how your child hears, Powerful.  I know how I hear but hearing how your child hears still hits you.  Sitting at a mild loss doesn’t mean it is a mild difference.  You had to strain to hear the teachers voice and not just sit and passively listen you have to concentrate and concentrate hard.  No wonder this poor kid comes home and meltdowns.  He has to work so hard to just get through the day.  I looked over at my husband who I don’t think really understood what it is like.  He had his head down and I saw a tear in his eye.  It was a powerful model that I wish teachers, family and peers could hear.

hearing simulation

The kids had a wonderful day!! They played BINGO, basketball, minute to win it games.  The kids even made the decision to all eat lunch together, really nice to see.  We ended the day with some of them going swimming together.  Just a great day with new friends and new insights.  My daughter even wants to learn ASL now to try and converse with a couple of the kids that use sign on her own next time instead of the interpreter doing it all for her.

greta in the pool

To hear what your child hears is a powerful moment and one I won’t forget.

Thursday

Oh how I hate the afternoon and evenings on the day of Thursday.  You might wonder but tomorrow is Friday? Why is this one day of the week such a thorn in my side.  It is because of my son, or at least the what this night does to him.  He get off the bus around 3:15 and there is a constant whiny sound you will hear till about 6:30.  This whining will then lead to stomping then crying then sobbing till we can’t whine anymore.  Yes it is annoying and I hate it but my heart breaks at the same time.  Henry is in sensory overload by Thursday night.  Have 4 days of school, 2 nights of TaeKwonDo, and a night of church have reached their limit.  He has tried to hold all his feelings, emotions inside and by day 4 he is a bear.  He explodes and we know to expect it now.  He is passed out now and I hope he sleeps till morning and then tomorrow is a fresh day and Friday is always a fun day.  He gets the rest his body and mind needs and we can get up and face another day.  

Now I had a great Thursday.  I needed to drive to the audiologist which is about a 40 minutes away.  It was a follow up appt and to change some programing on my hearing aid.  I knew it would be a short visit so make it worth the drive.  I picked up a friend and we were off.  We shopped without kids, talked, and stopped to eat a meal.  I wish the world could listen to us at a perkins table.  We could run the world with such ease.  It isn’t complicated we have it all worked out, just listen to us.  I am glad we had this time together we made it a great morning.  

We all have our Thursdays.  Times when we want to crawl into a ball and cry and shut out the world.  The world has a lot of pressures and they can come in at all sides.  My heart breaks that my son feels all those pressures and they all soak into him till he bursts.  He is sleeping so calmly now.  My prayer for him is a restful sleep that will take all the stresses and anxiety away, way too much for a 5 year old.  

I hope you all have a restful Thursday night and you can all feel fresh and new for Friday.