Sunday, May 29, 2016

Beginning Contentment {link}

I'm sick. But, I've been thinking about contentment and hope to write about it soon. Here is a good piece about it from an article Beginning Contentment written by Lindsay Tollefson:
"To experience the peace and joy that is real contentment we have to have a biblical understanding of trials, we have to have the perspective that Paul had on various afflictions and sufferings. We have to become un-American and stop seeing trial as an interruption in our fulfillment of a good life. We have to stop questioning God’s love for us just because we have a bumpy road to walk. When we see ourselves as characters in a beautiful story that God is writing, we can see more clearly what He is doing. Everything evil that we face is ultimately anti-God: death, sickness, slander, pain, etc. He hates all those things. They are part of a bigger story in which they are being defeated. The hardships are ultimately nailed to the cross and taken from us through Jesus.
All our losses are ultimately restored. The trials are valleys that lead to higher mountains, evils that prepare us for greater goodness, pain that makes us ready for the weight of glory we are promised. When we are truly able to see these things as part of God’s story, as a good part of God’s story that He is working for us and through us, we are able to have open hearts to be content. Only then are we ready to believe that He will never leave us or forsake us. Only then can we stop being afraid. Only then are we able to be content with all the things He is doing in our lives, both the painful things and the lovely things."

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Laughing for More

  • Besides our normal week activities, we had two outings: an adult party for our state's Supreme Court (kids went to friends' house) and an end-of-the-year art show for the kids' art program -- fun! We had low-key weekend with pizza/movie night, science experiment (which we do on the weekends with Daddy if I don't get to it during the week), and church.
  • Micaiah told us, "My tummy is laughing for more food." ;)
 Lincoln logs w/ Daddy
 Sore throat relaxation

I let Aolani play with my hair over the weekend; here is her first braid :)
  • We are memorizing the poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer and rehearsing her kindergarten alphabet verses for a potential musical show for family...
  • Verse to memorize this week: 2 Corinthians 4:5  For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

After-fire Thoughts

I want to document my thoughts about the fire/smoke damage to our storage unit before it gets hazy.

Honestly, I was not bothered by it emotionally for two reasons. I am not a nostalgic person, and I don't really care about stuff (I am not trying to advocate these positions, just stating facts about myself). So, in that way I just shrugged my shoulders and said Oh well.

However, I was bothered for three other reasons:

  1. This sounds trite, but my first response wasn't joy (as it should've been) but an eye-roll. This is going to be a headache. Life is hard enough for us, now we have more to juggle... more hassle. Yucky.
  2. I did cry over this incident for this reason. I felt God asking me to give a bunch of stuff away that was in storage for a few months now, and for miscellaneous reasons I kept waiting. So, I of course immediately felt great remorse for my lack of instant obedience. I had missed an opportunity to obey. Thankfully, godly sorrow brings repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).
  3. Before we got to go through everything and figure out the extent of the damage to our stuff, I was in a lot of inner turmoil, trying to figure out what will happen to the things that do get cleaned -- keep still or give away...

This is why treasure ought not to be stored on earth (Matthew 6:19-21)! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cleaning and Enjoying God's World

  • A normal week last week, although my computer workload has been a bit heavy. Over the weekend, we volunteered to pick up trash at a park, had pizza/movie night, church, and went to our small group's cookout gathering (hot dogs and bonfires and late nights) -- fun :)
  • The kids say so many cute and hysterical things all the time, and I've been too overwhelmed to write them down :( So, we've been playing Andy Mineo's new album (a Christian rap artist) a lot lately, and Aolani told me one morning that Andy Mineo is connected to her brain (meaning a song of his was playing in her head) ;)

  • We are memorizing the poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer and rehearsing her kindergarten alphabet verses for a potential musical show for family...
  • Verse to memorize this week: 2 Corinthians 4:4  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Our Skydiving Adventure {video}

Ricky recently brought this video out to show family and friends... and someone demanded that I share this on the blog. During my final year in college, I took my best friend, Ricky, with me to go skydiving in rural Kentucky (we were not dating yet). We took a one-hour crash course and then got to go tandem skydiving (with an instructor). We were both pudgier, and while I walked a little here, I had just begun using a wheelchair a month or so earlier. Ricky was scared, nervous, and kept seeing his "life flash before his eyes" (his words). I'm the fearless, adventurous one. I always joke that the reason I made him jump out first was so if he chickened out, I'd be there to push him ;)

Two miles up. 30 seconds of freefallS = One mile. 5 more minutes of floating with chute = Other mile.

Enjoy (~12 minutes)!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mothering Rewards

  • Last week Ricky had to take another day off of work, so we could go to our storage unit and meet the cleaning company. They made it all super easy and quick, deciding what is non-salvageable and what could be cleaned. We moved a few things to our new unit and got to help Teresa, our friend with whom we're sharing the unit, with her stuff. Our kids were passed around by a few good friends and loved it! The rest of the week was normal. Teresa was here, and we had pizza/movie night. For Mother's Day we had a picnic at a park, reclined and read some, talked to my mom, and Ricky took me to the movie theater while Teresa babysat for us, which was fun for all!
  • A few weeks ago, we began some new incentives and rewards with the kids. One: when the kids do something that is kind or behavior that we want to encourage, we offer them a little sweet treat bite. Two: if they complete all of their morning chores before Mommy gets to the kitchen and without being reminded by an adult, then they get a token. When they get 14 tokens, they can trade them in for a homemade gingersnap cookie ;) If they get caught lying about doing all their chores, we empty their bag of tokens. Three: if they want to earn money, then they can come tell me, and I will find an "extra" job for them to do and pay accordingly, usually $.50-$1. (These are not the normal chores nor the routine deep cleaning jobs they expect.)
  • Over a month ago, I finally constructed their "piggy banking system". They each have their own set of money jars. The general money jar idea came from Randy Alcorn; I remembered reading it in his Money, Possessions, and Eternity book and always wanted to copy his idea. There are three jars, which we glued together in this order from left to right -- spending, saving, and giving. When they get money, 10% goes into giving, 10% into saving, and they can distribute the rest of the money however they wish. But, the caveat is that money can be taken out of the jars and moved to the right but not to the left. So, spending money can go to savings or giving and savings can go to giving, but giving money cannot moved at all. Right now they can get money several ways: gifts (birthday holiday, just because), losing a tooth (give me a tooth, I'll give you a dollar -- borrowed from a friend) or not sucking your thumb (Micaiah) -- totally unsuccessful as of now, and earned from extra jobs.
"Queen Elsa"

Aolani insisted we wear our matching dresses :)

watching the Kentucky Derby
  • We have begun memorizing the poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer and rehearsing her kindergarten alphabet verses for a potential musical show for family...
  • Verse to memorize this week: 2 Corinthians 4:3  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Helpful Hints, He Helps Me With

Here is the list of 70+ helpful hints I wrote about two weeks ago. I do not look at this list and pick one out at a time to help me. These are just different thoughts I have roaming around inside of my head. One or more might pop up when I need an anchoring help.

Of course, thinking these thoughts does nothing. Implementing them does. I could not put a single one into effect on my own. But, once I knew that and cry out for help (every time right now), then I begin to do it and take a step of faith. And lo and behold, He is right there empowering me and upholding me to carry the helpful hint out! Warning: Hints not beneficial alone. Many of these are similar; I've just thought these at different times, instead of summing these up in one or two hints (which may be a way that helps someone).
  1. Treat him/her as my persecutor
  2. Treat him/her as I want God to treat me when I do wrong, with open arms and unconditional love, not standoffish but intimate 
  3. James 1:19-20
  4. Hebrews 10:36
  5. Romans 12:18
  6. Is it worth it? [Is this problem worth the strife that will be engendered...]
  7. Proverbs 19:11
  8. Proverbs 20:3
  9. Don't side with Satan as an accuser, but side with Christ as a defender 
  10. If I want God to forgive me, then I must forgive 
  11. Imitate Christ
  12. Let God judge; it's not my job
  13. Punishment does not lead to reconciliation 
  14. He/She is redeemed, see him/her that way
  15. I want to be a cheerleader and encourager
  16. Proverbs 14:1
  17. Don't want to be considered a nag, but as a cheerful and content wife
  18. Surviving or thriving depends upon my attitude 
  19. How I respond is my choice 
  20. If I respect God, then I must respect and obey my husband as my God-given authority 
  21. My husband is not accountable to me but to God alone 
  22. Pick your battles 
  23. Would I expend energy over this if I was sick?
  24. I must submit, so do it with gladness 
  25. Choose joy
  26. I get to decide how happy I want to be by deciding to give thanks 
  27. Use the replacement principle with thanksgiving, by giving thanks for something fitting to that person or moment
  28. Put my husband's wants before my needs 
  29. Trust God to take care of me and meet my needs 
  30. Galatians 2:20
  31. Galatians 5:24-25
  32. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  33. How do I want the kids to view and remember their daddy?
  34. Demonstrate Scripture and its application for my kids 
  35. I want to be Christ to him/her 
  36. I want to support and not tear down -- Galatians 5:15
  37. Show my kids how to be a Christian spouse 
  38. What do I want my kids to remember about us and our marriage?
  39. Be who I want to be; be someone I want to be around 
  40. Looking back on my life in the future, how would I want respond?
  41. Do what the future me would want me to do now 
  42. No regret 
  43. Parable of the two debtors: Matthew 18:21-35
  44. Compare the current struggle with other real problems like child slavery or sex trafficking or the Persecuted Church
  45. Four evidences of real forgiveness -- good thought, hurt you not, gossip never, friends forever 
  46. Focus on his/her positives as a father/mother, husband/wife, and man/woman
  47. If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all 
  48. Wisdom: I only live this life-- today, right now-- once; am I living it like I want or making the choices I want? Be specific to the moment!
  49. I have a choice
  50. Depression, sorrow, addictions, or bad days do not control me
  51. 1 Corinthians 6:19
  52. Can I be happy even if I had to deal with this indefinitely?
  53. Remember his/her humanness and fallenness
  54. I want, need grace for my weaknesses and struggles 
  55. Eternal perspective
  56. What kind of legacy do I want to leave?
  57. Choose God's way
  58. Ephesians 4:29
  59. Because my husband in charge, if I disagree with a parenting decision, I share and let it go since God will hold him accountable for it 
  60. Submitting is a gift to be offered not a duty to be coerced 
  61. Submission and service are the roles of Jesus -- Philippians 2:5-11
  62. Keep my mouth shut and just pray for him/her 
  63. Pull a George Constanza and do the opposite of what I want to do (it's from an old Seinfeld episode)
  64. I do not want to allow Satan to use me for his plan 
  65. I owe God, so do what He wants 
  66. Just smile and breathe first 
  67. If I do what I want, then I'll botch it...
  68. Don't let a disagreement lead to disobedience 
  69. Live in silence before God, remembering my own brokenness and depravity
  70. No one's need is greater than my own need; no one's sin is greater than my own sin
  71. His majesty and grandeur put things into perspective -- when He breathes, stars come into existence
  72. When I try to control, it only leads to unhappiness and an incomplete/unfulfilled feeling
  73. I am a soldier in God's army and must do what He commands
I'll add more as a new one comes ;)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Balls, Yurts, and Fires -- oh my!

  • Three weeks ago -- really busy, we even took a break from schooling the latter part of the week. One morning we had some friends come and take the kids and me to an open gym for young children, which was so kind of them and the kids had a blast. Teresa was here during the week but left while Ricky's dad and brother visited that weekend. We went to a park and played bocce ball while the kids enjoyed the playgrounds, had pizza/movie night, went bowling (Ricky broke 200!), was treated to Chicago-style pizza and another restaurant. It was a full weekend.
  • Two weeks ago -- Ricky took the week off from work to enjoy a 'stay'-cation, mostly. I took the week off from schooling, too. Ricky and I played chess and got groceries while the kids were at art class on Monday ;) I had my friends come visit and help all on one day while Ricky had to work on transcript deadline on Tuesday. On Wednesday we went to relax in some hot springs in the mountains (the kids did great and want to go back). Then, we went to stay overnight in a yurt, which we found on Airbnb. [We'd planned this a while ago when we learned about yurts in a school book, plus the kids had been wanting to go camping, and this was a close as we were going to get camping!] It was so great! The kids did not understand why we could only stay one night. After we got there, unloaded and ate dinner, they explored the mountains/farm area. Then, we played board games until late. Even though the yurt had some electricity, it didn't have running water. There was a nice outhouses right outside, complete with a long window panel on the side ;) We made a big blanket palette for the kids to sleep on under the stars (skylight); the adults took the bed. The next day they got to explore some more before checkout at lunch, and we drove to a Mellow Mushroom -- yum! Ricky and I were so exhausted after a 29-hour vacation! This was our first vacation as a family, with only us. For Ricky's birthday present, he wanted us as a family to do a door-to-door prayer walk (we chose a street, went up to each house, asked for prayer requests, and then prayed with/for them); so good in many ways. Besides pizza/movie night and church, Teresa returned (yay!) and we hosted our small group.
  • Last week -- Ricky's birthday; schooling resumed; Ricky had to work in another county all week minus one day he had to take off so we could check out the damage to our unit and meet with the owners to figure out the next several steps (there was a fire in our storage unit building which burned several units to ash, but our stuff either melted or got smoke damage). A lot of our stuff is salvageable, and we are filing with insurance right now. A friend babysat the kiddos that day :) We had a friend over one night for dinner and games. And apart from pizza/movie night and church, we got to go to a local pregnancy care center walk with several friends.
One's coming down ;)
When it's quiet while I teach Aolani, something's up...
At an open gym for littles -- the foam pit was the fave
with Uncle Robby

snacking around the fire pit at the Hot Springs
driving in the NC mountains
The yurt... and the path (Ricky had to carry me because our van couldn't make it.)
The kids loved the donkey, who was very social :)
Playing games in the yurt
There was a hammock, fire pit, creek, barn, trails, animals... a lot to explore
The yurt and (nice!) outhouse
'G' is for glasses
Using a penny to strum her guitar
After the fire at the storage unit building (our stuff was in the open unit on the left)
  • Sorry for the crooked bits!

Aolani cruises down the street
  • Feel free to skip this video; it's just to document our trip down as Ricky carries me from the yurt (for posterity).
  • School verse from last week: Psalm 97:8-9  Z -- Zion hears and is glad and the daughters of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments O LORD. For You O LORD are high above all the earth. You are exalted far above all gods.
  • Verses memorized and to memorize this week: 2 Corinthians 3:18-4:2  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Running with a Bucket

This week has been quite wild (there was a fire in our storage unit building), so I am behind in many ways. I'm going to make it a priority to catch up on the past three weeks now this upcoming week ;) I hope to post my helpful hint list next week!
“Lord I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I’d have come running with a bucket.”  ~ Nancy Spiegelberg