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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Most wonderful time of the year!

I have been amazed at what a gift it is that I love (and mostly get along with) my family. Every family has its quirks and sometimes you sit and stare at each other and wonder how on earth you came from the same gene pool, but in the end when you discover the loyalty and underlying commitment to each other through thick and thin, you can praise God for this network you are bound to by blood for the rest of your life.

I have three brothers and two sisters ranging from the ages of 42 to 22. I bug all of them about the fact that I am the favourite (which got blown out of the water when my own father forgot to invite me to a family gathering once... sigh). Ok, so maybe I am not the favourite, but I like to think I am the favourite "spicy" and "flavourful" one forcing them to lick their plates on my birthday "because it's my birthday and I said so" and to raise our glasses to toast my mother's uterus who housed each of us...

I know, strange thing to toast, but fascinating none the less!

It's been an amazing journey to love each other unconditionally, embracing our differences (and butting heads about them, too) and GROWING from the challenges we've been faced with. This is why I say it is a GIFT. My family has taught me to love someone so much that you want to connect with them through heart and soul beyond skin-deep issues or differences, arguments or set backs. My family taught me to believe that I could do ANYTHING because they would ALWAYS be there for me in the end.

Last night was no exception...

Duane and I hosted my mother's family gathering and as the house filled up with people, noise and love, a meal was being created that tailored completely and totally around Ethan's allergies! Considering his 20+ allergens (most are key ingredients to tasty meals), this was an incredible feat! Alas, it became an incredible feast... wholesome, simple and delicious.

I have come to meet some people whose child has a life-threatening allergy (sometimes several) and the horror stories I hear of their family members coming with foods and dainties riddled with LIFE-THREATENING allergens, showing no concern about crumbs, touching the child afterwards and even cross-contaminating his/her foods by sampling his/her "special plate" of food! These parents are loving and understanding of the fact that their family just doesn't get it (and as I pointed out in previous entries, sometimes you just CAN'T get it until it affects your life directly). This is why what my family did for us and our Ethan far exceeds anything I ever expected!

So to my beloved brothers and sisters (and mom, too) I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my network of support, for always loving me for wherever I am at in my life, for jumping on board when life takes me to dark and challenging places and finally, for being my family! I love you so much and pray that I can be as much a gift to you as you have been to me.

And for all of you out there with your own quirky, head-butting, unconditional-love-testing families... I pray that you also find PEACE in knowing that whether your family is good at showing you their love or not, I hope you KNOW it is there... that YOU not hesitate or hold back in showing YOUR love for them, that you find strength in knowing you are not alone. And should you be faced with those stubborn siblings (or even parents) who just like to make it challenging to love them, I pray that you embrace that challenge and be the gift to them you hope they can someday be to you or someone else. May you be the first to be the gift and bring FREEDOM to those bound to you in blood. It means a major embrace of humility, taking a deep breath and walking into the storm knowing you may get pushed around (just like when you were kids) but you may just walk through it and discover they had been waiting for YOU all along!

Bottom line, I pray your family can be YOUR gift, too. I would be lost without mine and I guess I just want EVERYONE to have that same support and love around them. And if you DON'T have that? Then I ask that you accept my love for you, as my brother and sister in CHRIST bound by HIS blood for all eternity. I will love you and praise God for His very breath that breathed purpose into YOU. Thanks for being here...

God bless you!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Mr. Lead Foot

Much to my husband's chagrin, I am now going to post a little rant on my frustration with his LEAD FOOT! Since we have gotten married, my darling husband (who was ALWAYS early for everything... until he met me) has accumulated approximately ten traffic infraction tickets.

Yes, you read that correctly... five or more (I have stopped counting).

Being the humble-hearted person that he is, he blames me for each of them despite the fact that I was in the vehicle for only two of them (one of them being MOTHER'S DAY...sigh). Nice try, hon!

Now you need to know something about Duane: I can count on one finger the amount of times he has gotten outwardly excitable/upset. Duane is steady like the sun. Nothing gets him worked up... except when I try to talk to him about his new expensive hobby of collecting traffic tickets.

And if I could just keep my mouth shut trusting that his ego is bruised enough with each new infraction that gets mailed in, I am sure that he would maintain his cool and calm composure. But being the extrovert that I am, I need to "express" my frustration at the fact that we actually have to BUDGET for this new-found hobby of his.

Poor Duane. He came home a few months ago looking sheepish and finally admitted that he had been pulled over for a rather LARGE speeding ticket (I seriously did not know they could legally charge us that much for a stupid ticket!). I think my husband was attempting lift-off with the speed he was going! And of course, there just had to be a lovely cop waiting like a bird of prey to scoop down and kill any potential flight with the harsh reality of LEGALITIES!

Duane insisted he would take care of it and I (being not at all a poker-faced person) clearly indicated my "okay..." to this statement with a flawed attempt at a trusting smile.

Here is a tangent for you... why o why does our lovely legal system require that we pay these traffic infractions between two specific dates that occur nearly two months down the road?? Are they plotting to have the guilty person forget to pay and incur an additional handsome fee? Will they eventually collect our children and demand ransom, too? SHEESH!!!

As the date approached, I kept reminding Duane, who of course gritted his teeth and sternly said "I SAID I would take care of it. Do you not trust me or something?"

Um... NO!

But being the lovely wife that I am, I grinned and said "okay, hon."

And now the reason for the rant: the magical window of payment opportunity has come and gone so I simply asked Duane how making the payment went. He was quiet for a moment and then admitted he had to pay via credit card (which is an additional nominal fee, I might add) because he waited to the last minute.

And being the lovely wife that I am, I growled at him and said "SEE??? That's why I didn't trust you!" Ok, not my finest moment as a lovely wife but now do you see why I am rightly a control freak? I get things done! I meet deadlines! I make charts of my own monthly cycle for crying out loud! Wanna see our budget spreadsheet? I have scanned copies of our receipts and matching serial numbers for all items in our house! I can't be on time for anything for the life of me, but I can sure micro-manage the crap out of anything!

Yes, I need help, but that is not what we are talking about here. This is all about the fact that I was right... and Duane was wrong.

Hee hee hee... now I strongly recommend everyone step aside as I get struck by lightning!!! And why this rant now, you ask? Because I am starring down at the mail we just picked up and there in the little familiar envelope I have come to dread is yet another speeding ticket for Mr.Lead Foot himself. I am just waiting for a personally signed Christmas card from the Minister of Finance thanking us for putting thirty Canadians through college.

So here's hoping you are all safe and abiding in your local speeding limits and if you see someone zipping by at irrational speeds, smile and wave because chances are, it's my husband, Duane! Hee hee hee... and cue the lighting rod! God bless you!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

His bigger picture through Ethan

The more I read labels and research the SOURCES of foods in hopes of protecting Ethan, the more I am discovering that ALL OF US are in need of protection! I cannot believe the TRUST I had that our government and our "farmers" had the integrity and to ensure that what they were producing and marketing was healthy and valuable. After all, doesn't that make sense?

The deeper you dig, the sicker you become in discovering that the drive and motivation is not nutrient-dense foods to NOURISH our nation or better yet, our local people but to PROFIT. Are you serious? Does money replace looking into the eyes of your HEALTHY child? Or that of your grandchild? Does money make you homemade cards or flash you a toothy grin with twinkling eyes? Why is there such a draw for money? And why is it becoming more important than the public's safety and basic rights to GOOD food?

Ethan has certainly had a purpose and he has suffered a high price to bring us a new depth of knowledge we never dreamed. I used to complain that we couldn't order pizza on Friday nights anymore... now I am counting my blessings! After a long hard day, the last thing I wanted to do was spend another hour or two preparing another meal FROM SCRATCH (making my own mayo with kosher ingredients, homemade broths from our own grass-fed beef bones or raised chickens, etc...). But I am realizing now that God has granted us the most valuable gift! Proper health!

Despite poor sleep, I still feel more energized than I have in years. Despite a limited diet, my skin is the nicest it has been since I was a teenager (pre-zit years, of course!). Mental clarity could still use some improvement but my overall health and vitality is at an all-time new level!

Because now I KNOW where our food is coming from!

Duane and I just finished watching a film documentary called Food Inc. If any of you wish to borrow it, we can certainly make it available to you! Or feel free to come over for a gluten-free raw sunbutter bar and watch it with us! But it is an eye-opening educational tool for us to know the VEIL that has deliberately been placed between us and our food and the BULLYING taking place between our ethical and hard-working farmers and major corporations that control our food chain... I am sure you know who they are... If not, Food Inc. won't hesitate to inform you. Did you know farmers are not even allowed to save their own seed anymore?

Doesn't that seem creepily wrong to you? I'll have to look back and see if I posted about my "dream" I had back in July about five major combines that were devouring all the world's crops... they each had their designated colour and while the world was blinded by a performer or speaker, behind them our world was being devoured in a pillar of fire generated by these five combines.

And so God has answered our prayers, as He always has, and always in a way that we least expect: "Father, help us to be stewards of the land, to produce nutrient-dense food to loved ones and beyond, to be healthier and be close as a family. And help me lose my 'baby weight'." Yes, a little selfish in the end, but He delivered that one, too by completely changing the way we eat.

I have officially lost sixty-six pounds since I was nine months pregnant with Ethan. AND while nursing which is a first for me!

So here is my prayer for you: "Father bless all of your children here on earth and help us to find the wholesome food you created for us. Lead us away from foods that have been altered and that now suffer the consequences of working outside of your perfect creation and bring us back to the simplicity and beauty of your food and make it accessible to ALL people. May we all find health and peace in knowing you have provided for us. In Jesus name... amen."

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Busy Bees!

The hive here is buzzing with excitement as we get further and further ahead with renos! We have just LOVED the people who have been involved in this project. I will be posting a special thanks to the team a little later when I can get accurate contact info (and their permission, of course!).

I have been busy patching our gloriously "character" plaster walls (oh if only you could detect the tone of sarcasm in my voice). I may have a future career in taping & mudding! The best were the two walls with wall paper... and those of you who have experienced wall-paper removal have just groaned, am I right? First it's peeling off whatever bits you can by hand, then it's scouring the paper and spraying it with fleecy/water mix, then it's peeling the remaining chunks... followed by washing the walls with TSP then you have to wash the TSP off... SHEESH! Then it was patching, sanding, patching some more, sanding then priming... anyone else getting tired? Finally (oh finally, finally, finally) it's taping along all the windows and edges and yes, the glorious moment of ACTUALLY painting the walls (which is what I wanted to do a whole week PRIOR).

Sigh...

Can you guess why I have NOT been able to blog lately? And the only time I could get the work done without the little ones trying to climb the ladder, or dip toys in TSP was after their bedtime so I often spent my nights working until 1 or 2 in the morning.

But you should see how beautiful the den and living room look... ok, minus the two walls that are in the process of getting "reno-ed". They look like brand new walls! And yes, I will likely cry the first crack I see. But for now, it is BEAUTIFUL!

I have many blog entries i hope to post including "the art of loading my children into a vehicle" and "the first of many yet to come"... I will have to leave you intrigued by the titles in hopes that I will have the chance to sit and write some more. Afterall, I miss you when I don't make a point of connecting via the power of intention!

But life feels so good these days. Sometimes I feel guilty for the many privileges we know here... good wholesome food, a beautiful house, warmth, freedom, space, running water, electricity... I could go on and on and on. We are so richly blessed! I am free to express myself and to journey in my faith without fear of persecution. I can even SHARE my journey with others, connect with you via the internet... it truly is amazing.

So here's hoping that you have missed me, too! And that we can delight in this connection together. Even though I cannot see or know each one of you connecting with me through these words, there is great peace in knowing that God does... and if we are all created in His image, then somewhere deep within me, I, too, know that it is you. God bless you deeply and fervently!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A little compassion goes a long way

My sister sent me this link and I really felt inspired by it. It's been a prayer of mine since I was little for all of us to love each other for the simple fact that none of us exist outside of God's creation. His will is why we are here... surely that means that ALL of us are deserving of LOVE... even if we ourselves have not quite figured out how to be loving. I guess that's why they call it UNCONDITIONAL. At any rate, it is wonderful to discover that many others share this same hope. So if you have a second, check out the Charter for Compassion.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Recycle old cell phones & accessories

As promised, I will continue to share whatever info I find on how to recycle those household items that end up in landfills. Today, I have found something helpful regarding old cell phones & their accessories.

Manitoba Telecom Services has a recycle your cell phone program. Unfortunately, this means it is only applicable to Manitobans but I am thinking that perhaps most cell phone companies would have a similar program.

At any rate, I have about ten cell phones to recycle that date back to the ones that looked like computers held up to your head! Bless you all out there!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

"Open" house

I am sitting at my kitchen counter typing away on our computer... kitchen counter? You wonder? Yes, our home addition for Isabel is well underway and my little tiny office space is now a big gaping hole into the new addition... a hole that will soon lead to our spacious entrance with 3-foot wide door and no lip at the base of the door for Isabel's wheelchair to bump onto. I anticipate the many people who will be welcomed into our home and I am sooooo looking forward to loving every one of them in hopes that they will feel God's love for them and from us.

The home I have always desired... not filled with "stuff" but with the "stuff life is made of." My sincerest desire is to make our home a place where others feel welcomed, invited and appreciated.

I think that's why all of this allergy stuff has hit me so hard. Here I am at a phase in my life when I finally have the space to host and have people over (and for the longest time, there WAS always someone here) but with my fears of harming Ethan with his allergens, our home went from being wide open to feeling like some bio-hazard closed off area!

But as he gets older, stronger and we see first hand that his allergens are not "killing" him, our hearts are becoming more peaceful. Once he is weaned, we will likely reintroduce some foods into our home (I really cannot live without garlic) and I will be able to cook my meals again and feed others.

I miss feeding others...

Even with the construction crews around, it feels wrong not to invite them in for hot bowls of chili with fresh bread and homemade butter. Or to offer fresh cookies or muffins. There is such a sense of love when you can nourish others. I love it! (Except when I flop with a recipe... then I just feel like an idiot!). :)

After my last post, I believe that brought us to day four of Ethan's skin clearing up miraculously. And staying true to form, after those magical four days, Ethan's skin began to deteriorate again. What is the culprit? I have no clue... could have been the gluten-free elk sausage that we tried (garlic in it?), could have been my cinnamon roiboos mate (the first I have had in many, many months), it could have been the olive oil on the chicken I baked for him... or something in the celtic sea salt... Maybe it was the stress of all the clanging and banging...

I really don't know.

Melina was wise and said to me yesterday, "Mom, I feel as though God has given me a sentence to pass along to you... 'when you accept it, things will change.'"

Wise words that I have known in my heart all along. Once I let go of thinking I can control Ethan's outcome based on my research and efforts, the sooner I can let go and give room for God to do His bidding. And who better to heal Ethan than His very own Creator? I know this in my head but my heart just won't let go yet. And that delay makes me feel as though it is at Ethan's expense. But even Jesus praised God in Matthew 11:25 "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." No amount of knowledge and education can outsmart the will of God.

Sigh.

Always a journey of humility and submission. "Let not mine but your will be done." Can you imagine Christ's intense faith and submission? Knowing what was about to unfold, the pain he would have to endure? And in his moment of pleading with our Father in the garden of Gethsemane, He catches himself wanting "this cup to be passed" from Him, and CHOOSES to submit... submit fully... letting go of all control over the situation and trusting that God's Will encompassed more than the immediate future.

And indeed it did...

Why then, with a most perfect example of submission under the most intense of situations, should I even STRUGGLE with letting go and trusting God?

"But what if I don't like His outcome?" Ah... but I cannot imagine that Christ was too keen on the immediate outcome following his prayer in the garden. And yet, the outcome was far greater and for a purpose more grand than anyone could have fathomed.

So perhaps my prayers should not be for miraculous healing. Perhaps it should be for submission and trust. Faith. Trusting that Ethan's suffering is for a greater purpose. Perhaps he is meant to touch many other people's lives as Isabel has done in her state of suffering. Perhaps always fearing pain, suffering and hurt are fears that keep us from fulfilling a bigger picture.

So as I watch Ethan worsen yet again, I praise God and give thanks for the moments He grants us of health, rest, laughter and renewed faith. Because life would be much worse if those moments did not occur at all.

And in the wise words of my daughter, I will continue to work towards accepting where we are all at in this and praise God as Jesus did in Matthew for revealing His truth to the beautiful hearts of our children that we may learn from their unconditional love and reverence for all of His creation.

In Jesus name, I pray... Amen.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A whole new Little Man

And by that, I do not mean that we traded Ethan in... although it almost feels that way! I am telling you, miracles of miracles, he is the most beautiful, the most calm and content he has been since birth!

Days into our therapeutic doses of iron, I noticed his attention span getting better. A few days after that, he decided to start walking! And a few days more, he finally began using sign language (all of my repetition and diligence was ACTUALLY registering in his over active brain!).

He is so delightful! Busy... oh dear Father, is he busy, but truly delightful. He walks all over the house yelling "daddddeeeee... daaaadeeeee". He chuckles and chases Anika.

These days, he eats like a horse! I do not even want to imagine what his appetite will be like when he is a teenager!! I think my father hit the nail on the head back when he was three months old and everything started going down hill: "the poor kid is starving! Feed him meat & potatoes."

I thought he was crazy! But I have been boiling our grass-fed beef short ribs, freezing the broth in ice cube trays to blend with his food and feeding him the delicious meat with most meals, and I tell you, he is a whole new little man. He LOVES meat. That's all he wants to eat... that and grapes... just like Mina did.

I have even been able to sit and READ books to him! And I am not talking about the lightning speed reading of yelling out random words as the pages fly by my face due to busy little hands who couldn't be patient enough to WAIT for me to turn the pages.

My little Ethan is coming out of his itchy shell. Iron deficiency and garlic have been the major culprit all of these months! Goes to show the blatant denial on my part... garlic was one of the only remaining food items that I consumed in large quantities on a daily basis... you'd think I would have made the link but nope. I had it in my mind that no one could possibly ever be allergic to garlic! It's practically an herbal gift directly from the creator!! I mean, c'mon!

Sigh.

But alas, meals have certainly become simplified and I think Ethan is starting to wean himself. He actually slept for a seven hour stretch last night!

Joy of joy! Your prayers, our prayers have been answered! More answers that have finally led us to Ethan's basic needs. And the successful protocol? He is on a hypoallergenic probiotic called EMF Super Powder, Licorice Root extract, L-Glutamine, Iron, and Baby Ddrops. Foods consumed daily are bananas, applesauce, avocados, grapes, yams, beef, chicken, beans, carrots and zucchini. He gladly gnaws on raw red pepper so his vitamin C consumption is finally greatly increased.

Lastly, we add a scoop of Metagenics Ultracare for Kids (food supplement) and have truly loved the added nutrients, prebiotics, and amino acids he gets from it.

It has taken a LONG time (or so it feels that way) but we finally have our son back. He is beautiful, pink, plump (he gained a pound and a half these past three weeks!) and he is exploring his surroundings and communicating so well. He signs: grapes, banana, more, all done, milk, hat, wind, train, tree, shoes, help and eat.

I should really reflect and structure this entry a little better instead of blurting out my excitement as though I were yelling out instructions to a babysitter while trying to run out the door! But I am so grateful to you all for keeping our son in your thoughts, your prayers and your healing intentions.

We are so richly blessed and we thank you for your part in that. God bless you all!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Anything but that!!!

That does it! I am going to have to sell my poor Ethan on Kijiji or something. I told God "I am willing to give up everything except garlic" which I should honestly know by now is an invitation to have that very thing you are UNWILLING to give up forcefully taken from you.

I am talking about this morning's appointment at the allergy specialist's office. We skin pricked him for Vegenaise (our egg-free mayo), Hemp seed (because I am DETERMINED to find a source of Omega-3 he is NOT allergic to), tomato, honey, turmeric (super incredible healing properties), lime, Agave Nectar (only form of sweetener he does NOT seem to react to), red pepper (a non-citrus source of vitamin C), onion (cuz it goes in everything we eat) and our beloved, sacred, creme-de-la-creme... GARLIC.

Surely he wouldn't be allergic to garlic but I figured the kid still hasn't cleared up despite eliminating just about everything else. His allergy to garlic is as high up there as milk and eggs and fish... ARGH!!! At least now we know WHY he hasn't been clearing up all this time.

But seriously... garlic? C'mon! That's just mean! Anyways... just thought I'd update you on the newest developments: severely allergic to garlic & vegenaise, highly allergic to hemp seed, tomato, honey and turmeric, NOT allergic to lime, agave nectar, red pepper, onion & mushrooms. Take care out there! And enjoy your garlic!!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Vaccines, H1N1 shots, etc...

It amazes me how we (Duane and I) are treated as parents when Emergency staff or other medical professionals learn that our children are NOT up to date with their immunizations. It disgusts me that we are suddenly treated with curtness and deal with the occasional out-of-line comments on our parenting skills.

Wow, what a way to sell a family on vaccinations!

We stand where we do BECAUSE of the research AND because of the testimonies of people we KNOW. Follow this link to an autism conference (1 minute clip) and see for yourself the families who have witnessed the "death" of their child as they knew him/her because they had faith in the medical system's vaccination requirements. I just feel that vaccinations are a game of russian roulette on our kids because you just don't know who is going to have a life-altering reaction. Is it really worth it?

And what of the annual flu shot? Here is a short commical clip on the ingredients used for the common flu shot. Why do we read labels of food we ingest but do not ask to see the ingredients of what is being INJECTED into our bodies?

I have particularly appreciated Dr. Tenpenny's website (among others). She offers great info on the flu & H1N1 vaccines' ingredients along with studies and other information confirming what seems to be kept away from the public. And why is it not being made public knowledge? I just don't understand! If you love your fellow-man/woman, would you not want them to be as well-informed as possible? Why remove the information that may allow them to sway from your convictions? Isn't that manipulation? ARGH! I feel so disappointed in those whom we are told we must blindly trust.

Blindly trust.

Duane's friend delayed getting his daughter vaccinated until she was two years old... that's our Anika's age. When she received her vaccination, he watched his little girl slip away only days later. She now has autism. I cannot fathom that pain, that anger. Perfectly normal little girl and she whisked from the rest of her life. I cannot fathom the rage.

So please, medical system, be accountable and just admit "yes, sometimes they go wrong, we don't have all the answers, take them at your own RISK." At least let the public know there IS a risk! And give them OPTIONS... do we really need to give our babies so many vaccines?

Jim Carrey & wife, Jenny McCarthy, on this Larry King clip confirmed for me that DIET plays a KEY ROLE in the issues we are encoutering with our children today and the critical role, we as parents, have in educating ourselves and demanding NO toxins in our vaccinations and to limit them.

I am passionate about our little ones' rights and pray, pray, pray that our world will thrive on the TRUE wellbeing of our children, rejecting greed & profit and rejoicing at the sanctitity that is our innocence... because Jesus warned what would happen to those who threatened the Little Ones. Let's do our part to be AWARE and WISE in our choices concerning them.

I love you for allowing me this freedom of expression, I love you for disagreeing with me if you so wish, I love that you are passionate about what is best (regardless of whether we align on what we think that is) and I love that together we have the power to do something. God bless you all out there! And your beautiful children!

Friday, 30 October 2009

My little Poo-Bear

What is it with children and their innate attraction to bodily wastes? What makes them so drawn to it? Yes, it is a natural process and things would be far more "gross" if they didn't "happen" but why do they have to try to play with it? Smear it? Taste it? And why can't I seem to have a dinner conversation without bringing up something to do with our bodily functions?? Shouldn't I have outgrown this by now???

Anika's red potty is rather mobile so sometimes it is in the living room so she can watch Veggie Tales for ten minutes while waiting for something to "pass". Other times, it is in the kitchen where she can visit with me... I know, sounds gross, but we try NOT to make it a big deal. The problem is that when Anika gets up to let me know she is "all done", Ethan's radar picks up on the unguarded waste bucket and makes an unnatural beeline for it! And if I am not quick enough, he joyously smacks his hands around in it or picks up the little bucket and spills it all over... at which point he then plays in it.

ARGH!!!

I need sonic ears to hear that little skin-peeling-off-plastic sound to catch Anika before she gets up and say "YEP.. OK... just hang on, Anika... mommy's coming... don't get up!" Either that or distract Ethan with something else before tending to Anika.

Who knew potty time could be so mentally exhausting?

And then there are the "accident" moments to which Ethan is ALSO creepily tuned into. I was on the phone with my brother when Anika came running into the kitchen looking panicked saying "I gotta go PEEEEEEeeeee!!" just as it started POURING and man do I mean POURING down her legs! Her natural inclination? To step backwards as she watches the waterfall of urine, tracking it all over the floor with every fascinated step back she takes.

My inclination? "What the heck? Did you drink a pool?? When WAS the last time I sat you on the potty?" Guilty bad mother moment as it dawns on me that it has been 4 hours!!! DOH!

At this point, I am on a CORDED phone (because my darling hubby doesn't want anyone in our house to die of brain cancer from electromagnetic waves pulsating through our heads - darn his love for our well being & lack of convenience!) so I am standing helplessly watching this all play out. I reach pathetically under the sink for napkins to start cleaning up the mess only to hear the lightning speed thumping of a crawling boy (who has clearly picked up the scent of bodily waste??). I literally throw the phone down yelling "NOOOOOOoooooo!!!" (as I run in place like in the cartoons) as Ethan barrels through the little pacific ocean on our kitchen floor!

Anika keeps stepping away from the commotion so our little ocean is turning into a river as I reach and set her down in place while scooping Ethan with my free arm and knocking the roll of paper towel strategically to land on the mess... as I wonder, hmmm, should I put these "used" paper towels in with recycling or not?

I quickly yelp towards the dangling phone to say "I'll just be a minute!" as I strip down both kids, wipe up the mess, and yes - wash my hands (and Ethan's).

Ay caramba... anyone else feeling pooped? Pardon the pun?

Once again, never a dull moment in our house. Not even for one cotton-pickin' minute! Sigh.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Samsung toners

As I try to find responsible ways of "recycling" or dealing with the garbage we are accumulating as a family, I will share whatever resources I can with all of you and store it under the label: Recycling - Mina's Clean Earth Wish.

And as any of you discover other information on how we can be more responsible, please add them under the "post a comment" section. We'll figure this out together!!

Finally, as the title suggests, here is Samsung's Canadian website for their toner recycling program.

My once-so-little girl's wish keeps me motivated... and my children continue to be my inspiration. And the promise of my future grandchildren keeps me searching for ways to better care for our world and each other.

God bless you all, out there! And may your day be a little greener, a little more "breathable", and may you feel positive about what YOU can do.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Thank you, Mommy

Another precious moment that melted my heart and of course, what do I have to do in those moments? Well, share it with you, of course!

At lunch today, I had made some hot beef wraps (with rice tortillas). Mealtimes are hectic with Ethan demanding to be fed more before the spoon has left his mouth while trying to put his foot on the table so he can see me give him the look of "NO WAY mister, no feet on the table!" and while Anika is trying to get my attention saying "I NEED my chocwat miwk, mommy! Chocwat miwk... CHOCWAT MIWK!"

It's usually after I have gotten up five times that I realize I forgot to get utensils, or glasses or Ethan's main course is done and he needs some fresh grapes cut into bite size pieces he won't choke on... Then I'll try to turn to acknowledge something else Anika has been trying to say to me only to hear the sound of Ethan gagging... darn it, I didn't cut that grape small enough!

Sigh

Needless to say, mealtimes are FUN. Today's lunch was no different except that Melina didn't have any school so we had the pleasure of her presence, too. Lunch was late so the kids were extra whiny. Things got more and more delayed as Ethan held on to my leg like some amateur Tarzan which required that I walk like a zombie to and from my cutting board, to the frying pan, back to the counter to make the wraps, etc... slowing things down considerably!

FINALLY, we sat down to eat and thanked God for our food. Anika started eating her wrap and then with her mouth full of food, she said "Mommy? Thank you for making my food."

(Cue the heavenly music) As my heart started melting away while attempting to whisper "you're welcome, my love", Melina quickly whipped me back to reality as she looks at her wrap before biting into it and says "what a suckup!" (Cue sound of scratching record!) Her sly smile my way saved her from getting a wrap whipped at her head! Teenagers!

So I giggle and smirk as I share this motherhood moment with you hoping it sparks memories of your own... perhaps when you were the suckup? Or the one about to get a hot beef wrap whipped at your head. Hee hee hee!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Mina's earth day

A memory tickled my mind the other day...

Melina was only about four or five years old. She was always looking out for garbage and we would often make a point of carrying shopping bags to put trash in when we walked to the park.

Now I can't remember how the "wish" aspect of this story came into play - if it was one of her nightly prayers, or a "first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight"... either way, her heart was set on a special request which came to light this one day we were walking back from the park.

Boy she was a busy body so holding her hand while walking was not always easy as she was often distracted by cracks in the side walk, sticks in the grass, etc... But I do recall her holding my hand as we approached our house when she stopped dead in her tracks and gasped.

I looked at her to see what she was looking at and saw City of Winnipeg workers down the road picking up trash with special little grabby-devices. I looked back at Melina who looked up at me in awe and said "Mommy... my wish came true! I asked God to make the world cleaner!"

A simple request... not for toys or for "things" but for our planet to be better cared for. How beautiful is the heart of a child?

So let us keep the hope of a little girl in our heart when purchasing new items or throwing them away. I have no doubt that there are ways to be smart with old lightbulbs, tv's, computers, batteries, etc... There has to be a way to reduce the ridiculous amounts of garbage we create individually and worst of all, collectively.

So my prayer tonight joins in with my little Mina's from so long ago... that we become wiser as a collective, that we work WITH our beautiful planet, that our love for it exceeds all greed and that we give back twice what we take. That our planet be pure and clean for our grandchildren's children so that their food may be life-giving and the air they breath be clean. In Jesus' precious name... amen.

PS - if you click on the last image, you will see the amazing moment I captured on film. Melina just stopped out of nowhere and reached her hand out just as I snapped the picture. In my mind, I had wanted to capture her riding her tricycle but when the picture was developed and it showed her "catching" the ray of light, I was deeply moved. No wonder Jesus told us to have the faith of a child!

Breaking ground

We have officially (and finally) begun our addition!

There are still some issues with our permit - they have required that we apply for a variance. Our home (which was built over a hundred years ago) is apparently too close to the road and they don't like any "buildings" being built too close to the road... We HAVE to build off the north side because the south of the house is the driveway, east of the house is the garage and west of us is the road... that leaves only the north side of the house as an option. It's not like we can pick up the house and move it back a few feet! Oh the joys of "technical details!"

So it may not be approved until November's council meeting (because they cancelled October's). Despite this fact, we asked for some reassurance to move ahead with the project due to Isabel's immediate medical needs. Our contractor didn't like it, but one phone call from the Rural Municipality assured him that moving ahead without a permit would not affect their working relationship.

So there you have it! We have FINALLY begun! It is terrifyingly exciting! And bloody expensive! But we will have a lift system in Izzy's room and a track in her bathroom (which includes a huge wheel-in shower). We will have three-feet-wide doors and a beautiful wheelchair ramp built right into the deck. We are so excited about better meeting her needs (and saving our backs!).

We'll keep you posted on the progress. Will upload pics when I can. Love you all!

Pumpin' Iron

Amazingly, the therapeutic doses of iron had incredible effects immediately! Within 24 hrs, Ethan's skin healed and his overall mood was very happy... just in time for his Birthday celebration with Duane's family.

It was wonderful! He even took a few steps. His favourite thing in the world is STAIRS! Once he spots stairs, he just cannnot seem to resist. Up and down, up and down, etc... He has mastered flowing down the stairs on his stomach at an alarming rate. I have to keep him in onesies just to make sure he doesn't rub the skin off his stomach!

The iron has clearly helped him out. We saw the naturopath on the 21st and he gave Ethan a B12 shot, "prescribed" some licorice root, L-Glutamine to heal his guts and said to continue with the vitamin D drops, too. All encouraging stuff.

However, today Ethan's skin has broken out in brutal eczema spots again. I have no clue what the culprit is/was. I had blueberries in my bland rice & sorghum porridge this morning... could that be it? I had salsa at lunch... could it be the tomatoes? I put a little licorice root in his food at lunch... is that it?

Well, at least I feel confident that his red blood cell count is climbing every day. So that's Ethan's update, to-date for this date which leaves you up-to-date. Can you tell I still need a little more sleep?

Some day. There will come a time when I sleep seven hours straight... someday.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Finally...Hope for the unborn!

My mother and I discussed my entry regarding abortions and we agreed that better support has to be in place for the pregnant women who are scared and alone. There is MUCH work to be done and many prayers to have answered regarding this topic. I am just so grateful that SOMETHING is happening about it.

If you click here, you will be lead to a UN petition for the unborn child and the family.

The petition calls for Member States of the UN to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion. It also calls for special protection for the family!

Their goal is to reach 1 million names by December 1st. I urge you to make your voice heard on behalf of the voices we will never hear. Thank you so much and God bless you!

Friday, 16 October 2009

Our not-so-Iron little man

Long time no type! I have been dedicating ALL free time (if any) to researching sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids and more recently, iron deficiency so I apologize for the delay in updating you all.

Ethan turned one this past Tuesday... a milestone I remember fearing he would not see when he first took a turn for the worst only months ago (seems like an eternity ago). Needless to say we delighted in the privilege of his health and strength. He has been fighting a cold for a few weeks now so Papa kept him home during Thanksgiving festivities.

So what do you do as a birthday celebration for a highly allergic one-year old boy? Well, take him to two doctor's appointments, of course! Yes, happy birthday precious Ethan... here are some skin pricks to test more allergies, a puffer prescription to treat asthma, and an eczema protocol that includes antibiotic & hydro cortisone creams... again.

Sigh.

What of his birthday cake? Oh silly, silly you... unless you can find a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free blah-blah-blah-free cake (THAT IS EDIBLE) I am afraid it is sweet potato puree with a hypothetical candle on top!

What of his presents? A high quality Britax car seat and the added discovery that he is highly allergic to mustard, curry and mildly allergic to lentils. But we also learned that he is NOT allergic to kidney beans, dill, zucchini, olives and watermelon. Another "gift" was the results of his hematology report which showed extremely low red blood cell count (104 when normal is 140-175... and below 100 can cause serious damage to the heart & other major organs). Within that test, they also discovered that his iron stores (ferritin levels) are alarmingly low measuring in at 6 ug/L (normal range is 20-250).

Our son is quite anemic and the neurological long-term damage if left untreated could be significant.

Now, try finding a bio-available source of iron (preferably ferrous fumarate which has 33% availability for absorption) in liquid form WITHOUT additives such as citrus flavour or berry flavour... crap he is ALLERGIC TO!!! Good 'ol enfamil's Fer-in-Sol will have to do for now as we try to treat him with therapeutic amounts of iron without toxicity issues.

For your own info, should you experience major fatigue, dizziness, inflamed tongue, destructibility... (later edit... just noticed the word DESTRUCTABILITY instead of disTRACTability! Hee hee hee) you might want to look into this iron supplement fact sheet.

As for taking in adequate amounts of iron through diet, he is allergic to the fish, eggs and dairy but can eat red meat, fortified cereals and chicken (thank goodness). Further research shows that calcium interferes with iron absorption so try avoiding taking any supplements (or eating iron-rich foods) along with calcium. But vitamin C is welcomed during iron-ingesting time! Oh yes, it plays a key role in its absorption. Hooray vitamin C!

Delving deeper into issues creating hemoglobin, I discovered a huge link to vitamin B12 deficiency which correlates with my theory about his gull bladder affecting his fat-soluble vitamins... there is a bigger picture and I feel like I am working on a 2 million piece puzzle with little to no time to work on it! And by the time I get to it again, I forget where I left off in organizing my pieces!

Suffice it to say that I am determined to find the ROOT CAUSE of this eco-system of off-kilter-ness (if that is a word... highly doubt it is but it sure sounds good). My concern is the link between iron deficiency and ADHD... as my son is pulling out every kleenex from the box at my feet... oh and chewing on it now... sigh. Thank goodness he is not allergic to kleenex... Wow, who am I claiming is ADHD? I can barely focus on one paragraph over here!

Bottom line, we are getting answers that lead us to more specific questions which means we are on the right track. Luv you all!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

We're home again

You prayer warriors are amazingly gifted! As is typical of any child brought into emergency, Ethan's symptoms seemed to miraculously dissipate as I stood there looking like an idiot saying "Um, he was having lots of trouble breathing."

His sats were great, his heart rate was quite elevated from working so hard & from the dose of ventolin I had given him at 9:00 pm. He still had indrawing at the ribs and the trachea (where he is working so hard to breath that you see his lungs sucking back the skin in those areas). He was now breathing 40 breaths per minute instead of 60.

Doctors looked in his ears - all good. Praise God! They took his temperature and it was not alarming (101). They listened to his chest and agreed that he was having some difficulty breathing but that it was likely virus-related and/or asthma related.

They advised to continue watching him and that should he seem distressed by his breathing (which he wasn't last night) to return immediately.

So that is that. Amy, you hit the nail on the head with your comment... his little body is stronger than I give him credit for and he is WINNING this fight against whatever is trying to get a foothold on his immune system.

I am wickedly pooped today. Every now and again my eyes get out of focus (either that or I am aging prematurely!). The body is an amazing thing the way it copes and heals. I am blessed to have my health and thank God for every winning moment Ethan knows in his own battles.

And for you, his prayer army, that is right there behind him. How you are all so beautiful to me... how your prayers call out like a chorus of angels. You make me feel like Ethan's suffering can bring glory to God in the ways you come together in spirit so selflessly, so lovingly.

You are all so beautiful to me! God bless you from the bottom of my heart and from the deepest realms of His heavenly grace.

Off to emergency

Ethan's breathing is very rapid and laboured so I am taking him to emergency. Please pray.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Melt down 101

Um, yeah... too bad the new-found serenity from my previous entry didn't last into this past moment!

Can you guess who is causing the upset? Could it be my healthy Melina? Nope... Could it be my healthy Isabel? Ironically, no. Anika, you wonder? Nope! Once again, my Ethan's health is spinning my head into a frenzy.

We took some family pictures outdoors on Sunday which ended up being quite a chilly day. I thought I had Ethan well clothed but he woke up Monday morning with a runny nose, congestion and the beginnings of a cough. Anika began complaining "mommy, I tired." So I knew something was up with her, too. That and she kept running up to me yelling "I NEEEEED a kleenex, mom!"

Great.

Sure enough, today both kids have full blown (pardon the pun) colds. Thankfully, Anika's mood is not affected by it. She has been sweet as pie these last few days but poor Ethan's breathing has been getting progressively worse. Earlier today, he was beginning to develop a fever and tonight, his breathing is laboured. He is miserable and can barely nurse due to stuffiness & a runny nose. His fever is getting worse and he is growing more and more irritable.

So is this a minor cold or did he contract the feared H1N1? You know, if he was a normal child, I wouldn't get so scared when he gets sick like this. But he is not a normal child health-wise and I am DEAD scared of what a powerful virus would do to him.

And with that fear in my heart, I attempted to take his oxygen sats using Izzy's machine but it requires sitting still with the probe on your finger for several seconds. Well, have you met Ethan? Add a dose of irritability and it's like trying to probe a jumping Mexican bean... or some other legume he is NOT allergic to.

I lost it and spanked his little padded bum because he was just screaming and screaming and flailing and all I wanted to do is make sure he doesn't need emergency care. That frenzied moment where you just don't know what to do anymore and stupidity takes over.

Recognizing that I was in "the danger zone" (you know that fine line between sanity & insanity?) I quickly brought him upstairs, put him in his crib and left the room as fast as I could. I came back downstairs to my supper that was now burning due to being side-tracked and Duane calls from work (at the time he would normally be arriving home) to say he got held back and would be home in the next twenty minutes.

Ethan is screaming on the monitor and I don't know how to fix him, how to find out what is happening inside of him... and is it a tantrum or is it pain? What is happening and when will I ever get the answers?

And the internal voice yelling at God begins "If you're planning on taking him early anyways than get it over with already! I can't take this anymore!"

...And cue the flood of tears...

With every day that he grows more and I learn more about him, the more I love him. The longer we go down this road the more heart wrenching it would be to lose it. Are we fighting a losing battle? I just want to know if my heart will be ripped from my chest... is that too much to ask? I feel like my faith is on the brink of jumping off the cliff. I know I have many blessings to be thankful for... just read my next entry and it is obvious that the blessings are abundant. But these deep pains where my children's health is concerned are just cruel.

First Isabel... years of not knowing from one day to the next if she would make it. All the vomiting up to twenty times a day, all the trips to emergency, that blasted moment in the resuscitation room... all those moments where my heart stopped beating for fear it would go on WITHOUT my precious little one. It took nearly eight years but she finally attained health. Now she is hardly ever sick!

But now there is Ethan... my heart feels so much where he is concerned. Just last night I was telling Duane that I am more than willing to keep nursing and being restricted in every single thing I put in my mouth if it means Ethan is healthy and with us. I don't want to complain about how hard it feels because I would kick myself for it if we ever lost him. And then I wonder if in eight years, I will look back at this time and be glad it is over? Just like I am doing with Isabel? What is in store for Ethan?

When he gets sick, it scares me so much. How long before we seek help? How can we help him in the meantime? Like I said, if he was a "normal" child, this wouldn't bother me nearly as much as it does.

So there you have it. My ugly meltdown of October 7th, 2009... less than a week away from Ethan's first birthday. My son who was born on Thanksgiving day... perhaps there is more link between these last two entries than meets the eye. I will have to pray and seek further guidance, a stronger heart and a faith more willing to submit lovingly to God's plan. Wherever you are as you read this, I love you for being part of this with me. You in Netherlands! You in Korea! You in Oakbank and Dugald! You in Brandon! Etc... All of you... thank you so much. I do not feel alone in this.

I do not feel alone.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Thank you God, for...

I tell you my friends, a delightful way to end any day is lying next to a two year old (who is avoiding bedtime like the plague) and beginning the usual bedtime routine prayer: "Thank you God for... Daddy. Thank you God for... Mommy. Thank you God for... Melina. Thank you God for... Isabel... for Anika, Ethan, Grandma & Grandpa, Pepere & Baba, Grandma Jacqui, etc.." On and on the prayer goes as we add fun things like "sunshine" and "smiles" and for "healing bo-bos". No matter what kind of day you have had, when you stop and give thanks for all of those good things, you can't wipe the smile that finds its way across your face and into your heart.

Tonight was no exception. I lay there with my beautiful little Anika who told me to "put your head down, mommy" when I was busy brushing the hair from her face. She then said "I want to say 'thank you God'."

"Ok, sweetheart... Thank you God for..."

"No, mommy... it's Anka's turn." (Yes, I love that her name is Anka when she is trying to get a point across quickly).

"Oh, ok. It's Anika's turn. Go ahead, Anika."

"Thank you God for... daddy! Daddy's right here. (giggle). Thank you God for... MOMMY! Mommy, are you right here?"

"Yes, mommy is right here."

"Thank you God for Anka. Thank you God for... tractors. Thank you God for... combines. Thank you God for... fields. Thank you God for... friends. And for flamily."

"Flamily?"

"Yes mommy, flamily. Thank you God for... aunty Rhea! Thank you God for... puppy dogs. (giggle, giggle). Thank you God for... sheep."

"For sheep? Oh that's a good one."

Giggle "Yes, sheep. Thank you God for hay."

"Oh yes, hay is a very good one, too."

"I all done now, mommy."

"Ok, now we say 'thank you God for... EVERYTHING. In Jesus' name... AMEN!'"

And with that gladness in my heart, I gave her her cup of water to sip from and kissed her goodnight. This feeling is something I wanted to share with you all. It lifts the spirit from all its burdens and you remember the very glory that brings us peace. Our lives get so hectic and busy that we often forget the gift of "grace" and "serenity". And that is precisely what they are... gifts!

My darling sister reminded me in the hecticness and mental chaos of trying to solve Ethan's health mysteries to take peace, be still and to meditate. For me, that stillness comes when I can go for a walk or a jog... when my mind is free of "I should wash the potatoes first and then get the carrots going... no wait, I should get the pot of water going for the potatoes first because that takes the most time... well first I'll get Ethan's food thawing THEN I'll get the water going... woops but not til I've given Izzy her water. Shoot, I was supposed to do that ten minutes ago! ETC..."

Oh that glorious stillness where the universe suddenly fits into my head and each thought is a galaxy away from reaching me... it makes me finally understand why God said "Be still and KNOW that I am God."

Of course! In that stillness there is time to REFLECT and all of those "thank you God for..." come flooding in like a meteor shower of gratitude. You feel yourself being filled as though LOVE itself had poured itself into you. And the mundane becomes nothing short of a brilliant star in the symphony of the sky. So insignificant in an endless sea of sparkles, yet without it, the sky would be short of all its light.

THAT is the gift I want to share with you. That is the feeling I want you to experience. That is my prayer for you tonight.

Whatever is on your mind at this very moment, whoever has recently upset you, whatever disappointment plagues your self-esteem, whichever fear keeps you from achieving... I pray this:

"Thank you God for... the people reading these very words at this very moment.
Thank you God for... the breath of life YOU breathed into them that they could be here today.
Thank you God for... their PURPOSE, for the tears you have wept for them, for the glory their good deeds have brought you. And most importantly, thank you God not for the moments they let you down but rather for those humbling moments where they faced you again to be ACCOUNTABLE. So Father, I ask you this: bring them SERENITY and the peace that fills their soul when they let go of their struggles and embrace their blessings.

And thank you God for... puppy dogs. Because they're just so darn cute. In Jesus' precious name... Amen."

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

12 year old speaks out on abortion

Just had to share this brilliant young lady's 5 minute pro-life speech. This young Canadian took it all the way to Parliament Hill incorporating more Canadian facts and addressing the point of handicapped fetuses.

This reminded me of my three minute speech when I was sixteen... I won first place in Manitoba speaking out on the reality of being a teenage mother. As luck would have it, that year they did not have nationals. Speaking from the heart was important to me (in case you have not noticed, it continues to be) and it was truly amazing to discover that it was so well received.

So enjoy the eloquence and poignant remarks of this young woman. I was truly impressed!

The ups and the downs

Do you know the sheer irony of feeling as though my life with Ethan is a roller coaster ride is that I have NEVER been on one... unless you count the kiddie one at Tinkertown!

We had a glorious four days (and nights) of Ethan sleeping nine hours straight. He looked beautiful and slept soundly. Truly answered prayer; however, a couple of nights ago, I heard him stirring a lot in his sleep and hoped he was just being restless. The night before last, he woke up a couple of times but settled relatively easily after nursing. But last night, he barely slept. His eyes are red rimmed again, the itching is overwhelming him again and the welts are beginning to return.

So? Four days on two weeks off? Is that sounding like the pattern here? We brought him for another chiropractic adjustment today so we'll see how he does tonight. So far, not a peep out of him... but I have learned not to hold my breath!

I am just so glad we get to know those glorious four random days of healing. Duane and I can't stop caressing his soft cheeks when he is well.

So we continue to plug away at whatever we are trying to accomplish which is overall health and wellness. This experience has certainly made us count our blessings for the health we each know around here! What a gift it is!

And here's hoping you are all blessed with the gift of health, too. Take care!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Singing in the rain!

video
As you can see from this video, Ethan has had a down right miraculous recovery these last two days! I am reminded of the very signature at the bottom of my emails "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain." Good things always come out of what appears to be a bad situation...

I had done something damaging to my left shoulder Tuesday morning that left me unable to pick up the kids or work in the kitchen. We headed off to the chiropractor where they took some x-rays and gave us all an adjustment. It has been nearly six months since we've been in. I can't understand why we don't make it a MANDATORY event because every single time Ethan gets an adjustment, he sleeps SOOO well! Last night, he slept for 9 hours straight!!!! He has NEVER done that before! And yesterday, he had a three hour nap in the afternoon... another first for him.

The sleep has been an obvious God-send because his body has responded with incredible healing. His appetite is ravenous and I just can't keep up with nursing and shoveling what few foods he can eat down his throat!

The other incredible help is Glaxal Base Cream. We have used countless creams claiming to have miraculous results. We watched eagerly as each one cleared his skin for a few days... but after those few days, it is as though his skin became immune to the cream and it would flare up with a vengeance. We stopped spending the mega bucks on these creams and stuck with what the allergy specialist & pediatrician recommended: Vaseline Creamy. But the problem with Vaseline Creamy is that while it replenished some moisture to his good skin, it seemed to really aggravate the flared up spots. Finally we found Glaxal Cream at Costco, 450g tub for $15 (wayyyy more affordable) and his skin is responding better to this than any previous creams! And it is NOT a pretroleum-based product... woo hoo!

So, combination of prayer, chiropractic adjustment, sleep (for the first time in his life), Glaxal Base cream, small dose of hydroxyzine (antihistamine), and maybe even the tapioca all seem to be contributing to a miraculous healing.

It's amazing how you notice the sun shining when these types of stressful times finally pass. It is BEAUTIFUL outside! The leaves are bright with yellow readiness to take their leap of faith, the air smells crisp with the promise of a swift autumn... even the cats appear chilled by another summer come and gone.

I forgot to notice these things lately.

But not today. Today is beautiful, marvelous... down right FANTASTIC! Thank you for your positive feedback & gracious prayers. I look back at the last entry and acknowledge it as that moment when you first stub your toe... you yelp, it hurts like the dickens, you hop around like an idiot feeling sorry for yourself but before you know it, the pain subsides and you make a mental note not to make a mad dash near the corner of the bed ever again!

So I choose to learn from these last two mistakes and thank God that we are two steps closer to a healthier Ethan. That is ALWAYS a good thing. Much love to you all! And of course, God bless!!!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Another answer, another costly mistake

First and foremost, thank you for your prayers in finding answers. They have led us to finding the dairy culprit in our coconut milk powder and just now, they have led us to discover the mystery behind Ethan's wheezing.

His Protopic medication...

First of all, this website has great info on the ointment: http://www.drugs.com/protopic.html

You'll note the comment about Protopic at 0.03% not being recommended for children under the age of 2 AND moreover, that the 0.1% strong dosage is NOT to be used on people under the age of 16.

Well our delightful dermatologist prescribed the 0.1%.

We have not used it on his face for several weeks now in hopes of giving him a break from these ointments but tonight, his face was just too bad, we decided to administer some in hopes of gaining some control over the eruptions all over his face. I smothered a good portion on his face & forehead and by the time I started putting his bedtime sleeper on, he was already wheezing.

Then it dawned on me... the only thing different tonight was applying the protopic on him. Then I recalled all those evenings after bathtime, just before bed, when he would wheeze while nursing and cough throughout the night... those were the nights I used the protopic!

So you'll also read the warning about overdose & allergic reaction: difficulty breathing.

Once again, my ignorance, my lack of time to do enough & proper research BEFORE giving Ethan something he has been prescribed has led us to an O.D. of protopic... a drug being linked to skin cancer.

These have been two blows to me that have left me wondering if I am competent at all in being Ethan's advocate, in seeking what is best for him, in being his mother. These have been two blows to me - where I have been the one to make the costly mistake - first with the milk and now with OD-ing my son on a dangerous drug.

I know, this sounds like one big pity party over here but I just can't handle this feeling of wanting to protect him only to discover that I have been the one causing him harm.

And to make matters worse, Protopic lowers your blood cells that help you fight infection... perfect timing with the threat of an H1N1 epidemic, eh? Why not vaccinate him? Well, we'd have to make sure it was the vaccine that did NOT contain the mercury AND the egg protein (due to severe allergies).

Speaking of allergies, we just got some additional results from Ethan's RAST blood test - he came back highly positive to fish, flax and peas (confirming my suspicions) but negative to carrots, chicken & beef. I have also been suspecting kidney beans and will stay away from most legumes until more tests can be done.

Somedays I feel like we're going to lose him. This precious little boy with a life story to tell will be taken from us. I know it's morbid and pessimistic and maybe it's just the lack of sleep starting to get to me but I watch his precious little face look up at me as he flashes that toothy grin (hey, eight teeth is toothy to some people)... and my breath catches in my throat as I wonder if I will have to know life without him someday.

He is too PRESENT to be taken. He makes us laugh, he makes us cry, he makes us LIVE with purpose. But I fear his weakened immune system and the increasing list of allergens. I fear more costly mistakes and the unknown.

Just yesterday he learned how to shake his head "no" and to nod "yes". He LOVES his grapes just as Melina & Anika did. If I talk too loud or sing too loud, he covers his ears! But if I sing a tune he likes, he immediately pipes in as though he knows the words...

This is how he lives in my heart. I would watch others eat all the food in the world while I lived off of rice alone if it meant I could still nourish him through my milk. I would continue without sleep as long as I have to if it means he is still with us.

I love him so much as though he himself encompassed unconditional love.

I pray this is just my roller coaster ride of emotions dealing with the lows. I continue to have faith that God's purpose for Ethan will include longevity and a great wisdom about health to share with others. I choose to see a strong and patient man whose compassion for the suffering will be inspiring.

I see my son, a man with purpose, whose rocky beginnings will be a testament to the mountain of faith he will have acquired. "Blessed are the weak" Jesus said, and "blessed are those who suffer."

So blessed be you, my precious son. Rest peacefully as you heal and grow stronger that you may praise God with us for the grace and mercy He has shown you. And may He grant us wisdom in the privileged role of being your parents. In Jesus' precious name, I pray... Amen.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Could it be linked to cystic fibrosis?

As I continue to do research on Ethan's symptoms, I keep coming across the following diseases: crohn's disease, celiac, chronic pancreatitis, gastric or small bowel resections, fistulas, colitis & biliary obstruction AND CYSTIC FIBROSIS.

Here is an excerpt that just shocked me:

CF is caused by a mutation in the gene cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The product of this gene is a chloride ion channel important in creating sweat, digestive juices and mucus. Although most people without CF have two working copies (alleles) of the CFTR gene, only one is needed to prevent cystic fibrosis. CF develops when neither allele can produce a functional CFTR protein. Therefore, CF is considered an autosomal recessive disease.

I have noticed since Ethan was a baby that he just can't seem to sweat and clearly he has issues with digestive issues and more recently sinus issues (assumed it was just allergies). Mind you, he does not have the serious pulmonary issues associated with this condition... but I sure found the info about sweating interesting.

ARGH... that's the scary thing about research... so many symptoms can be common but I literally stopped breathing when I read the comment about sweating. That has always been an issue for Ethan. Keep praying! We'll find the answers, I have no doubt God intends for us to find the answers. Thank you so much for your help!

Stupid, stupid milk!!!

I think I may have found an additional culprit to Ethan's exasperated state of discomfort and pain...

In addition to being outdoors all afternoon during the worst allergy month of the year, in addition to eating chicken that contained fragments of Ethan's major allergens I have also just read on my Wilderness Family Naturals powdered coconut milk that it CONTAINS MILK!!!!

Dumb, dumb, dumb people!! Why on earth do you have to add MILK to coconut milk powder??? And dumb dumb me for not reading the label! For assuming that if it says "coconut milk powder" that this is all it will contain! I am so livid with myself. All those stupid hours and hours of reading labels and I forget to read this one???

I had made a cauliflower curry dish on Tuesday for lunch and used that coconut milk powder. However, I also use that powder when I make my butternut squash and pear soup, which I had noticed seemed to aggravate him but no flare ups that equaled this one.

So is it the powder alone or the combination of all those factors mentioned above?

We are introducing organic tapioca today certified gluten-free & vegan so we don't have to worry about his top allergens. Duane is feeding it to him as I type and he loves it. But the clincher with allergies is that you never react the FIRST time you eat something... your body makes a note of the new protein by creating antibodies the first time you eat it. Any subsequent times the allergen is eaten, the body recognizes the protein as a danger & reacts to it by creating a ton of histamine. That's why it takes 4-8 days to introduce a new food before ruling it out as an allergen. And even then, allergies can develop down the road.

But let's hope that Tapioca will be one he can eat because at least I feel safe with that company's certifications. I have also just subscribed with Canadian Food Inspection Agency to be emailed ALL notifications regarding allergy alerts for dairy, gluten, soy, nuts and fish.

There is so much to research... Ethan has issues with any and all fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which leads me to the gull bladder (which Duane's father & sister had removed... a hereditary possibility?)... allergies can be linked to Vit B12 deficiencies which directly correlate with the inability to process those fat soluble vitamins... Histamine is a neurotransmitter manufactured from the amino acid histadine, and histamine secreting nerve cells are located in the hypothalamus, a suspicion my sister had early on. Increased levels of histamine can also be due to a vitamin C deficiency which I recently found out that high doses of vitamin C during pregnancy (which is what I was taking) creates a high need for the neonate post birth.

ARGH!!!

I can't read fast enough, I can't find enough free time to make the necessary links and it feels like with every second that I am NOT piecing this together, Ethan gets worse.

Anyways, it can take up to two weeks for milk to clear a person's system so I have a feeling that we're in for a rough couple of weeks. I will keep you all posted on whether there is great improvements or set backs along the way.

At least we have discovered a new culprit and can rid our house of it, too. Dumb milk in coconut milk powder... so not-smart! Ethan has just been put to bed as has Anika (bless Duane for looking after the little ones while I research & update) so I will continue down this long road of endless research.

Wish me luck!!!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Getting worse

I was hoping we were over the worst with whatever bump in the road this has been but tonight, despite a bath in hydrogen peroxide, several latherings of Vaseline Creamy today, and a wet wrap tonight, Ethan is writhing and clawing at his neck, his ears, his chest - everything! If he had the means, I don't doubt for a second that he would rip his own skin off.

I can't stand watching helplessly! What the heck went wrong? This is the worst he has been since winter and I am scared, so damn scared, that we are gearing up for another rough bout.

As I type this, Duane is upstairs in his room trying to console him. If he continues to lack sleep in addition to all of this, we will quickly find him in serious trouble.

I think we are going to reintroduce the antihistamine meds. We had been treating his eczema spots with the Betamethazone hydrocortisone cream for weeks now and even that has not been able to keep his flare ups under control. Even as I nurse him, I can hear his stomach churning as it used to do when I had eaten an allergen. But I have not eaten anything out of the ordinary lately so I don't understand what has gone wrong!

This will be a long and painful night (not only for Ethan).

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Is there no reprieve for Ethan?

Here we are once again...

Sunday we had a huge annual Vaags BBQ gathering outdoors and we delighted in celebrating a "growing" family based on the five siblings (and their parents) who journeyed here from Holland sixty-one years ago. Five siblings have turned into a gathering of nearly 130 people! Can you imagine knowing that you played a part in the existence of 130 people? Never underestimate the significance of your presence here and the mark you are meant to leave behind!

The weather was beautiful, the food looked amazing (I could only eat the egg-free, mayo-free potato salad that I brought and some of the fresh veggies but the rest looked sooooo good!!). Ice cream cones were served for the kids along with dozens upon dozens of baked goods.

I behaved and did not eat ANYTHING other than what I COULD eat. When cheating on this diet means four days of Ethan screaming and writhing in pain, nothing looks yummy enough to be worth watching someone else suffer because of it.

Ethan was beautiful for this event and he had even slept SEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT the night before. Oh yes, this was a glorious day to be celebrating indeed! Being an afternoon gathering, Ethan missed his nap but remained in pretty good spirits. When we got home, the evening progressed as it has the last few days and we figured all went smoothly despite being surrounded by all of his allergens.

However, that night, Ethan was quite restless again and when he woke up in the morning, I knew right away something was not right.

First of all, his mood gives it away. He is usually happy, energetic (a little too energetic) and just overall in good spirits. But Monday morning he woke up just screaming and the day persisted with constant crying, whining, poor sleep and his skin breaking out.

To make matters worse, Monday night I bought a chicken from Costco looking for an easy meal due to the rough day we'd had. As I am about to serve it up, I read the disclaimer on the packaging stating "may contain fragments of shellfish, wheat, dairy, soy and or nuts."

Are you flippin' kiddin' me? It's a chicken! Do they let the chickens wrestle with the crabs before cooking 'em? Or do they bake some cookies before getting thrown in the roaster? Or hey, what chicken doesn't like a good milkshake before D-Day?

Too tired to make myself anything else, I trusted that the "may contain..." words were merely warnings to cover their own bums in the RARE occasion that someone MIGHT have a reaction.

Well, considering Isabel had a 0.2% chance of CMV affecting her as severely as it did, and with Ethan falling into the tiny percentile of children who are SEVERELY allergic to so many things, I should really take those "may contain" and other "small chance" warnings as down right predictions!

Monday night goes even worse than Sunday night. Tuesday all day I am trying to walk around the house with a crying and screaming Ethan holding on to my leg and Anika who is trying to negotiate "going outside, mommy. Skitoes are bad, mommy?" Yes, Anika, the mosquitoes are very bad.

Today, Ethan is the worst yet skin-wise but his mood seems a little better. We bathed him with some hydrogen peroxide only to watch all of his pussing open wounds turn white with signs of possible infection.

I can only imagine his threshold for pain. Duane suggested a wet-wrap tonight and thank God he did. Ethan actually relaxed in my arms as I nursed him just now and he breathed deeply... things you don't realize have changed until they return to normal.

And I am left wondering... was it being outdoors for so long during the worst of all allergy seasons on Sunday? Was it being around his allergens? Was it the kidney beans in my chili we ate for supper Sunday night? Was it the Costco chicken or the new tortilla chips we bought that also contain a disclaimer of "may contain..."? Am I eating too many tomatoes lately? Did something contaminate his baby food I made? Is he developing an allergy to the Corn Thins he soooo loves to eat?

What more could he possibly be allergic to? What more do I need to cut out of our lives? And I am TERRIFIED about this H1N1 flu and the potential devastating effects it could have on someone whose immunity is so compromised.

Surely God has made him strong to endure such things? Surely God's plan for him will include changing other people's lives because of his outlived suffering? Surely God would not have me lose my only son? And yet, all of these things have happened to others and these things WERE part of His plan, whether understood or not.

I don't want to be afraid anymore. And yet, if I am not afraid ENOUGH, will I jeopardize Ethan's life? Do we live in isolation until he is stronger? Or do we surrender to God's will and TRUST that LIVING life will mean an outcome that will bring glory to Him in the end?

These last few days have felt near impossible to put one foot in front of the other. Thriving plummets to sheer survival mode mentally and emotionally. Bless my father who came by this morning to watch the kids so I could just get out of the house for a little bit. He took one look at me and said "maybe you'd prefer to nap this morning?"

Thanks... I think. Either I look that bad or my dad knows me that well. Perhaps somewhere in the middle? (weak laugh)

So may you join with us in prayer as we praise God for the answers He has given us, for the healing He has granted Ethan in the past, for the strengths He has given Ethan to-date and for the privilege of loving him as our son. Join with us as we also pray that God bring more healing upon his brutally marked body, that he offer Ethan reprieve from his suffering and the promise of a long, healthy and fulfilling life. And that we give thanks for every moment we have with him even if they are exhausting. God bless you all out there. I love you so dearly for journeying this with me.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Bragging rights

A few weeks ago, when I had posted about how tough things were going, I had my big girls here with us for our typical week on with them. I found that week particularly challenging as we were hosting a few things, I was living off of very little sleep and was feeling haunted by the suffering children of our world... there were a few doctor's appointments mixed in there, too.

I was down right pooped.

On this one day, I had to bring Ethan to the doctor's office which took a couple of hours, followed by a grocery shop with a hopefully contented little guy, only to get home and try to cook our meals in good time before Duane got back from his day shift at the firehall so he could eat quickly and head out into the fields.

Melina was babysitting Anika and Isabel for me.

The drive home was heavy as I thought about all the things I still needed to get done in the house and I how I would get them all accomlished between nursings, meals, diaper changes, Isabel's meds & tube feedings, etc...

When I got home, I walked in with my bags of groceries anticipating the horrific mess of a kitchen I had left earlier that day. But to my glorious surprise, the kitchen was spotless... all dishes cleaned and put away, counters wiped down, odds and ends put away... it was beautiful. I could literally feel the weight being lifted from my shoulders as I glanced around that sparkling kitchen.

There was Melina beaming with her beautiful smile and I felt so proud, so touched, so grateful to her. Feeling as tired as I was, this meant the world to me.

When I went to the den/living room to take Ethan out of his car seat, I gasped again as I looked around a cleaned den and living room! Are you serious? The toys were picked up and put away, no movies were scattered, clothes were put away, books were on the shelves... another beautiful sight!

What a gift! What a delight! What a daughter! What a helpful and loving human being! Truly I say to you, Melina's help has been an incredible gift to me this summer. I could not be more proud of her willing heart and her hard work. I love her so much and could not imagine my world without that smile, without her laugh, without her jokes... simply put, I could not imagine my world without her.

Melina, my darling girl, I love you so much! Thank you for being who you are!

The beauty of wuv, sweet wuv

Just had to share this precious little moment with Anika...

We were sitting at the supper table and she was just gleaming with her happy smile. I turned to her and said "Did you know that mommy and daddy love you soooooooo much?"

Her grin grew even bigger.

"And mommy and daddy love Ethan, and Isabel and Melina, too. AND mommy and daddy love each other! That's lots of love!"

And before I could turn back around and take another bite of my meal, Anika wisely leaned over to me and said "And we wuv you, too, mommy."

Me, butter... Anika, sun... MELTING!

Not only that, but ever since we had to bring Ethan to emergency that one night. Anytime we go to get her from her naps or bedtimes, she exclaims happily, "you came back!"

This morning, she woke up and came to me and said "Mommy, I came back!" I happily replied "You DID come back! Hooray! Where did you go?" And she replied "I came back to my famiwee." Too cute, I tell ya!

And lastly, she has been honing her negotiation skills lately. She has a slight obsession with "chocawat miwk" which is a minute amount of chocolate soy beverage topped up with rice beverage. Several times a day, she has to have it. The rule at supper time is that she only gets one cup so if she drinks it all at once, too bad. On this particular supper meal, she drank her whole cup before eating a single bite of her meal. She put the cup down and said "I NEED chocowat miwk, please." I replied "No, my dear. You already had your one cup and now it's all gone. No more chocolate milk."

She cocked her head to the side and said "Mommy, you want to say 'yes'."

Of course I burst out laughing and said, "No, Anika... I don't think so." And she smiled and said singing sweet voice "Yes, mommy, I think so." Once again, I shook my head and she made one final attempt "How about 'yes', mommy?"

Too smart! Two years old and she can just about negotiate her way out of anything she wants! There is nothing sweeter than our children's "wuv, sweet wuv". :)

Here's hoping you are all surrounded by precious "wuv" not only by those around you but also by our Father's gracious and abundant love for you now and always. God bless!

Y chromosome = Y ME?!!!

Would you like to know what my darling son decided to do the other day? Keep in mind that he is barely eleven months old and already the trouble he gets into is nothing short of unbelievable!

First of all, my darling Ethan does not like to sleep (as you already know). I suppose he figures he is missing out on too many things if he shuts his eyes. So nap times can range anywhere from thirty minutes to a glorious hour and a half MAYBE twice a day. I try to be consistent EVERY day with when I put him down for his naps hoping beyond all hope that he will actually RESPOND to routine... eventually!

On this particular day, I put him in his crib and shut the door. He contentedly chatted away in baby talk for ten minutes, then thirty, then forty-five minutes... finally an hour and half had passed of hearing Ethan's little happy voice over the baby monitor and the little stinker had NOT napped yet, although he was quite content. At this point, it was time to nurse him again so I finally went into his room and, to my horror, discovered what had kept him so content...

Ethan managed to pull out both tabs (at opposite ends, I might add) of the side of his crib which dropped it down to a point where he could almost climb out. But it does not end there... He also managed to rip off his diaper which happened to be loaded with little poop ammo! Oh yes, with every "Oh no..." I would say, I would discover something else which was followed by an even deeper "Oooh noooo..."

It now felt like an Easter egg hunt as I found pieces of poop tucked in places I did NOT know he could reach: between the mattress and the bars, behind his stuffed animal's ears, between the mattress and bars at the opposite end of the crib, on the floor... The true puzzling thing is that he NEVER and I mean NEVER poops as much as he did with this new found freedom.

So there he is gleeful and wearing nothing but his little plaid shirt (which he peed on as I "soaked" in the whole initial moment of "oh no." I took him out, put a diaper on him and proceeded to remove all bedding while collecting his personal Easter egg hunt of poop. Put some new sheets on the crib, got him dressed and sat down in the chair to nurse him stunned by the capacity my son has for chaos without being able to speak a word nor even walk yet. And the thoughts begin to travel to the days, oh dear Heavenly Father, the dreaded days of him WALKING... no, RUNNING!

And as I am nursing him, my darling son reaches up to my face lovingly, places his fingers in my mouth (as he usually likes to do which is typically followed by him trying to rip my teeth out). Just as I am about to allow my heart to melt at this little moment, my taste buds kick in to remember that I did NOT wash his hands...

Those precious, poop-smelling (and tasting) hands...

Dear Father almighty... Y ME??!!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Me and my big mouth!

I cannot believe the irony, without fail, that ANY time I wait a little while before posting that things are going great, they begin to fall a part not even twenty-four hours later. And then I figure I should wait a little while longer before posting again to see if things are a temporary bump in the road or another problematic period...

Finally, I post that things are NOT going great (which is what I am about to do) and lo and behold, things magically begin to turn around.

Is this coincidence? Is this a demonstration of the power of prayer? Is this some sort of strange cyclical thing and I keep missing the wave? Is life seriously that ironic?

Sigh.

Wait til you see Ethan's recent pics... hang on, will upload some now... We have been hosting lots of company over the last few weeks... could that be it? He seems to be fighting a cold... could that be it? We introduced chicken (which he had a reaction to) could this be lingering effects? I have had more honey in my diet the last few days... could that be it? He definitely acts up if I have had ANY sugar (especially if it's not a naturally occurring sugar)... I have not been able to sleep for a few weeks, is that affecting my milk? Is it the time of year (mould)?

On and on and on the brain goes in the typical over-analysing methodical regurgitation of EVERY little aspect and step in our lives that could POSSIBLY attribute to Ethan's flare-up.

Last night, he woke up so many times that I just stopped counting (mostly because I couldn't remember where the count was at anymore). I hovered in some between-sleep haven inhabited only by the faint sound of Ethan crying, the realization that I was nursing again and the realization that I had to go pee... yet again.

Well, should I die unexpectedly, you can all come to my funeral and joke about the fact that I am FINALLY and I mean FINALLY in ETERNAL SLUMBER!!! Ok, morbid joke, but sadly, I am only half kidding...

Sleep... I think I could write a few books on the psychological effects of lack of sleep. The person you think you are, unshakable and constant, packs its bags and goes away on some little vacation leaving you wondering if you ever truly knew yourself at all. Coherent sentences are a thing of the past as you take on some incarnate form of Porky Pig. And finally, it is realizing that you are standing in the Superstore checkout stand before noticing that your hair looks like you swam in a vat of grease and you're wearing the T-shirt with the big crusted dark circle right around the breast you leaked from earlier that day... or was it yesterday?

Aint motherhood BEE-U-TIFUL?

At least I can say I had two glorious weeks of efficiency, sleep, and best of all HOPE! Two weeks of realizing this will not last forever (even though it feels like an eternal slow-torture of sleeplessness). Two weeks of taking care of myself again and feeling encouraged that who I "thought" I was truly is there beneath this all. Two weeks of thinking "hey, maybe we COULD have another child down the road".

And then these last two weeks to throw me into a panic and wonder if I should get a hysterectomy!!! Nah, I am kidding... mostly.

Hence the "down" part of my roller-coaster postings (wait, no, the last one was even lower... very serious and sombre... sorry about that). Let's hope that this means the next posting will be a good one and we will begin shifting our way UP and OUT of these dark & tiring few weeks.

As for prayers, Ethan has been wheezing at night and there is some concern that we may be experiencing the onset of asthma. Studies show that severely allergic children who ALSO have asthma are at far greater risk of death due to anaphalaxis than other allergic children. This just gets better and better, eh folks?

This is where irony visits us again... I used to be the parent who got so annoyed with the "school allergy" warnings my daughters would bring home. "Come on! It's bad enough I can't make peanut butter sandwiches or send her with healthy granola bars, now there's a kid with dairy allergy, too? There goes the yogurt or cheese stick I can send!"

Seriously, you guys, that was me. The parent who just didn't get it. I was willing to send Mina to school with a granola bar telling her "just wash your hands after". Boy I wish I could go back and slap myself across the face. How dare I be willing to put someone else's precious child AT RISK of DEATH for some stupid inconvenience issue on my part. How unbelievably stupid that I was put off about how difficult this inconvenience was on MY life when this child's parents had to wonder every single day whether or not they could TRUST that the school was providing an environment for their child that wouldn't kill him or her.

Now that I "get" it (and boy do I get it) and I come across people who are "annoyed" by other people's allergies as though they are thinking to themselves "oh, these people are just OVERREACTING" man o man I have to fight cutting off their airways and watch them choke and fill with fear in wondering if I will let go in time for them to live or if this is it. So they can KNOW that is what it is like!

Is this it? Is this the moment?

I suppose we all should have that lingering over our heads to some extent... that way we LIVE each moment of our lives not in judgement of others but in LIFE and LOVE. Is it worth holding on to this THING if it will mean nothing to me in those final moments? Is it worth holding this grudge if it will accomplish nothing in the end other than my own lack of resolution?

Christ said, "the end times will come like a thief in the night" meaning we should LIVE our lives READY. So here is my prayer for you today: that you be blessed with a new understanding of allergies and those around you who have to LIVE with them... that you be filled with a sense of awareness of your own life time-line and a deep desire to make the most of every second you are gifted with on this earth... that you feel good and blessed about being here in the first place and lastly, that you know you are LOVED. Blessings to you all out there!