Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

Happy New Year from Joyce and I. We pray that you have a blessed 2011. We are looking forward to what God has in store for us in the coming year.

We did manage to stay awake until midnight to greet the New Year even though we had stayed up most of the night before and dropped off Matt, Kristin and Milo at the airport at 5 AM. We had some fun with Mike and family shooting off some small fireworks and watching the kids play with sparklers. After midnight we were treated to our neighborhood fireworks show which included professional-type fireworks that exploded 50-100 yards in the air and lit up the whole sky, explosions that set off car alarms and shook our solid concrete house, car horns, bells, revving engines and, of course the standard on Guam, automatic weapons firing. We stood on the porch for about 15 minutes, under the carport, watching, hearing and feeling the show before we headed to bed. Today is another beautiful sunny day on our tropical island home and we look forward to many more sunny days in 2011. Why don't you come and pay us a visit? 

Christmas Day at the Owen's

Here are a few pictures, out of many that were taken, of the Owen family Christmas celebration. Daisy Murdock joined us for the opening of the presents and for Christmas dinner. Cousin Ben was in Saipan with the PIU Christmas ministry team. After Kristin read the Christmas story from the Advent calendar we spent the morning opening presents and eating sweets. Christmas dinner was at two o'clock and then again at 4, 6 and 8. :) Christmas 2010 was another great one. And we get to stretch it out until mid-January when Missy and Cliff get here! (but back on low cholesterol diet on January 3rd - I want to make it through 2011).

Matt and Mike enjoyed their sparklers and the kids were pretty excited over every package.

The treats were tasty whether they were home baked or came in the packages

Serenity opens her presents. 

The turkey was perfect this year. We had about 3 days worth of food for Christmas dinner.
Joyce and Courage open a present.

One nice thing about living on Guam is that you can go swimming immediately before Christmas dinner. When we were in Texas we found a really good deal on a Christmas blow-up pool and it was a big hit with all 4 grandchildren

The aftermath of the Christmas celebration

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Eve with the Owen's on Guam

As for most families, Christmas Eve is traditionally a family time for the Owen family. However, that doesn't always mean we do traditional Christmas activities. We have celebrated Christmas Eve living in a church when our house blew down in a typhoon in 1997, on the plane and in airports (two years ago we had two Christmas Eve's in Guam and Hawaii when we flew from Guam to California on Christmas Day and crossed the international date line) and in many other different ways. We don't always have all our family together since we are spread out all over the world, but this year we had all our kids except Missy with us and she will be coming in January. Here are some pictures of our Christmas Eve celebration starting with our traditional treats. 

Since we have been living on Guam, one of our traditional treats has been drinking coconut milk. Here Mike cuts the coconuts off the tree, Joyce prepares them, and Milo and Courage enjoy that fresh, sweet coconut milk. 

A more traditional treat is the caramel corn pictured above. Here the kids help grandma pop the popcorn to get it ready for the caramel covering.

Meanwhile, Serenity poses with the Christmas decorations....

When we are on Guam at Christmas Eve we enjoy going to the Guam Lutheran Church for the Christmas Eve service. In the past we enjoyed the traditional liturgical service but this year they had the service in one of Guam's many caves with a living Nativity scene in the cave. Though I don't agree with the scholars that think Jesus' birth took place in a cave, it was still a very cool approach to worship and we all enjoyed it very much. On the way to the service Milo fell asleep right in the middle of getting a drink of water. I guess he was tired. He still woke up in time to see the carabao in the cave. Our family posed next to the cave for a Christmas Eve photo.
After the service we headed over to Shirley's Restaurant for dinner. Matt had to get some of their famous spam fried rice before he went back to California. Students Scott Hubbard and Meluat Meluat (He took this picture and our family picture above) and Daisy Murdock, our PIU Dean of Women, joined us for dinner.

A very nice Chamorro lady was sitting at the table next to us in the restaurant. She made some traditional toys for the kids, birds and flowers, out of coconut palm leaves. Serenity preferred to eat my water glass.

After dinner we headed over to Tumon to tour the Underwater World Aquarium. We got there at 8 PM just as it was closing and were the last ones to go through that evening. It is an amazing experience to see the sharks, rays and other fish all around you as you walk through the underwater tubes. Courage was at full-volume excitement throughout the tour.

Milo's favorite part was the little pools at the end of the tour where the kids were encouraged to touch the animals and the shells.

Christmas at Chamorro Village

One of our favorite family traditions since we have been living on Guam is going to Chamorro Village in Agana on the Wednesday night before Christmas to celebrate Christmas Guam style. Yes and to eat barbecue with red rice! There are lots of things to buy, eat, see and ride there. It is only a bonus that every year we always seem to see some unexpected friends there.  This year I enjoyed the pork and chicken bbq on a stick with kelaguen and red rice.

One of our goals this year for the trip down to Chamorro Village was to get a picture of all the grand-kids on a carabao. The carabao is a domestic water buffalo that traditionally has been used much the same way that oxen were used in the West. All four grand-kids were excited to get on the carabao and we had a good opportunity to get several pictures. Titus and Courage also took the carabao around the parking lot for a ride.

The kids also enjoyed getting to touch a coconut crab. Courage was especially intrigued with it.

Across Marine Drive from Chamorro village, Skinner Plaza is also decorated for Christmas. There is always an elaborate light display combining the island and the traditional Christmas celebrations. Serenity loved the lights and carried on a conversation with them for about 45 minutes non-stop. Milo had a great time running from display to display.

All the kids enjoyed playing in the traditional Chamorro Christmas village.

Courage especially loved the wise men in the Nativity Scene

Christmas at the Micronesia Mall

After Thanksgiving I promised Titus that when Milo came we would go to the Micronesia Mall and see the big Christmas tree, enjoy the light and music show and, most important, ride the Dragon Roller Coaster with "just me and you!" So a couple days after Milo arrived we all headed over to the mall for an evening of mall-style Christmas celebration. I think a couple trips to the mall were made over the two weeks. A later trip produced this "grand-kids with Santa" photograph.

The kids really enjoyed the light show. Titus, Courage and Milo chased the light dots and spotlights around the floor, danced to the music and played in the fake snow that fell from the machines up in the ceiling. We had to drag them out of there at the end of the evening. 

 Kristin takes Titus, Courage and Milo on a ride on the Christmas Train.

I didn't get a picture of Titus and I on the Dragon Coaster, but I did get a couple of Courage and Joyce on the carousel.

The kids always enjoy watching the "ball machine." The sculpture moves billiard balls and basketballs on pulleys, chains and tracks etc and they go round and round. They all seem to be amazed by it.

Christmas Vacation on Guam with the Owen's

 I have not been posting lately because we have been quite busy enjoying the visit from our son Matt, his wife Kristin and our grandson, Milo this past two weeks. Along with Mike and his family we have been enjoying having them here for the holidays. We put  Matt, Kristin and Milo on the plane this morning for the flight back to California, so I thought today would be a good day to post a few pictures and get you caught up on what we have been doing the last couple weeks. I plan to make 5 or 6 posts today to cover our Christmas vacation activities...

One of the first things Matt wanted to do when he arrived on the 19th was head out to Ritidian Beach on the North side of the island. Ritidian is a federal park and nature preserve, and is one of the more beautiful spots on Guam. December is one of the best times of the year (well. the whole year is good for going to the beach!) to enjoy Guam's beautiful beaches. I think Matt and family went to Ritidian at least three times on this trip. As you can see, all three of them enjoyed it.

Everyone gives me a hard time about living on a beautiful tropical island but rarely going to the beach. I do get out to the beach occasionally. In this picture I am doing my favorite thing to do at the beach: read a novel.

One day we got both Matt's and Mike's families out to Ritidian together. Here is a picture of Mike and Sam with Serenity. Titus and Courage were in the water most of the time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Chapel at PIU

I just got home from my final class of the semester. This evening my Survey of the Gospels class discussed their papers on themes in the Gospels and then we discussed "what would Jesus really do." It was fun and I appreciated the insights they had. Now we fully move into Christmas vacation. But we really started getting into the Christmas spirit with last Friday's final chapel of the semester, our annual Christmas chapel. This year Michael and Samantha were in charge of the chapel and they worked with several of the students to give us a very worshipful advent celebration. Here are some of the sights from the chapel and a few family pictures taken afterward.

Michael and Scott provided the guitar accompaniment while Samantha, Jayleen, Davie and Ben led the singing, meditations and lit the Advent candles.

Serenity slept through most of the chapel, but she enjoyed it when she woke up. It was really funny to see her head turn trying to find her mom or dad when they were talking up front.

Jayleen lit the joy candle and led a devotional about the meaning of joy.

Samantha and Courage took a picture with the Advent wreath. Doesn't Courage look like a little angel in her Snow White dress?

Mike and his bride took a nice picture with the Advent wreath as did cousin Ben.

Titus and I had a nice conversation about the Christmas wreath and chapel

Grace gave the kids a bumpy, but fun, ride in the water cart from after chapel

Then Titus admired the PIU trophy in the office with Jake and grandma