Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creamy Mac & Cheese (Heavenly Homemaker)

The verdict is out on this. I ate some "immediately" and it was tasty. Creamy, cheesy - needed a few more spices for my taste. I had hoped this would cure the kids from Annies Mac and Cheese and Annies Peace Pasta so I didn't add spices......timing of dinner was a bit off and by the time they tried it it resembled a cheese glob.....but it was good when I sampled it.

This is another High 5 Recipe from Heavenly Homemakers.

Creamy Mac and Cheese
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta
3 cups whole milk
1/2 t. sea salt
1 cup shredded cheese (I use white cheddar)

Mix pasta, milk and salt in a large sauce pan.


Cook over medium-high heat STIRRING ALMOST CONSTANTLY until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).

(A for unique cooking style ::snort::)


Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted. Serve immediately.


*Don't give up, just when you think the whole thing is a failure - it thickens. ::snort::

If you've not checked out Heavenly Homemaker go click through her recipes. ::snort:: Click for more of my Yummy Eats (also linked in the labels under the header).

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

~ Coram Deo ~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Saturday is Coming

This week everyone can write about whatever topic interests them. If you have written an entry either this week, months ago, or between now and Saturday that it in some way relates to Super Size sure to check back Saturday to link your entry.
This will make it easier for readers to find you.
I'm contemplating several theme weeks in the near future as my life moves into packing mode.....I'll post a schedule.
Need more info? Guidelines, Archives/ Purpose (you can find this any time with the labels under the header.)
It's not hard at all. You don't have to write an essay. Have you written a few thoughts that you'd like to share with new readers? I plan entries on nutrition, schooling, parenting, Bible study....really any topic at all that contains tips that would be helpful for "large" families is welcome. Join the fun!

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.! ::snort::


~Office Depot to buy envelopes for CD's that I'm selling

~Organized material that has sold

~Parish Advisory Committee

~Piano Lessons (worked on photos)

~Met with ladies buying things ...

~As I waited for dinner I FINALLY caught birds in the pond....

~Cy unexpectedly showed up as I snapped photos.... He and Jamin are on the waiting list for a 2 bedroom apartment in June, the earliest they could get one.

~Everyone was home for dinner.

~Cy headed for a play he has to attend, and took Nolan with him. I almost went with him but knew I'd fall asleep.

~Jamin bought Pendragon and we're going to watch it. It was filed by the Burns Family - a Christian film company.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.


Jamin brought home coupons and asked if we could go to the circus. I've not been since we lived in Hardin, MT....14 years ago. It was HOT, smelly and miserable.

Mike and the kids went to the Circus the day Arielle joined our family....and that was 11 1/2 years ago.

Life always seems too BUSY to go to the circus, we don't like crowds, we don't like spending money ::snort::.....but with Jamin suggesting it, the kids wanting to go, and us not knowing if there are Circus' or Rodeos in Japan..... I took these folk to the circus.

Before the circus, the boys thought it would be fun to interact with the performers, as our little ones wouldn't.....
Jamin bought us Popcorn....

We walked out through a back door and studied all the RVs and Semis that it takes to move a circus from spot to spot.
Jamin took us to dinner after the circus. Mike was able to join us for dinner. It was a wonderful afternoon. Listing to Zander and Stacia laugh and giggle uncontrollably at various antics is exactly what I needed yesterday.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


~ Worked on "things" in the a.m. Fought feelings of panic by reading various list mail. ::snort::

~Had the Realtors tour our home.

~Had a painter come visit and he'll send an estimate.

~Six kids and I went to the circus - more on that and photos tomorrow.

~Made Jamin's Senior Page for SACHSA yearbook- VERY simple...but done.

jamin sr page

~Made Family Page for SACHSA yearbook. I used Shutterfly Studio , a free download recommended by SACHSA, to create the pages.

family page

Yes, I realize our last names are on these...but since Jamin started publishing articles and I linked to them, that train left the station. ::snort:: As I said these are SIMPLE.... I would normally have taken the time to digi SCRAP them...but in this season of life it is good to have them done. The simplicity will remind us of the busy April of 2009.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.


We have 2000 lbs that will be shipped ahead of us (though we realize at this point it isn't going nearly as far ahead of us as recommended ::snort::).

The unaccompanied/hold will be delivered to us when we have a house/apartment and could be all we have for a couple of months. The base will loan us furniture, dishes etc until our things arrive. We are told to take the things that will make that wait for our goods easier.


Mike's Uniforms

Clothes (this x7 may use up most the weight)


What else?


9 weeks of school material? or not?

The laptop will go with me, our Bibles and a few books will be tucked into our bags. I plan to be working on photos until the day we board a plane so will have to mail those things to Japan.

I KNOW some of you military spouses are reading....what did you take or do you wish you had taken in your hold baggage? If you're not military and you were living in a foreign country without your things...what things would you want to be sure you have?

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Going to the Birds

I enjoy the birds outside the dining room window. We now have the pond, in addition to the bird feeder, and we are THE house on the block for our bird friends. I can't identify them...but they are fun to watch.

I've been playing with camera settings, lenses, light to get a sharper picture. Mike figured out my problem right away - shooting through the screen on the window. ::snort:: I guess this is as good as it will get unless I can get outside without scaring them.


I DO know that's a red cardinal on the right.


And this is a dove.



We are still debating if we should get a hot foot for our D70, fix the flash or buy the body of a D 90 (lenses from our D 70 and Nikon SLR would work on it so we wouldn't need to buy the lens). Any camera fiends out there care to give advice?????

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do the Next Thing

We continued to work on things around our home.

Here Jamin oils the picture frame living room and kitchen. He also organized the garage.


I found MORE homeschool stuff I can part with....and found even more after I sent out my list. ::snort:: I've been answering emails about sales items.



PWOC in the evening. The slate for the 2009-2010 Executive Board was approved.

Psst....those last two photos are my Working Lunch Blog Challenge entry. No, there's no lunch in the photo because as often happens when I'm a bit busy...I forgot the lunch part of the lunch and worked to post books right up until I left for drama. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

More Homeschool Stuff for Sale

If you are local and did not receive the email I sent out this a.m. and you want me. I have IEW, DIVE CDs, tons of Critical Thinking Press on the list. I decided to keep Spelling Power.

For those who are not local, if there is anything left on Friday I will post it to the blog and SHS and sell it for the price plus postage. I really don't have time to package a lot of stuff off and run to the post I'm trying local first. knee is 90% better today. Thanks for the prayers.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Prayers Please & News

Prayer Request: I got out of my recliner this a.m. to head to the gym and something "tweaked and twinged" in my knee. This is fairly normal for my 45 year old body. Instead of doing the ARC at level 19 - I went for level 8 - 11. I tried to bump to 13 - 14 and my knee screamed. I knew when I got off the machine I would need heat today..... Working out regularly when you are over 45, at a level that will raise cardio, does seem to result in fairly regular twinges in one's knees.....Jamin suggested it's time for me to settle for Water Aerobics. ::snort:: I've had to sit with heat/ice and ibuprofen all day. This is NOT a good time for me to be unable to get around. Though, it may give me time to sit and work on photos. (Today we finished our Japanese Lapbook). I'm disappointed to miss tonight's SACHSA Tea - but if I want to be able to teach tomorrow night and attend the chapel tea etc...I'd better pay attention to the ole' knee.

Mike finalized tickets to Tokyo today. We'll leave at 1:00 p.m. on the 5th of July and arrive at 3:30 p.m. on the 6th. We laughed as they gave us ONE travel day - they'll amend that. Mike needs to talk to a different office to get us from Tokyo to Misawa. ::snort::

We'll have packers in here the week of 11 May. I met a lady named Angel online. She's a PWOC lady who saw my name on an email somewhere and then heard I was moving to Misawa. She's a chaplain's wife who was in Misawa. She called last night and helped me wrap my mind around HOW to organize for these packers. I think I'll get some colored, accompanied, unaccompanied and label everything.

Mike's supervisor will be on leave from 4 - 21 May; I'm starting to wonder when the "slow down to focus on the move" time happens. ::snort::

The Air Force is going to store our van for us in Seattle.

Please do pray about our house. We can't get it on the market until the house is empty and we paint and put in new carpet. They will not be able to get into the house until 18 May at the earliest.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jamin's Decision

Yes, Jamin plans to get a degree in Intercultural Ministry and enter missions. Yes, he was accepted to Eugene Bible College.

Jamin had planned to stay in TX and take general ed classes before going to a private college. THEN, he thought it would be cost effective to go ahead and go to the private college now, as he could split living expenses with his sisters. Jamin has other benchmarks that we suggest for our young men, in addition to college, that he is trying to reach (moving toward future goals, owning a vehicle debt free, $10K in the bank). He began to research, pray, and discuss how to reach his goals in a quick and DEBT FREE manner.

This was HIS decision. We'd be happy to have him safely at Eugene Bible College. We would also be happy to see him stay in Texas with Josiah.

Please understand our adult children often wait to hear our thoughts before making decisions, but at 18 he is an adult, and these decisions are his. (I realize not all 18 year olds are adults but Jamin fact Jared at 15 is fast approaching the same status in our eyes. LOL)

Mike and Jamin had a long talk Friday afternoon and Jamin has decided to stay here in Texas. This allows him to continue his job. He has 8K saved towards his first year of college. EBC is 3x the cost of ASU. This means that though he still needed $1-4,000 for his freshman year at EBC, he now has enough to pay for almost two years at ASU. He will take 2 years of general classes. He's checked and they'll transfer into his degree at EBC. He plans to CLEP some classes and he has already been taking classes from Taylor University that will also transfer. During the next two years he will save up for the last two years of college at EBC...and continue to replenish his nest egg. He hopes to enter EBC as a Junior with the cash to pay for the remaining years of college.

The girls are talking of downsizing to a one bedroom apartment. Josiah and Jamin are looking for a 2 bedroom apartment here in town. Jamin has begun the process of applying to ASU, we don't expect any trouble in getting accepted.

Such teamwork - of course he'd want to share an apartment with Cy for a bit. ::snort::


Yep, my mommy heart rests easier knowing that Josiah will not be without family in Texas.

I have a couple of hours until Mike gets home....I think I'll go work on photos.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.


Friday we got orders to Misawa AB, Japan. We're going!! Mike faxed the orders and the housing application that afternoon. This means that we can now schedule packing dates and buy tickets. We hope to get an idea of what sort of housing to expect during this next week. The orders will need to be ammended...they gave us one travel day. ::snort::

Bugs? Friday afternoon I had the termite folks out again to inspect and renew our warranty against bugs. We hope to have this house on the market shortly - only a few months later than hoped for. God knows.

Mike and Jared pressure washed the fence in preparation of staining it. They held off on staining as it looked like we may get rain?



I went through the kitchen and my scrapbooking stuff. I did this to know for SURE how many more original Creative Memory pages and protectors I needed. I also ordered a new album from CM that hopefully will speed things up for me. I'd love to get all my magnetic albums transferred before the move.

Mike took the composter apart and took it and a bag of compost to our friends. We all enjoyed a power play date...though we barged in on the poor A family. Ah well.

Margie dropped $ buy from the SACSHA sale. I made $100. I decided to sell another bit of curriculum - by evening I had a call from someone who is interested. Thanks, Deja, for helping me part with IEW. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Holocaust Thoughts

Look at the cool book to the left. This is a gift to us from Wanda, Walter and Dr. Gail. It is a gift we will cherish and use in our homeschool. I happen to have plenty of space on our shelves for new books at the moment. ::snort::

A few things that stood out to me after listening to the briefings presented this past week.... and in case the link thing doesn't pull up the post from 2007 that shows the survivor's quilt and such - you can find that here.

Holocaust - the word means "sacrifice or offering burned whole before the Lord".

6 million Jews and 5 million others perished at the hands of the Nazi German regime.

Judaism is "a religion with a strong cultural influence around it, not a race." This is important to note. Nazi Germany relabled Judaism from a religion to a race...and I suspect many of us, without thinking, may have the same definition. To be a Jew is to be part of a religion - the first to believe in one God.

Dr. Gail gave 7 or 8 elements that led up to the Holocaust...but I can't find the slip of paper I took notes on. If I find it, I'll post them. I found it very interesting to compare the history of the past with our current society. We are naive to think that genocide (a word created to describe the Holocaust)does not occur today or that it won't in the future.

Meeting a survivor and hearing their first hand story is both a burden and a gift. What will you do with their story to ensure that this never happens again? Those voices which deny the Holocaust are getting louder as the voices of the victims get fainter. Only 11 states require that anything be taught about the Holocaust. Six survivors in the Tucson group have died since September.

Books and things recommended to me (so I don't lose the paper before I find the books)

  • Recent Hallmark movie about a lady named Irene - anyone have the title?
  • "The Foundation of the 19th Century" - thoughts that led to discrimination of Jews
  • "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" by Hana Volavkova Children's poems and drawings from Terezin Concentration Camp
  • "Night, Dawn, Day" by Elie Wiesel
  • Google Holocaust Diaries - other than Ann Frank's does anyone have some titles to share? The list is long.
  • "The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million" by Daniel Mendelsohn
  • Books by Primo Levi
  • "A Bag of Marbles" by Joseph Joffo
  • "A Hero and the Holocaust: The Story of Janusz Korczak and his Children" by David A. Adler** This man is someone Mike and I both want to research further.
  • Visit the US Holocuast Memorial Museum for lists of books, teaching plans, guidelines etc.

Other than the Yom HaShoa service, I think I've corralled my thoughts. Or, in CPE speak, I've down processed. I can move on with life and revisit the topic and thoughts when life is a bit less hectic.

BTW if you've read any of the above books, I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you have any diaries to recommend, I'd also love you to leave those titles.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Thoughts Aroused by Discussion with a Jewish Chaplain....

{Mike discovered a suspense due Monday @ 7:30 a.m. (he was out of the office all week last week) so I have a bit of time to capture a few thoughts.}

Many readers know that I've been exploring the Jewish culture/faith and how it impacts our understanding of Christ's words and our Christian faith. Being able to sit and discuss various issues with Dr. Gail Wallen, director of Holocaust Services for the Jewish Family and Children's Service of Southern Arizona and a Jewish lay Chaplain, was a rare gift. Bible Study attendees KNOW that I'm good at asking questions. ::snort:: Here are a few things that I'm mulling over after my time spent in discussion with Dr. Gail (on the left ::snort::).

1. Whenever we discuss matters of faith (or really anything) it is crucial to define our terms. For example, when I hear Messiah, I think Jesus. When Gail hears Messiah she thinks, "one to come" among other things.

2. From the Jewish perspective all Jews are "Messianic Jews." All are looking for and believe in the coming of a Messiah. If by "Messianic Jew," we refer to someone who is Jewish and believes in Jesus as the Messiah, those who are practicing Jews would say this is impossible. Being Jewish is a religion and not a race, is the thought. If one chooses to convert and become Catholic they are no longer Protestant. In the same way, if a Jew chooses to convert to Christianity, they are no longer considered Jewish by those who are in the Jewish faith.

3. Christians who are "going back to Jewish roots," as well as Jews who believe in Jesus as Messiah, are best labeled Hebraic Christians. This made sense to me as I've had Christian, non-Jewish friends tell me they are now "Messianic Jews" because they are going to practice Torah et al...but technically, accurate title would be Hebraic Christian.

4. There are "secular Jews" and they are still considered Jewish. They attend synagogue on the High Holidays and not much else, but they are still in the faith and, therefore, Jewish. (Like CE Christians near as I can tell).

5. Jews do not try to proselytize. In fact a Rabbi is to turn down a potential convert three times before allowing them to convert. This is because it is hard to live as a Jew. I couldn't help but compare this to some services I have been in where it appears that the leader is trying to cajole a person to accept Christ and "all it takes is a quick glance, we won't embarrass you, make you stand up or talk to anyone...."

6. Dr. Gail shares in her talk how religious myths played a part in leading the Holocaust. She emphatically states that the Jews did not kill Jesus. The Romans did. I've heard Christians argue that it was Jewish leaders who tried Christ and turned Him over to the Romans to kill. Bottom line around our home? The Jews did not kill Christ. The Romans did not kill Christ. I did. My sin sent Christ to the cross. To argue this point, or persecute those of the Jewish faith over this point, seems to miss the basic bedrock fact that, "All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God." (Rm 3:23)

7. I was shaken to realize anew how EVIL men can be. I struggled with God's sovereignty in the midst of all this. I already alluded to the discussion that Gail and Mike had earlier in the week where they discussed various Jewish and Christian schools of thought on the issue. Faith in the midst of these types of situations can either be strengthened (Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie ten Boom come to mind) or splintered. God remains God...though I can't begin to fathom His ways and dealings with mankind. Yeah, I don't get it intellectually, but I know it in my spirit!

8. In a very profound way, I realized what I'd known intellectually: those of the Jewish faith believe Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, nothing more or less. They do not believe He is the Son of God. Of course, this differs from my faith. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, I reached anew the conclusion that it is my responsibility to pray for those who I believe need to see the Son of God. I believe God revealed Himself to us through the Jewish faith. I believe He further revealed Himself through His son, Jesus the Christ. I believe He still reveals Himself today to those who seek Him - regardless of their religious label...because I believe He is THAT big. God continues to reveal more of Himself to me day by day...and He can do that for all of us regardless of our religious title.

There are other things I'm pondering, but this will do for recording the gist of my thoughts. I look forward to receiving my "Family Seder". LOL BTW, these religious talks are NOT part of the sessions on the Holocaust...these talks came about because I asked questions. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Satisfied with God's Presence

"As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake." Psalm 17:15 (New American Standard Bible - Observation)

{Care for a sneak peak into my life journal? Devotional thoughts and word studies as I read - my tryst thoughts and NOT in depth, inductive study.}

Words I Love (Interpretation):

Behold - #2372 to see, behold, perceive with intelligence, by experience

Face - #6440 face, presence, person

Satisfied - #7646 to be sated, have a desire fulfilled, filled

Likeness - #8544 form, image, representation

Life Lessons (Application):

I will see, gaze, perceive by experience God's person and presence (which is always right); when I awake my desire will be filled, I will be sated with Him.

I seem to always want MORE of Him and yet search for the balance of being content, as well. God promises that as I seek Him, gaze at Him, walk with Him, I WILL see, experience His person, His Presence and His face. My desire will be fully filled. I'll be sated with Him....

My responsibility is to look, to see, to gaze, to behold. Like blind Bartimaeus, my cry is, "Rabbi, I want to regain my sight." (Mark 10:51 NASB)

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Storage Tips

This week I NEED storage tips. Regular readers know that 7 members of our family are about to move to Misawa, Japan. We are EXCITED. This DOES mean that we need to downsize from 2500 square feet to 1500 square feet.

PLEASE share your favorite storage tips...all tips, big and small tips are welcome. Share tips on kitchen storage, food storage, school storage, book storage, closet storage, clothes storage, photo storage, and on and on.

Super Size Saturday is planned to be a weekly feature of Choosing Joy. I cannot promise that I'll have lots of time to write profound posts in the next few months...but it should be pretty easy to provide a forum for a carnival. Right? Feel free to leave ideas for themed weeks in the comment section. Is there some topic YOU would like me to try to generate discussion on?

Feel free to read the Guidelines for SSS or past SSS Entries.

Remember, write a post on your blog, come back and leave a link to THAT POST on Mr. Linky. Others can then check back here for a nice collection of tips. If you don't have a blog and want to participate, simply leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Please help spread the word about Super Size Saturdays on your blogs and email groups. Feel free to save the graphic to your hard drive and link it back to either the guidelines or heart/archive of SSS (I honestly don't know which would be best, we'll learn together as we do this).

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Thank You MJ!

What a TREAT! Thank you, MJ, for the surprise you sent Stacia. She was very excited to get a package addressed directly to HER from ALASKA.


They fit perfectly - and match her new coat much better than the big black ones mom purchased. ::snort:: In my defense I KNEW they would be too big...but followed the size charts on the website. I should have gone with a size smaller. I DO miss Fred Myers! Thanks for picking these up for Stacia.


We even got the photo of MJ off the box and Stacia now has it in her room.


Thanks Darshia. You bless me in so many ways!

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.


This week has been full.

Mike and I were not home before 10 p.m. any night this week. Jared and Arielle did a GREAT job holding the fort down. My kids ROCK!

I attended more dinners with Mike this week than I may have in a year. ::snort:: I'm not really an official dinner sort of person....but I wanted to show full support for this. It was important. I think I got over some of my fear of fancy dinners with people I don't know too. We shall see. ::snort:: I KNOW I ate more this week than I have in a month. We had dinners with the local Jewish community, with the ASU President (what a HOME!!!), with the Chiefs, with chapel staff...Mike had breakfasts and lunches with Hebrew Linguists, commanders - well you get the idea. Evidently there is a LOT of food involved in official hosting duties. ::snort:: There is also a lot more dressing up than I do in a typical week. ::snort::

I attended 5 sessions where I was privileged to listen to Wanda and Walter share their first hand experiences during the Holocaust. I have more thoughts to share that were generated in the sessions. I know that my new friends will continue to reside in my thoughts, heart, and prayers. I have attended these events for the past 3 years. I've always KNOWN the sessions were an amazing opportunity afforded by base leadership to witness history...but hosting our guests this week, interacting on a personal level with them, made the horror of the Holocaust much more personal and real for me. I saw, through their eyes, the importance of the American military and the need for vigilance in protecting the freedoms that we enjoy in America.


I attended Yom Hashua - I'll write a separate post about that.

Jamin and Jared were able to hear Walter's story. He was almost 15 when he was sent to a German Labor Camp. He was blessed to find his way to his brother at a camp. His brother died 6 weeks before they were liberated. I know that they'll remember Walter when they are faced with situations in life that require courage and strength and humor. The love of the brothers spoke to my mommy heart.

We found time to enjoy some of the local area. I took the younger four to meet and visit with Walter and Wanda, but didn't take them to a session.


We made two trips to the airport this week...this a.m. to say goodbye.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Profoundly Amazing Things I Witnessed

The schedule is far to full for me to give a detailed listing of what we did yesterday, however, I was honored to witness a few things that I need to write down so that I can process later. {That's the way I am.}

  • I witnessed an American liberator meet with a Holocaust Survivor. I saw Walter thank the liberator, with tears in his eyes; we all had tears in our eyes. They will meet again at the Chapel's Yom Hashua service tomorrow.
  • I witnessed a survivor of the Cambodian Genocide attempt to ask a question of the survivors; and not be able to find his voice. This young man later talked with some in our group and was convinced that Walter would like to talk with him. I witnessed two survivors of the same sort of pain meet, embrace...and I saw that the problem continues....that a new generation of survivors is finding it's voice as they witness the strength in the voice of an older generation. I was honored to be there as questions were asked and answers were wrestled with.
  • I witnessed 50 school children from Ballinger swarm the stage with books on the Holocaust for Wanda and Walter to autograph. We joked later at their new rock star status. It was a bright point in a very difficult evening for my new friends.
  • I witnessed two very normal humans willingly step back into hell so that they could give a voice to those who no longer have a voice. I watched what it cost them to do so. I was amazed and profoundly thankful.
  • I watched a Protestant Chaplain and a Jewish Chaplain wrestle with questions of where God was, what faith means in such circumstances and I was amazed.

Please pray for Wanda and Walter by name in the next few days. They will have 4 more sessions in the next two days. This is very difficult for them. I'll leave you with a few photos. I'm off to take the boys to hear Walter's session this a.m.

Green Room before ASU session





Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Random Misawa Trivia: Miss Veedol

This will be something we explore soon after reaching Misawa. The first non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean was from Misawa, Japan to Wenatchee, Washington in 1931 in Miss Veedol. The men, Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon dropped their landing gear over the Pacific Ocean belly landing in Wenatchee.
Misawa and Wenatchee are sister cities. I've been to Wenatchee several times. I can't wait to visit the museums in Misawa.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

This is where I am!

Hey - my schedule has made the front page. THIS is where I was yesterday. Our first service in the new Chapel will be the Yom Hashua service on Thursday afternoon 3:30 p.m. Our first Sunday service is this upcoming Sunday.

The rest of my week is full doing a small part in hosting THIS....though the community is having one day of remembrance - today.....the base will have several days of sessions and activities. This is one of the most meaningful things I've been blessed to be a part of in the Air Force. I love that our base commanders have paid to bring these guests to the base...and that they share the guests with our community. I'm honored to be a small part of hosting them. What a precious gift for one like me who has always been fascinated with the history of WW2 and the Holocaust. In fact, I know I don't need to say this to *my friends*, but if you are local and enjoy the sessions at ASU or the base...a Thank You to our wonderful base leadership on the editorial page or even thank you cards (I can deliver them) would be a nice touch. ::snort:: BTW, if you need a name to address your card to - click on the first link. ::snort:: See, I didn't give out private info.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let's Think About My Colors


Stacia ran up to me and said, "Let's think about my colors!"

I said, "Ok," wondering what she wanted to talk about.

She proceeded to chant, "pink, blue, orange, red, green, purple, yellow...that's all!"

If you've not noted the new prayer requests in the side bar, please do send a few extra prayers Jamin's way. He's wrestling with some decisions about his future. It's after 11 p.m. - Mike is burning a few CD's of things Dr. Wallen needs for tomorrow....Jamin just got home. I'm off....5 a.m. will come early. ::yawn::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Busy Monday

9:15 and we were gathering shoes and such to head to the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new base chapel.

I'll have to get better photos of the chapel. I was a bit preoccupied with Stacia getting on and off the top of the bleachers....


Still my favorite man in uniform (Michael - the one in glasses).


But I did get this shot of the official moment.


Yep, I'm learning how to use the big lens and didn't have the setting right. ::sigh:: The ribbon is cool...the fog I don't understand. It was fine in the first two shots.

Jamin got to talk to TX Congressman Conway. He told him the best new feature of the chapel is the padded seats. ::snort:: Jared (15) plans to go into politics and he also got to speak to Congressman Conway. They discussed survival tips for political life.

We toured the chapel. Stacia and Zander inaugarated the new Fellowship Hall floor with cake and punch. I cleaned it up - along with many willing helpers.

Mike spent the day tying up loose ends for the rest of the week with the Holocaust Survivors (food and such in rooms etc). We met up and picked them up at the airport. Then we got everyone settled in their rooms and headed for Zentner's Daughter for dinner. Several others met us there. I found it fascinating to listen to the stories, visit with our guests, and participate in a bit of the Jewish culture. Of course, discussion did turn briefly to recent Passover celebrations.

Tomorrow is a full day around town. I *think* I will stay home and meet up with everyone in the evening for dinner at the ASU President's home and then the session at ASU. I WANT to participate in all the festivities of the day but I know that I'll be out a LOT this week and think it may be too much for Jared if I'm gone from 7 a.m - 10 p.m. tomorrow.

For those of you who are local and don't have base access - tomorrow night; 6:30 p.m. Junell Center at ASU. I recommend arriving early. Last year they filled up the 200 capacity room, moved to a 500 capacity room, and were still at standing room only. I know that a school from Wall is coming in and another local high school is bringing students as well.

If you have base access consider attending the Yom Hashoah service on Thursday at the new chapel at 3:30 p.m. This is a memorial service for Holocaust victims.

There will be four additional sessions on Wednesday and Thursday on base. Dr. Wallen will give a history of the Holocaust at each session and one of the survivors will speak at each session: either Wanda or Walter. The sessions are: Wed 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and Thurs 8:45 a.m. and 5 p.m. The sessions are geared towards youth/adults....yet younger children who are familiar with the Holocaust may be o.k. I've taken 5th and 6th graders after we had studied WW2. Do be aware that there are some graphic slide clips during the sessions and the survivors DO tell their stories.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Prayer Circles

We were standing outside a restaurant today in a circle. Jamin and I reached down and grabbed Stacia's hand so that she didn't run into the street.

We soon heard, "God gave Mommy a little girl. Mommy said, 'Thank you.' God said, 'You're welcome.' God bless the cook."

Guess she assumes holding hands in a circle means it's a prayer circle. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Rock, Paper, EXPLOSION

Zander has created his own version of rock, paper, scissors.....

Rock, paper, explosion....Explosion wins them all.

{Mommy Story.}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

If You Get a Minute

{Another Mommy story.}

Josiah (20) picked up Stacia (3) and took her grocery shopping. He said she talked from the minute they left the house until they got back. ::snort::

At one point she said to Cy, "Jared, Arielle, Nolan, Zander, Dad, Mom and I are moving to 'pan."

Cy responded, "Yeah."

Stacia, "If you get a minute, come see me!"

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Zander Experiences a First

Those of you who know Donnie W are going to laugh at me. It had never dawned on me that Donnie was from Japan. I guess I don't think in terms of countries of origin or what not. He's American...and he is.... but today we had fun.

He lived in Japan until he was 8. Zander came out and said, "Ohayou gozaimasu," to Donnie. Donnie responded in a flow of Japanese. Zander got a strange expression on his face, turned and ran. Huh? Later he told us that it scared him to have someone speak Japanese to him.....we told him he needs to get used to it.

I enjoyed discussing Japan with Donnie. Great tutoring session. LOL

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Life Can Move On....

Oh, Praise God, it's OVER. We do NOT like having garage sales. I was not thrilled at the aggressive early birds (and I've not shared all that went on yesterday). I did NOT like sorting through 19 years of homeschooling...but it's over...and it will be good.

Our home still looks like a disaster after the whirlwind of the past week, but I have great hope that by Monday it will look "normal". I'll continue to weed things out. I hope to shortly be ready to divide our belongings into 6 different packer piles. (I really don't know WHERE to begin on this - but that's to obsesss about next week!) Betsy, Bobbie Jo - have you done this before? Any tips?

We all worked HARD yesterday to be ready for the sale today (little did we know how persistent garage sale attendees can be in Texas. I'm not sure how to handle this in the future...)
I DID tell homeschoolers they could come early and so we wanted to have the homeschool stuff out last night.....

We started very orderly...looks pretty?


The homeschool wing of the sale....Notice these tables have stacks and boxes full of books underneath them. It's amazing to me that all but two apple boxes of books are gone. Wow - I didn't expect them to sell as well as they did....and many of the most excited were not homeschoolers.


Yes, we hired guards for the driveway last night.


7:30 - an hour before we opened. ::snort:: You can barely see myself and Deja's head....thanks Deja. Deja came over and helped us set things out, then she kept giving me the EYE when our early bird showed up and pressed me to make "deals" on all the big things. She reminded me that it was even 8:30 yet and I didn't need to make deals. Deja really walked me through this sale process. Her Mother and Grandmother hold estate sales for a living. It's not any friend that would get up at 5:30 a.m. to help you. ::snort::


I still don't have that, "ah, the house is bare" feeling....but I AM happy with our results. We made well over anything we've ever made before. I've had a couple of offers to take the couple of boxes of things that I have left to the homeschool sale next week.....I can't attend as I have a farewell to attend - for me and Mandy. ::sigh::

You know....I teared up when our table sold. Silly? We bought two identical tables about 8 years ago...and we needed them. We loved them...solid wood...little drawer to hide cards. ::snort:: We've heard two won't fit in the kitchen area in Misawa we sold one...but now I realize that there is no way 7 will fit around this table.....hmm.....and I sold the cart that held my laptop so I wasn't sure I'd be able to blog...but I guess I can. ::snort:: Oh, back to the table....I was fine watching all my well-loved books leave the house, the pool, swing set, picnic tables, canoes (ouch),bike trailer etc...but that table...all the dinners, games, really signaled to me that our family make up is changing...and it made me sad. (I only slept 3 hours last night so that could have something to do with my emotions). ::snort::

I DID hold back the baby backpack one asked about it. I'm either going to find someone who doesn't have one and likes to hike and bless them; or I'm taking it to a consignment shop. Someone snatched up the Indisposable Diapers and Stacia's first sling....I was happy that the young family was so excited to find the cloth diapers. It's the small things that made my day....I think we got to visit with most of the city. LOL We'll miss this city....and that is truly a blessing because it took a long time for this to be home for our family.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Beware of the Japanese Speaking 7 year old

People keep dropping time I advertise for ONE day or I do the sale on Friday and be done with it. ::snort::

As one guy tried to scope out our garage Zander cornered his partner and said, "Ohiyo Gozaimas! Nihonggo ga warimas ka?"

Man: "Are you speaking Chinese?"

Zander: "iay, nihonggo."

Zander: "ie....otaniki desu neh!"

Man: "WHAT is he speaking???"

All together now: Japanese.

Zander: We're moving to JAPAN you know!

Moving sales? A PAIN!

Stranger's expressions when they encounter Zander? PRICELESS!

Another stranger at our door!

{Psst! Kim - quit laughing at the spelling. It's hard to figure out how to SPELL what we are learning to say! When i's are e's and r's are d's....}

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.


I went to the gym....I came home and a man was carting away our canoes and my picnic tables....Huh???? ::snort:: I'm sure glad Mike was home this a.m. this would have seriously freaked out our this point it only mildly freaked them out. ::snort::

Our goal was "over $200" for our garage sale....we've doubled that and aren't open yet!

Back to garage sale prep. Sale starts TOMORROW at 8:30......or hey today at 7:30 a.m. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Maternity Clothes - Scrapbooking Stuff - Telescopes

Still going through the house.... Give YOUR input...

I am taking a break from books, books, books....which I know don't sell well, but I have to get rid of them. 10 books shelves will not fit in a 1500 sq ft home. They'll go to Goodwill if they don't sell. Knowing the Internet has a zillion sites for Pre-school activities, crafts, recipes etc., makes it easier to get rid of books. I AM wondering if I should take some of the more current books and list them on PBS and at least get future book credits.

Film Cannon and Nikon cameras - Obsolete. . . I get it. ::snort::

Maternity Clothes - I won't have a lot of storage room for clothes....I've not gotten pregnant in 2 years....but finding modest maternity clothes these days (or ones that a middle age expectant mom may want to wear) is hard....clothes don't make $ in garage bring them to Misawa or give them to Goodwill?

Scrapbooking stuff....ugh. I don't PLAN to do "real scrapping" and yet the kids can use it for school...but it's sale? I have about 10 7 x 7 albums....maybe I should keep them and make quick albums for farewell gifts in Japan. I've done that before....I could find time again?

Telescopes - just to remind me to talk to Mike. We have two nice telescopes and only need one.

BTW, i otanki desu neh!

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.


Local readers - here are a few of things that will be available at the garage sale on Saturday. Please do not call to ask me questions or to reserve items; I'm running wild trying to be ready for Saturday AND continue on with other responsibilities this week. I AM allowing homeschoolers to come early - 7:30 a.m. NO OTHER EARLY BIRDS! (Yeah, right. ::snort::)If you are interested in an item, please visit our sale.

In addition there will be furniture, swing set, pool, free trampoline, bike trailer, canoes, 2 picnic tables, complete Olympic Weight set (bench, handheld weights, dumbbells, tower, leg extension), patio swing, small rototiller, gardening tools, garage shelves, and lots more misc. Eventually we'll have a fridge, washer, dryer and grill to list in the paper...but we're still using them.

The sale is Saturday from 8:30 - 4:30. I am including our address and such in emails that go out with this notice to Concho Valley Home Educators and possibly SACHSA members....if you do not receive those emails and do not know our address - check the paper on Friday/ Saturday. We're the ad that says "Large, military, homeschooling family moving to Japan" and lists lots of stuff. LOL Or email me at

INTERNET BUDDIES - I'm swamped and desperately trying to get things out of here before packers show up at my house. I'd rather sell everything in person and not have to mail it..... BUT if you see something you'd like to have, you are willing to pay the price AND shipping....and you are willing to maybe have to wait a week for me to mail....feel free to respond to me at dschoosingjoy as well. I do want to be a good internet friend too. Keep in mind that books will GO - but for the kits that don't sell at the sale, I plan to decrease the price and offer them online. SO...if you really want something now - speak up; but you might get a better deal if you wait until after the sale...or I may get sick of "stuff" and give them all away to the lucky person who shows up at 4:45. ::snort:: I'm making no promises....because I'm that sort of purger. ::snort::

Misawa Garage Sale - Home School Stuff

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Help Get the Word Out!

Several have asked me about writing more Super Sized Saturday entries and about the proposed Meme. I promise to bring it back.

I can almost guarantee that I will not be writing lots of weekly entries between now and our move (maybe, but I doubt it).

However, if I can figure out Mr. Linky I WILL do some backwards Super Sized Saturdays.....where I ask YOU for your best tips on a variety of issues that would be of help to Super Sized Families...and remember all are welcome to participate regardless of the size of their family...though the hope is tips that will benefit Super Sized Families as well as all families.

The very first meme topic will be a plea for you to share your BEST STORAGE tips ~ especially helpful for a family downsizing in space. IF I figure out Mr. Linky he'll be here this Saturday (or late Friday night). If I don't have time to figure out Mr. Linky, we'll use the comment section for this first meme. I NEED your ::snort::

You'll simply write a post about storage in small spaces, then put a link to that post in the Mr Linky....or if you don't own a blog, you can leave your tips in the comment section. Start thinking now and we'll give it a shot. Do save the graphic to your computer and feel free to use it with your posts or what not. It would be nice if you'd link it back to the page explaining Super Sized Saturdays. IF yo can't figure it out, don't worry. I've not figured out how to make it a clickable graphic with the code for you to copy. ::snort::

Click to read my heart for Super Sized Saturday & for past entries.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shot Update

Zander - on schedule. Loved the bowling alley treat.

Stacia - It seems I may have confused some about the shots we refuse...we refuse the social shots. There is simply no need for our children to have them. If the Air Force felt we needed them, we'd discuss it further. We've inquired about what is needed for Japan - no worries there. We would never knowingly put our children at risk. The shots themselves, however, are a risk for Stacia.

Here's a bit more info so y'all don't think I'm simply a needle hating mother (which I am). LOL Our base has a walk in immunization clinic. You don't see a doc before hand. Stacia had a reacation to her 6 month shots. She had the fever, swelling etc...that is NORMAL and not a reaction...she also had a rash and hives...which I'm told is not normal. Our peditrician knew that we were concerned about the suspected autism connection to shots. After the 6 month shots she was concerned about the reaction and suggested we hold off on shots until Stacia was "older". We thought 2 - 3. Today the Sgt., who is well known for being great at her job, looked it all up and said we could wait longer if we'd like. SHE would have been more at ease if we waited until Stacia was 4....but Stacia was there and ready....and we felt it would be o.k.

We've been told that you don't have a say on shot schedules and combon shots in the Air Force. Not true. I wanted Mike there as so many had told me they would NOT split up the shots. Imagine my surprise when they INSISTED it would be safer to split up the combo DTAP shot into three shots....they also advised that she only get ONE shot at a that if she has another reaction we'll know which one it is and she'll not get it again. The concern is that the swelling could spread to air passages...and I guess the concern (which we didn't know about until today) is that her next reaction will be stronger than the first one. We know which ones she had at 6 was the Dtap and some other one I can't pronounce, but she didn't get it this time.

She had one shot. We waited for 20 minutes. I'm watching her. She doesn't have a rash, swelling or I think she is fine. I think it would have hit earlier if she was going to have a reaction. It's not been 8 hours.

She will have another shot in a month. It will take a long time for her to be caught up....but all feel this is the safest way to immunize her and be sure that she doesn't have a serious reaction. Long story short - yes - not having immunizations can keep you from some overseas clearnaces....but it isn't that she isn't having any....we have good reasons for her being behind schedule. She's never had an MMR and won't before Japan...BUT her records clearly state that she not be given combo shots and that she get one at a time....they also state why. She's already cleared for Japan. We've been told that this is not a problem as they have immunization clinics at all the bases in Japan.

I feel sad for her having to do them one shot every month....but I am MUCH more at peace with her getting one shot, rather than 5, at a time.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

San Angelo TEA party

Mike didn't come with us, but the kids and I ventured out to our first political protest....and we had a blast! ::snort::

First we made signs....



If you're not sure what the sign below refers to - click here.

Nolan's sign says, "I'm not the Government's ATM".....and there are other photos of the younger ones signs...


About a week ago they announced this TEA party....then a few days ago they announced a "Support the President Rally" at the same time and place. I wondered about going but the older boys really wanted to go. I suspected I'd be taking the kids alone due to Mike's work schedule. I thought there would be more supporters than tea party goers....but wow! There were 25 Obama/Biden supporters when I counted....I'm not sure how many for the TEA party but the lawn was full of people.


Stacia will be in several folks' photo albums of the event....folks kept asking if they could take her photo. (The boys tell me that someone else thinks like me and their sign was on Hannity). ::snort::
Shew...this freedom of speech stuff is hard work.

It was beautiful weather. It was encouraging to see so many turn out. It was all fairly positive and President bashing...very nicely done. Stacia asked if we can go to a tea party again tomorrow. LOL

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.