Time.

19 Mar

Time. What do we do with the time we have? How do we spend it? What if our time was limited? Would that change our priorities?

People spend their time at work to get money. Some people need that money just to pay their bills and put food on the table. Others use it for luxury to buy big houses, fancy cars and name brand clothing.

People spend their time working on relationships: building friendships, finding a partner.

People spend their time and money to look good for other people.

Time is this precious currency in our lives. If something seems pointless or not fun or not profitable we think it’s a waste of our time. On the other hand, we may think that something is very positive and worth doing but that we are too busy and someone else has more time.

Everybody’s time here on Earth is limited, though.

We share our time with people we care about and give our time to what we believe is important. For me now, time doesn’t hold as much value as the love of God. I have received this great love from God. Like with time, I don’t want to selfishly keep it all to myself. I want to go out and share it!! His love has set me free from a broken past and given me new life! I see time in a whole new way now!

I don’t want my time to be spent going to my job just thinking about how much money I’ll be earning to pay all my bills and be able to live from month to month. I want my time to be spent there teaching with passion so the next generation can learn to enjoy learning. I want to spend my time being a teacher who the students can trust. I want my time to be spent there encouraging girls to have self-confidence. I really want to honor God in my workplace!! I want to honor God in my relationships – working on maintaining strong relationships with those around me so together we can be a great net, cast out to catch people for God!

Jesus gave me this life not to live selfishly. He gave me this life to live for Him and be a light in the darkness!

Dear Grandma,

8 Mar

Dear Grandma,

Happy 91st Birthday!

I wish I could tell you in person, and tell you how important you are to me and thank you for everything you have done for me. I wonder if you remember everything you helped me through as a child. You would stay up so that you could put me to sleep. And even when you were tired you would sit next to my bed and wait for me to fall asleep because I was scared of the dark. Later, when I got older and stayed up later studying you would stay up and fix up a snack for me. And no matter how many times I said it was okay and you could go to bed you still stayed awake until I did. And you got up early every morning to make lunch for me and Paul and make sure that we got up on time. If we were late for the bus you would even drive us to school! You spoiled us so much.

Mother's Day

Everybody joked if I would be okay going off to college without you because I had never done my own laundry. Luckily, separating and doing laundry isn’t so hard. But then when I moved out to Japan everybody joked if I would be okay going off to live on my own without you because I don’t know how to cook. I still don’t, but I try throwing things together and they taste good. Your cooking is much better though. I miss it a lot. The smell of the kitchen when I would come home from volleyball practice and had a giant man-sized appetite. It always smelled good. And the food tasted even better! You were always serving us, without expecting anything in return. Even on Mother’s Day or your birthday, when Paul and I would want to cook something for you, you would still be there in the kitchen wanting to help with something. It took you a while to get used to the fact that washing dishes was my chore and taking out the trash was Paul’s chore. You used to do it anyways and Dad would get mad at you.

Me, Grandma, and Paul

You are such a great grandma! I miss you so much!

Grandma's 90th birthday

I’m so glad I was able to celebrate your 90th birthday with you last year. When I got news of your brain aneurysm last New Year’s I was heartbroken and thought I would never be able to talk with you again. I prayed so hard, as did the rest of the family. The doctors said it was nearly impossible for someone of your age to recover, but you did! God worked a miracle so you could still be here! I hope you know that. I hope you know that He has more in store for you. I keep praying that you will open up and let Him work more miracles in your life. I love you so much! and God loves you even more!

Grandma and me

Keep fighting!

Love always,

Ally

Love.

6 Feb

Valentine’s Day. It seems like people either love the holiday or hate the holiday.

Usually, those who hate it are single. I will admit it – I’ve been there. When you are single, it seems like it’s all a bit too much and over-commercialized. You can’t appreciate it because you have nobody to give anything to and know you won’t be receiving anything from anyone.

You hate the holiday not for what it is, though, BUT because you hate the fact that you are single!!! Everywhere you go, seeing all of the pink, the hearts, the chocolates; all of it serves as a constant reminder of the fact that you are single.

Don’t be depressed because you are single!
ENJOY your single life!!

Don’t be jealous of your friends who are in relationships!
Be happy for them!!

Don’t think you can’t be loved!
You are already so incredibly and unconditionally loved!!

  • Romans 8:37-39  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Don’t let your relationship status define you!
Be confident in who you are in God!!

CHANGE YOUR THINKING!!! BREAKTHROUGH THAT SMALL NEGATIVE THINKING!

God has an awesome plan for your life! Get a vision for marriage and get excited for it!!!

  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s be thankful for the amazing love we receive from our Father, give it back to Him, and share it with everybody else.

  • Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

How should love look??

I think our image of love has been twisted by the media and commercialization. Hollywood’s version of love is really lust. Desire, ecstasy, sex.

Real love should look like this:

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

1 Corinthians 13:8

1 Corinthians 13:8

Where can I learn more about such amazing love?

CHURCH!!

worship2

If you’ve never been before, come and check it out!

If you are skeptical of religion, come and learn about an amazing relationship!

Every Sunday @ 12 PM and 2 PM

and                                          at Chuo Kaikan (or TB Hall) in Shinsaibashi, Osaka

Every Tuesdays @ 7:30 PM

For more info: http://osaka.jesuslifehouse.com/en

This Sunday, February 10th is Valentine’s Sunday!! Location: TB Hall   Time: 12 PM and 2 PM

Meet up at Shinsaibashi station Exit 6 @ 11:30 AM or 1:30 PM!

Valentines Day

Let go of the wheel

11 Sep

It has been about 2.5 months since I have arrived in Osaka!! Time has really flown by! In June, I was able to experience two homestays with two amazing families. I get to see one of them tomorrow to celebrate the daughter’s 6th birthday and my 22nd!! I’ve missed them a lot so I’m really looking forward to seeing them again!

Work has lately become much harder than it was. Maybe it was because in August I got to teach the class with the 2 and 3 year olds who are so easy, and now I’m in charge of the 6 year olds. Their schedule is much different and they have so much to cover but their problem is that they don’t like to listen! Well, some of them don’t. I try to go in with a positive attitude but it’s so hard to keep the class fun and in order. I think this is really a challenge for me to learn that I can’t do this on my own. Because no matter what I’ve done to change the lesson or try to adjust my attitude I still leave that class feeling completely drained and disappointed with myself. In church this past Sunday, Pastor Luke talked about bringing God into our workplace with us. I think that’s exactly what I need to do. Ask for His strength, wisdom, and love to guide the students. I can do all things with God so why not bring Him with me when I go to work. I mean He is with me all of the time, so I should need to rely on Him and let Him take the wheel instead of asking Him to take a seat in the back while I drive for a while. When I’m behind the wheel, though, I lose direction and end up not where I wanted to be. I need to let Him work through me so I can love the students with His love.

A New Journey

24 Jun

As many of you know, but some of you might not know, I will be moving to Japan soon. And by soon, I mean in t-minus 3 hours I will be on a plane moving to Japan. In one hour I will be leaving my house and my parents, and my hometown friends. I interviewed at BE Academy, located in Osaka, while visiting my friends for a week after my graduation from Lehigh University. For most of university, I was on a pre-medical track. I thought a career in medicine was what I wanted. There were many times throughout college, though, when I wavered from pre-med. However, I always remained a psychology major. I loved and still love psychology and realize that that is truly where my passion lies. I took an emotional development course this past spring semester that opened my eyes to this. I realized children, education, and psychology were all areas I wanted to research in. I have always loved Japan, though. After all, it’s in my blood. Japan has been tugging on my heart ever since I left after 7th grade, and once I went back I felt so at home. In the future, I want to be able to do research in Japan. I believe this year working there now is but just a stepping stone in my path to reaching that future. I am without a doubt unbelievably nervous… I have lived out on my own in California an entire summer, and studied abroad for the summer in Shanghai and for a semester in Osaka before, but somehow I feel like this time will be different. I know it will be different. I know it will be challenging. But I’m also excited and ready for this new journey to begin!

A Journey.

10 May

It’s almost graduation. Just 11 more days. I keep saying “this is the last time ~.” Like “this will be my last time eating chicken fingers on Friday at one of the dining halls with my friends.” But the closing of one chapter, just means that a new one is starting. I usually consider myself an optimist, but for some reason, I like that idea even less. This new chapter is filled with uncertainties, while requiring that some part of me be certain. I have to move forward, in some direction or another; there is no turning back. There are so many paths though… how do I know which one to take? How do I know that after I pick one I won’t regret it and want to go down a different path later, when it’s too late? That’s my problem, the real issue. My indecisiveness. I see so many people around me, so sure of what they want to be, and where they will be going after graduation to get there. Why am I so uncertain about where I want to be? I really have no destination in mind to be honest. There are a number of paths I have considered, but none I can be sure of wholeheartedly. I wonder if anyone is really 100% sure that what they are doing is the right path for them. I wonder if those people care if what they are doing is what they really want to be doing. I care. I don’t want a job for the sake of having a job. I want to do something that I love… I just haven’t found what that is yet. Is that a crime? I’m only 21. I still feel like there is a whole world out there for me to explore, but at the same time I feel stuck because part of this world is telling me I need to get a job and support myself or at least figure out what I want to do now so I can get there soon. Why does that part of growing up seem like an end-point? Like once you reach that point where you are a working citizen that is when you have grown up. I don’t buy it. I don’t want to hit an end-point because where do I go from there? I want to keep growing, keep learning, and I want to help encourage and inspire others to do the same. I don’t want to be content or comfortable in one place if it’s not what I am passionate about, but I don’t want to count those experiences off because it is all part of the journey. I want to stop worrying so much about where I will end up, what I will do with the rest of my life. I think for right now it’s okay that I don’t know. But I will continue to move forward into this new chapter believing that wherever it is that I do end up, it will be because it is what I love to do.

What seems like the end is just the beginning

26 Dec

While riding my bike home from the station today I felt an inspiration to write. I’ve missed writing and getting my thoughts out, so here goes.

These past few weeks have been full of fun and laughter, but also some tears. Friends have already left to go home or on vacation elsewhere and won’t come back before I leave so lately it has been a wave of goodbye parties where we remember the good and crazy times while also making some new good memories. It hit me recently that I will be leaving soon… in 2.5 days to be exact, and I am not ready for it at all. I have made a life for myself here: friendships and a relationship that are priceless. These past 4 months have gone by so quickly. I can hardly believe it has really been that long since I first set foot on the campus of Kansai Gaidai. So much has happened though that in reality it feels as if it has been longer than just one semester. I feel like I have made enough memories to last me a lifetime.

10 days ago was my one month anniversary with my boyfriend, Masahiro. Our relationship, too, feels like it has been much longer than just one month. Maybe because it has gone through so much… right in the middle of that one month on December 1st he was hospitalized for spontaneous pneumothorax, and then transferred on the 2nd to a bigger hospital, but one that was further away. He had to have surgery on the 5th so I went to see him everyday at the hospital from the 2nd-4th. At that time, I felt like my life was something out of a Japanese drama where the plot often seems to revolve around a couple with one of them being hospitalized. The day of his surgery I couldn’t see him, and the day after as well. I was worried like crazy and had trouble concetrating in any of my classes.

I’m so lucky to have such great friends to help through that time. Looking back, I would think most people would think my reaction to be odd because of the short amount of time we had been dating, but that is just me, and everybody has their own idea of how fast or slow things are. I was thinking about that while biking today too. Everybody bikes at a different pace; we all move through life at our own pace. Saying somebody is biking too fast or too slow is just from your own perspective because maybe for that person their speed is just right. If you try to catch up and bike at somebody else’s speed you’ll be tired when you reach your destination. We should all move at our own pace, even if it may come across as too slow or fast compared to others’ speed. I bet there are people out there criticizing me for my bad timing in confessing and dating my boyfriend since I’ll be leaving soon. I have been thinking about it a lot too lately… was I just being selfish and wanting to do it before I left and not planning for how it will develop in the future? But I think I did think about it a lot… and I wouldn’t give up this relationship I have with my boyfriend for anything. I feel like we have already been so much together, what with his hospitalization and everything. We get to spend just about every day together, for which I am truly grateful. I can’t imagine what this past month and a week would have been like if we hadn’t started dating. The future will surely be challenging, we both realize, but we had both thought a lot about it and talked about it, so when I leave on the 29th we are going to stay together.

In Hirakata, where KGU is, to get to and from the station from where I live is not a flat ride. Going to the station there are some uphills, but usually aren’t too demanding unless you are riding 2 on 1 bike. Biking to the station is worth it for me, though, because not only do you save ¥440 on the bus ride there and back, but there is this massive hill you get to ride down. Every time I go down it I get chills not because it is so cold outside but because it is such a thrill. Granted, to get home you have to go up that hill, but it isn’t as bad as it once seemed. When I first got here it seemed impossible to bike up, so I never tried it. But over time I built up strength and confidence and tried it and the first time I made it about halfway, and so everytime after that I would stop about halfway, until the other day when I made it almost all the way to the top without getting worn out and having to walk. It’s not a bad thing to walk it up, though. Sometimes it’s inevitable because there are too many people walking on the narrow path that you cannot climb up past them so you have to get off and walk. The bike ride to the station reminds me of life… all the ups and downs, the thrills and chills, obstacles and how you handle them. I know there will be many obstacles ahead in life and in my relationship because nothing can go perfectly, but instead of trying to control everything and being my usual worry-wart, jealous, and oversensitive-self I am going to work on going with the flow and, as my boyfriend says, having a bigger heart.

In the next couple of days coming up I will be saying ‘goodbyes’ to the rest of my friends still here. As much as it will hurt, though, I am going to trust that this isn’t really a ‘goodbye,’ but rather a ‘farewell, see you again’ or またね (mata ne) in Japanese. I do have plans to come back here. When I started planning for my study abroad I was searching for some roots. I truly do treasure my family who is living in Connecticut, and my extended family in Colorado and California, and my friends at school and home, but deep down I think I have been looking for a place that I feel I am meant to be, where I belong. I always have called Japan my second home, but soon I hope to call it my home. I still have a lot to learn to have what it takes to live and thrive here, but I am willing to work on it because this really truly feels like home to me and just because it may be hard is not enough to make me give up on it.

So, it really isn’t goodbye. I will be back someday, hopefully soon. But I won’t try to rush it or have others try to rush me… I believe going at my own pace I will return soon enough.

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