Don’t mind the dust…

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We are having an open house tomorrow for our exchange student… our beloved Egyptian daughter.

And I wanted my house to be perfect.. ok.. I wanted the garage to be perfect.  My house is too small.. and the weather too nice to have a gathering indoors.  So my goal was to organize and clean my garage… so in the end it wouldn’t look like a garage.

Well… Garage.. slash… sewing room.. slash storage.. slash art supplies.. slash… Yes, my garage is very multi-purpose.. But my hope was to disguise the “multi”… But alas it was not to be. The shelf I ordered to organize the drawers of overflowing art supplies.. came 3 days late.. arriving late Thursday. Everything I cleaned would get messed back up.. My chickens followed me everywhere… Every complication under the sun.. complicated my week. Nothing went right…

Add to that my teary-eyed-ness as our time with our exchange daughter is coming to an end..

You guessed it.. my garage is barely organized. … I was obviously not thrilled…

But with all the complications that frustrated me to tears… I also had surprises.. 3 surprises to be exact… 3 separate surprise visits from family and friends.. Each visit bringing smiles and laughter with it… It felt just like Christmas. With every smile I began to relax..  I could hear God’s still small voice whispering to me…

What is this really for?

So tomorrow when people begin to arrive at my house… They will see totes and totes of my preschool teacher “tools”. (You never know when you may be called to teach preschool again.  I have to be ready..)  They will see totes of costumes. They will see baskets of material stacked in front of my sewing station… And they will probably EVEN see a toy that we missed picking up from my nephews playtime today…

And they will see me smile… because no one really cares if my garage is cleared. They don’t care if I condensed my teaching totes. They don’t care that I have 2 totes that still need to be unpacked.

Tomorrow is about celebrating our Egyptian daughter… one of the most amazing girls I have ever met… Celebrating that God chose to Bless Us with her…

So that is what we will do….

Food for thought…

If you came to dinner at my house… you might think that you would want to pass on seconds.  You see..  my house is Gluten free.  Well to be exact… we are Gluten free… dairy free… yeast free… corn free… low sugar… and 20 other free’s.  Everything else is on a 4 day rotation.

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Master chef

In fact.. you may think we eat sticks and twigs… (Ha.. we actually bought a brand of pretzels called “sticks and twigs”… we didn’t buy them twice.. yuck!)  There are a lot of “non-desirable” healthy gluten free options out there.  But we have also found very good options as well.

We hosted an exchange student this year.. and she was more than a little worried about our food.  When her first meal was spaghetti… followed by Angel food cake… she soon relaxed.  She came to realize that dinner may be rushed (especially when I get lost in “Writing Land” or Researching.. or between practices and games)… but it all tastes relatively normal… And fresh… Cooking Gluten free (and corn free) usually means cooking from scratch… So no Chicken with Shake n Bake… But we still have breaded chicken.  We still have Parmesan chicken… We still have roast.. we still have gravy… and …we STILL have brownies…

Gluten free cooking takes a little practice.. and was very overwhelming at first.  So we changed tactics.. Instead of focusing on the things we could no longer have.. We made a list of all the things we COULD eat… and went from there.  Technically.. I went to the store.. with headphones and classical music… I read the labels of 100’s of boxes.  I found which mustard was gluten free.. which dressings… which taco shells… which cereals… which chips… which hot dogs… You get the picture…  It was a lot of research (in the beginning)…

But it was worth it…

It was SOOOOO worth it….

You see.. I see my son improving daily as his body heals.  I can see the symptoms of his Autism… his Bipolar… his confusion… his aggression… I see them slip away as his body can absorb vitamins and nutrition.. I see the light in his eyes more often than the shadows… I hear laughter more often than growling… 

Yes…

It was worth it…

But something unexpected happened… My daughter (I am not going to embarrass my daughter today) and I both improved in health as well.  My asthma.. my headaches… both only occur occasionally now.. My skin cleared up… I lost weight… 

If you could lose weight AND feel better while still eating brownies… would you?  

Yeah … me too…

I was so happy…. but I felt so guilty… and even ashamed.  WHY had it taken me so long to figure this out?  WHY in all my research did I NOT find this sooner?  WHY did God let me go so long without finding this solution?  WHY did it take my son hitting rock bottom before I figured it out?  And HOW ON EARTH did I miss all of the evidence?

YUP.. instead of being happy to find all this research.. I cried.  I cried hard.  My son’s life was a mess… and it was primarily from the food I was giving him.

I have been praying for a year for the Lord to help me forgive myself.  

This morning I was reading my devotion.. and it asked the question… “Why did God let Joseph sit in Jail for 2 whole years before He released him?”  And I sat up a little straighter… “Why didn’t God let Joseph out?  Let him be free and productive while waiting for Pharaoh to have his dream?” And I put my Chai down…. 

Now I am no Joseph… I was not the favorite child of a favored wife… I was not the youngest child of a large family… I was not sold into slavery by jealous siblings… but I think I may have prayed the same prayer as Joseph.  As he sat day after day in prison.  Prayed night after night for answers.. Prayed night after night to be delivered from his prison.

Don’t get me wrong.. Autism isn’t a prison.  My son’s smiles and laughter have always brightened my day.  His hugs and insights have always made me a better person.. But Autism .. aggravated by vitamin deficiency and malnutrition?  It is very limiting.  There were days we didn’t dare go in public.  Afraid he would be overwhelmed… So for us.. It became a prison…

And like Joseph… I think God had a plan for me… And that plan may have called for my son to hit rock bottom… I think God knew I had to be ready to change my whole world… God had a plan.. and He waited for His perfect timing… 

Because.. as my favorite verse (this year) says… “He has made everything beautiful in its time,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

When God led me to the Nutrition specialist?  When He delivered all those test results into my lap?  I was ready… 

and It WAS beautiful….