Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thank You Lord and Resolutions

During this time of year I like to reflect of the great things that have happened and look back at some of our struggles. This allows me to reflect on what God has been trying to teach and grow in me. Last year I started a list of things I was thankful for that might now seem like things most people would not want, but I could not imagine my life being any other way. So I took that list updated it for the things I’m thankful for this year and my goals for next year.

Thank you Lord that I do not have a clean house. There is always laundry that needs to be folded AND put away, toilets to be scrubbed, meals to be cooked, dishes to be washed. Due to Max being in heaven with you, my kitchen floors have never looked so bad. I guess he was eating a lot of people food after all.

Because of my two little mess makers, our home is filled with toys, and clutter. I have stuff thrown from here to there, and toys litter my floors on a daily basis. But our home is also filled with laughter and joy. Thank you Lord for the mess that my children make. I am so happy to have them. We have such a great time together playing. I’m sure twenty years from now, I’ll long for these messes. Thank you that I have opportunities to play with them and let messes wait.

Thank you Lord that I don’t have a job outside of our home. Because the great care that our church provides our family, I am able to be home with my children. I get to be with them each day. I am the primary person that molds their character and teaches them the Bible. What a blessing it is to serve and love others because I can be on our schedule instead of a work schedule.

Thank you Lord that my daughter isn’t 100% healthy. When Larry and I learned of Eden’s heart condition, we prayed and gave her life to you. We know that she is yours; You’ve only entrusted her care to us. That was perhaps one of the hardest lesson I have ever learned. BUT it is by far one of the best. I know you care for Eden and Josiah more than we ever could. In the big scheme of things, her heart condition could be much worse. Twice a day I give her medication. Twice a day I give her life to you. Thank you that she has the medication she needs. We know there is surgery ahead of us, but we trust you with our most precious gift, our child’s life.

Thank you Lord that my children are not immediately obedient. They give me daily, hourly, and sometimes minute by minute opportunities to rely on you to help me parent them well. They remind me that I am not as obedient to you as I should be. I am your rebellious, sinful child. Thank you for being graceful and merciful with me. You remind me constantly that I am in need of the same self discipline I am trying to teach my children. I need to parent with grace and mercy just as you love me with grace and mercy. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever attempted.

Thank you that my husband is often away when I would rather him be home with me. Ministry is such hard work. There is rarely a schedule and when there is, it can be changed in an instant when a family needs him. It’s difficult when he is called away during dinners or has meeting so many nights of the week. Yet, you have provided him a wonderful job when so many others are without one. But it’s more than just a job; it’s a calling to ministry. That is a special privilege. It is a lifestyle, not an occupation. He is able to proclaim you Truth to people who are hurting or dying. His vocation allows us to impact eternity. He loves what he does and he’s good at it. I’m proud to be his wife and his help mate in the ministry.

Thank you Lord that you called us to Williamston to minister. It is very difficult being so far away from family, especially this time of the year. But you have raised up a church family to help love our family while we spend our lives here. We have Mothers, Fathers, Grandmother and Grandfather figures that loves us and our children so very well. Plus, our marriage has been strengthened and our children’s lives enriched by the people we have built relationships with.

Thank you Lord that we are not rich. Each month I wonder if we will run out of money before we run out of days. Each month I am reminded that you provide for us exactly what we need when we need it. It never fails that when the van breaks down you provide the money to pay for it. An unexpected bill will show up and you provide. Time and time again, you provide. Spending time in Haiti this summer showed me just how rich we are. We are rich beyond measure!

Like many people I have a wish list of things I would like to have. Then I remember the children Haiti. They have so very little. Yet, those children were so joyful. I remember how I felt when I returned to American soil. I thought how much I had compared to how little other had. I am ashamed to have been thinking so selfishly. I have never gone to bed hungry. I have always been blessed with clothes, shelter, transportation, education, access to medical care and a family that loves me. More importantly, I have been blessed with the inheritance of heaven!

And Thank you Lord for the constant nauseous feeling and sickness that I have been struggling with for the past few weeks. It is constant proof of the life growing inside of me. For years I was told pregnancy was not possible or would be very difficult. But you are the giver of life. We are so thankful you have chosen to bless us again with another child.

When I think of the many blessings that are given to me through Christ Jesus, I am in awe! While I was your enemy, you died for my sins, While I was years away from understanding your work in my life, you died fore my sins. Without proper way of expressing my thanksgiving for your grace, you died for my sins. How awesome is you love!

As I remember what we have to be thankful for and make resolutions for the things that I would like to change or improve, I want my life look like what God is trying to teach me. For many years I have made resolutions that were goal oriented, like lose 10 pound or be better about sending letters and calling people. Half way through January, I have broken many of my resolutions. Last year I decided to have God oriented goals. My thinking was that when I keep a heart inclined towards God, then my actions will reflect that change. It’s much easier for me to be God oriented than goal oriented. I didn’t always succeed, but I did much better with these goals all year than I have with many others in years past. So I chose to continue these in 2011:

Lord please help me to love you more than I love my sin.

Please help me to love others more than I love myself.

Please help me be more intentional about sharing the Gospel with others.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow :)

We missed our white Christmas, but woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland. It's been snowing almost nonstop all day. Eden loves the snow. Josiah prefers the warmth of the indoors. Plus their new train table is inside. Who cares about making snow angels when there are trains to play with all by himself!

 Our backyard. So pretty!
 Grandma and Eden walking
 Our Holly Tree
 Home sweet home :)
 The road to our house
 The kid's bird feeder.
I have been amazed at all the birds outside today.

5.5 inches and counting :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Gilbreath :)

We've had a great day here at the Gilbreath house. Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning as I experience it through my children. As we have made new traditions and spent time teaching Eden the real meaning of Christmas, it has become so much more meaningful to me. 

Tonight we finished our evening by having a Birthday Cake for Jesus. Eden was so happy to celebrate Jesus' birthday. She sang to him and played with her nativity set. I am so thankful that we are able to focus on the real meaning of this most amazing holiday.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!!

Outside toys

We were super blessed by Grandparents with some awesome outside toys. Eden and Josiah love their new toys. Now I've just got to figure out how to supervise both of them while their running in opposite directions!

 Side saddle on the Kawasaki!
 Josiah driving the Mini Cooper
Eden's turn

 The princess on her princess scooter.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I blame Wyatt!

This handsome fellow is Wyatt, or "baby Wyatt" as Eden and Josiah like to call him.

Wyatt hangs out with us a few days each week, so his Momma can go to work. I blame him for giving me baby fever. He's a snuggle bug and LOVES to be worn. It took a few days to find the balance of caring for three, especially when all three of them fuss at the same time. But faster than I realized it we got into a little routine.

Josiah really loves Wyatt. Most days as Wyatt leaves, his hair is a little greasy from the many, many times Josiah has rubbed it and said, "easy" or "soft touches."  It makes me happy to know that Josiah is so caring with a little one because his little brother or sister will be here in July! I'm hoping we'll have perfected the "Easy" touches by time the next little one gets here. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

3rd times the charm!

If I time this just right, this should post right about the same time we share with our church family that we're expecting baby number 3 July 18th. Larry and I are thrilled with this new blessing and look forward to welcoming a new Gilbreath to the family.

 This is our first pictures of baby #3.
I know it looks like a little blob, but that is a person, a unique creation of God.
It amazes me that all of his or her days are known to God. Their life is ordained by the great creator of the universe. And God has chosen to bless Larry and I with this wonderful gift of life. What an honor to be entrusted with this little person.

Even at 8 weeks this baby has strong heartbeat, 174 beats a minute.
What a miracle that a little life is growing inside of me.
What a blessing to be able to hear the heartbeat for the first time.
That whosh, whosh, whosh  sound is one the sweetest sounds I have ever heard.

"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;" 
Psalms. 127:3-5

Friday, December 17, 2010

The difference between boys and girls!

The difference between girls and boys.

Eden wanted a wagon ride but freaked out because there was a frog in the wagon. She squealed and jumped up and down, well like a girl :)

Josiah seeing the frog thought, Wow that's neat. I think I should catch it. And he did!
That's a little frog leg under his thumb. I was so impressed that he caught it, then fearful he might squish it. 
So I quickly put down the camera to free the frog.

This was one of those times I loved seeing the difference between my boy and girl! It' is a blessing to have one of each. They are so different, but they are supposed to be :)

*** no animal was harmed during this episode. Maybe a little freaked out, but not harmed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy St Nicholas Day

Larry and I are trying to develop Christmas traditions for our family.  You can see my earlier post for some of the traditions we have started. In starting traditions, we have asked ourselves what it is that we want to teach our children about Christmas. We want to be very purposeful about what we are teaching them, not just going along with what culture or tradition tell us. We have examined the traditions that we grew up with and that our culture, even our church do to celebrate the Birth of our Savior. We have kept some and have chosen not to engage in others.

Our biggest desire is for our children to know Jesus through a personal relationship. We want them to celebrate His birth at Christmas. There is no need to teach a toddler to be selfish,  it comes naturally. But we are training them to be other focused, not self focused, especially during this season.  What we hope to get across to the children during this Christmas Holiday is to love and serve others, as Christ has loved us. At 3 and a half and 22 months, Eden and Josiah are just beginning to understand most of what we're trying to teach. We believe that the Word will not return void. Little minds absorb so much. Only God knows what Truths are being planted in their hearts each day we sing Christmas carols and talk about Jesus' birth and death.

Now what do we do with Santa? Larry and I have decided not to have Santa be a part of our children's Christmas tradition. That's not an easy task. People often ask our children what Santa's going to bring them or if they have been naughty or nice.  Santa is in all the stores, he even comes to the Christmas party for our church. He's everywhere this time of year.

At this point, I am the one to answer that Santa is not part of the way we celebrate Christmas. Most people just look at us strangely, others don't know what to say and it leads to a moment of uncomfortable silence. A few people have encouraged us and said we were doing well to teach our children the real meaning of Christmas. My hope is that I can be  a good example when responding to people's questions and that Eden and Josiah will learn from that how to respond with kindness and Truth to people's questions.

Eden is beginning to be aware of what is going on. We have told her other children celebrate with Santa, But that her Momma and Daddy are the ones who give her and Josiah their gifts. Then we tell her that all gift come from God. Everything we have comes from God. "OK mommy." is her response. No big deal, she takes us for our word and that is enough for her. The trust of a child is a blessed thing.

There are many reasons why we have come to this decision. I know there are extremes to this position. Please keep in mind, we're not trying to kill Santa, and No we do not believe that Santa is an acronym for Satan. Larry and I feel that legalism fuels most of that thinking. We don't think we're better Christians or more holy than families that do have Santa in their family traditions. We desire to have hearts that seek God and want our children to enjoy the holiday without the commercialised aspects that our society places upon it. We want Christmas to be about Jesus and His humble birth. And we always want to keep in mind the Cross behind the stable.

Last year, My cousin Kelly posted this about celebrating St Nickolas Day. I was intrigued. I had never heard of St. Nicholas Day. Another of my favorite blog Mom's Molly Sabourin, wrote about their families St. Nicholas day celebration.  Larry and I started to talk about it, and I  have done a little research on St Nick. I loved this article from St Nick was a feisty Christian. He was a man of conviction who was one of the writers of the Nicene Creed. We still don't want the commercialised Santa in our home. But the heretic slapping, children loving Bishop, St. Nick,.... I hope my children love him :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Keeping Christ in Christmas- Advent

Lately, I’ve been reading with great interest how other families are celebrating Christmas. It's always neat to find things to incorporate into our family traditions. Maybe you'll find some of this helpful too. My cousin Kelly had some great ideas on her blog. You can check her out here. Kelly is super creative and always has great ideas that are inexpensive and fun. Another friend, Dana has wonderful Godly insight and ideas on her blog as well. Check her out here.

So I’ve decided to share a few of our family traditions to make sure Christ stays the center of our Christmas celebrations. Each evening we light our advent candles and read from A Family Advent Celebration. The white candles are lit  one each for the four Sundays before Christmas. We re-light the candles each night. The red candle is the Christ candle, which  we will light it on Christmas Eve.  The Book has a daily scripture reading and songs that help keep us focused on the real meaning of Christmas. It recounts how the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Good stuff :)

 We also have this large wall Advent calendar that I got last year at Kaplan’s. I think it was a seasonal item, only sold in their stores. I have been unable to find it online. If your interested in it e-mail me and I'll try to find it. The calendar has neat things under each flap that give a scripture for a child to read or a craft activity. Super cute!

We also have The Story of Christmas Book Set and Advent Calendar and Family Life Adorenaments.  Josiah likes to play with them, Eden loves to hang them on the Christmas tree each day :) Each one has a book or reading that describe the birth and life of Christ. We also hang them as ornaments on our tree. The Adorenaments have some of the characteristics of Jesus' life like, King of Kings, The Good Shepherd, and Savior. Each of the ornaments have the story in scripture where they come from as well as a book to read. Both have been great sources of Truth and fun for Eden. She looks forward to me bringing them out each day.

I'm still searching for the Little People Nativity Set. This is one of those elusive things that I keep searching for, but have yet to find. We have a real Nativity set that I let the kids play with, but I would love to find a non-breakable one.

Our heart's desire is to have our children understand the real meaning of Christmas. The fact that Christ came as a baby, to live a sinless life, so that he might purchase us from an eternity in hell is mind blowing! I know that our children are very young, and we are sensitive to how we engaging them with the Gospel. But we are PURPOSEFUL in giving them the Truth daily.I pray that this is their beginning to a never ending hunger that will lead to a relationship Christ.