Saturday, January 23, 2010

Well, the smiles just keep coming... even in the midst of a week of goodbyes! God is SO good to me.... Here's my smile list!

-sharing a 'testimony' for the first time during the time in church when we share prayer requests and praises

-little babies with full heads of fuzzy hair

-a stubbron Basset Hound... actually I think it was the little old man trying to drag him on a walk made me smile more than the dog did!

-eating dessert overlooking the water

-sunsets and beautiful views

-hearing songs that remind you of someone

-having company over for dinner

-having 3 single girls oooh and ahhh over my cooking :)

-hosting my teammates for dinner... enjoying a few hours of good fellowship with much laughter and many stories of 'missionary legends' of the past :P (of course no names were mentioned though!)

-shopping adventures with Teresa (Bob's patience made me smile too!)

-getting a free pair of cute socks at a little gift shop because the lady found out I am leaving next week :)

-so many people paying for my meals!-flower shopping :)-a proud grandma showing off pictures of her grandaughter

-Brent McCoy's love song...

-"Friday Night" fun! :)

-home made cards from my English class kids... they are absolutely amazing!!

-the mothers of the English class students staying after my farewell lunch to ask me questions all about my "love story" :)

-Sona chan giving me hugs and letting me hold her for a group picture... she was so sweet and leaned her head on my cheek for one of them... my heart melted!

-laughing about eating corn with chopsticks with Eri chan :)

-treating someone else to dinner for a change this week!

I've got plenty to do tonight so I need to quit procrastinating and get to work!
Thanks for keeping up with my smiles :) Have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I just like to smile... Smiling's my favorite :)

Hehehe just thought I'd quote Elf to start off my list this week!
Here's my smile list for this week! As usual, my life is full of reasons to smile and I'm so thankful for that... can you imagine what life would be like without laughter and smiles??

-watching grandma Okamoto (an 83 year old lady with no teeth) enjoy her piece of birthday cake topped with whipped cream :) she had it all over her lips!

-the satisfaction of cooking a meal with all 4 food groups!

-figuring out how to take my electic toilet seat off and giving my toilet a good cleaning... and then figuring out how to put it back on all by myself!

-catching up with friends on skype

-drinking cherry Kool-Aid :) (I intentionally made it stronger and sweeter than it's supposed to be!)

-the satisfaction of 'deep cleaning' :)

-planning surprises! (no, I can't tell you what I've done... that would ruin the surprise!) I just have to say that putting this little surprise together made me smile because it was fun!

-Valentine's Day displays being set up at the Dollar store... YAY! it's less than one month away now!! :)

-Dollar store treasures... like a new toilet brush and holder! (yeah, doesn't take much to excite me!) and yes, that makes two things about toilets on my smile list... oh dear! :P

-making conversation with "my" grocery clerk

-getting "real mail" :)

-making poutine and chicken strips... and blogging about it! :)

-Pastor Nakamura forbidding me to eat okonomiyaki this week because our conversation class is going out for okonomiyaki next week... guess he wants me to make sure I don't get sick of it!

-a bright new light on my bike :)

-Dad gagging as Melissa told him about what she did at work that day (she's a nurse!)

-ganging up on Dad with Lissa and Mom and making him do his little "ah-heh-heh-heh"

-having a conversation about how to spell Dad's "ah-heh-heh-heh" :)

(Can you tell we were pretty much laughing during our entire 3 way call??!)

-Teresa's nostalgic moments of passionately singing along to the Carpenters music playing at Jolly Ox :)

-Bob beating Teresa and I at Blitz... but that NEVER happens right Bob?! :P

-getting together with friends for meals

-hosting guests

-a tickle fight with Towa kun.... I obviously won because I made him beg for mercy! :P

-finding out one of my students is going to come to church with me next week :)

-having so many dinner and lunch plans that I don't have to think about making a meal for myself for the next week! (except for the 2 nights I am having company over for dinner)

Just 2 weeks from today I'll be sitting on a plan on my way to Winnipeg!! I know I've said it lots, but time is seriously flying!! I am enjoying all of the fun plans I have with friends and making the most of my last few days here... but boy it's busy!

Anyway, speaking of busy, I should be doing something a little more productive than blogging!
Have a wonderful weekend! and don't forget to take some time to enjoy the things that make you smile! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I think I'm in heaven...

ok, maybe just back in Canada!!

Folks... I just made my favorite meal... poutine and chicken strips here in Japan tonight!
This is how much I was looking forward to it...

Here's the final product... (yes, my chicken strips are probably classified as nuggets, but I don't care!)

Yes, I'm a nerd... but I know it, so that makes it ok right?! You can tell I'm excited because I just addressed my blog audience as 'folks'... I never to that!

I could have thought ahead a little more and maybe I wouldn't be eating my dinner at 10:25, but hey, it was well worth the wait!! I even had slightly BBQ flavored ranch to dip my chicken strips in! (thanks to one tiny pack of McDonald's BBQ sauce!) Best part is... I have enough to make this meal all over again!! :)

I'm just sad that I don't have anyone to enjoy it with........... ok, maybe not THAT sad! ...more for me! :P

Funny how all of the sudden all of my 'favorites' are coming up recently.... favorite movie, favorite meal... what's next?! :P

ok, enough showing off my nerd side! I'm off to enjoy some more delicious food! :)

Fun at the grocery store...

Today, I made a quick stop by the grocery store because my fridge was a little barren. As I was checking out, I attempted to make conversation with one of the clerks that has become one of my favorites. I was feeling quite proud of myself for actually using some of my Japanese (I have to admit I am overly shy about speaking Japanese and I don't use it nearly as much as I should) when the conversation suddenly went in an unexpected direction...

she asked me what I was making for dinner tonight (since I was buying frozen french fries, grated cheese and chicken). Hmm.... how does one explain "poutine and home made chicken strips" in Japanese??!! :P Good luck with that one!

I decided not to bother trying (since there was someone waiting in line behind me) and went with the "I don't know yet" answer!!

Anyway, I'm excited to make poutine and chicken strips for dinner tonight! (I recently enherited some gravy mixes from a missionary that's leaving the field soon) Sure... 2 1/2 weeks before I leave Japan I finally get to make my favorite Canadian food! :P

My days are slowly filling up with lunch and dinner dates, trying to get in as many special goodbyes as possible! I was thinking I wouldn't have that many, but now that everyone is replying to my e-mails, my calender is looking pretty full! ...but I'm thankful for that because that means that I've made a lot of meaningful relationships this year! :) Thanks for praying for me as I finish up here... for this chapter of my life anyway!

By the way... it's FREEZING here!! It snowed again today! (this is really unusual!) My computer says it's 1 but feels like -4... I'm sure it's colder than that with the nasty wind we've got today. Oh yikes... what am I going to do when I get back to WINNIPEG??!! (I'm assuring myself that it's a "different" kind of cold here and that I'll be fine....)

Monday, January 11, 2010

it's official...

...Anne of Green Gables is my favorite movie! (I like all of them but I think the second one is my favorite)

I don't know why I always forget about Anne of Green Gables when someone asks me what my favorite movie is, but as I'm watching them right now, I've rekindled my love for these movies and I'm officially declaring them my favorite now :)

No other movie makes me as giddy as Anne of Green Gables does! I love Anne's dramatic flare and I definitely feel a connection to her because we both have red hair :) (and I'm sure some might say we share the 'strong will' that goes with it!) Of course I love the story of Anne and Gilbert and their years of banter that turns into romance.

My middle name is actually Anne... of course spelled the "romantic way" with an 'e' as Anne says!

I really don't know why I haven't actually bought the DVD's yet... but I'll certainly be searching for them when I get home! :)

Anyway, if you've never seen the Anne of Green Gables series, you definitely need to! I know you'll love them! (but probably not as much as I do though!)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

i almost forgot!

Wow, that was a close one... I almost forgot to post my smile list today! I sort of forgot it was Saturday... all my days are blending together now that I don't have a regular routine of teaching!

As a random fact... I leave Japan 3 weeks from today!! I'm trying to balance the excitment of all that is coming up in the next few months with making the most of my last 3 weeks here. Of course I'm sad to leave Japan because it has been my home for the last year and I love it here, but I'm also really looking forward to being with my parents and friends again. I haven't said many "final" goodbyes yet because I'm getting togther with friends throughout the next 3 weeks, but it makes things easier knowing that I will be returning eventually!

Anyway, here's my smile list for this week. I think it's a little shorter than usual, but that's only because I haven't been as faithful at writing things down!

my smile list this week could probably be summed up in two words every week... and this one's no different...

-Bobby Baden :)

Ok, so there were a few other things/people that made me smile too!

-pictures of a dog frolicking in the snow for the first time

-watching Bobby and Drew exchange "secrets"... I think I like Drew's secrets better than Bobby's :P

-Bobby's reaction when checking the Winnipeg weather forecast... think he can be convinced it might warm up in February?? :P

-making myself dizzy taking the lights off of the Christmas tree!

-enjoying a peaceful afternoon of de-decorating the church listening to worship music

-Bob's chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast before our team prayer meeting :)

-the victory of successfully taking apart the Christmas tree and getting it to fit back in the box all by myself! (with God's help)

-more snow!! (this time just flurries)

-Teresa giving me a vanilla softlips chapstick and some of her french vanilla cappucino mix!! (she reeeeally loves me!) :)

-watching Finding Nemo

-the curiousity I stirred up with my last post... ;)

-hearing a lady tell her dog to hurry up when he was looking for a place to pee!

-a cute little boy with bed head sleepily following his mom through the train station

-telling my Japanese teacher that I made a computer yesterday instead of used one! :P We got a good laugh out of that one!!

-the feeling of that first step into a hot bath :) oh the bliss of a hot bath on a cold night!

-the English on my body wash that says "please enjoy the bus time"... I think they mean BATH!

-a conversation with my Mom and my sister about old underwear... I'll spare the details... but let's just say I had a good, long laugh with them! :)

-sharing lunch with two good friends and going shopping at second hand stores after

-keeping up with my New Year's resolution :)

Thanks for taking the time to read through my smile list... hope you had a good week of smiles too! Feel free to share some with me! Enjoy the weekend! :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just thought I'd throw this out there...

anyone know of a good immigration lawyer???

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Today I've been working on some adminstrative stuff on "my computer" (techincally it's Bobby's but he's given it to me to use since mine crashed in October) and I've been listening to music. One of the benefits of a borrowed computer is "new" music :) I've been enjoying a new variety of music and today one song in particular stood out to me so I wanted to share the lyrics...

"Everything" by Bebo Norman

When day is over I'll be the color in the sky
If darkness lingers I'll be the flame that gives you light

I just want you to notice
I just want you to feel the same
I just want you to notice
That I just want to be your everything
I just want to be your everything

On my shoulder
There is a place for you to cry
I'll be your shelter
When there is nowhere left to hide
Sometimes I see you cry
When you watch the sun go down
You're magical, so beautiful, and I...

just want you to notice
I just want you to feel the same
I just want you to notice
That I just want to be your everything
I just want to be your everything
When day is over I'll be the color in the sky

For some reason I really like this song. I guess it was a good reminder to me of how much God really loves me and more aware of how He shows me that. How often do I (we) go through life just so busy, not taking the time to simply tell God we love Him. He does so many things to get our attention... especially in the simple things like a beautiful flower or a gorgeous sunrise or sunset... but do we really take the time to notice them, and notice His hand in them?

I'm just as guilty of this as the next guy, allowing myself to get caught up in the busy-ness of daily life (especially being in full time ministry!) so this song was a good reminder to me to take some time and tell God how much I love Him and how grateful I am for His love.

It's amazing what human relationships can teach us about God. I've been thinking a lot lately about how much it means to me to hear someone say they love me, or do something to show me they love me. I think all humans desire/need to be loved and be reminded that they are loved. Not that God "needs" us to tell Him we love him, but I've been reflecting on how it makes God feel when I show Him/tell Him that I love Him... I imagine that it's impossible for me to say or show it too many times and that He will never get tired of me telling Him or showing Him that I love him. I like thinking about how much joy it brings to God when I use those three little words for Him :)

When was the last time you told God you love Him? Take some time today to notice the ways He shows you that He loves you... and thank Him for those things! :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the first edition of Hillary's smile list in 2010 :)

Happy New Year!

Here's my first smile list of 2010! enjoy...

-sitting in the sunshine that was coming in through the window in church (I'm like a cat... except I couldn't fall asleep since I was in church!)

-Mrs K putting her hand on my knee as someone prayed for Bobby in church :) (she's really looking out for me!)

-Mrs K saying (with much pride and in English) "My best friend is Baden Sensei!!" (Bobby)

-Masanobu kun 'sharing' half of his Christmas orange with me... (sounds sweet of him, but really it was because he didn't want it!)

-a road trip with a group of 3 friends that have welcomed me into their group without hesitation :)

-beautiful pink and fluffy clouds at sunset

-being told that my Japanese is beautiful... after saying just 2 words!! :P

-a 'gentle' transition from Christmas music to regular music on the radio station I listen to (every 4th or 5th song is a Christmas song)

-spending the day in my pj's :)

-catching up on e-mail replies!!

-"mingling laundry"

-"bloated barley" in our turkey soup!

-"I was fast like lightening!!" ~Natalie while playing Blitz (can't quite capture the humility in her voice when it's typed out though!)

-my terrible video game skills showcased while playing Mario brothers with Natalie... I got the hint when she asked if I wanted to play another game! :P

-waking up, pulling back the curtains and FINALLY seeing snow falling!!!

-taking part in the annual Chistar Japan Field New Year's party tradition of playing Bunko!

-a sleepover with a good friend... this time she didn't have to go out and buy milk for her coffee... I was a little more prepared this time!

-missing the countdown by 4 minutes because I couldn't find an official countdown in time! oops!

-getting an e-mail from one of my best friends that I've known since grade 4 containing a picture of her and Bobby standing beside each other at Urbana... God is amazing! :)

-making new friends pretty much instantly :)

-hearing stories of how my parents surprised their family in Nova Scotia on Christmas day

-Brad walking in on my skype conversation with Lissa just in time to hear me say "My bum hurts!" (Let me give a little background for that one... I had been sitting on the floor for about 3 hours!)

-using up all my cell phone minutes the day before they expire :) no wasting here!!

-getting a friends' wedding ceremony program and a favor in the mail with a picture of her and another girl I was in Africa with :) (Thanks for your thoughtfulness Amber!)

Hope you've had a good week of smiles too!

You're not doing very good at commenting by the way! (except for my faithful family members and my boyfriend!) Come on all you 'stalkers'... make yourselves known by telling me what you did for New Year's! :P