7 from the previous 7 {2008}

First of all, I just gotta say that this little review is reminding me that I have had lots of different hair styles in 7 years. From very very short to growing it out. Whoa.

Okay…2008. I had to dig for some pictures here since most of this year was spent apart. I’m so thankful we started the year with Mandy taking these pictures of us and that we got a great picture with Peanut since those would end up being our last. I look at this picture and am also reminded of the Vietnamese taxi driver asking us if we were brother and sister. No wonder our kids look like twins.
Anyway, we started the year with the hike from hell. It was gorgeous, don’t get me wrong. But I barely saw any of what we were crossing since I was sliding down the mountain on my butt hanging on to blade grass. The grass is appropriately named…it was so sharp. I’m glad we had gloves or you would have had to come vert-rep me out of that one. Remember Peanut chasing the pig and we thought she was going to die? Guam really is a beautiful place…but the hikes aren’t always as easy as rated.

I’ll never forget the beginning of this next deployment because I got to leave first. My classes began before you were to leave and I don’t ever think I’ll forget how horrible that was. My eyes could easily swell up thinking of the deep deep sadness I had of leaving you…especially after all we had been through that previous fall. It was the beginning of my spiral downward and I was leaving you and going to a place where no one knew me. No friends, no family, no nothing…except Jesus. I tried so hard all the way back to Cali on that C-17 to read the Islam book you gave me…but I seriously cried the entire time. I think if I was to gather all those tears I cried that year, it would fill a lake. You truly were my strong suit during this time and I had to learn that I only needed Jesus, even though I desperately wanted you to walk through the next months of healing with me.

So you went to do this…and had a great time doing it. I’m thankful you had a very rewarding and fulfilling det. I’m sad you won’t be able to repeat this experience. I loved seeing the great leader and teacher come out in you…from afar.

Little did I know Biola was the place I was to go to be put back together. God was so gracious and so specific in how He lead me to this gem, Debi. I sit here dumbfounded of how to explain the gift she was to me. I was challenged to see God in new ways…I accepted how He wanted to speak…you listened and supported from afar…and my heart and hurtful memories were forever transformed. I don’t have pictures of that semester…but I have them engrained in my mind. Thank you for still walking through that with me thousands of miles away.

That April we got the call that Peanut had been shot…and while we can smile about this now, it was quite the base drama that we got to miss out on. Thankfully everyone was ok and thankful she was just a dog. I wonder how long they froze her body at the base vet as evidence for that guy’s investigation. I was so sad to tell you she had died…but at least there is a dog park on base now. It should be named ‘Peanut Memorial Park.’

We knew this would be a very long deployment…almost 10 months. While you got to pull into Guam or other ports and not be greeted by me (like the other guys), I was so thrilled to get back into Guam one night and fly out the next day to Japan to see you. Giddy was an understatement. Just like you told me the other night…I was new in so many ways and I loved being there with you. But that bus ride was a bit long.

We ate lots of great food. We bought pottery. We got drenched in the rain. We walked around and looked at temples. We ate incredible sushi. We saw a guy in pink pantaloons. That was a great reunion that got us over the hump of long deployment.

I went back to Cali for my last grad class and ended up missing your homecoming by a few hours. I still hold a grudge toward the 19 year old punk at Hickam that wouldn’t ask the pilots to take me with them. But you did meet me at the airport with a rose (that you were given when you got back..haha).

We began soaking up all we could in Guam knowing we would be leaving soon. Haputo was my favorite. More diving. The warm tropics. Loved it, even though we came back with more wrinkles…

Your parents came out for a visit in November, which was great. We You fried turkeys (like 15 of them?) and began drinking beer at 10am on Thanksgiving. My, how things have changed.

I forgot about this picture…and how much I love all these people. Our Guam parents and our Texas parents.

More disappointment came that winter when fitreps didn’t turn out like we hoped. But God had more in store for that process once we got to Corpus. You still ended your tour well and I think we were both sad to leave a healthy squadron and so many great people. Here we were getting all spiffy for the Change of Command Dinner.

The year ended gearing up for our big adventure to New Zealand…we saved, we got a renter for our house, and then we splurged on that trip. Thanks, Ken, for that great advice.

For me, this was a turning point year in living a more abundant life…learning how to walk in freedom…loving you better…and expecting greater things from God than I ever had. While treacherous, I’m so very thankful for 2008.

And here’s another bonus picture…the carabao at Rota Walk. I mean who doesn’t mix Christmas caroling, Santa, and a live nativity with a  carabao? Only on Guam.

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