Open Letter to my Fellow Travelers

To the woman at LAX (LA Airport) who had the time to give me the evil eye–multiple times–while I was trying to catch my wayward two year old, manage my 5 and 7 year old children, our carry on luggage and the stroller, I’m going to publicly chastise you, as you did me.

I hope that this letter does not find you in the midst of a crisis, surrounded by strangers, responsible for keeping three children alive, un-kidnapped, and delivered to their next flight on time. I do not want to exacerbate your struggles, endanger your children by distracting you or add to your stress by shaming you when you are clearly, already struggling.
That doesn’t help anyone.

You think you care about the safety of my child, and you believe that gives you liberty to judge me. But if you truly care about my children  Continue reading Open Letter to my Fellow Travelers

When food changes lives. 

She reminds me of myself, nearly twenty years ago.  A young woman of twenty- with all the tremendous potential of youth, trapped in a body stricken by an undiagnosable, but clearly life destroying illness.   Her specific symptoms are a little different than mine, but formed from the same mold:  Acute inflammation (xxx-itis) treated with massive doses of IV antibiotics, followed by a long slow debilitating deterioration of health.   

Here is some information I gathered for her about ways to use diet to help heal her health.  I’ve met a lot of people who ask me about my gluten free diet and my story of healing from decade of sicknesses.  I’m not a doctor and I’m not recommending anything beyond educating yourself.  Diet changes can sometimes be fairly easy and cheap solutions for chronic illness, but often they are last thing we think about or try.  But for those of us who have gotten sick enough to try it, lots of us find we feel much better- surprisingly quickly.  

Here I have gathered some resources I used to answer this young woman’s questions.  I put them here, in case they might help someone else. 

My personal diet is to avoid gluten 100%.  And that works for me.  After ten years of debilitating, undiagnosable illness, Igor better after about two weeks gluten free.  Even my dentist saw huge improvement in my gums.  When I first started, I used digestive enzymes and probiotics for many years. Now, I use probiotics and enzymes occasionally, if I accidentally eat gluten or just feel off. 

Here is a description of gluten free diet from mayo clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530
many people I know are better from just that one change.  
I have other friends who use or have used other more stringent diet protocols. These are never about counting calories- rather they are more like a fast– eating certain foods and avoiding others- but the foods chosen are intended to reduce damage and heal the gut.  
This article describes a few of the most widely used of these diets. http://wellnessmama.com/23461/leaky-gut-diet/
I thought this might give you a place to start as you think about your own treatment. The diets wellness mama describes are all gluten free AND free of certain other things too. 

I have often heard the recommendation to try just gluten free- and then upgrade to one of the other diets if that doesn’t help enough.  
But, I have also heard the other recommendation- try one of the gut healing plans and then see what foods you can add back in.  
The point here is that you have options.  I hope you feel empowered by the idea that very likely you will be able to find a way to eat that brings your sensitive gut back to health.   
I’m pretty sure God didn’t preserve you from the serious illness that took so many antibiotics to heal, just so that you would be trapped by gut illness. And I’m pretty sure you will find your path much quicker than I did.  
You are in my prayers! 

Megan Brightwell 

Swingy 

  Totally inspired by our new swing play set, (#BestGiftEver #ThankyouGrandma&Grandpa,) I’m writing this post while the baby girl is blissfully occupied in her brand-new, hammock-chair swing- designed by mommy!    

   Look!  She just fell asleep in it.    I like how it is positioning her while she sleeps; her face is resting on the side of the swing, the swing is not collapsing around her nose.  There is a potential “death trap” factor in baby swings, beds, and really all baby holding devices. For swingy things, safety lies somewhere between death by shaking- too little head support and death by suffocation- too much nose-smooshing head support. All that Spiced up by the possibility of death by falling.    

If swinging were not so very good for baby brain development, for parent arm resting- and great fun too- one might just abort the whole dangerous mission.  But swinging is so wonderful it is magical. It’s worth a bit of “don’t-be-dumb” parenting to enjoy the brain enhancing pleasure of the blissful ride.  

Until it is no longer blissful.    

    Now that she has woken up, I can report that the first test ride included baby Hoodini’s best attempt to escape her snuggly nest.  Abigail-dini, who routinely escapes the buckle straps on her safety tested infant bouncer, was foiled in her attempt to create a death-by-falling spectacle in this swing.  The escape hatch was too far above her center of gravity and she could not gain any traction on the cloth enclosure.  Her internal alarm system went off alerting the attending parent to the infuriating situation.  While she managed to escape the confines of the trap- she failed to throw herself to the ground!  

So I’m feeling pretty darn proud of my simple to make, hard to escape, pretty to look at, made from stash, baby swingy thingy!  

 I’m considering posting instructions for the swing, but there are serious “don’t be dumb” safety issues in use and construction of a swing.  I don’t want to endanger any-baby.  Comments appreciated  

Art for our marriage…

What started as a utilitarian need to reduce streetlight glow and sunlight heat turned into a metaphor for marriage. And much needed art for the focal point wall of our “tiny house” walk-in-closet/ bedroom.

 The bones of this piece began life as a crochet tablecloth.  By the time it landed in an antique store in Alabama it had aquired several holes.  Two of them were too large to close.  To use it as a curtain I would have to integrate the “fix” for the holes into the design.  Adding appliqué flowers or shapes failed– the holes were spaced awkardly for a decent design and I wanted to include more color… I started just laying fabric over the holes seeking a solution when the muse hit me.

 As I wove strips of fabric into the biggest hole, it got exciting.  The original crochet geometry played peek a boo as the lines of weave alternately hid and revealed the smaller shapes in the fabric.  The weave itself highlights the interplay of the various purples and points out the contrast between the circle and the grid.  It came together in that magical space born of focused intention, experimentation and willingness.

 It feels like my marriage.  Two fundamentally different kinds of cloth, repairing one another, holding each other up and coming together to create something more exciting than either would be on its own.

 An iron pipe holds the whole thing to the wall.  Again, like marriage, a strong foundation and secure anchoring is actually why our marriage feels so free.  I trust my spouse.  I know he can hold my weight; I can’t knock him over if I push with strength- or if I fall; and he has the same trust in me.  And that trust means we both have freedom to move and change and the safety to let go and be soft.

Pragmatically, the pipe continues the theme of exposed pipes used elsewhere in the “tiny house.”  In the bedroom a larger gauge pipe serves as a clothes rod.

  Yes, that’s a mirror hanging from the bar.  The need to use every odd little space continues to inspire fun, creative solutions!  I hope that’s like marriage, too.  The quirky needs of our shared space inspire creative growth!

Winners announced!!

The winner of the 39 steps party 39 foot bean bag toss is ….

Erin Donald!!!    (Megan’s sister)

She had an amazing 42 point day topping the leader board and clinching victory.  Her prize?  She gets to babysit whenever she wants woohoo!!

A few honorable mentions are worth sharing:

  • Ruth (Megans’s mom) had the best success rate by ringing 100% of her tosses.  She tossed 2 and hit 2 for 12 total points.  Then she had the wisdom to stop there and walk away.
  • Roy beat Inge
  • Lena came in 4th
  • A lot of people beat Scott

Whenever you want to come over and throw things out our 3rd floor windows, just let us know!  It’s a lot of fun.