My COOL KID

My daughter, Greta, I have bragged up in the past.  She is an amazing girl and I love her with all my heart.  Does she have tween attitude and eyes that roll…you bet, but she is a wonderful daughter and so proud of her.  This past county fair Greta won two grand champion ribbons for a couple projects that deal with hearing loss.  She was interviewed this past week and this is article that was written.  I am so proud of this COOL KID.  

Meet the Cool Kids

Education Takes Grand Prize: Greta Lundquist

By Rachel Janis, staff writer

Eleven-year-old Greta Lundquist stands before two large trifold poster boards, fashioning a welcoming smile as onlookers peruse the Swift County Fair in Minnesota. Her poster boards—one entitled “Being Hard of Hearing,” and the other, “My Visit with Tani Austen, Starkey Hearing Foundation”—capture curious eyes, and Greta confidently answers questions and explains why she is there.

The soon-to-be sixth grader actually has normal hearing, but because her mom was scheduled to be fitted for hearing aids at the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s office, Greta accompanied her and received the opportunity of a lifetime.

And as she proudly showcases her two poster boards at the fair, she can’t help but to think about that special day—sitting one-on-one Tani Austen, co-founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation, for an interview.

Greta’s mom has moderate to severe hearing loss, while her six-year-old brother has mild hearing loss. While interviewing Tani Austen, Greta heard a very familiar story. It happened that Tani, too, became aware and interested in hearing loss at a young age, when Tani’s mom first received hearing aids. Tani, along with William F. Austen and a group of dedicated workers, eventually went on to fit more than 100,000 hearing aids to people in need each year through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Starkey team helps people all over the globe, such as in Kenya, Honduras, and Israel. And that day, Greta got to interview Tani and learn all about the projects and missions the foundation has completed. One thing Greta learned was that “anyone can work on a hearing mission,” whether you’re hard of hearing, deaf, or hearing.

Greta took this to heart and decided that she wanted to educate the Swift County fair-goers about the deaf and hard of hearing community—not only to honor her mother and brother, but to bring awareness to the general hearing population. “It is not just people in nursing homes who are hard of hearing,” Greta reminds us.

Greta’s informational poster boards won her two blue ribbons and two Grand Champion ribbons at the fair.

It felt great teaching her audience a little bit about what it’s like to live with someone who’s hard of hearing. She has to make sure she’s facing her mom when talking to her, and if they’re in a noisy shopping mall or a busy café, Greta just has to wait until they get to a quieter spot. Their home is also a little bit different than the average household, fit with a few more pieces of technology, like a captioned phone and TV, assisted listening devices, and a plentiful amount of hearing aid batteries just in case.

“Try wearing earplugs for a day and you might get a little bit of an understanding of how hard it is,” Greta advises. “It is frustrating [for me] at times, but… just because my mom may say, ‘Not now,’ or, ‘I can’t hear you right now,’ doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to talk to me. We just need to find a better place.”

Hearing loss doesn’t hold this family back. It may be seen as a struggle or a conflict sometimes, but hearing loss is something that can easily be managed and even embraced. Greta hopes to participate in a hearing mission someday alongside Tani Austen and the Starkey Hearing Foundation. As she clutches her Grand Champion ribbons with pride, she knows that she can make a difference, giving a voice to those who aren’t able to hear.

How Do You Define deaf?

lundquistclan:

A very interesting read…makes you think of all the labels out there. What to use and when and why to use them.

Originally posted on SayWhatClub:

I just came across this post last week that asks about the definition of deaf. You can find more replies here http://alt.newsgroups.archived.at/support.hearing-loss/201105/11051917641.html

 “Greetings – I just had to complete an on-line training course in “Diversity”. There was a question that asked what preparations should be made for an interview with a person known to be deaf. The answer included having a hearing loop ready. My response was that a hearing loop would/could assist someone like me with a hearing impairment, with suitable aids, but not someone who was deaf, because my understanding of the word deaf is that it means total hearing loss – the same as “blind” means total loss of sight as opposed to a visual impairment. I’d be interested to see responses about how others describe themselves – i.e. deaf or hearing impaired.”

I don’t mean to pick on this person. If anything, I see both the…

View original 493 more words

County Fair

Every year as the thermometer creeps up and the nights get a little shorter we have a wonderful event that our family fully loves….The County Fair.  We are not a family of livestock or crops but we love the fair for the neighbors we will see, the hard work of our community members and our favorites the 4H and open class buildings.  

Both kids are in 4H and this is a big deal getting all the projects put together and then going to the fair and judge them.  Greta brought 8 projects to the fair.  She came home with 8 blue ribbons, 2 grand champion ribbons and a honorable mention.  I think that is pretty good for an 11 year old.  Henry is in Cloverbuds and he brought with 4 projects and came home with 4 ribbons.  

Chad and I entered open class which is always a fun thing to do and so different from year to year.  Chad entered a welded candle holder and got a second place ribbon.  I entered a variety of items and got a variety of ribbons from first to 3rd.  Here is our 2014 fair experience in pictures….

Henry’s judging and his ribbons

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Greta’s judging and ribbons

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A sampling of my ribbons

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A great time was had at the fair and not even two full days after the fair has been done we are already asking ourselves the question…WHAT SHOULD WE MAKE FOR NEXT YEAR?

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A Job

Never Give Up

Today I have a feeling in my soul that hasn’t been there for a long time, contentment.  I have struggled with a hole in my soul that I wanted to fill with work.  I want to work and help support our family.  

I have worked since I was a little girl.  I had a daily paper route that was a 5 day a week afternoon paper.  That was my first work experience and it taught me hard work, determination and discipline.  I babysat a ton then moved to waitressing all through high school.  In college I always took a full class load but always worked at least 30 hours a week also.  Work was important to me, it always has been.  

When I moved from the Twin Cities to the small town in Rural Minnesota I left my full time job of 10 years.  This was hard but also a good time to reconnect to my husband, my small daughter and we then had our son.  I have done little jobs here in town.  I worked at a local floral shop, a cashier at the grocery store and my main job as a substitute teacher.  Both kids are in school all day I need more, my soul needed more, my family could use more.  I have tried so hard this past year to find another job.  A job that I could count on hours and also feel I can make some sort of difference not just keep the peace in a classroom for a day.  I interviewed for a few jobs in town…NO.  I applied and interviewed for so many jobs at school….NO.  I needed to change the direction I was going.  What to do, I know I have certain limitations with my hearing.  Answering phones all day would not be a good fit for me.  Numerous people talking all around me also not a good fit.  

This weekend is my first hours working as a PCA, personal care attendant.  I am excited, happy and at peace.  I am earning money, I am helping a fellow human being, my needs are being met by being a productive citizen.  I believe this will be a good fit.  I know where I will be working and when I will be working.  I love the stability, I love knowing a paycheck will be coming.  I won’t be rich but my soul is feeling alive.  

How to ask

caution hearing loss

When to ask, how to ask, and who to ask.  These are all question that flood through my mind when I realize I am not getting what I need at an event or in a situation.  I will be an advocate for my children, and for a cause until the end of time but how do you become an advocate for yourself?  I had made a New Years Resolution that I was going to stand up for myself and make sure I can get what I need.  This post is my public display that I am not holding up my end of the bargain.  

I will tell people I am hard of hearing.  People may ask how much loss do you have, I will tell them I have a moderate severe loss and what that means.  I am open with that information but I don’t say what would make this conversation easier on me.  I have discovered that is incredibly hard in my book.  People hear the words hard of hearing they see hearing aids and they assume all is fixed and you can hear just fine.  WRONG so wrong, I need you to face me, I can’t have a noisy fan or other noise around.  I am not proficient in speech reading or in sign so I have to rely on the residual hearing I have.  

I have had a few instances that have come up recently that I should have spoken up to enjoy the experience to it’s fullest.  I didn’t speak up and ask anything and for that the fault all lies on me and my pride, or fear, or whatever is festering with this issue.  

Last night my daughter and I attended a movie at a little country church that is used for an outreach ministry in our area.  I attend a Bible Study at this church and it is a place of incredible peace for myself.  My daughter and I got to the church and got our popcorn and drink and settled in to watch the movie, Heaven is for Real.  Watching a movie in a candlelit century old church was magical.  It was a beautiful thing watching the movie on a sheet being held by clothespins strung across the front of the church.  What would have made the night better is if I could have heard the dialog.  I maybe heard 10% of the movie.  When I watch tv at home I either use closed captions or I stream the movie through an assistive listening device that goes right to my hearing aids, I love this option, I usually use both.  

surflink media

Did I ask for captions…NO.  Did I come early and ask to hook up the assistive listening device to the movie which would have taken two minutes…NO.  Why, I guess I just don’t want to draw attention to this issue.  I did bring my portable streamer unit.  I tried it but it mainly picked up the fans and I just got an amplified Charlie Brown teachers voice effect for the dialog of the movie.  I had a great time last night seeing friends and neighbors but I just had this kick in the butt feeling why didn’t you say something or stand up for yourself.  

I need help in this area.  I need a shot of confidence that I deserve to understand what is going on the same as everyone else in the vicinity of me.  I came home last night and my husband said to me, “Bet you couldn’t hear the movie tonight.”  No I couldn’t, he keeps telling me nobody cares if you ask, there may be three other people there that missed this line or that and maybe wouldn’t have minded captions.  

I need to learn how to do this at events like this or even a movie theatre.  It is just easier to watch a movie at home and not have to ask.  This is a huge learning curve I have found.  I don’t like to ask for something normally so this is just way out there for me.  I need to shove back my shoulders, hold my head high and get the idea drilled in my head that I deserve it.  

This I guess would be my New Years Resolution part 2 of just ask, stand up for yourself, you are worth it.  

stand up darling

Another Year Older

This weekend was my birthday.  It seems like every year it is just a day that is glossed over.  I get a call from my parents and wish me a happy birthday, we meet for a lunch usually in the month of my birthday but that is about it.  I moved across the state on my 30th birthday.  We have held a garage sale on the day, or I work the 4H food stand for our town festival.  It is all ok but I have to admit I miss celebrating my day.  Does that make me sound conceited?  I hold parties for my kids and husband I just want a day for me.  

About a month ago I won a pair of tickets to watch the MN Twins baseball team.  I was excited, really excited, a weekend of celebration is what this was turning into.  The tickets were for what day, MY BIRTHDAY.  I would miss our towns festival but everyone seemed ok with this fact so the stars were aligning, we were going to the cities and momma would be celebrating her birthday.  

cousinsSaturday we had a birthday party at my mom’s house.  We had a wonderful lunch with my sister’s family, my parents, and my grandma.  It was fun to see everyone and just catch up.  The kids had a blast playing together.  They don’t see their cousins very often so they play hard.  

me and birthday flowers

 

 

Greta went to the Farmers market with her aunt and cousins and brought home these beautiful flowers for her momma.  They were just beautiful and smelled so good.  I hope my mom can enjoy them for a while since I had to leave them at her house.  

After a fabulous party we left for the game.  Traveled to Minneapolis and got to Target Field in plenty of time to sightsee, people watch and take it all in.  We had such a great night.  The Twins didn’t win but we had a wonderful night away.  

chad at the game

target field

 

It is always interesting to see what they have at the game from food to promotions to closed captioning.  Chad, my husband, actually figured this out.  I was telling him I couldn’t hear anything in that stadium from the announcer to him sitting right next to me.  He tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to a small screen and said, “closed captioning is over there, you can understand the announcer”.  Sure enough it was a small screen so thank god I wore my contacts but it was there!!  It is amazing what you find when you look for it.  

closed captioning at the game

 

can you spy it?? First tier on the right

Wonderful weekend all around.  I got to see my family, spend time with my husband and celebrate what the 19th is to me, my birthday.  We took the long way home through Minneapolis on Sunday and showed the kids St Paul, Ford Parkway, Lake Street and Lake Calhoun.  It was an eye opening ride for them.  They are so used to small town it is fun to get back to the city.  I think their high point was visiting Choo Choo Bob’s in St Paul.  A toy store how fun!!!

choo choo bobs pictureI am another year older and I am excited for it.  I have changes coming up in my life and I am eager for the new challenges. I am glad I got to take this weekend to celebrate life, family and love.  

 

My Creation

I have never thought of myself as an artist, or even a big crafter but I love trying to be creative.  I will see something a picture, an item, or the worst…Pinterest and my mind will start rolling.  The idea will consume me.  I will be making dinner while wondering what materials I could use.  I will be shopping wondering if I should pick a new sharpie marker up or maybe a new sketch pad.  When the house is quiet at night and everyone is in bed it is my time.  It is my time to doodle, sketch and write.  When the weather starts to get cold then the yarn will come out and it will be time to knit.  Being creative brings me joy, it brings me calm, it brings my mind to rest.

This past weekend we spent the 4th Holiday with my in laws at their farm.  It is always a fun time.  We had a bbq with family, took rides in the new golf cart that was purchased for my mother in law, and finding little kittens in the barn.  While in the barn there were two metal stools that caught my eye.  They were nothing but rust without any paint left on these gems at all.  Oh the wheels they started turning.  My father in law said I could have one, my heart was happy.  I saw ideas of whimsy and fun.  This was a complete blank canvas for me.  This was a project to let out my creative being.  I can sadly say I lost sleep over this project.  I wanted and needed to get this done.  I could see the finished project in my head.  I needed to get those images into real time.

This project was a 3 day process, will actually become a four day by the time it is totally completed.  I needed paint.  I knew I owned the base coat I wanted but I needed craft paint.  We headed to JoAnns and I bought paint, and new brushes.  Oh this was getting exciting.  This was bigger than my sketch book.  I couldn’t start on the stool due to rain that afternoon but all supplies were home.

rusty chair

 

Yesterday was spent by grinding this chair down with a wire brush on the grinder.  Steel wool was the next step to get into all those little nooks and corners.  Finally I took spray paint to the chair and made it a wonderful red.

Today I needed to get the couple designs I had in my head to the chair.  I wanted something to symbolize hearing.  This word hearing or not hearing has changed so much of my life that I needed to get that symbol on my creation.  My son and I have been doing the I Love You in sign language to each other since he was about 2 years old and he didn’t talk yet.  Still today when I dropped him off at summer school he did this sign to me when going into school.  It is important to me and my heart.  I thought of adding the heart in the hand since the love of my family is in my heart.

chair seat

 

I am pleased how the hand turned out and the word love.  I then thought a red stool needs whimsy.  It needs some fun to make the project what I envisioned.  I added dots and waves and another hand and heart on the back.  I am happy.  My heart is happy that I just let me heart lead me on this project, there was no written plan or stencils just me and my thoughts.  I love the finished project.  Next step I will spray it with a clear coat.  I am thinking of entering the stool in our county fair.  It brings a smile to my face.  It is fun, bright and says love something we all need more of.

finished chair

 

 

Now wondering if I need to plead for the other stool that was left in the barn.

Fun, Faith and Family

The past week has been an experiences of fun, faith and family.  I have decided to do this blog post a little different.  I want to tell the story of this past week through pictures and few words.  I think a central theme is water.

This past Thursday my dear daughter, Greta, decided to be baptized.  Greta was baptized as an infant but she choose to make that decision herself and I couldn’t be prouder.  She is becoming a wonderful young lady and she spoke with pose and intelligence.  A friend of mine took these wonderful photo’s and I am in wonder of Greta’s smile.  It was truly an experience for our whole family.

Greta Baptism water Greta Baptism

The very next day we travelled to my hometown across the state of Minnesota.  I grew up on the St Croix river which has experienced a lot of flooding this past spring.  So many things are under water and parks and homes are flooded.  We took some time this past weekend going to different areas on the river taking pictures and just enjoying our family together, laughing, and taking pleasure in watching all the baby ducks and geese.

flooding HudsonHudson, Wisconsin if you look out beyond the kids you can see the picnic tables and benches.

stillwater bridge bridge closed greta and the stillwater bridge

These pictures were taken in Stillwater, MN.  As you can see the water was quite high and the bridge is closed until this water starts to recede.  I have seen this area flood before but it gives you a whole new outlook on the power of water when you see it.  Driving around I saw childhood friends homes that had water up to their door and I am sure in their homes.  Just a sad site.  I have to laugh at the picture of Chad and the bridge closed sign.  Chad doesn’t want harm to come to anyone but he has a running joke that he calls Stillwater, Snobwater.  The size of the boats on that river I have a hard time dispelling that name except I grew up there and we didn’t even have a rowboat.

flooding beanies

This picture is the Marina and boat landing by my parents house.  This establishment is owned by church friends of ours and horribly flooded.  This is usually parking lot out to the dock you see you in the middle of the picture.  My heart is heavy when this is their business and this is happening to them.  I hope the river starts going down soon.

The rest of the weekend was very special to me.  My grandmother died this past fall and it was her job to keep the family together and get them together for life events.  Saturday afternoon my mom and aunt planned a party at the park, again at the river.  My sister and her family were there and my cousin and his family were there.  It was so nice to visit and see family again.  Family is so important to us all.  They were the first one in our corner when we were small and will be the last ones to be with us at the end.  It was a great picnic where we all made some great memories.  One special memory was at the same park many many years ago,  probably nearing 30 years ago.  At that picnic my grandma and grandpa were both there and we played a softball game.  My grandpa died when I was Greta’s age so yes a nice memory to think of again this weekend.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and making some memories of your own.  It was a wonderful few days of faith and fellowship of the water of baptism.  It was fun with family taking pictures around the St Croix River.  It was family who we were able to have a meal with and make memories with at the park.

 

 

 

No More Rain, PLEASE

I live in Minnesota which is the land of 10,000 lakes.  There has to be at least another 10,000 lakes being made with all the rain we have gotten this spring/summer.  It is absolutely nuts the rain that has been coming.  This isn’t a little spring shower either this is like 3 inches of rain in a short time numerous times a week, where roads flood, basements are flooded and my garden is underwater.  I had such high hopes for my garden, it was to be my stress reliever, family activity, and a place to get in tuned with my thoughts and conversation with the Lord.  Well if I had a raft and maybe planted rice that would be happening.  I went out to the garden this morning and it is still surrounded by standing water, like a world convention for the mosquitos.  My plot amazing is not underwater but I couldn’t get to it.  My soil looked like a mud stew.  I had weeds/corn/other plants up but can’t tell what is what from standing 20 feet away.  I did notice in the midst of a mess my tomato plants look very sickly BUT I do have yellow buds on them.  Maybe just maybe it will dry up and I will get at least one nice tomato for a BLT.  That is my new goal.  I went from canning all the tomato sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce one could fathom to a BLT.  Kinda sad but gotta adjust those dreams once in a while.  When life doesn’t go the way you want it to go just yell PLOT TWIST.  That is how we get from a full pantry to a BLT.  I really shouldn’t be complaining in other parts of the state they are uses boats to get to their houses.  A major medical facility in the Twin Cities had their foundation compromised when the earth under it just collapsed.  Streets are being washed away and cars are being stuck in water up their windows.  It is a crazy spring.  

I guess I just needed to vent that enough water is enough water.  I sure hope this has taken us out of the drought.  I do have to end with a positive note in the weather.  Last week we had bad weather again, I know a shocker.  We live in Swift County and their were 10 count them 10 tornados around the town.  I heard right from the chef of polices mouth that they were out tracking and chasing the weather and one of the tornadoes was 1/2 mile wide at the top.  Our town isn’t more then 2 miles across this twister could demolish the town.  The Chef of Police is a godly man and was praying out loud to please spare our town.  Please go around town.  He watched as this tornado went right over our town and right over our house and right over the plant my husband was working in and never touched down once while in town.  That is a miracle of all miracles.  Why our town was sparred I don’t know but I am thankful that our family was together at supper time and no one or no damage was done.  

So lets just have a wonderful summer, unsure that will happen since we have rain this whole week in the forecast.  Oh well maybe we will need to just start planting rice.  

Waiting to Wake Up from a Dream

hearstrong me greta and allison

On June 10, 2014 I was invited to attend a ceremony at Starkey World Headquarters in Eden Prairie, MN.  I traveled the near 3 hours to the headquarters,  I was full of nerves, and excitement since I had no idea what I was to expect.  I was presented a HearStrong Award.  It was a wonderful honor and experience.  I hope I can get into words what I experienced and what transpired on that wonderful day.

HearStrong is the nonprofit that is held by the  company EarQ.  It honors individuals that have overcome hearing loss and decide to do something about it.  The way they heard about me is they happened upon one of my blog posts on the SWC Blog.  I was given a gold medal and a framed certificate from two great gentlemen from EarQ and from Tani Austin from the Starkey Hearing Foundation.  I was accompanied by my good friend Allison and my daughter Greta.  It was an honor I will take seriously and keep advocating all I can.  HearStrong asks you to take the challenge to be a Champion and bring attention to hearing loss and help make this stigma the that hearing loss affects all not just a certain generation.  I do take this challenge and I hope to be kept accountable that I will continue to do so.

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After a wonderful ceremony and pictures we were handed over to Starkey.  I had no idea what the rest of our time there would be but I was told it would be worth it.  We were told to drive to another building (huge complex) and they would take care of us.  Well what I didn’t know and was a surprise is I was given a hearing test and given a new set of hearing aids and lots of fun gadgets to go with them.  I was in shock, in no way was I expecting anything at all.  It started out with a video of the inside of my ears.  The neat part of this whole process was that my daughter and friend were with me and asking question and taking pictures of all of it.  Greta wants to do a project on hearing loss and hearing aids for the county fair this year.  I think she got lots of first hand info on Tuesday.  I was then given a hearing test by a Starkey Audiologist.  We were then treated to lunch.  Anything we wanted at no cost to us.  Another high point for my daughter, you can tell she is 11.  Impressions and molds were made next again pictures and my daughter and friend were right there.  They got to watch the whole process and ask any questions they wanted.  In fact my daughter got to come home with a few ear molds that were made.  They are now prized possessions.  Now the waiting game started.  We waited a few hours while custom made hearing aids for me.  I was given XENO RIC with a custom earmold around the receiver.  Much more powerful than my last pair.  During the waiting period my daughter was able to have a private meeting with Tani Austin about the hearing missions the Starkey Hearing Foundation have done all over the world.  Greta is inspired and would love to go on a mission with them someday.  Who knows anything is possible.

Finally at 6pm my hearing aids were done.  I was also given two additional items, one is the SurfLink Media which plugs into my TV and I can listen to the TV wirelessly directly into my hearing aids.  Very cool item and having fun trying it out.  I can even have the TV on mute and I can listen to it at a good level for me and not disrupt anyone else in the house.  My other gadget is the SurfLink mobile.  This is a remote I can use for my hearing aids I can change programs and change the volume.  I can use it as a bluetooth for my phone so again the sound is wirelessly sent to the hearing aids and I don’t need to use the actual cell phone.  The one feature that I think is the most fun is I can stream my iPod and listen to all my music through my hearing aids instead of taking them out and using earbuds and complaining the volume doesn’t go high enough.

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It was a day I will never forget.  I am still waiting to wake up from an incredible dream.  I thank my friend, Allison, for taking 14 1/2 hours away from her family to be there with me to experience this once in a lifetime day.  I thank my daughter, Greta, for being so grown up and asking questions and being engaged.  Her project for the fair should be blue ribbon all the way.  Most of all thank you all for reading my writing and keeping me accountable.