Sunday, October 22, 2017

On The Pitch

We hosted a tournament on our campus that lasted until late Friday night and all day Saturday. I'm just so proud of my hubs for turning this big dirt and rock mound into this beautiful pitch! 

High fives as the girls exited and the boys took the field! 

My buddy B worked the scoreboard for nearly every game, and I manned the gate for subs going in and out. It gave me something to "do" during stressful games! 

The girls played hard and only lost 1 game, giving them the 2nd place trophy. Our guys took 1st for the 1st time in the history of the school! 

Just as the winners were being handed the trophies, the sun began to set. It was a long, but beautiful day watching these great kids. They have the best sportsmanship in the city. 

And I sure do love these two soccer players! 

The kids asked if we could all get burgers. After 36 hours of straight soccer, there was no meal at home. So, sure! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Spirit Week

As we hosted the Ankara soccer tournament this year, the kids got to dress up in fun attire for the last half of the week. Miss Middler sported my alma mater for "Favorite Team Day." (Cappy celebrated by killing a bird while we were gone and placing it on our front door step for us. It's now in the freezer at school so Biology can dissect it!) 

We sported some Tennessee t's. I'm not a UT fan, but I love my state. 

One day was Hero Vs. Villain Day. I had several villains in my van. Poison Ivy, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, and Batman. 

But I was a Super Hero! I wore my apron to represent everyone's Super Hero, especially at dinner time: MOMS! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Soccer Kickoff, Road Trip, and Bad News

Well, based on my title, this really is quite a combination of topics! But it did all happen within a short time frame.

Twinkle and Middler have been practicing soccer since school started, and we finally got to host our first game. That soccer pitch sure looks prettier than the dirt mound we inherited when we moved in. And speaking of looking pretty, I love our new uniforms! 

I woke up Monday morning and noticed that Turkey had made the headlines. The US had suspended issuing visas to Turks at certain locations, and so Turkey returned with a promise to stop issuing visas to US citizens. I read today that there were 450,000 Americans who visited Turkey last year. And one of those Americans is my daughter. I have thoughts on all this, but this is a public blog, so I'll refrain. The main issue is that while Firstborn has a ticket to come home to see us this Christmas, she can not use it. She no longer has a residency permit for Turkey and would have to come as a tourist. I can say that this was another blow to me during a really difficult time. But I am deeply thankful that her road trip just a couple of days before took her safely to my mom and dad. I texted my dad so he would have a heads up when she woke up and got the news. She was just at the right place to process this. So, for now, we wait. We wait and see if it changes. If we can not get her a visa here, our backup plan is to at least get her to Europe, as her ticket took her through there anyway, then get some cheap tickets for us (it is cheap from here thankfully) and meet her there. I am asking the Lord to provide a place for us there so we can be together, perhaps someone traveling for the holidays with an empty home and a willing heart. I am believing that He will show us what to do. 

God blessed me in spite of all of this with a beautiful rainbow out my bedroom window....

....and I made a pot of gold to get us started with meals for the week! 

We sent this to Firstborn to let her know how sad we are too! (and apparently Big Ben is mad about it) Sweet Cheeks tells me this is how her Korean friends make hearts! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Big Ben Turned 9!!!

How can my little guy be 9 already? He's such a joy to all of us. We surprised him by taking him to Quick China. The boy loves some sushi!

When the brought his dessert, it came with this flame which looked to me like it might set off some smoke detectors. But then again, it's Turkey. Do they have smoke detectors? 

We came home, and he opened his presents. His next-one-up sis picked out this wolf for him. She knows him well. He was so happy to get it! 

He got lots of fun stuff, including this laser tag two-man game which I found at the Walgreens down the street from Firstborn's college just before I left! 

His dad got him some glasses and gloves so he could look like a real hit man. Previously he had been borrowing his dad's biking gear! 

A couple days later, he had a couple of friends over to celebrate. Sweet Cheeks made this cake in its entirety! 

These are great buddies who helped him celebrate well! 

Happy birthday, Big Ben! I'm not sure how this is going so fast! 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Speaking of Hammocks

Speaking of hammocks, I've enjoyed being outside....

...grading essays with my bottom nearly touching the ground. 

It keeps an afternoon cup of decaf, set on the ground, close at hand. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Gettin' My Fall On

Fall is my absolute favorite season! It came later for us this year, as the summer heat lingered. But then it came, bringing a drop in temperatures very quickly.

Last summer just before leaving the US, I had a little time by myself while Firstborn had her first weekend in college, but my flight didn't leave until Monday morning. I bought a few Fall flower pics and tossed them in my duffle to come home. I didn't expect them to survive it, but they were cheap, so I gave it a try. They did just fine! I've used them around the house, and Sweet Cheeks and I obtained a few new plants. 

We are getting the last few bits of these delicious white/pink raspberries. 

I bought a really cheap hammock last Spring. CC says it is so cheap that no matter how high you hang it, it nearly drags the ground! 

This is one of my favorite spots in the whole house. "Be Still and Know." 

And I love my kitchen, too. 

Has Fall come to your hometown yet? 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fall Dance

Our school hosted our first ever Fall Dance for the kids. Somehow my little baby entered seventh grade this year.

She's the second to smallest kid in all of Secondary, but she's started her career with a bang! She signed right up for Student Council (the only 7th/8th grader in it) and has been leading with suggestions and serving! She was so proud to man the ticket table and be a waitress at the fall dance.

Apparently she did more than sell tickets and serve coffee!!! (This is the result of having spying sisters there too.)

Our dances are so so sweet. Just fun and clean. The way it should be.

So, what has happened to our date nights? Well this kid had no big sis to babysit, with one in college and three at the dance. It was a fun "double" date for me!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

6000 Mile Care Packages

I left some goodies with Firstborn before I boarded the plane. I wish I could do the monthly care package like a real mom (!), but shipping from here is...a long story. But I thought that anytime someone was heading to the US and would be willing to take something to mail, I would do that.

A friend was heading to the US for a wedding and told me she had tons of luggage space. Additionally, she would see Firstborn at that wedding, so she could just hand it to her! So, we all whipped off some notes. The morning that my friend was leaving, and I was to give her the package, I glanced at the notes written by my other kids. I mean this was AS WE WERE LEAVING FOR SCHOOL. And I just stood there in the laundry room and sobbed. I took this picture. I know that it may not make much sense, but every little sketch means something. And it will mean something to Firstborn, even down to the one sister holding a dollhouse doll and the other holding a horse. She will get it all.

And...what do you send a kid that lives in America and for the first time, can get anything she wants 1.5 miles away at Walmart? You send her Turkey stuff. I sent her helva, sarma, cay, salep, and Turkish dark chocolate. I also tucked in a cute bag my Singaporean friend gave me. Her sis sent her "The Kissing Hand" in Turkish. A few of her "aunties" sent her notes and even chocolate Turkish delight. She will cherish each part, we hope. And let me just go on record saying, the care package purchasing kills me. I stood in the grocery store aisle with tears rolling down my face. Not figurative tears. I suppose I'm going to have to muddle through Turkish to my local grocery store friends what's going on.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Life 'Round here

This has been a very difficult season for me. I'm piecing together many things in my life, and so many of them are new pieces. I'm learning to live in Turkey without all my kids here. I'm learning how to communicate with my daughter across 8 time zones. And, at school, I'm learning how to teach high school English. This is new, as I was previously teaching middle school.

One day I left out at 7:30AM with the family, and it was the day my housekeeper comes. She had texted me to ask what I wanted her to make for dinner. Honestly, I never had a moment to send a note back. But when I came home, she had made me this lovely dinner of salad and lentil kofte. I almost cried. Her thoughtfulness ministered to me. I started sampling the kofte. My samples became a meal.

CC relieves some of his day-to-day stress with weekend bike rides. He sent me this picture from his Saturday morning bike ride. Wonder what this donkey would say if he could talk? ("Get outta my road.")

Here's a screenshot from a phone call we got to have with Firstborn.

One night I glanced out of the house and wondered if the sun was setting. It couldn't be; it was too late for that. We ventured out and realized some fires for clearing land had been started. Like good rednecks, we jumped into the car to go see!

Speaking of glancing out the window....usually I hear their bells first and know the sheep are back across the street.

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.

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