Life. What a beautiful thing, isn't it?

As a kid, most of us imagine that the most beautiful moments in life are the happy ones. The birthdays, the new puppies, the Christmas mornings, the graduations, the Disneyland trips, the championships, the weddings, the new babies, the vacations. And true, those are all incredible moments in life full of joy and celebrations, but recently, i've started to realize something about life. And it is this : The most beautiful moments in life are not the happy ones, but the real ones.

Real? What is real.

To me, real moments in life are the ones you don't plan. The ones you can't control. The one's you don't always ask for, nor wish for, nor ever dream up in your head. The random new friends, the loss of a loved one, the job transfers, the failed tests, the broken bones, the divine encounters, the tear filled nights, the kind gestures by strangers, the unexpected laughter in darkness. In all these moments, the same thing happens. Your vision becomes crystal clear, the clouds part in the sky, the water settles...and you are alive. 

That, my friends, is beautiful. 

Two weeks back,June 15th, 2018 was one of those days for me. is so hard but so beautiful kind of days. Back home in the states, my family was preparing for my grandmothers funeral that was to be held at 10am. Meanwhile, I was in my apartment... a bit of an emotional wreck. This emotional-wreckage was coming from two places in my being the deep feeling of homesickness in the pit of my stomach and wishing I could be there in the physical to honor grandmas life. And two...something I only have myself to blame for- the aftermath of a night out with coworkers and too much alcohol consumed. The worst case of drinking regret i've had in my 26 years on earth.

So there I was. Sulking because my body ached from the lack of control I exhibited the night before, and my heart ached from the distance I felt from all that was happening back home.

This is not your classic happiness moment in life- by far. But then, somewhere in the afternoon I picked myself off my futon and went outside. I walked to 7-11 near my house and grabbed a hot coffee. I came back inside, sat in my living room chair, started out the window and realized something...that all that pain I was feeling in my body and in my heart was creating this indescribable beauty. Isn't that weird? As a human, I felt so isolated. So full of mistakes. So weak. So tired. But in all of that ugliness and sadness, God was right there. And I was alive. And I was okay. And grandma was in heaven. And Jesus was still (and will forever be) King. Wow.

It was not a moment I had planned. It was not a day, nor night, I ever wished for. It was not orchestrated by my mere human hands...but it was real life. Real, unedited, raw, lay-on-your-futon-for-5-hours-no-appetite-LIFE

So today, I thank God for the grace He exhibited to me...that same grace He has been pouring out on me my whole life. With that grace, I honor my grandmother, Jean Komae, in the glorious life she lived here on earth. She was a gem of all gems...wise, talented, faithful, steady, strong, graceful, patient, and loving. She is a woman I will always treasure, a lady I will always admire, a person I will always adore. 

One of my favorite shots of me and my grandparents, Jean and Ryo. This was taken on their back patio just a few weeks before I moved to Japan in 2015. 

One of my favorite shots of me and my grandparents, Jean and Ryo. This was taken on their back patio just a few weeks before I moved to Japan in 2015. 

God is good. All the time. And to end with a Psalm my sister sent me. How beautiful it is to praise God and His creation!! 

Psalm 65

What mighty praise, O God, belongs to you in Zion. We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you. Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, you forgive them all. What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What festivities await us inside your holy Temple.

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.

You formed the mountains by your power and armed yourself with mighty strength. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations.Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile. The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;  even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain.

They all shout and sing for joy!