Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas with the Turner five....

Although we cut Kaitlyn's head out of the picture, this is when the kids read that they were getting a Wii. JT already had it set up and was ready for some serious playtime!

JT and Jett learning how to play the Wii.

Madison got something pink...of course!

Seriously, Kaitlyn wanted duct tape and a Swiss army knife - she was a happy young lady!

I got something I've always wanted....a paper towel holder that is automatic...I love it!

Christmas 2008 was a joyous time for all of us. Here are some pictures to show the love.....We tried to spread out the presents so that Jett would not be overwhelmed. So, we had sibling gifts one day (two children go together to buy the other sibling a gift), then Mommy and Daddy gifts (only three), and then Christmas morning stockings and a family surprise. This year, we bought a Wii for the family....it has been a ton of fun for all of us (as well as a workout)! We are so grateful to be home with all of our children this year to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas in the Desert....

Sorting gifts in the mission house in Sells, Arizona.
Sheryl and Cheryl Miller in the Miller's house (their first house ever)!

JT and Mike outside of his home.

Kaitlyn, Jai Rose, Madison, Sheryl, Pauletta, Heather and Julie
delivering presents at Pauletta's home.

Jenson Juan enjoyed handing out gifts to people!

In November our friends Clyde and Jackie Adams suggested that some past mission trip participants sponsor some of our Tohono O'odham friends in Arizona. We thought it was a great idea and pitched it to our friends who had been to Arizona this past year. At first we thought we would be able to sponsor 2-3 families. Little did we know....

By the time the invitation went out, we had several families sponsored and more. As our garage became the holding bay for gifts, we were overhwhelmed with the generosity of so many people. We were able to help almost 150 people with Christmas gifts! Isn't God amazing!
Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
  • Walking into the mission house to see over 20 boxes delivered via UPS the Friday before (this was quite a miracle in and of itself)!
  • Seeing the look on K and Nessa's faces when we showed them a pile of gifts. K told us that in the past, he had never opened presents on Christmas Day. He has served time in prison and his highlight was the kind of ham that would be served that day. Their faces were like little kids...they could hardly wait to open the presents. But, they waited except for one gift for Kayla and one gift for them....they got new sheets and were SO excited to use them. When we went to visit them the next day, the sheets were already on the bed!
  • The nursing home residents were thrilled with the blankets. Kaitlyn, Madison and Jai Rose went from room to room with our friends Julie and Cheryl to hand out blankets. We had 65 blankets (2 more than we needed for all the residents)!
  • We gave Mike Ramon his gifts (from Lisa C) and then saw him for dinner just a couple of hours later. He said "we are not promised tomorrow, so I opened all the gifts!" He had on his new jacket and was carrying his new Bible. He was beside himself with happiness!
  • Josie and her family just watched us with jaws dropped as we continued to bring in gifts for the whole family. The microwave (thanks Johnny and MaryLee) was a HUGE hit, and it had to be opened immediately! They were all so grateful and surprised!
  • Pastor Jay was thrilled with all of the stockings from our Georgia friends! With your help, 50 kids will receive a full stocking for the first time...what a great way to show Christ to the nations!
  • Julie Emerson helped us to deliver presents only to be the recipients of gifts herself. She was completely overwhelmed and thankful to everyone who participated in helping her. You provided gifts for a family that would not have otherwise had anything!
  • Pastor Jay had just finished telling us a story about Pauletta from a couple of weeks ago. She walked home from church and fell going up a hill. She couldn't get up and spent almost 8 hours lying on the hill by herself. Finally, her son found her, and she was okay....what a reminder of how frail life is sometimes. We surprised her at home with gifts that made her face light up....pure joy!
  • Cheryl Miller will be spending her first Christmas in a home! She and her children already put up a tree with homemade decorations (so creative)! We were able to fill the base of the tree with gifts for their family. They were so thankful and excited!
  • Matt Hall, the police officer who works closely with us, was also surprised to be the recipient of gifts....probably his first gifts from a believer...what a seed was planted. We may never know the eternal results.
  • Jay and Donna were shocked to find out that someone had sent gifts for them. They were thrilled and overhwhelmed by the kindness!

May the name of the Lord be lifted up and glorified through this ministry. May His name be praised and exalted by the nations!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Year Ago Today!

December 2008
Decenber 2007

A year ago today, I was sitting in the Galleria mall with my girls eating lunch. During lunch, I checked my email, and we got our pink slip to Guatemala. Although it was not before Christmas.....it made my heart leap to know our son was FINALLY COMING HOME! We had waited almost 2 years to have him here. What an exciting day.....now, he is here. He is home. He is safe. He is fed. He is loved. He is cared for. He is forever.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kailtyn's Birthday

It's hard to believe that 12 years ago tomorrow, our oldest daughter was born in Anniston, Alabama. She was almost a month early, but we rejoiced with her arrival. What a joy she has been to our life.

Kaitlyn has a heart for the world. She is into anything "Chinese" right now and of course, she loves Chinese food. Since we spent 2 months in China in 2004, she has had a heart for the country of China. I pray that God will use her to reach Chinese people one day! She made sure that her birthday cake was in Chinese colors (red and black) and used Chinese characters to spell Fun on her cake.
Kaitlyn loves to read (and is often heard running into walls while she is walking because she has a book in her hands), play the piano (and can pick out any song after hearing it just once), design outfits, magazines, etc. and loves being the oldest sister (with all of its advantages and disadvantages). I have to add a sidenote to the reading part of this...when I went to her bathroom this morning, there were 4 books that she is currently reading in there....2 American Girl books about Kirsten, a book on the life of Benjamin Franklin, and Fox's Book of Maryrs.....what a selection! She has truly been a delight in our life. As she is growing up, things are changing.....we look forward to the young woman God intends for her to be!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Kailtyn and Madison ready to eat!
Kaitlyn enjoying the Thanksgiving Feast!

Poppa (JT) and Madison

Jett raising two hands for the dessert!

Jett and Mr. John - his favorite!

We spent a great Thanksgiving Day with our friends, John and Mary Crisp, and their family here in Birmingham. We knew that it needed to be a quiet, laid back day for Jett's sake. Too much and too many is just too much for him right now. We have to limit choices and control the intake much of the time. He's not sure what to do with all the excitement of the holidays......he is learning.

When asked who wanted dessert at the Thanksgiving table, Jett raised BOTH hands. Then, he proceeded to LICK the plate, literally. What a compliment to the chef!
This year, we are so thankful that our son has been home with his forever family for 11 months. God is good....He is the Giver of all good things. We are thankful for a difficult year that has molded us into new people for Him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hey, It's Jesus!

My friend, Mary Crosby, and me.
Mommy and Kaitlyn. I guess we do look alike.

Madison, Jett, Nondu and Kaitlyn.

Claud and JT.

Jett and Nondu!

As we're sitting at the breakfast table this morning, we are discussing the banquet table in heaven. We're making an analogy from the "no table" concept in Africa to the plastic kids' tables in the orphanage to our 12 seater dining room table to the table in heaven. Wow, what a concept....how awesome is that going to be!

Naturally, Jett says, "What color is Jesus' table?" We respond that we don't know and that will be a question to ask Jesus. So, only as he would do, Jett cries out, "Jesus, what color is Your table?" We laugh and remind him to tell us when Jesus answers. So, the doorbell rings....Jett, says, "It's Jesus! He's coming to get us!" What faith! Oh, to have the faith of a little child. We were just discussing this concept with our friends, Claud and Mary Crosby, this past week. They are our friends who we've known for many years. They used to work with AIM and have been missionaries in China and South Africa/Swaziland.
God gave us almost a week with them. What a great time to discuss the plans God has for all of us. We can't wait to see where He leads us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall Fun!

While JT is in Guatemala leading a mission trip, we are at home working on school. We are thoroughly enjoying the fall weather. We decided to take some pictures in the yard to show the beautiful colors of the season. This has been the most brilliant fall we've had in a long time. God is definitely good!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Brighter Days

Regan, Kaitlyn, Kelsey and Haleigh
Savannah, Kaitlyn, Haleigh, Kelsey and Regan

Kevin Carroll, the student minister, with Kaitlyn, Regan and Kelsey

Regan and Kaitlyn

Our oldest daughter Kaitlyn was involved in helping to lead the worship service at our church yesterday...the program was called Brighter Days. I was so proud of her and all the other students involved. They proclaimed the Gospel message clearly. May His name be glorified.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Kiddos

For the past two days, I've been sick in bed with something...terrible headaches, nausea, cold-like stuff. However, we have done school every day from the confines of the master bedroom. Yesterday afternoon, my kids came down for a photo session. To be honest, I knew Jett would have on his new Alabama shirt. Jim and Regina O'Brien gave him this shirt and he LOVES it. He modeled it again for him (he wore it the day before as well, so it wasn't like I hadn't seen it yet). Kaitlyn was sporting a cowboy hat which was nothing new for her. But Madison was of course the creative one....a skirt on over her clothes with a belt around it....she cracks me up. We had a little diva show right there. At least I have free entertainment.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mrs. Mary and Mr. John.....

Mrs. Mary and Jett in Arizona.

Jett often comes out with the funniest things....we laugh every day at something he has said! So, here are a few tales from him lately.

Jett loves Mr. John and Mrs. Mary Crisp. In fact, he thinks they hung the moon (which is just fine with us....). They are a couple in our church who exude compassion, encouragement, love and service. They are like surrogate parents to us here in Birmingham and surrogate grandparents to our children.....all that to say that we adore and love them dearly!

Mr. John and Mrs. Mary have gone on two trips with us to Arizona, and their servants' hearts are immense. Not to mention that Mrs. Mary is one of the finest cooks of ALL time! One time, we had fried shrimp and hushpuppies at our house, and now, Jett won't eat shrimp anywhere else except Mrs. Mary's house. When we were at the beach, he would say, "This is not Mrs. Mary's shrimp." Enough said.
Mrs. Mary called our house during the last trip to Arizona (we were set to arrive in a couple of days). Jett hollers out, "Hey Mrs. Mary" to the phone. So, I ask him aloud, "Jett, what do you love most about Mrs. Mary?" Without hesitation, he says, "Mr. John!" Mary and I laughed so hard about that one. Jett loves Mr. John beyond belief.
Yesterday, I am teaching him his Bible story for the day, and he happens to be reviewing the nativity (I know it's a little early for that). I am pointing to the picture and showing him Mary riding on the donkey. I point to her tummy and say that baby Jesus is in there and they are on their way to Bethlehem. "If this is Mary on the donkey, then who is this (pointing to Joseph)?" I say. With no question, Jett exclaims, "That's Mr. John!" Oh, the joy...and the laughter. Jett thought Mr. John was the father of Jesus. For him, Mary and Joseph didn't happen 2000 years ago...it was just a few weeks ago. How awesome that he associates the love of an earthly man he knows with the earthly Father of our Lord.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It ALL Belongs to Jesus

Jett in Arizona this past week!
Jett and our good friend, Josh.
Sunset in Arizona - God is unbelievably good!

Lately our family has been talking about materialism as it has been a topic of conversation at our church. When we lost everything in a house fire in January of 2005, we learned that lesson at a new level. While we have a great house and many new things, we don't hold tightly to any of them. If you need it, then you can have it. Our motto....it's God's house! It all belongs to Him.
So, over the past month, when we are discussing Pastor David's messages, Jett brings it all down to one phrase, "It all belongs to Jesus." Then, he quickly points to things and says "That's Jesus' shirt" or "that's Jesus' food" or "that's Jesus' table." He will say "Thank you Jesus' for letting us use your .......fill in the blank here with whatever he just saw. It is a childlike statement that rings true for all of us.
Recently we were talking about some friends who might be selling their house.......Jett said simply "It's not their house, it's Jesus' house." Wow...he's right! He gets it. When you come from having nothing and depending on Him every day for survival, you know what it's like to have faith in Him. Childlike faith. Survival faith. Real faith.
May we all say "It belongs to Jesus" so that we can give it away.....in faith.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

School, School, School

Our family enjoying the art of playing cornhole in Indiana!
Madison enjoys a ride with Laura Johnson on the paddle boat!
Jett absolutely loved the tire swing at Heather's grandmother's house in Indiana.
Kaitlyn loves to be a part of the children's ministry during worship time....she loves the games and helping the younger kids.

Many of you may already know that we homeschool our 3 children. Over 5 years ago, I was the counselor for a local elementary school (and loved it). God specifically spoke to my heart and told me that I was to take my oldest daughter home for school. I specifically said "No, you have got to be kidding..." I argued and battled with God for several weeks. I had mentioned to my husband who thougthfully just said "hmmm." Then, I gave up my battle and obeyed the Father. JT knew it was coming.

At the time, there were several things we didn't know about homeschooling: it is time consuming, people consider you weird, tends to be isolating during normal school hours, there is no break for the parent, etc.... However, there are also many wonderful aspects to it: seeing my children really "get" something; hearing every word they read; teaching a 4 year old to read who just learned to speak English, studying in our pajamas, and so much more.

Right now, we start our school day at 8:30 in the morning. With three children, we have to adhere to some type of schedule (although it fluctuates) so that everyone gets necessary time with Mom and/or Dad. So, we begin our day with the pledges and morning work (checking the temperature, the calendar, the number of days in school, and some vocabulary quizzes for the girls). Then, Madison begins penmanship and Kaitlyn starts math (which has a computer program with it when she gets stuck). I start with phonics and reading with Jett. He is already to say all of his vowels and their sounds as well as most of the ABC's. He can sound out many three letter words by himself. He is SO proud! Then, he begins working on handwriting and I start reading with Madison. Kaitlyn moves on to her penmanship during this time. Once Madison is finished, I allow Jett to listen to one of the school CDs (it either has a book or chart to follow along with ) while I call out spelling words to Madi and let her recite her poem. Kaitlyn always finishes handwriting early so she starts on her computer work (usually finishing it later in the afternoon). Then, Madison heads off to the computer for Bible, science and typing while I lead Kaitlyn's reading, spelling and poetry.

At that point, Jett is finished for the day and plays with either school games or toys in his room. Lately, he's just been "reading" books on his bed.....One of the girls will practice piano for 30 minutes while I lead the other one in the grammar lesson (actual work to be done later) and history. Then, we switch. Before you know it, the day's over...somewhere around 12:30 or 1:00.

Just this week both of the girls planned, preprared and served a full dinner to the family. I was there to help them but they pretty much did it by themselves. On Monday, Madison made a cheeseball with crackers (it was a HUGE cheeseball), steak sandwiches with chive butter and an apple/walnut salad. She also had gingerbread cookies for dessert (she decorated them like each family member). Kaitlyn's dinner was Thursday night, and she had 9 people to serve. She made a tossed salad with a homemade vinaigrette dressing, mashed potatoes, ranch chicken (so yummy) and chocolate mousse. Both of the meals were outstanding! I was so proud of them!

We are now geared up for the next 2 1/2 weeks without Poppa. He has left for Arizona to lead trips there. Jett and I will join him for 4 days next week. The girls are going to stay with their Memaw during that time, but Jett is just not ready for that. We will miss JT greatly but will stay focused on school and getting our house in order while he's gone. Thank you all for your prayers!