beautiful norikura

Engagement: Peter & Abi

While I was in Japan I got to share half a desk with Abi; she and Seth made me sit at the crack! We got to talk quite a bit while we worked, and through our conversation I learned what a beautiful soul she is. She cares deeply about people and loves God with her whole heart. She is also a very hospitable person and helped make the interns feel welcomed and comfortable a world away from what they were used to.

So I knew Peter had to be someone special too, and he is! He is funny and kind, and together they make a wonderful couple. Hanging out with them for a couple hours to shoot was full of laughter and joy for the journey they are taking. 

Allowing Sadness

I wished I hadn’t watched Inside Out when I flew back to the States on Sunday. It is about a little girl’s emotions as she grows up, and at age 11 moves from Wisconsin to California. Her emotions are depicted as the characters Sadness, Joy, Anger, Pain, and Disgust. [If you haven’t watched the movie yet, I would do so before continuing to read.] At first the movie really frustrated me. The idea of someone being controlled solely by their emotions does not sit well with me. Sadness, in particular, annoyed me as she had the habit of touching joyful memories and making them sad memories. As the story progresses you see Joy and Sadness get lost recovering some joyful core memories, leaving the other three emotions to control the girl. The girl acts out to her parents and slowly she loses her love of friends, hockey, and even family. Eventually it gets so bad that she decides to run away from her new home. But just as she is leaving on the bus, Joy and Sadness return the core memories. Joy realizes that Sadness needs to touch some memories with sadness so that her girl can move on. This way the girl can still remember her previous home in a healthy way while looking forward with a positive attitude to her new home. The girl gets off the bus and returns home to realize that she can move on.

Grieving is not fun but it is a necessary part of life. The Friday night before I left was a rough night; I just wanted to watch Netflix and set aside my feelings for awhile. But I had read enough TCK blogs about how TCKs lock up their feelings to know what I was doing. So I closed my computer and started journaling and asking myself the hard questions. I hate to admit it, but those emotions sure came out! I allowed myself to cry about what I was losing in Japan, the friendships and work I had come to love. It was still hard to say goodbye, but I knew I had said a healthy goodbye. Now I can remember Japan with joy and a little sadness and allow myself to move forward with life. It’s more difficult now but in the long run it is healthier.

I would love to hear how you have learned to handle saying goodbye, whether to someone, someplace, or even something! 

Volcano Yakedake as seen from Kamikochi

Volcano Yakedake as seen from Kamikochi

Week Eight: A Next Act

My heart is learning to love Japan, both its vistas and its people. I am captured by the dreams of the people here and feel unprepared to leave. I have never dealt with living someplace so intensely then quickly leaving. It is unsettling, especially once I think how I may never see these wonderful people again. Sure, Facebook and Instagram create digital, artificial, forms of communication, but do not take the place of living close to each other. For all I know I could be in Paraguay next and stay there for the 17 years.

I believe God gave me the gift of commitment. Once I choose to be committed to something it is very difficult for me to un-commit myself. So I committed 90 days of my life to Japan, but to leave feels like breaking a promise. It feels like I have only gotten started. There are so many things that could be done, that I could help with. But maybe it is not my place to have a physical role in them. In some ways, my coming to Japan was a key step in developing a dream. But a step is for supporting those who come after.

I have to believe that God’s plans for me and for Norikura are true, and that they may not coincide. Seth and I have been working through Donald Miller’s “Creating Your Life Plan.” The point of Donald’s book is to jump start your life and bring clarity. We are about half way through the plan and getting to the good part: seeing what you should focus on and how to achieve your goals. It has me thinking about what I really want to come next in my life and brings up some tough questions. Am I a photographer or designer? Or both? What is my goal in life? What steps should I take to achieve that goal?

Obviously I do not have answers yet but I know being in Japan has been a big part of God’s plan for me. I have to be ok with accepting the idea that God may have someplace else for me. I love Japan and will do my best while I am here. I believe God is already preparing me for the next step, and I am very thankful for the experiences that have brought me where I am today.


If you have heard of any photography or graphic design positions, I would love to hear from you! The next stage of life is exciting but also a little scary. Thank you for praying for me as I start taking my next steps!