Thursday, June 24, 2010


I usually don't post back to back like this, as you may know. But, I just interrupted writing the last post to spend about a half an hour on my veranda watching the sunset. Wow! I couldn't actually see the sun because a building is right in the way. But, I could see the effects of the sunset on the rest of the sky! I haven't seen such a beautiful sunset since last summer at Lake Herman State Park. After watching for about 10 minutes I decided I needed my camera. I am no expert photographer and just have a regular little digital camera so the pictures aren't spectacular, but here is my attempt at capturing the Osaka sunset...

It was fun to be standing outside and to hear people's reactions as they came out of their doors or off the elevator and saw the sky. At least one other person was taking pictures and talking with his little girls about the colors they saw.

As I watched the sky become more and more beautiful I thought about life and the Son. While we are on this earth we cannot see the Son. But, we can see the effects of Him. Oh, how I want to live a life that reflects the beauty of my Savior! I want the effect of having Him in my life to be such that people say "Wow!" when they interact with me, that people see His beauty in me when they see me. Oh Lord, let it be so in my life!

Back to School

This week I went back to school. Paul and Melissa were invited to teach the 5th graders at Noah's and Jonah's school about America and they invited me to join them. We had a fun time presenting a power point about America with lots of pictures, teaching an easy conversation and singing a song. There was, of course, also, a time for questions. My favorite question: "Do you eat turtle soup?"

The next day I went to my local elementary school to talk with the foreign language club. I met the teacher of the club at Starbucks a month or so ago. I seem to be meeting lots of interesting people there these days! At the club meeting I showed a few pictures of South Dakota and talked about life in the country. Then the children taught me about Japanese culture. I learned about sushi, origami, how to use the abacus, and how to play Junken (Rock, scissors, paper).

It was great fun to get to share with the children and to hear their questions and chat with them a little. Of course, all of this was in Japanese! Well, at Noah's school, Melissa and I spoke in English and Paul translated, just so they could hear some English!

A few pictures from the two days...
(Sorry they are small, but I don't want to post large pictures of children's faces)

Paul and Melissa answering questions

Shelves at the back of the room for water bottles and backpacks

Lunch! It was really good.

Learning how to use the abacus

Wearing our origami hats

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Coming along

A few weeks ago I planted some tomato plants in a box on my veranda. I am not much of a gardener. I usually choose plants that will survive if forgotten for long periods of time. But, I love tomatoes and decided to try growing some myself. My sister and brother-in-law are incredible gardeners. They plant a vegetable garden that is bigger than my apartment! And, the stuff grows! (See above picture for proof!:)

Yesterday I got home from 2 1/2 days working in another city. I had five minutes to bring my suitcase up from the car, refill my water bottle and head out for choir practice. But, when I walked in and saw how much my plants had grown in those two days, I had to go check them out! Not only had the plants gotten bigger, but there were a bunch of flowers and four little green tomatoes! I was so excited! Then I noticed one of the branches had sort of fallen over, so I took the time right then to fix it, tying it onto the stake.

Hmm, maybe I am becoming a gardener. Although, the proof is in the product, right? Hopefully, I will have more than 4 tomatoes to show for my work:) I am still no where near desiring to plant a garden the size of my sister's, nor do I have the space for it, but I am enjoying watching the plants grow and taking care of them.

I have also enjoyed having fresh basil in my spaghetti sauce! That seems to be one of those plants that doesn't need much care. Or, maybe it would be growing bigger if I actually knew what I was doing!

Here are some pics of my tomato plants...

In the beginning...

A week passes...

A tomato appears...

Last week...

Today... (It is very windy today so it was hard to get them to hold still:)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Housewarming Party

Last Friday my Jasmine Tea Party friends came over for a housewarming party. They were my first lunch guests in my new condo. Everyone brought something to eat which turned out to be more food than we needed for two days! But, it was all delicious so we just kept eating. (I think the little bit of potato salad I still have left in the fridge will need to be thrown out. I am not sure I want to make myself sick!)

Here are a few pictures from the afternoon...

The table filled with food.

Kan-chan and Miki-chan

with Anne

Saturday, June 5, 2010

There is that word again

In 2001 I was preparing to come to Japan as a continued term missionary after graduating from seminary. While all of that was going on, my dad was fighting a battle for his life. On my parents' wedding anniversary, my dad's doctor made an appointment for him to see a specialist who diagnosed my dad with cancer. He had surgery and we learned all kinds of new vocabulary. Then we spent six weeks going to the radiation center every day for a 5 minute radiation treatment. I am glad that I was there and able to be part of the helping staff at home. (He kept teaching university students through all of that!)
Now I am so grateful for every minute we get to spend together, knowing what a gift from God they are. He has a different perspective on life now. He also has new way of relating to people going through similar situations. God has blessed my family.

Last week my friends' five year old daughter had a tumor removed. They finally received the pathology results. It sounded so familiar. They removed the entire tumor, which was cancerous, but it had spread to the margins and so radiation will be necessary. How do you explain to a five year old little girl that her fight has just begun? What do you say to the little brother and sister? How do Mom and Dad keep their faith and marriage strong?

God is a God who heals. He has plans. He is in control. We know all of these things. But when it is you, your family, in the midst of such struggles... praise God for friends and family world-wide who hold you up to Jesus. Sometimes your own prayers are stuck in your heart. So, you cling to the prayers others are praying on your behalf. Resting in the love and care of our God who sees and knows all, our God who loves and cares more than we can or even can imagine. He is there, in the midst of it all.