Wellness, Young Living

Podcast is Live!

I’ve had it in the back of my head to start a podcast for some time…but everything about it seems daunting! What platform to use, what content to talk about, can I stay “compliant” and not slip up? How do I edit it? What if my voice sounds terrible?

All these ideas floating in my head until I saw someone else’s post based on the book Start Ugly. Basically, just get it out there! It’s not going to be perfect! But done is better than perfect!

SO I got it out there! My very first little podcast, like a newborn sent into the world! It’s short and sweet and to the point! So give it a listen! If you’re like me and listen to podcasts at 1.5x or 1.75x you’ll blast through it in no time! Next week I’ll be going over the basic tools in your toolkit oils. Those oils you don’t want to be left without!

So head to your favorite place to listen to podcasts (except Google podcasts which I haven’t loaded to yet, or Pandora which takes 4-6 weeks from March 20th) and take a listen, give me a follow, and click on a rating if you’re so inclined!

Click HERE to listen on Spotify

Click HERE to listen

Parenting-thing

The Battle Belongs (Part 3)

Two and a half weeks has passed since Tatum was discharged from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, and so far her eye has continued to heal and look better and better!

If you missed part 2 you can read that here

Looking back I can see the repeated hand of Yahweh in our midst. The draining of the abscess spontaneously prevented her from needing surgery. After we recovered from a sleep shortage she felt pretty much back to normal–just stuck in a hospital room with the full attention of both of her parents. She was sort of in heaven, lol! She never experienced any pain despite what had to be a lot of pressure in her sinuses!

You can see on the right how the pus built up in the sinus cavity and into the orbital cavity, displacing her eyeball

To answer some questions I’ve received a lot:

The team of doctors *think* it started as a virus “with no symptoms” that made the cilia in her sinuses “tired” so they didn’t move out mucus–just on one side. At that point it became sinusitis, and the pus built up until it made it’s way into her orbital cavity and formed an abscess. Thankfully the abscess formed a head on the skin between her nose and eye and began to drain spontaneously, and continued to drain well with warm compresses.

She never felt any pressure or pain at all! She felt “sick” and had a fever on Christmas and the few days afterwards. On the 26th she woke up with her eye swollen shut.

There was nothing I could really have done to prevent it–how do you prevent something you don’t know is happening?! Yes, I asked multiple doctors.

There was nothing more I could have done than what we did (again, I asked because I don’t want to repeat this!). She was on antibiotics on the first day her eye swelled up. I even scheduled a repeat doctor visit because I was concerned the antibiotics she was on weren’t strong enough if it was periorbital cellulitis (which it was), so we switched and it seemed to improve. As someone who’s been able to handle almost every ailment at home with three kids (and a dog) for the past 8 years, I’ve made it my mission and my business to educate myself, and had three different doctors ask what my medical background was, lol. However, I think God was teaching me how little control I *actually* have.

And you know what–even if she HAD to have surgery, even if we had a much longer hospital stay, even if the really scary things that are associated with periorbital cellulitis had happened–he is STILL a good God. This world is broken–we broke it. He’s going to fix it all, eventually.

As a mama, reflecting on my time in the hospital I thought about how our Abba, our heavenly Daddy, does so much for us. I was *always* with her, an arm’s length away and ready to do whatever needed to be done. But I’m human. I got tired. I had my moment of tears when I learned they weren’t going to do surgery and I could release some emotion. I need my alone time. I get touched-out (like snuggling with her in her bed and she unknowingly elbowed me repeatedly in her sleep).

God doesn’t need “me” time. He doesn’t need a break from us. He doesn’t need a nap, need a break, need a cup of coffee. He’s always there, by our side, willing to do what He knows we need and be Who we need Him to be.

The girls and I have been listening to Everybody, Always (for kids) by Bob Goff on audio (read by him, which makes it even better). There’s a chapter where he talks about one of his kids who likes to skydive, and so he secretly took lessons to learn and told his son the next time he went skydiving to invite him to watch. Instead of just observing, he strapped on a parachute…much to the shock of his son…and assured him he’d be fine–how hard could it be? When it came time to jump, Bob talks about seeing his son leap out of an airplane and he had an overwhelming urge to be with him. He jumped so hard he literally jumped out of his sneakers. That kind of love–jumping out of your sneakers to be with someone–is one I know a lot of you have experienced, and I love knowing that amount of love is just a drop in the bucket compared to the love He feels for you.

So as I write this tonight, in an actual comfortable chair instead of the hard plastic one in the hospital, I’m so very thankful to rest in the knowledge of His love. To have experienced His indescribable peace. I have friends right now who are dealing with illness, looking at upcoming surgeries for themselves or their kids, or are sitting in a hospital room. My prayer is that you would feel him wrap His arms around you in His overwhelming love. If there’s a way I can pray for you, please feel free to drop me a line through this site or email me at kait@cultivatingabundantlife.com

And know that like in 2 Chronicles 20, the battle belongs to Yahweh. We pray, get prepared, and worship, and He takes care of the battle.

Tatum this past week earning her Bat badge in our homeschool group
Adventures, Family culture

We Did It!

As I write this I’m sitting in Chico, California, and all of our worldly possessions fit in a 10’x25′ storage unit down the street. We did it! We’re on the move and on the hunt for our next home!

Crazy as it sounds, we moved without a final destination in mind. Matt and I both can work remotely, we homeschool the kids, and we’re not sure where we want to plant some roots so we figured–why NOT? We moved to Oklahoma 7 years ago knowing we weren’t staying. Despite our house feeling like our little family haven, the state and area itself never felt like home. I’ve gotten that feeling of coming home to Orange County, Point Loma in San Diego, even places in foreign countries like Italy and Scotland and Romania. But interestingly enough never in Seattle or Oklahoma. Like a tree in a pot being moved around, looking for the place to be planted.

Our first stop is an adorable Airbnb in Jacksonville, Oregon. We’ll check out that area for a month, and if we love the area then we’ll look for a 6 month or year rental. If we feel that’s not quite “it,” we’ll continue to explore. Matt wants to spend time in Bend–which I think would be amazing but as far as my dream of a sustainable homestead, Bend’s 52-day growing season won’t cut it. We’ve heard a ton of outdoor people are moving to Boise, ID because of it’s proximity to outdoor activities. I’m not convinced, but you never know until you get there! And I’d really love to check out the Coeur d’Alene area. The evergreens and gorgeous lakes seem to just be calling to me!

The timeline for all of this is flexible, and we might spend a month back in Chico with family after our time in Oregon. We might do another Airbnb on the Oregon coast because…well it’s the coast and it’s just magical!

For now, the girls and I just wrapped up a week of traveling and meeting up with over 30 people (in 4 days! Crazy!). We truly loved it, and the girls were on a constant high meeting new friends and having new experiences!

We are just starting to get back into a routine of school and play and homecooked dinners. We have our Roy Boy with us, of course, and though Matt is traveling this week we’re looking forward to having our own little family altogether in one place for a bit of time.

Yes, I whipped out my yoga mat at a rest stop in Arizona because those hips needed some stretching! Those pants, however, were not stretchy, lol!

I’ve been packing to move since I put away fall and Christmas decorations in 2017, we got our storage unit in Oklahoma nearly a year ago, and I’m so glad to have that part behind me! I’m ready to not hear the sound of packing tape for awhile!

When we talk to people about our crazy wandering plans, I find a lot of people sigh and say they wish they could do that. No, it wasn’t easy getting to this point. It took a LOT of work. A LOT of planning. Hard goodbyes (for now). And it still will take a lot of planning and budgeting to make this work. But it IS possible. Whatever “one day” dream you have is possible if you make it work. I also talked to a lot of people in Oklahoma who, upon hearing we wanted to originally move to Colorado, responded with, “Yeah, we wanted to do that to…and 5/10/20 years later and we’re still here!” I didn’t want that to be us.

We’re not in our final destination yet. Yes there will be a lot of expectations not met. There will be a lot of expectations exceeded. It’s going to be like that WHEREVER you are in life. But if your heart is truly desiring something different from where you are in life, stop dreaming. Dreams are fun and great and expand your brain and imagination. But without planning and grit and perseverance and ACTION they stay in your head and heart. So dream, and then start planning your adventure!

Adventures, Family culture

The Past 9 Months

Well hey there, it’s been a minute, right?

Most of those who would follow this blog also follow on Instagram or Facebook, but in case you’re new here’s a recap!

Last January we decided it was time to sell the house, travel more, and figure out where we want to move–yay!

Then my brother and his wife moved back in with my parents so that got put on hold…fast forward to last summer and we spent an awesome two weeks in Colorado and Utah being with family, Matt and I went to the Young Living International Convention, our girls got to experience the farm in Mona, we hiked in the Rockies and got to see family. It was magical–the kids did awesome traveling and we couldn’t wait to go again!

After we got back we prepped and painted and finally got the house on the market…and had a full price offer from the first person to view it!

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Isn’t she pretty? She was a good home 🙂

We moved in with my parents, and planned on Thanksgiving with Matt’s parents in Paradise, CA when on November 8th I got a call. They were evacuating due to a fire, and so were a large portion of Matt’s family who lived there. Thank the Lord they all made it out, but Matt’s parents, sister and her fiancé, aunt and uncle, another aunt, and a cousin and her husband, along with numerous other family friends lost their homes in one fell swoop.

Considering by the time we knew it was all gone, and our flight was scheduled to leave on November 13th, we had some big decisions to make. We found an Airbnb on the southern Oregon coast and booked places to stay for a week while the smoke cleared out, and flew to California. The first night we spent with Matt’s cousin and his wife and their 3 girls…oh my goodness! The riotous joy of 6 little girls that grew to 7 girls and one baby boy when another cousin and his wife came–it was a cousin-fest! Though we left that day for Oregon, the girls couldn’t wait to get back and play!

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Oregon was magical. There’s no other word for it. The beach, the sunsets, the ocean, the redwoods–it was deep nourishment to my soul.

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After getting back to Chico, we decided we needed to spend more time there. With rental cars at a ridiculous price, and Matt needing a new(er) car anyway, we decided to cancel our flights, buy a car, and drive home! Yeah, we’re a bit crazy.

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We got back to Oklahoma December 9th, and flew right into the holidays!

Now we’ve rounded the corner into February and I’m so ready to get back to the oily education that I love! We’ll be filling up that calendar more, and begin offering a lot more classes you can access at anytime on our YouTube page–subscribe to get the latest updates!

I’ve dive more into that later, just wanted to give a bit of a filler for what we’ve been up to the past 9 months! We’re not 100% sure what our next step is but we keep moving forward with faith!

Adventures, Family culture, Parenting-thing

5 Lessons From Hiking With Kids

Looking ahead to summer there are a lot of trails I would like to see, especially during our two weeks in Colorado and Utah coming up in June.

Last week I nabbed a pair of Ahnu Sugarpine hiking shoes from REI (thank you dividend!) and when they got here today we all were so excited we decided to go try them out right away. I figured it would be good to get them all outside and on a “hike,” because while they’ll play for hours on a playground getting from Point A to Point B is a whole different thing.

The big girls pulled on their hiking boots as I put on mine, and we headed to Mitch Park with a backpack, 3 water bottles, and two types of snacks for a bit of an experiment.

All went fine at first. The girls scampered, giggled, climbed rocks, pointed out flowers blooming in the grass…

You only wished you were as cool as them. I can almost hear some theme music…

That was the first 5 minutes.

It was almost 90° outside, and despite the high winds their cheeks were getting flushed and they started begging for water like they were lost in the Sahara.

We stopped in the shade and everyone chugged from the big water bottle…impatiently waiting their turn.

When Tatum was done she squatted down so I took the opportunity to point out she was in a lightning position…

 

So we all crouched in the lightning position. Yay us. And the 834 lightning-related questions that followed from my curious 6-year-old.

We chose our next route and Kenna was fascinated with the sign…and chose to show it off in style. This kid has more ‘tude and style than she knows what to do with!

A few minutes later I got my first “Up?” from Bennett and I checked my phone to see our distance… .35 of a mile 🤦🏼‍♀️We made it another third of a mile and one more water bottle down before I gave in and got her up and into the back of my backpack (finally putting those WAFA skills to use!) and we kept on cruisin’.

We spotted birds, drank more water, ate a snack, drank more water.

Lesson #1   Assume my children are part dromedary and carry three times the amount of water I think we need. Let’s just say we’re going nowhere in the mountains without a LifeStraw.

I noticed a gully with a clear cut trail across that cut out a significant part of our path. Since Tatum was exclaiming she needed to go to the bathroom, a shortcut looked like a good idea.

We started downhill when Kenna–my often too-fearless kid decided to become terrified of going down a little trail. And of bugs…all of the sudden. Kenna, who often will pick up bugs to inspect them, squeal with delight over the cuteness, and I have to warn not to touch the quarter inch stinger on the cicada killer. But there she was, having a mini meltdown in a gully about all the bugs…that I couldn’t see.

Lesson #2 Assume your kids will do a 180° on their preferences and personalities at any time.

Once we reached the bottom of the gully it actually turned out to be one of the most interesting features I’ve seen in Mitch Park–ever! And we’ve been walking there for six years!

Once at the bottom it wasn’t quite so windy, and there were trees and bushes so I gave Tatum permission to relieve herself “like a hiker.” You’d have thought she hit the jackpot–ever since she first peed next to a tree while hiking in Colorado it’s the height of outdoorsy excitement for her.

Lesson #3 Always carry toilet paper/tissues/baby wipes and plastic bags with you. Thankfully I was prepared.

With 90% of our water gone we ate a few more snacks, Kenna calmed down about the bugs, Bennett was down from the backpack and exploring, and things were looking up. I even managed to find a rock to do a group photo…this was the only place where the wind wouldn’t knock the phone over and I could prop it up.

Lesson #4 Always carry one of those mini tripods for your phone. Memories are the big things and the everyday moments.

 

We hiked up the hill–Bennett insisting on doing it herself a lot and sometimes fully face-planting in the red Oklahoma dirt but keeping on. The girls spotted some trash we gathered and threw away (made my Leave No Trace heart so proud), and by the time we were just maybe one fifth of a mile away from the car they decided they were having way too much fun to go home.

Bennett became quite desperate to show me every flower in the grass. Kenna’s eyes became quite adept at finding all the bird houses and bird feeders in the area. Tatum spun in circles. When I realized it was almost 6:00 and we needed to get home to make dinner, Bennett became the noodle child, Kenna wanted to stop and admire everything, and Tatum became the task master trying to help me drive them forward. Which leads me to my last lesson.

Lesson #5 Give yourself three times the normal amount of time to do any hike. 

Yeah, that has to be the slowest seven-tenths of a mile EVER.

BUT, it’s a starting point.

Everyone ate a BIG dinner (which isn’t always the norm).

Bennett crashed as soon as we put her in her crib.

I hardly had a moment to realize my new hiking shoes were amazingly comfortable…even carrying a 10 pound backpack and a 30 pound kid.

And the girls want to “hike” again. Tomorrow.

I’d call that a success…but glad of my lessons learned!

Adventures, Family culture

Brown Days of Waiting

So much has gone back and forth. When to put the house on the market, my brother and his wife moving back in with my parents, can we travel before we sell our house? It seems like every week there’s a new factor in all of the decision-making and for right now it’s just an aggravating state of waiting. And listening–seeing where the Lord wants us to be. That’s the hardest part, not just picking up and hightailing it to the mountains but really listening to see where we are to go. We know it’s somewhere, just not sure where.

In Oklahoma the grass is all brown and most of the trees have lost their leaves. Winter here makes me actually miss the Pacific Northwest and it’s evergreens!  Everything is brown, dry, and the dry winter air makes the sunlight appear sharp and harsh. Thankfully these girls still love being outside–no matter the weather!

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Thankfully yesterday and today we’ve had a wintry mix, and sitting in my comfy chair by the fire with a frozen world outside feels nice and snug. The girls thoroughly enjoyed playing outside–I really enjoy that the big girls are old enough to play outside by themselves without constant supervision. I can see them through the windows as they imagine their own little worlds, taking refuge in their playhouse when the sleet got too heavy, mowing the snow (because that needs to be done), and trying to sled in their bilibos down our slight incline.

In talking, Matt and I decided that since we’re not making our big trips quite yet (and aren’t sure when and how that will play out exactly…just that it will!), we are going to start exploring local and semi-local locations while we’re still here.

First up is a place called Robbers Cave State Park. With hillier and rockier landscape than here plus pine trees, we’re looking forward to the change of scenery–even if it’s just for a couple of days! We rented a cabin so we don’t have to worry about setting up camp for one night, and this time the Bennie girl will be joining us!

When we took the big girls camping last fall it made a huge impact on Kenna–she still asks weekly to go camping. Last week in the car she rattled off to me EVERY DETAIL of our camping trip, from when she wore her floater to when she didn’t, what we ate, what she played–that kid remembers it all!

So-does anyone have any suggestions within 5ish hours of OKC? We’re looking at the Great Salt Plains State Park, the Chickasaw Cultural Center, a trip to Dallas, maybe a trip to Austin, Kansas City, maybe Eureka Springs in Arkansas…any other places not to miss while we’re here?

Writing

Pre-Kid Kait

At the beginning of this month I, like millions of others, set about making some resolutions. As I wrote down things I wanted to do more in general (or less in general) a picture started taking shape.

  • Write more often. Privately. Publicly. Getting it down on paper or screen.
  • Play the guitar more often (and learn to play the ukelele better).
  • Do yoga everyday (so far I’ve only had a few days where I did absolutely nothing…most days I at least do a few things to wake up or with the kids).
  • Continue to get my body into better shape (hey, 20 pounds lighter than last year–this is one resolution I’m just continuing to keep!) so I can keep up with these munchkins. And climb mountains. And rock climb. And kayak. And snorkel. And maybe try surfing again when we get to a beach this year.
  • Have more adventures. More camping. More exploring. More time outside.

The things I was wanting to do more of weren’t new things, per say. They were things I did more of before the advent of those smallish people in my life.

I love personality quizzes. Florence Littauer, Gary Smalley, Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, colors, gems…I love ’em all! What I like is when there’s a question you’re having a hard time deciding between, is that many of them suggest to think about what you were like as a child. (Hopefully) before you had to make any hard life choices or have any do-what-you-have-to-do-to-survive experiences.

As a kid I was down for adventures. Somehow I managed to talk my parents into letting me go to Florida and Venezuela as a 12 year old (had my 13th birthday there) for 5 weeks!

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This is the morning I left for Florida/Venezuela…my dad was thrilled

When I was 6 or 7 I read in a kids magazine that leopards were being hunted for their fur, so naturally I made a sign and sat in my driveway protesting the killing of leopards to whoever drove by…our cul-de-sac. I always had some new idea, some place I wanted to go…I read Into Thin Air when I was eleven and fantasized about climbing Everest. I realize now my childhood dream to be a missionary was really more about getting to travel than anything more noble.

I wrote. A lot. Stories, poems, thoughts, lists…before the commonplace of the computer screen I wrote on lined paper and stapled it together to make books. Getting something typed up was a laborious effort and I treasured the printed results–with wite-out and ball point pen markups over the type.

In high school and college I really got the travel bug with repeat trips to Romania, all over the UK, Ireland, Italy, and lots of US trips thrown in there. Throw in a week-long backpacking trek in the Grand Canyon, kayaking in Mexico, and learning to rock climb and subsequently practice yoga and there was no turning back.

In the crush of people outside Buckingham Palace during the Changing of the Guard

And if you followed along in 2008, I wrote Your Morning Cup. Little happenings to keep connected to family and friends, but also a journal in some sorts…sort of like this 😉

So in the past few years, I’ve found my primary personality trait–the red, choleric, lion, ruby, ENTP-A, however you want to classify it–has stayed the same. But removed from the things I love doing, that I feel are what make me ME, my secondary traits shifted from sanguine (blue, fun, otter, sapphire) to melancholy (green, planner, beaver, emerald). I had three kids in five years–I was/am in survival mode. We moved across the country, bought a house, started new jobs, started other new jobs, lost a job, started another new job. I’ve been homeschooling for two years full-time (4 years part-time). I run a business with a whole new group of lifelong friends. We started a Life Group. To say we’re busy is an understatement!

But as the months tick by…you know, where I’m not nursing every few hours, only one is in diapers full-time, Matt’s job is secure, and my business is beginning to take on a life of it’s own…I’m finding I might have some breathing room for the things I love. Littles now will get their own ukuleles if I pull out my guitar (rather than insist on playing mine). I can leave my laptop on the counter and write in spurts between snacks and potty help and playtime. They enjoy doing yoga with me, and we unroll 3 yoga mats on a regular basis to wake our bodies up or quiet them down before bed. They all really enjoy the child watch at our YMCA so I get to exercise AND shower (how awesome is that?). And now that we’re on the precipice of leaving bottles and cribs behind and naps are a bit more flexible, it’s getting that much easier to load up Big Brutus (as the girls have dubbed him) and explore.

There’s hope! Not that these little years have been bad by any means! Don’t misread that! They’ve just been hard. It’s hard to feel like the shower you take at 2 in the morning counts as “me time.” It’s maddening to hear the words “itsy bitsy spidah?!” repeated 11, 837 times. There’s a lot of estrogen in this house, and to a tomboy like me it’s a lot to process (there’s no crying in baseball!). Trying to find time to connect with my soulmate while not doing the some of the things that originally connected us (being in the great outdoors…love you Oklahoma but we’ve been incredibly spoiled by California and Washington…) has been a challenge (thank God we’re both foodies!). These have been beautiful, sweet, stretching years. But now we’re able to come up for a little air and reevaluate things.

And so I sat back and looked at my New Years Resolutions, and realized that–for a lot of it–I was aiming to get back to Pre-Kid Kait. Just modified. Pre-Kid Kait 2.0, or Post-Kid Kait who’s going to be more awesome than ever. Lately I’ve been re-taking a few personality tests and that sanguine, fun, otter trait is once again secondary. And I hope that whatever passions my kids exhibit now and in the near future–that I nurture those passions like my parents did with me. I still have the Life Magazine book titled “The Greatest Adventures of All Time” that my parents put in my stocking for Christmas in 2000, because to me it was validation that those instincts in me–to adventure, explore, seek out–were good. Were worth pursuing.

And so, in a roundabout way I guess this really is about my kids (isn’t everything?). That me reconnecting with the things that resonate with my core will help me encourage those passions I see budding in my kids. That they, like me, will be able to grow up secure in the knowledge that God placed certain desires in them, and I’m there to help them in any way I can. And because they will emulate what they see, I want them to see a woman who does what she loves–and (surprise!) she can do it as a mama if she wants. Those are New Years Resolutions worth pursuing.

My mom used to tell me, “If you want to be a ditch digger, I’ll buy you the best shovel.”

Here’s to using my shovel.