Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Need A Band-Aid

“Pure Christian humility is silent about the sins of others, or speaks of them with grief and pity. The spiritually proud person finds fault with other saints for their lack of progress in grace, while the humble Christian sees so much evil in his own heart, and is so concerned about it, that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts.

One under the influence of spiritual pride is more apt to instruct others than to ask questions. Such a person naturally puts on the airs of a master. The eminently humble Christian thinks he needs help from everybody, whereas the spiritually proud person thinks everybody needs his help. Christian humility entreats and
beseeches, spiritual pride commands and warns with authority.”

~ Jonathon Edwards

Pride, especially spiritual pride, has really been on my heart and mind lately. I wanted to write about it more, but this thought says it all. No extra words necessary, except... OUCH!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Determinator

"God is God. I dethrone Him in my heart if I demand that He act in ways that satisfy my idea of justice." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

"Right is still right even if no one is doing it, and wrong is still wrong even if everyone is doing it." ~ Chuck Swindoll

Mercola's Medical Myth #1

Cardio is One of the Best Types of Exercise

In recent years, researchers have begun to realize that conventional cardio, such as jogging, is not all it’s been cracked up to be, and that you can actually improve your health and increase fat burning by making slight modifications to your cardio routine.

The problem is that traditional cardio only works on the slow twitch muscle fibers in your red muscle, completely ignoring your white muscle super-fast twitch fibers.

“Peak 8” refers to peak exercises done once or twice a week, in which you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a 90-second recovery period.

To perform these properly you will want to get very close to, if not exceed, your maximum heart rate by the last interval. Your maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus your age. You will need a heart rate monitor to measure this as it is nearly impossible to accurately measure your heart rate manually when it is above 150.

Researchers have found that interval cardio produces a unique metabolic response that is in large part responsible for its superior benefits. Intermittent sprinting produces high levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which allow more fat to be burned from under your skin and within your muscles. The resulting increase in fat oxidation is thought to drive the increased weight loss.

It is also the only type of exercise that will increase growth hormone levels. This becomes especially important after the age of 30, when growth hormones steadily decline. It is much safer and far less expensive to have your body make growth hormone naturally though Peak 8 type exercises than inject it like many athletes do to the tune of $1500 per month.

See my previous post for the introduction to Dr. Mercola's article, 12 Medical Myths Even Most Doctors Believe.

Short n' Sweet from a Sushi Bar

  • Ever since I wrote about her crib time confusion, I've been thinking of ways to let her know when it's play time versus nap time. So, I thought that we should have a nap time routine. Maybe just maybe this will help her take her naps instead of skipping or crying through them. Bottom line: She has never skipped a nap since I started a routine!

  • We are taking a short break from our unsuccessful attempts at feeding her solids.

  • Yes, we are vacationing with the Oliver family down in Florida. More on this paradise later :)

  • Verse to memorize this week: Matthew 11:28 ~ "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Happy Packer

"The Supervisor" (to help keep Mommy on track!)

The Oliver family is driving down to Florida today for a family vacation. We fly down there tomorrow to meet them for some fun in the sun :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grace and Needs Collide

This thought is not my own, but John Piper brought it to my attention. I had never noticed or thought about it before, but it pertains to some verses in Philippians 4. Since I memorized that chapter, insight into verses I chew on all day long highly interests me!

It’s the same as the other biblical promise: “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). This promise is clarified in the preceding words: “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13).

It says we can do “all things” through Christ. But notice “all things” includes “hungering” and “needing.” God will meet every real need, including the ability to rejoice in suffering when many felt needs do not get met. God will meet every real need, including the need for grace to hunger when the felt need for food is not met. The suffering and death of Christ guarantee that God will give us all things that we need to do his will and to give him glory and to attain everlasting joy.

This is eye-opening for me! I have always thought that verse 19 referred to all my felt needs, too. I never thought to look back earlier in the chapter for clarification. And just yesterday I read about a missionary starving to death, while reveling in the goodness of God.

Again: God will give us all things that we need to do his will.

Grace covers me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Get An Edge

“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.” ~ Atwood H. Townsend

“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mercola's Top 12 Health Myths

Dr. Mercola, a natural health guru we respect, wrote an article called 12 Medical Myths Even Most Doctors Believe that is enlightening, accurate, and educational. I will give his brief input on each myth for the following 12 Tuesday's Tips. This way it's not an overwhelming amount of information at once.

Here's the intro leading into his 12 myths:

CNN has published a list of the “truth about twelve “health myths”. Among the myths this article busts? “If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way.” “Eat the crust of your bread because it’s full of antioxidants,” and, “to get rid of hiccups, have someone startle you.”


There is massive amount of medical misinformation circulating right now, which is causing an epidemic of chronic disease, unprecedented in human history, and their big concern is whether or not if you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way?

CNN is beyond clueless.

The primary purpose of their article is entertainment, as it has absolutely nothing to do with the top health myths. With articles such as this one, CNN is part of the problem of perpetuating misinformation and leading you astray with nonsense.

Below I will review 12 REAL health myths that CNN didn’t bother to mention, even though these are the cause of a lot of unnecessary suffering and premature death.

With all the medical misinformation we’re currently exposed to on a daily basis, it’s disappointing to see CNN waste time and space on yet another entertainment-style fluff piece, discussing “health myths” that have no real bearing on your health whatsoever.

Because, believe me, there is no shortage of real health myths that can, and do, have a massive impact on tens of thousands if not millions of people.

Here is my list of the top 12 health myths, none of which CNN bothered to mention...

The list begins next week!

Disclaimer: No, we do not agree with EVERYTHING he says.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Flower Amongst Flowers

  • Aolani turned 7 months old over the weekend.

  • Her two new foods this week were bananas and homemade stewed apples. And she still purses her mouth closed and jerks her head away when food is in sight. Oh well. I think we're going to take a little break. There's no rush, and I don't want to force-feed her.

  • Ricky and I went on a date yesterday afternoon. To Buffalo Wild Wings. Very romantic. Broncos versus Seahawks. The latter went home squawkin' (sorry honey)! We were a bit too conspicuous in our little corner. With the chessboard on the table. Multi-tasking ;) And, I think all of the staff knew it because they were smirking and asking us who won the chess match as we were leaving. This reminds me of the time I took a schoolbook to catch up on some homework at a Reds baseball game in college. Unaware, the mascot came up behind me, grabbed my book away, and threatened to toss it over the fence. I was a little embarrassed. Or, when Ricky snuck a chessboard into his middle school dance. Yeah, we're two-of-a-kind... kind meaning nerds. But hey, an anonymous guest picked up our tab for us. Thank you to whoever you are. The popcorn shrimp were tasty :)

  • Verse to memorize this week: Ephesians 4:29 ~ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommy Knows Best

Mommy knows best.

Every (new) mom has probably been inundated with this oft-repeated phrase. In fact, I heard it so much that I just dismissed it - never really grasped the meaning. The implications. But, I've been thinking.

What is best?

Well, that's a loaded question. I have always thought best equates with perfect. And, a perfect world consists of ideals. What can I say? As you may well know, I am a first-class idealist. Mommy knows best? Meant do a little research and figure out what techniques would produce the ideal outcome of a perfect baby. So my wayward, uninformed, inexperienced mind figured.

Baby arrives. The TEACHER has come. And, I find myself at a complete loss. Ignorant student. Didn't I know that babies are little people - individuals? No two alike? What works for one doesn't work for mine! My mind constantly screams HELP! What is wrong with her? WAIT. That is unfair. What is wrong with me is the question. I am learning. Alas, this pupil is still in preschool.

Back to the question: What does mommy knows best mean?

Answer: Mommy knows what is best for her family. This is a truth that becomes quite clear each passing day. I had all these ideals of how I wanted to do things. But, she didn't follow my expectations. She didn't do what I wanted, what I thought was best. I was incredibly frustrated. And then I realized, I needed to stop trying to change her in order to keep the ideals. I needed to change my definition of best. Because some of the ideals did not work in our family. They were creating burdens we were not meant to carry. Best does not mean ideal. In this context, best means best for us. Yes, we still aim for ideals, but we usually fall far short. But, if Daddy is content, Mommy is sane, and Baby is healthy, then that is the happy outcome. Sometimes just making it all work is the best for this family.

Example: Aolani has to spend more time in her crib than most other babies. Much more time than I would like. We spend a lot of her play time in the crib together because that is one of the few places I am able to use (transferring her from a wheelchair). Ideally, I want to take her all over the house to play. I don't want her to confuse play time and nap time every time she is in her crib (since she sleeps there, too). But, I think that it is better for her (and me) to spend more time in her crib playing together rather than being placed in a swing at a daycare. This is what I feel is the better alternative for our family.

How to get to the best for us? Hold up the ideal, and ask yourself three questions:
  1. Is this possible for us?
  2. What do I need to modify to make this work for us?
  3. Is the benefit from the ideal worth the stress this is going to cause trying to implement this?
To be honest, that's the process I use for most of my decisions :)

One very important lesson to take from all this is this: You cannot ever make a judgement on another mother or family for how they do things. You cannot understand all the ins and outs and workings of another family. There are innumerable differences between families. Some breastfeed, some do formula. Some stay at home, some do daycare. Some share a bed, some don't. Some watch t.v., some don't. Some homeschool, some don't. No mother ever needs to feel judged or condemned for how they do things.

Mommy knows best.

"And sometimes, we have to let go of the Good to make room for what is Good For Us, so that we can offer our Best and focus on the Essential." ~ Vina Barham
I often make mistakes, feel guilty, or wallow in disappointment. But then I remember to not look down. Don't be a bottom-dweller. Look up! I am forgiven in Jesus! His grace floods my being.

Lamentations 3:22-24 ~ The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Knowing Jesus

I love quotes – don’t you? Short, thought-provoking, and to-the-point.

So, on Wednesdays, I will share one or two that impacted me over the past week.

“[In Egypt], our theology is the theology of pain. It is not a theology of prosperity. We don’t know the theology of prosperity, but we know Jesus.” ~ Egyptian Believer
“The promises of the little kingdom [our agenda, our desires] will always fail. They will always leave me coming up short, because the spiritual oxygen that my heart needs to breathe can only be found in the Lord. Achievement, acceptance, appearance, and possessions may give you identity, meaning, and purpose for awhile. But they will enslave you in the process and disappoint you in the end.” ~ Paul David Tripp

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just One Thing

"Most of us, when we are praying, think of the pancake on the stove which might burn. While making pancakes, we think how nice it would be to pass our time in prayer. While speaking with one man, we think how useful it would be to pass our time with another. We never do anything well. Only one thing can be done well at a time." ~ Richard Wurmbrand

Ricky is going to laugh at me. How often am I found doing several things at once? I consistently am multitasking. Or dreaming of what I wish I was doing instead of what I am doing. But do I ever focus on ONE thing, the present thing (the thing at hand), and do it well? Now that there is a baby with nonstop wants and needs, this really seems far-fetched. Maybe it's not. I am not bashing multitasking or daydreaming, but I do not want to dismiss the moments at hand to excel for the sake of something else. I am sure there is a balance to be discovered. You know the cliché - Be where you are. I guess that's a good place to start.

Tip: Do one thing and do it well.

Application: I am a beginner, so I am going to start by taking two minutes to just focus on my breathing. When I pay attention to my breathing, I noticed that I breathe slower and deeper. And now my health gets a boost, too :)

Only one thing is needed... so let's do that well.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Boxes and Veggies and Games - Oh My!

  • Ricky brought something home to us, and we don't know what. It wasn't a big, bad sickness, albeit one terrible day for me last week. Congestion is left in the wake (Aolani still blows really cute snot bubbles ;)
  • First food: sweet potato. Second food: avocado. Reaction: doesn't get it. She spits it everywhere while making fart noises and thinks she is gagging every time any gets in her mouth. She's even cried some during the ordeal! I tell her that there is no rush to learning to eat real food ;) [Some must have gotten swallowed as her poop stinks now!]

We just mixed some real food with water.

  • NFL started this past weekend. To usher the season in, I have joined my first fantasy league (a small family business)!
  • Aolani is really growing - she cooked dinner for us last week!

  • We put her the hardwood floor and watched her slide herself backwards across the room :)
  • Daddy rocking her box-boat:

Friday, September 10, 2010

The DiMartino Chronicles

The construction phase is over. I don't know if this site looks better, but I think it more accurately represents our hearts and vision for this blog. Take a look around!

We based the blog on 2 Kings 19:30, which reads, "The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward." Why? Because that is our heart's desire for us as individuals, for our marriage, and for our family: To bear fruit upward by taking root downward. By delving into the LORD, we hope to impart nuggets of truth He reveals to us. And, we hope that this blog will encourage, inspire, and bear fruit for you!

We are just a small family right now, but, God willing, we will grow and flourish in quality and quantity! This is just the recordings of our daily life, the musings of my mind, and the ponderings of my heart as God quietly does His work.

I will hopefully start implementing a structure to these posts next week. Structure? What? Sounds daunting, but it's not! It will ideally be something like this: Monday's Mosaic, Tuesday's Tip, Wednesday's Word of Wisdom, Thursday's Thought, and Friday's Frogs n' Flowers. Yes, I will miss days, skip some, and have random posts whenever. However, the structure is for my sake because it helps me to be accountable and spurs me on. No, I am not trying to meet the demand of some non-existent fan club. Since I no longer physically write (too tedious), this blog is like our family / my personal journal of things I would like to chronicle. So, the posts really won't change much. I just wanted to give you the heads up.

We pray that you would join us in taking root downward and bearing fruit upward!

The Two C's

They steal a cheerful heart. They bring gloom. They breed dissatisfaction. And they thrive on negativity.

Complaining and Criticism.

They may be buddies, but not ones I want to have!

These are the Words that I have to continually call to mind throughout my day:

"Do everything without complaining or arguing," Philippians 2:14

"If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:15

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." James 3:9-10

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt," Colossians 4:6

I know I've written about this before, but this (fighting the desire to criticize or complain) is such a stronghold in my life. So, fresh words about it are always convicting to me! Here are some good insights I've read lately.

"I have found that I can be rather critical. We excuse it as having a high sense of quality or wanting the best, but being critical can be a dangerous thing. If I look at someone and my heart is full of criticism, it steals my ability to bless that person. Criticism steals all the encouraging things that I should say out of my mouth. So, instead of being uplifting to that person, I am left standing in silence.

It also steals joy. It impoverishes us when we cannot rejoice in the work that others do. We could be enjoying and sharing, but instead we criticize and are left empty. A heart full of criticism has no room for something as large and life-changing as joy.

I would rather have a heart full of joy and good things to say about the people around me, than to have the power to force everyone to 'get it right.'

Sometimes the healthiest thing to do is to learn to be content."

-Zach Motts' blog post, The Joy Thief

I find that these negative attitudes and behaviors are not healthy for me -- spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally -- and, in fact, are destructive to my very being. Complaining and criticizing are the kind of "friends" that kick you while you're down. Just like self-pity. Anyway, here's another good article about it: Why We Are Addicted To Complaining And How To Stop It.

To combat negativity and frolic in the waters of joy inexpressible is exactly why I had started giving thanks for my boatload!

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our Labor Day Weekend

Ricky's parents came down for a visit, and here are the results :)
  • They brought her a Bumbo, which is very handy!

Is she practicing the sprinkler?

  • Her first dip in a pool (didn't love it, didn't hate it)

The water was too cold for Mommy to join.

That's my old bonnet!
  • Aolani and Nonna (Ricky's mom) played a coughing copycat game that is hilarious!
  • Her buddy, Grandpa

  • Progress: Her bald spot is gone, her second bottom tooth debuted, and she can sit up for a good while :)

  • Stranger anxiety has made its appearance this past month. This is when a person she is not familiar with gets in close proximity, pays her attention, and then she starts frowning and crying, gets scared, and curls up to the person holding her. So far, she has only done this with men. It's really sweet and endearing, though.

  • We got to see our niece, Kylie, walk a little on her own Sunday... too cute!

  • I can't read and nurse when I'm away from home. So after being out this weekend, I have another lullaby for you. Yippee!

Glory, Glory to the One (to the rhythm of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)
Glory, Glory to the One
In six days He got it done.
All He made was very good,
Only add His precious Blood.
Glory, Glory to the One
In six days He got it done.

Glory, Glory to the One
In six days He got it done.
On day seven take a rest,
for He knew it would be best.
Glory, Glory to the One
In six days He got it done.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feeding the Spirit

I find it so easy to incorporate more Scripture into my day now that I have a baby! Here is my plan of attack, aka helpful hints (I hope).
NURSING TIME: Let's say that on-average I feed her six times a day. For the first session, I sing songs to start the day off with our eyes on Jesus and put on the Armor of God for our whole family. During the next four sessions, I read aloud a chapter from the book of Philippians (there are four chapters) everyday. It takes me about three months to memorize the chapter by reading it aloud everyday. I started with one chapter a day until I had it down pat. Then, I would start the next chapter and still quote (no papers) the one I know by memory at the following session. It takes about five minutes to quote a chapter. I read a book the rest of the time. I cruise through books this way! Let me tell you, reading while nursing is an art! I'm just now getting the hang of it.
PLAYTIME: I sing to her a plethora of upbeat songs. Also, we make our way through a daily devotional that I read aloud while she eats the pages ;) I teach her simple life skills (cause/effect stuff), as well as what she sees or feels (textures).
NAP TIME: While I settle her down for naps, I sing one of my homemade lullabies :) Before bedtime, I sing hymns and other worship songs.
DIAPER TIME: For the first diaper change, I quote the same verses to her every day. During subsequent diaper changes, I "teach" her about her name and some basics, like spelling, counting, colors, body parts, shapes, time, animals (I know she's too young to learn this stuff, but hey, why not?) Here are the verses:
Psalm 34:8 ~ Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalm 43:5 ~ Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again — my Savior and my God!

Psalm 73:28 ~ But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ~ Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Matthew 6:33 ~ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 4:14 ~ Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.

John 14:6 ~ I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Galatians 2:20 ~ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 5:6 ~ The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Galatians 5:22-23 ~ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Hebrews 11:1 ~ Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:6 ~ And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

GOALS: While I randomly pray aloud with her during different times of the day, I need better guidelines. I would like to set aside specific times when we can pray for family, for friends, for the Persecuted Church, for missionaries we support, and for other things like our church, our nation, our leaders, the unreached, the world, etc. I do better when I pray for one topic at a time. Another goal for me would be to add one more verse to the group above to quote to her everyday. Hopefully, I could add a new verse each week this way.
I want to add that this is merely a structure. I do not follow this routine perfectly everyday. I miss some things, get sidetracked, don't feel like talking, desire silence, something else comes up... However, this structure is important! Why? Because it gives me a plan to go by when there are no unexpected interruptions. When all is well, when normal remains. And instead of being at a loss for words and trying to think of something to say or do, I can feed her spirit Words of Life! This is not a rigid form. The key is flexibility. Let the Holy Spirit lead the way. But, when I don't get it all "done" (or even half of it!), I just breathe a thankful sigh and praise God for His overwhelming grace poured out on me through Jesus!
For me, I do not let this "count" as my time with Father (devotional time or quiet time). I still need time alone with Daddy. Time to read His Word, time to pray quietly, time to repent, time to worship, time to listen, time to study, and time to let Him fill me with Himself!
There is something I have to guard against with all this Scripture memorization. I continually have to pray that I don't just recite this from my head. I want the Words to be memorized by my heart as well! Because that is where transformation happens! However, this is the right path. Randy Alcorn says, "What ends up in the heart comes in through the head."
I know this is grotesquely long, but one more very significant note. No, I am not all serious with Aolani. Throughout it all, I make weird noises and funny faces, act like a complete goofball, and slather her with kisses! I give her way too much affection and pour on the love like Paula Dean does with butter!
Are you feeding the Spirit in you?