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I Will Not Be Ashamed

In less than 72 hours I’m going to my 20th class reunion.

A mixture of feelings comes over me… 

Excitement.  I’m going with my husband, and for the first time in our 15 years of marriage with 8 children we will be “alone” without kids.

Anticipation.  We’re running a 5K together, and my last one of those was pretty painful, so I have some mixed feelings… but overall, positive.

Concern.  For a weekend of events centered around food and drinks… I know it’s going to come up.

“Why aren’t you eating? How about a drink?  What is wrong with you?”

A shot a of wheatgrass.  The only type of shots I will have.  Something that builds up my health, and my immune system.

A shot a of wheatgrass. The only type of shots I will have. Something that builds up my health, and my immune system.

It’s really not that complicated.

It’s not that big of a deal either… It’s not like I’ve been a drinker for years.  I’m not sure why it bothers me to just say what is “wrong”… or what is going on…

But socially, it’s just one of things sometimes you’d like to pretend doesn’t exist…

There’s a part of me that wants to just speak up and get it over with so we can get it off the table, and move on… but I know there will be more questions... and the selfish side of me wants to talk about other things… anything but looking in the rear view mirror.  Just for the weekend.

Now don’t get me wrong… I enjoy talking, sharing, and helping others…  I do – I love it.  I thank God every day that I have the opportunity through my struggle to help others similar to myself.

But … (and you know what I mean), sometimes you don’t want to talk about it with people who don’t understand.  There are parts of me that are frustrated even looking back to high school, and realizing I was sick then – and didn’t know.

I’ve realized it’s a bad heart attitude.   It’s kind of like saying, “I don’t want to share the gospel with unbelievers… they don’t understand.”

Sometimes, the very people who don’t think they need information, are the ones who do… and how do we learn if we don’t hear?

So, if you could say a pray for me – that if there is anyone there who needs to learn about natural healing – or disease and the gut connection – that I might be able to serve them in some way (?)  I’d appreciate it!

(I promise to keep my health preaching to a minimum.)  Who am I kidding?  Hide this gift?  No way.

Here’s to reminiscing about positive memories in the past.  Enjoy your weekend!

“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed?

And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  

And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

 Romans 10:14

Have Granola, Will Travel

Granola_ingredients

Good Monday Morning!
This long silence from me isn’t normal, I realize this.

I’m happy to report that I was traveling, with my family last week – Yes, ALL 10 of us went to back to my home-land (Iowa) for 6 days.
“Well, what did you eat?” You ask?

Well, actually, we ate out breakfast every day, and lunch ONE day – and we were GREATLY blessed….  As the hotel was very accommodating to us.  Upon waking, my children had their yogurt with some yummy granola I made (I’ll get to that in a minute…), in the room.  Then we’d head downstairs and the restaurant made our 3 dozen pastured eggs, and 20 sausage links safely – in the cold-pressed organic olive oil we brought – EVERY day. (For FREE!!)  (That’s 216 eggs, and 120 sausages in 6 days if you’re a numbers person…) 

Normally we eat 18 eggs at home, I’m not sure what happens when we travel…

I also brought muffins I had been stock piling in the freezer, so each morning we’d go through a dozen morning-glory muffins at the breakfast table as well as some fruit!

Lunch was sandwiches on our almond bread, with cut up fruit and carrot sticks… easy-peasy.

Dinner was a bit more tricky, but the good Lord blessed us greatly with a sister of mine offering up her kitchen, and space in her refrigerator/freezer for us all week.  While we had 2 min-fridges in our room, there was NO WAY we would fit all of our bread and muffins and keep them fresh for the week without an option like this!  I packed a cutting board, a paring knife and a crock pot – and made simple meals that could cook while we played during the day.  Did I mentioned what a blessing that was?  HUGE.  Not to mention inviting a family of 10 into your space for the week is no small feat.  Grateful and blessed doesn’t begin to touch how we felt.  When something as simple as eating can make or break a trip – it’s pretty big deal to us.

THIS is what kept us well, all week-long.

Not once did we get cross contaminated – which is nothing short of a miracle.

The granola I mentioned making, was one of my last-minute efforts to remedy not having enough granola for our trip…. the night before we left.  (Believe me, it’s ALWAYS something… just one thing.  Always.)  I followed part of my auto immune “granola” idea from my AutoImmune Disease Clean Eating Cookbook, and modified it up in pure Sara-fashion, to fit my family.  Crossing my fingers, I served it to my family on the first day and was shocked at the rave reviews, and pleas for “making more” of this when we returned.  It was deemed the “best” granola ever, and we’ve had quite a few.  (I thought maybe they were just REALLY hungry.)  My husband then suggested we could “seriously market this”… which indicated it would indeed be a good idea to attempt to remember just WHAT I did when I made it…  Uhhhh…

So on the first night home, I did 6 loads of laundry, baked 2 loaves of pumpkin/pecan chocolate chip bread and whipped up a large batch of my new granola.  The kids cheered with delight in the morning when they spotted the newly made batch of granola – so I just knew you’d like a chance to make it as well!

Granola_Paleo

Sara’s Paleo Granola

4 cups of shredded coconut

4 t. GF pure vanilla

1.5 cups of coconut butter/coconut manna

8 tsp. raw honey

1 cup of organic apple sauce, unsweetened.

2 (heaping) Tablespoons of raw cacao

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 cup pecan pieces

2 Tablespoons of cinnamon

**  Additions: 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Mix all dry ingredients in bowl and set to side.  Warm coconut butter on stove until melted, then turn off add in applesauce, and honey and stir into dry ingredients.  Spread mixture out onto parchment paper on baking sheet.  Bake 20 minutes while mixing through baking process (Every 5-7 minutes) so it does not burn.  After cooling – simply put in a bag and scoop out with a measuring cup to serve onto yogurt or ice cream.

Pray for me.  My 20th reunion is next weekend and I’m going to run a 5K with my husband.  If you remember, the last time I ran – last October… it was 27 degrees out and I was having a major flare.  My knees locked up and I struggled to breathe, but I finished in a little over 30 minutes.  A disappointing finish after my first 5K, but I finished.  I know if I could run through that, I can certainly run now.  Right?  Right.
Remember, every day is a day on the marathon towards health – each day trying to make progress.  It’s not a sprint to be Healthy for Him – but it’s important to keep making the effort to move forward and away from those things that don’t build up our immune system!

 “But those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Might Doctors Listen Now?

Immunity
It appears doctors might be listening, as the explosion of auto immune diseases baffles many.  As they research and realize their blood tests aren’t showing everything they hoped to, and people are looking outside the tall, white, narrow-minded box.   In a study done by a group of molecular biologists in England, they figured our that the neutralization of adenoviruses (the viruses that cause things like the common cold) by antibodies was happening INSIDE the cell, not outside – as expected.  The paper, which challenged immunology, was largely ignored… but it appears doctors might be rethinking things.

Similarly to how MY blood work wasn’t showing much more than a heightened, speckled ANA titer number in western medicine, and my sed rate wasn’t sky-high – despite clearly major fluctuations in swelling systemically OR how allergen skin tests proved unfruitful – while alterative medicine was able to see exactly what my cells were doing when put with specific foods.   It was causing major auto-immune reactions, clearly proving it was food that was a major contributor as to how untreated celiac turned into MS, and it went far beyond gluten.

While I don’t approve of more vaccines to be the answer on how our world defines “living healthy”, I found this recent article in the Wall Street Journal very intriguing.  It shows me once again, doctors (especially immunologists) have a long way to go learning about auto immune disease processes in the body – and as patients, we need to listen to our bodies – and be our own advocates!!  I had said before, “if only there was such a thing as an “auto-immunologist” – I’m sure that doctor would listen.” as the immunologists were the least helpful in our search for what was making me sick.  Apparently if it wasn’t black and white in the blood work, antidepressants were the drug of choice.  Oye!  Let me know your thoughts!

“The Magic Molecule of Immunity?”  – By Matt Ridley, Wall Street Journal, May 25th, 2013

“It isn’t often that an entire field of medical science gets turned on its head. But it is becoming clear that immunology is undergoing a big rethink thanks to the discovery that antibodies, which combat viruses, work not just outside cells but inside them as well. The star of this new view is a protein molecule called TRIM21.

 Dissident researchers have sparked a big rethink in the science of fighting infection.

Until recently, the conventional wisdom was that the body fights off infection in two separate ways. First is the adaptive immune system, which works outside the cell. It generates antibodies to intercept specific invaders, locking onto them like a tracking missile and preventing them from entering the cell. A second line of defense, the innate immune system, operates within the cell; it is like an expansive air-defense network, blasting away at all invaders.

Three years ago work by Leo James, William McEwan and their colleagues at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge revealed that this understanding was incomplete. They found that the neutralization of adenoviruses (common viruses causing colds and other infections) by antibodies was happening mainly inside the cell, not outside, and by an unexpected mechanism.

Their announcement—a challenge to the entire field of immunology—elicited a predictable immune reaction of its own from the establishment. Sure enough, leading journals rejected the Cambridge group’s paper, sometimes without even reviewing it, while key funding agencies turned down the group’s grant applications.

Gradually, though, the authors have won the argument. New papers from the group have pinned down what is going on. They describe a potent detection mechanism that links the antibodies outside a cell with its innate immunity, somewhat dissolving the distinction between the two.

Dr. James’s team has shown that if an adenovirus enters the cell with antibodies attached, those antibodies will attract TRIM21 molecules, which pull the virus into a disposal system and send danger signals to put the whole cell in a state of antiviral alert. This explains the hitherto baffling finding that just one or two antibody molecules can neutralize a virus 1,000 times their size.

The significance of the group’s finding is just sinking in. It gives medicine a whole new angle on infection, and it just might crack the hitherto almost insuperable problem of how to cure viral infections, rather than just prevent them by vaccination. Though treatments do exist for viruses such as HIV, they are neither as common nor as effective as antibiotics for bacterial infections. No effective remedy exists, for example, for the many kinds of common cold, whatever your grandmother says.

Perhaps the new knowledge that TRIM21 and other molecules like it are key antiviral defenders will lead to a true antiviral therapy, though if it was as easy as turning up the volume of TRIM21, then cells would surely be doing it. And it’s worth noting that some viruses (including HIV) use a tactic for getting into cells that allows them to evade TRIM21.

The discovery may aid vaccine design and begins to explain why gene therapy has often run into trouble. Such therapy uses adenoviruses to carry new genes into cells, but frequently this provokes a strong native-immune response. TRIM21 possibly plays a part in this. Finally, there is a chance that TRIM21 will help to explain autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks itself. TRIM21 itself is a target of autoantibodies in autoimmune conditions such as lupus.

In short, we will be hearing more from this molecule.”

A version of this article appeared May 25, 2013, on page C2 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

James 4:7

Things I’m Thankful For…

Delicious biscuits from 1,2,3 Gluten Free! We made them with a chicken pot pie recipe from inside their box… fabulous! Love fall foods!

Since we are now in the 4th and final quarter of the year… (Wowza!  I know, it’s crazy – Christmas is about 3.5 months away!)

I thought it would be a good time to count my blessings.

Everyday is a good day to count those blessings – but today… I just felt the need to express them out loud.  So here you go:

 1. I have a loving God who made me and takes care of me.

 2. I have a Savior who gave up everything so I could have forgiveness and eternal life.

 3. I have a loving, faithful, smart (yes, you may throw up now), and handsome husband who is a great leader, and loves the Lord.

 4. I have 8 beautiful (I might be biased) blessings who God entrusted us to raise and nurture.

 5. I live in a country where I am free to worship the one true God of the Bible.

 6. I have plenty of foods to eat, to live and thrive – and feed my family.

 7. I have a voice to sing with and to praise God with.

 8. I have a mobile body, and am able to move and serve the Lord. (that includes working out!)

 9. I am blessed with Christian friends and family who love the Lord, and me – unconditionally.

10. I am blessed with celiac disease.

We started a Bible study a couple of weeks ago, on the unseen evils in this world… the schemes, and guilt and doubt that we allow to tempt us and bring us down…  the study is called “The Invisible War”.

Take some time today to counter act what you don’t have … or what you’re disappointed in, frustrated with, and FILL your mind and heart with what you DO have… and what you have had… I would guess it’s more than most.  Thank God for those things.

God doesn’t promise us a happy, comfortable, stress-free life – and nor does He told us to strive for that, or measure that as a “success”.   That is called the “Happiness Cult” of the world…

and it’s a lie.

We are to strive for Him – not for ourselves… and comfort, wealthy and easy – have nothing to do with the sanctification process.

Count it all JOY!

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  

And let steadfastness have its full effect,

that you may be perfect and complete,

lacking in nothing.”

James 1:2-4

First Fruits!

I’m proud of our son, who worked so hard this summer watering out garden – even when it was SUPER hot (and the plants needed Him the most!).  IT was hard work, and HOT work, but he took care of things first in the morning – so he was able to do other things with his time.  (Good thinking!)

There is a reason why God wants us to give Him the first fruits.

It shows obedience, and priorities that are in line!

It’s the same for our income, our time, and our health.

Sacrificing doesn’t need to mean always helping others, at the expense of never taking care of ourselves…

and yet… that’s exactly what I used to do.

As a mom, it’s easy to not make time for your appointments – with God, with your workout video, with your doctor…

but I was super quick with excuses.  “This is a season, the kids really need me… I just can’t.”

Regardless, it’s not Truth.  God doesn’t want me to never take care of me…  and eventually, it does catch up to you!

I don’t know how many moms say the forget to eat, or go to the bathroom… or drink enough water.  (you know, that goes together right?)

Don’t forget that taking of your body IS so important to God.  He created us for His purpose, and our bodies house His Spirit.

“Bring the best of the first fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.”

Exodus 34:26a

 

Gluten Free Party-Time!

One of my children showing off her trike riding skills at our GLUTEN-FREE Olympics party this weekend.

Every year we try to host some type of party for our children’s home schooling friends.

We don’t do really big parties for our children’s birthdays…. instead – this is it.

In recent years we had a pizza party.  People brought sides and dessert.  EASY!

Uh oh.

I knew I couldn’t make pizza and have it hot and ready for 70 people…. and I wasn’t going to glutenate my kitchen, or my family in the process.

SO…  plan B.

I procrastinated…

and procrastinated.

This year, with it being the Olympics, we knew we needed to try and have our Olympic themed party.  There were lots of great ideas out there…

Cute treats, decor, games and fun…

But as the time kept passing,  and my body (that has been so tired) – wasn’t responding to call of getting things done.  (I knew that wasn’t normal)

I love parties.  I love parties for my kids… and I LOVE making things fun.  Themes and gift bags are a must!

I’ve had absolutely no energy to get up and get going.

I waited and waited before emailing out the date and information that we planned months ago before school started.

Then I drug my feet all week about doing things for the party.  We didn’t even get our big Olympics sign made, that we planned on doing all week…  and half of the balloons didn’t make it outside the day of the party because I ran out of gas the day of the party.  {All minor things in the grand scheme… but a feeling of “failure” swept over me.  Why do we do that to ourselves, as parents?}

Thankfully only my kids knew I hadn’t done a few things… but in my mind there was a whole huge list of things that weren’t done the way I wanted them done.

It drove me crazy.

So, we did it… we HAD the party – but I felt like the planning was about a C effort from me, at best.

Once we decided on what we could do for food – I did feel better…. but I didn’t move faster with my plans.  I ended up having to pay for extra shipping to get our prizes and things here before the party.  I don’t like it when I make costly mistakes.  (Who does, really?)

We had everyone bring their own sandwiches, and we provided the gluten-free food – fruit, veggies, salads, desserts!

Everything went great and God was awesome – it was a perfect night (weather-wise!) and no one was majorly hurt… Just ONE minor detail.

I forgot to educate all of our friends how important it is to keep THEIR food and crumb filled hands –  away from the food table.  Mainly – their BREAD.

I gasped, and held my breath as I watched people either waiting in line and eating their sandwiches, or holding their plate over the food as they touched the serving dishes to their plates.

*passing out*

While most people, who don’t understand celiac disease – might think this is over board… {crumbs touching or falling off into the food}… cross contamination is a very serious issue to us, and will make someone highly sensitive very sick.

Just their crumb filled hands grabbing into the gluten-free chip bags… or the serving spoon brushing up against their sandwich.

I did have other food (not yet served), and my kids had already been through the line… but I took a mental note to better educate everyone next year before dinner is served.

Don’t assume everyone understands, or will understand the seriousness and complications of your condition.  I realize it’s hard to speak up – that’s one reason why I didn’t say anything, I don’t want people to either A) feel attacked or B) feel guilty … It’s such a hard place to be in!   As you have opportunity, take the time to educate people to protect yourself.  Your friends and loved ones will be glad you did.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Psalm 46:1

Cinna-Berry Applesauce

I got some new cookbooks on vacation, and am having a lot of fun trying out some new things for the family.  Today I made one of the kid’s favorites, homemade applesauce… just in time for lunch!

But this was slightly different with some yummy strawberries and it smelled like a nice fall morning, cookin’ on the stove, all through school!

Cinna-Berry Applesauce

– 5 cups cored and chopped Granny Smith or other organic apple

– 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries

– 1/2 cup water

– 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

– 1 T. lemon juice

In a large pot, bring apples, berries and water to a boil.  Stir in maple syrup, reduce heat, and cook over very low heat until fruit is soft.  About 30-45 minutes.

Add spices, vanilla and lemon juice.  Leave it chunky or pureed in a food processor until smooth.

You may store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.  (It didn’t last past today at our house.)

** Today I ask you to join me in prayer for a man named Mike – having surgery today from 1:30pm CST to 6:30 CST – to remove part of his colon, and tumors – after being diagnosed with colon cancer just a few weeks ago.  Pray things go smoothly during the surgery, the tumors are removed, and for healing of his body after the chemo-bath they are treating the area with.  Also, please pray for his wife, 5 small children, and family and friends who need your comfort throughout this trial.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

They Call it “Vacation”

Some pretty flowers from the new Whole Foods that opened in West DesMoines, Iowa… just in time for our trip! Praise God!

I just returned from a week-long trip to Iowa, where I’m originally from.

I’d call it a vacation…

But let’s be real.  Moms don’t get vacations.

Trips are generally for your children, or to visit other people – to make things easier on them.  They are not for moms to read, relax, and refresh.

This was definitely not that.

When I was a child, I had no idea what work it took to plan, organize, and facilitate trips for adults, leading the charge.  Now that I have 8 little blessings, and our food concerns and allergies to be focused on …

I get a tiny taste of what other moms with special challenges do.  It definitely makes you certain you’d like to travel before going.  We can no longer just “pick up and go” anywhere.  Not that we really DID before…

One of the first evenings we didn’t get dinner until almost 9 pm, because we simply couldn’t figure out who had food we could all eat.  With gluten and dairy issues… you want to make sure everyone is covered without 3-4 stops inbetween.  The kids kept reminding me that it wasn’t as late as the meal we had once in St. Louis – that finished at 11pm.

Ahem.

Thank you, you’re right… no… it wasn’t quite THAT late.  Still not when I would have PREFERRED to feed my family.

We have family/friends that often joke about how we’re “running behind”… and let me just assure you, it’s NOT because we’re lazy.  We plan, pack, prepare, and make lists… and have everything ready to go.  But when only 20% of the people are helping things move the other 80% in the right direction, it’s not as easy as it sounds. 

Herding cats, on a flatbed, comes to mind. 

Most other bigger families know what I’m talking about – you’re no longer on YOUR time.  Whatever that is.  It’s call dying to self, and we all learn it in different ways.  Usually SLOWER, more painful ways.

This used to really turn me into a tale-spin, and hurt me when people would ask why we didn’t leave at “this time” or that time.  Now I simply realize they just have no clue.  They aren’t trying to be rude.  Similarly to how quickly you’re out of touch with the newborn stage… other people can’t completely understand your struggle, unless theirs is similar.  Which makes me wonder how the famous Duggar family  EVER leaves their home!  If I could pick up my one suit case, a piece of toast and head out the door – that would be the life – Right?

God didn’t promise us simple or easy.  (not to mention only toast for breakfast is a bad idea…)

Ok, back to the topic at hand…

Breakfasts weren’t difficult, and lunch on the go is a cinch as well… but figuring out a hot dinner around our already “difficult to get anywhere QUICKLY” family – is sometimes tricky.

On “our trip we call vacation” – our days goes something like this – up at 7am, yogurt in the room (get bowls out, feed littles, feed self, clean up mess), dress children and do the hair on 4 little girl heads, then I get ready, then we go downstairs to breakfast.  Eat breakfast for 45 minutes and back up stairs for potty breaks and brushing of teeth…  another 30 minutes later we pack the coolers for the day, see what we need from any store -and head out.  Grab things needed at stores….  It’s now around lunch time.

WAIT.

How did THAT happen??

YES… If this trip were for me, I packed far too much stuff and worked way too hard to have 3 hours of adult time with some friends at a rockin’ outdoor Toby Mac concert…

At any rate, the trip was worth it, and a little part of my heart breaks when we have to leave again to return to Kansas.  I wish “home” wasn’t so far away from my first home and so many people I love, and love to be with.

The kids had a great time, we were all healthy… and safe… and we saw family, and made some delightful memories along the way.

Several of which I’ll be sharing, right after I un-bury myself from this laundry pile.

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:13-14

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