Sunday, June 29, 2014


In an effort not to get any further behind I will just start blogging now and will "back date" the blogs from 3 weeks ago that I need to catch up. LOL 

Today was   Family Sunday - as well as Volunteer Appreciation. I knew there was SOMETHING going on. On family Sunday our children's ministry workers join us for service - one big happy family.  We said goodbye to Ashley and her family. She's been one of our great workers for several years. 

After service we headed over to the club for the appreciation luncheon.  It was a nice buffet. It's always fun to have a chance for leisurely fellowship with each other

Arielle has a following wherever she goes. LOL
Stacia was excited to have Maya sit with us, ride over to the club with us and then she sat with HER and her grandparents at lunch. I could tell it made her feel grown up. I only had to remind them not to talk in church once or twice. LOL 

 SHOOT. Missed opportunities. Angel and I realized we should have been taking Arielle over to visit with Karen all these months. His wife, Karen, doesn't speak English yet. She moved here from Puerto Rico when they moved to Beale.  She could have really taught Arielle some Spanish and it would have blessed her too.

Little bit of last sister time for a couple of months. 
We spent the afternoon reading news reports, checking State Department sites, maps, talking on the phone with missionary friends,  Skyping with boys and Krista and praying.  Just off the last Skype and we're going to bed.

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

He Loves Me Well

This weekend was Beale's PWOC Board Training and Planning Retreat. It was a lot of work  to get to the start line....always is.... but this is the first weekend I've organized a "board retreat"  post PWOCI and WILD training.  This HAD to be not just planning, but training.  I am AMAZED we got through five training sessions (Beale's Vision (My vision), PWOC 101, PWOC 201, Dressed for Success, Team Work) AND planned an upcoming year, complete with reports from several ministry team leaders! Totally amazed....

The board retreat was here in our home - and it worked as well as I'd prayed it would. It was intimate, close for those with babies who wanted  to run home, allowed plenty of room for those who wanted to spend the night and I think all feel they know me more for having been in our home.  I planned simple meals and did what prep work I could before the retreat and during the times when the gals were working in small groups. This saved us TIME as we didn't have to break for meals.

Those who still had the energy DID go for dinner Saturday night before we "broke."  I had very, very few words left. Time and touch are my love languages and I feel connected to this group after this weekend. I felt a bit disconnected from my family. LOL

While I did this -

Michael took the kids with him to a resiliency event the chapel hosted - white water rafting!  They spent the night in the trailer at fam camp. Saturday they went bowling, to the mall, wal-mart and I don't know what all.

I got home at 9:30 p.m. to a waiting family, lots of excited stories AND flowers and a dvd of a movie I had really wanted to see but missed when it came out. This man loves me so well.

PWOC - Protestant Women of the Chapel - Military Women's Ministry

WILD - Women in Leadership Development - training previously provided by PWOC Region and International leadership. 

PWOCI - used as a stand in for regional and international leadership teams in this case

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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

She Did It and a Quick Update

Look at this! I remember how to blog! I promise to update next week.  However - TODAY....the boys saw the dentist in a town 50 minutes away.  

She DID IT! 

She won the challenge and got the bucks....though she shared the picture.

The kids and Michael are going on an adventure tomorrow. 

I will be hosting and training our local PWOC board Fri-Sat.  Michael will keep the kids at fam camp. They have fun things planned. 

Sunday will be busy - I can't remember what but I remember something happens the 29th. LOL 

Arielle leaves the 1st. 

I'll be back to blog - soon! 

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dental Trip

This is VBS week and I'll write a VBS post at the end of the week. ::snort:: 

HOWEVER - today - with the help of a dear friend - we pulled off VBS AND a trip to the dentist for three of us - AND getting the boys home so they didn't have to spend the  day at the chapel. LOL 

Arielle had 3 cavities filled, Stacia 2 and ME _ THREE!!!! I have a terrible time numbing...and have had several dentists tell me I don't numb and just work on me anyway - so this is NOT something I look forward to. 

These guys are good. It did take 1 hour and 40 minutes for ME...and that was just a bit too can play waterfalls on my headphones, turn up the massage and I still no THIS IS ENFORCED CAPTIVITY. ::wink:: 

In only a De'Etta Dental type of way....something went  a bit awry with the zinged across my lip (and the gal apologized so I know it's not supposed to), numbed my tongue and my eye.....hoping to be back to normal by VBS Day 4.  All in all I was thrilled to be numb....and the work is done. I really DO like this office a lot. Doctor Mrs. is great with the kids. All good. 

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

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Arielle Celebrates!

We love having young adults. I think it may be my favorite age. Watching the woman of God Arielle is becoming brings us great joy. She's a wonderful gift to our family. It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming her to the family in a Great Falls, MT hospital!  Seventeen years old. She will spend the summer at a Mexican orphanage and then begin her Senior year. Amazing. 

Good choice, Arielle! 

There seems to be a theme! 

She'd been telling us she wanted Michael got her this one. She was a great sport. 

Priceless! The moment she found the note telling her about her book credit at Amazon. 

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

Prep Day

VBS prep - more paws, another coat of glow in the dark paint stars, looking over script for our station...

Sermon Prep - been a busy week so most of the hours were put in (and will be put in) today. 

Service Prep - got together the PWOC promo for the ladies tomorrow.  It's pretty sad when THIS is the best photo the girls grabbed of me. ::snort:: I'm sporting what I've come to call my "California Dress." I know why they all wear them now.  Yes, I DO have a floppy hat too. 

AND  - today - is  the day we are celebrating Arielle's 17th birthday here at home with dinner of her choice, gifts and cake of her choice.  There can be NO other reason that I would heat up the oven to 375* on a day when the temps are topping 100*.  I had hoped she'd want to eat out. We will take them to their favorite restaurant - but she HAD chosen Cafe Yumm before - maybe that impacted her choice.  Regardless, she sort of made my day when she requested Vegetable Pot Pie....and then I thought I'd need to go buy some chicken to make Chicken Pot Pie for the boys but Nolan said, "No, it's o.k. we all like the Vegetable." So...not happy to have something in the oven for an hour on such a warm day - but thrilled they like something healthy. ::snort::

I made Stacia's day by making Renee's Lemonade for dinner, too.
Did I say it was warm? Turned on the AC at 3:00 when the temps inside passed 80*

The idea of Watermelon Frosteies keep these two happily scooping out a "not quite perfect" melon. The melon I bought at Trader Joe's has been declared the best of the season to this point. I guess something good will come out of driving to the dentist in Roseville this week. LOL 

I'll write more about Arielle's celebration later on tonight.

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

Friday, June 06, 2014

Friday - Unfamily Day

As most chaplains take time for Sermon Prep, (some more than others ::wink::) preaching on Sunday usually "earns" you a CTO (compensatory time off).  In other words - since you'll most likely spend time on Saturday prepping for a sermon and Sunday preaching and running a are given another day off during the week (in other words you get a full day off somewhere in the week).  We discovered quickly that CTO's are not always feasible. There are always commander calls, invocations, fun runs, "mandatory fun" and the like, which cause a chaplain to have to "run in" on his CTO....and it is rare to have TWO DAYS (as  in a weekend) off in a row. ::snort:: With the current climate and manning issues in the Air Force some commands have done away with CTO's altogether.  All that say that Fridays are Michael's CTO.....but I have learned this means maybe once a month he will be with us - the rest of the Fridays he will be working  - sometimes a short day of say 9-5:00 p.m.  (as opposed to the typical day).  You can tell us to plan better - but honestly - we've tried several ways of dealing with this. I used to keep Fridays totally clear. This simply highlighted for the family that Dad was working on his CTO. We've tried to guess which Friday he may be actually able to be home - but that is often very unpredictable.  We've decided I will simply make "pencil plans" on Friday - though a few are just not penciled - like today's fun event. 

I was quite surprised to discover Wednesday that Michael was really and truly taking Friday off this week. It would be a "Family Day" - sort of. By the end of the day we were laughing and declaring his CTO to be an "Un-Family day." 

It began with my commitment to attend a Chapel Spouse function - which I WANTED to attend...and Michael had no ill feelings about me attending.  Arielle watched kids. I had lunch and sweet talks with wonderful ladies. We said farewell to a wonderful Wing Chaplain's wife as she will be very busy with wedding, retirement, packing in future weeks before her move. Arielle was possibly given the best pay and highest praise today when Lily told her, "Arielle, you're the best babysitter, I want to pay you." She then gave her a Brave sticker - which Arielle wore all day and will probably save. 

After the luncheon Arielle and I headed to the commissary - with vision of "Family Day" in a "a bit." 

We got home at 3:00 p.m.  Unbeknownst to us, Michael had spent most the day on the phone with various "chapel and staff  issues."  He had the young ones out shopping for Arielle's belated birthday celebration - but continued to be tethered to his sparkly, new, government issued iphone! ::snort:: 

Arielle and I made her a birthday cake while we waited for them to get home. 

They got home and the kids wrapped gifts. Michael fielded two more phone calls. 

We had dinner, the calls stopped, and we watched Night at the Museum and declared it a very nice Un-Family Day after all....but we still haven't made it to the Sacramento Zoo.

Thankful to have married a man who "only works on Sundays." ::snort::

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

Thursday, June 05, 2014

A Day

I dreaded today! I hate dental work. I think it's genetics. ::snort:: 

Today Stacia had her first cavity filled. The doc came out and said it was, "Hard." Stacia seems to think it was, "Odd, but o.k." They promise it will be quicker next time - one less cavity and smaller. Arielle had 4 filled today. 

We had to redeem the day. We WERE in Roseville - a place I've only driven to once before. We told the phone to show us the way to Trader Joe's. It sent us on 80 towards Sac first - 8 or 10 lanes of traffic. I later found out Galleria turns into the street TJ's is on  and I could avoid 80. I'll do that in the future.  A really nice eccentric lady INSISTED on taking our photo. She followed by requesting I take a few of her and her friend. ::grin:: 

Sherry and I went to Trader Joe's when I was in Eugene and I knew I had to find one "nearby". This one is about 45 minutes from home.  Several had sent me goodies from Trader Joe's when we were in Japan.  This was HEAVENLY. So much to see and try...and much of the produce was cheaper than the commissary.

It was lunch time when we left TJ's but the girls couldn't eat. Stacia's jaw was still swollen. Arielle suggested the phone find Chick Fil A for us. She said she NEEDED a shake and ice cream would feel good on their jaws. How could I resist her logic? Chick Fil A is not vegan friendly. ::snort::

These two see the dentist again next Wed.  Arielle will finish up when she returns from Mexico. There just isn't time before she leaves.  Can you BELIEVE that parking lot? I've never been to a stand alone Chick Fil A and hadn't a clue the parking lot would be like a concert! We parked in a lot over and walked. They WERE very efficient, friendly and fast...not quite as good as San Angelo's Mall unit - but good. ::wink::

The girls were happy with the shakes...and I think they did help.

We tried the back roads coming home. It didn't save us any time, but it was nice to get away from the traffic. Actually, driving single file on the "high way" may have taken longer
today than the back roads.

The boys were happy to help us unload groceries.

Pickles without dye or corn syrup, cheap CLIF bars
 Something for everyone......
Vegan entrees.....

Easy options for when we don't want another salad or veggie burger and the others are grilling....we tried the Aloo Chaat tonight. Good - but SPICY. Cleared our sinus' and we hadn't realized we were stuffed up.

We spent the afternoon working on a couple of PWOC projects and then VBS projects. Arielle and I painted stars. They DO glow in the dark - but they aren't very vivid when the lights are on. I guess we should have painted them a bright color and then used the glow paint? I don't know. It didn't say to.  We plan to give them some more paint tomorrow.

We also researched animal paw prints. We have 30 -  8 x 11 sheets of duct tape and plan to make a variety of prints to use at my station....I'm looking for prints that don't have a zillion shapes to cut out by hand. LOL

Nolan grilled for us tonight. Michael is working until 2300.

While the kids cleaned up I visited with Bre.

We settled and watched Frozen...and during the movie I went through my highlights of "Rhinestone Jesus" and "Not a Fan" to determine if there are some I might want to share on Facebook before I move the books to, "The Cloud." 

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

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

May's Reading List

I didn't read as many books in May as I did in March or April - but I enjoyed each one and plan to read a couple of them again.  I'm still trying to make time to relax AND make time to stretch my brain a bit. 

Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch

I began reading Kristen's blog, We Are That Family, a few years ago. I enjoy her focus on marriage and her very practical faith.   "Rhinestone Jesus is the story of one woman's journey from comfortably living a safe, "good-girl" faith that didn't cost much, to realizing that God was daring her to say yes to a bolder, more authentic, more dangers way. This story of spiritual adventure throws the doors wide open for any woman who's ever though of herself as "just a mom." Kristen will inspire and empower you to say yes to God right where you are - and stand amazed at how your life will shine."

Kristen's honesty touched  my heart again and again.  This is not a "Praise Me, Praise Me"'s a book about what GOD can do when normal people surrender to Him - when they really mean their "yes."  It is a book about pursuing God by pursing the God-sized dream He has birthed in you.  It's about dreaming again - something we are starting to do more and more as our season of ministry in the Air Force nears its end.  Here were a few of my favorite quotes:

"Your dream should terrify you. If it doesn't, do you really need God to accomplish it?" page 125

"If you've never had a God-sized dream that scared you half to death, then you haven't really come to life. If you've never been overwhelmed by the impossibility of your plans, than your God is too small." Mark Batterson

"The pursuit of any God-sized dream is ultimately the pursuit of the One who placed it within you. It's like a homing beacon for your heart. Holley Gerth

Stress Test by Richard L. Mabry, M.D.
Another terrific read. I enjoy suspense and mystery. I enjoy medical thrillers. This one had a bit of all.

Dr. Matt Newman is kidnapped as he leaves the hospital early one a.m. NONE of the events which follow make sense to him, but eventually, all the details come clear.  Brain Candy.  I will continue to look for more from this author.

A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

I've not read many of Francine's books. I've liked  what I've read - all at the recommendation of another; The Last Sin Eater and The Atonement child.  Mindee reminded me of this author - and I found this on my ipad - so I read it.

This was a really interesting read. I enjoyed how she made the life lessons of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary come alive. I didn't agree 100% with all her observations....but I enjoyed the read. Recommended.

Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom Davis

I am not familiar with Tom Davis or his non-profit ministry. If I had read some of his non-fiction work, I'm sure I would have been prepared for the emotional impact of this book. Wow! 

"Stuart is given a one last chance to redeem his career: A make-or-break assignment covering the AIDS crisis in a small African country. It is here that Suart meets Adanna, a young orphan fighting for survival in a community ravaged by tragedy and disease. But in the face of overwhelming odds, Adanna finds hope in a special dream, where she is visited by an illuminated man and given a precious gift." 

When Stuart and Adanna meet - both lives are changed.  Tom's writing is raw and rough and vivid. It makes the poverty and disease in Africa "visible." This is a book that will stay with me - and I don't think it's only because I spent early years in Liberia, West Africa.  I plan to do some research into Tom Davis and read some more of his works. 

Not a Fan:Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus by Kyle Idleman. 

This book is fantastic! I didn't learn a lot of new things - but that is only because Jesus has been speaking this message to me clearly for two years. In fact the gospels screamed at me as I began studying through the New Testament this year. 

Are you a fan of Jesus? Or are you His follower?  I wouldn't answer too quickly. This book is worth the read. You may find, when you honestly examine your heart, there are areas where you are a fan and not a follower.  Kyle leads us to Scripture where Jesus clearly defines the relationship He desires with each of us. 

"Not a Fan," calls you to consider the demands and rewards of being a true disciple. With frankness sprinkled with humor, Idleman invites you to live the way Jesus lived, love the way He loved, pray the way He prayed, and never give up living for the One who gave His all for you." 

"Not a Fan is a book that every Christian should read and regularly re-read. I started to read the manuscript and could not stop until I finished. This is a NOW message for the Church and my hope is that every believer who reads this will become an authentic follower of Christ." Christine Caine - Founder, The A21 Campaign and author of Undaunted

I can see myself reading this in a mentor group. It would make a great book discussion. It could be used in Sunday School or possibly a small group or summer study.  I'm not sure there is a study guide, but there are several editions. It is a great book to give to new believers. I think the topics could easily be expanded to a discipleship class with the right teacher (word chosen deliberately over facilitator).

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

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Summer Evenings

Happy 27th Birthday to Krista.  Watching the path God is leading her down continues to bring joy and awe. I can't wait to hear more about her summer adventure. We love this adventurous, fun, courageous woman of God. 

Our day began early with an adventure in Linda and Olivehurst. Arielle needed to be dropped off at 0815 to babysit. Mapquest isn't much help if you get the town wrong. ::snort::  Stacia and I actually did enjoy seeing new territory as we found our way back home. 

I had a 3 hour long financial meeting today. I followed it with a trip to the commissary. 

In the interest of full disclosure, the family incident I briefly alluded to in an earlier post, coupled with the solitary drive home, led to me having a 2 yo style temper tantrum with God...followed by tears. I arrived home spent and ready to veg out. I also felt peace. I learned long ago God can handle my emotions better than I can and I don't play hiding games with Him. He's o.k. with my emotions. David had lots of emotions. I ended up in a good place of surrender and praise. 

We just WERE tonight. Enjoyed being together in the cooler evening....

The highlight of the day was a Birthday Skype with Krista...then we added BreZaak....

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

Monday, June 02, 2014

Summer Sight

This is what happens on a "Down Day" around here. 
What are they doing? Sumo wrestling!  The rug does scream for sumo! ::snort:: 

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

Down Day

It was all about living life fully - today!  Two hours listening to the Word, in the word - Romans 12:2. I had thought I'd finish Romans by the end of May.  I've decided I don't care when I finish it or if I complete my goal to SOAP (vs read) through the New Testament this year.  I'm good. He's good. 

One hour of working out - boundaries and margins, in several areas, slipping firmly back into place after the last couple frenzied weeks. 

I asked Michael WHEN I'm going to have time to prepare for June's retreat.  He's sooooo good for me. You'll have silence and solitude at conference. He informs me I CAN skip sessions or not as I need. It's becoming the norm for him to whisk me away before retreats. LOL 

Stacia and I explored Wheatland today. We had tried Salle's Orchard and fruit stand before. It comes highly recommended. I thought the lack of variety and quality at our first visit was due to it being the end of the season. Salle's is 9 miles from my home. It's cute.  It still didn't have much. The cherries and strawberries looked bad. They have small baskets of peaches and nectarines for $5 each. I got a whole box - 2 layers for $23 at Tony's. We bought a couple of baskets of peaches, one of nectarines and some apricots. We were discouraged. We had hoped for veggies and melons too - as we'd seen at Tony's.  It WAS a great drive through farm land.....and the hummingbirds were awesome to watch.

On the way home we neared Dairy Road and I remember April saying she thought the stand here was the best around. We detoured. It is also about 9 miles from our home.  AMAZING strawberries - I got half a flat for $10 (much better price and they are EXCELLENT), Cherries for $2 and blueberries for $2.  We were happy with the detour. I will try the drive to Tony's and see how long it takes from home. The variety is MUCH better, the prices are better, the quality of the produce was better and they have a darling outhouse! We will zip over to this little stand (and yes, 10 minutes IS a zip when it takes you 25 - 30 minutes to go ANYWHERE but Walmart) in between trips to Tony's and Farmer's Markets.  I am trying to buy local from May - much fresher.

Back at home, these three helped me with a project to bless our Chapel's staff. 

I think this is our favorite so far. Arielle mentions it was quick and pain free. ::snort:: The kids have already begun brainstorming for July's treat. My prayer is to get these delivered tomorrow before they die. LOL 

We enjoyed a leisurely dinner of yakisoba, salad and fresh fruit. Stacia loved some water time and talked Nolan into joining tub is a bit hot for summer around here...but it was a cool evening. Arielle babysat. We visited. 

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

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Shew - SUNDAY!

With the completion of THIS post I will be current! I vow not to get 1 week and 5 days behind again this summer. 

Arielle is STILL worn out from our frantic week on Sunday. Check out the paint we can't remove. 

It was "parent's week" today to pick the Sunday dinner location. I don't know why each child gets their own week and we get "parent's week," but that's what they told us.  Michael wanted to try this spot. They DID have a Mongolian Grill where I had noodles and veggies grilled....and a salad bar and lots of fruit. 

We found a few things surprising...the amounts of food folks took and the size of the diners. Nolan commented, "It's all our Japanese favorites in American portions." The kids did enjoy it. The boys and Stacia loved it. I'd prefer Cafe Yum - if we had some in CA.

 We ended the night with a rousing game of Yahtzee. 

It doesn't seem fair she won and she slept most the game away. It was way after bedtime by this time. LOL 

The week also had a lot of PWOC "paperwork"  - budgets, calendars and such that need to be done for an upcoming meeting....always Facebook.... We were surprised to find out the USAF is sending Michael to our denomination's conference; and I am tagging along. My boyfriend thinks I need some time away. I think I need some time with him. 

The past couple of weeks have been difficult for our family. I won't share as it's not only my story. This I know...God is good  - all the time. Life often stinks! Bad things happen which are simply not good in any sane person's reasoning. God is still good - even through pain and tears. He takes every incident given to Him and brings good from it - weaves it into a tapestry of grace which can be used for His kingdom in the future. His love endures. His mercy is new every morning. 

I'm a bit overwhelmed when I realize ANOTHER week is starting and the past week took my breath away. I've not had time to recharge...and the week after this is VBS...the week after that Michael and I are flying to our denomination's pastor conference....the week after that is PWOC Board training/planning retreat....I MUST find time for self-care this week.  Honestly,  I've quit working out and started grabbing food on the run a lot the last few weeks.  One thing God taught me "on the shelf"  was to follow Him to freedom...and I must keep those boundaries in place with this new schedule. I think I can....I think I can...I know I can. I know He will still lead. 

I should blog Today's activities - but I often blog in the a.m. and back date it 12 I'm going to quit being OCD and call this  "caught up." Sleep. Self-care begins with sleep! 

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