Changes in the house

I thought it was about time for me to post some pics of the house! We bought a “fixer-upper” and Dan is always busy doing something to it!

We’ve had the house for a year and a half now. In that time we’ve: put on new roof, new siding, waterproofed the basement, installed central air/heat, new windows, new doors, new well, new oil tank, repaved the driveway… you get the idea!

The entire house was paneled on the inside, and Dan is going room by room and putting up drywall and redoing the flooring.

When we bought our house, it looked like this from the front~

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We had a new roof, siding, and windows done and now it looks like this~

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One of rooms Dan re-did was our familyroom.
Here is what it looked like before ~

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He took down the panelling, put up drywall, and put in the floor.
Here it is after ~

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When we first bought the house, this is what our foyer looked like ~
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With so much to do, we’re only able to do the work in small bits. So, in the meantime, before Dan could actually overhaul it, we had new doors put in and I painted it the panelling white so it wouldn’t be so dark ~

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On January 2nd, he was ready to start in on the foyer. So he pulled the panelling off the walls. He is currently doing the drywall, and then will put in a new stairway bannister and new ceramic tiles.

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Nothing like living in a constant construction site! But it will look nice when it’s completed. 🙂

I Didn’t Die… I promise.

Sooooooo I haven’t updated in like, forever. *blush* I didn’t die… really. I just… haven’t updated in a while. Okay, a long while. *wipes dust off keyboard, cough, cough… allergic to dust*

Soooooo Ima give you all an update.

Today I went to church extraspecially early and played violin in the church orchestra. We played 13 hymns. I didn’t know like all but two of them. It was confusing, but it went really well I think. I just hit about three sour notes on some of the crazy fast songs with the 5 flats. Eew.

I’ve started playing guitar for youth group on Wednesday nights with the band, it’s going excellent. All the songs are great, and I really like worshipping God in a unique way. We have a bass guitar, a keyboard, an electric violin (I’m saving up for one now, after seeing how amazing they are), main electric guitar, acoustic guitar (me!), drummer, and two vocals. Oh, and the slide engineer and the sound board engineer. We sound really good, if I do say so myself.

So like a month from now I’m going on a ski trip, and I will play keyboard because our typical keyboardist can’t come and they remembered I play piano. That should be really fun. It’s about 20 songs. This will be my first time playing keyboard for the church. It will be fun.

Tomorrow I’m teaching the Awana highschool aged (Journey 24/7) lesson. I have like three pages of notes. It’s on Romans 15-16. It’s gonna be cool, I hope I don’t get nervous. I shouldn’t! Because I don’t get stage fright at all anymore. I don’t even get nervous. I just now like look out at the crowd and go, “Oh, hey look, it’s so-and-so! I wonder if they’re going to stay for the 2nd service. Hmm, I think she got a haircut.” And other random stuff. And for Journey 24/7 it’s not even in the room with a stage.

Next month is gonna be crazy busy. We gotta lot going on for homeschooling. It’ll be cool.

I’m going to give you a more extensive update very soon, okay?

Oohhhh, the pizza guy just came! I’ll update again soon, ok? So, drop me a comment while I’m gone. How are you and what’s your favorite candybar? And what’s one way God is speaking to you lately? Prayer requests?

Agape,

Kitty

Misawa Japan

We spent 3 years in Misawa from ’94 to ’97. We especially loved eating at a little dive called Companions. We had some of the greatest food there and we sure do miss it! We especially loved cheese gyoza and yakisoba. We also liked their chicken, although I’m a vegetarian now, but Dan’s not. We’d love to try and recreate some of it.

So, I looked around the web and tried to come up with some things to try:

~ gyoza: use a wonton wrapper with cheese. Seal with water and cornstarch.

~ what cheese? try mozzarella, Monterey Jack, smoked gouda (what’s that?), or farmer cheese chill cubes
~ chill after rolling so the cheese won’t bleed out when it’s cooked

~ chicken: the boneless chicken marinade – 3 parts milk to 1 part soy sacuce. Marinate overnight, roll in rice flour, dip in egg, roll in Panko breading. Chill or fry.

or soak the chicken in milk, dip in flour, egg, and panko bread crumbs. Fry in peanut oil.

But what about the yakisoba? Theirs was so unique and delicious! If anyone stumbles across this that was there and has any insight, I’d love to hear from you! Well, even if you don’t have any insight I’d love to hear from you!

Misawa is up on the northern part of Japan. This is Misawa when it’s warming up with cherry blossoms:

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This is Misawa in the dead of winter (there is an average of 120″ of snow per year!)

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And this is Lake Towada, which was one of our favorite vacation spots. It was the top of an inactive volcano!

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pledge

I have been studying the history of the pledge of allegiance the past few days.

The original pledge was written in 1892 in honor of the 400 years since Columbus sailed the ocean blue. It was written by Francis Bellamy, a former pastor who was forced out of his church in 1891 due to his socialist sermons. His cousin was Edward Bellamy, author of American socialist Utopian novels, Looking Backward (1888) and Equality (1897). School children began to recite the pledge daily.

The words of the pledge were:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands- one nation indivisible-with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923 the words “the Flag of the United States” replaced “my flag”. In 1942 Congress officially recognized the pledge. Then in 1943 the Supreme court ruled that children could not be forced to recite it. That’s because children who protested or refused to recite the Pledge were suspended from school, whipped by teachers, arrested, and in some cases imprisoned.

In 1954 the words “under God” were added.

Originally, the pledge was said with the right hand in the so-called “Bellamy Salute,” with the right hand resting first outward from the chest, then the arm extending out from the body. Once Hitler came to power in Europe, some Americans were concerned that this position of the arm and hand resembled the Nazi or Fascist salute. In 1942 Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the right hand over the heart.

My children have been involved in awana for several years. At the beginning of the meetings, they are to pledge to the American flag and to the awana flag. I have been wondering a few things. I am patriotic. I love America and the flag reminds me of the men and women who have been wounded and died in service. Yet I am left wondering what the point is to repeat it over and over in schools, clubs, awana, etc. Is it to make it so ‘normal’ to say it that you don’t question it?

I feel that making a “pledge” is a very serious thing. I made a pledge to my husband in marriage almost 19 years ago. It was important for me to understand exactly what I was pledging. And I only said it once. I worry about the concept of children pledging by rote and not even realizing what they’re doing or saying.

Also, I’m really not sure about the pledge to the awana flag. I enjoy any program that stresses and encourages Bible memorization, and I have worked in the awana program for years. But honestly, I don’t *pledge allegiance* to the awana program at all. So, isn’t pledging without knowing what you’re saying, or really meaning what you’re saying basically a lie?

And how exactly would James 5:12 fit into all this? “But before all things, my brothers, do not swear; neither by the heaven nor by the earth, nor any other oath. But let your yes be yes, and no, no, lest you fall into condemnation.”

This is what I’m praying about…