The girls were practising Japanese 'letters' although Japanese writing looks more like art-strokes than that we would call 'letters'.
I asked Sumira how 'Julie' would be written in Japanese. She wrote it out phonetically like this.
I learned that the Japanese have a very interesting, unique custom in how they choose/determine the written form of a given name at birth.
Sumira explained that that the above phonetic writing of my name is not how I would write it if I was 'Japanese'. Seeing my name written phonetically would tell the reader that I was a foreigner.
If I was born Japanese and my parents named me 'Julie', they would then choose from pages and pages of possibilities a Konji name. If I understand it correctly - it is like Julie having multiple ways of writing it each pronounced 'Julie' but each having a different meaning.
Japanese parents with great care search out just the right Kongi name that will perfectly fit their child.
I asked Sumira what my Konji name would be and she immediately showed me, on her iphone, pages of Konji possibilities for 'Julie' and wanted me to choose one. I had no idea how to choose - they all looked complicated and meant nothing to me. So I smiled and said "You choose one for me!"
She thoughtfully searched the list going up and down.. stopping at one here and there, considering but then moving on. Suddenly, she highlighted one, clicked on it and said confidently, "This one!"
She showed me how to write it.
And she said, "Tree" and "mountain".
I gasped... She of course could not have known, but those who know me well know that I have a deep love of trees! My son-in-law teases me that I take more photos of trees than anything else.
So it was very meaningful to me that Sumira, not knowing me at all, would choose for me the meaning of 'tree' and of course I live on a mountain... surrounded by mountains so that too was fitting.
One of my favourite scripture passages is the first Psalm where verse 3 says ..
"He (she) shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper."
Jeremiah 17:8 adds details to this picture comparing the one who loves God and His word to a tree.
For he (she) shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
What a beautiful picture this is !
We are planted - God planted us and we are meant to grow !
We are beside the water - we are planted beside the water - so we can always drink deeply of the
Water of Life
We bring forth fruit --------fruit of the Spirit in character , and fruit as in adding to the kingdom harvest.
Our leaf shall not wither----in Christ we thrive in all areas of our life - nothing about us, nothing in our life is in vain or not useful in God's hand for good!
Our leaf will be green ----- there is no detail of our life that God is not concerned about and providing for - not one 'leaf 'will lose it colour!
Our roots are spread out --what security we have when our faith is rooted deeply - no matter what happens we cannot be 'uprooted'. We will STAND.
We do not fear even when heat comes -- we have our roots in the Water of Life... The heat of circumstance or sorrow or persecution holds no terror for us.
We will not be anxious in times of drought - we are not anxious no matter what happens around us, it is no threat to us.
We do not cease yielding fruit - God's purposes in us and through us will not cease - in Him we continue to grow and be blessed and be a blessing to those around us !