936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
A few weeks back I took the boys on a walk. We stopped at our produce stand to pick up some vegetables for dinner. Zeke enjoys this stop as Les, our produce man, always grabs some grapes as he sees us approaching and gives them to Zeke to snack on while I browse the offerings of fresh fruits and vegetables for the day. After we paid for our veggies and bid Les farewell, we continued on to the playground, where we ran into a friend that Gray and I met a few years back at church.
Amy was pushing Levi, her middle boy, on the swing while David, her youngest, sat by her feet. They were passing time while Isaac, her eldest, was at his nearby swim lessons. Yes, three boys; she is living proof this thing called “life with all boys” can be done– and successfully. I have two young boys, so this is very encouraging to me!
I mentioned to Amy that we had just come from the produce stand, and conversation quickly turned to food; good, whole foods! Amy and her husband, Eric, along with their three young boys have recently begun transitioning onto a whole food diet.
During our short time together at the park, Amy was glowing with excitement. Not only excitement, she was radiating health! In my opinion, Amy has always exhibited joy, but this was on a whole new level. Looking into her life and family, it’s no wonder where the joy comes from. Amy and Eric have been married 12 years this fall, they actually met in a singles group at the same church where Gray and I met them. They love the Lord, and the three young boys God has blessed them with.
The story of how God chose to bring these three precious boys into their life brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. Their story is a story of God’s faithfulness; of His lovingkindness and goodness.
When we first met the Gruetzmachers, Isaac was only two years old. He was an adorable curly-haired toddler running around our small group class room. I could see the pride his parents took in him; surely the reaping of a very passionate, emotional, and challenging journey. Isaac is adopted, but besides the difference of skin color from his parents, you would never guess it. He is his parent’s, and his parents are his. They belong together.
Fast forward a few years and the Gruetzmacher clan continued to grow. When Amy and Eric heard of a newborn boy– just three days old– in need of a family, they quickly responded by welcoming little Levi into their home, hearts, and family. Little did they know that before Levi’s first birthday, Amy and Eric would experience quite a celebratory surprise–their family was continuing to grow; after years of believing they could not conceive a child, Amy was expecting!
The Gruetzmacher’s journey into whole foods was an accumulation of many factors; and these three boys were a primary motivation. Eric and Amy decided that they would protect and invest in the health of Isaac, Levi, and David by abandoning the food “norm” around them of processed, fake foods.
Amy calls their initiation into whole foods a “perfect storm”; she says that everything came together at once; several factors guiding her into a final decision to jump head first into this venture:
There was one more very important factor in the Gruetzmacher’s decision to revolutionize their diet. When I ran into Amy at the park that day, she mentioned that in light of Isaac beginning school this fall, they were going to have some tests done to see if he fell on the autism spectrum. When I met with Amy a couple of weeks later to conduct the interview for this post, they had just received an official diagnosis for Isaac of Asperger’s syndrome, which is an Autism spectrum disorder.
I have had the privilege of teaching Isaac at Awana in church. He is a tender, sweet-heart of a boy and bubbling over with excitement and joy. It always warmed my heart when he would comment on my baby belly, as I was pregnant at the time. I remember the first night he realized my belly had grown. He was focused quite intently on my mid-section, studying my swollen abdomen. Finally he asked, “Are you going to have a baby?” I smiled and proudly stated that yes, I was. His reply? “It’s going to hurt.” Amy had recently given birth to Isaac’s little brother, David.
Although Isaac falls on the mild end of the autism spectrum, Amy is on a quest as a mother to learn all she can about Asperger’s and how she can help her son; this includes what he is eating (or not eating), and how those foods affect him physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Some medical professionals believe there to be a link between diet and Asperger’s syndrome. “Many medical researchers believe that the preservatives and artificial colors and flavors found in packaged and convenience foods may aggravate the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome.”
This makes sense when we consider the negative effect processed sugars have not only on children with Asperger’s syndrome, but on all children. Most often processed sugars are packaged along with preservatives and artificial ingredients. It’s a dangerous situation no matter the child eating these processed foods.
Amy has noticed sugar having an adverse effect on Isaac, and so greatly reducing the amount of sugar in his diet, and eliminating all processed sugars, were some first steps in redirecting the health of Isaac, and their entire family.
Nutritional therapy may not be an end-all to alleviate symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, but eating the right foods and avoiding harmful foods is proving to be a successful way to reduce some symptoms of Asperger’s, as well as enable those with this disorder to live more abundantly–which happens to be something real food can do for all of us!
Amy and Eric have decided to give their children a better chance at great health and a more abundant life by teaching them what real foods are. Amy’s enthusiasm is contagious; she is sold out for feeding whole, delicious foods to her family. Although only a few months into this new adventure, she had a lot to teach me. Speaking with her I found a new found inspiration to dive a little further, explore a little broader, and commit a little stronger to feeding my own family whole foods.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!