Friday, November 17, 2017

Full Finishes and Fresh Finds

  • First week of October: We went to the OB/Gyn, chiropractor, and community pool. Ricky's dad and brother visited and took the kids to the Renaissance Festival :)
  • Second week of October: We took dinner over to share with some friends; I was 2cm dilated at my OB/Gyn appointment this week; we had other friends over for dinner another night; Ricky's mom flew in for a 10-day visit; went to community pool; a dear man from church handmade a crib modification and a changing table for me and brought the completions to us (they are beautiful and high-quality!); while Ricky's mom took the kids to the Renaissance Festival, we hosted a missions' meeting and then attended a conference about the Reformation; went to small group; and, completed our last week of school before taking our long break until the new year!
  • Third week of October: We went to see a new neurologist about my dopamine deficiency; I was 3cm dilated, 50% effaced, and the doctor could feel baby's head at my OB/Gyn appointment this week; MIL took kids shopping and to four parks; enjoyed shaved ice; took Aolani back to doctor; Micaiah had a bad reaction to a spider bite on his toe; and, went to community pool the same day early labor started...
  • Fourth week of October: crazy week with MIL flying home, my mom coming, preparing and cleaning, getting ready for baby; I was 4cm dilated, 85% effaced, and had completely dropped at my OB/Gyn appointment the day before L&DRaphael's arrival; Raphael's first doctor's appointment (he had lost 10% of his body weight before my milk came in and fattened him up); Ricky led our church's annual flag football game again; Ricky took the big kids to church to lead the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) and then to our church's Fall Festival; and, my dad brought his parents to visit and meet Raphael :)
  • Aolani's antics: She loves to hold and dress the baby, telling us, "I’m preparing to be a mommy."; She asked Ricky on her own accord a common question, "Why don’t they put a computer in my daddy’s courtroom so you can play with me?" ;)
  • Micaiah's mishaps: He would often adore baby Raphael and tell us, "He’s so cute I can’t take my eyes off him!"; He informed us that coy means sneaky; and, he lost his first tooth (it wasn't loose) and spit it on the ground outside (so it's really lost)!
  • They are both making really astute observations and asking wise, insightful questions! I do a poor job at recording them :( 

  • School verses: Micaiah -- Psalm 34:13, Isaiah 45:22 ; Aolani -- 1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 6:23
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:40-44

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Raphael's Birth Story

It’s so neat to me how every birth is so different and completely unique! 

For most of October, I had sporadic contractions that were not really intense and varied in length. Sometimes I would have them off and on for three hours. The uterus was just working out, but they were plentiful enough to dilate my cervix 3cm. 

Then at 8 o’clock at night on Sunday, October 22nd, the contractions started again and wouldn’t go away despite being the easy, bearable ones (the ones you can talk through). I lost my second mucus plug. After the contractions continued for more than four hours, I called my mom to alert her. She decided to leave her home and drive here in the middle of the night. 

The contractions lasted for 25 hours but never really got more intense. I climbed into bed at 9 o’clock Monday night exhausted from staying up the entire night before, and the contractions stopped. I slept nine hours straight! Apparently, it was all early labor. 

Then on Tuesday, not only did I not feel like moving but the baby got still and hardly moved at all. (This happened with my other two the day before labor —storing up energy for the big journey down the birth canal.) I, also, had another Ob/Gyn appointment — baby had dropped super low, 85% effaced, and 4cm dilated now. The doctor thought I would most likely not make it to November or even to the weekend. So, all those contractions the day before were doing something! 

I had a feeling that I’d be up again that night, so I headed to bed early again at 9 o’clock. I slept for two hours and woke with contractions. We timed them for over an hour before getting up. I had lost a third mucus plug and called my doula to tell her what was happening. We woke my mom. I spent the next hour drinking lots of water, changing positions and locations, and going potty. The contractions were bearable but would not go away. 

I internally agonized over whether or not to head to the hospital yet. In the past I would not go there until the contractions became intense and active labor started. I really did not want to labor much at the hospital because I’d feel the pressure to progress in labor instead of just relaxing and letting my body take the time it needs to birth my baby. But I knew that there were a lot of signs I couldn’t ignore — early labor, dropping, dilating, stillness, mucus plugs, pottying a lot, and constant contractions. And this was my third labor, so I didn’t know what it would be like. Maybe active labor would be super quick, and I was not prepared to have him at home or in the car. 

All things considered, I felt like he was coming soon. We should just go. 

Called the doula and the babysitter (to stay with the big kids) to tell them to come on over. 

Still having bearable contractions. 

We left around 3 a.m. for the hospital. After we got in, they put the fetal monitor on for a little (with my permission) and gave me an hour to dilate more before admitting me. The stress I didn’t want! 

An hour passed, no progress. And Ricky napped during this uneventful time. They called my doctor to ask what to do. (My OB/Gyn said to call him even if he wasn’t on call, and he would try to do the delivery if he could.) He said to give me two more hours before checking me again at 7 o’clock. 

I couldn’t wait to get into the nice, big bathtub in my room. So in I went! The water came up high. Ricky sat on the big corner ledge and napped again. We played worship music (Will Reagan) and relaxed! 

Half hour later (6 a.m.) I had my first contraction that I couldn’t talk through — active labor had begun! No going back now! (Note: It was resting in the water that allowed my uterus to relax and let the contractions intensify.) 

When they checked me again, I had dilated 1cm, putting me at 5cm. I could stay. My doctor was going to stop by on his way to work to check on me. 

Just as it became eventful, Ricky took his third nap. My mom and the doula stayed up with me while I labored. 

Doctor came at 8:15 a.m.; 7cm dilated now! He said to call him at work when I felt the urge to push. 

I alternated between sitting on the edge of the bed and the toilet. I kept my eyes closed most of the time because I was so tired and I needed to focus on the contractions — not fighting them, relaxing, and even welcoming them! I kept reminding myself that they were massaging the baby and bringing him to me — I want contractions! The more I have (and don’t resist), the quicker it’ll be over and I can see my baby. Let them do their work, bring them on! 

When Ricky wasn't napping, I had him reading the Scriptures aloud to us, for us, and over us.

Laboring continued for another three and a half hours before I asked for the midwife on call to check me. 9cm. Not 10 minutes later I felt the urge to poop. Twice. But I knew I didn’t have to because I had nothing left after having several bowel movements that morning. It was 11:55 a.m. I knew I’d have to push soon. Time to make the phone call to my doctor! (We joked how God timed the delivery for the doctor's lunch break so he could attend!)

He walked in 20 minutes later, and I let them know that I had to push now! 

Pushing was harder than I remembered, and I screamed a lot. The doula kept reminding me to push low, and that helped because I felt like I could do that. (Doulas are a necessity to me!) Pushing felt like it was taking a long time, but in reality it was only 15 minutes. I remember yelling, "Get this baby out of me!” :)

Ricky was beside the doctor and said how impressed he was with the doctor’s skill. I only tore a little and got one stitch.

I gave two shouts of joy once Raphael was out — one of relief and one of victory! (The rush of hormones right after delivery is overwhelmingly strong!) I couldn’t wait to hold my baby. Everyone was saying that he was perfect and healthy. They laid him on my chest, and Ricky cut the cord.

The staff said Raphael did not look 10 days early, except that he didn’t have any vernix yet. He got the highest Apgar score of all our babies. After they measured him, they gave him back to me. He was eager to nurse, which he did for two hours! 

The babysitter brought the big kids to the hospital to join us. They were elated! 

We had friends visit that evening and left the hospital the next day. 

This hospital was the best experience we had for a birth. The staff kept it dark and quiet with minimal intrusion during the labor. We only saw our two nurses, and they not only read our birth plan but were quoting it to us! That hadn’t happened before. They didn’t avoid us or walk on eggshells around us like we were the weird or difficult patients. They were understanding, respectful, and kind! 

Overall, the labor and delivery were the opposite of the rough and tough pregnancy! Natural and vaginal birth with no medication or intervention. No complications and no GBS. Six hours of active labor and 15 minutes of pushing. Postpartum healing is going well. Raphael is healthy and is nursing well. (It took three days for my milk to come in.) We were in disbelief for a while with how flawless everything went! 

We are just so thankful to God!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Surprised by Joy

  • First week of September: My mom left and took Micaiah with her to spend his week with my parents; they did a lot (see slideshow below). Aolani had her week alone with us -- tea time, ice cream shop, date, sleepoveer at friends' place (all three of us), baking, daily movies, and lots of company! We, also, had small group here and a friend come visit, and I had blood work and an Ob/Gyn appointment. And, we met my parents to get Micaiah back ;)
  • Second week of September: We had friends over for dinner; Ricky's paternity/family leave (FMLA) started (paid time off using sick days), which he has 12 weeks of and ends after Thanksgiving; Ricky went to a church meeting; we went to a little girl's birthday party; we visited my grandparents and aunt/uncle (which was a joy); and, we went to small group.
  • Third week of September: Ricky and Micaiah went to a little boy's birthday party; another Ob/Gyn appointment; had the new neighbors over for dinner; took Aolani to the doctor; went to the indoor community pool to exercise and get my legs moving; and, enjoyed a day visit from a friend.
  • Fourth week of September: A friend came over to share prayer time; my mom visits, and we go to the pool, a pumpkin orchard, and my baby shower; and, we went to small group.
  • When we went to Mexico and left the kids with my parents, I think that scared Micaiah. He grew frightened that we might not return to get him. So, he did not want to go to my parents' farm without us (that included his week alone with my parents at their house). But after Aolani's week at DaySpring and all the fun she had, Micaiah started to warm up to the idea of having his own week there. He grew more eager to go as the time grew near, and he ended up having a blast, of course!
  • School verses: Micaiah -- Exodus 20:12, John15:5, Hebrews 13:8 ; Aolani -- Philippians 4:8, Lamentations 3:40, Isaiah 41:10
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:35-39

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

He's here!

We joyfully announce the birth of our son
Raphael Preston
born on October 25th
at 12:29 p.m.
6 pounds, 10 ounces
19 inches long

Raphael is Hebrew and means "God has healed" or "God is Healer"; Preston is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. God whispered his name 'Raphael' to me back in August. Raphael is also the name of an archangel, a famous artist, a well-known tennis player, and a ninja turtle. It is said that Raphael is the angel that stirs up the healing waters of the Pool of Bethesda once-a-year.

Another natural childbirth -- birth story soon. We are all doing great! Nursing well and recovering quickly :)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Help Enduring Suffering

A bunch of random thoughts I had about suffering during our two months of torture, July and August:
  • I was reading in Mark 10 one day about when the sons of Zebedee ask if they can sit beside Jesus in Heaven. And Jesus responded, "You don’t know what you are asking... Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" (verse 38, NIV). But the NLT version calls it the “baptism of suffering”! And I wondered if this was the third baptism, after the baptism of water and the baptism of the Spirit/fire comes the baptism of suffering... And I couldn’t help but wonder then if this was what I was going through — the baptism of suffering, just like my Lord...
  • I heard a sermon several months ago about the spice myrrh and how when it’s crushed and turned into oil, it gives off a sweet aroma. When it’s crushed, a sweet aroma is released. And I definitely felt like when I was being crushed, a bitter aroma came out. Yet, how I longed for the sweet aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16) to come out when crushed by suffering! I was sharing this with a friend, and she reminded me that Christ suffered perfectly on our behalf because He knew that we would suffer imperfectly. This got me thinking... I am still the pleasing aroma of Christ even in my imperfect suffering as long as I am pointing to Christ’s perfection and sufficiency, which is more than enough to cover my weakness and imperfections and insufficiency to suffer well.
  • During this time someone asked me how I was making it through the pain, and I offhandedly thought of six things that I would automatically do throughout the night to help me endure —
  1. Remembering 2 Corinthians 12:10 — delighting in this struggle because His strength is best displayed when I am weak.
  2. I watched the movie “The Shack” during this time, and the Jesus character said, "If you focus on the pain, you’ll lose sight of Me.” So true! This is one of the great truths Jesus taught when He calls Peter out of the boat and to come to Him on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). When Peter took his focus off of Jesus and saw the scary storm around him, he started to sink, of course. If you focus on your circumstance, you lose sight of Jesus and go under!
  3. I have a cross on the wall beside my bed that was my constant, physical reminder to look up — don’t look in or around but look to Him for help, deliverance and salvation (Psalm 27:9, 40:17; Isaiah 45:22)! Envisioning Christ on the cross bearing unimaginable pain, helped me to feel united with Him in mine (Romans 8:17,23). Remembering His great suffering, reminded me that He was holding me in mine.
  4. Worship songs was absolutely vital! I had four songs that I played repeatedly and constantly throughout every night! Psalm 34 by Shane and Shane, Psalm 46 by Shane and Shane, Come As You Are by Crowder, I Am by Crowder
  5. Over the summer we received several words and visions from the Lord. There was one from a friend that I really held onto in the I'm-about-to-freak-out-and-scream-bloody-murder moments. She said that there would be times of intense pain ahead when I might feel alone or forgotten by God, but the opposite was true! He had not turned His eye away from me; His eye was so on me! I was always before Him. Knowing He was watching me and listening to me during the pain, helped me cry out to Him (Psalm 40:11-13 was my constant plea).
  6. Also, repeating the popular quote to myself: “The presence of pain doesn't mean the absence of God.” 
  • Finally, that final week of terrible RLS before resorting to the dopamine agonist prescription, the Spirit brought 1 Corinthians 10:13 to mind -- 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. And I would ask the Lord how long can I endure this? How much can I bear? I would desperately pray nonstop and beg for the Lord to show me the way out!! And a week later He did.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

8 months

8 months
I look bigger when I'm up; the chair is quite concealing ;) I have now gained 26lbs. I am 1-2 cm dilated, and baby is active and head down, with a heartbeat of 146bpm.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Going Under

  • First week of August: last week of swim lessons; my mom went home for 10 days; we went to Cincinnati to visit with Ricky's dad, brother, aunt and two of first cousin's boys about our kids' ages; and, we visited Coney Island, saw a Reds' baseball game, played a lot, had cookouts, and relaxed while there. [Although, this was when my physical woes became near-unbearable.]
  • Second week of August: we had an Ob/Gyn appointment, a friend visit, and a friend's surprise baby shower; the kids went to a friend's birthday party; and, our small group had a dinner gathering.
  • Third week of August: my mom returns; friends come over for dinner; we have another Ob/Gyn appointment and go out for ice cream after; have our pastor over for lunch; we go to the chiropractor; meet with a friend from church about modifying the crib that survived the fire and building a changing table for me; Ricky takes Micaiah on his Daddy-Son adventure, a hike up Table Rock mountain; and, Ricky visits the Marshallese church.
  • Fourth week of August:  we go to a surprise birthday party for a friend, with 11 different cakes!; and, our church holds its summer picnic, and Ricky gets to baptize Micaiah (see video below)!
  • Kids' measurements -- Micaiah: 43.8" tall and weighs 44 lbs; Aolani: 47.5" tall and weighs 54 lbs

  • School verses: Micaiah -- Matthew 7:12, Proverbs 20:11, Isaiah 43:1, 1 Thess. 5:18 ; Aolani -- Proverbs 16:22, John 13:36 
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:29-34

Friday, September 15, 2017

Days of Play Amidst Summer School

  • My mom came to help me for the next two months ( as I was growing bigger. Her visit ended up being very fortuitous with perfect timing due to a heavy transcript load and my physical health; what a God-send!!
  • I have always had restless leg syndrome (RLS) to some degree for 12 years but usually kept it under control through natural means. However, it kept worsening with this pregnancy and culminating in August. These past two months were marked by sleeplessness, pain, wailing, screaming, warm baths and all kinds of attempts for relief (31 to be exact, yes I have a list), verse recitation, worship, and crying out to God all night. Ricky called this time in our life a "living hell." What helped other people didn't even come close to offering me any alleviation. It had grown so severe that I had nonstop RLS and pain 24/7 prohibiting sleep for days and felt like I was losing my mental sanity. I would have to drink caffeinated coffee to ride in a car and make it through a day, but even caffeine stopped working. I gave in and took a pharmaceutical prescribed for me. It's a dopamine agonist. It's not a sleep drug but calms my legs down so my body can rest. And it lasts all the next day, too! But, I am a goner by 8-9pm, my old computer-work time :( We are waiting for test results regarding my low dopamine levels before moving ahead. Although I suffered great agony, baby boy is growing and moving a lot (more than the other two at this point) safe in his cocoon of love! We did begin to wonder just how long he would remain unaffected by my lack of rest and high stress levels.
  • We think we have a name for baby boy, but we are waiting to see him once he's born to make sure it fits him; so we are not revealing it ahead of time ;)
  • First week of July: We finished our school year last week; Grandma took the kids to a free summer movie one morning; we went to some friends' birthday party for their kids; and, I did Aolani's first standardized test, breaking it up into 45-minute sections over three days (she had fun and loved it!) 
  • Second week of July: We went ahead and started school -- Kindergarten and Second Grade -- as we'll take a long break when baby comes; a month of swim lessons starts, and Aolani is now swimming on her own and Micaiah is on the brink now!; I had an Ob/Gyn appointment; and, we enjoyed hosting some missionary friends from Albania for a quick visit :) 
  • Third week of July: Aolani had her first dentist appointment with no problems! We had some friends over for dinner one night.
  • Fourth week of July: All five of us went to the movie theater; we went for a prayer walk (I couldn't make it as long as normal); we hosted our church's seasonal missions' meeting; we went to the theater again for a double date with friends; and, we visited a friend out-of-town for church and lunch.
  • Aolani informed us, "My favorite part of my body is my leg because I can use it for everything!" :)
Made her own flag for Independence Day

Swim lessons

The Butternut Squash family
Friends' birthday party

We had a missionary family stay the night (boys slept together and girls were together -- they loved it!)
"I'm Daddy!"
  • School verses: Micaiah -- Romans 3:23, Acts 16:31, Colossians 3:20 ; Aolani -- Psalm 106:1, James 1:19, Philippians 4:4 
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:25-8

Saturday, September 9, 2017

7 months

I will share more later but hope to get July and August done this month. I am now doing better after two months of pure misery. However, I now go to bed at 8pm, leaving me little computer time...

Here I am at 7 months; I know you can't see my largeness straight on!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Jewel {poem}

I am undergoing much physical suffering right now and am significantly behind on everything! So, computer time is very minimal, but this "season of life" should produce good pondering posts later on! ;) Who knows when I'll get to July's update, but in the meantime, here's a poem Ricky recently wrote...

by Ricky DiMartino 

Below old, round hill of tall oaken wood,
Cleft into its foot of sod and red earth,
A grey-walled cavern deep and dark there stood,
Arrayed with gems and jewels and ore of great girth.

Alone and untouched this cave did not stay,
For many a miner from far and near
Heard tale of lodes as long as the day,
Of gold and emerald and rubies dear.

The mine bid all to come and swing pick-ax—
Men, giants, and dwarves—amid sweat and groans.
Kings, queens, and lords spent the best of men's backs,
And peasant women clawed with calloused bones.

Then one bright, chill morning on cusp of spring
The threshold of the cavern door was breached
By a maiden with hair of golden rings.
In she walked where no wind or sunlight reached.

Above her, beside her, and underfoot
Were many stones for which men lust.
Just one small gem, if in her pocket put,
Would deliver her from a life of dust.

Candle in hand, bare feet upon dark dirt,
A sudden glimmer of gold caught her gaze.
Shuffling to its glare, something snagged her skirt.
Turning round she cast her light through the haze.

There upon the ground was nothing of note,
Save one oddly shaped, crusty lump of clay.
Nothing would draw any soul to its coat,
Yet from her eye came a curious ray.

With lamp by her feet and hand outstretchéd,
The lass bent low to examine the clump
Of ugly, hardened, broken earth wretched.
And whilst in study hearts began to thump.

For reasons not even her mind could guess
This object of no desire had found
Its way into the pocket of her breast.
And out she walked from the cave underground.

Townspeople and passersby looked askance
At this fair maiden with nondescript orb.
Yet if one caught glimpse of her eyes, by chance,
One would see what this girl sought to absorb.

For in her heart she sensed there could be more
To this plain chunk of mud crumbling apart.
She was determined to get to its core
And someday, perhaps, unearth its true heart.

To her small humble stone cottage she fled,
Just on the border betwixt town and wood,
And with each swift, quickening step she bred
A thought, a fancy... a dream of what could.

Through cottage door she burst, clutching hard rock.
Forgoing all past, she began at once
To scrape away by finger and by block
The grit and the grime through grimace and grunts.

But unforgiving was its filth and crud
And fast to the clod of clay they did cling.
Thin did patience wear 'mid many a thud.
Fiercer tool was declined lest gem she sting.

Set upon her task as waves upon shore,
She beat earth with renewed vigor and joy.
And as sediment heaped about the floor,
Expectation and hope failed to cloy.

Wonders were imagined and hopes were sown.
What could lay underneath the ugly smut?
Sapphire, emerald, or onyx stone?
Surely much labor would yield precious gut.

But the blossom and bloom of spring did pass,
As oft they do in seasons of great trial.
And into a woman grew the sweet bonny lass,
A woman bitten hard by winter and denial.

Housework neglected and garden long dead,
Thoughts of ill spent time stirred up weary fears.
For life lived between but table and bed
Left little food for the hard coming years.

Prudence and patience no more in reserve,
Down with hachet of steel she struck,
To get at this thing gnawing her nerve,
To divide its marrow from the muck.

And as she cut deep and carved many a chunk,
Hewing and sculpting, leaving no dark blot,
Something was wrong; in fact, it plainly stunk.
It became not sweet but wreaked of foul rot.

A fungus it had, coursing through and through.
She nearly threw the thing out the window
But something stayed her hand and then she knew,
Into the blast furnace it now must go.

And char it she did and char it some more,
Refining and purging night and day,
Until blight and blemish were seen no more
And long-sought jewel might shine forth from burnt clay.

But much scorching left it with coat of ash.
All it was now was cinder and black soot.
Against hard stone wall the rock she did dash.
Then, to be sure, she kicked it with her foot.

Her endeavor had lasted long, too long.
And yet the stubborn clod refused to yield
To her tireless striving, brave and strong.
So out she walked to bury it in the field.

The long years had been inclement and grey,
“With nothing,” said they, “to show for her toil.”
So here she knelt on this cold autumn day
To dig a hole and damn it below soil.

But as she clawed the tough earth up and out,
Her grief and stress became too much to bear.
Looking up at darkening sky with doubt,
She collapsed upon the ground to die there.

The ashen clump fell, no more in her grip...
But there came one last smite upon the stain.
And with the thunderclap that loosed the drip,
She saw now at last what had been her bane.

For as Heaven's shower washed o'er the stone
And the last stains drained away to the north,
She raised her head to behold the unknown.
And a diamond, the king of jewels, showed forth!

Of all the stones under the oaken hill,
To have at the last found the best of gems
Was vindication that left her most still.
Her rejoicing was heard on down the Thames.

Her soul light but her body frail, she rose
For one last journey across this sad earth.
With her precious diamond in hand, she chose
To give the needy great treasure and mirth.

Finally she passed into well earned rest.
She had given her life for this one ore,
That in the end, when complete was her test,
This rock might be of some worth to the poor.

The vast masses that had long scorned and mocked
Were now in awe and marveled at her wake,
Scarcely believing that among them had walked

This woman, immortal jewel of Heaven's make.

*Dedicated to all wives.

(C) August 21, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Marriage in Light of Eternity {video}

The best talk and take on marriage I have ever heard. By Francis and Lisa Chan. I just got their audiobook, You and Me Forever, and started it today! Finally... the right view on marriage!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

My Righteousness

"For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."  ~ Matthew 5:20
Well. I certainly don't feel like my righteousness surpasses that of Pharisees and teachers of the law! So, what does this mean?

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away" (Isaiah 64:6). Yep, my righteousness definitely is better described as filthy rags.

But wait...

God made His Son Jesus “who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21).

"For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness," (Isaiah 61:10).

Christ now clothes me with His robes of righteousness! Which FAR surpasses!

He makes me righteous not me. His righteousness is my righteousness. Woohoo!

I'm covered -- literally. You?

*This is not to say that we should not pursue righteousness in our lives. For indeed His Spirit inside us helps us to live and think rightly. But our righteousness does not get us into Heaven -- faith in Christ alone does that and that's how we get His righteousness!
**This is what theologians call the doctrine of imputed righteousness.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Backwards Heart

  • We found out the baby is a... BOY!  We were surprised as we thought that the baby was a girl. We haven't settled on a name yet but have ideas :) I began feeling baby movement during 20 weeks.
  • First week of June: cardiologist appointment (echo-cardiogram revealed my heart to be normal -- heart wall thickening is now gone! God used Symptometry to heal my heart :); visited Wycliffe's JAARS headquarters; enjoyed a baptism for our Marshallese friends; and, went to the movie theater with a girlfriend.  
  • Second week of June: met with my doula; my friend I've known for 16 years visited us for the first time, and we took him to a famous barbeque restaurant in Asheville and a nice lake; and, met my parents halfway so they could take Aolani for her week-long grandparent visit.
  • Third week of June: Micaiah got to spend alone time with us since Aolani was with my parents; had the gender ultrasound and celebrated by going to the park and getting ice cream; had chiropractic appointments (which Micaiah calls a massage:); retrieved Aolani and celebrated Father's Day at a new restaurant.
  • Fourth week of June: attended Ricky's annual court reporting conference for one night, which was held at the casino in Cherokee, NC this year (I homeschooled in the hotel room while Ricky had meetings); and, then we left there and headed to Kentucky for our 10-year college reunion at Asbury University. They put on camps for all the kids (swimming, games, movies -- fun)! Meanwhile, we attended chapels, events, fireworks... and caught up with friends and professors. We stayed with a friend and got to share a few meals:) We went to our friends' house church and received prayers and prophecies :) We even were able to meet Ricky's dad and brother for lunch and the park, and we got to get together with other college friends for a cookout and to let our kids play. Before we left the next day, we had a brunch with some friends and got a few dream interpretations to test ;) Our trip was a very enriching time!
  • Last week of June: visited a Guatemalan church, and received a visit from a friend as we celebrated her birthday and the end of a school year!
  • Micaiah's mishaps: When Aolani was gone for her grandparent week, he commented, "I forgot what Aolani looks like; I need to go to the fridge to remember!" (her picture is on the fridge); after watching a cartoon version of The Hobbit, he informed us, "This movie is good for your mind"; and, has begun to pronounce 'L's not as the 'W' sound, and his speech is so cute right now as he is making the effort and emphasizing those syllables!
  • Aolani's antics: was really sad when we found out the baby is a boy; loves to boss littler kids around; asked, "How long do I have to walk to get to the end of the universe?"; loves all flowers, card-making, and giving; is growing more defiant and acts like a teenager; and, began swimming by herself!

Micaiah and Ricky's top priority during our week alone with him was to build the Lord of the Ring Lego castle set ;)
Girl in wheelchair homeschooling in casino hotel room -- yep, that's got to be a first!

Cherokee is in the Great Smokey mountains, which boasts of its bears
Classic Micaiah
driving through the Great Smokey mountains
a little nervous going down an inflatable slide for the first time
at a cookout with our friends from college and their kids
Aolani's butterfly garden {see video below}

Our friend, Wes, who visited
Celebrating a new baby brother with frozen yogurt ;)
Kids' Camp at our college reunion

Aolani wanted to bake Rosemary-Cornmeal cookies for our new neighbors :)

5 months pregnant
  • School verses: Micaiah -- Philippians 3:1, Psalm 119:105, John 3:16 ; Aolani -- Proverbs 1:7, and worked on learning the books of the New Testament
  • Verses I memorized: Matthew 5:20-24