Category Archives: Christian Journey

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.


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.


IF Gathering 2016: A Deaf Gal’s Point of View

As of 48 hours ago, I was in the middle of a battle in my head.

“Should I go? Sure, they said there would be interpreters telecasted with the program. But really? I got a scholarship. Yeah. I should go. But… ”

That “But” kept me from making a decision.

At our Mom Group, earlier that day, which I always went without an interpreter, I was asked by one of the leaders, “Are you coming to ‘IF’?” I leaned my head the side in indecision. I loved the idea of being around a bunch of women connecting on some awesome Godly level, but being the only Deaf woman there had left me feeling a little lonesome lately. I had heard from another friend, in her own excitment, there would be interpreters telecasted. I had my doubts, to be sure, and I responded, giving my excuses, “No, I can’t afford it right now.” She shook her head and said not to worry about it. “But I really struggle with reading lips on a video screen. I had heard there would be interpreters on the video…” I left it hanging, feeling like I couldn’t continue. The sweet woman scratched her chin and responded, “Let me look into that, and I’ll get back to you on that. I’ll email you, okay?” I nodded.

Now, I was feeling a small inkling of hope, but every part of me fought that hope.

I am Deaf. I am a minority. I am outnumbered.

My husband told me to wait before making the ultimate decision about the conference. The man is blind and hard of hearing! He’s an even bigger minority and he tells me to hold my horses! Okay… So I waited.

I waited in my bed with my laptop in front of me. Just as I was ready to resign and say I wasn’t going, I get an email saying I should register so they can get the telecast for the interpreter.  Hope fluttered, and I took that step and registered.

Believe me, the next morning I was so nervous and anxious, and when I showed up at my church at 2 pm, with my laptop in my backpack thinking I might need it for my own screen with an interpreter to watch, I was taken back to see an interpreter on the screen with the telecast.

I should have been overjoyed. I should have been excited. Instead, all the anxiety and lonliness that I had been feeling for such a long time just overpowered me. Little did I know, later on I would realize it to be my water jar that I needed to leave at Jesus’ feet.

It wasn’t until a good friend waved to me in line for dinner with a big smile on her face that I felt happy to be there. I read her lips saying, “I’m so glad you came!!! I saw the interpreter and thought of you!” I smiled back and signed as I said, “Thanks! I loved seeing the interpeter!”

I would be lying to say that the whole night was all amazing and awesome.

My disappointment did return when I saw some parts of the telecast not have an interpreter. I caught some of what was being said, but I felt so left out. Some were laughing in the room, and I missed the joke. I wanted to cry. I had enough of being disappointed. I picked up my backpack and proceeded to leave, but another amazing woman stopped me. “Don’t leave!” I told her I was tired of missing out on everything and being the only deaf person there. She encouraged me by saying they would help me and then threw me a surprise, “You’re teaching us so much. Stay.”

It was a good thing I stayed. The interpreter came back on for me to catch the message about Lazarus and Jesus waiting two days before coming and rising his best friend from the dead. I had a laugh, and then the message of the water jar hit me to the core. It was all about the story of the Samaratian woman and Jesus at the well, and how she left her precious water jar at Jesus’ feet as she ran into the city to tell them about Him. She trusted him with such an important thing. As I watched and “listened” to the message, I realized my hunger for social relationships, especially with those who “speak” my language and understand my struggles, was my water jar. I wasn’t finding it through Facebook, as I had left it thinking that would fix it. The one thing I needed to do  was to trust Him to provide me this need.

It also dawned on me I live in both worlds for a reason.  I’m in this body of Christ… JUST the way I am. HE will put people in my way to support me, but I have to trust Him to do that… Be it they are hearing or deaf.

Now, with my headphones blaring Chris Tomlin in my ears, I am going to settle to sleep. I have another day of IF tomorrow… And I’m trusting Him to give me the message I need.

 


My Christmas

I have had a crazy weekend with the worst case of a stomach virus I have ever had in my life, and to top it off, my husband and daughter caught it as well. We were all miserable. My son was lucky enough to be immune to it, thanks to antibiotics for an ear infection. That’s my theory, at least. Yet, in the middle of groaning and whimpering of the virus’s effects on my body, I got to do some thinking about my life and where I am now, especially when it comes to Christmas.

I will admit, I’ve been a little spoiled growing up with Christmas. My parents, along with my vast family, always made Chrstmas such a huge thing with presents and gathering together. Now that I have my own little family, it has been tough not being able to do either for my two children. My biological family are all out west while I’m on the east coast, and my husband’s family is quite broken after the sudden passing of his mother a few years ago. We can’t really spoil our children with awesome presents with our meager means these days.

But wait a minute… Whats up with the idea of awesome presents?!  I blame it on TV and all the advertisements around us. Buy this! Buy that! This will make an awesome present!

As I was working on getting myself better for the past couple of days, I got to thinking about what Christmas could mean to us instead of opening up a bunch of presents. Sure, we all love getting presents, and I know I still want to bless my two somehow with something to open; but I think we need to rethink how to celebrate the season. We, as in my family, but you’re welcome to join me if you would like.

To be honest, I’m not sure how I’m going to do it with extremely busy schedule as a working mom these days, but I’m going to try.

One of the lessons I want to try to instill in my children of the value of giving instead of getting, as well as what we give. It doesn’t have to be something we buy from a store. Both my children have inherited their mother’s artistic ability (I’m beaming proudly here), and I know we can make things for our loved ones they will appreciate more than something that is bought from a store somewhere. I will try to find some fun crafts that are not cluttery kind of things for a home, but useful ones.  The reason I say that is I’m in the middle of de-cluttering my home, and I don’t want to be one to give things that will clutter another persons home instead. Does that make sense? 

This year, I want to try and do somethings that are blind friendly so our husband can join us in our celebration. We could do readings from Christmas themed books. My favorite, being Max Lucado’s Crippled Lamb, is definitely one on the list.

Last, but not least, I want the kids to completely understand that we’re celebrating the birth of Christ. Sure, a lot of people can argue that it’s not acurately the right date, and they’re probably right. Am I going to be legalistic about it? No. We don’t know his exact birthdate, so I say this is better than nothing!

We may not have much from the world’s point of view and we’re struggling to get by. Hopefully things will work out better as my husband tries to go back to work, despite his blindness. In the meantime, we can still have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.