… the source

One thing I absolutely love to do is sit with the Lord. I love reading my Bible, I love pulling scriptures that settle my soul or ignite worship. I love reading stories of God’s faithfulness + commitment to and Christ’s love for the “us” of old, the “us” of now, and the “us” that is waiting to come. I love that he loves us in-spite of who we are in our sinfulness, our mistakes, our brokenness & the brokenness that comes out that disrupted space.

I love that He loves me.
and, in my time with the Lord I get to revel in his focus for me, his plans for me, and stretch out in the freedom of total acceptance. 

And, for a moment, mama….
I want you to think about you, too.

…. while you consider this scripture:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. 
Then, you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15: 13

Consider that when we are feeling overwhelmed from the laundry and dishes and taxi-ing.
When the current struggles in toddlerhood (I mean, childhood in general)
seem hopeless and never ending.
When there isn’t a man, a partner, and shoulder.
Or when the shoulder is struggling itself.
Or just being annoying.
When that something you’re dealing with is too much.

Trust that we have a hope. Then anchor yourself to it.
A source that deeply desires to fill us completely to overflowing.
The visual I get is a child planning to pour their own juice or milk.
They are excitedly anticipating  pouring their own juice from a heavy, full container.
And, if your kids are like mine, a little isn’t enough. That cup has to be full.
They are so confident and proud of carrying that container to the table (or spot on the floor, let’s be real) where they have strategically placed that small cup and begin to pour.
…. to overflowing.

Remember how God so beautifully gives us living and breathing examples that show us who he is.
Like our children, He is completely and utterly excited about us.
And, he desires greatly to pour out his peace and joy into our vessels.
To overflowing.
But not because he isn’t strong enough to carry the pitcher and control the pour.
The juice spilling over that small plastic cup, spending across the table, and dripping onto the floor isn’t an accident.
Or, when that cup is at the lowest possible point – on the floor – and tips over at the weight and speed of the pour and causes the milk to spread under the table, refrigerator, and across the floor…  it didn’t happen because someone wasn’t being monitored.
It was, like my girls say, “on purpose.”

The overflow out of the cup.
The cup tipping over.
The juice spreading across the table and under the fridge.
The Chik-Fil-A lemonade wasted on the floor leaving a sticky mess
is all a very intentional act to:
1. allow us to feel (fill?) his love.
2. equip us
3. share

But, we cannot do that if we aren’t allowing ourselves to be filled and healthy.

Devotionals are incredible spaces to reflect and are an awesome tool to help you learn more about who God is. Books are my love language. They are full of wisdom, perspective, and testimony.
But, the Word of God should be our foundation, everything else a reference that supports the Word.

Fill yourself up on the Word.
Eat your dinner first. Snacks and dessert come later.
Let’s get to the know the person and not just inhale the chatter we hear others speaking.

Be well so that you can live well. Think well. Speak well. Endure well.

If you know my older two…. if you’d had the absolute pleasure of meeting them, you will immediately recognize that they are happy and joyful. Actively happy and joyful. They love each other and love the Lord.

I have been immensely blessed by a couple at my church who just have taken to my family. They spoke incredible life into me as a mother, provider, and woman for an hour after church last Sunday.

And, that conversation boiled down to this:
“Your children are as happy, beautiful, and incredible as they are because of who you are.”
Now, yes, while they all have incredibly present fathers and family who pour into them…..
Me, as their mother, impact and shape them in ways that other people do not and cannot.

And, my friends are right.
And, the same is for you mama.

What we pour into our hearts and minds is going to overflow onto your family, work space, friend spaces, and impact the stain we leave behind. Even water leaves an outline.

The impact I leave can stress me out. I can worry so much about the outcome that I’m hustling to be (read: look, sound, respond, speak, create, earn) the best and what “right” and “successful” looks like to the masses, to myself, to my children at any given point that I do not allow the Lord space to reign and work.

Wine doesn’t work hard to stain.
Chick-fil-a lemonade doesn’t try to be sticky.
It just is because of the ingredients it is made of.

Same for us.When we allow the Lord to fill us to overflowing, we become new creatures daily.
When we fill our hearts and mind with truth – in written word, music, encouragement from our people – we pour out that truth and life giving words.

And, because it’s no secret that I supplement and balancing + fueling my body has made an incredible difference in my emotional and physical health.
When we are not physically and emotionally well, we cannot be all that we are called to be.
YES. I can be loving even though I’m constipated and poop once a week.
YES! I can serve well with high blood pressure.
YES. I can be productive as I battle through exhaustion daily.
Yeeeees, I can be present and attend all the events and still snap on my kids and
have horrible mood swings.
I’m still going to heaven even when stress, anxiety, and depression are daily battles.
But, what quality of life is that?
Especially when we are called to be love.
We can’t be love and feel like crap at the same time.

Like many of you, I have to operate at a high level and under great stress daily.
There is no one at this house to shoulder a thing.
But, even if that isn’t the case, how I feel impacts my responses, my thoughts, and productivity.

I thought that the issues I was struggling with were just “a part of life as Alaina” and this is what it was.
Those issues aren’t an issue anymore. My responses aren’t the same.

And, I am the mama and woman I am because Jesus is mending + strengthening my heart
and Plexusis healing my gut and balancing my hormones.

The Lord delights in you, mama.
He wants to comfort you, encourage you.
Lift up your head and strengthen you.
He longs for time with you,
to be the source that fills you to overflowing.
For you. Just for you.
Just because he loves you so much.
Just so that you can be filled with him.
AND, so that you can be a source of love that points back to Him.

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why i give my babies probiotics

10 mths

These two girls are a handful of fun and love. Seeing them happy and healthy is comforting and gives me so much peace. Sick babies are no fun whatsoever!

And, we’ve had nonstop sick/sick-ish/something funky going on for about two months and at our last appt, Lo was prescribed an antibiotic. While I planned to run the ingredients of the Plexus brand probiotic, ProBio5, by their pedi anyway, I immediately pushed for them to start it immediately because of the damage antibiotics due to our gut; my goal was and is to always make sure my girls are as healthy as possible. Due to what I know about the important of gut health, in order for them to be as healthy as possible, they need to be healthy on the inside.

The chatter surrounding gut health and probiotics has only gotten louder as the connections between gut health + overall health & wellness is becoming more and more clear…. and, we’re finally doing something about it.

You’re probably wondering why a 10 month old needs a probiotic in the first place. Generally, babies and young children are being diagnosed with asthma, food/season allergies… our kids are sick and not feeling well. However, instead of getting to the root of the issues (the gut where 80% of our heath begins), we like to put bandaids over  huge issues that require daily medication, at times multiple times a day. Steroids, medication, environment, and how our food is grown & processed causes our gut to be compromised.

What are the causes of a compromised gut?
A compromised gut, or Leaky Gut, is caused by the impermeable lining of intestines becoming permeable. Due to how our food is grown/harvested/processed, the environment, medications, etc, this lining becomes porous and can no longer keep toxins and waste undigested food particles, & toxins from leaking into our blood stream. When this happens, our body goes into protective mode and basically begins to fight itself. Also, we are all born with a certain amount of yeast and bacteria in our colons and the only reasons doctors can determine the purpose to be is to help decompose our bodies when we die. But, with an overgrowth of this yeast (Candida) and bad bacteria, we will begin to see our health begin to slowly decline.

What are the symptoms of leaky gut?
When our body begins to attempt to protect itself, the reverse actually ends up happening… and, we become sick. A few tale tell signs of a leaky gut are skin inflammation (eczema, psoriasis), food & seasonal allergies, depression/anxiety, insomnia, headaches/migraines, infertility, and a plethora of other seemingly non-related issues. The beauty behind being proactive about reestablishing a healthy gut environment, many of the symptoms we deal with can be reduced and we can possibly even get off of daily medication we take without a second thought to what it does to our intestines and health. Again, the healthier your gut is, the healthier you will be.

It was important for me to put the girls on a probiotic after being prescribed an antibiotic because the fact of the matter is,  that babies can have pretty messy side effects while taking it. Antibiotics wipe out all of the bacteria – both good and bad – from our systems in an effort to get rid of the virus or infection. I planned on putting them on anyway, but this was an excellent motivator to do it now.

Why a Plexus probiotic vs an OTC probioic?
Our probiotic has an anti fungal and digestive enzymes that help break down yeast.

If you’re really into the science behind it..

Yeast and fungal organisms are comprised of proteins, chitin, and cellulose structures. Proteins are broken down by protease enzymes, and cellulose is broken down by cellulase. The chitin structure can only be processed in the presence of the chitinase (chitosinase) enzyme. The enzyme profile in ProBio5, which is micro encapsulated, is designed to process away the protein-based outer layer of yeast and fungal organisms. This then exposes the interior of these organisms to the cellulose of the chitosinase in the ProBio5. Enzymes are efficient and effective in the destruction of yeast and fungi.

ProBio5 Friendly Flora, in addition to enzymes, ProBio5 contains very beneficial “friendly bacteria” that assists in supporting the body’s need for a balance of probiotics (micro flora) in the digestive tract. This “friendly bacteria” is delivered in a micro-encapsulation system to ensure that they reach their intended destination in the digestive tract to help rebuild the damage done by the yeast and fungi overgrowth.

So we basically kick the bad stuff’s butt and invite the good stuff to play.
We’re buddies. Not bullies.

Without sufficient probiotics, your body’s nutrient absorption is impaired; this can result in producing an environment that is supportive of yeasts and fungi growth. 10 mths2

So while my babies don’t have eczema or psoriasis right now, while they haven’t been diagnosed with an AutoImmune disease yet. They don’t have joint pain or irritability or headaches/migraines, depression/anxiety or lethargy or sugar/food cravings yet… no endo/PCOS or infertility yet; one definitely suffers from digestive issues and that needs to be cleared up. I’d like for them to experience life without all of that junk. And, it’s absolutely possible.

There are so many things that we put ourselves through that aren’t necessary. So many things that have become so much like second nature that we believe it should be a part of our lives and we are wrong. Dead wrong. It takes a boldness, a bravery, and a desire for something different to step up to do something different, but there is peace on the other side. There are benefits and the beauty of God’s grace on the other side.

We have to be willing & courageous enough to say a whispered, voice quivering “yes” to hard things, to believe enough is enough and want more in order to step out of our comfort zones and see what’s on the other side of that bravery. God is there. His grace is sufficient to carry us though the fear of obedience.

God is always there.
He’s omnipresent like that.

The Lord goes before us, yet he’s with us. So, it’s kinda like a double portion of grace upon grace….. He goes before us doing Jesus like things of preparing people to receive us, preparing doors to be opens, or closed. Making ready what he’s preparing us for today….. And, whatever else he does that we don’t see until we’re an hour, a week, three months, or years down the line. And, others we won’t know until we reach Heaven. He’s with us providing us comfort, strength, his peace (praise hands!), and a for sure place to rest.

While all that’s a lot less about Plexus and a whole lot about life, one thing I know about decision making that applies to both… living a miserable no out of comfort is a whole lot worse than living a timid yes. Because as the end of the day, a timid yes has options. A timid yes is ready for possibility.

A timid yes screams inner strength and self confidence that says “I can do it”
and “I’m choosing the less beaten path because there’s something in me that’s yearing for more”.
And, not out of haste, poor preparation, spite or even frustration.

But, of the recognition that it’s time for something a lot better than this.

How you handle your this is dependent upon the size of your why.
My “why” for starting Plexus & becoming an ambassador was the fact that I wanted
(read: needed)  to
live and look well.
(quite literally & figuratively)
So, I jumped.
And, gained much more than what I started for.

Are you ready?

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