Monday, January 13, 2014

The Tuesday Report--interrupted

The New Year has included a decision to rise earlier. Which means I see the sunrise every morning. I love it!

FB posts as Christmas decorations came down and the holiday was packed away for another year carried a common theme: "The house feels empty, and I feel a bit down." For me, however, the day after Epiphany involved simply removing the baby cradle from the entry to its storage space under the stairs. With that same sort of the relief that follows the joy of guests and family and an overfull house and the quiet return of useful space to normal. The nativity remains because I think that little family and those shepherds and wise men continue to marvel and rejoice together and I don't want to rush them.

It was 3:30 pm January 3rd when Curt and I sat down to our traditional New Years Day brunch of Curt's Farmer Eggs, waffles, fruit salad and mimosas. That captures the randomness of a Christmas season where Christmas is unknown and yet Jesus has given us so many to treasure and love and give time and space to. 

Tuesdays? Christmas Eve Tuesday we worked around the house and started at last to hang the curtains in the studio. We've had them since April but the shop failed to provide the one of the corner pieces needed to mount the rods. After checking back many times over several months I finally got the picture and asked Süleyman (the world's most delightful carpenter) if he would make me something that would do the job. Which he promptly did, and then refused to charge me for it. Mid afternoon of Christmas Eve we ventured into Kaş for a late lunch of spinach pide. Not a Christmas acknowledgement anywhere. No decorations; no greetings. Just a quiet off-season day in a small town by the sea.
I think a spinach pide looks like Christmas food, don't you?

New Years Eve--much the same. Ayşe came to clean as usual, though New Years IS a major holiday and celebration here and she would later host all of her teen-aged son's friends for their all night fun. We, too, were invited to various shindigs, but preferred our own quiet and company to see in the new year. Once again we ventured into town in the late afternoon for our weekly pide and were out and home long before celebrations got underway. 

Christmas Day we drove the three hours to Antalya to be with believing friends and enjoy a meal together. Spent the night so that we could take in the new Hobbit film--so very worth it! New Years Day we hosted friends for games, Mexican food, and the first Lord of the Rings film in Turkish. We've been gathering the bits for a home theater system in our studio, and this was the inauguration. I think we were thirteen that day. One other American and the rest Turk, with the delight of two of our favorite children thrown in. The new system was pronounced a success. It is even better now because I've had a boatload of floor cushions and pillows made. Chairs abandoned: guests lounge with cosy throws. 

Christmas gave way to preparation to receive 16 women from up and down to Mediterranean coast for a new years retreat at Spa for the Soul. Hint: that could be why we finally got going and hung the curtains in the studio/meeting room. The women's ministry team at the international church in Antalya had booked our space and invited participants. Program by me. Support and food service organized by me and spearheaded by Curt with our dear Gül and Halil, who lent their restaurant expertise and 3 days of work. Retreatants ranged in age from 23 to 80, and came from six nations. Our neighbor and my language helper Çiğdem joined us for one session and a meal, and delighted that so many of our foreigner guests spoke good Turkish. Five year old Yasemin appointed herself greeter and she, too, delighted in foreigners with whom she could chat away. Especially Jennifer, who is her new best friend. Dobby the retreatant dog did his retreat with the guys in the kitchen. Mild sunny weather meant women at prayer in quiet spaces all over our property. Incense rising to the heavens. Enthusiastic song resonated down the hillside from our times together. David, Haggai, Zechariah, Hosea and Mary prodded us. Gül and I tied placecards to napkin rings with pretty ribbon. I pulled out favorite dessert recipes and enjoyed the rare chance to prepare them. Pitchers of drinking water beside tables, an After Eight on every pillow. Programs printed on the last of my pretty paper, and the basin and the towel prepared for Curt and me to wash the hands of our guests in blessing on that first evening. 

And then it was over. By 3pm yesterday all were on their way to their own towns, and we'd delivered Yasemin, Gül and Halil to their place for a well deserved rest. Curt and I settled into the studio on the cushions, opened a potpourri of thoughtful little remembrances from our guests, consumed the chocolate cherries, and watched Invictus to honor Mandela's passing. Then Star Trek just for fun. Then Curt put on something else but I was asleep. I woke on those cosy cushions at 5am this morning, studio dark and quiet around me, and made my way to our bed. Twelve hours asleep both of us, with glad and praise-filled hearts. 
Like God's love, fresh and distinctive every morning

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