Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Year of Mold: Our updates from the fundraiser in one post

Below you’ll find our mold recovery journey as it was recorded through updates on our fundraising page.  The fundraiser has ended as we’ve successfully resettled and have been truly blessed by the generosity of so many.  I’m putting these updates on the blog since they are no longer on that page and I feel some may be interested in the future.

~~~

Posted on 03/27/2016 
Some Easter thoughts from Terra:

Easter is my favorite holiday.  What is a more powerful display of God's kindness toward us and His victory over sin and death than His resurrection from the grave?  During this season of uncertainty, loss and sadness, there could be no "better" time to go through this than in the newness of spring and the hope of new life.  

I won't lie.  Our morning didn't start off in serenity with these deep thoughts.  Actually, I only woke up about 20 minutes before the madness began.  In a 40 minute time frame, all of the kids had to wake up, get dressed in Easter attire, open their gifts, eat breakfast and get out the door in time for church as we attend the 8:30a service.  Our 3yr old was angry at the world.  The 6yr old was a bucket of tears at the drop of any hat.  The 5yr couldn't find EITHER of her pairs of shoes.  I had to make a few different breakfast options as I didn't have enough of the one that everyone wanted; that didn't go over well.  Oh... and I didn't even touch on my husband and my own emotions.  At least there was no vomit on the radar as there was with the stomach bug that rampaged our home last week.  

Mold does not have the final say.  Disappointment and emotions don't either.  Christ does!  New life.  New earth.  Resurrection.  Revelation 21:4-5 says, “'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

How I long for that day!

In Christ,
Terra

P.S.  Thank you 1000 times for all of the support you've generously given and shown so far in this journey!

~~~

Posted on 04/04/2016
Updates from Terra:

It's been an emotional few days (at least for me personally).  All of those emotions that I have been stuffing down to "get things done" are coming out now.  We have now let go of the majority of our belongings, selling what we could.  It is our understanding that the majority of what we had can easily be used by others that have not have mold sensitization as we have.  It's quite surreal really.  This week will involve mostly cleaning the home, continuing to tie up lose ends, making plans with our realtor, etc.  James is out of town a good portion of the week for work so I could certainly use prayers on my end for perseverance and patience.  I don't have much to give right now.  Remediation begins April 11.  That's where we are currently.  Thank you again for your generous hearts and listening ears!  You all continue to make us feel loved.

~~~

Posted on 03/31/2016
Update from Terra:

Things change on a pretty much constant basis these days.  

First, THANK YOU for all the generosity that continues to be showered over our family.  You all are simply amazing!

Second, our insurance company has decided to pay for at least half of our problem (they denied the claim initially).  We're waiting to see if the other half is going to be covered.  But that's a good start and we're grateful!

Third, our current housing situation is available at least until the summer.  We will have to start paying for utilities since we plan to stay longer term but it'll still be less expensive than renting another place.  We obviously are still paying for our mortgage and utilities on the home we own.  After our home is on the market, we'll start looking for a permanent place.  It is at that point that we have to start completely new.  We currently have minimal belongings with us at our temporary location.

Fourth, James' parents are coming to town next week to help with the kids and getting the house in sell-ready shape.  That will be a huge help for sure.

Thank you for the continued prayers and support!  Pray for clarity as we make decisions on housing and transportation while we're in California next month seeing the mold illness specialist.  If you haven't done so already, we'd love for you to share our campaign with those who may be interested and on social media.  Thank you for the thousands of prayers being lifted! 

Take care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 04/13/2016
Updates from Terra:

I know I say this every time but again, I want to say thank you so much for continuing to show us your support financially, emotionally and every other way possible.  We cannot express enough how grateful we are.

Remediation began on our home this past Monday.  It is scheduled to end on Friday.  After that point, we'll be able to have our contractor assess what needs to be repaired and move forward.

We have not yet received any information on the claim to cover our basement for the remediation/repair work necessary down there.  We're reaching out and our agent is doing an amazing job, we just continue to wait.

We were very excited to find out that we will be getting a little tax refund back this year.  That was actually a big surprise because James worked a great deal of untaxed work last year.  We expected to owe taxes.  In the words of our accountant, all of those kids pay off at tax time, they are just a little expensive the rest of the year. ;)

Next Friday is James and I's appointment with Dr. Janette Hope (a mold illness specialist) out in California.  We're really hoping to get a lot of feedback from her as to moving forward with healing for our family.

We're in discussion with an attorney about potential courses of action to pursue or not.

That's all for now!

Thanks again friends!  We love you!

Take care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 04/24/2016
Updates from Terra:

I know so many of you have been awaiting this update but it's taken me a while for a few reasons.  1: We're on a 3hr time difference and I forget that. 2: It's a LOT of information. 3: I haven't been feeling great (body sore from tons of walking and headaches that keep hanging on). 4: I just don't have my computer on me half of the time and I'm certainly not typing this up on my iPhone. ;)  But anyway, time for some details.

Wow.  Yesterday we spent nearly seven hours with Dr. Janette Hope (apt name I'd say!).  An added bonus is that she's located in the beautiful Santa Barbara, California where the weather and town is perfect for walking nearly everywhere.  The first several hours were spent with both James and I taking turns walking through our medical history, exposure details, symptoms, and so on.  Then we took a needed break and grabbed some lunch.  Afterwards we had physical exams, nasal swabs (to check for types of mold and what may be intranasal growth), question asking (and there were many!), a time going over the treatment plan and lastly, a nebulized glutathione treatment each.

Though there are many things that contribute to a person's symptoms (after all, none of us are robots), the doctor felt very hopeful that most of our issues can be addressed through the treatment plan.  The biggest and probably hardest steps include those we've already taken, including getting out of the home and away from our things.  She described our hypersensitivity to the mold and our things similar to the person who has a hypersensitivity to peanuts.  Someone highly allergic to peanuts cannot even be in the presence of them because the smallest exposure could literally kill them.  However, other people can be exposed to peanuts with no ill response whatsoever. Though we are not anaphylactic, as the peanut allergic may be, our bodies are now hyper alert and re-exposure to those things can mean recurrence/continuance of our symptoms.  

As many of you know, our entire family has been affected health wise in various ways.  Even between James and I, his illness has shown itself very visually (with the extreme eczema) and rheumatoid arthritis flares and mine has shown itself more neurologically with the headaches, vertigo, crazy brain fog/forgetfulness, loss of balance, etc.  This often confuses people because it is expected that everyone would respond similarly but that's not necessarily the case.  Because of genetic predispositions, some of us are more inclined to develop certain illnesses when the body is under undue stress/toxic exposure/etc.  Imagine a bucket of water.  Everyone has a bucket but they are all different shapes and sizes.  We can all take in a certain amount of water before it overflows.  When it overflows, symptoms can express themselves in whatever way that particular individual is genetically prone to.  So what fills the bucket?  A thousand different things.  For us, it's probably a good combination of many things.  Toxic exposure to the mold is obviously the big one we've been missing all this time.  Less than ideal nutrition, stress, lack of sleep, exercise, genetic predispositions, etc. can all be factors.  Fortunately, we've already been working on many of those things over the years which is why I believe we have had some health improvements despite still being in the home.  And then James' rash began and it was the straw that broke the camel's back.  In some ways, I'm grateful for that.  It lead us to dig so much deeper that we finally discovered the root of the problem and were able to remove our family from the situation.

Back to treatment and additional recommendations and in no particular order.  Also, I'm not going to give specific dosaging and details because I don't feel those are appropriate to post.

  • Glutathione supplementation (it's an antioxident, supports health T regulatory cell function, balances immune system and we're both genetically inclined not to make enough)
  • Activated charcoal to begin the process of removing toxins from our systems
  • Regular saline rinses and nasal Itraconazole (anti-fungal)
  • Charcoal body wash and Ketoconazole for James because of his skin condition
  • Regular sauna, exercise and Epsom salt baths.
  • Continuance of our current dietary restrictions, quality foods, increased consumption of anti-fungal foods.
  • Vitamin/Supplementation recommendations:
  • Specific therapeutic dosages of Vitamin C, fish oil, magnesium, Vit D3, Coenzyme B Complex, CoQ10, Zinc, Acetyl L Carnitine, Phopsphatidyl serine, Mitocore multivitamin, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein, Probiotics, Methyl B12, Acai powder.
  • Environmental controls to reduce our overall burden (or water level in our theoretical buckets). 

As much as it's in our capacity, we are to:
  • avoid exposure to water damaged environments, pesticides, solvents/VOCs/fragrances, smoke, heavily trafficked areas, plastics, vinyl chloride, heavy metals, dry cleaning, etc.
  • clean with non-toxic cleaning solutions.
  • consume organic as much as possible.
  • limit EMF exposure.
  • use glass or ceramic-lined cookware.
  • use air filters.
  • ideally create a "bedroom sanctuary" that is uncarpeted and minimizes dust-catching items.  In our next home, it should be uncarpeted if possible.
  • filter drinking and bathing water.
  • spend as much time outdoors as possible.
  • spend some time in the sun daily without sunblock (not long enough to burn, just to get adequate vitamin D).

I imagine the expenses of the medications and supplementation are going to be insanely high as most are not covered by insurance.  Our YouCaring account with continue to fund expenses like these.

There are a TON of testing options (literally up to 30 tests we could take) and we've already done a handful of them through our local functional medicine doctor.  For now, we're sticking with bare minimum tests as we've already spent a fortune on testing and most of the results would not change the plan of action.  In the doctor's words, they would be very interesting and the results could be helpful but ultimately most of them wouldn't change the actions we'd take.  However, if we get further down the road of treatment and we're not progressing as we'd like, we can order the tests at that time and tweak our treatment as necessary.  We've both already failed the VCS testing which tests neurologic function of vision and 92% of the time confirms biotoxin illness.  For now, we've chosen to have additional nasal swab testing and spirometry (lung testing) completed.  The rest of the tests we're going to put on hold as we see how we respond to treatment and move forward from there.

Many of these things we can use with the children to help them heal as well.  It is our understanding that children heal faster than adults and don't always need the same degree of treatment.  Pray that is true!  

So there it is: my really long update and plan of action.  We found a great deal of relief and comfort in our appointment with Dr. Hope and we're truly hopeful about what the future will bring.  Please continue to pray for us and share our story.  Who knows who else may be affected and not realize it as we were.

Take Care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 05/03/2016
Updates from Terra:

I continue to be completely and utterly floored with this fundraiser and your all's amazing generosity and kindness towards us!  There was over $11,000 added this week alone!  Never in a million years could I have anticipated this.  Thank you.  Truly.

If you haven't already read the updates from our doctor's visit, please do.  It was a very encouraging visit.  We're still awaiting all of the prescriptions and such but we're ready to begin the healing protocol ASAP. 

A few other big updates...

The final touches are being wrapped up on our home over the next week and a half.  We have a friend who's been doing many of the improvements around the house while we were out of town who claims to be "cheap labor." :)  Now, we have a contractor graciously working extra personal hours to help get things done in a timely fashion.  We're replacing the flooring in the basement and kitchen and Lord-willing, that will be completed by the end of the weekend.  If all goes well, we're hoping to have the home on the market in lass than two weeks.  

With all that said, we also begin the home buying process!  We only have our current temporary location until mid-July.  We have a few non-negotiables (that include mold testing, no basement or previous flooding, etc).  Please be in prayer that the Lord makes our next home very obvious, safe, and the process as smooth as possible.  If there is carpeting, we'll have to replace it before moving in.  Then of course once it's ours, we have to purchase every piece of furniture that goes in it.  Much to think about and plan.

Lastly, we've spoken with both a lawyer (who's run it by a few other lawyers) and our doctor who does a good deal of mold litigation because of her expertise.  It seems that mold cases generally take 3-5 years, are extremely expensive and very rarely turn out positive in the long run.  We were considering it because of what were considered to be many builder-related issues that led to this problem in the first place.  In addition, our home owner's insurance will not cover the basement damage/repair for various reasons that would take too long to discuss.  But you may know that we've looked into, researched and asked everyone we could about the different possibilities.  We thank the Lord for your all's generosity that continues to cover expenses like these.

We love you all and will keep you updated as more happens.

Take care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 05/18/2016
Updates from Terra:

Many people have been asking how our health as been since beginning this journey.  Well, I'm very excited to share great news.

Initially, when we left the home, we were sleeping in our temporary location but still in and out of our old home a great deal moving, packing, trashing, selling, etc.  After about a month of that, we were out for good.  

We stopped sleeping in the home on March 12, 2016.  James' itching decreased immediately and his sleep improved.  One of my symptoms was that I no longer had a menstrual cycle and was not pregnant.  My doctor had even put me on hormones to try and induce a cycle and still nothing happened.  FOUR days after leaving, my cycle returned (should've started 4 months prior).  My cycle has been normal since.  The kids' nosebleeds started decreasing again (though not completely gone).

We noticed during the week of April 5 that food sensitivities seemed to be decreasing.  The kids had corn at least 3 days in a row with no noticeable reactions.  Yay!  While packing up old house, I immediately noticed increasingly stuffy/runny nose, dry eyes, and sore throat.  It would clear within a few hours of leaving the house.

As of May 12, food sensitivities have drastically decreased.  Kids are no longer reacting to corn at all.  Many of my (Terra's) food intolerances have also been extremely minimal if at all.  These are foods/drinks that I have not tolerated (without migraines, severe vertigo, etc) for years!   James describes his eczema as 40% better.  The visible rash probably looks 75% better but it's still itchy.  Nosebleeds only seem to be happening with trauma at the moment (like an accidental kick in the nose by another child).

It took a while for us to finally get the medications compounded at the pharmacy, a nebulizer in hand and get the recommended supplements as well.  We only just started those about one week ago.  James and I have noticed we definitely feel more fatigued/draggy on them.  His arthritis has flared a bit too.  We were told to expect to feel worse before better though. Once on the medications, our body releases the toxins (causing uncomfortable/unpleasant) symptoms and then they must get out of the body (mostly by means of sweat, urine/bowel movements, and breath).  Fortunately our insurance covered most of the prescriptions though we had to pay for the supplements out of pocket and those were quite pricey.  We'll keep you updated on the health updates over time.

Overall we're VERY encouraged by the health progress made just by leaving the house, even before supplementing/scripts.  We look forward to what the future may hold!

Take Care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 05/25/2016
Updates from Terra:

Bad news and great news to announce.

I'll share the bad news first so I can end on a good note. We thought we had our current housing until mid-July. We found out today that we have to be out by July 1. Soooo.... unless we find a new home in the next week or so, we're going to be homeless again for a time and have to figure that out. :(

And the great news? We have ACCEPTED a perfect full-asking price offer on our home! That means it sold in 6 days you guys!!! Prayers for a great inspection and appraisal, that the buyer has no problem getting his pre-approved loan, and that there are no hiccups in the process if possible. :)

Your prayers are being answered friends!  Keep them coming!

Take care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 06/07/2016
On May 29... Terra posted this on their family blog:

The Story of a Home - It's Not Just a House
Seventy-four days ago, we left what we thought was going to be our forever home.  It was sudden and unexpected, and some days, I still feel like the wind that was knocked out of me hasn't returned.  For a while, I felt guilty that I was so upset about losing a material possession.  After all, doesn't the Bible teach us the difference about things that are earthly/worldly and those that are heavenly?  Haven't we learned that ultimately, these earthly treasures won't amount to anything?  So not only was I dealing with loss and grief but then added guilt as well.

Then one day a wise friend and counselor encouraged us.  He explained why it wasn't just a material possession, it was part of our story.  A few weeks later, in a completely different conversation with a different friend, we were encouraged the same way.  What does that even mean?

When James and I first started dating, he was in the process of buying a home.  He was 27 and unmarried and decided it was time to be a homeowner.  Eventually he decided to build, which happened during the time we were dating.  Wanting to check on the status of the home one evening after a date, we snuck into it (by climbing through a window).  Walking through the skeleton of the home, I imagined how cool it would be if he and I ended up married and had seen our home from the inside out.  And that's just what happened.

Just over a year after the home was finished, James and I were married.  After spending our honeymoon in Jamaica, we came back to "our" home for the first time.  Little did I know at the time but I was also pregnant with our first child.

In this home, I finished my Master's degree while being pregnant, working, and learning how to be a wife.  Over the next ten years, much more life happened.  I became pregnant seven (yes, seven!) times, giving birth to five babies and losing two in the womb.  Our kids had many of their firsts in that home.  They all learned to crawl, walk and talk there.  Several learned how to bike there.  Since we homeschool, even school happened in that home. We housed eight different families anywhere from two weeks to well over a year in our guest room or finished basement.  That doesn't even include short over night or week-long visits.  We learned the importance of taking care of our health with exercise, rest and nutrition as our health problems continued to mount.  We experienced the deaths of grandparents, friends, and other loved ones.  We saved money, worked extremely hard and with the help of others, climbed out of deep debt.  I nannied a few different children in our home, caring for them as I did my own.  After about six years, we finally began personalizing the home with paint and decor.  We had birthday parties, church gatherings, potlucks, post-funeral gatherings and even a wedding take place IN our home.  We met and became friends with many neighbors and their kids.  Seriously.  Our house became the happening place for the kids on the corner.  We had our first pets there (several fish, a dog and pill bugs).  James and I both worked numerous jobs inside and outside of the home.  Even this blog began almost ten years ago in that home.  James and I have probably had hundreds of counseling sessions with others in that home.  Lives were transformed there, and I don't say that lightly.  Friends, much life was lived in that home.

Physically, it may have been just a dwelling.  But it was so much more than that.  It had history.  It hosted tears, joys, sadness, broken as well as thriving marriages, people in hard places, learning experiences, new beginnings and now the unexpected and sudden final end.  Prior to that home, I'd never lived in any one place longer than four or five years.  I got to spend nine and one half there.  A piece of my heart will always remain with it.

As we continue the journey of deciding on the next home to host our story, I weep.  I weep for what was left behind but also because of the uncertainty of what lies ahead.  I weep because I long to feel at home again and not in a constant state of transition.  I weep because it could be months before that happens and we only have one month remaining in our current temporary housing.  Do I trust the Lord has all of this in His control?  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, yes.  And yet that doesn't mean it's easy.  I realize we have much to be grateful for and yet I acknowledge the hardship.  Pray us through will you?  Thanks for letting me be real today friends.

Until next time...

Take care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 06/12/2016
Updates from Terra: 

It's been a while since I've posted an update.  Honestly, I kept waiting for something exciting to post on the housing situation but unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet, so I feel I may as well go ahead and update you all.  As usual, I'll start with the not so good news so I can at least end on a positive note.

Trying to find our next home has not been simple. We spoke with a few people in the building industry and because of the current market and for the type/size of home we want, it would be out of our budget. So we've continued to search for homes on the market instead. Since beginning, we've placed two offers on homes. One was rejected as they received an offer with no contingency at the same time. The second was countered a few times but in the end, they wanted $10K more than our realtor and we felt it was worth. We've seen a few handfuls of homes and I can tell you that's quite the experience with five small children running around – literally. Our days have been spent home searching online, messaging our realtor, going to showings and open houses and in the end, I feel like my eyes are crossing and my emotions are waning. For those who aren't aware, we have 18 more days before we lose the temporary home we've been staying in for the last 3+ months. At that point, we'll be staying in someone's basement or finding a short term housing situation in some other manner. While I'm super grateful that I know we won't technically be homeless, I'm still struggling. I explained it to James like this. Imagine that you have a job and certain responsibilities to take care of. You have your usual tools, environment, plans of action and so forth. Then someone or something takes away your physical office or location and drops you in an unfamiliar one. The majority of your tools are now out of reach and all of your action plans have been scrambled tremendously. However, you still need to do the same job and do it well. That's where I feel I am right now. And it's hard. Pray for my emotions. I know that God is in control but that does not make it easy. While I don't want to wallow in pity or despair, I also feel it's okay to admit I don't have it all together and I do need God's grace in the process. A quick “it's all going to work out in the end” doesn't help me much. I know that's true and so then I just feel guilty that I'm not feeling that every moment of the day. I'm tempted to just turn in and not share anything but I know that's not the way forward. Anyway…. There's my heart.

There is good news despite it all. Fortunately, we are still moving forward with the sale of our home and closing is scheduled to be on or before July 1.  Inspections went well over all and we didn't have too awful many things we had to take care of, though a few were pricey.  Keep praying for no hiccups as the process continues.  In regards to health, we continue to improve over all.  In James' words, "whatever we're doing, it's working."  I'm so very grateful for that.

Thank you all for your love and care during this trying time. We absolutely couldn't do it without you.
Take care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 06/27/2016

A little over a week ago, I shared with you all the excitement of our accepted offer on our soon-to-be home in Crestwood (Lord-willing!).  I mentioned that there was a crazy story behind it but forgot to share it.  So here goes.

A few days before the offer was extended, I told James that I was pretty much done house shopping.  James and I had very different opinions of what minimum non-negotiables we had for our new home.  Since his list was longer than mine and I was becoming emotionally stretched beyond words, I told him that I'd prefer he just found something and I'd be okay with it.  I knew he had good tastes so I trusted him but I was done looking for the sake of mine and the kids' sanities.  So that Thursday, he and our realtor went to check out three more homes for the first time without me and the kids present.  He called to tell me about this one house in particular.  He said he'd rate it an "8/9" which caught my attention quickly as most of the homes we'd seen he rated a 6 or less.  But I could tell there was a little hesitancy so I ask what was up.  He said that the driveway was very steep, there was no yard and he couldn't tell if the neighborhood was kid friendly or not.  Considering we have 5 small kids, these things are a big deal.  Yet he kept commenting on how much he liked the home.  I was going to be taking our son Benjamin to a baseball practice that night so I told him I'd just "drive by" and get my thoughts on those factors.

As I rounded the corner of the home, I noticed the yard was small but it did exist.  There was enough room for a nice little porch, patio, swingset and storage building.   I spotted the very steep driveway and agreed with my husband 100% on that one.  Then I looked over to see kids all over the neighborhood!  I decided it'd be a good idea to ask some of the neighbors what their thoughts were on living in the neighborhood.  Benjamin and I pulled up and bravely approached the two adults present.  I told them I had a random question and then mentioned that my husband and I were interested in the house for sale on the corner.  The lady says, "that's MY house!"  I was instantly a little shocked and then awkward as I wanted an unbiased opinion of the neighborhood from someone other than the seller.  However, she started telling me about the neighborhood, it's community feel and activities, how the kids play together, and so on.  At one point she acknowledged that she was the seller and it probably sounded like she was trying to butter me up but swore she wasn't.  Then another neighbor chimed in and said she was telling the truth, it was a great neighborhood.  After a few more minutes, she told me that if I wanted to see the inside of the house, she'd be happy to show me.  I figured why not.  Benjamin ran off to play Nerf guns with her boys and she showed me around.  We had very encouraging conversations and I quickly fell in love with the home itself.  Not to mention, it's very close to where we used to live (just 6 miles further) and in an area we love.

Somewhat out of the blue she told me that they were telling most people her husband had a job in another city so that's why they were selling their home.  She then informed me that while he does have a job there, he has had for a while and he just commutes.  The reason they were selling their home was actually because they felt a strong leading from the Lord that their time there was done.  They didn't know why or what was next but felt it was a clear calling.  With that, I expressed all of the prayer I'd been doing about the home searching process itself because it'd been so hard.  Realizing we had the common bond of Christ, we suddenly had even more to talk about.  Later on, I even found out that out of the 24 homes in the neighborhood, my little sister from my sorority days lives in the neighborhood!  Small world indeed!

Eventually I left, came home and after discussion, James and I decided to put in an offer.  Here's the catch.  They already had a full price offer on the home but with a contingency.  So far, the contingency had not been met but the sellers were not in a rush so it wasn't a big deal.  After calling my realtor, I was told that the seller had already contacted her realtor (BEFORE we'd even made an offer) and said she wanted to work with us versus the contingency.  They ended up accepting slightly less from us (because they are helping with some of the closing costs) but felt the Lord was leading them to sell the home to us.

And the final, somewhat silly icing on the cake.... In the beginning of our home search, I somewhat jokingly told James that I'd knew we'd found our next house when we found one with a willow tree.  I've loved them since childhood (family memories) but they aren't super common in the city.  Throughout our home search, there were actually a few homes we looked at with willows but none of them worked out.  This house has not one but SIX willows.  One weeping willow and five others in the willow family.  I had to have a few chuckles about that. 

The inspections came back fantastic and the mold testing was great.  Lord-willing, we're supposed to close on the home we're selling by this coming weekend and then close on the home we're purchasing by July 21.  I'm beyond excited, thrilled and overjoyed.  

The next phase... refurnishing an entire home.... whew!

Until next time...
Take care,
Terra

~~~

Posted on 06/16/2016
Updates from Terra:

Friends... I've long been awaiting this update.  We are officially under contract on our next home!!!  We're Oldham County bound and headed to Crestwood if there are no hiccups in the process and inspections/financing/etc all go through.  Please pray for everything to be completed as planned and run smoothly in the closing of the house we're selling (on or before July 1).  Pray for inspections to be clean and financing to be affirmed (we were pre-approved with a solid lender so I'm hoping that shouldn't be a problem).  The home and neighborhood could not suit our needs any better.  We're so very thrilled!

We've asked for a 30-35 day max closing period which should land us in the home around mid-July, Lord-willing.  We have our temporary home until July 10 so the timing is pretty close.  Many people have asked us to keep them updated about needs as things change so here are some thoughts.  Through your generosity, we've raised an amazing amount of funds for which we're so very thankful.  With that said, it goes fast.  We spent approximately $3300 on our trip to California to see the specialist, purchase her recommended medications, lodging and food while there.  We were gifted frequent flyer miles so we didn't have to pay for plane tickets.  We still need to schedule our follow visit with her long distance (at $280 per hour) and continue on the medications for the foreseeable future.  After the small amount our insurance company did give us for remediation and repairs, we will have spent just over $14,000 out of pocket in repairs on the home to get it sold.  We've repurchased the majority of our summer clothing for our entire family of seven and will have to do the same in the fall with winter wear. Fortunately, James has a good job so that certainly helps, especially with our credit for our new home.  When we do move in, we will have to refurnish our home top to bottom (think furniture/bedding/etc).  We were highly encouraged not to buy or accept used furniture because of the possibility of mold exposure elsewhere unknowingly.  We literally left 95% of our belongings behind.  We're also trying to figure out how necessary it is for us to replace flooring at the home we're purchasing.  It is heavily carpeted but has been recently replaced.  Our doctor had encouraged us to have zero carpeting in our bedrooms at minimum and preferably house wide so we're going to run that by her.  Needless to say, you can see how quickly things add up.

Some people have asked if we could have a home registry of sorts so they could purchase specific things from that.  So I started one and I will add/update things as we think of them.

Friends... our hopes are certainly elevated.  I look forward to sharing the details of how the home came to chosen.  It's a wild story!  Please continue to pray for health improvements and smooth processing of these details.  We love you all!!!!

Take care,
Terra

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Posted on 07/27/2016
Updates from Terra:

I'm writing this post exactly one month after I wrote my last update.  I find that ironic considering there was so much talk about the house we were contracting to purchase and now are LIVING in.  Since my last post, we had to leave our temporary housing at the mission house, stayed at a friend's cabin for just over a week and then moved in immediately upon closing.  The day after closing, work began on our floors.  At the strong recommendation from our doctor, we decided to go ahead and have almost all of the carpeting removed.  The only carpeting currently remaining is on our main set of stairs and on the basement stairs. That will come out eventually.  Fortunately, we have friends who own a flooring company so we got the "friends and family" discount.  It still cost an insane amount of money but we were able to do it because of your all's generosity.  

The morning we showed up at the new house for our walkthrough, the UPS driver showed up with our new mattresses.  The timing could NOT have been more perfect.  We hadn't purchased furniture yet because it seemed pointless when we didn't have floorspace to put it.  Even the mattresses had to be moved around from one room to the next while the floors were done.  However, today James and I finally went to the furniture store and bought a house full of furnishings - thanks to YOU!  Most of them will be delivered tomorrow.  No more eating meals sitting on the floor!  :) Guys, I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am.  To top it off, the owner of the furniture store is a friend one of our close friends so he also gave us a crazy big discount on everything.

With the housing market being a seller's market, the equity from our last home was also higher than it could've been even just a few years ago.  James even has a much better paying job than he had just a year ago.  As terrible as this entire situation was, God's timing was perfect and He has been SO good to us, showering us with so many unexpected blessings in the process.  Our new neighborhood is amazing and we've already met so many of the new neighbors as they went out of their way to introduce themselves and offer help with anything.  The kids have made instant friends already.  Our health continues the upward climb.  We're not 100% but who would ever be?  After all, it is a fallen world.  We're staying on our supplement and prescription protocol until December and then we reevaluate.  However, we've seen so very much improvement with the family's health as a whole that I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat if I had to.

I got pretty behind with my schooling this month.  As many of you know, I'm studying to be a functional medicine health coach and my program is about 90% online.  We did not have Wi-Fi access for nearly two weeks and I also got really sick for several days so things go pushed back.  Pray that I'm able to catch up without losing my mind! ;)

Thankful.  I'm SO very thankful.  The Lord absolutely did not have to generously give us as much as He did.  We would've survived and maybe even thrived just fine with much less as many people in the world do.  He could've even left us in that difficult place of chronic illness and used us to serve others in the midst of it all.  But He chose not to.  I can assure you, to the best of our ability, we plan to use our new home just as we did our last to serve, minister and love on others in every way possible.

I may not write another update on YouCaring for a while.  Maybe I'll give a health update in the future but for now, the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another is where we rest.

Take care and thank you again,

Terra Santos