A Deaf In The Family – 1.0

Slyfoot said he was half deaf, half blind, and half crazy.  He said I drove him sane…  

I didn’t think anything he said about himself was true.  I was a realistic, but when it came to people, one on one, individually, I was an optimistic.

 People say all sorts of weird things about themselves on the internet to make thems sound interesting. I’m not sure all those particular ‘half’s’ are all that interesting, but I thought it was just an attention grabber.  

I didn’t know Slyfoot, or Sam as I came to know him later, irl (in real life).  I just thought he was some gamer/hacker/computer geek who was way too into Linux and rosaries.  I never put it all together until we started talking in earnest–and that didn’t happen until after the dream and we were making plans to get married.  By that time it was too late.  God had already let me set my own trap and watched quietly as I walked right into it.  

I couldn’t blame Him. I had given him permission.  I’d invited him to in a flippant moment.  Truth be told, I had practically dared him to.  I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and I never imagined it would end up the way it did.

It all started two years after my divorce.  I was in my mid thirties.  I had four children, but only the two youngest lived with me: Erin, my daughter, and Josh, my youngest son.  My two older boys, Benjamin and Bryce, lived with their father in the same area we had all lived together before the divorce: Katy, Texas.  

At that time, I lived in the northwest of Houston in a decent, inexpensive (relatively speaking), townhome apartment, struggling as a single mother still having a difficult time with my ex, even two years after we split.  

My father told me to start dating.  At this time, my father had been divorced three times and married four times–twice to my mother.  I told him I would work on that, with no intention of doing so.  I gave the appearance of respect.  I didn’t tell him that he was the last person I’d take advice on romance from, or that I couldn’t understand why he and my mother decided to get back together with him. But being my dad, I did listen and I thought about what he said, but not much more than that.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) we have Wards instead of a Parish.  And instead of a parish priest, we have a Bishop.  You can’t switch wards or bishops, as some people outside the Mormon church do, with some special exceptions.  

None of the clergy in the Mormon church is paid.

Temples are not like Ward buildings, where Mormons meet every week to partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday School and auxiliary meetings.  They are sacred places where ordinances are performed that tie us to our families for eternity and give a glimpse of heaven.  Only worthy members, those with a recommend, are allowed in the temple.  To obtain this recommend, members have to adhere to the Word of Wisdom–a guideline to a healthy, God directed/centered lifestyle–pay their tithing–1/10th of their increase, be interviewed and found worthy by your bishop and your stake president, who is a little like a Bishop of the several parishes in his district.

Sometime after my father had told me to start dating, I went in to my bishop for a temple recommend interview and he,Bishop Slack, told me that I needed to start dating.  I laughed nervously and told him that my father had said the same thing just a few weeks earlier.  

I made no commitments and didn’t do anything more about that admonition than I had my fathers.

When I went into the interview with the stake president, I didn’t expect much small talk.  Stake Presidents have even less time to themselves, and more appointments to get to, than bishops. It was a bit of a surprise then, after the stake president started with the question on how my life had been–the trials of single motherhood, how hard that is in a ward full of functional, intact families–that he told me that I needed to start dating.

I laughed and decided that I better take the advice before one of the Twelve Apostles called me.  I didn’t want to take a chance on getting all the way up the chain to the prophet.

I started to take the idea of dating seriously, and tried to be open.

While I was trying to put together in my mind what I wanted from a potential husband (something I never really did when I was young) I kept writing and stayed in contact with most of my family and friends through email, livejournal (the precursor to “blogs”) or instant messaging.

Writing consumed most of my free time at this period in my life. It was a good diversion from feeling sorry for myself, my situation, being angry at the ex, and trying to adjust to being a single mom.  I was delving into scifi, something I hadn’t really done before, and my first serious foray was a short story called: A Rock and a Hard Place. I posted on my livejournal and it went like this:

Richard “Rock” Klein

Captain’s Log 14.10.2665

Outside Uranus (isn’t that ironic)

Kerry Portsmith Station

Docking Bay 24

 

They say space is cold. But it’s not *just* cold. No one has ever really felt how cold it is and lived to tell about it. We know instinctively that anything so vast and so empty must be cold.

 

The irony is that all the things we spend time with while in space also make us feel cold and empty. We travel in cold metalic ships from cold empty space to cold empty space.

 

Machines have no disability like perception. Filled with Artificial Intelligence and hundreds of processors heating up their hard drives, they are still only metal and plastic. They don’t care if they sit in space or in a shipyard for twenty years. They do not desire warmth and companionship. They just exist.

 

If you have one of those new bioships it might feel a little more like a horse than a cold lifeless THING, but in the end, it’s still a machine. It gives out as much personality and intelligence as an animal and it only lives to fill it’s purpose. It knows exactly what it should be and do. There is no goal for a spaceship to one day be a station. It is what it is and will never be more.

 

We try to fill the spaces with ego or warm it with personality. Those of us who spend so much time in space hardly know what exaggerated bravado is. We believe the lies we tell ourselves. We believe all the fantasies we create about ourselves and the things… and people, we love – or maybe it’s just ‘want.’

 

I’ve given up trying to tell the difference between love and desire. I just want warmth.

 

We leave a planet’s atmosphere to be greeted by a sheet of black with pinpricks of light. There is so much empty blackness between each point of light, that space seems cold even without feeling the temperature drop. We spend much of our time trying to make it feel warm and filled.

 

The ship is cold and empty this morning, but it won’t be tonight. Tonight she comes.

 

Samantha.

 

Three years ago she warmed these halls. It was three years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. No one has ever turned me on, out and completely neutroned me like Sam did. We were good. No. That’s a lie. We were slammin’ fantastic. I know how good it can be between a man and a woman.

 

That’s why I hate her.

 

You might look at the logs from six years ago and come to the same conclusion I did: She could be a cold hearted bitch.

 

Still… a cold hearted bitch is better company than an empty starship.

 

It was just a little story told using the method of narrating from a captain’s journal, but there was a reply from someone who had never replied to my journal before and the comments after the story went like this:

Slyfoot: Hey, I’m a Sci-Fi fan!

You’ve really got me interested in what happens next!

I really am interested, it’s not just ‘coz it’s the polite thing to say.

Me: I believe you. You don’t normally drop me ‘polite’ comments just to tag my LJ, so I appreciate the attention. (and I’m serious about this story, so it’s good to have someone to help me gauge if it’s still interesting).

Slyfoot: Yeah, keep at it! Maybe you’ll be the next Orson Scott Card. 🙂

PS: I have a Star Trek tattoo, too, lol.

Me: Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Putting God First Does Not Equal Loving Him More Than Your Spouse (imo) and how ASL makes that clear

I remember telling my new husband that love is not a pie.  I told him this because there is always a worry with a widow that her heart is never wholy yours.

Love is not a finite resource that is doled out and diminished, like a cherry pie. It is an infinite resource that actually grows when given/used.  You discover this when you have your second child…  or your next husband.

There is no one who understands this concept more than God, our Heavenly Father.  And I have never seen a scripture that says “love God more than your wife.”  In fact, one could argue, “as Christ loved the church,” is an argument for loving your wife as much as God. 

I think where people get confused is the phrase “Putting God First.”  This was not meant to put God before your wife in your heart.  While God is a jealous God, if you think of the logical gospel context (God is nothing if not logical) he would never object to you having as much love for a person as he has for you, and let’s face it, you’ll not ever get to that point in mortality. Even Christ shrunk from that responsibility.

When you “see” the scriptures or talks from modern day seers and revelators in ASL (American sign language ), you can see it is directional.  It is simple.  It is clear in a language that values clarity about e all else.

Putting God First is directional, not emotional.  God is your navigator.  Only he knows where you want to end up.  Your spouse is as clueless about the final destination as you are.  To follow your spouse or even ask them to lead you if you were not positive they were following the map of the only navigator available to you would be folly.  It would be as senseless in real life as it is spiritually.  That is, in fact,  how you can testify of the truth of it.  There is always a real world parallel to spiritual concepts. This is why parables are so effective.

I admit that I cringe a little when people say they put God first in their lives. The way I feel about it is my earth father would never expect me to put him before my husband,  but in matters of life experience, he would necessarily expect me to defer to his earthly knowledge over my husbands.

In my opinion the gospel is not hypocritical. Concepts and precepts are applicable universally. If you wouldn’t put your earthly father before your spouse on earth, then God could not expect you to do it while heaven bound.

The phrase “I put God first in my marriage ” is too confusing to laymen, and leads  communication problems in marriage itself between genders already prone to miscommunication.  I think we need to defer to the deaf on this matter.  “God above others. ”  And it makes sense this way.  It is simple, clear and does not put your spouse below you in order of importance,  in fact it puts you with them, following God in the direction you should both be ne nessarily be headed if following God: upward and onward.

Letters to My Hobbit – 1

Dear Sam Campbell III,

Today was ok, but the weekend in all was a little difficult. I had to be home, of course, and take care of things here, and everything reminds me of you. Everything. We made it all together, so of course it reminds me of you. Today I went to Memorial Park and Fallbrook, both. I cried in both places telling people how important it was to listen to the spirit. Naturally, I have a headache now. I haven’t been very hungry, but have an unnatural amount of cookies given to me, all of them my ‘favorite’ kinds. It has been strangely hard to eat chocolate…

I’m a little mad at you for not following through on those “notes to my wife,” like you did for your sister, since your sister won’t talk to me now. I’m also a little iritated that you use Linux, so everything I have of yours is hidden in a Matrix I can’t unlock. I will either have to hope that Gordon Chamberlin can unlock it all, or that I can find someone who can. I have 2 terabyte external drives with your info on it that, if I put it in my computer, it tells me I should format the drive.

I made this little memory box thing and filled it with your beads (the wood beads you loved to make mala’s from), your Star Fleet Academy ring (remember you said you felt like THAT was where you graduated from?) your Texas ID, your personal military spec crucifix, some hearing aid batteries and shoelaces. They are all the things that remind me of you. Remember when I said I thought you had a strange obsession with rosaries? I came to understand that, and how it was mostly tactile for you, and a great focus for your meditation, but I still don’t understand your obsession with black laces (they had to be black) of a specific length. I don’t know how you knew those other laces weren’t black, but somehow you did, and tossed them into your “abyss box.”

I went through the closet this week, it’s still pretty much a mess, and I think I will ask someone to come and help me clean it out when my mom is gone. For some reason, I don’t really want to do it with my mom. Your shoes and boots and your extra monitor are still in the room. And I haven’t gone through the box with our documents. I moved Erin into our room so I can fix up and rent out the other rooms. I think I need to do something to help replace your income. I want to keep working on the projects we had planned, and I can’t do that if I’m struggling to keep above water.

Adam, our sainted renter on a bike, fixed the fridge. He also fixed the hole in the wall in Erin’s (former) room. I am letting him stay free if he will manage the house and the repairs. He has taken much of the expense of the repairs on himself, so I think letting him stay free is ‘fair.’ I have no idea how much I am actually saving, but you do know it’s about 75 dollars just for a visit from a repair man. BTW, every appliance in the kitchen was covered under our homeowners policy EXCEPT the fridge…

I can’t seem to stay focused on any tasks at home. It’s like I’m an ADHD but I can’t even find something satisfyingly distracting.

I am writing our story, but not really. It’s a sort of “what if” story, like Notes From…. I will write our ‘real life’ story later, when it’s not as bittersweet. I do still have lots of fantasy stories we made up together based on Calinor and our personal experiences. I will try to finish those one day too, but right now, I’m writing this story about what would have happened if we would have met in Banning right after I graduated. I do that at night and in the morning to distract me from all the ‘must do’ lists my head fills up with at those times. I like that it helps me remember you, and that it is easier to remember you this way. Plus, you were really hot when you were younger, and so was I, and that never hurts in a story. We talked about it all the time, remember? What would have happened if we would have met when we were younger.

I’m trying not to be upset about having to stay here by myself and finish things up here without you. I am trying to remember pioneer women who had to take care of a farm and family while their husband served a mission a country away, or I try to remember how difficult life was for you and how simple things were starting to become a challenge, and how you are free now, but it doesn’t really help. I have no idea how long this mission will be, I didn’t think, even with your struggles, that things were that bad. Everyone knew we were happy, right? So I dunno and right now, I just want to go “home,” or run and run and run and run and never stop anywhere.

I have to go to bed now, because I have to work. Work is the easiest for me to handle. It’s almost a relief. I’m glad this is the long week. I have the kids this weekend. It’s hard to try and think of things to do–of course everything we plan reminds us you aren’t here, but I want you to know that we are really trying to do the things you wanted us to do, and be the blessing to other people you always wanted us to be. We are trying to bring honor to your name, the same way you tried to honor the name of God (and fathers and husbands).

Still a little angry at you for leaving without me, but love you more than anything left on Earth.

Say hi to Jack for me.

Love, Noelle

Ghosts of Christmas past. (Guest Post by My Hobbit)

I will always remember this year’s Christmas. Thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and strangers, we had a better Christmas than I had any reason to expect. We were able to raise enough money through donations for the 20% co-pay coverage for a Nucleus 6 cochlear implant. It arrived on Christmas Eve. It came by FedEx, though I like to pretend it was delivered by sleigh and reindeer.

What’s more, I was able to get another pair of good quality sunglasses thanks to friends in our ward who got us gift cards for Christmas. They are Veza sunglasses, which are only sold at Sam’s Club. I really like the Veza sunglasses because they are incredibly strong and sturdy. Whenever I can scrounge up the money I look forward to adding another pair to my collection. I have three pairs now, and if I don’t lose any of them they should last a lifetime. They’re not a well-known brand, but that just makes them even more special. I feel like I know a secret that most people don’t know.

I don’t want much in the way of luxuries. I like sturdy boots, sturdy sunglasses, and a computer with a fast internet connection. I care more about whether something is durable than whether it is fashionable.

Anyway, what with a new CI processor and new sunglasses, it was a very deafblindie sort of Christmas. I’ve already set up an appointment with a specialist to have the CI assembled and mapped for the first time.

I look forward to switching from the big processor to a BTE (behind-the-ear) unit. It will be a lot more convenient. And fortunately I also have a backup CI that still works, even though it is obsolete. I am practically OCD about having backups: backup CIs, backup sunglasses, backup computers, backup boots, etc.

Anyway, it was a great Christmas. And thanks to everyone who contributed to the purchase of a new CI!

Happy Holidays,
+Sam

Motivational speakers…

I can’t convince my husband, who is blind and deaf, that he COULD be a motivational speaker, and he has great experiences to share… Everyone always asks about ‘how did you meet’ and ‘how do you cope’ and on and on.  Why he’s not writing or speaking, I really can’t understand. He says he doesn’t like being an ‘inspiration’ to people, but heck!  We need money and he needs a career.  There’s one built into being an ‘inspiration’ to people, isn’t there?  It’s like a writer, but with a sob story everyone actually WANTS to hear.  Or at least be a comedian… right?

So… how do I convince him?

Book Covers

Two weeks to go for the Kickstarter program.  f you have any friends that are considering self publishing their book, want some cool graphics for their page/blog/project – please direct them to my kickstarter project and direct them to the 100$ donation – the illustration for a 100$ donation is more than 1/2 off a normal commission for an illustration and I promise they will be impressed with theirs and praise your name 😀 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1872789691/tell-me-the-stories-of-jesus-miracle-of-loaves-and

 

As an update, my Hobbit’s eyesight is rapidly fading.  I don’t think he’ll have any eyesight at all by the end of 12 months.  We really don’t have plans on how to handle this, just are taking things one day at a time at this point.  If you can help fund the project above, even at 5.00, it will help me get set up and started with a job I can do from home.  I really need to be home right now, and I’m trying to do everything I can to make sure we stay above water, but it’s not easy.