8th annual

This year, we turned my annual pumpkin carving party into a super-kid-friendly harvest party.  We played all sorts of games, ate all sorts of candy, and carved all sorts of pumpkins.  Oh, and the best part?  Watching Casper to close the day.  What comes a close second? Watching all the kids dunk for oranges.  (I know, it is weird to not have apples in the fall.)

 

 

 

 

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walking far from home

On our last night in Istanbul, I went out by myself and walked around our part of the city.  Late into the evening, people were still gathering together to eat, share stories over drinks, and walk down the promenade. I may have been alone, but it felt like I was a part of something that night.  The city felt alive and really historic at the same time.  The city was young – with all these people living in the moment and having adventures – but you also knew that you were walking down roads and sidewalks where people had been having those experience for hundreds of years.

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three little birds

 

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The Blue Mosque

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city, we found some peace.

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knocking at your door

 

all doubts and depression
born of guilt and separation
push your boat aho from the shore
but like a lighthouse beacon
his heart is always seeking
and then He comes a-knocking at your door

-Bill Mallonee

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hey now girl

This weekend we celebrated Megadis’ 5 year birthday.  Megadis is our house-worker’s little girl.  She has spunk and attitude.  We thought the perfect things to give her were “movie star” sunglasses, costume jewelry, and bubbles.  She danced around her mom’s coffee ceremony and her birthday cake, blowing bubbles as close to our faces as we would let her.  Here’s to five more years of craziness!

 

 

 

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farewells already

This is Marcie and me hugging the first of many goodbyes I will have before leaving Africa.  Though, this one is coming extra early.  Marcie is heading home to Florida for 9 months while I will only be in Africa another 8 months.  So this is probably the last time I will see this lovely lady.  Marcie will be fundraising for Grace Center, a women’s and children’s advocacy center.  I partner with the Grace Center, so I have known Marcie since I first arrived here in my town.  She has been such a support and encouragement to me over the last year.  I am going to miss her terribly.  She also means a lot to so many single mothers and orphaned children in our region.  She works everyday to make sure children have food and clothes and that single mothers can find work and a home.  It was good to get together and celebrate Marcie and her wonderful family.

 

 

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road to ruin

I visited many Greco-Roman ruins while traveling this summer.  Not only was I struck by the beauty of these antique cities, but by how connected I felt to these ancient people.  We all lived under the same sun and moon.  We all strive to find beauty and truth in the world.  We were all created and looked after.  Seeing the grave yards of these magnificent structures reminded me of the vastness of our world and my tiny place in it.

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how bazaar

Going to the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar had to be one of the most overwhelming but wonderful experiences in Istanbul.  At certain times, there would be so many people that you couldn’t stop at a shop or booth – you just moved with the flow.  But then you would find yourself alone with no idea how you got to that part of the Bazaar or how to get back to where you came from.  Bright colored lanterns hanging everywhere.  Baskets of spices creating wonderful smells.  Turkish Delights calling to you from across pathways.  Men attempting pick-up lines at every turn. Very, Very different from going to Walmart…well, maybe not the pick-up lines.

 

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cotton castle

Our little road trip into Turkey took us to one of the most interesting natural wonders I have ever seen.  Pamukkale is the site of a hot spring that has been used as a spa since the Greco-Roman times.  The whole hillside is a type of tavertine, with mineral deposits turning everything white as snow.  Pools of water form like terraces down the side of the structure and little streams flow at your feet.

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