Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let the Festivities Begin

Japan is known for having lots of national holidays and today was one of them. April 29th is Showa Day. This national holiday was established as a day to reflect on the events of the Shōwa period. It also marks the start of Golden Week and as a result Kan has off work today, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week! Today in Ginza (a prominent shopping district with stores not many people can afford) a street was closed and decorated with tulips. The weather was beautiful outside so Miyako and I walked to Ginza from our place and checked out the tulip display. Unfortunately Kan could not join us as he was busy putting together furniture. We had a lovely time being outside and on our walk home a store was handing out balloons. When the man offered one to Miyako she started wailing. I guess he got too close. So, in response he gave us a stuffed animal. :) Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Japanese Cooking 101

Being in Japan, I really want to learn how to make some Japanese food that is not just curry or chicken fried rice! I want our family to appreciate both of our cultures which includes appreciating both American and Japanese food. There are lots of different cooking classes, but they are very expensive. And when you go to a class, it is structured and focused on the class; I would rather hang out with a friend and have a good time while learning how to cook. A friend of mine offered to teach me how to cook Japanese food (yes, not ALL of my friends here are foreigners, but they do all speak English:) and I gladly took her up on the offer. She is also a stay-at-home mom of a 21 month old little boy who likes to topple over little Priss Pooh. Today we had our first cooking lesson and I hope we do many more. It was so much fun, even though my kitchen looked like a tornado came through by the end of it. Let me tell you, I have a fairly decent size kitchen for Japanese standards, but with two adults trying to cook with two little ones at their feet, it spells disaster at the end. In spite of the mess, the food was delicious.

We cooked basic food today - nothing too fancy. I wanted to learn how to use my fish grill so we bought some fish at the supermarket and grilled it in my little bitty fish oven. She offered to show me how to cook the fish with the whole fish intact - eyes and all - but I decided for my first lesson to stick with the basic piece of fish I could find at my local Kroger. It was so yummy. We did not have to marinate it or anything and the taste was out of this world. We also made these rice balls called Onigiri. I see people eat these all the time, especially at picnics or on the go. They are actually shaped like a triangle, but when I tried, they were shaped like a ball. I definitely need to keep working on this. You can put whatever you like in them. We made them today with seaweed, a Japanese type of spinach, sesame, and little pieces of cheese for the kiddos to get a little dairy.

We also bought two "weird" items that she said a lot of foreigners are suspicious when trying. One was called Natto and it had a very distinct smell. It was a soy bean but there was some type of goo in it when you stirred them together and made it very sticky and hard to eat. I tried it but it was not one of my favorites. Kan said he does not really like it either. Good thing because I did not really plan to buy it again. I let my friend take the extra one home and she just laughed. Her little boy LOVED it! I gave one bite to Miyako and she did not even try it - she simply gave it back to me. For our dessert we had O-daifuku. There is a sweet bean here that the people love. They often trick me with this bean as I have been known to buy a piece of bread or a pancake type food, only to bite into it and taste this sweet mushy bean. The first time I did this, I thought I was buying something with chocolate chips. You can imagine my disappointment when I bit in and tasted a bean, not knowing it would be a bean but was rather expecting a chocolate chip. Anyways, the O-daifuku is a mushy type sweet and in the middle is this sweet bean. It actually grows on you and I am beginning to like it. In the check out line today a lady behind us had some, only they looked covered in chocolate. When I asked about it, my friend said they were covered in a bean type sauce. The lady with the "chocolate covered" o-daifuku then proceeded to tell me, through my friend, that it is not chocolate but it is very tasty and good for you. :)

I wish I had thought to take pictures but between the mess of my kitchen and trying to feed two toddlers with one high chair, it just did not happen. Next time I will show pictures of what I actually prepared. I am really excited to know how to use my fish oven. I am thinking we will have fish once or twice a week now. Good times.

Friday, April 23, 2010

O Happy Day

So, you would think that by the title of this post we have had a fabulous day. In the end it turned out well, but it did not start out that way. Today Miyako and I had our play group and I was really excited about it as we were going to the Tokyo Metropolitan Children's Hall - five floors of fun activities for kids of all ages and free! The problem is it was in Shibuya, a part of town I am not very familiar with, but I am sure most of you would recognize it. You know when you see shows about Tokyo and they show that crazy intersection with thousands of people crossing in every direction at one time? Well, this is Shibuya. I have found places with my I phone google map but was really nervous and a bit insecure about trying to find this place. My fear got the best of me, and with the cold and rain, I skipped play group and opted for the free indoor kids hall one station away from our apartment. It would have taken me a hour to get to Shibuya and I just did not want to go all that way with the possibility of getting lost and a cranky toddler tired of her stroller.

We had a nice time at the place we went. We stayed for two hours, met some new Japanese friends, learned about a little gymnastics class near our place I can put Miyako in next year, and came home. I was still a bit down though in spite of the new friends we met. I was mad I did not try to go and that my fear got the best of me. And with the dark clouds and cold rain outside, it just added to my little pity party.

To top things off, Kan had to work late tonight due to a meeting. Blah! I still find it crazy that Japanese business men plan meetings for 7:30 on a Friday night. Does that ever happen in America? Rarely. Anyways, Miyako and I went to some friends house after her nap (WAHOO, she is back to napping) and on our way home walked through the indoor mall near our house to stay out of the rain and stop in the international market. I saw this Japanese choir getting ready to perform in the lobby of the mall/business center. I decided to stop and let Miyako listen as she seems to love music. The people in the choir were of all ages - ranging from 4 year old little boys standing in front looking cute to a 70 year old woman clapping off beat. I had no idea what we were going to hear as I could not understand the lady explaining who they were and what they were going to sing. I did understand "O Happy Day" and wondered if they were actually going to sing that song.

The choir began and this was no ordinary Japanese choir. It was a Gospel choir and they had soul. They started singing the words "Alleluia, Praise the Lord" and I simply stood there in awe. Never in my wildest dreams would I expect to come across a Japanese Gospel choir. And then the second song was "O Happy Day." You know the words..."O Happy Day, O Happy Day, when Jesus washed my sins away." I got Miyako out of her stroller and we twirled around and sang along. It was then that the Holy Spirit softly spoke to me, "Shari, each day is a happy day because Jesus has washed your sins away." Wow. Quite a moment. The choir continued to sing some songs in Japanese, but what a way to end my day, deeply encouraged and reminded that each day is in fact a happy day because of what He did for me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Salon Service

Today I went to get my hair cut and colored...finally! Normally at home I went to the salon every six weeks or so. I called it my "therapy." Take a good Hollywood gossip magazine, sit in a chair for two hours, and enjoy some therapy with my hair dresser. So, needless to say I was long overdue for both therapy and a new cut and color. I was starting to see gray and the ends of my hair were starting to look like straw.

So, I went to a place in Roppongi Hills called Zooto. A husband and wife run the shop which is rather funny since Kan and I saw a husband and wife hair team back in Lexington. Yes my husband got his hair done at the same salon as me back in the US because "most people do not know how to cut Asian hair." In fact, he introduced me to the salon, but here in Tokyo he can see a barber. I, on the other hand, can go to the fancy shop since "most people here do not know how to cut Western hair or I cannot speak enough Japanese to explain the color I want and I do not want to come out with blue or purple hair." A friend gave me a coupon to this place for 20 percent off your first visit so I decided to try it out. I was not disappointed.

My hair dresser back home had fortunately given me the color code she used on my hair and he was able to match it today pretty well. He could see where my hair dresser at home had layered my hair and he followed along those lines. Overall it was a very good hair cut experience. The service was quite extravagant. I was served hot tea and given three English Hollywood gossip magazines which was a real treat. I did not quite get "therapy" like I did back home, but I did get all caught up on Kate Gosselin's latest in Dancing With The Stars :) and Sandra Bullock's scandalous husband :( all while listening to Alicia Keys in the background. :) :) HA, I may need some real therapy after reading all of that trauma.

The shampoo alone was about 20 minutes and included a head massage. At one point I had three people working on me - one to hold the color, and two to put it on. When they realized I would be late to the babysitter, the hair dresser called in for help and I had two people drying my hair at the same time so I would not be too late. Service - that is what Japan is all about. The only disappointing part was the fact that it was pouring down rain as I ran home, literally, so as not to be too late, and now have wet head post the hair dresser. The best part about getting your hair done is the style for the day, but that was ruined out in the rain. Oh well.

On a Miyako update - for the past three days she has not taken her nap. Instead she sits in her bed and talks to herself or sings. I am not sure what the deal is. Without naps she goes to bed earlier and is sleeping 13 hours at night. But with her naps previously she still slept 12 hours. Any suggestions? I am hoping this is just a phase because when we do not get a nap it makes for a long evening as she is a bit more cranky than usual. She is also getting a little more comfortable with our babysitter. YAY! She screams when I leave but as soon as they get outside she is fine and she is now playing with the babysitter more inside, which is good. The babysitter feels like they are making progress and she is seeing Miyako respond to her in Japanese. The babysitter told me today that Miyako loves music and whenever she sings to her, she quiets down. They told me the same thing at the nursery in BSF - she stops crying when they sing songs. So, maybe we have a little musician on our hands.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


So often when I update the blog it is about a fun event or activity we did, or just a simple observation on the culture. Rarely do I give an update on life here, and how the volscats family is holding up. As I listen to the ocean waves of the sound machine and wait on the Santa Clause of Ikea to come deliver some more furniture (YAY - a bookshelf, desk, standing kitchen cabinet, and dresser are in route to our apartment as I type) I thought I would take a minute to update you on our family life here in Tokyo. It is becoming more normal with each passing day. I forget when, but awhile back ago, I forgot counting the "weeks" of when we left the US. I used to measure things by "oh, we left three weeks ago" or "it's been four weeks since we got on the plane." Now people ask me how long we have been here and I have to think about it, trying to figure out what today is, and think back to how many months ago the end of January was. So in that sense, we are settling in, even though our apartment does not look like it, and establishing a life here, a routine, which is something the "cats" part of this family thrives upon. I love structure, routine and consistency. I do not love transition, which has been what our life has been since we decided to embark on this journey and started packing up our home last December.

We have things we do weekly which adds some stability to our schedule. We will typically always be at church on Sunday afternoons at 3 (well, okay - 3:15 - we are still late to church here:). Priss Pooh and I will always go to BSF on Wednesday mornings, catching the 8:56 train, praying that it is not too crowded, and coming home around 1 in the afternoon. Thursday mornings I will always be going to Japanese class and on the fourth week of the month when we do not have class I will be taking three hours to myself to shop or get my hair done without Miyako while she gets her own Japanese lesson with our babysitter. And Friday mornings we will be heading to our international weekly play group to enjoy the company of other moms and kiddos. That leaves Monday and Tuesday mornings open to hit a kids hall or see some sight of Tokyo or just relax in our apartment. However, I typically like to do something with someone to just get out of the house in the morning because once we are awake from our naps in the afternoon we do not have much time to get somewhere and back before dinner. After naps, on most days if the weather cooperates, we head to the park, play, stop by the grocery to pick up something to cook for supper and have our evening routine of dinner, play, bath and bed. So, I am establishing a routine and it suits me well. On the good nights, Papa is home around 7 and can get in some good play time with Priss Pooh before she calls it a night. I have stretched her bedtime to 8 now so that he can enjoy her a bit more. On the bad nights, when Papa has to work pretty late, she tends to be put in bed right at 8, maybe even a little before, as I am usually spent by that point and I turn on the Sling box to enjoy some American TV. If I do not have anything recorded, the only thing on is morning news or reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on TBS, but it is better than Alf reruns in Japanese.

Miyako-chan is as sweet as she can be. Kan often tells people she has adjusted the best of all of us. All that matters to her is that Mama and Dada are around. She is enjoying the new toys from the shipment and loves to pour me tea from her fake teapot. People continue to stop me and tell me how cute she is. Last night we went to a pizza joint after church with another couple and she was a hit with all the waiters as she toddled around the restaurant. She is still only saying a few words. I hope this means she is picking up some Japanese in her head as she hears both languages. She really is a sweet little girl and is very playful. It is fun to watch her personality start to develop. She has a shyness about her that is rather cute and yet has a quirkiness playful spirit, which I think definitely comes from her Papa. Well, I hear little bit now waking from her nap so I best sign off here. Until next time...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Date Night with Kan and James Taylor

So, Kan and I do not typically take a weekly "date night." Back in Lexington our idea of a good date night was putting Miyako to bed at 7:30, renting a movie, and enjoying some Wah Mei Chinese take out. Because Miyako goes to bed so early, and Kan traveled so much while we lived in Kentucky, we were both pretty content in staying home and enjoying relaxing in front of the big screen. Well, when you live in Tokyo, the New York City of the Far East, there are lots of opportunities for fun dates. And tonight we scored big. We splurged and bought tickets to see James Taylor with Carol King. One of the things on Kan's bucket list was to see James Taylor and it was an excellent show. Both of them were awesome. We enjoyed dinner beforehand with another couple at a fabulous hamburger joint. The hamburgers were quite fancy, large, and served with a bag placed over them while you ate so that the juice did not run on your hands. Seriously, the Japanese people think of everything. From there we shared a cab to the venue, which was the same place the Beatles performed when they came to Tokyo. It held about 10,000 people. You can tell we are older when we choose to go see James Taylor and not Lady Gaga, who is also coming to Tokyo this month. But it was so relaxing and such a great concert. We do not do stuff like this often, but when we do, we go first class. As my dad always said growing up, "It only costs a little more to fly first class." For me, I would rather do a big date like this every so often than a little one more often, if that makes sense. Just me. Oh, and one more note - Miyako did fairly well with her babysitter so we are making progress. I do not think our lady is going to quit on me! YAY!

Thanks Kan for a wonderful evening and for initiating a first class date.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A New Side of Tokyo

Tonight I got to experience a new side of Tokyo. Some girlfriends decided to meet for dinner at a fun little quaint Mexican restaurant. When I say fun it had Christmas lights hanging in the room. When I say quaint, it had about 6 tables. It was a very fun night and I fully relaxed and enjoyed some good girl time. But the side of Tokyo I got to see was not so fun. It was the people leaving work at 10:30 and riding home on the train. See, usually when I am out, it is never past 8PM as I need to get Miyako into bed. But tonight Kan let me go out and I was in the hustle and bustle. Everything you read and hear about the Japanese people working hard and long hours is true, for the most part. The people on the train with me tonight were not leaving a girls night dinner. They were leaving work and heading home, at 10:30...suits, high heels, brief cases, and tired faces...all to get up and do it again early tomorrow morning. Japan does have a high suicide rate due to the pressure people face with work and within society. The side I saw tonight was not so fun. It made me sad to see so many people doing this. I mean, the train was fairly crowded and it was 10:30. Sure there were a few of them who were laughing and smiling as they probably had a few drinks after work. But for the most part, the faces I saw looked tired...exhausted...I want the people here to know a greater purpose and love to live for than work. I hope in some small way God can use us here to draw people to Himself so they can experience freedom in Christ and His love.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Day at the Navy Base

Yesterday we had the most wonderful opportunity to spend the day at a Navy Base about 50 kilometers outside of Tokyo. It is a joint base between the US and Japan. Every year they "open the gates" to allow people to come and visit the base. On this beautiful Saturday afternoon they were expecting about 25,000 people.

Through our church, we were able to meet one of the chaplains (PCA) of this base and his wife. They extended the invitation for a few families from our church to join them for a day of fun at the base. Because we were with them, we did not have to wait in the long line and walked right in. As I walked up towards the base I was flooded with unexpected emotion regarding our country. After spending some time abroad and learning people's opinions of America, there have been times where I have been almost embarrassed to be from America simply because of how we are perceived (by some) globally. But yesterday, walking on that base, I was reminded of the freedom our country represents and I was so proud to be from America. Some times I think America can get a bad rap based on the media and what people see on TV. America stands for great things and has a rich history, and yesterday I was reminded of this. I really did not expect to have such sincere patriotism regarding our country when I walked into that base. Throughout the entire day, I thought often of our friends who currently serve in the military and work very hard to continue to pursue freedom.

We had a wonderful day. Words cannot describe how much fun it was and how encouraging it was to be with these friends. It felt like home. We were outside of the city, away from the hustle and bustle. You could smell bar-b-q, grilled hamburgers, chicken wings and could even see some cold Budweisers for sale. We enjoyed Taco Bell and apple pie. They had several air craft out from both Japan and the US. This base is a joint base so the two countries work together here. Our friends' boys were in heaven getting to climb up in the air craft and practice using a real fire hose. So many highlights, but one of my favorites came at the end of the day as we were walking back to the station to take the train home. There was a Japanese man and several American men (they looked like navy guys) enjoying some beers and singing on the side of the road. The song of choice..."Country Roads" by John Denver. No kidding. Kan and I are not from West Virginia, but we joined in the song, simply because it was "Country Roads." It brought large smiles to our faces.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

We must have been nice this year...

Because Santa just dropped a big load of American goodies at our door today. That is right folks, our shipment arrived and it has been a glorious day. Now, three days from now when I am over the boxes and wishing I had enough furniture and space to store everything with, I will probably have a different attitude. That is when I will have to come back and re-read this post to remind myself of how happy I am today. My kitchen is FULL of tasty treats. As I write, I am sipping a cup of Dunkin Decaf with Hazelnut Coffee Mate creamer and munching on a dark chocolate oreo cookie I received in a birthday package from a friend. Thanks Sally. Seriously, I think the only thing on our shipment was food, DVD's, and clothes. Typical Americans right? You bet. Nothing beats some cheetos or York Peppermint Patties. We also have tons of toys that need batteries to be put back in them. Nana, you want to come over and do that for us since you did such a good job of removing them like one hour before the movers left? I didn't know you could not leave batteries in things when you moved so last minute Kan's American mother was taking batteries out of all of Miyako's toys. Problem was our screwdrivers were all ready in storage so she had to use this really tiny one she had in her purse. But she did it. I think Miyako was confused why her little riding lion toy today did not sing to her "Roar" when she touched his purple nose, but she still got on and rode him around. I am trying to keep our living room as "normal" as possible in the midst of all this unpacking and chaos of the boxes so that Miyako-chan feels normal and secure. So tonight after unpacking the kitchen (the most important by far) I moved all of the boxes to our bedroom and tatami room so I can shut off the madness and Miyako can feel a sense of home. She will just get a new toy every few days as I unpack more boxes. Enjoy the pics of our mess and fun!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Elevator Frustration

When I lived in Minsk, Belarus for two years I never had the level of elevator frustration as I have had in Tokyo thus far. I maybe had a high level elevator scare when I got stuck in a four person elevator with six people, five of which were singing "Love in an Elevator" while the other person (me) was praying to our Lord and Savior to save us quickly so we would not die from inhaling the smoke coming in from Drunk Scary Eye Guy outside the door. That was scary and it lasted for about 45 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. Frustration in Minsk? No, not from the elevators anyways, because I usually did not use the elevator unless it was riding up to my apartment. When I took the metro I was carefree and never needed to worry about the need for an elevator, ramp, or escalator.

Ah, how much life changes when you have a child. Now in Tokyo I do love public transportation. I am not exaggerating. For the most part, I really do like it. It can be frustrating when you come to a station without an elevator or escalator and you have to pick up your stroller, with child strapped in, and climb the stairs. But for the most part I can find some sort of handicap accessibility and I do just fine. So believe it or not, my frustration does not lie with the few stations without handicap or baby friendly services. My frustration is with those healthy people who can very clearly walk upstairs or take an escalator and they choose to take an elevator, leaving no room for those of us who really NEED the elevator. I just do not understand it.

Today Miyako and I went to a station that normally has two elevators, but one was under repair which left us with one to use. When we walked up I noticed it was going to be pretty crowded, especially with one elevator down. Did we make it on? Nope. We had to wait for the next one. Did any of the 15 people who crammed into the elevator need the elevator? Yes, actually, one elderly gentleman with a cane. The other 14 people (I am probably exaggerating in my frustration as I do not know how many people this elevator actually holds) were middle age working Japanese people who simply chose to ride the elevator rather than take the stairs or take an escalator (mind you which serves the same function as an elevator - you get on, it takes you up, and you do not have to climb one step). One lady did give me an "I'm sorry" sheepish grin as she was the last one to cram in. No problem. I will just wait forever for it to come back down as older elevators can move at a snails' pace.

Now, I know in the US I have driving frustrations, like when people leave their turn signal on after they have turned and it did not shut off. Seriously, does that clicking noise not just annoy the heck out of you? It does me, so much so that it helps me to realize the turn signal is still on and I turn it OFF. On the flip side here in Tokyo I have public transportation frustrations regarding elevator use. Every Thursday when I go to Japanese class and do not have Miyako or a stroller to think about, do you think I wait to use the elevator? Heavens no. I do not even take the escalator. I take every chance I can get to use the stairs. It is so freeing to not have to wait! I just do not understand why people who are completely able to take the escalator or stairs choose to wait for the elevator. And, even if I did take the elevator without really needing to, and I saw a woman with a baby in a stroller or a handicap person come to the door, I would probably offer to get out so they could get in as they obviously need it more than me. Obviously this frustration does not play into effect inside apartment buildings as some of us live pretty high up and even without Miyako I do not want to climb 48 flights of stairs. But you get my point.

Kan and I have discussed this a lot lately as we notice it all the time. When he came home tonight I told him my "elevator frustration" story and he said that maybe because they walk so much here (some people walk 15-20 minutes just to get to the metro), they simply want to take a rest and use the elevator. Then he said, "But it is still unbelievable and I don't get it." It is not wrong, just different, right? Maybe so. But some things I will never how you can continue to leave your turn signal on after you have turned and you hear that annoying clicking noise telling you it is on. Or, how you can take an elevator when there is someone waiting who actually needs the elevator and you have the full capability of taking the escalator (which requires no physical exertion) or the stairs.

Ta Ta For Now, and GO BUTLER! ABD, right? Points go out to the person who knows what "ABD" means. If you have read The Herald Leader lately, reference a John Clay article.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Birthday Weekend

The pictures alongside this post will show you that my birthday weekend has been fabulous here in Japan. Yesterday was my birthday and I have had one of the best birthdays ever. Honestly I was a bit nervous about my first birthday in Japan. I LOVE my birthday. It does not bother me to get older because it is a day to celebrate. And I actually tend to celebrate for an entire week and call it "Shari-fest", something I claimed from my friend Beki when she introduced me to "Beki-fest." So, being gone from home on my birthday, well I just did not know how it would compare. Remember that girl scout/brownie song, "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." My new friends in here are wearing the gold as they really did make my birthday a special day and weekend.

Friday morning I went to our play group and my "angel" as I have called her because that is what she has been to me here, made me a cake, candles, and everyone joined in and sang to me. Very fun. I was very encouraged. And I love chocolate cake so she did really well.

Then my sweet husband planned a surprise party for me with some dear friends from our church for the afternoon. Problem is I ruined the surprise. He told me to go to our friends' house and help her out because her husband was busy and she needed some help with the kiddos (she has five children, two of which are 4 month old twins). So, no problem. I called her up and said I would love to come help you, but need to put Miyako down for a nap. Since her twins napped at the same time I asked if I could come over when Miyako woke up. "No problem," she said. I called Kan and let him know of my plans so he could meet me there after work since we had dinner plans in the evening. All of a sudden, Kan comes home unexpectedly around 2:30 and said, "You are the hardest person to surprise. I quit.:)" So, my friend did not really need my help, but Kan wanted me to celebrate my birthday with a few people. We did go over after Miyako woke up and enjoyed our appetizer cake before heading to dinner.

My birthday dinner was excellent. Our family went to a great Italian restaurant in Akasaka with my "angel" friend and her daughter. The pizza was fabulous! It was thin crust pizza made in a wood oven. We sat outside and could see them making the pizza. We definitely enjoyed some pizza and hope to get back there in the future. It is a good thing we do not live super close to the restaurant. We would probably go weekly! Oh, and we bought tickets to see James Taylor with my friend and her husband in a couple of weeks so we have another great evening to look forward to.

Today it has been beautiful and we did the traditional Japanese viewing of the cherry blossoms called Hanami. The cherry blossoms have a quick bloom and you have about a week to view them. It is a very big deal here and based on the pictures you can see why. They are beautiful. We went to Shinjuku gyoen (a large park that I mentioned in an earlier post) and hung out with a very eclectic group. As we were riding home on the metro, Kan said, "I feel like we were the United Nations today." The countries of Ireland, Australia, Japan, Korea, and America were all represented in our small group. The park was full of everyone enjoying fellowship, sunshine, food, drink and the cherry blossoms.

To top off the weekend, Easter is tomorrow! I look forward to worship tomorrow. The main reason we celebrate life and have abundant life is because of Him who rose on the third day.