Thursday, September 12, 2013

Final of Parent's Visit

The day has come! Here are the lasts pictures and places of my parents trip. And while I am a day late, it's fitting to share more photos of them because they just celebrated their anniversary!
And these happen to fall in no particular order because I have lost all track.
We took the rope way up the mountain, enjoyed the scenery and then mom and dad had a quick herbal foot bath. There was so many people waiting that day that I just decided to sit this one out. When we go to the top there was a school class there and they were so excited to try out their English on us. We then hiked down the mountain, a good leg workout to say the least.
Another afternoon, we headed over to the port of Kobe, pretty close to where we live. They have a bunch of shopping and restaurants right near the water. We decided to go up in the tower before the sunset, sit and have a snack and drink while the top revolved, and then enjoyed the sunset. Afterwards we grabbed dinner at a buffet that offered all kinds of different Japanese cuisine. I think I mentioned a while back we took in plenty of baseball, four games overall.
Then we ventured into Osaka to check out the Umeda Sky Building. Brandon I had never been before but he sees it on his daily commute and I had heard neat things about it. It is two separate buildings connected at the top with an observatory deck. Thinking we would get a pretty view we headed up before dark and stayed while the sunset. It was pretty hazy that particular day but still offered up a great view!
And I forgot this one from our time in Hiroshima. Mom had heard about these famous pancakes, which I now see everywhere but before their visit had no clue about them. So we found a little shop right near peace park. I wasn't so sure about it but I was starving and needed to eat something. They are actually pretty good and we had them once more during their visit.
And that...concludes my parents visit from MAY! I can't believe we leave in a month because looking back to when they visited seems like yesterday! I have no idea when I will start recapping my sisters trip. She actually said she would write that for me, but obviously I'm in no rush to get things done, possibly before Christmas.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Snippets

Happy Saturday! I definitely woke up with a happier heart today. It's the weekend and I have plans to go pick out fabrics for this quilt I'm planning to make. Instead its raining but I think I'm going to go anyway. Here is the quilt. I have had my eye on it for quite some time and when I found the PDF file for sale online, I decided to make that my September project. Now to pick some gender neutral colors. Only thing that can make it cuter is a snuggly (not to be confused with ugly, Mom) little baby!

I also just finished booking our flights HOME! October 16th is the lucky day and we have a three night layover in HAWAII. What travel agent booked that - oh wait, I DID!!! A little early two year anniversary celebration/vacation before baby. Two birds. One stone. We are simple like that. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Bigger Purpose

I received some reading material from our church family a few weeks back. Normally Brandon leaves shortly after I wake up, if not before, and I have time alone to eat my breakfast. As I flip through different articles and devotionals I try to find something to kick start my day. A nugget of wisdom here or a bible verse there, whatever jumps out at me.
I stumbled upon this article titled Embracing Change in the July issue of Homelife and knew it was right up my alley. For whatever reason, I didn't begin to read the article, instead it was laid open to the page on the floor of our bedroom for several days. I knew it was going to slap me in the face with truth and I guess my instinct was to avoid the convictions I knew were written upon the following pages.
Then one night as I was trying to fall asleep, Brandon already off deep in dreamland, I found myself anxious and unsettled. I couldn't pinpoint the exact reason but I have no doubts that it had part to do with hormonal changes and part to do with this season that seems to be dragging on.
Of course, I pick up the article and start to read. Basically a couple gets married, has a baby, moves across the US, on one income.
Seems pretty familiar. I found my gut in my throat...gulp... and pressed on reading.
Word after word I couldn't read fast enough.....
...if Christ is at the center of your marriage, your job isn't to create a comfortable life but to develop a life that's securely grounded, despite uncomfortable circumstances.....
Japan, uncomfortable, surely not. I can put food on the table, take a hot bath, and live more comfortable than lots of people in our world. ... it's the result of an intentional, daily commitment to submitting yourself, your plans, and your personal comfort to the authority of God...
Not so easy, my plans, whatever they may be, feel only achievable from the land of the US and personal comfort - goodbye favorite restaurants and Target shopping. I know what it sounds like, you snob. And I won't deny it, I can't hide in my sin and selfishness to want these things. And yet I read on.
...Abraham and Sarah announcing to their entire family that they were to pack up because God told them to travel to an unknown place (Genesis 12)....when Noah told his family God commanded him to build an ark because it was going to rain (Genesis 6)...reflect on Job, who was determined to trust God even when his wife didn't (Job 2)...the most shocking of all, Mary telling Joseph she was pregnant and the father was God...
Whoa. I'll let that sink in for a second.
...God doesn't promise stability; however, submission to His will does promise security - in your marriage and in your life.
Like I knew it would, the article stirred in my heart many things.
  • Our marriage is securely grounded in Christ whether we live in Alabama or Japan. Amen for that.
  • My attitude (as of lately) has not been intentional in submitting to the authority of God's will and not my own. In my eager attempt to rush home I may be missing daily opportunities to serve others. My dad told me a few years back that I have a tendency to always want to be somewhere else, instead of being where I am. He is right.
  • Knowing that we very well could be returning for a second season, with a child, has triggered some (okay a lot) of questioning of our purpose and time in Japan. The answer may show tomorrow or this week, but mostly likely we are seed planters and the harvest may not show for years. Who's lives are we supposed to touch while we are here? Maybe its someone back home reading our story? Where do we find maximum opportunities to love others and live out the truths we read daily? Or are we here, Brandon and I, for our marriage? For the bad to be whittled away (cause lets face it we are not perfect) and the good to grow into something even better. Now that to me is exciting stuff. Opportunities to change and impact others... I like it!
This past week I have only been able to feel this nasty cloud of restlessness, an unsettled feeling, and angst (none of which can be good for baby). I've been trying to hash it out daily. I thought perhaps spending more time being grateful for the small things would help or talking with Brandon. Each time I tried to bring it up the words just came out sounding like, "I hate this place get me home."  I reasoned that it was okay to feel that way, ready to be home, and while I know that it is okay to feel that, I cannot go on feeling only that.
Then last night I started writing a version of this post in my head and I started to feel better. Only problem was it was 3:30 am and I was snug as a bug, with the hamster wheel turning. I woke up today with one goal -- to shake the feeling that has been bringing me down. 
Okay so its more of a three part goal to work on.  To seek and find contentment in our circumstances. To trust the architect of my life's plan. And to focus on the positive outcomes that my very small presence could make to someone or in someone's life.
Really long story short, whatever or however it may appear our life is, it is nothing short of a life full of trials, both happy and sad, moments of anxiety and worry, frustrations, and insecurities. I do try to keep this blog a happy place, same with my Facebook and Instagram feeds, chocked full of good happy memories. I use this little space to share and open up, because a lot of times after I do, I feel much better, even if no one else reads what I have to say. 

 **Bold text is borrowed and paraphrased from Embracing Change by Wynter Pitts. July 2013 issue of Homelife**

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Finally September & A Birthday Shout Out

I have almost caught up completely with my parents trip but going to take a little break before I finish the last few days worth of activities.
First - Happy Birthday to my younger brother! Can't believe he is 24 today. It's totally sinking in that I need family time. Family time being a holiday game of balderdash or something of the like. Boy am I excited to get home to see everyone.
It's our last full month of living in Japan!! Can I get an AMEN? Yep, we will hopefully be home mid-October so this is the last full month residing in Japan...until next year. (Possibly/Probably/Still unknown) I am pretty much over this baseball season for many reasons I can't explain here. We are trying to get our flights booked that include a mini vacation on the way home. But still don't have an official day of when we will be finished. All the rainout games get tacked on to the end of the season, as if it needed to be any longer.
Last week we went to the doc for our 20 week checkup, at 21 weeks but whatever. Dr. said everything looked good and didn't give us any accidental indication of whether a little lady or gent will be joining us. At this point we still have not purchased anything for baby. I guess it's because I know that luggage space on the way home is hard to come by. Sorry kid.
Speaking of space, someone hast totally take over my space in the last eight weeks and I love it. I knew I was getting bigger but didn't really see it until I put on the exact same outfit. I'll admit getting used to this new body of mine has been a little weird and made me selfish at times but now that I'm feeling this baby moving and shaking its beyond worth it. And that's all I got for now, just counting down the days until we head home.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nara. Take Two

And although Kyoto is one of my favorite cities here in Japan, Nara just happens to be a close second. It's just peaceful and relaxing and so much like being in the country with all the surrounding deer. We went to Nara on the last day my parents visited. It is about an hour train ride but there isn't a huge hurry to do or see a lot in a small time. It was relaxing and didn't involve a ton of walking which we thought would be a good thing the day before a long flight.