Archive for September, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

On this day, many of us are remembering what happened 10 years ago today.

10 years ago, my dad had been in the Middle East on TDY for about 2 weeks. About 9 pm, my mom saw on the news what had happened. Yokota Air Force Base, where my dad was stationed at the time, shut down for about 3 days. I remember not knowing exactly what was going on, but in my 8 year old mind, all I knew was that some bad guys had done something really bad to America, and my daddy was over there with the leader. My mom was telling me today that after hearing some things at school, I came home and asked if Osama bin Laden was going to hurt my daddy. I don’t remember that, but I do remember talking about it at school. Several of us kids had fathers or mothers deployed to the Middle East and we were all wondering the same things. I also remember, after the base opened up again, that whenever we went back on base, each vehicle was getting checked out. The engine, trunk, back seats, under Rebekah’s car seat, beside me and underneath the cup holders, all got checked for explosives. I remember on several occasions when the men would lean in the car to check it out, they would say hello to us, but at the same time, we were looking down the barrel of an M-16. Not directly, but it was right in our face. I remember one time, my mom started crying, and when the security guard asked, “Ma’am, is everything okay?”, my mom told him that she was just a little nervous with those guns in our faces. It was a scary time for everyone. People from almost every nation were killed that day (I just found that out this morning). Let us remember the families of every victim from that day. I know 10 years has passed but it is still hard facing the anniversary of losing a loved one.

I know we have probably all heard the storied of how many Christians, and many Apostolics, were late to work for some reason or another. It shows how God works. They were probably thinking about being late for work, but God was thinking about saving their lives.

How many lives were saved that day? Yes, many were lost, but many were also saved.

God bless America!!!

Please remember all the families of every 9/11 victim. Please pray for America. Please pray for our leaders. Please pray for the leaders of your country. Pray for the leaders of every country.

Much love and God bless,


Congrats, Grads!!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011


First of all, I would like to say to every 2011 graduate, congratulations and job well done!

Now, before I go and talk about a few people (all good, of course!) I wanted to show some pictures from when my parents had a surprise graduation party for me at church on one Sunday.

First, before church, Rebekah was asking me if she could use my camera because “you might be busy at some point and I’ll need to get pictures for you.” Yes, she knew about it. So after the altar call, my dad tells us to go back to our seats, that he wanted to say a few more things. After a minute or two, he speaks about church for a couple minutes, then he’s quiet. I thought he was just thinking about what to say next. At this point, I am holding Peter Apedo. So my dad starts talking about how everyone reaches certain points in life where certain accomplishments are like stepping stones. I had no idea what was going on. I had decided previously that I didn’t want a graduation party, just because. So as my dad is talking about all this, I’m looking at Peter, making faces (at Peter, not my dad) and listening. I’m smiling because I thought my dad was talking about it being his birthday and Rebekah is laughing because she knows what I’m thinking and she also knows what my dad is talking about. Then my dad says, “Sister Rachel, would you please come up here?” I didn’t know at first. I had just a slight idea of what was going on. Then I saw the diploma. It hit me then.  I was SO nervous!

Then he starts talking, and I’m up there crying because all 5 of them (Daddy, Mama, Dah, Aunt Tommie, and Rebekah) were in on this. It all meant so much!

I was just a little nervous!

I love y’all!!

This was when he was talking to me, not to the church.

I don’t even remember what he said that was so funny, but I sure was laughing. 😀

Rebekah took a lot of pictures! 🙂 Love ya Rebekah!

Peter. What a cutie!

My mom had a double surprise planned that day. Not only was there a party for my graduation, but there was also a party for my dad for his birthday. What is funny about this is, I knew about my dad’s birthday, and he knew about my graduation, but neither of us knew about the other. Does that make sense?

Here’s Daddy’s cake.

And my cake.

One of the helpers with cutting the cake and passing it out. I love you, Dah!

Aunt Tommie, I love you, too!

Both Dah and Aunt Tommie were great helpers. Dah brought over all the graduation announcements from the States and they kept everything a secret for several months. A great big thank you to everyone who helped.


My mom and Dah (along with Aunt Tommie and Rebekah) were able to pull this whole thing off.

This looks kind of cool the way the fire is.

Licking the icing off the candles is one of the best parts (well, so is the cake….and the icing. 😀 )

Here is Steven and Harrison.

I think I look a bit like my brother, Chris in this picture.

Dixon must have really like that cake. He’s so adorable!

This picture was taken afterwards, while at Chili’s.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Dah, Aunt Tommie, and Rebekah for everything y’all did for this. It means so much to me!

Now, I had written something up some time ago, within the past 17 months, but I wanted to share it with y’all. It is to let you know how much you all mean to me. Some of it has been edited in the past 8 weeks, but here it is:

“I would like to thank everyone that has ever been a part of my life. I want every single person, either family, church family, or friend, to know that you all have played a major part in my life. But to make it short, I’m just going to give a few shoutouts.

(Ketch Family)

First of all, I would like to thank God for bringing me this far in life, for giving me the opportunities of a lifetime, for giving me His grace and mercy when I needed it most, and for giving me people in my life that love and care for me.

I would also like to thank my parents for putting up with me all these years and for loving me even when I wasn’t being the best or the brightest I could be and for all the help with my schoolwork over the years. Thanks for all the chemistry and physics help, Dad. I think we both learned a lot from that!! And Mom, thanks for all the English help. I love y’all

Paw-paw: Even though you are not here, and even though you cannot hear/read this, I want to thank you for being there for me. You are an awesome Paw-paw. I’ll never forget all the times when you came to Dayton to see us: when the truck broke down on the way to Amish country; when you came and got the dogs when we were going to Japan. You even let me drive you to Wal-mart, after asking me (jokingly) “What is the first thing you do when you get in the vehicle?” I remember when I had strep throat  (several years ago) and you went with my dad to take me to the hospital and we were there all night. My dad told you thanks for staying there with us all night and that that was probably not how you wanted to spend your visit. You told him you didn’t care as long as you got to spend time with your grandbaby. I’ll never forget when you had your first heart attack 11 years ago. My dad snuck me back to your room in the ICU, even though I was only 7 years old, even when the nurse told him I wasn’t supposed to be back there. Although I couldn’t go in your room, my dad stood outside your room holding me. I looked at you for a minute wondering who this man was in the hospital bed that Dah, Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Maurice were standing over. That man couldn’t be my Paw-paw. He had my Paw-paw’s face, but my Paw-paw was strong and was never in the hospital. This man had a whole lot of tubes hooked up to him. This man was the same but different. Until that man said, “Hi baby girl!!!” I realized then that it really was you. I couldn’t say anything. I know I was only 7 but…..nothing was coming out. I wasn’t even trying to say anything because you had always told me not to talk to strangers, and this man was a stranger to me. Then you started our little game…….”Guess what?”  I knew what was next. I knew what to say, but my dad told me anyways. I didn’t know what to think. This strange man knew of our little game. When I finally started to say I love you, you beat me to it…”I love you!!!” Then you said, “Ha ha, I got you!!” I think I whispered I love you, then, if I remember correctly, which I don’t know if I do or not, I think I put my head on my dad’s shoulder and started crying and he took me back to the waiting room. I didn’t know what to think. Was that really my Paw-paw in that room? Or was everyone just in the wrong room?

 I’ll never forget sitting beside you in your big chair and snuggling up beside you and feeling like nothing in the world could do anything to me. I felt so small sitting next to you especially when you would put your arm around me. I felt like I had my very own personal body guard. I remember about 2 ½ years ago, I was 15 and we were at your house. I got up beside you in your chair and within minutes, I was starting to fall asleep. You were talking to Uncle Maurice and you stopped for a minute, which woke me up a little. You had your arm around me, and you hugged me just a little bit, kissed me on the head and said, “I love you baby” then you started talking again. And those horse bites you liked to hand out…well, I think you didn’t know your own strength. Those hurt!!! And I loved it when you would call me your nicknames that you had for me; baby girl, gray eyes (blue eyes when I felt like correcting you), your gray eyed angel, your blue eyed baby girl, princess, and even brat. I would give anything to hear you say one of those again. I wish I could just hear you call me your brat one more time…

I keep trying to figure out what you would say right now. Is this an “oh well” moment? Or is this an “oh hockey puck” moment? What would you say? Would you say, “OH WELL! You haven’t made it through THAT much of life yet. ONLY the first 18 years. You’ve ONLY made it to graduation”? Or would you say, “OH hockey puck. You can’t be graduating yet. It seems like it was only yesterday that you were so little that you couldn’t wrap your whole hand around my pinkie. How can you be graduating?” I don’t know. But I wish I did. I wish you could be here today Paw-paw. I love you! I wanted you to be here when I graduated, and got married, and I wanted you to be the first one to hold my children, but since you’re not and you won’t, I will tell you these things: that I will make you proud. I will be the gray eyed angel, or the blue eyed baby girl, that you want me to be. I promise. Thank you so much, Paw-paw, for being you. I’ll tell my children every day about their great-grandfather, their Paw-paw; how totally awesome you were and that you were super funny and made up jokes that were so not funny that they were hilarious and all about the off-key birthday songs. That I had a different birthday song each year.  That sometimes they had the same words, sometimes there were different words. I’ll tell my kids everything I remember about you. I’ll tell them about you from the first time I hold them till the day I die. If I have a son, I’ll give him your name. I’ll make you proud to have called me your granddaughter. I love and miss you SO much!!!

(Paw-paw and Uncle Monty)


Dah: Well, I don’t know really what to say, Dah. You are an awesome person, great listener and letter writer, and one of the strongest and best people that I know. I always knew you were strong; when Paw-paw had his first heart attack you went to California only to find out a week or so later, maybe longer, that your own father had passed away. So you went to Oklahoma for everything then flew back to California to be with Paw-paw. When Paw-paw passed away, you were so strong. I don’t know how I would have acted during that whole time if you would have acted different. At the funeral I didn’t want to go up to the casket because at the viewing, it didn’t seem like Paw-paw in that casket. My Paw-paw never wanted to lay down like that. So I went up to you and you hugged me and said, “Just cry Rachel. Let it all out, baby” The only thing I knew to do was hug you back and cry. That whole week at your house I went up to you at different times and just hugged you and you would just hug back. All I had to do was put my arm around you and you would pull me into a hug. When we left, I was standing right beside you at the airport so you hugged me first. I will admit now that that was SO hard leaving then. You gave me a hug and kissed my head and said, “It’s going to be okay.” But you let me cry and cry. Thank you. I remember I had called you one of the many times after the funeral and I said “guess what” to you, I think to tell you we were going home from Japan to visit and you said “I love you”. You had picked up right where Paw-paw had left off. Now we have our own little game. I’ll still tear up every time I hear you say that, but I can’t explain the feeling of happiness I get whenever you say that to me. And at our yearly youth gathering, you came up to Tulsa and met Beck and I since Paw-paw wasn’t going to be there. You told me on the phone, “Let’s try and see if I can pull a Paw-paw, to come up there and see you girls”.  Dah, that made me so happy! I was so excited. Thank you so very much. On my 18th birthday, my mom woke me up saying I had a phone call. I wondered who it was, but I answered. It was you telling me happy birthday.  And you came to Japan to see us, even though Paw-paw wasn’t there to come. You still came. That meant so much to this family. And everything you did to help with the surprise party. Thank you!  I love you so much!

Nana: You’re an awesome grandma! The best Nana EVER!!! I’ll never forget who I could go to when I wanted to feel little again!!! And I’ll always remember what you say when we come to your house… “I can at Nana’s”. And Russell, I’ll always remember following you around watching you feed your chickens, helping you gather eggs every morning, and watching you build a tree stand so you could see the coyotes when they came to get your chickens. I remember when the doctors thought you’d had a heart attack and I remember praying every day, “God, please touch Russell. Clear up any sign that he had a heart attack. Let him be healed.” And I remember Nana saying, “Russell wants to go home. He just can’t stand not being able to go do anything.” And all the fishing trips that y’all took us on. Those were fun. I remember you, Nana, teaching me how to cast a fishing line, and you, Russell,  helping me reel my first fish in. I was so excited! I also remember the time when we took Nana to work after that big ice storm had hit and on the way back, going through the hills, we hit some ice and started sliding. I was a little scared at first, because I didn’t know what was going on, but then it was fun. I remember asking you if you had done that on purpose and you started laughing and said that no, it was an accident. I always have fun at y’alls house!! But thank you both for all the fun and laughs and for being strong people. I have such cool grandparents!!! I thank God for them every day!!!

*Note: What is written in the above paragraph, was written several months ago. I would like to add to it.

Nana, I love you!! I love you so much!! I didn’t tell you enough how much I love you and I’m sorry! You were the best Nana that there could ever possibly be. I remember looking at a card that we had thought about getting you for your birthday. It said, “Nana, you always treated us like grown-ups when we were little, and now that we are grown-up, you treat us like we are little again”. Nana, I wish I could be babied again by you. I hadn’t talked to you in so long. I wish I could hear your voice again.

I loved calling you and hearing the first words that came out of your mouth, “Well, hi baby!” I loved that. And you always knew what we liked. Each Shasta flavor for each of the grandkids, each and everything that everyone liked. I’ll never forget the time we went fishing while Papa Russell fed the cows and cut the grass at y’alls friends house. Do you remember when our lines kept breaking? That was hilarious! I remember when we went to work with you one December, when there was a big ice storm that came through, the same time my parents went to Arkansas for 8 days. You showed us off to everyone! And whenver we went somewhere, and if there was someone you knew there, you told them, “These are my grandbabies from Ohio”. I loved it when we would be walking through the store, or even just sitting at your house, and you would put your arm around me and let me lean on your shoulder. I’ll always remember when we lived in Japan from ’99-2002 and each time I talked to you, you told me your number, and after about 1 month, I had your number memorized. I’ll always remember, although I can’t use it now, that if I ever needed anything, to call 1-800-Grandma. 🙂

Oh, Nana, I love you! Nana, I miss you so much!! Nana, I’ll make you proud! I love you, Nana! I really do. And I’m sorry for not telling you that more often. I love you! I love you so very much!! I hope you know that!!

Papa Russell, I love you so much!! I’ve not told you enough either but I plan on changing that. Papa Russell, it made my day (no, make that my year) when, even though we were at the funeral, when I went up to you and hugged you, I told you I love you and you said, “Oh baby, I love you, too!” You then kissed me on the top of my head and gave me one more squeeze. I had just told Dah, “Where is Russell? I need Russell! Russell!! Where is Russell?” Ever since then, when ever I call you, and we’re getting ready to get off, you always say, “I love you, too, baby”. I remember when  we were staying at your house, my mom and Rebekah had gone to take the dogs to get their paperwork done, or something like that, and you were going into town to get some things. When I asked if I could go with you, and when you said yes, I could have jumped up and hugged you. I was so happy that I was getting to spend time with you. And when I asked you if you would sign that graduation card, you looked at me and said, “Well, sure…” I also remember the day we were going to leave your house, we were going to Checotah first, then to the Hamptons. You asked me if I wanted to go to town with you. Papa Russell, I wanted to say yes! I really did! But I didn’t know if we’d have time.  When you said, “Are you guys leaving from here or Checotah?” I didn’t know at that point. Then you said, “I’m going to be back before y’all leave to go to Checotah. I don’t know when y’all are leaving, but I’ll be back before y’all go to Checotah.” And when we left, I didn’t want to leave you at all. If I had the chance, I would have stayed there for as long as I possibly could, at least until right before I wore my welcome out. 🙂 I love you, Papa Russell!! I love you so much!!

Somehow, I ended up with the best grandparents ever. All of them are the bomb!!

Rebekah: We have been through a lot of laughs, tears, arguments, and disagreements over many different things. And I don’t think we’ll ever be the same or ever agree on the same thing. How is that? And people will probably always mistake us for twins, probably because we are as close as twins.. But we sometimes just laugh it off and let them think that, as we continue to finish each other’s sentences and “read” each others minds. And our favorite saying when that happens: “Sister powers, activate!” I love you!

Justin, Rachel, Chris, and Mandy: Well, first off, I’m proud to be able to say that I have two big brothers. I might not know y’all as well as I want to, but y’all are my brothers all the same and y’all are the best brothers ever. Justin and Rachel, I want to personally say thank you for being there for us when my Paw-paw passed away. Y’all helped us look for tickets and later took Rebekah and I out while mom and dad took care of some things for us to be able to go back to the states. And y’all came up to Oklahoma and spent the weekend there when Nana passed away. Thank you. That meant so much to all of us. And Chris and Mandy, I hope that in the near future, we can all become as close as siblings who have spent all of their lives together. And although neither of you know this, I want to throw in something that will make you laugh….I was looking through some pictures on my computer one day and I came across a picture of me but I was trying to figure out who I looked like. It wasn’t mom, or dad, or Justin. It someone else but I couldn’t figure out who it was. Then I flipped through some more pictures and came across one of Chris. And what do you know?  That’s exactly who it was. It’s almost scary but I look like both of my brothers at the same time!! I love all of y’all so very much!

Bryce and my little niece: Although I’ve never seen Bryce before (except on Skype) and as I’m writing this, Rachel is only about 20-21 weeks pregnant, but I want to say that I love my niece and nephew so much already. If you want spoiled, come to me. I have the cutest neice and nephew ever! I love y’all!

*Note: that little niece is now about 5 months old (I think that’s close) and her name is Josie. Bryce is now 3 years old. I love you both so very much, Bryce and Josie! Always remember that your Auntie Rachel loves you. Do not ever forget that.

Uncle Maurice and Aunt Yvonne: I love y’all so much!! I plan on spending more time with y’all in the future. I love you both!

(Paw-paw, Uncle Maurice, Greart-Grandpa, Great-Grandma)

(Paw-paw, Uncle Maurice)

To all of my other aunts and uncles: I love each and every one of you so very much! I hope you all know. And to all of my cousins, I love all of you so very much! I hope everyone knows that! I love all y’all! And to Great-Grandma, I love you so very much! You are the best, coolest great-grandma EVER!

Malorie: We’ve had a lot of funny conversations and a lot of serious conversations. You are an awesome friend. You push me to be what I need to be, and you’ve always been there for someone to lean on. Thanks so much. Love ya!

The Burris’s and the Porters: Y’all are the best youth leaders out there. I wouldn’t want another set of youth leaders ever. Y’all will never know how all y’all have helped me and what y’all mean to me. Thank y’all (along with Pastor Smith) for making this the greatest youth group in the world and for allowing me to be a part of it.

The youth group: To have the greatest youth group, you have to have the greatest young people, right? The youth group at ALC is one of the greatest. Although we might not have gotten along all the time, the Lighthouse youth group wouldn’t be Lighthouse youth group without every single person. But a couple people that I would like to mention is Charlesee and Krissy, y’all are absolute awesomeness. Even though you might not realize it, y’all have encouraged me a lot. Thank you for all the time that y’all have spent talking and listening. Love y’all!!! Charlesee, you are like the big sister I never had. I remember the nights that we spent playing Donkey Kong on the Nintendo 64. I remember the pranks we played on each other and on Paw-paw. Yeah, those were most definitely good times. Love ya! Actually, I love the whole youth group. Life would never be the same without y’all. ALC youth…is just something else, but in a good way. Life is never dull with ALC youth around! I love each and every one of y’all!




Sister Diane: I just wanted to say thank you for all the advice that you have given me, as well. I’ll never forget anything that we did. Thank you so much. I love you bunches!

Amber (or Meemer), Esther, Micaleah, and all other 2011 graduates: What can we say? We finally made it. We are now through with high school and we have our whole lives ahead of us. All I know to say is let’s keep going till we reach our goal. We can all be there for each other and help each other through thick and thin. Amber, we’re missing someone very important that we both wanted to be here. But I think that he would’ve been very proud of us. He would have come up to us, pulled us onto his lap in his big chair, and said he was proud of his baby girls. 

Brother and Sister Hampton: Well, there are many things I could say I just don’t know what those things are and how to say it. Y’all have shown me how to be strong. I also have several memories about y’all: when that rooster started pecking at me when I was real little and y’all let Jonathon go get the gun so he could kill it; I think that’s the only chicken I ever wanted dead!! And I remember those tapes that y’all had out. I loved those tapes. I listened to them so much, I wore the first tape out and I think we ended up getting another copy. I’ll also never forget the memory that stands out most: when we went to go help y’all sell fireworks during the summer of ’09, when we found out we were going to Japan. Y’all were so excited. And after everything happened with my Pawpaw, Sister Hampton drove to Oklahoma City for the funeral, and Brother Hampton, you told my dad something along the lines of even though you couldn’t replace my Paw-paw, that you would be a Paw-paw to me and Beck. You do not know how much that meant to me. Right before my dad told me that, and I mean within seconds, I had been thinking, “I’ll never have another Paw-paw. My Paw-paw is gone. I need my Paw-paw. Why can’t I have my Paw-paw back?” But I wanted to thank y’all so much for being so strong and being role models to me. Also, Sister Hampton, do you remember those letters that you wrote, one to each Rebekah and myself, when we were leaving Oklahoma after helping y’all with the fireworks. I have that folded up in my wallet and I take it out every now and then a re-read it. Thank y’all so much. Love y’all.

To Lynda, Bernice, Lisa, Haley, Christine, Dennis, and Jesse, and everyone else in Japan; Y’all are all awesome! Bernice, Lisa, Jesse, and Christine, who said that singing Christmas songs at midnight at the top of our lungs in October, while we were walking to the store to get a box of ice cream bars wasn’tfun? Well, y’all were singing, I was laughing! That was hilarious! I was scared the whole time that we were going to be picked up by the police for being disruptive and I didn’t have my alien registration card with me. I thought my parents were going to have to come pick me up from the koban. All I could picture was all of us sitting in a jail cell waiting for our parents to come pick us up and all of us just laughing and singing Christmas songs again. To Lynda and Dennis (a.k.a Alvin and Rev): Well, just so y’all know, flying rabbit (a.k.a, Simon, a.k.a, flying rabbit, a.k.a, ME!!)  is very glad that she got to meet y’all again. And singing Disney songs like “Hakuna Matada”  and “Under the Sea” at all the fellowships and joint services was hilarious too! I can’t forget talking about walking around in a Sebastian suit, and talking about the bird war with the tweet forces. And don’t forget when the four of us (Lynda, Dennis, Rebekah, and I in that order) were sitting on a 3-seater couch while we were waiting till the ministers meeting started so we’d all have something to do and talking about a lot of random subjects for like 2 hours straight. I don’t even remember what all we talked about except for, Lynda singing a “Little Mermaid” song, and one time Dennis said, “Hey, leave me alone. I can’t help it I’m tired.” Haha! Good times. And Dennis thanks for all the help on the pre-calc. I still have no idea what I did on anything in pre-calc, but I’m done now so I’m not worried. Anyway, love all y’all and I’m glad I got more time with y’all. (By the way, the Alvin and Simon thing, as well as the flying rabbit,  is an inside joke.Please do not be worried about us. We are not all that crazy. Well, we are, but only around each other. 🙂 )

(Me, Rebekah, Lynda)

To all of my Singapore friends: I first met y’all in December of 2010 at DCD and I saw you again in June at LTD/Combined Camp. Even though we have only physically been around each other about 9-10 days total, we have been talking for almost 9 months and we have become good friends, in my opinion. Cheryl, Rachel, and Li Lin, I love y’all and thank you for being such awesome friends! Of course, these are not the only friends I have in Singapore. And there are several people that I’d like to thank. Those that went out with us the last time we were in Singapore to take us sightseeing, I want to thank you, too. Let me see if I can remember all the names of everyone: Li Lin, Rachel, Cheryl, Zhi yi, Alvin, Mark, Darrel, Shu Qiao, Ranice, Pei Ting, Tai Yi, Peter, Tat, Eddie, Sister Carol, and Shee Ping. You all did an awesome job of showing us around Singapore. Tabernacle of Joy is a very special church (along with ALC and HUPC (Haijima UPC)) and we love all y’all there. We had a super great time with all of y’all. I’m so glad we got to meet each and every one of y’all! I hope to see you all again very soon!

(DCD2010 (L to R): Rebekah, Mikayla, Barak, Meghan, me)

(Tat, Li Lin, Peter)

(myself and Stellar)

To future graduates; be strong and stand up for what is right and in your time, graduation will come soon enough. We all had to wait our time, you can wait you time too. But don’t rush it, it’ll come soon enough and then you’ll be wishing that you were about 5 years younger and that college wasn’t just around the bend that is quickly approaching. Slow down and take the bend slowly. Don’t rush it. I now know that feeling! You might see that bend coming, but you might also be looking past the bend further into the future. But don’t go too fast. You might crash taking the bend too fast. Just remember…Gambate o-kudasai!!! Please do you best!!!”

Okay, that is all I have. If you have been a part of my life, I love y’all, too. But I would like to say to all of my family, both immediate and not, that I love you so very much. If there is anything that I’ve learned over the past 17 months, it is to say I love you as many times as you possibly can. Let your loved ones know that you love them. Call them. Email them, or write them letters. Don’t wait. You might say “I’ll call tomorrow” and it’ll be too late. I know because I’ve done it. Twice. And I’m not going to do it again. I love you all, family, church family, and friends, I love you all so very much!

Much love to all,



And we’re back!

Monday, September 12th, 2011



I hope everyone is doing well.

I want to thank all of you for your patience. I know it has been a long time since I’ve written a blog entry (almost 2 1/2 months now) but I am going to try and get caught up with everything now. The next few entries will be about the time when my grandma and aunt were here (I love you Dah and Aunt Tommie!!!) and about what all we did. I hope you enjoy it all.

In this entry, though, I would like to ask all of you to remember my grandpa, Russell Lanham, my mom, Cari Pounders, and her twin brother, Cory Ketch, and their families. Also, my mom’s aunts: Aunt Darlyne, Aunt Dorthy, and Aunt Tootsie, and my two cousins, J.T. and Lani. We are all having a tough time with this, with everything that has happened. I would like you to pray that we get co-operation on some questions that need to be answered. I don’t/can’t go into too much detail on here, but we have some questions that we need answered.

And to two people who are not able to read this, but I want to write to you two anyway: Paw-paw and Nana, you two are missed greatly!! I know I didn’t tell you two enough but I love you so very much!

And last but not least, if you’re in this list, keep reading (you can keep reading even if you’re not in this list 🙂  ): Mom, Dad, Papa Russell, Dah, Aunt Tommie, Uncle Monty, Uncle Cory, Aunt Joy, Treena, J.T., Lani, Amber, Rikki, Sarah, Sara, Jenny, Great-Grandma, Uncle Maurice, Aunt Yvonne, Aunt Darlyne, Aunt Tootsie, Aunt Dorthy, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Ronnie, Aunt Imogene, Uncle Tom, Aunt Judy, Uncle Les, Uncle Jackie, Aunt Laurie, Uncle Cecil, Tara, Tiffany, Aaron, Ronnie, Jamie, Shaunda, little Nick (who isn’t so little anymore), Landon, Stephanie, Rebekah, Justin, Rachel, Josie, Chris, Mandy, Bryce, and everyone one else related to us (  🙂  ): To all of you, I love each and every one of you so very much! I promise to keep up with emailing and/or calling you all. I haven’t been so good about that in the past, but I promise to keep up with that. I love all of you! You all are so very special to me. I am so very proud to be able to call you my family! Y’all are the best in the world!!! I love you!

And to all my friends: I love all y’all, too!! Y’all are the best!!

I just wanted everyone to know, that without a shadow of a doubt, that I appreciate you and love you so very much.

I’ll try to get some more blog entries done as soon as I possibly can.

Much love,


Click to show "Heart" result 15

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I would like to ask everyone to remember my great-aunt (I like to just say my aunt), Darlyne Franks. She lost her husband as of late evening on September 6th. Her husband, Johnnie, has had bone cancer for several years now. But this is the second husband that she has lost to cancer. And to add to that, Aunt Darlyne is the sister of my grandma, my Nana,  whom we just buried, not even two months ago.

Johnnie, I love you!!

Aunt Darlyne, I wish we could be there for you right now. I wish I was there to give you the biggest hug possible. I know that’s not the same as having Johnnie back, but I really do wish I was there. I love you so much!!

Thank you for all of the prayers. We all greatly appreciate it.


“Welcome Aboard the Pounders’ Tour Van!”: Part 1

Monday, September 12th, 2011


I’m finally getting a blog entry done. Sorry it has taken so long.

On June 30 2011, we GLADLY, with MUCH excitement, went to the airport to pick up my grandma and my aunt. We had been waiting (not so patiently) since right before the earthquake to see these two people walk through that doorway in the airport to the waiting area and the time had finally come. So we left our house and headed to Narita Airport, and while at a toll booth, we saw a JSDF (Japan Self-Defence Force) truck.


And we hit the ground running with Dah and Aunt Tommie. Within just a couple days, we had them seeing the sights. We went to Kyoto and saw a lot of Tokyo, including Disney Sea. I don’t remember for sure the order in which we saw everything so I’m just going to put them in here. Sorry about that! It’s been too long ago and we have had a lot happen since then. I’ll also be doing pictures by who took them as well as where we were.

Tokyo: Imperial Palace

So one of the stops we went to was the Tokyo Imperial Palace. We couldn’t get up as close as normal, but we got a lot of pictures anyway! So here we are.

I don’t like the pole so much in this picture, but the rest is awesome.


And the great Imperial Palace.

Here are all 6 of us. There was a guy there that was took a picture for us. And he was a geijin, so we were able to speak Eigo to him.

This is up by where the palace guards are stationed. This is also the gate where the Emperor comes and goes.

I want to know just about how big that palace is.

So on one side we have this pretty “country” type setting, and on the other side, we have this. Along with the full-sized crane in the upper left hand corner.

This is the entrance going into the Imperial Gardens.

I think this might be part dragon, part fish, but I’m not for sure.

I’d hate to run into this door! Talk about a headache!

Awww!! How cute!!

And this is the name of the gate: Sakuradamon

As we were leaving, we saw this on the sidewalk. I have no idea what it means but I thought it was pretty.

And this is the famous horse and rider. According to what we read, this is quite a sculpture because, looking at it from one direction, the front, it looks like they might have put it up backwards. But actually, the horse is going in one direction, but the rider is looking at the palace, keeping his eyes there in case he sees something wrong, then he will wheel his horse around. I think it’s a cool story!

We went and stood off to the side for a bit and stood in the shade for a couple minutes (it was kinda hot out) and we turned around and saw this. I think the crow was just a bit thirsty.

“Oops! I’ve been caught!”

“Wah! I’ve got to get outta here!”

This looks like a state capitol building. I don’t think it is, but that’s what it looks like.

This was in one of the Tokyo train stations. It’s so pretty! These are not real, it’s painted on the wall.

Aww, kawaii!! So cute!!

We got this because, in today’s life, you hardly EVER see a phone booth! It’s like obsolete now-a-days.

Tokyo: Shrine/Park

So after we went to the Imperial Palace, we went to one of the shrines downtown, which also has a flower garden in it.

This is at the entrance.

And the lanterns there are HUGE as well!

And the bridge is so pretty! I love it!!

And it’s even prettier on the other side of the bridge.

This is the otorii. And then the explanation of the torii.

In the garden area, there was a tea house thing. This is a write-up on that.

The Empress had her own fishing spot?

It sure is pretty.

And the koi fish were huge!

I think these two fellows were expecting some food. Sorry, dudes!

And this is further into the garden.

Cute picture, Dah!!

Here’s a little rest house type thing. So cute!

Dah looks like, “Now, what are you doing?”

So after we left here, we went to another shrine that was close.

I love how everything is handmade.

After walking around in the shrine a bit (we couldn’t get pictures in there), we  went and got a bit of aisukurimu(ice cream). Li Lin, this is for you: look at the sign to the far left. Wasabi ice cream! No, I didn’t try any. I’m not a big fan of wasabi, unless it’s the little bit on sushi.

This is downtown in Harajuku. This is the teen/young adult hang out place and it’s super crowded. We went down on a Wednesday night before and it was shoulder to shoulder.

I love how the were able to put all those balloons together like that.

And Dah liked this one. Her and my aunt think the trucks look like little Tonka toys. Good comparison, I think.

And this is my store! Forever 21!!! Yea!!

These were taken downtown in Shibuya crossing. 2 million people a day (I think that’s the right number) pass through this crossing a day coming to and going from Shibuya Station.

While we were there, we saw these people from maybe a T.V station (I’m guessing that since there was a camera there) interviewing some people.

And here is Aunt Tommie, in the midst of ALL those people. I love you, Aunt Tommie!!

Look at that crowd building up.

This is where we went and people-watched.

This guy here to the right  was getting a picture of me getting a picture.

Here is Dah and Daddy posing in the middle of the crowd.

And here are three of the clan on the way to the hotel late one night.

And that was the end of the first night. If you continue to read, you will find out more about the wonderful time that we had.

See you soon!


“Welcome aboard the Pounders’ Tour Van”: Part 2

Monday, September 12th, 2011


So, in the last entry, I showed y’all about our trip downtown to Harajuku, Shibuya, and a couple shrines. This entry is about the Tokyo Tower. So…

Tokyo: Tokyo Tower

This is while we were still maybe a 5 minute walk from the Tower.

This is a sign that was on a bus. It says “Ganbarou Nihon” or “Do your best, Japan!”

Here is Dah and Aunt Tommie with the Tower mascot.

And here is Dah standing next to the Tower poster.

And Aunt Tommie.

And here is Daddy holding up the Tower.

While we were there, three ladies asked us to take their picture. So we did.

Then they took our picture.

We wanted to go up to the top of the Tower (well, almost the top) at night. And man, was it beautiful up there.


And, while we were at the Tokyo Tower, they were having this special festival. It was the Tanabata festival.

So, we are upstairs and they have this all over in one little section of the Main Observatory. The pink is the sun and the white down there way at the end is the moon.

So this radio station, Club 333, was there doing a live airing.

My aunt asked to get a picture with one of the ladies in a kimono that was to help. The lady said yes, then took Aunt Tommie over to fill out this paper. They wanted her to choose a song and they would play a little segment of that song on the radio (Two of the three spoke English and the one guy spoke English very well).

They even asked her to write a note that she would like to share with the Japanese people. She wrote, “We love you, Japan!”

So these guys played the song, telling everyone listening that “Tomi Kechi” (Tommie Ketch) from America said “We love you, Japan”. And the one guy told us, in English, while speaking into the microphone, the he really appreciated that they would come to Japan, even after everything that has happened with the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor, and when most foreigners were leaving Japan, not coming here. Then he translated all that into Japanese for everyone else to hear as well.

And we just HAD to get our picture with them. I mean, when something like that happens, how can you just walk away and NOT get a picture. Especially when you are with a photo-fanatic!

And this is outside the Tower at night.

And that’s all I have for now! I’ll try to get the other posts up ASAP.

Much love,


“Pounders’ Tour Van”: Part 3

Monday, September 12th, 2011


 Okay, here are some more pictures. Like I mentioned before, I don’t remember exactly what happened on what days. So I’m just putting them in order of the files on my computer. 🙂 I’m not a very organized person!

Before I go on, I wanted to explain my grandma’s name. When I was real little (I don’t think I was even walking yet) my Paw-paw, Dah, and I were in the store. Paw-paw was carrying me to Dah because I wanted something (I only know this because I have been told once or twice) and Paw-paw always had to tell Dah because Dah had the buggy. Paw-paw would take me to the toy section to see what I wanted. I’m told that I would just point at something and do this little grunt type noise and he was over there in an instant picking it up to take to the buggy. So anyway, Paw-paw was taking me to Dah, and he was saying, “Let’s take this to…duh….uhhh…” We (they, rather) hadn’t decided what to call her yet so when Paw-paw did that, I said (as best as my little baby voice could) “Dah!!!” and that was that! Dah had been named! And that name has stuck over the years and all the grandkids call her that. So that is how Dah got her name. I love you, Dah!!

So here is the next entry.

I think this shrine was in Tokyo, but I’m not for sure. But in this shrine, we couldn’t get up very close. And I wasn’t able to get my big camera out (well, I had it out but I couldn’t use it) so I had to use my little camera. But I was still able to sneak a couple pictures. There was even a priest in there doing his chants.

Li Lin, a close up for you!! Wasabi ice cream!

Green tea ice cream!

And on one day, we took the day and went to Disney Sea, which was great!

Here is the Hotel Palace. This is the place where it is like $2,000 ($US) A NIGHT to stay on the top floor. And it’s not exactly cheap to stay on the bottom floor either. I think a couple hundred dollars a night. Something like that.

And here is Dah and Aunt at the entrance of Disney Sea.

Oh man! Such strong women!! 😀

Just some random pictures from around Disney Sea.

This is all of us on the Indiana Jones ride, which by the way, was totally AWESOME!!

Do you see this water on the other side of this wall? This is where some of the water came in during the tsunami after the earthquake back in March.



Here are the three of us that went on the Tower of Terror ride.

Here are two mice from something. I don’t remember what.

And Marie from Aristocats.

“I need a ride!” I bet this ride would be pretty at night.

Here I am with Daddy! I love you Daddy!

And there was this lady there that asked if Rebekah and I wanted our picture taken. We looked at each other, then back at the lady and said, “Hai!”

I like the boat behind us in the one.

And we had to get one of all of us.

Now, this is the day we went to, I think, the Imperial gardens.

When looking at this, you can see which direction you are facing, and you can see what all is in the direction when you stand up on top of it.

And I loved this!

This was in a case in the NEX at the New Sanno and I had to get a picture of it. This is one of those times when I’m proud to say I’m an American!!

One of the other trips that we took during the two week period that Dah and Aunt Tommie were here was to the top of the famous Fuji-san. And let me tell you, it was beautiful!!

This is just a picture of what it looked like when my dad, Rebekah, and I climbed in August of 2010.

And here is what Mt. Fuji looks like in the winter months.

Li Lin, also for you: a snack stand of all wasabi flavors.

After doing a little shopping in the gift shops on Mt. Fuji, we went and saw something that we hadn’t seen before.


This is looking up at the top  of Mt. Fuji from the base of the the mountain.

And here is Dah.

I think this may have been in Kyoto at the train station there, but I don’t remember. Anyway, this station was huge!! And it had some of the neatest architecture.

Look at that walkway going across up there.

Okay, that’s all I have for this entry.

“Pounders’ Tour Van”: Part 4

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Alright, next entry, these were all taken in in Tokyo still.

 Here are some school kids that we saw at the train station early one of the mornings.

This is the other side of the Imperial Palace.

I like this!

This is the shrine at the 5th station on Fuji, where we went (that’s as high as you can go with a vehicle).

Do you see those holes where the outer wall has fallen?

This is from the earthquake. But it’s kind of cool because you can see how it was built: framed with bamboo, patched with mud/clay, and then covered in the drywall type stuff.

All the pretty-ness then all the city-ness.

And Dah again!

Aww! How cute! And by the way, Aunt Tommie, in case if I didn’t tell you them I love your shirt.

I think this is a mosque.

Sorry there isn’t much narration to all this. Just a lot of pictures.

The next day’s itinerary was Mt. Fuji (I mentioned this in the previous post).

There was still snow up there, even in July.

Looking off Mt. Fuji and looking at Mt. Fuji have to tie, in my opinion for beautiful-ness (is that a word? Now it is! 🙂  )

Dah and Aunt Tommie. So cute!

One you get up above the clouds, everything looks different. Almost like you’re on a big fluffy bed. 🙂

Here is Rebekah and myself sitting in front of the sign telling which trail we either are on, or that we are close to.

Here are both of us with Dah.

And all the ladies.

Looking up at the top of Fuji-san.

Hey, it’s the mail-lady! “Sumimasen. Can you mail this for me please?” Actually, they do have an area in the main gift shop where you can mail letters and post cards from Fuji. I think there is one at the top of the Fuji as well. Maybe not. I don’t remember.

This is the hand washing “station” for the shrine.

I love this. It reminds me of “peace on earth and good will toward men.”

Here is the shrine.

Look at that fog rolling in.

Do you see that little black strip on the gold thing? That is pulled back some so people can put coins in. The whole is big enough for a  Y500 yen coin, which is the biggest coin of the Japanese currency.

Aww! The cute that a samurai angel? Aww, kawaii!

“Foward, Climb!!!”

I love you, Dah!

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

It almost looks like Aunt Tommie is standing on air.

Here’s Daddy. I love you, Daddy!

These next few pictures (actually there’s quite a few), are from church on the 3rd of July.

Pastor Daddy.

Dixon is adorable.

Sally was leaving to go back to school in Canada, so my dad had her get up to say a little something to the church. We love you, Sally!

Here is Queen Elizabeth. Isn’t she beautiful?!?!?!

It’s funny because every time you say, “Aren’t you so pretty? You are such a pretty girl!”, Elizabeth will smile.

Brother Daniel.

Brother Perry looks like he’s smiling right at the camera, although someone had just said something funny and we were all laughing at that.

And here is Sister Victoria.


Here is everyone praying for Sally right before she left.

That day, we stayed for the Japanese service.

Here is Sister Ishibashi (left) and Sister Ikeda (right).

Brother Arai.

Brother Sato.

Also that day, we gave a presentation on our last missions trip to Ishinomaki and Onnagawa. Amma was the translator during the presentation.

When I got up there, I remembered the verses, but when I went to say the verses, I forgot which verse was which. I had the verses up there in kanji since we were talking to the Japanese congregation.


And last but certainly not least, we have Brother Yokoyama.

Alright, that’s all for this entry! Thank you and much love!


“Pounders’ Tour Van”: Mom’s pics

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Okay, last but not least, here are the pictures that my mom took.

First, this is how hot it was right before my grandma and aunt got here. Yes, that is in the house.

And this is the guy that we spoke to while in downtown Tokyo. His eigo was awesome!

This was at one of the gardens we went to.

At Fuji-san.

We wanted to get a good picture of a two way road over here. Yes, this is a two way road. Notice the car coming down the road? Over here, you must let others go first. You can’t always rush. You might end up with half of your car scratched and dented.

Then we go to pictures from Kyoto, the old Imperial Palace.

Aww!! Kawaii!

Man, Japan is so pretty.

My mom got a picture of this guys shirt because it said “Amish Country Choppers”. Hmm, for some reason, those two just don’t sound right together.

And this is hilarious! My mom took this picture on the way back from Kyoto. Hehe, you think we’re all related? I woke up with a crick in my neck. My mom thought it was funny that we were all leaning the same way.

Okay, well, that’s it. I have so many more pictures, but there would be so many entries if I were to show all the pictures. So, this is all I have for now!

Much love,


“Pounders’ Tour Van”: Rebekah’s pictures

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Okay, so here are Rebekah’s pictures. There will be this entry, and then my mom’s pictures, and then I’ll be done and caught up.

So, starting at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. I won’t be giving  too much description since I have most of it described in previous entries.

This is a guy that we met that spoke AWESOME Eigo. He said he spent a lot of time in the States as a pilot, as well as a couple other places.

After talking to him, we headed back to the train station and started to the Tokyo Tower.

The skyline at night is absolutely beautiful. If (*cough, cough* uh, I mean, WHEN) anyone else comes to visit, that’ll be a great thing to do.

The outside looks pretty awesome too. This is looking at the refletion in the back windshield of a van.

Next was Fuji-san.

On the way to Mt. Fuji, we saw this awesome looking JSDF vehicle.

I really like the way this looks. Good job, Rebekah!

When you look up at Fuji-san, it actually doesn’t seem that big. But when you are climbing it, it seems to reach the sky. Actually it kind of does, if you count the clouds. Anyway, it seems so much bigger when you are actually on the mountain.

Even the 5th station is so high and it is just the beginning.

These were guarding…


They also have horses there that you can ride up to like I think station 6.  I don’t remember.

This looks cool!

Next was the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

The place was beautiful!

We found out that the red/orange paint came from the Chinese people.

This flower is so pretty!

Next was the Golden Pavilion. So pretty!

This is a great picture of these two! I love y’all!

This is basically like the US version of a wishing well.

“Yes, baby?”

And that, my friends, is all I have for this entry. The rest will be done soon.

Much love,