Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On the Move!

Two years ago, I received one of the most shocking phone calls of my life.  Ryan told me we would be moving to Turkey, and my whole world sort of imploded for a few days.  As assignment time drew near again, both Ryan and I have been praying for faith and peace about wherever the Air Force wants to move us........but we were not so secretly hoping to come back home.  The last few weeks have been stressful, with friends and coworkers receiving their assignments, and nothing for us.  But last night, Ryan's blackberry buzzed with great news......we are moving home!!!!

We don't have exact details, but will be leaving Turkey sometime this summer (late June/early July) and will be relocating in the Washington DC area.  Ryan's job could put him at the Pentagon, or at nearby Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. We just aren't sure yet.  But we are sure that we will be on US soil.  And we couldn't be happier about it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Leaving His Mark

**Warning: Bragging about the hubs ahead.  Skip if this irritates you (as it sometimes does me!)

So, it goes without saying that I am a pretty blessed chick.  And somewhere at the top of my blessings list is the name Ryan Stebbins.  I am not going to be sappy or cheesy, but those of you who know him in real life can attest to the fact that he is just a really great guy.   And last night, it was my privilege to watch him get recognized for excellence in his Air Force career.  We got all dressed up and went to the Annual Awards banquet (or "fancy dance" as W calls it).  As a nominee, we were introduced and walked on a red carpet underneath swords.  The ballroom was beautifully decorated and the live jazz group played softly during dinner.  And then, right at the end, my husband's name was called as the winner of Incirlik's CGO (Company Grade Officer) of the Year.  This means that of all the lieutenants and captains on this base, he was chosen as the best.  We will get to travel to Germany now and compete at the USAFE level (all bases in Europe will send their award winners.)  Adding to this, he was recently named the top officer for his career field (Personnel) out of all the bases in Europe! 

You know what the coolest thing was?  Ryan's two good friends were also nominated for the award last night.  And we were all routing for each other.  Not the fake kind of routing where you say one thing with your mouth and feel another inside, but really pulling for each other earnestly.  I know Ryan could honestly say he would be just as happy if Luke or Brandon's name would have been called instead of his.  What a cool community we get to live in.  What a great supportive support system we have.

Congrats Ryan.  You deserve every good thing that comes your way!
The official pic!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You'd Think........

After 1.5 years in the Middle East, you would think that I would be used to the nuances of this culture.  True, most of the time I am not surprised by what I see.  It isn't new or noteworthy to me anymore.  But sometimes, I am still uncomfortable.

Case in point: our family outing to the mall today.  I barely noticed the shepherd grazing his cattle in the median of the interstate.  The insane driving almost seems normal now.  The horse drawn buggies hardly get a second glance.  Everything that would be strange to American eyes was uneventful and quite normal to me.

But I CAN NOT get used to the obsession with my blue-eyed boy.  Strangers scooping him up, handing me their cell, and asking me to take their picture with him.  I know they mean well.  They are gentle and kind and so complimentary.  It's not even that I am fearful for W's safety, because I truly am not.  I just don't think my Western self will ever completely get used to this.  I have come to expect it, and even prepare for it-but it always takes me aback when it actually happens.  I shutter to think how many Turkish cell phones have a picture of W on them.  One lady even made it her screensaver a couple months back.

The other thing I will never get used to?  The Turkish notion that lines are meant to be cut.  My mother experienced this first hand on her trip here.  In America, we have proper respect for a line.  We know we wait our turn-and most of the time, things go smoothly.  Over here, not so much.  I may think I am standing in line, but to a Turk I am just standing around.  They proceed to walk right in front of me.  It happens ALL THE TIME.  Today, it happened at McDonalds and the arcade.  I have experienced it in airports (customs is the worst), restaurants, shopping malls, and tourist sites.  Pushing, jostling, crowding. No order, just chaos.  At least that's how I see it.  They seem totally at ease with it.  It's how this culture does things.  They don't think they are being rude or pushy at all.

And then, there's this.....
Look closely....the car is full of chickens.  We see this kind of thing ALL THE TIME.

It makes me wonder how long you would have to live here before it truly becomes normal.  How long before my "Western-ness" would evaporate.  I guess I will never know.  But I can say this-2 years barely scratches the surface!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I am sure I have written more than a few posts about life in Turkey with the general theme of not having enough.  Enough selection at the commissary, enough square feet in my house, enough activities, enough hours in the day.  On my way home from the gym this evening, I put in a Chris Tomlin CD that I haven't listened to in awhile.  The song I chose?  "Your Grace is Enough".

YOUR GRACE is enough.

Sometimes I feel like I will never learn this lesson.  I never have to think very hard to find something I am lacking-whether material or emotional or spiritual.  It is an epidemic really.  Do I have enough money?  Am I getting enough exercise?  Do I do enough for my son?  Am I a good enough wife?  Good enough friend? Do I cook enough healthy meals for my family?  I could go on and on and on.

YOUR GRACE is enough.

End of story.  No conditions.  No other options.

Thank you God and thank you Chris Tomlin for that reminder today.  I needed it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Medallions, Birthdays, and Smoking Jackets

What do they all have in common?  Check out what's been going on here the last few weeks!

Ryan and his friend Luke showing off the medallions they received for being named finalists for the bases CGO (company grade officer) of the Year!  We will attend an awards banquet where the winner will be announced in a couple of weeks.  So proud of Ryan!

My awesome friend Brianna made me this incredible birthday cake!!  What a treat!

My surprise birthday dinner at the Club here on base.  We had a blast.

Ryan and his boys modeling their Valentine's gift.....old school style smoking jackets complete with their initials!

Such a fun night!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Feel better, little buddy :)