Tag Archives: Sesame Allergy

What They See

This rainy day got me thinking of… Umbrellas!!!

One of my son’s first words was umbrella. Yup, umbrella! It was his third word.

I remember thinking, or hoping “Mama” would come next after “Dad.” However, Elmo came second and then… umbrella 🧐

I was stumped. I barely used that word. In fact, I barely used umbrellas! Had my son even seen a real umbrella? At that time, I was unknowingly battling with PTSD after my son’s anaphylactic reaction and learning of his MANY food allergies. So if I’m being honest, I avoided going anywhere really at that time.

Therefore, it was was sooooo bizarre to me that he would learn, and say such a word so early on. Umbrella!?!?

Recently, almost six years later, I was sharing this with my son and we were laughing at the randomness and silliness of it. We thought maybe it was because we love the beach and he learned it from beach umbrellas.

Then, I thought about it more…

What we see is what we learn. What we turn our eyes to and fill our days with becomes what our minds learn, whether we like it or not, where it’s true or not. It is why it is so important for us to spend time filling our minds with the hope and truth of God‘s word. It is why reading the Bible transforms and renews us. It is why we must fill and teach our children this too.

Now, how does this relate to umbrellas and TJ learning it as his 3rd word?

Well, in our old house, we had cave crickets, what we called jumpy bugs. Once a week one would get into his toy box in the basement. At the time not being a fan of insects, I would take an umbrella from the closet and trap them that way. That way I didn’t need to touch it or risk touching it.

As I laughed at the process back then, I had no idea that my son, barely only 1, was watching too. He was watching enough to even learn the word!

Kids learn what we show them. They learn what we feed their minds with. They learn what they see. However, we learn that way too.

We must feed our minds with God’s truth…and the rest will follow.

“The Art of a Messy House” series is one way to do this, starting with book 1, “How to Be Kind.”

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Against the Winds

I’ve never been a big Science person. Sure, I find some of the information and discoveries to be amazing; however, reading, writing, math and even art have always been more of my thing. But now I have a son who has a mind fascinated by science and engineering. So these concepts that I once found little interest in, I now find myself wanting to learn.

One concept that I read and learned more about this past year was the fact that planes take off against the wind.

My reading was inspired by Henry Ford’s quote, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

Most people, including myself believe, it has to do with resistance. However, after some reading, it has to do with this being the way it requires less acceleration to get to a certain speed.

Basically it is the way to higher altitude using less time and less speed.

For many of us though, and figuratively speaking it may seem like a paradox. Taking off against the wind seems to be counterproductive.

But this brings us back to the biblical concept of leaning on God against the trials,

against the challenges,

against the changes,

against the discomfort…

against the winds.

“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”(Matthew 14:24, 27 NIV)

God wants us all to do this. He doesn’t expect us to have the strength ourselves. He doesn’t expect us to have the momentum and power to take off alone. He wants us to lean in and allow Him to do His thing.

So today, no matter what we are up against, let’s praise God for it. Let’s be thankful knowing that he is using those very challenges, those very winds… for beauty… for strength even if we can’t see or feel it yet. For suffering is a moment compared to what eternity holds.

“Lean on me against the winds of each day. For true strength is built in this way.”

Therefore, today …

I am thankful for the winds.

🤍 For more imperfectly perfect posts, follow me ➡️ @theartofamessyhouse

Invest in Rest

For those who know me, I am not one to rest. In fact, it is a challenge for me to sit still. But resting is one thing I am investing in this year.

Resting isn’t being lazy. It is not a waste of time.

Rest is a gift.

In fact, we are all called to rest. It is part of self care. It is part of caring for the physical body. (I learned that the hard way with my recent knee injury.) But it is also part of caring for the body mentally.

It is even asked of us in the Bible.

“Remember to keep the Sabbath as a holy day. You may work and get everything done during six days each week. But the seventh day is a day of rest to honor the Lord your God.”(Exodus‬ ‭20:8 ICB‬‬)

But I don’t know about you, but that’s where the questions arise. How will I ever get it all done in six days when I can’t even figure out how to do it all in seven?

God doesn’t expect us to understand it fully. He doesn’t expect us to figure it out. He just calls us to trust Him to hold true to His promises.

With that being said, He promises us that He can do abundantly more through us with our six days than we could ever do alone in seven.

So yesterday I started, I rested. Or I tried… but it’s a start! 😉

Do you take one day a week to rest? If not, join me in investing in this principle this new year.

refresh #renew #rest #dayofrest #trust #god #selfcare

speakup #everydayfaith #bekind #faith #christianity #children #kids #parenthood #motherhood

2020 Reflections

2020 was a lot. A lot of discomfort, change, loss, pain, challenges and the unexpected for so many. It was a lot.

Throughout #2020, I’ve learned a lot too:

⁃ A lot of people had struggles and experienced loss this year. I learned that even when I don’t know how to comfort someone or the right words to say, #praying is something I can always do. It is something we all can do. #alldayeveryday #everydayfaith

⁃ I learned that I #love and miss hugs more than I thought. (Guess I am a hugger at #heart.)

⁃ I learned that #healing is possible. I saw miraculous healing and protection this year in family and even in myself. I saw the #powerofprayer !

⁃ I learned that waiting is not time wasted. Instead, it is time to grow. (I learned #patience is still an area I’m working on.)

⁃ While on the growth topic, I learned that we limit ourselves when we stay inside our comfort zones. Growth often happens in the discomfort.

⁃ I learned different ways to connect through virtual teaching. I learned different programs, techniques and platforms to use. I learned a lot of technology that I otherwise would never have learned! (My eyes may argue that it is too much #technology though.)

⁃ I learned how to connect with loved ones on a different level and also that it is okay to need space and quiet time too.

⁃ After 15 plus years, I learned to not be addicted to #running and that stretching and core is so important too. I learned to not be reliant on working out (even if it took a knee injury to get me there.) @ thanks for helping with your great videos and workouts too. And for helping me think outside the box.

⁃ I learned that when a dream is on your heart and won’t go away, chances are- it’s waiting for you.

⁃ I learned that even a baby step is a step. Each step is important to the process even if it involves some backward steps too.

⁃ I learned to appreciate quiet moments, and the loud ones. I learned to appreciate the small moments and the big. And that sometimes the quiet, small moments turn out to be the greatest.

⁃ I learned how to #selfpublish a #book! Thanks to @ helping me through. #illustrator #talent

(❤️ This book is now available on Amazon here: Book 1: How to Be Kind

⁃ I learned to lean in more and #trust #God!

⁃ I learned that while our world and country needs a lot of work still, I learned that there are really a lot of #good and good people all around.

⁃ I learned that while I still have a lot of work I need to do, I can do my part here and now (just like everyone can)… despite the mess… despite the imperfections.

So 2021, I pray you bring blessings, laughter, health and love to everyone. I pray and believe for God’s hope and joy !!! I pray and believe. ❤️❤️❤️

#dreambig #hope #bethegood

#howtobekind #childrensbook #bookone #series

#speakup #bekind #faith #christianity #children #kids #parenthood #motherhood #authors #authorsofinstagram #writers #author #writersofinstagram #books #writer #bookstagram #writing #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #reading #book #write

#theartofamessyhouse

#happynewyear

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.

A Ladybug & a Laptop

Deeply broken then made whole
beaten and weary
life knows how to take its toll.
And still there is truth
there is hope on even the darkest night
for there is a purpose
found in God’s light.

The world tugs
and tries to convince us to flee
to give up and in
but that’s not who God wants us to be.

The worries knock
and they pound to get in
but God’s word reminds us
this is a victory He will always win.

So as they shout
and even through each doubt
God has a purpose
greater than what the world says it’s about.
So don’t run from it
don’t hide or flee
for you are God’s handiwork
created so wonderfully.
So trust and become-
all God created you to be.

🐞 For a few days now, there’s been a ladybug in my bedroom. I noticed it first on a part of the ceiling where I can’t reach. Then the day started and online teaching began, and it was something I no longer noticed. Then the next morning I noticed it again but in a different spot. Once again I could not reach it so it was soon erased from my sight and mind. But then yesterday morning as I woke up and went to get up, I noticed that this lady bug was no longer on my ceiling. Instead it had landed right on my laptop on the decal “Just be Who God Made You to Be.”

🐞 And that moment hit me like it was a way to slow me down and bring me back to the basics… to who I am… to who God created me to be.

🐞 We are all created with a distinct purpose. We are all God’s handiwork. We are born that way and yet from an early start the world throws challenges and distractions at us that can make steer away from that purpose. It can make us think that we must be who the world wants and needs us to be. And in that, everything can become confusing.

🐞 But God’s word and purposes are true and clear. They do not bring confusion.
They bring clarity.


So we must pray to God for it.

🐞 We must pray for those God-given purposes to be revealed, sharpened and used. We must pray to stay aware, connected, and aligned with His wisdom, direction and strength with it. And we must stay aware that the reminders will come when we need them.

God knows what we need.

🐞 We must just be open and ready to see and more importantly, accept them, swallowing away the pride and making the changes we need to make. We must use the reminders to bring us back to reality… to bring us back to what God has created us to be.

🐞 So be ready for those those moments that stop us. No matter how big or small they are, you’ll know them when they come. Pray for the wisdom, acceptance and obedience to be renewed by them too. For God is trying to do such a great work in you.

🐞 And much like that ladybug who held on tight as I walked the laptop downstairs and outside to set her free…
we must hold on tight to God’s word…
for it too will set us free.

Fun Fact: l always assumed a ladybug was a beetle that got its name because of his polka dots. The polka dots leaned towards a female and thus it was a LADYbug. I was wrong in my assumption. Instead, ladybugs are named after one amazing lady, Jesus’ mother Mary. While it is unknown for sure why, many theories state it symbolizes the red cloak Mary is often seen wearing in paintings. There are other theories too related to Mary. Those theories all point to being a gift from God. I always thought ladybugs were pretty but now their beauty has taken a whole other beautiful meaning. 🐞


“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV)‬‬

Prayer:
Dear God,
You created it all for a purpose. Your purpose reigns above it all. Forgive us when we steer away from what you created us for. Empower us with the Holy Spirit and fill our lives with wisdom, direction and clarity on our purpose. I pray for the courage to be obedient to it today and every day. I pray for a world where more and more people learn to do this too, all for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Kindness is Strength

Kindness is attractive.

It is contagious.

It is brave.

It is strength.

Yet, kindness is not always seen this way. The misconception is that it is the opposite. That strength develops from others’ weaknesses and that being kind is not having a backbone. That the only way to get ahead in life is to be cruel, stomping on others, making everyone in your way know who is boss.

But true strength has nothing to do with that. It has nothing to do with the hatred that is often so much easier to throw out during the day. It has no comparison to what bringing light to the positive could do instead. For when strength is gained in the midst of kindness, it is beyond empowering to the body and to others. When kindness is used in its true essence, it changes people’s days, it changes lives, it changes the world, it changes you. And while it can be argued that it starts from within, much of it truly begins to surface with our words.

So be kind today. Make a conscious effort to be kind. No matter what the world tries to tell us, Toby Mac has it right with his quote, “Kindness is always in style.”

Peach Cobbler Cookies (Dairy free, egg free, peanut free)

 Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Cookies are one of my favorite types of desserts to eat and also experiment with. This summer when I was looking for something new to bring to barbecues, I stumbled across some recipes for peach cobblers. Since my son has dairy, egg and peanut allergies, he cannot eat dessert unless it is made by us or purchased from one of our reliable companies. Therefore, I tend to like to bring desserts to events so that he can be included too. Everyone deserves to be included!

The following recipe is a play on peach cobbler. It is dairy, egg and peanut free as well! Add some ice cream to the top or sandwich it in between two cookies! You will want to put those summer diets aside for this one.

However you decide to eat them, they are promised to be delicious and totally worth the mess on the counter.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Vegan butter

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup applesauce

1.5 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

2 Tablespoons dairy-free milk (We used almond, cashew, pea called Protein Milk by Silk because of its thickness and richness)

3 cups flour (We used organic, whole wheat but it can be substituted for a gluten free one)

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup chopped peaches (skinned and cut into tiny pieces)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Skin and cut the peaches into tiny pieces.
  3. Mix melted butter and sugars in a bowl.
  4. Add the extract, milk and applesauce.
  5. Add flour and the rest of the ingredients into another bowl.
  6. Mix both bowls together.
  7. Stir and fold in peaches.
  8. Grease trays with non-dairy butter.  Press cookie circles down with a fork. We made them about 2 inches in diameter.
  9. Bake for 16 minutes.
  10. Enjoy by themselves or with some dairy-free ice cream.  Our favorite to eat it with is vanilla cashew ice cream by So Delicious.

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…

What We See

What do you see?

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Does it often seem like despite your efforts to do good, that the things you fail in…the one thing you forgot to do or just didn’t have enough time to do …is the one and only thing people notice. That your failure is the one and only thing people see.

I have felt this often throughout most of my life. The one time I forget to check to see if all twenty of Madison’s hair ties are in her backpack when I pick her up is the day her teachers also forgot to pack them… (She has an obsession with her bracelets aka hair ties). Or the one time I give the wrong show and tell, I’m reminded of where the weekly theme is posted.. Or even the one day our of the month I decide not to do laundry, everyone is asking for something from it.

It can seem as though no one sees or appreciates how I have made random stops at the store during a crazy day to buy more backup hair ties…Or usually have show and tells packed up and ready to go days in advance…Or how I have been doing laundry every day for years. And the reality is, we do so much each day that no one does see… that does go unnoticed.

For years, I found myself getting upset from these reactions of others, from what people saw or what failed to see. That was until I reflected on what I myself was focused on. What I was seeing and that was also when I learned to laugh… often at myself and “the irony” of life.

As a society, what are we focused on? It’s so easy to give into the negativity around us. It is everywhere!

The tantruming child…

the grumpy cashier …

the car honking obnoxiously to get out of their way …

the rude coworker who doesn’t say hi back or even acknowledge you in the hallway…

or even the deceitful family member who knows how to push your buttons…

That’s what I was seeing too. All the displeasing things that were happening around me… and everything that was not happening. How the garbage cans in the kitchen were overflowing again or how the empty paper towels liked to wait for me to replace them. However, in focusing on these parts of the day, I was blinding myself to what was being done.

All the times that the garbage was taken out …

the fact that I rarely brought those garbage cans to the curb…

all the times that the paper towels were put away for me when unpacking from the supermarket…

all the people who were saying good morning or smiling back…

the shoes in which those family members walk and why they hurt so badly…

the chaos most of us walk through each day that tends to zone in on the negativity thrown at us…

instead of the good.

Who has time for the positivity anyways?

There really is a lot of good all around us. But we must make the time to see it. It is our job to consciously choose what to focus on. It is our decision. No one can hold that power over us.

Sooo…

Let’s be conscious on seeing the good. Let’s ask that grumpy cashier how their day is or better yet give a compliment.

Let’s say hello first to everyone who walks by us in the hallway at work and don’t worry if they don’t say hi back. Learn to let it go!

Let’s call up that angry family member randomly just to say hi.

Let’s pray for peace for that road raging person in the car next to us when they flash us their “friendly finger.”

Let’s thank our spouse for something that always do.

Let’s see the good…and if we can’t see it, create it!

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We need to carefully decide what we zoom in on. There are a lot of perspectives to see from. It is not our job to transform the grumpy coworker or angrily shout back at the road raged driver. Instead, it is our job to stop the cycles around us and zoom in on the good.

See beneath the surface.

Pray for softened hearts.

Pray for communication barriers to be lifted and removed.

Pray to see the good in everyone.

We all have battles we are fighting all the time.

While we may not have been there exactly, we have all been somewhere similar struggling to stay afloat…

struggling to believe…

struggling to live.

Learning to keep your eyes open to those around you instead of closing them out, is how we truly begin to see each other and lift each other up. It’s how people start to see you too. Be the change you want to see. Let’s use eyes to support not to judge. Imagine what is possible if and when we work together and support one another. The possibilities are endless!

Soo yes, I promise I will try to see you past the layers of each chaotic day …

but right now behind this tower of laundry…

you may not see me.

 

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Who’s Watching

Eyes aboard all around
the shipwreck’s gossip
washes over the town
who nurses with breast
who goes straight to bottle
yet the tides all bring
currents that steal sleep
some train and others coddle
and still they all ask the question,
Who’s watching?

Minds coast to speed
the wreckage drama
blankets with greed
who pays more
who files away into the depth
of the sand’s debt that burns
fires upon their feet
some nap and others explore free
and still they all ask,
Who’s watching?

Charade of lies
sea marks it all lost
images gloss over cries
who labels it a spiritual hand
who coins it as religion
the island is huge
there is room for all to live
yet most find fault
in their way to stand
upon a deck
Where they still ask,
Who’s watching?

Ship ashore, crashes upon its shouts
the baby falls captive
to the deception of the sea
as her wounds are deeper
than the fear of falling
it washes upon that same beach
the chaos of waves causes tidal doubt
overwhelm her belief
that she is just that
more than enough
and who still stands by
their fingers all pointed out
who fails to watch now, who misses the boat –
when all she needs
is a smile to swim upon her sinking oar
“Good job Mama,”
as she asks them back –
Who’s still watching?

For what were you really looking for?


© Jennifer Kosuda and The Art of a Messy House (theartofamessyhouse.com), 2019. 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.