Friday, October 31, 2014

Please Pray for Our Great Nephew

Here's a prayer request we shared on Facebook.

"Our family needs prayers. This season has been difficult for Gherkin men. Most urgently - early this a.m. our 18 yo great nephew was celebrating the end of mid-terms with friends. He fell off a balcony and landed 2 stories down on concrete. He is currently in ICU and we're praying for a miracle. Earlier in the past month or two his grandfather - Michael's brother Earl - began battling Stage 3 colon cancer. A few weeks ago Michael's eldest brother - Mike - was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Michael (you know - my Mike) sees the surgeon on Tuesday. Please pray for Dominic, Earl, Michael and Mike....and if you are a Gherkin male - be careful. I bought these guys a couple of weeks ago - you know - weebles wobble but they don't fall down."

As I sit here hours later - babies in bed, dog in kennel, doorbell silent - I'm sad. Just sad...and weary....and reaching for what I know to be true. God doesn't waste a minute of suffering...God has a plan....He does. God is good.  But I'm human. I'm still sad. It feels surreal that Dom could be in the we pray. We ask God for a miracle and we believe His will will be all these situations and the other situations we all face.

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

Double Snuggles and Laughs

We've been waiting for Friday. The day dawned cloudy and rainy. Arielle is exhausted because Stacia coughed all night....but we got up, got school done and waited.......what could this mean?

Elise and Clara are here!!! These little ones are a blast and we get them all day and overnight. Brenner, Stephanie and Cole are off on an over-night birthday trip for Cole (4).  Brenner is one of our Protestant chaplains and Stephanie is our PWOC Spiritual Life Ministry Team Leader.
Elise, Me and Clara Beth

There's Clara's face!

We began with snuggles.....moved on to playing
LUNCH TIME....Yuuki is sure if she stays between the girls she'll get treats.

Next on the agenda was nap time. The girls went right down. We left Arielle to secure the house and ran to buy MILK (a terrible thing to run out of - especially with young kids in the house) and a few groceries.
The afternoon was spent with more play time....

I found it fun to watch the girls play with  play dough....the difference in their personalities was fascinating. Elise made round little balls, all the colors separate.....

Clara had a lovely mash of variegated colors....she looks sad here as she's just noted all of Elise's lovely balls and she' trying to figure out how to make hers similar. 

After dinner Stacia asked Michael to play the piano so the kids could dance. Zander opted to help me with clean up. LOL
We planned to settle down and watch a bit of Mickey before bed...but oy vey - the Elsa's and Olafs at our door!  We DID watch some Mickey in between racing our howling Beagle to the door. It was great fun to hear all the comments as we passed out candy. My favorite was, "Oh, Daddy look, they dressed up as twins!" ::snort::
Arielle read stories to the girls and they went right down at bedtime.  I've given Stacia cough syrup and she may sleep down stairs to help the girls sleep a bit better in their room.  She's a bit sad about it - we don't do sleep overs so she's been looking forward to having the girls over....
It's been a fun day with the little gals in our home.  I can't help thinking  if I'd carried the twins to term we'd have 7 year old twins in the house.  It's been a fun day.

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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Laundry Day

There you have it! The wind at Beale CAN get strong enough to knock over my clothesline. I thought I left this problem behind in Misawa. LOL

We were able to rescue the sheets with a quick trip through the dryer but the clothes needed to be rewashed. 

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Clergy Appreciation

This month has been the BEST month I have ever seen in Clergy Appreciation since joining the Air Force. I'm so proud of our gals.  PWOC decided to motivate our parish and told Chaplains wives we weren't to play a part. They joined with CWOC and WOW....we had notes this month, cards for the chaplains, doughnuts, homemade soap, homemade bread, Kids Flight homeschoolers made cookies, RE classes made thank you cards...and yesterday the CWOC and PWOC  provided lunch for the staff and families.  It was well worth the early school hours to attend. LOL  Thanks to all who took part in making this such a fun appreciation month!

Back at home we harvested another Zuchinni

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

Monday, October 27, 2014


Not one photo taken - but a very productive day.

Monday's are always very busy school days. Stacia finished an Explode the Code book, Alex began a new Wordly Wise book, we all read and read about Simon Bolivar and comrades.

Arielle and Nolan had Japanese lessons. I love to listen to the Japanese flying back and forth. The other day Arielle had a conversation with Nikki in Japanese....not just the "Good morning. How are you? I'm fine," conversation *I* have with her each week. LOL 

I spent much time in the afternoon on the computer....working on Philippians homework, announcement slide show, answering emails, touching base with volunteers and lining up activities for December and January.

Arielle completed her driving instruction - six hours behind the wheel with a certified instructor.  She would have made 82 on the driving test and would have passed. We aren't sure 82 is a score we're comfortable with - but I can't wait for her to have her license. Much of the problem came from driving the school's small car vs a 15 pass van. We're trying to figure out what to do about that. Test in the school's car, test in the van - Arielle suggests we buy a new little, sporty automatic car. ::snort::

Michael spent more time with his favorite doctor. Nothing new or exciting to share. LOL

All in all - it was a full day.

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Frantic-Lazy Sunday

First, Arielle got a HUGE compliment from Nikki today. She said Arielle speaks Japanese, "Very clearly," and her teachers, "Are very good." Go Ryu and Kim!

Nikki & Margaret (Please pray for Margaret's quick healing
of a broken hip)
Today was our monthly Parish Potluck -  it was fantastic.  This month's theme was "Winter Comfort Foods." I think the theme resonated as we had a great variety of food this month.  Part of me wants to post all the photos of friends Michael took - but I don't know if all would want to be posted.  I may do a giant "Beale Chapel Faces" post before we retire. ::snort::  Here are some photos of US which Michael took.

Angela loves on our preschoolers at PWOC - and Arielle


Note I'd STILL not made a dent on my lunch.....Hope, Cynthia, Me, Kelsey
 Melody made my day when she found me as I bustled around and asked me to come sit by her. I promised I would when I was done eating. She was faithful to check back with me until I was ready to sit down. LOL

Zander and Cole

Heaven - she's in heaven - hard to braid when your
arm is in a cast.

We got home around 2:30 and began a serious day of REST.....we all found things we find relaxing to occupy our afternoon/evening....Arielle decided it would be a great day to make a purse for Stacia. Krista has a cool purse which she MADE. Arielle went searching through Stacia's stash of material and my closet (for a belt for the adjustable strap) and set to work after a text or two.

It turned out really cute. I think we'll have to make one for Arielle and one for me - different fabric selection. LOL

Michael and Nolan continue work on "The Puzzle"

I had seen a link on the internet on how to turn a t-shirt into a tote in 10 min - no sewing.  I gave it a shot.  I did sew along the bottom as there were still holes in the bottom after I tied it all....I  think we need to find a shirt with loner arm holes. LOL
Even Yuuki relaxed
Stacia models her new purse. We want to buy a button or something to put on the front. Arielle will switch the strap as she didn't account for Stacia's left-handed-tendencies and the clip to adjust the strap is behind her. 
Yeah - need to find some stretched out t-shirts with longer arm holes. LOL
Are you aware October is clergy appreciation month? Phil and Beverly surprised the chaplains and staff with HOME MADE BREAD!!!! We got TWO loaves...which makes it seem doable to get caught up on baking and actually start baking our bread again. These younger kids actually LIKE fresh-baked bread. I can work with this. ::wink::  

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

PF Chang's Shanghai Cucumbers

I went on a search for this recipe and found arguments over which tasted "most authentic" - most saying you need much more vinegar than below. I finally check PF Chang's website and low and behold they HAD the recipe. Yay. They have a few other recipes on the site - but this was the only vegan one I saw.
They didn't peel theirs!!!!

12 oz peeled and seeded cucumbers, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 1.5 medium cukes)
3 T of Soy Sauce
1 tsp of White Vinegar
1/4 tsp Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp toasted Sesame Seeds

Prepare the cucumbers

Mix the sauce ingredients together

Mix the sauce with the cucumbers

Sprinkle Sesame Seeds over top.

Cynthia enjoyed these at PF Changs. I made a double batch for our potluck. They're all gone. I can't remember what it tasted like at the restaurant, but Cynthia said the only difference was mine were less salty - I use a low sodium soy sauce.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shoebox Saturday


It was raining early this morning - so I blogged. It was POURING rain at 0800 and I guessed that the Farmer's Market would get a slow start. We showed up at 0845 and there were three veggie stalls and a pie man out.... The good news is all said they would be there every week through November....the bad news is there wasn't much variety....but I did get enough veggies to make a big pot of soup for potluck tomorrow.
Stacia and I didn't let the rain dampen our enthusiasm. We stopped at the Cafe for breakfast. Our next stop was Sunflower Natural Food - right in the neighborhood - for some coconut milk creamer for my tea.
Back at home I steeped a big cup of tea and sat in the hot tub. It's the best way I know to warm up on a cold day.
The kids asked if we could go see Alexander and the I had planned to stay home and cook and bake for the potluck - but we opted to go out.....
Then we thought we'd "run" into Walmart. I don't think it's possible to run into the Yuba City Walmart on the weekend. What a ZOO.  We bought more Operation Shoebox fillers. I begged for dinner out and so we ate out....and got home at 1900.....


I popped the apple pie I bought this morning in the oven. Arielle started chopping veggies and I began making rolls.....Unfortunately, I've not made bread in a couple of years and didn't really take the time to form them as I should.  Michael says I can call them Zombie Rolls. LOL  While the pie baked and the rolls rose.... I joined the family in packing some boxes.
First  couch of loot
2nd couch - Michael always takes on the big boys
 Michael made two boxes with a tool theme....actually bought two tool boxes....and one with a sports theme.  The others did mostly young boys.  The fleece blankets for $2.88 were a great find. Something fuzzy and cuddly....and the boy's print is a MAP - so we plan to make a couple of boxes with cars and trucks and blanket.

 The girls and I hit on the idea of craft themed boxes and made four for older girls.
We still have a couple of bags of stuff we've collected over the year....We do enjoy being back in the states where it is feasible to pack boxes again rather than donate to Samaritan's Purse for shipping. Packing boxes is much more fun as a family project. LOL  Last year we paid the shipping for our boxes online and loved being able to track our boxes. I think we'll do that again this year.

The pies are cooling, the rolls are baking and the soup is pressure cooking. I think I'm going to get it all done after all. Maybe by 2200.

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

Our Grandbabies

I'm a coward.

BreZaak gave me permission, over a week ago, to blog about this part in our family story....

I need to write about it. It matters, deeply. These lives matter. These lives are a part of our family story and they've impacted our family history. But. I'm a coward and wasn't quite sure what to say. I'm still not.

The pain is raw. I find myself ragged in this season where our family seems to be surfing through one test after another.

I told Bre to voice all her emotions to God. God can handle our emotions: fear, disappointment, ANGER....and I've learned when I don't voice them to God I tend to develop a root of bitterness.  I've been having moments with God quite a bit in the past five months.  God is faithful to meet me in those I move closer to Him with my pain and confusion.

One of the BEST days in life was April 15, 2014....the day that BreZaak asked to Skype and told us we were going to have a grandchild!  We were on Skype so I captured a screen shoot. See us in the corner - totally UNCONCERNED about aging. LOL
 Many of you know BreAnne. This gal has had a "spirit of motherhood" since she was a YOUNG child. My GRAMS first pointed it out to me. ::snort::  In June she conceived and carried Baby Faith for a few short months.  We were elated to be so close for this huge milestone. Thankful, that while we miss Japan, we are here. We eagerly began tracking the days until Faith's arrival, checking baby Aps with Bre to see how big the little peanut was each week, pinning on the ultra-secret Baby D board - viewed only by Bre and I (and her sisters who happen look over my shoulder),  and we totally loved each weekly shot of Bre's belly. Shoot - it's been twenty-nine years since I've been so thrilled with her belly.

Bre chose such a fun and creative way to share her news with Izaak.

I was half expecting a call after Bre saw the doctor for her first visit. I received a call on May 15th - while shopping for VBS - and it was immediately apparent that things were not right. The doctor could not find Baby Faith's heartbeat.  And the waiting began - and the wrestling.

You see, I've had seven miscarriages. Yes, we prayed for healthy pregnancies. Yes, others prayed for healthy pregnancies. Some prayers just don't get answered as we'd like.  You can click pregnancy journal at the right if you want to read more of my thoughts during our last miscarriage.  I was told I would not conceive. I was then told I'd never carry to term. God has blessed us with nine treasures and I choose to focus on that - rather than my unanswered questions - but still - all these years later - I MISS those babies we never got to raise....and I have prayed that our children would not walk this path.

Baby Faith left Bre's womb and went directly to heaven in June. For the first time EVER I was happy to have walked the path of pain which I had. I was able to grieve and understand what Bre was walking through.

We continued to pray for BreZaak - as we do all of our children.  In the midst of preparing for Fall Rally I previewed Loving Well.  Listening to Beth Moore share her exciting news  about her daughter expecting was hard...and I had a long meeting with God. I shared  I felt it was time....He placed the desire for motherhood in Bre's heart and I felt it was time He fulfilled the desire of her heart.  Fall Rally was Aug 22/23rd.  And I watched that video again where Beth Moore is over the top excited....and I told God it was o.k. I surrendered.

That VERY AFTERNOON - while I was IN a session I began to get distracting texts and missed calls from Bre.  Then alerts  she was posting to the Baby D board...and messages to call her.  We did. I can't find the screen shot from THAT call....but the timing took my breath away. BreZaak were expecting Baby Boy.  So exciting....many more calls, more pins, more texts, more photos. Bre is very tiny and so she shows quickly.....and we all rejoiced.   Baby boy miscarried on October15th  - during International Miscarriage and Stillbirth Awareness Week.

Do I regret the miscarriages? Yes! Do I regret the lives of Baby Faith and Baby Boy? No.  For many glorious weeks we had the excitement and joy of being grandparents to these two - indeed we still are. Some day, I truly believe, we will meet these two in heaven. They brought us great excitement and joy every day of their short lives.

God and me? We have reached an understanding. He's God. I'm not. Life sometimes stinks - but He loves me and I trust Him.

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

As I pray for BreZaak, and for other family stories not mine to share, God reminds me I have prayed my children love and follow Him passionately. I have grown the most as a person,  a wife,  a parent,  a child of God during the hard times. Why would I expect life to work differently for my children? I have seen our kids hold up in the hard season of the past few months. I've learned new lessons about faith and love and pain as I've watched them navigate the paths they are on  - and He does answer. He answers the desire of our hearts - not always in the way we want. I pray for my kids to depend on him deeply - and He's answered that prayer - even while I prayed they not have to walk any painful paths which would be beyond their ability to "handle." Isn't that the point? We can't handle life and the hard times illustrate that clearly for us.

Now, I'm praying for some good times to follow the hard times.....I'm also rejoicing in the strong faith  I observe in my children.

Bre has blogged her thoughts and I will be copying them into this blog somewhere so they will be printed as part of our family's story. You can read about Baby Faith and Baby Boy by clicking the underlined text.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ladies Night Out

Yes, Fridays are made for pizza and games at our house...but THIS Friday was Ladies Night Out.  This was planned as a joint event between MTOC and PWOC. 

It really was sad many who RSVP'd were unable to make it....sad for us and for the waiter who had come in just to wait on our table. He was fantastic! We were outside on the patio and it was perfect. The heaters kept us warm, we were secluded and  able to talk and laugh without others hearing, and we escaped the NOISE and chaos that seems to characterize PF Changs on a Friday night. LOL 
Maria checks to see if we need to wait for any others
Happy to have Steph's mom, Candy,  join us tonight! It makes me sad to think of Steph moving in December...but HAWAII! WOW.

Candy and Desiree

Cynthia, Hope, Maria, Me
 Tonight was Hope's birthday -  it was a fun to celebrate with her. Our waiter  sang to her in Chinese. ::grin::
I DID miss Friday at home.....but it WAS really nice to spend a couple of hours with friends, laughing and deepening our relationships.

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

FRIDAY - School and Tea

We work to have Friday's be a "light" school day - often a finish up day. However, with the exercise, MTOC, PWOC, an "interview" for Arielle, hair-cuts,  and other family events this week - we needed Friday to be a full day of school. The kids KNEW this.

I got out of the shower ready to tackle the day and saw this......what could it be?
School always goes better in a fort

I picked up some Tazo Decaf Chai tea SOMEWHERE around here. I was sure it was local. I have looked all over and cannot find it again. I finally realized it would be much quicker to simply order a box at Amazon.  Ah - surprised by "one click" again. ::snort:: I checked the photo carefully - didn't catch the price or I would have suspected that I was going to receive more than one box. I'm well stocked for the fall/winter.....and will take some to PWOC. My search is over.

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Fun with Chapel Families

Base Exercises  make for long, chaotic, off-kilter, mixed-up weeks. All are working 12 - 15 hours a day. Some are working day shifts - Michael always pulls the night shifts. 
At home this means we try to be "very, very quiet" and you know how well THAT goes. The kids cooperated  well - the neighborhood dogs not so much.
 Exercise ended Wednesday  night....Michael got home at 0300 on Thursday.....Thursday afternoon found the chapel staff at Bishop's Farm enjoying a bit of Fall together.

Part of the staff family. Missing are Holly and Eliza, Phil, Brenner, Stephanie and kids, Scotty, Val and kids and a couple of support flight

Ky imediately headed for the zipline - several Gherkins followed
After several Zanderesque comments they were off....It was about this point that Stacia asked, "Mom, would you get a wedgie doing this?" I found it an odd sort of questions but responded honestly. She decided she wasn't doing the zip line. This surprised Michael and I until the ride home when she explained her reasoning...she WAS wearing a skirt afterall and had forgotten to put shorts on underneath....she suspected a wedgie wouldn't be fully modest. Good call, Stacia.

Next up were Nolan and Arielle

Um - such abuse of the loving photographer

Pumpkin Wars - quite sure this isn't the plan for these pumpkins - no pumpkins were harmed
Myself and two great friends - Stephanie and Cynthia
Gherkin Fall Pumpkin Patch Portrait 2014
This will so preach....daughter totally abandoned to the moment, not realizing Father is protecting her
There's our gal!
THIS free corner of Bishops is their favorite - well the zipline may be close

Cynthia, Megan and Landon

Our final stop with the corn maze - I find the map no help at all
Daniel - far left joined us when he got out of school - and that boy can RACE through a maze...without a map - he's THAT good.

We were zipping through the maze, around the corners so fast that Arielle, Cynthia and I all got "motion sick." Who knew?
We finished our day with a family trip to Roberto's. It was fun to run into a friend, Jeannie, and her children there. A good chance to meet her Dad who is here to help with this deployment.

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