Category Archives: support

I had another post planned…

Today I was going to participate in the Finish The Sentence Prompt hosted by the fabulous Kristi of Finding Ninee and her friends Mardra  and Kenya. Instead I am sitting here with goosebumps, sick to my stomach.

We lost another person to Suicide, Anthony Bourdain. Continue reading

I will always be thankful for Facebook

I have a mixed relationship with Facebook.

I hate the endless “a like means you hate cancer” (like who loves cancer?). I get frustrated at being reminded that there are such things as stupid questions (seriously people, use the search feature). I get alarmed by the bully-pulpit that develops in local politics (get involved but learn the facts before you post on a subject you have no knowledge about). And for the love of all things Holy, please do not put your personal crap on Facebook in a vague way and then ask people to respect your privacy.

Yet for all the reasons I might want to leave Facebook, I have one reason to be incredibly thankful. Continue reading

It’s only 7 days old and 2015 is kicking our butt

On Dec 31st we all made resolutions: more me time, more patience, more living and (a favorite) to enjoy 2015 to the fullest. But it seems that 2015 is going to be very difficult to tame.  As a friend of mine recently posted: she is done with 2015.

For many of us 2015 hasn’t begun well. Back to school and back to Every Day Freaking Math. The amount of life changes in just 7 days seems overwhelming.  Friends have received deployment orders (so much for no more boots on the ground). Another special friend has suffered a tremendous loss. Still one more has lost their job.

Even Mother Nature is picking on us. Did I mention it was only 18 degrees this morning? Continue reading

My Challenge: ADHD

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With the holiday craziness (that freaking ELF), we took a short break from the Challenge series. I am so happy that for our first Challenge of the New Year a friend from my real life is willing to share her challenge.

I’ve said it before, but I am always amazed when a friend in real life will share their challenge with the world.  Today I would like to introduce you to my friend who has really taught me a lot about finding my voice. As we live in a small town, she prefers to remain anonymous. Please welcome my Beautiful Friend whose extraordinary child presented her with an unexpected challenge.

Continue reading

My Challenge: Lisa

I am so happy to introduce you, officially, to Lisa aka Tia aka my BFF aka the person who has known me before mall bangs were popular and we wore our jeans up to our armpits. That one person who knows where the body is buried because she probably helped you put it there.

Lisa is mom to Owen. A boy who makes her play Lego’s, X-Box and Laser Tag. He also keeps her on her toes with his challenge. 




My Challenge: Food Allergies

We discovered our son, Owen, had food allergies when he was about two years old.  We had gone to a summer festival and were enjoying the music the Caribbean band playing when Owen began rubbing his eyes.  Shortly thereafter his eyes were swollen, so much so that they were almost closed!  Of course we panicked and didn’t know what to do.  I kept checking to see if he was having difficulty breathing, but he was not, so we left to get him some Benedryl.  On the way home, the allergy went away, but I was terrified of it happening again.

I kept trying to figure out what had caused the reaction.  He had eaten some French fries and a bite of potato salad that he immediately spit out.  After a visit to the Pediatrician, and then to an Allergist, we found out that he had several food allergies, including an egg allergy, and that that small bite of potato salad was most likely what caused his reaction.
I was angry when we left the Allergist’s office.  Angry b/c when he was a baby I thought I had done everything I could to prevent this.  I nursed, even though it was excruciating and did not give up even though I was told it wasn’t worth it.  I also made all of his baby food from scratch and made sure he only ate what was recommended by the Pediatrician and did not introduce high-allergy foods earlier than was recommended and none of that seemed to have worked to keep food allergies away.

Since then we have had to closely monitor what he eats.  I have to send in special snacks to school so that he can participate in his classmates’ birthday parties and other festivities during the year.  Some people, especially teachers, have been wonderful with this, calling me to see if he can have certain things because they don’t want him to feel left out.  Others just don’t get it and have even accused me of overreacting, but I would rather overreact than have him end up in the hospital or worse.

I have explained to Owen what he can and cannot eat and that he should confirm that something he is given from someone else doesn’t contain any of the foods he is allergic to and he really has been great about it.  I remember a couple of years ago we went to an outdoor event in the winter and someone was selling hot chocolate.  He walked up to the woman and asked her if there were any eggs in it.  It was so cute, but even though he is aware of his allergies and what he can and cannot have, that doesn’t mean that the person offering it is aware of all the ingredients.  Such was the case for Cameron Groezinger-Fitzpatrick who died after eating half a cookie that had peanut oil in it.  The friend who gave it to him wasn’t aware it had peanut oil in it.  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Allergies/college-freshman-peanut-allergy-dies-eating-cookie/story?id=18723777.  

This is our greatest fear, especially as he grows up and is more apt to accept food from someone else. Unintentional exposure can happen so easily. One afternoon frosting a Gingerbread house with his cousin, Owen got frosting on his hand and cheek. He had an immediate reaction. His eyes swollen shut. We never thought to check the ingredients as he wasn’t going to be eating the house. 

I won’t make that mistake again.

Although Owen would say that it’s a pain to have to watch what he eats, especially when his friends are eating cupcakes and he is told he can’t have any because they are not sure what the ingredients are, he would also say his allergies don’t hold him back from living a normal life for a 7 year old, participating in birthday parties, karate, Cub Scouts, summer camp, etc.  I hope he will soon outgrow some of the less severe allergies, but he will probably have to deal with some of them for the rest of his life.

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According to FARE there are over 15 million that is MILLION Americans with food allergies. That is double the population of NY City. Every 3 minutes a person is taken to the emergency room due to a food allergy. That is not just the hives, but something bad enough to call EMS. The most common foods that cause 90% of reactions are: eggs, milk, peanuts,  soy and wheat. 

They are probably in every food in my kitchen. Food allergies can be mild or deadly. 

Food allergies are not just for the young. A friend of mine acquired severe food allergies when she turned 30. Before that she was fine. She expected grey hair when she turned 30, instead received an allergy to shellfish, nuts and get this garlic of all things.
To learn more about food allergies please visit Food Allergy Research & Education 
Not only is Lisa the best friend to hide the body with, she is also an awesome mom and photographer. Check out her photos at Lisa Perez Fine Art Photography. Thank you, Lisa for sharing Owen’s challenge and showing it is your challenge as well.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com

My Challenge — Lizzi

Today I would like to introduce Lizzi the author of Considerings where she actively tries to find the good in life. A blog that is sometimes fiction so good you think it is true, some days full of humor and some days despair. It’s a wonderful mix of writing and feelings. No matter what Lizzi faces each week she is determined to end on a high note with her Ten Things of Thankful post. A wrap up each Saturday where she sees the light in all of her clouds.


My Challenge: Despair



Several hours ago:

My challenge right this second, as I write this in an empty house steeped in melancholy and shattered expectations, is not to go to the cupboard in the kitchen and fetch down that shining bottle from the top shelf.

My challenge is to convince myself that it’s a sufficiently slippery path to prove deterrent – that taking the edge off with alcohol isn’t the answer. At the moment the only thing holding me back is the knowledge that I’ll regret the number of calories it contains. Ah serendipity, thou art disguised within even the soft and pudgy linings of low self-image.
My picture speaks for itself, but it doesn’t say how interconnected so many of those things are. It doesn’t tell of the (thus far) unbreakable bonds between an abusive childhood and my inability to disconnect and stop assuming responsibility (or blame) for aspects of my current situation. Or those between spousal illness and miscarriage. And infertility. And rejection, leading to further low self-esteem. And depression, which is riddling our relationship like woodworm, gnawing away at the things we thought we held dear, and now call into question, time and time again because “what if we hadn’t…”

It’s harder after the high of such a wonderful, fleeting day, where a bloggy friend and I met in person for the first time. We stood in glorious sunshine on the beach and let the warm ocean bathe our feet as we talked and talked. And later we went for cocktails and gelato and things were wonderful. And now she’s gone.

And it’s harder because the day before that (my fourth anniversary) I lay crying, once again rejected (because his illness allows him no other option), utterly desolate and we discussed whether or not our marriage would last. Because we ‘clinked’ our fries together in the restaurant in a desperate show of silliness and recognition of the occasion as tears bathed my cheeks and his eyes turned to pools of despair. Because we had cocktails and got buzzed and all that went away for a while, and with the corners of the situation tamed by tipsiness, we hugged and laughed and the shit went away for a while.
And it’s hard because I have to find a silver lining and even though the sun is up and Maslow would be convinced I should be content, at least, I really, really, really want that drink.

Now:

Writing is cathartic anyway, but particularly from a place of hurt and desperation, because it forces some of the challenges to come into stark clarity, their contrast perhaps shocking, as I lift them out of the tangled mire of mind, determined to examine them in the light of day and describe their form.

In writing this, I was able to trace those unbreakable strings which bind me so tight. And having traced them, I was able to explain them to Husby, who *listened* and cried with me as he realised the extent to which his illness and my smorgasboard of challenges crash headlong into one another, leaving us both trainwrecked and licking our wounds.
I reached out, not for a bottle in the end, but for a friend, who was in the right place at the right time to talk me down and just hear me, and make me feel less alone.
The aloneness is hardest, especially when part of what’s trapping you is your own mind, your own thought patterns and your destructive, determinedly negative perspectives. In point of fact, the (seemingly relentless) shitstorm of life is one of the main reasons I’m part of a new blogging initiative – the SisterWives (http://www.sisterwivesspeak.com) – a group of writer friends whose collective history reads like a manual for surviving almost every kind of crap that life can throw at a person. We are damaged goods, but determined to live life in Silver Linings, and *somehow* turn our hurts to helps. We don’t want others to feel alone. We want to find strength in being vulnerable and honest and sharing our truths in the hopes that they’ll somehow be useful to Someone Out There.

Our motto, (the former part I struggle with, but am trying to take on board): Alone we are enough; Together we are stronger.

Thank you, Lizzi for your honesty with your challenge. All of us find moments of despair. When it gets too much. When you wonder if that shiny bottle will dull the pain. Trust me, it just makes you puke if used for that purpose. There are so many challenges interlinked, as Lizzi has shown. But there is support out there for just about anything you are facing. This virtual world is sometimes all you need to realize you are not alone. I’m glad she still sees the hope in all the clouds.

What's your challenge is a series that was inspired by a program I created at Abby's school. I am amazed at how honest and hopeful the challenges have been. Thank you to all who have contributed. To submit your challenge, please e-mail me at firebailey@gmail.com