My Gate Runs Red

We’re in our other home, but it’s unfamiliar.  Besides another country, the pace of a giant city is something to get used to.  Kids have one pace, they’re feel free to move as they like.  I’m edgy and frustrated by them and my failure to speak patiently, my unwillingness to be incovenienced.  I snap like it’s a relex.  Why can’t I get better at this?

After breakfast, we travelled by train a ways out to see Azalea bushes.  Nezu Shrine is surrounded by them.

Tsutsuji Festival

We arrive and I’m engrossed with “why?”  Why the red gates?  There is a tunnel of them here.  Do more of them make the path more sure?


There are coins clanking into a box, a bell rung by one person at a time, heads bow, hands clap.  Just maybe someone will hear.

I walk through the red gates, and think of the effort man on every continent has made to find a way to God.


I remember my downcast heart this morning.  A whisper in my ear reminds me no temptation has overtaken me except what is common to man, and a way out, a place to stand under is provided. 

My failure is not unique.  My gateway is.

My way out has been made by hands tired from cutting, nailing, smoothing, and painting.  The hands of a carpenter who used his building skills for things of this earth.  But when time came to build a gateway to freedom, his hands hung and bled.


No effort of mine,
no carving or wood and stone,
no washing of hands,
no coins,
or ringing of bells. . .

Only belief, the simplest request, but not the easiest.

I stand watching and clicking.  The scenery is beautiful.  I still don’t know what those red gates mean.  Is it coincidence, the red?  Like the Israelites painted their doorways with the death of a lamb, death passing over them?

Among the flowers, I’m revived.


I’m not here to ring a bell to wake Him, or drop an easy donation to earn God’s ear.

I’m here to remember the red . . .the gate that holds the weight of my everyday failures.

My way out . . . and in,
He is my hope and joy.

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.
John 10:9  

Creative Time

We’re on the other side! . . . Of the world, that is.


I didn’t drop in before departure because I was, well, occupied despite my unusually good planning and preparations!

My surprise for the girls was finished at 11pm and I rushed to bed to wake at 3:30 AM and head us all to the airport.

We’ve been here 5 full days, unpacked our stuff to not prolong living out of suitcases, and pretty much adjusted to the time.

So, a few days later than planned, I now present to you my impractical, somewhat-last-minute, and incredibly fun creations which I presented to the girls when they were bored and antsy to get on the “big plane” in Chicago . . .


roll layout

Claire roll


I’m tickled with how these turned out.  The day before departure, I had to go back to the store for one last piece of fabric.  I told the fabric lady when she asked what I was making, “I’m so excited I could explode!”

When’s the last time you’ve been that excited with creating something?  Leave a comment and tell me about it!

If you haven’t been that excited for a while, maybe it’s time to make something, anything?  It’s a small way of partaking in the joy our Creator must have been feeling when what He made was “very good.”

For Colored Pencil Roll Pattern by Kathy Mack, visit her online at Pink Chalk Fabrics 

Be Where You Are

It’s been a couple months since I launched this new space.  I started out strong, but my fears have become reality and I have had nothing to write about this week. Not really, but looking back at the dozens of posts I’ve drafted, nothing feels right.

It could be that I’m packing and planning for a one-month trip to another continent . . . yep, that’s probably most of the problem.

Anywho, I was encouraged today by my friend Becky’s thoughts on re-starting.  Whether it’s homeschool, a blog, business, reading goals, exercise, whatever, she gave me a great reminder.  What do you feel like you’ve dropped the ball on?  Check out her post!

I’ve also been hearing this run through my mind several times a day,

“Wherever you are, be all there.” ~Jim Elliott

I’m packing for a huge time away and that can make it difficult to be all here . . .
. . . I’m trying though and I think it’s going pretty well actually. Heck, I’ve got some stuff packed ahead and I’m sewing!

For some reason, when I know I’m going to be gone I start missing things I don’t use on a regular basis . . . like my sewing machine. I’ve been getting up extra early to work on a little surprise for the girls’ carry-on bags. I know, I’m crazy. I’ll show you the surprise before we take off! I can’t wait! .

When I’m in Japan, it’s possible I will have trouble being there too. My kids will be going to school for two weeks and I will have 5 hours to myself everyday while Emily goes to Kindergarten. Folks, this is a new experience for me! I’m tempted to stay in the apartment or go over to Starbucks and scratch, scratch, scratch on my keyboard, all for the reading pleasure of you, my friends.

I remembered this morning to keep the end in mind. No doubt, I will have time to myself, but the end of the month I want to leave with joy over all the friends I’ve reconnected with and places revisited rather than regret because I was occupied with soaking in some introverted bliss.

I hope to pop in here at least once before we depart and continue posting from Asia so stay tuned!

In the meantime, . . . Wherever you are right now, be all there!