Monthly Archives: February 2015

Keratoconus: Where Eye Have Been

keratoconus(photo credit:  Photo Credit: Juliana Coutinho via Compfightcc )

Keratoconus: Where Eye Have Been

 Hi my blogging friends! This past month I took some time off from writing and many friends have been asking where EYE have been…..

I have an eye disease called Keratoconus. I was diagnosed about 7 years ago. 

In Keratoconus, the cornea of the eye (what you see through) becomes too thin. The eye cannot hold its true shape and the vision loss increases over time. The cornea is so thin that surgeries like Lasix are usually not possible.

The thin and changing cornea prevents light to be reflected properly and many resulting vision changes occur such as double vision, starbursts, blurred vision, and impaired vision at night. Without correction, this disease can take away or significantly impair someone’s sight. But with correction, this is a chronic disease that can be managed successfully.

Different seasons of keratoconus require different management, and that is where patience comes in on the part of the person, the vision doctor (optometrist), the eye disease doctor (ophthalmologist), and the family. Some seasons require weekly eye checkups, custom lens fittings, and eye injury management.

The cornea is so thin that it is more vulnerable to eye injury of many forms. One of my eyes was actually injured from the custom lens being used to correct my sight. My eye requires a few more weeks of rest and treatment in hopes that it will fully heal. 

So, this is where EYE have been.

keratoconus(Photo Credit: Juliana Coutinho via Compfightcc)

If you have read this far into my post, you either also have keratoconus, know someone who does, or you just like to read 🙂 Either way, I might as well get personal now.

keractaconus image joy

During a day when I was resting my injured eye I was listening to my audio bible and this verse struck me. “Everything comes from God, and exists by his power, and is intended for his glory” (Romans 11:36 NLT). I replayed that verse over several times. 

How can God be glorified in the messy, painful, muddy, times of life when it feels like we stand up just long enough to be knocked down again? I have found new peace in the fact that glory does not come from what I can do. It does not come from my abilities. It does not come from the actions I take or even the things I create. Because one day, everything I am able to do – will stop. A pause will come over my life, and the realization of the brevity of life will come into clear focus. 

I have seen that pause on the faces of countless hospice patients who are at their final nights of life. I have seen that pause on the faces of children who lay in hospital beds in total peace, literally wanting for nothing- yet knowing they are about to be at rest. If this verse is true, “Everything comes from God, and exists by his power, and is intended for his glory” (Romans 11:36 NLT), then in every single pause of life, there must be a way that I can still see God’s glory. 

So that is what I have been trying to do this month. Besides weekly eye visits, I have been looking for God’s glory. I have been letting go of expectations and holding on to faith. I have been surrendering my plans and moving forward in God’s timing. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, it’s not even full of joy in the circumstances – but there still is joy in my faith.

There’s a beach path that I love to walk on with my kids. For miles the beautiful path twists and curves as the scenery around it continues to invite me further into the walk. Just as a bend in the path came up, I could see a purple flowering plant literally changing the way it was growing to face the daily rising sun- and grow. I looked at the flower petals stretching out towards their source of life,  and the beauty and meaning of that moment took my breath away.  It reminded me of a simple truth.

beyond every struggle

I have seen that beyond every bend of struggle, has been an amazing opportunity for joy, when I do not give up on the grace of God that has brought me this far. I may not always be able to see 20/20, but even on the hardest day, I have seen enough of God’s love that I know to keep walking on this path.

And I have also learned that just like those flowers, the road of life can still twist and turn on me, yet I can still keep my heart facing towards exactly where I am supposed to be- keeping my faith focused on my source of strength. 

“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus–the work of telling others…about the wonderful grace of God” (Acts 20:24)

I am so happy to get back to my regular blogging routine and I am so thankful to everyone for their support during this time.

Love, Joy

 Is there a bend in the road of your life today? Would you like to surrender with me?

We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can reach out with every petal of our hearts, and focus on the source of our strength and joy.

More encouragement: Joy from Challenges



Gluten Free Pancake Valentine

Gluten Free Pancake ValentineValentine pancake snack

Gluten Free Pancake Valentine 

by Joy

 This was so much fun to make this year on Valentine’s Day for my girls. I used Gluten Free pancakes for this easy, yummy, recipe you can make at home! Here’s how:

Gluten Free Pancake Valentine
Surprise someone you love with this delicious and nutritious Sweetheart Pancake Valentine! My girls giggled with glee at the words "Be Mine!" and then, it was healthy love at first bite!
  1. Organic Blueberries
  2. Organic Sliced Strawberries
  3. 1 Slice of Seedless Watermelon
  4. 1 Large Pancake (gluten free pictured)
  1. Prepare 1 large round pancake (gluten free pictured, use your favorite healthy recipe!)
  2. EASY TIP: Let the pancake cool. Cut a heart shape using kitchen scissors. SIMPLE!
  3. Slice the strawberries. EASY TIP: I use a Mandoline! It takes just seconds!
  4. Border the strawberry slices around the heart pancake.
  5. Place the blueberries in a line like Cupid's arrow.
  6. BE MINE! Cut a 1/4 inch slice of seedless watermelon, then use simple letter cutters for a loving note that will get a HUGE smile!
Adapted from
Adapted from
I Believe in Joy!
 Here’s the exact letter cutters I use. They are durable, work really well, and my kids can even help practice their letters with them! (affiliate link)

Valentine Kale Salad Bento Box

Valentine Bento Box

Valentine Kale Salad Bento Box

by Joy

I began using Bento Boxes purely as a spill proof way to send real food lunches to school with my kids after I had a horrible allergic reaction and began completely changing the way we ate. Then I did product reviews of a few popular bento box companies and started using a good quality Bento Box on a regular basis. I found that it was actually fun, and a much easier method to transport healthy lunches for the whole family. Instead of buying a whole bunch of cheap plastic (chemical filled) containers, invest in a good quality Bento Box for each of your kids, and it will save you time and money in the long run.

Now we use Bento Boxes every single day to send the kids a variety of healthy foods to sample. It also removes the “need” for feeling like I need to throw a packaged bag of junk food into their lunch. With the Bento Box it is easy to prioritize what healthy food groups my kids want to pack, and my older kids can now pack their own easy bento lunches every day. 

But Valentine’s Day is coming up and I want to surprise my oldest with a cute Bento Box lunch. She loves salad, so I made this Valentine Kale Salad Bento Box just for her –

Here’s How you can easily make my Heart Shaped Egg

Here’s the printable recipe for my Valentine Kale Salad Bento Box and My Kids Own Citrus Dressing – they go great together!

Valentine Kale Salad Bento Box
  1. Oganic Kale
  2. Sweet Red Peppers
  3. Jicama
  4. Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  5. Hard Boiled Egg
  6. "Candy Hearts": watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple
  1. Purchase your Bento Box (see my Bento Box Reviews post if you need help)
  2. Fill large section with washed, dried, chopped organic Kale
Prepare a variety of Valentine Toppings using letter & shape cutters. Here's a few ideas
  1. X's: Sweet Red Peppers
  2. O's: Fresh Jicama
  3. Cheddar Hearts: Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  4. Hard Boiled Egg Heart: 1 Organic Free Range Egg Hard Boiled, Peeled, Shaped (See my EASY post how to make a heart shaped egg)
  5. Sprinkle Valentine toppings on Kale salad, fill rest into Bento Box sections for child to do.
  6. "Candy Hearts" dessert: use simple heart shape cutters on watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple. Place onto lollipop sticks
  1. ** Send along a travel size container with
"My Kiddo's Own Citrus Dressing"
  1. 3 TBS squeezed orange juice (about 1 small orange)
  2. 2 TBS raw organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  3. 1/2 TBS organic extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1-2 teaspoons raw organic honey
  5. Dash sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
  6. Give it a quick stir, that's it! Has a sweet refreshing taste that pairs great with a crunchy green salad.
Adapted from
Adapted from
I Believe in Joy!

 This recipe was featured in San Diego Family Magazine’s Snacking with Joy! Have you subscribed to follow them yet? They have great family ideas for the holidays!

Happy Valentine’s Day! ~ Joy