A Day In The Life…

A Day In The Life…

Fundraisers often involve 5K runs or being held in “jail” until you raise enough funds to be released.  Recently, I came across a fundraiser (the Top 10 Challenge) for food allergy research funding that was quite different.  Instead of the usual 5K, the participant is to avoid food allergens for one meal or for one day.  Sponsors contribute monetarily to support the participant’s sacrifice of predetermined foods (usually the allergens of their loved one), in honor of people with food allergies.  What an absolutely awesome idea!  Not only is the participant supporting people with food allergies through a sacrificial act, they are raising funds for research to help end food allergies.

It sounds simple, right?  Just avoid peanuts, milk, or eggs for the day.  This only sounds simple.  Once you begin reading labels, you will see how difficult it is to find foods that do not contain these allergens.  Sometimes you are lucky enough to find foods that don’t contain peanuts, eggs, or milk in the ingredient list, offering a glimmer of hope.  However, as you read on down the label, you find that they “may contain” your allergens due to cross contamination.  Your food choice list becomes short.

Choosing to live a day in the life of someone with food allergies is exhausting.  The substance (food) that you must have to keep you alive, can also kill you if it’s the wrong type of substance.  Learning that the foods considered safe for you may contain the ones that aren’t safe for you by cross contamination is defeating to say the least.  What you can eat becomes a more narrow spectrum.  Restricting your choices so drastically makes you begin to feel imprisoned.  It’s as if you are living in a glorious mansion but confined to one tiny linen closet because that’s your only safe space.  Eventually, you become extremely grateful for that tiny little safe space.

As a parent of a child with severe food allergies, I am choosing to take part in the Top 10 Challenge fundraiser for food allergy research.  My prayer is that many people will take part in this Challenge, not only to raise funds but also to experience a day in the life of someone with food allergies.  Although you may feel restricted in your food choices, your eyes will be opened to some other beautiful things you may have otherwise missed.  Try it and you’ll see what I mean.

If you are interested in the Top 10 Challenge, please visit My Challenge Ambassador Page to learn more about how you can support or visit the Top 10 Challenge Page.

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Take Care of Yourself Too, Mama

Take Care of Yourself Too, Mama

When the focus of your days and nights is keeping your child safe, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself too.  As a mom to a child with severe food allergies, it can even feel selfish to care for yourself.   Slipping away to the gym, for a relaxing walk outside, or a trip to the spa all can trigger intense feelings of guilt, even when safety measures are in place to protect your child.  How could I step away from my child when it’s my main job to protect him?

The stress levels of mothers of children with severe food allergies are sky high.  That goes with out saying.  FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) reports that “mothers of food-allergic children under age five have significantly higher blood-pressure measurements and report significantly greater levels of psychosocial stress than mothers whose preschool-aged children do not have food allergies.”  Combating this high stress level can be challenging.  So challenging, in fact, that I often find myself doing nothing about it.  But then how can I be my best if I don’t get the rest, nourishment and refreshment my body requires?

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)

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Sometimes, we do have to take a step back and find rest.  I admit, I find it difficult to discipline myself to self-care.  As a mother & wife, the demands seem never-ending.  As the mother of a child with severe food-allergies, in addition to the normal demands, I feel like I’m sinking in quick sand most days.  When I feel most overwhelmed and stressed, I feel that gentle nudge telling me to take a self-care moment.  That nudge gives me permission to seek rest and refreshment.  That nudge pulls me out of the quick sand and onto solid ground.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:26-30)

For me, it could be a time out for prayer, reading an encouraging devotion, a walk outside, or a quick trip to the gym (complete with a visit to the hydro massage bed).  For you, it could be something different.  Either way, rest is necessary.  Refreshment is necessary.  Take the time, Mama, to care for yourself.  You need it.  Your child needs you to have it, too.  Draw close to the One who provides rest and refreshment.

Stay safe…and get some rest.

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