Thursday, June 15, 2017

some days.



















some days don't go as planned.
some days are helter skelter and not at all like you would have thought.

some days are tired days.
they are the days you wake up after studying late into the night...the days you can't drink enough coffee.

some days you wake up with no voice and a presentation to do.

those are the ゆっくりdays.
they are days for savoring.

they are the days you allow yourself to slow down - when you remind yourself to look up and breathe in that Japanese air you love so much.

these are the days you allow your brain a rest and take your time painting flowers in art class. the days you stay even longer after class to talk to the 75 year old sensei about his career as a famous artist and his time at Nanzan.
they are the days for squinty-eyed jokes and pouring through old art books together.

there are some days you spend too much time in conversation with your friends over white rice lunches.
those are the days when you end up running to your next class...laughing the whole way as you hold down each other's dresses.

they're days for breathless smiles and knowing glances - twinkly eyes and Japanese puns.

those are the days you decide that grades are important, but not as important as your gambaru...your effort. Those are the days you cut your losses and laugh with your sensei in stead of taking your imperfections too seriously.
and you find you actually learn more that way.

they're not perfect days.

no, they could never be.

but they're happy days.

and I'm thankful for them.

until next time,

G

"I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God." 
philippians 1:9-11

" 私は祈っています。どうか、あなたがたの愛が、もっともっと満ちあふれますように。同時に、霊的な知識と洞察力も、さらに深められますように。 10それは、あなたがたに、善悪をはっきり見分ける力が備わり、主が来られる日まで、だれからも非難されることなく、心がきよく保たれるよう願うからです。 11どうか、神の子どもにふさわしく、親切な良い行いができますように。それは、大いに主をほめたたえ、主の栄光を現すことになるのです。"

(ピリピ人への手紙 1:9-11)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

great is Thy faithfulness.


















I dreamt in Japanese last night.
Its' been a while since that has happened.

Yet, here I am. And it's all happened so quickly, here in Nagoya.
I've been here 4 days, and already I can see so much fruit.
But I suppose that's what happens when head knowledge is finally allowed to work.

I've already met so many new friends and been pushed outside my comfort zone so many times...when I finally get to sit down and process it all, it gets overwhelming.
In the best way, of course.

There's a much bigger Work at play than I can even comprehend.

But I see glimpses...every now and then.

I see it in new church family and in Japanese baptisms...in new friends from all corners of the globe and in little-people laughs that make my heart swell.
They make me realize that God connects people from all over the world in beautiful ways...
for His purpose.
It makes me thankful for a common Inheritance as brothers and sisters...working to the glory of the same King.

I see His hands at work in my Japanese friends' lives and in my class mates who I have more in common with than I thought - in fellow military connections and in similar hearts for Japan.

Sometimes it's in small things - like homemade dinners with local ingredients and quiet walks home in the sunset breeze. In lugging groceries home from the subway station and in lunches that consist of samples from sweet-faced grocery workers.

I see it in the shadowy mountains off in the distance, and in the trees all over this beautiful campus...in the smell of the trees and in whiffs of someone's dinner that come floating into my apartment around 6:30.

It makes me so thankful.

Because I'm so genuinely happy to be here.
My classes are going to be difficult - I've placed into the highest level of Japanese language, along with Japanese economics, politics, and culture courses.
This is no vacation - my days will be fullll.

But, once again, I feel like a kid on a ride - overwhelmed with the exhilaration of the journey.

I'm so very happy about every single thing He has placed in my path so far.
I've seen his provision so fully.
It's all for His glory in my good.

And so, my heart has been singing.

Great is Thy faithfulness.

Now and forever.

Always,

G

p.s. Sorry for all the iPhone photos...one of these days I'm going to actually bring my camera with me, I promise. But sometimes, you just gotta snap a memory with what you got. And most often, that's my trusty phone.



Friday, June 2, 2017

hands up








"You were made for this, Graysie. The Lord wants you in Japan....you are His. He is faithful, and He is going to show you great things. Go have the time of your life - Quit letting the enemy have a foothold. Suck the best out of every moment and enjoy the journey. "
(wise words from my Nana before I left)

I was not believing this two days ago. I was nervous and anxious and feeling overwhelmed at the beginning of my big journey. It was so unlike me...but I found myself more stressed about leaving for Japan than I'd like to admit.

So many times during this trip in particular I saw ways the enemy sought to discourage me or convinced me I wasn't supposed to be in Japan. There were so many complications and delays and financial mix-ups...and I flooded our laundry room the day before I left.

But every time, the Lord provided people to speak truth into me.

We all need people to speak truth into our lives, I think...to see the Kingdom amidst the mess and to preach it's hope and steadfastness relentlessly.

I'm so thankful the Lord gives us those people.

They remind us of our vision when the enemy would have us forget.
And that's a beautiful thing.

So now, here I am.
In Japan.
And somehow, every step of the journey has come together in perfect timing.

Jehovah-jireh: He always provides.

I already see it in little details - in coffee when I really need it, in amazing free breakfasts, in ATMs at all the right places, and in bus drivers who are so eager to help me along my journey.
And when I begin to get overwhelmed, I only have to look up and I see it in familiar bamboo forests, mountains, and smells that make my eyes tear up.

It's only been 48 hours in Japan, but I can already sense the Lord moving. I feel like I'm watching a great movie play out before me. It's the coolest thing.

Here are the things I don't want to forget -

1) The amazing breakfast buffet at my hotel in Tokyo. Ya girl almost cried, ya'll. Ya girl. almost. cried.

2) Shinkansen rides through the countryside that go right past Mount Fuji. And the adorable little old men with their bentos sitting across the isle.

3) Lugging my 35lb suitcase up and down 7 floors of subway tunnels until I thought my hip was going to give out and my arms collapse.

4) Finally getting to the correct station, getting lost, and accidentally walking 3 miles out of my way in search of my university. #nowifiprobz

5) But I also don't wanna forget the sweet business men who stopped along my trek to point me in the right direction...and who sent me off with a hearty "Ganbatte ne" as I lugged my suitcase up, yet another, hill.

6) The Okasaan (auntie) of my dorm who has the sweetest laugh and funniest sense of humor.

7) Trips to the grocery store with my new flatmate, Ayumi, bags and bags of green peppers (because they were on sale), and 7-Eleven iced coffees (because jet-lag is a real thing).

8) First dinners cooked together - pork, peppers, carrots, and bamboo shoots over rice. PraisetheLordhallelujah

9) After-dinner tea and conversations in Japanese about politics and epi-pens and even the Gospel. My mind is still trying to wrap around the whole thing.

10) My bed with my futon and bean-bag pillow. Not gonna lie - I was hesitant at first, but I don't think I've slept so well in a long time. The Japanese know what they're doing with this sleep stuff.

I know this is super detailed. And it's probably redundant. But like I said, these posts are more personal, now, than anything.

So, here it begins - I've heard the steady call of his voice.
Now my hands are up - ready to soak up alllll the stomach lurching fun on this crazy ride.

6 weeks in Nagoya - I don't wanna miss a thing.

"My heart has heard you say, 'Come talk to me...come be with me'
   and my heart responds, 'Lord I am coming'
     psalm 27:8

Until next time, mata ne.

Always,
G




Sunday, May 28, 2017

i was here














The last 3 weeks have been a complete blur. 
School happened. 
A trip to Florida happened.
And then a spontaneous week-long trip to Hawaii happened. 

Now, in three days, I board a 14 hour flight to Tokyo. 

My head is spinning. 

 Here are some things I'm learning:

1. I've been so exhausted...but the good kind of exhausted. I love going to bed so tired I can't hold my eyes open, knowing my entire being was spent on having fun.
There have been so many moments of adventure and new experiences - so many afternoons I've laughed so much my cheeks were sore.
It's okay to be spent on good times.

(2) And it's okay to rest when those times are over.
I guess I'm learning to do that too.

3. Time scares the mess out of me.
I've always considered myself pretty flexible and adept at change, but lately I'm finding it harder to deal with than usual.
Don't get me wrong - I'm so dang excited. But I also kinda wanna vomit.
It's a weird sensation.

4. I found my old journals yesterday as I was finally cleaning my closet. And it reminded me that instead of dwelling on time's speed, I need to continue to recognize the beauty of the journey - to slow down and document the moments.

I used to be so good at that.
But somewhere in the busyness of the last year, I forgot the importance. And I forgot how incredible it feels to be able to look back and see the Lord's threads woven throughout seasons of my life.
It hasn't exactly looked like I thought or hoped...but that's kinda the beauty of it.

And it's a testimony in it's own right.
And it's very Japanese, actually - the idea of beauty in the everyday imperfection. They love that sort of thing.

So, I'm learning I need to continue to record.
I'm all needs to be remembered. 

**I know I always reiterate this on this blog. It's a reoccurring theme. 
So maybe all this remembering is more personal than anything else and 
I apologize in advance **

 I'll remember hours spent reading in the airport alone and flights over the Rockies...layovers in San Francisco and the moment I remembered how high California was on my travel list.

I need to see more of 'Merica.

I'll remember hiking through the Hawaiian jungle...the hours on hours spent in the water and the healing power that salt air always has. 

I'll remember snorkeling, and the blue fish I love...fresh shaved ice and Thai food that was so spicy I thought my lips wouldn't stop burning. 

I'll look back and see moments I stepped out of my comfort zone - climbing behind huge waterfalls and jumping off 35 ft. cliffs. 
And I'll try to re-feel the lurch I felt in my stomach when I did those things - because that has to be one of my favorite feelings. 

I'll remember sweet Hawaiian smiles, and hearty "mahalooooo"s from anyone who helped us...those island people I love so much.

I'll be running one day and I'll remember the detoxing walks I took when I returned home and was recovering from hip injuries. I'll remember what it feels like to be forced to slow down and how humbling it is.
There's beauty in that too. 

I won't remember it all. No...that's impossible.
But I can document parts of this journey to the best of my ability. I can attempt to collect stones like Joshua and the Israelites did when they crossed the Jordan. They needed to remember the Lord's faithfulness...and their utter incapacity.

So do I.


That way, years from now, I will look back and I will grin and I and say "I was there." 
My whole being was there. 
And even for time's speed,  and for the imperfection within it all, I remained thankful and I sucked the life out of every moment.

The Lord WAS and IS faithful.

------

I don't wanna blink. 

There is blessing to be seen, even in all the speed. 

Until next time (hopefully in Japan)...

Always, 
G

Thursday, May 4, 2017

another one down






























Welp. I am here am again. Another finals season...another brain dump...another few minutes reminiscing. 
I find it hard to believe I'm here... 
2 years? 
Are you sure?

Everything around me confirms it's the truth but my brain refuses to believe it.  

Gosh, it's been so much fun - in ways I never anticipated. The Lord sure does have a funny sense of humor.
I find myself sitting at the halfway point, grinning in contentment and wonder at everything that has happened.
Somehow, this poor blog always gets the dumping of these moments. And I'm sorry this place has turned into just a place for updates. 

But updates are important too. We have to look back and see how far we've come, sometimes. 
It makes it all worth it. 

This year hasn't been the easiest one. Things are getting more difficult and school has become \more about finding a career than about academics. 
I don't know exactly what my career holds, 
but I feel like I've landed exactly where I belong. 

When people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always answered that I wanted to do what I was made to do. In many ways, I think this is the desire of us all. 
I remember pleading with the Lord to reveal his plan...begging for a sense of purpose and belonging. 

I finally feel like I've found that purpose. 
I've hit a stride. 
I love calling myself a Japanese and Business major - because I can truly say that those are two things I am passionate about. 
But more than that, I think I've realized (yet again) that a sense of belonging and purpose are not dependent on seasons of life. They're dependent on perspective and a willingness to do whatever the Lord would have. 
Sometimes it doesn't look like I expect. And that's okay. 
It's all about the journey. 

And during the journey, the Lord has provided so many lovely things....so many great friends and hilarious memories I will never forget. There have been countless nights without sleep, so many deep Jesus conversations, midnight milkshake runs, and spontaneous trips to Florida. 

There have been 16 hour study parties and spring breaks I'll never forget. But there have also been quiet moments - my quiet time in my treehouse room every morning and good music on walks to class. 

I've drank more coffee than I'd like to admit. And my sensei always makes fun of me for it. 
My eyes usually have bags, and my business casual is usually wrinkled...

but my face is generally happy. 

It's been a good time. 

And as I look forward to the summer, to studying in Japan and getting my wisdom teeth out and traveling up the east coast, I just have so much peace. 
And I'm so excited. 


"These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the majesty of his power?"

Job 26:14

Thanks for listening. 
Until next time, 

G