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I laid in bed, clutching the transverse region of my large intestine. The pain was so intense, I could hardly breathe. “Call for an ambulance, honey,” I whispered to my husband. “Now.”

As the red flashing lights appeared outside our bedroom window, my eyes filled with tears. I was scared. The last time I had had a Crohn’s flare up this intense, I stayed in the hospital for eight days and just barely avoided having my entire large intestine removed. No, Lord, I prayed as my heart weighed heavy with frustration and sadness and fear. Don’t put me through this again. Please. You can’t.

I thought of all the therapies and specialists and appointments on our calendar. I put my hand on my raging belly and the tiny baby inside it, and felt the tears begin to crest on my eyelashes. Don’t let them spill over, Katie. Don’t give in to your fear, I told myself.

The EMTs came inside and helped me walk to the ambulance. I walked past dinner on the kitchen counter, dishes that hadn’t been cleaned, and babies in their bedrooms who did not know mommy wouldn’t be there in the morning when they woke up.

Jeff kissed my forehead as they laid me on the gurney and rolled me into the ambulance. And off we drove into the night.

I wretched as the EMT asked me questions and then, with understanding, he said to me, “I have Crohn’s, too.” I was so thankful the Lord chose him to take me to the emergency room.

The ER was packed when we arrived, and I laid on a bed in the hallway for hours, making my way to and from the bathroom while nurses bustled between dozens of patients lining the halls and filling the rooms.

Around 11:00pm a nurse came to check the baby’s heartbeat. After searching for several minutes with a fetal heart monitor, Jelly Bean’s little heartbeat finally pounded loud and clear, letting us know he or she was alive and well. I fought back tears again as I heard the precious and rhythmic whoosh of my baby’s beautiful heart.

Home from the Hospital and a Lesson in His Love: Eucharisteo | wonderfully-made.net

At midnight, a dear friend came over to stay with the kids so my husband could come be with me for a few hours. At 3am, with him by my side, I dozed off and was wheeled from the ER to the hospital. With my trusty IV in tow, pumping fluid and steroids and life back into my colon, my recovery began.

Home from the Hospital and a Lesson in His Love: Eucharisteo | wonderfully-made.net

For the next 24 hours, I sipped on tea and broth, praying I would be able to tolerate mild, solid foods soon. God heard my prayer and the next morning, baby and I were able to enjoy a breakfast of home fries and yogurt. It was delicious and I was thrilled, but soon realized it was not the true sustenance the Lord intended for me that day.

After breakfast, a chaplain came by and administered communion. It was the first time I’d received the Eucharist in months, as going to church is difficult for our Jack, and I felt something flicker in my heart that I had buried under layers of hurt and pain and stress – Jesus.

“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” (John 6:51)

I realized that I had forgotten His presence in my life. I had forgotten His tremendous love and healing power. And started to see that in the midst of my frustration and anger with the journey God has laid before me, I had forgotten that it is beautiful and blessed and wonderful.

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Sometimes, it takes adversity for us to pause and give thanks. To realize that Christ lives in and through our lives. And that oftentimes we have to be made to stop in order to taste and see the goodness of the Lord. (Psalm 34:8)

I am thankful for a God who knows when I need to pause. Who strengthens me even when I feel as though I can’t take another step. I am thankful to Him for bringing me home to my husband and children again. For friends and family who love us through our joy and our pain. And for you, dear reader. For your time and prayers and heart. For joining our family along this journey.

I don’t know what lies ahead but I do know He lives within, and with His grace and love, I can live with joy and thanksgiving. With Eucharisteo in my heart.

Home from the Hospital and a Lesson in His Love: Eucharisteo | wonderfully-made.net

 

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Faithful Fitness (for kids!): Yummy, allergy-friendly snacks made with natural ingredients for little ones | wonderfully-made.net

As our family continued along our faithful fitness journey, we hit a snag: snacks. Though I wish I could pack fresh fruit, string cheese, and other whole foods for snacking when we are on the road, it simply isn’t conducive to our hectic schedule and how long we are away from home each day. This left me wondering if there were any healthy (or at least healthier) snacks I could grab off the pantry shelf while running out the door. And thus my search began!

Over the past few weeks, our family has tried a variety of natural, preservative-free, and allergy-friendly products (many of which come in pre-packaged serving sizes!) and I wanted to share with you the ones that were a hit with our kiddos:

Faithful Fitness (for kids!): Yummy, allergy-friendly snacks made with natural ingredients for little ones | wonderfully-made.net

Puffins Cereal: Non GMO. Wheat-free, gluten free. Our kids love to snack on these while we are driving in the car to and from therapies. I put a couple handfuls in a tupperware and off we go! They also love to eat them for breakfast with milk.

Annie’s Cocoa & Vanilla Bunny Cookies: Non GMO, wheat-free, gluten free, and nut free with no artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or preservatives. Jack absolutely loves these. These chocolate and vanilla cookies have a nice crunch to them and are very yummy!

Simply Balanced Fruit Strips: These Target brand fruit strips are made with natural ingredients, no artificial flavors or colors. Each box contains 25 of these pre-packaged, delicious fruit strips. I pack one in Jack’s lunch each day. It is nice and chewy, which he loves. Our favorite flavor is the pomegranate. Kristen loves to snack on these when we are out running errands. They are easy to pack because they are thin and light. I always keep a handful of them in my purse.

Enjoy Life Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies: Non GMO. Wheat, dairy, peanut, tree nut, egg, soy, fish, casein, potato, sesame, and sulfite free. I absolutely love these and the kids do, too! They are a great, after-lunch treat at our house. They have lots of chocolate chips, great flavor, and are super allergy-friendly.

Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks: Non GMO. Organic. No artificial flavors, synthetic colors, or preservatives. These are the kids’ favorites! They are chewy, fruity, and delicious. They come in pre-packaged pouches which are great for tossing in my purse as we are racing out the door. Our kids love the Berry Patch flavor.

Faithful Fitness (for kids!): Yummy, allergy-friendly snacks made with natural ingredients for little ones | wonderfully-made.net

There you have it! While these products could never replace fruits, veggies, and whole foods, they do serve as great snacks that are easy to take from place to place while we are out and about. They are allergy-friendly, made with natural ingredients and, best of all, our kids think they are delicious!

(*Links provided for nutritional and allergy information for each product. Always check labels to make sure they are allergy-friendly for your family’s needs!)

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Faithful Fitness Fridays - Busy moms loving and caring for the bodies God gave us | wonderfully-made.net & beautifulinhistime.comFaithful Fitness is a weekly series dedicated to getting fit faithfully, one step at a time. Whether you are a SAHM, working mom, struggle with a chronic illness, and/or have time constraints for fitness, this is the series for you! Be sure to check in here each Friday and to follow our Faithful Fitness board on Pinterest where we share great workouts, exercises, health and nutrition tips, and more!

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A love note to the mom who feels weary

I wrote the following in my prayer journal recently:

Lord,

When I go places with my son, others see a “normal” looking child who misbehaves, who screams, who cries, and a mother who toggles between ignoring his behaviors and giving in to them. But what they don’t know, Lord, what they can’t see, are the dozens of battles I fight every day both with and for my son. They don’t see the countless phone calls I make to doctors and specialists and therapists and teachers in the margins between my son’s meltdowns and confusion, therapies and appointments. They don’t see that sometimes I need to ignore his behaviors some days, while I must give in to them on others. They don’t see how exhausting this journey is.

They don’t see.

And then, a few days later, my children and I met up with a dear friend and her two boys at the park. While we were there, our sons did beautifully. They played well both together and apart. They did not argue with us or have meltdowns. They played for three full hours, and for the first time in weeks, I saw joy on my son’s face.

As our family was leaving, a man walked up to me and told me that my friend and I were not good role models for our children. That we allowed our sons to leave toys (which belong to the park) in the park without putting them back exactly where they got them from. When I gently explained that our children have special needs, he claimed to work with children on the spectrum, turned up his nose, and informed me that we need to do better. Essentially he said that we are terrible parents.

And my weary heart was resurged. I looked him in the eye, smiled, and kindly thanked him for expressing his concerns, then pointed out that he did not know our families, our journey, or how hard we work each and every day for our children. That picking up the toys was not a battle we chose to fight among the many we had already throughout the day. That I would be happy to chat with him, to have a friendly, open discussion about my son’s needs, but to corner me and judge our families and our sons without knowing us or seeking to know us was inappropriate. When he tried to argue with me, I pointed out that extending a caring hand would have gone much farther than his judgment. In regard to his profession, I asked him if he addressed his clients or his clients’ parents in the manner in which he had spoken to me. He had no answer, and eventually walked away.

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For the weary mom + a few words on courage | wonderfully-made.netTo the mom who feels weary, stay strong. I know you live fatigue in a way that can never be fully explained. You see pictures of friends who lead “normal” lives and long for what they have. You stand in the face of judgment from others who if they only got to know you, would come to understand you and the choices you must make. Stay courageous. Don’t back down from ignorance, but don’t give in to it either. Stay calm. Stay true. Smile, even when the world wants you to cower and cry. And, above all, let the love you have for your children radiate from all you say and do.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

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Happy Friday, friends! Last week’s post caused a bit of controversy, and Aprille and I want to speak to it here before sharing her continuation of the post, which includes allergy-friendly on-the-go options. Eating healthy, truly healthy, is a goal that we are both pursuing. Ultimately, we would both love to eat whole foods exclusively. Unfortunately, we also both have extenuating circumstances that keep us from always achieving that goal – such as severe food allergies, back-to-back therapies, and family members who experience frequent anxiety attacks.

We started this series for women like us, who find it difficult to eat 100% healthy 100% of the time. Women who find themselves constantly on-the-go rushing to and from therapies, appointments, play dates, and balancing various stressful realities that impact their daily lives.

For both of us, prepping healthy snacks ahead of time can be achieved some of the time, but not all of the time. And, in light of that, Katie shared with you some “healthy” fast food options for on-the-go families last week. Though those choices arguably may not be truly “healthy,” because, yes, they are fast food, they are still better choices than not caring at all. And that is what this series is all about. We moms all have many pressing priorities. Pursuing faithful fitness is one of those priorities, but we understand that there are many others as well. Sometimes, one priority has to give a little bit because other priorities in life and motherhood are more pressing. It is all a balancing act.

With that said, we honor and appreciate each family’s individual choices and hope that this series will provide you with a few friendly insights, exercises, and honesty based on our personal experiences. Thank you, as always, for reading and joining us along this journey. Without further ado, here is Aprille’s post that includes allergy-friendly foods for on-the-go families.

Love,

Aprille and Katie

Faithful Fitness: Allergy-Friendly Options for On-The-Go Families | wonderfully-made.net

Chick-Fil-A

We started going to Chick-Fil-A when my son was just a baby, long before either of us were diagnosed with food allergies. When he was old enough to get a kid’s meal (around the same time I got diagnosed with a wheat allergy), I started to realize how much more cost effective it was to eat a kid’s meal than to get a bun-less entree. Now, our standard order is to both get a kid’s meal.

Chick-Fil-A’s grilled chicken nuggets are gluten free and come in a set of four or six (which is nice, because my hunger levels vary). You can get fruit, fries, or applesauce as a side. Contrary to a lot of hype, Chick-Fil-A’s fries are NOT fried in peanut oil* (while some of their other products are), but rather canola oil. I personally do not use canola oil for my personal cooking at home, but while we are out, sometimes having a few fries is a fun cheat.

So, the order for myself and my son looks like this:

Me: Kid’s Meal, grilled, six count, with fries and a water

Him: Kid’s Meal, grilled, four count, with fruit and an apple juice.

Cost? $8-9

Then, we split the fries and the fruit – so we are both getting maybe 2-3 bites of fries and a little bit of fruit. This meal could be made more healthy by excluding the fries and choosing the fruit.

{**My son’s peanut allergy and my wheat allergy are not so severe that I am worried about cross-contamination. We had both eaten at CFA countless times before being diagnosed with absolutely no allergic reaction. Obviously, if you have a more severe allergy or gluten sensitivity in your family, this is something you would have to determine risk factors and make the best choice for your family.}

Chick-Fil-A has a whole section on their website with allergen, gluten, and diabetic information about their options.

McDonald’s

I truly do avoid going to McDonald’s, but sometimes it happens. I find myself there more often for breakfast, if I’m out unusually early. McDonalds does not have a gluten-free menu and even their hash browns have wheat in them (unlike CFA’s hash browns).

But what you can get, that maybe you didn’t know about, is bacon à la carte. You can ask for a side of bacon and walk out with three slices in a container. Normally, when I go to McDonalds in the morning I’ll ask for bacon and a Strawberry Banana Smoothie. There’s still a lot of sugar in the smoothie, but no HFCS, so a better option than other things I could choose.

Starbucks

Starbucks is definitely a more costly option, but their ingredients tend far more toward natural and whole foods than the other fast food chains. You can order classic oatmeal and fresh fruit. Some Starbucks have offered “protein platters” with hardboiled eggs, cheese, peanut butter and fruit. {The peanut butter comes in a separate container that can easily be tossed.} They offer a much better yogurt parfait than McDonald’s as well as a nice line of breakfast sandwiches. Unfortunately, they will not give you bacon à la carte (tried that) because their sandwiches come pre-made.

Subway

At Subway you can also order à la carte high protein meat and cheese options. While these meats are not nitrate-free, I would rather have simple meat, provolone cheese, and vegetables than some other options. Deli meat is also very easy to pass to the backseat to hungry littles.

Subway has never given me any trouble for ordering à la carte – but this also isn’t something they are accustomed to handling, so they might look at you strangely at first. Remember to be patient with the people working.

The more people with allergies ask for allergy-friendly options, the more awareness will be raised and hopefully the more changes to restaurant menus we will see.

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View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allumeheadshotscutTo read more about my journey into physical and mental health, check out the Health and Wellness section of my blog or start here on this post about my weight-loss journey.

Also, be sure to follow our Faithful Fitness board on Pinterest where we share great workouts, exercises, health and nutrition tips, and more!

~Aprille

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Faithful Fitness: Healthy Fast Food Choices for Families On-The-Go | wonderfully-made.net

Life is busy, isn’t it friends? I feel like our family is constantly on the go. We are in and out of therapies, the hospital, the emergency room, the pediatrician, and various specialist appointments on a weekly basis, and as much as I would love to be able to cook every meal from home, it simply is not possible for us and more often than not leaves us with, you guessed it, fast food.

For a long time, I was really down on myself about the fast food we were eating, but was not sure how to make a positive change, so, with the help and encouragement of Aprille, I began doing some research and taste-testing healthier fast food items for our family and yours!

Here is what I’ve come up with:

McDonald’s

McDonald’s often gets a bad rap (and I do understand why) however, with thousands of locations nationwide, it is the most accessible fast food restaurant. So, I went through and found some menu items that are on the healthier side!

Yogurt Parfait: Made with low-fat vanilla yogurt layered with blueberries and strawberries, all topped with crunchy granola. 150 calories.

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap: Grilled chicken breast strips with tangy honey mustard sauce, lettuce, jack and cheddar cheeses, wrapped in a flour tortilla. 250 calories.

Chick-Fil-A

Predominantly available in the South (there are only four in MA), but if you have one in your area, they have some great options!

Chicken Soup:  Chicken noodle soup made with with carrots and celery. Delish! 130 calories.

Grilled Nuggets Kids Meal (6 count):  With a Buddy Fruit or mixed fruit cup and milk. 250 calories.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich: With unsweet tea (I sweeten with Splenda) or diet lemonade. 335 calories.

Wendy’s

Small Chili: Yum! I love their chili. It is great especially during cold winter months when I need something to warm me up! 180 calories.

Grilled Chicken Wrap Kids Meal: With apple slices and a bottle of water. 300 calories.

Subway

Sometimes, I just want a good old-fashioned sub. Here are a couple of great options for both you and the kids!

Turkey Breast Kids Meal: Small sub with turkey and veggies, served with apple slices and low fat milk. 180 calories.

Turkey Breast (6″ sub): Turkey breast with lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers with a bottle of water. 217 calories.

 

And this is just a start! Each of these fast food restaurants offer salads as well, I just find them a bit tricky to eat when I’m driving :)

 

How about you? What healthy fast food items does your family love? Please share in the comments below!

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Faithful Fitness is a weekly series dedicated to getting fit faithfully, one step at a time. Whether you are a SAHM, working mom, struggle with a chronic illness, and/or have time constraints for fitness, this is the series for you! Be sure to check in here each Friday and to follow our Faithful Fitness board on Pinterest where we share great workouts, exercises, health and nutrition tips, and more!

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