Friday, January 31, 2014

Act of Love or Wedding Prep

Anna and Elsa have nothing over the Gherkins act of  love for the soon-to-be-wed-Gherkin in Oregon (BreAnne).

I always suspected it. I resisted for as long as I could. I joined that innocent little obsession so many sing praises about - Pinterest. Yep - Pinterest is pure EVIL for those of us who are not crafty or don't have 30 hours to make a little craft look perfect for a post.

We volunteered to make little candies for "The Wedding."  How hard could it be? Looks easy peasy on Pinterest. All the comments say how easy they are to make - and how CUTE.

Stick the candy canes into a 300* oven for 3 min.

Pull them out and "gently squish them with your fingers."

Fill with white chocolate and sprinkles.....

We've got this! Stacia got started unwrapping 300 mini-candy canes.....Arielle and I melted chocolate and lined pans with parchment paper.

We had high hopes! Millions on Pinterest sing the praises of this little craft - alright, allow me and my scorched fingers a bit of hyperbole! 

What could go wrong????? 

Just this - have YOU ever tried to gently squish melty, hot, sugar with YOUR fingers??????

Some of the charm of THIS project wore off after the first batch.....Arielle tried spoons and tongs to squish the candy canes and they just don't look like pretty hearts unless you squish them with your fingers.

My theory is a touch of seared flesh transfers a hint of love to them.

It took us three pans to realize we'd have to use our fingers, cut the time in the oven to two minutes and WORK also became clear *I* would be the one squishing all these candies.... ME...the one who doesn't EAT processed sugar...We did discover I am  able to sing, "Ouch, ouch, ouch" in many different octaves.

I maintain our making of these is as true an act of love as Anna's for Elsa.

We've finished 25. They'll be fine when we tie a cute ribbon around them, wrap them....

Seriously, we are thrilled to be working on wedding projects...and I figure my blistered fingers will heal before 14 Feb.....we have many more to make...on another day. Maybe I'll trick invite some local ladies to a candy making party.

 There MUST be a way to do this without using fingers really are sore. No-one else mentioned this problem. 

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Endure to the End

"But the one who endures to the end; he will be saved." Matthew 24:13

The context of this verse is the end times. Yes, I spent a significant amount of time outlining Ch. 24 and 25. I made a couple of lists. I noted the key points. I studied the logos (written word).

However, verse 13 was a rhema word (light bulb word for the moment) for me today.  Holy Spirit had impressed on me, as I read through the NT in November and December, my personal focus for the year is endurance. I will camp on this focus when it is revealed in Scripture throughout the year.

The one who ENDURES to the END will be SAVED.

The one who keeps going, stays in the pool, stays in the fight, keeps standing in the storm, dances in the rain, bears up under the pressure - THAT one will be saved.

The one who endures not just this storm, this incident, this day....the one who endures all the way to the END...the completion, the finish line. In context this could be speaking to the end of the persecution or the end of a any event God wants me to be a person who stands in the storm, dances in the rain, all the way to the END.When the dance has quit being fun and is a grueling test; He still calls me to dance in the rain; stand in the storm. 

THIS enduring, standing, finishing person will be SAVED.  The word soso/sozo, translated saved, means:
  •  delivered
  •  made whole
  •  preserved safe from danger, loss, and destruction
  • preserved from physical death
  • preserved from spiritual death

Context is used to determine the meaning of the word. In this context, I think any of the above "could" apply, though most commentators lean towards salvation from spiritual death. I rejoice that I have been saved from the penalty of sin, am being saved from the power of sin, and will one day be saved from even the presence of sin!

There are many areas in my life which are works in progress. God, through this verse, challenges me to ENDURE to the END, trusting Him for deliverance, wholeness, safety, SALVATION. God will finish the work He has begun. I cooperate with Him when I  endure, by grace.

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Portrait of a Hypocrite

via google images
I spent some time in Matthew 23 this morning and found some wonderfully random tidbits I've never fully realized before....and some I had. 

Hypocrisy - two-faced; actor; counterfeit; one whose behavior differs from their beliefs or one who varies their behavior based on where they are....

A hypocrite. We all disdain them. These folks are the opposite of believers - a believer produces actions consistent with their stated beliefs (see Greek meaning of believe).

The ugly truth is even the most vocal anti-hypocrite may well find themselves in the list below. It's easy to condemn hypocrisy, but if we neglect our secret life with God, we may end up a hypocrite. Outwardly appealing; inwardly dead.

For your reading pleasure....a portrait of a hypocrite. If you desire to be a hypocrite:

  • Don't practice what you preach (23:3)
  • Value public recognition over a secret life (Matthew 6) or servant leadership (23:5-12)
  • Shut the doors to the Kingdom from seekers (23:13)
  • Perfect long, showy prayers (23:14)
  • Neglect and exploit the vulnerable (23:14)
  • Make converts and teach them your false teaching (23:15)
  • Be a blind guide (23:16,17,19,24)
  • Rather than obey God's clear teaching - make up your own standard to "get around Him"  (23:16-22)
  • Tithe but neglect justice, mercy and faith (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Focus on details and miss the main point (23:24)
  • Clean up the outside and fill the inside with trash (23:25-27)

It is essential we allow God to search our hearts. To reveal the darkness, to clean up the trash and bring life to the dead areas. If not, we're left with a "religion" and may well be on our way to becoming that which we disdain. 

"Fun Random thoughts from Matthew 23"

Via google images
Gnat thing - Pharisees desired to obey God's commands - they really did. They wanted to avoid uncleanness...and in an attempt to legislate purity; they came up with a lot of rules to help them be righteous (which never really works - it's all about relationship with Jesus). ANYWAY - one of the rules concerned INSECTS in their beverages. Think about it. Ewww....So if anything bigger than a lentil (say a fly) landed in your drink, you needed to strain it. Gnats were smaller. If a gnat was in your drink you were allowed to drink it without straining it.   Ewww! Jesus masterfully uses hyperbole in this passage. These guys were careful. They were deliberate. They went above and beyond even the law of most Pharisees. In their attention to details however, they missed the camel in the cup! A CAMEL - the biggest animal in Palestine and certainly unclean. Silly Pharisees. Um -  I do this too. 

Swearing - If you get lost in all that swearing by thrones and offerings and temples, here's the bottom line: God said not to swear by His name. These were all attempts to get around God's command without  paying the consequences.  This doesn't work - ever. If God said it; He means it. Do you ever try to get around God and yet avoid the stated consequences?  Um - I  do this from time to time too. 

Vipers - (no photo - I'm forever scarred by having searched for one- I.Hate.Snakes.and.Lizards.too) A viper is a poisonous snake. We all probably know this. A "brood of vipers" - well a whole lotta snakes. Right? That's what I've always thought. Today I decided to look up "brood" in a Bible dictionary. The word means generations or offspring.  O.K. Jesus is telling them they are "sons of vipers" now...not especially "nice"....a bit of tough love on display. I dug deeper....vipers were said to have EATEN their way out of their pregnant mother's stomachs. My word. They were guilty of matricide. The killing of their mothers. Yikes...they were lower than a snake.... Have I ever turned on a spiritual parent?

Yep - those nasty Pharisees are a perfect portrait of Hypocrisy. If I'm not diligent to walk with Jesus, if I neglect a secret life with Jesus (Matthew 6), if I get more concerned about the outside look, than I am about my heart - guess what?  The portrait of hypocrisy becomes

There but for the marvelous GRACE of God go I. 

I dare not cast stones. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful/wicked/ way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Perfect Rainy Day

Today turned into a great day!


Today was PWOC (Bible study).

Michael is know how we quarantine bugs around here...I knew Michael's bugs were safely in the master "suite" with him....he's not come out all day.

SO when Rachel needed to run an errand best run without kiddos around....we GOT THEM for a couple of hours!  As Michael says these kids are my "other grand kids." ::grin::

We're winning Joy tears at all when Rachel left and she came to ME - not Arielle. This is big. ::snort::  Here she is playing with Stacia's dolls. She'd grab one by the neck, slam it on to the bed and say,"Nap time, Baby!" ::snort::

 Stacia was excited to introduce the boys to "Pop the Pig." You feed the thing hamburgers until he pops his belt and shirt.

Pick up Sticks - Nolan, Zach and Arielle 
 I don't think anyone KNEW what the rules of this game were - but it was a lot of fun! 

The best part of the afternoon? Rachel came home, Joy saw her and said, "Go Back!"  ::snort:: Yep, we're making headway here. 

It was a perfect rainy day.....

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Wearing Jesus

"...Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes? And the man was speechless....For many are called, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:1-14

 courtesy Victor Habbick /
If you're going to the wedding; you'd better wear the clothes!

Yes, all were invited. All ARE invited. Few are chosen/ selected.

I know a few things about weddings. Clothes matter! A great deal of time is spent making sure you've dressed appropriately and have chosen the right color and style. Great care is given to details.

There is only one set of clothes which are appropriate to wear to the Wedding Banquet Abba Father will host. We are told exactly which outfit is appropriate. The "garments of salvation," the "robes of righteousness," (Isaiah 61:10). Jesus is THE door, THE way, THE truth, THE life.

If we're going to the wedding; we'd better be wearing Jesus.

I've seen a lot  of emphasis on conversion in many churches,  but  much less emphasis on discipleship, mentoring, spiritual formation.....We are doing our fellow guests a disservice if we don't clue them in on the required clothing.

HOW do we put on Jesus? WHAT does it look like to wear Jesus? WHY would I want to wear Jesus? WHEN should I wear Jesus? Do I have to wear Him ALL the time? Can I take him off on car pool days? What has been most helpful to YOU in learning to wear Jesus? To follow Him wholeheartedly? What has helped you move from "new convert" or "baby Christian," to disciple or wholehearted follower?

Once again I'm reminded  God has called me to mentor/disciple and I'm excited our theme at Beale AFB chapel this year is "A Year of Discipleship."

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Response to Unexpected

Image courtesy of Tanatat /
The blind and lame are healed!

Jesus does WONDERFUL  things.

Children shout praises to Jesus.

But these things are not supposed to happen in church!  At this time in history, the blind and lame were not allowed past the outer courts. They weren't invited to feasts. They were "avoided."

Jesus acts counter-culturally.

Children weren't of much value - they certainly don't interrupt important church procedure.

Jesus moves in an unexpected way. He involves those who are typically avoided-excluded. He ministers. He moves among them.

They are indignant. What they see grips their mind, never their heart, and they stand in judgement of the way Jesus is moving among them. They take on the role of judge and become grieved at the break in cultural protocol, they become resentful and indignant.

They do not worship.

They are offended by this unexpected movement of Jesus.

What about me?

Help me worship you, Jesus, more than my traditions, more than the status quo, more than my comfort levels. When you move in unexpected ways may I be on the front line with the children, shouting your praises, rather than indignantly observing that which is not expected.

Musings from Matthew 21:14-17

Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chapel Staff Fellowship

It's often hard for those who serve to find time to connect in the midst of the busy schedule. Last night it was our joy to host the chapel staff in our home. It was a great time to begin new friendships and cement old ones.

Our "people er"anxiously counted down to arrival

The kids were most excited for this simple dessert (make cookies, smash ice cream in the middle, roll in mini chips,sprinkles or nuts - use your favorite recipes for cookies and ice cream. In the future I will make vegan cookies and cashew banana ice cream for the whole family. )

Huge help.....

We didn't get photos of everyone - but here are some glimpses of the night. 
Val & Scotty

Ch. B

In addition to a good time to simply fellowship - this was our welcome for Brenner and Stephanie. They've joined our chapel staff in the past week. Their very first chaplain assignment.
Brenner & Stephanie

Cynthia, Joretta and Barb

Regan & Stacia




Stephanie, Elise, Cole and Clara (or it could be Clara, Cole and Elise)
Arielle was babysitting for a small group last night. Yay for Arielle - sad for us.  I was thrilled to find out Val is thinking of starting an Azure co-op - I looked into it in October and the drop I called wasn't accepting new members. I didn't want to start one.

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

In Which I Turn 50....

I will at some point write something profound about turning fifty. At this point....let me simply share some photos. I've already shared that the day dawned with me firmly in my funk.  Funk, or not, I knew my family had invested a lot of time in this day and I needed to snap out of it. ::grin::

Michael got home from work and we headed over to Papa Murphys. This gave me time to process with him and it actually helped.  I've been working on learning to process internally with God and journal, rather than blurting out every thought I have. We can both see I will need some practice at this skill. I process better out loud -  with someone to pull me back from the depths of self-flagellation.

We got home and I could see the kids had been busy! 

Arielle knit this fun scarf for me. Here I demonstrate how to fling an end over your shoulder and nail it there with a look. It wouldn't dare move.

Michael got me a jewelry box which I didn't really think I needed....but it was loaded...with this long strand of pearls....

and a smaller strand as well. (Both seen in the photo below). 

Stacia has gotten into paining and blessed me with many (blog on that to come).  The girls also gave me a sweet card with thoughts on onsens and pedicures and a pedicure kit. Stacia made me the bracelet you see me wearing. Arielle purchased a white shirt she plans to Tie Dye. 

Nolan got me "Si-cology." 

Zander (Alex) got me a GREAT card with a song titled Amazing Mother to the tune of Amazing Grace (sort of fitting for this season of my life LOL)....He bought this cup which says sweet things about Teachers on it. 

Can you just SEE our resident theologian is over-the-moon-thrilled to be able to turn my "over 50" jokes and comforting comments back on me?

Arielle made this vegan "ice cream" cake. She use a deep dish cookie for the crust, topped it with Banana Cashew Ice Cream and a "drizzle" of chocolate. I had requested we minimize the chocolate, please.  For some reason it was a BEAR to cut. She had crumbled the cookie but it still froze in a block and didn't want to thaw. Next time we'll make a graham cracker or vanilla wafer crust...unless I'm eating chocolate in moderation by next year. At this point I can't find moderation in my relationship with Chocolate - so I don't eat it. 

The poor Pig Hat is wearing out - maybe this would work? 
It turned out to be a great day...and really....I do think I will love being 50....but  more on that later.

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

Wedding Fingers?

Three weeks until "our wedding." Could this be the wedding finger look? We played around with the manicure sets BreAnne gave Arielle for not wedding fingers.....

Cupcake Fingers me thinks

Alas, these didn't even last an evening. The girls reported the little pearls fell off as they wrapped gifts and decorated the house. As for me, I wiped a tear and got a pearl in my eye.  I found pearls in my ear, my mouth....not a look we enjoy....maybe just a FEW pearls here and there....though we followed the directions to "T".

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

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm a Mess

I'm a mess. I fail in the very places I most want to succeed. I'm a big, huge, sticky, hot mess.

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend".... I was wounded - I needed it; I deserved it. I couldn't, however, seem to get out of the pit I visited. I've been struggling. Sleepless nights, crying, restless...quoting the truth to myself, yet not living it, feeling it.

Along comes a birthday.  I don't have the energy to put on a smiling face and open gifts. I had planned to be perfect by 50. I wanted to be like Mildred, a dear saint I met in my 20's. I had planned to have conquered these areas by now. Certainly, 1/2 a century would be long enough for me to get it right.  I'm a mess. I fail - often and spectacularly - recently, continually (you know -  like the Greek present verb tense). I'm grieving and I don't want to celebrate. I don't have the energy to celebrate.

The family wants to celebrate.

"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted." I have mourned deeply. Forgiveness was asked for and granted; yet I mourned.

I began grudgingly reading birthday wishes. Each one reminding me I'm not where I want to be at 50. As tears stream down my face,  I want to scream, "Stop! I've told you I'm a mess! I'm a failure! Don't say these things! I TOLD YOU NOT TO PUT ME ON A PEDESTAL."

But then I realize - you must see Jesus. The only way this mess could be anything like what you see is Jesus. I learn anew to  throw myself on grace. I experience the sin of unbelief which would say they can forgive, God can forgive - but *I* will not forgive myself. *I* will hold myself to a standard higher than God's. Foolishness.

Your words were a healing balm today on Facebook (and then I wonder if I'm still such a pathetic people pleaser that it takes wishes from over 160 friends to get me out of my funk). ::snort::  God has used your kind words to begin to remind me that it's ALWAYS about His redemption, His transforming work in my life....and never about a magical age when I'll be perfect!  That was, afterall, the lesson Mildred taught press on to know Jesus more every day of our lives.

 Our resident theologian has told me this is an example of progressive revelation. I couldn't handle it if I saw my real self all at once. God gives me glimpses and I am undone. But I grow. I am transformed. He said Isaiah experienced this. I suppose this is revelations of His holiness and my humanness.....

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

We tried

We finally did it - took the "arriving" photo....

Matane, Nihon 

Hello, America
Um - the memories were faulty and they are not in the right order, so we'll have to go to the beach again - with the right clothes and do it in the right order. 

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Funny sign

There has been a bit of discussion about CA's new bathroom know the gender neutral ones? Choose which one you want to go into?  We saw this sign on our way home and it's now all clear!

Not sure you can see it clearly.... These helpful signs spell it all out 

You thought I would quit finding funny signs when I got back to America.

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Enderts Beach - Crescent City 2014

A new friend here at Beale, April, encouraged us to check out Enderts Beach while we were in Crescent City. We did this time and plan to come back when we have more time to explore. There's a primitive "campground," six mile coastal trail to hike and just FUN.

This is probably the last time I mention cameras - I think these show off both cameras well. I suspect the D3200 photos will get better as I learn more about ISO's and features and read the manual.

Michael's Photos

I did get to take a couple of photos with his fancy camera - terror to see it in my hands! 

In the Hobbit Shire

And...why the expression Ms. Stacia

Arielle is not mad. She was looking into the ocean on our walk back UP the trail. As Stacia said, "Arielle has Misawa in her eyes."  It's o.k. we are content in CA. Our hearts long to be back in Japan. We pray for revival in Japan and the opportunity to introduce dear Japanese friends to Jesus.

My Photos (De'Etta)

Perplexing....I could swear Yuuki was behind me on a leash...but here she is running free...wait...this Yuuki is much more aggressive....and is a he...this is Jake.

The sun was setting as we left Enderts Beach  and Michael snapped some shots. 

 We received a text from Mom G. She'd lost a shoe in the parking lot of Chart Room. We stopped by to grab it. Michael grabbed a couple last shots. 

We finished the night sharing stories of Dad G while we looked through an album Mom G is making of his life. A very full and meaningful day.

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