The lovely lady beside me in this pic is actually away at one of the ubiquitous End-of-the-Year parties, this one for her office.
Which leaves me alone to blog! 'Cause we all know that I much prefer to sit all alone in a cold apartment and type than be w/ my beloved wife. Oh yeah. Whatever.
Anyway, that's our Christ-mas tree behind us, a store-bought plastic one that has fiber optic wires for lighting and pre-installed colored plastic ornaments. Yes, it is GHETTO. But that's what we got, man, and that's the whole thing. Thanx to friends, however, we also have some cool snowman candles, two little doll figures of Mary and Joseph, some nice-smelling candles (most of which we gave as presents to others, but a few of which we kept) and, um, what else? We also bought a wreath which we hung outside, and we took in the strings of blinking Christ-mas lights that had previously been lining our front patio and put 'em up inside. So we've had a nice Christ-mas ambience for quite some time now. Add to that the gift CD of Handel's Messiah and we're Christ-mas Central for Kikai. Now we just need an animatronic Satan Claus to move around and say "Ho ho ho! Buy stuff!"
OK, so the weather here is LOUSY. The winds were gusting to 40 knots today and the ferries were all delayed at least 4 hours in the region. Which means that, if the same holds true tomorrow, we'll not be able (read: have to) to lave on the 4:50 am ferry from the faraway town of Somachi. Oh DARN IT!!!!!!!!! You mean the ferry might be delayed and leave at 9 am rather than 5 am? Hmm, delays.
On the other hand, rough winds mean rough seas, and so we go armed w/ plenty of seasickness meds. And we're definitely praying for smoother seas and no delays the next day when we go from Amamioshima to Naha, Okinawa. The bummer is that the ferry leaves in the morning, which means that we can't sleep overnight or anything. On the other hand, even on a night voyage, the lights in the common sleeping rooms never turn out, so you have to have a blindfold, or you just have to bear the lights on. All things considered, these ferries aren't that bad, but the way they just leave the lights on is a pretty big downer. I'm not fond of the way certain older men seem to think that a ferry trip is a great chance to get schmammered w/ their buds and talk loudly the whole time. Is it just me, or does the prospect of consuming 5+ cans of beer on a rocking, pitching ship sound a bit nauseating? Maybe I just don't have the right sealegs yet. Once I do, tossing back a few cold ones on board will be no sweat. Mondai nai.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to doing several things, such as partaking of the Eucharist at the Koza Baptist Church in Okinawa and fellowshiping w/ other Christians and actually going to church. Should be cool. Culinary delights also await - one of our friends has promised me a loaf of homemade banana bread. Oh yeah - I like the sound of that. Also, American restaurants w/ American burgers and stuff are there. And Chee-tos (hopefully/probably). That's not to say I can't make a good burger here at home and that our homemade French fries aren't pretty dang good (especially now that we have some Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning - thanx Mom and Dadd!) or that the snack foods like chips aren't great here, but there's just sthg about an American burger sometimes. And I'm a Chee-tos freak. So there you go.
On another note, I'm glad to be done w/ the Christ-mas presentations at the schools. Glad we got to do them, and we did like 16 of them total. Oooff. But now over a hundred people know the story of the Birth of our Savior who didn't know before, so I praise the Lord definitely for that.
Finally, I take a bit of time here to reflect on our recent miscarriage, since many of you our friends have asked and certainly more wonder about it. Aubrey is 100% physically healed up and feels good. Emotionally, I am the one who more often gets sad/melancholy over the past 2 weeks (we both felt fairly sad the first week). I don't always know why, but sometimes I see Sora's kanji name or think about her, or miss Aubrey being pregnant. Stuff like that, and I get a bit somber and reflective. Aub is quite understanding and is great at comforting me, to be sure. One might expect the woman to feel more of those feelings, I guess, but that's not the case so far. But I repeat that God is really helping us to move continually to an attitude of thankfulness for the gift of 8 weeks of pregnancy and also thankfulness for His having taken her home when He did. What can I say? He is all-sufficient and all-loving.
Praise be to God for His great condescending love and grace in clothing Himself in frail human flesh so as to save us, His good creation who have occupied ourselves w/ making ourselves less and less good every day. All thanks to Jesus, the Infant Savior! See you around New Year's!