April McGowan

Places you never had to look

So, I recently read a book about gluten allergies, The G Free Diet by Elizabeth Hasselbeck .  Even though we’ve been going down this road, making our home an allergy-free domain, I was very surprised by some things she had to say.  It was well written, so if you are wondering if it’s worth buying, I’d do so-if it’s for you, or if you want to empathize better with someone in your family that suffers from food allergies.  But not only that, she got me looking at areas of my house I never thought to look at.  Like wooden spoons and rolling pins.  And cutting boards that have been used prior for wheat and cheese items.  And colanders–you really can’t get them all the way clean.  Needless to say, we’ve spent some cash replacing old items with a lot of new stuff lately.

So I picked up this food packet to feed a little water pet my son recently got and read the ingredients:  made with wheat.  Crud.  My eyes snapped down to the cat food.  No, it’s a grain free version…but it is made with eggs.  CRUD part two.  I occasionally say “hey, son, would you feed the cats?”  Now I always have him wash his hands–that’s just healthy–but it only takes a miniscule amount to hurt him.  And if you’ve never looked at boy’s fingernails, they get dirty just sitting still.  I mean, I never asked my daughter to go clean her fingernails, not once that I remember.  HOWEVER, my son, who might not leave the house all day, will turn up with the most disgusting gray matter under his nails.  He’s like a dirt magnet.

It’s a hard thing to feel like the world is out to get you.  Pantene shampoo just introduced a new line of healthy hair products made with wheat protein–their commercial made me groan.  We are discovering that it comes in soap, lotions, hair spray.  And don’t lick those envelopes–that sticky glue comes from wheat.  And yesterday I learned that sugar alcohols, like sorbitol and mannitol that are found in sugar-free products whose alcohol content can be made from rye  (gluten) or corn.  So there’s another label ingredient we’ll have be diligent to call on.

I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed lately, as you can imagine.  My son is going through a flare up, and despite our diligence, we are at a loss as to what is ‘getting’ him.  So, I pray for peace in all circumstances.  These verses are a comfort, I hope they will be to you, too.

Psalm 116: 1-2 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

Romans 8: 26-30 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

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Our Days Are Numbered

Well, that title might not sound very comforting to some.  And it might sound extremely comforting to others.  Or maybe you find yourself in the middle–some days the trials of life seem very hard, but on others you find contentment in the here and now.  I think a little looking forward to be a great comfort.  Although, years ago when I heard that my days were numbered, I felt that to be a threat.  I wasn’t ready to cast off this life for the next.  “I have things to do,”  I said shaking my fist bravely at the unknown.  Lately though…

I’ve had a rough year of illness.  When I say ‘year’, remember, I’m a homeschooling mom, so my year starts in September.  I’ve had one cold after another bringing me low.  And last year it was a rough year of illness for my son.  Anyway, it’s hard to get stuff done with short bouts of good health breaking up the monotony of coughing and wheezing.  Mind you, keeping a good attitude about all this has been a challenge for me.  I mean, I’ve cleaned everything I can think of in the house that might be causing an allergy flare up and bringing my immune system low.  I’ve officially thrown up my hands in defeat and would run to buy shares in Kleenex and those little clear bottles of hand sanitizing gel if we had extra cash laying about.

Maybe it’s age (my dear friends keep reminding me I am forty), or suffering–or seeing my loved ones suffer from pain or illness, but the other day when I heard that statement, “our days are numbered”, instead of intimidation or fear, I felt great relief.  No other word for it than that.  The suffering of this broken sinful world will come to an end one day.  The day-to-day suffering of our loved ones, and ourselves are limited.  But after the initial comfort I felt, I heard a challenge.  We must use the days we have left–which are only known to the Lord our God–to His glory.  I don’t mean keeping my eyes so far forward locked on heaven that I miss the tasks tripping my feet (these include the day to day tasks of caring for the gifts given me in the form of my children and spouse).  Rather, I mean to realize I have but a little time left to complete the tasks He sets before me-both big and small.    So, the million dollar question is, am I working hard as to the Lord?  Or are am I distracted by the temporary things of this world?

Psalm 39: 4  Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.

Colossians 3:24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

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Eating and other challenges

I’ve been thinking about blogging about our food recovery for some time. I didn’t really know where to start with that, but thinking about it certainly isn’t getting it done.  So, here’s to digging in! I’ve made separate categories to the side for easy subject access.  I’ll share about companies that are friendly and helpful, and I might warn you of those that aren’t (in ways of suggesting you might call them and ask them to be).  Mostly, this is a food blog to help and encourage–to let you know if you are struggling, I’m there too.

If you live in a household with a food allergy/sensitivity, then you know what a challenge that can be.  Food isn’t something we can avoid altogether–we need it.   And when you have people in the house that DON’T have that particular allergy, then you know you can’t be exclusive with food.  There has to be a safety zone, there has to be compromise.

My son has Celiac disease which means he can’t eat gluten.  Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barely and spelt.  It can also be found in oats due to shared machinery during milling.  And it’s in places you would never guess like soaps, lotions, and even some pop.  He  is also allergic to eggs and all dairy products.  When he ingests any of these food items, he experiences intestinal bleeding.   I struggle with similar foods as he does, as does my daughter (although she can eat gluten).  My husband has it narrowed down to squashes and seafood.

We all have our challenges.  We’ve all had to grieve our losses on different levels.  For some of us, the kids primarily, it’s harder than others.  Much harder.  We don’t live in a ‘safe’ world for food allergies.  We’ve had to give up eating out–restaurants are NOT safe unless they are an entirely gluten free/diary free/egg free dedicated kitchen (and we haven’t found one that is yet).   So life takes much more planning than it used to.  We can’t just pop over to a friend’s house without packing safe snacks, or bringing our own meals.

So, over time, I’ll add to this category.  I’ll post about discoveries I’ve made, so that maybe, if you are in a challenge like ours, you can learn from us too.

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