Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Food Artistry

The girls have added spice to dinner by becoming food there such a thing?  Below is Stacia's Tower of Artichoke....

Followed by Arielle's Artichoke in Bloom 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Terrifically Tuesday

This was a busy day. It began with the entire family getting up and out of the house by 07:45.  I usually leave 2 or 3 kids at home on PWOC day. It was nice to have them all in. 

Michael took the kids out for lunch after PWOC. I went out to lunch with two friends. Always a special treat. 

The kids and I went and got hair cuts. Who would have guessed it's been 3 months since we did that????? 

Zander was thrilled that a big box arrived at the post office. He dreamed of what it may contain all afternoon. 

I treated the kids to a mini-cini and then we did a bit of shopping before picking Michael up and coming home. 

Michael began the process of moving us from Japan to California. I believe we are very near to knowing the date we will fly out of Misawa. 

First on the agenda at home was opening the long-awaited for birthday gifts. 
Check out Yuuki trying to get away from all the flinging paper

Bokken Kendo practice swords and a book on the dynamics
 of the sport  for both boys

Compound bow, arrows and quiver for Zander

Nolan is still waiting for HIS main gift to arrive.....soon....soon. The cover arrived today. ::snort:: 

We had a quick dinner. I answered a few ministry emails while the kids did dishes. Michael read another chapter in a rather interesting book he's working through. 

We closed the day with prayer, a Lenten devotional, and  two more chapters from Amon's Adventure. 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Panko Roasted Veggies

I found this on Laura's blog - not sure she wants the link shared. It's originally called "Panko Roasted Zucchini  but since has other veggies...and I plan to make it with a variety of Vegetables.....

1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
5 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C Panko Bread crumbs
1/3 C shredded Parmesan cheese (I used nutritional yeast)
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Toss veggies in olive oil. Add seasonings, crumbs and nutritional yeast or cheese. Stir gently to coat. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 25 min at 400*.

Serves 3 - 4.
Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snowy Sunday

We woke to a snow storm....wind, snow, swirling snow....snow blowing UP and across at the same time....this photo doesn't do it justice. We skipped Sunday School.

It wasn't better at 10:30 - we skipped the 11:00 service too. 

Our hope was that it would blow over in a couple of hours and we could make it in to the base in time for Zander's choice of the Club for his birthday lunch and then the evening service.  That's exactly what we did....and it wasn't that bad by the time we got out. 

Arielle and Nolan were part of a Human video team last night. Kim has been their youth leader for several years and will be moving in a week or so.....and so it was a bittersweet evening.  I have a video but I can't seem to get it from my camera to the computer.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zander's Birthday Celebration!

Zander (ALEX) has done an exceptional job of waiting for his birthday celebration. We finished eating Nolan's cake last week. We hoped all his gifts would arrive in time to make his cake and enjoy a party tonight. The kids bought him gifts here...only one of our gifts have arrived...but he opted for whatever gifts WERE here and cake tonight. ::grin::

Michael and I got him this. He has vision of taking care of the crows...but we aren't sure our Japanese neighbors would appreciate this as much as he seems to think they will.  He was told he can target practice....and he's adapted and now has plans that involve snowballs and fields. ::snort::

Death By Chocolate - we adapted and used Reeses instead of Twix; Late July cookies instead of Oreo's and Keebler  - so that it was on Zander's eating plan. It was just as good as the original. Every time we eat this I remember the Millers, Rileys and Woolards from San Antonio.  He'll choose his birthday lunch out tomorrow.

We finished the evening with a family circle that involved discussion God as the God who "sees to it" (Provides) - Gen 22.  We discussed the "its" in our lives where we long to watch Him SEE TO IT. We discussed worship being all mixed up with sacrifice and surrender. We discussed WHY God would ask such a thing....we grew...old and young teaching one another. We also read several chapters from Amon's Adventure. 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Keeping Warm in Misawa

For the record - the snow is LOVELY, gorgeous, beautiful, fantastic. The cold and ice - not so much. If I could have the heat of TX with the beauty of snow-covered landscape, I would be totally content. ::snort::  I've heard anywhere from 155 in to 159 in of snow so far this winter....I can't find a website to verify. 

BUT I HAVE found a sure fire way to keep WARM in Misawa! 

For those times when running the oven doesn't warm the house quite enough.......

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Spectacular Saturday

We didn't know WHAT to do with Michael home on a Saturday. We could get used to not preaching on Sunday. ::grin::  We did manage to fill the day. 

I sorted through some drawers this a.m.  and did a bit of cleaning. My goal is to get my house clean enough in a month to give the "grand tour" to company. ::snort::  Arielle cleaned. The others played Wii and several read Hiroshima by John Hersey. The book arrived last night and was planned to be used in Unit 4 for Nolan....but he read it all today. 

Stacia and I headed off to a great lunch with a friend and her daughter, at the Organic Buffet by the market down the road. I am committed to using the margin God has provided for finishing strong here - with school, friendships, and exploring (as soon as the roads clear).

While we enjoyed our lunch out, Michael and Arielle made an ice cream cake in anticipation of Zander's birthday celebration. 

Can YOU find the road? 

After lunch, Michael and I headed to the base to check the post office. We picked up on gift for Zander. We stopped at Cafe Aomori for some hot drinks and headed to the ocean. 

  •  Picking up one birthday gift - free
  •  Hot Drinks - $6
  •  Sipping hot drinks on a snow covered beach while talking about the future with my man - PRICELESS.

  A DATE! Mom G we used your gift - thanks! 

Loved watching a gentleman race his radio controlled car along the beach 

This is our van on top of the sea break.....

Looking down the road.....

We have truly been blessed to enjoy  four years living in the farm land of Northern Japan.  I chuckle when I remember how hard we tried to be allowed to live on base - and I acknowledge once again God KNOWS...even when I don't understand.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Children's Crosswalk

 There are so many things we love about Japan. I don't think we've captured this yet. We'll continue to try to capture the process with children in the photo.

 This makes us smile.  YOUNG children, as well as children of all ages,  in Japan are seen walking to school early in the a.m. alone....and home at night in the dark....The yellow container with flags is their version of a "crossing guard."  The kids grab a flag, wave it as they walk across the walk....

...and deposit the flag on the other side of the walk (You can barely see the yellow container). 

This system works here! The flags are left out throughout the school year...and they STAY in the container. In other words the kids don't take them one snatches them...and people respectfully watch out for our children. 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Mentor Group

The Lord began speaking to me this summer about changes in my  ministry, balance of my time and such. I pulled back from much activity, PWOC is restructuring and Regional and International levels of leadership are "disappearing" as of 28 Feb.  

Six women spoke to me about mentoring them....and I prayed....and waited...and discussed it with Michael. The concern was meeting weekly with six women would take back all the margin I'd created. I read  Mentor Like Jesus. I've written about the book here.  I wrote their foundation and discovered Titus 2 Mentoring Women.  This made it possible for me to mentor six women at one time, and NOT sacrifice my family on the altar of outside ministry. This is quite a bit of commitment for both the women and myself.   It's intentionally focused on being a follower of Christ in every area of our lives.  There are assignments, a monthly group meeting, a monthly one on one meeting, verses to memorize.... I talked to PWOC leadership to make sure they were o.k. with me proceeding and that I would not in any way conflict with their vision for the local PWOC.  Michael (as my husband; not a supervising chaplain) agreed this would work.  I tossed it out there ONLY to those who had previously approached me.  We've tweaked it to fit our military life-style....for instance I planned to do something like this in the future - when I had twelve months....but in the end three women joined me for the time we have left together.  We'll Skype in one gal as she pcs'. It's totally my passion and not connected with the chapel or PWOC (though I  used the theme graphic for the notebook cover - it was perfect).....

It's a God thing - a good thing....and I'm thrilled I listened and rearranged my schedule in the fall. ::wink::  I'm praying about a "distance" group. The ministry foundation has given me approval to use their materials in this way. I have been approached by a gal I'd love to mentor who lives elsewhere in Japan (at the moment ::snort::). We'd use skype for the monthly meeting.....we'd miss the face to face intimacy...praying...and trying this for now. Maybe I'll do a distance group when I get to Beale as I won't know anyone to have a face to face group anyway for a bit of time. LOL 

Speaking of Beale.....I'm starting to make connections with those who have been to Beale. Tonight we're going to have pizza and  a movie hook the laptop up to the projector and check out maps, you tube videos, and images of the area. 

Would you believe both yesterday AND today God squarely placed ladies in my path who GREW UP in the very area of Beale? ::snort:: 

My career PCS verse: ".....through all the generations YOU have been our home!" Ps 90:1 HE has been and will continue to be our home! A person can learn a lot from Moses. 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tohoku Black Water Onsen

Snow storm, train ride, winter walk, dear friend and a black water onsen - all add up to  Adventure Tohoku style.

A friend and I have been trying to get together for this trip for over a month and TODAY was the day.  It was a blast. I love riding the trains, I love onsens and I truly LOVE onsen conversations with friends.

We boarded at 10 something or other and rode three stops to Otomo (O TOE moe). Along the way we realized the "blue blob," which was every where, was a blue tree.  Aomori means "blue forest" it. You want the ticket for  "440 yen."
We arrived to realize we didn't have a map and weren't 100% sure of the name of the onsen either....but all was well. The train station attendant took us out and gave us about 5 minutes of instructions. We understood left and 5 minutes...we went left and asked the next person...we continued the pattern until we arrived at Touhoku Onsen.
Via Google Images

Y270 for an adult....
Via Google Images
After the 5 - 10 min walk (we did get turned around once and were going slower as it was icy and snowy) the onsen felt HEAVENLY.  The black water is said to be good for your skin and your can read more  here. Akikosan said  obasans go daily and that's why they look so young. I told her I'll go weekly and look 15 when I leave Japan.  ::wink:: 
Via Google Images
 There are private baths - or a private family bath. I believe they are Y800-1200  - prices here. 
Via Google Images

Look carefully at this sign...I'm thinking of going back for an over-nighter! 
Via Google Images
If you happen to be blessed to live in Northern Japan I recommend this spot...clean, unique, charming to take the train and walk.....and here's a map.  Train station is the red near the top and in the spring I may drive.  I can email a full size map.

We stopped at a little cafe  enroute to the train station for lunch - Yummy Curry.  This was  the perfect adventure  as I continue to process  we are really and truly  going to have to leave Japan in 4 1/2 months. How did that happen? It was SIX months just last week.

We arrived back on base around 2:45. I had just enough time to stop by the BX and commissary before Michael was ready to come home for the day.

If you WANT to try an onsen but don't want to run into anyone - this one was quiet when we went, we were the only Americans in the town....and I'm willing to go with you to make sure you don't commit any social mistakes....or you can go try the private room and I'll ride the train with you and sit in the public one.

Akikosan came over this evening and we told her we're moving to California. She KNEW we were moving...but seemed surprised we were moving.  She may well come visit us in California. Her Dad thinks the photos we brought her of the kids in front of the Redwoods was a fake tree. We told her to visit us and we'd take her to the Trees.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Moving to Ninevah

Yesterday morning Michael called and said he'd received an email that our next assignment was listed on Virtual MPF (Military Personnel Flight). This was odd. In all our years this is NOT how you find out about assignments. It usually comes through your command Chaplain, to your Wing Chaplain (WC). The WC lets you know to expect orders and tells you where you will be going.....

But, we got an email saying the assignment was online. Imagine our shock, anger,  stunned disbelief, surprise to find out we had "no preference" on our retirement assignment. The "common thought" (hope really)  is the Air Force listens to your desires for your retirement assignment....mainly as they have to move you when you retire and it's cheaper if you are close to where you want to be. We had turned in our Dream Sheet (ADP) in December. We DID  have preferences. We assumed we'd either be going back to AK (our home of record) or something near one of our requests. 

The new assignment? BEALE AIR FORCE BASE - in CA. 

For 17 years we have always commented, "Due to homeschooling laws please do not send us to CA."  For 17 years we've not been sent to CA. 

We finished our part of the ADP in December and yet Assignments says they did not receive our preferences until 1 Feb - and assignments were made earlier than Feb - and they really don't care. ::snort:: 

For the first time in our career, when told where we were going, I was angry. I have always thought, "Well, that will be an adventure." BUT this time the injustice of  having no say in our retirement assignment really bugged me. Michael had gone to the office on convalescent leave to take care of his part of the form.

 I was tasked to get documentation on the homeschool laws of CA. While doing this I discovered recent court cases (2008) have made CA one of the EASIEST states in which to currently homeschool. We felt better.

Throughout the day our chapel chain of command tried to talk to assignments about honoring our preferences as stated on our ADP - but it is not to be. Yes, we're going to Ninevah  California.

I posted "Prayers please" on Facebook and knew many were praying as I was starting to see adventure after just a couple hours. A dear friend messaged me to see if I was o.k. She messaged me minutes after I got the news.  Through the course of the day she helped me get perspective and reminded me of Jonah.  I posted, "Jonah and me are soul mates" on FB. Several encouraged me. Anna, cracked me up and encouraged me by saying she'd spent many days in the "proverbial belly of the fish." ::snort:: 

Last night we talked as a family. Michael has been reading Jonah in his quiet time. Isn't God funny? Just yesterday a.m. I was reading about Abraham and Isaac and had written/prayed about surrendering my plans of what our future should look like. ::snort::  When I shared Anna's comment with Michael he encouraged me by saying, "I don't think you're in the belly of the fish. I think you're at the ticket station checking fares to Tarshish." Stacia sang veggie tales Jonah I got the message. 

We prayed together and agreed - if God changed it great - if not; we'd adjust and not harbor anger. 

Acts 2:17 (in the sidebar) is our family verse for 2013. I was thinking more like "figurative dreams" - you know a dream for the future. But I woke up early this a.m. with a thought so loud in my mind it was, to me, undeniably a "message from the Loooorrrd" (ala Veggie Tales Jonah). " 

"I use injustice and uncomfortable circumstances to prepare my Josephs (Josephines?). Will you follow?" 

It was so strong I woke Michael up and told him. He greatly appreciated this. Before he left this morning we'd decided if the balls already in motion led to us receiving a new assignment we'd take it as a miracle. Otherwise God was telling us to go to Ninevah...and to do it with joy and the knowledge that this time is a tool for our preparation - for what I have no clue. 
File:U-2 (2138865443).jpg
Beale AFB is the home to the U2 Surveillance planes and Drones. In 2011 Beale AFB Chapel was the AF Medium Chapel of the year. The Wing Chaplain is an Orthodox priest. Michael will be the Sr Protestant Chaplain as well as the Deputy Wing Chaplain. 

Positives to this assignment: 

  • 5 hours to Michael's oldest sister's 
  • 6 hours and 10 min to Mom G's
  • 7 hours to the Girls, Mom and Dad T, Michael's sister, and my brother and his family
  • 24 hours to the boys - not so great
  • It's warm (Arielle's request)
  • I think an ocean will be within a few hours? (My love)
  • Seems to be lots of camping nearby (family favorite)
  • There is an aero club and it will take 1.5 hours to fly to Mom G's
  • Hope to be able to network with local pastor's for fellowship
  • This will keep us focused on the step AFTER the Air Force
  • Our decision about buying a retirement home now or waiting is easy as we're no where near any of our considered retirement locations. ::snort:: 
  • It will be easy for those who want to attend our retirement to attend
Really, I think God wants us to see regardless of the paperwork - HE knows the desires of our heart, He will meet them - in His way.....And the whole irritation of missing paperwork? There's a lesson there too.....Man meant it for evil (though I don't believe there is any evil intent here at all) but GOD meant it for good. There will be good from our two years in California. I look forward to discovering what it will be. 

If you've lived in Beale, we'd love to hear from you.

Note I apologize to all who love California for my attitude. I'm sure I'll come to love it as well. 

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I so appreciate the help of my kids in pulling together PCOC each week.  Today they got up in time to leave our house at 0645 because Michael had an early dental appointment. 

Nolan brought out the dreaded tickle gun! ::snort:: 

It was fun to be back with my kids and to snatch a few moments with their mommies too!

And today - enjoyed Lenten devotionals, a chapter of  Amon's Adventure together, and  praying through recent developments.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Monday, February 18, 2013

President's Day

Our final day off before real life begins again! This was a slightly odd morning seems we are to be blessed with a Dinner Play tonight. 

Michael and the boys had to shovel out the van before we could go anywhere.....

The blue color in the middle of the photo is the top of our trash cans, which sit in a stand. Arielle provides the perspective for the rest of the snow. It won't be long until our side yard is even with the fence. LOL 

We decided the day called for snow play...well sort of. Michael and the kids went cross country skiing. I stayed in the van enjoying the view and the warmth. I wasn't TOTALLY wimping out. I needed to prepare for PCOC and it seemed like an opportune time. 

 Arielle led the pack today. All complained she went to fast. She said she was hungry. We enjoyed lunch at Lakeview Grille.  They STILL remember I'm the one who ordered a veggie pizza with "no cheese" and really meant - "NO CHEESE AT ALL." ::sigh:: I really don't think I was rude. LOL

The Lake
We swung by the BX. We needed a new printer and Michael has been researching. He's also been researching cameras for me....I want a real one...but I love my point and clicks for the ease of carrying in my pocket. I wasn't sold on anything bigger than my pocket camera....He sold me on the Olympus when I saw how much closer the 24x lens could get than any of the others. The DSLR he wanted to buy for me isn't carried here....and I'm really not sure I'd carry it as often....he still has the Nikon D70.

No - these photos are not with the new camera. We love the beach and realize a move is approaching. We love the beach in all seasons. We stopped by. It looked like a dark wall as we pulled up.

Crows - everywhere! 

The dinner entertainment was hilarious. We'll have to have another performance in the near future.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...