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.

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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.


To My Mother: She Heard Me and Held Me

In the 6 years I’ve had this blog, I’ve not once written anything in honor of my amazing mother. Well, today that’s what I’m doing. It’s to be a perfect tribute to a woman who took on the extra mile of being a mother to a deaf and partially blind child… And it’s Mother’s Day.

To start, my mom was a very young woman, just in her first year of her marriage to my dad, when she became pregnant with me. To top it off, she became sick with German Measles in the first trimester.

It is also called Reubella, and if you know about it, you can understand that it is a terrifying situation for a woman that early in her pregnancy. She could have chosen to terminate it, knowing there would be a good chance I would be severely disabled, but she didn’t. My mom had faith that God would protect me and things would be fine. She trusted God’s will, no matter what that would mean.

I’m glad she did.

When I was born, my mom was thrilled to find me healthy and whole. She didn’t know of my deafness or of the weak retinas I gained from Reubella. I grew, cried, and ate like any baby. I babbled and played, which didn’t reveal any of my disablities, until I was around three years old. I was still babbling, and a friend of my mom hinted, “I think your daughter is deaf. Maybe you should get her hearing tested?”

That meant my family, which now included my little brother, would need to drive down to a bigger city hours away from home for me to have the test done. If I remember correctly, from what my mom had shared with me, it was in Tucson, Arizona, at the University of Arizona, where I got my hearing tested.  They were able to confirm what everyone was wondering.

“Yes, your daughter is deaf.  She has a severe to profound hearing loss.”

That shook my family’s world, and we all moved down to Tucson to give me the best access to services to help me get hearing aids, an education, and family support.

I went to a school in Tucson called “Clinic for Hearing Impaired Children.” Now, the term “hearing impaired” went out years ago as it was considered not “politically correct”, but it was the ’80’s, and people were still learning how to help deaf and hard of hearing people gain a better quality of life and education.  I learned “Total Communication,” which is the method of teaching sign language while teaching how to speak and understand the English language.

While I was going there, my mom came every day and watched me in my classes through a one way window. She took the time to learn the signs and continue what I learned in school at home.

I wish I could say that was common with deaf children, but sadly, it isn’t. Most of the time, parents send their deaf children to a residental state school for the deaf and let the dorm parents take care of them. A few of them took the time and effort to learn sign so they could communicate with their children, and I do know a few of them.

As I grew up, my mom was there being my “coach” on the swim team, my interpreter at church, and my advocate as I was mainstreamed in the public schools. She even became my teacher as she homeschooled me for a couple of years. She taught me to stand up for myself. She ingrained Philippians 4:13 in to my head. “Just because you are deaf, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.”

At 11 years old, I lost partial vision in my right eye. I went to eye doctors and specialists and found out that I had a tear in my retina in the central part of my vision. Once it healed, it left a permanent scar in the center of my vision. My eye became lazy and permanently shifted to the right, giving me the ability to use the remaining of my vision to see some things around me.

That didn’t stop me.

I went to Hawaii with my Girl Scout troop, and my mom was my offical interpreter for the trip. What a blast! She encouraged me when I found my love for signing songs. When it came to deciding college, she was all for me going 2000 miles from home to Gallaudet University. What mom would do that?! She knew it was the right school for me.

Now as a mom, she has been a huge support and friend when I went through rough patches, and in turn, I was able to be there for her when she went through hers.  We are miles away from each other, but thanks to technology, we visit online almost every day, and we do video chats to share how we’re doing.

All of that…. Is my Mom. God blessed me in having an amazing Mom, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


Breathing and Anxiety

I’ve just hauled a basket full of laundry from the laundry room up to our 3rd floor apartment, and, as I walked through the door, I realized the difference I felt in comparison to just four days ago.

Let me take you back a little ways back… About a month ago.

As my readers know, I’ve shared that I’ve been struggling with Anxiety attacks and finding a way to live with it. I’ve been taking my medicine like I should, and was supplimented with some other medicine to help when the attacks do occur.

But…

It was just two weeks ago, I noticed something else was going on. I was feeling anxious, out of breath, and even coughing after making a few flights of stairs. I was feeling tired quite often, and I didn’t feel like I had the energy to do things I needed to. At first, I thought, “It’s just the side effects of depression or the medication.”  Then as the pollen levels began to increase for the trees in the area, my allergies began to flare up bad. I knew I was allergic to some trees, as I was back when I was living in Virginia, and I had thought, being back in the West, where I was relatively familiar with, my allergies would be dramatically less. I began coughing more. Breathing seemed harder. My eyes were burning, and it was getting to be too much. I did take allergy meds to deal with those symptoms, but I noticed the coughing wasn’t going away.

It was then I realized, “I need to see an allergy doctor.”

This last Friday I was in the allergy office with a wonderful interpreter. The office was very familiar with working with deaf patients and were very flexible and adapting to my needs. I shared of my concerns and how I wanted to see what can be done to help eleviate some of the symptoms I was dealing with. When I shared about the coughing and how my regular doctor perscribed me an inhaler to see if it would help when I run. I even shared that it did dramatically decrease my coughing after I ran when I used it.

The nurse raised an eyebrow and said, “I think we should do a breathing test on you and see what’s going on.”

I breathed into a machine to blow out some virtual candles on a cake and that was exhausting! I almost felt faint from trying to push my lungs to exhert as much air out of me.

Then came the dreaded scratch tests… I had not been on any allergy meds for a week, so I was already miserable from enduring the tree pollen filled air whenever I went outside. After 76 scratches on my back and arms, it revealed I was allergic to dust mites, two kinds of local trees, and several kinds of grass. “Go figure.” I thought.

I was given some Albuterol to inhale, and the nurse explained, “In about 5 minutes, we’re going to have you do the breathing machine again. We will see if the Albuterol improves your breathing.”

If you’re not familiar with Albuterol, it makes you a little jittery after taking it. My daughter is Asthmatic and hates the way it makes her feel even though it does help her breathe better.

After I did the breathing test, which felt much more comfortable than the first time, the nurse left the room to print out the results. When she came back, there was a look of confirmed surprise. “Your breathing was greatly improved after you had the Albuterol!” She showed me the results, and it was my turn to be surprised.

When I left the office with some new perscriptions to treat my newly discovered Asthma condition, I began to think about how I struggled with Anixety attacks and the fact there were many times I felt like I couldn’t breathe fully. I just thought it was a part of the Anixety. Could it had been Asthma the whole time?

“Not being able to breathe can make anyone anxious.” My mom shared with me.

It could be both.

Today, I can breathe and have energy to do what I need to do. That’s a good place to be. I haven’t had an Anxiety Attack yet, but I’m armed and ready to check if it’s an Asthma Attack instead. Plus, I can run without being afraid of having a coughing fit after I push myself hard. That a really good thing, too, right?

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Can I get an Amen?


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.


ASL is my Language!

I was on Facebook for the past couple of days and noticed an interesting trend amongst my Deaf friends. They were all upset about something that the AGBAD (Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf) had posted in response to a Washington Post article about Nyle DiMarco, a very successful Deaf individual who is a winner of America’s Next Top Model and is now a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. He has a very admirable aspiration to give deaf children earlier access to ASL in schools, and I applaud him on it.

I did a search online to find out what exactly they were upset about.

I found it…

AGBAD Response to Nyle’s Aspiration

I had to read it twice to believe what I was reading.

Now, let me get this straight. They said, “… deaf children are able to learn spoken language by listening.”

I don’t know what planet they’re on, but a DEAF child cannot HEAR in the first place. They only can by way of technology, as in hearing aids or in a Cohlear Implant.

There was so much in their response that made my skin crawl.

Let me tell you why.

I was born deaf. I am profoundly deaf in my right ear and severe in my left. Without my hearing aids, I can’t hear much of anything. You might drop a pan on the floor. I’ll hear that and jump, but if you talk to me, I’m not going to hear anything.

My parents didn’t know I was deaf until I was three years old. So, for THREE years, I had no language. Granted, back in the early ’80’s, they didn’t have hearing tests for babies at the hospital when they were born. So, when I was found to be deaf, my mom wanted me to have any kind of communication available. I was placed in an awesome school in Tucson, Arizona, that went by the name of “C.H.I.C”, Clinic for Hearing Impaired Children, and I was taught Total Communication, which is a combination of sign language and speech therapy.

I learned how to talk, listen, and SIGN. I have friends who went to the same school, and they function fairly well in both worlds. Yet, a lot of my friends have more profound hearing loss than I do, and hearing is not possible for them, even with hearing aids. So, to take away the one language that would give them 100% understanding, that would be cruel. Even I, who has a lip-reading score of 86%, don’t get everything even with hearing aids. I hate it when I don’t get everything, so I depend on interpreters when I can get them. I even ask for them.

I even went to Gallaudet. Oh, God forbid!

But I blossomed in that world! People understood the frustrations I had with being at a hearing party and missing out on the conversation going on around me. Oralism isn’t going to fix that. I don’t have the super powers to read everyone’s lips and understand what everyone is saying. What I read in AGBAD, it seemed to me they wanted that. When I was around my deaf friends signing, I UNDERSTOOD everything.

I told my dad about the whole situation, and he’s hearing. He was flabbergasted that a group of people thought that way. “If they so badly want deaf people to talk, they should think about preaching Total Communication!” He knows how well sign language works, as he works with several deaf people and even taught some of the hearing people signs that worked in the loud working environment they’re in. He even said that ASL was great for communicating to me and my hearing brother in a crowded room without raising his voice. Yes, even my hearing brother and hearing parents learned sign. I consider myself extremely blessed to have grown up in a family like this. They accepted me for who I am and embraced it into their own life.

I’m even working towards my Masters in Special Education, and I’m going to be supporting my students to learn to their upmost ability. I will even support using sign language for those who struggle with communicating orally.

Okay…. I think I’ve stood on my soap box long enough. Thanks for “hearing” me out.


Dear Kim Kardashian West,

I’ve been following this writer, and she just nailed it! Not to mention, she made a few good witty remarks that made me laugh.

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In case you haven’t turned on your TV this week, or been online or on social media at all, then I’m sure you’ve heard about what the sweetheart of “America’s First Family” did recently.


(And please, I hope you can hear the sarcasm dripping from my lips…)

But good old’ Kim K posted a fully nude selfie on Instagram with just two minuscule black bars covering her goods.

Now. This is not going to be some bashing of Ms. Kardashian West. Frankly, she’s like cilantro: you either love her or you hate her.

I, however, am in the indifferent camp. I frankly don’t care one way or the other about her or her shenanigans.


So I’m not here to attack her.

But, this photo has caused quite the stir. I mean, even the great Bette Midler has chimed in with disapproval.

Personally, I wasn’t surprised. (Let’s remember how she got her fame…

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