Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blessings of Special Needs Kids

Give a warm welcome to special guest poster, my friend, Nancy Hill—a fellow traveler on the journey of eating clean, traditional foods. She has two of the sweetest boys, which she adopted as wee ones knowing they needed special care. Enjoy reading about her latest diet journey and a blessing. ~Chris

Well, lots of changes going on around here…dietarily speaking! After 6 years, we’re officially no longer vegetarian. We’re now eating Paleo-style (although I dislike the label “Paleo!"), Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) to be exact, recommended by our new functional-pediatrician doc to address Philip’s GI issues. It was not an easy decision, or transition, but based on weeks of research, we feel it’s the best move at this point to help heal Philip’s gut and resolve his dysbiosis/small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), as well as malabsorption and nutritional deficiencies.

Funny thing is, the more research I did, the more I came to realize that I needed this change as much as Philip. I’ve known for a long time that grains and legumes were not kind to my digestion (I’ve had IBS symptoms for years). Already I’m noticing a change for the better. My gut is responding well to grass-fed meat, bone broth, gelatin, and cooked veggies. NO MORE BLOAT after almost every meal, and Steve and I have both lost weight.

SCD is like a massive elimination diet…slowly adding foods back, starting with ones that are easier to digest. As it progresses, raw fruits and veggies are added back in while we assess tolerance of each food until we come up with a list of “safe” foods. Right now what I miss most are daily smoothies, raw salads, and sweet potatoes, but I just keep telling myself that it’s temporary until Philip and I are at a place where our guts are healed and can tolerate those foods better. However, probably will not go back to grains or potatoes anytime soon.

So... there you have it! It’s been a very weird experience going through this transition. When grocery shopping for meat the first few times, I found myself worried I’d run into a friend… I was embarrassed!!! Had to let that go, especially since this change is (so far) working very well.

I recently subscribed to a website that sends out inspirational articles geared towards parents of children with special needs. It is a wonderful reminder to express gratitude for the “little things.” I admit that too many days my eyes are focused more on the daily trials of life than they are on the daily blessings.

Special Needs kids
David (left) and Philip—brothers and best buds
One recent afternoon David announced that he was going “up on the hill” with Philip to “look for gold.” The spot where Philip likes to play in the dirt sits part way up a steep portion of our back hillside—it is not what you would consider disabled accessible. After helping David put on appropriate footwear and giving him his crutches, I sent them off and went back in the house expecting pleas for assistance a short time later. Those pleas never came. Instead, I heard whooping and hollering—the sound of boys playing together outdoors.

I snuck out back and saw David, for the first time ever, sitting up on that hillside with a Tonka tractor in his hands—Philip nearby digging “gold nuggets" out of the dirt. Philip had apparently guided his brother up the rocky dirt path and helped him into position.

I am thankful to God for the blessing of two boys whose unique needs bring much richness to my life, and for the eyes to see the extraordinary moments disguised in the ordinary. Even during the most frustrating of days, God’s many blessings are evident…if I will only yield to His leading to notice and appreciate them!

No matter what challenges you may be facing, may today and everyday be filled with appreciation for the blessings in your life—big and small—and for our gracious Creator who gives them all!

Thank you, Nancy! I know my readers were blessed by your words.

What extraordinary moment have you seen in your life disguised as something ordinary?


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