Sunday, October 16, 2016


There is so much influence through social media in today's world. So much. Between political views, how to raise children, how many people you know, and faith. Sometimes I can't stand to look at my newsfeed. Especially with the upcoming election.

Today I don't want to talk about who you're going to vote for (It's your right as an American to vote for who you believe is best. It's also your facebook friend's right to vote for who they think is best. It might be different. And that's ok.) I don't want to talk to you about how to raise your kids (This also is an individual thing. You know what works best for your family. Do that. There is no book on this subject.) I don't really care how many people you know (As long as you surround yourself with quality people who enrich your life, it can be one or a million.)

I do want to talk about my faith. It might be different from yours. I won't push my beliefs on you. I promise. And you don't have to finish reading this if you're not interested. That's ok too.

I want to talk about my faith and this face. The oldest child in our family.

I was raised in a Christian household. Lutheran to be exact. We went to Sunday School every week. We followed it with church and breakfast at McDonald's. I went through confirmation with my younger sister. We attended youth group. We loved the fellowship & friendships.
I had David almost 17 years ago. My faith was shaken, but not broken. We moved away from my home church. It took a long time to find a church that felt like home to us. We now attend a Methodist church with a wonderful support system. It may be a different denomination than I grew up with, but we still follow the same beliefs. It feels right.
When David was 3, one doctor told us that we should not expect him to live into his 20's. While shocking to hear, at that time, 20 seemed so far away to us. Through the years, we've been told similar things in more round about ways. Still hard to hear. Then 3 years ago we saw that same doctor who was the first one to utter those words to us. And he said them again. While David seems healthy on a day-to-day basis, he is at severe risk for micro-aspiration and other minor ailments to you or I, but major to him. While he's grown larger with age, sadly, his immune system remains the same-extremely vulnerable. And when he told us the same thing 3 years ago that he told us when David was 3, it became a lot more real. A lot harder to hear. And a lot scarier.
It was then that my faith became a larger factor in my life. I began to pray everyday. I pray that David has a long life. And I also pray that if he doesn't, that I will be reunited with him one day in heaven. To have him be able to hear me say "I love you", to be able to hear him say he loves me.
To have a child that basically has a rough time-limit stamped on him is hard. I need my faith. I need to know that one day we will be reunited. I need to be able to reassure my younger child in unforeseen events that one day he will be reunited with him. My husband needs his faith for the same reasons and to stay strong when I occasionally fall apart. 
To be honest, David could live so much longer than they tell us. He could outlive all of us. He's my superhero daily. Doctors can be wrong. But they can also be right. If I didn't have faith, I think I would fall apart much more frequently than I do.
It's ok if we have different beliefs. I hope yours can give you the same kind of faith that I have in my beliefs. Let's not judge one another on social media for what we believe. I've seen so much of it lately, and some days it's really hard to see. Because while we may have different beliefs, I really want to believe that we all want to aim for similar goals of peace & kindness in this world. Attacking others is not the way we should be going about it.
Be good. That's my hope.



Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ask The Watkins (Round One)

Thank you for sending me your questions this week. We've had fun answering most of them and thinking about some of the more serious ones as well! Some may have over-lapped each other slightly, so I've kind of lumped those together. Please note that all answers given for David reflect how we THINK he would answer them if he was capable. 

1. What is 1 thing you would change about yourself or anyone in the house? (For all)

Kyle: For my mom to yell at me less.

Natalie: ^^^^^Ha! I guess about myself I would say I need more patience! But if I could change something about someone else, it would be that David could communicate how he was feeling with words. I would hope he would tell me how I can help him when he's conveying his feelings through emotion only. It's a guessing game that has been difficult for the past 4 years.

David: I would want myself to be able to walk, talk, and hear.

I must not have gotten an answer from Michael. I would probably say that he's in agreement with my statement. Oh. And that I would allow him to fold the towels his way instead of my way. LOL

2. What is the hardest thing about having a brother with special needs? The best thing? (For Kyle)

The hardest part about having a brother with special needs is when he's in a bad mood and we don't know why. It is really hard to make him happy when we don't know how to help him.

The best part of having David as a brother is when he's in a really really good mood and I can play with him and he laughs at me.

3. Do you get disappointed when you can't do certain things with David and his wheelchair? (For Kyle)

I do, but I know I can do it eventually when I'm older or with friends. I understand why I can't do them. We can't go on trail climbs, zip-lining, or parasailing on vacation. When I do get to do those things I think it will be fun and awesome and amazing and epic and I will do them for David.

4. What is your favorite thing to do together as a family? (For all)

Kyle: I like to play board games with my mom & dad, but David can't play them. So with all of us, I just like for us to go in his room and play with him when he's happy. And when he's mad. I also like when we go to the movies.

Natalie: We don't do it nearly enough, but I really enjoy going on bike rides together. It's something David really enjoys. We have a bike trailer for special needs adolescents/adults that he rides in that is awesome. I also enjoy going to photo shoots together. We will usually walk around & explore before and after photo shoots.

Michael: I like going on bike rides as a family. And photo shoots.

David: (Kyle is asking David right now.) And he says David said he likes when we all play with him.

5. You and Michael both have outside endeavors outside your regular jobs and being a parent (photography; Younique, volunteering, etc.) How do you include your kids as part of it? And what led you both to do both of those things?

Natalie: When Kyle started school, I really felt like I needed to give some of myself to his school life like I always had with David. I hope volunteering to help with school activities and in his classroom shows him that I value him just as much as I value David and that he feels like I am taking an interest in his likes and activities.

Most of you know that being a presenter with Younique is fairly new to me. I originally signed up just to get a great deal on the make-up, but soon realized that I felt so good to be able to contribute a little bit more to the expenses in this household. I've also found that it gives me the opportunity to do something for me. I've had such a good time learning more about make-up and promoting the self-confidence of other women. I really don't include the kids too much (Kyle did my make-up once in my VIP group and it was a hoot though!). If I had daughters, that might be a little different though.

Michael: (Worded by Natalie. We discussed his answer the other night, but right now he's at work) I began dabbling in photography because we had a really hard time getting good pictures of David. We couldn't schedule a time with a photographer because we would have no idea how his mood would be that day. I've always liked artsy things and this was another way I could showcase my abilities. I really only do it as a hobby, but I love providing families with pictures they can have forever. We always do photo shoots as a family and recently Kyle has taken a liking to it and I've started teaching him how to edit his own photos.

6. What is your favorite thing about this community? (For all)

Michael: Definitely the friendships we've made.

Natalie: I love the small community we live in. We rarely ask for help, but I love that I have so many people we can count on if we need to. Our friends always continue to lift us up when times are hard and in turn, I hope they know they can count on us to do the same. We've been here for almost 15 years now and we definitely consider this our hometown, even though we are "transplants".

Kyle: My favorite thing is that almost everyone is friendly, all my friends live here except for one (James) and I really like my school.

David: He loves Blue Ridge and he loves that his brother, mom, dad, and dogs live here with him. He likes getting to ride the bus to Clinton for school everyday and loves the friends he's made there too.

7. What is your favorite animal and why? (For Kyle)

Tigers!! Because it is something that not a lot of people like. I also love all dogs. Except mean ones.

8. Why do you run? (For Kyle)
I do it because my brother can't. And it's fun. It makes me feel good because I know I'm running for a reason (David). I like the competition when I run in races. And I always have a goal trying to place or beating my best time.

9. Does Kyle believe his dad is the real Superman??
Yes & no. But mostly no.

10. (These questions are completely anonymous, but you might be able to guess who asked this one.)
Please tell us why you idolize Jessi & Brent Lueking.

Natalie: Because I think that they are the king and queen of Riverton. And who doesn't idolize kings and queens???

Kyle: Because they are great. And they just got a new puppy I really really really want to meet.

David: I idolize them because they pay me to.

Michael: Sure..........

Those are all the questions I got this week. It was so fun to do, and if there are others, I'd love to take them down and do this again in a couple of months!!