"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

ASL and Captioned "The Night Before Christmas"

Here is a delightful signed and captioned account of "The Night Before Christmas" posted by Sheena McFeely.. Isn't she adorable? Be sure to check the second video for "9 Reasons This Little Girl's ASL Version is so Great" at the bottom of this post!

Happy Christmas!


9 Reasons Why This Little Girl's ASL Version is so Great:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Bottle of Love Floats Out to Sea

Last week, Daughter and I felt the two of us needed to do something by way of celebrating my mother and bringing closure to her life with us on this earth before I left to go back to Pennsylvania. Mom, Daughter and I were a trio of women spanning three generations who are more than daughters, mothers, and grandmothers ....we were blessed to have our familial relationships develop into friendships. My mother was my closest and best friend.

"We should write letters to Grandma, tie them to balloons and release them," Daughter said as we discussed what we wanted to do.

I loved the idea of writing a goodbye letter, but I thought putting our letters together into a bottle with a cork and releasing it into the ocean was just as nice. Daughter loved the suggestion. It took a few minutes to decide exactly from where we wanted to send off the bottle, Sunset Beach, Shore Acres, Horsefall or Bastendorf. After running through the list, we settled instead on the rocky banks of Coos Bay near Mom's home, not far from where she liked to take walks.

There were two criteria for what we wanted regarding the kind of bottle to carry our love letters to Mom. It needed to have a cork, and the glass was to be green. My mother was known for collecting green glass.

We settled on this bottle:
Our letters were written on the last day of my stay in Oregon. While most Coos Bay and North Bend residents were making their way out to Shore Acres for the holiday lights display featured each year at Christmastime, Daughter and I were standing on the banks of Coos Bay deciding which of us was going to toss the bottle out into its depths in hopes of catching a current out to sea. It really didn't matter who was going to do this, but we had  to figure a way to decide who it should be. 

The shadows were quickly deepening along the shore. We could tell we didn't have much time before the sun would be set for the night. The tide was slowly moving out. Turning to Daughter, I asked, "Do we have any last words?"

Daughter shook her head, "No. I think we said everything in our letters."

Poised on the shore, taking a deep breath, I tossed our hearts into the bay.

The bottle landed quite a few feet away. It bobbed a few times, then started drifting towards the currents that weave around the bend of the bay. Standing solemnly with tears brimming my eyes, I watched the vessel drift further away with our last loving words to my mother.

Suddenly, a tug boat came into view pulling a huge barge. Really? Right now?  I threw my arms up in the air and started laughing. I turned toward my daughter who was also laughing and we began to speculate the fate of the bottle.

We were certain it was going to be brought back to shore in the wake of the waves created by the barge and tugboat after they went by, but to our delighted astonishment, the bottle surfed over the top of each wave and continued to move outward and seaward, albeit slowly.

Satisfied with our mail being successfully sent off, Daughter and I turn away from the shoreline as a bottle of love floats out to sea.
The bottle is the speck almost at the very center of this photo, a bit to the left.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hooked on Coffee?

 This drive up coffee coffee vendor has a boatload of caffeine just waiting for you:

Coquille Oregon Coffee Vender, "Hooked"


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"One Last Message"

Last night, I was asking my friend how her mom is doing. She told me she isn't doing well. I was so sad to learn this. Her mother is under excellent care while at John Hopkins, but they have done everything they could for her. They don't give her much time.

Elizabeth went on to say how this was good in one way, because they know what to expect and they have this time together.

I responded to Elizabeth that that is much better than having something like this happen unexpectedly.

This morning, my husband called Rickie at ReikiSpace and told her he was coming to meet me there shortly and to wait for him. I had just finished a session with a client.

When I checked my phone, I saw that my daughter had called while I was in the session. Usually she texts, knowing that I can't hear. I called her back using the relay. She asked if  Fabulous Husband had talked to me yet. I told her, "No", and she said that he would tell me when he got there. She just couldn't talk right now.

I mentioned to Rickie that something was up, something wasn't quite right.

When Fabulous Husband arrived, I could tell by looking at him that something serious had happened. We went into the Dragonfly Room and he held me and told me my mom had died.

I wasn't ready for this. This was so unexpected. I'm so thankful I wasn't alone. I am so grateful for this man I married. He had to make some phone calls and handle hard conversations.

I'm also grateful for the arms of a kind, gentle sweet friend. Rickie was so comforting with her support and kind words.

I drove home on a cloudless sunny day as if looking through a windshield covered with raindrops, only it wasn't raindrops. It was tears welling up in my eyes and splling down my face for twenty two miles.

I'm not sure which point of the journey I was hit with the instant replay of the conversation I had last night with Elizabeth. It played over and over in my mind all the way home. I told my Uncle Ricky about my conversation with Elizabeth last night and how suddenly this happened today. His response caught me off guard.

"Someone was preparing you for this".

I decided to tell him what happened earlier this evening. Most people don't know that my parents had a little girl who died of cystic fibrosis when she was 4 years old, a few years before I was born. Her name was Mary Marlene, but everyone called her "Marlene". This was almost 60 years ago.

I was adopted a few years later. My mom often talked about Marlene and shared stories about her. Though she lived a short life, my mom kept her memory alive.

I use my Iphone mostly for texting, and I seldom use it for phone calls. I use a relay, and call my mom mostly, and Fabulous Husband. My daughter and I prefer texting. Not many people have my "actual" phone number. The number I give out is a relay number.

Tonight, while waiting for my cousin to call, the phone rang. It wasn't my cousin's number, and it was from a number I've never seen before. I answered saying, "Just a moment, please". I handed it to my husband who answered it and told them they had the wrong number.

I asked him who called. "I don't know. It was a wrong number."

After I moment, I asked, "Who were they calling."

"It was a wrong number. They were asking for someone named Marlene".

....... Oh..... My..... Word.... "That was my sister's name!"

When I told Uncle Ricky about this, he said, "That was your mom sending you a message. She is with Marlene now. You know where she is. Your mother was an angel while she was on this earth. She is an angel in heaven now."

I have heard stories about loved ones sending "one last message" for the people they were leaving behind. What a tremendous gift to receive!

My mom was letting us know she is safe, we need not worry for her. We know she is happy to be with her other little girl, the one she had lost so many years ago.

While her soul has returned to God her maker, I know that one day, when I cross that great divide, my mom will be waiting for me, just like Marlene was waiting for her.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Excellent Piece About Language

Lauren of CCAC  posted this "Words to Live By" on FB this week. This excellent short about language is from Ireland. I like what the gentleman said about how it is the importance of "intention" behind what people say. There are very good and valid points made in this piece. Captioned.

Kanchi 500 Start the Conversation

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

God doesn't want us wandering around broken. God doesn't want us breaking others. He wants the best for us. He wants us whole, and he desires us to want the best for others, as well. He desires us to lift others, as he has lifted us. He desires us to bless others, as he blesses us. He desires us to be kind, as Jesus was. Choose kindness. Choose grace, Choose mercy. Choose forgiveness, gentleness, compassion and understanding. Let us choose the peace of God and give him thanks today for every good gift we have. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! Regional Signs shared by Master ASL

First, I want to thank you, Dear Reader and Follower for reading my posts, stopping by and commenting, for the private messages as well as for all the times you've shared a post that resonates with you. I appreciate you. Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Joyce Edmiston, Xpressive Handz

It's time to give thanks for all our many blessings. I wake every morning giving thanks for all my own many blessings, but somehow, I am even more thankful each year this time as we as people share and give thanks together.

Here are some signs by ASL students. No captions are provided because these are used for students learning ASL. Providing captions would be "cheating" and not helping with their ASL studies. However, I think if you watch this, you will pick up a sign or two simply by recognition and similarities between many of the Signers.

If you haven't "liked" Master ASL on FaceBook, be sure to do so if you wish to enhance your own Sign Language skills.

They do a great job, don't they?

Monday, November 25, 2013

3 Things You Should Never Do When Communicating with the Hearing Impaired by Rachel Strella

I was introduced to Rachel and her husband Pete at a meeting where she was presenting to us the importance of using Social Media for business. We quickly struck up a conversation about hearing loss, hearing aids and insurance. Rachel kindly took me up on my offer to write a guest post, just in time for the holidays. Share these tips with your family, friends and co-workers to help them communicate more effectively during the holidays with friends or loved ones who have hearing loss.

3 Things You Should Never Do When Communicating with the Hearing Impaired

I’ve lived with hearing loss for close to 15 years.  In that time, I’ve had a lot of interesting interactions with folks who learn about my disability. Here are three things that you shouldn’t do to a deaf or hard-of-hearing (HOH) individual.

Shout.  Just because someone has difficulty hearing, does not mean it justifies shouting. Do you want to speak a little louder, slower and clearer than when you interact with others? Yes.  But there is no need to shout.  Clearly communicate what you want to say and be sure to make eye contact with them.

Talk to them in ‘slow-mo.’ Visualize the TV screen when you hit the lowest level on the rewind button of a VCR. That’s talking to someone in slow motion and it’s unhelpful when talking to someone who is deaf or HOH. There is no need to over enunciate or over exaggerate words or expressions. Talk in a normal voice, and again, communicate clearly.

Put them at the kids table.  As the holidays approach, that’s my sarcastic way of saying: don’t avoid people with hearing loss! We want you to communicate with us and we want to feel like a part of the conversation despite our limitations. You might need to speak a little clearer, but that’s certainly no reason to avoid someone with hearing loss.

We have become a society of bad communicators and I’d like to see that change. Consider how well you’re communicating the next time you converse with your spouse while looking in the fridge, talk with your hands in front of your face, or carry a phone conversation while the TV is blaring.

Rachel Strella is the owner of Strella Social Media, a Harrisburg-based company specializing in social media strategy development and management. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Answers Come Unexpectedly in Surprising Ways

A few years ago, Little Fellow mumbled a request to our Heavenly Father somewhat inaudibly. Fabulous husband asked him what he was praying for. He mumbled something or other. Fabulous Husband kept asking, and Little Fellow kept mumbling. Finally, realizing that Dad was going to keep asking until he spoke up, Little Fellow said loudly, "A bunny. I want a bunny rabbit."

Fabulous Husband explained as simply as he could that we don't make requests like this and we aren't going  to be collecting or raising pets other than fish. Little Fellow was ok with that, and he really knew this already, but he was sincerely making his request known to the One who is really in charge, The one over the heads of Mom and Dad. He knew what our answer would be, but it didn't stop him from taking it to our Superior.

Either the next day, or the day after that, it had snowed and school had been canceled. Little Fellow was looking out the window and shouted, "A bunny! There's a bunny outside!" I went over and stood next to him and we watched the brown furry critter hopping around  the yard. I text Fabulous Husband and told him Little Fellow and I were watching a bunny outside in front of our home. Fabulous Husband filled me in on the details of the prayer request.

I laughed at first, then I pondered what I was being told. This was a great opportunity to discuss how God sometimes answers a prayer in an unexpected way.

"You can't have any more pets, but God sent a bunny to visit you." It just seemed to be the thing to say.

Sometimes God will answer our prayers in ways we don't expect. He hears all our prayers. No prayer ever goes unanswered, sometimes we just don't recognize the answer when it comes. Sometimes we get a "Yes", sometimes a "No", other times "Not yet" and often we even get  "Here is something better, instead". Most of my greatest answered prayers have been answered in the most unexpected ways at the most unexpected times.

Twice since the first sighting this bunny has appeared in front of our car as we drive along toward Church street. He actually hopped along the road in front of our car. Today, he not only hopped along in front of us, he also hopped along side us before turning and dashing off into another neighborhood, much to our Little Fellow's delight.

I believe God hears and answers the prayers of the little children in ways we grown ups have forgotten, or brush off as coincidence. I'm certain it is one of the ways God teaches a child to learn to trust that He hears them and sends them surprises to build their faith in Him.

Isn't this what we do for our children, ourselves, sometimes answering their request in unexpected and surprising ways?

(this was originally posted winter 2011)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Deaf Workshops in Hershey, PA November 15-17, 2013

I received this email from Jenice Wolgemuth of Deaf Konnect to spread the word about the conference happening this weekend. The conference agenda and times are below. Their home website is posted at the bottom.

Subject: Deaf workshops - Spread the word

This weekend, Nov 15-17, there is a fantastic conference, The Eastern Christian Conference, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.  It begins on Friday night with a worship time that is interpreted.  Then on Sat there is another interpreted worship time followed by a series of workshops especially for the deaf.  The evening has another interpreted worship time and then on Sunday is another interpreted worship time.  The main meetings are in the rooms to the left of the main entrance to the convention area (facing 322).  ($35/person, $50/family is a GREAT price for a weekend of signing practice and learning about signing music for the deaf!)

The deaf workshops will be especially interesting for all deaf and those involved in serving them.  Attached are information sheets about this weekend.

PS - there is another women's conference to the right of the main entrance

Hershey Lodge and Convention Center - Hershey, PA
 Friday Evening
7:30 PM – Main Session- Reach the Lost Right Here, Right Now – Interpreted
Gene Appel, Sr. Pastor, Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim, California

Saturday Morning
7:30 – 9:10 AM – Breakfast items for purchase in Exhibit Hall
8:00 – 9:00 AM – Bible Study
9:15 AM – Main Session- Be the Change Right Here, Right Now – Interpreted
Gene Appel, Sr. Pastor, Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim, California
11:00 AM – Workshop Session 1: Phil and  Melody Choate - Reaching Up with Ministry in Music with the Deaf
Saturday Afternoon
12:15 PM -  President’s Luncheon (all invited – interpreted???)
2:00 PM – Workshop Session 2: Phil and  Melody Choate - Reaching In with Performing Music with the Deaf
3:30 PM – Workshop Session 3: Phil and  Melody Choate - Reaching Out through Performing and Interpreting Music
4:45 PM – General Planning Session (open for anyone to attend) (maybe interpreted??)
Saturday Evening
7:30 PM – Main Session- Be On Mission Right Here Right Now – Interpreted
Greg Nettle, President, Stadia Church Planting Solutions, Massillon, Ohio

Sunday Morning
Please check out of your room before going to the worship session.
*On Sunday morning, the teens and adults will meet together in one session in the Chocolate Ballroom.
7:30 AM – 9:25 AM – Breakfast items for purchase in the Exhibit Hall
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM – Bible Study
9:30 AM – Main Session- Bring the Love Right Here Right Now – Interpreted
Josh Burnett, Lead Pastor, Revolution Annapolis, Annapolis, Maryland
11:15 AM – Conference Closes 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Free Veterans Meals and Military Signs Demonstrated by Travis

We LOVE these demonstrations by Travis. Please note that these videos are made for ASL students, and as such it is not appropriate to have them captioned-just as when taking ASL courses voices are "off". This is a technique of "language immersion", however, the signs really are quite clear, and there are hints along the way.


I honor my Fabulous Husband who served 20 years of his life in the Air Force, as well as every person who has ever served. I also honor the families of veterans.

Here is a list of restuarants providing free meals and discounts to those who are serving or who have served our country:

Be sure to call ahead to make sure that location is participating and BRING ALONG YOUR MILITARY ID !

Thursday, November 7, 2013

HLAA-Lancaster County Meeting, Nov. 19th

Tuesday, November 19th at 10:00 a.m. is the next Lancaster County Chapter Hearing Loss Association of American meeting. Come join us, everyone is welcome! Captions (CART) and loops are provided!

The speaker will be Pam Reiher, editor of HLAA-PA's HearSay quarterly. Pam will be sharing her experience of using two cochlear implants (bilateral).


Village Center Building
Fellowship Hall (lower level)

Brethren Village Retirement
3001 Lititz Pike
Lancaster, PA

We hope to see you there!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children's Project is Approved!

My friend, Jennifer Raucsher works for the Harrisburg School District, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She is the "teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing children". While Jennifer has 17 students on her caseload, she has another 4 that she monitors and consults with. Her students need hearing aid tools and maintenance. From now until Nov. 8, all donations made with the code "INSPIRE" will be matched in equal value up to $100.00!

Here is Jennifer's project and request in her own words:

Subject: My students need your help!

Hi Friends,

I want to make sure my students have the materials they need to succeed. So I've created a classroom project request at DonorsChoose.org, an award-winning charity.

I'm asking for donations of any size to help my kids. For the next week, any donation you make to my project will be doubled (up to $100). If you know anyone who is passionate about education, please pass this along. Your donation will brighten my students' school year, and you'll get photos and thank yous from our class.

Here's my classroom request:
Hearing Aids

To have your donation matched dollar for dollar, enter the promo code INSPIRE on the payment screen. This awesome match offer lasts through November 8, 2013.

My students and I greatly appreciate your support.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! Enjoy this FABULOUS "Sleepy Hollow" ASL story

Signed version of "Sleepy Hollow". I apologize I did not have time to get this to someone to caption this for those of you just learning ASL, but when I do, I will post the captioned version.

This is beautifully shared by Travis on facebook.com/MasterASL

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sign Names of a Few Superheroes

Kym Bozarth posted this for us on FaceBook from Master ASL page. Here are some of the name signs of superheroes explained by Travis. This isn't captioned, but I think you will understand the concepts. I just added the second video, part 2 at the bottom with a link to the facebook page where you can find these for yourself, along with many other examples.

part 2

Monday, October 28, 2013

"Signs for a Good Education"

According to Huffington Post, "This video will change the way you look at deaf people".

Carol posted this on Facebook in the ASL Dauphin County forum. I'm hopeful for a brighter future for ALL citizens as more and more schools enroll Sign Language teachers in the schools everywhere. I love seeing all the day care centers that are now teaching the children Baby Sign Language. I also love that more elementary and high schools are adding Sign Language to their foreign language curriculums.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Advocacy & Support for Parents with Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children Presented by: Larry Siegel

Advocacy & Support for Parents with
Deaf or Hard of Hearing Children Presented by: 
Larry Siegel

Mr. Siegel, internationally recognized advocate for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, will be at 2 locations in central Pennsylvania. He will address Pennsylvania laws, communication plan, advocacy & obstacles parents and their children face in educational settings.

When & Where:

Nov. 14, 2013 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Holiday Inn Williamsport
100 Pine Street
Williamsport, PA   17701

Nov. 15, 2013 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Western PA School for the Deaf/Scranton School for the Deaf  & Hard of Hearing
Children Outreach Center
3820 Hartzdale Drive
Camp Hill, PA   17011

Meeting Format:
• After welcoming remarks, Mr. Siegel will present for approximately 1 hour, followed by a group discussion.

• Time is allotted for individual family appointments with Mr. Siegel. Exact time and appointment length depends on the need; appointments to be determined the day of the workshop 

• Lunch provided

RSVP by Nov. 6, 2013

• There is no registration fee

• Reserve your seat with Jessica Marks at jmarks@wpsd.org

   • Include the following information when registering:

*Location you’d like to attend. (either Williamsport or Camp Hill)

*If you would like to meet privately with Mr. Siegel

*Questions your family may have for Mr. Siegel to address during the workshop

*Accommodations, if needed.

About Mr. Larry Siegel:

Larry Siegel, received his A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and his J.D. from Hasti ngs College of the Law. Founder of the National Deaf Education Project, helped enact nation's first Deaf Child's Educational Bill of Rights. Author of : Statement of Principle (the Ed. & Communication Needs of D and HH Children), The Human Right to Language, The Complete IEP Guide, Least Restrictive Environment, the Paradox of Inclusion. He’s an Adjunct Professor at Hastings College of the Law. He was the Endowed Chair at Gallaudet University (2004-2005) . Other accomplishments include: Fulbright Specialist, appointed to California Special Education Commission; advised New Mexico, Colorado, California, North Carolina, Vermont, Pennsylvania and other states on reforming education of deaf and hard-of-hearing students.  He has testified before US Congress and state legislatures on Deaf Ed . He consulted with Gifu University (Japan) and Stockholm University on Special Education. Larry Siegel is from California.

Sponsored by: Programs of the Western PA School for the Deaf & Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Monday, October 21, 2013

SchoolMessenger and Accessibility Issues

Living in a county that has 4,000 deaf and hard of hearing citizens, THAT WE KNOW OF, one would think that there would be accommodations for these parents with children attending school. I know for a fact, I'm not the only deaf parent with a child at my son's school. One of his friends here in the neighborhood has a deaf parent, too.

I have emailed and discussed the issue with my son's principal in September about an issue we deaf parents are having regarding the messaging service the school uses. When the first email landed in my inbox with a link to an audio message, but no text about what the message was saying, I contacted the principal, and he quickly answered and CC'd the email to his staff to alert them that from then on all the messages would arrive to me via email in text format.

This week, another email arrived, just like the first one. This is what I received:

"______ School District

You are receiving this message because your contact information is associated with _____.

A new message from _______School District was sent to you using the SchoolMessenger notification service.

Please click below to listen to your message:

Listen to your message

Thank you,
_______ School District

.........School District would like to continue connecting with you via email. If you prefer to be removed from our list, please contact ,,,,,,,School District directly. To stop receiving all email messages distributed through our SchoolMessenger service, follow this link and confirm: Unsubscribe

SchoolMessenger is a notification service used by the nation's leading school systems to connect with parents, students and staff through voice, SMS text, email, and social media."

After discussing this in several forums of deaf and hard of hearing online communities, and a response from an attorney who works with ADA issues, I am following a few of the excellent suggestions that were offered.

I am hoping this is resolved BEFORE the day of the meeting arrives. It would be lovely to be contacted by the School Board to have a face to face meeting and these issues addressed and fixed.  

First, I submitted a letter to the school letting them know I need CART (Captioning Access Real Time) to accommodate my deafness at the next school board meeting, along with the timely request of wishing to address the accessibility issues regarding deaf and hard of hearing people in my community.

The second piece of advice I was given was to submit a letter to the local newspaper requesting a reporter to attend the meeting and record the events.

Here are the letters I sent if anyone else needs to address this issue with their school districts. Feel free to use and modify as you see fit.

Email to the School Board


First, thank you for providing this email address. The automated phone system the school uses is inaccessible for someone deafened like me who uses the CapTel Relay System. Email is my prefered mode of communication.

I see that according to this website, ___________________, I am in time to send this and file these issue with you. 

I am a member of ALDA, Association of Late Deafened Adults. I am also a member of Hearing Loss Association of America, as well as our local HLAA-PA, Lancaster County chapter. I am also on the Hearing Loss Association of America, Pennsylvania Advisory Council. Currently, I am serving on the State of Pennsylvania Telecommunications Relay Service Advisory Board with the Public Utilities Commission.

I am also known as an advocate and  "international deaf blogger". My blog is read in over 47 countries, daily hits anywhere from 200 to  3,000 hits in a day (yes, as many as  three thousand hits in one day)

I am featured on the front cover of ALDA News, Summer 2013, Volume 29, Issue 3. There is a book coming out next year that is in the hands of publishers, which I am not allowed to discuss the particulars until it is published, that I have had a hand in writing with a published author and teacher.

Now that I have a few of my credentials out of the way, let's get down to business.

I am requesting accommodation of CART (real time captioning) or remote captioning services to be provided for my hearing loss so that I can have access to everything that is said at this meeting. 

My name is ______________. I have a son attending ______________ School. I have already addressed this issue with _____________ at the beginning of the school year when the first mass communication via SchoolMessenger was sent out. 

I wish to address the board to resolve accessibility issues regarding myself and other deaf, hard of hearing or deafened parents at the meeting _________. The issue is in regards to the "audio" file being sent to me in emails. I requested all communication that is going out by voice to other parents to accommodate my deafness by sending an email with text of what is being said in the audio link that is attached to the email. That did not happen today. A message came to me regarding my son, and I have no idea what is being said in that audio file. No text of the audio file is in that email.

The automated phone system, as I mentioned above, is another issue. I cannot call into the school. The school's system hangs up on me before the CA has time to type to me what is being said, then I have to read it, then I have to close out the window and open another to press the ext, then I have to close that window and open another one to get back to the CA. By then, we have been disconnected by the automated system.

The other issue regards the intercom system at the front door of the school building. Deaf and hard of hearing people cannot hear that. We don't know what is being said or when to open the door. I have stood out there as long as 15 minutes trying to get into the building. This, too, needs to be addressed as an accessibility issue for parents.

I look forward to resolving these issues with you and making _________ School District more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing persons in the future.


Email to the Newspaper


First, a big THANK YOU for posting an email how to reach you! I am deafened, and telephone calls are tedious through the relay system I have to use.
I am a member of ALDA, Association of Late Deafened Adults. I am also a member of Hearing Loss Association of America, as well as our local HLAA-PA, Lancaster County chapter. I am also on the Hearing Loss Association of America, Pennsylvania Advisory Council. Currently, I am serving on the Pennsylvania Telecommunications Relay Service Advisory Board with the Public Utilities Commission.
I am also an "international deaf blogger". My blog is read in over 47 countries, daily hits anywhere from 200 to  3,000 hits in a day (yes, as many as  three thousand hits in one day)
I am featured on the front cover of ALDA News, Summer 2013, Volume 29, Issue 3. There is a book coming out next year that is in the hands of publishers, which I am not allowed to discuss the particulars until it is published, that I have had a hand in writing with a published author and teacher.
Now that I have a few of my credentials out of the way, let's get down to business.
The purpose for this letter is to bring awareness to the _________ County area and _______________ School district that they must abide by the ADA and provide accommodations for me and other deaf parents to school announcements and entrance into the school.
I have already contacted __________, principal of ______________________ School that I need all communication from the school in writing via text in emails. I informed him that the emails they send with the audio messages are not accessible to me. He assured me that from now on, I would receive everything in text email instead of audio. That communication was last month when the first SchoolMessenger system sent out a mass communication to all the parents.
The email they sent to me today regarding my child has the audio link attached and no text of the message for me, just as it was last month when I contacted __________ about my communication needs and preferences. There is no text of what the audio file says.
Calling the school office is totally inaccessible, to me, as well. I use the CapTel relay system. The school's telephone answering system hangs up on us when I call the office. The automated system does not allow enough time for the relay operator to type to me the message, for me to then read the message, then for me to pull up a screen to select the extension I need to reach. This takes time for a deafened person like me who uses this relay system.
There is also now an intercom system attached at the school's front door. They speak to us through that instead of letting us in. Deaf and hard of hearing parents cannot hear this. It is inaccessible. I addressed this with the school last year. Nothing has been changed or done to accommodate us.
I would like to attend the next school board meeting. When I looked on the site here: __________
It will be ______ at _____ Location is the ______ School, 
There is more information here: ____
I sent an email to them requesting for CART (real time captions) so I can read the text what is being said at the meeting. 
Would it be possible to request a reporter to come along with me to document this meeting? 
All I simply want is accessibility for myself and other deaf, hard of hearing and late deafened parents for the same information and access as "hearing parents". 
My husband works for _________, and before I enlist his office and attorneys help, I would like to approach this as any other parent and see if the school district will accommodate these needs without having to use the words, "According to ADA..."

Friday, October 18, 2013

"Wake Me Up" Interpreted by Tiffany Currier

This is an upbeat little video. "Wake Me Up" by Avicii. I love watching Tiffany Currier sign. Be sure to turn on the CC button to see the gloss. (So glad to have that gloss!!)

Be sure to "subscribe" to see more of Tiffany!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Vision Is Limitless

Part of my Reiki training involves a mentorship program with Rickie of Reiki by Rickie. Recently when we sat down for one of our appointments, Rickie asked me, “If money were no object, what is your vision? What do you want?” She told me to write it down. I went home that evening and this was what I wrote:

My vision is limitless and money is no object. In fact, money flows freely to us and abundantly into the center which supports itself and the employees/contractors above and beyond everyone’s expectation. We give back to the community with events and shares, and we provide a free service to charities of our choice.

The center I created will provide jobs for skilled people who are good at what they do, knowledgeable, honest and sincere and have taken Reiki workshops. Each person employed in the center is happy to be here, and add their skills, talents, ideas and pleasantness to the center. I pay the employees/contractors well and treat them with utmost respect and care, and they in turn treat us and everyone else at the center in kind.

The practitioners that are interested in teaching are offering workshops of various interests and topics, though we are known for our excellent service in teaching and providing Reiki sessions. People come from all over to experience what we have to offer.

I would like to have a similar set up with the practitioners as ReikiSpace & Learning Place. ReikiSpace is a wonderful service model to follow. We have fully outfitted rooms available to us for our practice that affordable, and we are happy to be a part of ReikiSpace.

The Reiki center I have envisioned has workshops for families with new babies, teaching parents how to share Reiki with their infants and young children. We have Reiki workshops for kids geared at their age groups. We are very popular with teens, as well as with college students.

We run various specials, such as, one month a special for teachers, another month a special for emergency personal, another month a special for those working in law enforcement, etc.

Because we have such an excellent, highly skilled staff, I am able to focus mainly on sharing Reiki one on one with clients myself in an atmosphere that is suited for my own communication/deafness needs. Our staff is capable of teaching new practitioners, and providing a Master/Teacher program for those who are interested.

We are Deaf friendly, providing captions and/or ASL interpreters for workshops and classes. We have put Reiki into the "hands" of  our local Deaf community and have Deaf Reiki Masters teaching classes and giving Reiki sessions.

We are also fully accessible for all kinds of disabilities. We have a person on staff trained to know how to meet all the needs and deal with all the issues any disabled person may have, whether it is blindness and needing some items in braille or other accessory needs. There are ramps and an elevator for wheel chair access. This well trained staff member has foresight to see any issue and is able to create a solution in advance that is individually appropriate for each person coming to the center.

The ground floor has a storefront with books and various healthy items for purchase. There is a door that leads to the receptionist and waiting room for clients coming for sessions or classes.

There are several rooms for Reiki practitioners to have sessions on the main floor.

The Mountain Room has scenery and sounds related to mountainous regions and the hues of the room are various shades of green This room has beautiful live foliage, similar to a green house, fountains and a very large aviary with a few happy songbirds. I found this sweet little image:

The Ocean Room has large windows with ocean views. There will be a soft soundtrack in the background of the waves and seagulls for ambiance. This room has a saltwater tank of colorful happy fish. The hues in this room are blues, grays, white and touches of yellows.

I captured this sunset over the ocean in 2012 along the Oregon Coast 

The Midnight Room, has deep blue hues, with glowing stars on the ceiling, curtains running along the walls, draped similar to something out of Arabian nights. This room has a Middle-Eastern nighttime desert feel. The table in this room has Egyptian sheets. A hint of a light scent of an exotic desert flower wafts through the room for added atmosphere. The room is dimly lit for a feel of relaxation and sleep for those who have sleep issues. The ambience in this room is dreamy and calm.

There will be other themed rooms available.

Upstairs is the great room and it is an open floor plan that is the size of the entire center with views of the ocean. There is a fire pit or wood stove in the middle of the room, and an area where there is a small fridge, tea and coffee maker and a microwave.  Plants, fountains, various seating nooks are spread around the room. I have a weekly knitting and crochet circle of crafters coming and sitting together while we work on our projects.

I took this photo while visiting the Oregon Coast summer of 2012 

Adjacent to the center is a private day care for the employees and the children of clients with a certified, trained staff of child care providers. This service is free to the clients who come with their children for the length of their session. It is also free for the employees. The play yard is surrounded with a 6 foot tall wood fence for privacy. The playground is similar to the one in Enola’s Imagination Station where Bear liked to play.

There is a self –contained cottage on the grounds for visitors or guest speakers to stay. It is private, and we have our own cleaning staff as well as a personal chef who works with food sensitivities, and the chef is knowledgeable and versatile with all forms of ethnic and vegan foods.

We also have on our grounds a fitness center with state of the art equipment, weights, sauna, whirlpool, hot tub and swimming pool. Personal trainers are on staff to help maximize workout sessions for employees who would like a little extra help and support. This is no cost to our employees. We want them to have every opportunity available to them to maintain the utmost health and fitness. It is there if they choose to use it.

There are trails that lead down from our center to the beach, and through the nearby woods. Our woods and beach are safe, and are a haven for us, our staff and our clients. Fabulous Husband is in charge of hiring security detail and making sure safety is top priority.

We are well connected with professionals, care givers, and others in the community who offer health services and we are in good relationships with everyone.

There is peace, harmony, compassion, laughter and fun surrounding our center. Everyone who comes feels comfortable, welcomed and happy to be here.

Our son, Bear makes solid lifelong friends, and he is happy. He is doing well with school, making good choices, enjoying the freedom of riding his bike and exploring the neighborhood safely, climbing trees, running on the beach and doing all the fun normal things boys do, and doing them while make safe, good healthy choices. He is well balanced, happy and thriving. Bear finds his niche and also finds his talent and contributes his part in the center, too.

Bear on the Beach

Fabulous Husband’s photography is fulfilling and he is taking on only projects he is interested in doing and wanting to do. He is a respected artist. He is doing what he loves, happy and thriving and fulfilled.  Fabulous Husband has a working studio of his own, fully staffed with the best employees/help to offer high quality photography.

I am blessed to have the means and creativity to provide this wonderful center and see the positive influence it has for others in our community.  The pride our staff and friends have in this place we have created together is tangible. It will be just the right size, intimate, but not too big for itself, well maintained, eco-friendly, self-contained and well known for its excellence and quality of service. It will be a mainstay for the Reiki community in our area for many, many years to come.  This center will provide well for us and take care of us all the rest of our lives, because it is our life journey and service together as a family and as a community.

Be sure to hop over and learn more about ReikiSpace & Learning Place here: http://www.reikibyrickie.com/

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tour: Baltimore, MD, 2013

We had a blast when we took Daughter (who was visiting from the West Coast) to Baltimore a couple of weeks ago. We began the day with a stop at Westminster Hall. Edgar Allen Poe and his family are buried here. His original gravesite was next to his grandfather, and later moved to a much more elaborate monument in the same cemetery.

This is Mr. Poe's previous resting place. I love what Fabulous Husband did with this photo of Daughter.

This is Mr. Poe's current resting place.

This marbled slab is noted in Ripley's Believe It or Not..


After browsing through this cemetery, we moved on to the Inner Harbor. It was a great day, nice mild temps, though a bit overcast. Our first stop was lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe We went with the Jumbo Combo. DELISH!! 

The interior was gorgeous!

These are woofers converted into lights. Cool concept.

The lyrics to "Stairway to Heaven" are on the ceiling, spiralled..

The Mark Scott Duo, Mark Scott and Greg Yakaitis, who are also members of Handsome Billainaires, were performing outdoors. Fabulous Husband and Daughter said they were pretty darn good. These fellows not only are talented, they are quite friendly and lots of fun. 

Mark Scott
Mark was telling us that his daughter is interested in pursuing her education in Deaf Studies. How wonderful!! 

 Greg Yakaitis

We caught up with this guy wandering the harbor. His name is Dick:

 Daughter, Fabulous Husband and I had so much fun walking along the Inner Harbor. There was so much to see, so many interesting people to watch. Mostly, we just enjoyed having this time to tour and sightsee together.

Be sure to check out hipfotoguy's Baltimore photo stream for more photos.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Unexpected" by Brenda Sieglitz

Today's guest post is by my friend Brenda Sieglitz. Many of you may know Brenda previously as Crazy Widow. I started following Brenda a few years ago on Twitter. That was how I was introduced to her blog. Brenda invited my husband and me to a meeting at Aaron's Books in downtown Lititz a couple of years ago. It was such a pleasure to meet her in person.

One might think after all the hardships life has thrown her as a young woman, she would be jaded. No, quite the contrary. Brenda's is a compassionate, gentle heart, and her empathy for others going through loss is sincerely genuine.

by Brenda Sieglitz

I remember the calm look Kevin had when the gastroenterologist told us they found a large mass in Kevin’s esophagus.  I remember the hot tears gagging my breath as I sobbed into his chest, his broken, hurting, invaded chest.  We wouldn't have real answers for weeks - weeks that took us to two different hospitals in two different states with dozens of new doctors and finally a rare diagnosis - Angiosarcoma.  Those hot tears came again that time too, as I googled the disease name on my computer, finding only real examples of the cancer in dogs, and those that were in humans were too brutal to read.

Kevin and I were just over a year into our marriage when he was diagnosed, and I had no clue how to navigate the waters of newlywed, 20-something, and caretaker.  The role was unknown to me.  Although cancer had touched our family previously, my parents had done a great job of managing the stress that cancer can have on a family.  I had no tools to manage the stress - I just had a blog, and an incredibly faithful and hopeful husband who assured me he intended to beat the beast growing inside of him.

The memoir that I am working to self publish encompasses this story of cancer, but it also shares about the moments leading up to it: meeting online, our long distance relationship, the battle with U.S. immigration, the move and marriage, our financial ruin, redemption in the waters of the Atlantic, and then comes the cancer.  You will float back and forth from our love story to the blogs that I wrote during Kevin’s battle with cancer.  It’s not an easy read-one minute you may be experiencing one of our camping trips to the beach, and another you may be reading about another hospital room change.  But the memoir accomplishes what Kevin asked me to do - to share our story with the world.

One of my biggest hopes in having this book published is that someone may pick it up who will one day have to face one of these things and that they may feel more equipped to handle it than I did.  It helps to connect with others facing similar challenges, and it’s even more important to not feel alone in those battles.  

I would greatly appreciate you sharing this story with your friends, family and maybe even pledging a buck or two.  You can find updates at my blog and you can get some pretty cool rewards here.  Thanks for supporting, however you can.