Monday, October 31, 2011

Last of the Fall Place Pictures






Happy Fall!
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

Next month, I will have been married for 15 years. Some days it feels like it was just yesterday. It's gone so fast 3 countries and 5 babies ago.
And other days it seems like we've always been married. I do know one thing...I waited for God's best for me. And I'm sure glad I did.

I tried to take our picture with my arm out...just slightly ego-centeredly.

And again.

That's a little better.

And that's WAY better.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Sibling Fun

Firstborn thought I was getting a beautiful picutre of her, little did she know a swamp monster was behind her.
My 5 kids!

Some sister had this great idea...

The Singapore girls.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brother Ben

And then came YOU! You were my surprise a little later in life than I expected. You were the one that God "thought up" just when I had my family set and my teaching career ready to be launched once again. I would not trade that happy surprise for any amount of money. Our family has changed so much because of you. We used to just be a lot of girls! Now we have guns, tanks, balls. Everything has some sort of noise associated with it!

You have been good for us in every way. Through you, we saw that God keeps His promises. Through you, we saw that He grants good gifts in His timing and in His ways. Through you, we got the chance to see what a Campbell boy would be like. Through you, your sisters got to have a 'little brother' when they are old enough to remember having a baby, toddler, then preschooler in their home. We are trying not to spoil you. Your dad does better than the rest of us. But when you get in trouble, your sisters hide under the kitchen table because they can't stand to see it!

I am so thankful for these years at home with you. I love taking you to the park, amid all the auntie babysitters. I love how you belly laugh during our game of "toss the truck back up the slide and down again" over and over. I love how you cry when your sisters go to school without you. I love how you are ready for your snack exactly 15 minutes after breakfast. I love how you tell me if I have "whip tips" (lipstick) on, you'll have to kiss my cheek instead.

You've brought joy to so many people...your dad, me, your sisters, your extended family. We can't wait to see how God uses your life!May you grow to be a godly man who God uses in a might way, just like the might warrior Benaiah of old!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Earthquake Idea

All day Monday I thought about the earthquake. I thought about stuff inside those buildings...little girls' dollies, a little boy's truck, pictures of weddings, memories. But more importantly, I thought of people. We are hearing that so many are outside in tents now. I began thinking about our camping night in our tent. It got down to 50, and I was cold. In spite of taking a Tylenol PM (so that I could actually doze off in a tent with my 5 children), I was up a good part of the night thinking about my boy and how he never stayed under his covers. I eventually pulled him in my sleeping bag and let my back be exposed to keep him warm. You know, I'm a mom. You moms get it.

But these folks are out sleeping in tents with temps down to 32 degrees at night. There's likely snow around. I just wanted to DO SOMETHING. What could I do, I wondered? I can teach. I can hold babies. I can cook. Then I got an idea that maybe a team of us could go out East and set up a tent and just cook soup and serve it to people.

Then I got word that people are not what they want (afterall, resources (food/water/housing/heat) are so limited right now). They want stuff to stay warm...blankets, coats, boots. We, as a school, had agreed to help and planned to send a note to all the school families to send in any extra winter gear so we could send it on to Van. Then I got an email late last night from our church specifying what to send and that our school could be a drop off place for things. There was a name and number at the bottom, so I called it. I got the usual Turkish message that basically says, "This person's phone is currently off. Try again later." About 10 minutes later, that man called me back. Now, maybe someone who lives here can clarify for me that perhaps there is a special feature on some phones that gives the person your number if their phone is off. But I plan to call this some sort of miracle. His phone was off, but he had my number to call me back? Never had that happen in 8 years...

So he and I talked, and he gave me the most recent need. Evidently the church out there wants to open its' doors and SERVE SOUP 3 times a day for 3 weeks to help those in need. He said, "We just don't know where we are going to get that food." I said, "We've got it covered." I may not be able to go serve soup, but I can get get the soup ingredients to them.

Now, what's a food drive without some sort of competition? So, I cooked up a plan late last night. It does help to be married to and snuggle in bed with the boss of the school. I can occasionally get last-minute-will-cause-a-little-stress ideas passed. Basically, we told the students today they could bring 1 coat, 1 blanket, 1 bag of lentils or beans for soup, or 5 lira on Thursday or Friday. If their grade level reached 90% participation, they would get a dress down day and a no homework night. I tried the idea out on my own kids this morning. The whole homework thing caused air-jumps and shrieks. They went and got their own money from savings. I think it will work.

So, we'll pile it all up, the local Turkish church will rent a truck and drive it out East. They'll set up a soup kitchen in the church. The folks out there will be fed. And they will step foot in a church for the first time in their lives. Please pray for the safety of those driving it there. It's well...East. (Iran border) And the roads are treacherous. And there will be snow and mountains.

But today I praise God for taking what I felt He put on my heart and giving me a way to help. May He be glorified.

My Firstborn

I am so very proud of you. You were the first person to make me a mom, 12 1/2 years ago. I appreciate so many things about you. I appreciate that I can leave you in charge of four younger siblings and that you are able to handle something like that. I appreciate that you are responsible and organized. I appreciate your high moral standards on what you wear and what you watch. I love how you are thoughtful about little things like when we go on a trip and you make sure to pack fun car stuff for your little brother and sister.

The years since I first looked at you in my arms have flown by. It's hard for me to believe that we only have 6 more until you'll head off to college. I want to enjoy them with you fully.

I am so proud of the young woman you are becoming and so thankful for our good relationship. I've never parented a "tween" before, and I am sure I will make mistakes, but I am so glad you are the one I get to learn on! I love you, Firstborn!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Earthquake in Turkey

There was a 7.2 earthquake in eastern Turkey yesterday. One of my sweet readers (Nancy from Ohio) asked me to let everyone know if we are ok. Yes, we are! Praise the Lord. We did not even feel tremors from it (although 6 years ago I did feel my first earthquake while living here....I was asleep on a couch that seemed to bounce about 2 feet away from the wall.)

Please do pray for the Turks in the region of Van. Evidently the death toll is growing. I read last night that they were trying to shovel the rubble off with their hands to rescue people.

We have not yet traveled out East, but would like to sometime. There is evidently a church from about 1000AD there. I wish I could go now and take love to these broken people.

On another note, we've just written a newsletter with more detail than I write on my blog. If anyone would like an emailed copy, please send me a note and I'll send you a copy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sweet Cheeks

My little Sweet Cheeks, I am so happy God gave you to us! My first baby born in Turkey! You were so easy to take care of. What other two-year-old could sit for hours at the front desk of our school, munching goat cheese and olives with our Turkish receptionist and greeting people while Mama worked? You are loved by so many. This year you started first grade, and you are already reading so well. You are doing so well in your ballet class. We are so proud of you!
We were all so happy when you decided to give your heart to Jesus last year. I will never forget the change I saw in you that very day. You suddenly wanted to read your Bible with us like your older sisters and pray with us.

You will always be my baby, even though you have a baby brother. I can't wait to see what all God does with your life!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Twinkle Toes

Dear Twinkle Toes,
I am so happy you are in our family. You are my joy through and through. You are about to turn 11 years old. It's so hard to believe that precious little girl is growing up. I am so proud of who you are becoming. You are sensitive to others and have such a tender spirit to the Lord. I could listen to you pray all day long! And how can I forget to thank you for the free head massages I get every night??
I believe with all my heart that the Lord is going to use you to share Him with others and to minister to those in need, just as He's already put on your heart to do. I am so thankful He gave you to us!
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Middle Girl

To my sweet middle child, I am so glad that God gave me the happy surprise of YOU! I'll never forget as long as I live the first time I saw your beautiful face with the rosiest red lips I'd ever seen. A quick 3 hour delivery produced a round, pink, precious bundle on your grandmother's birthday. I wondered how I would manage with your sister not even 3 years old and another only 14 months old. And yet, God gave me the strength one day at a time (we ate a lot of meals at the hawker center back then, I quit cooking those years!). I gave you the back of the double stroller and let your sisters share the front with one leg hole each!

And now you are growing up. You have such a laid-back-get-along-with-everyone disposition; it draws others to you. Many times you hold your thoughts and feelings inside. I like that about you. I also love your fun spirit and the fact that you are not trying to grow up too fast, rather enjoying being a kid.

I am so proud of who you are becoming.
I am so glad you've given your heart to Jesus.
I am so glad you want your friends to know Him too.

I love you!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day Out of the City: Cabbage Patch Kids

We always enjoy seeing the enormous cabbage that grows out in this village. And nothing thrills me more than putting my Turks out there to show you how big that cabbage plant is!

He's a big boy and that's a big plant!
CC measured the leaves on them...some of them were 2 ft. across!

I never did get a Cabbage Patch doll when I was a kid. But I've got 2 now!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Day Out of the City: Getting There

It's really amazing to think about how we discovered what we call "The Fall Place." Several years ago (Sweet Cheeks was a baby then) we had some dear friends, the Fraziers, drive up from Izmir to see us. We were headed to a totally different place, but took a wrong turn. That's easy to do in a country where roads aren't always marked. We ended up at a beautiful pond with the most breathtaking fall colored trees. The most amazing part is that there are only two weekends a year where you can see this beauty. But we happened to find it on one of those weekends. Even more amazing is the fact that we are mostly surrounded here with evergreens. To see these colors on trees is not common here. It was like an invitation from the Lord to go out each year during the first half of October, enjoy His creation, and be together for some family time. We've done it every year since.

This is a little village at the foot of a mountain on our 1.5 hour drive there. People in this culture tend to "cluster." If someone enters a restaurant with just one family already there, he or she will sit at a table nearby. In my home country, we do the opposite. We give people space. This little village reminds me of that aspect of this culture. The houses are all right together. By law a mosque must be within walking distance of every person.
Don't I live in a beautiful place?

It is just a breath of fresh air for me to get out of the city. I am not really a city girl at heart. I took this couple's picture, with their burden-laden donkey, from behind. I wasn't sure how they'd respond if I took it from the front. As it turns out, I got big toothless grins from both of them when I waved as we drove by.

And perhaps these colors don't seem like much to you, but to us, it's a lot! We live in a desert climate, full of evergreens.

So to see these colors just takes our breath away!

Welcome, Fall!
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