Wednesday, September 26, 2012

From Water... To Water

  • Ricky's parents (and dog, that Aolani adores bossing around) visited over the weekend -- sleeping in, pancake-brunch, splash pad and park (Aolani played with other girls there!), naps for the kiddos (Ricky and his dad went to a driving range to hit golf balls), dinner at a restaurant, a quick visitation, bedtime routines, a debriefing of their trip to Italy, church, lunch, naps, voila!
  • Micaiah is on the verge of crawling any day now; I expect him to by this weekend :)
  • Aolani's speech keeps impressing us as it develops: "Do you want a snack?" "Yes, I do." And, her grasp of pronouns -- me, you, I, him, her, he, she.

 [I think Ricky enjoys the splash pad most!]

  • We head off to Florida for a vacation with my family (parents and brother's family) this weekend for a long week. This blog will be silent until I return... However, here is a two-part series I wrote back in February 2011 on Psalm 37:4 that I've been pondering: The Desires of Your Heart and Delighting Yourself.
  • Verse to memorize this week: Galatians 5:25 ~ Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Demonstrating His Love

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~ Romans 5:8
Reciting my verses as normal. Nursing Micaiah before slumber. Minding my own business. Next thing I know, I'm bleeding -- spiritual blood, physical tears. The Spirit always decides when and where He wants to open the Word up to me... what verse He wants to use to reveal something new to me (who cares if I've quoted or read it a hundred times?).
Recently, it was the oft-quoted Romans 5:8. Now, this insight is not some crazy-deep understanding of, well, exactly what this verse is about and is saying: salvation! God loves us so much that He made a way for our sin to be taken care of while His holiness is satisfied not by overlooking our wrong but by sending Jesus to take our place (and receive our death) if we but believe this is so and follow Jesus day by day.
Instead, I spoke it, and suddenly, this is what I heard in my heart:
Aidan can demonstrate God's love for Ricky by this:
When Ricky wrongs you, die to self.
Whoa. I am still unpacking all that this means for me, for my marriage. However, one big (convicting) thing for me that I know and see right off is that when Ricky does something that doesn't seem to be in my personal interest (usually not a sin) and I don't like it (I'm hurt), then I need to die. To my wants or my wounds.
No eye for an eye, no punishment, no banishment, no tears, no silent treatment, no harsh remarks, no sarcasm, no lectures, no condemnation, no anger, no pity-parties, no raised voices, no panic, no guilt-inducing glares... okay, none of my yucky, natural, fleshy, sin nature responses. I must put these inclinations, which are sin, to death and instead embrace the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) in me by choosing to submit (Eph. 5:21-4) and seek to keep the peace (Eph. 4:3).
{Because I am called to demonstrate His love to every one I meet, especially my hubby!}
Choosing His ways,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Weekend of Verbs

  • It was a fly-by weekend! We attended the wedding of my dearest childhood friend (picture of all of us is at the bottom; I usually do not include pictures of others on this blog because I do not want to take the time to get their approval beforehand and so forth). We stayed with my parents, so that they could baby sit the kiddos. It was Micaiah's first time taking a bottle and going to bed without me. [I had to pump every single night the week before just to get six ounces of milk to leave with my parents -- yuck :(] The kids napped and slept great -- though they were way tired the past two days (sleeping in until 8:30 a.m.)! We crammed in as much as possible during our brief trip -- chiropractor for us and train ride for kids, favorite restaurant, movie, sleeping in, hair cut, car wash, wedding and reception, and visit with my brother's family! The 5.5-hour trek one-way without stops, only took us about 6.5-7 hours this time -- we pack all of our food, take the toddler-potty and t.p. with us and just pull off the side of the road at exits to attend to needs, and basically never get out of the car for a big stop.
  • Micaiah's mishaps: has begun to sweetly babble a lot (ba-ba and ma-ma), screams constantly and happily (he wants me to imitate him and interact), and is teething horribly bad (clear snot, nothing makes him happy, crying nonstop it seems).
  • Aolani's antics:  informed me that her teddy bear is a boy, went around and draped her headbands on all the doorknobs, tries to change the t.p. roll herself when it runs out, called for Mommy to come wipe her (after a poop) when Daddy was home -- twice, while Ricky was in the bathroom helping me get ready one morning, Aolani yelled from the kitchen Daddy, what are you doing?!, brought her bin of stuffed animals in front of me last week and would pull one out and ask me Who is it? until they were all identified ;) ...

with cousin Kylie
with cousin Caroline
with the happy couple -- Justin and Crystal
  • Verse to memorize this week: Galatians 5:24 ~ Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thy Brother’s Blood Crieth

We just returned home from traveling. It's late; I'm exhausted. All weekend THIS VISION was all I could think about! Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), a missionary in India, recorded this -- haunting, consuming, convicting, and worth every second you don't have!

The tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered ‘round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:

That I stood on a grassy precipice, and at my feet at crevice broke down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving in single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding onto her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step…it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her.

Oh, they cry as they went over!

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; and all made straight for the crevice’s edge. They were shrieks as they suddenly knew in themselves that they were falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered with a wonder that was simple agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not, I was glued to the ground. And I could not call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come.

Then I saw that along the edge there were guards set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned towards the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. “Why should you get all excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven’t finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish,” they said, “to leave us to finish the work alone.”

There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more guards out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no guards set for miles and miles of the edge.

One girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for a while; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called — but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, the two little hands still holding right to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was; the cry of the blood.

Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. And he said, “What hast though done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.”

The tom-toms still beat heavily, and darkness still shuddered and shivered about me. I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shrieks of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?

God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin!
Amy Carmichael, Thy Brother’s Blood Crieth:
(India: The Dohnavur Fellowship).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Crockpot Meal Month

We wanted to test out this idea going around the Internet that would keep Ricky from having to cook dinner for one whole month!

Basically, the gist is that you spend one day chopping and freeze lots of meals. One day of work = One month of meals. Yep; I thought Ricky might like this plan (especially since he did not do the day of work chopping), and he did of course!

Here's the steps (numerically, for my numerical mind):
  1. I searched my recipe book and online for six recipes and then modified them for my crockpot. I chose six different recipes and doubled the amounts (each recipe was six servings) to make 12 meals. And, we did each recipe twice to make 24 meals. [Sundays we eat snack-meals; so, this was four weeks total of freezer meals for us.] I purposefully chose recipes with overlapping ingredients for ease. I picked two beef, two chicken, and two veggie/beans.
  2. I got 12 gallon-size freezer Ziploc bags. I wrote, in permanent marker, on the outside of each bag the name of the recipe.
  3. I typed up the six recipes with three parts to each one: what to put in freezer bag, what to add to the crockpot with the bag, and directions. My six recipes are here (in order of most enjoyed).
  4. I made the ginormous grocery list! This step took a lot more work than I thought :( Maybe it won't for you.
  5. Head to the grocery store to get the goods, but go within a few days before the chopping-day because you want your chicken to be fresh (cannot cut it frozen, and you don't want to thaw and then refreeze it), if you use chicken.
  6. Chopping-day! I had an eager friend of ours come spend the day chopping for us. I had the bags labeled, recipes printed, and all the food ready. [The only cooking (stove-use) she had to do was to brown the ground beef before freezing it.] How to go about filling the bags is completely up to you -- there are different methods, one might be easier for one person, one for another.
  7. Store bags in freezer. Night before cooking, transfer bag from freezer to fridge to thaw enough so the ingredients slide out of the bag (or else, you'll have to cut the bag off of your solid, frozen meal-chunk).
  8. In the morning, add your bag and remaining ingredients to the crockpot. Most meals will cook on low in 8-10 hours. However, my crockpot does not cook well on low. So, we put the meals in the crockpot at lunch/early afternoon and cooked the meals on high heat for 3-4 hours. ["Remaining ingredients" = we did not freeze the liquids (because of space), any tomato item (salsa, paste, stewed tomatoes),  any canned item, uncooked beans or rice...]
  9. Oh, and I kept a list on the fridge of the meals. This way, I could check them off as we used them and know which ones were still in the freezer.
Our dear friend and Ricky opted to do this plan every six months!

Notes: You can freeze spices, cooked beans, cooked ground beef, raw chicken... Rice and lentils cook in the crockpot -- yay!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cheap Entertainment Weekend

  • I am going to post later this week about the "Crockpot Meal Month."
  • Show n' tell week --
 Our homemade bowling alley (toilet paper rolls and a soft ball)
Micaiah loves to floor-frolic
 We met up with some friends at the local, annual festival. Aolani and Ezra shared an Italian ice (and deep conversation) after watching the [free] puppet show ;)
Here she is enjoying her cucumber sandwich while I enjoy her ringlet-beauty!
  • Verse to memorize this week: Galatians 5:16 ~ So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Creating a Culture

This post will probably not benefit you. It is mostly just a thought of mine I want to jot down instead of storing it inside me.

I often feel like we are creating our own culture (for lack of a more fitting word). "We" being our little DiMartino household.

Here are some of the groups/cliques/stereotypes that we utilize ideas from:
  • Eternally-focused/Missions-minded/Treasures in Heaven/Giving/JESUS, JESUS, JESUS
  • Green/Environmental-friendly (and consequently, others-friendly)/Local
  • Frugal/Repurpose/Thrifty
  • Simple/Organized/Decluttered
  • Healthy/Organic/Quality
  • Natural health/Natural childbirth/Breastfeeding/No chemicals (or contraceptives)
  • Easy/Disabled/Wheelchair-friendly living/Friedreich's Ataxia/Mom on Wheels
I do not feel like we are "all-the-way" on these (except the first bullet, we strive for more Jesus and how to give more every day), but instead, we have to dabble some in this area before being cut off and having to use some other principles that keeps us wandering in No Man's Land.

Let me give an example: Yesterday, we had to have our groceries delivered, for a whopping $30! Yikes! We had to pay for it with money from our small savings account as it is not a normal budgeted expense for us. It was painstaking for me (I keep the budget), but it had to be done for several reasons. While it doesn't fit in with most of our priorities, it was the easiest and best thing for our family to do at this time.

Every decision we make runs through this filter. We constantly are weighing pros and cons, praying before purchases and choices, and trying to find the balance. What is possible in our shoes? One-car family. I don't use knives or stoves. Packaged bread. Canned tomatoes. Fresh eggs. Homemade cleaners. No makeup. No television. I don't drive. No library story times. Yes to ticklefests. Yes to books. On and on it goes.

Bottom line is that we don't really fit fully into any one lifestyle -- hippies, homemakers, disabled families, especially most Christians (the majority are not living for eternity)... As a result, we often feel like we are just creating our own culture.

*Note: No judgement on anyone who does not make the same choices as we do!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's Only Now Once

  • We had a college friend from Kentucky come visit over the holiday weekend... I think our Craigslist-futon is getting good use!
  • We measured the kiddos last week, and Aolani remained unchanged from last time -- about three feet tall and a little over 30 pounds. Micaiah was still over 17 pounds heavy, but he shot up taller, measuring 38" long.
  • Christian rap artist Lecrae released his latest album, Gravity, this past week, and it is well worth the purchase!
  • Aolani is just saying so much and repeating us and copying us; she constantly keeps us in stitches. She kisses my boo-boos and my nose... I try to frequently tell her what a joy she is and what a privilege and honor it is to be her mommy. She had me in happy-tears the other night when I heard her singing herself to sleep through the monitor :)
  • During one of Micaiah's naps, we go into the office to watch a storybook classic on DVD (one is about 10 minutes). We have this set -- Scholastic's Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics -- and love, love it! The words highlight on the screen so you can read or follow along with the narrator. This is Aolani's new favorite thing -- "Mommy, couch, lap, key, office, watch book?!" We only watch one a day, but she asks this several times throughout the day. And, this gives me leverage -- "Aolani, do you want to watch a book? Then, listen to and obey Mommy." ;)
 Oh my -- this is so cute... Aolani is frequently carrying around her cell phone (an old, broken "gift") and either chatting on it or holding it up and taking pretend pictures with it. She hollers, "Mommy, Mommy. Stay. Cheesssseeee." Then, she proceeds to run over and show everyone the picture she just took.
You can see three of his four teeth here; teeth sure can change a look -- the baby is fading before my eyes (sigh).

 Aolani will only eat grapes if you give her the bunch (don't you dare think of pulling the grapes off for her!)
 Such a nice profile
 She still prefers the baby-swing
Ricky kayaking on a nearby lake.
  • Verses to memorize this week: Galatians 5:14-5 ~ For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Living with Intentionality

Be very careful, then, how you live --
not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish,
but understand what the Lord’s will is.
~ Ephesians 5:15-7

Now, is this passage convicting or what?!

There is a common train of thought summed up in the phrase, "Eat, drink, and be merry." Yet, God responds to the man with this attitude with "You fool!" Apparently, this is not the wise way to live.

Why? Can't I just live lightly?

Well, I believe that when we die we are going to have to account to God for
     every word spoken,
     every dollar spent,
     every minute of our time.

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
~ Romans 14:12

Selfishly, I would like to think that my choices do not carry that much weight... but, what if they do? I would hate to die, stand before my LORD's throne, and have to account for it all. Since I do believe in personal accountability (see Heb. 4:13), I realize that my decisions, big and small, have eternal ramifications. While I give thanks for the present gifts before me, I must choose how I spend my now in light of eternity. Give thanks for the now, live for eternity. Make plans and act -- wisely, not foolishly or selfishly (gratifying your sinful flesh and desires. See Romans 13:14 and Galatians 5:13.)

Very important footnote: When we account to God for all of our moments and choices, it is not to determine our eternal dwelling place. Our acceptance or rejection of Jesus determines where we go, not our faults or weaknesses or failures or mistakes. Salvation is not a matter of what we do but who we know. Salvation, eternal life, heaven is all a gift of grace by faith in Jesus. This accounting is not a matter of earning our entrance into heaven. It is a matter of two other things (from what I gather). One, love. Love for God and love for others. God loves people and wants them to know/choose Him; people need Jesus, in every aspect and for true happiness and fulfillment. Two, treasure in heaven. I think we will be rewarded for the actions of our faith (see Rev. 11:18, 1 Cor. 4:5, Eph. 6:8, Gal. 6:9, Rom. 2:6, Matt. 19:21).