Tag Archives: ASL

The kindness of a stranger

It was later in the evening when my husband looked at me and said,

“Let’s go buy the babies a kiddy pool.”

The day had been warm and their little faces had been rosey when he arrived home from work.

He wasn’t wanting them to have another warm afternoon without the opportunity to cool off.

I agreed and we drove to where we thought we might find a kiddy pool.

It was after 7pm so some stores were already closed.

Home Depot was open and although they didn’t have kiddy pools there were some other items we needed.

I’ve been planning to paint furniture and needed paint.

As the paint was finished, my husband was concerned if I’d like the color and showed it to me.

I signed that I had a good feeling about it, I liked it. (My voice had disappeared during our walk around the store.)

He placed it in the cart and began to move toward the check out.

I had noticed another employee looking in my direction previously and had nodded a “hello”.

As I looked up from the cart she was looking at me again.

So, I didn’t look away, nor walk on.

She carefully signed to me a nice greeting and wished me a good day.

I smiled behind my mask and signed back: “Thank you, same to you”.

As I walked after my husband I thought about how this lady’s kindness blessed my heart.

She didn’t have to sign to me, but she did.

She was reaching out to speak to me and it blessed my heart.

I’m not deaf, but when I can’t speak ASL is the easiest way for me to communicate.

When others see this, it’s understandable they assume I’m deaf.

I’ve been truly blessed at different times when people who saw my signing responded with an effort to communicate.

Sometimes it’s by a simple “thank you” in ASL.

Sometimes it’s looking me in the eye or trying to point to things to help me understand.

I praise God for these moments of kindness in others.

I’m so thankful for their efforts.

I often pray for them afterwards.

Because it’s difficult to deal with someone who doesn’t communicate the way you do.

Unfortunately, some people become so uncomfortable, they react in ways which make it more difficult to communicate.

There’s been a few moments in stores when we left feeling very stressed.

But these are rare and God has taught us something each time.

It was a stressful moment several months ago when shopping with my husband that he said, “I have to get better at ASL” and he has been practicing ever since.

Another time Jase and I were shopping together and several unfortunate circumstances caused us a great deal of stress.

Days later we talked about it and both of us were able to see things we should do differently in the future.

Something a young man said to me recently has been the point of truth in this part of our journey.

“Everyone learns at their own speed.”

He was referring to learning ASL, but of course the truth is far more applicable.

For me, I’m not just learning ASL, I’m learning a new way of thinking, along with a new way of communicating.

I’m learning to keep my eyes upon the face of the person I’m dealing with.

Because people often think I’m deaf if I look away they think I no longer care or that I’m not paying them attention.

To look away means “not listening”.

I’m learning to plan ahead.

I’ve been stranded on my own with no one to speak for me and no one who reads ASL, so I carry paper and pencil now.

I’m learning that many people want to communicate and try hard to do so.’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.

I’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.

A couple of times I couldn’t always understand someone who stopped speaking and only signed.

I’m learning to be patient.

My voice disappearing is a response my body is having to triggers, often fragrance or chemicals in the air.

Sometimes my chest begins to hurt and I find it difficult to think clearly as my body is struggling.

To combat this I have to focus on breathing calmly, walking at a normal pace, and thinking about opening my airways.

Trying to communicate while all this is going on can make me want to rush, to just “be done” and not even try, but that never works and it’s not what Jesus would want me to do.

And if I were to simply “give up” I would miss all these moments of blessing.

For God has something good in all these things and I don’t want to miss a single one.

James 4:6 NKJV — But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your faithfulness! Lord, thank You for Your help, love, and lessons. You have taught me so much and Your blessings have been incredible. Lord Jesus, thank You for walking with me through this. Thank You for walking with our family through this. Thank You for all the people who have tried so hard to reach out to me. Thank You for the kindness of strangers. Lord, please continue to teach me how to live daily unto You. Thank You for all Your wonderous works. I love You. Amen.

P.S. We went to another store and bought the kids a pool. I had to laugh when I woke up to it raining!

The joys of silence

Although we normally stay home in the morning and homeschool, I felt it best to run to the store early.

Later in the day more people are out and it means everything takes longer.

First, I drove us to the nursery.

I want to plant a few shrubs along the fence and I only have one.

Maybe it was the pollen, maybe it was because my asthma has been kicked up, but whatever the reason my voice disappeared at the garden center.

Jase was with me and I was signing to him.

I couldn’t find the plants, they were not where they’d been.

Finally, I decided to ask someone.

I was a bit nervous as to how this was going to work, because Jase was struggling with reading my sign.

When we walked over and stood quietly nearby the worker, I prayed.

She finished what she was doing and turned to help.

I signed and Jase said what I was saying right up to the plant name.

Most names you have to finger spell and I did.

Jase simply read each letter as I spelled it and I was so thankful the lady listening was able to catch the name.

It was an answer to prayer, because I had no idea what else to do other than spell the name.

I’d forgotten my paper and pencil, so I couldn’t write it down.

(I will be asking the Lord to remind me the next time!)

The worker explained why I couldn’t find them, they were sold out.

Thankfully they are getting more in about a week.

We’d barely arrived home when Sis dropped in.

She needed to run to Home Depot and asked if I wanted to ride along.

I was happy to, although I still couldn’t talk.

Jase had school work he could do without me, so I hopped in.

As she drove I signed and we had a nice conversation.

She smiled at the stop light and said, “When I was part of the Deaf Bible Study I kept wondering why God would have me learn sign.”

“I thought maybe we would have a deaf child. I never thought I’d need it for you.”

I smiled back and signed to her how much I appreciate her knowing sign so I can converse.

We got to the store and put the babies into the cart.

As we shopped I continued to sign about the plants or other things.

Sis needed a new bathroom sink and vanity.

It was in the midst of looking them over that I looked at our granddaughter.

Her eyes were fixed on mine and I realized:

She was signing to me!

We’ve been teaching her signs along with words.

She had been watching me sign to her Mommy and wanted to be part of the conversation.

My heart overflowed!

What a precious gift!

Our family has learned and is continuing to learn a second language because of my silence.

I noticed a few people’s surprise at watching me sign to our granddaughter.

It just added to the joy.

Truly, the struggles and difficulties which life can bring God will use for good if we will surrender ourselves completely before Him.

Yesterday, was another precious reminder of God’s faithfulness.

Watching our little grandbaby carefully signing: “Yes, flowers, yes!”

She liked the plants I had placed in the cart next to her.

Proverbs 17:6 KJV — Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your Word and Your goodness. Thank You for my family, who cares so much for me. Thank You for ASL and for teaching our family. Lord, thank You for the previous moments yesterday. Thank You that each day holds blessings from You. Please help me to be aware and thankful. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Learning ASL

It’s been part of the journey.

This addition of another language into our lives

My husband looked at me on Sunday and said, “I need to learn ASL.”

And I feel the same way.

I really don’t grasp the language the way I want to.

But I’m so thankful for what we have learned.

Because it’s becoming more and more a part of my life.

Although my asthma has been improving and I’m getting stronger, I still loose the ability to speak fairly regularly.

With all the disinfectant being used in stores, I am finding it difficult.

I actually try not to go anywhere.

But the pharmacy is often closed when my husband is off work.

Therefore I’ve made several trips to Bi-Mart, recently.

Each time my voice has vanished.

But God is using it.

Last Tuesday, I was able to speak to the pharmacist and get my prescription, but by the time we reached the check out line with other needed items it was gone.

While standing in line, I had been signing to Anne when I looked up.

The checker was nodding to us, that she was ready.

Anne spoke kindly with her while she passed the items through.

I slid my card into the machine and patiently, using the wand, pushed all required keys.

It was as the lady, behind her mask, turned from her register with my receipt that I was blessed.

She was looking directly into my eyes with a gentle, heart warming expression.

She handed me the slip of paper and then carefully signed, “Good day”.

It was a gift.

Hopefully my face communicated my deep appreciation.

I signed back, “You too.”

Then turned for the door.

I didn’t want to start crying.

That response has only happened one other time, but both were so beautiful.

I was truly blessed.

Another gift I’ve gained is a tiny sliver of what it must be like for those trapped by a lack of communication.

There’s something truly incredible in being able to both understand others and express yourself.

It’s a gift I have not thanked God for until this journey.

When our Anne was three months old my mother-in-law had a serious stroke and has never completely regained her ability to speak as she had before.

Our Jase has always found communication a struggle and as a small boy, would retreat within himself when the world was just too confusing.

Both circumstances taught me a great deal of compassion and some tools to use in helping them communicate.

But that’s completely different from experiencing the frustration of not being understood myself.

Now, I can empathize with those who are unable in a new way.

What a blessing to have God open a door in my understanding by removing an ability!

I’m so thankful for this opportunity.

I’m expectant.

I look forward to learning more of this language and becoming fluent, (hopefully).

I also look forward to continuing to pray with compassion for those who experience daily loss of communication.

Most of all, I look forward to how God is drawing me closer to Himself through this journey we are on.

I’m so blessed and thankful to the Lord!

I may not always be able to understand.

I may not always be able to speak.

But I can always praise the LORD.

1 Chronicles 23:30 KJV — And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;


It stands for American Sign Language.

When our son was small he would literally start crying over the regular A, B, C,… alphabet.

At the time he was attending our local homeschool co-op and had become so adverse to learning he could no longer handle the classroom.

Since I had my own class, 3-5th grade, I just brought in Jason’s desk and he became my homeschooler.

After I learned the triggers for him, I was able to teach him how to handle working at his desk.

Then, God helped me find or make him things he could do while sitting quietly.

Math turned out to be something he enjoyed.

As well as Art.

The alphabet was still a problem.

Just placing a few letters on his desk could mean the end of his self composure.

About this time, a lady from the area heard about our son and offered to help.

“I’d like to teach you and your son ASL. I think it could really help him to learn to communicate and I’m happy to do it for free.”

What a gift!!

Of course I said yes and we got together.

It was slow at first.

However, ASL was the key to teaching our son the alphabet.

It was also something for him to use when words escaped him.

Unfortunately, we didn’t keep it in practice as he gained ability to both speak and read.

But God knew we would use it again.

One of the side effects of my asthma has been the inability to talk.

It varies from sounding like I have a terrible cold to nothing.

I remember the first time it happened. I started to sign what I wanted to say without even thinking.

Praise God! He had already prepared our family.

Both Anne and Bell had learned some ASL when the same lady taught a free class not long after her class with Jase and me.

Our oldest girl began going to a Bible study for the deaf her Freshman year of college so she actually knows more than any of us.

All of this has been such a blessing to me when I can not speak.

Infact, we all want to learn even more.

Anne and I have been trying to use it in our everyday conversations.

For me, it’s about being able to express myself and being open to God’s opportunities.

I had no idea He was going to use this small knowledge to help me.

But experience has taught me, He’s bigger than I can possibly imagine.

While He’s helping me, He may open a door for me to help someone else.

Until then, I am praising God for His blessings, including teaching our family ASL.

James 1:17 KJV — Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.