Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gold Fever

~We'll see how this pans out."~

Paul and the boys brought home some buckets of dirt from an area that the locals pan in.  He set up our own system in the backyard, so the girls and I could be a part of it too, and so the boys could keep working on the panning skills ;) 

We never did strike it rich, but we did find a lot of phony faking Pyrite. 

Hannah found the things that were special to her: itty-bitty shells.
David was determined and focused.  Paul and the boys ended up panning about 20 gallons of dirt.

I took off my wedding ring and hid it in my pan so I could actually find something. 
Totally physched out Paul and the kids!!

A week ago I had the chance to go to the Ronald Reagan Museum.  I got to go all by myself, which is a treat unto its own!  I was so moved, taking in the powerful life of this man, finishing off with a visit to his grave.  What stood out to me the most about President Reagan was the impact that he had on the personal freedom of so many people. 
I just can't believe trading in that freedom for anything and yet we continue make choices that lead to ecomonic, social and spiritual oppression. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Great Outdoors

I would camp 24/7 if I could. 

We had a great time at the Outdoor Show in Bakersfield a couple of weeks ago.   It felt like old times when we used to visit the one in the Northwest.  With so many different ages of children, it can be a challenge to find activities that we all enjoy.  This was one of them for sure!  We were a proud family to see our Salvation Army C-Carts outside the Gate collecting canned food for the Corps and ARC.  We added some corn ourselves. 

Among all the RV's, Trailers and 5th wheels to tour were also outdoor vehicles. 
Even for the little kids. 

Elijah and I took tried to take this baby for a spin, but the owner was on lunch. I think a tandem bike would be a great team-builder.

David hiding from my pictures.

Ann launching herself into the sky.  She was laughing and enjoying herself the whole time.

After the workers harnessed the girls in, Paul doubled checked to make sure they were really secure before take-off.  He is such a good daddy. 

Hannah is so light that the workers had to keep launching her, but she still had great time.

Elijah took our portrait.

The free trout fishing for kids was the best part of the day!  Hannah learned that a real fishermen is very patient.  She took the longest to catch her fish.  The men at the pond helping us were so positive and patient even though they had been doing it all day long. 
David did pretty good on his own.  He kept coaxing Mary to catch a mermaid.  She was a little disappointed to catch a fish and not Ariel.

Elijah kept at it and caught the second biggest fish.

Ann caught the biggest, and I just realized I didn't have a pic of her fishing.  She was actually the first Chouinard to catch one.  Those fish flopped all over and we made them hold their own fish.  I kept telling them "Hang on and don't let go no matter what or how much blood!"  Much where we are in life right now,  no matter how much flopping, we won't let go :)   "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4    
Hold on, Don't Let Go, Persevere

We have had such beautiful weather here.  I keep all the doors and windows open and spend as much time as I can outside.  It just re-charges me like nothing else.  All the trees are blooming.  Is it spring yet?  We have to wait 30 minutes at school after picking up Ann, but before picking up Elijah, so when the weather is good I bring the girls' snack and we lay out on the grass at the school.  So nice.  I usually bring books or paperwork or sermons trying to squeeze in "productivity", but lately I just lay there and watch the girls climb the tree, or chat with other moms,  or plot out how I could pick the lemons off the tree that were too high for the school children to reach.  Then we wait another 30 minutes after getting Elijah but before picking up David.  That wait is in the car and although I play Adventures in Odyssey and bring books and such, it can be a looooong 30 minutes with 4 children strapped in the car with nothing to do but "toy" with eachother.  I've been bringing my earplugs.  I am eager for summer when I don't have to spend 3 hours a day transporting children here and there.  

Many people I know are experiencing tremendous pain in their life right now.  We are praying. You never know who is suffering.  Be kind and tenderhearted to those around you today.  Be patient and understanding. Withhold judgement and criticism that comes from a jealous,mis-informed or thorny heart. If it doesn't come from true Christian love, then it doesn't belong.   May God's grace help us all.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tea Party


Life is not perfect, but it is so precious! 

I have missed posting memories these last few months,
so I will be doing some retroactive posts. 
It is such a good feeling to read back through my blog with a child or two (or more) and reminisce, much like looking at a photo album, only better :)   

We had a Tea Party for dinner one evening during our furlough.  I have to prepare dinner anyway, so it's not that much extra effort set it out on the fancy dishes and linens.  Paul was hungry later so it will have to be more hearty next time, but he was a good sport.  He had to leave early to visit a church that is hosting one of our Donation Trailers.  It was an Assemblies of God one, so I told him "Say Hi to the Holy Spirit for me"  Hee!Hee! Wink.Wink. 

"Pinkies up"
and "no slurping" gang.

We had entertainment too.  Elijah was the man ballet dancer and gave all his sisters a good spin.

The girls re-sang the songs from our Corps Christmas play.  If only they had sung that good DURING the play.

My heart is still full from our blessed Chapel last night; 2 Men getting their 6 year Sobriety Chip, 3 Men Completing/Graduating the Program.  Birthday night, fellowship with all.  Wow, what an awesome privelege to be here. It's hard to just accept God's grace.  Be banished pride/ego/self-reliance!  Like I like to say in my best British accent "off with your head!"

It's Thursday, so I'm already far behind in my chores after being gone the last two Fridays (my catch all days) I will be working like a mad woman, but the sun is coming out so maybe I will take the girls to the park after Ann's dentist appointment and just "LOOKeth well unto the ways of my household" and not do anything about it ;)   

Elijah just jumped out of the pantry and scared Mary.

Be blessed and love Jesus today.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


 Above is the Men's Songbook that we use in Services.  We also sing contemporary songs with our praise band that plays at the beginning of Service.  

We hold our own Chapel service with our Men early Sunday mornings (Wednesday evenings too) and most of the time head over to the Corps (Church) when we're finished, although if other things in our family need attention, we pass after already attending 2 Services in a week, it can quickly become a drudgery for the kids, not matter how you put it ;)  Some of our Men attend there too and a few Alumni. 
It's a GREAT Corps (Church). We have felt most welcomed personally and in ministry partnering too. There are several retired officers that inspire me to keep going no matter what and others in the Corps with a strong Witness. 

We participated in United Divine Service Sunday (aka Youth Sunday) at our new church. 
Moonbeams: Hannah, Mary and Sunbeam: Ann

David played with the band.

Elijah is such a natural behind the pulpit.  He gave the Welcome and Announcements, the very detailed version :)

A young man from the Corps who is 13, I believe, gave the Message.  He asked to give it and he wrote it too.  It was such a blessing to our Corps to hear him.  I was so blessed and reminded that we must really listen to the hearts of our young people.   Too often we forget what they're up against and ask them to face things that are even difficult for mature adults to face.   I pray this young man keeps on pursuing Christ and sharing his Witness because he does it so well! 

A Major and his girls.  It pushes his buttons when we call him "Major Daddy" though!(hee!hee!)

Elijah in his Jr. Soldier uniform.  Ann can't hardly wait to make her promise when she turns 7 in just a few short weeks.  I pray they keep their fervor!

Here we are. 
"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. "
~Deuteronomy 7:9

David put my loops and nametag on. 
He wears it well doesn't he?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's Not You, It's Me

I can often find myself in a panic as I look at the world around me. Everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. Itching ears being soothed by almost truths. Sound doctrine, logic, being replaced by deceitful emotions. And yet we have no control over any of it. Influence YES! but not control, that is still God's job.

We can convince ourselves of all sorts of things when we are trying to get our own way or trying to satisfy the crowd. While all the while ignoring/denying the TRUTH and LIGHT that the Word and the Holy Spirit pierces into our lives. Through and through He WILL do it! PRAISE GOD for the reprieve He gives us from the flesh!

We must truly be the change we want to see. It's not "them", it's us! Or more spefically, I. I must be the one to remain in Him and honestly answer when I ask myself...

How am I living?
Am I authentically practicing the answers that I quickly apply to the world around me?
Do I have integrity in dilligently loving God and His Ways?
I am only accountable for myself and will give an answer to how I have managed what He has laid in my path.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22-25)

And so we must have resolve about the way in which we live. Not being pulled this way and that by popular opinion or what we can talk ourselves into at the moment just for the sake of easy. There must be substance and sincerity to our own walk with God or our touch on the world around us will be fleeting and will not last. Jesus said we are the salt of the earth, yet we are of no use if we lose our saltiness.

Protect your Holiness.  Do not continue in situations that you know will be the demise of you and your family.  I would rather lose face than my holiness.  Do what God says.  Continue in it so that you will remember God's Way and be blessed (content, happy).   Seek God above all else.  Recognize the distractions that creep into your life for what they are, detractors from what is really most important for you to be doing. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Potato Bits and More

What do you do with leftover potatos, fries, tots?  No need to make them wait out their doom in the fridge or feed them to the trash can.   

Start a zippy bag in your freezer and add all those little bits of leftovers.  Get a good variety going.  The garlic roasted potatos didn't get finished off?  Toss them in your potato bits bag.  Cook too many tator tots again?  Straight to the potato bits bag.  And those extra-crispy Ore Ida fries that nobody went for?  They can serve their time in the bits bag too.

Next time you cook up a casserole, break out the potato bits bag and give them a good chop.
Mix in some or a little of both of Ranch, mayo, sour cream, buttermilk. Whatever you have on hand.
Add some dried onions or other seasonings like Rosemary or Chili Pepper.  Get creative.  Add cheese too if you'd like. 

Spread it over top of your favorite casserole.

Bake to perfection.
Thank the good Lord and enjoy.

And More....

Mary has been fighting an awful case of impetigo.  She is now taking antibiotics.  Poor thing.  Paul stayed home with her this morning because I still had so much to do for our Employee Christmas Party.  I know he will be playing catch-up, but I'm so glad to have that extra time this morning at the Center.  Our party is going to be fabulous :)  Although I still need to head in super early tomorrow AM to micro-manage and control freak the final set-up. Just doing my DSSing.  Smile :)  

Then I had the most unusual call from David's school that he was sick.  So I picked him up and well... after I dropped him off at home... I had to go get the van cleaned.  Poor thing #2.

Elijah is quite into Geology lately, so as I sit here, he is teaching his sisters from the Rock collection we bought 5 years ago in Sequim, WA. 

I promised the kids a quick walk.  Mary really needs to get out of the house.  David can be sick without me.    

I'm so glad it's Pizza Night. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Atmosphere

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name."
~Psalm  100:4
Front entryway to our home.  After 7 years of hiking up a million stairs to the front door with a crowd of children, groceries, and more, often snow and ice.... I am thankful for a flat, large front porch.  I am still basking in the ease of it. 

On the top left of the door is a decorations that our good friends made us and gave to us when they came over for lunch for the first time.  Fall of 2004.  It is even dated.  We love hanging it up every year, we are thankful for friends!

We have this little ledge/half wall by the front door, but I am noticing the paint is getting chipped. I'm going to cover it with clear contac paper.  I hope it doesn't look to tacky.  If I use doilies or a runner, it will be just another thing that needs straightening a million times a day, like the pillows on the couch that always end up on the floor.  I am thankful for so many little hands who add life, aka mess ;) to the house!

I liked arranging the table runner angled this year. 
See the centerpiece the girls made?  Hannah worked especially hard on it, even sprinkling it with seeds that flew everywhere the first time I blew out the candles. She hasn't noticed yet.  Good thing we got a new vacuum!

Sidetable in dining room. I have used the large leaf platters (under the smaller plates) many times this fall.  I just love them and have matching plates too.   I am thankful I can buy myself treats here and there like the leaf dish set.  So thankful for plenty of nourishing food to eat on them too.

On top of the piano in the front room.  I just love glow candles.  I bought them at Costco this year (with a coupon!).  I am thankful for music, especially the WinterJam concert we went to recently.  We love music and how it ministers to us.

Sofa table, which also functions as my laundry folding table.  I am thankful for all the laundry I do, it means I have a lot of people to love!

We have these openings in the wall that divides the family room with the front room and hallway.  The kids kept hopping through them, I did too (shortcut) but we put an end to it.  We must be somewhat civilized :))  I am thankful for our active, adventorous spirits, the zeal for life so evident in children.

I don't get to turn my garland lights on often.  Everyone says it annoys them when we're watching a movie.  I like it, but I've been outvoted.  I keep it on when I'm feeling onry though. 

On the fireplace mantle. 

This is the dining area of the kitchen.  See my leaf plates in the right corner?  I just love them. Thank you Wal-Mart.  And a pumpkin candle burning.  Smells so good.  Even if the house is a disaster, in my mind, a candle makes it all better. 

We will eat a Thanksgiving Meal at our Center.  I am thankful for our ARC.
My parents are coming down to spend Thanksgiving with us.   We are all looking forward to having Thanksgiving with them.  That will be my most thankful thing I'm sure.

William Bradford,  one of the only known first hand account of the Mayflower voyage, who endured tremendous challenges and pain in his life during the pilgrimage to America wrote this poem at the end of his life:
Faint not, poor soul, in God still trust,
Fear not the things thou suffer must;
For, whom he loves he doth chastise,
And then all tears wipes from their eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Be Blessed!

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