Why she is my best friend!

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I have been blessed with some of the best girlfriends in my 39 years. There is one friend that I have known almost my whole life- Diana! We grew up next door to each other and our friendship has always just BEEN! We have been through everything together and this post is just for her!

I don’t have many memories without Diana. We grew up together. I would literally climb through her mom’s mint leaves to get into her bedroom. We laughed all night long and she has always been willing to cook for me till my heart’s desire was complete! We once took a history class at GCC together (super boring) and I have some of the best and most vivid memories from this class.

Diana has seen me at my absolute worst and has literally nursed me through sickness and painful grief. She was my rock in 2003 when a friend of mine passed away and I could barely stand. When my son was sick with a stomach bug, Diana embraced my emetophobia and sat with him and I the entire night! When I need anything, I can always count on her no matter the time, no matter the day.

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? (Proverbs 20:6). Well- I did!

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Dear Bohdi

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My baby,

I remember when I brought you home. I was so not prepared for that day. Here you were- this little tiny boy that God had entrusted me to care for. I was scared and I felt totally incompetent as a mom. I was tired, sore and emotionally unregulated. You have had me on my knees in prayer since day one and I thank you for this. Because of you, my baby boy, I have grown so very close to our God!

You have always been so funny. Alert. It’s like you always “just get it” – and this amazes me. You are inquisitive like me (your dad calls this nosy) and you have your father’s sense of humor. This we must talk about as you get older!!

There are so many aspects of life that I never knew I could actually worry about until you were born. God says to cast all this anxiety unto Him and that is what I do all day when I am praying for you and over you. One day you will understand this.

Your father and I have one ultimate goal for you and your brother and that is to see you both in Heaven when our time on Earth is through. Aside from all the little goals, my sweet boy- this is NUMBER ONE and you need to know, understand and implement His truth into your life- every SINGLE day.

I never knew a love like this until you came into my life. You are my ‘baby for life’ and there is nothing in this world that I will not do for you to keep you safe, healthy, protected and eternal!

I love being your mom and I am so happy to spend each day with you. Happy 4th birthday to the most amazing 4 year old that I know!

 

My love forever,

Mommy

My child, listen when your father corrects you.Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9

 

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Trading in the bikini…

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A few nights ago I had a deep conversation with my oldest, Aykman. He will be 10 this August. He came to me and had a heartfelt conversation about his faith, this world and what he was seeing everyday. Aykman’s heart is so amazing! He told me he was having some challenges with advertisements and girls. GIRLS, I thought?! REALLY? But, I listened. Patiently.

If you know Aykman, you know how honest he usually is and how he strives to be a child of God. He does his school at home and he is so very intelligent and mature for his age. Last summer, he made the decision to be baptized at our church and since then, I have seen the Holy Spirit do some amazing work in Aykman’s heart and in his life!

Aykman’s concerns were totally legit. He recognizes we live in a fallen world and he also recognizes that God created him and gave him certain desires. Aykman has also made a commitment to God, to himself and to his future wife- to remain pure till he gets married. (How amazing is this!!) As our conversation continued, Aykman shared how he has been looking at girls and noticing that he is staring at them differently. He recognized that he doesn’t want to do this and he doesn’t want these images engrained into his memory. “But half dressed females are everywhere,” he said. “They are at the store, on billboards, at the pool, everywhere!” What discernment this child has! He had tears rolling down his eyes and I sensed there was some shame he was feeling. I comforted him and told him that most of what is happening to him is normal and the fact that his heart recognizes that he wants to be different and save himself is truly wonderful in my book! Then- I prayed with him and have continued to pray more about this every day.

Last night, something happened to me!

In the midst of everything, I was convicted. My level of modesty has never been high. I am learning that males are so very visual and images do remain in their memory. Although it is not my intention to gain attention from anyone other than my husband, I had to acknowledge that some of my own clothing is less than modest, including my bikini!

Aykman sees me in a different light and may one day use the foundation that I have provided for him as his mother,  when seeking his own wife. What example do I want to send to my children about girls? The less clothing the better? I have been so wrapped up in my own preferences and not wanting “tan lines” in the summer that I completely neglected the image I am giving my own children.

Not everyone will believe as we do and not every mom will trade in their bikini for something more modest. But today I realized that this is no longer about ME. This is about something bigger! Something better– the example I want to set for my boys. My boys will already face enough adversity being Christians and living a life that is considered prude- according to society’s standards.  I always have and always will stand with them- but now I will dress modestly- even at the pool!

 

Inspired by Aykman! ❤

 

“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.” 1 Timothy 2:9 (NLT version)

At the Cross!

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We live in a flawed world where sin is often socially accepted. But, this was never the goal of our Creator. Our Heavenly Father is holy. The Holiest! He created us to live in peace, free from pain, from suffering, from sickness and from dirtiness. With one bite, this all changed. Sin separates us from God.. However, His Promise was clear from the beginning and His Promise was sent to us to rescue us from this despair. His Promise frees us- from sickness. From all of this dirtiness!

Jesus left Heaven, where He was adored, worshiped and sat next to God so He could come to Earth to save us from our sin. He willingly left Heaven to do this for all of us. While He was here, He healed the sick. Raised the dead. Prayed. Befriended people that most of us would turn our back on! While Jesus was on Earth- He was ridiculed by many. Denied. Betrayed by one of His best friends. Slandered. Overlooked. Beaten. Murdered. Jesus left Heaven knowing exactly what would happen to Him. And, He did this for you. For me. For everyone!

I live in a world that is consumed by material items. I live in a world where I am often more accepted when my actions are deviant rather than pleasing to God. I live in a world that denies Jesus as the Messiah. I live in a world where I am often ridiculed for praying out loud or saying the name of my Lord and Savior. But- Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” And He has!

As the Resurrection of Jesus approaches, many will enjoy bunnies, baskets and candy. My prayer is that you will remember Him who overcame this world. There is peace. There is healing. There is Eternity through Christ!

 

He is Risen and He lives in Me!

Did this really happen? Out loud?

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“My mom has irritable bowel syndrome.” What? Is this really being said about me? You let your kids watch Along Came Polly and suddenly they catch on to what may really be happening in their own family. Yes, this is a blog about an imbalanced gut flora system. You may or may not find this topic appealing. However, before just resisting- based on the topic, you may wanna read if you have ever taken an antibiotic, swam in a chlorinated pool, have felt anxious, depressed or even experienced a sense of having a foggy mind. I am here to tell you that your gut is actually referred to as your second brain (enteric nervous system). Sound funny? It may- and this topic can certainly generate some chuckles but the facts still remain- when we damage our gut, we damage our entire system!

This is not by any means an academic paper. I am not writing in apa format and all that fun stuff but I will definitely provide some references at the end so you can continue to read and research if you should choose. I also need to add that I am not a physician in any way. Just a semi-normal girl, wife and mom who has sought out to find overall health for myself and my family!

By now you probably know and understand the importance of “good bacteria.” You have seen the commercials for yogurts and probiotics and the topic is discussed all the time. The latest knowledge that I have obtained is how chlorine actually disrupts the healthy bacteria that resides in the gut. How can this be? (I love swimming and was terribly troubled by this). But, further research has validated this new info and from some of the research I have read, chlorine is just as disruptive to the healthy bacteria as antibiotics are. This is totally lame but really puts a lot into perspective for me and some of the gut disabilities I have experienced. -I refer to it as a disability cause for me, it is!-

More interesting info, especially if you are a mental health professional, is that our gut actually produces about 95% of our body’s supply of serotonin. Do you know how huge this is? Although the gut brain connection is still being studied and developed, we can certainly understand how an imbalanced gut can affect mental health. For me, I sometimes feel like there is a button in my stomach that connects straight to the brain and fires a signal that causes an instant flight or fight response for no apparent reason. Sometimes I feel like I have damaged my own vagus nerve beyond repair.

If you know me well you know that I was a frequent strep throat flyer and took many doses of antibiotics growing up and well into my adulthood. I have since learned that there are other effective measures to use when you are sick that will not have the lasting impressions of an antibiotic. Moving forward, I am in full gut repair and it is not a fun time. I never knew how sick I really was until I started a therapeutic dose of probiotics and began experiencing what is often called “die off symptoms.” This is not a lie cause I do feel, at times, like I am dying. However, die off symptoms are more related to the bad bacteria dying off while the good bacteria creates the balance that is needed. Still, I feel like I am dying!

Here is to my second brain and finding the balance that my body needs!

http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr04/vagus.aspx

http://www.foodrenegade.com/chlorinated-showers-baths-kill-gut-flora/

http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/c/4182/162921/gut-brain-connection-anxiety/

http://www.depressionanxietydiet.com/gut-brain-connection-depression-anxiety/

Today- I saw a mom…

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Today, I saw a mom who looked tired. Her hair was barely brushed and she was wearing an oversized T shirt and comfy pants. I could see the gray streaks glistening throughout her hair. When she removed her sunglasses, her eyes looked heavy and dark. Her flip flops allowed me to see that she had chipped nail polish on her toes. She was not wearing any make up.

I saw the sacrifices she was making for her children but wondered if anyone else truly saw this for what it was. She was holding one of her children while the others were walking to the park. When they arrived at the park, the kids began to play. Instead of sitting down and pulling out her phone, I saw this mom engaging with her children. She was running with them, catching them as they came down the slide, pushing them in swings and laughing with each child- the entire time.

She looked familiar. Her hair was once styled and shiny and the color was once even. She used to walk straight and would never miss a weekly pedicure appointment. Her eyes were not always affected by lack of sleep from a restless child, illness, worry, insomnia or late night feedings. She was once independent, hip, career oriented and driven. She once had time to herself.

Today, I saw the most beautiful mom who was devoted to her children. A mom who sacrificed everything she once was and once had- to ensure that her children had all of her! Despite the grays, wrinkles and un-pedicured toes, she was the most beautiful mom I have ever seen!

Today, I saw you! Thank you for being this ALL in mom!

 

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”    -Isaiah 66:13

 

Becoming Me!

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Everyone has a story, here is a brief recap of mine. I was not always a God fearing woman. However, I have always believed in God- at least to some extent.

My journey began as a kid who grew up in the Catholic church. This was my foundation. My parents made sure that my brothers and I knew who God and Jesus were and we attended mass pretty regularly. I completed the Catholic protocol from my first confession, to communion to confirmation. As I became an adult, at least by age, I ventured out into this world to see who “I wanted to be- when I grew up.” I went to college and earned some degrees and I had my share of fun. Although I always knew there was a God, I was not sure how I fit into His divine plan. So, I created my own plan. I became interested in all sorts of religions and spiritual practices from Buddhism to Wicca. Yes, Wicca. For many years I justified the reasons behind my curiosity and I continued to live a life that was less than pleasing to God.

In short, these journeys and explorations didn’t fill any of the voids that I had. In fact, leaning on my own understanding often left me confused, sick, scared, panicked and broke! Financially, my life was a complete mess. I sought out to please this world and gain the popularity of people. I incurred massive amounts of credit card debt and I traded in my cars every two years. This left me upside down in car loans with monthly car payments that exceeded $500. And, my cars were simple cars. It was not like I was driving a BMW for $500 a month. I had a Civic! My life was ridiculous. But, I was cute. I had a lot of friends and boyfriends and I was well educated- so I rationalized just about every action I made.

In 2008, an old flame and I decided to get married. In retrospect- I really wanted the dreamy beach wedding and the public response that came from me finally tying the knot! I had no clue how to be a wife. I had 4 roommates at the time and no desire to actually live with my husband. I basically wanted the prestige of getting married without the commitment. Although I thought I was a Christian, I did not know His love or seek His plan, at all, in my life. Obviously this was bad news for my marriage. Who wants a wife that refuses to move in with you and continues to live an UN-married life? I have to give my husband credit cause he did not throw in the towel for 8 months. But when he decided to, everything in my life changed- in an instant!! All of a sudden the reality of being a divorced woman consumed my life. Not seeing my step son was unbearable. It was at this time that my whole life, my heart, my mind, my soul just CHANGED! The only way I found peace was when I was on my knees in prayer. All I could do was pray. Every hour of every day. Thanks to God, my heart was not the only change that was made-Paul’s heart changed too. We reconciled, moved into an amazing house together, got pregnant, had a baby, received sole custody of my step son and we are now serving as local missionaries in Phoenix!

His Amazing Grace!

Proverbs 3:5-6 is absolutely Truth!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

May you find His Grace today,

Robin