Monday, December 31, 2012

Our 18 month baby boy!

Sweet're growing so fast! You love animals and people. You say "hi" to every person and dog, cat, bird (or any animal) you see! You also love to wave and say "bai" (bye) in a southern style drawl. But you were born in Virginia and lived most of your life so far in the south.

You can't get enough of reading and your favorite books are Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The Wheels On the Bus, and your ABC book. You pefer to flip to the end and sing the ABC song. You love The Little Drummer Boy and we've caught you reading it by yourself and humming the tune. You're one smart boy and perhaps a vocalist just like your mama! Your favorite book/song is the Little Pookie dance song. When we get to "Put your hands up and reach for the sky. So high! So high!" You reach up high and make a "wow" sound. We love it!

We count to 3 and throw you up in the air. As soon as we say "one" you say "two" and then "Yeaaaahhhh!!" You are so full of fun!

You love shoes which is why your first real word other than "mama" "dada" and "no" was shoes. You could stay outside all day and all night. You try walking around in mama's slippers (occasionally her high heels, but we won't tell your first girlfriend about that!) and dada's work boots - but you don't get very far in those!

You know what you want, when you want it! We're always laughing at the silly things you do and say and we love to watch you explore your world.

You're starting to repeat words that we say and you usually do it randomly which always surprises us. We get excited and realize how much you're learning each day. We love you, Case!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Essential Oils

(Imagine Property of
I am so excited to be learning more about the healing nature of essential oils. I just purchased my first kit from doTERRA and it's money well spent! Have you ever wondered why the wise men brought frankincense to Jesus? God has given us so many amazing natural sources for healing.

For starters, Aaron had the chills and a fever last weekend. I applied On Guard and peppermint oils to the bottoms of his feet and his fever broke within the hour. He woke up the next morning feeling much better! We were certain he was coming down with the flu given his symptoms, but it just never happend. Thank goodness!

I'm loving being able to disinfect things like our countertops with lemon essential oil and my diffuser is due to arrive tomorrow. I'm amazed by how certain oils can clean the air of allergens and have sterilization properties. Months ago, I had actually started using eucalyptus oil in Case's humidifier whenever he was stuffed up and it always worked like a charm to clear him out. We're not talking Vicks or anything....but the straight-up pure eucalyptus oil. Amazing!

If anyone is interested in learning more and wants to purchase a few oils to try, I'm happy to provide you with more info and you can shop for products here on my site.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vegan, Gluten Free Molasses Crinkles

Yes, it's true. These gluten, soy, dairy, corn and nut free molasses crinkles actually taste exactly like my mom's and Aaron's mom's molasses cookies that use regular flour. In fact, these came out even slightly more chewy. If you're like Aaron and I and love cookie dough and chewy cookies, this is a gluten free recipe worth trying. We don't eat a lot of sweets in our house, but we may or may not have downed two dozen of these in less than a week (we did share a few with our friends!) Tis the season!

You can find the recipe here at the Whole Life Nutrition blog. This site is excellent and has allergy-friendly recipes that everyone in your house will love. I've yet to make a single recipe from their list that we don't like. They're the best!

I admit, I omitted the flax seeds and rolled each dough ball in pure can sugar. Let's be honest, does anyone really want flax seeds in their molasses cookies? I love flax, but not me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What do I say?

I have no idea what to call this post. For many reasons, I just can't find the right words for a title. So i'll just jump right into what I want to say.

A few of you know that I have been quite sick for about two years now. I think different things at different times have contributed to this, but I can't say for sure if one thing started it or a few things that came together to create a negative result. I have not come public with my health struggle because 1.) It has often been too painful to talk about, 2.) I hoped that it would "just go away" and 3.) I feel that many people don't understand what it's like to have a chronic illness. Now whether #3 is true or not, it's just how I've felt and I can't help it. We all live within our own thoughts and experiences, and mine has been that most people have no idea the terror, pain and frustration I have experienced. That doesn't mean I'm saying that my life has been so much worse than someone else's, but this is my journey and I know mine first-hand...not anyone else's. And let me be honest, this experience of chronic illness has been awful. In fact, awful doesn't even begin to describe it. There are days of my life that I simply can't recall. Sometimes I want to lay in a heap on the floor and cry. I have told my husband on many occasions that he should prepare for his life without me. And then I cry when I think about our son not having a mommy.

Does this all sound insane to you? YES. It does. But this is the journey of chronic illness. Constantly feeling ill and having doctors tell you nothing is wrong with you. I have had some doctors tell me that I should consider therapy. I have considered therapy, for a moment, but then I remember that i'm not depressed. That's not to say that I wouldn't benefit from counseling (I've done it before and has been such a positive experience) but my mind is not ill, it's my body. I have always known that.

Fnally, I have some clear answers. This process has been very complext. Some of that is because I believe most doctors have no idea how to treat someone with chronic symptoms. Now, if you read this and you're a doctor, feel free to challenge what i'm saying. But this has been my honest to goodness experience. Of the 20 or so doctors I've seen, only ONE has helped me (the one i'm seeing now, praise Jesus!) I have been told to "not come back." "There is nothing wrong with you." Well, DOCTOR, you're right. There is nothing "wrong" with me, i'm sick!

So after two years and too many tests to recall, I finally had a test that revaled two things: a massive bacterial infection (of sorts) in my digestive tract and an inability to digest and absorb nutrients properly. My test also showed that my body currently does not digest fats. I've learned through process of elimination that I cannot tolerate gluten (wheat) at all and have difficulty with dairy and night shade vegetables (potato, pepper, etc.) With the help of my very competent MD and ND here on the island, we are also considering that I have celiac disease. If you're not sure what celiac disease is, I encourage you to do some research because more and more people today are finding out they have it. The trouble with getting an accurate test result in my case is that a person must have a diet that includes gluten in their system for the test to be accurate. Since gluten has been eliminated from my diet completely for some time now, it's impossible for me to consider going back on gluten just for the sake of one test. With the advice of my doctors, I will be staying away from gluten and treating myself as someone with celiac.

Some of what I want to share on this blog is how I live day to day without gluten in my diet. It is actually a very manageable lifestyle. I will share tips, recipes, successes, struggles (not being able to eat out very much), and adjusing my social life to my dietary needs.

I also want to share more thoughts on what I believe, from first hand experience, the medical community is missing. My test results are very clear-cut. The problem is that this test is not covered by insurance and not ordered by the mainstream medical community. WHY? I can't answer that question yet. But I hope to at some point.

After two years, I'm making the decision to open up about my journey through chronic illness - first, because I want to help other people who are suffering. That is my main goal. But second because I owe it to myself to explain this process. I'm not sure why I feel I owe it to myself, but perhaps it's all part of the greater picture to my healing. Perhaps the greatest challenge with chronic illness is that there usally isn't just one cause. So am I answering my own question about why the medical community struggles with it? I can imagine a doctor would feel overwhelmed by needing to treat multi-layered symptoms.

Well here I go. The first of many raw and honest entries about my health journey. I hope and pray that someone who is suffering from an undiagnosed illness will read this and think, "That sounds like me." And I will be able to help and encourage them.

I woke up feeling anxious about my treatment process this morning (i'm starting a new treatment in addition to my current dietary changes after the test results I just received). Sometimes I think i'll have a panic attack. So I grabbed my Bible, flipped to Psalms but my eyes kept bouncing between verses. Which one do I read? Does God have anything here to calm my heart? Of course God does. I pray. I ask God what he wants to tell me. I immediately get Psalm 91 in my mind. I have no idea off the top of my head what Psalm 91 says. I go there, and I read. Whoa.

Psalm 91

New Living Translation (NLT)

Psalm 91

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I'm wondering if anyone out there in "blog land" might be interested in helping me understand blog designing. I'd like to revamp mine a bit. I'm going to start blogging more and Facebook-ing less. I've made this decision after months of thought into it. Facebook enhances my life less and makes me often feel left out, disappointed and stressed. It's not that I'd wish to not know about another person's life, but I find it so impersonal. I think this generation of Facebook-ers is missing something. Now, this is just my opinion, so please - no hate mail. As a friend and I were just discussing, we realized a long time ago that there aren't rules for Facebook. By that we mean etiquette. I find that I have typed things that I would perhaps never say to someone's face. I'm disappointed when I think about it. I also see it from other people.

What draws me more to blogging is simply that the guy I shared Spanish class with my sophomore year won't care to follow it. And sorry to be brutally honest, but I don't care that he won't follow my blog either! I have so much to share about how God is shaping me, the amazing things people are doing in the world (that I am so blessed to meet!), developments in my own life, parenthood, personal struggles and revelations as well as the beauty of everyday, ordinary joy. I want more depth. In fact, my heart wants to grow more and be more like Jesus. And Jesus is all about depth, intention, reflection and authenticity. I just don't find that in Facebook. So while I haven't made up my mind the delete my account (yet), I will not be spending the time on it that I have been in the past. I do hope that you will follow me here. Not because I'm exceptionally interesting, but because you genuinely care about me. Trust me when I say that I feel the same about you!

So i'll start my new "journey" with this: I struggle. First off. Yes, I struggle with many things. One being that I fall short a lot and I'm so painfully hard on myself! I really struggle with anxiety. I also struggle with being self-absorbed (can't you tell by my current list of struggles? ALL. ABOUT. ME. I'm not proud of that. Why do I struggle with these things? I don't know, but I do. Parenthood is really sharpening me. If marriage wasn't already doing that (which it is) OHHHH MAN, parenthood is.

Let me just say this. I have a spirited son. It's true, my 18 month old son is so super spirited and has been since day one. Throughout pregnancy, I would always say, "I can already tell that Case is just like you, Aaron. So calm and patient. So easy going." But I confess that I would verbalize those thoughts because on the inside, my mind was screaming, "Oh dear Jesus, please don't let Casey be like me! Please don't let Casey be demanding, stubborn, whiny, etc. like me!" You see, not to throw my parents under the bus (who are so loving and amazing, by the way!) but I heard some of these negative labels for being a strong-willed person. And it's ok, mom and dad. It's hard - really hard! I know how much you loved me and still do! I've already used a lot of those words in regards to Casey and I probably will again. But thankfully being strong-willed can be super positive if we would just call it something else. And so we have it: SPIRITED. (Dad, you know you're spirited, right?) ;-)

I'm currently diving into this beautiful book called "Raising Your Spirited Child" and it speaks to my heart. And I know that will allow my heart to respond to my son in a way that he needs so he can understand that it's ok to be spirited. After all, those of us who are spirited make others feel valued and welcomed. We also stick to our guns and conviction and we're not afraid to share them! We just need to be directed and taught to channel them appropriately.

So this is where I'm at. Seeking more authenticity, learning to turn negative thoughts into positive ones, wanting to put my husband and my son above time spent on Facebook, and wanting to connect more personally (though still out in "lala internet land." I can't help that I'm stuck on an island far away from most of my friends who read my blog. Oh wait, I'm not complaining about being on a far away can you were wondering! So will you join me? Let's stay in touch and share our lives with more than status updates. Are you with me?