Friday, September 15, 2017

Days of Play Amidst Summer School

  • My mom came to help me for the next two months ( as I was growing bigger. Her visit ended up being very fortuitous with perfect timing due to a heavy transcript load and my physical health; what a God-send!!
  • I have always had restless leg syndrome (RLS) to some degree for 12 years but usually kept it under control through natural means. However, it kept worsening with this pregnancy and culminating in August. These past two months were marked by sleeplessness, pain, wailing, screaming, warm baths and all kinds of attempts for relief (31 to be exact, yes I have a list), verse recitation, worship, and crying out to God all night. Ricky called this time in our life a "living hell." What helped other people didn't even come close to offering me any alleviation. It had grown so severe that I had nonstop RLS and pain 24/7 prohibiting sleep for days and felt like I was losing my mental sanity. I would have to drink caffeinated coffee to ride in a car and make it through a day, but even caffeine stopped working. I gave in and took a pharmaceutical prescribed for me. It's a dopamine agonist. It's not a sleep drug but calms my legs down so my body can rest. And it lasts all the next day, too! But, I am a goner by 8-9pm, my old computer-work time :( We are waiting for test results regarding my low dopamine levels before moving ahead. Although I suffered great agony, baby boy is growing and moving a lot (more than the other two at this point) safe in his cocoon of love! We did begin to wonder just how long he would remain unaffected by my lack of rest and high stress levels.
  • We think we have a name for baby boy, but we are waiting to see him once he's born to make sure it fits him; so we are not revealing it ahead of time ;)
  • First week of July: We finished our school year last week; Grandma took the kids to a free summer movie one morning; we went to some friends' birthday party for their kids; and, I did Aolani's first standardized test, breaking it up into 45-minute sections over three days (she had fun and loved it!) 
  • Second week of July: We went ahead and started school -- Kindergarten and Second Grade -- as we'll take a long break when baby comes; a month of swim lessons starts, and Aolani is now swimming on her own and Micaiah is on the brink now!; I had an Ob/Gyn appointment; and, we enjoyed hosting some missionary friends from Albania for a quick visit :) 
  • Third week of July: Aolani had her first dentist appointment with no problems! We had some friends over for dinner one night.
  • Fourth week of July: All five of us went to the movie theater; we went for a prayer walk (I couldn't make it as long as normal); we hosted our church's seasonal missions' meeting; we went to the theater again for a double date with friends; and, we visited a friend out-of-town for church and lunch.
  • Aolani informed us, "My favorite part of my body is my leg because I can use it for everything!" :)
Made her own flag for Independence Day




Swim lessons









The Butternut Squash family
Friends' birthday party

We had a missionary family stay the night (boys slept together and girls were together -- they loved it!)
"I'm Daddy!"
  • School verses: Micaiah -- Romans 3:23, Acts 16:31, Colossians 3:20 ; Aolani -- Psalm 106:1, James 1:19, Philippians 4:4 
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:25-8

Saturday, September 9, 2017

7 months

I will share more later but hope to get July and August done this month. I am now doing better after two months of pure misery. However, I now go to bed at 8pm, leaving me little computer time...

Here I am at 7 months; I know you can't see my largeness straight on!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Jewel {poem}

I am undergoing much physical suffering right now and am significantly behind on everything! So, computer time is very minimal, but this "season of life" should produce good pondering posts later on! ;) Who knows when I'll get to July's update, but in the meantime, here's a poem Ricky recently wrote...

THE JEWEL
by Ricky DiMartino 


Below old, round hill of tall oaken wood,
Cleft into its foot of sod and red earth,
A grey-walled cavern deep and dark there stood,
Arrayed with gems and jewels and ore of great girth.

Alone and untouched this cave did not stay,
For many a miner from far and near
Heard tale of lodes as long as the day,
Of gold and emerald and rubies dear.

The mine bid all to come and swing pick-ax—
Men, giants, and dwarves—amid sweat and groans.
Kings, queens, and lords spent the best of men's backs,
And peasant women clawed with calloused bones.

Then one bright, chill morning on cusp of spring
The threshold of the cavern door was breached
By a maiden with hair of golden rings.
In she walked where no wind or sunlight reached.

Above her, beside her, and underfoot
Were many stones for which men lust.
Just one small gem, if in her pocket put,
Would deliver her from a life of dust.

Candle in hand, bare feet upon dark dirt,
A sudden glimmer of gold caught her gaze.
Shuffling to its glare, something snagged her skirt.
Turning round she cast her light through the haze.

There upon the ground was nothing of note,
Save one oddly shaped, crusty lump of clay.
Nothing would draw any soul to its coat,
Yet from her eye came a curious ray.

With lamp by her feet and hand outstretchéd,
The lass bent low to examine the clump
Of ugly, hardened, broken earth wretched.
And whilst in study hearts began to thump.

For reasons not even her mind could guess
This object of no desire had found
Its way into the pocket of her breast.
And out she walked from the cave underground.

Townspeople and passersby looked askance
At this fair maiden with nondescript orb.
Yet if one caught glimpse of her eyes, by chance,
One would see what this girl sought to absorb.

For in her heart she sensed there could be more
To this plain chunk of mud crumbling apart.
She was determined to get to its core
And someday, perhaps, unearth its true heart.

To her small humble stone cottage she fled,
Just on the border betwixt town and wood,
And with each swift, quickening step she bred
A thought, a fancy... a dream of what could.

Through cottage door she burst, clutching hard rock.
Forgoing all past, she began at once
To scrape away by finger and by block
The grit and the grime through grimace and grunts.

But unforgiving was its filth and crud
And fast to the clod of clay they did cling.
Thin did patience wear 'mid many a thud.
Fiercer tool was declined lest gem she sting.

Set upon her task as waves upon shore,
She beat earth with renewed vigor and joy.
And as sediment heaped about the floor,
Expectation and hope failed to cloy.

Wonders were imagined and hopes were sown.
What could lay underneath the ugly smut?
Sapphire, emerald, or onyx stone?
Surely much labor would yield precious gut.

But the blossom and bloom of spring did pass,
As oft they do in seasons of great trial.
And into a woman grew the sweet bonny lass,
A woman bitten hard by winter and denial.

Housework neglected and garden long dead,
Thoughts of ill spent time stirred up weary fears.
For life lived between but table and bed
Left little food for the hard coming years.

Prudence and patience no more in reserve,
Down with hachet of steel she struck,
To get at this thing gnawing her nerve,
To divide its marrow from the muck.

And as she cut deep and carved many a chunk,
Hewing and sculpting, leaving no dark blot,
Something was wrong; in fact, it plainly stunk.
It became not sweet but wreaked of foul rot.

A fungus it had, coursing through and through.
She nearly threw the thing out the window
But something stayed her hand and then she knew,
Into the blast furnace it now must go.

And char it she did and char it some more,
Refining and purging night and day,
Until blight and blemish were seen no more
And long-sought jewel might shine forth from burnt clay.

But much scorching left it with coat of ash.
All it was now was cinder and black soot.
Against hard stone wall the rock she did dash.
Then, to be sure, she kicked it with her foot.

Her endeavor had lasted long, too long.
And yet the stubborn clod refused to yield
To her tireless striving, brave and strong.
So out she walked to bury it in the field.

The long years had been inclement and grey,
“With nothing,” said they, “to show for her toil.”
So here she knelt on this cold autumn day
To dig a hole and damn it below soil.

But as she clawed the tough earth up and out,
Her grief and stress became too much to bear.
Looking up at darkening sky with doubt,
She collapsed upon the ground to die there.

The ashen clump fell, no more in her grip...
But there came one last smite upon the stain.
And with the thunderclap that loosed the drip,
She saw now at last what had been her bane.

For as Heaven's shower washed o'er the stone
And the last stains drained away to the north,
She raised her head to behold the unknown.
And a diamond, the king of jewels, showed forth!

Of all the stones under the oaken hill,
To have at the last found the best of gems
Was vindication that left her most still.
Her rejoicing was heard on down the Thames.

Her soul light but her body frail, she rose
For one last journey across this sad earth.
With her precious diamond in hand, she chose
To give the needy great treasure and mirth.

Finally she passed into well earned rest.
She had given her life for this one ore,
That in the end, when complete was her test,
This rock might be of some worth to the poor.

The vast masses that had long scorned and mocked
Were now in awe and marveled at her wake,
Scarcely believing that among them had walked

This woman, immortal jewel of Heaven's make.

*Dedicated to all wives.

(C) August 21, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Marriage in Light of Eternity {video}

The best talk and take on marriage I have ever heard. By Francis and Lisa Chan. I just got their audiobook, You and Me Forever, and started it today! Finally... the right view on marriage!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

My Righteousness

"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."  ~ Matthew 5:20
Well. I certainly don't feel like my righteousness surpasses that of Pharisees and teachers of the law! So, what does this mean?

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away" (Isaiah 64:6). Yep, my righteousness definitely is better described as filthy rags.

But wait...

God made His Son Jesus “who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21).

"For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness," (Isaiah 61:10).

Christ now clothes me with His robes of righteousness! Which FAR surpasses!

He makes me righteous not me. His righteousness is my righteousness. Woohoo!

I'm covered -- literally. You?

*This is not to say that we should not pursue righteousness in our lives. For indeed His Spirit inside us helps us to live and think rightly. But our righteousness does not get us into Heaven -- faith in Christ alone does that and that's how we get His righteousness!
**This is what theologians call the doctrine of imputed righteousness.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Backwards Heart

  • We found out the baby is a... BOY!  We were surprised as we thought that the baby was a girl. We haven't settled on a name yet but have ideas :) I began feeling baby movement during 20 weeks.
  • First week of June: cardiologist appointment (echo-cardiogram revealed my heart to be normal -- heart wall thickening is now gone! God used Symptometry to heal my heart :); visited Wycliffe's JAARS headquarters; enjoyed a baptism for our Marshallese friends; and, went to the movie theater with a girlfriend.  
  • Second week of June: met with my doula; my friend I've known for 16 years visited us for the first time, and we took him to a famous barbeque restaurant in Asheville and a nice lake; and, met my parents halfway so they could take Aolani for her week-long grandparent visit.
  • Third week of June: Micaiah got to spend alone time with us since Aolani was with my parents; had the gender ultrasound and celebrated by going to the park and getting ice cream; had chiropractic appointments (which Micaiah calls a massage:); retrieved Aolani and celebrated Father's Day at a new restaurant.
  • Fourth week of June: attended Ricky's annual court reporting conference for one night, which was held at the casino in Cherokee, NC this year (I homeschooled in the hotel room while Ricky had meetings); and, then we left there and headed to Kentucky for our 10-year college reunion at Asbury University. They put on camps for all the kids (swimming, games, movies -- fun)! Meanwhile, we attended chapels, events, fireworks... and caught up with friends and professors. We stayed with a friend and got to share a few meals:) We went to our friends' house church and received prayers and prophecies :) We even were able to meet Ricky's dad and brother for lunch and the park, and we got to get together with other college friends for a cookout and to let our kids play. Before we left the next day, we had a brunch with some friends and got a few dream interpretations to test ;) Our trip was a very enriching time!
  • Last week of June: visited a Guatemalan church, and received a visit from a friend as we celebrated her birthday and the end of a school year!
  • Micaiah's mishaps: When Aolani was gone for her grandparent week, he commented, "I forgot what Aolani looks like; I need to go to the fridge to remember!" (her picture is on the fridge); after watching a cartoon version of The Hobbit, he informed us, "This movie is good for your mind"; and, has begun to pronounce 'L's not as the 'W' sound, and his speech is so cute right now as he is making the effort and emphasizing those syllables!
  • Aolani's antics: was really sad when we found out the baby is a boy; loves to boss littler kids around; asked, "How long do I have to walk to get to the end of the universe?"; loves all flowers, card-making, and giving; is growing more defiant and acts like a teenager; and, began swimming by herself!


Micaiah and Ricky's top priority during our week alone with him was to build the Lord of the Ring Lego castle set ;)
Girl in wheelchair homeschooling in casino hotel room -- yep, that's got to be a first!

Cherokee is in the Great Smokey mountains, which boasts of its bears
Classic Micaiah
driving through the Great Smokey mountains
a little nervous going down an inflatable slide for the first time
at a cookout with our friends from college and their kids
Aolani's butterfly garden {see video below}



Our friend, Wes, who visited
Celebrating a new baby brother with frozen yogurt ;)
Kids' Camp at our college reunion

Aolani wanted to bake Rosemary-Cornmeal cookies for our new neighbors :)

5 months pregnant
  • School verses: Micaiah -- Philippians 3:1, Psalm 119:105, John 3:16 ; Aolani -- Proverbs 1:7, and worked on learning the books of the New Testament
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:20-24

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Truth About Vaccines -- Episode 1 {video}

This is good and so worthwhile. Not pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine. It encourages discussion and critical thinking. It's almost two hours long, so I broke it down and watched 10-20 minutes at a time ;)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Recording a Spiritual Timeline

For one of my courses in college, I was asked to create a spiritual timeline -- just jotting down notes of ways you see God at work in your life. It's usually chronologically recorded and things noticed in hindsight. Mine consists of both big events and insights.

Anyway, it was one of the best things I've ever done! I usually try to update my timeline every year. This way when I'm asked to speak or share or whatever, I can pull it up, browse through it, and jog my memory of God's faithfulness to me in my life so far (I have a terrible long-term memory).

I did things a little different when I spoke last month. I read through my timeline on my own, selected and named 21 stories, gave the group the titles, and let them pick which stories sounded interesting to hear. It was fun!

I cannot recommend recording your personal spiritual timeline enough! It's so rewarding to remember and see God's handiwork in your life. Every time I read over mine, praise and awe and tears combust :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Family Under Construction

  • May -- friends unexpectedly stop by; final small group before our leaders leave to adopt their little girl from China; day of appointments -- chiropractor, OB/Gyn, prenatal massage (birthday present from Ricky); new friends visit; Grandpa and Uncle Robby visit, and the men go shoot guns; I speak at a women's luncheon; go to a new restaurant for Mother's Day; go on a prayer walk; attend kids' art exhibit (ice cream social with art stations); a friend visits overnight; another friend hung out one afternoon to play games; and, some friends came over for a Memorial Day cookout/kid swim :)

with Uncle Robby and Grandpa
Kindle time

her house at the art exhibit

Micaiah's sculpture house
tea party and hymn sing with Daddy
The final meal cooked by our neighbor girl
Some of his Lego creations



One of the 17-year cicadas that took over our area this month. The kids loved playing with them everyday and treating them like pets. Every morning it sounded like an alien invasion outside. Micaiah liked his new nickname, "Micaiah the Cicada".
with our friend from China

4 months pregnant
  • School verses: Micaiah -- Ephesians 5:25, Matthew 5:10, Exodus 20:7, Matthew 6:20, Proverbs 11:1 ; Aolani -- Psalm 119:11, Psalm 150:1-6, John 14:23
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:15-19