Monday, July 28, 2008

A blessing and a curse...

The kids and I were cleaning up the back yard by the barn today, and Daniel (18) was dismantling our old Husquvarna lawn mower. Once he had taken the engine and mower deck off of it, he wanted to put it in another part of the lawn. Little brother Christopher came to the rescue. Critter sat on the tractor, steering it, while Daniel pushed it.

It took about two seconds before it became an adventure. Daniel RAN. Critter hung on for dear life, steering and laughing while his brother pushed the lawn mower as fast as he could.

What a picture I have in my mind of those few moments (I wish I had my camera handy). This is one of the blessings of homeschooling. My 18 year old son took joy in making his brother, nearly 10 years younger, laugh with joy! Not many 18 year old young men would want to spend a few moments entertaining a little brother. They'd likely rather be out with their friends, or glued to something electronic. Yet in a homeschooling family, they have time to develop relationships with every member of the family. These relationships will last a lifetime.

Rick came home after that with (literally) tons of bread waste. Unfortunately, the bread was in plastic bags, not having been sorted and put into the bins separately from the plastic, which goes to the landfill.

We all were called out to do our part, sorting through the ton of bread. We emptied bag after bag of breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, buns, bagels, etc., putting them into a bin (to be taken to cattle) and putting the plastic into a separate garbage bin. It was a messy job.

The worst part was the reaction I had. Celiac disease is a dreadful thing sometimes. Gluten is normally absorbed in the intestines, causing rashes or bloating or pain, along with many other symptoms. However, gluten can also be absorbed through the skin. The literature warns us never to use shampoo or other skin care products that have wheat/gluten in them. We cannot use stickers on our children's skin, or they may have a reaction.

I should have thought about that when Rick asked us to help him, but I didn't. After working merrily away for 40 minutes or so, I noticed the skin on my forearms was itchy. I ignored that for a bit, but it persisted, becoming more and more sensitive, burning and itching. My fingernails were also hurting, around the nail on both sides. I finally couldn't take it any more, and rushed inside to wash up.

Now, I sit here with a bloated stomach, itchy arms, and painful gas. Mind you, I didn't ingest any of the wheat. But the long exposure of wheat to the skin of my hands and forearms has given me intestinal pain.


I write all this, not to complain, but to explain to those who read my blog how very careful they must be, if they are feeding celiacs, or even eating wheat or gluten in the surrounding area. It's a terrible thing. It takes very little (only a crumb) to cause a painful reaction.

It's a curse, I guess. But thankfully, I know that when this life is over, there'll be no more rashes, no more bloating, no more gas or passing wind, no more canker sores, no more migraine headaches. I'll be rid of my celiac disease, just like I'll be rid of my sin nature. And THAT'S a blessing I can look forward to with much anticipation.

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