19 April 2014

Because of Him

Happy, happy Easter from my corner of the planet! 
If you have three minutes, have a look at this video. It is such an incredible reminder to me of the profoundness of the Savior's crucifixion and resurrection. I owe every bit of this beautiful life I live to his willingness to bear that cross for me.

29 March 2014

"Love, love, here we are."

After eighteen days in Utah, we left Salt Lake late in the night. The shift in air pressure hurt Anabel's ears, and she sobbed almost the entire 2 hour flight to Seattle. Every bit of me was afraid that this was how the rest of our traveling would go. We spent nine hours in the Seattle-Tacoma airport, sleeping here and there, and then boarded the plane to the rest of our lives, across the Pacific, when the sun rose. Our girl did great this go around, and the ten hour flight went much better than the previous one. Almost immediately upon stepping onto Japanese soil, I felt the peaceful affirmation that

"yes... this is it. this is home."

It was cold and raining. Our bodies were shell shocked with jet lag. We were at the tail end of inextinguishable exhaustion, but I knew that we were finally where God wanted us. We spent a few weeks living out of suitcases and cardboard. (Honestly, our home is still half packed.) Being without a car forced us to walk around our new city, and to be reliant on people we didn't know. The tender mercies were infinite. We were constantly in awe of our God's awareness of us and the hardships we experienced during this giant transition. Through the hands of strangers, blue skies after gloomy ones, getting offered a home so soon, pink blossoms dusting the streets, or a baby that finally started sleeping through the night. With curry dinners, onigiri lunches, and cold drinks that taste like adolescence. And even more so apparent through my mom's love and help from so far away. Tiny things and massive things alike, He was there. It is hard to organize all that I want to say, but all in all, I just feel so unbelievably lucky. To be back in this beautiful country again, with the good man I fell in love with here almost six years ago. To feel all that again, and to have Anabel here with us this time. Her endlessly smiling at the locals, and even the cars that pass her by. For a girl who is extra shy, seeing her light up toward any Japanese national that is admiring her really means a lot. And I am positive that the people here are the kindest, most loving, and hospitable people you will ever come across. Anabel really is so happy here. Curious, too. From trying to taste the cherry and plum blossoms that surround our new home, to seeing so much for the first time from the seat of her stroller. It is such a treasure to see her love this place the way that we do. 

It is refreshing to feel so comfortable so soon here. Driving on the opposite side of the road, and not being able to read nearly everything (we're working on that!), truly does not feel abnormal. Steven and I talk a lot about being kids when we moved to Japan the first time, and how culture shocked we were. We wasted so. much. time hating it there, and only came to love Okinawa when we had to leave it. We aren't going to waste any time. We will love this for what it is. This opportunity and this gift is not lost on us. 

There are so many moments I want to remember. Ones where I sit back and watch my girl gnaw on halved clementines with vigor, exchange looks with Steven, both of us smitten with her enthusiasm over the littlest things. Or when we drive through the streets of Hamura, I get a glimpse of both of them in the rear view mirror, and I swear Japan smells the same as I remember it - and I'm fifteen again. Drunk on love, completely absorbed in the now. Life is simple and slow here. And I say this carefully because we definitely miss our family and our friends (we miss our dog and convenience too), but life is so, so good in this corner of the Earth. Up five stories towering over our new city. Three years of learning and loving in this part of the world ahead of us, and I am just so dang thankful to be here. 

22 March 2014

09/52, 10/52, 11/52, 12/52

"A portrait of my daughter once a week, every week in 2014."

Japanese sweet potato, carrot, & clementine mash. Three of your favorites. 
Your first experience with Japanese plum blossoms included a big bite, and flowers having to be snatched from inside your mouth.
Tiny ballerina feet.
A trip to the park outside our new home. You've gone from summer-feeling weather, to spring-feeling weather, all the way back to winter weather.

21 March 2014

05/52, 06/52, 07/52, 08/52

12 hours in the car really is exhausting for a five month old. 
A motel in the middle of Nevada. The same motel I stayed in during road trips as a teenager.
Your great grandmother, and the reason for your middle name. 
Kasen tolerated a lot of poking and prodding from your curious little hands.
"A portrait of my daughter once a week, every week in 2014."

Miss Anabel, weeks 5, 6, 7, and 8 in 2014 were some of the greatest weeks to experience right alongside you. We said goodbye to your first and only home in California. We road tripped across the flatness of Nevada and into the salty flats and mountains of Utah. You got to spend time in the arms of people who love you more than you could possibly fathom, and you got to poke the nose of your cousin, Kasen. I am positive my heart grew five times its size to see the adoration in your eyes when you'd look at my little brother or my sweet cousin, Jaynee Lee. I am missing a lot of details, but so much happened during these weeks. They were monumental, really. I will carry them with me for the rest of my life. And I know you will, too.