The Zero Tradition

So it’s been Christmas. I think that’s a part of a song lyric actually. Never mind.

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I love Christmas. My parents instilled in me a love for the traditions and the holiday and as a child: The presents!!
Once I got older, I remember their annoyance as to why I was so keen on keeping all the Christmas traditions every year… They wanted to change things. I disliked change. A lot!
Don’t mess with my Christmas mister!

But life happens… all the time. Can’t really stop it even though it sucks and cuts deeply at times.

My mom died suddenly. Then Christmas had to change.
Then I got married and Christmas really had to change.
Celebrating Christmas in Japan without the goodies I was accustomed to from Denmark. They simply couldn’t be bought… So I made the best of it.

Then I met Jesus and had the most wonderful Christmas of my life: The one where traditions mattered absolutely ZERO.
By then though, my husband had gotten a taste of my traditional Christmas and so did my daughter… all those lovely presents!

Then my dad died. I blogged a lot about the journey toward the end of his life. Goodness – that was hard!

This was my third Christmas without my dad in my life. The first year I handled really well. Keeping up appearances. “It was the best thing for him to let go of life” etc. I did good.
The second year was not that “easy”, but I thought I made it through alright. It felt harder and I thought I’d make up for it by putting more presents underneath the tree. Maybe it would help. Boy, was I wrong!

SONY DSCTHIS YEAR.
Oh dear. Total emotional breakdown in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner. I had to run out of the home… So I took out the trash. Well, in more than one way. All through December I had heard my dad’s voice in my head so often it nearly made me deaf. The pain of remembering! I wanted to scream and run away. His voice might have brought comfort, if I wasn’t so keen on running away from it.

In the parking lot area of where we live, I let the tears run… Nobody and everybody could see me. The mail guy came on his little motorcycle with letters and postcard. He looked at me with such compassion but couldn’t do anything.
I had to get myself together… and made Christmas happen.

The one thing I want to get back to, is to celebrate the Christmas where tradition matters ZERO. They’re good to have, granted. But the main thing isn’t that. It’s JESUS!

And New Year is rapidly coming my way. New Year used to be champagne at midnight. That was life pre-marriage, pre-grey hair, pre-I-need-my-sleep-at-night, pre-wrinkles… You get the idea!

In Japan, New Year is January 1st and spending the day with family. We drink a special sake, so thick with sugar it screeches in the ear canals. The Buddhist bow before their ancestors in front of the family alter… I usually need the bathroom during that time or I shrink and blend into the background. Never knew I had “chameleon traits”…

Then we eat. The food is great – “Osechi” they call it. Well, some of it is tasty… Ahem. Some of these traditional Japanese dishes aren’t my favorites! It used to be the big cooking spree for the Japanese housewives, but these days the New Year dishes (can!)  come ready made and packed from the supermarkets in Japanese, Chinese or Western styles… yeah.


The best food though is the “Ozoni” soup! Yuzu flavored soup with mochi. Yum!

Then we watch (those who can keep their eyes open) the annual “Ekiden” – relay run from Hakone to Tokyo. The TV is utterly boring but the atmosphere is good.

To the whole Blogosphere: I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year 2018. May this be the year of love, joy and laughter – even through the tears. Because tradition matters ZERO ; And Jesus matters all! 

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I struck out – Silencing an Introvert 2

I totally struck out on yesterday’s post! I mean really struck out…

My intentions were to write about introverts in the school system, but I got derailed and went straight into a self-pity party or something down that winding road!

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I can’t run from my feelings. I am truly both sad, angry and disappointed in school and teachers. For 3 years I have tried to be “a good Christian” about it, but now that I need to process it, it stings. When I’m done processing the whole thing, I’ll get back to the introverts in the school system.

I’ll get there… Because Jesus is with me and knows me and knows exactly how I feel.

Bloggers: Thank you for staying with me during these tough times. I need you and I love you and I pray Blessings into your lives! THANKS! 

Cut the Pain

I’m seeing things I don’t want to see and hearing things I don’t want to hear.
I’m living a life, I do not want. I’m in a war zone!
Lord, we get what we need and not always what we want.
But I don’t think I ever needed this!

cuttingMy daughter is only 10 and has a depression caused by severe anxiety. It has been going on for years and she has been on medication for about 10 months now. Only… Recently… Things took a turn I didn’t expect: Cutting.

Cutting is also known as self-harm, using a nice word – or self-mutilation, using a hard-core word. It’s a tangible pain that for a moment replaces an intangible and possibly unidentified pain of the heart and mind.

Istrongmomt’s gruesome for a mom to watch and not having many or any means of help. But the tough part of it is actually, that I must be “non-sensitive” to it. Meaning, if I can’t take it – handle it, my child will loose the only safe place she feels she has.
Lord, I really don’t think I ever needed this. 
All I can do is love her through it and patch up the cuts and sore places on her skin and pray, pray, pray… please Lord, no more!

My heart breaks in pieces all the time…
This is my life and I have to accept it, even if I don’t want to.
If I do not accept her condition, I can’t recognize the issues and ultimately help her.
Lord, I need You to help her.

During the years while battling this anxiety that paved the way to depression and now cutting too, I have stayed strong the best I could, but I’m done. I look in the mirror and I see a tired woman. Not one who is thriving in life, but one who is surviving.
Lord, I don’t want to just survive – I want to thrive!depressedmom

I visited a counselor the other day. I did it for myself… and after a test it was revealed that I can be placed in the box of “2-points from severe depression”. Until next meeting, I need to make an effort to do something daily for myself. Something that is good for me.
Lord, I need this.

But Lord, I want to have FUN with You.
To live, love, laugh, do and BE with You.
I know I prayed to be a woman of faith once… but Lord, this road is harder than rocks and my mustard seed inside is melting in the furnace. And it hurts, Lord. It hurts!


Lord, I really need to have some fun with You.

I really need You, now.

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The Jesus heart

It was 2012 January. It was cold and Japan was still much affected by the 2011 triple disaster and I was very much affected by the fact that our child had been traumatized in her Japanese kindergarten. overkwork.jpeg
My body was weak and my heart was slowly freezing. I was trying to recoup so I could help my child overcome. But my mental and physical condition was rather bad. I slept 2 to 3 hours pr. night. This was before my husband sent me off to the doctor to get some sleeping pills… (So glad he did!).

To get away from it all, we went to the mountains in the Kanto region near Mt. Fuji during that January. Just my daughter and me. I thought I needed to get away… It didn’t do my health much good, but the Lord gave me a Blessing I’ll never forget:
While there, we visited the Venetian glas museum, where Jesus met me in one of my deepest moments of despair.
Imagine an almost empty Venetian estate. Inside it’s full of various glass art, from facets to colorful engravings. The walls are all covered with gorgeous art and the ceiling with paintings of beauty. The lighting is soft and dim in most places and you can hear the smooth sound of water from fountains from almost any place inside the estate.Hakone_Venetian_Glass_Museum_002.jpg

The place was almost empty because it was out of season and my daughter was excitedly going from display to display, up and down the stairs, wow’ed by the beauty.
I was scared of the future, frightened at the present and angry about the past.

I looked up at the ceiling, wondering if life would ever work out – and saw the replica of the famous “Last supper” painted there. I found Jesus and as I did, it was as if His eye moved, looked at me and I heard His voice whisper “You will be okay!”.
Immediately I broke into tears. They streamed down my face… I kept focusing on Jesus in the painting. I refused to let the moment go… but my daughter was calling me and I had to wipe the tears and keep moving.

Jesusheart.jpgMy heart was both heavy and yet light. I knew I was in a rut, but I also knew that Jesus had spoken to me. His assurance took the burden off me. I can’t say that life got easy after this, but that day and the rest of the week in the mountains certainly did.

On our way out of the museum, I stopped by the gift shop and I saw a beautiful red glass heart pendant. I bought it despite the price tag being way over what I would usually pay for a glass pendant, and I call it my “Jesus heart”.
He glued my heart that day with His words.

It’s 5 years ago and it’s still fresh in memory and the heart still hangs around my neck.

Manifesto

41D6VN7PMcL.jpgThe first time I had a sniff of the perfume scent “Manifesto”, I was hooked.
My mom gave it to me as a Christmas present many years ago and to this day, I love that scent! Every day when I add a whiff to my wrists, I remember my mom.

Manifesto is Italian for manifest. Which means something like transparent, undisguised, noticeable or demonstrate, reveal and declare.

The Italian-American former model, author, actress etc Isabella Rossellini is behind this perfume, though that is entirely unimportant to this post.
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This week has been one for the calendar if I ever had one!

My husband was informed that the job project he has been pouring his heart into the past 8 years will close and employees will be transferred to other locations, though we are yet to hear of when and where.
My daughter’s new school-schedule finally fell into place: She’ll be a half day student of her school and then half time student of School support services which is a support to homeschoolers living in Japan. She’ll be dismissed daily at 12:30 and then do reading, math and units with a privately hired, educated teacher doing a tailor-made curriculum with her 3 days a week. 1 day she’ll be with a homeschooling mom close by and the last day I will be supervising her in the afternoons. I’m quite frankly not yet sure how we will be paying for this, but the Lord provides… Things have been heavy for her anxiety wise (due to some bullying issues at school), but now that she is happily aware of her schedule changes, we hope she can focus on progressing in math and regain control of her anxiety issues.
I have had some stomach pains and though not really bad they continue to roam, so I saw a doctor who couldn’t diagnose me, but wants to run a colon cancer test. Praying for a negative result on that one!! The mere thought of me getting cancer at this point is devastating so I’m praying… and praying…

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But what I have learned this past week is that when I give myself over to God and openly ask Him to take over everything, I find strength to keep walking. A strength I know exists as I have walked in it before, but possibly never tapped into to this extend.

I become transparent and undisguised in front of Him, crying tons of “I’m way too stressed out to cope Lord”-tears and I demonstrate that I have no control at all – but I still declare His Glory!

We are still waiting for news about my husband’s work place.

My daughter’s schedule begins next week.

I get the test results next week.

Manifesto: I can stand because I’m the receiver of God’s strength.

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A short word

bewildered1.jpg“Why aren’t you on facebook anymore…!?!!” she looked at me entirely bewildered and in complete shock. That happened after she first had told me “I enjoy seeing your life on facebook!” and I somehow felt a strange, perhaps with a sting, need to inform her that my facebook account had been deactivated for something like 1 1/2 year. I tried to explain my reasons for quitting facebook, but each sentence was cut off half way as this eager person was trying to convince me that getting off facebook was weird and eye-rolling dumb. I ended up simply stating that “I got tired of it”. It was sufficiently short to be said without her cutting me off and yet sufficiently strong to shut her up.
This actually took place at the gathering immediately following my dad’s funeral, but in her defense, she is both a loving and caring family member, she simply just got totally bewildered that someone could get tired of facebook.

waste-time-on-facebook.jpgI returned back to Japan and began thinking about the conversations I had during last years reasonably difficult (read excruciatingly tough!) summer with friends and family. It was a mystery actually because most of them, though accepting my decision to get off facebook, all asked about it.
I could of course continue with “that’s how much facebook fills our lives”, but I’m not going there…

Instead I decided to heed their requests to open a brand new facebook account in my native Danish and limited to only my friends and family back home… (okay, with so far 1 exception). It’s entirely in Danish and I can’t say that I regret it so much (because I’m really rarely on), but at the same time, I’m kind of chuckling up inside as – now that I sit here a year later looking at that facebook account, the likes and comments that come in are always from the same 1-4 people and those who spoke the loudest last year, are the same people I literally do not get any kind of reactions from. Huh…

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I gotta admit – that’s funny! Curiously funny.

 
Recently I have found it difficult to blog. I have plenty I want to talk about and share with you and of course, all related to how the Lord has literally worked wonders in my life. I began wondering if I had writers block, but I don’t think so as I just wrote something very short about my facebook laughs/thoughts.
Perhaps I just need to take time out… to blog. Get my thoughts on electronic paper.

Until next time!
In Jesus

Someone saved from death Praises God

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In Psalm 116 it says: “I was filled with fear and anxiety. Then I called to the Lord, “I beg you, Lord, save me!”. “You have saved me from death. I will give you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and offer my prayer to you” (Psalm 116:3,17 (emphasis mine)).

In the midst of my raging storm – called life on earth – and while I do stand on my Rock – known as my Savior Jesus – my innermost being is at war. Spiritual war. And in the midst of life, I forgot one of the most basic things of the Christ-followers life: Thanksgiving.

Yes, it’s a sacrifice to give thanks for the trials and troubles and unlovable people we meet and will meet in the near future… but it opens up our hearts for God to pour in His love that will enable us to pour that love on to others.

Yesterday I was with my daughter at the counseling session and there we talked about having feelings that are natural and okay to have. It’s not exactly Christ-like to be cranky… but it’s okay to have various feelings as long as – we can put words on it. This morning, 5 am, I fell flat on my face, partly because I was so tired I couldn’t sit up, partly because the war inside me is raging with spears that fill me with fear and run away thoughts and scenarios.

What God met me with, was the reminder to be thankful. With Christ in me, I have the most valuable treasure and power working in me.

I am saved from death, so I will give thanks!

In awe of what the Lord is showing me