Thursday, July 10, 2014

Climbing Mt. Fuji

I never planned to hike Mt Fuji but then I had some time and the opportunity was right there. So I took it.
1) Trust your smart friends -. Kris took me to buy good hiking shoes and she knew what she was talking about They were worth every penny.
2) Find a mantra -.. At one point, Kris and I hiked at our own paces and didn't see each other for several hours During that time, there came a point where I needed to focus The line from a TV show came in handy and became my mantra. "See not what was or will be but focus on the task at hand." There were times when it was hard to put one foot in front of the other or to keep going after stopping to catch my breath .
3) Enjoy the beauty around you -. I did not get to the summit in time to see the sunrise but I did stop and snap some pictures, keep going, pause to take another picture and keep going I did, however, once getting to the summit, was so tired that I did not take as many pictures because I was so exhausted.

4) Enjoy the journey because you never know who you will meet -. I ran into two Marines from my BN Who knew???

Heaven, meet earth.

Me at station 8.5 - the last station before climbing the last 600 meters to the summit

Torii of the summit

Me at the summit under a torii - there is a tradition to drop a coin or stick it into the torii for good luck

H&S BN Marines and Chaplain with our walking sticks.

Kris and I, ready to head back to Okinawa, having completed this incredible journey.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

No Shop Talk - You are on vacation!

While visiting Kyoto during a recent 96, Kris and I went to Arawashiyama, the western part of Kyoto.

As we walked, there was something to be said about the quiet and being surrounded by nature. It brought back all those wonderful memories of camp.

While there, we hiked up a small mountain to go feed some monkeys. Though we were feeding the monkeys, we were the ones inside a cage.

The best part was watching this little monkey jumping into the water, trying to catch the coy fish in the pond. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

T-Rex and I have something in common

Saying Goodbye Part II

This week, two more friends leave the BN.
The BN Adjutant and S-1 legal Chief.
I will miss them both, have learned much from them and know they will continue to be amazing at their next duty stations.

Yep - we had our 'end of tour' awards ceremony at a bowling alley.

Capt Hull got to present SSgt Thomas with her end of tour award.

SSgt Thomas was given the paddle.

COL Estes awarding Capt. Hull end of his Tour Award.

We got Col Estes a Kokeshi doll and gave it to her

Saying Goodbye

As the turnover at H&S BN, I said goodbye to my mentor, Col Estes.
During her Change of Command, she brought up a representative of the different people who are the "behind the scenes," from a LCpl to MSgt, the USO rep and spouse volunteer. As the Col described it, to be a BN Commander is like being a baker. You need to have all the right ingredients."

This was the invocation I gave.

Heavenly Father,

We stand here in this sacred moment in time, paying respect to our leader, our guide, Col Estes as she passes the role of BN and camp commander to Col Pecina.

As You've taught us, God, there is a season for everything under the sun and now is the time for thanks and blessings.

Lord, we thank You for the gift that Col Estes has been as the cornerstone of this battalion and each of our personal journeys, whether as a confidant, teacher, mentor or friend.

Father, we ask that you bless Col Estes with unending support from Hans, Andrew and Luke as she takes on a new role, continuing her mission of caring for Marines.

Give her the strength to acknowledge that she is worthy of the praise she receives and not just because of the team that surrounds her but because she is a driving force, a positive impact in the lives of so many.

And as Elijah passed the mantle to Elisha, Gd, we ask that you bless Col Pecina in his new role.

Grant him continued support from Deanna, Brody and Luke, knowing that the depth and breadth of his responsibilities will keep him away as he cares for all those under his charge.  

Surround him with those who will provide good counsel, always leading him to find the balance between justice and mercy so that he may guide Marines and Sailors on the path of honor.

Lord, bless Colonels Estes and Pecina that they find fulfillment in their new positions and joy in all they do, as You have promised, "Happy are those who put their faith in You." (Ps. 84:13).

For the Past and Future Leadership of this battalion and the Blessings we receive through Them, we Give thanks to you,   Everlasting Guide, Amen.  

She could not be happier, giving up the blackberry.

 The gift to her - a table with the BN guide-on and her coins embedded into the wood "Earn Your Emblem Every Day."

Colonel Estes handing the guide-on to Col Pecina.

The members who represent the amazing people who work for and support H&S BN and in turn, the entire MEF.

And this is the coin I earned from Col Estes


It is always wonderful to see that amazing Marines get promoted. 
Earlier this week, I got to watch GySgt Vivas become MGySgt Vivas.
The Corps needs more of his caliber Staff NCOs.