Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Squeeze and Pop

  • Our weekend was a blur of activity. Ricky's parents and aunt came to visit. [Five adults, two kids, and one dog in 900 square feet :)] The highlight being our trip to tour the Waldensian Trail of Faith.
  • Side note: Micaiah is starting to make efforts towards crawling -- drawing his knees up, thrusting his hips, bouncing, rocking...
  • Aolani's antics: running to the potty too late (and dribbling on the way), biting her baby brother's fingers -- hard, pushing Micaiah over if he is sitting up, dumped her water out on my lap today, grabs every single item in my lap despite my firm NOs, steals and eats the babyfood jars, climbed up on her donkey in the bathroom to empty out all my astringent and the hand soap... {If I get a free minute, you'll find me resting my head on the kitchen table -- groaning, praying (out loud, of course), and trying to catch my breath.}
  • Add to all that a baby who screams and fusses and cries every time he either drops a toy, can't reach a toy, or has a toy taken out of his hands by toddler hands... yep. I often feel like I live in Planet of the Brats.
Aolani is trying to mimic the "dute" bunny-girl face on her shirt.
Eight months old. Wore the nine-months sleepers for the past month. Now look at 'em. I'm not joking about his long feet. Ugh. 12-months pajamas here we come!
  • I want to focus on several verses from the book of Galatians over the next two months. Verses to memorize this week: Galatians 5:13 ~ For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But do not use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Honestly, I feel slightly pooped and frazzled. So, this will be short.

I am very "futuristic" (which is supposedly a StrengthsQuest strength) -- always looking ahead to the next thing that will merit my attention, next item on the agenda, next topic for discussion, next meal, next... Anyway, I could go on and on about all the downfalls of this strength, especially my lack of appreciation of the present, not living in the moment as I should, and not treasuring memories or honoring God's handiwork of the past. You get the point.

My to-do list just keeps growing and going. I mark one item off just to add two more. Sometimes I groan in frustration, feeling as if I never get anything done. But, I know that I do. I must or else the to-do list would not serve a purpose. Since I always look ahead, I never pause when I mark something off my list, when I do complete a task. Delete and go. I need to start recognizing what I do get done and give thanks for it.

Specifically, I want to start telling Ricky about one accomplishment, big or small or simple, of the day and proceed to thank God for giving me the ability and task and purpose!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ready (held by grace)

  • We have not had company for a week; so, things have slowed on that front. Ricky's family come visit this weekend. Ricky is just now turning in a 900-page transcript (yuck!), which is his longest one yet (he's only slept five hours total in the past three nights :( ).
  • Aolani's antics: she has had seldom nightmares (or terrors) where she will let out a loud wail or blood-curdling scream and then go right on sleeping, repeats every word we say, my favorite words are precious/delicious/hungry/thirsty/praise the Lord, constantly sings Jesus Loves Me (see video), lined up the prayer pillows and stuck them halfway under the couch and laid her dolls on each one to pray, puts her teddy bear down for frequent naps throughout the day (light off, fan on, locked in her crib, shut door) and tells me when he needs a nap and when he wakes up, corrected Ricky that Aowani takes baths and Mommy takes showers... She received this board game (Diggity Dog) for Christmas for ages three and up; she didn't really play very well then (too young and wild). However, we got it out over the weekend, and she did so well for a two and a half year old -- she got the colors, instructions, set-up, and numbers (1, 2, 3) parts of the game, but she didn't grasp the competition or winning/losing aspect (just keep going around). Her attention span was shot after about 15 minutes :)
  • Micaiah's mishaps: can put his weight on his knees, slides backwards across the floor, is addicted to Mommy, his hair is growing so soft and long (straight like his Daddy's hair), discovered his shadow yesterday, and his top teeth are breaking through this week :) [Update: I still feed him a small amount of prunes everyday for lunch, and it works!]
  • The video below has this stunt at the end of it; however, these action shots turned out so clear and fun!

  • Verse to memorize this week: Colossians 1:17 ~ He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Stunningly Beautiful Cycle

I'm caught in this cycle, and I constantly and crazily pray that I keep going 'round.

However, this is uncharted territory for me.

For days, months, years, I had been in a rough, round sequence. Let me tell you plainly -- there is a cycle not to join. It is no-good. It made me worn-out and tired. Here is the nasty succession: I would puff my chest, put on my broad smile, hum a cheery tune, and get to work. Doing, smiling, doing, helping, doing -- upbeat, of course. But, then, I miss a cue and take a wrong step. And another. And another. Until tears replace smiles and disappointment (with myself) crushes cheer, and I feel hurt. Broken even. And, knowing what to do and where to go and who to turn to, I run to Jesus for help and to get fixed. I am Humpty Dumpty. Being the kind Friend Jesus is, He embraces me, takes me in, and makes me whole. Now that I am all put back together again, I charge back out there to face the world (in my own strength). Repeat the cycle. I would go try to do stuff (you know, good things), get broken (by me), stumble back to Jesus wailing about how I screwed up again, get bandaged and (depending upon the severity of my messed-upedness) wait to heal, and then (naturally) I would go back out there. Over and over. Imagine a boxer or an athlete or a soldier. So, like I said, it made me exhausted.

Yet, I feel that I cannot totally disparage it and must (now) give thanks for it because... that (nasty) cycle led me to this one that I now revolve in. I don't know exactly how to skip first series to get to this second sequence, since that was not my experience. I'm certain that there is a way; I just have not thought about it much. [See below.]

Okay, moving on to the stunningly beautiful cycle. While I feel as if I have stumbled into it this past year, I still must comment on how it feels fresh, newly navigated.

The remarkable rhythm follows this simple pattern: I draw close to Jesus. [See below.] The closer I get to Him, the scarier I look. That cracked egg phrase* people frequently quote has got nothing on me (this shattered mess of self). I see me -- dark, wicked, sinful, ugly, broken -- and suddenly, I feel wild and flailing. The more I see me and my utter helplessness, my absolute, dire need for a Savior, for Someone Larger than Life to come and help me because I am sick and shameful and despairing... Oh, Jesus! And as a result, I cling. I desperately cling to Him with white knuckles. I will not let go and you can't make me! The tighter I squeeze, the deeper I bury myself into Him, and the more I firmly hold onto Him for dear life (for real life)... well, the closer I get to Him, and I am ready to repeat.

Now, how to get in? I'll tell you how I got in (not trying to; I just found myself in it one day), but it is so simple and cliche that you will read this, instantly mark this off of your checklist as already completed, and exhale with disappointment because this is not some new revelation that you wanted to try. Just to warn you. All I did was read about grace, learn about grace, embrace grace, seek to show grace, ponder His grace. This would often lead me to... Him. Admiring Jesus, gazing upon Him, listening to Him breathe, hearing His heartbeat. Not using Him but appreciating Him (I think that is the difference between the old cycle and this new one).

{There is so much theology here, but alas, I must go to bed!}

Bottom line: go for the gold! Go straight for the second cycle of stunning beauty. Get in and never get out!

I'm in {and THIS is the place to be},

*"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cruising Through

  • Time is short this week. Our friend left yesterday after a fun six-day visit (Ricky even took our friend kayaking on a lake one afternoon while I stayed home with the kiddos during nap time). Then, we had a neighboring family over for dinner last night, and Aolani SO enjoyed eating outside with the other kids. Aolani is now two and a half years old, and Micaiah is eight months old. Pictures have to tell the rest...
 Sliding with Addison
The Mac-Daddy
 I brought out the rubber stamps to use with the play-doh, and this was the end result ;)
 Aolani's first ponytail (it might be hard to see, but so cute!)
 at the splash pad
 first time in a swing (did fine for a while before he got scared and started crying)
 Aolani just loves to entertain and interact with her brother
Micaiah now has both of his bottom teeth and is teething (meaning he is fussier and waking more often)
  • Verse to memorize this week: Colossians 2:7 ~ Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Praying, Unknown and Unable

"Better to love God and die unknown than to love the world and be a hero; better to be content with poverty than to die a slave to wealth; better to have taken some risks and lost than to have done nothing and succeeded at it." ~ Erwin Lutzer
"Prayer is the alpha and omega of planning. Don’t just brainstorm; praystorm." ~ Mark Batterson 
"Christianity is the gospel of the failed, of the ungodly, the unable, the unwilling, who simply woke up one day invited to God’s house and went. Period." ~ John Lynch 
"Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them." ~ George Orwell
*A dear friend is visiting for a few days; hence, no writing :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bundles of Play

  • My parents visited over the weekend, and I put them to work (as usual). Our "entertaining" continues, and we average having guests over every other night still!
  • A while ago, I created a Montessori-style sensory treasure basket for Micaiah to enjoy (it is best for babies once they can sit up). In it there is a bunch of non-chokable, household (free) items that I gathered together for him so he can play with more natural toys (less plastic and electric noises and flashy lights). Mostly, there are wood, metal, cardboard, plastic, rubber, and cloth/fabric toys.
Aolani and Micaiah delving into the treasure basket toys
  • Aolani's antics: watched Olympic-gymnastics and immediately started performing "nastix" (see video below), requests baths after taking a shower, rubs noses with her teddy bear before bed, has a head full of ringlets (seriously), yells "Baby up!", and constantly is pointing and saying "right there" to us :) She has this play cell-phone that speaks upon pressing certain buttons -- Press button, "Leave a message", "Message", Press button, "What's your name?", "Aowani" -- cute.
  • Micaiah's mishaps: nicknamed "Mommy's bundle", will hear the musical owl in his crib play at 5 a.m., first tooth showed up last week (front right on bottom), is frequently found in the skydiver position (arms and legs out and back, rocking on his belly), and is oscillating between a two or three naps a day schedule.
  • I usually do get a little breather in the afternoon as Micaiah will take his last nap of the day during her nap. I put her down for her nap, then I spend time with Micaiah (feeding, changing, going outside, tickling, reading, playing/learning activity) before I nurse him (to fill him up and doesn't wake early to eat) and put him down for a nap in the bedroom where Aolani naps, as well. If she wakes when he first gets in the room, she goes right back to sleep as she has learned the routine now. I can usually guesstimate how long his final nap will be (considering how much daytime sleep he has gotten thus far). So, I will put him down for his nap while she is asleep, and they wake together sometime between 4:15 - 4:45 p.m. usually.

What a handsome bundle of love!

Aolani and her friend, Ezra

  • Verses to memorize this week (still working on last week's): Luke 12:33-4 ~ Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Open Those Eyes

Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread.
~ Proverbs 20:13

I get the traditional proverbial insight from this verse: Don't sleep all day and be lazy (in want/poor) but work hard (needs met/provision). Got it.

However, I slowly read this verse out loud the other day (from the Amplified Bible), and something else popped out this time! your eyes and you will be satisfied...

If we open our eyes -- look around, see the blessings God has poured out richly on us, and give thanks -- then you will be satisfied!

No doing anything*, just an awareness of what you already have, what is. Instead of living with an always-wanting-more attitude, which brings discontentment, try to just wake up to what God has already given you. And thank Him! Isn't this what brings joy? Isn't this why I make lists?

If we just see, we will be content.

Goodbye grabby heart! Hello peace and fulfillment!

*Note: I am not saying do nothing in the sense of sit around and be lazy; I am saying do nothing in regards to chasing after the wind (striving for the more that won't satisfy).

Opening my eyes,