Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Denver Tribute Show Benefits Aspen Camp for the Deaf

How I wish I could be in Colorado on October 13, 2007! The John Denver Tribute show, Windstar A Voice for the Future concert will be performed that day at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. All proceeds will go to support the Windstar Foundation (which John Denver founded) and the Aspen Camp for the Deaf.

The Windstar Foundation works to save the environment and the Aspen Camp for the Deaf has some wonderful camp programs for deaf and hard of hearing kids.

I need to win the lottery to fund these dreams of mine. Unfortunately, I don't play.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Following John Denver's Music--A Trip Down Memory Lane

Way back in elementary school, I was introduced to John Denver's music by my sister, Linda. She often played music from the Poems, Prayers and Promises album. Of course, those were the days when we had record players.

I couldn't follow the words since I had a poor ability to discriminate words. I could pick out the refrain from Take Me Home, Country Roads and sing along with that.
Country roads, take me home
garbled words
Take me home, country roads

One day, during music class in school, a teacher handed out the lyrics to several songs. Take Me Home, Country Roads was one of them. I was thrilled to see all of the words to the song in front of me. If I close my eyes today, I can still picture those typed words.

I was so excited about the lyrics that as soon as I arrived home, I put the record on and began to follow along with the song. I discovered that if I had the lyrics in front of me, I could follow along with each word perfectly. I began to hunger for more lyrics.

One day, when we were at Sears, I saw a music book with John Denver's music and lyrics. I begged my Mom to buy it for me. I spent the entire weekend playing his music over and over, following along to the lyrics. Soon, I had memorized the words to every song printed in the book. Once I had the lyrics memorized, I could lose myself in the music and truly enjoy it. Some of the songs on my albums had no corresponding lyrics in the book and I soon stopped listening to them.

During one trip down to Missouri, I listened to his music on the 8-track. (Yes, I know I'm dating myself frighteningly here!) My Aunt Gertie was along for the ride. Aunt Gertie was quite deaf and had very poor speech. I took her hand and put it over each word as the music blasted in the car. It was the first time anyone had ever shared a song with her and I remember her face filled with joy as she gamely tried to sing along. Aunt Gertie passed away from cancer a short time later.

As I grew older, the lyrics started to appear on some of John Denver's albums. He was a real pioneer about including lyrics when many other singers did not. It was easy for me to learn the words to new songs whenever he released a new album that included the lyrics.

John Denver ended up recording 365 songs and I've discovered the lyrics to them all on the World Family of John Denver website. I am learning new songs of his piece by piece.

I've also met some neat John Denver fans through this blog. Every now and then, I'll get an email or a comment left that says, "I love John Denver's music too!" Each year, hundreds of people gather at the John Denver Sanctuary in Aspen, Colorado to listen to his music and remember a great singer.

I won't be able to attend this year, but I'm making it a goal of mine to attend next year. No other singer has captured my heart through music the same way.

Photo courtesy of download.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Personal Development List of Bloggers--An Impressive List!

Priscilla Palmer from Personal Development Demands Success has put together an impressive list of bloggers who contribute to personal growth. Priscilla added me to the list and I'm honored to be included.

What an incredible list of blogs:

Aaron Potts at Today is That Day

Adam Alexander at Adam’s Peace

Adam Kayce at Monk at Work

Adam Khoo at Adam Khoo’s Philosophies and Investing Insights

Adebola Oni at Life Lessons

AgentSully at Life Learning Today

Al at

Alan Torres at Made to Be Great

Alex Shalman at

Alexander Kjerulf at The Chief Happiness Officer

Alexys Fairfield at Unraveling The Spiritual Mystique, and Speak The Speech

Albert Foong at

Albert Lee at My Journey to Living an Exceptional Life

Alvaro at Sharp Brains Blog

Amber at Amber Waves

Amber at Random Mangus

Amel at AmelsRealm

Amie Ragan at Psychology of Clutter

Amit Sodha at The Power of Choice

Amy Hedin at There is no Maximum to Human Potential

Andrea Learned at Learned on Women

Andrea J. Lee at Money, Meaning, and Beyond

Andrew Brunelle at Andrew

Andy Wibbels at

Anita Pathik Law at Power of Our Way

Anmol Mehta at

Ann at A Nice Place in The Sun

Anna Farmery at The Engaging Brand

Antonio Thornton at

April Groves at Making Life Work For You

Argancel at C’eclair  (for those who speak french)

Ariane Benefit at Neat & Simple Living

Ash aka Mr. Biggs at One Powerful Word

Ashley Cecil at The Painting Activist

Ask Lucid at Ask Lucid Spiritual Development

BK Diva at Bklyn’s Finest

Barb Lattin at Feels Like Magic

Barb Melloh at The Law of Attraction Info

Barbara Curtis at Mommy Life

Barbara Sliter at Creatorship

Bea Kunz at Bea’s Beatitudes

Belle Wong at Abundance Journal

Ben Casnocha at Ben Casnocha: The Blog

Ben Yoskovitz at Instigator Blog

Benjamin at WOWNDADI

Beth at Butterfly Thoughts

Beverly Keaton Smith at Embrace Your Gifts and Soar

Bill Perry at Lucid Blog

Billy Smith at The Organic Leadership Blog

Blogfuse at LifeDev

Bluskygirl at

Brad Isaac at Achieve It

Brett Farmiloe, James Whiting, Noah Pollock and Zach Hubbell at Pursue The Passion

Brian Clark at Copyblogger

Brian Kim at

Brian Lee at

Brightfeathers at this time-this space

Brooke at Plain Advice

Bob at everyeveryminute

Bob Crawford at Bob Crawford Online

Bolly at Motivational Corner

Boston Gal at Boston Gal’s Open Wallet

Byron Katie at Byron 

Cam Beck at ChaosScenario

Cara Lumen at The Success Magnets With Cara Luman and Your Second Wind Blog

Cardin Lilly Routh at OptimistLab

Carlon Haas at Possess Less Exist More

Carol Skolnick at Soul Surgery

Catherine Carter at Continuum Wellness

Cheif Family Officer at Cheif Family Officer

Chris at The Philosophy of Change

Chris at One is All and All is One

Chris Brogan at Chris

Chris Cade at Spiritual Short Stories

Chris Cree at SuccessCREEations

Chris Marshall at Martial Development

Chris Melton at

Chris Owen at Pink Apple

Christina Katz at Writer Mama

Christine Kane at

Christine Valters Painter at Abbey of the Arts

Christy Z at Totally Fabulous

Clyde at Feeling Good

Colin Beavan at No Impact Man

Colleen Wainwright of Communicatrix

Conceive, Believe, Achieve at Conceive, Believe, Achieve

Confessing at 7Confessions

Cooper at Wonderland or Not

Corrine Edwards at Personal Growth with Corrine Edwards

Corey at Cooking With Corey

Crabby McSlacker at Cranky Fitness

Craig Harper at Motivational Speaker

Craze at Crazedreamer’s Thoughts

Crowsfeet at Living

Curt Rosengren at Occupational Adventure

Cyres at Cyres Matters

Damian Carr at Soul Terminal

Daniel Roach at Daniel

Daniel Sitter at Idea Sellers

Danny Kohn at Be Inspired Everyday

Daria Black at Figmeant Writing Studio and Community

Darlene Siddons at Spirited Boutique

Darren Rowse at

Dave Pollard at How to Save the World

Dave Schawbel at The Personal Branding Blog

Dave Schoof at Engaging the Disquiet

Davers at Language Trainers Blog

David Allen at The David Allen Company

David Bohl at Reflections on Balance

David Finch at David

David Richeson at 360 Degree Success

David Rogers at How to Have Great Self Confidence

David Seah at David

David Zinger at Slacker Manager

Dawn and Ann at Twisted Sister

Dawn Goldberg at Write Well Me

Dawn Vinson at Daydreaming on Paper

Dawud Miracle at

Daylle Deanna Schwartz at Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Dean Lacono at Law of Attraction for Beginners

Deb at Mind Body and Solar

Deb2012 at Fibromaylgia and Wellness

Debbie Call at Spirit In Gear

Debbie LaChusa at 10 Step Marketing Collection

Deborah aka Zephry1 at Climate of Our Future

Debra at 28 Years Later

Debra Moorhead at Debra

Denise Mosawi at

Derrick Kwa at Sui Generis

Desika Nadadur at Desika 

Devlyn Steele at Tools To Life Guide

Diane Cese at Everything Yoga

Dick Richards at Come Gather Round

Dominic Tay at Personal Development for Winners

Don Simkovich at Hey Don

Donald Latumahina at Life Optimizer

Donald Trump and others at The Trump Blog

Donna Karlin at Perspectives

Donna Steinhorn at Rethinking

Douglas Eby at Talent Development Resources

Dr. Charles Parker at The Core Psych Blog

Dr. Hal at Northstar Mental fitness blog

Dr. Michael Shea at From Pain to Personal Gain

Dr. Tim Sharp at The Happiness Institute

Drew Rozell at Drew

Dwayne Melancon at Genuine Curiosity

E Murphy at The Active Life

Edward Mills at Evolving Times

Edward Smith at Bright Moment


Edith Yeung at Dream Think Act

Friday, September 21, 2007

Deaf Education, Cochlear Implants in the Tribune

On the front page of the Chicago Tribune is a story about deaf education in Illinois:

Lending Ears to Learners

An interesting statistic is that 80 percent of deaf students are now in the mainstream. Thirty years ago, it was the other way around.

While technological advances have given some deaf children an incredible opportunity to hear, I wonder about the social emotional aspect of so many kids alone. For some kids, they adjust well and have a good group of friends to hang out with. But I know there are others who go through the daily motions and find it difficult to communicate in groups and in noisy situations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Josh Swiller Interview on NPR--A Transcript Will Cost You

A few weeks ago, I came across Josh Swiller's article published in the Washington Post. This is a deaf guy who has had quite an interesting life as he shares in his article:

I split the Ivy scene as soon as I graduated, becoming a forest ranger in the California redwoods and then a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Zambia, and traveling through Africa, Europe and Asia. All in all, I visited or lived in 24 countries and owned every album by Van Morrison by the time I was 27.

Then, a few years later, I lost what was left of my hearing. After nearly 30 years of high-powered amplification shoved right up my ear canals, the membranes that hold the inner ear fluid had worn out. They couldn't take sound anymore. Medically speaking, they went kaput. It was 2003, and I was 32, working for a plasterer in New York City. I was on the job, sanding the living room walls of David Bowie's SoHo penthouse, when someone dropped a bucket and the sound -- unbearably loud -- knocked me over like a falling brick.

Swiller has published a book about his life in Africa while serving in the Peace Corps. His book is on my list of "books to read." My deaf friend, Ed Hudson,(who died in a plane crash) served in the Peace Corps in the 80's and he shared several stories of his time in the Corps. So I'm looking forward to reading Swiller's book.

NPR posted an interview with Swiller and included an excerpt from his book. Unfortunately, to obtain a transcript, one has to cough up $3.95. I'm disappointed that NPR didn't release the transcript for this interview.

Josh Swiller Website

Swiller's Blog

Update: My friend Rachel passed on a copy of the transcript (thanks!) and explained that transcripts are available to deaf and hard of hearing persons upon request. According to the NPR website, buried way down in the FAQ section:

Does NPR offer free transcripts to hearing impaired individuals?

Yes. If you are hearing impaired and would like to request a transcript of an NPR story or program, please contact NPR Services at 202-513-3232 through a relay operator. NPR will send you the requested transcript via e-mail. You will need the following information:

The subject of the program segment you are looking for
The name of the program during which the segment aired
The date of the program during which the segment aired
Your first and last name
Your phone number
Your e-mail address

Update #2:

A group of deaf and hard of hearing adults from AGBell have made numerous calls to NPR to request a transcript release and advocated for easier access to transcripts. Kudos for their advocacy efforts!

Update #3:

Henry Kisor, a retired book reviewer puts his stamp of approval on Swiller's book:

Deaf in Africa

Mailboxes Galore!

Every once in a while I come across a website that I just have to pass on. In my inbox this morning, I found a website that sells over 1,500 mailboxes: Mailboxixchange.

We moved into a house with green shutters and a forest green mailbox three years ago. Last year, we painted the shutters a brownish wine color--and the green mailbox sticks out like a sore thumb. Eventually, I would like to replace the mailbox with something more elegant.

The prices on the mailboxes that I like range from $260 to over $400 but these are mailboxes that I haven't seen in local stores. One thing that's hard to find for older homes is mailboxes that attach to the home and this site offers several selections. I can remember my mom having to spray paint our old box because she couldn't find a replacement locally. Mailboxichange offers free shipping on many of their mailboxes. Unfortunately, I'll be stuck with the green one for a while, unless the hubby's lottery tickets pay off someday.

But at least I know where to shop to get this one!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blogging Star Award-- Passing it on

Anna from Beth and Cory's Mom has tapped me for the Blogging Star Award which originated from Skittle's Place. Thanks, Anna!

I'm passing this Blogging Star Award right on to Wendy Piersall at Emoms At Home. Wendy has boundless energy and it shows on her website. She has thousands of articles, tips and suggestions for parents who work from home. Each time I visit her site, I come away with a nugget of information that I apply in my own life.

Her post today made me chuckle, as Wendy shared a picture of her desk space and kitchen sink. After a busy weekend with seven kids, two deadlines and guys hammering away in the basement, I'm facing my third sink full of dishes and a mountain of laundry. My oldest kid had to fish out some blue jeans from the laundry pile for school today.

Feel better, Wendy?

Friday, September 14, 2007

The View from my Basement

It's been a fun day with a nice view! Mike Dyas and Dennis O'Brien (President of WSAD) came over this morning to start on our basement. I thought I was going to have a day of kicking back and reading books, but they put me to work. I ended up hauling lumber, cutting studs and using a power nailer.

Who says women are wimps?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--A Sleeping Hamster

Carmie loved to snuggle up and sleep in my daughter's arms. We miss Carmie!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Matthew Gets a Cochlear Implant

Sue and I met 23 years ago at Northern Illinois University. We were roommates in college and through the years we shared a lot together. Our oldest sons are best buddies and we've been there for each other as each of our kids have lost their hearing. Her two sons have Auditory Neuropathy. Sue shared their story in the Hands & Voices Communicator, Hearing Moments: Life with Auditory Neuropathy.

Matthew's hearing moments began to decline more and more. The use of hearing aids was not an option--Matthew did not obtain any benefit from hearing aids after several trials. Over the years, Sue kept the option of a cochlear implant in the back of her mind. She contacted other families with Auditory Neuropathy to see how they were doing with implants. She sat down to discuss it with Matthew over a period of time and they concluded together that the time was right to pursue it. After several weeks of testing and meeting with the implant doctor, the date was set for September 6th.

I joined her at the outpatient center yesterday right after lunch. An interpreter was there. The nurse who took care of Matthew was the same nurse who was there when he was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy. The anesthesiologist was a jolly fellow who took the time to explain to Matthew what would be happening during anesthesia. Matthew asked him a few questions, "What happens if I wake up? Will I feel anything?" After answering all of his questions, he jokingly told Matthew that he decided not to use anesthesia, he would just knock him out with a baseball bat. Matthew cracked up.

They quickly wheeled him away while Sue and I were talking and we suddenly realized that she didn't get to kiss him and send him off with a hug. The interpreter ran off to get a staff person. A nurse helped Sue into some scrubs and she was able to slip into the operating room and give him a hug.

Everything went smoothly and Matthew came back into the recovery room. I saw the anesthesiologist in the hall and asked if the baseball bat worked well. "Knocked him right out!" he chuckled. When Matthew woke up, he said that he was in some pain and his stomach was a bit upset. After some Motrin via IV, a half hour later he was more alert and feeling better. A short time later, he went home. Sue emailed to tell me that he was up and about when he got home and was feeling well.

He's definitely going to enjoy a few days off from school!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

More about Me (As if you really want to know!)

Anna from Beth and Cory's Mom has tagged me for a "Three Questions" meme. I don't usually like to do memes, but since it's Labor Day Weekend, what the heck!

Three names you go by?

1. Mom
2. Mom!
3. Moooommmmmmmm!

Three parts of your heritage?

1. Cherokee Indian
2. French
3. German

Three things you can't stand?

1. Fish eggs
2. Brussel sprouts
3. Pouting

Three of your favorite shows?

1. Little People, Big World
2. Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
3. Blue Collar Comedy

Three of your favorite current songs?

1. Children of the Universe, The Higher We Fly, I Want to Live--John Denver
2. Live Like You were Dying-- McGraw
3. Seasons in the Sun--Terry Jacks

Three movies you watch over and over again?

1. Forrest Gump
2. Cast Away
3. Apollo 13 (And they all have my favorite actor in them!)

Three of your everyday essentials?

1. Chocolate
2. Chocolate
3. Did I mention chocolate?

Three things you want in a relationship?

1. Trust
2. Fun
3. Love

Three bad habits?

1. Eating way too much food each day.
2. Getting too little exercise.
3. Eating way too much chocolate.

Three of your favorite hobbies?

1. Reading
2. Taking nice, long, hot baths
3. Eating chocolate

Three places you want to go on vacation?

1. Hawaii
2. Australia
3. Austria

Three things you want to do before you die?

1. Visit the John Denver Sanctuary
2. Write a book
3. Learn serious photography

Three things that stereotypically prove you're a girl?

1. I like guys
2. I love chocolate
3. I gave birth

Initials of three crushes?

1. Ronnie Hensley
2. Ronnie Hensley
3. Ronnie Hensley (and yes, the hubby knows)