1. My mother, who literally carried me into this life and then continued to carry me in other ways throughout my childhood and now adulthood in both America and Japan:)
2. My father, because I, like Nephi, was born to a man of faith, obedience, and love
3. My sister, who taught me what it means to be a woman of grace
4. My older brother, whose valiant example and humble courage inspires me to be better (also his puns that pretty much kill me).
5. My kid brother, who was always my listening ear and sympathizer, who taught me what compassion is despite his undeniable masculinity
6. Other members of my family, brother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, who have supported me in all my crazy, impulsive hobbies and performances
7. I'm grateful for good friends who have not only supported my standards but pushed me to become better than I was.
8. My biracial background and bilingual upbringing and the fun and adventure I have of swinging between two cultures practically seamlessly
9. Music and the joy it brings me, the calmness I feel inside brought by simple familiar melodies
10. Going on a split this week with Sister Y, one of the above mentioned wonderful friends of mine:)
11. All the birthday emails and letters and cards and packages to remind me of the fact that we each forget at times, that no matter how small we may be, the ripples extend beyond our vision. (Shoutout to those who sent me love, thank you!!! Literally my best birthday thus far, probably.)
12. My wonderful companion Sister A, who hates pictures but is probably the coolest person I've ever met. She also spoils me rotten while simultaneously having me in stitches with her sarcastic humor that fits with mine:)
13. My beautiful district, who, despite an incredible lack of musical background, has agreed to sing a musical number with my companion and I while I play violin.
14. The Book of Mormon, with its inspired truths because I literally learn from this book each and every day. (And the Bible, and Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price...;)
15. My apartment has two jars of peanut butter in it right now. [heaven!]
16. My maple syrup mix that my father gave me the night before I left on my mission, because
17. I love pancakes.
18. The Japan Sendai Mission, because that's where I am today and the people here have changed my life forever.
19. The fact that the Lord is watching over me. There were at least two times this week that I should've broken an ankle or at least sprained it, and somehow I walked away both times fully functional (and laughing, though embarrassed).
20. I am grateful to be alive at this time, with all the relationships I have with the people in my life. I know that no matter where I go, the Lord lives and is aware of me, and I also know that he has placed these people in my life for a reason, and my life of hope and light and joy and yes, sometimes rain, is all because of Him. I am so, so, blessed, and I will praise His Holy name all the days of my life and beyond. He has given me the past two decades of joy and I will forever be grateful for this.
It's been a good week.
Pictures: Nagamachi from an apartment we were housing
Thanks to the Moms and Pops!
My bestie and I, in Japan, eating pancakes and octopus-shaped sausages for dinner.
PS, both Obaachan's package and the one from you and Mom arrived on the 15th, so I waited a day and opened them on my birthday:) We had District Meeting that day, so afterwards my companion and I gave everyone ice cream and ends up the elders bought me chocolate and made me a Luke Skywalker birthday card. And then Annett Shimai and I went out for lunch, it was really fun:) Oh, we also had music practice that day for our district musical number in sacrament meeting next Sunday, so I also got to spend an hour doing music, which was also fun. We also placed two Book of Mormons street contacting, and taught kids' Eikaiwa. That's all:) Thank you for everything! :)
Mission Leader Conference, August 5, 2015
Mission Leader Conference, September 9, 2015
New leader training, July 23, 2015
New sisters and companions, July 23, 2015