When I was little we lived in a single-wide brown mobile home on my grandparent's land, perpendicular to my Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Darrell's trailor. Our trailor was small and had lots of leaks and creepy things would often appear. We had slugs in the bathtub. Once we had a possum crawl up into the cabinet of my parent's bathroom, which I found when I was brushing my teeth. I remember screaming and running down the hall. Later my dad shot the possum.

We were poor.

Mom says if it hadn't have been for my grandparents, buying us food and the basics for survival, they would have never made it.

I tell this story for a few reasons. My mind has been racing lately with all kinds of things. Today my husband and I had a talk about our finances. Money is tight right now, as it is for a lot of people. Andy will graduate in just 5 short months and we are banking on a job at Acxiom that looks very promising, but they aren't hiring until May. Until then, we are attempting to get by without getting into any more debt. Today we discussed how to pay down our credit cards and have money saved up in our account when May arrives so we can start building our dream home.

Andy is stressed a lot about finances. I think he struggles with the fact that he is in school right now and can't provide what he wants to. Today, he went out for a few minutes and I stayed home. While he was gone I found myself worrying about money. I started looking at things we could put in a garage sale to make some extra money. And my thoughts led me to my childhood.

Again, we were poor. However, that trailor that we lived in was a castle to me. I remember on cold mornings my sister and I would wake up and run into the living room. We both slept in my dad's oversized tee shirts and we were always freezing when we woke up. When we reached the living room, we would lay down on the vent on the floor with a blanket, letting the heat warm our feet while dad brought us oatmeal.

I remember walking through the trailor after bathtime with wet hair in the summer. We always had the windows open with a fan blowing in to keep the cost down. I remember the distinct smell of honeysuckles that grew on the fence across the street and hearing my dad and cousin and his friends playing basketball outside on our make-shift court.

I remember mom being really worried about money at one point. I took her my piggy bank full of pennies and small change and told her she could have it.

Our other cousins lived in a big house in North Little Rock, which is still a well-to-do neighborhood to this day. I always loved going to their house; they had so much room for hiding and playing games. They even had a Go Cart that you could ride all around their huge backyard on the walkway that was meant for strolling. We would order pizza and pretend to make booby traps from the top of the stairs like in Home Alone. We would get out Michael's whip and hat and pretend we were Indiana Jones and had to scale up the stairway. Everything about their house was different than how I lived my life.

Interestingly enough, they loved coming to our trailor.

A few years ago when I still lived at home, I was driving home with my dad and I told him that I have such happy memories of my childhood and sometimes even wish I could go back. I remember seeing my dad get slightly emotional - which hardly ever happens. He told me that was wonderful to hear, and that we were so poor but that mom and dad tried so hard to just make sure we had a good childhood.

I guess my reason for these memories is to remind myself of what Andy and I have. We have a brand new house that has never been lived in. We drive nice cars and have nice things. We really don't have a lot of debt in comparison to many other people (besides the obvious - mortgage and school loans). And still, we continue to worry and plan and try to think of ways to pay the cards down or find ways to make more money. I continue to pick out our house plan and wall colors for the house we hope to build this summer, planning the kids rooms and making sure the living room will be big enough and the dining room large enough to hold our huge family. Page after page I find something I don't like about most of the plans. I have trouble keeping the square footage to the amount Andy has told me, which is huge anyway.

But at the end of the day it's not about any of that at all. I can only hope that when this new house is built and we do have kids, that they will have just as happy of a childhood as I had in that rickety old trailor.

Matthew 19:24
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."


Life Before School

Last block when I started classes, I didn't post the entire 6 weeks. Before I started this block, I thought to myself, "surely you can post at least a little bit." My classes weren't even that hard, but I haven't posted in a LONG time! So, here I am. I am officially FINISHED with my first semester of my MBA. I have two more semesters to go, and plan on graduating in August of 2009! The crazy thing is, that really isn't that far away.

I remember when I was in undergraduate, 2 semester seemed like forever. But now, with work and with school and family and meeting and just LiFe...2 semesters is a small amount of time. By that time, Andy will be done with his first BA degree. It truly is amazing!

It is very strange how different life is without school. When I'm in school, I am slightly stressed and ALWAYS working on something. However, as soon as it was over, I was bored again. I have a few projects planned for Christmas break because I honestly don't know what I will do with a week and a half off of work and school. Andy and I renovated the dining room before Thanksgiving and we were in such a rush that there are still things we need to finish, so I will be finising those projects. I also really want to put hardwoods down in the extra bedroom and paint that room, as well as clean out the closets and I'd LOVE to have a garage sale...just don't know if I feel up to it!

There's not much else to discuss really. Hopefully sometime in the near future I'll have news to share that will make this blog much more exciting...but for now it's just my rantings.

Proverbs 9:10
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."


Religion & Politics

So everything about life has been exhausting lately.

Don't get me wrong, I love my life and the last thing I want to do is give the impression that I'm a disgruntled individual. I love everything about my husband, some things about my job, and I really love the weekends. Lately, though, work has got me stressed out, and adding class onto that has been equally compromising. I start my second block of classes on Thursday and I'm feeling pretty good about it, except for the mere fact that this block will be introducing me to Accounting Theory & Practice. I have never taken an accounting class in my life, so I am pretty scared at this point. I have been taking a "primer" course to prep me since I never had accounting, and I finally got stuck Thursday night on the tests I have to pass in order to start the class. I'll have to have Andy help me in order to finish, which has got me slightly frazzled.

This week marks two weeks until the election, and I can't express my overwhelming gratitude at how little time that is. I'm SO tired of the election. Not to mention that I'm tired of hearing about why this person should get it, this person shouldn't, what's going to happen to the nation, and most of all that Obama is some sort of satanic prophet.


Now, you'll have to forgive me. I don't mean to sound insensitive. I don't vote; it is against what I believe, but what I do know is that there is one leading this country that WILL make the right decisions: GOD. And so therefore, we really shouldn't question what happens in the election because, ultimately, God is leading the situation. What makes me the most frustrated is that people actually get ANGRY about one candidate or another. I'm sorry, but this is completely not conducive to a "Christian" lifstyle, in which God says to not worry about tomorrow.

I feel that most of the anger that arises because of Obama is inevitably, though you may not want to admit this, because he is black. Please, lets just face the fact. I'm sure there are some that truly don't like his policies, but overall, people are scared, intimidated, and just downright prejudiced towards someone like him.

What is scary about this? Imagine a time when we get a new ruler, but he happens to be a Jew. His policies are strict, his rules set in stone. He leads by a dictatorship, not a democracy. We follow a set of beliefs that he leads. Much of how we have lived our lives vanishes, and a new order is in place. Does this make you angry just thinking about it? Then you are angry at Christ, who will lead in this same theory.

I don't intend to offend anyone, just really wish people would 1) think about what they say before they say it, 2) look around and ask themselves "will this offend anyone?" before they start a conversation, and 3) really think about how ignorance is contagious in this country. That is all I really ask. As for the election, I will be anxious to see the next leader of our country, though I am at perfect peace knowing that whoever it will be is the one God chooses, and if the leader is one who leads our country in a spiral downshift, then so be it, that is what we are meant to head for. Quite truthfully, there is no more peace than knowing that God is leading us everyday and will continue to do so, whether by an older, ex-POW or a new-age biracial popular Democrat.

Daniel 7:13-14
"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven t here came on like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed."


Turn the Other Cheek

In continuance of my last post. No, He never said it would be easy.

I got a full fledge reaction tonight; one that expressed her anger towards me as she called me selfish, childish, immature, shallow, and everything in between the lines that suggested she never wanted to talk to me again. Of course, I know that these things aren't true. I have never in my life been called any of these characteristics by anyone who has known me (well, except my mom calling me selfish a few times, but that doesn't count) for any period of time. But, I know that this is her anger speaking, and probably some hurt feelings also.

It still doesn't make it easy to hear from someone who you never really meant to hurt. But she is not used to people being up front with her, and so her reaction makes sense to me. Remember the mantra "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?" As a child, we sang these tunes, knowing even at that age that they weren't true. But also as a child, what we didn't understand is the commandment of Christ to "turn the other cheek." How many times did Christ bear the burdan of awful words being spat at him? Of people yelling at him, cursing him, abusing him, and in the end, sacrificing him, all the while mocking his existence? On Sundays when we take Memorials I think about this life compared to Christ's. How easy we have it compared to him. Christ was treated harsher than we could ever imagine, and all because he was truly trying to show the people their wrongdoings.

But we, as humans, never like to hear about our wrongdoings. We don't like honesty if it means we are the person on the other end of the exchange. We don't like to be called out on something. And so we get angry, just as the people in Christ's day got angry with him. We don't hear what we want to hear and so we try to use every angry word we can to make up for the hurt that we feel inside.

But Christ didn't do this. The things he endured were so much more than a few hurtful words from an angry friend, and he still was able to weather the storm without once being anything but understanding. And what did he say at the end? After other's anger had brought him to his death? "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." Instead of taking himself off the stake, putting the people to death that were mocking them, creating mass havok around them that could have showed them all who he really was, he just kept his peace, and prayed for God to forgive them.

This is the most powerful lesson of them all to me...because life is just that, a lot of hurt, anger, and regret. Of course, there are the wonderful moments stitched in between. But there will always be times when the sinful part of life weaves its way in. The unexpected thorn as you prepare a vase full of beautiful roses. But it is quite obvious that the only way to master this thorn, to truly try to be as Christ, is to "turn the other cheek," even when all we want to do is throw our own words in the mix, to make the person feel as hurt as they tried to make you feel, to show how angry you are in return.

But again, for the third time this weekend...He never said it would be easy. And so, with that, the end of what I questioned was a true friendship anyway. I didn't write her back; I pray that eventually God will work His way into her heart and she will find forgiveness. For me, the situation is over. I can only continue to pray about it and to put it behind me--just another thorn stick in the rose garden of life.

Matthew 5:39
"But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."


When God closes a door, He opens a window.

I'm pretty sure today I lost a friend.

After constant prayer and deep conversations with my sister and husband, I made a very hard decision to be honest with someone that I have been friends with for awhile. I have prayed and really thought about this decision to be honest for a long time, and I saw an opening and took it. She didn't take it very well, which I understand.

I've never been the type to tell people how I really feel. I usually hold things in until I can find a way to vent them out. I know that I've held onto something for too long whenever I start having dreams that I'm screaming at the person that I'm upset with. I have had those dreams about different people throughout my life, and it is all because that is how I really feel but never acted on it. I'm tired of this. I'm tired of dreams that leave me sweating and breathless. I'm tired of not being honest and hiding my real feelings. I'm tired of letting the hurt from the past haunt me and faking a friendship.

The crazy thing is, I honestly care about this person. I wish nothing but the best for her and I hope she finds everything that will make her happy in life. We are just so different now. Can you really be REAL friends with someone if you have totally conflicting views on everything about life? Through my recent walk towards following God's true teachings, I have really evaluated my friends on if they were the type of people that share the same goal as I do. Would I call them when I had a problem? Would they understand if I was upset? Do they know what I have been going through the past few months? Do they know I've had two recent surgeries? The answer to all of these questions today was no. And no, she didn't understand that I was upset. She was equally upset back at me for my honesty. I don't blame her on this; she is going through a stressful time right now and needs close friends surrounding her. I just don't feel like that person is me.

Having said all that, I realized yesterday when Andy was holding me, trying to comfort me from overwhelming feelings of sadness, doubt, confusion, and anger, that friends are so hard to come by. Friends that honestly care about you and understand your feelings. Friends that actually are upset when you're upset and friends that you can call and say "please pray for me" or even "please pray for my aunt/uncle/grandmother/whatever right now" and they will say, "of course, I will be thinking of you." Friends that actually remember what you are going through and ask you about it. Friends that want to share your joy without taking from it or share your sadness without running. Those are the relationships I crave and that are so hard to find.

I used to think that once you were married and settled down, that things got easier. Relationships are pretty much set, you get a job, everything settles down. No more drama, no more hard issues to deal with. This is so not true. The only difference is that I have one constant, my husband, that I can run to for shelter, who will love me no matter the decision I make. But decisions as an adult are hard. Especially once you truly want to follow Christ's example and try to be a better person. But I guess God never guaranteed that life would be easy. It's the trials and tribuluations that mold us into the character that He wants us to be. It's the true struggle that shows God that we are really trying and that during the worst valleys of life, we are still trying to do what we think God wants us to do. This decision was one of those--a decision to make myself better and follow the person God wants me to be. I can only hope that in time she will understand the reasons behind my feelings--but until then, I can only pray for God to keep directing my walk on this bumpy, scary, sweet path.

John 16:33
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."


Family <3

Here are some recent family pictures. I just love Ashley's photography!

And here are Jude's 7 month pictures. All of these were taken by Ashley, a very good friend who has her own photography business. She is so good at getting those shots that you can never get in time! Check her out at

Enjoy! :)


The Many Hats of Dietitians

On Friday of this particularly hard week (that is over now, thank goodness), I was driving home from my North Little Rock clinic visit, with 30 #10 cans in the trunk of the company car, and I had a realization.

Who knew?

Who knew when I signed up to become a dietitian that I would wear all these hats. Who knew I would track 400 children's nutrition and growth? Who knew that I would meet with parents one day, compare food costs and consult with our company's CFO on how to lower food costs, meet with clinic directors, and do feeding therapy...and the next day I would spend in the kitchen because my cook didn't show up, cooking for 80 children and washing dishes for 2 hours? Who knew I would create menus and then have to cook the food that I ordered weekly if a staff member calls in? Who knew I would have days when I was not just mentally and emotionally exhausted from figuring out how to get tube fed children to want to eat but also physically exhausted from moving 30 #10 cans of fruit from one clinic to the next?

When I was in college, my internship director would often tell us stories of when she worked in a hospital setting. I remember one day she was giving the class an expose on her work as a Foodservice Director at Doctor's Hospital. She said that she kept an extra pair of scrubs in her office in case her line cook called in and she had no one to dish out mashed potatoes. This, she said, was the nature of the beast. Good money, but making sacrifices to keep it running smoothly, because ultimately, you are in charge of getting patients fed.

I snickered at this at the time and said "I will NOT do that!"

I officially am eating my words. They don't go down very easily.

Now I find that I have an extra scrub top in my office just in case, and when the cook calls in I suck it up and put on a white bonnet hairnet and get to work. Andy gets frustrated with me about this and says that if I don't do it or say I won't do it, then they'll find someone else. But, just as my teacher said, ultimately, the job is mine to get the kids fed efficiently, safely, and in a timely manner. So much hinges on them getting a good meal at the right time.

As a dietitian, I am flexible. When you are in school to be a dietitian you aren't particularly trained in one area. You are taught a variety of things and are expected to find your niche when you get your first job and are also expected to basically...figure it out. You have 2 weeks of a pediatric rotation but are expected to hop into a job full swing. You learn about geriatrics, pediatrics, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, general health, maternity. You learn about how a bill becomes a law, writing nutrition grants, and legislation. You learn about how to calculate how many FTE's your staff equals, how to calculate your food cost and percentage of plate waste. You learn about how to replace an egg in a recipe and the aspartame controversy.

But you don't learn what to do when you can't feed a child because their tube feed button is messed up, or why the child with autism won't eat anything but Cheetos, or how to get a child to swallow correctly when they have an unrepaired submucous cleft, or what to say when a parent tells you they feed their child dog food.

And so, these are the many hats that I wear. Not to mention wife, daughter, sister, friend, aunt, and follower of Christ. There were times when I thought my decision to become a dietitian wasn't a good one, but as I learn and grow I realize how important we are to so many people and so many patients...and I can't help but smile at all of my different hats.

Matthew 19:26
"With God all things are possible."


Unanswered Prayers

This week has been a particularly hard week.

If you work with special needs children, you understand. There are wonderful, rewarding times. There are times when you wonder if a child recognizes you because they can't see but respond to your voice and touch by offering a sweet smile. There are times when you see them overcome an obstacle that you have never had to face, all the while wanting to give up and call it quits but they just keep going.

And then there are the hard times. These are the times when you can't figure out what is wrong, or how to fix it. These are the times when you call their doctor, brainstorm with their other therapists, research on the internet, post messages on listservs, and still you just can't figure it out. Sometimes we are lucky and the problem fixes itself; the body's way of correcting itself can be amazing at times. Sometimes we are lucky in that the child ends up in the hospital or at the doctor's office but the doctor discovers the answer.

And sometimes, they don't.

It is particularly hard when you work with a patient, day in and day out, and you wonder if they will make it. There are just some children that you just wonder...even though you try not to think that way, you still wonder if - and how - they will overcome what has happened to them. You wonder what God's purpose is for keeping them here to begin with, but trust that they are here to show you strength and courage and give you the push to go to work again the next day. And then, the patient gets sick, and you wonder again if they will make it. Sometimes they do, and sometimes God decides, for whatever reason, that the struggle has been long and hard but that it is the end.

We wonder how these are fair. How crack addicts can have healthy babies who wind up in foster care, but a loving mother who faithfully takes her prenatal vitamins and cuts out all caffeine ends up having a stillborn.

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. This sounds incredibly scary, as it did when I first heard it and was assured that it is "not as scary as it sounds." Basically, I have precancer cells on my cervix that did not resolve with my first surgery. I remember sitting in the doctor's office after my first surgery, and seeing my doctor frown and shake his head, and say "we just didn't get it all like we wanted to. You're just so young." I remember the distraught look on his face and then him saying that he would refer me to an oncology specialist. I remember the words "It is NOT cancer, but precancer." And then, I remember him saying that the oncology specialist would most likely talk to me about my plans for having children and possibly, a hysterectomy.

Andy held me as I cried uncontrollably in the parking lot. I thought on the way home that day about plans. The doctor would want to know our plans for having children. Of course we had a plan, as most newly married couples do. We wanted Andy to finish school and us to buy a bigger house, we wanted him to get a good job and then I could get pregnant next summer and maybe, just maybe, not have to work when the baby was born. But as I drove home that day, I realized that there was a chance that this was something bigger than our plans. You make plans, you think about them, you pick out names, you prepare, you dream...just as you work with a patient day in and day out and you see them pass a goal and you see them regress a little but you have hope for the future and so you make a new treatment plan...but in the end, they are just plans. And our plans are not always God's plans.

To some, this sounds cruel of God. I've heard comments before, questions concerning why an innocent little baby would die, or why God would let a child live until four years of age and overcome so much just to take them away, or why a 24 year old develops cancer. But to me, this thought is comforting; we may not know why, but God does, and He did it all for a reason that we can only trust in.

Isaiah 55:8
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD."


Life As I Know It

So, we had a fantastic time in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, save for the unfortunate catastrophe that took place when my mother broke her ankle. Actually, she broke her fibula, which is around her ankle, but I do believe it is actually her leg. We went ATV riding through the desert, went deep sea fishing and hauled in a 280 lb 128 inch blue marlin (took 1 hour and 20 minutes to reel it thanks to me, just the men on the boat), walked around the town of Cabo, got deep tissue massages, and ate as much food as possible.

And now, back to the grind of things. Upon returning I found a letter from Harding, an acceptance letter into their MBA program that I applied for recently. I have to admit, I was a little worried I wouldn't get in for whatever reason. I registered for my first semester of classes today, 12 hours along with an MBA tutorial program I have to complete prior to my first class. So, tonight while Andy finished his last final, I started the MBA tutorial.

I was a little overwhelmed. When did everything get so complicated? I guess I don't remember my last graduate degree being very complicated, but then again, that was 3 years ago. I am hoping that all of the technicalities will register as I start working through my courses and won't be so confusing. I guess all new things are a little overwhelming at first.

What hasn't hit me yet, but will soon, is that the life as I know it will be over soon. No more being bored while Andy works on his schoolwork. Not only am I going to be continuing my wonderful job as an RD full time, I will also be a full time MBA student as well as working a second contract job on the side. I am hoping I will take the transition from having nothing to do to having no time at all smoothly.

Then again, it is only for one year. The program is quite concise and I'm hoping this year will fly by. Not only will that mean the end of my second graduate degree and hopefully an added credential and new opportunities, but it means the end of Andy's BA, which he has worked his cakes off to finish while working 3 jobs. He will then jump headfirst into his own MBA program, but at least by then he will be done with the biggest part.

Of course I am trying to heed the advice in that Trace Adkins song "You're Gonna Miss This." If you haven't heard it, listen to it sometime. I am trying to savor our time together just being a newly married couple, but it does seem hard sometimes when he is wrapped up in finishing school and we are caught up in thinking of the future all the time and what we need to do to get where we want to be.

Aside from all of that, I have been off of work for one week now and it feels s.t.r.a.n.g.e. I checked my work e-mail yesterday, nothing alarming. I am hoping I won't have a lot of catching up to do, but will have to jump right back into my clinic visits next week. Enough of that. Andy is snoring on the couch next to Hershey, our chocolate Cocker Spaniel, who is also snoring. I believe it is past all of our bedtimes.

Matthew 6:34

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof."


Hey, Stranger

Today was the first day of the Special Needs in the Early Years conference sponsored by UAMS and Kids First. I have to was EXCELLENT!...except the parking downtown. The conference was at the Peabody so parking was kind of scattered. I ended up paying ten bucks that I *thankfully* had stashed in my purse (left over from the other nights Taco Bell).

The conference lasts two days, and after today's speakers I am so excited about tomorrow. Sibyl Cox, MS, RD, LD, had THREE sessions on Food Chaining. It was excellent and I learned SO much that I can use at my clinics. I also heard an awesome speaker (sorry...forgot her name right now) give an exposition on F.A.S. and the dangers of drinking ANY alcohol during pregnancy--especially the early weeks. I also heard an RD from California speak on new nutrition hot topics...including breastfeeding and pro-and prebiotics.

But the highlight of the day: I was very apprenhensive the first half of the day because of our scheduled lunch. If you know me, then you know I am very OCD. I have to have a schedule usually, or at least a plan. I get anxious when I don't know what's coming., the schedule read "Lunch on your own." Of course, I was a little bit apprehensive about this. I begged Andy to come meet me downtown for lunch because I was just a few feet from his office, but he had a loan closing at 12:00, so he couldn't. So, knowing no one at the conference, I set out alone, following the crowds, begging silently for an easy Subway that I could zip in and out and get back to the conference hall.

Unfortunately, no Subway until a few streets up and I was not about to walk that far in the heat, so I followed the crowd in front of me to Iriana's Pizza downtown (de-lish). People from the conference were filing in all around me in groups, grabbing the 4-seater tables with their co-workers. I slightly panicked. I didn't want to take the only 4-seater table left just for me. At that moment, I noticed a lady with a conference badge sitting at the only 2-seater table. I walked up and politely asked if she was alone and if I could sit there with her. She said yes and so I spent the next 45 minutes making friends with a Physical Therapist for Access Schools with a 3 year old who has ADHD and who used to work at Kids First in Pine Bluff.

You see, I am not an outgoing person. I love making friends, but I'm not the type to initiate. I normally would have turned away from that situation and even left, but something made me stay, and I had a very pleasant lunch and even made an acquaintance that I'll most likely never talk to again, but an acquaintance all the same. We actually had a lot in common, both working in an ECI setting with kids with similar disorders.

So, I have a newfound pride in myself today, for stepping out of the box. I guess you'll never know much about life unless you take chances. After all, what do we really have to lose if God is with us all the time?

Joshua 1:9
"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."



I consider myself to be a somewhat decent cook. Contrary to many people's beliefs, not all dietitians are good cooks, and definitely NOT all cooks are dietitians (don't even get me started). When I talk about my past cooking experiences, many people look at me and say, "didn't you have to take cooking classes in college to get your degree?" Well, did I go to culinary school or did I get a nutrition degree? I guess this is partly true. I did take a couple of classes where cooking was in the curriculum. But nothing that would teach me the lessons I have learned from just trying to cook my husband a decent dinner.

Tonight was no exception. I have made meatloaf before. It isn't hard. I had to call my sister, AGAIN, to get the recipe. I always seem to forget how long and to what temperature to cook something to...and my friends, this is crucial! So I started the meatloaf at 5:30, knowing my husband would be starving at...well, 5:30. I did everything as directed and even threw in some extra smashed crackers, hoping to enhance the loaf. I set the timer and an hour later, I'm all ready.

Except my loaf was more than ready. It was brown and badly burned on the ends.

I'm guessing that I put too many crackers in the loaf. That is all I can come up with. However, I was pretty disappointed. My endearing husband, so sweet and so careful not to hurt my feelings, tried everything to assure me that the loaf was still good, even forcing a smile as he chewed the rubbery mess and exclaiming "mmm..." Needless to say, tonight we had Taco Bell for dinner.

On a happier note, today was my LAST day of work for the next week and a half!! Tomorrow and Friday I will be at the UAMS Special Needs in the Early Years conference, hopefully soaking up awesome information from Sibyl Cox, MS, RD, LD, and Elizabeth Strickland, MS, RD, LD, two speakers that I am SO excited about! And then...Saturday, we will be leaving for our vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

I'll be thinking of my dear friends as I am sipping a cold drink on beach.

For now...So You Think You Can Dance will be on shortly. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Psalms 27:1
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"


Bloggidy Blog Blog

My inspiration to create a blog has come about recently. My overloaded husband is taking 27 hours this summer, and so, I am a little less than enthused to sit on the couch all night. I am. Plus, I recently read in a report that bloggers tend to be less stressed out than the rest of America because they are able to channel their slash-your-tires thoughts onto a blog. At least, that is what I remember.

And now, two hours after I began creating this blog, here I am. Technical difficulties, and I consider myself somewhat of a computer mini-guru.

My day has been exhausting, but what day isn't? I finally have almost gotten rid of the headache I had all day. I was lucky enough to sit in trainings for three hours today.

I work in a day treatment facility for special needs children, which can be so rewarding and so hard at the same time. Today was my day to do Feeding Therapy with a 3 year old boy with autism. If you live on this earth and pay any attention at all, you most likely know what autism is, but you may not know the extreme feeding difficulties that children with autism may or may not have.

Most of my kiddos that I follow (which in number...approximately 400 special needs children) that have autism do have a mild to severe feeding disorder. Many are on a GFCF diet (gluten free, casein free) which I plan for each clinic and train each cook to execute. Many have severe feeding aversions which can arise from an endless array of possibilities. Usually, texture difficulties that are not 100% specific to autism, but very hard to deal with.

I, along with this child's Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Mental Health Professional, and classroom teachers, have worked endlessly with Feeding Therapy daily to try to introduce him to new foods. We have specific instructions from a local Feeding Behavioral Specialist (an MD at Children's Hospital) on how to introduce foods to him, and we have tried a variety of our own techniques as well. His progress has been...nil. Some days we get so excited and then we go three weeks without seeing any progress.

Today when I sat down with him he was already crying, knowing lunch was coming. As soon as I tried to introduce a piece of hamburger patty, he immediatey threw his arms over his face in the ultimate shielding position and turned his head. I somehow got him to open for three bites of meat, but the rest was awful. He was more resistant than I've ever seen him, resistant to "touch, lick, taste" the pineapple or mashed potatoes (FYI...I use Kay Toomey's "Steps of Eating" program that I learned of at a conference given by Elizabeth Strickland, MS, RD, LD).

After only a few minutes, I gave up, realizing that this child was seriously upset today for some reason. I ran into his MHP a few minutes later and we discussed what had happened. She asked if I heard what happened this morning, and I said that I had heard he threw up. I wasn't too concerned about this...many of our kids throw up for random reasons during the day. After a few minutes of talking with her, I learned that another staff member (who's name and profession will go unnamed) FORCED him to eat a waffle that morning, resulting in him throwing up all over his clothes and regressing dramatically in the feeding progress we had made.

My heart hurts for this child and for all other children with feeding issues that people do this to. Please please please, never force a child to eat if they have a feeding disorder!! Actually, never force a child to eat, period!! We are in a new era of thinking. We have so much research on feeding disorders with autism and PDD as well as with premature children, but we still have uneducated people out there that believe since they raised two children of their own this way, it will work for every child.

I see this a lot with grandparents, who don't understand what we have learned about feeding disorders, along with uneducated parents/staff members who feel that this is strictly behavioral. True, there are many behaviors that go along with a feeding problem...but we need to address those separately.

So, needess to say...I had a hard, upsetting day because of this revelation. I did report this incident and I can only hope something gets done about it. But for now, I will hope that the months of Feeding Therapy we have been doing is not all lost because of one blind, uneducated incident.

And this is the end of my first blog. I'm sure for many of you this is utterly BORING...but for many of you with interest in these issues, it may be very intriguing and maybe you can offer some type of advice.

Romans 12:21
"Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good."