This should be a quick abbreviated list of what I think were the greatest memories of 2009, that I can recollect.
#10, The last chapel service in Iraq, where I completed the entire book of Hebrews. Preaching every single verse for 15 months, while deployed. Over 120 services, and 600 plus counseling sessions.
#9, Sitting on top of my CHU, in Iraq with my laptop in hand and my Chaplain Assistant rotating the satellite dish to eventually get a signal. The laptop eventually erupts with a green bar, and signal, ...thus that night...Jessica and I talked with video for the first time in 5 months over the satellite internet network.
#8, Riding on a riverboat with Mark & Melissa Reid in London with crystal blue skies, with Big Ben and the Tower Bridge slowly passing overhead.
#7, Giving MAJ David Raugh, the final haircut in a barber chair that mysteriously showed up in my office in Baghdad, before he would be promoted to LTC, and leave a couple of weeks prior our departure.
#6, The official sit down in Apartment 8075, 2B after moving from 8061. A cool glass of Culligan water, and the sense that this new abode will be home soon.
#5, Driving with the in-laws and Jessica through Germany, Austria, Italy, France, parts of Switzerland, and who knows where else in the 2008 Explorer.
#4, Getting offered a job at Arlington Cemetery, only to have it 'revoked' months later. Struggle through weeks of disappointment, then receive news for Lifeway that I would be writing for them. Not real sure how to say this, because they obviously are no where near the same 'level', but it was that moment that you knew God was giving you some sunshine in the clouds to let you know that you will make it, and that He hasn't forgotten you.
#3, Riding bikes with my wife up and down the beach in Hilton Head, SC. Not really sure when to stop and turn around, and not really sure how far we came. Who cares!?!? We are on vacation.
#2, The "Welcome Home" party and Banner at my mom's house, in June. My Sister and her children had made a banner, that said "Welcome Home". My mom and Dan, had made a wonderful meal and we just sat around and were thankful that God had allowed me to come see my family after my Iraq tour.
#1, "The Hug". Many of you saw it. Standing in formation after arriving back from Iraq, in a Gym. Jessica was wearing a pink top, (she told me this is how I would see her in the crowd.) The prayer was over, the final "DISMISS" was given. I turned only for about 3 feet to meet my wife face to face. The moment was more than priceless. It was better than, "I DO" on April 23, 2005. It was, "I did it. Let's go home.", May 23, 2009.