Friday, November 18, 2005

of a sudden revelation...

It occurred to me last night that I live next door to a hospital, and on the other side is a church. One saves lives, the other saves souls. And I'm in the middle. I'm sure eventually I can draw some profound symbolic meaning from this, but now it's rather comforting to know I'm being surrounded by "saviors."

Anyway, I know I haven't been updating often. This is a crazy season, so I don't often feel like writing even when I have the time. I can't write long today because I'm about to go to work, so sorry. The good news is that yes, I survived the earthquake this week. Although, really, everyone managed to survive it, so that's not really surprising. Anywho, that's all for now. Next week I jet off to Hong Kong for 6 days. Fun and exciting. Ok, lata~

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

of my birthday, business and cell phones...

So wow, things have been crazy busy here. My birthday was good. I don't feel older, but I sure had a good time. My Birthday was kinda spread all out over the course of a couple of weeks. I was taken out for food three times, and I received flowers, plants, perfume (very EXPENSIVE perfume by Christian Dior), DVD, change purses, water colors, cards, and more. So, I had a good time.

Last Wed, I cut my hair. I will send around 11 inches of hair to Locks of Love, and now I have a rather short (for me) bob. I will post a picture when I get one. Everyone thinks it's cute.

I have been crazy busy lately. I am like never at home. I am always going into Tokyo for meetings or to meet people or to run errands. And because I spend half my time traveling, people can't get a hold of me. So I finally caved and bought a cell phone yesterday. So far I am happy. I found a bilingual phone, and it's a Sony Ericsson, which is the type of phone I used in the states. So, now I feel better about traveling and stuff. I just have to make sure to re-arrange my budget.

Ok, so that's the short of it. I don't have so much time to explain all the little exciting things that have been going on. OH yeah, before I forget. Mika and I have finally started our drama ministry. It's hard finding Christian actors in Japan, but we have a few now and we have started practicing. We have even finished translating/adapting the skit we chose. So if you feel so inclined, please pray for the drama ministry. I will write more about that later.

Ok, so that's about it. I should get ready for work now. I don't know how often I'll be updating because things really are crazy this month. (and the next month) But I am trying to be more responsible about these things. Anyway, that's all for now.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Of a year.

Well, today is my one year anniversary in Japan.  Amazing.  I don’t feel like I have been in Japan for a whole year.  And I do mean one whole, uninterrupted year.  Unlike my fellow workers, I have yet to return to America for a visit.  My time in Japan will be interrupted for the first time this November when I will travel to Hong Kong with the rest of the missionaries in Japan to attend a conference.

Anywho, I decided that my one year anniversary definitely needed a post.  So today was my day off.  But I did not spend it sleeping in and relaxing at my house.  No, today woke up early, rode the train during rush hour, met Mika and Pastor Saito in Iidabashi to talk about Street Drama Ministry that Mika wants to start, then I went to a Christian bookstore to buy some birthday presents, then made it back for a quick lunch before Japanese lessons, then I hung out with Lauren and Toshie, then we bought some train passes, had some fun at a bookstore with a nice English section (I almost felt like I was back in a really small American Bookstore… almost) then we hit Starbucks, then we met up with all the working missionaries for dinner at El Torito to celebrate Lauren’s birthday (which was the 30th).  I even found some food to eat.  All in all, it was a good day.  Long, but good.

On to other news.  The new volunteers are here.  They arrived last Saturday.  I went to the airport to help meet them.  We have five new people now.  It’s exciting.  More on them later.

Hmmm… What else.  I turn 26 on Wed.  It certainly doesn’t feel like I am that old.  Crazy stuff.

Anywho, there is tons to say, but I’m so sleepy (I’m working on 5 hours worth of sleep) and I have work tomorrow.  But after thinking about it some on the trains today, I’m wondering if this hasn’t been the single happiest year of my life so far.  As I look back on my year in Japan, I can’t find a prolonged period of time where I just hated my life or anything.  That’s so strange for me.  And I have also realized that I am still not homesick, nor do I feel particularity drawn back to America.  I don’t really miss living in America.  I miss people (and often wish they were here to share this experience with me) and some times I miss little things about America, but so far, I can’t really say that I miss living in America.  So, there you have it.  I’m happy in Japan.

Tomorrow my students will take me out to lunch for my birthday.  Free food and no lesson planning.  Not too shabby.  Yeah, I think that’s about it for now.  I’m gonna go to bed now.  (maybe the jet lag’s finally kicking in…  Or maybe this is normal for me. ;-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

of being a groupie and other stuff...

So yeah, it's been a while. I've been either busy or a bum (sometimes both) lately. Anyway, I just felt like sharing a bit today, so here I am!

Yeah, I'm happy lately. Life is good. Praise God. I had been praying about making some friends in the area, and it looks like God is providing for me. I'm even getting a good English/Japanese mix, so that I can communicate and also improve my Japanese. More on that later.

One really cool thing that really built me up this week happened on Sunday. Every Sunday we have Cell group meetings. Well, this week was my turn to do the Bible Study. I was lucky, the passage was amazing easy to write a Bible Study for. But she told me she liked it, which made me happy, and also, she told me that she thinks I make a good leader. I'm really happy about that. It's nice to hear that and have it affirmed. Sometimes I wonder about my leadership capability. But things here seem to be going great. For me, everything is really easy and has been falling into place. I can only credit God's grace in this. I am so thankful! And I'm having a great time!

Also, another couple of recent developments that have nothing to do with church or work. I forget if I've written about Ramen Boy yet, but if I haven't, I will eventually dedicate a post to him. But the sad news is, he is going back to China next month for good. He seems really happy about it, so I'm happy for him, but I will be sad to see him go, esp since we have been communicating more lately. Sad.

But the good news is that I've recently made some new friends. At a big station nearby there is an area where there are lots of street performers etc. Well, I like to stop and listen to the bands sometimes. About three weeks ago, I stopped to listen to this one band, and the lead singer started talking to me in English. I was a bit embarrassed (I didn't really want to be singled out in front of the crowd) but it turned out to be a good thing. I talked with him some, and started going back to listen to them more. Well, it looks like I've made it "in" and I think I get to be a groupie! horray! So now I'm making friends with the other groupies, and I even started talking to the other band member who doesn't speak English. It's great. Everyone is really friendly, and several speak English, plenty want to practice, and others will speak to me in Japanese. Several are really shy, but the more I see them, the more we talk. So, I'm really happy with this. Of course none of them are Christian, but maybe God will work through these friendships. Everyone already knows I work in a church, and no one's freaked out yet, so that's a good thing. Anyway, I'll be praying about that situation. I'm just happy because it gives me something outside church, school and ramen to do. Maybe I'll learn some stuff about music while I'm at it. :-D

Anyway, all this adds up to making me a very happy person. :-D

Monday, August 22, 2005

of summer...

Well, once again, I have let too much time pass between writing. But well, it’s my vacation, so I think it’s ok if I don’t really feel like writing! LOL. But anyway, I thought I would try out this new Blogger feature that allows me to post from Word. We’ll see how it works. :-D

So anyway, my vacation has been good so far. When I started my vacation I was worried I might be bored out of my mind for most of it, having only day plans here and there. Well, God is good, and He took care of planning my vacation for me.

Right after my last post I went to see fireworks for the first time in Japan. It was fun. I met a new girl, saw lots of yukata (think kimono only lighter weight and a bit simpler). It was great watching the girls in the traditional dress and spikey, trendy hair styles. It’s such a great blend between old and new. I also managed to take a few pictures of members of a biker gang. It’s fun stuff.

Then I’m sure I did other things for a while, and there were about two days where I was just about bored out of my mind. Then Cindy (my director, but still a friend) called me up. She had a surprise houseguest for a while and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out for a while and maybe spend the night. I immediately said YES!! So it turns out this girl went to the same university as I did and although we had never really spoken much, we knew of each other.

Well, I ended up spending the whole weekend at Cindy’s and I had to go to church in Takenotsuka. I got a little sunburned as well. I returned home to rest some, and I had a meeting with some of my students. I was theoretically supposed to clean my house too, but I never really got around to do that (like normal). Well, Tuesday Emily (the girl from Concordia) became my surprise houseguest instead of Cindy’s. It was cool. Definitely kept the boredom at bay. I showed her around my area a couple of days and we did a lot of running around (she ran, I walked). Saturday, there was a huge fireworks festival in the area where I live, so Cindy came up and Tami met up with us and even Hiroki came and we all went to hanabi together. It was a good time. The girls all wore yukata (I can’t wear them, they don’t fit me). The fireworks were great. I took tons of pictures. After the fireworks it started to storm, and we ended up walking something like 40 minutes because they wanted to avoid waiting at the bus stop (two people needed to make sure to get back before the last trains left). Well, I was wet and my shoes had at that point rubbed several places on my feet raw, so I wasn’t too happy at that point. But it all turned out ok.

Next day was Sunday, so I introduced Emily to the church in Japanese. Then we met up with Hiroki again. It was fun. We played a board game in one restaurant and then we went to this really fun theme restaurant called the Lockup. It’s this cross between a jail and a horror shop. It’s really cute. We had our own little “cell” and there were a couple of “performances” where the lights would go out and “monsters” would walk up and down the halls trying to scare people. It was fun and interesting.
After that were a couple of down days, and then Emily left on the 16th to go to her next country (she was on a world tour of sorts. The girl had been traveling alone for 99 days!). I helped her to get on the right train to the airport and then came home to recover.

Not so much has been going on since then. I have had the pleasure to hang out a bit with Tami and that has been great.

Oh yeah, I forgot the whole “Ramen Boy” story. Well, I think I am running out of energy, but I promise to write about him lately. It’s enough to say that Ramen Boy is very cute! (

Anyway, I promise pictures soon, and more interesting things. I’m leaving tomorrow for a prayer retreat, so I’ll be gone for 3 days. I’ll try to write again then. Lata!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

of vacation...

Today is my first day of vacation! Horray! Actually, eventually today I will do some work, like clean my classroom etc, return flour, and other fun things like that. Maybe I will also start on cleaning my house more. Tomorrow is Sunday, and after church I will go to watch the famous Japanese fireworks! Horray! I am so excited about it! Anyway, I doubt summer will be all that exciting, but I'll keep posting if I have anything to say. :-)

Friday, July 29, 2005

of party day...

Wow, today can only be referred to as "Party Day". I started off the day with a takoyaki party (yes, octopus balls, no not those kind of balls Marlo). It was fun. We made our own. I took pictures. I will put them up later. We also talked about underwear. Yes, strange party.

Then I had an ice cream party with my favorite kids class. There are three boys and they are so well behaved (around 4th grade). We had ice cream and we let the little brother of one join us. Then we played Uno and Skipbo (the little brother played too, and the boys were super nice helping him and encouraging him. None of them were upset that he was in the class that day.) The little brother was great too. When we played Uno, I made them use English (Red Eight, etc) and the little boy was able to say it loud and clear and with no help! I was so impressed. It was great. And then Mika mentioned that I don't' have plans for the summer, and now my two favorite families have my phone number and e-mail address. So maybe they'll ask me out during summer break. Hehehe

Then my next two classes didn't show up. That's ok, because those classes don't seem to have as much fun anyway. LOL.

Next class was my fun beginner class. They brought food, (I forgot what it's called, but it involves sushi type rice, sashimi{raw fish} and nori {seaweed} you put the rice on the seaweed, then add your toppings and then roll it up and eat it. It's very delicious!). They also brough alcohol. Wow, I think I drank more than I have before. Don't worry, no bad effects. I didn't drink too much. But I did eat too much! Wow, you wouldn't think raw fish would fill you up so fast! I mean, it seems more like a snack than a meal, but it really does add up quickly! I don't know how Japanese people eat like that all the time! Wow.

So today was a good day. The last party lasted until like 11:00 PM! (the class started at 8). But I'm tired. So I'm gonna go now! Ja ne!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

of "eel day"...

Yes, today is unagi day. This means every sane Japanese person should go out and eat some wonderful eel today. :-) I didn't, not because I don't eat eel mind you, I love the stuff, but because I'm trying to be a good girl and save my money for other things. :-) Just thought everyone should know that.

And on a different note, I have one more day of class until summer vacation! Tomorrow I get to have a tacoyaki party! (octopus balls, no not those!, these are fried round thingies with octopus inside... Just think of it as taco and it's not as disgusting!) Yes, I am excited about eating octopus. I like it. Lots! Hehehe. Also I get to have about three ice cream parties. Whoo-hoo!

Other great news of the week? I might actually be close to the end of the left overs. Thanks to Mika helping me eat them everyday this week! Thanks Mika! :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

of the oddness of growing up...

Growing up is odd. I mean, realizing one day that you are a reconized adult, it's strange. For me anyway. Today I got an e-mail from a church member in America. I have known this person my whole life. She used to teach me Sunday School. And now she's sending me e-mails and talking to me like we are equals. How strange!

I guess it's just hard for me to internalize all the changes that comes with being an adult. I still find it hard to believe some days...

Monday, July 25, 2005

of randomness...

yes, we all know how much Amber loves being random (and beginning sentences with the word "yes"). So, here's a random post:

Many Japanese people are fascinated by the fact that I can braid my own hair and wear it in so many styles. They often think my hair is fake. LOL.

A typhoon is coming tomorrow. And I'm supposed to meet my students to go out for a party. I wonder who will show up... I wonder how I will get there...

There is no such thing as plastic knives in Japan. You can find plastic spoons and forks (often smaller than normal) in various colors, but it's is just about impossible to find knives.

I have become quite a fan of unagi (eel). It's actually quite yummy. :-) The problem is the super fine bones. I don't like bones. :-( To date, I willingly eat Squid, Octopus and Eel. But I can't eat Mexican food. Yes, I am such a strange American...

My genkan (entrance way where you take off your shoes before entering a house) smells like feet.

I will probably be eating Mashed potatoes and gravy, and "slime" for a month! If it doesn't go bad first that is...

I have a floor. Yes, this is often in doubt in many places I live, sadly enough. But a vast majority of my floor is now visible. That's what having Cell at your house does. The goal is for me to completely clean my house during vacation so that I can start having my Sunday Bible study at my house. Ah, goals...

I don't like that icky sticky feeling that comes with humidity.

I can't type or spell tonight.

Yahoo! Avatars

of appreciating doing nothing...

Wow, this month has been crazy insane busy. So much happened. So it was American Culture month. In Adult classes we talked about America, in kids classes we made some crafts. It was good.

I also filled my plate in other ways this month. I experimented with having two Coffee Houses. I had one at 2:00 and one at 7:00. The experiment was a success. I had 4 people come to the 2:00 one, including a woman who had never been to Coffee House before. It was good. I will continue to play around with the Coffee House thing. I am considering having a small meal between Coffee Houses, and maybe that will help people loosen up. :-)

I also did Gingerbread House. I only had 4 kids show up this time, but probably because it's summer vacation here, a lot of my regulars had other plans. But that's ok. It still went fine, and I think one little boy liked it better in a small group.

But the kicker of the month was my American Dinner. I sold tickets, invited Students, Church Members, VYM, and my language partner. Some of all the above came. I had around 45 people come (I was shooting for 30). This just goes to prove how awesome a God I have. I started this whole idea on impulse (looking back, I'm pretty sure it was at God's prompting). Someone asked me what the purpose was, and I just kinda made something up on the spot. LOL. But I firmly believe that God wanted this to happen, and it's possible for a purpose I know nothing about. Why do I believe this you say? Well, because it happened and was such a success. I mean, we all know me. There were a few times when I let the ball slip, or waited until the last minute to do things, etc. But God came through all the time and made things work smoothly. He provided me with great helpers who didn't complain when I asked them to do the yucky prep work, and who took care of things like setting up tables and finding chairs. God even gave me energy. I was working on something like 3 hours of sleep, but I made it through the day with energy to spare. Everything went perfectly while cooking and all the food came out just like it should. I was happy. I had never made anything in such great quanities before (only for like 15 or 20 people before) so I'm really surprised at how well it worked. I was worried for a while that I wouldn't have enough food. People kept signing up at the last minute to come and I just felt like I couldn't turn them down. I just kept praying to God that there would be enough food. I also made a few rather bold statements like, Jesus fed 5,000, I'm sure He can help out with 45. Well, thankfully God didn't let me down. Like the previous food miracles, God provided and with more than I needed. I have tons of leftovers now. I don't know how I can possibly eat them all before they go bad. And it's not because people didn't like the food. I know one kid went back for 3rds! So many people asked me how I made things. Oh yeah, my menu was Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed potatoes, gravy and cheesy broccoli ("slime" if you know my family) and ice cream for dessert. Japanese people seemed fascinated with the gravy (they insisted on calling it white sauce) and wanted to know the ingredients. I saw one woman who went back for seconds, of only gravy! I have never seen anyone eat just gravy before! LOL. So the short and long of it all is that the American Dinner was a heaping success! Everyone seemed to have a good time, I was only 15 minutes late finishing the gravy (the gravy took longer than I thought it would) and I spent the day with people who's company I enjoy. I even had fluently of people who took charge of the clean up. (which was good because at that point I was about to drop. I can imagine trying to clean up all that with just me!)

But wait, the night wasn't finished. After the dinner, we had Cell meeting at my house. We had 9 people come (because most of them just stayed after the dinner) and that's the largest group I've seen since I joined Cell. Thankfully my house was mostly presentable. It went from disaster to I can see the floor now in little less than 24 hours while I was also preparing for the dinner and sprinkled with procrastination. But I am happy.

So, the reason for the title of the post: I am so glad it's my day off and I don't have to spent it getting ready for another event!

Tomorrow starts my last week of classes before summer vacation. It promises to be a good week because I get to have a party in virtually all my classes! Horray!

And on a random note, several of my students called me beautiful last week. (one said I looked like a doll with my glasses off) I of course wouldn't say I am ugly, but I wouldn't say beautiful either. But I can always chalk it up to people finding people from other races beautiful. ;-) But still, it's nice to hear! :-D

Ok, that's all for now!

Friday, July 08, 2005

in pictures:

So I decided to try out the new picture feature! Here goes:

Here is Pastor Shiba, my co-worker Mika (on the left) and my Japanese Teacher Nunokawa Sensei (on the right cutting the watermelon). We were sharing a watermelon I had bought one day after my Japanese lesson and before I started teaching. It was fun.

Below: The first picture is from Gingerbread House. I'm telling the story of Noah and Yoshiko is translating for me.

Next picture: This is my cutest class ever! They are six and seven years old and all cho kawaii (super cute). They are kinda shy and don't talk much, but I think I'm winning them over. And can you belive, the puppets were all around a dollar! I really love Japan!

This is the younger sister of one of my students. Cute ne?

of national pride...

So this whole week I have been teaching about America in my classes. I plan to do this the whole month in celebration of independence Day. It seemed like a good time to introduce a subject most of my students are really interested in. Well, in the course of teaching this week, I found out a few interesting things. One being: not all people in every country have national pride. I was asked by one class, "Why do American's love America so much?" And several times I heard comments along the lines of, "It must be nice to have a country you can be proud of." It makes me wonder, is America really that different from a country like Japan? Why are American's so proud of our country? Why can't my students find something to love about their country? It also makes me wonder, how does a people learn national pride? Is it something we are taught? I don't know, but I somehow have a sad feeling for these people who don't feel patriotic when they look at their countries flag. I mean, I can understand it if you are living under an oppressive government etc, but Japan is a democratic country now. Japan has a long and rich history. But so many people here are ashamed of war. Maybe this is something I can't understand. I don't know. Somehow, I'm not really capturing my thoughts and feelings about this subject very well. My thoughts are vague and hard to catch. But I am left with this sort of sad feeling for the people of this country. I wish they could love it.

Well, my week was good, and now comes yet another busy weekend. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

of comparisons...

The differences between working in Japan and working in America (or Why I like working in Japan):

1. Japan: I can wear as much, or whatever kind of jewerly I want, and the Japanese mothers tell me I am stylish.
America: I have to be careful what jewerly I wear and when or people might get upset at me, depending on where I work.

2. Japan: I wear blue hair extentions. Again, I am stylish.
America: I wear blue hair extentions and mothers wonder if I should be allowed to teach their children (and at some places it would be against the regulations)

3. Japan: I wear flip-flops to work and people tell me how much they like my shoes.
America: I wear flip-flops to work and people ask me if I bother to get dressed (and once again in some places this is against regulations)

4. Japan: If I don't like the parents, or don't want to talk to them, I can always pretend to not understand them (in most cases this is true!) Best part: so far, I like all the parents!
America: yeah, I have to deal with them.

I'm sure there are more great comparisons, but they'll have to wait for another time.

Anyway, quick update on my weekend (and by quick I mean long and detailed...)

So Saturday I went out with some students, of course you know that because you already read that post. Sunday, like usual was really long. I did Sunday School, Church, Bible Study and then went to Suginami for Cell. Bible Study was a bit difficult because the Chinese woman that has been coming is actually rather difficult to understand when she asks questions. So far, no one knows what she is asking. This is strange, because usually her English is pretty good. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon.

Cell was good, there were only three of us. We got to spend more time just talking and catching up so it was good. And then I spent the night at Lauren's. OH yeah, we had Japanese pizza for cell. Now Japanese pizza is rather interesting. It's about 30 bucks for one pizza, and the toppings can be very strange. It's not uncommon to find corn or mayo on a pizza. This pizza was good. It was sea-food with no tomato sauce. I think it either had sea-weed or spinach on it, but probably sea-weed. I liked it. And I brought some sweet potato apple pie too. That was yummy as well.

Well, the reason I spent the night with Lauren was because Monday we met up with Tami and her friend from America, Warren. We met up and went to the Ghibli Museum. So Ghibli is an Anime studio. This is the company that made Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, and more recently Howl's Moving Castle. It was rather interesting, and educational too. It showed how animation was made. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. After that we went to Tokyo Dome City and wandered around. Then we had a Hawaiian dinner. It was good, but the day was long. I was happy to get home. The bad part about Monday: It rained ALL day long! And I did not exactly have the proper shoes for that. I slipped twice. Wasn't hurt, but got wet. Also, I had to carry my bag all day. It was heavy because it had my clothes and my big honkin Bible in there. But other than that, it was a good day.

But in any case, the weekend was full. This week starts American Culture month. So far the classes enjoy it. Next weekend is Coffee House where I will experiment with having two. Week after that is Gingerbread House and the week after that is my Homecooked American Dinner. I have some plans for the beginning of August, but after that class is out and I will be pretty free. I'm sure I'll find things to do. Oh yeah, I also plan to go to Costco this next Monday and see the new Star Wars movie with Lauren. Tanoshimi (I'm looking forward to it).

Ok, I think that's enough of my rambling for now. I'm going to study now for my Japanese test tomorrow.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

of raw fish...

I guess every American in Japan has to write about eating raw fish sometime... I went out today with some students from one of my classes. They are great and I have a good time with them. We went to this really nice restaurant, the kind where they serve you food in "waves." There was so much food! And it was all Japanese food. I like Japanese food, don't get me wrong. It was very delicious. But wow, there was SO much raw fish! If you had told me a year ago that I would willing eat that much raw fish without hesitation, I would have never believed you. But I did, and I even enjoyed most of it. I think Japan is definitely teaching me how to try new things and be more mature in that area of my life. Well, maybe it's just something I've been growing into for the past few years... Anyway, I am happy about that part of me.

In fact, lately, I have been rather happy with the person I am. This is not normal for me. Normally I have a rather low self-esteem, but I think I'm gaining a rather realistic perspective lately. Of course I am not perfect, I never will be until heaven, but I am happy with my life right now. I wish I could feel this way forever...

Life is still good. My weeks go by quickly, and my weekends seem to be filling up. I have plans this weekend and probably the next. I have plenty of things to keep me busy with so that is good. For a little while, I was feeling somewhat lonely for good friends my age that I could call up and hang out with in my area. I put up an online ad looking for some, and I have gotten many replies, but we will see where that goes. Many are boys and it seems they are just looking to date a foreigner, doesn't matter who it is. I am wary of people like that, so I doubt those will go anywhere. But I think it's best to leave these things up to God. I am glad I have God to rely on at times like this. I mean, it's so easy to be confused about what I want and what is good for me. If I let it, this whole thing could really stress me out. But I can say, "here God, you know better than me, please deal with it and tell me what I should do." I want good people in my life, not people who will distract me from what's important. Also, I don't know if this is a good time in my life for me to think about dating and stuff like that. I mean, sure I would like a relationship, but can I really deal with one? I have no idea. But I don't want to just go out looking for one. I think it's better to let these things happen through God's guidance. Hmmm, maybe I'm just being lazy and using that as an excuse, but then again, maybe not. I still think it's best to leave these kinds of things to God. He's a better judge than I am.

Well, so that's my rambling for the night. I won't be home tomorrow night. Gonna spend the night with Lauren and then we are gonna go out with Tami and her friend to see an anime museum on Monday. I am looking forward to it.

And on an ending note, I am so full, I don't think I need to eat for a week. Not bad for a free meal (my students of course wouldn't let me pay for it.) Also, it's a rather odd feeling for me going out with my students. I mean, at least one is old enough to be my father, and they are all married with children. And here I am, this little 25 year old, and I am their TEACHER, and they are taking me out and talking with me. Somehow this is just strange to me. But I enjoy being with them, even if I don't understand half of what is being said (they spoke in Japanese most of the night, so I only caught bits and pieces of the conversations). But it was a good time, and I really like them. I guess in some circumstances, age really isn't a factor! But still, it would be nice sometime to have friends nearby who aren't at least 10 years older than me... LOL

Thursday, June 23, 2005

of stuff...

So nothing terribly exciting has been going on, but several small things have, so I decided to update.

Sunday: The woman came to Bible Study. I had two people there. Turns out the woman is Chinese and has been living in Japan for 10 years. She is Trilingual! Amazing! Well, at one point, a friend had given her a book with Christian stories in it or something and she has been interested in learning more about Christianity. She asked some good questions, and I gave her an English Bible. I am excited that she came and I hope she comes again next week.

Then I went to Cell. Wasn't too exciting, but it was fun. A Japanese man came. His name is Toshiyuki. He is nice and I like talking to him. We went to McDonald's afterwards. Then I came home.

Monday: My day off. Didn't do anything special. It was payday, so I went to the bank to grab some money and I did a little shopping, but mostly for teaching stuff. Found a new textbook for one class. It was cool.

Tuesday: My first class of the day decided they wanted to throw me a "welcome" party. Yeah, I've been teaching for almost three months, but hey, they wanted a party. They took me to this super nice restaurant and we had lots of Japanese food. They are a funny little class. None of them speak great English because it's a beginners class. But they are cute. What was funny was when the waitress would helpfully correct their English! It was funny.

Wed and Today: Just basically teaching and stuff. Not too much going on. Life's not terribly dull, neither is it terribly exciting. :-) Tomorrow's Friday, horray!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

of Gingerbread House and forgotten news...

So today was my second Gingerbread House. Lauren came to help and observe. We had less kids this time, but still, we had 15. They seemed to have a good time. They are really well behaved kids. Many of the older ones have younger siblings, so when we played games like Elbow Tag, the older ones were kind to the younger ones. It was rather amusing to see the older ones run in slow motion when a younger one was "it." But I am glad they are so well behaved. I know that many American kids are not this well behaved in such a large group of various ages. It was a good time, and the parents seemed rather pleased about it. I am thankful.

So, that's my news for today. Now on to old news I forgot to write about. Last Sunday I had another good Bible Study. Oh, yeah, that reminds me. A woman came today looking for information for an English class for her Jr. High daughter. (this is the second time this has happened while I was preparing for Gingerbread House. Normally there is no one at the church on Saturday's, unless Pastor happens to be working etc.) The mother spoke English, so I was able to tell her what I knew and show her the text book for the Jr. High Class. But then the mother asked me about Bible Classes. I thought it was for the daughter, so I told her about the Jr. High class for Sunday School, but it turns out the mother was interested in a class. So she is coming to my Bible Study tomorrow. Horray for chances like that! God works in mysterious ways, but it's awesome that a woman walks in off the street like that looking for a Bible Class!

Ok, back to old news. The Bible study went well and I was happy, and then I took a nap (I had been up late Sat night) and then went to Takenotsuka for Cell. I actually left a little early so I could go to a Tonkatsu restaurant I knew in the station. The tonkatsu was wonderful! It had been so long since I had eaten any, I forgot how much I loved it. Then I went to meet the others. The meeting was late that night since all the "locals" had been invited to Pastor Kitazawa's "surprise" Birthday Party. (Pastor Kitazawa being the pastor at Takenotsuka and also the recently elected Vice-President of the NRK, Japan Lutheran Church) So I was waiting in front of the church since I am still unable to find my way to Jason and Sarah's house, where the meeting was to be held. They all come back from the party together and I talked a little with Pastor and his family. Anyway, we went to cell, and I led the Bible Study, and we had a good time. Knowing that the Cell would run longer than we could get home, Lauren and I were planning on spending the night in Takenotsuka. We were given permission to crash at Cindy's apartment, as she was in the states for Orientation etc. But first, we decided to take the chance and do some late night Karaoke. It was good times. We spent about two hours at the Karaoke shop. We got back around 4:30 AM. But it was all good, because Monday is our day off. So of course, we slept in. :-)

Monday was also a rather good day. I got new extentions, three this time, and electric blue. I am happy with them, and I was also excited because I managed the whole visit successfully with my broken Japanese. Then I went wandering about for a while. I didn't want to return home because I was meeting my Lang. Partner at 4:30 in Shibuya. Now, if you don't know, Shibuya is the classic picture many people have of Tokyo. Lots of tall buildings with flashing lights and moving advertisements. And tons of people. It's popular for young people, rich people, and foreigners. It's cool. I went shopping a little, and then met Hiroki. We talked and that was fun and then we went to Okonomiyaki. It was great. I got some great pictures.

Anyway, I think that's most of what I forgot to mention before. It's funny because my life is either really busy, or really empty. I would be kind of nice if it were just evenly balanced. LOL.

On a random note, I find I wish I could spend more time thinking about God and putting Him first in my life. Lately it's been rather easy to become distracted and think about things like "I wish I was in a relationship" etc. I don't know why, as I am rather happy right now, and man, a relationship would only make my like way too complicated. In any case, I would really prefer to put my whole trust in God to provide for me in His time than sit and ponder things until I go crazy. I wish it was as easy to do things like that as it sounds. :-( But it's ok, I still love Japan and I am still content to be here. And most of all, I LOVE GOD! :-D

PS: I've noticed, the spell check really hates Japanese words. Wonder why? ;-P

Friday, June 17, 2005

of Friday's and such...

Well, today was finally Friday. I have more classes on Friday than normal, but overall, I really like my Friday students. All my adult students are super fun, and while I have two rather quiet and reserved Children's classes, I also have a nice class of three boys. They know how to have fun and always laugh and smile. I have a ton of fun with that class. And they aren't discipline problems, so I am happy with that. Anyway, it was that class that made me happy today. One of my students has a rather nice mother who I talk to sometimes (she speaks English fairly well) and today they brought me flowers from their home. It was really cute. I had just started class when I the door opens. In comes his little brother carrying three huge hydrangea, followed by his mother. I was so happy (esp since I've been trying to get his little brother used to me, but unfortunately last week, I scared him while trying to tickle him and he cried a little...)

Anyway, I am happy. Also tomorrow is Gingerbread House. I don't know how many kids will come this time, but I hope it will be a good turn out. But I have to get up early to go shopping for it. Anywho, I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

of my day off...

Wow, This has really been a great week for me. Yesterday I went to my old "hometown" of Takenotsuka for Cell meeting. It was nice because the meeting was later than usual, so Lauren and I had to spend the night in Takenotsuka. Which was rather fun. Lauren and I hit up our favorite Karaoke joint and had a goold ole time. We went to bed around 4:30 ish. Thing I learned from that experience: the sun actually begins rising at that time! Insane!

So we woke up and parted ways around 11 ish today. I had a meeting with my Lang. Partner at 4:30, so I decided to stay in the Tokyo Area. The weather was rather nice today, if just a tad hot and muggy. But I decided to get some more extentions. This time it is pure blue, and I got three. I just really get excited about having blue streaks in my hair! LOL. This time, I went to the salon by myself and muddled through the Japanese to get what I wanted.

So then I wandered about Takenotsuka for a while, and then caught a train to Shibuya, where I was meeting Hiroki. I was a couple hours early, so I also wandered around there. I found Claires and spent a bit too much there, but I am happy with the cute things I bought.

I also took tons of pictures today. So then I met up with Hiroki and that was fun. I always have a good time talking with him. We had Okonomiyaki again. Yesterday I had tonkatsu for the first time in a long time too. It was SO good. I had forgotten how much I like these foods!

So anyway, I just had a really good day and I am happy! :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

of Grace...

I am so thankful for the Grace that God sends me. My Bible Study went well again, even though I actually changed it at the last minute to a totally different passage than I had originally planned. I'm glad God loves me, and gives me the words I need even when I'm a looser and don't prepare like I should. Grace is amazing, and humbling. Thank you Father.

of lack of sleep...

I'm tired.

That's what I get for staying up so late. Silly me. I have just a little break before a Bible Study I lead. Then I can finally take a nap. Horray for naptime!

of a random Saturday...

Yeah, so today was Saturday. I didn't have an event today, so I decided I should get some stuff done, like cleaning my house a bit etc. Well, the cleaning didn't happen, but lots of other stuff did. First of all, I got to chat a bit with Michael and then Marlo. I finally wrote and sent out a newsletter and I did a little updating on my website. Hope to do more of that soon. I got a phone call from Lauren, and then I went on a bit of an adventure to find Music Box, a sort of music praise time, run by former missionaries in a nearby Lutheran School. I finally found the place and it was a good time. Three of my students (please note, from here on out any of my students who are also children will be known as "my kids") were there and I talked with a couple of the moms. Met some new people. Spoke a litte Japanese. Got a free ride back to the train station. Not bad.

So then back at the main station, I decided I need to check out a book store for some ESL resources. I think I found a book I want to use for one class, but I am still looking for a book for a different one. So I wandered around there a bit, and then started walking back home. Well, on the way home there is this clothing store owned by a black man. I don't think he's American, but he does speak English. There are also a couple of younger black men who work for him. Well, one of these guys started talking to me as I walked by. He wanted me to go out to coffee with him. I declined. He was more persistent than most because he tried to set up a time for tomorrow etc. Yeah, there's just something strange about the idea of going out with some random guy I met on the street. I don't trust situations like those. But at the same time, it's nice to be picked up... LOL

So then I came home and had a message from Besty (I had called her earlier, but she wasn't home.) I waited about an hour and then called her back. We talked for over an hour. I was just getting ready to hang up when I hear strange tapping noises. It was really freaky. Then I started hearing voices, a man's voice. So now I am thinking a drunk man is wandering around my house. And I am also realizing that my door is unlocked. (apparently my window was unlocked as well, but I didn't know that.) So finally, I tell Besty (who is still on the phone) that I am going to go check it out. Turns out it's Mika and Alex. I had been so scared! But it turned out OK. So then, (after being teased because my house is a mess and I wouldn't let them in) we went out for a while and talked. So now it is 3 AM, Saturday night and I have church tomorrow. I won't want to get up in the morning, I promise. Well, I generally don't want to get up any morning, but that's just me.

So there's the play by play of what turned out to be a rather eventful Saturday, despite me not having any work related events.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

of being built up...

So I've decided Japan is good for my self esteem. Or at least today was good for my self-esteem. Today I was fortunate enough to have many people build me up. It's so odd for me to be surrounded by people who praise me. I almost don't know how to deal with it. I keep wondering when I will wake up from this dream. My co-worker praised me (and I actually value her opinion very much) and I know at least one of my adult classes love to come to English class. And of course 99% of the kids love me (but that's normal, kids are easy to please.)

The adult class in question took me out again after class today. They are great. They are going to take me out on a Saturday next month it looks like. And my Tuesday class is planning a "welcome party" for me week after next. Things were slow at first, but I think it's just because it takes me a little while to build up relationships. But now my weeks are filling up with things to do. I feel like this is less work, and more like me being rewarded.

I just pray that God uses my time here. I know that I myself am not really capable of much. But I am so thankful for this experience. I know I will remember this for the rest of my life and be so happy that I did this.

It's funny, I still feel lost and directionless sometimes, but before when I felt that, I felt such overwhelming discouragement. But now, somehow, it's ok. I can still feel contentment, while I feel the other things too. I want to feel like this the rest of my life...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

of cabbage...

Yes it is strange to have a post dedicated to cabbage, but there is a good reason for this. Today, my student brought me a cabbage she had grown. Now this is an exceptionally sweet thing to do but not really something to write home about, except for one thing, This cabbage is HUGE! Now when I say HUGE, I mean larger than my head huge! My arms were tired from carrying the thing across the street! I am not certain how I can possibly eat this much cabbage. Good thing I like cabbage! I have seriously never seen such a large cabbage before. Also, this sucker is heavy! Ok, that's my rant for the day. Anyone want some cabbage?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

of multicultural students...

Yeah, today is a day for me to randomly blog. I have a break between classes, and wanted to jot something down before taking a nap.

So the two most popular "mission Fields" that people think of are Africa and China. Personally, I have no real desire to go to either place (my true love being Japan), but I came to an interesting conclusion the other day. One of my students is Chinese!

Not that I can tell the difference. I didn't know until he told me that he couldn't come to Gingerbread House because he takes Chinese lessons on Saturdays. When I mentioned it to Mika, she told me it's because he is Chinese! He went to Shanghai last week and brought back Omiyage for everyone in English class. He is such a cute kid too.

Anyway, that's my thought that has basically nothing to do with anything. I'm gonna nap now. Latta!

of late nights and early mornings...

Wow. Yesterday, I thought I was doing pretty good because I woke up in time to hit up good ole Micky D's for some breakfast (this is amazing for me actually, but lately I've been getting up before noon...) For some reason (unrelated to waking up at a decent hour) I was super sleepy yesterday. I think I might be developing some mild allergies, my eyes are itchy lately and I've been sneezing. Anywho, that's not really what I'm blogging about. It's what happened after work. Now, it is important to remember that I start work at 1 PM and I end work at 9 PM.

So after work, Mika (the woman I work with) tells me that her friend Alex (who lives reasonably in the area) wants to hang out. My first thought is, who the heck starts hanging out at 9 at night? My next thought is, heck yeah, I'm cool enough to tag along! So of course, I agree. And so I set out on a late night adventure (yes, I have a Japanese lesson today and I work. I am SO SLEEPY!). So I ended up meeting Alex at this new station while Mika went to get her parents car.

We managed to find this place from the directions Mika gave me and we met up with her not long after. This place was really nice, but it was kinda funny. The whole building was black, and inside was really dark. The waiters were dressed in the pretty traditional waiter attire (for Japan) but then they each had a walkie talkie. It was really funny to me watching this play out. So then we were escorted upstairs and led to another little secluded booth. We barely had time for the last order of food, then they told us it was the last order on drinks, then eventually, they told us it was time to go home. Nice place, but a bit pricey.

So afterwards we get in the car, and Mika, after some nerves (she hadn't driven in a while) drives us back to my house. No one really seems to want to end the night. They jokes about hanging out at my house, to which I wish I could have said yes, but alas, my house is not fit to hang out in atm. So then Mika suggested Karaoke. We of course agreed. So we then spent two hours at Karaoke. It was a good time, but man, I must be insane. I didn't go to bed until after 3, and here I am at 10:30 trying to get ready for my Japanese lesson at 11.

Thought of the day: I AM SO FREAKIN TIRED!

PS: the first spellcheck option for the correctly incorcorrectly spelled "freakin" is foreskin. Just FYI.

Monday, June 06, 2005

of the fall...

Yes, given my great enjoyment of writing on religious themese, unfortunately, this post is not one of them, though the title would be a great heading for one...

Actually, the news of the day ain't all that exciting. But I had another "first time in Japan" experience, and so I thought I'd grace all my readers with this knowledge.

Today I fell for the first time while riding my bike. Yes, sad but true. Got a few scrapes, but nothing too major. Other than that, I had a relatively good day. As it was my day off, I decided to ingore the state of my house and indulge the restlessness that was plaguing me. I spent the day wandering about, getting to know my neighborhood a bit better. Not too bad. Anywho, not all that exciting.

of community...

So my program is currently undergoing many changes, the least of which is a new director. This really has little to do with anything, except that this aforementioned new director has a vision for us: community. At first, I felt she was being a but pushy with this idea of hers (really, I am not sure you can understand unless you have actually met the woman), but since attending some small group meetings (hereafter referred to as Cell) I have jumped on the community bandwagon.

I am really excited about the changes in the focus of our program. It is exciting to see how just meeting once a week and having a Bible Study together helps. I am looking forward to seeing how this impacts Japan.

I also have to say, that I am just overwhelmed by the Blessings my Father has lavished upon me recently. I feel similar to Joseph (everything he did prospered). I don't want to sound conceited, because really, it's nothing I'm doing. In fact, I'd say things are going well despite my presence. But I see so many possibilities here. Maybe it's because I'm new in Japan, and I haven't seen the disappointments etc. But I am so excited about what I see. The new programs I start have more support than I thought they would, and God has been blessing my Bible Studies and meetings as well.

I have to admit, it's rather strange to me to have so much going well all at once. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Since I made the decision to come to Japan (has it already been a year?!?), my life has felt "right." There's just no other way to explain it. Of course life is not perfect, but I have never felt so content with my life before, for such a long period of time. Maybe it is because I have battled with depression so often, but this period of calm is like a whole new world for me, and just a bit unreal. Some days I just wonder when it will start going downhill again. Guess that's a bit pessimistic. For now, I am enjoying life in spite of myself. I don't know what the future holds, but I think that's best to leave in God's hands anyway.

Well, this doesn't even begin to skim the surface of my thoughts and feelings on these subjects, but it's late and it's been a long (although entirely fruitful) day. I am going to go off to bed now, and hopefully wake up ready to clean my house and do some much needed organizing of my classroom. If you read this anytime soon, please pray that I can have a productive day tomorrow (despite it being my day off).

Yes, life is good because God is good. I wish everyone knew that and could share in my Treasure...

Friday, May 27, 2005

of students...

Well, Friday's are my longest work day. Not because I work a longer amount of time, but because I have more classes in the same amount of time. Doesn't sound like such a big deal, but it does make a difference. But the students are fun. I esp like my adult students on Friday's. And tonight was the first night I have been invited to go out with my students after class! Hurray! We went to a restaurant that is less than a block away and chatted for a while. (I tried talking in Japanese, but everyone always laughs when I do. I'm not sure why...) Anyway. This is good news for me. I was wondering why I was never being invited anywhere. It was fun, and I am happy. But I'm tired now. Time to sleep.

Monday, May 23, 2005

of random look-alikes...

Seriously, today I saw a Japanese man who looked like a Japanese version of John Wayne. Not kidding. I mean, take off the business suit and put him in faded leather and a dusty hat, and there you have it! The Duke of the East. It was strange.

Either that, or I'm strange. It's a toss up on this one...

of a long day, or make that week...

So this week has been busy. I have been teaching all my classes of course, plus getting ready for Gingerbread House (a huge success) and a ton of other minor details (I hate minor details). Anyway, today I went back to Takenotsuka for the first time since I moved. It was B's Open House. It was rather strange to visit my old apartment and find a friend living there. Lot's of people were there, so it was a success.

Then I was invited to a Cell group meeting that happens on Sunday nights there. It was interesting. The new director is all about "Community" as a theme, so of course, we were reading a Bible Passage about that. It was John chapter 17. I am not sure I have ever read that particular chapter before. There was some interesting discussion.

But I guess the thing I wanted to reflect on here came from verse 3. In the verse, it mentioned that we (the believers) were given to Christ by the Father. This is a new twist on something that I guess I've already known. But I guess it was the thought of me as a gift. I can't imagine anyone who would want to receive me as a gift, esp one who knows everything about me. But Jesus is happy to receive me. How amazing is that? I want so much to be a gift that brings Him joy. I want to make Him smile. I am pretty sure that when my parents named me, they weren't thinking of the jewelry by the same name. In some (loose) translations, I find that the name Amber can mean "Precious treasure." Names are powerful things. I want to live up to my name. I want to be a precious treasure for my Lord. I can never be worthy enough, but He gives this poor, flawed, excuse of a treasure more worth than can be imagined. How wonderful is that?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

of having internet in my home...

So I finally have internet in my home once again. Horray! I will now spend the next couple of weeks catching up on all the things I fell behind on. Hopefully tomorrow or the next day will see the sending of my newsletter. Unfortunately, this fell at a rather busy time for me. I have Gingerbread House this Sat and I am still working on details for that, and I still have classes everyday till then. Well, hopefully I will find the time to get it all done. So that's all for now.

How wonderful it is to be back on the internet on my own computer...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

of Golden Week (so far) and general updates.

So it`s now the middle of a time of holidays in Japan known as Golden Week. Notice, this is not translated. Japanese actually call it Golden Week. So far, I`ve had a good time. I`ve stayed at home one day, went out with people two, and went out exploring my area two. All in all, I`m rather pleased with the results. And I have two more days to go.

Today I spent with Lauren, another missionary. We decided to check out a sword museum. After some time spent being lost, we finally found our way (thanks to her superior Japanese ability). It was a good time. Then we went shopping at a new found area. It was a good day, but we were both a bit tired out from the walking.

Also, last week on our day off, three of us who went through orientation together met for the first time since we became working Volunteers. We went down to Tokyo Harbor and had a good time. We played at a science museum where I laughed so hard I cried. The workers were laughing at us. It was a fun time.

But don`t think it`s been all play and no work. I do in fact work. Well, not terribly hard, but I do work. Actually, I find that so far, after roughly a month of teaching, it is going rather well. There are still some little details I need to nail down, but for the most part I am relatively unstressed by the demands of teaching English here. I stay rather busy, but not overwhelmingly so. All in all, I am rather pleased with my new life.

Hmmm... Do I have anything else that is interesting to say? Not really I suppose. Other than the fact that today, Lauren and I had three unexpected encounters of males, or groups of males, speaking to us. Strangely enough, they were all in English. Two were foreign men, and one was a rather amusing Jr. High boy. If I had been alone, it would have been disturbing, but since I had company, I was able to laugh at the encounter.

And now for a few random thoughts: I found I prefer my kids classes to be energetic as opposed to silent, my adult classes enjoy learning about Texas (and I certainly enjoy teaching about it), and I have to be careful to teach the difference between "l" and "r" (clap and crap are two drastically different things...)

Also, I definitely love my Bible Studies so far. Many students seem very interested in what I am teaching, and I love watching their faces as they learn new information. For instance, I had the honor to teach one woman about Creation. She had never heard about it before. I of course grew up with it, and didn`t pay it much thought. Perhaps I even considered it a bit on the boring side. But this woman was amazed by just the first 4 days of creation. Her face lit up and she kept staring at the pages in wonder and amazement. This makes me appreciate these things so much better. I pray that God guides me as I teach these men and women and that He works though me and uses me as His tool to reach these people.

God is Good.

Friday, April 15, 2005

of the end of a long day.

So today marks the start of my second week of teaching (keeping track of time is rather odd when I started teaching on a Friday...). I am beginning to get a feel for some of the classes now, and I can recognize most of the faces. I am still not so good with names, but hopefully that will get better.

Today, I had some good classes, (the Bible Study went especially well, but went long and I had a student waiting for me) and some not so good classes. I wouldn`t say any of the classes are failures, but they were certainly lacking in my mind. I have one class I have been having difficulty teaching, and I`m not sure if it was just the lesson or me, or what. But hopefully I will find a way to reach that class.

I notice that I have already begun falling into bad habits and I hope to remedy that. I don`t want to start off on a bad foot. I pray that God will be with me through this process of learning to teach English. But it is definitely rewarding when I see a kid smiling because she understands something, or because he had a good time in English class. And I know all days can`t be like that, but still...

Yeah, I don`t really know what I am trying to say here. I have been very ADD lately, even though I have been taking my meds. I think the real problem is that even though I talk about wanting to put God first in my personal life, I don`t. I need to put actions behind my words. Please pray that I am able to focus first on God, then on others, and finally on me. I want to be a good servant, but it is hard if I don`t listen and obey God first.

I must admit this is quite a struggle for me. I always allow myself to become distracted by daydreams or things I want, or things I like instead of taking the time to focus on God. I know this is the Devil`s tatic, but it is still hard to fight. I am so weak in this area. It makes me feel like a fraud. Like I am spending all my time, hoping no one else finds out how pathetic I really am.

Overall, I am happy with teaching. I just need to keep an eye out to avoid pitfalls, and work more on lesson plans and preparations.

A thought just occurred to me. Maybe I need to be ministered to. I am thinking of seeing if there are any English worship services in the area this weekend...

Anywho, I guess that`s enough for today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

of teaching..

So today was a good day (despite last minute lesson plans). Actually, I excel at last minute lesson plans. LOL. But I am actually developing quite a good system of planning my lessons. I hope it works out. (I plan on planning the next weeks lesson after the end of the current week`s lesson, so I have what we just covered fresh in my mind and what I want to review, reinforce, and continue still in my mind as well.)

I also came up with some good ideas to experiment with my kids classes. They are all good kids, but some classes are more difficult to control than others. Funny thing is, the classes with the brighter students are often the ones that are difficult to control. Then there are the classes that are just difficult to communicate to. Well, hopefully though more trial and less error, I will find a good solution.

I also have some working ideas on how I want to re-arrange my classroom. Hopefully things work out. Anywho, so far I am still excited about teaching, but then again, it`s only my second first day (two more first day`s to go!). I`ve also found that the classes that have more adult males in them are far more interested in learning about Texas than other classes. (and I really enjoy teaching about Texas!) I taught one class today about the joy`s of rodeo! Hehehe. It`s fun to teach things like that. :-D

On the down side of things, today was cold and I forgot to eat.

Monday, April 11, 2005

of wasting time.

Today I should have spent preparing for classes tomorrow. Instead I goofed off all day. Well, I still have to prepare, but that will be done as soon as I finish wasting time writing this. Silly me. The problem is that part of my wasting of time involved reading other people`s blogs, so now I feel compelled to write on my own. Oddly, I am rather surprised that I have written on this blog as often as I have.

Yesterday was a good day too. It was yet another beautiful day and Tami (a former missionary and member of this church) wanted to go to the park and see the cherry blossoms so she, Mika and I went to the park again. I think it is more fun when you go with people. It`s also nice how they have accepted me and invite me to do things with them. Hopefully we will continue to have good working relationships.

But in order to continue the possibility of good working relationships, I need to get busy and do some lesson planning. My second round of "first days" is coming tomorrow, and I should be prepared. I hope this whole teaching thing works out.

On a random note, I have been brainstorming on one of my novels lately. I think I almost have a good plot worked out. I need to flesh out the bad guys a bit. I need to find good motives etc. I suppose I should also start character development for the bad guys. Maybe I should dig up that old GURPs info and write up some character sheets. That is definitely one good thing I got out of role playing, the formula to write up hard data on your character. Good idea there. The hard part about writing a novel is you have you know what you are writing about. That means I need to do a bit of research on nuclear war, bio-warfare, etc. I also need to find some info about helicopters. Maybe I should read up on mecha as well. I find I have attempted to write a character-driven story in a world I have little actual knowledge of. Yeah, I also had this problem writing a space, future, fantasy novel. Guess I just need to wake up early and call Dek for brainstorming ideas. I also need to talk to Em about teaching stuff, so I can kill two birds with one call. But I won`t have good long distance until May (and then international phone calls will be roughly 2 cents a min! great deal!)

And finally, other random thought. I have been reading a lot of blogs from xanga lately (lots of people from old CUA blog there).  I like catching up on people I used to know, but since I blog here, they don`t read my stuff. I am a big fan of this blog space, so I think I`ll keep it, but I do wish I was part of that community more. Oh well. Most of the people probably don`t remember me, nor really care to read my thoughts. (with the exception of Patrick) Also I haven`t heard from my friend Raven for a while. (peers about, you there dearie?) I don`t have access to a lot of info right now since I can`t use my laptop to connect to the internet. If you are out there dearie, me loves you. Last I heard you were back home with your mom. Don`t make me worries about you.

Ok, I think that is enough procrastinating for now. I really need to write some lesson plans. Bye bye.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

of new beginnings.

Well, I suppose I have finally subcumbed to reality. Now, don`t take that the wrong way. It`s a good thing. I am now much happier about my move and new home. I think part of my problem could have been my inability to visualize my future. I think I would have had the same feelings no matter which church I went to. (It certainly wasn`t this church, this is a very nice church.)

So anyway, after a few initial bumps, things have been going rather smoothly. Yesterday was my first day of teaching. Things went well. I have a few things to learn (probably trial and error) about teaching kids on a daily basis, but I am sure I will be able to get through it without too much trauma involved. I am looking forward to many of my adult classes.  We manage to have some interesting conversation and they are all very friendly. Yesterday`s final class even decided to bring a coffee pot and brew coffee in the classroom! That class was especially interested in hearing about Texas, and of course, I am more than happy to oblige them! ;-)

Today was a good day. I slept in, and then I took a stroll to a large park nearby to hanami (look at the cherry blossoms). It was a good day. I have been waiting for the sakura for a long time and to finally see it out in full bloom was amazing. Tons of people were there too. There were food booths and even some game booths. It was like a festival. I took lots of pictures, and as soon as I get internet in my house (Mayish) I will put up some pictures. Actually, I suppose I should just put up more pictures as a rule. It would make it more interesting I suppose.

Another fun fact of the day is that I was able to wear a shirt that I have never bee able to wear before because it was too tight. It`s still a bit tight, but I felt it was acceptable to wear today. It`s really cute, I like it. It was also warm enough today for me to go mostly sleeveless. (yes, strange way to phrase it, but the shirt has butterfly sleeves, so it is pretty close to sleeveless.)

Randomly, I saw more foreigners than I thought I would. I expected less this far out of Tokyo. Not that it`s important. Just not expected.

Also, I am getting really excited about potential ministry here. I have been allowed to create a new monthly event for kids. We already have a monthly event for adults called Coffee House, and sometimes kids come, but I get to create an event called Gingerbread House for the kids now. Hooray! I am espically happy because this gives me a chance to start exposing these kids to Jesus. Before this there was little exposure happening because they were only here to learn English. I also get to start a weekly story time. I will read a book in English then another teacher will translate. We might sing some songs etc. It will be a good time. I was thinking about this today, and I am going to put up feelers after a while and see what people think about doing the same idea, only in a public place, like the park (on good weather days that is). I think this would be a great way to get the community aware that there is an English school here.  Yeah, I have tons of ideas. But I suppose I shouldn`t bore people here with them.

Anywho, the summary is: Today I am happy.

Monday, March 28, 2005

of moving.

Today is moving day.

I don't know when I will be able to update again as I don't know when I will have internet services in my new home.

On a personal note (as this is my blog, I suppose it's all personal notes), this is all surreal. Strange.

Ok, I am going to actually get busy now. Today will be a long day. Tomorrow I will wake up in my new home. Yeah, no matter how many times I say it, it is still strange. Ok, enough reflecting. Back to packing and cleaning.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

of dawning realizations

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Today I went to Easter Service at my new Church. It was good. After church was a "Hello, Good bye" Party for me and the leaving volunteer. It was also good.

Today, on the way home, in between thinking of all the packing and cleaning I have yet to do, it dawned on me. This was the last time I would be walking down that road to return "home." "Home" will be different tomorrow than it is today. Tomorrow I will go through the process of learning a new area again. Life will change.

How strange it is. I can still hardly believe that I am in Japan. Things have just started sinking in, but now I will become a responsible person with a job and all that jazz.

Well, I'm certain that I had started writing this with some profound thought in mind, but alas, it is not apparent in what I have written. Actually, my mind is not really well organized at the moment, so I suppose this could reflect the randomness of my thoughts. I guess it's just all too much to process.

Life is good. I love Japan. I hate moving. The end.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

of guessing games.

Anonymous Strikes Again! (Everyone run for your lives!) :-D

Ok, so here it is, the official "Guess Who Anonymous Is" post. I've already eliminated a few people from the list of canidates. I can speculate that you are not Dek, Mel or Patrick (well, Patrick's still Iffy, but he swears he is not you, so for now I'll take him at his word. I know you aren't Mel or Dek because you complained that I didn't call you and those would be the two I called.) So, here in begins the game of 20 Questions!

1. Are you male?

2. Have I ever met you in Real Life?

3. Do I know your name?

(questions 4-20 shall be asked after the first three have been answered...)

Monday, March 14, 2005

of looserness.

I've come to this conclusion before, but I continually re-affirm it. I'm a looser. There's just no other way around it. My life can be going great, but I always screw it up.

There is nothing really major that I am complaining about, just the little things that add up. Of course, I don't feel good today, so I guess that brings me down too. But on days like this, all I do is see my loud, blaring, big, honkin faults. It stinks. And then, rather than try to fix things, I push away these thoughts and feelings and try to loose myself in something meaningless.

I think the biggest problem is that I know it's a problem, and yet, I am not changing myself or preventing these actions (or in most cases inactions.)

The good news is, this leaves me rather dependent on God for everything. The bad news is, that sort of thinking allows me to rationalize my sins. Yes, quite the condrum.

I know God loves me (and several people as well, though I can't imagine why), but right now, I don't really like myself all that much.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

of parties, phone calls and late nights.

So today (ok, technically yesterday, but I still consider it today since I haven't gone to sleep yet) I went to a party at the church here. It was an "Aloha Party" for the leaving volunteer and the new one taking his place. It was a fun time. I got to wear my new dress I bought in Hawaii, and I won a pineapple. I really enjoyed it. (the food was good too)

Then I came home and decided I hadn't called any of my friends in the States in a while. So I made two phone calls (each over an hour). It is good to catch up with the people I can't see. While talking with my good buddy Dek, I was reminded that I hadn't updated my website in a while, so I did that while I was on the phone with him. Maybe I will get adventurous and actually work a bit harder to make it look nice. Come to think of it, I need to start work on the English Page soon too. Guess I need to start rounding up information from the volunteers in the program. But that's neither here nor there.

What is relevant (at least to me) is that it is after 3 AM and I have church tomorrow. So I should probably sleep soon. (Unfortunately, I get on productive kicks at the most inconvenient times...)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

of a regular update.

Can it be called a regular update when I don't regularly update? Eh, who knows, and more importantly, who cares?

So anyhow. Yeah, I have one week of Orientation remaining. Or rather, one week of Japanese classes remaining. I think Orientation doesn't officially end until the end of the month. Anyway, this means that teaching is coming up fast. Wow, it means I have to grow up now and become a functioning adult. Weird.

And on other notes... KARAOKE ROCKS!!!! I got to spend about three hours last night hanging out and doing the Karaoke thang. It was great! I am such a fan.

And I now have a working digital camera and I am excited about that too. Maybe soon I can start posting pictures and stuff.

And final random thought of the day. I'm not sure anyone actually reads my blog, but yet, I still feel like I have a responsibility to update it. Strange.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

of persecuted Christians, Kimono's, and good food.

Wow. So today has been so LONG!!! Our Japanese class had a field trip today to visit a museum of persecuted Christians in Japan. So this caused us to be on a train at 8:30 this morning. I just got home right before 11:00 PM tonight. Craziness.

Anywho. It's been a really good day despite how long it was. So here comes the synopsis. Enjoy. :-D

So, we get to the place we were meeting (a good two hours after we get on the first train). We were a little late, but it turns out everyone was late (except for the person we were waiting for). Anyway, we meet this cute little old man who tells us all about this museum (and rants about how Japan is declining and young people need to learn history. He also mentioned that he enjoys the cold weather and often doesn't wear much clothing {like underwear} Yeah, that was the strange part of the conversation...). I could tell you all the info I learned, but that would take forever. Lets just say, for a time in Japan, it was illegal to be Christian (as I understand it, I think this was mainly a reaction against the west by the Shoganate of the time, and since Christianity was from the West, it was not to be tolerated.) So we saw how people hid their relics (most were Catholic so relics and icons were important to them) and became "Underground Christians." It was interesting. We saw crosses in Buddhist altars and hidden in other things. I liked the guards for the katana that Christian Samurai made (I have been inspired to write a historical novel about a Christian Samurai now... First I have to get around to doing research...) Like I said, it was interesting.

Then we went to lunch. I think this town doesn't get many large groups of foreigners (there were 9 of us) because we got a lot of looks and the little old man was taking pictures of us every 5 mins! That's ok, I haven't been here long enough to mind these things yet. But lunch was wonderful. I had the best Tempura Soba of my life. Yummy! Then we got to see the sea (it was one girl's first time, unfortunately, it was a bit nippy so it wasn't all that exciting to go to the beach in winter.) Then we went to a temple and saw some blossoming plum trees. We also saw a cemetery. Buddhist cemeteries always make me sad, because I am confronted with the evidence of all those people who died lost, without Christ.

Well, anyway, after that, we passed this cute little shop on the way to the station. I found some geita (wooden sandals) for really cheap, and wanted to buy them. I ended up buying a whole kimono set too. It all only cost me around $50.00 (this is an estimate because of course I paid in yen.) This is a super deal folks. Of course, I can't fit into the kimono, but that's ok. Maybe I can loose 100 lbs or so and fit in it some day. (yeah, not kidding about the 100 lbs. I really do need to loose that much.) The good news is that the geita fit. Not that this is all that helpfull. I mean how can walking on blocks of wood be comfortable? But it is good to know even if I can't buy Japanese clothes, I can buy shoes. The other good news is that the kimono is not too short on me. So, I just need to try to get it to fit around me and I'll be set. :-)

Well, anyway, after that we made it to the train. I got to spend time talking with B-can (I feel like we haven't really seen each other in weeks! I've been teaching, then she got sick.) and her visiting professor and Travis. It was good times. I amused them to no end with my "creative solutions" to problems I created myself (and my purple fake hair) and B-can told all her funny stories of all the things that have happened to her since she has been here. (they are way more interesting than my stories. Maybe I should start writing them down here too.) It was fun. Then I went to meet my language partner at 5. We had a good time. He remembered that I like okonomiaki (yeah, don't ask, it's really difficult to explain, but believe me it's wonderful!) and researched online for a place to take me to. Man did he ever find a good place! They even had English menus! I have had some of the best food today! We also had good conversations (for once I didn't leave feeling like I put my foot in my mouth a million times.) It was awesome.

Course now I need to watch my money for a while. (Yesterday I went on a bit of a shopping spree as well. But I really am happy with the results) Well, as we all know by now, I can go on and on about these things, but it is late, and once again I have to get up tomorrow early (so far that's been just about every day this week I've had to do something extra), but it's all good. Still, I am exhausted, and sleep is calling my name. I will answer it's call now.

Monday, February 28, 2005

of busy days.

Yeah. Yesterday was Sunday. I woke up (having gone to bed at 5:30 AM - due to sleeping the day away on Saturday {had a headache}) not wanting to go to church. Well, eventually I guilt-tripped myself to going. (my personal theme lately has been my life as a Sacrifice for God, or rather the lack of Sacrifice in my life.) Well, despite the selfishness of my heart, God blessed me yesterday. I spent the whole day with people.

Jim, one of the missionaries from Niigata, is down for a meeting and came to church. After church, he wanted to hang out, so 4 of us went to lunch. (KFC, ick!) It was a good time. They teased me about my inability (or perhaps refusal) to eat any food remotely spicy and we laughed about other things too. It was fun. Then we went back to the church and played cards for a bit, and then it was coffee house time.

Jim left to go pick up his professor from the airport, but the rest of us participated in the English Coffee House for the English school. That was fun too (I didn't do a whole lot, I was feeling the lack of my Sunday Afternoon Nap by this time.) Well, they played some songs from Sound of Music, and as I get silly from lack of sleep, well... Yeah, I got silly. Me and this other man ended up performing the song from the movie (several times). It was fun. (and yes, I do realize that the previous sentence is grammatically incorrect and yet, I don't care. Some English teacher I'll make.)

So after we cleaned up and most everyone went home, another guy wanted to invite us to meet up with this friend of his. So we went to McDonald's for dinner while we waited (again in a group of 4, different 4 than before.) I got a "Happy Set" so I could get a stuffed dog (I was excited because the other girl with us got a Happy Set too, so I didn't feel so silly.) After dinner, one guy left, and was replaced by the guy we were meeting. We went to Starbucks (ick) and sat around for a while longer. It's nice to hang out with people for an entire day. :-)

Last night, after my day of people, I was gonna get online, but the internet didn't want to work. *sigh* Perhaps I am too dependent on it. So I went to sleep. Didn't accomplish anything much this weekend, but I did enjoy the down time after last week. It was good.

And on a happy note, I am sitting down in jeans that I could only stand in before! Horray! That means I am loosing weight. Makes it more difficult to wear clothes, but it's still a good thing. I am also rather happy with the way I styled my hair today. I would describe it, but I really doubt anyone cares. And besides that, I need to leave to pay some bills and make it to class.

So enough wasting my time here. I gotta go. :-)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

of teaching.

So today was my first full day of teaching. Yesterday I taught two classes for the girl I will replace because she was sick. Today I taught all of the classes for her. I certainly don't mind because it lets me get to know the students faster and get more experience. But man, today I'm tired. Not only did I work for 8 hours, but I also had to commute (1 hour each way) for a grand total of 10 hours. Makes for a long day. I am super thankful that I will be living next door to where I will be working. Makes leaving at 9:30 less daunting.

But it certainly was interesting to think that this is what I will be doing for the next two years. Wow, I have so much to say, but I'm so tired I can hardly think. I know that I miss talking to B-kan (fellow missionary in class w/me). It'll be strange when I can't tell her all the things I want to.

There are so many things I wish I could record and keep, but I can't organize my thoughts right now. So anyway, I guess I'll end this and get some sleep. I didn't go to Japanese class today since I had to teach, but tomorrow I still have a Kanji test. *sigh* guess I need to wake up and study for it. Anyhow. Night.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

of nothing in particular.

Yeah, so not much has been going on lately. Woke up to an earthquake this morning. Strange to talk about it so casually, but only one vase (and it was top heavy) was knocked over, so it really wasn't that big of a deal. So, on the Amber Scale of Things, the earthquake was somewhere between Big-Enough-To-Wake-Me-Up and Not-Big-Enough-To-Break-Anything.

Other than that, I've pretty much just been a bum lately. Well, that's normal. Today I remembered I will have two people staying in my apartment for the weekend. You would think this would spur me on to clean. But alas, I am a bum. Yes, tomorrow and Friday will be a mad cleaning rush.

Yeah, my life is far more interesting than a paper bag (well, 99% of paper bags anyway, at least, one would hope) but far less exciting than a super nova. Guess when you put it that way, it's not so bad being in the middle.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

of communion.

I realized today that communion is much more meaningful for me since coming to Japan. Since I worship every week in a language I don't understand, I loose a lot of "meaningfulness" from worship sometimes. But today, as I went forward with fellow believers to receive the body and blood of my Savior, I realized that it doesn't matter what language I worship in. It doesn't matter if I can understand everything that goes on. What matters is that I am still a part of the Church Body. No language barrier can blockade this gift from heaven. How amazing is that? I think I am one step closer to understanding and appreciating this whole communion thing. (took going to a different country, but hey, the good news is that I am learning!)

God is good.

I had more things to say, but I have forgotten them, so enjoy a short post for once. :-)

Friday, February 11, 2005

of attention from men.

Ok, so yes, this is my second post of the day. But no, it's not quite as heavy as the last one.

So, because I am a lazy bum, quite often I allow my dietary needs to be filled by McDonald's (if you call that being "filled"). So, because I was a bum today, and didn't need to go anywhere important, I decided to dress like a bum. I didn't bother to brush my hair (just put on a warm hat) and I threw on a t-shirt and an old flannel shirt of my dad's. Paired with my green cargo jeans, I am certain I just don't look attractive. (not being the type of person to catch guys eyes to begin with)

I am certain it's because I am a foreigner. I go to McDonald's and I take a book to read (it's weird to eat by myself and not have anything to do). As often happens when I have a book, I became absorbed in it and continued reading even after my meal. Well, at some point while I was there, three young men came in and sat near me. For a while, nothing really happened. But I guess they thought it would be a thrill to talk to a foreigner, so they finally got my attention. In really broken English, one guy asked me how old I was. When I replied back in Japanese, they were all really shocked. (that was funny to me) Well, they were just being young men and didn't really want to have a conversation. Like I said, I think it was for the thrill of talking to a foreigner. One guy kept telling me I should be his girlfriend. I think there might have been a couple of lewd comments, but I was having quite a bit of trouble understanding them. After a while they got bored and told me to read my book again. So I did. I thought it would be weird to leave right then, so I read a few more chapters hoping they would leave first. They didn't, so finally I left. It was strange.

But the strangest thing to me is, that I only seem to get attention from strangers when I am dressed all nappy. What's up with that? I don't get it. Maybe it makes me less threatening of a foreigner when I dress that way. Who knows. I don't understand these type of men. They are obviously after only one thing, and really, I am just not the type of girl you pick out of a crowd for that. Strange. Anyway, this makes Unwanted Attention from Strange Men in Public occurrence number 3. I have been in Japan for about three and a half months. I hope this isn't a pattern. Not that this is terribly disturbing to me, just strange.

of inadequacy.

God's been tugging at my heart lately. Unfortunately, I am childish. Imagine a three year old girl who thinks she is all grown up. This little girl is bossy and full of her own knowledge. She loves her parents, but doesn't always listen to them, because of course, she knows best. She is only capable of seeing the world through her selfish perceptions. Now there is really nothing wrong with this in a three year old. You can't expect a three year old to be anything more than a three year old. Unfortunately, this little girl is me.

I am definitely not three. Compared to many people I am still very young, and that's ok. But I am a far cry from three. So why is it that I find myself acting as if I were still three? The answer is of course that I am still a sinful human. For a while I've been trying to ignore this tugging at my heart telling me about my sins. It's quite easy to live live only thinking about yourself. In fact, I do this all the time. I pretend that I'm a "good" person. Of course I am. I am a missionary. I went to a Christian University to study churchwork. I refrain from doing all those horrible things that "bad" people do. Of course I'm a "good" person. Yeah right.

Satan is crafty. It's so easy to tempt me to take credit for things in my life. I have often gotten annoyed when people don't give me credit, or take credit for something I did. But here I am, taking credit for the things God does in my life. It's pathetic. If I look at things from the worldview, I am not really a bad person. If I tried to tell people what a horrible person I am, they would argue with me. But I am not looking at things from the worldview. I can see the parts of me that I hide from everyone else. The parts I am ashamed of. The parts that no matter how much I try to hide them, are always exposed before God. I am a failure.

I'm finding it hard to direct my thoughts. So many things are going through my mind, I can't keep up. Thoughts of grace. Thoughts of works. Thoughts of my failures. Thoughts of my goals. And I still realize that I am only focused on ME. How can I truly serve God if I still only think about myself? I can't stay three forever. I thought that I had given my life to God, but I realize that it was just a token gesture. When there is something I want, or if I just don't feel like it, it's easy to take back my life and declare it is MINE. I do God's work when it suits me, when it is convenient and when I want to. All my decisions in life have been because I WANTED to, not because I was truly allowing God to lead me. I am the three year old pulling her parents along behind her. How arrogant of me! Who am I to tell God where to send me? Who am I to complain that I don't want to do something? Where do I get off?

I am really ashamed of the person I am. I want to give everything to God. To never hold back. But yet, even now, I allow this world to hold me in it's grip.

They told us in class not to compare ourselves to other people. But it's hard. I just read a book about the life of an amazing missionary in Japan. I think about other people who give everything to God. It seems like a glamorous life. I know it's not. But yet my heart longs for that. Unfortunately, I still find that my heart is longing for the wrong things. Instead of longing to serve God, I long to be an important servant. I want to be special and reconized. I want books written about me. I still want these meaningless earthly things. Why can't I be content to serve? I am ashamed.

Yes, Satan is definitely crafty. He knows my weaknesses. He exploits them, and it works.

I am lazy. I am lazy in my life, and I am lazy in my spiritual life. I try to get by with the least amount of effort. But I dream of being great. That is impossible anywhere if you don't put forth effort. I am ashamed.

I was reading this week in 1 Cor. 8 and 9. These two chapters covered doing things for the right reason, and then doing them with everything you have. How I've failed in both of these! I have realized that it is important to do good things. But good things without love (namely the all-encompassing love for God) is worth less than nothing. It is meaningless. And professing love, but not doing good things is proof of empty love. True love permeates every facet of life. It encompasses everything. True love doesn't sit on the couch thinking wistfully about the other person. True love leaves everything thing behind and goes to the ends of the earth.

My entire life has been spent on that couch, reading about true love, and wistfully imagining it. Imagined love is nothing. It can never fill the emptiness. I am so ashamed that this is my life. I want to possess this True Love. I want It to fill me, encompass me, and overflow from my very being. I want to leave behind the things of this world that are meaningless. I want to embrace my love for Christ with every part of my being.

So why do I hold back?

Help me Father. I am not worthy, I know. But You call me Your child anyway. Please break these chains that hold me to this world. Please help me put You before me. Help me be a servant. I know that I can't go instantly from three to twenty-five, but help me grow. Let me be like a three year old who wants to help her parents. I don't have the coordination, or the knowledge to be useful. But loving parents help the three year old to serve. This is all I can ask. I need this same thing. I need You to help me. It's impossible for me otherwise. Please Father! Even now, as I ask for these things, I know my heart is torn. Part of me wants to stay the way I am, even though this life is empty and meaningless. Help me defeat myself! I want You to be my only God. The Only Thing that controls my actions and guides my feet. Please.


Guide me.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

of blue hair and lawsuits.

Just thought it was about that time to write out yet another lengthy post for either
a.) the relief of your boredom
b.) the contribution to your boredom
c.) the death and resurrection of your boredom
d.) all and/or none of the above

(bet you didn't know it would be a multiple choice post huh?)

Today I decided to make sure EVERYONE knows how strange I am, and I got a hair extention! Well, ok, so most people are not going to be all that excited about this, but I am! I am now the proud owner of a blue/purple streak of artificial hair. It was quite the adventure going to the salon, but fortunately Lauren went with me and did most of the speaking. And it was cheap! Only 530 yen!! So I am pretty happy with this. (just don't tell my mom, she'll flip!) So far everyone who has seen it (two ppl) have said it looks nice. The color isn't too bright, so it still looks nice. I will certainly look forward to doing my hair for the next few days. I just can't believe I actually got up enough guts to do something like this. Course, I don't know why. After all, it's not permanent or anything like that, and still lets me be a bit different. So maybe while I am in Japan, I will play around with different types of hair extentions for a while. Somehow I just don't think I could get away with it as much in the states. (churches don't generally like hiring ppl with blue in their hair, well, not girls anyway. Course it would be cool if I found one that did!)

Anyway, on to other things.

I recently read a story online about how these two high school girls stayed home from a school dance because they knew there would be drinking and cursing there. Instead, they decided to bake cookies and give them to their neighbors. What upsets me is that one of the women they gave cookies to, sued these two girls! She claims that because the girls left the cookies at 10:30 at night and then ran away, she had an anxiety attack and had to go to the hospital. The very fact that she sued over this is enough to irk me, but the kicker is that she won! The girls were fined over $900 for her medical and court fees! How wrong is this picture? First of all, the case should have never made it to court. And secondly, I can't imagine how these girls feel. They stayed away from a bad situation and decided to do a kind and thoughtful thing. And they got sued for it! It makes me want to sue the woman for suing the girls. These stupid cases bog up our court system, and increase our taxes. How petty can you get? It really makes me sick to realize how selfish human beings are (myself included). And after realizing that, it fills me with wonder to realize that God, who is perfect, still puts up with us. What amazing love is that? I can't fathom such a thing. I realize that I am just another petty human with my petty "things" that make up my life. And yet God loves me anyway. It is very humbling. And now, after writing all that out, I feel like the "righteous ignidation" I originally had aimed at that woman, is petty as well. And this is the reason God runs the universe and not me.

Anyway. Thank you for reading. You may now return to your previously scheduled lives.

Monday, January 31, 2005

of things that make me happy.

Today has been a good day. I was woken up with a call from my parents. They both seem to be in good moods lately and that is always a good thing. The call was nice. So after they hung up, I decided to call some other friends of mine. That was a fun conversation as well.

Well, along the way, I managed to get distracted and I neglected getting ready for class until the last possible minute. Fortunately, I managed to make it just in time to catch the train that would prevent me from being seriously late. Lucky. :-) Class wasn't all that exciting, but it wasn't horrible either. But the fun came afterwards.

I got mail! Yes, that is always fun and exciting. Especially when it is something you have been waiting for. I ordered a coat last week, and it got here this week. (good shipping.) Now, the story is that I have been searching for a coat since middle of summer. I am from Texas. You don't really need good coats there. But here it is colder and I spend way more time walking outside than I did in Texas. But it was quite the adventure trying to find a suitable coat. Well, finally we found one and my parents bought me a nice expensive coat. It is down and long and SUPER COOL! At first I wasn't sure how well I would like it, but I thought it would be ok as long as it fit and kept me warm (plus being down it wouldn't take up too much room or be too bulky.) Well, it turns out it has tons of fun pockets (I really love pockets) and a two way zipper and other cool things. I am happy with the coat.

Well, that's enough for a good day, but I got to ride the train home with Bethany (other missionary) and we talked some. We even managed to get her a seat on the more crowded train line. Well, several stops later, a large group of old women come on the train. They got one seat near us and gave it to one of the women. Another couple of stops, and the woman next to Bethany got off. So Bethany got up too to give another woman her seat so they could sit together. The women were all impressed by this. They starting talking to us some and asking us some questions. But they mostly laughed at us (I think they thought we were cute foreigners or something.) Well, this was amusing for me. But the embarrassing part came when it was time for us to get off the train. I gathered up my box (from my coat) and as we started to leave, this entire bench of old women chorus at us "Arigato" and "Take care" (in Japanese, I can't remember what the word is). Yeah, it was really embarrassing. (you have to understand too that people don't talk much on trains, so we definitely stood out by this happening) Yes, they were cute old ladies, but it was definitely embarrassing.

Anyway, that's the tale of my good day.