Blessed

Blessed

For a few years now, I’ve been reading people’s “One Word” posts. I even wanted to select a word for myself. But last year, I had three words I liked and I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. So I did what any sensible person would do…

I just gave up on the idea.

Ok, not so sensible. But this year, as soon as I remembered the “One Word” idea, my word was there for me. There was no hemming and hawing. No deciding. It was just there.

BLESSED

Apparently I’ve been having too many pity parties over the last few months. Or maybe I just need to be reminded that, despite my current circumstances, I truly am blessed.

With this being 2014, I thought I’d kick off this year of the BLESSED with 14 blessings I can count in my life right now:

  1. My God ~ My Faith ~ My Salvation – This wonderful God blessed me with the gift of His Son; and, thus, the gift of salvation. This Son, Jesus, died for me, so that I might live. This photo is of my Origami Owl locket. In it is a plate that is stamped ‘Blessed,’ the word ‘Love,” and a cross – all to remind me of the love my God has for me!  Blessed Locket, Origami Owl
  2. LegoFan – I’m listing him first, not because he’s loved more than his sister, but because he was born first. LegoFan has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, as well as a host of other things. He has taught me some much-needed patience. He has shown me true joy. I am blessed to know him and to be his Mama.  LegoFan Ornament
  3. Diva – Obviously, she was born second. She is developing into a beautiful young lady. She has brought femininity back into my life. She has humbled me. I am blessed to know her and to be her Mama.  Diva Ornament
  4. My Mother – I don’t have a photo she’d be happy with me posting, so this will just be text. My mother is one of the few family members who truly supports me in my endeavors to continue homeschooling the children, despite being a single parent. She has supported my decision in word and deed. I am so blessed to have her in my life and to know that she supports us.
  5. A Place to Live – We are not currently living in a place I would choose to live. But, my children have a safe place to be, play, and learn. We have a place that is warm and shelters us from the elements. We have something soft under our heads when we sleep at night. We are blessed to have somewhere to be each day. A Place To Live
  6. A Car to Drive – Earlier in 2013, my car was a mess. It had dents, a crack in the windshield, a hole in the floor from the driver’s heel, and had parts falling off of it. The worst thing? Two windows wouldn’t stay up and there was no heat. Then the brakes went out… It was time to send it to the auto graveyard. So I looked for used cars. I set my budget and was determined to stick to it. I made a list of cars available at a few different dealers in the area and we set out to look. We had struck out at most of the dealers and there were only two left. We drove onto the lot and were a little disappointed in this little lot with some broken down cars and a trailer for an office. They didn’t have the car I came there to see. But being the good salesman he was, the employee told me he had a few cars come in the night before that had not yet been advertised. He showed me one, but it wasn’t what we needed. Then he showed me another one. It would not have been my first choice, or even my 10th probably, but I gave it a chance. It was $500 less than my budget, that was a good start. He gave me the VIN and told me I could go run a CARFAX on it. I got on my computer and researched the make and model only to discover that it was one of the better made cars out there. I ran the CARFAX to discover that this car had no accidents or any other problems reported in its history. It seemed like this car was supposed to be for me. After I bought it I realized that I had asked God for something safe and reliable; and He delivered. But not only that, like Solomon asking for the right thing in Wisdom and getting more than he asked for; I, too, got more than I asked for. I got some features I’d only dreamed about having! I am very blessed to have been directed to this car; and it has grown on me too! A Car To Drive
  7. Food to Eat – Food has been something of a struggle for us. LegoFan has battled food allergies all of his life, and each time he’s tested, we find something new. This past year, we ended up going gluten-free, and change is not always easy. But we have found things to like, and new ways to prepare some of our favorite foods. It’s a journey. But we have food, and we are able to prepare and enjoy good things to eat. We are blessed to have our daily bread! Gluten-Free French Toast
  8. Clothes to Wear – I am definitely not a fashionista, and I’ve had a love-hate relationship with clothing over the years! So right now, my wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts. It’s not where I want to be, as I’d like to feel a bit more feminine most of the time. But I have something to wear. My children have things to wear. My mother sometimes picks things up for them too. And then there’s the time when I found jeans for LegoFan for $2.67 and blouses for Diva at $2 – what blessings! Then Cammie over at A Woman’s Place posted about her thrifty find called thredup. I went over there and found a treasure-trove of dresses for Diva at great prices (if you go over there via my link, you will get $10 off your first order with them, and so will I). We are truly blessed to have such clothing to wear. "New" Dresses
  9. Homeschooling – I love this blessing! To be able to be such an integral part of my children’s education is amazing. I get to see the light bulb go on when they figure out something new. I got to be the one to not only teach them how to read, but also the one to show them the joys of a good book. I was privileged to be there with Diva as she struggled through long division and came out victorious. I am able to encourage LegoFan as he tries to find ways to communicate his knowledge, even if they are a bit unconventional. It’s a road we travel together; one in which we learn and grow together as well. I am blessed with the freedom and ability to be my children’s teacher. Science Experiment
  10. The Internet – I know, this can be a blessing and a curse. It is both to me sometimes. But coming from the perspective of blessings, I have been reunited with friends from college, high school, and even elementary school through facebook. I have had the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals through twitter and facebook. I have the chance to write, explore my thoughts, and share parts of my life via this blog. I have found deals to save money on things we need, as well as ways to earn a little money. I have ‘met’ several wonderful ladies through blogs and homeschool groups. I am blessed by what I have chosen to use on the internet, and what it has to offer.
  11. My Plexus business – I recently decided to join Plexus to help improve my health and to help me earn a living to take care of my babies. This company is dedicated to natural ways to get your body in tip-top shape. Their most notable product is Plexus Slim and I just started taking it. I guess I will have to post before and after photos along this journey.  I am blessed to be in business for myself with a company that helps to improve others’ health.plexus_slim
  12. My Origami Owl Business – This was the first business I really joined. I fell in love with the concept of Living Lockets – I loved being able to design and re-design my own jewelry, and that it told my story! And it’s just plain fun – fun to wear and fun to present! I am blessed to be in a business that is fun and prides itself on being a “Force for Good.” Locket - Heart-Shaped
  13. My Lilla Rose Business – I just love my Lilla Rose business. I ended up joining Lilla Rose at roughly the same time as Origami Owl – and it wasn’t planned that way! Lilla Rose has the most beautiful hair accessories – I call it Hair Jewelry! But it’s not just that they’re beautiful, they actually hold my hair! All of it. All day. And NO headaches! But I got something else when I joined Lilla Rose: I got a Lilla Rose family! We have a group on facebook that is so supportive and encouraging, that it’s impossible not to succeed. I am very blessed to be a part of this company, to be able to wear these lovely products in my hair, and to be a part of the Lilla Rose family. Lilla Rose Flexi Clip
  14. God’s Majesty – God sends reminders of His blessings constantly. Sometimes it just takes me longer to see them. But they’re always there. God is the Master Artist and there is just so much beauty in His world. God’s Majesty fills me with awe. I am blessed to live in a world with so many beautiful sights, that He provides them for my (and your) enjoyment!

Fall GlorySunset on the WaterFlower Up Close

As this year continues forward, I know there will be difficult times. I know there will be days that I have a hard time remembering to be grateful. This post will serve as a reminder ~ and permanent record ~ that I have a lot for which to be grateful.

I am truly blessed!

What is your word for this year? If you’ve written a post about it, feel free to share a link in the comments.

* Disclaimer: Most of the links in this post are for my businesses, one is an affiliate link. All are ways to help me help my family. I am a single parent trying to keep my babies home and take care of them in the way I feel God wants me to. If you click on the links and make a purchase, you will be helping us, and I will be grateful.

Our Gluten Free Journey – Prologue

Today marks the end of a full month on a gluten free diet. We see the allergist tomorrow to find out where we go next. But it has been a very interesting month!

Why did we go gluten free? LegoFan was diagnosed with several food allergies and asthma in his early years, some life-threatening. So I guess it makes sense to go back to the prologue instead jumping right in to Chapter One.

Allergy - LegoFan

When LegoFan was a baby, he was nursed exclusively until he couldn’t get enough nourishment. I had to start adding cereal at a very early age. He, whether nursing or eating cereal, would develop these horrible rashes on his face and nothing would make them go away. The pediatrician suspected allergies but told us we couldn’t test him until he was a year old.

At one year, he was finally tested. We were blessed to get in to see one of the top allergy specialists in the country at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She was so thorough and asked the right questions. We left with the diagnosis that LegoFan was allergic to eggs, the deadly peanut, and garlic. Garlic was the one that shocked me. Don’t get me wrong, I was horrified over the other two and worried what his life would be like. But it was the garlic that seemed just weird; random. I mean LegoFan has some Italian blood in him; how can he be allergic to garlic? But it was the allergist asking the right questions regarding flare ups that led to her even testing for garlic.

Allergy - Eggs

That was the beginning of our journey with food and the challenges it has had for my son.

At age two, he was given a monitored food challenge to see what effects, if any, the egg would have on him. He “passed” and was cleared to eat foods with eggs in them. I have a great photo (before digital cameras) of him eating his first chocolate chip cookie and ending up with chocolate on his face! He loved it!

He would eventually be cleared of his garlic allergy, but new foods began to give him problems. He could eat red apples, apple sauce, and drink apple juice, but green and yellow apples made him break out in hives. He could eat green pears, but brown pears also gave him hives. Although he can now have brown pears, he still cannot have yellow and green apples.

Allergy - Apples

As he got older, he also developed allergies to grasses, trees, flowers, dogs, cats, horses, mice, and dust. His peanut numbers kept going up, and he started to develop allergies to all the other tree nuts. As you can imagine, grocery shopping has changed for us multiple times and can take forever!

Allergy to TreesAllergy to Grass

Well, we recently moved and saw a new allergist for the first time in ten years. He ran a complete set of tests – 56 skin pricks on his back! He was miserable by #10! He was reacting to almost everything. In the five columns of pricks, one of them had hives so big that they merged into one large hive. It was all I could do to keep him from scratching!

Allergy Skin TestAllergy skin Test - 1Allergy Skin Test - 2Allergy Skin Test - 3

He ended up testing positive to so many things with this test; and then he had to undergo the blood work! Between the two, we had several new things; so many that he would have very little to eat if we eliminated everything. He had been having some strange reactions lately, so we decided to do some sort of elimination diet. LegoFan tested positive to allergies to wheat, barley, rye, and oats. So we decided on a gluten free diet for a month…

This post is linked up with Our Simple Farm, Homemaker’s Challenge, Whole New Mom, Home Sanctuary, and Allergy Free Alaska – go check out what everyone else has this week!