Friday, November 22, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun!

It is difficult to imagine that Christmas is only about a month away!  It seems like we just started the school year!  I guess it means that I'm having fun, after all, "Time flies when you're having fun!"  
I'm thinking that the question you must be asking is, so what sort of fun am I having?  I guess it is just living life.  I have to admit it isn't all fun, but I have to say I enjoy the learning given to me by the challenges placed in my path, even if they aren't always pleasant.  
One blessing is the Middle School's participation in Operation Christmas Child (OCC).  I always remember my nephew and niece's story when they were in Kosovo distributing OCC boxes and that same year Washington Christian Academy and Silver Spring CRC both participated in packing boxes.  It was so fun to hear the story from beginning, packing the boxes, to the end, delivering the boxes to children.  
Middle and Elementary School boxes.  They were arranged for the picture.  :)
High School boxes, They were not arranged for a picture.  :)
We had collected a total of about 130 boxes.  That is almost a third more than last year.  I imagine that there are 30+ more children who will have a present to open and have the story of Jesus shared with them.  
Last week I went with a friend, Momo N. to IKEA.  She actually knew my brother's family and I was able to meet up with her here in Tokyo when I came here last year.  Her schedule and my schedule do not always coincide very well, but we were able to meet up last Saturday.  I did have a purpose for going to IKEA: to purchase a bookcase for my office, and find an area rug.  I did end up purchasing a bookcase, but it turned out to not be the one I wanted.  Not all was lost however, we did stop and buy some Swedish meatballs!  :)  

Today I am going to IKEA again with another friend and hopefully I'll be able to purchase the bookcase I want.  :)  
This weekend I have the privilege of staying at the VanderHaak's with Hana.  I really believe that a dog is man's and women's best friend.  Hana is always excited to see me.  I'm not sure if it's because when I come we usually go for a walk or if it's really that she enjoys my company.  :)  So this morning we went on a four kilometer walk down the river.  I usually enjoy that walk and I think Hana does too.  
Hana ready for a walk.
Whenever I walk the river on a Saturday, I usually find photographers taking nature pictures.  I'm always amazed at the equipment they bring and set up at the river.  
Some serious photographers.
The first part of our walk tended to be more of a "stop and sniff" type of walk.  It can take a while before we have walked a kilometer at this pace.  I do find that Hana will walk more towards the end of the walk.  
I'm sure there was something interesting to sniff!
It is a beautiful sunshiny day today.  I'm sitting outside with Hana as I'm writing this post.  I am grateful that I am able to serve God here in Japan.  People are generally polite, I had a number of people greet me while walking.  Just a little bit ago, there were some people taking some elderly folks in wheelchairs on a walk and we greeted each other, which brought smiles to their faces and warmed my heart.  I pray that these positive interactions may somehow show Jesus to them.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reflecting 2

It is difficult to believe that it is 16 years ago today that God called my Mom home.  When I think of that day, sometimes it seems just like yesterday.  Yes, I still miss my mom, especially when there are exciting events that happen.  I think that she would have really enjoyed being there.  On the other hand, I think about what the last 16 years must have been for my mom and I would not wish her back on this earth.  Where she is now, is a much better place.
With my parents, my dad tended to be the one who loved to talk and make jokes.  My mom loved fun as well, but she was more quiet than my dad.  When I think about the life she led on this earth, God have her a tremendous amount of strength to be able to adjust to living in a new country, with a language she did not know, with customs that were different, a life style that was quite different, all the while raising four boys and one girl.  Mom's dad was a teacher and she grew up "in town," but when they immigrated to Canada, mom learned how to haul pigs and milk cows.  Quite a drastic change.
During the last year of mom's life here on earth, I visited her every day if I was in Abbotsford.  I remember one time she asked me to read Romans 8: 31 - 39.  She chose that passage not so much for her to gain strength to face death, but for me to be able to have strength to face her death.
Mom loved her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She would do just about anything for them, if she could.  Her prayer was that each of us would follow the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  She was a great woman of faith and an example of a person whose strength was in the Lord.

Mashiko 3

Today was festival day in Mashiko.  Brian, Bette and I started our day early with some breakfast at Jonathan's and then on to Mashiko for the pottery festival.  Traffic was quite slow and it took us about 3.5 hours before arriving.  

Look down one of the main streets.
One of the main streets in Mashiko.
This is my third time visiting Mashiko and my second to the festival.  I'm starting to recognize the shops and the types of pottery they sell.  I really enjoy wandering through the shops and seeing what sort of unique items are displayed, whether that be the shape or the colors.  During the festival there are a large number of booths, so it fun to walk around.  
There's a lot of pottery but they also sell food.  
I was able to make a number of purchases, some for my office and some for my kitchen.  One thing I did not purchase was a fish-on-a-stick.  Brian says it's one of his favorites.  
It doesn't look bad, but it does have a lot of salt.
There is one shop that makes and sells indigo.  It's quite a fascinating place.  


Some finished products.
I ended my time in Mashiko with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, served in a ceramic cup!  
Sure tasted good after a good walk.  
I think I'll be up for another visit again sometime.  Thank you to the VanderHaak's for being willing to take me along!