Tag Archives: Encouragement

Legos For Days

It’s so incredible to watch the personality, gifts and talents of a child unfold. All are so distinct and special from each other, a great reminder of how each of us is our own unique person, even at a young age. A great reminder that all of us have our own God-given gifts and purpose.

As a special education teacher, it is my job to discover and teach to each individual student’s own talents and strengths. It is both my privilege and obligation to empower them against any challenges they may have or face. It’s part of my nature now to do this in the classroom. However, in the home, it is a bit more complicated at times.

Both my husband and I played sports for most of our lives and assumed that our children would want to too. And even though they are both so young yet at the ages of 2 and 5, their little but LARGE personalities and interests are already shining through …

I first saw this with my son. He may not be asking to go throw a football right now; but he is following in my husband’s footsteps of loving Legos. Since the age of 2.5, TJ has loved puzzles, activity sticker books, creating, building and taking objects apart. Literally, he could spend hours, and even days partaking in these activities. Proud Mama over here when he turned four and started to tackle legos made for as high up as 10 years old and older.

It’s all fun and games until you have 10 boxes of Legos and pieces all over the place.

That is when we created TJ’s LEGO room. While it now holds 40 sets and counting, it is much more organized these days, even if TJ takes it apart five times a day.

So while I can’t help but to be a little sad as we transform his room from baby giraffes and elephants to Legos for days, I also can’t help but to be proud of the amazing person he is and continues to become. A nice organization system amongst the mess helps the transition as well…

Madi wanted in on the fun too…

How will you be remembered?

james & katie

During a few teachable moments throughout each year, I ask my students to think about how they wish to be remembered. However, it is not just a message for middle school students. It is also one everyone can reflect on including myself. Despite any mess we may be walking or even sitting in, we all have purpose. Our stories are our greatest testimonies.

On the toughest days, place your hand on your heart. Feel that? That is purpose! You are alive for a reason. Keep moving and believingkeep learning to live.

Keep moving forward step by step even if it is uncomfortable at first. And forgive yourself if you slip up and fall back. Today is a new day for a reason. Never give up, no matter how messy life gets. For it is in the mess, new beauty can be found. So hold on boldly to this wild and precious ride we call life.

For it will change you as you change the world in your own unique, and beautiful way. But first remember the change starts within…

Worry-Free Wednesdays: Be Strong & Courageous

Before my son was born, my husband had a decal created to decorate the wall above his crib.   These words could not be any more perfect for us. They read:

Bring your special someone to an unforgettable night(1)


Walking with that message of faith today, we smile on…



The Creative Blogger Award

The Creative Blogger Award

To start, thank you to Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha at http://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com/ for nominating me for this award.   Your creativity and beautifully written posts always bring sunshine and inspiration to my day.   It is no wonder that you have received so many blogging awards.  With that being said, I do apologize that I took so long to respond to this.   October was sure an “eventful” month for us.

Once again, thank you! =)


The Rules:

  1. Nominate a few bloggers and contact them with the amazing news.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Post five (5) facts about yourself.

5 Facts About Myself

(Some of these facts are similar to other award responses; however, I added new details.)

  1. I am obsessed with running. While I use to play games like Candy Crush on my phone as I ran, now I blog on my morning treadmill runs. There was also a time when I was training for a half marathon that I would play memorizing games as I ran. Some examples included memorizing the first 100 digits of Pi and Flo Rida lyrics.

  2. As a child, I had an imaginary friend, Ernie from Sesame Street.   Unfortunately, he drowned.  (Don’t get me started on that though. Let’s just say that I have always had quite the imagination while also being overly sensitive.)

  3. Aside from my two favorite roles in life (being TJ’s mom and my hubby’s wife), I am an English Language Arts/Special Education teacher for grades 6th through 8th.

  4. I have had to teach myself to relax.   Relaxation does not come naturally to me. However, the beach is the only place in the world where I can sit still and do absolutely nothing and be content with it.

  5. I truly believe that impossible is not a word. Anything in life is possible if you work your butt off and believe.

Blogs I nominate:

(There are so many I love that I know I must be leaving out a few.)

















Tbt – Anaphylaxis’ Abrupt Introduction & Why We Still Smile

Saturday, December 13 was a typical evening.   As I was setting up my son’s dinner, I was excited because it would be his first taste of yogurt. After two small spoonfuls, the verdict was in: he loved it!

However, within a minute it all changed.

He started to fuss and rub at his face.   Turning red, his lips and mouth swelled up as huge blotches formed all over his face, neck and chest. Although just an infant, fear was written all across his face.  After calling 911, an ambulance arrived in what felt like a lifetime.  In the ambulance, his state continued to get worse. I held an oxygen mask over his now slightly-blue lips.   As he started to zone out, I prayed that he did not lose his breath. When he cried, I felt a second of relief for he was breathing.

Asking the EMT repeatedly about his state, I now know that she too was worried.  Her silence spoke louder than any words could have. They did not have an EpiPen with them in the ambulance and called to meet up with another team on the way to the hospital. However, due to the snow, that did not happen. As the doors to the ambulance opened, they sprinted in holding my son as I ran behind them, helpless.

The hospital staff administered epinephrine, Benadryl, and a steroid then reassured me that everything would be okay.   It was 40 minutes after ingesting that tiny amount of yogurt and I now know that we were beyond lucky.  Not everyone gets those 40 minutes.

A moment of relief soon turned into the reality of what had happened. It mixed with guilt, throwing me into the most difficult place I had seen. That night, I slept on the floor next to his crib waking up every hour to check for breathing.  Yet, even in his sleep, TJ smiled on…

We soon learned that TJ was allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, oats, barley, rye, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, sesame, soy, and peas. At first, I spent those early months trying to defend myself to others as a good person who did not eat too many peanuts or eggs during my pregnancy.  Or, explaining why I chose to continue breastfeeding despite these allergies.   I was explaining myself to everyone to try to prove that I did not cause this and I was not an awful mom.  However, it was unhealthy and I needed to shift my focus to best help TJ.

Therefore, I turned to writing, starting this blog (at first on a different site)  as an outlet for the emotions I was feeling and information that I was learning. By sharing our story, we hope to teach everyone with or without food allergies while inspiring others who wear similar shoes to smile on despite the challenges they face.   While we have just begun this journey, I have already learned to smile because:

1)      Special kinds of people wear these shoes.  Wear the label often thrown at you with pride.

For you are special.

2)      Make the most of it, don’t let challenges like food allergies define you. Only YOU can

define yourself.

3)      Ignorance is not bliss and needs to be educated.

4)      Let your faith be bigger than your fear.  Trust your instinct but always be prepared.

5)      Educating means advocating. Never apologize for it. Your child’s life never requires an


Last, but definitely not least, TJ continues to inspire me each and every day. Throughout all of our emergency room trips, endless doctor appointments, and the worst days, TJ always smiles, inspiring our blog’s name and giving others like me the courage to smile on too…


Encouraging Thunder Award


Encouraging Thunder Award

Thank you @http://cathylynnbrooks.com/ for nominating me for this blogging award. I really appreciate the encouragement and recognition.

My Nominees are:






My purpose for blogging:

To start, I must admit that I am a strong believer in cliches and an even stronger believer in God working in my life through the good and the bad.   With that being said, I am no expert and will never claim to be.   Instead, my faith and determination to do everything that I possibly can are my driving forces in this as well as everything in my life.

Going back to cliches and beliefs,  “everything happens for a reason” and “God will never give you more than you can handle” are two pieces of major motivation for me.   I believe that I was given this life and dealt its cards for a specific reason or reasons.   It is in the moments that I feel a sense of inspiration that I must act.  This is exactly what I am doing by starting this blog. Plus, someone very wise and dear to me sparked the fire in me a couple of months ago when he said, “prayer with belief is powerful.” Therefore, I have no choice but to pray the biggest prayers and believe with the fullest faith. They say that one’s true character builds during times of difficulty and struggle. When I gave my son his first taste of yogurt, I did not know that I would be thrown into the world of food allergies. Before that single taste, I had been naive about the severity and seriousness that could be associated with a food allergy. It was extremely eye-opening on so many levels.

Throughout much of my life, challenges with food were definitely on my list of vices. After winning the battle against an eating disorder as a teenager, I continue to have to catch myself during difficult times in life to make sure that I don’t start to resort to old ways as a way of trying to control the inevitable, life.   However, battling for yourself is much different than battling for someone else, someone too young and innocent to know what is going on.  Someone too young to be scared and speak up from themselves.   Someone who then turns to you and says with no words, only their eyes, “Mommy help me.” On Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 5 pm in the evening, just when I was getting into the routine of being back at work as a working mom, food challenged me to my biggest obstacle yet. Food allergies!

Back in March, I started this blog as an outlet for all of the emotions I was feeling and information that I was learning. Instead of sending long-winded text message updates to everyone who simply asked how TJ was doing, I also saw this site as a way of keeping family and friends updated on our journey. By sharing our story and the valuable information that we learn along the way, I hope to help educate others about this world of food allergies and eczema. Most importantly, I want to encourage all who reads this blog to “let your faith be bigger than your fear.” 

Thank you for reading our story and I look forward to hearing about your experiences as well.

Read more about “Why We Smile On…”

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