Saturday, May 31, 2008

What My Children Want...

Exactly two years ago on May 31, 2006 this conversation took place between my children:

Daughter (6) was doing her school work and Son (3) was playing. My son came up to me and…

said..."After Sister is done with her school work can we go buy a baby."

Daughter said,
"We can't buy a baby it has to come from heaven all the way down to the mom's tummy."

A couple minutes later...

Son said,
"I want a baby brother."

Daughter said,
"Too bad I think God is going to deliver a baby girl to our family."

Well, God didn’t deliver anything to our family…


March 2008 I received one of these:

Then in April I got one of these:

Then in May I got one of these – (three different poses – how’s a mother to choose)

And in December the whole family will get one of these:

We are thrilled beyond measure. The kids are still hoping for a same sex sibling, but I know they will rejoice with either when it comes down to it. My intuition says it will be a girl, but just about everyone else that has ventured a guess thinks it will be a boy. We have decided to keep it a secret from all, but God and the sonogram technician until the delivery because I’ve always wanted the surprise. For our first two we had the technician write the sex on a piece of paper that we opened over a meal at a restaurant.

Because of my back issues (see this post for more info) and the rod in my back, an epidural isn’t an option for me. I made it through my first two deliveries just fine. The first was harder than the second, but I got bolder the second time around and was able to tell the medical professionals what I needed to do instead of allowing them to make decisions for me that made it more difficult for me to manage. Even with the back labor I had with my daughter, I still thought her delivery was easier than my back surgery. The pain was shorter and the reward was greater. God blessed me with short labors – the first was 6 hours (I went from 1 cm – 10 cm rather quickly - they told me they'd have to induce me in the morning because my water broke and nothing was happening, but my daughter didn't want to wait and she came many hours before the schedule induction) and the second labor took four hours. I’m hoping to do better this time, but not so good that I deliver on the highway or anything. I don’t want my 15 seconds of fame that bad… Regardless of how long it takes, I’m trusting God with the details and I will be overjoyed to hold my newest treasure in my arms.

Please keep the baby, this pregnancy, and me in your prayers.


For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. ~ Psalm 139:13-16

Friday, May 30, 2008

What role does prayer play in your life?

I'm reading a devotional thought type book called Opening Windows by a variety of authors - compiled and edited by Mary Fairchild. At the end of each chapter the author challenges the reader in a section called Your Fresh Take.

On page 61 at the end of the chapter by Thelma Wells - Open to Constant Communication the questions are:

Identify two or three times in your daily schedule when you are least aware of God. What conscious changes can you make to increase your awareness of God in these parts of your day?

For me the times I'm least aware of God are when I'm trying to be in control of my world when I try to take things into my own hands. I need to let go and trust God with all things especially the things that seem out of my control - because they most likely are...

How would your day change if God were the first thing you thought of when walking in the morning and the last thing on your mind before sleeping?

I do make an effort to have God be the first thing I think of in the morning and the last before going to bed, but I don't always succeed. I find that when I do things go better and I don't feel as much need to be in control because I KNOW that God is in control.

Do people who are important to you know you are praying for them? If not, what will you do to assure them of your prayers?

I'm pretty sure those important to me know that I'm praying for them. For some people mainly my immediate family and close friends I will pray with them during times of crisis. I'm feeling convicted that I should stop and pray with more people immediately as they share requests. The times friends have done that for me it has really impacted me in a positive way.

Feel free to share your answers in the comments section or just think and pray about them during your time alone with God.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Five Kind Things Meme

Jerri tagged me with this meme

The Five Kind Things Meme works like this:

List five kind things you do for yourself.
List five kind things you do for your closest friend, partner or child.
List five kind things you have done for a stranger.
List five kind things you do for fun.
List five people you are tagging with this meme.

Five things I do for myself:
1. I commune with God through reading, prayer, and music, etc.
2. I try to eat healthy.
3. I exercise.
4. I play on the computer – mainly with blogs.
5. Spend time with friends.

List five kind things you do for your closest friend, partner or child.
1. I listen when friends need to talk.
2. I try to encourage people and let them know their life matters and that they mean something to me.
3. I made my husband a special journal filled with thoughts, prayers to God on his behalf, poetry (other people’s not mine), etc. before we got married and gave it to him as a wedding present.
4. I write letters/cards to my children telling them how special they are to me and I have special journals that are in process for them also filled with similar things as my husband’s and pictures of them and me pregnant with them.
5. I try to help whenever and wherever I can whether it be serving them or loving them.

List five kind things you have done for a stranger.
1. I hold doors, return shopping carts, pick up things dropped, etc.
2. One time I gave a young man a ride home from work that I didn’t know well and my dad was quite upset with me when he found out because of safety issues.
3. Return money that they dropped – usually my children find it and I let them return it – makes their day to do something for someone else.
4. My children and I put together Crisis Care Kits that our church delivers to a warehouse and they are given all over the world in times of crisis. People who don’t have time give me the money to buy their kits and my kids and I go to the store to purchase the supplies in bulk and we are able to create more kits than if the people just bought the supplies themselves. My kids are always so excited to help in this process. We pray for the people who will receive the CCK too.
5. Make sure lost children in stores are returned to their parents. One time this spring my kids were riding their scooters along with a neighbor boy several times around our block and a little tyke about two years old started following us without their guardian knowing and I stopped those in my charge and said we had to take the little one back.

Five Things I do for fun:
1. Walk
2. Take pictures of family
3. Play games with my family.
4. Cook and bake with healthy or healthier ingredients
5. Blog

Five people to tag:
1. Life Adapted
2. Heather from Standing at the Crossroads
3. Carol from Journey of Hope
4. Ruthie from Just Ruthie
5. Faith from The Great Adventure

If anyone else would like to play along, please feel free and just let us know that you have answered the questions on your blog or feel free to leave the answers in the comments section.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


My dad walking me down the aisle.

What is marriage? Why do we marry? Why do so few Christian marriages go the distance? How is your marriage different? What advice to you have to share with those who are considering marriage or those in any phase of marriage?

Marriage according to Mirriam Webster's first definition is: 1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

I remember when I was in graduate school, my Sunday School teacher, mentor and friend, Carolee Loar challenged our class of young singles to consider what marriage was and write out our definitions. I took the assignment seriously and wrote a great deal. I spend a long time this evening looking in vain for that piece of paper that I kept somewhere safe... Maybe someday I will find it...

Marriage was a frightening prospect for me back then because I was terrified of failure. I had seen too many marriages end badly and wanted to avoid that for myself even if it meant never marrying, but at the same time I wanted to be married so much. I wanted to be loved and to be special to someone. I spent a lot of time praying about marriage and for a possible future spouse and for several young men I hoped would fill that role at various times.

Next month Rick and I will celebrate our eleventh anniversary. We married on the 50th anniversary of my grandparents.

I've read some challenging books about marriage in the last year by Gary Thomas and I highly recommend them to anyone who is married or considering marriage. Sacred Marriage and Sacred Influence are both powerful books that have the potential to change the way we think about marriage. For more info check out my Reading Room Blog - do a search with Gary Thomas' name or the titles of the books mentioned. Consider this quote, Gary shares this quote in Sacred Marriage, "If we view the marriage relationship as an opportunity to excel in love, it doesn’t matter how difficult the person is whom we are called to love; it doesn’t matter even whether that love is ever returned. We can still excel at love. We can still say, “Like it or not, I’m going to love you like nobody ever has.”

Randy Alcorn, a favorite author of mine, shared some of his thoughts about marriage on his blog because an assistant of his married this weekend. Check out his post here.

Let's all spend some time praying for our marriages and the marriages of those who are dear to us. Marriage can be wonderful, yet it can be the most challenging thing we'll ever experience. Storm heaven on the behalf of marriages everywhere!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The character study I did with my daughter says: Hope is to believe something will happen in the future that will make you happy and fulfill your needs. Hope is: believing in yourself, being cheerful and positive, being flexible, encouraging others, trusting in God's promises.

Wikipedia defines hope - Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope implies a certain amount of despair, wanting, wishing, suffering or perseverance — i.e., believing that a better or positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary.

A favorite Scripture regarding hope - Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31

What part does hope play in your life? How does hope keep you from giving up or feeling discouraged? What are your hopes?

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Journey with Scoliosis

The quick somewhat disorganized story of my back issues...

When I was in seventh grade nurses at my middle school did testing for scoliosis and I was one of the lucky ones who were given a clean bill of health. Shortly after I was sitting in my doctor's office for an unrelated issue and he looked at me quizzically and said that he thought I had scoliosis. I assured him that I didn't because I was just screened at school. He sent me for x-rays and then referred me to a specialist. The specialist told me that I needed to see a specialist/surgeon. What I thought?? I went to The Spine Center in Cleveland, Ohio because they dealt with many cases just like mine every day and was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis. Three years later after wearing a lift in my shoe with no success my surgeon told me that I needed to have surgery or my curvature which continued to progress rapidly would cause my heart and lungs to collapse.

So the summer after my sophomore year when I was 15 years old I had a spinal fusion and a thoracoplasty (ribs were shaved from my right side and used to help fuse the rod to my spine). The surgery lasted for seven hours and I was in the hospital for a total of nine days. My surgeon fused a Harrington rod to fourteen vertebrae (Thoracic 1-12 on down to Lumbar 1-2). I had 77 staples and one stitch. I have two scars - a fourteen inch scar a little to the right of my spine and a nine inch scar on my right side.

Post surgery - my back was broken out from the adhesive that held my bandages - the little double dots along side of my insisons are the staple holes.

After surgery I had to wear a brace for six months to stabilize my back and protect my fusion. For some reason I was never given follow-up care regarding what exercises to do to strengthen my back, so I just went about my life the best I could.

Brace Side view

Back view of my brace

Two months post surgery wearing back brace - 15 year old Robin in nurses aid uniform for first day of junior year in HS.

A few years ago after enduring lower back pain ever since my surgery I decided to attempt an exercise program at a local gym. Ever since starting to exercise I have better been able to control my pain although it still comes with regularity its just not constantly severe. It is severe at times, but I work through the pain most of the time using heat, cold, stretching, exercising and sometimes ibuprofen. People most likely wouldn't know I had anything wrong with my back unless I was wearing a form-fitting top (which I don't) or baring my back which I don't except for a few occasions in bridesmaid dresses. Even though my surgeon removed (thoracoplasty) my rib hump it grew back in a very similar pattern to the previous rib hump. My surgery was done long before the information shared in the link above. Sitting against hard surfaces is uncomfortable and I often sit sideways to avoid putting pressure on the right side of my back.

Before I had my daughter I spoke with an anesthesiologist who told me that an epidural wasn't an option for me because of my rod, but God has blessed me with quick labors. My first was born in six hours, but with back labor (sunny side up) and my second came quicker in about four hours. When I had my daughter I didn't realize that I could tell the doctors what I wanted and I just obeyed their orders, but with my son when they gave me orders during labor and delivery I told them their plans didn't work for me and did what I needed to in order to manage my pain.

I've been told by doctors in the years since my surgery that I will have back pain the rest of my life because of my lengthy fusion. All of my spinal flexibility is from Lumbar 3-5 and I have some degeneration between Lumbar 4-5 which also causes pain. I think I manage quite well in spite of the limitations - I don't attempt back bends and have to modify exercises in classes that require back extensions. I feel stronger and healthier now than ever.

I continue to cling to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 for many parts of my life. Since 100% healing hasn't happened for me I look for opportunities to comfort others in their pain. Sometimes it helps to just know that someone else understands and has been there - knowing you are not alone can really help for one who is dealing with chronic pain.