Growing up in a small farming community in Texas, I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to travel 5,650 miles away from home to visit a foreign country. Now, the idea of traveling the world (well, parts of it anyway), seems as natural as visiting that small town in Texas I used to call home.
As I sit here enjoying the comfort of my own cubicle in Business Class, and the impeccable service offered by the beautiful Japanese ANA flight attendants, I marvel at the goodness of God and His plan for my life. It occurs to me that nothing has turned out the way I initially envisioned it: I didn’t marry the boy I was in love with in sixth grade; I didn’t learn to cook like my grandmother; I didn’t settle down to small town living and raise a family; I never learned to sew; I never mastered the piano . . .
Instead, thus far I have followed the Lord on a totally different path experiencing the life HE planned for me – with all of its twists and turns, gifts and surprises, and a few self-directed detours. I jokingly refer to it as “Father God’s Wild Ride.” LOL.
And so begins another adventure. As I cross the International Date Line traveling 516 miles per hour toward Tokyo, another memory is in the making. This time, Stan and I are traveling to Japan to photograph cherry blossoms.
Cherry blossom season (known as sakura) is a BIG deal in Japan. Months before the cherry trees bloom, everyone starts to gear up. Retailers decorate store fronts with cherry blossoms, and restaurants and convenience stores offer blossom-flavored drinks and recipes. The local news stations report the daily Cherry Blossom Forecast which offers a petal-by-petal analysis of the advance of the blooms as they sweep across the nation from the south to the north. When the blooms actually arrive, the general population indulge in one of the nation’s all-time favorite pastimes – hanami – which literally means “looking at flowers” and refers to having picnics under the blooms.
Like I said, it’s a big deal.
So here we are, excited to join the festivities. We’re going to spend some time looking at flowers and hopefully capture some of the beauty in photographs. I can’t wait.
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