Saturday, May 31, 2008


There are some things that I cannot explain... and one of them is the passing of time. I cannot fully comprehend how time can pass so quickly and yet, each moment is full and lasting. Yeah, like I said I cannot explain it to you or even to myself for that matter.

Tomorrow (actually today) 39 American college students will flood Tokyo airport customs with eager anticipation of nine weeks set before them (pray for david who is bringing flour through... suspicious packages and it reminds me of when MJ's aunt sent dog chow but that's another lifetime)...

and yet, it seems like just yesterday....

As hard as I try, these past few days or so, I cannot stop the memories from flooding my memory. Everything reminds me of something, everyone of someone else... I think I see people in the faces all around me... I cannot believe my dear friend Saaya has never met Ryan, Mike, Christy or the SIJ team from 2006...

aren't all my memories and all my Japan moments from one moment?

I sat in the car today and cried as I thought about how stinkin' fast this time has gone... Jennifer was in the laundromat (laundrAmat?) and I was thinking about two summers ago. How Ryan, Mike and Christy lost their luggage (or the airline lost it, I should say) and I thought, "If that were to happen to someone it would be Ryan and Mike." And through my tears I laughed at how they wore those SIJ t-shirts continuously. Ew.

I think of all the things I have learned the past two years and I am overwhelmed. Is it possible that 5 Aspects bible study was here? My fall of falling in love with Jesus and Mary's silly life goals? Were those all here? When we drove to Kyoto, danced Thriller, backpacked like homeless, ate 31 flavors of ice cream, ate Italian pasta even though I knew I shouldn't, went to the doctor 3 times in one year, new roommates and moving out...

How in this season of life I've experienced many people "leaving"... visitors, summer teams, friends... but now it's my turn. I'm not used to being the one to leave and I would rather be left. I think.

Anyway, it's almost 2AM, my workshop is finished (mark, did you read that?) and I am about to fall asleep... so that I can wake up to SIJ 2008... did I really just write that?

Yes, yes I did.

Aw, time.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


While I don't like to be an advocate for movies over books (the loss imagination of today's children makes me sad) I would like to point out ONE thing I especially liked about the new movie version of "Prince Caspian"...

i think the way the children reacted to arriving in Narnia~ the look of sheer delight in recognizing Narnia was magical. Seriously. I had tears in my eyes. I like to think that is what coming home to Heaven will be like.

A look of delight in recognizing a place we somehow know...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Excitedly sad...

emotions are a funny thing, aren't they?When I went to college, I couldn't leave fast enough... I was ready to see what my older brothers had experienced and what all my older friends had left me for... I was ready to move out of Wisconsin and "experience" life in the booming metropolis of Iowa City (oh, the courageous heart I had at 18. I thought I was so cool!)
When I left college, I was a bit sad but totally ready to move on with my life. I was moving to the 2nd largest city in the world and life was my cupcake to frost and decorate...
this move...ugh, why is this one so much harder? Why can't I be excited? I feel like I am betraying my best friend by being excited and disappointing everyone by being sad. Talk about pressure. I don't know what to feel or how to feel or if I should be feeling...
all i know is. I AM feeling... about 50 million emotions.
Hello, men, welcome to the part where you click out of my blog... if you haven't already. :)
50 million emotions, are there even that many?
I wanna laugh and be crazy. I wanna tell you about the cockaburrs story or how Chris sang, "Have a nice day out in the wild." when we left his house...
but I wanna tell you about how atrociously sad it is that I can now count on my fingers and some toes the number of days I have left.
I wanna laugh and cry all in the same breath.
But in the end, I realize, I just have to take a deep breath and take it one day at a time....
I am sadly excited...
or is it excitedly sad?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ai shiteru Tokyo

This my friends
is the FC (football club) Tokyo's field...
and this is my excited face because it's my first time to see professonial soccer. These are the crazy Japanese fans waving their flags and singing their hearts out as the players take the field...
here are some more crazy fans...
oh wait, that's Kyle and Tomohito (hee hee hee)
I was enjoying my day with my two friends, Saaya
and Kie. We loved our towels that Tomohito bought us for attending the game with him...
He loves FC Tokyo.
I really enjoyed the game and it was pretty exciting.
Afterwards the players went around the stadium and "thanked" the fans...
They even bowed in appreciation for our attendence. Wow!
Japanese people are so nice...
oh yeah, and we won~ 3-0!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meet Saaya

This is my roommate Saaya. I'm going to "introduce" you to her through an impromtu interview... aka I'm distracting her from homework. Jo: Hello Saaya.
S: Hello.
Jo: How old are you Saaya?
S: 19
Jo: What's your favorite color?
S: Hmm I think pink.
Jo: What's your favorite color to wear?
S: Black.
What's your first memory with me?
Camping? we did pair talk, do you remember that? And then we went swimming.
What was your first impression of me?
Uh, when I first saw your face, you were kind of scary. You looked smart and you talked smart...
But then you got to know me...
(laughs) And now you are my favorite crazy person.
Who's smarter me or Mark?
Don't answer that. What do you think about Americans.
Fun but crazy. Iiiimide (in a good way)
Tell everyone where you are gong to study next fall?
East Tennessee State University
What are you the most excited about?
Hmmm... making new friends?.... Tabun (maybe)
Tabun? Are you nervous?
Yes, I'm nervous.
About what?
(matter of factly) Making friends.
Oh... let's see. What else do you want people to know about you?
long pause...
Um, I don't know. What do you think?
What's your favorite thing to eat?
everything... uh, nandaro (thinking word)... um... my darling.
People reading this won't know what "my darling" is... can you explain?
My darling is carbohydrates.
Nice. Ummm... what kind of music do you like?
What do you think? What kind of music do I like? You know me....
maybe.... (long pause) pop? avril lavigne?
Saaya, what do you want to do when you graduate college?
chotto matte (one minute) Um, I want to... chottos matte... stop writing... chotto matte... where's my dictionary... kansa... kansa.... (runs into other room).... kansa? This one. (shows the interviewer the dictionary)
oh, auditor.
What's your favorite english word?
(thinking) nandake (thinking word) I must have one but I can't remember... um.... oh, Cho. Cho is english.
Cho is Japanese.
(laughs and grabs dictionary)
What's your favorite movie?
Legally Blonde
Do you like my cooking?
What do you like?
Oyakyudon was amazing...
What about my green gyouza?
(long pause)... the first ones were difficult... do you remember the first ones?
Yeah, they were cho green?
Yeah. After that, it was okay.
Describe yourself in two words...three words...
Hmmm... that's tough. You can describe me. I think you know me better than I do.
Okay. Let me think... friendly... loyal... and cho fun.
Thank you.
You are a good friend.
Thank you.
You're welcome
You are... a super friend... I don't know. You're special.
Aw, that was nice. Okay, one more thing before we say goodbye and I frost my cookies... anything you want to say to my readers??
Um, hello. Nice to meet you. I didn't meet you though. But thank you for reading...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Two pieces, of baggage are allowed. The total dimension (length + width + height) of both pieces must not exceed 273 cm (107 in) and the outside linear dimensions of each bag must not exceed 158 cm (62 in.) The weight of each piece is limited to 23 kg.So all of this... has to fit in two pieces of luggage and one carry-on?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

recent learnings

God has been speaking to me through a couple different things recently... amazing. seriously. i can't describe it... but i wanted to share with you a quote God led me to through jerry bridges book, "Respectable Sins". The quote is from the writings of John Newton...

(One of the marks of Christian maturity which a believer should seek is) an acquiescence (agreement without protest) in the Lord's will founded in a persuasion of his wisdom, holiness, sovereignty, and goodness... So far as we attain to this, we are secure from disappointment. Our own limited views, and short-sighted purposes and desires, may be, and will be, often over-ruled; but then our main and leading desire, that the will of the LORD may be done, must be accomplished. How highly does it become us, boh as creatures and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of our Maker! and how necessary it is to our peace. (pg.66)

I realize now that my dreams are all limited and short-sighted... and that when I am "over-ruled" it's not that God doesn't like my dreams but that my dreams aren't aligned with His greater dreams and purposes...

what a joy to be learning to trust God fully.

Friday, May 16, 2008

and you thought the OT was old school....

Perfect timing...

God encouraged me through friends to read the Bible through in a month. Well, as my friend Joni puts it so well~ "we read through the... torah... in a month."

Yeah, I'm in 1 Samuel and it's 17 days overdue.... oops.

Anyway, I'm in awe of the perfect timing of God's hand in my life and what I've been reading. So many stories in the OT of people finding courage in the Lord and "tackeling" battles, giants, and cities bigger than themselves and bigger than they could win by themselves.

Leaving Japan... will take all the strength I can muster. There are SO many beautiful things to look forward too... my nieces, my nephew, my family, friends and many adventures and new things to experience... so don't hear me wrong~ very excited to be taking this next step...

it's just the stepping out that is scary.

I admire David who did not hesitate to take on Goliath. He knew the facts. The fact was that the giant manbeast was mocking the LORD God. The fact was God would deliver David and allow His name to be glorified.

David just had to decide... was he going to be used by God or watch other men be used by God?

There can be no hesitation, no second thoughts as we follow Jesus. Once we hear his voice, we must boldly step out and speak TRUTH into our hearts. The truth is: this day. This June 9th that makes me cry has been ordained and given to me. I can either wallow in self-pity or claim God's goodness in counting me worthy enough to have 2 1/2 years here.

Oh, tender heart, be strong. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

something interesting to post about...

okay, so in the midst of my busyness I've managed to find two new internet sites that I am totally DIGGING.
The first one is
You have to go and check it out...

Somehow I am completely fixiated on the fact that I could have a GARDEN in my apartment. And not just a garden but I could grow stuff to eat. Ahhhh... what a dream come true for me.

Take note la familia: this would be a good birthday present (or welcome home present) hee hee hee

Hey Sarah G. I thought of you when I saw the hummingbird flower seeds... you should check into that.

The second website I'm digging is:

Don't judge me... but I have a love for shelving. Shelving is so nice and organized. I enjoy shelving, people! And I'm not ashamed to admit it. In fact, I dare you to go to this website and NOT fall in love with shelving yourself. I think it's impossible.

So in the midst of all my thoughts, dreams and running around like crazy trying to decide what my Dad wants from Japan before I leave... I've found a little distraction from life in these two sites.

Enjoy them.

(p.s. the tomato plant is SO convenient for when the weather gets cold, you can just bring it inside and continue enjoying the tomatoes all year round. WOW WOW WOW!!!)

think first, then speak...

I've sat down to write this blog about a dozen times... I've even uploaded pictures...

all to no avail and I erase and close the tab that my blog is open on. It's not like there isn't lots of fun things to tell you about. Hakone, funny quotes, BEST club, my thoughts, pictures, etc. etc.... See? Plenty.

It's just that I can't quite seem to gather my thoughts and process them to put together a blog interesting enough to post.

Here I am... three weeks (and some change) from the end of my time in Japan.
Do you really for the next three weeks wanna hear stories about how one day I'm crying over leaving and the next day I'm laughing? Do you really want to hear all the fears that I have at the moment, only to read the next day all the scripture that God gave me to combat that fear?

Everyone wants to do, eat, and experience the things I want to do, eat, and experience as my "last"... what's something you want to eat before you leave? Somewhere you want to travel before you leave? Something you want to do?

...and yet, I don't want my life in the next three weeks to look any differently. I want the next three weeks to look like the 2 1/2 years that prefaced it... hmmm.

To summarize... I'm here. I want to share my life with you.

I just don't know how to tell you.