Monday, January 21, 2019

thoughts and faith


I am grateful for this blog and for the love of writing. I am grateful to have an outlet. To have a chance to write and document the things of my heart and days that make me so happy. I love looking back and remembering. I want to remember everything to capture every moment but time just keeps moving forward and so many special moments are missed or pictures never taken. 

It's funny at a really young age I perfected the art of apologizing to my journals and justifying the abandonment for the days and weeks missed. I would write sorry, and explain to my journal that life is such a blur and time is going fast and too much has happened to possibly write it, and with each line my handwriting would grow more caress and then I would say goodnight and didn't write anything but an apology and that life is good. 

But, journaling has always been something I have know is important and counseled to do in my patriarchal blessing.

"You were given great responsibility and promises of blessings from before your mortal birth to be a spokesperson for truth and light and to reflect that in your daily life to those about you. . It is important that you record the experiences of your daily life for those will be a treasure to you in time to come. . . "

 These post are already such a treasure to me. These days are so good and so happy and so hard too. Right now, Riley is on a business trip and it's just me and my sidekick alone for the week. I miss Riley, so grateful to have someone to miss and love. He has been working long hours these past months. I can't believe I use to actually worry and wonder about his 'work ethic' when we dating and even when we moved here after Hawaii I wondered if he could actually work at a desk for 8 hours straight, and now majority of his days he works double that. 

At night, after days of not even seeing Luke when he is awake. Riley will pick him up asleep in bed and lay him across his chest asleep and cuddle him and whisper how much he loves him. I want to remember this. I want to remember the sacrifice and love and all he does for us. 

I want to remember Luke, his eye-rolls and even his hints of 'terrible two'. I started writing (actually writing in another journal) these 'tales of toddlerhood' and letters to him and funny quotes because each day is so good with new words and magic and messes.

I also want others to remember my faith. That is what I mostly wanted to do in writing this post. To share my testimony and belief in God and Jesus Christ. This past year has been one of the hardest ones for my individual faith, lots of confusion and at times darkness and a few days of despair and doubt. But light and clarity came and was available slowly, and honestly holding to the truths I do know and personal inspiration that I have felt previously helps provide comfort and assurance to the knowledge I lack. I believe that God is there and does listen, he has answered my prayers on SO many occasions and has performed real miracles in my life and families. I think some answers and knowledge require study, time, and personal trials to learn and that is why we are here to earth to obtain this experience and grow to become like our Savior. I'm so grateful for that and for all the blessings and truths I do know. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Tokyo Sea LIfe Park


Jan. 5th: Today was one of those days that teased you with spring weather in the middle of winter. It was 58 degrees, soo sunny and perfect. Riley had the day off and we went to Tokyo Sea Life Park. It was our first time there and it was so fun, such a neat aquarium. I'm realizing I didn't really get to many pictures of the place and fish. Our favorite part about aquarium was the different tanks set up depicting different areas in the world and what the coral and fish look like in that part of the world which was very neat to see.

Luke loved everything and pointing out all the cool fish. He is seriously at the perfect age for these fun new discoveries. Most these pictures are Riley and Luke playing and throwing him up in the air. Lots of laughs and happiness today.

Also, funny note: Japan is probably one of the only place in the world were they look at these fish tanks and comment how delicious the fish look to EAT! And serve fish on the menu at the place. . .











Monday, January 7, 2019

New Years in Japan!

One of my 2019 resolutions is to learn a little more about Japanese customs and more words since we live here and I honestly don't know much and don't make an effort and then look like an idiot when people visit us (sorryyy Nicole haha). . . So this year I'm being more mindful of the people around me and culture. I'm making an effort to learn and speak and "try" rather than not. I'm definitely not promising to be fluent or an expert because it's honestly not my highest priority, but hey I will know a few more things. Starting with NEW YEARS customs in Japan.  

Here are just a few of my favorites I learned and illustrated: 

ALSO, super cool experience this year for New Years we were also invited to a "traditional" Japanese New Year meal. The girls in the Stocker Family cooked a lot of the meal and explained all the symbolic things in the food, which I honestly can't remember any of them except the fish eggs . . .  something about lots of posterity I think. . . so heaven help us because I ate them all. I didn't really take too many pictures of the day, but here is the food we ate:

Luke also received some money from the family because it is traditional on New Years to give money to the children!! Way cool. It is called 'otoshidama.' 

2019 Resolutions


Happy New Years! Just because I like this image and this quote:
"Time is the scarcest resource and unless it's managed nothing else can be managed." 
- Peter Drucker

Luke's Resolutions 2019
- Learn all the animals and noises 
- Learn to pray/ fold arms better :)
- Sing all the Nursery songs
- Be a good sharer 
- Faster at falling asleep at night, or better bedtime routine.... ?
- Learn extended family member names
- More home videos with mom
- Send cards and crafts to grandparents (every other month).
- Pottytrain (not sure if realistic or not this year?)

Riley's New Year Resolutions 2019
Financial:
·      Set a budget followed daily, weekly and monthly
·      Figure out yen to usd transfer, start investing
Physical:
·      Physical activity 5 times a week, gym at least once a week
·      When possible 5am-9:30pm weekdays
Spiritual:
·      Read the scriptures everyday, follow Come Follow Me Plan
·      Study more on the life of Jesus Christ
Mental:
·      Read more meaningful books/ Read 2 books a month:
o   Leaders
George Washington
- Abraham Lincoln
-  Martin Luther King
o   Business
o   Pleasure
-  Harry Potter
Other
·      Do 1 informational interview a month
·      Find a good way to keep track of spiritual/thoughts from books/informational interview notes
Service:
-  Invite someone in the home once a month (outside of the Williams)
- Support Alyssa in aspirations 

Alyssa's Resolutions: 19 for 2019
(seems like a lot, but lots are doing already and want to maintain, or be more mindful)

1. Do something creative every single day (draw, photography, blog, doodlebead scheming).
2. Listen to conference again before April (pick favorite quote from each talk).
3. Share one thing with Riley each night that I learned or found uplifting that day (share during scripture study).
4. Read scriptures everyday, more meaningful prayers (wake up before Luke to read).
5. Prepare for sacrament, before the sacrament ordinance (saturday night before bed, or sunday morning take time and reflect on areas to improve and change heart).
6. Use the new 'come follow me' manual the whole year (personal and companion study?).
7. Take more online classes (at least once a week minimum, wednesdays?).
8. Blog 3x a month and make fun memories with Luke.
9.  Make a baby . . . 
10. Learn more japanese culture and words, actually make an effort. 
11. Earn mullah for camera. . . buy this year before trip?
12. Drink more water daily (use huge bottle and drink twice).
13. Keep up with good exercise routine (be more mindful of stretching and breathing).
14. Better eye contact with people when I talk to them.
15. Keep up with old friends, make new ones (FB message monthly-ish, be friendly and nice to others, text/call on birthdays).
16. Minister (email my sisters a spiritual thought each month).
17. Help Luke with his goals, teach/read together daily.
18. Read/listen to at least 1 book a month.
19. Be a better wife (make lunches for Riley more, not tired at night, plan some dates/activities,. . .)

Friday, December 28, 2018

2018 Year in Review


One of my favorite traditions each year is looking back at the past 12 months and remembering the highlights. 2018 has been another year with a lot of blessings and opportunities for our family. 

Highlight Reel & Review of 2018:  


We rang in 2018 with a bang at the Stevenson home in California

February was very sweet with this little heartbreaker. 
A thousand snuggles and kisses on the daily.

In March, we went back to Hawaii and Riley was able to participate at BYU Hawaii's Asia Pacific Career Conference and we also had a great family vacation and saw Riley's brother's Ethan and Avery at school there. 
April was especially pretty with Japanese Cherry Blossoms! Luke also took his first steps this month, but really didn't start walking around until mid-May. 
In May, we celebrated Luke's first birthday. We also had a nice break with "Golden Week" that was spent with Uncle Ethan visiting us in Japan. Our family also went to Hakone this month.
July was made up of splash pads, popsicles, and weekends eating out and playing ball with Dad.
In August, Riley participated in the Hood to Coast race for Nike Japan. We also took a trip to America and had a million good adventures and memories and celebrated Caden & Caitlin's marriage
In September, we hit our 2 YEAR mark for living internationally in Japan! So that was a pretty cool milestone. It was a very sweet month.
In October,  Riley started a new position at Nike Japan working as the Nike App Manager! We also did a lot of backpacking this month and had a great conference weekend in the woods
 
In December the Nike App launched in Japan that Riley has been working so hard on an we also had Aunt Nicole visit and stay with us for a week. 

This past year we have gotten a lot of joy watching our son grow and reach milestones. We loved our trip to Idaho and Hawaii and seeing our families. We are grateful to live in Tokyo and excited for another year of adventures in the city.