I have been wanting to get into videography for some time and about a month ago, I decided to really start to learn more about it. Last weekend, I gave it a shot and filmed moments with my family and what my oldest son likes to do these days. Between the moments and the song, it was a perfect production. I am so excited to film more and learn more about the vlogging world. Welcome to our vlogging journey!
Lucas has grown up so much this year and is a great big brother. I am so blessed to be their father and grateful for the many lessons I have learned. We're also blessed with wonderful grandfathers who are great examples to our boys. Happy Father's Day!
When I watched this song for the first time, I was speechless. Everything I am today goes back to "If I would try..." it has not always been easy but it has been worth it. When I first lost my hearing, it was a hard time, but through trying, I am able to hear with a cochlear implant and have a greater appreciation for life. If you had a rough day, keep on trying! You are an inspiration, Mandy Harvey!
Wow! I don't know what other words to say other than all of you amaze me! The goal, $3,000, has been reached in about 3 days time. I was thinking it would take a lot longer than that. Thank you so much! My heart is so full right now!
At this point, we have done everything we could do to prepare for what we expect the outcome to be from the insurance. The funds helped secure the ability to move forward. Right now, we are praying that the insurance process goes smoothly. I should hear back from my insurance in about two weeks. Let the waiting game begin!
How can you help?
Prayers. That is the biggest request right now. Since our first son was born we would always do nightly prayers with him. By example, he learned what it means when we say, "It's time for prayers." So, the other day I said, "We are going to do prayers now." Out of nowhere he stopped what he was doing and folded his arm and bowed his head. After 10 seconds or so, he said, "Amen!" I know that God hears his little prayers and all of our prayers. We continue to see miracles unfold each day.
These past few days I feel as if I am walking among angels. Just as this little girl is guided along her path, I feel that God is doing the same for me through many of you around me. In a 24 hour period, we reached 1/3 of our goal. This is amazing and very humbling for me. A step closer to making sure I am still able to hear my son's laughter!
Remember last years post titled "Facing The Truth?" It feels like yesterday that I wrote that and now it is time to face the reality. Consider this part two of "Facing The Truth."
In that post, I spoke more about my right ear and the need to have surgery to get the upgrade. That will still happen but not just yet, at least not for another few years. (I hope) BUT, my left ear does need to get an upgrade.
Recently, the manufacturer that makes my cochlear implant discontinued all the products to support my left ear, including the processor (the external part of the cochlear implant). They came out with a new cochlear implant processor that I will need to upgrade to in order to ensure the best hearing and support. Today I submitted my application for the upgrade and hope to have it done this summer before school starts back up. The insurance should be able to cover most of the cost. The upgrade for the processor is around $10,000. If everything goes smoothly, we should only have to worry about $3,000 of it.
When I got my first cochlear implant at age six for my right ear, the insurance would not pay for the $50,000.00 procedure and that was not the kind of money my family had. Between family, friends, and lots of miracles, the $50,000.00 was paid for and I was able to hear my parents once again.
One of my fondest memories of that time was being woken up after falling asleep to find my classmates at the door with their jars full of coins and dollar bills. There is no miracle too small as to me that was one of the biggest miracles of all.
It takes a team to make this upgrade possible. Not only will the donations help go towards the processor but the extra doctor's appointments to get me all set up with the new processor.
This past week my son reminded me to stop, reflect and remember the miracles. Between work, school, family and life it is easy to forget to do that. As I watched my son play in the yard and take the time to smell the flowers, I began to list some of the miracles I have witnessed over the last few months.
The birth of our second son.
The miracle to hear both of my sons and family.
Living in a beautiful area.
Witnessing neighboring towns work together during trying times. (Eureka & Pacific Floods)
Working with great people
Meeting amazing people and learning about their story.
The miracle that there is still lots of good out there.
My list can go on and on but this gives you an idea of what has been on my mind. What are some recent miracles that you have witnessed in your life?
When life gets busy or don't feel your best, make sure you take the opportunity to note the miracles you see each day.
Our second boy, Henry, joined our family on the 19th. We are still adjusting to being parents of two kids, but we love our new normal. Lucas loves his little brother and will check on him multiple times throughout the day along with giving him kisses on the head. It has been interesting to watch Henry's personality develop and how different yet similar the two boys are.
I will be writing more over the next few days.
In the meantime, come follow me on Instagram: @davidbcluff to see more of what we are up to.
I find pleasure working with individuals and organizations that work to help make a difference in the community. Every once in a while you will see a post highlighting groups that I get to meet.
Ever had a moment where you took the time to know someone or a story behind a project and your perspective about that individual or project changes? I had a moment like that when reading the story behind the song “Forever” by Nathan Pacheco. For a long time, I found his songs beautiful but once I took the time to read the story behind this song, I developed a personal connection and appreciation for it. As a photographer, it is easy to feel like I am just another photographer among the many others, just like the feeling of "just another song." I began to ask myself, what is my story behind the lens?
The first thing that comes to mind is my hearing loss story, which is a huge part of me. I am also a father, husband and an individual who strives to help others reach their potential. Losing my hearing was devastating but also a huge blessing in my life. Because of that journey, I have been able to meet so many people and learn from each person. Photography became another big part of my life when I was 16 years old. When I lost my hearing, everything was silent and my world consisted of expressions of emotions through sign language.
The first time I took a photo, all I saw was a moment of time and expressions of emotions. At that moment, I knew I wanted to share my perspective through photography. It became a passion of mine. It was never about how much money I can make or how popular I can get, but simply to share my perspective of the world around me. My son, Lucas, is one of my favorite things to photograph. He displays so much emotion and it puts a smile on my face. I also enjoy working with families and individuals to capture moments in their life. Memories are made out of moments in time.
My story behind the lens continues to unfold and expand. When I meet new photographers and organizations, I strive to learn more about their story. I hope we can all learn more about those around us who contribute to the community.
Over the last few weeks, I have been able to collaborate with Renee, Founder & CEO at Olive Devices as a guest writer. It has been fun to work with Renee and learn about what they are trying to accomplish. A theme I noticed about her is that she is not afraid to be who she is. Below is the article I wrote titled, "It's Important. Be You!" You can learn more about Renee and the goals she is trying to achieve here.
Shortly after losing my hearing, I was told many things. I was told I would have speech
problems, that I would not excel in school, and that life would be harder for me. My parents were
also told many things about how my life would turn out because I was deaf. At an early age, I
began to learn that it is important to be me, not anyone else. It was not always easy and I
realized that I needed to find people who believed in me, I needed to surround myself with the
right tools to help aim for success, and I needed to personally believe that I can do anything.
In order to be you, you need to find people who believe in you. It can be family, friends or a
religious group -- some place where you can feel okay being you. For me, it was with my family.
I grew up with two younger brothers and one sister. I also have a big extended family, with over
20 aunts and uncles, and I am the oldest grandchild of 70+ grandkids. This big family of mine
helped shape me into who I am today. They all believed in me. When life gets hard, I remember
my family who have always been the foundation for my success.
Surround yourself with the right tools for success. In a world that offers many choices of
technology or services, are we picking the right ones for our success? Shortly after losing my
hearing, my parents invested lots of time and energy into finding the right tools for me. My father
is a contractor and loves his tool belt. Each tool is designed for a specific job, but they don't all
work for everything. He has tools that are best for building a roof and others for laying tile. I was
given the tool of a Cochlear Implant to help me hear. The Cochlear Implant is not always the
right tool for everyone and it is important to remember that. Olive Devices is working to create a
way to help someone who can't hear. One project, called FreeBell, is a wearable device that will
help people know where sounds are coming from by vibrating on the side of the body where the
sound is detected. It will also turn the speech into a written text for the recipient to understand.
This is another tool that can be added to your tool belt.
Now that you are surrounded by those who are rooting for your success and have a tool belt
filled with the right tools to help you, what's next? Believe in yourself! If you don't believe in
yourself, how are you going to have the motivation to reach your dreams, run that extra mile, or
to simply be you? Throughout my life, I have developed a passion for photography. When I look
at a photo, I am reminded of my hearing loss. There is no sound, only expressions and
moments in time. Photography became a way to help me tell my story and to be who I am.
While I was learning this skill, I had to believe in myself. I had to believe that my perspective
mattered and that I had something to contribute to those around me. This made me comfortable
enough to share it with the world. Remember, it is important to be you.
Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week! As a family, we attend church and it is a challenge to keep a toddler calm and entertained during services and while my wife plays the organ. I have found that it is in those simple moments where God reminds me that everything is okay and that He is aware of our stage in life. Sometimes, it does not take a huge event to find clarity and a renewed faith if God, but rather simple steps towards a goal.
A few weeks ago I realized that I needed to get new glasses as the ones I had were five years old. After visiting the eye doctor, they made a few simple changes and ordered my new glasses. Once I put the new ones on, everything was more sharp and clear. I had forgotten how clear some things are around me. Just like these glasses, if we stop doing those small things to help build our faith in God, we lose the full clarity in life. Each Sunday, I focus on keeping Lucas occupied with books, snacks and walks around the hall. While I am not able to fully pay attention, it is those weekly church meetings that help keep my vision and faith clear.
Ever have a moment where you know something is just off and you are not sure what it is exactly?!? That happened to me over this past weekend. The weekend started off great and I got a lot done but I began to notice that there was something's off about my hearing. Of course, I am deaf and wear cochlear implants. But, something was really off with the way I was hearing with my Cochlear Implant. This is nothing new or alarming to me and I thought it was just a weird phase. I kept thinking it would pass and things will be back to the "normal" that I know.
Sunday, things started to sound even more off and I was supposed to teach a class that day. The way I was hearing began to make it harder for me to hear and I was becoming uncomfortable holding a conversation with lots of background noise. I ended up not being able to teach and felt very out of place. Again, I kept telling myself that it will pass and to try putting my cochlear implant in a drying system and see if moisture got in.
Monday morning, things started to sound a little better but not all the way there. I went to work that day and once again I started to become uncomfortable with holding conversations and having a hard time understanding everything everyone was saying. The same thing happened the following day and thought I would have to go see my audiologist.
On Tuesday night I was working on a project and the thought came, "switch out your microphone on the implant" -- I thought, "I don't think it will do much, but I will give it a try." Sure enough, after I replaced my microphone, everything sounded back to normal! I felt so relieved and more grateful for my hearing.
Tips and reminders for future "something's off" moments:
Inspect the device, troubleshoot.
Switch out parts (headpieces, microphones, and batteries.)
Place in a drying system to help pull out any moisture.
If none of the first three options helped, consult with your audiologist.
Living with cochlear implants is a blessing but it also as holds it's unique challenges along the journey.
Today I kept thinking about some of my upbringing experiences and the challenges I face and continue to face as an adult. I am grateful for all those in my life that help me find the blessing in each day. The last few weeks my son has been learning sign language and it is so fun to watch!
Enjoy a post from the past!
July 10, 2010
Most of my posts are about Silent Moments but not this one. This post is about a Silent Day.
This past week I was in Texas for a Family Reunion and we went to a water park. I was a little worried because I knew I would have to take my Cochlear Implants off since we are surrounded by water. I didn't mind not being able to hear but when I am in big crowds I feel a little lost. I thought “I can’t do this.” But then I remembered a little saying on my desk “Do Hard Things and Go the Distance”.
We arrived at the parking lot and I thought, “here I go” and took my Cochlear Implants off. I got out of the car and took a deep breath and said a prayer in my heart asking for comfort. Right after that my little 8-year-old cousin, Bridger, came running to me and mouthed the words really big saying “You are my buddy!!” He was so cute about it and I never knew he was an answer to my prayer until halfway into the day.
We get to our gathering place and Bridger says “Let's go on the slides!” I was still a little shy to go on them but with his big smile and his hand holding tight to my hand we went to go find some cool slides. Bridger was my ears and he was good at it. He made up his own signs and he always made sure I understood what was going on. I then found myself relaxed and knew that I was going to be just fine. It also gave me a new perspective on things. Sometimes we never know what someone is going through so we should be the best friend and person we can be. Bridger did not know how I was feeling on the inside but he took me by the hand and did the best that he could do. This little 8-year-old boy was a huge example to me and seems like an adult.
Thank you, Bridger!!
(Today, Bridger is growing into a fine young man who is thriving on his swim team.)