About Natalie

I am a Jesus Lover, a wife, and a mother. And I'm making the best of what looks like a mess!

Inspiring Mom Monica Ramey

I was recently connected with the lovely, talented, and on fire for God- Monica Ramey. After reading her book and learning about her story I was blown away by the miraculous work that God has done in her life. I invited her to be a part of the Inspiring Mom series and Monica graciously accepted. I won’t waste anymore time with introductions. Here is my interview with Monica Ramey.


First of all, I loved your book. It is definitely inspiring. My jaw was on the floor half the time and the other half of the time I was praising Jesus for your victories. Would you mind telling us a little bit about your new book Walking in Dominion?



 Thank you and yes, I would love to! Walking in Dominion is about my life, and how God brought me out of cycles of abusive and broken relationships. It is about inner healing and getting set free from mindsets and bondage from the past. There are several threads that run through the book. I think one other thing that really stands out is that all throughout the book, all the poor choices I made, God never gave up on me, and was with me throughout all of it.

You obviously had a story worth writing, but what was it that motivated you to really go out and publish your book?

Honestly without trying to sound cliché’ – It was God. After getting my son back from the abduction, I heard the Lord say to “write it down.” I heard it three times in a row. I thought one day I would write the story about the abduction, but that only ended up being a piece of it. It was so much bigger than that. The story was being written my whole life and he wanted to use all of it- not just the abduction. I had so many people say that I should write a book and even prophetic words throughout the years that said, “You are going to write books.” I believed it, but wasn’t quite sure how God planned on doing that through me. 


So many parts of your story had me on the edge of my seat, but the abduction of your son was definitely one of the most shocking. What was it like being a first-time mom and realizing your baby was missing? Can you explain a little bit about that whole terrifying experience and how it impacted you?


It was by far one of the most traumatizing things that has ever happened to me. My son was 5 months old and had never been away from me for one night. I had left him for only a couple of hours with my husband. Coming to the realization that he was missing was horrifying, but I think the fear of the unknown about the circumstances was even worse. I remember having the thought that I didn’t know if he was dead or alive which added extra torment to the situation. I was also confronted with betrayal, and so devastated that my husband could have done something like this. He didn’t just leave for a night, he had been making plans for some time and took our child to another country. This was more horrifying than anything I could have imagined in my worst nightmare. 

I’m so glad there is a happy ending. I remember being so nervous about the detectives and you flying overseas! It is riveting. You talk about the presence of the Lord giving you peace in those days that you were desperately trying to reunite with your baby and you had Bible verses and promises of God that you held onto when you were at your lowest points. In fact, you have scripture throughout “Walking in Dominion”.  What sparked this in you?

After I wrote the manuscript I sent it off to be reviewed by a Christian publisher. I had several scriptures throughout the book already, but he recommended adding more. So, my husband and I went back through it line by line to see if we could add more. It turned out to be the most amazing process! The Holy Spirit encountered us and prompted us, and we added so much more. It was incredible to see how God had been working in my life. I think it would also be good to read with a group and go back and discuss how the scripture correlates to the situations.

One last question for you. A lot of my readers are moms in the thick of the childrearing years. You yourself have raised two kids already and are now raising your 5 year old son, so you understand. This season of life can often feel exhausting and isolating. Do you have an encouraging verse or word for those moms out there that are feeling like their hands are tied?



I think the most encouraging thing I can say is press into Him. No matter what you are going through. I went so many years trying to figure everything out, and how to make it all work. He has promised in His word to never leave us or forsake us, and that we are hidden in Him. I take that stuff literally. He’s more tangible than we know. As the years have gone by, I have learned to press into Him when it feels like I’m drowning. I try to go to him first. It doesn’t matter how trivial you think it is. He cares and wants to partner with us throughout life. It’s something that you have to do intentionally, but it brings great reward. Most of my normal ‘crisis’ situations get so much smaller when I stop and intentionally give it all to him. That’s not to say that I don’t pick it back up every now and then, but the more I practice inviting Him into everything I’m losing peace over, it changes my perspective. He is the solution- and has the solution. He has never failed me. My great grand mother told me those words on her death bed, I will never forget them. He never failed her, he’s never failed me, and He isn’t going to fail you either- not ever.


Thank you so much for sharing a tiny piece of your story with us Monica. I know there is so much more that God has done and is doing. For those that would like to check out Monica’s book Walking in Dominion, it can be purchased online through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Monica has experienced all the darkest circumstance you could imagine from sexual and physical abuse, multiple broken marriages, drug addiction, and more but God has set her free. If you are looking for help in what feels like a hopeless situation I know Monica would love for you to contact her. Here are just a few ways she can be found online-






By | January 18th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Finding Our Home (Our 2017 Miracle)

When we sold our house in Texas in 2011 we never imagined all of the obstacles we would face. We had made it through a life-changing diagnosis, unemployment, and living with family. We were finally seeing all the pieces of our life come back together. Our move to Ohio has paid off as SJ is now finishing up her final year at the school that has taught her to communicate! J has a great job doing computer programming for a wonderful company whose mission is to give back to orphans and widows. The boys are also in excellent schools and have no shortage of friends.

Then finally in March of 2017 we were able to purchase a home of our own again. It felt so good to be able to put down our roots, but something was still missing. Something big.

For our family, the church home is even more important than the one you sleep in at night. Our church home in Texas was a huge part of our lives. We started out as newlyweds there and it was where we went into full-time ministry for the first time. Two of our babies were dedicated there and we helped build a thriving coffee shop! That was our home and even years after we moved my heart still ached for that kind of connection.

For a while we were going to the church where I grew up. This church has a special place in our hearts and always will, but we live too far away. Especially for our kids, it isn’t realistic to drive out of state and be involved or invite friends to come with you. J also led worship for a while at a church in Indiana back in 2014 and ’15, but we had the same issue. It was way too far. After 5 years of not getting plugged in at a church J and I were very discouraged. 

We tried churches all over the Cincinnati area and nothing seemed to be the right fit for us. I hated the whole church hunting process. At one point we thought we would go to a church because it was conveniently close, but we weren’t passionate about it at all. I was on a playdate with one of my friends and was explaining to her that we found a local church to attend and it was going okay. She saw right through me and said: “I can’t imagine God brought you all the way up there and doesn’t have more for you”. While I appreciated her heart I was really frustrated thinking. Yeah, That sounds great, but where is the “more”? We’ve put everything on the line for our family. We came to Ohio for SJ’s school and we’ve looked. But this is it. There is no “more”. That is truly how I felt.

At the end of that really dark season that we went through to get into our new house God dropped something into my heart; he prompted me to check out a church called Mosaic that was literally a mile and a half from our new house. I didn’t tell J. I didn’t think he would be up for it. We were tired of visiting churches and to be honest, we had our own preconceived ideas of what this church was like. Mosaic was originally right across the street from SJ’s school. So before we even moved to Ohio we saw Mosaic. I saw it every day when I brought SJ to school.  Someone had even invited us, but we never went. Now that the church moved and we moved and it was basically in our backyard, it almost seemed like it was fate.

A few of days later J told me that he felt like we should try Mosaic. I was shocked. I told him I thought the same thing and so that Sunday we went. As we checked in our kids at the children’s church they were greeted by what looked like a linebacker in a kilt. He was a character for that month’s theme and he connected with the kids immediately and made them laugh. Then J and I tiptoed into the adult service. We didn’t literally tiptoe; we just cautiously proceeded. We had been through so much physically and spiritually over the past 5 years that we were reluctant. Of course God could heal our hearts and it certainly looked like this could be the place He chose to rebuild us, but our faith at that point was the size of a mustard seed.

Several Sundays we quietly came in and out and even though the pastor’s wife urged people to fill out a connection card we still weren’t ready. As an extrovert, I warmed up more quickly than J. I heard that the pastor’s family lived in Texas and I really wanted to meet them and find out more but J was wanting to lay low. Then seven weeks after we started going J’s parents came with us because they were in town. They loved the church and my father-in-law stopped the pastor and introduced himself and our whole family! He totally blew J’s cover and forced him out of his shell. It was a blessing. We were invited back to the pastor’s office and it turns out they moved from the exact same city in Texas that we were from! They were youth pastors at a large church in the Dallas area and had even been to our Texas church’s coffee shop. We had mutual friends and everything! They moved to Ohio in November of 2011 because God had called them to plant a church. God had called us to leave Texas at that same time. Our stories related to each other so much including having a child with special medical needs. The next week we attended the New Comer’s lunch and things continued to take off from there.


We were falling in love with the body of Christ represented at Mosaic and in turn our heart for worship and ministry was rekindled. We had found our church home. It felt like the perfect fit. I would spill all of my exuberance to my best friend and when I realized how much I was talking about the church I had to appologize. I said “I’m sorry. I know this is the honeymoon stage, but you know what? I’ve needed a honey moon.”


I started going to mom connect groups. I also joined the women’s Ministry prayer team. I love the women of Mosaic more than I could ever express.


We have made dresses for little girl’s in Zambia, we’ve done painting, snacking, worshiping, and I even tried my hand at cardio drumming. This is one fierce group of ladies that above all else have hearts that are on fire for Jesus. This Wednesday is yoga night along with a devotional time, so I am really looking forward to that.

The kid’s ministry is what drew us the Mosaic in the first place. The kids love the children’s pastor and all the teachers there. They have learned so much and had the opportunity to serve and show Christ’s love to others.



J, as I mentioned, started out really hesitant to let anyone know that he had a ministry background. He is the quiet, blend into the background type and so he didn’t want to rush into being on the worship team, but God had other plans!


It started with just helping out a little when there was a need but eventually there was a big leadership hole and J was approached about filling it. J has always been passionate about worship and has over 15 years of experience as a worship leader. He’s had prophetic words spoken over him that we lost sight of when things looked so bleak for a while there. J let go of that dream and we thought we had a completely different new path that we were headed down since J went back to school. We had to pray long and hard about the decision for J to be the worship leader and it soon became clear that we were brought here for such a time as this.


With that said I am really excited to announce that J is following his God given passion. He is stepping back into a full time pastoral role as the worship leader. They just announced it at church yesterday. 



He still has two weeks left at his computer programing job. For the record, it has been hard for him to say farewell to his friends and position at that company. This job was a huge breakthrough for us and we have been so blessed by the provisions and support it has been for our family. Even really good change can sometimes be hard.

This has all happened so fast but when it’s God it’s good and we know this is God. It is also a commitment for us as a family. J will be closer to home and a lot of his job will be very much family oriented and include all of us together doing ministry as a team which is exactly what we have always wanted. I mentioned how our faith was as small as a mustard seed when we came to Mosaic. Well, during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new building that we will be moving into later this year, everyone was given mustard seeds to drop into the ground.


We also wrote down our prayers on some stakes that went into the ground as well. It was about staking our claim and marking a new era for the church and for us as a family. After six years of what I have deemed wandering in the desert I have seen God do the miraculous and I know there is so much more to come.

Isaiah 43:19

For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.


By | January 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|22 Comments

Rock Bottom

When I look back on 2017 I realize that there are some really big things that I have kept to myself. Some of it I was just too ashamed to share at the time. Then there were other things happening that seemed really great but I didn’t want to get my hopes up if it all fell apart. So I have a ton to catch you all up on but I’ll break it up into two parts.

First the bad news. 

January started out with Elle getting hearing aids. I feel like I have failed her in my consistency with keeping her hearing aids on. She likes to pull them off and it is really stressful. So that was the first thing on my plate in 2017. Moving right along to February we found a realtor, a loan officer, and a house in no time at all! I wrote out all the fun details in “Our New House“. What I didn’t share was how March (the month that we closed) was beyond stressful and I had an all-out nervous breakdown. I was truly ready to check myself into a mental health facility. It’s been almost a year since then and I feel like I can finally open up about what happened.

I already mentioned the hearing aids. Elle had two therapists and an IFSP. Meanwhile, Ezie was also diagnosed with a speech delay. No big deal, but he had his own therapy and IEP. Obviously, SJ is also on a special education plan and Z has commitments like Cub Scouts, science night, and wax museum presentation (which he did great in by the way until he threw up. True story.)


So anyway I’m spinning my usual plates while trying to get into a new house and have a yard sale to sell all the things we don’t want to move. While all this was happening our landlord wants to rent out our rental house immediately which means she has to show it while we live there. And she showed it A LOT! So I had to clean up the house, try to make it look like we aren’t in the middle of big upheaval and get myself, and the kids out every other day. She often gave us very little notice and one time showed up while we were at church and didn’t even tell us.

One day the landlord shows up with some people to show the house and in my haste to get out I back out of my own driveway where they were parked TERRIBLY crooked and I bumped into the potential tenant’s vehicle. It was just paint, but still, I had to go in and explain. I apologized. We exchanged insurance. I wanted to die.


The NEXT DAY I went to Kentucky for a photo shoot and on my way back I get back to back urgent calls from J and the loan officer explaining why we need to deposit some money in a certain account a certain way and I need to go to a certain city in Ohio immediately. The kids were about to be out of school so I actually had to pick up SJ early in order to make this all happen. I know I am being vague here, but the details don’t matter other than

1. It was urgent and stressful.

2. It was a city I was unfamiliar with.

3. I had to drive to several places in a short amount of time.

And I did it. Mission accomplished. I texted everybody. I even sent a picture of the important documents that I now had. Then on my way out while in traffic, I am yelling at the kids in the back who want me to look at something and I thought traffic was moving and it wasn’t. That’s when I rear-ended the person in front of me. img_8170

It doesn’t look that bad, but I couldn’t even open my door to get out. The van was towed and J was too far away to pick me up. So I had to ride in a police car to be taken to the sheriff’s station. There was only room for two people so Ezie and SJ had to ride in a different patrol car. Talk about a nightmare!



A couple days later we closed on the house. I couldn’t even go to the final walk-through because I still didn’t have a rental car. Once I did get the rental we tried to move our stuff into the new house without help because my family was out of town and we were too proud to ask anyone else. It was all a crazy mess.


I don’t even know what we were thinking, but at least we were in our new house.


We were happy for one day. Then athree out of the four kids got a stomach bug and started puking.


That’s how we found out the washer that came with the house didn’t work. I tried to do laundry and it started smoking. At least we still had access to our old washer and dryer just ten minutes away. Not ideal, but better than nothing.

There I was in a house I didn’t know yet, with hardly any furniture and driving a car that I wasn’t familiar with. As a mother of four, I can go with the flow, but I function best on rhythm and routine. You move one thing in my house of cards and it could cause everything to collapse. In this case everything was out of place but I had to keep the routine going.

Almost a week from wrecking my van I went to pick up Z from a friend’s apartment. She used to drop him off at our house after school,  but then we moved! So I am at this apartment complex and the rental car scrapes this decorative boulder when I backed out. Keep in mind I was driving SUPER cautiously at this time after all I had been through. I was terrified of getting in another wreck. Despite all of that the car was lower to the ground than I am used to and I just COULD NOT SEE this dang boulder. At least we had renters insurance if there were any cosmetic damages. The real problem came when I pulled into my driveway and the car started beeping. It was overheating! The rock that I hit caused it to leak anti freeze!



That meter on the bottom of this photo should not be pointed to the red line! So there I was. I had just had my third wreck in less than 10 days. What was I going to do now? My whole world was unraveling and I couldn’t even trust myself anymore. What was wrong with me!? J came home and tried to get me to calm down. I felt sick. I was having muscle spasms. At that point, the tow truck was almost there. The rental car was in my name and I was expected to ride in the tow truck to get the replacement rental car. Thankfully J made a call to the rental company to see if he could ride with the tow truck driver instead of me. It was complicated but they agreed to it and off he went. After he left I literally collapsed on the floor of my empty living room and was sobbing.

My kids surrounded me wanting to know what was wrong and I told them that I was sick. Then the doorbell rang. 

You have to be kidding me. I was in the middle of an actual panic attack and we had company!? Z went and answered the door. I didn’t have the energy to stop him. Then our realtor came in and saw me on the ground. She immediately went into rescue mode. She asked where J was and what was going on. After a few moments I was able to regain my composure and told her everything and how I had wrecked my third car in a row. In that moment she was like an angel sent from the Lord. She started comforting me and working on a game plan. She asked what I needed and I said “I don’t know. Bananas and diapers?” So she went to the store and came back with all that and then some, including a big tub of ice cream. J took the next two days off work to be there for me and help out. Our realtor checked up on me a lot after that and encouraged me to get help. I never sought any kind of professional help. I’m sure I should have. It takes money though and it just never happened. I did confide in friends and a spiritual advisor.

Eventually I got my van back and we had our washer replaced thanks to the home warranty. Things started to calm down as we got settled. What was supposed to be one of the happiest milestones of my life turned out to be a dark and confusing time that I hope to never relive.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel though. I’ll share the happy part of the story next!


By | January 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Freedom Debt Relief Reviews How to Manage Your Child’s Financial Behavior

I hope you’ll enjoy today’s post about money management with children written by Freedom Debt Relief.



Molding the financial behavior of your child now could stay with them and determine their financial habits they maintain for the rest of their life. The earlier you start forming good habits, the less likely your children are to develop bad habits. After working with parents for years, Freedom Debt Relief has learned what works for other parents and may work for you.

Every parent is different, so you should instill the habits you think are most important to the long-term financial success of your child. Making sure your children understand the importance of their own financial habits is one of the most important aspects when trying to develop good habits. You should make clear the rewards of being financially responsible, both now as a child and later in life.

It is much easier to develop good habits when your children are young, if you do not help them develop good habits, they will still develop habits on their own or from outside influences. If you have no control over the habits they develop, it will be harder for them to change their habits later in life, you should start developing good habits as early as possible.


Develop an Understanding of the Value of Money

It is important your children understand the value of money and what it can be used for. You should make clear the importance of money and value. Make sure they understand that toy they want has value, in the form of a purchase price, and let them know they can provide value to earn the money needed to purchase the item.

Let them know, if they can provide value to other people, those people will reward them with compensation that can be used to obtain things of value that they want, if they never have to create value to purchase the things they want, they will think value occur naturally.  That is why Freedom Debt Relief reviews that developing an understanding of value is one of the most important aspects when developing good financial habits at an early age.

Encourage them to Look Toward the Future

Help them look to the future and think about the things they will want later in life. The earlier your children understand what they want, the earlier they can think about how they will obtain it. Making clear the value an education can provide and how much it will cost to get that education.

No matter if your children will be responsible for paying for their education themselves or if you will be helping, they should still understand the significant cost that will come with an education and how soon that cost will come. They should understand the education is an investment and the return that investment could create.

Instill Good Saving and Investing Habits

As with your children understanding the investment that will be their education, they should know why investing is important and the rewards it can create. After they understand what value is and the importance of value, Freedom Debt Relief believes they need to understand how to obtain that value.

By forcing your children to save and invest a portion of their money from a young age, one two of the most important financial habits can be developed at an early age. You may consider forcing them to save a percentage of the money they earn, as they should be earning money from an early age. By saving a percent and having a percent for the things they want, they will develop budgeting habits without even knowing it.

Freedom Debt Relief understands the importance of instilling your own financial habits in your children, but by reviewing what has worked for other parents, you can be better equipped to help your children develop good financial habits that will last a lifetime.

Award-winning financial expert and entrepreneur, Andrew Housser, is the co-founder of the popular Freedom Financial Network, a group of companies that include the popular consumer debt assistance company, Freedom Debt Relief. The company has won countless awards over the years and has allowed millions to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom.

By | December 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Inspiring Mom Angie Keith Part two

For Part One of Angie Keith’s Inspiring Mom Story click here.


The week after Palmyrs death was a true nightmare. Angie had no time to grieve. They were immediately questioned by the detectives and coroner. The police came to the house and took all of Palmyr’s bedding. It was an open investigation.

After the autopsy, they very sorrowfully told Kyle and Angie that they were unable to find anything wrong. Her heart, lungs, brain, and everything looked completely fine. They had no answers. In these cases, they refer to the cause of death as SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child). It is similar but less common than SIDS.

On top of all that, Palmyr’s twin sister Paylinn was brought in for testing the next day. They found a slight elevation in her platelets and called Angie saying that she had to be admitted immediately. Because of the nature of the unexplained death of her twin sister and her abnormal blood results Paylinn was put in quarantine.

The infectious disease people were on high alert. Everyone that entered the room wore masks and full protective gear. There were no visitors allowed.

Then big sister Pyper started having difficulty breathing so she was admitted to the Emergency Room. At five years old she was unable to cope with all that she had witnessed in the past 24 hours and her body went into a state of shock.

All at once Kyle and Angie had a child in the morgue, a child in the hospital, and a child in the ER. Angie was starting to lose her mind. She describes it as the darkest time in her life. She had no strength left and the last thing she felt like was turning to a God that she felt had abandoned her.

While sitting by her daughter Paylinn’s hospital bed for four days straight mourning the loss of her twin sister she looked up at the nurse through weary eyes framed in dark circles and she said “I cannot do this. I can’t”. The nurse looked back with compassion and came down to where Angie was, both literally and emotionally, and she said “You can. You have to.”

While all of this was going on the family was preparing the funeral and all the arrangments were made. Angie’s one request was that in lieu of flowers donations could be made to the church nursery. Angie was the director of the nursery and it was in desperate need of some updates. Since Palmyr really loved being in the nursery it seemed like a good fit and it would be called “Palmyr’s Playhouse” in memory of her.

Once Pyper and Paylinn were given a clean bill of health they returned home and attened the funeral and buriel of Palmyr. The money poured in in response to building a new nursery and Angie got a vision for something even bigger. This wasn’t just for her personal church nursery. God told her He was taking Palmyr’s Playhouse to the nations. Angie had no clue what that looked like or if it was even possible, but as months went by Angie felt the prayers of the body of Christ and she felt restoration and healing come to her.

In March she had a vision of lime green doors and knew that that was where the next Palmyr’s Playhouse would be. For three months she kept this vision close to her heart and prayed for more direction. She even googled School or building with lime green doors and came up short. Then in May Kyle was away on a mission trip and Angie was looking at a friend’s photo album of a mission’s trip Kenya Africa. Angie started crying as she saw all the little children being cared for at this orphanage. Then in the very last picture, she saw it. The orphanage was a large building with lime green doors!


Angie immediately called Kyle to explain and she could hardly get the words out because of how overjoyed she was. Because of Kyle and Cleddie’s connections as pastors, they know the missionaries (Becky and Matthew Murray) who oversee the orhanage. They later met with the missionaries and Becky said “we have been praying for someone to come to build a playground”. And that was what started the first step of the miraculous journey to seeing Palmyr’s Playhouse go overseas.


It was a year to the day, November 28, 2014 that the children of Kenya were able to be on a playground for the first time in their lives and the joy that they exuded in that moment was like no other. In February Kyle and Angie went over for the official opening and dedication; it was an incredible celebration that would hold a special place in Kyle and Angie’s hearts forever.


It was so fulfilling to know that God was using their loss for something far greater than they could have ever imagined. Angie says that she will always miss Palmyr. She will always cherish the memories of her precious baby. But she left all of her grief in Africa on that trip.


The following year another Palmyr’s Playhouse opened up in Sri Lanka.




There are currently three Palmyr’s Playhouses around the world and the next one is in the works.




While Angie says there are a few things that need to line up before she can disclose the location, she did tell me that it is a mostly Islamic nation.

It takes a lot of money to build these playgrounds around the world and God has miraculously provided every step of the way. One of the annual fundraisers is taking place this Saturday and if you are near the Cincinnati area you can be a part of it. Breakfast with Santa is a delightful experience for kids and families to come and make crafts, treats, and Christmas memories! Of course all proceeds go toward the new location for Palmyr’s Playhouse.



The Palmyr’s Playhouse motto is Extenidng Joy. Palmyr’s short life was full of joy and now God is taking that joyous memory and extending it to little children all over the world!


Angie wanted a miracle. She prayed for one. But she wasn’t expecting it to look like this. However, this miracle is evident in her words when Angie testifies “I can honestly say that I am thankful for a broken heart”.




By | December 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Inspiring Mom Angie Keith Part One

When Angie was pregnant with her first daughter Pyper, the whole process start to finish was less than ideal. She experienced so much medical complications that she felt like one precious daughter might be all their family needed, and for 5 years it was.


Then there was a surprise pregnancy in 2011 that started out even worse than her first. They did an early ultra sound on Angie to see what might be causing the extreme nausea and it immediatly revealed that Angie and her husband Kyle were expecting twins. Angie began to weep. She was ready and even excited about welcoming another baby, but two at once!? Thoughts flooded her mind. How they could afford it? Would she be able to keep her job?  Was her body up to the challenge physically?

But everything fell into place and the twins came on May 21, 2012.



Kyle and Angie were so in love with their three daughters Pyper, Paylinn, and Palmyr.




Palymr did have some medial concerns early on. She was even tested for a terminal illness but thankful all the results came back negative. Then around 5 months old Palymr had to wear a special helmet after being diagnosed with positional plagiocephaly.



While the treatment is not uncommon Angie babied Palmyr and it was really difficult for her to think of her child having any kind of special treatments and obstacles to overcome. At the time Angie says that seemed like a huge deal. In the end it was just a short season before the helmet came off and Plamyr was fine.

As each challenge of motherhood presented itself Angie felt like she wasn’t strong enough to withstand what was next, but each time God’s strength was sufficient. What Angie didn’t realize was that she would need to hold onto God’s strength more than ever because she was about to walk into what would be the biggest heartbreak that any mother could ever imagine.

It was November 28, 2013. Thanksgiving day. As Angie was preparing everything they needed to head to their in-laws house for the big gathering she could hear the TV on upstairs. Kyle was watching “Super Why” with the girls. Palmyr began to get fussy so Angie made her a bottle and laid her down for a nap. She had so much to be Thankful for on this day. Despite all the fears she once had, she loved being a mom. She loved having twins. She loved each of them so deeply.



Shortly after Angie left Palmyr in her crib Paylinn started to become sleepy too, so they laid her down too in the same room as her twin sister. Palmyr was still sleeping peacefully. Angie tip toed out of the quiet dark room so that she wouldn’t distrub the sweetly sleeping toddlers.


Later there was a phone call from Angie’s mother- in-law asking if they wanted to come over a little earlier than planned. Angie agreed because she could hear that one of the twins was already waking up anyway. So Angie and big sister Pyper went into the twins room to get them ready.

Palmyr was still asleep so she got Paylinn out first and started to get her outfit out when she glanced at the crib. That was when she realized something was wrong. Palmyr wasn’t breathing.

Angie immediatly picked her up to find that she was unconcious. She screamed the shrill cries that would come from any mother who found her baby in trauma. She told Pyper to go get her daddy and Angie called 911. She laid Palmyr on the bed and started doing CPR. Part of her job in the medical field is to have regular CPR training and she had just had her CPR training only two days before!

She waited what seemed like forever for the ambulance to arrive. At this point Kyle’s dad Cleddie, who is a pastor and a very involved grandfather, had arrived. When the paramedics picked Palmyr up they said “she’s still warm” and Angie felt a sense of relief. She believed that Palmyr was going to be fine. This was all just a bad dream. They would take her to the local children’s hospital and it would be over soon. As they loaded her into the ambulance no one was allowed to go except for Kyle and he had to ride in the front. Angie asked “Are you taking her to Children’s?” the paramedics replied “We don’t have time for that! We are going to St. E” (which was only a mile away). Angie didn’t like the distress in his voice. She frantically got in her car and started following them.

When they arrived at the hospital they weren’t allowed to go back at first until the team was assembled. It was hard to stay calm. Angie just wanted to see her baby!

Once they were cleared to enter, Angie’s last shred of hope had diminished. She knew enough through her work in the medical field to know that an EpiPen was not a great sign and doing CPR for longer than 20 minutes was not normal. They started doing chest compressions and one nurse said she got a faint beat. As the nurse looked up she locked eyes with Angie and said Oh my God. She recognized Angie! They went to highschool together! It was Angie’s friend Christy. Christy got another nurse to take her place and Christy ran to be by Angie’s side.

Angie asked what was going on, but Christy couldn’t give an answer. Not one that Angie would want to hear. After over an hour of trying to resetate Palmyr, Angie heard the voice of God as clear as she ever has. He said “I’ve taken her home” and then she walked out of the room.

Kyle, Cleddie, Angie and her Highschool friend Christy were all standing there when the doctor came out crying and said to them, “I am so sorry”. Angie describes the next hour as a blur. As she remebers that painful day she says “I can’t even tell you how I made it to the next room. All I know is that I was mad. I was wondering, where is our miracle!? I was mad at God. I was mad at Cleddie. I was so furious that this was happening after all that we’ve seen God do in other’s lives!” She was able to hold Palmyr in her arms one last time. As they are saying their goodbyes to their precious baby girl two detectives come walking in for an interrogation.

For part two click here
By | December 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

12 Snowflake Crafts for Kids

12 snowflake crafts for kids


What better way is there to get into the holiday spirit than to craft with your kids? Am I right?

My kids and I love to turn on some holiday music, bake some cookies, and spend the afternoon working on Christmas ornaments or some Christmas cards for some of the elderly people in our community.

Through crafting, we have learned that we can use it to bring so much joy into our home and into the homes and lives of others.





So, with the holiday season upon us, I wanted to share some of my favorite snowflake crafts for kids. Each of the following crafts utilizes various materials to put a spin on your traditional snowflake cut out of construction paper:


  1. Wrapping Paper Snowflakes
    No matter how much I tell myself I will only buy as much as I think I will need, I always end up with far too much wrapping paper. Either I overestimate the amount I will actually need or I just see too many cute designs and just have to have each of them.

    Either way, rather than throwing them away I have started incorporating them into our holiday crafts. Now, my kids use some of them to make wrapping paper snowflakes!

    You simply cut off a small section of wrapping paper – depending on how big of a snowflake you want – and do the traditional folding and cutting of the paper to end with a snowflake design.

  2. Stained-Glass Snowflakes

    With a little bit of construction paper and tissue paper, you can create the perfect window decoration!

    Cut out your snowflake from the construction paper and then using a light-colored tissue paper, fill in the empty slots of the snowflake. Hang your finished product on your window for some cute décor and an easy and simple stained-glass design!

  3. Cardboard Snowflakes

    This is probably one of our family favorites this time of year.

    Although you can’t paint them with watercolors, you can paint them using a much thicker paint and the cardboard is incredibly sturdy – making it last all through the holiday season.

    Simply grab some thin cardboard and cut out a snowflake shape! If you find it difficult to cut the little holes inside the snowflake, you could always paint it as a snowflake instead.

  4. Coffee Filter Snowflakes

    I have used coffee filters to make snowflakes for as long as I can remember. And, now, it is the easiest way to create them with my children because they are so light and easy to cut!

    They are also incredibly easy to hang using some clear string!

  5. Doily Snowflakes
    White crochet snowflakes for Christmas decoration of package gift. Selective focus

    White crochet snowflakes for Christmas decoration of package gift. Selective focus

    Next in line as my favorite is a doily snowflake. It is super easy to work with – just like coffee filters. But, then you can use them as décor on your table!

  6. Cotton Swab Snowflakes

    So, enough with all of the cutting snowflakes out of different materials, right?

    Let’s try something new:

    Grab a cotton ball and a few Q-tips, align the Q-tips around the cotton ball to form the shape of a snowflake and glue them on. Voila! How quick and easy was that?

  7. Sensory Snowflakes

    I don’t know about your kids, but mine love something a little more intricate. They love something that has an interesting texture and they especially love to use an ordinary item in an unordinary way.

    So, in comes the sensory snowflake:

    Grab a piece of construction paper and line glue on the paper in the shape of a snowflake. Next, have your child cover the glue with grains of rice.

  8. Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes

    For those of you looking for a nontraditional snowflake craft that doesn’t involve glue, listen up:

    Grab some pipe cleaners and simply twist the bottom of each one to attach them all in the shape of a snowflake. Tip: Start by attaching two of them just one above the other, forming a straight line, then add on around the sides from there.

  9. Tape Resist Snowflakes

    This snowflake craft is so fun and different!

    Grab a piece of plain white construction paper and place tape on it in a few places in the shape of a snowflake, then paint the entire rest of the space blue. It will give the appearance there are snowflakes floating through the cold, blue winter sky.

  10. Cotton Ball Snowflakes

    This craft is another one that will keep your children busy for a little bit and offers more than just some construction paper.

    Grab a piece of blue construction paper and line it with glue in the shape of a snowflake. Then, have your kids add cotton balls to cover the glue (in a line) and it will look like a big, fluffy snowflake.

  11. Craft Stick Snowflakes

    Start by grabbing some popsicle sticks and decorating them. We love to use blue and/or white paint and some glitter to give them a little shimmer.

    Next, use glue to attach them to one another in the shape of a snowflake by simply overlapping them and adding a new dab of glue in the center each time.

  12. Button Snowflakes

    Start out by doing the craft stick snowflake. But, there is just a switch up in one step:

    Instead of decorating them with paint, attach them first and then decorate using colored buttons and some glue


Now you and your kids can enjoy a cool weekend of snowball crafting fun!



A beautiful woman sewing on a sewing machine and smiling at the camera. Vertically framed shot.This fun-tastic post is from Annabel Short. Annabelle is a writer and a seamstress of more than 5 years.

She loves making crafts with her two children, Leo (age 9) and Michelle (age 11).

Annabelle likes to write about crafting, sewing, and parenting. She splits her time between London and Los Angeles and writes for Wunderlabel.

You can visit her blog to learn more about her and her handmade creations.

By | December 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Drawing Noses With Kids

I love art, and drawing used to be my forte. So watching my kids create and use artistic expression is one of my favorite things.

Z and SJ have always impressed me with their drawing skills, but I am their mother so I guess this should come as no surprise. Not to imply that I am completely biased no matter what they present me. Case in point- I noticed the kids kept drawing triangles for noses. I let it go and complimented them on their work for a long time, but eventually I saw all aspects of their drawings improve except for that dang triangular nose.

Unless you are drawing Phineas Flyn (whose name I just had to google) then there is no need to draw a triangle!


So one night I decided to dust off the old drawing skills and do a little lesson in noses. I sat all four kids down at the dining room table and showed them exhibit A:


This drawing of Mega Mind is great, but Mega Mind is not a jack o lantern.


Then with pencil and paper in hand, we began to practice. 


Step 1, draw the nostrils which look like commas that were flipped on their sides (or tadpoles for the younger kids who haven’t learned about commas yet).


Step 2 is to add the parenthesis around the nostrils.


Step 3 is to bring in the hook. This is the nose.


We don’t have flat noses and there are no lines on our noses.  What we are really trying to do is draw the shadows which would fall over a three dimensional surface. The hook can go to the left or the right, but to keep it realistic only do one or the other. One thing you can do to demonstrate this is have the child take a selfie on the phone with light coming in at an angle. Then allow the child to observe how their nose casts a shadow on their face.


Almost all of lines we see on our face are really just shadows. This realization will make your art work come to life!  

So there.


This isn’t award winning portrait drawing, but it is better than a triangle right?

Z did an excellent job.


I was really proud of SJ too.


Ezie looked down at his unidentifiable nostrils and said “Why don’t mine look like yours?”. I smiled at my precious little preschooler. I told him he was doing a great job and assured him if he kept practicing he would get it eventually.

A week later I stumbled upon this notebook paper.

I believe it is a drawing of a boy with some excessively large backward nostrils. Ezie had been practicing alright, but I was beginning to wonder if maybe I had placed too much emphasis on the nostrils. Who nose?

By | November 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Wonder: The Books, The Movie, and The Real Life People


We’re Big Wonder Fans!

Z and I both read Wonder over the summer and fell in love with Auggie, his family, and the characters that R.J. Palacio created in her New York Times Best Seller.


It really hit home for me on a  personal level because not only do I have a special needs child, but I also have hearing aids. When Auggie describes his experience of getting hearing aids for the first time and hearing the white noise become quiet I knew exactly what he was talking about. I’ve experienced that! The part about genetics was really insightful too and describes our situation well in terms of deafness.

Z really loved the book and it’s perfect for his age group (he is 10). A lot of people have asked me about if there is any questionable material for younger children. There were a couple things in the book and movie that involve a tiny bit of kissing (the older sister and her boyfriend) or a secular worldview implying that what we experience is all because of the universe. None of it was heavy or pushy at all, but if you are really sensitive to stuff like that, as I can be, it’s nice to know about it ahead of time. Also, the book talks briefly about girls who are flat. It was so subtle I wasn’t even sure if they were referring to girls chests or not, but it is in there. Nothing shocking I can assure you!

We loved the book so much Z was the one that begged me to check out Auggie and Me.


Wonder is written from different perspectives throughout the book. Auggie and Me is not a sequel but it gives more side stories that are related to the book. I personally LOVED Auggie and Me. Julian’s story was incredible. It was so heartfelt and deep. I won’t give any spoilers but it brought up some great discussions for Z and I. Some of the parts he brushed over and didn’t really get as emotional about allowed me to explain to him what happened in this part of our world’s history, why it was so horrific and why we need to remember the lives lost.

Okay, next up is Wonder Boy.


When I saw that 20/20 was doing a segment about a real boy that had the same kind of cranial deformities as Auggie I knew I wanted Z to see it. I warned him that while the movie was fake and made up by Hollywood costumes and makeup, the disorder is real and this is what it really looks like to be impacted by it. The show was extremely touching and informative. I learned a lot from watching it and if you have some kind of cable provider you can still watch the segment online. It is really good!

Lastly, Z and I had our annual mother-son outing on Sunday. We’ve been counting down the days until we could see Wonder on the big screen.img_0500

 I’ll be honest, the whole movie from start to finish was one giant tear fest for me.


I cried probably a dozen times. I don’t think other people will cry that much but it really affected me. The very first part is about Auggie going to mainstream school for the first time in his life and how nervous his mom is. In just 9 months I am going to be in that same position sending SJ to mainstream school for the first time in her life, so that scene hit me like a ton of bricks. I did laugh throughout the movie too and I clapped at the end with the rest of the audience in our theater. Z and I both agree that the book is better because there is just no way to cover all the material from the book in two hours. In fact, the hearing aids are one of the things they cut out. It was still a good representation of the book though. They stayed true to the original story.

At the end of the movie Auggie is graduating and his parents (played by Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) are sitting in the crowd. Z leaned over to me during this part and says Hey! There is the author! I turned toward him a little bothered that he was interrupting another crying scene. What? I whispered back. It’s RJ Palacio in the movie! Z said pointing to the screen. Then I saw her too. I was impressed that Z picked up on that. R.J. Palacio’s photo is in the back of the book and she is interviewed in the 20/20 segment, but I would have never noticed her cameo appearance.

So I googled it later and wouldn’t you know I can not find a single shred of evidence that the author of Wonder makes a cameo appearance in the movie. But check out these pictures and tell me that’s not her!


This image released by Lionsgate shows Julia Roberts, left, and Owen Wilson in a scene from "Wonder." (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP)

This image released by Lionsgate shows Julia Roberts, left, and Owen Wilson in a scene from “Wonder.” (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP)



RJ Palacio the author of Wonder

If it’s not her, then it’s a look-alike that’s for sure!


Between book one, book two, the Wonder Boy and the movie, I think it is evident that we are pretty big Wonder fans. When my other kids are a little older I plan to introduce it to them too! 

By | November 24th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ten Ways Develop a Child’s Attention Span

10 ways to develop a child’s attention spans for long term success.


I just got back from Word Camp which is a conference for people that use the website platform Word Press. The crowd there was extremely diverse, but we all had one thing in common: websites, or more specifically Word Press websites.

One thing I heard over in over in the sessions was about the latest research on the attention span. The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish. The point of this information was that we have to have eye-catching designs and content that will grab our visitors attention immediately before they move on. We want people to stay at our websites and we have less than 10 seconds to make an impact!

While other attendees are nodding and taking notes the mama bear in me is thinking Let’s back this truck up. Did I just hear that humans attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish? And we are supposed to be catering to that!? This is an epidemic! Not just because I am old school and want everyone to go back to the slower paced lifestyle of the 1950’s. I am a major multi-tasker and I love my modern, fast-paced conveniences. I do have one major concern though and that is the selfish implications that come with short attention spans.

The selfie lifestyle.

The entitlement mindset.

The era of entertain me now.


That is not what I want for my kids and I think we can do better.

Phil Vischer did an interview 6 years ago about the effects of certain types of media on our children and it has always stuck with me. He says:

What we’ve learned through recent brain reseach is that the part of our brains that process facts and data can be trained to go faster, but the part of our brain that process emotions and make emotional connections can’t be trained to go faster. So in some of these cases, like churches where they are wanting to speed things up because kids are used to faster tv, we are discovering that while they can collect the data faster they can’t have a feeling about it faster. So if we are trying to teach kids values or help them have compassion for people in worse situations than they are we have to slow them down. 

When I really think about it, it sounds like common sense. You can teach a kid reading fluency or to do multiplication tables at a rapid pace, but you can’t teach them to hurry up and feel compassion! Our generation is better than ever at multitasking, but you can’t multitask true empathy.

That’s what concerns me about the lack of attention spans. We aren’t taking the time to pay attention! So I thought about how to cultivate an attitude of long term attentiveness in the next generation.

Please keep in mind this list is not for short-term attention span improvement. It is also not professional help for those with actual attention deficit disorder. I have plenty of loved ones, adults and kids alike, in that category. There is no shame in that. This is just a list that I thought would apply to my children and might be helpful to some others.

1. Discomfort

It’s easy to want to shield our kids from feeling uncomfortable, whether it’s boredom, not wanting to share, or detesting chores. I’ve read two books on this subject that I love. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch and Cleaning House by Kay Will Wyma. I recommend either one.

2. Focus on Others

Putting our attention outward through community service or acts of kindness is a great way for children to pay more attention to the details and needs around us.

3. Sleep

This is a practical way for all of us to increase our attention span. On a side note, you sleep more peacefully without electronics in the room.

4. Exercise

Robert Melillo, a professor and specialist in childhood neurological disorders says “Lack of physical activity in early childhood is actually the biggest single problem that will hurt the growth and development of the brain.” Melillo talks more about this mind-body approach to attention span in his book Disconnect.

5. Passion

I’m not so stuffy that my whole list is going to be about diet, exercise, and chores. Help your child find what skill or hobby that they are passionate about! This is a great way to increase attention span in a healthy way.

6. Hydration

Drinking water has been shown to improve focus while dehydration can impair your attention span, memory, and motor skills. 

7. Reading

Reading helps us to use our imagination, ask questions, think about other points of view, and with practice can definitely lengthen our attention spans.

8. Turn off electronics

I’m not anti-technology at all, but this is the biggest culprit of our shrinking attention span and it has to be balanced. Hamlet’s Blackberry (excuse the outdated title) is a fantastic book about how technology isn’t awful and the addiction to it is not even necessarily a new problem. However, it does have to be balanced with time unplugged in order to get the most out of it.

9. Prayer

I’ve read a lot about using meditation to improve attention spans and I am sure that helps, but as a Christian I think prayer is even better! When we teach our kids to pray, they begin to process the world through communion with God which brings peace, purpose, and clarity.

10. Old Fashioned Playtime

Puzzles,  board games, dress up etc. The simpler the toys the more focus for the child. We have to tone down all the stimuli.


I admit I am preaching to myself with this list. I am the worst when it comes to going to my computer to look at my calendar and two hours later I have been on Pinterest, Facebook, and Email and forgot to ever even look at my calendar. I am also guilty of reaching for my phone when I’m  on the toilet for more than 12 seconds (TMI? Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about).

The goldfish information was a wake up call though. The good news is I don’t think this situation we find ourselves in is irreversible. We can expand our attention spans and I hope to be the first to model this for my kids.


By | November 16th, 2017|Parenting Tips, Uncategorized|0 Comments