Thursday, March 24, 2011

Comment Moderation

Due to so many comments all mentioning one website in the past 12 hours.....comments are moderated again. I haven't had time to check out the site. May be fine - but 50 comments by different names all leading to the same website is not very up and up in my book. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Green Smoothies

I've heard of these for years, but usually in the context of someone sharing how much they loved their Vitamix...somewhere along the line I assumed a "regular" blender wouldn't be able to make green smoothies. ::snort:: Windy shared how much they LOVED their smoothies. This surprised me as they were not previously veggie lovers. I shared that I wasn't going to buy a Vitamix to eat veggies. She shared tips to make them in my blender - and it worked. 

I heard not to use the same greens every day - so today we used a variety of lettuce. I think we like the spinach better...... But here you go. 

Put 1 C of water in blender, add 2 - 3 C of greens of your choice and blend for several minutes to make a smooth puree (I used less greens the first day so the kids would like the fruity taste) 

Assemble and add fruit - I used an orange, small pineapple, Greek yogurt, strawberries, 2 small bananas and frozen blueberries, flax seed, splash of vanilla and/or almond

I simply quarter oranges, peel them and throw them in 

Blend and stir for a few minutes until you like the consistency - you'll see this makes a purplish/brown shake as I added red and blue fruits....

She loves them and is getting a variety of greens in her diet. 

If you like it sweeter you could add dates or honey. You can leave out the yogurt, I like to add it so there is protein to balance the high carbs in a smoothie. I try to have sliced, frozen bananas on hand for smoothies as they make very smooth and creamy smoothies. I don't use ice, choosing to use frozen fruit instead. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Musings from Northern Japan

Meanwhile, back at home, the kids and I continue to conserve energy, enjoy non-electronic activities and experiment with new eating options (new recipe coming). LOL 

It snowed again today....

We were able to sit and visit with a Japanese friend tonight. We compared quake stories. She was glad I'd made it home from Tokyo. I was glad to hear her family was all safe. We showed her "Nuclear Boy".  We talked about shortages, natural resources and such. 

Japan has no natural energy sources. If they want electricity to power their modern culture, they must build nuclear plants. Many are now shut down. She has a friend who is one of the workers at Fukushima.  Anyway, this power shortage is going to go on until they can reopen other sites and build new ones. In America we have MANY natural options for energy - we choose not to use them. Another story, another day....but in Japan this is it.  Things ARE going to be short for now and some time to come. Locally, pachinko parlors are closed or running with 1/2 power, convenience stores are closed, other businesses are closing early, and theaters etc are not up.  Japanese understand and accept this. Americans not so much. 

I've heard a lot in the past week about how families should go home to conserve Japan's resources. These comments have come from families who have chosen to take advantage of the State Department's Voluntary Departure option.  It is not my intent to criticize those who have left...frankly there are MANY valid factors which led some to decide to leave, it's not my place to have an opinion on other's decisions....medical issues, ages of children, personal fear levels of family members...all contributed to some leave. However, the wide spread comments and complaints make me sad...from those who have left and those who have stayed. This is something I do have an opinion on. ::snort::

I decided to ask my Japanese friend what SHE thought, does she and her friends (30 year olds) think that Americans should go home to conserve  Japan's resources? My question opened an unexpected flood gate of comments. I share some of the thoughts here as I think it is good for us to consider how we appear to others. We've been spoiled here. Americans don't have to sort their garbage (the company does it for them, Japanese do this on their own), the city supplies electricity for a very nice standard of living on base, we've been welcomed by most Japanese with open arms, they make allowances for our lack of cultural awareness.  She and a friend had been at one of the town hall meetings. They were sad, angered, perplexed by the questions and comments so freely shared.... Of course the boisterous give and take of an American discussion is a bit out of the Japanese communication mode too. 

 "Why do we have to sort our garbage?" 

"When will you open the THEATER?" 

"Why do we have to light only two rooms?"

"When you will pick up bulk garbage again?"

"When will the bowling ally and library open?" 

"When will Burger King, Popeyes etc be open?"

"When will the gym open?" (I can understand this as many have PT tests upcoming and so I guess could be worried as results affect careers.)

Honestly, none of these are LIFE THREATENING inconveniences. Consider all Japan has been through and all they are struggling to overcome. I would bet there is not a person in Japan who has not been affected by events on the 11th. At the very least the whole country has lost a  percentage of it's electricity.  It's a time when Japan is looking to get  ESSENTIAL things up and running.....and we're complaining  our garbage pick up will be once a week, we have to sort our own garbage and  don't have a theater and bowling ally? Really? 

She shared of teachers caught in the Sendai quake and tsunami....who didn't like the evacuation center and came up north. Then talked to the foreign press and complained about "no walls, only rice balls to eat, no heat or privacy" and said, "They don't understand our culture. They should go home."  Privacy is simply not an issue in Japan. Community rules.  Rice balls are actually a staple. All pull together to endure.....these teachers, well-meaning and some of them considering themselves to be missionaries, lost credibility with their comments to the press. Note this is her perspective and the teachers may have feared for their safety and not simply been unhappy with Japanese evacuation centers...but again...THIS is the perception. 

She told us with sadness, "When we have it to offer, we will gladly do it. If we could supply all the families want, we would. We can't. They should go home." What she was saying is, if you can't adapt, if you can't accept the inconveniences of the situation, if you want to be a guest only when all your needs are being met, it is best to leave.  Japan considers it an honor to take care of guests....and I sensed hearing the complaints and knowing they were not meeting the expectations of Americans was painful. 

My heart has been begging for CHRISTIANS (Americans and others) to SHINE in the LIGHT OF HIS GLORY....many Japanese equate American with Christian....and we've left a bad impression with our petty complaints and lack of willingness to pull together.  It breaks my heart. 

I questioned further, for a family like ours, one who is willing to stay, accept the shortages and help - should we go home? Are we using valuable Japanese resources? Would they be happier if we left?  She said our shopping helps the economy. The base employs many people. She also shared that Japanese culture doesn't "just act" - but "Americans just go Jared san at the pig farm....we need your help."  I'm at is good for some to leave...but as a whole Japan doesn't wish all Americans would leave to conserve resources. They are very grateful for all the help we've "just volunteered" to do.  Will Japan eventually need to cut back the number of dependents on bases? I hope not.  Will the situation be better in a month - maybe slightly - but honestly the conservation will go on for a long time...and really.....we should have probably been more aware of our energy consumption...isn't that true of most people in most countries? 

I'm discouraged some Americans have left a bad impression on the Japanese people. I'm encouraged other Americans have endeared themselves to the Japanese with their "Can do, let's get it done, NOW" attitude.  I will be very careful not to complain about inconveniences, it's not the Japanese way.  I've been personally motivated to "buck up".  I think it is important for all of us to think of how our reactions are perceived...for His glory. 

I continue to believe God can and will use this for His time and in His way. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Buta Hama 2 to Momoishi (Pig Farm & Beach)

Does Jared know how to find the fun or what???? He spent another long day with the work teams (btw all but one of these photos were taken on an earlier drive to base). We are proud of him. He's proud that most assume he's active duty, he's pulling his weight.

Today they went back to the Buta Hama for a bit of time. Then they drove up to Momoishi Beach. This is the spot we've photographed often as our "hiding spot," the spot I most often go to find sea glass and pray. This is the spot we took Carol when she was here.  This is the spot where Jared and Jamin like to go run.  It is just over a mile from our home.

 Today the team  helped a fisherman get his nets and floats out of TREES.  They also worked more at picking up rubbish - other teams have been here. There were 60 volunteers today! I think as the "voluntary departures" are over and more have time to focus on the local area we will see bigger teams of volunteers in the community.

 This sea wall is usually covered with concrete blocks and asphalt....I naively thought a tsunami would stop at this seawall and not come over into the parking lot, forests and homes on the other side of it. 

This boat is over the sea wall, over the parking lot and in the trees.

 I think the kids and I can go to places like this with garbage bags and do our own "clean up" efforts even if they're too young for the hard core clean up and recovery work. 

Choosing Joy!
©2010 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...