Monday, March 27, 2006

This should tide you over....

Seriously! What does "tide you over" mean? Anyway, I will be "gone" for a short time as I am moving into my new apartment (with Mary). Please enjoy the following photos and I hope they... well, tide you over.
See you in April...
Here we have... "B.E.S.T. Club reflects on 'What portion of BEST do you like best?'" complete with Legos diagrams.
TJ is showing us how he enjoys the comfort level in BEST. The "tree" is to show peace and comfort allowing people to express their "true selves" (as portrayed by the little Lego man with something coming out of his head.) Mary Vacha is too cute for words...
Um, I'm really struggling with Mamoru's diagram... I know that it wasn't a cow, but it seriously looks like a cow. Sorry Mamo for forgetting.
Rood dawg holds up a fork as he informs us that one of his favorite things about BEST is all the delicious dishes we eat. With Jin and Kyong A cooking for us, it's true. We eat some of the BEST dishes in the whole wide world. :)
This was someone's movie night... I think it belonged to Tomo. I decided Eddie was in the black hat cause he always wears that hat, and TJ has the weird thing coming out of his head, and Mary is the pretty girl with the ponytail, etc. etc.

I look real mischiveous here. My favorite part of BEST is that it is a "window" into other cultures. I can share my heart and life with students while learning about their lives in Japan.

Fast Forward... we are no longer at a BEST meeting... but instead this is my time in Shinjuku with Yukari and Kanako (from Shizuoka), Sarah (Utsu), and Mary! It was so much fun. We ate at a Mexican Restaurant which was so good. I haven't had Mexican food in so long. Oishi! (yummy)
Here is a silly picture of Yukari, Sarah, and I
I realized as we took this photo that we had all been to Shizuoka. Yukari and Kanako are from Shizuoka BEST but Sarah was an SIJ-er 2002 and I was on the SIJ team 2003. What a fun photo!!

This photo is for my father. I told him I had this amazing sweatshirt, I know I'm sadly excited about something else yet again! But I got this sweatshirt for $9.00 and it is great. So Dad, here you go! What do you think?

Mary was craving guacomole... and the server came out and made it FRESH right in front of us. Talk about coolness! Kanako is very excited!

Then we went shopping around Shinjuku, just to look for fun. I loved getting to see Sarah, Kanako, and Yukari. Sarah will finish her "midterm" on April 7th and return to the states. My heart goes out to her because I already fear how fast this time has gone and will go. Sarah, I love you girl! You are so faithful and trustworthy. I am praying for you as you step out in this next adventure.

Yukari, Mary, Joanna (in her cute green sweatshirt) and Kanako

A list of my "favorites" from March 2006

  • Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer's "Blue Spruce"~ seriously, I listen to that one song on repeat. I love it.
  • chocolate colored curtains (i keep calling them chocolate covered and i have to admit i would like those as well)
  • rastafarian braids (who knew I had rastafarian roots? okay, I don't really but I should... kudos to the girl on the train who makes me want to dreadlock my hair)
  • my mint plant (mom, remember when i used to play in the wild mint in our yard and "make" "mint tea"~ hee hee hee that is why I bought it)
  • my green sweatshirt
  • Mary Vacha and how God has blessed me with a patience teammate. Seriously, she puts up with all my weirdness and crazy behavior. She just laughs at me bouncing around her as we walk to and from the train station. I LOVE YOU MARY! Thanks for being my faithful friend.
  • Hannah Dorrell!!
  • C.S. Lewis... I wish I could talk to him. He's the man!
  • JR's experience as Q.B. and helping me know how to love others... JR, can I be you when I grow up?
  • Mark saying, "Our generation" referring to himself, Mary and I~ ha ha! I am still laughing...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Just a few things....

Before I begin my blog I must announce the sad news:
RoJo coffee has decided to end it's days as the best coffee ever. I know, shocker huh? If you would like to write my brother and BEG for him to continue supplying the world's best coffee to the world's best people... shoot me an email and I'll forward it on. RoJo es No Mo! (which is spanish for RoJo-no-longer-exists-because-some-silly-company-claims-they-had-the-name-RoJo-first-and-wanted-to-sue-my-brother-and-now-my-brother-is-being-silly-and-instead-of-getting-another-name-like-"joanna-is-cool"-coffee-he-just-decided-to-cave-in-to-"the-man"... seriously, it translates loosely into all that.)
Fare thee well "la favorita" and "tanzanian peaberry"...
fare thee well cute bags which were personalized with my name on it...
hello, costco four pounds for four dollar coffee
I felt it was time for a change... so here is my new blog template. Snazzy huh? Plus, my new title... just a new change. Must be the fact that spring has arrived in Japan and the flowers are blossoming and the windows are being opened...

must be that my heart is being "opened" to new things and I am ready, Lord, to make myself more "willingly offered" to You.

I was writing my friend Hanna D. (shout out to the cutest girl in Sendai) and processing a lot of what I am learning in the Word.

I must start and say that the Old Testament is so great. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I never expected it but I persevered through the dividing of lands, the giving of the law, and the awful complaining of the Israelites as they travelled through a desert, though if I am honest, Lord, I would see the similarities that I have with the Israelites!

I am reading through Judges right now and am just making some changes in my life. Spring cleaning my heart, my life, my attitude, my outlook on life. I want to be a confident person. I decided I am pretty cowardly when it comes to "big decisions". I also want to be more encouraging. I want to shine a light that is so different people stop and scratch their heads. I want people to be attracted not to me, but to the Spirit that lives in me. I want to say "no" to the good things in life so that I can wait and save my heart for God's best.

Ahhhh... I just feel like the skin is the only thing that is keeping my insides from spilling out all over. I know that there are good days and bad days, I know there are mountains and valleys...

but can I just say that God is worth it? Who cares, I will say it. God is worth it. He is my heart's delight... the One I love and long for. I don't understand Him, I don't know what lies in my tomorrow but I do know that I can trust the Lord.

*and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed*
Joshua 23:14

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I can't even title this...

I realized tonight that there are no words to express ....well, to explain me!
I was trying to explain something to my friends here in Japan and everything came out in noise effects. I am not even joking. When I get "going" and get excited I just start describing my life in noise effects. I didn't even really realize I was doing it until TJ said, "Someone needs to film her sometime..." and then proceeded to imitate my noises.

I am a strange person. I do not fit in in this culture. I laugh too loud and am too hyper. At first, I tried to suppress who I was. I didn't want to be loud or stick out... but that was denying who God has made me. God has given me a spirit of joy and a spirit to encourage those with my laughter and silliness. I love the lightness God gives me through life. Not every day am I able to feel light and carefree but when I do, I really get into "me".

Lately in Japan, "me" has been especially hyper and silly. I am seriously just enjoying life here and loving where God has placed me. So although these pictures are not the cutest of me, they can probably portray the best the "real me"... and even though I have down days, there is nothing like the joy the Lord has given all of us, should we acknowledge that He stands there ready to offer it to us....
this is what it has looked like lately for me to have joy... at least the last couple of days... (be warned, for some strange reason I always have my mouth wide open... that's kind of embarassing! ha ha)

Mmm mmm mmm cotton candy. We got to make it ourselves at a restaurant near Mary and my new apartment...Speaking of Mary... here's my cute roommate. Mary has also resorted to making noises as well.She has started saying, "ding"... I'm not really sure what triggers her saying that... but it's kind of funny. I wonder if we do this because we can't use any normal language to communicate. No, that's not it. We're just weird. Why do I look so pyscho and she looks so beautiful? Wow!! Look at her eyes. What a fox! Woo Woo, Mary!

Yeah, this is me staying up for the Iowa game... up till 4:30AM just to watch them go from a 17 point lead to lose it with a buzzer-blower. Harf!!

Good thing my joy is in the Lord and not in the Hawkeyes!!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Honestly just me...

I've been doing some deep thinking lately... seriously, I am in this weird funk. Not bad, but just thinking. I find that my joy runs deep, deeper than I've ever known it to but also, my sorrow seems to find a new depth. And that is where I do my deep thinking... in both my deep joy and my deep sorrow.

I read C.S. Lewis's book "A Grief Observed" and I was completely knocked on my keister. Seriously it's probably thee most amazing book I have read in my life. (of course, not more amazing than the thee Good Book.)

So what's the hoopla about this book, Joanna? Why should I read it?

It's the late-night journaling a man wrote in the sleepless nights following his wife's death. It's pure and honest, it's completely beautiful.

Lewis took me on a journey through his emotions. From the beginning feelings,

"But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence."

to the honesty he expresses with the Lord,

"What chokes every prayer and every hope is the memory of all the prayers H. and I offered and all the false hopes we had...Time after time, when He seemed most gracious He was really preparing the next torture. I wrote that last night. It was a yell rather than a thought."

to the morning he awakens with a lighter heart,

"And suddenly at the very moment when, so far, I mourned H. least, I remembered her best... It was as if the lifting of the sorrow removed a barrier."

and finally through the darkness he reaches the point where he can say,

"How wicked it would be, if we could, to call the dead back! She said not to me but to the chaplain, 'I am at peace with God.' She smiled, but not at me. Poi si torno all' eterna fontana."

This spoke to me directly because I am just exiting a time where all I could do was be honest with the Lord and cry out, "You are my Rock and You are my Constant! But I don't even understand You. I'm so hurt! And so broken! I hate how I feel right now! I'm so mad. I'm just so heartbroken and I am mad. Things I once loved I don't want to ever see again! I am so scared to feel this way but You have lead me here for such a time as this. And God, You have made me courageous! Please give me Your strength and Your courage to walk forward."

It's hard to explain to you the situation that I was in, please do not be alarmed by such honest feelings~ for it is in these that I find the true depth of my joy. I feel like David as He cried out in desperation. And although I sound desperate, I was and never shall be without hope. The Lord completely ministered to my heart through Lewis's journaling. I am also being ministered to BIG TIME in the Word.

I have been thinking of Esther, Joseph, and Joshua as at some time in their lives, God revealed to them that perhaps what they were going through was something greater. For example, Esther is made Queen, "who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Es.4:14). Joshua is given the reassurance, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know... I will be with you." (Jsh.3:7). And Joseph tells his brothers, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good" (Gen.50:20). These passages give me a hope that perhaps, oh perhaps, the things I experience and the paths I walk are for things greater than I can see or even imagine. I believe that God has purpose in pleasure and pain.

God has continually put things in my path causing my head to turn from inward to heavenward. God is so good to not let me keep to myself. He loves me so much He has been working on my heart, although sometimes painful, the end result is worth it.

I am able to see that although there is pain in this world and things we can't make sense of, God is still in control and He brings us out of the shadows into the morning light. Into a new day, a fresh start...

I had to ask my father about the last line, "Poi si torno all' eterna fontana." And he emailed me this reply:

Those last words of that little work are a quotation from Dante in the Italian: "then she turned back to the Eternal Fountain." They are spoken of Beatrice, when, in one of the final cantos of the Paradiso, she finally and forever turns away from the poet, whom she has guided to heaven, toward the glory of God. It is Lewis' literary way of confessing his faith in the fact that there, in the presence of God, his wife, whose departure in death has been such a desolation to him, is now lost in the rapture of God."

Wow, God! I am more in love with You and the things You reveal to my heart. Your depth is immeasurable and Your love steadfast. Answer the cry of my heart, for You alone does my heart wait. I pour out my heart before You and wait in silence. My heart overflows with a pleasing theme... You are great and besides You, what on earth can I desire? Nothing can satisfy the depth of my soul as You have.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My Birthday Meaning...

Your Birthdate: September 27

You are a spiritual soul - a person who tries to find meaning in everything.
You spend a good amount of time meditating, trying to figure out life.
Helping others is also important to you. You enjoy social activities with that goal.
You are very generous and giving. Yet you expect very little in return.

Your strength: Getting along with anyone and everyone

Your weakness: Needing a good amount of downtime to recharge

Your power color: Cobalt blue

Your power symbol: Dove

Your power month: September

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hosea 2

I run.
I think I am getting away!
Before me stands a wall
I run into it.
I am blocked.
Hedged in.
A wall is built against me!
To the right!
To the left!
I turn but find the same!
I turn to pursue but cannot overtake!
I seek them and remember them
but I cannot find them.
Nor do I remember that I was their slave!

No, I will choose not to remember that!
To the right
to the left
I turn but I cannot find my path!
Hedged in!

This is the end.
But in this ending, there is something more...
As I turn to look at the grey wall
a green leaf
breaks through and another,
until ivy is running through the cold stone!
The grey gives way to green
death to life
cold to warmth
Green blossoms into
red, purple, pink, and blue!
The sights!
The smells!
And I remember my First Love.
The One I had forgotten.

I am allured

to get up
to walk
to find that no longer do I
sit in
but in a garden!
I am allured into this wilderness!
And there He speaks to me tenderly.
And I run
I play!

I am beauty!
And His delight is in me!

I remember the days of my youth!
When all I was, was your delight.
Before pain
and disappointment
and sin
crept in.
You speak to me tenderly
in this garden
and I will answer You.
No longer will I remember the lies.
I will forget their name.
And in Your garden I find
no bow
no sword
and no war!
I find that not only am I
Your delight
but Your Betrothed.
In Your words You tenderly whisper
that I am Betrothed to You
in righteousness
in justice
in steadfast love
in mercy!
In faithfulness I turn from the garden
and find not only do
You know me
but I know You!
As I turn the flowers bloom,
the grains sprouts,
the wine and oil answer the sower
and all earth answers Heaven.
For You have sown in me a new heart, Your heart
For You have given me mercy, Your mercy
For You have made me into a people, Your people.

And You are my God.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I never noticed your depth
Your ability to continue on forever
has me wandering like I've never seen this place before.
You deepen
You expand
You flow
You surprise
I never noticed your depth
Never seeing this side of you
has me wandering if I really knew you.
I thought you were
my best friend
my confidant
my secret-keeper
the one I tell my hopes to,
share my dreams with...
I never noticed your depth
but here I stand at an opening that is inviting,
yet new.
I want so badly to know you
to love you
to hear you
and to understand you
but everytime I think I do...
I find that I am lost in your depth.
You were created with depth.
Created with mystery,
and faith...
so when I try to describe you
and define you
when I try to understand you
I find that I really don't know you at all.
I never noticed your depth
but it's true.
You are deep
you are fascinating
you are new
you are wonderful.
And although I cannot explain you,
I see in you!
And I see my friend
my confidant
my secret-keeper,
the one I tell my hopes to,
and share my secrets with.
If you were easily describable I would tire of you
and so in my confusion
and depth finding,
I find that I truly like you.
I see so much in you,
I see so much mystery,
and faith...
In you I see that you seek to resemble something more
mysterious and more
In Whom is all Hope,
all Love,
all Peace
all Joy,
and Faith.
Sometimes, it is scary to think I know you
and find that you have so much depth.
But I take delight that
You were created with a desire to have His depth,
to have His image etched into my very heart.
And although sometimes I think I will never know
what it means to be "me"
I find that the depths
which flow
and overwhelm
are what makes Him delight in me.
I never noticed the depth of my own heart before.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Tanoshi ne? 10, 9, 8, 7...

I stole this from Holly and don't normally like doing these silly things but why not? I'm awake, I'm silly and I'm sitting here...

Ten Firsts:
First best friend - Carissa Johnson and Katie Farka
First screen name - probably msn? or something?
First pet - a goldfish, Emily Ocean
First piercing- my tongue when I was seven, my mom took me. ha ha just kidding. it was my ears
First crush - Bryce Carpenter in 1st grade (he was a 2nd grader~ whew)
First kiss - Paul Tonn
First CD - oh, man I don't know~ maybe Susan Ashton or Spice Girls
First car- 98 Gold Chevy Cavalier (technically not mine)
First stuffed animal - Care Bear Birthday Bear
First broken bone - none. For not being a milk drinker I've done pretty good...

Nine Lasts
Last beverage - water and before that Japanese tea
Last car ride - back from looking for an apartment
Last movie seen - Five hour version of Pride and Prejudice.... oh, Mr. Darcy is so chivalrous. ha ha
Last phone call - Kanako Yamashita
Last CD played - Copeland's "Beneath the Medicine Tree"
Last bubble bath - December
Last time you cried - hmmm... let's see... probably Thursday, March 2nd
Last time you laughed - today (of course) watching SCHOOL OF ROCK when the little kid tells Jack Black he is fat and has body odor. Oh, man that still tickles me.
Last time you fell - fell? fell in love? Cause everytime I am around the Rood/Hayes children I fall more and more in love with them. They are precious beyond decription. (Don't worry Lenora I still love you the most but I hug KayKay and think of you and pray that someone will hug and kiss you like I hug and kiss these kids!)

Eight Shows you like (I don't really like t.v. so here is my best attempt at this...)
1. CSI
2. Gilmore Girls
3. Without a Trace
4. TLC's A Wedding Story
5. TLC's A Baby Story
6. Nick and Jess "Newlyweds"
7. ABC romantic comedies
8. hmmm... oh okay~ 24!

Seven Things You Are Wearing
1. Eddie's sweatshirt I had to borrow when I forgot my jacket in the mountains... Eddie, can I steal this?
2. UniQlo sweatpants, yeah, I know~ shocker, huh?
3. headphones
4. Vicky's eyeliner
5. smart wool socks, the very best
6. Pretty in Pink lotion
7. my pretty silver ring

Six Things You've Done Today
1. traveled to Family Mart
2. hunted for an apartment
3. made a sentence with good grammar in Japanese (PRAISE THE LORD!!)
4. showered
5. chewed a crap load of gum...
6. concreted some of this week's plans...

Five Favorite Things
1. dancing
2. chivalry
3. my mama and daddy
4. good coffee
5. connecting with someone and realizing that you look forward to seeing them...(i'm talking friendships here)

Four People You Can Trust With Anything (besides my family)
1. Kelli "code brown" Burrier
2. Amy Noxon
3. Jamie Kampman
4. Sharon Henry

Three Choices
1. Hot or cold - that's vague? What are we talking about? showers? coffee? soup?
2. Black or white - too vague... white as a symbol, black as an outfit
3.Chocolate or Vanilla - chocolate

Two Things You Want To Do Before You Die
1. climb all the 14-ers with the Burrier's (to undo the horrible experience they had with me on Albert) and with my father....
2. fly my parents to Japan (either greet them here or be with them)

One Thing You Regret
1. not taking advantage of the 23 years I have had to make a difference. Time is precious and nothing is guaranteed. I regret that I have not given grace when grace was due, not shared enough joy when opportunities to share arose, wasn't encouraging when discouarged people lay in my path and compromised the Gospel to be liked when I know that the Gospel "speaks" for itself and that in comparison there is nothing I desire but Christ.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Random Pictures of Life...

The following are some random pictures of life recently... or just cause it's fun to look at pictures... I am also "dedicating" this blog to my friend Mitsuhiro (Mikkun) for he recently told me he reads my blog to practice english. (Apparently I have difficult slang~ ha ha!)

This is Mikkun and I at the Emperor's Palace. We went jogging around the open courtyard area because... well, just because it was there, I guess.

This is my Sendai family (Sendai is way northern Japan)

Nancy and Pete Dorrell "duke it out" (compete) in Dance, Dance Revolution.

DDR is a video game that you play with your feet, you dance on a mat that senses your dance steps and scores you on accuracy. That's the basic idea of it. :) Oh, we are so sad. Holly is leaving us! BEST club comes to say goodbye to Holly the night before she left~

Tomo, Takayasu, Mamoru, and Mitsuru

Jin, Natsumi, Holly, Jo, and Mary!

Dude, no seriously! We saw wild monkeys when we were up in Karuizawa. I know it's crazy but it's true. We pulled over on the side of the road and got close to them.

Eddie, Mary, and I got to hang out with the monkeys. They're pretty camera shy as you can tell by the one hiding it's face from us. hee hee hee
And this is my crazy best friend, Kelli... who knowing I have been homesick lately took some silly pictures for me... and unknowingly took this picture pointing at a bird. Crazy huh? I adore you Kelli. Thanks for the cheer and the pictures.