Monday, December 13, 2010

Evening Music

The last Saturday of November found us at church where we hosted a "Live Gospel Cafe". We had a good time listening to music, eating and chatting. Here is a little recap in pictures...

The evening started and ended with "Now and Ever" -- the group that meets in our church for rehearsals. Several of the members are also current or former members of AGC. I liked this action shot of them:)

Noriko and I followed the choir. We had a good time practicing and praising God together.

Phil Driscoll, I mean, Paul, followed a little interlude by Leilani on piano, which I forgot to take a picture of because I was talking:) This isn't the best picture, but wanted to show a bit of the audience and set up of the room-notice the food spread in the background on the right...

Now and Ever members enjoying snacks.

Some of the snacks, mostly made by Melissa.

AGC friends enjoying snacks and chatting.

New friends getting to know one another.

No evening is complete with a visit from reindeer!

The evening seems to have been a success! We are looking forward to doing it again someday soon!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another trip

A few weeks ago I wrote about a trip to Kyoto with Becky and Amber. Well, the next week I took another trip to Kyoto with two of my friends from choir.
Last summer I was talking with them about some of my favorite places in Kyoto and they said it had been a long time since they had been to Nijo Castle, one of my favorite places in Kyoto. So, we made plans to go in the fall. In October we set the date and were all excited about our little excursion. Unfortunately, one of our other friends who had planned to go with us wasn't able to go. We missed her!
As the time grew closer we decided we may want to visit more than just one place in Kyoto so started looking around for another place nearby. We discovered that the week we were planning to go was one of only two weeks during the year that the Kyoto Imperial Palace is open to the public! That settled it, we'd found our other destination! Two palaces in one day.
It was so interesting to visit the two palaces, to see the contrasts and to learn a little more about the history. I love learning about the history of places, I just wish the information would stick in my head so I could share it with others!
Here is a little recap of the day, in pictures...
The day started with a beautiful sunrise!

The gate of Nijo Castle. No picture taking is allowed inside the castle. There are many beautiful painted paper doors, wood-carved walls and a lovely nightingale floor. You'll just have to come see them for yourself!

There was a full array of fall colors in the garden!

Then we got to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Looking into the courtyard in front of the hall used for coronations.

I got into a frenzy of taking pictures of bridges in the garden there. Something about that curved bridge just attracts me.

After standing in line for some yummy mochi, we made it to lunch, which was also delicious!

Out the window of the restaurant we could see a lovely river-actually the joining of two rivers. As we ate I watched many people cross the river on these huge boulders that had obviously been set in place for such a reason-some of them were even in the shape of turtles! The train station where we needed to catch our train home was on the other side of said river. So, what do you think is the most logical way to get to the station?! Yes, there was a bridge where cars were driving that had a sidewalk. However, if you have ever spent any time with me in nature you will know that I am part billy goat. If there are stones to be climbed, that is the route I will take. So... here are my friends carefully following me as I jumped across the river:)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Evening Relaxation

I love the Christmas season, like most people I know. This year has been so busy coming up to December that I almost didn't feel like decorating or anything. Then I pulled out my advent calendars, a couple I have saved from years past and a new chocolate calendar plus a new tea calendar.

Reading that first little square, "And the angel said to Mary..." helped me get excited and start thinking about advent, waiting expectantly for our Savior.

It is only December 2nd but I am already enjoying this new idea of taking 5 minutes at night with a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate and my kindle with an advent devotional downloaded to refocus and relax before bed. (I should not have sat down before taking out the garbage tonight!)

I am looking forward to getting the decorations up sometime soon! And, wonder what tomorrow's tea will be...