Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Just

I feel I could write a book on what I'm thankful for today. I have a home. I'm fed. My clothes are clean and dry. I have a car that will get me from place to place. I know where my friends and family are, and, most importantly, know that they are safe. The world is in chaos and uncertainty right now, and I feel that strongly as well, but in the midst of it all I see how blessed I am. It's the little things.

This song started playing in my head today. It's been my go-to song when life is filled with uncertainties.

Share In The Waiting by Greg Long

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Word from Japan

We received more news from our cousins in Japan. A word from Erik describing the conditions and specific needs...
Yoko & Erik - May 2007

Thank you for your continued prayers. There are several specific things you could pray for. One is God's peace on us. We continue to experience aftershocks, and some of them have been quite close to where we live. Here is one now! It is just off the coast from us about 50 miles/ 80 kilometers and measuring a 6.0. If you are not familiar with where we are; we are in Narita which is east of Tokyo and west of the coastal city of Choshi. Narita is home to the main international airport for this part of Japan.

Another prayer request is for us to be lights to those around us.

Lastly, please pray for the nation and the monumental task of rebuilding that lies ahead.

The nuclear plants to the north of us continue to fill the news. It appears that they are being honest with the current situation and not trying to down play it. We are a pretty good distance to the south from them, but we are told to be aware of any wind out of the north. They don't want people outside any more than they need to be.

Rolling blackouts have started in order to conserve electricity. We have been told that we would have them each day since Sunday but have not experienced one yet. The latest notice is that we are scheduled to have one tonight. Gasoline is being rationed, some stations are only allowing people to buy 10 liters or about 2.5 gallons at a time. One station near us lets people buy 3,000 yen worth of gas. At 140 yen a liter, you don't get a whole lot.

During they day, we have been hanging out in the "kids' playroom" in our apartment complex. It is on the second floor which doesn't move as much as our 9th floor apartment. Our building has 15 floors, so those at the top must be getting quite a ride.
Jason, Sarah, & Nike at Erik & Yoko's wedding.

Sarah (Erik's sister, our cousin), is doing well. She is planning on visiting us this weekend, but we are not sure if that will still happen or not. Yoko's family is safe, and we have heard from all of them.

Maika (their baby, less than a year) has been great through all of this. Thankfully she does not know what is going on which eliminates any fear she might have.....

My friend, Yoshimi, and her four-year-old left to be with her family in Japan today. The family is home now and are still anticipating her brother's wedding next week. They all could use some happiness in light of the tragedies.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Prayer for Japan

My heart sunk Friday morning when I learned why there were tsunami warnings off the Oregon Coast. My heart immediately thought of  my dear friend, Yo - her family is there and she is scheduled to visit the coming week. No phones, no e-mail. No word.

I thought of Cliff, in Hawai'i, preparing for Yo and E's arrival in a few weeks. Then I remembered Jason's cousins are in various areas of Japan - one now a resident with a beautiful family; the other preparing to come home after a year of teaching.

With the help of Facebook and a large dose of patience we learned Cliff was fine - the roads are another story. The Bentley cousins are all okay, though one cousin's family had to stay in a refuge overnight. Yo's dad called - her family is all alright. Thank God.

Today, as I watched the devastation unfold while in the comfort of my gym on a crisp, spring-like morning, my heart swelled anew. I cannot do all, but I can do something. Lord, show me what is mine to do.

While reading the captions of fearful parents, family who can't find their loved ones, my heart cried...
Lord, ease their minds. Comfort the lost, bring peace to the grieving. May this be a time of hope and coming together as a community. May what is best about humanity - our resilience, our compassion - shine during this time of darkness. Lay your hands on the relief workers - give them words of comfort and guide their actions. May the people of Japan feel love and peace at this time of uncertainty.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We Interrupt This Program...

I don't make a secret of my disgust for what passes as news these days. I am single handedly trying to bring down the Jersey Shore by refusing to click on any links, read any magazine/newspaper articles, or mention the names The Situation or Snooki. Likewise, I will flip the channel if they happen to pop on the screen. I am merely one person, but I like to think my lack of acceptance could help turn the tide. I have been exercising the same restraints in regard to the Charlie Sheen fiasco. This has been harder considering he is literally on every station and I can't control the gym television so I know a little more about the situation than I would care to admit.

So, you can imagine my horror when I logged onto Facebook today and my mother-in-law's status stated this: Charlie Sheen 47, is all over the news because he's a celebrity drug addict while Andrew Wilfahrt 31, Brian Tabada 21, Rudolph Hizon 22, Chauncy May 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please honor them by posting this as your status for a little while. May these heroes rest in peace!

Really, America? This is a disgrace and we should be ashamed. Here is my tribute, so at least my readers and myself will know their names and faces.

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Wilfahrt
Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, 31, of Rosemount, Minn., was killed Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011 by a bomb while on patrol in Afghanistan. His mother described him as a gentle soul who was very learned without going to traditional school. He joined the military because he was seeking structure, which was ironic as he had rebelled against structure preferring to do things his own way.

He was kind, he was compassionate, he was loved by his unit, friends, and family. (Source.)
Brian Tabada 21, of Las Vegas; assigned to 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Feb. 27 in Konar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using small-arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade.

He joined the Army in August 2008 and arrived at Fort Campbell in January 2009. He is survived by his father, Muncko Kruize of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Leinette Mahan of Las Vegas.  (Source)

U.S. Army SPC Rudolph R. Hizon was assigned to Task Force Patriot soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.  Hizon, a 22-year-old Los Angeles native assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment’s Task Force Storm out of Fort Polk, LA. 

His comrades remember him for his easy smile - the kind of smile that makes everyone else in the room smile, cheerful disposition, and friendly support. (Source)

Spc. Rudolph R. Hizon 22, of Los Angeles, Calif., died Feb. 28, in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.  (Source)

Chauncy Mays, a 25-year-old native of Cookville, Texas, was assigned to 63rd EOD Bn, 20th Support Command and attached to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force Patriot based at Fort Polk, La.,

He was assigned to 705th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company in the Tangi area. Mays was working out of Combat Outpost Tangi in support of 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, while deployed in Afghanistan.

Always careful, never fearful, Mays' comrades respected him and state he saved countless lives and the world is a lesser place without him. 
A decorated soldier, Mays died while in the Wardack province, Afghanistan. He is survived by his wife, Katherine, and daughters Chesnee and Kiley.  (Source)

Alongside Chauncy Mays, U.S. Army Spc. Christopher G. Stark, 22, died during an improvised explosive device attack while on a dismounted patrol in the Tangi area. Stark was working out of Combat Outpost Tangi in support of 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, while deployed in Afghanistan.

Several Soldiers said Stark was an outstanding team member and a great EOD technician. Stark’s comrades said he was always willing to help others and made everything he did fun for himself and for those around him. (Source)

A moment of silence and the playing of Taps... 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Epic Plunge

Two weeks ago some of my favorites and I stood half-dressed in 9-degree weather, patiently awaiting to plunge into 35-degree water. The next day we learned the scuba divers weren't there to save us - they were there to churn the water to keep it from freezing. We participated in the coldest Polar Plunge in Oregon history and raise over $400 for Special Olympics Oregon. Thank you to all who contributed!
Team Apocalypse - placed 4th for costumes
About this time I wondered why I was willingly running into freezing water. I don't run into water ever. (That's me in the pink shirt and black bikini bottoms on the right. I'm also picking up one of Jason's shoes he lost.)
Warming up took some help from apple cider and a vent on our feet.
We ended the evening with karaoke, dancing, and dumplings.
Jason's gearing up for next year, but I think I'll be the girl with the towels. ;-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Just Dance in the Rain

I received a special treat today - an introduction to a new music artist. I've always identified with music more than any other medium. My brother and I always joked, "Things too stupid to say are nearly always sung," (that is an actual quote from someone famous) and I don't think I'd have it any other way.

Between the depression I've had for the last year plus and the fact that it's winter in the Willamette Valley and that's always hard on me, I'm finding this song beautiful and encouraging. A huge thank you to A{muse}ing Mommy on a Pink Park Bench for sharing Rhyne McCormick's work with her readers this morning.

Just let the rain fall down and be free...