Monday, November 28, 2011

Stepping Up

Ryan and I just returned from a fabulous little weekend trip to.....Rome!!!  More to come on that later.  We were planning to leave W with a friend on base whose husband is deployed.  She would just stay at our house and things were going to work out perfectly......until they didn't.  Our friend didn't get back from the States when she thought she was.  So there I was, 2 days before our trip, panicked.  Where would W go?  Would he be okay?  Should I just cancel the whole thing?

My friend Wendi called me.  "Stebbs, (she calls me that) this is going to be fine.  We are going to handle this.  Don't worry about anything." She sent out e-mails to organize play dates while we were gone.  Our friends Curt and Paula took him over the weekend.  We got home to a smiling boy who looked just as happy and settled as he would if had spent the weekend with us.

I know I might sound like a broken record, but our friends here are incredible people.  They just step up when there's a need-and they don't think twice about it.  Again, broken record here, but they are totally family to us.  Although I missed my boy while we were away, I felt completely at ease about his care-like I would if he were with my parents or in-laws.  I know my friends here love him like I do.

Like I told Wendi the other day-how am I going to part ways with these folks?  I can't even think about it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Love Him

Thanksgiving Day 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day in Turkey

We just returned from a lovely Thanksgiving Day Feast hosted by our dear friends John and Wendi.  With only a few exceptions, everyone who is near and dear to us on this base was there.  It was a wonderful time-lots of laughter, kids running all around, and delicious food.  It occurred to me more than a couple of times this afternoon that this is it.  The last Thanksgiving here.  The last Christmas is coming.  Many "lasts" have either already happened or are on their way.  While I am certainly excited about our future-I am definitely sad about this chapter closing.

Unless you have lived overseas on a small base, it is very difficult to describe the degree to which you bond with the others living around you.  It is not an overstatement to say that they feel like family.  Truly.  It will be so strange to leave them all not knowing when or if our paths will cross again.

This Thanksgiving, I am, as usual, counting my many blessings.  There are always too many to even name-but family is always at the top of the list.  Alabama family, Washington Family, and now...Turkey Family.

Beaudoins, Mayos, Clarks, Kitsteiners, Yerringtons, Balskus, Marrons, Jones, Kellihers, Stepps, and many more....I am so grateful for all of you.  You are a blessing to both me and my family, and I am glad to have shared this journey with you.  I know I will remember this Thanksgiving for a long time-and I think it will probably go down as one of my favorites.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome Home Luke!

Luke and Katie are our neighbors and good friends here in Turkey.  They have had quite an adventurous time here so far.  They are both active duty.  Katie found out she was leaving for a 7 month deployment shortly after they arrived.  And then, when her time away was finally drawing to a close, Luke found out he was leaving for Iraq for 6 months.  Luckily, they were able to spend about a week together when she got home right before he left.  When our President announced that American troops would be out of Iraq by the New Year, it meant Luke got to come home early-only having to serve about 2.5 months there.

We went to the passenger terminal to greet him today.  W has always loved "Uncle Luke" and was excited to see him.  As I watched my son run up to Luke with his sign, I felt so grateful for this experience.  So blessed that even at this young age, my boy is being given the opportunity to learn and understand what our brave men and women in uniform do for him.  He sees them for the heroes that they are.  Hopefully that will be something that will "stick" with him from our time in Turkey.  I hope he never takes for granted the freedoms he has or the people who provide it for him.

Waiting for Luke with Molly, who made these great posters.  "Guncle Uke" is what W calls Luke-definitely an inside joke that would take way too long to explain on a blog!

So excited to see Luke and show him the poster!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grocery Grumbling of 1.

I feel like grumbling.  I don't do a lot of it on this blog or in life in general because it seems pointless to me to complain about things you can't change.  But today, I am making a small exception.  The source of my ranting this fine (well, gray, cold, and rainy) day?  Our commissary.

For those unfamiliar with military terms, the commissary is our grocery store.  In the US, commissaries are mostly filled with retirees looking for good, tax-free deals.  But when you live in a remote part of Turkey, the commissary is the ONLY gig in town.  It services our entire base (some 2500 people, including civilians) and is still the size of a small grocery store in the States.  And because of our location, we don't get many items that are readily available to most of you.  Produce is horrendous.  We have had multiple milk and meat shortages in my almost 1.5 years here because some plane was delayed with our shipment.  Haven't seen my almonds that I like for breakfast in several months.  The variety of what we do have is seriously lacking...or, maybe I an used to too much variety in the States. I don't know.

Today, I loaded up W for our biweekly trip.  We go a lot because, let's face it, there isn't much else to do.  The commissary is closed on Mondays, so Tuesday is very busy.  Today, it was more lacking than usual.  I managed to get about 25% of what was on my list.  Frustrating to say the least.  I work hard to plan healthy meals for my family only to have a big door slammed in my face when I go to buy it.

Okay, enough of that.  There are many people out there with real problems and daily struggles.  I know this pales in comparison.  I get that.  But sometimes, you just have to get things off your chest.  Thanks for listening.

**Update (grrrrr.......): I had to stand in the post office for 30 minutes today with a melting down 3 year old because it was on lock down.  I am glad the base practices these safety measures, but that being said, it was very irritating.  Here's hoping tomorrow is a grumble-free day in Turkey!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Be Inspired.

This clip has been making it's way around facebook.  When I looked it up, it is actually a few years old.  Not about life in Turkey, or even about me.  Just something to make you smile and remember that there are many good things going in a world full of bad news.  Enjoy!

Thursday Quote

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us"
~Joseph Campbell

This quote popped out at me because I have been thinking a lot about the life that God has given me lately.  About the twists and turns that I wasn't expecting and the road blocks that I have come up against as well as the abundant blessings.  I was reading a blog the other day and the author was talking about what the Bible says in Hebrews 12:1-

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

The blog author pointed out the phrase "for us".  I never looked at it that way before.  My race has been marked out for only ME to run.  I can't and shouldn't run another's race for them even if it looks more appealing than my own.  Whenever I get discouraged or envious of my friends who are living the life I had planned for myself, I need to remember this verse.  God has equipped me for the life he has marked out for me and me alone.  How great that our God cares for us on such an individual basis?

Can I get an Amen??

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

I have to say, one of the times that I absolutely love this base is on Halloween.  The small town atmosphere is on full display.  It seems like everyone gets into the spirit of fun and making it a special evening for little ones.  We met several of our friends and their kids for pizza at one of the parks and then we trick-or-treated as a group.  W enjoyed being with his friends and we did too.  A great time was had by all!!
Our little Tiger wanted nothing to do with picture taking.

Trick or Treat!!

One tired Tiger!!