Monday, November 30, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year :)

I thought I wasn't going to bother decorating my apartment this year since I can't put holes in my wall, but after decorating the church and seeing my teammates' houses, I changed my mind and decided to see what I could do in my house! Here's what I came up with!... (majority of this coming from the dollar store!!)

You Winnipeggers might think I'm crazy, but I really miss snow... especially for Christmas! So here's what I did to make it feel a little more like winter...

One of my teammates had some extra lights and they lent them to me so I used the 'secret-tack-on-top-of-the-door-frame-hanger' trick where I'm technically not putting holes in the wall!
So cozy... I love it! Here's what I did to the sliding doors dividing my living room and my kitchen...

And here's my gem of a Christmas tree that Bobby and I found at the dollar store :)

I just bought the candle today, but this picture I took earlier gives you a better idea of what I did with the ribbon at the bottom...
And the grand finale... here's my mini tree! (This is the only thing I didn't buy at the dollar store) It came with the star, a strand of garland, 5 decorations, 5 ribbons and best of all... 10 lights! Do you know how hard it is to make a tree look nice with only that much?! I bought some extras at the dollar store and I'm glad I did! I even found some tiny battery operated lights to put on it too so it doesn't look too bad... (I got a good laugh last night when I couldn't find the battery pack for one of the strands... guess I 'hid them' in the tree pretty good!!)
And here's what it looks like at night... (but you can't really see the dollar store lights)

So... what do you think of my decorating skills? I think I did pretty good if I do say so myself, considering everything is from the dollar store and I can't hang things on the wall!
When do you decorate for Christmas??

Saturday, November 28, 2009

a happy heart :)

Once again, I'm struggling to come up with a good title and intro to my smile list this week, but I've got nothing! Even though this week has been pretty busy and I've had a lot of late nights and very little sleep, it's still been full of smiles and for that I'm really thankful!

Here's what made me smile this week...

-bundling up inside my house as much as I would bundle up if I was going outside in Winnipeg in the winter!

-skyping the CT gang at their retreat... and getting teased about my "teammate" ;) (Thanks, Devin!)

-going to the "42th Hikari Chorus Festival" (yes, the sign said 42th!)

-shopping for Christmas decorations at the dollar store with my 'dollar store buddy' :)

-vanilla candles from the dollar store that actually smell like vanilla!

-relaxing dinners

-giving flowers :) (I love how faces just seem to naturally light up when someone gets flowers!)

-the "Planet Earth" commentator

-discovering a creative way to display some pictures and cards without putting holes in my wall (wish I had of thought of it sooner!)

-receiving flowers first thing in the morning :)

-decorating for Christmas... with a certain someone who thinks there can never be too many lights on a tree! (but I do have to admit that I agree... and I think the tree looks perfect!)

-getting a hug (without asking for it) on a 'grumpy' day

-the words "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you"... why is it that these words are so difficult to say?! You'd think we would want to say them more because they bring such freedom and relief!

-another thing that's always on my list... Japanese kids!

-front tooth-less smiles :)

-hearing my favorite Amy Grant Christmas album over and over :)

-an American Thanksgiving celebration with my second family... there's just something so special about crowding 14 people around a table and sharing a meal together :) (eating turkey and pumpkin pie made me smile too!)

Our family Thanksgiving dinner (minus Colby who was taking the picture!)

-the simplistic beauty and innocence of an 11 year olds' prayer

-a personal note from my mail carrier letting me know I have a package!

-learning how to make paper cranes... and finally starting to get good at it!

-having a lady tell me my crane looked more like a pelican than a crane! (she didn't know I made it so she apologized after she found out!)

-construction workers who stop traffic for me just so I can cross the road through a construction zone on my bike :)

-an old man laughing and commenting on my grocery basket being "sukunai" (not very full)

-a little healthy competition while playing Spoons

-24/7 Christmas music on my internet radio station :)

-having a 7 year old laugh at how bad I am at handbells!

-a very thoughtful care pacakage from my church in Riverton :)

-Dad telling me what to put on my smile list :P

There you go! You know the drill... tell me what made you smile this week too :) (I like comments!)

Friday, November 27, 2009

what service!

Happy Thanksgiving :) (I think I like this business of celebrating two Thanksgivings!) Tonight we had an amazing turkey dinner and I really enjoyed the fellowship. Unfortunately, Bobby and I had to leave earlier than everyone else because we had a class to teach.

Anyway, I just had to post about this because it made me smile...

Tonight I checked my mail box (I had been gone all day) and I found a very neat hand written note that read as follows:

"Dear Ms. Timmons,
You have a parcel from Canada. However, due to its' size (doesn't go thro' the post) it is being securely held at Hirao post office. Like before, please leave a memo detailing the delivery date and approximate time. I shall try to deliver at your convenience. If not you can call me on ... This is my cell no. Thanks. 11/26 11:06 AM P/S I might drop by this evening)"

Is that service or what?! I did get a similar note a few months ago, but I'm still really impressed! Not only did they leave a note to tell me I have a package, but it's in English!!! This is opposed to they typical Japanese delivery service that leaves an "encrypted"(aka Japanese) generic note about numbers to call and how to arrange a re-delivery (I've gotten a few of these when I received my modem from the phone company)
And... this person gave me their own phone number!! :)

Anyway, I should be making my way to bed instead of blogging, but I hope this post made you smile! This defintely makes the smile list this week!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

life is better with smiles :)

I think I am becoming a blog slacker for some reason... I think it's the combination of being busy, but feeling like I've got nothing 'blog-worthy'! I also feel less guilty knowing that I have my weekly smile lists posts though :)
Speaking of smiles... I was certainly blessed to have another week full of smiles and laughter and these are just a few of the highlights...

-the smell of late Fall/early winter (I think it's the combination of cool air and wood burning)

-clean windows! (actually anything clean makes me smile... why don't I clean more often?!)

-my teammates and co-workers and the endless playful banter between us!

-the entertainment and discussions that come along when you squeeze 7 people into a minivan!

-the anticipation of 24/7 Christmas music starting next week on the internet radio station I listen to :)

-having someone tell you you're pretty on a day when you don't have a speck of make up on!

-a bag of Halloween treats from one of my students (which included two of my favorites... Butterfinger and Nerds...but no Gobstoppers)

-telling the story of "Purple, Green and Yellow" to my students... it's my favorite kids' book! I get so excited when I read it and apparently when tell it too!

-one of my male students singing his favorite song for us in the middle of class :)

-getting to play with a 2 year old boy during the Bible time after my English class... and making him laugh :) My heart couldn't be much happier knowing that I can make kids laugh even when I can only speak 2 or 3 words to them! ...maybe that's why he was laughing! :P

-a certain someone who stepped in and did the dishes when I had a bunch of other tasks on the go :)

-talking about my family's Christmas traditions in my English classes

-a cute little old man on the train that waved goodbye to me as he got off :)

-I think this is probably on my list every week... but I'll add it again this week: flowers :)

-getting a 'congratulations present' from the ladies in my class in Shunan!

-3 way conversations via the comment box on my blog :)

-fresh multigrain bread... it's pretty rare here!

-spending my whole day off with my boyfriend... and other good friends too!

-the Bobby vs Taka banter (teasing each other in a way that only they could get away with!)

-Taka and Aki's little girl, Mika :) she's SO cute! Watching her try to decide if she liked Bobby or not was really entertaining!

-Aki giving up some of her precious candy cane chocolate from the States for me :)

-reminiscing about Elementary/Jr High school days...including the hairstyles and popular music!

-playing handbells with the kids in my Saturday morning class, and having Dorothy say that the kids were better than I was! (I am terribly musically challenged!!)

-Dad falling asleep while talking to me on Skype! :P

Hope your week was full of smiles too... please comment and tell me what made you smile this week!

I'm off to do some language study so until next time... keep on smiling :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

loving life...

Here I go again! This is what made me smile this week :) Enjoy!

-a picnic in the park on a 23 degree day in November!

-watching young families enjoy the beautiful day in the park... and critiquing some crazy outfits and some interesting parents!

-having my door opened for me (I know I've mentioned this one before, but it really does make me smile every time it happens!)

-pictures... I love looking at pictures... of anyone or anything! (but I especially love pictures of people that are precious to me, and breath taking pictures of God's creation)

-correcting one of my students' diary... she was talking about finding a centipede one day and then the next day she wrote "When I woke up, something bit my left hand. I thought that was a revenge of the centipede." Now do you see why I love being an English teacher so much?! My students always have such funny stories to tell me :)

-a sparkling clean bathroom and kitchen sink! (and the fact that I cleaned them at 11pm... I always tease my Mom for doing that because I think it's so funny that she just can't stand to go to bed with a "dirty" bathroom!)

-adventures with Yumi... including a "treasure hunt" for her cell phone!

-playing in the leaves :)

-mountain dew!

-sentimental presents :)

-a co-worker AND my sister reading the title of my blog post as "a falling out with Yumi" instead of "a fall outing with Yumi"!

-chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! need I say more?!

-other people making smile lists :)-telling the student that tried to 'sell Bobby' to me a few weeks ago that we are actually dating... (I was waiting until we told the ladies in the church before I told any of our students) Even though I told her it happened before she was teasing me, I think she still felt pretty proud of herself for coming up with that idea!

-getting told that my hands are beautiful because of my 'cute nails' (French Manicure) and because my skin is as white as a rice cake!... thanks... I think!-cozy rainy days :)-one of my students asking if I was the one who wrote the sentences (in English) in my testimony and then responding with a "wow, they are good!" after I said yes, I wrote them. another one of those "thanks... I think!" moments! Good to know that my English is good! :P

-My Mom calling me Sweetie Pie :)

-Introducing the phrase "terrible two's" to one of my students with a 2 year old! (She loved it and thought that it couldn't be more accurate!)

-getting a Japanese kid to smile at me... usually they just stare!

-freshly washed sheets that smell like my french vanilla dryer sheets :)

-running into my homestay Mom at the train station!

-playing Monopoly Jr with my conversation class... and hearing Pastor Nakamura (whose office is downstairs from us) say that we were very "lively"!

-realizing that my English is slowly becoming more Japanese as I was playing Monopoly... I was saying "chan-su" (chance), "star-to" (start), "ra-ki" (lucky) (I guess that will only make sense if you understand Japanese pronounciation!

-little white and purple daisies on the side of the road :)

-having my Japanese teacher compliment me on the examples I came up with on the spot :) ...yay! I guess I'm learning something after all!

-a random girl literally running up behind me just to say Hello and ask me if I lived in Tabuse and if I was an English teacher... we chatted for a couple minutes, then she disappeared as quickly as she appeared!

-trying a new recipe... and finding a new use for avocado, even though I didn't really like it!

-rekindling my love for mittens :)

-getting a full 8 hours of sleep... and feeling the difference when I woke up!

-going on a road trip with some friends, listening to old school English pop music such as Backstreet Boys and Hanson... (yes, as in "mmm bop" Hanson!)

-a group of elementary school kids giving up their seats for me and my friends on the gondola ride up the mountain :)

-this baby... if this doesn't make you laugh (or at least smile!) there's something wrong with you!

-getting to say Happy Birthday to my Grammie over skype (thanks to my parents holding up the phone to the mic!) and continuing the tradition of calling my Grampie an old fart and him calling me a little fart! :) (yes, our relationship is unique!)

-the facial expressions of a 7 year old girl when the things that I was teaching got a little over her head!

-the fact that both of my students and I were all wearing pink and black today :) (I'm such a nerd that I notice those things!)

-a surprise desktop background picture change when I turned on "my" computer :)

-the fact that my messy house is driving me crazy! (yes, this is unusual!)

So there ya go... I hope this is evidence that I'm doing really well here and loving life! I've got so much to be thankful for! What made YOU smile this week?!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I guess I need to make it clear that no, Yumi and I did not have a falling out.... we had a Fall outing!! :P

I've had two people tell me their brains played tricks on them and they were concerned that something bad had happened between Yumi and I!

So, no worries... Yumi and I are fine! We just had a fun day together :)

Isn't it funny how our brains do that to us sometimes when we read?!

Monday, November 9, 2009

a Fall outing with Yumi :)

Today was a beautiful fall day and I got to enjoy it with my good friend Yumi! We were going to go for lunch at one of her favorite restaurants near the museum/park that I went to a few weeks ago with the student that did my nails, but we got there only to find out they are closed on Mondays (as are many other restaurants in Japan!) We decided to go and enjoy the park first and took some fun pictures and then headed to a different restaurant!

Japanese maple leaves...

This is from when I went to this same park on October 16th with my student...

November 9th in the same spot...

Playing in the leaves... :)

We're so goofy... (this was Yumi's idea by the way!)

Perfect 'self portrait' on the first try!

Poor Yumi... she had her heart set on eating here!!
These last 2 are a little posed... but they are based on a true story! We really did have to drive all the way back to the park and go hunting for Yumi's cell phone because it fell out of her pocket!

I love fall! :) Thanks for the fun adventure, Yumi! and thank you for your beautiful creation, God :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All I have to say for today....

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God

All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God

Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Saturday, November 7, 2009

more smiles :)

I think I need to work on my intro's to these lists... I've got nothing today! Here's what made me smile this week... Enjoy!

-a little girl skipping down the isles of the dollar store... she was feeling as much joy in that store as I do! :)

-packing my groceries (on the first try!) so that they fit perfectly in my bike basket

-watching a 3 year old boy and a 5 year old girl trying to console a crying 3 month old baby

-a spontaneous visit from Yumi (when I was in my pj's!)

-getting a gift from Yumi because it made her think of me and Bobby... and getting a bag of Halloween treats from her too :)

-talking to a friend on skype and hearing her story about an encounter with a very attractive 007 man... and the fact that she almost told me the story twice in the same conversation!

-Dayna and her roommate Michelle... and their crutch war video :)

-days off :) (and spending them with special people!)

-the sound of babies laughing

-hearing stories of how couples met and got married... and watching the sparkle in their eyes light up as they remember their early days of dating :)

-little old ladies with purple hair (not intentional I don't think...)

-Pastor Nakamura calling himself my 'backseat driver' after he told several people about Bobby and I!

-watching a hearty 'welcome home' greeting at the train station

-burning my grilled cheese sandwich... just trying to maintain my reputation!

-making people excited when they make it on my smile list :)

-presents from my students!

-the anticipation of opening a new e-mail :)

-cool evenings with cozy pj's, a blanket and a cup of peppermint tea

-a heated toilet seat on a chilly morning! (that borders on too much information doesn't it?!)

-Dad coming on skype and moving in front of the camera saying "Hello, this is your Dad here!"

-my Mom... she's just so cute!

-a video of Lincoln impersonating how puppies drink :) (yes, I'll confess I cheated on my Facebook rehab again!)

-a special visit from Darth Vader on skype :)

-This commercial... I heart Canada :)

-a little old man talking to himself while wandering the isles of the dollar store (uh oh, since this list is in chronological order I guess that means I'm busted that I went to the dollar store twice in one week!)

-the orange sample lady at the grocery store eating her own samples!

Thanks once again, God, for the many smiles you blessed me with this week! Thank you for the beautiful fall weather! You are so good to me! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

long overdue... but at least I kept my promise!

so... I've finally got some time to post the pictures I have been talking about for about a month now!
These are two of the ladies from the English conversation class I teach at Pastor Nakamura's church... we decided to skip 'class' and we went to a near by island :) These ladies are so funny... they call themselves "Tom and Jerry"

We went out for lunch :)

Don't ask me what any of this is becuase I don't really know...I just eat it! I actually don't really care for traditional Japanese food like this that much...

This is one of my students... the one that did my nails for me... she took me to a cute little restaurant first

This is her salon...

After she did my nails, we went to a local "museum/park" dedicated to the first Prime Minister. These 'models' scared the life out of me when we first came up to the building because I thought they were real people and I wasn't expecting anyone or anything to be in there!

These are two girls in my Saturday English class... aren't they SO cute? The younger girl isn't actually in the class, but she plays the games with us and she's actually really smart!

This is another one of my students, showing me how a 'tea ceremony' is done. (She is a tea ceremony teacher)

These are some pictures of a sunset at "my spot" that I took a few weeks ago... the birds were so entertaining!

These pictures are from some of the sunrises (yes I did say RISE) that I took at our retreat... straight from my window :) My camera is pretty crummy though... Bobby took some pretty amazing ones that maybe he'll post one day...

And here's our group pictures :)
Pretty good looking bunch aren't we??
Anyway, that's all for now... that about catches you up on my latest adventures! Hopefully more to come soon!