Thursday, February 28, 2013

Becoming and Advocate

Sometimes you see and injustice and it strikes such passion you cannot escape it.

There are some injustices in life that strike a passion within us and bring us to action. For me, human trafficking is a big one. In Colorado we are working with Sarah's Home (check out for more details) which be one a very few places in the country that will house and help bring restoration to young women rescued out of human trafficking.

Another injustice that struck passion inside of me was Project Prevention at the LA Dream Center ( when we were there last summer. Project Prevention works alongside the state of California with open cases to help families at risk of losing their children to the foster system due to extreme cases of poverty, regardless of the fact they with a parent or parents who love them, to meet basic needs so that those children are able to stay with their families. As a mother, this was so amazing for me to see. In America the average family is a mere two paychecks away from being homeless. Facing the fact that your children could be taken from you due to impoverished situations beyond your control is heart breaking. The Dream Center has prevented this from happening in so many families and even saved the state of CA hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is amazing and continues to open doors for this to continue.

Other times, it is your own circumstances that cause you to do something.

If you read back to the blog I posted at the end of 2012, you will read about our daughter's struggle with life threatening food allergies. Two nights ago was our second time taking her to the emergency room and having to administer a shot of epinephrine to save her life. Tuesday night I gave her some "safe" chocolate and after a few bites, she (a very bright 3 year old) began to cry saying, "Mommy, I can't eat these!". She began coughing and hives began to pop up on her face and ears immediately. Turns out the way the chocolate was packaged was how the exposure happened. They were contaminated with peanuts and tree nuts, and who knows what else on her long list on known allergens. Those trace amounts caused a reaction that could have taken her life had we not acted. I read about everyone on their gun control soapboxes and screaming about the fact that "guns are killing our children" (forgetting to mention the almost 500,000 babies that were killed in utero via abortions last year alone, but I digress).

My child can die from food. 

Peanuts. Tree nuts. Eggs. Milk. Beef. Garlic.

Any of the above, even in trace amounts, can take her life. I realize from experience that unless you have a child with life threatening food allergies in your family, often times you are naive to how seriously fatal food can be. Even though the exposure the other night was under our care, when I was in the hospital waiting while they monitored her until 1:00am, I began to think, "If we (her father and I) don't, who will?" It is our responsibility to spread awareness to everyone we can about the severity of life threatening food allergies and how to prevent exposures, and how to act should you see someone having an anaphylactic reaction to food.

What are some things that you wish you knew about food allergies?
What are some things you would like to share with others about food allergies?

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Wanna be a Rockstar Mommy

Some days I am so on. Waking up feeling refreshed, making sure breakfast is made and lunches are packed. Through the chaos of getting out of the door on time, I don't freak out. Not even once. I even had time to shower and get dressed before we leave.

Most days I am so off. Hearing the alarm but wishing I could have thirty more minutes, throwing together some cereal and OJ after the kids have been up for who knows how long making messes in their rooms, packing lunches in between sips of coffee, rushing to get everyone, except for myself, ready. Making the school drop off with hair thrown back, glasses on, wearing sweatpants and Uggs. Yeah, this is more like my normal.

I wish so much that I had it all together...the way so many of my friends seem to do from the outside looking in. Always feeling like I am on top of my mommy and housewife game instead of feeling like there is constant catching up, without actually ever catching up, happening in my life. I wish that I felt like cooking every meal. I wish that I kept my home cleaner. I wish I were a rockstar mommy.

I know you're out there - the perfect housewife and mom who always looks her best, the kids are so on schedule, the house is always clean. I would love to be you. But I am not. I like to sleep as long as possible in the morning. I am creative and scattered and things may look a little cluttered from time to time. I am not a fan of house work, and most days my home reflects this. Although I don't mind cooking, most days I am just throwing something together based on the ingredients found in the pantry, because I definitely did not do any meal planning. I daydream, I watch movies with my kids, we sing and color and play all day long when we are home.

I made a resolution to wake up thirty minutes earlier this year. That lasted a week. Maybe. I want to try to cook and plan for meals better, but I have a daughter living with six, yes SIX different life threatening food allergies for which we carry an epi pen and have had to use epinephrine to save her life in early December 2012, and she is picky on top of that, so most days I just figure out what she will eat, and that is what we go with, and her list of "go-to" foods is rather short.

Nothing is what I would picture it to be in my head. Most days I feel like I am just scraping by. Of course I want some things to change, and as my kids get older and daily and weekly circumstances become different than they are now, that will most likely happen, but for now, here we are. I am not a rockstar mom. Not even close. But I love those two kids more than anything else and I think they're having a good time. I try to protect their innocence at all costs, and teach them to love others unconditionally, just like Jesus loves us. I tell them they are beautiful and handsome and that they deserve the absolute best for their lives, because it is true. I speak encouragement and life over them every chance I get. Sometimes I fail. Ok, I fail a lot, but my hope is that they won't remember the failures. That they will remember the fun they had and grow up knowing who they are, not caring to conform to the world's standards, or compromise themselves in any way, because of what they learned in this home, from our family, and what they see in me as their mommy.

Do you have things you wish you could change about your daily life? About parenting styles? Have you come to realize it is what it is, and are embracing the mess and the clutter?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Don't Want Programs. I Want Jesus.

One of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite authors is: 
"I need Christ, not something that resembles Him" - C.S.Lewis

Think about that. Our world is FULL of spirituality. Many of the people you encounter from day to day practice some type of religion, or hold to a certain belief system, yet they are far from the one true God. That is because so much of the spirituality is resembling truth, but comes up empty in the end. 

Even in our churches (little "c"= the building) we find this to be true at times. The people appear to have it all together. They appear to be in love with Christ, but as soon as they leave the church building, that fizzles and dies out, leaving them looking just like anyone else throughout the week. Maybe they try to live a works-based life with their lists of "do's and don'ts" and they never quite measure up, so they stay discouraged. Maybe, even though they attend church from week to week, they wait like a helpless baby for the pastor to "feed" them with a spoon on Sundays and never do anything to produce spiritual growth throughout the week, so they just bounce back and forth between two places, never truly knowing what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Something that resembles Christ, but certainly is not...

 Or maybe it is the church's "programs" that never change from week to week ( Welcome, upbeat happy songs, slower sad songs, offering, announcements, message, altar time, dismissal) that make us think that we are spiritual and help us feel close to God. Heaven forbid we change anything from that order.... that would no longer resemble Christ. Right? Now, nothing is wrong with the programs churches have in place, but when we focus on the programs and service order instead of Jesus, we have it all wrong. I guarantee that Jesus doesn't care so much about the programs. He just wants His bride to encounter Him. And that does not happen because of any man-made schedule, but because the Church (Big "C"= the PEOPLE. The Bride) come together in unity and get hungry for God to move among them. He moves during and throughout the programs set in place when people worship Him. But how often to we stifle what He really wants to do among us because our focus is on what man has set in place? 

My generation, "Millennials", overall could care less about the programs. As a matter of fact, most would find them as quite the deterrent. Possibly why only 9% of Christian millennials attend a church on a weekly basis. This is the generation that is missing from our corporate worship settings on Sundays. This is the generation that sees no need to come and be part of the programs when they can experience God in their homes. The generation whose unchurched likely will never grace your fellowship's doors. They will not come. We have to go to them. They don't want programs. They have been hurt by the programs and the people who run them. They have been given lists and lists of "What Not to Do", and "How Not to Live", having never experienced the love and good news that Christ died for us all to have. They don't need programs. They need Jesus

The mindset that God will only move if your church service or worship set look and feel a certain way is about as far from truth as possible. If we feel that way, then the programs have become our idols. We are no longer worshiping Jesus, but we are worshiping what man has set in place. That is a scary place to be. 

I don't want the programs. I want Jesus. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing...

Too Much of a Good Thing....

... Rarely remains a good thing. Of course, there are things that I could do all day, everyday, and feel like I would never grow tired of it, like hanging out with my family, laying on an exotic beach all day, traveling, snowboarding - although my legs would get tired, and it would end badly. But the majority of things we fill our time with, are pretty mundane and meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Social Media...

Though it is fun to "keep up" with old friends, family, and in some cases, acquaintances without actually having to talk to anyone (eh-hem), it has skewed what friendship and connection should truly look like. For me, there are many friends and family that I used to call and email, but just don't do so anymore because I feel like I know what is happening in their lives based on what I see on my News Feed. In that, the one thing that truly matters has been removed from the equation... each other. I am no longer "connecting" with the people I care about when our relationship has been boiled down to status updates.

*** Social Media can absolutely be a good thing - for businesses, churches, and networking, it is vital.

For me, it has become a habit. I admit it. Whenever there is a lull in conversation, or I am sitting in a waiting room, even watching a movie on our couch, I find myself scrolling through Facebook on my iPhone. Not because I am bored with my company, but because I have trained my mind to do so over the past few years. I am missing real life because of it. Moments with my children that should be focused fully on them, are instead spent with half of my attention on them, and the other half scrolling through meaningless (no offense, really.) status updates.

Facebook is not real life. Real life is in those moments that we are more than likely missing because of our social media addictions. And it isn't just Facebook - there is Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snap Chat (which I would not advise allowing your teenagers to have this one)...the list goes on and on. For me, Facebook is the one that takes up too much time, and often, I find myself getting upset and disappointed over updates posted, or pictures put up for the world to see (Seriously, folks, once it is out there in internet-land, you can never take it back. You have no idea the way certain things can and will affect your future). But really, how silly is that? Facebook getting to me? Lame.


I have talked about deleting my Facebook for a long time, but have held on until now so that friends and family out of state can keep up with our kids. Twitter is so much more user friendly, and FAR less time consuming that Facebook. I am going to keep my twitter handle @traciearly , as well as my instagram: traciearly , and of course this blog will remain up and running for more in depth details as far as what is happening in our lives.

Too much social media... 

For me, has become a bad thing. I want to simplify things once more. I know I could just refrain from checking it, but I don't need it, so I am letting go. Not to say I will never reactivate my Facebook, but for now, I am walking away. I am happy to do so. What freedom can come from cutting out the (unneeded) things in life that consume our time!