Friday, August 29, 2008

I've Never Seen Anything Like It!

Last night we experienced a lightening (Monsoon) storm like I've never seen! In addition to the normal lightening bolts, our sky was like a strobe light. It wouldn't stop flickering, keeping the sky totally lit up, almost as if it was shaking. The electric storm hit near 9PM while we were driving home from dinner and Jon even commented that we didn't need our headlights. We gave it a try, he was right. Little did we know that we were in a category 1 hurricane and the eye of the storm seemed to be right with us. The winds weren’t horrible but the sound of the thunder at times was deafening and lasted up to 1AM.

Although Jon was right about not needing headlights, he was wrong with one thing. Right before entering our neighborhood he commented, “It doesn’t seem like the lightening is hitting ground”. Five minutes later, once we were in our home safely, the sirens of fire trucks got louder. One by one, at least eight emergency crews passed our home, causing our kids, especially Baylee, total distress and curiosity on our part. Jon and I had to see what was going on! I went first with the boys who were pleading and by that point; the rain was coming down like I’ve never seen. It was as if the whole Pacific Ocean was emptied right over our heads. There weren’t raindrops at all, just huge amounts of rain plummeting the ground, seriously! I followed the flashing lights and saw quite a commotion. A one-story home, right behind us was hit by lightening! I guess because of the heavy rain though, there wasn’t a flaming fire too. Amazing! God sure had all of our attention on his amazing power. Once I got home, Jon went out not able to get to the home any longer. Police and news crews were on site and blocking any more curious neighbors.

It was a very late night. The kids had to wait until the storm was gone until they felt safe, knowing our two- story home and others were not going to be struck. We had many blessings to talk about and lessons on God’s will until we were able to rest, with flashlights in hand.

(Thank God Jon was home from his business trip!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Thousands of museums throughout the country are offering FREE admission on Saturday, September 27, 2008. Go to to see if a museum near you will be participating and to get your free Admission Card.

These are the ones in Arizona:

Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park

Arizona History Museum of the Arizona Historical Society

Arizona State Museum

Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum

Challenger Space Center

Desert Botanical Garden

International Wildlife Museum

Mesa Historical Museum

Phippen Museum

Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park

Sharlot Hall Museum

The Bead Museum

The Phoenix Zoo

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last blogged. Everything on my list “trumps” my fun outlet. Oh well.

I’m really amazed at something and wanted to put it out there as my Gratituesday! I’ve been working for 3 weeks now and can you believe that every week, I have had a student’s family make dinner for us, the Kempiak Party of Five? I’ve never announced it, never asked for it nor acted like we needed it, yet God’s brought people into my life that has wanted to bless us in this way…and what a blessing it has been! The first week Landon’s mom’s van pulled up at student pick up and said, “When you’re done, come here.” She then passed a yummy complete dinner to me telling me that she knows I’ve been working many hours and this was her “thanks”. WOW!

Week two, Maggie’s family invited the kids and me to come to dinner once I was done in the classroom. She patiently waited for me to be done at 6:30 before putting dinner on the table. Double WOW!

Then tonight, sweet Elise’s mom brought us a meal saying, “I know your husband is out of town and I know how hard that can be, especially working, so I wanted to bless you!” TRIPLE WOW!

I pray the Lord blesses each of these precious families for blessing us. I am in awe!

(If you are part of "my class"...this is not a hint. LOL)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Splashing Good Time!

The Kempiak kids had a blast inviting their friends the Keller’s over to our backyard pool for some “private” swim lessons twice a week this summer with Miss Catherine, as they liked to call her.

Baylee and Daniel swam together exploring all four strokes. Baylee’s favorite was the Butterfly and she’s good at it too. And because of her “modesty” (I guess that’s what you call it), she asked Miss Catherine to rename another stroke from Breaststroke to the Frog Stroke. “Breast” was just not okay with our little gal! Baylee and Daniel also loved swimming relays (like the Olympians), diving for items at the bottom of the pool, and even began flip turns at the end!
Nathan and Benjamin became great swimmers too. I couldn’t believe Nathan’s endurance and adventurous ways! Both boys loved swimming together and were braver as a result. I can honestly say that Nathan is a swimmer now, a HUGE goal I had on him. Before it all began, Nathan could only swim about three or so strokes to me without fear and lack of skill but by the end, he easily swam the length of the pool! On his free swim time Nathan is really focusing on getting his chest up out of the water for the Butterfly"!

Owen and his buddy Ethan “swam” together as a team too. Miss Catherine worked on some fundamental swimming strategies; holding breath, bubbles, faces in the water, and most importantly, survival skills (like floating to your back and getting out of the pool). If only they could have kept their lessons going through the rest of our hot months.

Miss Catherine was a wonderful, gentle and encouraging teacher. We wish her well as she heads off to her first year of college! We’d love to snag her up for 2009!

Baylee and Nathan are “swim team” bound for next summer. They’d love to have some friends join them. Is anyone game?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gratituesday-Denise, Nana & Papa, Lisa, and Laura

Heading back to work, even though it is for a short time, ten weeks, has been a very big challenge for us all. The one who’s had to adjust the most is our sweet Owen. And really, he hasn't "adjusted"! He’s being shuffled about each day and confusion has totally set in. “Why does Baylee and Nathan get Mommy and not me?” he cries.

My level of “to do’s" is even higher than it has been in a long time (which doesn’t seem possible) however this is for sure…I still need to stop and express my gratitude to God in the midst of it. He’s in control of this “chaos”.

There are four people that have really stepped up during this time, helping in huge ways. For them, I am humbled and thankful.

To Denise, I am grateful. You lovingly take care of our Owen Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays. You do it as he has a total “attitude” about being there and cries hysterically as we walk to the door and as I leave. You are an angel in clothes. Thank you for gracing my life with your gift of service. I am so glad that Owen and Little Ross and Daniel's friendships get to grow over this time! You have such sweet boys and a fun family!

To Nana and Papa, I am grateful. You drive the hour distance to allow Owen to be home for a day to play with his toys and be in his home. It brings him comfort to be here and with you. Thank you.

To Lisa, I am grateful! Fridays are your only “non homeschool day” but that doesn’t seem to matter to you. You willingly and happily take in our sweet three year old boy! Owen absolutely loves his buddy Ethan and eating blue cookies with him.

To my cousin Laura. I am grateful! You too are in the “back to work” mode, bless your heart and you do so much to help me out. Thank you for picking up Owen four days a week to bring him to me once I am done teaching. He loves being in the classroom, especially to be reunited with his brother, sister, and mommy. And it gives me a chance not to feel “guilty” being at work last to finish up loose ends if my three musketeers are by my side. Laura, I love you and am amazed by you and your relationship with Owen. He'd follow you anywhere!

I am a blessed lady. I have so many selfless friends and family. These are just icing on the cake!

Friday, August 15, 2008

All Because I Said YES!

If you were to flip your calendar open, eighteen years ago to this date (August 15th), you’d be looking the day Jon proposed to me. He totally caught me off guard, which was something I deeply desired seeing that most things in life, past or present, I come to figure out even though they are meant to be a secret. I don’t even “try.” I guess you’d say I have an extra “sense” and it’s one I don’t really like. For me, I’d prefer to be surprised. I like surprises! Especially the one eighteen years ago!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, we were on summer vacation from NAU living in Prescott where I was a nanny. Jon and I headed up to Flagstaff to go to a wedding and between reception 1 (the “formal” reception after the wedding) and reception 2 (just a fun time dancing with other collage friends outdoors in an alley “restaurant”), he told me to close my eyes that he had a surprise for me. He instructed me to lay out my hands and it was then that I felt a small velvety box. “Open your eyes,” his voice cracked and there I was, seeing Jon, the love of my life, on his knee and an engagement ring in my hands!!!!!!!!!!! I was so excited and speechless all at the same time and cried happy tears right along with Jon, my now “fiancĂ©e!”

I am thankful for this memory and think how different my life would be without him. I am glad I said yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

He Made Me Laugh Out Loud

As Nathan and I were changing out the sheets to his bed together tonight after his bath he asked me,
“Mommy, what if someone wanted to sleep naked in bed.”
With some concern and a lot of confusion I asked, “What do you mean?”
“Well, what would it be called?”
I was silent trying to figure out what to say when he quickly chimed in, “How about Skinny Sleeping like Skinny dipping?”
-He made me laugh out loud!-

Shortly after, we walked down the steps to fetch some water bottles when we found Owen in the playroom, standing with only a shirt on. His backside was to us as he was fumbling through the play kitchen (totally cute image). Nathan laughed and yelled, “Look, he’s Skinny Playing!”
-Again, he made me laugh out loud!-

I sense a theme is in full fruition here at the Kempiak Party of Five’s house!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

There's More to This Life

Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth were interviewed on Good Morning America last week, hosted by Robin Roberts. They spoke out for the first time about their loss of Maria, their five year old daughter, who was tragically killed in a driveway accident earlier this year, with her brother at the wheel. Five of the seven family members explained how they are dealing with their pain and continuing to live.

From watching the interview (on YouTube…since we never have the tv on, nor have a clear reception), I saw an unwavering love in their home. The realness of “loss”, and the hope and faith of a family shined! My favorite part of the whole interview, which brought tears to my eyes was when Stephen tells the audience that as his son was rolled up in a ball in the yard, uncontrollably shaken at the accident from “his hands”, Stephen yelled out to him just before driving away to the hospital, “Will Franklin, your father loves you!” What beautiful words. Isn’t it amazing how the tongue can build up a person? I wonder what my words would have said at that very moment if it was my family involved.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

(After G.M.A.’s interview with the Chapman family, they also appeared on Larry King. What opposite styles…Robin who had empathy seemed to understand what they were sharing which led her questions and Larry who couldn’t even keep Maria’s name straight, nor showed any sympathy, didn’t “get it” at all, for this reason his questions and responses after their explanations seemed “cold”. The only “plus” to the Larry King show was that he had more “time” for the interview so you got to hear more from this amazing family.)

I am grateful that no matter what I do on this earth and endure, my Father in Heaven loves me. Do you know that feeling? I pray you do.

Let's continue to pray for these precious servants of God as they deal with the grief of losing a daughter and a sister. Their incredible faith and hope is such an inspiration to me!

I'm Back!

There isn’t sand in between my toes, a suitcase full of clothes to unpack, frequent flier miles hiked up, nor a story to tell of great adventures we’ve had on a family vacation, however my absence from blogging may have had you wonder if we were up to something fun. Nope, no vacation here, except maybe a blogging one. Sorry friends. Life has just been hectic! Jon’s out of town right now, so although I am totally exhausted and have other things to do, I thought I’d sit down for awhile to update the Kempiak Party of Fives Chronicles in our blog. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, August 11, 2008

First Day of School (for me)

It’s official; I am now Baylee’s teacher for the next eight weeks because her sweet teacher, Mrs. Runyon gave birth to her son Kade on Saturday. Everyone needs a first day photo, right? Well here we are just before heading out.

Instructing the twenty precious children Kelly entrusted in my care will be wonderful. They are all so very dear. I treasure this divine time the Lord set before me to teach and take it very seriously. As I did when I was a full time teacher in my own classroom, I begin my day in prayer before the kids fill the building, specifically naming each boy and girl by name.

P.S. Pray for Owen, this is a very hard adjustment on his part. He's sacrificing a lot for his sister's gain. A huge thank you to Denise, Laura, Nana/Papa D, and Lisa for helping me with my little OJ!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Water Wonderland

Our week’s been packed with school related things, including me getting more volunteer hours in at Edu Prize. I’m over half way towards our required 80 hours for the school year already and it’s only the fourth week of school. Yikes! Well, before beginning my “substitute teaching duties,” I just had to squeeze a few more hours in Nathan’s class one last time until I can do it again in late October. I also needed to be in Baylee’s class to prepare my mind, students, and lessons for the week's to come!

With that said, our Party of Five needed some FUN family time to release. I planned a fantastic Friday night, medicine to our souls and uptight schedules. My cousins Laura and Kaydon joined us since Kasey was out of town and Baylee’s friend Sabrina did too since her poor mommy is recovering from ankle surgery.

After school ended on Friday, we all piled in our van and headed out to Tempe to pick up pizzas near the university then straight to Tempe Beach and Splash Park to play in the cool water. The kids had a fabulous time just being kids, running around and enjoying all the water features. And I had a fabulous time as well, watching and joining in on the water fun for a bit. It brings great joy to me to watch happiness on my kids' faces and laughter roll out from their little bodies. Our night was great; we even shut the place down, with the water totally being turned off! We were some of the last to leave. As for our family, we want to go again before it closes down for the season.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Heat is On (Still)!

It's still hot and will be for a long time. Even our cheap "cool off spot" our backyard pool is warm. It's above the 90 degree mark! I feel like we are swimming in a very large (and somewhat public) bathtub, minus the sudsy blanket we’d have on our bodies. And as funny as it may seem, at times we get a chill on us to the extent that goose bumps protrude from our skin. Crazy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Today I have been reminded how grateful I am for modern technology, especially computers. Emailing and blogging has really helped me stay connected to people all around the world, especially since I am not much of a phone person nor have the time to call everyone that I blog and email with. Just today I received various ones that brought this Gratituesday to mind. First I received a blog link asking for urgent prayer for a baby boy in womb whose heart is at 50% function and the prognosis is poor. Also, I got an email from a dear friend of Jon’s from high school Pete, who we haven’t spoken to for many years and another email that a missionary we love is back safely in Arizona. Not to forget that also in my inbox was a sweet note from a friend that doesn’t live too far from here but our lives just don’t cross much. It’s been over a year from our last correspondence and now we’re planning a “double date”. Then tonight, by email, I was able to send out an "all call" to see who in Baylee's class would be interested in making a meal for their teacher who is having her c-section THIS SATURDAY! Could you imagine having to call 20 homes? Ugh! With all that said, today is a fitting day to say praises about blogging and emails.

What are you grateful for this Gratituesday?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rx for the Soul!

If laughter is the best medicine, then I am one healthy patient! Last night twelve of us friends had an “adult only” night out on the town. We enjoyed a nice dinner together then headed to Jesterz Improv Comedy Theater in Scottsdale for a side splitting time. I love this place! Its style is very similar to the television show, “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” where the audience participation and suggestions put the professional actors on the spot to create hilarious scenes. If you’re a local, I highly suggest this family-friendly theater where you’ll laugh out loud and be amazed at the quick-witted comedians. Come see for yourself!

Kristen/Glen, Lara/Kendall, Tiffany/Earle, Laura/Kasey, April/Rick, thank you for coming out with Jon and I. Let’s do it again soon (adding the rest of our LLL bunch)!