Thursday, February 26, 2015


The kids really want to go to Japan with us in July. We are retiring in August. This is a rather bad time to spend such a chunk of  money from our savings.

July is NOT the best time to try to fly Space A.

We have resigned ourselves to the fact  they will not be coming with us to Japan in July.

Arielle will be out of our home by that time. We will be leaving for a couple of weeks shortly after she moves out.  This is not setting well with my mama heart as I know this is going to be a hard time for Stacia.

We actually feel like it is important for the kids to be a part of this - but they don't HAVE to be on the vision trip. We weren't as missionary kids.  I AM praying there is a way to get us all over there. LOL Oh well, these are OUR thoughts.

Stacia informed us today she thinks the kids NEED to go with us.  She told me five days was LONG ENOUGH to be apart from us, and she doesn't want to do two weeks. I explained the realities of retirement and savings et al. She told me she was starting a lemonade stand right away. ::snort:: That's a whole LOTTA LEMONADE to sell.  I am looking around to see if I could possibly sell enough to earn their air fare. LOL

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Educational Theory

Yes, I asked.

It seems her theory is the brain cells all go to the top of your brain when you read like this.

It is easier to learn if all your brain cells are at the top of your head.

Math is a bit harder to do this way.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fellowship Sunday!

They look pretty good!
Once a month Beale Protestant families prepare a mountain of food and converge on the Far West family for Fellowship Sunday. Maria does a great job of  organizing us. I did my part with a big vegetable salad, brownies, chili san carne, and vegan black bean brownies.

We went to Sunday School.

We helped set up for the potluck.

Ch. Tim T looks so wise after returning from Chaplain School
We all love Mara - She's content with Ch. Brenner

Maria (2nd from L) and Cynthia (R) faithfully work behind the scenes each month
Holly, center R is Ch. Tim's wife

The potluck was followed with a Protestant Advisory Council (PAC) meeting.

We did a bit of clean up after that and headed home for a quick breather before....

We headed out in the evening to cheer on Matt as he was ordained as a minister of the gospel. This is a big step in Matt's  dream to become an Air Force chaplain. I'm amazed at his determination to finish a bachelors, and an MDIV while working overtime as an ACTIVE DUTY member of the Air Force.  We all know this has required sacrifice from the entire family. Well done!  We are praying God makes the way forward clear for this family. I would love to see them in the chapel corps.
Joy, Matt, Rachel (Eliana due in July), Zack
Nathan, Seth
As a side note it was a fun run up to Lodi.  We were very impressed with Noah's Park at The Home Church.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Projects

Arielle joined Stacia and I for breakfast this morning.

The girls chilled and I began baking and cooking for tomorrow's Fellowship Sunday at chapel after breakfast.

Michael had a project for himself and the boys when they got up and moving.  They added a stabilizer to the front of The Caboose. They'd installed one to the rear earlier.  It took longer than they'd hoped, but we have great expectations of being able to roll over without the trailer shaking and rattling. It helped in the rear.

Meanwhile back in the house, Arielle got a head start on the next week of school, Stacia played a "spy" game and I worked on PWOC announcements and slides for March.

We capped off the day by sitting in the backyard onsen.

Michael will run this his sermon another time - and I'll do a bit of reading while we wait for Arielle to get home from babysitting.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tea Anyone?

I am part of a local group called M&Ms - Moms and Mentors.  Inquiring minds will want to know if we eat boatloads of M&Ms at our meetings - no. Never. Not Yet. These are health conscious young moms.  This week, among other topics,  we looked at the balance between sacrificing for our families and tending to self-care. We discussed how both are vital. We have a responsibility to take care of our souls and fill our homes with things which bring us joy - as well as to lay down our lives for our children.  Both. Together.

While preparing for Thursday's meeting, I kept thinking "If I'll die for my kids, why won't I give up my book, computer time, study time, me time for them?"  Now....I am a homeschooling mom. I spend oodles of time with my children. I am  leading Bible studies. I'm immersed in Eschatology. ::wink::   I'm aging - and get TIRED.....finding this balance is a challenge all through life.  I encouraged our gals to start establishing the balance of sacrifice and self-care NOW as a young moms. I waited too long to learn about self-care (5 years ago). We need both.   I realized  I've gotten into the habit of pushing through school, lunch, study prep, ministry needs and then collapsing for my much earned hour of "me time," before dinner and night time routines begin.  But I have an extrovert who NEEDS to interact with SOMEONE and her siblings would like to crash for me time too. Balance - all about balance.

Nothing fancy - sugar free balls, crackers, the Word and each other
In the middle of this exhausting and busy week, I was led to begin having daily "tea" with Stacia. The older ones and I did this for years. In the midst of the busy - at 2 or 3 p.m. we'd gather at the table for a quick snack,  tea, hot chocolate or juice in pretty mugs/cups.  It was one of the reasons we fought to have time at HOME in those years. Routines change with moves and somehow this one got lost. I instituted tea time again....and Stacia loves it.

This is one way I can both lay down my life for my kids AND do something that feeds my soul and brings me joy. It will be different for YOU.  BTW soaking in the backyard onsen together is pretty awesome too and accomplishes the same things.

Tea time allows us to connect each  most days. We are currently working through Stacia's devotional together while I try to remember the title of the book Arielle and I did about becoming a young lady. ::snort:: I have chosen to use  my "Misawa mentor group tea cup," which reminds me to pray for sweet friends from Misawa and to mentor my daughters, as well. Stacia loves her Barbie mug because it's HERS, "No one else in the house will use it!" This is important to her.

The older kids have more school work and don't have such a great need to connect. Eventually,  Stacia and I felt we should invite them to join us a couple of times a week.  Friday afternoons seem perfect...the week is ending, the school is done....we transition together. 

Today, after Page Turners, I dropped by Papa Murphys for dinner and Safeway/Starbucks for some "tea treats."  The kids had done their chores while I was out and the house sparkled. Stacia and I set it all out pretty - matching china, great grandma's silver spoons and lace and lots of healthy treats to supplement the sweet treats. Then she  called them down. Note the cow bell is not used to summon to tea. ::snort::  You don't HAVE to go to this much work - I will only do this much work once a week - Friday afternoon.

It was great fun and brought back so many memories of tea time with the older ones in TX,  AK,  MT......

It was a sweet time to connect - even with the older ones. We all shared a highlight of our week: The birth of Noble, Kyle and Erika's son, math, serving in the Preschool room, time with friends and tea times.

We read our devo - which in the end fits girls or boys regardless of the color of the cover. It "happened" to tie in EXACTLY with the theme of laying down your life for others. We thought about and discussed this question, "What would you be willing to die for?" We discussed the martyrs in this week's news, prayed for their families, and  marveled at their singing and calm while facing imminent death. We resolved we would die for family and faith.  We cringed at how some are called to denounce or watch family tortured and killed or denounce faith. We committed to pray for persecuted believers.

And THEN - I shared the question God had ringing in my heart all week, "If I'd die for my family, why can't I lay aside 30 min of Wii, or reading, or facebook?"

Yep -a good practice to reinstate. I was amazed and a bit melancholy when I realized I no longer have a toddler in a highchair to police during tea time. LOL The really cool conversation made up for  the lack of toddlers.  When we began years ago the conversations were vastly different.

Note boys will like tea time if you serve their favorite snacks and kids who don't like tea still like juice, milk or hot chocolate in their cup. When the kids were little we found THEIR tea cups at thrift stores.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My New Obsession

Yes, life is busy.....and yes, long weekends are marvelous and short weeks are treacherous.... This week has been full of travel, babysitting, loving on family and friends, Bible studies, meetings for retreat and leadership selection, Mom & Mentors and book clubs....but really, my time is short and my attention away from blogging because.....

I am immersed in Daniel, Revelation and Matthew. I'm "facilitating" a Beth Moore study on Daniel. (Do we like to term everything facilitators because we think we'll not fall under the "stricter judgment" for teacher clause in James if we don't "teach"? Just wondering.....)  I believe a teacher, or facilitator,  has a responsibility to teach the word of God as accurately as she can. I am not one to parrot any Bible study teacher/preacher.  I may agree with the view of the video lecturer but I want a breadth of knowledge on the topic when I "teach." I want to KNOW what I believe when I lead a study.  I want to know WHAT and WHY others believe DIFFERENTLY.  BUT this whole End Times thing is not one I've been worried enough about to spend the hours needed to be sure I know what I believe....and so I'm doing Beth Moore and MORE.....much more. It's amazing all the really good, free resources you can find online.

I feel like the eschatology thing is a big, tangled, messy knot.  As I look at one leads to another....and another but I'm never quite sure how it all connects - except for the big knot in the middle. I suspect there is one strand,  I'll grab and it will unravel the whole tangled knot.....maybe when least expected. Sort of like the daily tug of war with Stacia's snarls.

I take comfort in believing there are spine and rib issues in the body. In eschatology the fact that Christ WILL come again seems to be a spine issue. When and how seem, to me, to be rib issues. I'm comfortable disagreeing on these issues - not being dogmatic - but I do want to know WHAT I believe and WHY I believe it and WHICH Scriptures lead me to believe it.

4 Gentile Empires
At this point, I've discerned the differences between Amillennialists, Historic Premillennialists and Dispensational Premillennialists.  I've looked at pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib and now pre-wrath views for the second coming of Christ. I'm through Daniel's second prophecy and they ARE to see the fulfillment and how figures we've studied in history fit into the picture....I understand the Little Horn of Ch. 7 is not the "small horn which grows" of Ch. 8....and the beasts - always the beasts.

I discerned  the  view of my upbringing - Dispensational/Pre-trib Premillennialism.  I've accepted this view  without a lot of questioning or understanding as to what was really believed, not fully understanding WHY some verses were interpreted to be "referring to Jews." Beth Moore teaches Pre-Trib Dispensational Premillennialism.  I AM familiar with this view - the more I study the less sure I am  this is where I will ultimately land. 

I've always wondered about scriptures which seem to place believers in the tribulation....and now I see the Pre-trib dispensational premillennialist camp defines "saints" as "Jews"....therefore, when they see an END TIME verse which mentions saints or believers they interpret it to mean "Jews" or "Jewish Believers." They see a clear distinction between the "church" and "Israel or Jewish believers."  My summary of the view would be something like this, Jesus raptures the church before the hairy stuff begins and all the nasty stuff happens to the Jewish nation and then we all come back and live happily for 1000 years with Jesus. Of course, if you know ME, you know my next thought is WHY would you define "saints" as, and I quote from Kay Arthur/Zodhiates here, "holy ones set apart by God, for God; a transaction which happens the moment one believes in the Messiah in both the NT and OT,"  and then interpret the  term in Daniel or Revelation  to mean Israel?.  I just need one of the experts in this camp to answer the WHY for me - but they haven't so far in all my reading.

I'm also currently studying Ephesians on Wednesday night with chapel adults. Paul goes to great lengths to say there is ONE body - that Jesus died to create ONE CHURCH that is both Jewish and Gentile....and Galatians says the same...  I'm stuck looking for a solid understanding of why Jesus would die to create one church and then in the end separate them and then unite them again. Yes, I HAVE read Beth Moore, John MacArthur, Kay Arthur,  David Jeremiah, John Walvoord and  David Guzik. I grasp and understand why they believe this - I'm not sure I do. I'm not sure I don't. As I said - I see it as a rib issue - but I would like to know what I believe nonetheless. I'm a Berean type who has avoided this tangled mess long. LOL

In my reading I find Kay Arthur has changed her view on some of these issues - and if KAY ARTHUR can change her mind on something she previously researched, I figure I can be open to changing too. ::snort:: She gave a challenge in a lecture on Revelation to find any mention of a seven year tribulation in the Bible....she says Scripture talks of a 31/2 year GREAT TRIBULATION but not a 7 year tribulation. Not sure what her point would be other than she's  possibly open to a mid-trib interpretation these days - though the charts all show pre-trib. ::wink::

So where am I? In the middle of the knot. I AM enjoying it - which surprises me. I'm loving it in fact. I would like to find some reputable, scripturally accurate scholars who hold a view other than pre-trib premillennialists to explore. Beth Moore insists over and over that many "brilliant Biblical scholars" hold different positions on eschatology.  I'd like to find some from the varying camps to read. I'm mainly finding dispensational premillennialists.  I've done my word studies and find I need a bit of commentary at this point to understand why some take the same word this way and others another.  All my familiar commentaries, not surprisingly, take the view of my childhood; quite possibly the view of most my readers and friends. 
I've learned that Historical Premillennialism was the earliest church belief on End Times - the church would go through the tribulation and there would be a literal kingdom established afterwards.  Pretribulational premillennialism or dispensationalism, gained popularity since the nineteenth century. Maybe that's why all the stuff I find holds this view - it's more "current."

I've learned a lot - and I'm loving it. I'm still searching for the one strand that will answer my questions as to WHY we split the ONE CHURCH to two during the tribulation and join together again at the Second Coming.

I never looked serene giving birh
And the two groups I'm "leading?" We are enjoying Daniel. Beth's lectures always help to answer some of our questions. She explains her position well - if not as fully as *I* would like.  The group is not in the middle of the tangled mess with me - I don't think.  Beth makes total sense to them.  Seriously, if God gives one a spiritual gift of teaching - that one will be driven to understand all sides....I am not confusing the group with my obscure finds. LOL

If you have resources to recommend I read - send them along. I HAVE discovered David Jeremiah
Wayne Grudem and John Walvoord do NOT make great bedtime reading....unless you LIKE dreaming of beasts, horns, women giving birth and swarms of vultures.

Bottom line - I do believe, regardless of what we believe, it will all turn out exactly as God plans for it to turn out in the end. One of our college professors borrowed the term "pan-trib," it will all pan out in the end.

It's incredible how many words I had to add to my "dictionary" writing this post - and wow did blogger's spell check light up. ::snort::

Monday, February 16, 2015

We're home

Thanks to Yuuki, Michael's shoulder angel, we made it home safely. She's better than a GPS. The family's best back seat driver. LOL
We started late and just got home. Dinner (mac and cheese) is cooking. For the first time EVER we will unpack and clean the trailer tomorrow instead of day we arrive home. Driving all day can tire a person out. LOL

CA Vending Station - makes us miss Japan's Vending stations

Here are a few random photos I found on my phone....

The River (Smith River) was an aquamarine color I'd never seen it before. Michael explained it's always this color this time of year - means the salmon are running....makes me tempted to get a CA fishing license and go back.
Good to be home.

A Gorgeous Day

Arielle has informed us that some moments are "Magical Musical Moments." She stands by this. I remain convinced that 0200 is NOT the time for Magical Musical Moments. Stacia has been TELLING us she can't sleep because Arielle keeps her awake talking and singing all night. We THOUGHT she was given to exaggeration. It is now apparent that Arielle sings all night long some nights.....and this makes the idea of her not living in the trailer with us much easier to adjust to. ::snort::

Today was another unseasonably WARM day in Crescent City - 70's in February. Once everyone had cycled through the showers we headed across the street to Hiouchi Cafe. This is an OLD 1940's cabin turned bar, turned restaurant. In it's day it was quite the place. Michael's Grandpa Jack served drinks at the bar and his Grannie Annie was known to play the piano here in the 1940's. In the over 30 years I've been coming here - and all of Michael's life - we've never eaten here. I suppose it's too close to home to mess with eating out. LOL  With Mom G's tales ringing in our ears, it was fun to stop in for breakfast this morning. I  may pack less breakfast items in the future.

Krista left to drive back to Oregon. 

First of the year in Mom G's yard

 We spent another day visiting with Mom G, doing a few jobs she'd saved for us and enjoying playing BY (not in) the river.

Standing in the front yard looking upriver
 We hadn't done anything for our anniversary and so we settled the kids at the trailer with meatballs and pasta and headed for Crescent City and dinner at the Good Harvest Café. We got a good laugh out of the waitress looking at us and saying, "You'd like to be upstairs, I assume." Turns out upstairs has great view of the harbor - but is also the bar area.

We enjoyed our dinner and watched the sun set over the harbor.  Of course we HAD to take some time and walk along the docks and harbor....enjoyed Battery Point Lighthouse from this view and talked.....favorite memories of 31 day, cabin in the woods in AK, Winter sleigh ride in AK....good times.

Rebuilt in 2011 after the Japan Tsunami washed ashore here in Michael's home

What about this couple says, "Seat them in the bar?" Michael insists it has to be my sweatshirt - since his was the Elmendorf Gospel Choir Sweatshirt - I suspect he may be correct. 
Still smiling after 31 years

My love, Venus and our Lighthouse

This cracked us up. It was a message on Tsunamis - there have been a couple here of note - but you had to crank the thing up to hear the message.
We stopped by a store on the way back to camp to buy a few snacks for the trip and some snacks to leave with Mom G.  We also filled up with gas.

Michael is over for a last visit and we are buttoning up the trailer......Arielle isn't feel well - full case of flu I think or food poisoning? - praying this drive home ends better than it's beginning.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

31st Anniversary

Happy First Anniversary to BreZaak. Happy 49th birthday to my brother, Will. Happy 31st Anniversary to Michael and I.
I awoke in a crabby mood as I contemplated our upcoming changes and living in such cramped quarters in a few months. Michael lovingly shared the following verses with me,
“If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace,
How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?" Jeremiah 12:5
Being exceedingly crabby makes one theologically dense and I asked how in the world that applied to the situation. Oh. If you can't survive in The Caboose in America which you know are you going to survive in a Japanese apartment? Not one to give up easily, I retorted the apartment was sure to bigger than the trailer....however, point taken. Don't you hate it when there's a verse that point out your sin so clearly? I really was not choosing joy. Living in The Caboose will be will make an apartment in Japan seem spacious - I HOPE. 
Our Valentine's Celebration got underway early in The Caboose with this treat bought in Misawa, Japan  and saved for the "right" occasion. Isn't that odd of me? This was my last tangible piece of Misawa and I simply didn't want to let it go.....and yet it seemed right to enjoy it together 1 1/2 years later we all shared our Meiji chocolate almonds for Valentine's Day.

Krista packed  a lunch while the rest of us got ready and we headed across the river to visit Mom G. She is an amazingly tough woman. She's doing well after surgery.

We enjoyed making videos of some stories until we abruptly ran out of battery. Maybe more tomorrow.  It was a beautiful day and so we moved our party outside to the front deck. BEAUTIFUL day in CRESCENT CITY in FEBRUARY! We think it was up in the low 70's.

We did a couple of small jobs for Mom G and will do more tomorrow.

 It was SUCH a nice day that Stacia was determined to go swimming. Krista and Nolan were game.  My camera was dead;  I snapped a few shots with my phone. Stacia waded in...the rest were content to wade....just after this she dove in....and eventually these two followed suit.

Arielle was content to sit on this rock and think
At some point in the day caretakers at a home in the park threatened to unleash their two big dogs (Pit Bull and Rottweiler) and let them attack the children. Why? They felt the beach was their  "private beach." There IS no private beach along the Smith River.  Stacia was terrified. has lived here for 80 years - we know  the boundaries. I could not BELIEVE someone would actually threaten  to sic attack dogs on children in the park. Neighbors are neighborly here. She said she was calling the cops. Michael nearly called the sheriff to file a complaint about the incident. We also discovered Mom G had had an incident with them also. He decided to call the owner of the property instead.  They are in Italy, but we have emailed them to let them know this behavior is not acceptable.  I hope he isn't aware of this and doesn't condone it.
Climbing right below Mom G's house - no ones private beach ::snort::
We burned some burgers and veggie burgers and had a yummy dinner at the campsite...We are enjoying Krista's quick visit.
Featherstone guarded the camp well while we were out
We brought this little stove from Mom's and we'll return it tomorrow.
No camping adventure would be complete without a chapter or two of Patrick McManus

Friday, February 13, 2015

Road Trip

Yuuki watched the activity this morning and went and placed herself in the van. She knows the routine and was NOT going to be left behind on the first Road Trip of 2015!

 Hwy 20 and Hwy 101 are BEAUTIFUL....torturously winding....but beautiful. Five of us slept thanks to Dramamine......but the glimpses we DID catch were beautiful. The road was too windy for DVDs - sleeping was good.
Napping with Yuuki
We set up camp - Featherstone came out his bag.....Michael weathered the trip fairly well.
Featherstone's Debut
We set up camp. Michael  is stretched out - it was a long drive to make - but we really wanted to touch base with Mom G.  I think I need to buy him another running set.

Dinner in The Caboose
The kids' back bunkhouse has 4 beds.....the girls curtain off their bunks. Stacia will sleep on the table this trip as Krista is joining us and will get her bed.  Krista called and was stuck behind a big accident. Poor thing is going to be tired when she arrives.

Until she arrives we'll play games. I am looking around and thinking what needs to be tweaked to LIVE in this thing. LOL

Power Slap!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Then There Was Thursday

Michael went back to work today. I suspect he ran like a crazy man. He got home about 7 p.m.

The kids and I finished two days of couch school - it's easy when you're reading Moccasin Trail. Stacia finished the Explode the Code I'd slated for the year - I ordered the final two books of the series.

We cleaned the house. We did boat loads of laundry. The normal Thursday stuff after an incredibly hectic Mon - Wed. 

There was also a bit of this....just me....I realized I've begun to lose the art of Japanese bathing....just for in the middle of the afternoon.....after school was done and when I'd usually crash....I headed upstairs to a very hot shower, alternated with cold bursts...I lathered, I exfoliated and repeated. I washed my hair and then put a conditioner on and pinned it on top of my head. I dug out the onsen basin....filled it with cold water, found an onsen towel....and headed for the backyard onsen. Ah - as near as I can come stateside....Stacia helpfully suggested, when we retire, we build walls around the onsen so I can do it the right way - nekkid - and invite the neighbors.  I love the mix of cultures she exhibits.... LOL

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Zander is 13!

Once upon a time we had four teens young adults in our family at the same time. As of today we have three in our family at the same time....Zander turned 13!

We actually went out to lunch yesterday to celebrate as we KNOW Wednesdays are impossible for celebrations. ::snort::

Today we left home at 0730 to get ready for a rousing PWOC day. Stacia had been bugging him to wear the "flying pig" on his birthday - and he did. Evidently the preschool kids really wore him out.

Just a minute to brag on this young man.  He is doing so WELL with these kids and is faithfully helping Angela (and Arielle) week in and week out. He's learned how to decipher some of the more intricate cues of the kids.  He's thriving.  THIS is the one we were told wouldn't be able to function without lots of meds - if at all - and he functions well. This is the one who I was told would never be able to read phonetically - and yes - we are "delayed" - but we took our time, and he reads - well. We're working on the mechanics of writing now.  I fully expect him to be "caught up" by the end of this year or middle of next year. He has worked hard and is doing so well....Yes, we ARE believers in trying diet changes before drugs after seeing the difference it made in Zander. He INTERACTS WITH ALL OF US now; Stacia most of all.  Nine years ago he was really in his own world or interacted with us on HIS TERMS.  He has worked hard as we have worked to teach him social cues others seem to grasp naturally. He works hard to control the level of stimuli which used to cause "meltdowns," rocking or hurting himself. We lovingly called him our "alphabet kid," all those years ago -  due to all the alphabetic labels he was given.  My heart is full when I see the young man he is becoming - uniquely created to serve his Master.

After PWOC and PWOC board meeting we came home and opened gifts.....he also has one paper rain check but most of his gifts arrived in time.
We dug into the SECOND ice cream cake of the week.

Zander in a smoky haze!