Monday, September 18, 2017

Coffee Date at 6,275 miles

Ups and downs. That's what it's been like. For Firstborn, she's had mostly ups. She's doing great. She loves her Psychology professor. He's one-in-a-million and helping her to sharpen her worldview as he guides her class. (Yes, a psychology professor can be conservative. We found him. There's one.) Her Chemistry class is...well, challenging. Her English seems easy. She's making friends. She checking out churches. She texts us and on weekends we talk. We miss her.

One night of one weekend she was a little homesick. I know it must be hard to see friends calling their folks daily (which is hard because of our time zone issues) and even seeing them on visits already. I wish I could go! I'd go! But I can't. We talked that one night, and I told her to go on to bed and we'd text when she woke up.

When she woke up, I was having an afternoon Turkish coffee with CC just before I took him to the airport for his conference in Korea. She texted me a picture of her morning cup of study coffee. So, we had coffee together. Mine was sludgy, delicious Turkish coffee with a square of Turkish delight on the side (actually 2, but Big Ben had already gotten 1 of them). Hers was a smooth, comforting morning cup to go alongside her College Algebra homework. Somehow it seemed a little brighter after that. Each time I look her up on my "stalking app" I see the miles. 6,275.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What I've Been Doing, Besides Teaching

This year is so very different. All my birds are not in the nest. One has wings, now. My dear friend has moved back to the US, so my days seem a little different in that regard. Additionally, I took on some new courses, high school courses, to teach. I've been deep in reading and grading papers. And it's been hot. SO HOT. I'm from Tennessee, so hot is normal. But here, it has usually cooled off by September. Hence, we have no AC units. But this week, mid-September, it's reaching 97 degrees still. 

So, the days seem a little hard. And hot. 

But there are some happy spots. One of them is in the form of this money, which I realize looks like Monopoly money. I found some cloth, stretchy book covers on clearance this summer and bought them all. Like 2 shopping carts full. I brought back 150 of them to sell to our students, because they are so simple to use and are unavailable here. I sold out in 3 days. Here's all the money I made. It's pretty much enough for me to take a short cruise. And I didn't overcharge! I sold it at the Amazon price without shipping. Actually, I tucked it away to give my two girls toward their senior trips. I'm feeling very entrepreneurial. 

I'm enjoying my students. They are highly motivated. They thank me after class. One boy, upon meeting me, took my hand and put it to his forehead, as he bowed. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 

Did I mention it's been hot? This was indoors at my house! 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

First Day Pictures 2017

Soon it was time for our first day pictures!!! We are all adjusting to 4. 4, 4, 4....not 5. It's weird, for all of us. But here are my 4 that are HERE!

Twinkle, beginning her junior year. What a girl! So proud. So happy to walk through these next two years with her in high school! 

And my beautiful sophomore Middler! Every year, she says, people tell her she's changed the most. I know one thing that has not changed, her beautiful heart! 

Sweet Cheeks, how can it be? She's entering 7th grade!!!! She's ready, she says! 

And my boy Big Ben, who is a big 4th grader this year. 

And why can't I take a first day picture, too? 

Cappy was determined to come outside and show off for us as we boarded the van. She had a few back to school exercises to do. 

I even managed to get a first day picture of my handsome guy. 

Do well, you 4! Shine brightly! 

Happy back-to-school day! 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Summer's End

I was truly grateful for those extra few days afforded us by the government decision to start school later. I'd been gone from my family for 2.5 weeks, so we had some catching up to do.

On one of the final days, I drove Twinkle to a friend's house, with the intention of taking Sweet Cheeks to get a Starbucks drink afterwards. On the way, we got a flat tire, which derailed us for a bit. But we still made it later for a quick stop in. 

We also got to go have Saturday morning Turkish breakfast out. You just can't beat it; it's our favorite! 

We took one day off of the endless work at school and worked in the yard. CC uprooted a couple of small evergreens that did not fare well last winter and replaced them. I cleaned up the yard, and Sweet Cheeks ran out to find me some wildflowers, then planted them for me. We are just hoping CC doesn't start sneezing! 

Meanwhile, we get texts and pictures from Firstborn. She went to a friend's house for Labor Day Weekend. Looks like she caught some fun! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Camping at Light Mountain part 4

We had planned to spend two nights, but the rain was headed our way, and the temps were going to drop into the 30's that night. So, we built our campfire and enjoyed the evening, then drove home after supper to our warm, dry beds!

We didn't leave until we made smores! They are a Turkish-crafted version, but they work. (Did you know marshmallows get their spongy-ness from a pig's snout? So they aren't sold in Turkey. These are made from fish gelatine! They don't taste like it, thankfully!)

On our drive home, our road was blocked by Bessie and her friends. 

As we drove into our city, the Lord gave us this beautiful sunset. 

Our camping trip was simple, cheap, and fun. And it helped my heart start to mend. We will find a new norm in our home, and Firstborn will continue trusting Him where she is. God is good! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Camping at Light Mountain part 3

CC suggested a hike before the rain came, so we bundled up and went exploring. This land is part forest, part meadow. It was fun. The entire hike he kept saying, "Now there's your firewood, girls. Why didn't you come down here?" (Of course, that would have been quite the hike back up with an armload of firewood!) 

The tree behind Twinkle gave her antlers! I'm clearly sporting the camping look. 

There were so many beautiful spots. I was drawn to this fence, crafted from fallen trees by a local man. The color of the tree drew me in. It was almost a blue. 

And I took this picture of my beauties. It's the first time they've been a four-some in my picture! 

We found a wonderful stream. I almost thought someone had thrown a house broom into the water, but it was some type of wonderful water-loving plant with such a beautiful red hue. 

Big Ben would loudly announce EVERY time he had to go to the bathroom, NO ONE look. Which of course, he was just setting himself up for everyone to glance his way. This was his favorite spot because he could go and still watch up laughing at him. What would I do without my boy? 

On the trail, Sweet Cheeks found a jawbone and gave it to her brother. She finds everything in nature, which I never see! Papa reminded him of Samson, killing so many with the jawbone of an ox! 

She also spotted a hummingbird which was a) the smallest I've ever seen, and b) the only one I've ever seen in Turkey. 

We found a beautiful waterfall. 

It was a fun hike! And the Lord held off the rain for us. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Camping at Light Mountain part 2

It seemed to me that the meal prep and cooking it over the campfire was our favorite part. I know it was for me! The girls helped me slice potatoes and layer them on onions, green beans, and sucuk (Turkish spicy sausage). 

We took some pictures for Firstborn and sent them to let her know how much we were missing her. She analyzed them all and sent comments back, like, "Ahhh! The Prague hat!" 

Big Ben has not slept a day in his life alone once he came out of his crib. It's terrible, I know! We've warned him that this is the year. Firstborn is gone. He's almost 9. It's time! 

50 feels like it would be pleasant, but it felt cold! Our tent is designed for 4 people, 2 in each of the side compartments. But we sleep 6 (used to be 7!) in it, so I always sleep in the center area. It's not as well insulated. So, 50 feels cold up on that mountain! 

I had cooked some ground beef and added sausage spices to it. Then Sweet Cheeks cracked my eggs and poured them in a water bottle before we left. Breakfast was a cinch! 

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