Monthly Archives: May 2012

Giving Up?

Just in case you THOUGHT about not working out today.

In the words of Jillian…”THINK AGAIN, Buddy.”

Let this transformation be encouraging to you.

If God can transform THIS man’s body, He can help YOU too.

O Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the rock  of our salvation.

 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God, And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth;

The peaks of the  mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; And His hands  formed the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the  LORD our Maker.”

Psalm 95:1-6

I Will Never…

LEARN to stop saying I’ll never…apparently!!

When I was 19 I swore I never wanted to have children.  I hated men.  I think I just hated the world at that point… broken-hearted, angry, and lost for the future I thought I had planned… immaturity… whatever it was, I said it.

God heard me.

NO doubt in my mind He was going to break me of all selfishness and self-willed spouting…

Did I learn?


I continued on saying, “I will never…” and every TIME it’s come back to bite me.

I’ll never drive a mini-van.

I’ll never home school… (those people are WEIRD you know?  What about socialization!?!)

I’ll NEVER drive a BIG van, it’s like a school bus… (does our vehicle REALLY define us?  How shallow of me!)

I will NEVER bake bread. (isn’t that some home schooling rite of passage?  We wear jumpers and bake bread.  I won’t say it – but I don’t own a jumper.)

Here it is. My bread making machine. *Gulp* The first loaf is in the maker… I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Here I am… making bread… eating crow, and laughing at God.

Oh Lord – what a sense of humor you have.  I am SO very wrong, and your ways are far greater than I ever imagine.

In my small hopes of my future, I am SO thankful you laid a greater plan… and love me more than anyone could.

With 8 children, with homeschooling, with providing us a vehicle to be together safely, as our family has grown (and I have grown in maturity), and YES… with the possibility to make bread my children can eat and be healthy.  We eat a lot less bread, and I personally don’t eat it at all… but I’m glad I know exactly what is IN this bread (we do love Udi’s bread though).

Thank you Lord – for loving me, and listening to ways I need broken.

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:28-29

Gluten Free, Trendy?

Almost all of my fitness/health food magazines have recipes or articles about gluten.  There is definitely a trend of awareness going on, and lots of people I talk to seem to have celiac disease, or effects from a gluten intolerance.

Ironic, since celiac disease is so rare, right?

Runners are actually eliminating gluten, and feeling faster, and lighter… many people report health issues they had, disappearing as well.  So, why is that?

I don’t believe celiac disease is AT ALL quite as rare as they once thought, and I believe people are showing up in droves with gluten intolerance or celiac disease, due to awareness of the symptoms they’ve had for YEARS.   Often times, people who have tried a vegan or paleo diet also become more sensitive to the reintroduction of those grains they once eliminated – so the symptoms can come on fast and furious the next time they glutenate, all pointing to the auto-immune disease.

One of the great books I read, called Dangerous Grains, talked about how gluten, and other grains affect our bodies, and often worsen our health, as well as other auto immune diseases – like MS, Fibromyalgia and RA, to name a few.  Since celiac disease was originally thought to be a wasting disease, that showed up in babies (who were failure to thrive), and because it’s not a disease healed simply by MEDICINE, but rather proper diet, it seems the medical field has done a disservice to so many people struggling with thyroid issue, obesity, or depression by not looking at the big picture.

I read that something of only 6 hrs of nutrition is required for a Dr. to get his/her degree.  Out of all of the classes they’re required to take – it seems like healing the body inside out should have some emphasis?  I smell a solution to our growing healthcare “problems”…

Sure, we hear a lot about things to stay away from to lower your BMI, like trans fats, and high fructose corn syrup…. but I don’t know how many restaurants looked at me like I have a horn growing out of my head when I mention the word GLUTEN.

“What is that again?”

“What exactly IS that?”  They ask.

Employees attempted to understand – for which I am grateful, but often times – they’ve never even heard of celiac disease.  {That concerns me, because there is a lot of unexplained “IBS” in the world around us.  I thought IBS was a condition – it’s actually the name of symptoms of uncontrollable “D” with no explanation found… yet.  Meaning, it’s NOT normal – BUT there is a cause. }  Shouldn’t we KNOW what that cause is?

Most people are exactly like me a few months ago – partial to NO understanding either.

It’s important to continue speaking out for healthy eating.  I think the experts are going to find a lot more to this whole “gluten” business than people realize – VERY soon.  With all of the processed foods consumed, and all of the CANCER we have running rampant in our world, specifically in our country … it’s not a coincidence.  We are actually poisoning ourselves… not just with food and gluten – but all of these chemically altered substances that mimic gluten as well as preservatives in foods.

It would be handy if all products listed wheat, barley, rye in a nice – easy to read label.  But the facts are, they don’t – so people continue to cross contaminate – and search for more answers… and they continue to make themselves sick… day after day after day.  Honestly, it’s pretty frustrating.

Call me an extremist – but I’ve lived it, and now I’m a believer.  I totally get it – because I felt the effects of it… for years.  I see and talk to people who are similar to me, or worse… and I see the variety of symptoms in my kids – all different, yet having the SAME cause.  It’s remarkable.

So, while many articles claim you shouldn’t eat gluten-free unless you have celiac disease, because it’s expensive and often times more caloric – I’m NOT so sure.  At the very least – we’re consuming WAY too many grains and processed foods.  I simply don’t think people realize HOW much they’re consuming of first of all, nor do they realize what it’s doing to our bodies for the long run.

As the movie FRESH said, our dollar is our vote, when it comes to food value in our country.  A majority often want the CHEAPEST food available, vs. the best quality fuel for our bodies.  They don’t want to study, and know what they’re putting in.  We want convenience, and short-term satisfaction.  Sure, whole foods and organic foods are going to cost MORE – but we must demand more for them to continue supplying it, eventually at a lower price.  Otherwise, plan on the cancer and illness trend only worsening in our country and you might as well jump aboard because it will be affecting you or some one you love, if it hasn’t already.

I am passionate right now for my children, and for their future – but also for other people struggling with no diagnosis, like I was.  I know what it’s like to feel like a head case, and feel frustrated that no one is listening.  To have chronic pain, and wondering when a next spell is going to hit.

Since I’m in the group of sufferers with a negative blood test, and a negative endoscopy – who was eating gluten-free, to gluten light before the disease spun out of control.  I know there are others like me… who have every marker of celiac disease, and who have suffered for years – who are told, “that isn’t it… let’s test for other things”  and YET, like myself, and my children – eliminating gluten, got rid of the itchy celiac rash they’ve had for YEARS, the neuropathy symptoms, the stomach pains, the sluggishness, heightened anxiety and personality alterations and I can only hope the handfuls of other vitamin deficiency, asthma symptoms and malabsorption issues (in time!).

Please don’t just take your Dr’s word for it – if you suspect celiac disease and they tell you NO, it’s too rare or NO, you’re not wasting away, or NO, it can’t be that.  Keep reading, learning and being your own advocate.  Doctors are practicing medicine.  They’re human, and there is no “one size fits all” answer for this disease and the effects of your diet on your health.  They can’t have all of the answers…  and YOU know yourself and your children best!

If it’s possible, find a specialist or a nutritonist to help get you on the path to health… and then STICK with it – this is your life we’re talking about!!  Who wants to be in the 27% of people who always tested negative when symptomatic, but showed up with intestinal cancer and a POSITIVE blood test years later?

NOT me.  I don’t want that for YOU either.  Stick to the diet – it’s SO worth it.

God Bless! 🙂

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,”

1 Timothy 2:1  

GF On The Road

Our biggest hurdle on our trip – was figuring out a way to eat, so we didn’t get glutenated… and let me tell you – we were blessed.  We only had one episode – although we can’t pinpoint exactly who, what, where and when… but we had some delicious foods, and everyone was fed – so I call that…


Each day the kids had sandwiches.  They eat a lot less bread, and a lot more fruit and veggies – but this was an easy meal.  Whoever said making sandwiches in the van, for 9 out of the 10 of us – isn’t FABULOUS – is TOTALLY missing out.  I became very efficient in my lap kitchen preparation – and everyone was happy.

One major blessing that I didn’t consider – is KROGER stores exist in the Dallas area.  Hurray – I was familiar with them, and their BOARHEAD meats/cheeses…. many of which are clearly labeled GLUTEN FREE, and the kids LOVE them.  It was nice to fill my cooler up and not wonder – is there gluten in this?

Great selection of GLUTEN FREE meats and cheeses at our Dillons - affliated with Kroger Stores.

We ate out a Chick-Fil-A a lot too.  Did you know they have the healthiest kid’s menu around??  Grilled nuggets, fruit bowl (and it’s good fruit too!), and drink option.  Their fries are gluten-free – because they’re cooked in a dedicated “fry” frier.  (No cross contaminants with breaded foods!)  I’m not a big FRY person, but it was vacation – and yes.  I had some.  (Did I mention I did workout??)

In the words of my favorite 3-year-old… “Mmmmmm Tasty!”

We also found a great pizza place that served amazing pizza with organic ingredients and even offered a GF menu!  The kids were SO delighted to have “pizza out”.  I even ordered “no cheese” on part of my pizza – and it was incredible.  The people at Palio’s were fantastic.  The staff even brought me the label off of their meat – so I could verify that it was gluten-free.  Great service.

Palio’s Spinach Pizza… Yummo! The kids gave it 16 thumbs up!

My kids were thrilled to enjoy some GF pancakes as well!  The Original Pancake House offers gluten free pancakes on their menu, and were great about making shelled scrambled eggs.

Ever wonder what made the omlettes and scrambled eggs so light and fluffy? (And caloric?)


So we just had them make us some fresh ones separately, and everyone was happy!  Our family ate 33 pancakes, 2 bowls of fresh fruit and 10 scrambled eggs… not a drop of food was left behind!

My daughter showing off how many pancakes she tucked away. She must have a hallow leg!

As for me, I ate a lot of salad, and it was FUN.

No really, I mean that.  It was fun to eat, and not feel sick!  Praise be to God.  We had an amazing trip!

Here is my salad from the Whole Foods store buffet. Perfection!

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Colossians 3:17

My Mother, My Friend

My favorite picture of my mom – her HS graduation picture. As you can see – she didn’t have to try… she is just simply beautiful.

There is no one who stands in your corner like a mother.

No one who can recall things you tried to forget, like a mother.

NO ONE who knows what’s best for you, like a mother, no matter your age.

Indeed – God knew what He was doing in creating mothers.  He knew exactly what we would need.

My mom comforted my broken hearts, and wiped away many tears while I was growing up.  She always was my biggest fan, and told me I was beautiful – even when I wasn’t so pretty on the inside.

When I thought she was clueless, little did I know – she truly did have my best interests at heart.  {and she was anything BUT clueless as she never missed a beat with my “secrets”!}

It’s amazing what time, maturity, marriage and 8 children will do to growing me up a bit.

I’m thankful for my mom everyday.  Not just because she’s alive by another miracle of God – through her stem cell transplant from her brother – {against all scientific odds}.  But because she continues to be an example of courage, strength and endurance – despite the struggles she faces each day with her graph-host disease and rebuilding of her body’s immune system.

You know those things that only a mother would know about you… because she was there with you for every Dr. visit, and every dentist visit, and every surgery you went through?  YES, I’ve counted my blessings because of that too.  I’m thankful I had my mom praying for me that I wasn’t dying of intestinal cancer this year… and I’m thankful that talking through things helped me understand my own health throughout my life even more.

That fight she instilled in me, allowed me to keep working out when I felt too weak/tired – because I knew I needed to act healthy to feel healthy… vs. acting like a sick person and withering away.

I remember pushing her – when she was at the end of her rope with cancer.  It was an emotional time, and my mom’s Dr wasn’t giving her another option at life.  You see, the Dr didn’t realize what a fighter my mom was, and she had decided my mom had too many statistics against her – making her NOT a candidate for a stem cell transplant.

In short, the Dr. was going to let her die.  Just. Like. That.

As my mother cried, I stood strong in my faith that if it was God’s will for her to live or die – He would make that happen.  Not some statistic.

I had peace either way, and I believe she did too – but the outlook was bleak, and she cried a lot.  We both did.

I asked her (shouting), “Do you want to live?”  Her answer (through tears), “Yes.”

Just like that – we sought a second opinion – and HOPE was renewed for a chance to beat her cancer… though the process was unbelievably long, with many twists and turns along the way – she never stopped fighting.

God allowed me to push her like that, because He let me know that’s what she needed, and I prayed for wisdom and words to say – each time she and I talked on the phone.  I learned that strength, in times of trouble, by HER example.  Don’t give up.  Don’t lay down – you go fighting every step of the way!  (….and always laugh… comic relief is really important!)

My mom is my biggest cheerleader and never gave up on me – even though I clearly deserved nothing.  God used her cancer to gift us with a renewed, forever friendship – that might not have happened any other way.

Thank you God for mothers.  Especially mine. 

 “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.”

  Psalm 71:5

** Special thanks to my Dad – who not only used his cell phone to take a picture of my mom’s photograph – but learned how to SEND it from his “not-so-smart” phone.  Kudos to him!

Ouch! That Hurt!

I like to make sure I’m making time to work out, even on vacation.  This year, I decided I would try a few new things.  I brought workout “stretchy bands”, instead of weights (for packing purposes) and I brought Bob with me (on my iPad).

I’m not sure if vacation and Bob go together for most people… But you’re probably figuring out, I’m not in the majority of any group of people.  I believe a friend of mine told me recently that I was crazy.

This was no newsflash.  {I prefer determined, but stubborn and crazy are thrown around a bit}.

So, I had BIG plans to work out hard, at least 3 days while we were gone…  And then I went and missed putting sunscreen on my legs, for a mid afternoon soccer game, the day before we left.

Would my plans be thwarted?

You know that moment when you realize you’re sunburned?  You can see the RED/white contrast, in a poorly lit room, and you know it is royally bad because the heat hasn’t fully sunk in yet?

Me on day five. Even showering hurt at this point. Due to a cool tan line, I looked like I had RED thigh-highs on. Not. Cool.

Yes.  That was me.


I’m not sure when my whiteness last saw the warmth of the sun’s rays…. But… It will suffice to say I won’t be forgetting sunscreen anytime soon!

By day five, I was still in quite a bit of pain – but was continuing to workout regardless.  After several days of aloe lotion – I got some Jason’s aloe lotion and applied that several times a day, which helped a bit more.  I also tried to keep the children from bumping, scraping and climbing my legs.  A damp towel helped when I did parts of my workouts on my knees. {yes, it still hurt, but it was my own fault!}

Glad I picked some of this up at Whole Foods. It really helped!

Here’s your friendly reminder.  DO NOT FORGET THE SUNSCREEN!!

This isn’t the type of “feel the burn” you’re wanting.

Thankfully now, it’s been a week… and I’m just scratching my itches.  Most of it’s tan – but some of it is peeling!  *snap*

“Look to the Lord and his strength;  seek His face always.”

  1 Chron. 16:11


Baking Fool!

I’ve been preparing for our vacation, and storing things in the freezer.  I thought if we brought most of our food with us, we’d avoid the headaches of trying to eat out.

As if dining out as a family of 10 wasn’t strange enough to most people, add in celiac disease… and you can imagine why dining “in” seemed like more of a vacation to me.

Since my bread maker hadn’t gotten here yet – I was STOKED that HyVee had Udi’s sandwich bread on sale.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t assume I would clean them out… but I did – and loaded our freezer.  Each loaf (they’re small) is one meal for our kids to have sandwiches.

Orange Cranberry Scones!

While grabbing some things in a box sounds like a good idea…. actually knowing what is in your food is a better one.  I’ve learned how to make scones (Thanks YOUTUBE!), and I made flourless cookies that were lactose and gluten-free!  (Thanks Steph for the recipe!)  I also made a bunch of muffins of varying flavors.

Super Yummy (especially right out of the oven!)

Our huge orders came – and I think we’re set with gluten-free snacks, and supplements.  (I can’t say enough great things about that company – ALL thumbs up here!)

I really do think God hears me every time I say, “I will never…”  Because I’m pretty sure I said I’d never own a bread maker.  I’ll chalk it up there with no spinach smoothies, and hummus {Amazing what you’ll do to get some calories in when you’re sick!}.

I’m not afraid to eat crow.  That’s how I have 8 kids, drive a giant school bus of a van, and home school.  Being moldable is very important.   We can’t have all of the answers – that would make us God.  Nope, I’m pretty happy being a lowly person He calls His own.  Thanks God.

“Listen to me, you stubborn of heart, you who are far from righteousness:  

I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.”

Isaiah 46:12-13

YES! I Can Have That!

One of the principles Danna Demetre always talked about was making sure you didn’t tell yourself you “couldn’t” have something.  Once you did, you were bound to desire that something MORE.

Oh my, is that ever true for me. {I’ve admitted, until forced to change by God, I’m impossible!}

However, when you take that thought process and turn it around – so that you are making a choice to NOT have something – to honor God and your body, it reverses the hold food can have on you.

Instead of saying, “I can’t have that muffin, cookie, soda…”  Remind yourself why you don’t need that thing, and how you’re better off without it.  Make it YOUR choice not to want it, vs. believing a lie that you “need it” to survive.

One thing several of my celiac books talk about, is having a positive attitude.  When we get down, that adds to the bogging down of our immune system, which in turn – makes it more likely for you to get sick.  That’s definitely not good when you have an auto-immune disease, but it’s plain NOT GOOD for anyone!

I’ve been on a mission to show the kids what we CAN have – so we can focus on our blessings, vs. counting ourselves as cursed. God uses all things for His good! Gluten Free Pancakes with Dairy/Soy/Gluten free chocolate chips!  They were a big hit!

That idea transfers to anyone’s life.

It’s ok to cry now and then.  Women especially appreciate that emotional release.  BUT, when the focus is on what you can’t have – instead of realizing what we DO have, and CAN have in life… it’s bringing us down.

So, for a short while I was angry about what I wouldn’t be able to have… ever again.  Then I struggled through what my kids couldn’t have or wouldn’t be able to try… and feeling like that some how *I* caused this.  (Who created us again?)  God brought me to a place of peace.

{Thank you God.  Your peace does transcend all understanding.}  His purpose, His ways.

There are LOTS of things I can have, and other options to replace old ones… and more than anything – we have so much in this country…  NO EXCUSES.  NO COMPLAINING!! 

These are a big hit. We stocked up when Target had them on sale at $2.50 a box! They’re dairy free too – so I can have them – yum!

So when people say to me, “Oh I’m so sorry…”  about the celiac disease…. I really don’t feel sad.  Not in the least.  I’m SO grateful and thankful.  I know what I can do to feel well now… and keep my kids healthy – and THAT is a blessing.

This is a tasty treat the kids enjoy! Kettle Corn certified GLUTEN FREE from Target!

Won’t you realize what you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy too?  Make a change in the right direction… and do what you can to eliminate those empty calories, that mindless snacking.  Truly eat to live, NOT life to eat.  There is so much more in life than food!  Let Him show you how to be healthy for HIM!!

ME sporting my new G-FREE shirt. I got them for my daughter and I to “celebrate” our family’s new journey to health!

I will give you back your health and heal your wounds,” says the LORD. “For you are called an outcast–‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.'”

  Jeremiah 30:17

KENRA Cares!

I was pleasantly surprised with a little note in my inbox later this morning. Kenra listens when their customers have problems, and they actually replied to my blog post about my hair! Thank you Kenra!

If you’re interested as to what they do carry that IS SAFE (products in bold)… then read on! Thanks Jenny for the heads up! I appreciate your thoughtfulness and help! While I don’t color my hair, I’m happy to know that some of your products might be an option!

Hi Sara,

My name is Jenny and I am with Kenra. I came across your post and wanted to help you out with our products since you liked our Finishing Spray, but had to stop using it due to the wheat protein. The reason why wheat protein is in most hair care products, especially ones with high amounts of alcohol or aerosolized, is to moisturize the hair. We have several products that do not contain wheat protein. You could try our Working Spray 14. It has a lower hold factor than the Finishing Spray, but works very well. You could also try our Shine Spray, Silkening Gloss, or Daily Provision to help calm down any frizziness. If you want to hold curls, then you could try one of the following: Curl Define Crème, Curl Glaze Mousse, Firm Hold Gel, Hot Spray, or Thermal Styling Spray. If you want volume then you can always use our Root Lifting Spray or Boosting Spray Foam. There is also no wheat protein in our new Kenra Color line, if you color your hair.

I hope this helps you in your search for hair products! Please let us know if you have any questions.


Kenra Professional

What Is In That Cloud?

Several of the products that went out the door.

My hair is pretty important to me. Not that it’s some wonderful thing, but perhaps because I always struggled with making it tame when I was younger. When it came “in style” to wear it straight, I knew I was in for some serious challenges.

My hair is fine, dry, and curly… and there is LOTS of it – so it’s THICK. My brother’s used to call me Medusa on any given morning, at the breakfast table.

Yes. It can get ca-razy.

I was blessed after college, with a great hair dresser in the city. It was 2 hours to visit her, but before kids – this was my every-other-month shopping trip and girl time. I loved how my hair felt and how my stylist understood my needs… and my hair.

Then came the children… and going to the city, was… no longer a practical option. Thankfully I was blessed again with a wonderfully talented friend, named Melissa. Melissa understood my hair too, and again my hair was happy. I got the right products, the right cut, 12 years later – I’m still very happy!

Melissa’s great. But the last time I saw her, I didn’t think to mention celiac disease and what I was going through. I didn’t really want to talk about it on my “hour to relax”… I was tired of thinking about it frankly. That didn’t seem like a big deal…

Until this past week.

When I realized my favorite hair products probably worked so well, because they had WHEAT PROTEIN in them.

And I was right.

Unfortunately – they were making me ill and not helping my cause. I was very, very sad. Many people said that because you’re not ingesting hair products, it shouldn’t be a problem… But I read enough other information which made a good case that explained how *I* had been feeling. I wondered why I always got bad headaches while getting ready to go somewhere, and rashes from different deodorants and soaps I tried. Yes, the gluten-filled products had to leave.

My GIANT bottle of Kenra… which I dearly love – was recently kicked to the curb… along with a lot of other products.

“Now WHAT?” I thought. This is insane! What CAN I use that will work and not make me sick?

It didn’t help that this week’s weather has my hair on HIGH FRIZZ alert.

Suddenly my hair felt dry, out of control and just YUCKY.

We began looking at all of our cosmetics… the body wash, shampoos, our nail polishes and deodorants… and slowly weeding everything out that could potentially irritate rashes, or be ingested.

A little sad – but knowing, “Ok, this isn’t making me sick”, is very comforting. We’re still on the search for the perfect products to tame this beast, but we’ll get there! Today is better than yesterday, and that’s all I can ask for.

We really DO need to be checking out all of these products these major companies are selling us. It’s CRAZY what is in some of them… and obviously we’re abosorbing it into our systems.

Not. Good.

I ordered some Zoya nail polish, which is gluten-free and comes dermatologist recommended… and I’m excited to try that! Toxins – BE GONE!

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Psalm 62:6

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