Change Changes Everything!

Everything always changes, doesn’t? I mean no matter what we do or how we try to keep things going the same, something will always change somehow.

So many times change can be great! I loved when I changed from a girlfriend to a fiance  to and to a wife! A couple of weeks ago Sweets and I had the chance to get back to the States and Canada for some great family visiting. I was FINALLY able to change my name! I LOVED that change!

But while we were there, a number of other things also changed. Some not so good, some not so bad and some we are still unsure about!

Sweets’ wonderful grandfather was diagnosed with cancer the day – actually the MOMENT we arrived. (Literally we walked in the door the second the phone rang and the hospital CALLED to tell him he had cancer – I still can’t believe they did that over the phone!) Many things will have to change now.

About 5 days later Sweets was asked to go to Iowa to see about a job opportunity. (We were in MO, so it was about a 7 hour drive to IA) We were kind of in shock! This was not in the plan! We were set to stay in Japan 18 more months, save as much money as possible and THEN start looking for work for him closer to his home/family when we could pay cash for a car and closer to 50% down on a home. Leaving Japan now we will only have about 1/3 of the savings we hoped to have before leaving.

Needless to say we drove the 7 hours to IA, had a very intense interview for a pretty niche job opportunity and then we drove another 7 hours back discussing Gods hand in all of this and what He could possibly be up to!

Let me tell you I was glad to have those 7 hours! 🙂

So here we are, in a very difficult situation emotionally for both of us as we try to figure out the best steps to take next. Sweets has accepted the job offer and will be moving to IA right after Christmas. I on the other hand find myself in a VERY difficult situation that needs much prayer and only direction from the Lord.

Should I stay and fulfill my contract til March or leave with Sweets and be with my husband as he takes on this new responsibility in January?

To make it easier/further complicate matters I am Canadian and therefore need to wait for immigration clearance before I can move. This helps me to know that if it doesn’t happen before January then I can stay in Japan until it does. But then there’s the being apart for so long…

Alternatively I can go to IA with him for a month or two, then fly to Canada and stay with my family until the immigration process is cleared. This way its easier/cheaper for us to visit 1-2 times a month on weekends as we wait out the immigration. In Japan this will not be possible.

I go back and forth almost everyday! I love my students, and my work but I also want to be by the side of my husband at this very stressful/amazing time in his life. I want to be there when he comes home from work and help him get settled into the new life for at least a month or two before living apart…. I just really do not know whats best. Sometimes I think it is more selfish for me to stay in Japan and leave my husband. But other times when I think of the students, and the promises I made to them, their parents and my boss. Not to mention I do not think it is a good witness to break contract. I sometimes feel more selfish wanting to be with my husband rather than honour my word to complete the work when it gets hard because I miss my man….

Both sides are totally valid and depending on the view both would be honouring to the Lord and Biblically obedient!

So no matter how much I tried to keep our life the same (and I have been trying!) one call changed it all! Despite the trying I am in the process of life changes, but all the while learning that God is also in the process of changing ME.

In Sweets taking this new job, I am forced to face a lot of things about me that I know God has been pointing to, but I have been conveniently ignoring and rather working on the things I THINK I should work on first! (you know, the easier stuff!)

Change: For the good, the bad and the Glory of God! Bring it on!

-Bree

Marriage advice from a newlywed?!

Last post I shared a bit of my thoughts on respect for my husband. Today I was thinking about my wonderful man and reflecting on the week, thinking back to times I may have shown respect to him and ways I may not have. I try to do this every night before we go to bed, just to be sure that he knows that I am aware of times I failed him and that I am working on making them far and fewer, and also so that he knows how much I respect him in my heart and mind even if at times my actions or words do not demonstrate that so well.

I don’t know a whole lot about marriage, its only been 11 months! But I can say that one thing that I am compelled to do at least once a day (sometimes more!) – is to thank Sweets for marrying me. The first couple of times I said this to him, I saw him light up and shine like never before, I know that I touched a place in his heart though he didn’t seem to know what to do with that!

He was surprised by my words and I think he took it negatively, as if I thought he had pity on me, or was doing me a favour in which I needed to thank him. In some ways maybe I feel this. Not for the same negative reasons, but my man is pretty amazing!   I dreamed my whole life of marrying a great guy, I had standards after all – but I never thought I would marry someone THIS awesome. I am still shocked he felt we were well fitted. On top of that, I come from a kinda wild, dysfunctional, emotional/vocal family and he comes from the most traditional, stable and reserved family. When I was young I dreamed of family life just like the kind in which he grew up, but with my personality coming out of my upbringing, I never imagined I could be yoked with someone from the complete opposite spectrum. I wasn’t expecting to marry poorly, or anything but I did expect to marry someone with a more similar upbringing, and a bit more chaos in their life.

So that being said, I am just so thankful for my marriage. I am thankful for so much about Sweets, our relationship, and our lives. But more than all of that I am so thankful that he chose me to be his one.  So everyday I cant help but tell him how thankful I am that he married me! Every day I see that same shine come into his eyes and smile as he assures me that he is equally thankful that I said “yes”.

I can not think of a better habit to have started in our marriage than open, vocal, love and appreciation for each other and this relationship.

So there’s my marriage advice of 11 months!  Appreciate your spouse verbally and let me know if they don’t light up and shine like never before!

Honour you God, Honour your marriage,

-Bree

Meal Menu Monday

Hope everyone had a fabulous week! I have a ton I want to write about still, and have 3-4 drafts saved but NO TIME!!! I am really hoping to get some down time tonight and finish what I have been working on.

It has been a crazy week with Thanksgiving, and wedding planning (we will have a second wedding banquet here in Japan on sunday – and it is a nightmare! Nothing has gone right, there are so many issues and with each problem it gets more and more expensive!) I was blessed with a stress free – problem free wedding in the summer and this “simple dinner” has turned into double the price and triple the headache!) BUT it will be so much fun and all my little students are very excited to be part of Miss Bree’s Wedding! 🙂

This week I decided to not put too much thought into the meals and trying new things. It’s a good week to go with simple.

Monday Lunch: Left over thanksgiving dinner (also part of the “make my life crazy campaign” I wasn’t able to make the dinner Thursday, we went to eat at Outback and so I made Thanksgiving last night – still a surprise for Sweets!)

Dinner: Lemon chicken, steamed broccoli and beans, garlic bread with cheese

Tuesday Lunch: Hayashi rice, soybeans, fruit

Dinner: Chili, green salad, with crackers and french bread

Wednesday: No cook day!

Thursday Lunch: Fiesta Skillet, sliced avocado, fruit

Dinner: lemon pork chops, grilled bell peppers, pumpkin soup

Friday Lunch: beef stew, tangerine, broccoli with sesame dressing,

Dinner: Church Thanksgiving/Christmas Dinner with TURKEY!! and dishes from all over the World. (International Church, with more than 20 Nations bringing food!

Saturday: spaghetti, and salad

Sunday: Wedding Celebration!!!

Meal Menu Monday

Wow! This week has gone by so fast I feel dizzy! It has been a very busy week but a lot of good food was eaten! YUM. This week I have been reflecting a lot on being a wife and my value as a helpmeet in this marriage. Lots more to post about this week! BUT for now: Here is this weeks Meal Menu. I am pretty excited to head out to the grocery store in the next hour or so and start cooking!

Monday Lunch: Baked fish, sting beans, corn soup, granola bar

Dinner: fettuccine Alfredo, steamed broccoli with sesame and mixed salad

Tuesday Lunch: Left over alfredo, cut fruit, vegetable “trail mix”

Dinner: Green Bean Casserole, and cut fruit

Wednesday: No cook day!

Thursday Lunch: Left over casserole, yogurt, mixed nuts

Dinner: (It Will be American Thanksgiving, and since Sweets is American I will surprise him with a Thanksgivingesque meal) Rotisserie Chicken (Turkey is hard to get and very expensive!) Mashed potatoes and gravy (I secretly stashed away a couple of gravy mixes in my suitcase last time we were in the West) cranberry sauce, Salad and Stuffing. Mini Apple pie for dessert.

Friday Lunch: Left overs!

Dinner: Curry rice, spinach salad and yogurt

Saturday Lunch: Leftover Curry rice, fruit and yogurt

Dinner: Homemade Pizza, with salad

Sunday: No Cook Day!

Have an enjoyably Delicious week,

Thanks be to The Lord!!!

Meal Menu Monday

Hey all, Sorry I’m late on this one! It’s been one of THOSE weeks, you can just imagine! Non stop all week, no rest time and worst of all Sweets has been sick with a fever and terrible coughing fits. By Gods grace he has still be able to work and function very well, today has been a better day!

I am looking forward to some great food and best of all the temperature is dropping this week (no this is not the best part!) but because of this I get to make soup, soup and more soup! My favourite thing about having to put up with the cold!

Hope everyone else has a great week as well! Blessings!

Monday Lunch: Ham sandwich, corn soup, soy beans, cut fruit, granola bar and green tea

Dinner: Slow cooker Teriyaki Chicken , fruit and green salad, pumpkin soup, apple cider!

Tuesday Lunch: left over chicken, broccoli and raisins in sesame dressing, bread roll, mixed nuts

Dinner: Hearty home-made chicken noodle soup, crackers, cheese and cut fruit

Wednesday: No cook day!

Thursday Lunch: Leftover chicken soup, bread roll, fruit and granola bar

Dinner: pork chops, steamed string beans and spinach, scallop noodles

Friday Lunch: Minestrone soup with chicken, crackers, fruit and mixed nuts

Dinner:Leftover minestrone soup, garlic bread with cheese, cut fruit

Saturday Lunch: beef stir-fry on rice, and miso soup

Dinner: baked salmon with dill, steamed broccoli and carrots, sautéed yellow and red peppers in taco seasoning and baked potato

Sunday: No cook day!

Meal Menu Monday

Hi everyone!!

I am sitting here, making my grocery list and meal menu for the week and I have to share that I am SO excited about or “new” fridge!!! It is a full western size fridge!! I am now able to  pre-cook and freeze food and really stock up from week to week. I am very grateful for my friends who sadly have moved to Australia but have generously given us this fridge! Now we just have to figure out what to do with the other one…. not as easy of a task in Japan and very expensive. It works out for both parties though, it was cheaper for them to give us the fridge and not have to pay for disposal and it will be cheaper for us to dispose of the small fridge then it would have been to buy a full size one (and get rid of the small one!) so win-win!

This week the temperature is expected to drop a bit to the mid-teens (50s for my American friends and family) So I have been looking for some warm hearty meals to start us into the cooler temps. We have been blessed to have very warm months this fall. It’s already November and I still am only wearing a light jacket in the evenings.

Our menu this week looks like this:

Monday Lunch: Chicken breast, consume vegetable soup, soy beans, cut fruit, mixed nuts, and I juiced some fruits and veggies together to make an after-gym drink for Sweets. (Spinach, pineapple, kiwi, strawberry and carrots)

Dinner: cheese-burger casserole,  green salad

Tuesday Lunch: left over casserole, mixed veggies in marinade, cut fruits, granola bar

Dinner: Chilli and baguette, tossed salad with sour cream and avocado

Wednesday Lunch: No cook day!

Dinner:  fruit pie and apple cider dessert – Restaurant for dinner with friends visiting from Singapore, dessert at our place afterwards

Thursday Lunch: Left over chili, bread and crackers, cut fruit

Dinner: Slow cooker chicken in mushroom soup , steamed spinach, asparagus and carrots

Friday Lunch: beef stir-fry, soy beans, cut fruit, mixed nuts

Dinner: Ramen soup with corn and bean sprouts, steamed broccoli and gioza

Saturday Lunch: Ham and cheese melt sandwich, corn soup, soy beans

Dinner: Chicken and steak fajita, pumpkin soup

Sunday: No Cook day!!

Meal Menu Monday

Hi everyone! here is this weeks meal menu for the week. This is such a great help to me to keep motivated and on track with not only making sure to prepare healthy meals for my husband but also to not fall into a lazy cycle of packaged foods or worse having to leave what to eat up to him from day to day.

Now I say this not as a shame to Sweets or that he is lazy, sexist or overly traditional in his view of roles in the family. No this is my joy! I am so happy to have a husband and I just want to take care of him, make his life easier and be a blessing to him in any way that I can.  I always want him to be able to say “my life has greatly improved since I married Bree”. We both work full time, we both have busy schedules, and because of that I have  to intend acts of service for my husband other wise, we are liable to carry on as previously, just taking care of ourselves from day to day….only in the same apartment.  This is not my dream.

In addition to just cooking though, sweets is working very hard to get in shape and lose weight. (Those who know anything about me know that I MUCH PREFER chunky men) It is true. I like slightly heavy men. BUT Sweets is very unhappy with his weight right now and as a supportive wife I need to help him to reach his goals. I cant be cooking him meals that will counter all the work he does at the gym and the running he does everyday. I have to do a lot of research to know how much he is lifting to see how much protein is recommended and I also have to be mindful to not serve hardly any (or very little) carbs at dinner but to pack in his carbs in the morning or at lunch, this way he has all day to burn them off.

This weeks Menu:

Monday Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, and yogurt with pineapple and carrots in the blender, granola bar.

Dinner: Chicken and mixed salad with red and yellow peppers and avocado

Tuesday Lunch: Vegetable curry and rice raw cut veggies, cut fruit and mixed walnuts, almonds and raisins.

Dinner: Salmon baked with dill and lemon slices and olive oil, spinach, steamed carrots

Wednesday Lunch: Eating out

Dinner: on our own

Thursday Lunch: vegetable soup, ham sandwich on wheat, cut pear and tangerines, granola bar

Dinner: Fiesta skillet ( a variation of this with 1/2 the pasta noodles double the salsa), mixed salad with raisins, apples and raspberry vinaigrette

Friday: Lunch: Leftover fiesta, soy beans, granola, cut pineapple and tangerine

Dinner: Shephards pie, steamed mix vegetables

Saturday Lunch: homemade pizza with red and yellow peppers and mushrooms, salad

Dinner: Chilli party with friends. French bread and veggie with dip

Sunday: No cooking day!

Happy Eating!