Category Archives: Ramblings

Upside-Down and Coming to an End

It’s been a while since I last wrote, but between working a part-time job, being a mother, trying to figure out a lot of things, and now, finally, student teaching, I’ve been a little sidetracked. This past fall and winter have been a tumultuous time for me.

I hope you didn’t miss my writing too much. I have to admit I have missed writing!

To begin to explain why I call it tumultuous, riotous, turbulent, or even stormy, I would need to begin when life began to become almost topsy-turvy… And it started in August. 

My plans for graduating in December with my special education degree was screeched to a halt when it was discovered my counselor did not prepare me or inform me to take the exams and apply for student teaching for the fall semester. I was supposed to have done that back in the spring. All they could do was, “Oops. You’ll have to take a semester off and do all of it now for the spring and begin student-teaching then.” Needless to say,  I was pretty upset. I had no choice but to take a semester off. At first, I thought it was going to be an uneventful time while I waited to begin back up again… Boy, was I wrong.

Two months later, I was heartbroken to find out I had lost a dear uncle to heart disease. 

Thankfully, I had the chance to fly out with my kids and be with my family to celebrate my uncle’s wonderful sense of humor, his love of God, and his amazing life. I am also thankful my kids had the wonderful opportunity to have met their great-uncle the summer before, and in how my son developed a really wonderful connection with him.

It shook his world to find out that his friend, his great-uncle, who loved to hear his ideas and stories, was gone. I told him, “He’s in heaven, and we’ll see him soon.” “Yeah.” he’d say somberly and then smile, “Then I can tell him all sorts of stories then, right?”

I told my kids of how fun he was when I was growing up, and how I recently discovered the pivotal role his family was in helping me get the diagnosis of my deafness. They encouraged my mother of how she could help me, taking me to the University of Arizona for testing,  which led to the beginning of how I became who I am today. Wow. God puts the right people in our lives at the right time, and now I am just finding out about it.

I had just been home two weeks from being with my family for my uncle’s memorial service when I heard the unexpected news that a wonderful childhood friend of mine had died. I had so many wonderful memories with him and had hopes of seeing him when I plan to go celebrate my graduation from my Master’s program. We had even talked once about having him do my hair, as that was his profession, when I was to meet up with him. It still feels surreal to know he’s gone. Yet, I am thankful we were able to reconnect when we did, even though it was virtually through Facebook.

Fortunately, Christmas was a blessed time with snow and my dad spending the special Holiday with us.  Yet, right about that time, I was beginning to feel another change was about to happen. It wasn’t in regards to student teaching in the spring… But it was  something related to what happened a little over 16 years ago.

A piece of glass, which a doctor, 15 years ago, couldn’t remove from my wrist, was left inside after an effort was made to remove it. The glass was from the windshield of the cars involved in the life changing accident a year before this moment. It was estimated there were five pieces of glass inside that part of my wrist, and he was able to remove most of them. I can remember him saying, “Glass is tricky. It hides in blood very easily!” He did try to get them all, but as he tried to find the last elusive piece, I could remember feeling the anesthesia wearing off. He decided that was better to let the body do what it does best. “Your body will work to get rid of it. We were able to get those other ones out because your body had pushed them up. It’ll do the same for that last one in time.”  I can remember thinking, “Oh, okay. Then I’ll probably see it come up in a couple of months and get it removed.”

In the beginning, I do admit I was nervous to have anyone rub that part of my wrist when I went for a manicure or when I wore anything tight around that wrist, but as time went by, I had begun to feel that it was always going to be a part of my body.

In the past several months, it had become something I couldn’t ignore. I’ll just say it’s not a very nice feeling, and it reminds me a bit of having a stone stuck in your shoe – But it’s one you can’t get out.

In the middle of all this happening, my husband recently moved into a job that works really well for him, but it had meant I would need to wait to be able to see a doctor, as a new job meant new benefits. He had been anxious for me, but I assured him I would be fine, since we saw that it wouldn’t take long to wait for benefits to kick in… But I’ll be honest and say it was hard to be patient!

Wearing a brace had helped decrease the pain, and I had to decide to hold off on doing any crocheting until it did get taken care of. That’s hard for an artist to do!

I had a really rough day, a week ago, with being so irritated with everything going on in my life, and the annoying pain in my wrist was beginning to feel like the one that would break the camel’s back. I had so badly wanted to vent and be irritated, yet I knew it wasn’t going to solve anything. Instead, I began to pray and ask God,

“What is it, exactly, that I need?”

I realized it was Strength and Patience.

“Yeah, you think?”I thought sarcastically.

I knew now I need the strength to stand as the turbulant winds blew around me, and patience to wait out the storm. The storm will end. Winter doesn’t always last. There is almost always the bitter hard storm before the first of spring comes, and I knew I had to learn to wait..

Today, I was finally able to go see a doctor about my wrist. I was afraid, after 16 years of living with this invisible “hitchhiker” in my body, that it really wasn’t there and it was all in my head. But, after the x-ray, I was able to see this piece of glass I have been waiting for years to be free of! A little 2 mm rectangular piece of glass sat on top of one of my wrist bones just under the very layer of my skin. “It looks like some nerves are sitting right above it, keeping it right there, and it’s causing you all that pain and numbness. We can easily get that out.” He decides, “We could even do it this coming Monday. How about that?”  I ecstatically signed, “YES!” My interpreter resounded my excitement as she interpreted for me.

My son, who was with me, said a really wonderful thing as we left the office. “Mom, on Monday, you can finally be done with that car accident.”

What an amazing thought. When Monday comes, I will no longer have to wonder when it would come out and, in a sense, release me to heal completely. It is an overwhelming peace in knowing it I can begin to heal COMPLETELY.  I know I will always have scars, but I will be thankful when I see them – It is through them I will remember of God’s grace, strength, and protection.


Moving at His Own Pace

Lately, I have been so amazed at my husband.

I struggle with my own monsters in life – Anxiety, Depression, Deafness, and other little things.

But, I look at my husband, and his resilience amazes me. He doesn’t always have a positive outlook on his growing blindness, but he still fights through.

Yesterday, as we walked three miles to our favorite shopping center, he walked along side me, laughing and teasing me as he held my hand while using his other hand to feel the path before him with his cane. He didn’t depend on me completely, but my eyes and words of what was going on around us just supplemented what he had sensually.

Before we had begun the walk,  I noticed him focusing intently as he stepped down the stairs of our apartment. I thought, “He must be counting the steps.” I counted as well. When we reached the ground level, I shared my discovery of each flight being 6 steps. He then shared, “Yes, and the very bottom one in the back flight of stairs has 7.” I never knew that.

An ambulance siren went off by us, I couldn’t hear it, but he did. I could see it, and I told him what direction it went and guessed which hospital it was probably heading. He agreed and hoped it was not a serious situation.

He signed to me, as I had left my hearing aids out. The warm day and the sweat that would likely come makes it hard to keep my loose ear molds in, thus making it even harder to hear. “Leave them out,” he encouraged, before we headed out for our hike. “I can sign, and the kids can, too. You can put them in your backpack and put them in once we get to the mall.”

He wasn’t afraid of my Deafness, and it was fortunate that I could speak clearly enough despite it. That was a huge asset for us, although, he kindly informed me in a tease, “You sound a bit like a pirate when you talk without your hearing aids.”

“Argh!” I teased back. “Now I just need to dress like one!”

My kids loved the idea… Maybe one day, I will.

An overgrown bush edged the sidewalk, and his hand was on my shoulder as I guided him through the narrow passage way. “Duck!” I ducked down to let him feel just how far down he needed to go to avoid the overgrown branches. We cleared it. “They really need to trim those branches on that bush!” I exclaimed.  His exasperated expression showed his agreement. Running into branches unaware is not something he liked doing.

We walked and I shared with him of the scene around us. He was having a good vision day and could see bright colors, but no definite shape. “The sky is so blue! I’m loving it! I haven’t seen such a blue sky in so long.” It’s moments like this where I remember to appreciate my sight.

I notice horse manure on the sidewalk, and I tell him. It wasn’t too surprising to see this, as there was a horse showing arena not far where we were. He laughs, I didn’t know why. I was chuckling for a different reason, though I don’t remember what for. He later told me of something the kids had said of the discovery of the horse manure on the sidewalk. “Who pooped in the middle of the sidewalk!?” one of them had said. It was my turn to laugh.  I tell them, “It’s horse poop!” My daughter looks at me precariously, and signs, “A horse walked this way?  Why?” I reminded her of the Rodeo/show grounds now far from us. “Oooh.” She signed. “That makes sense.”

My husband then signs to me that my eight year old son is cracking jokes about poop. I rolled my eyes. He’s being such a typical boy.

We get to the shopping mall, and I tell him of a new Italian pizza place that opened up. “Want to try it?” I ask. He signs back, “Sure!”

At the restaurant, I described to him what the place looked like, and we shared an amazing pizza, which the kids each had their own opinion of the Italian flair of their American favorite. My husband and I loved it. His sense of taste and smell had heightened since he lost his vision. He signs to me of what he can taste and can smell. I smiled. My sense of smell had long been muted to many sinus infections, and I appreciated his perspective.

At home, he can’t do a whole lot, but he does try.

He helps by doing his laundry, which he has a system to doing. He washes his shirts and pants separately. I help him fold his clothes in the way he likes it. He wears only black and white shirts and has only five to six button up shirts for work. His shirts are alternated black and white, and I tell him which one is on the top so he knows. When he hangs up his shirts, I tell him which one I give him, and he hangs them in order of the days he likes to wear them.

Lately, he has also been exploring his Scottish heritage, and he will ask me to search for something online. I will find a site and share with him in what I find. I read out loud to him, and if there is a picture, I try to describe it to him.

This is one thing he struggles with. He wishes he could see pictures. Even when he inverts the color, which works well for him when he wants to read something enlarged, the pictures don’t look like something he can recognize. Even a picture I took of him, he struggles to see. “Do I look good?” He asks. “Of course, you do!” He had lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past year. I was proud of him for doing so. I explained this to him. “Even my hat looks good on me?” I can tell he struggles with his image. How can you not when you can’t even see yourself?

Another thing about him that I admire –  He is still working. He has kept his job for the past ten years, even despite his gradual vision loss. They’ve, thankfully, been accommodating.

Yet… He’s facing another mountain now. He might have to look for another job, which scares him. He is fighting despite it. He is also now accepting the truth. “I am going blind.” He shudders at the thought of not finding something he can do with his blindness. He hates the thought of going on Disability, but he’s now realizing that might be a reality.

Despite all he’s facing, I still admire and love him. He is trying, and there are people out there who won’t try as much as he does while having a disability.

As I end this… I ask you to please pray for him. Keep him in your thoughts. Ask that God will lift him up and give him hope. He has yet to experience that.

Thank you.


God Sends Angels through People

I’m sitting here amazed at the generosity that comes when times become rough.

My first experience of this was when we hit a really rough patch back in 2008. The resession was in full effect. We found ourselves over our heads in debt as hours at work were cut back. The only choice was to file for bankruptcy. The one price of it was we had to lose the car. I knew it was going to be hard, but it wasn’t hopeless. Little did I know how hope-FULL it was going to be.

I told my group at church in Virginia of our pending loss of the car and of the bankruptcy. All I asked was for prayers. I was stubbornly set on not being a burden, and make it work with an almost 3 year old daughter and an 18 month son. It was going to be tough, I knew, but I wasn’t without resources. But my group stunned me by finding a double stroller and gave me food to take home.

When the car was finally taken away, we had just been hit hard with the loss of my mother-in-law, and even then, people reached out to us with encouragement and aide.  By the grace and blessing of God, we didn’t have to be without a car for more than three weeks. He provided a way for us to get a car paid in full.

When we went through little rough patches… I remembered those days.

So when we were in a minor car accident a week and a half ago, in the midst of anxiety and uncertianty, there was one thing I held on to- We were going to be fine in the end. I just didn’t know how it was going to happen.

I’m going to say it’s all a God thing, because, sure enough, he sent people our way to help us through this rough patch.

We have been without a car since then, and, again, I stubbornly believed I would be fine just getting by with the skin of our teeth. “The store isn’t too far away.  We can walk. It will be good for us!”

My husband was more on the realistic side, “Do you think you can carry the groceries we need home?”

He had a point. A family of four needs quite a bit of food. Especially when my son has been hungry and eating a little more food than usual lately. It’s growth spurt time. Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about it as a friend and neighbor chastised me for being stubborn.”I can help you get groceries home! Let me know when you need to go, and I’ll take you.”

We were able to get groceries for this past week, thanks to her.

Another friend gave me a ride to the body shop for my car the next day, and when he had to get to work, as we were running a little late that day, I was able to walk a block down to a really wonderful church where I had a lot of friends, and there, I found someone willing to drive me home.

Even after all these past blessings, I was still pretty content in the idea of just buckling down with just what we could on our own. I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone.

A friend gave me an offer for a ride to a job interview to a store a mile away, which, to me, walking to was do able. But with rain in the forecast, I knew that would be wiser to do. I took it, and she brought me and the kids home (They tagged along and hung out with her while I had my interview). As I came home, it dawned on me, I could have taken care of something I needed while I had the opportunity.  It was one of those “Face-plam” moments. I could have gotten my allergy medicine right when I was done with my interview. I was at the place of just accepting that I would have to live through the itchy eyes and itchy skin until my other allergy meds kicked in.

But God wasn’t done yet…

My husband had been walking to and from the light rail train, which takes him into Denver for work, since we don’t have a car for me to take him or pick him up from the station, and I was sitting at my computer playing a game to pass the time when he came through the door and immediately signed to me, “I want you to meet someone!”

In walks this sweet woman with this bright smile spread across her face. My husband introduces me to her with sign as he voiced for the woman. I could tell she was immedately nervous with the sudden realization that I was deaf. I calmed her fears with a smile, and told her that I could lip read. My husband then explains that this woman rode with him everyday from Denver and had been taking care of him. Little did we know, until today, that we live in the same complex!

“If you ever need anything, my husband and I would be more than happy to help!” She had known about our car accident and the lack of having a car, but with the new knowledge of us being nieghbors, she now felt she could really help us out.

“Well…” I hesitated. She looked at me intently. “I do need some Benedryl for my allergies. I forgot to get some at the store when I was there today. That’s all I need right now.”

She apparently had no clue about dealing with allergies, as she didn’t know what they looked like. I explained to her they were pink and little. “No problem! Let me go get you some right now!” I told her to get the generic brand if she was going to do that for me. She left with a smile.

She came back with two grocery bags instead of just a small box. “I got you guys some ice cream, if you don’t mind. I hope there’s no allergies.” I had to laugh. She went out for allergy meds for me and she asks us that. Fortunately, the allergies are all dust and pollen in this family. When I saw the allergy meds, I saw she had gotten the name brand.

I was completely surprised and blessed. She didn’t even want any money as I was ready to pay her back.

After she left us, the overwhelming sense of blessing came over me. I had not expected this at all.

God does send his Angels to watch over us. Sometimes it takes shape in people around us.

All I can do is be thankful and know He is in control.


Finding my Safe Place

Today was a rough day for me. Allergies bombarded my senses in the worst way. I struggled to hear, even with my hearing aids on. Breathing was harder as I felt my chest feel congested, which set off other symptoms leading to anxiety.

I felt my heart beating harder and harder as I tried to lipread the speaker at the mom’s group I was at. I couldn’t talk when the other moms began to discuss what was going on. I felt like I wasn’t there. I got up to get a breath of fresh air with hopes of calming my racing heart. I got myself something to drink and finally resorted to taking some medicine to calm the symptoms.

It seemed like I wasn’t there. No one noticed.

I quietly picked up my purse and left.

I admit, I was angry.

I am an introvert in the worst way. I don’t feel like imposing myself on other people. I just wait for people to approach me, and when I drove home, I couldn’t understand why people couldn’t approach me.

After having a cuddling time with my cat, who seemed to know that his mama was not feeling good, I wrote an email to my husband, who works from a computer all day. His response was very encouraging.

“… always remember that they are humans as well, … forgive them…” 

He reminded me that those women didn’t know what was going on. They can’t read my mind or read my body like I can. I probably can hide an Anxiety Attack pretty well.

I couldn’t bring myself to open myself up to them and share my struggles. There are times I wish I wasn’t that way.

He also reminded me that the reason for some of them not approaching me is because of their possible intimidation of my deafness and my partial blindness (I can’t see in the central part of my right eye, and it has caused it to become “lazy”). He deals with it all the time with his blindness. People don’t approach him to be a friend but to “help”. They pity him, and all he has wanted was someone to talk to and be a friend with.  He has it harder, as it is not an invisible disability, but he probably has a good point.

I am just writing this as a gentle reminder for my readers to think about your introverted friends or even those who have a disability. Maybe they’re in the same place I am and don’t know how to share those deep struggles. As much as I do, they need to know of a safe place to share those struggles with.

Be a safe place for them.

Thank you.


Finding my Roots

I’m sitting here ignoring my homework for a moment. Graduate homework is hard to get into when your mind is somewhere else, so I felt the need to get it out before it drives me completely nuts. Any other writer or artist would understand. Right?

Homesickness can be such a hurdle to deal with, and I’m dealing with that right now. The problem is, I don’t have one place that I call home. My “home” is spread out all over the place. I lived in Virginia for a long while, I grew up in Arizona, and my mom, my best friend, is in Alaska. She’s home to me, too.

I do have my husband and my two goofy kids, but there’s something to be said for a place where you have dear friends and a history. They give you a place to connect and grow. Here in Colorado, I’m still trying to find that ground to grow in. It’s not easy when you’re also deaf. It took me four years to ground myself in Virginia, and when I did, I found a wonderful and awesome best friend… Only to have to move away to start all over again.

I am hoping to cut that four years to be much shorter here in Colorado!

One thing, I have learned is that it depends on ME. This introverted and quirky woman has to step outside her comfort zone to find the connections and the ground to seep my roots into.

I have several Extroverted friends on Facebook, and I admit, when I see how they have such close friends, I become jealous. “They have it so easy! It looks so easy to find that one person who knows how you think and gets you!”

When those thoughts come into my head, I can hear God telling me, “Hey, you can have that, too. Trust me.”

“But, God, Where?”

I’m reminded that He’s there, and that He did bring a couple of souls into my life. He did bring some friends into my life already. I just have to trust the ground around me to let my roots go deeper.

“It will take time and let it grow.” I am reminded. I am also reminded that I am technically an outsider looking for a place where my quirkiness and uniqueness can fit.

I can only imagine how much time it takes an uprooted tree to assimilate into a new environment that it’s been replanted in. It has to work through new ground, ease around rocks, push through the soil to find water, and eventually become a part of it.

So, if you’re an uprooted tree, I’m with you.


Little Prayers in the Wind

Yesterday morning I decided to try the boots again. This time I wore some nice thick cotton socks in a dark blue, which is my favorite color, with them. My feet were snug inside my boots, and I could tell the difference from the first time I wore them.

It was a beautiful morning with a temperature around the low 50’s, warranting the need of just a light jacket for the hike. I had seen the forecast for the day earlier and saw there was some rain to come later in the morning. The clouds were far enough away, and I thought, “I should be able to get a couple of hours of hiking before the clouds come in.”

It’s amazing how the weather backfires on you.

Four miles in, I could feel my hands getting colder as I walked down the trail. I was listening to music on my headphones, and signing obliviously to the songs. The cold air was making it harder for me to sign, and the wind began to pick up strength. “Uh oh.” I turned around to see the gray clouds coming in faster than I had thought, and some southern clouds already began dropping rain onto the city below. The northern clouds had already creeped over the city and met with the southern clouds, covering the sun. From where I knew I was, it was a good couple of miles away from my car still. I started praying. The last thing I wanted was to be soaked in cold winter rain.

My ankles began to get sore. The top part of the boots were beginning to make things a little uncomfortable. The socks helped a little bit, but the pain had already set in. “Oh, God. Help me.”

Just then, a strong gush of wind pushed me further down the path. It felt like a strong hand telling me, “Keep going. I’ve got your back.”

I had to laugh at the timing. “God, I hear ya.” I pushed through the pain and climbed through the ups and downs. The amazing part was when I climbed up the steep inclines, my ankles felt better. When I climbed down the declines, the wind pushed me, keeping me from slowing down.

I began to recognize parts of the trail being close to end, and, suddenly, I saw something white fly past my face.

Shocked, I checked my phone to see what the temperatures were and was surprised to see the temperatures had dropped 20 degrees since I had been hiking. It was at 34 degrees, which explained my cold hands and the sight of snowflakes.

I had to smile. God knew I loved snow and could handle snowflakes better than rain drops.

I dug my heels into the trail and pushed through the last quarter mile while I buried my hands into my jacket and danced in my head to music from the Newsboys and Chris Tomlin.

I got to my car just as the snowflakes began to blow down even more, and I could see the city below getting their share of the cold mix of snow and possibly rain. What perfect timing, I thought. I was able to get into my warm car just in time, and when I arrived home, the snow had turned into sleet, which is definitely more uncomfortable to hike in.

God can answer even the littlest prayers.

It was also a reminder that I am not alone. My husband had told me, after the hike, that his friend, at hearing I had done this hike, was impressed with me for doing it alone. No, I had to disagree. I wasn’t alone. I had Him pushing me the whole way, making sure I didn’t slow down and get caught in the blustery wind and sleet. I managed to do 6 miles in 2 hours. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me.

It’s simple as that. God is good. Even in the little things.


Nature is my Medicine

With my feet having recovered from the overzealous hike from the previous weekend, and after having a rough anxiety filled day yesterday, I felt I needed to get out and spend some time alone with my thoughts. With the kids in school, I returned to the Green Mountains, wearing my trusty old tennis shoes this time, and began the trek I had gone before. The mud from the previous weekend had finally dried up, making the way easier, and I also decided to leave my hearing aids behind for this hike. I plugged in my headphones and cranked up my music, but I made sure I stayed to the right side of the path so bikers could just pass me if they came.

I like being deaf, and I also like just listening to music. One thing I will mention – music does sound different without my hearing aids. I hear the low sounds more than I do the higher pitches. When I have my hearing aids, I can hear a higher range of high pitches, though there are some high pitches I will never hear.

I was walking along the long stretch of the trail where there were several forks in the road for other trails, and I decided I didn’t want to walk the 8.9 miles of the weekend before. One fork looked inviting, and without hesitation, I strode down that path feeling confident I would find my way back to my car before it was time to get my kids.

I stayed to the right of the narrower trail, even though I had not seen very many hikers or bikers. I found an easy pace and found that this trail was one I liked. It dipped, turned, ascended, and descended along the small mountainside. It was definitely not a boring path! A couple of bikers and hikers passed me in that hour I walked this peaceful and narrow trail, and a few even smiled and waved as they went by. They were enjoying it as much as I was.

When I came to a part where the current trail met up with main one that looped around the mountain, I realized my hike was almost over. A mile and a half more was to the parking lot, but after the past 4 miles, I was beginning to feel the need to rest and go home. It was then I realized I wasn’t feeling any symptoms of anxiety. I was relaxed, breathing normally, my heart rate was normal (elevated from hiking but not from panic), and it was such a relief. I felt such a joy and a peace, and I was so thankful to have some respite from what I was feeling lately.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. When I got home and was resting after having cleaned myself up, the symptoms flared up and I had no choice but to take some medicine to help calm the symptoms.

As I waited for the symptoms to ease, I began to think about what had transpired.

Being outside had always been a place of peace for me, and hiking allowed my body to be in that place. The mountain isn’t something that man made. God did. I had medicine to help me ease the symptoms of the Anxiety Attacks, but the true peace was when I was around God’s creation.

Oh, I wish I could stay out there in nature all the time, but that’s not what God wants me to do. I realize now I have to take what peace I found out there in Him and bring it into the crazy and man made life I live in.

Isaiah hiking picture

I found this verse today, as well as a wonderful quote from St. Augustine of Hippo, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in thee.”

I have to remember I’m made for Him, and my heart will find it’s rest in God.

It doesn’t mean these symptoms will go away and never come back. I am still struggling with the symptoms, even though I trust God to take care of me. He will hold me. My heart might race, my hands might shake, I might feel claustrophobic, but, despite all that, He will hold me.

I have to believe that. I’ll remember the peace I had on that trail, and I’ll try to bring it into my everyday life. But on days I struggle and need to breathe and find peace, I’ll just be out on that trail with music blasting into my deaf ears. Thankfully, I have that!