Tuesday, March 26, 2013

{Guest Post} Alzheimer's Through My Eyes

Today I have a guest who, as you know, I consider to be one of my "blogger besties" sharing her thoughts on watching her grandmother's struggle with Alzheimer's for almost 20 years.  This post will touch your heart and make you think (so make sure you have the Kleenex handy).  My grandfather struggled with Dementia in the last years of his life, so my heart was instantly in tuned with hers when I read how Alzheimer's impacted her life growing up, and how watching her family's response shaped her views on true, unconditional love.
 
 
Please welcome
 
 Jo of Jo, My Gosh! 
 
(and please leave her some comment love below)
 
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Hi!  I'm Jo, the blogger behind Jo, My Gosh!  Join me as I blog about deployment, care packages, recipes, crafts, and everything in between!
 
One of my deepest, greatest fears is that hidden somewhere in my DNA, I hold the right cocktail of genetics for Alzheimer's. Even typing that sentence makes me tear up, makes my stomach twist. Every time I lose my train of thought or misplace something, my brain can't help but move in that direction. What if...?

My fear comes directly from watching my grandma struggle with Alzheimer's for almost 20 years. Alzheimer's is a cowardly disease-- sneaking in and stealing, piece by piece, personality, memories. It is painfully slow and painfully emotional for everyone watching it affect the person they love.

I can only imagine how Grandma must have felt in the early years-- knowing something irreparable was wrong as more and more words slipped out of her grasp, as more things didn't make sense. It must have felt like slowly sinking into the ocean, like slowly drowning without the hope of a life preserver or a friendly hand. As a kid, I didn't notice her slow unraveling at first. And, when I knew that something was wrong-- once, as a family, we began naming it for what it was-- it was the family members around me that profoundly changed.

It galls me to say that something positive could come of Grandma's illness. It was so very devastating to my family; even thinking it makes me feel like a traitor. And yet, good can always be found in the darkest times and most unremarkable places.

The love that my mother and grandpa displayed tirelessly and unconditionally over two decades, is nothing short of monumental. It wasn't until I became an adult that I really understood the sacrifices that they made all while dealing with the emotional ramifications that Alzheimer's inevitably entails.

Grandpa's unwavering steadfastness is something that I will always admire, and something that I try (and fail) to emulate. Throughout her disease, Grandpa never forgot that somewhere, inside her slowly withering body, was the girl he fell in love with in eighth grade and the woman he explored the world with. He treated her that way-- as the woman he was still madly in love with-- even as she became unable to talk and no longer recognized him.

My mother kept two households running-- making dinner almost every night for our family and Grandpa and Grandma, cleaning, advocating on behalf of my grandparents for various organizations-- all while taking post-master's classes, raising three kids, working a professional, full-time job, and keeping everyone's schedules straight.

As a clueless kid and then as a self-absorbed teenager, that was just the way things worked in my family-- it was status quo, nothing special. Today, looking back, I am deeply in awe.
 
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You can connect with Jo at the following locations:
 
 
 
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Thanks again for joining us, Jo!

Here's your badge, if you'd like to use it.

 




 
For more information on Alzheimer's and what you can do to help raise awareness, become an advocate and/or help find a cure, please contact the Alzheimer's Association.

 

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Luck O' The Blogger {Feature Day}


~*~ Welcome to the Feature Day of ~*~

I hope you enjoyed this link-up as much as I did! :)  I just love a chance to brag on my friends, and let them know just how blessed I feel to have them in my life.
As a recap, here is the list of my blogger besties that I shared with you: 

I hope you got by to check out their blogs/sites.  You won't regret it!  They are some of the most amazing ladies I know...Ones who have blogs, anyway - I know plenty of amazing people without them and wasn't able to feature them (like my friends from my Facebook groups, church, real life friends, etc., and if you're wondering if I mean you, yes, I do! :))!  At any rate, I hope you will go give them a visit and see if you don't see what I see in them and find yourself with some new blogger buddies! :)
 
Anyway, today I am featuring some of YOUR friends that you linked up.  Since I didn't have that many posts/sites linked up, I decided to feature everyone who had not already been highlighted by me earlier, so that left me with five sites/posts left to feature.  I will share them now in the order they were linked up:
 
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First is GiGi of
GiGi's Doll and Craft Creations
linked up by Amy of Sews N' Bows!

 
Image courtesy of GiGi's Dolls and Craft Creations

 
 
Amy shared that her friend Gigi took amazing pictures and made some pretty awesome doll clothes, and I must say, I totally agree!  Just look at the adorable outfit!  If you are into making clothing or accessories for dolls or just love looking at absolutely adorable doll clothes/accessories, look no further than Gigi's Doll and Craft Creations!  There is some unbelievable talent there for sure!

Thank you again, Amy, for sharing your friend's amazing talents with us!
 
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Second is Kim of The Lazy Girl Fitness
linked up by Cindy of Vegetarian Mamma!

Photo courtesy of The Lazy Girl Fitness
 
Cindy told us that she linked up Kim because "She is such a motivator to me.  She took control of her life and her eating and has lost over 80 pounds.  She is very real about her journey and such a good friend!  I hope to be more like her one day! :)"  I love having friends that I can look up to, don't you?  This girl sounds like one you can look up to and who will cheer you along as well.  I hope you take the time to check out her site!  She's got lots of helpful stuff and some yummy looking recipes, too!
 
Thank you again, Cindy, for sharing your inspiring friend with us!

 
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Third is Tricia of Wigglebug Photography
linked up by Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie!
 
Image courtesy of Lemon Drop Pie

 
Ginny Marie shared this guest post that Tricia did for her called, "Tips and Tricks: Five Ways to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids", and let me tell you, there were some great tips there!  I then went to check out Tricia's page, and WOW! - BEAUTIFUL work!  If you live in the DeKalb, Illinois area and need some photos done, look her up!  She's amazing!  And, from the sounds of it, she has a heart of gold, too!  You won't be sorry.

Thank you, Ginny Marie, for sharing your friend's photo talents with us!

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Fourth, a post called

linked up by Ashley and Lisa of


Photo courtesy of The Dose Of Reality

Now I know I highlighted The Dose of Reality ladies already, but this post wasn't about them, but about their daughters who are BFFs.  How cool is it that BFFs have daughters who are BFFs?!?!?  Anyway, the post is just ultra sweet and embodies all that this link-up was meant to be, so I couldn't NOT share it.  You simply must go read this post and watch the video that is there, too.  Oh, and have the Kleenex handy! :)

Thank you, Ashley and Lisa, for sharing your daughter's "friendship personified" with us!


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Fifth is Karen of

linked up by "One Mommy" of



Photo courtesy of Dinosaur Superhero Mommy




"One Mommy" said this about her friend's blog, "Doesn't the title just sound fun?"  Indeed it does, and the blog does not disappoint!  She got everything from quirky little posts about her dinosaur-loving kiddo to recipes and so much more!  Definitely worth the time to check it out. :)

Thank you, "One Mommy", for sharing your friend's fun blog with us!

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Thank you all for taking the time to stop by, link-up and/or comment!  I hope you enjoyed this week as much as I did! :)

 
   

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Luck O' The Blogger Link-Up {Last Day}


~*~ Welcome to the Last Day of ~*~

I hope you all have enjoyed (or will enjoy if you link-up today) your chance to share your besties with us!  So far, I've shared with you, my blogger besties: Stacey of Glued to My CraftsAshley and Lisa of The Dose Of Reality,  Jo of Jo, My Gosh!, Vanessa of Vanessa's Place, Laurrie of Baked Lava, Cindy of Vegetarian Mamma, Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie, Kathy and Melinda of Mothering From Scratch"One Mommy" of There's Just One Mommy,  Caroline of Grateful Foodie, Heidi of One Creative Mommy, Paloma of The Coffee Shop, Patty of Mrs JohninGhana and Wyndie of Autism Recovered.  They truly an amazing group of gals, and I hope you will get by their blogs to check them out soon!  You won't regret it, and you might find that you will make yourself some new friends in the process!

Keep in mind that tomorrow I will be sharing some of your friends on my blog (number to be determined based on participation, posts/blogs chosen at random), so please keep linking up through 11:59pm EST tonight!  Thanks! :)
 
And, for today, here are my last 2 blogger besties I want to share with you:
 
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Image courtesy of Christy.

 
 
This is a dear woman from the natural/whole foods and health community who I can't quite remember how I happened across, but am so glad I found.  I've had her as a guest here before sharing her inspiring recovery story from Fibromyalgia after some serious lifestyle changes, and let me tell you, if you've not read it, you need to!  So inspiring!
Please take a minute to check out her site.  She shares recipes, tips, recovery stories and is full of enthusiasm and inspiration!  She even does speaking engagements and consultations on how to regain your life and your health by making changes in lifestyle and eating habits.  She is definitely a mentor to me, and I have the uttermost respect for her!

To Christy: I have always looked up to you and found that you are such a blessing and encouragement.  You have never treated me like I was "too small a blog" for your time, nor have you shunned my questions.  You have always been there to encourage me, offer advice and make me feel like I'm just as important to the blogging world as you are, and you have no idea how wonderful that is nor how much that means to me!  Thank you so much for all you do for this world by sharing your recovery story and the importance of real food.  They and you are invaluable!  Love ya, my friend!
 
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Image courtesy of Une Bonne Vie.
Again, I don't know how I first met, Rachel, but I will tell you that she is the real deal, folks!  She's sweet, caring and just an all and out blessing.  She shares her heart honestly and openly, letting you see a side to her that will blow your mind, and does it in such a way that you don't feel alone in your own struggles in life.  That, my friends, is rare.
 
Her blog talks about her daily life, gives recipes and craft/organizations/fix-it tips/ideas, shares her thoughts on life and her relationship with God, among other things.  She also loads her blog with amazing pictures that never cease to make me hungry (if we're talking food) or laugh, cry, smile or go "Aww!" (if we're talking pictures of her family, items or nature).  It is definitely worth checking out!

To Rachel: You are an amazing woman who I definitely admire and look up to.  You never claim to be perfect, but you are real, and that is worth so much!  I know that if I needed a prayer partner, you'd be there to do it.  If I needed advice on a recipe, you'd give it.  If I just needed a friend, you'd be it.  We don't talk too often, but when we do, it is quality conversation and I feel heard and cared for.  Thank you for showing me and others the love of God and His grace through your eyes.  It is an amazing sight, and it increases my faith.  Love you, girl!

 
P.S. I did not get to share all of the amazing people I know online because there simply isn't enough time in the day or space online. :)  If you want to see a complete list of all the amazing bloggers I know and follow, go to Natural and Free and look at the lists at the bottom of the page.  You will find some incredibly helpful and talented people there with some equally as amazing blogs/sites. 
 
To all of the bloggers/sites I didn't get to mention by name: You all have, at one point or another, been an encouragement and a blessing to me!  You have answered questions, left comments and cheered me along when I needed it most.  Thank you!  You can never know how much that means, and I count myself blessed to know you and have you as a part of my blogging life!  Love you all!
  

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Now it's your turn!


 
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Luck O' The Blogger Link-Up {Day 7}


~*~ Welcome to Day 7 of ~*~

I hope you all are enjoying your chance to share your besties with us!  So far, I've shared with you, my blogger besties: Stacey of Glued to My CraftsAshley and Lisa of The Dose Of Reality,  Jo of Jo, My Gosh!, Vanessa of Vanessa's Place, Laurrie of Baked Lava, Cindy of Vegetarian Mamma, Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie, Kathy and Melinda of Mothering From Scratch"One Mommy" of There's Just One Mommy,  Caroline of Grateful Foodie, Heidi of One Creative Mommy and Paloma of The Coffee Shop.  They truly are amazing gals, and I hope you will get by their blogs to check them out soon!  You won't regret it, and you might find that you will make yourself some new friends in the process!

Keep in mind that on the 18th (That's in 2 days, peoples!) I will be sharing some of your friends on my blog (number to be determined based on participation, posts/blogs chosen at random), so please keep linking up!  Thanks! :)
 
And, for today, here are my next 2 blogger besties I want to share with you:
 
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Photo courtesy of Mrs JohninGhana
 
This dear lady is my sister-in-law, but she is also a dear friend.  I remember the first time I met her; my sister and I were looking for formal dresses for an upcoming banquet at college to borrow, and Patty and a few of her dorm mates had some for us to look at.  My sister left with a dress to borrow and I didn't, but I did leave with an impression of Patty that I will never forget.  I'd instantly liked her and thought, "Now that's the type of girl my brother should marry!" and then I'd laughed and thought, "No way she'd put up with him!" LOL :)  Little did I know that years later they'd met and fall in love.  In fact, when my brother called home to tell my mom how he'd met this girl named Patty that he was interested in and I asked her to ask him which Patty and she told me it was indeed this same Patty, I said, "Mom, tell him to stop searching!  That's the one!"  She'd laughed, but I knew deep in my heart that I'd gotten my silent prayer I'd not realized I'd given years ago answered.  And sure enough, in a few more years time, that sweet woman became my brother's wife, and I was so thrilled! 
Please take a minute to check out her blog.  She talks about life as a missionary wife and mother in a very real and special way.  I am always in awe of her honesty and the way she lets the Lord use her through this blog.  She even shares recipes from time to time on there and a blog called Baptist Missionary Women.  Her blog never fails to touch my heart, not just because she's my sister-in-law, but because she is indeed a very special woman who loves the Lord and lets His Light shine through her.

To Patty: I feel so blessed to know you and to have you in my family!  You merged into our family so easily and effortlessly and became a sister to me well before you married my brother.  You are a wonderful wife and mother and an inspiration to me.  I look up to you on so many levels.  Thank you for letting the Lord use you!  Thank you for loving my brother and my nieces and thank you for loving us!  I will forever be grateful for the day that God saw fit to have you join our family.  What a blessing you are!  Love you and miss you tons!
 
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Photo courtesy of Wyndie.
You all may remember that this is my cousin by marriage who has guest posted for me before.  Her story is amazing, and she is such a positive, encouraging woman!  She is passionate about her advocacy in the Autism and food allergy world, and she has always been such a huge help and support to me in my endeavors.  I cannot say enough good things about this woman!
 
Her blog talks about her children's Autism recovery and gives snippets of their daily lives (though she's not updated it in awhile due to life being busy, and we all know how that goes), though they use pseudo-names to protect the innocent, or maybe it's the not so innocent. ;) LOL :)  Either way, it is an amazing blog featuring amazing insight into the world of severe food allergies and Autism that is well worth the read.

To Wyndie: Little did I know when I married into my hubby's family that I would get to know such an amazing woman who would end up being a great friend!  You have always made me feel so loved and welcome, and you've always made me feel like what I had to say and share was more than worthwhile, and I can't thank you enough for that.  Your support of my blogs and my little projects, your willingness to answer my questions and all those other little things you do to make you know you're there if I need you thrill me and make me feel so blessed!  Thank you for all you do!  Love you, "cousin"! :)

  

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Now it's your turn!


 
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Friday, March 15, 2013

The Luck O' The Blogger Link-Up {Day 6}


~*~ Welcome to Day 6 of ~*~

I hope you all are enjoying your chance to share your besties with us!  So far, I've shared with you, my blogger besties: Stacey of Glued to My CraftsAshley and Lisa of The Dose Of Reality,  Jo of Jo, My Gosh!, Vanessa of Vanessa's Place, Laurrie of Baked Lava, Cindy of Vegetarian Mamma, Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie, Kathy and Melinda of Mothering From Scratch"One Mommy" of There's Just One Mommy and Caroline of Grateful Foodie.  They truly are amazing gals, and I hope you will get by their blogs to check them out soon!  You won't regret it, and you might find that you will make yourself some new friends in the process!

Keep in mind that on the 18th I will be sharing some of your friends on my blog (number to be determined based on participation, posts/blogs chosen at random), so please keep linking up!  Thanks! :)
And, for today, here are my next 2 blogger besties I want to share with you:
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OneCreativeMommy.com


I don't remember who found who, but I'm just glad we did.  As soon as I began to explore her blog, I knew we'd be friends.  She has such a sweet, helpful and amazing spirit.

Please take a minute to check out her blog.  She shares crafts, recipes (especially gluten-free ones), reviews, link-ups (like One Creative Weekend) and so much more!  She presents everything with a sweet spirit and makes you feel right at home.  Definitely worth the visit!

To Heidi: I have counted you a friend since the first time we conversed.  Your sweet spirit and amazing attitude are so welcome and refreshing!  You have always been a real encouragement to me, and have always been willing to help and answer my questions when you can.  Thank you for your contribution to the allergy community through your gluten-free recipes and such, and thank you for your contribution to my life with your sweet friendship.  You are a true blessing!  Love ya, my friend!
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The Coffee Shop

I met Paloma on her SITS Day.  As soon as I went to her blog, I followed her in every way that I could and sent her a note.  Right away, she impressed me as an amazing, witty woman with a big heart, and I felt instant kinship.
Her blog is full of mainly recipes, and lots of coffee!  She is an amazing cook, and even has her own business and so much more.   She's been pretty busy with that and other real life ventures, so her blog has taken a little bit of a backseat for now, but it is still worth going over there and having a look through her archives, especially the recipes.  YUM!

To Paloma: From day one you have treated me more like a sister than just a friend.  You have been there when you can to help and encourage, and you have such a sweet and gentle spirit.  I admire you more than I can say.  I know you are busy with things, and I miss seeing you around like I used to, but I understand at the same time.  What you are doing in outside of bloggyland is so very, very important, and I wouldn't have it any other way! :)  If you need anything, please do not hesitate to email me.  I got your back! ;)  Love ya!





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Now it's your turn!


 
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Luck O' The Blogger Link-Up {Day 5}


~*~ Welcome to Day 5 of ~*~

I hope you all are enjoying your chance to share your besties with us!  So far, I've shared with you, my blogger besties: Stacey of Glued to My CraftsAshley and Lisa of The Dose Of Reality,  Jo of Jo, My Gosh!, Vanessa of Vanessa's Place, Laurrie of Baked Lava, Cindy of Vegetarian Mamma, Ginny Marie of Lemon Drop Pie and Kathy and Melinda of Mothering From Scratch.  They truly are amazing gals, and I hope you will get by their blogs to check them out soon!  You won't regret it, and you might find that you will make yourself some new friends in the process!

Keep in mind that on the 18th I will be sharing some of your friends on my blog (number to be determined based on participation, posts/blogs chosen at random), so please keep linking up!  Thanks! :)
 
And, for today, here are my next 2 blogger besties I want to share with you:
 
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I don't even know this lovely woman's name, but I met her through her feature day on SITS, and I knew that we'd be friends right away...There was just something about the way she poured her heart out on her blog and presented herself that just spoke to me, ya know? 

Please take a minute to check out her blog.  She shares lots of craft ideas for kids, has a link-up on Thursdays called Thankful Thursday where you get a chance to share posts that talk about things you are grateful for, she shares posts about her life in general, and she does it all in a way that gives you an insight into her heart and know that she's one of those real people, not someone putting on a front.  So refreshing!

To "One Mommy": Though I may never know your real name, I know that we are real friends.  You share your heart and your soul on your blog and are such an encouragement to me.  You always make me feel like you are there, ready to listen, accept and understand and relate, and that is a priceless gift!  Thank you for that, and may you always keep your thankful heart!  Love ya, my friend!
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Photo courtesy of Grateful Foodie's Facebook page

I met Caroline through Circle of Moms' Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs of 2012 contest, and trust me when I say, she deserves the #1 slot that she got.
 
Her blog is full of reviews, allergy friendly recipes, allergy and asthma information, helpful tips, advocacy information and so much more!  She is probably one of the biggest advocates I've ever met for those with food allergies or allergies and asthma in general.  If you need help finding information, she will help you do that!  If you need update allergy and asthma info, she's got it!  You can't go wrong with her site!

To Caroline: You are another of my blogger mentors!  You always have such great info and you are such a help to me!  You are a go-getter with information, you work hard to accomplish your goals, you push for the truth for the world, especially in regards to the allergy/asthma community, and you are a fantastic friend!  If you ever need my help with anything and I am able to help, know that I will!  I feel so blessed to know you and to call you friend!  Love ya!

 
 




This post was submitted to:
Thankful Thursday on There's Just One Mommy
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