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They chose a beautiful setting at Butts' Mill Farm in Pine Mountain, GA, to exchange their vows and hold their reception. Amy arrived at the covered bridge. where the ceremony was held, in a one-horse-drawn carriage looking more beautiful than ever.
All of the bridesmaids wore beautiful, pink, pleated skirts and white blouses. The matron of honor wore a lavender pleated skirt to distinguish her role. All of the groomsmen wore Western-style boots, blue denim jeans, black coat and bow-tie, topped off with a felt cowboy hat. Probably most unusual of all is that we encouraged everyone to dress casually. Practically all who came said it was the most comfortable wedding they had ever attended! Indeed, it was truly a wonderful time for us.
After that magnificent event, the rest of the year was pretty much an anti-climax! Nevertheless, I spent the remainder of the year eager to move on to my next big assignment in the Army: the Chaplain Career Course at Ft. Jackson, SC. I'll be heading there in mid-January for six months. I'm leaving Ellen and Josh in our present home to avoid uprooting Josh in the middle of his high school junior and senior years. We had to put Amy through that very unfortunate experience when I left Ft. Sill, OK, for Korea, and when I returned from Korea to be assigned at Ft. Benning. I wanted to avert that same misadventure with Josh at practically any cost. I expect to return to Ft. Benning when the course is complete, so this is truly a blessing from God.
When I return from Ft. Jackson, I will have less than a year before I'm considered for promotion to the rank of Major. With that, if I'm selected, also comes the hope of being selected for the one-year, Army Chaplain Family Life Course taught here at Ft. Benning. If I get to do that, I'll be at Ft. Benning a total of about three more years before being reassigned for a three-year utilization tour wherever the Army needs me. I will gladly serve anywhere in the world.
I must say that Thanksgiving this year was the best I've had in years. For a change, I obtained permission to take a pass that weekend, since my 21st wedding anniversary fell on Thanksgiving Day this year, so I truly had a happy time celebrating with family, and what a spread of fixin's we had, too!
Christmas was even more enjoyable this year, since I took Christmas leave for the first time in three years. We were able to spend Christmas Eve with my parents, my brother and his family (whom I hadn't seen in several years; they also drove all the way from OK), my sister and her family, and Chris and Amy. We spent Christmas Day with Ellen's parents and the day after Christmas with her parents, grandmother, a beloved aunt, and her sister and her family. I am truly thankful for both the visits and the gifts we received. Ellen and Josh love all their gifts, too.
In closing, here's a brief update on Ellen and Josh. Ellen is keeping the home fires burning, still living the good life as a full-time homemaker. Aside from a recent diagnosis of high blood pressure, complicated by some other health problems, she is doing okay. Josh is doing very well in school as a high school junior this year. He has also just been invited to join the Beta Club. He recently passed the writing portion of the Georgia High School Exit Exam, but he is still sweating bullets over the remaining portions. I, for one, am trusting God that he will excel on them all.
Well, that wraps up another year in the life of the White Family. I hope your year has been as happy as ours, and I wish you all a very Blessed New Year in 2003. Until next year, as Dickins' Tiny Tim would say, "God bless us everyone!!"