Wednesday, December 1, 2010

more than music

Worship is what we were created for. This is the final end of all existence - the worship of God. God created the universe so that it would display the worth of His glory. And He created us so that we would see this glory and reflect it by knowing and loving it - with all our heart and soul and mind and strength.  The church needs to build a common vision of what worship is and what she is gathering to do on Sunday morning and scattering to do on Monday morning. 
                                        John Piper      

Worship is the sign that in giving myself completely to someone or something, I want to be mastered by it.
Harold Best



Thanksgiving was a success.

I burnt the stuffing
     Completely cooked the yams backwards
          Sprayed turkey juice all over

But, in the end, everything turned out perfectly.

Actually, I should say exceptional.

I even had room for pumpkin pie!

..... and then another helping of the meal after my second pie slice. shhhhh - don't tell.

P.S. Those recipes I followed were great:  Mr. Turkey turned out plump & juicy and the stuffing was the best I have ever tasted. Ummm.... let's minus the rolls; they weren't such a hit. Better luck next year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

gobble gobble

I can hardly wait to gobble down all the glorious flavors of Thanksgiving this Thursday! Not to mention, enjoying the wonderful company of family.

This yeah I am hosting TG at my house... which lands the responsibility of the turkey.... on ME.

dun dun dun

I've asked around & researched and decided I will be using this site for my basic guide for the bird.

As for the stuffing... I stumbled upon a recipe that sounds amazing

I'll also be dishing up some marshmallow yams (just like momma makes 'em) and possibly some homemade dinner rolls - maybe these

My [absolutely lovely] sister-in-law and her mother are in charge of the swiss medley, baked macaroni, and perfect mashed potatoes; along with apple and pumpkin pie.


I'm hungry already.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


After Jesus is baptized by John at the Jordan River, he is led by the Spirit into the wilderness. At the end of forty days of praying and fasting, the Messiah was then tempted by the Enemy.

There are three temptations that we read which he offered to Jesus: turning the stones to bread [lust of the flesh], his (Satan's) authority over the world [lust of the eyes], and defying God's will [pride of life]. In response to each, Jesus quotes scripture; and the Enemy departs.

[Though I am by no means proud to say this...] I've often regarded this passage as fallacious; 
of course He resisted and was victorious -- He's GOD.

How on earth am I supposed to relate to that?

On Sunday, October 31st. that all changed. A floodgate of light was opened that gave me complete understanding. And it was so simple.

In order for temptation to be a temptation it has to be a temptation

Pastor Eric gave a simple analogy: at the grocery store, he has...
never been tempted to over indulge on asparagus.... but it is temptation to walk down the icecream aisle... indulge, be a glutton. 
Because [Christ] was human there was an aspect of these temptations that looked good to him, where it got his attention.    
Wow. Why didn't anyone ever just tell that to me before?

Now I can truly agree that Christ is not only a "model to follow.... [but] a Savior to rely upon."

Yes, He was 100% deity... but [and O! what a glorious mystery it is] 100% human.
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid to those who are tempted.                         Hebrews 2:17-18 4:14-16
I shouldn't undermine the Word of God. 

To listen to the message for yourself, click HERE.  Search for October 31, 2010; the passage is Luke 3:21-4:15

Resist the devil and he will flee from you

Thursday, October 21, 2010

just us

Tonight we shared a candle-lit dinner together.

We listened to music, danced, snuggled, and exchanged some kisses...

I got help with the laundry and gave a lotioned massage.

What a wonderful night...

                                       with just me.....
                                                                     and Acacia.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

100% selfish

Last week I was overwhelmed with pity for Acacia.

Because I am her mother. 

I am selfish. I am impatient. I am easily angered. I am a bad example.

I was so frustrated that I had been entrusted with a baby; a soul to raise.

Sinful, selfish Arianna.

The unfairness of it was haunting me....

An innocent baby has to suffer because of my -many- imperfections.

All of a sudden 'parenthood' became in my mind this sick cycle that only resulted in ruin for every child.

Then someone spoke to me. Without even knowing what thoughts had been running around back & forth, waring inside me. And it made sense, shedding a far brighter light on being a parent.

The primary reason for difficulties between child and parent is selfishness on both sides.

When I lose my patience, it is because thing aren't going my way.
My sleep is being interrupted
My time & energy is being "wasted"
I don't want to play|read|wait anymore 

Acacia is a baby; all she knows is selfishness. It's how she gets her wants and needs.
And let's face it: not much is going to change there for another 17+ years...

So parenthood can be like tug-o-war... two sides, selfish, fighting against each other.

But I hate that game. And I'm not going to play it... so something has gotta give.

I must sacrifice to meet her needs. Her very-100% selfish needs.

God has given me Acacia to not only raise her with a good example, but to refine me; to burn away my selfishness, my sinfulness.

Parenthood is not a downward spiral of failures causing more failures....
it is the road to true love.

The truest display of love is sacrifice. 

And with this surety and hope I have already become a better mother. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

what matters

It doesn't matter if he...
gets into the shower from the wrong side
can't keep his closet organized by color, let alone style
doesn't care when his socks get twisted on his feet
can't keep a hat on for the day
hates peanut butter
doesn't shave his face every day
hasn't read Harry Potter
rips the sheets out from under the bed every night

What matters is that we love each other....

even if I...
organize my closet by color and style
go crazy when I see High School Musical
can't walk in high heels
only shave my legs once or twice a week
have no idea how to fix my hair 
hate Chipotle 
couldn't care less about football

Friday, October 1, 2010


I clearly remember the beginning of September last week.

Now it's October.

The leaves will turn and fall.

The sun will descend, the breeze chill.

And I'll be busy...
Washing laundry & dishes
Teaching, feeding, spanking, adoring my baby
Washing laundry & dishes
Editing Danielle's book
Washing laundry & dishes

And next week it will be November.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

blood & fire

Last Thursday: As I climbed the double stair case up to the room where our College & Career group meets, I noticed below me a Chinese man sitting at a table in the church foyer reading his Bible. He was of average size, dressed in a suit and appeared to be a quiet and gentle man.

Have you heard of Peter Xu?

If you've read The Heavenly Man, Peter was Brother Yun's pastor and mentor.

Perhaps you've never heard of Peter - I hadn't either.

Pastor Peter is a tried and true saint of our Lord. He has had a life of persecution, torture, and suffering. He has faced death... and had no fear.

Peter is the founder of an Evangelical Christian movement in China variously called "New Birth", "All Range", or "Born Again Movement."*  There are estimated to be 25 - 30 million believers in this Christian movement. He has been imprisoned for his faith five times (1965, 1971, 1982, 1988, 1997), tortured for hours on end, separated from friends and family for years.

I met Peter.

We all - RMC's young adult group - had the honor to hear selections of his testimony and have him encourage and pray over us. He brought us to laughter and tears... and to our knees.

American Christians have it so easy. We can freely meet with other believers, evangelize, sing worship, purchase Bibles...

I have often heard that the Church in America is a mile wide and one inch deep.

    That's not the case in China.

They have great depth of faith. They know what persecution is. They have chosen Jesus Christ and have no fear to die for Him.

God give us faith like theirs.

Pastor Peter and Brother Yun have a great vision. It's called "Back to Jerusalem". The Chinese believe the gospel traveled west from Jerusalem, into Europe, down to Africa, across to the Americas and finally reached the western coast of China. They believe it is their responsibility to take the gospel baton and continue to run with it, all throughout China and then beyond China into the Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist nations, all the way back to its source in Jerusalem.**

The Lord is calling His laborers. What have we to fear? Death is the greatest fear of all. But if you believe in the work of Christ and His resurrection - the hope of eternal life - then you have nothing to fear

*Wikipedia - "Peter Xu"
** China & Back to Jerusalem

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

a post a day

I write a blog post everyday.

    You're probably thinking, "Yeah, right, Ari... You hardly ever post."

Well... that's because I write it in my head....

while I'm in the shower each day.

So... here is my post for Wednesday, September 15, 2010.

Because this is what I was thinking about today in the shower. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

blazing fire, mighty flame

Jason is my best friend. I cherish spending time with him. 

I am extremely jealous for every potential minute together. Whether it's a run to the grocery store or hanging out with the guys, each moment apart lasts far too long. 

    Perhaps I'm a bit.... overly-jealous... 

The other night Jason was away and I was contemplating this jealousy of mine... How I feel sometimes that he doesn't treasure our time as much I do; that it's not a big deal to go hang out with what's-his-name and come home later than was planned, lollygag out doing errands, or put on a movie to divert his attentions.

    Thats when it hit me.

God is jealous over me.

Just like - and even more so than- my jealousy for Jason. 

He watches as I waste my time doing this and that; always busy, yet with so much spare, wasted time... 

Yes, I spend time with the Lord each day, reading and praying...
       (and yes, Jason spends time with me; eating, chatting, helping, loving...)

God wants more of me. I am His possession. He has betrothed me to Himself.

Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
                                                       Song of Solomon 8:6

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.     Deuteronomy 4:24

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I would rather endure the mockery from obeying even the most simple promptings of God than suffer the consequences of a seared conscience because of suppression.

      Eyes roll.
         Exasperated sighs.

Accusation: "You're legalistic."

Shouldn't they rather rejoice, encourage?

Oh fellow Christians, where is your heart? Where are your treasures?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

it's been awhile

I've been a little MIA... life has been busy...

Acacia and I just got home this past weekend from spending two weeks back at home with my parents. I would just like to testify that absence did make the heart grow fonder. I missed Jason terribly and now that I'm back with him, I cherish every moment.

Acacia is a handful. She is sure cute, walking around, talking, learning; but, by golly, she is a little sinner! Jason and I have a parenting series that we are going to start watching this weekend - we need help!

My best friend from GJ, Danielle, is writing a book. I'm helping her edit. It's going really well, but I think I am going to start brushing up on my grammar.

While I was back home I starting working out again. It feels so good. As of this Monday I'm working from The Body Sculpting Bible for Women. For this week and next I'm on the break-in routine, then I start a six week program. Supposedly I should have some muscle... by the end of October. *Crossing fingers* Apart from the workout, my main focus is eating a lot of food. I can't afford to lose any weight - in fact, my ultimate goal is to gain 10 lbs [of muscle weight].

That is all I can really think of at the moment.

The Lord is really blessing us right now and we are very thankful.

And I'm in love with Jesus - what more could I ask for?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

acacia's page

As you can see to the left of this, I have two page links.

The first page is Home - where you are now. The second page is all about Acacia.

I will be updating it as often as needed... with things that make me laugh, warm my heart, and I may even post some pictures. Ya know, all those loving-mother sort of things. 

If I have the time, I may even go back and write things in from the first year and a half.

It will be an ongoing page... meaning that I'll write in it as long as Blogger allows me the ability. 

My hope is that it will bless you, as the things written assuredly bless me, and that it will bring a smile to your face, for she never ceases to make my cheeks crease. Sorry... I didn't mean to make that sound so poetic. 

So... if you're having a bad day or a wonderful day, I share my joy with you through Acacia. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Having mono is quite a kick in the butt.

Though I am free of the most painful symptoms - constant headache, swollen tonsils, etc - I am plagued with tiredness.

And I just can't seem to shake it.

It is an odd virus because I don't feel sick yet it hast me dragged down. There is nothing superficially wrong with me... apart from feeling sleep deprived nearly 24/7. It makes me think I'm lazy. Lathargic. Lifeless.

And I hate it.

I'm hoping and praying to overcome this soon. 

And... *wringing hands guiltily* ... praying that Jason and Sheree' get over the tiredness as well. To add to the list, I'm also praying that Andrew and Janae' are spared from mono entierly. 

So. If you think of us, we'd greatly appreciate it if you sent up a simple little prayer too. 

I think the worst part of it all is being a mother with mono. I don't have the time or energy for both. But.. I will give thanks... because the Lord spared me from the body rash, fever, an overly enlarged spleen and inflamed liver. 

If you are between the ages of 10 and 26, I advise you to stop sharing drinks with everyone. Because mono is contagious for up to 18 months. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010


No, actually I'm not referring to the international distress signal ..._ _ _...

    But it kinda fits in....

[I am amused right now because I wrote this blog on June 7 - my two year anniversary with Jason... and now I am finally going to finish it]

For my devotional time with the Lord, I read through the Bible, book by book. Two months ago, I read the Song of Solomon.

  As I was reading, I came across something that is always on my heart 
    and I'd like to attempt putting it down in writing.

I charge you, O Daughters of Jerusalem, 
do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.

Three times this it iterated, in chapter 2 verse 7, chapter 3 verse 5, and chapter 8 verse 4. I think we're supposed to pay attention.

And while most of my readers are married women, I have a heart for topics such as this. Because it is not just about purity. It's about being sanctified. Set apart. Consecrated to the Lord. 

To go off topic a bit... there is something that I will share, so you get the whole picture...

Jason is leading and teaching the young adult group at our church. He is currently [until the end of 2010] going through a course on Discipleship; this month, Jason is discussing a life of holiness. While planning for this week's time together, there will be a skit, some onetimeblind clips, and he wanted two testimonies - one from a male and one from a female. He chose which guy would speak then consulted me in reference to the girl. I named off as many as I could... but he just looked at me and said, "I was hoping you would do it." 


This time, thats the distress signal!

I hate speaking in public. I get nervous even talking in a group of eight. So, obviously, I refused. 

But here I am writing this to you and here is my testimony that everyone at Engage will hear. 

I was raised in a non-Christian home.  Since kindergarten, I have been kissing boys… and I have had more relationships than I’d dare to admit to most of you.
After two years of faithful witnessing from a Christian girl-friend, I became a Christian my sophomore year of High School. But not even being a “Christian” kept me from sinful relationships.  Before the age of 18 I had handed over my purity.

After HS the Lord led me to Calvary Chapel Bible College in southern California.
            Actually… the truth is, I went to impress a guy.
But the Lord used it anyway and had me there for a purpose.

Due to a very sinful, manipulatory, unholy relationship that ended during the course of my first year of classes, I began to harbor extreme bitterness and loathing towards guys. I was disgusted with myself and even more repulsed with the opposite sex.

It wasn’t until a year later that the Lord was finally able to soften my hard heart. It was the winter before my last semester at Bible College that I allowed God to truly be ‘Lord’ over my life. I committed myself to standards of holiness that the Lord put on my heart. I was finished with throwing myself at guys to make them want me. The only guy who could have me was one with the same standards and one who would do all the pursuing. 

After consecrating myself to the Lord, a huge weigh was lifted.

A few weeks later the Lord brought Jason into my life.

Now most people would consider my standards as ridiculous and impossible:
-         guy had to respect me physically – never attempt to touch me, not even to hold hands
-         no kiss until the wedding day
-         I refused to be flirtation, pursue, or let on in any way of my attractions
-         I would not define the terms and boundaries of the relationship

So, if Jason wanted me he would have to get me.  He would have to lead the relationship by those holy standards of his own conviction – not just to please me.

As Jason and I began to talk, take walks together, and get to know each other, I didn’t flirt. I didn’t approach him, I didn’t call or even text him.

After two or three weeks of this, I determined to put an end to our time together: because the relationship was undefined and I wasn’t going to be the one to lead that.

That very day, the Lord put it on Jason’s heart to define the relationship.

He told me that the purpose of pursuing me was for the intentions of marriage.

Until this point we hadn’t even hugged – which was odd, since we both hug everyone; but I was so grateful, and felt so respected by him. We held hands once but afterward we talked about it and Jason decided that he wouldn’t hold my hand again until he put a ring on it for engagement. He also informed me that it was his desire to not kiss until marriage.

And so... our first kiss was June 7, 2008 at the altar before the Lord.

We NEVER held these standards out of legalism, but obeyed because we love the Lord and respected one another. There were times of struggle and imperfection, but we would immediately repent and return to the conduct the Lord called us to.

I will be truthful:  
My promiscuity not only caused those short term consequences (the bitterness and pain) but also some longer term hurdles that Jason and I must conquer now together.

I charge you, O Daughters of Jerusalem, 
do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.

There is a time for love. A time for intimacy. But until it pleases love must not be tampered or tempted. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

that's the way it is

I love Celine Dion.

I doubt you knew that.

The other night I had a dream about listening to Celine Dion CDs so yesterday before bed I decided to look her up on 

When I came across "That's the Way It Is" I had to stop,
                                                                           lie on the floor, 
                                                                                   and cry my eyes out. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

diamonds in the rough

The cabinets have been finished for the past week. They are beautiful.

    But for now, they just have to look like diamonds in the rough.

I was right

I WAS getting sick. And very sick indeed. Who knows how long I have had mononucleosis... but at least I now know why I was so overly exhausted during renow week. Thankfully I am finally feeling much better though I am still very tired. My tonsils are almost back to normal (they basically became two giant, painful, pus balls --- disgusting. I know.)

I'm basically contagious for [up to] the next year and a half.


I agree.

Oh well. The Lord had some reason for it. Though I don't understand it.

Staying on topic however, I would just like to give a list of things I am pleased about and things I would do different next time.

What went well:

  • all the help I received from Sheree'
  • Jason surprising us with help
  • the painted brown knobs look really cute (as opposed to purchasing nice new metal ones)
  • I the smooth texture of the oil paint. Its nothing like acrylic
  • the oil paint went really far so we didn't have to buy any second buckets

But... next time [and there never will be]:

  • the cream paint will be just a touch darker
  • the brown paint will be a few shades lighter or... I'd add more glaze to the mix
  • use acrylic paint - and just make sure to use a finish coat
  • hire a professional
  • actually... .I'll just buy new cabinets. Thanks.

I'm debating whether I should post a picture of the kitchen in its current state or not. Though the cabinetry and white appliances all look great, the two main problems are the white walls and hideodeous white-and-green tile backsplash. Since I'm sick, however, those white walls shall remain until my energy is regained (not for a few weeks, at the least).

The good thing is that the mono didn't take over until after the cabinets were finished :)
          And for that, I am very grateful.

Friday, July 9, 2010

day 10

Well it is currently 8:30am and I am finished with all my work for the day.

As Sheree' and I were chugging along painting the bottom cabinets during Acacia's nap, Jason drove up the driveway and informed us that he came home early to watch the baby so that we could get everything painted.

And thank goodness he did show up! We were not only able to finish all the antiquing, but once we were finished our hands were coated with the glaze and we were out of paint thinner. (Oil paint is not like acrylic. You can't just wash it off with soap and water. It stays sticky [forever] until it dries and only comes off with paint thinner). If he had not turned up, Sheree' and I would have been wearing bags on our hands the rest of the day. But he was able to run to Lowe's with Acacia to pick some up. He even brought us home food. What a sweetie.

Before I forget I want to mention that this project could not have been possible without my wonderful husband and his dearly loved sister, Sheree'.

So.... the glazing.... was hard.

    Much harder than it looks in all the videos I watched.

The paint/glaze mixture starts drying so quickly, and becomes sticky. We had to put some serious elbow grease into the process along with moving as fast as possible.

A bit stressful.
    But fun.

Anyway, once we were finished, I untaped everything and cleaned up all the mess. This morning, Jason brought in the drill and reinstalled all the bottom cabinets so that the kitchen could be baby proof today. (I know... I originally said we would wait 48 hours, but the glaze only said 16 hours of drying time... and we have people coming over tonight.) I helped a little where I could - and that was all my work for the day!

Today, I am going to relax. I'm going to snuggle up in bed as soon as Acacia goes down for nap and catch myself some much-needed rest.

Pictures will be posted this weekend, after the top cabinets are installed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

day 8 & 9

Well we started last week on Wednesday and this Wed, we finished painting the last coat of cream on the 5 cabinet doors. I hammered the cream paint bucket closed for [hopefully] the last time ever. I cleaned out the brushes with the infamous paint thinner while Sheree' washed and sanded all the knobs.  Then we pulled out the dark brown and painted the knobs.

We're  SO close to being finished!

So today, we are starting the antiquing. Jason stopped by Sherwin-Williams and picked up a few of those oil-based glaze cans that I mentioned earlier [and btw, they are exactly what we need]. What we do to make the antique glaze is mix one part clear glaze with one part dark paint. Once its well mixed, we paint it on the cabinet fronts and then wipe off with a cloth -- leaving a nice, subtle residue of dark behind in the cracks.

To be honest, I'm a little scared. I worry that as we go along painting & wiping the latter ones will turn out better than when we began. And the cabinets look so beautiful right now, I would hate to ruin them. Thankfully, Sheree' and I are pretty precise about our art... so I'm really hoping and praying that all goes well.

The plan is to start with the bottom cabinets and - for sure - get them all accomplished. Then tomorrow we will tackle the top cabinets... or whatever we don't finish today.  We will be waiting 48 hours from glaze until we reinstall the doors and drawers back into the frames. 

Thus, Lord willing, we will have a baby-proof kitchen by Saturday.

Acacia is exploring her boundaries with us a lot by constantly trying to invade the contents of all the door-less bottom cabinets. Now that she is walking, she is so quick to get into things. I would love to take a day off and rest, but - the fact of the matter is - I can't spare another day. I have to get those doors back up to keep Acacia out of mischief -- and so I can cut the number of times I say, "No" in half

The reason I'd like to take a break: I think I'm getting sick. 

The past three days my back and body have been aching, the sinus in the back of my head is sensitive to touch, the lymph nodes in my neck are swollen on both sides, and I'm so tired. But I'm not allowed to be sick. Not right now. 

So... if you think of me today, please send up a prayer. I would be most grateful. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

day 7

Within half an hour Sheree' and I were finished with the painting for today.

What a relief.

Of course... we both stuck our hair in paint.

[But thats beside the point.]

Looking forward to another easy day tomorrow.

We're having trouble hunting down oil-based glaze to mix with the dark brown paint to cause the antique effect. It seems odd to me considering that the directions online specify purchasing such a thing. We've searched Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace, and Kwal paint with no luck. Sherwin-Williams said they had an oil-based glaze that they were having a close-out clearance on, so Jason will stop by and buy a couple quarts in hopes of finding what we need. We shall see. If its not the right product... then we may just leave the cabinets cream.... or maybe I could come up with my own glaze...????-- paint thinner?? 

Who knows.

And... as always... I hate oil paint.

Monday, July 5, 2010

day 5 & 6



SO over the smell.

Today is my sixth day in a row painting. Thankfully we are over halfway there... or I'd be seriously wanting to give up; I'd skip the antique glaze. Almost all the cream painting is finished; all that is left is one coat on 5 doors tomorrow, and the second coat on Wednesday. After that, Thursday is my planned day for antiquing it all.

Then of course, choosing a color for the walls
and those, thank the Lord, will be acrylic paint
and less back breaking.

This weekend I have been so thankful for the help of, not only Sheree', but Jason too. It's amazing how much faster the work gets done with more than just two hands. 

I'm looking forward to the next two days of quick coats.

hmm... I think a good nap will do me some good.

p.s. Have I mentioned how much I HATE the oil paint??? and the paint thinner is even worse. *gag*

Saturday, July 3, 2010

day 3 & 4

So yesterday was the third day.

Got the top cabinets painted with its second (and last coat) of cream.

Sadly, the oil paint takes 24 hours for one coat to dry.... so say for the cabinet doors that will take at least two coats each side... that equals 4 days.  And the oil stinks SO bad that today, Saturday, is my third day with a persistent headache. This is going to be a longer, more tedious, process than I had anticipated. In fact, I calculated and this could turn out to be a two week ordeal. (Of course, if I didn't have a baby this project could be accomplished in half the time.)

But at least half the green in my kitchen is gone forever. Which is something that I am very grateful of.

Now I just gotta get this project finished. 


Today I plan on painting a coat on the top cab doors and (since Jason is home to watch Acacia so I can work) start tearing out the bottom cabinets; clean, sand, and prime them. Possibly even get a first coat of cream on them.

All that would be... ideal.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

day 2 & 'before' pics

Here is the kitchen

 See what I mean: what-where-they-thinking?-green cabinets = ugly.

 this was the only pic I took on closing day of the dining room but it turned out very dark
 this is a picture of the dining room from the real estate website when the house was on market
and last of all, this is a close up of the dining room light. hideous.

So there are the BEFORE shots! And already the place is looking totally different.

Today we started the morning by sanding everything we primed, just lightly, before adding the first coat. During Acacia's [short] nap we were only able to accomplish painting the cabinet frame. After bedtime, I'll conquer the doors.

Oil-based paint is a pain to work with. I'm not sure I'll ever choose to work with it again. It stinks, its messy and hard to clean off. The color, however, is fabulous. The name of the paint we are applying right now is Victorian Linen.

Its a creamy white. 

And I'm in love with it.

Painting the cabinet's underside is the most difficult of all. Sheree' and I have taken to leaning back and resting on the counter so we can see what we're doing. I must say, I look forward to being finished with the top cab's  and be on with the bottom half where we can sit as we paint.

Enough update for today. Hoping I can get both sides of the doors painted tonight, though very doubtful of the possibility.

yesterday: day 1

Yesterday Sheree' and I got a LOT accomplished.

We hit the stores, bought a new light for the dining room, all the paint, the glaze, brushes, etc., and anything else we'd need along the way.

Our plan of action is - starting with the top cabinets.

We got all the doors removed and hardware taken off everything. We then sanded them down, along with the disgusting green frames. And to top it off, we finished priming it all.

Oh - and Jason and I installed the new light for our dining room. Its beautiful.

What an accomplished day it was. And everything done while Acacia was sleeping. Today I'm hoping for a LONG naptime to get the first coat of cream paint on the cabinet frame and doors today.

Unfortunately, Acacia chose the worst week to decide she can walk anywhere she likes.

Fortunately, Acacia has finally realized she can walk anywhere.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

kitchen re.NEW.vation

Well, I'm happy to announce that I have enough $ to begin transforming my kitchen.

From 90's-what-were-they-thinking?.... 

                                              to freshly painted cream antiqued cabinets... and more!

The first thing I did when we got the house was take pictures of every room, from different angles in hopes of a Before & After comparison.  Hopefully I'll get the kitchen/dining room pics uploaded within the next day or two.

Tomorrow begins Day One of my very first DIY home project.  

                                              And I'm SO stoked!

My lovely sister-in-law, Sheree', will be helping me day by day. Tomorrow we are picking up all the supplies we will need for refinishing/antiquing the cupboards. And with whatever naptime Acacia takes, we'll be removing the doors, drawers, and hardware, and cleaning everything off. 

To prep, this evening I'll number all the doors and drawers according to their location for easy re-installation.  

Though I do have the funds to repaint, unfortunately some changes will have to wait - like getting all new cabinet hardware, ripping out the old backsplash and tiling a new one that matches the paint, and maybe one day getting new floors and/or countertops. 

Photos and updates to come.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

in short...

I've started quite a few blog entries but haven't had the opportunity to really put my thought into them...
    So I'll publish them when I am able.

For now, I'll give an update.

I don't think I ever mentioned what a wonderful time Jason and I had in Santa Rosa, CA. It was superbly beautiful there. In fact, Jason and I drove through neighborhoods of mansions trying to decided which one we would be buying for when we move out there. Unfortunately, the weather was cool, cloudy, and rainy the majority of the time. But I made the most of being baby-free; one day I even stayed in bed 'til noon. On Thursday, we drove through lush hills of vineyards, as far as the eye could see, visited a redwood forest - the most beautiful and serene forest I have ever set foot through - and went to Goat Rock Beach, drove down the Sonoma Coast to Bodega Bay, and back out to SR. The following day we went went to San Fransisco (we flew out of SF airport the Saturday) and rode the exciting trolleys around the city, visited Fisherman's Warf, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and walked down Lombard Street. I even got to visit my cousin, Megan, who lives in SF and I haven't seen her for about 10 years.

Two years ago when we got married, part of our many stops that we made for Honeymoon was spent in Cambria, California - which reminded us of the Santa Rosa area in many ways. But two years ago, Jason and  (I can safely say) didn't know each other.
Not like we do now.  
So much has grown and developed in our relationship. We've been through thick and thin together and can truly say we are best friends. When we were first married, there was all the newness to married life and much to get acquainted with. I now was with someone 24/7 with whom I had spent a year with on the phone in a long distance relationship. And within those two years, we were far from a perfect couple.
This time around, there was none of that awkwardness. 
We both felt as if the Lord was giving us a new beginning; 
to start fresh and do things right this time
And with the better understanding and experientially knowing each other, we have so much to build upon and look forward to. I thank the Lord for the work He is doing between Jason and I. He is the Almighty Healer and God of Love. My union with Jason depends solely upon Him.

While we were away, my mother and father took Acacia home with them to watch her. She was an angel. She melted all their hearts, lavished kisses and hugs, and practically forgot that her mama and dada even existed! 

Speaking of my little munchkin......

Acacia is learning to walk!

She took her first steps a few days ago; much to Jason and my surprise. She stumbles along but each day she is progressively gaining more balance. As Jason and I sit feet apart and have her walk back and forth between us, I'm afraid we have spoiled her already by having our hands there to catch her if she ever tilts. Thus, she has learned to fall backwards fully expecting someone's brace (she falls straight back. Literally. Her legs, back, and head are aligned). This will not do;
     because we will not always be there to support her and she will get badly hurt if she doesn't bend her knees first and roll into the fall. Before this habit takes hold, J and I have agreed that we will let her fall (within reason) that she may learn to break, and of course, how to balance.

Perhaps I over-spiritualize everything , but through this I have gained an understanding. Unlike my inability to be omnipresent to break my daughter's every fall, the Lord is and always will be there for me. Yet just as Acacia must learn walking stability by trial and error; so the Lord is willing to allow me to fall. 
One can not truly know the consequences of imbalance 
without the pain of failure. 
We then learn how to brace ourselves when we stumble. And eventually --though perhaps never fully perfected during life on this earth -- we gain poise

To have the assurance- that all the times I have fallen and accused God of ... well... (I'm ashamed to admit)... even pushing me over - that He was right there by me is very comforting. He allows me failure/falls so that I can learn to accept, confront, and gain victory from them.
And He allows me to start by taking baby steps.

Acacia is learning to walk with perfect timing.... because J's parents will be joining us this weekend for 10 days! They haven't seen Acacia since Christmas. Sheree' - Jason's younger sister - is here already and will be staying for the summer. And next week, their grandparents will be here as well - and they have never met Acacia. It will be a lovely mini-family reunion that we all are quite looking forward to.

-- But before then, I have to prepare my house and get everything ready for such a gathering. 

And thus I leave you. 

P.S. I'm just joking; we have no current plans to move to Santa Rosa. I scared you didn't I?  
       O.... and apparently the title of this post turned out to be a joke as well.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Thursday, May 20, 2010

our last will

Jason has a business trip to Santa Rosa, CA and he is taking me with him [I'm considering this excursion as celebration of our two year anniversary :)]. We depart on Sunday and will return the following Saturday.

    Acacia won't be joining us.
          My parents will be watching her for the week.

Ever since we have had the responsibility of a child, we've definitely recognized the need to make a will. In case the Lord desires to take Jason and me to Himself, certain important matters need to be accounted for. So before we leave, we have agreed to finally write out our 'last testament'.... who gets Acacia, our house, our belongings, etc.

I'll be quite frank: this has been difficult for me to process.

To think of Acacia growing up without the love of her mother and father; our families having to sort through all our things; for some to live in our house and take ownership of our possessions; and most of all, the grief that they will experience throughout the situation.

Just as I cannot bear even the idea of the heartache I'd have in losing a loved one, I cannot calmly imagine my loved ones enduring the same affliction.

    Do not be confused: I am not afraid of death.

In fact, I am torn between the two - life. and death. As the great apostle Paul writes in his epistle to the Philippians, "For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you." [1:23-24]  Oh! to be with my glorious God; my creator and Saviour, to enter the heavenly realm with total freedom from the woes of the world. Yet to continue living, fulfilling the Lord's divine plan for my life; teaching my daughter of His love and truth, being a light to those who are in darkness... Christ being my reason to live. As Wesley puts it, "To know, to love, to follow Christ, is my life, my glory, my joy." The Lord knows what is most needful. And the instant Jason and I have fulfilled our purpose in this place we will no longer be present.

            Truly, to live is christ but to die is gain.

That being concluded.... I will write our will.

            And I will glory in the sovereignty of the Lord for He works all things together for good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

graduation & consequence

No, I am not graduating college this month.
    But all my k-12 classmates are.

                                                                 Okay. Perhaps not all.
                                                                            But many.

I see their status' about final exams, papers, and their excitement to be done with school.

The stress of exams and long essays I have not much - or not at all - of a yearning for. But the latter gets my mind to thinking. And when I look at their pictures in the robes and hats I am proud of them. It makes me wonder what my life would be like had that path been chosen for me.

In case anyone is not informed on the matter, I will give an account that may enlighten you on my schooling.

To my delightful surprise (and all in accordance with a Will much higher than my own), I finished high school one year early. Originally class of 2006, with my senior year of HS remaining, I was offered the fall and spring semesters at Mesa State University with a free ride. I declined this offer and in the spring of '05 I instead found myself applying - much to some people's dismay - at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, California. Over the course of the summer, I received my acceptance letter and made my preparations for college life.

Though I could post an entire blog -- and by that, meaning an entire new blog address; not just one post - on my experience at CCBC, I'll spare the wonderful, precious details of my two years in Southern California and leave you with the fact that my time there was most meaningful and life-changing. In spring 2007, I graduated with an Associates degree in Theology and left with absolutely no inclination for returning to school for a "real" college education.

If you know anything of these kinds of degrees, you know that they mean nothing to the general populous. Many consider that I am as good off as wasting two years of my life having attended an unaccredited college. Which was all fine with me. Because I had no desire for a pursual of a specific field of education or career.

I do not consider myself lazy, unmotivated, or with no deliberation. Though, I have never had a specific interest in any particular topic. School was not something I hated or didn't excel in; I was always a studious, honor roll student. So I haven't denied furthering my education because of a dislike for studies. The Lord, rather, had perhaps not given me any inclinations, interests, or desires because He knew I would pursue them.

As it turned out, I became acquainted with Jason during Bible college and upon the beginning of our relationship knew without a doubt that we were to be married.

So thats just what we did, one year following our graduation from CCBC, on June 7, 2008 we said our vows. Three months following, little Acacia was conceived... and eight months later we became parents.

I am now a stay at home mother...
   with a high school diploma,
   a worthless (through the world's eyes) degree,
   and no aspirations for any other qualifications.

Being without a job is something that I am particularly fond of. I never really enjoyed going to work; not any of my 5 different occupations. Staying home is what I much prefer; and since I will be homeschooling Acacia, that is just what I am destined to. (Though if finances demand it, I would definitely find a job.)

Also, if I were ever to acquire reasoning to obtain further education on any topic, I would assuredly do so.

Despite my contentedness with my situation, there are times when I look upon my friends' lives with the question in my heart of, I wonder what it would be like for me if I had chosen such an accomplishment...

Instead, I am responsible for a home, a husband, and a child: and these are the consequences of my actions.


But consequences are not a bad thing. They are merely the outcome of some kind of cause or condition.
And this is my life.
This is the path that the Lord has brought me.
I couldn't be happier in any other setting.

So congratulations to all you graduates! I am dearly happy for you.
    (I hope that expensive education taught you something worth knowing in life)
Don't look back and wish it were ending.
Look forward now to everything ahead that really matters.

As I was filled with knowledge and understanding from CCBC that equipped me for my life, I hope you can use what you have learned and put it to use likewise.

Friday, May 7, 2010

did i mention....

...that I hardly have cell phone reception in my house?

Which means that you'll be lucky to get a hold of me.
    Let alone have a clear conversation.

I may not receive your text message for a few hours.
    If I try writing back it may fail all ten times so I give up.

I wish it weren't so. I have beloved family & friends I wish I could spend time talking to.
    People are beginning to think I'm ignoring them.

Sorry friends. If I happen to get out of the house, I will try to remember to call.

And so, you know what this destines me to?
    A cyber life.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

beautiful bonding

****************Disclaimer: this post is not for the immature or the awkward; for those easily embarrassed or squirmy, or those not comfortable with the most basic and natural things on this world.******************

Nursing a baby is one of the most precious experiences a woman experiences in her life as a mother. For me, not every moment was perfect but was certainly been worth it.
For Acacia, every ounce had been bliss and joy.

While I was pregnant and when Acacia was first born I decided I would for sure nurse for one year and then have her weaned a few weeks later. When she was about six months old, I realized it would be nice to prolong our time together - maybe 'til she was 18-24 mo or sooner, if she so chose.

The first time Acacia nursed, I really don't quite remember what it was like. I was absolutely exhausted, still coming off my epidural (and I'm telling you -- they overdosed me), and just taking in the whole experience. What I do remember though.....
                 is the agony.
The ripping pain I felt every time she latched on until the moment she was finished. The lactation consultant came and tried to help - making sure she was latched correctly and such. Her latch was perfect. She was a content little 5 1/2 lbs baby girl suckling away while her mother cried, tensed, suffered, and yes - blistered.

This was when I learned the meaning of Agape. The love that keeps on giving even when nothing (apart from maybe curses) is given in return. While pregnant I had determined to nurse. Despite when the pain came I knew that I would never give up. Even if I had to suffer the whole year I would not let Acacia down.

                 I would joke with myself that the pain was revenge for getting an epidural.

I tried everything I could, from cool packs, to different positions, pumping, and Lansinoh (which may I just comment -- I hated. It was stinky. StickyAnd stained everything it touched.) Nothing helped so I just had to grit my teeth and bare it. Finally after almost two months of miserable nursing 8-12 times a day every 2-3 hours, the pain..... subsided.

It is hard adjusting to a new baby. And learning the techniques of modest nursing for the first time is a challenge. But my husband (not deterred as new mother's are) wanted to get out or have people over - and of course wear a cover. Thankfully, I can now laugh at the memories of struggling to reluctantly latch a tiny 5 lb baby whilst a blanket was over us. Oh the frustrations. 

               Things improved. No more pain.... covering up became a breeze... I felt at ease. I not only came to enjoy nursing, I fell in love with it. Now, a year later, I'm sad to say good-bye to my time with Acacia.

--And yes, it is obligatory that this season be put to an end (for other important matters in life will be hindered otherwise). 

I will terribly miss watching her nurse:
  sometimes her eyes staring at me in wonder,
    other times shut as she drifted of to sleep in peace;
      her little hands & feet reaching out to touch my face and hair,
        the sound of her suckling & swallowing,
          her face all rosy, her nose bright pink once she pulled away
            her most absolute and supremely perfect latch. I've never seen
              something so beautiful.
Above all these things I will miss her utter dependence upon only what I could provide her.

I woke up Friday, April 30th, with the intentions of enjoying every moment, every swallow, of our last BF together. To record in memory each last detail. Acacia's nose was stuffed, so I cleaned her up and tried nursing again. She refused it.
I knew - she knew - that she could breathe. So I tried yet again and she started screaming and whining at me and squirming in my arms. It started dawning on me that she was possibly rejecting me. Feeling a little hurt, but not wanting to be too hasty about my disappointment, I took her to the kitchen and made her up a bottle of milk. Hoping that she would refuse the bottle as well (perhaps due to lack of hunger???) I tentatively placed it within her reach.
Wishful thinking.
She took it gladly and sucked it to the last drop. As I watched her, I couldn't help but let the tears come as I knew she would never take me again.

And I never got to say good-bye.

As if she knew the rejection I felt, once she finished the bottle she gave me kisses and repeatedly said, "mamama mama mamama." And for those of you who know her, "dada" is her preferred word; only on special and rare occasions will she amuse you with a, "mama".

So here is my final farewell, Acacia...

  To nursing.
       To you only needing me.
              To the unique share of oxytocin :)

I am thankful for the support, circumstances, and determination that caused my nursing relationship with Acacia to blossom into such an irreplaceable and beautiful bond.

P.S. I guess its time for Baby #2. ;)

I read a statistic the other day that said only 20-some% of babies are breastfed past 6 months of age. When I read this, it broke my heart. I am not ignorant; I know people have different circumstances that truly demand them to put an end to nursing their baby. But many women today are merely inconvenienced by nursing. Or perhaps they don't have the support/understanding that they should have so they give up too quickly.