Livin’ The Free Life – Stories That Inspire

Livin’ the free life doesn’t mean we live a life free of opportunities to be anxious. It means choosing freedom over feardom when anxieties assail.

Smart Money Smart Kids – Help for Livin’ the Free Life

by Allergy Free Kitchens on March 28, 2014

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As I shared in an earlier post, a study on the JAMA Network revealed the additional cost incurred by a family raising a food allergic child averages $4184 a year.  Well, we’ve been at this for six years.  So let’s do the math:  $4184 per year x 6 years = $25,104.  Hello.  I am thankful we had the money to use it, but in recent years it wasn’t funded from our budget; our savings account was the supply.  Not good.  Going backward is the wrong direction.   The solution?  It was time to suck it up and get smart with money.  Big revelation there, right?

I’m not saying my husband and I have blindly and ignorantly made our way through life up to this point.  We’re not extravagant.  We give.  We have a modest home.  And we have a number of steps in The Total Money Makeover completed, but we were lacking the “gazelle intensity” Dave Ramsey talks about.  That has now changed and we look forward to what God will do through us in the years to come.

Like all good parents, we want to model good stewardship before our daughter, and we want to have an atmosphere of contentment in our home.  The first step was to get ourselves on the right path.  Check!  The second step is to have our daughter join us on the journey.  Enter Smart Money Smart Kids, a new book by financial-expert and best-selling author Dave Ramsey and his daughter, Rachel Cruze.  It is exactly what we needed to unite our little family on the path to win with money.

 

Smart-Money-Smart-Kids-Book

As part of the Smart Money Smart Kids launch team, I had the privilege of receiving a copy of the book ahead of the April 22 launch date. It is hands down one of the best books on parenting I’ve read thus far.  And it holds true to Dave’s statement:  “Teaching kids about money is never just about money.”  

In this wonderful book, Dave and Rachel share encouragement and age-appropriate ideas to help parents teach their children how to develop a good work ethic, wait for what’s right, and properly steward what they’ve been given.  Everything is purposeful and meant to help you grow your child in a way so he or she will develop a right heart attitude toward money. There’s something else in this book I appreciate – grace.  We all need grace.

To help you get a feel for the heart of the message Dave and Rachel share, I thought I’d share a few quotes from the book:

  • “When a kid saves money, it is not a mathematical event; it is a maturity event that gives dignity.  When a kid buys something with money he or she has saved, it is not merely a financial transaction, you are watching poise, confidence, and maturity develop right before your eyes.” – Dave Ramsey
  • “Children who can learn to plan and be forward-thinking are more poised and confident because life is not always happening to them – they are happening to life.” – Dave Ramsey
  • “The opportunity to learn and witness the discipline of saving at a young age can be one of the greatest tools you pass on to your children.” – Rachel Cruze

I invite you to visit smartmoneysmartkids.com.  There you will have the opportunity to learn more about the book,  read the first two chapters of the book for free, or pre-order your very own copy.  If you pre-order before April 22, you will receive more than $50 in free extras!

Here’s to livin’ the free life,

Wendy

 

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An Eye-Opening Food Allergy Conversation

by Allergy Free Kitchens on March 25, 2014

Allergic-Living-Allergy-Free-Kitchens

While visiting a doctor’s office recently, my mom happened to pick up the Fall 2013 issue of Allergic Living magazine.  As she flipped through the pages, she settled upon the article “It’s All Relative” by Parenting Coach, Gina Clowes.  In the article Gina described six risky behaviors of family and friends when they are around individuals with food allergies.

  1. Newbies
  2. Diagnosis Doubters
  3. The Rescue Squad
  4. The Pity-Partier
  5. Fright Club
  6. Creatures of Habit

I must confess, I’ve encountered all six at some point or another, but it was interesting to hear my mom’s take on where she felt she fell in the group – the fright club.  This surprised me. I know she’s cautious, but frightened hadn’t entered my mind.  I would have picked the pity-partier. (Sorry, Mom. Love you! xoxo)  That’s not an insult to my mom.  You’ll see what I mean.

The pity-partier described in the article would be someone who expresses their sympathy with statements like, “I feel so bad she can’t have an ice cream cone with the other kids” or “I just wish she could have a little something.”  My mom does that, but I understand it is spoken from the heart of a grandma.  She would love to whisk her little granddaughter off to the DQ for a cone or sundae, or sneak her off to the store for a hot pretzel and frozen Coke, but we don’t have that freedom right now.  Instead, we stick closer to home and grandma keeps a stash of safe treats handy.

But back to the fright club.  Part of the definition Gina gave in the article was this:  “Fright club members understand severe food allergies to the point of paralysis.”  The fear of making a mistake holds them back from even trying.  That’s how my mom felt; she was afraid to try.  That revelation forced me to stop and take a look at myself and how I have communicated with my family over these past six years.  And you know what?  I did a pretty good job peddling fear.  How could I not?  I was filled with it myself.  My husband was too.  We were fierce protectors and poor communicators. Fear tainted everything we said or did.  We’re much better about it now, but that’s the tone we had set.

To make things all the more interesting, I had read that same article months ago, but kept it all to myself.  I guess you could say I was having my own little pity party identifying who fit in what category.  After all, it’s a magazine called “Allergic Living” so only people with allergies have any interest in it, right?  Wrong. My mom was thrilled with her find.  She talked as much about the recipes as she did the articles.  What did that teach me?  She wanted to help more than I knew; I was the one holding her back.

What about you?  I wonder if you have some family members and friends in your life who feel like my mom did.  It’s worth a conversation.  You may find you have more help available than you realize.

As this blog post reveals, magazine articles can be great conversation starters.  At allergicliving.com you can see what Allergic Living has to offer, sample/view a free issue, try some tasty recipes, subscribe, and more!

Here’s to livin’ the free life,

Wendy

Disclosure:  I do receive a free one-year subscription to Allergic Living.  However,  this post is honest, factual, and I would have posted it regardless. 🙂

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FABlogCon 2013 – From a Newbie Blogger’s Perspective

by Allergy Free Kitchens on November 7, 2013

In 2010, I felt led in my heart to be a voice in the food allergy community. After a few years of heart-searching and planning, allergyfreekitchens.com was launched – just in time for FABlogCon 2013.

With my friend and local food allergy advocate (Stacey Stratton of  Peanut Free Zone) by my side, I boarded a plane and headed west to Las Vegas for what would turn out to be a weekend of insight, education, and fun.

Throughout the weekend of sessions and meet and greets, I encountered the smiling faces of those who have made me laugh, taught me how to cook, and inspired me to take the leap of faith in starting my own food-allergy blog.

Following a statement by Enjoy Life Foods’ CMO, Joel Warady, my eyes were opened to see the power inherent in that gathering.  Individually, we are a story.  Collectively, we can move mountains.

Thank you to Jenny SpragueHoma Woodrum and the entire FABlogCon advisory board for putting the event together.  I believe it was the beginning of something very special for the food allergy community and it is exciting to be a part.

If you’d like to know more about the bloggers and speakers who were part of FABlogCon, click here for a list of the attendees and links to their sites.  In the weeks and months to come, I hope to introduce you to many of the FABulous bloggers and vendors I had the chance to meet.

 

 

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Her First Day of School

by Allergy Free Kitchens on August 29, 2013

I remember the day vividly.  As my husband quietly made his way down the hall to our little’s room, I heard him softly singing, “It’s schooly pookers time.  It’s time to give a cheer, ‘cuz schooly pookers here,” and I smiled.  That sweet little diddy is a song from his childhood, a song his dad sang to him every morning before school.  And that day he was singing it for the first time to our little girl.   The day was finally here.  Our lovey bun’s adventure at school was set to begin.

We had prayed.  We had met with the doctor.  We had met with the school nurse (whose office was directly across the hall from the classroom – comforting).  We had met with the teacher.  We had prayed.  A stash of allergen-free lollipops had been delivered to the teacher for the times I might have missed a note on the calendar that someone was bringing a birthday treat to class.  I had packed up vegan and gluten-free pasta in varying shapes for craft projects.  I had prayed.  Notice a pattern?

Leaving your child in the care of another for the first time can be worrisome enough, but when it comes to leaving your child with multiple food allergies and allergic asthma in an environment YOU can’t control, you have the perfect opportunity to be a ball of nerves.  In fact, something inside you seems to say you’d be an uncaring, unloving, brainless parent to be anything but a wreck.

But I’ve discovered something.  I’ve learned when I put my trust in God and not in me, myself, and I (or someone else), I can rest.  Have I always done that?  I’m sorry to say I haven’t, but I’m getting better at it.

I love the scripture that tells us God is faithful and utterly trustworthy – He will keep us, He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).  And that day, amidst my anxious thoughts, I was able to grab hold of that wonderful truth and breathe.  Now, as we begin yet another school year, I’m reminded of His faithfulness all through last year.  He kept our lovey bun.  He did it.  And He’ll do it again.

If you are thinking about sending your child off to school, daycare, or preschool in the next year or two, I encourage you to begin your preparations with prayer.  The Bible tells us in all our ways to acknowledge God and He will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6).  He will help you make the right decisions regarding where and when to send your child to school.

I would also encourage you to check out Stacey Stratton’s book Allergies at School, available on her website and through Amazon.com.  As a former educator, parent, and co-creator of www.PeanutFreeZone.com, Stacey’s perspective is expansive and helpful.

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