Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pictures from Nathan's Airborne Graduation

Denise uploaded these pictures to her Facebook and I copied them to my computer. The troops marching in. Getting pinned. Father and Son.
Stephen, Nathan and Jeremiah. Jeremiah is the soldier that helped Nathan get ready for his first jump.
Denise, Nathan and Rebekah
Denise, Nathan, Rebekah and Stephen
Stephen and the Airborne monument.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Catching Up

I've been busy at my craft table the last few days. I posted pictures of the cards I made on my card blog.

On Friday Nathan graduated from Airborne. He went home to Enterprise for the weekend. I saw a post on Facebook that Denise was watching Nathan pack up his stuff again. I'm not sure what happens now. I need to call Denise and ask, maybe I'll do that tomorrow.

We are having beautiful weather here in Sacramento. When we got home about 3:30 pm this afternoon, I opened the house up to let in some fresh air. I believe we are suppose to have some rain again the first part of the week.

Friday night we went to a small concert at a church in Elk Grove to hear The Beene Family. This was probably our 4th time to hear them. They are a family of 3 brothers and the wife of one of the brothers and they sing Southern Gospel type music. If you are familiar with the Gaithers, they sing that type of music. They are excellent and we enjoy seeing them and listening to them sing.

We hadn't had dinner so when we left the church we were going to stop somewhere. Gerry thought of a place over on Stockton Blvd close to Highway 99 so we headed that way. He then thought we'd drive north on Stockton and see if we could find a Japanese restaurant. Stockton Blvd is where a lot of the Asian stores and buffets are located. We did see several seafood buffets, however decided it was probably too late for a big meal. Stockton Blvd then takes you into Oak Park which is predominately a black community and can be pretty dangerous at times. As we are driving along, Gerry says "oh, we need to stop for gas, the light just came on". Well, Oak Park is not the place to stop at night and feel safe. Anyway, we did see a mini mart gas station and pulled into it. He put a little bit of gas in just so we wouldn't run completely out. There was a black man milling around the pumps and I figured out he was looking to get some money from someone to buy gas. He said something to Gerry and Gerry just kept walking into the store. I had the doors locked!! We then headed over to Howe Avenue and Arigato's for sushi. There were people standing outside waiting to get in, we didn't want to wait so we headed back down Howe Avenue and went to Mel's Drive In to eat. It is really not a drive in, it is a 50's theme restaurant, they serve breakfast all day and the food is pretty good. Gerry had a sandwich and I had scrambled eggs with ham. It was after 9 pm by this time and we were starved. It was pretty late when we finally got home. We just should have gone to the first restaurant Gerry thought of and we would have been home a lot sooner. Oh, well, we had a little adventure along with hearing some great music. We are such homebodies, it felt strange to be out on a Friday night and late too! :)

After church today, we drove into Sacramento and ate at The Spaghetti Factory. A friend of ours is in the hospital downtown and we wanted to go see him. He went to the hospital either Friday night or last night in Roseville and was transferred to a hospital in Sacramento to have an angiogram done. A blockage was found and now the doctors have to confer as to when surgery will be performed. At Trinity Life where we go to church, they have these small communion cups which contain a wafer and a bit of grape juice. These are available every Sunday after the service is over for anyone that wants to have communion before leaving. Gerry decided to get 4 of them and take them to the hospital to have communion with our friends. I think they were quite pleased that we thought of doing that. It sure was a special moment when we did it with them. Three of their daughters with their families were at the hospital so we got to see them too. We use to all go to church together and spent a lot of time together. * Gerry just told me the doctors conferred this afternoon and our friend will be having a triple bypass. Their daughter put a post on Facebook a few minutes ago. Be praying for him, his wife and their family!!

The worship service was so good today. I am really enjoying the preaching of Rev. Cole. The topic today was "Growing in Courage and Might", Bible references: I Corinthians 10:12-13, Proverbs 10:29 and Isaiah 51:9. I wrote down a few of the comments he made:
  • Growing in Christ is not automatic
  • Prayer is a consistent relationship with a living God
  • We need to learn how to communicate with God if we want to grow in strength and courage
  • Our problems are not greater than His abilities
  • Allow God's lifting power to help us continue on the path with Him

Have a great week!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Nathan's Airborne Graduation

Nathan graduates from Airborne training this morning. There is a 3 hour difference from California to Georgia so graduation may already have happened. It is 7:30 am here as I write this post. Stephen had a comment on Facebook a while ago that they were sitting in the bleachers waiting to pin a second generation Airborne.

Stephen closed their shop today so they could drive up for Nathan's graduation. I chatted with Denise for a couple of minutes on Facebook last evening and she told me Nathan hadn't received his orders yet. I think Stephen mentioned some time ago that Nathan was hoping to go to Ft. Bragg, NC. That would be so cool if he did. Stephen was stationed there. They lived in Fayetteville for several years so it would be going back home.

Hopefully Denise will post some pictures later. Have a great day!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More Pictures of Nathan's Jump Yesterday

Denise posted these pictures on Facebook today that Stephen took of Nathan's jump. The first picture is one of two C130's that is ready to taxi down the runway and take the soldiers up for their jump.Some of the crowd watching.
Stephen said a lieutenant led the way.

Nathan should be the one on the far left.
He is on the left getting ready to touch down.
Nathan in the front double timing to get his 'chute in.
Nathan is the one in the back. The car parked there looks like Stephen and Denise's Saturn.
Nathan down, safe and sound!!
Turning in his 'chute.
The best picture of all, a proud and happy father and a proud and happy soldier son!!
Nathan has 4 more jumps to do before he is done with his training. It is amazing all that he has accomplished in nine months. Stephen made a comment on the pictures that the soldier that was helping Nathan get ready also helped Stephen get into the pack area and on the jump site. I need to ask Denise about him. I think he is someone they probably knew from being in Fayetteville, NC. He might have attended Calvary Chapel where Stephen was associate pastor.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Postman and UPS brought Goodies

On Saturday the postman delivered a goodie box from my Hawai'i blogger friend, Jalna. She discovered these taro chips made on the island of Kaua'i and has ordered a few times. She mentioned that she was going to place another order and I mentioned that I'd like to order some. Well, she told me she'd send me a couple of bags, her treat. Last week I got an email from her saying she had mailed a box to me. So here they are. They are made in the town of Hanapepe, the biggest little town on the island. This town has a special place in my life as it is where my mother grew up. She was born in Eleele, a town next door to Hanapepe and has cousins that live in Kalaheo. These three towns are next to each other on the west side of Kauai. The highway goes through these towns to get to Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Well, I'm getting away from my post. :)) She sent two bags of the chips!! I've been sampling them and they are so GOOD or as we say back home - so ONO!! The ingredients are taro, soybean oil and garlic salt. Poi is made from the taro root.
She didn't just send taro chips, she sent some other goodies too. This is Li Hing Mango. This is a product of Thailand although it is packed in Hawai'i. The li hing flavor is a combination of sugar, salt and licorice along with preservatives.
Sweet Li Hing Mui - plums, sugar, salt, licorice extract and preservatives. The plums are dried first.
Arare are Japanese rice crackers. YUM!!
I couldn't get a good enough picture without the glare from the package. This is what the Arare looks like.
Honey Li Hing Mui. This is basically plums, sugar and preservatives. The ingredients don't mention licorice.
It is hard to see them as they are rather dark.
Jumbo Cherry Seed. Cherries, sugar, salt and licorice plus preservatives. We call these products "Chinese Seeds" as most of it comes from China or Thailand. This is what we ate instead of candy growing up. I had an earlier post where I purchased several packages of Chinese seeds from a company back home.
Mahalo nui loa, Jalna!! All of these goodies will be enjoyed. Your kindness and generosity means so much! Mondo Hugs!!

Earlier this morning I walked past the sliding glass door and noticed a box on the back porch. I was happy to see a box from Tastefully Simple. A blogger friend of mine who lives in Pennsylvania had a catalog show and I ordered a few products. I love these products. If you've never tried them, check out their website Their products are a little pricey. :( So here's what I ordered: Truffle Fudge Brownie mix. You add 1 stick of melted butter and 2 large eggs to the mix. To make them Turtle Truffle Fudge brownies, you bake as indicated for the brownies then add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, 1 cup of whole or chopped pecans and 1/2 cup of warmed Creamy Caramel sauce to the top of the brownies after they have been baked. That sounds so wonderful!!
Two boxes of Nana's Apple Cake Mix. Two cups of chopped apples and 2 large eggs are added to the mix. One cup of walnuts is optional. I got two boxes of this mix. I've gotten it before and it is really good.
A jar of Everyday Grill seasoning. Good for any meat or chicken being bbq'd.
And a jar of Creamy Caramel Sauce.
The rain has come back. Yesterday it was pretty stormy and windy. It has rained off and on all day today. Supposedly it will clear up for the rest of the week although it is suppose to be rather cold.

Nathan's First Airborne Jump

This morning Nathan did his first Airborne jump at Ft. Benning, GA where he is doing this part of his training. Stephen drove up to Ft. Benning yesterday after church so he could witness his son's first jump. Stephen went through his Airborne training at Ft. Benning about 17 years ago. He sent these pictures to Denise this morning and she posted them on Facebook. Evidently the soldier that is getting Nathan ready is a friend of theirs. How cool is that!!

I believe Nathan is the last one on the left side of this picture.

The jumps were set to start at 12 noon EDT, 0900 PDT. I'm not sure exactly when Nathan actually jumped. Denise sent me a text and posted on Facebook that all went well. She could hear Nathan's voice in the phone call from Stephen. He said he had fun! So the first jump is down.
I must say I got teary eyed looking at these pictures of him getting ready, my stomach was doing cartwheels and I was praying. And so proud of him!! Also, to see all those soldiers sitting there ready to go, I wondered what thoughts they were all having as they waited.
Nathan did his basic training at Ft. Leonard Woods in Missouri, his EMT/Combat Medic training at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX and now Airborne training at Ft. Benning, GA. He still has his Ranger school to go to. I don't know if that is right after Airborne or at a later time. I thought I saw a comment from Stephen last night on Facebook that Nathan is hoping to be stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. That would be "going home" as that was Stephen's last duty, Nathan grew up in Fayetteville and around Ft. Bragg. The kids lived in Fayetteville from 1992 to 2008.
Stephen was staying to have dinner with Nathan and then driving back to Enterprise tonight. He may already be on his way as it is 6:30 pm in Georgia.
I did breathe a sigh of relief when I got Denise's text that Nathan was successful in his jump, thanking God for His protection. I have no doubt Stephen and Denise were also relieved the first jump was over. Denise mentioned in a comment on Facebook that her stomach was turning over.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kalua Pork Roast

The week before Easter Sunday, a grand niece of mine posted on Facebook how she fixes a Kalua Pork Roast. Actually, I think her husband does it. They do a brine first and soak the roast in that before they cook it. Then another niece of mine said that she and her husband fixed one for Easter Sunday.

It has been quite some time since I fixed a pork roast like this. I knew I had a shoulder pork butt roast in the freezer. I took it out of the freezer on Thursday. That night before I went to bed, I put the roast in the crock pot and let it cook on low all night. About 11 am Friday I took it out of the crock pot and let it cool before I shredded the meat. Here's the roast right after I took it out of the crock pot. I've shredded about half of the roast at this point.
It was so good. I fixed a potato/macaroni salad, rice and the pork for dinner that night. I warmed some of it up in the microwave before serving it. Then last night (Saturday) we had more of it for dinner. There is still a little bit left.
Here is how I fix it. It tastes just like it has been cooked in the imu (underground oven-Hawaiian style).
1 shoulder pork butt roast (I think mine was 3 to 4 lbs. I don't remember exactly).
coarse salt
liquid smoke
Set crock pot to the low setting. Put a little bit of water in the bottom of the crock pot. Just a little bit so that just the bottom is covered. Roll the roast in a coarse salt. I use sea salt. Gently push the salt into the roast making sure it is completely covered. Sprinkle liquid smoke all over. Place the roast into the crock pot and let it cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.
Remove roast to a pan and let it rest for a little bit. Mine sat for about an hour. Then taking two forks, pull the meat apart and start shredding it. It is easier to use your fingers to shred the meat. And yes, the meat will be hot. Just work quickly. And that is it. If you like cabbage, saute some cabbage until soft, use either regular cabbage, bok choy or napa cabbage. I didn't fix any cabbage, we had to eat early because Gerry was giving a guy that works at Carmichael Cycles a ride home to Pleasant Valley.
Pleasant Valley is on Highway 49 south of Placerville. Placerville is on Highway 50 on the way to Lake Tahoe. It was a pretty drive up there. We saw quite a few deer grazing along the way. Dusk is usually when the deer come out to feed. Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough with my camera.
I got a care box from my Hawaii blogger friend, Jalna. I need to take pictures of my goodies then I will post.
Our weather is back to being crazy. It was pretty ugly yesterday, windy and dark skies. Then today just as church was over, the rain started. It rained pretty steadily this afternoon then a couple of hours ago it started raining very heavily. I said on Facebook it was bucketfuls. It has stopped now and the sun is actually shining a little bit, I see blue sky. There is suppose to be rain through tomorrow.
Our card swap yesterday was a lot of fun. I've posted pictures of the cards we made on my Elegant Reflections blog. Take a look if you are interested. :) Our next swap is in June. I will be hosting one here at our mobile home park in August.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Morning

A quick post! I will try to catch up later today.

Today is another card swap. This one is being hosted by Karen who lives in Folsom. Six ladies are attending. I am looking forward to the cards we will be making. I kind of "cheated" and used samples I already had. They will be posted on my Elegant Reflections blog later.

I am off to have some breakfast and get ready. I am taking brownies as my contribution to the potluck lunch. They will be ready to take out of the oven soon.

So have a great Saturday and I will be back to chat later. I have pictures to post too of what I made for dinner yesterday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Catching Up Post

Good Morning!! I finally got my card order done last night. I'm going to deliver the cards today. A couple of them I had to redo, I also had to substitute stamps from the sample cards. The samples I used were Asian cards I did in a couple of different classes at The Paper Garden. So I didn't have the stamps that were used. I hope Kazumi and Kaori like the cards.

I need to get card kits made for the card swap I'm going to on Saturday. There will be 6 ladies attending this swap. I think I'm going to use a card from my stash so I don't have to think of a new design. Every one is making two different card samples.

I met my classmate friend, Irene at Izumi's Japanese restaurant in Rocklin yesterday for lunch. Irene and I went to Kaimuki High School. She is leaving next week Thursday to go home for the 50th reunion of the Class of '60. We'll get together again when she gets back so she can tell me all about it.

Since I had to get my card orders finished last night, Gerry fixed dinner. He left about the same time I did yesterday to go for a ride. He didn't ride on Monday because it was suppose to be raining. It turned out to be a nice day. Anyway, I put the rice on and then he made some patties with the hamburger meat I had taken out, zapped some frozen peas in the microwave and it was dinner. He even cleaned the kitchen for me! What a guy, huh!! Sometimes he can be so helpful! :) We won't talk about the other times when I ask him to help me. LOL!!

He just left for the Wednesday breakfast ride. He usually has coffee only on the breakfast ride. Yesterday he stopped at the bike shop at Five Points, Carmichael Cycles. Five Points is where most of the rides start. It is close to William Pond Park and the American River Parkway which the club uses to ride. The guy that manages the store belongs to the same bike club. Gerry hangs out there sometimes after a ride. Anyway, he was offered a part time job to help work on bikes. Don't know if he is going to do it. He'd be gone all the time.

Well, I'm going to go get some breakfast and get started on my day.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Easter Story

Easter is a very special day for me. You might say it is an anniversary. Thirty-two years ago I decided living apart from God and church was just not making me as happy as I wanted to be.

I was raised in a Christian home and going to church was a part of my growing up years. After I married my first husband, I strayed away from God and did not have much interest in going to church. After he was discharged from the Marines we did some moving around both here in California and his home state of Arkansas. Eventually we decided to buy a home and moved to Oceanside, CA. There we found a Nazarene church (I was raised in the Nazarene denomination) and started faithfully attending services, being involved in activities. Our friends were the people we went to church with. However, I don't believe we were really living committed Christian lives.

After almost 10 years of marriage and a baby girl, he decided he didn't want to be married any longer. I tried to continue to attend church, however I had become friends with people outside of church and the lure to be a part of what they were doing was stronger than living a Christian life. Besides I became so disillusioned with church. If church was what it was suppose to be, why was I being divorced and alone?

In October of 1974 I found myself moving to Fresno, CA with my daughter. Life was not very kind to us after I moved and we struggled to get through each day. I had looked in the phone book for any Nazarene churches in the area thinking maybe one day Denise and I would attend. One of the churches listed the name of a pastor who had been the pastor of the Nazarene church my first husband and I attended in Vista. I decided that we would go one Sunday morning, would sit in the back and slip in and out of the service. The pastor thought he recognized me. Not really thinking I filled out a visitor's card, however I didn't use my real name. The pastor made a visit to where we were living, however I was not home. He left his card with a note and I called him later that particular day. I found myself in a really desperate situation a while after that first call and I called him again. Looking back after all these years, I was calling out for help then. He and his wife came over to see me and spent several hours talking to me. I shared all that I had been through in the years since we had seen each other last and he was pretty saddened to hear what I had to say.

I kept in touch with him over the next few years. When we would talk, he would encourage me to come to church and I would always say "please don't preach to me" and he would say "he wouldn't do that". He did, however, always encourage me that only Jesus in my life would take the hurt away.

On the Saturday before Easter Sunday 1978, I woke up that morning and decided we were going to church the next day. Before I could change my mind, I called my pastor friend and asked him what time services would be the next morning. He gave me the time and I told him we would be there. He was excited to hear my news and reassured me that he would be in the parking lot waiting for us. He took us to the Sunday School class for Denise and then escorted me to his Sunday School class that he taught. I was introduced to everyone in the class who were all very friendly.

I have always cried very easily and I could not stop crying throughout the class. The worship service was wonderful, it felt so GOOD to be back in church. And yes, I cried through the whole service. We faithfully attended each Sunday after that week and then on the third Sunday of attending, before the sermon was concluded, I couldn't hold back what I had been feeling for those 3 weeks prior. I literally jumped up from where I was sitting and ran down the side aisle to the altar and sobbed my heart out to God for forgiveness. At that point, I was so broken and I knew I could not go on living the way I had been. As soon as the pastor's wife was through playing the organ, she came down and prayed with me. We had become very close by then. Soon the pastor was there praying and I was surrounded by other people praying. It was such a relief to be free from the load I had been carrying for so long.

My daughter usually stayed outside waiting for me after Children's Church. When I didn't come to get her, she started crying. One of the ladies who had been praying with me, saw her and asked her what was wrong. She told her she didn't know what happened to her mommy. The lady brought her into me and she was not only afraid because she didn't know where I was, she also didn't know why I was crying. We were both kind of a mess. :)

And so Easter 1978 began my journey back to living a life with Jesus a part of it. I can't say the journey has been a smooth one because it hasn't been. There have been many bumps, twists and turns along the way. However, the one constant has been "I serve a risen Savior, He is in my life today".

There is a reward in that simple act 32 years ago and that is, my daughter is married to a wonderful Christian husband and they together are serving in ministry through their business and small group of fellow believers. I often have wondered how she would have turned out if I had not made that decision to go to that Easter service. Would she have somehow heard the message of salvation and given her heart to the Lord. Well, I am so thankful she did hear that message.

She and I moved to Sacramento, CA in July 1980. And in August of that year, God brought a Christian man into my life. In November of that same year, we started our journey of 29 years and 5 months together being married and serving God.

Tomorrow as we worship and celebrate a Risen Savior, I will reflect on where I was 32 years ago and where I am now. (I will be sure to have a pack of kleenex with me because I know I will need it). I am so thankful for a pastor who didn't give up on me and his wife who always had a listening ear. We remain close friends.

The words to this song have always meant a lot to me:

The Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference

"Twas a life filled with aimless desperation
Without hope walked the shell of a man (woman)
Then a hand with a nailprint stretched downward,
Just one touch then a new life began.

And the Old Rugged Cross Made the Difference
In a life bound for heartache and defeat,
I will praise Him forever and ever,
For the Cross made the difference for me"!

It's Saturday

Good Morning!

Just a short post for now since I haven't posted anything for a few days.

I slept in until 7:30 this morning. That is sleeping in for me since I am usually up by 7 am at the latest. Actually I was woken up at 4 am by Gerry telling me goodbye. Surprise, surprise! I was able to go back to sleep!!

Gerry is in Ione today. Ione is in the foothills, kind of south east from Sacramento. His bicycle club is having their annual fund raiser ride and he is helping to direct traffic. It is called "Party Pardee". A metric century and half century rides are offered. I think there is a 30 mile ride too. He took his bike with him and said he was going to do the short ride after he finished parking cars. Usually the week before, those that want to from the club go up to Ione and ride the route. He always talks about doing that, yet doesn't really want to make the drive two Satudays in a row. The ride is usually sold out every year.

So I get to do what I want today. The weather is suppose to be a lot better today than it was yesterday. I want to go get a pedicure so I should be getting myself going here in a little bit. I need to work on my card orders too. I've gotten quite a few of them done already.

About the weather yesterday, it rained some here, however the wind was pretty strong. Gerry left for his ride before 8 am and was back home about 9:30 am. He said he was so cold, his toes and hands were hurting from the cold. Only a few people showed up for the ride and half of them left to go home. He forgot to take any money with him so he couldn't even get a cup of coffee to warm up.

A friend of mine drove back to Sacramento yesterday after visiting in Oregon. She said on Facebook that they had rain, snow and more rain and snow. They had to chain up once and ten minutes later took the chains off. They bought a new Nissan Rouge while they were in Oregon and she said it handled very nicely coming through all of that. I saw on KCRA's web site that at one point I-5 was closed north of Redding due to the weather and accidents. So the weather was worse north and east of Sacramento.

Last night Gerry went to Good Friday services at Trinity Life. I had intended to go too, it was just too cold to get too excited about going out. After the service was over he drove over to Whole Foods to get some bread. He wanted something for dessert so brought home a small carrot cake. The baked goods from Whole Foods are so good. We each had a piece of it before we went to bed. Not such a good idea to eat something before going to bed, yet it was hard to resist. :)

I'll be back later to tell my story of why Easter is an extra special day for me.