{pretty, happy, funny, real}

by | Jun 12, 2015 | 17 Day Diet, Autoimmune Protocol, Braces, Pacific Ocean, Pictures | 33 comments

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life with Like Mother, Like Daughter. ~


It’s always so pretty over at the coast! I have some more pictures I’m hoping to share from our camping trip last weekend, but here is one that someone took of our whole family.  ❤ You can also see pictures from the Saturday afternoon rehearsal and Corpus Christi Mass and Procession here


Lots of big smiles in our home today! Last day of school for the kids, and last day of braces for me!!! Woot woot! Thank you to my orthodontist and his amazing staff. They are the best! #bracesoff #onceagain #twentyyearslater #wearyourretainer


“What are you smiling about?!” asks my husband, when he met up with us at DQ this afternoon to celebrate the last day of school. Haha! #nomorebraces #thatswhat

He wasn’t joking, but he figured it out really quickly when I grinned even bigger and all the kids started giggling! He’s had a long week.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget him asking if I had asked the orthodontist if he could still kiss me when I first got them on, and the electric shock he got from that first kiss! ⚡ That was the one and only time that happened, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect!


A screen shot from my Target Weight App showing my weight loss from the past year.
The green dots show that I’m now in the “normal” range for my height!
Today is also my 100th day on the Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP) diet! (This is my favorite book on the topic.) I’m feeling so much better than I have in years. 
When I first started the diet, the day after getting my biopsy results back in March, I planned on trying it for thirty days which seemed like an eternity at the time. I surprised myself by being able to successfully give up all my favorite things (Coffee, Chocolate, Chipotle…) and then some (all Sugar, Seeds, Nuts, Grains, Nightshades, Eggs, Dairy, etc). I figured Lent was the perfect time to make the extra sacrifices. Day 30 ended up being Holy Thursday, so I spent Day 31 fasting for Good Friday. My lichen planus wasn’t completely gone so I decided to continue on the diet through Easter and beyond.  
My Easter morning breakfast was an AIP approved Pina Colada Smoothie made with 1 large banana, 1 1/4 cup frozen pineapple tidbits, 1 cup coconut milk (this kind), 1 cup crushed ice, topped with unsweetened toasted coconut and garnished with an organic strawberry. Yum! 
I’ve found that, in addition to the diet, keeping my stress levels as low as possible and making sure I’m getting enough sleep each night is essential to avoiding new lichen planus from appearing. With the combination of the AIP diet, low(er) stress, and plenty of more sleep, I’ve been able to manage my autoimmune skin issues without using any of the prescribed steroids! The added benefit of weight loss has really helped keep me motivated too! 🙂  As of today I have lost 32 pounds since March 4th, and over 42 pounds since last fall! I’ve gone from wearing maternity clothes and/or barely being able to squeeze into a size fourteen to my old size eights now fitting loosely! On June 3rd, for the first time in nearly seven years, I finally weigh less than my husband once again!!! I’ve actually been buying him lots of beer and chocolate to keep it that way! Just kidding… or am I! 😉  Anyway, I still have another 15-20 pounds I would love to lose, but it actually seems achievable for the first time in a very long time. I’m looking forward to slowly reintroducing some foods back into my diet later this summer. We’ll see how it goes! 


  1. Olivia

    You LOOK amazing! Congratulations on your accomplishments and on feeling so good. What a difference it can make to our families when we are healthy and thriving. 🙂

    2015-06-12 03:53:17

  2. Genevieve

    You look fantastic and I'm so thrilled that the diet has helped your rash so well! So exciting! …and ha, ha! The electric kiss! Perfection!

    2015-06-12 04:13:01

  3. Shauna

    Wow! I am so happy for you! You look amazing and I am so happy that your rash has healed. I just started learning about inflammation in the body and how the processed sugary foods we eat causes inflammation which causes disease, cancer and other autoimmune problems. Does the book you recommend talk about this? Thanks so much!

    2015-06-12 05:26:35

  4. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks, Shauna! Yes, it does! You can actually watch the author giving an overview/tour of her book over at YouTube if you are interested. I checked the book out from our local library and am hoping to purchase my own copy soon.

    2015-06-12 05:38:13

  5. Lori

    Congratulations!! Thank you for sharing your great news! And your smile is amazing!

    2015-06-12 05:27:19

  6. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you, Olivia! Yes, it really does make a huge difference!

    2015-06-12 05:38:57

  7. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you, Genevieve! I'm thrilled too! 🙂

    2015-06-12 05:41:20

  8. Shauna

    Thank you, I'll see if our Library has it!

    2015-06-12 06:36:05

  9. Shannon

    Would love to hear a sample of your meals and snacks! How do you prep with your busy schedule? You look wonderfully healthy!!

    2015-06-12 10:36:20

  10. Tracy Bua Smith

    Beautiful Jessica! So happy for your health success! You look amazing!! So exciting about your brace free smile too! Happy fesst of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary! Have a blessed weekend!

    2015-06-12 10:56:25

  11. Sara

    Great job, Jessica! You look fantastic! I don't know how you do it—maybe the LP is the motivation—I can't get through a day without "forgetting" that I'm not supposed to eat certain things. Keep up the good work.

    2015-06-12 11:54:38

  12. Saiorse

    Jessica – this makes me so happy – as I am struggling thru this diet myself (you inspired me) after a new autoimmune issue popped up for me. I am still on day 8 – so still hard – but getting there!! thanks for the inspiration and you look wonderful!

    2015-06-12 11:57:03

  13. Robin

    That is AWESOME, Jessica! Quite the accomplishment, sticking with the diet! What a great example for your kiddos! So inspiring!!

    2015-06-12 13:20:13

  14. Ellie

    Jessica, I am so happy for you that you've seen these improvements in your health. What a blessing and a relief for you. 🙂

    2015-06-12 13:38:42

  15. mamadenise

    VIsiting from Like Mother Like Daughter! Love your family photo.

    2015-06-12 13:40:28

  16. Jodi

    You look radiant! Than you for posting, I have an auto immune disorder (Esophnophillic Esophagitis ). Now that my specialist has gotten my esophagus big enough to accept solids, I feel like trying the AIP diet. You inspire me!

    2015-06-12 14:11:18

  17. Carrie

    JMJ It's so great to see your smiling face! You are in my prayers. <3

    2015-06-12 15:58:49

  18. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you, Shannon! Eating this way (and continuing to cook for the rest of the family too!) does require more time in the kitchen (and more frequent trips to the grocery store) which is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging as much as I did in the past. I'll try and work on putting together a post with some of my go-to meals and favorite snacks.

    2015-06-13 00:38:56

  19. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you, Tracy! Happy feast days to you too! God bless you and your family!

    2015-06-13 00:39:56

  20. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks, Sara! YES! The LP has been a huge motivating factor, especially once it started to go away following the diet changes. It had been so painful at times. Before my diagnosis I was never able to stick to a diet unless I was doing it for one of my children. (Giving up dairy while nursing some of my babies, etc.) Also the fact that my doctor (just before I insisted on the biopsy and a hormone test for some answers) was trying to get me on anti-depressants and anxiety meds… She didn't think they were "optional" anymore, and I KNEW there was something at the root of my rash/panic attacks/etc. I was determined to get better without turning to medications that would just mask my symptoms at best. I've also had a lot of support and encouragement from my husband and from my mom. When I was first adjusting to the diet my mom was so much help. She'd show up with some broth, soup, etc, to help get me through my busiest days when I didn't have time to spend in the kitchen (and couldn't eat anything hard due to the braces!). It was such a blessing!

    2015-06-13 00:48:21

  21. Jessica Gordon

    Oooh! Days 7-10 were probably the hardest for me! It does get easier though! I'm offering a prayer for you right now. You can do it! I hope it helps you with your autoimmune issues too!

    2015-06-13 00:50:36

  22. Saoirse

    Thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement- and I am hoping this works as well for me. The weight loss would be a fabulous added benefit!!

    2015-06-13 01:58:42

  23. Mimi G.

    I was thinking when I saw the family picture, "Wow! She's looking great!" Of course you've always looked great, but you can see the difference in how good you feel health wise. It's definitely shining through that you have more energy and are getting more sleep. Keep up the good work! And yay for no more braces!!!! 🙂

    2015-06-12 17:56:00

  24. Guest

    First congratulations!! Second, I have a church question. I've been a reader here long enough to have seen pictures of your sons dressed up and what appears to be pretending to celebrate mass. We recently got a great book with the daily readings as a gift and it has the parts of the mass. My son thinks it is cool and wants to pretend to say mass to go along with our daily readings. What are the church teachings on the young ones "playing mass." He can read all of the parts so it is very realistic. Are there any boundaries that I should be aware of?

    2015-06-12 20:24:15

  25. Leila M. Lawler

    Thanks for joining again! Your family photo is darling!

    2015-06-12 21:10:10

  26. Jennifer

    I fell off the wagon with my no refined sugar, and I am paying the price. I've stuck to the gluten free and no coffee so far. I decided to give it up for a couple of weeks as a little sacrifice for your intentions and then stuck with it. I am so impressed with you–as if I weren't before! That is quite a challenge and you have done so well with it. Congratulations and God bless.

    2015-06-12 21:56:22

  27. Marisa

    Just had to congratulate you!!! You look FANTASTIC!! What's even better is hearing that you feel great! I'm so happy for you, and I hope that you continue to heal, Jessica. I know it is a hard diet, and I am impressed by your commitment to continue doing it….AND fixing the family's meals. The hardest for me was the desserts! I wish you continued success with the AIP diet!

    2015-06-13 17:55:04

  28. Valerie, NZ

    Just looking at the first photo, and before I read any further, I was struck by how very well you look! Lovely to see and to read about.

    2015-06-14 02:10:14

  29. kimberlee

    I'm so happy to hear you are feeling so much better! And that you finally have answers and a solution for your 'rash'! You must be so happy to have your braces off, too! Hooray Jessica! and Deo Gratias!!

    2015-06-15 17:42:08

  30. eileen

    You look so happy and beautiful Jessica! I am so glad to hear you are feeling better than you have in years:) +God is Good+

    2015-06-15 17:49:45

  31. Jennifer

    This is so encouraging!…as I know I could benefit from AIP (I have autoimmune issues…tried GAPS with my family, but it was too overwhelming and stressful with everyone's food allergies/sensitivities already on such a restricted diet and still trying to homeschool) and have given birth to 7 babies…so have a good 30-40 lbs. to lose. Did you follow a portion control plan for how much of the allowed foods on the AIP that you could eat…or just eat as much as you wanted of the allowed foods? I'm trying to do Weight Watchers…and kind of follow a Primal (some dairy) diet, but I think having to count the points (portion control) is what is helping me not to overeat. : ) God bless, Jennifer

    2015-07-23 20:13:15


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Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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