Monday, August 31, 2015


Anticipation is in the air at the Gutshall house.  I know when you are pregnant with the third child, it can seem less exciting because you've been there and done that.  But something super fun about this time around is that Emerson and Lyla are old enough to anticipate and get excited about our growing family.  Anytime we do much preparation, they get super involved.  And they love to talk about what they are going to do with the baby or how they are going to help take care of her.  I've probably shared this before but we had a really difficult transition going from 1 to 2 children.  I have hope that this transition will be smoother because Emerson is older, more mature and not so wild.  Lyla is calm and independent.  Plus the two entertain each other quite often.  Emerson can also help in ways that are actually helpful!  I'm praying for a smoother transition and that this sweet babe is a light and joy after a a year of financial hardship.  Which leads me to tell you her name!  We are naming this sweet baby girl......
 Ellen Joy!

 Ellen means a bright shining light and Joy means joy in the Lord.  We are just under two months away from her due date and look forward to welcoming her into our family.

I also want to update you on my older two while I am actually sitting down and writing a post, because that rarely happens these days ;)  First, Emerson.  This boy has been mostly a delight lately.  I feel like when he turned 4, he really started mellowing out and not being so wild constantly (though he's learned to be quite the whiner these days too)!  He spends a lot of his time playing outside with our neighborhood kids going on adventures, creating "campsites", exploring, and just getting dirty and sweaty in general.  These boys are pretty creative and have a lot of fun together.  He is also playing soccer again this fall and is quite the "beast" as one mother called him, haha!  He tends to be a high scorer and I think enjoys himself.  I'm proud of the boy he's becoming.

Lyla girl is very much a girly girl lately, dressing up as either a princess, ballerina, or Minnie Mouse most days.  When I pick out her outfit in the morning, she must confirm that it twirls before I put it on her.  But she also knows how to get dirty and sweaty with big brother as well.  As I shared recently, I love a little tomboy with my princess ;)

The girl is STILL obsessed with books and particularly likes them in a stack.  She picks out books, stacks them up and then asks you to read them to her.  If I'm not at a place to stop what I'm doing and read, she will read them to herself.  It's quite a different experience having a girl toddler than a boy.  I secretly love it.

Hopefully I can post again before Ellen Joy comes with one last life update, because I think there might be more "news" to share by that point!  Until then, goodbye!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Using Truth to Fight Depression

Have you ever experienced depression? I'm not talking about being in a “funk” one day, but a serious, dark depression. It is very real. Things are dark and oppressed and hopeless. I have had long-term bouts of darkness and depression. Times where I feel like everything is spiraling downhill and my future is dark and full of struggle. I must preface this post by saying that I definitely believe there are times where medication is appropriate. A true chemical imbalance and where you have no ability to even begin to battle this struggle on your own. I have been there, and this post is not to say that taking medication for depression is wrong.

Now that I am pregnant with baby #3, I have seen random signs of depression and it is very discouraging to me. I have called out to God and my support system (husband, mom, mentor, etc.) to help through prayer. And I am intentionally fighting the battle as soon as my eyelids open every morning.

I do believe our enemy, Satan, is to blame for much of the depression and hopelessness we experience. So many of the things I was hearing were lies straight from the enemy to make me lose hope and doubt my Father. “When [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44b. But the Bible says the opposite about God, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” Psalm 51:6.

When I began to hear and believe the lies (if my child is this hard at this age, imagine how hard they are going to be as a teenager; why does God keep giving us children when I struggle so much with hormone related depression; now my children are going to deal with depression one day, etc.), I began to lose hope. I once heard someone say, “A lie believed to be true, affects you as if it's true.” If I really believe these things, I am going to live like they are true. I am going to lose hope as if they were true. Thus caused me to sink into that dark place. These thoughts are NOT coming from God.

So, I realized I am being attacked by the enemy. When Ephesians 6 teaches us about what armor to wear when going to battle, it says the main offensive weapon is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Therefore, I have been daily battling the enemy and his lies with Scripture. I speak truth to myself rather than listening to myself or dwelling on lies/fears. I pray Scripture in the morning. I DECIDE what I am going to think about when I have spare time instead of letting my mind wander or be affected by my circumstances (SPEAK to myself instead of LISTEN to myself).

I have found Psalm 51 and 52 to be very applicable in dealing with depression. If you struggle with this, I urge you to pull out your (real) Bible and read through these chapters slowly and think about how many of these verses should be our prayers every morning.

A few of the verses I need in chapter 51 are these, verses 10-12:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

When I am in a dark place, my spirit is not in a right place. My prayers can be accusatory and angry, full of emotion and even lies I'm believing. I now pray these verses... Lord, forgive me for my heart's response and renew my spirit. Make my spirit and mind right, so I can humble myself and pray. The second sentence, I pray in reverse. Lord, let me feel your Presence of peace at all times, even in this hopeless state. Let me know you are here, because I feel so alone. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, so I can hear truth, instead of only the enemy's lies right now. Finally, restore to me the joy of salvation, because that is my only hope (not financial security or many, obedient children, a beautiful house, etc.). And uphold me with a willing spirit, because I can't hold myself up right now.

Literally on the floor in despair I've prayed this. I am trying to pray such things first thing in the morning, so that way the first thing I'm reminded of are these truths and the love and faithfulness of God. It reminds me of what my hope is truly in.

The following Psalm, chapter 52(vs. 2-5) is full of great encouragement concerning God's future conquering of our enemy.

“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.”

God will win! This is the truth and my hope. The enemy speaks lies, but God will conquer him one day. I will not only be free from the bondage of lies then, but I can be free NOW too even while I'm on this earth. Lord, free me from that bondage of lies. Help me to ONLY believe what is true.

I pray that God uses this struggle for my good, for my sanctification. To deepen my faith and show me His faithfulness and unfailing love.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” Joseph said this in Genesis 50:20, to his brothers, years after they had sold him into slavery, he had been imprisoned for years, and then God used him to interpret the dream as a prophecy of the drought to come, so they could be prepared for it. Even though Joseph's brothers and Satan would have loved for ruin to come to Joseph through his circumstances, God used it for good and His glory. I pray the same for myself. Even though Satan means harm to come to me through this struggle, I pray that God uses it for good.

I realize that I am being very vulnerable by posting about my depression for the world to see. But I think in the church, we are called to be that support and encouragement for each other. When I was honest about this to close friends and my church family, several other women admitted to dealing with the same struggle. I have seen that when we can relate to each other in this, we can help support one another in ways that others who have never struggled with depression know how to. I pray God uses this vulnerability of mine to draw you to himself, to teach you how to proactively battle the enemy with the sword of the Spirit, and to encourage you to be vulnerable to those around you and establish a support system.

Hold tight to this promise, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Don't let the enemy use this struggle to turn you against God or your spouse or children, but to draw you to them.


“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A few thoughts on family planning

If you are reading this, you probably heard the news!  Caleb and I are expecting Baby #3!  We are due October 29th and are excited and blessed to see our family grow.  God is good and gracious.

I am not one be very opinionated about many things, but I do have something I would like to share with those of you who are married and in your childbearing years, lol.  I don't think everyone is called to have lots of kids.  I won't judge you if you only have one child, or if you have 20!  It's not my place to judge how many you are supposed to have.

My main conviction is that you should PRAY ABOUT IT!  The last few years, it has come to bother me when Christians don't consult the "Lord of their life" to ask how many kids God would call them to have.  Yes, we'll pray about what college to go to, or what job to take, or who to marry, but not about something as eternally significant about whether to let God create life through us at all!  We are so in control of it all, the decision to prevent, to attempt for pregnancy (and when we decide we want it, we want it right then!), and again prevent (even permanent decisions).

I know many newlyweds who just outright decide to prevent pregnancy for years, because that goes according to their own plan or goals (I was one!).  I'm not saying everyone needs to have kids as soon as they get married; I just think they need to actually THINK about it and PRAY about it, instead of just making a decision assuming that's what they should do.  And I know many married couples who determine exactly how many kids to have OR the spacing between their children based on their own wants or perceived capabilities to handle said children.  Concerning capabilities, let me just say that even one child is HARD and more sanctifying than you know, so it is beyond my own abilities to even raise and train one according to God's will.  I am dependent on HIM each day.  (My kids could probably sing the song "Turn your eyes upon Jesus" because that is one of my regular songs that I sing aloud to get my mind in the right place on a hard or dark day.)

I don't think that the reasons mentioned above should be the only reasons to base our decision on.  After having Emerson I was ready to have another when he was only 10 months old!  But after having Lyla (who was a hard, sleepless baby) it took me a LOT longer to get to that point.  And it was with prayer and conversations with Caleb that we decided to prolong the process.

But even though kids are hard on many days, they also bring so much joy and life.  Choosing to bear children is being obedient to God's command to increase and multiply.  It is also glorifying to Him in how sanctifying it is of us sinners.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." 

Psalm 127:3-5

Final thought: His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.  Consulting only ourselves on this huge decision could be a mistake.  Ask God what his will for YOUR family is.  Ask him to make your heart and desires aligned with His.

(Side note: I do know many women who are unable to have children and I think, obviously, that adopting children would fulfill this calling as well.  AND be fulfilling the job of the Church we are called to in James 1:27.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Party Animals!

We had a joint birthday party for Emerson and Lyla this year!  If you are looking for pinterest worthy ideas, themes, and games, you are in the wrong place! LOL... I have had the conviction lately that I am done keeping up with the fancy people on the internet!  This goes for my home, my parenting, my fashion, AND birthday parties! When I was a kid, my birthday was magical simply because it was my day and I had family and cake and balloons, and I probably liked the presents too. So, that's what we did this year.  We had it at the park and didn't even really have a theme.  Just balloons, streamers, cakes, family, and presents!

The morning of Emerson's 4th birthday, he was ecstatic.  He could hardly contain his excitement.  He just kept doing this.

We gave him a present or two that day and put streamers up and had a few balloons!  We also had some cupcakes at playgroup.  He felt pretty special that day.

Here are  few things Emerson is up to these days:
-He is a big helper around here.  I'm really enjoying this older age!
- He is learning how to write his name.  He is just now enjoying quiet activities (puzzles, games, art, legos etc.)  Until now he has been so energetic he was not interested much in calm activities.
-He learned how to ride his bike without training wheels at 3 1/2.  I think it's because he learned using a balance bike.
-He favorite activity is wrestling.  And battling with swords.
-He loves playing with friends.  Some of his best friends are (in no particular order): Aidan, Shea, Graham, Connor, Sam (school), Caeden (cousin), and Caleb Braschler (little Caleb!).
-Favorite color: blue
-What he wants to be when he grows up: police man
-Favorite movie/show: Jake and the Neverland Pirates

The weekend of the party, family came into town and it was a fun cousin and grandparent filled weekend!

Now the cakes ARE pinterest worthy because my mother-in-law always makes their cakes and she does an amazing job!! Here is Emerson's:

Lyla's cake:

The birthday kids :)

The kids with their Great Grandparents:

Sorry I don't have a million pictures! We also had Emerson's first soccer game that next day!  He did pretty well and I think he has already improved! He did get a stitch in his side though that bothered him from all the running :)

It was a fun weekend and I think the kids felt pretty special and loved!  We are very blessed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Baby Girl Turns TWO!

How on earth is my baby girl TWO today?  I'm telling you this past year flew. by.  The one-year-old age is probably one of my favorites.  They are just such a cute size at this age and they are learning SO much SO fast.  They sleep well and learn to communicate and say funny things!  It's just a joy.  Lyla is a joy for me.

If you knew me during her first year of life, you knew that her first year was a HARD year.  But something switched around her first birthday and she is now (knock on wood) my easiest.  Here are a few things I want to remember about her at this age.

1.  She is OBSESSED with books. I've never seen anything like it.  It's almost at the point where I wonder if she should be playing other things sometimes. Ha!  She will stack up a big stack of books and want to read them.   If she sees you sit down, she will immediately gather some books and target you to read to her.  Grandma hates it.  Please note sarcasm.  She gets it from Grandma ;)
         a.  She particularly loves her Bible books.  She has memorized bits and pieces of several stories and she can go through them and tell you about them a little.  For example she says phrases like this, "Joseph daddy made coat."  or "Abraham count stars!"  or "Built tabernacle."  It's kind of cute.  I don't know why she loves these books so much.  Maybe the pictures or paper pages or the size of the books?  But I silently pray that she always loves God's word throughout her life.

Here are a few pics I stole of Lyla with her nose in a book!

Caleb and I feel that this picture pretty accurately captures our children

2.  She is an excellent talker.  Talked fluently early.  But she doesn't talk all the time.  She just speaks well.

3.  She enjoys the outdoors...until bugs.  Then we're terrified.  We will work on it this summer.  I blame the winter.

4.  She enjoys (most of the time) being friends with Emerson.  Sometimes she will even engage in a friendly wrestling match with him.

5.  She is independent and content to play by herself.  Unlike brother who wants to be around people 24/7, she enjoys time alone and will sometimes even lock herself in her room to read.

6.  She went through a very very long phase when she wanted me to sing her the ABC's every single night as her bedtime song.  I just tried to make it sound sleepy, long, and drawn out.  Ha.  In the mornings she likes to lie in bed for awhile before I come to get her.

Lyla, you are such a special girl to mommy.  And I pray we have a close relationship throughout our whole lives.  You are a light and joy and blessing to all of us and we are so grateful that God gave us you.  I pray that you grow up to love God and know Him and serve Him.  I love you!!

Monday, February 16, 2015


So, a week ago, my mom posted a video on facebook of a timehop back to 2 years ago.  It was a link to my blog and it was Emerson singing "Twinkle, twinkle"  when he was Lyla's age.  It melted my heart.  And it did something else too.  It made me actually miss blogging.

I think I originally gave up blogging almost a year ago because I started feeling like my motives were wrong in having a blog.  Was I wanting glory for myself?  Why would I have anything to share when I'm only in my 20's and haven't even had enough life experience to share my wisdom?  But when  looked back at my blog last week, it made me realize how full my blog was of sweet memories.  Even if I only get to blog once a month, that is better than nothing.  So, here goes!!

Arkansas FINALLY got a snow this winter!! If you know me at all, you know I am a huge fan of snow.  So, it felt so magical this morning to take the kids to the front window this morning first thing to see the pure, white, smooth snow covering everything.  It's so fun to see the wonder in their eyes when they see things like that.

One thing Caleb and I love about snow in Arkansas is that everything stops.  Everything gets cancelled.  In the busy culture we live in, it's nice for things to just stop and have a day at home as a family.  Caleb's job is so flexible that he will often just work from home on snow days :)  So, we get lots of family time.

Pancakes for breakfast, sledding with the neighbor kids, and a warm fire to welcome us back in.  It's been a sweet day. Happy Snow Day!!!