To Blog or Not to Blog, Part 1

           Sorry it’s been so long since my last post!  Wow, has it been busy at our house!  I had all these great posts planned for the week of Thanksgiving – my menu, some projects, and leftover ideas – and none of it happened.  We were all sick that week and with all the dinner prep and other stuff going on time just flew by.

            We are busy here packing for an impending move in January.  My new husband’s business has taken off exponentially and we just bought our second vehicle.  I am starting my own business of handmade jewelry and fine art and cataloging it has taken much, much longer than anticipated.  A lot of changes and we are very excited, but sometimes I wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew!

            I’m kidding.  I am so enjoying this journey and so thankful for each of you who have joined me on it.  I have wanted to share from the beginning the decisions that led me to start this and so here you go.

            I’ve been debating about doing it for a while.  I tried starting an Etsy shop a couple of years ago and had a bunch of technical difficulties and got frustrated and gave up.  I think the timing simply wasn’t right.  Also, ever since we lost our first baby people have been telling me to write about it.  It came up again after the second one, and after our third baby was born, and his whole journey, it came up once more.  I’ve simply never been ready…until now.  So I want to share their stories, market my crafts and art, and share our personal journey.

            I went gluten-free five years ago last month because of Celiacs disease.  It is an autoimmune disease that makes me intolerant to gluten.  Technically, gluten is a protein in the molecule of certain foods like wheat, rye, or barley.  Simply, it makes me sick.  I mean absolutely miserable.  I have given birth three times and I have had gluten-induced stomach cramps that put childbirth to shame.  I am NOT exaggerating.  Along with that comes all the other tummy-upset unpleasantness…if you catch my drift.

            That said, part of my journey is all about living gluten-free.  It takes a lot of homework and conscientious living, but I’ve gotten used to it; I know what I can and can’t eat and am very careful but it’s become second-nature frankly and I don’t give it much thought most of the time.  But I am still learning.  For instance, I was having a lot of skin problems and even some mild tummy upset that I could not pin down and then came across an article in a magazine about gluten-containing skin care and it was EYE OPENING.  I started checking labels and lotions, soaps, and makeup I was using were loaded with gluten!  I’ll post more on that another time, but when I say it can hide anywhere, I am not kidding!

            So, anyway there’s that and the fact we have just really been changing the way we live and eat.  I thought I was living and eating so healthfully and found out that really wasn’t so true.  I’ve been learning so much about so many so-called “health foods” that really aren’t that healthy.  Despite the very strict gluten-free diet I am on I am still having some digestive issues and I have been on a quest to change my diet even more and see if I can figure it out.  Additionally, I simply want to live better.  Healthier.  Cleaner.

            I have found some awesome blogs and Facebook pages that have been so enlightening and helpful but I only just recently found one that focused on what I was trying to accomplish on a budget.  And some of them are, I am sorry to say if any of them ever see this, extremely judgmental.  (You must do this, and you cannot do this, and you are poisoning your family if you use this, or eat that and you must buy this and only eat this…and I was getting so discouraged because I was starting to feel like I wasn’t doing enough simply because I couldn’t afford to do anything they were suggesting!)

            I like to joke I am on a budget so tight it squeaks.  Actually, until very, very recently it was so tight it practically squealed.  We were barely surviving and I don’t think most people knew how bad it was.  There was almost no food in our fridge, sometimes no gas in the car, and if something wasn’t getting turned off I guarantee someone was threatening to.  We would make lame excuses why we couldn’t join in on a gathering when it was because we were too ashamed to admit we couldn’t afford a simple night out to dinner, a trip to the zoo or even gas to get to some place like church or to a family gathering. 

            So when I read I shouldn’t feed my family boxed cereal because it was full of processed junk I was very disheartened because sometimes that was all that is in the pantry.  I got discouraged when I learned juice is highly processed and sometimes sits in vats a year or more before it makes it into a bottle because as much as I would love to make my own I could not afford – nor did I have room in my house – for a juicer.  I couldn’t buy raw milk or grass-fed organic meat because I could barely even afford to buy the conventional versions!  I found some higher fiber gluten-free flours I was told were better for me – but in some cases they cost at least two or three times as much!

            Some of these statements are true, others only partly true, and I’m doing a lot of paraphrasing, but hopefully you get the gist and maybe you’ve been there yourself.  Unfortunately, I took a lot of it to heart and got so discouraged and frustrated.  I thought I was making good choices for my family.  I had thought we were so healthy.  So I made a choice.  A choice to make the right decisions I could make as I could make them for my family.  I’ve learned a lot of lessons and I think I have gotten very good at living clean on a budget and I want to share that with you.

            I learned a balanced life is all about…balance.  It sounds so simple but for some reason it wasn’t.  We can’t always sweat the small stuff.  The fact is we eat very, very healthy at least ninety percent of the time or more.  So I don’t worry about my husband taking my son out once a week for pizza on Monday nights for football because that is the only time he ever has white bread.  My husband LOVES hamburgers and French fries and it is a huge treat for us to go out, even to something as simple as that so we went out the weekend of Thanksgiving after I had been cooking nonstop for over a week.  My husband and I both have a big sweet tooth so we often have cookies or muffins or something like that around the house with a compromise; we use honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar, I’ve been experimenting more with grain-free flours (which I think make the yummiest bake goods!), and good quality chocolate without soy or additives some other “natural” brands have.  It’s all about give and take.

            I’ve decided to make sacrifices in some areas so we can spend more in others.  I want my son to know he can eat healthy and make good choices yet still eat what he wants basically.  I want to feel better, look better, and eat to live instead of live to eat…and not go broke in the process.  There’s more to come. Stay tuned!

Kisses,

Emily

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