TJ Talks and writes and paints and cooks and dreams...

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God’s mercy is greater than our sins. There is an awareness of sin that does not lead to God but rather to self-preoccupation. Our temptation is to be so impressed by our sins and failings and so overwhelmed by our lack of generosity that we get stuck in paralyzing guilt. It is the guilt that says: ‘I am too sinful to deserve God’s mercy.’ It is the guilt that leads to introspection instead of directing our eyes to God. It is the guilt that has become an idol and therefore a form of pride. Lent is the time to break down this idol and to direct our attention to our loving Lord. The question is: ‘Are we like Judas, who was so overcome by his sin that he could not believe in God’s mercy any longer and hanged himself, or are we like Peter who returned to his Lord with repentance and cried bitterly for his sins?’ The season of Lent, during which winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance, helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.

Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way, p. 14 (via recycledsoul)

"…winter and spring struggle with each other for dominance.."

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It’s the closest thing to home we have right now.

As my husband and I prepare to return to Japan after 5 weeks in the States. 

I’m thinking about ‘home’ again. A longing that no place or person perfectly fills, yet. 

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Apple butter muffins, and other thoughts



We used a jar of my friend Catherine’s homemade apple butter in these muffins, which we baked for Tilly’s preschool class because it was our turn to bring the afternoon snack. The muffins were delicious, and I had enough mental space that day we made them to let the girls help. Mathilde…

Thank you mrsgeiger….for writing, for sharing bits of who you are with us, for inspiring deep thought and gratitude for the everyday and the profound. 

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Dressing up for Japan’s Coming of Age Day (成人の日)

To see more photos and videos of Coming of Age Day celebrations in Japan, browse the #成人の日, #成人式 and #ComingOfAgeDay hashtags.

On the second Monday of January, Japan’s Coming of Age Day (成人の日) takes place. The holiday congratulates and emboldens young men and women who turned the legal adult age of 20 during the previous year. On this day, the 20-year-old men and women will often have their portraits taken by professional photographers, attend ceremonies hosted by city or prefectural halls and gather for middle school and high school reunions.

The day is full of celebration events, many of which are attended in formal dress. This consists of fashionable suits or traditional Japanese menswear called hakama (袴) for men and gorgeously designed kimonos with long sleeves called furisode (振り袖) for women. The event is of particular importance for women and often requires going to beauty salons early in the morning to have hair and makeup styled as well as picking out the perfect furisode well in advance. Lately, girls will also have their manicures match the designs of their kimonos.

Helpful information about this last Monday…sort of wish I had gone out and taken photos…but it is winter and a little on the cold side :)