Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Living a Lively Life

  • Over the weekend, we had some friends over one night to watch some NCAA (via internet), eat pizza and popcorn, and play board games. Aolani always goes a little over-the-top around groups; she is such party-extrovert (she kept sneaking out of bed to see what we were doing for two hours after we put her down!). One of our friends spent the night, keeping us up until 3:30 a.m. talking ;) Also, we had a family over for dinner the next night, and Micaiah passed on his virus to four out of five of them --- yeah, we feel like losers :(
  • Speaking of this virus: Micaiah's vomiting only lasted a day, but his diarrhea is oh-so-steady (twice today). But, he did eat some solid food for dinner tonight, and his spirit seems to be returning. Sadly though, I think he lost a bit of weight :( Good thing we are going to Grandma's house for nine days (leave Friday), so that she can fatten him up!
  • My body started fighting nausea and lethargy yesterday; I could hardly talk, such was my energy (I could just lay my head on the kitchen table and close my eyes, with a barf bucket beside me). I went to bed when Ricky got home from work and slept 12 hours! This afternoon I started coming back and even ate a snack. So glad I never really got it (vomiting or diarrhea -- I really think oil-pulling helps me). We are going to travel with a bucket just in case it hits Aolani in the car! 
  • After I nurse Micaiah once he awakens from his naps, I put him on the floor to go play. He likes to first close his crib door before walking out the room -- cute! Ricky called today as he was leaving work, I put him on speakerphone to talk to Aolani and me. I hung up without letting Micaiah have a turn talking to Daddy, and Micaiah started crying. I called Ricky back, let the boys chat via speakerphone, and then Micaiah was happy as a lark!
  • So for a while now, I have been telling (and showing) Aolani that she can start wearing thin panties versus her thick undies once she stops peeing in her crib during naps (seven dry days in a row). Well, we had five dry days in a row, I am getting excited, and then she peed during Monday's nap. The last two days were dry. Panties are coming soon, I hope.
  • As we are leaving in two days for our trip to visit my parents, I'll take a week off from posting.

  • Verses to finish memorizing this week: 1 Peter 5:6-11 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Even If...

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ~ Romans 8:35-7
A while ago it hit me. Paul lists all the many ways people can suffer and emphatically proclaims that off course these sufferings cannot come between you and His love -- how silly, how absurd (I bet Paul was thinking here)! Yet, doesn't everyone think the opposite? I always hear from people that if God loves them, then He won't let them endure

trouble -- your house burns down, your car is stolen, you lose your wallet

hardship -- you break your back, your loneliness is choking, you grow paranoid

persecution -- you get sent to jail or fined or lose your job because you won't keep quiet, you are locked in a room for months, you are beaten or burned

famine -- hunger (if Jesus loves me, surely He will send me food and not let me go hungry)

nakedness -- no clothes, no warmth (if Jesus loves me, surely He will provide me with clothes to wear)

danger -- drug-users keep wanting money, your children are being threatened, thieves are prowling

sword -- machetes take your limb, guns permanently kill nerves, acid burns your eyes and takes your vision.

"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." We are always one step away from death; we live in the danger zone. We are targets, for His sake.

To me, Paul is saying, "Christ loves you -- even if you have problems, even if things are hard, even if you are persecuted, even if you are hungry, even if you are cold, even if you are in danger, even if a gun is in your face, even if death is knocking at the door..."

Jesus loves you, no matter what you feel or what hard thing is in your life, Because having a nice, comfortable, easy life is not the measure of His love for you. Jesus going to the Cross for you is. [We actually believe that more hardship is God's way of loving us.]

When Paul says that we are more than conquerors in all these things, he is not saying we command the hard thing away (poof, be gone), and conquer it by getting rid of it. He is saying that no matter what happens to my body, nothing can really touch me (my spiritual blessings, my eternal fate, my joy, my peace... real things). Prove yourself a conqueror by not letting it disturb your trust in Christ and His love for you.

I am more than a conqueror in every hard thing. And, even though it may not look like it, Jesus loves me.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dancing Diva

  • Our weekend was full of people -- dinner with a new neighbor (we are so excited to have a sweet, friendly, helpful neighbor; she is single, has two dogs, is oh-so talented/has many skills and jobs, is good with kids, plays games, just a perfect neighbor for our family), a wedding (could not get Aolani off of the dance floor; she was livin' it up), our church small group gathering, dinner with friends (Ezra's family), two nights of "just us", and then yesterday.
  • Micaiah got some tummy virus that has had him throwing up all day (and some diarrhea too). I kept waiting for Ricky to come home for lunch to help (towels on the floor covering vomit, the house reeked of acid, Micaiah was naked and sick and nasty, and I was getting weary). He didn't show but called right before nap time saying that the judge decided to work through lunch :( So, I called my dear friend, Superwoman, to come to my rescue, and she did -- open windows, mop floors, and just give me a time to collect myself and laundry! Micaiah has been sleeping a lot, is cuddly, is a little feverish, and no more vomit (just lots of diarrhea).
  • Aolani's antics: frequently washes the little play cars in the bathroom sink, says no way (didn't get it from us?), while wrestling with Daddy and Micaiah said hey buddies, answers I love you too after we say "I love you", while snuggling with us on the bed before sleep she suddenly got up and said Love you guys but I got to go to work and left, and (a first!) she got up during her nap yesterday and went to the potty to pee! I caught her doing real imaginary play for the first time a few weeks ago; she was feeding pigs that were invisible her refrigerator magnets. I ordered some slotted clothespins that came a few days ago. Once we opened them, she got two out and said with amazement and delight Drumsticks! A surprise for me! (she has a small drum but no sticks.)
Aolani would park herself in front of the fruit trays and go at it! The buffet table and the dance floor, back and forth, back and forth...
  • Verses to memorize this week and the next: 1 Peter 5:6-11 [I already quote verses 7, 8, and 10; so, I am just filling in the gaps in order to know this whole passage.] ~ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Immediate Hallelujah

Warning: This is a long post. Grab your coffee...
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10
This thought has been rumbling around inside of me for weeks. While I since the Spirit giving me some insight here, let me make two things clear: this is just my interpretation and it is still marinating. {Let me state a few of my beliefs here. Scripture is God's very Word and is, thus, God talking to me -- It cuts me, changes me, steadies me, and leads me. It judges me and not vice versa. The Word is unchanging, eternal, unalterable, perfect, enduring, the Rock, powerful, and will never pass away. I also believe that the Holy Spirit can reveal something new to you in a verse that you may have read hundreds of times before. I think He brings things to light in His Word to show you exactly what you need or He wants you to see. In other words, I can read a verse many times in my life and one time this pops out and another time that, then another aspect hits you another time and sometimes nothing stands out to you. I think you never know what's coming when you read the Word -- watch out! -- because that Spirit, He knows your heart and thoughts. Basically, each verse is like a gem with many different facets or faces; while there is one truth, the Spirit might decide to show you a slightly different angle or aspect you never saw before. Anyway, this is one of those.}

This may seem a little theological, but it has an amazing, profound impact. So much so, it scares me a little to think about it. Great, now I'm crying... hold on.

This verse kind of closes out that famous passage about Paul's thorn in the flesh and when God told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Whenever I had previously read 2 Corinthians 12:10 (at the top), I think my brain would somehow interpret that Paul is saying he delights in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties that are for Christ's sake. In other words, he takes delight in a hardship that you suffer from that was caused because of your faith in Christ. Yes, that articulates what I thought that verse was saying. [Granted, many versions (of the Bible) read that way and that interpretation is also buttressed by many other verses in the Bible -- rejoicing when you suffer things for Christ's sake.]

One: I take delight in hard things that are because of His sake.

Two: For His sake, I take delight in hard things.

I think both are true. But, the second statement is a brand new understanding for me. Probably because of my disease. You see, it is a hard thing, but I fail to see how I suffer from it because of my faith in Christ, for Christ's sake. [Friedreich's Ataxia being just another rare, genetic nerve disease. Scientifically, we know that two recessive genes combined... blahblahblah...] It's not like I lost a limb in a bombing while I was at church -- that being an example of a suffering because of faith in Christ. 

Alright, let me go back to this passage about Paul's thorn in the flesh. There is nothing in this passage that makes you think that Paul's thorn was caused by his faith in Christ. It likely could have been some random difficulty or physical ailment not brought upon him because of his faith. [I think he would have mentioned it if his faith was the cause, as he usually does in his other letters.] So, with this in mind, it looks like Paul probably did mean the second interpretation mentioned above.

Now, here comes the good stuff -- the understanding, the epiphany, the application :)

What does it mean that for Christ's sake, I should take delight in hard things? Why??

Let me rephrase that question: If I take delight in hard things, how is that for Christ's sake? And here's the answer: Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4). Because taking delight, rejoicing in hard things, in suffering can develop the character of Christ in us! [And that is God's desire -- Romans 8:29.]

I think we all kind of know that (mental assent). Yet, here is where the rubber meets the road. Paul is not just saying persevere through hardship until you overcome and can wipe the sweat off your brow, say whew, and return to a life of ease and comfort. He says to rejoice in suffering and take delight in hardship to gain the character of Christ, become like Him. If you want to be like Him, be glad and take joy in hard things.

I think I had always somewhat understood this with the understanding that eventually you need to come to grip with hard things, with life, and make peace with God, not hold on to bitterness, but trust that God is working it for your good. After you are beyond the hard thing, you can tell others about it and even smile while doing so. But, that is not what I'm saying. That is saying be upset and sad and frustrated and confused for a while, get it out of your system, and then try to be content with your circumstances. Eventual nonresistance. I'm talking about immediate hallelujahs! Hard thing... yes! An opportunity to build His character in me!

Now, I am not saying seek out persecution or go looking for difficulty. They will come your way. I am saying that when it comes, welcome it, maybe even desire it (yikes!), with open arms and give thanks for it! Yay! An opportunity!

No, I never see this done (nor do I do it). Usually when anything bad or negative or hard happens, I see the responses of fear, fret, or frustration -- never delight or praise! I want to be like my Lord, so I want to be ready with praise and thanksgiving for these opportunities to build character. Because, honestly, Jesus tells us that the more hardship you endure, the bigger your crown will be in Heaven. If that's true, then wouldn't more hardship actually be a good thing, eternally-speaking? Wouldn't more hardship be God's way of loving us?

Join me in saying yes -- yes to hard things, yes to God!
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10
Praying for strength to rejoice in hard things right away,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Officially Two Toddlers

  • We are in the midst of our hectic hospitality season right now. My mom came to visit most of last week (come back!). Then, we had a family from church come for dinner and games. My grandparents came to visit us one day and got to see Micaiah for the first time :) A soon-to-be-married couple came over for dinner and games. A friend from church came for dinner one evening, and we skyped with his wife in China the whole meal ;) Then, my great-aunt passed over the weekend, and we went to her funeral on Tuesday (I had never cried at a funeral before this one; she was a great Christian influence and witness). Yesterday was our day off, and tonight we prepared dinner and took it with our kids to our good friend's house to watch them for us while Ricky and I went to a pregnancy care center banquet. It was a super late night for our kiddos, but our friend gave them baths and put on their jammies for us! (And, our friend's hubby was gone for the evening leaving her with their three little kids, another on the way, and our two -- crazy! But if anyone can handle five kids under six years old while being in your third trimester, she can! She's a Grace-dependent Superwoman!)
  • In the midst of all the activity, Micaiah has decided to take off on his own and start walking. It is so adorable to watch him proudly toddle. He walks with his hands up like he is being held up all the time ;)
  • Aolani got her booster seat for the kitchen chair out of the closet last week to use. [The one she adamantly rejected when we first got it out for her a few weeks ago; I guess she wanted to decide when/if to use it.] Micaiah, of course, loves to pull it onto the floor to sit in it himself!
  • Just tonight in the car on the way home: Aolani: Daddy, I fell in the tweet. Me: You fell in the tweet? Aolani: No, Mommy. I'm talking to Daddy. Not you. [Sigh...]

Finger-painting for the first time

My sweet lamb
Micaiah loves Aolani's Elmo books / Aolani has learned to ride this borrowed tricycle

with my grandparents
Aolani saw the open stage and microphone and took over
  • Verses to memorize this week: James 3:17 ~ But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Need Perspective?

I want to write, but I must prepare for company. Enjoy this well-done, one-minute clip! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Running (and other verbs)

  • Our weekend consisted of: Ricky running a relay in an 8k race (so his part was only a mile and a quarter), dinner at some sweet friends' house, church (Aolani gives us directions as we drive there every week), and our small group gathering (Ricky made our big-hit minty fudge, Aolani loved playing with SIX other kids, Micaiah made a wild ruckus our whole meeting, and we are watching a DVD series by Paul David Tripp on parenting that I am enjoying).
  • Aolani's (verbal) antics: [me] "Aolani, do you want more salmon or sweet potato or cauliflower?" [her] "Nooo, I just want more bread and butter."; "Grandma gave Papa a new pillow yesterday." [completely random and made-up]; [as my friend was putting the coconut oil gallon-tub in the cupboard, Aolani gasps and points...] "Oil-pulling. Watch out, Mary. Don't drop it on your toe!" [which she did last week and bawled big tears with her bloody toe :( It really hurt her.]
  • Micaiah's mishaps: threw my home phone in the toilet, talks all the time and loudly at that, and we find ourselves continually in awe at how this boy can eat!

  • Three part -- One, Aolani playing a tickling game with Micaiah (sooo cute!). Two, Micaiah getting a little too excited playing with the recliner. Three, Micaiah hard at work shifting the refrigerator magnets (this was recorded almost two weeks ago, so his balance has improved a lot since then, but it is good to have this sweet stage recorded).
  • Verse to memorize this week: John 14:27 ~ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Name is Pride

My name is Pride
a poem by Beth Moore

I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny… because you demand your own way. 

I cheat you of contentment… because you “deserve better than this.” 

I cheat you of knowledge… because you already know it all. 

I cheat you of healing… because you are too full of you to forgive. 

I cheat you of holiness… because you refuse to admit when you are wrong. 

I cheat you of vision… because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window. 

I cheat you of genuine friendship… because nobody’s going to know the real you. 

I cheat you of love… because real romance demands sacrifice. 

I cheat you of greatness in heaven… because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.

I cheat you of God’s glory… because I convinced you to seek your own. 

My name is Pride. I am a cheater. 

You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you. 


I’m looking to make a fool of you. 

God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…

If you stick with me you’ll never know.