Monday, April 29, 2013

Tadake and Hiji Falls

What a fun day this was. After a week of rain and clouds while Lindsay was visiting, we finally had a sunny day to travel up north and see some beautiful waterfalls. And then like clockwork, the rain came downpouring as we sat down to dinner, ending our outdoor adventures. 

Tadake Falls was our favorite spot. The trail to get to the falls was the river itself. And then you round the corner, and behold this!
Then you can just play around and enjoy the falls. 
We decided to make the hike to the very top of the falls. It was a short hike, but it was pretty rough. But so much fun seeing the tiny people below.
Then, we ventured up to Hiji Falls. After a wrong turn that led to this dead end:
How crazy is that?? Anyway, we finally found the correct road to the falls. This hike was beautiful, but not as rugged/adventurous as Tadake. We couldn't play in the falls, and this is the closest to the falls we could go.
Suspension bridge:
At the beach before the rain came in.
And thus ended another beautiful day in Okinawa.

Last Year, This Year

Last year, we were here:
 This year, we found ourselves here (unintentionally doing the same pose):
I've been thinking a lot about our Europe trip we took at this exact time last year. It was such a treat to go explore Paris and London (and Romania) with my lovely husband.

How blessed I feel that I now find myself here in Okinawa with him. We love exploring this gorgeous island. He is so much fun to explore with. I have so much to be grateful for, and he's at the top of the list.

So, yeah, that's all.

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Doctor Fish

In Japan, it is all the rage to go to "Doctor Fish." There are little places all over where you can have fish eat the dead skin cells on your feet which they say is very therapeutic. Sounds disgusting, right? And, it kind of is. But, it was pretty fun!

Once the initial shock wears off...
Then we took turns in the pool with these little guys, and it was much more enjoyable than the big fish, where you could feel their mouths sucking on you. If you're grossed out, I know. I was too! 

 But, I think I'm converted. My feet did feel pretty good afterward.

Oh, Japan. I love you.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Our First House Guests!

My childhood friend Lindsay is an adventurous soul. She was one of our first guests when we lived in Virginia  and last week she made the trek to Okinawa to be our first visitor. And she had two guy friends who wanted to join in on the fun, so they came too! We love visitors.

I had a fun time doing some touristy things and showing them the joys of Okinawa.

Gorgeous scenery:
 Endless vending machines:
 Royal castles:
 And that's just a taste of everything we did. Bear with me as I blog a bit about it all, because we covered A LOT of this island and did so many fun things.

I realize that most of the pictures I took were just me and Lindsay. Here is proof that her friends were here too:
 This is where we snorkeled one day, and it was AMAZING. Can't wait to go back to this spot!

So when are YOU coming to visit?? I will refer you to Lindsay if you need to know if it's worth it. But I know she'll tell you it is. So just come, ok??

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ostler Family Photos

Back in December we took family pictures with my wedding photographer. He is great to work with and manages to make us all look good. I love these beautiful snowy pictures, so I wanted to share.  
We took a few in the studio too. They're ok, but the reason I love them is my darling niece. 
 Who maybe didn't enjoy the bright flashes all that much...
And then this happened. 
We like to recreate wedding poses. 
The photographer made us. 
I love my family. They're swell people.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Thank You, Mrs. Konigsburg

Children's book author E.L. Konigsburg passed away a few days ago. I have such an admiration for this woman, because she has helped me and so many others learn to love reading.

 I can think of a few monumental books that took me to the next level of book adoration and reading adventures. First it was Dr. Seuss in my very early years. Then it was the American Girl series (who even wrote all those?? I need to look). There was Judy Bloom, and Lois Lowry. And then there was From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil  E. Frankweiler. 

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil  E. Frankweiler is one of those novels that stays with you the rest of your life. What child didn't fantasize about running away from home to have some kind of grand adventure? E.L. Konigsburg took us on that adventure. We got to be a part of it, and we got to do it even if we lived nowhere near exciting New York City and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Twyla Tharp said about art (which includes novels, of course!): "Art is the only way to run away without leaving home." I just love that a novel can do that. And I am so thankful to have learned that at a young age thanks to those beloved writers, and especially E.L. Konigsburg. 

She is an inspiration to me because her goal was to help young people love to read. Reading has so many positive results, especially in children, and those who can create wonderful stories that inspire and enlighten and show children the joys of reading are heroes to me. 

I can't wait to read Mrs. Konigsburg's books to my own children. I will miss seeing new stories being published by her; she was writing novels well into her seventies. 

So thanks again, Mrs. Konigsburg. You will be missed. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Happy Sunday from Cape Maeda

It was a windy Sunday at Cape Maeda, and the waves were fierce. We stopped here after a Sunday drive to Cape Manzamo--I wanted to show it to Victor (now that he's finally back from Korea!) and our visiting friends because I think it's so pretty. 

Cape Maeda is a beautiful place as well and the diving/snorkeling is amazing over here. The staircase below is where Victor did his scuba certification a few months ago, but the red flag means that the sea conditions were too harsh for diving today. His pictures of the place are perfectly calm, but today was not the case. 
 It made me think to all the symbolism and analogies that we hear about our mortal lives being a voyage. I just got back from being a girls camp leader where the theme was "Anchored in Faith." I just love the imagery of anchors, lighthouses, etc. in describing our experience here on earth. The ocean can be a terrifying thing sometimes. It can be calm and peaceful one moment, and then all of a sudden you could be engulfed in a storm. (The Japanese sign described the sea conditions as "angry waves." I think it's appropriate).

It made me think of this amazing verse of scripture:
"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

I am just so incredibly thankful for these words. What an amazing comfort. And I know that it is a valid promise. Makes me think of the words of Jeffrey R. Holland: "He knows the way because He is the way."

I'm just so so happy to know this. I hope we never forget it.

Happy Sunday.

Aaaaaand, just as a side comment, Lindsay and I were feeling very Jane Austen-y in our maxi dresses and the pretty landscapes. We were pretending we were Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in this picture.    I think we succeeded.
Hmm, maybe not. 

Anyway, Happy Sunday!!