Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Our poor, pitiful garden! I did everything I was told to do.....but alas....

Harvest at our home......
A zucchini - but you can see we'll get another

Suitably impressed
 Our famous Zucchini

It's easy to be a star when the other players are....

I ate the whole thing myself....appears no one else is overly fond of zucchini....

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sewing Lessons

Joyful Thoughts

1. It wasn't pretty - but we SURVIVED this Monday.

2. Michael was able to teach an elusive math concept for me this evening.

3. Nolan requested PANCAKES for dinner. How great is THAT for Monday night?

This is one of those days that simply leaves a homeschooling Mom  crawling to bed at 1800. 

When a challenge is given to a child to "face the hard things head on," one must be prepared for some long days.

I was going to crawl up the stairs without blogging....and then I heard this exchange at the sewing machine and had to check....

Arielle - "Can you find a slightly larger Barbie?"

Stacia - "Arielle, I don't HAVE any American Barbies." ::snort:: :: gasp::

I guess large means American to Stacia.

Arielle is teaching Stacia how to make Barbie clothes.....um....YAY. Maybe I won't have to learn to sew?

Just heard Stacia ask, "Can I make a Kimono, please?"

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

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Joyful Thoughts
1. I am really enjoying adult Sunday School.

2. Working with friends makes Chapel Potluck fun!

3. Sitting and visiting with the church after church is a blessing.

It was a long day.

No way around it.

I'm wondering if I'm too old to be a pastor's wife. ::snort::

This was fun to see....Someone's getting a pillow. LOL  I'm going to have to learn how to sew to teach her....she's motivated.....love the expressions.

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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Geocaching on the South Side Sutter Butte

Today is a beautiful day in Northern California - not hot and not cold.  As the weather cools down, we are looking forward to more outdoors activities.  We headed up to the Sutter Butte area. We were hoping to find an old Titan Missile site. We didn't find it, but we did find some geocaches, a nice local eatery, lots of orchards, and a good time.

No, we aren't obvious looking for geocaches out in the middle of nowhere. We think the owner of the cache drove by and waved and honked.

The countryside was fairly bleak - but there WERE green trees here and there...and it was fun to explore the world's shortest mountain range. LOL
OK can you SPOT the cache???? The brown can in focus. We hid it a bit better in the same area.
We should take stock in Blue Diamond...it was fun to see the almond and walnut groves

We headed towards the second cache. We began to see the skinniest horses we've ever seen, and then we saw THIS...the oddest looking donkey ..... LOL

While Michael, Arielle and Nolan explored one side of the road for the second cache...the younger ones, and I explored this yard.  My kind of place. In addition to the zebra, there were various antique farming implements in the yard, miniature bulls, miniature ponies....
Eye to eye with a llama
See the camel in the fence?

Maj General Freemont and his men camped here....
Major Chaplain Gherkin and his troops stopped here

 By this point in the day we wanted to find a picnic spot...and I was desperate for an outhouse....we didn't have much luck on either count....until we found LOVEY'S LANDING. This appears to be an RV residential community....with a restaurant. We stopped. I planned to get drinks to go and use the restroom, but all decided to eat in. The cook was hilarious! We heard his excitement when he received our order. "I love  orders like this. I never get big orders here." Yes, I can see that to be true..it's in the middle of nowhere!  They say they are really busy during duck hunting season. They had no clue where we'd find the Titan Missile site. Our history buff schooled them on 1960's activities in their area.  The cook came out and put 70's music on for us.  The Bee Gees are stuck in my head - probably destined to be belted out at some inappropriate time in the near future...."cause we're living in a world of fools...." ::snort:: "

The other side of the buttes were prettier...loved all the orchards.

On the way back through Yuba City, we stopped and grabbed a retirement gift for tomorrow and some groceries so I can cook for tomorrow's potluck. I haven't figured out how we'll be two places at once yet. ::snort::  I do know, "We're living in a world of fools, tearing us down, when they all should let us be...you belong to me...."

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rain, Life Lessons and Concerts

Joyful Thoughts
1. It's raining - and it's cooler!

2. Meaningful life lessons for a Gherkin - especially helpful we'd discussed sowing and reaping in Bible study Wednesday night. ::wink::

3. Concert with family and friends

Yes, there was rain. We also had a full day of other happenings.  We are thrilled to see cooler temps in the forecast....it was out and out cold today. 75* is about perfect!  I love the change of seasons.  (That'll preach).

I am elated that this week of school has gone swimmingly. We're all done with couch school, have had time for hands on science explorations, and the kids are on track with the week's table school.  I'm learning when I can schedule events during the week and still manage to finish our work.

A life lesson, "When something is hard,  face it head on - don't try to sneak around behind it."  Shoot - it's a lesson I need to revisit from time to time.  I'm not sure I would label the offense as cheating, but I was happy to see confession and repentance at work.  It was a great teachable moment and I found the note to remind me.....I trust the culprit has seen my response. LOL

Well, that's twice in two weeks with two different kids...a cheater a week....while I could be beating myself up over the sinfulness of my off-spring, I'm rejoicing their consciences are soft and they confess. I'm also thankful God gives me wisdom to spot it quickly these days.  That's what 26 years of homeschooling will do for a mom. LOL

Lest you think all we do is cheat at math in our homeschool.....here are some happy glimpses...We explored buoyancy today....and talked a lot about gold vs iron pyrite.
 Oranges float - potatoes don't

Chopsticks float - and SURPRISE so does the glass lid

Next, we created an ocean - without the food coloring. I am alarmed at how much sea salt I've used in this week's science. I should have thought ahead and bought Morton's. I've 90% decided to just buy the science kit for this text as I don't have the many of the "common household items" on hand - like food coloring - and safety goggles - though we've seen no reason for them so far. ANYWAY - we created an ocean and boats.  The kids guessed how many pennies their boat could float before sinking.

Zander's boat sinking - Stacia's was wider...not sure if that means she listened better during the lesson or if it means she likes to build the BIGGEST in any projects.

I later found her boat with added features - gotta love duct tape.

Michael got home nearly on time today. He  left base early to pick up medical records, from several spots around the local area, in preparation for his upcoming trip to the surgeon.  We went to Mi Puebletos for dinner (which hasn't set well). Cynthia met us there and we met Mindee in Roseville. We headed to a wonderful (though longer than expected) concert from Casting Crowns, Sidewalk Prophets and Mandissa. If you get the chance to go to a Thrive concert - it was great.  My friends have learned if they take photos and email them, I will leave my camera at home and they won't be in photos.
Tad bit concert resistant are we?

We arrived home at mid-night. A fun day!

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

Reveling in the Rain

{Revel - to take great pleasure or delight, to make merry- indulge in boisterous festivities. dicitionary.com}

We've been praying for rain. 

We're in a drought.

 Fire fills our area with smoke - making it hard to breathe some  days.

Rain was predicted last Thursday. It didn't occur.

We kept praying for rain.

Gray clouds filled with smoke are much different than gray clouds filled with rain. One brings choking, destruction and even death. The other brings cleansing, the hope of life and the end to drought and fire.

I woke up this morning and it was RAINING. 

I attempted to let Yuuki out - she got up, found another cozy spot and burrowed in to escape the rain.

I spent time with Jesus.

I prepared to start the morning routine. I thought to myself, "I need to be sure to take time this afternoon to sit in the hot tub in the rain - after school."   (I discovered the joys of sitting in outside onsens during snow and rain in Japan).

And then a whispered Voice, like an errant thought, zipped through my spirit...."Seize the moment! Get out there and enjoy this rain."

I filled a Korean Starbucks mug with tea, put on my suit, and sat in the hot tub....alone. I simply sat and listened for Jesus.  My routine is God-led. Why in the world should I neglect my routine?  Since I so clearly felt I should break a God-given routine,  I expected Him to reveal WHY.  THIS morning I needed to sit alone with Jesus in the rain, I needed to hear His voice....I needed to luxuriate in the rain, experience it, kick up my heels in it, be saturated by it.....

Our family has been in a season of drought and fire - intensifying when our grandbaby Faith went from our daughter's womb into the arms of Jesus. There are more heartaches which aren't mine to share.  We've had to explain things to our younger ones which we'd rather not explain. Michael's been in chronic and growing pain for over three years. It's been a drought. God has been here, we're not depressed, we walk by faith, we've chosen joy, we've enjoyed ministry  and we've experienced great joy the past few months  - in the midst of the spiritual  fire and drought....but we've been praying for a change in the season...for a bit of rain.

Today, as I sat in the hot tub, hair soaked with rain, remembering Japan, thinking about some of our current fires  - Jesus confirmed to me again -   He will send the rain. Life-giving, healing, cleansing rain from the Spirit.  It may not arrive when first predicted - but it will arrive - in due time!  (Gal 6) 

I pray for it.

I watch for it.

I prepare for it.

And when it comes....I seize the moment and fully live in the rain...dance in the rain (as I learned to do  after the tsunami/quake)....revel in it....splash in the puddles and sludge through the mud...yes, I did all this this a.m.  - physically and spiritually. I will do it again and again....because when God answers prayers He loves us to boisterously delight in Him and His provision.

These gray clouds we are experiencing?  They do not contain  danger, destruction, choking smoke...

These gray clouds are rain clouds. They bear the hope of cleansing, renewing, refreshing and life.

Funny thing - as I soaked - others noticed. I got odd looks...but one by one they joined me in reveling in the rain....first this one...She told me I was crazy. Then, she asked how long I was going to stay. Then, she joined me....

Isn't it true  often others think we're  a bit unhinged when we  delight in God's promise, revel in His presence/rain? If they see we plan to remain in His rain - will they be encouraged to join us?  This one was most like me - threw her head back and enjoyed the rain.

Zander HATES soaking in the hot tub. He got up next. He had the same reaction as Arielle had earlier. He seemed to think we'd both lost our minds. 

We didn't attempt to convince him to join us. We simply continued enjoying ourselves. Given time he joined us...and I saw another way of reacting to rain....he was in - but he wasn't fully in. He didn't want his face wet.  That's fine. He timidly let loose. Eventually he removed the mask and jumped fully into the experience.  It's not my job to rip masks off  timid revelers.

I didn't even SEE Nolan get up. He came down to start his morning routine and was met with the three of us having great, uproarious fun in the RAIN.....He couldn't resist joining us. There is something irresistible about being around those who delight in God's rain. Do our lives influence others, whom we haven't even noticed, watching?

 Where was Stacia?

She LOVES to sit in the hot tub. She LOVES to be in the middle of all family activity. We had been cutting loose in the rain for 30 minutes and she was no where to be seen.

She was asleep when the rain the came.  I knew she'd regret missing this.  I  woke her up. She eagerly jumped up, and raced down the stairs to the hot tub.

Isn't that what we're called to do? To wake up those who are slumbering when God moves and invite them to join us?

We made a phenomenal family memory in the rain. We thanked God for a father who goes to work early each day so that we can enjoy moments like these. We also thanked Him for directing us to  homeschool and  to keep a schedule which allows us to savor the rain.

It started as a solitary soak in the hot tub during a rainstorm...it grew to a solitary message from the Holy Spirit to my spirit.  It spread to a shared family experience. 

God is certainly sending the rain to this family. It may not look like we expect...but it will be good - because He is good.  God has a good plan, a plan for the future and hope and legacy - the rain is on the way. The gray clouds are rain clouds...not smoke clouds. 

And when His rain comes - I don't want to love my comfort more than the rain (Yuuki), miss one moment of it by sleeping (Stacia), enter it half-heartedly (Zander), waste one minute questioning the sanity of those delighting in it (Arielle) or stagger half-awake into it (Nolan).

I will run full speed into it. I will boisterously celebrate. I will believe the life-giving, refreshing, renewing rain will spread to those around me...

Psst - they ARE doing school now. It will all get done.

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Joyful Thoughts
1. Wednesdays - blessed to have Bible study on both ends of the day.

2. One of my favorite groups of ladies (Modern Girls) pulled together breakfast today for the rest of PWOC/CWOC - even though I forgot my offering in the van. It wasn't missed.

3. I did not find a snake in the back little room where I have to turn on the AC at Far West.

Wednesday mornings - the designated time when we join together to hear what the Holy Spirit has spoken to each of us through the week as we do "this." (left)

I wasn't excited about this week's work of digging into historical context...BUT God knew it would be a good week for me to sit with Nehemiah for an extended amount of time.  Good stuff.

We packed our lunch and ate with Desiree and her children. While the kids played, she and I talked PWOC and a bit of big family talk....I passed on Rebekah's files and such. Desiree has stepped on to the PWOC board.

Back at the Far West Campus the kids hunkered down to work on school.

I met with Cynthia and we talked timeline, logistics and a tiny bit of budget for a spring retreat.

I did a few odd jobs that needed done around the campus....and then it was time for Family Bible Study.

The men chased a snake.... I dodged a bat.... The boys suggest falcons or mongoose as an addition to the new facility. They helpfully suggest the homeschool room as a nice home for these new critters. ::snort::

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dentist, Michael's Mystery Pain and Science!

Joyful Thoughts
1. Texts from adult Gherkins are so much fun - and yeah, I even enjoy the texts from our 9 yo.
2. Sprouts has yummy produce.
3. Closer to an answer to Michael's mystery pain.
4. Fun school experiment today.

Sprouts? Yes, Arielle had to go to the big city again today to see the dentist. They celebrated as this is her last filling. We stopped by Sprouts before coming home.

Michael's Mystery pain. For three years doctor after doctor has guessed. It could be constipation, you may have pulled a muscle, it could be a host of gastro things, it's all in your head,  and the list went on.  The "take anti-depressants it's in your mind" RX from the specialist in Yuba City was irritating!  And the pain increased. 

Michael finally saw a GREAT retired military doc on base. I saw him and knew if  Michael saw him he'd look at the records and figure out what needed to be done.  He sent him immediately for an x-ray. Three years of pain, and they'd never done a simple x-ray. Turns out Michael has arthritis setting in which explains part of the pain.

Michael has been telling them he felt a mass inside of his hip bone on the right side.  They kept telling him he was making things up. Michael didn't TELL this doc about the mass; the doc checked and said, "I think I feel a mass," and ordered an MRI.  The MRI shows a mass.  {Yes, I am a tad bit smug and would love to send the records to one specific doctor in Misawa and one in Yuba City, as well}. The report mentioned the mass could be four things. In laymen's terms - two are cancerous and two are not.  For those who geek out on medical terminology - mesenteric lymphadenopathy (infection of the lymph glands), mesenteric fibromatosis (benign fibroids), lymphoma  or gastrointestinal stromal tumor (often cancerous?). At this point all his records are being requested from various facilities, and he and they will visit a surgeon. He is back on profile for all but his "waist circumference."  This means he can't work out, and he better not gain weight. ::snort::  Our thoughts?  Given his symptoms, I would be surprised if it's an infection.   Given the pain is getting worse, but he's had the pain for 3 years and is still with us, I would rule out cancer which I think is usually faster growing.  I'm leaning towards fibromatosis - but I'm a certified laymen. We won't know until he visits the surgeon.  We're thrilled to be getting closer to an answer and possibly less pain.

God is God and God is good - all.the.time.

In other news - school is fantastic when you have time to sit around and do the "fun things," rather than rush around town.  LOL Here are some photos from today's science adventure.

We explored density.
Yes, he IS in his pajamas. Who cares?

It worked!!!!!  Salt water is more dense! The egg floats....

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