Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Loopy Nut

Snacking on cereal called 'Loopy Nut'* and thinking the name is a great description of my life right now. Ministering at school with kids I love, doing a job I love, for a God I love, is Amazing!
But I'm feeling like a "loopy nut" running on a hamster wheel.
  • Busy at school with end of 2nd quarter. Assessment. Grading. Report cards.
  • Elementary Musical practice for "Holy Moses" is in its 3rd week. We're off to a great start!
  • Basketball team's end of season pizza party is at my house Friday. What a learning experience this season was!
  • H.S. Worship team is trying out a new rotation of students for chapel - What a talented group!
  • Singing group "Flower Baskets" started their 2010 practices last week with a new song in Japanese and a new member! - Welcome, Donna R.!
  • Saidaiji church is having a meeting on Sunday with another church to discuss merging congregations.
  • Rough draft #3 of a newsletter is in the works. Lots of news to share!
  • Home assignment is in 5 months (Seriously?!?) (I'm planning a 2 month time in USA this summer visiting family, friends, supporters and churches) -So excited to be heading back for a time, but so much to do to prepare for it!
  • Other reports to be written and paperwork to be done. Not to mention finishing up the Okinawa blog, mailing Christmas gifts (ugh!), and catching up with friends - where did this month go!

But for now, this Loopy Nut is going to take things one step at a time. Starting with walking to the sink to do the dishes.

FYI* Loopy Nut breakfast cereal is produced in Egypt. Looks like Cheerios but tastes like a nutty version of Fruit Loops.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Then and Now

January 16, 1995 Kobe was hit by an earthquake (7.3 magnitude on the Richter scale) that killed 6,434 people and injured tens of thousands more.

January 9, 2010. I drove through Kobe with a car load of KCS students to get to a basketball game. As I looked at the urban view of buildings and highway system I marveled at how fast the city had rebuilt how beautiful a land once filled with tragedy looks now.

January 12, 2010 Haiti was hit by an earthquake (7.0 magnitude) with many people yet to be accounted for the death toll is yet unknown and injuries still needing to receive care.

Hearing the news about Haiti while in Japan I can't help but compare the situations. The loss of life - whether one person or thousands is devastating. Whether it happens right where you live or somewhere far away it impacts you. But the impact is different depending on a large number of variables.

-Unlike Haiti-Japan has earthquake preparedness drills, roads marked for emergency vehicles in times of an earthquake disaster, parks marked as evacuation areas and buildings built to tougher building codes.

-Unlike Haiti, Japan has a reliable infrastructure of service for health care and emergency services

I wonder how this earthquake will effect Haiti. What will we be hearing about Haiti from people who know the before and after? people who live in the country? in a week? a year? 15 years from now?

As I search for English language news about the disaster I realize I'm not the only curious person. The news is covering this story and as I'm reading articles I realize Troy and Tara, whom I wrote about earlier, are showing up in various places in the media - are getting some attention.

One of the ministries that the Livesay's have (see previous post) is to communicate.
Through photos, videos, tweets and blog posts they have been reaching the world with the ups and downs of ministry in Haiti.

Others in the news media have been taking note of their communication and spreading their words to a wider audience as they publish their stories.

CNN : Family sends heartfelt reports from Haiti

Minnesota Public Radio: Former Minnesotan describes Haiti effort

Star Tribune: A Minnesotan's account this morning

I'm sure there are others - but just wanted to write this to remind you to pray for the Livesay's and for the people of Haiti.

Pray for Haiti

Troy and Tara Livesay are friends I know through my college roommate Sharon and her husband Jamie. I was a bridesmaid in S&J's wedding Troy was a groomsman. They're now in Haiti serving as missionaries. In a nutshell, they are missionaries called to work with orphans/neglected children and pregnant Haitians. I've been able to keep in touch with them through their blog. Which gives a true picture of family life in ministry in Haiti.

As you can imagine the earthquake in Haiti has thrown their world into chaos and pain. Please join me in praying for this family and the people of Haiti.

Here is their blog: http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/

They live in Port-Au-Prince, and their house is still standing but damaged. But the city is in utter chaos. 5 of their 7 kids have just been evacuated to the States where they'll be under the care of their oldest daughter Britt, her husband and Tara's parents. Troy and Tara will remain in Haiti to focus on relief efforts, water purification, searching for people and whatever else God requires of them.

Troy has been been tweeting regularly http://twitter.com/troylivesay and posting some photos on flicker http://www.flickr.com/photos/livesay/ and video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/tl7inhaiti.

If you feel called to help them financially (they need your help, they lost a lot) please send donations to :
Type "Livesay Family" in bottom box labeled "Where would you like us to allocate funds?"

Snail Mail:

World Wide Village

2515 White Bear Ave

Suite A8-205

St Paul, MN 55109

In your support, please write "For the Livesay Family"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Okinawa Day 5

We posed for a photo with a few ladies who were dressed in Okinawan style kimono. Lisa, Jason, Janelle, & me.

On Monday of my trip - we went out to lunch at an Italian Restaurant that Janelle had discovered - call "Tida". We enjoyed the salad bar, drink bar and pasta meal but were probably most excited about dessert - each of us chose a different type of cake/torte/cheesecake from their dessert case.

Then on to Okinawa WorldFirst we explored the caves
Temps in the cave were 21 degrees C.
Making it a bit foggy for Jason.

After visiting the cave we saw a botanical garden -
growing Pineapple

and Papaya

and Hibiscus (among many other things!).

Next was all the artisan areas -

Glass blowing factory More flowers

Weaving and dying of fabric

(they used locally grown sugar cane to dye some fabric)

Some craft areas were open for hands-on experience.

And the brewery

This was a little gross

Habu sake - alcoholic drink with a snake in it.
Here's a close-up in case you missed it.

Sold with one snake per bottle.

And LOOK - Today is your "chance"! They are on SALE!

Instead of 61,950 yen
it was only 43,365 yen

(about $475)

Well I'd rather the snake is dead in someone else's sake than alive near my walking path!

And one more flower arrangement of the Okinawan Shisa (its a cross between a lion and a dog and found all over Okinawa.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Okinawa Day 4

On Sunday, Dec. 27, I went to church with Lisa. The church Lisa attends meets in the cafeteria of her school so we walked from her apartment, across the soccer field and entered the building for church.
The pastor did a puppet show for the children.
And the message (in Japanese & English)
was a church family's story of God given Joy that comes through suffering. They experienced a miscarriage one year ago and this Dec. 24 were united with a Japanese/Canadian baby who was up for adoption.

For lunch we connected with Lisa's friends and fellow church members - Allen and Mary and Mary's daughter Heather and went to one of the many military bases in Okinawa. Heather, who was visiting from the states is a translator (in Russian) for the US government and was able to get us all passes onto a base in Japan. There we enjoyed some American goodness known as Macaroni Grill. Culture Shock hit when I saw the HUGE serving sizes, realized they offered free refills, was required to pay with US dollars, and was distracted by American football on the TV.

My meal was very yummy! Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli and raspberry lemonade!
and the conversation at the table fascinating!
After Lunch Lisa gave me a tour of the Okinawa Christian School International.
I had visited her here for Spring Break 2000,
but loved seeing her classroom and stealing ideas to use at Kansai Christian School.
The front of the school with a nativity scene out front in the shadows of the palm trees.
The High school/Middle school area.^
Lisa in the open air hallway that leads to her 4th grade classroom.
The sub-zero weather in Minnesota would make this design impossible!
^the view from Lisa's floor looking toward the Ocean.

The Classroom^

The Teacher^ Hi Ms. Sorley!

We ended the day by watching DVD's like "UP".
Lisa just started blogging at http://lisasorley.blogspot.com/
Stop by her blog and encourage her as begins this online adventure.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sea Wall Video

A view of the Japan Sea from the sea wall in Okinawa.


Okinawa Day 3

After enjoying some homemade banana chocolate chip muffins (my fav!) Lisa and I headed out for another Okinawa adventure.

The Sea Wall

It was a another rainy day but the waves looked like they'd make for some good surfing.

We didn't get in the water but enjoyed the view of the Japan Sea.

Gyros and flafel were on the menu for lunch at a Greek restaurant.

The Jeep photo below is our shout out to my twin sister, Lisa,

who loves anything JEEP!

When you live in a place were sandals and flipflops are the footwear of choice, for all but like 3 days of the year, you pay a little more attention to the condition of your feet. Whenever my friend, Lisa has visited me I've been envious of her beautiful toes!

So for our day-after-Christmas-gift to ourselves we went to get a pedicure.

During our massage we flipped through hundreds of design pictures trying to decide how we wanted our toes painted. (Check out the stack of photo books on the endtable by my chair!)

From zebra prints and snowmen to cherry blossoms the choices were endless.

I decided to go with something fun & unique.

I have green toes!
Lisa's toes were a sparkly blue design.

I kept thinking 'My neices would LOVE this!"

Song of Solomon 7:1
How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince's daughter!

Romans 10:15

As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"


That evening held another adventure.

murder mystery dinner

Hosted by Janelle and Jason

A murder mystery dinner is like taking the game CLUE -
bringing the characters to life in the form of 8 friends dressed up in costume
and then eating a delicious meal
while you try to figure out who is guilty for killing "Hal Cappone".

By the time we came to the dessert course
it looked like any one of us could have done it!

Our mystery was set in the 1920's and included characters like:

Silky, Socks, Torchy, Harrow, Billy "the Kid", Molly, Ernie, and Scoop.

Roles played by friends and fellow teachers.

I was a reporter - "Scoop".

Lisa was "Ernie"a bootlegger with a gambling problem.

To find out who the murderer was - you'll just have to play the game for yourself!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Doctor Fish

Here is some video coverage of our "Doctor Fish Adventure".

First, a couple of adorable children test out the waters filled with skin nibbling fish and give their honest opinion.


Then the adults give a more reserved commentary on the experience.

(Note this video was taken after our initial reaction of giggling and squealing had subsided.)


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Okinawa Day 2

Christmas Day in Okinawa

Reindeer - "How am I supposed to land the sleigh with no snow!?"

We started the day by opening stockings.
Here Lisa is delivering the gifts to the others.
(These apartments are on the school campus - You can see the school in the background.)

Then went out to breakfast at Climax Coffee. We had Muffins and Coffee. And since Internet was down at the apartments we took full advantage of the free wireless connection. While there we chatted online with Ben (in MN) and Sharon (in MS) friends of ours from college.

Then we went to the shopping area called "American Depot" for some "Ellison Style" Christmas shopping. Split into 2 teams Lisa & I were shopping for Jason and Janelle. Each team had 1 hour and 500 yen per person to buy gifts for the other team.

Then we met up at A& W for some good ol' fashion American Root beer, curly fries and a burger or sandwich.

For a little adventure the ladies tried out the "Doctor Fish"

at small pool of fish in the middle of the shopping mall.
Jason played the role of photographer. The fish nibble at the dead skin on your feet giving anyone brave enough to dip their feet in a 10 minute pedicure. It didn't hurt but we couldn't stop giggling it tickled so much!

We said good-bye to American Depot and went back to Jason & Janelle's

for a delicious dinner of Steak & Seafood.

When the gift unwrapping began - Cricket -the cat - enjoyed playing in the wrapping.

Here are photos of us opening gifts.

We ended the evening with some chocolate fondue and

a phone call to Bob & Nancy (parents of Jason & Lisa) in Ohio.