10.14.2008

What brought us to this point

I had a conversation with my mom recently which got me thinking about why we are heading in the direction that we are. Why are we seeking to go to the extreme of raising our produce and meat, and cooking our food from scratch? Why are trying to collect rainwater to drink and bathe in instead of using the more easily accessible tap or well water? Why do I want to homeschool my children instead of utilizing the schools that my tax dollars are paying for? Am I denying myself and my family by living the simple life? As I got to thinking, I reflected back on some of the reasons. I know exactly why, and it is not just a whim. It is a result of many factors, but, in an attempt to keep this post to a controllable length, here are a few:


  • I am an animal fanatic, and always wanted to live on a farm with lots of animals.


  • My husband is an environmental tree-hugger (to a point) who seeks to take care of the creation that God has given us.


  • As a diabetic, I used to drink a lot of diet soda, as it was about the only non-water drink I could have. Although I drank them in moderation, after years of this, I began to get headaches shortly after I drank more than about half of a diet soda. I reduced my intake, and shortly thereafter, the study was released in the news that linked the artificial phenylalanine chemical that was predominant in artificial sweeteners to many health issues due to its chemical nature. That's when warnings began appearing on the can.


  • In 2004, my first son was born with many health problems. His non-stop screaming resulted in us being exhausted and frustrated. At just 3 weeks old, he screamed for 8 straight hours with no sleep. As a result of his condition, I was forced to supplement him with formulas. He was starving all the time, and I spent most of my day feeding him. His frequent and copious vomiting resulted in his classification as a failure to thrive, and we were on the hairy edge of being monitored for neglect. We were forced to medicate him to help control the vomiting so he could gain weight. Consults with multiple doctors and nurses left everyone baffled. When I realized he was having mild seizures, we convinced a doctor to refer us to a neurologist. By now, he was about 7 months old. Although he was on track developmentally, we were at our wits end with the screaming, vomiting, and seizures. No one would babysit, the church nursery always had me come and get him. We could hardly go anywhere. We were miserable. We knew there had to be a reason. While we were awaiting the referal, we continued to pray. After a great deal of prayer, God led S to some results from a recent water testing in the area in which we lived. While the results were within "normal" range, we saw that many of the toxins in our water were on the high end of normal. S began to do some research and found that some specific toxins in water caused a particular type of infant seizure. Symptoms of these seizures included abnormal vomiting and screaming. As an experiment, we decided to switch to bottled spring water. Just 3 days after switching water sources, it was like someone flipped a switch. EVERYTHING stopped...no screaming, no vomiting, no seizures. Just like that, he became a "normal" happy baby who began to thrive--the child that everyone knows and adores today.


  • When JR was about 18 months old, he had a severe allergic reaction to penicillin. The reaction was so severe, the doctor ordered that we remove every trace of penicillin from his environment for one week to get it completely out of his system. This involved switching to all organic dairy products (organic animals cannot be fed antibiotics). After a week or so, JR was fine, but this led me to begin researching the benefits of organic.


  • At the same time, I was having multiple infections. Although it was common for diabetics to have such infections, I didn't have a history of it and I didn't fit the profile of the diabetic who typically gets them. We were also working with service dogs and it seemed like every puppy that came into our house got sick. We watched one who almost died after being with me only 3 days. The only common denominator was the water. We switched the dogs to spring water, and I began to take brief showers instead of baths. The pups quit getting sick and my infections diminished significantly.


  • As a precaution, when we moved shortly thereafter, we purchased and installed special filters for our tap water and our showerheads. Amazingly, my infections were eliminated.


  • In 2006, I began to itch with no explanation. It started in my joints, and spread up and down my arms and legs. It was like my skin was crawling. If I scratched, I broke out in hives and left huge red welts. It was the strangest thing. I evaluated my diet and living conditions. We were in a new area, so I assumed I was having an allergic reaction to something. Since I had no history of allergies though, I was puzzled. I saw two doctors, one being an allergist, who, again, blamed it on my diabetes. I wouldn't believe that. My sugars were good, I was healthy, and I had NEVER heard of itching and hives as a diabetic complication. They put me on an antihistamine and told me I would likely be on it the rest of my life. The meds controlled the itch and at least let me sleep, but everytime I tried to wean myself off, I started itching again. Remembering what I had learned with JR's organic experience, we decided to experiment. We switched to a more natural, somewhat organic diet. Amazingly, the day we officially switched our diet was the last pill I had to take. I have never had another issue with itching and hives. We are convinced it was a build up of chemicals in my body.


  • I used to irritate S because I did not like drinking out of a plastic cup. I always used our glasses. Of course, with young children, this meant occasional breakage. When he would beg me to switch to plastic, I always told him, "I can't really explain it, but my tea just tastes different in plastic. I don't like it. I like it out of a glass." We occasionally had this discussion until last year when the study results came out about the BPA contained in most plastics. Let's just say that, not only does S not mind me drinking out of a glass anymore, he drinks out of a glass now too!! If it breaks, we get out the vaccuum! LOL


  • I put JR and M into preschool for one semester while I finished my degree. It was a great little private preschool, and certainly offered a great deal for them. However, within a week of attending, JR began having a serious attitude. Other mothers told me, "don't worry, it is totally normal when they start school." I had to ask why? Then JR began coming home and telling me about what some of the kids would do in class or how so-and-so didn't listen to the teacher. After attending a couple of field trips with his class, it was quickly apparent that his attitude was deriving from his peers and the fact that the teacher was limited in her ability to discipline. I did not want my child to learn those negative lessons at such an impressionable age.
Well, there you have it. I don't mean to scare anyone, but no one can deny we have encountered some pretty impressive situations and "coincidental" (try THANK GOD!) outcomes. A few other things worth mentioning....I have noticed since we began the changes in our diets and environments that I have not had a single migraine, rarely get so much as a cold, the kids seem healthier overall, we feel better and I have way more energy, and my blood sugars are actually easier to control. I will admit that I really have no "hard" black-and-white proof to my claims about our water and diet, however, I will never be convinced otherwise. My children, at least for now, seem to be heading down the path S and I desire for them, with a love for the Lord and a compassionate nature. I thank the Lord for showing us how to help ourselves in most cases, and for making it as simple a solution as just practicing what the Bible teaches! Are we denying them? Possibly. However, I can live with myself denying them material possessions and fun "things" if it will help them learn to keep a focus on Christ, develop a love for family and helping others, and an understanding that hard work and earning your keep is a Biblical and desirable trait. I do pray that I can have the wisdom to balance these lessons with fun and enjoyment, and that we provide them sufficient opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. But, I can confidently say that I feel comfortable and at peace with these principles as priorities.

So, in closing, I want to share two things with you. One is my most recent sewing machine creation. While nothing impressive to an experienced seamstress, I am pretty excited about it.......

My first cloth napkins, and to make it even sweeter, I used some extra fabric I had laying around!


And secondly, something I even more proud of, JR reading during today's lesson. (If you can't view now, try later. Processing is taking a while!)




4 comments:

Real-life Family said...

Thanks for sharing your insights! And JR is adorable reading that book!! Wow. :)

Kristen said...

I tried to comment on this the other night buy Blogger was down... can't remember all that I said, but I do want you to know that I think you're on the right track! You might be surprised to learn that I have recently given up all artificial sweeteners!! No more diet (or regular) sodas. We are currently only using honey as a sweetener. We are interested in finding raw honey and maple syrup...and...drum roll...RAW milk. My Bible study leader (www.deliciouslyorganic.blogspot.com) has been a huge inspiration and wealth of information. They are stationed here at. We are hoping to one day grind our own grains. Brandon has already started baking our bread and pizza dough.

Red Gate said...

CONGRATS Kristen! I am thrilled to hear it! You have gone a step further, as I have tried sweetening with honey and organic raw sugar, and just can't get my recipes to turn out. If it just weren't for my terrible addiction to sweet tea and sweets in general! LOL So I have compromised with unbleached sugar. If you find some good recipes, let me know!

Anonymous said...

WOW! I miss ya'll sooo much!! Tell S that I'll use his reading as a bedtime story. Wish we could be closer to ya'll and participate in the kid's daily life. Maybe one day....