Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

Another incredible day!!! I love celebrating the birth of Jesus with our friends, Okinawa style!! Living out of the United States affords us the opportunity to spend Christmas doing stuff we may not usually do in the states. We started our day chatting with some family and friends in the states. I listened in on the conversation Bill had with our God-child, Jake, and it brought me to tears, as usual. Jake was explaining, I learned later, that the families’ new van had a gaming system in it. He seemed to be more excited about that than the presents he received for Christmas.

Then we joined the Sutton family for Christmas brunch at the Butler O’ Club. Where else can you enjoy brunch on Christmas day? Since I nor Jennifer are known for our kitchen skills this was great for us!! We all got to enjoy whatever foods we wanted, visited in between bites and we didn’t have to do a single dish!!! We love that!!! After our Christmas tree photo ops we were off to visit with the Hanson family. I wish I would have taken pictures of the twins in their Christmas jammies – the polka dot number was way too cute!!!!

Then we made our way home so I could make Old Fashion Wassail, do the dishes, catch up on Facebook and feed Socks!!! Doing the dishes on Christmas day was not my highlight but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!!! Once our festive drink was ready for consumption we headed to the Bales home for dinner. I was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t take pictures here, either – ugh!!! The good news is that I have the wonderful memories of fabulous food, fun and fellowship. We were blessed by friends of the Bales who sang several Christmas songs for us after dinner – they were just four of the 28 guests that enjoyed a sit-down meal organized by Melanie. She sure is the hostess with the mostess!! I seem to be very blessed by having friends who love to cook and host gatherings that I get invited to!!! Praise God for those who are not kitchen-challenged or I’d starve to death!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Great Christmas Eve - Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

I have to say this is one of my favorite Christmas Eves that I can remember! I have had an AWESOME day and I feel blessed by the friends God has given me here while I’m in Okinawa. Great relationships can make any duty station bearable and I have met some gems on this island who made today a special day for me!!! My day started out snuggly warm after my hubs figured out that we really do have heat in our off-base home. This might not seem like a big deal since we live on a tropical island but it gets down right cold in the Courtney area, especially since we live close to the water. Since I didn’t have to thaw myself out this morning I hit the ground running.

I spent a small portion of my morning with Kristen and her two, adorable kids. You have just gotta meet Owen (AKA the big “O”) and Allison. Owen loves baseball and Allison has the best wardrobe staff in town. Check out my blog soon for Christmas updates to see these two cutie pies. We were able to visit with a few ladies about PWOC who are new on-island at the newcomer’s brief. Yeah – new friends to invite to lunch and grow in the Lord together!!! Then I headed back home to my least favorite place on-island: the commissary. Can you believe I stepped foot in that place on Christmas Eve – what was I thinking??? What I wasn’t thinking was that the ingredients for Old Fashion Wassail do not grow in my fridge or cupboards and the items needed to be purchased before said store closed. So off I went and I was able to find everything I needed. Hear my heart: I don’t hate the Courtney commissary due to any fault of it’s own. I hate grocery shopping in general which adds to my distaste in cooking. Another blog brewing out of that comment!!!!

After I survived the commissary I returned home to hang out with my faithful companion, Socks, and listen to more Christmas music. Can you ever tire of hearing Reba sing “Mary, Did You Know?” or Amy Grant sing “Breath of Heaven”? I was so inspired that I finally dragged myself out of the blogging rut I was in and updated my blog – check it out and enjoy the cool Christmas tunes I have waiting there for your listening enjoyment!!! Thanks, Kristen, for making me look so smart by teaching me how to add music to my blog – great to have smart friends in my circle!!!

The real fun began at Torii Chapel tonight as we joined many military families celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We spent most of the Christmas eve service singing Christmas hymns in the Army’s beautiful chapel. I love to praise and worship amongst friends and this night was perfect for celebrating the best Christmas gift ever given!!!

We continued our fun night celebrating with the Hanson family over dinner. Our original plan was to meet John , Mindy and friends at a local Japanese place for dinner. The problem was when we got there they were no longer serving food, just desserts. This is one of those quirky things that happens on Okinawa that you never get use to!!! I have nothing against desserts, as most of you know, but we were all hungry for food and not sweets. So we moved to plan “B”: Jack’s Place on Kadena. We closed out our evening over plates of food, smothered in garlic and endless conversation and a ton of Christmas pictures by the Christmas tree!!! I almost cried tonight as I was hugging Toni goodbye – I was thinking how blessed I am for God to continue to bring the most incredible people into my life. Though it’s hard to spend special occasions away from “home” God softened the blow with great new memories I can blog about!!! Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy 233rd Birthday Marines!

I'm really late in posting this occasion but I figured better late than never. These are the photos taken at both Marine Corps Balls we attended this year - November 2008!!! This is my favorite picture of us. It's rare that the two of us are smiling in the same photo so this one will go down in history as one of my favorites!!!

Bill and Buster, his faithful golf partner!!!! These two must go to the same tailor and barber!!!
Brad and Shannon Hawkins are a couple we hang out with almost every Saturday. We drag a few other people along and try new restaurants in the area. The Hawkins celebrated their first year of marriage December 22nd - Congratulations!!!
Ginger is a friend I met through the Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) and both our husbands work in the Courtney area!!! Ginger is also the mastermind behind Memory Women - that's another blog for another time!!!!!
I've decided since Bill gets to wear a uniform that I would start a new tradition of "wearing" my Marine Corps ball uniform. I had this jacket made in Okinawa the last time we were stationed here!!! With different pieces of jewelry it almost looks like a whole new outfit, right?

The Marine Corps Ball is never complete without the traditional ceremony that includes the cutting of the cake. Bill had the honor of being the oldest Marine at our Company Ball this year. The tradition is for the oldest Marine to pass down the hard-fought traditions of the Marine Corps to the youngest Marine in attendance. This is done by cutting and passing down a piece of the cake. Though Bill was not technically the oldest Marine in attendance he was the oldest one that wasn't a guest or the guest of honor. If Bill is the oldest Marine than what does that make his wife - the oldest Marine Corps wife? UGH!!!! Regardless, I love the many traditions the Marine Corps fights hard to foster and I always get teary eyed during every ceremony!!!