Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolving to Read the Bible in a Year?

repost from December 28, 2010 --

With the New Year approaching and resolutions formulating, I have a little tip for those who want to "read the Bible in a year."

Yeah, how unusual is that goal? I think it ranks #1 as the most common resolution for Christians.

I know it's on my list every. single. year.

While most people give up in the midst of Leviticus (the third book of the Bible), I usually make it until Summer. Then, it hits. I realize that the year is halfway over, and I am NOT halfway through the Bible. I lose hope of finishing the entire Word that year and switch to an alternate plan -- read what I want at my own pace. Until the next year. Repeat.

So, I've read the Pentateuch and Gospels probably ten times and the other books half that many times.
But, a light bulb went off recently.

If you read just ONE chapter of the Bible a day, you can finish it in about five years. How many times has a 60-year old read the whole Bible? Twice... Once... None? But, if they had followed the one-chapter-a-day plan since they were 20-years-old -- EIGHT times!

If you want to read the entire Bible:
While people may want to set unrealistic, high and lofty goals, i.e. read the Bible in a year, instead chose the snail's pace. Read one chapter a day. In five years, others will still be wandering in the desert, but you will have done it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry CHRISTmas!


To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever!
Revelation 1:5-6

Celebrating the Only One Who is Worthy,

Ricky, Aidan, Aolani (34 months) & Micaiah (12 months) DiMartino

Note: We are going on vacation (to my parents' house), so I will not be posting for a while :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Party Behind, Party Ahead

  • Our baby boy turned one last Friday. What a delightful bundle of love! This past year with him has been a joy in every way -- thank You, God, for loaning him to us for now! His personality is really starting to emerge... Anyway, Ricky's parents came for the weekend. They took the kids for portraits at the local Olan Mills Studio. A friend came over on his birthday and made him cupcakes (with zucchini and pumpkin, you'd never know it though). Ricky and I made a big dinner for his "party," and we gave gifts.
  • Ricky was called away to court in another county the past three days -- meaning, 11-hour long, days :( When it would get late in the evening, Aolani would look out the window and say, "Mommy, it's dark. Where's Daddy? Coming home soon?" And, when Ricky would arrive home, we'd shout, "Daddy's home!" and Micaiah would get excited and start repeating his Dada :)
  • The kids no longer have runny noses, but their coughs are persistently lingering (although they only cough occasionally).
  • I had a friend from church (who put the door in Aolani's crib) make me another footstool for my wheelchair that has double the surface area, and he attached it at a slight angle to help keep my feet from sliding off -- so far so good!
  • I cannot remember if I had mentioned it, but Ricky finally passed all four parts of his test for higher certification -- YAY! I know he is relieved...
  • Aolani's antics: weighs 31.4 pounds and measures three feet tall, is constantly walking around and talking with her hands on her hips (adorably funny), enjoys playing a cute-silly version of hide-n-seek with her brother...
  • While I nurse Aolani on my bed at night, I'll sometimes pray aloud and sing. Then, I call it quits after eight minutes. We kiss, and then she wants a bear hug (she'll spread wide her arms and do a crash landing on me). Finally, I tell her to go find Daddy to tuck her into her bed.
  • Micaiah's mishaps: started waving (exaggerated and sweet), really likes to dance to Feliz Navidad for some reason ;), stands holding on but still not pulling up, sings with me, slaps his legs on the floor when he is giddy, desperately begs to partake of our snacks (and feels so big now that he gets to eat what his big sister is eating), is able to bite my sandwich (nice for me), talks back...

Micaiah's first dessert -- cupcake. He liked them so much, he ate three over the weekend! [Recipe in post below.]

We got him a Duplo set for his birthday; he still screams with joy as he plays with them!

Her hair...
  • The following pictures were on Ricky's mom's camera and are (mostly) from our Thanksgiving trip. Too many to share!

 I am including this one because this is the oh-so-frustrating norm when it comes to taking pictures with little kids.

 Compare this picture of Micaiah playing with the nativity set to the picture above of Aolani playing with the nativity set ;) 
with the great-grandparents
Now, this is my girl -- typical Aolani! Probably shushing you because the babydoll is taking a nap :)
  • Verse to memorize this week: 1 Corinthians 10:13 ~ No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holy-days {Advent 2012}

Simple. Focused. Intentional.

That is our motto for this time of year.

If you want bunches of ideas for celebrating Christmas, you should probably go to Pinterest. We are more about cutting out a lot of the hoopla -- going for special and memorable (yes) but simple. It is Jesus' birthday; so, we focus on Advent and then throwing a birthday party for Jesus. Simple as that. However, we will be going to stay with extended family over the Christmas week this year, so we will not be hosting our own Christmas at our home. Yet, here is what we have been doing so far this month:

[edited version of last year's Advent post]

Devotions: Advent is where I put most of our emphasis, because what is this holy-day about if we do not prepare our hearts waiting for the Christ-child to come? You can see our Advent wreath (carved out of wood, with 24 candle holes, and there's a movable donkey carrying Mary). We light the candle after moving it forward. This year, we are using the wonderful Truth in the Tinsel book for our Advent celebration each day. We read the selected Bible passage, listen for clues, read a short paragraph, hang an Advent ornament on our "Advent tree" (all together, the ornaments chronologically and pictorially share the birth story), let our toddler blow out the "fire" (candle), and add another link to a paper chain.

Decorations: Most noticeably, we do not have a Christmas tree. We are not against them; we just chose (for several reasons) not to erect one. We have other items (ornaments, stockings, nativity sets...) hanging around. We have our Christmas books propped up and keep the Christmas music playing. Also, I made a winter spice aroma spray (we replaced the ginger with nutmeg) that I spritz around our home for that warm, pleasant scent (or I run the diffuser). Also, we simply hang the Christmas cards we receive on ribbon with clothespins! Then, when the season is over and it comes time to take them down, we will pray for the person/family that sent each card as we remove it :)

Treats: I picked out three desserts, one for each weekend in December until we leave. Ricky made a homemade caramel popcorn. Our friend made a cherry cobbler (top with vanilla ice cream), and another friend came over to make cupcakes (alterations: we used sucanat for the sugar and whole wheat flour for all of the flour it called for, and added shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips on top) for Micaiah's first birthday this past weekend.  Also, my mom is going to make a dessert for Jesus' birthday bash Christmas morning.

Presents: As a family, we are not going to exchange presents amongst ourselves, but we did get/make small presents for our extended families and friends (I will post later what these gifts were). We are not against gift-giving amongst friends and family, but we choose to give a gift as a family to Jesus (see Matthew 25:45) for His birthday -- just keeping it simple. This year, we bought a village outreach pack for a believer/evangelist in Nigeria, through Voice of the Martyrs.

CHRISTmas joy to you in your celebrations and preparation for the coming of the King,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fun in the Trenches

  • We had a dear friend come visit us from our old hometown. She stayed for four, fun days -- games every night! We introduced Aolani to Go Fish, and she did so well (she won both times we played). Aolani sported pigtails twice :) We mostly stayed in and cooked wonderful meals (and baked a cobbler). We did go out one day for errands -- went with Ricky inside an actual barber shop (we were the only women there, and we both realized that neither of us had ever actually been inside a 1950's men's barber shop).
  • However, both of my kids got sick -- coughing, runny nose, and lots of green mucus. Aolani sounds stuffy. We had to go to church Sunday for a new member's thing, but we had to leave quickly because Aolani kept demanding to go play with the toys and her friends in the nursery, but we couldn't let her go and spread germs :(
  • One day this past week, as a family, we made our homemade hot cocoa (1 cup almond milk, 1 Tbsp honey, 1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder, pinch of sea salt, pinch of cinnamon), snuggled up under blankets on the couch, and watched a Redbox movie, Brave (on Ricky's laptop). Good times. Aolani kept saying,"Where'd her Mommy go?" and "Scary bear." We also watched the 1969 animated Little Drummer Boy. She wanted a drum, we gave her one, and she still goes around playing it and singing Ra-pum-pum :)
  • Micaiah was waking up to nurse twice at night to nurse. We knew that he didn't need milk; he's almost a year old (in three days -- aahhh!). He could sleep all night. After one night of just leaving him in his crib when he woke the first time to feed but nursing him the second time he woke, he learned and just woke the next two nights for the second feeding. Only, we left him alone those two nights, and now he sleeps 11.5-12 hours straight after just three days! What a relief for us!
  • Micaiah's mishaps: was saying uh-oh for one day only and has started eating table food (our food).
  • Aolani's antics: has learned how to leap like a frog, gets up one-to-nine times every night before falling asleep, has mastered the eewww (depending on the dinner served), eats just as much of Micaiah's food as he does when feeding him (bite for you, bite for me), asks me to race her across the room (she wins, seriously), associates Daddy being home with play (if Ricky is working in the office at home, he is not home -- only if he is out and able to interact with her), her growing speech and memory are such a joy to us, is starting to relay stories... We told her last night that someone was coming over the next day (because she asked, and we thought so at the time). In the morning, she asked again, and we had to tell her no (something happened). And, she said through her tears, "But you told me." She had never said that before!

Ricky is giving Hyland's Baby Cough Syrup from a syringe to Aolani; Micaiah had just gotten some. {They both love it! Micaiah slurps it up and cries when it's over; Aolani asks for 'syrup' all the time.}
  • Verse to memorize this week: Luke 6:45 ~ Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stories to Tell

  • We had quite the social weekend. We had a family over with three little ones for ours to play with, and we went to our friends with the two kids similar ages as our own for a little cook out. Boys are rough! Aolani ran around with Ezra (a boy her age), and we discover a busted lip, bruises on her cheeks, and a swollen gash on her eyebrow when we got home. And, she loved every minute of it, we know :)
  • When Aolani says something that surprises us by her knowledge and understanding, Ricky will ask her, "Wow. What's your IQ?" And she'll state, "Two." (her age)
  • I was telling her one day how we serve Yahweh, and I asked her, "Do you know who Yahweh is?" She replied, "Yeeessss. Baby." (her little brother) Micaiah means 'Who is like Yahweh?' I sing a song about this when I get Micaiah up from his morning nap, and she obviously pays attention!
  • Aolani was/is waking up early in the mornings (while it is still dark). We often tell her that it is too early for us to get up and that she needs to go back to sleep. After waiting a while one morning, she then pointed to the window and said, "Up now! Loooookkk... Light!"
  • Some (wonderful) mornings, she'll sleep 30-45 more minutes before crawling on our bed. I'll say to her, "Aolani, wow! You slept in longer. Great job!" She'll respond, "Yeeesss. I sleep some more and more and more and then I get up!"

 I know this is a terrible picture, but I just love this toy, the oball. Both my kids love it, and it is easy to grasp.
She made this itty-bitty spot into a peeking hole

  • Still memorizing last week's verse: 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rough and Tough

I want to write more, but the evening did not go as planned -- it's late and I'm too tired to think!

However, in the book of Philippians, there are two verses that I would say are the hardest for me, to do and to swallow -- the make-you-pause-and-pray kind.
  1. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. (2:21)   Make His interests my priority, not my self-centered, ease-craving desires -- ouch.
  2. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (3:16)   Implementing the truth He has already revealed to me... I am always wanting more -- more insight, more knowledge, more revelation, more truth. But, how can I expect Him to show me something new when I have not really learned (the action, do/practice) what He has shown me already? 
Help me, Holy Spirit, do the impossible! Only You can fulfill the verses in me!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Climbing Up

  • We greatly enjoyed our Thanksgiving week! Ricky took a week's vacation, and we drove up to Cincinnati to visit with Ricky's family (the 7-hr drive only took us 9-9.5 hours). So many highlights, here's a few: slept in every morning (while Ricky's dear mom took care of the kiddos), put together a 1,000-piece Waldo puzzle (picture below), went out twice during afternoon naps, celebrated Christmas less than 24-hours after Thanksgiving (Ricky and his brother made many jokes about that, leaving me in stitches), visiting with Ricky's grandparents who flew in for the week from Arizona, playing board games into the night (shout-out to the new addition, Ticket to Ride), riding a stairlift, and eating (a 5-lb. weight gain would not surprise me)... [Confession: I was very neglectful and took very few pictures during our trip :(]
  • Aolani's antics: leads the way and calls out behind her "Come on, baby" (like he's her puppy), feeds the baby breakfast and lunch, is beginning to learn the alphabet, unveiled her too-big, purple Future Asburian t-shirt and wore it continually day and night over her outfits until I hid it,  is getting to be a good, little helper, shuts the bedroom and bathroom doors behind her (and us) to keep the baby out, every once-in-a-while I have thought that she may be growing more obedient, giggles and says that the baby is talking when he repeats his sounds, heard her tell her friend, "I'm scared of lawn mower," and then hide her face, nods in agreement while praying (like I do!), when we don't understand something she says, she puts her head in her hand and says, "Oh man" (like I do), doesn't tell me when she poops and tries to wipe herself (not good), gets up out of bed several times at night before going to sleep (probably curious to see what we are doing) and early in the morning (climbing on our bed to nurse or sleep or play with toys), and received a larger, heavier, hand-stitched blanket for Christmas from her great-grandmother and carries it with her everywhere.
  • Micaiah's mishaps: enjoys pulling all of the books off the book shelf (and looking at them), is a head-banger (hard to explain -- got to get a video of it -- but whenever he does not get what he wants or is sad, he throws his head on the floor like he is overwhelmed with grief and agony!), is quite the lap baby and is completely content sitting on me, clapped his hands the other day after he tooted, and clapped his hands when he first discovered how to open the nightstand.
  • I have recently finished reading Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, and I must say that it is worth every bit of praise it is receiving. I am still processing what and how to implement her insights into my daily grind! {Because, honestly, eucharisteo is hard. I can easily give thanks for three things a day without my heart -- my eyes -- being changed. I want my attitude to choose and be gratitude when anger, hurt, frustration, control, depression, selfishness well up and consume my mind and my words. I want to live it, breathe it... Yeah, like I said, I'm still processing.}
  • Successful activities: Non-unique -- we picked five little and five big books to stack, separate, and alternate in a line (any big and small items work, make them a similar item though). I had my first two unique ideas for activities that were hits! One -- we had a page of the whole alphabet on it (colorful letters, upper and lower case). Aolani would bring a fridge magnet over and place it on the letter it matched (we would sound it out and talk about words that begin with it). Two -- I punched holes in a 12-inch by 3-inch piece of colorful card stock paper. Then, I cut some thin ribbon, and showed her how to thread it through the holes. She got it right away! (This was one of my car activities.)

Micaiah loves these refrigerator magnets, too!

Just admiring her wild, beautiful locks!
  • Verse to memorize this week (and the next): 2 Peter 1:3 ~ His divine power has granted to us all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Embracing the "Bad"

Here are the links to a 2-part series I wrote in December 2010 about embracing the "bad" (and why we should give thanks for all things):

Part 1

Part 2

*This concludes my reposts on thankfulness :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

When God Uses Vermin

Repost from February 23, 2011 --

Randy Alcorn tells this story:

"Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsie, in light of the command 'Give thanks in all circumstances' (1 Thessalonians 5:18), insisted they should thank God even for the fleas and lice in their concentration camp barracks. Corrie resisted until she realized that the fleas and lice made it possible for her to open the Bible and teach it unhindered to other prisoners. Guards could have confiscated her forbidden Bible, but they refused to enter because of the vermin. Think of it — God is at work through vermin; it’s simply rare that in this life we can see it as clearly as Corrie finally did."
Need I say more, or anything at all?!

Is this convicting or what? No room for complaints! I love that last bit about God working through vermin. God can use all things for His good purposes -- even those pesky mosquitoes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Saying No to the Oh-Nos

Repost from November 25, 2010 --

When something unexpected happens, from dropping a treasured breakable on hardwood to having your house burn down, do you have a tendency to respond with an oh-no!, whether you actually speak it or just think it? I know I do. Sometimes, it is out of anxiety or grief or frustration or just being startled.

I decided that I am saying no to oh-nos.

How? No surprise here. By giving thanks. This is just another reason why I put numbers to my heart's joys.

Stand firm. Refuse to panic. Pray. And give thanks.

The eternal perspective will come. Joy will come. By giving thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

*You know I need to work on this when my children's first phrases are "uh-oh" and "oh-no" :(