The most beautiful time as a woman 

I’m convinced the most feminine time for a woman is when she feels the least attractive. Allow me to explain.

Many woman I know feel like I do when they are pregnant. Heavy. Swollen. Changing. Dealing with uncomfortable comments from some other people – most people, especially women, are full of grace for this time, because they’ve gone through it – but well-intentioned people can say strange things.

Exhibit A.

*I tell someone I’m expecting our third prize in January and pat my belly* 

A wonderfully kind man says “congratulations, and thank you for saving us the embarrassment of asking or wondering if you’re just fat.”

I laugh and say “yes, that’s how I feel.” 

My husband shakes his head for the man, embarrassed on behalf of the male gender species. He can’t help it.

I’m not angry, not one bit. I understand some people just don’t know what to say. And it’s ironic albeit a little more painful to hear, because it’s exactly how I’m feeling: fat!

I was talking with another gal this weekend who told me her pregnancies were a series of planning driving trips around her tendency to throw up. How difficult!! I get it! There is no way to feel good if that’s how your body responds!

And another who told me about her 19 hour labor which ended in emergency c-section and the aftermath of recovery.

Another who recalled her inability to shed the last 20 pounds gained after children.

And my own experience of needing to heal after delivering babies. I remember having my first child, and a male friend who came to visit right after couldn’t hide his surprise when he saw my belly was still looking as if I were six months pregnant. This is not, afterall, how the magazines and moves show us life happens! In the world of mommy makeovers and c-section tummy tucks, women should look more attractive after childbirth, right?

When the reality is, we are red-eyed from sleepless nights, weepy and puffy from crying alongside our new infants and the wave of unpredictable hormones, smelly from spit-up and blow-out diapers, and sore in all the areas one might otherwise take for granted that make the most basic of human functions a challenge. 

But this is when a woman really truly shines. Her body was broken in the moments and months she was giving life. Eve’s sin made pregnancy and childbirth painful. It is a sacrifice in so many ways. And in the aftermath of the birth, her broken body pushes on to nurture that tiny human, robbing Mom of nutrients her own body otherwise would appreciate using to restore all that child-growing stole. 

She nurses the baby. She changes diapers. She sacrifices sleep to provide comfort and more nutrition. And it’s her privilege to do it. 

And then child-rearing is an experience of learning to let go. As the physical grip loosens, a mother’s spiritual grip and dependence on God must tighten. So she focuses more and more on the transforming power of God, out of her own benefit, but much to benefit her own children. She is desperately focused on trying to exemplify and point those tiny souls towards Christ, so they know on whom they can rely. Because moms know we don’t live forever. Our days are numbered, and one days these souls who broke our bodies will have to fend for themselves.

A woman is most beautiful and feminine in her brokenness.


Girl’s Nights Out

I moved from my hometown in early 2014. I left all my old friends and family. I frequently enjoyed girls’ nights out.

In Rochester, I began “girl’s night in” – hosting little dessert gatherings in my home. We usually followed a theme, like pamper yourself night, or home remedies.

So when we moved again three and a half months ago, I decided to start these right away. I have been so blessed. You never know what treasures lie beneath a person’s smile until you sit and ask them questions. 

Tonight was my third one, and there were four of us. These women are amazing. Their stories, their hearts, their experiences… 

Women are wonderful creatures, and I really enjoy sisterhood. I need it. I crave it. I’m looking for real intimacy that is only created over time, through vulnerability and giving and sharing. I’m excited to get to know some of the women of this city! This is one of my rewards for the hard work of life – the honor and privilege of getting to know and befriend others. 

Thank you ladies, who are willing to set time aside in your busy schedules to spend some time with me! Xo, Robyn

Oh, and to the ladies of Atlanta and Rochester who used to enjoy a ladies’ night with me, I most certainly miss you!! Old friends are gold.

Life Lessons Series: Trusting is Better than Doubting

A third way to expand your child’s world is to teach him or her to be trusting.  Assume the best in other people.  Believe.  I think the best way to demonstrate you can trust people is to show your child how you give others the benefit of the doubt, or how you show grace.  The place this lesson starts is in the home, between you and your loved ones.    

No, you can’t trust everyone.  Children shouldn’t automatically trust strangers.  However, if you can teach your kids that you can live a life void of paranoia, you will all benefit.  Need to read more about the advantages?  Click here or here.

Life lesson: ‘I know you want to do the right thing.’ – that’s what I tell my son.  Instead of making statements about how my son may consistently do an activity poorly, or not listen, or even hit others, I tell him affirming statements to help him shape the way he talks to himself.  Then I help show him how to correct it.

We have so many opportunities to show we trust people.  We trust people when:

  • we don’t micromanage
  • we don’t nag
  • we start moving towards the car after telling the kids it’s time to get into the car (versus herding them up and hand-holding each one, for example)
  • we give the benefit of the doubt
  • we use positive speech
  • we forgive – my son apologizes and gives hugs
  • we encourage and invite them to try again – in fact, my son already says “Try again” (and he’s under 2 years old)

Of course, there are many moments trust is broken (with varying degrees of severity or impact).  It’s foolish not to address these ‘you-broke-my-trust’ times.  We don’t ignore these teachable moments, but we don’t make mountains or set up altars for sacrifice and demand penance (ha, ha) out of small matters either.  We don’t keep score and we don’t look back.  If there’s a pattern or trend we notice, we look for behavior triggers, how we can break bad habits, and form new ones.  We implement new rewards for breakthroughs, according to the degree of worthiness of those breakthroughs.  Then it’s time to move forward.  Yay!

In your everyday life, are you trusting of others?  Do you ever view someone or some thing with a touch of doubt, or misbelief?  Are there moments you find it hard to forgive?

What are some good ways to demonstrate trust in your own actions?

  • Be fully honest about your feelings, all the time.  It helps to figure out the best way to express yourself (time, word choice, tone, delivery method, setting), but it doesn’t help to hide your feelings.
  • Follow through, on time… or at least let the interested party know why you’ll miss a target.  This includes keeping promises to your children.
  • Drum up courage to do the right thing, every time.  If you do the wrong thing, go back and correct it.
  • Apologize for your mistakes.  It’ll be easy to show your kids you’re not perfect (if you’re like me), but you should say it out loud to them.  That way, they don’t have to be perfect, too.  No one is perfect.  That’s what makes the world interesting.  It’s okay.
  • As long as it doesn’t violate your own principles, stand by your family, friends and nation.
  • Don’t take things that don’t belong to you, including ideas.  Don’t claim ownership of ideas, styles, belongings, (etc.) that you didn’t create.

If you can demonstrate your own trustworthiness, and also assume the best in others, while communicating when there is disparity, you will become a better communicator.  People will know what you want and need.  Your children will see you as a role model for integrity.

What are some practical ways you’ve shown your kids how to be trusting or trustworthy?

Love, Robyn Cooper

Life Lessons Series: Empowering is Better than Deflating

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Autonomy (noun) as the state of existing or acting separately from others; the power or right of a country, group, etc., to govern itself.

A second way to expand your child’s world is to help them find their own sense of pride in their autonomy. Empower.  Helping children become more autonomous takes more of your time and guidance up front, but it makes them shine brighter!

Sure, you may have extra spills, have to listen more carefully to their desires, and need to put your own agenda on the back-burner a little, but your child will more likely grow up to be more capable and competent individuals.  Need to read more about the benefits?  Click here.

Life lesson: “[Name], do [task] or mommy’s going to help you. 1. 2. 3.”  Normally I don’t have to count to 3.

I just shared a sentence I use multiple times throughout the day with my toddler.  I don’t resort to spanking.  My next level of discipline is to show him how to do the task at hand.  If he shares an emotion (starts having a tantrum, shows an attitude) I address his emotion too, but I help him complete the task.  Don’t we all want to be able to do things on our own?

10 reasons I love this sentence “Do it or mommy’s going to help you”:

  1. My toddler has the choice to complete a task on his own first.
  2. My toddler proves he can successfully do the task – he proves it to himself, and he proves it to me.
  3. My toddler prefers to do things on his own, in his own way – why impose my way when he watches how I do it anyway.  ‘My way’ of doing a particular task is not ‘the point’ to him.  He often tests theories he’s come up with on his own.  Does he tell me he has theories?  Duh, no (grin).  I just observe him employing various methods on his own.  Sometimes, he says ‘Mommy help’, or comes to get me for my help.  That’s my invitation to help him.
  4. My toddler has so many additional learning opportunities through the day because I try not to step in and take over.
  5. My toddler still doesn’t escape ‘essential tasks’ – these are the tasks we must do regardless of our circumstance.  For example, if he spills milk, he needs to clean it up.  If he hits a friend, he needs to say sorry and offer a hug.
  6. I am more conscious of my toddler’s interests
  7. I am aware of my toddler’s attention span and distractions
  8. I have become better at understanding my toddler’s verbal and non-verbal cues
  9. we address the attitudes of our hearts during this process
  10. I’ve read character is built in children by the age of 5, so I’m doing as much as possible to build his character now.  Being confident, capable, considerate, making your own choices, and willing to correct your mistakes are essential components.

What are some areas you can help empower your children more?  What are some other character lessons you teach your children?

Life Lessons Series: Giving is Better than Taking

One way to expand your child’s world is to find ways to be giving. Volunteer.  It’s likely you’ll sleep easier at night by trying to improve someone else’s life or leaving the world a better place.

Even though you’re not getting paid, and may not personally benefit, helping others is worth your time.  Need to read more about the benefits?  Click here.

Life lesson: ‘We share because we like when others feel happy’ – that’s what I tell my son.  It’s so simple and so valid for many different situations.

I adopt this ‘posture’ in my life, and challenge you to do the same.  For example, at night I like to say a prayer with my hands open.  It’s symbolic because my hands are open to ‘receiving’, rather than closed because I’m holding onto something.  My heart is this way too.  I have an open heart so I can be giving to others.  I’d rather be able to say ‘yes’ in life, wouldn’t you?

Do you ball your hands up, hanging onto things or ideas too tightly?  What would become possible if you loosen your grip?  What possibilities are you blocking out by not saying ‘yes’?

What are some good ways to share?  You can share your resources, your toys, or your money; your time’ your thoughts, knowledge or expertise; or your connections or network.

I’ve seen some great examples of people sharing. Good friends of my family started an annual pub crawl to raise money for the Humane Society. Close friends have an annual Halloween party to raise money for UNICEF.  I love sending support to pastors and missionaries, children with needs or even just helping friends.

Be flexible – The way you can help others may change over time.  In my grade school years I used to visit nursing homes.  Then as a young teen I volunteered at my veterinarian’s office.  Later I helped out at the Humane Society.  I taught toddlers at our church.  I was a youth counselor at three different churches and then ran a young adult small group, and started a prayer group.  It’s nice to set a good example for your children in areas you can, and these areas will probably change over time.  A great friend of mine told me one of the greatest lessons she’s learned as a mom is to be flexible.  We can be flexible in our life, and still find ways to be giving.

Here are some other ways you can help others:

– Habitat for Humanity
– Big Brothers Big Sisters
– go plant some trees
– clean up a local park or walking trail
– pick up trash along a road or the highway
– listen to a friend
– baby-sit for a friend, or mop the floor in his or her home
– run a meal to someone who is sick

What ways have you found to be giving this year?

Love, Robyn Cooper

When Kids Get Sick: Remedies, Symptoms, & Early Indicators

When babies get sick, do all you can
To make them well; cancel your plans

Soothe their bellies, get a pail
Lower their fevers and bathe them well

Find your home remedies, Tell them it’s ok
Boost those immune systems; to God, you will surely pray

– Robyn Cooper

Natural Remedies

Though this post is going to focus less on remedies and more on symptoms, I want you to think about what you do when your kids get sick.  Do you run to medicine right away?  When your kids get a fever, do you try to lower it immediately, or stop their runny noses?

Since becoming a mother, I do far more research about health and wellness than I used to do.  In my family, we look to essential oils, vinegars, herbs, probiotics, healthy herbal chicken stocks, tepid baths, mixtures to put into the bath, laughter, and getting more rest and sleep.  We also encourage nursing more often and say our prayers and thanksgiving.

Believe me, there is a time and place for over the counter or prescription medicine, but the body is amazing and wants to heal itself, so I only use these in dire situations.  Our bodies function the way we do for a reason.

How the Body Communicates through Symptoms and Moods

I’ve come to realize how the human body communicates.  Just like we communicate our feelings and thoughts through words, sounds, and body language, the body communicates how it’s feeling through its sensory system, desire for input, output, and it communicates with your mind and spirit too.

The body communicates through its sensory system (how you physically feel):

  • energy levels
  • body temperature
  • muscle aches
  • how your throat feels
  • headaches
  • chest/ organ pain

The body communicates through input:

  • appetite
  • hearing loss or sensitivity
  • sensitivity or loss of smell
  • the way food tastes, or the type of food cravings you have
  • how much sleep or quiet time you need

The body communicates through output:

  • mucous membranes
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • excrement
  • blood
  • skin (rashes, pimples, dryness, oiliness, ailments, tone, paleness)
  • eye brightness or dullness
  • the color of your gums

The body communicates with your mind and spirit:

  • your instincts
  • mood

Surely, you can think of other ways the body communicates.  If so, please comment below.

Early Indicators in Babies and Toddlers

It’s easy for most people to tell when they are getting sick.  It’s harder to tell when babies are getting sick though.  For babies and toddlers, some of the early indicators tend to seem more subtle because kids either don’t talk yet, or they are too young to isolate what’s really bothering them.  If you learn what your child’s early indicators are, you can start addressing the body’s needs earlier with immune boosting remedies.  Some of the early indicators include:

  • grumpiness
  • wanting to nurse more often
  • changes in sleeping patterns
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in the stool’s consistency, color and/ or odor (I know… gross!)

Some of the later indicators in child illnesses, when you’re in the height of a common virus, include the obvious: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, sweat, crying, skin rashes and more.  Since babies and toddlers have a difficult time communicating that their heads or tummies hurt, you have to play ‘health detective’ and try to stay ahead of their illness.

I keep a health log for my son.  I know how often he tends to get ill, how high a typical fever runs, how long a typical virus lasts and what his other symptoms are.  I can tell the pediatrician what and how he’s been doing down to the half hour.  What might be even more important, is I know exactly how he is when he’s well.

If you haven’t yet, start a health log for your children.

You can use the notepad in your phone, for example, and keep a separate note for each child.  Write the date, and what symptoms you notice.  Keep your notes short and simple.  My notes look like this:

  • 9/26 doc kute confirmed hand foot mouth disease – said this was the height of the illness and he can be w/others Monday (9/29) but wait longer.  Said only possible to get 1 virus at a time. 28.6 pounds.
  • 9/25 rash on body and bottom of foot, mouth blister back of throat, no fever
  • 9/24 saw blisters on his bum, no fever
  • 9/23 no fever
  • 9/22 101.4 fever 9am throw up 3 times till 10:30a
  • 102.3 at 12:30p
  • 103.3 at 3:30p
  • 102.4 at 5:30p throw up once
  • 102.0 at 8:30p

Keep doctor’s records in a binder at home, or scan a digital copy into a computer, just to keep organized.

Finally, log what medications he’s been prescribed and given.  Basically, just try your best to remove as much of the guesswork as possible.

Play health detective for your family, learn about natural remedies, and be proactive about learning about common illnesses and symptoms.  Everyone will remain healthier this way.

If you have any tips or tricks for good health, please share them.

Thanks and love,


Creating a Nice Morning

It can be hectic in the morning for moms, everyone knows that.  You can’t predict your children’s moods every day, the weather, everyone’s health, etc.

You can, however, do a few things each evening to set yourself up for success in the morning.  You can either do these things after the kids go to bed, or even better, have your kids help you after dinner each night.  Here are some ideas that will help you keep the chaos-factor down:

  • Have your kids help you prep tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Do the dishes after dinner and wipe down the table.  While you clean up the table, have your kids put their toys away.
  • Start the bath water.  While the bath is running, have your kids put their dirty clothes in the hamper each night.
  • While the kids are taking a bath, while you’re sitting next to them, look at tomorrow’s schedule and make a note of any necessary events including driving time, errands, or events and how this changes what you need to bring along.  If you need more snacks then you’ve packed tonight, make a note.
  • After the bath, the kids can get into pajamas, and they (or you) can set out the next day’s clothes.  This way, you avoid a confrontation in the morning regarding what they want to wear.  Pack the diaper bag if needed, but do it tonight.  It’ll be easier this way.
  • After everyone is in pajamas you are ready to spend quality time together winding down, reading and saying prayers.  If you want to use my wind-down meditation, see here.

I hope this helps you run smoother in the morning, and feel more productive each evening.  The nice thing about this routine is it helps teach your kids responsibility as well.

Comment with any additional routines you add a night which help create a smoother morning.

Love, Robyn