Tuesday, January 24, 2012


WOW! Already a month into 2012! It’s been a busy month for us here as we are back in full swing with classes as well as church and volunteer activities. We’ve been fortunate so far not to have snow build up on the roads here in town. A little strange since some of the area ski resorts have reported up to double the snow they had at the same time last year! One of the elementary schools I drive to each week now has over 6 ½ feet of snow!!!! And at the top of the mountain there is just under 10 feet!! Fortunately we’ve only had frozen water trouble twice so far and John’s handy man work helped them not to last too long. Even after 8 winters it still is unnerving to get up in the mornings and see the thermometer with reading in the low to mid 30's...inside the house!! We are thankful though to have two oil/fan heaters that we can set to come on in the kitchen/bath area and the computer room so that the chill is not quite so shocking when we shower and share our morning devotional/Bible time. Since I usually get the first morning shower I'm especially grateful for the one in that area!
You know how you always hear stories about people feeling 'led' to do something? We all have those moments or feelings sometimes I think. At times we act on them and others we just sort of 'talk ourselves out of it'. Last Friday after my classes in Nozawaonsen (the above mentioned ski area) as I was heading down the mountain for home I had one of those experiences. I was about 5 minutes down when I passed a man going up...walking... with a 'mini mountain' of things strapped to his back - and it was cold! and snowing. I immediately thought 'Oh my gosh!' ...but I kept driving. The further I got, each curve I rounded, I couldn't get him out of my mind. So another couple of minutes down the road I turned around and headed back up. Mind you...my Japanese is very limited... and his English???? Still I thought if didn't go back it would be a very sad memory for me. As I approached him - watching as he slowly and with great effort took each step, trying to keep his load from getting too unbalanced and toppling him onto the icy road - I ask God to give me the right words/expressions. When I stopped next to him with the window down he looked very surprised at first (no doubt somewhat because I am not Japanese ;-} ). I asked where he was going, though I was pretty sure of his answer since I knew where the road led. When he said Nozawaonsen I told him I would be pleased to give him a ride. He gave me a huge smile, and several deep bows - a huge thing considering the load on his back! Then to my utter surprise said 'No thank you'. I offered again and he told me he had been walking for 2 weeks to get there and it was so close now that he would be just fine walking the rest of the way! He said he was enjoying the beauty. Awesome! I told him to be careful and asked God to watch over him. He thanked me again for being so kind...    I turned back around and headed back down the road. No idea who this man is or why he walked for 2 weeks in the freezing snow to go there. No idea who he gives credit to for 'the beauty' he was enjoying. No doubt that God is responsible and that He used that man to help me realize all over again how wonderful He is and how very blessed I am to be His.
And just so you know, when I started this post I had no idea I would tell this story. I haven't even told John. Not because I didn't want to. It just hadn't come up. Why? No idea... but I'm glad I shared it now. It's a good feeling. And we can always use more of those.
Prayers and blessings all around! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our Holiday Surprise

Hope it's starting out a wonderful new year for all of you!
!Who can believe we're already 11 days into 2012!?!
Ours seems to be off to a good beginning :-)
After a great Christmas here with Ian, John and I headed off to Tokyo to cheer Zack and his team in the 2012 Japan Cup.
In this tournament the cream of the crop in basketball here, from high school to the pros, all play together - and all play to win! The 'big boys' don't cut the younger teams any slack! So naturally a pro team always comes out on top in the end but it's an exciting time getting there.
The first game for the Tokai Seagulls was with an adult company team from Hokkaido. The college boys jumped in and beat them 96 - 67!!!!! WooHoo!!!!!

The second (and Seagulls final) game for them was against a top pro team. They fought hard but couldn't pull that one off. Zack played in both games and did well.
There were some really tall guys wondering around Tokyo!
After the last game John and I had planned to leave the following morning and go up through Sendai and some of the areas worst hit by last years tsunami to see what the current situation is. Our plans got changed.
Coach told the boys they could take a couple of days and go home if they wanted! Since Zack hadn't been home since starting university, and we were there, we took hold of the opportunity and brought him home with us.

It was a busy and wonderful couple of days!
Ian and Zack had some good catch up time together...
The four of us got to have lunch together one day while Ian got a short break from work.

We also had dinner as a family at home three nights in a row!!!
And that hadn't happened in literally years!!!!

Zack's back at school, Ian's still working, and John and I are back to our classes now.
If the rest of the year follows the path of the start it's gonna be a good one!
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