Sunday, June 4, 2017

Am I just getting Old?

Yes, we've coined a new term for our last trip to a popular theme park in California....
Insanity Land...

Blankie's make everything better....
However, after we got over the impatient feelings of waiting in lines, we did enjoy our times together....
Sisters enjoying a ride together....

Brothers too..."as long as I get to operate the controls..."

Why insanity?  Lines.  Long ones.  Dark and noisy and never ending.  People.  Long ones, short ones.  Noisy and never ending.  Expensive food.  I was warned but not prepared for the $10.50 turkey leg and $4.00 piece of corn on the cob....it was cooked....with butter, does that help to ease the pain?

I did enjoy seeing the smiles on my children's faces and my niece's and nephew's faces, however.  I enjoyed the laughter of my in-laws and their smiles too.  But I was already enjoying those for the past week as I got to witness my husbands' parent's celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary.  It was grand, glorious, and beautiful to see family coming together and enjoying one another.  We ate lots of food, enjoyed visiting everyone's friends, playing with new friends, cousins too, and just basking in a bit of heaven on earth.  We were all "living in the moment."

Enjoying seeing the WHOLE Gerhardt Family together again!

So there weren't any wild rides, except for the few spent in the traffic lanes where motorcycles zoomed by on the white lines between vehicles.... but there were wild moments like water fights, climbing trees, lots of food, great desserts made by my sister-in-law, hugs, kisses, and people hanging out without any......LINES.  It was wonderful. 
Brothers and Sisters in the front and in-laws in the back....


Saying goodbye and a few last hugs...
We enjoyed a new found family friend's swimming pool and home and just kicked back and relaxed.  Perhaps "Insanity Land," just couldn't compare with real people, sharing real stories, enjoying real laughter and real times together..

Monday, May 8, 2017

Creating a Device Free Zone

Got a Crate? 
Have you ever gone wireless?  I mean like, no phone, no internet, no distractions or interruptions?  If you've lost your focus somehow or maybe you don't even realize you've lost your focus, you will gain some good perspective simply from putting your phones and internet away....just try it for a day.  Maybe you could try it for two, or three?  Let me know how it goes and what you learn.....

Trade in for Something better...
Here's what I learned and jotted down the other day....
 
Six of my seven children have come down with the chicken pox, my husband left for a 4 day men’s retreat, my eldest son tilled up the phone line yesterday, and a bird had the nerve to poop on my shoulder.  The good news is that I don’t live in Alaska anymore and I am so glad the ground isn’t frozen. 

Because…. I had to dig a 16 inch deep ditch for the new phone line.  Rain clouds were hovering threateningly.  I could see them coming and I never know when it’ll start or stop pouring here in Oregon.  The phone man won’t connect the wire back up until he sees a ditch and since I can’t dig one fast enough for him to wait; he’ll come back on Monday to inspect the job. 

At first the digging was fun….until I hit the cement like clay at 10 inches…I know because I measured.  You know, 16 inches doesn’t sound like much until you actually start digging.  I had a remarkably clear mind as I’ve been without phone and internet now for almost 24 hours….I had a lot of time to ponder a multitude of things in my life because I wasn’t on facebook looking and reading about everyone else life happenings. 

To make a long story short, I want to set clear and well defined boundaries around the activities, projects, and friends who enter in my life.  They are all good except they crowd out the best…my family.  I have thoroughly enjoyed these past few days caring for my sick children, and as a side note…one of them had received the chicken pox vaccination but still got a full blown case.  Sorry to have to burst all the  bubbles surrounding vaccinations. 

BUT don’t get me on that soap box….you know I was thinking that I’d like to make a real soap box so I could use it for a homemade soap mold, one of those activities that pop up in my mind that I’ve been wanting to do now….oh only for 7 years now.  See, it’s a case of “highly distracted mom syndrome.”  I’m pretty sure I could reverse this by focusing on the few important tasks that God has put in my life. 

#1 Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind.

#2 Love my neighbor as myself…that would be my husband and children.

I don’t see much room for else.  I might have to leave the internet in the dust, everything good that God has brought into my life has never arrived via the Internet.  He doesn’t really have a use for it, although the Bible says to redeem the time so I suppose its redeeming value is that you can connect with people quickly.  Except somehow in my mind it all gets jumbled up unlike when I see people face to face, I remember what they say and I connect with them as a real person.

So, what was I talking about anyway?  (Another case in point of “highly distracted mom syndrome.”)

OK, it was about the sheer joy I’ve experienced these past two days just being Mom.  Easing the discomfort of my children, talking to them, looking into their eyes and caring about what they have to say.  Putting wet wash clothes on their foreheads, preparing healthy food for them, cleaning my home, working in the yard, reading books and snuggling on the couch, helping to bathe, brush teeth, and put soothing oil on their skin. 

As I worked alongside my one healthy child, who is really an adult now, at 18 years old, digging dirt and shoveling pea gravel together, watching him maneuver a tractor with a scooper blade I was so proud of him.  He interviewed for his first job yesterday.  He wasn’t hired on the spot, like I thought he’d be.  (So I’m a little biased… I am his Mother after all.) But when he came home and I asked him how’d it went, he responded with his characteristic charming smile and proceeded to tell me that it would be better for him to just start his own business since he learned he’d have to buy all his own tools anyway but that he would know next month when they began hiring.  That’s my boy! 

Wasn’t it just yesterday he was pushing his TONKA truck?  As I watched him drive off for a few days with his friends, I had nothing but pride and confidence that I am right where I need to be.  I am available and I am walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Listening to my daughter’s share the lessons they are learning from their walk with God and asking me my opinon is so rich and rewarding.  The relationships God has given me are such a blessing.  I watched them in the past few days serve others even though they were not feeling well themselves.  They don’t complain, they don’t make excuses; they pitch in where needed and work with vigor and good attitudes.  They even had time to make healthy brownies.

My kids are truly amazing and I don’t have to take the credit for it.  Oh, yes, I surely would like to amass to myself some praise but all my failures would surely outweigh it all as every good parent will eventually and hopefully someday confess.

Speaking of confess, I don’t have to push, pull, or pry my children into following Christ.  They follow Him because He’s set them free.  They follow Him because He’s a gentle leader.  They follow Him because He’s real to them.  They follow Him because He’s good and cares about them.  They are engaged in relationship with the King of the Universe!  What more success could I possibly want or long for, but that “my children walk with Thee.”  I get it!

The world will mock and scoff my chosen career pathway.  I fight against it at times in my life but I always come up empty handed. When I let go of my self-centered hopes and dreams and embrace God’s best I am filled with such peace, joy and contentment.  Suddenly my eyes are open to the work He’s doing, the work others are doing or want to do around me, and then all the half-baked work I get done, suddenly takes on meaning and value.  It’s my job….I manage, my work is always partially done.  Perhaps that is why yesterday I willfully finished the “Gingey Travels the Alcan” story.  No, it wasn’t perfect but it was good enough for my family and children and probably a handful of friends and relatives.

I want to re evaluate and track every activity I choose to be a part of…what is most healthy for me as a wife, Mother, Daughter, and Friend?  What relationships, activities, books, service, or meetings encourage personal growth in areas of my spirituality, my physical well being including nutrition and fitness, my marriage, my finances, my work and project ideas, my writing, etc?

I’m looking forward to two whole more days, almost 3 of no phone and internet.  I’ve been praying for guidance and wisdom to know what to do with the “Ole’ Schoolhouse and Gym” and whatever it is, it will be a device free zone that I know. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My Childhood TreeHouse Remains!

The ole fort!
A few weeks ago I was given the honor of viewing the property and home of my childhood.  I was excited to see our old fort still perched up in the old oak tree.  Even that rope ladder that was so difficult to climb still hung as testament to the challenges of life and growing up! 

I suppose as I think and muse over my life, this photo of our fort that we built and created approx. 30 years ago, captures the beauty of life, even as it's ending.  Everything is given to rot, decay, disease, and old age.  But not everything will die. 

God has created within us, a living breathing soul that will live throughout an eternity.  Earth is just a passing phase and so brief at that.  As I stood looking at the old fort standing as witness to many a good fight so many years ago, I couldn't help but feel proud of my parents for raising us the way they did.  They certainly gave us a lot of freedom to roam but introduced to Jesus Christ.  They had recently come themselves and they taught us what they were learning.  It was discipleship at it's earliest stage.

As we all walk the road of life together, we've experienced brokenness on some level in some way.  We may be tired, we may be healing, we may be experiencing great victories or suffering defeat.  Life is made of ups and downs and we shouldn't expect anything other. 

Yet though it all, we are in reality victors.  Victors over sin, death, bitterness, and strife.  We may not look successful to the world but we are called His own beloved and precious, bought with His blood. 

We are filled with memories, laughter, love, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.  We are filled to the brim with joy and peace that surpasses understanding.  We are at rest deep within our souls, knowing God hold's our future and that for an eternity with Him.

Though the outward man is wasting away, the inner man is being renewed day by day.  Press on Mama's and Daddy's everywhere.  You are building eternity in the hearts of your young as you introduce them to Jesus.  Every other pursuit in life will pale in comparison to the pursuit of your Savior.  I'm so glad my parents left their dreams in the dust and pursued their Master, Savior, Lord and King. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Celebrate Life

Have you ever lost momentum....didn't blog for....oh I don't know, like 4 months?  That would be me.  So it's catch up time....what have we been doing?  Um....probably a lot of face book instead, which I have to admit can be good and bad.  It's a little distracting....OK a lot distracting.  I'm trying to get some momentum here, it's Good Friday, after all, which really is good in the long run, but not so good a few thousand years ago......

Our flowers out front, boldly defying gravity...


It was the smell of spikenard, wafting up to the nostrils of a dying man.  He hung gasping for his last few breaths.  His body ached.  He was numb, bruised and bleeding.  Perhaps he passed in and out of consciousness, somewhat aware of his surroundings in those last few moments.  All his friends and family had deserted Him.  Those who just days before rejoiced at his coming, now cowered in the shadows.  No one would claim Him. 

But the smell....the expensive oil must have still been clinging to the skin of his feet and the hair of his head.  Perhaps He found comfort in this.  It was the last recorded act of a woman giving her all to worship her Savior.  He spoke up on her behalf and said the work she did was good, not to be despised.  The disciples were indignant....what a waste in their opinion. 

What work, woman, this Easter do you give your all too?  Have you dared break your most precious vile of oil over the Master's feet? 

How many times, Lord, must I break, how much do you want of my heart and life?  All?  Every last drop?  Yes, it is finished, take it all, the work is done. 

I am alive!  Yes, so truly alive in a way I never knew existed.  Oh, but the joys of releasing all and gaining back what is really life.  Free to love, forgive and be everything you ever created me to be....walking in your precious grace day to day.  What victory, what gain, having lost it all, yielding my heart to your will, watching your plan unfold.

Having lost some momentum I've gained insight to your mighty power at work in the lives of those around me, I worship you this Easter just as I am, as you made me to be....whole, complete and forgiven.

Had you asked me years ago when I chose the name, team Gerhardt, for this blog, I never would've guessed that God had an actual gym in store for us years down the road.  What I thought was a random idea, seems prophetic in a way now, looking back...I suppose you could argue random chance or coincidence but I'd rather believe that there really is a God who loves, cares, and created you with a specific life purpose to live out for His glory.





 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day Celebration in our Pajamas

Are we done yet?
All 8 of us, aged 18 months, to 41 years gathered around our tiny computer screen to watch the swearing in of our new President Trump today, live!  It was so exciting to see and hear the speeches and listen to the historical excerpts being read, including the Bible.  The prayers and singing were beautiful.

We entered into discussion about the honor and privilege we've been born into here in America.  We are so thankful once again to our armed forces and police for their protection and the freedoms they have fought and won for us.  We are excited to support our new leader.  May we constantly be in prayer over the direction of our country and the steps it will take.  May it be done in such a way as to bring glory to God.

We are so thankful to have watched this momentous occasion in the comfort of our own home, in our pajamas of all things!  As I put my arms around my children this morning I had a lump in my throat, realizing that they, someday, will be the next leaders of my beautiful and dear country, AMERICA.  They may not hold political positions of leadership but most likely will be parents and in authority and leadership from that perspective.

From my perspective as their Mother, I am again reminded of my importance in their lives and therefore, the future of my country.  We need to raise our children up to love one another, love the Lord their God, and set the standard for nations to follow in the footsteps of our forefathers.  What a serious and honorable position of Motherhood.  May God grant all Mothers and Fathers the strength to rise up and lead their families in truth as we progress forward in the world.

I suppose the highest standard we will ever wave in the sky will be the banner of love.  It will never fail.  America press on!