The Big Picture

speck pictures

Have you ever seen Horton Hears a Who?  It is a cute book, amusing childrens movie and a question that can keep you thinking for days on end.  Are we just a speck?  Are we just this small part of a big picture?  I have been thinking about this since last Wednesday at my Bible Study.  We talked about how we see the toil and strife that affects all of us.  Sometimes it just seems like we can’t get a break.  That is all of us, we are humans.  But when people say the phrase, this is all happening for a reason, is there a reason- a greater picture that this all works together?

I have a hard time getting my head around this at times.  I have had my share of troubles, sleepless nights.  Wondering how is this all going to work out or will it work out.  I think of the big things in my life now.  I think of jobs, money, my kids, IEP’s, hearing loss, a best friend with cancer, lice and the list could go on and on.  I wonder why there just can’t be a break.  Why people can’t just live the simple life, isn’t that the American Dream?  But then I see how some things that have been a roadblock, a problem can work out for the greater good of our family.  Moving to a town where I didn’t know a soul, heck I had never heard of the town before.  Now seven years later I no longer see this as a problem I see this as home.  I have more “family” than I had anywhere I had lived before.  I am more connected now with a church, school and other organizations.  There was a bigger picture and God knew this and he took care of us.  I can go through this whole list and after time has passed and the fog clears my head from the situation I see that there is a greater picture.  I maybe can’t see the whole thing but things do work out.  Things that we don’t understand can sometimes go into focus.

focus picture

So are we just a speck on this piece of paper of life?  All these things happen around us and to us and we have to trust that this big picture will all make sense.  Do I have the answers, NO.  But I trust in God and God knows ALL.  He knows how all these little things, the highs and the lows we will experience in life.  He knows how it will all work together and I have to try and get my simple human mind to accept that.  I don’t understand why there is hurt, why there are children that die, why mom’s get cancer.  I don’t understand, I don’t see the whole picture but I have to trust God does and he knows what is happening.

So listen for that voice, just like Horton heard from the Speck.  God is there for all of us and he cares about each one of us even if we are just this tiny speck in his universe.

Plot Twist

plot twist

I like order, and I like things planned out whether it is on paper or in my head.  This summer was spent trying to figure out this next year of my life.  What would I do for a job, I longed for a change.  To make a difference in someones life not a sub that floats in and out each day different.  I tried for other jobs and nothing seemed to work out.  I finally took a job and I was excited for it.  The job ended last week after I quit.  I was not disclosed some pretty important information and for that reason I quit.  I felt upset, scared and betrayed.  I had this year planned out in my head and now it is all gone.  I took the week and thought pretty long and hard of what happened and I believe I can just say PLOT TWIST and move on.  Life didn’t go how it was all planned out in my head.  God is the only one that can know our future and he knew this turn was going to take place.

I went back to subbing last week and spent two days at the school.  It felt great catching up with the kids and hearing what they had done for their summer vacations.  It was nice to see staff and say our hello’s.  It wasn’t how I was expecting to spend those days but it was familiar and comfortable.  I still don’t want to be a sub forever.  I need more of a purpose a beginning and end of what I am doing to know that I made a difference on someones life.

Chad, my husband, said to me this weekend “Sara you are pushing 40 it is about time to figure out what you want to do with your life.”  That is so true.  I went to school, then graduated college, obtained a full time job.  Never something I loved but it was an income my desires were to be a wife and a mother.  I was successful on that front and that is what matters most in my life.  I feel this pull now, I am in my research phase now of different career choices.  I get a little nuts when I find a topic I enjoy.  I will stay up till the wee hours of the morning, reading, and making notes.  I am starting to put some feelers out will be doing some work on some different ideas in the next couple weeks.  Maybe it is not in the stars for this path to open up but we will just have to see what happens in my life.

Remember when something happens that you weren’t expecting just yell Plot Twist and move on.  I have done that with moving, having a child diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, hearing loss, and jobs.  Life takes twists and turns you never expect.  Yell Plot Twist or you will dwell in these turns that you will never see the beautiful clearings that you are about to come to: Living in the beautiful prairie, having a son that has taught me to look at the world a little different, meeting friends and learning so much in this past year, being back at the school that is familiar and I am needed.

Life just isn’t a straight line it is like a river that meanders and the slow curves that the water has carved in the banks.

meandering-river

Does Blinging mean Acceptance

Bling: (Bling or bling-bling) is a slang term popularized in hip hop culture, referring to flashy, ostentatious or elaborate jewelry and ornamented accessories

2014-08-19 03.24.10 We are getting close to the year point that my hearing started dropping and hearing aids were purchased and worn. I grew up in a family that has a history of hearing loss this isn’t a new thing for me. I can remember sitting in the audiologist office in 7th grade and being told I should quit the swim team for fear of further damage on my ears. I can remember running from the doctor’s office crying and not wanting to talk about this information. Small tidbits of the given information from that doctor appointment never fully left my head but was pushed to the back recesses of my brain.

In college I majored in communicative disorders and took a lot of audiology classes. That tidbit would creep up to the surface every once in a while and I would think would this be me someday? Will I be getting fitted for hearing aids in my lifetime? Will I be honest about my hearing loss or try to hide it? Anxiety would creep in when us students would have to give each other a hearing exam. I know I wasn’t hearing the beeps. I never was in the normal zone. Many questions and then college came and went and it would get shoved to the back of my brain once again.

Little things would trigger this thought, walking behind someone and noticing hearing aids I would wonder will people notice me if I am wearing them? I knew my hearing wasn’t great. I had never heard my kids whisper to me or talk from another room everything I was used to from a young age. I don’t ever remember hearing a whisper to tell the truth.

So nearing a year of my hearing aids. When I picked up my first hearing aid I cried. I didn’t think it was going to be that hard. I had people who were sympathetic and then I had people who said I should move to the nursing home, do I get a senior discount now. I was ashamed and I didn’t want ANYONE to know. I wore my hair down and I didn’t want to let anyone in on this secret except family and a few friends and to be honest I had a very hard time with them also.

I researched and I gained friends that were also in the same “boat” as I was. I started to breathe again and was able to see this not as an end of the road but just a different road. I started writing and being a little more vocal about what was going on in my life. This past summer I received a gift of hearing aids that are much more powerful than the one I purchased and they seem to serve me well.

I come back to the definition of BLING. I have these great Starkey hearing aids and they are in a dark brown aka espresso color. I don’t mind them but they needed something more, some pizzazz. I sat down at the table a week ago with some paints and thought I would design them. That just seemed so permanent to me. So I went to my addiction of Pinterest and searched blinging hearing aids. I got the idea of using nail foils on the hearing aids. I bought a pack for $2 and I have enough to bling out the aids probably 4 times. I tried my first time with a butterfly design. I also bought a pack that looks a little like tie-dye. I like the fact that I can take it right off with no residue and start over with a new design. I love the look of them, I love that I am wearing something a little fun just like the bright blue glasses I picked out a couple years ago. In a year I went from scared and hiding to pulling my hair up and showing off butterfly hearing aids. What I loved the most is when I showed my husband he looked at them and said, “Hey those are really cute, great job”. My daughter gushed over them and can’t wait to help me redesign the next time. Am a complete open book, not even close. A few pages maybe have been exposed to some people for now. But for now I will wear my hair anyway I please, not care if people notice hearing aids or ear molds. I will design them and wear them and show them off.  I also have a remote and streaming device that just looks so plain and a solid color. Maybe that needs a little blinging out also.

2014-08-22 13.16.44

So maybe blinging means some acceptance. Showing something off instead of hiding it. Blinging lets the world see that you are in acceptance and even inviting a question or comment. If someone wants to ask me about them, that is just fine.

just be yourself

 

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.