Thursday, August 30, 2007

Greetings Space Ranger!

Today I got this email:
Galactic Greetings Space Ranger,
You have received an intergalactic transmission from a friend who has just completed a mission on the new Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster interactive experience at Disneyland(r) park in California.
To Infinity and Beyond!!
Do I have the best friends ever or what?
Thanks Keigo and Masashi for sending me some fun from California.
Miss you guys!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Express

*But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me.* Micah 7:7

Dearest fall,

Dear fall,
I love you.
You make me happy.
Your admirer,
Joanna

That's right, people. My silly love for fall is starting to stir in my little heart. I had a lot of fun looking through old posts when I was in my "I Love Fall" season of life last year. I know, I know. It's not fall so much. It's totally the LORD. I am aware that the beauty I appreciate in fall and the cooler weather is not where my praise should end, but the praise should travel up the sunbeams to the Source.

I love that God loves beauty. And I love that God reveals Himself in nature. I love that He gives me fall. I love fall, people! It's just so much fun. So whether or not this fall is "good" in human terms, God is faithful and He is beyond good.

Here are some of my favorite posts from last year's fall extravaganza... (and yes, I know it's still August and yes, I know it's too early to be thinking about fall... I'm just letting you know it's coming. :))

Wildflowers

Kelli Spoils Me Rotten

You're Never Too Old To Play

First comes Fall, then comes...

Young Laborer's Conference was?

I Miss Mary

I Grew A Moustache for the Weekend

Home

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunday Morning

videoChildhood Memory:

Sunday Mornings before church... my Dad would play worship music on the piano. This June my Dad had an accident with a table saw and cut off his "guitar" finger. But God is beyond good... to say He is just good, for me doesn't give Him the praise He deserves. God is God and my Dad is practicing on the piano again. I love hearing my Dad play.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pledging My Allegiance

“Does it compromise our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom to wave the banner of loyalty to an earthly kingdom?” author David P. Gushee asks in his July 2006 article for Christianity Today. As we begin to live our lives for Christ and for His world, how do we live in the world of patriotic enthusiasm and pledging our allegiance “to the United States of America; one nation, under God”?

I came across this article entitled, "What's Right About Patriotism: The nation is not our highest love, but it still deserves our affection" while here at my parents house (and yes, I am aware that it a year old) and found that this so resonated with my own heart’s longings.

Personally, I have had many relatives and friends who have gone to war and given their time, energy, heart, and lives to fighting for the freedom that I enjoy today. So I want to clear up any thoughts, you the reader, may have of my “hate” for America. If you know me for five seconds, you know that simply is not true, so please don't misread this thought-process.

There have been some not-so-rare occasions when I tell people how much I love living in Japan or tell people how I would not object to living overseas all my life, that people respond with, “Why? What’s wrong with America?” *sigh*

When I returned from my first overseas trip in 2003, I found that my own spirit could hardly be contained in my flesh. I felt like the experiences my heart had seen and felt could not be expressed with words and so I began a journey to find my “nationality”. My dear friend, Jamie, would often sit with me at Pancheros or Java House and together we would pray for some sort of understanding to who we were outside of being Americans. Together we would read about countries we couldn’t pronounce and pray for the people of that country to be reconciled to God.
However, as I learned more about other places, I felt in my own heart, that I could easily bash America as well. It wasn’t pretty, people. I have a sinful heart.

But still, I want to learn how to live and be in this land without forgetting that I, too, am a foreigner. What a delicate balance I sometimes live on.

Gushee said that, patriotism gives us roots to say, “I am here, not there; from these parents; not those parents; living in this era, not another one. I am not a free-floating spirit but an embodied person, rooted somewhere rather than nowhere.”

I was so pleased to find and read this article because it makes me feel less alone in my struggle with this question. How do I survive in a patriotic nation and feel patriotic without marrying myself to this nation? On the other hand, how do I not go overboard and write America “off”? I’m not fond of Bush-bashers. Sorry, but I’m not. Nor, do I pledge my allegiance to President Bush. Sorry, but I don’t.

Instead I am trying to live and thrive in the area that 1 Peter 2:13 recommends, “submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority”. And I remember that God has appointed leaders for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

For me, I want to live a life of faith, remembering that through Abraham all nations are to be blessed, (Genesis 22:17-18) and take the examples of my spiritual ancestors have passed down to me, “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland…But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city… For he was looking forward to the city that has a foundation, whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:13-14,16, 10)

Gushee finishes with the thought-provoking line of “it still seems to me that people who do not know how to demonstrate an appropriate fealty to their nation are not well positioned to learn how to transcend that loyalty for a higher one.”

May I never forget that it is no longer I, who live, for I have been crucified with Christ. I belong to Him. But in that, like Queen Esther may I not forget the words of her uncle, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

And that, "Yes, God blesses America, but he blesses other nations, too." (Gushee) Let's not become so focused on who we are or were we live that we forget that reality lies in the unseen nature of God... for in Him is our true identity and sense of belonging.

As If...

I'm a fan of skype... it's as if Kie was near. Oh cute. We are looking at each other. ha ha!!!
See her little heart?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why I Drink Coffee

Over coffee shared,
I saw a road that lay next to mine,
oh, how I longed for the roads to merge.

Over coffee shared,
our pasts were platforms
to be revisited and laughed about,
our futures full of dreams,
and these two roads were easily met.

Over coffee shared,
two different paths,
two different roads,
yet meeting together for such a time as this.

Over coffee shared,
our stories told,
your heart became the vault where
secrets stored.
Your heart became a treasure untold
until we met.

Over coffee shared,
two roads that once never ran together,
could now, never be torn apart.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

My Mom and Dad have semi-season tickets to the Peoria Chiefs games... I love going to baseball games in the summer. So this was a lot of fun. My Dad is like a kid in a candy store at the games... he keeps me informed of who is who and what is what.

So I was approached by "Blaze" the entertainer of the baseball game... and he asked if I wanted to play him in BLACK JACK during the 4th inning. The prize if I win? My name in a raffle for a trip for two to Vegas.
Needless to say... I ...uh, kind of won. ha ha!!
After that, I managed to snag a frisbee that they were giving away for free by throwing them into the crowds.
The old man behind me: "Girl, I don't gamble... but if I were you, I would."
Hmm... have to take that into consideration...

The night was cool and the stars were out...
we ended the night with fireworks at the stadium.
ohhh... and just in case you are wondering. Yes, I cheered for the Chiefs... no, I did not cheer as loudly as I did in Japan. :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Picnic Laughter

My Mom and I had a picnic lunch today at the cancer center.
She wanted to start calling herself by the Japanese word for mother which is either "Okasan" or "Ha Ha"
Mom: "Ha Ha?"
Me: "Yeah."
"Is there a hyphon?"
"no."
"So it's just Ha Ha? As in ha ha?"
"Yes."
"So Keigo or Kie walk into their house and say, "Oh, HA HA what's for dinner?"
And for some reason, we both found that hilarious.
Truly I am blessed. (if you look really closely on my right cheek you can see tears from my laughter...)
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. P.31:25

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Girls and flowers...

So I'm really interested in knowing this....
I had a friend ask me about my favorite flower.

And I honestly didn't know what to say... I couldn't recall a flower I favored... and I wondered if that was weird of me.

As a girl and a lover of all things beautiful, shouldn't I have a favorite flower?

So just like Julia Roberts in "Runaway Bride" tries to find her favorite way to eat eggs (mine is scrambled) I am on a quest to find my favorite flower.

I already know I do not like carnations. I don't know why but carnations remind me of a funeral home... and I know that I pretty much like ALL flowers... I'll never turn a flower down. But I just don't have a specific favorite...

So I want to find Joanna's favorite flower. Jamie, isn't your favorite, gerber daises? My mother's favorite is a daisy... And Kelli, what's your favorite? And Holly, isn't your favorite a lily? I can't remember exactly...

BUT!! Here's the question: What is YOUR favorite flower? I'm interested in hearing about other people and their experiences with their favorite flowers. Why is that flower your favorite?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Laughing at the Future

With the birth of my niece Lenora and the new little Miss Waveland, I have been watching the way my sisters(in law) mother and care for the next generation. First, let me just say that I have amazing sister (in laws). They are full of spirit, grace, love, and fire. There is so much passion and gumption in these women. I feel like we are truly sisters. It's such a blessing to see them raise the next generation of Schupbach women (and soon to be Schupbach little man!!).
Waking up Waveland.My Mom got this idea that she really wanted the file cabinet out of the basement. So although carrying it gave us the giggles ...why is that? and it was awkward to hold, we managed to get that beast out of the basement... My Dad kept asking, "Are you sure you can handle that?"
and I just kept bragging to him, "Of course I can. I'm a Schupbach woman."
Thinking about this, thinking about my nieces and Lord willing, one day my own daughters, made me realize how I have often "feared" being a woman. What does it mean to be a woman? To be a godly woman? To live under the pressure of the beautiful Proverbs 31 who never seems to waiver in her godliness. How can I be a woman, a strong woman, while still living under submission to Christ? I want to submit to what He is doing in my life... so what does that look like?
This train of thought put into my mind a post that Emily Ward just did on Piper's "The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission." Piper says this about women, "A Christian woman... looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases."
(our neighbor came by to make sure we were okay... ha ha)She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows his promise that he will be with her and help her strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood.
She does not fear the future; she laughs at the future. The presence of hope in the invincible sovereignty of God drives out fear. Or to say it more carefully and realistically, the daughters of Sarah fight the anxiety that rises in their hearts. They wage war on fear, and they defeat it with hope in the promises of God." (go here for the entire amazing sermon) With all that said, it reminds me of where my FOCUS needs to be. Oh, how this life parades in front of me, vying for my attention... and how easily it seems that I am given in to the distraction. I can be focused on the crap around me, the stuff that confuses me, the fear of the unnknown, the uncomfort that happens in returning...
OR!!
thinking of our lives, thinking of the opportunity to teach those who come "after" us and focusing on Christ...
leaves me no decision but to look into the future...
and laugh.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Choosing What is Best

I sat with my Dad during four hours of chemotherapy today. This was a "slower" day so it wasn't his rigorous treatment. Still, it was a long day and God was very present to me in those hours.
I was finishing up the "Helper-Completer" section of my bible study (5 Aspects) as I was sitting with my Dad and I was just thinking how even as a single gal I can be cultivating my heart's desire to help and complete those around me. I took this perhaps to an extreme when I offered to do the "check-up" on my Dad... I should only help and complete in areas I am specialized in.
I was thinking about what it is to help and complete, what that looks like. And God decided not to lead me into verses about doing things but led me through verses about abiding. I included those verses....
(this is what chemotherapy looks like... I thought it was going to be "more" than this...)
Thanks for praying for my Dad. I am realizing how blessed I am with my family. And I am realizing how blessed we are to be "together" during this time.
One example of coming "together" which was a total surprise for my Dad was this blog entry from my brother Jonah.



Jonah writes this, "Dad actually hasn’t lost any hair yet, and may not. If this remains the case, I guess the haircut will still serve as an outward reminder for me and others to remember dad in our prayers, and as a comfort to dad - as it will remind him that things could be worse (he could after all be bald...like his son).

My Dad is now laying down in the living room as I write this... laughing at a book his friend gave him to read, "Three Short Novels" by Wendell Berry.
What a blessing to have my brothers, their wives, my mother and my father laughing in the living room.
I never want to take them for granted again.
I am so undeserving.




*My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.* Isaiah 32:18

*O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high. I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.* Psalm 131

Editors Note: I have changed some of the links on the side. Enjoy the people I enjoy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Let's hang out!

First full day here, my Dad says, "You want to drive?"
Boy do I!?!
The worst part about driving back in the states is left handed turns because I want to turn into the left lane... but i have to remind myself... "right lane, right lane." "I'm getting my hair cut today and I want you to go with me. I want to get it cut in preparation for in case I lose it."
His beautiful long hair...
we went for a more buzzed cut.
He had fuzzy hair all over his face that was driving me nuts. So I brushed him up.
There! That's better.

Lunch out with my Dad.

Visiting the bookstore my Dad works at... "Did you see this book? It's older than Benjamin Franklin."

So I am battling jet lag. Jet lag feels like my whole body is shutting down. I don't want to move my eyes, my body, my anything. I just want to lay and be as lethargic as possible. My Dad snapped a picture of me eating dinner on the floor.

I visited my Grandma and Grandpa Schupbach... where my Grandma proceeded to congraulate me for graduating out of my pudgy stage. "You used to be such a pudgy little thing but now you're looking nice." Oh Grammy, I love you.
I walked in her door and bee-lined it for two things; her mint tea and her bran muffins. Sooo good.

People! Sharon Henry has a boyfriend!
A real life boyfriend! She was driving through my part of Illinois and wanted to stop in and see me. Um, yes please! Sharon is beautiful. She has the most beautiful heart and laugh. Oh, I delight in her friendship.

Hmm... I think I'll let him date Sharon... ha ha! Too bad I don't get a real say in the deal. How could I object? He was so kind and friendly from the start. There was no awkward start of the friendship for Griff and I. No way! He was my b.f.f. from the start.

"Sharon, this is Joanna. I'm so so excited to see you and Griff tomorrow. On a scale of one to ten, I am about an.... 8 to see Griff... and I'm a 22 TO SEE YOU, SHARON!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!"

Needless to say, Sharon let Griff hear this message on her phone... so he told me, "I was a little disappointed I was only an 8." To which I replied, "But during the course of breakfast, you pulled up to a 10." So hear is me approving Griff's advance to level 10.

After our quick meeting, which was SUCH a blessing... I went and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon with Miss Waveland and her Mommy.

Rochelle and I could NOT wake Waveland for the life of us. She needed to feed Waveland but she wouldn't wake up. We took off all her clothes, rubbed her belly with a cold rag, and played with her, but she refused to wake up. The cold rag finally woke her but she was soooo sleepy.

My mom and i went shopping a little bit after she got off of work. We hit up COLD STONE ice cream for my ALL TIME favorite ice cream. For those of you who know me as the mint chocolate chip fan, there is only one ice cream that I love more than mint chocolate chip...
cake batter mixed with sprinkles and graham cracker crumbs. It is the best.

The face of a very happy, very jet lagged chica...

and now dear friends, I know it is only 9:33PM but I am going to bed. I am SO ready for bed.