Some people are allergic to holidays – on a serious note, christmas trees taken from the basement have high concentration of molds that can trigger allergy flare-up; with lots of visiting, there’s increased exposure to house dust mites, pet dander and food allergies. On a crazy note, we could be allergic to our family and friends, to christmas ‘cheer’ or simply, the toll of preparing for the occasion!
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, God’s son who became a baby, suffered with us and died for us so that we can understand him and believe. Our kids are worth celebrating too! Each milestone they took and how they have grown. Wishing all eczema families a Merry Christmas and blessings for the new year – stay eczema free!
Philippians 2:8-10 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth
Yay, it’s Christmas! It’s a time for joy truly and thank you Jesus for coming to earth! Pray that more and more families with eczema kids will rejoice each year that the eczema is more controllable and life improves!
Christmas – Season of Joy and Look forward to a New Year of Eczema and Allergy free!
This graphic similar to airline arrival and departure time reminds me of how parents of eczema kids run by the clock. Apart from thinking of a day as morning, afternoon and night, sometimes I think of the day as moisturizing, shower and freshening up since my child seems to scratch more when hot and sweaty.
Do you feel like you are like a mouse, running up and down the clock (Hickory Dickory Dock!)? Don’t forget to add in some ‘transit’ stops during the day – Jesus reminded his disciples to rest too!
Mark 6: 31 And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
God, sometimes we feel that life becomes running round the clock. Teach us how to rest while time never stops.
Daily Skincare does not mean no Self (Parent) Care
It’s coming to the end of the year – some years I end the year being pleased with my life progress, some years I end it being depressed. If your child’s eczema is severe and you have tried everything you can, but nothing works, every attempt yields no improvement and soon, trying something new leads to fear of shattered hope.
Life can be difficult.
In developed countries, we mostly live without the fear of war at our doorstep, without the fear of not having food on the table the next day, without the fear of persecution for our faith. Yet, we sometimes live in another kind of fear. Have I wasted my life if I’m not successful? Have I lost the talent that I had not discovered (the number of reality shows sometimes get to us rather than inspire us!)? Am I grooming my child for failure in my parenting? It’s ok to be a failure today but have I turned into a loser?
I comfort myself with this bible verse, Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
God, give us parents strength – strength in our hearts and mind to keep on parenting, keep on doing what we do, wisdom to do the right things in our life and for our child and the love to carry it out with joy.
As I think about this, I’ve got Air Supply’s song ‘All out of love’ stuck in my head! I wonder though, does love ever run out? Can we love till we stopped loving? or even start hating? What is love?
I’m the first to confess that I’m bad at it. Unconditional love? I think of many times when I supposedly do an act of love but expect something (appreciation, more love?). I think of even more times when an act of love easily turns into an occasion for resentment. Does having a child with eczema or another health condition requires the parents to have more love? Sometimes love is as elusive as a bubble – it’s tangible yet the second you hold on to it, it burst. Anyone with me?
One person who is definitely not with me is Jesus. He knows how to love. His love for us led him to the cross. He sees our heart (all that terrible thoughts sometimes!) and yet still chooses to die for us. (Even when I may run away from myself!)
1 John 3:16-18 : This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Help me to love! Love my spouse, my child, my parents, my friends, my neighbour, myself and my God.. love is so difficult, enlighten me in this journey to love!
I imagine in every marriage, there’s work to do. After all, as the saying goes, you won’t know how unloving you are till you live with someone. Even more in a marriage with eczema kids, these ‘negative’ feelings may easily escalate.
God cares about our marriage and there are many verses on how married couples should love each other. My favourite is the one below, and it’s so hard to live it up!
Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be completely humble and gentle; Be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.”
Father, help us in our marriage. It’s so so difficult – sometimes I don’t have time to love my spouse! (maybe I don’t have time to love even myself). Help me to love.
Each child has his/her own gift – there are 8 multiple intelligences from this interview with Dr Thomas Armstrong and it’s amazing how each of us learn and can be ‘gifted’ in different way! I wonder too if having eczema helps or impedes our child in the way they learn and see the world – many children with eczema develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, to make friends and to explain the skin condition. What about your child?
The bible asks us to use our gifts too and I pray all the time that whatever I’m doing at this blog is using some of that gifts and helping someone!
1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
God, help us and our children to discover our gifts and use it purposefully in this life! It would be such a waste if we never discover and use that something special we’re gifted with!
It’s almost impossible to give something our undivided attention these days – our many commitments, responsibilities, roles and our devices seem to pull us in all direction. What about undivided love? Sometimes I find it a mystery for those who have more than one child, is it possible to give undivided love to both? Even between an eczema child and a spouse, can love be undivided?
Yet, as a Christian, I am to love God wholeheartedly. I find it hard as well – in theory, loving God will translate to loving everyone, one another. IRL (in real life), I’m not sure how it works – for me, I have lists of to-dos which I strike off to make sure I’ve somehow loved everyone I care about in my life, but that’s an effort in itself!
Jeremiah 29: 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Lord, help me to be wholehearted in loving the people around me.
How do I love everyone I care about? How do I love without selfishness?
How do I love without resentment and balancing scales?
Help us parents of eczema kids to love, it’s So Important to get this right in life!
We all know today’s dinner scene may look very different from the pre-tablet and smartphone age – recently, I was at breakfast with my family and niece and we each had a device. I immediately thought of all the parenting advice that I am to practice – remove electronic device, build conversation and open our world to each other during meals (vs closed up and only pals with Angry Birds, crushing candy).
But then I thought – hey, it’s also a way of connecting. It is possible that conversations can be built around how to crush candy, your best score, highest level and longest time to break one level. Why not? If it’s something that at that point works to draw people closer, it’s more than justified.
Jesus was unconventional in drawing people together – he talked to a samaritan woman at the well (John 4) and ate with tax collectors in their home (Mark 2:13). Talking about eczema draws parents of eczema kids closer too – hopefully, this blog helped in that conversation! I do pray that we all have time to enjoy our meal, with friends and family (despite it being so stressful with the eczema!).
Mark 2:16 : When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
God, we thank you that you are a God who loves people, dine with us and meet us at the most unlikely place but just when we need it.
Some of us resign to our genes – eczema gene, allergy gene, diabetes gene, heart disease gene.. but we needn’t do that yet. In the study of epigenetics, it is found that our ‘bad’ gene will not express itself (ie you get the disease) if we have healthy diet, exercise, don’t smoke.. in fact, even for those who already have diabetes, a 7% weight loss can lead to 58% reduction of subsequent diabetes (learnt from Dr David Katz’ book Disease Proof).
Likewise, even if you have committed sin or feel too old, you’re never too old to be a child of God. It’s never too late to be a Christian, not until your very last breath!
1 Timothy 2:3-4: God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth
God, we thank you it’s never too late or too sick to believe in You! Let a seed be planted in all who read this!
We all worry about whether we have the right insurance, adequate insurance coverage – read the fine print correctly (and probably shorten a few years figuring it all out, if ever we can!). Yet, the best insurance is to lead healthy life and this is compiled by CDC – Diet, Exercise and No Smoking – with taking care of these 3, there’s statistics showing 80% reduction in death from disease!
I know I’ve been a little obsessed with health for the past few weeks, but it’s ever so important that I really need to share it. Likewise, the message of salvation is something so important, it has to be shared. It’s not 80% but 100% – Believe in God and that Jesus died for your sins, it’s the way to heaven.
Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
God, there are many messages, tasks, to-do lists, goals, targets that are important but nothing beat THE MESSAGE of salvation, a gift you offered. Open our mind and heart to truth, sometimes it’s so simple that we’re too proud to believe.
From 1990 to 2012, men are living longer from 73 to 80 and women from 78 to 85 (we Singaporeans live longer than our friends in US). Of these years, men spend 6 years in sickness and women spend 8 years in sickness.
Quality of life matters.
Eczema, itch takes a little of that away, chronic diseases take a lot more of life away. Our health care system is built on treating sickness but we ought to take preventive steps instead. Last week devotional brings the importance of diet, this week, look at your loved ones and yourself, and be determined to live good, long lives, not sick ones.
You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.
God, you desire for us to live long and well. Help us in our busyness to treasure our body and care for it, amen!
I’ve been reading up on food (Dr David Katz’ Disease Proof) and distilled the main points in the above infographic. I started being aware of what I eat when I set out to ‘worship God with my body/strength’ and I thought how to have strength without the right foods. Eczema/not, allergy/not, what we put on our plate matters to our body and the DECISION IS YOURS to make!
Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength
God, it’s not easy to eat right all the time!
Takeaway is easy, fast food is fast.
Busy mom and dad, one meal doesn’t kill right?
Help us though to love you God, love the body we have,
I found out not too long ago that dads can get postpartum depression too – it usually affects younger dads and also more likely when there’s:
Anxiety and depression during pregnancy
Spouse has depression
Baby with sleeping problem
I wonder if eczema baby should be added to that list, since there’s high chance of colic and sleeping difficulty. Spouse should watch out for each other, noting symptoms such as withdrawal, reduced appetite, lethargy, increased anxiety and aches.
I wonder also if God ever get depression. Seriously, he loves each of us, his children who tend to fall short and seldom obey. If I have a kid who doesn’t bother to talk to me daily, don’t care much for my presence, I’d be depressed. Imagine millions of kids that do that to you daily! I pray that dads of eczema kid will not get depression but have joy parenting! And of course, for all parents to have kids who love us.
1 John 3:1: See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Father in heaven, so sorry that I don’t love you daily. But You still love us. Help us to have joy in parenting, no depression and to have kids who love us too!
When we realized she was no longer allergic, I realized the extent of our journey.
Summer of 2014 marks a new adventure for us! My daughter is no longer allergic to dairy, tomatoes, or corn!
Ever since she was 2 months old, we as a family, have been battling her eczema. There were long days & long nights of scratching, searching and wanting to understand why eczema was making our world crazy! We wanted her to be comfortable and NOT SCRATCH! I didn’t take a lot of pictures of her during her flare-ups, because it hurt to see her in such pain. Remembering those times is still challenging. Through testing, we learned that she was sensitive to many foods, while only being allergic (anaphylactic) to nuts. As a nursing mom, both of us had to stop eating her list of “no foods”. I had come to the resolve that I wanted her to understand that we are grateful for what we can have, even though we want some thing we can’t have. We must remember, everyone’s load is different; we must persevere with joy.
Our family did our best to show her foods she could eat, instead of focusing on what she couldn’t eat. I knew she was curious, yet she ate her food with pride. Sure there were moments, she wanted to be like other kids and eat ice cream & spaghetti and be ok. Those moments challenged me and made us stronger. I had to answer some hard questions, like “Why can’t I eat it, but she can?” On the flip side, I’m also VERY positive that she snuck a few cheese crackers on a few occasions and giggled about it afterwards. Then IT happened. After eating some cheese crackers at church (a story for another day), she told me about it and was not scratching. No redness, no eczema.
I gave her a few cheese crackers after this, with success. As a family, we decided to do a test of our own. Knowing she wasn’t anaphylactic to dairy, we took her out for her first taste of ice cream. I could feel the excitement as we raced to a local creamery. Between birthday parties and fun days at school, ice cream is THE thing to eat for a kid her age.
As we drove to the land of dairy, I thought of the countless times we enjoyed sorbet as an alternative. Now it was her chance to have her own ice cream. As she began to eat it, I was holding my breath, praying she didn’t break out or flare up. And she didn’t!! Although her face began to frown because she didn’t like it at all! Thankfully, not one reaction was seen that day or even days later.
I was curious if she’d outgrown other foods. Weeks later, we slowly incorporated other foods back into her diet, tomatoes, and citrus, there were NO REACTIONS! Relief, excitement, joy and a different peace settled in.
Our journey continues, as she’s still very allergic to nuts and sensitive to a few other foods. We’re hopeful that she’ll outgrow them all, but if not, we’re blessed. Our journey continues, as she’s still very allergic to nuts and sensitive to a few other foods. No matter the outcome, I know we were blessed whether her condition got better or worse. Blessings are peace, hope & joy. Even during our hardest bouts with allergies & eczema, we’ve had to focus on what true blessings are.
1 Corinthians 13:7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Andrea, founder of ScratchMeNot, had shared about how she managed childcare in 2013 Someone Managed Eczema series here.
1. Oily fish for Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Omega 3 is not only a brain food (see Dr Sears’ talk), but also one of the very few foods that have been studied to improve eczema. Don’t like that fishy smell? Go for a good quality fish oil supplement or flax seed oil.
2. Yoghurt/ Probiotics – Probiotics is the other ‘food’ that is studied to improve eczema (read here). As to how probiotics/yoghurt works for the skin, the mechanism is not entirely clear but may got to do with improving the gut flora also improves the skin flora. Since ‘bad’ bacteria can tip the scales and leads to skin inflammation and reduced efficacy of eczema treatment, adding good bacteria regularly makes sense. However, the dosage studied to be effective is fairly high, in 10 billion CFU – so I’m not sure if regular yoghurt has that.
3. Broccoli/Cauliflower – I’m fortunate that my daughter loves this superfood vegetable! It is a brain food because it has choline and vitamin B, both good for brain development. Also, it is an anti-inflammatory food with beta carotene, vitamin A and C. It reduces allergic reaction and also help skin repair.
Jesus is also big on food. Jesus feeds 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish in Matthew 14:13-21. God feeds the Israelites for 40 years with a bread from heaven, known as manna. Manna is like coriander seed, baked wafer with honey. Whatever manna is, I’m sure it has all the nutrition needed since it is the only food source in the dessert! I love it when there’s so much healthy food we have access to and for parents with eczema kids, make sure your child is really tested allergic to a certain food before removing the suspected food from child’s diet. Read this eczema research focus news on link between eczema and allergy.
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
I came across an article ‘The Most Practical (and Realistic) Parenting Advice you will Ever Read’, it’s kind of funny, offering tips such as:
It’s ok if you miss a day of bathing your kids
You aren’t the first to give in to tantrum
You don’t have to do homework
Sometimes feeling hurried and harassed is part of being a parent
To me, I try my best – go home early, spend time with kid on activity and reading with them. We discover authors that are funny with bright illustration, such as Mo Williems, Jan Thomas and Allen Plenderleith. Do I laugh with my daughter when reading? Yes. But hey, some nights I can’t wait to get it over and grab some zzz myself! Esp. given how late her bedtime is, how much scratching and crazy ‘eczema’ habits she picked up over the short (or excruciating long!) 5 years of her life, I really just want to sleep and not parent!
God is also a parent, father to Jesus and Christians. I don’t think God does ‘realistic parenting’ as in he doesn’t have enough energy to parent us. But I think he’s realistic in another sense, that he knows us so well and understands when we fall short.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Father in heaven, you know us and how we parent. Yet being so aware of our shortfall, you love us. Help us to parent our children with the same love and give us wisdom to juggle so many aspects of life – work, children, chores, aged parents and eczema too!
We are the best parents for our children, that’s real!
Some days I feel suffocated – yes, like there’s no air to breathe. In a crowded train, there’s lack of fresh air coupled with many people coughing at close distance. Outside if there’s haze or pollutants, I wonder if I’m doing more harm to my body jogging (and breathing the exhaust fumes).
In fact, how we breathe can affect our health too. Slow, rhythmic and deep breathing (involving the diaphragm) is best for adequate oxygen and maintaining the right level of carbon dioxide. Apparently, we have gotten too stressed to breathe properly, resulting in much shorter breaths! For those with allergic rhinitis, air pollutants, house dust mites, pollen and pet dander in the air can also cause a flare-up. In short, how we breathe and the air we breathe do matter.
God is no stranger to air and breath. He created the atmosphere. He breathed life into Adam, the first man (Genesis 2:7). Jesus, after his resurrection, breathed the Holy Spirit on his disciples (John 20:21). I pray that we parents can breathe deep, relaxing breaths when caring for our eczema children, and with each breath, it’s literally life!
Genesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature
God, we want to breathe each breath right. Breathing happiness, joy, love and not anxiety, stress and frustration. Help us and our children in each breath we take.
It’s strange why we seem to be obsessed with a secret formula for everything – Formula for success, formula for happiness, formula for weight loss and even formula for eczema cure! During Jesus’ time, his disciples wanted a formula for prayer.
Though Jesus did give his disciples a prayer to pray (Luke 11:2-4), there is really no secret formula. In fact, prayer is simply our conversation with God, and should not be a time to show-off or use empty words (as Jesus said in Matthew 6:5-8). There is no prayer specific for different occasions, it is a heartfelt request to a God who is love. Without any secret formula, God is available to all and in this tech age, the bible is free to be downloaded! It kinds of remind me to make this blog free for all too, there is no secret eczema knowledge I’m hoarding!
Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
God, I am so glad that there is no secret formula to pray. I pray that you guide me in prayer and teach me to believe!
One morning as I was jogging, I passed by in succession – a man with a very awkward limp, another man in a wheelchair and shortly after, someone who look like he has sprained his ankle. Ashamedly, my first thought was now I have to jog on the road instead of pedestrian path to avoid bumping into them and other people. Only the next thought was ‘Whoa, hang on. As unattractive and physically challenged they are, God loves them!’.
God’s love for the disabled is evident in Jesus’ ministry. There is a considerable amount of bible text in the gospel (John chapter 9) on Jesus healing the blind man (here is a commentary on Disability and the Sovereign Goodness of God) and many stories of Christians whose faith grew and mightily used by God to touch others. I then wonder if eczema is a handicap – in severe cases, it fit the definition of “restricting a person from participating in normal life“. Some children whose eczema are serious are not able to take part in sports, shower and sleep, I suppose that’s a real restriction. I pray that our children’s eczema will improve and not be so serious. But more so, I pray that our eczema experience can be used in some special way to help others – more love, resilience, empathy and whatever divine use it can be put to.
John 9:1 As he (Jesus) passed by, he saw a man blind from birth.
God, eczema can be so severe that some days we feel it is a handicap. Heal our child’s eczema and use all of our life, even with the eczema
It is one of those irritating things – the new ATM pin for one of those fancy chip replacement card just didn’t work. I then had to waste an hour queuing and re-queuing to try different pins without pissing the people in the queue behind me. When all fails, I had to queue at another bank’s ATM. It then hit me that in life, we have many inconveniences – falling sick, home appliances failing or train breakdown during office commuting hours! But what of our children? I ask myself if I have ever viewed my daughter or her eczema as an inconvenience.
The answer is probably yes. Sometimes I want to finish my chores, but have to stop to take care of my daughter. Some days I want a long shower, but I have to shower with my daughter to make sure that her anti-fungal shampoo and anti-bacterial body wash are used correctly. I then remember Jesus, how he never viewed the children as a nuisance, for instance when children were brought to him for prayers (Matthew Chapter 19:13-14). He also stopped or detoured in his journey to talk, heal and help others, for instance he healed a little girl (Mark 5:23). It then occurred to me that maybe life is made up of inconveniences! At least for parents of eczema children, with so much time spent on skincare, we might as well use this time as family time rather than view it as an inconvenient time! I pray that all of us have the wisdom to parent our children, despite the inconveniences from eczema.
Mark 19:13-15 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
God, help me to be a good mom even when it comes with inconveniences
Help to be a good daughter when when it becomes inconvenient
Help to be your good child despite the inconveniences