The Bridge: Christmas Brings Us a New ‘Food Allergy’ Life

The Bridge: Christmas Brings Us a New ‘Food Allergy’ Life

This year, I’ve received my Christmas present just a little early.  My son reached the top of the wait list and was admitted into the Southern California Food Allergy Institute Tolerance Induction Program earlier this month. Our 2020 will be sprinkled with cross country flights from the east coast to the west coast to attend our son’s appointments, in search of complete food freedom.  To say this will be life changing for us is an understatement.

My prayers have been answered

For close to a year, we have been on the wait list to enter this advanced, scientific, & analytical based approach to obtaining food allergy freedom, praying daily that this request would be granted.  Tears came to my husband’s eyes as we watched the orientation video, explaining the program and it’s unique approach to treatment of food allergies.  The words “food freedom” seem so unattainable to us after living with our son’s life threatening food allergies for over four years.  We have been living quite the opposite of food freedom and have been more in a place like “food prison,” confined by the boundaries of food allergies in order to keep our son alive and safe.

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Serving a Sentence in Food Allergy Prison

We discovered Jaxon’s food allergies on his first birthday when his daycare fed him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, even though they were a self declared peanut-free facility.  He immediately reacted, with swelling of his face being so severe that he was unrecognizable.  Since that terrifying day, we have been fighting the food allergy battle as a family, all appointed soldiers in the daily battle to keep Jaxon safe.  For those that don’t live this ‘food allergy’ battle, it can be hard to imagine the focus, attention, & sacrifice we all face daily, even moment by moment.  One small lapse in judgement or attention can have deadly outcomes.  The level of anxiety is not something that can be put into quantitative words.  We all live with it, even our son, despite our best efforts to live a normal life.

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The Bridge

As I finish writing my book, a quintessential food allergy handbook for those new to living with food allergies, I dream of the day our family will obtain food freedom.  Follow me in this journey, as I document our visits, our emotions, and the day we finally achieve food freedom.  I hope to encourage you a little along the way.

Being in one world yet dreaming of being in the next reminds me of how we live here on earth but dream of being in heaven.  As the bridge is being built for my family to cross to food freedom, I’m reminded of the bridge Christ built from this earth to heaven.  May your bridges bring that same reminder.  In this new year, take some time to look for the bridges.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you: For every one who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 7:7-8


Seeing Light in the Dark

Seeing Light in the Dark

Why do children suffer with life-threatening food allergies?  What’s the purpose, the reason, the big picture?  Why does my son have to deal with this?  Why does my whole family have to deal with this?

The ‘why’ questions can drive you straight to insanity if you linger there too long.  The truth is that we may never know the reasons why our children are suffering from food allergies.  The question we should ponder is what can we learn through this struggle.  There are blessings in the trials.  We just have to open our eyes to the blessings and stay out of the pit of anger.

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“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

One blessing our family has experienced is unity.  Because one person cannot solely carry the weight of keeping our son safe, the entire family carries it together.  We have become a team, a safety net woven together with love.  Sometimes, it takes hardships to weave a beautiful tapestry.

We have learned to trust in God’s plan.  This is not an easy road.  We traveled down the path of anger, sorrow, pleading for a cure, and even denial.  We found dead ends at every one of those paths.  God nudged us down the hard road of faith.  He has been teaching us all along the way that we must trust in His plan.  There is no other option that gives us peace.  Anger, sorrow, denial all left us with turmoil inside.  Faith, though it is sometimes difficult to keep, is the only road that leads to peace.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways may ways, declares the Lord.”  Isaiah 55:8

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Looking at the blessings and focusing on gratefulness has left our family with more peace and encouragement than we could have imagined was possible at the beginning of this food allergy journey.  We may not understand the whys of the weight we carry but what we can understand is the blessings.  Focus on the positives, the gifts, and the blessings.  You will see the world with a brighter light than before.  This is my prayer for you-to seek the Lord in your trials and find your faith in Him.

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your graciousness be known to everyone.  The Lord is near.  Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 4-7

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Snow Skiing Rescued Us From the Food Allergy Winter Blues

Snow Skiing Rescued Us From the Food Allergy Winter Blues

Winter is a tough season for our food allergy family.  Coming off the heels of multiple food-centered celebrations, we are literally exhausted.  Tremendous planning, safe proofing, and stress are all a part of the holiday season.  We traveled through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s with flying (allergic reaction-free) colors only to land at two upcoming food-centered celebrations: Superbowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day.  With only a few weeks of breathing room between the two seasons, our family needed a break!

My amazing extended family invited us to go snow skiing.  I grew up skiing every year but it had been over twenty years since I’d hit the slopes.  None of my four children had ever been before.  With ages ranging from 4 to 16 years old,  they were all eager to learn to ski and snowboard.  I was a little apprehensive at first, as I always am when we encounter a new and unfamiliar environment in which I have to assess the dangers for my son with severe food allergies, but we were up for the adventure.  And we needed it.


Between private snow boarding lessons for the oldest and ski school for the younger three, they all took to it quickly!  The lovely thing about ski school was that they fed them nothing.  NOTHING.  That is heavenly music to a food allergy mom’s ears.  Just heavenly.  I didn’t have to worry about what they were feeding my son or what the other children were eating that my son may be allergic to.  I almost cried when they told me there was no food served.  I was able to ski the slopes, only worrying about the normal parent stuff but not the food allergy stuff!  Of coarse, I was never more than a few minutes away from their location, but on this day, I was not hovering.


Thank you Appalachian Ski School for handing the children back to their parents for a one and a half hour break for lunch.  Thank you for starting ski school at 10 am.  Thank you for ending ski school at 3:30 pm.  Thank you for arranging the day so that parents could feed their children snacks and lunch so that you did not need to.  Praise God my son could learn to ski without the usual worry about food.  And I could ski too.  I treasured every second.  It was relaxing and exhilarating all at the same time.  You food allergy parents out there know what I mean.


My children learned a skill that will stick with them for life.  They learned it together.  They learned it safely.  We were all able to appreciate the beauty of God’s artwork and the natural playground He created for us.  Now that’s a family vacation!  We all needed a little break.  It was just the refreshment necessary to keep us pushing forward.

“For they refreshed my spirit and yours also.  Such men deserve recognition.”    1 Corinthians 16:18 


RVin’ It With Food Allergies

RVin’ It With Food Allergies
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There are many reasons why I love my RV.  Family fun, campfires, vacation home on wheels, less packing and unpacking, versatility…

But the number one reason I love my RV is how easy it makes traveling with food allergies.

My family loves to travel, make memories, experience new places and enjoy adventure.  All of those things became a little more difficult to experience when our youngest of four children was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies at the age of 1.  Many aspects of our life changed and traveling was one of them.  We could no long take spur of the moment weekend trips and keep our son safe.

Food allergy management requires serious planning.  Planning what to eat, how to cook, how to keep food fresh and our son safe.  We couldn’t just eat out the entire weekend.  With food allergies of peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, corn and wheat, eating out was and is dangerous.  The risk of cross-contamination is extremely high, even if a food is “free” of his allergens.  We had to find a way…adventure is just part of our family’s heartbeat.

Within a year after his diagnosis, we decided to purchase a used RV.  It was like a gift from God.  We could travel safely again.

We have 100% control of what enters our camper.  We can cook his allergen free food in a safe kitchen.  We can ensure he eats off a clean table (not always possible in a restaurant).  We don’t have to stay in a hotel room that may have sketchy cleaning between guests (who may have eaten and dropped peanuts just hours before you check in).  We can rest assured that he is safe, even when we travel.

It’s opened so many doors for our family.  We can go places and have adventures.  We come back to the camper to prepare and eat meals, where it’s safe.  We can connect as a family.  We can include our son in what we, as a family, had been experiencing before his diagnosis.

If you are a food allergy family, then you know, there is no better feeling then for your food allergic child to be included.  There are so many experiences that your child is excluded from, for safety reasons.  “You can’t have that, baby,” is a phrase your child hears a lot.  And it’s not about the toy at the store.  It’s about the food his sister is eating.  Or the birthday cake at a party that everyone else is so excited to try.  Or the buttered popcorn at the movie theater that everyone else is munching on.

It’s nice to make you child feel normal and included.  The RV has done that for this food allergy family.  And I thank God for it!

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

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