Friday, November 27, 2009

We Gather Together

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We sure did. We had the privilege of having 22 folks celebrating together...from Memphis, Hungary, South Korea, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana. We were honored to have Pastor Ronnie Stevens in our home (visiting his daughter Ruth who works with us). He married us 13 years ago last week.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Before Thanksgiving

I'd say it's about time to get that awful Gangsta pic off the main page of my blog. So, here ya go!

Every year our school hosts a fund raiser Christmas Fair. We craft all year, then sell them to the public (and ourselves!). This year I turned the reins over to my good friend Karyn. She did a super job, especially considering SHE is crafty. She is very home-ecy, interior-designy, crafty, and she did not disappoint. Here we are just minutes before we opened the doors. Brenda, my faithful cashier; Jeannie, my good believe-it-or-not from Memphis but became friends in Turkey friend (who doesn't even have kids in our school now but still helps us!); me; my little elf Mary Erin; and Karyn.

A new item this year were these adorable blocks with votives and tealights to light up the room.
Karyn spotted these cute babies in Europe, then we designed/altered them and made our own. We had a Russian mom who knitted the hats for them.

The angel tree toppers were beautiful, I thought.

And so, another craft fair is done. We raised almost 6000 TL for the school. Now, on to Thanksgiving!
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Saturday, November 21, 2009


Who are these people? Certainly not the conservative lawyer-turned-school-principal and the 3rd grade teacher you know and love.
Last Saturday night our staff had a 'Grill and Chill.' That's where our adopted grandpa on staff, Wayne, fires up the grill at school and we meet for dinner. Sometimes we play games. Sometimes we watch a movie. This time we came as rappers and performed a rap in our pre-assigned gangs.

Dizzle Pop, on the left here, took the rapping contest by storm. He always did rhyme well. (The songs he wrote me were one of the reasons I married him.) I desperately want to publish his rap, but I must ask him permission first. I think over dinner, I'll say something like this, "Yo, Dizzle Pop, you got a problem wit' me makin' public yo rap, bro?" Spell Check will be all over that.

I wasn't even planning to dress up. But when I saw Dizzle Pop's nose ring, I had to match my man. The sad thing is that my get-up only took me about 3.5 minutes to create. I opened my closet and the bling was there, just waiting to adorn me. What does that say about me?

Some of us really got into it.

I mean, REALLY got into it. For any of you FEC readers, that chick on the right (the one with the silver in her teeth) is the daughter of one of our former pastors. Just don't tell on us.

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Friday, November 20, 2009


One thing I found myself doing while in Bodrum, and specifically at the castle, was looking for crosses. This was a storage room for the old rocks and pieces that have been found, but can't be pieced together again. I spotted some crosses among them.
These were crosses on the crests above the tower's entrance.
This was a cross I noticed on an old anchor found under the sea.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Straight Out of Narnia

This is the English Tower of the castle.
This is me in front of the English Tower. It was clearly a windy day in Bodrum.
The tower was totally intact. This was a little inlet to sit and do whatever castle-dwellers did. Polish their chain mail? Drink their ale? Give orders to capture the enemy? The stained glass was original. Amazing.
These things had been placed inside to recreate what it might have looked like. I just kept thinking of Narnia. And of my kids. And of how I just have to bring them here.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Torture Chamber

No, this statue that adds about 20 lbs to my figure was not in the torture chamber, but it should be!
As we walked through the various wings of the castle, we came upon a sign that read, "Torture Chamber. May be difficult for children or those with a weak heart." That served a challenge to me. I convinced my friend Brenda that we would survive it, and down we went. This picture was taken from the dungeon up. Those are the actual steps the criminals descended. There was a sign above the door in the original language, which translated, "Where God Does Not Exist." It was very warm inside, so far down into the earth. It was dark.
There were some actual objects used for torture in the 1500's. With my tendency toward a bit of claustrophobia, this would have been a bit too tight for me.
Then there were the cells. The size of each would have required the offender to curl up all the time. This was a cell down into the ground. They had put some fake hands in the grate for effect. Sure made me decide to watch my p's and q's.
Perhaps the most remarkable part was that the Spaniards who toured it just prior to us, decided to close and pretend to lock the door to the dungeon on us. They thought their joke was a good one. But the real joke came when we left the dungeon only to see a police officer locking the gate to that wing. He motioned us to quickly exit. It seems it was time for Friday prayers, and no one bothered to tell anyone else that we might actually get locked in an exhibit during that time. That would have been a good blog post, though. Locked in a 600 year old torture dungeon for the afternoon. I realize this is a morbid post, but I promised my nephew who is currently studying castles, that I would get him all the details, gory and all.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Favorite Spot

My very favorite stop through the castle was the ancient chapel. Built by the Nights Of Hospitaller of Rhodes, it was later overtaken by the Ottomans so its function was church-mosque-museum. It always brings me mixed emotions to see ancient churches here. As we entered, a very rowdy man inside was laughing and singing the Titanic theme song at the top of his lungs.
Have you ever just suddenly sensed in a very big way that God wants you to do something, even if it seems uncomfortable or illogical? I walked back out of the church. And I thought. I continued to sense the same impression in my heart. It was as if my feet would not move to the next exhibit until I went back in and did it. The message I heard was: Go back in. Sing for my glory. It was once a place that honored Me. Honor Me again.
But I don't sing well. But the acoustics in this place call for harmony and I can't harmonize. Will the people inside think I am crazy? Will I once again be told "Yasak!" (Forbidden!) Again the message was clear, it was once a place that honored Me. Honor me there again. So, I got up the courage and asked my buddy (who sings really well) to sing with me. Then two other ladies from our group entered, and I asked if they wanted to join us. They readily agreed. So we stood, in this 600 year old church and sang, "In My Life, Lord, Be Glorified" and then "Hallelujah." It was beautiful. Harmony divided, the acoustics were amazing. My heart swelled. I thought of people long ago. People I might see one day. And then an amazing thing happened. The little guard who sat by the door, bored all day watching people come in and out, got up and came over. He smiled and pinched his fingers together as he raised them. It is the Turkish way of saying, "Very nice. Super." And suddenly I didn't feel it was uncomfortable or illogical at all. It was exactly the right thing to do and exactly the right place to do it.
Next Post: Read about 1/2 way down!
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Monday, November 16, 2009

A Vow I Intend to Keep

To have and to hold from this day forward. For better or for worse.
For richer or for poorer.
In sickness or in health.
To love and to cherish.
'Til death do us part.
Happy 13! May there be many more!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stone Table and Wine Jug

This castle held many treasures. Because Bodrum was once a busy seaport, many underwater treasures have been discovered and preserved to display in the castle. This was a stone table used for sacrifices to pagan gods.
Aren't they cute? I saw the sign "No People" but immediately thought of "No Men Allowed" at our retreat. They struck this pose without any coaching.
There were hundreds of wine and water jugs discovered from shipwrecks. In the museums in this country, you can touch stuff.
This one was from AD 100. I thought of Jesus. I thought of when He changed water into wine.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bodrum's Castle and Fish Market

The very best spot in Bodrum, where I spent the weekend, was the castle. At one point, I called Campbell Clansman and exclaimed, "Ross! It is the best, the absolute, best castle I've ever seen in my life. It is all intact." He replied, "Well, honey, it's young. It's from the 1400's. Most of the stuff we've seen is much older." I had never thought of 1400AD as young, but I guess it is all relative.

Here is the castle from a distance. This was taken from a high point where many sea captains were buried.
After taking that picture, we walked around the harbor through the little town. They had a fresh fish market.
It seems this little cat knew all the best places to get a snack.
Here are some of my friends and me in front of the castle wall.
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