Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Got a Little Cragee At Disneyland!!

At first Mary and I were like, "Why are we up this early?" But then we remembered. "OH YEAH! Disneyland!!!"
I went a little crazy at Disneyland. I had heard about all the characters dressed up but I wasn't expecting to be so excited. I was like a five year old running around taking pictures with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and all the others. I got so caught up in the *magic* of it all that I even confessed to Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora) that she is my favorite.

The castle was beautiful.

Megumi, Naoko and I
The spinning tea cups.

Mary, Saori and Megumi
"Don't be gloomy, Mary. Disneyland is fun!"

I know I'm so bad but I even took pictures inside the rides. This is Splash Mountain.
Mary and I got Level 4 on Buzz Lightyear's ride.

Level 4 "Galatic Fighter"

"Show me your pirate face!" (Pirates of Caribbean Ride)
Ah, Walt!

Naoko, Joanna, Saori, Megumi, Mary, Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse

We can fly!!
Tokyo Disneyland was celebrating Cinderella.

aka Cinderellabration!!

We watched the show where Cinderella was crowned Princess (the follow-up for the show). Everyone was there. Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin and Jasmine, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella's ugly Stepsisters and Wicked Stepmother, everyone including....Prince Charming
We had front row viewing of Cinderella's carriage going by at the end. Doesn't she look beautiful?
On the way home, Mary and I continued to be crazy. This is the picture in response to Mary's "Next Top Model" pose. She said, "You're on the escalator. Work with it." And this is my natural response.
What can I say? The two of us make quite a pair. ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

oh waveland

I was flipping through the pictures of my parents visit to Denver when I came across this one.
I immediately saved it as my desktop, sent it to Jennifer (who i share stories about my little nieces and nephews with), and laughed uncontrollably for like five minutes. Now whenever I need a little smile or "pick me up" I just go to my desktop and look at sweet Waveland's face...
I love this picture. She looks hilarious. Her facial expression is worth a billion words.

Friday, January 25, 2008

So I read this great thing...

by Oswald Chambers... Mikey asked me recently if I wanted to read "My Upmost for His Highest" with him. We could read it and then discuss what we've been learning. We've done it once thus far and it's been exciting.
Way to go Mikey!! Connecting with me through a book is like asking me if I wanted to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream. :D He's great.
HOWEVER, I haven't been able to stop talking about this book. I feel like everytime I see my teammates I preface our conversation with, "So I read this really great thing by Oswald Chambers" or "Oswald Chambers made a comment about that once."
Today over fish and rice I told Jennifer that me quoting Os might be the flavour of my spring/summer here. :D Every staff meeting I will walk in, enlightened by Mr. Chambers and try to enlighten my staff. :D ha ha ha
No seriously. It's my first time reading it and I'm so glad I am.
My favorite quote thus far is,
*Never try and help God fulfill His word. Abraham went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all self-sufficiency was destroyed; there was no possibility left of relying on common-sense ways. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not of displeasure. Never pump up joy and confidence but stay upon God.*
*Service is the overflow of superabounding devotion... God gets me into a relationship with Himself whereby I understand His call, then I do things out of sheer love for Him on my account. To serve God is the deliberate love-gift of a nature that has heard the call of God.*
or (last one i promise)
(Speaking about Paul's calling and mission) *Paul was called to a Person not a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ's, he saw nothing else.*
(p.s. that picture is my favorite of the moment. all the books and journaling i want to do this spring break!! I love reading!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good and faithful

What does it mean to be successful for Jesus?
Is there such a thing?
All authority has been given to Jesus and He enables us to have victory in our daily lives and in our struggles. So we can have victory...

I've been thinking a lot about success recently.
Any thoughts...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Better late than never...

I woke up and looked outside and immediately started cheering...
"Pressing Pete it's snowing!!!" ;)
unfortunately for my roommate Mary I woke her up to come outside and look.
SNOW!!! Ahhh, snow. Thank You, Abba for sending me this amazing blessing.
Yes, I think snow is a blessing. I love it! Japanese people are so particular about percipiation and being outside in it. :D I love that this guy has an umbrella for the snow. I didn't think mentioning to him that when snow falls in your hair it looks like Snow White and that he should embrace this moment would change the situation. Ha ha!!
Even the monopolistic Starbucks looked beautiful... oh, snow, how I love you.
The snow was beautiful but then Mary entered the scene and snow just couldn't compare. Mary's luscious locks looked lovely. (ohh that was fun to write)
I call this picture, "Mary Looks At the Future With A Smile"...
kind of a lame title but I'm not really an artist. Maybe Jean has a better title??
I call this picture, "Joanna is cragee"
And this one, "Snow tastes fun"

Mary and Jo...
Hooray for snow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the inward struggle

This picture is pretty humorous. My friend Jodi came to visit some of us here in Japan and she thought it was hilarious that I was driving on the opposite side of the road. So I was pretending to be worried too. Don't worry, I'm not.

I feel like this picture displays an inward struggle I have been having recently.

Lately, I've been meditating on Isaiah 26:3 *You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast.* This has been my aid to my 2008 verse James 1:2-5 *Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.*

I've been a bit frazzled lately. Put a lightbulb in my mouth and I might light it... I'm that wired. I've got a lot on my mind and my heart... and then physically there is so much I want to do and accomplish. The sink needs cleaned, dishes washed at my house and the Roods, I wanted to finish that one book. read through SIJ applications yesterday (blast), go to the post office, run to Costco, and so on and so on and so on....

So I asked God, "where is my perfect peace?" and He gently reminded me the end of the verse, "whose mind is steadfast" and I thought, "My mind has not been stayed on You, Abba."

And it clicked... I feel frazzled and not in perfect peace because I haven't been actually thinking about God. I want perfect peace but I want to keep my hands in the mix. God is saying, "Take your hands off the subject and let Me do it and then I will give you my peace."

There is a calm that sweeps over me in knowing that He is peaceful.

Lord, I am sorry I want peace but I want it my way. I give you the problems and worries of my day. I will keep my mind steadfast on You.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Miss Mary

I love this picture. I feel like it expresses the last two years. I've leaned on and "needed" Mary to get through the awkwardness of learning to live in Japan...
and in three weeks she will be gone.
It is starting to hit me that my closest friend Mary will soon be leaving Japan. While I am super excited for what the future holds for Mary, the selfish part of me wants to lock her up in her tatami room and keep her all to myself. I'm scary, huh?
I found this "advice" the other day and thought I'd share it with you all
~Accentuate the positive for each other. Although we face problems each day and should not avoid them, we do not need to hang on to a negative mind-set all day. Speak words, which view life's cup as half full and filling! Not half empty and emptier and emptier.~
Mary has done this for me. Whenever I wanted to give up or hide in our apartment, she would remind me of "life's cup as half full and filling". Mary and my friendship is not perfect. We have had our ups and downs. I've said some things that hurt her. However, because God is the common thread that binds us, our confession, seeking forgiveness, and grace has been an overflow. I've never felt hopeless in my friendship with Mary.
That's why as this page turns... and I let it turn, I remember that that same thread will continue to bind us, even though distance keeps us apart.
Mary will understand a part of me that no one else will understand...
and I am thankful for this time, even the ending of it...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

wanted: a girl whose laugh is loud but heart is gentle...

I was just thinking...
Actually, I was just listening to a message given by Carolyn Mahaney from this website. Click here.
I found a talk called, "A Womans Beauty Regimen" referring to 1 Peter 3:3-4 *Do not let your adorning be external-- the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing-- but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.*

Ever since I became a Christian and ever since hearing those word, "gentle and quiet" I've been intriqued by these verses. How can I have a quiet and gentle spirit when I not only laugh loud but I love laughing loud? I've always wanted to learn more about this quiet heart, this gentle spirit. Jamie nailed it on the head when she told me in college that the gentle and quiet heart has nothing to do with your personality.

In the message I listened to tonight Mahaney gave two definitions to this term, "An inner disposition of humble contentment and quiet tranquility rooted in an unwavering trust in God and His purpose." and "Steadfast peace because of a steadfast trust in God."

We are able to cultivate this gentle and quiet heart because of what 1 Peter 2:21-24 teaches us, specifically verse 23 says, "he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly." So we are entrust our lives, our hearts, our unknown futures to God because he judges justly.

Everything that happens, everything happens with God's sovereign hand upon us.

Believing that, frees me up to have a peace that is steadfast... and that peace, that trust enables me to have a gentle spirit

...even while laughing loudly.

Friday, January 04, 2008

people like me will appreciate

It's that time of year, when people like me, who wish we were more structured, get out our to-do list and.... add to it.

It's Resolution Making Time.

Fortunately, before I came before God with my list of things I want... I went online and caught a couple articles on resolution making. The following articles are from five godly women who I have never met but have impacted my life. Their insights are super powerful and helpful in making resoultions that will last. If you are like me and get overly-excited about this time of year ("I wanna memorize fourteen verses a day." "I wanna get up at six a.m. and run every day." "I wanna go to Starbucks once a month.") then I think you will appreciate this godly advice. Click on the below links.

Keeping Right Resolutions
Keeping One Resolution
Help Keeping Resolutions

I especially appreciated the advice in the article, "Keeping One Resolution". Carolyn Mahaney writes, "Let's choose that single area where we most desire to grow in godliness." I think this is the best advice for me because I get too excited and make about five goals only to become discouraged when I fail at achieving any and all of them.

I took some time to journal today about my goals, my motives, and what scripture has to say about them. I was also challenged by my friend Curt's blog, he said this, "also i want to work out more. but i am going to try no to promise to do that, let your yes be yes and your no be no. so i am just going to do it."

That really challenged me. (You can check Curt out on my link to the right "He gave my fish a face")

So here I am, wanting to make resolutions and become "new and improved" but wanting more so to honor and glorify God with what I say and what I commit to. Sooo... I will officially be choosing ONE area in which I need to grow, although I feel like I have hundreds. :D

Philippians 1:6 *And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.*

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

*i can't help myself*

I just couldn't help myself... when I saw the pictures from my family's Christmas. I had to post them. Enjoy my sweet nieces and nephew.
Lenora Daye with a candy cane... I wish I could have seen this bundle of joy during Christmas. I bet she had a ton of fun...looks like she did, doesn't it?Eddie David Lenora Daye
Lenora Daye and Waveland Eliza
I laughed SO hard at these pictures. Waveland looks adorably like a little elf. i love it.
Leni becomes a big sister in March... looks like she did good practicing with Waveland and Eddie.
Gramma's tradition is to build a gingerbread house with the grandkids. Leni looks soooo cute.

I love this picture of Waveland. She's eyeing the presents.
Grandma Schupbach always makes thee best cookies. And she can't just make ONE cookie, nope, she has to make a batch of ALL her cookies. My favorite are the chocolate inbetweens. They are the...uh, chocolate ones.
I was able to join the party... in sweet skype style.
I was busy hanging out with my beautiful friends in Japan. The Utsu, Shizuoka, and Tokyo staff (minus the Witthofts) all got together to enjoy some R&R. It was wonderful.
Definitely can't believe I've been in Japan two whole years. I love Japan but I can't wait to hold my nieces and nephews again.