Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Sugary Idol

Sin is ugly and hopeless and for that reason I desperately need the crucifixion and the resurrection. I nailed him on the cross.  I don't want to admit it. I don't want my sin to nail him there. But I did. 

This was brought home to me Friday. I was frustrated. I knew I shouldn't speak...and that was right. I knew I should come home and hit my knees. Deep down I knew God would show me MY sin and I wanted to revel in HIS sin...just a bit longer. On GOOD FRIDAY no less. 

wader via photopin cc
 I knew I shouldn't buy the bag of Poppycock...but I chose to run to the bag of sugary goodness rather than the God of the universe. I deliberately went back to the aisle where it sits - AFTER having resisted through the whole shopping trip. I selected the biggest bag, paid for it, and ripped it open as soon as I shut the car door (and the kids were thrilled I bought it - they didn't know). I did. I chose not to deal with my angry feelings, my sin; I chose to run from the Holy Spirit into the arms of food.

 I suppose in the scheme of things this doesn't seem like much to most who will read this. But God has told me to follow him to freedom from food addiction, from out of control binges....and I CHOSE to run to a mini-binge instead of the arms of Jesus. Because in the history of binges this is small...but in the motivation of my heart this is big. 

Saturday morning I came into His loving presence. I thanked Him for an amazing night of table fellowship with friends. It was an absolutely fantastic night of friendship and plant based food.  I thanked Him for the price He paid on the cross for my freedom...I opened the Word and began to race through the day's I could turn to the epistle where  I planned to feast....
"Don't go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you. They are totally useless." I Samuel 12:21
I remembered...what for others is an occasional "treat" is a stronghold, an idol, a place of false worship in my life. I simply cannot start down the road; at this point in my healing I cannot handle mini-splurges.  Out of control binges, food, has never helped or rescued me. They are totally useless. Jesus said to follow HIM to Freedom.  He clearly showed me Saturday morning  this is not time for me to enjoy these treats.

And we talked, my patient sweetie and I. I misunderstood his motives. My judging and subsequent idol worship was far uglier than his supposed fault.  Sin is that way. I confessed to him, as I need accountability. I'm done hiding ugly actions - because satan uses what I hide to bind me...browbeat me.

I'm broken.

I have hope only because HE was also broken - for my sin.

In tears, I rejoice. I thank Him. Once again, I truly repent.

I will continue to tear down the altar of this idol one choice at a time.

I will someday walk in total freedom - He has promised freedom as I follow...I should have listened Friday afternoon as I entered the commissary. I didn't.

Yes, I truly believe an idol is anything which I esteem higher than God, which I crave more than God, which I run to in place of God - and Poppycock is not always an idol...but on this day it certainly was. 

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

Lovin Japan ~ Greetings and Service

I will miss the friendly, energetic calls of, "Irasshaimase!" as we pass stores and vendors. "Come! Come!"

I'll also miss doing a search for Shimoda Mall and pulling up photos I took three years earlier as I did with these. ::snort::

Look what else I found. I miss this little 4 year old...who is now a mature almost 8 year old and is quick to tell all she's a "Little bit American, but mostly Japanese."

Customer service in Japan  is unparalleled. Truly. In the airports, the train stations, the malls, the streets....people (clerks as well as the typical person) take pleasure in helping you.

I leave you with this view from a train station....note how friendly the attendant acts.

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

When One Thinks of Easter.... doesn't naturally think of Vomit. But as my young friend, Amanda, reminds me, a mom of nine should know well, "Vomit knows no season."

Easter always requires a well-timed plan in our family. We agreed to let the children stay home from the sunrise service this year. Michael and I decided to take one car to base and save a bit of gas - besides we like to visit on the drive. He helped the PMOC with the Easter Breakfast. I enjoyed the sunrise service.

The plan was for me to then zip home, pack salads for Michael and I, get chicken and rice in the crock pot so there would be a hot meal waiting when we got home this evening for the kids. I would then head to base with all the kids for the 11:00 service. We would arrive at 10:30 as Nolan and Arielle were in a human video and needed to be early.  After service, a quick stop at the commissary for "lunchables" - a rare treat they requested - and we'd all head to Shipwreck beach for the afternoon. You may remember Zander and I missed the trip a couple of weeks ago as he was ill. This was to be our make up trip.

All was working like clockwork. I had the salads and snacks packed. I had dinner in the crock pot and was doing the last of clean up.

Stacia came down and said, "My tummy feels really funny."

Now, Stacia is "very aware" of all manner of aches, pains and bodily functions. I have learned not to get excited when she tells me her toe hurts, her elbow hurts, her throat hurts, her tummy feels funny.

She came back a few seconds later and informed me "stuff" kept coming into her throat and  she had to swallow really hard to get it back down. UGH.

I settled her with a bowl, some water and crackers. Zander stayed with her while I took Arielle and Nolan to the chapel.  I came home and kept watch for an hour, then  headed back to base (for the third time in one morning) to pick up Michael and the Kids. Remember, to save gas we'd only taken one car in at 05:30. ::snort::  I timed it to get a produce run in before I picked up the family.  They dropped me off at home and headed for Shipwreck.

While I encouraged Stacia  she and I would wear our new dresses NEXT week...and held the bowl for her....the others had adventures of their own.

Ah, the humanity of it all...ah, the irony....little white trucks often make their way into Michael's sermon illustrations. TODAY - they were rescued by a  Japanese angel with a rope in his little while truck. ::snort::

We don't often show the trash on the beaches - because we choose to remember them in a prettier light...but we are leaving soon and we do want to document life as it you go....and sometimes there are wonderful glass floats to be found in the midst of the trash. That'll preach!

This is the cliff - actually the road bed is above....very cool.  Today the kids had a fun competing to see who could get the most arrows the closest to center on the target they found.

 Today's winner is Arielle. 

Poor Stacia. She doesn't even want to cuddle or talk. She wants to sleep. She's been sick at least six times today.  It wasn't the day we planned, but for all but our little Resurrection (Anastacia) Joy, it was a good day.

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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Skpes, Sleds, Slingshots and Snow

For the first time in decades Michael has Saturdays off (rather than preparing for a Sunday service) and we are enjoying the added family time.

This morning we slept in.

Michael was able to Skype both Mom G and Mary K (his sister).

He fixed Stacia's bike tire; while Alex read another bit of The Hobbit with me.

THEN....we decided to go to Citizen's Forestry Park.

Stacia and Nolan 

Arielle and Nolan 

The hill is always a hit....Michael's torn rotator cuff has him on profile....he watched the fun today.

Arielle did really well with target practice today....

Yuuki was sure THIS was a new type of bird which she needed to track.  Zander was stopped JUST before zinging a rock out to the man with his new wrist rocket (sling shot). 

We drove around the back side of Lake Ogawarako.

We headed to a beach or two along 338. We got mildly stuck in the sand and flipped the hubs over to 4 wheel drive. We actually had some snow while we were at the beach...brrr. Still a bit nippy at times.

Arielle seems to take after her Grandma T. She simply can't stay awake. I looked back at some point in the afternoon and realized this is NOT the correct way to wear a seat belt!

Dinner was nothing of those "go to" meals. I'd defrosted chicken but we got home too late to fix it up for the kids. The plan now is to throw it in the crock pot sometime between the sunrise and the 11:00 service tomorrow. We'll have a hot meal waiting when we get back from exploring.

Bre has written a princess story for Stacia. It was perfect to read for family circle tonight. Good discussion followed. Michael and I broke into the "Do you Love me scene" from Fiddler on the Roof at one point. Ahem - one of us did some amazing improvising - much to the amazement of the rest of the family. ::wink:: Zander (Alex) made my month when he commented during our praise and prayer time, "I'm thankful our family circle is so fun." YES....we're getting it figured out...something that works for us...

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

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lovin Japan ~ Kintai Kyo

This is an amazing sight to see. I've written about our visit. If we did this trip again, we'd schedule enough time to explore the Iwakuni Castle as well.  Miyajima Island, Kintai Kyo and a day trip via train to Hiroshima makes Iwakuni a nice staging area for further exploration. 
double-h via photopin cc
d'n'c via photopin cc

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lovin Japan ~ Adorable Children / Mission Trips

The Children in Japan (as everywhere I suspect) are simply adorable! I love their attempts at English. I love their humorous, good-natured correcting of my attempts at Japanese. These photos are all taken on various Protestant Youth Of the Chapel mission to Miyako City in the years after the Quake Tsunami.  Photos are courtesy of PYOC Misawa's  Facebook page. 

Fruit Loops - an international craft item

Arielle with Children

Jared with child

Nolan - center right

Not sure WHERE she gets these things from ::snort:: 

Fun memories of interacting with the children of Japan. 

Note Adorable Children and Mission Trips are both on the list. I realized I covered both and that will help us fit all our loves in before we move. 

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

Bitten by the Spring Bug!

Sometime between studying the solar system and Explode the Code it BIT me - the spring bug! I stepped outside and sure enough it was WARM.  It was 11:30 p.m. and time for RECESS.  I was positively giddy when we discovered we didn't need our coats! 

ALL the kids decided to join us for this celebration. We went to feed the ponies...and waved at "our farmer" who also seemed to be enjoying the first real spring-like day in months.

On the other side of his garden he has cleared a spot for a community park.  

Even the big kids enjoyed the swings

Stacia wants to know if we can build a house like this at the new house - I don't know. 

We continued our walk by visiting the pond. The ducks and geese were all out enjoying the pond....but quickly left when we arrived. 

We had no idea this pond or the ponies were the next block over when we signed our lease. What a blessing it has been to have so much nature down the street. 

It was at this point that the "noon music" began to play. We stayed another 30 minutes and started home for lunch. We talked about bringing lunches over (and the kayak). Arielle reminded us that in a few weeks the "vampire bugs" will be we'd better act on this impulse before it really warms up enough for the critters and snakes to wake up. 

Go Yuuki! 

Yuuki enjoyed exploring the pond

On our walk back to the house we ran into a group of homeschooling siblings also out enjoying a break. The outing motivated us to finish up by 2:00 p.m.  and get back out in the sun. 

I met a friend over at the produce market. We sipped our drinks in the green house under the banana trees, talked as we enjoyed the foot onsen, did a bit of produce shopping....and met another friend in the parking lot as we left. Shannon helped her mother and I make a connection: we are both women who had our last child at 42. This meeting was a heavenly hug. I've had a few struggles lately and I saw the possible  face of  my future as I embraced Shannon's vibrant and coherent mother (her last recently graduated!). 

After a quick dinner, Akikosan came over. A Three friend day - it doesn't get too much better than this! Akikosan is going to attend the talent show with us next week. 

Michael shocked us by pointing out that our things may well be packed out in 3 weeks. Um...YIKES. We are wrapping our mind around what to send when. We could be done with school in 3 weeks...and if our things were packed out...maybe we'd feel more free to just explore. 

The night ended with a meaningful family is good. 

My heart whispers, "I can't  possibly say goodbye to this place." Yet, we are learning to lean into the pain of goodbye and embrace the next step...slowly. 

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

Lumpia (Vegan)

Note - add meat if you want it. ::grin:: This made over 40 - 60.  I think this is one of those "throw what you like in" recipes...but here are measurements I found online. These are great to freeze.

2 C bean sprouts (I couldn't find any so used extra cabbage and carrots)
1/2 head finely chopped/shredded cabbage
2 carrots - finely cut in slivers, or use the matchsticks
1 1/2 C green beans
1 1/2 C snow peas
3 onions
1 head garlic
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp sweet chili sauce
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt (Optional)
veggie bullion (Optional)

If frying - 1 1/2 cup of oil - enough to cover lumpia. If baking - preheat oven to 450* and spray pan. Bake for about 20 min - turn at 10 min.

Mix all together. Put 2 - 4 T of filling per lumpia wrapper. Wrap up sort of burrito style (search for lumpia recipe if you need more directions), lay them seam down and fry or bake.

1/4 C Brown Sugar (Rapadura)
1/2 C White Vinegar
1 tsp Soy Sauce (Low sodium)
2 tsp water
1 tsp corn starch
2 - 3 ts FRESH grated ginger

Dissolve sugar, combine water and corn starch. Whisk in and heat until it thickens, add ginger.

Favorite Sweet and Sour Sauce - take your pick

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

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lovin Japan ~ Shoeless!

What's not to love about a country where life slows down just a bit each time you enter or exit a home  as well as many places of business.

This sign will move with us
Entry ways are a bit lower....slippers ready to slip left waiting to slip on when you leave.

Temples, churches and onsens always provide slippers
melanie_ko via photopin cc

Many restaurants as well - though many don't have lockers for your shoes.
Gwydion M. Williams via photopin cc

This one surprised us...but obviously one should remove shoes before entering a dressing room. 

And always, always, slip into toilet slippers before entering the "bathroom." This also seems like a wise practice. 
i_marinari via photopin cc

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