Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vander Eli Guilbert

Ummmm....Yes!  He is smiling in this picture.  It's not gas.  I've never seen a baby smile this little.  He loves to be sung to and talked to.  I HATE seeing these tubes!  But he was supposed to get his IV out today and the results to clear him of infection.  I couldn't get in touch with Heith or Jess so we'll have to wait for that news.  I have a feeling they are exhausted and hopefully sleeping good tonight.  Coming home tomorrow will be fun and they'll get to see Harper's reaction to the new baby.  They are staying in a "rooming in room" tonight so Jessica can nurse him and not have to get up and go to the nicu to feed him...I know she's loving every minute of that!!  
Sweet sweet baby!!!  This is the first picture that I've seen that has reminded me of Heith's baby pictures.
This one is my favorite!!!  Look at the chubby little cheek.  
Look at how he's looking at my mom...his Lollie....so precious!!!!
ROCK ON!!!!  Hope you liked the pics!!!  

Monday, May 25, 2009


I am so proud to introduce you to my new nephew...Vander!!  His name comes from my mother's maiden name Vanderburg.

Jessica and Heith are still working on a middle name for him.  He is the first grandson/great-grandson with the Guilbert name.  I know that has to make my granddaddy proud to have lived to see that.  A little history...my daddy is one of five.  He has a brother and three sisters.  My Uncle Fred has four girls who are married to wonderful men but have obviously taken on their husbands last names.  I have two brothers...Heith and Brennan.  Brennan is only 17 so he has no kids yet...thank goodness!  LOL.  They are the only two male grandkids with the Guilbert name. Heith's first child is Harper...a precious little feisty 15 month old girl who is walking and talking and FULL of energy.  :-)  Her favorite word is "NO!"  Ha.  Harper will meet her baby brother today.  She liked to play with her mommy's belly button when she was pregnant and knows sign language for baby...well, her own version of it anyway.  She keeps one arm straight and crossed the other over and moves back and forth after she has said the actual word "baby."  She learned it from one of her Baby Einstein videos.  I haven't actually seen her do this but that's the way Jessica describes it.  We are curious as to what she will think of her baby brother because she's so young.  I was three when Heith was born.  I didn't know to be gentle with him yet.  What I thought was a gentle love "pat" on his head turned out to be way too rough. It reminds me of a friend of mine, Lori, who had her little girl a few years after her son Austin was born and before going home from the hospital he was sitting on the bed with her trying to shove candy into her mouth.  He also gave her some very important advice.  "Beans make you toot!"  Kids are so sweet and innocent.  To him he was just being a good big brother and wanting her to enjoy some of the sweeter things in life.  I can't wait to hear how Harper reacts to Vander.  She's so young and probably won't do too well at first with the fact that she will have to share her mommy with the baby but she will eventually adjust to the new normal.  Who knows...she may surprise us all.

I can't wait to see that little thing and kiss his face off!  

When Vander was born he was having some trouble breathing and with movement but those
things have cleared although he is still in the nicu until they get the tests back to see if he has any infection.  They are giving him antibiotics to be safe.  Jessica and Heith got to hold him today for the first time.  Jessica said he was wiggling around trying to nurse but they are holding him off on food for a while longer.  Poor baby...I'm sure he is hungry.  He doesn't look like Harper really.  He just looks like himself.  I see a little of her in him but they change so much in the first few days and weeks that we will just have to wait and see.  

Jessica's labor was very fast once things started progressing. My mom told me that the nurses said they wished she could come back in 9 months and do this all again so they could film her labor and delivery.  They used the word "AMAZING!"  But as amazing as it was I can say with almost 100% certainty that Jessica does not want to have to do that again for quite a while. She has an enormous amount of control over her body during labor.  It's nuts.  Oh...and I forgot to mention she does this ALL without drugs.  Yeah...nature people.  She's a machine.  I mean, just look below at the picture of her with Heith and Vander below...this was literally just a few hours after having him.  

Anyway...without further ado....here he is, Vander ????? Guilbert,  7lbs 14ozs.  
I think she said he was 21 inches but I may have to correct that.  He's much more filled out than Harper was.  She was only 6lbs 11ozs.  

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Last night I went to church.  I didn't really know what to expect.  I just knew that I needed to be there.  When I got there it was kind of awkward.  It was dark.  There were no chairs set up.  There were candles and crosses all around.  Everyone was standing in the back not really knowing what to do. Not your tradition worship service...which I loved!  When I looked closer, there were little areas around the room set up with different things.  In the middle of the room there was a round platform covered in black cloth and bibles all around the edges.  There were cushions to sit on and read the various scriptures listed on card stock.  Scriptures about what this weekend means.  What happened to Jesus.  The stories told by men that were there...men that watched Him die and saw Him raised to life again.  There was a cross in the middle made from what looked like railroad cross ties.  There was a wooden platform with a crown of thorns set up on top for display. Candles were everywhere.  On one of the walls clips from The Passion of the Christ played.  Music was playing...instrumental reflective music.  Around the room were several other crosses, communion was set up on a table, tithe and offering boxes, and this...

In this bowl was clear water.  Beside it were little pieces of red paper and red markers.  The idea was to write whatever you wanted on those pieces of paper...sin, struggles, worries, hurt, pain, names, thoughts, whatever...and when you dropped them into the water the ink dissolved and what you wrote was gone.  The ink disappeared and left the water stained a shade of red.  The more paper and ink...the deeper the color became.  By the time I got over there it was a deep crimson.  I stood there directly in front of the bowl asking God what I needed to write on that paper.  I quickly began writing.  I filled my little piece of paper up with things...the things I walked in with and hoped to leave at His feet.  Tears burned my eyes as I watched the ink fade and eventually disappear.  My past.  My pain.  My worries.  My failures. My disappointment.  Gone.  

I walked into that service with such a heavy heart.  I walked in with the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I walked in full of self-pity and pride.  I walked in tempted not to trust Him...doubting Him.  I knew the first thing I had to do and did it...it was hard.  It was a sacrifice.  But with tears in my eyes I was obedient.  I wanted to show Him that I was serious.  I wanted Him to see that I didn't want anything to be in the way of my time with Him.  I wanted to show Him that I wanted nothing more than I wanted Him.  Immediately I sensed His presence in a way that I can't even really put into words.  In that moment I was completely humbled. 

I realized that I had worried all day about things that didn't matter in the grand scheme of things.  But I worried...all day long about them.  I thought He had failed me.  I thought that He had forgotten about me.  I didn't believe that He actually had me in His hand.  I felt like He had dropped the ball.  

But...I walked away with peace.  I walked away with my sin atoned for.  I walked away redeemed.  I walked away with confidence...not in myself but in Him.  I walked away with the same circumstances, the same scary things, but with a new sense of His presence in all of it.  I walked away knowing that He was in total control!  I walked away knowing that He cannot and will not fail.  I knew that everything would be okay.  I remembered that as tightly as I'm holding onto Him that He is holding onto me even tighter.  I felt head knowledge translate to my broken heart and begin healing it.  

The God that walked away from death can certainly take care of me and meet my needs.  He can absolutely work in and through me to accomplish His purpose.  The God that walked away from death can rescue me from darkness and reach down and comfort me.  He did what He did for ME.  He walked up that hill to die for ME!  If He was willing to do all of that...why would I doubt Him.  Why would I not believe a Saviour who willingly paid my ransom...a debt I could never have paid. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hello world. It's been a while.

I have a few ideas for some longer posts...they'll come soon but I just had to share this.  I was reading one of my journals today.  It's the one I started when I moved to Nashville about 8 months ago.  I was so moved by how God listens and answers prayer that I could barely stand it.  I read my own words...some penned with a light heart and basically pretty generic at times.  But others were, well, just plain desperate.  Desperate for God to show me why he brought me here.  Desperate for Him to invade my space and awaken a heart long protected.  I was so amazed at the way God has worked in just a few short months.  I am not even close to being where I want and need to be but I see the movement.  The movement of a girl...scared out of her mind...no idea who she really is...what is next...a girl who didn't know how to love well (myself or others)...a girl who was desperate to find God in it all...a girl who was sick and tired of hiding...who wanted to be exposed...who wanted to connect and find some really genuine and loving women to "do" life with...accountability.  And in the middle of it....in the great big middle of all of that desperation and what sounded a lot like hopelessness...was a great big God who was listening.  He was listening to me.  He understood me and met me where I was...confused, hurting, hiding, isolating, begging to be heard.  He stooped down and listening to me.  I saw so many answered prayers today in my journal.  It was so encouraging.  
If you don't journal...I think you should try it.  I just started really pouring my heart out into mine after neglected it over the years but it has become a way for me to see what I have forgotten.  There were a lot of things that I didn't even remember asking for or sharing with God in those first months here.  But as I read through and saw the words from a rear view mirror perspective (behind me) as opposed to a windshield view (right now)...I saw God's hand so vividly.  And just when I needed it, He showed me that He is working.  That I am moving.  That I am growing and it's so great to see.  The providence of God on paper...it's the greatest motivation to just keep going and know that at the end of this journey lies a destiny fulfilled in Him that we are incapable of on our own.  We have skills that he has equipped us with and if we offer them to Him knowing that, by faith, He can take those things and do something that only He can do through us, I guarantee you we will be blown away.  And, in the process of trusting and moving, HE will accomplish it and get ALL the glory.  Because, you see, those things that we forget...even just a few short months later...He DOESN'T forget them.  What a beautiful Savior!!  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Erase and Install

My computer crashed...sort of...a few weeks ago.  I turned it on and nothing but a grey screen and a folder with a big question mark inside it was flashing at me.  Normally when I turn it on my desktop pulls up and I can get to things easily.  But I couldn't get anything to happen.  It was totally locked up.  I tried everything I could think of to fix it.  I am in no way computer savvy so I was totally at a loss.  No idea what was going on.  So...I did what any responsible Mac user would do and used my iPhone to book an appointment with a "Genius."  They are literally called that and you can schedule...for free...a 15 minute session with them at the Genius Bar.  Clever.  I must admit...these guys, and sometimes girls, are lifesavers for this computer illiterate Mac owner. 

When I got there and they hooked up my computer, the problem was very obvious to them.  I'll spare you the details but they explained it to me like this...  My computer basically had too much info. on it and had so much info. on it, in fact, that it was confused and couldn't read what was on the hard drive anymore.  All I wanted to know was..."what do I do to fix it?"  My Genius was more than willing to fix it but it would not be the answer that I wanted.  He said that I would have to erase everything on my hard drive and totally reinstall the software for my computer.  WRONG answer sir!  I was sick.  I had NEVER backed up anything...iPhoto...iTunes...programs...Windows...nothing.  I would loose everything.  But it was necessary and so I had to do it.  He said there was one way that I might be able save some of the things on my computer...I was listening.  I knew it would involve money...always does.  He said that I would have to get a program called DiskWarrior and it would be my only way to save anything...but still no guarantee.  Then from there I could transfer anything that the program found to an external hard drive at that point and then erase and install.  When my computer was totally clean...I could then reload the stuff I transfered to the external hard drive, onto my computers hard drive and bam...everything would be saved.  
$200 later, I supposedly had everything I needed to save my precious files.  I went home...I ran the program and...NOTHING.  DiskWarrior had failed to save any of my stuff.  I was so mad.  I have a feeling the things I purchased to make this magical recovery happen aren't refundable.:-(  So...with a sick feeling in my stomach, I began to erase and install.  I was thinking of pictures that I would never get back from Africa and Europe.  Pictures of my niece and nephews that I hope I put on a disk before all of this happened.  My ENTIRE iTunes library full of music that I had either spent hours putting on my computer from CD or bought on iTunes.  
When the computer was free and clear and ready to be used again, I opened up iPhoto and cried.  I opened up iTunes...completely empty of any sign that I ever had thousands of songs there.  Windows...gone.  Downloads...gone.  Very sad.  BUT...

My computer was free and clear.  I could start fresh.  It was like a new computer.  No signs of clutter.  No signs of the past.  It ran faster when I got online.  I could download new stuff and get updates on all of my programs.  I will never ignore the warnings to back my stuff up or put it on my $100 external hard drive again!  :-)  Don't you just love spending money on stupid stuff like that?  Boo!

I haven't written here in a long time.  I haven't had the strength to share what my heart has been through over the past few months.  I haven't even known where to begin with it all.  I have had to make some tough decisions....have some tough conversations...make some scary choices.  See, very much like my computer, I was so cluttered with stuff...some of it precious, some of it dark, some of it secret and painful.  Some of it was hidden so well that I couldn't even see it.  Just like my computer, I had things deep within me that I didn't know how to get to.  There were things I didn't know how to retrieve.  I was broken.  Only I couldn't see the folder with the big question mark in the middle of the screen flashing at me.  That would've been so obvious.  But my question marks were hidden.  The question marks in my life that I couldn't figure out what they meant or how to deal with them or how to call them up to face them...hidden.  I had to be forced to look at them.  And, boy, was it painful.  Fortunately, I was loved enough to be called out on it...to be challenged to see it.  I thank God daily for my "mirrors"...the people in my life that aren't afraid to show me what they see in me that needs to change. 

Denial is a powerful thing...much bigger than us.  I would go as far as to say that there is a demon named Denial in Satan's army of liars.  Denial literally means...I don't see.  The problem with denial is that you don't see it until you're forced to.  Until there is so much clutter that you literally break.  There are all kinds of symptoms and variables to denial but, when in denial, you don't even associate those things with what you're in denial about.  Let me just say...secret things are what the Enemy uses to keep us bound...keep our minds so tangled up that we can't even think straight.  They are what rip families apart and cause pastors to fall.  They are what keep a wall up between friends and cause us to isolate ourselves from people we so desperately need.  There is NO greater feeling than being fully known and loved anyway.  None that I've experienced yet at 32.  It is very uncomfortable and very humbling but worth every single minute of it.  My very favorite person told me that "the truth causes you to trust the heart of a person."  That's what it's all about.  Truth is hard.  Truth sometimes stings the people closest to you...the ones you love the most.  Truth causes tension....it makes things worse sometimes before it makes things better.  But there is a reason the Word of God says...."the truth will set you free." (John 8)  Being exposed...being broken is the ONLY way, in my opinion, to have an authentic relationship with God.  It hurts like you wouldn't believe at times but the freedom in it is absolutely...100%...worth it.  

What happens when you get all that clutter out?  It is a perfect opportunity for God to come in and, like a friend told me over lunch the other day, "download" his plan, purpose, and destiny for you.  And, like my computer, you'll have a fresh clean slate for your Father to write his thoughts toward you and about you on.  No longer will you have so much to sift through that you can't get to the heart of who you are.  Your hard drive will be wiped clean and the process of healing and wholeness will begin to download in it's place, replacing the secrets, the lies, the unhealthy deposits...all of the things that kept you from being known, loved, and free.  What a beautiful God that would allow us to be restored like that.  What a beautiful Savior to come in and wipe our hearts clean for a fresh start and at the same time give us a mind to remember where we've been...never to go back.  Praise you Lord!  Do you understand what a second and a third and seventh and 100th chance means?  It is called redemption.  And it's ours.  God is concerned about us.  He is mindful of us.  He thinks thoughts about us...so many, in fact, that we cannot even comprehend them.  They aren't the lies that we tell ourselves but the truth that contradicts those lies...these are the thoughts He has toward us and about us.   To think that God in his power and his love would send his Son to die on an old rugged cross, to bear my junk...my sin...my secrets...my past...it is just too much for me to take in all at once.  Without a single word He took our punishment FOR us!  Little by little, the God of the Universe, seeps into our hearts and spirits and takes them over...when we allow Him to.  When we choose Him we choose life.  He will never force himself on us.  We have been given a gift in even that...we have a choice.  We matter so much to him that he would even allow us freedom to make the decision to follow him on our own.  I don't know how to describe what that means to me.  

If you have never experienced the love of Christ.  If all of this is foreign to you.  That's okay.  It was foreign to me too until very recently.  I grew up in church.  I heard a pastor say the other day that he had a drug problem as a child and teenager...his parents "drug" him to church everytime the doors were open.  I love that!  I had the same upbringing.  My parents showed us the love of the Lord everyday.  My mom and dad seek after God on a daily basis.  My grandmother was one of the wisest people I've ever known and loved the Lord with all of her being...served him until the day she died.  But none of that compares to knowing it from EXPERIENCE!  There is no formula to this.  This is a faith that can only be known and lived out by seeking God on our own.  By finding out what He wants us to do and then doing it.  It's not enough to know and then hope I do the right thing when the time comes.  If we know what to do and don't do it, the Bible calls us a corpse.  What good will we be that way?  We are respondsible for taking the first step toward him.  Once we do that and continue to seek him out in every area of our lives, he takes over from there.  We just have to listen and follow.  All of the knowledge is nothing without the grace and mercy to go with it.  Without it, it's just a story.  We have to beat ourselves over the head with it so it will drop into our hearts.  Head knowledge without heart knowledge is useless.  But let me tell you, when we feel it and when we drink it in...it will absolutely CHANGE OUR LIVES!  It's hard.  I am SO not where I need or want to be in the journey but even baby steps are huge when headed in the right direction.  It is not fun sometimes but it is necessary...crucial even.  Kirk has always said...as far back as I can remember..."it's painful but it's necessary."  It's so true.  We all have to be broken to be used to our full potential.  Whether we were broken in childhood or as an adult or both...we must be broken before Him.  He wants us to pour ourselves out to him.  We are never more vulnerable than when we are broken.  We are vulnerable to God but also to Satan...he could care less what we're going through.  That's why we must always guard our hearts. (Prov. 4:23)

I want nothing more than for Him to come in and work me over for His glory.  I desire Him and Him alone.  Unlike the program for my computer...He is a Warrior that can salvage any life.  I know because He has done it for me.  He is doing it for me.  He is more than capable of taking what is broken and making it whole again.  Taking our clutter and creating a beautiful masterpiece with it.  

No matter where you are on your journey.  This my prayer... 
God, hide us.  Shield our broken and tender hearts.  Raise us up in your power to live our lives in complete and total surrender to you.  Plant our feet firmly in the places you would have us go.  We are listening...your servants are listening and we will do what you say.  You would never lead us somewhere that you would not go with us.   We can count on you to take the broken pieces of our messed up lives and start to put them together again.  We can trust you in the process that you will be gentle with our hearts.  In You there is hope...and a future.  Make us whole, Jesus!  

Monday, March 2, 2009


Please pray for a little girl named Zoe Goss.  To find out more about her condition and the specific prayer needs go here.  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Best Question Ever...

Sooooo....I think I'm pretty much the worst blogger in the history of man-kind at this point.  I wish I was one of those people who posted everyday or at least every other day.  But, I'm just not at this point in my life.  I know that when I have kids and more going on I will post more frequently but for now it's just random, here and there posts.  I don't know why I am even explaining myself but that's just what I do, I guess.  :-)

I have never been a person with a lot to say or a lot on my mind.  I am super chilled and laid back.  I get that from my daddy.  I do worry sometimes about things and think too hard about them and make them bigger than they need to be.  I can worry over something until I'm sick but that doesn't happen a lot.  I went to a chiropractor a few months ago and he said I had an issue in the middle of my back that he had to pop back into place.  He asked me if I was stressed out because not many people have that subluxation and man did it hurt when he popped it into place.  So, I might worry more than I think I do.  Who knows????

I started listening to a podcast that a friend of mine referred me to last night about making decisions.  It's called "The Best Question Ever." by Andy Stanley.  It's in 6 parts and I have only made it through Part 1 but it is awesome!  It's also a book.  I'm sure you can get it at Lifeway but I found it on Amazon last night.  The question is...when asking yourself, should I get into this relationship, should I make this financial investment, should I buy this car, should I home school my kids, and on and on..."What is the wise thing for me to do in light of my past experiences, my present situation, and my future hopes and dreams?"   He takes a scripture that Paul wrote in Ephesians to the church at Ephesus and explains how he came up with the question.  They were basically trying to live in a place of extreme moral decay but still remain faithful and obedient to the Lord and his will for their lives.  Andy talks about how we try to search out scripture to tell us what to do but there is not always a specific scripture to refer to sometimes.  How should we make decisions in life when we don't have a solid answer from a specific verse in scripture that pertains to the situation we are facing?  I am super excited about listening to the rest of the podcast and digging deeper into this simple question to live my life by.  The hardest thing about it is that we are, in most cases, not going to like the answer as much as we like just being ignorant.  I know that we are all able to think of at least one decision we have made in the past that we look back on with regret or see how it has negatively impacted our life.  

So, now that the new year has started and we are only 8 days in, it still feels like a fresh start and we have all made our resolutions and are attempting to keep them.  Some have already fallen off the wagon.  No worries!  Don't put so much pressure on yourself.  I do this and it has not been working for me!  I am trying to approach things that need changing in my life differently than I did last year.  

For instance, I want to lose weight.  BAD!!!!  I am starting with small goals and letting them lead to my ultimate goal as opposed to thinking about the big picture and stressing over how I will pull it off.  I joined Weight Watchers last night.  I am realizing how prideful I am right now because I want to delete that last sentence.  I am fighting the urge!!!  :-)  I ordered the 2009 starter kit on ebay and two workout videos from Tracy Anderson.  She is the personal trainer of Gweneth Paltrow and Madonna.  I do not want to look like Madonna but I think she's just a freak of nature with those arms.  Wow!  Anyway, I am doing things that will get me to the place that I want to be physically so I can get to where I want to be mentally about myself.  I don't want to hold myself back any longer and the only person I can blame for letting this get out of hand is me.  Sure, I have a thyroid problem and have to take meds everyday (which I HATE by the way) but that is not going to stop me.  Plus, at some point in my life, I am going to be responsible for feeding my family and I don't want to learn with them.  I want to already have this thing tucked away in my back pocket and it be second nature to me.  

So, good luck with all of your resolutions and we will stick this thing out together.  I know it's going to be hard but determination is creeping up on me and I'm excited to see what I'm actually capable of.  I know you are too!  

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!  Let's make it a great one!  

Oh...I'm also reading the Bible in chronological order if anyone wants to join me.  I can email you the reading schedule.  My email account is ashleyguilbert@gmail.com.