Tag Archives: children

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.

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For the Love of Uggs

18 Nov

kristis photos 001With winter on the horizon I feel that it is high time that I break by blog silence with the sharing of what has become a long standing tradition in our home that involves Ugg boots.

Let me first explain that I was a teenager in the late 80’s and started college at Biola University, a Southern CA Christian University, in the fall of 89.  I was exposed to the Ugg brand a little in high school, because AZ is so close to CA their trends seem to come to us rather quickly, but I was mostly introduced to it in College.  Almost anyone that had a love for surfing had a pair.  This, I must emphasize, included mostly guys.  For the Ugg boot was designed by a male surfer, for them to wear after getting out of the cold ocean so they had something warm to put on their feet.

Now that you understand my original understanding of the boot, you will follow why when my son was about six I bought him his first pair of imitation Uggs.  Because my son is a typical AZ boy, the minute it starts to get in the 60’s he thinks he is freezing.  He was always complaining that his feet were cold and he didn’t like taking the time to put his shoes on before running outside, just like most children.  That is when I remembered my friends from college that had Ugg boots and how much they loved the fact that you could just slip them on really quick before heading out the door.  The natural wool lining makes it so you really don’t have to wear socks if you don’t want to, so most of my friends didn’t.

Needless to say, my son loved them.  He thought they were the greatest things ever.  I could hardly get him to wear another pair of shoes.  What I didn’t realized at the time, because I was just trying to save money by not buying  the expensive original Uggs, was that the fake fur lining on the imitation pair could begin to smell so bad!  I tried everything to get rid of the smell.  It got so bad that we had to keep the boots outside because they smelled so terrible.

Well the sad day finally arrived that the boots no longer fit my son, so I had to decide what I was going to do for the next winter.  I finally decided to scrape my pennies together and buy him his first REAL Uggs and see if that would help with the odor problem.  Do bears like honey?  What a difference!  The natural sheep skin was soooo much better at keeping the stench under control.  Let me tell you, our whole family was extremely grateful!

But I have to say that another sad day arrived, after I got my son his first REAL Uggs, when he was confronted with the notion that these boots were only “girl” boots.  Well, when you are a little boy of seven the idea of wearing girl’s shoes is horrifying.  It took a great deal of explaining and website pictures to convince my son that he did not have to give up one of his favorite treasures just because the fashion market had decided to change their gender target.

Now every summer our family saves up money for his new pair of winter Uggs.  It is a huge task, at least for us, because they are not inexpensive.  Not only that, but much thought is put into what color he is going to have as well.  We have now had black (that was the first pair), brown, tan, dark green, blue and now we have graduated to red.

To be honest, I am proud that my son, now 11, wears his Uggs every winter with no care to the frequent remarks that they are a “girl’s boot”.  As we continue our tradition of putting to rest a loved and very worn-out pair of Uggs, to welcome in a fresh new pair, we want to announce to the world that your son can also enjoy, work to destroy, snuggle in the warmth, save up all summer, and does not have to be ashamed or embarrassed that he is wearing a “girl’s” boot.   You now know that they are NOT just for girls and he can wear them along side my son… just “For The love of Uggs!”

This was NOT a paid advertisement for Ugg Boots. Yes, there are other brands just as good as the Ugg brand that have a natural wool lining.  This just happens to be my son’s favorite.

Rewind

29 Mar

Image Raising our children can always involve a little bit of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I can’t tell you how many times in a day I wish there was a rewind button that I could push.  Not only for myself as a parent but for my son as well. Remember the good old days when playing a game with friends we would say, “Do over!”

Then again, what those moments teach us is how to have compassion to those around us when they suffer from the same fate.  How many times do we hear a child or even an adult for that matter say, “Well, they did it to me first.” That is when I hear my mom’s words echo in my ears. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

One of the joys of being an adult that still struggles with ADD tendencies is that I am still inclined to open my mouth before realizing what just came out of my mouth. The icing on the cake comes when I witness my son doing the exact same thing!  Ugh! So where is that rewind button!!! Thank goodness that is when “God’s mercies are new every morning!”

A few days ago the tables where actually turned and I came face-to-face with someone that desperately wanted a rewind button in front of them.  A child at my son’s school said something to me that he shouldn’t have said.  When I confronted him with it, I knew he knew it too. It involved something slightly unkind that he had done to my son. What it was is really not the important issue. What transpired afterwards is.

This boy and my son have had a difficult time getting along.  Now to be fair, my son has had his moments of contribution in the matter as well. None the less, after this issue was addressed with his parents a chain of events occurred that is quite precious.

The following day both my son and I received notes of apology and my son was given a gift card to McDonald’s which was paid for by the boy from money he had earned.  Step number one is complete. I was wrong, will you forgive me?

Step two is just around the bend in my son’s response. “Mom, wasn’t that really nice? Can I use this gift card to take him to McDonald’s?” Do you see it? Yep! That is what mercy looks like.  I was so proud of my son at that moment. Every one of us wants a rewind moment in our lives. If you are like me, I want it about once a day!!  Mercy is such a powerful tool.  This morning before school my son presented him with a handmade thank you card, and an invitation to lunch to McDonald’s (today is a half-day for them).  Suddenly the relationship between them made a 180 degree turn and off they went to play.

This concept is one of the main ideas addressed in my new book Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish. The main character Pearl shows compassion to the shark that bullies her every day; because of this something amazing happens to their relationship.

If we can teach our children to show forgiveness and mercy even when it might not be fully deserved, the possibilities are endless. Will it always have a happy ending? No, but will it be more happy then sad?  I would be so bold as to say, “Yes!” This does not mean that consequences should not be given when they are required, but that open arms are always waiting at the other side. We have allowed the “do over” play to come into the game of life. So maybe not a rewind button, but maybe even better.

 

 

 

Mark Your Calendars

11 Sep
Meet Pearl

Meet Pearl

Way back in February I posted a blog telling you about a new book project for our Mommy, Tell Me a Story book series called Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish. Well I am happy to announce that the text and art-work was submitted to our publisher today and a release date has finally been set for October 7, 2013.

Our original desire was to complete this book by mid-summer, but things were delayed when we were asked to start work on our recent July release…Diabetes and Healthy Eating.

We are so excited to share this new story with your little ones.  As usual my husband did an amazing job on the art-work. He far exceeded my expectations.

In this new adventure you will travel underwater to a lovely coral reef and meet a little pink fish named Pearl.  She struggles with a shark named Clark that loves to torment her every day on the way to and from school about her fins that curl.  Everyone knows that fins shouldn’t curl.  Pearl not only learns in this story why and how she is special, but in the end Clark is no longer the tormentor but a new friend.

I know you will want to add this to your collection of Mommy, Tell Me a Story books so be sure to mark your calendars for October 7th.

 

Growing-Up

9 Sep
Time with Grandpa

Time with Grandpa

Well, my son just started 5th grade! “Where did the time go? Before you know it he’s going to be all grown-up!”  What parent hasn’t said this once or twice?

I even remember my Grandma referring to my dad and his sisters as “You kids.” My brother and I always found this very funny.  We would respond, “Does that make us babies then?” My grandma would just smile and say, “You’re the little kids, and they are the big kids.”

Now that I am a parent and a little older I totally get this.  I guess I have also come to realize that in some ways we are always kids.  What makes a kid a kid?  The dictionary defines kid: a child or young person.  I may not be a child anymore, but the likelihood that I am always going to be younger than someone else, until God takes me home, is pretty high.

I remember when my son was very little he asked when he was going to be older than his big brothers.  Needless to say, he was not happy when he found out that they were always going to be older than him even when he became a grown-up.

As children we look to the older people around us to guide and direct us to adulthood.  Why then do we suddenly stop this once we arrive? People haven’t stopped being older than us have they?

I am not saying that wisdom always comes with age, but the chances certainly go up.  There will always be a percentage of the population that refuses to gain wisdom from any situation.  Then again, I am still saddened when I see seniors being neglected or mistreated when they have so much to still teach and contribute to our lives.  I am equally saddened when I see a senior believing that they have nothing to offer the world any longer.

They have something that cannot be purchased for any amount of money, learned at any school, or inherited through any blood line. Good or bad, successful or unsuccessful they will always have something that you don’t. They have experience!  Don’t let that experience go to waste.  Let’s make sure we pass it along because some day our children will be all grown-up and they will need to do the same.

Make spending time with the seniors in your life a priority for you and your children today. Before you know it they will be all grown-up and you don’t want to find yourself asking “Where did the time go?”

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.

Making the Move

13 Mar

 

2nd Edition now available!

I have some exciting news!  The Mommy, Tell Me a Story book series is being moved to a new publisher.  We are so excited about the new changes in store for us and want to tell you all about it.

Richer Publications: An Imprint of Richer Press and Richer Life, LLC is a full service, specialty Trade publisher whose sole goal is to shape thoughts and change lives for the better.  You can learn more about them at www.richerlifellc.com

Because of this move, we have been able to add some fun changes to our books.  The story line and art work are unchanged, but we have added some unique features that I think will make the books more enjoyable for little ones and caregivers alike.

The first thing we added was the “Big People Page.”  This is just an opening letter from us to all the “Big People” out there.  We know that we live in a world of great variety and not every child is being raised by Mom and Dad anymore.  There are Foster Parents, Grandparents, Single Parents, Aunts, Uncles and even friends that all long to help their
little ones reach their full potential in life.  We want to help them know what to look for in our books and give them a better understanding of our goals in this book series.

We have also added a “Fun Facts & Questions” page after the story.  I give simple facts about some of the characters in each of the books.  Our target age range for the
books is between 3-6 so I tried to come up with some things that they would find interesting to know and at the same time not too complicated for their little minds to grasp.  I also provide some interactive questions that will help reinforce some
of the lessons being taught in each book.  As a parent myself, I am always thankful for tools to help me in any way I can.

Last but not least, every book will now have two coloring pages at the back featuring the two main characters in the story.  After handing out countless coloring pages at schools and book events we discovered just how much children love them.  We do encourage caregivers to photocopy the coloring pages on the “Big People Page” so that
children can color them over and over again.

We think these new additions are a perfect complement to our series, and we can’t wait to share them with you.  The first book to be completed was Mommy, Tell Me a Story about What Daddy Does. It has just been released this week and can be purchased at amazon.com.  You can also purchase them through our publisher’s site for a special new release price of $10 @ www.richerlifellc.com.

The next two books should be done shortly so be sure to keep an eye out for them.  Our fourth book Mommy, Tell Me a Story about a Fish will be published through Richer Press as well with all these great new features this summer!  Happy Reading!