Expectations. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Moving On.

A simple title for a complex blog.  Should be as easy to do as it is to write, but it is a daily struggle for all of us, no matter your battle!  But while sitting at church recently,then following the service, I think it finally, really, hit me. God sent my son with high functioning autism to me for a reason. To teach me the true meaning of true forgiveness. But it’s more than forgiveness.  After much contemplation, I realized I had to start with expectations, acceptance, then forgiveness.

That day God spoke to me from the pulpit while another lesson was unfolding in real time. Let me give you some background.

My son has had a checkered past at church.  He was asked to leave the pre-school program and was seen by some parents as a disruption to the Sunday school.  This all happened while we were fighting for the school district to do an evaluation. We couldn’t see a psychologist or pediatric neurologist without the district eval. And no one takes your word when you are going through pre-diagnosis. And without the diagnosis, the judgement from others is constant. We were living in chaos, but I wanted to keep going to church.

To keep church a priority in our lives, my family and I put together an option to make church a safe place for kids like mine who have differences. The idea, with full funding included, was blown off by the minister at that time.  Between getting services for my son, my illness and making sure Queen Kong got what she needs, I eventually gave up on church and trying to make a space for my son.  Not God, I felt him with us and prayed to him everyday, but I gave up on some of his people. Ministers in there best intentions to spread the word to the world sometimes forget that Jesus went after the one, not the ninety-nine.

We stopped going because someone in a place of power deemed my son’s needs not important.  We stopped going because we couldn’t get our big idea up and running. A big idea that we thought would make change.  We stopped going because there were a handful of people who judged us and clearly said things about us.  (You have to watch what you say around kiddos – they are sponges and parrots!)  And we stopped going because we were tired and getting ready for church with kids regardless is exhausting.  But really the most selfish reason was we felt judged and less than because of how a few thought of us.

God has been working on my heart about going back to church.  We decided to try again.  We had to really give ourselves a pep talk to make ourselves get ready and go.  The biggest reason we gave ourselves was that we weren’t the problem.  The problem is how others perceive those who are different…diagnosis or not.  The problem is my expectation is that all parents accept children, warts and all.  My expectation is that everyone would agree that these children are important and are worth making changes for inclusion. My expectation is that people would open their children’s eyes about being patient and kind to kids who are fighting a big battle at a young age.  The truth is not everyone can support those who are different…so I have to adjust my expectation to avoid being hurt.  And hurt feelings hinder my ability to be an effective parent and advocate.

So now we are working on acceptance. God doesn’t make mistakes. And quite frankly, what I have learned from my son has made me a better mother and person all around.  And our friends and family who have leaned in tell us how much they have learned and that they feel like they see the world through new eyes. Amen!

So back to this particular Sunday. My son showed up decked out in his most handsome suit complete with pocket handkerchief. After children’s moment, I walked him to class. On the way to Sunday school, one of the older girls told her friend to “stay away from him” and pointed right at him.  I didn’t correct her. I was afraid of what would come out of my mouth if I opened it.  After I sat with him in class and he felt settled, I went back to service to hear the message.  Because after that, I really needed it.

Our minister spoke of Jonah, the reluctant prophet, and how he ignored God’s request to go to Nineveh.  What God had asked him to do was too hard.  He didn’t want to.  He was scared and it was out of his comfort zone.  He then discussed how God works through us for change.  He spoke of grace, healing and how true forgiveness can heal our wounds.  But what hit me was that Jonah did the bare minimum.  Jonah did the bare minimum and that small act changed an entire city.

When I picked up my son after service I did what every nervous parent of a special needs kid does. Immediately asked if everything was ok with panic in my voice. We were told everything was fine, but that there was an incident and then it was very briefly addressed.

Our son told us that the girl who had been told to stay away from him told him to show everyone his underwear. This isn’t uncommon for kids to give children with autism directions that lead to embarrassment or trouble.  We are lucky.  Our ABA therapist has worked hard with our son on managing these situations.  To our excitement, he made the right choice!  He ran from the girls and told the teacher.  In the past, he would have followed through with the request, gotten in trouble and then gone into fight or flight and a full melt down because he wouldn’t have been able to tell his side of the story.

I spent the car ride home with a tight chest and racing heart.  I was in pain that kids would bully my son who I love just as much, if not more, than any parent can.  Then I was pissed.  If this had been one year earlier, the ending of this story would have been much different. He would have been thrown under the bus and the judgement would have come tumbling after.  We would have been left holding the bag.  Instead, the fact that another normal child tried to embarrass him was blown off because “it wasn’t like her”.  Where’s the justice?  It’s human nature to ask that question. That’s what we want when we have been wronged.  I told myself that we are never going back.  And then, my son asked if we were going back next week.  What?!?

I have been avoiding church, much like Jonah was avoiding Nineveh. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to deal with those few who are judgmental of my family.  God has been telling me to go back and I’ve ignored him. I have ignored those who embrace my family. Ignoring their constant requests and invitations to return to church by letting my hurt feelings get in the way.

What prompted our return was my son’s constant requests to go back. I prayed very hard and realized that we needed to go back. And then in the midst of deciding I was never going back, God reached out via my son again and reminded me that we just have to do the bare minimum.  We just have to show up while God is telling us to and then we have the chance to make change too.

As I noted in another blog, sometimes it is easier for us to isolate ourselves to avoid hurt feelings.  But now that we have fully accepted our son’s diagnosis we need to teach the world that they should accept him, as well as all children with differences.  That means we have to show up.  We must expect a rocky road to prevent hurt feelings. We have to accept that our path is different.  We have to forgive and move on.  Otherwise, others will keep us from enjoying our life, growing in our faith and being light to the world.  And our son is a light too bright to keep at home!

Moving On

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Brewing Kombucha. It’s Rookie Season.

Brewing KombuchaI have become a big fan of Kombucha. I know I’m late to the trend,  but I like it now, so better late than never!  What is Kombucha you ask? Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Although it’s sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom — it’s a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds. – The Mayo Clinic

I feel like it has been a big part of my recent weight loss because it aids digestion. This improved digestion will also lead to improvements with my immune system.  I can tell my immune system has improved a little because my joint pain has decreased.  I have noticed by detoxing my system, I can tell what foods cause joint paint like, you guessed it, sugar. My joint pain isn’t 100% better,  but detoxing and keeping my gut in balance has kept me from having to use steroids.  I also feel my energy returning since surgery faster than ever.  So I consider that a success!

Here are reasons to drink Kombucha:
1. Improved digestion
2. Weight loss
3. Boosts immune system
4. Additional probiotics
5. Detoxify the liver
6. Reduces stress
7. More energy
8. A bunch of other stuff about improving the alkaline balance in your body
9. Can help you kick soda habit (I am working on this)
10. Yummy!

I had heard of Kombucha years ago,  but thought it was some hippie fad.  I then looked at the price a gawked!!  $3 dollars a bottle!  So I passed.  But with my recent push to health,  I decided to spend what I would spend if I was going to the doctor or getting a prescription for an ailment.

I have tried various brands and flavors and have found two favorites. Holy Kombucha and Synergy.  I read the ingredients and became curious on how I could make this drink myself.  Especially since we need every dollar since our medical and therapy bills are so high. I would see 2-5 ingredients only and thought easy, right? My recent juicing concoctions like the juice I made that tasted like a Moscow Mule made me think I could do good things.

Well,  it’s a little more complicated than juicing. You have to brew and ferment to create this concoction.  After some research on starter kits,  I bought a highly recommended starter kit on Amazon from Get Kombucha.  They have great videos resources and send you everything,  down to the organic sugar,  pH tester sticks,  loose tea,  gloves and more.  You must have your own 1 or 2 gallon container.  I saved 16 Oz bottles from Kombucha I purchased at the store to divide the batch and do the secondary fermentation later.  (I have a thing for bottles and jars.  Drives my husband crazy.)

Today I am brewing my first batch.  I  wanted to document the process so I can share with my friends and family.  The beauty is that I will be able to make and share starter kits so you can do it too! I want my friends and family to join me so we can support each other.   This will be an imperfect process,  but as I like to say,  it’s progress,  not perfection.  And that is better than doing nothing!

Here is everything you need to start:
Filertered or Spring Water
Tea of choice
Sugar (Organic preferably)
SCOBY –  Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. They say to name your mother SCOBY.  I think mine will be Big Mama as I will be making baby SCOBY’s to share with my friends.

The steps include:
1. Bring 26 Oz of water to a boil.
2. Add tea 5 tablespoons of tea.
3. Strain out tea if you used a loose blend.
4. Sir in the 2.5 cups of sugar.
5. Pour into the 2 gallon container and wait for it to become room temperature.
6. Pour the SCOBY and starter tea (this will come from Big Mama) into the room temp sweet tea and wait.
7. Start checking the tea 4 days later and keep testing until you reach the desired taste.
8. I will do a secondary fermentation to add both flavor and more fizz. I’ll do another post on this step once I complete the process in a couple weeks.
9. Save your SCOBY and 2.5 cups of the Kombucha in a jar. This will be how you make your next batch. Take the baby SCOBY that grows from this process and share in the liquid with a friend!

Here are some pictures from today:

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Update: I checked after 4 days and my batch needs more time!

I was so nervous about the process I watched a ton of videos on YouTube this morning. But so far,  it’s been easy.  You must make sure all your utensils and containers are very clean.  I used my kettle to pour boiling water on my supplies.  I  didn’t have a good 2 gallon jar,  so I took some online advice and used a crock pot.  You can use glass,  stainless steel or porcelain containers.  I will get a glass container with a spigot,  but for now this is good.  I wrote the brew date and the day I want to start tasting the batch.  I decided to start testing at four days since this is my first batch.

When it comes to secondary fermentation, I think that I’m going to try a ginger first. Then I think I’m going to do berries. In one video they showed you how to juice basil and mint, add to the bottle.  Then add kombucha and proceed with the secondary fermentation to get the flavor and fizz. Another option is to add your perfect green food so you get a yummy version of your green juice.

Anything that has the fruit and other flavors they have in the store has gone through a secondary fermentation.  However the ones in stores can also contain less than the best ingredients. Now I will know exactly what goes into my kombucha.

I am hoping my kids will like this too (in very small doses).  They both have food allergies and I have read that using probiotics and getting the gut right can help with those types of allergies.  If it’s flavored and has carbonation due to the secondary fermentation, I can’t see why they wouldn’t! Also, my son’s allergy medication sometimes causes stomach upset.  Upping his current probiotics helps,  but this would give him a yummy way to get the additional good bacteria. I’ll talk more about my kids and their probiotics later.  We are believers!

Moving forward,  this will give my friends and I the ability to make a gallon of kombucha for just a dollar a batch! Let me know if you’re interested in getting a starter kit in the future. Cheers to your health!  Follow me at @mrs_musick.

How I Began Eating To Heal

So I promised I would share an overview of what I started eating to heal, which resulted in weight loss.  I wanted to increase my immune system and increase my energy level.

Morning:
Hot Water with Lemon
Hot Tea (Nettle, Dandelion or Sage)
Coffee – again, this is me at the beginning of my journey. I have to have coffee.
Wheat Grass or Green Juice
Yakult
Vitamin C Chewable, Plexus Omega-3, Biotin
1-2 Pints of Berries

I then begin working on my water goal for the day. If I’m still hungry I have another piece of fruit or some almonds around 10 AM.

Plexus Slim

Afternoon:

Salad/Spinach with all sorts of vegetables
Avocado
Croutons, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds and sometimes Raisins
Dressing – I make the night before: 2 Tablespoons Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon Raw Honey, Juice of 1/2 Lemon and Nature’s Seasoning or other to taste.
Occasionally I add Chicken, Fish or Pork
Plexus Probio 5
Salad
Fruit

Trail Mix: Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Dried Fruit, Dried Corn Pieces

Tea or Kombucha

I almost always have my 3 PM Coke Zero 🙂

If I need a snack I have veggies with hummus. Or I juice and that really helps fill me up!

Juicer

Night:

Small serving of whatever I make the family for dinner.
Make sure I finish my water for the day.
Tea with lemon.
Plexus Biocleanse, Plexus Family Chewable, Zinc/Calcium, Elderberry

Dark Chocolate Covered Honeycomb – gotta have that something sweet!

I’m trying to not to eat 2 hours prior to bed.  I’m also going to start brewing kombucha to try and kick my single Coke Zero a day habit. This will help me manage the cost of Kombucha!

I’ll start sharing my menu and recipes on my twitter account at @mrs_musick.  Share with me as well.  Especially if you have recipes that don’t have any wheat…turns out little man has a wheat allergy – yikes!

**Please excuse any typos, written from my phone 🙂

My Diet: Nature and Science

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When it comes to dieting I have done what every American does with everything …pick one thing and try to stick to it until it completely falls apart. As a society of extremes we often make that mistake. Want proof?  Look at the presidential candidates making the news.

It’s the same with diets,  health and all the fads in between.   You either only shop at Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck as my brother Big calls it) or you shop at the other chains and hope your  organic friends aren’t right and you won’t grow a third eye (which actually might come in handy to have a spare to keep an eye on my kids).

I decided to take a new approach to my diet and health. One that incorporated past successful tools along with new options I haven’t tried.  I also wanted to try and heal my body using food.  Especially since I am recovering from surgery and trying to manage joint pain.

I started by continuing my Plexus journey.  Before you checkout,  there are a couple items I have been using for over a year and for a good reason. Plexus Slim for willpower,  energy and management of my blood sugar.  Biocleanse to help clear my insides.  Probiotics (Probio),  multivitamins and the Omega because we all know why,  but I’ll go more in depth another time. Those are my key products of choice.  I also like that as a rep I make money on what I purchase!  You can see more here, order or sign up to be a rep:
http://shopmyplexus.com/camillemusick

Then I decided to diet in a new way.  I decided to eat to heal.  We all have something we’re recoverying from and I decided I was on enough prescriptions.  So I turned to a resource I saw years ago on the BBC… Dr.  Gillian Mckeith from the show “You Are What You Eat”.  I found her book online used for $4. After I received it in the mail I studied it and decided what ailments to attack and to start with the detox.  Since the detox I have been working the diet using the 80/20 rule so I don’t have to aim for perfection.  And by the time I eat the foods I need to eat,  drink my Slim, teas or juices and add my water,  my cheats are MINIMAL because I am beyond satisfied.

Good news,  I have lost weight and size!   And I feel like some of my minor ailments are clearing!

I will absolutely try to eat for longevity,  but I also believe God made doctors and medicine for a reason.  So I’m taking what I need to take and managing side effects with diet instead of with additional medication.

I’ll follow this blog up with how I got started and some of my go to meals,  snacks and juices. But go find the book to start.  I found mine on Amazon used books. Let me know if you have any questions!

**This blog was written on my phone,  please excuse any typos!