Sunday, March 27, 2016

Eggs & More

Easter is way more than a rabbit & colored eggs, but rabbits & colored eggs do open doors to telling about Jesus!

This past week our children's classes included of an Easter word search activity, discussion of Easter vocabulary, & the reading of What Is Easter? 

Saturday was the Easter Outreach Event.  This year we chose to have it at the camp once again.  Having it at our home is easier, but after last year's larger than usual turnout and terrible weather making outdoor activities impossible, we opted for the camp.  Numbers were as good this year, but we had several new people come.

Started off with egg dying & John 3:16 coloring pages.



Next up, Nakagawa Sensei did a pantomime show & told the Easter Story.


Next, it was time to find those hidden eggs & the weather was picture perfect!!




The camp has excellent hiding fact, there is still at least one more egg to be found!

We ended the time with snacks & time to just chat or, in the case of the children, run off any excess sugar outside.


Easter Sunday, I helped with a Sunday School activity... Resurrection Rolls!


We made enough for everyone who stayed for lunch after service to have one, but in the process after pictures we missed.

It has been a busy few days, but being able to tell about the Death, Burial, & Resurrection of JESUS is why we are here!

Happy Resurrection day everyone!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Big Step

I am reminded that 4 years ago this month we were in the final stretch of Joshy's 6 months in patient hospitalization for Aplastic Anemia.  Joshy's treatment was not responding as well as we had hoped, but it was responding ever so slowly, so the doctors were working toward moving to weekly outpatient visits.  We were finally able to go home for over night visits.  We were busy making some adjustments so that home would be a safe place for a boy with a severely depressed immune system & platelets that were still requiring weekly transfusions to keep going.  It was an exciting, but terrifying time.

One thing that I noticed when we transferred to the Cancer Center, was how much people made their room into "home".  Most patients had their own TV & DVD players because it was cheaper to buy them than pay the hospital rental fees for months on end.  Most patients had some sort of dresser and/or bookshelf or other storage.  All the parents, who were required to be there 24/7, had some sort of cot or bed.  We had baskets for this and that.  Anything, really, to make a sterile hospital room a little more friendly & personal.  *Joshy's 4 months in the cancer center was on the short side - some of the patients were in upward to a year, or more.

After Joshy was discharged, I still kept our "dresser" packed along with a small suitcase with essentials: convenient foods, change of clothes, laundry detergent, COFFEE. These things were put in the car each and every time we make a trip for a check up or ER run, because we never knew when he would be admitted for transfusions or to sort out wonky lab results.  When Joshy finally graduated to checkups every 2-3 weeks I stopped packing the car with the "to stay" things, unless he was noticeably ill, but the "hospital stuff" still remained in the garage, ready to be tossed in the car at a moments notice.  Or to be picked up by a friend who could bring it to us.

Today, I took a BIG step...

I emptied the hospital dresser!  It wasn't as stocked at it was at one time, but it still had several basic things we had used everyday when we were in hospital.


The dresser has now been re-purposed into storage in the hall coat closet.

I pray it can stay there a good long time.  I pray it never needs to be re-purposed into a hospital dresser again.  I also pray for those families who are needing hospital dressers. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

March Madness

March is always a crazy time as the old school year winds down and prep for the new school year, which starts in April, collide.  This year I am feeling a little whip-lashed by the collision.

Last Friday (4th) Kei graduated from junior high.   Her school includes elementary, junior high, & high school and all together there were 13 graduates.


(I cannot post any pictures from the actual ceremony)

Afterward we went out for lunch at a new restaurant. (I think I could eat there every day!)

Saturday evening the moms from Joshy's school got together for a graduation party.  There are 3 students in the B/C courses (C course is for home-bound students) graduating this year and the moms take any opportunity to party.

I got a call from a preschool and had a meeting with them about teaching 1 or 2 times a month.  Not sure about my sanity is agreeing to do this, but it will open doors.

Third time's the charm... I have been attempting to get something worked out so that Joshy can stay at school all day next year.  There is no bus service in Japan so getting special needs students to & from school falls on the parents.  There are a few services that will pick the child up & take them to a care center, but then the parents need to pick the child up there.  My work schedule does not work well with this set up, so this year I've need to pick Joshy up before lunch 2 days a week.  I went to one support area and was told they couldn't do what we ask, even though a teacher had directed me to them.  At the moms' party, one of the moms who uses the service assured me it WAS possible and gave me the name of the person to talk to.  I went back, managed to get to the correct department, explained what we wanted, and set up an appointment to fill out the paperwork.  Everything is now set and Joshy will be picked up from school 2 days a week, will then hang out at the care center, & this center even provides a ride home!!!

Today Kei went to high school for a practice day, for lack of a better translation.  She needed to take one packet of paperwork to turn in. Paperwork for schools is rather daunting.  Add all the formal Japanese...  even our secretary was confused by some of it!   (There is a 2nd packet that needs to be turned in the day before her entrance ceremony, but Joshy will need most of the same paperwork filled out so I will do both at the same time.)  After school Kei walked home!!  For junior high she was not allowed to walk to or from school, but from high school this is an option.  She sent me a text saying she was leaving - like I ask her to.  She walked part way with a new classmate and arrived home in a timely manor.  She was also discretely followed by a teacher, who wanted to make sure she followed the safety rules.  (I haven't gotten a phone call so I assume she passed.)  


Today was the official graduation celebration for the B/C course of Joshy's school, too.   This is something Joshy's school does, but Kei's school does not do.  The C course graduate was not able to attend and the other junior high boy was also absent because he is still recovering from the flu, so our group picture is missing 2.  

This year we had a room at the new preforming arts center.  We had song time followed by a rousing game of Fruit Basket.

Next was craft time, where we made necklaces for the 3 graduating students.  Some of the students were more into destruction than construction, but it was fun.

Then it was lunch time.  (Sadly it looked better than it actually tasted.)

The day finished with a slid show commemorating the graduates & speeches by the graduating moms.

I'm a little afraid to look at the schedule for the rest of the month...