Tag Archives: Stress

Surround Yourself

Who and what do you surround yourself with?

In a world inundated with negativity, it is crucial to surround yourself with the opposite, positivity. I’m not saying we should walk on a delusional path, ignorant to the realities of the world. I am simply saying that it is important we do not transform to them.

Even the Bible warns about it:

“Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”- 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” – Proverbs 13:20

and one of my favorites:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

But it’s not just about people, it’s about everything. What is your mind seeing every day? Whatever it is, it is setting up a platform on which you will focus.

Living most of my life with incredible anxiety, I know this all too well. The vicious cycle that captures our minds like prey. This was most recently experienced after my daughter was born. While I couldn’t admit it at the time, I suffered from postpartum anxiety which teamed up with the post traumatic stress disorder that still lingered from my son’s anaphylactic reaction years before.

During this time, the last thing I needed was more negativity, but it was everywhere. Every other post on Facebook had it. The news that was on television. The news that people told me. What I was google searching… what I was searching for… what I was reading… turned into what I was thinking… It. Was. Everywhere.

Until I had a huge wake up call, I was choosing what to surround myself with. Sure, it was all out there, the negativity our society sometimes seems to sickly crave, the accidents we can’t turn our eyes from. However, it was my own choice if I looked or turned away to something else.

So I decided then during a session of breastfeeding my daughter I would gradually take control back from this vicious cycle once and for all.

That was when I started to google search positive quotes and song lyrics, leaving them on my phone to see when I went to text. Or when I would try to search up something fearful, I would see Bible scriptures of hope in the search engine and screen, then reminding myself to put the phone down. I started to plant seeds of positivity everywhere… my phone, my phone cover, my keychains, my computer screens, my ID holder, my classroom, etc.

Unlike the keys we must carry to get where we need to go each day, we do not need to carry the weight of the world’s negativity with us. Instead, learn to surround yourself with positive people who empower you and your life with reminders of all that is good in this world. Because the truth is… there really is sooo much good, just waiting to be seen.

There is so much beauty in the world if you train your eyes to see it. And if for some reason, you don’t see it… create it, become it, be it! That is why I embrace the mess because it is surrounded by goodness.

The Missing Ingredient


stuffing (dairy, egg & peanut free) (1)

I have always loved to bake, and try out new recipes of all types. After TJ’s anaphylactic reaction, I put that on hold for awhile out of fear and trying to process it all. That was until I realized that that was not the solution. Instead, together we started to create a whole new cookbook, pushing the old ones aside… for now.

Our allergy-free cookbook is filled with delicious meals and desserts from these past four years. And as we continue to add to our collection and experiment with our creations, we are always searching for the correct ingredients and amounts.

But if these years have taught me anything, it is about a crucial ingredient, that is often missing…


stuffing (dairy, egg & peanut free)Where do I even start?

With prayer!

Now, this is an area that I consider… a work in progress. However, its importance is one to share even before it is perfected. Is it ever really perfected?

Everything can cause us anxiety. The news, our food system, food allergies, irrational workloads, sicknesses, hectic days, hectic lives … to even the enjoyable aspects of life like trips and parties … they all have the ability to stress us out and steal our peace. There was a period of my life, (okay who am I fooling) …for most of my life, I handled the anxiety the same way:

Let it pile up…internalize it… let it pile up some more… try to do it all by myself… try to vent to someone about… let it pile up even more … fear the worst…explode …then repeat.

What is the saying accredited to Albert Einstein again? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Maybe we aren’t insane, but we are overworked and over-worried, and missing one element (or at least I was), one important ingredient to the recipe of life, prayer!

So how does it work? It works everywhere and for everything.

To start, before each meal, pray over the food quietly or with your family and friends.

Thank You God for this food, blessing our bodies with it and for the hands that prepared it. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Worried about that allergy or doctor appointment coming up for your child or yourself?

Thank you God for healing his body from allergies. Thank you for protecting him and the good news You will provide.


Thank You God for healing and restoring my body. Thank You for the great news I will receive at this appointment and the beauty that you will create from my pain. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Anxious about whether or not you should take the new job or do the new diet?

Pray over it. Thank You God for the blessing that this job … this diet … etc … will bring my life and my ability to do Your will through it.

Is your kid acting like they lost their mind in the car as you commute to work and school? (The Lord knows I’ve screamed back a time or fifty …)

Pray over them.

But it’s not just the missing ingredients from our needs, it is also the key part of even the moments of grace.

Is your heart beating a mile a minute as you just somehow avoided getting in a major accident with your two kids in the car? Pray and thank God for getting you out of that lane before the car behind you crashed into the one ahead. Pray for the people who did get hit every time you see an accident even if the accident is the reason you are late to work. Don’t curse and don’t stress. Pray, pray, pray.

It will help you breath better. It will help you think better. It will help you react better. It will help you understand better. It will help you love better. It will help you live better.

Do. It. For. Everything.

I’m not saying it will make your washer that broke restart or finally get money to grow from that tree in your backyard. Although sometimes God touches down in those situations too… (well maybe not the money-growing spruce…)

But what will it hurt? It can’t hurt. It can only bring you peace in places and times anxiety wants to steal just that.

Prayer is the ingredient I was missing for way too long. And even though we may have moments we feel like life in unfair…. What are these allergies even for? Why my kids? Why didn’t I get that job? That promotion? Or the other millions of questions that our days through at us?prayer is needed.

For we are called to pray for the blessings that these challenges will bring… the blessings that we cannot even comprehend that are waiting for us just around the corner.

So while our allergy safe cookbook may only be half written and stored away in our anything but organized cabinet, we are learning to pray through our mess… believing for more.


Tbt: The Havoc of a Nursing Strike

Since it has been a tough week for me, I went back into my archives for some of my first entries.  As I was browsing through these, I found my entry about a nursing strike that my son had when he was 11 months.  While this topic may not be directly linked to food allergies, it was an extremely stressful phase that complicated matters a bit.   At 11 months, TJ was barely eating many foods due to his diet limitations and sensitivities to new textures.   Therefore, breastfeeding was still his main source of nutrition.  It had been about 4 months of my strict elimination diet of his allergies (wheat, oat, barley, rye, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, peas, coconut). I can’t lie… it was a difficult at times; however, I wanted to continue until another source of milk became an option.  I had felt confident that I would be able to continue the diet and breastfeeding until he had his first nursing strike….

I could not wait until March (2015) was over and done with. I know we aren’t suppose to wish away our days; however, March was filled with too many stomach bugs and colds for my liking. Anyways, with April’s arrival, we also welcomed another challenge.

Let me recap and share with you what I learned.

March 28

  • I was diagnosed with an ear infection and put on Amoxicillin for 7 days against my will. (I hate being on prescriptions and medication in general.  I even try to avoid Advil and Tylenol… just a personal preference.)
  • My son started to only nurse for 1-3 minutes, and if he got to 3 minutes, that was a lot! Before this, he would nurse between 3-5 times a day for about 8-12 minutes each time. However, he would barely even wait for a let down. He would still drink from bottles though.
  • He also started to drool a lot and bite everything from his toys to his crib to his bottles to my boob several times. Ouch! One of the first times he did this with his SIX TEETH, I instinctively yelled and startled him. He also had a cough and was getting over a cold. Because of all of these factors, my son was also super fussy and clingy.


  • Nursing strike continued. I would attempt to nurse and he would only stay latched on for about 1.5 minutes at a time. Based on the fact that my breasts were still full afterwards, I knew it could not be that he was just super efficient and quick with it now. So, I would offer and attempt to nurse. When he would refuse or only latch for a minimum amount of time, I would then go and pump to keep up my production. I was worried about my production dropping and us not making it until next month when we know more about his food allergies and if he had outgrown any. Therefore, I emailed his pediatrician and my breastfeeding friends for guidance. I was feeling so emotional about all of it, wondering what was causing it since it could be sooo many different factors.

Was this all because of his cold?

Was this teething? Getting molars a little early? (I did notice swollen gums on the top.)

Was it the cough/cold plus teething?

Was it that he preferred the bottle over nursing now? (I was worried about this one because I already pump two to four times a day. Now, I was pumping about 6 times a day. It was very difficult to keep up with. I give all you Mamas who exclusively pump A LOT of credit!!!)

Was he becoming more efficient or did he need less milk and feedings?

Was it my medication?

And the question I was worried the most about was…

Was he weaning himself from breastfeeding before we had a new plan of what he would drink at a year?

APRIL 4: Time for a New Plan

  •  How could this be so stressful for me?  I was an emotional wreck inside all week while trying to hold it together on the outside. I kept praying for strength. I would stay so strong all day until the evening when I would finally have a meltdown about everything.
  • I needed to figure out something, a solution to all of this. Therefore, on the 8th straight day of this, I finally stopped panicking and looked for answers instead. During his nap, I searched online and read a lot of websites and blogs. Some of the ones that I found most helpful are the following:




With these links, I came up with a new theory and plan:

  • First of all, I learned that most babies don’t wean themselves from breastfeeding until closer to 18 months, definitely not at 11 months. Reading that was a major relief to me because I felt like I had recently taken for granted how amazing nursing and breastfeeding was. Hopeful that this was not weaning, I felt confident that we could get back on track so I devised this theory and plan.
  • The Theory: I think that originally this nursing strike all started because his gums were bothering him badly because of teething. Then, he bit me and my reaction startled him. Therefore, I had to make nursing a comfortable, relaxing, stress-free environment again. I, myself, had become extremely anxious when feeding for the past 8 days, worrying about everything and anticipating that I would get bit again. Therefore, I had to be the one to change this back.
  • The Plan: When he woke up from his nap, I went right in when he was still drowsy. Singing a song that always comforts him and rocking him in the glider, he nursed for 11 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other! What an amazing feeling!


  • As I continue to rock and sing to my son when nursing, his nursing strike appears to be over! It definitely made me appreciate this whole breastfeeding and motherhood journey even more than I already did. It reminded me of how fast these past 11 months flew by and how fast the next months and years will go. This nursing strike really opened up my eyes. Since you never know when the last time with anything in life will be, it is extremely important to live in the moment instead of allowing the everyday stresses and routines to overshadow what really matters. I think I needed to be reminded of this.

Like One Republic says in their song “I Lived,”…I want to be able to say this one day…

“I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”

While a nursing strike may seem like nothing to most people, it was truly a broken bone to me. However, I owned it, lived in the moment instead of my to-do lists. Heck, we even made it until 13.5 months of breastfeeding, 6 of those months on a strict elimination diet.  At that point, he passed a soy oral food challenge and started to transition to soy.

Looking back at this memory, we smile on… learning to embrace the moments… for they make some of the most amazing memories….

Survival Guide to Car Rides

During the past year, car rides with my son have been some of the most stressful times.  Right from the start, TJ was never the baby who would sleep in the car.  (I envy you Mamas and Dadas who have that situation!) I use to plan car rides around when he should be napping so that he would have a better chance of sleeping instead of his usual….SCREAMING!!!


Now, I know that I am not alone when I say that one of the most stressful experiences is trying to drive when your baby or toddler will not stop crying.  (Thank you God for protecting us and helping us avoid getting into any accidents.) Even before we knew of his allergies, car rides were not a favorite pastime for TJ.   In fact, I cringed with the thought of even just running a “quick errand.”

Then, November 2014 came and I went back to work after being off for six months of maternity leave. Our morning and afternoon commutes to work and daycare became 40-60 minutes long EACH WAY! Now, TJ wasn’t the only one screaming! It honestly brought out my crazy…


After TJ’s anaphylactic reaction to yogurt, I definitely experienced some post traumatic stress.  I was fearful of EVERYTHING! Every time he cried, fussed, or was not himself, I worried that he was having another allergic reaction even when no food was involved.  Even though I knew my fears were irrational, I could not stop them.

The problem with car rides was that he fussed 99% of time already even before food allergies entered the scene…(okay, maybe 85% of the time.)  Now, I was even more crazed on these daily rides.

Then, it happened! He had a minor reaction due to his skin sensitivities in the car in January 2015. (Read that story here.) Thus, I became even more overwhelmed…

Car rides became rides of great anxiety for me, for us.   I was constantly checking on him and he was now getting himself so aggravated that he was scratching his eczema and making himself bleed.

I needed to change it and bring back my sanity. So that is just what we did.  Together, TJ and I worked to create our very own “bag of tricks” for commutes.   What works one day may not work the next.  However, for the most part, we can find a “trick” or two or TEN each day.



  1. TALKING: I always start the commutes with talking about the events of the day.   Some days it is just my voice (if I remain calm) that will calm my son.
  2. PRAYING: After debriefing, we pray.   We pray for all of our family, friends, for each other, for TJ’s health and safety at day care, for guidance on all of life’s decisions, and for a safe and calm car ride.
  3. RADIO:  Some days we listen and sing along to the Christian radio station in our area.   Regardless, I keep this station on just to calm my nerves. Ha! Either way our local station has truly saved many car rides.
  4. DISNEY CD: A friend gave us this amazing music CD back when TJ was first born and honestly, I don’t know what I would do without it.   Sometimes, after I drop him off at day care, I forget that the CD is still on and find myself singing the lyrics to myself. Ha!CD 1CD 2
  5. LITTLE PEOPLE TOYS/ MINI ELMO: These little people are amazing! Because TJ keeps one or two in his hands, he very rarely scratches at his eczema anymore.   Sure they get thrown and cause some drama sometimes; however, their benefits outweigh those other moments. Fisher-Price’s Little People
  6. SNACKS/SIPPY CUPS: While it does not always work, sometimes leaving his sippy cup or a favorite snack like puffs for the car rides works wonders.   Other times, it causes the need for a huge clean up afterwards.
  7. BUDDY AND PALS: It is no longer just my son and I on car rides.   Buddy and about two of his other pals that TJ picks out before getting into the car usually join us.   By allowing him to chose them, he is less fussy when being put into the car initially.
  8. WORD AND LEARNING GAME: Now that my son is 18 months old, he likes to play games like “pointing to body parts” or “repeat the word or sound after me.”  We have always sang the ABCs on all car rides adding an additional part with words beginning with each letter.
  9. SEARCH FOR AIRPLANES, TREES AND THE SKY: Since he loves to look at airplanes, it is a perfect game to play when it is sunny and clear out.
  10. REMAIN CALM: Trust me I am living proof that it is easier said than done.   However, I have found that even if it is a horrible, horrible day in the car, remaining as calm as possible is best for all of us.   (Of course, I then vent or rather lose it to my husband afterwards. Thanks Hun!)

Don’t get me wrong…we still have fussy days in the car.  However, we both have learned what works for us.   Because of that, we drive and smile on…

tj cartoon

What was/is your experience with your baby or toddler in the car? What strategies or “tricks” do you have?

tipsy tuesdays(2)

TIPSy Tuesdays – Retrain Your Brain/Get Out of a Funk

Anxiety is something that I have battled with off and on since as early as I can remember.  In fact, as a young girl I would line my stuffed animals and dolls up alongside my bed every single night.   Not just one or two of them…all of them.  While I cannot remember exact numbers, I would say that there were close to 20.  Everyone thought it was soooo adorable how much I loved those toys.  Too cute! It sure was….but what people did not know was that I lined them up to protect myself from everything I was afraid of as I slept. The fears were many and even included a “one-eyed chicken in my closet” that I had met in a nightmare. (I had quite the imagination back then too. Ha!)  I was probably 3 or 4 when I started to do this to help myself feel safe.   I remember it vividly.


Worry and fear were two emotions that started to enter my life at such a young age.  Throughout my childhood, teenage years, and even the start of my 20s, I really struggled with phases of this.   Some of these times created even larger issues.  (However, that is a topic for another blog or hopefully my book one day). It was a battle that I truly never thought that I could defeat but still I prayed every night that I would. I prayed every night for a miracle. Anything was and is possible right?

Now that I am in my early 30s, I can honestly say that I have learned several coping strategies and ways of handling my anxiety head on. While I know that everyone is different, I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me over the past year with dealing with my son’s multiple food allergies and skin conditions.

*Like always, I am not a doctor and these are just my opinions based on my own experiences. Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. The information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.*

Here are the tips that I use to get out of a funk

1)Find an outlet or two, or ten!

What relaxes you most? When are you most at ease? I feel best after exercising, writing, and praying. Since my early 20s, running has been my go-to outlet.  After a bit of drama with a friend in my early 20s, another friend suggested I go for a run.   That is just what I did and I haven’t stopped since. Ha!   For awhile, I relied on this way too much and taking a day off would give me even more anxiety.  However, I now have learned that the body needs days off from exercise so I turn to writing and praying.  Writing while listening to music is just as much of an outlet as running now.

music running 2 writing

2) Connect with others

No matter how alone you may feel, always remember there are people in similar shoes.   You are never alone even in your loneliest moments when you feel like no one can possibly understand.   Lord knows I have had many of those in my life.   It wasn’t until I started to share my experiences openly and honestly with people that I started to see that there was light at the end of the tunnel.   There was hope for me and anyone with anxiety. I remember praying to God in my early years to be surrounded by people who loved me for me.  That was because for many, many years I felt alone despite always being physically around loving family and friends.   It was my anxiety and fear that overshadowed everything else.  Then, guilt would start in and cause even more negative emotions and issues.

Over the years, I learned to speak up and out about my feelings.  Find one or two people who you trust and can talk to about what you are going through.   I totally believe in going to therapists if needed as well.   While I have gone to some in my life, now I turn to a couple close friends and family including my husband.   In addition to that, reaching out to other food allergy parents has been beyond helpful for me.  In doing this, I not only learned about their experiences, but also received helpful guidance and encouraging support.  Therefore, reach out, contact, and connect with others.   Before sending several emails to others about our situation, I often motivated myself by saying, “What do I have to lose? They don’t respond?” And most did respond…

communicate 2

Remember you are never alone.

3) Health/Setting Goals for Yourself

 I have pretty much always eaten pretty healthy especially during the week days and left weekends open to splurge a bit especially with pizza.   However, since being a teenager, I have always turned to food during stressful times, either eating too little or too much.   I do believe that I am not alone in this.   Last winter after my son’s anaphylactic reaction, I started to lose weight and count calories.   Both signs that I was turning to unhealthy measures to gain control of a situation in any way I could.   Recognizing this, I deleted a food calorie counting app from my phone and refused to let myself step on the scale.  By setting small positive goals for myself, I gained control in other uplifting ways.

(Side note: If you are struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, contact your doctor and get the proper medical guidance and support available out there.)

In addition to this, I learned that eating a diet full of protein, vegetables, and fruits helps my energy levels and overall mindset.  While I have always loved carbohydrates, it was around then that I started to see that eating too much of it was not helping me emotionally.

(Once again, I am NOT a doctor.   This is just my personal experience and everyone is different.)

4)Block yourself from creating new anxieties

Anxiety often opens the door to new anxieties and fears.   Last winter, I was in a bad spot.   I put all of my energy in being energized and happy around my son.  Then, once he went to sleep at night or napped, I was an emotional mess. I once again fell into a deep world of anxiety, fear and depression.  I craved control and felt the opposite, everything was out of my control.

During those first couple of months, I found myself searching up all of the ailments that “I must have had.”  I was nauseous, unable to focus, dizzy, losing weight, always tired, and much more.  I convinced myself that I was sick with something.  However, after going to see my doctor and getting blood work, I finally admitted it was anxiety again.

To prevent myself from searching up online all the diseases and illnesses I could have, I put one of my favorite Christian songs on the search engine on my phone and computer.   Therefore, when I was tempted to give into my fear and search my newest “sickness,” I would flip right to lyrics and words that I knew were the real truth.

I then started blogging, writing about my experience, replacing the negativity that inundated me with positive thoughts. I gained control of myself again in doing this.

5)Surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible

As much as possible, surround yourself with positivity.  Positive people….positive television…positive literature…positive music…positive energy…

I am not saying that negative people and things don’t and won’t happen. However, if you are engulfed with positivity then you will be more equipped with battling through the valley of difficulties and challenges.

6)Retrain your brain 

retrain your brain

Last but far from least, retrain your brain. I swear it works! It just takes time, patience, and perseverance (and being a little “crazy”).  In the past I’ve had to reconfigure a few times, reteaching my brain to think by blocking out the negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. An example of this is my tip #4.

However, two other times come to mind. One was about 6.5 years ago right after returning from our honeymoon and the second was starting back at day care this past September.

  1. After returning from our honeymoon and back to school six years ago, I became extremely overwhelmed with changes at work and the transitions at home.  I went from the natural high of planning a wedding, getting married, then a perfect honeymoon to six months of extreme anxiety where I could not turn off my brain from the negativity. I had so much to be thankful for and happy about, yet I felt so anxious.  Like usual, those feelings of anxiety led to feelings of guilt then sadness then more and more negative emotions. After barely sleeping for half a year and realizing that my thoughts and attitude was affecting people who I loved, I read “The Secret.” That was when I admitted to myself that I was the only person who could make a change.   That no matter what happened to me in life; I had the ultimate control of the kind of person who I was and my true happiness. Therefore, I started to replace my negative thoughts with positive ones.   To do this, I would force myself to list five things that I was grateful for every time I thought of a negative one.   In addition to this, every morning when I would run, instead of listening to music, playing games on my phone, or watching television, I would pray and list every single person, quality, feature, talent, experience,…. everything that I could think of that I was thankful for. I would list everything!!!  I needed sleep, happiness, and to feel sane again.   After doing this for several months, almost out of nowhere one day without even thinking, I felt differently than ever before.   I felt genuinely happy. Some people may think that it was insane that I did that for so long without any noticeable results.  However, I tell you that it was 100% worth it.  I believed change could happen, made more than just a conscious effort to retrain my brain, and then it changed more than I ever imagined it would.
  2.  With my son starting back at daycare after having the summer off with me, I was beyond anxious about his safety.   I was once again making myself physically and emotionally sick.   I had no idea what being back at daycare as an active, curious toddler would bring with all of his food allergies.   However, I knew that we had prepared and advocated as much as possible.  We had covered all grounds over and over again, and would continue to do so.   Therefore, I was left with that decision yet again.  What will it be, faith or fear for me? Because I knew that I would not survive this year if I continued to focus on everything that I am fearful of (for that list is endless), I picked faith.  I needed to reconfigure yet again. To do this, I decided that I would think the simple, yet powerful words over and over again in my mind every time a worry or fear tried to surface itself…“I trust you God.”

That is what I am still doing.   Every time a fear or worry starts to enter the scene, I repeat to myself, “I trust you God.”

My tip this Tuesday is that retraining your brain is possible.   Heck, anything is possible.  In situations that cause extreme anxiety like ours recently,  plan and advocate in every way you feel is needed. Never apologize for advocating too much, but be grateful for those who receive and respect it with open minds and hearts. And always remember you are never alone.

Finally and most importantly, have faith and trust that God has your back.  We believe great things are in the works because we trust you God so we smile on…

tj cartoon

Interesting read about worrying:


Check out my original post about retraining the brain:

A Retrained Brain

“No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
You don’t have to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone”

-“No Man is An Island”- by Tenth Avenue North


My Random Musings
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Super Busy Mum

Five Fast Facts About Hives

Since my two loves (husband and son) both experience “random” hives due to dermatographic urticaria and/or other environmental factors, I found this article informational so wanted to share and smile on…  

Five Fast Facts About Hives

(Source: http://allergicliving.com/)