Saturday, October 25, 2014

Shoebox Saturday


It was raining early this morning - so I blogged. It was POURING rain at 0800 and I guessed that the Farmer's Market would get a slow start. We showed up at 0845 and there were three veggie stalls and a pie man out.... The good news is all said they would be there every week through November....the bad news is there wasn't much variety....but I did get enough veggies to make a big pot of soup for potluck tomorrow.
Stacia and I didn't let the rain dampen our enthusiasm. We stopped at the Cafe for breakfast. Our next stop was Sunflower Natural Food - right in the neighborhood - for some coconut milk creamer for my tea.
Back at home I steeped a big cup of tea and sat in the hot tub. It's the best way I know to warm up on a cold day.
The kids asked if we could go see Alexander and the I had planned to stay home and cook and bake for the potluck - but we opted to go out.....
Then we thought we'd "run" into Walmart. I don't think it's possible to run into the Yuba City Walmart on the weekend. What a ZOO.  We bought more Operation Shoebox fillers. I begged for dinner out and so we ate out....and got home at 1900.....


I popped the apple pie I bought this morning in the oven. Arielle started chopping veggies and I began making rolls.....Unfortunately, I've not made bread in a couple of years and didn't really take the time to form them as I should.  Michael says I can call them Zombie Rolls. LOL  While the pie baked and the rolls rose.... I joined the family in packing some boxes.
First  couch of loot
2nd couch - Michael always takes on the big boys
 Michael made two boxes with a tool theme....actually bought two tool boxes....and one with a sports theme.  The others did mostly young boys.  The fleece blankets for $2.88 were a great find. Something fuzzy and cuddly....and the boy's print is a MAP - so we plan to make a couple of boxes with cars and trucks and blanket.

 The girls and I hit on the idea of craft themed boxes and made four for older girls.
We still have a couple of bags of stuff we've collected over the year....We do enjoy being back in the states where it is feasible to pack boxes again rather than donate to Samaritan's Purse for shipping. Packing boxes is much more fun as a family project. LOL  Last year we paid the shipping for our boxes online and loved being able to track our boxes. I think we'll do that again this year.

The pies are cooling, the rolls are baking and the soup is pressure cooking. I think I'm going to get it all done after all. Maybe by 2200.

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

Our Grandbabies

I'm a coward.

BreZaak gave me permission, over a week ago, to blog about this part in our family story....

I need to write about it. It matters, deeply. These lives matter. These lives are a part of our family story and they've impacted our family history. But. I'm a coward and wasn't quite sure what to say. I'm still not.

The pain is raw. I find myself ragged in this season where our family seems to be surfing through one test after another.

I told Bre to voice all her emotions to God. God can handle our emotions: fear, disappointment, ANGER....and I've learned when I don't voice them to God I tend to develop a root of bitterness.  I've been having moments with God quite a bit in the past five months.  God is faithful to meet me in those I move closer to Him with my pain and confusion.

One of the BEST days in life was April 15, 2014....the day that BreZaak asked to Skype and told us we were going to have a grandchild!  We were on Skype so I captured a screen shoot. See us in the corner - totally UNCONCERNED about aging. LOL
 Many of you know BreAnne. This gal has had a "spirit of motherhood" since she was a YOUNG child. My GRAMS first pointed it out to me. ::snort::  In June she conceived and carried Baby Faith for a few short months.  We were elated to be so close for this huge milestone. Thankful, that while we miss Japan, we are here. We eagerly began tracking the days until Faith's arrival, checking baby Aps with Bre to see how big the little peanut was each week, pinning on the ultra-secret Baby D board - viewed only by Bre and I (and her sisters who happen look over my shoulder),  and we totally loved each weekly shot of Bre's belly. Shoot - it's been twenty-nine years since I've been so thrilled with her belly.

Bre chose such a fun and creative way to share her news with Izaak.

I was half expecting a call after Bre saw the doctor for her first visit. I received a call on May 15th - while shopping for VBS - and it was immediately apparent that things were not right. The doctor could not find Baby Faith's heartbeat.  And the waiting began - and the wrestling.

You see, I've had seven miscarriages. Yes, we prayed for healthy pregnancies. Yes, others prayed for healthy pregnancies. Some prayers just don't get answered as we'd like.  You can click pregnancy journal at the right if you want to read more of my thoughts during our last miscarriage.  I was told I would not conceive. I was then told I'd never carry to term. God has blessed us with nine treasures and I choose to focus on that - rather than my unanswered questions - but still - all these years later - I MISS those babies we never got to raise....and I have prayed that our children would not walk this path.

Baby Faith left Bre's womb and went directly to heaven in June. For the first time EVER I was happy to have walked the path of pain which I had. I was able to grieve and understand what Bre was walking through.

We continued to pray for BreZaak - as we do all of our children.  In the midst of preparing for Fall Rally I previewed Loving Well.  Listening to Beth Moore share her exciting news  about her daughter expecting was hard...and I had a long meeting with God. I shared  I felt it was time....He placed the desire for motherhood in Bre's heart and I felt it was time He fulfilled the desire of her heart.  Fall Rally was Aug 22/23rd.  And I watched that video again where Beth Moore is over the top excited....and I told God it was o.k. I surrendered.

That VERY AFTERNOON - while I was IN a session I began to get distracting texts and missed calls from Bre.  Then alerts  she was posting to the Baby D board...and messages to call her.  We did. I can't find the screen shot from THAT call....but the timing took my breath away. BreZaak were expecting Baby Boy.  So exciting....many more calls, more pins, more texts, more photos. Bre is very tiny and so she shows quickly.....and we all rejoiced.   Baby boy miscarried on October15th  - during International Miscarriage and Stillbirth Awareness Week.

Do I regret the miscarriages? Yes! Do I regret the lives of Baby Faith and Baby Boy? No.  For many glorious weeks we had the excitement and joy of being grandparents to these two - indeed we still are. Some day, I truly believe, we will meet these two in heaven. They brought us great excitement and joy every day of their short lives.

God and me? We have reached an understanding. He's God. I'm not. Life sometimes stinks - but He loves me and I trust Him.

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

As I pray for BreZaak, and for other family stories not mine to share, God reminds me I have prayed my children love and follow Him passionately. I have grown the most as a person,  a wife,  a parent,  a child of God during the hard times. Why would I expect life to work differently for my children? I have seen our kids hold up in the hard season of the past few months. I've learned new lessons about faith and love and pain as I've watched them navigate the paths they are on  - and He does answer. He answers the desire of our hearts - not always in the way we want. I pray for my kids to depend on him deeply - and He's answered that prayer - even while I prayed they not have to walk any painful paths which would be beyond their ability to "handle." Isn't that the point? We can't handle life and the hard times illustrate that clearly for us.

Now, I'm praying for some good times to follow the hard times.....I'm also rejoicing in the strong faith  I observe in my children.

Bre has blogged her thoughts and I will be copying them into this blog somewhere so they will be printed as part of our family's story. You can read about Baby Faith and Baby Boy by clicking the underlined text.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ladies Night Out

Yes, Fridays are made for pizza and games at our house...but THIS Friday was Ladies Night Out.  This was planned as a joint event between MTOC and PWOC. 

It really was sad many who RSVP'd were unable to make it....sad for us and for the waiter who had come in just to wait on our table. He was fantastic! We were outside on the patio and it was perfect. The heaters kept us warm, we were secluded and  able to talk and laugh without others hearing, and we escaped the NOISE and chaos that seems to characterize PF Changs on a Friday night. LOL 
Maria checks to see if we need to wait for any others
Happy to have Steph's mom, Candy,  join us tonight! It makes me sad to think of Steph moving in December...but HAWAII! WOW.

Candy and Desiree

Cynthia, Hope, Maria, Me
 Tonight was Hope's birthday -  it was a fun to celebrate with her. Our waiter  sang to her in Chinese. ::grin::
I DID miss Friday at home.....but it WAS really nice to spend a couple of hours with friends, laughing and deepening our relationships.

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

FRIDAY - School and Tea

We work to have Friday's be a "light" school day - often a finish up day. However, with the exercise, MTOC, PWOC, an "interview" for Arielle, hair-cuts,  and other family events this week - we needed Friday to be a full day of school. The kids KNEW this.

I got out of the shower ready to tackle the day and saw this......what could it be?
School always goes better in a fort

I picked up some Tazo Decaf Chai tea SOMEWHERE around here. I was sure it was local. I have looked all over and cannot find it again. I finally realized it would be much quicker to simply order a box at Amazon.  Ah - surprised by "one click" again. ::snort:: I checked the photo carefully - didn't catch the price or I would have suspected that I was going to receive more than one box. I'm well stocked for the fall/winter.....and will take some to PWOC. My search is over.

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Fun with Chapel Families

Base Exercises  make for long, chaotic, off-kilter, mixed-up weeks. All are working 12 - 15 hours a day. Some are working day shifts - Michael always pulls the night shifts. 
At home this means we try to be "very, very quiet" and you know how well THAT goes. The kids cooperated  well - the neighborhood dogs not so much.
 Exercise ended Wednesday  night....Michael got home at 0300 on Thursday.....Thursday afternoon found the chapel staff at Bishop's Farm enjoying a bit of Fall together.

Part of the staff family. Missing are Holly and Eliza, Phil, Brenner, Stephanie and kids, Scotty, Val and kids and a couple of support flight

Ky imediately headed for the zipline - several Gherkins followed
After several Zanderesque comments they were off....It was about this point that Stacia asked, "Mom, would you get a wedgie doing this?" I found it an odd sort of questions but responded honestly. She decided she wasn't doing the zip line. This surprised Michael and I until the ride home when she explained her reasoning...she WAS wearing a skirt afterall and had forgotten to put shorts on underneath....she suspected a wedgie wouldn't be fully modest. Good call, Stacia.

Next up were Nolan and Arielle

Um - such abuse of the loving photographer

Pumpkin Wars - quite sure this isn't the plan for these pumpkins - no pumpkins were harmed
Myself and two great friends - Stephanie and Cynthia
Gherkin Fall Pumpkin Patch Portrait 2014
This will so preach....daughter totally abandoned to the moment, not realizing Father is protecting her
There's our gal!
THIS free corner of Bishops is their favorite - well the zipline may be close

Cynthia, Megan and Landon

Our final stop with the corn maze - I find the map no help at all
Daniel - far left joined us when he got out of school - and that boy can RACE through a maze...without a map - he's THAT good.

We were zipping through the maze, around the corners so fast that Arielle, Cynthia and I all got "motion sick." Who knew?
We finished our day with a family trip to Roberto's. It was fun to run into a friend, Jeannie, and her children there. A good chance to meet her Dad who is here to help with this deployment.

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gundam Success!

I shared earlier about Arielle and Zander's project.  All the little pieces came together to make the Gundam figure at the left of the instructions below.  Not nearly as impressive as the box led us to believe....but still impressive. He now sits at the top of Zander's school books....his own school "shoulder angel."  You may remember Arielle had promised to help Zander when she could read Japanese. THIS Is the problem with Christmas presents in foreign countries. We were helpless when it came time to help put the toy together.
 Arielle READ all this...and understood what she was reading. LOL

Just a few extra parts ::snort::

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Glimpses of our School

Yes, we DO have a mad scientist living in our home. Zander has enjoyed playing around with a variety of items in his Mad Professor Science Kit.

Our observation of Wordly Wise's newest editions was not a random fluke.  I pulled out book 5 and noted it is the exact same material as our old book 2.

This has been a BUSY week. It is a MTOC  week! (Moms of Tots of the chapel- a new program we began when the AFI came down not allowing CTOF to be spent on MOPS).  It is also a "Base Exercise week" and so Michael is working nights.

On MTOC weeks I am out of the home two school mornings.....this means we push a bit later on all other days....may even work on Saturday and Sunday to complete a full week.  We can "easily" complete our assignments in  four days a week. We wouldn't want to try to do it in three days a week on a weekly basis. We like being a bit more relaxed, a bit more likely to laugh and joke, and explore rabbit trails.....but it is working for us this year. In the past we've not been able to get any school done on Wednesdays (or PWOC day - whichever day that may be).  This year all four kids come to PWOC - one to participate and three to volunteer in Kids Flight.  This means I don't drive home between PWOC and the evening Family Bible Study. We bring all our school books....and we seem to be more likely to get school done on Wed afternoon if we ARE in the Far West Library than we do at home. LOL  I think there is a lingering atmosphere of education in the library. Because we get nearly a full day done on Wednesdays this year we can explore more rabbit trails and add MTOC every other week.

I'm amazed at how Arielle and Nolan are progressing in their Japanese lessons.

I want to find a few more great books on Wilberforce. Any ideas?

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