Easter In Japan

Easter In Japan

WARNING: THERE ARE GOING TO BE WAY TOO MANY PHOTOS IN THIS POST. you have been warned. (Moms of the 70s-90s with buckets of photos prints & no where to put them, I GET IT. Oakie is lucky we married in a digital age…)

This Easter has brought us to such a different place than last Easter, but we still went to the same park to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead with our church family here in Japan.IMG_6047

We saw many of the same smiling faces that we saw a year ago, but this year they were nearer & dearer to us; true friends. We sat under the same tree, but this year it was warm & sunny. (I forgot sweaters for Skye & myself & didn’t once need them.) We heard the same glorious story, but this time hearing about how God did all of this to adopt us into His family moved me in a completely new way. We even had similar picnic food, but this time we shared it with a teething ten-month-old.IMG_6127

Easter in Kinuta Park with Tokyo Horizon Chapel for the second year was everything I expected a year ago & nothing I could’ve dreamed.
We even had something a little extra to celebrate because on April 13th, Skye officially became an Osborne!

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This moves us one step closer to concluding the adoption, but in the moment, I can’t express how little that seemed to matter. We had given her our name, like Oakie gave me his, like Christ gave us His. Her identity was transformed, like mine was when I married Oakie, like each of ours was when Christ rescued us. What’s in a name? Maybe not much, but also…maybe everything. One day, she will say, “I am Skye Elizabeth Osborne” & with that she’ll be saying she belongs with us. It’s bittersweet & it’s beautiful & it’s big. One of the biggest things I’ve ever been a part of. There’s not much else more central to who we are than the name we call ourselves & now, this little girl, our daughter, will call herself an Osborne. Just like me. Just like Oakie.

Currently, she is sitting in the screened patio door watching Oakie mow the yard while she plays with her toys. Every once in a while, she spies him & yells DADA & squeals while waving her squeaking squid toy like a maniac. The truth is that she already knows who she is. No name change could tell her more than the grin on that man’s face when he silently waves like a maniac right back at her above the roar of the lawn mower; but as she grows into that identity as his daughter, it’ll be helpful for her to have something to call it. & for us, it’s called being an Osborne. For you, it’s Smith or Jones or Garcia or Hancock. It’s the name we give our legacy; our section of the story. I pray that we tell it well; that one day the echoes of the angels will reverberate with the sound of the chapters we added to The Story. & I can’t tell you how happy I am that we got Skye.

(Like all good things do, this made me think of a musical number that you should take a pause in your day to watch if you want to know what the inside of my heart looks like today)

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Just when it feels like we’re saying goodbye to Japan, we find out we may have another few weeks here. So, a secondary announcement, for all those awaiting our return: We’ll be here through May, most likely. As my sister Lou said, “Waiting is hard.” She’s right. It’s also #worthit. We know what’s on the other side & we’re leaning forward while at the same time, keeping our feet grounded in the roots we’ve cultivated here.
Here’s a glimpse at some of those roots:
Top photos: The owner at our all time favorite Japanese Café, Fukurouza, near Sagami Depot where Oakie works. It’s the cutest, most hipster-ly adorable place ever & they often play The Sound of Music soundtrack & that is just fine with me.

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Bottom photo: Me sharing the Easter story while my friend Nozomi translates to a group of her English students. She & I met through PWOC (Protestant Women Of the Chapel–a fancy name for the women’s Bible study on post) & she asked me to come & give a little gospel presentation last Christmas & again this Easter. Delays have their upsides 🙂

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Lastly, one of the greatest gifts of this sojourn to Japan is the adventurer that I get to do it all with. Isn’t that photo on the right SMOKIN’? This man is everything I could ask for & more. Kind, selfless, hilarious, confident, fearless & so full of energy that he can keep going when I want to quit. I could wax poetic, but I’ll spare you. I mean, a picture is worth a thousand words & all that. I may have married him for his looks, but I really lucked out, didn’t I?

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Love from Japan,
the Osborne family.

P.S. Feel free to share our news on your preferred social media! ❤

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Fuji Safari Park & Easter in Japan

Fuji Safari Park & Easter in Japan

Thanks to a society that prioritizes obeying the rules, there are places like the Fuji Safari Park in Japan where you can actually hand-feed lion & tigers & bears (say it with me now: OH MY!). There used to be places like this in American zoos but kids these days…this is why we can’t have nice things, AMERICA.

ANYWAY, I digress. We got to feed fruit to bears & meat to lions & thanks to my current re-reading  of The Chronicles of Narnia, the feeling of the lion’s breath on my face when it ROARED SIX INCHES AWAY FROM ME was accompanied by equal amounts terror/screaming & awe/wonder. And by equal parts, I mean all the terror/screaming & a dash of awe/wonder once we were far, far away.

Easter is not a holiday that most Japanese celebrate, which in a way is really nice because CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE CRAZINESS THAT IS PUBLIX THE WEEK BEFORE EASTER?!
I shopped for Easter dinner ingredients on SATURDAY and all 12 of us at the commissary & Japanese grocery stores had plenty of room for our carts. #winning

This Easter was necessarily different for us because we’re, ya know, six thousand nine hundred & sixty two miles away from Columbus, GA & seven thousand two hundred & eighty seven from Winter Haven, FL making the trek impossible on a two-day weekend. So it was our first Easter just the two of us. Our pioneer Easter. But you know about pioneers, right? They simply never travel alone. And we didn’t either.

Our Easter was full of other pioneers, some of whom are home in Japan & some of whom are in the same transitory boat as us & it was beautiful.

First, my friend Ms. Judy (who has told me to just call her Judy, BUT I CANNOT DO IT), invited me to a cookie decorating class. I’d never done this before, but oh my goodness I’m now saving up to open up my own cookie bakery. It was the most fun I’ve had where food colouring was involved.

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*all photos of me with the cookies were taken by Oakie who would hereby like his photography to be known as PhotOAKraphy.

*this is not true. He is not even home right now. I made this up. But he did do a stellar job on those photos.

Secondly, every year on Easter, our church has their service in Kinuta Park, Tokyo, but this was the first year that it’s lined up perfectly with the cherry blossoms bloom, so we praised Jesus in Japanese & English under the blossoms and the blue sky.

And then we had a picnic. I don’t know if some of you had ever had an Osborne picnic, but we PIC.NIC. Mostly this is especially thanks to one of my all-time favourite Christmas gifts ever: Our Picnic Backpack. This is exactly what it sounds like. A backpack with everything you need for a picnic: pretty plates, silverware, cups & cloth napkins, salt & pepper shakers, a cutting board & cheese knife and of course a blanket. Hannah & Cody, three years in & we’re STILL loving it.

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We ended the day with an Easter dinner at our friends, the Thitte’s, home; complete with ham, asparagus, squash casserole, a killer asian salad, mac & cheese with Easter noodles, a chocolate cake (with homemade icing-GO ALLIE!) and lemon meringue pie. It was more then we deserved and better than I could have imagined.IMG_4999

Plus, I cracked the second twin-egg I’ve seen since we moved to Japan…so there’s that.IMG_6136

Jesus died to give us something of so much greater value than all the things I’ve written about: A restored relationship with the God of the universe, victory over death, hope for the future, adoption into the family of the Most High King.

& then He gave us all these things beside.
He is a good, good Father.
Happy Easter! He is Risen!
Bonus Video: The Unexpected Letter