Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas! (a little late!)

We hope that each one of you had a Merry Christmas filled with peace, love and joy. While we were far away from families, it was a special and cozy Christmas for us as we reflected on Christ's birth and His many blessings this year. We didn't end up with a white Christmas, but family back home got more than enough to share. ;) We had fun chatting on Skype and "looking out their windows" at the blizzard!

It doesn't seem like Christmas should be over already, and that we are soon heading not only into a new year but a new decade as well. Where does the time go? As we head into the new year we are thankful for lessons learned and the opportunity to be refined in the months ahead.

Missing you all,
The Tureks

Friday, December 18, 2009

It finally SNOWED!

It is finally beginning to feel a little more like Christmas time with snow covering a bit of the ground now. I took some photos, but of course... my organized self can't seem to find the cord I need to upload photos. It is just a slight dusting, but snow has such a way of making everything seem so cozy.

So, after our taco dinner John and I (mostly me, John did the dishes) made some of the biggest chocolate chip cookies ever. And we HAD to do a taste test right out of the oven. You know, just to make sure they tasted okay with milk. ;) Yummm!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Owl Spotting!

Our backyard at our new house is heavily wooded, which we love in the summers due to the amount of privacy it affords along with the added benefit of watching wildlife. So, when we returned home for the funeral the view was much different, as we could see all the way through the woods to our neighbors' homes! Now I really do need to get up shades in our master bathroom. ;)

While the view is no longer as spectacular as it was when we first moved in, it is neat to watch wildlife as you can easily see the deer meandering about. So, when John's nieces came over for a bit I took the two year old to the back window to look for deer. Much to my surprise... I spotted an OWL!

At first I was half in shock and half entranced, owls are such beautiful creatures. Then I realized I had to attempt to capture this moment for John, since he was already back in Germany. Luckily, my camera was sitting out on the desk in the kitchen. I quickly scooted off to grab it, hoping the owl would still be there upon my return. And he was, seemingly watching my every move. This is the photo I got in:

Clearly this isn't a great photo, but I mistakenly took my niece out the deck to get a better view. True to form for a two year old, she made a loud noise and scared him off. Watching him fly away was pretty incredible though as he glided effortlessly through the trees with his long wingspan. Of course, I then spent the next ten minutes making "whoo whoo" owl noises and repeating "owl" until my niece mastered both.

I hope that today you take some time to find beauty in your surroundings. You never know what might surprise you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Game time!

I am currently "watching" John's away basketball game. By "watching" I mean following the live stats while trying to translate words into English so I can understand what is going on. Unfortunately, as organized as the BBL is, I don't really care for their game tracker. But, here I am "watching" it nonetheless.

One thing I dislike about just following stats is that I never feel like I get a true read on how well the team is playing. Statistics are just that, statistics. They don't show hustle or heart and usually fail to explain why a coach isn't giving certain players time on the court. (Although sometimes even being at the game also leaves me clueless in this arena!)

Oh, and I am also annoyed by the amount of "Phoenix Hagen Team Defensiv Rebound." At least four already. Come on stat keepers, give credit to someone!

That's all for now... back to "watching" the game. :) We're down by four points with three minutes left in the second quarter. Let's hope they win this one!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Woken up by Sirens.

Last night we were sleeping peacefully, until all of the sudden I heard a loud siren outside. At first I thought I was dreaming, but as the siren got louder I adjusted to where I was and quickly woke, rather shook, John up.

In that moment I realized that I didn't even know what the sirens meant here. Was it a tornado warning like back home? I ran to the window to see if anyone else was stirring as the siren reached a crescendo and then quieted again. And then, it started again. I saw a light go on in the building opposite us. Then, the sirens stopped completely.

As I went back to bed, I couldn't shut my brain off. I realized that I take for granted knowing a culture's warning systems. I need to immediately acquaint myself with a city's emergency system when I arrive, so I know what to do just in case. I did lay there and listen to make sure neighbors weren't rising from bed, but everything was seemingly silent. At the same time though, I became immediately grateful for God's protection while living over here. I can think of several close encounters... and I know that God was there protecting us and guiding us along.

There was something else preventing me from going to bed though. The sound reminded me of WWII movies, and the Anne Frank play I attended as an adolescent. It wasn't the higher pitched tornado warning from back home, but rather an octave (or two) lower. As I laid there, I couldn't help but to allow myself to think about how terrifying it would be to live through a war. I look forward to a day when there will be no war, no tears, no fears, and no pain.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow storm back home!

A snow storm back home has given school kids their third snow day! I keep watching the local news on the Slingbox, wishing I were sitting in front of my fireplace at home watching the snow blanket the woods in our backyard.

Instead, it has rained here for what seems like more than a week. One of these days the sun will shine again! If only it would get colder so the rain would turn to snow, I'd be one happy girl. I'm not saying I want to go out in the snow, or shovel the car out, but it would be nice to have a white Christmas. Then again, we live at the top of what seems to be a mountain, so I'm sure snow would make it miserable to get up and down. Maybe I should just be thankful for the rain. ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Team Mascot.

Usually when you think of a team mascot, you think of something that is cute and clever... and usually kid friendly. Don't most mascots just pretty lovable?

Well, I'm not sure our team mascot this year would meet any of the above qualifications. Some of the kids are scared of him, and I really don't blame them one bit. As for me, I worry that he will come by and poke my eye out at half time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy December!

Well, December is finally here which means in my book we can officially start Christmas preparations. I am making chicken and dumplings for our Turek Christmas decorating party tonight.

This afternoon I ventured downtown to meet a friend for coffee and soaked in the ambiance of the Christmas market. I love to see stores buzzing with people, little shops decorated for the holidays, and stands with everything from toasted almonds to Gluhwein (a spiced hot red wine).

Here are some long lost photos of when my brother came to see me a couple of weeks back. Mr. Turek had to sign autographs at an open house for a local bakery, so we got to tag along and sample the goods!

A gingerbread cookie just for me!

So delicious.

Most of this groups' tunes were sung in English. Such as a slowed down, acapella version of "It's Raining Men," complete with little actions. Hilarious!

Staying warm with some hot drinks!

Standing in line to get brats... something must have been funny!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Busy Weekend!

Sorry for the lack of posts, we had a busy "holiday" weekend here in Hagen! Most of my Friday was spent in the kitchen cooking and baking away for smaller "team" Thanksgiving. While the club hosted a meal for us on Thursday, we decided that Thanksgiving wouldn't actually be complete without pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes.

Saturday morning I spent baking cookies, watching a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie, and wrapping presents. Then it was game time followed by a road trip to see my brother. :)

We got back late last night and spent most of the day relaxing, except for a trip to buy Christmas decorations and a rebounding session for me while John got some extra shots up.

Oh... and a trip to a new grocery store we haven't tried out yet where we found some yummy Mozzarella sticks! It sure doesn't take much to make my day over here. I couldn't resist and ended up having them for dinner. Oh so healthy, I know. But, at least I got my dairy in for the day.

Tomorrow's agenda: clean, and make chicken and dumplings for our tree decorating party tomorrow night! I can't believe tomorrow starts the month of December.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you grateful for today? Here is my list:

I am thankful I serve a loving God who cares about the smallest of details about my life.

Forgiveness and Grace.

An amazing husband who loves me, cherishes me, and gently leads me. I appreciate his work ethic, his patience, his sense of humor, and so much more.

A family that loves me no matter what and supports us in our adventure. We couldn't live the life that we do without them.

Friends, near and far, who are there to pray for me, laugh with me, and are understanding of our lifestyle. I love that although we may not stay in touch daily, we always start off right where we left off.

I am thankful for the soldiers, past and present, who unselfishly serve our country.

Good health and modern medicine.

A roof over my head, a warm shower, heat... and food to eat. I realize that not everyone in the world has such luxuries. And thus, I am incredibly grateful that I do.

The house God seemingly placed in our laps this summer. I am thankful the ceilings are high enough that John doesn't have to worry about ducking, and that the ping pong table in the basement makes him so happy. :) I enjoy spending time on the deck and appreciating the nature God created that surrounds us. Oh, and I love being able to take bubble baths!

A job that my husband loves. I am glad he likes going to work every day, and that we've been able to gain so much life experience because of it.

The opportunity we've had to travel. I've seen more of the world then I would have ever dreamed of seeing... and yet there is so much more to discover.

Technology. I don't know how we would survive over here without it. I am thankful that I can "see" our family although we are miles apart. I am also glad we can listen to our church from back home and to a multitude of other pastors as well. We can even watch American television thanks to our Slingbox! The Today Show just came on! :)

For the little things in life, that really shouldn't be considered little: Target, lattes, candles, cute clothes, shoes, decorating blogs, comfy couches, fluffy down comforters, crockpots, grills, yummy recipes, books, magazines, Skype, dishwashers, cameras, summers at home... and the list could go on and on!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spice Cookies!

The aroma of spice cookies is filling my kitchen. I couldn't be more excited. I love recipes that have been passed down, and this one happens to be from my grandma. They are my favorite cookie that she makes, and always bring a smile to my face when I see that she brought them along. She packages them just perfectly and somehow they are all the same shape and size as well.

This is my first attempt at making them myself, and it was a success! (Okay, maybe not the shape, but the taste at least!)

Now... off to make a cup of tea and to have dessert before dinner.

Pictures from our trip home.

Getting ready to head to the funeral:

Saying good-bye to our sweet little nieces. When we see them again they will have changed so much!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This will be quick, as I am in the middle of trying to get ready to head to the grocery store and start dinner before we have some friends over!

I am currently thinking about hospitality. It is something John and I really want to be good at but usually find ourselves slacking in this area. And, I would say it is my fault that we aren't more gracious with our home and our time. Not because I don't love having people over, but because I put too much pressure on myself for everything to be "perfect."

So today, as I was chatting with a friend online, I invited her and her boyfriend over for dinner and some Wii leaving myself not a whole lot of time to get ready for them to come over. My apartment is a mess, and I haven't been to the grocery store yet. However, I am slowly starting to realize that having people means you just have to extend an invitation or it won't ever get done!

This summer, while at a small group, I said I thought hospitality was one of my strengths. Now that I think about it though, I don't think it is something I do as a natural rhythm of my life. I want that to change. I do love having people over and entertaining, but entertaining certainly isn't the same as hospitality.

What about you? Is hospitality a strength of yours? If so, please share your secret in the comment section... I would love some advice in this area! As for me, I'm off to get dinner ready!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shopping finds in Dortmund.

Well, over a week ago I told you to stay tuned for our shopping finds in Dortmund, but after taking an unexpected trip back home I didn't get around to doing a post on this. Since I am sitting here trying to warm up after my walk to the grocery store in the rain, I figured it would be great time to share with you.

My new....

(Drum roll please.)


This lovely little contraption makes espresso on the stove top! After doing some online research, I was set to purchase one off Amazon. So, when I walked into a cute little shop in Dortmund to see an entire display of these things I was beyond excited.

After we found my moka pot, we ventured into Starbucks to see if they had any syrup for sale. I found a little bottle, and took it check out when the barista starting chattering away in German. Sheepishly I asked him if he spoke English. He then proceeded to tell me that he could sell me one of their stock bottles which was a much better value! And, he even threw in a pump with it.

And here is the moka pot in action:

Now I am all set to make my own lattes. Obviously, I'm a big fan of the little things in life.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Markets.

We've been to Christmas markets in Belgium, France, and Germany. But, I think Germany wins for the best all around markets... hands down.

The markets opened on Thursday night, so Friday night John surprised me by taking me downtown to walk around and enjoy the festivities. Of course, the entire time I was on the look out for one thing....

Warm, mouth-watering, candied almonds.

I found them at several stands, but they were clearly not warm... already packaged ones. And then, I spotted them...

Not only were they warm, they were HOT, as in (I just might burn my tongue hot). But oh, so delicious.

Let the holiday season begin! And yes, next time I will take my camera.

Friday, November 20, 2009

If a picture says a thousand words....

This one must say more.

I was holding one niece in my arms while frantically trying to get my camera out of my coat pocket to capture this sweet moment in time. Our little two year old niece is carefully placing flowers on her great-grandmother's tombstone.

This, to me, is a celebration of a life well lived. My niece may not know exactly what she is doing here, but her sweet innocence says it all. She loved going to "grandma's" to walk through the courtyard, to find the fishies, and to chatter away with the other residents.

It saddens me that our (future) children won't get to know their great-grandma here on this earth. I pray that someday they will get to meet her in a much better place... where there will be no sickness, no sadness and no tears.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Back in Germany.

I arrived back in Germany yesterday morning, after a whirlwind of a week back home. I could barely drag my body out of bed this morning, if I weren't worried about being able to sleep tonight I would have slept all day!

Jet lag + a mean cold + an emotional week = pure exhaustion.

John arrived back in Germany on Saturday and had practice half an hour later. Then on Sunday he made a seven hour road trip to Berlin and played a game that evening. Quite frankly, I don't know how he did it. His strength amazes me. It is one of his many qualities that I admire.

Anyway... I will write more about the trip home later, I am just not feeling particularly inspired at the moment. Thank you for your prayers, they were much needed. While it was a tough trip home, it was also special in so many ways.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Quick Update.

Plenty more tears have been shed the past couple of days. Grandma passed away last night. Needless to say, it has been a rough time over here. Wishing we could be there to say our last words, remembering back on better times, wondering how she took she a drastic turn when she seemed just fine two weeks ago. We go from shedding tears of sorrow to tears of joy, knowing that she will be with her creator. And, wondering if there is Scrabble in Heaven.

We just booked plane tickets to head back home as the funeral is Wednesday. My brother was here for the weekend and was supposed to stay through tomorrow, but is graciously taking us to the airport as well. This has also been hard on me, as every minute I have with him is so precious.

Please pray for us. We know you are... couldn't have gotten through the past couple days without it. Thank you. We appreciate you more than you'll ever know.

Please pray for peace, comfort, safe travel, and pray that our time with John's family would be incredibly sweet. That is what Grandma would have wanted... for us all to be together celebrating her departure from a fallen world into a new life with her Heavenly Father.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Today is one of those "I'm not going to bother putting on makeup because it will all come off anyway" kind of days.

I am struggling this morning. Life over here is such a blessing, but that doesn't mean that it is always easy.

We received a message when we woke up that John's grandmother is not doing well, that most of the family is getting back to see her in the hospital. And here we sit... many many miles away not knowing what to do. At times like this, it would be so much easier if we could just hop in the car to be close to loved ones.

The human side of me, can't seem to understand why God would allow us to be home most of the Fall, and then bring us overseas right before she got sick. I know though, that God's ways are higher than my own, and that He sees things and knows things I may never know. At the same time I am thankful for the extended time we got to spend with her. I am glad we were able to throw her a 85th Birthday party, that we got to see her fashion show, and for the night we stayed late and played cards with her way past her bedtime. It's easy to feel guilty though, wishing we would have stayed even longer that night.

I am praying for a miracle. If it is God's will, I pray that He would give grandma the strength the make it through. The selfish side of me wants her to be there when I get home in May... to be sitting there waiting for us to play cards with her again. At the same time, I know that in due time, whether it is weeks, months, or years, she will have the chance to meet her creator face to face.

This short clip
was an encouragement to me this morning. I don't have to pretend it is easy to be over here, feeling helpless. I just have to pray that God would get us through it.

Please pray for John's grandma... for strength, comfort, and the will to make it through. And, please pray for us... for wisdom and for peace. I am thankful I serve a God that cares about every single detail of my life.

Do me a favor today, go hug someone and tell them you love them.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day trip to Dortmund.

John had a day off, so we decided to visit a city only 20 minutes from here. We knew there was an Ikea off the Autobahn, so we decided to go get a cookie sheet, wander around for design inspiration, and get some goodies in the cafe. We then ventured into the city center to meander about. I remembered to take some photos, just for you.

Our drive from Hagen to Dortmund, what a pretty view!

They are assembling this in the city center... full of real trees! What an undertaking, I can't wait to see the finished product.

A close up of what appears to be quite the undertaking. I wonder how many trees they will end up using. Incredible!

John taking a break to eat a bratwurst, loading up on ketchup and mustard from a contraption that I am pretty sure was inspired by a cow's udder.

Subway? Check. Pizza Hut? Check. Starbucks? Yes, I am one lucky gal. ;)

Shopping street. Bliss.

And then, I spotted it. Anyone recognize this signage? Here is it a T.K. Maxx instead of a TJ Maxx! Many of their products were from the U.K. I was incredibly tempted to buy a yummy smelling "Copenhagen Candle Company" treat, but I forced myself to walk away. Yes, I was proud of my self-control. Those of you who know me well, know how much I love my candles!

The ride home, all worn out from a day of shopping and walking.

Stay tuned for our finds! I came home a very happy girl. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Washing Machine Woes.

What are you supposed to do when your neighbor comes up and tries to communicate in German, that your washing machine "sounds like a helicopter and is rattling all his dishes?" (Well, that is what we got out of the conversation, after many hand gestures and different noises.)

First, you try leveling it out with those little round things on the bottom. When that doesn't work? You resort to this:

I laugh every time I see this picture. Maybe I am the only one who finds it hilarious. But, my six foot, nine inch husband suddenly looks like a little boy sitting in the corner because he got in trouble. Say it with me now.... "Oh the joys of international living." And yes, the following day was my turn to sit on the washing machine... which resulted in a nice body shaking and a slight headache.

Must. fix. washing machine. soon.

And then there was this....

Apparently I put way too much soap in with my towels. One of these days I will become a domestic diva, apparently today just isn't the day!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What's inside?

The other day John came home from practice bearing gifts. Rather, necessities for our apartment provided by his team. He was also carrying this briefcase:

I immediately asked why he was carrying a briefcase. After all, most "ballers" don't carry such things. Backpack or gym bag? Yes. Briefcase? Not so much.

He explained that he didn't know what it was, just that someone from the team management gave it to him. As he handed it off to me, I realized it was rather heavy. Much to my surprise, this is what I found inside: (scroll down.....)

A knife set! There is another layer under this as well that we discovered after I prematurely took the photos. Should I be this excited about a knife set that I am only technically "borrowing" for the next six months? Probably not. I'm just not used to such luxuries, considering I usually make do with a couple of knives from Ikea. That and I've been using a butter knife to cut up veggies for the past week.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our first house.

If don't even know if I can count how many places we've lived since we've been married. And, we haven't even hit the 4.5 year mark yet! This summer brought yet another move. We sold the our first home that we owned together, and bought something with some more space.

I realize that many of you never even had the chance to see our first home. So, here are some pictures to bring you up to date. As I scrolled through my iphoto library, I realized I didn't have very many photos. I don't even have pictures of the bathroom, which I spent a whole day painting! Although we owned it for 1.5 years, we only lived in it for five months, which was barely enough time to get it decorated. Here's to hoping that my latest infatuation with design blogs will encourage me to take more photos of our new house....

I loved our first little house. It was small, but oh so cozy. I had a long list of projects to get done... such as changing those red curtains, painting the oak cabinets, changing all the door handles, updating ceiling fixtures, etc. But alas, there just wasn't enough time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

First glimpse of Hagen.

The city center, on a rainy day.

John being a good sport and posing for the camera!

I always seem to forget to take more photos. This morning I went on a walk, rather a hike, to the city center by myself. The sun was shining, and I simply had to venture out. It took me about 25 minutes to get there. I did some exploring and then sat to have a latte in the sun, on a terrace overlooking one of the main squares. I should have had some lunch while I was at it... I didn't realize there were hills in store for me on the trip home!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My love affair.

... with latte macchiatos.

There is just something that I love about drinking coffee in Europe. Perhaps it is because I have less that demands my attention while I am here, so I don't feel guilty pausing to watch the world go by. Perhaps it is because of the sheer volume of cafes that invite me to spend my afternoon with them. Perhaps it is because they serve them in glass rather than paper, and you can see the separation of the espresso, milk, and foam. Or, perhaps it is due to the taste... the lattes have less sugar and more espresso. Whatever the reason, I was happy to sit in a cute little cafe the other day and savor a latte macchiato. My loving husband captured a photo of the moment. I told you I wasn't taking things for granted any longer!

Clearly this isn't a great picture. (I specifically requested no flash, as not to draw attention to me acting like a "tourist".) But, I love that when you look closely, you will see that I am actually smiling while drinking. That may or may not be staged, I really don't remember. But I like to think that it was just the paparazzi capturing a picture of me and my love affair with European... lattes. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I forgot to include a photo of the giant leaves. (Keep in mind, I wear a women's US size 8.5... not exactly small feet.) And yes, I went out in sweats. *Gasp*

(On a side note: can any of you bloggers out there tell me how to rotate this picture?!?!)

Our morning walk.

This morning we were able to head to a nearby lake to enjoy some time together and some time reading as well. I was amazed, once again, at God's beautiful creation. His creativity captivates me.

It was even more beautiful in person, these pictures just don't do the richly colored trees justice.

I hope that each of you are enjoying the autumn colors wherever you may be. What is your favorite part of this season? The colors? The flavors of lattes and desserts? The crisp air? The textures around you? Take a moment today to breathe in the beauty of it all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taking things for granted.

Sometimes, in life, you don't realize what you had until it is taken away from you. Since John and I got married right out of college, and moved six weeks later to the Netherlands, we never really had a chance to experience married life in the States. Granted, we have always had our summer in the States, but that time goes by so quickly I'm not sure you can even count it as "life"!

That being said, I didn't realize how much I appreciated living overseas until it was taken away. The past few months were pretty difficult. I always had a peace that God would work everything out according to His will... I just didn't know when or how. And the waiting part was difficult for me. But, the longer we waited the more I missed our European life.

It made me reflect on how unappreciative I had been in the past. I found it easy to complain that I wasn't able to work, or to long for a "normal" life in the States. Instead of being thankful for all that God had blessed me with, there were far too many days that I complained.

Now that it was taken away from me, and then given back, I look at the city around me, and am thankful for each and every little thing. I like my little kitchen that has a washing machine in it. I don't mind hanging my clothes to dry until we get a dryer. I was thankful to finally get the internet, but I was doing just fine without it too.

Yesterday, as I sat sipping my first latte machiatto back in Europe, I found myself incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live in another culture. Something I had taken for granted for far too long. Was the season God just brought us out of difficult at times? Yes. But, I am thankful He allowed us to go through it.

So, for those of you who know me well.... please hold me accountable. If you hear me complaining in the future, please lovingly remind me to be thankful.

Monday, October 26, 2009

First home game.

Well, John had his first home game last night. The story behind the gym itself is pretty incredible. Apparently, the gym was built in just a matter of months as a community effort to build something big enough to meet first division standards. (The team was in second division last year, and after a winning season was able to move up.) The gym itself isn't the nicest in the world, but to think that so many people volunteered to get it done in time, made for a pretty incredibly atmosphere.

Phoenix Hagen was losing last night, to another team that is doing really well, but the fan support was still pretty good. John didn't look like himself, but that is probably to be expected since he hasn't even practiced with the team yet! The next game isn't until Sunday, so thankfully he will have some time to get into a routine and get to know how to react to his teammates on the court.

We have the day off, and although our morning/afternoon was spent getting some necessities taken care, we will probably go downtown now and explore the city a bit. John did turn his ankle in the game, so we won't be able to do too much walking, but I will try to take a few pictures!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Phoenix Hagen

Here are some links to Phoenix Hagen, John's new team, for those of you who would like to follow his team:

Here is the team profile on Eurobasket. You should also be able to check out team standings, past games, etc.

The official website of the German league is all in German, but if you navigate around a little bit, you should be able to figure things out.

And last, but certainly not least, Phoenix Hagen's official team website should be a good resource to check out the gym, stay updated on pictures, etc.

(I know that most of you could probably care less about the above links, but there are some family members and sports fans out there who will appreciate it!)

We've landed in Germany!

Well, after a whirlwind of events... we have landed in Germany and are settling into our apartment in Hagen.

On Wednesday, John signed a contract to play for Phoenix Hagen, a young team in first division Germany. Thursday morning we got our plane tickets to leave that night! After a layover in Chicago, Copenhagen, and waiting a hour for someone to pick us up in Dusseldorf, we finally made it to Hagen. Exhausted, we managed to keep ourselves awake to sign paperwork and go to a local Italian restaurant for some dinner.... to fill up on pasta since John had a game the NEXT DAY!

Friday came along too soon, waking up early enough for John to run and get passport photos for his BBL players card, a quick run through in an attempt to learn a few plays, and a team lunch before we hit the road at 3:00 p.m.

Honestly, I don't even know how John was able to play. I was sitting there in the stands, chatting away with the girlfriends/wives, trying to stay awake myself. By halftime I was DESPERATE for a coffee! John was such a good sport about it though, playing 24 minutes and mustering up whatever energy he could find to try to help the team out. Unfortunately, they still lost... but at least it was to a top team on the road.

Tonight is another game... a home one this time. I am super excited to see the atmosphere and to meet more people. From what we have seen thus far, we love it here. The organization is so nice. I was actually able to ride the bus with the players to go to the away game Friday. They have genuinely treated us like family instead of someone that they "own." So, if anyone from Phoenix Hagen is reading this... THANK YOU for such a warm welcome. We can't tell you how much we appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life in the States... for now.

Well, perhaps I should re-title our blog to "Life in America." For now, we are still in the States waiting on a job opportunity to come up for John. The economy has hit the basketball world, pretty hard. It is only natural, since most of the teams' budgets actually come from sponsors, not ticket sales or player marketing.

So... here we sit. On one hand, we are thankful for the extra time to settle into our new home and spend more time with family, and get more connected with our church family. On the other hand, we are both itching to get back overseas. John is getting tired of working out by himself, and is excited to play with teammates again!

In the next few posts I will try to do some updates from the summer. I keep procrastinating updates because I want to save them for when I am completely bored overseas. I may not be across the ocean, but I think the time has come to attempt to get back into some routine.

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall! (I must admit, when I am sipping a Caramel Apple Cider or a Pumpkin Spice Latte... I quickly go from wishing I were overseas to being thankful for the opportunity to enjoy an extended time in the States!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trip to Sopot for the finals.

My friend Eta and I had drinks in this cute little cafe overlooking the sea.  Good times!

Having lunch in Sopot with our boys!

Sopot was a very trendy, beach town.  If the weather would have been nicer it would have been the ideal spot in Poland to relax!  Unfortunately, we experienced less than ideal weather conditions, but it was a nice escape from Zgorzelec at least!

John in front of the strange building.  It reminded me of something out of Alice in Wonderland!

Having dinner in Gydnia, where the guys stayed.  At least we were able to sneak in a few meals with them here and there!

My 25th Birthday!

My wonderful hubby, taking a morning walk with me on my birthday. We in the north of Poland for a semi-finals game. Which they lost, but that's okay because they won later when it mattered. :)
The birthday girl... getting so old! ;)

It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating my 16th birthday, who would have thought we'd still be together nine years later? And in Poland nonetheless!

Notice the mohawk? John's whole team did them for the play-offs. It will be cut before we get on the plane to head to the States!

A swan swimming away in the sea! I have been so incredibly blessed to have experienced so much in my 25 years of life. I have an amazing husband, a wonderful family, and incredible friends. Thanks to all for your support and your prayers!


It is a rainy morning (rather afternoon) here in Zgorzelec.  And, thanks to a gentle reminder from a friend I am finally updating our blog.  :)  

Much has happened since the last time I wrote.  John's team has advanced to the finals, after defeating Energa Czarni 4-2 in the semi-finals.  Prokom, the number seed, also advanced and we are currently down 2-1 in the seven game series with the next game being at home tomorrow.  Unfortunately, we lost a game last night that we shouldn't have by three points after being up most of the game and having the momentum through most of the game. Hopefully some changes will be made going into the game tomorrow and our guys fight harder than ever before.  I know John is ready for revenge!  He was so bummed last night that I figured I had to do something to get his mind off of things, so we had a dance party.... just the two of us.  The theme songs? "Just dance" and "Live your Life."  Haha... yes, we are that cool. ;)  
I went to my workout gym for the last time yesterday, and it was rather bittersweet.  I get so tired of saying good-byes in this crazy life of mine, but sadly enough it comes with the territory.  I felt like my last day at the gym was just a small foreshadowing of the upcoming weeks and I found myself torn between not wanting to say "good-bye" to friends here but also  wanting to say "hello" to friends and family in the States all the same.  

Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I will do a couple of posts detailing the last few weeks.  

Monday, April 13, 2009

Basketball/Life Update.

Well, John's team has advanced to the semi- finals! The first series, the quarter finals, was best out of five.... Turow was able to win the first three games! For those of you who didn't already know, John now has a mohawk. The entire team has one... I'll have to find some pictures to upload soon! It seemed really strange at first, but now I'm kind of getting used to it.

We had a fabulous Easter weekend. Our friend, Eta, celebrated a birthday on Saturday, so we were all at her place for an afternoon grill out. It was so nice to be able to relax outdoors and to inhale the smell of charcoal. :) Needless to say, it made me extremely excited for summer.... I'm trying trying really hard to live in the moment though and appreciate our days here! Yesterday we went to another player's house for a typical Brazilian style Easter lunch. It was delicious! We are so blessed to have such a great basketball "family" here.

The next round of play-offs doesn't start until April 19th. For those of you trying to keep up with it, here is the league's website. It is in Polish, but you should be able to figure out the scores at least.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nightline Face-Off: Does Satan Exist?

For those of you who missed the debate on Nightline, here is a link to it.

I found the debate to be very interesting and I thought Pastor Mark Driscoll did a great job at addressing various questions. I was also moved to tears by the testimony of Annie Lobert, founder of "Hookers for Jesus." In fact, immediately following the debate I went directly to her website to read her testimony in its entirety. After doing a missions' trip in Chicago and spending one night on the streets attempting to reach out to gay prostitutes, I found myself struggling to wrap my mind around how to actually help break the trend. Annie knows from firsthand experience just how to help get these women off the streets... what an incredible testimony and ministry. Click here to visit her website!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trying to find motivation. :)

Well, I am bound and determined to do a better job keeping up with this blog. Most days I honestly just forget about it. However, as I sit here on the chair with my legs propped up I am looking for any excuse to not cook dinner. In reality all I have to do it get the Mahi Mahi that has been marinating out of the refrigerator and pay fry it; at the moment that just sounds like too much work. (No, I am not THAT lazy, okay maybe I am, but I just got back from a work out and am physically worn out.)

The regular season is now over. Turow finished in SECOND PLACE! Whohoo! After such a long season of ups and downs I am quite proud of the boys. :) This means that the post-season tournament will soon begin! In my book it couldn't start soon enough. I don't personally don't understand why it hasn't started by now, but hey... I'm not the one doing the scheduling.

Well... I should probably force myself to get up and cook dinner! Until next time...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some pictures from Jenna's visit.... our trip to Prague.

John and Jenna, taking a rest and admiring the view.

Sisters... shopping in Golden Lane.

Posing with the Hradcany Castle guard... apparently afraid to get too close!