2008 Olympics, amen, america, Kristin Armstrong, nostalgia, Okinawa

Tearing up for Kristin—GOLD for Kristin Armstrong

Happiness doesn’t begin to cover the emotions I have for my friend, Kristin. She won the GOLD!!!

She was always the girl who could do any sport. She always went Varsity in any thing she tried out for…even if it was her first time to play that particular sport. She blossomed into this amazing athlete before my eyes over my junior and senior year in school.

In basketball I made junior, as a Senior, and she made Varsity, as a Junior underclassmen.

At Kubasaki High….underclassmen got tied up to the flag pole for attempting to enter Senior Hall. Where only Seniors were allowed…because as Seniors we had our own special place by right, I made room in my locker for her because she hung out with most of us Seniors anyway…

We made an exception for Kristin as she was special…as special as they come.

Congrats my friend…I couldn’t be prouder of you. I knew you’d have this moment! I knew you’d get your gold….

You’re GOLDEN girl!
Me, Meredith, and Kristin our during my junior year, and her sophomore year.

Kristin and me on graduation night from Kubasaki High School, on Okinawa, Japan.

Kristin came to see me, and another friend, graduate and leave. It was emotional not just for the obvious reasons as life was changing. People were growing up and moving on. BUT we lived on an island across the globe and were flying thousands of miles away, where a weekend trip home to see your high school buddies wasn’t the norm, like most college kids.

We knew we wouldn’t be home to see our friends unless it was during Christmas or Summer breaks. And my first Christmas I didn’t even go home. I stayed here and didn’t get to see my family and friends…. Yes that night was an overwhelming night for many reasons.

I’m overwhelmed in a good way now! True happiness is when your dear friend go on to do things you knew they had in them. Tears of happiness are the only way I can express it.

Thank you Lord for answering my prayers and giving Kristin the gold. Go here to see her win on video…but be prepared..it’s long but worth it.

allergies, food, health, medical, Okinawa, Oklahoma

A Surprising Find

I had to post this here as well as one of my other sites-Restaurant Alert. It was just to cool not to share.

Shiki Restaurant in OKC has always been a great place for lunch. I’ve been a few times, but with so many Japanese restaurants to choose from here in the metro it’s hard to remember which one I like best. It has always been good, but not someplace that stood out for me as exceptional.

We went last week again for my dad’s birthday. He’d never gone and had driven by a few times, curious to what it was about. I looked forward to trying it again to see how they handled my husband’s food, as he’d never been either.

If any of you have read through this site, than you know my husband’s food allergy situation. Wheat is not only a danger, but a threat to his existence. So anything cooked on a hibachi with Soy sauce would be detrimental to his health. Usually at most Japanese places, we struggle to communicate to the cooks who don’t speak much English. We cross our fingers and hold our breath that no cross contamination happens with my husband’s food.

Shiki exceeded my hopes for a night out with my family. We had no communication barrier, as the cook spoke excellent English. Instead of cooking my husband’s food ‘special’, which would leave me watching the grill the whole time to make sure his food stayed seperate, he cooked all ours special to make sure no one had to watch out for anything.

All our food was cooked with butter, and olive oil with no soy sauce. Now all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the show he put on, rather than sitting and waiting to see how how the ‘special’ food was cooked. He took such good care of us and it left us all relaxed and able to celebrate what we were really there for.

I ordered the Hibachi Chicken, which is the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. Whatever I’d ordered in the past, was surpassed by this night’s dinner. It was exceptional and I can easily say that now they stand out as a place I’d remember to return to. In fact, I’m getting hungry just thinking about my meal.

The most enjoyable surprise was the melon soda at the end of the evening…

When I lived in Japan, we had concession machines on the side of the road that held everything from beer to soda’s. You could just pull your car over, drop in some yen, and keep on driving with your cold beverage. My favorite drink was this cool glass bottle of honeydew or melon soda, with a marble sealing up the top.

To open it, you had to push the marble down, which fell into place and would roll back up as you sipped to keep the liquid from spilling out to fast. It tasted awesome and it was a novelty item that was just too cool.

…I saw some couples ordering this same melon soda across the room, and almost did back flips. Could it be? My favorite drink from Japan? The bottle was the same, but surely it wasn’t the same flavor!?

We ordered a couple, and it tasted just like I remembered. It instantly took me back to a charmed time in life, and I felt 17 again sitting on an island drinking in island life.

If you’re in town you need to head to Shiki at either location, not just for their food and service, but to try their Japanese soda.

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Shiki Japanese Restaurant
14041 N. May Avenue s Oklahoma City, OK 73134  s  Phone: 405-751-8989  s  Fax: 405-751-8912
4406 W. Reno Avenue s Oklahoma City, OK 73107 s Phone: 405-947-0400
america, death, disasterous, earth, faith, help, Okinawa, Oklahoma, prayer, rain, sleep, storms, weather

Erin’s Tour of Oklahoma

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I know we’ve all been curious about all the crazy weather patterns across the country…but a tropical storm in Oklahoma?? Really??

This weekend I slept as wind thrashed at my windows. Thunder ripped through the air so loud, it sounded like my roof was coming off! I thought, ‘Good we’re getting some rain from the storm down south!’ I never imagined it would re-group and the eye wall would relocated over central Oklahoma!

Who knew a tropical storm could hit the heartland with so much punch. I felt like I was back on the island of Okinawa during a mild typhoon. Tragically… lives were lost during the flooding, and many homes and businesses were completely damaged.

Does anyone wonder why so many things are happening in our world? Catastrophe after castastrophe keep hitting our world, and I pray it prompts people to seek God’s word for comfort. I only pray in times like these that people not only get the support they need, but the Christian outreach they need to lead them to the Lord…or lead them back to their faith.

Please pray for those in Oklahoma who’ve lost everything. Please pray for the families of those who’ve lost loved ones to the storm. Thank you!

blogging, business, care taking, celebrities, conflict, corporate, exercise, FireFox, food, football, help, humor, manners, media, miracles, nostalgia, Okinawa, prayer, pride, recycle, sex, smoking, surviving, tornado, Uncategorized, Washington, weather, women, work out, writing

Seasons of Life

As I sit here, on my lunch break, listening to the thunder rolling in I am reminded that our stormy spring isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. (sigh) The luxuries of running for cover when a tornado alarm goes off! Hopefully that won’t be the case today. The hard rain pelting on my window offers as a reminder of the trials or seasons in our own lives.

We all will face our human seasons just like the seasons of mother earth. The earth has growing pains every year with the birth of spring, in all it’s splendor of color and terrors of storms. I just pray today is filled with hard spring rains, and the severity of the storms stay at bay.

My prayers for my seasons are no different. In life we all go through growing pains! From birth to death, we all experience life in this world, which will hold many surprises and tragedies along the way. There is after all a time for everything…it says so Ecclesiastes 3:1-15. So, every day I pray that the severities of life stay at bay, but undoubtably bad things do happen that are out of our control.

Once Eve took a bite out of that forbidden fruit, sin entered in to what was a perfectly peaceful existence. God gives man free will, who can choose his own path. Unfortunately, some will not follow God in His footsteps. They will turn a deaf ear to His message, and refuse to ask Him into their hearts, therefore bad decisions will be made which will ripple effect into all our lives.

For example, the drunk that can’t let go of his booze…not even long enough to see that he’s had way too many before getting behind his wheel. His bad decisions put other lives in danger, that could effect you or me. We can’t control that.

All I can do is put my life, and those I love, in God’s hands every day and pray for traveling mercies and protection from anything that would do harm…including spiritual warfare. Now there’s a subject that is taboo among many of you, so I will leave that for another blog.

Seasons of life are a beautiful thing really, through all the good and the bad. The past is what makes us what we are today. We are all human and subject to sin, but as long as we put Christ first in our life we hopefully will make the right choices for ourselves and those in our lives. You ever hear of you reap what you sow? Trust me I’ve sowed enough bad in my life to understand just what that means–poor decisions = poor results. Now I strive to reap from the good soil I’ve been planting my spiritual fruit in. Every day I have a choice to make, and I choose to live the kind of life God would want me to. Like most of us, I fall short every day…so each new morning is a new chance to continue on my path.

Our seasons are inevitable.  We can embrace them or live in ignorance of them…in denial of our stages in life. I have just recently come to the realization that I’m not a young 20 something anymore!  I feel 24 and hope I always do, but I’m definitely 34 going on 35.  YIKES!  My time is clicking away every day so I’ve come the realization that I must respect every day God gives me.. to live life to it’s fullest but also to it’s spiritual richness.

My seasons have carried me from a child to a rebellious teen and young woman, living in a world of sin. They’ve evolved me into a mature responsible woman in her 30’s that has found herself, gotten married, and given birth to the most amazing gift God could offer.  My seasons are full of mistakes and glorious triumphs!  I now know it’s okay to get older.  I’m right where God wants me to be…in this season of awareness.  It’s my season and I owe it to Him to shine my light so that others may see.

abuse, america, anger, appreciation, beauty, blessings, blogging, care taking, challenge, charity, commitments, conflict, death, disasterous, economics, encouragement, faith, family, family bonds, gratitude, Japan, kissing, leadership, life, love, management, manners, military, motivation, murrah bombing, nostalgia, Okinawa, Oklahoma, politics, pride, random, society, surviving, thoughts, travel, Uncategorized

Proud to be an American and an Oklahoman

Being grateful is something you have to learn. Most of us don’t understand how fortunate we are until we watch a show, like Extreme Home Makeover, or watch the Discovery Channel, that focuses on life in a third world country. We take our luxuries for granted, like running water or food to buy groceries and pay the bills.

Even for those who seem to have it made, those with the silver spoon aptly shoved in their mouth when they were born, seem to be missing ‘something’–something they can’t put their finger on! It’s an intangible that is just out of their grasp, and wether they really recognize it or not…they’re not truly happy! Those are the sort that are so focused on making their next dollar, that they forget to enjoy the simple things in life, like their child’s first step or their good health.

I think if we took a look at our lives every day and focused on what we are blessed with and learn to be grateful, we’d be much better off as a country…as a human race. I think living overseas helped me grasp how grateful I was that I lived in the United States. Although I loved living in Japan and the many other places that exposed me to different cultures, I understood how wonderful it was to have been born on American soil.

I miss living in Japan, and it was a time I wouldn’t trade for the world. It helped shape who I am and it helped me appreciate another life or way of living. How many teenagers would have the ability to immerse themselves in the art of the Japanese language and their lifestyle? It was a blessing, but there’s nothing like the feeling of coming home. In fact, when my dad’s tour was up and we got off the plane, I almost kissed the ground!

I got to come home to the simple things like grocery stores, that stocked everything I couldn’t get overseas. In Okinawa, even buying milk was a chore. Our commissary did had powdered milk that you could mix with water….mmm…that was good (insert sarcasm)! We couldn’t get real milk unless we went into the country to a local market, which we rarely did due to the exorbitant prices. Buying fresh milk was a luxury, not a convenience. I’ve been in CONUS now since 1990, so life on Okinawa might have changed since then. And I’m sure mainland Japan wasn’t as remote with their conveniences for daily life. However, here in the U.S. you can go to a 7-11 and get it at any given day. This is one of the things I missed, simply going to a grocery store.

This is all leading up to DAY 2 of my challenge.
What in life do I thank God for everyday?
I am so thankful that I am where I am…not just in America, but in Oklahoma.

A lot of you out there probably don’t understand what a great state this is. Especially when I could have lived in any state in the U.S., why stay here? Living here keeps me centered. It’s a great state to raise a family, and live a good life. The cost of living is extremly low, so I can live in a house that I wouldn’t have access to in another part of the country. The development here is booming but not crammed to the max, like California. It’s the perfect balance of expansion that allows us the good things in life, without filling every space to capacity. I still can drive down the highway to find any convenience, like theaters, malls, museams, amusement parks, new housing developements, etc.., and still enjoy the green pastures and beautiful scenery of our state. Plus, it the traffic here is a breeze! I can drive 30 minutes across town in 30 minutes….not 2 hours!

Oklahoma is America’s diamond in the rough that shines throughout the heartland of our great country. Our work ethic and human touch proved true after the Murrah Bombing in 1995. I’ll never forget exactly where I was at that exact moment when the resounding BOOM rang throughout the OKC metro. People heard and felt that for 50 miles away from it’s center. It was one of the worst days in our state’s and country’s memory, but it also provided us the resolve to come together as Oklahomans and Americans to prove that terrorists will not have control over us. Our fire departments, police departments, volunteer organizations, and ordinary average state citizens immediatley responded to the need and task at hand, which was rescuing those trapped in peril.

For weeks, Americans were glued to their television sets watching the rescue that sadly turned to recovery. That wirey mess that had blown to pieces wasn’t the only building devastated that day. Buildings were torn apart for over 2 miles surrounding that explosion. People in our city and state, and nieghboring states came in tenfold to support and provide whatever they could to get us past that tragedy.

This being said, I wouldn’t live anywhere else. The heart of the people here make this place. We are givers, and we are healers. Listing all the amenities of our state is great….low cost of living, minimal traffic, wonderful job market, new development and expansions…etc. These things are all wonderful, but the real reason I’m so blessed to live here is because of all my nieghbors, friends, co-workers, and fellow Oklahomans.

appreciation, blessings, care taking, commitments, conflict, D.C., encouragement, family, family bonds, government, gratitude, Hawaii, leadership, life, love, management, manners, military, motivation, nostalgia, Okinawa, Oklahoma, politics, surviving, thoughts, travel, Washington, work

Being a brat…thank you to my dad!

As a military brat, I was exposed to many different cultures and social structures. I’ve been the minority and the majority, depending on where I lived. Growing up, I was always asked, “Don’t you hate moving like that?” It always blew me away every time I heard that! How could I hate something so phenomenal? It was the most wonderful experience in life to move every two to three years. How could I not love it? It gave me a chance to learn that much more about my world and the different people in it. Living from Japan, to Hawaii, to Washington D.C. – and everywhere in between – gave my family the opportunity to do a lot.

We drove the islands of Hawaii and took pictures of every crater and waterfall. We had pic nics on every shore and watched the most amazing surf. I got baptized, at 5, in the oceans off of the shores in Kailua, Ohau. We took tours of the battlefields in Virginia and walked through buildings had stood since the dawn of our country. In grade school I was able to take a fieldtrip to the Smithsonian, as President Reagan drove by in his presidential limo…Wow!…talk about a big impression on a fourth grader. In Japan, we lived in the jungles on Okinawa. Our house backed up to the vegetation and the tunnels, that the Japanese soldiers hid in during the WWII. Of course, we didn’t venture too far in that crazy jungle due to the habu snakes and the banana spiders. One bite from a habu is deadly! But just knowing I was sleeping 20 feet from that much history was amazing in itself. How weird must it have been for my dad living near where he had fought in the Viet Nam war, years later? Learning a new language and submersing into a foreign culture was one of the highlights of my young life.

After attending college and starting into the work force, I realized how these things helped me the most. One way was giving me an edge to adapt to any new situation. At any given time, at any given moment….life changes, and most adult are set in their ways. Change to me is a way of life. My history has helped me roll with the punches. It’s given me the upperhand in the office to adapt to new policies and procedures, when most groan and gripe. Who do you think gets ahead in a superior’s eyes in that situation? Living around so many different people gave me to opportunity to learn more and understand things better from someone else’s perspective.

The biggest inspiration my life has delivered is just simple appreciation. From all the constant change in my short life, I have learned to appreciate what I have and who I share it with. Life is a huge adventure, but it’s also very short. Every day is a new present to open….it’s a gift. Every breath I take, every kiss I give, every embrace I cherish. Those are my number one priorities. Everything I do is for the benefit for those around me.

Military brats are definately a different breed. Yes, some do hate the life…they hate the constant upheaval. Some don’t like saying goodbye to thier friends. Some may resent the authority to made them do those things. But the ones who loved it…the ones who chose to say hello to new friends instead of goodbye to the old ones…the ones who understood the sacrifice their parents made for them and their country…..those are the ones who flourished in that environment.

On Okinawa, in high school, we were all stuck together like it or not. We often felt the Dept. of Defense school system purposely put us in a test tube to observe how it would all turn out. I know we passed their test with flying colors. There were no blacks vs. whites. There were no rich vs. poor. There were no jocks vs. nerds. We all were the same…military brats forced in a situation to make the best of it OR not! Most of us did make the best of it, and to this day benefit from our experiences. Everyone from that test tube of classes and races has gone on to something wonderful due to thier gift of adaptation in life. My Kubasaki alumni have all gone on to make something of themselves…screenwriters, actors, succesful leaders and soldiers, writers, lawyers, doctors/nurses, and just plain happy people. We all ended up people, who appreciate their surroundings and adapt to make it better when we’re facing the worse.

I want to stand up and say thank you to my dad for joining the military. Thank you for exposing me to a unique lifestyle, that most could never appreciate. Thank you for serving your country in war, to fight for my freedom. Thank you for putting your life on the line, time and time again so that even those, that don’t respect the military and are vocal about it, have the option of their freedom of speech! And Thank you for teaching me to serve my President, no matter who sits in the office. It’s an office of respect. Thank you dad, for loving me enough to drag me around from state to state and country to country. It’s given me an eyeful of life, good and bad….but it wouldn’t be a life worth living if it wasn’t exactly the way it was.