Wednesday, September 27, 2006

If you were with me...

So this blog is written as if you had been here with me, joining me for my birthday day.
The day started around 8AM when I talked to my father on the phone. He sang a lovely version of "Happy Birthday". Then at 9AM I celebrated my birthday with some of my America friends, we arranged a time to "meet" and drink my favorite- Pumpkin Spice Latte (except Edwardo, my Papa, cheated and got coffee...) oh well!

I was so proud because I had saved my mail to open it actually on my birthday. So it was fun to have something to open and I had a fun quiet time and read Nehemiah 1-4 thinking about Nehemiah's heart for his people and for God's glory to be restored on earth. Then I of course revisited my old friend Esther, cause I just can't get enough of her.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who "met me" at Starbucks. I prayed for you guys while enjoying my latte. Here's the picture of my family in Illinois enjoying their PSL's.
Here I am, enjoying a latte, trying not to look like I'm taking a picture of myself... ha ha!
I had a great day, watching "Elizabethtown", conference calling with Jordan, Rocket, and Becca (phd boy was studying), I got to see Mike and Christy through their webcam, I got Joni Poon's LETTER and newsletters in the mail (Joni, it made me cry cause I miss you!!) and I got a billion emails. I really appreciate all the emails. Thanks for those.
Margie Ann officially wins the FIRST Happy Birthday. Congratulations Aunt Margie!
Ayumichan was the first friend in Japan, ringing in my cell phone at 12:05AM. Wow!! She's great!
So below are the pictures... have fun! I love you guys! Thanks for making this a memorable day.
Birthday extravaganza continues!! I found some beautiful flowers on my doorknob from Yuri. They are goregous. It was fun to receive flowers because I had not received any since the boys had our apprecation night. It's not that I receive flowers a lot... I was just thinking about them and thinking that I should buy some to bring to the party and then Yuri got me some. They are beautiful! The day was so beautiful so I included pictures, even of the view from my apartment at night. The city lights are so exciting. (and that's only SMALL Minami-Osawa!!)

I had a birthday party at Jin and Mark's. We ate American pizza and had yummy chocolate cake. I also broke out my Mike & Ike's to share because they are my favorite American candy. (they were surprisingly a hit.) It was such a beautiful party. So many BEST members were there.

Here is Kie, Na, and Tomo (hiding!). Yay!!

So great to connect with the freshman gals~ here is Megumi, Saori, and Kay Kay. Kay was super snuggly the whole night... makes me excited to think of Leni and hope that she will be super snuggly with me the next time I see her. Becca told me a hilarious story about Leni snuggling with a strange man on the plane... and even though that is a little weird, I'm glad she is so warm with strangers. And Becca, thank you so much for telling me she kisses my picture every night. That is SO precious.

I adore Masashi! If ever I were to have a little brother, I imagine we would torture each other lovingly like Masashi and I do. He pokes me in the ribs, punches me and runs from my hugs... practically like family. ha ha! This picture is when I snuck up behind him. I laugh everytime I see this because the poor guy looks like he's trying to pull away. Ha ha!!

Cake time! Yuri and I share a birth day so we shared cakes. It was delicious! Abbie and YaYa helped Natsumi decorate the cake.

Probably my new favorite picture of Mikkun... he looks so great. His birthday present to me was to invite me to dinner with his family. We're going to start "practicing" what I should say to them... It'll be good and I promise to make you all proud.

A huge surprise was when Shanghai (nickname) walked in. He had a HUGE bouquet of flowers that were goregous. Seriously, I was so suprised and just a touch embarassed. Flowers can do that to you. They are a beautiful deep red. I put them next to my bed so that I could see them. I was so surprised. Isn't that amazing of God to give me those two bouquets? I just think of how I really missed flowers and how I even got Abbie a flower for her birthday because I miss having flowers in my life~ and then God just blesses me with these.

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


is the day where I get a chance to give thanks for the people in my life, who have made me who I am. And while, I should do this every day. I don't do it often enough.

There are many women I would love to give thanks to, women who have invested in me and made me the crazy person I am this day. Women like Kim N., Sarah, Katie Farka, Jamie, Twedt, Ducky, Kelli...

the list goes on.

But before all these women and before the godly influence they had on my life, there was one who loved me from the very beginning.

My Mama!
I would like to thank you for being my best friend in the whole world. Thank you for treating me better than I deserve, keeping my secrets and sharing in life’s little delights with me. Thank you for giving me courage and hope, for loving me when I was unlovable and for wanting what was best even when I wanted to settle. You have given me more hope and audacity in my 24 years than I could ever ask for or have the guts to admit I need. I would never be where I am today without your encouragement and wisdom.

I believe with all my heart that I would not be the woman I am today without your influence. It is my hope and prayer that I can one day be the mother, aunt, friend, and wife that you have modeled for me through the years. I am lucky to have you as my mother and I am deeply grateful to Jesus that you are also, my best friend.

Thanks Mom, for my birthday card (which I saved until it was actually my birthday to open) and I always claimed to be your "grand finale" but now I have the proof to rub in my brothers's faces. HA HA!! Thanks Mom!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sending you my laughter

Okay, so I talked to four fabulous people on the phone today and it brightened my day (thanks Holls, Joni, Ojen and Amy). Wow, I was super lonely for some girl time since Mary's gone.
Anyway, I promised I would post two pictures.
Joni, here is my nabe pot... except now that I look at it, it's horrible shot.

And Holly, here is what I looked like talking to you on gmail chat when you were up late and we were talking about our apartment days... and when you bonded with a certain one of our roommates. Anyway, I thought these pictures were pretty ridiculous. But since we can't laugh in person, I'm sending my laugh to you...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Here for such a time as this

*On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.

When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

Then the king asked, "What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you."* Esther 5:1-3

I've won your favor,
now all I have to do is ask...
but see, that's the tricky part.
The place I get to, when I stand before you
with my heart in my hands...

Friday, September 22, 2006

I don't know...

what's gotten into me but I like it.

I have no idea what is happening but today I was super productive with things that actually are important.
Like putting batteries in the dreaded "Pooh" clock that I just don't like so much although it was free and convenient for our train catching friends... (and yes, that plants name is Kiss but it was named by my rocker friend, Nagi after the band KISS and not the action)

and I vaccumed... but I've also been super productive with things that were just so satisfying to finish... I put up our black picture frames. (and yes, that is a table cloth! Isn't that just so pretty with the flowers and candle and the pictures???)
I cleaned out our food pantry (um, yeah we have SO much food). I scrubbed the toilet.
I know. I know!! I have no idea what is happening. But I definitely like it. I still can't get over how clean my floors look although I am tempted to ask for a Swifter for my birthday (although the thought of actually getting it makes me feel a little old~ ya know, like you can't actually get Swifters and socks for Christmas until you're old).

Tee hee hee!! I just love cleaning my house and I even offered to clean Jin's... and I know if Christy, Jane or Priscilla (or Valley girls for that matter) read this they may shake their heads and wish I had been this enthused about cleaning when they lived with me... but hey, you ladies are always more than welcome to come back and I'll clean for you.

Anyway, here is some more evidence of the "New and Improved Joanna". Wow! I organized all the leftover products from seters and KyongA into beauty and medicinal. Seriously, I'm out of control. Ha ha!!But wait! Before you go chalking me up as the "next best thing" (seriously, I have confidence up the whazoo) I should tell you that tonight I invented the best cookie ever.

It's got chocolate, oatmeal, AND peanut buter. It was kind of a "whadda I got in the pantry?" and we happen to have an excessive amount of peanut butter so I whipped up these cookies... Here I am waiting for them. Bad news is... they are SUPER crumbly... I think it's the greasy PB. Bummer huh? Well, I am freezing the cookies and serving them the next time we have ice cream. So I can't be "the next best thing" until I conquer this whole baking thing... this week has given me burnt banana bread and half-raw blueberry muffins. I will get the hang of baking and cooking.These are some pictures from Na's birthday.... it was awesome. Speaking of birthdays, I've come up with a list... a list of things I want to do in my life. But I can't decide if I want to make my list something to accomplish in my entire life or if I set a goal as in: "one a year before the next birthday" or if I should just say "complete this list throughout life"... something to think about. I can't tell you all the things... cause that would just be ridiculous. But, I can tell you one of them, cause I think it's the first one I'll complete... actually, naw. I'll just let you know if I actually do it. tee hee hee!

We went to a Hawaiian restaurant and ate a ton of food. A TON!! It was my four close friends, Na, Kie, Mikkun and Ty. I hadn't seen the boys in sooo long. It was awesome to meet up with them again.Okay, so Ty and Mikkun always give me these weird faces when I take their picture. I blame some of this on Eddie who rarely took a picture where he wasn't either making this HUGE grin or some distorted face. ha ha!! Boys!!

Like I said, check out Mikkun's face. We got these cool little bracelets with our fancy drinks, so that was fun. We also ate spam in honor of John (who convinced our entire team it actually isn't that bad)... it's funny how he comes up so often. It's been a lot of fun to talk to students about John and about his life. There has been laughter and that has been good. There have still been some tears for me... when I went to pick the Roods up at the bus station I drove by the restaurant where I first met John and I started to cry.

Is it totally random that I have grieved and missed my friend almost longer now than I knew him in person (besides the reputation that highly proceeded him)? Wow, what a life and legacy he has passed on... He's also just inspired a lot of my friends here to do some deep thinking and for that I am indebted to him. Thanks John.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Birthday rules, being a girl, and loving Jesus...

Okay, fellas... let's review something shall we?
I know you all know this but I'd like to just ask one thing... that we review this simple birthday rule. And I say this as kindly and gently as I can... because I am speaking, only on behalf of a friend.

I don't care how horrible your girlfriend is~ it is never a good idea to break up with her on her birthday. Let me think... um, nope~ never, my friends, never a good idea. Whether you love Jesus or not and whether she loves Jesus or not... probably never going to be a good idea.

On another note: I've really enjoyed being a girl lately. I know that sounds really silly but hear me out. One of the things I like the most is when I have time to get ready in the morning so I can crank my itunes mix and just have plenty of time to get ready. I love dancing around the house and just being myself with the curling iron in one hand and the mascara wand in the other. I love it. Ha ha!! I'm realizing a lot of weird quirks about me that I am starting to appreciate and love.

I think it's because I've been spending some quality time with Jesus lately and just really desiring to fall in love with Him for who He is and not just for what He did for me. Ya know? Anyway, every day God plops a blessing into my life and I am just overwhelmed today by his goodness. I feel like God is really pursuing me and creating beauty from ashes. So His love in turn helps me to really appreciate who I am and who God has made me.

Hmmm... more on that later.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mike's day of birth...

*Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Mike, happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

Here is a picture of my friend Mike. Michael Roy Cain! He can rope, he can ride... he loves Jesus, he is, this day 21. He loves catchy big nasty fish with hangers, eating peanut butter and jelly rice sandwhiches, and making things out of cheese!

He also has never punched me in the face, which is more than I can say for his best friend, Ryan.

Aw, anyway!


And I quote

*When I grow up I want to be a seller. I want to sell luggage."
Josiah Rood- age 3

Welcome Home Roods, you never cease to entertain.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mary Elizabeth Vacha

In six hours I bid a fare-thee-well to my best friend and teammate Mary Elizabeth Vacha.

Who would have guessed I would have become so attached to her? We are sometimes as different as night and day but in our little own "weird" way we are so much alike. I totally respect and admire her. She is awesome!

Mary, thank you SO much for the America trip and for our laughter. Thank you for being your weird self that I have grown to love. And yes, you do have a weird side. Embrace it, honey! I am so thankful for you and thankful for our friendship.

However, Mary is leaving me to go study language and while I am extrememly proud of her, I know I will miss her.

Fare-thee-well Mary. As you belt out Rascal Flatts in the room next to me, I am suddenly sad you will be gone.

Be good. And don't do anything I wouldn't do... on the other hand, just keep doing what only you do. That's a safer bet.

P.S. hurry back!!

Friday, September 15, 2006


of the ridiculous things we did in America...
like putting each other on our shoulders and jumping into a freezing cold pool... or pretending to steer a ship...
or trying to kiss me... ha ha, this is actually my brother Jeremy and I fighting in front of the White House~ aw, sibling rivalry.
or putting peanuts up our nose....
or underwear on our heads...
or jumping over Mark....
or dressing up like a crap... (this is an AWESOME picture)
or eating our deodorant...
or posing like national monuments...
or putting peanut butter on our lip as a penalty for a game...
of course, there is always more ridiculous things we did... but this is just a highlight of how silly we can be.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ishashibuti blogger

There are so many pictures and so much I could tell you about this trip... but I had to be "choosy" this time around with my pictures. I also have a whole two weeks to "recoop" so I'll be sure to post some of our crazy pictures... we sure have a lot of them.
In case you can't tell... this says, BEST with out bodies.

This was an amazing trip. I seriously had a blast and just had God speak so much into my life... but I'll try to keep this simple... this is our group with Dr. Ribbe who spoke on the creation of the universe. We visited Virginia Tech and had so much fun at Mark's alma mater.

Our students got to visit with old friend, Jason (and his wife Rachael). We also got to fly in a small plane over Smith Mountain Lake.

One of my personal highlights was getting to hear my father talk about World Religions, which is a class he teaches in college. He has learned so much and I feel like I too have learned to really appreciate his wisdom and teaching instead of being the punk I usually am. It was great to hear his perspective on life, religion, and sharing your heart with people... I was proud to say this was my Pops talking.

that's my cutey parents, Eddie Joe and Leslie

we got to visit Thomas Jefferson's house... here are the girls on the trip...

i begged my father to bring his guitar (which he gave to me as a gift, rock on rockstar!!) because I love to hear him play.

it rained a lot in VA so we had to change some of our plans. One of the greatest things we did was rollerskating. Boy, talk about some old school memories of "moonlight" skating with junior high friends... Gehrman, it made me miss you!
Here Mary and I are practicing our flexibilty potential for the limbo... needless to say we were no match for the 2nd graders we were up against.

Mark was incredibly impressive on the rink... don't know whether to be worried about him or impressed... ha ha! He and Jin moonlight skated to some cheesy 80s music. It was great.

Horseback riding was a ton of fun... here's Mamoru

and Fuyu...

how cute is this picture of Jin? She's cho cute! Horseback riding was fun because it wasn't your typical trail ride but we got to run our horses which was fun.

Saying "goodbye" to my folks after their week in VA. Tomo gave them some Japanese gifts. It was awesome to see my family (Jer in DC) and to connect with them. It was also amazing, such a God thing, to have them witness my heart for my friends and for them to gain a love for Japan and the people who are in my life.

Baseball in Baltimore... one of my highlights (i know i keep saying that) was being on the East Coast... it was fun to shop and see the sights of Baltimore... I felt like it was all very romanticized in my mind... especially when we went to Little Italy in Baltimore. I just have never experienced anything like that so it was fun to be surrounded with little tiny cultures tucked away in America. Even Southern Virginia culture... um, yeah! ha ha!!

Okay, so I may have shot Mark twice in the chest with a paintball gun... the story is that we were playing with the gun and a target and then Mark challenged me to hit him as a moving target cause he didn't think I could... needless to say, i could. HA HA!! He's okay, so whew! But I'm sure I'll never live that one down... shooting my NAV leader doesn't really fall under gentle submission? Well, I always knew I danced to my different drum beat of "ladylike" (p.s. shooting guns was sooo much fun, ha ha!!)