Tag Archives: Education is the Key

6 Years Ago & Grateful

This past weekend TJ had a moment of frustration about his allergies. It was the first time in 6.5 years of his life that he had spoken up and said that sometimes he gets frustrated. He is currently still allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts. He went on to explain that he knows dairy is in a lot of foods. So he vented and we listened. Then we came up with a game plan for what new recipes we could try that were safe and yummy for all of us. That made him happy and so excited.

It was both heartbreaking and precious. But we also agreed we needed to continue to pray and believe that one day he would outgrow more, if not ALL of them. And trust me… we believe!

The next day as I was scrolling on my social media page, I saw a memory of TJ from 6 years ago. Those cozy, adorable pajamas were ones I could never forget. Instantly, I was brought back to that late afternoon. It was the last picture I had taken right before his first allergic and anaphylactic reaction…

6 years ago…

I remember it like it was yesterday …

It was a snowy, December evening when I gave him that tiny spoonful of yogurt for the first time.

I remember the highest level of fear I have ever felt. I remember the terrifying ride in the ambulance that had no epi-pen jr. in it. I remember holding an oxygen mask over his face, praying that he would continue to cry because… crying meant he was still breathing!

But I also remember 45 minutes later and being so thankful to have gotten there in time.

I remember the doctors in the emergency room being so comforting …

I also remember the triumph…

I also remember watching TJ’s resilience that those 21 food allergies could not erase. I remember his smile…

I remember his smile when he saw us standing there.

Back then I used to say, “I’ll be happy when …”

… all the allergies are gone …

Or

… when I have more money…

Or

… when I get to go to Disney World with my kids…

But then I see their smiles…

Then I saw his smile…

And I read God’s word more and more and I realized joy is not something we wait for.

Joy is a gift from the Lord.

So I celebrate the allergy count dropping from 21 food allergies to 3. I celebrate the here and the now because God is here and now. And He is always working!

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So I am grateful. I am joyful. I am hopeful.

Right here and right now.

BROKEN TO LIFE

The rays blind my eyes
and still I see your face
trying to slow me down
and restore my pace.

The heat of the days
as the sun reveals each thing
needing to be repaired
in order for love, to truly sing.

And even through the darkness
or the sun of my broken parts
the moon beats the light
into such broken hearts.

So wherever I am
whatever part of day
or even of the night
though I am broken
God wants to fix
He wants to restore
through defensive walls and ways
He wants us not to fight.
He wants us to invest in His word
and also His love
He wants to shine His light.

For what is now broken
can always be
broken into life.

REFLECTION:

When something in our house like a washer or refrigerator is broken, we look to fix it. And when it is thought to be unfixable or unrepairable, we invest in a new one. The same goes with ideas. Sometimes, our ways become broken because we are broken. We are imperfect people with imperfect ways. But that doesn’t mean, we should allow guilt, shame or fear to keep us there. Instead, God loves us each so dearly and deeply no matter what. He wants to grow and teach us to become more and more like him. He wants to do that through these broken areas and ways. And he makes it all possible through him. Therefore, let us reflect on what is broken today and turn to Him, the only one with all the true answers, to guide us how to fix it. And if he says it is not fixable in this way, just maybe he is calling us to turn to Him to invest in a new way. Not everything that is broken needs to be fixed. Instead, sometimes, it is leading us to invest in new ways, new options, new ideas that help to truly break us free.

Whatever is it God is doing, it often cannot be figured out. We cannot put our God and His plans into a box. It’s too big and beyond our understanding to do that. Instead, we must press in and pray for Him to reveal what in our lives is broken and needs to be invested in.

No money in the world can compare to what happens when we invest in love.

Nothing in the world compare to what beauty is grown and even restored when we invest in love like Jesus.

SCRIPTURE:

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Instruct and teach the people all that I’ve taught you. And don’t be intimidated by those who are older than you; simply be the example they need to see by being faithful and true in all that you do. Speak the truth and live a life of purity and authentic love as you remain strong in your faith. So until I come, be diligent in devouring the Word of God, be faithful in prayer, and in teaching the believers.”
‭‭ – 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:11-13‬ ‭TPT‬‬

“Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
‭‭- 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:11-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Dear God,

You do not fit in a box. We cannot put your love or any of your will in a box either. Forgive us when we do that. Help us to see within though. Reveal how we can grow our broken parts to be more like you. And reveal to us also when we need to invest in new ways that are more aligned with You. God you are so good and whatever you are in the midst of, is so good too. So I pray today you refresh us and make us afresh and anew. So that whatever we do, you shine through and that we become vessels of integrity, truth and love. I pray that despite whatever you show us and are changing within us we find peace in you and in the everlasting love you have for us despite our flaws, sins and broken ways. Thank you for loving each of us the same and help us to humble ourselves enough to grow and learn and see what you are showing us. Help us to go where you are taking us, invested in love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…

We all are broken and need repair. God is the only one who can truly bring that. Let us pray that He reveals what needs to be repaired or even replaced within our lives today. And when He does, let’s pray that we continue to invest His word and love into these new ways and restored parts.

© Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House (theartofamessyhouse.com), 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

EpiPens in Maine

Lawmakers in Maine are considering a bill all states should pass: “to allow pharmacists to prescribe and dispense EpiPens at no cost to the patient.”

See the article here:

MAINE LAWMAKER’S PROPOSAL TO MAKE EPIPEN MORE ACCESSIBLE

Every six months we have to shell out sooooo much money to purchase two sets of the generic version. (4 sets total: 2 for each child – one for school and one for home) While we feel thankful to be reimbursed for more than 3/4th of each set, that’s still a ridiculous amount of money!

Whenever I pick them up at the pharmacy, I always think about how many people… kids… babies don’t have the necessary protection that these devices bring because of the insanely high, immoral cost!

But like always, we must reflect on how blessed we are…

on how much TJ has improved since his first anaphylactic reaction …

and how we truly believe his body as well as Madi’s will be restored from all of these allergies.

But in the meantime, we stay prepared, always with two sets on hand.

Go Maine, let’s get more states on board!

How Does Epinephrine Turn Off an Allergic Reaction?

By now, most of us know that EpiPens and Auvi-Qs are both used to used to treat anaphylaxis, life-threatening allergic reactions.  However, who really knows how these life-saving injectors really work? I know that I did not so I found this article extremely informative.  Starting the weekend off a little smarter, we smile on.

Check it out ….

How Does Epinephrine Turn Off an Allergic Reaction

Source: http://allergicliving.com/

LOVE

Newly Discovered Cell May Be Key Contributor to Severe Allergic Reactions

The following link is about some new research being done about anaphylaxis.  Definitely check it out and help us smile on in hope…

“Our study suggests that although you need to have some level of IgE to trigger a food allergy response, you also have to produce MMC9 cells to get a severe response and anaphylaxis,” says Yui-Hsi Wang, PhD, lead investigator and a researcher in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. “Without these cells you will not get severe food allergies.”

Read the entire article here: Newly Discovered Cell May Be Key Contributor to Severe Allergic Reactions

Source: http://snacksafely.com/

SMILES

Wegman’s 2015 Halloween Candy Allergens List

What an amazing resource that will help to make this Halloween a bit safer so we continue to smile on…

WEGMANS’ 2015 HALLOWEEN CANDY ALLERGENS LIST

HALLOWEEN 2 (2)

Weekly Smiles (Events)

Here is a list of Smiling Away Allergies’ weekly events:

TIPSy Tuesdays

On Tuesdays, I plan to post tips that we have found helpful or something that we have learned during this journey so far. I call it “TIPS”y TUESDAYS not only because I must admit to being a bit corny at times, but mainly because I want to help others be prepared.  Therefore, once a week we will CHEERS to being prepared so we can smile on…


Worry-Free Wednesdays

Each Wednesday I will try to post a quote or lyrics to a song that I find inspirational.  Words that help me see past fear and worry, enabling us to continue to smile on…


Tbt (Throw Back Thursdays)

On some Thursdays, we will throw it back to some of the earlier signs and experiences with food allergies/eczema as well as what we have learned through it. Regardless of what should have or could have happened, we smile on together in trying to educate others about the world of allergies…


Favorite Finds Fridays

I plan to post a “favorite find” on Fridays.  It may not always be directly relate to food allergies and eczema.   However, it will always be something that has helped us a lot with TJ’s experience, allowing us all to smile on in faith…


SMILING ON...

(Source: http://www.firstcovers.com/userquotes/39076/let+your+smile.html)


Xanthan Gum

Interesting read about a common additive in some gluten-free baked goods. It is an ingredient in the allergen-free baking mix that I used to make TJ’s first birthday cupcake (that he didn’t end up eating anyways.) Wanted to share as we smile on…

Harmful or Harmless: Xanthan Gum

TIPSy TUESDAYS – Always Read Labels – The Reality of Hidden Allergens

From food to non-food products, it is extremely crucial to be on the look out for hidden allergens. Reading food labels and learning about ingredients becomes second nature when living with food allergies.   However, even when you are comfortable with a product, it is important still double check the label especially since companies can change the makeup of their products. In addition, the ingredients in many everyday items will amaze you at times.   I know that I continue to be surprised by many of the components of common foods and non-food products.

Here is some of the information about coconut, oats, dairy, and peanuts/nuts that I have learned throughout the course of this journey so far. (It does not include every location of these allergens as we are still learning.)


1) COCONUT/COCONUT DERIVED PRODUCTS are present in…

COCONUT 

  • many cakes, candies, chocolates, cookies, ice creams      
  • some Thai and Indian foods
  • some shampoos, soaps, lotions, sun products, and cosmetics

NOTE: Everyone’s body tolerates and reacts to foods differently.  For example,  TJ mildly vomited (spit up) the coconut milk that he drank at his last food challenge. Therefore, his body does not tolerate coconut milk and he is allergic to it.  However, the toddler soy formula that he has been drinking since June contains coconut oil which his body does tolerate.  In addition to this, Exederm, the shampoo/body wash we use for him contains Decyl Glucoside, an extract from coconut oil, glucose, and palm kernel oil. TJ’s body does wonderfully with this as well.  His body tolerates the oil but not the protein.

Coconut Allergy Resource 1

(Source: http://www.allergy.org.au/)

Coconut Allergy Resource 2 (Derived Ingredients)

(Source: http://coconutallergy.blogspot.com/)


2) OATS are present in…

OATS

  • many granola bars, cereals, cookies, puddings
  • oat based milks and creams
  • some moisturizers, face washes and scrubs
  • the Aveeno products that we had been using
  • some beers

Interesting article regarding foods with gluten and how oats are related to this

(Source: http://www.diabetes.org/?loc=logo)


3) MILK (DAIRY)/MILK DERIVATIVES are present in…

Aside from the obvious dairy foods like all of the varieties of cow’s milk, creamer, butter, creams, cheese and cheese products, yogurt, and ice cream, dairy crosses your path more than you think. Here are some other places that milk proteins and lactose exist…

COW

  • some baking mixes, baked goods, breads, cookies, crackers, granola bars
  • some cereals (For example:  Honey Bunches of Oats contains whey from milk.)
  • some chewing gums (http://www.recaldent.com/c_where_find_recal.asp) and some breath mints
  • some caramel and candies
  • some non-dairy creamers and lactose-free milks (This includes my favorite “non-dairy” creamer that contains sodium caseinate, a milk derivative.)
  • some soups, broths and gravies
  • imitation syrups
  • Lactose is used in some prescription and over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.
  • Casein is in some art supplies like some types of chalk. (Check out the article below.)

Chalk & Dairy Allergy

(Source: https://www.navanfoods.com/navanblog)


4) PEANUTS/TREE NUTS are present in…

  • Because I could not compile a better list myself, I wanted to share this amazing resource as we read and smile on to a great week…

Peanut Allergy Avoidance List & Travel-Size Cards

(Source: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/)

peanut


  • Additional peanut/tree nut articles that I found interesting and informative.

Medications & Peanut/Tree Nut Allergies

(Source: http://www.peanutallergy.com/)


“Stupid Things That Contain Nuts”

(Source: https://itsahardnutlife.wordpress.com/)


TIPSy TUESDAYS – Always Read Labels –


Tbt- Dining Out with Food Allergies

Dining out with food allergies has to do with your own comfort level based on individual allergies plus being prepared. With that being said, it’s been over a year since we went out to eat with TJ, (minus one time after the beach when he was napping in his stroller with us.)We simply aren’t ready yet and feel as though he isn’t either being only 16 months and still having many food allergies.

Looking back to before we knew about his allergies, there were a few times we took him with us to eat. We always planned it for a time when he would be taking a late afternoon nap or right before his bedtime. While we would start each dining experience with him in his stroller, usually as we were eating our main course one of us would have to hold him as he started to fuss. Once again, we would continue eating our food while holding him. This is obviously no longer feasible since he is a toddler who is on the move and also has several confirmed allergies.   While we look forward to the day that we all do indeed eat out as a family, we are simply waiting for when it is safest for TJ.

However, just because we aren’t ready yet to hit up a restaurant with our little guy,  doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for when we are. Here are excellent resources that I have found and wanted to share.   We look forward to the days ahead when we will be using these resources too so we have faith and smile on…


Get prepared:

Managing Food Allergies – Dining Out

(Source: http://www.foodallergy.org/)


Test your knowledge: Take the Ingredient Quiz

Ingredient Quiz

Answer Key

(Source: http://www.foodallergy.org/)


This is an awesome guide to allergy-friendly restaurants throughout the United States. (There is also an app for your phone!)

Allergy Eats Website