About Natalie

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

I am a List Person

Today I am thankful for lists. I absolutely love lists! I used to keep lists on paper but switched to digital archiving of my information about 7 years ago. Actually, the switch happened after SJ was diagnosed and I had to get more organized to stay on top of all of her appointments and my prenatal checkups. I asked my blog readers for suggestions and one of you said “Cozi” is very helpful in keeping all the family stuff together. I have been using Cozi the family organizer app ever since. Today I worked off of 4 lists. Today on Cozi I was using my Thursday to do list and Elle Candy Land Party list.  I was going to post screenshots of my lists but I would be too embarrassed. First of all spelling and grammar go out the window when it comes to my lists. Sometimes I have to do detective work to decipher what I even meant to say when I hurriedly did voice to text on a list. Also, my lists include some stuff that is personal and often includes people’s names so I am not going to show the list on the internet, but here is an example of someone else’s.

 

I also use an app called List Ease for groceries or shopping.  So today when I went out I used Ellis party list for shopping and I have just a regular grocery list.

I know that lists are not very exciting but I don’t know what I would do without being able to organize some of my thoughts and to be able to visually assess my accomplishments at the end of the day. I do this every weekday and have for the past ten years. I know women that have the cutest planners and geek out of the brands and the different colored pens they use. I think that is super cute and fun but I tend to lose paper. That’s why I keep everything on my phone in my apps. I will leave links to the apps in case it’s helpful for anyone looking to be more organized. I personally use the free version of both.

 

 

 

I am very busy right now getting things together for Elle’s birthday party this weekend. Having lists definitely helps me to be able to accomplish stuff like that. That’s why I am grateful for my lists. It’s boring I know, but if you are a list person you get it!

By | November 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sisters

Yesterday on my photography page I shared some photos I had taken in the past year of SISTERS!

What I love about this beautiful collage is that each photo has a story and all of the families represented are unique. On the top left we have two sisters sitting in front of a mural that is a tribute to their sister in heaven. The girl in the painting is their sister, Palmyr and the image behind her is Jesus pushing her on the swing. You can read more about their story here on Messy Mom. The next photo is of a blended family who have another sister on the way due in a few months. The sisters in the bottom left photo both have cochlear implants and know sign language. You probably recognize the two little cuties in costume are my daughters. While there are so many differences among the photos, each one expresses the bond of sisterhood and I think that is incredibly beautiful.

I never expected SJ to have a sister. There was no logical reason for this but since I had three brothers and no sisters I guess I just felt like maybe history would repeat itself. God had a different plan though and I am so grateful that my gut was wrong in this case and baby number four is our beautiful daughter Elle. I have said in the past that money could never buy a greater gift for SJ than the gift of a baby sister. She was in love with her from the moment she was born (and if you know the story you know she was there when Elle was born).

 

SJ is the ultimate mother hen and Elle is the ultimate baby doll.

 

 

 

Even though SJ is not very big for her age she doesn’t let that stop her from always wanting to carry her sister around.

You would think now that Elle is almost three it would stop, but I am not sure when and if it will!

 

 

Her tenderness and love for her sister sure is sweet though. And Elle definitely adores her big sis.

 

I’m sure there

will be a lot of different dynamics in their relationship through the years, but I am thankful that they have each other. I know their sisterly bond will last forever.

By | November 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fall Weather

I will admit, I have been so grouchy about the weather this year. I started getting excited about fall in September because after Labor Day it’s all about pumpkin spice everything and boots and cardigans right? Except it was stinking hot in September.

Then October came around and I thought for sure the fall I know and love would make an appearance, but nope. We spent our first weekend of October at the farm doing all the traditional fall festivities in our shorts and tank tops. It was still hot.

Then fall break came and I got my wish. The temperatures dropped. It wasn’t pleasant though, it was literally freezing at night and bitter cold and dreary during the day. I tried to stay positive but the idea that we would skip fall and go straight from Summer to Winter was almost depressing to me. I never even got to wear the cute fall outfits I love because I had to bundle up with a winter coat and layers of wool socks. I know these are first world problems, but the weather definitely has an effect on my mood and as the temps dropped so did my spirits.

Fall 2018 doesn’t end there though.

The very last week of October the leaves suddenly transformed and there were pops of color all over the sides of the road.

We have had  GORGEOUS 50 and 60 degree weather.

It’s brisk and cool but not enough to see your breath or have to wear a winter coat.

Ohio is so pretty in the fall and sometimes I have to hold back the tears when I see gradients of color everywhere. It’s so beautiful.

I can’t help it. It truly rejuvinates me and I smile when leaves let go of their branches and the golden and burgundy dancers gracefully float toward the ground. Autumn has always been my favorite season and jewel tones are my favorite shades. That’s one of the reasons J and I picked November for our wedding.

We love the fall and once the Halloween decorations are gone I can really revel in the goodness of harvest season.

I have friends who are Christmas enthusiasts and see November as the perfect time to break out the Santa colors and evergreen trees. Don’t worry guys, I am not going to slam you (you know who you are). I am happy that you are happy! I don’t roll that way though. I felt like I was rushed into pumpkin spice lattes and hay rides when it was still 90 degrees outside. Now that the scenery and temperatures finally match season we are in I am going to soak it all in! I love snowflakes, but I don’t want to feel rushed into the next season when my favorite one is happening now. No Christmas music or decorations for me.

I am all about the Autumn.

For me that means my anniversary! It also means bon fires and outfits that are lightweight layers. Or my love for taking walks and hikes surrounded by glorious trees.

It also means soup and squash and my youngest daughter’s birthday! Lastly, of course I think of thankfulness because of Thanksgiving.

That’s why I am doing this series and that’s why today I am thankful for FALL!

By | November 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Married Half My Life

Today, November 4th, is the 4th day of my Thankfulness Writing Challenge. It’s also almost midnight so I don’t have time to really sit down and a blog post. It’s been a very busy day and it is mine and J’s anniversary. I am going to cheat and leave this snapshot of my Instagram account for now. I do have more I would love to say about this milestone so hopefully I’ll have time to come back later and write about it. That’s all for now though.

By | November 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Magic Clicker


For the month of November I am writing every day about something that I am grateful for.

Thursday I kicked things off explaining why I am focusing on Colossians 3:15.

Yesterday I went kind of deep with my essay about our table.

Today there will be no preaching. I have a very simple object that I am thankful for. I know it’s outdated, but I am thankful for the keyless entry remote that unlocks and opens up my van.

I realize this is 2018 and keyless, self-parking and self-driving cars are where things are at. However, I tend to be at least 5 to 10 years behind when it comes to technology. My van is the nicest vehicle I have ever owned and it has a 6 disc changer. Some of you just wrinkled your nose with pity, the rest of you have still have tape decks.

Anyway, this is the first car I have had with a remote and I LOVE it. I have had it for three years now and I am still super thankful nearly every single day for this magic clicker!

It obviously can lock and unlock doors, but it can also open the side doors as we approach the vehicle. This is fantastic news for a mother of four. I love opening the doors for my kids!

1. I no longer have to worry about them opening a door and banging it against the car next to them.

2. I don’t have to rush to the car while they run ahead and wait for me. They can get in and get buckled so that when I reach the vehicle it’s all systems are go.

3. When my neighbor calls to say the van door was left open and it’s about to rain I don’t have to go outside. No way. I just push the button like the Judy Jetson diva that I am. It’s great.

The other thing this fancy contraption does is open and shut the trunk door! I never knew how much I needed a button to open and shut my trunk until I had one. When I pull up to Wal-mart to get my online grocery order and they come out with the wagon-full of groceries I just push a button and the door gracefully opens on its own. I have to pinch myself. Is this real life?

Lastly, my remote has a red button on the bottom that says “PANIC”. I don’t know the exact intended use for this button, but I know that babies love it. Why wouldn’t they? If there is one thing babies know how to do it’s push mom’s buttons and make her panic, both metaphorically and in this case literally. What a great opportunity for babies and toddlers to learn cause and effect. They push the button and hear an annoying siren come out of mommy’s car. Mommy panics. Mommy takes keys and gets distracted. Baby gets them again and they know exactly what to do with that panic button. Baby Geniuses!

Okay, maybe that’s one aspect of the clicker that I was never as excited about, but the rest of them are true.

I love being able to use my keyless entry! In fact, one time I went to a conference at my daughter’s school. It was just me by myself which is extremely rare. As I was walking back to my car after the meeting I used my clicker to open the two sliding doors out of habit. Every weekday I walked out of that school and pushed the sliding door buttons. Except for this time I had no children with me. I sheepishly looked over my shoulder to see if anyone noticed then casually exclaimed “Just kidding. That was a practice round.” and shut the doors.

So there you have it. I am so very thankful for my magic clicker.

 

By | November 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Thankful for the Table

 

 

Our table is old. Our table is stained. Our table is ugly. 

I get really embarrassed about it. Whether we have company or I look at it in pictures I cringe.

This table is so banged up; not in a cute farmhouse way, but in a four kids and real-life kind of way.

Do you want to hear a true confession? If I am going to post a cute little shot of my fabulous life on Instagram I try to hide all the scrapes and nail polish stains. Yeah, I’m that girl.

It’s nearly impossible though. It was already weathered when we bought it used 13 years ago and it’s just gone downhill from there.

We have always had dreams of sanding it down and refinishing the beautiful Maple surface but it’s at the bottom of an endless list of priorities.

And honestly, I’m not sure it would last long anyway in our house. There is bound to be an incident with a sharpie or a hot plate to taint the surface again.

 

I am thankful for the table though.

 

We’ve fed countless people at that table. We’ve eaten ice cream while talking about the diets we are about to start. We have had homework victories and late night tears sitting in those chairs.

 

We’ve grumbled while scrubbing the table and fought about who would sweep under it. We have sung many “happy birthday to you” at that same table and celebrated new jobs and reunions with friends and family.

 

Board games, puzzles, crafts, burnt meals, take out, and our traditional Saturday breakfasts all take place at the table.

We hold hands around the table, we reach out across the table, we pass food, and serve and are served. At the table, we are nourished and we are filled up.

So when I really pause to think about the table and what it represents, I am encouraged. I am encouraged to pray, give thanks, reach out, connect. create and celebrate. This is what we do at the table.

 

Our table is big. Our table is sturdy. Our table is full. For that, I am thankful. 

By | November 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|4 Comments

Costumes on the Cheap

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15.

I am wanting to memorize this verse as a family this month. I love how the first part is so in depth, it’s talking about ruling, which makes me think of domination and power and strength, but it’s done in peace which seems so contradictory to the world’s view of ruling or power and strength. Then we get into the members of the body of Christ all getting along and that’s a whole other topic! It’s kind of weighty and complex, but then there is this little snippet at the end of the verse which adds “and be thankful”. Almost every version I looked up had it as a second sentence or at least had a semicolon. So we have two separate statements happening here. I picture this verse like me lecturing my kids, going on and on and then taking a breath and adding “and be thankful”. It’s that simple.

 

While I know it’s cliche to do a thankfulness series in November, I’m doing it anyway. For the next 30 days I will share something that I am thankful for.

 

Since October is a big month for costumes I thought I would use this as an excuse to post my kids’ costumes and share how I was able to have all four kids dressed up for less than two dollars!

 

So for my first thankfulness inspired entry, I am thankful for affordable costumes!

 

Z’s costume was a nerd/smarty pants.

 

This picture was for a school party. When we went out last night he had tape on the glasses and dressy shoes. We owned all of these items except the smarties which I got at the dollar store.

Next up, SJ was a box of donuts. This costume was a hand-me-down from a friend. The chef hat came with an apron she got several years ago for Christmas.

What is especially fun about this costume is that some of the donuts are velcro. So it’s like a toy that can be used with other play food or you can wear it. That makes it all the more frugal when it’s multifunctional.

Ezie costume was borrowed from a friend. I could have had him wear something that was Zion’s from years past but he has done that a lot so I wanted to give him a chance to be his own thing.

These LEGO costumes are so popular for boys right now and I can see why. They make you look just like a real human LEGO!

 

Finally, we have the little bumble bee. I found this costume a week ago for 90% off at Once Upon a Child so it was 80 cents. It was a little frayed and didn’t come with antenea or leggings, but did I mention it was less than a dollar?

 

Elle was with me when I bought it and she’s the one that picked it out. I stuck a yellow flower hair tie in her hair and voila!

 

The truth is I don’t like Halloween. Our neighbors go all out with creepy decorations and this year they actually had a skeleton sitting on a bench cradling the skeleton of what looked like would be a toddler or a small child wrapped in a bloody blanket. I wanted to throw up every time I drove past it which was multiple times a day.

I like the idea of celebrating Reformation Day and talking to the kids about who Martin Luther is and what the Reformation is all about. This is also a great opportunity to talk about fear, darkness, and death. Not the topics I am most excited about but when you shine the truth and light of God’s word on it it’s pretty exciting to see how we’ve been redeemed.

Bottom line, I love costumes. I think they are cute and fun and really healthy for the kids to use their imaginations and dream. We play with costumes year round and half of our birthday parties include dressing up! Speaking of which, Elle’s birthday party is in two weeks and we’ll be doing princess costumes.

I’ve written about costumes before and how I have a really nice stash which we accumulated at a low cost. All of those ideas are in the post “10 Ways to Save Money on Your Costume Stash.” I’ve got a lot more cute photos over there. You’ll see how much I love costumes and that’s why day one of thankfulness is “Costumes on the Cheap”.

By | November 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Laundry Tips & Tricks for Large Households

When you have a big family, trying to keep up with laundry may feel like trying to win a losing battle. If you are feeling like it has been years since the last time you saw an empty laundry basket, you certainly aren’t alone. And if you have clean and dirty laundry spread throughout your entire home in various hampers, baskets or even piles, you aren’t alone there, either.

Winning the laundry game is tough when you have a big family, but don’t give up hope! Here are a few laundry tips and tricks for large households that just might enable you to experience the unbridled joy of actually being done with the laundry — for a few minutes anyway.

Develop a Routine

Facing a mountain of dirty laundry is undeniably overwhelming. If you don’t’ know where to start, it’s a good idea to develop a routine that makes the entire process a bit more manageable. Think about what you have and what your current strategy is for doing laundry. Do you have enough hampers or baskets? Is your laundry room set up in a functional way? How do you sort clothing before washing? When is the best time of day for you to do a load or two?
With the answers to these questions in mind, you can work toward getting organized and establishing a routine. If you have a bit of downtime between 1 and 4 each afternoon, make doing a load of laundry a habit. Make sure you have enough hampers for everyone to have their own, and tackle one person’s laundry each day. Breaking it down into smaller chunks and washing clothes every day is significantly less overwhelming than trying to tackle it all at once. Once you’re used to the routine, you’ll find that keeping up with your family’s clothes is easier than you ever imagined possible.

Make Sure You Have the Proper Supplies and Tools


When you’re managing a large family, sometimes it just isn’t possible to run to the store when you realize you are out of laundry detergent. By making sure you have everything you need on hand at all times, you can avoid the frustration of not having what you need when you have some spare time for washing clothes.
Stock up on detergent, fabric softener, stain removal products, bleach, etc. Try to stay at least one wash ahead on the essentials. As soon as you open a bottle of fabric softener, for example, pick up another. Staying one ahead means that when you empty one container, another is already waiting on the shelf. Also, make sure your laundry room is outfitted with useful tools and supplies like a small trash can for lint, a folding table, a clothesline or a closet rod, an ironing board and iron and extra laundry baskets. Having everything you need to successfully wash, dry and fold a load of laundry all in one place makes it a lot easier to keep up and not fall behind.

Get the Entire Family Involved


Being the mom or dad doesn’t mean you have to do it all. Even the youngest members of your family can help with tasks like doing laundry. Make doing their own laundry a part of your older kids’ chores. Doing so takes a lot of stress off you, and it helps teach them a valuable life skill. Your tweens and teens can also help with their younger siblings’ laundry. As a bonus, if your kids are doing their own laundry, they are way less likely to wear a shirt for five minutes than throw it in the hamper as “dirty”. This is especially helpful if you tend to purchase wholesale t-shirts for your entire family. Without each member of your family present to identify their own clothing, things could get quite confusing!
Kids who are too young to handle doing laundry on their own can still lend a hand with tasks like pairing socks, folding towels and putting things away. Start teaching them how to handle household chores young, and before you know it, they will be chipping in more and more.

Put It Away Immediately

As soon as a load of laundry comes out of the dryer, fold it and put it away. Do this prior to even throwing another load in the dryer. The sooner you do it, the less likely you are to put it off. Plus, putting one load away takes a lot less time than putting away the 10 loads you’ve probably let pile up on your couch at least once.
If you don’t put all the laundry away yourself, assign a clean basket for each member of the family. Place their clothes in their respective baskets, and take the baskets to their rooms immediately. If your kids are in school, make putting their clothes away their first chore upon returning home. The same goes for your spouse if he/she is at work when you finish up a load of their laundry. Eliminate procrastination from the process of putting laundry away, and you are way less likely to end up with mountains of clean clothes cluttering up your home.

Conquer Your Mountain of Laundry

When you have a large family, winning the laundry game is no easy task. By doing things like involving the entire family and establishing effective routines, though, you can make the process much easier. Very few people actually like doing laundry, but unless you can afford to buy the entire family a new outfit every day, it’s a necessity. We hope that the tips above make keeping up a bit easier and maybe even help make doing laundry somewhat enjoyable.

 

Jordan Smith is a full-time stay-at-home mother of 2 daughters and a new dog, Luna!
She loves spending time with her family and coming up with creative new crafts for every occasion.
As blogging is her second passion, she is a regular contributor to The Blog for All Things Wholesale Apparel.
She also enjoys strolling the streets of downtown Charleston, South Carolina and all the amazing food her hometown has to offer.
By | October 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Healing I Never Saw Coming

These days having a daughter who is deaf is a part of our norm. We don’t dwell on it. We don’t even think about it for the most part. SJ is deaf and it does make life different for her than for a hearing person but she has proven over and over that it isn’t going to hold her back.

Although, looking back 6 years ago to when she was diagnosed, it wasn’t that simple. It was pretty devastating to be honest. If you’ve followed my blog for a while you know the story. My husband was a worship leader in Texas when we felt God calling us to Kentucky. We left our home and our ministry to see what He had in store. Only two months later when we had no job and were living with my parents we learned that our daughter had profound hearing loss.

Everything we had built together as a couple was shaken.

The very first time I ever saw Jeremy he was leading worship, singing and playing the guitar. Music was an enormous part of our lives and we felt the Lord had blessed us with the gift to lead others in bringing God praise through music. Finding out that your child is deaf is a big shocker for most but when what you feel is your calling revolves around being able to hear it is especially tough. We felt so lost. It was like being stripped of our identity.

That wasn’t in the forefront of our mind at the time though. My biggest concern was figuring out how to communicate with our baby girl now that I knew she hadn’t been hearing me for the past two years.

I had already taught her a handful of signs that I learned from a baby signing curriculum my parents got for our first born. Now it was time to really dig into sign language.

I devoured everything I could find that taught ASL. I contacted friends that signed or that knew anyone who was deaf. I wanted to learn all that I could.  I bought books about ASL. I watched videos about ASL and I integrated into our home daily. It was SJ’s first language. One of the things that really helped me in that season was worshiping in sign.

I will never forget the first song I learned. It was Matt Reman’s We Are the Free. I practiced over and over. No one saw me except my Heavenly Father.

I started learning new worship songs and I would occasionally sign in church while we sang, but for the most part it was something I did privately. It got me through that difficult season and it also helped me become more familiar with ASL so that I could continue moving forward with finding a language for SJ.

Fast forward 6 years and SJ now has cochlear implants.

She can hear music now and has learned to speak. Also, Jeremy is leading worship again. It’s been a long journey to get to this point but the Lord has recently brought even more healing to my soul.

When I found out that deaf singer-songwriter Mandy Harvey (the golden Buzzer winner from America’s Got Talent) was going to be a special guest at our church I was ecstatic. I was also told that the pastor wanted me to sign during worship. The idea of interpreting worship songs and expressing my love and adoration to God through this beautiful signed language made my heart so full. I dove right in.

As I started working to interpret the songs panic set in. I would be signing in front of a lot of other people on the platform for the first time and some of those people would actually be deaf and use sign language to communicate! This terrified me. It’s one thing when it’s just me and Jesus but this was a whole new ball game. These are just some of the thoughts, fears, and lies that went through my mind.

You can’t do this. You aren’t qualified. What if you accidentally sign the wrong thing? What if you forget the words? What if people think you are showing off? What if the deaf community thinks you are foolish? What if they find out your daughter has cochlear implants? You know how cochlear implants are perceived. They are going to hate you and see you as a fraud. What were you thinking to agree to this? Back out! Back out now!

I let the anxiety cloak me and I texted my friend who grew up signing because she is a CODA (child of deaf adults). She was going to help me but I tried to cancel. I told her I was “chickening out”. I typed out the words “I don’t think I’m strong enough or fast enough”. She texted me back encouraging me and told me why she thought I needed to do it, but also told me I could decide after meeting with her and going over the songs.

That Sunday I stepped up to the x on the stage and as the band began to play I took that music that I heard and I formed it into a visual with my hands. It was incredible. The beauty behind American Sign Language is amazing to me.

I was completely overcome with emotions as I felt the Lord healing me in areas that I didn’t even know it was needed. He did though. This was a full circle moment that I would have never envisioned in a million years. I let my hands sing as I signed the words

“I am chosen, not forsaken. I am who you say I am. You are for me, not against me. I am who you say I am.

Who the son sets free is free indeed. I am a child of God, yes I am. In my father’s house, there’s a place for me. I am a child of God yes I am”

I mentioned that when we were in that dark place after leaving our home in Texas we felt lost and confused about who we were. When we had to choose how to help our daughter by either fully emerging in the signing community or having the cochlear implant surgery we felt lost and confused about who we were. When I was asked to sign but felt completely unqualified those same emotions were back but as I motioned my hand back and forth to form the words “I AM WHO YOU SAY I AM” I knew it to be true.

No matter what obstacles or lies we are up against we can stand firm on the truth about what His word says about who we are and who He has called us to be.

I am chosen!

There is a place for me!

I am a child of God!

Who knew how this story would play out. The daughter of a worship leader profoundly deaf did not receive the supernatural healing prayed for.

It sounds bleak, but instead, God took us on a faith journey like no other. A journey that at times seemed so dark I felt like I was going to accidentally stumble into a pit. I had no idea where we were headed.

That Sunday as I stood next to my husband while he played the guitar and led the congregation I interpreted the words into sign language and it was like I had an aeriel view of the journey and I saw how God’s hand was at work all along.

I have had several more opportunities to sign since then and will be worshiping in sign this Sunday as well. I have had such generous feedback from my church family and I appreciate the kind words. Whenever someone told me that it was powerful and touching I wanted to share with them the story of how I got to that place and how it was all because of God. This little testimony took over a thousand words to type out though so instead all I can say is: Thank you. I feel the same way.

 

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By | October 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Inspiring Mom Kadi Spurlock

Kadi and her husband David dated for a little while in high school. They both moved from Texas to Colorado separately in college to pursue their creative endeavors. That is where they reconnected and fell in love. They married in January of 2004 with no plans of children anytime in the foreseeable future, but when Kadi found out she was pregnant only 3 months later, their plans changed. From that point on they’ve watched all of their plans change… a lot. It’s been through many tests and trials that they have learned now more than ever to lean on the Lord and trust that His ways are perfect.

In  2013 Kadi was pregnant with their 4th child, a little girl they named Charley Mae. She was born healthy weighing 6 1/2 pound but there was something different about her. She had extremely low muscle tone and because this was Kadi’s 4th child she knew that she wasn’t hitting all the milestones at a normal rate.

Charley Mae was a happy, easy going baby but she didn’t even roll over until she was 10 months old. Of course the Doctors were doing everything they could to pinpoint the problem, but they ruled out muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and all of the main causes of low muscle tone. By the time Charley Mae was 3 Kadi had taken her to see more specialists than they could count but they still lacked a diagnosis.


Kadi was feeling completely discouraged. Reflecting on that season she says “at that point, I didn’t care what it was. I just wanted to know how to help her. I wanted answers.” So finally a developmental pediatrician ordered a panel of blood work and a referral to see a geneticist. That’s when they started getting clues to what was going on. Charley Mae’s panel came back with a rare abnormality caused by a deletion in her chromosome 11. She is missing a tiny fragment of that chain, and only a handful of people in the world have been diagnosed with this condition. It doesn’t even have an official name.
Kadi and David were informed that this condition, along with low muscle tone and other minor issues, causes cancerous tumors that can appear between the ages of eight and ten years old. These tumors would develop in her neck, chest, and maybe even brain area.

Even though this wasn’t great news they were thankful to have some answers and were ready to take the next step to help their daughter.
Kadi met with the genetic counselor and learned that the condition thrives in high altitude. That means that low oxygen is not healthy for Charley Mae and it was recommended that they move. Kadi said that in that moment she immediately started thinking of moving to another area within the state that would be lower altitude.


Colorado was their home. It was where they fell in love and got married and it is all their children had ever known. This was more than just their address. It was their dream.


That’s when the geneticists informed Kadi of the severity of the situation. She looked at her and told her, I’m sorry, but I’m not talking about a lower altitude in Colorado. You all would need to move to sea level.


A shock went through Kadi’s body. She was alone when she met the geneticists assuming they would discuss treatment options like diet, medicine, and more bloodwork. This news came from out of nowhere and now it was up to her to share it with her husband. She called him after the appointment expecting that he would not respond well to the news because he loved Colorado even more than she did. After going over all the details with David, Kadi held the phone in silence allowing David to respond and then he said “Okay. Then we are moving”. He didn’t even hesitate.

They prayerfully felt that the Portland area would be their destination. They didn’t have any connections there. No big safety net or job transfers that would make for a smooth transition. They had something better than all that, the peace of God.

Kadi says “Things moved quickly once we knew what needed to be done. It was as simple as that.  There was  nothing that was going to stop us from making sure Charley Mae has the best life possible.”

So they immediately finished remodeling, and put their house on the market. It sold on the first weekend. Ironically they had already tried to get their house on the market before because they wanted to live in the country, but things kept preventing them. Kadi said that once Charley Mae got her diagnosis it all made sense WHY things weren’t working before. It would have been a disaster if they had just bought a house and then had to relocate again.

When the genetic counselor did a follow-up call to see what they had decided, they told her that the plan was to fly out to Portland in a month and buy a house. As soon as she heard that she was thrilled because she was going to recommend a specialist that was a colleague of hers that was in Portland! This was such a miraculous setup that made the whole transition go extremely smooth.

When they went to Portland to look at houses they prayed “Lord give us a clear yes or no” and house after house seemed to be a definite NO. They were starting to run out of time and it was getting dark, but that’s when it happened. They rolled up to a tiny little tiny house in Washington with a barn and chicken coop and they instantly fell in love! This was it!

It was what they wanted when they were in Denver but had never worked out. Now was the time. When they first walked through the 1920’s  2 bedroom house with the tiny porch on 5 acres, they had no reservations!

Maybe some would call them crazy considering their dream house was nowhere near move in ready.  It was originally a bunkhouse to the ranch hands that worked on the dairy farm. It was 1,100 square feet and it looked like all the electrical would have to be pulled, walls torn down, sheetrock replaced. There had been multiple remodels with 6 different layers of flooring that would all be ripped out. It was so nasty (Kadi’s description) that they bought a cute 1950’s Spartan camper and lived in that for the first 7 months while they gutted the place.


They wouldn’t have it any other way though. They are a true fixer upper couple with enough talent to make Chip and Joanna Gaines marvel at their work.


It’s been a year since the big diagnosis and in the time that they have been in Washington they have seen dramatic results in Charley Mae’s health and development. Her muscle strength has improved and her geneticists at the Portland’s Children’s Hospital has encouraged them that she’s on the right path. It is a lengthy process though. Charley Mae is in physical therapy, speech therapy and they will continue to reevaluate and assess her as she grows.
The biggest change aside from the move has been their new diet.

The specialists have recommended that Charley Mae be on a no processed food diet. They said it’s okay if she goes to a birthday party and has a piece of cake but on a day to day basis she does not need to eat anything that cancer could feed off such as gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. Living on farm land and eating homegrown foods as certainly helped with this process!

    

 

Charley Mae just turned five and while it hasn’t always been easy Kadi knows that they are giving her the best quality of life possible.

Kadi said, “We’ve been here a year and watched God put all the puzzle pieces together. It has been amazing to see it all fall into place and makes us excited for what’s next. We know God has a plan for Charley.

I want her to know what God has done and is doing and constantly be able to share that he has made her for a special purpose. I know God is using her in a big way.”


Kadi’s days are full as she now has SIX kids and homeschools almost all of them. They have created a beautiful home for themselves in Washington, just north of Portland Oregon.

Kadi has one of those Instagrams that you scroll through and drool over.

Not only does she have a gorgeous family but she is an extremely talented photographer with an equally talented husband who does carpentry like you wouldn’t believe. Oh, and they can both make the most incredibly exquisite food. What is really beautiful though are their hearts and their faith. They are committed to putting Christ first in their marriage and family. It is evident that His love radiates in their little farmhouse.


Kadi’s words in the midst of the storm are both encouraging and profound. She says: “When something is so completely out of your control you are either going to panic or you just have to let go. I prayed for an answer and we got that answer. I prayed for peace and He gave us peace. We know deep down that God has this. It’s in His hands and so we trust Him. “

 

 

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By | September 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment