Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fantastic Weekend

My fantastic weekend began early Friday morning. Tane and I drove to Towada to visit a used Kimono/Obi shop. It turns out they weren't open. I don't regret the early morning trip at all. I enjoyed the time to unwind and visit with Tane.

Friday afternoon we met our friend Kim and Jun. Ryu stayed home to work. We are THANKFUL that you let them come visit, Ryu. What a blessing your family was to us....and oh the things Kim taught me about Japan.

From 2010-01-29-31
Kim first came to Japan in 1985 or 1986. She returned, after teaching at various Bible Colleges and working for various Mission's organizations, in 1996 with Asian Access. It was such a surprise to renew our acquaintance and GROW our friendship via Facebook...and a few months later to find out that we were moving to Japan. Misawa is "close" to Tokyo on a map - but it takes 8 hours to drive, 3 1/2 hours via train, an hour via plane.

Kim was invaluable as we prepared to move to Japan. She explained the culture to the children (and us). Ryu, Kim and Jun met us in Tokyo when we arrived. She's answered my questions, taught me phrases (Torie Wa Desuka - Where's the bathroom), always laughed at the silliness of the things we wondered about, but never in a condescending way..... it was a joy to have Kim and Jun visit this weekend.

I'll post later about all the little things she showed me in the kitchen, things that will make life here easier. She helped me unravel the mysterious kitchen aisles at Homac. She ALSO taught me that what I THOUGHT were futons were only the MATTRESS PADS...and what I thought were futon covers are actually FUTONS. We bought covers for the futons this weekend.

I also learned the inner lid of my rice steamer can be removed and cleaned....leaving me to wonder, Kim, is there an inner lid that can be removed in my electric water pump thing?

I had plans to take them to the beach, Shiriya Lighthouse, Oriase the end we simply stayed home, watched our children play, and caught up on 25 years of news. Mike has been in the midst of an Exercise. He had to go in to work Saturday. That gave us time to just sit...and talk...sip tea....Ryu and Kim are moving to America soon...and as silly as it is, afterall, we CAN keep up via Internet and that IS how we reconnected, it makes me sad not to have Kim in Tokyo. In fact, I cried as we left the train station this a.m. I do hate goodbyes these days.

From 2010-01-29-31
These princesses LOVED dancing and Zander was the only available partner.
From 2010-01-29-31
Dancing and Homac proved to be too much for Jun - nearly did Stacia in too.
From 2010-01-29-31
They perked right up when the chance to lick the brownie bowl presented itself. We have Jared to thank for these photos.
From 2010-01-29-31
From 2010-01-29-31
It appears in Japan, bowls are licked a bit enthusiastically by pre-school girls. ::snort:: After this the bowl went on each one's head....and THEN Jun was about to lick some mix out of Stacia's hair. By that time Kim and I arrived on the scene. Moral of this experiment? Never leave two pre-schoolers from ANY culture alone with a brownie mixing bowl. ::snort::
From 2010-01-29-31

We all had much fun this weekend. It would be hard to say if Kim and I, or Jun and Stacia had more fun. We pray this was a nice bit of refreshment in the midst of the international move frenzy.

It was also fun to see "base life" through Kim's eyes. She mentioned that the first thing she was going to do when she got back to America is have "American Pizza". Can you imagine mayo, mashed potatoes, corn, fish etc on your pizzas at Pizza Hut? I guess they don't have the same menu country to country. ::snort:: We could help out with this dream, we ate at Pizza Hut on base Saturday Night and Sunday Night Kim taught me to make Gyudon. We got the better end of that deal. LOL

I loved seeing how fluent Kim is in Japanese...I can dream. ::snort::

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Hasty Pudding....

We have been enjoying Hasting Pudding, Johnnycakes and Other Good Stuff by Loretta Frances Ichord.

Here's a fun the Southern Colonies "Beaten Biscuits" became popular. They would put the biscuit dough on a chopping block an pound it with a hammer or the flat end of an ax. It was said 300 whacks were "enough" but no less than 500 whacks would do for company. Why all the beating? Baking Powder hadn't been invented yet, this made the biscuits light and airy. Of course, I doubt this would have been such a popular dish if young slaves weren't given the job of beating the biscuits. We didn't try this recipe.

Liberty Tea, drinking by colonialists was RASPBERRY LEAF TEA, the very same tea I drink daily quarts of. ::snort:: The kids weren't impressed.

Thomas Jefferson wrote down the first ice cream recipe in America. George Washington had the first ice cream maker on record.

We did try, "Maple Wheaten Bread". I dreamed of it tasting like the maple bread from our tasted like good old fashioned whole wheat bread. LOL
We ground the wheat.
From 2010-01-29-31
They did all the measuring.
From 2010-01-29-31
They opted for 10 minutes of hand kneading over the Bosch.
From 2010-01-29-31
It's a "dough man".
From 2010-01-29-31
And now I'm motivated to figure out how to bring in a couple of more grain buckets and get back to baking 7 grain bread.
From 2010-01-29-31
We have quite a few other recipes we want to try from this book... but I thought I'd comment on it before we move on to another time period. We have enjoyed the recipes and the tidbits. If you are studying Colonial America with elementary aged students (or even older), this is a fun addition to your texts.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tea with Hezbollah: Sitting at the Enemies Table Our Journey Through the Middle East Giveaway

Publisher's Summary: Tea with Hezbollah combines nail-biting narrative with the texture of rich historical background, as readers join novelist Ted Dekker and his co-author and Middle East expert, Carl Medearis, on a hair-raising journey. They are with them in every rocky cab ride, late-night border crossing, and back-room conversation as they sit down one-on-one with some of the most notorious leaders of the Arab world. These candid discussions with leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas, with muftis, sheikhs, and ayatollahs, with Osama bin Laden’s brothers, reveal these men to be real people with emotions, fears, and hopes of their own. Along the way, Dekker and Medearis discover surprising answers and even more surprising questions that they could not have anticipated—questions that lead straight to the heart of Middle Eastern conflict.

Through powerful narrative Tea With Hezbollah will draw the West into a completely fresh understanding of those we call our enemies and the teaching that dares us to love them. A must read for all who see the looming threat rising in the Middle East.

Author's Bios: Ted Dekker is the author of many nationally bestselling novels, including Bone Man’s Daughters, The Circle Trilogy, Thr3e, and House, which was coauthored by Frank Peretti. His unique style of storytelling has captured the attention of millions worldwide. Visit him at

Carl Medearis is the founder and president of International Initiatives, LLC, an organization that promotes cultural, educational, and commercial exchange between the East and the West. He is an advisor on Arab affairs to the members of the U.S. Congress and leaders in international business.

My Thoughts: I try to carefully select the books I will review. I don't want to be obligated to read a book that doesn't interest me. I don't think it is fair to Waterbrook to pick books I won't like and write negative reviews. I am a Ted Dekker fan. Knowing that Muslims and Christians both revere Jesus, Muslims as a prophet and Christians as the Son of God, I found the premise of Tea with Hezbollah fascinating. Two Americans, meeting with leaders of the Muslim world for the sole purpose of asking, "Is it possible to love our enemies as Jesus teaches?" I expected to observe leaders wrestle with the implication of this question. I expected interviews without filters and without political commentary slipping in. I was happy to receive a copy of this book to review and give away.

It's taken me a bit of time to figure out if I like or dislike this book. It was a good read. There were things I liked about the book.

I enjoyed reading the transcripts from the interviews (more on that later).

I found the story of Nicole, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee, which weaves through the narrative, fascinating!

I found the history shared intriguing.

I was bothered by Ted's commentary. I wanted to read the interviews and form my own conclusions. I didn't appreciate comments that sought to instruct me on true Christianity and true Islam. I didn't appreciate phrases such as, "so called war on terror"....why? I can form my own opinion on these issues, that wasn't the purpose of THIS book. I was impatient to reach the insightful interviews and answers of leaders in the Muslim world. By the first interview, I was tired of hearing about the danger of this trip. This slowed the pace of the book and left me bored. I began to feel his repeated emphasis on the danger he was in was silly and whiny. He did not HAVE to make this trip if he believed it to be so dangerous. He was making the trip to write a book and earn money. Fine; don't expect a lot of sympathy from me or kudos for bravery on this front. Many of the world's military are going to that part of the country, facing much more danger and talking much less about the danger. It didn't sit well.

The interviews, as I said, were interesting. I felt, however, they often fell short of delving into the heart of the question, "Is it possible to love your enemies?" Most of the interview was filled with things like, "What makes you laugh," "What is your favorite joke"? I understand the technique, but I WANTED to hear insightful answers. Finally, usually near the end of the interview, Ted would lob his question. Often a soft ball answer was given, and Ted didn't follow up. I didn't see questions that led to wrestling with the question, or insightful sharing. I felt the book fell short of really answering the question, "Is it possible to love your enemies?"

To state it plainly….the parts of this book I loved; I loved. Between the interviews, historical snippets and Nicole cameos, I found myself bored.

I would recommend this book if you are looking for an interesting travelogue, are curious about the interviews with Muslim leaders (some were good and thought provoking - I cry each time I pray to God), or want to know more about the history of this part of the world. If you expect to have the question in the title answered you may be disappointed.

Waterbrook has graciously supplied a copy of this book for me to giveaway. It may help you to know that all the reviews I've read of this book have been positive. YOU may love it. ::snort:: If you would like to win this book, simply leave a comment to enter the drawing. I'll choose a winner after noon JST, Saturday, 6 February. You'll have one week to be sure I have mailing info (which will be destroyed after the book is mailed, I really am NOT building a database ::snort::). If mailing info is not sent to me within a week, I will pick a new winner.
Readers in Japan, or with APO addresses, will be given first priority in this drawing as we OBVIOUSLY don't have all the options of libraries and Christian Bookstores nearby. Also, the monthly "Japanese themed giveaways" will be of little use to Asian residents. If no one from the above categories responds, we'll choose from the other comments. Leave your comments.

This book is on my 2010 Reading List.

Disclaimer: This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I receive no payment, other than the book, for posting this review. If you'd like more information, click the link in the sidebar.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Rosetta Stone Giveaway

How did I miss hearing about this on homeschool blogs or SHS? Are y'all holding out on me? Anyway - it's worth a shot at winning. LOL

Surround your family with language. By taking them there!

Travel to Paris, Madrid and Barcelona with Homeschoolers from all over the United States. Join Rosetta Stone Homeschool, Heart of the Matter and Fusefly on the inaugural Homeschool Language Learning and Networking Trip August 2-11, 2010. Become immersed in new lands, explore history, culture, art and community. And truly speak to the world. For more details visit Rosetta Stone.

Hurry, registration for the trip ends February 15, 2010.

For your chance to win a Rosetta Stone language product, please visit Heart of the Matter.

Entries are being accepted until February 1st.

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Gyudon - Japanese Beef Bowl - English included

Totally enjoying Kim and Jun. We'll put them on a train tomorrow morning. This is a YUMMY dish that she made tonight. We added cornstarch and a bit of Agave Netar. (4人分)



※ (*)印のついている工程は、レシピ詳細ページにて写真を見ることができます。

OK - English Directions - serves 4 people

3/4 lb thin Beef (300 grams)
1/2 Onion
2 or 3 Green Onions
1 C Broth (250 ml)
3 T Japanese Sake/wine
3 T Mirin (sweet wine)
1/4 C Sugar
1/4 C Soy Sauce
1 1/2 T ginger root (raw - 1 piece)

Cut stips of meet into 1 inch pieces
Thinly slice onion
Cut green oinion and wash well
Cut and peel ginger into thin matchsticks
Put broth in a hot fry pan with ginger
When it boils add (sake, mirin, sugar, soy sauce)
When it boils again, add beef.
Skim the foam off.
Add onion.
When it boils again, turn it down and simmer, covered 5 - 6 min (or until tender)
Add green onion and cook 1 -2 min (covered).
Sever over bowls of rice.

*We added corn starch (potato flour used here) and some Agave Nectar is it was a bit too salty. We tripled the beef and doubled the sauce. It was all gone. There were nine of us. Thanks for this recipe, Kim.

Click for more Yummy Eats.
Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...