Food Challenge Update

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

****This was what I wrote back in February but never published. Since writing this, we had to stop the 1/2 cupcake every day. SG starting breaking out in rashes on her body when eating the cupcake. The allergist and I decided to stop the baked in egg cupcakes. We will retest her next year and see if her skin tests and blood tests show an improvement. This is a very delayed update. Thanks to those of you who prayed for us!****

From February 2014:

I was a mess Wednesday night cooking with raw eggs. I was paranoid about cross contamination. I was fighting worry with prayer. Lots of prayer. I had nightmares Wednesday night.

Then the moment came Thursday morning when I watched my miracle child eat a cupcake I had baked that contained a food she is allergic to… That was very hard for me. SG, on the other hand, had no idea what was happening. She is just three and the allergist and I decided we were not going to tell her she was eating baked in egg in her cupcake. We told her we were going to have a little cupcake party at the doctor’s office.

I packed a Tinker Bell paper plate and Tinker Bell napkin. I packed a juice box and bottled water for her. I put it all in our little picnic cooler.

The cupcakes were in a Ziploc bag and then in a Target bag.  There's the Tinker Bell plate & napkin!

The cupcakes were in a Ziploc bag and then in a Target bag. There’s the Tinker Bell plate & napkin!

Then she gobbled up the 1/4 of the chocolate cupcake. And we all waited and stared at her. She was completely fine. She had one light red blotch (not a hive) and that went away in a few minutes. Other than that little incident, she did great. She ate the entire cupcake over about an hour and a half.

We left with instructions to give her one cupcake or muffin daily.

This morning, I gave her an entire chocolate cupcake for breakfast. Right after eating the entire cupcake, she had a little hive on the corner of her mouth. I called the allergist.

After talking to the allergist, SG is not to have an entire cupcake every day. She is to have 1/2 of a cupcake given to her in small portions, every other day. Hopefully, she will tolerate this lower dose better than she did today. I’m glad the Huzz will be with me Sunday as SG eats 1/2 of a cupcake.

Right now I’m feeling the weight of all this. It’s a lot for these little thin shoulders to carry. The Huzz is super supportive but I’m SG’s caregiver. When he’s at work, I have to decide on my own what to do. I’m the stay at home mom. I’m the one with her all day every day calling the shots. I pray when I’m alone with SG I always make the right decisions regarding her food allergies.

So there you have it. The food challenge at the allergist’s office surrounded by the doctor, nurses, The Huzz and me, went amazingly smooth. When I was all by myself with my child, then the hives appeared. Sigh.

Please keep praying for my child. I keep reminding myself,

“God is bigger than food allergies. He is bigger than eggs and dairy. Have faith.”

And here’s the verse I’m praying for SG,

“With God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Because that verse is true my friend. And I’m clinging to it, with all of my heart.

P.S. These past two days have drained me. After writing this I felt very emotional. Wouldn’t you know it, one of our pastors read my prayer request about the food challenge and called shortly after I wrote this and was feeling low. He called to say the pastors have been praying and wanted to check on SG. Coincidence? No. It was just what I needed when I needed it. Thanks, Pastor Kip for praying for us and praying with me on the phone!

Food Allergy Awareness Week: My Mommy Confessions

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It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week. Maybe you already know that food allergies affect 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18 years old in the United States. I’m not going to wow you with a bunch of facts. I’m going to let you know more about us. And how food allergies affect our lives.

So here are my ramblings and confessions about our life and food allergies:

1. We don’t want to be different. Oh, we don’t want to. But we are. We didn’t ask for this lifestyle. We only do what we have to do to keep our child safe.

2. We are not crazy. Yes, sometimes I feel crazy. Or “cray cray”, as SG has come to say.

3. We are not out to ruin anyone’s traditional treats and foods. Birthday cupcakes at school or traditional holiday foods can be DEADLY to children with food allergies. There are plenty of fun, new and safe ways to celebrate birthdays and holidays. You may have to forego a store bought cupcake or that famous mac and cheese or pecan pie, but really, isn’t it worth it to have a loved one with you? We only want to be included in a way that’s safe.

4. That last sentence bears repeating. We want to be included. Food allergies don’t have to define our lives. We live with food allergies. It’s a part of us. But it doesn’t have to define us or isolate us. But sadly, sometimes it does.

5. Our church- a biblical church based on Jesus Christ as Savior- has been amazing! SG is well cared for. Her class all has safe snacks and all kids get wiped with baby wipes. The church has been so wonderful in accommodating our special needs. And the people… the people… they have stood in the gap for us. They have sat with me when I cried and poured out my heart about some difficulties and struggles due to life with food allergies. And then they have touched my heart so deeply and invited us into their homes. Y’all, you just don’t know how much these sweet Christ loving people have touched our hearts. They have shown me the love of Christ in real and tangible ways. You know who you are. And thank you. You are loved.

6. We don’t go out to eat as a family. I have learned to bake and cook. When we first got married, I received an apron that said “Domestically Challenged” and I’m proud to say that is no longer true. While I’m not a chef, I’ve learned I can throw down some good homemade food!

7. I love Vegans. We, however, are not Vegan. But I’ve learned to search “Vegan” whatever and tons of safe and yummy recipes pop up. They have already substituted in baking for me. And we love Vegan products! Hello Daiya cheese & Earth Balance products! SG would never be able to enjoy “cheese” like goodness if it weren’t for all the yummy Vegan products out there. Thanks y’all!!!

8. Worrying is not a good thing and a sin. Yup. I struggle with worry. I’ve found some verses about worry that I’ve highlighted in my Bible.


“But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands…”
Psalm 31:14-15 (NIV)

“…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
Acts 17:26b (NIV)

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Matthew 6:27 (NIV)

Food allergies have exposed this sin of worrying and is a reminder daily to trust The Lord with this very precious gift of a child He has given me to raise up. I sometimes struggle balancing doing my part in keeping SG safe and just plain ole worrying.

But then I remind myself,

“God has my times in His hands. He has SG’s times in His hands. I have to be responsible for certain things like her diet and right now her environment, but The Lord has our times in His hands. Worrying will not change that. Trust The Lord. Trust The Lord!!”

9. Food allergies can wear on marriages. Mine has remained strong- and actually, been strengthened by our standing side by side together. We are in this together. I’m thankful for a man who has agreed to keep our house free of dairy and eggs to keep our daughter safe. I know that isn’t always the case and I’m so blessed that we are united in our decisions.

10. Sometimes I get jealous when I see a family eating ice cream. I feel cheated somehow. The moment is fleeting. I’m glad for that. I don’t want to give in to jealousy. I know that’s a sin. Sometimes I get tired of cooking all the time and wish we could go out to eat as a family without worry or stress. Then I snap to my senses and look at the beautiful little reason I’ve given all that up. For six long years we tried and failed to have a baby… until on our very last try we conceived our precious child. Who happens to have food allergies. She is worth it. Who cares, really, about ice cream from an ice cream shop? I have a precious child who is worth every single sacrifice I make.

We are just normal people trying to lead a safe and normal life.

So there you have it- my random thoughts and confessions for Food Allergy Awareness Week.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Well to the Ways of My Household

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I’m sitting here enjoying a nice cup of coffee (with Silk french vanilla soy coffee creamer!) and making a list of things I’d like to accomplish this week.  My list is a little ambitious, but I think I can accomplish most of it.  I thought I’d share it with you and share the links to all of these delicious recipes.

Did you notice most of my to do list revolves around food?  Safe food?  Because us food allergy parents must always be prepared!  Always.  We don’t have the luxury of last minute take out.  I wish I did!  Can a vegan restaurant please come to my town???  I promise we’ll eat there at least two times a week.  🙂

Here’s what I’m working on this week (and possibly next week!):

Chocolate chip cookies
https://blessedlittlefamily.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/delicious-homemade-chocolate-chip-cookies-dairy-free-and-egg-free/

Bagel Pizzas for the Freezer
(I now add Daiya mozzarella shreds to our pizzas.)
https://blessedlittlefamily.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/dairy-free-and-egg-free-lunch-ideas/

Homemade “Cheesy” Crackers
(I sub Daiya cheddar shreds for the cheese. I’m thinking about also adding a tablespoon or so of nutritional yeast this time to make them a bit cheesier tasting.)
http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/03/23/recipe-easy-cheesy-crackers/

Homemade Freezer Biscuits
(I’m making one of these recipes- I haven’t decided which yet.)
http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/02/homemade-freezer-biscuits-recipe.html
OR
http://www.favoritefreezerfoods.com/homemade-biscuits.html
Both recipes will need a substitution or two.

Cream of Chicken
I use plain coconut coffee creamer for the milk and safe margarine.
http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/12/crockpot-chicken-and-dumplings-soup.html

Homemade Tomato Soup
I think I’ll sub coconut coffee creamer for the milk.
http://onceamonthmeals.com/slow-cooker-tomato-soup/

This week I added to my list “find meatless meals.” We are not vegetarian or vegan but the Huzz and I have decided to have at least one meal a week meat free. I now need to find meatless meals! I know beans are a great source of protein, but because the Huzz has intestinal issues, he can’t really eat whole beans. Which is why we love these refried beans I made recently!

Do you have some meatless meals to share with us?

What’s on your to do list this week?

I’m trying to put the needs of my family first and long to be as the Proverbs 31 woman. I find so much encouragement from her.

“She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
Proverbs 31:27

Baked in Egg Food Challenge

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

Tomorrow morning we have a baked in egg challenge for SG at the allergist’s office.

I’m excited and terrified at the same time.

I felt weird purchasing eggs today.

I’ve overthought even the cracking of the egg. Raw egg isn’t being tested. Baked egg is. I think I’ll crack the required two eggs on a paper plate and throw it away. No cross contamination please!

I’m praying her little body will tolerate the baked in egg. It’s cupcakes.

So these are my random jumbled thoughts as I prepare to haul my tired self off the couch and bake with eggs for the first time in almost two years!!

Will you please join me in praying for my little baby? Her food challenge is tomorrow, Thursday at 8:45 CT.

I’m praying for the best. I’ll be sure to let y’all know the results.

Thanks, friend.

Being Different

There’s an old advertising jingle we used to sing when we were kids. It’s from some bank in South Carolina. “I’m different, and don’t care who knows it. Something about me, is not the same. Yeah. I’m different and that’s how it goes…ain’t gonna play no white sheep- games.”

That little jingle has been running through my mind today. Again, I’m reminded that we are different. Food allergies have done that to us.

We went somewhere with a group of friends and their kids. It was great- until beautifully decorated Christmas cookies were passed out to each kid. It was such a sweet gesture… unless your child has life threatening food allergies to dairy and eggs. Then it’s terrifying. Cookies in small children’s hands= crumbs. Life threatening crumbs. Am I being dramatic? No. Not at all.

Most of the kids did not eat the cookies. But there were a few scattered crumbs so I held SG in my lap protectively. There were tears in my eyes threatening to spring forth. The food was unexpected. I wasn’t prepared. But isn’t that part of life? It broke my heart when the lady offered SG a cookie, I whispered in SG’s ear, and she said, “No, thank you.” I’m so glad I had a fruit strip in my purse to give her. But it’s not the same. Not even close.

It hurts me that she is different. That she will face this most likely her entire life. That her guard (and mine) will always have to be up. It just plain stinks. But I have to remind myself she is “fearfully and wonderfully made” by the God of the Universe. The Creator of all things. He does not make mistakes. I will continue to trust Him with this most precious gift He has given us, our only child.

Infertility, Food Allergies, & Faith

Today, I’ve felt a nudging. A tug to sit and let my fingers flow across the keyboard. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to write. But I’ll tell you it will be about God’s faithfulness.

For my bible study, we’ve been reading God As He Longs For You To See Him by Chip Ingram. I’m on the last chapter, “The Faithfulness of God” and I’ve been underlining a lot of sentences.

I keep coming back to two major trials in my life. And they are in the past and ongoing. Infertility and food allergies. Both are not easy and have tested my faith. I have asked:

“Why me?”

“Why this Lord?”

I can tell you we beat infertility the first time. We have a beautiful little toddler. She’ll be three on Thanksgiving this year. We have much to be thankful for. She is our little joy, a precious gift from God. And a living, breathing, walking reminder of God’s faithfulness.

Thank you Lord Jesus, for the gift of my daughter. She is an everyday reminder of Your faithfulness. When I was lost in the grief of infertility, You knew that my heart would one day be filled to overflowing with the precious child You would give us in Your very perfect timing.

There’s a story I tell SG. I hold her in my arms and snuggle her close. And it usually goes something like this:

“Mommy wants to tell you a story. Mommy wanted a baby so badly and couldn’t have one. Lots of mommies had babies but Mommy didn’t. She was so sad and cried because she didn’t have a baby. Mommy prayed for a little baby. And then, one day, The Lord put a little tiny baby in my belly. Guess who that was? “Me!”, SG answers. Yes, you, SG. You lived in my tummy and grew and grew. You kicked Mommy’s tummy. Mommy was so happy. And on November 28th, 2010, The Lord said, “Sarah Grace! It’s time to be born.” And mommy went to the hospital. And you popped out!!! We saw your beautiful little face for the first time. And we were so happy. We love you so much Sarah Grace.”

It helps me to remember God’s faithfulness every time I tell SG her/our story. God is so faithful. He is so good. I may sometimes get caught up in emotions, but this remains true. God was faithful to our prayers.

For number two, we tried again with the doctor’s help. We did not get pregnant. I know that God is faithful. I have to trust Him and His plan for our family, whatever that may be. Whether or not we ever have another biological child or not. Whether we feel The Lord leading us to adopt or not.

Recently, SG was at a salon getting her hair cut. The hairdresser innocently asked SG if she had a brother. SG looked at me through the mirror with huge eyes because she didn’t know what to say. I shook my head no, and she said “No.” The lady then asked if she had a sister. Again, the huge eyes, a shake of my head no, and she replied “No.” I don’t know why this turned my heart and squeezed it so tightly. As I felt my stomach drop, my daughter exclaimed, “But I have Hunter and Logan!!!!” with a triumphant smile on her precious face (my nephew and niece.) SG lifted me out of my little state of sorrow with her sweet heartfelt response.

Just like with our food allergies, sometimes I want to shout, “I didn’t choose this! I want more children! I don’t want to deal with infertility, painful emotions linked to innocent comments, strange looks when doing stuff for our food allergies, a different lifestyle to keep our child safe, etc.” Yet, The Lord has allowed it. And through it all, He’s faithful.

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
1st Corinthians 12:10

Lately, when the mention of food allergies and living a dairy and egg free lifestyle comes up, people have lots of questions.

“What DO you eat???”

“I could never do that!”

“How do you do it?”

To which my response usually is, “It was hard in the beginning, but it becomes a new normal.” After reading this:

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I’ve felt convicted. I need to give God the glory. To proclaim His faithfulness in these trials. For His provision of supportive friends and family and knowledge to keep my child safe. In his financial provision because our diet is not cheap. Quite expensive, actually. Faithful to provide friends to stand in the gap. To love on us. To take extra steps to make us feel loved. Faithful to provide a local food allergy support group. People who live in my town who understand what it’s like to live with life threatening food allergies. Friends who have gone through infertility. Friends who understand the ache of empty arms. Friends who have overcome infertility. Family and friends who love me when they’ve seen the worst of me. In His provision to give me a husband who has stood by my side for eleven beautiful and messy years. Faithful to give me a beautiful, “fearfully and wonderfully made” precious little child, my SG. God is so very faithful. All the time.

“But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
Psalm 31:14

“Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you.”
Psalm 55:22

“We will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.”
Psalm 78:4

Remembering God’s faithfulness has helped me so many times. Until next time, my friend.