His All-Sufficient Grace

nojiri2013-83-eI don’t usually repost, but I can’t help myself today.  I mentioned in my last post that a dear friend has been lost to this earth.  I will meet her again in heaven, but until then I will miss her greatly.  I had a whole post that I was going to write in her memory, but I wrote it in my journal instead.  I wrote about my friend five years ago.  She is now reunited with her son.

One memory that I have of her is singing His All-sufficient Grace.  No one could sing it like she did.  She knew the meaning of every word through experience.  My husband translated the song into Japanese several years ago and every time we sing it, I think of her.

O’erwhelmed by His mercy, amazed by his grace;

I am cleansed from all sin, every sign every trace.

Jesus left heaven’s portals, Himself to abase;

I’m o’erwhelmed by His mercy and His all sufficient grace.

***

I will rest in His keeping each night and each day,

For I know that He’s leading each step of the way.

Tho’ the valleys of sadness at times I must face,

Still He comforts all heartaches with His all-sufficient grace.

***

O what love God bestows upon all who believe:

He will free you from guilt when His Son you receive,

He has promised to keep you, prepare you a place,

If you’ll take of His mercy and His all sufficient grace.

***

God’s everlasting mercy, oh what tender relief,

When burdened with sorrow and laden with grief;

When I think that on Calvary Christ died in my place,

I’m o’er-whelmed by His mercy and His all-sufficient grace.

~H. A. Taylor

Birthdays and Friendship

My birthday is the end of May and a dear friend here has her birthday the beginning of June.  This one-two week window is peak season for roses blooming at a nearby rose garden.  I know I have posted pictures from here in the past, but this year I was able to go for the first time in three years.

Anne Frank rose garden: The rose in her memory is a beautiful blend of yellow and coral.

We met there the day after the mission team left.  It was a welcome reprieve!  I love being outdoors, walking in the scent of the roses and talking with a friend.  It was a great day!

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills…

Yesterday I gave you a sneak peak at Chasuyama.  A friend and new Christian has access to a beautiful vacation home.  She invited me to go with her for our own little retreat.  We had a wonderful time in the mountains.  The temps were cooler and the walks were lovely.  The views took my breath away.  For me, the  most relaxing place to be is the mountains.  If there is a body of water or a small stream that is perfection!  Here are a few pictures from our time away.

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at the top of Chasuyama
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Chasuyama
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the view drving down Chasuyama
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This area is known as the southern alps of Japan.
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This photo was taken with the self-timer on the deck.

I am thankful to the Lord for His beautiful creation and for the memories we create with friends.

Life in the USA

If you have read this blog for long, you know that I am a missionary living in Japan. I have been back in the states now for about 5 weeks and I have learned that life in the states is very hectic!!! I am enjoying every moment, but have been extremely busy. Prices are higher than I remember them being. Styles in clothing have changed. Neighborhoods have changed with new buildings going up. Traffic is fast and gas is cheap compared to what I normally pay. I miss my doggie, but I am enjoying others. Today I bought 2 red bell peppers for less than $1! In Japan, I pay about $2 for 1! I bought 2 cantalopes for $5. In Japan, they run about $20! I don’t buy those. We are eating a lot of cantalope right now! That would explain the orange glow of our skin! 🙂 Just kidding!

Please forgive me for not updating this blog more often. Much is happening, but there is little time to write. I will be returning to Japan in 7 weeks. In the meantime, I am enjoying time with family and friends and with the son I will be leaving behind…

I Wish I Could…

I just spent a few minutes reading e-mail and browsing some blogs. I wish I had the time to give book reviews, show all my hobbies, or do a blog on some passion of mine. The truth is I just don’t have the time to read books, do hobbies or write about a passion of mine right now. Maybe I never will. So, I will be content with just sharing what is going on in my life and hope that there are some that receive a blessing from it. We had some very special visitors recently, my dear friend and her two daughters from my home church.
We had a wonderful time with them while they were here.
They were a great encouragement to us and our church people.

The sacred concert was a great success with many first-time visitors.

The weather was perfect for the barbeque afterwards.

We took one day off for our annual trip to the rose garden in Kani.

A Day Out of the City

Last week I told you of all the many things that I had to do this week. Most of it is done now. My final exam was yesterday. I plan to continue studying, but I am taking this semester off from language school. I need a break to try to catch up. We still have a guest and then there is Easter on Sunday. I have to make unleavened bread for communion and I can’t find my recipe. I’ll have to do a websearch when I am done with this post.

 

Today I took a much needed day off and went to a Hanami Matsuri with a my sister-in-law and a friend. We had a wonderful time!

These booths are a lot like fair booths in the USA. There was food and games and more food.

 

We ate Okonomiyaki. It’s sort of like a big pancake with cabbage, seafood, egg and pork. Then when it is done, it is folded in half and a sauce is brushed on it. It was yummy! I had to request one without an egg. I seem to have developed an allergy to eggs in recent years. Since I am a foreigner, I hate to do this. I always think that they probably think that it is because I don’t like it.

 

Cherry blossoms as far as the eye can see!

This was a delightful day. It was like a retreat for me. It is an hour and a half drive one-way for me, but worth it. My home church sent me cds of the recent ladies’ retreat. I listened to them on the way and almost finished the last one before arriving back home. On the way, I could see snow-topped mountains in the distance and cherry trees blooming on the sides of the highway. On my return trip, I saw the sunset over the mountains. I am refreshed and ready for what tomorrow holds.

Gifts

I was thinking about gifts today. There are so many that we experience: the love of family and friends, the seasons, our homes and the things in them. All of these are gifts that come from God. Even the joy from the experience is a gift from Him. Sometimes a special gift comes my way and I always thank God for laying it on the heart of the giver. Here are two special gifts that I have received recently.Maggie Ann sent these to me. She made them and they are lovely. The button bracelets are fun to wear and make me think of her. My daughter likes hers too!

This doll was made for me by a dear friend of mine. Years ago we went to doll-making class together. Mine aren’t half as pretty as hers. She is now teaching her own class. I am in the process of making one under her supervision, but it will be a while before I am able to finish it.
The dolls are made from washi paper. The center of the body is a chopstick that is inserted in a black lacquer bottom. My friend does beautiful work! She probably made up this pattern herself. Oh, to be so talented!

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
~Matthew 7:11

Valentine’s Day in Japan

Valentine’s Day and White Day in Japan
By: Billy Hammond
*****
The Japanese celebrate St. Valentine’s day in a rather unique fashion. Women give the men gifts of chocolate as well as other gifts.
These gifts of chocolate are divided into two types: giri choco (obligatory chocolate) and honmei choco (chocolate for the man the woman is serious about). Giri choco is given by women to their superiors at work as well as to other male co-workers. It is not unusual for a woman to buy 20 to 30 boxes of this type of chocolate for distribution around the office as well as to men that she has regular contact with.
Needless to say, the approach of Valentine’s Day is something that department stores and shops look forward to and promote with zeal because of its potential for increased sales. Large displays featuring chocolate usually with heart-shaped displays start to grace the floors of department stores from mid-January or so.
A woman will normally purchase boxes of giri choco in the several hundred yen range and may purchase an expensive box of honmei choco and another gift such as a necktie for her “special someone”. While all of this may seem quite one-sided, confectioners in Japan – never ones to miss an opportunity to sell more – took advantage of the Japanese feelings of obligation and created “White Day” in 1980 to help assuage the guilt feelings of those poor obligated males who received chocolate on Valentine’s Day.
On March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day, men who were lucky enough to receive gifts of chocolate have the chance to return the favor by giving the women who gave them gifts of chocolate a more expensive box of chocolate or sweets (for some reason or other, these return gifts seem to be priced slightly higher than those the women purchase). Again, the stores provide plenty of reminders of the approach of this day so that even the most forgetful man cannot say that it slipped his mind. The gifts of chocolate that men buy are in white boxes (after all, it is “White Day”) and come with separate shopping bags to put them in.
~~~~~

I am so glad that our salvation through Christ is a free gift. We only have to receive it…

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
~Ephesians 2:8,9

Day Off

I took a much needed day off on Friday and went to a neighboring city to visit a friend. We went to Mino and visited a bread shop and had tea.
I can’t remember the name of what we had, but it was wonderful tea! It was sweet without sugar and had a citrus flavor. We couldn’t decide on bread, so we got two different ones and shared. It’s not in the picture because we already ate it! 🙂

For lunch, she taught me how to make chirashizushi and daikon salad. It was yummy and much easier to make than I thought it would be. (the photo is borrowed and not actually of what we ate) I have learned to love daikon. There is so much you can do with it and it has virtually no calories! I’ve been doing some reading about the Japanese diet. Japanese women do not show their age as quickly as western women and there are not near as many overweight Japanese women. They contribute it to what they eat. I need to take more lessons from these women that I live among!