Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Prayers from a friend

Today I bought these flowers. I bought them because my friend sent me the following in an email. I did see many flowers today but was pretty sure that people would not appreciate me going into their gardens and picking their flowers, so I bought these at the store!

I pray the Lord reminds you of His love for you as you see each flower bloom. I pray that as you see those flowers bloom you also see them grouped together. Usually we don’t just see one daffodil growing, but instead we see a group of them growing together. I pray the Lord reveals to you the others that He wants you to grow with in your personal community. I pray that He binds your heart and the heart of the other dear ones He has placed in your life.

I pray you see many flowers today and they remind you of our friendship and the Lord blesses you with that friendship with other people too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Not sure what to say

On Sunday morning my dad's best friend, my second father, went to the hospital with a heart attack. Monday night, their Monday morning I was skyping with my dad when he got a phone call. At 2AM Jim woke up in heaven.

I am a bit speechless. Jim's daughter and I are the same age. We grew up together. In fact, I don't remember not knowing Susie.

Jim knew everyone in South Dakota, and probably the tri-state region. He could talk to ANYONE. Everyone who knows him knows I am not exaggerating.

Jim loved Jesus and loved people. He would do anything for anyone in need. His heart was as big as the Pacific Ocean.

Jim loved his family and his church family. There were constantly relatives coming and going. Jim loved to tell me, or anyone, about his grandkids, his kids, his wife, his sister, etc. He also loved to talk to and about his church family.

I've never met anyone who didn't love Jim-if there were those who didn't, they probably were too afraid to say anything!

Jim will be missed more than words can express.

"I can only imagine...will I dance for You, Jesus, will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine."

I don't think Jim is speechless!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


As most people who know me know, I like to run. Basically, I like to move. I didn't realize how much I actually move until I became immobile!

On Monday, I fell down the steps into the garage at our apartment building. Thankfully, it was only the last 3 steps. It was a rainy day and my arms were full of laundry I was taking to the laundromat to dry. Thankfully, I had all of that in my arms because it kept me from getting hurt worse.

On Monday, I learned more about the kindness of my neighbors. I am thankful for Mrs. U who came running down the steps as soon as she heard the crash and then contacted my friend, Mrs. S, because she didn't know my contact info. I am thankful for Mrs. S who immediately ran upstairs when I called, first hugged me and then asked me how I was doing. She dropped everything and took me directly to the doctor's office. I am thankful for Mrs. T and her daughter who live next door and brought me dinner last night, who are taking out my garbage for me. I am thankful for Mrs. K, from choir, who lives 3 minutes away and is a nurse, and who stops by each day on her way home from work. She also brings me food and magazines.

Actually, Mrs. T's daughter had the same experience in November on a different stairway. Also, she is studying physical therapy! One of her professors worked in the US for 12 years and is willing to look at my x-rays and then talk to me in English about what I should do.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the kindness.

Most people also know that I do not do well at asking for help. Well, that has had to change! I even have to ask someone to check my mail for me. It has been raining off and on all week. I am a bit nervous about going down the wet steps on crutches!

I have noticed this unwillingness to ask for help affects my relationship with God, too. As my unwillingness to ask God for help increases, my distance from Him increases, too. He has not moved, I have. I think I know how to do the ministry where He has placed me, so I just keep on going, doing what I've always done, in my own power. I am not surprised when I fall down. But it doesn't always cause me to change my ways. Why is it I always have to end up in a pile at the bottom of the steps in order to wake up and pay attention?

I am thankful for God's goodness and kindness, His patience and His love. As I think about my ankle healing, I realize it is going to take time. For some reason I think my heart should heal overnight. Maybe my heart takes time to heal just as my ankle does...

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus

I spent the weekend in a bus. Well, not the whole weekend, but much of it!

On Friday night about 80 of us boarded two buses headed for Sendai. Japan Gospel Festival Mission planned for our trip to be part of the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope over the weekend.
We began our travels in Osaka about 10PM on Friday night. Since Sendai is about 13 hours from Osaka, we spent Friday night on the bus.

This is what I woke up to on Saturday morning, about 6:20AM...

At our morning break we were told that the highway had been closed because of snow. While standing in line for the restroom there was an announcement that the road had been reopened. My friend in line in front of me asked me if I had been praying. :)
Here is what the area looked like as we drove through a little while later...

Because of the road being closed, there was a bit of a traffic jam causing us to arrive a little later than planned. Since we weren't sure if we would get to have a full rehearsal, we sang on the bus!

We did get there just in time for a rehearsal...

After lunch and changing our clothes, we had a workshop with Alfie Silas. She helped us learn a song we were to sing with Kirk Franklin. He came out at the end to check on our progress.

I started to take pictures during the program, but when my friend was asked not to take pictures, I had to stop, too.
These are two of my new friends who sang soprano with me...

Then we headed to dinner...

Apparently, Sendai is famous for 牛タン-grilled cow tongue! Thanks to Joyce Schrepel, I have tried this before.
I was fine with eating the things that were ordered until the sushi came out. I decided that I would let the others enjoy that!

The salad was delicious!

Saturday night we stayed in a hotel near Sendai station. In the morning after breakfast, Qsai, Aichan and I went for a walk. It was a really beautiful morning.

Then we returned to the hotel for a time of worship before we got back on the bus to return to Osaka.

We took a different route home. It was a lovely drive through the mountains and along the Sea of Japan.

I enjoyed the weekend! Lots of singing and praising, talking and laughing, plus I got a whole book read!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Shifting Sand

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting here at my kotatsu working on my sermon for Sunday. I looked out the window and saw this...

I got up looked out for a while, took a couple of pictures, and then sat back down to keep studying.

About a half an hour later I looked up again and this is what I saw...

Again, I got up looked outside, took a couple of pictures and then sat back down.

Then, half an hour later it was back to this!

As I think about my heart in the past few months, I feel like it has shifted back and forth like the weather that day. My heart looks like the stormy sky one minute and then moves into the stillness of a bright, sunny day. Sometimes it shifts so quickly I feel like I am getting whiplash.

Oh, how I wish I could be more consistent!