The Zero Tradition

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


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!

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! 



I-Miss-U-Like-A-Squirrel-Misses-His-Nuts-Funny-Meme-Image.jpgI’m going total nutcase! and feeling a bit silly about it…

When a star dies… the ones made by dreams, hard work, Hollywood or music labels… many fans go all out and the late star is credited in more ways than I can count. When David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston passed away, I kinda shrugged my shoulders and whispered “yes, what a shame such talent should go too soon” and then I moved on.

But… then I learned that George Michael had passed away on Christmas day and I got sincerely sad deep inside my heart.

I don’t do that! – normally.
So this is unchartered territory for me. I’m not even a “fan type” of person…
Well, I’m a “fan” of Jesus, but I don’t consider myself being a fan of “stars” as pr. see, nor did I ever have a teen-crush on George Michael.

So – my only conclusion is that I’m going total nutcase!
One basket of nuts! coming up…
I can’t seem to grasp his death. I keep listening to his music, crying tears I didn’t think I had in me and I’m feeling very weird about it!! Silly

I grew up with George Michael’s music!
First Wham! on the dance floors and on my radioshow, then the celebration of his solo career taking off so well and then his many many lyrics about deep feelings… and I realized something; As he grew – or rather his music grew to adulthood – so did I.
One way or another I can relate to his music.
He was a deep thinker and it’s reflected in his lyrics. He had an amazing voice that could sing just about anything. He had a real talent made for real music lovers.

Maybe I’m not entirely a basketcase after all.
Gosh, how I miss George Michael… just knowing that there won’t be another amazing lyric and vocal coming from him. He wasn’t a star because his music label turned him into one. He was a star because he had the talent, the passion and the voice to reach people.

No, George Michael had nothing to do with me meeting Jesus or my journey of faith. This post isn’t about God. This time. It’s about grief.


A voice silenced — Pastor Jim Bell’s Jottings

My friend and fellow blogger – Pastor Jim Bell – has gone home to be with Jesus. My heart is aching though I know he is in the best place any of us can be in. Still… I will miss him.

I wish to write that my heart goes out to his family… but I’m not sure I can express adequately how my heart is grieving. Pastor Jim was my friend and fellow blogger and cheerleader. My strength during hard times and the kind voice that kept me going.

This good and faithful servant is home now. One day I will have the privilege of meeting him in person, in heaven, sharing our wonderful Jesus!

He is resting in peace.

Please go to his blog (see below) and find inspiration and love and at times a push… His voice will live on through his blog.

Yesterday, my father James H. Bell passed from this world into the loving arms of Christ at 8:24 a.m. He was 80. His passing was peaceful, at home, and with his loving wife Kay, his daughter Lisa and myself at his side. About six months ago, he made a courageous choice to take control of […]

via A voice silenced, but it will live on here…. — Pastor Jim Bell’s Jottings


It took me many years, but I finally get it. ashamed_face_4053.jpg

I’m ashamed. Sad.

“Hello, my name is Lene and my mom was an alcoholic”. I’m not. I can’t even stand the smell of beer – or blood – … for good reason.

I never before understood why she drank. Sure, have a nightcap or a glass now and then. But she drank daily and… now I understand.

The other day I took a glass of white wine. I don’t normally drink… The past week has been a really bad week. So I turned on the tv and had my glass of wine. I don’t know what I thought it would do, but Jesus opened up my eyes to something.

It tasted fine. Actually very nice.

I found relief in the bottom of that glass. The pain of my heart – the overwhelming overtaking pain of helplessness went away and I actually laughed at something ridiculous on the tv.

Alcohol numbs the senses.

It made me “not care” so much. It was such a relief.

It wore off and I felt ashamed.

Not that I had taken a glass of wine. But that it had taken me so many years to figure out why my mom kept drinking. Daily. Too much. And paid the highest price possible: Her life.

When she drank she didn’t care so much. She didn’t feel the hurt and pain inside her or around her.

I finally understand.

intensive-care-unit-clip-art-1383980.jpgThe only reason why I’m sharing this with you, my fellow bloggers, is because I want to tell you – whisper in your ears – that I’m not an alcoholic and I won’t ever be. But now I understand why people, especially the sensitive types, feels such a need to “drown the sorrows in the bottle”.

But it leads… no place good. 10273974088957968_1357953156.jpg

I’m thankful I know Jesus and the tug in my heart will prevent me from drowning my sadness.


The story of my mom can be found here : How my mom passed away




The hidden part of grief

Okay, maybe it’s not so much hidden as it’s me just now realizing it… 

Sometimes a year seems like a very long time. Sometimes it just flies by. The past year has done both.
When I think of my daughter’s anxiety, depression, psychiatrist, psychologist, counseling, medication, fears and experiences, the year has passed by like a snail on the German autobahn!

But when I think of my dad and last summers long hard walk from hospital to hospice, watching him in agonizing pain despite extremely high dosages of morphine, to the phone call the morning of august 16th that it was over, to the funeral and the immediate grief that takes a hold of the heart when loosing a loved one – this past year has flown by faster than a Star Trek warp drive!


It feels like it was just the other day that my brother and I went with the pine tree coffin, because dad loved nature so much and I simply couldn’t imagine him in the usual white one. We selected a natural stone and picked the duck, the fish and the stag for decorations on the stone for his burial site.IMG_3201.jpg


The grief has come in tidal waves. Some weeks were a lot harder than others. But after a year; grief is still here. I don’t believe we ever get over the loss of a loved on. But in time we learn to live with them being gone. I’m still learning. Every day it gets a teeny tiny bit easier.

There are different kinds of grief. We grieve when losing a loved one, but we also grieve when we learn that our child has anxieties/depression or some other debilitating issue.

That is a devastating grief too and anyone who has lived it, will know it.child-sad.png

I have help from above because I know Jesus is with me. But being a believer does not by any means except anyone from experiencing pain, sorrow, grief and sadness. Jesus experienced all of that too, so that we could have a high priest who understands our weaknesses.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Grief isn’t an illness. It’s a condition of the heart in which weakness is present for the time it takes to process the grief. 

A weakness I can’t handle without the Lord’s help and here’s why: This past year has taught me that grief leaves me vulnerable to temptations, fear, anger, irritability, indulging etc. In other words; It leaves me weak. In the natural process of grieving, I actually sin or do/feel things that can lead to sin.

No’b, I’m not proud of it… But I now understand that Jesus indeed knows every one of my weaknesses. So I can come boldly before His throne and find Grace to help me when I need it the most and that is the light in the middle of dark grief.


Psalm 34 – The voice (& NLT)


As my last post “What book?” clearly indicated, I was facing a critical, sad, mentally rough time and I asked what book in His Holy Word to read, when dealing with grief. With many responses I got places to start, so from the bottom of my heart, I thank those who commented.


how-grief-works.jpgI was desperately seeking relief of the heavy pain that grief placed upon my shoulders. Daily people loose people to death, expected and unexpected deaths. Daily some poor soul will face grief. Some looses loved ones to heaven and in their grief they can rejoice in knowing their loved one went to a better place. I’m not in that position, though I make the conscious choice of believing at least my dad went to heaven. But even so, the sting of grief, stings those who are left behind.


Only the Lord knew WHERE my relief were to be found. In HIS care, HIS peace and in HIS promises alone.

No book of the Bible could help me feel better, but only the truth of His promises – and by His mercy, for His Glory, the Lord orchestrated a Bible verse sent to my inbox through one of the many daily devotion automatic mail subscriptions that are in existence.

When I read it, I immediately knew this was from my Jesus!


Psalm 34:17-19 (the Voice)

17 When the upright need help and cry to the Eternal, He hears their cries
    and rescues them from all of their troubles.
18 When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in close
    and revives him in his pain.
Hard times may well be the plight of the righteous—
    they may often seem overwhelmed
    but the Eternal rescues the righteous from what oppresses them.

Or the New Living Translation (if you prefer):

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
The righteous person faces many troubles
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

When we loose a loved one, who decided not to follow Jesus, the grief is devastating and riding that tidal wave seems impossible. Adding to that is the simple yet tremendous loss of the love that can no longer be received. In other words: it’s okay to be devastatingly sad!

Do Believers/Christians often feel a pressure to “be okay”, because we have the hope living in us, so rejoice!? – Are pastors quick to say “Do not direct your anger at God. That’s a sin”? – Do we watch friends/church families loose loved ones (saved and unsaved) and just carry on with their lives because “be joyful always” linger in their ears?… I wonder how many tears are cried behind closed doors, because we are seemingly expected to behave in a certain way.  My point is that young believers learn from older believers and if the older believers hide their grief or do not share that there is pain involved and it’s okay, it becomes all the more difficult to talk about.

Let’s not forget that Jesus grieved too. He was also human with feelings. He knows.

But the Lord comes close and through His presence, I was rescued once more from the pit of despair. I must “shake it off”… as hard as it is, it’s the only way forward and I can only do that while clinging on to my God.

He is my family, my Father, my brother and my Light. He is my portion and He is enough.

Remain Blessed in Him at all times, no matter what you go through

griefhealing homepage.jpg

What book?

I need suggestions and God’s guidance.

Recently I have been hearing the voice of both my mom and dad and remembering clearly my childhood home and garden. It’s not in any way scary or as if they have come back to tell me something. I’m just remembering what they said and how and my childhood but recently it’s been much more than in the past. I think it’s pretty normal when processing grief.

But it’s weighing heavily on me and I want to sit down and let the tears flow, but my daughter is home on summer vacation now and I can’t fall to pieces in front of her (due to her anxiety issues) and I need God. I want to know what book of the Bible to read. I’m not finding relief in His Word the way I usually do and that isn’t right.


One of those mornings…

When I woke up this morning around 4 am the sun was rising outside and the temperature was mild and not-so-humid-yet here in Tokyo. But my mind was dim. All day yesterday I was hearing my dad’s voice in my head. He had many sayings, proverbs if you wish and they were lingering one after another, though non of them seemed to have any particular meaning as if sent from the Lord.


I got out of bed and went to meet Jesus with my coffee mug and of course I then realized my grief had another tidal wave for me. Good heavens how I miss my dad!!

I prayed for strength… to get through today because it’s just one of those days. So with my Bible open I went through pages until Psalm 86 popped up and I read the whole thing… and then I prayed the whole thing;

Psalm 86 (the voice)

O Eternal One, lend an ear to my prayer and answer me, for I am weak and wanting.
Safeguard my soul, for I remain loyal to You.
    Save me, Your servant, who trusts in You, my God.
O Lord, please be merciful to me, as all day long I cry out to You.
Bring joy into the life of Your servant, for it’s only to You, O Lord, that I offer my soul.
O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive;
    Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You.
O Eternal One, lend an ear and hear my prayer; listen to my pleading voice.
When times of trouble come, I will call to You because I know You will respond to me.

O Lord, You stand alone among the other gods;
    nothing they have done compares to Your wonderful works.
O Lord, all the peoples of earth—every nation You established—
    will come to You, bowing low to worship,  and rightly honor Your great name.
10 For You are great, and Your works are wondrous; You are the one True God.
11 O Eternal One, guide me along Your path so that I will live in Your truth.
Unite my divided heart so that I will fear Your great name.
12 O Lord, my God! I praise You with all that I am. I will rightly honor Your great name forever.
13 For Your loyal love for me is so great it is beyond comparison.
    You have rescued my soul from the depths of the grave.
O True God, arrogant people are after me.  A violent gang wants to kill me;
    they have no interest in You or Your ways.
15 But Lord, You are a God full of compassion, generous in grace,
    slow to anger, and boundless in loyal love and truth.
16 Look at me, and grant me Your favor.
    Invest Your strength in me, Your servant,
    and rescue me, Your handmaiden’s child.
17 Give me a sign so I may know Your goodness rests on me
    and so those who hate me will be red with shame at the sight of it.
    For You, O Eternal One, have come to my aid and offered me relief. 

I’m not done with the grief. I’m not done with the tears. But I have the strength to make it through. Praise the Lord.



and death shall be no more…


“What is wrong with my mom’s family??”… “Why do they tend to die really really really young?” I think… as I’m sitting here typing, trying to grasp the sad news just delivered to my mailbox. My mind is in turmoil and wanders off in all directions – but ends up with Christ.

For when all is said and done, all that really matters is Christ.

As far as I know and as much as I have heard, she never believed. And now it’s too late.

“Oh sweet Jesus”, I think, “why did she not…”- but then I must stop myself. Because it was never really up to me. Her faith – or non-faith whatever that may mean in our world – was not my decision. If Christ had wanted it, He would have pulled her closer.

The woman who passed away Wednesday night was my aunt on my mother’s side by marriage and the last living relative I had on my maternal side with whom I had any contact. She had shortness of breath Tuesday evening and was taken to the hospital where she had a heart attack. She was revived after 28 min but by then, her brain was dead. Her two sons decided to terminate life support and donate her organs. Her life saved 2 others. So I’m told.

Do we as humans have the authority to decide when our loved one dies?

According to the Bible only God has that authority.

And yet – through this unbelieving family, through the sons of my aunt, the Lord used their decision for good. He saved 2 others.

I’m still grasping the loss of this wonderful person. She had only just last month turned 50 years old. I can’t imagine how much I’m going to miss her. She was my aunt, my friend and family. But I’m praising the Lord for saving 2 others through her and I’m thankful to have had her in my life.

I so wish I could say Rest in Peace my beloved, but I can’t and that hurts. A painful reminder that all that really matters is Christ.




The dream illusion

I’m swimming in a huge deep dark ocean. It’s blue, dark blue with little glimpses of white rays now and again. It’s not pitch black, for which I am so deeply grateful. I’m not sinking. I’m not floating. I’m not moving much but more observing everything. But there’s nothing here in this dark ocean and yet I see arms, faces, eyes… and I’m not scared. I may be lonely down here but it feels good, for I am not alone. I feel at peace here and not fearful. I don’t want to swim deeper down, but I have no desire to reach the surface. Here, I can breath. Sometimes I hear friendly loving voices. Accepting voices, encouraging voices. I love the voices. But I can’t hear from where they come. Up or down. But the second I listen and try to move toward the voices, I begin to sink and fear closes in. I frantically look around into the depth and withs of this deep dark blue ocean and instantly an arm of safety appears. I can grab it and the second I touch, I stop sinking and I know the voices are wonderful but they are not my refuge, my anchor or my rope.

I’m resting in this dark blue ocean in gratutide and peace. It’s dark because it’s an ocean of grief. It’s the season for grief. But it’s not pitch black because grief is beautiful. Mourning the love I wish to give to someone who can no longer receive it. I see the rays of light shining through. I hear voices of love. But my refuge, rescue, peace and anchor for my soul is the arm of Jesus. I can’t know for how long I will need this rest for my soul, because time is an illusion and incomprehensible to me. One day when He knows I’m ready to enter back into the world of distractions, He will gently lift me to the surface.