Sunday, March 26, 2006


It is time for another update on Dad. Overall he has been doing well and recovering quickly. He was able to have all but one tube removed today. But today was not a great day. He had low blood pressure, was anemic and had to have a blood transfusion. But once that was done he was doing much better. I was in to spend some time with him this evening and his attitude is good. He is hoping to do well enough to come home on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers, emails, calls, and comments. I have the most awesome friends all over the world! I am definately blessed!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Hearts and knives

This week has been nothing of what I planned or expected...

Monday at noon my mom called me at work to tell me that my dad was in the ER with symptoms of a heart attack. I drove home and picked her up and we went into the hospital on Elmendorf Airforce Base. Dad was hooked up to all kinds of machines and sheepishly told us that he had been having pain in his arms and chest for 2 weeks. Mom was livid.

He stayed two nights there as they did tests and observations. They didn't have a cardiac unit so they were unable to make a total diagnosis. They sent him to the big hospital in Anchorage where he had an angiogram and they admitted him for a triple-heart bypass to be done in the next 48 hours. He wasn't allowed to leave the hospital. So Thursday night my grandma and aunt flew in from Kansas and we woke early this morning to see him before he went to surgery. He was done by 11am and it was good. They only did a double bypass and it went very well. I went into recovery as he woke up and talked to him. He was very lucid and acknowleged everything I said to him. I knew he would be ok when as I was leaving at 3:30pm he was telling jokes.

God had been very good. Thank you to all who prayed for us. Today was a little surreal and much easier that I ever expected. I know that God had his hand in it all.

Won't it be interesting to see what God brings next week...

Friday, March 17, 2006


This is Sadie, our dog... and the 5th child in the family. She is cute, smart and high maintenance. I can't wait until she grows out of the puppy stage...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Welcome Home

This is my car when I arrived in Alaska at 8am on Sunday morning...
Welcome home...


In reflection of my adventure I have to say that it is the friendships that made it so rich.

Thank you to all of my dear friends. Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your bottomless love. Thank you for laughing with me. Thank you for sharing your lives with me. I am honored to call you my friends.


My last day of vacation... it is always sad to see my adventures come to an end.

We had a leasurely morning and then headed Honolulu. Rachael had a class and I was going to spend the day on Waikiki by myself. She dropped me off and went to meet up with Zach for the kid switch. I wandered along the beach and made my first calls back to Alaska since I left. It was a little hard to believe that in less than 24 hours I would be back in the snow and cold.

I found some lunch and people watched for awhile. Then I staked out a spot in the grass and pulled out my book. I spent a lovely afternoon with a book and the sun. It was nice not to go or do anything for several hours. Once the book was finished I meandered back toward the crowds and the live music that had started. Overall, it as a satisfying afternoon.

Rachael picked me up and we headed home. I spent the rest of my evening packing and cleaning up. It was time to say goodbye once again. Zach took me to the airport about 10 to catch my midnight flight.

The sun is out... time for the beach

It was beach day. After breakfast we packed our bags and headed for the beach. Being a local now, Rach new of a great lagoon that was perfect for the kids. We played in the water and sand all morning. Sophia loves to make friends and we had lots of little kids joining us ... Rachael said that I was a kid magnent as she was chasing Jenz around. I told her that it was because I wasn't a mom and they could tell. It is the 'cool single girl' factor.

On the way home the kids fell asleep so we decided to drive to the end of the road on the north shore. When the kids woke up we went to the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice shop. I had the very tropical passion fruit flavor and the kids chose the every popular rainbow flavor.

Once home we walked as the kids rode bikes around the neighborhood. Then Zach came home and Rachael and I made a quick exit. We went out for Thai food and then to the local gym for a yoga class. It was my first experience to do yoga and I managed not to make a fool of myself. Once home we finished the evening with laughing at the olympic comentators.


Sorry for the delayed blogs on my travels... it has been harder to get to this than I had hoped.

Hawaii... I can't help but love it. And having my good friend greet me with an intoxicating lei, just made it even better. Rachael arrived with little Sophia and Jennison and whisked me away to a Starbucks. We played in the park for a little while and then went to the kids' music class. That was lots of fun. My favorite moment was when Sophia found the conductor's wand in the musical instrument pile and conducted the class.

We went back to the house so I could grab a quick shower. And then headed to the north shore for some alfresco mexican food... which was wonderful. Between entertaining the kids, Rachael and I began to scratch the surface of catching up on our lives. The day was turning out to be a rainy one... but we didn't mind. As the kids napped Rachael and I talked the afternoon away. Zach came and went with work and appointments. And after the kids went to bed Zach, Rach and I watched the olympics and laughed the evening away. It felt so good to finally lay down that night. I don't remember much after my head hit the pillow.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Saying Goodbye

Kim made us apple pancakes on our last morning in Japan. It was a lovely breakfast with sweet conversation. Then the sorting and packing began. Kim had another class so we went to class with her and had coffee with four ladies for about a half an hour. Then Kim continued with class and one of the women took us to a fabric store where we bought Japanese fabrics. Then returned to the class and they took us to lunch. Then it was back to the apartment and the final rush of packing.

We all took a deep breath before begining the adventure of lugging all our luggage (including my futon) on the trains. Kim escorted us about 30 mintues on our train journey to the airport and stood with us on the train platform as we waited for the final train to take us to the airport. This is where we had to say goodbye. And I was a little bit surprised at the emotion of saying goodbye. Kim stood just outside our door and waved until we couldn't see her anymore...I fought tears the rest of the day. It is hard to put into words what an impact this one amazing woman has had on my life.

Lorrie and I ended up standing most of the hour long train ride to the airport. Another downside to having lots of luggage. We arrived and much to my joy, they had free carts at the airport. Lorrie checked in first because she left nearly 2 hours before my plane. Then I checked in and we moved through security and customs. By then we were starving so we found a little shop by Lorrie's gate and sat down for one last meal. And too soon it was time for another goodbye. For the second time that day I stood and waved goodbye to a dear friend until I couldn't see her anymore. I turned and walked to my gate and thankfully lost myself in some olympic snowbording until my plane boarded.

On the plane, I found my seat and relaxed. The plane was quite empty and I had an empty seat next to me. It was a qick and easy flight. I sighed a prayer of thanks as we touched down in Honolulu. After customs and gathering my luggage, I called my friend Rachael Brown. As I waited for her to arrive I changed from my socks and shoes to my flip flops. It was very good to be back in Hawaii. More on that in my next post...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Final Day

Wednesday was designated as a shopping and museum day.

After a breakfast at Mr. Donuts (another nostalgic stop) we headed for the department store where I purchased the item that I had looked for off and on for the last seven years... A futon. This isn't as ridiculous as it sounds. A Japanese futon is nothing like it's strange American cousin. A Japanese Futon is a 2-3 inch pillow like bottom cushion and a top comforter-type top. With the help of Ryu (who spent 30 minutes stuffing) I was able to bring home my prized possession in a large duffel bag. My Japanese friends thought I was crazy... but I am quite pleased with my find.

After our shopping adventure, we went downtown Tokyo to the Edo Museum. It was huge and very well done. I really enjoyed learning so much about the Tokyo area and how it became what it is today. Of course, the day we were inside for so many hours, it was a sunny 60 degrees outside. Kim took us to Tokyo station where we met up with my friends Keiko and Noriko for dinner. We had some amazing Italian food and dessert. It was fun to laugh with them over dinner and catch up on Noriko's family and travels. After we said goodbye to Noriko, Keiko took us to a nearby Starbucks for a little coffee. It was a little bitter-sweet to hang out for one last time before our journey home. Then it was back on the train to Kim's one last time.

This photo is of the train station from the top of the Edo Museum... not a particularly great one... but it gives you a good idea of the city.

Tuesday in Japan

My apologies for keeping everyone in suspense for the second half of my adventure.

Tuesday morning we moved slow. We slept in a little and took our showers and lingered over breakfast. Then we had the pleasure of going to tea with 3 year old Linturo and his mother. We had green tea at a traditional Japanese tea shop. Then Kim had to leave and asked little Linturo to be our tour guide to a local temple and park. We walked with our little bi-lingual 3-year old (with mom) a few blocks. We followed or little tour guide around the park and then he walked us home. He was adorable and his mother, charming.

Then Lorrie and I ventured into town to do some exploring and find lunch. We wondered through the local department store looking at everyday Japanese stuff and shopping for souvenirs. Then we wandered around until we found a restaurant that looked interesting. We had a yummy lunch of Ramen (way better than the cup noodle kind) and some other rice and meat dish. We met Kim for coffee and then went shopping for dinner. We were to make something American for another dinner with some of her students. So potato soup was on the menu.

We went back to the church and began cooking as the students arrived. We provided them a good opportunity to speak English. So we talked of travels and jobs and home. A bright spot in the evening was the chance to see another friend, Fumie.

It was another day of blessings.