Saturday, October 28, 2006

Half the fun

Click on video
This is your chance to join in on the rollercoaster fun. However, be forewarned that I consider screaming half the fun. Mary and I spent the day with Natsumi and Ayumi riding rollercoasters in downtown Tokyo. Cho tanoshikatta (it was a lot of fun)!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Click here for my daydreams

Seriously, how can I not get ahead of myself...
Colorado just got 5-20 inches of fresh snow... REI sent me their "winter gear" emailer....

ladies and gentleman, soon... or so very soon, it's going to be boarding season. Snowboarding season that is. I just checked out the REI womens snowboards for 2006-2007. Dream on, but oh, so much fun!

Mark and I are contemplating a BEST trip to Hokkaido the northernmost island where the snowboarding is said to be the best. We have a lot of snowboarders in our club and on our staff. So let the good times roll...
wandering what I daydream about after the last post? Click here for my daydreams. ha ha!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jezebel, Daydreams, Anemia

Okay, so I am having a random night of thoughts. I have about five blogs started in my mind as I process and sort through the post-it notes of my brain.
Don't forget to talk about your friend, says one.
Don't forget about reading James and being hugely convicted, says another.

Yet, I have chosen three that are the most fun and biggest of the post-it notes.

"I always thought it would be so daring to go into a Sunday School class and do a devotional called, "Why I admire Jezebel." Let me tell you why I admire Jezebel. She had zeal for her gods. She was decisive, purposeful, and comprehensively dedicated to her causes, She never faltered from the training of her youth. She had poise and perspective in the time of crisis. She knew her mind, made decisions, organized her domain to meet her purposes. She had long-term vision and persevered. All of these characteristics which are basic to the mistress of the domain aspect, Jezebel had in abundance. The probem was she had these characteristics going in the wrong direction." Five Aspects of a Woman; Mouser, Brenda
The Five Aspects study has hugely rocked my boat. I am only on the first aspect, second part but I am already wanting to embrace not only my own femininity but every woman in my presence, along with writing every man in my life and telling him, "I believe in you." I feel like God has prepared me throughout time for this study so that I would be ready to hear it and embrace what He is teaching me.
If you are not familiar with it, sorry I'm not explaining it thoroughly. It basically explains that there are Five Aspects from the Bible that are true of every woman throughout ALL of history. We are on the first aspect which is, "Mistress of the Domain". Along with each of these aspects then they are broken down into three categories; created (what we were to be), fallen (what we are), redeemed (what we are through Christ).
I am studying about the Domain aspect, the fallen portion and I have wanted to shout, "Amen!", cry over my sinfulness and ask to be humbled at the thought of what God has saved me from.
Sometimes I forget where I truly came from. I think, "Oh, look at me I've come so far." But I am reminded through this that it is not a "long time ago" that I dealt with sin but just a moment ago.
They did a short synaposis on Ruth also, and I am just so convicted by this quote, "Her name is synonymous with loyalty, faith, service, joy, and love. She is one of the last whom God has made first, a mother of Christ, and a blessing to the whole world." (pg. 44)
Whoa! Man, talk about an amazing study. After this, I randomly read through James and found this verse in chapter 3, "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere." Ahhhh.... I just to pray these things into my life and into the lives of the women I am blessed to know and minister with (and to). Can you imagine if we sought the Lord with such devotion that our names would become synonymous with loyalty, faith.... and if we asked the Lord to humble us in such a way that we would be opened to His wisdom which is first PURE and then peaceable, gently.... merciful... I am challenged to pray these things for my friends and for myself.
Woman, on their powerful relational level, can love and nurture the heart. But because we are sinful we also know where to "hit" to make it count. Why do you think girls are often so petty and angry in junior high and high school? And continuining on? We are sinful beings and we, unfortuntaly know where to hurt people the most, the heart~ because God has given us the key to unlocking and relating on that heart level.
Wow!! I just want to be a BIG SPONGE and soak this all up... while allowing God to speak into my own life.
Another thing I have been pondering is "daydreams"... do you think daydreams can be dangerous? I frequently have daydreams when I am walking home from campus... and I wonder (daydream, if you will) about how much of my life I spend in daydreams. Is it more necessary that I invest my mind and memorize scripture during this time or pray for people? Or are daydreams harmless?
I guess that somewhat depends on the daydreams, too, huh? Hmmm... just something to think about.
And finally, I have (successfully) diagnosed myself as being anemic. It all started when I cut my finger with a knife and didn't stop bleeding until the next morning. So I thought, hmmm I'm anemic and I was reminded by my brother, Jordan, that that is not anemia. And that my frequent dizzy spells are caused by my age range. Jordan says, "Over 50% of girls your age have a period of lightheadedness. Go get some multivitamins." So I decided I would shrug it off as a simple "period" of life and deal with it.
Then today, after a walk to my english play group (which I teach not attend~ ha ha) I was sitting with the kids and I stood up, way too quickly I guess because I almost passed out right then and there. It was my worst spell by far. I really almost toppled over onto my kids, which would have caused a widespread freaking out, giving them a chance to start screaming and running out of the class had I really fainted on top of one of them. However, I managed to stop the room from spinning. But now I am laying in bed, drinking my second HUGE glass of water (am I dehydrated?) before I go to bed. And I am feeling weak. Hmmm... multivitamins might not be enough. I may need a doctor.
Also, is anemia hereditary? Because then I know for sure I have it.
Anyway, if you are still reading this random post, I apologize. Must be my anemia getting the better of me.... now I will let you go, ponder the other four aspects of woman and I am off to search WebMD before I get a "you are not anemic" post from Jordan and then turning in to bed. Oh, yeah and my finger finally stopped bleeding but now it is red and hurts, so I am waiting for the gangrene to set in before I self-operate.
Ha ha! I am such a drama Queen. Can you tell I miss my mother giving me sympathy?

Monday, October 23, 2006


Like I promised, here is a recap (via pictures) of Mary and my time in Nagano.
Also, like I promised. Many pictures of how beautiful it was there in the mountains.
This is how excited I was to see the leaves changing their colors! Wow!

So seeing, the trees changing their colors was as exciting as I thought and I really enjoyed the cooler mountain air. What a gift from God to be in Nagano. What a fun weekend Mary and I had with Norio and his family.

Norio took us to see this three layered temple. It's amazing and was made completely without nails. Crazy!

At one of the temples we visited, Mary, Norio and I drank from the cleansing water. It was from a hot spring nearby and so it tasted and smelled like boiled (or old) eggs. But it was good. It looks cold but it was hot. Hence, the origin, hot spring I guess I missed that part.

Norio is a BEST club member, who graduated last spring. He has a huge heart to know Jesus. And has written many essays/thoughts on Christ and his respect for Jesus. I am impressed with Norio's faith and his love for Jesus. Norio first respected Jesus as a man, which is something I am learning and want to learn how to do more so.

Norio's sister, in Japan siblings call each other by "brother" or "sister" so I called her "onechan" all weekend which means, "older sister". It's a pet name and more casual I think than using their names.

Ottosan (Father) is making some yummy rice ball dessert thingys. (that's not the technical name!) They are sooo good. I ate so much good food this weekend. Norio's Mama is an amazing cook and Japanese food is always a treat when you are in someone's home.

So random but awesome picture. I was in the back of the car when the windows were down so my hair was everywhere. So I like this picture caus it's just random and my hair looks crazy!

Norio's family has a huge garden (schupbachs, think like two or three times Grandma's old one). They sent us home with a TON of vegetables and rice from their field. They actually didn't grow rice this year, Norio told us. To which I replied in my "going-downhill" english, "Oh, so you gave your field rest?" ha ha!!

Mary loves the mountains and fall almost as much as me. tee hee hee! She's so cute.

No joke! This is how you grow mushrooms! They grow in these trunk holes. See the white dots? That's where mushrooms were already plucked. Cool huh? They have huge fields of these mushrooms growing under trees that are growing close together so that they field is shaded and cool.

Norio loves the mountain. Doesn't he totally look like Peter Pan?

a waterfall we passed by

Here we are, by the waterfall, Mary, Onechan, Onechan's fiance, Jo and Norio

Then Onechan an her fiance introduced us to "dombo" (sp?) it's sledding down a hill on cardboard. Yes, they actually have a name for it besides, "sledding with cardboard". It was SO much fun but we got so dirty. Here Mary tests out her cardboard.


AS if that wasn't a ton of fun, then they took us "mallet golfing" which the best way I can describe it is a combination between mini golf and croquet. You have this croquet like mallet but you hit like it is a mini golf course. EXCEPT it's longer than a mini golf course and the whole thing was in the woods. So we had this huge uphills and downhills and leaves and sticks interruptng our course. It was beautiful and so much fun.
Here is Onechan driving her first shot. We got to whack the ball pretty hard cause the course was long. So it was fun to take some hardshots.

Norio tries to sink his in the hole.

Such a beautiful weekend! Takashi (fiance), Onechan (her name is Misuzu), Mary, Norio, and Jo... don't I look really short here? I don't know why I look so short. Must be cause I'm next to Norio?? Ha ha!! Yay for Nagano and visiting Norio. It was an amazing weekend!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


The following are the things that have really brightened my week.

This first set of pictures is from my niece's visit to Gramma and Grampa's house; and Great-Grandparents house. My Grandma has a picture of me on the fridge which Leni proceeded to tear down and kiss. Does that just choke you up or what? I almost burst into tears. I can't believe how big she has gotten lately.

Speaking of Grandmothers... my Grandma Schupbach has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe because I've started up crocheting again for the fall/winter season. I am so grateful that she taught me that way back in the day. There is so much I have yet to learn from ya, Euny. Just wanted to give you a shout-out and tell you that I love you!

Seriously, ya'll. You've never met anyone as fiesty and spunky as my Grandma Schupbach. She's not afraid to wave her wooden spoon at those who taste-test her food, the Cubs and Bears for losing, and her own husband for eating her potato salad when she's not finished. I have such tender great memories of you, Gram. I love you much. Let's hang out when I return.

Return... hmm... I've been reading John 12:24-25 lately... thinking about the return and the cost of our lives. *I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains (alone) only one seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds.* I just keep thinking about this verse; Mark heard a guy speak on this verse and share with me that when the kernel falls into the ground, it is HIDDEN. It goes unnoticed.
There is no glory in the dying seed.
I keep thinking about this.

Kie makes me smile and laugh...

Joni Poon (far right) writes THEE best letters. She is faithful to encourage me and send me random things through the mail. Her envelopes are colorful and just as much fun as the letter itself. AW, Joni! Yo R Cragee!
As if her beauty wasn't enough to cheer me up, Ojen (middle) sent me an amazing email about life. And she just said some pretty sweet stuff to me that completely knocked me on my seat. She probably doesn't even realize that she did this... I have big plans for my friendship with these two. Our random days of fun and hilarity are not over!

speaking of hilarity, in two short weeks, i will be admist the hilarity that is known as Kanako Suzuki! Um, she's awesome. And she's bringing my other Shizuoka friend, Shige.
Chris Ebbers (Shizuoka and fellow coffee over-consumer friend) is coming into Tokyo for 17 DAYS! Party! Party! Party! I can NOT wait. Chris mean fun, meaning laughter, meaning Shizuoka people will come to visit, meaning more laughter... oh, I am ready for that time. This picture makes me laugh cause Shige is being absolutely ridiculous. And Kanako is the girl who told me, "Everyone loves a woman who can cook." when I told her in 2003 I couldn't cook. ha ha!! I've been tempted to stitch that onto a pillow if only I knew how to stitch pillows. ha ha!!

Finally, of course I have to blog about fall... it's only got me seeing stars. But I will spare you anymore of my sappy, "I love fall" pictures. This is actually a picture from Halloween last year. I am not such a big Halloween fan, maybe because my mother made me be a "bunch of grapes" one year and I still have a grudge. ha ha!!

So something that was hilarious was the crew at Utsu is planning a Halloween party and who does Keith contact when he needs a Halloween CD but me, because he figures, if anyone has a Halloween CD it will be Joanna... the sad thing?

I actually have one. But then I tried to justify it to him, because I had a Halloween Party in college... but that only made him laugh harder.

Anyway, this week has been a fun week of unexpected emails and encouragement from the Lord. My parents totally blessed me with a gift I wasn't unexpecting... after all they do, they continue to give.

I, also, got to spend time with Jin last night, playing cards, and it was good to be with her. I really appreciate her friendship. She's an amazing woman. Anyway, that's it for now. I need to go to sleep. I have a staff meeting tomorrow morning.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fall Day

I had the best fall day on Thursday and I meant to write about it but I didn't have time (sorry Jordan)... it all started when I woke up and the sun was shining and the air was a bit crisp... I made sure to have my camera with me cause i knew the leaves would be falling soon.

And then... I got to play with the Rood kids. What an awesome opportunity to let loose... I love being able to be myself and do fun things with the kids. They are so funny. Abbie told me all about Japanese kindergarten, Yaya told me the "difference between boys and girls" (mainly boys like bugs and girls run away from bugs), and KayKay just sits there and talks to me in her babbling. I have been wanting to carve a pumpkin so we put on our aprons and set to work.

I had a picture perfect evening with Abbie, Yaya and KayKay. We carved this huge pumpkin... although they wanted nothing to do with scooping out the inside. I was so surprised. Then we put a candle inside and lit it for when Jin and Mark came home. I'm going to try and hang out with Abbie, Yaya and KayKay about once a week. It's such a treat for me and I feel like I'm "crossing" family lines. I know if I lived closer to Lenora I would be helping with her... and vice versa with the Roods family.
The kids are such a riot. I had a blast! It's so much fun to have someone to lick the bowl with... KayKay really wanted to help but apparently she didn't understand, "Keep it in the bowl." and was half covered in chocolate brownie mix by the time I decided it was bedtime.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lately I've...

seen some interesting advertising...(Waseda station)

had an amazingly fun dinner with old and new friends

been hanging out with my gal, Mary!!

been enjoying the beautiful weather... if you look closely, you can see Mt. Fuji. I was so excited when I saw her, but the pictures weren't so great.

It's very faint, snow capped, on the right side...

had an amazing meal with Mikkun and his parents! It was a great time!

I'm still really loving FALL!! For all of you who have talked to me recently you know I am in love with fall. I am having such an amazing time in Japan and just love every minute. Mikkun's mother gave me some chestnuts because this time of year chestnuts are very popular to eat. You peel them, cut them and then cook them in your rice. Oishi desuyo!

Japan is starting to feel more like home and my heart is being softened to life here. What an answer to prayer. I keep forgetting to get pictures of the leaves and the flowers to put on my blog because it's so beautiful here but I have a feeling that when Mary and I got to Nagano to see Norio, we will some of the most beautiful sights we've yet to see. I am excited to head into the countryside... fall makes me miss apple orchards with the family, walks in the woods, and football games.

Yet, my heart is being satisfied in different but more amazing ways this year. Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

They came!!!!

Kelli BURRIER!!! You have totally outdone yourself!
These are the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. I practically screamed when the man came to my door. I am sure he is thankful I refrained but I went crazy taking pictures so here you go... THANK YOU SO MUCH, Kelli!!! Jo and her flowers... wow, Kel, these flowers are HUGE and so beautiful!

This is me, kissing your card. Ha ha!! The card was great and friend I MISS YOU TOO!!!
Here's where they landed, next to my bed so I can wake up every morning to them. Ahhh!! They are goregous Kelli! Thank you so much!
Oh, yeah! Look who got flowers!!!

Thanks Kelli! You sure do know how to make a gal blush. And for those of you who don't know Kelli but wish you did (sorry fellas, she's in LOVE) here is Kelli with her hubby Marcus! (love you guys!!!)


Is it that my eyes have been closed all these years?

Or is it something has changed inside of me?

I came across a beautiful field; the rice is long and laying low, with their whitecaps ready to be harvested. As I walked on then I saw them; the flowers, who are no longer dressed in their springy pastels but deep breath-taking pinks, bright orange, gentle whites and boisterious purples. My first reaction was of wanting to pick the flowers and put them in a vase on my table... put I realized at that moment how often I've felt this happening in my own life.

How sad and often have I felt the need to pluck up my own heart and put it on a vase, on display for others. I've longed to fit and "grow" in a place where I don't belong and for the first time, I can see that all these years I've never quite understood what God has been telling me all along.

I've never seen the kind of beauty that God is impressing upon me here. Keep my head down and I'll miss it... deny my heart and I'll accept what the vase offers me. Security but certain death... give up the unknown of the wild but accept the cruelty of "safe-ness".

I can keep my head down, I can walk through this field and never notice the beauty

both in and outside of me.

Yet, I long for more... I long for the small taste I've gotten in the past five months...

I would rather embrace the unknown and cling to my Vine...

both in and outside of me...

yet, it feels like the same beauty...