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 excited.  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.

2014-06-12 01.14.14

 

 

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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.

 

SUMMER is Coming

Open windows, fresh cut grass, the prickling of the hot sun on the cheeks and your shoulders.  It is the last week of school.  The days are getting longer and the kids are bucking bedtime.  Soon very soon it will be summer vacation.  There will be activities, hours at the pool, weeding a garden.  It will be a carefree couple of months.  

It is 12 weeks of very little schedules and trying to have fun and enjoy our family.  I want to try some creative activities this year.  We want to try camping, fishing, and swimming and fun.  Maybe a couple baseball games who knows just some fun!!!  

I will cry on that last day of school.  I don’t cry because the kids will be home I cry because I will see what they started the year at and how far they have come.  They have both matured so much and made great strides in school and home.  

Yes it is almost summer, summer vacation.  The time for sleeping in, peanut butter sandwiches and afternoons at the pool.  Playing ball at the park in the evenings and having dad grill more than the stove is turned on.  

Summer, bring it on.  

My Garden

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letter to my Daughter

100E2245My Dearest Daughter-

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love your Mommy.

 

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

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

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

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

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

playing telephone

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

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

phone picture

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

Thank you for Reading

 

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a link to my HearStrong profile.