Thursday, September 19, 2013

Just one of those days.

It was one of those days. Where somewhere in the middle of the day I thought to myself, "I wish I was the one working." Where I got jealous of my husband traveling to the south of France. Where one thing after another, after another, seemed to go wrong.

Baby wouldn't nap. Kaleb peed on the couch. Kaleb locked himself in the bathroom. Kaleb dumped my favorite cleaner (brought from the US) out on the floor. Kaleb had diarrhea... on the bathroom rug. There were more time outs than I can count and I was irritated to be washing all my dishes my hand. (Which has been a new normal for the past six weeks, so I should be used to it.)

Oh, and I didn't answer the door when the UPS man buzzed because he was here yesterday... and I was too embarrassed that I was wearing the same shirt and hadn't showered. (Like he would have noticed or cared.)

We've all had them, we've all been there. But here's the thing: The ending was beautiful.

I was reminded... yet again... that it is such a blessing to stay home with my sons. Just when I felt like I may never see fruits of my efforts again, God showed up. He always does.

He showed up in my attempt to quiet my crying baby. As he fought against me and then gave into my embrace. He breaths got deeper. His cries quieted. And finally he relaxed in my embrace.

Don't we do that with God all too often? We fight against Him or against His plan for us. He picks us up... and we realize we are safe. And we are loved.

And God showed up at bedtime. I cuddled up next to my three year old in his toddler bed and read "The Leaf Blew In" at least five times- alternating who read. Watching him pick up his pudgy little pointer finger and scan it from word to word... left to right... and remember parts of the story line. Well, it reminded me that my persistence isn't wasted. That I have the world's biggest responsibility in front of me: To raise my children. Who will become adults. I can't give up. I have a huge task, and it is important. 

My eyes had already started to water a bit at that point. Holding my firstborn. Watching him "read" his book. And then came prayer time. And I might not remember everyone or everything he prayed for... but by the end I was in tears.

That's when he looked at me with his bright blue eyes, started to sit up, and said, "Don't be sad, Mommy." And then reached toward me, motioning for a hug, and said, "I just need to cudd-wle you."

He put one arm around me and he took that same little pudgy pointer finger and traced the tears coming down my eyes. In that moment I was reminded that God's grace covers all my shortcomings. That He is working even when I feel I have nothing left to give. And that is beautiful, indeed.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I am no stranger to Change. I know her well. Sometimes I embrace her, allow her to let me see this world in a new way. Other times, I struggle to embrace her. I prefer routine. I prefer knowing where I am am, what streets I am traveling on. But this life of mine? It requires me to befriend Change.

Going into this season I struggled more than I have in the past. I was more fearful of what was ahead. I wanted to run and hide and tell Change to just go away. I can't quite put my finger on why. Perhaps the older we get the harder change becomes. Perhaps it is simply because I have started over so many times. (Ninth season abroad = five countries and eight cities that I have made home.) Or perhaps it was because I wanted to see my Kaleb continue to have fun playing with his friends at home, knowing he is beginning to better understand Change. I wanted to go to grandma and grandpa's and watch the joy on my boys' face when they realized where we were going. I didn't want to leave that, and so much else, behind.


But I did what I had to do. I kept packing. I kept taking my boys to all the places they loved. I kept encouraging my husband as he trained for a new season. And I prayed. Prayed that God would take away my fears, my anxiety and replace it with an eagerness to serve my family in this way. I prayed that God would help me to go alongside Change- not to cowardly stand behind her.


I knew if we could just make it to the doors of the airplane the excitement would come- it usually does.

Then came the morning of departure. I was still struggling. I sat down to open up "Jesus Calling" a devotional I had recently ordered. My fingers feebly turned the pages to what I thought was the right date. (These things do happen when you are packing up a family of four to move across the ocean, but I am convinced this was a God thing.) And this is what I read:

"HOLD MY HAND, and walk joyously with Me through this day. Together we will savor the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings. Be on the lookout for everything I have prepared for you; stunning scenery, bracing winds of adventure, cozy nooks for resting when you are weary, and much more. I am your Guide, as well as your constant Companion. I know every step of the journey ahead of you, all the way to heaven."


It was as if God was literally speaking to me. Telling me it was going to be okay. That if I would just cling on to Him... we would make it. Again. Through another move. Through living in a new culture and not knowing the language. We would all adjust.

Turek family heads to France!

We made it. God granted me the excitement I knew would eventually come. That is not to say this transition has been easy- but I think my heart knew that it wouldn't be. I am ready for what lies ahead. God is giving me a peace that comes only from Him and I know we are where we are supposed to be.

Exploring our new city. #chalonsenchampagne #france

Change reminds me to look at the world around me and see His beauty. When we go to the park I listen to the little ones chattering away in French and remind myself how lucky we are for this opportunity. That this is shaping my boys as well. And I pray that they will remember what it is like not to have friends- that one day they will be the ones to reach out to the new kid on the playground because of it.

Living in a small #european #flat with two little boys calls for becoming well acquainted with nearby #parks. Burn off that energy little one! #vscocam

When Kaleb looks out the window to the street below and says, "My new friends out there." Well, it half breaks my heart. But then it reminds me just how adaptable kids are. If only we would all look at the world and say the same thing.

Finally finished his dinner. Asked him if he was ready for bed. His response: "no, I want to watch the washing machine a play a wittle bit." If only we were all so easily amused. #vscocam

Whatever you do today, wherever you are... try to find something- albeit little- to embrace Change. At a favorite restaurant? Order something new. Test a new recipe. Try taking a new way home. Eat dessert before dinner. Shop at a new grocery store. Go to a museum you haven't been to for a while. Download some new music- and dance while doing your household tasks. Do something. Anything.... to see the world through a fresh, new lens today.

And just too blissful not to share another captured moment of our drive through #champagne country in #france #vscocam #latergram

Change? She IS good for our souls. She reminds us to see the beauty that God created in all of the world.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

Here is the thing about living in Europe. There are days, many of them in fact, that just aren't glamorous. Most days are filled with daily routines. Eating, sleeping, cooking, cleaning, essentially the same life for most stay-at-home moms around the world. It is easy for the mundane to take over, for the bleak winter days to lead to complaining about the size of the apartment or other trivial matters. (When really we should just be happy to have a roof over our heads at all, right? Preaching to myself here. Moving on.)

 And then there are days that we get a bit of a break from the routine.

Days were every. single. detail. just seems beautiful.


Moments when I feel like I have to pinch myself because I just can't believe that we are here. Europe. Germany. Rothenburg.


Moments where I watch my Kaleb run up and down stairs of an enormous church in a walled city and think "he has experienced more at age two than many do in a lifetime."


Not that he will remember it. But, we will always have these photos. And stories to tell.


Stories of when we packed up the car and drove longer than expected to get to a beautiful city to explore for the day.


Rothenburg ob der Tauber- you had us at hello.


Lured us into every single nook and cranny, begging us to meander through your cobblestone streets and alleyways.



Made us stop and reflect. To make memories- as a family.








There are so many places in this world to explore. We just have to be intentional about finding them and also be willing to get lost in order to explore. The end result is worth it. Every time.