Tag Archives: life

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.

Life . . .

So, it has been a rather inconsequential and monumental week all in one! I know that doesn’t seem like it is possible, but the monumental moments have been interspersed with those lazy summer moments. I’ve mentioned how it has been strange to be on summer break and have a lot of extra time, and I haven’t yet gotten quite used to it, but I’m enjoying it. And this is the last week of it for a while, so I had better!! But this last week . . . let’s see:

Monday: Hm, that was a while ago. Let’s not try and remember what exactly happened.

Tuesday: Talked with Jeremy and decided that it would be wisest if I looked for some work for next year.

Wednesday: Had an interview at a University Prep School. Went to the mall to hang out for a while. Got a job offer from said University. Went to friends’ house for an Iraqi dinner. Spent time with friends.

Thursday: Spent quite a while trying to get my residency renewed for next year. But, Jeremy made a friend in the process.

Friday: Accepted the University position. Chose an apartment for the next year – super excited about that!! We will finally have a balcony, and a distant sea view even!! Definitely have room for guests now . . . once we have furniture. 🙂

Saturday: Picked up Jeremy’s bound thesis!! Pretty awesome!! Looked at paint swatches and furniture at our Home Depot-esque store.

Sunday: Slept in!! Love Sunday mornings! Then got to spend time with friends fellowshipping, and got to see my best friend from Gaziantep!! So happy that happened.

Monday: Got the keys to our new apartment. Still super stoked!! Then went to turn in Jeremy’s final thesis (which maybe possibly involved more buses, split tires, and glue sticks than we anticipated). We now have a master master in the house, people!! Then got to eat dinner with a great friend in our apartment complex and sit drinking tea and talking until midnight.

It’s been a great week. How’s yours?

Relish Life

Rock cliffs rising up. Bright sun shining down. Incredible green encasing us. A fantasy world. A world where the only traveling companions are lazy old cows, elderly flies, and scared frogs. Where the dirt paths wind up and down, and up and down. Where the midday call to prayer rings out loud and clear across the valley between the mountain peaks. Where a wrong turn leads you to a comical collection of old people hanging out their windows and relaxing on the deck, no doubt drinking tea and talking about the good old days. Old people with lisps and exaggerated speech, with excitement in their eyes that someone so foreign could get lost on their road. A world with no noises to interrupt the thoughts, and the midday sweat of hard work running down your face.

Are you imagining yet? Keep walking, it’s a long hike, but it’s so close, and way more than worth it! The ground finally levels out, but is still just crawling with green vegetation. Follow the sound of the water, there it is. The old bridge. The bridge that was made of trees that must have lived before Turkey itself was a country! It’s obvious by the swaying and mangled way the boards lie that others have used this multiple times, but that thought does not entirely put you at ease as you look down at the happily churning blue-green water below and feel the wind carry you left and right in a tremulous rhythm above the rocks. Step by step, don’t hold onto the rails too tightly, because a heavy bird might be the end of them, much less your adrenaline filled, tired, and sweaty hands. Cross carefully! It’d be a shame to end here, you haven’t yet met the frogs or touched the cool swirling water. Once you’ve made it, approach the water. Sink your toes into the muck as it gobbles up your feet and argues with you about giving them back. Watch the frogs dive in to sound the alarm that invaders have arrived. The pool is no longer in solitude!

The water is cold, breath-taking, but refreshing after the long walk, and the hot sun. Get in, feel the rush of the current pulling you. Be careful not to twist your ankle in the bigger rocks. Look around. See the mountains towering high all around you, the beauty of the color of the water rushing past you, the lush green filling up all of the space that is not rock, water, or sky. Notice that there is not the sight, nor sound, of another human anywhere. This pool is yours for these few short hours, and you do not have to share with anyone.

Rejoice in the beauty of the Creator, and joy of love together. Relish the adventure of life. This was Monday afternoon in our Black Sea trip this last week. What an amazing memory . . . I am so thankful!

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Let me know a favorite getaway or a favorite anniversary memory in the comments below! Hope you enjoyed a little snippet of our time away!

Guess What I’m Doing Today?

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I’m celebrating three amazing years being married to my best friend!! I am so thankful for the time that God has already given us, and also for the many years and adventures that are to come. I’m still very much in love with this man that has given me his name and then traveled the world with me in pursuit of a better relationship with each other, with God, and in looking for more opportunities to reflect God’s glory in this world. What more could I want? So, in honor of Jeremy, today I’d like to write ten things that I am thankful for that God has blessed me with in Jeremy. 🙂

1. He is so patient with me.
2. He likes to read – and we like to read together and discuss what we’re reading.
3. He listens to me . . . all the time. 🙂
4. He loves God.
5. He likes to do exciting things.
6. He’s laid back and balances my frazzledness really well.
7. He’s intelligent, and he enjoys watching and listening to intellectual things. (I am really thankful for that!)
8. He is sooooo good with other people – talking, listening, helping, encouraging.
9. He praises me and thanks me and generally makes me feel good.
10. He’s committed . . . for life.

Three years ago today was one of the most fun days of my life! Breakfast with my love, getting lost, finding our way, getting ready for the wedding, smiling at everything, riding to the site with my daddy, waiting anxiously in the back room and spying on Jeremy out the window, walking down the aisle and seeing him smile at me, holding his hands and promising my life to him, praying to seal the day, enjoying the time with so many friends and family, and heading out from the wedding to start this adventure of marriage together. It was amazing. I’m so thankful!

Since this is my reading post, I thought that today I would just recommend my favorite marriage book that we have read so far. We have not read scores of them, but a couple. My favorite so far has definitely been When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage. Go check it out, and let me know what you thought if you’ve already read it!

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!!

So You’re Religious?

I was asked this last night, and after thinking back, I wish that I would have answered better. I hope that it is no surprise to you that I am a Christian. I have not tried to hide that. I have personally chosen for myself certain choices like: I don’t drink, I didn’t have sex before marriage, I don’t swear . . . and sometimes, that leads people to the conclusion:

“Oh, so your rather religious.”

No, actually, I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. He died for me, to buy back my soul after I had betrayed Him by being born as a sinner. He has a master plan for this world, and that includes me knowing about Him, and believing in Him. I truly do believe in Him, and if I believe that God humanized Himself so that He could die to pay a price that I was incapable of paying, raised from the dead, because it is impossible for a real God to stay dead, and in doing so has created a hope that I could live with Him eternally, I don’t really see how I can have another response than to live in a relationship with Him.

You don’t often let someone sacrifice something great for you and then ignore them for the rest of your life. I’m not religious. I am not working to attain something better after I die. I have been given something better that is being reserved for me for after I die, and I live in a relationship with God here, realizing that all of what this world has to offer is but a shadow of the better things that He has in store. I set standards for my life because I don’t want to be so caught up in the here and now that I miss out on a relationship with Jesus. As Christian, I have taken on His name, and I represent Him now. If He was willing to die to start a relationship with me, then I am willing to give up some things here to keep a relationship with Him.

I’m not religious, I’m friends with Jesus.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just Thankful

So yes, there have been adventures that could easily be accommodated here, but I’d like to just take tonight to say how thankful I am for my best friend. I listened to this song (again) tonight, and I am just so grateful that God has allowed us to learn how to love each other and be a picture of what He is doing in this world with His church.

I don’t deserve him, but I am so thankful for him.

CC22: Mışıl Mışıl Masallar

Okay, I know that I failed in my November attempt to blog about something that I was thankful for every day. So . . . part of me doesn’t want to commit to blogging every day until Christmas, but I watch youtube a lot, and there are a lot of people vlogging every day until Christmas, so it made me really want to try. Plus . . . I am only about 6 projects away from my semester break! Wahoo!!

So, not all of these posts will be necessarily Christmas related, but some of them will be. I realize that I missed December 1st, please forgive me. But, I blogged yesterday, and now here we go . . .

So, this morning Jeremy and I decided to practice some Turkish after reading Ephesians together, and we bought a children’s story book last year, but never had much success working through it. Well, we pulled it out this morning and read a story together with the help of our dictionary. It was encouraging to see the improvement from last year! Here’s a summary of the story, The Lion’s Palace:

Once there was a country full of happy animals with a lion king. Well, the lion had a son who wasn’t all that great, he was rather proud and boastful. When the lion king died, the young lion became king. He wanted to be the greatest king in the world, and he called the best “pure-brained” architects from other countries and had them come and build him a new palace. He wanted the palace to be better than any other palace in the world. After one year, the palace was finished and kings from all the other countries came to see it. Eventually, however, they got tired of looking at the palace and went back to their countries. Then, the young king’s country began to become poor because the lion had used all of the treasury on luxuries for himself. The people were not happy anymore. Then, the king’s wife (or daughter – there was some confusion on that) got sick. The lion king was very sad, and he called for anyone in the country who could help him to come and he would give them 1,000 varieties of gifts as a reward. An old camel in the desert heard of the problem and came to heal the princess/wife. He made her some mixed lamb stew with vegetables with herbs and gave her the medicine. This helped the princess/wife recover. The king wanted to give the camel gifts, but the camel told him that he didn’t want gifts, rather he wanted the lion king to be humble and just as his father was. The king realized his mistake and changed. He no longer boasted, but rather became humble and ruled like his father had before him.

poor princess

So, it was a great story. But, I have to say that there were a few things that must have gotten lost in translation. For example, we got confused when the kings came to see the palace and were walking around eating a variety of lamb stew with mixed vegetables. That just seemed a bit specific. The whole princess/wife thing threw us off for a bit. But, I think the winner of the whole story was when we found out that the princess was sick and had become a semi-solid molasses of boiled juice of grapes. No wonder there was a big reward!

On the technical side of things, I’ve recently heard some workshops on how translation can be extremely beneficial for language learning. So . . . perhaps you’ll be encountering some more interesting stories like this. But, I do promise that every day of my Christmas Countdown will not be language learning related!

Til tomorrow . . . some Christmas music for you . . . (this song always makes me think of my little sister, because this song is playing in the scene when Tim Allen and his son go to Denny’s for dinner on Christmas Eve and we used to watch that EVERY year!)

Christmas Shopping, Sharing, etc.

So, I’m really anticipating the next few weeks, as I expect I will be able to start posting more regularly for at least a little while. I am coming to the end of my grad classes for the semester, finishing up a few projects and reading assignments. I spoke at a conference last weekend, so am feeling relieved that the pressure from that is off. And Christmas is coming!! What an amazing time of year! I just love it. I want to use this post to ramble a bit, and share some things that have been exciting to me with you.

Christmas Shopping

So, my husband didn’t seem to know that this was colloquial knowledge, and now I’m doubting myself. But, don’t girls generally talk about how difficult it is to shop for guys? Your dad, brother, uncle, husband, friend, etc. I find myself with the problem of either everything is the same as what he already has, or its pretty expensive (i.e. a new technological toy!)

So, tonight I was Christmas Shopping, and I ended up taking advice from several guys I encountered along the way. Have you ever done that? Asked a guy in the store what he thought about something to gauge whether or not your own guy would like it?

Well, I just have to say that my husband’s gifts might reflect the tastes of the local mall employees this year! And this exercise of getting advice from the employees is even more fun to do in a second language. Amid my questions about style and whether or not something was good for a guy or not, I got asked repeatedly if it was my husband’s birthday, I was told I was too young to be married, and I was told that the item I was looking at was not beautiful, they would get new ones at the end of the week. Shopping in Turkey is often interesting – there are a bunch of stores where the employees follow you around the entire time your are shopping. When they finally decide to start talking to me, what follows is always an interesting mix of me trying to explain what I want, them trying desperately to understand my poor Turkish and me trying to find tactful ways to tell them that I don’t actually want what they are trying to sell me, even if it is a good deal.

So . . . what about you? Do you ask for advice in the store . . . in your own language? 🙂


So, there’s been a bunch going on recently, and I just wanted to share some with you.

First of all, I just published an e-book on using technology in the classroom. I’m hosting a giveaway of it on my other blog so you can go check that out if you’re interested!

Secondly, I don’t know how many of you know of the show “The Sing-Off” but . . . I love it! Like, I won’t try to describe to you how much fun I have during the Sing-Off season. And please don’t ask Jeremy how much fun he has, you don’t want to know. But, anyway, this was the last week of the competition – it is an a capella elimination show, and you have to see it to understand, but it is amazing what these people can do with just their voices, not to mention the choreography that they use! Well, I called a while ago who the top three teams were going to be, and I called the winner to, so I was pretty proud of myself this week. But, I wanted to share one of my favorite songs sung by the winning team, Pentatonix. This group is incredible! Enjoy . . .

Finally, I wanted to share a link with you. My older sister also shares a love of writing with me (as does my little sister, I think my parents did something really well to instill a love of writing!) Anyway, she just had a story on Yahoo this week, and it is really good. I thought you might all like to head over and read it, maybe leave a comment. Here’s the opening line to get you over there:

This particular suburb of Chicago had a twenty-four hour McDonald’s. That is fine for customers who happen to be out and hungry in the wee hours of the morning, but for the workers who drew the short straw, the graveyard shift was nothing but torture.


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!