Friday, December 30, 2005
December 25th - Church, potluck and gift exchange, seeing the
Christmas lights in Hitachi
December 26th - A lazy day at home
December 27th - Trip to Costco to buy my pans (Thanks, Mom and Dad for the Christmas money!) and stock up on American food, dinner at the Outback Steakhouse
December 28th - Opening stockings and presents at home, watching all 7 hours of "The Flame Trees of Thika" (a miniseries set in Kenya)
December 29th - Another trip to the doctor (It's official -- we're having a BOY!), a trip to the new mall in Mito, going to see "Harry Potter 4"
Enjoy the photo collage below!
Monday, December 26, 2005
On Christmas Eve, we had seven friends come to our house for a holiday dinner. I roasted my first leg of lamb, which turned out absolutely delectable, if I do say so myself. We had a mountain of other food as well, from green bean casserole to pumpkin pie. A true feast. After stuffing ourselves to bursting, we played games, chatted, and watched movies into the evening. A good time was had by all, and being busy with dinner preparations kept me from feeling too lonely and homesick.
Christmas Day being a Sunday, we went to church in the morning. We were privileged to witness the baptism of Chihiro, a young woman who has been studying the Bible for some time now, after the morning service. After church, we had a potluck, followed by a gift exchange. Then, Rusty and I took the train to central Hitachi to do some gift shopping for each other and to see the Christmas lights.
We still have not opened our presents yet, mostly because, with all of the craziness of the last few weeks, neither of us have had time to shop for each other. The pile of gifts under the tree is steadily growing, though, thanks to the packages that keep arriving from home. I guess we will be having "Christmas week," in honor of Rusty's mom, who invariably forgets to wrap and put out presents that she buys months before Christmas and stashes away under her bed. Love ya, Mama Mary!
In the words of one of my favorite Christmas poems, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
One of the little-known idosyncrecies of Japan is that very few homes and apartment buildings have central heat and air. They are not well insulated, either. Which means that we swelter in the summer and get frostbite in the winter. I don't know -- in a country that has about a three-year jump on America as far as technology is concerned, this seems a little strange to me. But then again, this is also a country where it is common to see elementary school boys walking back and forth to school in shorts year-round, and where high school girls continue to hike their skirts up well past their knees, even in the dead of winter. From a very young age, Japanese children are taught to "gambare," a Japanese word which basically means, "Suck it up, you pansy!" They learn early on not to complain about such minor things as extreme heat and cold -- it is a sign of weakness. As adults, this translates into a mentality which places less value on one's "personal physical comfort."
It strikes me that we Americans could stand to learn a lesson or two from the Japanese. Now, I am not advocating bare-legged winter walks to school or getting rid of central heating. I love central heating. It's great to come home to a warm house, to not have to bother with refilling the kerosene heater every 2-3 days (one of Rusty's LEAST favorite chores), to not have to smell those nasty fumes when it kicks on and off. What I AM suggesting is that many of us could stand to de-emphasize the importance of being comfortable. When we determine, "I could never do [insert task here]," because it takes us too far out of our comfort-zone, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, it is my belief that we have set up an idol to "comfort" and begun to worship it.
In some small way, I feel that my unpleasant experiences with Japanese winters have helped me learn an important truth: God calls us to be faithful, not comfortable.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
On Saturday, Rusty and I helped host our school Christmas parties. We had two parties during the day -- one in the morning for the younger children and one in the afternoon for the older children. The parties were a lot of fun. The kids made reindeer out of clothespins, played Christmas Bingo, had a "snowball fight" with wadded up newspaper, and had a gift exchange.
On Saturday evening, we also attended a party for the adult students of World English Center. The party was at the "50's Diner" in Taga, one of Rusty's recent finds. The chef is a young woman who studied culinary arts in California for 2 years. She makes the best onion rings and apple pie we have ever tasted -- both were featured on the menu that evening.
On Sunday evening, we hosted the LKT (Let's Keep Talking) Christmas party at our house. LKT is the weekly follow-up program to LST (Let's Start Talking), a 6-week summer program that offers free English lessons using the Bible as a text. Rusty and I have been involved with the LKT Sunday night classes this fall; there are also other classes that go on during the week. I made chili and cornbread -- I guess it was a big hit, judging from the way the pot was practically scraped clean. We played games, sang a few Christmas carols, and had a gift exchange. It was good to get to know some of the students outside of the "class" setting.
Friday, December 02, 2005
This picture makes me smile every time I see it. Rusty is going to be such a great dad! I am so looking forward to sharing the adventures of parenting with him as we begin a new chapter in our lives.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
For God's grace,
So much to be thankful for!
Monday, November 21, 2005
Sometimes, do you ever feel like you're just stuck on the wall? Laura and I were privileged to take the OC Pac Rim faculty sponsors to Nikko for a short getaway several weeks ago. It was good to just get out of town for the weekend and spend time getting to know them. On the way up to Nikko we stopped by a little pottery town called Mashiko. You can get all kinds of pottery in all shapes and sizes and prices. In the main parking area for the pottery shops was this fountain decorated with various kinds of pottery. Even though it's pretty cool, they aren't excactly serving the purpose in which they were intended for. It reminded me a little of being in Africa and seeing broken glass and pottery cemented on the very tops of the walls to discourage theives from climbing over the tops. These different uses of pottery got me thinking about this passage in the Bible: "But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand." (IS. 64:8)
In our own lives, do we just want to sit there and look pretty with all the beauty that God has blessed us with or do we just put up broken fragments of who we are because we're to afraid to let people get close to us? Either way, like these beautiful plates, bowls, and vases or the broken shards of pottery in Africa, how often are we being used by the potter for the purpose for which He created us?
I know this is a heavy topic, but lately I've felt like a I'm a spectacle that's on display, and at the same time I also feel broken. Broken, not in the sense that I'm shattered and trying to keep people away. But, broken because God has a plan and a purpose for me and I've been stuck on a wall trying to keep Him out of my heart. I've been trying to do things that, even though they are useful and effective, are not what the Potter originally intended for me to do. God has a plan and a purpose for all of us even though we often don't realize it until we're stuck on the wall someplace doing something that we weren't created for. Always follow your destiny.
Monday, November 14, 2005
She also does some things that are normally NOT done in a doctor's office -- like prenatal massage! At every visit, I receive a wonderful, warming massage with incense (as shown in the picture). We also have tea and spend the better part of an hour just talking. Ms. Kudo speaks great English since she spent time studying midwifery in England. She is a very comforting person to be around. I feel that both Baby Campbell and I are in good hands and will receive the very best of care from her.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
With Rusty out of town this week (attending a church-planting conference), I decided to tackle some cleaning projects as well as a few of the boxes still waiting to be unpacked. I can't tell you how excited I was to dig into one box and stumble across the envelope full of pictures I had taken down from our refrigerator before we left Mississippi in June. I spent the better part of the next hour carefully arranging them on our fridge. I can't help but smile now when I look at it and see dear and familiar faces smiling back at me:
Michaela - my beautiful and infinitely precious neice
Robbie and Johnny - what a pair of nephews these two are!
Sarah, Amanda, Jaime - former college roommates, still my friends even after living with me!
Tim and Chalon; Robert and Jenny - friends from Portland
Lj and Kari; Kelsey and Lisa; Jason and Nicole - friends from our Mito days and beyond
The Cash family - missionary friends in Uganda
Jesse, Mackenzie, Sadie - precious children of friends from church in Mississippi
And there are many others. And always room for more! If you would like to be included on our refrigerator, just send us a picture. I'll find a spot for you, I promise.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Anyway, this picture is for all those of you who have been begging for a picture of me from the side. As you can see, Baby Campbell is getting bigger, and so am I for that matter. I am at 22 weeks as of this photo and feeling great, although I have been noticing that it is getting more and more difficult to tie my shoes!
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
We wore these costumes for our school's Autumn Festival this past Saturday. All the kids come in costume, and all the teachers too. We had a costume contest (for the kids), a pinata, face-painting, a craft, and games like Bean Bag Toss and Pumpkin Seed Spitting. Rusty and I also introduced the folks here to "Trunk or Treat," the wonderful new twist on trick-or-treating that we discovered while living in Memphis. Everybody had a great time, including Beauty and the Beast!
Friday, September 16, 2005
However, the grossest (is that a word?) thing of all happened to me on my third day of teaching. I had a student puke all over the floor at the end of one of my classes. And guess who had the privilege of cleaning it up? So, I'm down on my hands and knees, mopping up puke, and trying not to throw up myself, and all the time I'm thinking "I never had to do this when I worked at Highland." Church secretaries (or, to be P.C., administrative assistants) do a lot of things, but cleaning up puke is generally not in the job description. It was a real low point for me.
When teaching children, you tend to do a lot of moving around -- singing, dancing, playing games, etc. Rusty, being the big, loveable, energetic guy that he is, probably does more moving around than most. So, he is teaching his very first class, on his very first day, to a group of toddlers, and he sits down crossed legged, and his pants split wide open (WIDE OPEN), right up the crotch (all the way to the upper peninsula). To make matters worse, the toddlers' mothers were all in the class with their children, sitting on the floor (in full veiw of old glory). Needless to say, Rusty was embarassed (only as much as any other guy would be). He had to run out during his break between classes to buy some new pants. Luckily, he was able to find some that were big enough for his American-size posterior! (well, almost)
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
In this picture, the baby is curled on its side with its back to the camera. The head is on the right, and you can see a tiny hand peeking out at the top.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Actually, Portland is only a "stop-over" on our journey, because our final destination lies across the Pacific Ocean. Yes, for those who haven't heard, we are going back to Japan. We hope to be there by the end of July. (We don't know the exact date as of yet, because we are still waiting on our visas before we purchase our plane tickets.) We will be working for World English School in the city of Hitachi. Hitachi is about an hour away from Mito, where we lived for three years before we came to Memphis.
Until we have an address in Japan, you can reach us at the following address in Portland:
% Mary Campbell
131 NE 89th Avenue
Portland, OR 97220
Cell phone - (901)647-1020
Email address - email@example.com
Monday, June 13, 2005
Well, here we are with my "baby" brother, Matt on his high school graduation day, June 9, 2005. It was ten years ago, almost to the day, that I was the one wearing the robe and funny cap and walking across the stage to receive my diploma. Time has such a habit of flying by when I'm not looking. Then suddenly, I turn around, and my baby brother is taller than me and my little sister has a baby of her own! It's truly amazing.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Meet my beautiful new neice! Michaela Grace Marcum made her entrance into the world about a week early. She was born on April 30, 2005 and weighed in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces. Proud parents are Josh and Julie Marcum (my sister). I think she is the most beautiful baby ever, but I'll admit I am probably biased! I am amazed at the extraordinary love I feel for this tiny person who doesn't even know me yet. I love being an "auntie," and I only wish I was going to be around to watch this little one grow up.