Saturday, September 25, 2010

Flip Calendar

The quote on my flip calendar today-which may stay up for a few days...

"Oh, God, give me grace for this day.
Not for a lifetime, not for next week,
not for tomorrow, just for this day.
Direct my thoughts and bless them,
direct my work and bless it...
So that for this one day, just this one day,
I have the gift of grace
that comes from Your presence."
Marjorie Holmes

Grace for this day. That is my prayer today, for myself and for you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I was just spending a few minutes catching up on reading blogs. I have several friends whose blogs I follow and enjoy reading about their lives and how God is working around the world and in their lives. As I was reading I realized that it has been a while since I wrote anything. Not because nothing has been happening, not because I have been too busy, but just because. So, here is a little update on life...

Church planting
Sometimes when I say I am helping to plant a new church it sounds pretty unreal-me, a church planter. I suspect there are a few of you who have known me since I was little and wonder what in the world God had in mind when He sent me here. I tell you what, I have no idea what I am doing most of the time! I spend a lot of time doing things I never in a million years would have thought I'd be doing. I speak Japanese, I lead Bible studies-sometimes in Japanese! - I lead music-that one pretty much takes the cake- I preach- in Japanese! etc, etc. I went to college and studied elementary education. I taught elementary school. Little kids don't scare me. I love hanging out with them. I had fun being a teacher-although that first year about killed me, thank goodness my mom and principal made me stick it out! I lived in Texas. These are all things that were comfortable. Then, God uproots me, reminds me of a call He placed on me as a child and sent me here. I guess He thought I needed to be uncomfortable. I guess He wanted me to rely on Him a bit more. Well... !

I have been taking a piano class from our choir director (I do not know where that man gets all of his energy!) I like music, but I am not a natural musician. So, I am plugging away, trying to remember what Kris and Verda and James and Ted and others taught me about music. It is lots of fun and lots of work. Recently Paul has had to help out at another church or be at some other event so I have been left in charge at church. This means not only preparing a message. It also means I have to lead the music! I am thankful for a gracious group who sings their hearts out and pretends like they don't notice that I have no idea what is going on! I am also thankful that Noriko has been able to help out sometimes with the piano!!! Total dependence.

There are so many wonderful friends with whom I get to interact on a regular basis. We go to lunch, coffee, music practices, hang out at each other's houses, or whatever. Some want to learn more about Jesus. Many only speak Japanese. I am still learning how to communicate in this language. Total dependence.

So, here I sit, perched on the edge of my seat wondering what God has planned next, how He is going to bring this all together. I just keep trusting knowing He has a plan. Each day I am learning a little more about this dependence to which He calls me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Friends and their Pets

Yuko, my friend who allows me to stay at her house, has 7 cats. Well, she doesn't, but between her, her brother and her mom, there are 7 cats living in their house. I keep my door closed all the time:) They are pretty nice cats, as far as cats go, and generally ignore me.
Here is Frosty just before he jumped out of the car-he doesn't like cameras!

Yoshimi, who lives down the street from Yuko, has two little dogs, Cherry and Shion. Cherry took a liking to me and was glad to have me join them for a walk one day. When I left them she was a little upset and Yoshimi had to carry her!

Friends and their Babies

When I lived in Karuizawa I played basketball with a co-ed city group. We had lots of fun. I was miles taller than the other gals, but we became friends and had lots of fun going out to eat or to the onsen after basketball.
Now three of them are married and have children. I love going back and seeing how their families have changed. Here is a little glimpse of our time together last week...

Tea time with Madoka and her second daughter

Dinner with Yoko and her one year old

Tea time at the jam shop with Fumiko and her two year old who is going to be a big sister next spring

A First

While I was in Karuizawa I went to my friends' for a BBQ. Some of you may remember me talking about the candle shop couple a few years ago when I lived there. They are still in Karuizawa and were having a BBQ with their 2 employees while I was there so invited me, too. When I asked if there was something I could bring, Etsuko started talking about the s'mores we had one time when I lived there, so I took s'mores fixin's.
The two gals who work for them had never had s'mores before. I think they enjoyed them!
Here are a couple of pictures of making s'mores. It was dark so I couldn't really see what I was taking pictures of until the flash went off!

roasting the marshmallows


Oh, I also got to have Mexican food in Karuizawa! The chef is even from Mexico and makes the tortillas every morning! Mmmm!


Saturday I spent most of the afternoon into the late evening with friends from choir. We went to a choir practice for the Franklin Graham Festival that is going to be held in Osaka next month. Alfie Silas, who sings with the festival band, came to practice with us. She sang a few songs for us before the rehearsal started.

About 600 people gathered to practice and sing praises. It was a great day! Can't wait until I have all of the songs memorized so I can really sing from my heart-all but "Oh Happy Day" are in Japanese, so this time it is taking me a bit longer to learn all the words!

Here is a glimpse of the practice...


I just spent a week in Karuizawa enjoying nature, friends, food, and rest. Although the friend I stayed with was not feeling well, we had a good time. Last Monday while she was helping a friend with her baby at the hospital, I spent the day walking around Karuizawa. I wanted to spend the day walking with God and reading, just enjoying God's presence. As with most people, it is hard to slow down. So, I decided to keep my camera in hand as I walked and take pictures of all of the different flowers I saw. It really helped. In fact, at one point I spent about 20 minutes on a 20 meter stretch of road. (There was one point I flew by a bunch of flowers because all of the tea I had had was ready to leave my body!:)

I have no idea what any of these flowers are, except the thistle. They were all growing along the side of the road-I tried not to wander into people's yards! Here in Izumi where I live I can see the mountains, I have a couple plants sitting by my front door, and there are trees around. However, when I got to Karuizawa and spent a week surrounded by trees I was reminded how important nature is! And, on just that one day walk I was reminded of God's creativity!