Category: deaf and hard of hearing

Meeting Your Tribe

Couple weeks ago was the Annual Say What Club Convention.  This yes is an annual event but it is my first time attending.  I should back up, The Say What Club is an online group where everyone has a hearing loss or their life is affected by hearing loss by a spouse or a close family member.  I have been a member for 6 years maybe?

A couple years ago there was an email to try and pitch and sell us your city and we will hold the 2018 convention there.  I wrote a proposal for St Paul.  Now Benson is where I live now but we don’t have an airport, heck we don’t have a Wal-mart for 40 miles.  St Paul had everything we needed and it was right next door to my hometown so easy access to family (watching our kids).  This past year has been busy, stressful, exciting and a growing experience helping plan a convention for people coming from all over the USA.

Attending an event like this was really, really hard for me.  I knew a couple of these people in person.  A large amount of them I knew from Facebook and email.  That didn’t help the fact I have social anxiety and I thank God that Chad was willing to come with me.  Be my anchor, be the one that I could go back to if need be.  First meeting was a meeting where we assembled bags to give to each person and talk about the convention, loose ends and such.  It was great.  I left that meeting with a huge smile.  This is what we planned a year for.  This was my tribe.  They understand hearing loss because they live with it everyday.  It is amazing the ease of a meeting when some listen, some lip read, and combinations in between.  The next day we met and a group of us walked to Tin Whiskers.  It is a small brewery that was just a couple blocks from our hotel.  Chad and I have always enjoyed a brewery tour and have done many through our years together.  I am not a beer drinker but enjoy it.  It was a fun outing that was an easy way to meet some people, talk one on one with some people and meet some new people.

Wednesday night our welcome party. We had a theme as every good party should have, a speakeasy, a roaring 20’s, a Great Gatsby theme. It was fun. We had feathers in our hair, pearls, some had long gloves a few men donned a fedora. We had welcome prizes, MN themed food. We had cheese curds, deviled eggs, wild rice sliders. Something for everyone. It was a time to meet lots of people. A time to meet wonderful friends who you have felt you knew for years but meeting in person for the very first time.

After this welcome party I knew I was hooked. Everyone was just so nice. It really was like meeting long lost family. Thursday was a great day, they were all great days. A dynamic speaker, visiting with the vendors and putting our bids on the silent auction items. Our last workshop of the morning was visiting Starkey Labs and getting a tour. Once our bus got to the CORRECT hotel we were off. A little late but you just role with it. We had a great tour, a lunch we ate in the bus since our bus was late to start with and then a tour of St Paul.

Friday- what a fun day. We had great workshops from clear speech to an artist, which I found fascinating. To the last workshop of the morning and that was mine. My workshop was titled, “Designed to Stand Out” I talked a little about my idea showed some pictures of examples and then let creativity take over. I had been gathering supplies for near a year. I had jewels, washi tape, nail wraps and tube wraps. It was fun.

Friday afternoon was a St Paul Gangster Tour. I think this was a highlight for Chad. We toured all over St Paul and saw so many sights.

House was home to the famous Ma Barker and the Barker Gang

This is the South St Paul post office the Barker Gang held up for the cash that came for paydays.

John Dillinger lived here and had a shoot out with the FBI in the stairwell. I wonder if current residents know the story.

At Swede Hallow Hearing the story of the Hamm kidnapping.

We even passed where F Scott Fitzgerald lived and wrote his first novel.

It had been a very full day but we weren’t done. We went to the St Paul Saints game. My parents joined us and brought the kids. That was fun and special. To bad the weather had to interrupt.

Saturday was the end. We had a banquet and keynote speaker. There were lots of hugs and pictures taken. Greta joined us for this last event. I wish the night never ended.

If you read through this whole blog- bless you. I really just wanted to stress the importance of finding your tribe. Find people that can understand, they get it. I got back to my moms on Saturday night and I just cried. I couldn’t stop myself. I wish I could live around all these people all the time. Chad and I agree this was just a fun week, one we will never forget.

*I need to give a shout out to Andre Binns who took fabulous pictures throughout the convention. Many of them are featured in this blog.

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Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving snuck up on us once again. I swear the older the kids get the faster time goes. It seems like it was just summer and now Thanksgiving. I have so many things to be thankful for. I really believe we dwell on what is wrong in our lives. We are blessed with so much and we have to consciously think about these instead of complaining.

Wednesday night our church takes place in an ecumenical church service. It was very low in attendance but was just what I needed to hear. It brought me to tears. I needed to hear those words tonight. I was asked to share a testimony for our church. The following is what I talked about on Wednesday.

About a month ago Kathy approached me asking if I would share at tonight’s service. I was a tad hesitant but it didn’t take me long to say yes. Kathy asked me the question of “What has God done in my life lately” I can answer that question. He has done a lot this past year.

I will start last February. I received a phone call; I should note I am notorious for not picking up the phone unless I know the number. I did answer the call and it was truly a life changing call. I was alerted to an opening at the local radio station, KSCR. I had worked in radio before in Willmar. I loved it but hated the hours and the drive. This was 5 blocks from my house. I quickly texted a couple friends and family members and asked what they thought I should do. I talked to Chad when he got home and he gave me a smile and said well hurry up and print your resume and get it in. I sent it in and I guess the rest is history. I heard back, had a couple interviews and offered the job. It was truly answered prayer. “The Lord will guide you continually…” Isaiah 58:11

One tough conversation I have to have with an employer is letting them know about the hearing loss I have. It is like there is an elephant in the room with this until I bring it up. This task was so easy at the radio. A couple years ago I was on Kathy’s radio show, Best Life. I talked about my hearing loss on her radio show, who happened to be the producer for this show, my new boss. He knew about the hearing, he knew I could speak on the radio. Going into this new job was stressful, mind boggling but also a calm had come over my soul. I had worked these other little jobs to make ends meet. I had worked in Willmar horrible hours but I had learned from the best of how to be on the radio. These things all came into play until a job was open in town. God was paving a way for this job. I truly believe from being a guest on Kathy’s show, to working in Willmar to answering the phone that day was all in Gods big plan for my life.

I currently have two paid jobs. I am the program director at KSCR radio in Benson. I am also the morning show host which I have titled Sunrise with Sara. I love my job. What I love is that I have say on my content. I can interview people that I think Benson would like and benefit from hearing about. I can have a morning show with morals. In a bigger market that isn’t something you usually see together.

I also work for Hands and Voices of Minnesota. Hands and Voices is an organization that supports families that have children that are deaf/hard of hearing. We put on family events. To see children that usually are one of the minority at their school or town be with all these kids that are like them is a beautiful thing. We also have mentors which I am one of them. We want kids to know that they can do anything they want in life. There are very successful and well adjusted adults that are out there that grew up just like them. I have worked for Hands and Voices a little over a year. My son has had issues with his ears since a baby. We just had his 4th surgery on his ears. It helped but not to the extent that we hoped for. So again God has placed wonderful resources and families in my past with Hands and Voices that I can lean on now that it is personal in my life now. Another coincidence I don’t think so, it’s a God thing.

This past year is one that I listened for God. I waited to get his guidance and in doing that I have found joy. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

I was blessed to talk at the service and it put the whole Holiday on the right track.

Thursday, Turkey Day, I hosted the big day. We had Chad’s family over for the meal. I am excited to host. I really enjoy cooking and am new to hosting. I was able to use my grandmothers dishes. I have so many memories of dinners at her place using these apple dishes.

Friday we headed to the farm for a little more family time. Chad welded and I helped him and enjoyed being with the farm cats. I love being out there.

Saturday we got Christmas up at the house. Always enjoy the warmth that Christmas lights and decorations seem to bring. Always a fun family memory making time.

What a fun filled family weekend. What was also nice was getting up later than 4:45am. Morning sure came early this morning.

I am BLESSED!!

A Mother’s Worry

My son and his ears… these two things bring me worry and concern. My son has a fluctuating conductive loss and it is frustrating beyond belief. Henry is 9 years old and this has been ongoing since he was 2. So 7 years of doctors, ENT’s and our audiologist. My son loves going to the audiologist and he does about 3 plus times a year. 

Let me go way back. Henry didn’t talk when he was a toddler. He also didn’t babble. He was quiet and reserved. I started getting concerned he didn’t talk and the doctor jingled his keys and Henry turned so I was told, “He can hear but maybe speech therapy would be good”. Henry started speech therapy at 2.5. I still wasn’t convinced he could hear well but was told not to worry. I had tons of ear issues as a child and it turned into a moderate severe hearing loss so I was no dummy on this subject. I also happen to have a B.S. in Communicative Disorders so I have taken many audiology classes so pretty well versed. Finally a public nurse in our small town said to me, “your son can’t hear”. She referred us to an educational audiologist and sure enough a conductive loss. Tubes were put in and his tongue was also clipped at that time. Glue ear was discovered and his ears were cleaned out. His hearing did improve but it is this roller coaster we are riding. 

A few years ago we noticed Henry was saying what all the time. Took him back in and the cycle continued. His hearing has dropped to a moderate loss. This time T tubes were recommended. These are a long term tube that are surgically removed when done. They don’t fall out and can cause a lot of damage so we really had to weigh the pros and the cons. This worked well for about 3 years. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Henry’s hearing has now dropped to a moderate loss again with the T tubes in. This loss is comparable to having foam earplugs in your ears all day. This was concerning and I could tell the audiologist was much more concerned this time and something had to be done and quickly. We saw the ENT and it was decided surgery would be done the following week. Henry had the old T tubes removed his middle ear scrapped out and new T tubes inserted. It was a simple and quick surgery. He was put under so there is still that risk of surgery. As simple as it is I have to admit I cried when he was taken back. Everything went well,and now we wait and heal. We will find out in a couple weeks if his hearing has improved and how much.


It is really hard for me to see my son go through this. I know there are much bigger trials in life but to him these are big. He comes home from school exhausted. Have you heard of listening fatigue? It is real and it is tough. Trying to hear and make since of conversation all day is taxing on the brain. He comes home crabby many days and I get the brunt of his frustrations. He loves school but it is hard and exhausting. 

Now if Henry was found with a sensorineural hearing loss he would be given hearing aids and we could learn to deal and go on from there but instead I feel we are on this hamster wheel that just never seems to end. I pray that his hearing improved with these new T tubes but if not I would love to go to the next step and address the issue and go on. 

I am a mother with hearing loss. I feel I can help him with these issues but I also know what it is like. I hate that he may have some of these feelings I have had. I have felt embarrassed, left out, not fitting in. I sure hope I can help him through these things. 

School conferences were last week and we heard he needs to learn to self advocate for himself with his hearing. That is so hard to learn but will try to teach him every step of the way. 

A mom can worry and there are always things that can worry you. This is just one thing that consumes my mind, but I am also consumed with pride for both of my children. They are kind, creative and loving. They are my heart. 

The Feel of a Concert 

A week ago or so I got to take my daughter away for a little get away. We have never done anything overnight alone together so this was something we were both looking forward to. 

A perk of a radio job is tickets. I was able to get tickets for myself and Greta to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. We got a hotel room and made it a night away in Fargo North Dakota. 

We shopped, we dined at a Hibachi restaurant. That is always a fun place to eat and it is an experience also. We ended up eating with a woman who was so full of herself and couldn’t seem to read a menu. It made for an interesting and memorable dinner experience. 


Off to the FargoDome for a great concert. We had great seats. I loved seeing the people around us where listeners I was able to give tickets away to. Everyone looked like they were having a great time. 


One thing I learned with music and a hearing loss it doesn’t sound like music I remember. It is muffled, and out of tune. It is very cringeworthy in my mind. In saying that this concert was loud. The bass was cranked. I am not saying I am advocating loud concerts but I loved it. When the music sounded muffled and lousy to me the bass that vibrated our seats, made the hair on your arms stand up made up for it. Lasers, and pictures projected and just watching my daughter completely made this a great night. 

The next day we went to see a couple Fargo sites, some shopping and again find a place to eat. 


Greta picked the Pita Pit and running through Caribou Coffee then the ride back to Minnesota. 


It was a couple days of making memories. I loved our time together and I love my job for giving me the experience. 

40 Years Old

Couple weeks ago I turned 40. It felt freeing. It felt like I hit an age where I can be more my own person, where I don’t always have to try to please.  An age where I can gain more independence. I am sure many people learn these things before 40 but for me it has been the last couple years moving in the direction to get to this point.

A few months ago I decided I wanted a birthday party. I haven’t had a party with a friend since I was probably 13. It was time. I was excited to plan food, decorations and just host people for the afternoon.

I started getting down the day of the party. First my mom got sick and unable to make it out for the weekend. Then people who told me they were coming were no shows. I was bummed but I kicked myself and told myself to look around. My dad and grandma drove out. My sister in law came, a couple friends from town came. I was blessed. I saw my husband laughing and talking with his high school buddy. I was so touched that a friend from church came. I was so excited that a best friend from high school drove 3 hours to surprise me with a birthday cake. I loved seeing her and her husband and brother. A friend that is busy with 3 kids made time. And my best friend that just lost her beautiful daughter came to celebrate my birthday. Yes, I looked around and saw that my cup runneth over with blessings from above. I enjoyed myself, I found myself laughing, playing beanbag toss and loving my life.

I have to share pictures of this cake. It was stunning and an amazing chocolate and cherry.


The next day we had my husbands family came over for another party. It was a fun time had by all. I was surrounded in love all weekend.

I am now 40 and for some reason being married over 17 years with 2 children, I now feel like a full adult. I love my job. I love my volunteer jobs dealing with hearing loss, I am loving life right now. 40 will be good.

I love my friends and so thankful for everyone that celebrated with me. It was a great weekend. 

I don’t think I am over the hill. I am just starting to really enjoy life by getting involved in it.

Flasher, amplifiers, and levels oh my

When I started my new job at the radio as the program director and a morning show host I didn’t ask for any accommodations. I had this feeling I had it all under control and I can make it work. The more I worked the more I loved my job but the more I hated the phone. 

I don’t spend much time on the phone but each day I have a trivia question on-air so I have callers call in with their quesses. I have asked these poor callers WHAT a few to many times, and I can’t hear the phone ring. It was time I ask for what I need. 

It took some real courage even though I know the law backs me asking but it is still is unnerving. I was met with an immediate positive response. I wasn’t shocked just overly excited. To have an employer who understands and I can have an open dialog with is priceless. 

The next day the flasher was installed. What a great little gadget. The flash gets my attention and I don’t have the need to worry I am missing calls. 


Well now I can get the calls but had to address the volume of the phone issue. Again I was met with if it will help we will get it.  Now the phone is amplified! 


So between the flasher, amplifier and watching the meters I can be successful in a job I absolutely love everyday. 


Getting accommodations and allowing one to succeed in a career is a very freeing feeling. One so much that I decided to come out of the “hearing loss closet”. The other day when I was about to do my segment called “timetravel” I talk about what has happened on that day in history. On a day last week I noticed that the first event was the first electric hearing aid was patented. I decided this was a sign. I did disclose my hearing loss on-air. I hope it reached even just one listener. Just one that maybe can relate, maybe one that needs a hearing test and have been putting it off.  I have been urged to be myself and that is exactly what I was, it feels good. It feels good to love what you do everyday.