Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Veranda Garden

This is my little veranda garden. I love flowers I am just not much into gardening. So, I bought some plants and put them out hoping they will bloom. When they get droopy looking I water them.

Each morning I sit in a chair just to the right of where I took this picture and meet with Jesus. Adding the flowers to the veranda has brightened up those times even more. Now that the trees are beginning to change colors, there is even more color around! Also, the temperatures are at a reasonable level now for sitting out there. Even if there had been flowers I still would have had no desire to sit out there in August.

What a joy to sit with my Savior and fellowship while enjoying His creation! God definitely gets the praise for finding me this apartment!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Himeji Castle

Monday was another beautiful day for traveling! Lara and I headed to Himeji Castle to see the "White Heron." It was my third visit there and it was just as impressive the third time around! The castle and grounds are enormous. An hour after we started our tour we were just entering the castle itself. It was like being at Niagara Falls again, we couldn't stop taking pictures! I was most facinated this time with the windows and roofs. Here are a few samples of pictures:

This is one of the first windows we came to, a rectangle in the wall with a nice view of the top of the wall which looks like a roof...

This is a window in the wall for protection. If someone was trying to climb up the wall the guards would throw rocks or hot water out this window to knock them down.

This is just a variety of roofs looking out the window of the bailey, a word I just learned on Monday!

Here is a triangle window in the wall.

The circles on the edges of the roof each had different pictures representing the different clans who ruled there. The butterfly was one of my favorites.

Looking out the windows on the top level we could see a variety of levels of roofs.

Lara and I decided this is a must see for those who come to Japan. If you want to read more about what we have been doing, as well as Lara's other travels, check out her blog linked in the margin.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Lara and I spent the afternoon, after fun in the sun at the park, at the electronics and furniture store. We had a great time touchnig the fuzzy rugs, trying out the floor chairs, finding new gadgets, and just general merrymaking.
Then after a little time to make a little schedule for the week we went to a local okonomiyaki restaurant. Don't know how to describe it in English so you'll just have to come try it for yourself!

First mix the ingredients in the bowl...

Then put the meat onto the grill. Pour the mixture over the meat and cook flipping halfway through.

Add toppings and enjoy!

Praise in the Park

Today was our autumn outdoor worship service in a local park. It was an incredibly beautiful day weatherwise. Paul brought his guitar and lead the music. He spoke about each of us using the gifts God has given us to bring unity to the church. He couldn't find a song to go with the theme so he wrote one! In Japanese!
We followed the worship service with a picnic lunch. We sat around and talked for a long time. It was a good morning into afternoon!

Preachin' Paul

Listening to Preacher Paul

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baking and English

Today was my first day of 'baking and English' class. Six ladies came over to make peanut butter chocolate chip muffins and blueberry muffins. We were supposed to speak English, too. I spoke English while talking about making the muffins but otherwise it was pretty much Japanese! Everyone gave a short introduction in English and that was about the extent of their speaking English. One lady can speak quite well I think, but she mostly spoke Japanese, too. Even in Japanese, though, it was a lot of fun! I have a feeling that next time I am going to have to add an afternoon class, too. I think more people than can fit in my kitchen have said they want to come!
I once told a friend here that if I could just bake brownies as my ministry I would be happy. I think I have found a way to make that happen! At least as part of ministry.
Here are a few pictures. When teaching one doesn't have much time for taking pictures!

I learned that Japanese measuring cups are not the same size as American cups. Plus, many people weigh the dry ingredients. So, I had to translate the measurments by measuring in my American cup and dumping into a Japanese cup. For the weight I used a little scale I got at a one hundred yen store. I am not sure how accurate it is, which I made sure to tell everyone! This is what my little table looked like as I was trying to figure out the measurements.

And, here is my little table set with all of the ingredients and tools needed to make muffins. Notice the little Japanese size Skippy on the table and the jumbo American size in the background-purchased at Costco here in Japan.

Putting the batter into the muffin cups. Since there is not a lot of room we passed the bowl around and each person added an ingredients or stirred. They were quite enthralled with the Kitchen Aid mixer-as am I:)

And, finally, enjoying the fruits of our labor. The peanut butter muffins went over incredibly well. They liked the blueberry, too, but the peanut butter was by far the favorite.
I hope they had as much fun as I did!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

If only...

Today's quote on my flip calendar...
"The thought of You stirs us so deeply that we cannot be content unless we praise You, because You have made us for Yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in You." Augustine

If only I could live in this all the time!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ikeda Church

Last Sunday I went to the church in Ikeda, in northern Osaka, to preach for pulpit exchange Sunday. Since they don't have a pastor they usually don't get someone to come for pulpit exchange, but since Paul and I are working at the same church there was an extra person this year.
This is a little group of believers who faithfully meet each week to study God's word together. About once a quarter, maybe every other month, one of the pastors from Kyoto goes to fellowship with them.

So, here I am sharing with them. They use a newly published Bible which is a little different from the one I have so I had to read carefully using their Bible which I hadn't practiced from!

We did a bit of flipping around so here we are looking for verses. The post-its I had prepared in my Bible were of no use to me using a different Bible!:)

More Missionary Fun Day Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from our Osaka sight-seeing day...

Our boat and its captain

Lunch by a fountain in the park that was quite loud we realized when it stopped to change configurations! We were right in front of the concert hall where it appeared they were setting up for a concert to take place that night.

As we walked through the park to go to the history museum we saw an unusual phenomenon, cherry trees blooming in the fall! Because the summer was so hot for so long apparently some of plants are confused as to what season it is.

Here is our whole group after touring the castle and on our way to the subway to go to dinner.

And here we all are enjoying our Hawaiian burgers and sandwiches. I had a turkey avocado sandwich-it was great! I don't think this is traditional Hawaiian food, but they do have shops in Hawaii, too!

Finally, the walking is over and we are sitting on the train!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Missionary Fun Day

In the past few years we have instituted a missionary fun day for our missionary family. It is a day to just have fun, no business permitted. I have enjoyed these days-even the day it rained when we planned to go hiking so we just hung out together and played games and the men went to a driving range.
Monday the 1st was our fun day for this year. Since I am part of the hospitality committee this year and we decided to have fun day in Osaka, I was in charge of the plans. I have had a few missionary friends visit since I moved here so I have found a few fun places to sight-see. Which is good, I had some idea of something to do instead of just randomly picking things from the guidebooks. Also, my Japanese teacher gave me a nice bilingual pamphlet about places to see in Osaka. Very helpful!
So, here is a little run down of the day:
First, a boat ride on the Seine. No, just kidding, a boat ride on some of the rivers of Osaka. The 12 foreigners on the boat were an added sight for those who rode with us!

Next we had lunch in Osaka Castle Park. I don't have a picture of this, I was too busy eating! Others took pictures and have promised to pass them on when they get downloaded.
Then we walked to the other side of the park to go to the Osaka Museum of History. On the map it didn't look like it was that far, but it ended up being quite a walk!
At the museum there was a section for kids to explore. Even we adults had fun there!

After the museum we sat down for a coffee break at Seattle's Best in the entry of the NHK building connected to the museum. After a little rest we headed back out into the park and to the castle.

With all of that walking we worked up an appetite so took the subway to Namba for dinner at a Hawaiian restaurant. Then it was time for the train ride back to Ewings house.

Ron was telling train stories!
Back at Ewings we had a little birthday celebration for Bill and then the Tsu/Chita crew all headed back to Tsu.
Overall, a fun day was had by all! We were happy the boys didn't have school so they could join us.
What will we do next year???

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I Miss Running

In August I strained a muscle on the bottom of my foot. I am not exactly sure how. After talking to my sister and Paul Ewing I realized that it would be a while before I could run again. I did not realize it would be this long! Anytime I go past the park in which I usually run I feel sad.
I thought it was getting better and I would get to start running again soon. But, after walking all over Osaka on Monday my foot was quite sore again.
So, I am bummed. I want to get back to running!