Sunday, November 18, 2007

Can You Smell It?


My darling husband got me a KitchenAid quite some time ago. Well, I have become quite dependant on my "just throw it all in and wait" bread machine and a little afraid of the KitchenAid method, which involves a smidgen more of my involvement, in making bread. So, this is my first attempt at French bread using the KitchenAid and I likes. I likes it alot. ;) I made a cool rise loaf as well. I am in love....ahhhhh... Yes, the one looks a bit deformed, but hey, it tasted wonderful :)
In case your wondering, I'm home with an ever so slightly sick little Ayden :( Sick enough to not want him in church nursery with the stomach bug he has...so I'm here- posting away...hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.

The Butterball Turkey

is defrosting in the refrigerator. Anjolie discovers the bird and runs excitedly to Brianna saying, "Brianna!! We have the Thanksgiving Turkey without a head or feet and it's in the fridge!!"

Wonderful Promise


Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.


I have been pleading with the Lord over an issue that was grieving my heart. The door was shut to me for a very long time. I was certain that the Lord wanted this issue resolved so I was trying to "wrench" the door open in my own strength...and failing. The constant "trying" left me tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. One day I just simply gave the closed door to God. I had to move out of the way and allow the Lord to open the door. Wow, when the door opened, my heart was ready to walk through....and I did.
The Lord can truly unstop the ears of the unhearing and can melt the heart of the hardened. I didn't realize that the Lord was working on the heart on the other-side...and mine ((!!)). Only when He had properly prepared the hearts, on both sides, did He open the door....and our hearts, to HIM and His will. God is so good.
Is there an issue you are certain the Lord has led you to be persistant about? Don't give up, dear one, kneel by that tear stained door that you have broken yourself on and dedicate it to God. The Lord burdens our hearts for a reason. The confusion and error comes in when we think that burden means we are to do everything in our strength and personal wisdom to solve the problem we have been burdened about. Many times, we are to be silent, pray, and LISTEN! Boy, do I forget about that last very necessary part. The Lord then works patience and perseverance in our hearts over these matters. He teaches me to be still and listen to the desires He has for *my* heart and life.
When it comes to relationships, we are powerless to open the doors in the hearts of those we love. Most times, all our physical effort only results in further barricading by the one on the other side, to prevent our entry. We find ourselves in the way of what God is working out in the other persons heart, and this only delays the opening of the door that remains stubbornly lockd against our aggressive advances. God MUST enter first-on both sides. Only God can open doors and allow ears to be unstopped-hearts to be tender and yielded. Plead with the Lord to prepare your heart and the heart of the one on the other side...be patient....that door will swing wide open, in His time and for HIS glory. Blessings!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Please...

take a moment and visit a treasure of a blog. I am reading Hope's first few blog posts at Watering Wells of Hope. Her exciting story of what the Lord has done in her life is unfolding...I am left hanging and excited for more after reading parts 1,2 and 3. Get your coffee and head over to read...I promise you will be blessed!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Family Is Worth It

Just warning you that this is a very long post about our Space-A trip. I will completely understand if you don't read it or choose to just skim through the pics :)

Space-A travel...what an adventure. For those of you that are not familiar with the Space Available travel that we use in the military, it is just like it sounds-space available. If there is air transportation willing to release space available seats, then those of us who wish to "compete" for them by getting on a list in order of category and time signed up, may choose this very cheap and many times free method of travel. We chose to fly this way because it would have cost an obscene amount of money for us to travel commercially from Japan to the US. We were hoping to catch the Patriot Express, which is a commercially owned plane with normal seating, but we did not get on that flight-it was full. So, we then entered into competing for flights with other SPATs (space a travellers) for the KC135s that would be heading out in the general direction of the States. I signed us up to depart from 15 different locations so that we would have better chances of arriving within the CONUS (continental US ). Upon arriving within CONUS, we were planning on purchasing tickets for a domestic flight into Columbus, Ohio, but, first things first, we needed to get off Okinawa.

The first flight we were able to get on was a KC135 headed to Hawaii. I had done lots of research and knew that in order to be accepted for this flight we all had to be wearing closed toe and heel shoes, yay, we all had on sneakers...I had also dressed everyone in layers because I had read that the flights could get extremely cold and hot. I learned that *layers* can have a wide range of meanings- we either did not have enough layers on because we froze or the heater kick on to hyper heat because we burned up at various intervals. You were either shivering or sweating...kinda nice that it was broken up like that ;) The flight was packed so there was not much room to lay around like we had hoped. The crew provided earplugs for us,but it was still incredibly loud. Lily's earplugs were too big for her ears, as were Ayden's...yep this was to be a long flight and we had not even taken off yet! It was about 2 am by the time we took off for Hickam AFB, HI and I was ready for the kids to just go to sleep....which they did. As we flew, I saw another mother, with her 4 children, sitting up and, like me, not wanting to chance waking the two little sleeping heads on our laps by moving into a more comfortable position. The other mother's husband was a pilot and helped out quite a bit with two other mothers travelling alone with their children. I was so glad Brian was with me. Before they fell asleep, Anjolie and Brianna were not happy about the strange seats and said tearfully that they wished they could be on a *normal* plane with normal seats. I couldn't blame them for being fearful and disappointed and I was thankful that the Lord helped me see a very positive thing to share with them. I explained to them how they were in very important seats, not everyone gets to ride in these seats. Those seats were "Hero" seats, I explained, these planes carried men who fight against terrorists in Iraq. Heroes sat, and would sit in those very seats that we were sitting in at that moment. Brianna smiled at the thought...the privilege of sitting in *Hero Seats*. As I thought over what I had just told them, I suddenly felt privileged as well. I prayed for the men that would soon occupy those web seats -their thoughts would be much weightier than just worrying about which flight to catch next.


Among all the other challenges, getting the kids to the bathroom was quite a challenge. The toilet was just a tin box thing with a seat on it, and Lily would have nothing to do with it. I had prepared for that by going ahead and sticking a diaper on her before we left Okinawa. She decided to "hold it" for the entire flight ((!!!))rather than chance the stinky tin box thing. Nine and a half hours or so later, we finally landed in HI ready to hit the beach...just kidding.
I had made reservations for lodging when we were pretty sure we would make the Hickam flight, so we caught a cab to our room and then grabbed a bite to eat. It was good to have a little breather before having to compete for flights again.
The other passengers on the plane were competing for flights as well, so I tried to get a feel for where everyone was headed. The family with the 4 children was giving up at HI. They had enough of the whole Space A drama stuff and decided to just spend the week in HI. I was thrilled as that would up our chances of catching a flight all around. The flight that was headed to Norfolk, VA would have been wonderful, but that was leaving in 3 days and had not released seats yet. We studied the flight monitor praying for something reliable to get us in to CONUS. If the flight was on a C5 there was a good chance of it breaking down somewhere and us having to try for another flight at an odd location-not to mention trying to find lodging. I felt like I was playing chess, one wrong move and we could be in a very hairy situation spending LOTS of money to get out of it. There was a flight with some tentative seating that would be heading to Travis AFB in CA, and, it even had normal seats, so, we went ahead and marked ourselves as present for the flight and processed our baggage. I started to breathe easy until I saw the flight was delayed..... groan...the plane was probably broken.
I saw that the KC135 (the one we had just taken the day before)was headed on to Grand Forks, ND and it had 30 seats available. Brian talked to a pilot at the terminal and asked if there was an airport there. The pilot assured him that there was an International Airport there. We quickly asked the Airmen at the desk if we could get manifested on the Grand Forks flight instead of the delayed one to Travis. They happily obliged and we had to get our baggage processed again and purchase meals etc. *WHEW* so, we got BACK on the KC135...much to every one's disappointment...but hey, it was a flight. Any Space A seat you can get, is a good one.
It turned out that we would be the ONLY crazy passengers on the plane! The crew who happened to be stationed in ND was so nice, they told Brian to bring the girls up to the cockpit to have a look around! They let the girls try on a headset and talk. The crew even asked if the girls wanted to have a seat up there in the cockpit! Now THAT was an experience of a lifetime for them. I so appreciated the crew and their efforts to make the flight as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. The crew informed us that they were soon headed to the sandy spot and were thrilled that they had a few hours in sunny HI. I smiled as I watched them don their Hawaiian shirts over their jumpsuits and happily take pictures to remember their brief Hawaiian visit. I still pray for them.

It was 7 hours or so from HI to North Dakota and we were not prepared for the frigid temps as we lugged our baggage down the stairs onto the flight line. The kids were shivering in their thin jackets, even with the layers underneath! I felt like such a bad mom for not being more prepared-aren't we supposed to know everything? We loaded onto a waiting bus and the local time was around midnight. We were prepared to call a cab to take us to the lodging facility, but we were informed that no cab could get into that area. We found ourselves and our luggage in a room inside a hangar type warehouse with some very hungry and tired children. Two wonderful Airmen (one woman) were a tremendous blessing for offering us a ride to the Temporary Lodging Facility. When we asked about the International Airport...they laughed. Sure, there was an International Airport, it was classified International because it sometimes had flights into Canada! My stomach turned when they told us the closest reasonable airport whose tickets were under $500 a piece was 5 and a half hours away in Minn/St Paul!

We checked into our *wonderful* room and the kids slept while Brian made a 1 mile trek in 30 degree temperature to the computer lounge to find a flight and a car rental facility. Brian found a good deal on a car rental that we could drive one way and leave at the Minn/St Paul airport without filling the tank with gas. We called the airline and made reservations for a flight leaving the next day which would give us a day in ND to rent a vehicle and buy some cold weather gear.
Brian took a cab to the car rental place and returned with a roomy SUV. We made a stop at the store for some much needed coats and hats and spent a day in North Dakota and drove into Minnesota for a bit. We found a wonderful playground and we all had a great time just enjoying some time outside a Flight Terminal :) We tried to get to bed early that night, but the time change had us all thrown off.
We needed to be on the road by 3:30 am to make it to the airport in time, but the Lord knew we would need more time,so we were all just *awake* at 2 am and we got about a 45 min head start. As we drove, I felt impressed to pray that we would not get a flat tire...God is so amazing. About an hour after I had prayed for safety and specifically no flat tires, there happened to be a large utility ladder that had fallen in middle of the highway. We had *just* changed lanes and saw 4 vehicles with busted tires pull over..including the car that was in front of us in the lane we just switched from and the tractor trailer that was directly behind us also hit the ladder. I got chills when I realized that we only had one spare tire and we would have most definitely missed our flight or worse if we had hit that ladder. God is *so* good. We made it to the airport on time and caught our flight to Chicago and then on to Columbus.


Throughout it all, the kids did pretty well. I am so proud of them. It was such a blessing to see my parents waiting for us.

The kids were so excited to finally see Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Ryan and Aunt Misty. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to be *home*. My mom had "done up" a beautiful room in a way only my mom can do, for the girls and for us and she and my dad even turned an office room into a play room for the kids complete with little table and chairs, books and toys...I just wanted to cry I was so grateful and felt so loved. Brian's Mom had done the same for the girls in their Arizona home...a special room so the girls could feel at home. I am ever so grateful for these gestures that go above and beyond. The kids felt right at home. My sister Misty put together a welcome basket for the girls with doll clothes and dress up goodies...so sweet and thoughtful. I owe 'em big time don't I ? ;) I wish I had more pictures to show...we were so busy doing and enjoying that we didn't take as much time as we should have for pics. I do have lots..but I wish there were more *sigh* anyway.


We spent about a week that went entirely too fast- going to the fair for 2 days to ride rides at the famous Pumpkin Show in Circleville, sitting around a bon-fire, twirling sparklers, making cookies,jumping in a pile of leaves that Grandma had raked after hearing one of the girls voice that she just wished she could jump in a pile of leaves one day, visiting a local farm with lots of animals and people working it like the days of old, listening to Grandma's stories, picking tomatoes in Grandma and Grandpa's garden, feeding the neighbor's cows,collecting leaves along the trails of a local park, playing badminton with Aunt Misty, making beaded necklaces, looking at Uncle Ryan's art work, picking out their own pumpkins and gourds to decorate Grandma's porch with, took a ride on Grandpa's "tractor", visiting my Dad's work to show off the kids, eating at Chick-fil-A!!, thrift store shoppin *yay*, ....oh, the list goes on, we had a wonderful time and would have loved to stay til Christmas. We got together with my Aunt Pam, who is battling cancer (pictured below left to right...Anjolie, my sister Misty and my Aunt Pam), my Uncle Steve, Aunt Betsy and my cousin Tristan. The reunion here at Pizza Crossing was bitter sweet because we met here with my Grandma before we left for Okinawa...it was the last time I saw her sweet face.
After about a week, we headed down to Pennsylvania where we would spend time with Brian's parents (who flew from Arizona)
and his Grandparents.
We were so excited that Brian would be able to attend his cousin's wedding! Brian's Grandparents reserved and paid for our hotel stay while in Reading-what a blessing. My dad provided the rental that we used for the trip as well. God is so good to give us such a loving family. The kids were so excited to see GiGi and Pappy, Grandmom and Pop-pop- as were we. The time went so quickly, but we did have a wonderful dinner with GiGi's famous BBQ sandwiches yuuuummy, we ate at D&Js, visited Reading's Pagoda, and made a trip to the Franklin Institute. Other than getting stuck in the 5pm Friday night rush-hour traffic while looking for a world famous philly cheese stake hot-spot in downtown Phila ;) we had a great time. Brian attended the fairy tale like wedding of his beautiful Cousin M.P. and then next day we headed back to Ohio with one brief stop in Hershey. We made the trip through the Chocolate Factory and hit the road.


I am surprised my mom let my brother take this pic as she hates having her pic taken, but I am ever so grateful. He took this just before we headed out to the airport. It was so hard to leave...there are no words to describe how much my heart ached to leave my family. It is so hard to be away, I miss them so much and can't wait til we can at least live in the same country :) I could barely see through my tears as we headed to the airport for our trip back...I didn't want to have to say goodbye...again. My dad waited at the security check point until he couldn't see us anymore...and I cried.

The trip to Seattle was smooth and uneventful. We decided to risk staying at a local hotel which was a huge mistake as it was in a VERY bad area of town. I broke down in the room...just overwhelmed. We were hoping and praying to get on the Patriot Express the next morning, but again, this is Space A travel and there are NO guarantees about anything. Before I left Ohio, my Dad reminded me that God doesn't want us to be anxious about anything..that we just had to give it to Him. So, I did. We piled our luggage and a heavy chair in front of the door and prayed that we would be safe until 3:30am when we would have to take the shuttle back to the airport in hopes of a flight. That night I just prayed for some encouragement...something...even if it was just little to prop my spirits on. Sure I trusted God, but I felt so sad, so empty and knew that if I asked Him, the Lord would give me just what I needed to persevere. 3am came too quickly and felt sorry for the sleeping little children that I tried to gently dress while allowing them to still sleep. We loaded the luggage and as we got seated in the warmed van, we were the only ones...then God honoring Christian music filled my ears...*tears* my worried heart filled with such warmth and reassurance as the tidy little driver climbed into his seat. I thanked and praised the Lord for the indescribable peace that He gave in this mysterious way. I can't even explain it except to say GOD was in it all. I didn't even care at that moment whether we would get on the flight or not. I knew God was completely in control. I thanked the little van driver, who probably was just trying to support his family with this job, for the blessing of the music in his van that early morning. If he only knew what a part he played in lifting a fellow Believer's Spirit-I continue to thank the Lord for that driver and ask the Lord bless him and his family.

We arrived at the SeaTac terminal, filled out our paperwork and ate breakfast provided by the USO-what a blessing. After about an hour, the official came down with "the list". The hundred or so of us SPATs sat breathless. "YOST"...called the official...YOST???!! They called us first?! I felt like a contestant on the Price Is Right, but held back from the display. My heart, however was leaping with joy!!! We were manifested all the way back to Okinawa on a commercial plane...hot meals and all!!! I wanted to cry.
The rest is history...sure it was long, the kids fought and fussed, Ayden threw up, we had to go through immigration and customs, you know...life stuff, but we had all our needs met. Every single need was met and then some. God is SO good and leaves HIS undeniable prints all over our lives. I will rejoice in HIM always. Thank you so much to my dear family...it is so worth it all just to spend the precious moments we did with you. Late night scrabble, Balderdash...priceless. You are precious to us...we love you so much. Can't wait to see you again...hopefully in 9 months!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Update in the Works :)

Well HI!! Whew...that was quite the adventure! I will update soon. Right now I am still trying to get unpacked, keep up with school and figure out this new laptop that Brian got for us since our computer crashed...very strange. I sure missed you all a ton! I so appreciate all the love and prayers for our trip. God is so good :)

As promised to Brian's Dad, I will post this one fun little mini adventure. :)

When we visited Brian's family in PA, we made a trip with his parents, to the Franklin Institute. Brian and his Dad were brave souls and decided to ride the jet simulator. Well, I thought the flt was a program and that you just went along for the ride and everything was automated. So, as I was watching this thing...I thought they got a pretty rough mission or something!! I heard all kinds of muffled noise in there and was quite amused by it. After the crazy ride was over...Brian and his Dad exited their "jet" looking a bit peaked but his dad also looked especially triumphant. From what I could gather, this thing was completely controlled by the rider. Brian's Dad gave Brian control after the take-off and Brian said that they got into a crazy spin that he could not get out of because his joy stick was not working-*AAAhhh*(guess that was what all the muffled noise was coming from the cockpit) If you listen closely at 00:43, you can hear Brian's muffled hollarin' ..lol. Brian said he finally just let go of the useless joy-stick and clung to the harness holding him in his seat and resisted the urge to reach for the panic button with its inviting glow which would stop the ride and end the nightmare ;) Brian's Dad came to the rescue and worked to get them out of the death spin which first took them up into the sky and then plunged them backward and forward...lol. You can clearly see when his Dad takes control...the ride was so still, I thought the ride was over and stopped filming! Anyway ;) It is amusing to watch. The kids say "Pop-pop to the rescue!" when they see this video, and yes, it was Pop-pop to the rescue indeed :)



video