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Friday, February 21, 2014

A Few of Our Favorite Things

We Love the People

We have met so many wonderful people here in Jacksonville and have been so graciously received.  It is true what they say about Southern Hospitality and the military community is not one whit behind. Here are a few of our favorite people.  

Nathan and Sadie were married in the Raleigh temple January 25, 2014. We were privileged to be able to attend their sealing.  They will be living for the next couple of years here at Camp Lejeune. They are actually living in Tarawa Terrace where we lived when Bob was stationed at Camp Lejeune our first year of marriage.

Some of our cute YSAs drove the 3 hours to Raleigh to greet Nathan and Sadie as they exited the temple.

Speaking of YSAs.  We chaperoned a Valentine YSA dance last weekend.  There were about 70 attending from the surrounding area.  Half of them were Marines stationed at Lejeune.  The DJ, a parent who does this professionally, did a superb job keeping everyone dancing.  This is one of several line dances that were very popular and performed with great enthusiasm.

One of our favorite things is to attend the graduations of the Marines at Camp Johnson.  This is where the young Marines receive their MOS training for their specific field of work.  It is the final phase of training before going "into the fleet" -- receiving their first actual assignment.  Luis and Jessie were a joy to work with and we miss them.  Luis finished his reserve training and will be leaving soon on a mission.  Jessie will stay full time military.  Jessie may be small but is very strong.  She is one of the few women Marines who can do 10 pull-ups -- a lot of guy Marines can't equal that.  She also won her platoon footrace the last week of training.

We have the most awesome Sunday School class.  We attend the Gospel Essentials class for investigators and new members and the whole class is so accepting and encouraging of each other.  We have people from all walks of life and very different levels of gospel understanding who attend this class and it makes for lively discussions and touching spiritual moments.  Our teacher is a Marine and handles all the various personalities with finesse and kindness.

We Love Our Family and Friends

Each day as we sit at our table or in our recliners to study or when we return to the apartment from being out and about, we smile when we see the faces of our children and grandchildren displayed on the cabinet in our living room.  While we miss seeing them in person, we know they are being watched over in our absence. 

We have received many cards, letters, and gifts from family and friends, in addition to emails, texts, and phone calls.  As the Marines say, "OORAH!" to all of you!

We Love How North Carolina Is Green Even in the Winter.

Although many of the trees do lose their leaves, there are a surprising number of trees that are not pines which stay green all winter.

These palm trees add a touch of green to
 many yards.

One of our favorites is the majestic live oak.
They lose their leaves in the spring as new leaves
form, but are green and gorgeous all winter.

Bob's favorites are what he calls "broccoli trees." They tower over all the other trees and have straight
thin trunks with no real  branches until the very tops. They bend and twirl in the wind and are able to withstand very high winds, which has allowed them to do well in this tornado/hurricane prone area of the country. The white building to the side is the chapel where we meet at Camp Johnson. The suspended pipes you see carry steam heat to buildings around the base.  I always wonder what would happen if a pipe ever burst.

Even though this crepe myrtle doesn't have leaves in the winter, the bark is so beautiful.  The gentlemen standing
in front is my favorite missionary companion.

We had to search to find out the name of this ornamental grass we see all over this area.  It is called pampas grass and Bob read that it is considered an invasive species and difficult to get rid of, but it seems  to do fine here and has not spread in unwanted places.

We Are Enjoying the Food (probably too much)

Being a true southern boy, Bob has taken to renewing his love affair with southern food with a vengeance.  It is true that most southern food is fried and possibly not the healthiest food around, but I must say, it is delicious.
Somehow they are able to fry chicken so the outside is
crisp and not greasy and the inside is so moist and tender.
I understand peanut oil which can be used at high temps
is the secret.  And no one makes biscuits like the South.

Even better than biscuits are hush puppies.  Served with hamburgers as well as sea food, these are a wonderful treat. 

Lots of fresh seafood, living so close to the ocean.  Shrimp Po Boy is available at most
local hamburger places (not the big chains like McDonalds or Hardees).

For the uninitiated, these are pork skins (also 
called pork rinds).  They are considered a delicacy
and are eaten like potato chips.  What made these
even better for Bob is that they were on sale buy
 one get
one free.

Watch For Favorite Things Part 2

As we kept working on this post, we realized we have too many favorite things to put in one post, so we will save the rest for another day.

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