Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Church bells

There is something that makes me homesick here in Okinawa...Church Bells.I grew up in a small town in nothern Ohio, I went to a quaint church on the east side and I loved to hear the church bells ring. I could hear them all the way at our house. Especially in the spring, summer and fall when our window were wide open and the wind from Lake Erie would almost carry the sound of "my bells" into my room. Such a sweet simple memory.

Here on Okinawa I hear church bells, but I cannot figure out where they are coming from. Several times a day, I hear the familiar sound of church bells and it takes me back in time. I reminds me of cool summer nights sitting on the front porch eating popsicles.

The first time my children heard them here they had no idea what they were. I was shocked that they had missed out on church bells. What a very sad thing to grow up without, luckily my kids have now heard the sweet sound of our very own church bells. I pray they make good memories with this beautiful simply music in the backdrop that will one day carry them back to their childhood and they too will recall... it was good!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

4 things I am thankful for...

Most people are thankful once a year, they take this season and rejoice in their blessings.
I am thankful everyday. I blessed beyond measure everyday of my life, I have 3 amazing children and my best friend is my husband. They share their lives w/ me everyday, every breath and every moment. It's an honor! Thank you Lord for my family, my everyday blessing, that Mark is home this holiday season, that You Reign on High guiding each of our footsteps setting our paths in Your will. All the days of my life I will praise You. Thank you for these 4 beautiful blessings.

P.S. Mark really isn't as mean as he looks in this picture!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The News...

These past months have been a whirlwind. Let's recap... We traveled by minvan some 3,000 miles from Jacksonville NC to Seattle Washington. Which was the time of our lives, we absolutely loved it! So we could then jump on some planes, to go from Seattle to Okinawa Japan. Then we lived in a Japanese hotel for 3 weeks until we could move into our estate! Our mansion if you will, shrunk about in half from our home in the states. Bought two used cars so we could learn to drive on the opposite side of the car and road all the while being told that we are considered 'professional drivers' by local standards! 2 days after moving into our home, school started. Not any ole' school, MIDDLE SCHOOL for 2 boys and our last and final year in elementary school for K80! That alone will cause any mom to crawl under the sofa never to come out! Did I mention that the government furniture is FANTASTIC! The whole family jumped full force into Boy Scouts. Caleb started the swim team, which is a 40 minute drive to the pool and back 3 days a week. Katie was elected Student Council President. Seth started band... trumpet, loving the practicing at home! I joined a women's Bible Study and became a MOPS mentor mom for our church. Mark works an average of 10-12 hours a day, his life hasn't changed too dramatically unless he leaves a base after 7pm at night. (That is another story for another blog entry!)

So yes there is LOTS of news to tell, but the best of all is we have been selected as the "Marine Corps Family of the Year 2010" by the National Military Family Association. We are deeply honored and humbled by this award. It was a huge shock and we are blessed beyond measure to receive this distinction.
NMFA history is remarkable :this organization was founded by military wives in 1969 who wanted their widowed friends to be properly cared for.

Their mission is honorable: To fight for benefits and programs that strengthen and protect uniformed services families and reflect the Nation's respect for their Service. (LOVE IT!)

The NMFA has many programs that benefit military families. My favorite it Operation Purple Camp aka OPC! This program has enabled our children to attend a traditional summer camp for the past 3 years. What a tremendous blessing! Ya'll know how much I value summer camp and love the experiences kids have while attending. However... I wish my children never qualified for this camp. In order to attend OPC the camper's parent must have been or will be deployed within so many months of the summer camp. We qualified 3 years in a row, telling you Mark's deployed A LOT! I am forever grateful of the experiences my children have had at summer camp through OPC, but I love it MORE when Mark is home, in our country and in our home. With that said... OPC is looking for donations large or small in any amount to help support sending military kids to summer camp. Think back to all the fond memories you have of summer camp, share that joy with a military child this summer... Donate today! For more information on OPC or to donate click here!

Life is busy for everyone, sorry it took me so long to 'share the news'! This being Veteran's Day weekend take a moment to give thanks to God for the blessings our Nation has... Freedom from tyranny, Freedom to chose our elected officials, Freedom to worship the One True God, truly the list is endless. Then take it one step further and call the Veterans you know and thank them for their service. You truly never know how much that will mean to them. They need to know their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families are not forgotten and are sincerely appreciated.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No School...

Sorry I mean...

So tomorrow 3 ladies and 7 great preteens and 1 sweet toddler are going to
Ryukyu Mura!
You can read all about it here!
Or wait to read all about it on here (my blog) later!
I can't wait it should be a lot of fun!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's a Lie... a Bold Face Lie!

I bet that title got your attention huh! Today I am venting! UGGHH!!!

Last week, I specifically went to the base gas station at 11:15 am, it is the only way to get affordable gas! I went with the sole purpose of getting pampered, using the drive thru car wash and picking up the mail! I was shocked and stunned as I sat in my car and no one came to pamper me! I sat in my car for a few minutes, no one came out. I got out began pumping the gas, a worker walked right by didn't say anything, he looked busy so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Next pulls up another car, and elderly gentleman with his wife. He sat and waited, still nothing. He finally got out hobbled to the other side of the car and pumped his own gas. Next comes 2 more cars... waiting, then a fellow mom in a minivan with 1 sleeping baby and 2 screaming toddlers! All she wants is some pampering... I motioned to her that no one was assisting us. She then pointed at the sign, the same sign I am standing next too! I shrugged my shoulders and gave her a huge SAD face. She backed up, rolled down her window, and said "all I need is a little pampering today!" I could hear the kids screaming and crying. I felt for her... she drove away.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention... the stupid car wash was broken too, and there was no love in the mailbox, not even a bill! Complete and total wasted trip...
Why can't a girl get pampered around here!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Doctor Fish...?

Yep, bet you're wondering what that title is all about; you are about to find out!
Okinawans love a good pedicure and one way they keep their feet so soft and supple is by going to the Fish Doctor. We went to one in American Village a few weeks ago! It was ALL Mark's idea, I've wanted to try it since we got here but figured I would have to go alone or w/ girl friends. Nope, Mark too me, and he did it too! You place your feet into this little pond and the fish (called Garra Rufa look like miniature carp!) eat the dead skin off your feet! It doesn't hurt at all, it's quite amazing. Tickles a little bit but not bad, and boy does it make a difference. So when you come to visit be prepared for a trip to the Doctor Fish!
Yummy... It honestly reminds me of Camp Koinonia, we used to rest the soles of our feet at the surface of the first pond and the fish would come "kiss them". I now know they were really giving me a high priced pedicure, and if I remember correctly my feet rocked the flip flops all of those summers at camp!

Everyday Life in Okinawa....

These are just a few pictures taken over a couple weeks span... regular life in Okinawa!
These signs line the fences that surround our bases over here. This one is just outside of the base we live on... it's just part of life.
This place hasn't opened up yet. It's just outside the gate from where Mark works. I can hear it now, gotta go into work. I've got a working breakfast! America might have IHOP but we've got OHOP!

Don't ya just love these... their birthday candles in Kanji! I love 'em, so so cute! I have no idea what they say but I think they are so adorable and I've never seen any candles look like these!

Japanese payphone! So cute... I really want one for my home and to bring back to the states!
This is a kids meal in Japan! Yep, a little bit of a lot of different foods. In reality that's how many of the dishes are over here. This particular one is much "Americanized" for us! The empty bowl is for the ice cream bar, many restaurants have those! Yep, Mark's in HEAVEN! Take a peak at the little hot dogs cut to look like little octopus. Shrimp prawns are also very popular, K80 and Caleb love them; Seth not so much.