Natalia Grace Speaks!

In follow up to ‘Natalia Grace – I can’t even with this crazy story…

Photo: Screenshot of the trailer for the Natalia Grace appearance on Dr. Phil.

A few weeks back I actually heard that Natalia was going to be on the Dr. Phil show to share her side to the story. I’ve been waiting to write more on this story because I wanted to find out when she was actually going to appear on Dr. Phil before saying anything so that if people were interested they could watch as well.

Natalia Grace, along the foster parents she’s been living with since being abandoned in 2013, will be on the Dr. Phil show on Nov 7 (this Thursday).

If anyone is interested in hearing Natalia’s side to this story, I strongly encourage you to tune into Dr. Phil on Thursday. In my opinion, I believe of any person on television that could possibly get to the truth of the matter, Dr. Phil is probably the most reliable.

A few interesting things have happened in this story since I first spoke about it a few weeks back. Without further adieu, here we go:

Firstly, Michael and Kristine Barnett (mostly Michael) continued selling their story and making media appearances for any outlet that would hear them and… basically believe their side. To my account they appeared on at least fifteen different shows on three different continents spewing their ‘speculations’.

Following this ‘media tour’ of sorts, Prosecutors in Indiana filed an injunction to get a gag-order placed on Michael and Kristine Barnett that would stop them from speaking about Natalia in the media. They argued that Michael and Kristine Barnett were essentially trying to sway public opinion in their favour as a means to 1) Taint any possibly jury that could be selected for their upcoming January 2020 trial and 2) Look less guilty if they could get the general public believing their egregious storytelling.

The judge agreed and the gag order was issued!

Secondly, the couple who initially intended to adopt Natalia when she was brought to the United States in 2009 has come forward with their paperwork from the Ukrainian government showing the birth date of 2003. Not only that but they have shown photos of themselves with Natalia from 2009 when Natalia was having overnight and weekend visits with the couple to determine if they could be suitable parents for the girl. One of those photos included below:

Photo credit: Vincent and Nicole DePaul

Vincent and Nicole DePaul, speaking with Inside Edition shared their dismay at the Barnett’s for abandoning Natalia and leaving her to fend for herself. They also showed young pictures of Natalia having, including one of her having lost baby teeth while in their care and others of Natalia enjoying time with their daughter Mackenzie.

Vincent, Nicole and their daughter Mackenzie all suffer from dwarfism themselves. The couple go on to share a reminder that the Barnett’s claims are egregious and ridiculous and that they have a special understanding of Natalia’s needs and disabilities because they’re dwarfs themselves. Natalia’s dwarfism causes severe disabilities with walking, seeing, hearing and… holding up her own weight on such a small skeletal frame. The couple asked (the very real question that I’ve asked myself many times during the reading of this story) how on earth a young girl with Dwarfism and disability causing her to not even be able to stand up straight could possibly have done the things the Barnett’s claimed, such as pushing Kristine Barnett towards an electric fence.

Valid question, right?

How did Natalia, at roughly three feet tall and probably fifty pounds of weight, struggling to properly stand straight and walk on her own, manage to push Kristine a full grown woman more than two feet taller than her towards an electric fence?

Another claim the Barnett’s made was that they awoke one night to find Natalia standing over their bed with a knife. Again, how does someone roughly three feet tall stand over a bed with a knife? Are they sleeping on the floor?

While the video didn’t say exactly why the DePaul family didn’t end up adopting Natalia, there could be a million reasons why. It was a bit of an oversight on Inside Edition to leave that information out. Could it have been purposeful? I don’t work at Inside Edition, so I can’t say for sure, but I if I were to bet money… I’d say that information was left out on purpose.

Anyways, regardless of why they didn’t adopt Natalia, I still believe she is a child, and I’m sticking with my belief that the Barnett’s are lying and have been since the start.

I’m excited to see Natalia on Dr. Phil on November 7. Have you been following the story? Will you be tuning in?

#PizzaItForward

So, for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to convey a distinct message with a story that I wanted to share but always felt that I couldn’t quite find the right words. Something wonderful happened, yesterday, that has lead me to believe I need to share this story regardless of whether I get the messaging correct.

I’m not sure how many people heard of this story or not, I know it was big in a lot of circles, but I still think many people missed out on the goodess.

In late September the Fire Department in Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada was hosting a PTSD Seminar for Firefighters and decided to order pizza for dinner for everyone.

Local Fire Chief, Alex Pavcek, asked one of his team to call ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ in Slave Lake to order pizza for the crew, gave him his credit card to pay for it and told him to tell ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ they’d drive down and pick up the pizzas when they were ready.

Not knowing the phone number for ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ the firefighter placing the order went to google to find it. And with an easy mix-up, he used google to find the phone number for ‘Alamo’s Pizza’. He phoned and placed an order with ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ (in San Antionio, Texas) not realizing that he’d called Texas and not realizing that he’d misspelled the restaurant’s name by one letter.

An hour and a half later ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio called them to let them know their pizza’s would be ready for pickup in ten minutes. A different firefighter answered the phone and when he saw the number on call display, he realized something wasn’t right. They googled the area code and thought ‘Why was Alimo’s calling from a San Antonio number?’. Then they realized they’d made a huge mistake.

The Slave Lake Fire Department had called ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio, Texas rather than ‘Alimo’s Pizza’ in Slave Lake, Alberta. They’d paid for 18 pizzas and ‘Alamo’s Pizza’ in San Antonio had spent the past hour and a half making all of these pizza’s.

The Slave Lake Fire Chief, Alex Pavcek, called up Alamo’s Pizza in San Antonio to let them know about this hilarious, huge mistake that was made and that they wouldn’t be down to pick up these pizzas. The Alamo’s Pizza Manager in San Antonio, laughing over the mistake offered to refund their purchase but Pavcek wouldn’t have it. 18 pizzas was a large order and a lot of money for that restaurant and he didn’t want that food to go to waste.

So, instead, Pavcek suggested that Alamo’s take the pizza and deliver it to local fire departments in his area. The owner of Alamo’s obliged and the pizzas were dlievered to firefighters in local fire departments in San Antonio, Texas, telling them they were a gift from the firefighters in Slave Lake, Alberta and to ‘pizza it forward’ if they ever get the opportunity.

Photo of the San Antonio fire fighters eating their pizza! The photo courtesy of Alex Pavcek (from GlobalNews.ca

The act of kindness sparked an international campaign of paying it forward where Fire Departments, Police Depatments, Hospitals and other locations across Canada and the USA were being randomly delivered pizza for their first-responders and given the message #PizzaItForward.

It was a really heartwarming story to follow on Twitter and Instagram. If you search the hashtag you can still find photos and stories of police officers and nurses, doctors and firefighters being handed large quantities of pizza, ‘just because’.

I share this story because, for weeks now, I’ve been wanting to promote the notion that paying it forward is one of the best things that we can do for fellow human kind. ESPECIALLY, with the holidays coming up. American Thanksgiving is next month and Christmas and Hanukkah will be here before we know it. Random acts of kindness are wonderful things to do all year, but I find them especially important during the holidays! Holidays can be really difficult times for a lot of families, whether they can’t afford things or have lost loved ones or are just struggling with mental health issues. There are plenty of different things that can make holidays really hard.

I’ve been wanting to encourage every person who reads my blog to go out and ‘Pay It Forward’ to a stranger, to a friend, to a family member… just to someone who will appreciate it. Then, yesterday as I was counting ballots for the Election, an extremely thoughtful, kind individual (Katherine) who reads this blog did something extremely, extremely kind for me with a simple note that said ‘Pay It Forward’. It was so kind I actually started to cry when I saw it. I thought of how good it felt and how happy it made me, and I thought, yeah, I have to pass this on.

To the firefighters of Slave Lake, all of the people who took part in the #PizzaItForward campaign, and to Katherine, thank you. Thank you for your random acts of kindness, thank you for spreading so much good in the world.

I have plans to take Katherine’s kindness and pay it forward, though I doubt my abilities to make someone as happy as she made me, I’m definitely going to try. And, since I’m here and telling you these stories, I’d like to encourage anyone who reads this to do commit their own random act of kindness. To do something nice for someone you know, or someone you don’t, and tell them to pay it forward. Ahead of this holiday season, the world could definitely use a lot more kindness in it. And it might as well start with you and I… right here and now.

#PizzaItForward #PayItForward #KindnessAboveAll

Daydreaming again…

Last year, I went on a trip for my birthday.

And, while I really, truly loved Las Vegas, the people that I went on the trip with were… less than stellar travel companions and it really took away from my trip. It really dragged me down. Here I was in one of the most exciting cities and I was dealing with two Debbie Downers who didn’t even really want to be there.

I really felt like I got robbed of the true experience, in a sense. And I’m not saying that for pity. I’m just saying that because… the trip, treating myself for my bithday, it was a big deal to me. I’d never done that before, so to have my first foray into Birthday travel be that crappy, I want a do-over.

I’m daydreaming right now. My birthday is coming up and I really don’t want to be here for it. I want to go somewhere. It doesn’t have to be far away. I just don’t want to be here. Where can I go, on a limited budget, that will allow me to enjoy myself and feel as though I’ve truly treated myself for my birthday? I know Vegas is out of contention for this year, but I’d love to just go somewhere. I just want to do something for me. I know that’s selfish, but that’s what I want.

My parents and brothers have been asking me what I want for my birthday and I’ve just been telling them money. I know you’re not supposed to request money from people, but honestly, even if they just gave me 20 bucks, that would be an extra 20 bucks I could put towards an adventure, right? They don’t understand why I want to go. I can’t understand why I’d want to stay. Alas, we’re at the crossroads that is myself and my family.

There’s a whole world out there… and I just want to see all of it. Right now, though? Daydreaming of an affordable Western Canada or Western USA destination that I could escape too for a weekend.

I’m open to suggestions… if anyone has any.

Love thy neigbour

There’s a wise old man that lives next door to my parents that we aptly refer to as ‘Wilson’. He always seems to poke up from the other side of the fence to provide insights, wisdom or just a happy hello when we’re out in the yard. If you’ve ever seen the show Home Improvement, you’ll understand the reference to a neighbour that shares his wisdom from behind the fence.

We haven’t seen Wilson in a few days and it’s been weird. Usually if he’s going out of town he’ll tell us so that my dad can go over and mow his lawn for him and pick the papers off his step, etc…

Wilson’s truck hasn’t been in his driveway for about a week, so today when his truck was finally in the driveway again, my dad went over to see how he was doing and ask where his abrupt holiday had taken him to.

Instead of finding Wilson, like my dad had expected, he met Wilson’s son.

Wilson has been in the hospital for the past week. He fainted in the grocery store seven days ago and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. The doctors, while running tests, found a lump in his head, at the back where the skull meets the spine. Upon further testing/research/inspection, Wilson has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

His son said that his dad doesn’t have much time left and that he won’t be coming home. Because of that, he’d come to get some of his things to make him more comfortable at the hospital.

You know, I rag on this town a lot. I do. I’ll admit to that. I like small towns but I’ve never wanted to live in one. I’ve always considered myself a city person. But today, damn. I saw the magic of a small town today.

We, before his son had even left, decided that we wanted to go see Wilson at the hospital. When my dad went back to ask his son if he’d be okay with that his son was really taken aback by the request and said we were absolutely welcome. My mom and I then went to speak with Felicia, who lives on the other side of Wilson, to let her know about what the son had told us. Felicia, as shocked by the update as we were, said she was coming with us and that she wanted to go across the street to tell Carol and Dave. Twenty minutes later Carol, Dave and Felicia were at our door asking if Carol and Dave could come with us to the hospital as well. Carol and Dave went to Wanda’s house and told her, and the whole thing sort of… snowballed, I guess you could say.

There are ten houses on this side of the block. Within two hours of talking to Felicia this afternoon, someone had come to our door from each and every one of the houses on the street to ask if they could come with us tomorrow.

I think that in itself is a testament to what a wonderful human being Wilson is and how much impact he’s had on people in this neighbourhood. I think it’s also a testament to small-towns. This man, this neighbour, he’s important to everyone.

We’ll be going to see Wilson tomorrow at 1:00 pm. And I really hope that, despite the dire situation he finds himself in, the fact that his whole neighbourhood will basically be showing up for him, brings some smiles to his face and joy to his heart. He deserves it.

My parents have lived Wilson for 12 years. During that time he’s come outside every single day to share his wisdom and stories and happy greetings from the other side of the fence. It’s amazing what such a small thing can mean to a person when you really stop to think about it.

I’m not really sure what to expect from tomorrow. I’m just sad that such a wonderful man has to struggle in this way.


Honestly, this is a tangent but it isn’t a tangent. If there’s anything going on with you right now that you think you should get checked out or that you’re worried about or that you’re telling yourself to not go to the doctor about – go to the doctor. Seriously. Go to the doctor. Find out now. It could be absolutely nothing. And, I hope and pray for you that it is nothing. But if it’s something… it’s damn sure better to find it out early.

Sorry for inserting my opinion when it was not asked for. Just please ensure that you’re looking after yourself.

‘Whatever makes you happy, my love.’

They’re simple words, so genuine and heartfelt. Spoken with truth to them they have the power to make you feel as though you’re the only person in the world who matters. Or, perhaps even, the only person in the world at all.

A few weeks back, I made a post titled Tips for coping with anxiety from a Psychiatrist.

One of the tips mentioned in that post, reads as follows:

Think of a memory, one happy memory, and keep that memory at the top of your mind, always. When you think of happy memories, it produces serotonin in your body that can help boost your mood. If you keep one happy memory at top of mind, always, you can use that memory when you’re feeling triggered. Forcing that happy memory on your brain when you’re feeling anxious/stressed can help trick your brain. It’s not going to take away the things in your life causing you stress, but it will help you cope with the stress better.

Because I have been implementing this step into my daily routine, and because my world needs a little more happiness in it each and every day, especially in the past week, I am making the effort to write down my happy memories that I choose to remember in times of stress. Here goes…

Knight likes to buy lottery tickets. I’m not sure if he did prior to meeting me, but, one of the things we talked about on our first date was what each of us would do with the winnings if we ever one the lottery. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s always purchased lottery tickets.

Whenever he goes to the store, he purchases two lottery tickets. One for him and one for me. He turns to me, smiles and tells me to pick wisely.

“What if I chose both?” I ask, specifically trying to be a pain in his ass.

“Then take both,” he laughs. He’s not kidding when he tells me to take both. I know that if I did, he’d let me keep them both.

I’ll give him a ticket back, naturally. I mean… I’m not totally selfish. (I am. But I can be fair, too) And then I continue the discussion explaining to him that if I win, I’m keeping all of the money to myself.

“Whatever makes you happy, my love.” There it is. There’s those words. Genuine. Heartfelt. Thoughtful. Truthful.

“You’re also aware that, if you win, you’re required to share half of your money with me, right?” Chuckling again, he says “I’d expect nothing less”.

It’s the small things, they means so much to me. The fact that when he speaks these words, I know he’s being truthful. The fact that I know he’d never ask a dime of me, if I ever did win the lottery with a ticket he purchased for me. The fact that I’m absolutely certain that if he did win the lottery, he’d want to split it me.

People talk a lot about hypothetical scenarios, and honestly, he and I do a lot as well. I think that our hypotheticals mean more to me though, because there is a layer of truth to them that I don’t get from anyone else I’ve ever known.

I’m not wealthy. I haven’t won… yet. But there’s always a chance. I guess that’s why he purchases them. While I know I like to joke, the truth is, I’d likely give him all of the money if I won on a ticket that he purchased for me.

Thinking back on these moments, it brings great happiness to my mind. It’s my trick to forcing serotonin in my brain when I need it most. It’s my light on the dark days and a means to make me smile, no matter what.