Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just in Case...

The big reveal!
Well, my thanksgiving blogs got set aside because of some international travel.  In case you haven't heard, I am enjoying my mom's birthday and American Thanksgiving with my family this year!

My sister and I have had a fun time planning this surprise for months!  I am not sure if my parents were more surprised that I showed up or that my sister kept a secret for that long!  

We have been having a fun time talking and laughing, eating and cooking together.  We are also enjoying the anticipation of a gaggle of relatives showing up tomorrow to join in the festivities.

A few have already arrived...

Dinner time

Monday, November 17, 2014


I really want to talk about something else tonight, but it will have to wait because I am too tired and it is long! I am excited to share that thankful point soon.

I only have a picture looking down.  I don't have any pictures
of my building from down below looking up!
Tonight as I was coming up to my apartment in the elevator, I thought, "I am thankful for this elevator."

First of all, I am thankful for the elevator because it means I do not have to climb 9 flights of stairs to get to my apartment.  (I only have to climb one.  The elevator doesn't stop on every floor so I get out on the 8th floor and climb up to the ninth.  I don't know; I didn't design it, I just live here!)

Second, I am thankful for the elevator because it fulfills a childhood dream to live in an apartment building where I have to go up to my apartment in an elevator.  I am not kidding!  When I was a kid and we watched the Jeffersons, I always secretly wished I lived in a building with an elevator.  (We didn't watch it often because we had a limited TV viewing allowance/week and had to rotate between favorite shows.)

In fact, when I was in about second grade, I used my birthday money to buy a Barbie house, the one with the elevator, and I was jealous of Barbie getting to have an elevator.

I was raised in a small town in South Dakota.  There are not many buildings with elevators there.  I don't know where I thought I was going to live, but maybe I always knew I was not going to live there when I grew up.

Every place I have lived has had great points, but one of top points of this place for me is the elevator.

There I said it.  Now you have proof that I am just a little bit wacky!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

English Bible Study

Today at English Bible study only one student was able to attend.  We had a wonderful time talking about life and family and God's love.

As our time drew to a close, my student said, "The best present I ever received was Jesus.  I am not a good Christian, but He has walked with me and held my hand all of my life."

What an awesome testimony!  I am so thankful for those who take the time to share Jesus' love with others.  It leads to such testimonies!

I am thankful for the opportunity to study the Bible with this lady and others who share their wisdom and love for Jesus.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I love the park just up the road from me.  I has lovely tree-lined walking paths, a water fountain, and lots of friendly people.  I often run through the park on my morning runs, however, during the summer I run exclusively in the park so that I can drink water without having to carry it.

Over the summer this year I discovered there is a group of people who do radio exercises every morning at 6:30.  I have joined them and really enjoy it.  Many of the participants walk the paths before the exercises start.  Although, now that it is getting cooler and the sun doesn't rise so early, many are waiting until after exercises to walk.  That is when I have started running, too, actually!

I love running past people and greeting them.  Now that I have joined the exercise time, people know I can speak Japanese and have lived here for quite some time.  I think that gives them more of a willingness to greet me.

One of the men who has lived in the area the longest said that the park used to be a pond and a plum tree orchard.  There is a pond in the park now, but it is in a different location!  I am not sure how they moved the pond, but they did.  There are ducks that winter in the pond and a pheasant who makes his presence known every once in a while.

A couple of mornings ago the clouds turned pink as the sun was rising and the full moon was setting. It was really beautiful, and impossible to capture with a camera.  But, I wrote this haiku as I was walking home...

early morning sun
full moon swallowed by pink clouds
jogging in the park

Come visit and I will take you to meet my new friends at the park!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

God's Presence

A quick post tonight as it is already late and I have preaching responsibilities at two churches tomorrow...

I am thankful for God's presence, constant and steadfast.  Jesus promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us.  What an awesome promise!

This was on my flip calendar today...

Sometimes the loveliness of God's presence comes in the midst of pain.  Madeleine L'Engle

How true!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Every Year

Every year when I do my month of Thanksgiving Anointed Gospel Choir makes the list.  Since they have become part of my family (See this post for last month's comment on AGC), I guess that merits a spot!

This evening we had a karaoke party.  Around half of the members were able to attend.  We had a great time singing and eating together with lots of laughter!

Music is definitely a great mood changer!  I wasn't in a bad mood before I went, but I feel even more uplifted after our time together.  I was exhausted from a long day, however, feel refreshed after singing with these friends.

I am thankful for AGC and the way our lives have intersected.  I am looking forward to more fun times together!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My background

Today I am thankful for the opportunity I had to grow up in South Dakota.  The small town I grew up in was a great place to grow up!  When we were in elementary school, we rode our bikes to school, to our friends' houses, even downtown.  And, in the summer, we rode them to the swimming pool!  When it was too snowy to ride bikes we walked or our parents drove us.  It never took longer than 7 minutes to get to a friend's house, except the ones who lived out in the country.  When we went to those friends' houses, there was always adventure to be had, in the barn or the shelter belt or the grain wagon.

When I was growing up there were 4 elementary schools in town.  We had the great advantage of very small class sizes!  (Now there is one elementary school and the other schools have been completely re-vamped.  My school is now a church.  Another school is an apartment building.  And the other one is an art studio.  The fourth school is the Catholic school which is still in use!)

My friends and I started babysitting when we were in junior high school- what were those moms thinking?!  I guess since it is such a small town, they figured they or a neighbor could get there to help very quickly.  And, neighbors were always willing to help.

There are two lakes just outside of town where I learned to swim in the seaweed and skip rocks.  Our family spent hours walking or biking around the lake, picnicking, playing whiffle ball, and throwing rocks into the lake.  We even camped a couple of times.  Those were not the best experiences.  Suffice it to say, our family, tents and thunderstorms seem to make it into the same sentence when describing those experiences.

Because our school was small, we all had to participate in as many activities as we could manage so there would be enough people for each team.  I had the privilege to participate in band, basketball, track, declam, and tennis at school.  We were also involved in piano lessons, 4-H, church, and just about anything else we could find to do.

Growing up in a small town gave me the opportunity to have a huge variety of experiences in a low pressure environment which helped me make wise decisions once I left.  I didn't leave because I hated living there; I left because God had other plans for me.  Just because I left definitely does not mean that I am ungrateful or was unhappy!

Thank you, Lord, for Madison, South Dakota!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Seven More Minutes

Chocolate Pie made at
September's baking class
(also made with tofu!)
According to the clock on my computer, I have seven more minutes to write today's post!

Today I am thankful for sweets! I love baking.  Today I baked some cinnamon rolls made with tofu.  They are quite good, I think.

My love of baking started early in life.  My mom used to bake often.  I don't know if she loved it or just did it because we all love sweets, but, anyway, I learned to bake from her.

Growing up in South Dakota, we often had snow days in the winter- days off of school because of snowstorms or blizzards (not the DQ kind!).  Often on those days my sister and I would bake with Mom.  Since Mom was a teacher, she also had the day off!

So, today I am thankful for baking and the memories of family that it stirs up.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

That time of year again

Today is November first.  I have often, in the past, written a blog a day with my list of thanks.  This has been a good practice for me.  It helps me keep my mind and heart focused on what is truly important and worth spending my time on.

Actually, for the past several years, I have been keeping a gratitude journal.  Each evening I write three things for which I am thankful.  Many entries are repeated throughout the year, yet, it helps me to end the day on a note of praise and gratitude.

Taking time to give thanks does that for us.  It helps us center our thoughts.  It draws our attention off of the negative.  And, hopefully, it draws our attention to the One who provides more than we can ask or imagine.

Today I am going to begin my month of thanks blogposts with God's Word.  I am thankful God has provided a way for us to know Him.  His love and mercy, His plan and promise are all revealed and shared in His word.  According to His word, God wants to know us and wants us to know Him.  He provided a way for us to spend eternity with Him and restored the broken relationship between us humans and Himself by sending Jesus to this earth.  All of this and so much more is in His Word.  It is a deep book, yet understandable by all who desire to know Him.  It is a long book, yet such a page turner that it keeps drawing us back for more.  It is a story book, yet so much more.  This book is a love letter from our awesome Creator.

Your word, Oh Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
Psalm 119:89