Monday, December 13, 2010

New Crafty, Creative, Cooking Blog

I know.  I know.  Another blog!  It is so fun, though, and it is an outlet for some gifts God has given me.  Come visit my new blog (I have three!), and see what is brewing creatively at my house and in my life. 
For those keeping track, this blog (Hawley Home) is for personal friends.  This blog isn't updated often due to Facebook, which really usurped the need for Hawley Home.
I also have, which is a blog dedicated to spiritual lessons and discussions on being a woman of God, and specifically a wife.
Finally, there is now  I share my right brain journeys through crafting, cooking, decorating and entertaining. 
Thanks for any you are willing to read. : )  I sure do enjoy writing blogs, and I love your comments.  Leave your thoughts!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crafting: Gingerbread tags or ornaments

I have actually SQUEEZED, and I mean barely squeezed, moments of time for crafting into my schedule.  I made two wreaths for Christmas (I need to make another ribbon wreath to balance the other one), and I have had fun looking at ideas for felt flower clips and gingerbread tags for Christmas.  I hope to make the tags in the next week or two with the boys.  It is a family friendly activity, and you can make them any shape that you want.  If you have a cookie cutter in the shape of the manger, would you let me know where you got it?  I would love to make my tags and ornaments CHRIST centered for Christmas!  Here is the link for making the gingerbread tags:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Summer into Fall

The summer has been deliciously long and languid,
but the pools and fields are still and lonely.
Tanned cheeks and flip flops are replaced with school books and backpacks.
The days are shorter and, somehow, less bright.
Slowly, the blazing, haughty splendor of summer wilts slightly,
and you can feel the tug of war between autumn and summer.
Dew and chill creep gently into the morning and eve,
and the garish, green garments on the trees turn ever so slightly brown.
One morning, a cool breeze roots across the ground,
and a single, brown leaf quivers and bows in submission--floating to the ground.
Fall is here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Blog

I am not ready to delete this Hawley Home blog, but I wanted to let you know that I've been spending my time writing a new ministry blog called Helpmate. It is specifically written for Christian women--especially those who are called to be wives. If you are interested, you can find it at A lot of my updates on family and kids can be found on Facebook, so be mine friend to keep up with the Hawleys! Love to you all! Chiara

Monday, April 26, 2010

Three weeks

I changed my blog background in honor of our upcoming vacation. I don't know if I'll post again soon, so I wanted to fill everyone in on our lives. We have a very busy three weeks ahead. God is so good, as all of the busy days are because of blessings. We are moving, wrapping up a great year of ministry and going on vacation.

When these three weeks are over, we will have packed, moved, painted and refloored our new home, held our end of the year celebration for our marriage ministry, and gone to Maui on vacation. We are very grateful for our vacation coming after our move and our ministry wrap-up! We will greatly need and enjoy our time on the beach and living at a Hawaiian pace for a bit.

So, hopefully I will be able to write again soon! I have several blog post ideas I've been crafting, but they will probably have to wait. Aloha, everyone!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Date Night!

Ryan and I lagged a little on the date nights last year, which is understandable with a newborn in the house. However, this year we made the decision to take turns planning our two date nights a month. In addition, we are trying to make the dates creative and not always turn to dinner and a movie on our night out. We've done some fun dates before: Disneyland, walk around the Montage and eat in Laguna Beach, Cirque de Soleil, hiking on a Saturday morning, quick tacos and then a nice dessert at a fondue restaurant, etc.

If you are married, date nights are vital. Whether you are like us, with small kids at home, or you have teenagers or no kids, it is important to get away from the daily grind and just have time to communicate, sit and talk with your spouse.

I thought it might be fun to get some creative ideas for dates. I know that some of you have been on or have heard about some great nights out. Share!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carter is Four

What a crazy and BIG year for Carter! Two weeks before Micah arrived last year, we potty trained our little trooper. He went from being a baby in diapers to a very big boy. He welcomed Micah, not quite sure what this would mean for him. Now, he is a big fan of his brother, introducing him to everyone, "This is Micah."

Carter started preschool this year. We have seen him grow SO much in self control and the ability to focus for longer periods of time.

He saw his first official movie--Up--in the theater. That was the beginning of fun trips to see things with him in the movie theater. Micah attended that first movie too, but he sucked on my finger and fussed through most of it.

Carter grew leaps and bounds. Right after he turned three he shot up in height, and he was just a hair shy of 40 inches when he turned 4. As mommy and daddy promised, he got to go to Disneyland and ride all the "Big Boy" rides like Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain--a lot of mountain rides. : ) He was in heaven!

He now rides a bike without training wheels, he has a two wheel scooter, and he eats hamburgers.

Carter is still full of energy, and we always get comments about his joyful and happy disposition when he is excited about something. He bounces out of the car and hops all the way to class every time we go to preschool. He loves his teacher, Mrs. Balazs, and his classmates.

Daddy has a special place in Carter's heart, and it is fun seeing their bond grow stronger. He still likes mommy to hold him when he is hurt, tired or wanting a back scratch.

I love my little buddy. His sweet heart and curious mind are so fascinating to witness. I thank God for such a great year with him! Happy birthday, Carter! May your next year be just as amazing!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Micah is one


I have to be honest that I don't remember very much clearly from when you first joined us. The doctor gave me medicine that made me very sleepy and weak, but I remember hearing you cry. I thanked God that you were healthy and breathing so well.

When I was in the hospital after having you, I would actually look forward to when I could feed you in the middle of the night. They would bring you back to our room and I would feed you. Then, I would snuggle with you for awhile. You'd rest next to me. In fact, for the first few months of your life, I loved to take little naps with you snuggling next to me. When you would stir, you'd open your eyes and see me lying right next to you, and you would peacefully go right back to sleep. I would sometimes just watch you and listen to your little baby snores.

You were a beautiful from the moment you were born. You had a head full of hair and pretty eyes. I was so proud of you when people met you. I was always told how handsome you were!

You've done everything at your own interesting pace this year. You took your first independent steps at 10 months and were walking at 11 months. You got your teeth at 6 months, but you always got two at a time, and never in any normal order. In fact, you had a full molar before your bottom front, side teeth came in. You certainly are taking your time with talking too!

Your favorite things were balls, crawling backward, the vaccum cleaner, eating paper (we had to hide all the trash cans on top of high objects), stuffed animals, hair--pulling it (ouch!), screaming--you had to be heard over Carter, avocados, Gerber puffs (you would have nothing to do with Cheerios), taking your socks off at any possible time, and throwing food.

We call you destructo because you like to . . . well, destroy things. Boy do I have to keep my eye on you! : )

I love you so much, buddy. I love how you laugh at doggies with a deep, belly laugh. I love how you pretend to talk to mommy on the phone. I love how you cuddle and smile when you see me in the morning. I love how you smile when you do something mischievous. I love how you wiggle out of any seat belt created. I love how you think clapping "Yaaaaay!" also means "all done."
I can already see gifts God has given you--boldness, affection for others, a sense of humor . . . and traits which you will need to ask God to help you contain--impatience and tempermentalism (you can thank mommy for that). I am already praying God may be the focus of your life, that your might belong to Him through repentance and faith, and that He might use you mightily!
You are a sweet, sweet boy--a gift from God to your daddy and me. You are more than worth every late night feeding, every stretch mark, every tired arm, every eaten piece of paper, and any inconvenience. I wouldn't trade your smiles, laughs, cuddles, hugs, kisses and love to change any of those things. We love you, Micah man. Happy first year to you, buddy. Thank you for the blessing you are!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Humility in Weakness

Mark 9: 21-25 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

This passage has always been a powerful one for me. This man/father does not have faith. He says, “if you can,” but he desperately wants to have belief in Jesus. He tells Him “Help my unbelief!” Jesus responds and helps because of this man’s desire to believe and his humility before Christ. Do we do the same when we are finding it hard to trust or obey? Do we cry out humbly, “Lord, I want to trust/obey. Help me overcome this sin that is entangling me!” Rather, I think we sometimes try to fix things first or push it back in our minds. We figure we are having a bad day, and we just need time. Our immediate action should always be to fall on our knees in prayer to ask repentance and seek God’s wisdom,strength and help. Would the One who provided Christ for us withhold the tools we need for sanctification and holiness? Thankfully, no. We are grateful!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Elementary Truths

Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people who live far away or with whom you rarely see. Recently, however, Facebook has been a source of heartache for me. Three people with whom I was in Bible study and who went to a solid, Bible teaching church have wandered into sin and have chosen worldly passions over a relationship with Christ. I am reminded of their bad decisions with every Facebook picture or update they post.

I am not shocked when non-Christian friends use profanity or talk excessively about drinking, anger, greed or bitterness. They are of the world. Why should I be surprised? However, it makes my heart sink when people who claimed to be Christ's followers "abandon" their faith. Two of the individuals are proclaiming to still be "spiritual", but they are relying on self entirely and not open to admonishment or humility. The third individual makes me the most sad, for he was someone I have known since elementary school. I always admired his boldness, his athletic talent, his intelligence, and, I thought, his faith in God. He has not just fallen away, he is a false teacher and is spreading a false message.

I recently discovered, he has a website/blog he posts on Facebook which is on the EXTREME side of emergent beliefs. Every discussion is seen in light of a social gospel, and he goes so far as to call Christians who share the true gospel as small minded, brainwashed individuals who don't get what Christ wanted us to do--love others and help those in oppression, according to him. He recently went to seminary and has emerged with a desire for intellectual "discussions" on what the Bible means to you, how we can help overthrow established systems of power, and, mainly, ways to create comfort for people here on earth. He fights for social, gender, racial and economic equality. He fights AGAINST conservative Christianity. He considers us morons.

My heart aches because he is lost. He fights for the wrong cause. This temporal life is not Christ's focus. It never was. Though he might think I'm a small-minded person, it does all boil down to the gospel message. We are sinners in need of repentance and faith in Christ. We are enemies of God. Christ reconciles us, and our response to this is an eternal decision. We will be separated from God FOREVER in Hell or we will dwell with Him in His goodness and light FOREVER in Heaven.

Truly, this story illustrates the truths of II Timothy 4:3, "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." It also is a good reminder that many people who claim to know Christ do not. We can never assume people are Christians just because they say they are so. All will be brought to light before God someday, and many will hear, "Depart from me. I never knew you."

This heartache also brings me to a place of thanksgiving to God. It reminds me that I grew up in the same churches, hearing the same messages, and meeting similar people. We went to the same Christian schools and both sat under my current pastor. However, the difference, is God. God called me to Him and softened my heart to know the truth. Without God choosing me, I would also be just a "spiritual" person with a heart for humanity and a heart that stood in opposition to the gospel and the humility it requires. I owe everything to God, and I pray He still calls these people to Him in repentance and faith.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rebellious Decisions

Rebellious Decisions by Pastor Mike Fabarez

Awhile back the Supreme Court summarized another decision to move our country and its laws further from biblical principles by stating that their ruling epitomized “the progress of a maturing society.” As we often see throughout biblical history in general, and the book of Judges in particular, when society sees itself “casting off the fetters” of God’s moral precepts and his just dictates, they do nothing more than set themselves up for bondage, oppression and God’s passivity. Like the rebellion of a teenage son, when nations seek to establish their “maturity” by freeing themselves from parental ethics and mores, they always do so to their own hurt. It will eventually be clear that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Pr.14:34) – “sin” defined not by the lowest common denominator of those who might be “offended”, but “sin” as defined by the Father of mankind. Unfortunately, it often takes a series of painful consequences for truly maturing teens to realize the wisdom of their parents’ forsaken rules. May that realization come quickly for us. While the church is not established for the purpose of corporately engaging in politics, it is our duty to continue to earnestly pray for “kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1Tim.2:2).

Friday, February 5, 2010

The journey of Heart Training

Have you ever had one of THOSE days with heart training your little one? I know you are all thinking, "Oh, Yeah!" We've all been there. I feel like most of my days are spent reminding, training, chastising, correcting, admonishing and guiding. Three years was an especially rough road. We didn't have the terrible twos. In fact, two was low key compared to this last year.

We are currently rounding a corner, though. Everyone told me that four was a good year. It seems to be holding true as we approach the big fourth birthday.

We actually can have decent conversations with Carter about God, the Bible, behavior, character, sin, and choices. As many of you know, last year any question of "What did you learn in church today, Carter?" was met with two answers: "God" or "Jesus". We did go through a short phase of him answering "the Israelites" when they were studying Exodus. That was the extent of it.

I actually see Carter applying some lessons to his decision making and thoughts. That makes every frustrating day of heart training worth while. God is so gracious to let us see little glimpses of fruit in their lives as we work with them.

I know it is all God's work on Carter's heart, but I have to give huge praise to my hubby for his obedience as a godly father. He has been so consistent in prayer, Bible memorization, and Sunday school topic review nightly with Carter. What a great leader he is to our family!

We certainly have a long road ahead of us. Most of the day is still filled with LOTS of heart training, especially in the area of self control. Now that Micah is almost a year, we are in the beginning stages of teaching Micah about disobedience and consequences. The more forbidden an object, the more he wants it and tries to get to it. Oh, what stubborn little hearts my boys have! Where in the world did they get that characteristic? (Notice the sarcasm) Truly, it just reminds me of where my fleshly nature would take me without God's work in my life.

It sure is a journey--full of valleys and a few gracious mountaintops. Whatever journey God has planned, my prayer is that it all leads to their surrender to God in repentance and faith.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Globus Pharyngeus--Huh?

GERD, acid reflux and other digestive issues run in my dad's side of the family. Poor little Micah was born with it too. I think it is funny that the Mexican half of my family suffers from this, as they eat nothing but spicy food, tomatoes and other generally not-so-good for reflux foods.
I've had issues with this before. I get heartburn fairly easily, and in both pregnancies I had to sleep sitting straight up during the last trimester because the heartburn was so bad. In fact, in my last trimester with Micah, I went to the ER with a severe form of "lump in my throat". I actually was choking a lot and finding it hard to breathe at times. They gave me steroids to relax my throat. Only because of the heartburn, I also started taking Xantac, and it cleared up. They told me the throat spasms were due to a throat infection, but I now realize it was a flare up of Globus Pharyngeus.
Well, a couple of days ago, I developed this annoying lump in my throat. It felt like food was stuck on the right side of my throat--down below my Adam's apple. I tried drinking a lot of water as fast as possible to wash it out, but that didn't help. I didn't sleep well, as it actually radiates a little bit of pain into my chest. It is worse at night.
I suspected it was related to reflux. Sure enough, all the symptoms align with Globus Pharyngeus. It is when the muscles below your adam's apple over tighten to keep acid out of your throat. It isn't the most pleasant feeling--you feel it every time you swallow--like you took too big of a bite and it is stuck in your throat.
I bought some Zantac, and I am trying to destress. Stress makes it worse. Do any of you have any background with this? It is supposed to go away on its own after a few weeks or months. I'd love any advice if you've struggled with this. I know I need to not eat an hour before bed, and I need to avoid fats, milky foods and spice or caffeine at night.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Love Dare: In addition

I was talking with a friend at church, and she was asking me if The Love Dare would be a good read for a marriage that was in trouble. I had to say no. If you followed me on my 40 day Love Dare journey, you can see that it is a good read to remind a spouse/spouses about how to sacrificially love and serve in marriage. I enjoyed taking the time to serve Ryan as a blessing to him, and I know it meant a lot to him that I chose to love him in this way.

However, if you are having huge marital problems, this book won't solve them. You need to go seek the counsel of a pastor to see where the marriage is falling short of Biblical guidelines for marriage, and you need to have communication with the pastor about how to fix the sin issue that is sidelining the relationship.

This book does present the Biblical ideas for a godly marriage, but I doubt very few people can truly realize a sin issue and change when the issues are usually very engrained and deep.

Also, please read my posts on the gospel message in this book. The book is in error. God does love you, but you don't become a Christian to be loved. Being a Christian is about realizing you are a sinner before a holy God. Only Christ's death on the cross can pay your debt--yes, you owe God a payment for your sin, but Christ has paid it for us. After you realize your sinful state and need for Christ, you will REPENT and have faith in God to provide and lead. Your life will not be your own anymore. You will be a follower of Christ, and He is now the master of your life. You will live a life where you are learning to die to self and give more and more glory and obedience to God. Love is a vital part of the gospel, but it isn't the focus or the summary.

If you know a non-Christian who is reading this book, please use this as an opportunity to speak about why the book falls short on the gospel presentation and share the true gospel with the reader.

I wanted to make sure I clarified these things before I left the topic. I would recommend this book to use as a prompt to unordinary thoughtfulness and action, but I wouldn't use it to save a failing marriage or to bring someone to Christ.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Busy, busy

Okay, okay. It has been WAY too long since I wrote a post. I know. I have a minute right now because Carter is taking an extra LONG nap. Life is a bit hectic, but I'll fill you in on what is happening.

Ryan and I are still co-leading our 150+ person marriage ministry every week. In fact, we just held a marriage workshop for goalsetting last weekend. We had about 40 people attend, and we got some great feedback. We are constantly praying for God to lift up some new group leaders, as we and our co-leaders are leading two of the nine small groups, which is not ideal when you are running the group. God might have someone in line right now for one of the groups. We are praying!

Ryan moved locations for his office, and now he is closer to home! It has been nice running up to see him at lunch or having him come home to see us if his day allows!
We celebrated our 7 year anniversary at the end of December with a night at the Blue Lantern Inn. It was really nice despite a lady falling off the cliff (she was okay), and having loud rescue helipcopters and half the police force outside our balcony.

Micah's first birthday is quickly approaching. I can't believe he is going to be one already! It is funny how different the boys are. It might be just because he is the second, but I feel like he isn't doing things as quickly as Carter did. Carter definitely was saying words by now, and Micah is happy growling like a Tiger (he has a tiger figurine he loves) and clapping for me to say "YaaaaaYYYYY!" (He thinks that also means all done, so he claps YaaaaYYYY when I am wiping snot or food off his face). I'm in the thick of planning his first birthday party. It will be fun to celebrate our little destructo and his first year. He is getting two more teeth on the top, and he has had a cold the past two weeks. Fun times for all.

Carter is getting so big. He definitely prefers daddy now, though if he is hurt or wanting a back scratch, he comes to find mommy. He is an expert at the Wii--almost beating me several times at bowling. He got a bike for Christmas, and he is really good on it. It won't be long before the training wheels come off. He still loves maps of amusement parks, and we are going to renew our Disneyland passes this year for his birthday. He should be 40 inches (or just under) and be able to ride the BIG rides--Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Soaring over California, etc. He is chomping at the bit to do these rides, so it would be great if he gets there by his birthday.

We are praying about moving this spring. We are both dreading the displacement, busy lives, and stress that can come with moving, and excited about where we will move. It won't get any easier, and we would love to find a new home before interest rates go up and the boys start kindergarten. If you think about it, pray for our real estate adventures--wisdom and peace of mind in the process!

Well, Micah has thrown every pajama out of my drawer, so I need to go pick up the mess. Like the title says, life is busy--but it sure is blessed!