Sunday, February 25, 2007

By request

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There is always...

"Pop quiz!" she says to me when I walked through the doors. I asked her to meet for coffee in the morning and she's been waiting.

"Yeah?" I ask and she rattles off, "For I know the plans I have for You,' declares the Lord. 'Plans for hope and for a future....'"

"Jeremiah 29:11" and I'm right. Although it's not fair, I had an advantage of being able to sing that verse as a song since the High School Church Conference 1998 or something....

But that verse keeps rolling around in my head. "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans for hope and a future."

And then tonight. We studied Isaiah 6 and I keep thinking... "Here am I, send me." But God showed me something new.

Tucked at the end of the chapter... after God reveals Isaiah's message and mission... hope.

*And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled." The holy seed is its stump* (Is 6:13)

And I can't help but stare and get a little choked up that God is gently reminding me over and over not to despair. Not to become too heavy hearted or downcast. But to remember that no matter what this life holds for me, there is always hope.

This world cannot heal, redeem, forgive or satisfy. But I know the One who can. And He gives me hope...

*Now these three remain; faith, hope and love* (1 Cor 13:13).

Let us remember that He is still working and remember that there is always HOPE in His plans. I just love that.

Hope. Hope.



Things that Make Me Smile

I haven't been feeling the greatest... it's okay, you don't have to send me flowers or anything. I just haven't been feeling like the normal "genki" Jo I usually am.... so here are some things lately that have been keeping me smiling.

Lately, it's been all about Mar Bear. She has truly become my best friend and definitely my "onechan" (older sister). even though I am older than her, I learn so much from her. I can't imagine being in Japan without her. She's hilarious.
Jeremiah, your email from you and sort-of Cole just really spoke volumes of love to me. Thanks for being my brother and taking care of me from across the ocean. I enjoy our random chats on gmail.
I'm digging learning about the culture I'm in and look forward to learning more about other cultures through my Pop's religion course. Dad, let's start this week, okay?
I love learning about people. Aren't people beautiful?
This one makes me smile and cry... I really wish I could be with Rochelle as she is growing. I miss you Rocket (and family). Be sure to take lots of pictures...
The thought that Amy Hatcher (left) is going to be in my house and life in two weeks and two days makes me SOOOO happy.
The Roods kids make me smile... tonight Jin told me an adorable story about Yaya asking to hear more about how Jesus can forgive your sins. As we were singing and worshipping together tonight, it made me really sad to think of how quickly this time with the Roods and Mary is going... okay, seriously, only happy thoughts. ;)
Oh Lenora, being able to see you on webcam skype made me SO happy. I have told everyone I see that I played "peek-a-boo" with you. You are the most precious little girl. I will never forget your birth and all the moments we've shared since then. Although those times may be few you are FOR SURE a joy in my life and the reason I can go to bed with a smile on my face tonight. I love you, Leni Daye.
Remembering how often and how hard I would cry out to God to let me return to Japan... seeing that desire turn into a prayer into a process into a "flight away" into my life... realizing that my God is a God of desires and hopes. I smile thinking about how amazing and truly great God is. I smile thinking about where He has taken me and the adventure of the future...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Little Willies (Norah Jones) - It's not you It's me

I'm enjoying this cd I bought back in the states. The Little Willies. Check out their story at
Norah Jones has great vocals and Richard Julian on the guitar. Rumor has it, he'll be in Shibuya this March. Wish I could go...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm a Apron Wearing Woman

I love my apron. I was making dinner for Mary and I last night and while I was cooking I realized, "I enjoy this." I enjoy my apron. I am not oppressed by the apron, by the kitchen, by the thought that I could prepare a meal for friends and family. I felt actually a deep sense of peace and satisfaction.
How sad that cultures have tried to make apron-wearing women seem weak and unhappy. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are unhappy apron wearing women but in that, there lies something deeper. It's not about the stereotype that when women marry they trade in their stilletos and grey striped suits for flannel pajamas and aprons.
It's not always fun to learn who you are. At least for me. I haven't really enjoyed seeing the ugly part of who I am. I know we all have those sides because we're sinful, but I still don't like that side of me. I feel like I disappoint God. I know He loves me and I have nothing to prove but He is so much more worthy of the little I can give. I just want to honor Him and give Him my firstfruits but it doesn't always happen that way.
I am learning who I am. All my life I will be on a journey of who I am and how God made me and how I can be His Servant in who He created. I've fought who I am for some time (mostly the past 14 years) but I think I am growing out of it, Lord willing. I desperatly want to stop fighting what is rightfully ME and who God made me and become now more and more who He has made.
I'm ready to grow up. I know that sounds silly for a 24 year old woman to say but it's something I've been preparing for this past year. I feel that the past year has led me to this point where I just feel... ready! I feel this itch to give up my childish ways; my reversal to excuses, dodging hard subjects in faith, and praying for the same things over and over again. I want to grow up.
I'm ready to accept who I am and accept who God has made me and accept that I am not like "her" or even "him" but that I am me.
That's kind of confusing. I guess I am just trying to say that I am learning to be me. And lately, me has been an apron wearing woman. I enjoy that.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Guess Who I Saw...Spidey or Tomo?

Mamoru Impresses Us

Abbie Boardin'

Some Snazzy Snowboarding Title

Here is the crew that attended the BEST Snowboarding trip 2007 (minus Tomo who disappeared before the picture could be taken). We played some crazy games. This is one where you had to form groups, link arms and try to stand up. It's harder than it sounds.
A fun part of our trip is nightly pair talks. Here Masa and Mamo are chilling together.
Like last year Megu and I boarded a ton together. It was a lot of fun.
Mark took Abbie along and she was amazing. Hooray for learning to board when you're six. Ii na!
Fella's on the slopes.
Megu and I
Look Ma, no hands! Japanese apples are so big.
On the bus ride home, Megu and I acting silly.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Silent No More

The blogging "fast" has come to somewhat of an end. I might not be as frequent a visitor as I was in the past BUT I just wanted to post some stellar pictures and videos. The BEST thing about Shizuoka, besides the beautiful mountains, deep blue ocean, and famous green tea, is the PEOPLE!
I have thoroughly enjoyed my few but meaningful study breaks.
With Kanako Suzuki.... bumping into an OLD OLD friend, Taka. I didn't think I would ever see him and then *bikurista* there he was... at the door of my house. We both just stood there, mouths wide open.
Two of the nicest guys in BEST club; this proves that even underclassmen can win your heart. I ADORE Junpei and Daisuke (two guys in the middle flashing the peace).

Long time friends; Keiko and Reiko win the talent show with their rendition of a Japanese commercial, Tarako. It was HILARIOUS!!!
Koshi and I got some time together before he graduates and heads out into "grown-up world".

Natsuko Sensei is not only our teacher but such a sweet friend. We enjoy our "out of class" lessons with her; on life and dreams. She's here with Jennifer. Jennifer has also been a pleasant surprise in friendship. I knew I was going to like her but I totally love her and her husband Kyle.
See? This is my "I didn't know Kyle was this great" face

Met up with my old roommate Namichan.
A new friend, Marifu, who is a breath of fresh air. She is completely her own person, not too intimidated by the sometimes stifling culture. She was so refreshing to meet her and hear her laugh. She is a beautiful girl. She is a tough chick (she has a motorcycle) but still feminine (her bike is PINK!!!) ha ha ha!!
We took some time and went bowling one night. I love bowling shoes. I don't know why, I just do.
Amy Hatcher, this is for you~ this is Michio... if you look closely you'll see a piece of rice stuck to his lower lip. He said it was his "rice piercing". He is such a character. I appreciate him and his gentleman's heart for the ladies in BEST and people in general. He would be embarassed if I said this in front of him, but he is one of the most gentle, sweet guys I have ever met.