My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the tag “Hearing Loss”

I Am Stubborn

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

Imagine being in a room with a small group of people sitting on metal folding chairs. Some even holding a cup of coffee. Someone stands in front the of the room and says, “Hi. My name is Steve, and I am stubborn.” And everyone answers back, “Hi Steve.” I know this sounds funny, but this is serious. I found that I can be my own worst enemy.

Off and on for the last few years someone would ask me why I don’t have a captioned phone. Even my mom asked why I don’t get one.

For casual talk, I do OK on the phone; for the most part. But I still miss things. For detailed information, I have trouble. I can’t fill in the blanks for that. Also when I get tired or frustrated, I loose concentration. Then my speech understanding goes down. But like I said, for light talk I often do well enough that some people don’t realize I don’t hear well.

A week ago though, I had a lot of trouble. You see I upgraded my wife’s laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Everything worked very well except the online videos. I went to Microsoft website and left my phone number so they could call back. Three hours later they called. “OK I can do this” I thought.

The woman on the other end wanted me to type: “ah, ah, aaw” and other letters.
I answered back “You want me to type ‘a a r’ and what else?”
“No sir, ah ah aaw” and then more letters I couldn’t understand.
“OK a k r, what?”
“No sir. Ah as in apple. Ah as in house” (I quickly thought: That was an ‘H’?) She continues, “Aaw as in room”

I don’t remember the actual letters, but you get the idea. At that time I handed the phone over to my wife. When the IT woman made the remote access I took over.

If anyone is curious, the video never did work. So I removed Windows 10 and replaced it with Ubuntu 15.04. Now everything works.

Here is the truth. Most people wearing ear protectors can still hear better than me. And even though I do have a cell phone and I do use it, I will often hand it over to my wife. During church, if there is a video, many of them are meaningless to me. (No caption)

Only a couple of people know this, but because my hearing loss is so different than most, I usually don’t hear the beat in the music at church. I can clap to the beat only by watching others. (Most hard of hearing people can hear the beat. Even those with worst hearing than mine.)

Matthew 7:3-5
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

I don’t want to tell you why I have resisted getting a captioned phone. But now I’m beginning to think maybe I should get one. I should also stop being stubborn. In this case being stubborn is the same as being a hypocrite.

Many of you have heard of Dave Ramsey Financial Peace classes. And even though Dave Ramsey’s DVDs are captioned, I want more for the hard of hearing as well as maybe the deaf community. I want it done right for them.

Because everybody’s hearing is different, we need: live real time caption for group discussion.
Also personal PA system, (their small enough to fit in a pocket) and either a looped room or a neck loop for the PA because some of us really need it.

I don’t know how this will work, but I do know I need lots of prayer. Prayer that I can get all this together, and prayer that I won’t be so stubborn when it comes to my own hearing loss.

Welcome To My World

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

Leviticus 19:14
“Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.

“English is my second language, I have no first.” quote from me, Steve Pettijohn

Unless you had a hearing loss or deafness from a very young age, yet born to hearing parents; this may not fully make sense.

The relationship between a family member and I has taken a strange turn in the last few months. This person has entered my world.

Brief history. One of my first memories was sitting in a chair getting my hearing tested. When they found that I could hear the beeps well, they tested my IQ. When they found my IQ was good, well… they didn’t know what to do with me. So they sent me through lots and lots of speech therapy. In the 1950s and 60s no one knew what was going on. But because I can hear beeps, I made it through 14 years in the military. It was eleven years ago or so, I was finally told I have an audio processing problem. (That explains a lot)

Now fast forward. In August 2014, this relative went from a mild hearing loss to deaf in just a few days. And of course she was greatly bothered by this, and scared. She said she thought she understood hearing loss, now realized that she never had a clue.

Now I find myself in an odd role of leading her through ‘the world of not-hearing’. She would say this and that, and I would answer back, “I know. That’s normal”. She complains that nothing sounds right. She has a difficult time understanding people. So I sent her some of the articles I have written in this blog to help her out.
Afterwards, Her: “I don’t know if I can learn to do what you do.”
Me: “You can do it.”
Her: “I don’t know, I’m a lot older than you.”
Me: “I know you’re older than me. But you can still do it.”
Her: “Everything sounds the same to me.”
Me: “Yea to me too. Like B, D, E, and even the beginning of ‘October‘ and ‘awful‘ sounds the same. I also have trouble with ‘pen‘ and ‘pin‘ and many other words. Now you see why I had so much trouble learning to spell. You can’t sound out the words if they all sound the same.”
Her: “Oh yeah.” (I can’t believe it. NOW she understands? After all these years?)

As time goes on, she is going to learn a lot about my world.

I know from being with others who have grown up with a hearing loss, my experience is very typical.

So now what? I have never thought of myself as disabled because of my hearing loss, and I still don’t. She is experiencing a great drop in audio volume. Once she gets her cochlear implant the volume will be high again, however because of the implant her audio processing ability be different than ever before. At that time her hearing will most likely be much better than mine again, but because of her new audio processing difficulties she may need me to help her adjusting to her new world. The world I have lived in for nearly 60 years.

Could I be of service? I don’t know. To me this so strange because in my mind, I am not disabled from hearing loss.

Non-Hearing Christmas

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

I should have written this before Thanksgiving, but I didn’t. Oh well. Christmas, New Years, and yes, even Thanksgiving, though it has already past; is a time for family and friends to be together. A lot of people have a slight hearing problem. But there are a few that have a big hearing problem. Maybe even deaf. But that’s OK. All of you can still have a Merry Christmas. You just need to know how to communicate.

First relax. Don’t let them just sit in the corner somewhere. Interact with them. Treat them like you would anyone else, almost.

As someone with a hearing loss myself, I’ll say, look at us when you talk. And when you talk, do as my wife does and project your voice. But do not exaggerate your speech. In other words don’t TAAALLK LLLIIIKE THTHTHIISSS. I don’t know what you’ll look like, but some people when they do that, look like they’re trying to make out with a fish. Please do not be a ‘Fish Kisser’.

Another thing is let us see your face. Your full face. Don’t sit in the shadows looking out. Most likely, you are NOT a cold war secret agent. We know who you are. Well someone does. Here are the lyrics and song of Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers in 1966. Somehow this song doesn’t seem very Christmasy. Can you imagine Christmas carolers singing this song? Also, I wonder what kind of ‘secret agent spy stuff’ Santa Claus uses in the song Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

The best conditions for communicating is in a quiet setting. But that’s very unrealistic in a family holiday gathering. So be patient with us. After all we’re patient with you. Usually.

My hearing loss is different than most. I hear, but I still miss things. The best way to describe it is like having hearing ears but a deaf brain. Yet I have 14 years of the United States military service.

For many years I went with my wife to hear the entire Handel’s Messiah. I didn’t like it. All I heard was two and a half hours of Tarzan calls. And without seeing Tarzan wrestling with alligators and fighting lions, I’d get bored. But for my wife, I went.

Then when I was writing my post Revelation 19 I found this video with words to the “Hallelujah Chorus”. I was absolutely, totally amazed at what I saw. I had no clue of what I wasn’t hearing.

So far in this post, I have the Secret Agent Man song, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, so how about a few more, with the lyrics of course.

O Holy Night
Mary Did You Know
Silent Night
Go Tell It On The Mountain

Merry Christmas

Dance Night

dance night

On February 15, 2014 there was a Sweetheart Dance at a community center in Kirkland, Washington put on by Friendship Adventures. Our church is active in Young Life Capernaum so a few weeks before, my wife and I as well as a few others from our church were asked to be chaperones. By the time my wife and I arrived at 5:30, it was already packed with people wanting to have fun. We waited in line for pasta with meat sauce, salad and a roll with cake afterward.

Soon a DJ was yelling something and people got excited, then there was music (I think it was music) and some dancing started. I asked my wife if she wanted to dance. But she said ‘later’.

Looking around I saw a young woman in a wheelchair who comes to our church. She is part of the Young Life Capernaum group Bible study. Now before any of you get funny ideas, my wife and I did talk about it in the car on the way over there. So when the “music?” was going full volume and young people were kicking up their heels, I went to my wheelchair bound friend and asked her if she wanted to dance. She said “Yes”.

So I grabbed both of her hands and kicked up my heels. She was swinging her hands back and forth and was having fun. Then I let go of one hand and raised her other hand up above her head and gently spun the wheelchair around. She was surprised, but she loved it. After awhile another chaperone from our church danced with her for awhile.

Watching some of these young people was interesting. I watched one couple and the girl wanted to kiss the boy she was dancing with. But every time she tried, he would duck back. She was definitely more into him than he was into her. Most every one else either danced or watched, or ate more cake.

After awhile I decided to dance with the gal in the wheelchair again. So I went out to the dance floor, grabbed her hands and kicked up my heels again. Then the music paused and began again and after still kicking up my heels, I noticed every one else doing the… Slow dance??? Wait a minute! I may have a slight hearing problem, but I do know the music for a slow dance it should have a slower pace sound! Now what? I wasn’t planning on this.


Well I did the only thing I could do. I bent over, put my right hand on her left shoulder and held her right hand and slowly moved her around the dance floor. Guys let me tell you. When you stand at over 6 feet 3 inches (1.9 meters) tall, it’s not easy to bent over a wheelchair like that for the whole song!

I danced with my wife a few times, both a slow and otherwise. After awhile she told me to stop copying other people. But I couldn’t hear the music! How am I suppose to know how to dance if I don’t watch other people? Instead of music all I heard was noise, like that of an extra loud carnival. In fact the slow music and the fast music sounded the same to me. Once I was sitting watching the people, and with all the random noise, everyone on the dance floor jumped at once! Then with all the random noise they started doing the “YMCA” sign with their arms.

My wife and I left a half hour early. I couldn’t take any more of the sound. Before we left though I went over to my friend in the wheelchair and thanked her for the dance. Then my wife and I left and had a bite at a Mexican restaurant on the way home. I think it was quiet, I’m told it was. My ears were ringing. In fact they were still ringing all through church the next morning. But it was fun. After church I saw the gal in the wheelchair and she found the evening very enjoyable.

Lip Reading?

Hearing Loss Symbol

Hearing Loss Symbol

Last Saturday at a men’s group at church, I was sitting at a table with a few guys eating breakfast. They were talking about football and then started talking about the deaf player on the Seattle’s Seahawks team. Then the guy across the table from me said “Steve here” (meaning me) “is really good at reading lips.” The men at the table knew I have a hearing loss, and that I do not wear hearing aids, (although I used to) and yet I can communicate very well with others. I told them I really don’t read lips that well. I got a lot of weird looks from them about that.

So… If I don’t hear well, and I don’t wear hearing aids, and I don’t read lips very well, how do I know what people are saying? I speech read.

First let me tell you about lip reading. Most people, whether they are hearing, deaf, or hard ‘of’ hearing, can not truly lip read. (I found out one day that there is the word ‘of’ between ‘hard’ and ‘hearing’) Lip reading is very difficult. Let’s say we’re on a farm and you’re deaf or very hard of hearing and someone says “We should butcher the ____.” You say “What?” Again you hear :Go butcher the ____!” now you’re wondering, were you told to butcher the cow, or the sow??? Look in the mirror. Both words look the same.

With football or any other sport, you already know the subject matter. That helps a lot. Another thing is you only need to see a few words to guess what the other team will do. Front, forward, back, right, left, all look very different from each other. In a restaurant I have seen and understood a waitress asking someone on the far side of the room if they want sugar or something else. But this is rare. One interesting thing I must add is women will move their lips more than men. Look around, you’ll see what I mean.

My outdoor power equipment repair (lawn mower repair) business has over 800 customers. Only a very few know I don’t really hear them fully. Even on the telephone. How do I get away with it? Sometimes I don’t and then things ends badly. Once a customer was upset with me because I didn’t fix the noise. I didn’t know there was a noise.

Speech reading is taking in everything. Lips, facial expression, body language, and what’s going on at the time. For an example; you know when eating in a restaurant and your mouth is full and the waitress comes up is says, “Blah-blah”. You’ll know she’s asking if everything is OK. Speech reading is much like that. Do I make mistakes? Yes.

When I see a customer and if I don’t understand them, I watch. (Some people I have no problems understanding. Others are impossible.) People always point to the problem and they talk with their hands. Soon I understand the problem with their equipment whether it is electrical, engine, transmission, or something else. I fix the problem and most of the people have no clue I didn’t understand them verbally.

The telephone presents another problem. Too many letters sounds the same. Numbers however all sound different. If they are a repeat customer I will ask for their phone number and look up on my Excel spreadsheet the information I have on them such as name, phone number, address, and the type of equipment they had last time I saw them. Also, fortunately many of the streets in this area are numbers, like 2nd, 3rd, even up to 320th. So I get by. Barely. I have great trouble with voice-mail. I have to listen to them 5 or 6 times and often I still won’t understand.

So if you are hard of hearing or even deaf, please take my customer’s advice, and tell people you don’t hear them. I finally started doing this a couple of years ago and life is so much easier now.

If you know someone who is hard of hearing or deaf, always look at them, let them see your face. And please don’t yell at us. We don’t like that. It’s often insulting. Also please don’t pull this stunt of turning up the car radio to hear your favorite song and then start mumbling before turning the radio down again.

If you would like to learn more about hearing loss, here are three places to check out. There are lots more of them out there.
Hearing Loss Association of America
Association of Late Deafened Adults
Hearing, Speech, & Deafness Center (servicing Western Washington)

Also if you’re interested, read the post I wrote: Not Hearing, Not Deaf

Leviticus 19:14
“Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.
New Living Translation

Hoo Hoo Hoo-aaoo

Is it ‘hoo‘ or ‘hoot‘?

Leviticus 19:14
“Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.
New Living Translation

Once in a while someone would ask me about hearing loss. There are so many things I could say, I have no idea where to start.

First, even though I do have problems hearing, I’m not deaf, and there are lots of different kinds of hearing loss. The kind I have is different than most. People with severe hearing loss are at times mistreated. And the deaf are treated worse.

Imagine being in school and your teacher gives you homework. The next day you find out that you did the work wrong. Either you did the wrong questions, didn’t read what you should or who knows. You just got it wrong. Now you’re labeled stupid, lazy, or both. Some of your friends may think of you as stupid even though an IQ test shows you’re not. Also, in high school, even though you may want to take a certain class that you know you would really like or go into a certain field of work you are told “Don’t bother”. I know a woman with severe hearing loss who wanted to be a nurse. Her nursing teacher told her not to bother because she would never make it. Well she did and even retire from being a nurse after many years. This was a long time ago before accommodations for disabled people were as standard as as they are today. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Once I had a temporary job at a place where all we did was removed old printers and replaced a few with new ones. One day a man asked me something. I was busy and didn’t understand the question. He asked again. I stopped and then realized he was asking why I was taking away ‘his’ printer. I knew he was the supervisor for that part of the office, which means he was the one that passed out the memo from the corporate office to people telling about us taking away the printers. He should have known what I was doing and why. So, why should I stop what I’m doing and concentrate on his blabbing? Thinking he was an idiot, I simply said “Because I was told to” and continued with my work. After all; why should I waste my time explaining it to him? He was supposed to know. A few months later I found out he told a few people that I ‘wasn’t too bright’ because I couldn’t understand his question and because I gave a simple answer.

But right now I’m thinking of the deaf and what they go though. According to “Nearly 95% of all deaf children have hearing parents and only about 10% of those parents ever learn enough sign language to hold a conversation with their children.” I believe it, and it’s not acceptable. There are people out there who can’t even ask their deaf brother or sister if they want a cup of coffee.

I have known deaf people both from college and socially. In both cases people often ignore them. I have seen socially, where the deaf would just sit off to the side by themselves. Once in awhile someone would try to communicate with them using a paper and pencil. This is good that they try to communicate, but I wonder about some who have honestly known a deaf person for over 50 years and still can’t ask if they would like some coffee using language. I know I will be in trouble for writing this; but it’s true. The deaf are alone.

The hard of hearing (I have to remember to add the word ‘of’ in hard of hearing) have another problem. They’re not hearing and they’re not deaf either. This often cause other problems, both emotionally and socially. They can often hear some things but not other things. Many people don’t understand this.

Mark 16:15
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

Christian have been going all over the world following this command. We have learned new languages and cultures and have been willing to sacrifice to tell others of Jesus. All this is good. But, what is our excuse for not reaching out to the deaf?

I don’t like talking about myself, but as I have said earlier, my hearing is different than most. All through my life I could hear noise but not always understand what it was. Yet I have served 14 years in the US military, been a mechanic for many years, was even certified in electronic technology, and ran my own business. Still in high school I got a ‘D-‘ in music, and was about to fail. Even though sometimes I like to hear music, it’s not the same for me as maybe for you. Only a few years ago I was told that I may have Auditory Processing Disorder. I don’t like talking about this. But I was told that as I get older my hearing will get worse. Because of my type of hearing loss, hearing aids are of little or no value. I tried it once and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference, except when the hearing aid tech finally cranked up the volume so much I got feed back as I climbed into the cab of my pickup.

So if I loose more of my hearing, will I became isolated or shunned by people? I don’t know. My wife and I have talked about this from time to time. I should study more ASL. (American Sign Language)

Oh, by the way; about the title of this post. “Hoo Hoo Hoo-aaoo” is what I hear sometimes on TV. But sometimes I’ve wondered if it was Hoot, Hoot, Hoot-Owl. Trying to be wise and solve a crime may seem to fit the show if you use your imagination. Close Caption shows it as Who, Who, Who are you. It’s part of the theme song for CSI. I tried to find a website with the captioned theme song, but I couldn’t. Maybe some of you can. So I will end this with:

Mark 16:15
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
(including the deaf)

CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)

Summer is here. Now what are you going to do? You could volunteer to be a victim to help train police or fire departments. It’s a lot of fun. This is a reprint of an article I wrote for a hearing loss newsletter years ago.

A few years ago, I was a victim of a bad car crash. Some of you may have been car crash victims too. Or maybe you were a victim of thief or fire or what ever. No one likes being a victim, unless… you are one of the volunteer victims for the NW CERT EXPO (Community Emergency Response Team) that was at the Washington State Fire Training Academy like I was on September 22, 2007.

At 7:00 Saturday, I drove in to the east side of North Bend to the fire academy. There were a lot of young people there. Most of them were high school students. I also met Donna from the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center. She brought her friend Angela, both are neat people, and both are deaf.

The staff had scones and muffins on a tray with some fruit in a bowl. I filled out the forms, got my free t-shirt, and then waited in line to be made up so I would look like I had a head wound with blood coming out of my ears. They also painted some nice bruises on my face. I looked like I had a wrestling match with a train and lost. The teenagers of course wanted all the fake bones and glass coming out of their bodies. The grosser, the better. One girl wanted a stick to ‘go through her’. The stick was too big and long, so I took out my picket knife and whittled it down so it could be mounted and still look ‘cool’.

They had us victims divided into groups. Finally our group was called outside where they quickly told us some things and then we started walking down the hill. I didn’t hear what was said; I was just following along like cattle. We finally entered a building and went in a nice clean room with a fire truck inside and fire uniforms hanging up. We were told to hide and act hurt. Two different CERT groups came in to check us out and tie ribbons on us. Green means we’re hurt, but not too bad. Yellow means we’re hurt bad but not life threatening. Red means if we don’t make to the hospital soon, we’re going to the grave.

Lunch wasn’t too bad except because of a miss understanding I lead Donna and Angela to the wrong building for lunch. The staff and CERT people were eating there. The victims were to eat in the building that we first met. By the time we got there with all the teenagers there, we almost didn’t get lunch.

After lunch we were divided up in three groups. First group went to a ‘burning’ building. You could see the concrete building at one time did have a fire in it. Now it is black inside with what looked like a few smoke bombs going off. Another group was in a plane crash and the last group was in a car wreck. Donna and I were in the car crash with two girls in the back seat.

The staff knew that there were going to be one or more hard of hearing or deaf people, but they forget. Much of the time I had to guess at what to do. There was one woman there who although was not a translator did know ASL and often informed Donna and Angela what was happening.

Now I know we must educate people about hearing loss, but there are some things I guess can not be taught. When we were in that mocked car wreck; an ‘aid’ came to check us out. She saw I was ‘unconscious’ and said so. She then went to Donna’s side of the car and realized that Donna was conscious but was also deaf, and she told the others that. So far so good. Then I heard something that I knew I must be mishearing. I heard, “Deaf Lady, if you can hear me squeeze my hand.” Then I heard it again “Deaf Lady, Deaf Lady, if you can hear me squeeze my hand.” I finally said, “She really can’t hear you.”
“Well how do I communicate with her?” she asked.
“You can use a pencil and paper.” I answered.
“But I want to communicate with her.”
“Write her a note!” I said.
I don’t know what to say about this. I have a lot of thoughts though, like maybe a little more training for people with and without disabilities.

It was a fun day and I was very tired by the time I made it home. Maybe I’ll do it again sometime.

Not Hearing, Not Deaf

Leviticus 19:14
“Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.
New Living Translation

One night I was watching a rerun of a TV show “Cold Case” and at the same time I’m trying to find something on the internet and was failing. I was disappointed and getting frustrated.

Here’s a little background. I decided to supplement my income a little by teaching ‘Cheap Computers’ in an adult continuing education class. It would only be for an hour or so, so I called a couple of school districts. One school district sent me an application, another said they stopped doing that five years ago, and another told me that they use a local community college. I called the community college, and the person transferred me over to someone’s voice mail. All these phone calls were made at home on the ‘land-line’ in the back room where it was quiet. No problem.

Later in the day I was in the grocery store when my cell phone rang. A woman was calling me back from the community college. My cell was up full volume, but the store was loud. I strained to hear. She said I could find the information online and something about the left side.

So I asked, “I will find what I need on the left side of the web page? I’m having a hard time hearing.”
“So I’ll find continuing education on the left side of the page?”
She paused then said “Yes. You’ll see (unknown words) requirements (unknown words) warrant (unknown words) background (unknown words).”
So to see if I understood what she meant I asked, “So if I click on the continuing education, I’ll see the legal requirements like background checks and stuff then, right?”
She paused again (maybe someone there is talking to her. I don’t know.) then very clearly said “Yes.”
I answered back, “Good, I can handle that. I’ll look it up tonight. Thank you.”
And we hung up.

So now at 11:00 at night I’m watching a rerun of Cold Case” on TV with the closed caption on. What’s interesting was this one episode was about students in a deaf school. Some of the hearing people thought of the deaf as freaks, weird, or worse. As I was watching this; I was wondering after I told the person on the phone from the school, that I have problems hearing; why did she say I was correct when in fact I was wrong about what I thought she was saying? She could have said “No” but she didn’t.

Many words sound the same to me. Affect, effect, pen, pin, and many others including many letters: B, C, D, E, just to name a few. But there no way one can mix up ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

The problem is many people over the years have call both deaf and hard of hearing people stupid, lazy, dense, and other names. Well we’re not. Some of us are doctors, lawyers, teachers, mechanics, and the list goes on.

Another thing many people seem to believe that if they yell, they could be heard easier. On the surface this would seem very reasonable. But it doesn’t work that way.

One day I saw a nurse yelling into the ear of an old hard of hearing man. He couldn’t understand her so she yelled louder. And he still couldn’t understand. I finally told her to let him see her face and to speak in a normal voice. She then looked him in his face and calmly asked “Have you had your meds yet?” and he answered “Oh yes sometime ago.” No one likes being yelled at.

Regardless of what you have seen on television, even “Cold Case” reruns involving deaf people, most people with hearing loss are not expert lip readers. However we still need to see your face.

One more thing I must say, we bluff a lot sometimes. We shouldn’t, but we do. For an example there’s a party and someone tells a joke and everyone laughs. Including those who didn’t hear it.

If there is something important that we need to know especially if we ask for the information, please do not mislead us. That is wrong. Be honest. Give us the respect we need.

We’re Wanted

Wanted edited

A few weeks ago my wife and I went to a fund raiser for Young Life Capernaum. It was a fun evening. It had a Western theme, complete with silly ‘wanted posters’, singing, pie, videos, and pie. Did I say we had pie? Oh man, we had a lot of pie. Young Life Capernaum is for teens and young adults with various kinds of disabilities. It’s best to let them tell you in their own words what it’s about in this link. My wife and I with our church have been involved with this group for about two years now.

The sad fact about people with disabilities is the discrimination they get. Some people discriminate against race, some against religion, or different nationalities. But I dare say, more people discriminate against the people with disabilities than any other group. Whether it’s physical or mental. Don’t believe it? Look at how many people park in the Handicap Parking when they shouldn’t.

Close to ten years ago I was in a bad car wreck which put me in a wheelchair for a couple of months. I am very well aware of parking problems for those in wheelchairs.

Many of our Young Life Capernaum friends have part time jobs. Often times at these jobs (and other places) they have been called stupid, retard, and more. Unfortunately they may get physical abuse too. Life can be rough for them. Yet the people in our group know God loves them. Notice I didn’t say they kinda believe God loves them. No, I didn’t say that. I said they KNOW God loves them. And they KNOW God is with them. I know God is with them too.

Our church has been part of a ministry for disabled young adults for about two years now. But before we got involved, I decided to do a little recon on them. I went out to a mall where they hang out at and watched.

I saw them sitting in groups, talking and laughing and eating together. I saw a few that just sat off by themselves, then I saw some just roaming around visiting different individuals and groups, just to see what’s going on. Socially, they are just like the rest of us. Some are out going and are some shy. Yes individually they may seem awkward because some of them may have downs syndrome or autism or whatever, yet they are often warm and happy to socialize.

One evening six of us went to our first Young Life Capernaum meeting. There I saw a small woman in her early 30s, sitting in a wheelchair. Never in her life has she ever walked. Then I found out that her loudest voice is only a very soft whisper. If people with good hearing have trouble hearing her, how am I with a hearing loss supposed to hear her!? I sat across a large dinning room table from her wondering. Then I saw the woman in the wheelchair moving her hands at someone, and that’s when I realized; she knows ASL. (American Sign Language) I know a little ASL so now I can talk with her. Later I brought my FM so I could hear better. (Sorry for the HOH (Hard Of Hearing) lingo. FM is short for an Assisted Listening Device that uses a FM radio signal for hearing. If you would like more information on one click here.) Unfortunately after years of service, my FM doesn’t work that well anymore. But I still enjoy her company.

Once I saw a TV preacher say God doesn’t need us, BUT He does really want us. All of us, if we’re willing. I don’t know what else he said, but I started thinking about it. It’s like a classic car collector spotting a broken down heap of a car. He wants it because of what it’s worth.

I had a customer once who had me work on his 1970 King Midget. What an interesting car. I asked him how much he paid for it, but he wouldn’t tell me. He just said, “A lot.” Well according to John 3:16 God loves us, He wanted us so much, He sent His Son to save us.

Over time, these Young Life people have integrated into us, and we have integrated into them. Through Christ we are all part of the same body. We are all wanted by God.


First before I start this post I will say that my wife and I have been praying for the victims in the Boston bombings. We also been praying that the police would find and arrest those who were responsible for this. And thank you to those of you who helped the injured.

This link has caption for the Beatles song “Help” for my deaf and hard of hearing friends.

Galatians 6:2
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Why is it so hard to ask for help sometimes? You know there are many people who would like to help.

One day when I was walking out of the bank, I saw a couple with car trouble. I had no problem giving them a jump start. In fact I was happy to do so.

A few years ago the heater went out on our car. The only way to fix it was to replace the heater core which would require disconnecting all the wires and vacuum hoses, then removing the dashboard. Removing all nuts and bolts, and disconnecting all the wires and vacuum hoses can be done by only one person. Lifting the dashboard to remove it however, requires two people. I had no problem going to a neighbor asking for help, and he had no problem with coming over to help me.

Yet when it comes to money, food, housing, or some weird health problems, we often don’t like asking for help. Why? Often times we are embarrass. Or other times we may think ‘it’s our problem and it’s none of their business’. Or we may think no one would understand or maybe no one would believe us. And then some of us may simply think it’s too shameful.

There are also times when someone would need help and there is absolutely nothing anyone could do but, be there for them.

A few weeks ago my wife and I went on a trip to visit my dying Dad. He was dying of cancer and even with pain killers, he was in great pain. Sometimes I just sat next to him. We all did. Sometimes when he was in pain I told him to squeeze my hand.

If you know someone who is sick or recovering from a bad injury, go to them. Visit them even if you do nothing but sit there in the chair next to them and sleep. It will mean a lot to them. And if you need help and someone wants to help you, it might be wise to let them. But sometimes, use caution.

Some of you know I have a hearing loss. For many years I just didn’t let people know. I bluffed a lot when it came to hearing someone. Many of my customers had no clue that I couldn’t hear every word they say. Yet I was able to repair every piece of machinery they brought me. One day however I messed things up a lot. The customer was mad. When he found out I couldn’t hear well, he was mad about that. He said I would avoid lots of problems in life if I would just tell people that I have a hearing problem. Right now many of my hard of hearing friends are saying, “We keep telling you that!” I know. I’m doing better now.

Still if you need help, ask for it. Tell you friends. There are lots of people who would be happy to help you.

If you know of someone who needs help, ask if you can help them. Some of you don’t need to be told this, I know. But for some others, I will say, ‘do it anyway’.

Matthew 25:44-45
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

Thank you to everybody who has helped, and prayed for my wife and I about my parents.

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