Sunday, January 29, 2012

Christians and Yoga

I hold the unpopular conviction that Christianity and yoga are contradictory.  Simply stated, I think Christians shouldn't do it.  Here are a few articles on the topic.  Let me know what your convictions are, if you want.

My former philosophy prof's article

Mark Driscoll on Yoga

Al Mohler, a secular historian, and my prof talk about Yoga

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Amazing Military Wife

I hear sentiences like these everyday:

"Oh, your husband is in Afghanistan? Mine just got home."
"Nine months? Oooh, that's tough.  My husband was once gone for 15 and I hated it."
"I feel so fortunate that my husband is only gone for 3 months."
"Yeah, my hubby will only be gone for 6, but I'll have to have the baby without him."

Military wives are amazing.  They bear very heavy burdens.  A few weeks ago during worship here at the Harbor I looked in front of me and saw three couples all holding hands and weeping.  Each husband was leaving in the coming week--one for 6 months, one for 4 months, and one for 9 months.  Each wife was bracing herself and trying to soak in her husband's touch while he was still next to her.

The ladies in my midst say goodbye to their men and then stay in Okinawa alone, raise their babies alone, birth their babies alone, and even miscarry their babies alone.  It is heart wrenching.

Please pray for these women and the protection of their husbands and for God's glory to shine all over both of them, that they would find that He is enough for them.

"Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you."
Psalm 9:10

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things that happen when your MKs are military MKs

MKs are missionary kids.  So I have 4 MKs under my roof.  Because we minister to the military, my girls have a unique perspective on things.  For example, they don't often see elderly people or disabled people. Most people in our community are young and fit and ready for active duty service.  I'll never forget the time Zoe saw an older American man and said way too loudly, "Mommy, why does that man have really white hair?!"

They play house all the time, as little girls often do.  However, in their make believe there is always a war happening somewhere and the dad in the game is "off at war."  This is indeed true of many of their friends.

The other day Zoe came across a riddle that said, "What do you make more of, the more you leave behind?"  And she answered, "Friends?"  All our friends leave.  They live here for about 2 to 3 years and then everyone moves to America never to be seen again.  The real answer is "footprints," but I thought Zoe's answer was truer to our lives.

Today we went to the Consulate to renew Hannah's passport and last week we spent time at Immigration to renew my Japanese re-entry permit (can't get back into Japan if I ever leave without one of those!).  Our kids are very accustomed to spending hours asking for Visas, permits, passports, and such.

Considering I spent my entire childhood up until college in the same neighborhood in Denver, I marvel at what is normal for them.  Sometimes I long for that Denver neighborhood and for them to experience the blessing of extended family all around and the normalcy of the American way of life (most people don't have a tofu factory for a neighbor!).

But, God has called us here and it's by no means a sacrifice.  Serving the military is such a blessing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 22 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

This free e-book being provided by Desiring God would be a valuable tool for this weekend.  I urge my friends and family to ponder abortion and the reality that America has legally killed 50 million babies since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.  You can get the book here:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Okinawan Bull

Okinawa is fairly rural--our neighbors have roosters, there are some goats around the corner, and farms spring up next to convenience stores, but here's something I have only seen once in 9 years on this island:  A miniature utility truck hauling around a bull.  The vehicles here are all minis.  This seemingly large truck is smaller than a suburban in America.  It was courageously carrying one huge long-horned cow somewhere.  I was so entertained I took some photos to share.

Ok, so this isn't my deepest post, but I'm trying to paint a picture of our home for all of you non-Okinawans.  I'm making an effort to see this quirky place through the eyes of an outsider, so there'll be more posts like this to come.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Still not on Facebook

A blogger I faithfully read is writing an article on the impact of Facebook on moms.  She feels that FB is a blessing to moms for many reasons and was asking for feedback for her piece.  This is what I shared with her:

"I am unusual, in that I am not on Facebook.  I think I am the only person I know, other than my grandma, who isn't.  I have come close to joining many times, but have always held out for three reasons:

1.  I'm worried about wasting time (I homeschool and am in full-time ministry, so I can't afford to!).
2.  I'm concerned that I'll become more narcissistic (eager to check my wall often to see what people think of what I posted about myself).
3.  I'm worried that I'll become more concerned about the relationships I have online than I am about the relationships sitting right in front of me."

I realize that I may very well eat my words one day (soon?) and sign up for FB too.  I am often tempted to sign up because I love to stay in touch with friends and family.  But for now, I'm sticking my ground. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tebow Crazy

I responded to the author of a blog I read when she asked for moms' perspectives on Tebow.  She quoted me in an article she wrote for  I'm the "missionary mom in Japan" mentioned at the very end.   You can read the article here if you'd like:

We can't wait to watch this weekend's game--it'll be airing at 9am on Sunday morning here in Okinawa.  If people come over to watch with us my pleasure for hospitality will be at war with my Bronco-mania, but I'm hoping to be in front of the screen the entire time, wearing the Tebow jersey Mark gave me for Christmas.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Re-run from June 2009: Hey Moms, Don't be Dumb!

Catchy blog entry title, huh?  What I mean is, don’t be dumb when you teach your kids about big truths.  Don’t dumb down theology just for the sake of your two-year-old better understanding the vastness of the God of the universe.  Tell them the truth.  Then you need to believe the truth and live under that truth.  Don’t dumb down the gospel.  Don’t dumb down God.  And, please, don’t dumb down their NEED for Jesus.  God’s in charge and made Himself and His truths big for a reason.  Those truths should blow your mind and your two-year-old’s mind.  Whet their appetites with the TRUTH.  Don’t feed them small, silly lies that they will outgrow before their five. 

To help you in your endeavor to not be dumb I’ve compiled a list of solid books for kids.  These are books that I have either already read of have been recommended to me by reputable sources.  As always, please beware when you shop in any bookstore--especially Christian bookstores.  There is a lot of rubbish out there. 

Big Truths for Young Hearts, by Bruce Ware

Sammy and His Shepherd, by Susan Hunt

The Jesus Story Book Bible, by Sally Lloyd Jones

The Big Picture Story Bible, by David Helm

ESV Illustrated Family Bible: 270 Selections from the Holy Bible, by Zbigniew Freus (illustrator)

Keeping Holiday, by Starr Meade

The Prince’s Poison Cup, by RC Sproul

The Lightlings, by RC Sproul

The Priest with Dirty Clothes, by RC Sproul

Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan

Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World, by Paul Maier

Gumtree Gully, by Kel Richards

A Faith to Grow On, John MacArthur

Tell Me About Heaven, by Randy Alcorn

If you’re like me, you will learn a lot too, as you strive to teach your kids the truth! 

I love being from Denver!!!

Feelin the home town love this Monday morning in Okinawa. 

Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

Happy New Year! 

I've lived in Okinawa 9 years and have just now learned more about some of the Japanese traditions for the new year from my Japanese friend and teacher, Nana Sensei.  There are straw wreath thingamabobs everywhere--storefronts, house fronts, car fronts.  Nana tells me they represent the intertwining of the physical, earthly life and the heavenly, spiritual life.  It is a sort of good luck symbol or invitation to the gods to be intertwined with the lives of the Japanese people inside the store/home/car.  I took the picture of the one below hanging over a used car lot sign.

A second symbol seen in front of most businesses and homes is a bamboo and pine tree arrangement.  This is an invitation to the year god (the god of years) to bless the inhabitants.  

This, too, was taken in front of the used car lot.  Nana has taught us that these two traditions are much like the many others--a combination of Shinto beliefs, Buddhist beliefs, superstition, and an attempt to please one's ancestors.  Other traditions include visiting the family tomb, going to the temple (Buddhist), cleaning one's home really well, and giving money to children.  My kids were each given Y1,000 (about $13) by some of our neighbors!  

Lastly, the Japanese Lucky Kitty can be seen in most stores and restaurants year-round, but I've noticed her prevalence picks up at the new year.  She waves her paw back and forth, beckoning good luck--mostly money.  She sits in front of the Lottery window here, as well as in front of pachinko parlors (gambling places full of slot machines). 

Like Americans, Japanese participate in and proliferate myriad holiday superstitions because "it's what they've always done" not necessarily because it means anything to them personally.   

It makes me wonder how strange some of our habits much seem to outsiders.  For example, in 2010 when it was Rebekah's first Easter with us, Mark and I giggled when we taught her about the Easter egg hunt.  It went something like this:  "Well you see, Jesus died and rose from the grave.  Therefore, we paint chicken eggs, hide them, and then go searching for them.  We even hide fake eggs with candy inside them.  All for the purpose of celebrating our Risen Savior!"  I'm sure that made perfect sense to her.  At least we didn't insist that a big, fat bunny pooped them all over the yard during the night. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How many soy sauce options does your store have?

Mine has more. 

2nd Annual Gingerbread House Creation

We made gingerbread houses again this year.  I searched far and wide for a recipe that would stand up in our intense humidity.  To my surprise and the delight of the children, the houses stood for about two weeks.  The project itself took us several hours of work for about 3 or 4 days in a row.  It's pretty labor intensive for me, but we all love the outcome and the kids delight in the decorating.  We're already plotting for next year.

Here's the line-up.  So festive!

Zoe hard at work. 

Hannah ate more than she decorated. 

Abby Grace loves the icing gun. 

Hannah's. The candy canes on the roof were her own empathic idea. 

Abby Grace's. She went gum drop crazy on her roof. 

Zoe's. Don't miss the pumpkin patch or blue pond on the left. 

Rebekah's. Love the candy cane picket fence. 

Mine. Check out the peppermint tree and coffee bean sidewalk. 

Mark wanted in on the baking action too.  He and Hannah made mint sandwich cookies together. 
They kinda tasted like toothpaste, which was a disappointment to all involved. 

Here they are underneath our stockings, hung on the window with care (no chimneys here! plus, the window is open because it's hot here, even at Christmas!)