Archives for July 2011

Communion with Allergies

Food allergies become a part of every little part of life. I never go anywhere without a safe snack in my purse. I’m much more of a planner than I used to be now that I have to think about where or what we will eat if go somewhere for more than a couple of hours. I’ve gotten used to it and no longer feel awkward about having my own food when everyone else is eating something else. However, it is still pretty awkward during communion.

At the beginning of my food allergy issues I would still take the communion provided at church. But I was concentrating so hard on what the later consequences might be and whether or not my mouth was feeling swollen that I kept missing the entire point of participating. Then I found out that the church sent out an email to notify others in the church with food issues when communion was coming so that they could be prepared. I asked to be added to the list and started to bring my own without giving it a second thought.

I’ve been bringing one of my apple chips and some corn syrup free juice each time. Then I had the idea to see if I could order pre-packaged allergen free communion juice and wafers. You know… the kind where you rip the top seal to get the wafer and then rip the bottom to get to the juice. I did find some companies who make wafers I could have, but none with real juice.


Anyway, the surprising part of my search was discovering such controversy surrounding the idea of using a gluten-free wafer or bread. Like somehow it was the gluten part of the bread that makes communion real. I found several blogs where people were writing that each time they took communion they would be praying that God would protect them from any ill side effects that would result from the ingredients they were eating. The elements are just symbols, they could be anything. I think it is much more a matter of where your heart is.

I’m going to stick with my current solution, but I thought it was interesting to think about. Thoughts, anyone?

MAPP Lessons: Behaviors

Completing a MAPP (Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) class was the first step on our road to becoming licensed foster parents. The course took place every Monday night for ten weeks, three hours each night. It was so much information over a short period of time. We really did enjoy the class, but I also felt like my head might explode by the end of each class. Since Jesse and I are both people who take time to digest information, we though it might be helpful for us to review some highlights of things we learned at a slower pace. Plus there were extra reading materials given out each week that I didn’t have the brain power to work through at the time. So, as I review I thought I would share some of the fascinating and helpful things we learned.

We spent a lot of time during the class discussing appropriate methods of discipline for the children who will come into our home. Obviously, since many of these kids are already coming out of unpleasant home environments, physical punishment of any kind is prohibited. We are fine with this policy, especially after learning all the reasons that it can be harmful. We learned that proactive parenting would be a more positive and effective approach to discipline. Proactive parenting helps build safe and trusting relationships and focuses on providing positive consequences for things the child does right rather than forcing compliance by punishing what the child does wrong. Remember, our number one goal is for the child to know he is safe with us! We have to be less concerned with correcting every minor issue.

Girl pulling hair

Two things from this section of the material really stuck out to me as most important. I need to learn the difference between principle versus preference. This is a hard one for me, anyone who knows me knows that I am neat, tidy, and organized. I like to have things be done right. I realize that this would be an adjustment for anyone who becomes a parent, but possibly even more so for us.

A couple of our teacher’s examples really nailed this point home. She had one kid who would refuse to ever take his shoes off, even to sleep, because he was so sure his parents would be by any moment to pick up. Naturally, one might at least try to talk the kid out of getting his dirty shoes into the bed sheets. But if this is the coping strategy he needs, it’s really not that big of a deal… she let him sleep with his shoes on because it was a matter of preference not principle. She had another kid who liked to hide food in his room. This is less than ideal because it attracts ants and makes a mess. But who knows exactly what happened in the kid’s past to make him feel the need to do this? He needs to have his survival skill validated before he can begin to realize he doesn’t need to do that anymore. Again, not one’s preference… but we are saving behavior adjustments for big things, that are more a matter of principle.

The second thing we need to learn is how to have no reaction to unwanted behaviors. We were warned about the possibility of these kids trying out some extreme behaviors in an attempt to push our buttons and receive the kind of punishments they are used to. We heard stories of young kids with extensive four letter vocabularies. The best thing for us to do is not let them know how much it bothers us. If/when we can be calm, we can let them know the behavior was inappropriate and then move on and forget about it.

Boy screaming

During our first year of licensing we are required to take an extra class on managing behaviors. We are looking forward to it because we felt like this was one of the most interesting parts of the class. I guess they want us to have some parenting experience before we learn these techniques so that we are able to apply them better.

Project: Office Relocation – Part Two

Our office spaces have been successfully relocated to our bedroom. We are very happy with the end result of our new set up. We were a little worried that our bedroom might feel too crowed after adding all this extra furniture, but it doesn’t feel that way at all.

As soon as Part 1 of the office project was finished, Jesse couldn’t wait to get our brand new desks put together. Although our old desks had been working out alright, they were anything but ideal.  Even though I still love my old desk, and we’re still keeping it, it was never meant to be a computer desk. It was very awkward to use as a computer desk and I never had enough space to work. Jesse’s old desk had been taken apart and put back together so many times in our attempts to make it more functional and efficient. So… these desks were very much needed.

Jesse’s original plan for that morning was to get some work done and then spend the rest of the day assembling the desks. I guess he just couldn’t wait that long. Every time I came into the room he had one hand on his phone checking and responding to emails while the other hand used the screwdriver. What a multi-tasker!

Jesse multi-taskingJesse finishing the desks

Our bed used to be against the wall where the desks are now. We moved it to the window wall and even though it’s not ideal to be partially blocking the windows, I really like the new layout.

New bedroom layout

We both have plenty of space to stretch out whatever we’re working on at our new desks. We got matching desks with a coordinating file cabinet. The original goal was to try to match the desk color to the color of the rest of the bedroom furniture. That didn’t really work out. The color seemed like it would be much closer in the store, but it was completely different when we brought it home. Oh well.

New office layoutMy desk spaceJesse's desk space

The picture hanging turned out to be the most difficult part of the whole project. We had to argue over what should be allowed to hang over the desks. I had planned on putting back the pictures that used to be hanging over our bed when it was on that wall. However, Jesse claimed there was no way he could get work done with flowers over his work space. He wanted to randomly put whatever pictures and posters he wanted on his side. I’m sorry… when did random picture hanging get added to my dictionary? No, not when the office is part of our bedroom. We came to a compromise and it was all water under the bridge after I laughed my head off at the way Jesse was standing to hang the pictures. He insisted this was the easiest way to do it even though I tried to tell him it would be easier to stand on the ground.

Jesse hanging pictures

My best idea was to print out our logo to hang in the middle of our “office.” Jesse really likes that touch.

PMG logo

Now that it’s all said and done I have one very happy coworker who was eager to get back to work.

Finished officeHappy working Jesse