Tag Archives: adventures

Seriously? 4 years?!?

2009One of my favorite days EVER.

2010Celebrating 1 year in Senegal!

2011Celebrating 2 years on a mountaintop!! (we were actually in Senegal, but didn’t have a chance to really celebrate there this time.)

2012Celebrating 3 years with a Black Sea road trip.

Excited to see what memories this year brings!! I am so thankful for the man that God has given me. He has truly blessed me more than I deserve. I super glad to be doing life with Jeremy Paul.

Summer’s Here!!! Now what?

So, I can admit it up front, I’m weird. But, I also know that I’m not alone. I haven’t even been finished my school duties for more than a week yet, and I find myself feeling like a loser because I have free time! So, for any of those weirdos out there like me, you might be wondering what to do to help make your summer feel productive and beneficial, but still fun. I’ve found that setting some goals for myself, and constantly reminding myself that I can really use this time to do the things that I haven’t had time to do all year has been helpful. Here are a couple of things to use the time for now that you have it!

1. Read! Surprise!! You knew I would suggest this, didn’t you? Besides, I just gave you all a good list of books to start on for the summer!! Right now I’m reading Beyond The Summerland: Binding of the Blade Book 1.

2. Learn something new. Choose a language at livemocha, find a music class, look up tutorials on youtube . . . whatever it is, teach yourself something new this summer!! I will be working on my Turkish and maybe playing around with some guitar or something, whatever I can fit in with all of our travels.

3. Learn new things. Is this the same? No. It’s not, that’s why I wrote it as a separate point! Use this time in the summer to explore new topics. Broaden your knowledge by listening or watching new videos. I REALLY recommend TED Talks for this. Just go on and explore, find something you don’t know much about, and watch the video! I also recommend looking around iTunes U and finding some classes you’d be interested in listening in on.

4. Try some new recipes. I’ve been finding some new recipes on Pinterest recently, and trying a few out. I have more time to experiment and a bit more flexibility if things don’t work out. 🙂

5. Focus on things you’ve been meaning to. For me, this is fitness and cleaning!! It’s nice to have the time to look around on the internet or in books to find some inspiration and ideas for these areas of my life. What area is it for you?

6. Pick a DIY and do it! I love doing DIY projects. But, at this point in my life with limited resources and space, if I’m going to do a DIY project, it needs to be purposeful and cheap! So, I like to make it a challenge to find ways to do projects that are both smart and usable, and that I like. Here is one that I’m thinking of trying:

click to visit the blog

7. Walk. I’ve been really enjoying this part of summer (maybe it has something to do with the fact that my husband buys me ice cream when we go on walks!!) It has been really nice to just walk and talk and enjoy the warmer weather and all the people out and about.

8. Focus on people. I’m not always very good at this. But, now I have time to! So, I’m trying to get better at sitting and talking and enjoying the fact that I share this story of life with LOTS of other people that inhabit this world with me.

So . . . those are a few of my suggestions for how to make the most of your summer and enjoy the extra time. What are you going to be doing? How are you filling your time? Do you have a list of goals for the summer? Leave them in the comments below!!

The Mountain Between Us: Review

Anniversary weekend road trip reading! Jeremy and I like to read books together when we have the chance. That hasn’t happened much in the last two years, because it is a little awkward to read aloud on the minibus or tramvay. (We do however share headphones and listen to comedy radio, and that’s not much better!) Anyway, back to the point of this post.

We were road-tripping for our anniversary trip, and we chose this book together to read while we were away. We have read two other books by Charles Martin together before, and we really loved them, so we decided to check out another of his books. So, without further ado, a synopsis and my thoughts . . .

The Mountain Between Us: A Novel by Charles Martin is the story of two people in the middle of their busy lives, one about to get married, one in the middle of a doctoral career, who are trying to beat a storm in the west to make it back to the east coast without ruining any of their plans (including surgeries and a wedding rehearsal). When all of the flights from Salt Lake City are grounded, they get into a charter plane together hoping to make it to Denver before the storm does. But, they don’t make it to Denver. Instead, they crash land in the middle of uninhabited, vehicle-forbidden wilderness with only the supplies from the land and their small charter plane to help them survive.

Their time in the wilderness forces them through many difficult issues in their lives and asks some very hard questions of each of them. The story follows their race against death to make it somewhere where they can get help. But a month with only each other for company and danger constantly following them forges them into a friendship that few others would understand. Ben is an active doctor from Jacksonville who talks very frequently of his wife, Rachel, but won’t give voice to the problems they’re facing. Ashley is a journalist who is excited about the prospect of marriage, but not necessarily her groom. Both have a lot to wrestle with and the reader is allowed a little peek into their thoughts and turmoil as they make their way through the barren landscape in search of help.

Of course I’m not going to tell you the ending, but I will tell you that it doesn’t end the way you expect it to. 🙂

To be completely honest, I was a little disappointed by this book. Not because it was bad, don’t get me wrong! It was a good story, and Charles Martin is very adept at building and developing characters. That is probably his strongest suit in story-telling, and it is a good one to have! The story was well developed, and the characters are deep. But, I was still disappointed by a two things in particular.

Let me address them point by point. The first thing that I was disappointed with was that while Martin still developed the characters well and had deep problems and emotion woven throughout, I felt that the nature of the book led to difficult conversations. When you have two people trapped together for a month with only each other for conversation things can get worn out quickly. The characters were still well developed, but I was disappointed with the dialogue at times. Perhaps the banter and sarcasm might have been realistic, but as a reader I got tired of the same jokes being made. That was the one literary thing that bothered me about the book.

The other thing that bothered me was not so much literary, it was moral. I do not expect to agree with every author that I read, and I am not so close-minded as to reject everyone that does not agree with me on every point. However, that being said, I had previously really appreciated Martin’s morals and worldview in his books and in this book there were two subjects that were came up in which I was disappointed with the outcome. It is not because I expect Martin to agree with me on these points, but it is because they are highly debated and I have strong convictions on both. These two issues are abortion and lying. I was surprised that with the two topics, Martin does not include much dialogue or discussion about the morality of these issues, but simply makes statements and moves on. I was a little jolted in my mind at the brevity which he allotted these issues. It is not that I necessarily disagree with everything that Martin says in his book regarding these issues, I am just surprised that they were not drawn out anymore than they were.

Those are my two critiques of the book, but overall it was an emotional and gripping story. I keep wanted to say that it is action-packed, but it isn’t really. I mean, they are stuck in the snow for a month! But it is an adventure story, and a story of the heart and journeys that the heart has to make. I would recommend this book, because we really did enjoy it and it does raise issues that are important to think through. But if I were choosing now, I would read it before his other books (namely When Crickets Cry and The Dead Don’t Dance (Awakening Series #1)).

Let me know if you pick it up! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!! It is sometimes hard to write these reviews because I am tentative to share some of the best parts of the book because I don’t want to give ANYTHING away!!

Have you read any books by Charles Martin? Which was your favorite? If not, what are you waiting for?

Extreme Weekend

Haha. Okay, so it wasn’t that extreme. But, I did get to do something super cool that I’d never done before! Life has been strangely relaxed recently what with school being finished and all. I keep double checking myself just to make sure I’m not missing something huge. But, nope, I’m not!

So, first of all, happy day after father’s day to all you dads out there! I am sooooooo thankful and so blessed with the father that God gave me! I’m really thankful to have him! I love having a dad that makes God’s love make sense. I hope you have been so blessed as I have been! And, I am also thankful for my father-in-law, another Godly man that I have been blessed with in my life!

On Saturday, we went down near a castle by the Straits of Bosphorus to watch a Red Bull MotoCross XFighters exhibition. It was awesome! The only problem was that we got there at 7:30, hoping to get good spots for the 8:30 start (which we did), only the wind was so bad that the show didn’t start until 10:00 and then they only did about 20 minutes. So, we were slightly disappointed, but at the same time I was so amazed that it was completely worth it! That was definitely a super fun experience! (And kudos to Jer for snapping such a great picture!!)

The rest of life has been exciting and summery as we are able to enjoy life here in Turkey, enjoy being a part of other people’s lives, and enjoy planning for the weeks to come. Hope you’re enjoying summer as well! What summery things have you done or are you planning to do?

So many adventures . . . so little time left!

I’m tired! It’s been a bit of craziness around here. This is the last week of school – which is actually extremely saddening when I think of the fact that some of these kids, if not all of them, I will never see again after 4 days. I love them so much!! But, at the same time, who isn’t excited for summer? So . . . I have a feeling this will be one of those weeks where my heart gets stretched in all directions and I don’t really know what to do. But . . . the end will come and go, and new beginnings will start, and there’s not a whole lot I can do other than just enjoy the ride!

This last week was quite exciting in several different ways. We had company on Thursday night – the first night in months that our power decided to go out. Thank heavens for candles and a big street window!

On Friday I went go-karting for the first time. One word . . . AWESOME!! I loved it!

Saturday was, quite thankfully, a relaxing day. I worked on plans for our summer English camp in Senegal that is approaching VERY QUICKLY, went on a walk with my awesome husband, got an ice cream cone, and then another because there was some kind of deal going on – so proceeded to walk around the park eating one and having one melt in my other hand. (They were packaged, so I did take it home and put it in the freezer. And I withheld it from Jeremy because he is allergic to milk. So take back all of those bad thoughts, please!) We also had some pretty good pizza calzones for dinner and watched Sherlock Holmes 2. Perhaps I’ll do a write up about it soon, but it’ll suffice for now to say – I really liked it. It was way better than the first Sherlock Holmes!!

Sunday was busy, but good. We had our end of the year program for the Kindergarten at school. The Kindergarten has about 94 students or so, so it was a big deal. All of the students sang songs, participated in folk dance, modern dance, or ballet, and were part of an English skit and dance from some country in the world. My kids were from South Africa. 1. They were adorable. 2. They did awesome! I was so proud of them. I just stood behind the curtain with my stomach turning and my face smiling as I watched them perform their lines beautifully and then do their dance. It was great! I was so happy for them. Then, we also went to church on Sunday, but left fairly quickly to get home for our apartment complex “Say Hello to Summer” party. It was a great family party with food, games, clowns, live music, and fireworks. There was a particularly moving dance between one of the clowns and a security guard, and I couldn’t help but laugh when Jeremy’s friends pulled him into the middle of the dancing! Haha. It was great. It was super fun to just go out and see all of the other people who live near us, and we know a few of them from either school or sports.

It was a good start to summer – but one more week of school to go until that is official! Hope you’re all enjoying your start to summer! Let me know what your biggest plans are! Ours are Africa – PA – NC – SC – OH – CO – Istanbul, in roughly that order.  🙂 Have a wonderful week! Try to enjoy both the ends and the beginnings, and don’t forget to be where you are right now!!


Sometimes, memories are my worst nemesis, and sometimes my greatest ally. But, recently, I’ve gone through some memories since my husband and I got married, and they always make me smile. Memories like climbing minarets, climbing mountains, swimming in the Mediterranean, getting major upgrades on airplanes and hotels because we smiled, wandering into soccer games on multiple continents, floating down the Euphrates watching shooting stars, almost missing planes, climbing towers wherever we can, drinking a little bit too much coke, watching the sunrise in Africa, and the sunset in America . . . pretty much enjoying life. I thought I’d give you a little peek at the some of the adventures we’ve had in 2011.

Have a great Sunday!

Happy Halloween!

So, oddly enough, Halloween is a much bigger deal for me this year than it usually ever was before. I guess that comes from having a little lab of eager people to make pumpkins and put costumes on dogs, and read random Pigmoose Halloween stories.

But, that being said, Halloween does bring back memories . . .

Like two years ago when I sneaked around to grab pumpkins and carve them while Jeremy was at school and have the waiting at home for his arrival.

Like the countless years my mom got the mask out of the basement that would give my little sister nightmares and freak me out too. But, I never got teased because I was just hyperventilating while Mollie was running and screaming.

Like the year I went trick-or-treating in the dorm.

Like going trick-or-treating with the neighborhood kids, gathering for a party afterwards, and then a mom insisting someone walk us the block home, even though we lived in a tiny neighborhood and I was leaving for college in less than a year.

And this year I can add on the memory of having my kids make jack-o-lanterns and proceeding to run around the classroom knocking on every surface and saying “trickertreat, candy please!” (I do have such polite little villains.)

My Week in Short Stories

Ahhhhhhhhhh . . . it is 6:40 on Sunday evening, and I feel the weekend is beginning. Just kidding . . . but I did just finish up my weekly coursework for my master’s class, so now I have a few hours for beating my husband at about 6 more games on the wii, making dinner, lesson planning, and a little bit of blogging. 🙂

Anyways, as you already know, I’ve been teaching this week – definitely a learning and growing experience. And I’ve also been learning this week. My master’s classes has some AWESOME topics and discussions, so it’s not that bad, as long as I can stay awake enough to understand what I am reading! So far we’ve been discussion things like culture, and how culture is taught in the classroom, and whether or not new inflectional affixes and function words can develop in a language. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Well, there are a few other things that have been going on this week . . . so I thought I’d update you.

The Poor Bird:

This is really a sad, but kind of chuckly story. The other night, Jeremy and I discovered a bird on our pump-fake balcony (that being when you have a rail and a door that opens that looks like it should be a balcony, but there is no actual balcony.) Well, we went and said hello to the little fellow and then went back to our activities. We had heard several interesting sounds during the night, and in the morning little fellow was still there. Turns out he was stuck because the pump-fake is too narrow for it to take off, and the railing kind of boxed him in. He had spent most of the time walking up and down asking the two other birds in the door and the balcony glass how to get out. We did finally rescue him with our swiffer in the morning. I think he has made a full recovery.

Date Night!

Date night this week was really great. We went to the mall and played arcade games, had a great dinner of iskender, shopped a little, then came home and watched a finale of the Amazing Race. I love my husband. This week was a great week of learning to listen and spend time with him. He is supportive and takes care of me, and I really respect him for that. Oh, and he got me this sweet shatter nail polish. I’ve been wanting to try some . . . isn’t it pretty cool?


Someone recently requested more DIY posts. Well, most of my DIY projects are inspired by others, and I don’t have great pictures for this weeks DIYs, so here they are along with links. 🙂 I decided to see what all I could do with a cheap t-shirt. I picked up a t-shirt for about $3.50, and so far I have gotten these three projects out of it.

Here are the links where you can find these as well as my comments:

#1 Scarf/Necklace
So, I’m not totally thrilled with how this turned out for me. It certainly doesn’t look as nice as the one in the picture. But, I was making it up, because there is no tutorial! I just cut 6 about 1/2-1″ strips of t-shirt, glued them together at the end, then braided them for a few inches and then knotted it closed. It’s okay. I need to add a colored flower or some beads or something!

#2 T-Shirt Flower (my favorite!)
I really like this one! If you go to the site, you’ll see that the author used it on a t-shirt scarf (which I also want to make!) However, I put my flower on a little piece of cardboard, and then attached it to a bobby-pin. I’ve been wanting a flower for my hair, so now I have one! I really like it too. The author also uses a button for the center of the flower. Well, I couldn’t find a button, but I had a pearl that had fallen off of a ring recently . . . so, hey it works!

#3 Rosette
Okay, so I don’t like exactly how MINE turned out, but I do really like these! I don’t like mine mostly because the glue shows up too much. But, the tutorial is pretty easy to follow, so head on over and check them out!

What have you been up to this week?

Life Lately . . . today

So, today was pretty fun. It finally feels like we’re actually back in Istanbul, because we made it back to places that we visited before. This morning we traveled two hours by mini-bus, metro, and walking to get to TRT, one of the main television and radio stations in Turkey. One of our students from last year, Gokhan Bolukcu, is an emerging music artist in Turkey, and he had a ten minute segment this morning on TRT-News. We went to meet up with him at the studio and hang out for a while before and after he went on. We didn’t actually get to go into the recording studio, but we were sitting right down the hallway and watching him on live TV. We also got a copy of his CD, which he kindly signed for us. I know that it will be worth tons someday!!

Once we were all finished, we went down to get balik ekmek from the near the straights. It was quite good, in my opinion. But then again, I like fish, so of course I would think it was good! Balik ekmek is just a fish sandwich with some lettuce and onions, and in my case salt and lemon juice! Afterwards, we started walking towards the biggest square in Istanbul – or at least the most famous, Taksim. We stopped for çay along the way, and stopped in some music stores. Gokhan had brought a friend along that didn’t speak English, so we got a lot of Turkish practice today. It was fun to just hang out and spend time out and about in the city. But I will say that it has worn me out. Partly the mental exercise of working on my Turkish combined with the walking and traveling around the city.

Nonetheless, it was a fun day, and something that I don’t often have the privilege of doing. So, for that I am grateful, and with that . . . goodnight.

Adventuring: It’s What I Do

True Story:

I really believe that adventure lies not so much in what you do, but in what you make of what you do. Hence, I like to think that most of my life is an adventure. The grocery store adventures, the walking in the rain adventures, the manipulating the GPS adventure and this last week: the kill the car in Georgia adventure.

I live in Turkey. I spent 3 weeks in Africa. My dad has . . . correction, HAD . . . prostate cancer and was treated in Atlanta, Georgia. My husband and I traveled about 28 hours to meet up with my dad in Georgia, and then spent the weekend with my aunt and uncle in NC. We drove back to GA on Sunday to make it in time for church Sunday night. We went to church and met up with some friends, enjoyed it thoroughly, listened to the storm outside, then headed out. We were hungry and getting a bit tired from the drive, so we decided to run to Papa John’s and order some pizza. I had also really wanted to run to a craft store and pick up a few things, so while we were waiting, we ran down the street. Well, no . . . we didn’t run, we drove. And that’s where the adventure begins.

We got part way down the road when the car started making funny noises and I heard my dad say “We’re losing her, guys!” My husband chimes in, “Why don’t you shut it off and restart it while we’re here at the light?”

And, that was all she wrote. We were stuck in the right turn lane on a 4 lane road. It was drizzling outside, the gears locked up – so we couldn’t even push it out of the way, my dad’s phone was dying, but worst of all: OUR PIZZA WAS GOING TO BE READY SOON!

So, we called AAA, but that didn’t work out for us. We had one phone number of a friend who lived in Georgia. The next thing we knew, a policeman pulled up behind us and said that he had to call his own tow truck because we were blocking traffic. He seemed a little doubtful of our story at first. “Oh yeah, we’re from out of the country, my dad’s finishing up his radiation treatment this week, his other car broke down last week, we’re not from the area, all the rental car agencies are closed . . . blah blah blah.” But, by the end I think we made pretty good friends with him.

My favorite part of the evening is when we saw the Papa John’s delivery boy pull up to the light that we were stuck at and my dad ran out in the street to tell him that we broke down and we had pizza waiting back at the store and could he please bring it back to us? So, we waited for what seemed like forever in the drizzle, on the side of the road, with the police car’s flashing lights watching over us. Eventually, the delivery car made it back with our pizza, and we ate some while it was still hot. Oh, and the tow truck made it too, though I was considered the Papa John’s car of slightly higher importance at the time.

In all, it was quite enjoyable. I had nowhere to be and nothing important to do, so why not stand outside in the Georgia drizzle and watch a cool sunset with a police man and Papa John’s delivery guy? Everything worked out in the end. The car was towed to a repair shop, we were given a ride to our hotel, the policeman got back to his patrolling duties, and we ate our pizza.

And that is the kill the car in Georgia adventure. Just squint your eyes a bit more . . . yep the left one should be a little farther shut than the right . . . okay. Great. Now, just about anything should come out as an adventure for you.