Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Today’s coffee… I mean tea: some really old tea that spent a year in storage. Waste not, want not…

This month, we’ve been focusing on catching up on various things and doing house projects. The bar counter is finished!! Half of the painting in the bedroom is finished, and Keith is currently putting the second coat on the other side. In just a few days we will be able to move some furniture that goes in the other half of the bedroom out of the dining room, so maybe we can start work there next… replacing rotten tatami with wood floor and flaking wallpaper with the traditional plaster wall that tea rooms have! One step at a time… there are many other projects too.

This is the talented Mr. Inoue who built the bar counter and helped us and advised us in many other ways.
All done!!
We’ve also been enjoying lovely early-fall weather by working in the garden. Keith invited a friend from church for a “concrete party” to break up a slab of concrete that was unfortunately slanted towards the house. He used some of the broken concrete chunks to make a path, where before there was only weeds and mud.

Concrete-bashing relieves stress.

I have spent most of my outdoor hours weeding. Although we have been somewhat successful removing weeds from the front of the garden, the back of the garden, where there are a lot of trees and shrubs, has been a challenge… untangling the roots of persistent weeds from the roots of plants we actually want growing there.

I thought at first that the bamboo grass would be the hardest weed to get rid of, but now I don’t think so any more. Our entire garden is infested with dokudami (Houttuynia cordata, which is sometimes known as chameleon plant in English). When we started digging beneath the surface to pull them out, we discovered an thick web of roots. “It looks like medusa down there,” Keith commented. Leave even a tiny bit of dokudami root in the soil, and it will grow right back.

Dokudami roots growing through a random block of styrofoam we found buried in our garden
But the funny thing is, dokudami isn’t really a weed. It’s a very pretty plant, with deep green heart-shaped leaves tinged with red, with lovely cross-shaped white flowers in July. It’s also an herb, prized as a detox-tea in China and Japan. I heard recently that if you rub the leaves on a mosquito bite, the itching goes away. Dokudami also keeps your compost from stinking… but we’ve found that the composting process doesn’t kill the roots… yikes.

See all those cute white flowers? That's them...
In the hours and hours I’ve spent carefully removing dokudami and bamboo grass roots from my around rhododendrons, I started to think of weeding dokudami as very similar to what is going on in my life right now. I have two jobs--I work at Wakaba Church, and I am also a musician with dreams of starting an arts ministry. There are many very worthy tasks and ministries and causes that I could be spending my time on, but if I tried to do everything, I think I would burn out very quickly. I need to make space in my life for the most important things--the things God has specifically given me to do. It’s just difficult sometimes to discern what those things are. Which “weeds” (which are actually very nice plants) in my life do I need to say “no” to in order to make room for other “plants”?

Please pray with us… we have some big decisions to make… and we need to make them soon!

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