Bagels, Buddy, and Me: A Story About Gluten Intolerance & Celiac Disease

(This post is intended to replace the current website for my book which I’m planning to delete very soon.  You should be able to order directly from here by using the Paypal button below.  Thanks for stopping by!)
Bagels, Buddy, and Me is a story told by 8 year old Cooper about his journey to discovering that he has Celiac Disease and can not eat gluten.  Along the way, he discovers that other members of his family cannot eat gluten ~ even a very unexpected member!

What Other Readers Have Said…

It is the best children’s book on Celiac I have read. I believe adults will benefit from it also, as many of them just don’t understand the technical terms of Celiac. Thank you for putting so much time into this book for the Celiac community.
~Theresa B., GIG Chairperson, Iowa
Our family loved the story of Cooper’s Celiac diagnosis, and the change in his whole family’s diet in Melanie Krumrey’s book Bagels, Buddy, and Me. It was wonderful for all of us to find a family like ours in a book! Finding a book that talks about Celiac, kids, and the yummy treats you can have even if you are gluten-free was wonderful for us. If your family is dealing with Celiac Disease or if you know people who are dealing with Celiac, I highly recommend picking up a copy!
~ Rachel, mom to 3 daughters with Celiac Disease
in Massachusetts

Our Celiac Story

  In 2003, our son Cooper’s health began to concern us.  He struggled with headaches, stomach aches, tics, and an overall sick feeling.  After a year of symptoms that seemed to worsen by the week, we were told about Celiac Disease.  Cooper’s blood tests were inconclusive because of an IgA deficiency, but some antibody levels were elevated.  His endoscopy was normal, which was also confusing. Others we met and read about had normal endoscopy results, but positive blood work and family histories.  So, we decided to try the diet.  After only two weeks, Cooper showed a marked improvement.  His revitalized health was enough to convince us that a gluten intolerance was causing his declining health. He has been gluten free ever since. (And mostly headache, stomachache, and tic free too!)
In doing research on behalf of Cooper, I (Melanie) realized that I had been experiencing most of  the symptoms I was reading about for years, but had always thought these things were “normal for me.”  I was tested through Dr. Kenneth Fine’s lab in Dallas,TX,  Enterolab.  I was referred to him by the daughter of a friend in Texas who had heard him speak at a local support group.  The results were positive.  Later, my other son and daughter were also tested through Enterolab.  They were positive as well.  Most recently, my sister used Dr. Fine’s lab to test for a gluten intolerance as well as for genetic indicators.  She was positive for all.  We are very thankful for better health, and give God thanks for leading us to answers.
While in the process of diagnosis, and learning to eat differently, I wished out loud that there was a children’s book on the subject.  Someone suggested that I write one, and I laughed at the thought.  Months later, a story came to mind after we learned of Buddy’s (our Golden Retriever whom we lost last year) inability to eat wheat as well.  I wrote it, and put it down, thinking it too impossible.  The Lord seemed to be nudging me though, so I picked it up again, and entered the world of publishing -another journey in itself!

Specifics about the Book
Bagels, Buddy, and Me
is the story of Cooper, a young boy with Celiac Disease. He begins his story by telling about a time when he had to stop eating one of his favorite foods – bagels!  He tells of his doctor visits, various medical tests, procedures, and finally the discovery that he cannot eat gluten.  Along the way, he finds that he is not alone in having to make changes to his diet, and that there are actually gluten free varieties of his favorite foods.
The book is perfect bound, softcover, and is 32 pages long with 15 color illustrations that help tell the story of Cooper’s journey to healing.
Bagels, Buddy, and Me
is available for purchase online via Paypal
The price is $14.95 plus tax & shipping
Click the button below to order.

Please allow 1-2 weeks for delivery.

Thank you!
If you would prefer to write a check, please make it out to:
Mustard Seed Press
and send to:
263 Northampton Rd.
Amherst, MA 01002
With tax and shipping your total will be $17.70
(Please contact us for totals on more than one book@:

The Marathon of Matrimony Begins

 Technically, if you count all of the weddings we have been invited to and for which Robert will be performing the ceremony, the total comes to ten.  Yes, ten weddings from May to August.  That is definitely a record, even for this pastor’s family!
 One year Robert performed six weddings, but those were spread out over the entire twelve months, not packed into four months like these are.  And would you believe that more weddings are cropping up?  That’s right.  There are proposals popping up all over the place, possibly taking us into the fall months.  So far, Robert will only be performing 5 of the upcoming ceremonies, but that is quite a task when you factor in four sessions of pre-marital counseling per couple, the rehearsals, sermon preparation and actual ceremony.  He actually missed a pre-marital counseling session this week ~ totally forgot and was away from his phone that was sounding off the reminder.
 And if you think he has a lot of work, well just consider the difficulty of my job in all of this.  I mean I have the responsibility of returning all of the response cards and indicating meal preferences ~ salmon or prime rib?  Then, I have to attend beautiful brunch bridal showers at lovely hotels and historic inns ~ fruit, omelets, tea ~ oh my!  Prior to this I must force myself to go into places like Pottery Barn and William Sonoma to purchase fresh and sparkly new housewares.  And then, if those things weren’t strenuous enough, I simply must purchase each cute dress I come across at TJ Maxx or Target, because……well, isn’t it obvious?  This job is not for the weak of heart, I tell you. One year Robert and I had to travel to Switzerland for a wedding. Crazy!  As you can see, this is a very demanding job, but as they say….someone’s got to do it.
 We just returned from yet another grueling wedding weekend. (Actually, it really was a bit grueling, as we flew to Boston from a memorial service in Austin, Texas the night before and drove 3.5 hours arriving at our hotel at 4a.m. the day of the wedding!)  It was wedding #2 of the summer wedding marathon, and required us to spend two nights in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at the beautiful Mt. Washington Omni Resort Hotel.  We knew the couple, Kim and Stu, when they were students at the University of Massachusetts.  Kim attended our church, and we spent many wonderful moments together in small group Bible studies or over Starbucks coffee.  Even though she’s been away near Boston for nearly 6 years, we still try and meet halfway for dinner or coffee occasionally.
 What do you think of my necklace, sis? 😉

 It was a gorgeous ceremony with an amazing view of Mt. Washington as the backdrop.  Very windy, though, and Kim’s veil kept whipping around ~ even getting in her face a couple of times.  Robert kept saying that it was so funny to see her veil flying around as she recited her very earnest and biblical vows.  A foreshadowing of things to come, he said ~ trying to stay true to your vows in the middle of gale-force winds and storms!

Just sent off two more response cards today.  I’m sure the bride and groom will be relieved to know that we are coming ~ especially when Robert is officiating!
On our Valentine’s Day date a few months back, Robert and I were discussing our hopes, dreams, and expectations for the coming year.  Knowing what our spring and summer schedule looked like (i.e. absolutely NUTS!), I said, “My hope is simply to survive the rest of this year.”  
“Then, next year,” I went on, “it will be our 20th wedding anniversary, and my hope is to go on a Mediterranean Cruise!”
And since we’re talking dreams and hope here….why not add a Pottery Barn and William Sonoma shopping spree while wearing really cute dresses when we return?
Let the marathon begin…

Gatorade and Broadway Musicals: A Guest Post

“I can’t get him to drink anything but Gatorade,” I told Dr. Wright, our seasoned pediatrician.

We were back at his office again after several bouts with ear infections, numerous rounds of antibiotics, and the awful and endless ensuing diarrhea. My first born was only a year old at the time, and I was at my wit’s end. After getting tired of purchasing the brand name electrolyte replacements, I had resorted to Gatorade, and now this child, who had only ever had breast or cow’s milk, would drink nothing but the red, yellow, or orange stuff. Naively, I thought this was a legitimate health issue, and that my pediatrician would most certainly have some scientific strategy to deal with it…
To read the rest of the story, head on over to The Other Baby Blog, where I had the opportunity to write a guest post!

A Spot of Tea…Times Two

 Well, two extra special spots of tea, because tea drinking is a very regular occurrence around here.  In fact, one of the things I hold dear and look forward to each morning is making a pot of Tazo Awake tea and sharing it with Robert as the day is getting started.  Recently, though, I’ve had the opportunity to share a cup of tea with two lovely ladies on a couple of different occasions.
 The first was on April 29th.  I set my alarm for 4a.m. to repeat an activity I had engaged in 20 years ago ~ watching a royal wedding!  The first time, I was 11 years old and staying in Port Aransas, TX at my grandparents’ beach condominium.  This time it was in my bedroom in Amherst, MA with an almost 11 year old little girl.  I turned on the TV in our bedroom, which is a recent addition after we were given a bigger television for our living room, and tried to decide the exact moment to wake up my little sleeping beauty as she had requested.  I had prepared our tea tray the night before, even bringing our electric tea kettle into the bedroom, so that I wouldn’t have to venture too far or exert too much effort that early in the morning!  Finally, I crept into her room and gently woke Kayla who climbed under the covers in our bed and began watching the guests arrive at Westminster Abbey.  As you can see, the sleeping Daddy to her right, had not decided to join us quite yet.
 Oh, but look at him now ~ wide awake and enjoying our little Royal Wedding party in bed! (Guess he didn’t really have much other choice.) I’d say they’re looking pretty good for that time of day!  We had lots of fun admiring the hats, and were especially astounded by the beautiful wedding sermon give by the Anglican Bishop of London!
 My second special spot of tea happened on Friday with my sweet friend, Karla.  She had come across a new tea room in a nearby town and was ready to try it out with a girlfriend.
 We had lunch first ~ soup for me, quiche for her, and then we shared a pot of “Buckingham Palace Garden Party” which was an Earl Grey with a hint of lavender and jasmine.  This tea, we were told, is “what the Queen drinks.”  Well, what other choice did we have but to order that one? It was very delicious, of course.
Thanks, Karla!  Simply smashing!

Kayla Meets a Hero

 Last Saturday morning while we were all eating breakfast, the grownups lingering at the kitchen table and over the local paper for a few moments before the day’s list of activities would begin, Robert came across a small advertisement. It announced a talk and book signing at Mt. Holyoke College by someone who has been a household name around here for many years:  Rick Riordan
We were first introduced to Mr. Riordan (rhymes with “fireman” he explained) several years ago while visiting our dear friend, Kelly, at the school in San Antonio, TX where she was teaching middle school reading classes.  Living in San Antonio, Mr. Riordan had visited her school, and she kept copies of his book The Lightning Thief for her students to read. She handed us one of those copies that day, and our lives have never been the same!
 All three of my kiddos have read almost every book he has written since then  ~ one complete series, and the beginnings of two that are still being written.  It began with my boys, but now Kayla has taken the reading baton and run with it!  She, like they once did, will count the days until the next book comes out, saving money for the hardback, because who in their right mind would wait for the paperback???  Not a true fan ~ that’s for sure.
Rick’s beloved kids’ novels are about Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods among other things (or so I’ve heard ~ I haven’t read them!), but take place in today’s world.  The main characters in the books are modern kids, which makes them especially appealing to today’s youth.
 So, when Robert slid the advertisement my way, I couldn’t believe it, and knew immediately that this was a MUST DO for our girl, who had written him a letter last year and was still anticipating a reply.  I called her into the kitchen, showed her the paper, and after a moment to take it all in, she about started to hyperventilate!
“Can we go? Can we go?  Oh, please can we go?”  she quickly fired off.
We began making plans when I remembered that she had a previous engagement that I hadn’t even told her about ~ an afternoon treat at Starbucks and other downtown locales with her two special Sunday School teachers.  I have this habit of not telling my kids about upcoming events until the day before or day of, because the endless barrage of questions prior to the event becomes too much for me to graciously deal with.  So in the middle of our planning, I let out a big, “Oh no!”  Fearful of what I might say, Kayla asked what the matter was.  I explained about the afternoon girls’ date, and she was torn, but also really didn’t want to miss this opportunity.  I called Virginia, one of the teachers and sweet friend from church, to see if it might work for us to meet up with them later, but quickly realized that this book signing and talk was going to take several hours.
 Virginia was so kind in encouraging us to go and not worry about breaking our previous commitment, so we went forward with our plan.
We arrived at Mt. Holyoke at 1:30p.m. and waited in line for the doors to open at 2p.m.  Kayla’s friend Maddie, and fellow Rick Riordan fan, met us there and saved us a great spot in what became a VERY long line.  The deal was, that in order to even be in the line to have a book signed after his talk, you must purchase his new book, The Throne of Fire, there at the auditorium, once the doors opened.  Once that requirement was fulfilled, you were allowed to have him sign one other book. We were a bit saddened by this news, as Kayla had already purchased the book THE DAY it come out, which had only been a few days prior to this event.  Another friend, though, asked us to purchase her a book and have it signed, which meant that Kayla could get her friend’s book signed AND her own book as well.  Whew!
Well, the entering the auditorium and the purchasing of books took all of about 10 minutes, which meant that we had 50 minutes to wait for Mr. Riordan’s arrival on stage.  It was the perfect opportunity to READ!  Kayla was nearly finished with her book and got even closer to the end, and Maddie got a great start on hers in that time.  (Mom used the time to fiddle around with her camera and learn some of its many features that she did not know existed, because she won’t sit down and pop the CD-Rom into her computer and read.)
When Rick finally arrived on stage, he talked for about 15 or 20 minutes about how he got his ideas for his children’s novels ~ telling bedtime stories to his little boys.  Then he gave another 15-20 minutes for kids to ask questions.  We learned that his favorite god in mythology is Poseidon, and that in order to try and accommodate the growing demand for his books, he has now scaled back the time it takes him to complete a novel from one year to six months.  This was still unacceptable to most of the audience…
“Why do we still have to wait SO LONG for the next book to come out?” was the question that several kids asked.
Rick laughed and said that there was NO WAY he could write as fast as the kids could read.
The Throne of Fire just came out on Tuesday,” he said,  “and I was getting phone calls and emails THAT EVENING from kids who were already finished with it!  Sorry guys.  There’s just no way I can keep up with you!”
He cut the questions off after the 15-20 allotted minutes, but told the kids they could ask one more when they came up to have their book signed.
Kayla was ready, and instead of the pressure filled question she WANTED to ask:  “Why haven’t you written me back yet?”, she chose a much more diplomatic approach:  “How many letters do you usually get?”
“I get about 500 letters a week,” he said.
Wow!  Kayls is now completely satisfied with the personalized autograph by, and the in-person meeting with one of her heroes.  A special day indeed!

Congressman Kory

Actually, he ran for the Senate, but I can’t resist alliteration.
He did not win a seat in the Senate, though, probably because he did not make cool campaign cards or purchase doughnuts for the voters.  I don’t think he was very heartbroken over the loss, but he certainly looks stately ~ don’t you think?
Kory spent the week in a wonderful (if you ask me and not him) program called TeenPact.  It is a government and citizenship program for teenagers held at each state’s capitol building.  Participation over the course of three years awards the participants a high school credit for government.  Kory received a government credit last year for an intense course he took through Classical Conversations, but I thought this week long experience would only further his knowledge and understanding in a more hands-on way.
There was quite a bit of homework to complete before arrival:
+Read the book Real Citizenship by Tim Echols
+Write a bill for a mock legislation process
+Analyze a bill already passed or pending legislation in your state
+Complete a vocabulary list; compare and contrast terms such as “liberty” and “justice”
+Write a letter to a Senator from your state
+Write a letter to a Representative from your state
+Memorize I Timothy 2:1-3 & Romans 13:1-2
+Pray for your Representative and Senator daily and by name
+Watch and analyze your Governor’s latest State of the State Address
+Read first 5 Articles of the Constitution and Bill of Rights
+Choose 3 of the first 10 amendments and write a paragraph on each
+Complete a state political fact sheet (knowing your congressional district #, etc.)
Once at the capitol each morning, the teens took quizzes on the homework and other items learned throughout the day, approached and interviewed lobbyists, visited the House and Senate chambers as well as the State Supreme Court, listened to lectures on lawmaking, etc., participated in mock legislation deliberation, and even prayer walked throughout the State House and surrounding areas ~ asking for wisdom for Representatives and Senators, and for protection and strength for those in the military among other things.
And if this wasn’t hand-on enough, Kory also commuted into Boston on his OWN each day. The rest of the family stayed in a hotel outside of Boston, and I drove Kory to the nearest commuter rail every morning at 7am.  He had to change trains once at North Station and then walk from the Park Street stop to the State House each day. In the required “capitol clothes” (coat and tie for boys) and a briefcase, he really looked the part of a Boston business man ~ and very handsome, I must say.  I think this may have been his favorite part of the entire week ~ dressing up and navigating his way into the big city alone.  I was really proud of him.
One reason that he was LESS than thrilled about participating in this program was that he was going to miss a week of this:

So, to alleviate some of the pain of this sacrifice, I managed to get some inexpensive tickets to this:

I just asked Kory what his final opinion of TeenPact was.
“Educational?” he offered.
“And what was your favorite part of TeenPact?” I asked.
“Lunch?  The last day?  OK…..if I had to choose a favorite part, I’d say it was learning about the Judicial Branch.”
“And what about the Red Sox game?”  I inquired.
“Best day of my life.” was his immediate reply.
I guess he means that THAT game was even better than the one he saw last year.
Oh well.  Maybe one day, when he’s running for office, he will “rise up and bless” his mother for forcing him to go to TeenPact.
Or maybe he’ll manage the Red Sox.  Either way, I’m certain that his experience will be beneficial.

Goodbye to Joyful Joanne

 Yesterday we lost our dear friend Joanne.  It doesn’t make any sense to me why the Lord chose this timing, but I trust Him.  He’s proved Himself over and over, and His ways are higher, so I trust He’s up to something good here, but aside from that it still feels like a great loss.
This photo was taken just 2 years ago at her home ~ the home where she was the continual caretaker for her husband, Bob.  Joanne made chili for us that day, careful to make sure she was doing everything gluten free. Bob is also a dear friend and had finally been able to live at home more independently after suffering a severe stroke that began at church one Sunday as he got up to pray the offertory prayer.  That he survived the massive brain bleed was a miracle.  That he walks and talks and jokes and still loves a UT football or basketball game today is a generous blessing. 
Bob’s major stroke and ongoing need for continual care are why it just doesn’t make sense that Joanne, his loving and faithful wife, would be diagnosed with tongue cancer a year or so ago ~ before Bob’s complete recovery and independence.  She had been sacrificially supporting Bob and tending to his every need when all of the sudden, she needed continual care herself.  But it was “completely curable” they said.  She even took out her mouthpiece and showed me her “healing” tongue in January of this year when we visited Texas and our old church where we first met Bob and Joanne.  They had made a heroic effort to come and hear Robert preach.  They never wanted to miss his preaching.  Their hired caretaker had to bring them.
A couple of months ago we heard that the cancer would not be cured and that she had 3 weeks to 3 months to live with a rapid deterioration in her quality of life.  When Kory heard this news, he immediately sought pen and paper to write Bob and Joanne a letter telling them what an example they had been to him personally, and what a blessing they had been to our whole family and our church.  (I wish I had made a copy!) We prayed for a miracle and sent notes of encouragement.  Robert talked to Joanne on the phone one day and she said, “Pray however you feel called to pray, but I am ready for heaven and at total peace with this.”  Then she added, “But would you please give Bob a call a little later.  He’s having a hard time with this.”  When Robert talked to Bob he said, “I’m mad at the doctors for telling us it was curable, but I’m jealous that Joanne will get to be with Jesus soon.”
That is such an accurate depiction of their faith and joy.  Joanne was always joyful and always looking for the Lord’s hand in every situation. She loved her three grown sons so dearly ~ so proud of all of their many accomplishments. Joanne spent her life ministering to Bob, her boys, her women’s Bible study, and her church.  She played the piano beautifully, too, and every Sunday for countless years she gave up Sunday School, services, and fellowship at her home church to play for a local mission church. And she and Bob loved our church here in Massachusetts.  Without their financial support, Mercyhouse would not have been able to purchase its building.  Their prayers, their visits, and their constant inquiries and encouragement have been the fuel for us to continue in the ministry here.
On Wednesday, the day before she died, she said, “I’m tired and I’m ready to go home.”  She was granted that desire yesterday morning. Please pray for Bob and the boys as they grieve their beloved wife and mother.  Please pray for Bob’s continued healing and independence.  Joanne would also want us to pray for her Lord to be glorified in her death, so please pray for that as well ~ especially that He would be exalted in the eyes of her three boys as they face the seeming unfairness of it all.
The Lord sat as King at the flood; yes, the Lord sits as King forever.
The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
Psalm 29: 10-11

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.
Psalm 116:15