Tag: children

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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Favorite movies

My son posed a question to me tonight,”Mom, what is your favorite movie?” I am not sure I have a favorite but I have a short list of movies that I can watch all the time. I could watch these movies over and over. As sad as it was to my son Captain Underpants did not make my short list. Movies can do something to your soul. All of the movies on my list do touch my soul. Now they are not all huge blockbusters and I am sure some people will see this list and say WHAT they liked that movie. We all have our likes and dislikes and that is what is so wonderful but mankind. We are all different and there is something for everyone. I will say there is a big theme that runs through my movie choices and that is music. I love music. I am terrible of knowing song lyrics. My husband will poke fun at me that I work on the radio with music but have no idea what songs are “about.” It is true. I don’t think I ever have been able to hear lyrics enough even as a youth to get what a song is about but I love the melody and I love the beats. I personally love that there is technology now on my iPhone that scrolls the lyrics when I listen to the music.

I feel so much emotion with music. It brings me to tears. I can’t explain it but I can hear a song and it fills me. I feel it with the beat, I feel it with emotion that causes goosebumps. It can cause my lungs to fill with air and tears escape. It isn’t tears of sadness just emotions. At church certain songs cause the hairs on my neck to stand up. Raise hands to surrender. I need Gods help and there is a pull to raise hands to God and admit full surrender to him. Music can cause these feelings in me. Not every song does this to me. In fact days go by at work and I listen to music my whole day at work and I don’t feel anything but then Indigo Girls come on and yes the emotions. Eva Cassidy is another one that can bring on goosebumps.

I thank God I still can get this reaction from music. Since my hearing has dropped in past years music doesn’t sound the same. So much music sounds horribly off tune to me. Maybe that is why it is so special when I have those songs that still “get” me.

So my favorite movies are:

1- Mr Holland’s Opus

2- August Rush

3- Mary Poppins

4- Greatest Showman

5- Saving Mr Banks

Probably not movies that would be on most people’s list but that is the beauty of being an individual. I can have my favorites and you can have yours. What are your favorite movies?

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. 

County Fair 2017

I enjoy being creative and that means art, canning, photography, and writing. I hope these blog posts will be memories in the future. For myself and also for my children. I hope they remember we laughed, created things, loved each other and had fun. County Fair is all of those things wrapped into one.  This past week was the Swift County. Our fair is 5 days and we made it there everyday. It may have been entering our items, working the fair, checking out or ribbons, or catching the entertainment.

This year I entered 30 items into the fair. Greta entered 2 in 4H and 2 in open class. Henry entered 2 in 4H. Chad said his customary line,”I really need to make something for the fair next year.”

We had fun at the fair. From working the 4H food booth.


To seeing the kids projects. Greta had some great drawings which earned a blue. Henry ended up with a grand champion in Aerospace.


We ate well at the fair. From pork chops to pie.


There were animals, balloons and rides oh my! 


I experienced something new at this fair. We went to a demo derby. I took the kids and it was fun. Not what I expected and I couldn’t believe how many people were there.


The big exciting thing at our fair was Marty Stewart and His Fabulous Superlatives were there Saturday night. As a radio person I plugged this event for a month so I was darn excited to get there. It was fun and totally worth the wait.


I faired pretty well with ribbons this year. Came home with a grand champion also which made my year.


The fair is over for the year but my mind is already mulling over what can be made and created for next year. I sure hope this is something that we never say,” Do you remember when we had county fairs?”

Till next year…

Super Bowl 2017

Super Bowl in America is like an unofficial holiday.  Snack food is on display at all the stores.  People are asking you who are you cheering for this year.  Parties are held, bars are full and friends and families get together.

A few weeks ago I told my husband I wanted to host a party this year.  We used to attend a yearly party with friends.  I have great memories of those parties.  Kids playing, food galore, guys watching the game, and lots of laughter.  He agreed to the party and I got started trying to organize my small soiree.  I decided to make a turkey and we would have shredded turkey sandwiches.  Other food would be brought so I wanted the main dish type food covered.  We cleaned the house, made sure we had enough seats, made the food, and got excited.

I am not a football fan.  I will watch a game more often now in my life since my husband and son are interested in it.  My son is 8 and he is going to play for the Seattle Seahawks some day.  Just giving everyone fair warning we may may have to brag a lot when that happens.

There was something different this year than going to other get together’s or parties.  It was hosted at my home.  A person with hearing loss can have great anxiety when with a group of people.  I used to think this was unique to me but after finding my tribe I have learned I am not alone on this topic.  I enjoy socializing with people but that first step out the door going to a social event terrifies me.  If it is a home party, a meeting, or even church I feel like I could be physically ill.  Knowing when I am in a group of people my hearing for comprehension drops like a rock.  I try to answer the most obvious questions but that can often be wrong.  I think they asked, “How are you?” I answer, ” I am great how are you doing?” they do a little laugh and then re-say their question which was not what I answered at all.  I feel my cheeks burn and I am embarrassed and feel stupid.  I probably shouldn’t feel these emotions but I do.  I am human and that is what I feel.  Being in a group of people, like a Super Bowl party there is laughing, kids yelling, TV is on, a few different conversations going on.  It is darn hard to focus on one conversation and follow.  Saying all this I had a great time last night.  We had enough food I could have fed the whole block.  We had a great turnout.  We were missing a few due to illness, darn germs.  There were a few times I just checked out.  I faced the TV and watched the game and was amazed how into the game I got.  It was a nail-bitter that is for sure.  I was able to escape to my kitchen, or my room for just a few minutes if needed.  The Lundquist 1st Annual Super Bowl Party I believe was a success.  I hope our guests equally enjoyed the company of friends and fellowship.  Next year is already on my calendar.  It will be a big deal next year as it is held in Minneapolis.  I am excited and so relieved that the night went well.

I was cheering for the Falcons but it was a good game and it held your attention until the bitter end.  Football, Food, Friends, and some funny commercials was a great end to the weekend.

A Burden

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I have a woman’s name that is lying heavy on my heart.  I just learned about this woman yesterday.  It consumed my thoughts all day.  Let me back up and I will explain.

I arrived at work yesterday.  I am a personal care attendant in a private home.  Dr Phil was on the TV when I arrived.  I have never been a huge Dr Phil fan but I watch it and more often than not I can get pulled into the episode.  Dr Phil had a guest Bethany Storro, a woman who survived having acid thrown into her face.  What makes this shocking is Bethany did this to herself.  A failed suicide that had to be accompanied by horrible pain.  When she realized she wasn’t going to die, and made a huge personal mistake, she said she was attacked.  She said someone did this to her, a big mistake.  She didn’t point out a certain person but she gave a description.  She later retracted her statement and took the blame for the act.  She was charged and went to court were fines and time were given to her.  This is where the story ends in the newspapers.  I researched more on Bethany yesterday and what I read was horrible.  She was told to die in these articles.  She was called dumb, idiotic, ugly and deserved to die.  When did common human decency go out the window.

That was the back story, now why this is lying on my heart.  Bethany had a speech impediment. I could hear it and thought maybe acid near her mouth might have caused this.  Dr Phil did more questions and was very kind with Bethany.  It then was brought out.  Bethany is hard of hearing.  She has a deaf accent.  She poured her soul out with Dr Phil that because of her lack of hearing she has always felt like a burden.  This brought instant tears to my eyes.  She felt like a burden for her lack of hearing.  This ripped at my heart.  How was she raised? Did she have parents that advocated for her? Did she have a mentor to show her that life can be good? All these questions swirled in my mind.

I work as a deaf/hard of hearing role model with Lifetrack in Minnesota.  It is a new groundbreaking program that pairs a family that just got a diagnosis of hearing loss for their precious child with an adult who has hearing loss.  They can learn and see that this isn’t a dark road they have to walk alone.  These kids can do anything.  These children can grab the brass ring like any other child their age.  Deaf and Hard of Hearing kids are not a burden because they can’t hear.  I have attended many Hands and Voices events and I see children that are full of life and energy and promise not a burden.  These children are tought to self advocate.  A very hard skill to learn for anyone but they are learning it young.  Skills that will take them far.  I have learned so much from these young children to young adults, they are remarkable.

Bethany of course has mental illness on top of her hearing loss but I just sense it all was a cumulative effect from her hearing and her speech.  Did she learn to self advocate, did she have adults that advocated for her as a child?  I look into my own life again with a son that has an IEP (Individual Education Plan).  He has had an IEP since age 3 and we know he will have one for sure for the next 3 years to 5th grade.  We have tried to do the best for him.  He doesn’t have huge issues but every smaller hurdle he has we have been there with him.  From a fluctuating hearing loss, to being on the Autism spectrum, to learning disabilities.  We are helping him and trying to teach him how to self advocate for himself.  Advocating as an adult is hard, you put yourself out there and exposed.  It is daunting at times but so valuable and needed.

People are not a burden.  People need a hand at times, people need help. We have a job as a fellow human being to help them.  Bethany ended the interview with saying she was sorry.  She was sorry for the pain and problems she caused.  Dr Phil had the perfect response, you don’t need to apologize there is no need.  You have a hearing impairment which lead to speech problems.  You never felt like you fit in.  You now have a burned face and still show your face and get out there.  You are brave and you have grown.  Now Bethany can read lips and says she still see’s people saying she is ugly, she is stupid, and she should have died.  Please have compassion people, this world would be so different if we can just remember no one is perfect and we are not a burden.  We all have a purpose and we are all wonderfully made.

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