Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Camdynism #?

It's the Holiday, season, and we've watched some Holiday movies like most American families. So we were in the kitchen at my brother and sister-in-law's house the other day, and they have a little yorkie yipping dog. He's actually really cute, and doesn't yip much at all. Anyway, he's nervous around my kids and tends to growl a little when they get too close. So Cam was on the floor bending over trying to convince him she was going to be nice. She was talking in that sweet little 3-year-old girl voice, when Winston started growling with that tiny little pip squeak growl. It was quite a "little" scene. So Cam leans in closer, puts her arms out, and says,
"Does somebody need a hug?"
ROFL! (I've never typed that in my life, but now that I know what it means...) I was laughing so hard!
The challenge: Name that Holiday Movie...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Test #3

So it was a nice Saturday night, the kids were all in bed early, and I contemplated what I could do with the next couple of hours while Kurt finished up his sermon. Hmmm..... So I decided to bake some loaves of bread to bring to the Foundry in the morning. I had tons of rotten bananas, and cans of pumpkin, and I'm always prepared with the baking necessities. So I begin. I work the pumpkin bread first. There I was, happily bouncing around the kitchen, enjoying the process and the thought of ministering to those growling stomachs in the morning. 3 loaves in the oven, working on my first batch of banana bread, and suddenly, the mixer turns off, and ALL of the lights go out. It's completely pitch dark. I can't see my hand in front of my face. "KURT!!" I yelled. I was a little startled, and wanted him there. I fished in the drawer for a lighter, found one, and started lighting candles. As soon as things were under control, I realized the predicament...the oven doesn't work without electricity (of course)...ugh.
This is the dilemma I faced. From a human perspective, "AGH!" I just worked for the last hour plus to bless the lovely single people of the Foundry, and now it's all going to be wasted!!! Frustrating!
OR, I could take a godly perspective, and realize that God's sovereign hand was directing the electricity problems, and in the midst of His grander plan, He had not even overlooked my bread baking in the oven. In fact, He superintended me baking the bread and knew exactly where I would be in the process when HE turned out the lights (and turned off my oven...)
So, what was my response??? Thankfully, I think I've been learning my lessons... and I quickly recognized that God had complete control of the situation. I suppose I took my cues from my sweet hubby who reminded me of this. He prayed with me that the electricity would come back on (for my pumpkin bread!), then waited with a dramatic pause, hoping his prayer would be answered immediately (and being funny). Well, it didn't work as we had planned, but at midnight, when we were both asleep and the electricity turned on, Kurt graciously got up and turned on the oven. At around 1:00, I pulled it out of the oven, and the bread looked great. The Lord was kind, and when we tasted the bread in the morning, the texture was perfect!

(backing up) While we waited for the electricity to come back on, Kurt brought down the Bible and a devotional we have been reading at night together. He opened it to December 13, and began to read by candlelight. Before he got too far, I stopped him and told him to be serious... I thought for sure he was making it up to be funny... Here it is. It is from Spurgeon's,"Faith's Check Book" (see for yourself!!). It's titled,

"Evening Brightens into Day".

"It shall come to pass, that at evening time, it shall be light." Zechariah 14:7

I'll quote parts of it. "It is a surprise that it should be so; for all things threaten that at evening time it shall be dark (ugh, I know). ...the dark will not deepen into midnight, but it will, on a sudden, brighten into day(YES!!! and please, sooner than later). This promise shall assist our patience. The light may not fully come till our hopes are spent by waiting all day to no purpose (uh oh...).

Anyway, a little humor to add didn't hurt my perspective. And again, was this just a silly coincidence that the reading for THIS night was so ironic? Not a chance (haha). This too, was God's divine plan and certainly made the evening lighter (haha) and joyful, though my bread at this point was seeming a bit hopeless. Anyway, the Foundry enjoyed the bread, and we came out with a good story to tell.
What a simple truth to grasp. God is in complete control over EVERY circumstance. Nothing escapes His notice, and nothing falls outside of His control. He is not surprised by anything, nor does he take a "hand's off" approach. He directs our steps, and puts each little obstacle in our path, and all for our good. Simple. Obvious. Yet, I've found (and shared with you!) that I MISS THIS. The irritating things that go on around me get to me, and I am slow to see God's hand in many things that happen. Don't miss it. God holds the world in the palm of His hand, and directs each event, to the smallest detail. Every death. Every birth. Every car accident. Every earthquake. Every hurricane. Every sermon you hear. Every annoying driver. Every long wait in the doctor's office. Every blog you read. Rest in His sovereignty, and life is certainly sweeter!

Who's in Charge?

The other night the girls were sent upstairs to clean their disastrous room. Being asked to do such a thing doesn't generally bring out the sweetest attitudes in them... So we could hear them arguing a little (typically about who is doing most of the cleaning, and who isn't). Cam is usually caught playing or doing something she shouldn't be doing while the other two get irritated because she's "not helping". Anyway, Kurt walked up to check on them after hearing the arguing, and when he was just outside of the door he heard Cam say something. With all of the three year old authority she could muster, she blurted to Kinley (who had likely just charged her with not helping),

"I AM IN CHARGE OF THIS ENTIRE FAMILY!!!!!!!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Test (I think I passed!)

I promise you I don't starve the girl. She just really likes sour cream.

I've been thinking recently about letting Macy feed herself. She likes it far better than me feeding her, but I don't know if very much of her dinner makes it down the hatch. She's sure happy about it though.

Who wants to pray??? Mommy asked. Macy raised her hand to volunteer. I know what you're thinking. "Uh, looks like you've already been eating...and now comes the prayer?" Yes, often times this is how it happens. I'm busy making sure everyone's got what they need, so I let them start eating. Then we pray when we're all sitting together. Check out her sleeve. Maybe I overdid the sour cream in the burrito.

Here's a random picture of my phone. It's actually not so random. If you read yesterday's blog, I talked about the test I failed. See the number on the phone? 135:42?? That's 2 hours, and 15 minutes. That's how long I waited on hold with Costco CUSTOMER SERVICE today. And no one answered. I hung up. HOWEVER, I did not become frustrated, but saw this as what the Lord had for me! Yippee! The music and customer service message got to be irritating on speaker. The lady (okay, the recording) kept saying, "Customer service is very important to us. Someone will be with you shortly." (HAHA!!!) And you know why I was calling? Because I received someone elses Christmas cards today. Cute family, but they won't be able to send out their pictures unless someone notifies Costco that I have them.




Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Test (I failed)

You wake up in the morning ready to start a new day, refreshed and re-energized. Sometimes it's hard to see what's coming, and sometimes it's too late and you don't know what hit you. I'm having a difficult time even gathering my thoughts enough to make sense...it's been one of those days!
So the day started with me waking up Reilly and Shea to get ready for school. Very normal. A few minutes later than normal, but not bad. Shea rolls out of bed, but Reilly immediately notifies me,
"Mom, my throat hurts like three times worse than it did yesterday."
"Okay, go back to sleep. I'll take you to the doctor later." (The pus pockets we found last night on his tonsils made me think the morning would be like this, but I still tried. That's my mother in me!)
Shea gets off to school, then Kinley (early day for p.m. kindergarten), then we get ready to go to the doctor. I should've taken them in their P.J.s. By the time we got there, there were no seats left in the waiting room. And this is a TINY office. I think they have one doctor, and I think he took his lunch break when we got there. Cam brought a back pack, but only three little books in it. We read. All of them. Then we waited. And we waited. Everyone else had been called in. The kids were antsy. They were climbing all over the chairs, laying down, getting up, poking each other, climbing on me, being silly, being mean (to each other), and asking, "HOW MUCH LONGER??!?!" The first time they ask that question, it's not too irritating. But...
"Reilly?" The nurse was standing in the doorway.
"YES!!!!" I thought to myself. Maybe we'd get through in time for some shopping at Ross, which happened to be across the street.
So we went into room one to wait for the doctor. We waited. We read books. All three of them. We waited some more. We ate Teddy Grahams. You might think that since Reilly was feeling sick, he'd be a little more mellow than usual. Not a fighting chance. He had all his energy, no fever, no other symptoms besides the sore throat. In that next 45 minutes of waiting, you can only imagine what happened in that pill box of a room. We used every available "toy" we could find. We read ESPN magazine (Macy too-looking for dogs). They took turns sliding across the floor on the doctors stool (the fun kind with wheels) until Reilly crashed on the floor, making quite a loud noise. Then, wanting to do something productive, I cleaned Reilly's ears with the swabs. I made a math multiplication chart to help Reilly with his twelves, and quizzed him. We ate the applesauce cups. We tore apart the paper sheet on the "bed", and made it "snow". Then we really got creative. We inflated a couple of gloves. After putting my ring on the glove (and exhausting the "high-fives", boxing, etc. glove-fun), I discovered something pretty cool. I took the glove, twisted the palm part (like an expert balloon art person) to make a head, then wrapped the thumb around the "neck" of my puppet. I made a chubby pillsbury doughboy looking person! The kids thought it was great, but all fun only lasts so long, and in doctor's offices, the fun lasts less long. Reilly finally hit exaggeration mode, to the extreme.
"Mom, we've been waiting here for like 10 hours!!!!! When are they going to come in???" Again, the first time they say this, it's not so bad. But by like the 10th time, when I'm thinking the same thing, it just doesn't help the situation.
"Okay Reilly, please don't ask again. I have no idea. There's obviously a lot of people that need to be seen today."
So the kids had exhausted me, and exhausted every possible "toy" in the room. Macy had climbed up and down off of the bed at least 15 times. I was beat.
FINALLY, in came the doctor, swinging the door open without knocking. Hit Cam. It could've been bad, but he just hit her foot. Startled him though. At this point, I should have realized that the Lord was testing me. Refining me. Putting me through the fire. I hadn't passed the test yet, so on came the next phase of testing.
"So, who are we seeing?" (I point to Reilly) He reads the nurses notes.
Checks Reilly's glands. Looks in his ears.
"Open your mouth and say, AAHH."
"AAAAAHHHHHH."
He walks over to the counter. Starts writing.
"Um, is that a prescription?"
"Yes."
"Are you going to swab his throat?"
"No lady, someone used all the swabs." Just kidding. He didn't say that.
"Nope."
The end. He walked out. That was it.
I went to the nurses station, paid my $10 co-pay, took the prescription, and left. I still hadn't passed "the test".
I went out to the car. Someone had "created" their own parking spot, right behind me, perpendicular to my van. Okay, not right behind me, but close enough. I had to make a 20 point turn, and with each cranking of the wheel, I was getting mildly more irritated. I should never open my mouth at these times, but I couldn't help it.
"WHO in the WORLD thought it was a good idea to park right there???" There were seriously 10 available parking spots. This was NOT one.
So I get turned around. Since the exit driveway only allows me to turn right, I plan to drive around the next little shopping center to the next driveway, so I can turn left, the direction I want to go. Only there's someone sitting in her big old SUV, facing me, not moving, looking down, not caring that I'm sitting in front of her, staring at her, waiting for her to move. Okay, so I'm not that mean. I quickly resigned to having to make a right turn, and driving two miles before any u-turns were legal. Okay. So we made it.
I check the clock. There's still time for Ross before the kids get home from school. I check my phone messages.
"Hi Julie, this is Mrs. Fitzpatrick. McKinley is here with me and she is sad because she said you forgot to give her money for the holiday shoppe and we're going at 1:00 today. If you're home, you can bring her money before 1:00." It's 12:40, I'm out of gas, I want to go to Ross, and I'm 20 minutes from home. Forget it. I call back and leave a message.
I hit the gas rather hard, and Reilly comments, "OOOOO, Mom, you're speeding..." Just enough to get under my skin. "No, I'm not speeding, I'm just starting off fast." Two seconds later, I was speeding, but only by a few MPH. So we head for Ross. Instead of waiting at the light (to turn in to the front of the parking lot), I turn right, not realizing that because of the construction, the left turn entrance is now blocked by a new island in the middle of the road. Another 1/2 mile down the road, another u-turn. Finally, we make it to Ross.
My throat starts hurting. Ugh. Not enough to stop me from shopping. I never think about this beforehand, however, Ross is the WORST for checkout lines. I saw it when we came in. After 25 minutes of shopping, we find a couple of things, and head for the door. When we get to the front and see the line, I decide it's not worth it to wait in line for my purchases. We leave. (The kids are confused). Oh well. I still haven't passed the test.
We get home, just in time for the kids to be getting home. 20 minutes later, I call the school. "I'm waiting for Kinley and Shea Gebhards, and they're not here."
"Oh, they're sitting out front waiting for you to pick them up."
What??? How does this happen? They've been walking home from school for weeks now, and they "forgot" today?? (it's a half-day, which is once a week, but hasn't thrown them off all year...) I load up all of the other kids, and we head to the school to pick up the girls. "What happened?" I asked when they got in the car.
"Don't you pick us up on Wednesdays?" (I wish you could have seen my face)
"Uh, no, I haven't done that all year." No need for further discussion. Stranger things have happened.
Well, that is the test that I failed today. It wasn't until I sat down and started writing this that I realized that I was missing something. Something like, the sovereignty of GOD??? Kurt and I had a lengthy discussion about this very subject just LAST NIGHT. How can that be? I went through this whole morning not recognizing my circumstances as being from the Lord. Every mis-parked car was HIS doing. Every new island in the road was HIS doing. The long line in Ross? Yep, even that. Wow. It's a little embarrassing to think that we had that conversation last night, and here I was, getting irritated with so many "little things" that He designed for my day. Tomorrow, I will see His hand in whatever comes my way, and will thank Him for refining me!

Monday, December 8, 2008


That's in reference to the announcement of #6

Reilly and Macy-Boo

Having some fun...

The two little sissies, in rare form

Daddy and Macy-Boo- how she loves her daddy...

Not a flattering picture, but the only one of the two of us...how did that happen?

The way our family traditionally takes walks.

The sweet sissies! They do love each other!

Shea love

The leader of the pack!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

As Requested...More Pictures!


Crazy Daddy! This is Kurt 99% of the time... crazy, fun and a great daddy!

This is Shea and Macy. They have the sweetest relationship. Macy absolutely loves her big sissy, and gets so excited to see her, especially after Shea returns from school. Shea pays such sweet attention to Macy- it's no wonder Macy loves her!

The boys (seriously outnumbered) often go out back to throw a ball around. Usually a baseball. They need their "guy-time". We all understand.

The crazy kids. What did you expect? (see pic #1)

One of the family pics (of course not the Christmas picture- we wouldn't want to spoil that for you). Wouldn't it be awesome if we had a brunette baby??

Friday, December 5, 2008

Family Pictures


Sweet Kinley asked for a picture of her with her big leaf

Shea and mommy

Ry-Man without the goofy smile! It can be done!

Sweet Camdyn Kya

Silly Macy Boo!!

We finally had some "real" family pictures taken, thanks to Matt Floreen! We had such a fun time with him and I wanted to share a little here. We took hundreds, so perhaps I will post more later. Thanks MATT!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kurt's Food Fads

A thought occurred to me while driving home from shopping at Wal-Mart and talking with Kurt on the phone. He asked me to stop at Ralph's- he had a "specific request" (his words). I had already passed Ralph's, so he told me not to go back. "What did you want?" I asked. "Well, I was really hoping you could pick me up some wafer cookies with peanut butter inside and chocolate on the outside." Hmmm... he has mentioned "wafers" a few times recently, but never in the 11 years we've been married has he mentioned wafers prior to a couple of weeks ago. This made me think of the phases of "snacks" Kurt has been through. When he's in a phase of a certain snack, you can bet we won't run out. His supply is spilling over in his office, my kitchen, his car, etc. Let's start at the beginning.
1. WATERMELON Jolly Ranchers. These were the absolute favorite when we were dating. He had them everywhere. In his car, in his pockets, in his house, etc. And he tried to convince me. To no avail.
2. Lucky Charms. This one comes in and out periodically. Typically a night time snack. When it happens, it is every night for a month straight, and he gets like 6 boxes at the store at a time. And he's VERY possessive of HIS Lucky Charms. He'll share them, if you find where they're hiding and ask nicely.
3. Peanut butter on marshmallows. This was a trend about a year ago, and it was tough for Kurt to go a night without this favorite.
4. Creme Savers. This began many years ago with strawberry flavored, but has altered to raspberry now. I don't think I know one other person on the planet that likes these.
5. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. This was another night-time snack for a while. He ropes the kids into some of his food fads, and they took him up on this one.
6. Raisin Bran. From Lucky Charms to Raisin Bran (???). I have no answer.
7. Ice cream with peanut butter, bananas, oreos, and whipped cream. This is a summertime treat, typically. I don't know that I can ever remember Kurt eating ice cream (at home) without every one of these items.
So there it is. A little insight on my "sweet" hubby. Mind you, he eats LOTS of vegetables. And gets his exercise. He's doing the "push-up and side plank" on Wii Fit at this very moment, and working up a sweat. Go Kurt!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Multi-tasking Momma

Besides getting some Christmas shopping done today, I gave Kinley a hair-cut, helped Shea with her homonym homework, Reilly with dictionary definitions, read to Cam, and made parmesan-crusted chicken with crescents, broccoli and potatoes for dinner. Nothing fancy or out of the ordinary (it sounds fancier than it was). The multi-tasking part of the day made me laugh a bit. I was starting dinner, and was on facebook for a few minutes. A "chat" conversation started with Kim G. about little munchkin #6, when another conversation popped up with Liz. We were conversing about schooling options. Then the phone rang. It was Kim G. We chatted on the phone (ending the on-line chat), when another conversation popped up with a sweet mentor friend of mine. Of course the kids were still talking to me intermittently as well. So I was talking with Kim G., chatting on-line with Liz and another friend, when the other phone line rang. It was the babysitter. "Kim, can you hold on for just a second?" (it was the second time the sitter was calling and I wanted to confirm her coming, and I knew it would be quick). I caught myself then and had to laugh- I was in the middle of four conversations at once, two phones on my ears... oh, the wonders of modern technology! And I apologize to any participants who felt like they only had a quarter of my attention...

Here's the "half-way" haircut. We went short, after Kinley saw an old video of her when her hair was short and cute. I'm happy- short hair is so much easier!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shea's Note to Daddy

Shea love wrote another note to her daddy yesterday. I love her expression, and am compelled to share it again.
Dear Dad,
Your love and protectoin is really strong. You are soooooooo sweet and loving. You (I can tell) are a really kind citizen. Thanks for tucking me in every night. Sweetly! TUCK IN time can sometimes be soooooooooo FUN! Love, Shea
Then she drew these awesome pictures that may try to post later. Shea took the camera on her field trip to the zoo today, so I have no means to do that now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shea Love

I realize I already posted once today, but Kurt and I agreed that Shea's napkin letter to Reilly was worth posting as well. Here it is.
Dear Reilly,
I love you sooo much!!! You have been so helpful today! Do you think you can be like this every day? Love is like a root that grows into a plant, the fruit means joy and privliges. I think we can memorize a special verse! Love, Shea

Presidential Museum


Last night we had the privelege of attending the third grade "play", where Reilly starred as President George Washington. He had several lines to memorize, and did a great job! The play was great, though it would have been better if you could hear (the sound system was a disaster). Reilly spoke loud and clear into the mic, and sang a solo! Some of his lines are worth repeating here.
Question for Reilly (George): "How did you get your men through that terrible winter at Valley Forge?"
George: "One word, Mrs. Griffin. SMORES. While the Redcoats were trying to survive on boiled mutton, my men and I were sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows."
Then the solo..."Just say no to permanent alliances....don't make treaties that can lead you into war....Just say yes, to politic neutrality....then settle back and have another SMORE..."
I'm pretty sure the 3rd graders didn't realize how funny many of the lines were, though again, it would have been nice to have heard the other lines. Anyway... Reilly did a great job and we are proud of him!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deep Thoughts

I was reading through Matthew Henry's commentary on Romans 8, and when I got to verse 5, my thoughts were captivated. Take a minute to evaluate the direction and impulse of your heart, and see if you are "after the flesh or after the Spirit".

How may we know whether we are after the flesh or after the Spirit? By examining what we mind, the things of the flesh or the things of the spirit. Carnal pleasure, worldly profit and honour, the things of sense and time, are the things of the flesh, which unregenerate people mind. The favour of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. The man is as the mind is. The mind is the forge of thoughts. As he thinketh in his heart, so is he, Prov. 23:7. Which way do the thoughts move with most pleasure? On what do they dwell with most satisfaction? The mind is the seat of wisdom. Which way go the projects and contrivances? whether are we more wise for the world or for our souls? phronousi ta te┬Ás sarkos—they savour the things of the flesh; so the word is rendered, Mt. 16:23. It is a great matter what our savour is, what truths, what tidings, what comforts, we do most relish, and are most agreeable to us.

A great matter. A life and death matter. I praise God that though I struggle with my flesh, my thoughts settle most comfortably with satisfaction on matters of the soul. I strive to put to death the desires of the flesh, though I know how weak I am and how far I have to go. But I'm in the fight, and my thoughts are taken by spiritual matters, and I relish in my salvation and God's grace to me!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Motherhood...

Here's another long one... sorry! This began as a letter to a friend, and I decided I thought it might be worth something to you young moms out there that blog-hop! By the way, this morning's message (Every Woman's Grace)was from Logan Carr. I highly recommend you listen to her if you haven't already! She is high energy, and all out striving after the Lord. And she's hilarious. I laughed, I cried (and yes, it was better than "Cats"... I fell asleep watching "Cats" in London!! Seriously!). And I learned a lot. Anyway, here's the letter.

Dear Shineequa (not her real name),

I have been thinking about you so much recently, and especially this morning when I was at Bible Study. Let me tell you why, and then maybe you can see if it connects at all to your current sentiment about parenting! This morning's talk (at Every Woman's Grace) was titled, "Submission and Sovereignty". Oddly enough, her intro related so much to what I've been thinking about, and am wondering if it isn't at least part of your struggle. Our culture is so inundated with feminism, and tragically, we don't even notice it. Her point was that we (women) have been trained without our even knowing it, that we have to stand up and fight for our rights to be equal with men, to be heard, to be seen, respected, etc.- not for our femininity, but rather for something else (equality of some sort?? I'm not sure).

Sadly, the message has permeated the church as well. The priority of family has really diminished as a result, and the role of women has been changed- though not in the Bible! In fact, the woman who spoke was an avid feminist before she came to Christ. She also noted that the beginning of the feminist movement documents their own purpose which includes outright ignoring the Bible/despising it and what it says about women and the role of a woman, because it contradicts the ideas of the movement. As a result of the movement, the ideas have spread far and wide. Even the church has been affected by the sentiments. Unknowingly, we have adopted partially- if not wholly, this garbage from the world. I think this message must affect women who stay at home to raise their family- to some degree or another. We are fed the lie from the world that this "parenting stage" is just a phase to get through until we can get back to "our life". We push through this difficult time of having little ones, only so that we can move on with life and get back to what we used to do, and what used to define us.

"WHAT IN THE WORLD?!???!?!!" This is what defines me!!! This is who I am!! Once we become moms, this is what defines us, and we should be proud of it (not sinfully proud ;). I am just so angry that the world is tearing down our families, and their lies have reached into the church. Can I remind you (and me!!) of what God has to say about mothering and having little ones? From Titus 2:3-5, God clearly wants women to be trained in loving their husbands and their children, self-controlled and pure, busy at home, kind, and subject to their husbands. "Oh, but that sounds so old-fashioned". Does it? This is the Word of God!! We have to remember this, and prize what it tells us to be, over and above- NO!- rather than what the world tell us. The world tells us that we won't be fulfilled unless we "find ourselves" and fulfill our (selfish) goals and dreams (LIE). If our goals and dreams align with God's Word, then I agree with the world. But the problem is that the world has fed us the lie that supporting our husbands, and simply raising a family (godly or not) isn't a real or legitimate goal. That is the garbage of the world. The Biggest LIE. That is what we are fed, and so often buy into. Don't give in! Don't believe it! Believe what the Bible tells you!

Let's look at the famous passage extolling the characteristics of the godly woman in Proverbs 31. First, look at verses 10 and 11. "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." How I want to be this! I want to be worth more than rubies! I want my husband to have full confidence in me and for him to lack nothing of value because he has me- this couldn't be more fulfilling! Nothing means more to me than for the person I love the most to have "full confidence" in me. Would I be as fulfilled if "my boss" (if I had one) had "full confidence" in me? Not nearly. My husband's confidence in me is much more "fulfilling" and "empowering" to me (using Oprah terms) than any praise I could receive from anyone else (except for the Lord). Moving on.

Look at Proverbs 31:25-31. "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." What a beautiful picture! Are you inspired? Strength and dignity are not found in a pants suit with stilettos. They are not found in cashing a hearty paycheck after picking up the kids from daycare. Strength and dignity aren't even found in earning a promotion in front of your coworkers.

At the end of the day, (or at the end of your life), would you be pleased and fulfilled if your boss stood by your bedside telling you what a hard worker you were? What an asset you were to the company? Or would you prefer your husband and children to be there extolling your virtue as a wife and mom? Your husband extolling the nobility of the support you gave him enabling him to lead your home, be the provider, and your children lovingly speaking of the way that you loved them and wisely instructed them? Of how you diligently cared for the matters of the home and took such good care of them? Of how you prepared them for life by your example and teaching? I'm pretty sure we'd all agree on that one.

I'm encouraged myself and energized to do my "job" with excellence! As Christian women, we need to love what we do, and do it with joy to the Lord! He has given us a much more fulfilling and amazing job than the V.P. of any company. Remember this! We have the task and challenge to raise our kids, being dignified and noble in the process, receiving praise from our husband and children, and pleasing the Lord in it all. We need to have the correct (BIBLICAL)view of our job as wife and mom, or I think we will be continually frustrated and confused by the messages that the world sends our way. We need to have a clear picture of what our role is according to the Word of God. If we take our cues from the world, we will search for fulfillment and constantly be disappointed. If we live in accordance with God's Word, believing all of what it says about women, I believe we will find the truest joy and the richest blessing of fulfillment as we press on!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Wii Obsession

Today I found myself laughing out loud when I saw what the kids were doing. Reilly and Kinley had been playing "Lego Star Wars" on the Wii, when I noticed something a little odd. Took me a minute to actually figure out what was going on. Reilly was yelling (not angrily, just in an excited boy playing video games way) at Kinley certain commands which she typically follows happily since she doesn't have a clue what is going on in the game. Reilly is just glad to have someone indulge in his world, even a 5 year old sister. Anyway he was shouting commands, and repeating the same one. "Turn around! Kinley turn around!!" Kinley wasn't in the room. His voice was raised, because he was aware of this. "Turn around! Turn around!" He was persistent. Then I heard a giggle from the bathroom. "I'm trying!!" I had to laugh when I figured out that Kinley had brought the Wii remote with her into the bathroom and was trying to follow her commands from there. Reilly thought it was a bit humorous as well, but was certainly happy when she returned and could actually see what she was doing. Kids.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tumble-Bumble


Ouch!! Macy "BooBoos" toppled from the arm of the couch, straight onto her face (according to witnesses) two days ago, and this was the result. It's hard to tell, but it does look like she may have put her teeth through her lip. It was super swollen for two days, but today it is much better. The outside is a big black scab (looks icky), but it's healing! Poor baby!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thoughts for Young Moms

Proverbs 12:18 "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."


There are times when we as mothers can rebuke with such severity (even with scripture!) and repetition, that our rebukes are more like "sword thrusts". If we aren't careful and wise with our rebukes to our children, we will be assaulting them emotionally with our words, as well as hurting them spiritually. We must be wise with our words (timing and content!), and always strive to bring healing to them. Our conversations with our children shouldn't end with a rebuke, but rather with the hope of and the clear path to restoration or, "healing". How exhausting for a child (or anyone!) to endure severe words about their disobedience on a regular basis. Another danger is that often, these rebuking conversations end up being the only "spiritual" conversations that happen in our homes. This can be eternally damaging to a child. I have found that it is easy to slip into patterns of constantly correcting and rebuking my children. They seem to constantly be finding trouble on some days, and we get tired of hearing ourselves telling them, "stop doing that!" How can we snap the pattern? How can we bring change to the day that seems to be spiraling downward out of our control? When you catch yourself in the pattern of constantly sharply correcting, stop and take a moment to repent. I don't mean stop what you're doing, (cooking, cleaning, helping with homework), I mean stop the sword thrusts. Here's what might at first seem like a strange "remedy". Find something in the deep recesses of your mind (haha) that your "disobedient child" had done that was good, remind him of it, and then praise him for it. In that very moment. Mean it with all your heart. Your child won't think it strange of you. Just watch. Here's an example. "Reilly, remember when you emptied all of the trash last night? When I asked you, you immediately obeyed, and you did it without complaining or arguing. You had a great attitude. Thank you so much for doing that." When he remembers how he can please you and be a good kid, you will have excited those feelings of honor in him, and his attitude and actions will change. You will have penetrated his heart with your kindness, and stirred him to be good. Isn't this our aim? Not to just get our children to "do what we say, when we say to do it" (danger: hypocrisy ahead), but to help them to want to obey and to long to please their parents? And aren't the means stated above God's given means to us (kindness, spurring one another on to love and good deeds, encouragement, love covering a multitude of sins, timely wise words)?? When we are inspired by God's Word to train our children, and when we are motivated by God's glory to draw our children to the Lord, and when we employ God's means in the process, God will bless us and we will see Him working not only in the lives of our children, but in our own lives as well.

Resolved today to not be rash and thrusting swords with my words. ("Words" so easily become "Swords"...)
Resolved today to carefully guide the "rebuking conversations" with the kids full circle to repentance and restoration.
Resolved today to do all that I can to stimulate my children to love and good deeds, rather than demanding them to love and good deeds.

Friday, October 31, 2008

"Witches Brew"

MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm... I only wish I could attach the smell for you too!

Stirring and stirring and stirring our brew...

Today I cleaned out my cupboards. I know we all do this, but I have found that I can actually use those expired ingredients for an afternoon of entertainment for the girls. Something about girls and mixing kitchen ingredients. Mixing anything, really. So here are the ingredients to their "Witches Brew". We especially titled this in light of today's holiday.
1. Spinach Salad Dressing
2. Teriyaki Sauce
3. Feta Cheese
4. Day old mini cinnamon buns
5. Old (I mean old- dated May 05) bacon bits
6. My leftover coffee from this morning
7. Cinnamon Bisquick biscuit mix that we never used
8. Lawry's Steak Sauce
9. A little leftover Catalina Dressing (blood)
10. A can of cream corn I mistakenly bought (thinking it to be reg. corn)
11. Nerds (poison drops)
12. Jelly Bellies (more poison drops)

Each girl took turns pouring in ingredients, while one of the others stirred, slowly. My kitchen stinks badly right now, and if you get too close to the mixing bowl, your eyes literally burn. Wow. They are still "pretending" and stirring. I think I may throw up soon if I don't get the smell out of the kitchen.

I'd like to tag Wendy Penberthy to do this. (HA!! I just cracked myself up.)

This Morning

Wow. This morning was crazy! Not abnormal in most ways, but lots of things converged at once. At one point, I had three phone calls coming in at once! So I got Reilly and Shea out the door with their costumes on, and was checking a couple of blogs when I found out that baby Reese passed away yesterday, on her first birthday. (Kostjuk5.blogspot.com). Sobering. I received a phone call from Norm (one of the three), and received more news about Nichole (friend with cancer- nicholegreene.blogspot.com). Camdyn was coloring on the floor, Macy was crying about nothing all morning, and Kinley was making a huge mess in the kitchen- scissors, crayons, pens, and paper all over the place.
Thankfully, (despite home chaos!) my mind has been fixed on spiritual things all day. I've been reminded that life is a vapor, and we need to live each day- each moment, for the glory of God. I am so clouded in my vision sometimes, that I get caught up in "stuff", not remembering that my life is not my own, and must be lived for the glory and honor of Christ! I could die tomorrow. Could I look back and know that I did my best to honor the Lord today? Resolved: to refocus my attention on bringing glory to God throughout the day, no matter how meager the task.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Our Wild Thing

Tonight the second grade of Castaic Elementary performed a little program for the parents called "The Monster Mash". Shea had a great time as a "Wild Thing" with the rest of her class, and performed a cool little "Monster Mash" dance at the end with the whole second grade. So cute! We are so proud of our sweet Shea!

Macy and Mommy waiting for the show to start

This was Macy's reaction to the picture below. It's a little hard to see, but when the class that performed "Thriller" came out with scary faces, Macy literally layed prostrate on the floor with her face straight down the entire song. It was hilarious. We consoled her at first, of course, but she handled it her own way.

This was the picture I got of Shea crowning the little boy from the "Where the Wild Things Are" story. Some photographer I am.

Here's our sweet Wild Thing! She was so excited for me to do her hair so wildly!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Wisdom from John

Well, since some of you moms appreciated Mr. Abbotts wisdom on mothering, here's another tidbit I read today. Okay, so it's more than a tidbit. Please don't give up reading this because it's long, I guarantee it will shock and move your heart (if you have small to medium sized little people running around you). Better yet, (with Kurt's encouragement) I am going to summarize this amazing point that struck me today. This quote begins on page 65.
Here is his premise: "Avoid introducing religious subjects upon inappropriate occasions. There are times when serious injury is done by urging the claims of religion." Basically, he is telling us that there are times when it is NOT appropriate to discuss religious things with our kids. For example, if our kid is really angry about something, it would be unseasonable (and unreasonable!) to "converse with him upon the wickedness of these feelings and God's displeasure." We would so frustrate our child that we would be turning them off to religion. However, if we waited until the angry feeling subsided, then attempted to reason with him in "the pensive hour of evening, when his mind is calm, and passion is not triumphing over reason, he will hear you, and may be melted to contrition."
Isn't this brilliant? How often do I feel like I need to address the issue in the moment! I have little patience and feel like they need to "hear it" immediately. Sometimes I fear that I will forget to address it later. But this is my responsibility, my duty- and I need to take it seriously, and make sure that I do remember to discuss it later with that kiddo. Proverbs 29:20 warns us to not be hasty with our words, and we know that we are to be patient at all times (I Thess. 5:14). And yes, that means even with our kids.
Resolved: not to deal with significant emotional sin issues in the moment, but wait until a seasonable time when with my motherly discernment I determine that my child's heart is prepared to receive truth, and in a better position to respond to it.
Isn't this the goal? Not just to fill their minds (with truth), but to shape their hearts? Shouldn't we give them the best opportunity for that by being wise with our timing and strategic with our words? I find that it is much easier to download information and truth on them, hoping that they will receive it, be able to sort it out, and be changed by it. This is definitely easier, but much less effective. I am resolved and determined today to be much more deliberate in my heart-shaping! Tomorrow I will share other "inappropriate" times to download truth on our kids.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wisdom from John. S.C. Abbott

Who in the world is that??? He happens to be an expert on mothering (seriously), and has written the most brilliant little book called, "The Mother at Home". I carry ten copies of it so I can pass it out to all young moms. I think it's time I share a bit on the blog. Here's the brilliant insight I read tonight.

"Do not be constantly finding fault. It is at times necessary to censure and to punish. But very much may be done by encouraging children when they do well. Be even more careful to express your approbation of good conduct, than your disapprobation of bad. Nothing can more discourage a child than a spirit of incessant fault-finding on the part of its parent. And hardly any thing can exert a more injurious influence upon the disposition both of the parent and the child. There are two great motives influencing human actions; hope and fear. Both of these are at times necessary. But who would not prefer to have her child influenced to good conduct by the desire of pleasing rather than by the fear of offending?"

I will stop here, though I could go on! This struck me tonight- parts of the day were frustrating to me, and I felt like I was censuring much of the day. After reading this, I repented, and redeemed a moment with Reilly to "express my approbation of (his) good conduct". Upon further reflection, I realize (with heaviness of heart!) that the course of the day so much depends on my attitude and not that of my kids... I can steer them with my encouragement to be sweet with each other, or I can react to their issues and cause a downward spiral of agitation and just plain old bad attitude. It's definitely easier to follow my flesh and "be mean", but I can't honor the Lord in that, and I definitely don't create a warm, happy environment for the kids when that is happening! So I renew my determination now to sweetly encourage my kids and build them up, remembering that my approbation and approval will go a long way to make our home peaceful, happy, fun, and most of all, God-honoring!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fairmont Fair


Norm and the Greene kids- Levi, Josie, Ansel and Noah (holding their bag of loot- Norm was so thankful! (haha)


Camdyn and Josie posing for the picture

The girls (and Levi) having fun
Cubby Bear with McKinley and Josie (He looks like he's in pain- or possessed, or losing his head, or very angry!)
Today our church held the "Fairmont Fair"- an Awana event with all sorts of fun games, carnival food, and bounce houses, etc. It is the cheapest fair (10 cent tickets!), and you win all kinds of prize tickets (Shea won 7 prize tickets on one game- a one ticket game!). Needless to say, we came home with lots of JUNK. 5 oinking pigs are running around in the kitchen right now... Anyway it was such a fun day and the kids are worn out. I'm worn out! We met up with Norm and the Greene kids and watched them for the day so Norm could go and visit Nichole in the hospital. Kurt and I had 9 kids, 9 and under! It wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be, and we only lost one kid (for just a minute). Noah likes to hide. Anyway, we made it home and I need to get all of the kids through the bath and fed! So I will sign off.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNT MAGGIE!!! We love you! Thank you for your care for our family! We appreciate you remembering all of the kids birthdays (no small feat!!) and even Kurt's and mine... We wish we were closer to you. Thank you for supporting our family with your love and care, and for always lending Kurt a listening ear and very valuable advice! Have a WONDERFUL Birthday!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Boo-boo

We had a minor event tonight in the Gebhards home... It was around bedtime and Shea went downstairs to get a drink of water. She came back up rather quickly, screaming her lungs out and really upset. I took a minute to get up to see what was happening, (knowing that it could have been a scraped toe or misplaced Polly Pocket), but since the screaming didn't let up, I figured I'd check it out. To my surprise, when I came out of the girls room, she was sitting on Daddy's lap at the top of the stairs, blood streaming down her face! She had literally jumped up to reach a cup out of the cupboard, not recognizing that the cupboard door corner was directly above her forehead (I'm not sure how she missed that). Anyway, she gashed open her head. As we all know, head wounds bleed pretty well, so it looked pretty icky at first! We decided to let nurse mommy take over. Instead of urgent care, I went to Ralph's, picked up some butterfly closures, and went to work. She seems to be fine, and I think they'll do the trick!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pray for Nichole

My friend Nichole is in surgery right now and the doctors are attempting to remove all of her cancer. Please pray for her! You can see updates about the surgery on her blog. She is listed on my "friends" list on the left column. She went into surgery at around 3 p.m. and at 7:00 the doctors said they needed 4 or 5 more hours to complete it. They are working hard to remove all that they can find. Pray that they would get it all! Pray also that her recovery would be quick, her body strong, and that she would be able to go home soon. (They're looking at between 2 and 4 weeks hospital stay.) Nichole has four little kiddos ages 6 and under that need their mommy! Pray for her hubby Norm and all of the kids- Ansel (6), Noah (5), Josie (4) and Levi (1 1/2). Thanks!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reunited!

Today was such a fun day! A college friend was in town (from out of state) and so four of us made a plan to get together. I think we figured it had been 11 years since most of us had seen each other (except for me and Wendy). Time flies! Christy was my roomie my freshman year ( a GREAT room-mate!), Liz was across the hallway from us (but pretty much lived in our room), and of course Wendy was down the hall (on my volleyball team). We all hung out all the time- wing-things, games, girl nights, crazy times! I miss these girls! We had such a great time hanging out and chatting the afternoon away. I am so grateful that my friends are all still walking closely with the Lord and serving and discipling and building the church! What a blessing to spend the day with them.

Wendy, Christy, Me, and Liz (Elisabeth) Shea is the photographer, and that is Jaden hiding behind Liz...hmmm...

This is Jaden in my kitchen, making himself right at home. No joke, he was in my cupboards and in the fridge and freezer browsing ALL day. I have never had any kid help themselves like this kid! He seriously asked me for like 20 different things today, as he stood in front of the open fridge or freezer. I love the kid, so of course I let him have whatever he wanted (which is why he keeps at it, I'm sure!). It just makes me laugh SO HARD. He just walks into the kitchen, right over to the fridge/freezer, opens both doors, and stares until he finds something he likes. Then, from across the kitchen, comes, "Um, Julie, can I have an Otter Pop?" (Wendy's head drops as she grimaces and tries to stop him from finishing the question). The topper was this one. Standing in front of the open fridge, and he yells across the house, "Julie, could you make me some cookie dough?" Yah, for real! The funniest thing about it is that he does and says all of it without being a bit presumptuous, and is the sweetest kid ever! (And so cute!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Camdynism #12

On the way home from church we were talking with the kids about what they had learned about this morning. Cam was telling us all about Noah's Ark and how Noah took his sons on the boat with him. I was coaching her with the names.
Me: "Shem....."
Cam: "Shem..."
Me: "Ham..."
Cam: "Ham...... and Abed-Nego!!!"

Reilly-ism

Well, Reilly finally makes the "ism" list today. Kurt and Reilly were having a conversation about football (really? I guess that means the Mets are no longer in the running this season- boo-hoo!) So they were talking about overtime, and Kurt explained "sudden death" to Reilly.
"So you mean that they could go on and on playing forever?? Like for a million years??" He was quiet for a minute and something was brewing in that little brain.
"Nah, dad, the wrath of God would come before that!"

Shea Love

Our precious Shea has been working on her "document" for a couple of weeks now, and I have to share it! She is so cute, and I love her creations. I'm not sure about the "show" part of it, but we'll see how her career progresses as a children's exercise consultant/spiritual motivator/exercise producer (??). Love it!

Exercising
BY SHEA ELIZABETH GEBHARDS
These are some fun ways to move your body. Watch the show and you will find out some ways to get FIT. If your kids want to come up where we are, they can! Besides kids are soooo cute! If you know a move you can show-off and do it! You can also come any other time and watch any other show that I might do. I’m sure of it! The show that I am doing is called Exercising. I think you will love my show a lot! It is about stretching, movement and fun! You can make up a show and join in the fun and sign up and be on stage! You also have to make up the show, words and moves. Okay? It would be fun for you also to join us! I guaranty you will love being on stage! Wont you? If you like playing outside, I can show you a few things you can do. It would be my pleasure! I would also give you my autograph too! This verse is from Colossians 3:23. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the LORD rather than for men. That verse is about working hard like I worked hard on the show. That was just a verse right from a New American Standard Bible. I also made up a song for it! The name of it is Working Hard. I might have to think of a tune for it! But I think you’ll be okay with it. You know about the sign up thing? Well you can only sign up in October! You can only sign up if you are older than 7 except if you are in my family.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mexico


Shopping for junk- this is where we picked up our "mexican jumping beans". The kids think they're great!

The "main street" in Ensenada. Most people from the ship shopped here (or were in the bar from morning to night getting wasted).

"Fancy dinner night". No shorts allowed. Kurt didn't bring any pants, so we snuck in quickly and he sat in the middle of the table. We didn't get caught!

I surprised Kurt and took him on a Mexican cruise over last weekend. We had a lot of fun, though the weather was a little stormy and we were rocking pretty good. Our itenerary was even shifted because of the storm-we just went to Ensenada a day later than planned. We enjoyed the time to relax and just be together (and of course, eat lots of yummy food!). I'd have to say, Ensenada isn't anything lovely or attractive, just plenty of shops selling lots of touristy things. I'd recommend the longer Mexican Riviera cruise that hits Puerta Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. That's the cruise we went on for our one year anniversary and really enjoyed. Beautiful beaches, great shops, snorkling, etc. Anyway... I love Kurt! We had a great time, and enjoyed being pampered and taken care of so we could focus on each other and talk with no interruptions! Thanks again to grandma and grandpa for taking care of the kiddos for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ouch!



Tonight Reilly was outside with some friends playing a little baseball. He was having a great time, until he made an outstanding catch as he was backing up to the wall, fell, and got his thumb stuck and stretched in some strange way under him. It immediately swelled and was quite painful. Thankfully, we have two physical therapists (Dr. and Dr. Cheung) staying with us and they were able to make an immediate diagnosis...not broken (we think), just sprained. I'm not sure that the picture captures the swelling as bad as it was, but I'll try. The first picture was taken right after it happened. The second one isn't quite as good, and was taken a few minutes ago (4 hours after the injury :). Reilly was such a man about it!

Nichole

Please read my friend Nichole's blog! She is having a radical surgery to attempt to remove her cancer this Thursday. Go to her blog through my friend's link on the left side for all of the details. Please pray for her!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Beach Pictures




Cam and Macy loved the sand. If you could only see how much sand covered Macy from head to toe...it is so cute to watch her play! She had no clue when she flung the shovel in the air that she was dumping sand on herself. Poor girl had sand over every inch of her body, though she didn't care.



Reilly and Shea playing a card game...looks like war? I'm not sure what Shea's expression is all about. I think she was having fun.



The big kids on a mission to find sand crabs, after getting pummeled by a few waves. They are so brave, and do really well in the big ocean. The waves in Carpinteria are not too big, thankfully.



This was taken after a WILD game of hide and seek, all inside the fifth wheel. At one point, Reilly had given up his search to find Kinley and Shea, that's how well they were hidden! It was lots of fun, thanks to grandma (She helped them hide).



Grandpa (poor grandpa) relaxed and read (Ryle! It runs in the family) and played Sudoku. Grandpa's neck has been sore since he was body-surfing three weeks ago and nearly killed himself. (Seriously pummelled by a wave, landed on his head in the sand, could hardly walk, was seeing stars, spent the night in the ER trying to get some relief from the pain, and is still trying) We're glad he's still with us, and hope he is back to normal soon.