Category Archives: self exploration

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.


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!


Priorities

It’s been a while since I’ve written any blogs, and just tonight I posted one in my other blog, Moving and All it’s Adventures. I wrote about our recent adventure with all the inconveniences of plumbing in the middle of Snowstorm Kayla. It was good to write again, and I recently made some changes in my life to make room for things I love.

As much as how good Facebook can be, I had come to find that I was on it way too much. With being a Grad student and less than a year away from graduation, and being a mom, I had to make some choices to what was really important to me. To top it all off, I wasn’t taking good care of myself. I had to remember the rule of thumb: To take care of those you love, you have to take care of yourself first.

A week and a half ago, I deactivated my account. That was a tough thing to do. I had been on Facebook since 2008, and I was going cold turkey from all that “connection”.  Yet, I know it’s going to be good for me.

I am going to work on getting my health back on track, do well in school, and be there for my kids and my husband. I’m also going to be working on making true connections with people by writing emails and meeting people face to face. The latter is going to be a challenge as I’m such an introvert!

But… I am not made to be alone. God said so.

Sure, I have my husband and my kids, but I also need to cultivate friendships with others around me. In the fact that I’m working towards becoming a teacher, I definitely need to step outside my comfort zone and learn to approach people instead of waiting for them to approach me.

Okay… I’m going to quickly go off point to say that just reminded me of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice (Only those who have read and/or seen the movie would probably know what I mean).

Back on point… For the next 6 months, this is what I’ll be doing.

The one thing I wish I had done, before deactivating my Facebook account, was to have collected emails of friends so I could write to them during this hiatus. Guess they’re just going to have to hear from me when I return to that world.


Eyes are the Windows to the Soul?

Eyes.
You would never suspect that one little thing is a big issue for me. Personally, at least.
Sure, my husband is blind, but I’m sure no one would suspect that I am, too. Well, not by reading my blog, at least.
Yes. I do have a degree of blindness in my right eye, and it has caused a very odd look to my face – a lazy eye.
I deal with scars of years of dealing with acne, and I still deal with those cursed zits from time to time… and to add on a pair of odd looking eyes, I know I look peculiar.
For a long time, I’ve hated it. I’ve silently just put up with it, knowing there was no way I could fix it. For a while I was able to forget about it. I wasn’t working. People weren’t taking close up pictures of me. No one mentioned it…. Then that all changed a little over a year ago.
I went back to work, and it was at a daycare. A four year old stared at me, and asked a question I knew was in avoidable. “Why do your eyes look funny?” I simply explained, “I am blind in that eye.” A few more questions came up, and I allowed it to be educational. I was okay with it even though it kind of unsettled me. My eye was noticeable. It’s hard enough being Hard of Hearing to almost Deaf in a hearing world, and then to add a weird looking eye is sometimes tough.
I sometimes fear that my eye turns people off. Do I scare off people? I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t care, but a part of me does. I know there are people out there who flipping don’t care what people think of them, and I am for the most part; except when it comes to my eyes. I want to be taken seriously, and there are times when people stop talking and ask, “Are you looking at me?” It’s either the case of them looking at my blind eye looking away from the speaker or someone on the side thinking I’m looking at them. Talk about embarrassing.
I sometimes think I need a patch over my eye. Argh. That will be quite a fashion statement.
But I do have peripheral vision left, and it is very helpful. My kids forget that I can see fairly well out the sides of that eye and I catch them trying to do something they aren’t supposed to. My kids are so used to it, and when they see it wander even further, they know their mama is very tired.
Having a lazy eye doesn’t define me, but I believe it enhances me. It makes me unique. Maybe one day there will be technology that will repair the damage in my right eye and give me a chance to regain my vision, but until that miracle comes, my eyes will be what they are- unique in their own way. I have benefits to it, and people do get used to my wayward look. I may never be photogenic, but those who love me think I’m beautiful. That’s good enough for me.