17 November 2008

Church is fun.

I love the feeling you have after an excellent church service. When the pastor finished today I felt like jumping up and grabbing a flag and charging out to battle. Really motivating.

Well, let me go back a bit, explain things. For those of you who may not know, I love Jesus. I have been saved since mid-July of 2001, and love talking about my walk before and after that time with anyone who will listen. I also love hearing the testimonies of others.

I've had the opportunity to attend services in churches ranging from a dirt floor chapel in Mexico in a city barely recognized by the Mexican government, to worshiping in the largest church in the San Antonio area, John Hagee's Cornerstone Church (which is awesome, I highly recommend you attend).

I have been able to participate in some amazing things, none of which would have been possible prior to my salvation. I have helped build a church near the one I mentioned above in Mexico. I was able to be on the ground in New York two months after 9/11 and work with the Salvation Army to give gifts to children of families who had lost their jobs due to the tragedy, and in the same trip, I was able to feed 9/11 workers, firemen, and policemen who were helping to recover remains from the site. Those are two of my most memorable moments that God made possible for me to participate in and I'm sure they will be dwarfed by things He will call me to in the future.

I'm not trying to say "I am great" but that He is great for allowing me to be a part of these missions and actions. They would have been done had I not been there, by someone else who would have answered His call. I am thankful I was listening at the time to hear myself called.

The reason I am writing all of this is I want so share the joy I've been able to have while I've been a Christian. I am not one to push my beliefs on others, on the contrary, I very strongly believe in the free will to choose your life. I've chosen His path, and I'd love to tell you more about it.

27 October 2008


So, Emily calls me and says "Guess what your son is doing?". Naturally I know my son is awesome so I prepare myself. She said he was feeding himself by holding his own bottle.

Now, those of you who know us are aware we are fervent breastfeeding advocates, as there is no replacement for the natural food that was meant to be fed to children. Recently though Emily has found that Jackson sleeps better at night if he has a bottle of formula as his evening meal so we've been supplementing breast milk with some formula.

So, I know that every parent thinks their child is super in some way or another, but my boy seems to consistently do new and amazing things every day, or so Emily tells me. I believe her, as I've seen him roll himself over at two weeks, and demonstrate incredible newborn strength by lifting his head and pushing off my chest with his arms and legs several times. I unfortunately have to go with the photograph I am about to post, to see my son do his latest amazing feat, with more to follow I'm sure. So, here you are, my son, superbaby.

24 October 2008

Fishing in Japan

I was able to go fishing with my father-in-law recently while he and my mother-in-law visited Emily and I and it was some of the most fun I've had since we got to Japan. We actually went out fishing twice, once with the MWR rec shop on base and once with a professional guide we found in Nagasaki.
The MWR trip was fun, we went up towards Hirado and met with a Japanese fisherman who ferryed us out to a small island where we stayed for about five hours and fished. I caught five ugly cow fish and a decent sunburn. My father caught some sort of barracuda-tuna type fish as well, which was pretty cool looking.

The second trip we went on was made able to happen when we saw a fishing shop on the way home from the Nagasaki Bio Park (Zoo). We stopped in and through some Japanglish, charades, and my awesome translator friend, we booked a trip for a few days later. We arrived at the shop to a warm welcome of coffee and hard-boiled duck eggs. We visited somewhat and headed for the marina.

First we went a bit to the northwest, towards Sasebo harbor, and fished several spots along the way, but having no luck with getting any fish, we decided to go after some squid.

On the way back through the Sakai Channel, which has the strongest current in Japan, we got to see some awesome turbulence. This picture is of tidewaters rushing around a small island which holds a lighthouse. There were dozens if not hundreds of whirlpools, some were small, but some were very capable of swallowing a person. You can wear your lifejacket if you want, but its best to just stay in the boat, because no amount of personal floatation is gonna save you.

We fished for squid the rest of the trip, with my father catching five decent ones. I hooked a couple but wasnt able to land them. I did catch a pufferfish though, ugly thing. We then headed back to the shop where we had Japanese tea and sat around the fire for a while. Hiro-san, our guide, invited Emily and my mother-in-law to come out and go to see some fireworks in his boat, which we accepted and it was amazing.

01 October 2008

The picture you've all been waiting for...

Well, we have it. The long sought after, much talked about, and until now, only observed by my lovely wife and I. A picture of Jackson with his eyes open and in a good mood. Now, these were taken with my cellphone, so they aren't awesome, but they turned out pretty well. Emily and I call this his "lucid face" because he'll just sit and stare and look around at stuff and seem interested, almost like he's learning, taking things in. Anyway, here you go.

Absolutely the cutest thing I've ever seen. Thats all for today, hopefully we'll be bringing him home tomorrow, which will be approximately 7:00PM Wednesday home-time.

29 September 2008


So, everyone is asking about the infamous JapDreamy that Emily keeps talking about. Well, his name is Sakita-san, (san doesnt mean Mr., its just a suffix for someone's surname, it can mean Mr., Mrs., etc.)or Doctor Sakita (I believe that is how its spelled, have only heard it spoken and seen it written in kanji). He is very cool, very nice, very young. He has an excellent rapport with Em and talks to her very comfortably, so much so I think it intimidates him when I'm around, so I just keep to myself and nod when he says stuff. He speaks good English, but like many Japanese, they are shy, and nervous to speak to us in our language, afraid they don't speak it like we do. They know they learn book English, and we don't speak anything like book English, so they are always excited to pick our brains for words they don't know. Its fun to talk to them. Em and I try to use Japanese and they try to use English and we all laugh. Anyway, a picture of Sakita-San and Jackson is below.

Current update is that everything is well and Emily is up and around today, fully off pain meds. Only two days of painkillers is impressive even for her. She says she feels way better than she did after her surgery last summer, but this was more difficult. I think the payoff for this one makes it a better deal all around. It looks like we'll be getting out of the hospital on Friday or Saturday, according to Sakita-san.

The Japanese word of the day is Otokonoko/Otokonohito which roughly means boy/man, respectivly. I've been using my Japanese software, so I'll try to include a new useful word from now on.

My Son...

My Son... does many funny and cute things throughout the day. I thought I might try to capture some of them and share. He is quite expressive, in many ways. He may not always get his point across, but he sure lets you know he has one.

So, here are some examples of what I've seen my son do. He...

Yawns. Its really quite cute.

Has a hairy back. Kind of like Grandpa Mark. Is it sad that my son has more body hair than I do, because he does.

Sleeps really well, when he wants to. And when he is asleep, he is ASLEEP.

Takes naps with Daddy. Daddy can't wait to do this at home, and not in an uncomfortable hospital bed.

Gets angry. I call this his "consternated face".

Waves his arms while he sleeps, usually because he startles himself. Not enough to wake up, just enough to jump and throw his arms in the air. Really funny. Check out the cool baby Jedi robe. Unfortunately, they are hospital property, and I couldn't get it into Emily's purse before the army of nurses saw we'd changed him and snatched it up.

He also makes funny faces while he sleeps, sometimes right after scaring himself.

He does many more things, they just haven't been captured on camera yet. He squirms a lot, when he's not asleep.

I have to keep a good grip on him, he tried to escape once, no kidding, and can actually push himself away from me with his arms, a little.

He doesn't like hats, because a surefire way to get him to calm down is to take his off.

He doesn't like to sleep alone, because if he's in his bassinet, he'll holler and fuss, but if he lays down with Mom or Dad, he's just fine.

He can kick, well, sort of, he straightens his legs out and kind of does a bicycle thing if he's really angry.

He doesn't seem like he's only two days old, probably because we treated him like a baby when he was still in the womb. The day goes by fast just hanging out with him and Emily. It has made things easier though, because he knows our voices well and responds to them.

There will of course be more to follow, this is just what I did today.

27 September 2008

My son has been born.

Well, Jackson Ryan Pauley is now fully in this world. He was born via C-section at 1842 (6:42PM for you civilian folks) on 26 September, 2008. That is of course Japan time, he's almost a full day old now. He was 7.5 pounds and 19.7 inches long, and came out with a head of black hair. Emily and I both being blond babies don't know whats up with that, but who knows. I am just at home briefly to get some sleep and clean myself up before I head back to the hospital to see him and Emily. I unfortunately was not able to be present for the actual birth, since it was a surgical procedure, but I saw him when he was about 10 minutes old and was holding him five minutes after that. As the pictures will show, he's got lungs on him. The first picture is "Jackson's First Picture" as he is only seconds old. The second is him announcing himself to the world, or at least the operating room. Next is him in his cool little robe, and finally Jackson sleeping with his Momma. More to follow.

26 September 2008

Baby Soon!!!

It has been decided between Emily and I and our nice Doctor, that her labor is not progressing as it should. Therefore, Jackson Ryan Pauley will be born via Cesarean Section surgery at approximately 1530 Japan time (About 1130 PM Washington time) on September the 26th. Strangely, this is the ninth anniversary of Emily and I first meeting, which is a funny story, ask me and I'll tell you some time. I am cleaning up at home and am about to head back to the hospital to participate as much as they will let me. More info to follow.

23 September 2008

Japanese Hospitals

Well, once again, the Japanese take personal responsibility to a higher level. America could never handle the amount of work the patient is required to do in Japan.

Emily has to weigh and measure herself, go and get the necessary items to provide a urine sample, and then check in. She has to complete questionnaires on a regular basis, but at least the questions are different and pertain to important stuff. The Japanese do not often ask the same questions, so they communicate better than American hospitals, where you pretty much have to re-check-in on each floor/department you visit.

She is now 39 weeks pregnant, and about to give birth to my son, my first son, which by the grace of God and the mercy of the Navy which I so love, I have been allowed to stay with her for the birth and not hear about it from an American Red Cross Message.

She has to share a room with three other pregnant Japanese women, who laugh and giggle when she makes a confused face when she can't understand the nurses who try to speak English, but hey, they're Japanese. Some of them do very well, and some just prattle off in Japanese expecting their smile to get the meaning across, it doesn't, but at least they are nice about it. She has a community sink where all the females in the maternity floor do their morning business, and a community shower/bathroom in which they were so kind as to install two western-style toilets. Otherwise she would have to use this:

And there is a schedule for the showers. Always fun to wait in line with a bunch of hairy-legged pregnant women. Anyway, all of this is in her Blog as well, in much better detail than I can provide.

I'm writing today about an observation I had during the day Emily checked in, because I had to make multiple trips to the hospital with stuff for her, namely lunch, which she discusses also. I noticed that there are only four basic conditions in the entire group of Japanese I see at the hospital.

1. Old, there are a lot of really old folks in Japan altogether, and many of them are at the hospital. I'm not talking grey-haired aunt who makes cookies old, I'm talking bent-over, frail, nearly blowing away in the wind, about to turn to dust old. And these old folks are rugged, because I see them walking around on the streets all the time. Old folks live longer here, because they often do not end up in homes or living alone, the families take care of them.

2. Pregnant, I see lots of pregnant folks because I go see Emily on the preggo floor, where they are all over. I'm often the only male on the entire floor as well, because Japanese husbands arent often involved with the pre-birth stuff, and often not with post-birth, they are busy working.

3. Facial injury, I can't tell you how many Japanese I've seen with huge gauze bandages over one entire side of thier faces. How can so many people get who knows what to happen to an entire half of their face? I'm not talking bandaids, or light stitching, I'm talking car-wreck, third-degree burn, massive facial trauma. All ages too. Maybe its just that huge facial bandaging is very noticable, but I've seen way more than I do anywhere else.

4. Other, or otherwise fine outward appearance. Everyone else I see looks fine, or is in a support role. Like me, showing my wife to the maternity ward, or helping that loved one with the scald under the left eye, or guiding that elderly grandmother to the prescription counter.

05 September 2008

Ship Life

Well, I've had a dose of the ship, and its something else. I've never been in such close quarters with so many people for so long. Its not like shore where you can not only go home after work and be away, but during work you can always hop into a patrol car and drive around for a few hours by yourself. There are always people around, always. Its not too bad though, I get along with everyone, and we've gotten to where we've felt each other out and know what bothers each person. Some folks try too hard to hold onto the little bit of personal space that they have, and protect it. I say let it go, its calming. Relax and find personal space in your head, because we are all packed in here and not going anywhere. Just a short one today, some thoughts, comment if you like.