Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The foundations of character are built not by lecture, but by bricks of good example, laid day by day. - Leo B. Blessing

My children watch me. They examine everything I do. Oh no, I don't like this very much because all too much I fail to be a good example for them. All the lectures I have ever preached can be undone just like that. Some days it's hard to maintain self-control when I am tired and stressed out. It's easy to get impatient and unkind when the kids are acting out. I get irritated when they don't do what I ask. I find myself raising my voice when they start to argue and I whine and complain that no one is helping me keep the house clean. Honestly, I have to say that those kind of days do happen and I end up doing the kind of things that I don't want to do, and not do things that I try to teach my children to do.

The other day one of my sweet darlings asked me who disciplines me when I do something naughty. This was just after this child got a discipline for a particular "not so good thing". This certain child tends to keep me on my toes and can stump me pretty good with these type of questions. I preceded to explain that moms and dads are here to teach and train little ones so that they grow up to be law abiding, God fearing adults. This didn't satisfy her too much. I can see why- I really didn't answer her question. What she really wanted to know was, who am I accountable to? This conversation most definitely reminded me that I am accountable for my words and actions and there are consequences for them. God doesn't want me to continue acting in such ways that can be hurtful or destructive to my family.

Most times I feel sick to my stomach for acting in such childish ways; when I throw aside my spirit-filled self and give into my fleshly self. Then there are times that I just want to have my fit. I have it and then feel so much better, but I have 5 other people in the family looking at me like- who are you? Where did you come from? And, why are you acting this way? I may feel a bit better, but I just ran over everyone that I love. These are the times that my actions blow it all.

I had such a fit last week. It was "that" time of month and I felt I deserved to let it all out. I let out all my ugliness for my children and husband to see. It wasn't pretty at all! I was caught in this crazy cycle of not feeling loved or appreciated; which resulted in a bad response that caused those around me to NOT feel love or appreciation toward me. This crazy cycle just kept going until that still small voice or more like a lout booming voice finally got my attention. I felt the Holy Spirits nudging early on, but decided I was not done with my "blah, blah, blah". I wanted to throw my fit just a bit longer until everyone heard me loud and clear. I bet you even my neighbors heard this fit! Sometime, after all the crying and yelling I realized I wasn't getting the response I was looking for. What I needed long before, was to be told to go to my room for a time out. Really, though, would I have listened? Probably not!

After giving up and settling myself in the bed for a long cry because I was so ashamed of my behavior, I started listening to God's voice. He gently was bringing me back to the place where I could seek forgiveness and grace. I needed to put aside my pride and humble myself before Him. Somehow, this is the hardest thing for me to do. I have trouble doing this with my husband, children and God. I know that I am wrong, but I "Hate" to admit it.

I am writing this several days later. I am a humbled wife and mother. I sought forgiveness from my children and husband and received it. I am always amazed at how easily they forgive me. But, I don't want that to give me license to make the same mistakes over and over.

Paul writes in Romans 7 how he has the desire to do the right thing, but finds himself doing just what he doesn't want to do. He goes on to explain that it's the sin in him that is doing it. Yep, this is how I feel! I start the day wanting to be the best mommy, living by example a Godly life, but days don't go perfect. If I am not living a life in step with God and do it all in my own strength then -whoops, I've done it again. I have let that sinful nature take control. In order to live a good example in my home I need to stay attached to Christ all day long. It's constant fellowship, abiding in Him, praying that I am being controlled by the Holy Spirit. It doesn't mean that I am not going to slip up, but those slip ups won't turn into long, outrageous fits that cause destruction. If I am abiding in Christ, then I will be quick to make that 180 degree turn and get back on course.

Yep, my life is an open book and each one of my kids are reading it daily. I am suppose to be their earthly example of living out the fruit of the spirit: love, self control, patience, gentleness, joy, peace. What I say in words can be good and beneficial, but ultimately it's my actions and how I handle myself in difficult situations that will make the lasting impression. It's said, "actions speak louder than words." What I desire more than anything is for them to see their mommy living life through God. I want them to see by example that I CAN NOT, absolutely, positively, no way live a life I desire to live without abiding in Christ.


For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
(Romans 7:18-25) The Message

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5) NLT Translation

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Slumber Party Fun!

Last night we had seven of Emma's friends over for a slumber party to celebrate Emma's 9th birthday. Mandi also had a friend over to help Emma with the party. Josh joined in the fun and Jeff was happy to be away at a friend's house for the night.

All in all the overnight party was a success!

Playing at the park, pizza, presents, games, cake and ice cream, movie, popcorn, candy, paper dolls, giggles, late night, early morning, cartoons, pancakes and sausage, monkey craft, games, packing up, picking up, quiet house, tired girl, lots of dishes, cleaning up, naps, back to normal.

It was a full 20 hours. Now the question is will I do it again? Let's talk about it later when Emma isn't so tired and the melt down is gone and I get a little sleep. But here are the pics to prove that it really happened!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In The Misty Lowlands

"Give me the grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered for so long."A.W. Tozer

My tears flowed hard last night and today. Emotional and so tired of the pain that at times consumes me. I feel like I can't take any more of this and I am pleading to God for relief. Most of the pain is physical, but I think I am also dealing with pain deep within because I have tried to get through this trial of physical pain in my own strength, and not God's. I am finding that when this happens I fall further away from Him and doubt, fear, insecurities start to take over. The stress of it all is stressing me out! Being in the misty lowlands has worn me out mentally and physically. I feel like life is weighing me down and my tears are the evidence of the pain that I am carrying around.

Last night I didn't sleep a wink. My head hurt constantly and my mind wouldn't rest. It seemed as I cried all night. I usually can have a good cry and them move on, feeling a bit lighter but when the tears come easier and more frequently and seem to last longer than normal I start to wonder if something is really wrong; maybe depression. I am sure that it all works together. I get stressed, I hurt more, I feel depressed. The more I feel depressed, the more I hurt. I spent most of the night trying to lay aside my depressing thoughts, stress, and all the anxieties I am going through and just rest peacefully in God's loving, accepting arms. I pleaded for forgiveness, for I have put my first Love aside and have tried to find comfort, acceptance, peace and love from people and things that cannot full fill me.

This morning, I was back to my old self- pleading desperately to the kids and hubby to listen to me and try to understand my pain. I know they care. They love me. They want to see me functioning like my old self, but it's the same old song over and over. I tried again to get the response I so desire from them but in trying to get it I am pushing them away.

Back on my knees! I come to the alter again to say

"I am sorry Lord for not turning to you. To the One who created me and knows every hair upon my head. You know my every thought. You know when I sit and when I rise. You desire me to draw near to You and seek You for my approval. To get my peace and joy and love from You. To lay down every burden that might bring me stress and lay it at Your feet. You oh Lord are my security."

This afternoon I opened up and vented all my feelings and thoughts to a friend. I rarely show my weaknesses in fear that I will be judged. Being a pastor's wife can cause one to put on the happy face and look as if all is well. I want to be real, but am scared to let the real me show through. In the past I have been hurt deeply by opening up too much. Today, I took that step and shared all my insecurities. In return, I felt total acceptance, love and encouragement. This friend listened well, she sympathized, and totally let me vent. But, she also encouraged me to not stay in this state but to move forward, to submerge myself in God's Word and seek forgiveness from those that I love, but hurt the most-family.

Tonight-My headache is gone. I entered into beautiful family life. Loving words flowed from my mouth. Michael and I cuddled with the kids in our big king bed, and later the two of us enjoyed a lazy evening of just being with one another. I feel so secure and stress free. I see how if I always give into my pain, stress, insecurities, it consumes me and my hope and joy, and other relationships suffer because of it. For the sake of my family and my sanity I need to call on the name of the Lord when I am in the misty lowlands and let Him lead me out.

I called on Your name, O Lord,
From the depths of the pit.
You have heard my voice:
"Do not hide Your ear from my cry for relief,
From my cry for help"
You drew near when I called on You,
And You said, "Do not fear!"
O Lord, You pleaded the cause of my soul;
You redeemed my life.

(Lamentation 3:55-58)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A new look for Emma's room!

Yesterday, my mom and dad drove over from the valley to spend a few hours with Emma, the birthday girl. My mom, Emma and I went shopping in Bend for new bedding for Emma's bed. My dad was the the chauffeur and happened to be ever so patient with us girls.

As I wrote on Emma's birthday post a day or two ago, she is the most particular girl I know. She knows what she wants. It is good though, because since she is particular, she will get only what she absolutely loves and will be so happy with it. Before we left, we looked on line at different stores to see the selections of kids and teen bedding. We were trying to find something that would go perfectly with the monkey theme that she wants for her room. Since Christmas she has been collecting different monkeys and accessories for her room.

She found a particular bedding that she just loved and it happened to be the same comforter that I saw in Good Will the other day. When I saw it I was sure that it was "Emma". I am finally getting a feel for what she likes after 9 years.

So off to Bend we went. 1st stop was Good Will to see if that comforter was there. Sure enough it was. She got to see in person if she liked it. We had them hold it just in case we couldn't find anything else. The price was right at 14.99. We also found two adorable hot pink pillows, which we bought with credit that I had.

Then we hit JC Penney, nothing at all there. We went to Bed Bath & Beyond to look for the one we saw on the website but we couldn't find it, but we did find a soft, large throw that was just like the comforter. Our last stop was Target. Target is the winner store of the day. Emma was leaning toward a hot pink comforter set but was hesitant because it was much like her down comforter that goes under her bedspread. At first she was willing to put that one on top and just add accessories, but Mum, that's grandma for short, showed Emma this adorable hot pink polka-dot set. Emma loved it and the price was right! Papa was there and decided to throw in a set of pretty sheets. Rainbow striped sheets made the perfect match for the comforter. We ran back to BB&B and got the throw and then headed to Good Will to get the comforter that she loved for her top bunk.

After getting home only 2 1/2 hours after we left, a record for Emma in birthday shopping, we made up her bed and decorated her room with cute wall stickers that we found at the 1.00 store. I posted pictures below. The final look was stunning!!! And we had so much fun. Now I have to convince Emma to sleep under the covers instead of on top with a little blanket. She hates messing up her pretty bed!

Just before Mum and Papa headed back over the pass we stopped at Cibelli's for pizza. It ended up being a wonderful day!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I have to talk to my agent...

I think this is just too precious and thought I should blog about it so I didn't forget it.

Michael and I talked to the kids the other day about how we aren't sure how we can keep all of them at the Christian school next year. The question is, do we keep the oldest two in if we can afford it and homeschool the others, or pull them all out to make it fair?

Like I thought, We got a very unpleasant response from everyone except Josh, who, like always would be content enough to stay home with mommy. Emma gave a horrible scream and anounced that she needed her friends; Mandi, said she couldn't see herself anywhere else; and Jeff, well his response got my attention more than anyone elses.

Jeff said,"I refuse to talk about this subject anymore until I talk to my agent!"

I asked,"who is your agent? Is it your best friend?"

He answered,"Nope, God! God hasn't told me that we can't go there yet."

I love it! I love that my son is starting to see that God is involved in our lives and does want to be consulted. He desires our prayers and petitions. So, now, as a family we are seeking God together about the kids' schooling for next year. There is nothing sweeter than that.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Emma Turns 9!

Emma Leigh Kuhlman was born February 15th, 2000. She weighed in at 7lbs 11ozs and was 21 1/2 inches long.

My almost Valentines baby! The doctor gave me the choice of inducing me on Valentine's Day or on the 15th. Boy, was that a hard decision. We decided that Emma needed her own special day and Michael and I could keep our special day. Of course, we always inter mingled the two.

Emma is such a special blessing from God. We enjoy her funny, practical joker ways.

We appreciate her desire to be neat and clean. (This always comes in handy when I ask her to pick up) When she was 2 she would line up all her shoes in a row. She would also dump the clean laundry out of the basket and fold it all, Even everyones underwear! I don't even do that!

She is a thinker and wears all of her emotions on her sleeve. We always know when she is happy or when she is sad or mad. One thing she can't do is hide those emotions! So full of life is she and so mischievous. She always has something up her sleeve. You better watch out because Emma may just surprise you with a joke, or a scare.

Emma is also such an encourager. Michael and I are always finding little notes in our room to tell us how much she loves us. I think this is her love language. She seems to need encouraging words more than anything else.

She is a great cuddler! She still loves to sit on her daddy and mommy's lap. So affectionate!!

One more thing- She LOVES clothes! I have never met a more picky person when it comes to what she will and won't wear. I must say that she does have great taste though. I remember when she turned two she got several outfits from her mum (grandma). She immediately took off her clothes to try on all the outfits, right there in front of everyone! I so glad she grew out of doing this!!



You are loved so much by all. You are such a beautiful young lady inside and out. Your daddy and I are so proud of you and how you are growing up. Jesus made you so special. He knew that we needed your fun loving, organizing, perfectionist, cuddling, joking, emotional, encouraging ways in this family. I just know that God is going to use you in great ways!

We hope you have a very special birthday, full of surprises just like you.

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentines Day 1990

Here are some very dated pictures of Michael and I on our very first Valentine's Day, nineteen years ago. I was only 16 years old and as you can see was sporting the very BIG bangs of the early 90's. Gotta love my black and white outfit too. I just laugh when I look at these pictures of us. We are so young!

I kind of remember this first Valentine's Day. Michael blind folded me and took me to this very small park in Grants Pass. I think it is called Ogel Park. It had this sweet little foot bridge that Michael carried me over. When he took off the blind fold, the picnic table in that park was all decorated and we enjoyed a very sweet, romantic dinner for two. That's all I remember. I am so glad that we have pictures to remind us of the those wonderful, romantic dates we had before the kids came.

This is actually the first Valentine's Day in a long time that Michael and I will be celebrating by going out. Up till now we have had four little kids who kept us from going out. Over the years we have not really done the babysitting thing do to the extreme cost it was for four kids. Tonight, we are going out and the kid are covered. We finally have our very own private babysitter. I think she would rather work for other kids than her siblings, but she willingly agreed to give us a night out.

To all of those who still have young kids and are staying in for Valentine's Day- enjoy every moment and believe me the years go by way too fast and the kids grow up before your eyes. Before you know it those very sweet, romantic date nights will be back.

I just hope the kids don't kill each other. That's why we are staying close to home. Sully's is close enough in case there is an emergency. Not that Mandi couldn't handle it. We all know from Joshy's accident that she is fully capable of handling an emergency.

Friday, February 13, 2009


We just got done watching the movie Fireproof. I was so impressed with this movie. Not only did it have an incredible Christian message, but a movie that emphasizes the importance of learning how to love and lay down our rights and see marriage as that covenant that we make before God, for life, and not just a contract that can be easily broken.

This movie especially touched me deeply because I have a family member who is going through a very sad, horrible divorce after 20+ years marriage. I pray daily that this marriage will be restored and brokenness mended. I also pray that many marriages are saved through the message of this movie, whether it helps a marriage before it gets to that bad point or for the marriage that seems to have no hope. God can definitely take a very broken relationship and make it beautiful.

If you haven't seen this movie, I say that it is a must see. In my opinion it was very well produced. Hint, Hint... A great Valentine's Day movie.

I just loved the sound track of Fireproof. I am linking the website that has the words and music of all the songs. They are very inspiring. A few of them I knew, but the ones I didn't know I just love.


I found one of the songs on You Tube. This is so appropriate for Valentine's. Take a listen.

Love is Not a Fight by Warren Barfield

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mood Ring

I think my girlfriends and even their husbands will get a kick out of this song my daughter introduced me to tonight. Read the lyrics, and go ahead and watch the clip from You Tube. It is a bit teeny bopish but very fun and oh so true!!!

Kudos for Michael who just listened to the song... He said all the guy needs to do is to be gentle and sensitive and listen to the girl. Right on, after 15 years of marriage I have finally got him trained!!! (Just in case you read this honey, I know fully well that this is how you have always been for each and every different mood I have ever had!!)


by Relient K

we all know the girls that i am talking about
well they are time bombs and they are ticking
and the only question's when they'll blow up
and they'll blow up; we know that without a doubt
cause they're those girls, yeah you know those girls that let their emotions get the best of them

and i've contrived some sort of a plan to help my fellow man
let's get emotional girls to all wear mood rings
so we'll be tipped off to when they're ticked off
cause we'll know just what they're thinking
cause what they're thinking...

she's so pretty but she but doesn't always act that way
her mood's out swinging on the swing set almost every day
she said to me that she's so happy it's depressing
and all i said was "someone get that girl a mood ring"

if it's drama you want then look no further
they're like the real world meets boy meets world meets days of our lives
and it just kills me how they get away with murder
they'll anger you then bat their eyes; those pretty eyes that watch you sympathize

and i've contrived some sort of a plan to help my fellow man
let's get emotional girls to all wear mood rings
so we'll be tipped off to when they're ticked off
cause we'll know just what they're thinking
cause what they're thinking...

she's so pretty but she but doesn't always act that way
her mood's out swinging on the swing set almost every day
she said to me that she's so stressed out that it's soothing
and all i said was "someone get that girl a mood ring"

cause when it's black (it) means watch your back because you're probably
the last person in the world right now she wants to see
and when it's blue it means that you should call her up immediately
and ask her out because she'll most likely agree
and when it's green it simply means that she is really stressed
and when it's clear it means she's completely emotionless (and that's all right i must confess)

we all know the girls that i am talking about
she liked you wednesday but now it's friday and she has to wash her hair
and it just figures that we'll never figure them out
first she's jekyll and then she's hyde....at least she makes a lovely pair

mood ring oh mood ring
oh tell me will you bring
the key to unlock this mystery
of girls and their emotions
play it back in slow motion
so i may understand the complex infrastructure known as the female mind

heh...that's terrible

Make sure you hit the pause button on my playlist before listent to the You Tube clip.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Friendship Restored

For the last month, Mandi has been struggling with girl friends. Michael and I felt the need to step in immediately but knew that Mandi needed to learn to work through some of her issues without mom and dad getting involved. So, we patiently, lovingly helped guide her on how to handle these delicate issues. Every day it seemed to get worse. Her countenance started to change. The happy go lucky teen looked seemed sad most of the time.

Last Friday I had finally came to the point that I could not let this go on any longer. Mandi and I were in the car, I was taking her to a babysitting job when she finally, but very reluctantly gave me permission to call the mom of her friend. I felt that any mother would want to know what was going on. I knew this mother pretty well and felt that we could talk this over without offending one another. So called I did. As soon as I dialled the number I wished that I had taken the time to pray over the words that I was going to say. The last thing I wanted was her to feel like I was accusing her daughter for all that has taken place, when infact I knew very well it takes two to have conflict.

You know, in the mist of frustration when we take that step, not being directed by the Holy Spirit but our own carnal self can be so dangerous. In the few seconds it took for this mom to answer the phone, I asked God to calm my irritated, frustrated heart and talk with 100% grace but with 100% truth. In order to respect the girls that I am talking about I will get to the point.

The phone conversation went better than I could ever imagine. We made an appointment to get these girls together and help them work through the issues that they were dealing with.

The next day Michael, Mandi, Mandi's friend and friend's mom and I sat down to talk things over. What a beautiful time we all had. We adults shared from our hearts our desire for the girls of this 7th grade class to work together and love each other. You see, there are only 7 girls in their class. They have worked through many girl things the last couple of years that they have been together but still have their share of problems. The most important thing that I wanted to communicate was loving each other. In a group that small, these girls have come to know all the strengths and weaknesses of each other. They start to compete against one another and end up using the knowledge of their weaknesses as weapons to tear each other down. Then you have different personalities that play a big part. One might be on the sensitive side and take comments that were meant to be playful and fun too hard. Others tend to say what's on their mind and don't think how it may come across.

WOW! Do you see this same thing in the church or with adult friendships and even marriage partners? As I am writing this I am reminded of Curtis' sermon Sunday on Mercy. I thought that this sermon helped reaffirm what we just talked to Mandi about. In situations like the one I just explained, extending mercy and love and forgiveness will help in restoring hurt relationships; thinking the best of one another, knowing that God created us all different. We need those who are more sensitive in nature. We need those who speak truth in love. We need those introverts and the extroverts. That is what the body is all about, working together and using our God given gifts and personalities for the body of Christ.

Michael just recently went to a worship conference where he heard Rory Noland (the former worship leader of Willow Creek) talk on how to lead a worship team full of different people who have own their ideas of how things should be done. He couldn't stress enough the importance of dealing with the team and individuals with the combination of speaking 100% grace and 100% truth. Truth shouldn't be spoken without it being filled with grace. This is hard to do, but necessary for having a team, or friendship, marriage or whatever work effectively. I particularly liked this and am trying to do this more in my relationship with my husband and children.

Back to Mandi and the friend thing. God definitely was apart of the conversation that took place between the parents and girls. It was so wonderful to see the wall break down and their faces soften as we were talking. I am sure that this won't be the last time that we have to deal with these kind of problems but I am so pleased that my daughter and her friends are learning at an early age how to work through conflict in relationships. Forgiveness and grace took place and friendships were restored.

Here is a wonderful quote from a book that I am reading, entitled, "Refreshing Hope in God, A mother's journey of joy and pain". God's perfect example of exstending grace and forgiveness can encourage us to do the same with each other.

"The Bible repeatedly shows us, no shortcoming or sin, no hurt or challenge, is too big for God's grace to cover. Immersed in Him, we discard the old garment of sin that clung to our lives and are covered with something brand new. It's a quiet presence that envelops us in everlasting love-yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Our flaws are covered-healed-for eternity."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm Back!!!

Computer is finally fixed and I am blogging again - Just not tonight. Can't wait to catch up on all my favorite blogs!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Computer problems!

Oh how I miss my computer. A week ago we started having computer problems and haven't been able to fix it yet. At the moment I am typing furiously on Michael's work lap top. He leaves for work soon and I know that it will be another day without blogging, surfing, facebooking, and emailing. Oh yeah, I forgot, I don't usually check my email or email. That part I really don't miss.

Honestly, life is quite different without the internet. We are so use to it and our lives usually revolve around it. Just think of all the other stuff I got done this week while being off line. I hate to even calculate all the hours I spend weekly on the computer. I know that it is an ungodly amount of time. I have pledged to make the best of not having the internet. Every time I think of, pine over, or wish for the computer I have decided to talk to God, read the Bible, get a book and read to Josh or get busy organizing a piece of my life. Yep, I think it is an adiction if I struggle this much without it.

Michael can't tell me when we will be online again. He says the issue is big and it will take a bit of time. So, I will not be blogging anytime soon unless I use Michael's work computer. Can you just see us now fighting over who gets to use the computer in the evening after the kids go to bed. I think I would probably lose. Not to mention we should probably be spending time together and not on the internet.

Well, my time is almost up. I am signing out and hope it isn't another week until I log on again. Before I go I am going to catch up on all my favorite blogs.

Have a happy week!

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