A Cup of Joe with Jess

Enjoying Life's Unexpected Blessings

2015 Goals

I have several goals to start off this New Year, how about you?

1. Blog more/again: I can’t believe the last time I have blogged. I love writing and sharing and I need to do more of it, so its time to begin again! I am going to set a realistic goal for myself by trying to blog once a month. If I do more than that then I’m on a roll.

2. Continue to work our way out of Debt: Rob and I took an amazing class 2 years back called Financial Peace University at our church. Life changing stuff is taught at this class.

3. I want to continue to go toward my weight loss goals, and eventually reach them: I continuously hear myself say Monday, Monday I will eat better, Monday I’ll start hard-core at the gym, well I’m done telling myself those lies. Here I am working my way to a more healthier and stronger me.

4. I need to continue to work toward my Bachelor of Arts in the Arts with a concentration in Digital Media Arts: I love graphic design, It’s a passion, its like playing a really addictive game. I want to be able to eventually get a job in this field, and finally be able to help my husband provide for our family financially.

5. I want to build up my freelance business, Jessica Barone Graphic Design: About a year ago I started doing logos just for fun, helping out a few small businesses out and to build my portfolio. I am ready to start bringing in cash instead of bartering.

6. I want to continue to enjoy Mercedes and her senior year: When I say this I mean to say, these are the last soccer and basketball games, the end to the winter balls, and proms. we won’t get this time back, I just want to enjoy this time with her.

7. Love More: I want to love people more and learn to love them and accept them where they are in life. I sometimes struggle with this.

Thanks for letting me share my ultimate goals for 2015. Stay tuned …


Tunnel Vision


My dear Joshua.  If there is one child in my house that gets my attention more than others, it would be Joshua.  Is it because he’s such a dependent child?  Is it because I relate to him more than the others?  Or is it simply because of his learning disabilities that I am so concerned and  I can’t let go?  I feel like I always have to try to fix things, and have control of things.  However  Joshua’s issues make me feel like I am so out of control.

I was ready, so ready to give up and put Joshua on meds.  everything and anything that I was doing seemed like it wasnt working.  (Please read my post hyper?)   Joshua still wasnt focussing enough to make him read better, and yes he has eye convergence disorder but wasnt the bi focals suppose to fix this?

I just need a magic pill.  One little pill that I could give him to fix all this.

Joshua’s principle had let me borrow her book called Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward M. Hallowell, and  John J. Ratey.  This book is so wonderful and full of  information.  Might I add, that it is very positive as well.  You begin to see the positive in this disorder and not the negative, which most of us focus on.  Anyone who struggles with ADHD themselves or has a child who has this disorder should read this book.  Anyhow while reading this book i discovered there is an ADHD med that Joshua could take just on school days.  The medication would wear off around supper time, and he doesn’t have to take them on the weekends.  This doesn’t sound so bad.  Although I am not for meds, I have been considering them.

Anyhow we were off to a rough start at the beginning of this school year, and I was ready, ready to give up and ready to give in.

You now how things really do happen for a reason?  Well Joshua was at his best buds house, John Davis.  They were playing like sweet little farm boys, bless their hearts.  When…. UH OH… all of a sudden Joshua’s glasses were on the bottom of someones shoe.  These were not fixable with glue, so back to East Aurora we went.

While we were at our appointment I had asked to speak to the visual therapist.  I had expressed to them that I couldn’t get Joshua to do his figure 8 walk(this walk helps with his eye convergence).  That he was having a hard time.  They brought him downstairs and did an eye test on him.  The eye test consist of having the patient sit in an upright position, without wearing any contact lens or glasses.  They have to look at an X drawn on a piece of black graphing paper.  The vision specialist will then bring in different colored dots onto the paper.  the patient then has to tell the specialist when they see the dot and what color the dot is.  This test is performed doing one eye at a time and it measures the patients’ functional field.

The results of this test had me stunned.  My sons vision is like he looks through straws.  Tunnel VIsion!!

The picture on the top with the glasses shows how the left lens is a normal view and the right lens is the tunnel vision view. The picture on the bottom is clearly tunnel vision.  Get it?  I know hard to swallow isnt it? Its hard t believe that this is how Joshua see’s isnt it?



How does this happen?  Thats a question i cant answer.  

But i want answers.  my next thought is poor Joshua, what a struggle to see like this.  This makes me so sad for him.

This is clearly why the poor child can’t read.  Clearly! Here I was at my last straw ready to get Joshua put on medication.  I remember in my raw emotions just praying, asking God to help me find answers for Josh, and to help guide me on how to help him.   Could you imagine what would happen if I did put him on meds?  Yes sure he could use a small dose of it to help him focus, however if I were to put him on it, he would not have read any different or any better.  Maybe then the doctor would have upped his dosage?  Then maybe upped it again?  Maybe changed the script to try something else out?  Do you see where this is going?  The meds are not going to help him read any better. What would have happened if I didn’t go back to the eye specialist?  what would have happened if his glasses didn’t brake and we didnt find this out?

 Yes I knew he had eye convergence insufficiency, which is  a common eye muscle coordination problem.    The eyes do not turn in easily, and as a result, extra convergence effort must be used to force the eyes to turn in. This additional effort can cause a number of symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, difficulty concentrating, loss of place and concentration, and reading slowly.   But now this, maybe the eye convergence is causing the tunnel vision?

How do we correct this you ask?  Is he going to see tunnel vision forever?  We can correct this  wIth light therapy.  Light therapy or Syntonics.  We use a light that has different frequencies through eyes.  This has been used for over 90 years in the optometry field.  It has a huge rate of success.  Joshua has to look into a blue and red light in the complete dark for 10 minutes.  He then has to look into an amber and green light for another 10 minutes.  There are some very rare side affects, but we havent noticed anything so far.

I will continue to follow through with his testing for HDHD, and continue therapy for him.  I will continue to keep him on a strict diet because it does help with his hyperness, and we will continue to see an eye specialist.  I pray his vision will be NORMAL soon someday.

I am so thankful I am who I am.  That i don’t settle, and that I search for answers, and  don’t just give up.  I am also thankful the Lord has blessed me to be Joshua’s Mommy.  He knew I would help him and fight for him.

Please keep Joshua in your thoughts and prayers.  Pray for his vision to widen and his eyes to heal to see the world in full perspective.

I would also love to hear some success stories from this eye condition.   Please feel free to share your story.

Our Menu

I hope I don’t make this sound to complicated because it really is simple.  The first step is to remove everything from your cupboards that your “hyper one” can not eat.  It’s just not fair.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Bisquick Pancakes(gluten-free brand/no artificial colors or flavoring) it calls for 1 cup of milk I use 1 cup of flax milk or rice milk instead.  Topped with coconut spread and pure Maple syrup.(There are also a ton of recipes on the box, like gluten-free biscuits, waffles, strawberry shortcakes, pizza crust and more.  If it calls for dairy products I just supplement with vegan.)


scrambled eggs topped with vegan shredded cheese(sold at Wegmans, it’s really yummy)

all chex cereals are safe if they say gluten-free.  They are great in taste and free from artificial food colors and flavors!  I do avoid the cinnamon apple one tho.


gluten-free no preservatives or additives/ no  msg/ no added hormones lunch meat roll ups (they have these right at tops at the deli and it states it right on the front of the package)

cut up pears(I soak them in lemon juice for a few minutes so they don’t brown)


fresh salad with gluten-free and milk free dressing(read the labels)

pistachios(sea salt or no salt only)

homemade rice crispies(walmart sells gluten-free rice crispies and instead of butter I use coconut oil spread)

homemade peanut butter cookies(so so yummy and only 3 ingredients 1 cup of sugar I use all natural sugar, 1 cup of all natural peanut butter, and 1 egg, mix together and bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes)

lays chips (regular or salt and vinegar)

just read labels you will find a ton of stuff in the health food section that contain no additives and no preservatives, no gluten and no dairy!!



fish ( be careful of salmon sometimes they add coloring to enhance flavoring, also be careful of wild caught verses farm raised.

Steak (It’s better to buy a grass-fed cow than from a grocery store, they add red dyes to enhance the color of the beef for market.

Chicken(I havent figured my way around this one yet I buy it when it’s on sale at tops for $1.99 a pound.

I soak all my steals, chicken, and fish with olive oil and lemon juice and montreal seasonings!

Meatloaf(they sell gluten-free rice bread crumbs)

chili(my son hates chili but I still make this gluten-free and dairy free for the family.  Even if he did like it he couldn’t eat it because of the tomatoes so says Dr Ben Feingold the Feingold Diet.  Have you bought that book yet?  YOu guys buy it on AMAZON for pennies.

spaghetti with meatballs(and thank god my son hates sauce because again he can’t have it, so I toss his gluten-free noodles that I buy from walmart for $2.18 with olive oil and Mrs. dash seasonings and throw in some grilled chicken and steamed broccoli and he is good to go. )

Remember to read the labels, I can’t stress that enough.  Just to make sure the spaghetti sauce or what ever it is that you are buying contains no milk or gluten.  It will normally say all natural, but double check the ingredients.

Pasta salad (gluten-free noodles, lunch meat or chicken breast cut up, italian dressing gluten-free and dairy free, olives, bell peppers, fresh broccoli)

Steamed Broccoli


corn on the cob

red potatoes (not white) tossed in olive oil and seasoned

Tonight I made Homemade chicken noodle soup with biscuits(gluten-free of course).  Hope this helps.  I would love to hear back if you have any questions.  Good luck!

What A Daddy!

Daddy Daughter Dance


These two beauties are waiting for their Daddy to take them to a Daddy Daughter Dance at their School.


And here he is.  Dont get to excited ladies he already has not one date but two!


Have FUN my loves.  You all look gorgeous!

Some SMALL Updates

After Christmas decorations sadly get put away, I tend to let things go and not redecorate until I get a nerving itch to have some FUN!  So just thought I would share some small areas in my home that needed some attention.


My little wooden fireplace.  OMG did the kids take this over with lego’s?  What a mess……


and after I gathered things from around the house to freshen it up.  It makes me think of summer, although we still have Easter to celebrate.

Maybe I should decorate for Easter??  Pics to come soon.

The Wine rack needed a little pick me up too!


I like the 2nd picture better.  How about you?

My Kitchen Nook also needed desperate updating.


AWWW!  Much better!  Do you get lost in decorating like I do?  It seems like I cant hear whats going on in the world around me.

When I am decorating I am in my own universe.  Its relaxing and refreshing and rewarding.  Do you need to make a few updates in your home?

Make reference to pintrest if you need help decorating areas of your home.  And HAVE FUN!!

Criticism and Fruit of the Spirit

What does criticism and the fruit of the spirit have in common you ask?  How do they relate to one another?

I have been reading a book by author Mark Batterson called Draw The Circle.   This book is a 40 day prayer challenge, and its an absolute life changing book.

In his book he says,

“I made a determination a few years ago that I wasnt going to defend myself against any and every criticism that comes my way.  Life is too short, and the mission is too important.  And I’m called to play offense, not defence.  God is my defender.  And I believe He is contending for me if my cause is just and my heart is right.  It’s important to have people in our lives who can speak words of rebuke and exhortation.  But they will typically be someone with whom we have a relationship.  When discerning whether to respond to criticism, I try to discern the spirit of the person doing the criticising.  Is the purpose redemptive or vindictive?  And I put the criticism through the filter of scripture.  If it passes through the filter, then I need to repent.  If it doesn’t then I don’t let it pierce my heart.  And let God defend and contend on my behalf.”

This paragraph speaks measures to me.  If you are at all like myself and are highly sensitive or just an emotional being, you are not alone. This book by Mark Batterson has helped me face my weaknesses in so many ways.  When Mark says, “I try to discern the spirit of the person doing the criticizing.  Is the purpose redemptive or vindictive?”  Bottom line folks, we criticize and get criticized.  The question is where is our spirit when criticizing?  And who is your critisizer?  Which then places me to the Fruits of the Spirit verse.

Galatians 5:22-23    “But the fruit of the spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, FORBEARANCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS and SELF CONTROL.  Against such things there is no law.”

Without completely judging the person who is  criticizing, we need to ask ourselves several questions based on this verse.  And we need to also remember no one is perfect we are all human and we all lack some fruit more or less than others.

However ask yourself:

  • Do they have LOVE in their hearts?
  • Are they full of JOY?
  • Do they have PEACE in their lives, or at least seek PEACE?
  • Do they have FORBEARENCE with others?  Where is their Patience?
  • Are they KIND?
  • Do they have GOODNESS in their hearts, and always being generous toward others?
  • Are they FAITHFULL? Can you trust this person, or rely on them?  Do they follow through with promises?
  • Are they GENTLE?
  • Do they have SELF CONTROL?  Do they have willpower and are they self disciplined?

Again remember when asking yourself these questions, no one is perfect and we all lack in some areas.  After you have asked yourself WHO, ask yourself WHY?  Why are they criticising you?  Is it something you did intentionally?  Have they experienced something that you are experiencing and just see you going down the wrong path?  Are you just really sensitive and think that they are criticizing you?  Are they just stating facts or opinions?  Maybe they think you could be doing better for yourself and/or your family?  Go to scripture turn to God if you cant figure out WHY?!

Could it be that this person who is doing the criticizing live in complete sin?  Lets look at Galatians 5:16-21

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Is the persons spirit sounding more like this verse?

Some helpful things I have learned whether its along the way of life or taught by my parents or elders:

  • People are people we all sin and no one is perfect.
  • You live this life no one does it or can do it for you.  You are the maker of your own decisions.
  • You are who you hang out with.
  • Different strokes for different folks ~ Mark Logan
  • You live and learn
  • You can’t change anyone only yourself, but you can change things.
  • God is your Contender ~ Mark Batterson
  • There’s always room for change

Do you need to make some changes in your life?  Letting go of those who constantly criticize you, and make you feel not good enough?  Are you the one who needs to change?  Do you have areas in your spirit that you need to work on?   Is there constant everyday havoc in your life?

We need to Belive in ourselves and want to be a better person ALL the time.  God is good, and he will show us what we need to work on if we would just let him.  We also need to learn to let things roll off our back instead of piercing our heart.  And to pray for not only our spirits but also those who are lacking much fruit.  Have a nice weekend………

Sweet 16!


Today my oldest daughter Mercedes Breaunna turned 16!  I can’t tell you how many thoughts have gone on in my head.  This isn’t just like any other birthday. Yea,  you invite friends, and family  throw the party, and its pretty much over.  No this is lingering with me.   She most likely in 2 to 3 years will be leaving my nest.  I should be jumping up and down at the thought of this and checking her off my list shouting out loud, “1 down 4 to go!”  This truly isnt the case.  The thought depresses me, and saddens me to think about any of our children leaving our nest.   I can only pray and hope that while she was in our home living under our roof we have taught her at least something.  Hopefully to love and care for others, or helping those in need.  I pray she cleans up after herself because I am almost certain I have taught her this chore, but her room tells me other wise.  I pray when she is on her own out in this big world that she always does the right thing because i know how easy it is to do the wrong thing.

16 SWEET Reasons why I Love You Mercedes………

  • YOUR BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT-You have a great physique a beautiful face, great hair, and gorgeous eyes.  But on the inside, I can see an intelligent young lady  and I will describe inside and the outside to you in #’s 2 – 16.
  • YOUR DIMPLES-when you smile you have these deep amazing dimples.  I know it’s a true smile on your face when i see them I then know you are a happy girl!
  • YOUR FUNNY-You say and do the funniest things, sometimes I often hope that your career move would be to be a comedian.  I can be in the worst moods, and you just blurt out something hilarious and silly, or you just put on an act and get me to laugh.  I love it!
  • YOUR HELPFUL-I promise I did not have 4 children for you to care for!  Although some days it may seem like that….When I can’t you can, and when I wont you will.  You just must know that you are so very helpful to me.
  • You’re the BEST BIG SISTER ever!!-When you are not here they ask for you.  When you are not here they look for you.  When you’re not here they miss for you, this speaks measures…
  • YOUR SPORTS-I love watching you play basketball, soccer and cheerleading.  You are an amazing athlete, and are very vital to your team.
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  • YOUR CURLY HAIR-Its like a bouncy spring that bounces!  Brown, soft and silky.  Although you want straight hair, us girls with straight hair want curly hair.  You can never win.  You have no idea, or maybe you do…..idk
  • Your Big HEART-Your love for Down syndrome children, and always wanting to feed the poor.  You have always had a giving heart and spirit.  You always say how you want to adopt Down syndrome children I hope and pray you follow your big heart.
  • YOUR FREE SPIRIT-You are very open, willing to do dares, try anything new, minimal fears, no worries, or cares….  This could go 2 ways :0)  I just hope you learn to use your free spirit to your advantage in a healthy way!
  • YOUR SPURT OF THE MOMENTS-Can we just keep this positive and say it doesn’t drive me nuts and that it really just keeps me on my toes.  I have never met anyone quite like you Miss Mercedes :0)
  • YOUR FUNKY TRENDS-This could tie into you being a free spirit.-Silver sparkly boots, and headbands -wearing fancy scarfs with sweatshirts and North face fleeces.  I have to say you can defiantly pull it off!
  • YOUR SENSE OF DIRECTION-You are my human GPS.  I would be lost without you.
  • YOUR FRIENDS-Shauna, Ally, Katy, Sam, Lindsey, Taylor just to name a few.  The stories, the laughs, the struggles, the situations, and broken hearts, you share, that this Mom can hardly bare.
  • YOUR OTHER HALF-Your Other Family!  Leon, Yvonne, Jaylyn, khari, and Ava.  If I didn’t have you I wouldn’t know them and I wouldn’t know what an amazing, loving, caring, and fun family they are.
  • YOUR FAITH-Although at times your uncertain, your just not sure.  You continue to amaze me by going to church on Sunday Mornings.  It amazes me  how much you listen to country music.  I love watching you grow in your faith, question your faith and I love when you finally trust in it.  I know you know something is there!
  • YOUR GIFTS-Not only were you gifted with being a good athlete, you have a couple other gifts as well.  I already talked about.  GPS, you always are aware of your surroundings, this will come in handy when you go into the Marines.  Yvonne teases you and calls you Connie Chung the reporter.  Her and I discuss about you possibly becoming an actual journalist or reporter.  You are never afraid to get info out of people, there’s no beating around the bush or cutting to the chase with you.  You want answers.  You’re always on top of the newest saga.  You do have a bit of an art talent embedded in your bones just like your Mama.  If its something you really enjoy pursue it.

Mercedes I love you unconditionally.  You amaze me everyday!   Seeing how its so hard for you to listen to this “cool” Mom of yours maybe you’ll read my advice.

  • No one is perfect, we all live and learn through our mistakes, and sometimes others.
  • If you fall and are broken , you can easily just pick up the pieces and move on.
  • You should want to do better and be a better person each and everyday of your life.
  • Life is only what you make of it.
  • If you don’t like the way things are going in your life there’s always room for change.
  • If you truly are a good friend and person you will find good friends and good people.
  • Trust and believe in the Lord because in the end he’s ALL you will have

And remember no matter what I love you……………

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Happy Valentines Day



I decided to ask my kids how I make them feel loved!

Their responses:

Joshua said, “I feel it in my heart, my heart just feels loved, and when you call me loverlips and make me mash potatoes.”

Maddie (the middle child) said, “When you buy me things I feel loved.”

Tess said, “When people give to you its love, like at Christmas time.  I feel loved when you hug me, when you tell me you love me, when you kiss me good-bye and when you make me mash potatoes and gravy.”

Mercedes said, “Love is something I can’t find.”

Joseph is too little to say but he loves to give hugs and kisses.  Sometimes he will even hit you then hug you!  LOL

There you have it.  One extreme to the other.  from a loving little boy to the dramatic teenager.

And….If I had to guess their Love Languages Joshua’s would be quality time or words of affirmation.  Maddie’s would be gifts.  Tess’ would be physical touch and I am uncertain about the lovely teenagers :0)

 I also asked Rob and his response was, “I need a lot of attention.”

Life is never dull over here folks!

100 DAYS

100 days of school already?

Where does the time go?

We were presented with a homework assignment for my first grader that entailed doing something with 100 pieces and turning it into a project.

My Joshua and I had so many ideas.  At first we were going to make a necklace made out of noodles and give it to his teacher.

Then we had an idea of taking the noodles and spelling out 100 on a piece of paper, or making a monster truck with the noodles.

Then I had an idea of 100 legos.  Joshua wasn’t willing to part with his legos.  Bad idea Mom!

All these ideas just werent  creative enough for us.  Well Thank the Heavens for PINTREST!


We had so much fun with this and Joshua was so proud of his work.  Happy 100 DAYS!