Monthly Archives: March 2014

W is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartW is for
“What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18,19

A Hymn to Impart“Sunshine in My Soul”

How Our Week Was Spent
If you see a bee working with flowers, it’s probably a drone. It has been told by a scout bee about the flowers and has been sent to collect pollen. The scout bee does a special dance that tells the drone where the flower is (Titus, 10).

The Drones on their treasure hunt.

The Drones on their treasure hunt.

Our Mom hid treasures outside and we took turns being scout bees and doing circular or waggle dances and everyone else had to figure out where to go to find the treasures (Nate, almost 7!).
Mad Hungry Worker Bees digging into their Creamed Honey

Mad Hungry Worker Bees digging into their Creamed Honey

Also our Opa sent us a movie about Starling dances. A flock of a quarter-million birds will do a dance called murmurations all together (Joel, 8 1/2).

Teacher’s Two-Cents
And what is our little kingdom like? To what shall I compare it? It is like a little castle set in a fishbowl. Just like a city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither can a family with 5 active little boys, especially in a third floor corner condo with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass. Yes, we are a small kingdom in a fishbowl. While the condo succeeds in it’s design to take maximum advantage of the beautiful views of the mountains, golf course, lush gardens and even a bit of ocean, it also succeeds in giving everyone else a view IN. Plus, living in a tropical climate where everything is kept wide open to let those coveted trade winds cool things down means that everyone can HEAR what’s going on in our little kingdom as well. And in a neighborhood made up almost exclusively of snowbirds and vacationers our big, boisterous family is certainly an anomaly. There are a few other families with one or two kids each but of course, those kids are in school all day. Except for weeks like this last one when they were all on spring break, only their mommies and daddies still had to work, so our little castle was full to the brim! A couple even did school with us! Curious neighbors really got an eye-full then! “What’s she doing now? Starting a day-care or something?” Thankfully, we have some of the best and dearest and most accommodating neighbors in the world who would rather spoil our boys rotten than ever complain about the extra noise. It took me a while to realize that fact. When we first moved here I was going overboard trying to keep everyone as quiet and unassuming as possible but gradually it dawned on me that these children are a gift to so many of these lonely, older people around us. They are a bright light in a dimming world of age. I was working so hard at keeping that light under a basket, when God wanted it out on it’s stand! Why else would he have put us up here in this fishbowl but to give light to everyone else in the complex? “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
What the neighbors might see on any given day on our lanai.  Just lettin' our little lights shine!

What the neighbors might see on any given day on our lanai. Just lettin’ our little lights shine!


V is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsV is for
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 13:38-14:1

A Hymn to Impart“God Be With You”

How Our Week Was Spent
Shepherd ants guard flocks of aphids. They protect them from Ladybugs. The ants milk the aphids by rubbing their antennae on the aphid’s back and that squeezes out the aphid’s honeydew (by Titus and Joel).

Teacher’s Two-Cents
“I go to prepare a place for you…” When I think of our current nest, I think of that verse. Tom and I literally stumbled blindly to this place but the Lord had prepared the way and was leading us every step. That is the ONLY explanation for how we ended up in this condo by the sea on the Big Island of Hawaii. With only 2 weeks to prepare for our move here we had no time to secure a place before our arrival so we searched the internet for a short-term vacation rental to crash in while house-hunting. The beauty we ended up in was brand new to the market and was being rented at a greatly reduced price so as to secure good ratings by guests. We fell in love with the location immediately but knew we could never afford to live here long term. Our budget pretty much limited us to the sketchier areas of Kona, run-down shacks, or basement Ohanas, but for a single school term (which is fully how long I expected this mad adventure to last) I was willing to settle anywhere. Unfortunately, with four little boys in tow not even sketchier places would take us, so we bounced around from vacation rental to vacation rental for a couple months. During that time I had remained in touch with an elderly lady who lived next door to that first spot we had landed in and I was excited to see that a place was available for long term rent above her. It was way over our budget but it came fully furnished and included utilities so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a look. Only problem was the property management company wouldn’t even let us in. After they had stood us up for the 3rd time I mentioned to Shirley, the dear older lady downstairs, the trouble we were having trying to see the place. Well she got busy talking to people until she had tracked down the owner’s email address. As soon as she handed it to me I knew this was our nest. The address began with the words “gracegift” and that was enough for me. I contacted the owners in Japan and they agreed to rent to us at a reduced rate and 3 years later we are still in the same place. I’ve heard grace defined as “getting what we don’t deserve” while mercy is “not getting what we do deserve.” Living here has truly been a gift of grace and everyday that I wake up in this beautiful place I am reminded that His mercies are indeed new every morning.

U is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsU is for
“Under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord.” Ezekial 17:23,24

A Hymn to Impart“Lilies of the Field”

How Our Week Was Spent

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Our neighbors gave us a tent. It has a big door and a little door for Gideon. One day we did our school work in the tent.
Then we didn’t do any more school work because Uncle Ben and Aunt Danielle came to visit (Joel, 8 1/2).

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Teacher’s Two-Cents
Here is the second installment of our nesting series, a short chronicle of our various dwellings:

Nest One was a basement suite;
Ocean front, with gorgeous view
and included in the rent
was carbon monoxide poisoning for two.

Nest Two was a spruced-up shed
with an odd, chemically smell.
Turns out it was a former lab
where meth-heads used to dwell.

Nest Three was the Parsonage
adjacent to the church.
If we ever missed a service
they didn’t have far to search.

Nest 4 was our city digs;
an apartment -normal, boring.
Nest 5 was a real live house
which sent our spirits soaring.

So much in fact, we got to work
and immediately added chicks.
But 2 weeks after the fourth was born
we moved into Nest 6.

That tiny cabin in the woods
was an answer to my prayer
for a lot less house and a lot more dirt
and that fresh, cool mountain air.

Nest 7 was a lot more house
but still had forest all around
and by then I was quite proud
of the perfect place I’d found.

But God had other plans in mind
and He moved us on once more.
Nest 8 is where we’ve landed now
on this warm, Hawaiian shore.

…to be continued…

T is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsT is for
“The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees.” Psalm 104:16,17

A Hymn to Impart“Children of The Heavenly Father”

How Our Week Was Spent

The bombardier beetle has two sacks inside his body, each containing a certain kind of gas. Whenever it feels threatened, it is able to open a valve between the two sacks which allows them to mix. When the gasses mix it causes an explosion. Here is a picture I drew from another picture of it’s insides and how it works (Titus, 10).
Titus, Joel and I did an aquathon. Titus won and Joel came in 2nd and I was 5th. The ocean was very rough that day but we swam fast and then ran a whole mile. Then we got our picture in the newspaper (Nate, 6 1/2).
front page
Teacher’s Two-Cents
Our next 4 memory verses will continue on the “nest” theme so I thought I’d do a little series on our own nest starting with the one I hatched from. My Mom is the most gifted homemaker I have ever known. Growing up, we never lived in big houses but they were always beautiful and she made them that way with her own two hands, scouring thrift stores and garage sales for used treasures and giving them new life. She can completely transform a room in a day, sewing up curtains and pillows and seat cushions in a flash. And the things that come out of her kitchen! She is always cooking for a crowd, whether they are invited or not. 1/2 an hour till dinner time and 10 surprise visitors? No problem. And here’s the amazing part: she can do all this without ever messing up her kitchen! I know it sounds crazy but she has some magic art of cooking and cleaning at the same time so that even as she is putting all this delicious food on the table the counter tops and stove show no trace of the flurry that has just occurred in there. AND…get this…she is able to accomplish all of this without any granite or stainless steel in sight! Imagine having to work under such deplorable conditions as ceramic tile counters, white appliances, and standard oak cabinets! I know. I know. All the aspiring gourmet chefs of my generation are in total shock. Yes, her housekeeping skills are indeed legendary and if any of her friends are reading this you should know that the beautiful, spotlessly clean home you were so graciously welcomed into, did in fact look that way ALL THE TIME. And let me also tell you, she didn’t get much help from her five kids either. Of all her talents, delegation is NOT one of them. I don’t think I’d ever cleaned a toilet until I got my own apartment in college. But more on my own nests next week. Now that will be a lesson in contrasts!
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Proverbs 14:1