Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Baylee's Cottage Fair

The cottage focus in Baylee’s class this first quarter has been “Sweet Shop” (food and nutrition). She had a blast eating her way through learning. In class, Baylee (and classmate friends) made spaghetti salad and personal pizzas one week, learning measurement and following step by step directions. And over a duration of many weeks they tasted and graphed something like 13 different cheeses, different varieties of breads, and then again to fruits and vegetables. The class finished off with cooking in our solar ovens…fun! They also collected favorite family recipes and bound them into books for everyone to enjoy. One of Baylee’s highlights was the songs I wrote, teaching about each of the groups. She still keeps singing them and often times in class the kids would just break out in song, especially the fiber song. Precious!

Baylee’s Cottage Fair was so much fun. We had a potluck and showed off the work they had done. I’m so proud of Baylee’s learning. She came home with an arm full of “keepers”.

Here’s a photo of her Food Group pocket folder as well as her simply amazing autobiography. Some of Baylee’s autobiography entries are posted on her blog and others will come soon. You’ll love her personality that comes out in her work.

Baylee's first quarter as a second grader was a thumbs up and I especially was blessed to be in the room every day watching her learn, along with her other 19 friends in the class.

Gratituesday-"My" Class

My time in Baylee’s classroom as her teacher is coming to an end on Friday. I have mixed emotions. I’m going to miss it (the kids) and the “task” (teaching) like crazy but I am eager to have more rest and time with my family, especially our Owen who has been a trooper!

The class of 20 precious kids is what I am grateful for this week. Each kid has brought me such joy. I’ve been honored to help them along the path of learning as well as bringing them by name to the Lord often. I love them all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tonight they presented me with a card full of gift cards and the most fantastic scrapbook put together by a dear mom, Andrea Shaw with help from each kiddo of course. I will cherish it forever and have a tangible memory to look at often.

What are you grateful for on this day?

(My simply phenominal Baylee)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nathan's First Cottage Fair

As each quarter comes to an end at Edu-Prize, every class has a “cottage fair” (an open house you might call it). Tonight’s was Nathan’s and it was truly wonderful.

We began with a class potluck on the kindergarten playground. Each kid had to bring something to share that began with the first letter of his/her name. Nathan picked nachos. We made queso dip to drizzle over the chips. Yummy!

Next, we went into the class for the kids to sing a few songs. I love hearing little voices just belt it out with huge smiles on their faces. Nathan was adorable as he kind of crept back a bit behind his friends, not wanting the spotlight. After the songs, Nathan sat on our laps and showed us a pile of fabulous work he had been storing for this special night. Boy has he done a lot these past 10 weeks!
(Nathan with 2 of his "many" buddies...Andrew and Michael)
Finally, we ended up in the kinder ‘garden’ where each family got to plant sunflower seeds. How cute!

Nathan loves his classmates and his teacher Mrs. Zavisch. This quarter was so much fun exploring the theme of ‘me’.

Some have asked for the nacho queso dip… (this fed 20 families)
2 large blocks of Velveta cheese
2 ½ pounds of ground meat (we use turkey)
1 large can of diced tomatoes in green chilies

Cook ground meat, drain. Dice up the cheese in a saucepan. Heat on low until melted. Add meat and tomatoes to the mixture. Keep warm when serving.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meeting Brooke White

Today we signed Nathan up for his first sporting endeavor, baseball. He’s beaming like the Kool-Aid man non stop, it’s adorable. While in the cafeteria turning in paperwork, we came across fliers posted all over the junior high walls with Brooke White’s photos. Being the American Idol fans that we are, we immediately were attracted to finding out more about our hometown #5 finalist from this past season. Today was her homecoming from finally being off her fifty-something show tour. She was going to be at a music store singing autographs and then later that at night giving a free concert, benefiting Malaria, just minutes from our home in the Mesa Amphitheater. We had other plans for the day but we dropped them for Baylee’s sake the most, and jumped on that “spontaneous bandwagon” once again. It’s starting to feel good…lol.

With just an hour to spare before the signing, we raced home to grab our camera and then headed to the music store to join in on the gigantic line. The wait was well worth it. This sweet charmer was as genuine as she appeared on television, very kind, humble, and a natural beauty. Owen was a crack up because once good ol’ Brooke was in sight; he wouldn’t stop beaming, yelling “Hi Brooke!” She kept waving and smiling then later on calling him a heartbreaker and real cutie (which we agree). All three kids got her autograph and Baylee and Brooke went cheek to cheek for a once in a lifetime photo. Once we walked out the doors, Owen freaked out wanting us to return for a photo shoot for him too. Go figure…three year olds!

Tonight’s concert was fun. The weather was absolutely perfect as there was a constant breeze among us. It was fun just sitting on the grass, listening to her cutie stories, hearing her heart, and her pretty voice. Poor Jon had to miss out. My favorite song she sung I didn’t recognize but the lyrics were so neat. She said that as a young girl she fell in love with Carol King and this one particular song. She printed out the lyrics and always had them on her bedroom door to ‘live by’.

After coming home and getting the kids to bed VERY LATE (see the trend in my life?)…11PM, I ‘Googled’ the song and listened to the original. I actually did know the song but truly liked Brooke’s style much better. Here are the lyrics for you too.

Beautiful :
You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel

Waiting at the station with a workday wind a-blowing
I've got nothing to do but watch the passers-by
Mirrored in their faces I see frustration growing
And they don't see it showing, why do I?

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel

I have often asked myself the reason for sadness
In a world where tears are just a lullaby
If there's any answer, maybe love can end the madness
Maybe not, oh, but we can only try

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Night Fun!

Spontaneity is something that does not come naturally to me; I’m a planner however it is a characteristic that I really enjoy from other people and one of the biggest things that attracted me to Jon in college! I long to be a little more spontaneous, I admit, and this weekend I’ve really worked on it (without even intending to which is really cool cause that means that I was even spontaneous/impulsive with that too, right?)!

It seems like lately my kids’ bedtimes have been very late. I’m emphasizing V-E-R-Y L-A-T-E! But I feel like it’s okay. I guess it’s because of my work schedule that I feel like I need more “time” with them and if they have any energy to play, talk, read, snuggle, I do it too, thus the LATE nights/tuck ins.

Last night was a very spontaneous night. While teaching, a sweet new friend (mom in my class) invited our family to meet them at Peter Piper Pizza for dinner. We had nothing planned and it sounded so nice to have fellowship (especially since Jon was working) so I jumped on that invitation with a quick YES! We had a great time over dinner then left late. As I was driving home, I thought, “Boy, I bet the kids would love a donut at the new Dunkin Donuts that just opened this week.” Needless to say, I drove up and we got out! You should have heard the kids’ squeals of delight! They asked, “Do we have to save the donuts for the morning since it’s so late?” My natural side would have been to so say YES but instead I thought, WHY NOT! So upon Nathan’s request we sat outside and ate donuts around 9PM.

Next to our table were at least 9 firefighters having a late treat too. Nathan struck up a conversation with the Battalion Chief and soon after that; I was watching my three kids being escorted in the city’s five-month old truck learning about all the ‘bells and whistles’ from two of the firefighters. Baylee, Nathan, and Owen were so elated and I was delighted to be a close up observer!

Our Friday night was super, a true gift of joy given to us all. Here’s to spontaneity!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Prayer Request

This painting hung in my Grandma and Grandpa Bailey's walls all my life. I loved looking at it, imitating the man, and talking about God and prayer to my dear sweet Grandma. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer. I pray numerous times a day, just holding a conversation with my “Father” and sometimes wish I could just dedicate a day to just doing that and absolutely nothing else.

Please duplicate this image and pray. Jon's father's cancer is back. We just got word tonight.

September 22nd, a Time to Celebrate!

Without a doubt, I love fall! There must be some part of me that cheers for it for the simple fact that the Arizona summer heat is “soon to be” part of the past which means playing outside, riding bikes, as well as many family traditions right around the corner. Part of those traditions is being in the kitchen. We love making popcorn balls, caramel apples, dinner in a pumpkin, and my all-time-favorite…hot cider! In fact, the first day of fall always accompanies me either making my first batch of delicious hot cider which fills my home with the most perfect aroma or heading to Starbucks for their hot spiced caramel apple cider concoction. All day on Monday, since it was the first day of fall, my mouth would not stop watering. I couldn’t wait for my mug full of heaven but because it was 102 degrees out (yuck), I just couldn’t grab a cup until the sun at least had gone down for the day. So over dinner, I finally got my treasure. My taste buds were jumping up and down screaming “hip hip hooray!” but my body was truly sweating. Cooler weather, fun times, beautiful sights, and glorious smells here we come. The Kempiak Party of Five can’t wait!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


His name is Todd. I heard of him often through the past four or so years but only met him a handful of times, if even that. He was my brother’s friend. They met in a men’s center, Crossroads, when both were working on their sobriety. My brother came along side Todd and befriended and mentored him. Their friendship was always beautiful.

He was my brother’s only local friend his last stent here. They went to dinner and lunch, spoke of God and understood each other. It was a special relationship to watch.

Todd was broken when we made the call to him that my brother had died. He went to the funeral but didn’t come talk to us. Weeks went by, months, and then one day I had a knock on my door. It was Todd. He asked to come in. We spent the time somber, just reflecting on my brother, telling stories. Once our conversation became silent he asked me if he could “look at my pool,” the very place my brother hung out when they spoke by phone. I agreed so we walked in the backyard. He then proceeded to ask me if he could give us a gift, in honor of my brother and keeping his memory alive. Todd wanted to be our “pool guy” (his profession) and come weekly to care for our pool.

It’s been over a year now and I see Todd weekly as he quietly comes and goes, cleaning our pool and keeping it under some great TLC. Never has there been an exchange of money, just a hug and a short “catch up” talk.

Today I was reminded of what a gift it’s been. Not only having my pool clean but being in a life of a person that has a deep heart and that is succeeding beautifully with Christ’s power, in keeping sober…drug free.

Seeing Todd outside my window was my “sign”…he’s my Gratituesday this week. I am grateful for Todd!

Monday, September 15, 2008

No Flu!

So many people have lifted me up in prayer. Thank you. Good news...no flu! Bad news, I guess, I never had the flu. Instead, I was/am having a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotic I was on from my allergic reaction to the bee sting. Follow that? Scottsdale Osborn hospital caught it fast and pumped me with tons of fluids and got my 104.1 temp down. Now it's the waiting it out game which includes rashes all over my body and in my throat. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Good news! We found the beehive. Now pray we can get it taken care of. It's not on our property; it's on the golf course in a brick wall between the course and a home. It'll be interesting to see how this all pans out. One thing I know for certain. It has to be taken care of very soon. We are tired of being hostage in our home from our yard…it’s been 2 weeks AND we know 2 out of 5 of us (possibly more) are allergic to the bees.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thank You For Your Prayers!

I'm going to be a woman of few words today. I am sick with the stomach flu however I wanted everyone to know that Jon's parents made it out of Texas just in time and are home safely. Praise God! They were completely impressed with the state of Texas and how organized their evacuation took place, including 75 busses to help transport people out of the area. The place they were staying was completely demolished and the little island they were on, Galveston, is all underwater.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Prayer Request

Please lift up Dick and Carol Kempiak, my inlaws, to the Lord. They are vacationing on the coast of Galveston, Texas right now. Hurricane Ike is heading that way and we can't get in contact with them to know their "plan".

Here's the latest information sent to me from a prayer chain that I am on headed up by the President.

"The situation in the Gulf Coast is dire according to breaking news reports. People in coastal areas axzre being warned to “get out now” or face certain death. Hurricane Ike is huge and is packing winds with speeds over 100 mph that threaten to tear into Galveston, Houston and other coastal areas. The after-surge of flooding could destroy what the winds don’t.

This is a time to pray!

Houston is home to more than 4 million people, hundreds of thousands have evacuated; its surrounding area has a large concentration of oil refineries, resorts and the Johnson Space Center.

Please, join me in praying for coastal Texas and Louisiana:

For the storm to lose energy and move away from the coast
For citizens in need—particularly the marginalized, the ill and the homeless—to have assistance and guidance as they evacuate
For churches to step up and provide shelter, supplies and support when and where possible
For the protection of all involved—for police, fire and emergency medical workers, for those responsible for utilities and transportation and everyday citizens seeking refuge
For deaths, injuries and damage to be minimal"

7 Years Ago...Still Remembering

It almost seems impossible that the attacks on September 11th are now seven years past. I still can remember them vividly. I found out just seconds after swinging the doors open of our home, shouting Happy Birthday to Justin, my dear friend Lara's son. Her face showed no sign of happiness. Then she broke the news. I'm curious where you were when you heard the news, please post it.

I remember repeating Psalms 56:3-4, "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?"

Please join me in prayer today for the families who lost loved ones. Today is a hard day for our country but nothing comes close to the pain as the ones "left behind" are feeling, I'm sure.

For those that question why this happened...


You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news On September 11, 2001. Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say 'Good-Bye.' I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, 'Honey, I am not going to make it, but it is OK..I am ready to go.'

I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.

I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to Me for help. 'I have been knocking on the door of your heart for 50 years!' I said. 'Of course I will show you the way home - only believe in Me now.'

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls. I took him home to tend to his Flock in Heaven. He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer. I was with the crew as they were overtaken. I was in the very hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faith has saved them.

I was in Texas , Virginia , California , Michigan , Afghanistan ... I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news. Did you sense Me?

I want you to know that I saw every face. I knew every name - though not all knew Me. Some met Me for the first time on the 86th floor.

Some sought Me with their last breath. Some couldn't hear Me calling to them through the smoke and flames; 'Come to Me... this way... take my hand.' Some chose, for the final time, to ignore Me. But, I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day. You may not know why, but I do. However, if you were there in that explosive moment in time, would you have reached for Me?

Sept. 11, 2001, was not the end of the journey for you. But someday your journey will end. And I will be there for you as well. Seek Me now while I may be found. Then, at any moment, you know you are 'ready to go.'

I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Teaching is a passion of mine. I feel alive in the classroom. Without a doubt I love to inspire, love, and motivate children into becoming confident citizens and thinkers. I will forever be grateful to Baylee’s teacher, Kelly, for asking me to teach her wonderful group of 20 kids while she is out on maternity leave. It’s been a thrill! Only 3 more weeks to go!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hostage...Not BEEcause We Want To!

Help! We are being held hostage right now. Since last Saturday, our pool has been a “rest stop” for dozens of bees. They swarm to the side, grab water then fly off to the golf course we are backed up to. Our assumption is that they are building a hive, yet we cannot find it, although our efforts have been great. After being stung on my arm Sunday, the kids have been less than eager to go outside so now we have to wait to water our garden, play, and swim until the sun has disappeared as well as the bees. Oh please Lord, help us find the hive soon so we can get rid of these awful intruders!

I Love Listening to My Kids Talk

While driving this evening to Costco, the kids were singing, this time Baylee took the lead. Her tune was an unfamiliar one to Owen; “I’ve got the joy- joy- joy- joy down in my heart (where?), down in my heart (where?), down in my heart, “I’ve got the joy- joy- joy-joy down in my heart (where?), down in my heart to stay.”

On to the next verse, “I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart (where?), down in my heart (where?), down in my heart, “I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart (where?), down in my heart to stay.”

Stuck in Owen’s head now, he began singing the catchy tune’s second verse, with his twist on it. “I’ve got the piece of pizza that’s passing down in my heart (where?), down in my heart (where?), down in my heart, I’ve got the piece of pizza that’s passing down in my heart (where?), down in my heart to stay. Yum!”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Nathan’s norm is to be very compassionate, sweet, and cuddly. Often times he tells me sweet things that melt my heart. Tonight’s one was a biggie! I’m writing it down because I want to remember it forever. “Mommy, do you know that I fell in love with you before anyone else?”
“You did Nathan?” I asked wondering where his thoughts were.
“Yes! I grew in your belly and in your heart at the same time which made my heart love you!Nobody else has done that for me before.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gratituesday- Live Laugh Love

I’ve blogged about them before but not on Gratituesday. Hands down I’d have to acknowledge these sweet friends I’ve met with each month in my home over the past year, my Live Laugh Love group. Some I knew deeply, others a little, and then one not at all. Yet now, I can call them each marvelous friends that have touched my life in very profound ways. We were transparent with one another, sometimes in tears and other times through laughter. We connected, healed, shared, and enriched our lives, much like the company promised. Although we came in many different forms and backgrounds, we made a beautiful puzzle scene together, intertwining perfectly. We had topics to focus our discussions on; respect, presence, flexibility, potential, commitment, tolerance, moderation, generosity, dependability, purpose, stability, and acceptance. When else would I have put thought into these issues then taught them to my children?

This week we meet for the final time. I’m saddened by it but also know that it won’t be the ‘end’ at all. April, Denise, Kristin, Lara, Laura, Shanna, Shannon, Tiffany, Tami, Yuko, and last but not least Yvette…I thank you for being my “Gratituesday”. I genuinely love each of you.
(photo taken at the final LLL meeting while we missed Shannon, Lara, and Yuko!)