Friday Feast: Japanese Waffles

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Lyianna had been requesting pancakes so we went on adventure trying to find pancakes. We had no luck but when we stopped to ask a local they referred us here for waffles. Japanese waffles. These waffles are a completely different take on the American version. Which is ironic because the R cafe sits in American Village of Okinawa. I can explain American Village in another post.

Although I was satisfied with our find Lyianna was bummed. Her disappointment however was short-lived once she realized they came topped with ice cream. I would never have thought to add ice-cream with waffles or pancakes for that matter. Yet, this is how they do it here in Japan. The Japanese know what they’re doing because they totally have elevated the waffle with fruit to a more adventurous experience. Can you even imagine the mixture of texture and temperatures in your mouth?! It is shockingly fun and delicious. And as you see in the photos the view was the whip cream on top!

This sweet and cooling spot is ocean side making this a definite spot to be a frequented by our family.

blessings,

d

Transformation Tuesday: Dining

 

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Is anybody else grateful for Monday transforming into Tuesday? I woke up this morning feeling very thankful. I am especially happy that I am waking up to a house that does not speak of how little time we have been living here. I love transforming a once empty space into a “home” and it really doesn’t have to take much.

The kitchen and dining room are two areas of a home that do not require a lot of decor or furniture. I like to keep it simple by using natural tones with the wood and use minimal pieces of furniture to keep it spacious. Then for a simplistic touch I add curtains. If you noticed I gave the room an elegant design by adding mixed textures with the two different white curtains. I also kept the walls white to save money and work. I know some people are probably getting anxiety with the fact that the walls and curtains are white. It is ok, take a deep breath, because I did too. I’m here for you! However, I have learned that using white really accentuates the ambiance of natural light. Overall I would say the space is breathable, simple and “zen”. Isn’t it ironic how I’m using the word zen to describe my dining room here in Japan and this is where that specific form of Buddhism was developed?

They say the magic is all made in the kitchen but I disagree. I believe the magic is in the conversation had over that prepared meal. We finally enjoyed our first home cooked meal this week and with our sweet friends from the plane ride over. I’m sure they can attest to the conversation being way better than my cooking too! Joanna Gaines has my  back though! See, God is good.

Blessings,

d

Thanks to the readers who emailed requesting before pictures! I didn’t think to include those and I’m glad you asked. It is way more fun to see the documented process! Are there any other spaces you would like to see transformed?

 

Sundays in Style: Storms

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For church today, the girls and I wore these same dresses. I had picked them out months prior. I’m sure many of you can relate to this methodical planning for a family photo shoot and the sentimental value of these photos.  There is a particular joy in coordinating  the wardrobes for these occasions, right?

It has been eight weeks since we had this photo shoot. Yet, it feels as though it was yesterday that we were there on the shores of North Carolina. Ironically, we finished the shots right before a storm began to roll in. We made it back to the car and jumped inside as the first drops of rain fell.

In wearing this dress today, I reminisced of our little family’s seven weeks spent out there in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It was more than enough time to fall in love with it too!  It had turned out be the best summer of my life. The most poignant reason being that it was a time of absolute peace. A peace before the impending storm being moved across the world and its ensuing whirlwind and destruction. I am forever grateful that we had that time of rest and had it together.

In wearing this dress today, I was reminded of those sweet days and more importantly the very unfortunate hurricane people have been experiencing there in the Carolinas. The Philippines too. My heart has been burdensome especially with North Carolina. I haven’t been the only one either. With a huge military community being there at Camp Lejeune, it affects the hearts of our military community here. Our whole church prayed in the middle of service because although we may feel helpless we know we can call on the one who can help and intercede for those there.

There will always be one who we can truly take refuge in no matter the storm and that is Jesus! I pray for refuge tonight.

Blessings,

D

 

Friday Feast: First, Ramen

 

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Thailand has its flag-ship dish Pad Thai, Vietnam has its Pho noodles, Italy has its spaghetti and in Japan, it is Ramen! One of our favorite foods lately is Japanese Ramen. This is a far cry from the Cup O’ Noodles that you and I grew up with! The noodles are thick and plentiful, the broth thicker and soupier than Pho. They usually come with a slice of delicious pork belly that melts in your mouth and a boiled egg. Of course you know Danica won’t eat the meat… so I get double portion, more protein for me!

Ordering the food is a process in of its own out here in Okinawa. You first need to order from an automated vending machine that is only in Japanese. Our first time was rough but thankfully the waitress spoke some English and was able to explain enough for us to figure it out. You punch in the main items and add-on items and the machine ejects out these tiny little tickets accordingly. They remind me of movie tickets. As you can see, Camrielle has assumed the duty of punching these buttons for us! Then Lyianna hands over the tickets to our Japanese waitress, and in broken Japanese we pay with Yen.

I enjoy the new ambience and one of the best things is watching my family enjoy food from another land. I can’t say that I enjoyed it as thoroughly the first time. Let me explain.

If you’ve ever eaten with me before, you may recall that I have a penchant for the burn of the spicy. From Siracha to Tapatio, bring it on! So when the waitress asked me how spicy I wanted my Ramen, from a scale of 1 to 50, I chose 25. I thought that it was relative to a scale of 1 to 10, and that in Japan somehow their scale goes up to 50. I was wrong! As I wolfed in my “Exploding Volcano” spicy level 25 Ramen, I thought it odd that Chefs kept peering out to look at me.  It wasn’t so bad … it was only half way max spicy level…or so I thought. As I began to feel an unusual subtle tingling emerge from the base of my tongue to the top of my scalp, my family was giggling at me and having a grand old-time. I can only handle the burn of a level 2 spicy and I may just stick to no spice for a while because wow the burn!

Thank you for joining us on our journey and checking out our gastric delights. I can’t wait to share with you guys next week another Japanese favorite out here!

Until next week, this is your friendly neighborhood, guest writin’ Ramen eating’ Jake signing out.

Wholesome Wednesday: Welcome I

Summer Sign: Hobby Lobby | Dark Frames &White Pillow: TJ MAXX | Letter Board: Tuesday Morning | Mirror: Exchange | Bench: Ikea | White Frame& Burlap Pillow: Gifted

 

Welcome to our humble abode! God, I am so grateful that I get to say that! I have a home again! A home in a completely different country! I literally have tears of joy. I just have to say thank you so much to everyone who has prayed with us for the last year and especially in the last few months. This has been our biggest, longest and furthest move yet and we are so thankful to finally be “home“. And thank you for your patience as we settled in. I know it’s been hard on our family and some friends who want to know what everything looks like and if our belongings came intact. I’m also hoping this will serve as some encouragement to you fellow military wives who may be in or about to be in the same season of homemaking.

For those of you who do not know or have never been in military housing, it can be daunting. They are typically older homes, outdated in just about every way you can think of and not usually aesthetically pleasing. Yet, this is one of the benefits in moving so often. We become interior designers, DIYers and even “property flippers”. Now, although many good people invest into military homes by renovating whatever they are permitted to Jacob and I have decided against this. We find it time-consuming just to set up what we already have and do not find it worth investing into a home that is not truly ours. But we do love to make it feel like ours. Ready to see how we turned this blank space into more of a cozy and welcoming home?

Today I will start with the entry way. After a long day we find comfort in walking into a peaceful ambiance. From the medium dark wood in the bench to the neutral tones of the frames that contrast the white walls you can’t help but feel warmth at the entrance of our home. One of the most special adornments here is the burlap pillow my mother gifted me about nine years ago. It is significant because she is from Costa Rica (as you can read on the pillow. She wanted it to remind me of where she came from and her dreams for her daughters futures. It is a great reminder to be grateful for all that God has blessed our family with and the sweet stories my mother has told me of her childhood growing up on coffee plantations in Costa Rica. I can’t wait to see how living here in Japan and in this specific home brings our daughters memories of their childhood.

Now the signage is my favorite. I’ve slowly collected the different pieces over the years. Where I hang them always changes with each new living space but the entry way was the originating spot when I first started collecting them. Also, to be completely transparent our frames usually don’t even make it on the walls because by the time I decide to do it we get orders to our next duty station. I’m happy to report that since we got this new home together in one week we actually hung frames! Now we just need to place our photos in them! One task and victory at a time, right?

Blessings,

d

 

p.s. we’re still working on covering the electrical breaker box ..

Twinning Tuesday: Twin Towers

Let these photos of red white and blue be a reminder to you …

 

It is September eleventh seventeen years later. I am sure all Americans remember, honor, respect and memorialize this day each year. I know I do. It is typically a day when I am a little more quiet and reserved. Maybe you are too. Today however I celebrated. Does anyone else celebrate? How can anyone possibly celebrate what today symbolizes? You are probably flabbergasted, confused, or even offended with my asking you that. I understand if so, I was too when my six-year-old daughter asked me the same question. So I ask you to take a deep breath as I had to do and consider the heart of who is speaking to you.

See Lyianna came home from school Monday telling me all about how she learned what September 11, 2001 was. I was surprised and almost upset because Jacob and I had not discussed this yet with her. For good reasons too. This day for kids typically is associated with firefighters dying trying to save people and soldiers going to war to fight the bad guys who caused this horrific event. So she already deals with the real worry that her daddy (being in the military) may leave at any given moment to go do the same thing. And Lyianna does understand the sacrifice of her father being willing to give his life for his country to potentially prevent horrific days like this from ever happening again. But for her to fully understand the gravity that September 11 was a reality for people, for families, and for little girls like her was heart wrenching.  For her it was a sense of innocence lost. She knew the truth now. At the end of a long conversation and many tears she made a decision. Lyianna wanted to celebrate.

Lyianna shared how she had also learned that everyone came together to help each other even though many of them were strangers. She said she thought God shined His light that dark day and I absolutely agree. Lyianna chose to celebrate what God did that day in the hearts of people. So from today and each year forward I will join my daughter in honoring, respecting, and memorializing September eleventh. We will never forget and always choose joy in remembering a day in which our nation carried one another’s burdens. Will you celebrate now?

Blessings,

d

 

 

 

My sweet Lyianna,

Today is one of those days you made me really proud to be your mother. Your heart and mind has nothing to do with what I or your father teach you, it is all Jesus in you. Today was an easy day to be your mother. Thank you for cheering me up on a day I typically am sad, worried and reminded of the enemy’s scheming. You reminded me in a powerful way that no matter what may come God is for us and we can be united as a people. I love you.

momma

Sunday Style : Muslin

Happy Sunday y’all! We made it through our first official night in our new home! I’ll share a blog post on that later this week. For now, I’m happy to answer some of y’alls questions I received via email. A few of you wanted to know what the weather has been like and what I’m wearing.

It’s hot here. Like disrespectfully hot. Until my body is acclimated to the humidity I’m keeping it basic, light and simple. I don’t enjoy sweating through my nicer clothing so my go to right now are my muslin dresses. I actually have four. See here is the perfect example of why I just have to have multiple colors of the same thing, (Jacob!). So yes basically I’m rotating the same dress in four different colors and if I get through the day without sweating or spills I’ll even wear them one extra day. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. Today’s rotation was obviously grey!

I don’t know if you have anything made of muslin material but if not, go get yourself something. It is so comfortable, light and airy. Disclaimer, this material can be high maintenance though and so I opt for dry cleaning instead of hand washing. I’m lazy, I know. Just a heads up for all my budget peeps. I’ve noticed in the last couple of years the material muslin is popular for baby swaddle blankets. I actually bought my newborn niece a few since she is a summer baby. You know something is super comfortable if babies are using it right!?

I couldn’t have picked a more comfortable dress for an unexpected busy day at church! We attended service, a membership class, and youth leader training all on top of spending time getting to know some of the pastoral staff. Thank you to those who have prayed with us for so long over what church we would be a part of. I’m so relieved and happy to share those prayers have been answered. God has us where He wanted us and we are grateful. I’ll share more on our church in a later post too.

Enjoy fellowship today!

D

Saturday Sights: Shurijo

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Good evening y’all. Well it’s actually probably morning or afternoon for most of you, so, konichiwa! That means good day/afternoon in Japanese just in case you didn’t already know. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know because today was the first day I remembered it. You think I should have had that memorized with how much I ate sushi in the states but nope.

Anyhow, today was a great day. It became great once I stopped saying “nope, I won’t do this.” I only said that in regards to the heat and because I have known heat like this before. I really thought those Miami days were behind me so please remind me why I’m experiencing this all over again? Oh yes, that’s right because I’m in love with a man who keeps moving me to different lands of an eternal summer! And boy did today feel like summer. Thankfully the Lord was with me and I pushed through trying to ignore how drenched in sweat I was. I finally got too distracted with getting lost, keeping the girls from falling down steep stairs (made of rocks!) and falling off cliffs (also made from rocks!). Win, WIN. And I thought the car ride there was scary!

Let’s play a little game shall we? What has rocks embankments, stairs and pathways? Er. wrong. Wrong to whatever you just guessed because I’m sure you didn’t guess a 600 hundred year old castle! We visited the Shurijo Castle today here in Okinawa, Japan and it was breathtaking. Well everything we saw from the outside was anyways. We didn’t actually go inside the royal courts or castle. I’m sure you figured out why too. Remember that heat? Yeah that’s reason number one. And reasons number two and three are named Lyianna and Camrielle. By the time we figured out where to go by finally finding someone who spoke some english to direct us we then had to hike up a flight of those awesome rock stairs I mentioned. Yeah we literally were too tired, hot and decided to make another trip when it gets cooler. Uh, anyone can tell me when that will be? Thank you in advance.

In all sincerity I can’t wait to go back and see the castle from the court yards and then inside. When we do go back does anyone want us to blog or take photos about anything specific while there? Until then you can read up on the castle here. Enjoy the cultural read!

Blessings,

d

 

 

Fatherhood Fridays: My First Grader

First steps towards her brand new school!

Strong role model!

She picked out her entire outfit by herself! Daddy’s little girl. So proud of her!

Sisters saying goodbye…for now!

Camrielle plotting how to spend time with her parents now that Big Sis is in school…

I often joke to Lyianna that on the day that we brought her home from the hospital, she was the size of a Chipotle burrito.  Born a premie, she never ceased to amaze us with how quickly she developed into a precocious and self-aware little human being.

Not long ago, while sitting in my arms, she randomly recounted a moment over 2 years ago in Hawaii where I was so furious at her for not getting out of a pool when I asked her to.

That was the moment when it really hit me – literally every single moment and interaction from here on out is data going into my little girl as she develops into a woman who will one day be a mover and shaker.

Long gone are the days that were depicted in Mary Poppins: the father comes come to his castle at 1800 after a long day at work to pat his children’s’ heads as they marched off to bed.  Simply being a steady provider doesn’t cut it anymore.

My wife occasionally helps me reset my headings when she reminds me how it was for her to grow up in a single mother household – she often yearned for the simple moments of a romanticized father that she never had.

Thusly it meant a great deal to all of us that I was able to be there for Lyianna on her first day of first grade in a whole new land.  It may be a mundane moment to many, but I am assured that my daughter benefits from these cumulative moments.

Additionally, due to the nature of my new job, there will be periodic stretches where Daddy won’t be home to kiss her goodnight.  Therefore, it was all the more precious to be able to walk my little girl in on her first day of first grade…in a completely new country and culture.

“In their hearts humans plan their steps, but the Lord establishes their steps.”   Proverbs 16:9

 

blessings,

jake

Wholesome Wednesday: My World

 

Jacob and I after we surprised ourselves with passing our license test! We really thought we failed!

 

Hello from half way across the world, literally. The word world has been on my mind this week especially today. I mean it’s only natural, right? We did just move half way across the planet! I am still trying to wrap my mind around that. Can anyone who has lived overseas please tell me when my mind will adjust from vacation mode???

In the meantime I am happy to report that I am finally adjusting to the 15 hour time difference. For the first time I actually slept through the night and only had one headache today. The best part is I wasn’t the only one! Jacob and the girls also slept through the entire night and felt great today. Today was a day we felt on top of the world.  Why? I am glad you asked. Let me share.

To start, this week has been non stop with Jacob having to check into his new command, getting ourselves international phone numbers, registering and starting Lyianna in school, same with Camrielle for daycare, exchanging dollars to yen, taking taxis here and there, finding cars, attending housing and new comers briefs, all while trying to adjust to that time difference previously mentioned. But today. Oh today was the fruit of all that frenzied labor. We had a few of our biggest prayers answered all on one sweet day.

This morning we accepted the offer for our housing, this afternoon we passed our international drivers license test, and this evening we paid for our vehicles. You read that right y’all. We officially have a home and a two cars! What a victory right? I can already see the smiles of those who have walked us through these last three months without most of those basic needs. The real triumph, however, came in the few sweet words of a song that became the soundtrack of my thoughts. “He’s got the whole world in His hands …”.

God holding and transforming my heart’s desires these last seven days is the real testimony. I came here with the expectation of God answering my prayers alright but my way. I had a specific school picked for Lyianna and specific housing to live in on a specific base. I began realizing I needed to surrender control and start asking boldly for what God already had planned because this was what I could delight in most. As soon as I relinquished all control I was able to experience my deepest desire, God’s specifications. Lyianna is in a better school and we have a newer renovated home on a more centrally located base. My favorite verse is Psalms 37: 4 ” Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. ”

No matter where you are in the world today, it is the perfect day to remember this promise.

oh and I promise to update you with photos of our vehicles, school and home in upcoming blog posts!

Thank you and Blessings,

d

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