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She's Here!

Saturday, January 28, 2006
    Adeline Marie Smith
    Born January 26, 2006, 5:25 p.m. (Istanbul Time)
    6 lbs. 7 oz., 18.9 inches
    What a blessing from the Lord!

    The First Snow

    Monday, January 23, 2006
      It has flurried a bit over the past few weeks, but today is officially the first big snow of the winter. Weather reports change every minute, but it is supposed to snow for a few days and then hopefully clear up near the end of the week. The snow is beautiful, but you can imagine in a city of 15 million people, roads that are too narrow for snow plows and hills that are hard to climb on a clear day, we are pretty much home-bound until it melts. Jeff and I are blessed to be able to stay in our warm apartment with great heating and electricity. However, we often see families living out of trucks or in little shacks and in these cold temperatures, the living conditions are very dangerous. Please pray for those less fortunate than us, that they would be able to stay warm and healthy during this storm.

      Double Baby Shower

      Sunday, January 15, 2006
        Time and time again, we are overwhelmed with the generosity of so many people, here and in the states. This weekend Baby Smith and I attended our first (and only) baby shower. As we have mentioned before, there are quite a few of us in the city who are expecting in the next few months, so to make things easier, we had a joint shower with a great friend who is due three weeks after me. Both of us are so grateful for the outpouring of love (and cute baby stuff!) that we received. In the not too distant past, seeing all of these pink clothes and diapers was a little overwhelming, but now it's just plain exciting. Only three weeks 'til the due date and I am feeling pretty well. There are moments when I think she can't get any bigger, but besides that, I have nothing to complain about. Even with all of the anxieties and insecurities about having a baby, we are so thankful that the Lord has blessed us with this gift of life. We look forward to the journey that she will undoubtedly take us on and how much we will learn about ourselves, our God and His love for His children.

        Sacrifice Holiday

          Over the past week, the people we live among celebrated a Sacrifice Holiday (called Kurban Bayrami). It is a religious holiday (supposedly in honor of Abraham's near sacrifice of his son - Islam teaches it was Ishmael rather than Isaac), but it seems that it has become more of a time to follow tradition and visit with family. These are some pictures we took in a local grocery store parking lot (similar to Wal-Mart). People can literally reserve their lamb or goat (or sometimes even cow), place it in a shopping cart (yes - the same shopping carts we use to push around our groceries inside the store!), wait in an extremely long line for their turn in the slaughter shed. The animal is killed at the first stall and then moved down the line to be skinned, divided up, etc. (we will spare you the details). Istanbul is such a modern city, so it is hard to grasp this seemingly eastern (and archaic) practice. has a simple description of the holiday's traditions in Turkey, although we have found that this holiday means many different things to many different people.