Palm Sunday Weekend on Miyagi Island


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cam and I are working hard on our international move to-do list, but Easter week takes full precedence! We spent all of Saturday out on Miyagi Island with Kenz, Bri and baby Jane, grateful for the gorgeous weather and time with our Hardings. If you live on Oki, and haven't gone out to Miyagi and Ikei islands off the southeast coast, you've got to! Winding around rough roads and inlets on the coast are countless coves and beaches to explore. The islands are much more remote and rugged than most of Okinawa, great to camp on, or like us, park it on the beach for a fun day of snorkeling and laying in the sun.

We also went to a new church in our neighborhood for Palm Sunday service, and sang worship in Japanese. It's hard for me to put in words how incredible it is to praise the same God in different languages and cultures, and to see how vibrant their church is.

"Must. kiss. Jane."

kansya to yorokobi wo
ima shin no mae ni
ima shin no mae ni
sanbi no ikenie wo
ima shin no mae ni
sasagu yo

Let's bring thanks and joy before the Lord

Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake with Poppyseeds & Strawberries


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I'm running out of time to love on our Japanese neighbors with homemade treats and to watch them love on my son. My flower shop friends sent me home with a bunch of roses, on the house; and some our best friends here just had their second daughter. Multiple reasons to bake multiple cakes!  I'd had it on my mind to make a Spring treat to share with you all for the anticipation of Easter, and as it turns out, today is the day for it.

The sweet, sweet owner of the flower shop, who has become something of an adopted Grandmother to us, teared when I told her we're leaving very soon and again an hour ago when I dropped off this cake as a thank you for my beautiful roses. She said, "I miss John-kuhn. So sad, ne?"  You know?  Ne.
I have to laugh though because that really goes to show just how often John-kuhn and I are in her shop! Being addicted to flowers has led to some very special friendships, ne?

Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake with Poppyseeds & Strawberries

1 C plain Greek yogurt (whole fat is best)
1 C olive oil
3 eggs, room temperature
3 lemons
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/4 C fine sugar
2 teas baking powder
1 teas fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 TBS poppyseeds
2 C halved strawberries 
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and sugar. Whisk in the eggs, beating well after each. Add in the yogurt and extracts. If you don't enjoy the taste of almond as much as I do, reduce to only one teaspoon instead of two.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk the mixture into the batter in increments, until fully combined. Squeeze in two lemons worth of juice and the zest of one lemon. Be prepared for a wonderful aroma to fill your home while this bakes! Stir in the poppyseeds. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until cooked through. Be careful though that the cake doesn't bake too long or it will lose it's airy and moist texture.

Once finished baking, overturn the cake onto a flat surface and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze the remaining lemon (1/2 - 1 lemon worth of juice) over the top for added citrus flavor if desired, fill with strawberries and dust with the powdered sugar. Serve warm. It's delicious with a cup of coffee!

Day Trip up North


Monday, April 7, 2014

Yesterday morning, we hopped in the car and drove up North for one last day trip to Emerald Beach, Churaumi Aquarium and the end of orchid season at the tropical gardens. We got to introduce John Shea to the whale sharks and put his little hands in the touch tank with star fish and sea cucumbers, though, the jury's still out if he was more fascinated by the fishies or by all the adoring Japanese grandmothers and families who stopped to say hi to him! Cam and I shared lunch and Orion beer on draft while the three of us sat and watched the sharks, dolphins, tunas, rays and schools of fish swim by. It could not have been a more beautiful day. 
And with that, we have three more weekends left on Okinawa... 

After Okinawa


Monday, March 31, 2014

We knew the time to leave Okinawa would come fast, that three years would fly by, and oh my goodness, have they ever. These years have been so good I could not put them into words, as hard as I may try. They will stay with us for the rest of our lives.  We found out this past week that we are leaving this beautiful island in one month. One month! Things are still a bit in flux but as of right now... we are moving to Monterey, California for study and language school and then to Amman, Jordan!!

My incredible husband was also selected as an alternate for another program (the one that we've talked about since we were dating, with our hearts set on Europe) that could potentially send us to an entirely different region of the world.  We don't know yet and may not until school starts for him in Monterey in June. With our families, we have been praying for the past year during this whole process about what and where we're going next. There is not a doubt in our minds that God is in control; is going to bless us; that His will is infinitely better (and clearly more exciting!) than our own; that what's happening has very little to do with us and everything to do with Him. We feel right now like we are wrapped up in His arms, as all of this has been unfolding, and we could not be more excited for what He has ahead. We stay up late at night talking and imagining... and belly laughing, because we are so excited.

Thank you for letting me share all of this and for sticking it out with us through this blog over the past three years. We are so thankful for you, this time on Okinawa, for the adventures ahead as a family, for everything!

Sunday Afternoon on Okinawa


Monday, March 24, 2014

John Shea and I have missed our Cam over the past weekends and long nights while he's been working, but yesterday we walked down to the beach and got to spend the entire beautiful, warm day together. We are soaking up these Okinawan days while we can! Cannot believe how fast they are coming to an end.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

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