Thursday, May 30, 2013

Just for Funsies: Toilet Paper Origami

I begrudgingly signed up for a Pinterest account last year. I, the perpetual late adopter, thought it was stupid. Like I thought Myspace was stupid. Like I thought Facebook was stupid.

Wouldn't you know it, I was wrong again. On the online pin-board I've been able to find lots of recipes to try out on family and friends (usually with pretty good results). I've also been able to get some great ideas for things to do with Jillian. I, of course, also have pinned a ridiculous number of things that made me chuckle or go "wow that's amazing" but know full well I will never actually do. So, when I saw a challenge from the Pintester to attempt one of your pins that was just gathering dust then blog about it, I knew it was up my ally. I mean, best case scenario I succeed at the pin and have a new skill. Worse case scenario I fail miserably and I still have something to post about.

I decided to try my hand at toilet paper origami. When I originally pinned it, I thought it would be a laugh to do at people's homes or in public restrooms, just for fun. I figured it's something I would never actually try to figure out unless prompted by a random internet stranger, and it's kind of Japanese... right? Well, origami is Japanese anyhow. So I'm counting it.

Here's the original post.

I thought the flower in the pot looked cool enough, yet easy enough. Yeah, not so much. Turns out there's a reason origami paper is not tissue thin. TP does NOT stay put where you fold it my friends.
Here's the photo diary of my attempt.

start with a fresh-ish roll of TP
Rip off a square to use later then fold up a square's length or so.
Fold down the end a few times to hide the scraggily edges. 

Fold the sides under to make a basket shape. 
mine ended up being pointier than I anticipated.
I also had a really hard time getting the flap to stay in place. 
Use the square you ripped off earlier to make a fan shape.
(Yes, I know. My PJ's are awesome.)
Shove the fan into the flower pot.
Try desperately to keep the edges tucked in.
Feel defeated when your "flowers" hang sadly out of the "flower pot"

Give up any hope of prettiness and mash the whole thing in your fist to make it stay folded at the creases. 

Over all, this was way to much work for so little pay off. I may try again if the mood strikes. Maybe I just need less soft TP, although that's a theory I'm not too keen to test. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Were Born to Be Loved

We were blessed to get connected with a women's clinic run by a Christian doctor and his Midwife wife for my pregnancy and Jillian's birth. From the start, and even now, over a year since Jill's birth, the way they care for women, both physically and spiritually has really impressed me.

 I've written a little about it before. I mentioned it here, but I never got around to writing all that I wanted about it. This week, though, I was reminded of the wonderful ministry the head doctor and his wife have cultivated over the years when I attended the final play group for the babies born in April and May of 2012.

The group flowed as usual: time for songs, a lesson on child development, time for tea, time to chat with the other moms. This time, however, when it began time to wrap up, the 2 teachers were joined by the head doctor and his wife to sing to our children. They sang a song that is very familiar to me; one I love to sing and hear. It goes "Kimi wa aisareru tame umareta..." "You were born to be loved." As they sang, Jillian, a lover of all things musical, crawled up front and danced. The scene was so precious to me: the doctor who delivered my baby, the midwife who cared for me while I was panic stricken that I would break this new life, were singing to my baby. I couldn't hold back the tears forming in my eyes as I snapped a few pictures to hold the memory always.

This same doctor sat with the women who were in recovery the week I was, a few of whom where at the play group, and read us Psalm 139. He told us that it was God who put our children in our lives; that He knit them together in our wombs. Then presented us each with a Bible bearing our name and baby's birthdate carefully written inside the cover.

I don't know how many lives this man and his wife have touched. Countless, I'm sure. I pray God encourages him and the women he cares for; that they would know, "They were born to be loved"; that they were "knit together in their mother's womb."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Silly-Jilly: Lost in Translation

Anyone who has ever typed something into Google Translate can tell you, the word you want to use doesn't always convey the meaning you hope it does. Some rare words translate perfectly; conveying the precise meaning from first language to second. Others... well, not so much. "Silly" is one such word.

Sunday at church as a friend, Y, and I bowed to pray Jillian took the opportunity to pet Y's hair and stick her, Jillian's, foot into Y's praying hands. When we said our "Amen"s I told my friend. "Jillian is such a silly girl" in English and gave Jilly a kiss on the head. I asked Y, who speaks fluent English, if there is a  word that translated well for silly. The closest I've been able to think of don't really convey the right shade of meaning. "Tannoshii" is more like fun or enjoyable. "Omoshiroii" is like interesting or enjoyable. "Kawaii" is cute. But silly is more like a combo of the three with a little bit of "Henna" (weird) thrown in.
The word she gave me I didn't even commit to memory because when I asked her if it was a good or bad image, she said bad. Her word translated to something like foolish.

I was mortified. This woman, and how many other English-speaking Japanese people, think I've been calling my daughter foolish! I quickly explained that silly has a positive image. Perhaps in the past it was negative, but now it's "Wee Sing in Sillyville"; it's "Silly Songs with Larry"; it's our own Silly-Jilly. Definitely not negative.

Someone needs to warn Larry that he might not translate well into Japanese.
Image credit 
The whole encounter got me thinking about how many other words, or actions I've been using that are COMPLETELY misinterpreted. Probably a lot. I recently found out that when Jillian waved "hello" to people, even in response to "Konnichiwa" people think she's waving "bye-bye". Poor baby has been inviting people to come play and they've been thinking she wants them to leave. We should probably practice bowing rather than waving, but I hesitate because the waving is so darn cute!

I know I'm bound to make, or discover, more mistakes in my word choice. I just hope none of them give the impression I'm speaking ill of my daughter, or other people for that matter.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Unexpected Blessings

This past weekend was the annual A2 Spring Retreat. Each year our time as a mission family is much anticipated. There is nothing like joining with friends I only see once or twice a year for fellowship and renewal. This year, especially, I felt God's tender care for me and my family as we gathered with our mission.

From the get-go our plans got thrown out the window. Stephen came down with a major virus that had spread quickly into his lung the day before the retreat. Jillian and I went on ahead and prayed Stephen would recover fully by the weekend, so he could join the retreat. Traveling on my own with a squirmy one-year-old went better than I could have expected, even if Stephen had been with me. Once at the retreat, everyone was so helpful with Jillian I didn't feel like I had to miss out on everything because I didn't have my partner in crime to pass her off to from time to time.

A picnic lunch with some of our mission family before Stephen arrived.

By Friday, Stephen had been given the ok to travel and make his way to the retreat site. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see him! Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

While I was waiting for Stephen to arrive, though, Jillian decided it was her turn to be sick. Poor little baby spiked a fever and wanted nothing more than to sleep. By God's grace our friends had some baby fever medicine for us to use. Go figure, the time I decided to pack light, something major would happen.  Because I was still solo at this point, the child care team took great care of me by helping watch Jillian in a separate corner of the kids' room. Because she was such a cuddly lump while sick, it worked well.
Thank you King's Harbor Church for your excellent service! You saved my behind!
(I should also add that I received a couple other unexpected blessings from the team from King's Harbor: a hair cut and neck massage. If anyone wants to bless a missionary-wife here are three simple ways: make them feel beautiful, let them relax, and love their kids!)

By the time Stephen arrived, Jillian was on her third day of fever and had begun throwing up. With the help of two other moms I took Jillian to the urgent care at the hospital near by. Thank you so much Yuko and Rhonda for translating, driving, and just being with me. Without them and the prayers from the A2 family back at the retreat site, the doctor would have just given Jillian an not yet needed IV and sent us on our way. He changed his mind suddenly and gave us some fever reducer and decongestant to help her ride out the virus.
By the next day Jill was feeling much better.

The retreat itself was fantastic. I was blessed by the message on prayer and the team from Evergreen Church who prayed with us over the course of the retreat. I walked away from the retreat feeling refreshed and so loved. It's tough some times to be a little speck of light in a dark land. Times like spring retreat are so necessary for my spirit.
I feel like this particular retreat could have gone a lot differently with all the challenges that were thrown at us, but even in the midst of chaos, God's tender care showed through.

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