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Our Food Journey

6 Apr

My family has definitely had a food journey the last couple of years.  In 2013, it began when I partnered with Charles Mattocks to write Diabetes and Healthy Eating.  I always knew that a healthy diet and exercise was very important.  I would have to say19 that I never spent very much time thinking about it, until I started to write that story.

My family didn’t have a lot of money when I was young so not only did we not eat out very often, but our budget did not allow for extras like soda, chips or ice cream.  As I look back, this was almost a blessing.  I grew up with very few snacks at my disposable so to this day I don’t snack very much during the day.  The byproduct of this now is that I don’t struggle with an unhealthy weight.

Recently my family has faced a new food challenge.  My son has struggled with ADHD sense he was diagnosed at age six.  Because we don’t believe in filling our son with drugs to solve every problem, we have sought a variety of other methods to help him.  At first, I homeschooled him for many years so that he could learn with few distractions and get the attention he needed.  I also started running regularly with him to help channel his energy so he could focus better in his studies.

Now that he is older and in school he has started to face challenges again with his ADHD.  Because of this, we started to look for new natural remedies that could help him.  This led us to read about the work of Dr. Amen.

This is why we are now on a new journey.  My son has been on the new diet for four weeks and we are happy to report that we are seeing some positive results that even his teacher has commented about.

All this back-ground information is to explain that during this food journey starting in 2013, I have become so amazed at America’s food obsession with junk.  I mean really!  Now that I am forced to read every food label before I can feed my son, I can’t help but sit in shock at what I find.

Not only that, but I have also become more aware of what we feed our children in general.  The obesity rate in American children is ridiculous.  But we only have ourselves to blame.  What have we taught them to eat?   What have we given them to eat?

We reward them with food, we teach them to celebrate with food, we allow them to eat when they are bored, and eat what makes them happy even if it might not be good for them.  Just sit for a moment and watch families around you at restaurants and look at what is on the plates of their children all in the name of: “My child is a picky eater, or that is what they wanted.”

I guess that is the sad part of my food journey.  I find that a lot of people don’t want to change their lifestyle or teach a better one to their children.  Why do you think the commercials advertise that, “This pill will allow you to lose weight and not change your diet at all.”

We will continue as a country to fight obesity until we decide that our food obsession must stop.  Until we learn that food should not control us, but that rather that we should control our food.

I am so proud that my eleven year old son has been able to give up gluten, artificial sugars, colors, and flavors, and dairy so that he can reach his full potential.  Not because it is easy (trust me it’s not), but because he knows that what we put inside our bodies is what our bodies become.  I hope that you can teach your children nothing less.

This is not about teaching your child about being thin or fat!  That drives me crazy.  We are all built with different bone structures and genetic tendencies.  This is about being healthy and doing so by eating the proper foods that your body really needs to function.

I know I still have a lot to learn and master in our families food journey, but I hope it has given you something to think about for your own.


Kristi’s Story

17 Apr

After many of you read my blog about the miracle of my son’s birth, I am sure that some of you were wondering why I’m a paraplegic and in a wheelchair. I think that is a pretty reasonable question to ask. So it just seemed like the right time to share with you my story.

There is a lot of suffering that has happened in the US, and all over the world for that matter, this week and the last several months. Sometimes we forget that there is a lot of suffering that happens every day.  I am by far not the only person with a difficult story to share.  But just maybe by reading my story you will be able to face the world and all its obstacles with a little more determination, strength and hope.  I proofed this myself so please be gracious if you see a silly typo. 🙂

It is my prayer that by learning a little bit more about me, you will gain a better understanding into why I write about the topics that I do in my children’s stories.  I want to help our precious little ones to be prepared to face all the adversities that life can throw at them with the power to overcome, not succumb.

June 9th 1986.  I don’t know if you can recall what you were doing, but I do.  I had
flown to CA to see my brother’s girl friend (soon to be fiancée).  It was my birthday, and we had decided to start the day off horseback riding.  I was not an expert rider but was competent. We had ridden around the property for over an hour and had decided to
head back to the barn.  I only remember glimpses of what was soon to follow.  I distinctly remember coming a good five feet away from the large barn door opening into the horses feeding area.  I remember him walking towards it and me pulling on the reigns to try and stop him. Then I recall ducking my head to go through the doorway.

The next moment I found myself completely flat on my back in a pile of hay in a massive amount of pain, unable to feel my legs.  The most likely conclusion was that my back must have hit the door beam and dislocated my vertebra causing instant paralysis.  I must have then lost my balance and fallen from the horse to the floor…pretty reasonable conjecture.  None the less, I was now finding myself waiting for an ambulance to arrive and from here on things progressed rather quickly.

The paramedics arrived only to see a young woman with not a scratch or bruise on her body, just lying in the hay relatively calm.  I distinctly remember telling the paramedic, when asked what was wrong with me, “I am paralyzed.”  I know that I totally
shocked him because he gave me the funniest look.  I was soon put on a board and sent to the nearest hospital.  I was in a pretty rural area so I had to travel on a dirt road.
I remember not liking that part too much on a board.  But by this time all the meds were kicking-in to help with the pain I was in, and things started to get a little more blurry.

I recall telling one nurse that was trying to get the hospital gown on me that she needed to make sure nothing happened to my “guess” jeans because they were my only pair. I laugh now when I think about saying this. Only a teenager would be more worried about their jeans than being in the hospital paralyzed.  I remember telling everyone I saw that it was my birthday today, and I was turning 15.  I was also getting very annoyed that they kept asking for my address.  I know why now, but at the time I thought all these nurses really must be stupid if they had to keep asking me the same questions over and over again.

I learned at a later date that the hospital I was sent to first was too small to accommodate my injury so I was then ambulanced to another hospital.  This hospital had a doctor that could do the surgery but not the facilities to house me afterwards.  It was then decided to air-vac me to another hospital so I could be at the right facility
after surgery.

The bad news, to add to the obvious bad news, is that all this hospital hopping was eating away at my 24 hour window.  This is the amount of time that you have to fix a spinal cord injury before scar tissue forms around the area permanently blocking any nerve signals from the brain to the lower half.  By the time they got me to my final destination the surgery could not get scheduled in time, and my 24 hours was up.  Now the hurry was over and things went into slow motion.  So my accident happened on a Monday, but I didn’t have surgery until Friday.

Things continued to get worse.  I was too small for the bed.  I was too big for a child bed, but too small for an adult bed.  The bed was slated to try and immobilize the body. My head was bolted straight with large padded ovals on either side.  The idea is to keep you totally still so the bed moves for you.  It rotates your body completely sideways and then it moves back to the other side so you won’t get bed sores.  They had tried to stuff
pillows around me to keep me from moving when I went vertical.  But pillows have a bad tendency to squish.  This meant that my whole body moved several inches once gravity took hold. Then the screaming would begin.

The x-rays seemed to show a clean break, which should not have been that painful after medication.  But as anyone knows who has experienced a dislocate themselves, the pain does not let up until the pressure is gone.  Once under the knife (eight hrs total) they soon realized the problem.  My spinal cord was described to me as the consistency of a smashed banana.

Needless to say I felt a whole lot better on Friday when I awoke nine hours later.  I felt so great the next morning that I was actually able to sit up (in my stylish new back brace of course) but ha! I was sitting up.  After the sheer elation of being out of that bed and sitting up wore off, the reality of my new permanent situation started to kick in.  I was informed that the chances of me walking again were almost zero.

Before we go much further into that, I must add that my prayer support was off the scale.  In one day alone I received more mail than the entire wing of the ICU.  My final
count was over 200 letters and cards.  My father was a computer programmer for Doubletree Hotels at the time.  Ten Doubletree Hotels sent me flowers.  There were 31 flower arrangements total.  My mother had to take pictures of them all so I could remember them later.  You can’t bring flowers into the ICU.  It was actually rather comical. She would bring in a flower arrangement and say, “Look what you just got, isn’t it beautiful?” and then leave the room.  My Uncle worked for a Christian radio station
in Tucson and he had told my story on the radio as well.  I had people praying for me and sending me letters that I didn’t even know.  Rather overwhelming for a quiet teenager.

Amongst the fan fair and flowers I was starting to wilt inside.  Three days had passed since my release from bed bondage and things started getting hard.  This is when God choose to make a big move in my life, in the form of my mother.  My mother is far from perfect.  She struggled most of my childhood with depression and suicidal tendencies.  But she does love me and loves God, and God was going to use her in a mighty way. That morning she sat by my bed and said to me, “Kristi, you can feel sorry for yourself.  You have a good reason too.  No one will hold it against you.  This is a tough thing.  Then again, people that feel sorry for themselves are not very happy.  They don’t have many friends because no one likes to be around people that feel sorry for themselves all the time.  So I guess you can be that way, or you can take what you got, and let God make something beautiful out of it.  You will have a lot more fun, you will be happier, and everyone around you will enjoy being with you.”

Yes, I know that some of your jaws have hit the floor.  This seems rather harsh.  But then again when God is talking to you, you really should lesson.  From that moment on things changed.  I knew she was right.  My own mother had been a perfect example of how depression can consume the joy out of you.

When you let God do miracles He just starts performing one right after another.  God laid on me peace the size of a football field.  My attitude was so noticeably different than everyone in the ICU that they felt it necessary to send a physiatrist to examine me.  I mean everyone else on the spinal cord injury floor was on meds for depression.  They were concerned I was in denial.  After talking to me for over a half hour I am quite sure that they didn’t know what to think of me.  I should not have been that happy.  I cannot describe the peace and joy that I felt, or still feel today, because our human finite minds really can’t comprehend it.

I could go into gory detail,after gory detail of all the events that followed this, but everything comes down to this.  God is God and I am not.  He was not asleep while all this took place.  He was not unable to take proper bed measurements. God saw fit to allow an incredibly shy insecure teenager to show just how loving, powerful and big He is.

Is it a bigger miracle to heal the body or a broken soul, emotionally and spiritually?  Jesus brought up this point once before with another paraplegic much like myself, in Luke 5:23.  Jesus says, “Which is easier, to say, ’Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ’Rise up and walk’?” The real miracle was the transformation of a soul for eternity.
God heals people from the inside out, not the other way around.

The people of the day needed to see a physical miracle to give proper claim to His deity.  I think that people today need to see more than that.  We need to see miracles that defy reason and understanding.  We live in a world so preoccupied with physical comfort and appearance.  If all our bodies looked and worked perfectly, would we be happy then?  We all know the answer.  God longs to give us His joy, but how often do we choose not to take it.  We thrash out—“Why me?  Why can’t I be like her/him?  She/he has it so easy.”  That of course is always a lie from the father of lies himself.  We all have wheelchairs.  Some are seen and others are not.  What is yours?

My accident and your issues are no different.  I cannot claim the corner of the market on suffering. I don’t want you to look at me as disabled, but enabled through Christ to do all things, and go through all things. God longs to bless your socks off!  Please don’t stand in His way by looking at your wheelchair and seeing only giant mountains to push up.  Let Him lift you up on wings like eagles so you can soar over the tops of them.

My life is not ever going to be easy.  My body will never function right on many levels, not just my legs.  Will I, and do I cry sometimes?  Absolutely!  But then God fills me up again with His joy, and I can be reminded again of all His promises.  I don’t have to keep this body because it is only a temporary shell.  Someday I’ll get to turn it in for a new one, and then I’ll fly.

The Art of Play

2 Mar

Dog-pile Daddy!

You know the sound of children at play, high pitched squeals and spurts of uncontrollable giggles followed by efforts to catch their breath.  It is a universal sound that doesn’t require any language skills of any kind to recognize.  Every child in the world longs for it, and if in a pinch can figure out any way to do it.

Too often as adults we somehow forget how to play.  I’m not talking night clubs and adult beverages. I am talking about the ability to make your own enjoyment by seeing
a nice big mud puddle that just screams, “Jump in me!”  By wondering where that butterfly might be going and should we investigate? Being able to laugh at the shapes you see in clouds.  Maybe some would call it silly.  But is it?

Is it silly to show your children how to laugh at yourself?  Is it silly to show your children that growing-up doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the simple things in life anymore?  Is it silly to show your children that an adult can laugh and enjoy themselves without the aid of alcohol or drugs?

Is a beer or glass of wine bad in itself?  I don’t personally think so, if you happen to enjoy the flavor of beer or wine and you can control how much you are drinking.  But are your children seeing that you can’t relax or hang with your friends without one?
Hmmm…isn’t that showing them that this is a necessary requirement for “play” as adults?  Is it no wonder that teenagers are so quick to turn to drugs or alcohol to “have a good time?”  We have just spent a great deal of time showing them that their way of play isn’t as good and ours.

I find this so sad.  For years these little ones have mastered the art of play.  But by our example we are showing them that they must be wrong.  They must outgrow their “childish” behavior.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think a sign of maturity in any person is the ability to know when to play and when not to.  This is what children need to learn about play not how to change it.  So what is wrong with playing with blocks?  Who says an adult can’t do it?  Who made that rule?

Have you ever seen a parent buy a toy for their child?  We have all been there!  We are thinking, “This is totally cool!  I want to play with this.”  We live in a world where most adults have forgotten how to play.  They have forgotten how to laugh just because laughing is fun!  Let your children see you having fun with them.  Let them see that you haven’t forgotten how to play!

I think the average adult would find that children aren’t as stressed because they know something we don’t…how to play the right way!

The Book that Started it All

9 Jan

January 16,2012 my husband and my first book Mommy,Tell Me a Story about a Car was officially published.  What a day that was.  It was a mixture of excitement and total fear at the same time.  They say that to learn to swim sometimes you just have to jump in and start swimming.  Well, we jumped alright and I am frantically trying to learn to swim amongst the flood of other swimmers.

Little did we know that publishing a book isn’t just about writing, editing and illustrating, but it is so much more. There are the marketing parts, book reviews, contacts, book signings and computer skills.  Books have been around for hundreds of years before any technology, but now an author has to know how to tweeter, blog, link things and make web pages.  Yikes!  I still have a flip phone!  Every time I post a new blog I get a little nervous that I’m not going to do something right and I won’t know how to fix it.  It seems to be mostly about who you know, who has the best marketing plan, who has the best webpage/blog or who has the best publisher.  It can make you lose sight of why you decided to write a book in the first place.

I love to tell stories!  My husband is a wonderful artist!  We love kids!  That pretty much covers most of it.  We get such joy seeing the looks on children’s faces after we have shared our books with them.  To watch a little girl or boy walk away from your table at a book signing hugging their book because you put their name in it…just for them.  What could be better than that?  Going to a school to read that doesn’t have the “budget” for a big name author to come, and reading to 60 eager little faces that have never met an author before in their entire life is priceless!  This is why my husband and I published our first book and continued with two more.

Yes, this “Old Dog” is going to have to learn some new tricks to keep up in the book
business, but as I look back at the journey we have made this past year, I pray that my husband and I never forget this first book, and the reasons we wrote it and who we wrote our books for.  I pray that the people that buy our books and the children that hear or read them will see this in every word on the page and every picture illustrated.  When we stop caring about what we are writing and who we are writing to, this will be the time that we should stop publishing books.

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Four-Year-Old

17 Dec

Every day I am amazed by the little things that we can learn from our children if we choose to.  I say “choose” because we can “choose” to not see the simple truths that they have to share with us, or we can “choose” to relearn what as adults we have pushed aside in the name of “maturity.”

One example that comes to mind happened when my son was four.  Like many children my son was inclined to get sick on a Saturday (this time it was an eye infection) when the doctor’s office isn’t open.  As my husband and I sat in the waiting room of Urgent Care my son noticed that the one other person in the room was watching TV.  My son promptly went over and sat next to him and began asking the man if he could watch cartoons.  The man graciously changed the channel much to the joy of my son.  Now my son was convinced that he had a new friend and he began talking to the man nonstop in typical four-year-old fashion.  I was about to call him back to me so I could save the poor man from the attack of the four-year-old when my son got up and walked over to the drinking fountain to get a drink.  You know how well a four-year-old gets a drink from a fountain.  Most of the water ended up on his shirt and face.  Seemingly unaffected by this, he promptly went back to his seat next to his new found friend.  What came out of his mouth next will be forever etched in my mind, for he turned to his friend and in the sweetest little voice said, “May I wipe my face on your shirt?”

Several things happened at this point at the same time.  His dad and I looked up in shock, and the desk clerk started to laugh. Meanwhile the man looked at him slightly surprised, smiled, gave a small suckle and said, “Sure.”  As a parent there really isn’t much we could do at this point.  It was already said and well, to be honest, he said it very nicely.  But as you can guess we were slightly horrified.  As parents, all we can think of is, “Did my child really just say that?”

So what in the world is the lesson here?  Now we must step back a second and think of this from a four-year-old mind set.  Fact one, this man has been nice to me and I like him.  Two, Mom and Dad have not stepped in and said I cannot talk to this man.
Three, I have decided that he will be my friend.  Four, Mom and Dad tell me all the time that friends help each other. Five, I have water on my face.  Six, this is a problem and my new friend looks like he can help me with my problem.  Seven, I should ask nicely.
Eight, problem solved, so why are Mom and Dad looking at me that way?  This is all very simple if you look at life through his eyes.

Hmmm!  How much simpler life would be if we could think like a four-year-old?  We could meet someone and not judge them by their age, color or background.  We would want to make friends with people just because, not because we wanted to get ahead or benefit from the friendship somehow.  We wouldn’t be too proud to ask our friends for help when we really needed it.  Finally, if we did ask for help, we would do it with a grateful heart and with kind words.

No, this won’t solve all the problems in life, in fact it doesn’t even come close.  But then again, I bet that if you watch and listen, you can learn more profound truths from the little ones around you that we all need to relearn sometimes.

What’s so Special about Baby Wipes?

25 Nov

I am quite sure that the very first person to invent baby wipes could not have possibly come close to understanding the important role this product would play in our world
today.  I could not function half as well on a daily basis without this particular product.  In fact, if you are a new mother or father just get use to buying baby wipes regularly because their usefulness will continue far past the baby years!

I know you are thinking, “Is she really going to write a whole blog about baby
wipes?”  If you have been a mother or father for any length of time you will not be surprised, but if you have no children and have never used a baby wipe you might change your mind about their importance after I tell you about all the magical things for which they can be used.

  1.  A friend or family member arrives unexpected.  Grab a baby wipe and quickly wipe down the bathroom.
  2.  It works so much better than hand sanitizer because it actually gets the dirt off.
  3.  Your little one wants to help you clean but you can’t hand them a product with bleach in it.  Give them a baby wipe and let them clean the mop-boards.
  4. You start to go out the door but realize you have something on your shirt. Grab a baby wipe because it usually works.
  5. Going on a road trip?  Make sure you have baby wipes in your car because they can clean most spills, and your kids (or yourself) can wash their hands if they get sticky or dirty.
  6. With little ones around they are bound to step in something undesirable.
    No problem!  Baby wipes are great to get that off.
  7. They work fantastic at cleaning anything hard to get around like wheelchairs (OK that only applies to me), bikes, strollers, computer keyboards or just about anything plastic.
  8. You go to the park for a picnic, but there is bird stuff all over the picnic bench. This is no problem if you have some baby wipes in your bag.

There are so many more things that I could list, but I think you are starting to get the
idea.  I would love to hear about all the interesting things that you do with this amazing product as well.  Now if you see someone buying baby wipes in the store you know to not automatically think that they have a baby.  They might just be a very smart person.


What is so Special About Fishing?

9 Nov

The art of fishing is something that I still have a lot to learn about.  When I was growing up I never went fishing.  I have always loved the outdoors, but fishing was not my parent’s idea of a good time.  This was most likely because my dad grew up on a small farm, and fishing was just another way of getting food, not a recreational activity.  My husband on the other hand, loves to go fishing.  So in our ten years of marriage I have gone on many fishing trips.

I love going for many reasons, but one reason may or may not surprise you.  What I enjoy more than anything else is watching my son and husband fish together.
My son has ADHD and is normally in a constant state of movement.  It has always been a task to get him to sit still for anything.  That is until you take him to the lake and give him a fishing pole, and put him next to dad.  They will sit for hours talking, laughing and catching nothing most of the time.

What is so special about fishing that causes this to happen?  Is it the beautiful lake?  Is it the undivided attention of a father and son?  Is it the soft breeze that blows across the lake?  Is it the stories that daddy tells about his adventures of fishing as a boy?  Is it the fun of putting a slimy worm on the end of a hook?  Maybe it is just all of
the above.

In a world where we have video games, satellites, cell phones, computers and movies at the touch of a button my son chooses to go fishing!  Isn’t that awesome!?  I think so. We work so hard to give our children everything, and sometimes all they
need is just a quiet afternoon soaking up God’s creation with someone they love.  It doesn’t take a lot of money it just takes your time.