Thursday, July 26, 2012

thankful thursdays - traveling and thanks

The past week has been a crazy, fun-filled week. In fact, we have been on-the-go so much that I haven't had time to post. You'll be getting an ear full (eye full??) when we get back, though!

Ben's parents arrived safely and we've been in Tokyo, enduring the heat and seeing the sights! I bruised my tailbone last week and it's been tough with all subway station stairs, but we are having a blast nonetheless.

So as to not bombard you will a zillion pictures when we get back, I will post some of my weekly thanks here and now (so you'll only have a few million later on!)

8. The cool summer weather we are having right now. Our stateside friends are posting pictures of the heatwaves they are experiencing - we feel so lucky to have this beautiful weather.

     9. A good pedicure. I always have a spring in my step when my toes are decorated!        
10. My amazing husband - I'm glad that everywhere I go, I go with him ♥

11. The beautiful scenery that never gets old.

12. Seamus, who knows when we are about to leave and pouts because he misses us.

13. The constant cuteness that is Japan.

14. The comfortability of the new Willer buses. I may actually sleep tonight! Tokyo, here we come!

15. That we made it to Tokyo safely.

More to come! Thanks again for letting me share my gifts with you <3

Thursday, July 19, 2012

thankful thursdays - the first in a series

I mentioned in my last post that I'd try and keep track of my thousand gifts on the blog in addition to I am now instituting "Thankful Thursdays" right here on the blog. I can't guarantee that I'll remember to post every Thursday, but I'll try for at least every other Thursday!

So here are the first seven gifts...

1. A niece who makes me fun, crafty gifts.

 2. Walking through our neighborhood at sunset.

 3. Bouquets of summer hydrangeas to greet me.

 4. Sleeplessness is no fun, but seeing this morning's early sunrise was beautiful. I love the serene...calmness before everyone wakes up.

 5. Opening my front door and hearing the sound of children laughing and playing at the nearby park.

 6. Thursday night trivia fun with good friends.

7. The little details that make a house a home These little lantern lights have followed us to six houses in the last six years - they are so very Japanese in style; who would have thought they would someday decorate a Japanese house ♥

Thanks for letting me share my gifts with you! If you want to follow along on instagram, my username is kari_f and I'm using #1000gifts as my hashtag.

one thousand gifts

Did you ever read a book that changed your life? Those are the best kind. They can be fiction or non-fiction. It could be a self-help type book or something that draws you closer in relationship to others. I've known people who have read comic books or cookbooks or even wordless books and spoken about the wonder it did them.

I'm reading a book I'd put in that category now.

I was going to wait and write a blog about the book once I finished, but I'm finding that I just don't think I can wait that long! This book isn't a "sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-finish-in-one-sitting" type of book. It's one of those books you have to put down frequently and ponder what the author is telling you and how it applies to your life.

The book is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The tagline on the book reads: "A dare to live fully right where you are."

Honestly, I was hooked before even opening the book (or in my case, downloading it. Have I mentioned how much I love the Kindle app?!?!)

I downloaded and read the first few pages, but then life grabbed hold and I forgot about it pretty quickly. With school wrapping up and doctor's appointments galore, I didn't have time to breathe, much less read.

*Disclaimer: this is where this blog gets a bit sappy + talks about religion. If you aren't one for sappiness or religion, read it anyway. It'll still apply to you!*

Then, two weeks ago, we were sitting in church. Our new chaplain, in one of his first messages to his new congregation, spoke on thanksgiving. Not the holiday, but a lifestyle of giving thanks. He talked about the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus as he walked toward Jerusalem. Only one stopped to thank him for this healing. I got to thinking that I have been living in a state of discontent. I don't actively think about all the little things I'm grateful for on a daily basis, and that's exactly what the author of this book is calling herself (and her readers) to do.

The moment we got home, I pulled out the ol' iPad and began reading, knowing this book had been waiting for me.

My favorite quote from the book so far reads, I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives. Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn't rescue the suffering. The converse does.

The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring the fullest Light to all the world.

It was in that moment I knew I was hooked. I want to wake up in the morning, refreshed and thankful for all the little (and big) things that make up this life I am living. So I've decided to start my own list of things I'm grateful for, my own 1,000 gifts. I want to share this list with my small corner of the world, and so instead of using a journal to write it out, I'll be capturing one item after another with my camera.

Feel free to follow along or join in (and be sure to let me know if you do)! I'll be posting them on instagram and will try to keep up with posting them each week on this blog as well. My instagram user name is kari_f and I'll be using hashtag #1000gifts. I'd love to hear about what you are thankful for as well, so feel free to post them here (or share them with me on instagram!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

gluten free living

There is a strong possibility that I have Celiac's.

A few months ago, I started having pain in my lower abdomen. It gradually got to the point where it just never went away. Of course, this would happen right after we moved to a foreign country, onto a base that has little in the way of medical care.

We went through all the tests.

For months, I waited as we did more tests, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I felt like once I knew, the anxiety would go away. I was stressed, not because of the pain, but because I didn't know what was causing it.

The problem was that the tests all came back normal.

Then my doctor suggested that it might be a gluten issue.

Honestly, I hadn't thought of this. It's funny how we all know someone who has Celiac's but we really don't know much about it. I didn't realize that Celiac's can affect anyone. Yes, there are predispositions toward it, but it can start affecting you as an adult. They don't really know the cause, but there are a million things that can increase your chances of developing the disease.


Apparently those who have a lot of stress often develop Celiac's out of the blue. Those who have lost family members or, say, those who move to foreign countries (and had to deal with Fort Bragg incompetencies???). The doctor isn't positive that it really is Celiac's, but we're both pretty darned sure and the symptoms all match up.

So I've gone gluten free. Not only that, but lactose free as well. (Did you know that a huge number of Celiac's also develop lactose-intolerence?) From the research I've done, most Celiacs have started to feel better around the two-month mark. I've got that date marked on the calendar, but I don't think I'll need to wait that long.

Not even two days into my gluten-free diet I felt a change. It's not completely better by any means, but it's amazing what a change I have felt already. We are two weeks in and I have few doubts left that it's a gluten issue.

We'll continue to march on and see, but hopefully this is the end of the search!

All this has served to warn you that there will most likely be several oncoming posts about living gluten-free and recipes I'm messing around with. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

sharing the blog love

Most of you read my blog via facebook I don't see a lot of comments on the actual blog.

You may have noticed that I gave the blog a makeover. You'll see in the next post (coming soon) why! In doing so, I have realized that I am a bit behind in the blog-o-sphere and am in the process of catching up. What's summer vacation for, if not for a little bit of catch-up?! I would love to connect with others who are living overseas, especially elsewhere in the pacific. I have loved blogging about our adventures in Japan and want to hear about the adventures others are having as well. I signed up for a few blogging networking sites in order to find those people - and hopefully have some of them find me! If you're on bloglovin (or any other blog networking sites that you recommend) let me know! I'd love to connect with you. :)

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