Wednesday, June 3, 2015

On Being a Kindred Spirit

Shantelle with her twins Sophia and Zachariah and her husband, John-Mark.
If I've learned anything from being entrenched in a "move every three years" lifestyle, it's that I need people.  Well, people need people.  We need people to walk through life together.  We need people through the good and the bad.  To love and support us.  To laugh with and to cry with.  To really DO life together.

I'm a big Anne of Green Gables fan and if you aren't, you should be and if you are, let's be friends.  The books are full of quirky but wise truths.  Throughout, Anne searches out what she calls "kindred spirits".  When you are fortunate enough to find one of those you hold on tight.  Across the miles and times zones and difficulties of moving.  Because they are special.

One of my kindredest of spirits, Mica, is partnering with me this month so we can bless our mutual friend Shantelle.  Shantelle's story is below and I think you will find yourself inspired by her but also inspired to help her.  She is a fighter.  And now we fight with her the only way we know serving her family through this difficult and uncertain time.

Shantelle's story, written by her husband, follows.

Shantelle has been a fighter for her whole life. When she was 12 years old she entered the foster care system with her siblings, where she stayed at a few homes, was separated from her siblings, and eventually found a home with the Graham family. While attending college she worked at Washington Mutual where she eventually worked her way up to assistant manager. In 2006 Shantelle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer, and after doing a strong regiment of chemotherapy, was considered in “remission.” Soon after her first battle with cancer she ran into an old friend from youth group, John-Mark Carlson, who needed a money order at the bank, and walked out with her phone number (good for him). Shantelle and John-Mark were married in September of 2007 and were excited for the future.

Unfortunately, the future took a wrong turn when Shantelle was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma a second time in 2008. Her best treatment option was a stem cell / bone marrow transplant. This was difficult news to take, especially since the transplant was going to leave Shantelle infertile. Knowing this, John-Mark and Shantelle, decided to harvest and freeze embryos to give some hope to what seemed like a hopeless situation. They were given the OK by doctors to try for one month before treatment to harvest embryos. God’s hand was in the process every step of the way, and they were overjoyed to see the nurse amazed at how successful the extraction of embryos went.

After the embryo process, came the stem cell transplant. Shantelle was to undergo a week long regiment of radiation everyday, along with chemo for several days in a row. She made it 6 days before being checked into the hospital for 17 days, where her stem cells were reintroduced and she could begin a long healing process. This was by far the hardest treatment she had ever had, and she was once again considered in remission.

Sadly her remission only lasted for 9 months, and Shantelle and John-Mark knew she was running out of treatment options. They had been previously told her only option was a bone marrow transplant from a donor, which had a 25 percent chance of survival. God had other plans. Shantelle was directed towards a trial study for a new drug, that not only could kill the cancer but not have as many side effects as chemo. The study was at Stanford University, where Shantelle and John-Mark flew down every three weeks for treatment for almost six months. Shantelle was told that very rarely do people loose their hair from the treatment. Well, Shantelle must be a rare breed, because she did lose her hair for a third time. With hair loss also came health, because the treatment was a wonderful blessing, and she’s been in remission from Hodgkin’s since September of 2010.

Because of all her battles Shantelle does a CT scan every 6 months, and in 2011 the doctors said they saw some “irregularities” with her appendix and wanted to have it removed. After the surgery, Shantelle and John-Mark were informed that when the doctors removed her appendix, there was a tumor in her appendix that had ruptured the wall of her appendix and released a “mucus” into her body cavity. They removed as much mucus as they could during the procedure but there was a possibility that it would continue to grow but they would continue to monitor it by CT scan.

After Shantelle’s appendix removal she was given the green light by her doctors to have kids! After being told by some fertility doctors that she wouldn’t be able to carry a baby, Shantelle and John-Mark were blessed to find a fertility doctor who had worked with many cancer patients, and was confident that she could carry a baby herself. And in 2011 Shantelle became pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl! The whole time they could see God’s hand in the process, it was amazing to see. On January 23rd, 2012 Shantelle gave birth to Sophia Celeste Carlson and Zachariah John Carlson.

A little over three years past, with good health and growing kids. In April of this year, Shantelle had some health concerns, which led to a CT scan, where the doctors found that the mucus from her appendix was growing again. She was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP), a rare condition characterized by the presence of mucin-producing tumors (and the mucin) in the abdominal cavity. The only treatment is an extensive surgery, referred to by some as the mother of all surgeries, it can take 8-12 hours, and sometimes longer. Average time in the hospital is 10 days with a recovery time of 4 to 6 months.

On June 16th Shantelle and John-Mark are planning to go to San Diego for this specialized surgery, they could use all your prayers. 

You can follow their story here at their CaringBridge site where they will try to keep us all updated.

Here are ways you can help the Carlson family....

1) Pray - Please continue to lift them up in prayer.  Pray for their children, the doctors and that ultimately God will be glorified through their situation.

2) Simply donate to their Go Fund Me account.

3) As usual I will be donating 50% of my profits this month to the Carlson family.  If you would like to order you can email me or visit my website

I will be making a bulk order for those who live near Mica so she can help distribute.  So if you are interested in smaller items like sunscreen, eye cream, self tanner etc you can purchase this way.

4) Mica is a distributer for Young Living Oils.  She is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about oils and their every day usefulness!  I encourage you to contact her if you have questions.  We have been using oils at our house since September and I have been thrilled with how helpful they have been!

Here is how you can support Shantelle and her family through Mica.

If you are already on my team, anything you order, the proceeds I get will go to supporting her.
 If you are not already using Young Living Essential Oils, you can sign up to get a premium starter kit.

Or you could get the Ningxia Red kit which is an incredible antioxidant drink or the thieves kit which has everything you need to replace the toxins in your home! From thieves cleaner, to thieves toothpaste and mouthwash! Thieves is an incredible antibacterial oil that they have used to create an awesome line of all things you need to keep you healthy!

 So if you want to join the team in starting a healthier life style and supporting Shantelle, let’s get started!

Here is how to sign up with 
Step 1: Click here to be taken to the sign up page. (This should open up in a new window so you can refer back to this page to continue the instructions)
Step 2: Make sure “Member” (which is wholesale customer) is checked. This is the ONLY way to get the 24%, purchase the Starter Kits, and have the opportunity to earn free product and points through Essential Rewards. My number is already in the boxes, so you get to join my awesome team!
Step 3: Input all your personal information. This will include your social security number for tax purposes. Talk to me about this if you have concerns! Be sure to remember your username, password and pin number for future reference. I don’t suggest using your bank pin as this is your password when calling Customer Service.
Step 4: Select the “Premium Starter Kit” that you want for $150. This is the best deal (you get the 11 oils and the diffuser shown above) and the kit I would recommend and purchased myself. I wish I could get another! Or the ningxia red or thieves kit.
Step 5: I always say to explore your Starter Kit before signing up for Essential Rewards. But us addicts, we love our rewards! This is how you can earn free product, cheaper shipping rates and points to buy free oils later on. For now, you can just click “No, thank you.”
Step 6: Confirm your enrollment by clicking “I Agree.”
Step 7: Almost done! Now that you’ve created your account this is where you can checkout and purchase your Starter Kit or add more products (you will get the 24% off in this order and any future order if you stayed with Member not Retail Customer on the first page). Make sure to complete this process until you see confirmation.
Step 8: Wait impatiently by the door until your box of fun arrives!
We can’t wait for you to join our oily party!
 Step 9: I contact you and do a little dance! And I am available for any and all questions!

Or Sign up here!
Thank you!!!

Donations for John Mark and Shantelle will help pay for hotel bills, flights and lost work.  I love that working these small part-time jobs give Mica and I the chance to bless others in ways that we wouldn't be able to do otherwise!

Thank you in advance for supporting this amazing family!  Please continue to keep them in your prayers!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Ability to Love

In my opinion a new baby is always means for a celebration.  The gift of life is a beautiful thing.  The gift of motherhood and fatherhood.  Of the opportunity to love someone in a way you could never have imagined.

But adoption.

What a magnificent thing.  What a beautiful life picture of the way the Father cares for us.  His deep deep love for us.  His willingness to accept us into his family...sinful....broken....lost.

Earthly adoption can only be a glimpse into the love of Christ.  A love so deep and powerful that our minds can not even grasp how wide and deep it is.

As the Tate family has posted these pictures over the past week I find myself in tears each time a new one pops up.  Watching them gush over their adorable son.  Seeing how perfectly he fits in their family.  What a majestic gift.  The ability to love. It's breathtaking.

If you are unfamiliar with adoption you might not realize the cost.  It's an emotional process that is very expensive.  I'm honored to be able to contribute towards the expenses incurred to bring this sweet boy home.

Here is how you can help!

I am an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields.  If you are unfamiliar with the company you might recognize their earlier product; Proactiv.  The Doctors have creative additional products that target everything from fine lines, acne, dark spots, eczema and dark circles.  

My website can be found at  I encourage you to take a look at products we have to offer.  All of our products are amazing and come with a 60-day moneyback guarantee.  

I will be placing 2 bulk orders this month.  One order will go directly to the Tates for family and friends in their local area who would like to order.  If you aren't in their area but are still interested in ordering I'll be placing an order and will mail the order to you.  If you are interested in purchasing one of our fabulous regimens or tools please email me at so we can dicuss the cheapest pricing for you!

50% of my proceeds will go towards sweet Shepherd's adoption this month.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me via email or facebook (Jordan can get us in touch).

Thank you for supporting this amazing family.  I can not wait to continue to watch their story unfold!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Operation Tatertot(s)

It is such an honor to introduce this family to you.  Chris & Jordan are siblings of friends of ours from Charleston. Got that?  Their story will make you cry and smile and make you wish you could take them out for a cup of coffee.

Well, instead of coffee let's bless them in another way.  Chris & Jordan have until friday to raise a HUGE sum of money to finalize their adoption.  Please consider donating and sharing their story!  I know you will be as moved by it as I am.


We are Chris and Jordan and we have been together for seven years and married for four! We met at Clemson where we were assigned as next door neighbors in an apartment complex on campus. :) We were just friends at first, but fell in love a little over a year later, and we got married about a year and a half after we started dating! We have loved being married since our super fun wedding day! 

When we started dating, we both talked about adoption and how we both felt led to adopt one day, but we also both talked about how we wanted to have a combination of biological children and adopted children, hopefully many of each! We really were grateful that adoption was on both of our hearts because it was never a hard conversation to have with one another. It was never an "if" but always a "when." We settled into married life and our jobs and we looked forward to the day we would add to our family of two.

Almost a year and a half into marriage we found out we were pregnant! I was nervous, excited, and full of joy. I had dreamt of being a Mom for as long as I could remember, so I couldn't believe that in nine little months I would be holding our first baby. I didn't waste any time picking out nursery items and building my registry before I even knew baby's gender. 

At our 20 week ultrasound we were so anxious to find out if we were carrying a boy or a girl. We had had one other ultrasound when we first got pregnant at 8 weeks but hadn't had any others in between. We left the appointment so excited that we were having a girl! We picked her name and we told our families and we were half way done with this pregnancy. 

Our ultrasound scans were sent to our doctor that week and we received a call about a week after our appointment that changed our life forever. The doctor told us that something appeared to be wrong with our baby, maybe Down syndrome, maybe a heart defect, or maybe some brain abnormalities (or all of the above.)
I can't adequately explain what this felt like to hear. Our world came crashing down as we began searching for information on what could be wrong. An appointment was set up for us to see a specialist the next morning, and the news only got worse the more we learned. It appeared that our little girl had some sort of fatal condition, but it's cause and name would remain unknown. At first the doctors were unsure if she would live or die in the womb, but as she continued to grow (slowly) in the womb they mentioned that there may be a tiny chance she could live once delivered.

We held on to this small small chance as nobody could tell us why anything was wrong. She appeared to have issues with organ development, the biggest issue being in her brain. She had contractured joints at the wrists and ankles, and her stomach wasn't developing properly.

The rest of the pregnancy was traumatic and intense as we did testing and had multiple ultrasounds, only to find out that we may not have answers for what was happening. She lived to full term and was born alive, and a team of specialists waited there in the room to see if she might have a chance at life.

Our little girl, Ellie, lived for about twenty minutes, and I finally held her to my chest as she left the earth. 
To this day, the doctors are unsure of what happened. We both come from big, healthy families, and we have no history of genetic abnormalities.

The doctors took comfort in this information as well as in our test results which all came back clear and they told us that we should be good to go from this point on. These things can happen sometimes and it seems like it's just an anomaly. We ended up taking great comfort in this and as we healed and grieved we look forward to the day that we would try to get pregnant again. 

We began to heal, although we knew life would never be the same without her around. Life continued to move on and after nine months we decided to try to get pregnant again. We were so surprised and excited when we found out we were pregnant the first month of trying. I had a lot of fears during the first part of the pregnancy but I thought often of how the doctors were so confident that it wouldn't happen again. We finally got to our 20 week ultrasound and I was so excited to get it over with. I was tired of worrying and I was ready to spend the rest of my pregnancy relaxing and doing all of the fun things I didn't get to do with Ellie.

As we sat in the ultrasound room our worst fear became true as we found out that Our second daughter appeared to have the same thing that our first daughter did. We were shocked, heartbroken, and confused. The rest of the pregnancy was exhausting and very intense emotionally.

Elsie our second daughter was born at 40 weeks and three days and she was alive for a few moments before she passed away. We didn't have a team waiting this time because we knew that her condition was the same as Ellie's, and our plan was just to hold her as soon as she was delivered. 

We got to love on her and snuggle her and again our hearts were so broken. We left the hospital for a second time empty-handed. After struggling with these two losses back to back I knew that I was ready to jump into the world of adoption as quickly as Chris was ready. We actually ended having our homestudy done less than a month after Elsie passed away and we were put on the waiting families list.

We were presented for a few different babies but had not yet matched in the first few months. I stayed encouraged as I was prepared to wait many months to be matched. We were pleasantly surprised when we unexpectedly matched with a baby just four months after having our homestudy complete. What is even crazier is that this baby we were matched with was already born and ready to come home with us. We are currently preparing to travel to pick him up as he was born at the very end of April. We already feel bonded with him and as I prayed for our baby to arrive I knew that I would feel a connection as soon as it was right. When I saw his picture for the first time my heart was so happy and it was as if I already knew him.

Because of the urgency of our matching situation we still have a good ways to go in our fundraising campaign. We fully believe that God has called us to this adoption and that it will be fully funded. We can't wait to pick up our little man and we can't wait to share with him the story of how he was able to join our family and the story of his sisters.

Thank you so much for all of your support and for all of your love and we can't wait to share him with you. We hope our story will encourage you to never give up and to stay strong through the hardest times. Feel free to see more of our story (as it unfolds) at

You can find the Tate's fundraising page here!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tuesday's Treasury

I've missed posting my miscellaneous moments on Mondays.  I did it for a couple of years and it really helped me capture the little things that I wanted to remember.  Those are some of my favorite posts to go back and read because they truly show what life is like at our house!

I've decided to bring it back but on Tuesdays.  It will be a treasury of moments (get the book allusion?)

Why am I posting on Monday this week?  Mostly because it's my blog and I can't wait.  Maybe I'll do one Monday AND Tuesday this week.  Every story needs a rebel right?

I've been getting a little nostalgic as we approach this kiddo's birthday.  He was the motivation behind this little space.  I wanted a place to share what life was like as a family of three.  Now here we are 5 years later and I just can't believe how big he is getting.  Today I gave him a couple of letter cookies since he SO politely asked!  I told him I wished he had an O because then we could spell boy.  That little creative kid said...can't we just use your cracker as an O?  So he got my cracker too!

It's no secret I've been missing Washington.  My feelings deserve more than a paragraph so I'll just say the transition has continued to be hard for me.  Nights like this make it better.  I've challenged myself to look for everyday beauty here.  It's not always nature, but when it is I get a little flutter in my stomach.  I love the way God loves on me.  Meets me where I am.  Do you see I love you written in the skies too?  Let's be friends!

I like to moderately go all out for the kids' first birthday.  Pinterestish worthy.  I found that as I was creating bits and pieces for her party that it really made me feel alive.  Not sure how to explain that in words yet.  

There is a commercial on TV right now that says "DIY is in our DNA".  And I think they are right.  Maybe?  Creating feels good.  Not sure what that means for me in terms of what I'm going to create but I'm excited to explore the concept more fully.  I'll be posting lots of recipes and what I did to prep for Little Girl's Derby Day party!

Speaking of that girl.  She is already following in her brother's footsteps.  Found her in the pantry the other day munching on piles of raisins!

We went to KY a couple of weekends ago and I had the chance to look at all of the pictures and journals my Mom saved when my Namaw moved out of her house.  Wow oh wow!!!  I can not WAIT to get back and dig into this one.  It's a journal from 1917, in perfect condition.  It chronicles my great-grandma's wedding day!!

Doesn't everyone from 1-100 play with silly string at their birthday party?  You are missing out my friends.  Missing out.  That's my Dad by the way.  No mercy.

Why did I include this random picture? I love how it perfectly illustrates how my business fits into my life.  It's not the focus of the shot.  It doesn't overwhelm it.  It's just a part.

I've been a part of Rodan + Fields for almost 2 years now and it continues to bless our family in so many ways.  I wish I could sit down with each and every one of you and share why I love it so much.  It's helped me develop new and meaningful friendships.  It's given me a confidence in myself that I sometimes felt was lost after being "just" a stay at home mom.  (Obviously I say that in jest because Mommying is one of the hardest jobs out there...but I think you know what I mean.)  It's given us disposable income.  It's enabled us to help others.  And honestly?  It's super fun!!!

I can't WAIT to share with you my May adoption family.  Their story is incredible.  I'll be running some HUGE incentives this month because I want to support them in an amazing way!

If you have been thinking about RF...being a customer...being a consultant...or even just being a connector and telling you friends about it, I would LOVE to talk to you.  Email me!  laura_euler at  I'll send you a free mini-facial and put you into a drawing for a free Essentials product. Who doesn't like free stuff?

Hope you enjoyed this little treasury.  These are really the moments we live for.  The everyday.  The reality.  It's just like a storybook.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kelsey's Room

Well after almost 7 months I have finally finished this little space. It's my favorite room in the house and it was so fun to decorate!

Got my crafting skills out and made this banner thanks to encouragement from a sweet Instagram friend! Love how it turned out and it was so easy! Rug is a bath mat from Marshalls!

Kelsey's bonnets from Beaufort Bonnet and a dress that was mine growing up. Heart hoop is by Canfield House and print by Brave Little Taylor. 

Bear and quilt is made by Ashley of Heartmade Life. Scripture card is byMelissa  Beaver and the print in the wall is one of my favorite by Lindsey from Pen & Paint. The cute little elephants are by Carkandesign. 

I bought the chest at a flea market for a steak and my Dad painted it for me. 

Isn't that little elephant adorable? My friend Sarah from Sarahmade Creations sent me that! It's paired next string art I found at Target. The initial colors were horrible so I painted it to match!  I got these letters at Hobby Lobby and painted them as well. 

This mirror was another flea market find. I painted the edges white and then wrapped a string of lights from World Market in gold ribbon. Then I attached then to the frame. I love how this turned out!

Here is the other side! String art and "love" sign above the mirror were both crafts we did in MOPS this year. The print is by Brave Little Taylor and the hoop with Keleey's name is by Amy Kavelaris. Isn't it gorgeous?

I just love her little space! 

February-April 2014

Still playing catchup.  This might be the longest post ever.

Ma & Valvalval came to town to visit.  Bath hair is Ma's speciality.  

She clearly missed her calling.

I awesome?

The view from our bedroom window never gets old

I've never seen so many rainbows!  Spring 2014 was a gorgeous time.

We walk along the waterfront any chance we get.  The boys love all the exploring they get to do and we love the view.  

The boys think the "couch bed" is the greatest thing ever.  They want me to unfold it every single day.

Face after his first Oreo

Reedster wasted no time here...

Love all the quirks and special spots in our Tacoma house

And again with the view from our bedroom window

Another waterfront walk

One of my favorite pictures ever!

Baby Millie!

Date day with the Reedster while S is at school

Oh the PNW flowers!

Ice cream date

Tiny little guy!  Almost 2!

That mountain.  Always showing off.

More waterfront love!

Dr. Suess day at school

Titlow Park

Train lover!

ready for the CATS to play

Someone else likes the state puzzle too!

Fox Island Beach...this is what the boys think of when you say beach

It was SO COLD that day!

Our little neighborhood. Like out of a Storybook.  Seriously.

Hiking in Puget Park.

Looking up from the gulch.  If you look close enough you can see a 17 flying over

Our bridge from below

Cuddles from this guy are rare...I'll take what I can get!

BFFs for life.  Enjoying Tides with our favorites!

Surprise surprise...more waterfront walking!

This site never gets old.  Seeing those plane fly overhead is so comforting!


Baby girl liked to hang out on my left side.  

The colors this day were the most beautiful I've ever seen!


Love this shot to remind me of our house

We spent a lot of time looking at buses and trucks going by

One last waterfront walk before baby arrives!

This was just a few days before Kelsey arrived

Today is the big day!!!!

If you are still reading let's be best friends.  Because that was a LOT of pictures!


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