Mommas, Grandmomma and Babies

Elise, Abigail, Ethan, Mom, Sharon and Matthew at Mommee Melt and Pa's place.

Picnic at Lake Lily

Matthew Loves Animals

Matthew gets a kick out of watching the neighbor's cat, even though he is jet-lagged and has not had any brekkie yet.

The night before, he laughed and laughed as he watched another neighbor's dog roll around on the ground outside. I guess he just loves animals.

Matthew Meets Mommee Melt

Matthew meets Mommee Melt for the first time. M. Melt is one of Matthew's great-grandmothers.

MiniMe = MiniYou2

When we look at Matthew, we are so much reminded of Stephen baby pictures that we laugh and say he is a MiniMe, but today we realized that there are some Abigail genes in him after all: He ate plain yogurt (aka "ice cream", as Abigail was told when she was growing up) and guzzled it up!

Christmas Dinner

Although I had to work yesterday, I really felt like we caught up with Christmas when we went over to the Whittle's for Christmas Dinner with the Hosomis and Tom, a guy from England. A wonderful roast meal was followed by candlelit carols - as you can see - and seasoned with conversation and laughter.

Cool Christmas Dude

I had to work today, so Abigail brought Matthew in to have lunch with me. Abigail stayed too, which was nice. Uncle Eugene lent Matthew his sunglasses so that he could really have a chilled out Christmas.

We are back off up the hill in a minute to have our belated Christmas dinner with Alvin, Sherry and the Hosomis.

Happy Merry Christmas!

Nishinomiya Healing Rooms Site

I have not been blogging on our site very much recently as I have been busy setting up a bilingual site for the Nishinomiya Healing Rooms.

It is based on blogging software called Wordpress, but I had to hack it around a bit to make it more like a normal site and less like a blog, as well as to give it some bilingual functionality. Anyway, it is pretty much done now, so please have a look. You should also take the time to read a great testimony about how Sherry's aunt was healed of terminal cancer literally on her death bed.

Comfort Food

I won't mention names, because I don't want to embarrass anyone, but a couple of weeks ago, when Stephen and I were in the thick of the sickness battle, some friends brought us lunch AND dinner one day. We were SO sick of being sick by that point, and didn't have energy to even think straight.

Those meals hit the spot, filling up our tummies and our hearts. Thanks, guys (you know who you are). You have no idea how you've blessed us.

What's New?

Not much!

I guess you've noticed we haven't been blogging very much lately. This is partly due to recovering from various illnesses, partly because we haven't been getting out much, and partly because our fingers haven't had enough energy to snap as many photos as we usually do.

Yes, we've had our share of fun lately: sinus infection, colds, stomach virus (which caused me to lose five pounds overnight on Friday--yikes!), and Stephen and I are still camping on the (really comfy) air mattress in the spare room, while waiting for the glue smell to disappear from our bedroom. The apartment people have come twice to work on our closet, and it looks gorgeous now, but is too stinky to venture near. We've got the contents of our closet spread throughout the place: in the dining room, Matthew's room, and spare room.

Stephen's been coming home from work in the evenings to a kitchen of dirty dishes and cooking that needs doing. Poor guy. According to the Internet, if I had a version of the norovirus, which is what is going around here, today I'm officially contagion-free (after waiting three days from the time my condition started improving) and officially allowed to touch surfaces again without breaking out the bleach bottle afterwards. I've hit the kitchen with a vengeance--washed the dishes, got a crock pot of red beans and rice going, and purged all the out-of-date stuff from the fridge. It feels good to be back on my old stomping grounds.

All this is not to garner sympathy from you (though we never turn down cash or home-delivered ice cream). We're so blessed! We're all on the mend (though my tummy's not quite back to 100%), we're looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner with our church folks, Christmas dinner with some Canadian and Japanese friends, and New Year's in Florida! Sunshine State, here we come!

Nine Months

Yep, our little Matthew Pickle has now been out of the womb for just about as long as he was in it.

Progress report:

  • He is now sporting a five-toothed grin.
  • This week he really started babbling, whereas before he usually just did his high-pitched squeal to let us know how he was feeling. His new words include "bababa" and "ahbooboo."
  • Poor thing got his first cold, and still has the hacking cough to prove it.
  • Had to put up with his sick parents for two whole weeks.
  • Has decided that he really does like apple juice, and his bowels thank him (since he totally rejected our offers of prunes).
  • Enjoyed our church's mini-Christmas concert on Tuesday morning and entertained all the ladies with his roving and pulling on the fur-trimmed coats dangling from the backs of their chairs.
  • Pulls up to his knees.
  • Takes a step or two if we hold on to his hands.
  • Appears to really enjoy construction work. As the guys were here fixing our closet today (see previous post), Matthew cried if I took him away from the bedroom doorway, where he had a perfect view of all the cool tools and goings-on.

Where's the String?

Matthew loves the draw strings on Abigail's hood.

Deja Vu Again

If you remember this post from back in March, then what I am about to tell you may have a strangely familiar air to it.

Yes, talking of "air", it seems that there has been something in the air, which has been behind this coughing cold that we all have had, and that Matthew and I are still in the final stages of getting out of. Having just clicked on that link, you will remember that just before Matthew was born, we had to move out of our bedroom for a week while they replaced the floor after we discovered condensation all over the baseboards which was then flowing into the room and soaking the carpet. Well, it seems that it was not just the baseboards and the floor that needed the work: The other day when Abigail was reaching into the back of our closet, she made an unpleasant discovery. The wood paneling at the back of the closet had damp rising up a couple of feet in some places, and growing a nice complimentary bouquet of mold on it to boot. Since we are on the second floor, this could not realistically be rising damp as such, and it seems that it was in fact our old friend, condensation, as the back of the built in closet is against the outer wall.

At least this time the apartment people did not put up a big fuss, but showed up and agreed to do the work quickly. That was Monday. Here we are on Friday and phase 1 has just been completed, with the final touches to be put on on Sunday. I am definitely going to be asking them for compensation, although I have no real expectation of getting any.

At least our lungs will thank us when we next sleep in there - whenever that is.

The Writing's on the Window

Winter is here, and the breathing of little mouths is creating condensation on our windows (amongst other things). All of this is new and exciting for little Matthew, who loves getting up on his knees, putting his hands on the cold glass, and triggering little rivulets to run down in front of him.

Messy Eater

Looks like he's a left hander!

You Know You Haven't Been Feeling Well For Too Long When...

For fun, your baby chases dust bunnies around the floor.

*Quick update: Reading what I wrote above gave me enough of an energy burst to do a quick vacuum, so nobody needs to worry anymore about Matthew living in floor filth.

Up and Down

Yesterday after Stephen blogged about our recovery, we both got slammed again. I'm now on antibiotics for a sinus infection, and Stephen's in work this afternoon for a meeting, but was home this morning trying to rest (but did some work, of course). Anyway, keep praying for us! I think Matthew misses his former mommy and daddy, the ones who played with him and kept him entertained. We're now in our second week of sickness ups and downs, and enough is enough!

A Different Kind of Christmas Card

Click here to experience a very special Christmas card, and a mission that's close to my heart.

Not Just What, But When

Well, today has been an interesting day. To back up a bit, Abigail has been sick on and off since last Tuesday with a cold that had gone to her sinuses. I thought I had escaped, but then I really conked out yesterday and woke up feeling pretty yucky this morning. What I was more concerned about was that Abigail has been hospitalized with sinusitis before in Japan, and we did not want to go through that again. On the other hand, since she is still breast feeding, we did not like the idea of some Japanese doctor pumping her full of antibiotics (as is their wont), but as she seemed to be in more and more pain, it looked like we would have to go to the doctor today.

Anyway, I thought that before going to the doctor, we should go up the hill to the Nishinomiya Healing Rooms to have Alvin and Sherry pray for us. (God can heal through any Christian, but they have been given a special gift in this area.) We stayed there a while receiving prayer and, to be honest getting colder and more uncomfortable as time went on. By the time we had reached home, I was feeling really horrible and Abigail's sinus pain was keeping her from thinking straight. Not exactly what we were looking for.

We got Matthew ready for his nap and put him down by which time we were just about ready to fall into bed ourselves. It was around that time that I felt like God was saying that I should tell Him when to heal us. After all, he could heal us over the period of a week or so using our immune systems. Well, I did not want to wait that long, and for Abigail it had already been long enough anyway, so I asked God to heal us while we napped.

We had an extra long nap, partly due to forgetting to turn on the baby monitor - although Matthew seemed fine when we did finally get up and went to get him, and even though I was half-asleep, I know I was praying during that time as well.

When we woke up, we really did feel a lot better. My aches and pains had gone and I just had a little scratchiness at the back of my throat, but that was it. Abigail's sinuses were a lot better. She tells me that although there is a little bit of aching on one side still, it is nothing like the pain she had before, and she described them as being 95% better. I think with a good night's sleep tonight and we will be back to normal tomorrow morning.

We didn't do it. Obviously, the doctor didn't do anything. Alvin and Sherry didn't do it. God did it all! He really does look after us. Thank you, God!

*** UPDATE ***

Well, now it's Tuesday morning, and the battle has been continuing: Abigail started to feel worse again yesterday evening and the sinus pain came back with a vengeance over night. She couldn't really sleep at all, and got up around 3:30 am to make a bowl of hot water so that she could breathe in the steam and maybe get some relief that way.

We were both tired and frustrated that although it seemed that we were pretty much OK again yesterday afternoon, since then there had been such a big reversal. But I also remembered the Healing Rooms training seminar that I had attended in August and how it was important not to take healing as a one-off thing, but to keep on pressing into it. So I prayed more for Abigail and declared that she had been healed in Jesus name and that the sickness should leave. She did not feel any real change and I left her breathing in the steam and trying to get some respite that way, although she tells me that the steam did not really do anything at all.

I don't know what time it was, but sometime after Abigail came back to bed, she suddenly turned to me as I was sleeping, woke me up, and told me that her sinus pain was completely gone. I wondered if I had been dreaming, so I asked her again, and she repeated what she had said. She must have felt better, because then she was able to sleep, which is something she has not been able to do very much of these last few nights, and this morning as I write the sinus pain is still not there and she is back to normal - although I think she could do with a few extra hours of sleep!

Mary, Mary, Quite Subversive

Looking for some interesting holiday reading? Try this article I found today about Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary: meek and mild, or ready for a revolution?

Not Your Normal Office View

I am not one of those Japanese salarymen who get left to stare out the window all day instead of getting downsized, but if I did, this is the view I would be able to see. It may be December, but we are definitely still in autumn here, and the leaves are spectacular.

Supernatural Update

Wouldn't you know it? As soon as I blogged on Wednesday about being healed from the terrible fever I had on Tuesday, I started feeling pretty yucky again. The enemy of our souls loves to wreak havoc when we tell others how good God has been to us.

Wednesday night I had a horrible time trying to get to sleep: My whole body ached, especially my neck muscles and my throat. I was lying awake (God used that time to remind me of people I haven't prayed for in a while, so it was actually a really useful, powerful few hours, in spite of feeling ill), and at about 1:00 a.m. Stephen turned to me and said, "I see an image of an old man leaning over you, Abigail."

Well, that certainly creeped me out! What in the world?

Stephen went on to say that it was God, and that He was taking care of me. My whole body relaxed and I leaned back into His loving arms.

And the next day, Stephen had no recollection of saying anything to me during the night!


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