I believe God changes circumstances.  I believe God, literally, gives people money.  Certainly, there are times when it seems that their employer gave them money or a loved one ‘left’ them money.  Yet, I believe that it all flows from this giant storehouse of ‘dough’ in the sky.  I know it sounds silly.  Yet, I cannot explain another way that formula showed up on my doorstep when Arianna was 6 months-old and our account was overdrawn.  Nor can I explain how we paid off $30,000 in debt in 2 years when my income was even less than that.  Certainly, someone probably put formula on our doorstep and God moved the hearts of our creditors to cancel some of our debt.  I am definitely not proud of what led us to those circumstances.  Our sins, however, do not diminish God’s work in our lives.  In fact, they illuminate the glory of His redemption. 

Right now, I would really like for God to change our circumstances.  (Wouldn’t we all?)  When I pray for these things, I envision myself shaking the legs of this really tall, super-dude.  Then, these giant gold coins start reigning down at my feet.  I know, its not really traditional and highly unlikely.  What have I done to deserve His blessing?  Just about nothing. 

Today, I got a quote from Anthem for Evan’s insurance.  It would cover his ABA therapy, which he needs 20-40 hours a week.  To put it lightly, ABA therapy is a little expensive.  Imagine paying someone with a lot of education to work with your son full-time.  Now, imagine that person makes more than you do.  How are you going to pay them?  Well, you have to buy more insurance.  Unfortunately, that insurance costs $700/month.  Yes, that’s right!  If I wasn’t a believer, then I might consider some very desperate ways of obtaining this money.  Its that important that Evan have it.  He needs this therapy so much!!!

I don’t want pity right now, but I want people to know how to pray for us.  Take a minute and see what adding a $700 bill to your monthly payments does.  Then, envision me shaking God’s legs again.  Please pray that God opens up a giant whole in the sky over our family and that all of the resources of heaven and earth (money) are at our disposal.  If that seems weird to you, then pray that Jesse get a job.  And if you know anyone who needs a FABULOUS graphic designer, then tell them about Jesse! 

I believe God created the people who designed and discovered the effectiveness of ABA therapy and I believe He wants Evan to have access to it.

For my little dude.

Jedi Evan Courtesy Peter Evans
Evan dressed as a Jedi for Halloween.

To God be the Glory. 

Great things He will do.

Today, I spent three hours on the phone trying to accomplish a mammoth list of urgent “Evan-related” tasks.  Of the five things on my to-do list, I accomplished one.  Needless to say, the clock read 4:30 pm and the minions were informing me that naptime had ended.  My growing list was put on hold until next Tuesday afternoon. 

Tuesday afternoon. 

I have a planner with daily tasks.  Most days are full of scribbles about appointments, class assignments and urgent household tasks such as: Create edible gluten/milk/soy free meals from the top of my head.  Tuesdays are different.  They are blank except for the words, “Evan Day – see notebook”.  Which brings me to the growing stacks of books, bills, informative pamphlets, etc…all of which MUST be taken care of.  I am thinking of posting, “Quit your day job” above this shelf.  It would be the only chance for getting all of this stuff done. 

Welcome to Guilt 101.  I will be your professor today. 

The first year of motherhood, I spent most of my time being  jealous of other mothers who worried about how to iron men’s dress shirts and balance the checkbook since they weren’t working.  Of course, I was only chastised for not understanding the difficulty of ‘being with my children all day’.  Not to mention the scandalous looks I received when I forgot wipes in the daiper bag or my children wore the same shirt two days in row.  I wanted to wear a sign that read, “Hello, I worked a 14 hour shift last night.  No, I am not awake enought to pack a daiper bag.  And no, I have not done the laundry.”  Perhaps this all would have been less stressful had I not been worried about my checkbook too and unable to afford the weekly housekeeper. 

The second year of motherhood showed Evan’s arrival.  I got over being jealous and realized that my kids possessed a sense of independence unparralled by their frequently mothered peers.  However, this quickly progressed to the unquenchable fear that my children were not getting what they needed from me.  Now, I was just plain guilty.  After all, the days I was at home, I was just trying to get by.  No doubt, when I was at work, they were watching tv so that daddy could do schoolwork.  Sigh…what would become of them.  At this point, I contemplated daycare only to discover that the end result was further financial ruin, which I had not thought possible.  After all, we had already lost our house.  How much worse could it get?  Oh yes, we need a place to live and food to eat.  “Sorry, kids.  Today, I had to decide that you needed food more than meaninful interaction.  Maybe tomorrow…”  Yes, I was guilty…and it was all my fault. 

The third year of mothering showed that I had reason to feel guilty.  My son wasn’t talking or making eye contact or doing anything that he should have been doing.  Not to mention, another child in the picture.  God, help us.  Somebody should tell the Duggars that a house can reach full.  Ours definitely had.

Year four.  Evan is diagnosed with autism and I know things could have been different.  If I had been more involved.  If we had more money.  If…If…

Perhaps if I had quit my day job four years ago…Perhaps Evan wouldn’t have autism.  Now, I need to quit my day job just to take care of him.

Yet today, the answer is no different.  No different than when I returned to work after Arianna’s birth.  No different than when we needed some daycare to give the kids positive interaction.  No different than any other day. 

I can’t quit my day job.  We need food to eat and a roof over our heads…

Oh yes, it is my fault.  No logic could explain it away. 

Go ahead.  Inform me of the difficulty of ‘being with your children all day” and ironing men’s dress shirts. 

I’ll trade you anyday.

GFCFSF: Getting Started

February 15, 2011

Once you have decided to go with the GFCFSF diet, then your next questions are likely, “How do I do this?” and “When should I do this?”  There are tons of variables and no one can really tell you what will work best for your family.  However, I’d like to share, from one mom to another, what led me to my decisions regarding the diet.  Additionally, I will share things that I thought could have gone better, what worked (and what didn’t) and how my kids responded.

When should I begin?

The number one variable to consider here is economics, in my opinion.  I knew I would be replacing most everything in our cupboards and refrigerator.  However, I was not prepared for the cost of simple things like GFCFSF ranch (which is almost non-existant), ketchup and mustard.  Additionally, I was prepared that we would be spending more, but I had not realized that start-up would rock the boat so much.  Previously, I had been spending about $80/week on groceries.  My first grocery bill on GFCFSF was $150 and I think it lasted all of 3-4 days.  I know with time that I will make things more affordable for my family by making many things from scratch, but I can only try so many recipes in one week.  Additionally, purchasing new and replacement ingredients for our pantry (rice flour, xantham gum, baking soda in the aluminum free container) every week drives the bill up. 

The second thing I considered was whether I should see a DAN! practitioner first.  DAN! is the Autism Research Institute’s response to biomedical intervention to cure autism.   It stands for, my favorite phrase, defeat autism now.  I believe this year they are changing the name.  You can view more information here.  Biomedical intervention consists of things such as the GFCFSF diet, vaccination considerations, chelation, etc.  Many of these therapies and treatments are not widely accepted in the medical community, because there is a lack of proven research.  By proven, we mean controlled studies of thousands of people.  However, there are doctors out there who recognize the value of biomedical intervention and you probably want to get involved with one.  One of the things they can do is test your child for gluten, casein and tons of other allergies/sensitivities.  This test may mean that you will be eliminating more than just gluten, casein and soy.  If you are looking to do all of this at once or want more guidence in implementing the diet, then waiting to see a DAN! practitioner is best.   I decided initially to go this route.  However, when I called for the appointment there were no openings for four months.  When I heard this, I decided just to dive in.  I wanted to see change before then.