If I was the Devil…

I just listened to this video today.  My heart is heavy for mankind.  We HAVE to get right with Jesus. Before you brush this off as one more Bible thumping, consider what I stand to gain by telling you, you need Jesus.  If I wanted to get for myself, if I were purely evil in motivation, so consumed by my own agenda

well

If I was the Devil…

I’d tell you your “Universe” talk and blatant disregard of God’s commands were good.  I’d support you and sit by smiling and watching.  I’d revel quietly in your agony.  I’d stand by and let you destroy yourself with your ‘new truth’ and your pride.  Then, when you were ruined, you couldn’t blame me because you did it to yourself.

Jesus the God of the Bible, is the way the truth and the life.  Not one of us will get to God except through Jesus.  I cannot omit this from my heart or withhold it from a world so desperately wallowing in filth and ignorance.  So many are completely blind to the perfect completed love of Jesus.  So many are striving for diety’s that do not exist or are constructs of Satan.

From the bottom of my heart I emplor you to get right with Jesus.  Lay it all at his feet and seek Him for what He comnands is good.  Every other compass will not sustain you, will not fulfill you.

God SPOKE all of creation into existence.  What evil has God ever caused you?  Search your heart, why do you hold your hurts against your creator?  Take it all to him, he can handle it.

It is Finished.

Dear Jesus,

I pray for those who wander lost, especially those who think they’ve found their way without you.  I pray for your protection and peace.  Please rescue our nation.  Amen.

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Why I Hate Teasing

Proverbs 26:18-19 says, “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”

I hate teasing.

The big kicker for me is how teasing is a bitter knife masquerading as “good fun”.

“Oh get a sense of humor.”

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

“When I said you are no good at that, I was just teasing.”

Maybe it’s because teasing is manipulative.  Yeah, that’s part of it for sure.

Did you really mean “you are no good (at that)” in “good fun”? What REALLY possesses someone to say such critical things of another?

I also find it interesting how teasing can come from anywhere.  It’s like Satan has tricked us into believing we are saying something in fun, all the while we are actually helping drive the knife in the hearers heart.  Blaming them.

What’s worse!?!  If the receiver of such teasing doesn’t play along then they’re still to blame because they “can’t take a joke”.  In truth, they don’t like to bear the brunt of another persons’ evil heart.

Luke 6:45 says, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

A lot of the time, teasing, is just advanced bullying.  As if you have graduated the minor leagues and joined up with the majors.  I can enjoy a good joke just as well as the next person, but, I cannot advocate this form of bullying.

Think about it, you see something in someone that has a shard of truth to it and expound upon it to a degree that is hurtful but just ridiculous enough to evade rebuke.

Wow.

So as we all go about our hectic holidays, preparing for all that will fill the next few weeks, please prepare your heart to speak in kindness to one another.

James 3:5 says, “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

And, if you want to tell a joke, make sure it’s not “funny” at the recipients’ expense.

Dear Jesus, you say that the tongue is dangerous and we underestimate this truth.  Please stop us before we utter hurtful words to one another especially under the guise of humor.  Please keep us fixed on you this holiday season and clean our hearts so that your glory would pour out of us.  Amen.

Autism And Gideon’s Diagnosis

As many of you know Gideon (our nearly 2 year-old) receives speech therapy each week.  Recently his teacher mentioned that he may be “at risk for an autism diagnosis” because he “has many of the markers for an at risk for autism diagnosis”…

I immediately thought, ok if he is on the autism spectrum we need to know, for sure.  So I asked the therapist how to obtain a diagnosis and they recommended taking Gideon in to see a neurologist.

It took just over two weeks to go from that day to actually seeing a neurologist.  In the mean time a special education teacher that specializes in autism spectrum disorders came to do an evaluation that “identifies the likelihood a child will be at risk for an autism diagnosis”. Hmmm….

Of the 12 focus points in this test. Gideon only passed a couple.

Giddo and special ed teacher Giddo n monkey Birth to Three assesment

His final score was 3.5 with 2.5-4.0 placing children in the “at risk for an autism diagnosis”.

Sheesh.  This all was too much.  It felt like parental torture.

Does Gideon have a disorder?  If it’s not autism what is it? Sensory integration disorder?  What does this all mean?

The days ticked by TOO SLOWLY.  We prayed and agreed to keep our mouths shut about all this until we knew more firmly what we were facing.

August 9th, 2012 we met with Dr. Joseph a neurologist at Valley Medical Center.  The appointment went very long.  We asked lots of questions.  The neurologist asked us a lot too.

“Does he have tantrums?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

Sigh of relief

“Does he eat a variety of foods?”

“Yes.”

“List them.”

“Ham chunks, string cheese, pizza, apples, bananas, cottage cheese, Cheerios…”

“Good”

Sigh of relief

“How’s his sleep?”

“He sleeps great.  Naps well too.  I think he actually has higher sleep needs than his brother.”

“Good”

Wew.

“How is he with touch?”

“He is a big snuggler.  He loves to be held.”

“Good”

🙂

At one point we were told children with autism often excell in numbers and letters while maintaining a language delay.

I asked the neurologist, “Gideon knows the alphabet, the letter sounds and can count forward and backward 1-10.  Either he’s autistic or he’s a prodigy.  What do you think?”

Giddo by hippo Giddo n daddy Giddo on the hippo Giddo pressing buttons

After some simple behavioral tests, the neurologist said, “I really don’t think your son has autism.  If you have any concerns in four months come back.  Otherwise, keep with the speech therapy for his language delay.  Try play groups.  The more language the better.”

Well, Giddo, looks like that leaves “Prodigy” as your diagnosis. 😉

Gideon who has almost all the risk factors for “a risk of an autism diagnosis”, doesn’t have autism.  Or any disorder, just a speech delay.

I learned that children who are premature can present with “red flags” that aren’t actual indicators at all but just mean the child was premature.

What a whirlwind of emotion.  It was so weird to go through this without telling so many people and asking for support.

I hope others might read this and learn that if your child is ever considered at risk for autism diagnosis, to pursue a diagnosis from someone who is a specialist and is qualified to diagnose your child.

Gideon has a speech and language delay, that’s all.  But another kiddo with all the “risk factors” might actually have autism or another disorder.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your provision through this growth experience.  Thank you for guiding us to investigate further and not remain in an undiagnosed state out of fear.  You are mighty and we are totally dependant on you.  Thank you for being so good.  Amen.

Gideon’s Developmental Assessment- Speech Delay at 20 Months

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking Gideon to a developmental assessment.  It was a pleasure because it was just him and me.  Before Gideon was born I had lots of one-on-one time with Hank.  With Gideon, there’s always been an older sibling so I rarely get to see Gideon alone.  At the assessment I got to see Gideon play and interact without anyone else to distract me.  It was special and a unique time to see his strengths and areas for growth.  I just love my boys so much it absolutely hurts! 🙂

Here are some photographs of Gideon from his time with the Birth to Three staff:

Giddo holding a toy dog Giddo with the slp

Gideon loved all the toys and especially the books!  We had a great time.

Last week we went to the follow-up appointment.  Gideon has a speech delay (I was not surprised).  He will start therapy soon.  I am so delighted that he will be getting this one-on-one time every week for a while.  I look forward to learning specific tools to help him grow.  Hank will learn tools to encourage Gideon too. :0)

Just a little side note:  If you feel your child might benefit from an evaluation, I strongly recommend it.  Often people will poo-poo the idea at such a young age.  I recommend therapy, where needed, this early because it will give my child the boost he needs.  Keep in mind everything we learn and do shapes our brains.  Delayed speech lends itself easily to cognitive delay.  Waiting could make him delayed in school.

Why not give every opportunity you can to your child?

Can I say for sure he would have been delayed in school? No.  Can I say that with early and targeted therapy he won’t be delayed later? YES. 🙂

Dear Jesus, Thank you for blessing Bart and me with two boys and filling our hearts over-full with love for them.  I appreciate the glimpse at your love for us.  Amen.

When Couponing Gets Really Fun, Frugal Thursday’s

Every year just before Mothers Day, Food Lifeline distributes sacks in partnership with the local post office.  You may have gotten one last week too.  Until now I have looked at that sack and thought maybe another time.

Well, let me tell you what makes couponing really fun:

Giving Good Brand Name Things Away!

Donation

We have been couponing for about four months now and to my delight we had enough to toss some goodies in that blue sack.  That makes couponing so awesome.  It enables us to have what we need and give to others.  Did you know that God say’s the more we give the more He will give to us?

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 say’s, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all-sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

This is so exciting! 🙂

If you are local then here are a few places you can give:

The Food Lifeline

The Des Moines Food Bank

Or you can always go global!

World Vision Donation Page

Just a heads up if your new to this, they need non-perishable food and personal care items.  Think canned vegetables, soups, cereals, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. And of course, monetary donations are super too!  If you look around and think, “I wonder if I can donate this?” Give the folks at the local food bank a call and ask if they need it.  Chances are they do.

Dear Jesus, I am so thankful.  You have blessed us.  Thank you that I am now able to bless others out of the gifts and treasure you have given us.  You are faithful and mighty.  Thank you for moving my heart.  Amen.

The Birth Control Pill Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Ulcerative Colitis, Raising Awareness

Ortho-McNeil-Janssen (part of Johnson & Johnson)

If you think about the company Johnson & Johnson the first thing that is likely to come to mind is their slogan, “A family company”. I never would have guessed that they are tied to Ortho-McNiel-Janssen the manufacturer of *Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control pills. At any rate, I find it important to write this post in case it would serve someone somewhere who has taken Ortho Tri-Cyclen and became ill like I did.  It seems the medical community doesn’t know the pill is making women sick!

 I have written the F.D.A. regarding the severity of what *Ortho Tri-Cyclen did to me. After taking the drug for over 6 years to control acne, I developed **ulcerative colitis. I lost weight and had hot flashes. I passed whole undigested food and had incredible pain. I went into shock. I couldn’t eat much of anything. I lived exclusively on the B.R.A.T. diet for months on end. I was so sick I lost my job. For eight months doctors ran test after test. Never finding a cure.

 One day, while at the pharmacy, my pharmacist said, “Have you tried stopping your birth control?  You should know in a few days if that was causing the trouble.”

I took his advice and within three days the diarrhea I had for months, stopped. My digestion normalized and after six months my panic attacks were gone. I had my life and health back, or so I thought.

Though I cannot prove it, I suspect my pancreatic tumor was caused by the *Ortho Tri-Cyclen medication.

My pancreas surgeon said the tumor I had occurs only in women and is caused by hormones. Hmmmm….

 If you are taking *Ortho Tri-Cyclen or are considering it. Think twice. No doctor told me this would happen. I was told it would clear up my acne. To be fair it did but, the cost to my health was immense. I am missing a portion of my pancreas to prove it.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being sovereign over everything! Thank you for carrying me through this. Please Jesus, make this information available to any woman who is considering the pill. Please make it go off the market. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

*Another option if you are wanting to avoid pregnancy is to learn the fertility awareness method, or F.A.M.  I highly recommend getting the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  You can obtain information about the F.A.M. method on their website: http://www.tcoyf.com/

tcoyf

I have found this method to be extremely effective for preventing pregnancy as well as planning intended pregnancy.  It also empowers women to know their bodies better and best of all this method will not make you sick or kill you.  Oh and it’s cheap.  Buy the book, a basal thermometer and print some blank charts then your ready to start this method.

**If you are struggling with ulcerative colitis you may find help from this woman’s blog: http://empoweredsustenance.com/about-2/.  She is a Christian gal living well with ulcerative colitis.

Antiobiotics and Clostridium Difficile, Raising Awareness

Any time you take antibiotics you put yourself at risk of developing an infection called Clostridium Difficile or C. Diff. for short.

It is a bacteria that we can encounter in the environment.  When there are other healthy bacteria colonizing our colon, C. Diff. is killed off and we’re none the wiser.  When we take an antibiotic it kills indiscriminately as much bacteria as it can.  The problem is C. Diff. is a “super bug” of sorts.  It is broad spectrum antibiotic resistant.  So with all the other bacteria gone, C. Diff. is free to go rampant in your colon.  It is a hungry bug and does it’s best to digest your colon.  Your body does what is can to try to eliminate the infection.  But without its soldiers around the invader takes siege.  Fever is another common symptom, although I never developed one.  I did learn C. Diff. eats through the lining of your colon and then invades your blood stream causing sepsis.  This is life threatening.

C. Diff. can mimic IBS symptoms. 

That was the case for me, “sudden onset IBS”.  I complained to my gastroenterologist several times over the course of a month and she never once considered testing me for C. Diff.!  If you have suddenly developed diarrhea, severe intestinal pain, and nausea after taking antibiotics get tested for C. Diff!  If your doctor dismisses it get a second opinion.

Infection or not, sudden onset symptoms warrant an investigation. 

It’s true many young women have IBS in our country but that doesn’t necessarily mean any one individual with diarrhea, intestinal pain and nausea has IBS.

Only take antibiotics if you absolutely must.  Otherwise, I would say avoid them whenever possible.  Think about where you encounter them.  Are you avoiding pharmaceutical antibiotics but using antibacterial products left and right?  Remember, if it kills bacteria is doesn’t discriminate between the good and the bad.

Dear Jesus, thank you for healing me from C. Diff.  That was a horrible infection.  I pray I will never have it again.  I also pray you will protect others from it and that those who get it will know and get tested and treated quickly. Amen.

Our Role in Peanut Allergies, Raising Awareness

My adorable two-year old boy, Hank, has a severe allergy to peanut protein.  Thankfully peanuts are not native to our area so we’re less likely to encounter them while playing outside.

Where trouble comes is at meal or snack time.

Hank is so severely allergic to peanuts that he cannot eat foods that are handled or processed in a plant that also handles or processes peanuts.  To do so would be like playing roulette.  Literally with his life.

Someone who is severely allergic to peanuts can stop breathing quickly and within 10 minutes be dead.

We don’t take it lightly.  This isn’t an intolerance.  It’s serious. We have become proficient at reading product labels carefully.  I pray the manufacturer is labelling well.  In some respects we are at their mercy.  We also homemake nearly all of our baked goodies.

Most of the time Hank is just like any other kid and our home functions just like anyone else’s home.  The only difference is our house is peanut free and we have epinephrine auto injection kits.

Hank has learned to say, “I need peanut-free”. 🙂

Many people do not know what to do if an allergic reaction happens.  I hope to put a little more awareness into the world.  Not just for my son, but for others like him.

Unfortunately, there are even corporations who in an effort to protect themselves from “liability” exclude children like my son.  As a result, they exclude families like ours.

Two such companies/corporations are:

BSF International

&

Fred Meyer Play Place

I wish they would understand that the true liability comes in when a caregiver refuses, either by fear or by “policy” to administer epinephrine to an anaphylactic child.

At two years of age my son is not able to do it himself.  At twenty years of age he still may not be, say if he is unconscious from anaphylaxis.

If my child suffocates, becomes mentally brain-damaged or dies because of some company’s “policy” to never administer life saving medication while they care for my child, I will sue them!

What’s a family to do?

Steward well.

Stewardship is key.  God calls us to steward all his creation well.  Our bodies, the land, the gifts He gives us, others and especially the little ones He has entrusted to our care.  Because of this, whenever I leave Hank with a caretaker, I make sure they know where his epi-pens are and review how they are used.  Most importantly, I ask:

“Are you comfortable giving my son a shot with his epi-pen if needed?”

If the answer is, “No” I won’t be leaving Hank in that person or organizations’ care.

Ever.

To date Hank has had peanut twice.  I learned from this how allergies work.  In general, the first exposure does not produce observable symptoms.

It’s subsequent exposures that really count.

Hanks second exposure was about an eighth of a teaspoon of peanut butter.  Within ten minutes he was swollen all over, had various types of hives, excessive nasal secretions, itching and coughing.  He was on Benadryl around the clock for almost two days.  By God’s great mercy Hank didn’t die that day.  We didn’t know anything about allergies and thought surely he wasn’t allergic because he’d had peanut butter once before and was “fine”.  What we didn’t know was that the first time he ate peanut butter his body developed antibodies to it.  Every exposure after that is more and more dangerous.

The next time he eats peanut protein he will become anaphylactic.

For someone with this allergy every repeat exposure results in increasingly severe symptoms.  A quick and confident reaction is absolutely essential.

Has the child touched or eaten something containing peanut?  Has someone who ate a peanut product touched my child?

Any of these symptoms can be a sign of life threatening allergic reaction:

Sudden and excessive nasal secretions, Swelling of the torso neck or face, diffuse hives, itching, gagging, sudden blotchy skin, and anaphylaxis (suffocation).

So what do you do if someone with this allergy comes in contact with  something containing peanut protein?

  1. Administer one epinephrine shot. And a quick dissolve Benadryl.
  2. Call 911 as fast as you can.
  3. Call the parents and comfort the child.  Tell him help is coming and hold them.

Don’t wait for anaphylaxis to start before taking action!

I hope this will help others and raise awareness.  Thanks for reading.

Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of a child with a severe allergy.  Through this experience you have taught us so much about stewardship and to never fear man.  Even, if that means we don’t participate in certain corporations.  I pray more and more people will become aware of the importance of administering life saving medication when needed. Amen.