Monday, May 31, 2010

Rice Paddies....

The fields are still flooded (obviously), but the little green rice shoots are growing....this is fascinating to watch.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

New Pony

We decided to test Stacia's new skill by walking/riding over to visit the ponies.....While I was at retreat.....

video

Hana (flower) had a BABY! Sakura (Cherry)

Moshie (my Americanized version of what the Farmer calls him) is not happy to be in a different pen...but Arielle found "the spot" he loves to have scratched.


Our farmer ran over with carrots for us to feed all.

We love being able to walk over and visit these critters.
Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Stacia's Grand Adventure

Stacia was given a new bike....
From 2010-06-01
While it appears fine for Jared, it's a bit big for her.....so Jared set out to attach training wheels.
From 2010-06-01
A bit of instruction....
From 2010-06-01
...she's off!
video

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lodeo Drive

We've noticed that the Japanese LOVE TEXAS....and they seem to think TX is all rodeo and cowboys.....things like this are painted on several brands of cars....


"If you drive around a magnificient wildness in a 4 wheel Drive car, you will encounter series of nervous tensions, and excitements far from your imagination just a cowboy who was bravely riding a horse. 4 wheel drive reminds you of heated breath of Rodeo, Great nautre will comfortably hold the spirits of drivers who boldly challenge to the great west. "


Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...
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Prayer, Rest, Sun, Play....

Wise friends suggested....prayer, rest, sun, play and we've done them all....

I started the day digging into the Word as I determined what I want to share at W.I.L.D. later this week.

After we played on base (see below)....we decided we HAD to get out in the sun. The sun is precious around here....and I was NOT going to stay home and clean, pack and prepare.

We asked the S family if they'd like to follow us to Shimoda Swan Park. I knew Windy wanted to discover it. Off we went.
I, peronally, don't see the appeal in STONE slides.




Love the Japanese care for their trees

Shrines are everywhere

Being out in nature today - WITH THE SUN and a friend renewed my spirit.


Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Deployment's Silver Lining....

I have NEVER had this much support for any deployment. Of course, we have a lot of deployments and the families are in a foreign country. Our FSS shines.  We have the deplayment tags that is an Air Force wide program. We've not been able to use any of the things on that yet.  We've still got time.

Locally, we have key spouses and each month the FSS mails out a "passport" to those of us who have spouses that have been deployed 30 days or more. Local base shops pitch in....I've been sharing the things we are doing. TODAY....we had a FREE large pizza from a cafe on base.  We chose to eat it outside in the SUN.....outside the bowling ally.


Then - yes we bowled a game for all - FREE and FREE shoes and FREE Wings....

Zander and Nolan were quick to help Stacia with the cheater...

...and the celebrating for hitting pins never ended.

A strike.....




Stacia got fancy....turned around backwards and shot the ball down the cheater...

Maybe she got the idea from Jared's style...

Final Score - Arielle & Jared tied...despite the dramatic style exhibited by a certain 16 yo.
Yes, this base rocks!

I mentioned my upcoming travels at chapel today. I had the rides worked out, but the baby sitting was boggling my mind. A friend heard, came over, changed all the plans...she'll come get my kids, drive them to base, the older ones will walk to the High School Talent Show practice and she will keep the younger ones. She's even going to FEED them and bring them home.  Another friend is picking them up and taking them to dinner on Thursday night. Talent Show on Friday night, same friend will come get the kids and make sure they all make it to the show. Another friend and her kids are coming over to spend the weekend at the house with ours (her husband is TDY).....It's AMAZING to me.
Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Cultural Moment

video

Please excuse the grammar...I was driving and such you know....

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Busy Saturday

Joel and Mary called this morning to see if we'd like to go to Hachinohe to the planetarium. I would have loved to. They'd arranged an English show. Jared and Arielle had human video practice....at the same time. This reminded them that Alicia did too. SO....they dropped Alicia off here and took Nolan and Zander with them.

We dropped the three youth off for practice. Stacia and I then went to the Arts and Crafts store where we were allowed to pick ANY piece we wanted to paint for FREE. We were also allowed free paint, glaze and firing. I'm not sure how our pieces will turn out, but it was relaxing. We are still out to use as many free perks on the May "Deployment passport" that we can. LOL

When we dropped Alicia off at home, we were invited to come back for dinner. They'd stopped at the fish market and had a nice salmon. We agreed...as did another family. What fun. The majority of my family liked the grilled salmon....and so I have another grill meal.

We also walked over to see if we could catch the newest addition to our neighborhood...born while I was at retreat.  They weren't in...

There are a field of these on the other side of our fence...and no Weed and Feed in sight.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Thursday's Adventures

Would you believe I ordered a "large print" Bible and THIS is what I got? It's tiny and compact...and says LARGE PRINT right on the spine. ::snort::

Who says PWOC Installation services can't be fun?

A PWOC Installation service is when we affirm last year's leaders and encourage and pledge support to the upcoming year's leaders.  Thursday evening I took Twyla, a friend who was an invaluable help in retreat planning, out to dinner and an onsen to thank her (and just enjoy time together).  WOW - a lot of food for Y800....can't beat that...New Delhi....Indian food is fast becoming my new favorite.

After dinner we went to the Grand Komaki resort. I've heard of this hotel since before we arrived. Evidently, we are famous up here in the North for our Hot Springs - which is why we have so many Onsens.  Komaki hosts travelers from around Japan to our little town.



The main attraction for US - was the ONSEN!!!! And what an Onsen it is. After the experience I wrote this on Facebook. "Ah - I'm spoiled for any other Onsen: outside waterfalls, birds swooping into pond (other side of rock barrier). I swear the onsens are helping me get better. Really. I had several mamasans "help" spray all sorts of suspicious things on my face & body....joined about 50 Japanese in robes sitting on benches, not sure what we were waiting for....but hey....I was too relaxed to move anyway."

This is a spa! All the other onsens I've been to have been "every day" onsens. This one....Ah... the shower spot....see the rail in the background...that's one of two inside tubs.

From the tubs looking back at the showers....as in any onsen, each person has their own stool, faucet, shower head...but also soap etc.


There is also an outside tub/in the midst of a pond, you soak in the circle part of the tub. 

It was magical when it lit up.

We enjoyed our visit. It was cold and rainy - but I was warm and content in the tub. On the other side of the wall you see about mid-way on the left in the photo is the men's side. I did happen to look up and note that there are dining rooms and hotel rooms that seem to overlook the onsen....this gave me new insight into how Bathsheba could have POSSIBLY taken a bath and been seen from the roof without being aware. ::snort::

The Onsen is in the basement of the hotel. It is HUGE and full of shops, concert stages and massage areas. There really WAS a lot of hotel guests wandering the halls in their onsen attire.


This was twice the price of my "every day onsen" - at Y700 (a bit more than $7) but it was SOOO worth it. The sign seemed to be saying that some days of the month are Y500 yen...but we couldn't confirm that.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Friday, May 28, 2010

TGIF

This has been a tough week. I realize that I've really been pushing with trips, goodbyes, SCHOOL, and retreat prep, since late Feb.  The weather is gloomy and I have been struggling not to join it. ::snort::  Nothing terrible; it's simply hard to be a single parent to five children....

One recurring sad point is our Friday Fatherless Family Night.  We've tried to KEEP our routines...but things are different anyway. ::snort:: Tonight we took steps to ward off the blues. We invited several families over for frozen pizza and Tim Hawkins. The laughter is just what we needed.  The pizzas took much longer than I expected to cook.  We always use the same commissary clerk. She laughed when she saw the stack of frozen pizzas....and I told her "Party"...."mmmm....Hai.....ParTee." Then she saw the milk....."Pitza and milk party?" ::snort::

We've not been using the "free passport" that the base issues for fun things to deployed spouses. We get a new one each month, so I decided to see how many we could use in the next couple of days. We ordered two gifts for Michael - $65 vale, received a free system check on the Nissan (they fixed the squealing AC belt for free) and got a free $25 balloon bouquet. The "welcome" was in honor of tonight's guests.


I let the children pick out the extra balloons. It made me smile to see the confusion on the clerks face when she handed me the bouquet....


It's nearly midnight - time to go to bed.
Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Retreat Wrap

 
From 2010-05-23

Despite all the "surprises" which called team members away, despite the virus' running rampant...we met last weekend for Sweet Life Cafe - Savoring God's Presence. This was a Group Publishing retreat that our President picked out. Anyone who knows me, KNOWS that I am skeptical of boxed anything. ::snort::  It really was a great spine to build upon. We discovered it didn't have the teaching we desired. So....that's where I spent the majority of my time and energy....working on devotionals and messages for the retreat.  We also added small group leaders - "Cafe Group Leaders".  The decorations and setting were perfect for a "cafe" theme and tied in great with our vision of nurturing relationships. I'd recommend this package IF you are willing to tweak the plan to fit your group, able to let God move OUTSIDE THE BOX, and have someone who can take a spine and come up with devotionals. There are only 3 sessions in the box....we found that to be too little for a weekend retreat and added two more sessions.  The small group dynamic was WONDERFUL - it was an answer to our prayers. My mind is whirling with ways to incorporate next year's PWOCI theme into this sort of retreat. I wonder if PWOC could create "retreat in a box" type spines to go with themes.  ::snort::
 

From 2010-05-23

 

From 2010-05-23




From 2010-05-23


I didn't envision speaking while fighting a virus - but God proved, yet again, it's about the MESSAGE and not the fripperies or the MESSENGER...He is so good to me....I was blessed to be a blessing. I've been humbled and awed by the Father's great love for His daughters as various ones shared what the messages meant to their lives.  From feedback we are receiving, I believe many were blessed, in many ways. By the end of the retreat I was getting used to my new sultry, deep-throated voice. I threw up during worship before the first session (it was NOT nerves - it was a virus). I struggled through the sore throat and croaky voice....but GOD SHOWED UP and that is so much more important than a polished speaker, cutsy decor or charming bags....though those details often set a woman at ease and allow her to relax in the presence of God.

We had a wonderful supply coordinator and she took over hospitality too. Between her work, the decorating team's work, and the sweet gal behind the hotel counter....I think our ladies felt loved and welcomed. It was a delight to see all the detailed work of the past months come together to bless our ladies. It was a true joy!
 

From 2010-05-23


From 2010-05-23


From 2010-05-23


From 2010-05-23
Laura (pink) was also my brave roommate
From 2010-05-23
Susane was our President this year, and will be our President in the upcoming year. God has blessed us with continuity and many new ladies to come alongside and build on the foundation of a great 2009/10 team.
From 2010-05-23

I stayed in the Tatami/Futon room.

From 2010-05-23

It was really quite comfortable when I stacked all the futons on top of each other the second night. ::snort::

From 2010-05-23

I also loved the onsen and the robes for schlepping around the hotel.

From 2010-05-23

What happens at retreat stays at retreat!

From 2010-05-23

Cafe Groups

From 2010-05-23


From 2010-05-23

Skits

From 2010-05-23

Service Projects

From 2010-05-23

Worship and the Word

From 2010-05-23

Free time in a great location on a sunny day...ah the joys of Onsens.

From 2010-05-23

Practical Jokes...they got tired of my cow bell. The kids thought this was VERY funny!

From 2010-05-23

 
All serve to create a Refreshing PWOC Retreat



Do note our only male - front and center - Steven was a perfect angel and a blessing to all who watched him light up the hotel. I was  glad Tanya took us up on the offer for nursing moms to attend. Together we showed it is possible to minister to young mom's needs and older mom's needs at the same event. God God! Go TEAM! BTW Steven is the little guy who decided to make his appearance at the end of an Inductive Bible Study Workshop......and he blazed the trail by being our first baby at the ladies retreat. Go Steven - already  doing great things in the Kingdom.
 

I've been busy since arriving home. Sunday we celebrated Arielle's birthday.

Monday was spent preparing for our local end of the year potluck and installation for the new PWOC board. I've also been catching up on details for Asia Region's WILD training the  first weekend of June.

I will be the local PWOC Titus 2 (mentor) and Retreat Coordinator/Team Leader or some such title. (Yes, I know I need to memorize the Women's Ministry Manual - I'm working on it. ::grin::) I've spent quite a bit of time evaluating this year's retreat and getting notes on paper to be ready to go for a new year. I look forward to building a team to love on and work with towards 2011's retreat. I've also been working on composing a survey for this year's retreat. My goal is to glean all the helpful feedback we can NOW, while the retreat is fresh in every one's minds.

Oh yeah, and I filled out three annual After Action Reports for the positions I held this year on the local board (Titus 2, Watchcare (fall semester) and Leadership Selection Chair). I also booked airline tickets from Aomori to Seoul and Seoul to Tokyo. I'll worry about train tickets from Tokyo to Misawa at a later date....when we figure out which date I'll go scope out a hotel in Tokyo.

Now you know why it's Wednesday and I'm JUST NOW blogging about this weekend's retreat. Shameful state of affairs. ::snort::