Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm here...

long time no post...
I know, I know... it's been a while! I have a feeling some day I'll regret not having kept up better in the last few months, but oh well. Life's been busy!!

I'm actually working at Siloam again right now over the Christmas season, processing donations. I can't say it's my favorite job in the world, but it's nice to be able to help out in a hectic season and it's also nice to have the extra money this time of year! (I have to say I'm really having fun coming up with ways to bless others in ways we wouldn't normally be able to)

Anyway, working full time leaves little time for blogging (which actually only gives me an excuse for the past couple weeks since I only started working last week!) We've been involved in a lot of church things lately (attending 2 churches keeps you busy!!) I have really enjoyed not working this fall because I've been able to volunteer for a lot of things and spend time with people, particularly having more time to host others.

We've had 2 conversation partners from Japan attending U of W this past semester and we've had so much fun getting to know them. We're sad they're leaving later this month :( (but we'll probably end up doing it again next semester and meet new friends!) We had them over for supper on December 1st and had them help us decorate! It was so much fun... will post pictures some other day!

So... my main reason for posting tonight was to share a video Bobby came across the other day. I don't really know the background of it, but it speaks for itself...

Having volunteered there for 6 weeks, it's hard to watch this without crying! I think we're still processing what we experienced in Japan and some days it's still tough. It feels like a surreal experience, but still very near to our hearts. Funny things trigger my memory/emotions... a few weeks ago I was walking home from the gym crossing the bridge and saw some kind of mattress or mat in the river and it reminded me of the many soaked/destroyed tatami mats we saw amongst piles of debris. It's encouraging how people are still asking us about our time there, allowing us to share what we went through/what Japan is going through. God has blessed us with lots of really amazing, caring friends who have listened to our stories and shared in our pain.

Anyway, I should get going... we're going to watch Elf tonight :)

Hope you're enjoying the excitement of Christmas!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Super funny videos...

Someone on Facebook posted a link to this video the other day and it cracked me up... especially the last two brothers...

Then today I found the link to the original video of those two brothers... it's even funnier!! (Except for them taking the Lord's name in vain... I don't like that!)

Hope they made you smile! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Every Little Bit Counts...


I had my first weigh in and measure today and although I must confess I wish it was more encouraging, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased :)

All measurements were down which is encouraging... I've lost 8 inches all over (combo of all measurements) and I lost 1/2 a pound. I actually lost 1% of body fat which is the most encouraging for me since I know that's what I need to decrease the most right now.

I made an appointment on Friday to get set up with Smart Curves which I'm pretty excited about :)

Anyway, I hope this is a sign of good things to come... I was warned that the first month or 2 show the least results... but then again, I know this is a journey and it will take time to get where I should be!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall photo shoot :)

With such beautiful colours, who can resist a good 'ol Fall Photo Shoot?!

Last night, Mom, Dad, Bobby and I all ventured out into the leaves around our apartment and took a few pictures while we still have leaves on the trees.

These are a few of our favorites...

Once again, Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Facelift...

Ah, fall :) Can you tell I love it?! (Thought it would be fun to give my blog a new look)

We seem to be having an amazing fall so far! This past weekend and the last three days have been in the mid to high 20's... so gorgeous! The leaves are certainly starting to change colour and everything looks so pretty. We don't have as many reds here in Manitoba as Nova Scotia does, but there's a few of them here and there which really adds to the beauty! Although I don't really like the 'oncoming of winter', I really enjoy fall. Perfect temperatures. Nothing like a cozy sweater and a pair of jeans :)

So... we're doing well in spite of my lack of blogs! We're keeping pretty busy, mostly with hospitality. We love having people over :) And, I'm loving this stage of life right now where I can really have time to be in the kitchen and keep the house clean. I'm not working yet, but will likely look for a day care position sometime soon. (Most likely just 2 or 3 days a week though)

Curves is going well... I really enjoy the workout/environment of Curves. Bobby's been a good motivator for me and hasn't let me skip a day yet! (He drove me when it was raining and when I ran out of time the day we had eye doctor appointments and company coming for supper) No idea if there's been any changes or not though... my first weigh-in is Oct. 12th so we'll see then!

I just realized I posted our summer pictures on Facebook, but never posted the link on here!

So... here's pictures from our time in Toronto; pictures from Casa Loma; pictures from the butterfly conservatory in Niagara on the Lake; pictures from Nova Scotia; and finally, pictures from PEI :) Enjoy!

I guess that's all for now... I need to go clean up the kitchen!
Happy Fall :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

big step...

Today I went to Curves for the first time... by myself!

I've always been attracted to Curves for many reasons... a gym that's just for women, 30 minute workout, all laid out for you... but I've never really lived close to one before.

Now, we live really close to one! I had been thinking about it all summer but since we were on the go so much, I couldn't do anything about it. When we got home though, I looked online and found out that week's promotion was a free one week pass so I signed up for one!

Today I went in for the first time and I think I'm going to like it. I haven't committed to a membership yet, but I probably will. I had a really fun lady help me out and I had a good time. My aim is to go 5 days this week (to get into a M-F routine). It's a 1/2 hour walk one way so I'm actually getting a double work out with a hour walk everyday too!

I know that I'm not in a healthy state right now and I can't live like this forever so it's time to make some changes... especially after 2 months of traveling and vacation!

I probably have my hopes up too high as far as results go, but I figure that since I've never actually stuck to an exercise routine before (for longer than a week or 2... how sad!) I should see some significant changes... or at least feel them anyway, since exercise makes you feel better!

I'm also going to be more disciplined about what I eat/don't eat. I am a terrible "dieter" (considering I've never actually been on one!) and I have no discipline when it comes to sweet things and food I really like so I know I can do better. Little changes like not taking seconds and actually paying attention to when I'm hungry/full is where I'm going to start with for now (as well as adding more fruit/veggies into our meals).

Anyway, just thought I'd put this on my blog to add some accountability! Feel free to ask me how it's going... and offer tips as well! :) Anyone have any Curves success stories/experiences?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

it's been a while!

well... I don't think our summer could have been any busier!! Right now we're still on vacation in NS, but we leave Tuesday morning. I think both of us are good and ready to be home in our own bed! Don't get me wrong, I've had a wonderful summer and couldn't ask for a better one, but we are getting pretty tired... but can you blame us? 6 weeks in Japan, 6 days at home, 2 weeks in Toronto getting language training, and then 2 weeks with relatives and friends in NS... including a few day trips around the province and a 2 day belated anniversary celebration in PEI?!

Anyway, someday soon I'll have LOADS of pictures to post, but that might be a while! Today is just an effort to communicate and reward my faithful followers! :)

Hope everyone's having a great summer! Looking forward to catching up again soon...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

we're home...

We made it... we're "home"!

Still haven't exactly figured out where home really is yet though... hence the quotation marks!

Hirao/Japan felt like home when we were there and then again, our apartment here feels like home right now! I heard a phrase the other day that suits us pretty well... "home is wherever we're together"! I guess that's pretty much our story!

Anyway, our trip went well... no troubles with immigration which we were VERY thankful for! and our bags arrived in Winnipeg all in one piece so we're pretty happy!

Now we have 5 days to recover/process/rest/readjust... and then we're off again for another month! (2 weeks in Toronto for a language acquisition program, and 2 weeks in NS visiting my family) I think today calls for some unpacking and vegging on the couch!!

Someday I'll post pictures.... but not right now!! Thanks again for your prayers...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Our First Anniversary...

Hello again!

We've made it safe and sound to Yamaguchi-ken and it feels SO good to be back here. We are staying with our co-workers and were also able to have dinner with our other co-workers last night... and tonight all 6 of us will have dinner to celebrate Bobby and T's birthdays (a day apart).

Last night Bobby and I drove home the way we always used to after English class (by the water) and it felt just like we were dating again! It's fun to reminisce and be "back where we started" :) (Except it's way more fun to be married now!)

We are really looking forward to seeing our friends again... our week is pretty busy, but it's exciting. Yesterday Yumi came to the train station with our co-workers and she was just as excited and enthusiastic as ever! (It was a little hard to be as excited as she was because I was so tired from the past 3 1/2 weeks and our trip down here... but still so good to see her again!)

I feel like I didn't exactly do our experience justice on here, but to be honest I'm pretty exhausted and don't feel like 'closing' that part right now... I just wanted to post some pictures of our anniversary celebration! (Part one... we are planning a trip to PEI while we're in NS next month)

You can find them here! Enjoy :)

PS Happy 8th Anniversary to my sister and her husband! :) We love you guys!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

We're practically famous!

That's right... we made it into a National newspaper :) how fun!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Birthday Boy...

In the midst of our hectic schedule, we've had the opportunity to celebrate two occasions this week... Sunday was our FIRST anniversary and today is Bobby's birthday!!

I remember when Bobby and I were dating, I wrote a birthday tribute to my sister on my blog and Bobby commented that he couldn't wait for his turn to get a birthday tribute... I just realized today that I never did give him one last year because we were on our honeymoon!! So, today I want to do that... I want the world to know just how thankful I am that Bobby Baden entered the world on this day 32 years ago...

I am so blessed. So blessed that I'm not sure where to begin! Bobby and I were good friends before we started dating and it allowed me to see a lot of his true colors. We spent nearly every day together which obviously led to us getting to know each other quite well. Although our relationship wasn't "love at first sight", I'm love the way it blossomed from a friendship into a romantic relationship. Over the months we spent together getting to know one another, I grew to appreciate his character and his deep love of the Lord.
He is one passionate man when it comes to the Lord! He is so good with words and he's able to explain the Truth so well to anyone who's willing to listen (even those who aren't so willing!) I've had the privilege of watching him share his testimony several times, particularly while on this trip, and he's got a powerful story. He's not ashamed of sharing the Gospel and He loves to tell anyone he can about how much God loves them.

He is so gifted with the Japanese language! He began studying in High School and even though he didn't know it then, that was all part of God's hand in his life. He's so smart and learns so quickly! He's good at pretty much everything he tries, and even when he's not so good, he's got a great attitude about it!

His smile is amazing. It makes my heart skip a beat when he smiles and laughs, especially when he's looking at me! He can make me smile when I'm at my worst and I appreciate his great efforts to make me happy when I'm feeling down. He has an incredible ability to make me (and anyone) feel so special and strong even when I'm at my weakest moments. He makes me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world and is very generous with his compliments. He's so encouraging and he's always quick to point out someone's strengths and giftings.

I'm pretty sure everyone who meets Bobby likes him from the start. He's so easy to get along with, and he's incredibly patient with those who are "difficult to love". He's quick to apologize and often apologizes when I don't feel it was necessary for him to. He's very accepting of my flaws, and has been so good at learning to laugh at our differences instead of criticize me for not being like him.

It's be an incredible blessing to have Bobby in my life. He brings strength to my weaknesses in so many ways and he's taught me so much. He's so disciplined, and always faithful to his commitments. He's a hard worker. He is a man of incredible integrity and I deeply admire that.

He's good with people of all ages... from newborns to 82 year old missionaries... he knows how to make people feel loved! I know he's going to make a great dad someday.

He makes me feel so safe and protected... the other night I woke up during a small earthquake and Bobby reached over and squeezed my hand to remind me he was there with me.

It is a privilege to be his wife and I've enjoyed being the "special someone" in his life. It is a real honor to share life with him. I love that he's always willing to talk and spend time with me, and always makes sure that I'm happy. He's so thoughtful of others, always looking out for someone else... usually me.

I really can't say it enough, but I love being married to Bobby. Spending every day with him is an incredible blessing. He brings so much joy to my life and he's everything I'd hoped for in a husband and more. He's so romantic and always looks for creative ways to express his love. I'm so thankful for his love.

I wish that everyone could know and love Bobby as much as I do, but I must confess that I love having an intimate, close relationship with him like no one else does. Sometimes I find it hard to share him with others!

Even though I could go on and on and on about my love for Bobby, I should probably finish this off. I love you with all my heart, Bobby! I hope you know how special you are and how grateful I am that God allowed our paths to cross! You are one amazing man!! Happy Birthday!! :)

What to say??

Hi there... sorry for the lack of updates in the last week! Our schedule here is pretty hectic and like I told my Mom this morning, every spare minute I get these days all I want to do is sleep, not blog! :)

Things are going well here, but we're very tired. I'm developing a greater sympathy to those who are involved in this type of ministry full time! I've taken today off (Sad how I'm taking Bobby's birthday off but he couldn't because a team needed a Japanese speaker to go with them) :( so I'm able to catch up a little bit today. So much to say, but I don't know that I have the energy to get it all out!

Last week was quite different from the week before... in one of the affected towns, they put up a HUGE temporary tent that was called a "charity bizarre" where various groups/companies came and offered services. They had everything from clothes to toiletries and family portrait takers! It was an incredible event and it allowed us to get creative with our outreaches and we were able to set up a bingo and women's craft table the first day and the rest of the week since the kids were in school, I set up a 'manicure table'. I had a blast! I was truly in my element and I LOVED serving in that way. God truly knew what I needed and He gave it to me!

It was so amazing to be able to bless so many women with a manicure and some nail art... I painted flowers and hearts and everyone loved it! It was just awesome to be able to use something that I love doing so much as a form of ministry! The reactions of the ladies were priceless! Some loved it so much they came back and asked me to do it again (which I must confess was a bit of a humbling experience after having spent so much time on them a day or 2 before!) Such a simple act yet so meaningful. I was able to help them relax and also feel beautiful! Some of the ladies joked that they weren't going to do anything that night... no dishes, no supper!! :P (I'm sure I wasn't very popular among their families!)

While I painted, Bobby was usually sitting beside me and making conversation with the women. It was so neat to be working side by side and also allowing the women to heal through our conversations. We certainly heard a lot of heart breaking stories, but at the same time we made some wonderful friends. (not just the survivors, but also with other Japanese volunteers) Many, many seeds were sown last week... pray that they will grow!

I also got to spend quite a lot of time with babies throughout the week and of course immensely enjoyed that!

One thing in particular that stood out from that week was how many stories we heard of people who hadn't lost their homes but were struggling to survive now with no stores left in their town. Certainly a perspective we hadn't thought of before.

Yesterday marked 4 months after the 3.11 disaster... hard to believe. Even though it doesn't look like it at first glance, a LOT of progress has been made. Yes, of course there's still a LONG road to recovery ahead of Japan, but the people here have come so far.

We've had a few earthquakes recently that have made the news at home from what I hear... everything's fine here and we usually feel at least one earthquake every day. On Sunday we had a fairly large one (registered as a 3 where we are) just before church started and it was the biggest one I've felt so far. No damage though and things stayed on the walls/shelves so it wasn't terrible. It was the first time I was really scared though because it was the longest one I've felt.

It was interesting to be with Japanese people at the time it hit... you can see the effects of post traumatic stress in many people around here as there was a lot of panic in many of their eyes as the room shook. It was an eye opener for us as to just how much they've been through and what they are facing.

I should get going... I've got laundry to hang! I'm going to end with a vidoe I took last week during a drive through the areas we're working in... hard to watch, but it's an eye opener!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

a picture says a thousand words...

This is a picture I took today while we were stopped at a red light... If you look at the picture closely, the sign says "Tsunami Attention". It's almost like salt in a wound to see a sign like that, particularly in a pile of debris like this one.

We had a good day today, but honestly I'm too tired to write about it right now. Tomorrow we'll go to church, then sometime in the afternoon we're meeting up with a man from our church in Yamaguchi who works in this area. It will be exciting to see a familiar face, but I'm sure he has a lot of painful stories to share. (He was actually in Tokyo when the earthquake hit, but the company he works for is in the heart of where we were today and he's been involved in the clean up process)

Good night...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pray for Japan...

I came across this video today and thought it was worth posting. It's sort of cheezy that it's a Justin Bieber song, but it sends a good message and the pictures give a good glimpse of what the people here have been though and are recovering from. (I'm sure there's loads of other videos like this one too)

Pray for Japan! Pray that God's light would shine in this darkness!

Tono Base Camp Day 8...

so much for my goal of updating every other day! (We have pretty limited internet access and we've also been super busy)

Well, it's been quite a week. In some ways this feels like the longest week of my life and in other ways it feels like time is flying. All my days are blurring together and I had to actually count on my fingers to see how many days we've been here! We actually arrived here a week ago today, but it feels like that was ages ago.

Day 2 of debris cleaning was really tough on me and I've since decided that I will probably not be doing that kind of work again. Maybe I'll try it again sometime, but for now, I'm just taking it slow and doing other kinds of work in the mean time. I find it hard for me to not be critical of myself, comparing myself to the other female volunteers, particularly the Japanese women. They make me feel pretty weak. But... I don't know their stories and maybe they're only here for one or two days and are able to give it their all while they can, but since we're here for a whole month, I need to be careful not to wear myself down. It also makes me feel better when the team of 8 guys (grown men) from the States share about how hard it is on them as well.

The rest of our volunteering time has been photo cleaning. We have a team of two ladies from Taiwan here since Tuesday and so it's worked out well that they wanted to do some 'lighter work' as well. Today is their last day though so they decided to go out and do some debris removal. I was given the option of taking the day off so I did. I must be honest and say it's hard not to feel guilty about staying back today, but I know it's important for me to rest when I can and make sure I'm taking care of myself in all of this.

I've really enjoyed the photo cleaning work. It's also a pretty emotional task, but in a different way. I guess it's just a better fit for me than the physical labor. We've actually done photo cleaning in two different places and the procedures/set up were as different as night and day! The first place basically we just wiped down albums and swept the dry dirt out of the pages and pretty much left them "as good as we could get them" but there was still a lot of water damage to the pictures and some of the albums even had mold growing in them. (Of course, some of the albums were so old that it could have been there before the tsunami) And the little albums we took the pictures out, wiped them with "wet wipes" and put them in new little albums. This place had tables set up and people could walk through the gym and look through the albums and claim them if they recognized them.

One of the biggest blessings happened on our first (and so far only) day there... as we were cleaning some pictures, a lady came in and asked about some pictures that were cleaned the day before (She had come in and found them so they were cleaned and dried for her) to pick them up and while she was asking Bobby about them, she looked at the very pictures he was cleaning and called her grandfather over and said "these are ours too!!"

I couldn't believe it. The chances of her finding her pictures there were slim to none, and on top of that, the chances of the owner of the pictures we were cleaning finding and claiming those ones were even slimmer. But, God knew that I (perhaps I could say we!) needed that to keep us going. This lady and a few of her family members were looking through the gym for about 2 or 3 hours and actually ended up finding a great deal of albums. It was incredible to witness.

The other place we have been cleaning at has a whole different system. We don't get to see the people claiming them because we're not sure where they go when we finish cleaning them. They label all of the albums and each picture is carefully labeled as it's being washed. They also take before and after pictures of some (not sure how they decide which ones) and scan them and do touch ups and repairs to make them look like new again.

It was neat that it was our first day that we experienced the reclaiming because it makes the jobs we've been doing since them seem a lot less tedious. It's hard to think about the amount of effort you out into this without knowing if they will ever be claimed again, but because we met this one family, it keeps me going. Unfortunately there's just piles and piles of loose pictures that will probably never be claimed, but I know that this too is a special ministry and I need to put my whole heart into it.

Today I'm enjoying a quiet house, did some laundry, will do some reading and will help with some things around the house. Next week it looks like I'll be "kitchen manager" which I am looking forward to... except I'll need some meal ideas for big groups... there will be about 30 people here within the next week I think so it'll be quite a task! We don't really have an oven and only have 2 burners so this could be fun! :)

I should get going. Thanks again for praying for us. We can't say it enough how good it is to be prayed for. Until next time...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tono Base Camp Day 4...

Well, although it's getting late and it's been an exhausting day, I thought I should update for the sake of keeping track of what's been going on and keeping all of you up to date too!

I'll be pretty honest and say that today was an extremely rough day for me. A number of factors piled up and caused a lot of emotional exhaustion today. I won't go in to details but I'll give you the gist...

This morning we were sent out to a different town than the one we went to on Saturday, and this place was a lot harder hit than where we were before. It was raining and we ended up only working until lunch time, but it was still a rough morning for me. We were removing debris from around a house. I just can't describe what it's like there... it's so hard to take in.

I sort of had a meltdown this afternoon... ok, maybe even two. I have decided that I can't handle doing the "front line" work anymore and will be doing other kinds of work like cleaning pictures that have been found. It's just too hard on my heart. I struggled a lot this afternoon, dealing with feelings of disappointment because I can't handle this kind of work the way everyone around me has been... but God sent me a timely e-mail from a co-worker that was written by Chuck Swindoll about 1 Corinthians 12 (spiritual gifts) I'm going to post it since it might just bless someone else too...

“Have you ever noticed how uniquely adapted each animal is to its environment and its way of life? On land, a duck waddles along ungainly on its webbed feet. In the water, it glides along smooth as glass. The rabbit runs with ease and great bursts of speed, but I’ve never seen one swimming laps. The squirrel climbs anything in sight but cannot fly (unless you count great airborne leaps from limb to limb), while the eagle soars to mountaintops.

What’s true of creatures in the forest is true of Christians in the family. God has not made us all the same. He never intended to. He planned that there be differences, unique capabilities, and variations in the Body. So concerned was He that we realize this, He spelled it out several times in His Word. I charge you to take the time to read 1 Corinthians 12 slowly and aloud. Those thirty-one verses tell us about His desires and designs.

The subject is commonly called “spiritual gifts,” and it is as helpful as any truth the believer can ever know.

God has placed you in His family and given you a certain mixture that makes you unique. No mixture is insignificant!

That mix pleases Him completely. Nobody else is exactly like you. That should bring you pleasure, too.

When you operate in your realm of capabilities, you will excel and the whole Body will benefit…and you will experience incredible satisfaction.

When others operate in their realm, then balance, unity, and health automatically occur in the Body. It’s amazing!

But when you compare…or force…or entertain expectations that reach beyond your or others’ God-given capabilities, then you can expect frustration, discouragement, mediocrity, and, in the long run, defeat.

If God made you a duck saint- you’re a duck, friend. Swim like mad but don’t get bent out of shape because you wobble when you run. Furthermore, if you’re an eagle saint, stop expecting squirrel saints to soar…or rabbit saints to build the same kind of nests you do.

Accept your spiritual species. Cultivate your capabilities. Stop comparing. Enjoy being you!”

Basically, it was an encouragement to me that just because I'm not "like everyone else" being able to do this intense kind of work doesn't mean that I'm without purpose here. God's given me some specific gifts for the time I'm here... I just have to figure out what they are and how to use them!

Again, thanks for praying for us and the people of Japan. We all need your prayers! Good Night :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tono Base Camp Day 2 (re-posted!)

Sorry my blog didn't fully post yesterday... thankfully since it was acting weird I had copied it before I finished and I got it back just now :) So, here's the full report!

Well, we survived our 9 hour overnight bus ride up to Tono and met everyone at the base yesterday. It's a bit of a unique situation we're involved in up here because they're still figuring out leadership and roles, etc. so it's been interesting. We have some volunteer teams coming on Monday and some more later next week... when everyone's here, we'll have 32 people in this house... one shower, one bathroom! Should be fun! ;)

Yesterday was everyone's day off and we had a 2 1/2 hour staff meeting getting stuff straightened out. Then we had the afternoon off and I ended up sleeping all afternoon! (Guess I needed it because I still slept through the night after all that sleep- we've been pretty deprived of sleep lately between all the late nights getting ready to leave, the uncomfortable 10 hour plane ride, a 9 hour bus ride... etc) Then we had supper and devotions and went to bed)

Today we had our first day of volunteering in the effected area. This base is still working on finding partnerships with local churches (there aren't very many so it's been difficult) so we ended up going out with a local volunteer sending center. We got sent to an area where we basically shoveled dirt/mud/rocks/debris into bags to be taken away.

I must admit that it was incredibly hard to drive through all the affected areas. It's one thing to see it in pictures and videos, but it's absolutely heart wrenching to see it in real life. This actually happened. I feel like I can't even put my thoughts and feelings into words, but I'll try... for my own sake and for those of you who are reading this.

We drove by a lot of areas that the tsumani damaged. It's hard to fathom just how powerful it was. It's mind blowing. There's places where all that's left is foundations. There's piles and piles and piles of debris. Some sorted, some still left in the same place it landed in March. I can't imagine what this area looked like in March. Even now, 3 1/2 months after it happened, it's just... ugly. I've never experienced anything like this.

I was thinking about this experience compared to my first time being in Africa, seeing extreme poverty. I don't know if the two are even comparable, but this one has been way more emotional. It's so hard to think about how these places used to be cities. Just like the one we're living in right now. On March 10th, everything was just fine. March 11th changed everything. People are suddenly left homeless... with literally nothing but the clothes on their back. Everything... possibly even everyone... in their lives just gone. Just like that. gone.

As we were digging and shoveling today, we came across a lot of belongings. No idea where they've come from, damaged beyond repair. It broke my heart to see toys.. a messed up doll in particular... just laying there covered in dirt. Some little girl is left wondering where her favorite doll went.

One of the most overwhelming things is just how much work there is to do. Where do you even begin?! I felt like today we weren't really being very useful doing what we were doing, but I guess we just have to trust that every little bit helps.

I can't even use pictures to help me explain all of this because as a courtesy to survivors, we weren't allowed to take pictures, but I'm sure everyone has seen the pictures in the news already.

I am going to head off to bed now, continuing to process my thoughts and get some rest. Thanks for reading...

keep on praying. Japan needs hope!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tono Base Camp Day 2...

Well, we survived our 9 hour overnight bus ride up to Tono and met everyone at the base yesterday. It's a bit of a unique situation we're involved in up here because they're still figuring out leadership and roles, etc. so it's been interesting. We have some volunteer teams coming on Monday and some more later next week... when everyone's here, we'll have 32 people in this house... one shower, one bathroom! Should be fun! ;)

Yesterday was everyone's day off and we had a 2 1/2 hour staff meeting getting stuff straightened out. Then we had the afternoon off and I ended up sleeping all afternoon! (Guess I needed it because I still slept through the night after all that sleep- we've been pretty deprived of sleep lately between all the late nights getting ready to leave, the uncomfortable 10 hour plane ride, a 9 hour bus ride... etc) Then we had supper and devotions and went to bed)

Today we had our first day of volunteering in the effected area. This base is still working on finding partnerships with local churches (there aren't very many so it's been difficult) so we ended up going out with a local volunteer sending center. We got sent to an area where we basically shoveled dirt/mud/rocks/debris into bags to be taken away.

I must admit that it was incredibly hard to drive through all the affected areas. It's one thing to see it in pictures and videos, but it's absolutely heart wrenching to see it in real life. This actually happened. I feel like I can't even put my thoughts and feelings into words, but I'll try... for my own sake and for those of you who are reading this.

We drove by a lot of areas that the tsumani damaged. It's hard to fathom just how powerful it was. It's mind blowing. There's places where all that's left is foundations. There's piles and piles and piles of debris. Some sorted, some still left in the same place it landed in March. I

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We made it!

Greetings from Japan!

We had a relatively painless trip and breezed through customs with all our luggage so we're thankful! We also made all of our train connections and made it to our overnight stop at a friends' house. (They are actually away so we've been able to just have some quiet time by ourselves catching up on our sleep!)

We got to the house around 5:30, settled in and ventured out to 7Eleven for some supper (yes, you can get meals at 7Eleven here!) and then we started watching tv but fell asleep around 7 or 8... then we decided that we should just go to bed... so we did! (and slept quite well!) Now we're just relaxing and will venture out in a little while to go back to the train station and make our way to the Crash headquarters... and from there, we don't know what things will look like. I think we might be taking the overnight bus to the base we'll be staying at, but we're not sure yet.

It feels so weird and yet so wonderful to be back again! Feels like home... sort of. We are both really looking forward to our time back in Yamaguchi at the end our our trip.

That's all for now... will update as we can!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We're Off!!!

Greetings from Vancouver :)

We survived our crazy busy week and here we sit in the beautiful Vancouver airport (how nice is free wireless by the way?!) just waiting for our flight to Tokyo!

My classes are DONE!!! It's super nice to have that behind me now, but boy am I tired of writing papers now! I'm not cut out for school! :P

My brain sort of went blank as to what to write now... guess I'm running on too little sleep to think clearly! Basically I just wanted to say that we're on our way to Japan and getting pretty excited. We know it will be a very emotionally exhausting trip full of heartaches and also celebrations, so please pray for us. Neither one of us has done anything like this before, so it's all new for us.

We will have internet access, but I'm not sure how often we'll be able to write... if you want to be added to our prayer list, leave me a comment and I'll add you. We hope to send out at least one or two e-mails this month to let everyone know how things are going and how they can pray. Also, Bobby wrote a wonderful daily prayer calendar if you're looking for specific requests... You can find it here.

Thanks for praying... Happy first day of summer by the way :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Heartsy - Daily deals on fabulous handmade items, at least 50% off.
I've discovered this cool new website that someone called the "groupon for Etsy" and so far, I think it's pretty neat! I haven't spent a whole lot of time looking around yet, but I got a $5 credit just for signing up under someone's link to it so that already gives me a good impression!

I don't really know if it's American or not, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. If you sign up under my link (, you'll get a $5 credit too!
Basically, it looks like certain Etsy pages/products go on sale every day through Heartsy so if you've had your eye on something for a while, who knows, maybe it'll go on sale!
I've never actually bought anything from Etsy, but everything I've seen is really neat! It's all homemade products. So, why not give it a try... it doesn't cost you anything to sign up and in fact, we'll both get a $5 credit! :)
Happy shopping!

** I discovered that apparently I don't get my $5 credit until I get 5 people to sign up, but you get your $5 credit immediately! (Just 2 more sign ups to go!!) ;)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Have you ever had a friend that lived so far away that it made you ache inside just wishing you could be with them again??

I have a lot of friends like that, but today one in particular is making my heart ache!

I think I've written about her on here before, but in Japan, I have this SUPER amazing friend named Yumi... We met through our co-workers and she came to my English class. She helped me with my ethnography for CrossTraining and just ended up being a really close friend. She taught me so much and we had so much fun together.

I just got an e-mail from her (it's 3am in Japan!) and it made me miss her so much I go tears in my eyes! She is so full of life and energy and always smiling. I love being with her. Unfortunately she isn't a Christian yet and she really needs the Lord. She's come close to believing more than once, but her ties to Buddhism and family obligations are so strong she won't let go of that part of her life. Please pray for her!!

She made me laugh in her e-mail because she said recently she's been thinking of me because when she makes lunch, she's been burning things... she said she's become like me! :P

Today although it aches, thinking of her also brings me great joy because we will get to see her soon!! That's right, we're heading back to Japan... THIS MONTH! About 2 weeks ago, the idea of going to help out with relief work came to Bobby's mind and we've been praying about it since. At this point, we've been invited to come to Japan to work with an organization called CRASH. We still need to book tickets, but it looks like we'll be heading out around the 22nd and stay for about a month, and then spend a few days with our teammates and the church body in Yamaguchi before heading back home. We're so excited that God is allowing us to do this! There's still a lot of unknowns at this point... we don't know where we'll be working or what exactly we'll be doing and probably won't know until just before we leave, but we're ok with that! We are sort of in shock that this is happening!

Anyway, I'm supposed to be working on a paper right now as my time is ticking away to finish my courses so I need to get going! Thanks for praying for us!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

any ideas...

Anyone have suggestions as to how to stay awake while reading a textbook on a bright sunny afternoon with a cool breeze blowing in through the windows??
Everything inside of me wants to just curl up on the couch and take a nap right now but I have SO much reading to do today!
Oh, and by the way, suggestions to take just a little cat nap won't do. I can't do cat naps... naps are 2-3 hour ordeals for me! :P
Maybe I need to invest in some glasses like these...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

She's here!

She made her debut on May 12 around 8:30 am... Kirsten Olivia weighed in at 6lbs even and is absolutely perfect! We were able to be in Regina when she was born and even got snuck into the room to see her at just 2 hours old! :) We spent the week in Regina and enjoyed getting to know our new family member and fell in love with her! She's already got a special place in our hearts and we can't wait to see her again!
Here's our first 3 generation picture...
Welcome to the family, Kirsten! We sure do love you!! Congratulations Melissa and Brad! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

i heart spring!

long time no blog... I know!
life is kinda crazy as usual!
I finished up classes and exams at Prov... but I still have 2 online classes to finish by May 19th... (yikes) We're packing up and moving to Winnipeg this weekend! Can't wait to be close to everyone and everything we're involved in... although we will both really miss the quiet country life (and our wonderful neighbours!) of Otterburne.
As I sit here typing, the windows are wide open, the breeze is blowing in fresh air, the laundry is done (thanks to my wonderful hubby!), the birds are chirping... and I sit gazing at my birthday present from Bobby longing to open it up and see what's inside!! hehehe :)
Yes, my birthday is tomorrow!! I must admit I'm pretty excited... I'll be 25! Makes me feel old, but hey, 25 is a fun age :) Tonight our Korean neighbours invited us over for dinner to celebrate and tomorrow we're going to head to the city to have some fun. First a picnic lunch, then some ice cream at Cold Stone/Marble Slab (I can't remember which one is closer to us, but they're the same thing I think) then off to the zoo!! After the zoo, we'll have a family dinner at Applebee's... including my adopted sister Ashley who happens to be visiting from Vancouver! :)
I feel pretty spoiled that I get to plan our day and enjoy a stress-free day! I'm looking forward to it... I certainly feel loved!
Anwyay, must get back to work now... Happy Spring/belated Easter!

Friday, April 1, 2011

One year ago today... best friend asked me the most important question I've ever been asked in my life- and the answer was... YES!!! :) (of course!) One year ago today, Bobby asked me to marry him and I couldn't have been more excited! Today we had a picnic (in our living room as it was a little chilly!) to celebrate and reminisce about our special day. It's hard to believe it's been a year, but what a wonderful year it's been! All the ups and downs of planning a wedding (with a continent between us!), intensive 2 weeks of missions training followed by a week of intensive pre-marital counseling, the excitement of pre-wedding festivities, a dream come true wedding day, a blissful honeymoon, adjusting to being a student again, and of course- the ups and downs of figuring out married life! I'm so excited about our future together. What a blessing marriage is! I really couldn't be happier. I couldn't have made a better decision than to say YES that day :) Happy one year engagement anniversary, Bobby! Thanks for making me the happiest girl on the planet! (If you want to re-read our engagement story, take a peek here.)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baby shower!!

Just after Valentine's Day, Melissa and Brad came for the weekend. Bobby had a brilliant idea that Mom and I should throw Melissa a surprise shower... so that's what we did!! She ended up being totally surprised, and had no idea it was coming! I was pretty proud we were able to pull it off! (Thanks to Brad for being in on the surprise!) We had 6 guests there, all friends from church and I was really pleased with the turn out. They all brought wonderful gifts for Lissa, and she was really grateful for everything since they are starting from scratch as this is her first baby. We played a ton of games (ok, so maybe I went a little overboard!) but I think everyone had fun! I had our friend Ashleigh (mother of twins) bring a bunch of socks for this game... All the socks got mixed up and it was a race to see who could sort them fastest. Melissa won! :)

I made her a diaper cake as my gift to her... it was super fun to make and I was really proud of how it turned out! (I'm so humble today... first the cookies, now the diaper cake!)

It's so fun having a sister... and it's going to be even more fun to be an auntie! :) I can't wait... just a little more than a month to go now!

Thanks for coming to visit, Lissa :) I had a great weekend with you! I love you, big sister!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Valentine's Day :)

Well, this post is over a month late, but it's still fun for me to talk about so I'll post it anyway!

I kicked off Valentine's Day 'week' with some baking and had a blast making cookies for my friends and neighbours. I anonymously put them in boxes at school, but some people figured it out that they were from me! Here's how they turned out... I was quite proud of them!

As most of you probably know, Valentine's Day is my favorite day of the whole year! This year was particularly special though, because it was our first Valentine's Day physically together (as a couple... since we first met on Feb 13th when I went to Japan) Last year, although we were dating, Bobby was in Maryland and I was in Manitoba :(

Anyway, we were both pretty excited about celebrating this year and we ended up having a fantastic day together! We were in Riverton on the 13th as Bobby was preaching, and ended up staying the night at Darren and Amy's because the roads were bad (We looked after their kids while they went on a date that night and since it was late and had our overnight stuff anyway because we were planning to stay in the city at Mom and Dad's that night, we decided to stay in Riverton) We had a great time with Darren, Amy and the kids!

We didn't end up heading out until around 11, so when we got to the city (I think) we had lunch and then headed to the Forks to go snowshoeing (we borrowed Mom and Dad's). We had a lot of fun even though the conditions weren't very good since it was super mild that weekend. We had fun taking pictures and just being goofy together! It was also fun to get to see some of the cool shelters that they put up along the river trail. Here's a glimpse of our afternoon.... (The much improved roads...)

Here we go!

There were big cracks way under the ice which was a little scary... but the ice was so thick it was fine!

I don't know how this happens, but the ice had sort of clumped up in chunks... it was super neat!

So thick!

There was a cool ice castle at the Forks that we had fun playing around in :)

After our outdoor adventure, we did a little shopping, then we came home and got all dressed up. Bobby made me a WONDERFUL dinner (chicken cordon bleu, honey garlic noodles, and edamame with sparking raspberry-white grape juice) and created a nice romantic atmosphere (we aren't allowed to use real candles in our apartment, so we use battery tealights!) It was fun to get all fancy and sit down to a yummy dinner at home!

I know Bobby put a lot of work into making our day special and he was certainly sucessful!! Thanks for the truly wonderful day, Baby! I felt so special and so loved :) I love you, my Valentine!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

my husband is so funny :)

Here's a conversation that happened just a few moments ago...

H: (while sewing a button on Bobby's shirt for tomorrow) I feel like an old pioneer woman :)

B: If you really wanted to feel like a pioneer woman, you could wait an hour and do this by candle while we're doing "Earth Hour"! :)

hehehe :) Isn't he funny?! I love how he makes me laugh... all the time! That was one of the qualities I always had on my list of 'ideals' in a future husband and I sure got that one! :)

Tonight, as you read, we are doing Earth Hour! (Where everyone turns out their lights for an hour at 8:30) You should do it too! (I guess I should have wrote this earlier though...)

We're going to maybe go for a walk and come back and play Yatzee by candlelight (actually, we have to use battery tealights since we're not allowed to burn candles in our apartment!) which is an old 'Purdy family tradition' (My mom's family always used to do that when the power went out)

What will/would you do during Earth Hour??

nothing like it...

ok, so I'll be the first to admit... I've neglected my blog! Life has just been crazy over the last couple months! I've got plenty to blog about, but so little time these days!

But... today I thought I'd break the silence and write about something we did today that I find extremely exciting...

We took the plastic off our windows and cracked them open!!

There really is nothing like opening the windows after a long winter! The breeze feels amazing and it makes everything feel so much fresher! Away with the stuffy winter air!!! :)

Bobby made me smile when he said "it's like taking a walk inside!" :) I thought that was a pretty good way to describe it!

This afternoon, Bobby's busy working on getting ready for the baptism he's doing for a girl in our Japanese congregation and even though I do have assignments and reading to work on, I don't have anything "pressing" this weekend so I decided to do some major spring cleaning today!

I didn't plan on it, but it all started when we sat down to lunch and Bobby noticed how dirty the screen that covers the fan on the stove was. (this makes me sound like a nerd, I know, but I'll say it anyway!) I love cleaning projects like that when you can really see the difference before and after your efforts! (ie: Vaccuuming, a sink full of dishes, a sparkling bathroom sink, etc) I actually really do like being clean and organized... I'm just not very good at it (or staying consistent).

Anyway, I decided to scrub that screen like there's no tomorrow and ended up with quite satisfying results! That led to the decision to scrub my entire stove (not the oven, but all the little pans and rings around the elements!!) and then that led to cleaning up the kitchen counters. Then I did some baking (a whole other exciting post!) for the potluck tomorrow then cleaned the bathroom, then swept and wiped the kitchen and bathroom floors... And that's when the windows got opened! We'd been waiting to take the plastic off because it's still been getting cool at night, but today was just too beautiful and I wanted the house to feel even cleaner... so we opened them up! :)

Nothing like a good spring cleaning... and opening the windows for the first time in months! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

I've been tagged :)

Lindsey tagged me and since I'm a sucker for blogging, I'm gonna do it :) and of course pass on the tag!

Rule #1: the tagged person must write their answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.

Rule #2: tag 4 people to do this quiz; they cannot refuse (ok, so nothing bad will happen if you don’t participate but I would love to see your answers). The tag-ee must state who tagged them.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are they members of your family?

Well, I am sort of on the fence about this one... I think pets are great and they really do become like part of the family, but there is a fine line between a pet lover and crazy people! (I don't know how to explain what I'm trying to say!)

2. If you could have a dream come true, what would it be?
To speak fluent Japanese! and be a stay at home mom :)

3. What would you do with a billion dollars?
hmmm... a billion dollars is A LOT of money!
I'd love to help our families out and pay everything off for everyone so that they could all live without money worries, Help out some of my friends in Uganda, buy a log cabin for my parents, put some money away for future kids' college funds, help out families who want to adopt but can't afford it, support close missionary friends and their ministries, somehow invest in an airline so that we could have an unlimited supply of plane tickets anywhere in the world (especially to and from Japan and NS!), a getaway cabin on the lake and a home somewhere by the water... and I'm sure this could go on and on, but I'll stop there!

4. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
Well, to be honest, I tend to get stuck in bad moods and it's hard for me to get happy again quickly but... snuggling up on the couch with Bobby (or a nice long hug), bubble baths, Heartland, being with kids... and chocolate are all pretty good places to start!

5. What is your bedtime routine, with your kids?
No kids for us yet, but the tow of us have a bedtime routine that's pretty much the same every night... we usually watch tv or playing games together in the evenings, then we do some kind of reading together in bed (usually it's a devotional reading), turn on our piano worship music and drift into sleep!

6. If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your significant other?
We met in Japan... 2 years ago on Feb 13th! :) (I love our story!)

7. What kind of books do you read?
Right now, all I'm reading is text books and my Bible! :( But, when I have time, I really like to read 'inspirational' books. Oh yeah, Bobby and I are reading The Book of Awesome slowly but surely and loving it!

8. How do you see yourself in 10 years?
Well, the obvious answer is 34 years old (almost 35!). I assume we'll be in Japan and hopefully I'll have moved from full time language study into full time ministry! I also assume our family will be a little bigger than it is now... we want to have kids, but of course only God knows how that dream will unfold!

9. What’s your fear?
That I'll lose a loved one sooner than I'm ready to... or ending up as a widow. I also sometimes wonder/worry about having kids/not being able to have kids because I think it's something a lot of people take for granted.

10. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to see outer space?
Actually, space fascinates me... so I might just do it! As long as junk food all around me would be eliminated because the temptation would be cruel!! But... space is kind of scary... and I do LOVE junk food! so I guess I don't know!

11. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Do the math to figure out how much longer I can hit snooze to sleep a little longer!

12. If you could change one thing about your significant other, what would it be?
First of all, I think it's sort of mean to have this question on here... and second, even though many will roll their eyes and say it's because I'm a 'newlywed' but really, I am so blessed with such a wonderful husband and I really don't want to change anything about him!

13. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?
I absolutely love my name! There are names that I like, and would consider naming future daughters, but I don't like any of them enough to be make it mine!

14. If you had to choose between six months of sun or six months of rain, what would you choose?
Probably the sun... I do love the rain, but 6 months is a long time for rain and I think I'd miss the sun

15. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
again, 6 months is a long time... but I don't think I'll ever get sick of bread or cheese!

16. What is the thing you enjoy about blogging the most?
I like to think of it as a creative outlet! I love posting pictures and having people comment on my posts. I like being able to keep up with people this way since I don't have a Facebook account anymore.

17. Do you prefer salty or sweet foods?
Depends on my mood, but usually sweet wins!

18. What items are in your purse right now?
wallet, lotion, hand sanitizer, 'girl stuff', chapstick, a reusable shopping bag, pens, Tylenol... and lots of other odds and ends too I'm sure!

19. If you had to choose between vacationing at the beach or in the mountains where would you go?
That's always been a tough one! I actually had to make that decision last year in Japan when my teammates and I went camping... they let me decide and I ended up picking the beach and was happy with my decision! There's just something about the water that I find so peaceful and relaxing!

20. What do you watch on television that you know you shouldn’t?
Well, I am usually pretty intentional about the shows that I watch/don't watch, but I do occasionally watch Grey's Anatomy.

And now I tag:




Alyssa- (I know you're not at home right now, but if you have time you can do it!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

best friends are awesome...

I just have to say that today, I am very thankful for the gift of a best friend! I am blessed to have more than one person I get to call best friend, but today, I am particularly thankful for my "oldest" best friend, Angela. We've know each other since grade 4 (16 years!) and as you can see, we love to have fun and be crazy together!

Angela lives in Saskatchewan so we don't get to see each other very often, but our friendship is still thriving! Today we were able to have an absolutely wonderful phone conversation and I couldn't be more grateful for her. We shared some good laughs and even some tears, but best of all, we got to pray for one another.

God has certainly blessed me with an amazing friend and I love her SO much! Today I wanted the world to know just how thankful I am!

I love you Ang! :)

proud Auntie-to-be...

I just have to say once again that my sister's having a baby... and I couldn't be more excited!!
I think Melissa looks beautiful :) I sure can't wait to meet this little one!!!

we like snow! :)

We've had quite a snowy winter so far... and we quite enjoy it! The other day we went on a walk and had some fun...

Here's a picture of the stop sign at the end of our street... (it's really piled up because it drifts pretty bad on this corner so this is the aftermath of the plow)

We ventured down to the river to walk across it and go down the path to the school through the woods but were a little surprised to find out the snow was REALLY deep!! We were laughing so hard I couldn't move!

It was literally up to our thighs!

I tried to follow behind in Bobby's footsteps, but I sank a little deeper than him! (Bobby got a kick out of the expression on my face in this one!)

We had a great time enjoying the snow and definitely burned a lot of calories from all the snow tromping (and laughing!) We like snow! :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

We love having company!

One of the things I love the most about having an apartment to call our own is having people over! Just as the semester was finishing before Christmas, I decided we should throw a little post exam celebration party... so we did! I had plans to play games, eat and watch Elf, but we ended up just eating and visiting... and playing Monopoly Deal! (our favorite game!)

Although it was a little smaller than I was originally planning, we still had a blast with the two couples that ended up coming (a couple that I know from school and Siloam and our neighbours)

Here's Brendan and Erin plotting their win...
Team Baden also scheming....
and Mark and Steph figuring the game out!

Aren't they so cute?!
We had a really fun night and really enjoyed getting to know both of these couples a little better!
We also enjoy having friends and family over "just because"! Mom and Dad came over for lunch and games a couple Saturdays ago and we had a lot of fun with them too!

It's become a tradition (for our guestbook) to take a group photo at the end of our "gathering" to capture the memory of the visit....
Here's the one we took at the end of our evening with our Brazillian neighbours...
They have twin 4 year old girls that are SO cute!

We are so thankful for the wonderful home God has blessed us with! and we're thankful for the wonderful friends and family He's given us to enjoy it with!

Wanna come for a visit?? We'd love to have you!