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.