Sunday, August 28, 2011

As Unto the Lord

I do not like to think about this, needless talk about it.

Aolani is a Daddy's girl, no surprise. She always prefers him over me. While Ricky is fun and goofy, a lot of her preferential treatment has to do with the fact that I am in a wheelchair. Ricky used to try and tell me that it's not true, but it's so obvious that he can no longer deny it. Aolani is such an active toddler. She doesn't want to sit on my lap; she wants off to either explore on her own or walk around in someone else's arms. She squirms and fusses on my lap, reaching out for someone, anyone, to come get her and set her free from the prison of Mommy's lap.

It hurts. I know that neither she nor I am to blame, but it's still like constantly pulling a scab off of a wound.

This used to make me cry a lot - pouring my life out for her just to have her shun me. But I remind myself that I am not doing this for her to receive back from her - a hug, a kiss, a smile, a cuddle, or other affection that leads to me feeling good (although affection is very nice). I do all that I do for her as if I were serving Jesus. As unto the LORD. He is my #1. He is the only One worthy of my love, devotion, and service. He is the One Who sees all of my effort. My reward will come from Him.

When I used to tell myself this, I would grasp this truth in my head and keep on wailing. Yet, I would keep reminding myself of this day in and day out, and now it truly helps! I guess repetition got this from my head to my heart ;) Thank You LORD for this eventual breakthrough!

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. ~ Galatians 6:9

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do... ~ Ephesians 6:7-8

Keeping first things first,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Splish, Splash

  • We have had guests all week (some of Ricky's family) that just left before the hurricane comes! We are way overloaded with cleaning, laundry, packing to move in five days, and preparing for the hurricane, all while awaiting the birth of our second niece (her due date was this past Monday)... This will be short! Here is Aolani at the beach and playing bumper cars in a bin ;)

  • I have no idea if/when/how long power will be out and then when we move, I do not know when our Internet service will be up and running... so we'll see when I'm back!
  • Verse to memorize this week: Psalm 27:8 ~ My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Trading or Laying Down?

There is an upbeat song, which I like very much, often sung in churches called Trading My Sorrows. The first verse reads:

I'm trading my sorrow.
I'm trading my shame.
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord.

Anyway, I recently discovered that this song has confused my understanding without me even realizing it!

How so? I had naturally assumed that the interchange of words here, trading and laying down, must mean that these words/phrases were synonymous. Huh? I had accepted that trading must mean laying down.

Not true. They do not mean the same thing!

When I go before the LORD and enter into His presence, I have a tendency to lay down my stresses (worries, pain, problems, shortcomings, sadness, etc.) "outside the door" to go "inside" to celebrate Him and pick up what He is offering (joy, peace, tenderness, help, guidance, love, etc.). Then, when I must attend to other matters (leave this inner sanctuary), I pick back up the mess I laid down "outside the door" as I am leaving! That might be laying down, but that is definitely not trading.

I don't think the LORD wants us to lay anything down just to be picked back up! Instead, He wants to trade -- this for that.
Beauty for ashes.
Forgiveness for bitterness.
Understanding for anger.
Love for hatred.
Peace for confusion.
Joy for sorrow.
Basically, we have nothing worthwhile to offer (except ourselves, which are of value in His sight for we have been made in His image). All I ever have to give my LORD is marred by wickedness, selfishness, and evil. Yet, all He offers to give us is good. He is not only willing to take it but asks us to give Him our bad and offers us good in return. Now that's a trade! In fact, it is too marvelous for words. I give Him a heart of stone, and He gives me a heart of flesh. Only tears can express this poor girl's heartfelt gratitude.

Trading it all,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Going Under (and Over)

  • Aolani is 1 1/2 today. We are in disbelief!
  • Aolani's antics: twirling with coasters on her head, dancing while eating pizza at restaurants and entertaining the other diners, blowing kisses (although she hasn't quite mastered the blowing part!), getting embarrassed when she does something wrong by running to one of us and burying her head in us, sneaking out of the restroom stall by crawling underneath the door in order to go see the other pottiers (OH MY!)...

  • While our house-hunting story is quite long and truly deserves to be told in entirety, I do not have the energy or time right now. Bottom line: After 9 days of searching quite desperately and thoroughly, we finally found the place where we are to live. It is a duplex apartment -- much smaller than our current condo, cheaper, and sufficient for us! Suffice it to say that finding a place to live should be easy enough for an able-bodied person, but it was very challenging to find a place that we could make work for our situation. Yet, we were confident that God had prepared a place for us, and He revealed it all in His perfect timing (aka last minute, to us humans). We are so grateful to finally be home -- especially Aolani, who now hates her car seat and puts up a good fight whenever we head towards our minivan. Poor girl :(

  • Did I ever mention how much Aolani hates diaper changes? People would always tell me that a baby hates a dirty diaper and that the child would come to you when their diaper was dirty because they wanted you to change it. Aolani would live in a poopy diaper. When it's time for a diaper change, she screams and cries and wails and fights. Oh, the injustice of having to lay here on my back when I got places to go and people to see! I'm just hoping that Micaiah is textbook in this respect ;)

  • Micaiah is making his presence known as I am definitely getting a lot bigger!
  • Verse to memorize this week: Ephesians 4:32 ~ Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Only by the Blood

"The temptation to so many of us when we try to approach God is to think that because God has been dealing with us -- because he has been taking steps to bring us into something more of himself and has been teaching us deeper lessons of the Cross -- he has thereby set before us new standards, and that only by attaining to these can we have a clear conscience before him. No! A clear conscience is never based upon our attainment; it can only be based on the work of the Lord Jesus in the shedding of his blood."

"We may be weak, but looking at our weakness will never make us strong. No trying to feel bad and doing penance will help us to be even a little holier. There is no help there, so let us be bold in our approach because of the Blood."

"Big sins, small sins, sins which may be very black and sins which appear to be not so black, sins which I think can be forgiven and sins which seem unforgivable, yes, all sins, conscious or unconscious, remembered or forgotten, are included in those words: 'every sin.' 'The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin,' (1 John 1:7) and it does so because in the first place it satisfies God."

*I am reading Watchman Nee, so do not be surprised if there are more quotes from him in the future ;)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Scattered, In and Out

  • We are house-hunting (for a rental) in the mountains this week... please pray that we find the right place that God has for us. This is a HUGE prayer request. Finding the right kind of accessible unit is seemingly impossible. However, we already have renters all set up to move into this place the day after we move out -- praise Jesus! I put this condo on Craigslist, and we had 20 calls from people pretty desperate for it within 24 hours! I am so glad that it is a done deal.
  • Here are some of Micaiah's ultrasounds of him sucking his thumb and showing off his tallywaker ;)

  • Aolani is still our wild, adorable, sweet, delightful, beautiful mess of a toddler who gets into everything! This week, we have started putting her into timeout (her crib for 1.5 minutes -- a minute for each year of age) when she turns on the dishwasher, which happens to be a lot right now! She hates timeout but still keeps doing the wrong; I wonder how long it will be before she learns...

  • Verse to memorize this week: James 3:9-10 ~ With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Picking Our Littles' Names

What's her name? -OR- Have you picked out a name for him yet?

A blank stare that translates as You have got to be kidding me -OR- Huh?

Yep. This is pretty common. We are not only used to it, but we expect it. I wanted to delve into why we pick the names we do for our (DiMartino) children. Let me first establish that we, personally, believe that a person's name is very important and can even shape a person's being.

Lists work best for me :)
  1. We wanted names that are defining of their personhood and character, where the meaning of the name becomes both a part of who they are and who they are becoming. A name molds a person with or without that person realizing it! We hope that their names become so ingrained in their beings that these names give them a strong identity.
  2. I often find myself contemplating how the meaning of my name ("fire") affects me -- how it is shaping me; how is it defining me now; how God's fire is at work in me... Anyway, point is that I enjoy this introspection, and we want our children to have something to reflect upon in their depths. And, when times are tough, they will have their name-meaning to act as an anchor and remind them of how Jesus has worked and is working in their lives and beings. Now that is some good self-examination!
  3. Most importantly, though, is that we want their name to be somewhat descriptive of their relationship with God. My name-meaning has definitely woven itself into how God and I relate. Names and their meanings can, do, and will affect how they relate to Jesus and even how He relates to them. And that is powerful.

Those put some of our sentiments on paper. Let me add a few side notes. No, we are not trying to be "different" or make it hard on others. Yes, there are many more common, easy-to-pronounce names that have good, solid meanings, but those names did not have the same meaning or fulfill the purpose we intended. We just ended up with the names that He worked into our hearts. What we are not saying is that when people select a name for their child because it is common or short or pretty, then that is wrong. It just is not the way we have chosen. Just as we do not judge their choice, we hope that people do not feel judged by our decision :)

"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." ~ Proverbs 22:1

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Unloading (Briefly)

  • We returned home over the weekend and have hit the ground running! We are trying to run all our errands this week before heading to the mountains next week to find a place to live. We will not return home until we get a place but, hopefully, that will only take one week.
Aolani's last time in her pool
  • A few times Aolani said the words blocks and doggie. She also got taller while we were gone because we returned to find her opening our doors! She is a runt (small in size for her age), but she is steadily growing ;)

Aolani with her cousin, Kylie, sitting in their chairs.

  • Car toys: The most popular suggestion for her age (17-18 mos) was a travel DVD player, which we didn't want to use because we want her to learn to entertain herself versus having to be entertained. So, here were the other ideas that didn't really work with Aolani: ball, musical instrument toys (like a little tambourine), stickers (we didn't take because she is eating sticky things like labels), paint chips (we brought but never used them), and a small magnetic board with magnets (did not try as she'd definitely eat the magnets). The toys that were a big hit for our girl: magnadoodle (the one with an attached pen), small 12-page photo book (I filled this with pictures of herself and family she recognizes), a book, her teddy bear, and some magazines (to look at and rip apart). I do not let her have these toys except for long car trips, so that she does not become bored with them. But, by far, the best entertainment for the journey...
  • Car snacks: While we brought a ton of snacks, I would recommend the ones that they can feed themselves! Such as bread slices, boxes of raisins, small grapes, bananas, dried papaya spears, larger not-too-hard cracker/biscuit treats, fig bars, etc. And, of course, her water :)

Helping Daddy unload the groceries

  • Verse to memorize this week: Revelation 22:17 ~ The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.