Friday, March 30, 2007

This week in pictures

Here is a summary of this week's silliness in pictures. Also, to see the kind of waterpark Amy and I took visited out this. Scroll down to see the coffee, tea, sake, and wine bath. No joke.
I also thoroughly enjoy this weird-oh mood I am in and sorry, Mom, I know you hate this picture but... it makes me chuckle. Me being silly and then me "scolding" myself for being silly.

Oh Lenora. How I love thee. You will always be the special baby of our family... even though you are being joined by more this year.Mimi, my friend from Iowa (woop, woop to Jamie's bible study) shared this picture of her son Alex with me. He is SUCH a cutie. Mims knew I was homesick so she sent me some laughter. Thanks Mimi. I love you. Can't wait to see you again someday. (Jamie, can you believe how BIG Alex has gotten? Remember seeing him in the hospital?)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My mother

Hey, Mom! I just wanted to tell you that I love you. You are one of my most favorite people. And by far, my favorite mother (hands down!).

You are so good to me... thank you for cheering me up and writing me emails. Thank you for sending me "happy paper" through emails.

Thank you for the kind words and sweet encouragement. Thank you for pushing me to be the best and to remain focused on the LORD. Thank you for loving me.

Even when I am homesick and miss you, you still find a way to connect with me.

I miss our talks and walks but even through the distance, you still find a way to be my best friend. Thanks for being loyal and passing on your beauty to me.

I wouldn't be the woman I am today if I didn't have you pushing me to be the best. Thank you for the cards, the dryer sheets, the gum, the pants I forgot when I came... everything. You will never know the depth of how a simple gift really reaches me.

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for raising me to love the Lord. Thank you for giving me my fiesty perserverance. Thank you for passing on my ability to communicate more clearly through tears (sometimes words just can't express it). Thank you for passing on your love for chocolate. Thanks for passing on your love for walks and nature. Thank you for passing on your humor, your joy, and your patience.

You are my loyal friend, my fellow girly movie watcher, my cheerleader (i should get you pompoms for christmas) my cry together friend over silly Starbucks gift cards, my shoulder to lean on, my ear to process with, my pusher, my money saver, my... mother, my best friend.

Thanks for setting the standard on beauty and grace. And showing me Jesus.

I love you.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Inspiring Introvert

It's been awhile. It's been awhile since I've been in "this mood". The mood where I am completely thoughtful and quiet. Where I desire to be alone for about ten weeks... but it's impossible to be alone when I require people/face-to-face time at least 14 hours a day.

What a cruel world it is for an extrovert inspiring introvert. That leaves my thoughts to come tumbling out on YOU, my blog readers. I'll try to include some pretty pictures so if you'd rather not be a part of the verbal spewage, then at least your eyes can be satisfied.
...i was really disappointed today. I had this silly thing happen to me but it totally got my hopes up and I was only disappointed with the reality that I can't mail a package. I know that doesn't make sense. Basically, I just thought something was going to happen but it didn't. And while it is BETTER that it didn't happen, it would have been nice to have it happen.

...I'm also lonely for my roommate (see Mary's corner). She's been in America for two weeks... and I don't know how I manage without her... it is God's timing that Amy has been here. But having Amy here makes me homesick...

...and I just realized that it will be two years before I see my family. And I know, I know what you are thinking. I was the one that moved to Japan. And I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I am happy here. I love Japan. I love it! I love my friends and my team and my apartment with the tiny room that I call mine... but that doesn't make these little moments any less lonely.
On a slightly brighter note I made a decision to give myself an early birthday present. I'm going to give myself GOOD HEALTH. Ha ha! How silly is that? I know, pretty ridiculous! But I decided that the best thing I can do for myself is to give myself the best health. So I am starting to faithfully take my vitamins (I have big girl vitamins now, no vita-balls for this chica!) and exercise and eat healthy. Except for the cookies I had for breakfast I am well on my way to healthy-ville.

I think it hit me that I will be 25 this year. Which could be a big year but you know what? Not for me! Aging is a part of God's process... part of His plan. And I decided that I wanted to age well. I want to be a genki (lively) person when I am blessed with whatever age God sees fit... and I don't want to be restricted by my health. So I decided to start making good decisions now.

I want to be a beautiful woman for all my life. So I am starting to love and appreciate myself and God's beauty in me and my enviornment and my friends and family... and my life. I am SO blessed. Ya know? I am!

God has been speaking to me through His word. I especially like Ecclesiastes 3:11a *He has made everything beautiful in its time.*

And to finish, the Psalm that has been speaking volumes to me...
But you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to knw your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and
your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or
my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love
remember me,
for the sake of your goodness,
Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humbles his way.
All the paths of the LROD are steadfast
love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and
his testimonies.
For your name's sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the LORD?
Him will he intruct in the way that
he should choose.
His sould shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
The friendship of the LORD is or those
who fear him,
and he makes known to them his
My eyes are ever towad the LORD,
for he will pluck my feet out of the
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my hear are enlarged;
bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my afflication and my trouble,
and forgive all my sins.
Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they
hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
Let me know be put to shame, for I take
refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness
preserve me,
for I wait for you.
Redeem Israel, O God,
out of all his troubles. (P25)
Are you still there? See, my "mood" wasn't that bad, was it? :)
Despite all my weirdness... God is still good and still God.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Amy and I took off Tuesday-Friday for Shizuoka. It was a lot of fun... kind of sad as we visited our SIJ 2003 friends. It was graduation time for the students we had grown so close to that summer. I teared up but didn't cry... I managed to keep it together. But I was a little sad to see their time together as students come to an end.... sabeshiine!

It's always good to reconnect with friends... Aileen and I
In Joyhouse; Mizuki, Yumiko, Yukari, Jo, Kanako, Keiko, and Nami....
I have so many funny memories and sweet thoughts of these girls... my first Japanese friends.
Shige and I
Homemade sushi
Friends... friends...
Nami, Koshi, Keiko, Yukari, Kanako, Nozomi, Amy, Atsushi and below Shige and Jo
Amy getting ready for our sleepover. We stayed with Keigo two nights and Nami one night... we threw futons down on the floor and got to sleep; camping style. It was fun.
Our new favorite picture.
Modeling is just something I do for some fun money... (with Reiko)
The best part of graduation was seeing everyone dressed up. Mai, Keiko, Marie, Yone, and Koshi.
Jo, Aileen, and Amy
The guys made a circle and as the graduates came outside they would pick them up and throw them in the air. Isn't that crazy?
Jo, Reiko, and Amy
Aileen, Junpei, Amy, Yumi, Marifu, Shigeo, Reiko, Kanako, Mizuki, Sonomi, Yasuko
I've always had a little difficulty with changing seasons... *sniff, sniff* but God is good.
*All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant* Psalm 25:10

Thursday, March 15, 2007

If my shoes were made of cheesecake, I'd eat them instead of throwing them away...

Sorry faithful fans of Joanna's blog...
hisashiburine? Long time no see...
It's been a trippy and busy couple of weeks. But here are some photos from the highlights... also, I made a video of cheesecake that Asako, Jennifer, and I made but I forgot my password into vimeo... sooo I don't know what to do? Maybe use google video?
Anyway, here are the pictures you've been anxiously awaiting for...
Well, I wish this were from me, but nope. This is from Asako's trip to Vienna. BEAUTIFUL!

Melt my heart into a lump of heart stuff on the floor. Leni working her magic in the kitchen. Man, I miss that sweetie pooh. She's such a riot. (P.S. Jordan and Rochelle are officially have a GIRL! Hooray!!)
I like to think she gets her cutie looks from her Aunt...Joanna. :)
I told Yaya, "Take a manly mighty bite!" and this is what I got.Jennifer and I working our magic in the kitchen. Our cheesecake was soooo good. I had never made cheesecake before but it was SO much fun. I hope to get the video up for you. It was fun to make but ohhhh way too sweet for me.
Atsushi is job hunting in Tokyo so we met today for lunch. He's a Shizuoka friend. The view was AMAZING. This my friends is the "town" I call home. Whoa baby! It's just a LITTLE bit bigger than Reeve, don't you think? :)
Atsushi and IGuess who turned two today? Isn't this a sweet photo of Jin and Kayla? I love it. Jin is looking so sweetly on her baby. :)
Here's her first birthday... ha ha! I think the hair helps a bit... what a sweet baby.Jin and Kayla doing her "cute" pose.
Happy Birthday Kayla.
Hope to get the video up soon. I'm off to bed.
Love you all.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Edwin Jr.

I am my father's daughter.
I had a bowl of cereal and popcorn and called it "dinner".... all that was missing was my Granny Smith apple, right Pops? I keep seeing little things that remind me of my parents. I burst into tears like my mother... and now, I've developed the eating habits of my Pops. Now if I could only inherit his musical genes and my mother's faithfulness and both their devotion through the years for the Lord; I'll consider myself blessed. I am well on my way to becoming Ed Jr.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

thoughts, blogs and links

I've had some fun catching up with friends through the blogging world.
One of the people I would like to meet someday is Christine. You can check out her blog here and see how MUCH blogging has changed her life.
Through Christine I found girltalk which is a blog by Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters. Check that out here.
And once again, through girltalk I found manspeak which I didn't read to indepth about BUT they had a funny story about the difference between men and women pertaining to food. Here is that one. I recommend reading it. I laughed hysterically and then made Mary read it.
My favorite part is when the author said, "Guys don’t even make dessert. They are usually like, “After you eat that microwaved pizza, if you are still hungry, I have some Frosted Flakes and milk in the fridge. Help yourself."

Enjoy my random train of thoughts, blogs and links

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Well, I've done it... I've managed to get sick and throw off my entire body... my body is confused about sleeping, eating, everything. I was EXHAUSTED last night as I was walking to meet a friend and all I could do was talk to her reschedule our time together then go home where I could cry (i was super tired) and lay down in bed.
I was thinking during this time how earlier I had been praying for time alone with God and how I hadn't had a decent time alone with Him. So when I finally ran myself out of energy I decided to take the next two days and spend it with Him.
I am trying to focus on the fun and positive things in my life. CJ Mahaney says in his book, Humility True Greatness that it's "as if God (was) placing sticky notes in our lives as daily reminders of His presence and provision." So here are my sticky notes of blessings from God...
Jamie sent me a sweet quote I want to share with all my women friends; whether you are married or single I think this applies to you.
"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God, a man must seek Him to find her." CJ Mahaney's book on humility suggests daily ways of weakening pride and cultivating humility. Some of the ways include; Begin your day by acknowledging your dependence upon God and your need for God, begin your day expressing gratefulness to God, and cast your cares upon Him.
Precious time with a new friend Echan.
Today I must throw my favorite pair of shoes away. They are by far my favorite pair of shoes except for my silver sequin flops I had two years ago... i blew out both pairs. Guess that proves I play favorites when it comes to shoes. (oh and this is a blessing because I love going for walks and God has been really impressing on me the beauty Himself in Japan during those times)
My love for walks+my love for LONG walks+my love for crocs=soggy socks (see below)
Sweet time with another new friend; Chinese exchange student Bichan.
Other blessings include: working on the SIJ placements on different campuses. Praise God we think we may have enough to fill every campuses "wish list". We are praying for another man but at this point it looks like God is really stirring American student's hearts to join us here in Nihon for the summer.
And!! It looks like Ayachan is going to live with Mary and I starting this June. This is a huge answer to prayers! Mary and I are PUMPED for time with Ayano and time to really bless her as a roommate. This past year with just Mary and I has been amazing because I've grown to love and admire Mar Bear but we are both excited to open our home and hearts to Ayachan. I'll keep you posted as this is still in the works.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Sand or rock?

This week I joined the Utsunomiya BEST club for some good ol' fashioned snowboarding (i know, scold me, I have such selfish reasons for joining, right?) but it actually really ministered to my heart to be there.

The first night I got the chance to be in a group discussion with four of the students who asked good deep questions about life. We talked mostly about the verses about building your house on sand or rock... they really dug in deep and were thinking hard about their own lives. It was so much fun to challenge and encourage them to build their houses on the rock. Even though they are 19 years old I wanted them to realize how fast time goes...

The second night Mark and Jin joined us and talked about their love story. How Mark prayed for Jin and then pursued her (it's a great story, ask them about it sometime) and that really got me thinking too. We broke up into groups and talked about love and what the Bible says about love... and we talked about our own life stories. My friend from Utsu commented on a past relationship she had been in and instead of focusing on where it went wrong, she was so gracious to talk about the good points. She really honored her former boyfriend and I was so super impressed with her gentleness.

This week really got me thinking about life...

Am I building on rock or on sand?

And do I focus on the positive or dwell on the negative?

It just really spurred me on to think so positively about life and about where God has brought me. I'm not talking about one specific event in life or any event at all. I just am talking so generally.

There is so much beauty in the world and so many blessings that have been poured out on me and my life.

I'm doing a lot of thinking and I keep typing and then erasing... anyway, random thoughts but it's 1:30AM and I knew I shouldn't have had that cafe au lait but seriously, I need to at least try to get some sleep.