Friday, February 27, 2009


Eva Belle Alderman Stanley O'Quinn
Born: 3 January 1916
Died: 26 February 2009
I remember how proud I was to have a real 'country grandma', one that was called a "granny" and how I told my friends her garden was bigger than their yards.
I remember when you asked me what I wanted for breakfast, that you'd fix me anything. I chose one of those mysterious canned jars of sausage in your basement.
I remember when you went into the Kentucky Fried Chicken drive thru and ordered $5 worth of chicken. I laughed so hard I couldn't talk.
I remember when you took me to the mall before I could drive and sprayed so many tester perfumes on me, I felt lightheaded.
I remember how pretty you looked at my wedding, on my brother's arm.
I remember when I told you I was moving overseas and wanted to share the Good News, and you told me you were proud, that it was something you'd wanted to do as a girl.
I remember how much you loved all my babies when I brought them home to see you.
I remember that day we went to Wal Mart together, I pushed you in the wheelchair while you held my firstborn in your lap. I remember realizing at that very moment it would be one of my happiest memories.
I remember when I told you I'd named my daughter after you, and you said she looked like a boy!
I remember even after you began forgetting some things, you knew all the words to the hymns.
I remember taking a photo of you and my little Eva, knowing one day she would show it to her grandchildren.
I remember last summer when I knew I was saying goodbye for the last time.
I remember all those great-grandchildren running around at your feet, blissfully unaware that even their life clocks have begun their countdowns.
I'll always remember you, Granny.
-Sara Leigh Fish Campbell
26 February 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Webkinz World Part I

The world of webkinz hit our home 1 year ago. We had heard all about these furry little guys with a website link from friends and family. So, in the summer, I snatched up a webkinz for each...the elephant for Esther, the bunny for Annika, the horse for Mary Erin and saved them for Christmas. Eva didn't get a webkinz, we tried to pass it off as one, but she's a smart kid.

So, during our winter break, on the computer we went...buying up clothes, furniture, bedroom designs, swimming pools, all with the free 'kinzcash' you get as your starter bank account. It didn't take long for the cash to be depleted. The only way to get more cash is to do something educational (answer school-related quiz questions) OR get a job. We tried the jobs. They were hard. With one eye on the door to make sure Ross didn't see, I began doing the girls' jobs for them. It's all timed. Sometimes I sort numbers for the Kinz Post Office to get the correct totals. Sometimes I toss newspapers to the green doors instead of the red doors. Sometimes I determine if the sick pets need an ice pack, band aid, or medicine based on the locale of the boo-boo. You know what's coming. How could I hide it forever? "Sara, what in the world are you doing?" Well, you see, the jobs are, hard. "Hard? Isn't it a kids' website?" Yes. It's sort of like a um, gift to them. I mean, the girls do their household chores, practice piano faithfully, get their homework done, but I do their webkinz jobs. I went on...they need webkinz cash, it's a challenge to me, I only do it once in awhile. In the end, he tolerated my 'enabling mentality' until, that is, I began waiting for the magic 8 hour webkinz clock to wind down until I could do another one. I had to back off. He was onto me. I backed down to only an occasional job fill in for them, just enough to let the kids keep a steady flow of cash in their webkinz bank accounts. Maybe I could use this as an illustration to teach about a welfare mentality. Some people work, then give their money to the people who don't. Then the people who don't work, spend it and expect more. I even had one friend tell me to cut it out, that I was making her look bad...her kids complained, "Hey mom, why can't you do our jobs like Mrs. Campbell does..." (My friend is a woman of virtue, that's why.) But to be honest, they are fun. And once you work up to the highest level, they are a challenge even for an adult with a college education. And I do have limits. I will most certainly NOT do the job where you have about 5 little baby webkinz all wanting, water, a stuffed bear. They turn their little lips down and you have to figure out what they want. Then you click and drag the item that makes them happy. If you don't get it to them quick enough, they begin to sob. Then you start getting "x's". Three strikes and you are out. That's where I draw the line. I won't do that job, for you see, that's no game. That's called being a mother, a game I play for about 14 hours each day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did you think I'd left blogging behind forever? At some point, I think Thursday, we began sinking into the abyss. I'd enjoyed rock-like sleep for the 2 weeks Ross was gone, but hardly slept at all that night. It never occurred to me that I had fever. By Saturday morning, the snow was coming down in sheets and I couldn't get out from under mine. I had started an antibiotic (knowing exactly which infection was re-visiting me). Everything is over the counter here. Everything. It was at that point that I began to see God's Hand in the timing of all this. My good friend Vicki had sent me a big ol' box of hand-me-downs for the girls, which, this time, included Polly Pocket in all her glory...vans that play hip-hop, accessories, male Polly Pockets, the works. If I could just get it from my van. I stayed in pajamas, put on my duck shoes from the 9th grade, shivered under my coat, and trudged down. I got the box upstairs with much effort, snipped it open, and said, "Have fun. I am in bed if the house catches fire." For the next 8 hours, my three little girls developed Polly's World in the den. Benaiah happily watched them. I slept with an occasional meal for Benaiah in between. They had no lunch. At 5pm Annika made everyone sandwiches, fruit, chips and cookies. Knowing I was sick, our school caretaker said he'd go get Ross. I debated. Could I really NOT be there to get my firstborn off the airplane? Everyone dressed and we stumbled out into the snow to the van. It was absolutely wonderful to get our two-some back. We are so much better as a seven-some.
Mary Erin came off the plane with a severe sinus infection. I kept repeating my mantra, "Just get everyone home. Just get everyone home." My sweet husband, jet lagged and snowed under with work, took such good care of us all day Sunday. Mary Erin and I both were starting our comeback on Monday, then Esther complained of a sore throat. By Monday night, she had fever that was giving her nightmares. I couldn't wait to see the sun come up and get her to the doctor. The doctor explained, blah blah blah (lots of Turkish medical terms here), then, "You call it Scarlet Fever, I believe." Did she just say Scarlet Fever? The room spun a little. I wanted to say, "Is that the disease that left Mary Ingalls blind?" but I refrained. But oh, how I thank the good scientist who cared not for himself, but for humanity as a whole, and produced penicillin. One shot and she was good to go.
Today has been blissfully boring. I had a boiled egg. I read my Bible. I washed the linens of my child with Scarlet Fever. I thanked God for His good timing and for medicine. And we are back from the abyss...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Limpin' to the finish line...

We have almost made it to the end, though I feel like we are limpin' to the finish line. Ross and Mary Erin make it back tomorrow evening. Just before we finished our tour of duty here on the home front, Benaiah had 2 tough shots to get on Thursday. Friday he woke up and cried every time I picked him up. I realized his little thighs were swollen (a hard thing to tell on a boy like him). In the last 24 hours, I have developed an infection. I've gotten this several times before, post-baby-delivery, so I knew immediately what it was and got on an antibiotic. I am waiting to feel less fevered and achy. Also, Ross emailed just before they left for the airport and said Mary Erin had a sore throat and fever. I popped him a note back and said, "Take Tylenol for the plane ride. And just get home. We'll all take care of each other." I am so thankful that in less than a day we'll all be back together.

The Lord provided 2 nice distractions these last few days. On Thursday, I was invited to a recipe exchange/birthday party. We all brought our best recipe suggestions and made a fresh new stack for each other, what every woman needs now and then.

Friday morning we woke to snow. As we've always said, about the only efficient thing in this country is the snow plow, so school was open. The kids were disappointed until I reminded them it meant they got to walk to school in snow. School starts at 8:30am. Our kids (being Principal's kids) have to go at 8:00. I think yesterday I had their boots on and trudging them on the path to school by 7:30. I said, "Just go play at school. Ask someone to look after you...I have to go back to bed!" They made me laugh on the walk to school. Have you ever seen Family Circus when the artist traces the child's path to wherever he is going? That's what our footprints in the snow looked like Friday morning. They had a special request that I try to trace their path on my walk back home. Annika had stamped an "A" with her feet every so often to make it easier.

Friday night I was asked over to celebrate another friend's birthday by eating snacks and watching Calamity Jane with Doris Day. About 1/2 way through the movie, all I could think about was putting my head in my friend Jen's lap and falling asleep. Decided to head home at that point.

Saturday we'll stay put with 3 little nurses here at home, counting down the hours. To all my blog readers, thanks for the outlet. It was especially meaningful while Ross was gone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Polyclinic Personalities

I have been trying to upload the most hilarious video of Benaiah I've seen (all 5 months of his life anyway). But the blog is not uploading it. I'll try again later. For now, I'll move on to another post.

Benaiah's pediatrician informed me, "The Ministry of Health has a little money right now, go get your shots free in the public health clinic." So, this morning, we did. As I walked through the door of the polyclinic in our neighborhood, all I could think was, why, oh why, did I not bring my camera? (My camera is now officially on the "List of Things to Throw In My Bag Before I Leave the House.") The clinic was small, clean, attended. But across the room from us sat sweet, sweet, covered from head-to-toe, village grannies tightly clutching their health records and government insurance papers. Next to them sat an old chap with his cap on. In we walked in Old Navy coats, jeans, and crocs. Such an interesting place this is. If I had a photo to post here, you would have thought I was doing a documentary on the health care in Iraq. I see them on CNN International. That is exactly what this scene looked like. I began to negotiate with myself about not bringing my camera at such an opportunity, thinking, "Oh well, I couldn't have snapped their photo might have been awkward..." Then, "No. I could have gotten their picture with the kids. That's my inroad." 2 seconds later, one came to ask if she could hold the baby. Should have brought the camera. We chatted, but I understood less of her Turkish than most of the people I talk to. There is such a thing here as a country accent, a hillbilly Turkish. I felt proud that for a few minutes, while she waited to hear the doctor's prognosis of her aging body, she had my baby to hold.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hobbit's Second Breakfast

Well, we got some snow last night. It seemed to stick everywhere but the streets, so this morning the girls gulped down their cereal, then donned their snow boots. Esther said, "Most kids only wear a coat, not all this stuff..." (referring to the hat/snow glove/boots/scarf ensemble). I told her I had recently read in the Weekly News from school that Miss Morton (elementary principal ) wanted ALL elementary students to wear a full winter ensemble (never mind that I am the ghost writer for the school's Weekly News). Off we went. Yes, we. With Ross gone, I do something daring, something I might be arrested for if I lived in the West. I leave my 3.5 year old and 4 month old home alone for the 5 minutes it takes me to walk the school girls across the big street between our house and the school. I would most likely not do this if I lived in America, but like so many things, it's different here. I share an apartment building with 8 wonderful neighbors (and 1 grumpy one) who would do anything to help me. Crimes against children are so rare here, for Allah would not forgive that. I leave with strict orders not to pick up Benaiah if he cries and not to answer the door, then we make our mad dash out.

When I returned home, my across-the-hall neighbor spotted me. She asked me what I was doing. I told her. She chided me for not leaving the kids at her house while I went and told me to do so for the rest of the week. Then she told me to come have tea later. About a 1/2 hour later, she rang my doorbell and we went over.

Spread in front of me on her table were olives, strong goat cheese, yellow hard cheese, salty and strong string cheese, and cream cheese spread. (Do you see the theme going on here?) She stood over the skillet making me a crepe. Now, I'd already had breakfast at home. What was I to do? Tell her I'd already eaten? Hobbits eat 2 breakfasts, but I cannot. I am sure Weight Watchers would have recommended I refuse. (I can hear them now, "No is polite. No thank you is even more polite.") But this was cultural. She had made me a hot breakfast. So, I sat down, sipped my tea, and began to work on the crepe, thinking, "Please God. Don't let this count on my fat grams for the day. I don't even want to eat it, but I have to." Shouldn't fat grams only count if we really wanted to eat it? Shouldn't it not count if we are eating it only to show love to our neighbor? I got the crepe down. You know what happened next. She put another on my plate. I said, "Oh me, I am so full." (using the word for 'full' that refers to when you want a full tank of which she chuckled) Then she replied, "If you don't eat it, who else is here to eat it?" I tried. I really tried. Then I asked if I could take it home and finish it for lunch. That worked.

We chatted about my grandmother, who may be in her last days. We chatted about Benaiah, who goes over to her house for about an hour each night, gets loved on, then comes home and promptly falls asleep from all the excitement. We talked about how she had watched old videos of her kids and how little they used to be. We drank tea. It was a nice visit, and the second crepe came home with me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Perfecting Pizza

Dinners are simpler when Ross is out of town. This year, knowing I am soon going to be making baby food but have very little space in my freezer, I decided we'd eat up whatever odds and ends are currently in the freezer while he is gone. I found these 2 little frozen pizzas. What'cha think? They were labeled "Karasik" which means "Everything." Very little tomato sauce, some cheese, 1 lonely tomato wedge, 2 isolated black olive pieces, and a smattering of unorganized baloney-type meat. Mmmm. My kids are so good about eating whatever they are served, but I just didn't have the heart to place this in front of them, as is. So, I gave the pizzas a make-over.

Better, huh? I put some of my own homemade pizza sauce on them (leftover from last night!), removed the former toppings, and added more cheese. Better! A little pork sausage or pepperoni would have made it even better, but I am a mere mortal.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Photolog Part III (a.k.a. How Can Someone Post 3 times about 1 day?)

After bowling, we came home, listened to the hail outside, then...

made a homemade pizza, only our oven is plugged in to one of the outlets that is currently non-functional (until the electrician comes on Sunday). What to do? I called a teacher who was working at the school, asked her to pre-heat the oven for me, then dashed over to cook our pizza. 10 minutes later, hot and fresh, I became the Domino's delivery girl. (The pizza was hot and fresh, not me...) For my Valentine's gift, I offered the girls a bubble bath and a manicure/pedicure on me. I came in to the den to find this...

and this...

I must clarify and tell you that, although it appears we own an arsenal of nail polish, some of them fall under the following categories...
a)bought on a 1 lira table and worth about what I paid for them
b)sent to us in care packages
c)brands such as Hello Kitty that don't actually work but we keep them because it makes us feel like we have more color choices
d)favorite gift idea of my firstborn for Mother's Day

Anyway, the girls made a nice display and everyone, except one little boy, chose a favorite for fingers and toes.

He tolerates all this nonsense pretty well, don't you think?

Valentine's Day Photolog Part II

After breakfast, we loaded up and went to Panora Mall for a game of bowling. The kids have been so good for me... helpful, cheerful, just great little companions... I thought I'd treat them on Valentine's Day. This was Benaiah's response to all our fun today!

The guys at the bowling alley couldn't resist Eva. They helped her bowl. She wanted to choose her ball for the color rather than the weight. I finally convinced her to go with the right ball. I must confess the kids all beat me, but they get gutter guards!

I think Benaiah was out of his stroller more than he was in. All the staff took turns holding him and loving on him. These guys couldn't get enough of him. I took this picture for the blog, but they thanked me profusely for taking their picture with him and he is on all their phones now. One gal left her mark on him. Tonight I kept seeing 'bling' on Benaiah. He had sparkles all over his head from someone's body glitter. And we'd been smelling women's perfume on him all day, too. I gave him a bath. He's the only male around here right now, he can't be sporting glitter.

Though the lighting in this picture is terrible, the girls begged me to catch a shark in the background. Panora has a beautiful aquarium.

We had a super time! I love my little Valentines!

Valentine's Day Photolog dedicated to Ross and Mary Erin

This blog post is dedicated to Ross and Mary Erin. We've tried to include some thoughts and photos that would be meaningful to you on this special day. For those of you west of us, Happy Valentine's Day! We've had a good one.

Since Valentine's Day was on Saturday this year, we started with our usual Dostlar Manti breakfast! During the meal, Annika asked me if butter is healthy (see photo). "Hmmm. Well, it is a dairy. But I wouldn't call it healthy. Not really. That's why we just spread a little on our bread and don't eat it straight." "Oh," she replied, "like peanut butter. Peanut butter must be healthier, because Papa eats it straight out of the jar." "Right." I said, smiling.

I asked Eva is she wanted seconds on the eggs. "Hmmm," she said, "I'm sinkin'."

I had two cups of cay, Ross. And I added 3 lumps to each. 3 lumps of sugar in 2 cups of tea is 6 lumps of sugar. When you add 2 lumps of sugar in your 3 cups of tea, isn't it 6 lumps of sugar? So, why do you tease?

The girls were a big help...salting/peppering the tomatoes; cutting the feta; pouring the water.

Our breakfast was delicious! But it's not the same without you two.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Present

My birthday was technically Monday even though I celebrated Friday night. On Saturday I heard lots of whispering and so I sat the girls down and said, "Girls, I love you so much. I know you love me. Here's how you can show me...please please please don't wake up at 5am and fix me a big breakfast!!! I just want to sleep." They giggled and said they already had it taken care of. They had 'bought' me something. That night we had Turkish breakfast for dinner. We threw in some extras and called it my birthday dinner. On my plate, you can see: helva, a boiled egg, sarma (stuffed grape leaves), fried green peppers, goat cheese, olives soaked in oil and hot red pepper, a fresh salad, bread with honey and butter, and....a cinnamon roll. I didn't make cinnamon rolls, how did that get there? More giggles. Evidently they had pooled their resources and bought me a cinnamon roll at the bake sale on Friday. Then they hid it in Annika's backpack all weekend. Mmmm. Baked fresh maybe Thursday, stored in the bottom of a backpack for 3 days, placed lovingly on my plate on Sunday night. All in a climate that turns bread crusts to croutons in a matter of hours. I tried, folks, I really tried. "Mom, have you tried it yet?" Mmm-hmmm. "But I don't see any bites out of it." Oh. Well. I guess I just licked it so far. Then, as they anxiously watched, I used a steak knife to sever it in two. Then I crunched. And smiled. And crunched. I got about 1/2 of it down, bragged on them for their generosity, then said, "Whew! I am STUFFED! Who wants to polish off this cinnamon roll?" And you know, those girls gobbled it up and licked their fingers. It's a gift I won't forget!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Clearance of Conscience

Have you ever made a homemade hard taco shell? Me neither. I make homemade tortillas, but the thought of getting the shell just right...little brown flecks in the corn, a nice crispy texture, just the right's just too overwhelming for me. Taco shells can occasionally be found in Turkey, but only for a price that would be equivalent of what I spend on my kids' birthday gifts! But oh, we want what we cannot have. The girls request tacos sometimes for a birthday dinner. I am left with alternatives like : spending an entire afternoon making them from scratch, sheepishly asking a friend with Base Access to buy me a box, importing them from America in our luggage (which results in more of a crushed taco salad type dinner), or just doing without. But Saturday night, a friend and I hit a new grocery store in town called Kipa. I had heard positive things about it, and indeed, it was a good store. But things went from good to great when I spotted taco shells. Taco shells at 1.75 YTL ($1.00US). Ignoring the stares, I climbed canned good shelving to get every last box on the shelf. Stacked mile-high in my cart, I think I talked about them for a good 30 minutes. Then I began to feel a twinge of guilt. I took them ALL. I thought of all the other foreigners in our city who might want some. So, I made a couple of conscience clearing phone calls, "Hey, need any taco shells?" "No? Great. See you Sunday." and "Oh, just one? Sure, I'll get you 'just one.' " I still had plenty. Then who should round the corner but a whole slew of my mommy-foreigner friends. "Sara Campbell!" I spoke pleasantries, then finally blurted out the whole story, "Just take them! They have taco shells for $1 and I bought every single one. There's not a box left on the shelf. I can't stand this, get them right out of my cart!" My friends died laughing.

We also found Campbell's soup for $3YTL ($2.00US). Normally it is nearly double that, so we bought a bunch. I once again climbed the shelves to get these, this time using a prop to propel all the cans down to us. I thought of those primates in the jungle, who have been seen 'using tools to gather food'...hmmm.
When I came home and told my kids about my find, they threw their arms around me and yelled, "You're the best!" as if I had anything to do with this divine provision. Then I pointed out to them the name of the soup...Campbells. "Campbells?!" (quizzical look) they replied, "That's us!" We live a sheltered life over here!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Camouflage Couple

Annika woke up Saturday morning on a mission. A mission to match her brother. I tried to be gentle...cute idea, hmmm. Um. I don't know, Annika.
He's a boy.
He's a baby.
But like a dutiful mom, I helped her peruse his wardrobe. Then Annika began jumping up and down. "He has camouflage, I have camouflage!!!" Then she darted upstairs to don her army gear and white t shirt. I think this photo reflects a boy who is trying very hard not to show his pride, don't you?
And if her Papa has anything to do with it, this is the closest to a G I Jane she'll ever get. Oh, and she did add a pink watch and pink swirly crocs to her get-up.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Not Forgotten

Monday is our (Ross' and my) shared birthday. But some years (most) Ross is gone that day to the US. I decided this year to celebrate on the Friday night before the actual day...weekends are always more fun and it would give me a nice distraction the first night he is gone. So, I put up a note at school in the teachers' lounge for a girls' night and called one other gal who is my fellow-mommy-of-young-kids-but-not-a-teacher friend. One teacher asked, "Do you want a sign up sheet?" No. Just come. So I really had no idea if it might just be a couple of us or who all might be coming. Along came 5:15pm and 11 sweet friends came to hit the town. We had a SUPER time. We went to a newer mall and ate at Num Num's (yes, we go out for "American" here!). After dinner, we grouped up into shopping-desire groups...some for shoes, some for jeans, some for the Gap sale, some for....well, some for other things. I found a black shirt and some jeans on sale. The clerk tried to tell me I needed a size smaller. However, I was going for the "Minimizing Muffin Top" look and wanted the bigger size. I've included a photo of me sporting my new stuff, along with a beautiful necklace gift from a friend (made here in Turkey, see me if you want one!) Then we all met back up at Starbucks to finish the night off. The only guy invited was Benaiah who thoroughly enjoyed his evening out by blowing bubbles with such an intensity he had to shrug his shoulders while he did it. I had a wonderful time, and it eased the blow of turning 37. Most importantly, it made me feel very remembered and loved. I wasn't so sure how it would be, when on our birthday last year, I told Ross we had a surprise pregnancy on the way. I realized that I would be back at home again and more out of the loop with our team. I had no need to worry.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chronological Run-Down

Last night:

7:00pm I give a valiant attempt to get Mary Erin to bed sooner than normal.

7:30pm I tuck the girls in; they wait for a story.

7:35pm Annika tells me she doesn't want their plane to crash, that she will miss Mary Erin. I remind her nothing can happen to us that God doesn't allow. I tell her more people die in cars than planes. I tell her we'll pray about it.

8:00pm Mary Erin sleeps, the 3 younger girls hang on Ross begging for another story.

8:30pm All the girls sleep.

9:00pm Ross wakes Annika to ask her a question about something reported to him about one of her classmates.

9:30pm Benaiah and I hit the sack for the night.

10:30pm I hear Ross shaving.

11:00pm Ross comes to bed.

12:00am Eva comes in. Why? She doesn't know. I put her back to bed.

12:30am Ross' alarm goes off. I frantically run to it, pressing all the buttons I can feel.

12:45am Ross' other alarm goes off. He gets up. I hear other sounds, maybe shaving again?

1:05am I gently wake Mary Erin and tell her "It's time!"

1:10am I frantically dump all of Mary Erin's Turkish lira on my bed, give her a good US Dollar exchange rate, and stick her money in her backpack.

1:13am I calm her fears that airport security is going to confiscate her hand sanitizer and hand lotion. I tell her, "You're a kid. Maybe they'll let you keep it."

1:14am I start to remind her to be careful wearing crocs on the escalators, recalling something I read in the news. I change my mind.

1:15am The apartment bell rings. I quickly answer and hiss back, "Coming!" hoping all the while it doesn't wake everyone else in the house.

1:16am I start hugging Mary Erin. I try not to cry. I think about how she was 4 the last time she did this...a little bob in her hair, a kitty cat t-shirt. I try not to think about it.

1:17am Ross tells me he has packed 3 books for reading. He asks me will he have time?

1:18am I tell him he will not have time. I tell him the books will just be heavy.

1:19am We call the elevator. Ross runs back in to put all but 1 book back.

1:20am I remind him the driver is waiting.

1:21am He reminds me the driver will wait.

1:22am I hug Mary Erin again. She begins telling me about Mr. Popper's Penguins. I am trying not to think about how tall she has grown.

1:23am I tell Mary Erin this was all my idea to let her go, that I hope she has a wonderful time. I consider saying, "America or Bust" but decide it will take too long to explain it. What does "Bust" mean anyway?

1:24am Ross is last-minute analyzing if he has forgotten anything, which is fine by me as long as it doesn't include analyzing dating, proposing to, or marrying me.

1:25am I call out, "passport, money." He says he has it.

1:26am I smile one last time and tell them I will miss them.

2:15am I call Ross' cell phone. Airport desks aren't open, they tell me. They got there 2 hours early for nothing. We talk, say goodbye again, all tell each other how much we love each other.

2:25am I try to sleep. My feet are cold. I put on socks.

6:45am I wake, realizing they are almost to Belgium, and I have started my 2 weeks without them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Little Rocker

Benaiah continues to grow. And grow. And grow. For awhile, he was on the one pound a week plan. I have stopped weighing him here at home. I'll just let the doctor tell me this month what we're up to. Last time I weighed him, he was up to 21 pounds at 4 months. This poses a problem sometimes. He's 4 months old, so he can't yet sit up. So, we continue to put him in his bouncy chair. But he is really the weight of a 10 or 11 month old, whose mother wouldn't dream of still putting him in a bouncy chair. When he sits in it, it sags nearly to the ground. But Benaiah has discovered that his weight can actually work for him. Now when we put him in it, he scoots his bottom down to the corner and rocks his legs so hard, he creates a ride that should cost a quarter and be in an arcade. Interestingly, he does it when no one is talking to him. I guess he's bored? Maybe I should apply for an infomercial..."New exercise don't even have to be able to walk...use it when you are bored and overweight. When no one will talk to you, just get in your machine and rock!" I think I'll end this post now. Here's a clip of the Little Rocker.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Look carefully at this container. Do you see the words, "Anti-Stres"? That is Turkish for Anti-Stress (amazingly easy, that one). This is an extremely large container of hand soap refilling solution. The manufacturers of this actually believe that we will believe that by using this hand soap to wash our hands, we will reduce our stress. I bought it because it was the cheapest, not because I am confident in its anti-stressing ability. As I refilled our soap dispensers, though, I began to think about 'anti-stressors.' What does the world consider to be an anti-stressor? Shopping? A party this weekend? A good strong drink? Separation from a spouse? Telling someone off? Venting? If we are honest, even if it eases the edge for a moment, none of it really works long term, does it?
But here is a good anti-stressor: " Me you have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."-Jesus
We have an Anti-Stressor that works. Even when my neighbor (and friend) who is running for public office has chosen as his campaign slogan, "D-mn the American Imperialists. D-mn Israel." Even when I am taking my daughter to a potentially scary doctor's appointment. Even when my husband is heading out of town, and I remain in a foreign country without him. God is good, all the time. I'll take His antidote anytime.

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