Last week was a national holiday here. Golden Week occurs from the end of April through the first few days of May and is a week that has four national holidays.  Many people travel during this time.  We took the time to escape from the big city and visit my husband’s parents in the countryside. I love spending time here. I enjoy the fellowship with family. I also enjoy the slower pace and the long walks along the river and the rice fields.  At this time of year, the farmers are flooding the rice fields and beginning to plant. I never get tired of seeing the reflections in the water.  The view depends on the time of day. Sometimes you can see the mountains reflected and other times you can see the buildings that are in the area.

As I was walking and thinking about all I was seeing, I began to think about other types of reflections.  The most important reflection would be what I know and meditate on about my God.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
~A. W. Tozer

In the comments of a post by Whitney, she mentioned keeping a list of what she learns about God from her daily Bible time on her phone.  I’m a notebook and paper kind of girl, but I don’t always have a notebook with me.  I do find myself using my phone for things more often than not. So I started a note in my app on my phone called “One Thing” based on Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”

When I was a much younger woman, I remember that an assistant pastor at our church encouraged us to get one thought from the Word each day.  I have tried to maintain this habit for years, but I don’t always write it down. If I do, I might write it on the page for the day in my bullet journal.  I liked the idea of having it in one place on my phone so that I can see it any time I want.  I have found myself reviewing my “one thing” while waiting in line or sitting in the car. These are times when I would not have my notebook with me.

In closing, I would like to share one of my recent entries.  Maybe you’d like to share one of your thoughts from the Word in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you.

 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12

“…make those verses our own through faith and obedience. For a stronger faith, focus your mental energy on the verses God gives you. That’s the best exercise of the soul. Where there is a command, obey it. Where there is a prayer, offer it. Where there is a truth, believe it. Where there is a message, repeat it. Where there is a promise, claim it by faith.” ~Robert Morgan, author of Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation.

A Cultural Moment

Context can be everything. Even though we have lived in Japan for many years, we still think and act instinctively like a westerner.

My husband and I had lunch at a favorite lunch buffet recently. He came back to our table with some fish and commented that they had avocado for the fish and how unusual that was.  I was so excited!! He got some for me too. I slathered it all over my fish as he took the first bite. I am so glad that he took that first bite. Turns out it was wasabi!  The heat from wasabi can make you feel like your face is coming off. The only good thing about it is that the heat doesn’t last like it does when eating hot peppers. We should have known that it was wasabi.  After all, we were in Japan and when did we ever see them serve avocado with fish? I’m sure that when we see what looks like avocado in the future, we will be more apprehensive.  

P.S.  Wasabi is good in moderation swirled in soy sauce, especially with sushi.  

A Cultural Moment

I was on my morning walk recently when I saw this.  Since we have been on furlough, it’s been awhile since I have seen this and it surprised me!  When the sun is shining and there is no threat of rain, you will see the Japanese airing out their beds.  They are often hanging from open windows or a veranda.

I also noticed that the cherry blossoms are almost here.  I can’t wait!  Unfortunately, I checked the weather forecast for the next several days and it is calling for lots of rain.  That won’t make for a very pretty cherry blossom season, but I’m sure it will help with the social distancing!!

I think I have the problem with the blurry photos figured out.  If you happen to notice that they are still blurry for you, would you mind dropping me a comment below. Thanks!

Christmas Cheer

Life abroad can be challenging at times.  In Japan, Christmas is not a holiday.  New Year’s day is the big event.  The first year we were here, we told the school our children were attending that their winter holiday would begin December 24th.  There were very few Christmas decorations.  Hearing a Christmas song over the loudspeaker was so rare it was shocking.  I remember the first time I heard “He rules the world with truth and grace…” and thinking that the people don’t know know who He is.

Sometimes it’s hard to get into the Christmas spirit.  I know the focus of Christmas is not about the decorations, music, movies and events that all come with the season.  It is about the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  There are several things I am doing to keep my attention on this most important reason for this season. One is reading from Gospel Meditations for Christmas.


Times are changing as western culture meets eastern culture.  There are lots of Christmas decorations around in the shopping areas. They are definitely making use of the season in that way.  They even had a Black Friday here this year.  What?!?!?!?  How can you have a Black Friday when you don’t have a Thanksgiving??

Although people don’t understand what Christmas is, they know it has something to do with the church.  This is our busiest time of the year for ministry simply because people are interested in Christmas activities.  We have the most visitors this time of the year.  I recently posted about our Friend Party.  Last week we had our Children’s Christmas Party and Sunday the 23rd will be our Christmas program with a huge potluck afterwards.  These are highlights of our year.


I really scaled down on the decorating this year.  I was in the states until the week before Thanksgiving.  I just didn’t have the energy required to do it all, especially while recovering from jet lag.  It generally takes me at least two weeks to feel like myself again.  I did put up the Christmas tree and the Nativity.  I also displayed some of my Christmas china.  I am enjoying the simplicity this year.  I am starting to think it may be time to slow down and keep things simple every year.

If you are on Instagram, you might enjoy following #12daysofcozy2018.  It is hosted by Whitney of Come Home for Comfort.  I decided to participate this year.  I always enjoy countdowns and this one has been fun.  I’ve also enjoyed seeing everyone else’s posts.  It’s a nice way to spread that Christmas cheer!! Another thing, that I enjoy is Jacquie Lawson’s advent calendar. There is a new video or activity for each day.  There are also some games that I enjoy.  This year you were able to design your own plaid.  What fun!  You can see one of mine on the sofa.

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So as I spend my 4th Christmas in a row without any of my children, I am thankful for the little things that help to make this holiday season a joyous one.  Pray for your missionaries and their families during this season. Technology is a marvelous thing.  It can bring you closer to those you love who are so far away, but it can also cause you to miss them more.  Maybe next year…





A Cultural Moment


In Japan, the housewife generally takes care of the money, budgeting and bills.  The husband gives his paycheck to the wife. She gives him an allowance and then she makes sure all the bills get paid, etc.  In the USA couples usually do what works for them. There isn’t necessarily a standard way to do it.

When you are in a restaurant, it is generally the wife who pays the bill.  I always chuckle when I see my hubby waiting in a line of women waiting to pay our bill.  My husband always chuckles when they lay the bill in front of me.  😉

The Rising Sun


I live in the Land of the Rising Sun.  “Nippon and Nihon (Japanese for Japan) literally mean “the sun’s origin”, that is, where the sun originates, and are often translated as the Land of the Rising Sun.” The Japanese flag is a representation of the rising sun.  A little side note…those of us who live here often call it the Land of the Ball of Red Tape.  😉

We don’t do daylight savings time (DST) here.  I kind of like that.  It does make it difficult to figure out what time it is in the USA when I want to make a phone call.  For example, sometimes we are 14 hours ahead and sometimes we are 13 hours ahead.  We don’t change, but those in the USA do, or at least most of them.

There is one thing that does change for us, which is true of everyone in the world.  That would be the time of the sunrise.  In the peak of summer, it will rise around 4:30 a.m.  In church Sunday, everyone was yawning.  Those of us from the USA were commenting about having “sympathy tiredness” for our friends and family in the USA. HA!  Then it occurred to us as we were talking that with the sun rising earlier each day, we were waking up earlier than usual. There’s only one solution, time to reset the body clock and go to bed earlier. That will definitely be a trick for this night owl!

photo credit:  free photo from google images

Left Field

left fieldSometimes things catch us off guard.  They come from the proverbial “left field”  and we are left reeling wondering what in the world is going on.

I’m going to be transparent.  I have been struggling recently. I am a missionary in a country that is not my own.  There are things going on in the lives of my children that I long to be a part of and it makes me sad, because I feel like I am missing out.  We talk or text often, so it’s not like they aren’t trying to keep us in the loop.  I just long to be there. In Japan, a lot of things that have been part of my comfort zone have changed and/or are completely gone, such as a favorite store, a favorite perk at a store, a favorite restaurant, etc.  I’ve also had some culture clashes recently and I’m dealing with a physical struggle…again.  Add that all up, and it makes for a very unhappy camper.

I’m writing this on a Sunday evening.  The Lord spoke to me today in that still small voice through His Word. For one thing, I realized that even though I have been in Japan for over 15 years, I can still experience culture shock.  I need to return to the things that helped me when experiencing this in the past. God helped me before, He will help me again.

The Lord can also meet my other needs.  I need to turn to Him.  If I do this, there will be exciting times ahead such as finding a new favorite store, etc.  I also need to think on things to be thankful for instead of looking at the negative things that are happening. This will help me to take my thoughts captive and have a better attitude.

Life is full of changes and there are always new areas for growth.  I hope you will join me and keep pressing on!

until the next time…

photo credit:  free photo from google images

Opening Ceremonies

It’s that time again.  Winter Olympics 2018 has begun!  There is excitement and eager anticipation while we wait to see who will come out on top of each event.

It is always interesting to me to watch the opening exercises.  The culture and beliefs of that country are always showcased at this time.  This year the event is in Asia, Korea to be exact.  While there are many things unique to Korea, there are many things that are similar in other Asian countries, including the one that I live in.

At one point, a large group filled the stadium stage.  There were drums and choreography.  It was stunning.  The commentator made an interesting statement.  In this country “the group is more important than the individual.”  This philosophy shines through in many areas of life in this part of the world.

The culture I live in is one of conformity.  People who ‘think outside the box’ don’t fit well in society.  This explains the difficulties that many national Christians face.  They are ‘outside the box.’  They don’t conform when there are national holidays or events that are centered around idolatry.  Sometimes they actually become outcasts from their family.  It is a big step here when a national is baptized.  It is a public statement that separates them from their culture.  My husband has often said that you can’t be a good Japanese and a good Christian.  Their culture is intertwined with the idolatry of buddhism and shintoism.

It was also interesting to me when the single gong was sounded.  The commentators explained that this represented new beginnings and a new step in spiritual enlightenment.  This is very common here at New Year’s.  It’s a very quiet holiday here.  The New Year enters with the single gong and a meditative silence, with none of the celebrations that westerners enjoy.  Of course, as there is more and more influence from the west, this is changing in some areas.  On New Year’s Eve we drove an half an hour to see fireworks.  We didn’t know that they would only last for 3 whole minutes!!  HA!!!

Pray for your missionaries.  It is very difficult sometimes to work within the parameters of the culture.  Sometimes we have to take a stand against something within the culture, not to mention the philosophy of the group being more important than the individual.  As an American, we think the exact opposite.  I heard a national pastor pray one time for a new missionary.  He asked the Lord to help them think like a Japanese so that they could minister more effectively.  That is a prayer to pray for any missionary!!

As you watch the opening and closing ceremonies of this Olympics and Olympics in the future, I pray that you will watch looking for ways to pray for your missionaries and the national Christians in that country.  If you are seeking, you will find!!