Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fight Back With Joy. Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears.

As this is a personal review I didn't feel obligated to stay within the 200-300 word count. LOL

"What if joy is better than you imagined? The cherished virtue has been wrapped in clichés, stamped on coffee mugs, and sewn onto decorative pillows. Fight Back With Joy declares that joy is more than whimsy but a weapon we can use to fight life's greatest battles."

I saw FightBack With Joy by Margaret Feinberg recommended for one who is battling breast cancer. I ordered the book with the intent to give it to a friend.  It arrived this week. I randomly flipped the pages and read this quote, "Practicing defiant joy is the declaration that the darkness does not and will not win. When we fight back with joy, we embrace a reality that is more real than what we're enduring and we awake to the deepest reality of our identity as beloved, joyful children of God."  This quote resonated with me on several levels, in regards to several situations (and yes, I understand some of you think it is poor word choice. ::wink:: but for ME - it resonates).
God has persistently written the word "joy" on my heart for the past 10 years....He's used joy to transform me. I have learned much and have much more to learn. I couldn't put this book down and have read it cover to cover.  I loved the insights Margaret gained about joy as she battled cancer. Joy was her "word" for the year and then she received the diagnosis of breast cancer....and began to learn that joy is much deeper than she expected and can be a weapon. Excellent truths to explore.
Margaret mentions those who "leave" when you are in the middle of a battle and those who "stay."  Of those who "stay," some wreak havoc. She shared four categories of those who stayed and wreaked havoc: projectors (attempt to turn every crisis into their crisis), pretenders (looking for the latest scoop), predators (harvest others hardship for their gain) and pain inflictors (hurt with cruel or cold comments). Whew....may we always be ones who stay and bless and not fall into these  often well-intentioned categories.
Included in the book are lists of "5 Things to Say When You Don't Know What to Say,"  "8 Things Those Facing Crisis Can't Tell You,"6 Lessons I Learned from Crisis," and a letter from Leif, Margaret's husband about walking through these sorts of crisis' with a spouse.  There is also a "play list" to accompany each chapter. Very helpful info.
Margaret is real about her journey.  I learned more about chemo than I really wanted to know. I really am not SURE if this is a book to give to all who struggle with cancer. I know it's a great book for all to read who are facing various trials.  There were times I thought this would be a great gift for my friend and times I wanted to throw the book across the room as it made me ache and fear for my friend. In the end, I'm giving the book to her mom to read and decide what SHE thinks.
The only other criticism I had for this book is Margaret continues the recently trendy practice of quoting Scripture without providing a Scriptural reference.  Yes, this bugs me. I saw years ago the trend moved to quoting and  leaving a footnote to the reference. I've read several books recently by trendy authors who no longer even foot note. Sure I can look up references with a concordance, but I think the practice is a bad one as many won't look up references...I find this a slippery slope....but this book is good enough I'd still recommend it. LOL
I did NOT receive this book free from the publishers. ::wink::

Friday, January 30, 2015

Ducks and Dinner

We had an absolutely GORGEOUS January day here in CA.....When Cheri said she had bread and asked if we'd like to meet her at Ellis Lake we jumped at the chance. We've been meaning to do this for some time. 

LOVED this.....I said, "Look at the camera" and he did. LOL
Jonathan is a charming conversationalist. Seriously.  He heard I was going to dinner with friends and I had recently had a birthday. He quickly asked, "How old are you?"
"Wow, I hope I live that long!" 

This feathered follower WANTED the bread badly!
It was a beautiful day for a walk around the "lake."  Nolan said these days are perfect - and I agree.  Nolan walked over to Little Caesar's and picked up some pizzas for the kids for dinner.

We got home a few minutes before Hope and Emma arrived. Arielle watched Emma at our house and Hope drove Jen and I to Roseville. Katie, Cynthia and I all have birthdays clustered around NOW. They organized a dinner....and it was great fun. "Someone" may have had a bit of sugar tonight.
Katie and Cynthia

Me, Hope and Amber (Hi Amber)

Hope, Amber (and Charley) Kristen, Katie, Jen, Cynthia

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Surgery Fun

Warning there is a mild photo of Michael's stomach at the end of the post. If you think that immodest, just don't read this - click away now. Don't leave comments about immodestly or inappropriateness - it's our family journal and I want a photo.

Several have asked for a Michael update.

This season in our lives is certainly not about me. I write - therefore - you get my perspective.   This has been a rough season for Michael. We went in on 7 Jan  expecting a same day laparoscopic surgery.....he is still not feeling "chipper."

Care giving is not for the faint of heart or the sour of disposition. I am in awe of those who do it for years on end. We are three weeks post surgery. I've not been updating because the "lazy" days are full. 

From the moment I roll out of bed there is something or someone who needs care...and that's o.k. but it can be draining. My schedule has resumed it's pace with homeschooling and ministry projects, Michael's hasn't. If we had known this was going to be this involved, I'd have made sure to have lighter weeks scheduled.

 He's certainly doing much better than he was a week ago.

About this time last week Michael had a few days of vomiting and feeling generally  terrible. We aren't sure what happened, but we're rejoicing the phase is over. I am still perplexed about why men rattle the rafters (or the heating vents) when they vomit. The kids were in awe of how Dad could be heard around the house.

Sleep patterns are hard right now - we're working to get back to normal. I'd say it feels like I'm burning the candle from both ends, but it sort of feels like the whole thing is one big, hot, melting mess of wax.

Monday he seemed to be feeling well and it seemed like a good idea to get out. I needed to pick up our van from the auto body shop, and that meant I was driving the car with the screaming brakes....I encouraged Michael to go on an outing, he wanted to be sure the brakes were o.k. . He got dressed - woohoo - wearing pants - and we headed across town. I got the van. The plan was for Arielle to drive home, Michael to continue sitting in the car while I ran to Sam's, and then drive home with the screaming brakes. I was counting this as a date. He couldn't. He got into the van and Arielle drove him home. He told me I had time after the brakes begin screaming before they go out. ::snort::  He spent the rest of the day in pjs and in bed.

There was hope he'd be back at chapel by now...but until he can wear pants it  isn't appropriate and could prove awkward - military protocol being what it is. I've begun sharing "my mandate," - "You can't go to chapel or the office until you can wear pants." He'll be driving again on 10 Feb. I don't really WANT to drive him to work daily  come to think of it. ::snort::

Wednesday we heard Mom G had been taken to the hospital in the middle of the night and had her own surgery. I guess she thought the boys were hogging all the fun surgeries. I know it weighs on Michael that he can't zip up there...but an 8 hour drive at this point is out of the question.

He is feeling well enough to sit and do some work, before he lays down again. He's off  pain meds. He's still in sweats or Pjs.....but with  "my mandate" ringing in his ears, Michael came down PANTS today. Yes, I know it's a bad picture - but he's since removed the pants and I can't retake the photo.

He lasted a few hours, before donning his trusty flannel pjs. We're working towards wearing pants and staying up for a full duty day.....he has convalescent leave through 11 Feb.  Maybe we can have PJ Sunday at chapel.....

I got a call at the end of Bible study yesterday. "This is Dr. Zanzi's office, can you come in tomorrow?"


"Yes, De'Etta. We can work you in tomorrow."

I know Dr. Zanzi. We spend a lot of time with Dr. Mrs. and Dr. Dr. but my brain is tired and I couldn't remember which doctor this was for ANYTHING. I feared it may finally be that dreaded colonoscopy referral.  I wasn't going to commit to a doc until I knew what I was getting into. I finally replied, "Which doctor are you?

"Your dentist, De'Etta."

I went in. They wanted to check my gums....down to mostly 2's and 3's with a few 4's.....but the thing is I sat there for 45 minutes with darkening glasses, elevator music, and a massage chair....and yeah the little vacuum hose which I didn't pay attention to and left a hicky on the inside of my cheek....what WAS I talking about? Oh yes, I sat there and relaxed.....and prayed....and no one could call me, I couldn't do a thing for anyone, I couldn't answer a school problem or a phone call or email, I couldn't work on any ministry phone vibrated and clicked away with notifications...all I had to do was lay there and endure a numb mouth, water and suction for 45 min..... The 45 min trip both ways made for several hours of solitude. I call this self-care.

Dr. Mrs. came in at the end and said, "Wow. People don't usually look this happy when they are in here."  ::snort::

I told her it was my happy place.

When I got home, Michael was back in PJs.....I don't remember pants being such a problem after the first or second surgery....but this is what same day surgery looks like in our house....The main incision looks good to me. I think it's all the little ones around his stomach that are  making clothes painful....and now maybe you understand how they missed a staple. They took them out of the main incision...but all those pesky little ones are hard to track.

There you have it - an update on Michael.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rolling Office

The seam is ripping out of my red 31's my PWOC I bought the rolling crate you see above. It works well. If we were staying around a bit, I'd get one for each child's school work. LOL I justified the purchase as it folds flat and will be useful for hauling things here and there while we live in the trailer. It was SURE nice to get everything into one bag  as I headed for PWOC.  The laptop is in the Korean Coach bag and fits nicely on top of the rolling crate.....and it only took me five months to figure out a workable solution.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

This Man

....makes me smile each and every morning. I decided when we took down Christmas decorations that he would stay up until spring. 
I'm shamelessly burning him every waking hour. He'll not fit in a suitcase or move to the trailer....I need to enjoy him fully now. LOL 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes To Go (Vegan/DF option )

Michael said these were "ok." Stacia said they were "good." Theirs had chocolate in them. I like them with fruit. I'm going to call these boatmeal muffins and think of Melissa each time I make them. I think the ones with fruit and a smoothie will become my breakfast of choice most mornings. Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.  Yep, have had these for breakfast all week - and dinner on Wed too. LOL
Mine don't have chocolate in them and I don't miss it - but others would

5 C rolled oats (I used 4 1/2 C oats and 1/2 C protein powder)
2 1/2 C ripe mashed banana (I used 1 C banana and 1 1/2 C applesauce)
1 tsp salt
5 T pure maple syrup or agave (for sugar free skip and add dates or raisins)
2/3 C mini-chocolate chips (optional - left out for sugar free/DF)
2 1/2 C water
1/4 C plus 1 T coconut or veg oil
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract - I used 1 T and splashes

Other Extras I added - several good shakes of cinnamon, 4 T of ground flax seed, a good amount of pecans and craisins.

Optional Add-ins: coconut, dried fruit, etc (I want to try with blueberries).

Preheat oven to 380*.

Line 24 cupcake tins.

In large bowl mix dry ingredients.

In another bowl mix all liquid ingredients (including banana or applesauce).

Mix - pour into cupcake liners.

Bake 21 minutes.

Broil 1 - 2 minutes - optional.

If you let them cool overnight, they won't stick.

Eat right away or freeze and reheat for a quick breakfast....pair with fruit, toast for a total breakfast.

Calories - 88

Note - having made these a few times now - I'll leave out the chocolate or to entice the kids and Michael cut it in 1/2. I love pecans in them. They are GREAT frosted with peanut butter or almond butter right before you eat them. LOL

Sugar-Free Deep Dish Cookie Pie (Vegan)

I've previously shared the recipe for Deep Dish Cookie Pie (vegan). It's ALWAYS a winner at potlucks...and it's not that they take it and realize it's healthy and puke. No, they EAT it. See?

I was thrilled when thumbing through my new cookbook, Chocolate Covered Katie, to find a recipe for SUGAR-FREE Deep Dish Cookie Pie. I'm currently eating no sugar. I've begun experimenting with dates - that "fruit" which used to terrify me.  I knew this is what I wanted for my birthday "cake".

2 (15 oz) cans of white beans or garbanzo beans, chick peas, drained and rinsed VERY WELL
2 C pitted dates
1 C quick-cooking oats
2/3 C milk of choice
1/4 C applesauce3 T coconut or vegetable oil
1 T pure vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pure Stevia extract (I didn't have and left out)
1 C chocolate chips (for completely sugar-free pie, use sugar free chocolate chips)

Pre heat oven to 350*.

Grease a 10 in spring form pan and set aside.

Stir together all ingredients except the chips. Take 1/3 of mixture and process in food processor until completely smooth. Scoop batter into prepared pan.  Repeat twice. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake 40 minutes, until firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 min before removing the sides of pan.

Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.

Notes: We prefer to warm it up a bit before eating it - but it tastes good either way.

If you add ice cream it is no longer sugar-free; but it's a dessert I feel good serving the family.

Calories 130; fiber 4 grams; protein 2 grams, fat 5 grams, carbs 23 grams, WW points 4

Sunday, January 25, 2015


We headed for church and the car made a terrible noise. We suspect the brakes....which is only fitting as we just fixed the brakes on the van.

Our van is in the shop.

We came home and had a lazy day at home.

Great strides for Michael. He walked to park with us. Sat on a bench and walked home. It's a big step.

I threw together chili and cornbread for lunch.

We watched Beauty and the Beast and then Beauty and the Beet.

Arielle is in bed - she's got a full week coming up.

Michael, the boys and Stacia are playing a game.

I'm trying to figure out what I need or want in a domain.....and I'm going to bed too. I'm exhausted.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Birthday Post

Earlier, a friend reminded me my birthday was approaching. Stacia began asking for a birthday list.  I made plans for a laid back hiking, geocaching, restaurants or such.
Friday, Arielle and I stopped by Sam's club for a few groceries and found these flowers. I didn't resist. They looked like the perfect birthday flowers and I knew Michael would "most likely" have brought me birthday flowers if he could get out and about.

Yes, he confirmed they were just the flowers he would have bought me. LOL  There was a bit of drama about my gift this year. I have an Amazon wish list. I've let this be known for years. I also have set up accounts for Michael and Arielle and made it known that I'd like to be surprised and not get emails telling me what they'd ordered. ::snort:: They really tried this year. For some reason the emails still came to me...and they caught the first one....but missed the one that came the next morning saying the item had shipped. I was not as gracious as I would like to have been....I should have deleted it and not let on....but we all laughed about it in the end.....

And the night of the 23rd, when the Amazon driver dropped off a package, Michael intercepted it. There was great fanfare over the fact that my present had arrived. Michael said, "Set it on the counter."

"WHAT? No, I don't care that I know, do NOT put it on the counter! Wrap it."

Nonetheless, they left it on the birthday gift.... Ah - the 7 lbs of Wheat Montana rolled oats. I was happy it was not my gift. ::snort::

 Arielle got up early and I saw her off to the SAT.

A dear friend, Rachel, had a free day and we went out to lunch. We had planned to try a new spot but it turns out it is closed on weekends. Ah well - AJ's was around the corner and we enjoyed our Mommy Playdate. We've not gotten together since August. We topped off our lunch date by sitting in the driveway and talking another couple of hours. In our defense we were about to call it a day, when Arielle got home and asked Rachel to keep me occupied for awhile. LOL

Rachel put together the perfect gift. It can be eaten or killed and I won't have to worry about packing and storage....and she got some of my favorites...sugar free, vegan loot. I'm not sure Matt and Michael will let us out for another Mommy Playdate without a time limit - but it was great fun.

Arielle had this little plant waiting for me - and the kids had decorated the house while I was out! Score!

Arielle made rice bowls for dinner - we usually go out to eat at the birthday person's restaurant of choice - but I wouldn't do that without Michael.....and this was YUMMY. We used the Yumm sauce Krista brought down from Eugene. The omnivores added loads of chicken to theirs. 

Arielle stopped by Target after the SAT test. The boys told her the gift she put together was "cheesy," but I thought it was perfect. It was a bag full of gifts - each with a note attached. (See below) It was pinterest worthy.

And then the "real gift." See my surprised act. ::snort::  It's a zojirushi hot water pot....
Ah - I think my old one could have done a lot of things if I could have read the buttons. LOL
Yes, there are English instructions - but it was much more fun to have these two read the Kanji instructions.

It was at this point that they remembered the Birthday Pig Hat....
The moment the "cake" almost slid off.....
A word about the cake - Arielle had made a sugarfree deep dish cookie (recipe to follow).
It was yummy! I wasn't the only one who thought so!

It was a great birthday - and I'm looking forward to another year!
Kids Gift
  • Socks with stars  -  You're the star in our lives
  • Hello Kitty Band-Aids - You're there on the good and bad days
  • Extra gum - You're an extra special mom
  • Pumpkin Spice Burt's Bees - You spice up our lives
  • Nourishing hand lotion - You nourish us
  • Relaxing face mask - You're fun to relax and hang out with
  • $25 Starbucks card - We love you more than a good cup of hot chocolate


Things Arielle Learned at her SAT Test

Found online - not taken at the testing site!
Arielle prepared for this test. She has written almost daily essays which were critiqued by Michael.

She has worked through a giant book.

She has taken practice tests.

Friday we drove by the high school in Yuba City to be sure we knew where she needed to go.

This morning she got up bright and early and showed up to test.

And she was a bit surprised.

"Please write the following statement on the back of your test in cursive and sign it."

Dead silence in the group.

Then one raised his hand, "I don't know how to write in cursive."

"Make it up."

Really? These are college bound young adults.

She overheard several talking about how they didn't know they were taking the test and their moms woke them up and said, "Go take the SAT."

She also learned that sitting in a small windowless room with fluorescent lighting for hours on end would make her crazy. Thank you sweetie - we saw ahead and took care of this problem. LOL

And she learned there was nothing "unexpected" on the SAT....she finished in good time....and now we'll see.

She still isn't sure which route she wants to go for next year. Her goal - being a missionary - remains the same. The many paths to reach that goal are a bit tangled. She "may" attend New Hope Christian College. She "may" travel with us back to Japan (because we are sure we will go back to Japan one way or another) and take online classes for a year or two and then go to an on-site campus. She "may" move into an apartment in OR and attend community college for a year or two and get the basics out of the way before attending New Hope....lots of paths to consider. And she's considering well. We trust she recognizes the prompting of the Holy Spirit and will end up on the perfect path.

What we aren't hearing any longer is plans to attend beauty school - which I need to ask her about - because she won me over with her reasoning for that path. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Josiah Goes Viral

Yesterday the photo below was posted on the Chick Fil A's Facebook page at 0946.  I was out and about and didn't see the photo. It was a great surprise to see it on my timeline when I got home.
Photo by Samantha Blankenship
"I'm visiting the Sunset Mall Chick-Fil-A in San Angelo, TX and this lady walked in after giving plasma. She was very shakey and lethargic looking and the team here has just been so generous and taking care of her. The store director, Josiah G, has been so caring and attentive to her needs. He called her loved ones and gave her food items to help her get her strength back. He's being extremely genuine and taking the time to get to know her. This is a good man, and I've never met him. We need more people like this in our world!"

I feel it's o.k. to share the photo without permission as I know for certain no permission was asked or given to share Josiah's photo or name around the internet. ::grin::

Josiah doesn't remember anyone taking a photo and was just taking care of a customer -  it's what he does, and he IS good at it. But wow. This thing is now at 20,276 20, 294   20,409  21,518 likes and 294  318 comments on the Chick Fil A page....and it's been shared in numerous other spots. 

The moral of the story - it pays to be on your best behavior at all times in the 21st century. There is no telling when someone will observe you, snap a photo and post it online with your name. That same photo and your name can quickly go VIRAL, it pays to be sure you are caught being good.  I've told the younger ones  someone could do the same if they weren't happy with you. {I've been rethinking all my dancing escapades at Walmart today. ::snort::} I guess the warnings to be sure to, "Wear clean underwear when you leave  home," needs to change to, "Be sure you are acting with integrity  - always."

This was really fun timing for Josiah. He will soon be leaving Chick Fil A for a new job and life in a new city. It's a great way to leave a job he's had for 7 or 8 years.

And yes, we think it's awfully cool that Samantha and others noted what we've known about Josiah for years, "This is a good man."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hair Cutting Adventure

The day was full with school, friends, care-giving and family.

Poor Michael had more pain again today - but he did get the email approving his convalescent leave - only took me visits to eight different spots to get it approved. ::snort::

 These photos are the result of letting Stacia use my camera...evidently the model and photographer need a bit of parental input.

Zander and Arielle cut a deal for Arielle to cut his hair. I didn't expect this.  It's not my hair - so it's their deal. There were many jokes about her not shaving  a heart into the back of HIS head.....Not bad....needs to be evened up. Zander hates hair cuts. He doesn't like the buzzing sound either....but he usually buzzes it to nothing so he can go a long time in between hair cuts. ::snort:: This is a compromise the two of them worked out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lunch of Champions

This is not a lunch I will try - but it's one of Stacia's favorites.  It makes me happy that it IS so healthy.
Those Tupperware plates have been around since our 29 year old was 1.
Michael and I laugh that this baby has never known our family to eat the SAD. We were eating clean when she was born - re Rex Russell What the Bible Says about Healthy Living.  And when she was six three or four of us transitioned to the Nutritarian lifestyle...some presenting as vegans.  Fun to see how that impacts what she considers good. {Though I'm still researching the Daniel Cure and the Daniel Plan seem to be closely align with the concept of Nutritarian.}

We had a conversation spurred on by one of her friends which cracked me up. "Just imagine I'm 9 years old and I don't know what bacon tastes like." Horrors. I agreed she should taste this food of the gods. I used to LOVE bacon - put it on almost everything.  She ordered some at a restaurant and told me it's not very good.  She never choose the bacon option at restaurants. LOL

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chili sans Carne (Vegan)

This is another of Lindsay Nixon's recipes from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. Arielle and I have been craving chili, but no one makes it without meat. Arielle said the seasonings are "perfect" in this one.

Ingredients1 small onion, diced
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes with juices
2 T chili powder, or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp granulated garlic powder
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed*
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed*
1 C frozen yellow corn
1 T ketchup
1 T prepared yellow mustard
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp mild curry powder
1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 C TVP or TSP**
2 C no-beef broth (or broth)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
cayenne powder, to taste
hot sauce, to taste

*I used a combination of 4 cups of pre-cooked dried beans
**I think you could skip this - I had some morning glory TVP meal starters and used that


I threw it all in my instant pot on the "slow cook" mode and let it cook all day.

Line a medium pot with a thin layer of water.

Add onion and cook over med heat until translucent - about 3 minutes

Add tomatoes with their juices, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes, until the liquid has reduced slightly.

Add beans, corn, ketchup, mustard, maple syrup, curry and Worcestershire Sauce, stirring to combine.

Cover and turn off heat, but leave on the warm stove.

Prepare broth.  Combine TVP with broth, add to chili, stirring to combine.

Set aside uncovered for 10 minutes.

Give it a good stir, then add salt and pepper.

Add cayenne powder or hot sauce if desired, then serve.

These directions seem a bit involved - but maybe it would make this yummy chili taste even better if I did it this way. I like the crock pot. LOL  This was great over baked tortilla chips with nutritional yeast on top.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Scrabble Debut

They day began well - time with Jesus and a bit of Bible study prep. 

I didn't get a workout in - because I lost track of time during said time with Jesus.

Arielle and I dropped off  Michael to have the forgotten staple removed and drove across town to drop the van off to have the bumper fixed. We picked up Michael, stopped at Rite Aide and came home.

I cooked a hot lunch for Michael and me.

I did couch school with Zander and Stacia. Nolan surprised us with a great comparison paper on Two of William Blake's poems. We discovered the new Zeta book has gone missing again. I think I'm the only homeschooler who buys the same text over and over and over again.

The older two had Japanese. I folded laundry and talked to my Mom on the phone.

I cooked dinner. Stacia made "lemonade" with what we took to be lemons from the Hispanic produce market....but they couldn't have been. Oddest tasting fruit I've seen since Durian.

Arielle spent the night sewing on her "babysitting bag." The rest of us played a game of Scrabble.

Michael and I used to play this alot when we were first married. Until I got mad at always losing. He LOVES this game and so for Christmas I bought the deluxe board and determined to be a better loser. This was the boys first game and they did well.  In fact Zander finished only four behind Michael.

I got the "Jamin award." ::wink:: I was 4th winner. BUT I know HOW to enjoy Scrabble....and all the earthy words were MINE - all mine. ::snort::

I tried to sell Michael on house rules....whoever gets all their tiles out there in a pretty design first wins - doesn't matter what words they may or may not make. No dice.

Michael had a rough afternoon with pain management. I'm sure it had to do with being out this morning. If nothing else this was confirmation he's  not ready to be back at work - or driving.  It's actually turned out wonderful to have the van in the shop and Michael at  home this week. Arielle and I can juggle our schedules and the one car. LOL

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Still Life - Christa Parrish

Still Life, by Christa Parrish is an EXCELLENT book.  A plane crash, photography, glimpses into a religious cult, clear distinctions between an angry and a just/loving God, hurting families ensnared in their choices....very good read. I laughed, I ranted, I cringed, I cried, I thought deeply. This book moved me.

 I want a sequel! I want to know what happens with Adah. I want to see Ethan mature in his faith and profession.

This is a story of loss, hope, renewal, restoration and the providence of God. It is also a story of community....families, friends, church body.

I will look for more books from this author.

Their Blurb: A tragic plane crash. One woman who lost her husband. Another who gave up her seat for him.

Adah spent her first twenty-five years with her family as part of a fringe religious sect. Her only contact with the outside world was through customers at their farm store. Then she met Julian, a photojournalist who'd come to document their lifestyle. They eloped mere days later and Adah was thrust into a completely new life as a wife, city-dweller, and an individual allowed to make her own decisions. But she has no idea who she is.

On her twenty-sixth birthday, Julian plans to fly home from an assignment to give her her first-ever birthday present. He's thrilled when Katherine Cramer gives up her seat so he can make the flight. But the plane crashes and everyone on board is killed, including Julian.

Adah is completely at a loss, with no friends and no marketable skills. When Julian's last photographs are published, her life erupts into chaos. She begins travelling-with Julian's camera for a companion-searching for answers to who she is and what she really wants.

Meanwhile, Katherine must live with the knowledge of why she gave up her seat-to extend her affair one more night. She recognizes her survival as a second chance to save her marriage. But is it too late?

When Adah's and Katherine's paths cross, they discover that there's still life ahead for both of them.

Author Bio: Christa Parrish is the author of five novels, including the 2009 ECPA Book of the Year Watch Over Me and the Christy Award-winning Stones for Bread. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, writer and pastor Chris Coppernoll. They have four children in their blended family.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review; I am disclosing this in accordance with the FederalTrade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Laid Back Sunday

Michael was in rough shape this a.m. and is obviously not ready to be out and about. He's lengthening the time between pain meds. This is good. He's still nauseated now and again.  He told us to go ahead and go to chapel and he'd hold the fort down at home.
Arielle began this - the men finished it

After church I invited several other women whose husband's were gone to go out with the kids and me. It was an impromptu, fun opportunity to connect. If I lived on base I'd have more folks just come on over - but most really don't appreciate the drive to our home. I'm QUITE used to driving at least 30 minutes to get anywhere at this point.  Well - except for the Walmart but I'm evaluating my continued trips to THAT spot.

We've spent another relaxing day at home. It is unreal to have Michael around so this what retirement will be like? Without the pain and meds? ::snort:: 

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Chocolate Fudge Balls (Sugarless)

These are a treat.  I ate exactly one of them - doubt I could eat two. Very rich. These are sugar free, dairy free, gluten free (I think), oil free - and delicious. Who knew sugar-free could taste this good!?

3/4 C pitted dates
1/2 C raw pecans (used what I had)
2 T unsweetened coco powder
2 T unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/16 tsp salt
1 handful of mini-chocolate chips, OPTIONAL

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until a fine crumble forms. If the mixture is too dry, add up to 1 T of water.

Transfer the dough to a gallon size plastic bag and SMUSH into a ball. Break off pieces of dough and "roll" - I had to SMUSH - into balls.

Store covered at room temp up to 3 days, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for us to 2 months.

Per fudge ball - calculated at 10 balls
Calories - 45
Fiber - 2 grams
Protein - .5 gram
Fat - 2 grams
Carbs - 8 grams
Weight Watchers Points - 1

I was pleased to find my new cookbook, Chocolate-covered Katie, has several recipes which use dates or fruit and no sugar.

Many of you know I've not had chocolate in any consistent way in years and none at all for months and months.  I've recently begun to think quite possibly God is after something new in my life - focusing not on the chocolate but sugar (even the "healthy" options).  I'm determined not to be mastered by any food. I'm off all but fruit sugar for at least six weeks. As most chocolate "treats" are loaded with either dairy or sugar most chocolate is out anyway and I've spent the time praying about what to do at the end of six weeks.  And yes, I would eat these sparingly on a  Daniel Fast. Because I don't think fasting means you have to eat cardboard - and there is no sugar or animal products in these - all plant based - but you will need to do what your conscience or the Holy Spirit impresses on YOU.

I used to be terrified of dates - now I'm thankful for the ugly things!

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It Had To End.....

I knew we'd eventually need to put Christmas away. We deliberately left it  up until 6 Jan. I thought I'd pack it all away the afternoon of the 7th when I brought Michael home from his "same day" surgery. You know how well that plan worked.

The kids and I tackled it today. I discovered the root of my reluctance.  As we took things down we decided which things we love enough to keep and store for a decade or so....and which had to go. All the outside lights, wireless music, candy canes and light shows....nativities, signs, books, movies etc....we did it. We even took photos to start a FB album for locals and family to claim things before I take them to the thrift I wonder if I should start stacking things in a side of the garage for a big garage sale. What do you think?

This missionary call is hard core. We've been simplifying for the past five years and here we are. At the point where we will need to decide what is really important enough to pay to store and what we can let go of.

Yes, there is the pull of "things." We are at the peak of our earning potential. We have "things." They are nicer than they were when we first married. They are probably nicer than we will be able to replace them with when we "really retire." Yet, it's not the "things" that made me sniffle as I packed away Christmas.

It was the fact  I needed to keep aside Arielle's Christmas Stocking and ornaments as she may well not be with us in Japan.  Yes, we do talk like we are going to Japan. We believe we will. God hasn't told us anything differently. The assurance grows. It certainly won't hurt to simplify if we DON'T go overseas....but again it wasn't the things. It was realizing  embracing this new dream means letting go of the older dream. The one where we moved to a house in a small town and lived for the remainder of Stacia's childhood, within a days drive from the big kids and Bowers, surrounded by all our things.  Somehow it was easier to let go of the old dream when it was years away....we are now months away from either buying a home in a small town or giving the majority away and putting the rest into storage.

 It's the saying goodbye to say hello....the saying goodbye flat out hurts. Most days I'm o.k. with it all - other days I am terrified  I'll miss out on being vital to grand kids, spending time with aging parents, growing old with girlfriends and more.....

So, today, I am a bit blue....excited about where God is leading....counting the cost and understanding more and more why our family word was and continues to be -  Courage......

From 13 boxes, many BIG TOTES down to this....and most of it won't be going overseas in a suitcase. 

Nolan laughed at this.....look what I found in a box in the garage. It turns out we had a couple of unpacked boxes from the move.  We haven't had a tape player for years - but by golly we have tapes. Nolan remembers spending hours in Alaska rewinding tapes after I discovered him unwinding them. ::snort::  I guess we should have a big unwinding party. That could be fun.

And because the day hadn't been emotional enough I decided to get a year of the blog ready to print. The next year up was 2011 (doing really early one and a sort of current one concurrently). 2011. The year some of our greatest fears materialized.  There are some photos, some  memories which instantly make my gut clench, my eyes threaten to water...and that time....We still live the repercussions of that event.

WHY would we go back? It's not 100% safe.

How can we NOT go back?

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

The Staple Incident

I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. There are two reasons for this - Michael freaked me out with the "staple incident" and I started a good book I couldn't put down.

Michael discovered the doc had left a staple in when he removed the staples. He got some needle nose pliers and commenced to remove the staple himself. I helpfully suggested this was not the wise course of action. I did.

He continued.


"Here De'Etta, you try this."

ACK. I explained I couldn't pull Stacia's tooth. I have to call Zander. I suggested we call Zander. I tried to do it. I tried to really go to a happy place and do it...but ugh.

After a few more attempts Michael asked me to google surgery staples.

UGH the photos....but we discovered that they are shaped like a nose pliers aren't going to work.

"De'Etta, I think if we snip them with wire cutters...."

He got nauseated - very nauseated. I gave him the anti-nausea meds and the man went to sleep - staple intact. I did not sleep.

The surgeon told us to come back in Monday.

There are no photos accompanying this post for obvious reasons - I was too FREAKED OUT to take photos.

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Stacia REALLY Likes Being With ME!

 Today, Stacia told me I'm just FUN.

Yep - me.

She said that I'll always be fun and she loves to spend time with me.

I needed to hear that at the end of a couple of weeks that seem to have taken on a life of their own.

Stacia and I left home early to go to a new favorite spots of ours. We've been determined to explore OUR AREA - rather than driving to the bigger towns nearby.

This determination led us to find Duke's Diner last week. Duke's has been family owned since 1962.  It's close to home. It's a hole in the wall - but we like it.  The waitress knows everyone's name -  but ours - maybe in time?  They have a lunch counter. Everyone's friendly. We see a lot of good, ole' normal folks - of all varieties and we love it.

Stacia said Awful Annie's is her first choice and from all the spots we've been Duke's Diner is her second choice. That's pretty good.

We were so impressed last Saturday a.m. we took the kids to lunch here on Sunday.  We got a kick out of a young boy who walked in, looked around, and said, "My WHOLE LIFE I've wanted to eat in a restaurant like this."  He was enamored with the lunch counter. There aren't a lot of vegan options - but there is a salad...and it was a good salad.

The others loved their super burgers and chicken.

"We've" also had oatmeal, French toast, and crepes. All has been yummy....

Today they brought Stacia's hot chocolate with sprinkles on it.  ::grin::

Directly across from Duke's is a Hispanic Produce market. I remembered the produce terminal in San Antonio - also in the Hispanic section of town - and I had great hope I'd found another treasure. Um....not so much.  There wasn't a lot of produce inside...some but not  a lot....
 And in the midst of it all - she told me I'm fun! She loves spending time with me. I always find interesting things to do.  Sweet words indeed.

Choosing Joy!
©2015 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...