I’m sitting here on my couch with my morning coffee, laptop, and a dog sprawled over my lap. My mind is racing (getting plenty of exercise:) as I contemplate what content to include in this first blog post for my website. I am passionate about so many things, but don’t want to verbally vomit on you!! Deep breath, I remind myself this is just the beginning. I now have a platform to meet and connect with like-minded people. I’m overflowing with gratitude that you’re here, reading my first blog post on my brand new website. Thank you!

JacksonWhat is the anchor that ties together my passions for FamilyFood, Fitness and Freedom? None other than my superhero, Jackson. There is so much to Jackson’s story, and for now, we’ll call this Part 1, since I could easily write a book detailing everything he/we’ve experienced in his 6 ½ short years of life.

To fully understand my journey, we must go back 6 years…

Jackson was born healthy on May 26th, 2009…vaginal birth, quick delivery, APGAR-9, (yes, Pitocin and Epideural), vaccinated with Hep B and Vitamin K right away, breastfed, and able to leave the hospital after one day.

He progressed typically, reaching his milestones, vaccinated according to the CDC schedule, however by 13 months, we noticed some red flags. He wasn’t pointing, enjoying laughter, responding to his name, interacting with us, or communicating in any way.   His previous giggles turned into shrieks and high pitched “eeeeeeee” sounds, while flapping his arms and jumping up and down. We knew something was off, but still didn’t connect it to Autism/Vaccine Injury.

Fast forward to 18 months, we had Jackson assessed at our local Regional Center where he was given the diagnosis of Autism. I’ll go into the many behavioral and medical interventions we pursued in another blog post, because you name it, we’ve tried it!

Upon Jackson’s diagnosis, I was blind-sighted, confused, sad, stressed, in denial, thinking “why me?” and feeling like someone had pulled the carpet from under me. I was also still working full time as a First Grade teacher, and my already busy life with an 18 month old and 3 ½ year old was about to get busier. What do you do when your child’s health is stripped away? Our once affectionate, playful, loving Jackson, was now distant and in his own world. My life was forever changed.

IMG_6099Thinking back on this time in my life brings back a lot of emotions. If I could go back to that point in my life and tell that 29 year old mom of 2 anything, I’d say:

“Elaine, you are so strong. Your life may be the furthest from ‘normal,’ but you have greatness within you. Though you may not understand or accept Jackson now, he is your greatest gift. He will inspire you to learn, grow, love, accept and create a life of gratitude and abundance. Surround yourself with love, don’t feel the need to be perfect or compare your life to anyone else’s. Your life’s path will be a unique journey, and Jackson is your ultimate teacher. The obstacles you face will only make you stronger, more loving and lead you into the best version of yourself.”

I promise to go into more detail about our journey with Jackson in future blog posts, and realize I’ve left you hanging, wanting to know more about the interventions we’ve used with Jackson, but for now, I’m going to return to the present. Today. Tuesday, Januarty 26th, 2016. Though I am always looking to further develop myself, I can say, on the brink of my 35th birthday, that though my life is a hundred and eighty degrees from where I envisioned, I am at peace, and better yet, grateful for my life and the person I’ve become.

IMG_5989When my mindset is right, I am unstoppable! Through daily practice of taking care of myself (Yes…MYSELF!) with proper nutrition, exercise, meditation, helping others, showing gratitude and being mindful, I am able to be the best wife, mom and friend and business partner to others.

With Jackson’s help, my life has come full circle. My vision is clear. Health and wellness are priorities. When I am well, my family is well, and my mindset is at peace. Without our health, we have nothing, and it’s my mission to spread the gift of health: to myself, my family, and anyone else reading this.