Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Istanbul-The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

At the Blue Mosque

A view of the Basilica Cistern
Inside the Hagia Sophia.  You can just barely see a cat on the left side of the picture in front of the spotlight.  There were cats everywhere in Istanbul!!

A view of the Blue Mosque

Playing "Peek-a-Boo"at the Blue Mosque

All ready for Chirstmas church!
There is way too much to write about when it comes to our trip, so I divided my thoughts in to 3 catergories:

The Good:
1.  Our traveling partners.  The Yerrington and Kitsteiner families were so much fun.  All our kids are around the same age and we have very similar parenting styles.  When Angelica and Wendi are around, I truly feel like W has 3 moms watching him.  These friends have become our family here, and I was so glad to be with them on the trip.

2.  The aforementioned Krispy Kreme discovery.  No explanation needed.

3.  The beauty of an ancient city.  The Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the old city walls date back to around the 9th century.  Amazing to see.

4.  A relaxing morning cruise on the Bosphorus-we had the area below the deck pretty much to ourselves.  It was lovely.  Dan was an excellent trip planner.

5.  Christmas morning Mass in a predominantly Muslim city.  It was so cool to gather with fellow Christians to celebrate Jesus' birth.  Afterwords, we heard a Christian musical group playing praise music in the streets.  What a blessing.

The Bad:
1.  Pushing strollers on cobblestone through winding old streets-some with severe inclines.  Hard work.

2.  Tired kids melting down.  Not their fault, but stressful nonetheless.

The Ugly:
1.  Getting ripped off by a cab driver.  He took is for about 80 dollars.  Long story-but it made us (especially Ryan) really angry.  I guess that's big city livin' for ya.

We are glad to be home, but grateful for the opportunity to explore such a historical and unique place.  Where will our next adventure take us??

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas Miracle

We spent the last week in Istanbul with great friends (MUCH more on that later).  On the second day there, we were exhausted from touring a huge city with a 2 year old (MUCH more on that later as well) and just wanted something relaxing and familiar.  No mosques.  No bazaars.  No kebabs.  So while the rest of our group toured the Spice Bazaar-the Stebbins found a shopping mall on Christmas Eve.

As we were walking in, I glanced at the directory to see what there was in the way of food.  We were feeling homesick and weary.  Then my eyes focused on 2 words that I thought I would never see in Turkey.  KRISPY KREME.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I called for Ryan to come look-he was equally astounded.  Much like the Christmas shepherds looking for Baby Jesus, we made haste to find what we were looking for.  And there it was-our little Christmas Miracle in the middle of Istanbul.  Something familiar. Something of home.  We got a dozen and took them back to the hotel to share with our friends.  When they returned and saw the box, their reactions were priceless.  I thought my friend Wendi would cry.  We downed a dozen glazed bad boys quicker then I thought possible.  Smiles and full tummies all around.

Thank you Jesus for all the ways, big and small, that you love us.  Thank you for giving some homesick Americans a fun Christmas blessing that I will never forget.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Road Rules

Yesterday, our Turkish/American ladies group had a gourmet club.  We all brought Italian side dishes and desserts to share, and our lovely host provided the main course.  The event was held at a very nice restaurant in a very cool part of Adana-and I am not being sarcastic.  It was a lovely afternoon with lovely ladies.  Wendi drove us.  It was her first time really going beyond the Alley.  I was the navigator as we followed my neighbor, Seyhun, to the restaurant.

To say that driving here is frightening is a gigantic understatement.  Wendi is a rock star for wanting to try.  At any point in time, you share the road with horse carriages, overloaded fruit trucks about to topple over, stray packs of dogs, and cars filled with more people than I thought possible.  I have even seen a family of 4 riding on a mo-ped together.  Not a joke.  And the youngest was a baby.  But I digress.  Speed limits?  What speed limits?  Lanes, what lanes?  It is truly a madhouse.  To top it off, today I saw something that made all this other stuff look normal.  We were leaving the restaurant and walking down the street to our car.  We stopped to say goodbye to our friends at their car when suddenly a man hurried over to us and motioned for us to move quickly.  Apparently, his friend's big truck was blocked in and he couldn't back up.  What did he do?  He drove his truck UP ON THE SIDEWALK.  The same sidewalk filled with pedestrians.  He drove away right down the sidewalk as people around us barely batted an eye.  I was slack-jawed. 

When we told our Turkish friends about how frightened we are to drive here, they just laughed.  They don't like to drive in America.  They say-"too many rules, I am afraid I am always breaking rules".  Oh, how I miss you, sweet American rules of the road!   

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where are you Christmas?

Celebrating the holiday season in Turkey is an interesting experience.  I think we all take for granted that most of us live in a place where Christmas is celebrated.  December means lights on houses, carols on the radio, nativity scenes, and Christmas trees.  You won't find any of that here.  It is surreal for me to go off base in the middle of December and see no trace of Christmas.  I guess I knew it would be this way, but now I am experiencing it first-hand.

So, we are traveling over Christmas.  To be honest, I am not entirely comfortable with the idea.  We will be in Istanbul at a hotel on Christmas morning.  While I am excited to see what I have heard is an amazing city with our good friends, something will definitely be missing.  So in the week before we leave, I am filling our little home with as much Christmas as I can-yummy cookies, Christmas music, a decorated tree, and lots of stories about Baby Jesus for W.  It may be unorthodox, but our hearts are in the right place-and I think that is all that really matters to our Savior.

Friday, December 10, 2010


In reflecting on our recent trip, I am amazed at just how much we managed to see and do with a 2 year old in tow.  Truthfully, it wasn't easy.  As any parent knows, this is a tough age.  Add to that the fact that W is an EXTREMELY active boy, and you have a recipe for a very difficult vacation.  Air travel is frustrating, long drives wear on your nerves, and sightseeing is often cut short by tantrums or sleepiness. 

People often ask me if it worth the trouble.  We have 2 choices while we are living abroad-stay put (easier on everybody), or get out and see all the wonderful things that are so close (definitely harder).  We choose the latter.  In fact, it's an easy choice.  I am finding that the memories we are making as a family far outweigh the temporary hardships of traveling with a toddler.  We are going to Istanbul in a couple of weeks with 2 other families with young kids.  It will be chaotic and crazy-for sure.  It will also be another incredible place we experience as a family-one who is growing closer with each passing day in Turkey.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Germany-Part 3 (Subtitle: Auburn meets Germany)

Today was devoted to seeing one thing-the Neuschwanstein Castle.  It was built by King Ludwig of Bavaria as one of his royal residences.  He died early however, and it was never fully furnished.  In fact, only about 1/3 of the rooms are complete.  This is the castle that Walt Disney used as the model for Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom.

The drive up was fairly short, but the weather wasn't good.  It was drizzling and very foggy-not to mention cold.  We arrived in the village beneath the castle and it was so foggy we couldn't even see it.  Sitting across form Neuschwanstein is King Ludwig's boyhood home, another castle who's name escapes me at the moment.  this one was barely visible.  We bought our tickets and enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa in the village inn.  Then we had a LONG wait to get in a horse-drawn carriage to ride to the castle.  It is walkable, but it is about a 40 minute uphill hike, and in this weather, that idea wasn't tempting.  The horses dropped us off about a 10 minute hike below the castle.  We had a little wait before our tour started, so we decided to grab a bite to eat a the German cafe' situated nearby.

This is where the coolest moment of the day happened.  As we were eating, the folks at the next table saw Ryan's shirt (orange Auburn) and jumped out of their seats.  They live in Auburn.  They used to live in Wetumpka (where my parents now live).  They were just over touring.  Could this world be any smaller?  The only 2 English-speaking people in this restaurant, and we had that much in common.  Amazing.

Anyhoo, we toured the castle and took the horses back down.  I know I have said this before, but I can't really describe the beauty of Germany.  I think the snow even accentuates it.  It is just good for the soul to see things like this every once in a while.  I will never forget it.

Neuschwanstein Castle

View of Ludwig's boyhood home from inside Neuschwanstein

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Germany Trip-Part 2 (Subtitle: The Hills Are Alive!)

Today was spent exploring the land of the Von Trapps-Austria.  We drove on a mountain road about 45 minutes from our resort to the town of Innsbruck.  This town has hosted the Winter Olympics twice.  The drive was breathtaking-it left me wondering if folks who call this place home ever get tired of the views outside their windows. I can't imagine living here for any amount of time and ever getting used to it's beauty.  Again, words fail me when I try to adequately describe it.

Innsbruck was the essence of charming old world Europe.  We went to the old town Christmas market.  The narrow cobblestone alleys were lined with booths and merchants selling their wares.  There was everything from handmade wooden toys to Christmas ornaments and decorations to clothing and food.  I actually saw chesnuts roasting on an open fire!!  The air was thick with the scents of mulled wine and apple cider.  We purchased a few small souvenirs and some drinks to warm us up.  One of my favorite moments was when the clock struck 12:00 and church bells from near and far began to chime the hour.  What a perfect memory.

We then ventured to a nearby town to tour the Swavorski crystal museum.  It was, um....interesting.  Let's just leave it at that.  It had nothing to do with crystal and felt like a bad LSD trip.  But, at least we can say we went-and I got some gorgeous earrings out of the deal.

I can see why Austria caused the Von Trapps to break into song.....it is inspiring and unique and absolutely stunning.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Germany Trip-Part 1

Well, we made it.  After a long flight and an even longer drive, we arrived at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort about 1 a.m. last night.  Our good friend Luke, who is stationed here, lent us his car and GPS for the 4 hour drive.  It was a little nerve-racking when we first set off from the airport-Ryan driving and me trying to navigate him in a foreign country.  We finally got the hang of it though, and the drive was smooth until the very end.  The GPS led us down a small gravel back road and told us we had reached our destination.  Obviously not.  So there we were, in Austria, in the middle of the night, in 15 degree weather, lost.  But here we are, safe and sound.

I wish our drive could have been in daylight so we could see this place more clearly.  We did see a couple of castles perched up on peaks that were lit, but other than that, it really looked like we were driving anywhere back home-except with LOTS of snow.

This morning's first light brought us our first glimpse of our surroundings.  Oh. My. Goodness.  I don't think I have the words to describe the beauty of this place.  Rugged peaks and snow covered evergreens everywhere.  Crisp air that takes your breath away and gives you rosy cheeks.  A little German town that I swear is a Dickens Village come to life. 

W is still getting used to the snow.  His biggest thrill?  Seeing the "Mere Flag" (American Flag) a couple of different times.  We plan on exploring Austria tomorrow (we are right on the border and drove through it a little last night) and touring Neuswanstein Castle on Monday.  This is the "Disney Castle" that served as the model for the one in the Magic Kingdom.

I wish my parents and sister were here.  This is just the kind of place and experience that you want to share with your whole family.  Maybe we can get 'em all here before we leave......

Stay tuned..........

Monday, November 29, 2010

When the Stebbins are away, Auburn can play!

In 2004, Ryan deployed for the first (and hopefully only) time in our marriage.  While it was very tough on us both, one thing that made it a little easier for me was that my Auburn Tigers went undefeated and nearly played for the national title.  As only other lifelong Auburn fans know, these seasons don't come along very often, and when they do, they are just so much fun. Of course it wasn't so much fun for Ryan-who I must say has turned into an even more devoted fan than I am.  We would make the joke that whenever he was out of the country, Auburn wouldn't lose.

Well, it's 2010 and we find ourselves unexpectedly out of the country.  And at the end of the regular season, Auburn finds itself sitting at 12-0 and #1 in the BCS rankings.  Could the two be related?  You be the judge!

Way to go Auburn Tigers-and a big War Eagle from Turkey to you all!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day Blues

Today is hard.  We miss home on days like today.  Don't get me wrong-we love the friends we have made and the base atmosphere in general, but it's not home. And by "home", I don't mean any particular house or state, just America.  Today is a normal work day for the Turks on base-planes are buzzing all around.  All the stores are open in the Alley.  Nothing is different here-it is up to us to make it special.  And wouldn't you know it, I have come down with a stomach bug.  So, no Thanksgiving meal for me.  Just saltines and 7-up.  Ryan and William will head to our friend's house for a feast-and hopefully a piece of home that we so badly miss.

Happy Thanksgiving 2010 from Turkey!

Monday, November 22, 2010


One of the cool things about having a 2 year old is that W is becoming so much more aware of his surroundings, and in particular, the people surrounding him.  For the first time in his little life, he has friends.  Each day, he asks me if we can go to their house, play with them, or just see them.  Scott, Peter, Noah, Rowan, Isaac, and Caleb are common words in our house-he loves them all.  But he REALLY loves Elijah.  Elijah is Isaac's little brother and my friend Wendi's youngest boy.  They are two peas in a pod-loud and spirited and yet the same time sweet and kind.

 Racing each other to get a snack-all these two do is run, run, run!

 Sharing a wagon ride back from the park and making funny noises.  The giggles from these two are priceless.

Thank you Wendi for sharing your boy with me this day.  I couldn't pick a better first buddy for my boy than Elijah!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Treat

While running errands at the BX, I got an unexpected and totally wonderful treat-I saw my friend Deborah!  She is the one who was diagnosed with cancer a couple of weeks ago.  In 2 weeks time, she has had her colon re-sected, ovaries removed, and endured an untold number of biopsies and tests.  But there she was in the BX, looking fantastic, with the same warm smile and sweet words for me as usual.  Seeing her made my day, and reminded me of how the peace of God will fill us and sustain us if we will only let it.  Deborah has an uncertain future, at best, but she is leaning on the certainty of her eternal Father.  She is peaceful and radiant and joyful. 

What a witness.  What a lady.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Turkish/American Women's Club

One of the greatest opportunities that I have had here is the chance to be part of an organization combining American women living on or near the base with Turkish women living in Adana.  My neighbor here on base, Seyhun, first invited me to join this group.  She is originally from Istanbul, where she met her American husband Scott.  He is now a contractor on the base.  I was excited to get to know her more and jumped at the chance to join.  Our first outing was to an amazing private club in Adana.  We had dinner outside overlooking the city.  The conversation with our Turkish counterparts was just fascinating and so insightful.  These women are intelligent, thoughtful, funny, and kind-and the best part-they speak English!!  I learned so much that evening about what it is really like trying to be a modern woman in a Muslim world.  Truly an evening I will never forget.

The above pictures were from our second meeting-which was held at the Adana Hilton. This was more of a business meeting to discuss future plans and ideas for the group.  There are book clubs, gourmet groups, cultural clubs, and many more smaller groups all within the big organization.  Next month, the Turkish girls want to show us a traditional Turkish wedding and will even give us henna tattoos!  The American women are going to share Christmas traditions (and cookies!) with our new friends as the holidays approach. 

As I was leaving the Hilton on this particular day, one of the sweet ladies hugged me to say goodbye.  I told her how much I enjoyed the afternoon and how much I was looking forward to all the fun things we had planned.  She smiled and said "we may do many things differently, but inside, we are the same.  I am glad we are friends."  Me too.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkish Bucket List

I have never had a "bucket list" of things I want to see, do, and experience before I die. I've never seen the need. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. On one hand, it must mean I am pretty content with my life thus far and don't need much to feel fulfilled. On the other hand, could it mean that I am dull and boring, with no dreams or goals?

Since Ryan posted a "Turkish top ten" of things he wanted to accomplish during these 2 years, I thought I would do the same. My list will focus on things I want to see and do while here. Hopefully by the end of our journey, I will be able to check them all off my list. Maybe it isn't an official "bucket list", but it's a start.

1. Visit Istanbul
2. Tour the Seven Churches(focus on Ephesus)
3. Go to Cappadocia and stay in a cave hotel.
4. See a Whirling Dervish performance
5. Ride a camel
6. Visit Europe
7. See Tarsus (no excuse for not checking this one off, it's only a 30 min. drive)
8. Go to Israel(this one will be a stretch)
9. Speak at least conversational Turkish
10. Go to Antioch

I will be checking #6 off the list in a few weeks. I'll keep you posted on the progress with the rest of them!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Today is Veteran's Day. It's not much different here than it is back home. A day off, a hubby golfing, cooking out for dinner. But it feels different for me. I have had many experiences over the 3 months that make this day feel extra special this year.

Rewind to our long journey over here. After getting to Baltimore on commercial airlines, we checked in at AMC (Air Mobility Command) along with other active duty military members for the long journey overseas. Our flight stopped in Germany, Turkey, Kryzgystan, Iraq, and Afganistan. So, the plane was full of uniformed soldiers-most of which were heading to war.

The first thing that caught my eye was their youth. Most of them were still teenagers. I think about when I was their age-what a carefree, fun time that was for me. A college student with not a care in the world. Not these guys and girls. I also noticed that when I talked to them, they were very humble. As with normal air travel, you start a conversation with the person sitting next to you with the requisite "where are you going?" Only here, instead of answers like LA, New York, or Dallas, you hear Afganistan, Pakistani Border, or Iraq. They answered in a normal tone-like everyone travels to Iraq. They didn't see that what they were doing is that out of the ordinary or special.

I plan on saying many thank you's today. Thanking ordinary folks for stepping up to the plate and doing something I don't know that I would have the courage to do. Thanking folks for putting aside their own selfish ambitions for a more noble and higher purpose. And I plan to start with my husband, who has twice deployed in service to his country.

God Bless America!!

Bad News/Good News

This has been a hard week here at Incirlik. As I know I have mentioned before, one of my favorite things about this place is the closeness of the community. We are truly one big family-and last weekend, one of our own was diagnosed with cancer. This great lady has been such a sweet friend to me since I got here-always finding me to give me a hug, never forgetting my name, always there with a warm smile. Everyone here has been all out of sorts-shocked, sad, and upset. I guess that's the thing with close-knit communities-you never go through anything alone. I wish I weren't so affected by this, but am so thankful for the relationships that cause me to care.

Onto happier news, the Stebbins are heading to Germany!! Ryan and I agreed it was time to take advantage of our location and have an adventure. We both need the break and time of refreshment. I can't wait to see this beautiful country, and hopefully some of Austria too!! More details to come-

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Turkducken List

Some of you may be familiar with John Madden's infamous Turkducken (a turkey stuffed with a duck and a chicken), I honor his time honored tradition by presenting you with my Turkey List or Turkducken List. My top 10 things I want to accomplish before I leave:

10) Read 10 books
9) Shoot under par for the course
8) Run 1/2 marathon
7) Buy a shotgun (hey...Turkey makes the best guns in the world...when in Rome)
6) Smoke a Texas style Brisket. I've already mastered Pork BBQ...when in Rome!
5) Travel to Istanbul
4) See the Seven Churches and Ephesus
3) Travel to Europe and see 3-4 countries
2) Get my handicap to 5 or lower
1) Surprise my wife with a mind blowing, thoughtful gift that will go down in the lores of husbandry for all to remember. AKA...I want a PS3 for Christmas so I need to start planning now.

I hope you all have a wonderful Turkeducken Holiday.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Different Worlds, Same Country

We ventured out today to the M1 mall for a little Saturday shopping. After a slight detour(missing our exit and driving about 25 miles before there was another), we arrived. This mall is just gorgeous-marble floors, beautiful architecture, and very modern stores. On our way out of the parking lot, we saw a field with what appeared to be people gleaning-or picking the leftover crops for themselves. How could these two seemingly opposite ways of life exist so close to each other?

That's the thing we are noticing about Turkey-or at least the region where we are living. It's as if this nation can't decide if they want to be modern or old world. When traveling off base, it is not uncommon for us to see a Mercedes sharing a road with a horse-pulled cart. Seriously. In the mall, you see people dressed just like us mixing with people wearing traditional Muslim attire. The M1 mall sells paper-thin TV's and expensive haute couture just up the road from the open air meat market that sells lamb heads and cow stomachs.

Turkey has only been a sovreign nation for about 90 years-so they are a "baby" compared to many other countries. Perhaps they are still going through growing pains as a nation. Maybe they are still figuring out their identity moving forward. Regardless, it is interesting to watch and experience. Just don't ask me to go to that meat market.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Who Knew??

In preparing for this move, I tried to anticipate the majority of the big changes that lie ahead that would take getting used to. Most were pretty obvious-but not all. I have discovered several things I miss that I had no clue about prior to coming.

1. Clocks. That's right. In Turkey, the electrical circuits are different-so clocks plugged in to the wall will not keep correct time. No microwave clock. No oven clock. No alarm clocks by the bed. So weird to get used to.

2. Radio. There is one English radio station here-101.1. That's it. And if you don't like techno-Euro-pop, you're out of luck. Funny thing though, this station will play Martina McBride, Bryan Adams, and "My Perogative" by Bobby Brown frequently. Quite the trio, huh? I miss my christian radio, and in general, just variety on the radio. On the positive side, I have forgotten how much I like to jam to "My Perogative".

3. Commercials. We get AFN (Armed Forces Network), and instead of commercials, they show pretty amateur and comical morale boosters and reminders about military life and life in general. I could tell you anything you want to know about the different kinds of Power of Attorneys or how to put out a kitchen grease fire, but haven't a clue about what's on sale at Old Navy or the latest Ford Truck model. I also miss that Chik-Fil-A cow.

That's all for now-but next time you hear Bobby Brown, think of the Turks and the Stebbins, and smile :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from Turkey! The small town feel of the base was on full display tonight-streets crawling with kids, lit pumpkins on every doorstep, and lots of smiling faces. We walked around with Wendi and her boys-Elijah the Lion and Isaac the Big Red Dog. The boys had a great time. W was a little frightened at various points, but overall, he enjoyed it. The chapel had a fall festival with games and treats for the little ones, so we stopped there too.

Our little penguin is all tucked into bed now-hopefully with no cavities from the candy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Firstborn

By far, the most difficult part of this whole "moving to Turkey" thing was making the decision to leave our little four legged girl, Rudy, behind. We got her a few weeks after we got married, and she is very much part of our family. However, we knew that an international plane ride would be really tough on her-actually too tough on her. My sister and her family have adopted her and I know she has a fantastic life and doesn't miss us a bit. I am so thankful that the Jackmans volunteered for this important job and I know they love her as much as we do. Having said that, there are days when I just miss her. I miss kissing her wet nose, playing fetch with her, and watching her get excited when Ryan comes home. When I talk to my sister, I can hear her barking that familiar bark-even that, I miss.

See you soon Roo-be a good girl until then!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

BIG NEWS: AUBURN IS NUMBER ONE!!!!!!!!!! It may be temporary, but man, is it fun. War Eagle!!!!

Date Night (Turkish Style)

This is a picture of our group at the Carpet Dinner we attended in the Alley on Thursday night. It is sort of like a tupperware party for rugs. You get a free meal in exchange for a presentation on carpet making, in the hopes that you will purchase one in the future. We learned so much about these beautiful rugs. They are truly works of art-taking 2 people as much as 8 months to finish one(working 8 hours a day!). I hope to return home with at least one. Thanks to Wendi for setting up this fun evening out-we had a wonderful time!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Prayer Request

If you have a minute, would mind lifting my friend Ellen's family up in prayer? Her sister in law, Jayna, passed away late last night after a long battle with her health. She was only 39 and leaves behind her husband Woody and their 11 year old daughter May Merrill. I know this family would appreciate your prayers. Thanks so much!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Anonymity versus Community

I hope I spelled that correctly! There are many wonderful things about living in a small town. I have discussed those things in prior blog entries so I won't revisit them. I really do like small town living, truly. But one thing I struggle with is the occasional desire to just be anonymous. I am thankful that I have gotten to know so many wonderful new friends, but the downside of that is that I can't go anywhere without seeing someone I know. Actually, several people I know. The commissary and BX feel like social hour sometimes. I usually enjoy this, I am a very social person and love to chat. But then there are those times you just want to get in and out and don't feel like smiling and chatting and engaging.

Then I remember, God calls us to community. My former preacher, Max, once gave a sermon about this that stuck with me. When living in a big city-it is very easy to isolate ourselves. Neighbors don't talk, garage doors close so we don't even have to see anyone on our way in or out of the house. We do shopping and correspondence and all sorts of other things via computer just to make it easy and to avoid the hassle of dealing with people. At Incirlik, we are forced to constantly be in community. And although it is annoying at times, it is right where the Lord wants me. An important lesson that I will take with me from this place.

....and on a completely different subject-how 'bout them Tigers??

Auburn 65(?) Arkansas 43
War Eagle.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pinepark/Heaven and Hell

Below you will find a collection of photos from our weekend trip. We drove about 3 hours west with our friends Dan and Angelica and their kids Noah and Rowan. The drive was, for the most part, right along the Meditteranean. The water is a beautiful blue that I don't think I've ever seen before. Gorgeous. We drove through mountain passes to find our destination nested in a valley on the ocean. Everything about the geography was breathtaking.

We stayed at an all-inclusive resort called Pinepark for 2 nights. The property was filled with orange, lemon, and lime trees-making the air so fragrant. The weather was cool and breezy-which was a refreshing change of pace from what we are used to. The kids had fun running around, going to the petting zoo on the property, throwing rocks into the ocean, and going down the water slide. The adults had fun playing card games and chatting at night after the kids went down for bed.

On the way home, we stopped at ruins known as Heaven and Hell. Heaven is a deep rock crevase that leads to a giant cave opening. At the cave, their are the ruins of a 4th-5th century Byzantine church. It sort of reminded me of a smaller version of what Indiana Jones entered on his search for the Holy Grail in the dessert (anyone remember that flick?). There were 450 steps down-which I soon figured out meant that there were 450 steps back up. Quite the workout, but totally worth it to see that piece of church history. W was on his leash (bad mom, bad mom) because the steps were uneven and slippery, but Ryan ended up carrying him for most of the time.

We enjoyed our little trip and made great friends in the process. Enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Love This Kid

I always imagined that of all of us, W would do the best at transitioning to life in Turkey. After all, he is a toddler. He doesn't need much to be happy. His toys, a playground, mom and dad, and Mickey Mouse about round out his list. So, he is doing great. I learn so much from him-and on days when it is hard to be so far away, I look and him and see his happiness in the simple things and it always brings a smile to my face.

His big things lately:

~"Tower Blocks" (as he calls them). He loves to stack anything and everything.

~Tranportation. He is thrilled to hear "big planes" as they take off and land on base. We also point out "choo-choo's" and "big cars".

~Flags. This obsession has been going on for awhile and shows no sign of going away. What a little patriot we have!

~Rules. "No throw" and "no hit" are spoken often. He also knows "I sorry" and "hugs" when time-out ends.

~Counting and Letters-he is noticing numbers and letters everywhere. All letters are "O" or "S" but he can count to 6 pretty consistently.

So that is our 2 year old in a nutshell. What a funny, sweet boy we have been blessed with.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Life on Samsun Court

Finally, some pictures of life in Turkey!

Ryan and W in front of our house-I think the only one on the base with an Auburn flag.

With our new friends Dan, Sarah, and Peter at a concert last weekend.

It is trying my patience to upload pictures-so that is all for now. Stay tuned though...we are taking our first big Turkish adventure this weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Humble Beginnings

Interesting title I know. As I type this I am listening to Chris Tomlin's song "Our God." Last night we watched a video at bible study regarding church persecution in Turkey. Towards the end, one of the Turkish Christians stated something that really grabbed my consciousness of Christ. From his viewpoint, there are two kinds of Christians, those who are comfortable, who live a life with no hardships and try to make life as easy as possible. The other are those who are bound by fear, whether it be persecution or fear from living their life as God intended. It's a polar comparison I realize, but the longer I ponder this dichotomy, I realize that maybe, I too prefer the easy life. Herein lies the problem my conscious fights, as I know Christ never intended my life to be my own, nor did He intend my life or my name to be glorified. Rather, He predestined my life for His glory and His name to be lifted up and this life, which He bought at a price I can not pay promises hardships, joys, and more importantly suffering. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose." Jim Elliot. Type at you soon, Ryan

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Good Day, an Even Better Friend

So, I got a care package today. I knew something was coming, but didn't know what exactly. In the box was:

~All of Beth Moore's "Daniel" study on CD's
~Flags of the World cards for W (he loves flags)
~A bible songs CD for W
~A Snoopy note pad (Snoopy and I have a special relationship)
~An Alabama CD (no explanation needed)
~Books for W
~"Real Simple" magazine for me
~A autumn scented candle

...and that is just naming some things in the box. Who knows me well enough to send me all of this, and a note explaining the meaning behind each item? Kelley. And if you know Kelley, you aren't surprised at all by this. She is the most thoughtful and most generous person I know. I am so very blessed to be her friend. It would take me many pages to list the things Kelley has done for me that were WAY beyond the call of duty. This package is just the latest example.

So thank you Kelley Elizabeth-you will never know how much this package, and you for that matter, mean to me!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Read This!

I am not a huge reader. If it's not People magazine, I usually am not interested. It's not that I don't like to read, I just can't seem to find a long enough chunk of time to devote to getting through a book. There are some exceptions, however. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell and Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller were incredible. And now, I have discovered Crazy Love by Francis Chan. My best bud Kelley (love her-and can't believe it has taken me this long to mention her) lent me her copy and I think I will now have to buy her a new one since this one is so worn from use. A bit of a warning-this is not an easy read. I don't mean that it is hard to understand, because it's very user friendly. But every page was sort of a punch in the stomach, shining a light on parts of my life and walk with the Lord that need serious attention.

Anyway, grab a copy-it'll be worth your time.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Positives and Negatives

My father has never been one to tolerate complaining-and today, I feel like doing just that. So, in his honor, I present some of my gripes-and to balance it out-some happy thoughts as well.

I am so tired of the heat. I am seeing all sorts of facebook posts from folks back home loving the fall weather. No such thing here-yet. I love fall-it is my favorite season hands down. Changing leaves, cozy sweaters, pumpkins, college football, etc. It looks like we may skip it all together. Yuck.

The nights and mornings have started to get cooler. The days aren't totally stifling anymore either. I also saw a few pumpkins in the commissary. That made me smile. Last night, a friend brought over the best pumpkin bread I have ever tasted with cinnamon butter. Delicious. And we watched football. A little taste of fall I guess.

I had one of those days yesterday when I looked in my closet and hated everything in it. I couldn't find one thing I wanted to wear. Back at home, I would have run to Target or Old Navy and purchased one or two inexpensive things to get me over the hump. Here-not so much. I went online and made a purchase-but it will take forever to get here. Grrrrrr....

I went to the BX and actually found a cute pair of cargos that fit well. While the clothing here might not be great, or even that good-once in while, you will find something you like, and you feel like you have won the lottery.

The Crimson Tide looks pretty unstoppable. It pains me to admit it-but man, are they good. And that just makes me grumpy.

Auburn played early for the first time this season, so we were able to watch the game without sleep deprivation. They also played well and won, which always makes me happy.

Auburn 52 ULM 3
War Eagle.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Turkey vs. Texas

I got this idea from my fellow blogger Corlea, who blogged about comparing her old home of Montgomery to her new one in Memphis. Sounded fun. Here goes....

Natural Beauty: Honestly, the landscapes look fairly similar. Dry and arrid. Texas was a little greener, but I am told Turkey gets that way too when the rainy season hits. We also have mountain views here. So right now, they both get 1 point.

Turkey 1 Texas 1

Church: I love our chapel here, I really do. Both Chaplains are great teachers and the folks there are wonderful. But I miss Oak Hills. I miss Max and Bibleland and our Life Group so much. I am giving the edge to Texas on this one.

Turkey 1 Texas 2

House: No comparison, no argument. Texas 110%. I heart 4607 Eldon Run.

Turkey 1 Texas 3

Kids Activities: This one is hard. Technically there is much more to do in Texas. Children's museums and play centers abound. However-here we are more involved with other kids. We are constantly outside at one of the many, many playgounds within a 2 minute walk of our house. We attend playgroups at houses and the youth center. W seems genuinely happy-so that makes us happy.

Turkey 2 Texas 3

Food: Again, no comparison. I am a bit tired of kebabs. How many different ways can you eat one? I would give anything for one week of eating in San Antonio.

Turkey 2 Texas 4

I'll stop there. Even though Texas wins, I am surprised at how much I truly like it here. I thought before I came that I would just "tolerate" it for 2 years. Now, I think I will be genuinely sorry to leave. Off to take my little boy to play!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2 Successes and 1 Failure

Success #1:
The Air Force Gala on Friday Night. We had a blast. I can't say enough about the people here-fun, genuine, and so welcoming. It was the best military function I have ever attended-live band, lots of dancing, and wonderful friends.

Success #2
Shopping trip to Mersin. I went with some other spouses on a bus to nearby Mersin. It is a nice city that sits right on the ocean. I spent all day at the big mall there with some great ladies. I am not a big shopper, but enjoyed getting to know more new faces. It made for a long day, but I am so glad I went.

And finally...I am sad to report.....The Failure:
The Auburn/South Carolina game. We tried. We really did. It just wasn't in us to stay up for the whole stinkin' game this time. I got up and made it until halftime and just couldn't stay awake. The good news is tha apparently our team doesn't need our support as much as we thought-they still won.

Auburn 35 South Carolina 27
War Eagle.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Turf Wars

Things work a lot differently here at Incirlik-I am still trying to get a good hold on how business runs and so forth. A perfect example: hiring domestic help.

When you first move in to your house, various people knock on your door asking you to hire them to cook, clean, garden, so on and so forth. We had already decided that we wouldn't need a housekeeper or nanny-but we thought a gardener would be nice. Ryan had already hired one before I came. He told me the first guy, Ilhan, wanted more money than the second guy, Mehmet. So we are using Mehmet.

We have just recently discovered that these 2 men-Ilhan and Mehmet-head up the two "rival" gardening services. Mehmet doesn't actually do our lawn-one of his employees does. Apparently, they are very competitive and each have certain areas of housing that are their "turf" historically. I think we must have been an Ilhan house that is now a Mehmet house. Drama, drama.

To add to the soap opera, guess who is our rental car guy? Ilhan. He reminds me very often (and very nicely) that we are NOT using him as a gardener.

And so are the Days of Our Lives...........

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Dear Turkey,
You and I have been together one month today. We have already had our ups and downs-but I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Long Night

Yes, we were up again to watch football at 2 a.m. Because Auburn couldn't close the deal and the game went to overtime, we didn't get to bed until about 6. W got up at 7:30-so-yeah, it's been a long day.

A bit of an explanation for this strange nocturnal tradition of ours. I have had lots of comments from people (mostly on facebook) marveling about our devotion to the team. While I wish this true, it's not entirely. I think a lot of the getting up to watch the game has to do with keeping that connection with home strong. I have found that when you live as far away as I do from home, you will surprise yourself at the lengths you will go to to feel a part of life where you belong. That could mean different things for different people-but for us, it means football in the wee hours...and that's okay by us.

Auburn 27 Clemson 24
War Eagle.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paging Walt Disney

Today, I ventured outside the base gates for the first time since our marathon weekend. I need a dress for a ball next weekend and was told someone in The Alley will make me what I want very cheaply. Good enough reason for me. I was a little nervous to go though-seeing how exhausted and shocked I was the last (and first) time I left base.

Things have changed for me though. I didn't realize it until my friends and I had walked outside the gates. I have encountered enough Turks on base and practiced speaking their language enough that my confidence was much improved. Instead of being shocked at the poor architectural conditions-I was noticing the beautiful handmade products for sale. Instead of being timid and insecure, I was confident and comfortable. I shifted my focus from how different this place and people are to the similarities we share. When you really look, Turks really aren't that much different than Americans. They love their family, love to make babies giggle. They work hard and try to do what's right. They are friendly and warm and welcoming. One lady in the beauty salon proudly showed us a picture of her son in a military uniform. It reminded me of the look my mother-in-law has when she is talking about Ryan.

I feel like I became a slightly better person today. I can't explain it. The lyrics to "It's A Small World After All" are swirling in my head. How cheesy is that? But true, so true.

Monday, September 13, 2010

St. Paul, I Feel Your Pain!

Last Thursday morning was the kick-off for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) here at Incirlik. I was excited to go, but dreading the longer than usual (maybe 1 mile) walk to where the event was being held. Instead of wearing my work-out attire and tennis shoes to make the walk more comfortable, I decided to "dress up" in khaki shorts and wear my cute thong sandals from Old Navy. About half way to the meeting, my feet and back were both aching and I was really regretting my wardrobe decision. The fashionable sandals I was wearing had paper-thin soles that were as hard as a rock. I was sweating and hurting and complaining.

Then I thought about the bible study we attended the night before. We are studying the missionary journey of Paul through looking at the geography and historical ruins of the places he visited-many of which are in our "back yard" here in Turkey. Paul and his friends would often walk 200-300 miles from town to town, and then instead of taking the shortcut home, would retrace their steps and visit the same towns in reverse to check on the converts and early Christians they had left in their wake. So, about a 500 mile round trip, on foot, in Turkey, probably wearing similar footwear to the style I was rockin' to MOPS.

Yeah, I think I'll stop complaining now.


Friday, September 10, 2010

It's 3am (I Must Be Lonely)

Those of you who don't listen to pop music might not get the title here, but I wanted a creative way to introduce the latest Stebbins tradition: getting up at an insane hour of the early morning to watch college kids carry a pigskin on a 100 yard grassy field. That's right-we were up to watch our Auburn Tigers for the first time last night. Even though this was the second game of the season, it was the first one we thought would be good enough to merit us waking up.

I can think of very few good reasons to be up at 3. Maybe a crying newborn, or a stomach bug, or pulling an all-nighter in college. None of those things are fun. I guess I was out until 3 once or twice-but honestly, that's not much fun either. All the fun is usually over by midnight anyway. But here we were, dragging ourselves out of bed to watch a game. For fun. At 3am.

I have to admit, in some ways it is nicer for me this way. My sheer exhaustion takes the edge off my nerves as I watch the game. Instead of cheering loudly and yelling at the TV when I am frustrated, I just nod and yawn. Ryan tones it way down too. We both are just glad when it's over and we can crawl back in bed. Today, we were both dragging all day-I am going to call it "Tigerlag"-and yawning frequently.

As strange as this sounds and as weird as people might think we are, this is one of those "little things" that we will always remember. When we are old and gray we can laugh about it. It is something that we do together, something that makes us "us". I think our time here in Turkey will give us many of those moments together, hopefully all at a more decent hour :).

Auburn 17 MSU 14
War Eagle.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1910 or 2010?

You be the judge-

-To call anyone, we dial "0" to get connected by an operator.

-We don't have a car right now, so I take various means of transportation to the store. I have taken a bike with a trailer behind it, pulled W in a wagon and then loaded it up for the return trip, and just plain walked and hauled it back.

-I go to the store at least 3 times a week because I can't take alot per trip.

-We walk to church.

-We don't have (gasp!) digital cable.

-Everyone is always so friendly. People walk out of their houses to say hi when we pass. Cars honk their horns and wave. Our Turkish gardener knocks on our door most mornings just to see if I need anything and if we are having a good day.

-The big thing to do on base on the weekend is a round of bowling.

So, as you can see, life is decidedly slower and simpler here. Frustrating and annoying at times, and lovely at other times. I am not going to know what to do when I return to the US of A!!

Monday, September 6, 2010


It's Labor Day and Ryan is off. Both he and W are napping and the house is quiet for the moment. So, I have some time to blog.

**Warning-Deep Thoughts Ahead**

Last Sunday Night at church, the chaplain's sermon really stuck with me. He talked about the word Koinonia. Up until last Sunday, if you had said that word to me, I would have thought of the adult Sunday School class at my childhood church that bears that name. My parents were in the class for awhile, and many of my good friend's parents still are. A wonderful group of folks (who, by the way, put out an excellent cookbook that is one of my favs!). However, the Koinonia he was referring to was the true meaning of the word-intimate fellowship. He used it to teach us about how we as Christians on this base should treat each other, even though we hail form many different denominations.

But as God so often does, I learned a different lesson than the one the chaplain intended. You see, last weekend was our marathon weekend out and about in Turkey. I was fresh off the cultural overload of our adventure. As an American, I think I(not purposely) thought I was "better" than much of what I saw off base. Where I had come from was nicer and cleaner and well, better than this place. Horrible thought I know, but I am being honest.

During the sermon I realized that even though there aren't as many as in the States, there are Christians here in Turkey. Christians who are my brothers and sisters-and one day-my eternal neighbors in heaven. They might not look or dress or speak or eat like I do. They might not understand my love for football or ever have heard of my favorite stores at the mall. But God calls me to love them anyway. And not as an act of pity or goodwill, but as an equal.

You see, as silly as it may sound, my view of God was skewed. I viewed Him as an American-which, I guess, was only natural given that is where I have spent all of my time. When, if you actually look in the Bible, God's "Chosen People" (Israel) are actually a lot closer in appearance and in culture to Turkey than America.

What I am learning is that my view of God is growing. He is bigger than any country, culture, or language. He is above it all. There is no offical language of heaven, no one country's flag flys at the pearly gates. What will make heaven so, well-heavenly, is that it's residents will be a jumbled group of tribes, tongues, and skin colors all enjoying perfect, intimate community. Koinonia.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Savas Kartal!

Those of you who know me well know that I am a football girl. I absolutely love everything about college ball. Fall Saturdays with a pork butt smoking and a chill in the air is my idea of perfect happiness. Oh, and an Auburn victory here and there helps.

Therein lies our latest problem. You see, we live in Turkey. Not exactly football central-if you don't count soccer. So, like so many other things, we are learning to adapt. We have our grill, but pork is in short supply here. We will have to whip up some kabobs I guess. Ryan ordered ESPN 360 and figured out how to get the computer screen to play on our TV so we can watch our Tigers on TV-even if it is at 3a.m. Our Auburn flag will proudly fly outside our house on Incirlik Air Base. You can take the girl out of the SEC, but you can't can't take the SEC out of the girl.

Savas Kartal (War Eagle) from Turkey!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Settling In

The big news is-our furniture is here!!! It was so exciting to see the movers bring in familiar items that add to our comfort here. It was like Christmas morning for W, who had totally forgotten about all of his cool toys over the summer. There are still boxes everywhere and alot of disorganization, but it is starting to feel like home.

The other exciting news is that our car should be released to us in a couple of weeks. This is defintely a best case scenario situation, as sometimes the Turks hold cars for months. Until then, we will have a mix of rental cars, bicycles and walking to get us around. I rode a bike for the first time in several years today. Add to that the fact that it was a bike made for my very tall friend-and I looked about as goofy and ridiculous as I possibly could riding to the commissary.

Speaking of my friend Wendi, she has been incredible in helping us to get settled. She watched W today so I could unpack in peace and lended me the aformentioned bicycle to get to the commissary. We have been e-mailing for months, and have bonded quickly here. She is truly an answer to prayer!

Monday, August 30, 2010

It Takes A Village....

to get the Stebbins settled in Turkey! Things have been going remarkably smoothly for us, but I know that is because of the help and kindness of so many. Just a few examples:

~My wonderful parents let me and my 2 year old crash at their house all summer. Their beautiful house turned into Romper Room and their routines were thrown into disarray, but they were gracious and supportive. Happy Anniversary you two!!

~ My sister and her family sweetly offered to adopt our dog. This was a huge relief for me as my little dog and her care was causing me much stress and worry. Did I mention that they also just brought home a new baby? Yet, they stepped up and gave my dog a wonderful home.

~Our Texas friends, who gave Ryan a place to stay for a few weeks after our furniture shipped. He bounced from house to house and doors were always left open for him.

~Ryan's parents, who hastily put together a last minute trip to Texas to see us and spend time with W before we left. It meant so much to us.

~All of you who have sent kind e-mails, phone calls, encouraging words, and prayers our way. Each and every one has meant so much. We have the best support system and we know it. We love you all!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Since arriving in Turkey less than a week ago, we have gotten out and about quickly-maybe too quickly. In the span of the last 3 days, we have been to a lake in Adana, to a Turkish restaurant, the M1 mall, Sunday Market, and all over the Alley. I am exhausted from jetlag and all the activity-but I've identified something else that is making me tired-something I am calling cultural exhaustion.

When you spend so much time immersed in another culture, it can be very draining. Until recently, I had not been a worldwide traveler. The furthest I had been was England-and I wouldn't say that was a huge cultural shift. Those of you seasoned travelers out there understand the exhaustion I am referring too. There is not one thing outside these gates that is even vaguely like what I am used to. The customs, dress, architecture, goods, food-everything is new and different. And then there is the trying to be careful not to offend anyone here. I learned that the word "peach" is translated to a not-so-nice word here. I said it many times at the market accidently and felt badly. My friend Wendi, who is blonde and over 6 feet tall, gets looked at a lot. Your mind is in a constant state of processing and assimilating and trying to understand. All of it, in a word, is exhausting.

I think I'll stick around the base this week to recover a little before venturing out again.


Friday, August 27, 2010

The Outside World

Living on an overseas base, you can easily forget that you are not in America. The grocery store and BX have all familiar items and your neighbors are Americans like you. It is a nice little bubble I live in.

Today, we went off base for the first time to buy paint. The base will give us basic white and brown, but I wanted something different, so the guy here on base recommended a paint store in the "Alley". The Alley is a big circle of store fronts and restaurants right off base that sprung up to cater to the Americans on base. Most people in the Alley speak at least broken English, and many places take the dollar.

So, off we went. To get off the base, you must have a gate pass and then have your car searched by the (armed) Turkish guards. Same thing when you come back. Once off base, everything instantly becomes totally different. The buildings look like they are made of cardboard and could topple on each other any minute. Driving is a daunting prospect-traffic rules and lanes are a suggestion, not a rule, and people weave in and out and around as they please. We drove around until we found the paint store. There are men hanging out in groups everywhere. I guess in this culture, women don't socialize as much outside the home, so all you see is men. That will take some getting used to.

Anyhoo, we found the paint store and the owner was, as usual for the Turks, very nice and helpful. We paid him in Turkish lira and loaded our goods. I saw several restaurants that people here have talked about-so maybe soon we will try one. I think our next off base adventure will be to the Sunday Market. More on that to come......

First Impressions Part 2

We took our first adventure as a family outside the base...and driving around certainly requires your full attention, i.e. don't think I'll be texting while driving (I can't text anyway, but it gives you an idea). While outside we drove around in what's called the Alley and found our paint store and, hence, our project begins. I wonder if I can contract painting out?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Impressions

About 10 years ago, I strolled in to Frazer's college Sunday School class (late as usual) and was greeted by the SS president, a tall guy in the Air Force named Ryan Stebbins. He was nice enough, but I didn't feel any sort of "spark". He would later tell me he thought I talked incessantly and seemed a little flighty. Fast forward 10 years, and we are happily married. So, I guess you can't always trust first impressions. Keeping that in mind, I present you with my first thoughts about Turkey:

1. It is REALLY hot. I thought I would be prepared for it given my Alabama upbringing, but I am not. It is a whole different ballgame over here. The temperature isn't that much warmer, but the intensity of the sun is greater. That being said, I hear it cools down quicker here than in the states, so hopefully the worst of the summer is almost over.

2. The base is quite charming and cozy. It reminds me a little of Mayberry. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I can tell it is a close-knit community. I like that. The BX and Commissary (grocery store) has everything we need and a lot of cool items they don't have in the states (the olive oil is amazing!)

3. Our house is older, but has a great deal of charm. It is simple, but with a coat of paint here and there and our furniture here (hopefully soon!) I think we will be very happy.

4. The Turks are great. Very friendly and helpful. We hope to go off base this weekend to Sunday Market. They have wonderful fresh produce for very little money. We were over a friend's last night who went last weekend and the heirloom tomatoes I saw had me salivating. I can't wait. The mall in the nearby city of Adana is very modern and has American stores like GAP and Ann Taylor Loft. Hopefully we will get there soon. I think the only thing about this culture that will take some getting used to is the Muslim call to prayer. We hear chants on loud speakers several times a day. It reminds me that for the first time in my life, I am in the religious minority-which is a somewhat strange feeling.

Hopefully pictures will come soon-our camera is dead and we can't find the charger in all of the chaos of moving.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Merhaba(Hello) from Turkey!!

After 4 months of waiting and wondering, we are finally calling Incirlik Air Base home. The trip over was hard and long. I don't think I'll be doing it alone again, but it's one more thing to check off the list of things I never thought I could do. I have a feeling I'll be checking many items off that list in the next couple of years. That's all for now-I am pretty tired and feeling some jetlag. More details to come!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Stamps in Turkey

Well, our first small shipment of household goods arrived and after receiving and seeing the total weight I quickly realized I should have sent A LOT more, i.e. golf bag, trash cans, etc...oh well. Got the computer up and running, skyped with Sarah and William Wednesday night for the first time. But...turned the computer on Thursday only to realize that it is no longer a part of this family...good thing I made backups. I purchased a laptop (first time ever) and bought another modem, this time wireless, oh, did I mention Sarah closed on our house which leads me to the food stamps...I think I can use them here. How's the food you ask, well I had lunch Thursday at the bowling alley, I know what you're thinking, but they have Chicken Donners every Thursday...and they're verrry good...reminds me of a healthy version of Moes or Chipotle minus the extras those two wonderful establishments offer. I've played golf about 5 times...I could get my handicap down to a ridiculous number...but wouldn't be a true handicap since this is the only course around. Sarah and William arrive next week and I CAN'T WAIT to see them. Ryan

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Turkish Fun Facts

While working on a change of address card to send out, I came across some cool facts about Turkey:

~Istanbul has been designated "The Cultural Capital of Europe" for 2010

~The official state flower is the tulip, and it was Turkey who first gave tulips to

~Turkey is the birthplace of 2 famous saints: Paul, and Nicholas. That's right-Santa Claus was a Turk!

~Noah's Ark is traditionally thought to be buried on Turkey's Mt. Ararat

~Though thought of by the world as a Muslim country, Turkey is actually a secular state with no official religion.

I am sure we are in for a lot more interesting information as we get to know our new home. We can't wait to start exploring!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting Started

I've caved. I swore I would never do a blog. Nothing against all of you bloggers out there, but the idea of filling everyone and their brother in on all the details of my daily life never really appealed to me. Besides, outside my immediate family, I really thought no one would care.

That all changed last April with a phone call from Ryan at work. "We got our assignment" he began before a long pause-"and it's not good". We had been waiting for word of where the Air Force would move us next after 4 wonderful years in San Antonio. I had tried to prepare myself for every possible scenario-from Minot, North Dakota to Alamogordo, New Mexico-and everywhere in between. The only thing I hadn't considered-overseas. Ryan thought that would be, at best, a remote possibility. I took a deep breath and asked where my new home would be. "Turkey" he said, "Incirlik, Turkey." What? How? Why? My head was exploding. The sweet, normal, non-interesting, status quo life that I had worked so hard to cultivate was blown to pieces. Other people move overseas and have great adventures and do crazy things, but not me.

So, all of this brings me back to this blog. I have no idea where it will go. Ryan and I hope it will serve as a journal of how God works through us and in us while we are doing something that, at least for me, will be very difficult at times. We know that we will see and experience things that will change us forever. Come along with us, won't you?