Friday, November 8, 2013

Maggiano's Little Italy {a success story}

Last month, we took the family on a mini vacation to our favorite beach in Florida. It was perfect. As always. It's a place we can go and just totally relax and enjoy ourselves. There's something about the ocean that makes you forget everything stressful in your life. It's just pure enjoyment. That's not what this post is about, though. It was on our way home that this story takes place.
We planned to leave early enough so that we would arrive in Jacksonville right at lunch time. We had heard about Maggiano's from family members that had been there and we were really wanting to try it out. As a family that operates on the food allergy mindset, we had never taken our family out to an italian restaurant before because of the egg ingredient present in nearly all pastas. It's never a risk we've been willing to take because there are only a couple different pastas available in stores that my daughter can eat and pretty much every italian restaurant we've looked up online has no egg-free version. But we researched ahead of time {as always} and saw on Maggiano's website that they try to accomodate food allergies, etc. So, we made the decision to go. {There were plenty of other places nearby to eat in case we got there and it proved not to be allergy friendly. We always have a backup plan.} Upon arriving, it was a little busy outside the restaurant, so Hubs let me out of the car to go get a table. When I was greeted by the hostess, I asked her about the food allergies, specifically my daughter's allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts and she said they happily accommodate food allergies and that the chef would come to our table to speak with us about it. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the chef came out {which my daughter thought was awesome} and asked us about the allergies and then gave us our food options. He told us she could eat any of the straight pastas like spaghetti, etc. and then which sauces were appropriate for her allergy needs. When they brought out Callie's big bowl of spaghetti {her very first time eating it at a restaurant!!}, she was thrilled! Spaghetti is her favorite meal at home, but it was even better in a restaurant.
I had to take her picture because this was a moment to remember! Excuse the crazy hair and tired face. We had been traveling all morning.

I, of course, had Benadryl in my purse just in case, but it was completely fine for her and caused no reaction whatsoever. It was a real treat for her to eat pasta that day. I was so happy for her and thankful that she got to have this first-time experience. Wish we had a Maggiano's close to us!

I'm adding this to my list of allergy-friendly restaurants at my page entitled {Allergy-friendly Restaurants}. Go check out the others listed. If you know of some I have not listed, please comment and let me know!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How to Deal with the Emotional Effects of Food Allergies or Any Other Trial in Your Life {a personal story}

Let's face it. Food allergies are difficult to live with. They affect our emotional being just as much as our physical being. Pain, sickness, and sometimes {unfortunately} even death comes as a result of food allergies. The emotional side brings fear, anxiety, sadness, distrust and feelings of loneliness. It's hard, and as a parent of a child with multiple food allergies it's heartbreaking at times. Today was another one of those moments for both my girl and me. If you've read my blog before this post you know that I try very hard to help my sweet girl live as normal a life as possible. It's time consuming and sometimes inconvenient, but ALWAYS worth every bit of effort. However, there's no way I can make her life feel normal 100% of the time. Because her life requires a lot of care and careful watch over everything in her environment, she naturally feels different from everyone else. This afternoon, she had another one of those moments where it really weighed down on her and she was overcome by emotions. The crying and inability to understand why she has food allergies and no one else in our family has them. Why she can't eat more than half of the halloween candy she got {which we switch out for things she can eat} is a trial for her that she cannot understand. And the tears. They pour down her cheeks like a rushing river. Head in her hands. Sobbing. Until there's nothing left. I just sit there holding back my own tears and once again ask God for wisdom to be able to help her believe in something she cannot see. SomeONE she cannot see, but Whose hand is very evident in her life to those who are watching. I sit there among the sobs and tears and am reminded of His faithfulness. God's protection. His love. My whole life is marked by His faithfulness to me. Every trial and tear, He was there and there was a purpose for it. I couldn't always see the purpose during the hard times, but the sunshine after the rain is always more beautiful. I see Him clearly now in every one of those deep, difficult days. Times when I thought I knew what was best for me, but in His lovingkindness He didn't allow. Times I couldn't understand why life seemed so hard, but now through tear-stained eyes I see. He always has a purpose. And I sit there with my girl, worn out with grief, and begin to tell her - again - about this God that loves and has a purpose for everything. "He makes no mistakes!" I declare for the hundredth time. Do you believe that? This God Who loves with everlasting love, dishes out grace upon grace, and heaps mercy on me in my worst state. He loves. And He cares. He has a reason for these food allergies. I believe it with my whole heart. I have no doubt about that. So, we prayed again asking God to give more grace for these moments, to reveal to us the purpose of these food allergies and for healing from these allergies. But if He chooses not to, I ask Him to help her trust Him that His way is always best. Even when we cannot see or understand and nothing makes sense or seems fair.

These things are sure:
  1. God makes no mistakes.
  2. He loves and cares.
  3. He has a distinct purpose for your trial.

If you're struggling with this or another trial or hardship in your life and you just don't understand why. If it seems like it will never end, let me encourage you to listen to this series on Seeing through Suffering & Pain. It has been a huge blessing in my life and I am sure you will benefit from it, too.
If you have questions or would like me to pray for you, email me through my profile. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by!