Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Here and There, Part 1

I have spent a bit of time over the past month in airplanes and fighting jet lag.  These travels have all included fun, work, times of refreshment, and times of study.

Every summer our missionaries in Japan gather for a time of study and refreshment.  This year we went to a beautiful beach location.
Enjoying the beach, sun, and ocean!

I enjoyed our times of worship and study as a mission family.  We studied Moses and his leadership.  We sang and praised.  It was refreshing!

Singing together

We also spent some time enjoying nature, the beach and mountains, two of my favorites!

Our hiking adventure took a muddy turn after about 300 meters.  We crossed a river several times so were able to rinse off as we went along.  The waterfall was pretty but not as grand as we were expecting.  Of course, the river was not at the end of the hike, so we went home muddy!

Really, the waterfall is just down the hill!

Time for water and a snack
The waterfall

Our muddy legs at the end of the hike.
They had been worse than this at times!

We made it!

Our last morning God woke me up early as I had asked so that I could see the sunrise over the ocean. Beautiful!

I am thankful for this annual time of worship, study, and refreshment!

Monday, August 18, 2014

What to do...

How I would look tomorrow
if I did not take time off
For the first time in several weeks, I am getting to have my day off.  I have had so many activities and travels over the past month that I hardly know what to do with myself today.

Some things are automatic-wake up, spend time with God... sunny day, wash clothes... noon, eat lunch... eat lunch, scroll Facebook.

My mind has already made lists and lists of things to accomplish today.  I may or may not accomplish any of those things.  It doesn't really matter.

What matters is just taking some time to not worry about or be in charge of anything!  We'll see where that leads...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Special Day

July 1, 1967
Today, July 1, is a special day in our family.  It is the day my parents said, "I do."  The day they promised to spend the rest of their lives together.  The day our little family took flight.

Forty-seven years.  My parents have had forty-seven years together as a married couple.  They have had many joys, some sorrows, lots of fun, a bunch of challenges.

Through it all, they have always worked it out.  Their commitment to God has helped them through the good times and the hard times.

Even without words, just by watching them, I learned commitment to God is the most important thing in life.  When that is a person's number one priority, the difficulties and the joys can be handled with grace, more grace than a person could muster up on their own.

December 2013
Last year I had the privilege of living with my parents for nine months.  It can be a challenge for parents to allow their very independent daughter to live with them for such a long time, I think!  However, grace abounded.

I loved watching Mom and Dad interact.  They have a way of communicating that most people cannot follow.  Fortunately, my dad usually knows how to finish my mom's sentences because she rarely finishes one!  Thankfully, my mom has a good sense of humor because my dad loves to make dumb jokes.

When two people have been together for so long, they have a life dance with music the rest of us cannot hear.  Even though my dad has absolutely no rhythm, he and my mom dance beautifully.

Their love for each other is absolutely evident and adorable.  Their love for God is strong and pours out of every pore of their being.

I am so thankful for my parents.
Thank you, God!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

For the first time

I have been learning a few things in the past couple of years about depression.  I have never experienced it myself.  However, it seems many people around me, especially here in Japan, have experienced it.

One of my friends from church is one of those people.  When she first came to church she was at one of the lowest points of her life.  Yet, God drew her to Himself.  Thankfully, we were just across the street from her apartment!

Since that time she has gone through many ups and downs.  She has learned about Jesus, His love, His sacrifice, His free gift of salvation and eternal life.  She has been quite consistent in attending church, even through times when she did not want to do so.

The transformation in her life is nothing short of a miracle.  We are all praising God together as we see the joy and peace in her life grow daily.

Last week she told me that for the first time in her life she truly does not want to die.  She is not afraid to die, she said.  But, really actually has a desire to live now.

Praise God for transformation!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Flowers, sunsets, and other random things

I want to try to stay in the habit of writing once a week or so.  However, the past two weeks have just disappeared.  By the time I sit down in front of my computer in the evening all I really want to do is turn it off and go to bed.  (Which is another discipline I need to work on!!)

So, I am just going to share a few photos of nature I have taken recently.  Spring is so lovely in Japan as the flowers start blooming and we are reminded that winter does not last forever.

The clouds lifting after the rain.
This is the view from my front veranda.

The sunset over the bay.
This is the view from my back veranda- although I can't quite
see the sun, so I had to go down the hall so I could see it!

Sunset from the train.
I am sure the people around me were wondering what I was doing.
I was waiting for this specific place, iPhone in hand.
The sun is just behind a pole in the center of the picture.

My friend Yuri, her name means lily.
We went to a lily garden last week.

So many wonderful colors!

Field of yellow

Working on the selfie thing.

Enjoying mango ice cream
These roses came from a church member's garden.
She has a much greener thumb than I do!

Monday, June 2, 2014


The view from my veranda on a clear day
Mondays are my day off.  I often get together with friends or go downtown or go ride roller coasters or sometimes have meetings.

Today I had the day to myself.  I talked to three people and probably said a total of 50 words.  It was lovely!

I spent the morning cleaning my veranda, the one that runs the width of my apartment and is where I hang my laundry, watch the trains go by, and sit for quiet time sometimes.  I scrubbed and scrubbed and may have even gotten a little sun.

As I finished up the last corner and turned to look at the results of my work, I had a thought.  I enjoyed cleaning today.  One of the reasons, besides the fact that I don't have to worry about dropping my clean clothes in the dirt, is I could SEE what I had accomplished.  The results were obvious and fairly quick.

Ministry is very different.  I often don't see what is being accomplished.  What I think should be happening is often not happening, or at least in the time frame I think it should happen.  The results are often very different from what I expected or thought I was working toward.

So, every once in a while it is nice to have a day where I can see what was accomplished.  I feel successful.

Then God sits down with me for dinner and reminds me what true success is.  I will keep having my days of obsessive cleaning, however, I think I will stick with God's idea of success.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, with all your mind.  Love your neighbor as yourself.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Word and A Song

 I love when we get to host ladies' lunches at our church.  Trying to break into conversations to start the testimony part of the program is always a challenge.  Even having the big blonde girl standing up front does not always get everyone's attention!

Today our friend, Kyoko, shared her testimony.  It was neat to hear how God put pieces of the puzzle together for her as she traveled through the ups and downs of life, leading her, ultimately, to Himself. So amazing how He does that!  She also sang a song for us, "You Raise Me Up."  She sang the first verse in English and then sang in Japanese.  I had never heard it in Japanese before and was really moved by the lyrics.

This afternoon was a blessed time of fellowship.  I loved hearing the chatter, watching the shared tears fall, and witnessing encouragement between friends.