Thursday, August 29, 2013

Under the Sea

Finally got my hands on an underwater camera for today's snorkel session with my girlfriends. Now you can see the amazing coral reef that surrounds Okinawa. This place is incredible and I never want to take this for granted. Where people travel thousands of miles for a snorkeling paradise vacation I only have to drive 20 minutes. So amazing!
^^^I call this drop off the grand canyon because you're swimming along the reef and all of a sudden it's this awesome drop off into the blue. I love it^^^
^^^hundreds of fish!!^^^

^^^I'm being like a kid: look at the fish!!^^^
^^^I have found almost the entire cast of Finding Nemo under the sea, including clown fish! They're shy so they're harder to spot. The only one I haven't found yet is Dory. Still looking!^^^
Just another beautiful morning in paradise. Until next time.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Books I've Read so far in 2013

I wish that I had read more for these first six months of 2013, but I guess eleven books is still ok. 

Most of these books I read for my book club. Some of them I might not have read otherwise, like the zombie novel, so it's been good to expand my reading genres. Did I mention that I loooove my book club here? The key to a great book club is good food, open minded people who don't refuse to read stuff because it's out of their interests, and consistency in meeting. The book club I'm in here in Okinawa is all of those things, and honestly it makes me so happy. I loved my book club in Virginia and was sad to leave it because I was worried I wouldn't find one here, but it's been great. We have been meeting consistently since February. So happy about that!

I'm almost finished with The God Who Weeps so I just decided to include it. It's a great book so far. Beautifully and logically written.

I loved The Fault in Our Stars.
I liked And the Mountains Echoed
I didn't want to like Gone Girl because it was cray cray, but I couldn't put it down. Total page turner.
And all the other ones were ok too, but not my favorites.

On to the last half of 2013! Here's to even more reading. Please give me suggestions. Pretty please. I'm open to all genres and I would love to hear what you've been loving to read lately.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Guest Bedroom: A Room of Refashioning

It's been fun putting together my guest bedroom but kind of a challenge because the room is full of the government loaner furniture that I whined about a few months ago. You know? The furniture that I can't paint or do anything else to? Let me refresh your memory:

So, the first project was the bed. Thanks to a suggestion from an amazingly creative friend, I decided to buy a bunch of fabric and sew a slip cover of sorts for the headboard. This project was so much easier than I anticipated. It literally was two seams!

As you can see, the nightstands are pretty ugly too, so in an effort to jazz them up I bought some paper and put them in the drawer panels to give a splash of color and hopefully distract from the ugliness. Honestly, I'm not completely satisfied with it, but I guess that's just how it goes with ugly government furniture.
^^^photo bomb of my current house guest^^^

Also, that glass decor thing on the night stand used to look like this. Yay for spray paint!!
Another refashion that I had fun doing was refashioning a bunch of antique doilies last seen at my wedding. I love love love doilies but it's hard to decorate with them without having your house scream "old lady." That's why I love pinterest. So many great ideas for doily crafts. 
 So there you go! I just really want the guest bedroom to be a space where you can relax and feel at home. It's pretty feminine, but since most of our guests so far have been girls, I'm ok with that. I also like to come and chill in here sometimes since it's the one room in my house that's guaranteed to be clean all the time.

What do you think?? Any other suggestions welcome!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Little Pick-Me-Ups and Tender Mercies

I got in a car accident yesterday.

Thankfully my anxiety levels about dealing with it have stayed pretty low because the accident was not my fault, but it still sucks. My poor pink car.

But as I've reflected on the events of that long hot afternoon of dealing with the aftermath, I realize how much I have to be grateful for. Small little tender mercies that make me feel blessed. Thankful that even though my teeny Japanese car was hit with full impact, I walked away with just some whiplash and a couple of bruises. Thankful that the other Japanese family that got hit didn't get hurt either. Thankful for bilingual passerbys who helped translate for the police before the military police arrived with their translator. Thankful for free towing in my insurance coverage.

But I'm especially thankful for the fact that I was able to miraculously contact my husband and that he was able to come and be with me (he's been on a rigid 80+ hours work schedule away from his actual work place). Such a comfort.

And I feel so blessed that as I see where I got hit and where I ended up, that it wasn't a lot worse and that there weren't more cars involved. My car managed to spin 180 degrees up the sidewalk and didn't hit the trees, or the poles, or any other cars. Tender mercy.
As I sat waiting for my tow truck after the police and everyone had left, I was waiting with the cute Japanese family who also got hit. We both were using our translator apps to try to communicate which was pretty comical. I saw the little kids fanning themselves so I said one of the few Japanese phrases I know: it's hot!

I think they appreciated my tiny effort because they went over to the vending machine an brought me a bottle of water. That little act of kindness made my day. I'm always blown away by the sweet kindness of the Japanese. It really did lift my spirits.

So many small little things. But they all combine to help remind me that God knows who I am and that He's watching out for me.

"I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. [...] I have come to better understand that the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."
--David A. Bednar from this beautiful talk 

Man, I love the way he puts it. So amazing and so true.

Have a great day! And send happy thoughts my way that my dear Rosie isn't totaled. I find out tomorrow. Thank you, thank you. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What's Been Annoying Me Lately.

I think it's time I go back to my roots on this little blog. This includes my ranting ha ha. So, the last time I looked, it's been over a year since I did a "pet peeve" post. Don't believe that I'm now cured from letting so many things get on my nerves. Ha ha. It's funny thinking about it. Nope, I'm still the same old ranting Annie. I guess I've just been outsourcing my rants to easy outlets like my husband. But my husband has been working 12 hour shifts seven days a week for the last month, so it's all been building up, I suppose.

I've been getting pretty upset lately seeing the complete decline of etiquette and propriety in our society. I would have fit in very well in pretty much any society before 1970 or so. Any society that put great emphasis on etiquette. I'm the type of person who consults Emily Post frequently to see if I'm justified in my pet peeves. And I usually am.
^^^Emily Post: My hero^^^

Case in point: wedding registries and bridal/baby showers. For years I have cringed every time a wedding invite comes with the wedding registries boldly printed on them. Yours might have been one of them. I don't hold it against anyone, because it's become an acceptable thing. But for me it's not. You're just not supposed to put that there, implying "hey! buy me presents!" As engaged couples, we're all thinking it, but we should still be polite and not presumptuous about it. I refused to put my registries on my wedding invitation and so many people seemed so confused when they had to ask me, parents, etc. if we had a registry. But that's how it used to be!! You asked. Or went to the department store and asked them. Of course it's never been like that in my lifetime, but I wish that etiquette would return.

What brought on all of this? Well, just a few days ago, I ran into a friend at the post office who opened a wedding invitation she had received. And I saw a new low--possibly a new trend in wedding gifting. The insert read, "the couple is registered at [store], but in lieu of gifts, cash donations are appreciated for honeymoon expenses." I've also been seeing "cute" but incredibly tacky pinterest ideas to put a "honeymoon donation box" out at the reception. Blatantly asking for cash, to me, is in very bad taste. I just don't agree with it!! Emily Post would not approve either. And yes, I did receive a lot of cash when I got married (and it was great) but I made sure to not give off any airs that I was asking for it or expecting it.

Same thing goes for bridal/baby showers. It's not cool to go out and ask who is going to host you a shower. And yes, I just saw this happen on a facebook group a week or so ago, and I was in shock. It's nice to have a shower, but it seems the social norm is becoming to expect everyone to give them everything instead of viewing a shower as an "unexpected" bonus of getting married/having a baby.

Basically this is just a plea for etiquette. Bring back the manners!

For the sake of this not turning into a super long blog post, I think I'll leave it at that, even though I have a few more things. I always do. So stay tuned for my upcoming post in this series about pinterest trends that need to go away, newborn photography, and Brad Pitt false doctrine.

Thanks for reading, and stay classy!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Happy Sunday from Cape Hedo

"Oh Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom thou hast made them all: the earth is full of thy riches."
-Psalm 104:24

Cape Hedo is the very most northern tip of the island. Now I've been to the very north, and the very south (written about here). That giant bird is the scenic overlook tower---it's huge. It's cool to see how the geography differs from the north and south. Personally I prefer the north since I have a love for mountains, but man, this whole island is so beautiful. 

There are so many beautiful places all over this earth. It's such a blessing to be able to see some of that diverse beauty. And honestly, living here now helps me appreciate the beauty of where I grew up in Utah, and other places I have lived. It helps me recognize the beauty of all of God's creation. I love this earth.

Whenever I think of the creativity of God, I always think of these wonderful words:
"Remember that you are spirit [sons and] daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination." {Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

Hope you have a happy Sunday. Love you all!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Our Photography Secret

Ever been on vacation with a friend or significant other and you want a picture of you two and you either:
a) hate stopping strangers to take your picture
b) do ask the stranger and then your photo doesn't turn out the way you want and you don't want to be a snob and ask them to take it again
c) want to take a cheesy or silly picture and feel stupid asking a stranger to take it while you make out with your husband and do some other silly pose. 
d) or there could simply be no one around
or e) all of the above??

So, if this blog were ever popular enough to have a "faq" section, the most frequently asked question from my devoted readers (those readers being my mom, sisters, and facebook friends. love you guys) that I get is who do we get to take all the pictures of us in our various shenanigans. Pictures like this:
And this:
^^^just got really homesick for NYC...and Sarah^^^

One person asked if we hire a photographer to follow us and take our picture in front of tourist destinations. Ha ha. No, we don't. We just travel with this little thing that Victor is carrying in the picture below:
That little thing that easily travels and fits in a bag or a backpack is our tripod. My dad gave it to Victor a couple Christmases ago and it has been one of our favorite gifts. All you do is open it up and it snaps into place and looks like this:
 So, there's our secret. All those pictures above were tripod pictures. And most of them were the second or third...or fourth try. We're becoming pros at it. And we do not use it when we are in places like Manhattan or London. Those places are way too crowded to try that. That's when we ask strangers and hope for the best.

So yeah, I highly recommend it. Happy photo taking!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What a Perfect Day in Okinawa Usually Looks Like

 A day at my all time favorite beach.
Snorkeling. Swimming. Sun bathing. Snow cones.

On days like these, my girlfriends and I sit in bafflement that this is where we live. We play the song game of how many songs we can think of that have the word "paradise" in them. (Did you ever play this game? Or was it just me and my sisters? ha) We also feel bad that our husbands are at work (or deployed) and can't be there with us.

Such a beautiful beautiful place this is. I love it so much!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Married Conversations

Both Victor and I celebrated our birthdays this past week. We were the same age for two days until Victor turned 27. I guess my question was meant to ask about what I have to look forward to in my year of being 26.

Me: "So, what was your favorite part of being 26?"
Victor: "Getting really good credit."

Not really the answer I was looking for, but hey, I do appreciate his maturity.