Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Mom and I spent New Years Day in our annual movie fest. For years she and I have spent the day protesting football by spending the entire day at the movies. The challenge is to see as many Oscar winners as possible in one day. That means we have to plan our day like a carefully orchestrated military program. We read all the reviews, find the theatre with the earliest start time (10:40a this year), map out our agenda of films start and end times and generally make sure we move FAST between maneuvers (movies!). Last year we saw six movies and got home at 11:00pm

Unfortunately, this year we only saw four. We messed up on our timing and didn't get anything to eat until 8:00pm. By the time we were finished eating, we were finished for the day. We must be getting older??

This year we saw:

Dragon Something; a foreign film with subtitles. Awesome story and great movie. We liked this one lots and hope it wins best foreign film

Miss Congeniality; cute vehicle for Sandra Bullock. Not going to be an Oscar winner

What Women Want; good date film, but it was too long and we missed seeing other great movies due to miscalculated timing.

House of Mirth; FANTASTIC. This is well acted, great cinematography and an incredible story.

So, this year we failed. Only four movies and only two were Oscar potentials. Better luck next year!

Wednesday, January 3

Got word today that Jeff's dad is again very ill. We were planning on leaving for Arizona on the 15th to spend the winter in the sun. Looks like we will probably spend the winter in the snow.... snow, cold, RV... hmmmm doesn't seem to mainstream. Although when has that ever worried or stopped us?

Friday, January 05

Grace and I were talking this afternoon in the car. She wanted to know what intimacy meant. I tried to explain it means when two people have something between just the two of them. It could be words, it could be a look or it could be sex. Well, she said, you and dad don’t do that! I replied, yes, we did have to have sex at least three times, as we have three children. She nodded. Then she replied, "But you don’t do that anymore!"

I nearly split my sides laughing! Yep, we don’t do that anymore !!! WE LIVE IN AN RV!!! Oh, if she only knew how funny her statement of "fact" was!!! I told Jeff and he cracked up too!! Kids are great.

We are definitely leaving California on Monday the 15th. I have lots of irons in the fire right now.

Homeschooling – this continues to be my number one, priority endeavor
Keepers – They are selling!! Sonshine books sold two this week. I would like to take some over to the buyer at Nordstrom's before we leave.... this could be a source of income for the family in the coming year.
Public Speaking – I am really mulling over the prospect of talking to women about "submission". Jeff and I could also talk to church groups about our experience in becoming debt-free.
Mustard Seed Jewelry – Looking into developing a line of pins and pendants of good quality glass and gold with a mustard seed suspended inside. Going to Arizona Jewelry Show to find out more on this subject.
Book – So, a dear friend suggests I write a book on submission. I am very interested. But, this requires lots of prayer first. I guess if God wants me to write about his plan for wifely submission and the headship of the husband, he will get it out of me!!
Internet Duties – Continued upkeep on www.gefke.com as well as perhaps a site for www.gefkebeadworks.com I don’t know. I have the name and the hosting, just have to figure out if I can do all this web management from the road.
Then there is all the "crafting" : A quilt for baby Caroline (my niece), another one for sister Katy’s new arrival in April, a photo album of our trip thus far, and of course the keepers!
Prayer – A goal of mine is to be more diligent in my prayer life and bible study. I do this daily now, however, I would like to be more focused in my efforts.
Ministry Work or Employment – What does this mean to our family? What will God reveal to Jeff regarding our direction as a family and his employment. It is kind of weird, Jeff really has no income from Sound Pacific anymore, yet, I am not frightened. Weird.

It is mind-boggling that I am unconcerned about our lack of income. Especially in light of the life we lived before this adventure. I know that Jeff will find the right direction for himself, I know he has our best interests at heart. I feel serene in the faith that God will reveal to Jeff how to support this family. Amazing.

Sunday, January 7

Found a great website for homeschooling organization by a woman named Donna Young.   I am going to try her organizational methods.  Homeschooling is great.  The record keeping aspect is difficult.   Hopefully this will help!

Saturday, January 6

It is impossible to be God’s unerring and unfailing witness. Even when we are trying so hard to share the beauty of Salvation, we screw up. I messed up, I let down and was not upfront with one of my sisters. By failing her, I failed God.

Thank goodness God and sisters forgive.

Thursday, January 11

Well, we don’t know what this next leg of our journey will bring. We are leaving for Arizona on Monday afternoon, from there we travel through Colorado and into South Dakota to spend time with Jeff’s folks. Norm (Jeff’s Dad) is ill. Can’t imagine.... 40 below in an RV.... sounds like fun?

Lots has been happening. With Jeff’s blessing and direction, I am going to pursue some speaking engagements. Last night at Kurt’s Boy Scout meeting, a woman connected me with MOPS (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers). They apparently are always looking for speakers. Here we go!

I feel a very strong pull to speak to women my age about the beauty of submitting to our husbands. It seems so foreign and yet is so comfortable and natural. I will be working on my outline today, present it to Jeff and then we’ll refine it! Thank goodness for Jeff, he is my comfort and my protector. He makes sure I don’t say anything too "out-there". I tend to talk first and think second.

Grace and Kurt were assigned a special project by their Dad. They each made a restaurant menu and took orders from all of us for dinner, purchased, prepared and served the meal. Poor Grace, each of us ordered something different. When asked how she liked being a short-order cook, she replied "YUCK" !!!

Pretty funny (and very smart of Jeff), she will now understand when she insists on a different meal than the rest of the family.... Mom is not a short-order cook.

Thursday, evening

Well, I had it out with God today. I was SO MAD at Him and at Jeff. I took a short drive this afternoon and literally yelled at God. I have just gotten so fed up with the pace of our life, of Jeff’s fence straddling behavior.

Jeff has no direction. He is floundering. This family, I, need a leader. I am willing to submit to his headship, just LEAD. Poor Jeff, he is in a pickle. His father is dying, his wife is becoming a shrew, and his company is a drain on his soul. It must be hard for him. We have been staying at my parents home since Thanksgiving. That's a long time to live in someone else's home.

Especially hard when the home belongs to your in-laws and they are worried about their kid. Jeff has gone out of his way to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING around the house for Mom and Dad. Poor dear, this is hard on everyone. But, we are leaving on Monday.

I really broke down on Jeff today. I just need some direction, some leadership. He can’t get out of bed in the mornings and has no plans for the future. So, I just bared my heart and Jeff listened. What a courageous man to sit still and listen to his wife cry about him, AND NOT DEFEND HIMSELF..... Just LISTEN. Awesome.

Jeff then went out to lunch with Alex (employee that is running the company), while he was out, I had my shouting match with God. I guess God is tired of me complaining, cause He got to work immediately! Jeff came home and said he is selling the company to Alex. Now what?

Well, I didn’t bargain on that!! Now we really have no income, no jobs, nothing to do but serve our God. Holy Cow. I got just what I wanted and IT TERRIFIES ME!! Now comes the hard part, I have to SUBMIT to the will of God. Whatever that is....

I am a control freak. Now FOR SURE, I have to give it up... we have no income. We have no "formal" ministry or training. We are just stepping out onto the road to find His will for our lives. Holy Cow.

Now I just want to shout at God.... "HEY, I’m just a normal girl, why did you put me in this position? Why can’t I just be a nice little suburban mommy?.... What’s up with that?????". Arrgh. Now that I have what I wanted... now what.... now it’s do or die.

Holy Cow.

Monday, January 15

Well, it’s Monday and we haven’t quite hit the road yet. Jeff wants to take care of two customers before leaving town and handing the business over to Alex. He also noticed that our frame needs a weld and the windshield needs repair. Hmmmm, guess the repair shop missed those things while it was there for an entire week. Or.... maybe Jeff is trying to delay leaving sunny California for Snowy South Dakota??? Hmmmm.

I met with Kathleen G. This morning for coffee. I just want to shout to the world what a blessing this woman is to me. I have known Kathleen since we lived next door to each other in 1968 as children. We were always friends, and as girls are wont to do, we were sometimes on and sometime off again friends.

Our paths diverged in High School, as Kathleen became the beautiful and popular cheerleader, and I became the unconventional and "interesting looking" artsy/intellectual type. Kathleen always kept faith with our friendship however, continuing to invite me to events and to participate in her wedding in the early eighties. Then we lost touch.

We would see each other occasionally at social events in town, or around the neighborhood, as Kathleen and her husband remained in our hometown after their marriage. As adults, though, we did not seek each other out or pursue maintaining a connection.

When we were children, Kathleen and her family were the local "born-again" Christian types. My parents liked her parents, but I always sense a little under-the-breath disdain for their "blind" faith. They were not intellectuals, as were my parents, but they were lovely and our families socialized together often in the early years.

Flash Forward. I feel absolutely overwhelmed to look Kathleen up about a week prior to Christmas this year. I actually drive around town, stopping on the street I last remember she and her husband living on. Finally, I find a phone number and call, leave a message and head home to mom and dads. As I walk in, who calls? Kathleen.

"Can I come over", Sure, "When?", Now.

This is not typical of our friendship in recent years. I throw some Christmas cookies on a plate and head over to her home with trepidation. Why am I going here? What is driving me?? (HEY DUMB DUMB... IT’S GOD!!!) It is 5:30 pm, dinner time, yet I drive over to see my old friend.

Then I am blown away. I spend the next 45 minutes telling Kathleen and her husband my story of redemption, my testimony of the power of Jesus in my life, and about the adventure I am on with my husband and children. She and her husband listen. Quietly. Interjecting a question here or there, but with warm hearts, they listen.

Then comes the incredible God part. They have been through THE SAME THING!!! The whole banana... credit debt, business problems, marriage strife, three kids, JESUS and .... EVERYTHING. I had found someone just like me... and to think she had been there all those years.

Well, since that time, Kathleen and I have been meeting for coffee each Monday during this visit with mom and dad. We have found the mutual blessings in each other. I have found a sister in Christ like none I have ever known before. I have found a truly powerful prayer warrior, a woman of great spiritual strength and reserve. She is smart and beautiful. What a combination.

God is doing something here. What? Who knows. One thing I am certain of, is that there is no mistake or coincidence in the re-kindling, no... make that the re-birth of our friendship. God has a hand in this, of that I am sure. God is so awesome. So awesome.

Thursday, January 18

We are STILL HERE. I want to leave so badly. It has been wonderful staying in my parents home, they have been generous to allow us to park here for two months, however, it is bizarre being both the Mommy and the Daughter, at the same time. I look forward to being the only woman in the house soon.

As we wait to leave, if only the window seal would come in, we could GO, I try to wait in God’s time for our journey to begin its next phase. One thing I wait on is my husband. I keep close to my heart something a very wise woman told me recently about her husband, their marriage and his journey towards Christ.

She said, "I won him with silence". How profound is that! Silence. Oh this is the most difficult thing for a woman to do! Especially a woman who likes to be in charge!!

Silence?

I practice submitting to God’s will for my life by submitting to my husbands headship of our home.

Silence.

It is a daily choice to submit to His will. It is a daily choice to be silent, when I want to be overt with my words and body language.

This choice of Silence is difficult... but as my very wise friend councils, I too, shall win him with my silence.

Tuesday, January 23

Waaaaaaa! We are still in my mother’s driveway. Waaaaaa! Our latest is that the windshield is falling out. This MUST be fixed before going to South Dakota… it will be a little chilly there. Waaaaaa. I want to get ON THE ROAD!!

I sent emails to all the head coordinators for MOPS (Moms Of Pre-Schoolers) letting them know I was available for speaking at their meetings. I have received three responses back thus far. My subject matter probably scares them. Submission”   Ohhhh Nooooo! I need to somehow let them know that they will laugh LOTS during my time on the microphone. Gotta think this through.

Have been reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala (Pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle). Wow. He reminds me that my relationship with God is based on prayer. Prayer. Focus on Prayer in all things. I think that when life gets going we forget to pray. Prayer works, I believe that I will work on my prayer life.

Kurt is cracking me up. He is taller than I am, and he is getting to be a young man. I can even see a little mustache above his lip. His voice is changing and his feet are HUGE. What a joy he is to me.

Today we find out how quickly the windshield gets repaired. Waaaaa.

Sunday, January 28

I think we are leaving today.  I hope.  After church I ran over to Appletree (the old neighborhood) to drop a few things off.  As I left the street, there was Karen O.  flagging me down.  She never flags me down, in fact she is rarely outside as she is incredibly busy with her three boys. I stopped. 

After exchanging pleasantries we talked of our faith (as we often do).  She insisted she had a book I must read...  The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson.   I took the book touched by her faithfulness as a friend.

I read some of the book Karen gave me this evening.  It is powerful stuff.  I cannot believe that God is not only so faithful, but He is so ready to give his children so very much.  I wonder if God sent Karen outside to give me the book.  

No wondering about it.... He did.

No travel today.

Monday, January 29

I felt God’s hand today..... Seriously! 

Okay, backup.

I have been battling with Jeff about getting up in the morning. I get up at 7:00a most days, have my coffee and start school between eight and nine in the morning. Jeff sleeps until I force him out of bed.

It makes me angry. Very angry. And being the supportive helpmeet that I am, I just simmer…. Semi-quietly! I feel the gaze of my parents, the judgment of the world upon us. We have no means of support, we have been guests of my parents for nearly two months, and my husband sleeps until ten or eleven each day.

Now, realize that Mom and Dad haven’t said a word. This is all just me. But it makes me angry. We should have left California on the fifteenth. Instead, we have spent the last two weeks getting ready to go, preparation time that Jeff should have spent last month.

And so I smolder.

That is where I was until today. This morning I rose, Jeff slept. I said my prayers, mostly focusing on the Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Please Lord, PLEASE. Bless us. Make Jeff Change. Or make Me Change… SOMETHING. I cannot live like this any more. I want Jeff to lead us. NOW.

Later in my shower, I prayed through tears, PLEASE GOD. PLEASE HELP ME. I feel so alone and lost. I want to submit to my husband. I want him to take charge. I want it NOW. I cannot wait any longer. I want my Jeff to GROW UP and Find a PURPOSE…. NOW.

Well, here is the really good part.

I spent most of the day, angry at Jeff. Yes, we were finally leaving town today (although not first thing in the morning… my timeline!), but that didn’t make me any happier. In fact, I just got madder. Plus I slammed my finger in the darn door to the RV. Talk about adding injury to insult!! Poor Me!

After finishing school with the children, I marched around Mom and Dad’s house. Silently getting our things out to the RV. This is after having woken Jeff with a GET UP!! And a few other choice words. All my right and responsibility to share, being his wonderful helpmate!

I stomped around. I was silent… oh, what a supportive and godly wife! I have such patience, I am to be revered… what a wonderful wife. HA!

That is when I got my miracle.

Just before getting into the RV for our jaunt out of town, I downloaded the email onto our pocket mail device. I received this email:

 

Dear Christa,

I am married to a wonderful man much like your Jeff. My Jack is working on leading our family. I am working on backing his leadership. Once we argued about this and I asked angrily “I will follow wherever you lead, but just tell me when will you get going?!!” His quiet whisper took me by surprise, “When you step out of the way”.  

I got it. When I was trying not to say anything wrong, I was silently smoldering. When I was trying not to say “ I told you so” out loud, I was saying it in silence. When I was praying for a leader in our family, I was ignoring my husband’s leadership. I didn’t nee God to make Jack a leader. He was one. I was just refusing to give in.

My husband went on in his quiet way telling me he felt I was waiting for him to fail again and I was not being supportive of his leadership and how that hurt him. While I was praying for a leader, He was praying for me to offer up my control. I kept telling my husband I had given up control, but I was still waiting for him to work on my timetable. Or I made little comments I thought were harmless that showed my lack of faith in him and his judgment.

My husband became my leader that day because I surrendered to him first of all, but second and most importantly I became his biggest fan and his most faithful supporter. I back his leadership by encouraging him completely. I stopped praying for Jack to change and started praying my thanks for Jack in my life.

One little trick I use against my need to control is to wait a complete minute thinking about what Jack has said before I respond. He has given what he said at least that much thought, I should too. By waiting, I find my need to control the family path as well as the conversation drifts away.

Cheers!

Jodi

I stopped dead in my tracks. Jodi was describing me in many ways. Who was she? Where did she come from? And HOW did she know EXACTLY what to say to me, to convict me of my terrible sin against my darling husband?

She was right, this brilliant stranger, I was still lost in my need to control the family path. My silence was just another ploy to get Jeff to change. Yes, I have submitted to his headship of our family in many ways, but in the most important way… I hadn’t, not completely.

You see, I was still RIGHT.

I had overlooked the amazing truth that Jeff is the most wonderful man in the world. That his timeline and mine were different, and that my timeline was NOT better. He had been trying to tell me in so many ways, apologizing for being “slow”, noting the time he took to make a decision. Maybe his lack of decision making was just me standing in the way shouting, NOW!

Oh God, thank you.

I had the hand of God on my life today.   I felt his powerful presence and love for me, even in the midst of my self appointed righteousness, and “self-sacrificing” state. God reached out and pulled me down to earth through the loving letter from a woman named Jodi. Someone who I do not know, yet who knows my innermost thoughts.

This was amazing.

And in an instant all my anger faded away and in it’s place rose a love for Jeff stronger than any I have ever felt. He is my most brilliant and fantastic husband. He truly is the man of my dreams. His strong white steed is a gray motor home, and I gladly, with wholehearted joy, take his hand and climb aboard.

God is Great.

Tuesday, January 30

I am sitting at my new desk (that my amazing husband made for me this week), looking out the window of my little home on wheels at a…. WAL-MART!!! Yep, we are ON THE ROAD!!! We stopped for the night at the Wal-Mart in Escondido, California.

This was after leaving Villa Park and the loving embrace of my Father and Mother, last night around 4:30pm. We ate a quick dinner at Polly’s Pies (we were the ONLY ones in the restaurant under eighty), returned an item at the Wal-Mart in Orange (must write a Wal-Mart review on this place!), and off we went!

I hugged and kissed my Daddy goodbye. And truly for the first time in my life I will miss that irritating old man. These last weeks, staying in my childhood home have been an eye-opener for me. My dad is a great guy. He is still a jerk sometimes, but generally my dad is a wonderful man, who loves me AND my husband and children. I found a warm side to Dad.

I discovered that I could call him Daddy, and mean it. I found warmth and joy in his presence. I learned to love my father despite his “warts” and “calluses”.

Geez, this has been a jammed pack emotional time. I have learned so much about loving others. I cannot believe that at 41, I am still learning as much as I did as a teenager. Holy smokes!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, Kurt’s hair is pretty loud. Yep, I did it! I bleached his hair. He has wanted it bleached for nearly a year. I have always said NO WAY. But, Jeff set some conditions that if he met, he could bleach his hair. He met them.

The salon wanted nearly sixty dollars to cut and bleach his hair. Well, that’s not going to happen! So, my sister-in-law and I opened the “Salon du Kristen and Christa” and with buzzer in one hand and bleach in the other, we gave old Kurt a new look.

And I cried.

My son is looking, well, not like my child. He is bigger than me and his hair is WHITE! BWAAAA HAAAAA HAAAA. (Huge Sob!)

Okay, so I am not that upset…. But I should be! He looks strange. However, the truth remains that if he continues to be a good student and a good disciple of Christ, why not let him experiment with his identity?!!! After all, he is the one that will have to endure all the stares and comments (and boy did he get the comments from my mother!!!).

My theory is that if we allow our children to make mistakes that are not life-threatening as young people, they will have a better chance of making solid decisions as adults. Making mistakes gives them experience. Experience gives them a solid foundation to succeed as adults.

So my son has white hair.

Arrgh. 

 

 

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