Saturday, September 21, 2019

Mother's Day and Other Fun Stuff

Miss Middler was asked to help lead worship at church. I love this picture of her!

Soon, May arrived! Firstborn was back home, and we enjoyed being a family of 7 again. It just feels like all is right! This night we went to our little hole in the wall pizza place together. (Yes, we are wearing coats in May!)

Mother's Day came so I got to pick the restaurant. I surprise here...Quick China! Here are the beautiful people who made me a mom.

We were so happy to get to have our dear friend Lori join us that day. We also had one last Sunday with Gibson, the Singaporean exchange student who had been joining us for church each week.

It was a fun meal and a nice time to be with people we love!

Easter 2018 and Getting to be "Mom"

Easter was a cold, but beautiful day. We enjoyed celebrating the Lord together and having a nice Easter lunch afterwards. We have sort of always viewed holidays such as Thanksgiving and Easter as times to reach out and find others who might need a family that day. We ended up inviting a crowd out to lunch at a nice Turkish place. By the end, there were so many of us, they gave us a separate little room. I treasure the memory of that fun day!

I did not get to coach Sweet Cheeks this year, but she ended up making all three teams (soccer/basketball/volleyball). She had wonderful coaches in all three sports. Her last sport of the year, volleyball, took her to Istanbul for the Middle School tournament. I got permission to go and just be MOM! It was so much fun! The team did great, and I enjoyed getting to serve them food and support the coaches (aka getting the girls in bed on time!)

We love traveling there and get to stay near the sea. It's beautiful!

We left to drive home at about 3PM, which put us in past midnight.

The kids had fun playing cards and listening to music. But after about 11PM, this is what we saw.

Volleyball Season 2018

Soon after Spring Break, it was time for our final volleyball tournament. I had the most delightful team! They worked well together and supported one another. I loved every minute of practice and games with them.

We decided to do something "new" this year and order some matching volleyball t-shirts for the season. I think they got more excited about that than anything I said to them! This was at a pep rally the school had for us.

I loved coaching with Andrea this year. She was my assistant and worked with the B team while I took the A team. She was a sweet little middle schooler at our school in Singapore. Now she's all grown up and is my colleague in Turkey. I love her to death.

Our girls dominated. We matched up with teams all over the city and even teams who came down from Istanbul. Here's Twinkle Toes with a spike.

And here's Miss Middler who is our star setter. She is like a little spider, all over the court, getting under each ball to set her teammate up for a hit.

This is BY FAR my favorite sports photo someone has ever sent me of my kids. Twinkle is diving for the ball. Yes, she got under it. Yes, we got the point.

I think that I get more stressed out coaching volleyball than basketball. I haven't yet figured out why. Ideas?

We took third place overall, and here were all the teams who placed and received trophies. It was a great tournament!

I couldn't be more proud of these girls.

This is a very special photo, and I want to include it for my memory book. This precious girl, a fellow senior and friend of Twinkle Toes', is now with Jesus. We could never have imagined that at this last tournament when we took this picture, she would pass away in a few short months. At this game, she came to tell me that her mama (a single mom, working hard to give her daughter all she could) had come to the tournament, and could she please play in the games today. I said, "Oh, you're starting today. You got this!" I get a lump in my throat when I think of that conversation. 

And I have to end with this. This was the moment of the last game I would ever coach Twinkle Toes. She has made me proud in every way since she first started dribbling, kicking, shooting soccer balls, basketballs, and volleyballs. She is extremely competitive and good in all three sports. But what sets her apart is her heart as a leader on her team. I will miss these days. So much. But I'm trying to focus on all that is good. And what is good in my heart right now is that I got to coach them during these years.

I wouldn't trade that for anything. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Meanwhile Back in Daily Life...a Hodge Podge of Memories

We quickly got back into the school routine and even enjoyed a few days of down time at home for Spring Break, since we did not go to the coast for the entire week. I knew Twinkle Toes' graduation was just around the corner, so I pulled out the project I had been working on from time to time: her t-shirt quilt. I got it all cut out and organized and got the flannel backing ready to sew it.

Big Ben got to see his buddy Coach Andrew, who flies in yearly from Germany to run a short basketball camp for us.

My sweet girl and me...

Always on our mind is Firstborn. She talks to us almost daily, and we love getting pictures of what is going on in college life for her.

The kids busied themselves one night with an intense card game.

Twinkle finished her watercolor of our city, a commissioning by a friend of mine. She sent me a picture of the final framed painting. Beautiful!

My kids make me laugh every day. I think at this point I was accusing someone of getting into the chocolate chips, when a little troll came after me.

International Day came, and we represented Tennessee!

 Our city...

Now that all the girls are old enough to attend youth group, we get one night a month to hang with our boy alone. This night we decided to treat him to a 3D super hero movie.
 It looks like we only play and don't work! I guess I just take pictures of the play!

Cirali Cheer 3

We had hiked quite awhile and decided to head back. The girls and I just knew that the shortcut we could see would get us back much quicker than turning and following the trail ALL the way back from which we came. CC said it was not a good plan. We need to stick to the trail. After much convincing, he agreed to split up and meet back at the cabins. Big Ben stuck with his dad (good choice.)

It looked so close. And we are tough girls.

So, down we went on the rugged terrain, discussing all the way how we were going to beat them back.

Our view from up top were spectacular.

These hearty wild flowers grew right out of the rock. It reminded me of our life in Turkey. So much has bloomed, even in hard places.

It wasn't long before I realized that our decision to get off the path may not have been the best one.

It's hard to see here, but it was sheer cliff below. Those are the tops of trees we are looking down on. Our main goal was to stay safe, so we took it slowly and helped each other. And thought of the guys on the path.

There were several points that we had to reach and help each other. It looked so close and so easy from the top, but it was not!

But I will say that my girls are like Turkish mountain goats. They find a way through hard spots. And then they help their ol' mom get down too!

We got all the way down, FINALLY, and realized there was a massive creek between us the home base. We hiked even further and finally found a spot where we could ford the creek. We clapped in case there were snakes. We secretly admitted how wrong we had been. And we pushed through until we finally got off the mountain, across the creek, through the shoulder high grass, up the other hill, and on the road to home. Yes, they beat us. But I'm glad for the memory. Dinner tasted good that night. Sleep came fast. And the next day we drove home.

Cirali Cheer 2

Cirali is just perfect for a family who works hard and plays hard and then finally has a little time to rest. The attraction for us is just the time together, with no real agenda, and the beautiful creation of God all around us. We went for a hike that CC mapped out for us, which was part of the Lycian Way.

I momentarily lost our guide, then found him up in a tree.

He wanted to take this picture of us, then we insisted we should take a selfie. We don't own a selfie stick and probably never will. We have CC's's like a selfie stick.

And so he took the photo. When we looked at it, would could not stop laughing. For whatever reason,  though he truly was in our photo, it looked like he had stayed home and we had photoshopped him in....with grass surrounding his face.

Can you see all my people down there?

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