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.

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. 

Back on the Air

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I am back on the airwaves of radio and I couldn’t be happier.  It has been a crazy few weeks, I have to share what has transpired.  I received a phone call a few weeks ago from a friend of mine who has a radio show that I happened to be a guest on and talked about my hearing loss.  She asked what I was doing for a job and then let me know that there was an opening at our local radio station.  Now I have done radio before at a top 40 station.  I really enjoyed the vibe a radio station has.  People are real I have noticed.  I enjoyed radio but at that time it wasn’t a good fit.  I drove 40 minutes one way to work overnights Friday-Sunday.  It just wasn’t good for a family and I couldn’t physically do it anymore.  This phone call I received really threw me for a loop.  I wasn’t looking and I was asked.  I decided this was a sign and I needed to follow through.  After a couple interviews, going on air and a few emails, I was offered the job of morning show host and program director at the station.

I was in shock and frankly I felt like I was floating on a cloud.  So much to learn and give notices.  I cried the morning I gave my notice with the family I PCA with.  I love their family and I didn’t want to put them in a bind but I really knew I needed to do this.  I needed a career.  As I trained the past couple weeks I realized how happy I am.  I don’t remember being this happy and completely elated thinking of work and my work life.  I absolutely know I made the right choice.

Today was my first day doing MY show.  I named it Sunrise with Sara.  I think it went pretty well.  I had a couple times the flow wasn’t how I would like it but that will come.  Again I just can’t explain how happy I am.

Friday my hearing loss came up in the office.  It is something I will talk about but hard to bring up.  We had a great talk about my loss and hearing loss in general.  It was like that big elephant has been addressed and I can go on just fine now.  I have learned that radio is very visual and I depend a lot more on my eyes than my ears.  Levels and what is being broadcast is all visual.  It is just a very good fit for me.

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I am trying to take this career change as a total change.  I want a change in job, body and mind.  This week is my new show and I take the bull by the horns.  Changes are coming for this girl.

Please feel free to tune in to the radio station anywhere in the world.  Listen live on-line.  We have a diverse mix of music which I love.  We might have some Garth Brooks which goes into Indigo Girls which goes to Bruce Springsteen maybe some Ozzy Osbourne and round it out with the Beetles.  Where else can you get that kind of mix.  www.935kscr.com 

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Finding Love


Valentine’s Day is here. I am not a girl that gets flowers, or gifts. I am not upset about this, just our relationship. In fact I told my husband I was going to have some balloons delivered to his workplace today. He told me tomorrow divorce papers would be delivered to me. He is just not a guy of public displays of affection, but always has a kiss or an I love you for me. I love my husband and I thought this Valentine’s Day would be a good time to tell how we met. 

Many many years ago I was working for the State of Minnesota. During that time in order to get a promotion or another job you had to take a written test and be put on a list. I was taking a test on a Saturday morning in St Paul. On the way out I grabbed a Meeting People magazine. I should back up a tad. I had just gotten back from a semester of school down in New Mexico. During my time there I found myself a little more, I tried to break out of the very hard shell of insecurity I had around me. During my time away I broke up with my boyfriend that had become very controlling. I realized I was worth more. 

A week or so before this fated Saturday my mom had made the comment, “you should let me pick your husband.” Well that was the craziest thing I had ever heard. But in saying and thinking that why couldn’t a parent know what is good for their child. Would they want their child to be unhappy or in a bad marriage? Still I didn’t like the idea of this at all. Now we are back to the Saturday and the Meeting People magazine. I got home and threw the magazine at my mom as a joke. Asking her to pick my husband, in a very sarcastic tone. 

Few days had past and the magazine was given back to me with dog eared pages and circles drawn. I thought are you kidding me she actually went though this thing. I was really in shock. I expected this had been thrown away. 

I went downstairs and decided to read the ads mom had circled. There was one ad that stood out to me. One that seemed to call to me. I did the unthinkable.  I wrote a letter. I told of me, of our new puppy, school and my major. I sent this letter off with no mention to ANYONE. 

A few weeks passed and my family got another new piece of technology, caller ID. A Chad Lundquist kept calling our house but we were never home. Messages were never left. This was about driving my father nuts. Who is this Chad and what does he want. Finally one night he called and I was home. He was the placer of the ad. We talked on the phone that night almost 2 hours. There was an immediate connection over the phone. I had to go upstairs and tell my parents who I was on the phone with. They were shocked and even more shocked I had answered an ad. 

We talked a bunch of times on the phone. Finally we met and had dinner, a drink and a movie. Worst movie ever but it was fun. We doubled dated with a friend and her boyfriend for the movie. Wow that would have been 1998. Seems like so long ago but at the same time last week. 

I loved dating Chad. We had so much fun. What I love is I could open up to Chad. I could tell him anything. The dark secrets you hold inside were easy to tell him. From our first meeting to our wedding was two years. Lots of has happened to us. Lots of stuff that probably would have caused couples to split. I love Chad he is my Valentine. 

He surprises me still. A couple nights ago we were driving home and he grabbed my hand and said he was proud of me. It took me off guard. He explained he was proud of me and the volunteer jobs I hold. He is proud of me for putting myself out there. That comment while holding my hand is exactly the kind of Valentine’s gifts I need. He is my Valentine. 

One Foot in the Present and One in the Past

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Do you ever get that feeling that you are living in the wrong period of time.  Don’t get me wrong I love all the new modern technology.  A lot of technology has helped me in this world. Digital hearing aid, streamers, and personal loops have made a huge difference for me.  I also love the internet.  What I am getting at is crafting, cooking, gardening.  I know people do these things now in time but I don’t believe it is as prevalent than generations before us.

I enjoy having my garden.  Snapping peas or beans, making a BLT with a homegrown tomato is wonderful.  It sure beats a store bought any day of the week.  Seeing the plants grow, getting to maturity get me excited for canning.  Another skill that is declining.  I love to water bath can and to pressure can.  Knowing we have food and meals on a shelf is a satisfying feeling.  You never know when money may be tight, storms and you can’t get to a store, or a zombie apocalypse.  All very plausible and canned goods would be imperative.  Can you tell I am thinking spring!

Cooking from scratch is another lost art.  There is plenty of people that cook but there are so many box meals, take out, fast food.  Don’t get me wrong we do that also but I am trying so hard not to.  I want to use basic whole food ingredients for my family.  I want and enjoy making a meal from start to end.  Can be a little stressed on nights where there are evening activities but I get it accomplished most nights.  Knowing what is in our food I believe is the first step in trying to get healthy.  Slow and steady wins the race I have been told.  Call me old fashioned but I feel if I am home before my husband it is my job to make a meal for us all.  Minus the tablecloth, good china, a dress and a string of pearls.

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Lastly is crafts.  I love crafting.  I love seeing something in a magazine or online and trying to make it.  If that would be painting, jewelry, or decorating.  My main craft I go back to for almost 30 years is knitting.  For a birthday when I was a teenager I received a wicker basket with knitting needles and blue and yellow yarn from my aunt.  She taught me to knit and I made my first scarf that was an homage to my Swedish heritage.  I have left knitting behind at times but it is like an old friend and always welcomes me back.  When I attended college in New Mexico blankets were knitted for people.  It was a good past time.  Scarfs and hats have been made for my children.  For a while I knitted and sold my items under, Ausome Knits.  My knitting needles have been out again this winter.  A new scarf for my son, a couple birthday gifts are being made.  Tonight at church we are having a crafting night.  Bring what ever projects you are working on and we can fellowship and work on them together.

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Now there are some skills I wish I could get a little stronger at.  Sewing, I have a couple sewing machines.  I would like to boost my skills in this area. Also small needle crafts like cross stitch.  I have never done this but I think it looks like another good past time.

Could I live in another time period.  I think I could.  It wouldn’t be as easy as now but heck I have never owned or had a dishwasher so that dreaded chore would be the same.  Going to have to live one foot in the present and one in the past.

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