This week has been one long Army spending spree after another. Janie and I have traveled across the city to Fort Jackson (multiple times), McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Shaw Air Force Base and The Patriot store searching for all of my required uniform parts. We finally found a cold weather field jacket at The Patriot so I won’t freeze during those six weeks in Indiana. Needless to say, all of this gear isn’t free! As an Officer, you are responsible for buying most of your own uniforms and gear. However, since we are deploying to the war, we will get issued most of the gear we will need in combat. We are down to the last items on my list. That’s a good thing! Our report date of Sunday, Jan. 3 is really close now.
On Sunday we celebrated Christmas with Mom’s side of the family. This year’s gathering of the Leaphart Clan was special due to Nanny’s miraculous recovery and my upcoming deployment. It was quite a feast too — deep fried turkey, mustard potato salad, home cooked string beans and deserts galore. I think I gained five pounds in one day! That’s ok, I start my Afghan diet next week!
The Airport H.S. Class of ’86 Breakfast Club met again this morning for a pre-deployment breakfast. Rick, Alan, Todd and George joined in on the early morning ploy. Jay, the coordinator of the event, was unable to make it due to a blown water pipe at home. It was great to see these longtime friends before I leave for Afghanistan. It just reinforces how blessed I am. God has truly enriched me by placing these guys in my life.
Santa was very kind to Jordan and Tuck this Christmas morn. Tuck got a Buzz Lightyear costume and wings, new cowboy boots, Red Rider BB Gun, Woody from Toy Story doll, Star Wars word and number learner and WWII U.S. Navy Blimp. Santa was just as kind to Jordan. She received a brand new Prince Tennis Racquet, tennis clothes, winter coat, jewelry box, jewelry hanger, new pajamas and lots of clothes. I assume Santa’s generosity means the Neeley kids were pretty good in 2009.
Happy Birthday Jesus! Lord, thank you for all the many blessings you have bestowed on me. I am thankful for my family and friends, good health, food, shelter, clothing, work and rest and for letting me live in a country that protects my right to worship you as I please. Most of all Lord, I am thankful for your saving grace and love.
Well, today was another step forward in the deployment process. I received my Orders to Afghanistan. Ok, so it’s really official now — in less than 2 months I will be working and living in the most dangerous country in the world. It’s scary to think of it; but it’s also exciting. For more than seven years I have trained and prepared myself in the field of military public affairs. That’s in addition to twenty years of private sector experience. Although the challenges will surely come my way, the rewards will be many.