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I truly believe there is nothing in life that can’t be soothed, celebrated or healed by music.  Crying babies, potty trained toddlers, celebrating graduates & googly eyed newlyweds all find exactly what they need to say, to feel in the lyrics of a song.  The melodies have the ability to lift our spirits, push us through cleaning the toilets (oh ya they do!) and allow us the tears we’ve held in for so long.

Songs, and the people who write them also give us permission to feel what we feel, to give us hope when all seems lost and to say the words we couldn’t manage to say. 

For me, this past week in particular that music has helped me shift my focus & my attitude.  I have felt His grace, His sweet, beautiful grace in each of these songs this week and I hope you will too…

5. The Sun is Rising: Britt Nicole

I love my early mornings.  I’m up each day, long before the sun comes up, sweating like it’s the Sahara desert.  My workouts have me facing one of our big living room windows, giving me the great pleasure of seeing the beauty in those first few rays of light.  There are rainy days, gloomy dreary days, and clear bright ones but one thing never changes – the darkness slowly fades and light, of all colors and illuminations always comes.

4. Life is a Highway: Rascal Flatts

No joke, this song is the one that put our girls to sleep as infants.  No soothing lullabies would work when the “witching hour” would come and Bethany would scream from 7-8pm.  However, crank this tune and she’d be down and out for the count within 5 minutes.  2 years later it worked wonders on Audrey and to this day I can’t help but feel peace and joy when I hear the tune.

3. We Believe: Newsboys

We believe, without a shadow of a doubt or a moment of hesitation – we believe!

2. God’s Not Dead: Newsboys

Again, we believe.  Two years ago, in the midst of another really trying time for us I woke up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, sat straight up in bed and began belting out “God’s not dead He’s surely alive…”.  Thankfully Corey slept right through (it’s a man thing) but I was impacted deeply – my God was reminding me He was roaring on our behalf.  I began playing the song over and over, and it quickly became one of the girls’ favourites.  They still one a regular basis belt it out along with me.

Yesterday I put it on while we worked away on some chores and when it finished I turned to Bethany and said, “Hey B, did you know?  God’s Not Dead!”, “Ya, I know.”  “How do you know?” I asked – “Because Mom, I’m alive, He made me.  How could He be dead?!”

 

1. Not for a Moment: Meredith Andrews

Not for a moment, not a single moment on this journey of our lives has God walked away from us.  Whether you choose to know Him and talk with His is up to you, but I promise, not any where you go will you be alone.  I know I’m not, and even in all that is dark I have the sweet, beautiful reassurance that He hasn’t left me.  Not even once…not for a moment.

 

Grace in Small Things is a social network created by Schmutzie to wage a war against imbitterment!  Check out my first post here.

 

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*Warning: This post is long winded & bordering on complaining.  I’ll completely  understand if you click away without reading it.*

Tuesday was 1 month from the day I received the phone call that Audrey had officially been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  Some days it feels like it was an eternity ago, while others it feels like I just hung up, in tears & in shock.

Celiac - Purge & Label

We have purged our home, organized and labeled, read books, researched and experimented with many gluten free recipes.  We’ve bought new frying pans, cutting boards, colanders & serving spoons.  My hands have been raw from soapy water, washing cupboards, counters & appliances.  Crumbs are now no longer just an annoyance but an enemy & simple dinners sometimes have required ALL of my pots.

Children's teddy Bear

Yesterday we visited Children’s Hospital once again for an appointment with the GI Dietician.  I can honestly say it’s the first appointment in 5 years that we’ve had there I was looking forward to.  A little over an hour later Audrey and I emerged, more informed (Audrey’s eyes glassy from boredom) and with some of our questions answered.

While the initial shock of her diagnosis has worn off for me, I still walk around most times feeling sort of…stunned.  As I browse through many aisles, scrutinizing every label harder than ever, my brain feels foggy.  The information swirls, my eyes blur and I’m sure there have been moments that store clerks think by the look on my face that I’ve maybe had a few “special brownies” with my morning tea.

Celiac - Labels

This lifestyle is extremely involved and while those who’ve lived with it for a while assure me it does get easier, right now it feels very intense.  We love the improvements we’re seeing in Audrey, they are great and in a few weeks I’ll share them with you!  But we’re also still seeing concerning things from her.  Try as I may to ignore them, the possibilities of what they could be still whisper warnings in the back of my mind.  I’m also petrified of “glutening/poisoning” her and there are moments, places where the world feels like a really scary place.

We are also learning to navigate the fact that the majority of the world is severely under-educated and/or ignorant when it comes to Celiac Disease.  Due to the “gluten free to get skinny” fad there is copious amounts of misinformation floating around out there.  Well meaning people offer up advice that is plain wrong, make comments that are simply ignorant, and strangers feel the need to tell me that I’m wasting my money on gluten free products because they’re “not any healthier, you know”.  I’ve been told how to feed her, and how not to feed her, how to cook, how to clean and a laundry list of things I “shouldn’t try to bake, it’s too hard for you”.  Just like when you’re pregnant apparently when you’re shopping/living gluten free your personal life is free game.

There are moments when all those things paired with the fact that I haven’t really slept since November leaves me feeling bewildered.  I do my best to lock it down, to keep it in, not to let my girls see it (especially Audrey, this isn’t her fault), not to let my household suffer because of it and to be “good, great, fine thank you” when everyone asks.  It really could be worse, I know that but sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it.

Sometimes I just simply get angry

I’m angry that this is what we have to face.  I’m even angrier that this is what Audrey has to live with.  I’m angry at the cost of feeding her (it should NOT be so expensive to feed our daughter).  I’m angry that all this effort and work hasn’t fixed everything.  I’m angry that people are stupid and don’t have filters.  I’m angry at the hypochondriacs, the diet bandwagon jumpers and the bloggers who know nothing but speak as though they have authority.  I’m angry at my own ignorance, failures and fears.

Surprisingly enough in all the anger that can be sometimes, I’m not angry at God.  Somehow, in all of this I feel like it’s by His Grace that we are here, that her diagnosis wasn’t something worse, that I make it through each of these days.  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not walking around every day on the verge of explosion (unless I have my period, then, well then I might explode so maybe you know….don’t look at me.  Or breath.  Just hand me a Starbucks and back away slowly), not every day is bad, some of them are even really good.  I am thankful for the part of the gluten free movement that has given me information & store shelves with more options.  I know “this too shall pass”, I know one day this will feel like our normal and life will get it’s rhythm back.  That day just isn’t today.

This life is filled with ups & downs, with trials & joys, with all the things that make us stronger.  We spend so much time walking through it trying to pick and choose the things we feel.  We tell ourselves that we need to always be OK, always be happy, always be positive because anything less would be weak. 

I’m learning that it isn’t weak at all.  In fact, I’m learning it’s quite the opposite.  Letting ourselves feel all the other emotions, the fear, the frustration, the anger, the overwhelmed despite what the world may think is where true strength is found & where we grow the most. 

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Keeping it clean with Garnier Clean+

March 9, 2015

I have skin issues.  They began some time around 13 and they’ve never gone away.  I’ve had stage 4 acne (complete with boils that left scars), I’ve had back-ne, there’s been dry patches and oil slicks.   At one point or another I’ve been every “skin-type” except normal, with a nice case of sensitive skin to […]

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Finding Grace in Small Things #17

March 5, 2015

For the past 3.5 weeks life in our house, in my heart has been chaotic, uncertain and quite simply shifted right upside down.  While we are scrambling to adjust to Audrey’s diagnosis, to the changes we need to make, the world we need to discover and all the things in between, regular life has had […]

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Gluten Free Recipes – Cheddar “Annie’s Bunnies/Goldfish” Crackers

February 20, 2015

It’s been a week since Audrey’s diagnosis of Celiac disease.  We’ve run the gamut of emotions, faced a few challenges and wrestled our way through the pain of her first cross contamination experience (awful, so awful). We, and by we I mean, I have been buried under a cloud of gluten free flour, recipe experiments […]

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Audrey Update: The First Diagnosis

February 10, 2015

After 5 years of questions, pain, suffering and more doctors than I can count we have received our first diagnosis for Audrey.  Before I get into the details of what that is I need to make a huge request from you all: Please no advice, no shared stories, no “I know how you feels”.  I […]

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Hot Wheels – The BIG Boy Edition

February 2, 2015

Growing up I remember spending hours with my brother setting up & playing with his Hot Wheels tracks.  Shooting cars through loops, having races & maybe the odd argument over who’s car was better*.  They were a great source of entertainment & whether it was in the house or out in the mud, if there […]

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Finding Grace in Small Things – The Siri Edition

January 30, 2015

Sometimes life gets serious, too serious.  When it does there’s one thing we can count on – the team at Apple & our friend Siri have us covered.  I absolutely adore Siri’s sarcastic responses and the auto correct disasters, often result in me dissolving into fits of laughter.  The fun we have “playing” with Siri […]

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Then Mama Blew a Gasket, a Head Gasket

January 14, 2015

  Today is one of those days I’m ashamed of.  It’s the kind of day I wish I could take back and start all over.  It has been filled with words I can’t erase, moments I can’t re-do and hurts I have to fix.  I am pretty sure, that portions of today are the definition […]

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Mastering your Winter Skin Woes

January 7, 2015

Over the years I have spent a small fortune on skin care products, the expensive ones & the inexpensive ones, especially the ones designed for my hands. Some of them have worked OK, offering up temporary relief, others have been a complete fail – refusing to soak in causing my hands to remain a constant […]

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