Do you ever wonder if any of it it really makes a difference?  Those things you do…when no one is watching, and no one is asking, and only you know what you do.  Whether you’re at work, or in the home, another long day, or middle of the night, do you wonder?

This is for everyone, but Moms–I can start with you:  Never mind the big stuff—the deep cleaning, or the meals for special occasions (raise your hand if you planned all last week for Easter dinner, so your family could scarf it down in 4.5 minutes and leave you with a pile of dishes…amiright?) Those count too, but right now, I’m just talking about the daily tasks:  The sweeping crumbs off the floor for the fourth time today?  Has anyone noticed that?  Would someone notice if you just stepped across them?  Because you could, couldn’t you?  How about the peanut butter sandwiches that you could make with your eyes closed?  Does that count for anything at all?  The turning off the tv when it would be easier to just let the little ones stare.  The putting away toys, the ability to answer fourteen questions in four minutes while putting dinner in the crockpot, and arranging dentist appointments–all at the same time.

Is there a gold star out there for the little things?
Is there some kind of recognition, or end goal, or maybe just a pat on the back waiting at the end of the day for Heaven’s sake?

Will the kids ever realize how much energy it took to fold that one…last…load of laundry for the day?
Does the woman at the grocery store checkout counter see in your eyes that you would drop everything and have coffee with her right now because you are so desperate for conversation with anyone over eight years old?
Does your husband notice that you brushed your hair and put on lipstick when you saw him coming up the driveway?

Do the kids really need one more story?  One more bath?  One more listening ear?

And maybe even more:  Does God hear your prayers?  The little ones asking for patience.  The big ones asking for protection?  Does He really see?  Does your faithfulness really matter?

It’s not just the moms…I wonder for my own husband (who is much to humble to wonder for himself) if his daily drive to and from work seems completely overlooked by me (I rarely mention it.)  Does the hours he takes in the hospital to listen to families who are not ready to let go of their dying mom or dad…these hours that don’t make him a single penny…Do they matter to anyone?  Will they be remembered?  Considering one in a hundred will jot him a note or mention him to anyone later…The guy’s gotta wonder.
Will his faithfulness to me, and his hurrying home to help with the boys really be appreciated, or just taken for granted?

We all have lists, and some of them are very, very long.  The daily things we do.  The little chores, the thankless jobs, the quiet-as-a-prayer said under our breath moments…and we can’t help but wonder if they count for anything at all.

I’m not talking self-pity here, but a simple question that flies through your mind while you carry on doing what you know…you simply need to do.

We don’t often get to choose our richest life lessons.  Most of mine came in the form of lonely days, and small children.  They came during the years my husband was in medical school and residency.  My second son was born four weeks after we moved to Hawaii, and his first two years were some of the hardest of my life.  Living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with no friends, and a husband working crazy days and nights were hard enough.  Then my second son was plagued with countless ear infections, many of which landed us in the ER because his fevers would not respond to medicine, and he was resistant to just about every antibiotic they tried.

I longed for friends or family then.  I longed for relief from the sleepless nights and the baby that just cried in pain all of the time.   I thought I knew what I needed, but God knew what I really needed.  And all He called me to do was to be faithful.   Day after day after day.  

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Holding your sick kids.   Singing another song.
Sometimes the greatest thing we are called to do is to simply be faithful.

Being faithful in the little things requires humility and strength.  It doesn’t matter if being faithful means answering a phone with a smile on your face, or sitting quietly with your elderly parents.  Being faithful is personal.  And it is most often very quiet.

Being faithful, is the doing what you know you need to do, even when no one is looking part of life that is…maybe, the most important part of life.

There are new ways I need to be faithful in this season of life.  Today my faithfulness is about homeschooling, and keeping calm when my house (and life) feel chaotic…and so very loud.  Being faithful is tuning into each kids’ individual needs, and giving unconditional support and love.

Being faithful today is also about sitting at this computer, in the dark morning hours, and trying to take the words that are all built up in my heart and string them together to say what I feel.  Struggling with the words, and often fighting off the doubt of who really wants to read this? And sometimes wondering if this is a chasing after the wind…

Then when I’ve just begun to write, my little one wakes up, a bit too early, and climbs into my lap.  I look at him, then at the computer screen, and I know that being faithful now means stepping away from the writing, pouring Cheerios, and snuggling with a three-year-old.  Time to be Mommy, not writer.

Faithfulness is more laundry than ever, and more meals than ever, and more mess than ever…and sometimes still the lonely question of “Does anyone notice?”  ”Does this matter?”

What does your faithfulness look like?  Is it in the home, or in the workplace (or God bless you if it is both.)  Are you faithfully serving, or faithfully praying, or faithfully, waiting?  Are you faithful to a marriage that would dissolve the second you let it?  Are you faithful to kids who don’t appreciate you?  What are your quiet acts of faithfulness?

Well, if there is ONE THING I do know, it is this:  Your faithfulness matters.  God sees every single act of faithfulness.  Not one of them slips by His watchful eye.  It is hard to see in the moment, but I promise you when you look back, you will see that He was smiling down on every.  little.  thing.

Looking back, I can see it now–those long, and lonely years…There was meaning there. Now I realize that it wasn’t friends or family who I needed then (though I longed for it more than I can say,) it was God’s presence.  I needed to need Him.  I needed to believe that He was as close as my breath and it was during those long days that I actually began to realize that He was.  And that He was more than enough.  

I can see His hand now, allowing me times of loneliness, and waiting.  I know, looking back, that He has been there for every load of laundry, and every stack of bills.   And whether our faithfulness leads to great things that we can see, or even greater things that we cannot see, I know that every act of faithfulness has great significance in God’s economy.

So, here is your virtual gold star, faithful ones.  Whether you’re at work, in a hospital, at home, or in the pickup line at your kids school, this one is for you.  If you’re at a low, I challenge you to write it down…this day, these feelings, your questions, your heart.  Save it for a few years before you pull it out again.   I am completely certain that one day you will see a purpose in it all.

And until then,  I’m smiling, and nodding at you through this screen.  And with every bit of love and compassion, and just a bit of tough love I say to you:  Get up, and get at it…You’ve got some very quiet, and some very great things to do!

Aloha,
Monica, (Grommom)

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Happy Easter {w/ a little giveaway}

April 19, 2014
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This year I have been reading Sarah Young’s daily devotional, “Jesus Calling.”  It is a precious little daily read, filled with inspiration and encouragement.  Sarah writes each devotional using Scripture, but from the perspective of the Lord, speaking to us, which is really unique and refreshing.  I highly recommend it you are looking for a […]

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Easter According to Levi

April 17, 2014
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Levi will be four next month, which means the countdown to never having a three year old again is on.  And I’m feeling a strange combination of happy, sad, and happy.  And a little happy. First, in case you’re not on Instagram, you might have missed this last week: Of course I began an entire […]

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Easter in Hawaii: Light Tropical Cheesecake Cups. + some fun Easter Links From Around the Web

April 16, 2014
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Easter in Hawaii is pretty special.  Our church has always done a sunrise service at the beach, followed by water baptisms.  Some things are worth getting up early for. But Easter does tend to sneak up on me!   I do much better with holidays like Christmas that have a set date every single year. […]

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Our Anniversary…and a Marriage VLOG

April 12, 2014
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Today is Dave and my 18th Anniversary. And I found a few more photos from the archives (three years ago, I think…on vacation in Washington State.) I’m so thankful for Dave, and our marriage which has only gotten better over time. Well, I filmed this video over a week ago, and today is our anniversary, […]

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Fourteen of my Favorite Daily Short-Cuts.

April 11, 2014

Happy ALOHA FRIDAY! We have been organizing some older photos, so things like this might be showing up for a while… Well, I’m gonna make a wild guess that your life is as busy as mine.  Don’t you wish you could spend less time doing all of the little stuff that consumes your days, and […]

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Eating “Clean,” Vegan, Paleo…and all the rest: Where I Fall in the Spectrum. {And my favorite recipe for Energy Balls.}

April 9, 2014
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I have been asked many times to share about what kind of foods I eat and what I feed our family.  Am I vegan?  Do I eat all organic, and so on… Well, it is kind of a big deal these days:  From “Clean” Eating, to Vegan, to Gluten-free, Paleo, and on and on…you can’t […]

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The Anger-Lecture Habit in Parenting: It’s Ugly, Let’s Change it.

April 7, 2014
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Moms and Dads…Do you ever get to that point of frustration with your kids where giving an appropriate consequence just doesn’t cut it?  In fact, you might feel like only a massive explosion, or smashing something to pieces would actually satisfy your need for relief…Maybe you yell, or maybe you don’t yell, but you carry […]

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An Anniversary, A Threenager, and a Big Fat Lip. (+ more.) A Weekend List.

April 5, 2014
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Hi Friends! I have attempted to post here a few times this week, but it just…wasn’t happening.  It’s been busy.  We’ve had company, a full schedule, one runny nose, and a minor fall-out-of bed/bloody mess (see #6, below.) All of these things seemed to have zapped the .05% of spare energy that I might have […]

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Homeschool Confessions: The Good, the Bad, and the Slightly Awkward

April 1, 2014
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Well friends…You know I only post about homeschooling about once every two years, right?  So bear with me while I finish what I started last week when I responded to the hottest question in the homeschool world:  ”What curriculum do you use?” Today, I share a quick and honest look at some of the things […]

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Risk, Pain, and Purpose.

March 30, 2014
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My last week, or..more like three weeks, have been filled with a series of low-grade disappointments. Thankfully, all low-grade. My family is healthy, my marriage is strong…the big stuff is in place. But it seems like a number of things happened, in a row, to simply bum me out.  (I’ll share some of them in […]

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Homeschool Updates. {Part I: Curriculum.}

March 28, 2014
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For a homeschool mom-blogger, I suppose I don’t talk about homeschooling very much. This is probably because I really don’t feel like a serious, professional, homeschool momma. There are other bloggers out there–Who share great ideas, create printables, and put together amazing curriculums.  They get excited about homeschooling, and inspire me to do the same. […]

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Salted, Caramelized Banana Ice Cream

March 26, 2014
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I think I’ll need to start a new recipe category here just for bananas.  Because man–do we ever grow bananas!  We must be at the perfect altitude for bananas.  Or is it longitude?  Latitude?  Maybe its more about annual rainfall.  Or how Saturn lines up with Jupiter.  Or maybe I don’t know much at all, […]

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On Finding your Personal Passion

March 24, 2014
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Hi, it’s VLOG time around here! The topic of finding passion has been on my mind for some time.  I wanted to start with a little intro which applies to anyone at ANY STAGE of life!  This is an encouragement to continue to develop yourself as a person–to pursue hobbies, chase dreams, and find the […]

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Surf Contests Own Me.

March 22, 2014
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We just wrapped up three days straight of the Regional Surf Contest down at Kewalos Basin, Honolulu. The waves were small, and it was really hard for kids to show what they can do in a fifteen minute heat without good waves.  Of course some came out well, but a lot of really good kids […]

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Complaining but not complaining

March 18, 2014
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Today was one of those days.  The bad-headache-kind.  And the piles of laundry, messy house, paperwork piled up and I just can’t seem to get anything done kind.  And the…Wait. You didn’t come here for that, did you? But I’ve got to ask:  When you were kid, did you ever have the dream where you […]

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Green (Banana and Kale) Muffins. Happy St. Patty’s Day!

March 16, 2014
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My kids took one look at these and saw:  SPRINKLES. I took one look and knew:  KALE, and BANANA. WIN. WIN. I’m not usually one to (remember to) do any thing special for this particular holiday, but since I had already ironed Dave’s shirts, (I never do that!) organized the garage (no way!) emptied out […]

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Hawaiian-Style Home: DIY Starfish and Shell Decorations

March 14, 2014
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Hawaii offers so much inspiration for home decorating.  I have always loved coastal themed interiors, whether in my hometown of Gig Harbor, Washington with its Pacific Northwest Fisherman themes, or during my years in Southern California, or here in Hawaii.  With the added elements of tropical flowers, sun and sand, Hawaiian-themed decorating is my favorite. […]

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Diet and Body Image: How Changing my Thinking Changed my Life. {a VLOG}

March 12, 2014
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OK…So here I am with a follow-up video from last week.  But really THIS ONE…is for EVERYONE. I think you’ll agree that the concepts that I am talking about here can be applied to pretty much any area of life.  It’s useful stuff, and I hope you’ll take the time to watch it! It was […]

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It’s all Big.

March 10, 2014
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Bigs:  Just a bunch of BIG (little) stuff around here lately.   A list: 1.  WAVES: Our Hawaiian “winter” has continued on with some big rains, and some even bigger waves. Sometimes, the waves at Waimea are just big enough to make a family pull off the road, climb on their SUV, and watch. (That’s […]

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Simple Lemon Raspberry Bars

March 8, 2014
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Have I mentioned that our LEMON tree has been rather…fruitful lately? Seriously friends.  I think it might be time to set up camp at the Farmer’s Market. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep baking. These lemon raspberry bars turned out so good.  I thought you might want to make them this weekend!  Yes?  Good! I found the […]

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Today: The World Premier of Beyond Sight, the Movie

March 7, 2014
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Happy Aloha Friday! Finally:  The World Premier of Beyond Sight will kick off in Southern California.  Many locations will be showing the film over the next month, so check the Beyond Sight Web site for locations and details.  This is going to be such a GREAT MOVIE! In case you have missed my posts about this […]

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Of one Sea + Josiah Swanson Collaboration T-shirts: GIVEAWAY!

March 5, 2014
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Maryam, my friend and fellow-North Shore boy-mom, (and fellow Dr.’s wife!) launched Of One Sea less than a year ago. Now she’s working hard to keep up with the demand for her darling T-shirts, hats, totes, and other family goods! The Of One Sea Spring line has us really excited.  Maryam and my son Josiah (14,) […]

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When the Grandparents took FIVE teenage cousins to Washington DC.

March 4, 2014
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My two oldest boys just returned from a FUN, and educational trip to Washington DC, sponsored and chaperoned, by my parents.  Three of their cousins came along, as well as my brother, Lance. (aka, “Super Uncle.”  aka “The one who beat me in the NYC Marathon.”) The stories will likely be spilling out for weeks […]

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Diet, exercise, and Body Image: My Story {A VLOG}

March 2, 2014
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So, I’ve got one more video here for you. This is one I’ve been thinking about for a L-O-N-G time.  I’ve been quietly writing about it for a while now, (you’ll hear me mention that in the video,) and talking with Dave and other friends about it too. I’m excited…really–passionate, about this topic.  It’s not […]

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Easy Coconut Rice with Papaya and Pistachios

February 28, 2014
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I have a theory about people… Most people fall into one of two categories: They are either of the PASTA-persuasion, or more RICE-oriented. Which one are you? I like both, but I’m definitely more of a rice girl.  I LOVE rice!  I prefer it mixed up with flavors and textures…Fried rice being an absolute favorite, […]

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8 things I can’t live without

February 26, 2014
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It’s just a list.  It’s quick.  (It’s my husband’s birthday, there’s a few things I ought to do?)  The photos are at the bottom.  Have fun, and then share something of your own too, ok? EIGHT THINGS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT (Or I really wouldn’t want to–) 1.  Instagram.  What a perfect, albeit completely useless […]

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A Chore System, and Money Management for Kids: A Video.

February 24, 2014
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After the my first parenting video, I received feedback from people who were interested in how we do our chore system with the boys.  I am here with a video about how we do chores, and the method we use for the kids to manage their money. Our chore system is not at all fancy, […]

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When Life Gives you Lemons…{Lemon Oatmeal Banana Bread w/ Dried Cranberries. (made w/ coconut oil.)}

February 22, 2014
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When life gives you lemons… (Like lots and lots and LOTS of lemons…) It’s time to start baking! I had no idea that our lemon tree was so fruitful!  It is still young, but after a little visit to the Swanson Orchard (aka: the top of our yard, hehe :)) Dave came back with a […]

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