April 15, 2017

Easter Miracle

Today, I had an experience that confirmed my testimony that we have a living and loving God who knows us, each one of us. He knows our fears, struggles and needs and He cares.
This morning we took the kids to the “Eggsplosion” Easter egg hunt on base.
They set it up to where each age group would get to participate in several egg hunts. We got there in time for the first one for Arabella and Maya, it was chaos!
While I was with the two girls, Rich took Aidan to his age group egg hunt and we agreed to meet in this little area by a vending machine afterward. The girls finished and we made our way to our meeting place and the kids cracked open their eggs and ate almost all of their candy while we waited for the next egg hunt.
I did sneak a couple pieces of candy which made me thirsty so Rich and I walked over to the vending machine to get a water. While standing in front of the vending machine I turned to ask Rich if he had any money and directly behind him was a little girl, sitting in a stroller, with her 10ish year old sister behind her. What caught my eye about the cute little girl was that she had a trach. I said to Rich, “She has a trach! I want to talk to her mom!” The only person around was her big sister so I approached and asked her if her mom was around. She gave me a blank stare and I realized that she didn’t speak English. I stood around for a few seconds knowing that her mom would surely come around and sure enough, just a few seconds later these 2 Japanese ladies and a Japanese man approached. I asked who was the momma of the little girl and one of the ladies said that she was. I explained to her that I had children that had had a trach and asked what her daughters condition was. She looked rushed, flustered and anxious and her friend who did speak English explained that they were sorry that they couldn’t talk right now because they were having an emergency. She said the little girl was having difficulty breathing and they were looking for the medical tent. The Japanese man that was with them was an event worker and he told them that there was no medical tent. The mother was very panicked. I told her, “I can help you!” I kneeled down to the little girl and knew instantly why her breathing was labored. She had a mucous plug. I told the mom what the problem was and asked if she had saline so that I could moisten the mucous in order to be able to suction the trach to clear her airway. She said she didn’t and had never used it before. I asked her if she had an extra trach so that she could just change her trach out. She explained that she did have an extra trach but she didn’t know how to change it. She would take her daughter in to the hospital to have her trach changed regularly. I told her that I could change it and she looked shocked. I decided that before jumping in to do a trach change I would try to get the plug out. I did a little bit of suctioning and was able to get a little bit out but needed saline. Since the little girls breathing was a little less labored I asked them if they would like to come to my house because I have saline there. She was so grateful and accepted my offer with tears in her eyes. I gave her a hug and told her that everything was going to be ok.
Rich stayed behind with the kids and I hopped in their car with them and headed home. During the drive home I learned that the mom’s name is Akane, her daughter with the trach is Alexandra, the older daughter is Angie, she also has a middle child and her English speaking friend is Wakana. Akane was married to an American military man for several years but he left her and his beautiful daughters right after Alexandra was born. Akane’s parents have passed away and she has no family to help her. Her ex-husband has not been present in his daughters lives at all. Akane’s friend, Wakana is married to an American military man in the Navy and they are stationed in California. She was just here visiting and invited Akane to the Easter egg hunt because Akane wishes for her daughters to experience their American culture.
When I looked at Akane I could see that she felt she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. She looked exhausted and emotionally drained. I asked her if she got much sleep and she said, via her friend, that usually she did but that Alexandra has been sick the past couple of days and… I finished her sentence…”and she has been up all night suctioning her.” She nodded. My heart broke for this single mother, carrying all of this stress and worry on her own.
We got to my house and I got my supplies and got busy. Within a few minutes Alexandra was clear and breathing easy. We talked for a bit, exchanged information and I promised that I would be there to help her whenever she needed me. I told her I would drive down to Naha, to her house to teach her how to change a trach so that she could have the confidence and security of knowing that she could do that for her daughter if there was ever an emergency.
We drove back to the event and said our goodbye’s.
Me and Akane
Wakana, Me, Akane
Akane texted me this video tonight.
It took me a while to process what had happened. I was, in a way, on an adrenaline high. It wasn’t until I had a quiet moment in the car on our way home that I began to realize the miracle that I had just experienced. At this event where there were HUNDREDS of people, kids running everywhere and loud music, a little girl who had a trach was placed in front of me, likely the one person in the hundreds there that could help her. On an island where there are probably a very small few that have any trach experience, this panicked and desperate mother was led to a trach pro. Yes, after 3 trach kids I have earned the title of trach pro and it is truly an honor.
Few times have I felt closer to my Heavenly Father. He knows and loves Akane. He knows and loves me. He knows and loves YOU! There are no coincidences. He puts people in our path to help us and for us to help them. I KNOW that! My heart is so full and my testimony is stronger than ever. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I know this to be true…
“He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my soul’s complaint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives all blessings to impart.”

April 2, 2017

Trip down memory lane…

I felt like I needed to preface my next post “Lehanos In Oki” with a quick trip down memory lane. Kulia, or as I once knew her, Sister Asakura-Muramoto, is one of my oldest friends. Really, she is almost 40! No, I’m kidding. I first met Kulia when we were in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, preparing to serve on Temple Square. I remember looking at her name tag and thinking, ‘That’s a mouthful!’, and then I nailed the pronunciation and I’m pretty sure she was impressed, lol! We have been friends ever since.



We went through all of our training together at Welfare Square

(Driver, Asakura, Zeh, Me, Jungfleisch)



Training at the Humanitarian Center

(Me, Driver, Wilcox, Jungfleisch, Asakura)




(Jungfleisch, Driver, Mullie, Me, Zeh, Asakura, Wilcox)



(Driver, Me, Jungfleisch, Asakura)


(Grayson, Reeves, Me, Asakura)


(Booty, Asakura, Me, Jungfleisch and that might be my cute companion in the back, Cuvellier)



(Me, Asakura, Grayson)


(Christmas dinner)


New companions and training. I’m convinced that we are still such great friends because we were never companions. I don’t know if I could have kept up with her pace!

(Asakura, Me, Jungy)


(Me, Gonzy, Asakura)


(Me, my sweet Yuey, Jungy, Asakura)


This crazy lady who stole my camera and camera case and took a picture of herself defiling my case is also in most of my pictures. That’s Wilcox, she’s gross.


Kulia and I even opened our field calls together.


Kulia: “They made some kind of mistake, we aren’t going to the same mission!”


She went to Colorado Springs Mission and I went to the Boise Idaho Mission


We wrote each other during our 3-4 months in the field…well, she wrote me, I can’t remember if I wrote her, lol! When we left Temple Square to go home she was the first person I called. In fact, I didn’t take into consideration the time difference between Missouri and Hawaii and when I called her, her sweet dad answered the phone and went and woke her up. It was 3am!


Anyway, I think it’s pretty clear how much this crazy girl means to me and that’s why her visit to Okinawa was such a special one. Love you, Kulia & fam!

Oki Parks

Recently, Eva and I have been joining our friends from church every Tuesday to experience a new park. We’ve only joined them at 2 parks so far but we are so excited to see what the next year in parks has in store for us.
The next Tuesday we went to Xystus, an indoor play place, because it was a rainy day. Eva played and played, I only saw her twice during the 2 1/2 hours we were there. She could have played all day!
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We’ve also hit up a few parks as a family. This was a good one!

Yellow Belt 2nd Stripe

So proud of my little ninjas!
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Receiving their certificates
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Major Baker

This whole military “thing” has been amazing! One of the things I really loved about Rich when I met him was his love for adventure. He was passionate about it! In fact, when I met him he was saving up money for a trip to see South America mostly by motorcycle. He’s not the type to talk about and plan stuff and then not follow through, he was going to do this. I have to be honest, I thought it was a little crazy but I was still very attracted to his adventurous spirit. I think that this trip was one of the reasons why he was a little hesitant to start a serious relationship with me. I obviously tricked him into marrying me anyways, lol! He did make it very clear all along that he was still going to take this trip but that we were going to take it together and NOT on a motorcycle. Well, as time went on and we began to talk about adding to our little family, we realized that money was going to be tight and we would need to upgrade one of our cars. I clearly remember sitting in his car in the parking lot in front of our first apartment when he said to me, “Let’s use the money I’ve saved up for the trip.” I was shocked! I knew how much that trip meant to him and because he was willing to let go of that trip for the moment so that we could continue our plans of starting our family, I knew that me and our future family meant more to him than anything. He made me promise that we would still take that trip someday. Fast-forward 10 years and our lives have taken a path that we couldn’t have imagined while sitting in his little green Celica planning our future.


This is where the military comes in. Thanks to the military we have had more adventures than we ever thought we would! Rich is living his dream of adventures daily, here in Okinawa. We are all living that dream together and we don’t take a single day for granted. We love the opportunities that serving in the Air Force has given us and are truly honored to be a part of this incredible branch. A month ago, Captain Baker became Major Baker and we continue to feel blessed, daily, for this opportunity.

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Months of fun

I learned the hard way not to trust Eva with gum.

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Baker Sunday Selfie!



Tears because I she wanted to wear a princess dress to go out but it was a chilly day. I promised her that the moment we walked in the door she could change into a princess dress and all was well.


Our favorite night of the week, pizza, ice cream and movie night!!!


I had to capture this moment in time because my little snuggle bug came crying to me about something and ended up falling asleep on me for over an hour! Best way to be trapped.


This was an interesting day. Everybody was driving me bonkers and when I walked into the girls room and saw this…


…I immediately got on to Arabella. I was SHOCKED to find out that this was MAYA’S doing?!?!?! So not like her to do anything that shouldn’t be done. It made me laugh because this day was such a backwards day.

Baker Sunday Selfie!


Shopping! Getting ready for all of our company that would be coming to visit, Auntie Kulia and family and then Aunt Becca and Aunt Julie. So excited!!!


Maya went to her first dance with her daddy as her date! Since I’m in Activity Day’s and was part of the crew that put this together, I got to witness their date! It was the cutest thing ever and made me fall more in love with the amazing husband and dad that Rich is.


Arabella, just because she is the cutest little, spunky peanut!


One morning I woke up and was just feeling like I needed to get to the seawall for a nice stroll. I was so glad I did. Walking with the sound of waves as my music while pushing my favorite walking buddy was so great.

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I’ve been thinking that Eva’s nickname should be tornado because lately, she has been just that. I jumped in the shower and was gone for no more than 15-20 minutes and came out to find this. She had literally flipped the cushions just to add to the destruction!


Maya’s Host Nation class picture. Love it!


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