Thank YOU!

Our hearts are so overwhelmed with thankfulness for all of you who made Judah’s BBQ FUNdraiser possible!

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Friday night was so special to our entire family!

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 We feel honored by the number of people that arrived to support our little Judah.   What a wonderful treat to spend an evening chatting and playing with so many friends.

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Planning a fundraiser for my own child is something that 10 years ago I never would have pictured would be in my future.  It’s completely out of my comfort zone and a very humbling experience.  Robin, Tracy, and Judy there is no way I could have planned this fundraiser alone.  I’m in awe of the way you took my small idea of a family bbq picnic and created something big and exciting.  All-Stars 4-H – YOU ARE AWESOME!  They helped prepare ahead of time, helped set-up, helped serve, and helped clean-up.  One of the families sold and delivered “to-go” meals to their neighbors – if I remember correctly it was close to 30 meals they delivered!  

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 And to all of you who volunteered your time, donated raffle items, and donated food and other necessities – THANK YOU!  This was not possible without you!

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Because of the donations that came in we are able to continue needed therapies for Judah.  The money from Judah’s account covers many things for Judah.  Here are a few examples.

* Anat Baniel Method – we are so thankful we found Josie Davenport in Gainesville, FL.  It wasn’t until we began visits with her that Judah began showing much interest in movement.  When we are consistent in our monthly visits we see the most results.  The difficulty has come in being consistent.  The cost is simply too high for us to pay out of pocket.  Our goal is 5 days each month.  That cost is therapy is $600 plus gas, hotel and food.

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* Ophthalmology – The best way to monitor whether Judah’s shunt is working is to check his optic nerves on a yearly basis.  We were referred to a great doctor, but he is not covered by our insurance.

* Optometry – Judah’s vision is checked every 6 months at a wonderful clinic in Tampa.  Their practice is not covered by insurance.  Nor the cost of glasses and replacement lenses.

* Pediatrician – Our favorite pediatrician is also in Tampa and not covered by insurance.  He’s been a tremendous encouragement to us.  First, he explored deeper into what may have caused the brain bleed instead of focusing his attention only on what may have prevented it.  Through genetic testing he did find Judah has a double chromosome linked to bleeds.  He also started Judah on nutritional supplements, b12 shots, and BIGGEST OF ALL -the hyperbaric chamber!!  We LOVE our hyperbaric chamber!

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On a more personal level this doctor’s son also had a brain bleed as an infant.  Because of that he’s able to relate to us differently and is understanding of my emotional moments. 🙂  We’ve only been able to visit him a few times as the cost is over $300 a visit.  But we are excited to see him again soon, hopefully before little Malachi arrives. 🙂

Because of your generosity $2,472 was given Friday evening at the event.  More donations came during the weekend bringing the grand total to $2822!!!  Wow!  We are in awe!!

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Thank you!  From the bottom of our hearts!  THANK YOU!

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

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Today is the Day!

What started as a small idea for a family BBQ picnic fundraiser  has turned into so much more, thanks to precious friends who have given or their time and energy to make this event a success!

Addie woke up this morning and asked in excitement, “Is it tomorrow??” YES!!!! Which means TODAY IS THE DAY!

Come join us at 9434 Tom Moore Road, Lakeland, FL 33810!! We’ll be there from 4:00-8:00 (The time has been extended!!!)

LOTS of awesome raffles! Cakes and desserts! Kids bicycles! Family Pass to Skate World! $25 to J. Burn’s Pizza! Thirty-one bags! Photography sessions! Mary Kay! And lots more!

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3 big bounce houses for the big kids plus a smaller one for the “littles.” Hay ride, train ride, face painting, photo booth and fun games.

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oh!! And LOTS of YUMMY FOOD!!!!

All proceeds go to Judah’s therapy fund which covers what can add up to $1000/month in costs for therapies and specialists. If you are unable to attend but desire donating towards Judah’s Journey click “Make a Donation” on the right hand side.  We love you all!  We have been absolutely blown away by your generosity and kindness!!

See you tonight!  

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Finding Balance

Exciting news!! Judah’s story is being used to help inform other parents on the importance of vitamin K!  It’s now on the CDC’s website. Check it out!

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vitamink/judah-stories.html

….Whoa!!  Wait a minute!!!  Did I just share a CDC website??!

If you know me at all you know I love a good ol’ fashion natural remedy.  I love herbs.  I love vitamins.  I love essential oils.  I love chiropractic care and massage therapists and holistic doctors and midwives and home birthing.

I think it’s so cool that I can give arnica (a homeopathic remedy) to my kids after they fall down or bonk themselves and they don’t experience much bruising or swelling.  I love applying RC (a Young Living essential oil) to my kids and seeing them breathe better and stop coughing.  I love that I can increase calcium and magnesium and drink some coconut water for potassium and the charley horses I experience at night during pregnancy go away!  I mean, really!  How cool is God that He made all of this available to us?!

But guess what else I now love?!  Balance!  It’s true, this once hard-core, all natural, home birthing mama is finding balance.

Two and a half years ago, in a matter of minutes, I was launched from an all natural world to a world swarming with medical doctors, hospitals, therapists, specialists and medicine.   Whoa!  What a complete shock!  There was no time to resist the change.  I jumped in.  I was determined to no longer question the doctors or their advice.  Just obey.

One of Judah's many precious nurses!  They were such angels to us!

One of Judah’s many precious nurses! They were such angels to us!

But I later realized that I, personally, could not jump from one extreme to the other extreme.  I could not jump from all natural home births to fully medicated hospital births (unless under the leading of the Lord or found medically necessary).  I could not abandon natural remedies to restock my medicine cabinet with only over-the-counter medicine.  There had to be a balance.  I could not put 100% blind faith into doctors alone.

Why?  Because the medical field is made up of imperfect humans just like myself.  Doctors make mistakes too.  There isn’t one perfect route to health.  There must be balance.  For example, after Judah was released from his initial stay in the hospital I noticed that his head circumference was growing rapidly.  I began reading about hydrocephalus, measuring Judah’s head, and looking at pictures of other children who had hydrocephalus.  I approached four of Judah’s doctors and pointed out how fast Judah’s head had grown.  They dismissed my concerns.  We called our pediatric neurosurgeon directly and told her how large Judah’s head was.  She insisted we not measure his head again since we had not been taught the proper way to do so.  She told us we were overly concerned and that we needed to relax and just wait to see her at our next visit.  That appointment was not until Judah was three months old.

The moment the surgeon walked into our room at that three-month check-up she instantly knew we had a problem.  She sent us downstairs for an MRI, and quickly began the process of figuring out how to schedule Judah for an emergency shunt surgery the very next morning.

Our sweet boy the day after his shunt surgery.

Our sweet boy the day after his shunt surgery.

A year later, one of Judah’s doctors showed me the MRI’s and pointed out the difference in brain damage from Judah’s initial bleed and from the hydrocephalus.  In those 2.5 months of being dismissed by doctors as an overly concerned parent the pressure of built-up fluid on Judah’s brain caused further damage.  I was devastated to see the difference and know it could have been avoided.

So now what?  Clearly neither side of the fence is perfect, so where do I take it from here?  My first step: Forgive and forget the past, and keep my eyes fixed forward.  I can’t afford to look back at my mistake or the mistakes of the doctors.  Would you know that since sharing publicly of the guilt I struggled with over not administering the vitamin K shot that I have not had one struggle with that guilt ever since???  Praise God! 🙂  And just as my mistake was unintentional I know the doctors’ mistakes were also unintentional.  God’s bigger than all of it!

Second step: Pray and find balance.  As I move forward I see my need for more wisdom and more prayer surrounding every decision made about the health of my family.  I can’t put God in a box.  He is not limited to only one way of bringing healing.  I have experienced supernatural healing in my body that came instantly in a prayer service.  I have witnessed God using a team of medical doctors to save my son’s life.   And I have used natural remedies successfully for a number of years……Balance…I am finding that balance…I’m so very appreciative of the doctors and therapists and midwives who have patiently walked with me as I ask questions, seek understanding, and, at times, take some extended time to seek the Lord before jumping in.  They’ve recognized that this is a new season for me and I’m thankful for their grace.

And I’m thankful for your grace as well.  The way you all have responded to me as I share this journey with you has been a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me.  Thank you! 🙂

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

All Things New

Life is busy.  Life with 6 children is busy.  Life homeschooling those 6 children is busy.  But my goodness, life with a child who has special needs is a new definition of “busy.”

In many ways I feel like my life has been a whirlwind these past 18 months.  There are days I find myself asking, “What did ‘normal’ life ever look like?”  I can’t remember. . .

I recently had one of those crazy mom days. . .Moms, you know what I’m talking about.  It was one of “THOSE” days. . . life was spinning all around me and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.

“Mom, can I have snack?”

“Mom, can you help me with math?”

“Mom, I need a spelling test.”

“Mom can I have another snack?”

“Mom, when’s lunch?”

“Mom!!!!!  I went poo poo!!!”

I was trying to answer a million questions, referee fights, help with school work, make meals; but all the while I was also trying to make sure I was taking care of Judah’s needs.  Feed Judah.  Do therapy with Judah.  Spend a couple hours in the chamber with Judah.  Feed Judah again.  More therapy.  More chamber time.  More feeding.  More therapy.

So what did I do?  I wish I could say I grabbed my Bible and a worship cd and went to my prayer closet.  But oh no.  Not this day.  I hid!!   In the bathroom!  I locked my bedroom door.  I locked my bathroom door.  And hid!   And this time it wasn’t my kids that found me.  It was Chad!  I heard our bedroom door open, then watched our bathroom door slowly creep open.  There he was, my handsome husband, discovering me, his bride, the mother of his children, hiding in the bathroom with coffee in one hand and ice cream in the other.  ha!

So yes, my life is busy.  But in some ways it really has slowed down.  No really!  It has!  At the beginning of this year we made a conscious decision to slow down a bit.  At one point last year I was taking Judah to as many as eight appointments each week.  That usually included at least one trip to Tampa.  But you can only run at that pace for so long before something has to give.  We started noticing some symptoms in my health that needed attention.  And we also noticed our children needed their mama home again.

Please pray for us as we seek the Lord as to what therapies we should be doing right now and which doctors we should be seeing.  There are so many opinions out there of what is best for my son.  I want God’s opinion!  He knows what Judah needs and He knows what our family needs.

He is making all things new.  In my heart.  In my home.  In my family.  And in Judah.

Thank you for loving us, encouraging us, and praying for us.  Your prayers are what carry us through!

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And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”