Thankful Thursday #45

450. delivery of homeschool supplies
451. excited Things helping organize supplies
452. cloudy days
453. the right connection for the Wii
454. squeals from happy Things when their Daddy connects the Wii
455. planned boat trip for this weekend
456. special dinner with Thing 4
457. birthdays to celebrate with new friends
458. surprise SKYPE with the Horel Family (part of the Horel family)
459. a visit for the girl Things to MEF

Blah, blah and more blah!

Sorry to bore you all with these, my latest rants, but I will do so in list form.  Just for fun.  I like to spice it up every now and then. 

 1. lost my passport and residency permit sometime last week
2. didn't realize I lost it until I needed it Saturday to attend International Day
3. Duh
4. back seat in the BRAND NEW vehicle we drive is broken
5. killed 2 centipedes in the house this week
6. killed about a dozen milipedes in the house this weekend
7. homeschooling shipment is stuck in customs
8. shipment has been there over a week
9. had to hire customs broker to help
10. witnessed a very scary forest fire Sunday
11. thought we might have to evacuate if it got any closer
12. saw helicopters dumping sea water
13. had the police visit our house last week to confirm our residency permit information was correct
14. realized I had missed a very close friend's birthday... a month ago
15. another duh!
16. found about 25 new grey hairs on my head
17. after not running for a few weeks, ok maybe a month, starting again has not been easy
18. missed Delaney's online class yesterday because we were at the US Consulate's office
19. filed our first police report in Turkey this morning
20. started language class this afternoon with the Things

Oh What a Day

Well y'all it is Monday morning and here I sit typing away on the computer in between sipping my coffee and printing schedules for school this week.  And yes I said y'all.  Because guess what?  We met some Americans this past Saturday and one just happened to be from the great state of TN, Tullahoma, in fact.  We said y'all to each other and spoke of BBQ and all things Southern.  Ok, not really.  I shook his hand, thought he might want to dance to the German music with me and he declined.  Can't say I blame him.  He had a plate full of German sausage and sauerkrat.  Priorities people. 

Our family was invited to International Day at the NATO headquarters here in Buca, Turkey.  What a day.  A glorious day actually.  We were able to purchase bacon.  Real pork.  We also visited craft booths, the kids rode camels and horses and donkeys.  Enjoyed water balloon fights, bounce houses, cotton candy and real American popcorn!  Each country had it's own specialty food banquet.  Let's just say my Things may have ransacked the Italians like no others.  There was prosciutto.  Need I say more?  I didn't think so.  The Things also experienced a dance show of sorts and had buckets of fun.  We had rented a van with another family from our neighborhood so the fun didn't end when we left the festivities.  There was karoake and serenades to an assortment of pop music by the Things, their friends and two other visitors who were at our house for a sleep over.  Oh, what a night!  Shame the Things didn't sing that song.

Thankful Thursday #44

440. windy days
441. full moon
442. rain clouds
443. quiet mornings in the house
444. sound of Things playing in the garden
445. waves splashing onto the street
446. the pazar
447. riding the ferribot to "the other side"
448. geckos on my front door 
449. a clean, sand-free car

Letting Go, giving up and moving on

Not sure if this is an accurate title for this post.  We shall see.  So last night we watched Bruce Almighty.  The one with Jim Carrey and Jennifer Anniston.  Hilarious.  Although instead of laughing I was crying.  Literally. 

The conversation near the end of the movie between God and Bruce struck a cord.  Struck something, maybe a well deep within.  There are countless Biblical references and spiritual connotations throughout the movie.  Yet something about the two of them, God and Bruce, washing the floor clean really got to me.  Rolling up their sleeves and doing the "dirty" work together.  Do you think that's really what it's like for Him?  Now I know, how we can apply human attributes to God, but hey He did become flesh.  So, put all the theology aside for a moment.  I finally agree there is cleaning to be done and He comes along side me and we do it together.  There is no "aha moment".  No easy fix.  Just good ol' fashioned manual labor.  All that yuck just isn't washed away once I chose the Way?  No I guess not.  At least not for me.

It seems that God and I are at work together quite a lot.  There is alot of washing to be done with this soul.  Daily.  Which brings me to another moment in the movie where God reminds Bruce that anything that is dirty can always be made clean.  Amen.  I know this.  I mean I've been taught this, I've read it, I have the devotionals that tell me so.  How is it that I find it so hard to believe that this is for me?  I have a challenging time letting go. I reflect on any given situation for far too long.  The past is not really the past for me.  It is a haunting reminder of all that I used to be.  The lies, the sin, the gratuitous relationships and all the muck  that was my life.  And then when I do stumble as a believer, which I am now, I dwell.  Did I say the wrong thing?  What do they think of me?  Did I make a good impression?  Was I true to myself?  Uh no.  How can I really know who I am?  I digress.  That is a contemplation for another post altogether.  The worry, the selfish pre occupation.  What is that they say about the fall, oh yeah, pride always comes before it.  Note to self, remember that.  And remember that shame is the merely the flip side of pride. 

So, all this to say that it took a movie to remind me of these Truths.  The truth that Jesus is the only way.  The truth that yes, I will fall and fall hard, and that is ok.  I can get back up again and move on.  Ask for forgiveness and make the effort to do better next time.  And there will be a next time.  The people in my past are there for a reason.  It is ok to move on.  Not all relationships are for a lifetime.  Some only for a season.  And in that season there was a purpose.

Now, don't read into this please.  The past is there for us to learn from, it is when we focus only on that and not on the power of our Savior.  Ultimately, the power He has given to us and that most often I am too afraid to realize.  I don't have a prettly little bow to wrap up this post with.  No final words of wisdom, no scripture with the be all end all.  What I do have is this journal if you will.  This blog that sometimes requires me to share these jumbled thoughts.  Now I will take a deep breath and move on.  Thanks.

Celebration Day

For Thing 2's birthday we began our morning with sweet rolls and present opening.  The beach was waiting for us and it was sure to be a full day.  She had cards and even a package, she was delighted.  Jumping and up and down and reminding us all that it was her birthday.  How could we forget? 
With the daily countdown and all.
Then the Things and their Momma were off to the beach.  We built sand castles, explored, caught fish and crabs and wrote birthday messages to Thing 2!
I just love her smile. We came home and quickly prepared for an evening with friends.  Cake and ice cream and hide and seek tag, and even a football game.  Oddly enough, I did not take too many photos. The Things and their friends were running around and dancing and enjoying each other's company and left the parentals alone.  Strange.  Anyhow, I did manage to snap a photo of Thing 2 and her cake and even the spread we shared before it was ransacked by 13 kiddos.
Her wish remains a secret. 
Whatever it was I am most certain that Thing 2 had a splendid 12th birthday!

12 Years Ago Today

Yes, 12 years ago today I gave birth to this Thing.  This braid wearing, peace sign loving, animal rescuing Thing.  My second born daughter, my free spirit.  A child who, not unlike myself, loves nature.  Courageous, honest and in tune with her emotions.  Well as much as a 12 year old girl can be.  A Thing that boldly tries her Turkish at any given opportunity.  A child whose eyes can melt away my anger, always.  The one who still holds my hand and hugs me.  In public even. 
Happy Birthday Thing 2!  May the year ahead bring a shower of blessings and may Jesus continue to shine through you.  I pray that your heart will follow His prompting, wherever that path may lead.

Thankful Thursday #43

Today, September 16th, I am thankful for;
431. flowers
432. lunch with the Things
433. sunshine on the wall first thing in the morning
434. late night movie watching with Thing 1
435. daily reminders of Thing 2's upcoming birthday
436. the way Thing 4 talks non stop to keep himself awake even though he can barely keep his eyes open
437. football training
438. Thing 3 running the track with me
439. school supplies on their way
440. candles

Daddy Date Night

This girl had date night with her Daddy on Thursday night.  Dinner at Mezzaluna, dessert at Reyhan and Daddy all to herself.  It was a great night.  In the photo above she is enjoying her coffee and chocolate icecream.  Date night was in order to celebrate her upcoming 12th birthday.  Twelve years old, hard to believe.  More birthday posts coming soon.

Too Social

ednesday afternoon began an official holiday in these parts.  The neighborhood children only had a half day of school, and the Things, well they didn't have any school at all.  I tell you.  I am going to have to do something about that.  Anyhoo, we decided to kick off the weekend with a bit of a pool party.  The girl Things' new friends from Spain joined us, the Australian boys came over, I had our neighbor's son from across the way and our British friends were here as well.  The kids swam, played football, and enjoyed handfuls of sweet treats.  And then lo and behold I locked us out of the house when it came time to enjoy a cup of jo with the Mommas.  What an impression.  Our neighbor saved the day and scaled the ladder over my balcony to successfully open the locked door.  Thank you very much.  That was Wednesday.

Thurday we headed to the plaj, which is beach in Turkish.  New vocabulary word for youand me.  We had the Things' friend from Brazil with us for the day.  Here is what they did, all day...

They all took turns digging a deep enough hole and burying each other.  The struggle was when they tried to escape.  What a sight.  We had planned a camp out for this evening as well.  So of course the girls invited their new friends, Will's buddies were going to join us and Husband Jared and I were hoping we made it through the night.  The camp out took a turn for the worse when we weren't able to turn off the sprinklers in the garden.  So, we just moved the camp out inside.  As we were setting up the tent we found holes all around it and broken poles.  No more tent.  No more camp out.  Dissappointed as they were the Things and friends are flexible.  We set up camp in the living room for the girls and the boys were banished to Will's room.  They had a dance party, watched movies and ran around like wild banshees.  Ok, not really the last part, but they did sound like it at times.  And on more than one occasion that evening Husband Jared and I questioned our sanity.  As did everyone else.  The Things had loads of fun and the smiles on everyone's faces the next morning was thanks enough for me!

Then there was Friday.  Another day off for Husband Jared and more fun to be had.  Only this time we stayed home, at least during the day.  The Things swam more with their friends, we said goodbyes to friends and then played some more with friends later in the day.  Not to mention Husband Jared and I did our share of yard work, planting flowers, pulling weeds, raking and cleaning.  I love a day spent outside in the garden.  Really I do.  Plans were made that afternoon to venture out to a fish restaurant with friends that evening.  Everyone cleaned up and off we went.  It was a lovely evening spent dining outside on the water eating the freshest fish and most delicious mezes.  Those are Turkish appetizers.  Similar to tapas.  There was calamar and spicy yogurt and beans and bread and shrimps and mussels.  Oh my.  The Things were able to ride scooters all around, look at the water and of course find the nearest market for an icecream treat.  We came back to our house for dessert and enjoyed yet another late night. 

 With our late night tendencies the Things did not wake until almost 11am Saturday morning.  We, meaning Husband Jared and I, decided the beach was in order.  The weather was gorgeous and the Things were not cooperating, until we arrived at the beach and there friends were there.  And then not more than half hour later more friends showed up unexpectedly.  What a day.  The Things fished, we lunched, we played paddle ball and there was more sand burying and sand gymnastics.  From there it was off to our Brazilian friends home for snacks and drinks that evening.  The Things ran around and played hide and seek, red rover and laughed and giggled until they were ready to fall over.  Literally. 
Sunday was spent at home.  We watched a rain storm come in and ruin, albeit temporarily, our plans for a BBQ that afternoon with our neighbors across the way.  The rain was beautiful though.  The Things and I popped popcorn and watched a movie all the while hearing the rain pour down.  By late afternoon we needed fresh air and took a walk and when we returned home the BBQ was back on!  We enjoyed our neighbor's company and their delicious food.  Kabobs, rice, salad, sweet corn and village bread.  Wow! 
What a holiday.  We are not accustomed to this much social activity.  So last night we turned in early with thankful hearts and fond memories.

Thankful Thursday # 42

Today I am thankful for,
421. Oswaldo
422. Music
423. Meeting places
424. Mocha brownies
425. New friends from different places
426. Health
427. Family Dinner
428. Neighbors that scale ladders to unlock doors for you
429. Things and 9 other children in the pool
430. Breezy September afternoons

Bowling, Produce and Fun!

Yesterday we headed to Planet 51.  No, not a dance club, a bowling alley.  Where for a mere 7TYL, roughly $4.50, one can enjoy lunch, shoe rental and bowling.  Wow.  The Things were ecstatic.  Their Mom, thrilled.  It is not often that a family of 6, well there were 5 of us yesterday, can enjoy an afternoon outing for less than 50TYL. 
Each Thing has their own style of bowling.  Thing 4 studies, discerns the best stance and then sends the ball down the lane.  Thing 3, she has style, panache you might say.  She dances to the line and throws the ball with vengeance towards the pins. 
And Thing 2, all about technique.  Tall, structured, serious.  It is a game after all.  Only, after the ball has reached it's destination are you allowed to celebrate, or breathe.
Thing 1, she was out for a show.  Not typical.  Yesterday she let her guard down a bit.  How refreshing.  She decided to try backwards Granny style.  And then she smiled big, real big. 
So much fun!  The Things celebrated and danced and cheered.  Bowling with friends was a treat.

And now for the produce.  We were referred to an organic local farmer's website by a friend.  Did you say organic?  Yes, no GMO's, or any other yucky stuff used, ever!  Yes, yucky is a technical term.  We placed an order via email on Sunday afternoon for our fruit and veg for the week.  Tuesday Aysun delivered our order to our front door.  Well, actually she brought it right inside the house, unloaded it for us and even brought us this gorgeous head of lettuce as a gift.
I wish you could have smelled it.  It was divine. Really.  And the taste, even the Things noticed the difference.  Our entire salad last night was organic from our new friend's farm.  Bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce.  Oh, and the tomato meze, spicy and tasty!

Just incredible.  Husband Jared and I can't wait for next week's order. 

Weekend Recap

Friday kicked our weekend off with a football match for Thing 4.  Of course I forgot my camera and have no photos of the big game.  Oops.  Thing 4's team won, 4-2. 
Saturday was spent doing our weekly cleaning and an associate of Jared's came to dinner.  On the menu was summer vegetable soup, roasted red pepper bruschetta and homemade potato salad, oh and carrot cake for dessert.  We talked and shared stories and enjoyed her company.  What a treat.
Sunday was filled with sleeping in, a late breakfast, playing with friends, dinner at the beach, frog catching and star gazing with the Things.  What an evening.  I did remember my camera for that so I will share those photos with you.  Enjoy and Happy Monday!
Thing 4, lounging at dinner
The Girl Things sharing a smile at dinner
Thing 4 and Me star gazing in the backyard
Thing 4's latest catch, we found him in the grass in our backyard.

Thankful Thursday #41

Today, on September 2, 2010, I am thankful for:
411. archeology
412. opportunity
413. mercy
414. unsolicited "I love you's" from Thing 1
415. Thing 4 holding my hand
416. Thing 3 dancing around the dinner table
417. Thing 2 grappling with choices
418. husband who prays for me
419. road trips
420. running

A Road Trip: Part 2

This my friends is day 2 of our road trip. 
 From Ayvalik we ventured to modern day Bergama, ancient day Pergamum.  Our day began at the Red Basilica, named specifically for the red bricks used in the construction.  It was built as an Egyptian temple for the god of Serapis in the early 2nd century before Christianity became the state religion in the 4th century and it was converted to a Byzantine church.  The basilica was then dedicated to St. John.  The walls are in tact but the roof is long gone.  There are two towers remaning, one of which was closed for renovation and the other which is currently being used as a mosque.  Ironic, don't you think? 
There are tablets such as the one above scattered throughout the site.  Some in Hebrew, Arabic and even one we saw in Greek.  Fascinating.  Being able to walk on the grounds, touch the marble, and see with our eyes history as ancient as this is surreal to say the least. 
From the basilica, we headed up the hill to the Akropol.  Home to the Temple of Trajan, Temple of Athena, The Altar of Zeus and the Great Theatre.  There are several square miles of ruins to take in at this site. 
The Things wandered the halls of the Temple and employed their imaginations.

The Temple of Trajan has been somewhat reconstructed and the marble castings that once covered the bricks are all but gone.  The columns remain as do the rooms below the main altar. 

The Great Theatre was an enormous ampitheatre built into the side of a hill that has the capacity to seat 10,000 people and has tremendous acoustics, even to this day.  This was the highlight of our adventure for the Things.  We carefully walked down the stairs to the "stage" of the theatre while Husband Jared remained at the top, waiting to test the acoustics.
Yes, that is the view from the top. To the right of us are the slight remains of the Temple of Athena and a very steep cliff which we tried to stay away from.  The Akropol was built on top of a hill providing a beneficial view for the city to ward off intruders. 
Imagine that without the power lines. 

The Altar of Zeus shared this site as well.  German archeologists excavated the altar and shipped every piece recovered to Berlin's Pergamon Museum.  There you can see a 400 ft. frieze of the battle of the gods against the giants.  And here, at the original home, all that remains are broken fragments of the foundation.
The Things stopped for a rest in the shade of this huge pine tree that sits just outside the Altar of Zeus.

  More of the Temple of Trajan, upper level.
And here, a history lesson by Mom.  The beginning of our trek. 
We wandered up and down and through the ancient city ruins and learned as we went.  The white guide signs shown above told the story, even in English, of what we were about to see.  It was helpful.  There was so much to take in.  Considering we didn't even make it to the site of the Asklepion, which is believed to be the world's first full service health clinic.  It was built in reference to the god Asklepios, whose symbol is the rod and staff, still used to represent medicine today. 
That is a trip for another day, The Holy Road, the library and The Temple of Telesphorus. 
Not to mention we only briefly covered the fact that Pergamum is one of the seven churches in the book of Revelations. The Things and I read the passage on the drive to Bergama, Revelations 2:12-17.  
 A wealth of study awaits our homeschooling adventure.  Being able to experience the history both physically and spiritually is an irreplacable opportunity. 
After we were done trekking the Akropol we sat in the shadey cafe and shared Tost sandwiches.  Delicious home made bread filled with peyniri(cheese), domatoes(tomatoes) and sucuk(beef sausuage), made by a local butcher in Bergama.  Yumm!  Husband Jared opted for the gozleme.  A thin type tortilla, filled with cheese and parsley.  So tasty.  And then when we were on our way home.  Well, our new home at least, and back to the new normal that is our life.