Monday, January 31, 2011

Sweet Home

It's Monday night.  Bible study is tomorrow morning and I hadn't done a lick of my homework.  Ryan got home on time which allowed me to go to Starbucks for some peace and quiet to get my study done.  I love that we have a Starbucks here in Turkey.  It is such a nice place to relax and unwind.  And when you are sitting there, you forget for a second that you live in Turkey.  The music playing only adds to the experience.  Soothing, peaceful jazz, blues, and old standards.  And just when I thought I couldn't be any happier-the music to "Stars Fell on Alabama" started to play.  I looked away from my bible study, closed my eyes, and just enjoyed.  Images of my home played in my mind like a movie. 

It was a good night.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things You Do When You Are Two

You crawl in the dryer because, hey, why not?

You watch TV with a blanket on your head......because you can.

You let a random Turkish man take you for a ride in his go-carts.  Daddy was doing it, so W wanted to do it.  The man was in love with W and was so kind to let our little guy take a couple of laps for free.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Heart Technology

It is hard living in Turkey.  You have probably gathered as much if you read this blog regularly.  But as difficult as it sometimes is, I cannot even imagine how infinitely harder it would have been 10 or even 5 years ago.  We have so many options available to help us stay close to home.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Skype-We were a little late to jump on the skype bandwagon, but we are all aboard now.  I can SEE my loved ones whenever I want.  W can sing and talk to his grandparents.  I can see my niece and nephew grow.  I can't tell you how much it helps us feel connected over here.

2.Vonage-In the old days, folks living here would have to use something called "morale calls"if they wanted to chat with their loved ones.  You were only allowed a certain number, and the calls could only last a certain amount of time.  And no one could call you.  Thank goodness for internet based phones.  We have an Alabama phone number (how cool is that?) so it isn't a long distance call for most people to reach us.  Likewise, we get free long distance to anywhere in the US.  Love it.

3. Playstation 3-Alright, this one is for Ryan.  I actually don't really care for our newest piece of technology, but I have to admit, what I saw last weekend was pretty cool.  Ryan and a dear friend of his back home were able to play a video game together on their consoles, and talk the whole time via a blue tooth.  It put a smile on my face watching him have "guy time"with someone I know he misses seeing.  Hanging out with your friends-even though an ocean separates you-also very cool.

So, as tough as it sometimes is living here, hat's off to those who came before us and before all this technology-now that was a real sacrifice!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

San Antonio Shout-Out

Aaron & Cristy. Caleb & Bethany. David & Autumn. Chris & Danielle- four couples in our small group in San Antonio. Rosemary-my MOPS mentor mom in San Antonio.  They are normal folks with normal jobs and normal lives.  But what they are doing in the name of the Lord is extraordinary.

When our friend Deborah Crumpton received her cancer diagnosis, they learned soon after that they would be moving to San Antonio.  They asked for help in making connections in their new home. I fired off an e-mail to a few of my friends back in San Antonio explaining Deborah's situation and passing on the contact info that I had.  To be honest, I didn't expect much.  Here was this random couple moving to town, and my friends there had full time jobs and busy lives.  But I sent the e-mail anyway-in part to clear my conscience that I was doing my part by passing on the message.

Since that e-mail, I have been told by a friend here on base that is in regular contact with Deborah that my friends have been calling.  They have been praying.  They have been active in doing whatever they can to help this family that they don't even know.  Some are giving up their weekend in a couple of weeks to help the Crumptons move into a new house.  We have received an e-mail from Deborah's husband Mark telling us how blown away they have been by the support. 

Isn't God amazing?  Knitting together a network of support for the Crumptons that meets them where they are.  Whether in Turkey, or in Texas.  My friends would never expect recognition-but they are the hands and feet of Jesus.  They are an answer to many prayers.  They are a blessing.  They are an inspiration to me.

We miss many things about San Antonio (Pappasito's, anyone?)-but it is these people who we miss most of all.  And even far away in Turkey, I am challenged by their example and proud to call them friends.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

6 Month Sadness

You can feel it around.  Among our group of friends-all of which got here at relatively the same time-we are all experiencing it.  Homesick, burned out, tired of living abroad.  I talked to several folks before we came, and all of them said that the 6 month mark was the hardest time.  The newness has worn off this place.  Daily life with a toddler living in a place with not a lot of options can get tedious.  We have gotten out and explored and seen much of what there is to see here.  There isn't a lot of mystery left.  I find myself daydreaming more than usual about my favorite restaurants back in the States.  About friends and family.  About home.

But God is good.  He always provides what we need when we need it.  We booked my mom's plane ticket last night for her trip here.  That helps.  I talked to Ryan's mom last night about a planned trip to the beach this summer.  Just thinking about that good fresh seafood helps.  Turkey is a season, it's not forever.  God has given us an amazing group of friends here-all of which have gone through or are currently going through the same thing.  The support is tremendous.  And for that we are also blessed.

6 months down.......

Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's Time.

Tomorrow night in Glendale, Arizona, the Auburn Tigers will play the Oregon Ducks for the National Title.  Even as I type this, it is hard to believe it is true.  I know some of you out there probably think I take football way too seriously.  Maybe I do.  But when you have routed for a team for as long as you can remember, it becomes a part of who you are.  And it's not just about football.  It's about great memories made with friends and family watching games either at the stadium or on the TV.  It's about experiencing the thrill of a last second victory or the agony of a last second defeat.  It's about learning sportsmanship and that a true fan is a fan win OR lose.

For me, it's also about 4 years (OK Dad, maybe more like 5) of my life that I will never forget.  Auburn is the place that I figured out what I wanted to do with my life, made some of my closest friends, and grew into the person I am today.  I can't think of a geographical location that I love more than that little town.  Whenever I return, even for a short visit, memories flood my mind and I am happy.

And tomorrow night in Glendale, some of my closest friends will be in the stadium because they feel the exact same way I do.  It's more than a game.  It's more than a team.  It's a part of us.  Win or lose, I am so proud of my Tigers for this incredible accomplishment.  So, for the last time for hopefully a long while, we will get up at 3:30 in the morning.  We will be cheering right along with everyone I love.  At the same time-even though oceans separate us.  For those few hours, we are together.  And that feels pretty special too.

War Eagle from Turkey!

UPDATE: 22-19  AUBURN IS THE BCS CHAMPION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Because of Isaac

William with Elijah (middle) and Isaac.  

 Wendi and John are two of our dearest friends here.  Their boys, Elijah and Isaac, are two of W's best buds.  This sweet family has an amazing story.  After years and years of failed infertility treatments, they were given the chance to adopt their eldest son when a close family friend became pregnant.  When their son, Isaac, was 6 weeks old, they found out they were pregnant-without any fertility treatments.  Elijah joined the family 7 months later.  Wendi is passionate about helping others struggling with infertility and adoption.  They have recently unveiled a charity to help childless couples manage the high cost of adoption.  I admire Wendi so much for using the incredible miracle God gave her to try to help others going through a similar struggle.  Click on the link below to learn more about this charity. A worthy cause indeed.

Because of Isaac

Saturday, January 1, 2011


The New Year is upon us.  If I am being honest, I am not sad to see 2010 go.  It wasn't a bad year, but it was a year full of change and transition-both of which are things I am not good at handling.  I don't know what the New Year will bring, but one thing that I am fairly certain will NOT happen is a move across the world.  For this I am thankful. 

I am so thankful for each of you who take time to read this blog. I am amazed at the location of the "hits" this blog has recorded.  Everywhere from the US, to England, to India!  Thanks for taking the time to share in our journey.  May all of you have a safe and prosperous 2011.

From Turkey with Love,
The Stebbins