getting out (a day in the life)

It’s a decision Darryl and I make repeatedly: should we bring Calvin or not?

Will the noise make him startle? Is there a place to change him? Will we have time to do treatments when we get back? What meds will we need to bring? Are his lungs up to par? Is there a place to suction? Will he zone out and be lost in the noise of seizures and the crowd? Is it worth the effort? Is there room for his chair? Are there ramps or an elevator? 

The van has made our lives a thousand times easier – we cannot even imagine taking him anywhere without it! But we still hesitate after running through the questions.

We decided to bring him with us on one of our family traditions: the annual play down at the Civic. Friends treated us to the Sound of Music about five years ago, and we’ve been back every year since for three hours of absolute joy. The kids talk about it all year, it is such a highlight. So far every time we’ve gone, Calvin’s had to stay home with a nurse (which left the kids very unimpressed and us just plain sad he wasn’t with us). This year we promised them we’d bring him along (for better or worse!) for the show “Annie”.

Before pushing “Purchase” on the tickets, I hesitated again. Tickets aren’t cheap and there was at least a 50% chance his lungs would be in too rough of shape to make it. The performances go long and we rarely keep Calvin out of the house for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. Not because he doesn’t like it, but because his lungs needs a break. I bought the ticket, the kids approved and Darryl’s arched eyebrows told me he was just hoping for the best.

As soon as the kids were ready, they started up the van, cranked the heat and lowered the lift. Darryl and I were busy inside doing the last minute change, getting his feeding bag filled, making sure his suction machine was charged and ready, stocking up medical things he might need, packing his 9 pm meds, and then finally getting him into his chair and bundling him into his coat.  Phew! The kids are amazing with the whole “load up Calvin” process. One grabs his chair and takes him down the ramp while Darryl and I grab all the remaining pieces (and children) inside before heading to the van.

Darryl usually loads him up into the van and locks his wheelchair into the tie-downs in the back while Noah or Evie goes around to the front and locks in the two front tie-downs. Once he’s belted and strapped in better than a roller coaster ride, we do one last head check and head out.

The night at the Civic was extra special this year because Calvin’s neuro-developmentist and her husband were in the play. Dr. Dodge has been such an instrument of mercy in our lives since Calvin was just a few months old. What fun to see her as an old apple seller and a head cook in the “Annie” play. It gave all of us a laugh. The night was wonderful and the kids were thrilled. Calvin was really excited although it didn’t seem like he could see anything. He was trying to sing along with all the songs but he’d start in just seconds after they would finish. So yes, he had a few solo parts 😉

But by the third time we’d taken Calvin out as quietly as we could through the exit door, Darryl looked at me exhausted. “I think we’re going to have Calvin come alternate years.” We grinned wryly as we sat out in the hallway again, repositioning, changing and clearing him. What a strange life we live! Thankfully our other kids are very used to us attending to Calvin’s needs and did just fine without us, even Violet.

We were able to take him in the last 20 minutes without incident and I think it made up for the whole busyness of the evening. At the very end of the performance, Annie and the entire cast sang the song “Tomorrow” one last time. Calvin about lifted off his seat as he sang along with his own version of the line: “Just thinking about tomorrow clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow.”  

It was happy, beautiful and exhausting all in one. And his smile told me it was worth every bit of effort.

Successful Parenting (and other midnight worries)

I used to think that parenting meant trying really really hard to create the ideal life for your child. The right food, the right house, the right books, the right vacation and the right parenting.

These things matter. But when a bomb explodes in your life and all your plans are wrecked and all of your “right” options are just kicked outta town, you learn a few things.

You learn that vacations are nice but what you do on rainy afternoons and another evening home is what makes warm familiar memories. The simple wrestling matches on the living room floor, telling funny stories and game marathons where one kid almost certainly ends up crying.

You learn that being a gourmet organic cook would be ideal, but kids will love the comfort of your simple wholesome cooking just as well.

You learn that it’s more about being consistent in immersing yourself and your kids in God’s Words rather than having the right words and right parenting techniques.

You learn that when your life is wrecked, it means a new beginning. An opportunity to model to your kids “Living the Wrecked Life” so they can see God’s grace living and active in your less-than-perfect life, instead of your perfection exalted and standardized. It’s humbling, but it bears good fruit.

I’ve learned that it can seem real convincing that if you just do this or buy that or go there or be more like them, your family will be better off. Truth is, you never can get the circumstances quite right for your kids and it’s the wrong battle to fight.

I think I’ve wasted a lot of time fighting the wrong battles and praying for the wrong things. God knows what you have and He’s not expecting you to better your own life. He’s asking you to lose your life and to find it in Him.

That’ll impact your kids a whole lot more than ship-lap in the kitchen and a cute farmhouse laundry sink. Although I do love those. But there’s bigger better things that have nothing to do with what you can provide or create.

It’s about living a life and leading your family in leaning into what God has provided, Jesus, and living a life of becoming a new creation of grace. His creation.

Do you feel that pressure lifting?

Maybe you’re living in a place far from family. Maybe your marriage is struggling. Maybe you’re facing staggering financial stress. Maybe you’re losing sleep because your life seems like a mess in every direction you look and you’ve never felt more “less than” in your life. And when you think about raising kids in the mess, you wonder how on earth they’ll survive it with you at the wheel.

Here’s the thing: the only circumstances you need to be successful, are ones that drive you to Jesus. The only parenting technique you need is dependency on Jesus. The only house you need is the foundation of Jesus. The only decorations you need are wisdom and grace. The only life you need is one in Him. The rest is just stuff that is passing like the wind. Life in Jesus is lasting and true and strong and good and saving – forever. It is the gold, the only gold in the stuff of life.

Bring your mess, bring your less-than-ideal, and come. Not scrubbed up and cleaned up and looking good. But empty-handed asking God to grow His work, His grace in the middle of it all. Don’t miss it.

 

Making Peace

Most days I look like I’ve got this disability thing down. Like it doesn’t hurt as much as the early days. Like I’m confident and at peace with what is.

The truth is, your child’s losses never become less painful, you just adjust to living with a new level of pain. And you make peace with that. You quit fighting the pain and learn how to live with it. How to leverage joy out of dark places.

So when you’re standing in the library and you feel your eyes burning, you don’t tell yourself to get over it. You just ride it out, knowing the sharpness will subside. You let the tears come as you watch all the other kids run around, knowing you’re not a basket-case, but that pain is real and sharp and sometimes it crests in the oddest places.

And when you get home, you walk in your son’s room, and you tell him you love him. That you’re sorry. And you try not to let tears fall on his face.

Then you get up and you make dinner, read stories and carry on. As if you have this whole disability thing down.

 

ESSENTIAL OILS STARTER KIT

Are you curious about essential oils?  Wondering what all the “hype” is about?  Let me assure you, this is not a trend. Essential oils have been around since biblical times.  Their recent surge in popularity is a great testament to how amazing these little bottles are.

In our house, we strive for health and wellness in all areas of our life, and Young Living is a great fit for us!  We have been able to replace nearly all of our store bought products, for ones that Young Living provides (shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, household cleaner, laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, supplements, dish soap, hand purifiers, etc.). Getting toxins out of our homes should be a high priority for everyone.  This is not only a healthier choice for our families, it’s a healthier choice for the environment.

There are a few starter kits that can get you started with Young Living.  Once you purchase your Premium Starter Kit, you are then a wholesale member and can make future purchases at 24% off!

Here are a few kit options:

  • Premium Starter Kit + Dewdrop Diffuser – for those who are ready to dive into the world of essential oils!  In this kit you will receive 11 oils plus a diffuser to get you started on your path to wellness.
  • Premium Starter Kit + Aria Diffuser – for those who want a fancier diffuser option, this kit is for you!  The Aria is an absolutely stunning diffuser.  You will be proud to diffuse those “hippy” oils of yours with this one!
  • Thieves Premium Starter Kit – for those who don’t want to quite dive into essential oils yet, but would like to start replacing their harmful house products with pure ones.  This is a great way to begin!  You will receive some of our most popular Thieves products to get you started!
  • Ningxia Red Premium Starter Kit – for those who are wanting to experience the life changing benefits of our antioxidant juice, Ningxia Red.  This kit will get you started (and hooked) on this powerful juice blend!

When you purchase your starter kit with me, you aren’t just buying from Young Living.  You are joining a team of pretty awesome humans. We love to encourage, educate and equip you so that you know what you’re doing.  I am always available for questions or concerns. I want you to learn!

Our team has the following resources available for our members:

  • Private Product Facebook Page with 2+ educational posts per day.
  • Private Business Facebook Page for those wanting to pursue the business side (never required).
  • Educational Website with over 20 classes to help you learn.  You can access this at anytime

If you’d like to get started, follow these simple steps:

  • Go to:  Member Sign-up
  • Please select Wholesale Member
  • My number should already be entered.  If it isn’t, please make sure 10169363 appears in both the “Enroller” and “Sponsor ID” fields.
  • Check your country and language preference then continue
  • Select your Premium Starter Kit
  • You can select NO for the Essential Rewards option at this time.  I recommend people get the product and fall in love with it first, before they choose ER.
  • Proceed to checkout
  • Fill out your information
  • At this point you can add more to your order if you’d like, or you can check out with your starter kit
  • All finished, welcome to the family!

I will be in contact with you shortly to get you welcome resources and added to our private groups!  I’m so excited and thankful you have chosen me to help you on this journey! If you have any questions, please email me at karadedert@yahoo.com.

FAQ

What do we use oils for? For just about everything! Whether you are looking for oils to help you sleep, for natural immune system support, for energy, for focus, for relaxation, for your kids, for natural alternatives to cleaning products (the list is endless), you need to experience oils.

Aren’t oils just a fad? No, oils have been used for thousands of years but in the last 100 years they’ve gotten buried under powerful drugs and synthetic products; now society is feeling the weight of toxic products and eager for a fresh look at what’s all around us: the global garden full of natural byproducts that work in synergy with our body. It’s taken the scientific community time to dedicate time and money to oil research (more money is directed to drug companies because, well, money moves the world) but it is happening and confirming what humans have known all along: essential oils are powerful tools for our bodies and environments. I think we are just at the beginning of the resurgence of awareness of natural living. People are tired of toxins and we are all waking up to the effect they are having on us.

Want to try but not sure where to start? You will quickly learn that oils are simple and powerful and that there are no hard and fast rules that you need to abide by. Our team will help you with every resource you need and a private facebook community to answer ANY question you have, give you ideas and help you use oils confidently.  

Why Young Living? Young Living has an unmatched Seed to Seal process to guarantee the purity & potency of every oil, it is the best of the oil world (in my humble opinion). You can visit their farms, pull up their third-party testing, and explore every part of their process from non-GMO seeds (seed) to final standards for the oils (seal).

How do we use oils? You can inhale them, diffuse them (you get one in the starter kit!), apply to your skin and use them in every personal/household product you could imagine. They aren’t just good smelling bottles, they are tools which clean, detoxify, purify, and actively work on a molecular level in your body. But yes, they do make your house and you smell great too 🙂

How will I learn how to use my kit? You’ll get plenty of reading material with your kit, but as mentioned above, you’ll get access to our exclusive facebook community full of amazing resources like how to use each oil in your kit, which oils to avoid around kids or while pregnant/nursing, and all of the dilution ratios for individual oils. We have classes, books, live facebook hangouts & search functionality that will help you navigate through any questions you might have.

Do you have to order more oils monthly or sell them? Nope! Your kit can be a one time purchase, but along with it comes a wholesale membership, which just means that should you decide to purchase oils in the future, you would get a 24% discount! You will also get a personal referral link should you ever decide that you want to share them, but neither is required.

 Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. If you are currently on medication, please do not stop.

Midnight Obedience

It was 5 a.m. when I heard Calvin calling through the monitor. His calls quickly turned into cries as I ran down the steps. It’s been a nightly routine the last couple of months and it’s usually the same reason: his hips.

Both of his hips are dislocated and there is no clear and easy solution. Even touching his leg makes him flinch so my trick has been to quickly turn him onto his side, taking pressure off of his left hip – the one giving him the most pain these days.

I ran my hand down his back, the back with a bulge forming significantly on one side — his scoliosis has increased dramatically in his latest growth spurt. I repositioned his legs, bending them and putting stuffed animals as cushions between his knees. He quickly smiled and breathed a sigh of relief and contentment.

Most of the time we’ve been so completely consumed with helping him to breathe, that all of these lesser issues hardly register on our radar. But for the last month he’s had unusually good respiratory health and has been able to breathe without significant effort; if it feels like an elephant lifted off my back, I can only imagine how it feels for him.

He’s been so alert the past month, wanting to participate in everything from church to backyard campfires. We’ve taken advantage of this rare time by bringing him everywhere: the library, zoo, air museum, Sam’s Club (hey, it counts), playground, church, and grandma and grandpa’s. I can’t tell you how good it feels to see him like this especially after the spring and summer he’s had.

As I sat with Calvin in the dark, rubbing his back, talking to him quietly I realized our challenges have changed in the past few years. These days I am less overwhelmed with his disabilities and more overwhelmed with the gift of his life. I find myself less perplexed with God’s purposes (still a mystery) and more aware of His call to obedience — that very unglamorous but vital part of Christian life.

The truth is, our obedience hinges on trust. If we don’t trust God, we won’t obey, at least not wholeheartedly. Sure, we can act like we are trusting God, doing and saying the right things, showing up at church, but in our hearts we can foster unexpressed anger and mistrust of God. This is not new to humanity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone down that path and realized I’m doing what humanity has done since Adam and Eve: trusting my own definition of good rather than God’s. And that always leads to destruction.

But there is a way to life and that is simply trusting God and His intentions toward us. I think at the root of it we can only trust God once we fully believe what He says about Himself: that He is good. We learn to trust and realize His goodness not by intellectual hoops alone but by framing our entire lives around the expression of His goodness: Jesus Christ.

God is the divine who is always looking to bring us back to Him, back into a relationship with Him that we’ve messed up badly — no, destroyed. Just look at our hearts, look at our world. He is our Creator, our Redeemer, our Restorer. Without Him we have no definition of good. And when we start grasping that, obedience is the response.

This obedience always plays out in practical everyday living, not just the big things. This is what it looks like in the season we are in:

It means faithfulness in caring for Calvin even when it is never-ending and exhausting. When you just want to go to bed instead of giving meds, respiratory treatments and setting him and his machines up for the night.  Midnight obedience.

It means trusting Him when He doesn’t take away pain or suffering. This is hard when you watch your son literally suffocating from chronic lung disease. Not hard, impossible. But Jesus gives us strength and tell us He is with us “in our deepest distresses.” He weeps with us and calls us to carry our cross and follow Him.

It means believing God’s goodness even when my circumstances aren’t good at all. At least not in a temporal happy sort of way. Obedience is believing that no matter what disaster is in my life, God deserves my praise — He owes me nothing and has given me everything. And in our disasters He is working good and glory from ashes we can scarcely sweep together.

It means living joyfully because our hope is very real. We are not living around an idea, we are living around a reality: a risen Lord Jesus who is making all things new.

It’s our default to create narratives where our motives and morality are justified but God’s are murky — leading us to wonder if we can really trust Him. Thankfully, God is persistent in correcting our distortions by showing His intention and goodness to us in Christ through His Word and Spirit. And when I see that, midnight obedience becomes an opportunity rather than a chore.

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