Wednesday, November 28, 2012

japanese kare-okay.

If you are ever in need of a boost of confidence, just ask Brian and I to go do karaoke with you. It's then that you will realize, that even though your life feels like it's falling apart-- at least you can find a pitch and a rhythm and maybe even a beat. But me and my husband? Not a chance. Separately, we are bad. Together, we are somewhere between terrible and atrocious. But man, do we LOVE to sing.

Oh, our children, our poor poor children. But hey, at least we're fun. 

Anyways, japanese karaoke is the bomb. You get your own sound proof room with just you and your homies. All you can drink fountain soda. And all the songs you could ever want to sing on your own display monitor. It's amazing. 

Now, remember, we've only lived in Japan for a month and a half. These people that we were karaokeing with we had only known for about 3 weeks. We were still in a make it or break it stage in our friendships. So Brian and I really tried to hold back and play it cool for the first few songs, but we can't help it-- we love to sing and we sing horribly. Luckily, we are still friends with all of these people so we are guessing that they saw through our voices and into our hearts.

There's Brian, warming up the vocal chords. 

This is Brian trying to play it cool.. slight smile, kicked back, relaxing. 
But just look at the tension in his fingers, he can't hold back much longer. 
Yep, there he is. There's our guy. So much commitment in the facial expression. 
On his feet. 
And maybe trying to rap? (third picture on the right) 
And so proud of his performance (bottom picture).

 This is me and my friend Jenni. She is a real life singer. You can tell by the way she holds her mouth.
 Jenni: natural.
 Yep, and then Joel really went for it with the squat and fist pump.
 I felt really good about this Celine "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" performance. 
But my nostrils and my mouth, 
I can't handle it. 
At least my teeths are straight. 
This was me saying like "hey, let's take a fun picture together!" but no, no no. 
Can't stop him once he's started. 

Well, rest assured that if you come visit us in Japan we WILL take you karaokeying. It's a fun, fun time for all. Except for those that have to listen to me and my man sing. Which would be you.... Oh well. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Although I truly believe thankfulness is a lifestyle, sometimes it's nice to have one whole day devoted to recognizing all the little blessings in life that call us to be thankful. The things that quickly become expected and deserved, rather than evidences of God's grace on our lives. This verse is one that I frequently have to call to mind, as thankfulness is not always free flowing from my heart. But yet, thankfulness is something God commands from us. And not just in the good times, but in ALL circumstances. If we believe, truly truly believe, that God works all things for the good-- then we are free to be thankful in all circumstances knowing with full confidence that He makes everything work together for our good. Is this how I always feel in my heart? No. Not at all. But I can decide in my mind to be thankful before my heart even feels it, and I can pray that God would soften my heart. And He is faithful, He always does. Thankfulness is not a feeling, it's a decision. 

And we have so, so much to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for God's grace on my life. That He chose to save me before I even knew Him. That because of Jesus my sinful nature was replaced with holiness, righteousness, purity, and grace. That He is all sufficient and more than I could ever need. That I could study His Word all day everyday and still not know all there is to know about His character. That I am constantly in amazement of His ways. That because of his full, perfect love and unconditional forgiveness that I never deserve, I am able to forgive freely and give love to others. 

I am thankful for my marriage, my husband. My best friend. My confidant. My fellow adventurer. The goofiest man in the world that follows hard after Jesus. The man that loves his family and desires to obey the Lord in all aspects of life. The one who works long days and comes home to serve me in any way that he can. The man who's life pushes me to Jesus as he desires to live a life fully dependent on Christ. The one that never complains and can find joy in even the darkest moments. The one full of corny jokes that everyone can't help but love. I am thankful for a man who is easy to love, and a man who finds it so easy to love others. 

I am thankful for our family. Parents and inlaws. Brothers and sisters. BILs and SILs. Grandparents. Girlfriends. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Nieces and nephews. And I'm not just saying this because I know they will all read this post. I'm saying it because it's true. They are loud and crazy and a little bit wild sometimes-- but Brian and I have never ever had to question whether or not our families loved us. We are thankful for 2 sets of parents that try hard to obey God, walk in righteousness, love each other well, and love their family well. We know for a fact that the reason we love marriage so much is because of God's grace and because of parents and grandparents who modeled healthy marriage to us for our first 22 years of life. And we kind of love how crazy our families are, wouldn't want it any other way.

I am thankful for technology and that even though it hurt our hearts to be away from our families physically, we got to see all their faces and feel like we were there in person. Facetime makes the distance from America to Japan feel a little bit smaller. That I can call my mom and see her face whenever I need to. That I can have coffee dates with friends back home. That I can watch my dear friend's pregnant belly grow. That we don't have to miss out on those things because of distance and a 14 hour time difference. 

I am thankful for community-- far and near. For how God has provided for Brian and I since day one in the Marine Corps. Since moving away from the only homes and families we had ever known, the Lord has never ceased to place people in our lives exactly when we needed them. People to do life with. People to pour into us and speak truth into our lives. We are thankful for our church here and our community group that has loved us like they have known us their whole lives. We are thankful for dear friends who are only an elevator ride away (or the stairs if I'm feeling sporty). That if we can't be with our family during the holidays, we get to be with friends who feel like family. 

I am thankful for this beautiful place we get to live. For our home that is more than we need. For this adventure that we will look back on nostalgically for the rest of our lives. For a time to be away from comfort and really find out who we are, how we do marriage, and be fully dependent on God. I am thankful for the turquoise water, the white sand, and the warm breeze. 


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend full with 2 whole Thanksgiving dinners, lots of time together, cooking and baking, Christmas tree putting uping, black friday shopping, board game playing, fresh flower picking, beach dinner eating, and so much more. Why can't every weekend be 4 days long?

Happy Thanksgiving friends. I'm thankful for you. 

Also: side note. It's ironic that after writing a whole post on thankfulness and then pressing publish, and then realizing that my entire post had been lost, I immediately began cursing my computer and blogger and anything in my direct line of vision. 
I would say the Lord still has a lot of work to do on my heart in this area :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

weekend recap: hiji falls fail.

This weekend we packed up the car and headed north with our awesome next door neighbors, Sam and Lily, in a quest to find the beautiful Hiji Waterfalls.

After the hour and a half drive up the coast, we got to the beginning of the trail to hike up to the falls. Picnic packed, water supplied, hiking gear on, ready to go. And then. We were greeted with a sign that said, "Hiji falls closed until April 2013 due to last typhoon." Bummer. No hiji falls for us. But we decided to make the most of the day and did some exploring on the northern part of the island. 

And don't you guys even worry, because we found ourselves a strong competitor for those hiji waterfalls. Who doesn't love a manmade, concrete, runoff waterfall. We do! But seriously, when we saw this everyone in the car screamed, "waterfall!" and we all jumped out of the car for a photo op.

And then, we even got to see these beauties. Waterfalls all over.

After the waterfall escapades, we thought we would drive a little bit farther up the mountain and find a different hiking spot. But then this happened...

The road was literally demolished. And so at this point we pretty much called it quits on hiking-- it obviously wasn't in the books for us on this particular day. 

Sam and Lily had packed us a feast of sushi, grilling meats, and ramen-- so we found a park and chowed down. Luckily, for Brian and I, a day can be saved quickly by good food and great friends. 

I suppose we will give hiking a try another day. But for me? I was completely content sitting near the water, eating sushi, and laughing about runoff waterfalls and crumbling roads. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

happy belated birthday marine corps

This weekend we got the honor and privilege of attending two birthday balls to celebrate the 237th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. To say we are thankful to be a part of the USMC would be an understatement. We don't know right now how long the Lord will have us stay in this military life, but we remain thankful for this season that we get to experience all that it has to offer. We have been to some awesome places (hello, we live in Japan.), met amazing lifelong friends, and have been grown in stretched in so many ways.

The birthday balls were both a great time, and it was so fun to meet all the guys and girls that Brian works along side and the marines he gets to lead everyday. He truly works with some quality men and women and we are well aware of what a blessing that is.

Luckily, I happened to throw two long dresses in our first shipment of stuff and had a dress to wear to each ball. And luckily, my sister in law has the BEST taste and picked this one shoulder blue chiffon beauty for her bridesmaid dress. A bridesmaid dress that you can actually wear again? Hard to come by. Thanks Emily!

my hairstylist and sweet friend, Sarah // my awesome next door neighbor, Lily

Doesn't my husband look dashing in those dress blues? Gotta love a man in uniform.

It's tradition each year at the ball to have this amazing huge cake along with a cake cutting ceremony. The oldest and youngest marines present are served the first slices of cake. The oldest marine present was born in 1963, and the youngest marine present was born in 1994. 1994! Isn't that crazy? Seems like yesterday it was 1994 and now people born in that year are old enough to be serving in the military. 

Happy Birthday Marine Corps, and thanks for the paycheck.