Sunday, November 30, 2014

Singing in the Spirit

Woot! It's the first Sunday in Advent...and we are ON IT. 

Years ago, I created an index for "All Things Advent" - rather than writing about our traditions year after year.  I've not added to it in recent years - and our "Christmas" has changed again...but if you're looking for helpful tips you may want to check it out.  Be sure to check out the link to Stacia's Deployment Christmas Photos, our Family Photo Shoot of 2007 and the Daddy Bear links....some of my favorites. LOL  I'll leave the link at the top of the side bar through Advent.

Basically, we quit focusing on receiving gifts years ago. On their birthdays we celebrate the kids. We try to keep our focus on celebrating Jesus during this season. We focus on Advent. We  do NOT give gifts on the 25th. We have a great, big party for Jesus. Throughout the season, we prepare gifts for the party.  Christmas Shopping is about pigs, and wells and mosquito nets. We typically have a family gift exchange on 1 January - because we can't wait until 6 January  and because Michael has that time off and we are looking for fun things to do that night.  We do adjust as older kids come home, so we can have a family gift exchange whenever they land at home.

With all that said - we DO LOVE THE ADVENT SEASON! 

This is the devotional we plan to use this year. (We'd also like to run through Jotham's  Journey, but I'm not sure how it will fit).

This little book has daily devotional readings for each day of Advent and the twelve days of Epiphany. It incorporates both our Advent Wreath and Nativity. Each day has a Scripture reading, a "Think About It" section, a prayer focus and a hymn to sing.

I suspected this would be a bit of a challenge. The kids are old enough to work through a devotional, but the family sing-alongs might be a challenge.

Sure enough we loved the focus on the Promises of God. All the kids were able to share their insights. I especially loved when we all shared a promise from God that was specifically meaningful to us. As we  shared stories or verses from the Bible, one shared, "God has promised us we'll be going back to Japan. He's confirmed it." WOW....yes, He has....and it was good for us to hear this from our children tonight.

Then came the singing. We miss BreAnne - that girl can SANG! "What a Friend We Have In Jesus," never sounded this joyful before - I'm quite sure.  I was belting it out when Michael just couldn't handle it a MOMENT LONGER.....he tapped my leg and helpfully shared, "Hon - it's in a minor key."

To which I blissfully replied, "I'm just singing from my spirit, Michael."

"Well, sing from the spirit in a F minor."

And before I could reply, Arielle popped in with, "Let's all sing in the spirit. From your spirit now...."

We did have a great, rousing start to Advent.

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

Decorating? Um....Energy Conservation

Krista and Lindsey headed back to OR today.

Our plan was to go to church and then spend the day decorating our home.

Um....well....Michael is at a spot where we need to conserve energy. He simply doesn't feel good. Today he needed to rest - that's what we did. We have a busy week coming up; there won't be many things we can miss.

Everyone laid around...and I updated the blog.

We went out for lunch.

We went up to the chapel to finish the chapel's Christmas card. I like the way it's turning out.  When we get photos of it all set up - I'll blog more about it and share more photos.
It's coming together...
We came home and received a call from Josiah. We had a deep and meaningful conversation - while we talked the Christmas sprites moved all the decorations to the living room.

We are going to count this as decorating.  Tomorrow - I will decorate, prepare to speak a bit at MTOC and get ready for PWOC.  Tonight - I'm going to go with conserving energy.

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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Planes and Ducks

Our next stop was the base.

Michael drove us by the flight line and explained all the types of planes.

We drove by the WW2 POW Cell block.

We stopped at the SR 71 Static Display.

Good rain shield

Krista and Lindsey


There are a few times when we miss having television at home. The OR Civil War Game is one of those times. We tried out the chapel - and the TV in there did NOT get ABC. What's with THAT.

Another spot was closed.

We stopped at the Bowling Alley right as the game began. We ordered food and settled in to watch the game and bowl.....

They closed at SIX o' CLOCK! This left us scrambling - but we found our way to The Club.  One big TV didn't work. The other one was on AL/Auburn - What a game!  They agreed to turn the little one to the side of it to the Duck game....we had no sound....but we watched the Ducks trounce the Beavers.

I have now made up for not taking many photos on Thursday and Friday. ::wink::
Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Family Mania

Aside from wondering what Michael's retirement look may look like - this photo is to introduce our next activity! Check out his HANDS.....yes, he is planning geocaching. Lindsey had never tried this - this was the perfect chance to introduce her to this mania fun past time.

Sure...yep....look natural....don't want anyone to guess what you are doing...look natural, I tell you.
As a group, in the rain, on the side of the road.....not sure these were the best hide locations
Ostrum road....I did my best and pointed the pretty camera every time a car came. It's left up to THEM to figure out why we'd be taking family pictures on Ostrum road in the rain.
This fellow was NOT too impressed with our coordinates

Did I say it was raining?  

I'm not sure we won Lindsey over.
These were all micro hides...really tiny. They were all right off a busy road. We looked for three. We found zero. If it wasn't raining, we would have spent more time looking. We were content to head on to base to give Lindsey a tour.

Her father grew up in Gridley and went to Yuba City College. She was interested in Beale AFB.

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

WAR.....All Out War!

What the men had in mind was a Nerf Battle. This has become somewhat of a family tradition.  ::snort:: It's great fun. No actual people are harmed in the process and no actual people are confused into thinking an all out family gunfight would be really fun.  And with that disclaimer.....

That flag is a bag of ammo

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

Saturday Breakfast Adventures!

I took so many pictures of this day that I'll write several posts. We had a wonderfully full and fun last day together.

Saturday mornings mean breakfast adventures for Mom and Stacia. We decided if all the girls would like to come, we'd make a girls date of it. If not, we'd skip a week. They all agreed.

I had scouted a new spot to try in Yuba City....Linda's Soda Bar and Grill, and wanted to take Stacia to the Pet Store Michael and I saw earlier in the week. I had in the back of mind to take them by Cupcake Magic and let them choose a bakery item. I did not mention this. We set out.

We liked Linda's Soda Bar and Grill. I loved the atmosphere. We'd chosen a small booth and the waitress had us move to a bigger table.  She was friendly and efficient. Our food was good. I'd like to go back and try some of their specialty items.....maybe a shake too. LOL 
Five of us

Fun to see these faces together

We headed to Gaiser Pets next. Stacia was not happy with the smell - but I told her that indicated she may find some live animals. Sure enough - she loved the cats. They actually seem to serve as a rescue for cats.  They were very friendly cats, reaching out to touch her, rubbing against the cages....
She was NOT enamored with this guy
We found one turtle in the main store area. I waited for them to discover the second one...

We were all amused when this guy made a run for the great outdoors....
Eventually, he made it....and the clerks were on it....
The girls cheer him on
Look what's slung under his arm....back to the far corner of the store he goes
Arielle suggested we go to Cupcake Magic. I love it when they suggest something I've already planned to bless them with.....I bet that will preach. LOL  We walked down a couple of doors and bought some yummies to enjoy during the Duck/Beaver Civil War game. We forgot to eat them. ::snort::  The owner shared her family moved to Yuba City when her father was the Fire Chief at Beale AFB. He retired and they stayed.  I love those kinds of connections with the community.
I'm glad we were able to have these three join our Saturday morning adventure. Stacia and I will have to begin planning a Christmas Saturday Morning Adventure.  We headed home to see what the men had in mind for the day! 
Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Day AFTER Thanksgiving

YES, this in in fact, the ONLY photo I took of the day. ::snort::

There was talk of going to Roseville for Black Friday. Krista is in the market for a laptop.  However, Friday morning, no one wanted to go. Krista decided it didn't make sense to drive that far, probably miss the door buster specials, pay normal price for a laptop PLUS state sales tax. She was right.

Our TRADITION is to decorate the day after Thanksgiving. As we were shopping, I suggested we could put the tree up. Um...Krista said she'd rather go Black Friday shopping in that case. My word. I know BRE is a bit over-the-top about Christmas but this seemed nearly scrooge like to me....and Zander was fussing at any Christmas carols before 1 Dec. LOL

We talked, we played games, we ate left overs....we went to see Penguins - the movie!

We planned to drive up to a Cornish Christmas but it began to rain. We changed gears and stopped at Papa Murphy's. We went  home to laugh, enjoy each other, eat pizza and I sort of bull-dogged through ONE family day-after-Thanksgiving-tradition....we pulled out the Christmas movies and books and watched, "The Muppet's Christmas Carol."

The photo - we're all adjusting to being a 50% vegan-member family. Michael has requested I start asking for  meat on the side - as we pay for it even when they leave it off. I do. This is a new level....he asks them to give him the cheese from our cheese-less gourmet pizza. ::snort:: It works.  They think we're odd....but it helps our frugal spirits not to throw the money away. I won't have to buy cheese any more. BTW that's a whole LOT of cheese on one Papa Murphy's pizza.

After noting one photo on the camera for the day, I am determined to take more photos on our last day.

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

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Imagine my SHOCK when Krista suggested, a couple of weeks ago, we forgo Turkey on Thanksgiving in favor of Veggie Pot Pie.  This veganized version of Country Chicken Pot Pie is one the whole family enjoys!  But for Thanksgiving?

Michael wasn't so sure. Krista shared the visit would be short and she wanted to spend it all with family time - not worrying about a big meal.  I think she envisioned a one pot meal....

Michael suggested we ask the other kids. I was equally shocked when they all wholeheartedly agreed.  The discussion continued. I was fairly sure my parents would side with Michael. I offered to fix the traditional meal for  Michael - a late birthday gift - and I'd do it with joy.  In the meantime I discovered I was volunteered to bake a turkey for the chapel.....and there was a bit of I brought it home. 

My parents were unable to come due to another MRSA outbreak.

Sunday, Michael agreed that heating  up turkey for those who wanted turkey would be fine...and I agreed to  fix the traditional favorites to go with the Veggie Pot Pie.  I have been making the traditional Thanksgiving dinner AND a vegan entrée for the past two years.  I sort of did the same this year...but it was funny to see that many didn't touch any turkey.   As always, the food wouldn't fit on the table....There it is - a totally plant based meal (except for the little platter of Turkey).

We all had a big laugh when we were setting things on to the China. The big platter was reserved for the freshly baked, whole wheat, braided loaf of  herb bread. The small platter had moist  turkey meat.  Honestly, making veggie pot pie is harder than turkey - though the clean up is easier...but I loved the sentiment. I also loved the comments about many of the new recipes I tried - the Thanksgiving flavor was present without the bloat.  I'll be posting recipes in the next days....

Turkey in forefront, bread in center
A few Random photos: 
Before we could set the table we had to remove Stacia's sewing and various completed puzzles
3 D Star Wars

WHEN did our baby Arielle become a Senior?

Camping in the kitchen worked well for Yuuki
Nolan enjoys a bit of Thanksgiving reading

For the first time EVER we planned our signatures for the Thanksgiving Tablecloth

Adding this year's names 

We had a great time checking out signatures from year's past. Those photos may become a different post.  We played games, visited, Skyped with BreZaak, Josiah and Jared....we simply enjoyed those who were with us....and the fact that we have no clue where we will be next year came home a bit more. LOL

We love having Lindsey with us. It was a blessing to get to know her a bit better this weekend. It turns out she is lactose intolerant and a vegan home is a great place to be for big meals if you're lactose intolerant. LOL

We ended the night by watching the new Tim Hawkins DVD - "That's the Worst".....though it was actually one of the best of days!

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