Saturday, August 20, 2016

Facing Food Allergies with JOY

I choose joy.  That is my motto, my mantra, my decision.  I choose joy!  Every day, in good times and in bad times, I choose joy.
It is not always easy.  Some days it is downright hard.  But it is my choice.  I want to seek the gifts that are all around me: the gifts God gives me in each moment throughout the day.  It is the smile of a child, a dinner cooked by my husband, time to read a book, flowers blooming all around my lemon tree, a chance to catch up with a friend.  They are the moments that surround me every day.  When I look and find a gift and name it, it becomes mine.  It is now a gift for me.  But sometimes this is hard and I have to work with all my might to find the good.

Last night was a hard night for me.   I have been having many, many migraines lately.  I have suffered from these since I was a child so it is no new thing for me.  But my migraines are mostly triggered by food allergies (and lack of sleep and stress).  I thought it might be corn that I was reacting too, so I cut that out of my diet.  But then got a migraine after eating chicken, rice, tomatoes and nectarines.  I'm pretty sure that the chicken is what is causing these migraines.  Chicken?  Really?  We eat this all the time (which may be why I am getting so many of them).  Chicken is delicious and amazing and wonderful. This made me so sad.

Every since I was a child I have been sick.  No one knew why.  Migraines that started when I was in elementary school and continued on into adulthood.  After 10 years of daily migraines I was diagnosed with Celiac disease at 30 years old.  That was devastating at first since I LOVE BREAD!  But my 20 plus symptoms disappeared after eliminating wheat from my diet.   I discovered how to eat yummy food and work my life around being gluten free.  Then a year later, I found out I had an allergy to peanuts.  They cause migraine, brain fog and fatigue. 6 months later I discovered that garlic makes me very ill.  Garlic makes me so sick I can barely drive within 10 minutes-migraine, brain fog, fatigue and dizziness.  Then I was reacting to lactose, not too badly but enough to bother me.  This year I have had to stop eating eggs and tapioca flour since they were causing me to feel like I had the flu.  Almost all things gluten free are made with tapioca flour.  Again and again I have had to change all my recipes and figure out what to eat and how to prepare it.  Pretty much everything I eat I have to prepare myself or I run the risk of being sick in bed for the next 24 hours.

I have tried so hard to find joy through out this process.  There have been things that I have had to mourn the loss of: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Garlic bread, All bread, Cheese puffs, ect.  I am sad for a bit and then just have to let that go.  So many amazing and delicious foods that I can never eat again.  So many restaurants that I can't eat at.  All of this has changed my life and how I live.  Going on vacation is a bit harder when you have to bring all your own food.  

But I find joy in the fact that I can still go on vacation or hang out with friends.  I can still build relationships and make deep friendships.  It is worth the risk of going home sick or just bringing my own food to be able to fellowship with my friends and family.  I can still eat most ice creams and chocolate so that is a big thing for me.
But last night I was sitting there with a migraine and realized that every time I have eaten chicken for awhile I have ended up sick.  It was too much!  I sat there with tears pouring down my face.  I didn't ask for this.  I don't want to be sick every time I eat.  I don't want to eliminate one more thing from my diet.  I already can't buy any food in 2/3 of any store that I walk into.  For what ever reason, this really affected me. But again, I realize that I have a choice.  I can choose joy again or walk down the self pity road.  

I will not choose self pity and tears.  I will again CHOOSE JOY!  God has given me so much and has been my strength through this every step of the way.  I don't know why it is happening to me and I don't need to.  Go
d loves me and cares for me so much.  He is allowing me to find the joy He intended for each of us to have.  I will smile and laugh and find more recipes that I can make.  Food allergies will not define who I am and they will not hold me back.  

It doesn't matter what you are facing.  We all face trials and hard times.  Some much bigger than others.  But God will be with you with every trial.  He longs for you to find joy in Him and be able to trust in Him even when it feels like your life is falling apart.  Happiness is based upon how your life is going and if good things are happening.  Joy is different.  It comes from knowing that God is good and He is your salvation and mighty rock.  In all that you are encountering today, I challenge you to choose joy.  Cry and grieve and then find the gifts that God has given you.   Actively look for the gifts.  They are there.

Choose Joy!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Being a Blessing to our Police Officers

We have been discussing the current events going on in our country with the girls.  They were very saddened when hearing about some of the peoples reactions to our police force.  We talked about how some officers have lost their lives.  Bekah wanted to do something. . . to make a difference in our world.  After lots of talking she decided she wanted to show support and care for the police officers of Sonoma County.  For weeks she has been working on posters for the men in blue.  

We had fun shopping for yummy treats to fill the boxes we created for the police men and women.

Jessie, Bekah and Hannah went to the Santa Rosa Police Department to drop off the goodies for the officers, toys for hurting children and posters to encourage them.

Lieutenant John Cregan was so kind.  He took us into the briefing room and we got to say hi to all the  officers.  The girls were so nervous but had the courage to say thank-you for all they do for us.  It was a special time!  The girls got lots of hugs and thanks.  Then we all get a tour of the station.

Then our family drove to Sebastopol to show honor and respect to the officers there.

A very sweet police woman gave us a tour of their station.  The girls got to say thanks to the sergeant and another officer.  The Sergeant said that their words was the best thing he had heard all week.

They got to try out the cells and the cement beds.  They are sure they would not like to spend any permanent time there.

This was such a great experience for my kids and my niece.  Bekah was able to make a difference today and saw how much it meant to others.  I pray that my girls will keep trying to be a blessing to others as they grow up.

We support all those that serve our communities, risk their lives and protect us. 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

DIY Bunk Beds

My little girls have just started sharing a room after having their own all their life.  I knew the room wasn't that big, but it looked so crowded with the bed and a mattress on the floor.  SO I decided to just build one.  I spent hours looking at beds on pinterest for a design I liked.  Most were designer beds and I don't have the time or the desire to build that.  I found one bed I kind of liked, but it needed more.  So I designed it myself.

I made the top loft bed 6 inches wider than the standard bed size that we used on the bottom.  This way there was an area on the bunk for all the stuffed animals.  Why no one else has come up with this idea is beyond me.  It also was made this way so that I could easily fit the free standing lower bunk under neath.   Since I was a little girl I have enjoyed moving my furniture around and wanted the freedom to move the beds what ever way I fancied.   Then I made the beds both 6 inches longer than the mattress (ok, I made them 12 inches longer, but that was an accident and I like it now).  My husband build them each a bookshelf to act as a headboard and storage.  Once completely build I saw that each bed was 6 inches longer than the mattress once the bookshelf was added.  But then I saw that this was perfect for the kids stuffed animals on the bottom bunk.  On the top, it works as a step to climb down.  

  This is me with my game face on!  I really do love my power tools!!!

Pre bed-just boards here.

Loving the way my bench holds the wood I'm cutting on my miter saw.  This just makes me happy!

Chris and I spent 12 hours one day cutting all the pieces, sanding them 
and adding pocket holds to the frames. 

I am such a visual person so I laid both beds out as we cut and sanded them.

This is the kids room before we put the bunk beds in.  Not a lot of space to walk and not very much storage.  Plus they left the room a mess.

We started to assemble the top bunk first.  It's not easy getting it all lined up right and square.  We did have to redo a bit once we got the level out.  We got the wood cut and sanded the first day and built the top bunk bed.

The next day we put together the bottom bunk.  I made sure the bed was high enough for a bunch of cute boxes to go underneath.  There was not much storage in the room and this is their "toy box".  See all the animals lined up at the foot of the bed?

I wanted to create a very special place for my girls to hang out together and read or play.  I got two beanbag chairs on line plus a soft carpet from Target.  The lights I hung under the bed are one of my favorite features.  It brightens up the space and makes it really special.

I loved the book shelves that we built in.  Since the mattress is right next to the bottom shelf, the girls use that as a "secret" shelf.

The ladder to the bed is at the end of the bed.  You have to stand on the bottom bunk to get to the ladder.  We ended up creating another little tiny step to make it easier to get to the main ones.

I found these really cute Elephant lights on Amazon from Thailand.  They have become the girls nightlight.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Passport to Purity

My little girl is growing up.  She is about to turn 10 and is a preteen heading into her teens.  I had heard about a great adventure for a mom or dad to do with a young preteen. 

 Passport to Purity is a program designed to introduce your daughter (or son) to traps that they will be facing in their teenage years.  They talk about what the traps are: lying to parents, peer pressure, loosing your purity, sex and dating.  Then they challenge your child to make a decision about how they are going to respond when faced with the trap.  There is time to talk to your child about what they will do and to help them make good choices.  I loved the cd's we listened to together and the journal for the child to fill out that helps them to understand and record what they are learning.  

There were 5 projects to do with your child.  They were simple projects that help your child understand the point that they were making.  

I took Bekah to Menchies and we had a big fro yo sundae!  Her daddy and I wrote her a note in her journal talking about the milestones that were coming and how we are there for her.  It was a "sweet" moment.  

On the way to the beach, we stopped to work on the journal and talk about what we had listened to.

I really loved spending time with my sweet girl and to have one on one time with her.  This brought us much closer together and opened up so much dialogue between us.

Bekah loves the beach, so I booked a campsite at Doran Beach Campground.  It was beautiful (but freezing cold).  This is the view from our campsite.

We took time to play in the ocean and look for shells.  Bekah wanted more play time but the two days we had were very packed full of listening to the CD's, doing the projects and working through the questions.

Nothing like listening to the CD's while lying in the sun in the dunes.

Our project involved some creative playtime. 

It was cold out, so we listened to many of the CDs in our tent all snuggled up in our sleeping bags.

Some one likes to light fires and is getting good at it too!

Another project: Purity is lost drop by drop until it becomes a stream and it is all gone.  Then you can't get it back.  Girls are challenged to protect their purity and save it for their husband.

Part of the Passport to Purity program asks that you take your child and do something special and memorable with them.  I choose to take Bekah to the Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental. We spent 2 1/2 hours zip lining.  My time with Bekah flying through the air 200 feet above the earth was very special.

After the last CD was finished and the questions answered we stopped for ice cream.  (This is definitely my weakness)  I gave Bekah a special necklace that would be a momento of our trip.

This is one of the best things that I have done with my girl.  We talked about a lot of hard stuff and uncomfortable things but it was good.  She was free to ask questions and to have open discussion.  I love that they encourage each child to decide what to do before they are placed in a difficult situation.  They have the opportunity to talk to their guide (mom or dad) and figure out what will be the best response to a trap that is in front of them.  It is a time to discuss their purity and how to protect that.  We had a very sweet time together and I can not express how glad I am that I took the time to talk to my girl about all that we did.  Bekah asked me tonight after we came home if we can have more time to talk. She still has questions and is asking me to set aside one on one time to answer her questions.  
This made my heart glad.  I always want her to be open with me and come to me for advice.