Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Man's" Best Friend


We were organizing the entry closet and pulled Arielle's coat out. This one is missing Arielle quite a bit. 


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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday's Adventures

Spurred on by a recent conversation with Barbara S, my morning began with a healthy smoothie sipped in the hot tub. A very good way to begin a day. 

I moved on to a Skype with the girls in Mexico. Arielle seems to be fully recovered and I enjoyed hearing the details of Leo's Quincianera. Krista explains the various parts of a quincianera, as explained to her,  here.  It's a beautiful ceremony....and there are a couple of posts up today with fun photos.  Arielle cracked all up by saying, "I want a Quince - all I got was a pickle!" (German Christmas tradition). 

As we talked....THIS is what I saw of my girls. Attack of the Lice - take 2. The boys buzzed their heads, but Arielle isn't quite that desperate yet. 

Michael gave the kids a choice of activities today. They chose BOWLING over hiking near Tahoe. I think they remember the last forced march along Feather River...and it is so hot.....I suspect they won't get a choice next time we have a Saturday without sermon prep. LOL  Nevertheless, off to Roseville we went.

I think we found the newest bowling ally in Roseville - Strikes. It wasn't the one we went to last time. Very nice - very expensive. We probably won't go there again.

All that money and they didn't have soft pretzels.


Who IS this woman with the camera????


Our Sam's Club membership has expired. Many have told me Costco has a lot of organic produce and items. They SAY it's the same distance as Sam's Club...but um..."they" do not live where I live.  I find that I haven't gone to Sam's often - Walmart is 8 min; Sam's is 25 min away....but I was lured by the promise of organic. They DO have a lot of organic stuff. We even saw a friend from chapel.


I didn't like the crowds...and I didn't like the way employees watched everyone - seeming to expect all  to shop lift. We thought it odd they were so obviously on the watch HERE -  in the area with the more upscale customers. I've never felt  I was being followed or that the Apple products were being guarded at Sam's club in Yuba City. 

Did I mention electronics?  Well - um... my cart clipped a box going around a corner and THREE 50 inch wide screen TV's fell off the pallet on to the floor. They came running. I told them I was so sorry - and as they went to put them back on the display they saw what I'd said....someone had stacked them three high - half on and half off the pallet. They asked if I'd wanted to buy one. Um...no I was just trying to escape the crowded walk. 

I suspect it would be more enjoyable during the week - less crowded - more relaxed...and I did love all the produce...BUT it is 50 minutes to my door from this store...50 minutes. I'm not likely to make that drive often - and frankly by the time I figure in TIME and gas it really isn't much cheaper than just buying organic at New Earth.  So....maybe I'm just destined to be a Walmart/Amazon Subscribe and Save shopper while living here. LOL 

We picked up a giant watermelon on our way back through Wheatland. A good Saturday. 


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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Thoughts of This and That

Another very full week.  My volunteer log shows 25 - 30 hours a week - which explains why I KNOW I'm busy, but don't have a whole lot to say. LOL  This week has had school, staff meetings, retreat team meetings, one on one meetings with gals, Bible studies, skypes...a good week. 

Arielle was ill in Mexico but is on the mend. 

Myself and Margaret
One of the certain highlights of the week was the trip Stacia and I made to Sacramento.  There is a very special group of ladies - a former PWOC group - which meets up there. McClellan Air Force Base chapel closed in  December 2000.  This group of continued to meet weekly for Bible study in the BX conference room at McClellan. A commissary, BX, VA Clinic and a museum are still open.  Can you imagine? The base closed 14 years ago and this group of PWOC women continue to meet! Some of them have been together for 21 years. Margaret, one of the gals, attends Beale AFB Chapel. She and her husband, Ron, drive up here each week and have since 2000.  A meaningful side note, is their son recently died and was buried in the same national cemetery as Dad G. They took photos of Dad G's grave for us.  THIS Margaret invited me to come to lunch with their PWOC group. I found my way up and had a great time listening to the chatter of long-term friendship.  

Roberta, their last PWOC leader, had some fun tips for me. She asked how many women we have at our group and I responded and added, "But we run 50 - 60 kids too." She responded, "We don't have to worry about children's ministry any longer." ::snort::  At one point Margaret  pulled out the bulletin from the last volunteer appreciation dinner at McClellan.  It was fun to see one of our friends, Brian Mc., was the chaplain that "turned out the lights at McClellan."

Today, I ran Stacia to a local VBS. There is something to be said for the church in the middle of a neighborhood being a light to that neighborhood. Our area is depressed. It's easy to forget as we live in a nice subdivision....but are surrounded by quite a bit of poverty. A local church can a difference in a community.  I applaud those who labor in their neighborhoods.

We picked up PWOC t-shirts today!  Found a wonderful new pizza place - run by Christians....Straw Hat Pizza. Well - the girls loved it - the boys still like Papa Murphy's meat glutton supreme. ::snort:: 

And now the Avengers are playing on the big screen. LOL 

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Grand Central Station

It was grand central station around here today.

We were determined to make lots of progress in summer school.

The dog began howling.....David and Kyle (Land Lord) were here. They mowed, edged, pruned trees....looks nice.

As I was showing Kyle some fraying strings on mini-blinds...the dog howled again. The Kenmore repairman was here. Yay - for washers that agitate!

Stacia and I  had just enough time to rush to Walmart to price things for the Fall Rally. SHE had an ulterior motive. She bought some fabric squares and batting WITH HER OWN MONEY and set to work making gifts for four special girls in her life.

While Stacia worked, the boys occupied themselves upstairs....and I crunched more numbers and filled out four more funds' requests....we're nearing the end of THIS fiscal year and the kick off of NEXT year of ministry.  Really working hard to have my PWOC paperwork in order. ::grin::

Meanwhile....several re-threading episodes and a broken needle later....Stacia was done with four darling pillows for her friends. Not a bad afternoon project. I think I need to find some easy projects she and I can learn together. Shoot - I learned how to put a new needle on the thing today. We're on a roll. I may even get the waistband on that skirt before the girls come home. ::wink::

Hmmmmm.....not sure what else I did...but it was a busy day....and I'm ready to call it a day.

We were sad to hear that Arielle isn't feeling well....we tried to Skype with the kids but everyone is out and about.

Being a slow news day we checked out Izaak's observation....if you google "giant Mexican head lice" look whose photo shows up - bottom middle. ::snort::

I'll end on that disturbing note! 

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Peach Festival 2014

This weekend is the Peach Festival in our area.  We went to check it out. Stacia was SURE it would be like a Japanese Festival, no matter how many times I told her it wouldn't be.  We had fun nonetheless.....it was much hotter than in Northern Japan.  It was cooler today - only 95*. We're not scheduled to hit triple digits again until Friday.....it did hit 112* last week or so I was told.  


There were no parades...and the Ferris Wheel was MUCH faster than the one at the Botanical Park in Hachinohe. 

I warned them this ride would be wild....

Upside down...
  
They all did great at this - but Michael won  - and I got a cute little elephant like stuffed animal! 

There was very little food on a stick. No Yakisoba.....but we DID let the kids try something we've not eaten in two decades...a funnel cake.  Alex didn't like it. The rest did. 

We also bought some YUMMY peaches and nectarines.  Michael has been upstairs prepping for tomorrow, the kids are playing Catan. I think I'll go read a bit. 


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

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sibling Skypes

Forgot to add these two photos from our morning tour of  the compound (location sketchy on purpose). 

Yuuki heard Arielle's voice and pointed and began wagging her tail as she figured out where it was coming from....


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

Busy Week - both Here and Over There

This week has been a whirlwind and I'm happy it's Friday. 

We've continued with summer school. 


Rachel & Rebekah - two of the gals on our leadership team 
Monday - trip to radiology and a PWOC LiFT (Ladies in Fellowship Together). Our focus this month was the persecuted church and our responsibility to pray for it. I enjoyed the chance to visit with ladies I don't see often....and I also enjoyed the focus. 

April shares some statistics
Tuesday - I shopped. I came home and washed, chopped, arranged and bagged a LOT of fruit.  I was glad fruit was on sale. I also made double recipes of my new favorite Quinoa Avocado Salad and Lentil Mushroom Spinach Roulade.  Paulette bought a lot of veggies and was similarly busy. Her veggies and giant green salad, joined with my fare and we had lots of  vegan options for Wednesday's retirement ceremony as requested. 

Wednesday - Ch S's day of retirement. It was nice to meet all of his kids. Barbara had cooked many Greek dishes ahead of time. They got back in town Tuesday night. Their daughter got married last week and they attended a family reunion.  Cynthia, Paulette and myself had a good time as we helped Barbara with set up and serving. There was a community of Orthodox nuns who attended and I was happy we had yummy options for them (they don't eat meat on Wednesdays). The retirement began with an Orthodox worship service. I saw a bit of that. 

Wednesday afternoon Rachel (see photo above) picked me up and we went to find a screen printing shop. She found it much cheaper to order our shirts online and have them printed locally. We headed off to find the local printer and had fun imagining what we may be getting ourselves into. Turns out they run the shop out of the back of the family's auto body shop.  I was impressed listening to the discussion between them and Rachel. 

Wednesday evening is family Bible study.  I tweaked my back Wed a.m. 

Thursday - My back felt worse. Stacia had an early a.m. doctor's appointment. We discovered she is still "off the chart" and weighs exactly what she should for her height.  Some will remember Stacia's  immunization saga. She needs 3 shots. Dr. didn't want to chance all 3...but suggested we try 2  this time...so we did...and she's doing fine. Dr. did say never more than 2 shots.....BUT one more shot and this child will be caught up with shots until she is 11. Then we'll begin a-shot-a-month again for boosters. I wonder if there will be a point when they (and WE) are comfortable with her receiving shots "normally."

The doc also is treating a white spot on Stacia's back. I'm glad she DID something - the other guy just said, "Hmmm." This pediatrician said Vitiligo usually shows in the 20's and she did not think it is that - which Michael has. She thinks it's a mole of some sort...but the patch has grown considerably. We're trying a month of steroids and if it doesn't shrink will be seeing a dermatologist.

We also picked up a PWOC project and dropped off a PWOC project at Arts and Crafts on base.  We ran by Jennifer's office and dropped off a fund's request. I planned some more rally stuff.

Last night we sat in the hot tub....and I discovered that my sunless tan fades quickly in chlorine. Stacia was shocked...Michael was upset my tan was going down the filter....and I had to admit...I looked like a reverse dipped cone when I got out. BUT my back felt better.

Friday - well - my back still hurts. I decided to sit with the heating pad and not exercise today or do much of anything.

 Krista and Arielle called and gave us a
 tour of the compound. We enjoyed meeting Arturo and saying "hola" to various kids. We met Martin, Arielle's 9 year old protector.

Alex was a bit taken aback when he said, "Hola" and the boys responded in English, "Crazee."

The girls have had a full week. A youth from the church who lives across from them died this week.  They've continued to play with kids, do dishes, learn to cook new dishes, help wherever they can, teach English and crafts....they are happy. They've learned a few other new tricks which you can catch on their blog. 

Krista has printed an interview with Arturo and Lilia if you want to know more about the ministry they are serving with this summer.

The gentleman below attends church on the compound. He is a local baker. He came to teach the kids how to make Mexican yumminess, while the adults were busy with counseling and funerals.



Krista leads the group in exercises....

THIS is what happens when American hair meets Mexican lice treatment....another fun event at the orphanage this week. You'll need to go read details on A Walk in the Wild. 

I asked them WHY they didn't use the lice treatment Jamin purchased and sent back to them. They hadn't realized what everyone was doing when the episode began. Then they saw the BIG BUGS and thought they were treating for odd bed bugs or something - they didn't realize lice can get so big. ::snort::  Evidently, the Americano's new hair styles has been much discussed at church and orphanage. 

Michael's bringing home pizza - I'm going to go put more heat on my back.....

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fellowships and WHEAT

Today was "name tag Sunday" or Fellowship Sunday. It also served as a Protestant Community Town Hall. God has blessed and we are looking at moving into a new facility. More about that later. 

Partners in service: 
Angel runs PMOC and is always willing to help as needed - making lemonade

Maria coordinates our monthly potlucks


After the potluck Michael spent the rest of the day (until 1800) at his office. The kids and I ran to New Earth to pick up THIS.....my bread baking sabbatical is about to end....organic hard white wheat for $43. 
Stephanie had told me about BelAire and it was near New Earth so we stopped in. I found more things to buy here. It was cheaper than New Earth but really more expensive than Walmart or the commissary. HOWEVER - it was VERY nice to shop in a clean, relaxed environment....with no snakes or dogs popping out of women's bras....it just was nice.  It was the saner side of CA.

I rewarded the kids with a quick trip to the frozen yogurt place next to BelAire.

A happy sight!

Stacia had a rough night - which means I had a rough night - and this is not a day to wake up BEAT. 

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

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Girl's Day - Take 2

Stacia slept in and I put in a couple of hours of PWOC time. 

We checked the mail and I stepped BAREFOOT on a SNAKE! 

After breakfast we started on a few projects for the day. Tomorrow is a fellowship/Town Hall and so we needed to get ready for the Potluck. Stacia really thought Ms. Cynthia would want us to make desserts. 

We made Blondies and Toll House Bars

At this point we had to run to Walmart. We took back a few things we bought and decided we didn't want. We bought things to mail to the girls and kids at the orphanage. We bought more eggs so we could bake some more. 

While at Walmart we ran into a teenager (rather than youth) with a SNAKE around his neck. It really was freaky. We were told that animals are allowed at Walmart...and then we began to note all the dogs in carts around the store. Come to think of it I DID see a gal with two tiny dogs in her bra the other day at Walmart.  America - what a country! 

We made Zebra Cookies - toll house with both white and dark chocolate

 While the cookies baked; Stacia watched....

And I tried to fit all the goodies into a flat rate box. I gave up.  In the garage I found a bigger box AND something furry scurried across the floor. Good grief....Stacia said this is the day of "bad animals." 

Our haul of the day - and an apple pie.  Stacia's remark, "There'll be more than doughnuts THIS time." Um....o.k. evidently store bought desserts don't work for the girl. ::snort:: I'm not sure others will like our goodies baked with all healthy ingredients...but we like them and are happy to bring them home again.  I need to get up early enough to get the salads ready and be at chapel at 0900. I may skip salads. 

Stacia asked is she could stream a movie. I gave in. This allowed me time to continue to work on our upcoming Fall Retreat...another 3 hours of accomplishment. 

I called Nolan and he said they'd be home at 9:15 p.m. That gives them two minutes. I sort of doubt it. 

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

Friday, July 11, 2014

Girl's "Fun"

It was a rough night last night. Yuuki, our beagle, was sick much of the night. Stacia woke up and missed Arielle...and just as I was drifting off at 0330 Michael and the boys got up to drive to Mom Mary's.  I put Yuuki in her kennel at 0445, woke Stacia and put her in our bed...and we slept in!  I told her we'd sleep in as long as we wanted! Almost never happens around here.

I'm very careful to guard family time from volunteer hours in this season. It's a lesson hard learned.  Thus, it would be typical with so much of the family gone for me to fill the hours with LOTS of PWOC work - and I have lots to do - it feels never ending at this point. LOL

But here it is - first there were 9 Gherkins. Five Gherkins left home. Arielle went to Mexico. The boys are helping Michael. That leaves one Gherkin at home - and I determined we'd spend our two days alone well......in keeping with my summer vow to "live life fully present" so we slept in until 0800. Then we streamed Garfield for an hour and watched and cuddled.

Finally, I made smoothies and an omelet for Stacia.  I did 1.5 hours of PWOC while she worked on school. We had lunch and left for base.  We did another .5 hour for PWOC - maybe a bit more - a shopping trip and delivery.....

So far a great day....but now....well, it's a terrible psychological load when one believes they are having a mammogram and discovers the night before that it is a pap instead. Just sayin.  I knew I couldn't take Stacia HERE....and Cynthia took her. Wow. They had a great time.

First - Michael, she corrupted your youngest daughter with her CATS. LOL 


Then they got cold drinks at the Shoppette and went to a park.


Meanwhile back at the doctor's office I put the gown on three times before I decided which way it was supposed to be worn.  The unthinkable happened - humor at the annual exam - the LIGHTS went out.  I said, "Great mood lighting, when does the music start?" ::snort:: The great news is  she assured me eventually I WILL go through mentalpause and  with the tests she did today I only have to come back every 5 years and these stop at 60!!!! Good news indeed - only two more to go - and if I'm in Japan I won't have one at 55.  And the mammogram - next week.

I caught up with Cynthia and Stacia. They were having a blast. I was happy to have guilt free time to talk with Cynthia. I realized today - I have FRIENDS here now! This is a good thing.

Our next item on the agenda was dinner. We added to our cultural experience by eating at the Linda Walmart. We observed one very loud family with adults who treated their children rudely. AND we observed one very quiet family - who each set down and pulled out there phones and ignored each other - all five of them. I could tell Stacia was processing.

Now, many do not like Walmart. It is well documented that Walmart gives me hives....BUT Walmart is 7 minutes from my house. The next closest stores are 30 minutes.  Walmart is also very good for our budget. We had a few items to pick up which would have spoiled in the car if I bought them before the doctor's appointment.....and it's across the street from the Burger King - Stacia's choice of dinner.

Walmart is also where I get my gel nails done - ask for Cathy. Stacia has been missing pedicures. We haven't done this since we left Japan. We did it - it was only $20 instead of Y30,000.   See those massage chairs - MY WORD. I turned it on and it compresses and SQUEEZES hard and I was doing o.k. until it socked me in the bum! Stacia wanted none of it.  These folks are Vietnamese....they were a bit rougher than we are used to - but we love our toes.

The last item on our agenda was to buy a couple of clearance summer dresses. It's in triple digits and they are putting out fall stuff. Gotta love it. 

It's been a good day. I've had fun with Stacia and realize how much she CRAVES time with Mom....and how much she LOVES to talk....and I've learned she's very wise....

I'm not "going there" on the spank/don't spank war...but MY GOODNESS....we watched a mom repeatedly slap her son's face and then yank him out of the cart and wail on his bum. He was screaming, "Stop spanking," at the first slap.  He wasn't doing anything we could see to warrant such punishment...the gal a couple aisles over was much naughtier. Again, I watched Stacia process.  

"Mom, do you think she realizes  how she treats her children is how they will treat her grandchildren?" Good words for all us parents to ponder. 

We found TWO bottles of Jone's Cream Soda left from months ago.....we're going to enjoy and stream a GIRLS MOVIE tonight! 

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

FUN DAY

It seems I blog better when on vacation. ::grin:: 

Tuesday was spent on school, preparing for Wednesday and doing LAUNDRY after our lovely 4 day weekend. 

Wednesday was 12 1/2 hours outside of the house. The kids were troopers. We left to set up and serve at PWOC. We had lunch with a friend  - a working lunch for my friend, Stephanie and I. We continued to talk through her position in PWOC and the upcoming Fall Rally.  Then I rushed up to a 1.5 hour meeting with the PWOC Chaplain - Michael.  Yes, I DO schedule time to talk women's ministry with him - or it takes over our home life. It doesn't seem fair for him to work a 12 - 13 hour day, come home and have an hour of PWOC approvals and editing waiting at the door. ::snort::   

Wednesday I got a chapel key - the first one I've had in two years. I'm truly off the shelf now.  I also went shopping with two friends, Maria and Cynthia for an upcoming Chapel BBQ/Town Hall.  Unfortunately, we ended up a few minutes late for Family Bible Study - but we made it. We talked about walking in the flesh - enlightening. Next week we'll get to Walking in the Spirit...and I will enjoy that focus. 

Today? PWOC Monday seems to have migrated to PWOC Thursday. I'll have to see if that is consistent Beale thing. I must plan for this. There were a lot of dangling ends to tie up - and many I didn't finish. I just called it quits for the day - reached my daily volunteer hour quota. 

I worked on some PWOC stuff, then did some school with the kids. They had an option of lunch at home or with the S Family. They seemed to think the choice was fairly obvious! 




Who can feel too terrible about volunteer work when it leads to an afternoon with Rachel and her kids??!  Always great fun for all.....I think Zach and Nolan may have had the most fun in the pool. 

While the kids played - Rachel and I talked PWOC publicity/promotional material. It's time to get orders in before the end of the fiscal year and the freezing of our fund during the change over. ::grin:: We worked on a tri-fold, we wrestled with a t-shirt order, we looked at banners, lawn signs, brochure stock, business cards....I really am taken with the idea of a car magnet....I can see it on the back of the 15 pass van....."Follow Me to PWOC."   No, we won't order any from the FUND - but I may just have to order one on my own. LOL  I think we did other things but  my brain began to freeze up.....Rachel assures me SHE took notes and knows just what she needs to do and I don't have to do a thing at this point.  WAIT - I remember -  I do need to write some text for the brochure - tomorrow. 


Lest you worry that I'm not taking time for self-care....I simply couldn't resist when Joy brought Chicka Chicka Boom Boom out and said, "Gamma, read?" Or maybe it was "Gamma, READ!" In any event - it was time for a break anyway!  I read it to her once and told her I needed to get back to work with her mommy....but Stacia reportedly read it another 7 or 8 times. 

We grilled for the kids. Michael and I had salads and melon.

The boys and Michael packed - they're going back to Crescent City tomorrow. There were a few more chores they wanted to do for Mom Mary. Alex is worried about leaving Stacia and I being alone.

And NOW - I'm on Skype with these two.....more later. 

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

Avocado Quinoa Salad (Vegan)


Stephanie had a quinoa, avocado, cucumber salad yesterday and it looked yummy. I went looking for a recipe tonight. This is good - I have no idea if it tastes the same but I'm about to title this one "Steph's Quinoa Salad" in our family lore. LOL

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup (250 mL) quinoa
  • 1 cup  (250 mL)  diced cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp  (2 mL)  salt
  • 1/2 cup  (125 mL)  diced red onion
  • 2 large or 3 medium ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 cup  (250 mL)  diced sweet green pepper
  • 1/2 cup  (125 mL)  chopped fresh parsley
  • Dressing: I use 1/2 of this - as I don't like my salad very "wet"
  • 1/3 cup  (75 mL)  lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup  (60 mL)  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp  (30 mL)  red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp  (10 mL)  dried mint or 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
  • Few dashes hot pepper sauce
  • 1/4 tsp  (1 mL)  salt
  • Pinch pepper

Preparation

1. If not pre-rinsed, rinse quinoa in fine sieve under cold running water. In medium saucepan, bring to a boil with 1-1/2 cups/375 mL water. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer until water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Fluff with fork. Let stand covered for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix cucumber with salt; let stand for 20 minutes. In separate bowl, soak onion in cold water for 20 minutes. Rinse cucumber under cold running water; drain onion.
3. For dressing, in small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, vinegar, mint, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
4. In large bowl, combine quinoa, cucumber, onion, avocados, green pepper and parsley. Mix well with dressing.
Notes: This is more dressing than I will use in the future. I didn't have mint or oregano but had fresh basil and subbed it.  Not sure why all the soaking - I didn't do the full 20 min but will next time. Found this at Fresh Juice.  I'll be checking out more recipes here in the future. 
Choosing Joy!
©2014 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...